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psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
953
1,517
Dave's Song of the Day

It’s a Mistake – Men at Work

Saturday song of the day: Today’s song is about Cold War nuclear fears.




Since I screwed up yesterday’s song of the day and had a late substitution, I figured I would acknowledge the mistake by having today’s song be It’s a Mistake by Men at Work.

Men at Work had two big hits in 1981 from their debut album, Business as Usual. Their first single, Who Can it Be Now?, hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as did their follow-up, the iconic Down Under, which sold even more records and was certified platinum. In 1983, the band released their second album, Cargo, and the third single from that album was It’s a Mistake. Like another song from the era, 99 Luftballons by Nena, It’s a Mistake was about the possibility of a nuclear war being launched by accident.

The record didn’t do as well as Men at Work’s two big early hits, but still ranked at a respectable #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

View: https://youtu.be/I0AxrOUJ62E


Tomorrow: Hielten sich für Captain Kirk
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
953
1,517
Dave's Song of the Day

99 Luftballons – Nena

Sunday song of the day: Today’s song was inspired by balloons released at a Rolling Stones concert.




Like yesterday’s It’s a Mistake by Men at Work, today’s song is another 1983 hit about accidental nuclear war. The band that recorded the song was a German group headed by Gabrielle Kerner, who performed under the stage name Nena. She also named the band Nena.

In June 1982, the band’s guitarist Carlo Karges attended a Rolling Stones concert and at some point during the show balloons were released. Karges noticed them bunched together and heading East with the wind and had the fleeting notion about what could happen if they were mistaken for something more sinister at the border between West and East Germany. Along with this, the band had heard of a 1973 prank in the United States where high school students had faked a UFO by tying together ninety-nine mylar balloons (they had bought 100, but one had popped before launching) with a road flare for illumination.

These two inspirations led to 99 Luftballons, a song about air defense forces mistaking a group of balloons for a UFO and eventually starting a war. 99 Luftballons became Nena’s second single and was released first in Germany with German lyrics as written by Karges. The album that included the song, Nena, also contained an English language version of the song titled 99 Red Balloons, with new lyrics by Kevin McAlea. The English lyrics were not a direct translation of the German version and told a slightly different story. In the English 99 Red Balloons, the balloons were mistaken for an enemy attack and caused an accidental nuclear launch.

Both versions were hits in different countries, with the German original generally doing better in continental Europe. The English version reached #1 in both the UK and Canada. In the United States, where one would expect a warmer reception for an English language record, the German 99 Luftballons reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart while the English 99 Red Balloons failed to chart. Oddly, both versions of the song reached #1 in Australia.

Nena remained popular in Germany and a few other European countries for several years, but never had another US hit.

99 Luftballons, German audio with direct translation

View: https://youtu.be/7aLiT3wXko0


99 Red Balloons, music video

View: https://youtu.be/BGZv0XrbMO0


Tomorrow: You take a step forward then you turn to the right
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
953
1,517
Dave's Song of the Day

The Ostrich – The Primitives

Monday song of the day: Today’s song was a silly little dance song, but it led to the formation of the Velvet Underground.




In the early 1960s, young Lou Reed was working as a staff songwriter for Pickwick City Records, a label that specialized in low budget compilations and sound-alike records. If there was a popular trend, Pickwick would try to cash in by releasing records that, while original compositions, tried to capture the feel of whatever happened to be hot in mainstream music.

One of the trends Pickwick tried to emulate was the dance craze record, such as the Twist, the Mashed Potato, the Loco-Motion, etc. So, they had Reed write a song about a dance, and he came up with The Ostrich. It was more a joke about a fake dance than a real attempt to create a dance craze. The dance itself was pretty silly, with instructions in the lyrics on how to dance The Ostrich including “Hey, take this forward and stand on your head” and “Hey, put your hands up, upside your knees.” The song was recorded by The Primitives, which were actually Lou Reed and some studio musicians.

The record was released in 1964, and was far from a hit, but it did get enough local popularity in the New York area that Pickwick decided to put together a band to support the record with some live shows. To create a real band to be The Primitives, a Pickwick executive recruited a few people he saw at a party to join Lou Reed. One of these was John Cale, a Welsh musician with a penchant for experimental music.

As Cale tells it, “Tony Conrad, Walter de Maria and I were picked up one night at a party because we had long hair, and they told us, ‘You look commercial. We think you’d make a great band, why don’t you come out and visit us.’ Okay, so we go out to Pickwick Records on Long Island City, go into the back room of this plant that manufactures LPs of second-rate orchestras playing concertos. The back room had one Ampex two-track tape recorder. There were three guys milling around. One of these guys was Lou, who looked suitably funky, and two other guys, they were into trying anything. They played me this thing that they recorded on their two-track.”

One of the things that Cale liked about Reed was the guitar sound he used in The Ostrich. Instead of the regular tuning where each string is set to a different note, Reed had tuned all six strings to the note D, which created a droning sound as he played. Cale had been experimenting with droning in some of his compositions, so the two hit it off. After a few shows as The Primitives, Reed and Cale, along with Sterling Morrison and Angus MacLise formed The Velvet Undergound later that year. Several months later, MacLise was replaced by Maureen Tucker. And the rest is history.

The guitar technique of all strings tuned to D was used in a few Velvet Underground songs, including Venus in Furs and All Tomorrow’s Parties from their 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground and Nico. Due to its origin, it is now known as the Ostrich tuning.

View: https://youtu.be/5r998weOUiM


Tomorrow: There is no denial
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
953
1,517
Dave's Song of the Day

Rank and File – Rank and File

Tuesday song of the day: Today’s song is about the mundane life of the working man.




Brothers Chip and Tony Kinman had led the Los Angeles punk band The Dils from 1976 to 1980. When The Dils disbanded, they briefly went to New York, but by 1981 had moved to Austin, Texas. There they formed a new band with Slim Evans and Alejandro Escovedo, called Rank and File, which fused punk with country music. The style would later become known as cowpunk.

In June 1982 they recorded their first album, entitled Sundown. Among the songs on Sundown was one that duplicated the band’s name, Rank and File. The song was released as a single in the UK and Australia, but not in the United States, where instead Amanda Ruth was released as the only single from the Sundown album. While the album was loved by critics, it was mostly ignored by the mainstream, being a bit too punk for country audiences and far, far too country for punk audiences. As Chip Kinman described it, “We’d go into New Wave clubs, and no one was playing country music. We’d play those songs, and we’d never get asked back.”

Rank and File went on to record two more albums before breaking up in 1987. The Kinman brothers then started a synthpop band, Blackbird, and later returned to cowpunk with Cowboy Nation in 1997. After that project ended, they worked separately for many years, before teaming up again in 2018 in the band Ford Madox Ford. Unfortunately, this reunion did not last long, as Tony Kinman died of cancer in May 2018.

View: https://youtu.be/58yeglIjTPc


Video

View: https://youtu.be/SgNkHtej_5U


Tomorrow: You wore a shirt of violent green, uh huh
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
953
1,517
Dave's Song of the Day

What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? – R.E.M.

Wednesday song of the day: Today’s song was inspired by a bizarre assault on a network news anchor.




In 1994, R.E.M. had a hit with the song What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? [R.E.M.’s Radio Free Europe was song of the day for October 23rd, 2014 here: Radio Free Europe – REM ]

The title came from something that happened to Dan Rather in 1986. The CBS broadcaster was attacked by two men in New York City, and as they were beating him, one of the men repeatedly asked Rather the odd question “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” While it is not specifically about the incident, a reworded version of the phrase is used several times during the song.

For a few years after the incident, the attackers were unknown and it was just remembered as an odd occurrence. Then in August 31st, 1994 (coincidentally just five days before What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? was released as a single), someone tried to enter the NBC studios, and shot and killed a stagehand who had tried to stop him. During the interrogation of the person arrested for the murder, William Tager, the suspect mentioned that he had attacked Dan Rather a few years earlier. According to the story, the mentally disturbed Tager claimed to be a time traveler and that Rather was monitoring him through a chip in Tager’s brain. Somehow Tager was convinced that Rather either was – or was associated with – the Vice President from Tager’s original time of 2265, who was named Kenneth Burrows.

As mentioned, What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? was released as a single on September 5th, 1994. The single was edited slightly for radio airplay from the original version that appeared on the R.E.M. album Monster, with the line “Don’t fuck with me” removed late in the song. The record was a hit, placing at #1 on the Alternative Airplay chart, and #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart, while peaking at #21 on the overall Billboard Hot 100.

For his part, Dan Rather had a good sense of humor about the incident having inspired the song. On June 22nd, 1995 R.E.M. were playing a show at Madison Square Garden, and during the soundcheck for that show, Rather joined the band and sang along with a performance of What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? The next night some video of the event was shown on The Late Show with David Letterman, where R.E.M. were appearing as musical guests.

Uncensored audio

View: https://youtu.be/eIt1NpYi4VM


Music Video (censored lyrics)

View: https://youtu.be/jWkMhCLkVOg


With Dan Rather on The Late Show with David Letterman

View: https://youtu.be/2Huyn9itzIw


Tomorrow: Pick the game
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
953
1,517
Dave's Song of the Day

Kenneth – What’s the Frequency? – Game Theory

Thursday song of the day: Today’s song was the first of two inspired by the Dan Rather attack.




Yesterday’s song was R.E.M.’s What’s the Frequency, Kenneth, a 1994 hit that was inspired by an incident in 1986 when CBS news anchor Dan Rather was attacked, with one of his assailants repeatedly asking him “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” While the R.E.M. song is well-known, it was preceded by a more obscure recording by a band named Game Theory.

Game Theory’s Scott Miller had heard of the attack and wrote a brief song that used the phrase. Kenneth – What’s the Frequency? is more a brief collection of non sequiturs than a coherent song and runs for only forty-eight seconds. It opens the band’s 1987 two-record set Lolita Nation, and naturally was never released as a single or garnered much airplay.

Although most people have never heard of Kenneth – What’s the Frequency?, the question is did anyone in R.E.M. hear the song and draw inspiration from it to create What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? Scott Miller doesn’t think so, saying in a 2002 interview, “To tell the truth, I would be flattered and not even the tiniest bit irked if they somehow unconsciously got the idea from my record, but I think Michael Stipe probably wrote the lyric, and I think Pete Buck was the only R.E.M. member who knew Game Theory at all, so it probably doesn’t quite add up that it was a direct influence.”

View: https://youtu.be/BIJoLFk0lGc


Tomorrow: And I’m not missin’ a thing
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
953
1,517
Dave's Song of the Day

Ridin’ the Storm Out – REO Speedwagon

Friday song of the day: Today’s song was inspired by a Colorado snowstorm.




REO Speedwagon was on tour in 1973 and had just played a show in Boulder, Colorado at Tulagi’s Bar. Guitarist Gary Richrath and lead singer Kevin Cronin decided to play a prank on the tour manager and go for a hike afterward and pretend to get lost. The weather got worse, however, and they actually did have trouble getting back. Richrath says of the incident, “We got a few provisions to go up to the Flatirons to hike around. Our tour manager said, ‘You’re not going up there’—a big blizzard was coming in. We ditched him and went anyway. It was confusing for a couple of kids from the Midwest. We got nervous and scared and walked around in circles for an hour. Then we saw a flagpole in a park and ran to it. Our road manager had brains enough to sit and wait for us. It was an inspiring moment, walking in the woods and hoping to get our asses out of there. The next morning, I woke up and said to Kevin, ‘I’ve got some lyrics. Let’s work on them.’”

The song that Richrath wrote ended up being Ridin’ the Storm Out, which was about enjoying nature rather than the real incident of getting lost in the snow. It was the title track of their next album and was also released as a single. Unfortunately, Cronin had left the band during the recording of the album and was replaced by Mike Murphy as lead vocalist. For the songs already recorded, included Ridin’ the Storm Out, Cronin’s vocals were replaced by Murphy’s.

The single of Ridin’ the Storm Out did not chart at all, although the album went platinum. A few years later in 1977, REO released a live album, titled Live: You Get What You Play For, and Ridin’ the Storm Out was included on the album. Kevin Cronin had returned to the band in 1976, so on the live version it was him singing instead of Mike Murphy. This version was also released as a single, and the 1977 live recording performed better than the 1973 studio single. It was not a huge hit but did place at #94 on the Billboard Hot 100, whereas the original did not chart at all.

Studio version, 1973

View: https://youtu.be/L6_Sm4b5HX8


Live version, 1977

View: https://youtu.be/BurWYoB1XsQ


Tomorrow: But my real name is Mr. Earl
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
953
1,517
Dave's Song of the Day

Speedoo – The Cadillacs

Saturday song of the day: Yes, his name really was Earl.




New York doo-wop group The Cadillacs released a few singles in 1954 and 1955, but none managed to chart. Then songwriter Esther Navarro wrote a song based on the nickname of the group’s lead singer, Earl Carroll.

Carroll claims that he got the nickname “Speedo” because he tended to take his time, so it was actually the opposite of his personality, in much the same way that big guys are often called “Tiny.” Navarro wrote it as “Speedoo” and in the song the nickname was because the character was supposedly quick to pursue the ladies. Speedoo was released as a single in October 1955 and was the first hit for the Cadillacs. It rose to #3 on the R&B chart, and #17 on the pop chart (one of the precursors to the Billboard Hot 100).

View: https://youtu.be/cGQJEOXvrWw


Tomorrow: But the people let me down
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
953
1,517
Dave's Song of the Day

I Just Want to Celebrate – Rare Earth

Sunday song of the day: Today’s song is about not letting setbacks get you down.




In 1969, Rare Earth was one of the first White acts to be signed to Motown Records, and was the first of these to have a hit. They had a #4 hit in 1970 with a cover of Smokey Robinson’s Get Ready, and a #7 hit that same year with a cover of The Temptations’ (I Know) I’m Losing You.

Their next big hit was not a cover, but was written for the band by Motown’s songwriting team of Nick Zesses and Dino Fekaris. I Just Want to Celebrate was a fusion of rock and soul, featuring a harder rocking sound than their earlier hits. Lyrically, it told of the singer maintaining his happiness in the face of various setbacks and expressed the joy inherent in life.

I Just Want to Celebrate was released as a single in 1971 and placed at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming Rare Earth’s third, and last, Top 10 hit. The group had a few more records crack the Top 40 in the 1970s, but after that the hits stopped coming. Despite this and numerous personnel changes over the years, Rare Earth kept recording and performing well into the 2000s.

View: https://youtu.be/8GEnkWLEtns


Tomorrow: Pain in my heart
 

Grateful Dude

TMMAC Addict
May 30, 2016
6,970
10,775
I came to Texas to see my daughter for Christmas. Until yesterday I hadn't talked to her mom in more than 10 years. I immediately remembered how much I hate her.

"Fuck You"- Cee Lo Green, Daryl Hall - YouTube
Sounds like an apt song choice ;)

Welcome to Texas, enjoy the time with your daughter! Not sure if you're coming from somewhere cold or not, but it's supposed to be in the 60s and 70s all week, so go get some of that Texas sun.
 

Tiiimmmaaayyy

First 100 ish
Jan 19, 2015
6,759
8,761
Sounds like an apt song choice ;)

Welcome to Texas, enjoy the time with your daughter! Not sure if you're coming from somewhere cold or not, but it's supposed to be in the 60s and 70s all week, so go get some of that Texas sun.
Thanks. I appreciate that. It's 70 right now. I'm trying to soak it all in, it will be snowing with a low of 10 degrees when I get back home.
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
953
1,517
Dave's Song of the Day

Tears on My Pillow – The Imperials

Monday song of the day: Today’s song recycled a backing track.




A Doo Wop group called the Chesters formed in 1957 in New York. Adding Jerome Anthony “Little Anthony” Gourdine as lead singer, they changed their name to The Imperials in 1958 and signed to End Records. Their first single was Tears on My Pillow, a song written by Sylvester Bradford and Al Lewis.

In recording the song, the cash-strapped record company used the backing track from the 1954 hit by The Penguins, Earth Angel, in order to save money. Tears on My Pillow was released in August 1958. Despite cutting corners on the backing track, the song was a big hit, rising to #2 on the R&B chart, and #4 on the overall Billboard Hot 100. The first few pressings of the record were credited to The Imperials, but after it showed signs of becoming a hit, the record was credited to Little Anthony and The Imperials. The record eventually sold well over a million copies.

View: https://youtu.be/x33hBl5HIi0


Earth Angel, The Penguins, 1954

View: https://youtu.be/hx7ibQVVzqk


Tomorrow: Get up off your knees
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
953
1,517
Dave's Song of the Day

Only the Strong Survive – Jerry Butler

Tuesday song of the day: Today’s song is about recovering from your first breakup.




Singer and songwriter Jerry Butler began his recording career in 1958 as lead singer for The Impressions, which also included Curtis Mayfield. Butler wrote the Impressions’ first gold record, the #11 hit For Your Precious Love, but left for a solo career in 1960. He had several hit records in the early 1960s, including two Top 10 hits, the #7 He Will Break Your Heart in 1960, and Let It Be Me, a 1964 duet with Betty Everett that placed at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Five years later he would have his biggest hit, and the song for which he is best remembered. That song was Only the Strong Survive. Butler wrote it along with the legendary songwriting/production team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Only the Strong Survive tells the story of the singer suffering through a breakup with his first love, and his mother giving him the advice to be strong in the face of heartbreak. The song was recorded in 1968 and included on his album The Iceman Cometh. The album was released in November 1968 with Only the Strong Survive released as the album’s fourth single in early 1969. The single ended up climbing to #1 on the R&B chart, and #4 on the overall Billboard Hot 100.

The song has been covered a dozen times since Jerry Butler’s original recording, most famously by Elvis Presley. Elvis included a version on his 1969 album From Elvis in Memphis. It was not released as a single, however. Personally, I much prefer the Jerry Butler record, but then I was never a big Elvis fan.

Jerry Butler, 1968

View: https://youtu.be/B0q8CscH4J4


Elvis Presley, 1969

View: https://youtu.be/TPRan5mq084


Tomorrow: Mama died and my daddy got drunk