billboard r&B

Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Two-Pick Two-Cathy’s Clown-Everly Brothers (1960)

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Everly Brothers Stereogum Image
Image Credit: Stereogum

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

I grew up around lots of music. My dad had his tastes, my mom had hers and I got some exposure to my grandparents music, too. There was plenty of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Gene Pitney, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, The Ventures, The Beach Boys, instrumental music (think Hugo Montenegro or Paul Mauriat), funny stuff like Ben Colder/Sheb Wooley, Ray Stevens or David Seville (my dad’s stuff), The Four Seasons, Motown, soul music, beach music (my mom’s stuff), big band music (my paternal grandparents) and, bluegrass, country and Latin/jazz (maternal grandparents). One song, in particular, that reminds me of my dad the most is Cathy’s Clown. When I was a kid, my dad liked to just get in the car, drive around and listen to the radio. It was, literally, No Particular Place To Go. When I became an adult, we’d still get in the car and cruise. He and I would sing Cathy’s Clown, together, with me taking Phil’s harmony. I still own my dad’s original 45. ~Vic

Written by Don, it was recorded in March and released in April 1960. It was recorded live, in a single take, with both brothers sharing a microphone. Floyd Cramer was on piano, Floyd Chance on bass and Buddy Harman on drums. An odd song, it has a chorus and bridges but, no verses. It was their first single for Warner Bros. It spent five weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, one week on the Billboard’s R&B chart and seven weeks at #1 on UK’s Singles chart. It was their biggest selling single and their last #1 after Wake Up Little Susie and All I Have to Do Is Dream.

The song is ranked at #150 Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and it was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2013. Covers have been done by Reba McEntire and Neil Sedaka (1983) with McEntire’s version reaching #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and Canada’s RPM Country Tracks chart in 1989. There is even a Jan and Dean version on Filet Of Soul Redux: The Rejected Master Recordings (2017).

“We owe those guys everything. They started it all.” ~Bob Dylan

Additional Reading & References:
The Everly Brothers: That Sibling Sound (BBC News/2014)
Cathy’s Clown ~ The Everly Brothers (Library of Congress/PDF)
Recording Cathy’s Clown (Steve Hoffman Music Forum)

Lyrics

Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show 1960

Music Monday: Skyy 1989

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Skyy Image
Image Credit: youtube.com

Thirty years ago, today, Real Love by the R&B band Skyy debuted on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart (called Hot Black Singles back in 1989), entering at #80. The third release from the album Start of a Romance, it spent 16 weeks on the chart, reaching #1 for one week and, also peaked at #47 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.


 
Lyrics (via LyricFind):
I said I would get over you
Now I’m here out on my own
Trying to live my life
And now you wanna come back
But I don’t need no brand new lies, listen up

I want a love that’s serious
No time to play love games
I don’t wanna be nobody’s fool
So if you wanna be with me
You gotta give it up

Real love
I know I wanna have one
Real love
Gonna try and get some

Real love
Everybody needs one
Real love
Got to have real love

All my friends are telling me
I should give you another try
But I don’t need opinions
To deal with what I have on my mind, listen up

I want a love that’s serious
No time to play love games
I don’t wanna be nobody’s fool
So if you wanna be with me
You gotta give it up

Real love
I know I wanna have one
Real love
Gonna try and get some

Real love
Everybody needs one
Real love
Got to have real love

Real love

Oh, oh, ah
Oh, oh, ah
Oh, oh, ah (Oh, yeah)
Oh, oh, ah

Oh, oh, ah
Oh, oh, ah
Oh, oh, ah (Give it up)
Oh, oh, ah

Real love
I know I wanna have one
Real love
Gonna try and get some

Real love
Everybody needs one
Real love
Got to have real love

Real love
I know I wanna have one
Real love
Gonna try and get some

Real love
Everybody needs one
Real love
Got to have real love

Real love

Ow, ow, ow

Real love
I know I wanna have one
Real love
Gonna try and get some

Real love
Everybody needs one
Real love
Got to have real love

Real love
Real love (Huh…uh…uh…)
Real love (I don’t need opinions)
(Don’t need your advice)

(Real love)
(Got to give real love)
Real love

Tune Tuesday: Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me 1974

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Gladys Knight & The Pips Image One
Photo Credit: pilotonline.com

Forty-five years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart was Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me by Gladys Knight & The Pips. Written by Jim Weatherly, a former quarterback for the University of Mississippi, is the same songwriter that penned what became known as Midnight Train to Georgia, a previous hit for Gladys & her Pips. The song was originally recorded in 1973 by country music artist Ray Price.

Gladys Knight & The Pips Image Two
Image Credit: 45cat.com

From Wikipedia:

Weatherly told Tom Roland in The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits that he wrote the song in 1971 and let his father-in-law first record it as a Christmas present for the latter’s wife. “I thought it was really strange that nobody’d written a song with that title — possibly somebody had but, I’d never heard it — so, I just sat down and let this stream of consciousness happen. I basically wrote it in a very short period of time, probably 30 minutes or an hour.”

Other artists to cover the song were Dean Martin, Steve Lawrence, Andy Williams, The Persuaders and, James Cleveland & The Charles Fold Singers.

The song made it to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Lyrics

Tune Tuesday: Lloyd Price 1959

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Lloyd Price Image One
Photo Credit: youtube.com

Sixty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts was Stagger Lee. The song references a murder that took place on December 27, 1895 (though some accounts say Christmas night). “Stag” Lee Shelton, born in Texas on March 16, 1865 (the same year John B. Stetson started his famous cowboy hat company), owner of the Modern Horseshoe Club, shot William “Billy” Lyons at the Bill Curtis Saloon after an argument.

From the St. Louis Globe-Democrat December 28, 1895:

William Lyons, 25, a levee hand, was shot in the abdomen yesterday evening at 10 o’clock in the saloon of Bill Curtis, at Eleventh and Morgan Streets, by Lee Sheldon [sic], a carriage driver. Lyons and Sheldon [sic] were friends and were talking together. Both parties, it seems, had been drinking and were feeling in exuberant spirits. The discussion drifted to politics, and an argument was started, the conclusion of which was that Lyons snatched Sheldon’s [sic] hat from his head. The latter indignantly demanded its return. Lyons refused, and Sheldon [sic] withdrew his revolver and shot Lyons in the abdomen. When his victim fell to the floor Sheldon [sic] took his hat from the hand of the wounded man and coolly walked away. He was subsequently arrested and locked up at the Chestnut Street Station. Lyons was taken to the Dispensary, where his wounds were pronounced serious. Lee Sheldon [sic] is also known as ‘Stag’ Lee.

Quote from Cecil Brown (author of Stagolee Shot Billy):

“Lee Shelton belonged to a group of pimps known in St. Louis as the ‘Macks’. The Macks were not just ‘urban strollers’. They presented themselves as objects to be observed.”

Lloyd Price Image Two
Image Credit: amazon.com

Shelton’s first trial in July, 1896, ended in a hung jury. The second trial in October 1897 returned a guilty verdict and a sentence of 25 years in prison at Jefferson Penitentiary. Shelton was pardoned and released from prison by Governor Folk on Thanksgiving in 1909. He returned to prison in May of 1911 for robbery & assault. He was granted an additional parole by Governor Hadley on February 8, 1912 but, died in the prison hospital of tuberculosis in March as Missouri’s Attorney General, Elliot Major, objected.

The original version of this song was the Stack O’ Lee Blues from 1924. It has some shocking lyrics and has absolutely nothing to do with the Stagger Lee version penned by Price and Harold Logan.

This song has been covered by Pat Boone (can you imagine?), Ike & Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Doc Watson, The Youngbloods and, even, Huey Lewis and the News.

[I grew up dancing to this song. It was a shagging staple. Have you ever seen Shag: The Movie? ~Vic]

Analog Version

Shag: The Movie

Fellow blogger Badfinger always lists lyrics. I will take his lead.

Lyrics
The night was clear and the moon was yellow
And the leaves came tumblin’ down…

I was standin’ on the corner
When I heard my bull-dog bark.
He was barkin’ at the two men
Who were gamblin’ in the dark.

It was Stagger Lee and Billy,
Two men who gambled late.
Stagger Lee threw a seven,
Billy swore that he threw eight.

“Stagger Lee,” said Billy,
“I can’t let you go with that.
You have won all my money,
And my brand-new Stetson hat.”

Stagger Lee went home
And he got his. 44.
He said, “I’m goin’ to the ballroom
Just to pay that debt I owe.”

Go, Stagger Lee

Stagger Lee went to the ballroom
And he strolled across the ballroom floor.
He said “You did me wrong, Billy.”
And he pulled his. 44.

“Stagger Lee,” said Billy,
“Oh, please don’t take my life!
I’ve got three hungry children,
And a very sickly wife.”

Stagger Lee shot Billy
Oh, he shot that poor boy so hard
That a bullet went through Billy
And broke the bartender’s bar.

Go, Stagger Lee, go, Stagger Lee!
Go, Stagger Lee, go, Stagger Lee!