Archive for October, 2007

Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold 47

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

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I know, I know: where the hell have I been? Where the hell is your Mellow fix? I understand your pain, and I thank you for your continued patience as I try to see if there’s life beyond crappy music. But we have a MELLOW RED ALERT on our hands, people, and I need to bring it to your attention, like, yesterday.

Eagles – I Don’t Want To Hear Anymore (download)

That’s right! Mellow Gold, 2007 style! And grab this one quick, ’cause Irving Azoff is going to be banging on my door in about twenty seconds. This one comes from the brand-spankin’-new release, Long Road Out Of Firing Don Felder Eden. I don’t even have the album yet – we don’t believe in Wal-Mart in New York City – but at 6:45 this morning, my main man Jeff contacted me and insisted that I hear this track as soon as possible. And I knew he was onto something, because as I listened, my wife called out from the other room.

“Is this Mellow Gold?”

“Yes, how did you know?”

“Because it sucks.”

So quick! Download! And if anybody asks, you got this file from Jeff. You hear that, Irving? So don’t shut me down. Shut Jefitoblog down…oh.

So, unsurprisingly, this little ditty is sung by Timothy B. Schmit. What, were you expecting Joe Walsh? Schmit is, and always has been, The Boy Who Cried Mellow Gold. (Or, as Jeff has pointed out, “he’s the boy who cries everything.”)

Here’s a Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Wuss, back in the early ’70s.

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And here he is today. From behind, he still looks the same – girly – but from the front, time has been a vicious vacuum cleaner, sucking out much of his face.

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“Trick or treat!”

Still, his voice has remained virtually unchanged. He’s still singing those high Eagles harmonies, and on the off-chance that the other guys let him sing a song by himself, he still embodies all the sensitive, feminine qualities we’ve grown to love. In fact, we owe Timothy a debt of gratitude, people. Think of his time in Poco. Think of his gentle vocals on “I Can’t Tell You Why.” Think of his attempt to resurrect the MG genre with “Love Will Keep Us Alive” from Hell Freezes Over. Is Timothy B. Schmit the only one who’s keeping the true spirit of Mellow Gold alive and well in 2007? Has Stephen Bishop contacted him about a duet? Do we have any solid assurance that he’s not going to cut his girly mane, and if not, can we get said assurance?

So have you listened to this song yet? Before we start,you should know who wrote this gem: Paul Carrack. And if you don’t know how far back Paul’s mellow roots extend, remember Mellow Gold #5, where we featured Carrack’s vocal on “How Long” by Ace (sadly, not the same “How Long” included on Long Road Out Of Eden). Carrack also had a hand in writing “Love Will Keep Us Alive” (with the late Jim Capaldi, no less). I had no idea Paul could be so wimpy. Oh well, the guy’s rich beyond his wildest dreams by this point, and may very well have another hit with this one.

Let’s start with the lame, audible count-off. Is that Don Henley? It doesn’t sound like Don Henley to me. I feel like Don Henley would have demanded his vocal be higher in the mix. Anyway, the drums are followed by some tasteful guitar licks and…synthesized strings? Really? Guys! You’re THE EAGLES! You can afford real strings! Don Henley has a string quartet permanently installed in his bedroom that wakes him in lieu of an alarm clock! (This makes those late-night necking sessions with Stevie Nicks really uncomfortable.) Why they bothered with this synth sound, I’ll never know.

The song continues with gentle acoustic guitar, peppered by a few “One Of These Nights”-esque electric guitar stabs, and of course, lots of organ. And when Timothy B. Schmit opens his decrepit mouth to sing, it’s mellow heaven.

It’s not the first time
That I’ve had the sense that something’s wrong

My god. It’s like 1980 all over again.

But I’m old enough to know

You can say that again!

That things don’t always work out like they should
I know you’re tryin’ hard
To break it gently to me, now
But there’s no easy way
To tell it like it is, so baby…

Are you ready for the chorus?

I don’t want to hear any more
You don’t need to tell me it’s over
I’ve been here before

It gets better. I’m not going to present all the lyrics, but here are some of my favorites.

Before you take my hand
And tell me softly in a whisper
There’s no need to explain
I’ve read the book; I know how this all ends

“Before you take my hand and tell me softly in a whisper.” I’m not sure if a Mellower lyric has ever been written. I mean, Carrack could have just said “tell me softly.” But adding “in a whisper” just increases the wuss levels to new heights. Hold on. I’m getting up from my computer and giving Paul Carrack a standing ovation. It’s well deserved.

I haven’t even reached the best part yet.

I won’t ask you to stay
I won’t stand in your way
Look me right in the eyes
Let me walk away with my head high

Too late!

If there’s some other guy
I don’t need to know why

I feel like doing a little mellow dance of joy. Awesome. “I know you’re dumping me like the wrinkled old lukewarm potato I am, but I’m not going to fight or attempt to win you back. I won’t get pissed off and slash your tires, either. I’ll just…you know…eat my oatmeal and let you go.” And what’s up with the logic here? “Let me walk away with my head high?” How so? That doesn’t even make sense! And you just know the other guy she’s banging is Joe Walsh.

This brings wussitude to a brand-new level. When the most the man will do is stick his fingers in his ears and go “LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU,” you know you’ve got the mellowest of the mellow.

So remember when I expressed my skepticism about Henley counting off the song? I’ll go a step further: I’m willing to bet there are minimal amounts of actual Eagles on this song. For starters, have you noticed that, just like “Love Will Keep Us Alive,” the backing vocals are completely nondescript? At least two of those voices belong to Schmit. Hmmm. I wonder how this went down? Looks like it’s time for another segment of…

Mellow Gold Theatre
- Eagles Edition –

Carrack: This may very well be the wimpiest song I’ve ever written. I can’t even sing these lyrics with a straight face. But I know someone who can, and who could bring me a lot of money doing so…(strokes hairless cat)

Schmit arrives at the door.

Carrack: AAAAGHH!! Take my money. Take anything you want. Just don’t eat my soul!!!

Schmit: Paul, it’s me. Timothy B. Schmit.

Carrack: Oh. (exhales) I thought you were the Cryptkeeper.

Schmit: Paul, do you have any new songs for me? I need to get one on the new album. Nobody respects me. They don’t even listen to me. And if I get one more noogie from Glen, I’m quitting.

Carrack: Fear not, my sensitive friend! I’ve got a song that’s right up your alley.

Carrack plays him the song.

Schmit: (sniff) It’s beautiful. The guys will love it. Can I have a Kleenex?

Carrack: Hang on, I’m buying a second boat.

The next day, back at the Eagles ranch:

Schmit: Guys! Guess what!

Frey: C’mere, you! (Jumps off of couch, starts chasing Schmit around the room)

Schmit: No! Stop! (starts crying)

Henley (gazing at visage in mirror): See what you did, Glen? He’s weeping again.

Schmit: Guys! (sniff) I just wanted to play you this song. I think it’d sound great on the new album.

Schmit plays the band “I Don’t Want To Hear Anymore.”

Henley: I agree. I don’t want to hear anymore. (Goes back to mirror)

Frey: C’mere, you! (jumps up again, chases Schmit into a corner)

Schmit: Wait, guys! Listen! Remember “Love Will Keep Us Alive?” It was our first #1 AC single, and the best-seller from Hell Freezes Over.

Henley: He’s got a point, Glen. Hello, Lite-FM money! We’ll do it!

Frey, mouth full of Doritos: C’mere, you! (Punches Schmit in gut)
-FIN-

Yeah, this is definitely how it went down. The Eagles then outsourced the song to session musicians in India, and are currently sitting back, just waiting to reap the benefits. I guarantee you that if this song is released as a single, it’s going to at least the Top 5 of the Adult Contemporary charts. It’s everything we could possibly want in a modern Mellow Gold song. I feel like less of a man already. It’s a classic.

See you next time for another Adventure Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold!

Webster Does Loggins

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I was going to just post this as a link in the corner of the site, but it needs a bit more attention. I was transfixed.

CHART ATTACK! #48: 10/8/77

Friday, October 5th, 2007

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You see? You see? I told you I wasn’t gone forever! Well, if I’m going to make you wait a couple of weeks for a new Friday post, I might as well give you what you want and head back to the ’70s. (I hope to eventually make you regret this.) Let’s get right to attacking October 8, 1977!

10. I Just Want To Be Your Everything – Andy Gibb Amazon iTunes
9. Brick House – Commodores Amazon iTunes
8. Cold As Ice – Foreigner Amazon iTunes
7. Boogie Nights – Heatwave Amazon iTunes
6. Best Of My Love – Emotions Amazon iTunes
5. That’s Rock ‘N’ Roll – Shaun Cassidy Amazon iTunes
4. Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon Amazon iTunes
3. You Light Up My Life – Debby Boone Amazon iTunes
2. Keep It Comin’ Love – KC & The Sunshine Band Amazon iTunes
1. Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band – Meco Amazon iTunes

10. I Just Want To Be Your Everything – Andy Gibb

I reiterate what I said previously: screw Andy Gibb. I mean, did this guy do anything without Barry’s help? This is a freaking Bee Gees song. Just like “Shadow Dancing,” “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water” and the rest of his nine hits to make the Top 40. Actually, that’s not completely fair; I think he had a hand in writing maybe two of them. But I still say screw Andy Gibb for using Barry’s songs to buy more cocaine. I’ve tried to think of at least one thing that Andy has over Barry, but all I could come up with is that I don’t think the Bee Gees ever appeared on a television special with ABBA and Olivia Newton-John.

Right? Aren’t you having a hard time figuring out whether it’s awful or awesome?

9. Brick House – Commodores

Now we’re talking! Yes! I don’t know what I can say about the awesomeness of “Brick House” – one of those songs that, for me, will never be overplayed – except that Songfacts has some interesting facts about the tune, including the one that’s included on a million hit songs: the “this was the last song written for the album, we swear we weren’t even going to put it on there” line. (Although if William King’s wife really did write the lyrics and leave them on his chest while he was sleeping, like some kind of Funk Santa Claus, that’s awesome.)

This song has been featured on a million soundtracks, and although my life was forever changed (and not for the better) when I heard the Muppets sing it during Muppets From Space, I think the most interesting use of the song would be the collaboration between Rob Zombie, Trina (?) and Lionel Richie on the soundtrack for Zombie’s House Of 1000 Corpses. Here it is. You’re welcome.

Rob Zombie, Lionel Richie and Trina – Brick House 2003 (download)

I can’t exactly figure out why Richie agreed to this (especially since he wasn’t the lead singer – or writer of the song), but it’s actually not that bad. I wouldn’t listen to it at work, though. Quite a few orgasm sounds. Aunt Mary, if you’re reading this, don’t download this song. There are orgasm sounds.

8. Cold As Ice – Foreigner

It’s hard to argue with early Foreigner, especially when their first album yielded kick-ass rock singles like this one, “Feels Like The First Time” and “Long, Long Way From Home.” They still had another 7 years of rocking before they fully grew breasts. Some people take longer to develop than others.

Here’s a great performance from 1981, back before Lou Gramm ate the other members of the band. I wish I could sing like this. Then I could be a rock star, instead of ripping on rock stars on some stupid website.

7. Boogie Nights – HeatwaveWow. I have never heard this song before. Ever. I don’t know how that happened. In fact, of the three Top 40 hits by Heatwave, the only one I know is “Always And Forever,” which didn’t do as well as “Boogie Nights” or “The Groove Line” (which I also had never heard before today). In any case, back to this song. I kind of love it. Funky, with a rock twist, with some great vocals all around. “Boogie Nights” was the group’s first single, and its highest charting.

The most interesting thing I can think to tell you about Heatwave right now is that Rod Temperton was one of the keyboardists. Rod either wrote or co-wrote a string of awesome songs for Michael Jackson, including “Rock With You,” “Thriller” and “Baby Be Mine” (one of the best off of Thriller, and totally underrated). Oh, he also had a hand in writing “Yah Mo Be There,” “Sweet Freedom,” and “Baby Come To Me,” which wasn’t McD but just as easily could have been McD. And here’s the most surprising thing about Rod Temperton.

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WHITE!

6. Best Of My Love – Emotions (download)

Is it possible to hear this song without booty shaking? Especially that fantastic opening? Love this song. I especially loved its prominence in the opening scene of Boogie Nights. Emotions originally consisted of Hutchinson sisters Jeanette, Wanda and Sheila, and the group had a number of R&B hits (as well as a few minor Hot 100 hits) starting in the late ’60s. However, it wasn’t until they teamed up with Earth, Wind & Fire frontman Maurice White that their career took off: White co-wrote and produced “Best Of My Love,” which spent five weeks at the top of the charts. They never replicated their 1977 success, although they came close in their credited collaboration with EWF, “Boogie Wonderland,” in 1979. Jeanette eventually left the group, having had a baby with, um, Philip Bailey of EWF (cue “Easy Lover” joke), but another Hutchinson sister, Pamela, replaced her. Emotions are still around, performing occasionally, and I’m imagining they’re probably pretty pissed that these guys got their domain name.

You know who loves Emotions? Mariah Carey. Her song “Dreamlover” samples one of their early hits (“Blind Alley”) and you can hear “Best Of My Love” all over her appropriately-titled, um, “Emotions.”

5. That’s Rock ‘N’ Roll – Shaun Cassidy

Who the hell elected somebody from the Cassidy family to tell us anything about rock n’ roll? This is bullshit. I hate this song. Hate the drums, hate the cheesy piano, hate the Brady Bunch-esque backing vocals. Hate the fact that he stole this song and “Hey Deanie” from Eric Carmen and made them into hits, while poor Eric Carmen was sitting around without a hit until “Hungry Eyes.” I do like one thing about this song: it’s under three minutes long.

Screw Shaun Cassidy. Screw him and Andy Gibb. Long live Rod Temperton. Here’s a YouTube of the song if you haven’t heard it. Everybody scream!


4. Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon

Of course, this was the theme song to the Bond flick The Spy That Loved Me, and was the first of the Bond songs to feature a different title than the movie. I have to admit that I’ve never seen the majority of the Bond movies (you don’t have to lecture me, Jessica does it all the time), so I’m pretty sure my first exposure to this song was via a commercial. (Hangs head.)

I imagine it was pretty uncool to like this song from, oh, about 1985 until 1995, when Radiohead covered it. I can’t be certain, but this very well may be the first time a rock band has covered anything by Marvin Hamlisch.

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3. You Light Up My Life – Debby Boone

This song was everywhere for quite a few months. The week after this one, it reached #1, where it remained until Christmas Eve, when the Bee Gees (not Andy, screw that guy) took over. “You Light Up My Life” spent 10 weeks at the top, which at the time was quite a feat: only Elvis was in front of her, with an 11-week streak. The song won boatloads of awards: a Grammy and Oscar for Best Song (awarded to the song’s composer, Joseph Brooks), and a Best New Artist Grammy for Boone. The song was written for the movie of the same name, also directed by Brooks, which received horrible reviews. Thankfully for Boone, however, her version wasn’t featured in the movie. The movie version was sung by Kacey Cisyk. Poor Kacey. Her version peaked at #80 and was credited to “Original Cast.” She didn’t deserve that kind of treatment. Andy Gibb did, but not her.

What say you, Chart Attackers? Will anyone admit to liking this song? It wound up being the #1 song of the entire decade, but I have yet to hear anybody say anything positive about it. Even Brooks was a bit pissed about this version, seeing as Boone came out and told everyone that the “you” in the song was, for her, God. I was reading the Songfacts entry for this song, and came across this fantastic bit:

A man I know has been a DJ for about thirty years. He says that this is the one and only song that nobody ever requests. This song is like Nazism in Germany: It swept the country for a time, but afterward no one would ever admit to having anything to do with it.

Daaaaaamn. Harsh. And yet all I can do is wish I had written it first.

2. Keep It Comin’ Love – KC & The Sunshine Band

“I’m Your Boogie Man” is “Shake, Shake, Shake (Shake Your Booty)” is “Keep It Comin’ Love” is “Get Down Tonight” is…you get the point. In fact, the only popular KC song that sounds different than the others is “Please Don’t Go,” and as we pointed out back in December, that song sucks.

(That above paragraph is taken from Chart Attack! #32. I just blatantly copied what worked last time and decided to pass it off as something new. Seemed appropriate.)

1. Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band – Meco (download)

Okay, I’ll come clean: this is really the only reason I picked this chart for this week. And why the hell not? This song combines two of the biggest events of the year, other than the day of my birth: disco and Star Wars. Two great tastes that…well, maybe I shouldn’t finish that sentence.

Let’s talk about Meco for a bit, though, because I highly doubt we’ll be talking about him on here again. Born Dominic Monardo but nicknamed Meco by, I don’t know, people, grew up playing the trombone like his dear ol’ dad, but like all trombonists, felt the need to give the ol’ middle finger to the world and follow his own path. Like the path of disco. Meco had his first taste of success with his co-production of Gloria Gaynor’s “Never Can Say Goodbye,” co-produced by Tony Bongiovi. (Yes. Jon Bon Jovi is his second cousin. Moving on.) His life was changed when Star Wars was released. According to The MECO Fan Page, Meco “alledges (sic) to have seen it four times more on the second day and more through the weekend.” I include this quote because I love that even the MECO Fan Page thinks Meco is full of shit.

Meco had this great idea for a Star Wars disco medley, and although Neil Bogart at Casablanca Records originally told him to suck it, the Star Wars grosses $omehow per$uaded him to change hi$ mind. “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” was released on the most awesomest album title ever, Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk.

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While we’re on the subject of awesomeness, here’s a picture of Meco.

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Kinda gives Hamlisch a run for his money, huh? All he needs is a weird lollipop on his lapel.

Anyway, “Star Wars/Cantina Theme” was a ridiculous success. Lounge lizards and unemployed dweebs couldn’t get enough of it. According to Wiki, and you should know right now that I am too lazy to fact-check this, the song is the biggest-selling instrumental single in the history of recorded music, as well as the only instrumental single ever to go platinum. How this beat out “Rise,” I’ll never know.

Meco went on to record disco versions of other scores, such as the themes from The Wizard Of Oz, Superman, and Star Trek. In 1982 he co-produced Kenny G’s debut solo album, and this is why Meco just beat out Andy Gibb for this week’s CHART ATTACK! D-Bag.

Enjoy this version of “Star Wars/Cantina Theme” (that’s an order, people!) and for you really crazy enthusiasts, I offer you the 12″ Disco Mix, clocking in at damn near sixteen minutes. It’s 14.5 MB, so everybody download one at a time. Thanks!

Meco – Star Wars/Cantina Theme (12″ Disco Mix) (download)

And that’ll do it for this week! Hey, thanks for sticking around. Slowing down the site a little bit allows me to spend more time on these songs. Jury’s still out on whether that’s a good thing. See you again soon for another edition of CHART ATTACK!