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.
Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips Part 2” was only the second Number One hit for Motown Records. The first was 1962’s “Please Mister Postman” by the Marvelettes. (Fun Fact: the drummer on both these songs was Marvin Gaye! He was still an up-and-coming artist, so he played as a session musician on a lot of the early tracks for the label.)
But Motown had a bit of a tough time getting audiences to appreciate The 12-Year-Old Genius, and even this song wasn’t the catalyst for his career. It took a little perseverance and the onset of puberty to turn him into one of Motown’s biggest performers, with a career that’s still going strong fifty-five years later, and counting.
Listening to the show: if you have podcast software, you can search for this show by name and listen at your leisure. Or you can just listen to/download it here:
Hey, everybody makes a mistake now and then. That’s why they put erasers on pencils, am I right?
But once in awhile, someone will make a mistake that manages to enhance rather than detract (“Eminence Front,” I’m looking at you.). And that’s where we’re going this week: we’ll look at four songs that had mistakes in them where the artists made a conscious decision to keep the error in place because it actually makes the song a little bit better.
And, as usual, you can listen to the show via your favorite podcatcher, or you can just play/download it from right here:
And any feedback is good feedback…especially if it’s good feedback. so please take the time to leave a rating on iTunes or whatever app you’re using to listen to the show. Much appreciated! And for your efforts, here’s a video clip of the the engineer’s point of view behind one of the stories in the show:
Incidentally, I recorded this show about two weeks ago, and I made a brief mention of the song “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. At that time it was pretty much the Song of the Summer, but according to Billboard Magazine, it’s reaching a new streaming record and about to tie with Mariah Carey & Boys II Men’s “One Sweet Day” for the Most Weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 (that’d be 15 weeks at Number One). If it remains #1 for another two weeks, it’ll be the sole record-holder. Get that story here.
Some of the sources for today’s show:
The article from the Washington Post that I cited appears here: