Raspberries – Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)

This is my second song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. The Raspberries  Overnight Sensation (Hit Record).

 Bruce Springsteen: “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) should go down as one of the great mini-rock-opera masterpieces of all time”

In the nineties I bought the Raspberries greatest hits. I listened with headphones to each song until I heard this one. I stopped and listened to it repeatedly. It’s one of those songs that goes beyond other songs…It is truly a pop-rock symphony. I was amazed that I never heard this before.

Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) is an epic, ambitious, grand, lofty, extravagant, and brilliant song from the Raspberries. They were swinging for the fences when they made this song and they hit it out of the park. It’s on the album Starting Over released in 1974.

Put some headphones on and listen to this completely to the very end… When I hear it, I think this is what it would sound like if The Who, Beach Boys, and Beatles made a song together…this would be it. Musically you have a little of everything. Sliding bass lines, tasteful guitar licks, great vocals, a sax solo that gives way to more lyrics as the song morphs into an AM radio sound… and then comes a solo piano.

Stay until the very end because they dupe you into a fake ending and the drums will come in as if the world is going to end. Then… a Beach Boys final huge crescendo wave will wash over you like a warm summer moonlit night. It’s a wall of sound of ecstasy that you wish would go on forever.

The song is about trying to make it in the music business. It’s Eric Carmen singing with desperation wanting a hit record on the radio. After this album, the Raspberries were no more. This was Eric Carmen at his absolute best before he went solo and became an ordinary pop singer. He would never try anything this ambitious again.

Certain songs we all know are timeless. In a perfect world this one deserves to be on that list. I don’t use the word masterpiece a lot but I would consider this song one. The musical arrangement is second to none in terms of arrangement, production, and harmonies.

Although “Go All The Way” was their big hit of their career…this one is in a different league and they never equaled it. Most people don’t know this song and it’s a musical injustice. I only hope more people discover it.

The three best power pop bands of the early to mid-seventies were Big Star, Badfinger, and The Raspberries. Badfinger were the most successful (and they paid dearly for it), Big Star wasn’t even known, and The Raspberries had one top ten hit with few very good minor ones. All three of these bands were too rock for pop radio and too pop for rock radio…in varying degrees they fell into the cracks of history… none of them had long careers.

John Lennon was said to be a fan of the group. He was producing Nilsson’s Pussycats at the same time The Raspberries were making this album at the Record Plant. John supposedly was blown away by Overnight Sensation.

The song peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100 and #22 in Canada in 1974.

Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)
Well I know it sounds funny
But I’m not in it for the money, no
I don’t need no reputation
And I’m not in it for the show

I just want a hit record, yeah
Wanna hear it on the radio
Want a big hit record, yeah
One that everybody’s got to know

Well if the program director don’t pull it
It’s time to get back the bullet
So bring the group down to the station
You’re gonna be an overnight sensation

I’ve been tryin’ to write the lyric
Non-offensive but satiric too
And if you put it in the A-slot
It’s just got to make a mint for you

I fit those words to a good melody
Amazing how success has been ignoring me
So long
I use my bread making demos all day
Writing in the night while in my head I hear
The record play
Hear it play

Hit record, yeah
Wanna hit record, yeah
Wanna hit record, yeah (number one)

Bachman Turner Overdrive – Let It Ride

Canadian Bachman Turner Overdrive was one of those bands in the early to mid seventies that just kept pumping out hits.

Randy Bachman and Fred Turner of Bachman-Turner Overdrive got the idea for this song when they were driving to a gig in New Orleans.

They were driving on a highway when a few truckers decided to have some fun with the musicians, who were riding in the little van from Canada. The truckers boxed them in and slowed down to a crawl. When they finally turned into a truck stop, Randy and Fred followed them with the intent of giving them a good talking to…but when they met up with the trucker Randy said “The trucker looked like a Volkswagen with a head.” The truckers had a good laugh and told the band that they needed to learn to “Let it ride.”

Bachman and Turner had never heard that expression before, but they liked the sound of it: it meant to just relax and not let things upset you. When they got to New Orleans, they wrote the song in their dressing room.

The song was on their album Bachman–Turner Overdrive II released in 1973. The album peaked at #6 in Canada and #3 in the Billboard Album Chart.

The song peaked at #2 in Canada and #23 in the Billboard 100.

Songfacts

The distinctive guitar riff in this song is something Randy Bachman came up with after listening to a classical piece by Antonin Dvorak called “Piano Concerto in D.” He transposed a chord progression he heard in the piece to guitar, which sounded great.

Bachman believes that pretty much any piece of modern music is based on something that came before. When we spoke with him in 2014, he said: “You’ve got to get them, reshape them, and hopefully they are reshaped enough that you can call it original.”

All of the background vocals were sung by Fred Turner, which caused a flanging effect that Randy Bachman liked. 

Does this song’s intro sound similar to that of “Long Train Runnin'” by the Doobie Brothers? Randy Bachman thinks so. He says that the Doobie Brothers were sharing a dressing room with him and Fred Turner the night they came up with “Let It Ride,” and the Doobies nicked the riff for their song.

Let It Ride

Good bye, hard life
Don’t cry would you let it ride?
Good bye, hard life
Don’t cry would you let it ride?

You can’t see the mornin’, but I can see the light
Try, try, try let it ride
While you’ve been out runnin’ I’ve been waitin’ half the night
Try, try, try let it ride

And would you cry if I told you that I lied and would you say goodbye or
Would you let it ride?
And would you cry if I told you that I lied
And would you say goodbye or would you let it ride?

Seems my life is not complete I never see you smile
Try, try, try let it ride
Baby you want the forgivin’ kind and that’s just not my style
Try, try, try let it ride

And would you cry if I told you that I lied and would you say goodbye or
Would you let it ride?
And would you cry if I told you that I lied
And would you say goodbye or would you let it ride?

I’ve been doin’ things worthwhile, you’ve been bookin’ time
Try, try, try let it ride

And would you cry if I told you that I lied and would you say goodbye or
Would you let it ride?
And would you cry if I told you that I lied
And would you say goodbye or would you let it ride?

Would you let it ride
Would you let it ride
Would you let it ride
Would you let it ride

Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride

Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride
Try, try, try let it ride

Try, try, try let it ride
Would you let it ride?
Would you let it ride?
Would you let it ride?
Would you let it ride?

Feelies – Let’s Go ….80’s Underground Mondays

The Feelies were an inspiration to REM and many alternative bands in the 80s. They formed in 1976 and disbanded in 1992 having released four albums. The band reunited in 2008, and most recently released albums in 2011 and 2017.

The band’s name is taken from a fictional entertainment device described in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

The song was released in 1986 on the album The Good Earth with REM’s Peter Buck producing. It was written by members Glenn Mercer and Bill Million. The band toured in support of the album as an opening band for Lou Reed as well as REM that year. The album was one of their most successful albums.

It certainly doesn’t have earth shaking lyrics but it’s a gorgeous over all sound and atmosphere they produce. It reminds me of something that would be on a movie soundtrack…it’s over with before you know it.

Let’s Go

Well alright
Well alright
Let’s go
Let’s go
Let’s go
Let’s go
All night long
All night long
(spoken?)

Why don’t we ? I know you?
Why don’t we ? I know you?
Go low (?)
Low low (?)
Go slow
Slow
All night long
All night long

All night long

The Chesterfield Kings – She Told Me Lies

I love how this song starts off like I Want To Hold Your Hand and then turns into a 60s mild psychedelia that sounds familiar to ? and the Mysterians the 60s American garage rock band.

They were formed in 1979 in Rochester, New York by the former singer of the Distorted Levels, Greg Provost, an underground music journalist, with Andy Babiuk and  keyboardist Orest Guran, the Chesterfield Kings offered their own version of psychedelia.

This song was released in 1984 with the B side I’ve Gotta Way With Girls. She Told Me Lies was written by Andy Babiuk, Cedrick ConaDoug MeechGreg Prevost, and Orest Guran.

The band, named after a defunct brand of unfiltered cigarette, was instrumental in sparking the 1980s garage band revival that launched many bands with a heavy 60’s influence that ignored the current trends.

The band was active from 1979 to 2009.

In 2000 they made a movie! From IMDB here is the description:

Its Ed Wood meets A Hard Days Night when Greg, Andy, Mike, Ted, and Jeff, together The Chesterfield Kings take on the evil Andro, a maniacal extraterrestrial bent on world domination. The cosmic showdown sends The Kings racing around the globe, from London to Rome, Las Vegas, and Honolulu in a desperate attempt to reclaim drummer Mike whose held hostage by the deranged alien. Can The Chesterfield Kings find their drummer, halt Andro’s master plan, and save the world, all in a brisk seventy minutes? You’ll have to see it to know for sure, but you can count on some killer tunes along the way including The Chesterfield Kings’ new single “Yes I Understand” and “Where Do We Go From Here” featuring lead vocals by Mark Lindsay formerly of Paul Revere and the Raiders in a cameo appearance.

I really want to see that movie.

Greg Provost: “Even when we were doing the garage stuff, we ended up sounding like the Stones. I love bands like the Sweet or Queen, but we could never sound like them. I can’t sing that good! So, we’re just going to capitalize on the kind of stuff we can sound like.”

She Told Me Lies

She told me lies
She left me on my own
She told me lies
I’ll drive away and hide
Yeah she cheated, she lied

She told me lies
She hurt my pride
She told me lies
I’ve got tears in my eyes
She told me lies
I ain’t got nothing to say
Yeah she left me today

She went walking to the door
I won’t ever see her face no more
I don’t know why she treated me bad
She’s the only true love I ever had
But now she’s gone

She went walking to the door
I won’t ever see her face no more
I don’t know why she treated me bad
She’s the only true love I ever had
But now she’s gone

She told me lies
But now she’s gone
She left me on my own
I’ll drive away and hide
Yeah she cheat, she lied

Joe Walsh – I Can Play That Rock and Roll

Yes Joe you can…When I first heard this in the early 80s on MTV it was such a relief to hear a guitar playing a rock and roll riff. It’s a simple comedic Joe Walsh song… and sometimes that is just what we need.

This is not Joe’s finest work but it’s fun and brings back memories. . After being restrained somewhat with the Eagles it was good to see him let go.  This song was on the album You Bought It You Name It. The album has varied styles from reggae, new wave, and rock and roll. The song peaked at #13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Airplay list.

The video of Joe trying to kill a fly in a hotel room was burned into my brain as this was on heavy rotation on MTV for a little while. Joe had a deadly aim with the Fender Strat to the television…years of practice I would guess.

In the middle of then current songs such as Safety Dance, Mickey, and Mr. Roboto this minor hit was a welcomed relief to me on MTV and the radio.

I Can Play That Rock and Roll

Well that disco thing can sure get funky
All them pretty songs seem too slow
I like to sit and pick with them good old boys
Maybe New Wave’s in, I just don’t know
When the critics try to analyse the current trend
I just sit back and watch ’em come and go
Cos I can play that rock and roll
Oh, now I can play that rock and roll
Hey now, I can play that rocking rock and roll

If you, if you wanna party at the next election
Only one way to go
Put on a rocking rock and roll selection
Turn up and vote
And you can check out anytime you want
Just call me Joe
And I can play that rock and roll for ya…
Yeah yeah yeah yeah I can play that rock and roll
Yeah, now now, I, I, I, well I can play that rock and roll
Well I can play that rock and roll
I can play that rock and roll

Cheap Trick – Come On, Come On …. Power Pop Friday

It’s been a while since we covered Cheap Trick and the time has come now. This is a power pop gem from the In Color album released in 1977. Cheap Trick is one of those bands that can cross genres with rock, pop, and heavy metal fans liking them.

This album was released the year before their Cheap Trick at Budokan album that would break their career open. This album has the studio version of I Want You To Want Me that would be a hit off of that live album

This album is a great album as well. It has Southern Girl, Hello There, and The Clock Strikes Ten just to name a few.

In Color peaked at #73 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1977 (I found no Canadian chart for this)…and #30 in Japan…a country which would be important in their career. The song was written by  Rick Nielsen.

This song reminds me of a warm seventies evening around twilight cruising with your friends…with a Cheap Trick T-Shirt on of course.

Women's Vintage Cheap Trick Concert T Shirt 70's Iron-On Extra Small –  Black Shag Vintage

Come On, Come On

Ooo I’m feelin’ good
Oh so good
Don’t you ruin it tonight, tonight
It’s been so long since I don’t know when
Ooo treat me, treat me, treat me right
Don’t be like sheep and follow the flock
Show me you really want to be mine

Ooo I’m feelin’ good
Oh so good
Don’t you ruin it tonight, tonight
It’s been so long since I don’t know when
Ooo treat me, treat me, treat me right
Don’t be like sheep and follow the flock
Show me you really want to be mine

Come on, come on
I know you can do it
Come on, come on
There ain’t nothing to it
Come on, come on
I know you believe me
Come on, come on
You can see the real me
Every day, every day
I need you, I want you
Come a little closer to my face
Oh little girl
I need you now

ACDC – Let There Be Rock

The song was co-written by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, and lyricist Bon Scott. The title track of and the third track on the band’s fourth album, it was released as a single in October 1977 backed by “Problem Child.”

George Young (Angus and Malcolm’s brother), acted as producer alongside partner and former bandmate Harry Vanda. In a familiar writing and recording process that was fast, furious and inspired, the entire album was completed in a matter of weeks.

The music video for “Let There Be Rock” was filmed in July 1977. It was recorded in the Kirk Gallery church in Surry Hills, New South Wales and featured Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, and Cliff Williams, who replaced Mark Evans as the band’s bassist shortly after the Let There Be Rock album was released.

Angus Young: “I remember the amp literally exploded during the recording session. My brother watched it with crazed eyes, and he told me ‘Come on! Keep on playing!’ while the stuff was steaming.”

From Songfacts

Running to a shade over 6 minutes, it was produced by Harry Vanda and George Young.

In spite of its appearing to be nothing more than a typically mindless rock anthem, this is actually quite a sophisticated track:

In the beginning
Back in 1955
The white man had the schmaltz
The black man had the blues

is an allusion to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. The genre developed from boogie woogie; the first rock ‘n’ roll song is generally acknowledged to be “Rocket 88,” to which Ike Turner was a very unlikely contributor considering the way his music was to develop, but then the two men who gave rock ‘n’ roll to the world in the first instance were if anything even more unlikely. There was the white man – who had performed as Yodelling Bill Haley – and the black man, a qualified beautician named Chuck Berry. Both Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock” and Berry’s “Maybellene” were released in 1955, and as they say, the rest is history. 

An anthem for the band, AC/DC has played this song at every concert since 1978. They often play it very fast and the solo can be extended all the way to 20 minutes as Angus rises above the stage and does the “spasm.” 

Let There Be Rock

In the beginning
Back in nineteen fifty five
Man didn’t know about a rock ‘n’ roll show
And all that jive
The white man had the smoltz
The black man had the blues
No one knew what they was gonna do
But Tchaikovsky had the news
He said

Let there be sound, and there was sound
Let there be light, and there was light
Let there be drums, and there was drums
Let there be guitar, and there was guitar
Let there be rock

And it came to pass
That rock ‘n’ roll was born
All across the land every rockin’ band
Was blowing up a storm
An the guitar man got famous
The businessman got rich
And in every bar there was a super star
With a seven year itch
There were fifteen million fingers
Learning how to play
And you could hear the fingers picking
And this is what they had to say

Let there be light
Sound
Drums
Guitar
Let there be rock

One night in a club called the shaking hand
There was a ninety two decibel rocking band
The music was good and the music was loud
And the singer turned and he said to the crowd

Let there be rock

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_There_Be_Rock_(song)

Jayhawks – Waiting For The Sun…. 80’s Underground Mondays

Ever since I heard this band on our alternative radio station in Nashville…Lightning 100 I’ve liked them. The Jayhawk’s writing and voices won me over with songs like Blue and I’m Gonna Make You Love Me.

This song opens up their Hollywood Town Hall album. The album peaked at #192 in the Billboard Album Charts and #11 in the Top Heatseekers Charts.

Benmont Tench, Charley Drayton, and Nicky Hopkins plays on the album with the Jayhawks.

The Jayhawks are an American alternative country and country rock band that emerged from the Minneapolis–Saint Paul music scene in the mid 80s. Minneapolis had a strong scene for bands in the 80s. The Replacements, Husker Du, Soul Asylum, and of course the big one…Prince.

The song, like most of The Jawhawks early cuts, is credited to the band’s guitarist Gary Louris and frontman Mark Olson.

Gary Louris: I didn’t know there was a song called “Waiting for the Sun,” I was not a Doors fan. I like them now, but I didn’t know there was a song called that. Maybe in my subconscious I did. 

From Songfacts

 According to Mark Derning of Allmusic.com, the song details, “a man who has lost his love under unpleasant circumstances and has hit the road, looking for something better from life and hoping a fair deal from the fates.”

Waiting For The Sun

I was waiting for the sun
Then I walked on home alone
What I didn’t know
Was he was waiting for you to fall

So I never made amends
For the sake of no one else
For the simple reason
That he was waiting for you to fall

It was not lost on me
It was not lost on me
Walkin’ on down the road
Looking for a friend to handout
Somethin’ might ease my soul

So I kept my spirits high
Entertaining passers-by
Wrapped in my confusion
While he was waiting for you to fall

It was not lost on me
It was not lost on me
Walkin’ on down the road
Looking for a friend to handout
Somethin’ might ease my soul

It was not lost on me
It was not lost on me
Walkin’ on down the road
Walkin’ on down the road
Walkin’ on down the road
Walkin’ on down the road

Bessie Smith – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out

This is my first song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out.

I got into Bessie Smith from listening to Janis Joplin and reading about her. Bessie’s voice sends chills up my spine…that is my litmus test. This particular song grabs me because of Smith’s voice and vibe of the recording. She sings it, means it, and she lived it. The sound of the record and her voice is just unbeatable. Yes we have digital now but digital could not give you this sound.

If you are not familiar with her…do yourself a favor and check her out.

I can imagine Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Clara Bow all listening to this in the 20s and 30s.

This song was written by Jimmy Cox in 1923 just as the roaring twenties were taking off. There are many versions but Bessie Smith recorded hers in 1929 with a small trumpet section. It was released right before the stock market crashed and the start of the Great Depression.

Many artists (Peter, Paul and Mary, The Chad Mitchell Trio, Dave Van Ronk, Otis Redding, Popa Chubby, The Allman Brothers Band, Rod Stewart, Janis Joplin, B.B. King, Nina Simone, Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack, Katie Melua, Dutch Tilders, Steve Winwood with The Spencer Davis Group, Emmy Rossum, Leslie Odom Jr.) have covered this song but Bessie’s is my go to version.

She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on April 15, 1894. She lost her dad while she was an infant and her mom when she was 7-8 years old. She was raised by her tough older sister. To help support her orphaned siblings, Bessie began her career as a Chattanooga street musician, singing in a duo with her brother Andrew to earn money to support their poor family.

She is credited with recording more than 160 songs between 1923 and 1933. Smith performed on stage throughout the southern United States and recorded with such jazz greats as Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, and Coleman Hawkins.

Before the Great Depression, Bessie was the highest paid black entertainer in the world, collecting as much as two thousand dollars a week to perform. She was accompanied by great musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Lonnie Johnson, and Benny Goodman.

This song was recorded New York City, May 15, 1929.

Mahalia Jackson, Janis Joplin and Norah Jones who have all given her credit as their inspiration.

On September 26, 1937, Smith was severely injured in a car accident while traveling from a concert in Memphis to Clarksdale, Mississippi, with her companion Richard Morgan. She was taken to a hospital, where she died.

By the time of her death, Bessie was known around the world appear with the best players of the day at theaters coast to coast. Bessie’s voice and showmanship drove her from poverty to international fame as a singer of blues tunes, many of which she wrote and co-wrote.

Bessie Smith has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, winning posthumous awards for her 1923 single “Downhearted Blues,” 1925 single “St. Louis Blues” with Louis Armstrong, and a 1928 single “Empty Bed Blues.” Smith has also been honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame, and the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.

Janis Joplin: “Back in Port Arthur, I’d heard some Lead Belly records, and, well, if the blues syndrome is true, I guess it’s true about me…So I began listening to blues and folk music. I bought Bessie Smith and Odetta records, and one night, I was at this party and I did an imitation of Odetta. I’d never sung before, and I came out with this huge voice.”

Nobody Knows You’re When You’re Down and Out

Once I lived the life of a millionaire
Spending my money, I didn’t care
I carried my friends out for a good time
Bying bootleg liquor, champagne and wine

Then I began to fall so low
I didn’t have a friend, and no place to go
So if I ever get my hand on a dollar again
I’m gonna hold on to it till them eagle’s green

Nobody knows you when you down and out
In my pocket not one penny
And my friends I haven’t any
But If I ever get on my feet again
Then I’ll meet my long lost friend
It’s mighty strange, without a doubt
Nobody knows you when you down and out
I mean when you down and out

Mmmmmmmm…. when you’re down and out
Mmmmmmmm… not one penny
And my friends I haven’t any
Mmmmmmmm… Well I felt so low
Nobody wants me round their door
Mmmmmmmm… Without a doubt,
No man can use you wen you down and out
I mean when you down and out

Paladins – Keep On Lovin Me Baby

Here is some 1980’s roots rockabilly. What caught my attention is that relentless guitar on this track plus the groove. The guitar player is Dave Gonzalez and the tone reminds me of Stevie Ray Vaughn. This song was written by blues guitarist and songwriter Otis Rush. 

The Paladins are from San Diego and were into rockabilly. They billed their music as Western Bop. They played a combination of rockabilly and vintage country together with a blues groove. They were founded in 1980 by guitarist Dave Gonzalez and bass player Thomas Yearsley.

Dave Gonzalez’s initial influences came from his mother, who listened to  Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and the Rolling Stones. He mixed this with his father’s love of country singers Buck Owens and Merle Haggard who also made a strong impression on him. As he got older he got into blues artists like  B.B. King, Muddy Waters, and Johnny Winter.

Put that all together and you come up with a varied roots style.

They did some tours with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Los Lobos, The Blasters and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. This song was on the Lets Buzz! album released in 1990. They were nominated for the  1990 Entertainer Music Awards but lost out to the Beat Farmers…but they won two years later.

Dave Gonzalez and bass player Thomas Yearsley along with drummer Brian Fahey are still a top attraction at clubs at the present time. They have recorded five singles, nine full length studio records, and three live albums to date.

Keep On Lovin Me Baby

I want you to love me (repeat) woh yeah.
Oh baby i’m so glad youre mine…
I want you to kiss me…
Woh baby i’m so glad you’re mine…

Early every morning, sometimes late at night i can
Feel your tender lips they make me feel alright.

Keep on loving me baby…
Woh baby i’m so glad you’re mine…

Monkees – Listen To The Band

Buddy Miles and the Monkees! Below in one of the clips of this song.

This was the last song they released that I liked…it was at the time Peter Tork quit. The band I was in…this was the lone Monkee song we would do and it always got a good response.

This song was released as a single in 1969. It was the first time Michael Nesmith would sing on a Monkee’s A side…and he was long overdue. He also wrote it and produced it. He started to write it while in Nashville at RCA studios. The song features a brass section that plays during the instrumental section as if the brass were the band.

The Monkees went into MGM studios in November of 1968 to tape their NBC television special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, they were just two years away from their commercial peak… selling records by the millions, a hit TV show and battling with the other bands for chart supremacy. But their show went off the air that March, and their psychedelic movie Head flopped in theaters just a couple weeks earlier. They were on the way down.

Their most recent LP, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, peaked at #3 on the Billboard Album charts and generated the single “Daydream Believer.” It was enough to get NBC to green light a TV special, though wheels were in motion before critics got a look at Head. The Monkees could have created a television in the same zany, carefree style of their old show in an attempt to win back some old fans, but they decided to double down on psychedelic.

The show was a psychedelic mess that did not restart their career. At this time Peter Tork had grown tired of it all and it was his last appearance with the band. The one clip that was worth it was the clip of this song. Buddy Miles comes in on drums in the middle and really rocks it out.

Listen To The Band

Hey, hey, mercy woman plays a song and no one listens,
I need help I’m falling again.

Play the drum a little louder,
Tell me I can live without her
If I only listen to the band.

Listen to the band!

Weren’t they good, they made me happy.
I think I can make it alone.

Oh, mercy woman plays a song and no one listens,
I need help I’m falling again.

Play the drum a little bit louder,
Tell them they can live without her
If they only listen to the band.

Listen to the band!

Now weren’t they good, they made me happy.
I think I can make it alone.

Oh, woman plays a song and no one listens,
I need help I’m falling again.

C’mon, play the drums just a little bit louder,
Tell us we can live without her
Now that we have listened to the band.

Listen to the band!

Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill

I found my thrill
On Blueberry Hill

Domino’s real name was Antoine Domino. He placed 37 songs in the US Top 40. Blueberry Hill” was his biggest hit and best seller, spending 11 weeks at #1 on the R&B chart.

When I hear this song I automatically think of Happy Days when Ritchie finds a date. Fats wasn’t as flashy as some of his peers but he was a terrific piano player, performer, and singer.

This now rock classic was written by Vincent Rose, Al Lewis and Larry Stock for the 1940 Western The Singing Hill before they decided it was good enough to be released commercially. The song was used in the movie, where it was heard for the first time performed by Gene Autry.

Larry Stock (wrote the lyrics): “One important publisher turned down ‘Blueberry Hill,’ because, he claimed, blueberries don’t grow on hills. I assured him I had picked them on hills as a boy, but nothing doing. So Chappell And Company bought the song and another hit was born.” 

Ray Manzarek of The Doors has said that the baseline to “Light My Fire” was based on this song.

The band couldn’t get a full take of this song they were happy with, so the engineer, Bunny Robyn pieced together the final version from many fragmentary takes.

From Songfacts

Things are going well at the beginning of this song, as the singer has found his true love, enjoying a special moment on Blueberry Hill. It takes a sad turn though, when she leaves him:

Though we’re apart
You’re part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill

Many artists recorded this before Domino, mostly orchestras. In 1940, it was a #2 US hit for Glenn Miller. That same year, Russ Morgan, Gene Krupa and Kay Kyser all recorded it with their orchestras. Louis Armstrong did the song with Gordon Jenkins and his orchestra in 1949; this version was re-released in 1956, going to #29 in America. Other artists to cover the song include Elvis Presley (on his 1957 album Loving You), The Beach Boys, Andy Williams, Kiki, Cliff Richard, Bruce Cockburn.

Fats Domino, who knew the song through Louis Armstrong’s 1949 version, recorded this at Master Recorders in Los Angeles at a session in which he ran out of material to tape. Domino insisted on recording the song over the vehement objections of producer-arranger Dave Bartholomew, who felt the song been done too many times already. Domino came up with the definitive version though, featuring his famous piano triplets and sly Cajun accent.

Personnel on this track:

Dave Bartholomew – trumpet
Walter “Papoose” Nelson – guitar
Herb Hardesty – tenor sax
Lawrence Guyton – bass
Cornelius Coleman – drums

Domino Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin performed this song on December 10, 2010 at a charity event in front of an audience of international film and television celebrities. Videos of his performance quickly went viral worldwide. Putin’s spokesman said the former KGB chief learned the lyrics to the song as part of his English language studies.

Blueberry Hill

I found my thrill
On Blueberry Hill
On Blueberry Hill
When I found you

The moon stood still
On Blueberry Hill
And lingered until
My dream came true

The wind in the willow played
Love’s sweet melody
But all of those vows you made
Were never to be

Though we’re apart
You’re part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill

The wind in the willow played
Love’s sweet melody
But all of those vows you made
Were never to be

Though we’re apart
You’re part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill

Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark

This song kicked off Brucemania in 1984. Born in the USA along with Thriller and Purple Rain ruled in the 80s.

This one is not my favorite off the album but I did like it. Considering the times it was the best sounding song to lead off with.  All together Born In The USA had 7 top ten singles….I didn’t know what to think at first…I liked this and Cover me but it was when the title track was released…that is when I was sold when I heard Springsteen sing Born in the U.S.A..

This song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #3 in Canada, #28 in the UK, and #2 in New Zealand.

This was the last song written and recorded for the Born In The U.S.A.. His manager Jon Landau didn’t hear a lead off single from the album at the time and asked him to write something that could be that song. Bruce was not in the mood for hearing this…he said “Look, I’ve written 70 songs (he had written 70 songs for the album). You want another one, you write it.” After giving it a while he sat in his hotel room and wrote about himself at that time…about the isolation that fame had given him since The River.

The next day Landau had the song he was looking for…so  for the first time Bruce set out to make a video. It was directed by Brian DePalma, the video was filmed during Springsteen’s concert at the St. Paul Civic Center in Minnesota on June 29, 1984. Courtney Cox, who was planted in the audience, got the role of the adoring fan in the front row who gets to dance on stage with Bruce. Many Springsteen fans were upset that he didn’t get a true fan from the audience.

Springsteen did “Dancing In The Dark” midway through the show, so by that time he was warmed up and the crowd was worked into a frenzy. To get the shots, Springsteen did the song twice, with DePalma repositioning his cameras after the first take.

This song won Springsteen his first Grammy. In 1985, it got the award for Best Male Vocal… also in Rolling Stone reader’s poll, this was voted Single of the Year in 1985.

From Songfacts

Springsteen wrote this about his difficulty writing a hit single and his frustration trying to write songs that will please people. His struggles pour out in the lyric, where he feels like a hired gun dying for some action. He even addresses an industry trope, which he surely heard many times before:

They say you gotta stay hungry
hey baby I’m just about starving tonight

Ironically, the song was a hit single – the biggest of his career in terms of US chart position. (Although Manfred Mann’s cover of Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light” made #1.)

Springsteen was doing just fine, with six successful albums in his discography and an unparalleled concert reputation. He had over 70 songs written for Born In The U.S.A., but Landau wanted a guaranteed hit to ensure superstar status for Springsteen. “Dancing In The Dark” provided just that spark; released as the first single (the only one issued ahead of the album), it started the fire that was Born In The U.S.A. Springsteen’s songs were soon all over the radio, and he found a whole new audience. Unlike many rock artists who are accused of selling out when they hit it huge, Springsteen’s star turn was welcomed (for the most part) by his faithful, who had spent many years spreading his gospel.

The video was Springsteen’s first to get heavy airplay on MTV, and it introduced him to a new, mostly younger audience. As for Cox, a few years later she landed a role on the sitcom Family Ties, and went on to star in the wildly popular TV series Friends.

The lyric is rather bleak, as Springsteen sings lines like, “Man I ain’t getting nowhere, I’m just living in a dump like this.” It doesn’t have a happy ending, but by the end of the song, he seems intent on taking some action, looking for just a tiny bit of inspiration to set him on his path – after all, you can’t start a fire without a spark.

By the last verse, there’s a touch of existentialism, as he puts things in perspective: “You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart.”

The deep, philosophical message was lost on most listeners who were entranced by the catchy beat (the video didn’t exactly push a deeper meaning either). Springsteen got a similar reaction to his song “Born In The U.S.A.,” where the message was lost in the music. That one bothered him, as the song is about the plight of a Vietnam veteran returning home to hostilities and disregard.

This song sent the Born In the U.S.A. album on a Thriller-like run of chart success, with the next six singles all reaching the US Top 10. The tally, in order of release:

“Cover Me” (#7)
“Born In The U.S.A.” (#9)
“I’m On Fire” (#6)
“Glory Days” (#5)
“I’m Goin’ Down” (#9)
“My Hometown” (#6)

The original concept for the music video was to have Springsteen literally dancing in the dark – shot against against a black background. Jeff Stein was the director, and Daniel Pearl, famous for his cinematography on “Every Breath You Take,” was the director of photography. Pearl and Springsteen got in a kerfuffle over how he should be shot, with Springsteen wanting a filter and Pearl insisting on hard lighting. Bruce walked out after a few takes, and ended up shooting the video with Brian DePalma. A few years later, despite his efforts to avoid Springsteen, Pearl found himself working on the “Human Touch” video. Pearl says that Springsteen apologized for the “Dancing In The Dark” debacle and asked to work with him again, as he realized Pearl was right about the lighting.

The single was released on May 3, 1984 and reached its US chart peak of #2 on June 30, which was before the video hit MTV. That week, “The Reflex” by Duran Duran held it out of the top spot; with MTV support, “Dancing In The Dark” looked like a sure bet for #1, but then Prince and his crying doves showed up, ruling MTV and the airwaves, and keeping Springsteen’s song at #2 for the next three weeks.

In 1985, Tina Turner performed this on her Private Dancer tour. Her version appears on the album Tina Turner – Live in Tokyo.

A rather intriguing cover of this song was by the group Big Daddy, who hit #21 UK with their version. The concept behind Big Daddy is that a band crash landed on an island while out on tour in the late ’50s or early ’60s, and when they were rescued in the early ’80s, tried to revive their career. Music had changed drastically by then, so they started covering ’80s music in the only style they knew how to play. The result is a kind of modern Pat Boone sound.

According to Rolling Stone, this is is the only Springsteen song that Bob Dylan ever covered, and he only did it once: at the club Toad’s Place in New Haven, Connecticut, on the night of January 12th, 1990. Dylan flubbed most of the words and the performance was so rough that most people in the audience didn’t seem to realize what song it was until the band hit the chorus.

Dancing In The Dark

I get up in the evening
and I ain’t got nothing to say
I come home in the morning
I go to bed feeling the same way
I ain’t nothing but tired
Man I’m just tired and bored with myself
Hey there baby, I could use just a little help

You can’t start a fire
You can’t start a fire without a spark
This gun’s for hire
even if we’re just dancing in the dark

Message keeps getting clearer
radio’s on and I’m moving ’round the place
I check my look in the mirror
I want to change my clothes, my hair, my face
Man I ain’t getting nowhere
I’m just living in a dump like this
There’s something happening somewhere
baby I just know that there is

You can’t start a fire
you can’t start a fire without a spark
This gun’s for hire
even if we’re just dancing in the dark

You sit around getting older
there’s a joke here somewhere and it’s on me
I’ll shake this world off my shoulders
come on baby this laugh’s on me

Stay on the streets of this town
and they’ll be carving you up alright
They say you gotta stay hungry
hey baby I’m just about starving tonight
I’m dying for some action
I’m sick of sitting ’round here trying to write this book
I need a love reaction
come on now baby gimme just one look

You can’t start a fire sitting ’round crying over a broken heart
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark
Hey baby

Mojo Nixon – Don Henley Must Die!

I had to post this song. Even Eagle fans will admit Henley can be a bit pretentious…that’s not a put down…it just is.

You and your kind
Are killing rock and roll
It’s not because you are O L D
It’s cause you ain’t got no soul!

Don Henley Must Die released in 1990 and it’s off of his album Otis.  The song peaked at #20 in the Modern Rock Charts.

According to Nixon, Henley joined Nixon onstage one night in a small club before the Eagles reunion and helped Nixon sing it. This is a quote from Nixon: “There I was, the king of bullshit, completely flabbergasted,” “I took my guitar off, put it back on, did that like three times, then got on the mic and said, ‘Don, do you want to debate? Do you want to fist fight?’ He was shit-faced and he goes, ‘I want to sing that song, especially the part about not getting together with Glenn Frey!'” 

When the chorus hit, Nixon let Henley take the lead: “Don Henley must die, don’t let him get back together with Glenn Frey!”

“He was beltin’ that shit out, screaming like he was Johnny fuckin’ Rotten,” 

..Don Henley Must Die…

Don Henley Must Die

This is the sound of my brain.

Then I said, this is the sound of my brain on Don Henley!

Then I said, 1 2 3 4…

He’s a tortured artist
Used to be in the Eagles
Now he whines
Like a wounded beagle
Poet of despair!
Pumped up with hot air!
He’s serious, pretentious
And I just don’t care
Don Henley must die!
Don’t let him get back together
With Glenn Frey!
Don Henley must die!

Turn on the TV
And what did I see?
This bloated hairy thing
Winning a Grammy
Best Rock Vocalist?
Compared to what?
But your pseudo-serious
Crafty Satanic blot
Don Henley must die!
Put a sharp stick in his eye!
Don Henley must die!
Yea yea yea

Quit playin’ that crap
You’re out of the band

I’m only kidding
Can’t you tell?
I love his sensitive music
Idiot poetry, swell
You and your kind
Are killing rock and roll
It’s not because you are O L D
It’s cause you ain’t got no soul!
Don’t be afraid of fun
Loosen up your ponytail!
Be wild, young, free and dumb
Get your head out of your tail
Don Henley must die!
Don’t let him get back together
With Glenn Frey!

Don Henley must die!
Put him in the electric chair
Watch him fry!
Don Henley must die
Don Henley must die
No Eagles reunion
The same goes for you, Sting!

Motors – Airport

Welcome to Pub Rock! The Motors were a UK band in the 1970s. This song was their most successful song…peaking at #4 in the UK. All together they had 7 songs in the top 100 in the UK.

lEx-Duck Deluxe members Nick Garvey and Andy McMaster formed the Motors in 1977 with Rob Henry…soon to be replaced by Bram Tchaikovsky and drummer Ricky Slaughter.

This band could get in a groove. I posted something on Bram Tchaikovsky a couple of years ago and knew he was in this band but never checked him out until fellow blogger CB mentioned them. While their peers were in disco, The Motors were finding their groove in rock and roll. Bram would have an international hit with Girl Of My Dreams. His real name is Peter Bramall and he took the  stage name of  Bram Tchaikovsky…it was also the name of the group he fronted in the late 70s & early 80s after The Motors.

After they released their 1980 album Tenement Steps they broke up. The band released 3 albums in all. This song is off of their Approved By Motors album released in 1978.

When their second greatest hits (Airport: The Motors’ Greatest Hits) was released in 1995 and renewed interest in the  band.

Airport

So many destination faces going to so many places
Where the weather is much better
And the food is so much cheaper.
Well I help her with her baggage for her baggage is so heavy
I hear the plane is ready by the gateway to take my love away.
And I can’t believe that she really wants to leave me and it’s getting me so,
It’s getting me so.

Airport –
Airport, you’ve got a smiling face,
you took the one I love so far away
Fly her away – fly her away – airport.
Airport, you’ve got a smiling face
You took my lady to another place
Fly her away – fly her away.

The plane is on the move,
And the traces of the love we had in places
Are turning in my mind – how I wish I’d been much stronger
For the wheels are turning faster as I hear the winds are blowing
and I know that she is leaving
On the jet plane way down the runaway.
And I can’t believe that she really wants to leave me – and it’s
getting me so,
It’s getting me so.

Airport –
Airport, you’ve got a smiling face,…

Airport –
Airport, you’ve got a smiling face,…