What’s in a name? Not what you think
BY MIKE PODSEDLY
When you begin to listen to Inside The Gates Radio, either through the free app or the player on the website, the first visual is the title and artist of what is currently playing. This information alerts you to whether you have heard it before or is performed by an artist you favor.
Titles convey a hint as to the contents and play an important function in songs, books and movies. Song titles are usually contained within the lyrics so you are likely to hear the title again but in context. Sometimes the title may be tacked on later and never heard in the song.
Popular music reflects the current culture while new sounds and themes reside among the fringes, a precursor to changes in musical direction. In the 1950’s and 1960’s increases in disposable income led to more time and money directed to leisure activities. Teens had purchasing power which allowed them to have significant influence in the music industry. Rock and Roll songs were played on the radio much more than any other genre. With the advent of TV, The American Bandstand was a logical extension. The after-school show featured clean-cut average teenagers dancing to the latest hits. There was also a guest artist to lip-sync their songs. The most memorable segment asked participants to Rate-A-Record on a 35 to 98 scale leading to the phrase “It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.” that everyone associates with the show. Bandstand went national in 1957 and lasted until 1963. A weekly show then continued the format until 1989.
The primary themes of young love and rebellion were reflected in the songs topping the charts during that period. Dancing was instrumental for teens to meet and impress the opposite sex. A survey of hit song titles during that time include many references to dancing as well as demonstrating how to do them.
The Temptations suggest we “Take A Look Around” at some of the songs that were being played in the 1950’s. Danny & the Juniors invited us to remove our shoes so as not to mar the gym floor and join in “At The Hop”. Bobby Freeman asks the obvious question “Do You Want To Dance” while Chris Montez is more inclusive in “Let’s Dance”. Chubby Checker introduces a mild form of oblique exercise called “The Twist”. The Isley Brothers took it one step further with “Twist and Shout”. Joey Dee and the Starliters added a little sweetener with “The Peppermint Twist”. The Drifters focus on the most important part of the evening in “Save the Last Dance for Me. Martha And The Vandellas seek to expand the party by “Dancing In The Street”. Little Eva found her step with “The Loco-Motion” which was followed up by “Let’s Turkey Trot”. Dee Dee Sharp was prolific in her variety of dance crazes with “Mashed Potato Time”, “Ride!” and “Do the Bird”. In an effort to keep the party going The Dovells said “You Can’t Sit Down” especially when doing the “Bristol Stomp”. Bobby Rydell made it easy for teens on the low end of rhythmic skills with the “Sway”.
After discovering someone you like on the dance floor the vagaries of young love come to the forefront. Imagine The Everly Brothers panic over breaking curfew with a girl when they struggle to “Wake Up Little Suzie”. Ricky Nelson dreads meeting the girl’s father as he tries to navigate his choices when he realizes “It’s Late”.
Dion laments the range of emotions, both happy and sad, he faces being “A Teenager In Love”.
Approaches to finding love vary despite The Monotones writing the “Book of Love”. The “Dream Lover” pictured by Bobby Darin is for a lifetime and not a short fling. Buddy Holly thinks about striking up a romantic relationship “Everyday”. Once you become a steady couple The Flamingos describe the feeling as “I Only Have Eyes for You”. The Miracles took it a step further declaring “You Really Got a Hold on Me”. Smokey Robinson penned two songs of unconditional love, first for Mary Wells in “My Guy” and then for the Temptations to extoll the virtues of “My Girl”. The Shirelles brazenly declare that “Baby It’s You”.
Facing being apart for the summer Brian Hyland promises to send a daily letter that’s “Sealed With A Kiss” while on the other end The Marvalettes ask politely “Please Mr. Postman” do you have a letter for me?
Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs pleads for his girl to “Stay”. When she doesn’t, Neil Sedaka confronts the situation saying “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”. Gene Pitney has a sadder reaction saying “Only Love Can Break A Heart”. Del Shannon stands in the rain and questions what went wrong with his little “Runaway”. The Supremes reflect on the situation asking “Where Did Our Love Go”. Dion’s remedy is to avoid attachments by becoming “The Wanderer”.
Frankie Lyman & The Teenagers are left to sum up the journey by asking “Why Do Fools Fall In Love”. The answer of course is because we do.
The sophisticated Inside The Gates listeners may find many of these songs trite now but for those growing up during that time they were important social guideposts. Plus, they led to the greatest era of rock music just ahead.
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*Iggy Pop co-wrote this song with this artist who released his popular version 6 years after Iggy recorded and released it in 1977. The song itself is a warning to the character of the song about how her culture could be destroyed by imparting Western values of materialism and superficial beauty. Name the artist whose recording became the most popular in 1983 and the name of the track....
*Another song from 1983 was originally an instrumental by David Foster and Jay Graydon. But the artist who made it famous put lyrics to it...lyrics that were totally lame by his own admission. The lyrics have everything to do with waking up for the start of a day. Name the artist and the song...
*In 1989 this artist got himself one heck of a career boost with his 3rd solo album from which 4 singles were released. The 3rd release is a song about the artist telling a woman that she should be with him and if she does, she'll no longer have to endure nights like those mentioned in the song's title. Name the artist and extra credit for the song title....
*This track began as a piano piece Rick Wright came up with while working on a soundtrack to the 1970 movie, Zabriskie Point. It didn't make the final cut for the soundtrack as the movie director thought it was beautiful, but too sad...it made him think of church. When this band finally recorded and released the song in 1973, they brought in female backup singers for the first time. Name the band and the song...
Battle Of The Bands!
South City Midnight Lady by The Doobie Brothers vs If You Leave Me Now by Chicago
1. David Bowie, China Girl
2. Mornin’, Al Jarreau
3. Don Henley, The Last Worthless Evening
4. Pink Floyd, Us And Them
Chicago was the winner with 56% of the votes
*This song is considered this artist's musical autobiography. After relentless touring in his hometown region, he finally signed a record deal, got some money, proving his naysayers wrong. The song is 'a kiss-off to everybody who counted you out, put you down, or decided you weren't good enough." Additionally, the song was rumored to be about the mother of a girl with whom he was hot and heavy, but whose mother didn't approve and got a court order against him. The mother was always on the lookout for him, protecting her daughter. 1973 was the year. Name the (east coast) artist and extra credit for the name of the song...
*There is significant history surrounding this track, co-written by 2 band members in 1966. A number of names are key in that history. Chrissie Shrimpton, Meredith Hunter, Hell's Angels and Alan Passaro are the names. Your mission is to name the band, the song and extra credit for the roles each name played in creating the history...
*Graham Nash wrote this love song in 1969, which he says is 'for two ladies.' One is assumed to be Joni Mitchell, the other has never been confirmed. The song also refers to island locations. Nash and a fellow band member sang and played it together as a duet, in one take without the third member of the band participating. Name the song, the band member Nash performed it with and the band member that did not contribute to the track...
*This track originally was recorded by Ben E. King in 1963. Tom Jones recorded a version in 1970, which became the highest charting of any of those before or after. But for those of us who lived from Detroit to Buffalo and from Pittsburgh to Cleveland, the quintessential version was recorded by this artist...one that would go on to produce and manage another well-known midwestern band. Name the artist, the song and band he would go on to manage and produce...
Battle Of The Bands!
The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Bob Dylan vs Carolina In My Mind by James Taylor
1. Bruce Springsteen, Rosalita
2. Rolling Stones, Under My Thumb, Jagger was dating model Shrimpton when song was written, It is the song the Stones were doing when Hell’s Angels member Passaro stabbed Hunter fatally. Hell’s Angels were hired to provide security (bad idea) for the Altamont Speedway concert in 1969 where these events took place.
3. Lady Of The Island, David Crosby, Stephen Stills. Nash said the islands in the song were Ibiza and Long Island
4. Terry Knight and the Pack, I Who Have Nothing, Grand Funk Railroad
James Taylor was the winner with 54% of the votes
*Back in 1977, the guitarist for this band wrote a song that was in part a message to his bandmate, who hated touring and often seemed miserable. The seeds of discontent had started to take over the road, but the rest of the band was enjoying the experience. The message...there is great stuff happening, you are so talented...so enjoy it more. Perhaps it was an illusion, but he needed to try to feel what the rest of band was experiencing. Name the band and the song...
*This artist did quite a bit of session work in the '60's while working on his solo material. We'll play his only hit from 1970, as he died in 1974 at the age of 28 after being accidentally shot. The song has an interesting quasi-Jamaican feel with whistling, hand claps and odd percussion. Name the artist and the song...
*This artist was led by huge influences to eventually play with one of the largest artists of all time. His favorite labels in his early days...Motown, Stax and Atlantic. His favorite band...Cream. The band he was in when he first met his collaborating friend was when that band was opening for a number of Blind Faith shows. Name the artist, the band he was in, the artist with whom he finally got to play and record with...and the band they were in together....
Battle Of The Bands!
Love Is A Drug by Roxy Music vs My Town by Michael Stanley Band
1. Styx, Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) Written by Tommy Shaw for Dennis DeYoung
2. Bobby Bloom, Montego Bay
3. Bobby Whitlock, Delaney and Bonnie, Eric Clapton, Derek and the Dominos
Unsurprisingly Michael Stanley Band was the winner with 59% of the votes
*We'll play a track written by the drummer of this great band. When it charted, all four members of the group had written at least one Top 10 hit either in the U.S. or UK. A critique of radio stations for becoming commercialized and repetitive song playing (and losing listeners to the likes of MTV), was all the inspiration to write it he needed. Name the band, the song writer and the song....
*In 1969, this great British band released what would become one of their most iconic hits ever. It was rightly the 'A-side' on the 45. Many 'B-Side' tracks are second thought, second-tier tracks to fill space, but this song became significantly popular as well. The track on the single is shorter than the one on the album and was released the day one of the band's founding members passed away. Brought in to play organ and French horn on the song...Al Kooper. Name the band, the song and extra credit for the 'A-side' track name...
*This group has sold well over 40,000,000 albums and has enjoyed at least 6 #1 hit singles. They didn't particularly want to, but felt compelled to make music videos in the 1980's, because videos were becoming the rage. They are the only Caucasian act to ever top Billboard's R&B singles chart. Name the band...
*We'll play a track from this band's first album written by one of the members in 1969. It's a great example of alliteration, something the writer learned about in high school English class....specifically his 10th grade teacher in Tampa, Florida, who happened to be a real knockout. Sometimes a trio, sometimes a quartet, name the band and the song that made its mark in the name of alliteration...
Battle Of The Bands!
No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature by Guess Who vs Try A Little Tenderness by Three Dog Night
1. Queen, Roger Taylor, Radio Ga Ga
2. Rolling Stones, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Honky Tonk Women
3. Hall & Oates 4. Crosby, Stills and Nash, Helplessly Hoping (Stephen Stills wrote the song)
Guess Who track was the winner with 52% of the votes