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psychicdeath

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

Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves – Cher

Thursday song of the day: Today’s song is essentially about prostitution.




Yesterday’s song was written by Sonny Bono, who continued writing for his act Sonny and Cher, along with a good part of Cher’s solo work. In the late 60s, however, both the duo and Cher as a solo artist were in a slump and hadn’t had a hit since 1967. Then in 1971, a career resurgence was underway. CBS signed Sonny and Cher for a new variety program, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, and Cher began recording a new album, with Sonny no longer writing the songs and determining the musical direction.

The album, simply titled Chér (early in her career she included an accent over the e, but that affectation stopped not long afterward), was produced by Snuff Garrett and featured songs written for her by established songwriters. One of these songs was the cheesy storytelling number Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves. Written by Bob Stone, it told the tale of a young girl who was part of a traveling show. Her mother danced for the crowds and engaged in prostitution after the shows. Eventually the girl becomes pregnant and has a daughter, with the new mother embarking on the same pattern of life – dancing for the show and presumably becoming a prostitute herself – to support the family.

Bob Stone had originally titled the song Gypsys and White Trash, but producer Garrett insisted that he tone it down some and change the title to Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves. The TV show debuted on August 1st, 1971 as a six-week summer replacement program and the song was released as a single on September 1st, 1971. Both were hits. The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour was picked up as a full-time program and Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves rose to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and revitalized Cher’s career.

View: https://youtu.be/2xHhWkz5aMc


Tomorrow: So take your hat off boy when you’re talkin’ to me
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
905
1,475
Dave's Song of the Day

Feed the Tree – Belly

Friday song of the day: The title of today’s song is a euphemism for death.




Tanya Donelly was a former member of Throwing Muses and The Breeders, and in 1991 she formed a new band that she called Belly. The band released its first album, Star, in 1993, and the album contained Belly’s only hit, a song called Feed the Tree.

Feed the Tree was essentially about respect, but the term “feed the tree” referred to the old practice on family farms of conducting burials under a large tree on the property. Other than that, the lyrics are vague, but the impression is to treat those with more wisdom and experience with respect.

The song was quite popular with alternative rock audiences, placing at #1 on the Modern Rock chart, but didn’t do quite so well with the larger pop music audience, managing to only hit #95 on the overall Billboard Hot 100 chart. Belly released one more album before disbanding in 1996, but then reformed twenty years later in 2016. The reunited band is still active, and released their third album in 2018.

View: https://youtu.be/tsFE4zGPxM4


Video

View: https://youtu.be/RQJjUbMrt8w


Tomorrow: Well, I spent a week there one day
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
905
1,475
Dave's Song of the Day

Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio – John Denver

Saturday song of the day: Today’s song is about a boring city.




John Denver was a big star in the 1970s, with hits such as Rocky Mountain High, Take Me Home Country Roads, Annie’s Song, and many more. One song that he performed at numerous concerts was never a hit, nor had it been released as a single. Denver wasn’t even the writer of this song, but it created a backlash against him from some residents of the city that was its subject.

The song was Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio, and it was written by Randy Sparks. Sparks was a singer/songwriter and founder of the New Christy Minstrels. In the late 1960s, Sparks wrote a song about passing through Toledo and being incredibly bored by his stay. Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio took humorous jabs at the city, citing such entertainment activities as watching the grass die, watching buns rise in a bakery, and also comparing the town’s women to dogs. Denver heard the song and started including it in his concerts in the early 1970s.

It created a small local controversy in 1973 when it came to the attention of Toledo residents. Denver had performed the song during an appearance on The Tonight Show, and the depiction of Toledo offended some of the city’s leaders, including Mayor Harry Kessler. Kessler said of Denver, who was scheduled to play a concert in Toledo in June 1973, “Boy, am I going to singe him. I’ll send that son-of-a-gun a letter he’ll never forget. This is a great city.”

Denver himself thought the song was just representative of a bad night in any generic city, saying that Sparks was not picking on any specific town, “It’s really less about Toledo than about all the seemingly boring places people go to. Why Toledo? Well, Toledo sounds better than Fargo.”

Denver didn’t include the song on any of his studio albums, although at the time of the 1973 controversy in Toledo he told a reporter for the Toledo Blade that he might someday include it on a live album. That he did in 1975, when he released An Evening with John Denver, a double live album. Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio was included as the last song of Side 1 and provided as humorous interlude on the album. Most people in Toledo and the surrounding area were not offended at all, and in general took it as a joke. I happened to be growing up in a nearby town at the time and remember it well. Only a few stuffy politicians got bent out of shape, while most people either thought the song was funny or paid it no mind at all.

View: https://youtu.be/0iuZQnMUbvg


Tomorrow: I love every movement
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
905
1,475
Dave's Song of the Day

Poetry in Motion – Johnny Tillotson

Sunday song of the day: The writers of today’s song were inspired by girls walking past their office.




Songwriters Paul Kaufman and Mike Anthony worked out of an office and in the afternoon, they often noticed girls walking by on their way home from school. This inspired them to write Poetry in Motion, a song in which the singer expresses his admiration for the way a girl moves. In the song, the object of the singer’s affection is his girlfriend rather than some random schoolgirl walking by. It’s far less creepy that way.

The song was recorded in 1960 by Johnny Tillotson, a 22-year-old singer from Florida. Tillotson had recorded a few records starting in 1958, but his highest-charting song so far had placed only at #42. Poetry in Motion changed that, making it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 to become his first hit record. It also placed at #1 on the UK singles chart. He had several more Top 40 hits in the early to mid-1960s and eventually transitioned from pop music to a more country style.

View: https://youtu.be/w3KZAjVgWMc


Tomorrow: You know, news of you has come down the line
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
905
1,475
Dave's Song of the Day

Sweetheart Like You – Bob Dylan

Monday song of the day: Today’s song was a departure from the artist’s flirtation with evangelical Christianity.




Infidels was not one of Bob Dylan’s more iconic albums like Blonde on Blonde or Blood on the Tracks, but it is one of my personal favorites. Released in 1983, it was a bit of a return to form after the three albums of his “born again” Christian period of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Slow Train Coming, Saved, and Shot of Love. There were still religious overtones in several of the songs on Infidels, but on the whole it was a much more secular work.

The second single from the album was Sweetheart Like You. Superficially, it was a love song that told of a woman who finds herself in circumstances that seem beneath her, reworking the old saying “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” into the theme “What’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?” As is usual with Dylan, however, there is a lot more going on, with commentaries on religion, human rights, jingoism, relationships, power disparities, and other subjects.

Sweetheart Like You was released as a single in December 1983, and like most Dylan singles after the 1960s and 1970s was not a commercial success. It did manage to crack the Billboard Hot 100, placing at #55 on the overall pop chart. That might not be particularly impressive, but still it was his last single to ever make the Hot 100.

View: https://youtu.be/PpRKstHl7Y0


Tomorrow: There’s nobody else here
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
905
1,475
Dave's Song of the Day

Brass in Pocket (I'm Special) – The Pretenders

Tuesday song of the day: Today’s song was inspired by dry cleaning.




Chrissy Hynde grew up in Ohio but moved to London where she worked in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s clothing store and also wrote for the UK music magazine New Musical Express. After being involved in the punk scene, she started a band with three English musicians. The band, The Pretenders, released two singles in 1979 that ranked in the lower regions of the UK Top 40 but passed unnoticed in the United States. Their third single was released just before their self-titled debut album at the end of 1979 and established The Pretenders as a popular act.

Brass in Pocket was a song about having confidence. On the surface, it was about the singer stating that she would succeed in a sexual conquest, but Hynde has said that the deeper meaning was about the confidence, and even cockiness, that is required to perform on stage. The song is filled with British slang, the meaning of which escaped audiences in the United States. It didn’t matter. The music was infectious and while Americans might not know what some phrases meant; the attitude came through regardless.

The title itself was kind of obscure. Hynde first encountered the phrase when an English musician in a band on the same show as The Pretenders was making a joke about clothes that had been at the dry cleaners, wanting to know if the pants had any money in the pockets. As she explained, “We were all having dinner together afterwards, and one of the guys in Strangeways had just picked up his trousers from the dry-cleaners. His bandmate asked him jokingly: ‘Was there any brass in the pockets?’ I suppose I just liked the turn of phrase. Being from the US I hadn’t heard it before.” In part because the phrase was unfamiliar to Americans, the US single used the title Brass in Pocket (I'm Special) while it was listed on the album, and on singles in most other countries, simply as Brass in Pocket.

Brass in Pocket was released as The Pretenders’ third single in November 1979, and quickly rose to #1 on the UK singles chart. In the US, it didn’t do quite so well, but at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, it established the band for American audiences.

The director of the music video that was filmed to promote the single didn’t get the intention of the song at all, and he cast Chrissie Hynde in a passive role instead of as someone who displays the confidence the song puts forth. It showed her as a waitress in a diner who is barely noticed by the other three members of the band. Hynde thought it should have gone in another direction, saying, “My idea was that the band would show up on motorbikes. I’d cast off my apron and we’d all ride off into the sunset. He had the band showing up with their girlfriends in a pink Cadillac, and me trying to get their attention and failing. The closing shot shows the band driving off and me looking out of the window, weeping. I wanted to put a bullet to my head.”

View: https://youtu.be/joCVE5VGNdo


Video

View: https://youtu.be/0H6re3PCP3E


Tomorrow: Tires burning as they head for the show
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
905
1,475
Dave's Song of the Day

(You Can Still) Rock in America – Night Ranger

Wednesday song of the day: Today’s song was a reaction against New Wave and other musical trends in the early 1980s.




Night Ranger was a mid-level rock band of the early 1980s that had several top 40 hits, and one iconic song that everyone knows – Sister Christian. Before that was released, however, they had a minor hit with a song that was a response to talk that straight-ahead rock and roll was dying in favor of the New Wave and other Pop genres that were ruling the charts at the time. While on tour with Sammy Hagar, Night Ranger’s lead singer Jack Blades wrote a song in a Springfield, Illinois hotel room denying that rock was dead.

As he later explained, “We were sitting in this bad little Travelodge, that motel that has that sleeping bear with the sleeping hat on top of it. And we had a day or two off, and I went and bought a bunch of rock magazines. And at that time all these magazines were saying, ‘Rock is dead.’ Because we were still coming out of the Cars, and Blondie, and A Flock of Seagulls, and Haircut 100, and Boy George, and all this kind of stuff. And all these magazines were saying that basically rock and roll as we know it – Deep Purple, all that kind of stuff – was dead, and all this new music was coming out. At least that’s what they were trying to jam down everybody’s throat to convince everybody that this is the music you should listen to; the Thompson Twins, the Cure, everything that wasn’t like real rock and roll. But everywhere we were playing with Hagar, it was thousands of people out there and everybody was just rocking and rolling and screaming, and we were just jamming. And I’m like, Man, I don’t get this. Everybody’s saying rock is dead, but as far as I’m concerned, you can still rock in America. Because everywhere we’re going we’re f–king rocking in America. We’re kicking ass. And I thought, that’s kind of cool, ‘you can still rock in America.’ So I just sat down and I wrote the song.”

The song was called (You Can Still) Rock in America, and it was included on the band’s second studio album, Midnight Madness. It was released as the first single from the album in December 1983, and performed moderately well, rising to #15 on the rock chart and #51 on the overall Billboard Hot 100. About six weeks after (You Can Still) Rock in America reached its late January 1984 peak on the charts, Night Ranger released their second single from Midnight Madness, the song for which the band is best remembered, the classic power ballad Sister Christian.

View: https://youtu.be/gO-v_KGAZIE


Tomorrow: Pour la police, ça ne fait pas d’mystère
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
905
1,475
Dave's Song of the Day

Bonnie and Clyde – Brigitte Bardot & Serge Gainsbourg

Thursday song of the day: Today’s song was based on as poem written by Bonnie Parker a few weeks before she was killed.




In 1968 the French singer Serge Gainsbourg needed to come up with a song for an upcoming duet project with actress Brigitte Bardot. The idea struck him to use the bank robbing couple of Bonnie and Clyde as subjects, and he based the lyrics on a poem that Bonnie Parker had written about herself and Clyde Barrow while they were on the run from the law, just a few weeks before they were found and killed. The poem was titled The Trail’s End, and Gainsbourg used quite a bit of it in his song Bonnie and Clyde, albeit with Parker’s English translated into French..

The actual performance of the song had Gainsbourg doing more of a spoken word reading than actual singing, with Bardot occasionally joining in on a chorus. The song was included on two albums, one Gainsbourg’s album Initials B.B., and the other Bardot’s Bonnie and Clyde. In addition to the French duet, Gainsbourg also recorded an English version as a solo, without Bardot.

Bonnie and Clyde did not chart in the United States at all and despite the star power of Brigitte Bardot was not even a hit in France. Oddly, it was popular in Belgium, ranking at #18 in that small country. It would likely be mostly forgotten today if it had not been used in several films and television series.

View: https://youtu.be/v66HiF91gjQ


English version

View: https://youtu.be/gmsSLnwYTNw


Tomorrow: I can’t blame you for tryin’
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
905
1,475
Dave's Song of the Day

Poor Side of Town – Johnny Rivers

Friday song of the day: Today’s song was a rare ballad from an early rocker.




Johnny Rivers had a string of hits in the 1960s and early 1970s, and is probably best known for his 1966 hit Secret Agent Man.(which was song of the day for August 18th, 2014, here: Secret Agent Man – Johnny Rivers ) Later that year he had his highest charting US hit with Poor Side of Town. While that record managed to place at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was the #3 Secret Agent Man that emerged as an all-time classic.

Rivers wrote Poor Side of Town with legendary producer/record executive Lou Adler, and the song was a bit of a stylistic change from his more upbeat earlier hits. The ballad concerns a man singing to his former girlfriend, who wants him back after she broke up with the rich guy she had been involved with. In the end he accepts her back and is optimistic that they will improve their circumstances.

The record was released in late 1966 and went to #1 on the Hot 100. While Rivers had several other hits that are probably better remembered today, including the #3 Baby I Need Your Lovin’ from 1967, and the #6 Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu from 1972, Poor Side of Town was his only record to top the pop charts.

View: https://youtu.be/vAI24i825_E


Tomorrow: Right through the door
 

psychicdeath

Member
Jan 21, 2015
905
1,475
Dave's Song of the Day

The Blob – The Five Blobs

Saturday song of the day: Today’s song was one of songwriter Burt Bacharach’s earliest hits.




In 1958, Paramount Pictures released a sci-fi horror film called The Blob. The movie concerned a living slime-like creature that arrives from outer space contained in a meteorite. The Blob eventually grows to enormous size as it consumes people. The film starred a young Steve McQueen.

The theme song for the film was written by Burt Bacharach and Mack David. Bacharach had had one of his songs hit the charts just the year before, but he was on a good start on what would be a legendary career. The song he wrote for the film was a humorous take on the film’s monster, backed with sort of an up-tempo jazz arrangement. Naturally, the song was also titled The Blob.

The group of studio musicians that recorded the song were led by Bernard Knee (whose credits in film and records often used the name “Bernie Nee”). Since they were assembled specifically to record The Blob, they called themselves The Five Blobs. The film’s theme song was released as a single, and performed surprisingly well for such an odd song, peaking at #33 on the Billboard Hot 100. This made it the third of seventy-three songs written by Burt Bacharach to crack the Top 40.

As for The Five Blobs, they recorded two more singles the next year and then broke up. Knee had a long and successful career as a studio musician, of which his time in The Five Blobs was just a small part.

View: https://youtu.be/ejtPJc-fDZ8


Tomorrow: She’s the one that keeps the dream alive