Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Yesterhits 10/8

It's time for another edition of Yesterhits, plagiarized from Tom Travers' biweekly e-mail. Wheee!


1. Bad Blood - Neil Sedaka with Elton John
2. Calypso / I'm Sorry - John Denver
3. Fame - David Bowie
4. Island Girl - Elton John
5. Miracles - Jefferson Starship
6. Ballroom Blitz - Sweet
7. Dance With Me – Orleans
8. Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady - Helen Reddy
9. Rocky - Austin Roberts
10. Lyin' Eyes – Eagles

Okay, I'm coming clean right now. My '70s hit single retention is much less than my '80s retention. Anybody have anything to comment on #1, #2, #5 and #9? I can't believe I don't know #1. I didn't even know that Neil Sedaka and Elton John duetted together. Oh well, I'll tackle the rest.

3. Fame - David Bowie A fine song. I'm going to come clean and admit that I really hadn't heard this song before "Fame '90" which was on the (shudder) Pretty Woman soundtrack. And while I'm admitting shit, I might as well admit that it's the first CD I ever owned. I got it for my birthday along with my first CD boombox. (Along with Richard Marx's Repeat Offender and, well, I'll shut up now.)

4. Island Girl - Elton John Shows how much I know. I thought this was an early '80s Elton song, because it doesn't strike me as being on par with any of his other mid-'70s output.

6. Ballroom Blitz - Sweet Showing my age again, I didn't know this song until I heard the god-awful remake in Wayne's World. Yoinks.

7. Dance With Me - Orleans Yes! Now THIS song signifies all that I love about easy n' cheesy '70s music. Orleans had one other big hit, "Still The One," which you probably thought was by the Doobie Brothers. Orleans made news in 2004 when songwriter John Hall complained about it being used for Bush's re-election campaign. Oh man. When Orleans has a problem with you using his song, but has no problem with selling it to Burger King, Applebee's and ABC, you know you're one evil fucker.

8. Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady - Helen Reddy I have only heard this song once or twice. I avoid all Helen Reddy like the plague. It has something to do with "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar."

10. Lyin' Eyes - Eagles This song has Glenn Frey written all over it, in the same shuffle vein as "Tequila Sunrise."

Okay, on to the fun stuff.


1. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits
2. Cherish - Kool & The Gang
3. Oh Shelia - Ready For The World
4. Take On Me - A-Ha
5. Dress You Up - Madonna
6. Saving All My Love For You - Whitney Houston
7. Freedom - Wham!
8. Lonely 'Ol Night - John Mellencamp
9. Dancing In The Street - Mick Jagger / David Bowie
10. Part-Time Lover - Stevie Wonder

Oh, I actually know ALL of these! Let's go.

1. Money For Nothing - Dire Straits A brilliant Mark Knopfler guitar lick and fantastic contribution by Sting on those backing vocals. Despite its greatness, I still can't believe this song became a hit, though, for two reasons:

1) See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot he’s a millionaire

I know it was 1985 and the world was still in denial about homosexuality in general, but I can't imagine this song getting such heavy airplay if it had been released in 2005...can you?

2) Anybody remember the "This Note's For You" by Neil Young? Probably not, because despite its 1989 win for MTV VMA Video Of The Year, it was actually banned by MTV for its mocking of musicians appearing in commercials, and its outright mention of Miller, Pepsi, Budweiser and Coke. MTV made a statement at the time saying that they wouldn't play any video that outright mentioned any specific product, good or bad. Which immediately brought up questions of the heavy rotation of a song that featured the line "I want my MTV." MTV reversed the decision. (The idea that a song could be banned based on product placement is, of course, ludicrous at this stage of the game.)

2. Cherish - Kool & The Gang Much like Chicago, Genesis and The Doobie Brothers, it's hard to believe that the same band that produced kick-ass songs in the early '70s produced pop like this in the '80s. Still, this one was catchy, and had those kick-ass falsetto notes at the end.

3. Oh Shelia - Ready For The World Ready For The World, of course, went on to super stardom and a chain of hits faded into obscurity after this song. I don't remember too much about it except a spoken intro in a bad British accent.

4. Take On Me - A-Ha There's just about nothing to say about this song that hasn't been said before. Great song, indecipherable lyrics (even when you know the last line of the chorus - "I'll be gone in a day or two" - it still doesn't sound like it) and a groundbreaking video. See this previous Plagiarist post for a great tribute.

5. Dress You Up - Madonna Before Madonna dressed like a hooker, she just dressed like a hobo.

6. Saving All My Love For You - Whitney Houston I really have nothing productive to say about this song. It's nice but not groundbreaking, back when Whitney was like 18, a newly discovered Clive Davis gem, and crack-free.

7. Freedom - Wham! Please, please, please, don't get me started on Wham! and what a ridiculous fan I was back in the '80s. You know how people always ask musicians, "What was the first record you ever purchased?" I really can't remember the first record I purchased with my own money. My mom always bought records and we shared them - listened to them together. I think the first one she bought specifically for me was Big Bam Boom by Hall & Oates, but I digress. My point here is that the 12" remix of "Freedom" is the first record I ever remember specifically ordering. Record World (anybody else remember this store in The Americana in Manhasset?) had this huge yellow book at the back of their shop that listed all the different releases of various albums by artists. It was really only meant for employee reference.

Having already become one of those completely obsessive music fans (at the age of 11), I had all the Wham! releases on cassette and used to peruse the yellow book to see if there was anything more I could buy. I found the single release of "Freedom" with an extended mix, and asked Record World if they could order it for me. I forgot about it until four months later, when I was at the store and randomly asked if it had ever come in. I still remember being ridiculously excited to see them pull that record out from behind the register. So I don't remember the first record I ever purchased, but the first one I ordered comes back to me as clear as day.

As for the song itself - well, I really do like it. Come on, it's catchy. The extended mix was nothing substantive - a few added horns and vocals, but other than that, just a way to get me to plunk down my money twice. Well played, Andrew Ridgeley.

8. Lonely Ol' Night - John Mellencamp I'm confused about the lineage of the whole John/Johnny/Cougar/Mellencamp/Cougar Mellencamp thing. I guess he had already dropped Cougar by '85? I don't know. Anyway, this song sucks. Just kidding. It's a fine country/rock song that sounds like...all of his other songs. Good enough.

9. Dancing In The Street - Mick Jagger/David Bowie Okay, not that I should talk after my long, passionate post about Wham!, but this video easily qualifies as one of the gayest videos ever. I don't mean "gay" as in "lame," but "really, really homoerotic." Don't believe me? Here's a screenshot:
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Here's the cover of the single:
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See what I mean? Now, I know it's no surprise that Bowie and Jagger probably had a thing back in the '80s (didn't Bowie's wife write a book about it or something?), but at the very least, how are they standing each other's breath? What were they going for with this video? And there are many other blogs out there that echoed my sentiments, but none better than this guy. Bold/italics mine:
Strange bedfellows for a good cause, Bowie and Jagger teamed up for a retelling of the old chestnut, “Dancing in the Street” (popularized by Martha and The Vandellas). Followed in a few months by Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” this was a holiday fruitcake come early for famine relief in Africa. During the televised Live Aid performance, this video was shown featuring the two frontmen prancing about like a couple of, well, like a couple of guys who prance a lot. If music be the food of love, that whole “save the world” phase was starved for affection. The 12-inch I own features this song in an extended dance remix (only two people ever danced to this song, and I’ve already named them), a dub mix and (in the true spirit of relief) an edited version. An instrumental version appears to grace the B side of the 7-inch single, which obviously removes whatever appeal the song had in the first place.
I can't match that snark level, so I'm leaving it at that.

10. Part-Time Lover, Stevie Wonder - it says a lot about my buddy Adam that this is his favorite Stevie Wonder song. Forget anything from his prolific 70s-era like "Living For The City," "Visions," Sir Duke," "I Wish," "As," "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life," even "Master Blaster (Jammin')." No. "Part-Time Lover" is his favorite fucking Stevie Wonder song. At least that's the only one he ever plays whenever we're in his car. That being said, "Part-Time Lover" is not a bad song. It's from his last really good album, In Square Circle, and it has a good beat and clever lyrics; but whenever I think of the "ba da da da da - badadadum" hook, all I can think about is Adam bopping along to it while driving, lacking any and all sense of rhythm.

That's Yesterhits for this week (and last). More plagiarizing to come.


At 10/19/2005 12:09 PM, Blogger RabbitGirl said...

For the record, #8 - Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady happens to be a fantastic song.
I suppose it's no surprise that you don't like it... punk.

At 10/19/2005 1:38 PM, Anonymous Emily said...

I can provide a little insight in regards to #2 from 1975. 'Calypso' is a sea-shanty type song written by John Denver in tribute to the time he spent with Jacques Cousteau and his unending devotion to nature and the environment. It's even got some yodeling in it- Oh de lay HE he da he he he he!

At 10/19/2005 2:13 PM, Blogger Jason said...

I listened to a clip here and I still don't know it. But I'd love to hear you sing it. :)

At 10/20/2005 12:34 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Bad Blood... was a fave song of mine as a kid... I recall Neil Sedaka but not Elton... also remember the song Sexy Eyes...but don't recall who that was around the same time


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