Meaty, Beaty, Dead and Buried

So, for the second week running, I find myself having to write about the passing of a legend. Last week I dodged the sadness of Ronnie Spector’s death by passing it to a fellow blogger who had already written a beautiful piece which said all that I wanted to say, but I suspect the love from the blogging community at the news that Michael Lee Aday aka Meat Loaf has died may be a little thinner on the ground.

So here’s the first thing I want to say: Bat Out of Hell is a great record. Just because it’s one of the most commercially successful records ever does not make it a bad record. You know that phrase: 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong? Well, yes they can, but in the case of Bat Out of Hell (and, fair dues, Elvis too) they’re not.

I’ve written about my love for that album before, here, should you wish to check it out.

Although he hasn’t made a record I liked for 40 years or so, and anything he did release which didn’t involve Jim Steinman should really be avoided, I loved Meat Loaf for he was the soundtrack to a part of my youth.

There was a really good documentary on BBC4 last night about him, called Meat Loaf: In and Out of Hell which I can thoroughly recommend. If you’re in the UK it’s currently available to stream on the BBC iPlayer.

But I’ve noticed a worrying trend starting with these two most recent celebrity deaths. Is there a link? Or is this just a way for me to shoehorn a loads of great songs into one post?

Well, the latter, obviously.

I speak of course of the By My Baby drums.

Listen to this:

The Ronettes – Be My Baby

That there drum fill at the start of the record, echoed throughout, is an iconic pop sound, often lifted, appropriated, referenced, stolen, call it what you will by acts that followed.

For example, here’s a song by Meat Loaf which has it all the way through:

Meat Loaf – You Took The Word Right Out Of My Mouth

So if the curse of the Be My Baby drums is true (which it isn’t) then this lot need to start worrying:

Bat For Lashes – What’s a Girl To Do

and:

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Just Like Honey

and:

Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go

and:

Camera Obscura – Eighties Fan

and:

Car Seat Headrest – My Boy (Twin Fantasy)

and:

Lana Del Ray (feat. The Weeknd) – Lust for Life

(Tempting fate a bit with that title, Lana…)

and finally:

Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Ah. Fair point. Bit late to warn her, I suppose.

Still, this just proves my point (which I’m obviously not seriously making).

Anyway…

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Sometimes you have to take a step back and reappraise a song.

For a good while, tonight’s choice became so associated with desperate wannabes auditioning for The X Factor that I couldn’t stand to listen to it.

But it came up on my shuffle earlier and I had forgotten what a stunningly great record it is.

Lana Del Rey – Video Games

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

After her initial impact with the utter glorious Video Games, which gave auditionees a new song to murder in the early rounds of The X Factor, I’ve been less than bothered about most of Lana Del Rey’s output.

And then in 2017, she released an album which had this, for my money her first truly heart-stoppingly gorgeous moment since that auspicious debut.

This is just beautiful:

cover

Lana Del Rey – Change

Oh but Lana, a word to the wise: it’s probably best not to call your album Lust for Life, it can only draw unfavourable comparisons….

More soon.

You Couldn’t Get Away With This Nowadays

Today, a song out of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound studio, written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

Goffin & King, an actual couple at the time, as opposed to just a song-writing pair, wrote this when they found out their babysitter – Little Eva, of “The Locomotion” fame – was being beaten by her boyfriend.

the-crystals-he-hit-me-and-it-felt-like-a-kiss-philles-records

The Crystals – He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)

Carole King has subsequently revealed that she wished she’d never had anything to do with this record; when one of the writers disowns it, you know there’s some issues there.

That, and the almost blanket refusal to give it any air-time, hasn’t stopped others providing their own take on it though; self-styled “gangster Nancy Sinatra” Lana Del Rey quotes the title in her 2014 tune “Ultraviolence”, and you have to wonder whether she’s touching on the same themes, and then you have to wonder whether that’s altogether wise:

lana-del-rey-ultraviolence-2014-1500x1500

Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence

In 1995 Hole released a cover of “He Hit Me…” as the B-side to their single “Softer, Softest”. Of course, nobody mentioned it at the time because nobody ever listened to it. But then they did it again as part of their MTV Unplugged. We can safely write all that off as just  Courtney Love, trying to be all controversial for controversial sake.

Others have referenced it in song, but here’s Spiritualized, trying, I think, to reclaim it, “a hit” meaning something altogether different here though:

she-kissed-me

Spiritualized – She Kissed Me (It Felt Like a Hit)

More soon.