Dixie Chicks – Wide Open Spaces

I’m not a big fan of newer country music…but this song sounded fresh when it was released. The song crossed over and peaked at #41 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the US Country Songs, and #1 Canda Country Tracks in 1998. The song was on the album Wide Open Spaces and it peaked at #4 on the Billboard Album Charts, #1 on the Country Album Charts, and #1 in the Canadian Country Album Charts in 1999.

Susan Gibson wrote the song years earlier. Gibson was the lead singer of the alt-country band The Groobees. They decided to include “Wide Open Spaces” on their album and their producer was Lloyd Maines… the father of Dixie Chicks lead singer, Natalie Maines. He thought the song would be perfect for the Dixie Chicks and they agreed. After testing it on a couple of audiences, they made it the title track for their major-label debut.

This album was the first album which Natalie Maines was the lead singer.

Their career was going great until all hell broke loose in 2003 after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized George Bush and the invasion of Iraq during a London concert. Country radio led the backlash against the Dixie Chicks. Stations banned their music and even told listeners to trash their CDs.

This defiant, nude cover on ‘Entertainment Weekly’ added fuel to the fire.

Image result for Natalie Maines nude

If this would have been a rock act that did the same thing…would this have happened? I would say no…

On June 26, 2019, The Dixie Chicks has confirmed that they are returning to music with a new studio album after a 13-year hiatus. They are expecting to record their first new studio album since 2006’s Taking the Long Way.

 

From Songfacts

This song was written by Susan Gibson, who was lead singer of a Texas-based band called The Groobees. She wrote the tune back in 1993 in a spirit of rebellion during her first return home from the University of Montana for Christmas break. “My mom probably said something like, ‘What time did you get home last night, honey?’ Whatever it was rubbed me the wrong way,” Gibson told The Montanan. “I sat down at the kitchen table and wrote furiously for twelve minutes, and then I went and did something else. I forgot all about it.” 

The lyrics were so specific to Gibson’s own experience, including lines about her dad warning her to check the oil in her car, she was hesitant about giving away such a personal song. Then she heard the Dixie Chicks’ version: “It made me bawl my eyes out. It was so beautiful—it had this stunning musicianship and very professional production. I could still see my handwriting on the page, and here was this gorgeous recording of it.”

Lloyd Maines, father of Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines, worked with The Groobees, and brought the song to the Chicks. The Groobees recorded their version in 1999. 

Thom Oliphant helmed the music video, which intercuts touring footage with the girls singing in open fields of wildflowers as well as performing at Winter Park, Colorado’s annual West Fest. In a Songfacts interview, Oliphant recalled: “That song probably moved them from big clubs to arenas over the course of that year, so we were just out documenting.

A lot of that stuff was shot without a clock ticking. You’re on a bus and we would shoot some stuff, and then it all was woven together with a couple of big days of shooting out around Denver. It made it look like it was all about the same time, but it wasn’t.”

The video was named the Country Music Association’s Video of the Year in 1999.

The Groobees broke up a couple of years after this became a hit, partly because they couldn’t agree on how to handle the success. Susan Gibson, who collected the bulk of the royalties as the tune’s sole writer, explained in Lone Star Music Magazine: “We were once a unified band with nothing to lose and all struggling in the same direction. Some band members thought that the success of that song meant that we could afford to take those crappy-paying, but good-exposure gigs. Others thought it meant we didn’t have to. That discrepancy resulted in each of us taking our own piece of the pie and going forward in our different directions.”

Gibson has since carved a career for herself as a solo artist, but still delights in hearing fans talk about the song: “Because the Dixie Chicks made that song so huge, I have enjoyed the look on people’s faces when they hear that I wrote that song. About 80 percent of the time, somebody has a cool story attached to it about leaving home, getting married, getting divorced, and breaking down in Moab, Utah. 19 percent of the time it’s like, ‘Oh! My mom loooooves that song!’ And there’s 1 percent out there that are like, ‘I don’t really listen to music.’ That’s OK. It’s the stories that I hear back from people that put a face to the huge numbers associated with that song.”

This spent four weeks at #1 on the country chart.

Wide Open Spaces

Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about
Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

Many precede and many will follow
A young girl’s dreams no longer hollow
It takes the shape of a place out west
But what it holds for her, she hasn’t yet guessed

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

She traveled this road as a child
Wide eyed and grinning, she never tired
But now she won’t be coming back with the rest
If these are life’s lessons, she’ll take this test

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

She knows the high stakes

As her folks drive away, her dad yells, “Check the oil!”
Mom stares out the window and says, “I’m leaving my girl”
She said, “It didn’t seem like that long ago”
When she stood there and let her own folks know

She needed wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

She knows the high stakes
She knows the highest stakes
She knows the highest stakes
She knows the highest stakes

Adam Schmitt – Garden of Love —Powerpop Friday

Thanks for the suggestions on new artists to cover…I’ve started to listen to more powerpop artists that I knew existed. In the next few weeks, I’ll feature more.

This one is by Adam Schmitt released in 1991. He is a singer/songwriter from Urbana, Illinois. There is not much on this guy except that his debut album was hailed as brilliant by the critics. There are no lyrics anywhere for his songs.

I started to listen to his debut album World So Bright and the songs are indeed very good powerpop. I’m also posting the album’s title track World So Bright.

This bio is by Heather Phares from Allmusic

Singer/songwriter Adam Schmitt first won acclaim in the early ’90s when his 1991 debut album, World So Bright, and 1993 follow-up, Illiterature, had critics hailing him as a young pop genius. However, when his label Reprise didn’t want to release a third album from him, Schmitt decided to record other artists instead, engineering, producing and mastering music for Tommy Keene, Hum, Beezus, Robynn Ragland, and others in his home studio. By 1998, Schmitt was ready to concentrate on his own music again, but his perfectionism and production work delayed the release of his third effort until the middle of 2001. That album, Demolition, was issued by Parasol; Schmitt started out as a producer by working with many of the label’s artists.

 

 

Jellyfish – Baby’s Coming Back —Powerpop Friday

This song was released in 1990 off of their debut album Bellybutton. It peaked at #62 in the Billboard 100 and #51 in the UK in 1991. I remember seeing this band open up for someone in the early 90s…I want to say it was Bob Dylan but I could be wrong.

Jellyfish only released two full albums Bellybutton and Spilt Milk. Both albums have tracks that evoke many artists such as The Beatles, Badfinger, Cheap Trick, The Beach Boys, with their vocal harmonies.

Jellyfish was formed in 1989 in San Francisco, California. The band had several members over the years but the foundation of the band was Andy Sturmer and Roger Joseph Manning, Jr.  Andy was primarily the drummer and Roger played keyboards.

In 1994, Jellyfish contributed a cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Think About Your Troubles” to the tribute album For the Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson. Jellyfish’s contribution was a personal request from Nilsson, who was a fan of the group. He died a year prior to the album’s release. The band broke up soon afterward.

 

Baby’s Coming  Back

I knew that when I saw her 
That my life would soon move over from the fast lane
Gone would be the days of all by drinkin and my carrying on
But when I settled down
The party king uncrowned
This stubborn memory hadn’t faded
Too many dumb mistakes
And all the grief it makes
Left nothing else to be debated
And if you say that you understand then you’re lyin’
But if you figure that I’m alright now I can’t deny it
Baby’s coming back
Baby’s coming back 
And I’m on my best behavior
I can’t take it anymore 
I just woke up on the floor today
I’ve long run out of my last chances but she’s on her way
If I had a dollar for every single time I fought her 
I’d buy a handgun
But that couldn’t shoot away 
The bull’s eye that she made on my heart
And if I sound like a beaten man well I guess so
But on her way is the sweetest prize and I can’t let go
Baby’s coming back
Baby’s coming back 
And I’m on my best behavior
I can’t take it anymore 
I just woke up on the floor today
I’ve long run out of my last chances but she’s on her way
What I told her on the telephone was that I’d been so bad
I wouldn’t blame her if she mowed down these wild oats I’d sown
But when she said she’d give me one more chance
I said knock three times when you arrive
Baby’s coming back…

Gin Blossoms – Til I Hear It From You —Powerpop Friday

This song was released in 1996 and was part of a double A-side with Follow You Down. The song peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, and #30 in the UK in 1996. Billboard lists the song as Follow You Down/Til I Hear It From You. 

One of my favorite pop songs of the 90s.

Gin Blossoms lead singer Robin Wilson wrote the lyrics to this song. The music was composed by the band’s guitarist Jesse Valenzuela with help from Marshall Crenshaw. Crenshaw said that he and Valenzuela didn’t know each other, but Jesse tracked him down to help finish the song. Crenshaw wrote the verse melody and worked on the ending.

From Songfacts (Til I Hear It From You)

The music industry trade magazine Billboard called this “The closest thing to a perfect pop song to hit radio in recent memory,” a sentiment appreciated by the band’s guitarist. 

“This song reminds me why I work. I can count on hearing it in grocery stores, and I like playing it. It’s really nice pop perfection, and just saccharin enough,” says Gin Blossom Jesse Valenzuela with a chuckle. “As an artist, you have to start realizing what you do carries some value, even monetarily. And this song is a pretty big one for me to help me realize that this is what I’ll do for a living from now on. And how lucky I am – because it’s all I really love doing, and I get to do it all the time.”

The first time Jesse heard this song over the public announcement system at a grocery store, he says he almost wanted to tell somebody, “Hey! That’s my song!” he laughs. But he resisted. He remembers being proud, but being very anonymous at the time. Then there was the trip to Lowe’s (home improvement department store). “One time my wife and I went there for lighting fixtures, and she wanted one. I said, ‘Let’s go for the cheaper one.’ And she wanted one that was just a little more expensive. And I was like hemming and hawing, and all of a sudden one of my songs came on the radio, and she said, ‘It’s not as if you can’t afford to get me the more expensive one.’ I was like, ‘All right.’ She did have a case.” (read the full interview with Jesse Valenzuela)

In early 1997, right as the band was splitting up, the Gin Blossoms accepted an award from ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Publishers) for this song (along with “Follow You Down”) in recognition of having the two most-played songs the previous year.

Til I Hear It From You

I didn’t ask, they shouldn’t have told me
At first I laughed but now
It’s sinking in fast, whatever they sold me
But baby

I don’t want to take advice from fools
I’ll just figure everything is cool
Til I hear it from you

It gets hard, when memory’s faded
And who gets what the say
It’s likely they’re, just jealous and jaded
Or maybe

I don’t want to take advice from fools
I’ll just figure everything is cool
Til I hear it from you

Til I hear it from you

I can’t let it get me off
Break up my train of thought
As far as I know nothing’s wrong
Until I hear it from you

Still thinking about not living without it
Outside looking in, till we’re talking about
Not stepping around it
Maybe

I don’t want to take advice from fools
I’ll just figure everything is cool
Til I hear it from you

Til I hear it from you

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Learning To Fly

This song wasn’t as popular with the masses as it was with me. From the 90s on this is in my top Tom Petty songs. Something about it resonated with me and I also saw Tom on this tour. The song was written by Tom Petty and his Traveling Wilburys bandmate Jeff Lynne.

The song peaked at #28 in the Billboard 100, #46 in Canada and #28 in New Zealand in 1991. The song was on the album “Into the Great Wide Open” that peaked at #13 in the Billboard album charts.

Petty got the idea for it when he saw a pilot being interviewed on TV during the Gulf War. The pilot said how it wasn’t hard learning to fly… the hardest part was coming down.

On October 21, 2017, Bob Dylan played “Learning to Fly” at First Bank Center in tribute to Tom who had just passed away a few weeks before. Bob told Rolling Stone Magazine: “It’s shocking, crushing news. I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I ll never forget him.”

From Songfacts

The song was informed by the political events of the time, specifically the Gulf War, as well as the band dynamics – Into The Great Wide Open was a Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers album, whereas Petty’s previous album, Full Moon Fever, was a solo album (although guitarist Mike Campbell played on every song and helped produce it). “I wanted that song to be a kind of redemptive song, only in the vaguest way, certainly not literally,” he told Billboard.

 It is based on only four simple chords: F, C, A minor, and G.

Julien Temple, who also did Petty’s “Free Fallin’,” directed the video, which shows a young boy in various key moments of adolescence, as he gets his wings.

Pink Floyd beat Petty to the title, releasing their “Learning To Fly” in 1987. Their song was also sparked by aviation argot – lead singer Dave Gilmour was taking flying lessons. Pink Floyd was moving forward after shedding their founding member, Roger Waters, so the song is a metaphor for finding their wings without him.

The country trio Lady Antebellum covered this on their seven-song acoustic EP iTunes Session.

Learning To Fly

Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still

I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Well, the good ol’ days may not return
And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn

I’m learning to fly (learning to fly) but I ain’t got wings (learning to fly)
Coming down (learning to fly) is the hardest thing (learning to fly)

Well, some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I’ve started out for God-knows-where
I guess I’ll know when I get there

I’m learning to fly, around the clouds
But what goes up (learning to fly) must come down

I’m learning to fly (learning to fly), but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

I’m learning to fly (learning to fly), around the clouds
But what goes up (learning to fly) must come down

I’m learning to fly (learning to fly)
(Learning to fly) learning to fly
(learning to fly)
(learning to fly)
(learning to fly)
(learning to fly)

Oasis – Wonderwall

This song is awash in sixties influence…which isn’t surprising by Oasis. It caught my attention in the 90s seeing that it had a mod mid-sixties influence. The song peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100 and #2 in the UK in 1996.

This song was supposedly about Noel Gallagher’s then-girlfriend Meg Mathews, who is compared with a schoolboy’s wall to which posters of footballers and Popstars are attached. He said: “It’s about my girlfriend. She was out of work, and that, a bit down on her luck, so it’s just saying, ‘Cheer up and f—in get on with it.'” Noel later married then divorced Meg Mathews.

Noel also said… “The meaning of that song was taken away from me by the media who jumped on it. And how do you tell your Mrs. it’s not about her once she’s read it is? It’s about an imaginary friend who’s going to come and save you from yourself.”

 

 

From Songfacts

The music is based on Wonderwall Music, an instrumental album George Harrison wrote for the movie Wonderwall in 1968. This was the first solo album released by any of The Beatles.

The concept of the “Wonderwall” is based on a ’60s film called Wonderwall – from Psychedelia to Surrealism, starring Jane Birkin. She lives next door to a man who becomes fascinated with her,so he slowly makes holes in his wall so he can watch her through it. This is the “Wonderwall.” Warning: this movie is supposedly terrible.

In 2002, the British army produced a recruitment video that used this under footage of soldiers conducting exercises. The producers of the video didn’t realize they needed permission to use the song, and when Oasis denied, they had to recall all the videos.

The album is the second-best-selling in British history. The best selling album in UK history is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles. 

This was the first single Oasis released in the US, and is their biggest hit in that country. >>

Initially, Noel wanted to sing this song, but he gave his brother Liam Gallagher the choice, and Noel ended up singing “Don’t Look Back In Anger.”

What sounds like a cello was played on a Mellotron tape-playback keyboard, although the video features shows someone playing the cello.

At live shows Noel plays his acoustic guitar on a Fender Telecaster. It’s one of the few songs where he uses a Fender guitar rather than a Gibson.

The opening track of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory is the track “Hello,” which starts off with the opening riff of “Wonderwall” playing extremely quietly; this stops once the guitar noise comes in.

The original title was “Wishing Stone.”

In an interview conducted in Australia around the time of the release of Be Here Now, when asked which 3 songs he would like to be remembered for, Noel immediately responded with “Live Forever” and “Wonderwall” and then proceeded to list several others, including “Champagne Supernova,” “Magic Pie” and “Cigarettes & Alcohol.”

At the very end of the song, the intro to “Supersonic” can be faintly heard being played on acoustic guitar.

Radiohead recorded a bootleg cover of the song in which Thom Yorke sings many incorrect lyrics and cuts out mid-chorus when a background voice says, “Is this abysmal or what? It’s always good to make fun of Oasis.” 

This was prevented from reaching #1 in the UK by Robson & Jerome’s Double A-side, “I Believe”and “Up On The Roof.”

The song’s music promo won the Best Video at the 1996 Brit Awards.

Jay-Z opened his set at the Glastonbury Festival in 2008 by singing a few minutes of this song – quite poorly. The famous UK festival was known for rock acts, so having Jay-Z perform stirred things up. After Noel Gallagher made public remarks taking issue with a rapper’s invitation to the festival, Jay responded with the on-stage mockery of “Wonderwall.”

The It’s a Shame About Ray episode of the HBO series Girls closed with Lena Dunham’s character Hannah singing this song in her bathtub, followed by a segue into Oasis’ original version. The day after its original broadcast on February 2, 2013, the tune re-entered Billboard’s Rock Digital Songs at #50.

This was voted #1 on the state-funded Triple J youth network’s “Hottest 100” countdown of the best songs released between Jan. 1, 1993, and Dec. 31, 2012. The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” was runner-up. More than 940,000 votes were cast for the poll, which was held to celebrate two decades of Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown. “Wonderwall” previously topped the annual “Hottest 100” in 1995, a time when Oasis were at the peak of their powers.

Noel on the song’s drum placement (The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters by Daniel Rachel): “I write songs purely for feel. Like the drums coming in on ‘Wonderwall’: people were going, ‘Why have they come in there, it’s an eighth of a bar too early?’ ‘What’s an eighth of a bar?’ I struggle to understand people’s perceptions. It comes in there because to me that’s where it sounds right to. ‘That’s wrong.’ I’m like, ‘Wrong to who? How can it be wrong?'”

This topped a 2016 survey commissioned by the website Sunfly Karaoke ahead of Father’s Day to find the favorite karaoke songs of dads around the UK. The song narrowly beat Blur’s “Parklife,” which came second in the poll.

Ryan Adams covered the song for his 2004 Love is Hell album. His version was supposed to be an inside joke with his then girlfriend, with whom he would debate the merits of Oasis vs Blur, but Adams managed to put a much darker spin on the song. He told Uncut: 

“It occurred to me that I was singing it from the perspective of someone in danger of committing suicide. That’s not what I was thinking about when I first did it, but it did have a different meaning. It’s someone saying, you’re my last hope. 

But in the second verse, that hope it’s not happening, and I’m singing like that person would sing if that’s the last thing they’re ever going to sing. That’s how I feel in that moment. It’s not a perversion to tap into these those things. I can let my body sing this way and let my mind go there, and I can feel all those things because they’ve been real things in my life at some point.”

Wonderwall

Today is gonna be the day
That they’re gonna throw it back to you
By now you should’ve somehow
Realized what you gotta do
I don’t believe that anybody
Feels the way I do, about you now

Back beat, the word was on the street
That the fire in your heart is out
I’m sure you’ve heard it all before
But you never really had a doubt
I don’t believe that anybody
Feels the way I do about you now

And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I
Would like to say to you but I don’t know how

Because maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all, you’re my wonderwall

Today was gonna be the day
But they’ll never throw it back to you
By now you should’ve somehow
Realized what you’re not to do
I don’t believe that anybody
Feels the way I do, about you now

And all the roads that lead you there are winding
And all the lights that light the way are blinding
There are many things that I
Would like to say to you but I don’t know how

I said maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all, you’re my wonderwall

I said maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all, you’re my wonderwall

I said maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
You’re gonna be the one that saves me
You’re gonna be the one that saves me

The Wedding Singer

I was a teenager through the eighties and this movie brought it all back, good and bad. I liked this movie. Adam Sandler is not overboard crazy in this film and Drew Barrymore is perfect in her part. The movie was released in 1998.

The first time I watched this movie I started to get nostalgic over the 80s…something I don’t do a lot.

Adam Sandler can go overboard in a lot of his movies…more than I personally like but like I said, in the beginning, he acts more like a regular person in this. Drew Barrymore…is just Drew Barrymore and a higher compliment cannot be given by me. Adam and Drew work well together in this movie and they do have chemistry.

Adam plays Robbie Hart, a down and out Wedding singer who only wanted to be married. His fiance just left him and Drew plays Julia Sullivan who is herself engaged and wants the depressed Robbie to help her plan her wedding.

This movie is not great…it’s no classic film but if you want a fun romp through the 80s this will bring a lot back for you…if you remember that decade. It’s a great movie to watch on a rainy afternoon.

The Soundtrack to this film has the 80s covered quite well.

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me
Culture Club

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
The Police

How Soon Is Now?
The Smiths

Love My Way
The Psychedelic Furs

Hold Me Now
The Thompson Twins

Everyday I Write The Book
Elvis Costello

White Wedding
Billy Idol

China Girl
David Bowie

Blue Monday
New Order

Pass The Dutchie
Musical Youth

Somebody Kill Me [Explicit]
Adam Sandler

Rappers Delight
Sugarhill Gang With Ellen Dow

Video Killed The Radio Star
The Presidents of the United States of America

99 Luftballons
Nena