Discussion in 'The Off-topic Lounge' started by Bluesville, Mar 14, 2015.
Dave's Song of the Day
I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) – The Electric Prunes
Saturday song of the day: Today’s song is an early example of psychedelic music.
In 1965, a group of students at Taft High School in Los Angeles formed a garage band called the Sanctions. The next year they changed their name to The Electric Prunes. Soon thereafter they were introduced to a producer and signed to Reprise Records. Most of their early songs were written by the professional songwriters Annette Tucker and Mancie Mantz.
One of these Tucker/Mantz compositions was I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night), which replaced the usual concept of having altered consciousness from having too much to drink with the lasting effects of dreaming. Both musically and lyrically it took its cues from the nascent psychedelic movement developing in San Francisco.
I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) was released as a single in November 1966. The song did very well, reaching #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The band had a #27 hit with Get Me to the World on Time the following year, but never again made the top 40 after that. The Electric Prunes underwent numerous personnel changes over the next few years and disbanded in 1970. The band reformed in 1999 and has performed sporadically since then.
Tomorrow: But we don’t pull the strings
I like her voice and the song but almost sounds like English is her second language. Sounds a little off now and then
Haven't thought about her in years. Nice one.
I could murder people who make videos like this and cut out the majority of the finger placements on the fretboard.
Dave's Song of the Day
Money Changes Everything – The Brains
Sunday song of the day: Today’s song was recorded and released twice by the original artist to very little commercial success, but became a hit when released by an established star.
In 1978, Tom Gray of the Atlanta-based band The Brains wrote a song titled Money Changes Everything. It told the story a woman dumping the singer because she had found a rich boyfriend to replace him. It was not a situation taken from Gray’s own life, but the concept had come from a conversation he’d had with a friend. As he explains, “We were just sort of gossiping about this couple we knew, and she said, ‘She’s going to leave him as soon as she finds somebody with money.’ And I said, ‘Wait a minute, excuse me.’ The idea of the song just appeared in my head right there.”
The Brains recorded the song shortly afterward, and it was released on the local Gray Matter label. Both “The Brains” and Tom Gray’s name relate to “Gray Matter,” which is easy to explain since the band released the record themselves. They initially pressed 1,000 copies, then another thousand when the first batch sold out. It was not a hit, but it did get enough attention – specifically a glowing review from Robert Christgau in The Village Voice – that Mercury Records signed the band.
Under the Mercury deal, The Brains released a self-titled debut album in 1980. Money Changes Everything was rerecorded for the album and again released as a single. The original self-released single and the later album version had different second verses. Gray preferred the verse used on the original recording.
Unfortunately, the record’s release coincided with the sale of Mercury Records. All the people who had championed The Brains at the label were replaced, and the new regime did not promote the record at all, so it went nowhere.
It did gain enough attention that rising star Cyndi Lauper included Money Changes Everything on her 1983 debut solo album, She’s So Unusual. Lauper’s cover used the second verse that was included in the 1978 version by The Brains rather than their 1980 album version. In addition to that, the point of view was changed so that the song told of Lauper leaving her boyfriend instead of the other way around.
The first single from Lauper’s album, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, was a huge hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The next single, Time After Time, reached #1, while the two after that were #3 and #5. Clearly she was on a roll, so in 1984 Money Changes Everything was released as the fifth single from the album. Few albums warrant the release of five singles, so Lauper’s cover version of The Brains’ song was saved from relegation as just another album track and became a hit single. While it didn’t reach the top 5 as the previous singles had, it did have a respectable showing at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Brains, single, 1978
The Brains, album version, 1980
Cyndi Lauper cover, 1983
Tomorrow: Maybe I should have called you first
Dave's Song of the Day
I Drove All Night – Roy Orbison
Monday song of the day: Yesterday we looked at a song that Cyndi Lauper made a hit after the original artists had released it twice to low sales. Today’s song is one for which the original version was not released until a few years after a Cyndi Lauper cover was already a hit.
In 1987, rock & roll legend Roy Orbison recorded a tune that songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly had written for him. The song, I Drove All Night, was not included on Mystery Girl, the album released shortly after his December 1988 death.
Not long after Orbison recorded the song, Cyndi Lauper made her own version for her third solo album, A Night to Remember. The album was released on May 1989, and her recording of I Drove All Night was its first single, released a month earlier to boost album sales. The song was a big hit, charting at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earning Lauper a Grammy nomination.
A few years after Orbison’s death, the record company released King of Hearts, a posthumous album of his previously unreleased recordings. The recordings were remixed by Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra fame, who had been a bandmate of Orbison’s in The Traveling Wilburys along with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Tom Petty. I Drove All Night was included on the 1992 album and released as a single. It was a very minor hit in the United States, peaking at #74 on the Billboard Hot 100, although it did place at #7 on the UK charts.
While both the Orbison and Lauper versions are very good in different ways, another cover version was a bit of an abomination. In 2003, the queen of overly dramatic vocals, Celine Dion, signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Chrysler to advertise their cars. The focal point of this promotion was her version of I Drove All Night. It was featured heavily in Chrysler commercials, appeared on her album One Heart, and was released as a single.
Although the Celine Dion cover was a disco-fied mess, it performed well commercially. It peaked at #45 on the Hot 100 in the United States, and topped the charts in Canada. While it sold a fair amount of records, it didn’t help Chrysler’s car sales at all, so the company terminated its deal with Dion.
Roy Orbison, recorded 1987/released 1992
Cyndi Lauper, 1989
Celine Dion, 2003
Tomorrow: Cocaine on her dresser
The Weeknd is dope as fuck. This is my favorite by him and at almost 1.5 billion views is a masterpiece!
Dave's Song of the Day
Welcome to the Boomtown – David & David
Tuesday song of the day: Today’s song is the only Top 40 hit by an act that made one album and then broke up shortly thereafter.
David & David were a short-lived band that made exactly one album, 1986’s Boomtown. The act was a duo, consisting of David Ricketts and David Baerwald. Boomtown was a bit of a concept album, examining the city of Los Angeles. The first track of the album was also the duo’s biggest hit, Welcome to the Boomtown.
The song dealt with the drug culture in Los Angeles, both from the point of view of Cristina, a rich and bored cocaine user, and Kevin, a low-level dealer. The audio recording is longer than the music video made for the song, clocking in at 5:30 as opposed to just under four minutes for the video. Besides having a shorter instrumental ending, the video deletes the record’s closing lines “Well the ambulance arrived too late, I guess she didn’t want to wait”, implying that Cristina died of an overdose.
Welcome to the Boomtown charted at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the two other singles from the album failed to crack the Top 40. David & David disbanded in 1987, although they occasionally worked together as songwriters afterward. Both Ricketts and Baerwald wrote songs with Sheryl Crow for her breakthrough 1993 album Tuesday Night Music Club.
Tomorrow: Brenda Lee Coming on Strong
Awesome. For the past few weeks I have been compiling tracks from the 40s and building a playlist, and these two you posted fit right in there.
The 40s was a great decade for music IMO.
Dave's Song of the Day
Radar Love – Golden Earring
Wednesday song of the day: Pretty much everybody knows today’s song, but most people miss the darker meaning at the end of the song.
In 1973, the Dutch band Golden Earring released their ninth album, Moontan. Included on the album was the song Radar Love, which told the story of a guy driving home to visit his girl. Radar Love became an international hit, rising to #13 on the Billboard Top 100 chart. Since then it has become an enduring rock classic.
Written by Golden Earring members George Kooymans and Barry Hay, in simplest terms Radar Love describes the connection between the singer and his girlfriend in almost psychic terms. Whether meant literally or metaphorically, the “radar love” is the unspoken communication between the two lovers that allows the singer to know that his girl is missing him, urging him on toward home on his long-distance drive.
Most people understand it on this level but miss the indications later in the lyrics that the driver has a fatal crash just before he reaches his goal. There are several lyrical clues that he fails to make it home. The line “No more speed, I’m almost there/Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care” tells the listener that the driver has been taking amphetamines to stay awake on his overnight drive, and that he realizes that as he nears the end of his journey he is very tired and must be careful. The lyric “And the line of cars drove down real slow” could be interpreted as the driver’s funeral procession. Lastly, “And the newsman sang his same song, ‘Oh, one more radar lover gone’” seems to point to the local news reporting on the fatal accident.
While all of this could be open to interpretation, Barry Hay confirms that the driver never makes it home. “If it had been about a guy who accidentally electrocuted himself with an electric heater, then I doubt it would have been so successful,” he explains. Hay then makes it clear that the song’s narrator dies in the end, “The dude drives himself to pieces. Initially I thought it was a bit sad, but I found it added drama matching the music, which is also dramatic in places. But then I kind of made up for it by adding ESP, you know? He’s still connected with his lover, even in the afterlife.”
The song famously references the song Coming on Strong, which was a hit for Brenda Lee in 1966. In a nice little bit of wordplay, the line “Brenda Lee Coming on Strong” serves as either a mere naming of the singer and song that the driver is listening to on the radio, or as a description of Lee herself “coming on strong” in her performance. Barry Hay explains that he selected that particular record to reference because Brenda Lee was one of his mother’s favorite singers.
Golden Earring had one other hit in the United States, when in 1982 their song Twilight Zone reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the accompanying music video was a staple of early MTV. They continue to tour today, especially in Europe.
Tomorrow: I can feel the heartaches
After reading @psychicdeath post about golden earring. I always thought the words were Brandon Lee coming on strong.
Never thought to research that. Figured it was some random singer being played loud on the radio, as opposed to the actual singer and her song being played.
This song came on my Spotify random on the way home from the bar. I fucking laughed my ass off at the 2nd verse hook...
"She was passed around like a bottle of Crown, but she was always sweet to me"
So I came home and learned the chords in about 3 minutes. This song is definitely gonna be a staple of my campfire concerts from this point forward...