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psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
722
1,322
Dave's Song of the Day

Makin’ Whoopee! – Eddie Cantor

Friday song of the day: Today’s song is based on an old time euphemism for sex.




Risqué subject matter in popular music is nothing new. A popular song of the late 1920s tells men that while sex is fun, not to jump into marriage just because you find a girl attractive. In 1928, a musical called Whoopee! opened on Broadway, and included in the play was a song called Makin’ Whoopee!. The title was slang for having sex, or more mildly, any sort of romantic activity. The lyrics told that the singer felt sorry for other men who jumped into marriage too soon just because they found an attractive girl, and then detailed how the initial lust gave way after time and the marriage became strained, making the husband miserable. The song was sung in the play by Eddie Cantor.

In January 1929, Cantor released a recording of the song and it became a popular hit. Based on the success of the musical in the theater and the sales of the Makin’ Whoopee! record, in 1930 Samuel Goldwyn made a movie based on the play. Whoopee! was filmed in color at a time when most motion pictures were still in black and white. Once again, Eddie Cantor starred. Cantor had been a popular performer on Broadway for a few years, but the film version of Whoopee! made him a movie star as well. The rendition of Makin’ Whoopee! in the film expanded on the lyrics used for the earlier record.

Despite feeling distinctly outdated to modern listeners, Makin’ Whoopee! has remained a popular song over the years. Close to 300 cover versions have been recorded to date, by artists including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, and many others. In 1989, Dr. John and Rickie Lee Jones recorded a duet of Makin’ Whoopee! that won a Grammy award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group. This version was later used in the soundtrack of the 1993 film Sleepless in Seattle.

Eddie Cantor, 1929

View: https://youtu.be/GcrggtH-j7k


Eddie Cantor, from the 1930 film Whoopee!

View: https://youtu.be/ANRPmTZRqkg


Dr. John and Rickie Lee Jones, 1989

View: https://youtu.be/AcK9h08B0xI


Tomorrow: Feeling like I ought to sleep
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
722
1,322
Dave's Song of the Day

25 or 6 to 4 – Chicago

Saturday song of the day: The title of today’s song confuses a lot of people, but it’s actually pretty straightforward.




Chicago was one of the biggest bands of the 1970s. The group was formed in 1967 as The Big Thing. They played shows at clubs in the Chicago area, and were signed to Columbia Records in 1968. Along with the record deal came a move to Los Angeles and a change in the band’s name. The Big Thing became Chicago Transit Authority. They released their first album, Chicago Transit Authority, in 1969. The double album contained several hits, including Beginnings and Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? and was certified Platinum for selling over a million albums.

Thus, it was as an established success that the band began working on a follow-up. Along the way, the band shortened its name from Chicago Transit Authority to simply Chicagobecause the actual Chicago Transit Authority that ran the bus and train services in the city threatened to sue the band over using their name. This second release – also a double album – performed just as well. It too went Platinum, and garnered three Grammy nominations, including one for Album of the Year. The album was titled Chicago (although it is informally known as “Chicago II” since Chicago Transit Authority was their first album) and was released in January 1970. It spawned three Top 10 singles, the #9 Make Me Smile, #7 Colour My World, and #4 25 or 6 to 4.

It is this third song that concerns us today. The lyrics of 25 or 6 to 4 don’t make much sense to a casual listener, but once the basic premise is explained, they make perfect sense. Some theorized that it was a reference to LSD-25, but the truth is more mundane. The problem likely stems from the odd phrasing of the title, with the phrase “25 or 6 to 4” repeated several times during the song. Once one knows that the song refers to a late-night songwriting session, and that the writer Robert Lamb was using a shortened version of “twenty-five or twenty-six minutes to four AM,” it all falls into place. The singer is very tired and struggling to write a worthwhile song at 3:34 or 3:35 in the morning. Lamm explains that he actually did look at a clock and that was the time when he looked. It was an older clock, which explains the imprecise time. “I couldn’t quite tell where the hands of the clock were pointing. It was 25 or 26 minutes before 4 a.m. I didn’t expect to keep those words. I expected to replace them with some actual lyrics. But it ended up working out okay.”

The single version of 25 or 6 to 4 was released in June 1970, and as mentioned it peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song became one of the signature works of Chicago, and the band included it in the three songs they performed at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

An indication of the song’s enduring popularity over fifty years after its debut was the recent remix by rapper realnamejames along with the current members of Chicago to promote the U.S. Army. The 25 OR 6 TO 4 (GoArmy Remix) was released online just a week ago, on July 26th 2020.

View: https://youtu.be/iUAYeN3Rp2E


July 2020 remix

View: https://youtu.be/LGCs4CS6ENA


Tomorrow: You’ve been starring in my dreams
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
722
1,322
Dave's Song of the Day

Miss You – The Rolling Stones

Sunday song of the day: One of the greatest rock bands went disco with today’s song.




The Rolling Stones had been established as a legendary rock band since the 1960s, and in 1978 they released their sixteenth studio album, Some Girls. Disco music had been popular for a year or two by then, and lead singer Mick Jagger had been known to spend a lot of time at Studio 54 and other trendy nightclubs. The influence of beat-driven disco music is very apparent on one of the songs on the album, Miss You.

Miss You was conceived by Jagger while jamming with famed keyboardist Billy Preston in 1977. The writing was primarily done by Mick Jagger, with other members of the band contributing during the rehearsals prior to recording the song. Like the vast majority of Rolling Stones songs, it was credited to the band’s songwriting team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. This was a normal procedure for the pair. Generally, they worked together, but on occasion Richards or Jagger would write a song without much input from the other. Regardless, in these cases the songs were credited to both.

Having spent so much time in discos, Jagger was developing a fondness for music designed for dancing. While he claims that Miss You was not intended as a disco song, the influence of music popular in dance clubs is obvious in the arrangement.

Several versions of the song were released. The mix that appears on the Some Girls album has a length of 4:48. The single version was a shorter edit, at 3:35, and a special dance club version, remixed by Bob Clearmountain, runs for 8:36. These are the three most commonly found versions, but there are a few others.

Lyrically, the song is based on the failing relationship between Jagger and his wife Bianca. They had been having troubles, and although still married, Jagger had started a relationship with model Jerry Hall in 1977. While never officially married, Jagger and Hall were together for over twenty years and had four children. Mick and Bianca divorced in 1978.

Miss You was released as a single in May 1978 and was a big hit despite its departure from the Rolling Stones’ usual rock style. It rose to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and sold over a million copies in the United States alone, and another 250,000 in the United Kingdom.

7-inch single

View: https://youtu.be/PKVXSo9ROpg


12-inch remix

View: https://youtu.be/hPrklRwn1HE


Tomorrow: So darling don’t pretend
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
722
1,322
Dave's Song of the Day

I Know There’s Something Going On – Frida

Monday song of the day: Today’s song is the first English-language solo recording from this member of ABBA.




Anni-Frid Lyngstad was a member of the hugely successful Swedish band ABBA from 1972 to 1982. Although ABBA was still officially together in 1982, they were in the process of breaking up, in part because Lyngstad and fellow ABBA member Benny Andersson had divorced in 1981. As a result, Lyngstad resumed her solo career, under the name Frida. She had recorded one Swedish-language album before joining ABBA, and another in 1975, but this new project would be her first English-language solo album.

Called Something’s Going On, the album was produced by Phil Collins and released in September 1982. The first single from the album was the similarly titled I Know There’s Something Going On, a song of a woman becoming aware that her partner is cheating on her. It turned out to be a hit, placing at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. While she has since had a few hits in Europe, this was the only time Frida broke the Top 100 in the United States as a solo performer.

View: https://youtu.be/-OTPOzd16-4


Video

View: https://youtu.be/p98PjtSfNWo


Tomorrow: It opened up my eyes
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
722
1,322
Dave's Song of the Day

One Toke Over the Line – Brewer & Shipley

Tuesday song of the day: Yes, today’s song is about smoking pot.




Brewer & Shipley were a mildly successful folk-rock duo who came together in 1967. They released albums in 1968 and 1969, but their breakthrough was with their third album, 1970’s Tarkio. The first single from the album, One Toke Over the Line, became by far their most well-known song.

As the title would suggest, it was a song about smoking pot. The line came from something Tom Shipley said one night when he was particularly high. A friend had given him some hash and had advised him that it was very potent so he should only take two hits. Shipley took three. He then recounts, “I go out of the dressing room – I’m also a banjo player, but I didn’t have one, so I was playing my guitar – and Michael came in and I said, ‘Jesus, Michael, I’m one toke over the line.’ And to be perfect honest, I don’t remember if Michael was with me when I took that hit or not. I remember it as ‘not’; I think Michael remembers it as ‘yes.’ And he started to sing to what I was playing, and I chimed in and boom, we had the line.”

His partner Michael Brewer concurs, explaining, “I just cracked up. I thought it was hysterical. And right on the spot, we just started singing, ‘One toke over the line, sweet Jesus,’ and that was about it; then we went onstage.”

In 1970, a song about getting high was still mildly controversial. As One Toke Over the Line began getting radio airplay and selling well, Spiro Agnew, then Vice President of the United States, cited it as an example of pro-drug propaganda and urged the FCC to ban the record. The FCC stopped short of banning it or any other specific songs, but in 1971 warned radio stations that they could lose their licenses if they played songs that promoted drug use. Eventually the issue blew over and nobody lost their broadcasting licenses.

While all this was going on, One Toke Over the Line began climbing the charts, finally topping at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart right around the time the FCC issued their lukewarm edict. Brewer and Shipley had two more singles that charted, 1971’s Tarkio Road at #55 and Shake Off the Demon, which hit #98 in 1972. With both later songs well out of the Top 40, this would officially make Brewer & Shipley one hit wonders for One Toke Over the Line.

A particularly odd performance of the song took place in 1971 as well. Then in its final season on network TV, that bastion of squareness The Lawrence Welk Show featured singers “Gail and Dale” – Gail Farrell and Dick Dale – performing a very lame version of One Toke Over the Line. One suspects that they had no idea what a toke was, or that the song was about drugs. Apparently, they had heard the lines about “Sweet Jesus” and just assumed it was a nice wholesome song. After their performance, an equally clueless Lawrence Welk referred to it as “a modern spiritual.”

View: https://youtu.be/L9HXClusp_E


Gail Farrell and Dick Dale on The Lawrence Welk Show, 1971

View: https://youtu.be/t8tdmaEhMHE


Tomorrow: And in her eyes two sapphires blue
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
722
1,322
Dave's Song of the Day

Dance Hall Days – Huang Chung

Wednesday song of the day: Today’s song was a hit when re-recorded and released two years after the original flopped.




Jeremy Ryder, Nick Feldman, and Darren Costin had played together in previous bands before forming as Huang Chung in 1980. In the beginning, all three performed under stage names, and were known as Jack Hues, Nick DeSpig, and Darren Darwin respectively. A few more members were added later, and they too used pseudonyms. The band released their first album on Arista Records, Huang Chung, in 1982. One of the singles from the album was Dance Hall Days, an odd song about relationships that used dancing as a theme. The lyrics started off normally, with “Take your baby by the hand,” and then got increasingly ridiculous. The single was largely ignored.

The next year, the band changed their name to Wang Chung and signed to Geffen Records. Around this time, the members stopped using stage names, with the exception of Jeremy Ryder, who continued to be known as Jack Hues. On Geffen they released their second album, Points on the Curve. It was released in July 1983 in the band’s native UK, and in January 1984 in the United States. The album featured a new version of Dance Hall Days, recorded in a more New Wave style than the original. This time it became a hit, with the single placing at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

To promote the song, a music video was made by director Derek Jarman, using footage his father had shot in the 1940s interspersed with new footage of the band performing. Not long afterward, an alternate video was produced, with a fantasy theme and slicker imagery. It was this second video that is more well-known, having been in heavy rotation on MTV.

Oddly, Dance Hall Days was Wang Chung’s only Top 40 hit in the UK, where it placed at #21 on the singles chart. Despite being a British band, Wang Chung was much more popular in the United States, cracking the U.S. Top 40 five separate times, including a #2 hit in 1986 with Everybody Have Fun Tonight, and a #9 hit with Let’s Go! in 1987.

Huang Chung, 1982

View: https://youtu.be/DymnMcCzU4I


Wang Chung, 1984

View: https://youtu.be/vMj2h_KhDOk


Video #1

View: https://youtu.be/V-xpJRwIA-Q


Video #2

View: https://youtu.be/kf6rfzTHB10


Tomorrow: Meet me in the middle of the day