Sunday, August 13, 2017

GLEN CAMPBELL & HIS PARENTS IN A SOUTHWESTERN BELL COMMERCIAL


Southwestern Bell had an ad campaign featuring celebrities from each state they served. A parent or relative would say they called the celebrity long distance. Glen Campbell and his parents represented Arkansas (BTW: As a monster kid, I still think it is cool that Missouri was represented by Vincent Price and his niece).

It is amazing that I haven't seen this commercial in years, yet remember it word for word. NOTE: This cuts off abruptly.



Sunday, July 2, 2017

WE'RE GONNA CHANGE IT UP A BIT - COVER SONGS THAT WERE DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT THAN THE ORIGINAL


Let's face it, most cover songs sound pretty close to the original. The Beatles version of "Twist and Shout" sounds like the Isley Brothers version, Smash Mouth's version of "I'm a Believer" sounds almost identical to The Monkees version, and even the Jeff Beck Group's version of "Love Is Blue" sounds like Paul Mauriat's "Love is Blue." These are called "faithful" cover versions.

However, there artist that take things in a totally different direction. This blog post (and podcast) will celebrate those great cover versions that "changed it up a bit."

Since I'm using the podcast for illustration, I won't go into very much detail. However, I will point out the inspiration for this post. The Bluebelles' 1984 British hit "Young At Heart" was the subject of a lawsuit by former Fabulous Poodles' fiddle player Bobby Valentino, who played on the record. He said that he should get a credit and some compensation, because his fiddle playing contributed to the success of The Bluebelles recording. It was originally recorded by Bananarama the previous year with a typical bouncy, synthesizer pop song that Bananarama was known for. The judge agreed that his country pop fiddle made the remake a big hit.

I got to thinking about other cover songs that seem to be unrecognizable from the original. Vanilla Fudge's headbanging psychedelic version of The Supremes hit "You Keep Me Hanging On" came to mind, along with Peggy Lee's smoldering, beatnikish version of Little Willie John's bumpin blues "Fever."

I once heard an interview where Screaming Jay Hawkins said he liked Nina Simone's version of "I Put a Spell On You" better than his. On the other hand, I had a co-worker in radio, who would become visibly angry at the very mention of James Taylor's version of the Jimmy Jones hit "Handy Man." Personally, I never cared for Donna Summer's version of "MacArthur Park" and I like most of Donna Summer's hits.

Everyone has covered "Do You Want To Dance?" and "Money," but Bette Midler and the Flying Lizards did those songs different than any other act.

Many of theses are either, rocker becomes ballad, soft rock becomes heavy metal or disco, even a psychedelic pop song turned into a bluegrass song and a bluegrass song from a 60's rural sitcom turned into a Celtic dirge. Even a British rock band doing a goofy Perry Como song about mannequin lust. So lets take a listen.

NOTE: I realize the sound is bad on this. I'm using "borrowed" equipment, so I don't have control of the sound quality. My apologies. I also used a "guest announcer" for this podcast.

"Young At Heart" The Bluebelles 1984 (Original recording by Bananarama 1983)
"For Once In My Life" Stevie Wonder 1968 (Original hit Tony Bennett in 1967)
"Summertime Blues" Blue Cheer 1967 (Original hit by Eddie Cochran 1958)
"Do You Want To Dance?" Bette Midler 1972 (Original hit by Bobby Freeman 1958)
"Love Buzz" Nirvana 1989 (Original recording by Shocking Blue 1969)

"Hooked On a Feeling" Blue Suede 1974 (Original hit by B.J Thomas)
"I Put a Spell On You" Nina Simone 1965 (Original hit by Screaming Jay Hawkins 1955)
"There Is a Time" Solas 2008 (Original recording by The Dillards with Maggie Peterson 1964)
"Fever" Peggy Lee 1958 (Original recording by Little Willie John 1956)
"Diamonds & Rust" Judas Priest 1977  (Original hit by Joan Baez 1975)
"Careless Whispers" Seether 2009 (Original hit by Wham 1984)
"Handy Man" James Taylor 1978 (Original hit by Jimmy Jones 1960)
"The Locomotion" Grand Funk Railroad 1974 (Original hit by Little Eva 1962)
"Bette Davis Eyes" Kim Carnes 1981 (Original recording by Jackie DeShannon 1975)
"Money" The Flying Lizards 1980 (Barrett Strong 1959)
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)" Marilyn Manson 1994 (Original hit for The Eurythmics 1983)
"Satisfaction" Devo 1980 (Original hit for The Rolling Stones 1965)
"Fox On the Run" Tom T. Hall 1976 (Original hit by Manfred Mann 1969)
"Summertime" Billy Stewart 1966 (Written in 1937, first rock era version by Sam Cooke 1957)
"Never Gonna Say Goodbye" Gloria Gaynor 1974 (Original hit by the Jackson Five 1972)
"You Keep Me Hanging On" Vanilla Fudge 1968 (Original hit by The Supremes 1966)
"MacArthur Park" Donna Summer 1980 (Original hit by Richard Harris 1968)
"Woodstock" Mathews Southern Comfort fall 1970 (Original hit by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young March 1970)
"With a Little Help From My Friends" Joe Cocker 1968 (Originally recorded by The Beatles in 1967)
"Walk On By" The Stranglers 1980 (Original hit for Dionne Warwick 1962)
"Proud Mary" Ike & Tina Turner 1971 (Original hit for Creedence Clearwater Revival 1969)
"Light My Fire" Jose Feliciano 1968 (Original hit by The Doors 1967)
"Knock On Wood" Amii Stewart 1979  (Original hit by Eddie Floyd 1966)
"I'm a Man" The Yardbirds 1965 (Original hit by Bo Diddley 1955)
"House of the Rising Sun"  Frygid Pink 1970 (Original hit by The Animals 1964)
"Hey Joe"  Jimi Hendrix 1967 (Original hit by The Leaves 1965)
"Glendora" The Downliners Sect 1966 (Original hit by Perry Como 1956)
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" Diana Ross 1970 (Original hit for Marvin Gaye & Tami Terrell 1967)

And last but not least:

"Blinded By The Light," "For You" and "Spirits In the Night" Manfred Mann's Earth Band 1976-1980 (Original recordings by Bruce Springsteen 1973).

P. S: Before you say "You left off The Cowboy Junkies version of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane." It is different than the version of the Loaded LP." True, but the Cowboy Junkies version is identical to the version The Velvet Underground performs on the Live 1969 LP. So it doesn't count.



Friday, June 16, 2017

THE DUMBEST POP SONG OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY


If you are on social media (or anywhere on the Internet), you know that people are usually complaining about how bad they think modern pop music is and that none of today's musical stars have any talent. Allegedly. People brag up "the good old days" and how wonderful everything was in the past. Quite a few of these people think that music was better before the advent of rock and roll. Think again.

You see, the people who hated Elvis, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly, then turned their vitriol toward the Beatles, the Stones and Bob Dylan, then hated Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Sex Pistols and disco, they  had the government go after Prince, Ozzy Osbourne and Madonna, and now (if they are still living) complain about Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Kanye West, as well as hip hop/rap in general, liked one of the dumbest songs of the twentieth century (I'm saying the twentieth century, because honestly believe "Red Solo Cup" by Toby Keith will be considered the dumbest song of the twenty-first century).

Not only did they like this song, but they gave it the Academy Award for Best Song. Even harder to fathom is the fact it was written by two of America's greatest song writers. Some of the greatest pop singers of all-time have recorded it and singers are still recording it. What is this song?

My vote for dumbest song of the twentieth century is "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" written by Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael. Mercer wrote such great songs "Moon River, "Glow Worm," "Hooray for Hollywood," "And the Angels Sing," and "That Old Black Magic." Carmichael wrote "Ole Buttermilk Sky," "Heart and Soul," "Up a Lazy River," "Georgia On My Mind" and "Stardust."  Together, Mercer and Carmichael wrote the song "Skylark," which is truly beautiful. All of those are great songs, but this one, in my opinion isn't one of the great ones.

This song was recorded by Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme. More recently Bette Midler and Crystal Gale have recorded this annoying, stinker of a song.  

My problem is the lyrics don't go together. It jumps around with this part early in the song:

"I like a barbecue, I like to boil a ham
And I vote for bouillabaisse stew (What's that?)
I like a weenie bake, steak and a layer cake
And you'll get a tummy ache too."

Then later in the song we get these lyrical gems:

"Whee!" said the bumblebee
"Let's have a jubilee!"
"When?" said the prairie hen, "Soon?"
"Sure!" said the dinosaur.
"Where?" said the grizzly bear,
"Under the light of the moon?"
"How 'bout ya, brother jackass?"
Ev'ryone gaily cried,
"Are you comin' to the fracas?"
Over his specs he sighed,
In the cool, cool, cool of the evenin'
Tell 'em I'll be there.
In the cool, cool, cool of the evenin'
Slickum on my hair."

I'm sure some dork out there will say, "Ah, they don't write songs like that any more." To that, I say "Good!"  This song is proof that there were bad songs in the pre-rock era. As a matter of fact, you could probably say that "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" is our parent's and grandparent's equivalent "We Built This City."


     

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

R. I. P ADAM WEST


Anyone who has read this blog and the original blog knows that one of my all time favorite TV shows is the 1960's BATMAN TV show. Here is a great clip of Adam West in both the role of Bruce Wayne and Batman. Followed by is voice as Mayor Adam West on Family Guy.

THE SAINT EPISODE THAT WAS PROPHETIC ABOUT ROGER MOORE'S CAREER


Did this little old lady know something about Roger Moore's future?



Sunday, April 30, 2017

DESDINOVA'S PODCAST: YACHT ROCK


It's spring and time to party on the water or this could be music for your boat in the flooding here in Missouri.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

WHY THE VELVETEEN RABBIT SCARED ME AS A CHILD?


I realize I have poked fun of some of the nonsense on the Internet where people talk about fears of clowns, department store Santa Clauses and department store Easter Bunnies. Now, I am going to confess to having been frightened by something that is frequently referred to a "beloved children's favorite." It is the children's book, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams and first published in 1922.

I never read the book or had it read to me, but I saw an animated TV version. I tried to look for the one I watched on YouTube and couldn't find it. I had a hard time looking up information on this story or looking for the video because I get shaky and nauseated just think about the story (Go ahead, you jerks, and call me "snowflake").

So what scared me about this story that it STILL bothers me in my 40s?  Near the end of story, the little boy contracts a serious illness and a doctor tells the parents that they have to burn his toys because they are contaminated.

This probably wouldn't frighten any other kid, but since I was two years old, I have had multiple illnesses. I nearly spent several months of my early childhood in a oxygen tent at the hospital in Lebanon, Missouri, because of severe asthma. I was never able to really play outside like other kids, because what triggered my asthma was pollen and other allergens, which include trees and grass. I was confined to the indoors, so toys, books and records were my only source of fun. Imagine the terror if that was taken away and burned.

Maybe this didn't frighten other kids, because they didn't have illness in there lives or they had different circumstances in their lives. As for me, it created an anxiety that still won't go away.

At least I didn't say I'm afraid of clowns.

   
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