Discussion in 'The Off-topic Lounge' started by Bluesville, Mar 14, 2015.
Dave's Song of the Day
Rasputin – Boney M
Tuesday song of the day: Today’s song was performed by the song’s writer and producer, rather than the band’s nominal singer and frontman.
In late 1974, German record producer Frank Farian recorded a song called Baby Do You Wanna Bump. Farian preferred to stay in the background, so he credited the song to Boney M, a fictional band he created. The song became a hit in Belgium and the Netherlands, so Farian hired some performers to portray Boney M for TV appearances.
The four people involved were all from the Caribbean. They included Bobby Farrell, an exotic dancer, and three real singers, Maizie Williams, Marcia Barrett, and Liz Mitchell. For later recordings, Farian provded the male voice of Boney M, while Farrell just lip synched for TV appearances. The female voices were provided by Barrett and Mitchell. Farian had decided that he didn’t like Williams’ voice, so she didn’t actually appear on the records.
The ploy proved very successful, and Boney M had numerous international hits from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s, selling over 100 million records in total. Despite all of that, they were mostly unknown in the United States, achieving only one Top 40 hit, 1978’s Rivers of Babylon, which hit #30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
It was another 1978 song that we’ll look at today. Rasputin was a disco tune that told the story of Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic and advisor to the Tsar. The lyrics sensationalized the already outlandish truth, and portrayed Rasputin as “lover of the Russian queen” and “Russia’s greatest love machine”, then detailed his rise to power and eventual assassination. Rasputin was a #2 hit in the UK, and a top seller in most of Europe, reaching #1 in several countries. It failed to chart at all in the United States, however.
Farian had so much success with his mostly fake band Boney M that he repeated the formula in the late 1980s with another group. This time the “band” had commercial success in the United States, with their debut single reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, followed by three #1 hits and another that reached #4. The act even won a Grammy for Best New Artist. That group was Milli Vanilli.
Performance on the Dutch TV show Top Pop
Tomorrow: A little driving on a Saturday night
Dave's Song of the Day
Driver’s Seat – Sniff ‘n’ the Tears
Wednesday song of the day: Today’s song was a demo for the singer’s earlier band five years before his new band released it.
Singer/guitarist Paul Roberts was in the band Ashes of Moon in 1973. The band recorded some demos for a French record label, but they were never released. After Ashes of Moon broke up, Roberts formed a new band called Sniff ‘n’ the Tears. They signed a record deal and recorded an album, Fickle Heart. Included on the album was a song called Driver’s Seat that had been recorded on those 1973 demos.
The re-recorded version was one of the earliest songs that created a genre known as New Wave, taking a much more polished and commercial tone than the recent punk explosion, but retaining some of its character. While at first blush, the song may seem to be about driving, the lyrics detail the end of a relationship and the emotional turmoil that results.
The record company sat on the finished album for a year, but finally Fickle Heart was released in 1978. Driver’s Seat was the first single for Sniff ‘n’ the Tears and was their only hit. Oddly, it wasn’t very popular in the band’s native Britain, and failed to crack the Top 40 in the United Kingdom. It was a success in the United States, however, and made it to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. As mentioned, the song helped establish the musical style of New Wave that was dominant in the early 1980s.
As for Sniff ‘n’ the Tears, they broke up in 1983, and never had another single make the charts. In the early 1990s, Driver’s Seat was used in a popular commercial in Europe and started selling well there again, even reaching #1 in the Netherlands. Because of this, Sniff ‘n’ the Tears reformed in 1992. They have since released four more albums and continue to perform.
Tomorrow: I’m the kid from Mockingbird Lane
There's chicks in here who are hotter than Brandon!