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Archive for November, 2006

Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold 10

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

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Welcome back! Hopefully you’ve recovered from last week’s one-two punch of Dan Hill and Little River Band. But here we are again, and you know what time it is. It’s wuss time. And I’m here to help you make the most of your wuss time with the latest edition of Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold!

Earth, Wind & Fire – After The Love Has Gone (download)

I know what you may be thinking: “But I only thought soul-less white boys were capable of the Mellow Gold!” That’s where you’re wrong, my friends. No doubt about it, Earth, Wind & Fire was a truly funky band. Yes, they were responsible for some of the most fantastic, soulful songs of the 1970s. But in 1979, even EWF fell into the Mellow Gold trap. They did inject their unmistakeable R&B sound into the track, but they unabashedly wussed it up. And they were handsomely rewarded for it.

In the late ’70s, Earth, Wind & Fire was an unstoppable force. For starters, their ’77 album All ‘N All was a #3 hit on the Pop charts (and #1 on R&B). They were frequently selling out concerts all over the country, armed with not only a fantastic musical show but a visual spectacle – pyrotechnics, lasers, magic tricks and even the band climbing into pyramid formation. (These concerts were directed by magician Doug Henning, who has somehow had his fair share of mentions over here at Mellow Gold.) They nabbed the “Favorite Band, Duo or Group, Soul/R&B” American Music Award three years in a row (’77, ’78 and ’79) and won three of their six Grammy Awards in 1978. They recorded a ridiculously awesome cover of “Got To Get You Into My Life” for the movie Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and while the movie was a stinkin’ pile o’ crap, their song hit #9 pop (#1 R&B) and sold a million copies – as well as earning them one of those Grammies. Oh, and finally, they released a greatest hits compilation in early ’79, which included a new track entitled “September.” Maybe you’ve heard it.

So you see where I’m going. The band was quickly becoming the leader in R&B and Soul. They were, uh, on fire. They had yet to realize, though, that they had the potential to wuss out, if only they had somebody to guide them. Somebody who had Mellow Gold in his blood. Someone who probably cried once a day and enjoyed Wheat Thins as a healthy, mid-day snack.

Enter David Foster.

David Foster was already an up-and-coming musician, arranger, composer and producer, working with wimps such as Stephen Bishop, Neil Sedaka, Gary “Dream Weaver” Wright, Paul Anka and Seals And Crofts, not to mention television actors-turned-singers such as Cheryl Ladd, Jaye P. Morgan, and the one and only Ted Knight. He was brought in to work on the EWF album I Am mainly as a composer and arranger, but also contributed musically. “After The Love Has Gone” was a co-write between Foster, Jay Graydon and Bill Champlin, who was just about to become a new member of Chicago (that’s him singing lead on songs like “Look Away” and “I Don’t Want To Live Without Your Love”). It had several MG staples – gentle strings, unreal harmonies, and we can’t ignore those horns (which, actually, sound a lot like they belong to Chicago). The cherry on top is supplied by a gentle sax solo and a number of soaring key changes. In fact, every time they sing a higher note on those “ohh”s at the end, I think somebody’s head is going to explode. Maybe mine, as I try to sing along, or my wife’s as she winces at me pushing my falsetto to its very limit.

The song was perfect. Wimpy, but soulful as well. Some may argue its inclusion as Mellow Gold. Fuck those people. This is good wuss music. America agreed, giving EWF their second-biggest hit ever, at #2, as well as a Grammy for Best R&B Performance. Enjoy this download of “After The Love Has Gone,” and sing along, no matter how much the people around you protest.

Alessi – How Long, How Much (download)

This one is another Mellow Gold request, supplied by our friend Terje, who’s wussin’ it up all the way over in Norway. He provided this vinyl rip for us – so please excuse the crackles n’ pops – it’s worth it to get to the Mellow. (Terje would also like to point out that he never paid a penny for this Alessi album.)


Yo, Adrian!

Alessi, also known as The Alessi Brothers, was comprised of twins Bobby and Billy Alessi. After their original band, Barnaby Bye disbanded in 1974, the twins landed a deal at A&M (I wonder if they waited outside and stalked Herb Alpert?). They released a few albums and had a #7 hit with a song titled “Oh Lori.” The hit, however, was in the UK, which must have been somewhat of a disappointment for both the band and their record label, seeing as the twins were from Long Island, NY. A&M let them record four albums before sending them a clear message: boys, move to disco and get a hit, or you’re outta here. No disco hit = no Alessi on A&M.

Luckily, they picked up another record deal rather quickly (remember, friends, this was the late ’70s/early ’80s, when one could do such things). Quincy Jones’ new label, Qwest Records, released their 1982 album Long Time Friends (ironically distributed through A&M). Check out this record cover.

It featured Steve Lukather from Toto on guitar, and Patty Austin (of “Baby, Come To Me”, her duet with Michael McDonald James Ingram) on lead and backing vocals. And do you see that pink flamingo in the right corner? Here, let me enlarge it as best I can.

It all makes sense now, doesn’t it? With a producing credit from Christopher Cross, how could we expect anything less than the wussiest songs imaginable? And that brings us to “How Long, How Much.”

Truth be told, you don’t really need my commentary on this one. The wuss is so apparent. Terribly, terribly apparent. The vocal is pretty much ALL falsetto – and I’m not talking about the type of falsetto that appears on “After The Love Has Gone.” There’s no soul here, for starters. It’s all delicately enunciated, sensitive white-boy vocal on this track. The chorus has shades of Bee Gees. At 2:16, the song seems like it’s going to break down into some rocking, but have no fear, it’s really all synthesizers. There’s an electric guitar lead that plays throughout the majority of the song, but it’s not like Tony Iommi is playing it or anything. It doesn’t rock, not in the slightest, nor does it really contribute that much to the song. It just adds a bit to the ambience. It’s the parsley of guitar solos.

Alessi didn’t record again for Qwest after this album. But before you go feeling sorry for them, let me assure you that the brothers have done quite well for themselves. For starters, they sang backing vocals for many famous musicians – Peter Frampton, Olivia Newton-John, and John Lennon, to name a few. They also had a song on the Ghostbusters soundtrack (“Saving The Day,” which I’m not sure I’ve ever heard), and most impressively, have carved out a successful career for themselves in the commercial jingle biz. Diet Coke, Ford, Twix, Slim-Fast, Dr. Pepper, Sears…all of these companies have employed the Alessi Brothers, and as a result, the duo has won ADDY and CLEO awards for excellence in advertising. These two Long Island brothers are most likely living quite comfortably. They also still perform live, especially in the Netherlands, where they have quite a strong following.

And the best news of all, everybody: Barnaby Bye got back together! I know, I know – we all never thought it would happen, right? But it DID! The triumphant return of Barnaby Bye, where they played such hits as….uh…well, anyway, if you want to see any pics of their long-awaited reunion, check out the Alessi Brothers photo page.

Thanks again to Terje for getting us this track. I might have found “Oh Lori” on my own at some point, but “How Long, How Much” would have never crossed my path. You, sir, are a wuss connoisseur. A wussisseur, if you will.

That’ll do it for this week in Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold! Enjoy and see you soon!

CHART ATTACK! #9: 11/21/87

Friday, November 24th, 2006


Greetings from Albany, where I’m spending my post-Thanksgiving turkey hangover with my in-laws and preparing to lay down on the couch and watch TV all freaking day.  Hope you’re doing something similar, but definitely take the time to check out what was happening the week ending November 21, 1987! (Unfortunately, because I only have access to a very, very old computer, there won’t be any workable links to Amazon or iTunes this week.)

10.  Faith – George Michael
9.  I’ve Been In Love Before – Cutting Crew
8.  Little Lies – Fleetwood Mac
7.  Should’ve Known Better – Richard Marx
6.  Breakout – Swing Out Sister
5.  Brilliant Disguise – Bruce Springsteen
4.  I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany
3.  Heaven Is A Place On Earth – Belinda Carlisle
2.  (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
1.  Mony Mony "Live" – Billy Idol

10.  Faith – George Michael  On November 21st, "Faith" entered the Top 10 and remained there for the better part of two months, including three weeks at #1.  Certainly the track’s success was aided by its iconic video, featuring Michael shaking his ass, miming guitar (not very well, I might add), and wearing those shiny sunglasses.  (If you look closely, you can see the production crew in their reflection.)

I guess you’d qualify "Faith" as a rock-ish song, yet musically and production-wise, it’s not like any other song on the album.  Faith the album was released only one week prior, and this was its second single, since "I Want Your Sex" had been released as part of the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack over the summer.  I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of the tremendous impact the album had on the charts, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t cover further singles from this massively successful album in future editions.

The opening organ that leads into the track, by the way, is a re-worked chorus of the Wham! song "Freedom." 

9.  I’ve Been In Love Before – Cutting Crew (download)
  Let’s go ahead and offer this one for download and dedicate it to Jefito, who featured not only featured a fantastic Cutting Crew post last week, but admitted he hated himself for liking this song.  Don’t be so ashamed, Jeff.  It’s a good song.  Yeah, it’s drenched in synths, but the vocal is really quite pretty.  Nice bass line and guitars, too, other than the slightly out-of-tune acoustic guitar in the middle break.

There’s not much more to say about Cutting Crew, especially when compared to Jeff’s post.  "I’ve Been In Love Before" spent two weeks here at #9, and then, no more.

8.  Little Lies – Fleetwood Mac 
Speaking of synthesizer-drenched songs…I suppose no self-respecting fan of the Fleetwood Mac of the 1970s (or, hell, the 1960s) should cop to liking this song.  But fuck ’em.  I do.  I love Christine McVie’s voice, I love that they had a hit without Stevie Nicks warbling lead, and there’s something irresistable to me about the 80s production in which this track is wrapped.  "Little Lies," a co-write between McVie and her then-husband Eddie Quintela, was the biggest hit from Tango In The Night, reaching #4.

7.  Should’ve Known Better – Richard Marx  It’s funny.  I can write about all this Mellow Gold music that I’m embarrassed to admit that I dig, and people are quick to come to my defense and admit they like it too.

Nobody EVER agrees with me when I say Richard Marx is a really good, talented musician.

That’s okay.  Screw you all.  I’m confident in this.  I’ll go with you when you say his mullet sucked, that he was a pretty boy and that "Right Here Waiting" has become terribly annoying.  However, my mom is a big fan, so I’m one of the few that’s heard his recent output and seen him live over the past few years.  I’m not saying he’s brilliant, but I’m saying he’s a great guitarist, a strong performer, and knows how to write a great hook for a pop song.

"Should’ve Known Better," however, was released back when Richard Marx was actually popular, and you didn’t sound too lame if you said you had his self-titled debut.   You would have been in pretty good company, actually, as Marx was already a well-respected musician and writer on albums by Lionel Richie (he sings backup on "Running With The Night," and "All Night Long"), Madonna, Kenny Rogers, Julio Iglesias, and his debut album features Joe Walsh, Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmit.  It was the second single, and eventually reached #3.  Marx is also the first solo artist to have his first seven singles reach the Top 5.  Laugh now, but he was shit-hot then, and I’m telling you, he’s still an impressive musician and performer.

6.  Breakout – Swing Out Sister (download)
  It’s been a while since we’ve featured a true one-hit wonder on Chart Attack!, but "Breakout" definitely qualifies.  Although it peaked here at #6, it earned the band a Grammy nomination.  Wikipedia defines the band as "sophisti-pop."  I hadn’t heard the term before, but they lump Johnny Hates Jazz, Sade, Simply Red and Basia in the same category, so I suppose it makes sense.  The single featured jazz-infused chords and harmonies, as well as strings and horns.  The band is still together and are quite popular in Japan.

5.  Brilliant Disguise – Bruce Springsteen
  Here’s what I remember.  I remember the country going Boss-crazy over "Dancing In The Dark."  And "Glory Days."  And "Goin’ Down."  Etc.  I remember everybody buying the Live 1975-1985 box set, hungry for new Bruce.  I remember the radio stations in my area (Z100 and WPLJ) doing huge promotions for his long-awaited follow-up, Tunnel Of Love.  Lots of teasers featuring 10 seconds of the chorus of the first single, etc.  And then, the album is released, along with the first single, "Brilliant Disguise."  The single debuts at #40, one of the highest debuts of the year, and eventually reaches #5 this week.  But the general attitude of people hearing it is "huh?"  Maybe it’s a warped perception, and I was only 10 at the time, but I remember the dark, introspective quality of the single simply not living up to the hype.

I’m not picking on Bruce Springsteen for not writing another "Glory Days."  The man has always deserved kudos for doing what he wants to do, critical judgment be damned.  Nor am I saying that "Brilliant Disguise" isn’t a good song.  But that’s definitely not Max Weinberg on drums (if there’s anybody on drums at all – sounds like a machine to me), and there’s nothing to fist-pump or sing at the local bar, and that’s why it was such a let-down to the public in 1987.  Am I off-base?  Thoughts?

4.  I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany  Who doesn’t love a week where Tiffany and The Boss are sitting side-by-side?  The first single off of her self-titled debut, this cover of a song by Tommy James & the Shondells was undoubtedly helped by a brilliant marketing campaign: over the summer of 1987, Tiffany spent her summer weekends in malls across the country, performing free shows for shoppers.  The concept was new at the time, and generated much interest from the media – enough so that the video for "I Think We’re Alone Now" was mainly footage from her mall performances.

"I Think We’re Alone Now" was #1 for two weeks prior to this one, and was knocked off by Billy Idol’s cover of "Mony Mony," originally by…Tommy James & the Shondells.

3.  Heaven Is A Place On Earth – Belinda Carlisle 
Here’s something I bet you don’t know about this song.  I read an interview in a 1988 issue of Smash Hits where Carlisle let it slip that Bon Jovi was suing her for copyright infringement.  Apparently the Bon Jovi team felt the chorus of "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" was just a little too close to the chorus of "You Give Love A Bad Name."  (Okay, I can kind of hear it, but come on.)  I’ve only found one reference to this lawsuit online, so clearly I’m not making it up.

Either way, this single was a huge success for Carlisle, topping the charts and becoming her first #1 as a solo artist.  The video for the track was directed by Diane Keaton, which, for some reason, I remember being a big deal at the time.  Personally, I think most Belinda Carlisle songs are instant earworms, but I’ll forgive her in this case because she’s really hot.  I mean, she’s still hot.  Since we’re discussing both of them here, I’ll tell you that I’ve seen both hers and Tiffany’s spreads in Playboy, and Carlisle wins by a country mile.  My wife will back me up here.

2.  (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes 
You may not be lame like me, and perhaps you haven’t seen the E! True Hollywood Story for Dirty Dancing, so I’ll fill you in: nobody expected the movie to be a hit, and certainly nobody expected the song to be a hit either.  The song has an interesting background: it was written by Franke Previte, who had a top 10 with his band Franke & The Knckouts in 1981.  Previte was asked by his friend Jimmy Ienner, executive producer of the soundtrack, to put his plans for a solo album aside and compose a song that the two main characters could use for dancing the mamba mambo.  It would be used for the film’s climax, and therefore, needed to have a steady, gradual build.  Ienner loved Previte’s result but refused to let him sing it: he wanted Medley and Warnes.  Warnes signed on immediately, but Medley needed convincing.  Ienner eventually wore him down, and the duet between the two became the soundtrack’s biggest success: it reached #1 the week after this one, earned a Grammy and an Oscar, and yet you STILL change the station whenever it comes on.  Shame on you!  To be fair, though, this song was the "Kokomo" of 1987: you just couldn’t get it out of your head, and you probably found yourself singing it a few times even though you’d never admit it to another living soul.  So you are forgiven.

By the way, Previte wrote "Hungry Eyes," and Ienner’s company also represented The Raspberries and Eric Carmen, so there’s the answer to your next question.

1.  Mony Mony "Live" – Billy Idol  As mentioned before, this was a surprisingly good week for Tommy James & the Shondells.  Idol had been playing "Mony Mony" for years; he actually released it as a single off of his 1981 solo debut Don’t Stop, but it failed to chart at all.  Why did it finally become a hit single?  I imagine it was largely due to the live video, which was placed into heavy, heavy rotation on MTV.  Actually, I think I even remember seeing it on the music video program that Nickelodeon had at the time, Nick Rocks – that is, of course, with one tiny little scene removed:

[youtube]UVycjhnR5MY[/youtube]

Check at 2:50, when Billy goes up to his female keyboardist and gropes her ass.  It’s not the ass-groping that bothers me, it’s her reaction.  Remember the "Mr. Plow" episode of The Simpsons where Homer goes to the car show, and there’s the hot girl modeling the car, and every guy comes up and attempts to be witty by saying, "Do YOU come with the car?" and she goes, "Oh, you!  (giggle)"?  That’s what the keyboardist is doing.  "Oh, Billy, you’re so wild!  I can’t WAIT to slap you with a sexual harassment lawsuit!" 

And on that note, does anybody recall how the little "get laid get fucked" chant got introduced into the song?  I swear I have NEVER been to a party in my life where people didn’t do the chant.  The best part is watching the older people do it, even though they have no clue what’s being said.

And that brings us to the end of yet another CHART ATTACK!  Hope you all enjoyed your holiday and have a great weekend!  See you next week!

Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold 9

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

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Happy early Thanksgiving, mellow miners! It’s time for another edition of Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold, and today I’ve got two smooth songs for you – the perfect thing to listen to as you lie on the couch after a full turkey dinner – unless, of course, this music makes you nauseous, which…it might.

Dan Hill – Sometimes When We Touch (download)

Too easy, right? Maybe. I swear this wasn’t on my list when I first started doing these posts, and nobody has suggested I cover it. That being said, in surrounding myself with this music, “Sometimes When We Touch” has been brought up multiple times over the past few weeks. I’m taking it as a message. Yes, that’s right. A message. A message from….Emasculysus, God of Mellow Gold.

A couple of weeks ago, Mike, Warren and I were driving to the Acoustic ’80s gig. Somehow, this song came up in conversation. Warren astutely commented about how the song is an unbelievable ode to codependency. He repeated the chorus to us:

‘Cause sometimes when we touch
The honesty’s too much
and I have to close my eyes and hide
I wanna hold you ’till I die
‘Till we both break down and cry
I wanna hold ya ’till the fear in me subsides

Dan Hill makes Paul Davis look like Ted Nugent.

Those aren’t the only awkward lyrics, either. I think there are certain words that shouldn’t be used in songs, especially not in the first few words, and the word “choke” in “I choke on my reply” is one of them. And what about the bridge?

At times I’d like to break you
And drag you to your knees
At times I’d like to break through
And hold you endlessly

Lady, BACK AWAY FROM DAN HILL. This motherfucker’s crazy.

Then there’s the last verse:

At times I think we’re drifters
Still searching for a friend
A brother or a sister
But then the passions flares again

Dude. If you’re not sure if this girl is your sister or your girlfriend, and yet you still want to hold her until you die, stay where you are, I’m calling the cops.

Mike then came up with one of his best ideas ever: “I think the song woud be better if the line was ‘I wanna hold you ’till YOU die.'” I’m giggling just thinking about it. How awesome would that be?

Out of the blue, Jefito sent me this clip. It must be seen to be believed. I know I post a lot of YouTube clips on here. This one isn’t one of those “watch if you feel like it” clips. YOU MUST WATCH THIS VIDEO.

[youtube]hjmnWwZoUUY[/youtube].

Could there be a more awkward-looking singer than Dan Hill? Or his band, for that matter? Feel free to peruse the comments over at YouTube on this clip. Someone hits it right on the nose with “Unfrozen Caveman Manilow.” How many of you knew a song like this was accompanied with a face like that? Would it have killed him to comb his hair? He looks like he was a homeless guy outside the studio who was brought in as a joke.

It’s not like the band is looking any better, though. The pianist looks like the guy who repaired our television sets in the early ’80s, or maybe Ben Folds in a grey wig. The other session players look like they’re thinking, “God, I wish I had gotten that Steely Dan gig.” And I think the drummer looks like Louie Anderson.

Poor Dan Hill apparently couldn’t play an instrument, and the record label wasn’t forward-thinking enough to put one in his hands, which was a shame, because the man had no idea what to do with his body. The worst happens at around 2:20, at which point we’re not sure if he’s about to do some air drumming or go for a jog. The hands just wave around. It’s uncomfortable. And then, when they’re not flailing, he slumps his posture and sticks ’em in his pockets, as if to say outright “yes, I’m a pathetic shlub. Please, walk out the door. It’s best for both of us.”

But you know, in a way, this song (and its video) says something positive about the state of the music industry in the ’70s. For starters, “Sometimes When We Touch” was Hill’s first hit, off of his third album, and yet, his label hadn’t dropped him. Can you imagine any other artist today releasing two albums without hits and not getting kicked to the curb? And secondly, can you imagine any artist LOOKING like Dan Hill and getting a hit? It just wouldn’t happen. Yet despite the beard that has taken over the majority of his face, his eyes that look like they just might bug out of his fucking head, and his band, half-dressed in plaid and weighing a combined 740 pounds, “Sometimes When We Touch” became a smashing success. And as you’ll see in comments on this song all around the Internet, people still truly love it.

Dan Hill had one more hit in his career: “Can’t We Try” in 1987, a duet with a then-unknown Vonda Shepard. I thought about including it as the second song here, but even though it is a mellow, wimpy song, it falls more into the cheesy ’80s realm than the Mellow Gold, don’t you think?

Contrary to what you might read in the YouTube comments, Faith Hill was NOT married to Dan Hill. She was married to a Dan Hill, but not this one. Maybe she just couldn’t handle the beard. Or the eerie lyrics.

Little River Band – Reminiscing (download)

As you may know, there are a number of Little River Band songs we could choose for Mellow Gold status. “Reminiscing” is not only my favorite, but reportedly one of John Lennon’s favorite songs of all time. (Specifically, it was considered by Lennon and May Pang to be “their song” during his infamous “lost weekend.”)

Hailing from Australia (which you’d never know from the vocals, clearly influenced by the music of the west coast), Little River Band originated as a band called Mississippi, but found that Australians didn’t seem to care for a band with such an American name. A street sign on their way to a gig in Australia influenced them to change their minds. Already huge in Australia, the band attempted to make it big in the UK, but were met with general indifference (much like other Australian bands at the time). Their manager, however, already had a strong sense of the American industry, and decided to set the band’s sights on the States.

Little River Band flourished in America: they became the first Australian band to truly hit it big, and sustain that success, in the United States. Between 1978 and 1982, the band had six consecutive singles in the Top 10, which at the time made them the only band – period – to claim such a feat. While their single “Lady” remains their best-selling single to date, “Reminiscing” was their highest charter, peaking at #3.

So why does “Reminiscing” groove in the mellow manner? A good question, since this song, thanks to its chord choices, rides close to the smooth jazz genre. First and foremost, Little River Band were a group strongly focused on vocal harmony, and their harmonies, while jazzy, were undoubtedly smooth. There’s not a lot of them in this song, but they do comprise the entirety of the chorus. (And they’re freaking awesome.) The lead vocal, courtesy of Glenn Shorrock, has that great lounge lizard quality. You’ve got gentle drums, that bass that starts off funky and kind of…devolves into mellow territory, strings low in the mix, and a trumpet solo that screams, “Take me, Lite-FM, I’m yours!” There’s guitar, but for the most part, they’re overpowered by keyboards, which is the Mellow Gold Way. Throw in the bongos all over the track, and baby, I’m hooked on your mellowness.

Songwriter (and LRB guitarist) Graeham Goble paints this black & white picture of a couple from the ’30s or ’40s as they court each other and eventually look back on their glory days together, and then throws this curveball at the end:

Now as the years roll on
Each time we hear our favorite song
The memories come along
Oh the times we’re missing
Spending the hours reminiscing

Zing! I actually really enjoy this last lyric; suddenly, the song has a touching, bittersweet quality.

Like many other ridiculously successful songs, “Reminiscing” almost didn’t happen. Goble had wanted to book a specific session player for the keyboards, but he wasn’t available. After two separate sessions with two different players, the band started to lose interest in the song altogether. Goble’s intended musician finally made it to the studio, the song was cut, and included on the record. Capitol Records, however, didn’t think the album had any worthy singles at all. Someone in their New York office eventually influenced the label to release “Reminiscing,” and the rest is pretty much history.

Little River Band today is much different than the group that evolved from Mississippi. For starters, no original members remain in Little River Band; the rights to the name belong to guitarist Stephen Housden, who was not an original member but has been with the band since 1981. Three of the original members still perform as Birtles Shorrock Goble: The Original Voices of the Little River Band,” which seems oddly similar to the way members of the Beach Boys seemingly have to perform these days. They can mention that they used to be part of the Little River Band, but can’t actually say they’re THE Little River Band. And they sure as hell can’t use their swimming platypus logo.

So that’ll do it for this week’s Mellow Gold! Have a very happy Thanksgiving, and see you here on Friday for CHART ATTACK!

Comment issues

Monday, November 20th, 2006

I’m noticing that some of you are having issues with formatting in the comments – you can’t seem to get the paragraph breaks to work, be it through using <br> or <p> or simply pressing enter, so you wind up with a really long, hard-to-read paragraph.

I need to do some investigating to see why this is happening.  If it’s happening to you, please just comment here with what OS and browser you’re using.

In the meantime, if you manually enter a <br> or <p> in your comment, I’ll go in and clean it up for you, since I don’t seem to be having the problem.  I know it’s annoying but I’ll try to get it fixed as soon as possible.  (Paging Mr. Gupta, you have a telephone call at the front desk.)

BNL and eMusic.com

Monday, November 20th, 2006

A few months ago, I posted a nifty way to get 27 out of 29 Barenaked Ladies tunes – plus recent live tracks – for $10, by singing up at eMusic.  I was skeptical about eMusic, but I’m now hooked.

I still owe you a post that whittles down Barenaked Ladies Are Me to the essential tracks.  I’ve started working on it.

But since eMusic has sent me numerous e-mails about this, I thought I’d pass it on: the eMusic subscription plans are changing effective this Tuesday (tomorrow), unfortunately for the worse.  (Read their lame explanation here.)  Whereas you used to pay $10 for 40 downloads a month, effective the 21st, it’ll only be 30.  $15 used to get you 65, now you’ll get 50.  And whereas $20 got ya 90, it’ll soon only get ya 75.

It sucks, but those of us who already have subscriptions get the old number of downloads locked in, as do any of you who sign up before Tuesday.  So if you’ve been thinking about giving eMusic a trial, now’s the time.  You get 25 free, DRM-free songs and can actually cancel afterwards, without any bullshit.  And yes, as opposed to the coupon codes, I do get extra downloads for referrals, so there’s my disclaimer.

Their selection is not mainstream, so give up on getting any Michael McDonald right now, okay?  However, if you want the "our label dropped us" works of  Stephen Bishop, Hall & Oates, Little River Band, Andrew Gold, and Air Supply, look no further.  (Seriously, they’ve also got BNL, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, TMBG, Aimee Mann, Cat Power, Sufjan Stevens, and this awesome gospel music album that I’ve had on my Amazon wishlist for months.)

Anyway, click below if you’re interested.  Or don’t.  Oh, did I mention you can get the Peter Cetera Christmas album there as well?  Somebody I know purchased it on eMusic, but for the life of me, I can’t remember who…