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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Tune o’ the Day

“Mad World,” one of the early hits by the British duo Tears for Fears, has remained a popular song over the years. It’s a pleasant tune, and, in fact, tells a compelling story. Not that people pay much attention to song lyrics.

Consider the line “The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.” Roland Orzabal, who wrote the song, said it was inspired by psychologist Arthur Janov, who believed that intense dreams (e.g., threats of death) are the best at relieving tension.

Bonus fact: Janov also inspired the name “Tears for Fears,” which refers to Janov’s concept of using “primal therapy” to relieve the repressed pain of childhood trauma.

Bonus fact two: Orzabal initially tried to sing Mad World’s vocals himself, but the results were lacking. He finally asked bandmate Curt Smith to try. “Suddenly,” said Orzabal, “it sounded fabulous.”

FYI, “Mad World” reflects the thoughts of a disillusioned teenager looking in despair at life around him. He feels hopeless and insignificant, deciding that life and people have neither meaning nor purpose.

He’s probably right, but that’s a weighty concept for some poor teen to handle.

Tears for Fears

Smith (top) and Orzabal.

Mad World

By Tears for Fears, 1982
Written by Roland Orzabal

All around me are familiar faces,
Worn out places, worn out faces.
Bright and early for their daily races,
Going nowhere, going nowhere.

Their tears are filling up their glasses.
No expression, no expression.
Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow.
No tomorrow, no tomorrow.

And I find it kind of funny,
I find it kind of sad,
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.
I find it hard to tell you ’cause I find it hard to take.
When people run in circles, it’s a very, very
Mad world.
Mad world.
Mad world.
Mad world.

Children waiting for the day they feel good.
Happy birthday, happy birthday.
Made to feel the way that every child should.
Sit and listen, sit and listen.

Went to school, and I was very nervous.
No one knew me, no one knew me.
Hello, teacher. tell me what’s my lesson.
Look right through me, look right through me.

And I find it kind of funny,
I find it kind of sad,
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.

I find it hard to tell you ’cause I find it hard to take.
When people run in circles it’s a very, very
Mad world.
Mad world.
Mad world.
Mad world.

And I find it kind of funny,
I find it kind of sad,
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.
I find it hard to tell you ’cause I find it hard to take.
When people run in circles it’s a very, very
Mad world.
Mad world.

Halargian* world.
Mad world.

* Curt Smith wrote, “‘Halarge’ was an imaginary planet invented … during the recording of “The Hurting.” I added it as a joke during the lead vocal session, and we kept it.”

The Hurting

 

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Tune o’ the Day

The Promise” is a simple, pleasant love song by “When in Rome,” one of the British new wave bands from the 1980s. You may recognize the tune from the tetherball scene in the 2004 film “Napoleon Dynamite.”

When in Rome” was a good band that fell apart for the usual reasons: internal squabbles, creative differences, rancor, jealousy, no doubt hurt feelings. After the original members broke up in 1990, the legal wrangling began. Today, two independent groups are touring: “When in Rome II” and “When in Rome UK.”

Three decades later, has either band scored a hit as good as, or as popular as, “The Promise”? Of course not.

When in Rome

The Promise

By When In Rome, 1987
Written by Clive Farrington, Michael Floreale, and Andrew Mann

If you need a friend, don’t look to a stranger.
You know, in the end, I’ll always be there.
And when you’re in doubt, and when you’re in danger,
Take a look all around, and I’ll be there.

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say.
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be.
But if you wait around awhile, I’ll make you fall for me.
I promise. I promise you, I will.

When your day is through, and so is your temper,
You know what to do. I’ll always be there.
Sometimes if I shout, it’s not what’s intended.
The words just come out, with no cross to bear.

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say.
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be.
But if you wait around awhile, I’ll make you fall for me.
I promise. I promise you.

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say.
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be.
But if you wait around awhile, I’ll make you fall for me.
I promise. I promise you, I will.

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say.
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be.
But if you’ll wait around awhile, I’ll make you fall for me.
I promise. I promise you.

I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say.
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be.
But if you’ll wait around awhile, I’ll make you fall for me.
I promise. I promise you, I will.

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Tune o’ the Day

In the 50 years from 1940 to 1990, the five most prolific songwriters in the recording business were Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Kris Kristofferson, Jimmy Webb, and Buck Ram. Buck Ram? Probably the best songwriter you’ve never heard of.

At various times, he wrote, produced, and arranged hit songs for Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, Ike and Tina Turner, The Drifters, The Coasters, and The Platters.

Ram wrote “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “I’m Sorry,” and “Sweet Sixteen.” For The Platters, he wrote “Only You,” “The Great Pretender,” “Heaven on Earth,” “Remember When,” “(You’ve Got) The Magic Touch,” and “Twilight Time.”

According to Ram, he originally wrote “Twilight Time” as a poem while in college, and in 1944, the Three Suns added the music. The song was first recorded in 1945 by the Jimmy Dorsey band. In 1958, The Platters released the version most people remember.

Quite a story. And as far as I’m concerned, “Twilight Time” works fine either way — poem or song.

The Platters

Twilight Time

By The Platters, 1958
Written by Buck Ram, Artie Dunn, Al Nevins, and Morty Nevins

Heavenly shades of night are falling.
It’s twilight time.
Out of the mist your voice is calling.
It’s twilight time.
When purple-colored curtains mark the end of day,
I’ll hear you, my dear, at twilight time.

Deepening shadows gather splendor
As day is done.
Fingers of night will soon surrender
The setting sun.
I count the moments, darling, till you’re here with me.
Together, at last, at twilight time.

Here, in the afterglow of day,
We keep our rendezvous
Beneath the blue.
And, in the sweet and same old way,
I fall in love again, as I did then.

Deep in the dark, your kiss will thrill me
Like days of old.
Lighting the spark of love that fills me
With dreams untold.
Each day, I pray for evening, just to be with you.
Together, at last, at twilight time.

Here, in the afterglow of day,
We keep our rendezvous
Beneath the blue.
And, in the sweet and same old way,
I fall in love again, as I did then.

Deep in the dark, your kiss will thrill me
Like days of old.
Lighting the spark of love that fills me
With dreams untold.
Each day, I pray for evening, just to be with you.
Together, at last, at twilight time.
Together, at last, at twilight time.

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“The Breakfast Club,” one of the old John Hughes teen angst movies, is about five high school students from different social groups who are thrown together in Saturday morning detention. The film asked if the bonds that formed among them would endure after the detention ended and they resumed their normal lives.

The movie’s theme song, “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” is based on that question.

During production, the songwriters searched for a band to record the song for the film, without success. Among the groups that declined was the Scottish band Simple Minds. Lead singer Jim Kerr objected to recording material not written by the group.

But Kerr’s band mates got him to change his mind. The result was a huge hit that topped the charts, introduced Simple Minds to the U.S. audience, and has been a staple at senior proms ever since.

“Will you recognize me? Call my name or walk on by?” Everyone can relate, in their school days and beyond. That’s why it resonates.

Simple Minds

Don’t You (Forget About Me)

By Simple Minds, 1985
Written by Keith Forsey and Steve W. Schiff

Hey, hey, hey, hey!
Ooh, woe.

Won’t you come see about me?
I’ll be alone, dancing — you know it, baby.
Tell me your troubles and doubts.
Giving me everything, inside and out,

And love’s strange, so real in the dark.
Think of the tender things that we were working on.
Slow change may pull us apart.
When the light gets into your heart, baby,

Don’t you
Forget about me.
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t you
Forget about me.

Will you stand above me?
Look my way, never love me?
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down.

Will you recognize me?
Call my name or walk on by?
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down, down.

Hey, hey, hey, hey!
Ooh, woe.

Don’t you try and pretend
It’s my feeling we’ll win in the end.
I won’t harm you or touch your defenses.
Vanity, insecurity.

Don’t you forget about me.
I’ll be alone, dancing — you know it, baby.
Going to take you apart.
I’ll put us back together at heart, baby.

Don’t you
Forget about me.
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t you
Forget about me.

As you walk on by,
Will you call my name?
As you walk on by,
Will you call my name
When you walk away?

Or will you walk away?
Will you walk on by?
Come on, call my name.
Will you call my name?

I say (la, la la la la, la la la la).

When you walk on by.

 

 

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Tune o’ the Day

Try a Little Tenderness” was first recorded in 1932 and given the orchestral treatment of the day. Bing Crosby did a version.

In 1966, Otis Redding recorded a soul version of the song, notable for a slow beginning that built to a frenzied conclusion.

Then came the 1991 film “The Commitments,” the story of a group of Dubliners who form an R&B group. They deliver amazing renditions of such classics as “Mustang Sally,” “In the Midnight Hour,” “Chain of Fools,” and, of course, “Try a Little Tenderness.” “The Commitments” gave us a terrific soundtrack.

And, believe it or not, when lead singer Andrew Strong belted out those stunning vocals, he was a tender 16 years old.

The Commitments

Try a Little Tenderness

By The Commitments, 1991
Written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly, and Harry M. Woods

Oh, she may be weary.
Young girls they do get weary,
Wearing that same old shaggy dress.
But when she gets weary,
Try a little tenderness

You know she’s waiting,
Just anticipating
For things that she’ll never, never, never, never possess.
But while she’s there waiting without them,
Try a little tenderness (that’s all you gotta do, this is for you).

It’s not just sentimental, no, no, no.
She has her grief and care.
But the soft words they are spoke so gentle,
It makes it easier, easier to bear.

You won’t regret it, no, no.
Young girls they never forget it.
Love is their only happiness.
But it’s all so easy.
All you gotta do is try a little tenderness.

Oh, she may be weary.
Young girls they do get weary,
Wearing that same old shaggy dress, yeah yeah.
But when she gets weary,
Try a little tenderness, yeah, yeah.

You know she’s waiting,
Just anticipating
For things that she’ll never, never, never, never possess, yeah.
But while she’s there waiting without them,
Try a little tenderness (that’s all you gotta do).

It’s not just sentimental, no, no, no.
She has her grief and care.
But the soft words they are spoke so gentle, yeah,
It makes it easier, easier to bear, yeah.

You won’t regret it, no, no.
Some girls they don’t forget it.
Love is their only happiness, yeah.
But it’s all so easy.
All you gotta do is try, try a little tenderness.

Squeeze her, don’t tease her, never leave her.
You’ve got, you’ve got, you’ve got
Just try a little tenderness, oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Squeeze her, don’t tease her, never leave her.
You’ve got, you’ve got, you’ve got
Just try a little tenderness, oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Squeeze her, don’t tease her, never leave her.
You’ve got, you’ve got, you’ve got
Just try a little tenderness, oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Squeeze her, don’t tease her, never leave her.
You’ve got, you’ve got, you’ve got
Just try a little tenderness, oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Squeeze her, don’t tease her, never leave her.
You’ve got, you’ve got, you’ve got
Just try a little tenderness, oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Squeeze her, don’t tease her, never leave her.
You’ve got, you’ve got, you’ve got
Just try a little tenderness, oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

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Tune o’ the Day

The early-70s pop group “Looking Glass” didn’t last long, but they left us the excellent and timeless song “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl).”

Looking Glass” was formed by four students at Rutgers University in 1969. “Brandy” was on their first album in 1972. In 1973, they followed up with a second album and the modestly successful “Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne,” but that was it. By 1974, the group disbanded.

Elliot Lurie, the group’s lead singer, tried to go solo, but never got real traction. He turned to producing music in Hollywood.

The story of Brandy‘s unrequited love is a poignant classic, especially as presented in Lurie’s unique golden tones. I can’t imagine “Brandy” sung in any other voice.

Looking Glass

Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)

By Looking Glass, 1972
Written by Elliot Lurie

There’s a port on a western bay,
And it serves a hundred ships a day
.
Lonely sailors pass the time away
And talk about their homes
.

And there’s a girl in this harbor town,
And she works layin’ whiskey down
.
They say
, “Brandy, fetch another round.
She serves them whiskey and wine
.

The sailors say, “Brandy, you’re a fine girl.
What a good wife you would be
.
Yeah
, your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea.

Brandy wears a braided chain
Made of finest silver from the north of Spain.
A locket that bears the name
Of the man that Brandy loves
.

He came on a summer’s day,
Bringin’ gifts from far away
.
But he made it clear he couldn’t stay
.
No harbor was his home
.

The sailor said “Brandy, you’re a fine girl.
What a good wife you would be
.
But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea
.

Yeah, Brandy used to watch his eyes
When he told his sailor stories.
She could feel the ocean fall and rise
When she saw his ragin’ glory
.
But he had always told the truth
. Lord, he was an honest man.
And Brandy does her best to understand
.

At night when the bars close down,
Brandy walks through a silent town
,
And loves a man who’s not around
.
She still can hear him say

She hears him say, “Brandy, you’re a fine girl.
What a good wife you would be
.
But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea
.”

“Brandy, you’re a fine girl.
What a good wife you would be
.
But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea.”

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Tune o’ the Day

Everybody knows the rock classic “I Fought the Law,” in which an inmate explains how he ended up in the slammer. The song was written, ironically enough, by a Texas 21-year-old with a clean record.

That Texan is musician Sonny Curtis, who in 1959 became lead singer/guitarist of The Crickets after the death of Buddy Holly.

The Crickets recorded “I Fought the Law” in 1960, and it went nowhere. Then, in 1965, the tune was covered by the Bobby Fuller Four, another popular regional band. This time, it got national attention.

Curtis is still around today and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fuller died in 1966 at age 23. His death was ruled a suicide, but various alternate theories exist, including one claim that he was murdered by mobsters involved in the recording industry.

I Fought the Law” has been covered 50-odd times over the years. The song is notable for its simplicity, for the inmate’s candor about his plight, and for his clear lack of remorse for having pursued a life of crime.

Bobby Fuller Four

I Fought the Law

By the Bobby Fuller Four, 1966
Written by Sonny Curtis

I’m breakin’ rocks in the hot sun.
I fought the law, and the law won.
I fought the law, and the law won.

I needed money ’cause I had none.
I fought the law, and the law won.
I fought the law, and the law won.

I left my baby, and I feel so sad.
I guess my race is run.
But she’s the best girl I’ve ever had.
I fought the law, and the law won.
I fought the law, and the law won.

I’m robbin’ people with a six-gun.
I fought the law, and the law won.
I fought the law, and the law won.

I miss my baby and the good fun.
I fought the law, and the law won.
I fought the law, and the law won.

I left my baby, and I feel so sad.
I guess my race is run.
But she’s the best girl I’ve ever had.
I fought the law, and the law won.
I fought the law, and the law won.

 

 

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