Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Weekend Open Thread   Leave a comment

Reminder: U.S. markets will be closed Monday for the Labor Day holiday.

Time for the long weekend open thread, where you can talk about whatever you like.

For the last of this summer’s one-hit wonders, I am going to push the limits a little. Murray Head originally reached #14 on the U.S. charts in 1969 with Superstar, from the play Jesus Christ Superstar:

Head played Judas Iscariot in the play. But he had a much bigger hit 25 years later, in 1984, with One Night in Bangkok, from the play Chess. The song reached #3 on the U.S. charts, and #1 in 10 other countries:

The music for One Night in Bangkok was written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA (who knew a little bit about writing international hit songs), while the lyrics were written by Ulvaeus and Tim Rice. Rice is known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber (i.e. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita). So One Night in Bangkok has a good artistic pedigree.

Unfortunately, this song also gets a William Shatner award for worst cover, from Mike Tyson (yes, THAT Mike Tyson) in the movie Hangover 2:

However, there is a runner-up for the Shatner award: Robey, an actress (best known from the syndicated Friday the 13th tv series) who thinks she can sing:

At least Tyson’s version was mercifully short, and played for laughs. Robey doesn’t even have that excuse.

Enjoy your long weekend folks, and I’ll see you next week! I am outta here!

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Posted August 29, 2014 by edmcgon in Blog stuff, Music, Open Thread

Weekend Open Thread   Leave a comment

This week we return to my previous theme of “summer of one hit wonders” for the weekend open thread, where you can discuss any topic you like.

Today, we look at Nick Gilder. Although he did chart as the lead singer for the band Sweeney Todd, his solo career had only one number one hit, Hot Child in the City, back in 1978:

According to a Rolling Stone interview with Gilder, this is why he wrote the song:

“I’ve seen a lot of young girls, 15 and 16, walking down Hollywood Boulevard with their pimps. Their home environment drove them to distraction so they ran away, only to be trapped by something even worse. It hurts to see that so I tried writing from the perspective of a lecher — in the guise of an innocent pop song.”

I question whether taking the perspective of a lecher provides a view sympathetic to the poor girls involved in teenage prostitution. Regardless, it does make for a good song, even if it screams for a Marilyn Manson cover due to the evil nature of the lyrics (sadly, he never covered it).

Speaking of covers, there haven’t been any covers of the song by big name acts. However, most of the lesser acts which have covered it seem to have little trouble (Note: If you are in a band just starting, this is a great song to cover!). But standing out from the crowd takes some work.

One of the few that does is a band named Int’l Male, whose version has a 70’s synthesized sound to it, and includes a cute little spoken riff in the David Lee Roth style (stolen almost verbatim from the Van Halen song Panama) which suits the song perfectly:

Enjoy your weekend folks!

Posted August 22, 2014 by edmcgon in Music, Open Thread

Weekend Open Thread   Leave a comment

Say goodbye to another week, as it is time for the weekend open thread, where the topics are your choice!

Continuing my theme of the summer of one-hit wonders, I offer a song from a 10-time Grammy winner, yet he only has one hit: Bobby McFerrin. Of course, the song is Don’t Worry, Be Happy, which was written by McFerrin, based on a poster:

The Indian mystic and sage Meher Baba (1894–1969) often used the expression “Don’t worry, be happy” when cabling his followers in the West. However, Meher Baba communicated variations of the sentiment; fuller versions of the quote – such as, “Do your best. Then, don’t worry; be happy in My love. I will help you” — which incorporate responsibility with detachment, as well as the master/disciple spiritual relationship. In the 1960s, the truncated version of this expression by Baba was printed up on inspiration cards and posters of the era. In 1988, McFerrin noticed a similar poster in the apartment of the jazz band Tuck & Patti in San Francisco. Inspired by the expression’s charm and simplicity, McFerrin wrote the now famous song, which was included in the soundtrack of the movie Cocktail, and became a hit single the next year. In an interview by Bruce Fessier for USA Weekend magazine in 1988 McFerrin said, “Whenever you see a poster of Meher Baba, it usually says ‘Don’t worry, be happy,’ which is a pretty neat philosophy in four words, I think.”

The video for the song surprised me, especially the cameo by Robin Williams. Note the newspaper headline early in the video:

A good song for a bear market.

Speaking of the movie Cocktail, it is actually a not-too-bad romantic film. If you have to watch a chick flick, you could do much worse. The Cocktail soundtrack also featured the last number 1 hit by the Beach Boys, Kokomo:

(Yes, that was actor John Stamos playing the drums in the video.)

That is it for me this week. Enjoy your weekend, and try not to worry!

Posted August 8, 2014 by edmcgon in Music, Open Thread

Weekend Open Thread   1 comment

Let’s move ahead to the weekend, shall we? Welcome to the weekend open thread, where you folks can discuss whatever topics strike your fancy.

As usual, I am continuing with my summer of one-hit wonders theme. For this weekend, I offer a song which was featured in one of the few funny scenes in the movie Men in Black II:

Nobody will ever mistake Baha Men’s Who Let the Dogs out for great music, but it is a fun little tune, in spite of frequent appearances on worst/most annoying song lists. The song lends itself easily to comedy, based on the video above, as well as appearances in Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, The Shaggy Dog, The Hangover, The Simpsons, and South Park.

So just enjoy the song, and try not to take it seriously:

Like the song, enjoy your weekend, and leave the seriousness behind!

Posted August 1, 2014 by edmcgon in Movies, Music, Open Thread

Weekend Open Thread   4 comments

Bring on the weekend! As well as the usual open thread, where you can pontificate on any topic you like.

In my ongoing “summer of one-hit wonders” series, I offer you one of the classic one-hit wonders from the 1980’s: Tainted Love by Soft Cell.

The funny thing about Soft Cell’s version is that it was a cover of the 1965 version by singer Gloria Jones:

Jones never managed to hit the charts with Tainted Love. In fact, aside from Soft Cell, the only other act to chart the song was Marilyn Manson in 2001, with his unique sound:

But the most fun cover of Tainted Love was from the indie rock band Francine:

That’s it for me this week. Enjoy your weekend! Next week should be interesting, since it will be the last week of the month.

Posted July 25, 2014 by edmcgon in Music, Open Thread

Weekend Open Thread   8 comments

Stick a fork in this week, because it’s over! Welcome to another weekend open thread, where you can discuss whatever you like.

Continuing my theme of the summer of one-hit wonders, today I offer you one of the few one-hit wonders to actually chart twice with the same song: Benny Mardones, with Into the Night.

The song originally reached #11 on the U.S. charts in 1980, followed by a return visit in 1989 to #20. The second trip up the charts was kind of a fluke. From Wikipedia:

In 1989, KZZP, a radio station in Arizona, ran a segment titled “Where Are They Now?” The most popular question was “Whatever happened to the guy who sang ‘Into the Night’?” Scott Shannon, then program director for Pirate Radio in Los Angeles, added “Into the Night” to its playlist. Radio stations across the country followed suit and “Into the Night” was once again a hit.

Sadly, there aren’t many covers of Into the Night, a song which begs for a great voice to cover it. The only decent cover I could find was by reggae singer Tifa:

That is all for me. Enjoy your weekend folks!

Posted July 18, 2014 by edmcgon in Music, Open Thread

Weekend Open Thread   3 comments

I’m cutting out early today, so welcome to the weekend, and your weekend open thread, where you can discuss whatever you like.

Continuing with my theme of the summer of one-hit wonders, I offer Norman Greenbaum. Aside from dj’s, most people won’t recognize his name, but they will probably remember his one hit, Spirit in the Sky:

How did Greenbaum, born and raised a Jew, write a song with such strong Christian overtones? From an interview he did with Examiner.com:

…I’m a writer and I’ve always thought I can write about anything I want to write about. I was into all kinds of music from jug band music to country music. I was taken by Porter Wagoner, he’d wear these snazzy coats that he’d got from Nudie’s in North Hollywood and had a big pompadour. And he was kind of interesting. He had a show on TV and I’d watch it. One day he’s singing this song about a preacher and I said, “Wow that’s a little out of my league to write about preachers and stuff, but I can do it.” And that’s what I did. But it had nothing to do about having a religious background. Many people thought I was tongue- in- cheek and making fun by saying, “Never been a Sinner” but basically I didn’t know any better. I just did it at the top of my head and put music to it that was unbelievable when you think of a spiritual type of song and it was very risky. But as it developed, the producer and I both knew we had something.

…If you ask me what I based “Spirit In The Sky” on… What did we grow up watching? …Westerns! These mean and nasty varmints get shot and they wanted to die with their boots on. So to me that was spiritual, they wanted to die with their boots on.

…The song itself was simple, when you’re writing a song you keep it simple of course. It wasn’t like a Christian song of praise it was just a simple song. I had to use Christianity because I had to use something. But more important it wasn’t the Jesus part, it was the spirit in the sky. Funny enough… I wanted to die with my boots on.

The song only reached #3 on the U.S. charts, but was #1 in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, and the UK.

Spirit in the Sky has had multiple covers, including one by Elton John:

But the best cover, in my opinion, was by a band called Stellar Kart. Almost all of the covers by other musicians are too similar to the original (including Elton John’s version above). But Stellar Kart opens with a ZZTop-like guitar riff, followed by a punk version of the song:

There is nothing like a fresh take on a great original!

With that, I am calling the week over. Have a great weekend folks!

Posted July 11, 2014 by edmcgon in Music, Open Thread