John Fogerty had already picked up some popularity with his band The Golliwogs, but Uncle Sam came a-calling in 1966. In order to avoid being sent to Vietnam, he instead enlisted in the Army Reserves, where he served for a while until he was discharged honorably.
In the days that followed the discharge, he wrote a song that he knew immediately would be a hit on the level of the bigger songs of the Tin Pan Alley days. And, given that other artists recorded the same song within a few months of its release, he was correct in that regard.
The new owners of their label, Fantasy Records talked the band into changing their name to something a little less offensive in exchange for the opportunity to record a full-length album (rather than the singles they’d been making), and the band, not being fools, agreed immediately. The original name had come from Fantasy’s previous owner, so they weren’t really married to it anyway.
Thus it was that The Golliwogs became Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Bayou Country their first album.
A little Q&A before we move on to the next episode:
What’s up with all the double posts, all of a sudden?
That’s a side effect of moving the show over to Blubrry from Podomatic. When Blubrry imported all the episodes, it created the duplicate posts, which it copied from Podomatic’s website. Episode 105 was never posted to Podomatic, and that’s where the duplicates stop. So I’ll have to go back and re-do all my posts to eliminate the duplicates. A pain for me, but it made the changeover more painless for you. I hope.
How did the show get its name, anyway?
It took me a while to come up with this name, but it derives from a comment I made in a Facebook group dedicated to music, called Oldies But Goodies and Good Music. Every now and again, someone would post a link to a song from the 90s or newer, and invariably there’d be a complaint from someone that it wasn’t an “oldie.” My response was usually, “It’s not how old it is, it’s how good it is.” Coincidentally, this is also the motto of Rewound.com, Allan Sniffen’s streaming oldies station. (If you have fun memories of the classic disc jockeys, you should definitely give it a listen.)
I’m going to give an extra Thank-You to Allan for helping me out with one of the first episodes I recorded. He provided me with some awesome audio that I was able to use in Episode 4 (Get Together).
Anyway, when I was searching for a name, some people made suggestions that were close but no cigar, and a couple of them were kind of close to this phrase, so I finally pulled the trigger after ensuring that the domain and show name were available.
Why do you do those stupid jokes about the “slash” and saying “ye” during the trivia question?
Those are homage.
“Slash” is a joke that Cousin Bruce Morrow has used on his SiriusXM radio show for many years. I literally grew up listening to Cousin Brucie and it’s just a hat tip to him.
“Ye” is a bit that the old Don & Mike radio show used to do once in awhile (I think it was more of a Don thing than a Mike thing). I know I’m using it incorrectly but it’s just fun.
(How am I using it incorrectly? “Ye” doesn’t mean “you,” it’s an archaic way of writing “the”, when printers and scribes used the letter y to represent the no-longer-used [even then] “þ” character, which was in fact pronounced “th”.)
Also homage: when I’m wrapping up the show and I say “That’s a full lid,” that’s a nod to The West Wing. It’s something that C.J. Cregg says when she’s telling the press corps that there will be no more news coming out of the White House for the day. It’s also something that real WH press secretaries have been known to say.
OK, what about the other weird joke, when you introduce yourself?
That’s just a little window into my soul that day. A lot of people kill time during their shows telling you about their entire lives but I can’t do that. Shoot, more people know about my life by reading my wife’s Facebook page than they do mine. But a little self-expression can’t hurt, right? Especially when it’s literally half a sentence.
How far in advance do you record the shows?
Not at all. I write over several hours’ span Saturday and Sunday, then I go into my recording space and set up my audio bits, record the show, edit it, run it through processing and post it. The writing takes the longest time to do because I’m always finding stuff, moving it around, trying to shape a coherent story. Recording, editing and uploading takes about two hours, depending on how well the initial recording goes. If I don’t have to edit, it’s a very quick process. But since I have to account for the music in the background (yes, I mix as I record), sometimes editing is a huge pain.
But I think I do a better job when I work under some kind of “get it done by Sunday night” pressure.
Do you like the songs you cover?
Not always, but I view that as a challenge. There are a couple of songs I’ve discussed which I really, really don’t like. I may understand them a little better, but I still don’t like them. However: if I can manage to make those songs interesting, then I’ve done a better-than-usual job.
And frankly, there’s some appeal in hearing from listeners—and there have been several—who have told me that they will listen to some shows despite not having much love for the song identified, and manage to come away with a different way of appreciating it, or are pleasantly surprised to learn the story behind it. I’m not converting any fans any more than I convert myself, but that’s OK. Chacun à son goût, as the French say (“each to his own taste”).
OK, that’s enough procrastinating for today. Tune in tomorrow and we’ll learn about “Proud Mary” together.
Thanks for your patience as the show migrates from one server to another. As I noted on the social media, I’m working hard to make it as invisible as possible if you listen via Google or Apple or Spotify, etc. And the website here is going to look kind of weird for awhile with a lot of double posts for previous episodes, until I pick my way through and fix them, one by one. Fun, Fun, Fun!
This week, we’re taking yet another look at a few songs which you may not have known were covers, and nearly all of them were suggested by a listener named Kim, who didn’t feel that a shout-out was necessary, but obviously I don’t feel the same way. Kim had a list of songs that could work, and I said “Sure” to most of them, with a single exception, and that’s mostly because the story is a little convoluted and I may have to turn it into an episode of its own down the road a ways.
Anyway: a new hosting partner means a new player here on the webpage for you, and I do have a little bit of customizing control over it (something I didn’t previously have at all), so I’m happy to hear your suggestions. And, of course, please let me know if you hit any weird technical snags.
First up: A Hat Tip to Jeremiah Coughlin of the podcast Brine Time, a podcast dedicated (but not limited to) the Portland (OR) Pickles baseball team. He wanted to hear about some Foreigner, and coincidentally I just picked up a copy of Agent Provocateur, so we were off to the races. Anyway, Jeremiah and his partner Jake Silberman are a funny couple of guys who know how to convey their fandom in a fresh way. And now I kinda have an idea for another podcast. Aberdeen Ironbirds, are you paying attention?
I think I’m the one person who didn’t hate Agent Provocateur as an album when it first came out in December 1984, because the critics gave it a beatdown. It ultimately yielded four singles, two of which did…okay, and the other two did very well, including this one, which was their only Number One track in the US and the UK, not to mention a bunch of other countries around the world.
Not bad for an album everyone hated.
But while the work was good, Lou Gramm was itching to work on a solo project, and he used “I Want to Know What Love Is” as one of his reasons for bailing out for awhile, so he could go work on his solo album Ready or Not almost simultaneously with their sixth album, Inside Information. And it seems like both albums suffered as a result.
So here’s the show, and then go listen to Jeremiah and Jake.
Bear with me this week; I’m fighting off some kind of respiratory thing and I’m sounding like Peter Brady singing “Time to Change.”
By the way, isn’t it cool the way we get that flanging effect only when Marcia and Greg are singing solo, despite the group microphones?
Why yes, I am a fussbudget. Nice to meet you.
This week: it was Procul Harum’s debut single, and at last count it was the song most played EVER on UK radio. Not a Beatles or Stones tune; this one. How about that!
I feel a little badly because I didn’t really leave anything out of my script for the benefit of putting something cool here, so I guess you’re out of luck in that respect. But if you’re here to listen to the embed, I’ve got some good news for you: here it is!
Roberta Flack was one of those artists that the label couldn’t quite pigeonhole, which meant that they couldn’t find a way to make her accessible to listeners. As a result, her first two albums got some positive press, but the sales weren’t especially great.
It wasn’t until after her second album came out that a track on the first album caught the attention of a first-time movie director by the name of Clint Eastwood. He called Flack at home and asked if he could use the song in his film, a psychological horror film about a disc jockey called Play Misty For Me. It took a little bit of convincing (about two thousand dollars’ worth), and the song made it into the film.
When Play Misty For Me turned into a hit, Atlantic Records finally saw the light and released a slightly shorter version of the song on a single, and it became the first of several big hits for Flack over the next few years.
What most people don’t realize is that Flack’s recording was a cover of a song written and recorded in 1957, and covered rather faithfully several times after that. But once it hit for her, the covers began to sound more like Flack’s version. And while the song finally becoming a hit made its writer a ton of money, the truth is, he’s never really liked anyone else’s recording other than the one his then-girlfriend made.
You should be forewarned that this episode takes a brief detour into subject matter that’s a little bit on the touchy side. Specifically, there’s a mention of a musician’s gender identity and how it’s affected their relationship with their fans and the media. I hope that’s not a problem for ye.
Anyway, you’re getting two episodes this week, to make up for the lapse I did two weeks ago. So either this is the bonus episode because it’s Monday, or yesterday was the bonus episode and this one is a day late. How you choose to view that, I care not. Anyway, are we good now?
But the members of Nirvana had a tough time dealing with their quick rise to fame in 1990 and 91. They discovered that a lot of their new fans would be bopping about and singing along with their songs without having a lot of idea what the songs meant.
There’s an old Steve Martin routine where he’s playing the banjo onstage, and he comments that “The banjo is such a happy instrument–you can’t play a sad song on the banjo – it always comes out so cheerful.” He even makes an attempt at it: “Oh death, and grief, and sorrow, and murderrrrr…” and that’s pretty much what Nirvana was going through, but in the other direction. Their songs had the benefit of being very catchy, even if the subject matter was kind of dark and alienated, so people were latching on to the hooks (‘scuse the pun, there) in the songs and not really thinking about the lyrics, or the emotions evoked. This provided a weird disconnect for them, and Cobain finally took that emotion and put it into song form. Which didn’t really help, of course, because now they’re singing along to a song that’s basically mocking them.
As the fourth single from Nevermind, “In Bloom” was Top Five in the US on the Album and Mainstream Rock charts, and Top 30 pretty much everywhere else. When the Singles box set came out in 1995, it re-surfaced on a few European charts for a bit. But at that point Cobain had already died by suicide, and Nirvana was no more.
This is the first of TWO episodes I’ll be publishing this week. You’re getting this one now, and another one sometime tomorrow, because I felt badly about taking my time with Episode 99.
As I mentioned during the show, the Phil Spector-produced Christmas album went through several re-issues and name changes between its release in 1963 and the early 1980s, including an unfortunate period when the album was remastered into manufactured stereo. In those days, that often meant that the higher-end sounds went to one channel and the lower-end stuff went to the other. It was a mess and really added nothing to the product overall.
At any rate, it was around the same time in the 1980s that a bunch of different events came together and allowed the song to finally break out. One was the reissue of the album on Rhino Records, in its original mono mixes. The second was Darlene Love’s appearance in a Broadway show, which led directly to her string of performances on David Letterman’s show on both NBC and CBS, and finally we have the cover version by U2 the following year. All of these things made for a resurgence in both the popularity of the song, and in Darlene Love’s career.
Stay tuned! Very soon we’ll take a look at a Nirvana song, by listener request!