Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – I Second That Emotion

Smokey has one of the best voices ever and he can write like no one else. Everyone from John Lennon to Bob Dylan was a fan. I had the single “Tears of a Clown” given to me as a kid by my cousin along with this one.

This song peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100 in 1967.

Al Cleveland and Smokey Robinson wrote this song. It was inspired by a trip to a department store. Robinson and Cleveland were shopping at a Detroit department store. Smokey found a set of pearls for his wife, Claudette. “They’re beautiful,” he said to the salesperson. “I sure hope she likes them.” Cleveland then added, “I second that emotion.” and the song was born.

From Songfacts

“I second that motion” is a common phrase heard at meetings in America where policy is being determined. It’s what Motown producer Al Cleveland meant to say when he was on a shopping trip with Smokey Robinson.

Robinson and Cleveland produced the song, and it was released in October 1968, entering the US Top 40 in December, about a year after it was written. The song was also a #1 R&B hit.

This was the first Top 10 hit for the group after their 1967 name change from The Miracles. Robinson and Cleveland teamed up to write several more hits for the group, including “Special Occasion” (#26 US, 1968), “Yester Love” (#31 US, 1968), and “Baby, Baby Don’t Cry” (#8 US, 1969).

Robinson and Cleveland wrote a third verse for this song, which pushed the length to 3:15. Acutely aware that songs longer than 3 minutes were often denied airplay, Motown head Berry Gordy had them eliminate the verse and bring the song down to 2:38, which was much more palatable for radio programmers. Robinson was OK with altering the song, as he had tremendous respect for Gordy’s judgment and wanted the song to be a hit. He felt that he could tell a story in a song in whatever time he was allotted – even under 3 minutes.

In songwriting circles, this one is often studied for its use of secondary rhymes and melodic intricacy. Smokey Robinson sprinkled in words like “notion” and “devotion” to compliment the title, all while rhyming verses with phrases like “kisses sweet” and “no repeat.” The guitar line also perfectly accents the vocal. Robinson credits Berry Gordy for his songwriting evolution. Gordy was a songwriter before he started Motown (he wrote song for Jackie Wilson), and he taught Robinson how to write intricate, yet accessible songs like this one.

This was featured on the soundtrack of the 1983 film The Big Chill. 

This song was a favorite of Jerry Garcia; he often performed it with the Grateful Dead and with the Jerry Garcia Band. These versions show up on a variety of bootleg recordings.

I Second That Emotion

Maybe you’ll wanna give me kisses sweet
But only for one night with no repeat.
And maybe you’ll go away and never call,
And a taste of honey is worse that none at all.
Oh little girl!

In that case I don’t want nobody
I do believe that that would only break my heart
Oh, but if you feel like lovin’ me
If you got the notion,
I second that emotion.
So, if you feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion
I second that emotion.

Maybe you’ll think that love will tie you down
And you don’t have the time to hang around.
Or maybe you’ll think that love will make us fools,
And so it makes you wise to break the rules.
Oh little girl!

In that case I don’t want nobody
I do believe that that would only break my heart
Oh, but if you feel like lovin’ me
If you got the notion,
I second that emotion.
So, if you feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion
I second that emotion.

In that case I don’t want nobody
I do believe that that would only break my heart
Oh, but if you feel like lovin’ me
If you got the notion,
I second that emotion.
So, if you feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion
I second that emotion.

Sam Cooke – Wonderful World

Sam Cooke is one of the artists that you have to think…what could have been if he wouldn’t have had such a tragic death at such a young age… Not that he didn’t have a very successful career to that point. He had 20 Top Ten Hits, 29 Top 40 Hits, and 4 Number 1 hits in the R&B Charts.

In the Billboard 100, he had 34 songs in the top 100 and 4 top ten hits. He died when he was only 33 years old. I would suggest reading All Things Thriller’s post about Sam Cooke’s death.

The first time I heard the Cooke version of this song was in Animal House when Belushi was heading down the cafeteria line and for me this is my go-to version. Cooke had such a smooth soulful voice.

Cooke recorded Wonderful World on Keen Records shortly before he left the label over a royalty dispute in 1959. In 1960, Cooke had moved on to RCA Victor, but Keen, still owning the rights to Wonderful World, released the single in April 1960.

From Songfacts

“Wonderful World,” or “(What a) Wonderful World,” was one of Sam Cooke’s 29 US Top 40 hits released between 1957 and 1964. The song was released on April 14, 1960 and quickly reached #2 on the US Black Singles chart, #12 on the US Pop Singles chart, and #27 on the UK Singles chart.

“Wonderful World” was originally written by music legends Lou Alder and Herb Alpert, but Cooke added the finishing lyrical touches, and the trio used the songwriting pseudonym “Barbara Campbell,” the name of Cooke’s high school sweetheart. Adler went on from this success to found Dunhill Records and manage big name artists such as Jan & Dean, The Mamas & The Papas, and Carole King. Not to be outdone, his writing partner, Herb Alpert, put the “A” in A&M Records after performing for several years with his band Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

Don’t let the bouncy rhythm and upbeat tempo fool you. According to Craig Werner, a professor of African American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the song may have a more politically charged meaning. In his book, A Change Is Gonna Come: Music, Race and the Soul of America, Werner writes that “Wonderful World” may be one of the first examples of Cooke’s crossover into politics, where he informs white listeners that he “don’t know much about history” and “don’t know much biology” as a comment that these are the things to forget about African-Americans, and all they need to remember is love.

Throughout the years, “Wonderful World” has been covered by a number of artists including Otis Redding, Bryan Ferry, Michael Bolton, and Rod Stewart. After Sam Cooke’s death in 1964, there were a rash of “tribute” covers released including a 1965 up-tempo version by Herman’s Hermits, which reached #4 on the US Pop Singles chart and #7 on the UK Singles chart, and a rendition by The Supremes released on their 1965 album “We Remember Sam Cooke.” In 1977, Art Garfunkel put his spin on the hit for his album, Watermark, which featured harmonies by friend, James Taylor, and former partner, Paul Simon.

“Wonderful World” has been a hit with filmmakers since its release. The song can be heard in the famous lunchroom scene of the 1978 classic, Animal House. It was also featured in the 1983 Richard Gere drama, Breathless, and appeared in the opening titles of the 2005 Will Smith comedy, Hitch. A Greg Chapman cover of “Wonderful World” was spotlighted in the 1985 film, Witness, which spurred resurgence in popularity for the single and led to use of the Cooke original in a well-remembered 1986 British ad for Levi 501 Jeans. The song originally peaked at #27 in the UK, but after the commercial, the song was re-released there and reached #2.

According to Rolling Stone, before the song came out, Cooke liked to sing it for women he met, telling them he’d made it up on the spot just for them.

Wonderful World

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book,
Don’t know much about the french I took
But I do know that I love you,
And I know that if you love me, too,
What a wonderful world this would be

Don’t know much about geography,
Don’t know much trigonometry
Don’t know much about algebra,
Don’t know what a slide rule is for
But I do know that one and one is two,
And if this one could be with you,
What a wonderful world this would be

Now, I don’t claim to be an “A” student,
But I’m tryin’ to be
For maybe by being an “A” student, baby,
I can win your love for me

Don’t know much about history,
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book,
Don’t know much about the french I took
But I do know that I love you,
And I know that if you love me, too,
What a wonderful world this would be

History
Biology
Science book
French I took
But I do know that I love you,
And I know that if you love me, too,
What a wonderful world this would be

Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday

I wish this era of the Stones would have lasted longer. Yes, I love the electric blues slanted work they did after this but they wrote some great pop songs. Brian Jones plays the recorder (it sounds like a flute) in this song. You don’t hear much about Brian now but he expanded their sound in the mid-sixties with an array of instruments.

Bill Wyman said that Keith wrote the lyrics and Brian helped finish the melody. This song was the B side to “Let’s Spend The Night Together.”

This song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 in 1967.

 

Keith Richards: “That’s one of those things – some chick you’ve broken up with. And all you’ve got left is the piano and the guitar and a pair of panties. And it’s goodbye you know. And so it just comes out of that. And after that, you just build on it. It’s one of those songs that are easiest to write because you’re really right there and you really sort of mean it. And for a songwriter, hey break his heart and he’ll come up with a good song.” 

 

 

From Songfacts

The fourth US #1 hit for the Rolling Stones, this ballad is about a groupie. It may have been inspired by Linda Keith, who was Keith Richards’ girlfriend. Richards said in According to the Rolling Stones: “It was probably written about Linda Keith not being there (laughs). I don’t know, she had pissed off somewhere. It was very mournful, very, VERY Ruby Tuesday and it was a Tuesday.”

Originally, this was called “Title B.”

Keith Richards and Brian Jones wrote most of this, but in keeping with Stones tradition, it was credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Brian Jones was their lead guitarist until he died in 1969, and could play just about any instrument. 

A large double-bass was used. Bill Wyman plucked the notes while Richards played it with a bow.

This was not on the English version of Between The Buttons because it was already released as a single there, and it was customary not to put singles on albums.

This was supposed to be the B-side of “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” but many radio stations shied away from the sexual implications of that song, so they played this instead and made it a hit.

Jagger: “Ruby Tuesday is good. I think that’s a wonderful song. It’s just a nice melody, really. And a lovely lyric. Neither of which I wrote, but I always enjoy singing it.”

The singer Melanie, who had a #1 hit with “Brand New Key” in 1971, released a cover of “Ruby Tuesday” in 1970 that went to #9 in the UK and #52 in the US. Rod Stewart also released a popular cover that was accompanied by a video. His version made #11 in the UK in 1993.

Ruby Tuesday

She would never say where she came from
Yesterday don’t matter if it’s gone
While the sun is bright
Or in the darkest night
No one knows, she comes and goes

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you

Don’t question why she needs to be so free
She’ll tell you it’s the only way to be
She just can’t be chained
To a life where nothings gained
And nothings lost, at such a cost

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you

“There’s no time to lose”, I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind
Ain’t life unkind?

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you

Beatles – If I Needed Someone

Mid-Sixties pop classic. If I Needed Someone is a George Harrison song that was on the album Rubber Soul. In America this was one of the four songs left off of Capital’s version of Rubber Soul…it was included on Yesterday and Today…an album that Capital put together for the American market.  It was originally issued only in the United States and Canada

George Harrison said the song was influenced by the Byrds:  “It was based on the twelve-string figure from ‘The Bells Of Rhymney’ by The Byrds.”

McCartney called the song the first “landmark” song written by George for the Beatles.

George Harrison:  “It was like a million other songs written around one chord, a D chord actually.”  “If you move your fingers about you get various little melodies.  That guitar line, or variations on it, is found in many a song, and it amazes me that people still find new permutations of the same notes.”

As a guitarist,  there are many songs that have been written around the D chord by moving your fingers in different positions. Here Comes The Sun, Woman by Lennon, Free Falling, Sweet Home Alabama, and like George said…a million others.

On January 24th, 1996, “If I Needed Someone” got its first and only release on a single.  The Capitol series of “For Jukebox Only” singles paired the song as the b-side to “Norwegian Wood” and was printed on both black and green vinyl.

The Hollies received an early version of the song and then quickly recorded their own version of the song and released it as their next single at the end of 1965.  It reached #20 in the UK, making it the first George Harrison composition to make the charts.

George made it known he didn’t like their version…but to me, the Hollies did a good job.

From Songfacts

This was written by George Harrison, who got the idea from a few of The Byrds’ songs including “The Bells of Rhymney” and “She Don’t Care About Time.” It was not Ravi Shankar that introduced George to the wonderment of sitar, but Byrd traveler David Crosby shortly after Shawn Phillips had shown him the basic steps. In 1965 The Beatles toured the US and visited Ravi at World Pacific Studios where The Byrds had permanent residency. It was also here that Roger McGuinn’s Rickenbacker jingle jangle influenced Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone.” In turn, The Byrds were influenced by Harrison’s 12-string guitar work. >>

Former Byrds guitarist Roger McGuinn recalled to Christianity Today magazine: “George Harrison wrote that song after hearing the Byrds’ recording of “Bells of Rhymney.” He gave a copy of his new recording to Derek Taylor, the Beatles’ former press officer, who flew to Los Angeles and brought it to my house. He said George wanted me to know that he had written the song based on the rising and falling notes of my electric Rickenbacker 12-string guitar introduction. It was a great honor to have in some small way influenced our heroes the Beatles.”

 

If I Needed Someone

If I needed someone to love
You’re the one that I’d be thinking of
If I needed someone

If I had some more time to spend
Then I guess I’d be with you my friend
If I needed someone
Had you come some other day
Then it might not have been like this
But you see now I’m too much in love

Carve your number on my wall
And maybe you will get a call from me
If I needed someone
Ah, ah, ah, ah

If I had some more time to spend
Then I guess I’d be with you my friend
If I needed someone
Had you come some other day
Then it might not have been like this
But you see now I’m too much in love

Carve your number on my wall
And maybe you will get a call from me
If I needed someone
Ah, ah

Kinks – Village Green Preservation Society

Some songs can be written by anyone. Songs can be very popular but generic. Some can only be written by certain songwriters. This would be one of those songs. Ray Davies’s songs have their own DNA. This was on the great 1968 album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.

This nostalgic song is a favorite of mine. This is a big jump from You Really Got me to…”We are the Sherlock Holmes English-speaking Vernacular, God save Fu Manchu, Moriarty and Dracula.”

Ray Davies: “You have to remember that North London was my village green, my version of the countryside. The street and district I grew up in was called Fortis Green, and then there was Waterlow Park and the little lake. I sang in the choir at St James’s Primary School until I was about 10, then I trained myself to sing out of tune so I could hang around with a gang called the Crooners instead. Our Scottish singing teacher Mrs. Lewis said, ‘Never mind, Davies – I hear crooners are making a lot of money these days.'”

From Songfacts

A very reflective and nostalgic song written by lead singer Ray Davies, this is about the innocent times in small English towns, where the village green was the community center. The entire album was based on this theme.

This plays in the movie Hot Fuzz as Sgt. Angel is jogging through a village.

Some critics thought the album’s snapshots of village life were partly inspired by performances by the Kinks in rustic Devon. Instead, they were based on memories of his growing up in London. 

Ray Davies namechecks various fictional characters that bring back childhood memories, such as music hall act Old Mother Riley and Mrs. Mopp, who was a character from the wartime radio comedy, ITMA.

We are the Draught Beer Preservation Society.
God save Mrs. Mopp and good old Mother Riley.

Davies explained to Q magazine: “The people in it are all characters I liked as a kid or people my family could relate to, like Old Mother Riley and Mrs Mopp. Because I used to love listening to the BBC Light Programme on Sundays, like Round The Horne with Kenneth Williams. A time when the population was allowed to be trivial.”

Village Green Preservation Society

We are the Village Green Preservation Society.
God save Donald Duck, vaudeville and variety.
We are the Desperate Dan Appreciation Society.
God save strawberry jam and all the different varieties.

Preserving the old ways from being abused.
Protecting the new ways, for me and for you.
What more can we do?

We are the Draught Beer Preservation Society.
God save Mrs. Mopp and good old Mother Riley.
We are the Custard Pie Appreciation Consortium.
God save the George Cross, and all those who were awarded them.

Oooh…

We are the Sherlock Holmes English-speaking Vernacular.
God save Fu Manchu, Moriarty and Dracula.
We are the Office Block Persecution Affinity.
God save little shops, china cups, and virginity.
We are the Skyscraper Condemnation Affiliates.
God save Tudor houses, antique tables, and billiards.

Preserving the old ways from being abused.
Protecting the new ways, for me and for you.
What more can we do?

We are the Village Green Preservation Society.
God save Donald Duck, vaudeville and variety.
We are the Desperate Dan Appreciation Society.
God save strawberry jam and all the different varieties.

God save the village green!

 

My 5 Favorite Baseball Announcers of All Time

This list will be different for every baseball fan. Many times it’s your team’s announcer and other times it’s a network announcer you grew up with. I tend to like announcers who are not complete homers although some I like… like Harry Caray. He made it fun even though he openly rooted for the Cubs…and Budweiser.

There are many more that could be on this list.

Related image

5: Harry Caray – He injected fun into the game. It was like a fan announcing the game. He wasn’t technically the best baseball announcer but he was enjoyable.

Related image

4: Mel Allen – I remember Mel when I was a kid on “This Week in Baseball.” That voice was a part of my childhood.

Related image

3: Bob Uecker – “Just a bit outside” the more I listen to him the more I appreciate him.

Related image

2: Jack BuckNOT Joe… You could hear his excitement for the game in his voice. For me, the best is between Jack and…

Image result for vin scully

1: Vin Scully – Being a Dodgers fan I was spoiled by Vin Scully… my number 1 favorite. If you tuned into a Dodger game you would not know who employed Mr. Scully. He would not root for the Dodgers and he knew when not to say anything and let the action speak for itself.

Vin

Jack

 

 

Cream – I’m So Glad

I’m So Glad appeared on Cream’s debut album Fresh Cream. Cream covered this song and did something that other bands (looking at you Led Zeppelin) should have done. The writer of the song was Skip James an American Delta blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter who was born in 1902. Cream went out of their way to make sure that Skip received royalties off of the song.

Because of Cream’s diligence, James had at least some comfort in his last days. Skip had the opportunity to see Cream perform his song on stage before he succumbed to cancer in 1969 but his widow sent a thank you letter to Jack Bruce for covering his song.

The song didn’t chart but the album did at #39 in 1968.

I’m So Glad

[Chorus:]
I’m so glad
I’m so glad
I’m glad, I’m glad, I’m glad 

Don’t know what to do
Don’t know what to do
Don’t know what to do

Tired of weeping
Tired of moaning
Tired of groaning for you

[Chorus]

Tired of weeping 
Tired of moaning
Tired of groaning for you

[Chorus: x8]