Archive for August, 2007

CHART ATTACK! #46: 8/29/70

Friday, August 31st, 2007


So last week in the comments, Amy asked if I ever hit up any charts from the ’70s.  As I mentioned, I don’t often because I’m more familiar with songs from the ’80s, and that makes for easier (quicker) writing.  I didn’t have much more time this week, but I figured I’d give it a shot – so here we go, attackin’ the charts from August 29, 1970!

10. 25 Or 6 To 4 – Chicago  Amazon iTunes
9. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Diana Ross
  Amazon iTunes
8. (If You Let Me Make Love To You Then) Why Can’t I Touch You? – Ronnie Dyson  Amazon
7. Patches – Clarence Carter  Amazon iTunes
6. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours – Stevie Wonder  Amazon iTunes
5. Spill The Wine – Eric Burdon and War  Amazon iTunes
4. In The Summer Time – Mungo Jerry  Amazon iTunes
3. (They Long To Be) Close To You – Carpenters  Amazon iTunes
2. Make It With You – Bread  Amazon iTunes
1. War – Edwin Starr  Amazon iTunes


10. 25 Or 6 To 4 – Chicago

You have to understand: I was born in 1977. The Chicago I know is from the David Foster era. Therefore, I’ve never had this experience:

Radio DJ: …and here’s the latest single from Chicago!
Jason: Holy shit, this song ROCKS!

I don’t really know what "25 or 6 to 4" is about.  I’ve heard the theories.  I know that, according to Robert Lamm, it doesn’t have any real meaning, it’s just about trying to write a song, and something about the time being 3:34 or 3:35 AM.  I don’t believe it, but I don’t care too much, either.  This song isn’t about lyrics.  This song is about horns.  That’s all.  I’m sure you guys all know that Chicago pulled a Mardones and re-made the song in ’86.  Read all about it over with our good friend CAPTAIN VIDEO!

9. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Diana Ross

I’ll admit that I don’t know much about this song, so let me take a look at…holy shit, Ashford and Simpson wrote this??  See, this is why I don’t cover the ’70s; I just wind up looking like a schmuck for all the stuff I don’t know.  I mean, I didn’t know that Marvin Gaye did the song first, and Ross actually covered it first while she was in The Supremes (as a duet with The Temptations) before creating her own unique version, complete with spoken word, that eventually hit #1 and earned a Grammy nomination.  No, all I thought beforehand was "why does it take her a full two minutes and thirty seconds to actually say the phase "ain’t no mountain high enough?"

8. (If You Let Me Make Love To You Then) Why Can’t I Touch You? – Ronnie Dyson (download)

Earlier this week, I was on vacation up in the Adirondack mountains with my folks. I started scanning this chart and couldn’t believe this title. Upon saying it out loud, my father responded with "I know what that’s like," and upon playing the song, my mother started doing some weird hula dance. This is why I will never talk with them about CHART ATTACK! ever again.

When I first heard it though, I was extremely surprised to hear a woman’s voice. What kind of woman is in a situation where she’s expressing this type of sentiment? Then I was even more surprised to find out that Ronnie Dyson actually is a guy! He just sounds like a lady! This is worse than Jermaine Stewart! (Okay, not really.)


I’m still not convinced.

I think it’s fair to say that, unfortunately, many people have forgotten about Ronnie Dyson. The dude doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry, for crying out loud. (How the hell am I supposed to write without Wikipedia?) So here’s what I can tell you: Dyson’s career launched in the late ’60s when, at the age of 20, he originated the role of Ron in Hair on Broadway. He also performed in a musical entitled Salvation that didn’t go very far; however, he was able to take this song, from Salvation, to the Top 10. It peaked here at #8. While some of the lyrics are actually quite pretty, I’m having a hard time getting past the title. It’s just…awkward. And Dyson made a career out of uncomfortable titles like these; other songs include "One Man Band (Plays All Alone)," "Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely," "All Over Your Face" (cough) and – my absolute favorite – "The More You Do It (The More I Like It Done to Me)." Sadly, Dyson died of a heart attack in 1990. Now I feel bad about all of my above jokes. But I maintain that he doesn’t sound or look like a dude.

7. Patches – Clarence Carter (download)

Up until this week, I knew one Clarence Carter song and one song only: "Strokin’." My old officemate introduced it to me.  I knew of some other song titles, including "It’s A Man Down There," "Back Door Santa" (introduced to me via Foxy), "G Spot," and "Why Do I Stay Here (And Take This Shit from You)," which I’ve never heard but is already my favoritest song in the world.  So I thought that Clarence Carter was only a dirty singer like Millie Jackson (NSFW Amazon link), Rudy Ray Moore (also NSFW Amazon link) or Amy Grant.  But no, turns out that before he went blue, he was actually a real soul singer.  And he’s blind, too.  You learn something new every day.  (And since I’m not actually talking about "Patches" yet, I’ll ask: why the hell was "Strokin’" not a hit?)

"Patches" – a cover of a Chairmen Of The Board tune from the same year – is an interesting song, a tale of a son who loses a father and is forced to be the grown-up of the family.  His nickname is Patches, which really messes with me because my aunt (same aunt who hates my potty mouth) had a dog named Patches.  So I’m half thinking of the dog, and half thinking of Forrest Gump.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s the accent, or the sad, sad half-spoken story.  Either way, Carter took "Patches" to #4.

6. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours – Stevie Wonder

As much as I adore this song, I can’t focus on it for too long, because Stevie Wonder was 20 years old when he released this single and that just depresses me.  At 20, Stevie already had nine Top 10 hits under his belt, and he was clearly just getting started.  "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours" was the first single to feature Wonder’s production, as well as his female concubines backing vocalists Wonderlove, and marked his very first Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song.  Unfortunately, Wonder lost…to "Patches" by Clarence Carter.  It’s the blind beating the blind!  (groan)

I just listened to this song for the umpteenth time, and like just about every Stevie Wonder song recorded between 1970 and 1976, it just never loses any of its joy for me.

5. Spill The Wine – Eric Burdon and War

This is what happens when you take too many drugs.  And when the country’s taking too many drugs along with you, it’s okay to never actually change chords in the entire song.

4. In The Summertime – Mungo Jerry

I had Mungo once. However, I applied some ointment and it cleared right up. I’m also disappointed to find out that Mungo Jerry is not a person, but a group. Because there’s this dirty guy who hangs out by the subway, flapping his arms and trying to sing, and if you had told me Mungo Jerry was a person, I’d swear that he was now living in Queens and greeting me every day as I get off the N train.

I had no idea I knew this song, but I do have a passing familiarity with it, and I’m betting that some of you have some specific memories attached to this song. I’m sure some of our readers in Europe may know more about Mungo Jerry, as they were a British band and had a number of hits in the UK. However, they’re officially a one-hit wonder here; "In The Summertime," which sold millions of copies and reached #3, was their only song to reach the Top 100.

I guess I don’t get the appeal of this song. Idiotic lyrics, the same riff over and over again…maybe it’s because I’m not stoned or having an orgy out on the front lawn.  I guess it’s no worse than "Mambo #5" or one of those typical novelty songs.  If you’re a Mungo Jerry fan, by all means, join MungoMania.

Ain’t it trippy?

3. (They Long To Be) Close To You – Carpenters

No snark applied to this song, my friends. I think it’s one of the most simple, sweet songs in the world, and I am frequently reduced to a bucket o’ mush when I hear it.  If I had to make any criticisms, it’s that I’ve always felt that most of this instrumentation was unnecessary.  Karen Carpenter, a piano, maybe a bit of flute.  Anybody know if that mix exists somewhere?

By the way, you can thank Herb Alpert for this one.  The Carpenters were asked to perform a medley of Burt Bacharach songs (with the man himself) for a benefit performance.  Alpert suggested to Richard Carpenter that they include this song in the medley, which, despite being recorded by Richard Chamberlain and Dionne Warwick, was relatively unknown.  The song didn’t make it into the medley, but the duo did record the song shortly after, which became their first gold record, a #1 for a month, and the winner of a 1971 Grammy for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus.

Here’s a video of the Carpenters performing the song live in Holland, 1974.  I sat pretty much transfixed during this performance.  And not just because Richard Carpenter’s bow tie is mere seconds away from engulfing most of the audience.

2. Make It With You – Bread

Crossroads seem to come and go…wait, this isn’t "Melissa?"  Whoops.  Moving on.  It’s almost Mellow Gold, isn’t it?  You gotta give David Gates credit: he says it right there in the lyrics: "and if you’re wondering what this all is leading to, I wanna make it with you."  That’s candor for you!  We’ll be covering some Bread in future Mellow Gold entries, so I’ll wait on most of my thoughts regarding David Gates; I’ll just say outright that this man knew exactly what to say to get laid.  Can you believe that this is Bread’s only #1 hit?

1. War – Edwin Starr (download)

Incidentally, this is the fourth cover to appear on this week’s Attack – "War," written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, was originally recorded by The Temptations, included on their Psychedelic Shack album earlier in 1970.  "War" wasn’t a single, but quickly became the most popular song on the album, due to public dissent over Vietnam – and fans wrote to Motown asking the label to release "War" as a single.  The Temptations quickly backpedaled, afraid of what the release of such a single might do to their fanbase.  Way to stand up for what you believe in, guys!  Motown agreed (for variou$ rea$on$), and Whitfield was furious.  Finally, Motown agreed to release the single so long as it could be re-recorded by a – shall we say – less lucrative artist.  Starr, already a Motown artist with a #6 under his belt, volunteered, and Whitfield took the opportunity to put some cojones behind the song.  There’s really no comparison between the two – while the Temptations version rocks in its own right, it’s no match for Starr’s fierce, funky version.  Here, compare!

The Temptations – War (download)

Here’s some video of Edwin Starr lip-syncing to "War."  It’s a little grainy, but I found it fascinating anyway: for starters, I had never seen Starr before, and I admit to being a little surprised how much he smiles throughout the performance.  I think he’s thinking, "I’m gonna be rich!"

Whew!  Listening to all this stuff I didn’t immediately know by heart was relatively exhausting – but I’d say that, overall, this was a pretty good week – wouldn’t you?  Those of you who were there when this stuff was piping through the radio – I’d love to hear from you.  See you next week for another CHART ATTACK!

Update Yo’ Feeds

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

If you receive updates on this site via RSS, I thought now would be a good time to let you know that I’m using some new feeds.  The old feed is still active, but won’t be for long (and think of all the crappy music you’ll miss) – so please update your RSS reader or whatever.

JasonHare.com entries feed: 

http://feeds.feedburner.com/Jasonharecom

JasonHare.com comments feed:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/CommentsForJasonharecom

Thanks!

Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold 45

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Well, howdy again, folks, and welcome back to another not-so-exciting wusspedition!  (I just made that word up!)  Today’s another one of my favorites from the early ’80s!

America – You Can Do Magic (download)

America has received the Mellow Gold treatment here before: who can forget good old MG #38 and the
The Sixth Day Of Mellowmas?  So while I don’t have to supply you with any history on the two main men of America – Gerry Buckley and Dewey Bunnell – I do maintain that "You Can Do Magic" deserves its own entry.  There are various reasons why, and they’re apparent from the minute the song begins.  Take a listen, won’t you?  Those wimpy drums, reminiscent of Robbie Dupree’s "Steal Away," let us know exactly what what’s in store: gentle, gentle rocking.  I mean, you can’t actually have a real rocker if Gerry Buckley’s going to sing.  His enunciation and vocal quality just screams whispers "I’m meek!"  And take a listen to those smooth harmonies!  The piano!  The triangle!  The frickin’ triangle, ferchrissakes!  It’s weak.  Weeeeeaaaak.

And yet, "You Can Do Magic" is the most daring single ever released by America.  Why?  Because of its harsh language, of course.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’s the second part of the chorus.  That one line that pierces through all of us, thanks to the filthy, filthy mouth of Gerry Buckley.

You know darn well when you cast your spell

A few months ago, I was having dinner with a bunch of relatives.  My aunt was telling me that she enjoys reading my website, but every once in a while, covers her eyes and says to herself "that can’t be my Jason writing that."  She’s talking about those moments where I’m all fuck this, fuck that, fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck.  So what I’m wondering is: who in America has an aunt that made them feel guilty?  Because that’s what I want to believe.  I want to believe that the first version of this song went something like "you know muthafuckin’ well when you cast your spell, beeyotch," but they changed it due to external circumstances.  Because what I’m really afraid of is that the conversation went more like this, in yet another segment of Mellow Gold Theatre:

1982.  Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California.  In the room:  Gerry Buckley, Dewey Bunnell, and some other guys in the band that nobody gives a shit about.  The band is in the middle of a heated discussion about how to make America relevant again.

Beckley:  You guys, it’s 1982!  Times are changing!  We haven’t had a single since our lame cover of "California Dreamin’" three years ago!  If we want to keep up with the times, we need to be different!  Edgy!  Daring!

Bunnell:  Well, Gerry, what do you suggest, exactly?

Beckley:  I suggest we say a naughty word.

Stunned silence from all parties.

Beckley:  I’m serious.  What if we say…."darn?"

Bunnell, with tears in his eyes, storms out of the room.

Twenty minutes go by.  The rest of the band sits there.  The audacious suggestion hangs in the air.

Finally, Bunnell re-enters the studio.

Bunnell:  I say we do it.

Beckley:  Dewey!  But…are you sure?

Bunnell:  Darn sure, Gerry.

Other d-bags in band:  Yaaaayyyy!

The duo hug and kiss on the lips.  All is well in America.

- FIN -

Of course, this never happened.  (Shocked, aren’t you?)  In reality, "You Can Do Magic" was written by Russ Ballard, former leader of Argent (he left before "Hold Your Head Up") and writer of songs such as "God Gave Rock And Roll To You" and Rainbow’s totally awesome "Since You’ve Been Gone."  He also wrote and performed on some Roger Daltrey solo albums, but won’t admit to it even if you put a gun to his head.  Anyway, here’s how it all went down:  America manager Jim Morey was well aware that the band was fading fast; their last album, Alibi, was their third American hitless release, and peaked at #142.  Morey contacted Ballard, who had written a song for Alibi, and asked him for a few more, since clearly Beckley and Bunnell weren’t cuttin’ it.  Ballard gave the band a song called "Jody," and this one.  The duo heard the demo and knew instantly it was perfect for the group.  As Bunnell said, "
There wasn’t a doubt in our minds that that was the single, and if that didn’t make it, then something was really wrong."

Ballard flew over to Abbey Road Studios in London, recorded the entirety of the track on his own, then brought Beckley and Bunnell over to sing.  That’s right:  for a period in the early ’80s, America became The Monkees.  But no matter:  Ballard had written the song exactly in the style of America, right down to the guitar sound and the full harmonies. 

I do think he could have done a little bit better with the lyrics, though.  I don’t know why, but I almost always tune out the words whenever I hear this song.  Seriously, I hear the words "doubt," "darn," "well," "spell," "hypnotize," "eyes," and that’s it.  In fact that last line of the chorus always eluded me:  "A heart of stone can turn to…" what?  Gay?  Taint?  I swear I have never been able to make out this word.  Turns out it’s "clay."  Looking at the lyrics, I realize Ballard had to rhyme with the word "way," but seriously, the heart turns to clay?  CLAY?  Whose heart turns to clay, Russ?  Really?  Why not just break the rhyme?  How about "dust?"  Or "dirt?"  Or "shit?"  (Sing that last one to yourself.)

Regardless of the lyrics, "You Can Do Magic" gave the band the comeback they so desperately needed:  in October of ’82, the song reached #8 on the charts, making it their first Top 10 since "Sister Golden Hair."  And although the accompanying album View From The Ground didn’t crack the Top 40 (#41…d’oh!), the band still had a certified hit on their hands.  They even filmed a video – and you know it’s gonna be good when, in retrospect, Bunnell says "we missed the boat on videos."

Look at this!  Four fucking freaking guitarists in the video, and not one person on a piano.  I don’t know what I love more: the adorable collection of pastel shirts, the drummer who clearly lost a drumstick up his butt somewhere, Beckley’s glasses that, once again, threaten to swallow his face whole, Bunnell’s stripey shirt and the way he bounces up and down, and…wait a minute, that totally looks like me!  Except for the facial hair, which I can’t grow!  I love the early-’80s production values as well: the random cuts to "magic hands," the fact that they’re playing on some sort of cloud, and the lead guitarist is ripping that riff so damn hard that smoke is appearing by his feet…let’s face it, it’s perfect.  And by perfect, I mean horrible.

I kid, though.  I love "You Can Do Magic."  Against all odds, it does somehow rock a little, and you really can’t go wrong with those terrific America harmonies.  So forget about the fact that Buckley and Bunnell were clearly just Ballard’s puppets: the song gave them another well-deserved shot at success.  And isn’t Mellow Gold better when it has a happy ending?  (Of course not, but I have to end this entry somehow.)

See you next week for more wussy music!

CHART ATTACK! #45: 8/25/84

Friday, August 24th, 2007

1984, you never fail to disappoint me.  Here are the songs topping the charts on August 25, 1984!

10.  If Ever You’re In My Arms Again – Peabo Bryson  Amazon iTunes
9.  She Bop – Cyndi Lauper  Amazon iTunes
8.  Sunglasses At Night – Corey Hart  Amazon iTunes
7.  State Of Shock – Jacksons  Amazon iTunes
6.  I Can Dream About You – Dan Hartman  Amazon iTunes
5.  Missing You – John Waite  Amazon iTunes
4.  When Doves Cry – Prince  Amazon iTunes
3.  Stuck On You – Lionel Richie  Amazon iTunes
2.  What’s Love Got To Do With it – Tina Turner  Amazon iTunes
1.  Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr.  Amazon iTunes

10.  If Ever You’re In My Arms Again – Peabo Bryson

Something about Peabo Bryson makes me really happy.  I don’t know if it’s just the fact that his name is Peabo.  I kind of want to name my first child Peabo.  Peabo Hare.  It has a nice ring to it.  (Actually, it has a horrible ring to it, but so do most names that precede the last name Hare, and yes, no matter what you’re thinking, I’ve heard it.)  It may also be the fact that his voice is smooth as silk.  Peabo doesn’t get enough respect.  Sure, he’s had a ridiculous amount of hits on the R&B charts, but "If Ever You’re In My Arms Again" is the only Peabo solo song to make a dent in the Top 40.  (Every other Peabo song to reach the Top 40 has been a duet.) 

I hope my wife never gets wise and drops me (although the chances are increased exponentially if I insist on naming our child "Peabo"), but if she does, I’m pretty sure I’ll wind up huddled in the fetal position in the corner, weeping and singing this song to myself.  Which actually seems oddly comforting so long as I have Peabo to keep me warm.

Here’s a YouTube slideshow set to this song.  I was having a hard time finding anything on YouTube, actually, until, on a whim, I changed "you’re" to "your."  Bingo!

Jess, can I at least name our next pet Peabo?  Or rename one of the cats?  Or can I call you Peabo?

I love you, Peabo. 

9.  She Bop – Cyndi Lauper

Yes, blah blah blah, female masturbation, blah blah blah.  This song had some staying power (sorry, I couldn’t help it): we covered it back in our very first CHART ATTACK!, which looked at a chart from late September.  Maybe I should have chosen a different chart for this week.  Oh well, too late to turn back now.  Anyway, Lauper was intentionally vague in her lyrics for a couple of reasons: one, so the song could get airplay, and two, so kids could listen to it and think it was about dancing.  Well, as I mentioned, I was seven when I heard this song and I didn’t think it was about dancing.  And when I got older, I didn’t think it was about masturbating, either.  I didn’t think either of these things because I’ve never bothered to listen to the lyrics.  And I’m not about to start now.

Anyhoo, "She Bop" was declared obscene by the PMRC (remember the PMRC?) and rounded out their "Filthy Fifteen" list of dirty songs.  (#1?  "If Ever You’re In My Arms Again.")

8.  Sunglasses At Night – Corey Hart (download)

Is it just me, or is that opening synth part something of a rip-off from "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)?"  According to Wikipedia, the original idea for "Sunglasses" was for it to reflect "a totalitarian society that made everyone wear their sunglasses at night."  Such lofty ideas are not suited for hunks like you, Corey.  I like Corey.  Here are some words that rhyme with Corey:  Gory. Story. Allegory. Montessori.

I know you’ll all be shocked and amazed, but Hart re-did his vocal in 2002 for…wait for it…"Sunglasses At Night 2002."  You can hear a snippet at his website, but I wouldn’t bother if I were you: it’s 30 seconds, and it sucks.  However, Hart seems to be pretty well-grounded about his success and his place in history.  Here’s his stream-of-consciousness piece on his site:

I wrote and recorded "Sunglasses at Night" in the summer of 1983…I just turned 21…I was working in what was at the time my musical mecca, England. Eric Clapton had just played dobro guitar on one of my songs and I was hanging out at Pete Townsend’s house chatting with him about the best London studio rooms and his favorite vocal mic pre-amps…cool…Heady times for a kid from Montreal with a dream ……So "Sunglasses at Night" was my first ever single from my debut album "First Offense"…It was a last minute addition to the disc…After it was released in November 1983, my life and the world around me changed forever.A major hit song was born, International success…cool….Was it the melody? or the lyric? Was it the video driven imaging? Luck of the draw or simply the sound of the times?…I suppose it was all of the above and none at all….From Bob Hope to Wyclef Jean the song struck a chord and understanding this alchemy remains mystery to us all…

Okay, points off for misspelling Pete Townshend, but I like the rest of it.  Can someone tell me what Bob Hope has to do with it, though?

One more thing.  I know this is all much ado about nothing, but does that guitar riff in the chorus sound familiar to anyone else?

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Behold:  Corey Hart, in all his pouty-lipped glory!

When I was a kid, I thought that Corey Hart was Han Solo after being unfrozen from carbonite.

7.  State Of Shock – Jacksons

"State of Shock" was the biggest single from The Jacksons’ Victory album, reaching #3, and the group’s last hit to reach the Top 10 – not surprising since Michael left the group shortly after "The Victory Tour," which was strolling through towns this summer in 1984.  As you probably know, "State of Shock" was a duet between Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger – and then, a year later, a duet between Jagger and Tina Turner at Live Aid.  However, didja know that the song was originally recorded by Jackson and Freddie Mercury?

It was rumored that Jackson (who owns the rights) was planning on releasing the track back in 2002, but it still hasn’t officially seen the light of day.

Michael Jackson & Freddie Mercury – State Of Shock (demo) (download)


6.  I Can Dream About You – Dan Hartman

How can you not love "I Can Dream About You?"  It starts with that great drum track (where I’m thisclose to singing Sheena Easton’s "Strut"), and doesn’t do any of this "we’ll do two verses before we reward you with our kick-ass chorus" bullshit.  There are three (three!) phrases before Hartman wisely jumps straight to the chorus!  40 seconds don’t even go by!  That’s what I’m talkin’ about!  Everybody should do this! 

What else do I love about this song?  Well, I love that nifty little guitar riff over that chorus.  I love that the lead vocal is doubled an octave lower.  I love the blue-eyed soul backing vocals.  I’m willing to bet that tons of people thought this was a Hall & Oates song.  And Hall & Oates actually did cover it, except it was an absolutely terrible cover (I refuse to even link to it).  However, all you ever cared to know about Dan Hartman can be found over at Ye Olde Jefitoblog, where Jeff covered the entire album a year ago this week!  (I asked Jeff to update the YouTube link, but he refuses to do anything for you if you’re coming to his site from mine.  I think he’s jealous.)

I should also mention that the always-awesome Retro Remixes is currently offering four versions of "I Can Dream About You."  A few of ‘em have some skips, but still – like, totally awesome!

5.  Missing You – John Waite

Missing you!

Missing you!

Missing you!

Missing you!

(You’ll forgive me if I leave it at that.)

4.  When Doves Cry – Prince

There’s really nothing to say about "When Doves Cry" that hasn’t been said before. except when I was a kid, I thought the lyrics were: "maybe I’m just like my father, too cold" and "this is what it sounds like when she does cry."  Because why, as a kid, would I think he was fucking talking about doves?

My favorite thing about the song is not the fact that it manages to be incredibly funky without a single bass note, but its opening guitar riff and closing classically-influenced synth riff which, unfortunately, tends to be missing from the radio edit.  A song like this deserves better than a fade-out.

Mike and I performed this at our first Acoustic ’80s gig.  It fell flat on its face.  I also asked the crowd what it looked like for an animal to strike a curious pose, and if it looked anything like the look on my dog’s face when someone passes gas near him.  That joke also fell flat on its face.  We don’t perform "When Doves Cry" anymore.  But you know who does?  Barenaked Ladies.  They’ve been doing a quiet, classy version of it for years.  Here’s the best version I can find, taken from the Andrew Denton Breakfast Show, a popular Australian radio program.  (If anybody has the Denton CDs and wants to hook a brotha up, let me know.)  I’m not a big fan of the keyboards, but will deal with ‘em just to hear Jim Creeggan on bass.

Barenaked Ladies – When Doves Cry (live) (download)

3.  Stuck On You – Lionel Richie (download)

Remember that episode of CMT Crossroads with Lionel and Kenny Rogers that I really, really love?  (I’ve mentioned it at least five times on here.)  Well, Lionel shared an anecdote before he played this song.  He recounted a tale of a trip he took down by his hometown of Tuskegee, Alabama (response from Kenny: "you live in Beverly Hills.") and took a break at a truck stop.  A trucker approached him, and told him how he really loved his song about "three times a woman" (laughter from audience) and said to him, "I have a woman too.  And you know, Lionel, I’m stuck on that woman."  And Lionel then knew what he had to do.  He went home and wrote "Stuck On You."

I recount this story because it’s the biggest pile of bullshit I’ve ever heard.  No way did this happen.  But it is a good lead-in for the song.  Just like when I saw him in concert and he said, "we’re going to party all night long!" and then played "Penny Lover."  (I’m totally kidding!  He played "All Night Long!")

Still, it’s hard to criticize Lionel when he’s playing live.  For example, here’s a live performance of "Stuck On You."  It’s on an untuned piano, and it still sounds awesome.  I love Lionel Richie.  Can’t help it.

2.  What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner

I’m sure there are others, but at the moment, I can’t think of many artists who deserved a comeback more than Tina Turner.  It’s one of the biggest comebacks ever, and certainly the biggest of 1984.  It also almost didn’t happen.  Turner had just signed with Capitol Records.  Her manager, Roger Davies, presented her with a demo of this song, written by Terry Britten (one of her producers) and Graham Lyle.  Turner despised it, but Britten assured her that he’d change the arrangement to better suit her voice and style.  Davies convinced her to record it.  "What’s Love Got To Do With It" remains Turner’s only #1 single, and also set the record for longest gap between chart debut (with Ike) and #1 – 24 years, usurping poor old Robert John.  There are claims that the gap was 24 years to the exact week, but I’m calling bullshit on that one: "What’s Love" hit #1 on June 23, 1984, but as far as I can tell, her first single with Ike, "A Fool In Love," entered the charts on August 29, 1960.  I’m such a nerd.  It’s close enough, I guess.

By the way, back in CHART ATTACK! #1, I called the harmonica solo a "Korgmonica" solo.  Oh, how cute I was before I did research that nobody cared about!  The harmonica sound is actually from a Yamaha DX-7.

1.  Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr.

In an interview with USA Today, Parker said that the hardest thing about writing "Ghostbusters" was rhyming the actual word.  "I figured the best thing to do was to have somebody shout, ‘Ghostbusters!’  In order for that to work, I had to have something come before or after it.  That’s when I came up with the line, ‘Who you gonna call?’"

Funny.  All this time, I thought the hardest thing about writing "Ghostbusters" was trying not to make it look like he blatantly ripped off "I Want A New Drug."  Or maybe the hardest thing was keeping the out-of-court settlement to Huey Lewis & The News quiet.  Or maybe it was his countersuit after Lewis revealed that Parker paid them off in an episode of Behind The Music.  It’s so hard to keep track! 

More on Parker’s "Ghostbusters" recording here.  I’ll just reproduce one part – my favorite part:

And who was the lively chorus shouting out “Ghostbusters!” with such gusto? Parker laughs: “I was 28 years old and I was dating this young girl — 17 years old — and I told her my idea and she quickly got a bunch of her high school friends to come by and yell on it. They were genuinely excited to be in there recording, and that was exactly what the track needed.”

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be ending on this note.  Have a great week and see you next time for another CHART ATTACK!

Petra Does Journey!

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

My Old Kentucky Blog has the story on the new Guilt By Association compilation coming out September 4th – it’s a bunch of indie artists covering "guilty pleasures" (and by the way, Stephen King has an interesting article in EW about the notion of "guilty pleasures" being a meangingless term).  I care very little about any of these artists, but I do love me some Petra Haden.  Here, she covers Journey’s "Don’t Stop Believin’."  I imagine Mike’s brain is exploding right now, as he likes Petra but hates Journey. 

MOKB has the mp3.  Check it out.  Needless to say, if you like Petra’s other stuff, this will be right up your alley.  It’s not for everybody, but I think she does a great job.  She’s a fearless artist.  I’m biased, though: she covered the entirety of The Who Sell Out.