bob dylan

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: Bob Dylan 1989

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Bob Dylan Image One
Photo Credit: alldylan.com

Now that I have access to some old Billboard magazines, thirty years ago, today, Everything Is Broken, by American singer/songwriter, author and visual artist Bob Dylan, debuted on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart (called Album Rock Tracks back in 1989), entering at #23. Released from the album Oh Mercy, his 26th studio album, the song is a reflection of Dylan’s detachment from his world. It peaked at number eight after eight weeks on the chart.

From Wikipedia:

The track found on Oh Mercy is an April 1989 re-working of a take recorded the previous month. Originally recorded as “Broken Days” in March 1989, Dylan had re-written the song entirely by April, giving it its current name.

In an interview with Nigel Williamson (the author of The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan) and Oh Mercy’s producer, Daniel Lanois, he described how Dylan would rework his songs over and over again:

“I sat next to him for two months while he wrote [Oh Mercy] and it was extraordinary. Bob overwrites. He keeps chipping away at his verses. He has a place for all his favorite couplets and those couplets can be interchangeable. I’ve seen the same lyrics show up in two or three different songs as he cuts and pastes them around, so, it’s not quite as sacred ground as you might think.”

Bob Dylan Image Two
Image Credit: wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

From All Dylan:

“Most of them [the songs on “Oh Mercy”] are stream-of-consciousness songs, the kind that come to you in the middle of the night, when you just want to go back to bed. The harder you try to do something, the more it evades you. These weren’t like that.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen, September 21, 1989)

“While it would be unfair to compare ‘Oh Mercy’ to Dylan’s Sixties recordings, it sits well alongside his impressive body of work.”
~Clinton Heylin (Behind The Shades)

[While] promoting The Traveling Wilburys in the fall of 1988, George Harrison discussed some of Dylan’s upcoming work. Harrison [was] enthused about Dylan’s new songs…informing a skeptical world that the experience of recording the Wilburys had given him the urge to write again.

[Bono], lead singer of U2, paid Dylan a visit at his home. When he asked Dylan if he had written any new songs, Dylan showed him the ones stored in his drawer. Bono urged him to record the songs but, Dylan was reluctant.

Notable Cover Versions:
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Sheryl Crow


 
Lyrics [via LyricFind]
Broken lines, broken strings
Broken threads, broken springs
Broken idols, broken heads
People sleeping in broken beds
Ain’t no use jiving
Ain’t no use joking
Everything is broken

Broken bottles, broken plates
Broken switches, broken gates
Broken dishes, broken parts
Streets are filled with broken hearts
Broken words never meant to be spoken
Everything is broken

Bridge: Seem like every time you stop and turn around
Something else just hit the ground

Broken cutters, broken saws
Broken buckles, broken laws
Broken bodies, broken bones
Broken voices on broken phones
Take a deep breath, feel like you’re chokin’
Everything is broken

Every time you leave and go off someplace
Things fall to pieces in my face

Broken hands on broken ploughs
Broken treaties, broken vows
Broken pipes, broken tools
People bending broken rules
Hound dog howling, bull frog croaking
Everything is broken