Music

Tune Tuesday: Tell Me Pretty Maiden 1902

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Levy Sheet Music Image One
Image Credit: jhu.edu

One hundred & twenty years ago, the #1 song of 1902 was Tell Me Pretty Maiden by Byron G. Harlan, whistler Joe Belmont and the Florodora Girls. According to Tsort, there are almost NO charts from before 1920. I plugged in today’s date on Playback FM and this is what I got. You can peruse Tsort’s Site Generation Page, describing source charts and consolidation. They seem to have their own method for old stuff and, apparently, Playback FM agrees.

Wikimedia Image Two
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Florodora is an Edwardian musical comedy. After its long run in London, it became one of the first successful Broadway musicals of the 20th Century. The book was written by Jimmy Davis, under the pseudonym Owen Hall, the music was by Leslie Stuart with additional songs by Paul Rubens and, the lyrics were by Ernest Boyd-Jones, George Arthurs and Rubens.

The original London production opened in 1899, where it ran for a very successful 455 performances. The New York production, which opened the following year, was even more popular, running for 552 performances. After this, the piece was produced throughout the English-speaking world and beyond. The show was famous for its double sextet and its chorus line of “Florodora Girls“.

Wikipedia Summary

It appears that the Harlan & Belmont version, with the Florodora Girls was very, very popular. Second Hand Songs also lists a Frank Stanley as part of the team. UC Santa Barbara lists Frank Banta on piano and calls the group the Edison Sextette.

Music Monday: Händel Solo Sonatas 1732

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George Frideric Handel Wikipedia Image
Artist: Balthasar Denner
Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Date: Between 1726 & 1728
Wikipedia

George Frideric Händel was a German-British Baroque composer well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, concerti grossi and organ concertos. Händel received his training in Halle and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712, where he spent the bulk of his career and became a naturalised British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition and by composers of the Italian Baroque. In turn, Händel’s music forms one of the peaks of the “high baroque” style, bringing Italian opera to its highest development, creating the genres of English oratorio and organ concerto and introducing a new style into English church music. He is consistently recognized as one of the greatest composers of his age. Händel started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. In 1737, he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively, addressed the middle class and made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742), he never composed an Italian opera again. Almost blind, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man, and was given a state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Händel Summary

Walsh Handel Sonatas Wikipedia Image Two
Date: Published by Walsh in 1732
Source: IMSLP
Author: Händel

Two hundred, ninety years ago, Händel Solo Sonatas was published by John Walsh in 1732. It contains a set of twelve sonatas, for various instruments, composed by George Frideric Händel. The 63 page publication includes the sonatas that are generally known as Händel’s Opus 1. The 1732 edition was mostly reprinted from the plates of an earlier 1730 publication […]. Each sonata displays the melody and bass lines […]. By modern-day standards, the music in the publication has a primitive appearance, with squashed notes and irregular spacings, stems and bar widths […]. Despite the titles in both editions, four of the sonatas in each are for a fourth instrument: the Recorder.

John Walsh Summary

Table List of the 12 Händel Sonatas

List of Händel Solo Sonatas

George Frideric Händel Britannica Biography

George Frideric Händel ~ Biography Channel

I can’t seem to find one video with all of the twelve sonatas, combined, so I will post the first three. ~Vic

Flute Sonata E Minor (HWV 359b)

Recorder Sonata G Minor (HWV 360)

Violin Sonata A Major (HWV 361)

Silly Sunday: Mask Swing

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This is so cute. Best use for those damn masks. ~Vic

Song Saturday: Painless

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Returning to my Samsung playlist… ~Vic

Music Monday: St. Matthew Passion 1727

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Bach BWV 244 Image One
Author: Johann Sebastian Bach
1736
Title page of St. Matthew Passion
Image Credit: Wikipedia/Wikimedia

The St. Matthew Passion (Matthäus-Passion in German ~ BWV 244) is a Passion, a sacred oratorio written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra, with libretto by Picander. It sets the 26th and 27th chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, in the Luther Bible, to music, with interspersed chorales and arias. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of Baroque sacred music.

The St. Matthew Passion is the second of two Passion settings by Bach that have survived in their entirety, the first being the St. John Passion, first performed in 1724. Little is known with certainty about the creation process of the St. Matthew Passion. The available information derives from extant early manuscripts, contemporary publications of the libretto, and circumstantial data, for instance in documents archived by the Town Council of Leipzig.

The St. Matthew Passion was probably first performed on April 11, 1727 (Good Friday), two hundred, ninety-five years, ago, today, in the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig.

Wikipedia Summaries

In the early 1820s, the director of the Berlin Singakademie, Carl Zelter, got hold of a copy of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and rehearsed some of the choral movements in private. By great good fortune, two of his singers were Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn. In April 1829, despite strong opposition from some quarters, the twenty-year-old Mendelssohn, with the help of Zelter and his friend the actor Eduard Devrient, mounted the work’s first modern performance, albeit in an abbreviated form, given to mark what was then thought to be the centenary of its first performance. This Easter-time Berlin presentation was a stunning success and was followed by others. These led directly to a complete reassessment and revival of interest in all of Bach’s music for, baffling as it seems nowadays, Johann Sebastian Bach had fallen into near obscurity since his death nearly 80 years earlier.

Bach’s St. Matthew Passion: A Guide To The Sacred Masterpiece
UDiscoverMusic
Jeremy Nicholas
April 8, 2020

Beautiful music with beautiful voices. One tenor sounds just like a woman. ~Vic

Additional:
A Guide To Bach’s St. Matthew Passion
(Classical Music/BBC Music Magazine/05-26-2021)
Music History Monday: St. Matthew Passion (Robert Greenberg Music/04-11-2022)
Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 (Bach Cantatas Website/2000-2022)

Netherlands Bach Society
04-02-2019
Two Hours, 44 Minutes & 31 Seconds

Song Saturday: Oblivion Theme

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Oblivion TMDb Image
Image Credit: TMDb

“But our love was a song, sung by a dying swan…”

This Saturday evening’s Samsung playlist submission comes from the movie Oblivion. I never saw the movie at the theater but, caught it on HBO at my uncle’s house (I was dog-sitting). It is a fascinating movie and very sad. It is visually stunning with a unique cast and Tom Cruise loves to play the action hero. At the end of the movie, as the credits roll, this song kicks in. It immediately gave me chills and made me cry.

Director Joseph Kosinski chose French electronic band M83 to compose the soundtrack for the movie and brought in Joseph Trapanese to co-write the score. He’d used Daft Punk for Tron: Legacy but, wanted a different sound for Oblivion.

Written by Anthony Gonzalez and Susanne Sundfør, Sundfør handled lead vocals. She has a stunning voice. Released as a single on March 26, 2013, the only chart that the song shows up in is the French SNEP singles chart. It debuted at 114 the week of April 20 but, only lasted for three weeks. Sundfør made her US television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 17.

“Don’t forget to stick around for the credits that are set to M83’s brilliant title song, Oblivion featuring Susanne Sundfør.”

Movie Review: Space Survivors Battle Oblivion
The Express Tribune
Ameer Hamza Ahmad
May 6, 2013

Oblivion HD Wallpapers Image Two
Image Credit: HD Wallpapers

“Also, the film’s closing credits track, also called “Oblivion” and featuring vocals by Susanne Sundfor, might be the best theme song since “Skyfall.”

Oblivion Review: 10 Things You Should Know
Moviefone
Drew Taylor
April 18, 2013

“…and now we get to hear “Oblivion,” a slow, stately and gorgeous six-minute collaboration with the Norwegian singer Susanne Sundfør.”

M86 – “Oblivion” (Feat. Susanne Sundfør)
Stereogum
Tom Breihan
March 26, 2013

Additional Reading:
M83 Enter ‘Oblivion’ With Tom Cruise
(Rolling Stone/Steve Baltin/February 13, 2013)

US Debut

Main Theme Music

VOTD: Convoy

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Good for them. They are close to $10 million in donations. We’re next. ~Vic



Video of the Day

Music Monday: Sonata In G Minor 1721

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Graupner Image
Image Credit: The Boy Poet Remembers Blog

(Johann) Christoph Graupner: born January 13, 1683, in Kirchberg, Saxony and died May 10, 1760 in Darmstadt, Hesse-Darmstadt. In 1706, because of a threat of Swedish invasion, he sought refuge at Hamburg, where he was harpsichordist at the opera under R. Keiser. The most significant genres in which Graupner worked were the chorale cantata, the trio sonata and the concerto. He composed about 1,300 cantatas. His trio sonatas and concerti represent a German assimilation of these Italian forms. Characteristically, the trio sonatas are written in fugal style. Graupner also wrote several operas, many overtures and symphonies and, harpsichord partitas and sonatas.

Encyclopedia Britannica

Christoph Graupner was one of the principal German composers of the period of J.S. Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann. He was highly thought of in his day, much like George Frederic Handel or Telemann, with whom he maintained a lifetime friendship. Composers Johann David Heinichen and Johann Friedrich Fasch were also close friends of his. His first teachers were Mylius and the organist Nikolaus Küster (PDF), whom Graupner followed to Reichenbach in 1694. He entered the Leipzig Thomasschule in 1696, where J.D. Heinichen was a fellow student[…]. [H]e studied under Johann Schelle and Johann Kuhnau and befriended Telemann and his future colleague Gottfried Grünewald […]. Leaving Leipzig in 1706, […] Graupner went to Hamburg […]. [He] composed, there, his first five operas that received great public acclaim […]. In 1709, he became Vice-Kapellmeister at the court of Ernst Ludwig, Landgrave of Hessen-Darmstadt […]. He wrote many operas up to 1719, when he turned to sacred and instrumental composition. [His] remaining years of […] life were spent at the court at Darmstadt. [He] was a prolific and tireless composer. Though blind later in life, he produced immense amounts of music […].

Bach Cantatas Website

Christoph Graupner is one of the most fascinating, yet, at the same time, underestimated composers of German baroque music: the era of Bach, Händel, Telemann and many other nearly forgotten composers.

Graupner Digital Online
Florian Heyerick

Additional:
Christoph Graupner (Music Web International/Len Mullenger)
Christoph Graupner Society Website
Complete Score Sheet Music (IMSLP/GWV 724)

Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Ten-Pick Seven-Bad Weather-Emily Hackett (2014/2015)

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Tennessee Star Image One
Photo Credit: Tennessee Star

Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Ten and final pick.

Back in 2014, I happened to catch a wonderful song that played during a commercial on HDNET (movies). HDNET didn’t have normal commercials, they just had clips from movies that it was showcasing, changing each month. I loved the song but, had no idea what the name of it was, other than what I could glean from the lyrics. I desperately wanted to know who the singer was because she had a beautiful voice. I could find nothing, so, I contacted HDNET for help. Her name? Emily Hackett. The song? A Heart Worth Saving (and I wasn’t the only one asking). It is the third track from a short compilation album called Girl Electro Pop, released July 11, 2014 (as best as I can tell). There is no chart information on the album or the song and what lyrics that are on the Internet do not match all of the words she sings. That being said, I was overjoyed to find it and download it.

That brings me to Bad Weather (no chart information on it, either). In digging around for data on Emily, I found a demo video of her singing the song with a guitarist. Then, I found the album it was on…The Raw EP, released July 24, 2015. It’s a beautiful, sad song that reminds me of a stripped down Carrie Underwood piece.

The Virginia Star Emily Hackett Image Two
Photo Credit: The Virginia Star

“I started this song in California when I was making lunch one day at my parent’s house. My boyfriend, Mikey, was goofing around on the guitar and I stopped him like, “What is that? We are writing that. It’s awesome.” It wasn’t until we got back to Nashville, a couple months later that we sat down with our friend Adam James and poured out this song in a couple of hours. It felt so right, we just went with it. It’s one of my favorites I’ve ever written.”

Daily Discovery: Emily Hackett
Songspace
American Songwriter
2014

She was born in Cleveland, Ohio and was in high school in Georgia when she took off with a friend to visit Belmont University. Headed for the University of Georgia, she fell in love with Nashville and interned in the music industry:

“Here I was in Nashville at school. I had no idea that there was this whole world of music where you could have careers. I didn’t realize there was so much to it. It was cool to be studying the music business at college. I thought I could always be a writer and in Nashville, writers actually get to perform.”

Music Spotlight: Emily Hackett
Bethany Bowman
The Tennessee Star
October 17, 2018

Some months ago, I commented on one of Music City Mike‘s blog posts, regarding interviews of local musicians in Nashville. I told him about Emily but, I don’t know if he ever got the chance to chat with her. Give her a listen. She is a different genre from Lissie but, just as talented.

Thanks, Hans, for the invite to participate. Much like the movie draft, picking favorites is a tough go. There is SO much good music out there. I look forward to sharing more in the upcoming 2022 Draft. ~Vic

Official Website
Bandcamp
Reverbnation
Soundcloud

Additional:
Emily Hackett Looks To The Past & Future On “Nostalgia”
(Taste of Country/Sterling Whitaker/08-10-2017)
CMT’s Next Women Of Country (People Magazine/Katie Kauss/11-16-2018)
Cleveland Native Emily Hackett Comes To Beachland (Cleveland Scene/Jeff Niesel/12-04-2019)
Emily Hackett Releases Heartfelt “Handle” (The Virginia Star/Bethany Bowman/05-29-2020)
Emily Hackett Is Creating Magic (The Aquarian/Debra Kate Schafer/05-31-2020)

Demo In The Attic

HDNET Commercial

Royals Cover With Megan Davies

Happy Christmas Cover

Song Saturday: Natural One

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Folk Implosion YT Image One
Image Credit: YouTube

“Your world is falling down, you may as well crash with me…”

Returning to my Samsung playlist for this Saturday evening submission, I present Natural One by The Folk Implosion. Written by Lou Barlow and bassist Wally Gagel of Orbit, it was the seventh song on the soundtrack album from the 1995 movie Kids, though it wasn’t actually played in the film. It entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #54 on December 9, 1995 and peaked at #29 on February 3, 1996. It peaked at #4 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart on December 16, 1995 and peaked at #21 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart on February 17, 1996. I hope you enjoy. ~Vic

How Lou Barlow Soundtracked 1995 (Vice/Cam Lindsey/03-21-2017)
Instagram Account
Bandcamp Account

Lyrics

Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Nine-Pick Eight-In Sleep-Lissie (2010)

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Lissie Fan Art TV Image One
Image Credit: fanart.tv

Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Nine pick.

This, and my last pick, will feature two women that are a little less known in the music world. I skipped right over the 2000s (only so many choices) and hopped into the next decade. I happened to catch this song while listening to the University of Texas @ Austin’s radio station (a station involved with SXSW). I was hooked and I went looking for it…and her. Elisabeth Corrin Maurus or Lissie is a singer-songwriter out of Rock Island, Illinois.

“I always sang, since I was little and wrote poems in high school. I sort of taught myself to play guitar lines to the poems and stuff. In high school, it seems like everyone has more drama than any other time in their life, [so] that was the time in my life where I really leaned on music as a way to stay sane…”

Interview With Lissie
Scott the Intern
Pop Culture Madness [Web Archive]
February 11, 2008

In her senior year, she was kicked out of high school (she spit in a teacher’s face) and had to get a GED, elsewhere. Then, she hit the road, troubadour-style. She attended Colorado State in Fort Collins and liked to open for other traveling acts. After a short time in Paris, she moved to Los Angeles, met Betsy Hammer and scored an introduction to Brooks Arthur. Hammer & Arthur took her to talent manager Guy Oseary and he got her to producer Glen Ballard. She can be heard singing in the movie Have Dreams, Will Travel (Dream It Out Loud) and performed at the wedding of Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher in 2005 (Oseary’s referral). In January 2008, she opened for Lenny Kravitz (via a hook-up on MySpace).

Lissie Zimbio Image Two
Photo Credit: Zimbio

The third track from the album Catching A Tiger, In Sleep was released in April of 2010 and the only chart it showed up on was the UK iTunes Single of the Week. The album did manage to make it to #5 on the Billboard Folk Albums & Top Heatseekers charts and, #34 on the Independent Albums chart. The album’s first release was in the UK and hit the US two months later.

“Not to be mistaken for Lissy Trullie, […] Lissie Maurus deals in sun-kissed pop-blues straight from Laurel Canyon.

Her 12-track debut conjures images of highways and horses, with Lissie’s smoky tones echoing Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks.”

CDs of the Week: Eminem and Lissie
Rick Pearson
London Evening Standard
[Web Archive]
June 18, 2010

Give her a listen. I think she is fantastic and her two band members are outstanding, as well. They are all over YouTube and, in live recordings, her bassist is sitting down, keeping the drum/cymbal beat. Talk about multitasking. I’ve included the studio version of this that has more drum work on it and a possible synthesizer. I’m also including her version of Go Your Own Way. which actually charted in the UK in 2012. The studio version sounds like it has a cello in it and is part of the soundtrack from the movie Safe Haven. She has been very busy.

Happy Halloween, Y’all! ~Vic

Additional:
Interview: Lissie (Stereofox/06-12-2013)
Lissie (CTN Music Interview/12-22-2008/Web Archive)
Lissie and Her Connections (The Uncarved Blog/Ken Chawkin/05-11-2019)
Lissie Catching A Tiger Review (BBC Review/Mike Diver/2010)
Local Q&A: Lissie (Chicago Tribune Metromix/Matt Pais/11-09-2009/Web Archive)
Rock Island Native Lissie Hits Billboard’s Charts (Quad-City Times/David Burke/05-09-2008/Web Archive)

Official Website

Live Recording On ARD

Studio Version

From Discovery of Witches

Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Eight-Pick Nine-Witness-Sarah McLachlan (1997)

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Modern Vinyl Image One
Image Credit: Modern Vinyl

Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Eight pick.

I remember when I heard Possession on the radio the first time. I was driving home from work and I was immediately in love. The music was stunning, her voice was stunning and I was captivated. Who is she, I thought to myself (I had no idea that Sarah McLachlan had two previous albums). I found the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy CD as fast as I could. It is a fantastic album. There is not a bad song on it.

When Surfacing came out in July 1997, I snatched it, too. It was released to coincide with the Lilith Fair. Though Fumbling Towards Ecstasy remains my favorite of her albums, Witness is my favorite single. The sixth track, it was never released as a single, has no chart information what-so-ever and it remains in the shadow of Building A Mystery, Sweet Surrender, Adia and, in particular, Angel. The album is one of two that reached #2 on the Billboard 200. It was the #1 album on Billboard’s Canadian Albums chart on August 2, 1997 and on Canada’s RPM Top Albums/CDs chart on July 28, 1997.

As an odd bit of trivia, this album is mentioned in the Starr Report, Ken Starr‘s investigation of the Monica Lewinsky Scandal, as was Altoid Mints, the movie Titanic, Billie Holliday, Elvis, Spinach Dip, Starbucks and Leaves of Grass. Monica apparently liked track #5.

This song speaks to me on so many levels. It’s a beautiful piece with beautiful lyrics… ~Vic

Sarah Recording YouTube Image Two
Image Credit: YouTube

Make me a witness
Take me out
Out of darkness
Out of doubt

I won’t weigh you down
With good intention
Won’t make fire out of clay
Or other inventions

Will we burn in heaven
Like we do down here
Will the change come
While we’re waiting

Everyone is waiting

And, when we’re done
Soul searching
As we carried the weight
And died for the cause
Is misery made beautiful
Right before our eyes
Will mercy be revealed
Or blind us where we stand

Additional:
Lilith Fair @ 20 (Billboard Article/Gil Kaufman/07-05-2017)
Official Instagram
Official Website
Sarah McLachlan Named In Starr Report (MTV News/09-16-1998)
Starr Report Unearths New Bedfellows (The Hartford Courant/Rock Critic Roger Catlin/09-17-1998)
The Pop Life: Musical Damage In Starr Report (The New York Times/Neil Strauss/09-24-1998/Web Archive)

No Official Video

Live From Mirrorball

Sarah Discussing The Surfacing CD

Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Seven-Pick Ten-Somebody’s Baby-Pat Benatar (1993)

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Somebodys Baby Discogs Image One
Image Credit: Discogs

Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Seven pick.

Pat Benatar exploded on the music scene in the Summer/Fall of 1979 with her debut album In The Heat of the Night. I was in 8th grade and the first song I remember hearing on the radio from the album was Heartbreaker. I went to my hometown’s only mall and headed into a store called Stereo Village. I wanted this song and, when I asked for it, the guy trying to help me automatically thought I was talking about Led Zepplin. When I mentioned Pat Benatar’s song, he didn’t know what I was talking about. He told me to sing some of the music for him…so, my 13 year old self obliged, right there in the middle of the store, “in front of God and everybody” (Southern colloquialism). He still didn’t know the song but, said “Nice voice!” I never did get that 45 and a few months later, rolling into the new decade, We Live For Love was released in February and, I liked it even better than Heartbreaker. Crimes of Passion, her sophomore album, came out the following August and the hits kept coming. You Better Run (The Young Rascals cover) became the second video broadcast on the debut of MTV, behind Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles (a 45 I managed to get my hands on). I was a devoted fan at that point without owning a single song or album. By the time of my 16th birthday, a young man I was dating presented me with the Crimes of Passion album. I was overjoyed.

Gravity's Rainbow Discogs Image Two
Image Credit: Discogs

I nearly got to see her perform during the 1986 Seven the Hard Way tour. It started in January 1986 and stopped, abruptly, in April. She was a mom by then and family pressures caused cancellations. Greensboro Coliseum lost out. I did get to see her for the Can’t Stop Rockin’ tour in 1995 in Raleigh. Prior to those two, my mother considered me too young to see the earlier concerts. 😭

Gravity’s Rainbow was her ninth, and the last studio album to be in the Billboard 200 chart in the top 100s, peaking at #85 on June 19, 1993 and making it to #44 in Canada for one week on July 31, 1993. Named after the Thomas Pynchon novel, it was also the last album released on Chrysalis Records. It was not one of her better albums, statistically speaking but, it yielded three singles, two of which, I love. My favorite album of hers is, of course, the tour that got cancelled in 1986. That being said, after all these years of her music catalog, Somebody’s Baby is my favorite single, released July 5, 1993 (my second favorite single is Le Bel Age). She and Spyder James had already geared down quite a bit, releasing the blues-themed True Love in 1991, to much less fanfare than Wide Awake in Dreamland from 1988. True Love was her first album that did not rate with RIAA.

Somebody’s Baby did not chart on Billboard but, it did chart in the UK on the Singles Chart (#48), in Canada (#41) and in New Zealand (#36).

I am a fan of Benatar like Hans & Max are of the Beatles. I love this one because of the lyrics, the mood, the blend of the music and her stunning voice, though, in this piece, it is not quite as “up there” as when she sings Invincible (she has a four octave range). I am normally indifferent to most lyrics, choosing to immerse myself in musical arrangements and wonderful voices but, the writing speaks to my heart and I confess that, the first time I heard this, it brought me to tears. ~Vic

Additional:
BenatarGiraldo (Official Website)
Gravity’s Rainbow (RockWired/Brian Lush/06-12-2018)
Pat Benatar (Hip Online/01-05-2008)
Pat Benatar: Gravity’s Rainbow (Rolling Stone/Andrea Odintz/2003/Web Archive)
Richmond: Benatar’s Rise to Fame (Richmond Times-Dispatch/Nicole Kappatos/04-11-2017/Web Archive)

Lyrics

Unofficial Video?

Live On Leno

Regis & Kathie Lee Show (Stripped Down Short Version)

Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Six-Pick 11-Fall On Me-R.E.M. (1986)

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Fall On Me REM Discogs Image One
Image Credit: Discogs

Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Six pick.

Moving into 1986… My first introduction to R.E.M. wasn’t the radio or MTV. It was an odd video channel on Cablevision in the early 80s in my NC hometown (my mom only had basic cable…no MTV). I’ve talked at great length with Max (Powerpop Blogger) about this obscure video channel. I remember two VJs, one named “Dr. John” (not the musician) that wore blue scrubs and one named “Carrot Top” (not the comedian), that, of course, was a red-headed dude. I have no idea where this channel broadcast from but, it was a seriously stripped down operation. It was just rotating VJs, sitting at a desk, talking into a camera…and playing music videos. The first video I recall seeing was Radio Free Europe, the Murmur version, not the Hib-Tone single (I later found out). I was immediately hooked but, totally missed who the band was. (Interestingly, the Hib-Tone version was recorded at Drive-In Studios in Winston-Salem, NC and the Murmur version was recorded at Reflection Studios in Charlotte, NC.) Fast forward to the end of my senior year of high school and I see some of So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry) on MTV. I had no idea that this was the same band. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college, when Driver 8 came out (another one I like), that a buddy of mine told me who R.E.M. was…a college band out of the University of Georgia (Bulldogs). Every piece of music of theirs that I was lucky enough to catch, I loved. Finally, in 1987, The One I Love broke thru to #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and they seemed to be everywhere. Their highest charting hit was Losing My Religion, getting to #4 in 1991. Out of their entire catalog, which is gi-hugic, Fall On Me wound up being my favorite, with my introductory piece, Radio Free Europe, coming in second. I wish I had seen them live.

Bit of odd trivia…five strange degrees of separation. R.E.M. had a manager by the name of Jefferson Holt. He was with them until 1996 when they got rid of him for sexual harassment. Jefferson Holt is from Chapel Hill and his mother is named Bertha “B” Holt. She was an NC State Rep. from 1975 to 1994, representing my home county (and another one). She was quite the pioneer, advocating for the ERA and married rape victims (which is ironic as hell considering her son’s behavior). My paternal grandmother was in Democratic politics in the 60s, 70s & 80s, running for local office, herself (and on first-names basis with several governors). She campaigned heavily for her favorites and “Bee” Holt was one of them. I met Bee Holt several times as a kid and remember all of her “Bee” 🐝 paraphernalia all over my grandmother’s house.

I guess this makes me closer to R.E.M. than Kevin Bacon! 😉 😊 ~Vic

RIAA Gold Album Image Two
Their first Gold album.
Image Credit: RIAA

Released 0n August 11, 1986, it was the third track from the album Lifes Rich Pageant. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #96 the weekend of October 4, peaking at #94 on October 11 before finally disappearing from the chart on October 25. It did better on the Album Rock Tracks, making it to #5 for one week on September 6.

“Of the genuinely new songs, Peter Buck’s basic music track for Fall On Me dated back to July of 1985, when Stipe had written a lyric about acid rain [but], the song had been virtually re-written, melody and lyrics, by the time it came to be recorded. Stipe, who declared in 1991 that “…this may be my favourite song in the R.E.M. catalogue…”, has described the final version as “…pretty much a song about oppression.” Trainspotters might like to know that the counter-melody used in the second verse is actually the song’s original tune.

Johnny Black (2004)
Reveal: The Story of R.E.M.
Page 123

Additional:
R.E.M. Fiction: An Alternative Biography (David Buckley/2012/Google Books)
R.E.M. HQ (Official Site)
The Complete R.E.M. (R.E.M. Timeline)

Lyrics

His Favorite Song

Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Five-Pick 12-Minutes To Memories-John Mellencamp (1985)

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Scarecrow Mellencamp Image One
Image Credit: Discogs

Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Five pick.

Pulling myself out of 1978, I am moving into the 1980s. ~Vic

John Mellencamp‘s Scarecrow album was released on August 5, 1985, 25 days prior to my 19th birthday and six weeks before I started my sophomore year of college. God, what an album. This was Mellencamp’s version of Born In The USA (I own both albums). Roots rock/Heartland rock was the music in the background of my graduation from high school and subsequent foray into college. Minutes To Memories was not an official release from the album but, it managed to make it to #14 on the Top Rock Tracks for one week as a non-single album track. It spoke volumes to me…

“You are young and you are the future
So, suck it up, tough it out
Be the best you can.”

Written by Mellencamp and his childhoon friend George M. Green, it is the #4 track on the album and Mimi Mapes sang backing vocals. Scarecrow made it to #2 on the Billboard 200 chart the week of November 16, 1985 (coming underneath Born In The USA, twice) and stayed for a couple of weeks, stuck behind the Miami Vice Soundtrack.

“I wrote a song called [You’ve Got To] Stand For Something,” [Mellencamp] explains, “but, I never did say what you should stand for…except your own truth. That song was supposed to be funny, too and, I hope people got that. But, I think that’s the key to the whole LP…suggesting that each person come to grips with their own individual truth […] and try to like themselves a little bit more. Find out what you as a person are […] and don’t let the world drag you down. People should have respect for and believe in themselves.”

John Cougar Mellencamp: Working Class Hero In The Rumbleseat
Bill Holdship
Creem
February 1986
Mellencamp Forum

John Mellencamp Image Two
Image Credit: mellencamp.com

A deeply felt sense of responsibility and an equally motivating need to atone for past missteps seem to define Scarecrow. On the midtempo Minutes to Memories, Mellencamp tells the story of a young boy riding home to Indiana after a trip to the South. In the next seat on the bus is a seventy-seven-year-old retired steelworker lecturing the child on how to live, backing his advice with experience. “My family and friends are the best things I’ve known,” he instructs, and the child, a budding rebel, chuckles to himself at how out of touch the old dog is.

Easing into the final verse, Mellencamp hushes his band. In a voice just above a whisper, he suddenly shifts the tale from third to first person. He’s the kid on the Greyhound and, his inability to comprehend, let alone act on, the wisdom he was given then, still haunts him… “Now that I’m older I can see he was right.” [T]hen Mellencamp reveals that he’s telling this story to his own son. He knows he’s being silently scoffed at as surely as his travel companion was two decades earlier. Still, he accepts it and the band rocks out.

Album Reviews: Scarecrow
Jimmy Guter
Rolling Stone
September 26, 1985

Official Website

There is no official video of this song but, the below is one guy’s idea.

Lyrics