Beatles – All I’ve Got To Do

You won’t find this song on a greatest hits package or hear it on the radio. The Beatles never performed the song live throughout their career and it’s a shame but it was an embarrassment of riches for them. It was one of my first favorite songs from them.

This song was written by John Lennon but of course, credited to Lennon-McCartney. This is where John’s voice cuts through everything and when the harmonies kick in on “All I Got To Do” I’m hooked. The song acted as filler on the album but it is way above a filler song. Any other group would have pushed this song.

 

John Lennon said: “I had the image of walking down the street and seeing her silhouetted in the window and not answering the ‘phone, although I have never called a girl on the ‘phone in my life! Because ‘phones weren’t part of the English child’s life.”

He also said, “That’s me trying to do Smokey Robinson again.”

All I’ve Got To Do

Whenever I want you around, yeah
All I gotta do
Is call you on the phone
And you’ll come running home, yeah
That’s all I gotta do.

And when I, I wanna kiss you, yeah
All I gotta do
Is whisper in your ear
The words you long to hear
And I’ll be kissing you

And the same goes for me
Whenever you want me at all
I’ll be here yes I will
Whenever you call
You just gotta call on me, yeah
You just gotta call on me

And when I, I wanna kiss you, yeah
All I got to do
Is call you on the phone
And you’ll come running home, yeah
That’s all I gotta do.

And the same goes for me
Whenever you want me at all
I’ll be here, yes I will
Whenever you call
You just gotta call on me
You just gotta call on me.

Oh, you just gotta call on me

 

Rock Combinations That Could Have Happened

Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Miles Davis, and jazz drummer Tony Williams. 

This one would have been interesting. Jimi had sent a telegram to Paul in 1969. The telegram said:

“We are recording and LP together this weekend in NewYork [sic],” “How about coming in to play bass stop call Alvan Douglas 212-5812212. Peace Jimi Hendrix Miles Davis Tony Williams.”

Beatles aide Peter Brown responded the next day say that McCartney was on Holiday and was not expected back until 2 weeks.

Of the ones on this post…this would have been the most musically interesting to me.

Image result for Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Miles Davis, and jazz drummer Tony Williams.

 

Elvis Presley album produced by David Bowie

Dwight Yokum said in an interview that David Bowie told him that in 1977 Elvis heard “Golden Years” on the radio and he called Bowie and asked him to produce his next album. This is a “he said he said” but it would have been a unique combination…but Bowie was no stranger to that.

 

A Bob Dylan/Beatles/Rolling Stones Super Album

In 1969 Producer Glyn Johns met Bob Dylan and Dylan told Johns that he would like to make an album with the Beatles and Stones. Glyn went back to England very excited and told Keith Richards and George Harrison and they were all for it. Ringo, Charlie, and Bill said they would do it. John didn’t say no but Mick and Paul said absolutely not…leaves you to wonder what it would have sounded like…

Glyn also said  “I had it all figured out. We would pool the best material from Mick and Keith, Paul and John, Bob and George, and then select the best rhythm section from the two bands to suit whichever songs we were cutting. Paul and Mick were probably, right, however, I would have given anything to have given it a go.”

XYZ Band

It would have been comprised of ex-Yes bassist and drummer, Chris Squire and Alan White, along with Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. XYZ was said to have stood for eXYes-&-Zeppelin. They had rehearsals and Robert Plant came to one to give it a try in 1981 but found the music too complex for his liking…he was also getting over the death of their drummer and his friend John Bonham.

This one didn’t excite me as much…now Chris Squire and Page does sound interesting and with Robert’s comment it looks like it was going to be a more Yes progressive path.

 

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Mr. Bojangles

I admit that the part when the dog “up and died” it hits me.”Mr. Bojangles,” written by country music artist Jerry Jeff Walker.

It was based on a homeless man Jerry Walker met in a New Orleans jail. The man referred to himself as “Mr. Bojangles” and regaled Walker with various stories about his life and then created a depressing mood in the cell when he talked about his dog, who had died. When one of the other men requested for someone to cheer everyone up, “Mr. Bojangles” hopped up and performed a tap dance.

“Mr. Bojangles” was the nickname used by Bill Robinson, a black tap dancer who appeared in many movies in the 1930s, including with Shirley Temple in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. After Robinson’s success, many black street dancers became known as “Bojangles.”

The song peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100 and #2 in Canada in 1971.

Some of the many artists to record this song include Bob Dylan, Harry Nilsson, John Denver, Nina Simone, Sammy Davis Jr., and Neil Diamond.

 

From Songfacts

This was written and originally released by the singer/songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, who wrote the song in the mid-’60s and recorded it in 1968. Walker left his home in upstate New York and traveled the country playing music. He spent some time in New Orleans, where one day he was a bit tipsy and made a public display trying to convince a young lady that love, at first sight, was real. This landed him in jail, where his cellmate was an older black man who made a living as a street dancer and told Walker all about his life.

In his book Gypsy Songman, Walker tells the story: “One of the guys in the cell jumped up and said, ‘Come on, Bojangles. Give us a little dance.’ ‘Bojangles’ wasn’t so much a name as a category of itinerant street entertainer known back as far as the previous century. The old man said, ‘Yes, Hell yes.’ He jumped up and started clapping a rhythm, and he began to dance. I spent much of that long holiday weekend talking to the old man, hearing about the tough blows life had dealt him, telling him my own dreams.” 

Walker moved on to Texas, where he sat down to write: “And here it came, just sort of tumbling out, one straight shot down the length of that yellow pad. On a night when the rest of the country was listening to The Beatles, I was writing a 6/8 waltz about an old man and hope. It was a love song. In a lot of ways, Mr. Bojangles is a composite. He’s a little bit of several people I met for only moments of a passing life. He’s all those I met once and will never see again and will never forget.”

Walker wrote another verse to the song but didn’t perform it because he couldn’t fit it all in. This verse was about the three wives the man in jail told him about.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band version starts with a spoken intro called “Uncle Charlie And His Dog Teddy.”

Jerry Jeff Walker told American Songwriter Magazine May/June 1988 that the success of this showed that songs needn’t conform to rules. He explained: “‘Bojangles’ broke all the rules. It was too long, was 6/9 time, about an old drunk and a dead dog. They had so many reasons why it didn’t fit anything. It would have never been a song if I had been living in Nashville and tried to take it through there. I recorded it in New York. I’ve always had my record deals through New York or L.A.”

According to Jerry Jeff Walker’s confrere Todd Snider, Jerry Jeff was known for a time as “Mr. Blowjangles” because of his raging cocaine habit. Todd quotes Jerry Jeff as saying: “A line of cocaine will make a new man out of you – and he’ll want some too.”

Mr. Bojangles

I knew a man, Bojangles and he danced for you
In worn out shoes
Silver hair, a ragged shirt and baggy pants
The old soft shoe
He jumped so high
He jumped so high
Then he’d lightly touch down
I met him in a cell in New Orleans, I was
Down and out
He looked to me to be the eyes of age
As he spoke right out
He talked of life
He talked of life
He laughed, clicked his heels and stepped
He said his name, Bojangles and he danced a lick
Across the cell
He grabbed his pants, a better stance
Oh, he jumped so high
Then he clicked his heels
He let go a laugh
He let go a laugh
Pushed back his clothes all around
Mr. Bojangles
Mr. Bojangles
Mr. Bojangles
Dance
He danced for those in minstrel shows and county fairs
Throughout the south
He spoke with tears of fifteen years how his dog and him
Traveled about
The dog up and died
He up and died
After twenty years he still grieves
He said I dance now at every chance in honky tonks
For drinks and tips
But most the time I spend behind these county bars
He said I drinks a bit
He shook his head
And as he shook his head
I heard someone ask him please
Please
Mr. Bojangles
Mr. Bojangles
Mr. Bojangles
Dance

Bob Dylan – Love Minus Zero/No Limit

I usually post single releases but this song is one of my favorites of Bob Dylan. I can just read the lyrics of this song and enjoy it. Bob Dylan is the king of song imagery. It was written about his future wife Sara Lownds. It was released in 1965 on the “Bringing It All Back Home” album.

The lyric that hooked me was She knows there’s no success like failure, And that failure’s no success at all. That line is hard to beat.

The song was included on the album Bringing It All Back Home released in 1965. The song was not released as a single but the album peaked at #6 in the Billboard Album Charts.

The title of the song is one of a kind. It’s fun to read people’s interpretations of Dylan’s songs. His songs mean so many different things to people and he is never too open about revealing what they are about.

I found this of someone attempting to mathematically break down the song.

 It’s a strange way to title a song, with a slash in the middle. Until you realize that this is not a normal title per se. It’s an equation, like 4/2=2. In mathematics, the forward slash represents “divided by. Four divided by two equals two.

So what’s Love minus zero divided by no limit? Well, no limit equals infinity. It is infinite. Ten divided by infinity would be an infinitely small number. In fact, any finite number divided by infinity would be an infinitely small number.

However, if one’s love is infinite, and you subtract zero from that, the equation now reads “Infinity divided by infinity.” Which equals One. If each human heart is an infinity, it is through love that the two become one.

 

Love Minus Zero/No Limit

My love she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence
She doesn’t have to say she’s faithful
Yet she’s true, like ice, like fire
People carry roses
Make promises by the hours
My love she laughs like the flowers
Valentines can’t buy her

In the dime stores and bus stations
People talk of situations
Read books, repeat quotations
Draw conclusions on the wall
Some speak of the future
My love she speaks softly
She knows there’s no success like failure
And that failure’s no success at all

The cloak and dagger dangles
Madams light the candles
In ceremonies of the horsemen
Even the pawn must hold a grudge
Statues made of matchsticks
Crumble into one another
My love winks, she does not bother
She knows too much to argue or to judge

The bridge at midnight trembles
The country doctor rambles
Bankers’ nieces seek perfection
Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring
The wind howls like a hammer
The night blows cold and rainy
My love she’s like some raven
At my window with a broken wing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crystals – Then He Kissed Me

I always think of Goodfellas when I hear this. It is the scene where Ray Liotta takes Lorraine Bracco out to the Copacabana. The song peaked at #6 in the Billboard 100 in 1964.

Dolores “La La” Brooks is the only Crystal to perform on this song. Spector recorded the group’s first recordings in New York City, where they were from. When he relocated to Los Angeles, he had a group called The Blossoms (with Darlene Love singing lead) record the songs “He’s A Rebel” and “He’s Sure the Boy I Love,” which he issued as The Crystals.

On all following Crystals recordings, Spector flew Brooks from New York to Los Angeles to perform the lead vocals, but the other Crystals never made the trip, as Spector preferred to use local backup singers.

From Songfacts

By July 1963, Phil Spector had already made the Hot 100 with seven chart hits that he produced. He successfully ended his partnership with Lester Sill and began his marriage to Annette Merar. Shortly after his marriage, Spector traveled to New York looking for a song to follow up on The Crystals success with “Da Doo Ron Ron.” “Then He Kissed Me” was the perfect song for the group and Phil put together one of his most extravagant productions for the record. (Thanks to Kent at Forgotten Hits.)

This was also around the time when the group shrunk from five members to four, losing Mary Thomas, who left to get married.

Phil Spector produced this using his “Wall Of Sound” technique, which meant long hours in the studio for the musicians, as Spector was notoriously stingy allowing breaks. His engineer Larry Levine recalled: “He didn’t want to give them a bathroom break. Not because he wanted to work them to death, but because he didn’t want them to move microphones or bodies or anything. He wanted everything to stay as it was in the studio. But he would work for three hours or more before we ever put anything on tape. And I think the reason was he wanted to tire these great musicians so that they weren’t playing individualistic; they were too tired. And so they just melded into this wall of sound.”

This was written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. Phil Spector also received a songwriting credit. 

Crystals lead singer La La Brooks was just 15 when she recorded this song. Had she ever been kissed? “Yeah,” she replied when we asked her. “My little boyfriend at 13 years kissed me on my mouth at the door. But not kiss kiss – you know what I’m saying?”

To coax the vocal performance out of La La Brooks, Phil Spector dimmed the lights in the studio and gave her specific instructions. “He said, ‘Think of somebody kissing you,'” Brooks told us. “I was a kid, so I’m not going to think like that. So he would turn off the lights, I would have a little light on my music, on my words, and then he said, ‘Now, concentrate.’ And I said (singing), ‘Well, he walked up to me and he asked me if I wanted to dance.’ He said, ‘That’s the way you do it!’

So I guess he had to train my mind to think that I was talking about a boy. He knew how to get things out of you.”

This was The Crystals’ last US Top 40 hit, as Phil Spector soon lost interest in them and turned his attention to another girl-group called The Ronettes. The song’s first appearance on an album was on a various-artists compilation of Phil Spector’s artists entitled Today’s Hits.

In 1965, the Beach Boys recorded a version titled “Then I Kissed Her,” which reached UK #4.

The flip side of the record was an instrumental called “Brother Julius,” which was named after a hamburger stand near the Gold Star studio where the recording sessions took place. Spector usually put throwaway songs on the B-sides of his singles so the DJs wouldn’t play them instead of the A-sides.

This song opens the 1987 movie Adventures in Babysitting, where Elisabeth Shue dances to it while getting ready for a date. The song was also used in a 2006 episode of The Simpsons called “Marge and Homer Turn a Couple Play.”

Then He Kissed Me

Well, he walked up to me and he asked me if I wanted to dance
He looked kinda nice and so I said I might take a chance
When he danced he held me tight
And when he walked me home that night
All the stars were shining bright
And then he kissed me

Each time I saw him I couldn’t wait to see him again
I wanted to let him know that he was more than a friend
I didn’t know just what to do
So I whispered I love you
He said that he loved me too
And then he kissed me

He kissed me in a way that I’ve never been kissed before,
He kissed me in a way that I want to be kissed forever more

I knew that he was mine so I gave him all the love that I had
And one day he took me home to meet his mon and his dad
Then he asked me to be his bride
And always be right by his side
I felt so happy I almost cried
And then he kissed me

Then he asked me to be his bride
And always be right by his side
I felt so happy I almost cried
And then he kissed me
And then he kissed me
And then he kissed me

Roy Orbison – In Dreams

How I love this song but…no matter how hard I try I cannot get the movie Blue Velvet out of my head while listening to it. The song helped revive Roy’s career when it appeared in the movie. Here is what Roy said:

Oh God! I was aghast, truly shocked! I remember sneaking into a little cinema in Malibu, where I live, to see it, Some people behind me evidently recognised me because they started laughing when the “In Dreams” sequence came on. But I was shocked, almost mortified, because they were talking about ‘the candy coloured clown’ in relation to doing a dope deal, then Dean Stockwell did that weird miming thing with that lamp. Then they were beating up that young kid! I thought, ‘What in the world? But later, when I was touring, we got the video out and I really got to appreciate not only what David Lynch gave to the song, and what the song in turn gave to the film, but how innovative the movie was, how it really achieved this otherworldy quality that added a whole new dimension to “In Dreams”. I find it hard to verbalise why, but Blue Velvet really succeeded in making my music contemporary again.

Roy Orbison claimed in interviews that the lyrics for this song came to him in a dream he wrote the music once he woke up. The song peaked #7 in the Billboard 100 in 1963. While the song was in the charts Orbison toured Britain with a new unknown group, named the Beatles.

From Songfacts

This song is featured in a key scene in the 1986 film Blue Velvet where Dean Stockwell’s character lip-synchs to the song. Orbison initially rejected director David Lynch’s request to use this song, but later made a video for the track with scenes from the film.

The use of this song in Blue Velvet sparked a career resurgence for Orbison. Because of legal entanglements, he didn’t have access to the master recordings of many of his hits, so after the movie drummed up interest in his work, he set about re-recording his songs for a compilation called In Dreams: The Greatest Hits. When Orbison asked Lynch if he could use footage of the film in a video for the re-recorded “In Dreams,” Lynch not only agreed, but offered to help with the song. With T Bone Burnett producing, Lynch directed Orbison in his performance as he would an actor in a film, and it worked, allowing Orbison to be faithful to the original recording by doing it with no overdubs.

Shortly before he died, Roy Orbison recorded a follow-up to this song called “In The Real World” on his 1989 album Mystery Girl.

In Dreams

A candy-colored clown they call the sandman
Tiptoes to my room every night
Just to sprinkle star dust and to whisper
“Go to sleep, everything is alright”

I close my eyes then I drift away
Into the magic night, I softly say
A silent prayer like dreamers do
Then I fall asleep to dream my dreams of you

In dreams I walk with you
In dreams I talk to you
In dreams you’re mine all the time
We’re together in dreams, in dreams

But just before the dawn
I awake and find you gone
I can’t help it, I can’t help it if I cry
I remember that you said goodbye

Too bad it only seems
It only happens in my dreams
Only in dreams
In beautiful dreams.

Chris Bell – I Am The Cosmos

Alex Chilton’s songwriting partner in power-pop legend Big Star, Chris Bell was an overlooked member of an overlooked band. In London, he teamed up with longtime Beatles’ engineer Geoff Emerick at AIR Studios, where the final touches and mix were completed. Bell would spend the next two years engaged in a frustrating attempt to get a record deal in the U.S. and Europe. With those prospects dimming, he eventually abandoned his career and took a job with his family’s fast-food chain back home.

Just another sad story that came from Big Star. In 1978, amid when Big Star started to get a  cult following, “Cosmos” was released as a single by fan and fellow musician Chris Stamey, on his tiny North Carolina-based Car label. The song (backed with the “You and Your Sister”) would be the only solo work released during Bell’s life. Just a few months after the record was pressed, Bell would die in a late-night single-car accident near his home in East Memphis on December 27, 1978. He was 27.

The B side…You and Your Sister

 

 

I Am The Cosmos

Every night I tell myself,
“I am the cosmos,
I am the wind”
But that don’t get you back again
Just when I was starting to feel okay
You’re on the phone
I never wanna be alone
Never wanna be alone
I hate to have to take you home
Wanted too much to say no, no,
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Never wanna be alone
I hate to have to take you home
Want you too much to say no, no
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah
My feeling’s always happening
Something I couldn’t hide
I can’t confide
Don’t know what’s going on inside
So every night I tell myself
“I am the cosmos,
I am the wind”
But that don’t get you back again
I’d really like to see you again
I really wanna see you again
I’d really like to see you again
I really wanna see you again
I’d really like to see you again
I really wanna see you again
I never wanna see you again
Really wanna see you again