Beatles – She Loves You

This song help kick off the sixties. The melody, music, the great harmonies and just the excitement of the song. She Loves You help define them and broke huge. Ozzy Osbourne made a statement about the song… “Imagine you go to bed today and the world is black and white and then you wake up, and everything’s in color.” 

These great melodies that John, Paul, and later George would come up with lasted through their career. Even when their music got a little more sophisticated the melodies remained…they were  underneath the early, middle, and late era Beatle music.

It’s best known for the yeah, yeah, yeah… Yeah, the Everly Brothers did it first, using a hook of “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah” on their 1961 cover of the song “Temptation,” which was a #1 hit in the UK.

Paul McCartney’s dad wanted the Beatles to sing yes, yes, yes instead because he thought it sounded more dignified.…doesn’t have the same ring does it?

She Loves You peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand in 1964.

In the UK, this is the biggest selling Beatles single. It held the record for top-selling UK single of all time until 1977, when Wings topped it with Mull Of Kintyre.

George Martin didn’t like the ending chord. He thought it sounded too much like the The Andrew Sisters but the Beatles liked it and over rode the producer on this one…and it works great.

in April 1964 The Beatles had the Top 5 Songs on the Billboard Top 100 Singles of the week. The closest any other artist ever got was 3 songs in the Top 10. But there they were- Can’t Buy Me Love, Twist and Shout,  She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Please Please Me, sitting at the top, along with 7 other Beatles songs in the Top 100 the same week.

Cynthia Lennon: “He was also romantic, a side of him I saw more often as our relationship deepened. He wrote love poems on scraps of paper and passed them to me at college. For our first Christmas he drew a card with a picture of me in my new shaggy coat, standing opposite him, our heads together, his hand on my arm. It was covered with kisses and hearts and he wrote, ‘Our first Christmas, I love you, yes, yes, yes.’ A few years later he used the same idea in one of the Beatles’ first hits, ‘She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.'”

John Lennon: “I remember it was Paul’s idea,” Lennon recalled, “Instead of singing ‘I love you’ again, we’d have a third party.”

Paul McCartney: “We were in a van up in Newcastle somewhere,” “and we’d just gone over to our hotel. I originally got an idea of doing one of those answering songs, where a couple of us sing about ‘she loves you’ and the other one sort of says the ‘yes, yes’ bit. You know, ‘yeah, yeah’ answering whoever who is saying it. But we decided that was a crummy idea anyway. But we had the idea of writing a song called ‘She Loves You’ then. And we just sat up in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it.”

From Songfacts

The Beatles tell quite a tale in this tidy pop song. Some poor guy thinks he has lost his girl for good, but he’s redeemed when he finds out from a friend that she still loves him. There’s even a moral at the end of the story: “Pride can hurt you too.” Good advice when arguing with a loved one.

This was an instant hit in the UK, but not in America, where it was released on Swan records, the only US label that would take it. Swan put it out in September 1963, but while The Beatles were huge in their homeland, they were still no big deal in America until February 1964. That’s when Beatlemania took hold and “She Loves You” became a US hit.

This was one of four Beatles songs that was never released in stereo. The others are “Love Me Do,” “I’ll Get You” and “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number).” 

The Beatles released a German version translated as “Sie Liebt Dich” in the US in 1964. They learned some German when they became the house band at the Star-Club in Hamburg in 1962, but needed a German speaker to help them with the lyrics. They recorded the German version in Paris – it was the only time they recorded outside of England.

Apart from “My Bonnie,” which was recorded with Tony Sheridan in their early days in Hamburg, the only other song the Beatles recorded in another language, again German, was “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” “Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand” was recorded the same time as “Sie Liebt Dich.”

“Sie Liebt Dich” peaked at #97, the lowest position of the Beatles’ 71 Hot 100 charted songs.

Jack Paar played a video clip of The Beatles performing the song on his show January 3, 1964. The Beatles had appeared on news clips as part of stories about their success in England, but this was the first time they appeared on a US TV talk show. They also played it on both of their live Ed Sullivan Show appearances. When The Beatles agreed to do the show, they were not a big deal in America and took less money than most acts received for their fee. When The Beatles played The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, it got the largest audience ever for a TV show. Sullivan began having regular musical guests from the world of popular music, and it became a showcase for groups like The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, Santana and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon were inspired to write this after a concert at the Majestic Ballroom in Newcastle when they were part of a tour with Roy Orbison and Gerry & the Pacemakers. Says McCartney, “There was a Bobby Rydell song out at the time ‘Forget Him’ and, as often happens, you think of one song when you write another. We were in a van up in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I’d planned an answering song where a couple of us would sing ‘She loves you’ and the other ones would answer ‘Yeah Yeah.’ We decided that was a crummy idea but at least we then had the idea of a song called She Loves You. So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it; John and I, sitting on twin beds with guitars.” 

In the UK, this hit #1 twice in 1963, first on September 4 and again on November 20.

Regarding the falsetto exaltation that occurs at the song’s manic peak, McCartney once explained: “The ‘wooooo’ was taken from the Isley Brothers’ ‘Twist and Shout.’ We stuck it in everything.”

These wordless vocalizations of joy were a Beatles hallmark; they most obvious example is the extended fadeout in “Hey Jude.”

The Beatles played part of this at the end of “All You Need Is Love,” which they recorded four years later.

This song was played at the conclusion of the concert sequence at the end of the film A Hard Day’s Night, although it wasn’t included on the soundtrack album. 

Norman Smith, who was The Beatles engineer, told the story in his autobiography John Called me Normal about feeling his heart sink when he spotted the lyrics on the music stand. As he later relayed to Mark Lewinsohn: “She loves you, yeah yeah yeah, She loves you, yeah yeah yeah, she loves you yeah yeah yeah yeah… I thought, My God, what a lyric! This is going to be the one I do not like.”

Smith had a hit in 1972 with “Oh Babe What Would You Say” as Hurricane Smith. He also produced the first three Pink Floyd albums.

There is a very clear edit in this song between the lines “I think it’s only fair/Pride can hurt you too.” It appears that two version had been edited together. 

In August 2009 the Official Chart Company compiled a list of the Beatles biggest selling hits in the UK, including re-issues. They revealed that this song was the Fab Four’s best seller in their native country, followed by “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

The Melissa Manchester hit You Should Hear How She Talks About You was written as a contemporary take on this song, with the singer telling a friend that a guy is really into her.

She Loves You

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

You think you’ve lost your love
Well, I saw her yesterday-ay
It’s you she’s thinking of
And she told me what to say-ay

She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad

She said you hurt her so
She almost lost her mind
But now she says she knows
You’re not the hurtin’ kind

She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad, ooh

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
With a love like that
You know you should be glad

You know it’s up to you
I think it’s only fair
Pride can hurt you, too
Apologize to her

Because she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad, ooh

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Quick Martha Update Part 3

I had some requests to show an update on Martha. I was going to post an update on her on October 4th 2020…exactly a year after we got her but with my work right now I had to hold that off. Her birthday is August 18, 2019 so now she is one year and five months old.

She has settled down now a little bit. This is our third Saint and we never had one with this much energy but now she has matured a little.

We had one scare with her. This goes out as a warning to anyone who is taking their pet to get a rabies shot. We never had trouble with it at all with our other dogs… but around 12 hours after the shot…she started to get really sick. For three days she could not hold anything down and would not eat… and the vet kept telling us to give her Benadryl. She was allergic to the rabies shot. After the third day my son came home with a hamburger and she ate it. When she did that she started to get better and was soon back to normal.

So after your pet gets a rabies shot…keep a close eye on them.

Anyway she has free range in our house. After she was house broken AND we could trust her not to eat our couch… she no longer has to stay in her kennel.

She still has a lot of energy but nothing like she did a few months ago.

I’ll give you a few pictures for updates starting with the first ones.

Martha at 2 months old…Oct 4, 2019

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Martha at 3 Months old

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Martha at 4 Months old…she still has the penguin and plays with it.

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Martha at 7 months and 8 days in our driveway…March 26, 2020

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Martha now…I brought her along to work with me…since I’m the only one left in IT at this moment and I have it all to myself…I had her setup…we were a little messy that day. 

After coming home from work…logging in trying to get a few more things done at work…Martha has other ideas

The song that she is named after! “Martha My Dear”

Pink Floyd – Jugband Blues

My journey continues into early Pink Floyd. This is a Syd Barrett contribution to the group, and the only song on the album that he wrote and sang on the album. The album was  A Saucerful of Secrets that peaked at #9 in the UK and #158 in the Billboard Album Charts.

The middle part of the song was a contribution from a Salvation Army band that Barrett asked to guest on the song…he told them to play what they wanted.

The song itself has said to be Barrett’s self-diagnosis of schizophrenia, explained by the lines “I’m most obliged to you for making it clear that I’m not here” and “I wonder who could be writing this song?” This would Barrett’s last contribution to Pink Floyd. Shortly before it was released, he was kicked out of the band.

From Songfacts

Pink Floyd made a promo film for this song, which shows a seemingly depressed Barrett wandering around aimlessly, singing the song.

40 seconds to the end of the track is another “secret” song that Barrett plays guitar on, while asking “What exactly is a dream?” and “What exactly is a joke?” 

The instrumental passage towards the end features a brass section which would be later explored more in Atom Heart Mother.

Jugband Blues

It’s awfully considerate of you to think of me here
And I’m much obliged to you for making it clear
That I’m not here
And I never knew we could be so thick
And I never knew the moon could be so blue
And I’m grateful that you threw away my old shoes
And brought me here instead dressed in red
And I’m wondering who could be writing this song

I don’t care if the sun don’t shine
And I don’t care if nothing is mine
And I don’t care if I’m nervous with you
I’ll do my loving in the winter

And the sea isn’t green
And I love the queen
And what exactly is a dream
And what exactly is a joke

Press Your Luck – Michael Larson “Scandal”

Who else remembers this from the 1980s? To me there was no scandal just a guy who studied a flaw in the game and used it.

In 1984 Michael Larson had a part time job in the summer selling ice cream. He must have had a lot of spare time selling ice cream. He watched the game show “Press Your Luck” and noticed a pattern to the show. When playing you would have to press the button to stop the lights on a square. He noticed that all in all it had 5 patterns and never deviated. He would pause the VCR to study when to stop. No internet at that time so he studied it for around 6 months.

He also knew which squares always held the most money and free spins.

He used all of his life savings and bought a ticket to Los Angeles. When he got there he went to a second hand shop and bought a cheap suit. When he auditioned for the show, one producer was suspicious because Michael was a tad too confident and talked too much. Another producer interviewed him and thought he was fine and let him on the show. He would regret that decision.

Press Your Luck was pretty straightforward. Each episode began with the show’s host, Peter Tomarken, asking the three contestants a series of multiple choice questions.

Whoever buzzed first and answered correctly earned three “spins” on the “Big Board,” the prized centerpiece of the game show…that looked like this.

press your luck no whammies GIF

In the game if you hit a “Whammy” you would lose all the money you had and your turn. In the first round Michael did hit a whammy so he looked completely normal. From that point on he didn’t make another mistake.

In the second round  he got a spin and he took off from there.

After Michael started he went from just over 2000 dollars to $110,237 plus a trip to Bahamas, Kauai and a sailboat. He knew the patterns of the game and exploited it. He kept stopping the lights on money and free spin squares. He was not afraid of hitting a whammy because he knew exactly what he was doing. The funning thing is he could have went on and got more than he did.

They had to pause the game and continue on the next show because Michael kept winning and against all the game’s logic going for it. Of course now we know why he kept going for it. He knew exactly what he was doing and exactly how to beat the board. The average contestant hit a whammy 1 out of 6 spins…Larson we 45 straight spins without hitting one.

CBS was furious…At first they refused to pay him because in their mind he cheated. They looked through their own rules but could not find a way to disqualify him from the game. They did not invite him back to the next game but hey had to pay him.

CBS banned the episode for 19 years after he won…plus him from ever returning not only to this game but any other CBS game show.

Michael Brockman, then head of CBS daytime programming.“Pilots are test vehicles, and you can cut corners,”  “On this show, what was expensive to create was the light pattern on the board. No one wanted to spend that much money on the pilot. And then the pattern wasn’t improved enough when the show went into production.”

Soon after Larson’s triumph, the board was reprogrammed with 32 patterns, ensuring his method wouldn’t work again. The show went off the air in 1986.

Unfortunately that was the high point for Larson the rest of his life.

Larson did invest some of the money in Ohio real estate, he also lost $50,000 in a home burglary. Larson had the cash on hand because he was trying to beat a radio game that offered a prize if you matched announced numbers with those on a $1 bill. He was robbed when he was at a Christmas Party.

He eventually took a job as an assistant manager at Walmart. Michael got swept up in an illegal pyramid scheme called Pleasure Time Incorporated that stole $3 million from 20,000 investors who thought they were buying shares in a Native American lottery company. The FBI, SEC and IRS were investigating him.

Larson failed at several get rich quick schemes, his all-consuming hobby. Ultimately, he died of throat cancer in 1999.

Press Your Luck was back on air in 2003. They brought the other two original contestants back along with Michael’s brother James…yep James won over 6000 dollars.

Here is the episode…Larson kept going for it and winning that they had to spread it over two episodes.

This is a Good Morning America Episode 10 years after the Press Your Luck Episode.

The show were his brother James was invited to play against the two original contestants his brother beat back in 1984.

Swingin’ Medallions – Double Shot (of my Baby’s Love)

Happy New Years Everyone!

This song sounds like it’s being performed by a drunk fraternity. I love this song. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you listen to this. The song was banned on many radio stations because of references to drinking and sex… This song peaked at #17 in 1966 on the Billboard 100.

I did post this 3 years ago but I didn’t have many readers…so I thought today would be a good day to drunkenly sing anything to welcome 2021 and kiss or kick 2020 goodbye.

As you can probably guess…it was their only charting song…but they sure sounded like they had a good time doing it though. The song was written by Don Smith and Cyril Vetter.

If you want to know more about the Medallions go to their home page…from what I see they are still playing.

I found where Bruce Springsteen invited The Swingin’ Medallions up on stage to sing “Double Shot” in 2009 here is the video.

Double Shot of My Baby’s Love

Woke up this morning, my head was so bad
The worst hangover that I ever had
What happened to me last night
That girl of mine, she loved me so right (yeah) (oh, oh)
She loved me so long and she loved me so hard
I finally passed out in her front yard (whoo)
It wasn’t wine that I had too much of
It was a double shot of my baby’s love

Double shot of my baby’s love, yeah yeah, yeah
Double shot of my baby’s love, yeah yeah, yeah
A potion that I had too much of
It was a double shot of my baby’s love

It was such a thrill it was hurtin’ me (ooh)
I was sufferin’ in ecstasy
She had me turnin’ flips and-a shoutin’ out loud (yah-hah)
A sip of her love and I was walkin’ one a cloud
One night a week is-a plenty enough
It’s a good thing for me they don’t bottle that stuff (pop)
Well, my heart begins to fly like a dove
When I take a double shot of my baby’s love

Double shot of my baby’s love, yeah yeah, yeah
Double shot of my baby’s love, yeah yeah, yeah
A potion that I had too much of
It was a double shot of my baby’s love

Double shot of my baby’s love, yeah yeah, yeah
Double shot of my baby’s love, yeah yeah, yeah
Double shot of my baby’s love, yeah yeah, yeah
Double shot of my baby’s love, yeah yeah, yeah

Happy New Year!

This year was tough to say the least! I’ve gotten to know many more bloggers this year and have enjoyed all of you. When Covid started I met so many  because I think blogging was an escape for a while when everyone was in lockdown. Many of them stuck around and we have built relationships.

I’ve met some with similar tastes as mine and a few with different tastes but with enough of common ground to learn and appreciate. Newer music, harder music, and I even read some poetry that I never have before. That is what our community is about to me…learning new things and sharing things that will be new to some people. The one word I would use for us…is “Passion”…lets face it. We are not making money at this but we do it for the love of it…and I’m better for it. 

I thanked everyone in my Merry Christmas post…I want to thank you all again. Thanks for all of the comments that you have left…good or bad. I think I’ve learned more than I have shared but I’ll keep trying I promise. 

Well…lets make 2021 MUCH better than 2020…the bar is set pretty damn low so we should be able to make that goal. Everyone be safe in the New Year…

The Zombies…THIS WILL BE OUR YEAR…probably my favorite New Years Song…it’s a song by the Zombies but I included a Foo Fighters cover also at the bottom..again…HAPPY NEW YEAR! yea I’m shouting.  

This Will Be Our Year

The warmth of your love’s
Like the warmth from the sun
And this will be our year
Took a long time to come

Don’t let go of my hand
Now darkness has gone
This will be our year
Took a long time to come

And I won’t forget
The way you helped me
Up when I was down
And I won’t forget
The way you said
Darling I love you
You gave me faith to go on
Now we’re there
And we’ve only just begun
This will be our year
Took a long time to come

The warmth of your smile
Smile for me little one
And this will be our year
Took a long time to come

You don’t have to worry
All your worried days are gone
And this will be our year
Took a long time to come

And I won’t forget
The way you helped me
Up when I was down
And I won’t forget
The way you said
Darling I love you
You gave me faith to go on
Now we’re there
And we’ve only just begun
This will be our year
Took a long time to come

And this will be our year
Took a long time to come

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary

I love this song by Creedence but it’s probably the song I seek out the least…only because I’ve probably heard it the most. If I hear it on the radio I like it though all over again. This song was the game changer for CCR.

Fogerty refused to play his Creedence songs that he wrote for years because of bitter memories and bad contracts he signed with Creedence. He didn’t think about relenting until a stage appearance on February 19. 1987 with Dylan and George Harrison at a Taj Mahal concert at the Palomino, a Los Angeles club.

Dylan told him ‘Hey, John, if you don’t do these tunes, the world’s going to remember “Proud Mary” as Tina Turner’s song.” That got John thinking that ignoring his back catalog probably harmed his career and started to play those songs again.

When CCR recorded this song, John Fogerty wasn’t happy with the harmony vocals so when the band was at dinner…he recorded them himself and overdubbed them onto the track. This caused further tension in his already tension filled relationship with his bandmates.

The song was on Bayou Country released in 1969 and it peaked at #7 in the Billboard Album Charts, #14 in Canada, and #62 in the UK.

The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, #8 in the UK, and #3 in New Zealand.

The song came together on the day that John Fogerty got his discharge papers from the US Army. Fogerty had been drafted in 1966 and was part of a Reserve unit, serving at Fort Bragg, Fort Knox, and Fort Lee. His discharge papers came in 1967.

John Fogerty: “The Army and Creedence overlapped, so I was ‘that hippie with a record on the radio.’ I’d been trying to get out of the Army, and on the steps of my apartment house sat a diploma-sized letter from the government. It sat there for a couple of days, right next to my door. One day, I saw the envelope and bent down to look at it, noticing it said ‘John Fogerty.’ I went into the house, opened the thing up, and saw that it was my honorable discharge from the Army. I was finally out! This was 1968 and people were still dying. I was so happy, I ran out into my little patch of lawn and turned cartwheels. Then I went into my house, picked up my guitar and started strumming. ‘Left a good job in the city’ and then several good lines came out of me immediately. I had the chord changes, the minor chord where it says, ‘Big wheel keep on turnin’/Proud Mary keep on burnin” (or ‘boinin’,’ using my funky pronunciation I got from Howling’ Wolf). By the time I hit ‘Rolling, rolling, rolling on the river,’ I knew I had written my best song. It vibrated inside me. When we rehearsed it, I felt like Cole Porter.”

John Fogerty liked Ike and Tina’s version: “When it ended, if they had a camera and came back to me it’d be like, when Shrek and the donkey go to Far, Far Away and they push the button for that little arcade machine and it tells the whole story of their town! And the Donkey’s like [Eddie Murphy impression] ‘Let’s do that again!’ That’s how I felt when that ended. I loved it, and I was so honored. I was like, ‘Wow, Ike and Tina!’ I had actually been following their career for quite some time. Way back in the day, when Janis and Grace Slick started to get known by the kids who were my age, I’d be like, ‘Man, Tina Turner, c’mon!’ She finally got her due, but for a while there, she wasn’t noticed. It was a really good version, and it was different. I mean, that’s the key. Instead of the same thing, it was really exciting.”

From Songfacts

In the beginning, “Proud Mary” had nothing to do with a riverboat. Instead, John Fogerty envisioned it as the story of a woman who works as a maid for rich people. “She gets off the bus every morning and goes to work and holds their lives together,” he explained. “Then she has to go home.”

It was Stu Cook who first introduced the riverboat aspect of the song. The idea came to him as the group watched the television show Maverick and Stu made the statement, “Hey riverboat, blow your bell.” John agreed that the boat seemed to have something to do with the song that had been brewing in his mind for quite some time, waiting to take conscious shape. When he wrote the music, he made the first few chords evoke a riverboat paddlewheel going around. Thus, “Proud Mary” went from being a cleanup lady to a boat.

Fogerty wrote the lyrics based on three song title ideas: “Proud Mary,” “Riverboat,” and “Rolling On A River.” He carried around a notebook with titles that he thought would make good songs, and “Proud Mary” was at the top of the list.
So it was that an all-American classic was born from the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the late 1960s. Fogerty suspected right away that his “Tin Pan Alley” song was a radio-friendly hit, and he was right. The song hit #2 in the US, reached #8 in the UK, and #1 in Austria.

This was the first of five singles by Creedence that went to #2 on the US chart; they have the most #2 songs without ever having a #1.

Despite popular belief, John Fogerty was not writing from experience when he wrote this. Thanks to his military commitment, he hadn’t ventured further east than Montana. After the song was recorded, he took a trip to Memphis so he could finally see the Mississippi River.

The original CCR version peaked at #2 in March 1969. In June, Solomon Burke’s rendition hit #45. His was the first to include a spoken into:

I know a lot of you folks would like to know what the old Proud Mary is all about
Well, I’d like to tell you about her
She’s nothing but a big old boat
You see, my forefathers used to ride the bottoms of her as stokers, cooks, and waiters
And I made a vow that when I grew up, I’d take a ride on the old Proud Mary
And if you’d let me, I’d like to sing about it

Burke then sings, “looking for a job in the city,” as opposed to “left a good job in the city.”

This was a #4 hit in the US for Ike & Tina Turner in 1971, and a highlight of their live shows. Tina Turner recalled in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1971 how they came to record this on their Workin’ Together album: “When we cut the album, we were lacking a few tunes, so we said ‘Well, let’s just put in a few things that we’re doing on stage. And that’s how ‘Proud Mary’ came about. I had loved it when it first came out. We auditioned a girl and she had sung ‘Proud Mary.’ This is like eight months later, and Ike said, ‘You know, I forgot all about that tune.’ And I said let’s do it, but let’s change it. So in the car Ike plays the guitar, we just sort of jam. And we just sort of broke into the black version of it. It was never planned to say, ‘Well, let’s go to the record shop, and I’d like to record this tune by Aretha Franklin’… it’s just that we get it for stage, because we give the people a little bit of us and a little bit of what they hear on the radio every day.”

“Proud Mary” attracted 35 covers in the year 1969 alone. Over 100 have been made since.

These are the US charting versions:

Creedence Clearwater Revival (#2, 1969)
Solomon Burke (#45, 1969)
Checkmates, Ltd. feat. Sonny Charles (#69, 1969)
Ike & Tina Turner (#4, 1971)
Glee Cast (#115, 2009)

The line, “Pumped a lot of pain down in New Orleans” is actually “Pumped a lot of ‘Pane,” as in propane. He was pumping gas.

The Checkmates, Ltd. did a horn-powered, gospel inflected version of this song that was produced by Phil Spector and featured Sonny Charles on lead vocals. Running 4:30, it’s substantially longer than the 3:07 original, and went to #69 in November 1969.

This arrangement was clearly an influence on the Ike & Tina Turner version, which they started performing soon after. There was speculation that Spector, who produced Ike & Tina on their 1966 single “River Deep – Mountain High,” brought this version to Ike Turner’s attention.

Fogerty came up with the famous chord riff on guitar when he was playing around with Beethoven’s “5th Symphony.” That one goes “dun dun dun duuunnnnn…,” but Fogerty thought it would sound better with the emphasis on the first note, which is how he arrived at “do do do do.”

This part reminded him of the paddle wheel that impels a riverboat. “‘Proud Mary’ is not a side-wheeler, it’s a stern-wheeler,” he explained.

Even though Creedence Clearwater Revival was from El Cerrito, California, many people thought they were from New Orleans or some other part of the South because of their swamp rock sound. They helped feed the rumor by naming their second album Bayou Country.

Tina Turner recorded a solo version for her 1993 album What’s Love Got To Do With It, which was the soundtrack to her biopic of the same name. In the film, it was lip-synced by Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne (who played Ike and Tina), but on the recording, Tina’s sax player Tim Cappello did Ike’s bass vocals. By recording her own version with no trace of Ike, it made sure he could not profit from its use in the film or soundtrack – an important distinction considering Tina’s accusations of spousal abuse.

When Tina performed the song live, she would usually do a variation on the spoken part, but without the male vocal.

Ike & Tina Turner’s version charted for the first time in the UK on the chart dated October 2, 2010 after it was performed on X-Factor by auditioneees Diva Fever. This version was credited to Tina Turner only.

Ike and Tina performed their version on the Season 2 premiere of Soul Train in 1972, becoming the first big act to appear on the program. The show became very popular its first season because of the dancers, but they were able to book many famous guests in subsequent seasons.

The occasion didn’t inspire Fogerty to start regularly performing CCR songs again, but it did break it for that one evening as four legends of rock jammed together.

According to the book Bad Moon Rising, Bob Dylan called “Proud Mary” his favorite song of 1969.

A film about a hitwoman titled Proud Mary was released in January 2018. Not only does the action movie take its name from the song, but altered lyrics from the tune appear on the poster promoting it, with the tagline, “Killing for the Man every Night and Day.”

John Fogerty took to Twitter to complain:

“I wrote the song ‘Proud Mary’ 50 years ago, and I was very excited to have written such a good song. In fact, it was my very first good song.

My songs are special to me. Precious. So it irks me when people seek to capitalize on the popularity of my music and the good will it has earned with the public for their own financial gain. Over the years, I have often found myself directly opposed to these uses.

This movie has nothing to do with me, or my song. They simply picked the title and wrote a completely fictitious story around it.”

He added: “No one ever asked me about using my song this way, or even about the meaning of Proud Mary.”

The film, as well as the trailer, features the Tina Turner version of the song. Fogerty lost the rights to his CCR songs in 1973, so there was nothing he could do about having a cover version of the song used in the film.

Leonard Nimoy, who played “Mr. Spock” on Star Trek, recorded an infamous cover of this song. Near the end, he sings the chorus Elmer Fudd style – “Big wheel keep on toynin’, Pwoud Mawy keep on boinin’…” It is included on a CD called Golden Throats.

This song was used to disastrous effect to open the 1989 Academy Awards ceremony in a bit where host Rob Lowe sang it with an actress playing Snow White, with the lyrics changed to be about Hollywood:

Klieg lights keep on burnin’
Cameras keep on turnin’
Rollin’ Rollin’
Keep the cameras rollin’

Proud Mary

Left a good job in the city
Workin’ for the man ev’ry night and day
And I never lost one minute of sleepin’
Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis
Pumped a lot of pane down in New Orleans
But I never saw the good side of the city
‘Til I hitched a ride on a river boat queen

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

If you come down to the river
Bet you gonna find some people who live
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have [if you got] no money
People on the river are happy to give

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Everclear – Santa Monica

With my big black boots and an old suitcase
I do believe I’ll find myself a new place

Those lyrics hit me for some reason as did the song. It was my first introduction to the band and I loved it.

Art Alexaskis formed Everclear in Portland, Oregon, in 1991. Portland in the early 90s had a huge music scene. Everclear broke out first with this song nationally.  Many bands there didn’t think Everclear deserved it over everyone else…there was a lot of competition there at that time.

Santa Monica is a seaside town in California where Everclear lead singer Art Alexakis grew up. He describes it as Like LA, but on the coast.

The song peaked at #1 on the Mainstream Rock Charts, #4 in Canada’s Alternative Charts, #27 in New Zealand, and #40 in the UK in 1996.

It was on the 1995 album Sparkle and Fade. John at 2 Loud 2 Old Music reviewed all of their albums in this article. It’s a great review of their recording career.

Art Alexakis: ” The warm weather, beaches and palm trees serve as iconic references in the song, “I’ve lived in cold places and been in bad relationships, and I think everybody has a place in their mind that is like a safe haven. It’s also about getting away from bad times… the ending of something is also the beginning of something new, whether it’s with someone or getting out of a bad job, a bad way of life or an abusive relationship.”

From Songfacts

Alexakis: “In the Eastern way of looking at things, ‘Chaos’ doesn’t necessarily mean no boundaries, it means new beginnings. It’s kind of one and the same, something that never ends. It’s about getting to a point where you can leave bad things behind and just be self sufficient. There’s a sense of romance about it. I feel like that very much now, but I was just getting to where I understood that when I wrote that song.” 

On their 2003 tour, the band would pick an audience member to play guitar on this song. If that person didn’t play well, he would get kicked off stage and replaced with someone else from the crowd.

Santa Monica

I am still living with your ghost
Lonely and dreaming of the west coast
I don’t want to be your downtime
I don’t want to be your stupid game

With my big black boots and an old suitcase
I do believe I’ll find myself a new place
I don’t want to be the bad guy
I don’t want do your sleepwalk dance anymore
I just want to see some palm trees
I will try and shake away this disease

We can live beside the ocean
Leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
Watch the world die

We can live beside the ocean
Leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
Watch the world die

I am still dreaming of you face
Hungry and hollow for all the things you took away
I don’t want to be your good time
I don’t want to be your fall-back crutch anymore

I’ll walk right out into a brand new day
Insane and rising in my own weird way
I don’t want to be the bad guy
I don’t want to do your sleepwalk dance anymore

I just want to feel some sunshine
I just want to find some place to be alone

We can live beside the ocean
Leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
Watch the world die

We can live beside the ocean
Leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
Watch the world die

We can live beside the ocean
Leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
Watch the world die

We can live beside the ocean
Leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
Watch the world die

Yeah watch the world die
Yeah watch the world die
Yeah watch the world die
Yeah watch the world die

Police – Don’t Stand So Close To Me

I heard this song quite a bit when covid started. I heard it yesterday and didn’t want to scream…it’s a song I like again.  it was the lead single from their third album Zenyatta released in 1980.

The Police recorded this in Holland over a period of months. The song started as a Hammond organ-based soul track then evolved through various complex arrangements, until it was eventually reduced to it’s simplest elements.

The band made a video for this song in 1980 that MTV put in rotation when they launched the following year. This is another video I remember being played heavily on MTV.

The song peaked at #1 in the UK, #2 in Canada, and #10 in the Billboard 100 in 1980. The band re-recorded the song in 1986 as Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86’ and it peaked at #46 in the Billboard 100, #24 in the UK, and #27 in Canada.

This won the 1981 Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Group.

From Songfacts

This song is about a teacher who lusts after one of his students. Sting was a teacher before joining The Police, and was no doubt the subject of young girl fantasy, but he insists the lyric is not based on personal experience. Putting the speculation to rest, he explained on the DVD for his 2001 All This Time album that he made up the story. 

The line, “Just like the old man in the book by Nabokov,” refers to the novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, which is about an older man who pursues underage girls. Sting based this song on the book. Sting mispronounces the author’s name – the “bo” should be stressed. Also, in the novel Lolita, Humbert is not quite an old man. 

In the UK, this sold 900,000 copies and was the best-selling single of 1980.

The Police reunited in 1986 to record updated versions of some of their old songs. The reunion brought out old hostilities, and this was the only song they completed. The new version was released as a single titled “Don’t Stand So Close To Me ’86,” and included on their greatest hits album Every Breath You Take – The Singles.

In 1985, Sting worked with Dire Straits on “Money For Nothing,” which has a chorus that sounds very similar to this (compare the lines “Don’t stand so close to me” with “I want my MTV”). Sting did not want a songwriting credit, but his record company thought he should get one so they could receive royalties.

 In the video, the guys are larking about a school in graduation gowns, with Sting going through a few costume changes and taking his shirt off at one point. They’re clearly having fun and messing around with each other – it’s a good snapshot of how they could get on in their early years.

They also made a video for the 1986 version of the song, this one directed by Godley & Creme. No shenanigans in that one, just the band looking somber amid many dated special effects.

The race horse Zenyatta is named after the album Zenyatta Mondatta. The horse is owned by Jerry Moss, who signed The Police to his label A&M Records.

This is an example of Sting’s “work backward” method. “I pluck a title from the air, just free-associating, and then try to figure out a story that it could apply to,” he wrote in Lyrics By Sting. Fascinated by the dangerous obsession at the center of Nabokov’s novel, he “transposed this idea to a relationship between a teacher and his pupil. Wanting by this time to identify whatever my sources were, I conspired to get the author’s name into the song with one of the loosest rhymes in the history of pop. Well, I thought it was hilarious, but I caught some flak.”

This was used in The Simpsons episode “On a Clear Day I Can’t See My Sister” and in the Glee episode “Ballad” (2009).

On The Office, Kevin is the singer and drummer in a Police tribute band called Scrantonicity (a play on the album title Synchronicity). In the season 2 finale, “Casino Night,” Jim and Pam watch a video of Scrantonicity performing “Don’t Stand So Close To Me.”

This was featured in the first-season Friends episode “The One Where Underdog Gets Away,” where the character Joey appears on a poster for venereal disease treatment. The song plays when they show the posters all over New York City. 

When Stewart Copeland put together the 2006 documentary Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out, he created new versions of some of the songs using the original masters and outtakes. “The version of ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me’ comes from both studio recordings because we re-recorded it – strangely, no one can remember why – but we re-recorded it in a different key and I jammed both of those versions together, which was a hell of a puzzle to figure out the transition keys,” he told Songfacts. “I used Sting’s overdubs because he did some amazing overdub work with the new version of ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me,’ which I used on the original backing track.”

In the video, Sting is wearing a T-shirt for the band The Beat (known in America as The English Beat) in some scenes. The Beat was an opening act for some shows on the Ghost in the Machine tour.

Don’t Stand So Close To Me

Young teacher, the subject
Of schoolgirl fantasy
She wants him so badly
Knows what she wants to be

Inside her there’s longing
This girl’s an open page
Book marking, she’s so close now
This girl is half his age

Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me
Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me

Her friends are so jealous
You know how bad girls get
Sometimes it’s not so easy
To be the teacher’s pet

Temptation, frustration
So bad it makes him cry
Wet bus stop, she’s waiting
His car is warm and dry

Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me
Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me

Loose talk in the classroom
To hurt they try and try
Strong words in the staffroom
The accusations fly

It’s no use, he sees her
He starts to shake and cough
Just like the old man in
That book by Nabakov

Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me
Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me

Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me
Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me
Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me
Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me
Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me
Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me

Ian Hunter – Once Bitten, Twice Shy

I will not be around today to comment but I will catch up on any comments either tonight or tomorrow. Thank you.

This was Hunter’s first single after leaving Mott The Hoople. The extended version appears on the self-titled “Ian Hunter” album, which was released by CBS in 1975. Hunter and Mick Ronson produced it. This marked the start of a long collaborative relationship between the two musicians.

Ian wrote the song and it’s a bit more loose and more rock and roll than the cover version in the late eighties which is more metal. A number of artist have covered this song, including Shaun Cassidy and the heavy metal band Great White, who were nominated for a Grammy for it. It was Great White’s biggest hit, peaking at #5 in the US.

The song peaked at #14 in the UK in 1975. I heard Hunter’s version first in the early eighties from a friend of mine…I have wondered why this wasn’t a hit in America in 1975.

From Songfacts

The single was released April 4, entered the UK charts on May 3, and stayed there for ten weeks peaking at number 14; the B-side was “3,000 Miles From Here.”

“Once Bitten Twice Shy” is an expression meaning that if you’ve been hurt, you are less likely to put yourself in that position again. In this song, Hunter sings to a girl who seems to take up with lots of musicians. He knows from past experience that he can’t count on her.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Well the times are gettin’ hard for you little girl
I’m a hummin’ and a strummin’ all over God’s world
You can’t remember when you had your last meal
And you don’t know just how a woman feels

You didn’t know what rock and roll was
Until you met my drummer on the Grey tour bus
I got there in the nick of time
Before he got his hands across your state line, yeah

Now it’s the middle of the night on the open road
The heater don’t work and it’s oh so cold
You’re lookin’ tired, you’re lookin’ kinda beat
The rhythm of the street sure knocks you off your feet

You didn’t know how rock and roll looked
Until you caught your sister with the guys from the group
Halfway home in the parking lot
By the look in her eye she was givin’ what she got

I said my, my, my, I’m once bitten twice, shy babe
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby

Oh, woman you’re a mess, gonna die in your sleep
There’s blood on my amp and my Les Paul’s beat
Can’t keep you home, you’re messin’ around
My best friend told me you’re the best lick in town

You didn’t know that rock and roll burned
So you bought a candle and you lived and you learned
You got the rhythm, you got the speed
Mama’s little baby likes it short and sweet

I said my, my, my, I’m once bitten twice, shy babe
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby

Alright! I didn’t know you had a rock and roll record
Until I saw your picture on another guy’s jacket
You told me I was the only one
But look at you now, it’s as dark as it’s gone

I said my, my, my, I’m once bitten twice, shy babe
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby
I said my, my, my, I’m once bitten twice, shy babe
My, my, my, I’m once bitten twice shy baby

If You Could Have Written Any Song Ever…

What would it have been?

I listen to some songs in awe. There is always a song that I think…oh I wish I could have written that. There are many more than one that I wish I could have written… but for this question I’ll just ask for that one song and one runner up.

A song you wish you could have written the music and lyrics to…or at least the lyrics.

There are songs that come to mind like Silent Night, Amazing Grace, and those classic songs. No style or era is out of bounds. With my songs I’m going to stick with Rock/Pop.

My runner up song is by my favorite band…The Beatles… Strawberry Fields Forever

Now for my number 1 pick…an unknown song by the masses but a great one nonetheless.

For people who follow me you might not be surprised. My song would be “The Ballad Of El Goodo” by Big Star. The song is inspirational to me and the melody is great. Now if you don’t mind…what song do you wish you could have written???

The Ballad of El Goodo

Years ago, my heart was set to live, oh
And I’ve been trying hard against unbelievable odds
It gets so hard in times like now to hold on
But guns they wait to be stuck by, at my side is God

And there ain’t no one going to turn me ’round
Ain’t no one going to turn me ’round

There’s people around who tell you that they know
And places where they send you, and it’s easy to go
They’ll zip you up and dress you down and stand you in a row
But you know you don’t have to, you could just say no

And there ain’t no one going to turn me ’round
Ain’t no one going to turn me ’round
Ain’t no one going to turn me ’round
Ain’t no one going to turn me ’round

I’ve been built up and trusted
Broke down and busted
But they’ll get theirs and we’ll get ours if you can
Just-a hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on

Years ago, my heart was set to live, oh
Though I’ve been trying hard against strong odds
It gets so hard in times like now to hold on
Well, I’ll fall if I don’t fight, and at my side is God

And there ain’t no one going to turn me ’round
Ain’t no one going to turn me ’round
Ain’t no one going to turn me ’round
Ain’t no one going to turn me ’round

Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

This song is for Song Lyric Sunday for Jim Adams’s blog. This week’s prompt is Odor/Scent/Smell/Taste… Good Morning to everyone!

A friend of mine moved to Seattle in the early 90s for a job. He called me at some point and told me about the music scene there and something big was happening. He said he had just seen a band in a dingy club with a left handed blonde guitar player who had a strong voice named Nirvana.

I was the same age as Kurt Cobain. When this song came out it was more than popular. It was instantly embedded into the culture. I did like the rawness of it but I would have never guessed it would have been so popular. I just didn’t click with grunge music. I did like the rawness of it…but usually not the songs as much.

When I first heard it…what did I think of? More Than a Feeling by Boston.

Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of the group Bikini Kill, gave Cobain the idea for the title when she spray painted “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit” on his bedroom wall after a night of drinking and spraying graffiti around the Seattle area. In his pre-Courtney Love days, Cobain went out with Bikini Kill lead singer Tobi Vail, but she dumped him. Vail wore Teen Spirit deodorant, and Hanna was implying that Cobain was marked with her scent.

Kurt Cobain said that he was trying to write the ultimate pop song. He said he was basically trying to rip off The Pixies.

The video was just as famous as the song. The shoot took more like 12 hours, with the extras ordered to sit in the bleachers and look bored while the song played over and over. The director Samuel Bayer said that nobody wanted to be there for more than a half hour, and he needed them for 12 hours. By the 11th hour when the band had had it with the shoot and the kids were so angry, they said, ‘Can we destroy the set?'”

Bayer let the kids come down and form a mosh pit, and with all that pent-up energy they proceeded to smash up the set. This impromptu and genuine destruction provided a nice finale for the clip.

The video was inspired by the movie and song Rock And Roll High School by the Ramones, and was also influenced by a 1979 movie called Over the Edge, which was a favorite of Cobain and showed rebellious kids destroying a high school.

The song peaked at #6 in the Billboard 100, #9 in Canada, #7 in the UK and #1 in New Zealand.

Butch Vig (Producer): “Even though we’re not really sure what Kurt is singing about, there’s something in there that you understand; the sense of frustration and alienation. To me, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ reminds me a little bit of how Bob Dylan’s songs affected people in the ’60s. In a way, I feel the song affected a generation of kids in the ’90s. They could relate to it.”

From Songfacts

Hanna explained that early in the night, she was Cobain’s lookout as he spray pained “God Is Gay” on the wall of a religious center that they believed was posing as an abortion clinic and telling women they would go to hell if they aborted their child. They got quite inebriated that night, and Hanna said, “We ended up in Kurt’s apartment and I smashed up a bunch of s–t. I took out a Sharpie marker and I wrote all over his bedroom wall – it was a rental so it was really kind of lame that I did that. I passed out with the marker in my hand, and woke up hung over.” Six months later she got a call from Cobain, asking her if he could use what she wrote on the wall for a lyric. Said Hanna, “I thought, how is he going to use ‘Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit as a lyric?”

Cobain didn’t know it when he wrote the song, but Teen Spirit is a brand of deodorant marketed to young girls. Kurt thought Hanna was complimenting him on his rebellious spirit, as someone who could inspire youth. Sales of Teen Spirit deodorant shot up when this became a hit, even though it is never mentioned in the lyrics.

This was the first “alternative” song to become a huge hit, and in many ways it redefined the term, as “alternative” implies lack of popularity and the song was embraced by the mainstream. In an effort to save the label for acts like Porno For Pyros and Catherine Wheel, some industry folk referred to the genre as “modern rock,” which became a common radio format. “Alternative” became more of a catchall for music played by white people that didn’t fit the pop or country formats, and Nirvana quickly became a “classic alternative” band.

With this track, Nirvana helped ignite the grunge craze, which was characterized by loud guitars, angst-ridden lyrics, and flannel. Grunge was a look and sound that was distorted and emotive, led by bands coming out of the Northwest. Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were other top grunge bands of the era. Cobain would often dismiss the term as a meaningless label when asked about it in early interviews, but their bass player Krist Novoselic explained that it was a growling, organic guitar sound that defined it.

Cobain said he wrote this song because he was feeling “disgusted with my generation’s apathy, and with my own apathy and spinelessness.” This feeling of detachment is what led to lyrics like “Oh well, whatever, nevermind.” Krist Novoselic added: “Kurt really despised the mainstream. That’s what ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was all about: The mass mentality of conformity.”

The video was a huge hit on MTV. The concept was “Pep Rally from Hell,” and it was shot at Culver City Studios in California on August 17, 1991, directed by Samuel Bayer, who was a 1987 graduate of the New York City School of Visual Arts. The kids were recruited at a show the band played two days earlier at The Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, where flyers were handed out saying, “Nirvana needs you to appear in their upcoming music video. You should be 18-25 year old and adopt a high school persona, i.e. preppy, punk, nerd, jock. Be prepared to stay for several hours. Come support Nirvana and have a great time.”

According to Bayer, Cobain was getting very frustrated with the shoot, but Bayer needed another take. Cobain channeled his frustration into the performance that you see near the end of the video, where he is screaming and mashing his face near the camera. It was great acting trigger by his real anger.

Bayer did the first edit of the video, which Cobain didn’t like – he used a principal character in a lot of shots and cut it too literal, with the music synching up to the playing. Cobain worked with him to recut the video and make it much more surreal, inserting his crazy look as the second to last shot, and making sure that for his guitar solo, his hands were in the wrong place on the guitar.

The girls who played the cheerleaders in the video were originally supposed to be very fat and unattractive (Cobain’s idea). The director Samuel Bayer did not like this idea, but still allowed the cheerleaders to have “sleeve” tattoos and the symbol for anarchy on their shirts. He says he recruited them from a local strip club, which helps explain their unorthodox cheers. >>

Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of this called “Smells Like Nirvana.” He shot his video in the same gym with the same janitor, but in his video, the janitor was wearing a tutu. Cobain said he was flattered by the parody: “I loved, it, it was really amusing.”

The distinctive bridge was originally at the end of the song. Producer Butch Vig had them move it to the middle.

A lot was made of Cobain being a spokesperson for Generation X when this song became a hit. Cobain responded by saying, “I don’t have the answers for anything. I don’t want to be a f–king spokesperson.”

Producer Butch Vig explained, “That ambiguity or confusion, that’s the whole thing. What the kids are attracted to in the music is that he’s not necessarily a spokesman for a generation. He doesn’t necessarily know what he wants but he’s pissed. It’s all these things working at different levels at once. I don’t exactly know what ‘Teen Spirit’ means, but you know it means something and it’s intense as hell.”

The line, “Here we are now, entertain us,” was something Cobain used to say when he entered a party.

In a sign of the cultural apocalypse, the February 20, 1992 issue of Rolling Stone magazine featured the cast of the TV show Beverly Hills 90210 with the tag line “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” turning Kurt Cobain’s diatribe against the culture of conformity into a convenient headline for a story about a TV series about rich kids. Here’s the cover.

For a while, MTV refused to air the video. When they finally did, it was on their alternative show 120 Minutes. When the song became a hit, the video went into hot rotation.

The album cover shows a baby swimming toward a dollar bill. Cobain and Nirvana bass player Krist Novoselic had seen a documentary on underwater birth and wanted to use that image on the cover. Pictures of babies being born underwater were too gross, so they hired a photographer to take some underwater shots during a water babies class. The baby they chose was Spencer Elden, who was 4 months old at the time.

At many of their later shows, Nirvana did not play this song, helping root out the people coming just to hear a hit.

Courtney Love deliberated a long time before allowing this to be used in the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge. Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, who along with Love control the Nirvana catalog, claimed Love was trying to get the title role in the movie, which went to Nicole Kidman.

The song was later used in the 2011 movie The Muppets (where it is performed to a captive Jack Black by The Muppet Barbershop Quartet), and in the 2015 film Pan, where it is sung by a large group of rebellious child slaves. It’s use in this last film was, er… panned by Entertainment Weekly, which wrote, “The song’s satirical lyrics make an already gauche movie even dorkier.”

The opening guitar part is a small variation on the main riff of Boston’s “More Than A Feeling.” This was noted by a Rolling Stone magazine writer years later, but not as an accusation of plagiarism. Influences and similarities like this are everywhere in rock music. 

The Nevermind album title is taken from the song’s lyric: “And I forget just why I taste / Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile / I found it hard, it’s hard to find / Oh well, whatever, never mind.”

Dave Grohl recalled to Mojo magazine March 2011: “‘Teen Spirit’ definitely established that quiet/loud dynamic thing that we fell back on a lot of the time. It did become that one song that personifies the band. But the video was probably the key element in that song becoming a hit. People heard the song on the radio and they thought, ‘This is great,’ but when kids saw the video on MTV they thought, ‘This is cool. These guys are kinda ugly and they’re tearing up their f–king high school.’ So I think that had a lot to do with what happened with the song.

But do I think it’s the greatest single of all time? Of course not! I don’t even think it’s the greatest Nirvana single. And compared to Revolution by The Beatles or God Only Knows by The Beach Boys?! Give me a break! Smells like Teen Spirit was a great moment in time… but there’s better.”

A version by Miley Cyrus performed by the pop singer on her Gypsy Heart tour topped Rolling Stone’s 2011 reader list of the top 10 Worst Cover Songs of All Time. It was so bad that it even outranked Britney’s much-maligned version of “I Love Rock and Roll!”

Tori Amos did a popular cover of this song in 1992 that Nirvana sometimes played as their introduction music when they took the stage.

Amos was on tour when Cobain died in 1994 and performed her version two days later at a show in Dublin. Patti Smith also recorded the song for her covers album Twelve.

The song was re-released as a limited edition 7-inch vinyl single in December 2011 for an online campaign to get it to the Christmas number one in the UK Singles Chart. However, the track only reached #11 – four places lower than the peak originally scaled by the song 20 years previously.

Jay-Z disfigured some lines from this song on his 2013 track “Holy Grail,” where he raps about the price of fame:

I know nobody to blame
Kurt Cobain, I did it to myself
And we all just entertainers
And we’re stupid and contagious

Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, who are the songwriters credited on “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” were all included on the writer’s credits to “Holy Grail” because of the interpolation. When “Holy Grail” debuted at #8 on the Hot 100, it gave Cobain and Novoselic their first Top 10 writing credits since “Smells Like Teen Spirit” charted. (Dave Grohl charted a number of times with Foo Fighters.)

When Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, the surviving members performed a selection of songs with various female singers. For this song, Joan Jett joined them. The following year, Jett was inducted into the Rock Hall.

Television, and particularly MTV, have always been the domain of pretty people with trendy looks. With the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video, Nirvana made it possible for people with a less traditional look to get on the network, including Matt Pinfield, an influential disc jockey with a classic “face for radio.” Soon after this video was released, MTV started giving him gigs, and eventually make him host of their show 120 Minutes. In a Songfacts interview with Pinfield, he said: “It opened the door for people not needing to have a certain look. You could do what you wanted to do. On a personal level, it certainly opened the door for me to do television.”

How do the Pixies feel about this song, which they inspired musically? When Songfacts posed that question to their frontman, Black Francis, his answer echoed Kurt Cobain’s take on music and inspiration. “It certainly was very popular,” he said. “It was catchy. I don’t really get involved in so-called discussion or whatever, because from my point of view, it’s just band stuff. Some musicians or some bands say, ‘They were influential on me.’ Sometimes you can hear it, sometimes you can’t, but that’s just the way it works.

It’s not a big mystery. At the end of the day, everyone is just a musician. We’re all just working musicians. We all play different styles. That’s who we are: We’re just a bunch of music geeks. Or proactive music listeners that are so proactive we actually feel the need to do it ourselves.”

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Load up on guns, bring your friends
It’s fun to lose and to pretend
She’s over bored and self assured
Oh no, I know a dirty word

Hello, hello, hello, how low? [x3]
Hello, hello, hello!

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido
Yeah, hey, yay

I’m worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

Hello, hello, hello, how low? [x3]
Hello, hello, hello!

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido
Yeah, hey, yay

And I forget just why I taste
Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard, it’s hard to find
Oh well, whatever, never mind

Hello, hello, hello, how low? [x3]
Hello, hello, hello!

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido

A denial! [x9]

A Not Famous Guitar

Not a famous rock guitar today. I will have the famous Rock guitars part 5 next weekend. This post is a little self-indulgent…no a lot.

I thought this guitar had an interesting story. My family made guitars for country stars in the 50s through the 70s. George Jones and Leon Rhodes are two artists that had them. They made quality acoustic guitars that compared to Martins… they also made mandolins but very few electrics. They were all high end instruments. Many were custom made for artists. They go for big prices now. My dad didn’t like making electrics because he said the craftsmanship wasn’t in them like acoustics. He told me son they are like a two-by-four with strings…ok Dad…but I got what he was saying.

What makes this guitar interesting is it was made in the mid-sixties. It then sat on a shelf for over 25 years. In 1991 I got this guitar and I was the first person to ever play the thing. 

A relative gave me this hollow body electric guitar that was made by his dad. Two of the same style guitars were made at the time…the other one was sold. I have it’s sister that languished on the shelf for years.

When I got the guitar it had everything except the pickups and tuning keys…so it had never been played. I have a friend who had two Dimarzio humbucker pickups and he installed them plus Grover tuning keys…it also came with a vintage Bigsby Vibrato Tailpiece. 

Now…getting a little technical… these pickups were very “hot”…I don’t mean stolen but with a very high output…very loud but clear. One guitar tech told me they were the hottest humbucker pickups he ever heard. 

When you have a hollow body guitar and very hot pickups… they can make a guitar feedback at high volumes. It took me a good 2 years to really learn how to play this guitar properly without it getting away from me. It was like placing a jet engine in a car. I have some guitar friends who love it and it’s sometimes called “The Beast.”

The trim and the pickup toggle on the body had tarnished yellow by the time I got it.  My favorite color is green…and good thing because this one is a very unusual sunburst green.

I’m going to alter it bit coming up soon. I’m going to replace one of the humbucker pickups with a P-90 and give it a little variety. We will see how that sounds.

The guitar compares to a Gibson ES-335 or a few Gretsch guitars. The beast has a growl like no other. Out of all of my guitars this is the one I pick for dirtier sounds…

Vintage Bigsby Vibrato Tailpiece

Rolling Stones – 2000 Man

This is my 2000th post. I am amazed I made it to 25…much less 2000. So let the bells ring and the chorus sing! So…lets see if I can make it to 2001!

The song was on Their Satanic Majesties Request a psychedelic album released in the Summer of Love in 1967. It’s an album…one of many that was inspired by the Beatles Sgt Peppers album. The album was not critically praised when it was released. It still gets mixed reviews now. I do think it is much better than it got credit for back in 1967. They did the right thing though by continuing on with blues/rock. They would never experiment this much again in the studio.

The cover art was something new. After The Beatles raised the bar with the cover of Sgt Pepper…the Stones used Michael Cooper (who worked on the Sgt Pepper cover)to make a 3d cover. If you look closely you can see The Beatles faces on the album. The Stones were returning the favor…the Beatles had a doll wearing a shirt that said “Welcome the Rolling Stones Good Guys” on the Sgt Peppers album.

Fun Fact: The Beatles' faces are on the cover of the Rolling Stones' album  "Their Satanic Majesty's Request" : beatles

The doll on the Sgt Pepper Cover

Welcome The Rolling Stones" on the front cover of Sgt. Pepper : beatles

The song has some different melodies melded together. The album had two 2000 songs…2000 Man and 2000 Light Years From Home. It fit in with the futuristic psychedelic vision.

2000 Man’ was covered by  Kiss on their 1979 record Dynasty. Kiss did a good job on the cover. Personally I like both versions. Kiss did a straight ahead rock version but I also like the nuances that the Stones included on the original.

Mick Jagger: There’s a lot of rubbish on Satanic Majesties. Just too much time on our hands, too many drugs, no producer to tell us, “Enough already, thank you very much, now can we just get on with this song?” Anyone let loose in the studio will produce stuff like that. There was simply too much hanging around. It’s like believing everything you do is great and not having any editing.

It’s really like sort of got-together chaos. Because we all panicked a little, even as soon as a month before the release date that we had planned, we really hadn’t got anything put together. We had all these great things that we’d done, but we couldn’t possibly put it out as an album. And so we just got them together, and did a little bit of editing here and there.

2000 Man

Well, my name is a number
A piece of plastic film
And I’m growin’ funny flowers
In my little window sill
Dont you know I’m a 2,000 man
And my kids, they just don’t understand me at all
Well my wife still respects me
I really misused her
I am having an affair
With the Random computer
Don’t you know I’m a 2,000 man
And my kids, they just don’t understand me at all
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy, proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy. proud of your sun
Oh daddy, your brain’s still flashin
Like it did when you were young
Or do you come down crashin’
Seeing all the things you’d done
All was a big put on
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy. proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy. proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy. proud of your sun
Oh daddy, proud of your planet
Oh mummy. proud of your sun
And you know who’s the 2000 man
And your kids they just won’t understand you at all

It’s A Wonderful Life

Merry Christmas to all of you in 2020. Here is to a better year in 2021! Just like television playing this movie every Christmas…I’m relogging it .

I didn’t watch this great movie until the late 80s. All it took was one time and I haven’t missed a year of watching it. I don’t tear up very easy..but it never fails at the end of the movie when Zuzu says… Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings…it gets me every time. This movie was released in 1946.

Poor George Bailey. All he wanted to do was travel and get out of Bedford Falls to see the world. Every single time he gets close…so close that it hurts…something happens and George ends up doing the right thing.

Bedford Falls needs George Bailey…every town needs a George Bailey but many end up with only a Mr. Potter. There is one thing about this movie which was unusual. Mr. Potter was never punished for what he did…which drew criticism at the time but it was more in line with reality to me.

This is a Christmas movie but really only the last part of the movie is about Christmas. It is a movie for any time not just for December. We were thinking of names for our unborn child and couldn’t think of one…I was watching this movie in November of 1999 and it hit me…Bailey…so the movie means more than some movies do.

Here is a small summary from IMDB…don’t read it…watch the movie instead. If you haven’t seen it…give it a shot…whether it is Christmas or July.

George Bailey has spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls. He has always longed to travel but never had the opportunity in order to prevent rich skinflint, Mr. Potter, from taking over the entire town. All that prevents him from doing so is George’s modest building and loan company, which was founded by his generous father. But on Christmas Eve, George’s Uncle Billy loses the business’s $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank. Potter finds the misplaced money and hides it from Billy. When the bank examiner discovers the shortage later that night, George realizes that he will be held responsible and sent to jail and the company will collapse, finally allowing Potter to take over the town. Thinking of his wife, their young children, and others he loves will be better off with him dead, he contemplates suicide. But the prayers of his loved ones result in a gentle angel named Clarence coming to earth to help George, with the promise of earning his wings. He shows George what things would have been like if he had never been born.