Stealers Wheel – Stuck In The Middle With You

When I first heard this 1973 song I would have sworn it was Bob Dylan. The song peaked at #6 in the Billboard 100, #8 in the UK and #2 in Canada. Gerry Rafferty is singing the lead vocal with bandmate Joe Egan harmonizing with him. The two wrote the song.

Quentin Tarantino used this song in a horrific torture scene in Reservoir Dogs to great effect.

From Songfacts.

Also known simply as “Stuck In The Middle,” this Stealers Wheel classic was co-written by the group’s guitarist Gerry Rafferty and keyboard player Joe Egan.

In his obituary of Rafferty for the January 5, 2011 issue of the Daily Telegraph, Martin Chilton said of this song that it was “Written as a parody of Bob Dylan’s paranoia, it ridiculed a music industry cocktail party, with the lyrics:

Clowns to the left of me
jokers to the right
here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

To Rafferty’s utter disbelief his parody, composed as little more than a joke but with a catchy Pop arrangement, struck gold, selling more than a million copies. The song reached a new generation of listeners when Quentin Tarantino used it in the notorious ear-slicing scene in his 1992 movie Reservoir Dogs.”

Commenting to the BBC shortly after Rafferty’s death, music industry pundit Paul Gambaccini echoed Chilton’s sentiments about the song.

 

Stuck in the Middle with You

Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you
Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
And I’m wondering what it is I should do,
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you
Well you started out with nothing,
And you’re proud that you’re a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please, please
Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all,
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor,
‘Cause I don’t think that I can take anymore
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you
Well you started out with nothing,
And you’re proud that you’re a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please, please
Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you,
Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
Stuck in the middle with you, here I am stuck in the middle with you

My Memories of 1977

In 1977 I turned 10 years old. It was the first year I wanted to know what was going on in the world. I started to watch Walter Cronkite reporting the world news. Keywords I remember were Sadat, Middle East, Son of Sam, Concorde, and Inflation. Local news would be Chris Clark on channel 5 an affiliate of CBS…keywords locally… Snow, Ray Blanton (the name would be more popular the next year…in a bad way), and Larry Schmittou…who would bring Nashville minor league baseball the following year with the “Sounds” a Reds farm team.

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I missed around 3 weeks of school because of it being either closed or the bus would not run down our rural road because of snow…sledding and exploring time! In Middle Tn… 1 inch of snow will shut down a city.

I remember Star Wars hit the theaters with lines around the corners. I didn’t see it the month it was released but soon afterward. It was everywhere and the talk of the school. We had never seen anything like it before.

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I remember Queen releasing News of the World. A friend of mine brought the album to school and we studied every inch of the cover (by Frank Kelly Freas), a giant robot picking up the bodies of the band. We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions played non-stop on the radio. This is when I started to explore other bands that weren’t named The Beatles.

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The TV mini-series Roots was huge and historic.

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I was watching Gilligans Island and it was interrupted by sad news. Elvis Presley was dead at 42 years old. My mom and other grown-ups around were really upset. I knew his songs and it was sad but I didn’t understand everyone’s reactions for someone they didn’t know. Three years later when I was 13 I understood perfectly clear when John Lennon was murdered. Three days after Elvis died Groucho Marx passed away…In October Bing Crosby passed away.

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I paid attention to the inauguration of Jimmy Carter as President in January. I would hear about peanuts, teeth and his brother Billy for the rest of the year…and about one of those keywords again…inflation.

I remember the Son of Sam killings. In August of that year, David Berkowitz was finally apprehended. He killed six people and wounded seven others. I also remember the blackouts in New York in July…

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The Concorde was all over the news that year. To a 10-year-old in 1977, it looked like something out of a sci-fi movie.

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In March of 1977, I started to follow baseball. I’m not from California but my Dad always rooted for the Dodgers and it was passed down to me. I read from a young age about Babe Ruth, Christy Matheson, and the older players… but this was the first year I followed modern baseball from start to finish. Cey, Lopes, Garvey, Russell, Yeager, Dusty Baker, Reggie Smith, Don Sutton, Tommy John…I loved that team. I still can imitate the batting stance of all of the starters. Ron Cey was my hero and I played 3rd base in Little League because of him.

Our insurance salesman would come to our house every now and then and he knew I was a Dodger fan. He said he went to games in LA and would bring back something for me… I believed him totally. My mom told me not to get my hopes up as he was busy and might forget… A few weeks later…there he was with a Dodger 1977 pennant in his hand to give me…I still have it. I couldn’t believe the pennant in my hand came from the mythical Dodger Stadium where my heroes played.

They had four players with 30 or more home runs that year…Cey, Garvey, Smith, and Baker. They made it to the World Series but broke my heart. They played the Yankees and Reggie Jackson (it still hurts to type his name) hit three home runs in the sixth and deciding game to beat my Dodgers. It took a while to get over that…well I’m still writing about it 41 years later…but it’s always next year.

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I’ll close it out on Matchbox and Hot Wheels…I had a huge collection that I carried to friends houses to trade and race.

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If only life was that simple again…

 

The Bangles – If She Knew What She Wants

When I heard this song and saw the video  I knew I liked this band. I like the call and answer vocal arrangement and the jangly guitar.  This song came out right after the massive hit Manic Monday but I always favored this one.

It peaked at #26 on the Billboard 100 in 1986 and #31 in the UK.

If She Knew What She Wants

If she knew what she wants
(He’d be giving it to her)
If she knew what she needs
(He could give her that too)
If she knew what she wants
(But he can’t see through her)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her
But she wants everything
(He can pretend to give her everything)
Or there’s nothing she wants
(She don’t want to sort it out)
He’s crazy for this girl
(But she don’t know what she’s looking for)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her
I’d say her values are corrupted
But she’s open to change
Then one day she’s satisfied
And the next I’ll find her crying
And it’s nothing she can explain
Some have a style
That they work hard to refine
So they walk a crooked line
But she won’t understand
Why anyone would have to try
To walk a line when they could fly
No sense thinking I could rehabilitate her
When she’s fine, fine, fine
She’s got so many ideas traveling around in her head
She doesn’t need nothing from mine

Bonnie Tyler – It’s a Heartache

It’s a Heartache was released in 1978 and peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #4 in the UK and #1 in Canada. It also crossed over to the country charts at #10. The single sold over 6 million copies. This song fits Bonnie Tyler’s voice perfectly.

From Songfacts. 

When a singer has throat problems severe enough to require surgery, the procedure can often be career threatening. In the case of Bonnie Tyler, however, the nodules that she developed singing in nightclubs in her native Wales turned out to be career making. After her 1976 operation, Tyler’s voice carried a distinctive rasp somewhat reminiscent of Rod Stewart’s, and helped propel this song into the #3 spot.

The drummer on this song was Mike Gibbons of Badfinger.

It’s a Heartache

It’s a heartache
Nothing but a heartache
Hits you when it’s too late
Hits you when you’re down
It’s a fool’s game
Nothing but a fool’s game
Standing in the cold rain
Feeling like a clown
It’s a heartache
Nothing but a heartache
Love him ’til your arms break
Then he let’s you down
It ain’t right with love to share
When you find he doesn’t care for you
It ain’t wise to need someone
As much as I depended on you
Oh, it’s a heartache
Nothing but a heartache
Hits you when it’s too late
Hits you when you’re down
It’s a fool’s game
Nothing but a fool’s game
Standing in the cold rain
Feeling like a clown
It ain’t right with love to share
When you find he doesn’t care for you
It ain’t wise to need someone
As much as I depended on you
Oh, it’s a heartache
Nothing but a heartache
You love him ’til your arms break
Then he let’s you down
It’s a fool’s game
Standing in the cold rain
Feelin’ like a clown
It’s a heartache
Love him ’til your arms break
Then he let’s you down
It’s a fool’s game

Lindsey Buckingham – Trouble

This song was released in 1981 and I bought the single. It peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100, #31 in the UK, #7 in Canada. The song was off of Lindsey’s debut album “Law and Order.

The song is in the movie  Just One of the Guys

Trouble

Two, ah-three, ah-four!
Two, ah-three, ah-four!
Two, ah-three, ah-four!
I really should be saying goodnight.
I really shouldn’t stay anymore.
It’s been so long since I held ya.
I’ve forgotten what love is for.
I should run on the double 
I think I’m in trouble,
I think I’m in trouble.
So come to me darlin’ and hold me
Let your honey keep you warm
Been so long since I held ya
I’ve forgotten what love is for.
I should run on the double
I think I’m in trouble.

Modern English – Melt With You

This was a 1983 New Wave song from the band Modern English. I wasn’t a New Wave fan but I liked this song. It peaked at #78 on the Billboard 100. It recharted again in 1990 at #76. The premise of the song is different, to say the least. Again I’m surprised at how low some of the songs of my youth charted.

It was featured in the 1983 movie Valley Girl.

Robbie Grey on singing the song from songfacts.

Robbie Grey took a different approach to his vocals on this track, which gave it more pop appeal. Speaking with Boom 97.3 in Toronto, he said: “I’d always been shouting on songs before, I’d never really sung on a song. And there’s not really any singing on this either, it’s more spoken, but Hugh Jones the producer said, ‘Don’t shout into the microphone, just talk into it.’ I’d never done that before – I was a punk rocker. And so, I did. I just kind of stood back and mouthed the words. And I think that’s a lot of the attraction of the verses on ‘I Melt With You’ is that almost spoken quality.”

Melt With You

Moving forward using all my breath 
Making love to you was never second best 
I saw the world crashing all around your face 
Never really knowing it was always mesh and lace
I’ll stop the world and melt with you 
You’ve seen the difference and it’s getting better all the time 
There’s nothing you and I won’t do 
I’ll stop the world and melt with you
Dream of better lives the kind which never hates 
(You should see why) 
Trapped in the state of imaginary grace 
(You should know better) 
I made a pilgrimage to save this humans race 
(You should see why) 
Never comprehending the race has long gone bye
I’ll stop the world and melt with you 
(Let’s stop the world) You’ve seen the difference and it’s getting better all 
the time 
(Let’s stop the world) There’s nothing you and I won’t do 
(Let’s stop the world) I’ll stop the world and melt with you
The future’s open wide
**The future’s open wide
I’ll stop the world and melt with you 
(Let’s stop the world) I’ve seen some changes but it’s getting better all the 
time 
(Let’s stop the world) There’s nothing you and I won’t do 
(Let’s stop the world) I’ll stop the world and melt with you
The future’s open wide
hmmm hmmm hmmm 
hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm 
hmmm hmmm hmmm 
hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm
I’ll stop the world and melt with you (Let’s stop the world) 
You’ve seen the difference and it’s getting better all the time (Let’s stop the 
world) 
There’s nothing you and I won’t do (Let’s stop the world) 
I’ll stop the world and melt with you (Let’s stop the world)
I’ll stop the world and melt with you (Let’s stop the world) 
I’ll stop the world and melt with you (Let’s stop the world)
I’ll stop the world and melt with you (Let’s stop the world) 
I’ll stop the world and melt with you (Let’s stop the world)

Squeeze – Black Coffee In Bed

A cousin of mine sent me a link to this song and I haven’t heard it in a long time. Black Coffee in Bed was released in 1982 and it surprises me that this did not chart in the Billboard 100. It did peak at #51 in the UK Charts.

The first article I read about Squeeze gave them a “New Beatles” label. The band did have a hit the year before with Tempted.

Paul Young and Elvis Costello sang backup vocals for this song.

Black Coffee In Bead

There’s a stain on my notebook
Where your coffee cup was
And there’s ash in the pages
Now I’ve got myself lost
I was writing to tell you
That my feelings tonight
Are a stain on my notebook
That rings your goodbye
With the way that you left me
I can hardly contain
The hurt and the anger
And the joy of the pain
Now knowing I am single
They’ll be fire in my eyes
And a stain on my notebook
For a new love tonight
From the lips without passion
To the lips with a kiss
There’s nothing of your love
That I’ll ever miss
The stain on my notebook
Remain all that’s left
Of the memory of late nights
And coffee in bed
Now she’s gone
And I’m back on the beat
A stain on my notebook
Says nothing to me
Now she’s gone
And I’m out with a friend
With lips full of passion
And coffee in bed