Tag: Song Lyric Sunday

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 – 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

Song Lyric Sunday – Harvest Moon – Harmonica

This week Jim Adams has prompted us with ‘Harmonica’ for Song Lyric Sunday. This was a fun search as we weren’t looking for the word harmonica in the title or lyrics, but the use it in the music. I chose a personal favorite, Harvest Moon, by Neil Young. It’s a beautifully romantic song and Neil’s voice is pure sweetness. The harmonica comes in towards the end of the song. Enjoy it!

The title track from the album of the same name, Harvest Moon is kind of an unofficial sequel to Young’s 1972’s album Harvest. The two albums share many of the same guest musicians. The album Harvest Moon went gold in January of 1993, platinum in February of 1993, and multi-platinum in 1997.

In keeping with the rural motif of this song, let us not forget that Neil Young has also been an outspoken advocate for environmental issues and small farmers, as demonstrated by his having co-founded Farm Aid, the benefit concert, in 1985.

Cover versions of this song include Cassandra Wilson on her 1995 album New Moon Daughter, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie at a 2007 stage show, and Pearl Jam in 2005 numerous times on their concert tour.

The moon is a big deal to Neil Young. It shows up in 28 of his songs, and he uses it to guide him. Industry folks know that he is more likely to take on a project if it coincides with a full moon. In a 2005 interview with Harp, he explained: “Before there was organized religion, there was the moon. The Indians knew about the moon. Pagans followed the moon. I’ve followed it for as long as I can remember, and that’s just my religion. I’m not a practicing anything, I don’t have a book that I have to read. It can be dangerous working in a full moon atmosphere, because if there are things that are going to go wrong, they can really go wrong. But that’s great, especially for rock ‘n’ roll.”

The 2009 live album Dreamin’ Man consists of recordings from the Harvest Moon tour, and its tracklist is the same, albeit rearranged.

Fun Fact: This song was written and dedicated by Neil Young to his wife, at the time, Pegi. He filed for divorce after 36 years of marriage in 2014 and married actress Darryl Hannah in 2018.

Lyrics

Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin'
We could dream this night away

But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night

Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon

When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart

But now it's gettin' late
And the moon is climbin' high
I want to celebrate
See it shinin' in your eye

Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon


Backstory and lyrics courtesy of Songfacts

Song Lyric Sunday – The Times They Are A-Changin’

Jim Adams gave us some difficult prompts this week for Song Lyric Sunday – Acquire, Collect, Gather and Secure. Not sexy at all Jim!

This was the first and only song I thought of that had the word “Gather” in the lyrics. Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times They Are A-Changin'” from the 1960. The decade of protest and change. Sadly not much has changed in 50 plus years as we find ourselves fighting for the same civil rights today that we were then. It is certainly a song that will continue to resonate and inspire change.

I am interested to see what the others come up with today.

A call to action, “The Times They Are A-Changin'” became an anthem for frustrated youth. It summed up the anti-establishment feelings of people who would later be known as hippies. Many of the lyrics are based on the Civil Rights movement in the US.

In the liner notes of this album Biograph, Dylan wrote: “I wanted to write a big song, some kind of theme song, with short, concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. This is definitely a song with a purpose. I knew exactly what I wanted to say and who I wanted to say it to.” 

Dylan recorded this song in October 1963. He first performed the song at a Carnegie Hall concert on October 26 that year, using it as his opening number.

On November 22, 1963, United States president John F. Kennedy was assassinated, which made this song even more poignant. This also presented a quandary for Dylan, who had to decide if he would keep playing the song; he found it odd when audiences would erupt in applause after hearing it, and wondered exactly what they were clapping for.

Dylan kept the song in his sets. It was issued on the album of the same name on January 13, 1964.

Dylan covered the Carter Family Song “Wayworn Traveler,” writing his own words to the melody and named it “Paths Of Victory”. This recording is featured on “Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3”. After writing that song, he re-wrote the words again, changed the time signature to 3/4, and created this, one of his most famous songs ever.

This was released as a single in the UK in 1965 before Dylan went there to tour. It became his first hit in that territory, climbing to #9 on April 21. British listeners liked what they heard from Dylan and made a run on his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (released in 1963), sending it to #1 on April 11. This marked the first time in two years that an album by a group other that The Beatles or Rolling Stones was #1 in the UK.

Lyrics

Come gather 'round, people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin'
And you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin'
Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Dylan

Source: LyricFind



Song Lyric Sunday – The Same Thing

This week Song Lyric Sunday host, Jim Adams, has prompted us with ‘Same and Different’ I decided to go with ‘The Same Thing’ performed here by the Allman Brothers because I really like their version of the song. I hope you enjoy it.

The song was written by Willie Dixon in 1964. He was a Chicago blues artist, perhaps best known for his songwriting. He wrote or co-wrote over 500 songs and his work has been recorded by some of the best-known blues musicians of his era, including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter. Later, some of his songs were popularized by rock groups, such as the Rolling Stones, Cream, The Band, Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin. Musicians in several genres have interpreted Dixon’s songs.

Song list and bio of Willie Dixon courtesy of Wiki

Lyrics

By willie dixon
copyright
 
make a man go crazy, a woman wear her dress so tight
make a man go crazy, a woman wear her dress so tight
must be the same thing make a tom cat fight all night.
make you feel so good when your baby get her evening gown
make you feel so good when your baby get her evening gown
must be the same thing make a preacher lay his bible down.
woah that same thing,
woah that same thing,
tell me who is to blame,
whole world fighting about that same thing.
what makes all these men chase a big leg woman down,
what makes all these men chase a big leg woman down,
must be the same thing make a poor dog a hurtin' hound.
woah that same thing,
woah that same thing,
tell me who is to blame,
whole world fighting about that same thing.
oh that same thing,
woah that same thing,
tell me who is to blame,
whole world fighting about that same thing.

Courtesy of Metrolyrics

Song Lyric Sunday – Cherry Pie

Song Lyric Sunday this week, hosted as usual by Jim Adams, has prompted us with Baking, Bread, Cake, Pie and Picnic. I do hope someone picks MacArthur Park and let us know why was that cake left out in the rain!

Anyway, I chose this perfectly sexy song by Sade called “Cherry Pie” from her first studio album, Diamond Life. I hope you enjoy it.

Diamond Life is the debut studio album by English band Sade. It was released in the United Kingdom on 16 July 1984 by Epic Records and in the United States on 27 February 1985 by Portrait Records. After studying fashion design, and later modelling, Sade Adu began backup-singing with British band Pride. During this time Adu and three of the original members of “Pride”—Paul Anthony Cook, Paul Denman and Stuart Matthewman—left the group to form their own band called Sade. After various demos and performances, Sade received interest from record labels and signed to Epic.

Recording for the album began in 1983 at Power Plant Studios in London and took six weeks to complete. The album’s content was written by the group Sade and the production was handled by Robin Millar. Fifteen songs were recorded. The album contained a variety of musical elements including soul, jazz and sophisti-pop, mostly with love lyrics. The album spawned four singles, including “Your Love Is King” and “Smooth Operator”.

Music critics acclaimed Diamond Life and it was also a commercial success, winning the 1985 Brit Award for Best British Album. The album charted highly in the UK and US, and was later certified multi-platinum in both countries. Diamond Life sold over six million copies worldwide, becoming one of the top-selling debut recordings of the era and the best-selling debut album by a British female vocalist, a record that stood for 24 years. It was also among 10 albums nominated for the best British album of the previous 30 years by the Brit Awards in 2010, losing to (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis. Pitchfork placed the album at number 10 on its list of The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s.

Courtesy of Wiki 

Cherry Pie
Sade

Gotta find out what I meant to you.
You're the one who broke my heart.
Gotta find out what I meant to you.
You're the one who broke my heart

When I met you boy, you were as sweet as cherry pie.
That smiling eye you were as wild as Friday night.
I should have known however hard you try.
Change'd come and strangle it.
It was bound to die

You were sweet as cherry pie,
Wild as Friday night.
Sweet as cherry pie,
Wild as Friday night

Gotta find out what I meant to you.
You're the one who broke my heart in two.
Gotta find out what I meant to you, oh boy

Gotta find out what I meant to you.
You're the one who broke my heart in two.
Where were you just when I needed you?

You gave me your soul for at least a day.
"Listen boy, there was a time when I wanted you to stay."
You'll know the cost, it's you who's gonna pay.
I'm stronger now, I loved you then.
I'll ask you anyway

You were sweet as cherry pie,
Wild as Friday night.
Sweet as cherry pie,
Wild as Friday night

Gotta find out what I meant to you.
You're the one who broke my heart in two.
Where were you just when I needed you, boy?

Gotta find out what I meant to you.
You're the one who broke my heart in two.
I needed you

You teased me.
You broke my heart.
You broke my heart

You were the only one.
You were the only one.
You're a son of a gun

You were the only one.
You were the only one.
Oh boy, you broke my heart

Sweet as cherry pie.
Sweet as cherry pie.
Gotta find out what I meant to you.
You're the one who broke my heart in two.
Gotta find out what I meant to you, oh boy

Gotta find out what I meant to you.
Where were you just when I needed you?
Gotta find out what I meant to you, boy.
Where were you when I needed you?

You were the only one.
You were the only one.
Son of a gun

You were the only one.
I'm feeling strong,
I loved you then.
So I ask you anyway

Gotta find out what I meant to you.
You broke my heart.
Gotta find out
Gotta find out what I meant to you

You tease me

You were the only one.
You were the only one.
Son of a gun

You were the only one.
You were the only one
.
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Andrew Hale/Helen Adu/Paul Denman/Stuart Matthewman
Cherry Pie lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics

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