Category: Song Lyric Sunday

Song Lyric Sunday – Yeah!

This weeks Song Lyric Sunday prompts are easy enough. Jim Adams, the host, made it simple for us. It’s either Yes or No! I used a variation of Yes and went with ‘Yeah!’ by Usher. This song from his Confessions Album stayed in the charts at #1 for 12 weeks. Every song on this album is a winner and Usher also shows us his smooth, melodic sounds which are just wonderful to listen to.

Like many club bangers, this one is set in a club, where Usher spending some time with his homies. He had a girlfriend, but she’s not there, and a girl in the club steps in to seduce him. Throughout the song, he’s trying to decide just how far to let this go. Every time he tries to take the moral high ground and behave himself, he’s overruled by a much louder voice that says “yeah!”

We’re not sure how the night ends, but we know they get hot and heavy on the dancefloor. Usher may have some confessions for later.

This was produced by Lil Jon, who also added the “yeah!” vocals. Most of his productions, including this one, feature a crunk sound with lots of heavy beats.

Thanks to Dave Chappelle, that “yeah!” became forever linked to Lil Jon. In various Chappelle’s Show bits, Dave portrays the producer all blinged-out, having conversations where he’ll inevitably yell out, “yeah!”

Ludacris did the rap. The Atlanta rapper was piping hot at this time, with a number of solo hits and also a spate of successful features. He also appeared on Missy Elliott’s “Gossip Folks” and Chingy’s “Holidae In.”

“Yeah!” went to #1 in the US on February 28, 2004 and stayed there until May 22 (12 weeks), when it was replaced by his next single, “Burn,” which held the top spot another eight weeks. This was the first time a song with a four-letter title replaced another at #1.

This was used in the 2005 movie Hitch when Will Smith tries to teach Kevin James how to dance. It also appears in The Interview (2014), Joyful Noise (2012) and The Hangover (2009).

Like many club bangers, this one is set in a club, where Usher spending some time with his homies. He had a girlfriend, but she’s not there, and a girl in the club steps in to seduce him. Throughout the song, he’s trying to decide just how far to let this go. Every time he tries to take the moral high ground and behave himself, he’s overruled by a much louder voice that says “yeah!”

We’re not sure how the night ends, but we know they get hot and heavy on the dancefloor. Usher may have some confessions for later.

This was produced by Lil Jon, who also added the “yeah!” vocals. Most of his productions, including this one, feature a crunk sound with lots of heavy beats.

Thanks to Dave Chappelle, that “yeah!” became forever linked to Lil Jon. In various Chappelle’s Show bits, Dave portrays the producer all blinged-out, having conversations where he’ll inevitably yell out, “yeah!”

Ludacris did the rap. The Atlanta rapper was piping hot at this time, with a number of solo hits and also a spate of successful features. He also appeared on Missy Elliott’s “Gossip Folks” and Chingy’s “Holidae In.”

“Yeah!” went to #1 in the US on February 28, 2004 and stayed there until May 22 (12 weeks), when it was replaced by his next single, “Burn,” which held the top spot another eight weeks. This was the first time a song with a four-letter title replaced another at #1.

This was used in the 2005 movie Hitch when Will Smith tries to teach Kevin James how to dance. It also appears in The Interview (2014), Joyful Noise (2012) and The Hangover (2009).

Lyrics

Peace up, A-Town down
Yeah, ok, lil' Jon

Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

I'm in the club with my homies, try'na get a lil' v-I
Keep it down on the low key, 'cause you know how it feels
I said shawty she was checkin' up on me
From the game she was spittin' my ear you'd think that she knew me
So we decided to chill

Conversation got heavy
She had me feelin' like she's ready to blow (watch out oh, watch out)
She saying "come get me, come get me"
So I got up and followed her to the floor
She said "baby, let's go", when I told her I said

Yeah (yeah) shawty got down an' said come and get me
Yeah (yeah) I got so caught up I forgot she told me
Yeah (yeah) her and my girl would be the best of homies
Yeah (yeah) next thing I knew she was all up on me screaming

Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

She's all up in my head now
Got me thinking that it might good idea to take her with me
'Cause she's ready to leave
Now I gotta keep it real now
'Cause on a one-to-ten she's a certified twenty, and that just ain't me

'Cause I do know if I take that chance just where is it gonna lead
But what I do know is the way she dance makes shawty alright with me
The way she getting low
I'm like yeah, just work that out for me
She asked for one more dance and I'm
Like yeah, how the hell am I supposed to leave? And I said

Yeah (yeah) shawty got down an' said come and get me
Yeah (yeah) I got so caught up I forgot she told me
Yeah (yeah) her and my girl would be the best of homies
Yeah (yeah) next thing I knew she was all up on me screaming

Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

Luda', watch out my outfit's ridiculous
In the club lookin' so conspicuous
And rowl! these women all on the prowl
If you hold the head steady I'm a milk the cow
Forget about the game I'm a spit the truth,
I won't stop till I get em in they birthday suits
So gimmie the rhythm and it'll be off with they clothes
Then bend over to the front and touch your toes
I left the jag and I took the Rolls
If they ain't cutting then I put em on foot patrol
How you like me now
When my pinky's valued over three hundred thousand
Lets drank you the one to please
Ludacris fill cups like double D's
Me and Ush once more and we leave em dead
We want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed to say

Yeah (yeah) shawty got down an' said come and get me
Yeah (yeah) I got so caught up I forgot she told me
Yeah (yeah) her and my girl would be the best of homies
Yeah (yeah) next thing I knew she was all up on me screaming

Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

Take that and rewind it back
Lil' Jon got the beat to make ya booty go 
Take that and rewind it back
Usher got the voice make ya booty go 

Take that and rewind it back
Ludacris got the flow make ya booty go 
Take that and rewind it back
Lil' Jon got the beat make ya booty go

Writer/s: Christopher Bridges, James Phillips,
Jonathan Smith, LaMarquis Jefferson,
Patrick Michael Smith, Sean Garrett 
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC,
Universal Music Publishing Group,
Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management, Songtrust Ave

Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Song Lyric Sunday – Don’t Stop ‘til you Get Enough

I think we will see a lot of different songs today for Jim Adam’s Song Lyric Sunday. He has prompted us with Hold, Pause, Stop and Wait. I had fun looking and was able to find some that took me back to a time and place in my memory, as music always does. So my choice this week is Don’t Stop ‘til you Get Enough by Michael Jackson. I had never really studied the lyrics of this song as I was more captivated by the music and MJ’s dancing, so I was a little surprised to know that I should have been singing about “the force” 😳 Who knew?

The chorus contains one of the most misheard vocals ever. The line is: “Keep up with the force… don’t stop ’til you get enough.” Jackson may have been inspired by the 1977 movie Star Wars, which popularized the concept of “The Force.”

To this point, Michael Jackson had recorded four #1 hits with The Jackson 5, and one as a solo artist (“Ben,” a 1972 song about a pet rat). But this was the first chart-topper he wrote himself. Quincy Jones, who produced the album, encouraged Jackson to write his own songs, and the young singer quickly developed a talent for composition. Jackson wrote or co-wrote nine more #1 hits in his career, including “We Are The World.”

Jackson and Jones first worked together on music for the 1978 film The Wiz(Jackson played the Scarecrow); Off The Wall was the first album Jones produced for him.

Jackson wrote this for an extremely high vocal range. Since his voice could not carry this alone, he was overdubbed a few times to create a harmony and fill out the vocals.

The video was very advanced for its time. It showed Jackson dancing in front of various funky backgrounds, with three images of Michael on the screen for a while. Director Nick Saxton, who was a production assistant on George Lucas’s pre-Star Wars film THX-1138, was brought in to helm the clip.

According to Bruce Swedien, who was the engineer on the session, Jackson, his brother Randy and sister Janet tapped soda bottles with drumsticks to form some of the percussion at the beginning of this song. Swedien recorded this part using old ribbon microphones.

Janet told Ryan Seacrest: “He [Michael] had all these ideas and he needed someone to help him out. We were just kids, we were just babies, and so we’re up there playing all kinds of percussion to help him create that to give to Quincy so they could put the real thing down.”

This was the first Michael Jackson song where he made lots of screams and squeals throughout the vocals. He had tremendous success with the same technique on much of the Thriller album.

Musicians on this track include David Williams and Marlo Henderson on guitars, Louis Johnson on bass and John Robinson on drums. Greg Phillinganes, a keyboard player who worked on most of Jackson’s solo albums beginning with Off The Wall, made significant contributions to the track. He’s credited for “rhythm arrangement” along with Jackson, but Quincy Jones thinks he deserved a songwriting credit as well. “Greg Phillinganes wrote the C section,” Jones said in an interview with Vulture. “Michael should’ve given him 10 percent of the song. Wouldn’t do it.”

Chris Tucker sings Karaoke to this song in the movie Rush Hour 2. Tucker and Jackson were good friends, and after he saw the film, Jackson called to let Tucker know he was doing the dance incorrectly: he was kicking with the wrong leg.

Jackson won his first Grammy Award for this song, taking home the trophy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. It was nominated that year for Best Disco Recording (the only year that category was offered) but lost to “I Will Survive.”

Off The Wall was the first album Jackson recorded for Epic Records. All of his previous solo work was with Motown.

Courtesy of Songfacts

Lyrics

You know, I was
I was wondering, you know
If you could keep on
Because the force
It's got a lot of power
And it make me feel like ah
It make me feel like... oooh!

Lovely is the feeling now
Fever, temperatures rising now
Power is the force, the vow
That makes it happen, it asks no questions why
So get closer
To my body now
Just love me
'Til you don't know how

Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough

Touch me and I feel on fire
Ain't nothing like a love desire
I'm melting (I'm melting)
Like hot candle wax
Sensation (oh sensation)
Lovely where we're at
So let love take us through the hours
I won't be complaining
'Cause this is love power

Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough

Heartbreak enemy despise
Eternal (oh, eternal)
Love shines in my eyes
So let love take us through the hours
I won't be complaining
'Cause your love is alright, alright

Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough

Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough

Lovely is the feeling now 
I won't be complaining
The force is love power

Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough

Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough
Keep on with the force don't stop
Don't stop 'til you get enough

Writer/s: Michael Joe Jackson 
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Song Lyric Sunday – Moondance

Sir George Ivan “Van” MorrisonOBE 

This week for Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has encouraged us to “do our own thing”. We get to choose an artist and song to share with you. Most of you know that I am a big Van Morrison fan so I’m excited as I can share one of my all time favorite songs “Moondance”. It is from the album of the same name which was released in 1970. To me the song is so polished and it’s lively jazz feel makes it very special. Moondance is 50 years old and still sounds amazing. Van Morrison is to me the complete artist, writing and performing songs and sounding as good today, if not better, than he ever did. It’s as if his music is transcending time.

Moondance is the third studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, OBE, the Northern Irish singer-songwriter, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in her birthday honors in 2015. It was released on 27 January 1970 by Warner Bros. Records. After the commercial failure of his first Warner Bros. album Astral Weeks (1968), Morrison moved with his wife, Janet Planet, to a home on a mountain top in the Catskills near Woodstock, a hamlet in upstate New York with an artistic community. According to Planet, he was influenced by Bob Dylan, who had just moved out of town when Morrison arrived. “Van fully intended to become Dylan’s best friend”, Planet recalled. “Every time we’d drive past Dylan’s house … Van would just stare wistfully out the window at the gravel road leading to Dylan’s place. He thought Dylan was the only contemporary worthy of his attention.” 

The album found Morrison abandoning the abstract folk jazz compositions of Astral Weeks in favour of more formally composed songs, which he wrote and produced entirely himself. Its lively rhythm and blues/rock music was the style he would become most known for in his career. The music incorporated soul, jazz, pop, and Irish folk sounds into songs about finding spiritual renewal and redemption in worldly matters such as nature, music, romantic love, and self-affirmation.

Morrison began writing songs for Moondance in July 1969. Because of Astral Weeks‘s poor sales figures, the singer wanted to produce a record that would be more accessible and appealing to listeners. “I make albums primarily to sell them and if I get too far out a lot of people can’t relate to it”, he later said. “I had to forget about the artistic thing because it didn’t make sense on a practical level. One has to live.” The musicians who went on to record Moondance with Morrison were recruited from Woodstock and would continue working with him for several years, including guitarist John Platania, saxophonist Jack Schroer, and keyboardist Jef Labes. The singer left after the Woodstock music festival in August attracted an influx of people to the area.

Moondance was an immediate critical and commercial success. It helped establish Morrison as a major artist in popular music, while several of its songs became staples on FM radio in the early 1970s. Among the most acclaimed records in history, Moondance frequently ranks in professional listings of the greatest albums. In 2013, the album’s remastered deluxe edition was released to similar acclaim.  

Although the album never topped the record charts, it sold continuously for the next 40 years of its release, particularly after its digitally remastered reissue in 1990. In 1996, Moondance was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, having shipped three million copies in the US. 

In the years following the original release, Moondance has been frequently ranked as one of the greatest albums ever. In 1978, it was voted the 22nd best album of all time in Paul Gambaccini’s poll of 50 prominent American and English rock critics. Christgau, one of the critics polled, named it the 7th best album of the 1970s in The Village Voice the following year. In a retrospective review, Nick Butler from Sputnikmusic considered Moondance to be the peak of Morrison’s career and “maybe of non-American soul in general”, while Spin deemed it “the great white soul album” in an essay accompanying the magazine’s 1989 list of the all-time 25 greatest albums, on which Moondance was ranked 21st. In 1999, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 2003, it was placed at number 65 on Rolling Stone‘s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. (It was ranked 66th in a 2012 revised list.) The album was also included in the 2000 edition of Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums (where it placed at number 79), the music reference book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2005), and Time magazine’s 2006 list of the “All-TIME 100 Albums”. The following year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named Moondance one of their “Definitive 200” albums, ranking it 72nd. In 2009, Hot Press polled numerous Irish recording artists and bands, who voted it the 11th best Irish album of all time. Based on such rankings, the aggregate website Acclaimed Music lists it as the 96th most acclaimed album in history. 

Ryan H. Walsh wrote in Pitchfork:

“The album would solidify Van Morrison as an FM radio mainstay, act as a midwife for the burgeoning genre of ‘soft rock,’ and help usher in the ’70s in America, where the beautiful hippie couples of the late ’60s would soundtrack their developing newfound domestic comfort with the sweet sounds of Morrison’s mystical love-anthems.” 

Lyrics

Well, it's a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night's magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush

Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with you, my love

Well, I want to make love to you tonight
I can't wait 'til the morning has come
And I know now the time is just right
And straight into my arms you will run
And when you come my heart will be waiting
To make sure that you're never alone
There and then, all my dreams will come true, dear
There and then, I will make you my own
And every time I touch you, you just tremble inside
And I know how much you want me, that you can't hide

Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with you, my love

Well, it's a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night's magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush

Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with you, my love

One more moondance with you, in the moonlight
On a magic night
La, la, la, la, la in the moonlight
On a magic night
Can't I just have one more moondance with you my love

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Van Morrison
Moondance lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Top Photo: Courtesy of vanmorrison.com

Second Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Moondance story Courtesy of Wiki

Song Lyric Sunday – What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye

Brother, Brother, Brother

This week, our host for Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams, has prompted us with Brother, Sister and Siblings. I can think of several songs but I’m curious to see what others come up with today. Maybe some siblings in a duo or band.

My choice is a great song by Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On” from the controversial album of the same name released in 1971. The album was ahead of its time with references to protests, anti-war and climate change in songs such as What’s Going On and Mercy, Mercy, Me.

When you read the story behind this song and album you will realize that history continues to repeat itself. What was happening then in the 60s is happening right now in 2020.

The song topped Detroit’s Metro Times list of the 100 Greatest Detroit Songs of All Time, and in 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it the fourth-greatest song of all time; in its updated 2011 list, the song remained at that position. It is included in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list, along with two other songs by the singer. It was also listed at number fourteen on VH-1’s 100 Greatest Rock Songs. 

The song’s inspiration came from Renaldo “Obie” Benson, a member of the Motown vocal group the Four Tops, after he and the group’s tour bus arrived at Berkeley on May 15, 1969. While there, Benson witnessed police brutality and violence in the city’s People’s Park during a protest held by anti-war activists in what was hailed later as “Bloody Thursday”.  Upset by the situation, Benson said to author Ben Edmonds that as he saw this, he asked, “‘What is happening here?’ One question led to another. Why are they sending kids so far away from their families overseas? Why are they attacking their own children in the streets?” 

Upset, he discussed what he witnessed with friend and songwriter Al Cleveland, who in turn wrote and composed a song to reflect Benson’s concerns. Benson wanted to give the song to his group but the other Four Tops turned down the request. “My partners told me it was a protest song”, Benson said later, “I said ‘no man, it’s a love song, about love and understanding. I’m not protesting, I want to know what’s going on.” In 1970, Benson presented the untitled song to Marvin Gaye, who added a new melody and revised the song to his liking, adding in his own lyrics. Benson later said Gaye tweaked and enriched the song, “added some things that were more ghetto, more natural, which made it seem like a story than a song… we measured him for the suit and he tailored the hell out of it.”  Gaye titled it “What’s Going On”. When Gaye initially thought the song’s moody feel would be appropriate to be recorded by The Originals, Benson convinced Gaye to record it as his own song.

Gaye, himself, had been inspired by social ills committed in the United States, citing the 1965 Watts riots as a turning point in his life in which he asked himself, “‘With the world exploding around me, how am I supposed to keep singing love songs?”  Gaye was also influenced by emotional conversations shared between him and his brother Frankie, who had returned from three years of service at the Vietnam War and his namesake cousin’s death while serving troops.  During phone conversations with Berry Gordy, who was vacationing in the Bahamas at the time, Gaye had told Gordy that he wanted to record a protest record, to which Gordy said in response, “Marvin, don’t be ridiculous. That’s taking things too far.”  Courtesy of Wiki

One of Motown Records’ most successful artists, Gaye was married to Anna Gordy, who was the sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy. The singer met Anna in 1960 after the disbandment of the Doo-Wop group Harvey and the Moonglows led him to follow leader Harvey Fuqua to Detroit. He began working as a drummer for Anna Records, a short-lived label run by the Gordy sisters (Anna and Gwen) along with songwriter Billy Davis.

Although Anna was 17 years older than Gaye, the pair married in June of 1963, a month after the singer released his first top-10 single, “Pride and Joy.”

The marriage ended in divorce, and Gaye named his 1976 album Here, My Dear after agreeing that royalties from the album would be used to pay alimony to Anna. Even though Gaye knew he would not see any money from the album, he still gave it his best effort.

Early in his career, Gaye was teamed with female Motown artists including Mary Wells and Kim Weston. It was his match with Terrell, however, that made magic. The duo recorded several hits together, often penned by the songwriting team Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” and “Your Precious Love.”

Ashford recalled the duo’s chemistry in an interview with Tavis Smiley: “The two of them together, that blend, I mean, it was like ice cream and cookies or whatever you want to call it, you know, just a good blend.”

Little did they know, their last concert performance together would be at a Homecoming celebration at the Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia in 1967. Terrell collapsed onstage as Gaye rushed to catch her, a result of a brain tumor that would take her life three years later and leave Gaye devastated. According to John Pumilia’s article “Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: Perfect Together,” Gaye recalled: “I think maybe what scared me the most was that I was so angered by the senselessness of it all. I had to accept that it was God’s will, but it was difficult to understand at the time. I grieved for years, and the fact that deep down inside I hated performing with somewhat of a passion made it even easier for me to stop. After taking time off, I developed a real fear of performing and it was even more difficult to come back.”

One of his last public performances was singing the US national anthem at the 1983 NBA All-Star game. At the time, performers were expected to give a restrained and traditional performance when singing the national anthem, but Gaye delivered an emotional performance similar to other songs he would sing in concert. This caused some controversy, but the idea of personalizing the national anthem caught on, and singers often add personal touches to the song even today. >>

One day before the singer’s 45th birthday, an argument between Marvin Jr. and Marvin Sr. escalated into violence. The reasons behind the confrontation are murky. Some claim it was the conclusion of a decades-long period of abuse that the singer endured from his father. Others say depressed Marvin Jr. used his father’s rage as a way to commit suicide without actually having to pull the trigger himself. Regardless, on the night of April 1, 1984, Marvin Jr. was shot twice: once in the chest, once in the shoulder. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital, but his heart had stopped beating and attempts to resuscitate him failed. His funeral took place three days later at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, with notable mourners including Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, and Berry Gordy.

According to David Ritz’s Divided Soul: The Life Of Marvin Gaye, Marvin Sr. died without any recollection of shooting his son. After a six-year suspended sentence and a five-year probation period for voluntary manslaughter, he lived the rest of his life in nursing homes in Southern California. He died on October 10, 1998 at the age of 84..

Marvin Gaye always knew he was destined for greatness, but at 17 years old he wasn’t just thinking about singing; he was thinking about flying. As his home life became increasingly volatile, Gaye decided to escape to the United States Air Force and enlist as a Basic Airman. The reality of service and authority didn’t match his romanticized vision of soaring the skies. He realized all too quickly that he didn’t like peeling potatoes and certainly didn’t like taking orders.

“I needed to see the world. I thought that’s what the Air Force would be, but the Air Force was prison,” author David Ritz quotes Gaye in his biography, Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye. The singer remembered writing his superior officer a letter detailing everything that was wrong with the Air Force. That didn’t go over well.

After just eight months of duty, Gaye was desperate to be sent home. He disobeyed every order he could in an attempt to be kicked out. Eventually, he faked mental illness to get out of service with an honorable discharge in 1957.

In 1974, Marvin Gaye was coming back into the spotlight in more ways than one. He was embarking on his first tour since the tragic death of his duet partner Tammi Terrell four years earlier. Elsewhere, the singer was making a different kind of debut in the pages of a novel. 

A Motown memorabilia collector from Detroit came across Marvin Gaye’s passport from 1964 tucked inside an old record sleeve. He made the discovery after buying a collection of LPs and singles from the family of a deceased former Motown musician. During an appearance on the February 3, 2014 episode of PBS’ Antiques Roadshow, the passport was valued at a minimum of $20,000 by the show’s appraiser Laura Wooley.

Marvin Gaye’s real last name was “Gay.” However, he was a target of bullying in his young days as his father was a crossdresser. It was because of this, added with rumors of the singer’s own homosexuality, that Marvin added an “e” to his last name when he became famous.

Lyrics

Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today, yea

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what's going on
What's going on
Ya, what's going on
Ah, what's going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on
Right on

Father, father, everybody thinks we're wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me
So you can see
What's going on
Ya, what's going on
Tell me what's going on
I'll tell you what's going on - Uh
Right on baby
Right on baby

Written by Marvin Gaye

Courtesy of Songfacts

Song Lyric Sunday – Canadian Singers

It’s Canada week! Jim Adams, our host for Song Lyric Sunday, has prompted us with Canadians Singers. This was an easy one for me and I have chosen two songs this week.

The first is by The Band, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”. This is a song I love to sing out loud in the car when I have no passengers 🙂 Technically only 4 out of the 5 members were Canadian (The late Levon Helms was from Arkansas), but I decided that majority rules!

The second song is “Suzanne” by the late, great Leonard Cohen. The lyrics to this song are pure poetry and I only wish I could write as well as he did.

Robbie Robertson wrote this song, which is set during the American Civil War – “Dixie” is a term indicating the old American South, which was defeated by the Union army. The song is not related to his heritage, as Robertson is half-Mohawk Indian, half-Jewish Canadian.

Robertson came up with the music for this song, and then got the idea for the lyrics when he thought about the saying “The South will rise again,” which he heard the first time he visited the American South. This led him to research the Civil War. >>

The main character in the song, Virgil Caine, is fictional, but there really was a “Danville train” and “Stoneman’s cavalry.” 

The train would have been part of the Richmond and Danville Railroad, a vital conduit for the Confederate Army. George Stoneman was a Union cavalry officer who led raids on the railroad.

The vocals featured the 3-part harmonies of Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, and Rick Danko on the choruses, and Helm sang the verses. He was the only band member who was from the South (Arkansas), so it was fitting that he played the role of Virgil Caine, a Virginia train worker, in this song.

Robbie Robertson is the song songwriter credited on this track. Speaking about Levon Helm’s contribution, he told Goldmine in 1998: “Levon’s connection to it was, things that when I went down there, things that he turned me on to. Just kind of showing me around and stuff, and bringin’ me up to speed on what was goin’ on in his ‘hood.’ And I don’t know, really, where it had come from. Usually when you write songs, you write because it’s the only thing you can think of at the time. But it was something that I absorbed, and then years later it came out in a song.”

This was recorded in Sammy Davis Jr.’s house in Los Angeles. The Band rented it and converted a poolhouse into a studio to record their second album.

Joan Baez covered this in 1971. It was her biggest hit, reaching US #3 and UK #6.

Asked about the Baez version of this song, Robbie Robertson said it was “a little happy-go-lucky for me,” but he was thankful that it introduced many listeners to The Band.

Baez changed some of the lyrics on her version. For example, she sings, “Virgil Cain is my name and I drove on the Danville train. ‘Til so much cavalry came and tore up the tracks again.” The original lyrics are, “Virgil Cain is THE name and I SERVED on the Danville train. ‘Til STONEMAN’S cavalry came and tore up the tracks again” referring to George Stoneman, who was a general in the Union army). >>

This was used as the B-side to “Up On Cripple Creek.”

Info courtesy of Songfacts

Lyrics

Virgil Caine is the name, and I served on the Danville train
‘Til Stoneman’s cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
In the winter of ’65, we were hungry, just barely alive
By May the tenth, Richmond had fell, it’s a time I remember, oh so well

The night they drove old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down, and the people were singin’ they went
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

Back with my wife in Tennessee, when one day she called to me
“Virgil, quick, come see, there goes Robert E Lee”
Now I don’t mind choppin’ wood, and I don’t care if the money’s no good
Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest
But they should never have taken the very best

The night they drove old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down, and the people were singin’ they went
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la

Like my father before me, I will work the land
Like my brother above me, who took a rebel stand
He was just eighteen, proud and brave, but a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet
You can’t raise a Caine back up when he’s in defeat

The night they drove old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down, and all the people were singin’, they went
Na, la, na, la, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na

The night they drove old Dixie down, and all the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down, and the people were singin’, they went
Na, la, na, la, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na

Writer/s: Robbie Robertson 
Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

In Cohen’s 1975 Greatest Hits album, the liner notes say: “I wrote this in 1966, Suzanne had a room on a waterfront sheet in the port of Montreal. Everything happened just as it was put down. She was the wife of a man I knew. Her hospitality was immaculate. Some months later, I sang it to Judy Collins over the telephone. The publishing rights pilfered in New York City but it is probably appropriate that I don’t own this song. Just the other day I heard some people singing it on a ship in the Caspian Sea.”

In a 1994 BBC Radio Interview Cohen said: “The song was begun, and the chord pattern was developed, before a woman’s name entered the song. And I knew it was a song about Montreal, it seemed to come out of that landscape that I loved very much in Montreal, which was the harbour, and the waterfront, and the sailors’ church there, called Notre Dame de Bon Secour, which stood out over the river, and I knew that there’re ships going by, I knew that there was a harbour, I knew that there was Our Lady of the Harbour, which was the virgin on the church which stretched out her arms towards the seamen, and you can climb up to the tower and look out over the river, so the song came from that vision, from that view of the river.

At a certain point, I bumped into Suzanne Vaillancourt, who was the wife of a friend of mine, they were a stunning couple around Montreal at the time, physically stunning, both of them, a handsome man and woman, everyone was in love with Suzanne Vaillancourt, and every woman was in love with Armand Vaillancourt. But there was no… well, there was thought, but there was no possibility, one would not allow oneself to think of toiling at the seduction of Armand Vaillancourt’s wife. First of all he was a friend, and second of all as a couple they were inviolate, you just didn’t intrude into that kind of shared glory that they manifested.

I bumped into her one evening, and she invited me down to her place near the river. She had a loft, at a time when lofts were… the word wasn’t used. She had a space in a warehouse down there, and she invited me down, and I went with her, and she served me Constant Comment tea, which has little bits of oranges in it. And the boats were going by, and I touched her perfect body with my mind, because there was no other opportunity. There was no other way that you could touch her perfect body under those circumstances. So she provided the name in the song.” >>

Judy Collins was the first to record this, releasing it on her 1966 album In My Life. Cohen released it on Songs Of Leonard Cohen, which was his first album, and many other artists have since recorded it, including Nina Simone, Neil Diamond, Joan Baez, Anni-Frid ‘Frida’ Lyngstad (in Swedish) and Pauline Julien (in French).

In 2006, the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) found Suzanne Verdal, who inspired the song. She was a dancer and traveled around the world, but in the ’90s, she hurt her back and was living in a homemade camper in Venice Beach when they found her. She revealed that Cohen lost touch with her by the time he recorded it, although she did meet him briefly after one of his concerts in the ’70s, where he commented that she gave him a beautiful song.

Responding to Cohen’s quote, “It’s not just the copulation. It is the whole understanding that we are irresistibly attracted to one another, and we have to deal with this. We are irresistibly lonely for each other, and we have to deal with this, and we have to deal with our bodies and with our hearts and souls and minds, and it’s an urgent appetite,” Verdal said, “I was the one that put the boundaries on that because Leonard is actually a very sexual man and very attractive and very charismatic. And I was very attracted to him, but somehow I didn’t want to spoil that preciousness, that infinite respect that I had for him, for our relationship, and I felt that a sexual encounter might demean it somehow. That precious relationship produced a great piece of art.”

Suzanne Verdal said in The Guardian, December 13, 2008: “Leonard was a friend of my husband, Armand. We were all hanging at the same places in Montreal – Le Bistro, Le Vieux Moulin, which was the place to dance to jazz. Black turtle-neck sweaters, smoke, beatniks and poets – it was that bohemian atmosphere in the 60s. Leonard spent hours at the Bistro. He was quite a bit older than me but he saw me emerging as a schoolgirl, working three jobs to subsidize my dance classes.

By 1965 I had separated from Armand and was living with our little girl. Leonard would come over and I would serve him jasmine tea with mandarin oranges, and light a candle. It sounds like a seance, but obviously Leonard retained those images, too. I was living in a crooked house, so old with mahogany and stained glass. I loved the smell of the river and the freight trains and boats. Out of my window was total romance. Leonard was a mentor to me. We would walk together and we didn’t even have to talk. The sound of his boots and my heels was weird, like synchronicity in our footsteps. He felt it, I felt it and we got such a rush just grinning at each other.

We were never lovers of the flesh but on a very deep level we were. I had the opportunity more than once but I respected his work and what he stood for so much, I didn’t want to spoil it. Also, Leonard is an incredibly sexual man! He’s very attractive to women and I didn’t want to be just one of the crowd.

I left Montreal for the States in ’68 and when I came back people said, ‘Have you heard the song Leonard’s written about you?’ In my wildest dreams I didn’t know it would be huge. I felt flattered, but I also felt there was an invasion of privacy. After that, things changed course. I stayed true to the 60s. He became this big pop icon and was not accessible any more. It hurt. The song is bittersweet for me. Sometimes I’ll be in a restaurant and hear it and I’ll be overcome.”

Ever wonder why Suzanne feeds him tea and oranges? It’s not as exotic as it sounds. Said Cohen in Song Talk: “She fed me a tea called Constant Comment, which has small pieces of orange rind in it, which gave birth to the image.”

Lyrics

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night forever
And you know that she’s half-crazy but that’s why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her that you have no love to give her
Then he gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer that you’ve always been her lover

And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind

And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them
But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone

And you want to travel with him, and you want to travel blind
And you think you maybe you’ll trust him
For he’s touched your perfect body with her mind

Now, Suzanne takes your hand and she leads you to the river
She’s wearing rags and feathers from Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey on our lady of the harbor
And she shows you where to look among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed, there are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love and they wil lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds her mirror

And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she’s touched your perfect body with her mind

Written by Leonard Cohen

Info and song lyrics courtesy of Songfacts

Song Lyric Sunday – Empire State of Mind – Contrasts

The theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is Contrasts. Our host, Jim Adams has prompted us to find songs with ‘Contrast’. A good example of melodic contrast is Rap, to tell the story, combined with mainstream music which you can sing a long with. I have chosen a song that I like very much, “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z featuring my favorite artist Alicia Keys. I hope you enjoy the contrast.

  • This Blueprint 3 track features Jay-Z’s fellow New Yorker, Alicia Keys. On The Howard Stern Show November 15, 2010, Jay explained that he had Mary J. Blige in mind for the female vocals, but when he heard the piano stabs in the song, he decided to go with Keys.
  • On this track the Roc Nation CEO details his rise from the Marcy Projects to his SoHo Penthouse, comparing himself along the way to other famous New Yorkers such as Robert De Niro and Frank Sinatra (The lyrics, “Since I made it here, I can make it anywhere,” reference the crooner’s Big Apple classic “New York, New York“). New York is the “Empire State.”
  • The title is similar to Nas’ 1994 track, “N.Y. State of Mind” and Billy Joel’s 1976 song, “New York State of Mind.”
  • This song is very anthemic, meaning it gets the crowd singing along to the chorus. It even works on non-New Yorkers. “It’s all about New York and people might not gravitate to being from New York because that’s not where everyone’s from,” Keys told NPR. “But it’s not about New York, it’s about hope. It’s about the chance that we’ll leave, and that is what made it relatable.”
  • This samples “Love on a Two Way Street” by American ’60s soul group The Moments.
  • Keys explained to MTV News about how the collaboration came about: “I’ve admired Jay-Z for a long time. Reasonable Doubt is my all-time favorite album, period, and he’s been on the scene for long time. I always figured that we would do some type of collaboration, and finally, it came together with this. He reached out to me said, ‘I have this big New York record. I feel its right for us to do it together. It has this big Frank Sinatra, take-it-there feeling. I feel like you could really do something with it.’

    I went by [the studio], took a listen to it. I really felt the energy of New York all through it. It felt classic, it felt so good; the piano obviously was in there. I said, ‘I love it, so let’s do it.’ We communicated a lot during the process. I think we both are really happy with how it came out.”
  • Keys told MTV News that she wanted to make sure she got the hook right. “I did try it a couple of times, but it was more about capturing the kind of grand feeling of it,” she explained. “With the way I sang it the first time, I was actually kind of sick, and I knew that he needed the record, so I was like, ‘Let me get to it.’ I came back and revisited it so that it could be what it is now,” she added. “So it actually took a couple of times, but every time, the energy was just so high.”
  • The Hype Williams-directed video was filmed on October 1, 2009, in Harlem and around Ground Zero of New York City. The images of the city were intercut with shots of Jay-Z and Keys performing in Times Square. Keys told MTV News: “It is a masterpiece video. The way it’s put together, it is so New York. You totally get it and understand it. It’s artistic. It’s hard. It’s beautiful. It’s like everything. And definitely getting to be in the middle of Times Square on my piano [with] Jay, representing our home city is a triumph. It was unbelievable.”
  • Jay-Z performed the song with his backup singer Bridget Kelly at the Yankees’ victory celebration in New York on November 6, 2009. Kelly has regularly filled in for Keys on performances of the song, including one at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2009.
  • This was the first Jay-Z song to top the Billboard Hot 100 which featured on one of his albums. The New York rapper was a featured artist on all his previous chart-toppers, which include, “Hearbreaker” with Mariah Carey, “Crazy In Love” with Beyoncé and “Umbrella” with Rihanna. Sales for this unofficial hometown anthem were aided by the New York Yankees’ unprecedented performances at the World Series and their victory parade during which Jay-Z performed the song.
  • This song was originally written by Brooklyn-native singer/songwriter/producer Angela Hunte and her writing partner Jane’t “Jnay” Sewell-Ulepic. Hunte, who penned and produced the track about her beloved hometown, actually grew up at “560 State Street,” the street address Jay-Z mentions on the tune. Among the other songs she has written are “Do Somethin’,” which was the second single from Britney Spears’ Greatest Hits: My Prerogative compilation, and “Show Stopper” for Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Danity Kane group, which reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

    Hunte told Billboard magazine: “I come from the same building where he [Jay-Z] lived, and we knew each other from Brooklyn, but we never worked together. Not in a million years did I think I’d make this hit for him. I still have no words even for the World Series performance. You get your hopes up with artists but then things happen and the record doesn’t make it for whatever reason. But Jay loved the song, it made the album and it sounds crazy.”

Courtesy of Songfacts

Lyrics

Yeah I'm out that Brooklyn, now I'm down in Tribeca
Right next to DeNiro, but I'll be hood forever
I'm the new Sinatra, and since I made it here
I can make it anywhere, yeah, they love me everywhere
I used to cop in Harlem, all of my Dominicanos
Right there up on Broadway, pull me back to that McDonald's
Took it to my stash spot, 560 State St
Catch me in the kitchen like the Simmons' whipping Pastry
Cruisin' down 8th St., off-white Lexus
Drivin' so slow, but BK is from Texas
Me, I'm out that Bed-Stuy, home of that boy Biggie
Now I live on Billboard and I brought my boys with me
Say what up to TyTy, still sippin' Mai Tai's
Sittin' courtside, Knicks & Nets give me high five
Nigga, I be spiked out, I could trip a referee
Tell by my attitude that I'm most definitely from

[Alicia Keys:]
In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York
New York

You're welcome OG. I made you hot, nigga

[Jay-Z:]
Catch me at the X with OG at a Yankee game
Shit, I made the Yankee hat more famous then a Yankee can
You should know I bleed blue, but I ain't a Crip though
But I got a gang of niggas walkin' with my clique though
Welcome to the melting pot, corners where we sellin' rock
Afrika Bambataa shit, home of the hip-hop
Yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab, holla back
For foreigners it ain't fair, they act like they forgot how to add
8 million stories, out there in the naked
City it's a pity, half of y'all won't make it
Me, I got a plug Special Ed "I Got It Made"
If Jeezy's payin' LeBron, I'm payin' Dwyane Wade
Three-dice Cee-lo, three-card Monte
Labor Day Parade, rest in peace Bob Marley
Statue of Liberty, long live the World Trade
Long live the King yo, I'm from the Empire State that's

[Alicia Keys:]
In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York
New York

That boy good. Welcome to the bright light, baby

[Jay-Z:]
Lights is blinding, girls need blinders
Or they could step out of bounds quick, the sidelines is
Lined with casualties, who sip to life casually
Then gradually become worse, don't bite the apple, Eve
Caught up in the in-crowd, now you're in style
And it the winter gets cold, in Vogue with your skin out
City of sin, it's a pity on a whim
Good girls gone bad, the city's filled with them
Mommy took a bus trip, now she got her bust out
Everybody ride her, just like a bus route
Hail Mary to the city, you're a virgin
And Jesus can't save you, life starts when the church end
Came here for school, graduated to the high life
Ball players, rap stars, addicted to the limelight
MDMA got you feelin' like a champion
The city never sleeps, better slip you an Ambien

[Alicia Keys:]
In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York
New York

[Alicia Keys:]
One hand in the air for the big city
Street lights, big dreams, all lookin' pretty
No place in the world that could compare
Put your lighters in the air
Everybody say "yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah" (c'mon, c'mon)
I'm from

[Alicia Keys:]
In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York
New York


Song Lyric Sunday – Opera

I find this week’s prompts for Song Lyric Sunday very interesting. Our host, Jim Adams, has given us ‘Musical and Opera’. I had to think, was he asking us to find those words in the title or lyrics as usual, or did he want us to submit our own choices for opera and musical?

My first though was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen as that was a mini opera all by itself. I have been a Queen fan since they first appeared on the scene. So unique and talented and I never tire of hearing them. If you haven’t seen the movie, well, you must!

My other thought was to bring you a musical with the word opera in the title. The Phantom of the Opera. I found a video with Sarah Brightman and featuring Antonio Banderas (unmasked) as the Phantom. I hope you enjoy both videos.

Freddie Mercury wrote the lyrics, and there has been a lot of speculation as to their meaning. Many of the words appear in the Qu’ran. “Bismillah” is one of these and it literally means “In the name of Allah.” The word “Scaramouch” means “A stock character that appears as a boastful coward.” “Beelzebub” is one of the many names given to The Devil.

Mercury’s parents were deeply involved in Zoroastrianism, and these Arabic words do have a meaning in that religion. His family grew up in Zanzibar, but was forced out by government upheaval in 1964 and they moved to England. Some of the lyrics could be about leaving his homeland behind. Guitarist Brian May seemed to suggest this when he said in an interview about the song: “Freddie was a very complex person: flippant and funny on the surface, but he concealed insecurities and problems in squaring up his life with his childhood. He never explained the lyrics, but I think he put a lot of himself into that song.” 

Another explanation is not to do with Mercury’s childhood, but his sexuality – it was around this time that he was starting to come to terms with his bisexuality, and his relationship with Mary Austin was falling apart. 

Whatever the meaning is, we may never know – Mercury himself remained tight-lipped, and the band agreed not to reveal anything about the meaning. Mercury himself stated, “It’s one of those songs which has such a fantasy feel about it. I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and then make up their own minds as to what it says to them.” He also claimed that the lyrics were nothing more than “Random rhyming nonsense” when asked about it by his friend Kenny Everett, who was a London DJ. 

The band were always keen to let listeners interpret their music in a personal way to them, rather than impose their own meaning on songs, and May stated that the band agreed to keep the personal meaning behind the song private out of respect for Mercury.

Mercury may have written “Galileo” into the lyrics for the benefit of Brian May, who is an astronomy buff and in 2007 earned a PhD in astrophysics. Galileo is a famous astronomer known for being the first to use a refracting telescope.

The backing track came together quickly, but Queen spent days overdubbing the vocals in the studio using a 24-track tape machine. The analog recording technology was taxed by the song’s multitracked scaramouches and fandangos: by the time they were done, about 180 tracks were layered together and “bounced” down into sub-mixes. Brian May recalled in various interviews being able to see through the tape as it was worn so thin with overdubs. Producer Roy Thomas Baker also recalls Mercury coming into the studio proclaiming, “oh, I’ve got a few more ‘Galileos’ dear!” as overdub after overdub piled up.

Was Freddie Mercury coming out as gay in this song? Lesley-Ann Jones, author of the biography Mercury, thinks so.

Jones says that when she posed the question to Mercury in 1986, the singer didn’t give a straight answer, and that he was always very vague about the song’s meaning, admitting only that it was “about relationships.” (Mercury’s family religion, Zoroastrianism, doesn’t accept homosexuality, and he made efforts to conceal his sexual orientation, possibly so as not to offend his family.)

After Mercury’s death, Jones says she spent time with his lover, Jim Hutton, who told her that the song was, in fact, Mercury’s confession that he was gay. Mercury’s good friend Tim Rice agreed, and offered some lyrical analysis to support the theory:

“Mama, I just killed a man” – He’s killed the old Freddie he was trying to be. The former image.

“Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead” – He’s dead, the straight person he was originally. He’s destroyed the man he was trying to be, and now this is him, trying to live with the new Freddie.

“I see a little silhouetto of a man” – That’s him, still being haunted by what he’s done and what he is.

Queen made a video for the song to air on Top Of The Pops, a popular British music show, because the song was too complex to perform live – or more accurately, to be mimed live – on TOTP. Also, the band would be busy on tour during the single’s release and thus unable to appear.

The video turned out to be a masterstroke, providing far more promotional punch than a one-off live appearance. Top Of The Pops ran it for months, helping keep the song atop the charts. This started a trend in the UK of making videos for songs to air in place of live performances.

When the American network MTV launched in 1981, most of their videos came from British artists for this reason. In the December 12, 2004 issue of the Observernewspaper, Roger Taylor explained: “We did everything we possibly could to avoid appearing in Top Of The Pops. It was one, the most boring day known to man, and two, it’s all about not actually playing – pretending to sing, pretending to play. We came up with the video concept to avoid playing on Top Of The Pops.”

The group had previously appeared on the show twice, to promote the “Seven Seas of Rhye” and “Killer Queen” singles.

Lyrics

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I'm easy come, easy go
A little high, little low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me, to me
Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I've gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooh
Didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters
Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body's aching all the time
Goodbye everybody I've got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooh (anyway the wind blows)
I don't want to die
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all
I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me
Gallileo, Gallileo
Gallileo, Gallileo
Gallileo Figaro, magnifico
I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me
He's just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come easy go, will you let me go
Bismillah! No we will not let you go, let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go, let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go, let me go
Will not let you go, let me go (never)
Never, never, never, never, never let me go
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
For me
For me
So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh, baby, can't do this to me, baby
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here
Ooh yeah, ooh yeah
Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters nothing really matters to me
Anyway the wind blows

Writer/s: Freddie Mercury
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

This song from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical follows the title character’s obsession with a beautiful young soprano at the Paris Opera House, where his deformity forces him to skulk in the shadows and hide behind a mask. The lyrics, written by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe, reflect how he woos her with his otherworldly voice and haunts her dreams.

Running for over 30 years, The Phantom Of The Opera is one of the most popular musical productions of all time, but its literary predecessor didn’t fare as well. The story by French author Gaston Leroux was originally published as a serialization in the Le Gaulois newspaper from September 1909 to January 1910 but did not draw much attention. Its low sales even forced it out of print several times until it was adapted for film in 1925. Taglined as “The Greatest Horror Film of Modern Cinema,” it starred Lon Chaney in the title role and Mary Philbin as his love, Christine.

Not long after this song was released, Webber was sued by a songwriter named John Brett, who claimed that Webber copied his 1985 composition “Farewell Song.” Webber vigorously denied the accusation. He said that his song was written before Brett’s, and that he even supervised a demo recording of “Phantom” sung by Mike Batt and Sarah Brightman in 1984. Brett dropped the case in 1991, at which time Webber stated: “It was monstrous that this matter was allowed to run and run for over five years. I am delighted my name has been cleared.”

In 2004, Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote and produced his own version of Phantom for the big screen and picked Joel Schumacher, the brain behind the widely reviled Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, to direct. Webber said he chose Schumacher because he was impressed with his 1987 vampire flick The Lost Boys. He told Wild About Movies: “I thought it was extraordinary the way Joel used music with visuals. I thought that opening sequence, when you see the fairground, was genius.

Webber remembers picking up the novel at a book fair and being intrigued by the dark romance. He tells Piers Morgan: “I just wanted to write a high romance, and I thought this is high, Gothic stuff.” When he started writing the music, he envisioned the title theme as “sort of a dark rock song.”

This song was originally performed onstage by Sarah Brightman (Webber’s wife at the time) and Michael Crawford, the first Christine and Erik/Phantom. It appears twice in the show – in Act I between “Angel of Music” and “Music of the Night,” and in Act II at the end of “Notes/Twisted Every Way.”

Courtesy of Songfacts.

You can also find the Phantom of the Opera lyrics here

Song Lyric Sunday – Wicked Game

We have some devil prompts this week for Song Lyric Sunday, hosted by Jim Adams! He has given us Cruel, Evil, Horrible, Monster and Wicked. My choice is Wicked Game by Chris Isaak. I hope you enjoy it.

“Wicked Game” is a tale of obsessive love. Chris Isaak spoke to us about the late-night event which inspired the song: “This one I wrote really late at night and it was written in a short time, because I remember that a girl had called me and said, ‘I want to come over and talk to you,’ and ‘talk’ was a euphemism. And she said, ‘I want to come over and talk to you until you’re no longer able to stand up.’ And I said, ‘Okay, you’re coming over.’ And as soon as I hung up I thought, ‘Oh, my God. I know she’s gonna be trouble. She’s always been trouble. She’s a wildcat. And here I am, I’m going to get killed, but I’m doing this.’ And I wrote ‘Wicked Game’: ‘world’s on fire and no one can save me but you.’ It’s like you start thinking about it, and by the time she came over to the house, I had the song written. And I think she was probably upset because I was more excited by the song. (Laughing) I was like, ‘Yes, you’re gorgeous, baby. But listen to this song!'”
 
Isaak told us “Wicked Game” came to him effortlessly: “I think that sometimes you get easy ones that come very quick and you’re really glad – you go, ‘Wow, where’d this come from?’ It’s so fast to write. And then there’s other songs that you do and it’s like doing your homework. It’s like you really are working and biting the pencil and working on that third verse. Most of the time you do work. But sometimes you get lucky.”
 
The song got a big boost when an instrumental version was featured in the 1990 movie Wild At Heart, which was directed by David Lynch and starred Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage. Isaak spoke to interviewer, Mike Ragogna, about David Lynch: “I enjoy talking about David Lynch because he’s such a great guy. The question I get about him is, ‘How is David Lynch? Is he scary or spooky or something?’ I don’t think it’s ever guys who make films like David makes or who have that kind of weird bent in their artwork–those guys are probably the nicest guys in real life because they’ve expressed all of their weird angles. The guys you have to watch are the guys who go, ‘I’m a scout master, the proud father of two children, and I’m also a deacon in the church.’ Then you go, ‘Be careful.’ If he’s out in the back yard at night with a shovel, be careful because he’s burying something.”
 
Lee Chesnut, who was music director of an Atlanta radio station and a huge fan of David Lynch films, helped popularize this song when he added it to his playlist after watching Wild At Heart. The song gradually gained an audience and charted in the US 18 months after Isaak’s album Heart Shaped World was released.
 
The fashion photographer Herb Ritts directed the track’s racy video. It features model Helena Christensen seducing Isaak on a beach. In 1991, it won MTV Video Music Awards for Best Male Video, Best Cinematography, and Best Video From a Film. It regularly features on “Sexiest Music Videos Ever” lists.
 
 Courtesy of Songfacts
Lyrics

The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
It's strange what desire will make foolish people do
I'd never dreamed that I'd meet somebody like you
And I'd never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you

No I don't want to fall in love (this girl is only gonna break your heart)
No I don't want to fall in love (this girl is only gonna break your heart)
With you
With you (this girl is only gonna break your heart)

What a wicked game you played to make me feel this way
What a wicked thing to do to let me dream of you
What a wicked thing to say you never felt this way
What a wicked thing to do to make me dream of you

And I don't want to fall in love (this girl is only gonna break your heart)
No I don't want to fall in love (this girl is only gonna break your heart)
With you

The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
It's strange what desire will make foolish people do
I'd never dreamed that I'd love somebody like you
And I'd never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you

No I don't want to fall in love (this girl is only gonna break your heart)
No I don't want to fall in love (this girl is only gonna break your heart)
With you (this girl is only gonna break your heart)
With you (this girl is only gonna break your heart)

No I (this girl is only gonna break your heart)
(This girl is only gonna break your heart)

Nobody loves no one

Written by Chris Isaak

Song Lyric Sunday – Between the Raindrops

This week, our host for Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams, has given us the prompt words “Above, Below and Between”. I struggled a little but found this pretty song and video by Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield.

I hope you enjoy it!

The first single from Lifehouse’s sixth studio album features the British pop singer and songwriter Natasha Bedingfield, who is a good friend of the band. Produced by long time collaborator Jude Cole, the pop-rock ballad is the first duet Lifehouse ever recorded. The song was released on September 9, 2012 via iTunes.

Speaking about the tune, lead singer Jason Wade said: “‘Between the Raindrops’ is a confluence of all these different musical styles coming together. There is this cinematic spaghetti western undercurrent breathing and moving in the confines of a pop rock song. The track started as a complete experiment, a sort of stream of consciousness. Over the next few ensuing months Jude and I rewrote the song at least half a dozen times. We brought our friend Jacob Kasher in to help us finish the lyrics. I feel like the song really was solidified and came to life when Natasha came down to the studio and sang on the track.”

According to press materials, Wade “stumbled into” the song. Its genesis occurred on a day when he had family in town and limited time to work. Nevertheless, the singer “had this melody reverberating in my head,” so he made a short detour into the studio, “threw all these different instruments down on tape” and a half-hour later had “the bare bones of the track.” Working with Jude Cole and Jacob Kasher, Wade and the rest of the band further developed the song over the next three and a half months. 

The album was named after the picturesque Spanish town of Almería, which was the location for the filming of many of the classic spaghetti westerns filmed in the mid 1960’s. The studio at Box Canyon, California where Lifehouse recorded Almería had a similar arid landscape. “Sometimes the backdrop of where you create can reverberate through the music,” explained Wade. “This was the case with spending some time up in Box Canyon. There was already reflections of spaghetti western sounds in the music, but the landscape almost infused some of the soul of the westerns into a good portion of the album.” 

The song’s music video was also shot in Box Canyon. Wade told Radio.com how the idea came together: “We did it up at Box Canyon at our manager’s place. It lended itself to the textures of the album,” he explained. “The place that he lives up there, it used to be one of those Western ghost towns where they used to film all of those Westerns.
The video is essentially a performance piece,” he continued. “Natasha [Bedingfield], myself and the band appear in different vignettes and there’s an ominous storm that’s coming towards the camera.

Lyrics

Look around
There's no one but you and me
Right here and now
The way it was meant to be
There's a smile on my face
Knowing that together everything that's in our way
We're better than alright

Walking between the raindrops
Riding the aftershock beside you
Off into the sunset
Living like there's nothing left to lose
Chasing after gold mines
Crossing the fine lines we knew
Hold on and take a breath
I'll be here every step
Walking between the raindrops with you

Take me now
The world's such a crazy place
When the walls come down
You'll know I'm here to stay
There's nothing I would change
Knowing that together everything that's in our way
We're better than alright

Walking between the raindrops
Riding the aftershock beside you
Off into the sunset
Living like there's nothing left to lose
Chasing after gold mines
Crossing the fine lines we knew
Hold on and take a breath
I'll be here every step
Walking between the raindrops with you

There's a smile on my face
Knowing that together everything that's in our way
We're better than alright

Walking between the raindrops
Riding the aftershock beside you
Off into the sunset
Living like there's nothing left to lose
Chasing after gold mines
Crossing the fine lines we knew
Hold on and take a breath
I'll be here every step
Walking between the raindrops with you
Between the raindrops with you
Between the raindrops with you

Between the raindrops with you

Songwriters: Hindlin Jacob Kasher, Cole Jude, Wade Jason
Between the Raindrops lyrics © Sony/atv Tunes Llc, Prescription Songs, Kevinthecity Publishing,
J. Kasher Music, Kobalt Music Copyrights Sarl


Song Lyric Sunday – I Can See Clearly Now

For Song Lyric Sunday, our host Jim Adams, prompted us with “ Clear, Dark and Light. There were so many songs to choose from we should have a great mix of songs to listen to and some pretty interesting backstories to read. My choice this week is “I Can See Clearly Now” written by Johnny Nash. I am including two videos, the original by Nash, and also Jimmy Cliff’s version which is more modern and was used in the movie Cool Runnings.

 

This is not a song about suicide, as has been hypothesized. It is a song of hope and courage for individuals who have experienced adversity in their lives but have overcome it.

This was the first reggae song to hit #1 on the Hot 100, where it stayed for four weeks late in 1972. The next reggae(ish) song to hit the top spot was Eric Clapton’s cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff” in 1974, followed by “The Tide Is High” by Blondie in 1981.

Johnny Nash is a Texas singer/songwriter who recorded reggae-influenced music. In 1967 he went to Jamaica and recorded his song “Hold Me Tight” and a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Cupid” with a local rhythm section. Both songs became hits in Jamaica, and over the next two years also charted in England and the United States.

By 1972, “Cecilia” and “Mother And Child Reunion” found some success in the States incorporating reggae rhythms, and Nash followed that trend with “I Can See Clearly Now.”

Nash had legitimate reggae credentials: Bob Marley (before he became crazy famous) was an assistant producer and session player on the album, and also wrote three of the songs, including “Stir It Up,” which became Nash’s next – and final – hit.

Nash wrote this song himself. He recorded it in London with members of The Average White Band, who in 1974 had a hit of their own with “Pick Up The Pieces.”

A cover version by Jimmy Cliff (for a time, a bigger reggae star than Bob Marley) went to #18 in the US in 1994. His version was used in the John Candy movie Cool Runnings, about the Jamaican bobsled team.

Courtesy of Songfacts

Lyrics

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

I think I can make it now the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is that rainbow I've been praying for
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Look all around, there's nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead, there's nothing but blue skies

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
Oh what a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Writer/s: Johnny Nash 
Publisher: NASHCO MUSIC, INC.
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

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