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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 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

Song Saturday: Keep On Runnin’ (Journey)

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Journey Escape Discogs Image One
Image Credit: Discogs

“Oh, it’s Friday night. Let’s run tonight, ’til the morning light…”

Returning to my Samsung playlist, this Saturday’s submission is Keep On Runnin’ by American rock band Journey, formed in San Francisco in 1973 out of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch. The fourth track from the album Escape (released in July 1981), it was co-written by Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry and Neal Schon and, was never released as a single, though the album, itself, reached #1 on the Billboard 200 on September 12, 1981. The song does show up in the Journey video game from Bally Midway, that came out in March of 1983, with this tagline (one of three):

“The hottest band in the country is about to take over the planet!”

The album got its own Atari 2600 video game in 1982. This album, and Frontiers after it, is a musical tapestry to my high school years.

Journey Group Image Two
San Antonio/Selma, TX
July 2006
Co-Headliner Def Leppard

I got to see the band in concert, twice, in Texas and was lucky enough to get to meet them. This is the tour where Journey dropped Steve Augeri and picked up Jeff Scott Soto for a year. Neither could match Perry but, Augeri was close.

I’m on the far left next to Jonathan Cain. My buddy Monica is in between Cain & Neal Schon. My buddy Amy is in between Deen Castronovo & Ross Valory.

It’s a shame the members are embroiled in a lawsuit. ~Vic

Lyrics

Song Saturday: Jamie’s Cryin’

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Van Halen Album Image
Image Credit: SoundCloud

**Edward Lodewijk Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020)**

“She saw the look in his eyes, and she knew better…”

This Saturday’s playlist submission is Jamie’s Cryin’ by American rock band Van Halen, formed in 1972 in Pasadena, California. The sixth track from their debut album Van Halen, it was released as a single on May 16, 1978 but, it never charted. Credit for songwriting is the whole band and the album peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200 on May 20, 1978 after its February 10 release. It was certified RIAA Diamond (10x Platinum) in sales on August 7, 1996.

After their 2015 North American Tour, they appear to be on indefinite hiatus. Eddie Van Halen has had some serious health problems.

American rapper Tone Lōc used the opening tom-tom and bass riff from this song on his 1989 hit Wild Thing and wound up settling out of court with Van Halen. He and Eddie Van Halen crossed paths some time afterwards and it wasn’t friendly.

I was in sixth grade when this song came out and I had no clue. I was all into disco back then. I didn’t know who they were until Dance the Night Away came out the following year. I didn’t buy an album of theirs until Diver Down. I have never been to a concert. ~Vic

Tone Lōc Talks About Debut Album & Eddie Van Halen (Billboard January 25, 2019)
America’s Songs III: Rock! Rock! (Google Books)
Van-Halen (Official Site)
Van Halen News Desk (Unofficial Site)
Gene Simmons Talks Lost Seventies Van Halen Demos (Rolling Stone March 22, 2016)
Eddie Van Halen’s Wife’s Positivity (Survivor Net September 8, 2020)

Lyrics