Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bryan Cranston & Gordon Lightfoot

For anyone born after 1975, Gordon Lightfoot was a popular Canadian folk singer in the '60s and '70s. Before slowly slipping into obscurity as heavier rock genres grew into prominence, he scored a few hits in his day, including "Rainy Day People," "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," and "If You Could Read My Mind."  Perhaps his most lasting claim to fame is the similarity between the chorus of that last song and Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All," which was the cause of a lawsuit in the 1980s.

Anyway, I bring it up because I can never get over the similarity in appearance of Lightfoot to modern actor Bryan Cranston, currently star of the TV show Breaking Bad and also well known for his role as the father on Malcolm in the Middle. It's really an uncanny resemblance. Uncanny, and a completely useless observation.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Burt Bacharach: Synthpop Sensation?

I was once again shocked to learn this week that another 1980's hit is in fact a cover of a 1960's soul/R&B song (see below for Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," originally by Gloria Jones). This time it's Naked Eyes' "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me." The song was in fact originally recorded by Dionne Warwick as a demo in 1963, before Lou Johnson released it virtually the exact same track with his vocals in 1964, with that version charting at #49 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Like virtually all of Warwick's songs recorded in her career, the song was composed by Burt Bacharach with lyrics by Hal David. It's just a bit funny to think that the brooding, snythpop hit of the 80's was in fact composed by Bacharach, known for his loungy love songs in a bygone era (for some perspective, Bacharach's biggest hit he composed in the 80's was the cheesy "That's What Friends Are For," as performed by Warwick). It also just makes you wonder: if all these latter day hits are recycled from yesterday's B-sides, is that a testament to the versatility of the tracks or does it indicate that music was, in fact, better then?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tainted Tainted Love

I had no idea until just now that the 1981 Soft Cell hit "Tainted Love" is actually a cover of a 1965 Gloria Jones song.  For those of you who don't know, Gloria Jones was also the longtime girlfriend of T-Rex frontman and (arguably) founder of glam rock, Marc Bolan, and was behind the wheel of their Mini when it struck a sycamore tree on September 16, 1977 (also the day before my parents got married) causing Bolan to meet his untimely death. It's a small world?

On a side note, this makes me a little less upset about Rihanna sampling the 1981 version of "Tainted Love" for her 2006 song "SOS."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NYTimes Picks Top Ten Composers

For those interested in classical music, the New York Times ran a pretty interesting piece last month discussing history's top composers with the ultimate goal of creating a list of the greatest ten.  Spoiler alert: Bach wins.

Though I have a strong appreciation for classical music, by no means am I an expert in the field, so I'll refrain from providing much of any type of critique of the author's inevitable opinion.  I will say however, that I was a bit dissapointed not to see Chopin on the list (call it a pianist's bias... he did write the Opus 28, aka the Preludes, of which one music historian said, "if all piano music in the world were to be destroyed, excepting one collection, my vote should be cast for Chopin's Preludes).  I was also surprised to see Debussy make it all the way to number five.  Although, he was French, afterall. Damn Times and their liberal bias...

You can find the complete collection of articles here:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Barack Obama on Being Smooth

You may not agree with his politics, but you can't argue with his taste in music:

You should probably listen to the man - not only is he the President, but he landed the beautiful and intelligent Michelle. Clearly he knows what he's talking about.

Youtube won't let me embed the video for the original version of Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By," but if you haven't heard it, you can copy and paste the below url into your browser.