Smiths – How Soon Is Now…. 80’s Underground Mondays

I knew a few songs from The Smiths in the 80s but I found out more in the last few years from bloggers like Dave from A Sound Day.  This intro is just plain epic. The Smiths had difficulty playing this song live. Johnny Marr, had troubles recreating the guitar effect in concert. The tremolo is perfect in this song.

Bassist, Andy Rourke, called the song “the bane of The Smiths’ live career.”

The song was released in 1985 and it peaked at #24 in the UK, #39 in New Zealand, an d #36 in the US Dance Chart… The single was re-released in 1992 and it peaked at #16 in the UK. 

This incridble song was the B side to William, It Was Really Nothing. It was on the album Hatful of Hollow. The album was a compilation album released in 1984 and it peaked at #7 in the UK. In 2000, Q magazine placed the album at No. 44 on its list of the “100 Greatest British Albums Ever”.

Guitarist  Johnny Marr has described this song as The Smiths’ “most enduring record.” It is supposedly about their singer’s Morrissey’s crippling shyness. It has since become an anthem for the alienated and socially isolated.

Johnny Marr: “I wanted an introduction that was almost as potent as ‘Layla.’ When it plays in a club or a pub, everyone knows what it is.”

Johnny Marr: “I wanted it to be really, really tense and swampy, all at the same time. Layering the slide part was what gave it the real tension. The tremolo effect came from laying down a regular rhythm part with a capo at the 2nd fret on a Les Paul, then sending that out in to the live room to four Fender Twins. John was controlling the tremolo on two of them and I was controlling the other two, and whenever they went out of sync we just had to stop the track and start all over again. It took an eternity.”

From Songfacts

Marr wrote this song, “William, It Was Really Nothing” and “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” over a productive four-day period in June 1984.

The Smiths installed red lightbulbs in their London studio to create the perfect atmosphere to record this song in.

The oscillating guitar has been compared to the one heard in The Rolling Stones’ cover of Bo Diddley’s song, “I Need You Baby (Mona).” This would not be the last time that Marr would steal a riff from the Stones!

This song was named after a question posed in Marjorie Rosen’s feminist film study, Popcorn Venus – one of Morrissey’s favorite books.

Morrissey lifted the line, “The heir to nothing in particular,” from the 19th century novel, Middlemarch, by George Eliot.

Marr told The Guardian newspaper that the producer, John Porter, misjudged this song’s opening lyric: “I remember when Morrissey first sang, ‘I am the son and the heir…’ John Porter went, ‘Ah great, the elements!’ Morrissey continued, ‘…of a shyness that is criminally vulgar.’ I knew he’d hit the bullseye there and then.”

Unlike many British acts, The Smiths hadn’t made any music videos. By 1985, MTV was very popular in America and a key to promoting songs to a young audience, so Jeff Ayeroff, who was in charge of video promotion at Warner Music, parent to The Smith’s US label Sire, commissioned a video. Video directors weren’t easy to come by at the time unless you had a substantial budget, and Ayeroff only wanted to shell out $5,000. He hired Paula Greif, who had been designing album covers, to make the video, giving her the instruction, “Find some performance footage and put a girl in it.”

Greif did just that, using footage from a show in Leicester shot in 1984 by the band’s live sound engineer, Grant Showbiz. She combined this with Super 8 video she shot of a female model dancing as if she was at the show. The band had no involvement.

Morrissey told Creem magazine that he detested the video. “It had absolutely nothing to do with The Smiths,” he said. “Quite naturally we were swamped with letters from very distressed American friends saying, ‘Why on earth did you make this foul video?’ And of course it must be understood that Sire made that video, and we saw the video and we said to Sire, ‘You can’t possibly release this… this degrading video.’ And they said, ‘Well, maybe you shouldn’t really be on our label.’ It was quite disastrous.”

Morrissey and Marr receive 25% of the royalties for the Soho hit, “Hippychick,” which interpolates this song’s guitar riff.

The band Love Spit Love, which included Psychedelic Furs members Richard and Tim Butler, recorded a new version of this song for the 1996 movie The Craft, which is about a coven of strikingly attractive teenage witches. In 1998, this same cover version was used as the theme song to the TV series Charmed, which is about a coven of strikingly attractive teenage witches.

The song also appears in the movies The Wedding Singer (1998) and Closer (2004).

The Russian duo t.A.T.u. of “All The Things She Said” fame covered this song in 2002. Marr slammed the “silly” cover, though Morrissey called it “magnificent.” Their version was used in the 2008 episode of Gossip Girl, “Pret-a-Poor-J.”

This song featured in a commercial for Pepe Jeans in 1988, also appeared in a 1999 commercial for the Nissan Maxima (without lyrics).

This was the B-side to the “William, It Was Really Nothing” single, which was released in 1984. After British radio picked up on the song, it was released as a standalone single in 1985, when it charted at an underwhelming #24, much to the disappointment of Morrissey, who bemoaned to Creem magazine: “It’s hard to believe that ‘How Soon Is Now’ was not a hit. I thought that was the one.” It was reissued for a third time in 1992, when it charted at #16.

The single artwork was a still of the actor, Sean Barrett, from the 1958 film, Dunkirk. Barrett was praying in the image, but because he also looked like he was holding his crotch, the sleeve was deemed to be offensive and was consequently banned in the US.

How Soon Is Now

I am the son
And the heir
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
I am the son and heir
Of nothing in particular

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

I am the son
And the heir
Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar
I am the son and heir
Of nothing in particular

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

There’s a club if you’d like to go
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home and you cry
And you want to die

When you say it’s gonna happen “now”
When exactly do you mean?
See I’ve already waited too long
And all my hope is gone

You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does

Jason and The Scorchers – White Lies

In the mid eighties I had a friend who were into Jason and the Scorchers so I gave them a listen. They were big on college radio and they had many ties with Nashville and played here quite often.

I first heard them do a live version of “The Race Is On”…the old George Jones song and it won me over. They were really a big deal in the southeast in the middle eighties and should have spread more. Their music seemed to have a kinship to the Georgia Satellites but they were a little more country. They did have some MTV play with this song and  Golden Ball and Chain.

The band was formed in 1981. They were together through the 80s till the drummer Perry Baggs was diagnosed with diabetes and could not finish a 1990 tour. They have regrouped since then off and on and altogether have released 15 albums with the last one being in 2010. In 2012 Perry Baggs passed away because of diabetes.

They played a mixture between country and rock and fell into the cracks. They seemed too rock for country and too country for rock. Live they were unbeatable.

This song was released in 1985 on the album Lost and Found.

AllMusic’s Mark Deming called Lost & Found “the best record this fine band would ever make.”

Below is the reunited band on the Conan show in 1998…promoting a live album.

White Lies

White lies
Every evening when I walk through the door
I hear the same old lies that I’ve heard before:
You’re going out for the evening, going out with a friend.
Do you really want me to believe that again?
You’re telling white lies, you’re telling white lies.
I can see right through that this disguise.
Can’t you tell I can tell when you’re telling white lies?
Take these chains and set me free,
Release me from this misery.
Now, don’t you waste my time with your alibis
’cause your heart can’t hide what I see in your eyes.
You’re telling white lies, you’re telling white lies.
I can see right through that thin disguise.
Can’t you tell I can tell when you’re telling white lies?
Every evening when I walk through that door
I get the same old lies that I’ve heard before:
You’re going out for the evening, going out with a friend.
Do you really want me to believe that again?
You’re telling white lies, you’re telling whire lies.
I can see right through that thin disguise.
Can’t you tell I can tell when you’re telling white lies?
You’re telling white lies, you’re telling white lies.
I can see right through that thin disguise.
Can’t you tell I can tell when you’re telling white lies?
White lies
White lies
White lies

Posies – Golden Blunders…. Powerpop Friday

Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer started to write songs together while in High School in Bellingham, Washington in 1986. They were influenced by The Hollies, Hüsker Dü, XTC, Elvis Costello, Squeeze, and Big Star.

They released an album Failure on cassette and vinyl near the end of 1988 on local indie label PopLlama. Several major labels noticed the band early on and in late 1989 they signed to new Geffen Records imprint DGC Records. The released an album Dear 23 in 1990 and this was their first single. The song peaked at #17 in the US Modern Rock Tracks in 1990.

Ringo Starr would cover Golden Blunders on his 1992 solo album Time Takes Time.

There is no surprise after listening to the Posies that guitarists  Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer  would join Big Star’s Alex Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens to record and tour as Big Star in the 90s and up until Alex’s death in 2010.

Ken and Jon’s harmonies, writing, and playing are top notch. The 80’s and 90’s popular  radio left a lot to be desired, at least to me, they could have really used these guys…I may have liked that era much better hearing more of this.

Jon Auer on Golden Blunders: “It’s about two kids in high school who mess up the rest of their lives,” “There’s the implication of a teenage pregnancy but there’s not any amazing message here.”

Golden Blunders

Golden blunders come in pairs, they’re very unaware
What they know is what they’ve seen
Education wasn’t fun, but now that school is done
Higher learning’s just begun
(Chorus)
You’re gonna watch what you say for a long time
You’re gonna suffer the guilt forever
You’re gonna get in the way at the wrong time
You’re gonna mess up things you thought you would never
Disappointment breeds contempt, it make you feel inept
Never thought you’d feel alone (at home)
His and hers forever more, throw your freedom out of the door
Before you find out what it’s for
(Chorus)
Four weeks seemed like a long time then – but nine months is longer now
But even if you never speak again – you’ve already made the wedding vow
(Chorus)
Honeymoons will never start, bonds will blow apart
Just as fast as they were made
Men and women please beware : don’t pretend you care
Nothing lasts when nothing’s there
(Repeat Chorus)

Byrds – Tiffany Queen

Back in the 80s I bought some compilation Byrds tape with this song on it. I had never heard it before but I liked it right away. It does borrow from 50’s rock and roll just a little bit just enough to give it flavor.

Tiffany Queen was written and recorded live in the studio and it is a fun song. The song was on the album Farther Along and was released in 1971. The album peaked at #152 in the Billboard Al bum Charts and #41 in Canada.

FartherAlongCover.jpg

Farther Along was not their best album…their next album would be the reunion of the original members in 1973. That album was called Byrds and it peaked at #20 in the Billboard Album Charts, #19 in Canada, and #31 in the UK.

Roger McGuinn: “We wouldn’t really write at a session, because studio time was so expensive. Usually the writing would take place at someone’s house, either my house or the other guy’s house. We’d sit down at a table and chairs with a legal pad and start working on it. And you know, it definitely is work, it’s a lot more perspiration than inspiration! Once in a while you get a tune that’s pretty fully formed, like you wake up having heard it in a dream or something, but that’s only happened once in a while to me. An example of that would be the song Tiffany Queen: I dreamed that song and went in and recorded it the next day. I can’t think of any others.”

Tiffany Queen

Happiness hit me on the first day that we met
She was sitting in my kitchen with a face I can’t forget
She was looking in my direction and calling with her eyes
I was trying to do and interview and telling them all lies
Last year in the summer with a tiffany lamp over her head

They asked me what I thought about the 50’s rock n roll
Then they got into a limousine and fell into a hole
I moved into the kitchen and I quickly fell in love
The warden came along and asked me what I was thinking of
Last year in the summer with a tiffany lamp over her head

Well I grabbed her by the hand and with a few things I could
The warden said your leaving you better leave for good
I made it to Tasmania to buy a devil dog
We met a handsome prince who turned into a frog
Last year in the summer with a tiffany lamp over her head

Now we’re living out in Malibu the ocean by our side
Laying in the sunshine drifting with the tide
Happiness hit me on the first day that we met
She was sitting in my kitchen with a face I can’t forget
Last year in the summer with a tiffany lamp over her head
Over her head

Rolling Stones – 2000 Light Years From Home

Their Satanic Majesties Request…the more I listen to this album the more I like it. It wasn’t up to their normal standards but it is nice to know the St0nes stretched themselves and tried something different. They would later dip into reggae and disco but this was an album worth of change that never happened again.

This psychedelic period was coming off of one of their best stretches which I think they produced some of their best music with songs like Ruby Tuesday.

Mick Jagger got the idea for this while in jail on drug charges from the famous Redland’s bust.

On this track, their lead guitarist, Brian Jones, played a Mellotron, an early synthesizer. Jones played a number of unusual instruments in his time with the band, which lasted from their founding in 1962 until 1969, when he was fired after a number of clashes with the rest of the Stones.

Brian Jones has been over rated and underrated but his subtle touch on songs was missed.

Just weeks after leaving the band…  Jones drowned in his swimming pool.

After Brian was gone it was noticeable in the Stones. He was a great utility guy who could play about any instrument. Mick Taylor replaced him and that lead to the Stones golden period. In my opinion, Taylor was the best guitar player the Stones ever had in the band. He was a huge part of their sound. When he left there was a hole in the sound that never came back.

From Songfacts

Space exploration was big at the time, and was probably an influence on this song. Pink Floyd was making music with a similar sound.

The psychedelic sound reflected the times. It was the summer of love (1967).

The Stones played this on their Steel Wheels tour in 1989. A show in Atlantic City was broadcast with this song shot in 3D, which viewers could see using those goofy glasses.

Various echo effects and drum sounds were added in overdubbing.

The ’90s psychedelic group The Brian Jonestown Massacre recorded a tribute to the Stones’ psychedelic period (and this song) called Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request.

2000 Light Years From Home

Sun turnin’ ’round with graceful motion
We’re setting off with soft explosion
Bound for a star with fiery oceans
It’s so very lonely
You’re a hundred light years from home

Freezing red deserts turn to dark
Energy here in every part
It’s so very lonely
You’re six hundred light years from home

It’s so very lonely
You’re a thousand light years from home
It’s so very lonely
You’re a thousand light years from home

Bell flight fourteen you now can land
See you on Aldebaran
Safe on the green desert sand
It’s so very lonely
You’re 2000 light years from home
It’s so very lonely
You’re 2000 light years from home

Caesars – Jerk It Out

It sounds like it could have been recorded in 1966 by a garage band in Ohio. This song is a bit unknown but like most songs today you may have heard it on commercials. This song just hits you right away with it’s distorted organ.

What a cool mid-sixties garage sound The Caesars had on this song…I like good riffs…and this one has a great organ hook. I first heard it in the mid-2000s and I’ve loved it ever since. It peaked at #70 in the Billboard 100 in 2005 and #8 in the UK in 2003. I first noticed it on an Ipod commercial and have recommended it to friends.

This was the first hit for The Caesars, who are known as The Caesar’s Palace in their native country of Sweden, and Twelve Caesars throughout the rest of Scandinavia…However due to copyrights from Caesars Palace Casino, they are known as The Caesars throughout the rest of the world.

The band went on hiatus in 2012 but since has reunited. I posted this song when I first started but only had one maybe two readers…I heard it again yesterday and had to repost it.

From Songfacts.

No hidden meaning in this song – it’s just about dancing and getting loose. It received a lot of attention in the United States after it was featured in an iPod ad. The popular iPod ads also helped boost the popularity for songs like “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Aussie rock band JET, and “Flathead” by the Scottish band The Fratellis.

According to the band, the title “Jerk It Out” means “to just let out some steam, freak out, let yourself go, get crazy, etc.” The title has a double meaning, as it can easily be taken as being about masturbation. Keeping with the sexual double meanings, the remix of this song was called “Jerk It Harder.”

Jerk It Out

Wind me up
Put me down
Start me off and watch me go
I’ll be runnin’ circles around you sooner than you know
A little off center
And I’m out of tune
Just kickin’ this can along the avenue
But I’m alright

‘Cause it’s easy once you know how it’s done
You can’t stop now
It’s already begun
You feel it runnin’ through your bones
And you jerk it out
And you jerk it out

Shut up
Hush your mouth
Can’t you hear you talk too loud
No can’t hear nothin’ ’cause I got my head up in the clouds
I bite off anything that I can chew
I’m chasing cars up and down the avenue
But that’s okay

‘Cause it’s easy once you know how it’s done
You can’t stop now
It’s already begun
You feel it runnin’ through your bones
And you jerk it out

‘Cause it’s easy once you know how it’s done
You can’t stop now
It’s already begun
You feel it runnin’ through your bones
And you jerk it out
And you jerk it out

And you jerk it out
And you jerk it out
Oh baby don’t you know 
You really gotta jerk it out
When you jerk it out
Oh baby don’t you know 
You really gotta jerk it out
When you jerk it out
Oh baby don’t you know you
You really gotta jerk it out

Slade – Take Me Bak ‘Ome

I love watching old Slade videos on youtube. They were a lot of fun to listen to and watch. They were a hard rocking glam band that somehow never made it in America. Some of their songs did a decade later covered by Quiet Riot. Slade did have a couple of hits in the 80s in America but their golden period was in the early to mid seventies. 

They weren’t the only UK band not to hit big in America. They are joined by T. Rex, The Small Faces, Oasis, and The Jam just to name a few. 

This song peaked at #1 in the UK and #97 in the Billboard 100 in 1972. The song was written by band members Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. 

Jim Lea said he had been working on the song for a few years… he stole a phrase or two from The Beatles Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey and nobody ever noticed.

Their next single Mama Weer All Crazee Now  peaked at #1 in the UK.

Take Me Bak ‘Ome

Came up to you one night noticed the look in your eye,
I saw you was on your own, and it was alright, yeh it was alright.
They said I could call you Sidney, oh I couldn’t make out why,
standing here on your own an’ it was alright, yeh it was alright.

[Chorus]
So won’t you take me back home, a take me back home,
and if we can find plenty to do and that will be alright
yeh it will be alright

O you and your bottle of brandy, both of you smell the same,
you’re still on your feet, still standing so it was alright,
yeh it was alright.
The superman comes to meet you, looks twice the size of me,
I didn’t stay round to say goodnight so it was alright,
yeh it was alright.

[Chorus]

So won’t you take me back home my baby, ah won’t you take me back home yeh
I said take me, take me take, take me back home,
take me take me take, take me back home oh won’t you..

REM – Radio Free Europe

I didn’t first hear this song when it was originally released in 1981. I had a friend who played it to me a few years later after it was re-recorded. It was an important song in REM’s career…it broke them on the charts…not super high but on the charts just the same.

This song was R.E.M.’s first single, released in 1981 on the short-lived independent record label Hib-Tone. The single received critical acclaim, and its success earned the band a record deal with I.R.S. Records. R.E.M. re-recorded the song for their 1983 debut album Murmur.

The re-recording was released by a larger I.R.S. and peaked at #78 in the Billboard 100 and #25 on the Mainstream Rock Chart.

Radio Free Europe is a radio network run by the United States government that broadcasts to Europe and the Middle East. The mission of the broadcasts is to promote democracy and freedom, but R.E.M. makes the point that this can easily cross the line into propaganda.

Drummer Bill Berry: “This song was pivotal to the continuation of our career,”  “Most fans may not realize that for two years before Murmur was released, we barely made financial ends meet by playing tiny clubs around the southeast. Our gasoline budget prevented us from venturing further. Put simply, our existence was impoverished. College radio and major city club scenes embraced this song and expanded our audience to the extent that we moved from small clubs to medium-sized venues and the additional revenue made it possible to logically pursue this wild musical endeavor. I dare not contemplate what our fate would have been had this song not appeared when it did.”

From Songfacts

There was a good reason for Michael Stipe’s infamously indecipherable lyrics on this song: he hadn’t finished them by the time they recorded it. In a 1988 NME interview, Stipe described the lyrical content as “complete babbling.”

R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe said in a 1983 interview with Alternative America: “We were all so scared of what the other one would say, that everyone nodded their head in agreement to anything to come up. The earlier songs were incredibly fundamental, real simple, songs that you could write in five minutes. Most of them didn’t have any words. I just got up and howled and hollered a lot.

That’s true. I’ve got to write words for ‘Radio Free Europe,’ because we’re going to re-record that for the album. It still doesn’t have a second or third verse. I think there are actually lyrics to every song on the EP.”

Stipe noted being apparently unaware of his own genius: “The guys always said I do something harmonically here that made them all go ‘whoa,’ because it was so advanced … or something, in the ‘straight off the boat’ part. I wonder if I tricked them by accident? I still have no idea what it is they’re talking about.”

The video for this song, directed by Arthur Pierson, was shot in the famed Paradise Gardens, a folk art sculpture garden crafted by artist Howard Finster in Pennville, Georgia. Finster, a Baptist minister, also painted the album art for R.E.M.’s second album, Reckoning.

This version is the original Hib-Tone version.

Radio Free Europe

Beside yourself if radio’s gonna stay
Reason: it could polish up the gray
Put that, put that, put that up your wall
That this isn’t country at all

Raving station, beside yourself

Keep me out of country and the word
Deal the porch is leading us absurd
Push that, push that, push that to the hull
That this isn’t nothing at all

Straight off the boat
Where to go?

Calling on in transit
Calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe
Radio

Beside defying’ media too fast
Instead of pushin’ palaces to fall
Put that, put that, put that before all
That this isn’t fortunate at all

Raving station, beside yourself

Calling on in transit
Calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe
Radio

Decide yourself
Calling on a boat
Media’s too fast

Keep me out of country and the word
Disappointers into us absurd

Straight off the boat
Where to go?

Calling on in transit
Calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe

Calling on in transit
Calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe

Replacements – Message to the Boys

Thanks to Aphoristical for pointing me to this song and album. At the end of 2005, years after the band had broken up…Warner Music Group ended up with rights to the Replacements’ Twin/Tone albums, and their entire catalog was finally placed under one roof. They offered Westerberg and Stinson a deal for the band to reunite and record. They wanted to package a “Best Of” album with a few new songs.

They had been feuding with each other off and on since the break up. Westerberg and Stinson ended their feud and agreed to do it. They did not invite Slim Dunlap to participate for some reason. They did however invite drummer Chris Mars to join them. They patched things up with Mars but he was an artist and doing it for a living and didn’t want to play. He did come to the sessions anyway. Drummer  Josh Freese had flown out to play drums. To show you how they operated…here is Westerberg’s thought on that.

“And Chris, he was still a Replacement…The first thing out of his mouth to Josh was something like, ‘Man, you almost played that really good.’ That’s what we missed. You don’t have to play the drums. You can just bring the attitude.”

The band recorded two songs Message to the Boys and Pool and Dive. They appeared on the album Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was? They didn’t end up touring at that time but offers came in year after year and the money offers got bigger.

Westerberg: “The fact that we came up short is the thing that’s kept us interesting. That is part of the attraction. We’ve retained this mystique.”

Paul and Tommy would later reunite again in 2012. Former guitar player Slim Dunlap had a major stroke and they contributed to a benefit album of Slim’s songs along with many artists. In 2013 they started to play live again and eventually toured until 2015 when it ended abruptly.

Paul Westerberg about the reunion in 2006 and missing former member Bob Stinson: “The answer to the million-dollar question is yes, when Bob died, something died in me and Tommy, and we’ve never been the same since,” said Westerberg. “And it’s always been awkward, and it’s always been unsaid and unsayable and strange and weird between us.”

This concludes taking a song off of each album from the Replacements… thanks for following here every Monday. I’ll still post some Replacements here and there.

Message To The Boys

Well I met her in a bar
Like I always say
She was digging Tommy’s cute
Way down in FLA

Wearing that vest with nothing underneath
Looking her best in the Florida heat
Sent a message to the boys
She was wearing that vest with nothing underneath
She be looking her best in the Florida heat, yeah
Sent a message to the boys

Well, she couldn’t cut loose
With her mommy around
So she packed her pretty bags
Went to the run-away town

Used to call me late at night
Said she missed her little maid
I never asked twice how the bills got paid
She sent a message to the boys
Used to call me every night
Said she missed her little maid
Never ever asked twice how the bills got paid
Sent the message to the boys

She sent a message to the boys
She’s gonna be there, if you need her
I can’t forget her and her voice
And her voice

Was a lady to the end
Now to this I can attest
She knew how to move
Yeah, when she rock’n’rolled this

She sent a message to the boys
She’s gonna be there, if you need her
I can’t forget her and her voice

She sent a message to the boys
She sent a message to the boys
God, I miss her and her voice
She sent a message to the boys
She sent a message to the boys
Oh god, I miss her and her voice

Monkees – Sweet Young Thing

I was 7 and I had just borrowed the Monkees debut album from a cousin. I thought the band was still together and playing in the mid seventies. I had no clue they broke up years before. This is one of the songs I would wear out on the album.

The song stands out from the other songs on the album. This isn’t pop…it’s more like a country driven garage rock band song. I truly think Nesmith would made it in the music business with or without the Monkees. He would soon write the Stone Poneys hit “Different Drum” that peaked at #13 in the Billboard 100 in 1967. This song was released on the debut album in 1966.

Mike Nesmith made it clear from the beginning he wanted to write songs. Nesmith was a talented songwriter. The shows creator Don Kirshner set him up to write with Carole King and Gerry Goffin. Michael wasn’t ungrateful and he commented that he liked both of them but he didn’t like being forced to write with someone else. Kirshner resented the rejection, feeling that a nobody like Nesmith should have flipped over the opportunity to work with two songwriting legends. In the end though we did get this song.

Kirshner didn’t like having the band do anything but sing and act in the show. That didn’t last long with Nesmith leading them…by the third album the Monkees were playing their own instruments and writing some songs.

I just listened to it again for the first time in years and every nuance and word came back to me instantly. This was my first “favorite” Monkee song.

This was an album track not released as a single.

Sweet Young Thing

I know that something very strange
Has happened to my brain
I’m either feeling very good
Or else I am insane
The seeds of doubt you’ve planted
Have started to grow wild
And I feel that I must yield before
The wisdom of a child

And it’s love you bring
No that I can’t deny
With your wings
I can learn to fly
Sweet young thing

People try to talk to me
Their words are ugly sounds
But I resist all their attempts
To try and bring me down..
Turned on to the sunset
Like I’ve never been before
How I listen for your footsteps
As you knock upon the door

And it’s love you bring
No that I can’t deny
With your wings
I can learn to fly
Sweet young thing

And it’s love you bring
With dreams of bluer skies
And all these things
When I see it in your eyes
Sweet young thing

Sweet young thing

Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve?)

This song is really catchy and has a punk pop sound. Some times a title is so good that you listen to the song regardless of who it is. This title fits that description and unlike some…it lives up to it.

The song title came from a line Marlon Brando spoke in the 1955 movie, ‘Guys And Dolls’ which Pete Shelley watched in a hotel room while on tour.

The Buzzcocks formed in Bolton, England in 1976 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Pete Shelley and singer-songwriter Howard Devoto.  The chose the name Buzzcocks after reading the headline, “It’s the Buzz, Cock!”, in a review of the TV series Rock Follies in Time Out magazine. The “buzz” is the excitement of playing on stage; “cock” is northern English slang meaning friend.

They released 3 albums and broke up in 1981 after a dispute with their record company. They reunited in 1989 and released 6 more albums. Pete Shelley continued to play with the band until his death of a heart attack in 2018. The band still continues to tour.

The song peaked at #12 in the UK in 1978.

Songwriter Pete Shelley: “The song dates back to November 1977. We were on a roll. It was only six months since we’d finished the first album. Up in Manchester this was what we used to dream of… a whirlwind of tours, interviews, TV. We were living the life. One night in Edinburgh we were in a guest house TV lounge watching the musical Guys and Dolls. This line leaped out – ‘Have you ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have?’ The next day the van stopped outside a post office and I wrote the lyrics there. I did have a certain person in mind, but I’ll save that for my kiss’n’tell. The music just seemed to follow, fully formed.”

“The opening line was originally ‘You piss on my natural emotions,’ but because ‘Orgasm Addict’ hadn’t been getting radio play because of it’s title, I needed something a bit subtler. So I came up with ‘spurn.’ It had the same sort of disregard, but wasn’t so likely to offend!”

The Fine Young Cannibals had a no. 9 UK hit with their cover version, recorded for the soundtrack of the 1986 film Something Wild.

From Songfacts

.In 1987 when Fine Young Cannibals covered this, their more laid back, soulful version peaked at #9 in the UK. They recorded the song after being asked by the director Jonathan Demme to provide him with a song for his upcoming film Something Wild. It is featured on the film’s soundtrack released as “Ever Fallen in Love.”

In the same Uncut interview the song’s producer Martin Rushent recalled: “Pete played me ‘Ever Fallen In Love…’ for the first time and my jaw hit the floor. I felt it was the strongest song that they had written-clever, witty lyrics, great hooklines. I suggested backing vocals-to highlight the chorus and make it even more powerful. No one could hit the high part-so I did it. I’d sung in bands in my youth and I also worked as a backing singer.”

The story of how The Buzzcocks came up with their name: In February 1976 Shelley and guitarist Howard Devoto read an article about a band called the Sex Pistols who had just played in London. “It was a realization of someone else doing what we already wanted to do,” Shelley told Reuters. The pair borrowed a car and drove from Manchester down to London to seek out the Sex Pistols. “We bought a copy of Time Out, which had no mention of them at all,” recalled Shelley. “But in the magazine was a preview for a TV series called Rock Follies. The headline was, ‘It’s the buzz, cock.” And that’s how we got the name.”

Thea Gilmore, Pete Yorn, Will Young, Billy Talent and Anti-Flag are among the acts to cover this song. The New York City band SUSU released their version in 2020 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. They explained: “A good cover is hard to find. Turns out this one was a telling tale, a perfect sonic and energetic fit. We were a brand new band, consummated on Valentine’s Day, in the pink of our five-week European honeymoon. We found ourselves leaving behind the tour we had just fallen in love with due to circumstances beyond our control – a pandemic. Proper heartbreak. But we all know the first breakup never sticks.”

Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)

You spurn my natural emotions
You make me feel I’m dirt and I’m hurt
And if I start a commotion
I run the risk of losing you and that’s worse

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

I can’t see much of a future
Unless we find out what’s to blame, what a shame
And we won’t be together much longer
Unless we realize that we are the same

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with

You disturb my natural emotions
You make me feel I’m dirt and I’m hurt
And if I start a commotion
I’ll only end up losing you and that’s worse

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

Ever fallen in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
Ever fallen in love, in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

Fallen in love with
Ever fallen in love with someone
You shouldn’t have fallen in love with?

Robyn Hitchcock – So You Think You’re In Love —- Power Pop Friday

Jangly Byrd like guitars attracted me to this and the sixties vibe. Peter Buck helps Robyn out on this song.

Robyn started his career in a 1972 London Art School with a band called The Beetles. In 1976 he started The Soft Boys and they went on to release  A Can of Bees (1979) and Underwater Moonlight (1980). Robyn influence bands such as R.E.M. and The Replacements.

In 1981 released his first solo album Black Snake Diamond Röle. Robyn never had much chart success but continues to influence other artists.

So You Think You’re In Love was on the Perspex Island album that was released in 1991. Robyn describes his songs as ‘paintings you can listen to’. That is a great description.

Robyn released his 21st album in 2017.

So You Think You’re In Love

So you think you’re in love
Yes, you probably are
But you wanna be straight about it
Oh, you wanna be straight about it now

So you think you’re in love
Yes, you probably are
But you wanna be straight about it
Oh, you wanna be straight about it now

Can you imagine what the people say?Can you?
But the silent majority is the crime of the century
You know it

Are you sure that it’s wise?
No, you probably ain’t
You don’t wanna be faint about it
Oh, you shouldn’t be faint about it now

By the look in your eyes
No, you probably ain’t
But you shouldn’t be faint about it
Oh, you gotta be faint about it now

What is love made of?
Nobody knows
What are you afraid of?
Everyone knows
It’s love
It’s love

So you think you’re in love
Yes, you probably are
But you wanna be straight about it
Oh, you gotta be straight about it now

So you think you’re in love
Yes, you probably are
But you wanna be straight about it
Oh, you gotta be straight about it now

So you think you’re in love
Yeah

New York Dolls – Personality Crisis

Glam Rock straight from the seventies. The Dolls were full of  attitude, raw music, drugs, and mascara. They would offend as many as possible and often sabotage their own career…but they made their mark in rock history.

This song was written by Dolls lead singer David Johansen and guitarist Johnny Thunders. It was on their self titled debut album. The song was released as a single in 1973 with the B side called Trash. The song sounds loose and rocking. They had a punk hard rock sound and they influence many bands such as KISS, Guns n’ Roses, The Replacements, Sex Pistols, and  The Smiths. Morrissey from the Smiths helped organize a reunion concert in 2004.

Todd Rundgren (Todd was everywhere in the 70s) produced this album and Jack Douglas engineered it…he would later produce and work with artists Cheap Trick and John and Yoko on Double Fantasy.

The album peaked at #116 in the Billboard album charts but never hit the top 100.

Jack Douglas on guitarist Johnny Thunders: “Johnny never played the same thing twice. Sometimes, playing with the rhythm section, he just got the feel and he nailed it. At other times, he would stop playing because he knew he wasn’t going to get into it and he’d want to redo it later. Suddenly, he’d be in the control room with me. Then, when he overdubbed his leads, I would do four or five tracks and just comp them like a vocal. He was totally, totally unpredictable, and that’s how he was in life.”

Personality Crisis

Well we can’t take it this week
And her friends don’t want another speech
Hoping for a better day to hear what she’s got to say

All about that
Personality Crisis you got it while it was hot
But now frustration and heartache is what you got
(That’s why they talk about Personality)

But now your trying to be some no you got to do some
Wanna be someone who cow wow wows
But you think about the times you did they took every ounce
When it sure got to be a shame when you start to scream and shout
You got to contradict all those times you were butterflying about

(You were butterflying)
All about that Personality Crisis you got it while it was hot
But now frustration and heartache is what you got
break

And your a prima ballerina on a spring afternoon
Change on into the wolfman howling at the moon hooowww

All about that Personality Crisis you got it while it was hot
But now frustration and heartache is what you got

Now with all the crossing fingers that mother nature says
Your mirrors get jammed up with all your friends

That personality everything starts to blend
Personality when your mind starts to blend
Personality impression of a friend,
Of a friend, of a friend, of a friend, of a friend
Personality wondering how celebrities ever met
(Look and find out on television)

Personality Crisis you got it while it was hot
Frustration and heartache is all you got, don’t you worry
Personality Crisis please don’t cry
It’s just a Personality Crisis, please don’t stop

Because you walk a Personality
Talk a Personality

Beatles – I’m Down

I have always liked this B side to Help! Not a bad B side at all.

It was credited to Lennon/McCartney but Paul McCartney wrote this track… in the style of Little Richard. American R&B singers like Richard were a big influence on The Beatles.

The Beatles used this as their closing number on 1965 North American and UK tours, and the 1966 World tour.

When the Beatles were recording this…Paul took a break after shredding his vocal cords and recorded the classic…Yesterday. John Lennon played the Hammond organ on this track. It was the first time Lennon played any kind of keyboard on a record. When The Beatles played this live, he often played an electric piano.

This was the first song ever recorded by Aerosmith. They used it as a demo which eventually got them a record deal. They used also recorded it in 1987 on their album Permanent Vacation.

Paul McCartney: “I’m not sure if John had any input on it, in fact I don’t think he did. But not wishing to be churlish, with most of these I’ll always credit him with 10 per cent just in case he fixed a word or offered a suggestion. But at least 90 per cent of that would be mine.”

From Songfacts

In this song, Paul McCartney plays the role of a poor sap wallowing in his misery. But the joke is on him, which the arrangement and backing vocals make clear. When he sings, “I’m down,” John Lennon and George Harrison retort in mocking fashion, with lines like “down on the ground.” It’s as if they’ve heard too much of his bellyaching and they’re sick of it.

A telling line is, “How can you laugh when you know I’m down?” You can only have so much sympathy for someone who won’t help himself. After that, you have to laugh.

The Beatles performed this on their third live Ed Sullivan Show appearance – September 12, 1965. Before The Beatles broke through in America, Sullivan was in the London airport when The Beatles returned from a tour of Sweden. When he saw the massive crowd there to greet them, he thought The Queen was arriving. When he found out the throngs were there for The Beatles, he made sure to book them on his show. He became a big fan and had them on whenever he could.

This was recorded at the same session with “Yesterday” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” 

The Beastie Boys recorded a version of this in 1986. Michael Jackson, who owned the publishing rights to this and many other Beatles songs, would not allow them to release it.

Paul McCartney played this at the “Concert For New York,” a benefit show he helped organize in 2001 to help victims of the World Trade Center disaster. It was the first song of his set.

I’m Down

You tell lies thinking I can’t see
You can’t cry ’cause you’re laughing at me
I’m down (I’m really down)
I’m down (Down on the ground)
I’m down (I’m really down)
How can you laugh when you know I’m down
(How can you laugh) When you know I’m down

Man buys ring woman throws it away
Same old thing happens everyday
I’m down (I’m really down)
I’m down (Down on the ground)
I’m down (I’m really down)
How can you laugh when you know I’m down
(How can you laugh) When you know I’m down

We’re all alone and there’s nobody else
You still moan, “Keep your hands to yourself!”
I’m down (I’m really down)
Oh baby, I’m down (Down on the ground)
I’m down (I’m really down)
How can you laugh when you know I’m down
(How can you laugh) When you know I’m down, wow
Baby I’m down

Oh baby, you know I’m down (I’m really down)
Oh yes, I’m down (I’m really down)
I’m down on the ground (I’m really down)
Ah, Down (I’m really down)
Oh baby, I’m upside down, a yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I’m down (I’m really down)
Oh baby, I’m down (I’m really down)
I’m feeling upside down (I’m really down)
Oh, I’m down (I’m really down)
Baby, I’m down, yeah
Oh baby, I’m down, yeah
Baby I’m down (I’m really down)
Well, baby I’m down (I’m really down)
Well, baby, baby, baby (I’m really down)
Oh baby, I’m down
I’m down, down, down

Replacements – Merry Go Around

This one is off of their last studio album All Shook Down. I was going to conclude with this one having one off of their studio albums but there is one more coming next week.

This is not my favorite off the album but it did have a commercial sound for that time and it’s something that I thought would have charted in the Billboard 100. Merry Go Round did peak at #1 on the alternative charts. The album peaked at #69 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1990.

“Merry Go Round” was written about the  lives of Westerberg and his sister Mary (“They ignored me with a smile, you as a child”).

The band went to Los Angeles to make a video for Merry Go Round. With Westerberg’s okay, Warner Bros. hired Bob Dylan’s twenty-three-year-old son Jesse Dylan, who was just starting to direct.

It was shot in black and white and later edited to include some colorful inserts. From the opening moments, with a stone-faced Westerberg staring blankly into the camera, the video lacked the fun that had marked some of  their other clips. Paul and Tommy managed a few smiles, and Slim played along gamely. The drummer Chris Mars, miming to Charley Drayton’s drum track, was understandably less than enthused.

Merry Go Round

Hush was the first word you were taught
And they watched you wear
The clothes they claimed that they bought
They brought you down
To watch the merry-go around

In fall, you knew how much it cost
A trouble doll
Around your neck when you lost
You wouldn’t make a sound
But I could hear your little heart pound
And I watched your feet slip off the ground

Merry go round in dreams
Writes ’em down, it seems
When she sleeps, she’s free
Merry go round in dreams

You wake to another day and find
The wind’s blowing out of key with your sky
Only you can see
And the rain dancing in the night
Everybody stands around in delight

Merry go round in dreams
Writes ’em down, it seems
When she sleeps, she’s free
Merry go round in dreams

And everybody thinks she’s sick
She’s got two worlds she can pick
And she’s sad

Hush is the only word you know
And I stopped listening long ago
They ignored me with a smile
You as a child
But the trouble doll hears your heart pound
And your feet they say goodbye to the ground

Merry go round in dreams
Writes ’em down, it seems
When she sleeps, she’s free
Merry go round in dreams

Merry go round in dreams
Merry go round in me
Merry go round
Round and round in me
Merry go round
Round and round in me