27 January 2021

27 January 2021 - Blondie - Heart Of Glass

A couple of days ago, I was writing some posts for Totally Covered in advance, and I decided to pull out a Miley Cyrus cover of a Blondie classic, as I am SURE I am going to be billing that on Twitter.  Then I realized that, although I had posted TWO covers of this song over THERE, I had never posted anything about the original.  There's no good reason for it, so let's remedy this.  

This song was built around a drum machine beat, which opens the song.  This was something that, in 1979, was not commonly seen in rock music.... but was seen in the popular disco music of the day.  As a result, Blondie did suffer a temporary backlash in the punk community that had supported them for so many years.  

Of course, this song was also Blondie's first Top 40 hit, making it all the way to #1..... and led to their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so I think they made the right choice.  

Now, go to Totally Covered and check out not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different covers, all very different from each other, but all fantastic in their own ways.  

26 January 2021

26 January 2021 - Raf - Self Control | Laura Branigan - Self Control

It is generally accepted that the Laura Branigan version of this song, which was worldwide (outside of Italy and Switzerland) a much bigger hit, is a cover of the Raf version. 

Since Raf co-wrote the song, I think it's a legitimate claim.  However, I'm including both versions on this post, and not shuttling Laura off to Totally Covered.   I'll explain that decision in a moment.  

But can we talk about this Italian classic?  This was the debut single of Raf - some consider it to be the biggest Italian worldwide hit of all time (Tarzan Boy might have something to say about that). This was a #1 song in Italy and Switzerland (more on that second one in a moment) and first hit #1 on June 24th, 1984 in Italy.

The Laura Branigan version first hit #1 in Germany, on June 17th, 1984.  Perhaps stranger, it first hit #1 in Switzerland on June 24th.  The #2 song that week was the Raf version.  The two songs switched places the next week, and switched back on July 8th, where this version would remain for the next seven weeks.  

The two songs were contemporary.  While the Raf version was recorded first, they were released at the same time.  Both had a large impact, contemporaneously, and for that reason, I am placing them both here.  

25 January 2021

25 January 2021 - Aimee Mann - Labrador

I adore Aimee Mann. Over the last 10 years, Scott has seen her perform a handful of times. Happy to say that he saw her again on January 23, 2012! So let's go back to Aimee's "care free and light-hearted 80s days" in 'Til Tuesday.... that she remade shot for shot.

Today is my former co-author Scott's birthday.  Go to his Twitter and wish him a happy birthday..... and also read HIS original post.  

25 January 2021 - Noel Harrison - The Windmills of Your Mind

There's a lot you can say about Noel Harrison.   He was the son of Rex Harrison.  A champion of the giant slalom, Harrison went to two Olympics.

And his performance of this song won the 1968 Oscar for Best Original Song.  Featured in The Thomas Crown Affair, it is by far the biggest hit he ever had.  Here's a little bit of trivia for you - the 1967 Oscar for Best Original Song went to "Talk To The Animals" from Doctor Dolittle.   The performer on that song?  Noel's father, Rex Harrison.  

Enjoy one of the greatest songs written for a movie (according to the American Film Institute - that isn't just me making up superlatives).  

22 January 2021

22 January 2021 - R.E.M. - Crush With Eyeliner

When Michael Stipe wrote this song, it is said he was inspired by the over-the-top style of the legendary New York City band The New York Dolls.  The song is fuzzy and glam-pop inspired....

...but can we talk about the video for a second?  Michael Stipe famously hated to lip-sync his songs for videos, and he was pretty bad at it.  So, for this video, he set it at a Japanese karaoke bar and had other people do the lip-sync for him!

I don't like posting stuff from Top of the Pops, because that show has a famous policy against live performance, instead forcing artists to lip-sync.  They aren't usually that fun.  But combine that with how terrible Michael Stipe is at lip-syncing, mostly because he hates it... well, yeah, it's entertaining this time.

Contrast this with live R.E.M., who are clearly enjoying the performance more....

21 January 2021

21 January 2021 - Smash Mouth - All Star

I saw Smash Mouth live.  It was a miserable rainy day.  They didn't really seem to be enjoying themselves until this song.  

The song, featured prominently in the movie Mystery Men (hence the "superheroes" at the beginning - it is unclear why Janeane Garafalo did not appear), was one of the biggest hits of 1999.  And let's face it - it's darned catchy.  Heck, we could have even posted it in Positive December!

The band's hits might be in the past, but they are very much in the present.  Here they are performing the song live in 2015.

20 January 2021

20 January 2021 - Fitz and the Tantrums - HandClap

I don't know if you were aware, but Fitz and the Tantrums are pretty sure they can make your hands clap.

The song is actually a love song - with the vocalist trying to convey enthusiasm with.... hand claps. Clearly pop and soul influenced, the song is immediately catchy and is used to get crowds fired up at sporting events everywhere to this day.