John Lennon – Nobody Told Me

This single was released in 1983 after John Lennon was murdered. The song was written by John for Ringo Starr to sing on his “Stop and Smell the Roses” album. Ringo didn’t end up recording it because of the tragedy.

The song was off the “Milk and Honey” album with tracks from John and with Yoko. This was John’s last top ten song in both America where it peaked at #5 and the UK top ten where it peaked at #6. John wrote the song in 1976 and the working title was “Everybody’s Talkin.”

I liked the song the first time I heard it. It was a fun song and I was happy to hear something new from him. I really could hear Ringo doing this one. The two songs that hit from “Milk and Honey” were Stepping Out and this one.

“Nobody Told Me”

Everybody’s talking and no one says a word
Everybody’s making love and no one really cares
There’s Nazis in the bathroom just below the stairs
Always something happening and nothing going on
There’s always something cooking and nothing in the pot
They’re starving back in China so finish what you gotNobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed — strange days indeedEverybody’s runnin’ and no one makes a move
Everyone’s a winner and nothing left to lose
There’s a little yellow idol to the north of Katmandu
Everybody’s flying and no one leaves the ground
Everybody’s crying and no one makes a sound
There’s a place for us in the movies you just gotta lay around

Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed — most peculiar, mama

Everybody’s smoking and no one’s getting high
Everybody’s flying and never touch the sky
There’s a UFO over New York and I ain’t too surprised

Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed — most peculiar, mama

 

Temptations – I Wish It Would Rain

The Temptations classic lineup released this song in 1968 and peaked at #4 of the Billboard Charts.

David Ruffin sings this song and you can feel the sadness and pain in his voice. The man had a tremendous voice. Naming my favorite Temptations song would be hard but this one would be near the top.

The song has been covered by Gladys Knight and the Pips, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and The Faces.

It was written by Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong, and Rodger Penzabene.

I Wish It Would Rain

Hmm hmm

Sunshine, blue skies, please go away
A girl has found another and gone away
With her went my future, my life is filled with gloom
So day after day I stay locked up in my room
I know to you, it might sound strange 
But I wish it would rain, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

‘Cause so badly I wanna go outside (such a lovely day)
But everyone knows that a man ain’t supposed to cry
Listen, I gotta cry ’cause crying eases the pain, oh yeah
People this hurt I feel inside
Words could never explain, 
I just wish it would rain, oh let it rain, rain, rain, rain, ooo baby

Let it rain, oh yeah, let it rain

Day in day out my tear-stained face
Pressed against the window pane
My eyes search the skies desperately for rain
‘Cause rain drops will hide my tear drops
And no one will ever know that I’m crying
Crying when I go outside
To the world outside my tears
I refuse to explain, ooo I wish it would rain, ooh, baby

Let it rain, let it rain
I need rain to disguise the tears in my eyes
Oh, let it rain
Oh yeah, yeah, listen
I’m a man and I got my pride
‘Til it rains I’m gonna stay inside, let it rain

The Graduate

I saw this movie in the 80s and never forgot it. I watched it when I was roughly the same as Benjamin in the movie and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

Dustin Hoffman portrays Benjamin Braddock a college graduate coming home and not having a clue what he was going to do with his life. He keeps getting asked and grilled about it and he keeps retreating into himself. He is eventually seduced by an old friend of his parents Mrs. Robinson. At first, he tries to avoid her but he is such an easy target for the older woman. He finds himself eventually succumbing to her advances.

Benjamin is full of confusion and anxiety but keeps meeting her. He realizes he wants more than sex out of a relationship and then the affair turns into a nightmare. He finds himself falling for the one woman in the world Mrs. Robinson tells him to stay away from…her daughter Elaine.

Elaine starts to like Benjamin and Elaine is told about what happened. Elaine goes away to school but he Benjamin will not give up trying to explain and win her back. Elaine is to be married and Benjamin eventually tracks the wedding down and crashes it.

He arrives but Elaine was just married. Mrs. Robinson says its too late and Elaine said “not for me….” Elaine and Benjamin ran off with joy and triumph and get on a bus.

The last couple of minutes are the magical part of this movie. The church scene and the close-ups setup the last scene. It’s the last scene that makes this movie different from others. The two get on a bus and are smiling but then the smiles fade…the look on Hoffman’s face tells a story…they got what they wanted and now what does he do? Where do they go from here? Is it all downhill from there? It’s open to interpretation.

The Simon and Garfunkel’s songs set the mood of this movie and it would not be the same without them. They are as big a part of this movie as the actors. This movie made me more of a fan of Simon and Garfunkel. I tracked the soundtrack down in the 80s just for the song “April Come She Will.”

The cast included

Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katherine Ross. William Daniels and Murray Hamilton… and it was directed by Mike Nichols

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The La’s – There She Goes

A song by a British band called The La’s. A very good pop song that has no verses…it just repeats the chorus four different ways four different times. The song peaked at #49 on the 1991 Billboard Chart and #13 on the UK charts in 1990.

It was written by the singer Lee Mavers and recorded in 1988 and remixed and released again in 1990.

Many people think the song was about heroin. Paul Hemmings an ex-guitarist for the band denies that rumor. Either way, it is a perfectly constructed pop song.

It’s been covered by a lot of artists but probably most successfully by Sixpence None the Richer. I’ve always liked The La’s version the best.

 

“There She Goes”

There she goes
There she goes again
Racing through my brain
And I just can’t contain
This feeling that remainsThere she blows (there she blows again)
There she blows again (there she blows again)
Pulsing through my vein (there she blows again)
And I just can’t contain
This feeling that remainsThere she goes
There she goes again
She calls my name
Pulls my train
No one else could heal my pain
But I just can’t contain
This feeling that remains

There she goes
There she goes again
Chasing down my lane
And I just can’t contain
This feeling that remains

There she goes (there she goes again)
There she goes (there she goes again)
There she goes (there she goes again)

 

The Buddy Holly Influence

Buddy Holly’s music is still relevant almost sixty years after he passed away in 1959. He didn’t have a big voice like Elvis, Little Richard or some of his peers but he wrote and crafted beautiful melodies for his voice to weave through.

I consider him the beginning of power pop. His Fender playing a clean jangling melody. Songs like Maybe Baby, Peggy Sue, and Words of Love influenced future artists like The Beatles, Hollies, Bob Dylan, and the list is endless. He wrote his own songs and is still influencing artists today with a career that only lasted 18 months.

You can hear Buddy in everyone from  Marshall Crenshaw, The Byrds, Tom Petty to Nick Lowe. His songs have been covered by The Beatles (Words of Love), Linda Ronstadt (That’ll Be The Day), and The Rolling Stones (Not Fade Away).

Not only was he a great songwriter but also a great producer and he would have only gotten better. Unlike a lot of his fifties counterparts, I really believe that Buddy Holly would have fit in the music scene post Beatles. I think his best songs were in front of him. Most of his music transcends the fifties and would have fit nicely in the sixties.

His voice was also important. The inflection in his voice was part of his style and the whole package. He could make it rough with Oh Boy or sweet with Everyday. He was never a sex symbol like Elvis… people related to this tall skinny guy with glasses. You didn’t have to look like Elvis or be wild like Jerry Lee Lewis to make it.

Sometimes I forget how big of an influence he left until I start listening to him again and hear the artists that followed him.

John Lennon on Buddy Holly

 “Buddy Holly was the first one that we were really aware of in England who could play and sing at the same time – not just strum, but actually play the licks” 

Paul McCartney on Buddy Holly

 “I still like Buddy’s vocal style. And his writing. One of the main things about The Beatles is that we started out writing our own material. People these days take it for granted that you do, but nobody used to then. John, I started to write because of Buddy Holly. It was like, ‘Wow! He writes and is a musician'” 

Bob Dylan on Buddy told to Robert Shelton

“Buddy Holly was a poet”  “Way ahead of his time.”

Bob Dylan Accepting a Grammy for Album of the Year for “Time Out Of Mind” in 1998,

“And I just want to say that when I was sixteen or seventeen years old, I went to see Buddy Holly play at Duluth National Guard Armory and I was three feet away from him…and he looked at me. And I just have some sort of feeling that he was — I don’t know how or why — but I know he was with us all the time we were making this record in some kind of way.”

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Rolling Stones – 100 Years Ago

100 Years Ago is a Rolling Stones song off of their 1973 album Goats Head Soup. It’s a song where Jagger is nostalgic which doesn’t happen often…  Some of the lyrics…

Now all my friends are wearing worried smiles
Living out a dream of what they was
Don’t you think it’s sometimes wise not to grow up?

The song has a good melody but it changes it’s focus in the last three-quarters of the way through…a good song with an interesting outro. It’s an album cut and you never hear it much on the radio. It’s a good song and worth a listen. If you see them in concert and want to hear this song…don’t hold your breath.

According to Wiki

“100 Years Ago” was only played on the first two performances of European Tour of 1973, and has not been performed live since.

“100 Years Ago”

Went out walkin’ through the wood the other day
And the world was a carpet laid before me
The buds were bursting and the air smelled sweet and strange
And it seemed about a hundred years ago
Mary and I, we would sit upon a gate
Just gazin’ at some dragon in the sky
What tender days, we had no secrets hid away
Well, it seemed about a hundred years ago
Now all my friends are wearing worried smiles
Living out a dream of what they was
Don’t you think it’s sometimes wise not to grow up?
Wend out walkin’ through the wood the other day
Can’t you see the furrows in my forehead?
What tender days, we had no secrets hid away
Now it seems about a hundred years ago
Now if you see me drinkin’ bad red wine
Don’t worry ’bout this man that you love
Don’t you think it’s sometimes wise not to grow up?
You’re gonna kiss and say good-bye, yeah, I warn you
You’re gonna kiss and say good-bye, yeah, I warn you
You’re gonna kiss and say good-bye, oh Lord, I warn you
And please excuse me while I hide away
Call me lazy bones
Ain’t got no time to waste away
Lazy bones ain’t got no time to waste away
Don’t you think it’s just about time to hide away? Yeah, yeah!

George Harrison – Isn’t It a Pity

This 1970 George Harrison song is off of the great album “All Things Must Pass.” It is often overlooked but its one of my favorite George Harrison songs. George wrote it in 1966 but it didn’t see daylight until 1970. He brought it up on the Let It Be sessions but he later said that John Lennon rejected it. That I don’t understand…I Me Mine was passed but not this one? I like “I Me Mine” but not like this one. Maybe George did more work on it afterward or it was the length of the song.

It resembles Hey Jude in its structure. It was the B side to My Sweet Lord which went to #1 on the charts. In Canada, this song was the preferred song and it went to #1 in Canada.

No one benefitted from the break up of the Beatles like George. He had so many songs that we had written and could not get enough of them on Beatles albums, understandably so with Lennon and McCartney. He released a 3 album set called “All Things Must Pass” in 1970.

George began recording this Isn’t It A Pity on June 2, 1970. Phil Spector produced it using his trademark Wall of Sound with heavy reverb. On the remastered version, the reverb is toned down a little.

This is from Timothy White’s interview with George Harrison that appeared in the Dec. 30, 2000, issue of Billboard:

Had you intended songs like “Isn’t It A Pity” to be things just for you?

No, I mean, this is the funny thing: imagine if the Beatles had gone on and on. Well, the songs on “All Things Must Pass,” maybe some of them I would probably only just got ’round to do now, you know, with my quota that I was allowed [laughs]. “Isn’t It A Pity” would just have been a Beatles song, wouldn’t it? And now that could be said for each one of us. “Imagine” would have been a Beatles song, but it was with John’s songs. It just happened that the Beatles finished. 

What was the inspiration for “Isn’t It A Pity”?

It’s just an observation of how society and myself were or are. We take each other for granted — and forget to give back. That was really all it was about.

It’s like “love lost and love gained between 16- and 20-year-olds.” But I must explain: Once, at the time I was at Warner Bros. and I wrote that song “Blood From A Clone” [on the 1981 “Somewhere In England” album], that was when they were having all these surveys out on the street to find out what was a hit record. And apparently, as I was told, a hit record is something that is about “love gained or lost between 14- and 19-year-olds,” or something really dumb like that.

So that’s why I wrote “Isn’t Is A Pity” [laughs]; I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll get in on that!”

 

“Isn’t It A Pity”

Isn’t it a pity
Now, isn’t it a shame
How we break each other’s hearts
And cause each other pain
How we take each other’s love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn’t it a pitySome things take so long
But how do I explain
When not too many people
Can see we’re all the same
And because of all their tears
Their eyes can’t hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them
Isn’t it a pity

Isn’t it a pity
Isn’t is a shame
How we break each other’s hearts
And cause each other pain
How we take each other’s love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn’t it a pity

Forgetting to give back
Isn’t it a pity
Forgetting to give back
Now, isn’t it a pity

[6 times, fade the 6th:]
What a pity
What a pity, pity, pity
What a pity
What a pity, pity, pity