On Music…

Video of the Week: Songs that Changed Music: Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #566 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #697

The Ditty Bops: “Sister Kate” (2004)

From their Mitchell Froom-Produced debut, “Sister Kate” showcases the eccentric sound of Amanda Barrett and Abby DeWald–a little bit vaudeville, a little bit folk, a little bit ragtime and maybe a touch of the McGarrigle Sisters.

Why artists like The Ditty Bops, They Might Be Giants and Max Raabe weren’t labeled “alternative” rather than million sellers like REM and Red Hot Chili Peppers never made sense to me.

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #279 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

On a Lighter Note…

Songs You May Have Missed #696

Art Garfunkel: “Bright Eyes” (1979)

Written by Mike Batt for the animated film Watership Down (based on the Richard Adams novel).

The song from the movie was rearranged into this pop version, which spent six weeks at #1 in England and was that country’s biggest-selling single of 1979.

It failed to chart in the US.

The movie and book are highly recommended.

Video of the Week: How Elton John Uses Inversions

The Story of Harry Nilsson’s Only Live Performance of “Without You”

a close up of Harry Nilsson with a beard looking at the camera© Harry Nilsson photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

(via Pitchfork) by Gregory Leporati 

Ringo Starr knew something special was about to happen. It was September 4, 1992, and his All-Starr Band was joined on stage in Las Vegas by one of the most unlikeliest stars of them all: Harry Nilsson. “To be a member of this band you have to have had a hit some time this century,” Ringo joked to the Caesar’s Palace crowd. “And [Nilsson] had probably the biggest, most beautiful hit of the ’70s: ‘Without You.’”

Famously, Nilsson—the hard-drinking songwriter with the once-angelic voice, who had become friends with the Beatles throughout the ’70s and ’80s—never performed live. And despite virtually inventing the power ballad with his chart-topping 1971 rendition of Badfinger’s “Without You,” a song that simply begs to be belted out in concert, he had never sung it live until that night…

Read more: The Story of Harry Nilsson’s Only Live Performance of “Without You” (msn.com)

A Little Help for Their Friends: Lennon/McCartney Non-Beatles Songwriting Credits

The songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney deservedly has hallowed status on the basis of the many classics the Beatles themselves recorded.

But as songwriters they remain perhaps under-appraised even so, considering their many other, lesser-known songwriting credits on hit songs they gave to others to perform–songs which might have added to the Beatles’ own lengthy list of hits had they chosen to release them themselves.

Paul was particularly active in promoting other fledgling acts by giving them hit songs, even though his compositions at the time were still credited to the Lennon/McCartney team. One such example is “Goodbye“, which he gave to an 18-year-old Mary Hopkin, and which was a #13 single in America (#2 UK) Here’s Mary’s recording:

…and Paul’s demo version:

Hopkin’s debut album was produced by McCartney and featured the massive worldwide hit “Those Were The Days”.

The sixties hit duo Peter and Gordon’s first three hit singles were all penned by Lennon and McCartney, although if you listen to Beatles demo versions you hear Paul singing the lead vocals, a pretty sure sign (judging from the Beatles’ catalogue itself) that he was at least the primary and perhaps sole writer of these songs also:

A World Without Love“, a number 1 hit in 1964, almost certainly would have topped the charts in Beatle-recorded form as well. It’s a British Invasion classic:

(Peter Asher is the Austin Powers-looking gent at left)

Here’s the Beatles’ demo version:

The other two Peter and Gordon hits written by the Beatles:

Nobody I Know” (#12 US hit):

…and “I Don’t Want To See You Again” (#16 US):

Another British Invasion act, Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas, were produced by George Martin and recorded many Lennon/McCartney songs. Bad To Me (below) reached number 1 in England (#9 US) and its sound is pure 1964 Beatles.

The “J” in Billy J. Kramer, by the way, was the suggestion of John Lennon, who thought it gave Billy a tougher image. (Lennon also gave the band The Cyrkle its name. Maybe Beatle-influenced band nomenclature is an article unto itself…) 

“I’ll Be On My Way”, “I Call Your Name”, “I’ll Keep You Satisfied”, and “From A Window“, all recorded by the Dakotas, were Lennon/McCartney songs. And their recording of George Harrison’s “Do You Want To Know A Secret” was also a number 2 hit in the UK.

Badfinger, who, like Mary Hopkin were signed to the Beatles’ Apple Records, had their career jump-started in 1969 when Paul McCartney gave away another (#7 US) hit, “Come And Get It“.

Beatle fans who’ve never heard the demo will find that Badfinger pretty much stuck to Paul’s blueprint:

This is by no means a complete list. It’s merely meant to point out that Lennon and McCartney weren’t just hitmakers as Beatles. From the mid-60’s through the early 70’s their songwriting was here, there and everywhere.

Did You Ever Realize…

On a Lighter Note…

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