Son of a Bitch

The WTIT Blog’s feature A DJ’s Take has been one of our most popular features. Today we continue our latest version of this feature that we have "sub-titled" 5 Random Songs. When writing this, we simply pick out five songs (at random...who'd a thunk?) that we have grown to love over the years. We hope to share with you some of the background of the songs and of course why this music is important to us.

Love Hurts by Nazareth. The song was from 1976 while a somewhat famous DJ named Gary Hunter (Okay, yes that was my radio name) worked in a popular nightclub and the song was requested almost every night, for a slow set. Nazareth was a Scottish band that did well in the UK. From what I believe was their seventh album, Hair of the Dog (also known as Son of a Bitch because of the chorus in the title track) the band released two versions. The English, without Love Hurts and the American version with Love Hurts. Most people don’t know that this was a cover song recorded originally and released by the Everly Brothers. It was also a B-side of a single after the Everly Brother’s original, on a song by Roy Orbison. The song was platinum hit in the US and was Nazareth's only hit song in the states.

Kicks by Paul Revere & the Raiders. I’ve always thought that this was the first anti-drug song, and in preparing today's post, my internet sources tell me that I have been correct. The producer of the album for Paul Revere & the Raiders, Terry Melcher (who also happened to produced the first two albums by the Byrds) loved the song We Gotta Get Outta This Place that was recorded by the Animals and written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Terry wanted a song of that ilk for his new band, the Raiders. Mann and Weil had written Kicks because of a friend who had a drug problem. Melcher loved it and it was a huge hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders. I piece of trivia: Paul Revere if you remember was not the singer of the band, Mark Lindsay was.

I always thought Kicks was such an unusual song for its era, since most songs about drugs were positive during that time period. Sadly, Melcher was to have a very a weird life of his own, and unfortunately got involved in recording some of Charles Manson songs. After the Tate murder, Terry Melcher was so upset he became a very private and somewhat aloof person. Terry Melcher passed away in 2004 from cancer.

Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) by Melanie. I always felt that with all do respect to Joni Mitchell’s writing and recording of the song Woodstock, that Melanie’s Lay Down was the definitive song about the event. Melanie performed at Woodstock on the heels of her first hit in the Netherlands, Beautiful People. But here in the US, her first hit was Lay Down (Candles in the Rain). The song is about a break in the rain at one point during the music fest and the crowd started lighting candles to show that all was well and everyone had survived. On the album, and the B-side of the single, is a preamble of poetry read over her guitar that really adds to the song. We could not find that for today’s playlist, but we did find the hit.

Let’s Stay Together by Al Green. Willie Mitchell and Al Jackson wrote the music to the song. Al Jackson was the drummer of Booker T and the MGs. Willie Mitchell was a record producer who signed Al Green to Hi Records. Mitchell and Jackson would co-author a lot of Al Green’s songs. After being given the music to Let’s Stay Together, Al Green took only five minutes to write the lyrics. Green did not like the song at all and did not want to record it. He argued mightily with Willie Mitchell about recording it, and obviously lost.

Let’s Stay Together was not only one of his biggest hits ever (released in 1972), but also was named one of the Top 500 songs of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine. Al Green was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Tina Turner covered this song in 1984 and it was the first hit that returned Tina to the charts. And that Private Dancer road that wave through the Thunderdome. And of course her autobiographical film, What's Love Got to Do with It.

Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying by Gerry & the Pacemakers. The Pacemaker’s first hit was How Do You Do It which was a song that the Beatles record label and manager insisted that the Beatles record. John Lennon thought the song sucked. When he expressed that view, he was told to write a better song during lunch and they wouldn’t release the recording of How Do You Do It. John wrote Please, Please Me and all agreed, it was a better song. Brian Epstien was the manager of both bands and gave How Do You Do It to the Pacemakers. However, in the US the first hit by Gerry was Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying which he wrote. In fact Gerry Marsden wrote most of the Pacemakers hits. The band did not have much staying power and by 1966 broke up. And as a footnote, other than on some pirate Beatles' albums, their version of How Do You Do It was not released until The Beatles Anthology in the mid 1990's.

That will do it for the Tuesday edition
of the WTIT Blog.
Next time we will attempt to actually
do something incredibly funny.
Or perhaps we will settle for "mildly amusing".

Parts of this post appeared on February 6, 2008.
Join us next time.
Same time. Same blog.


Melissa Mashburn said...

I am not really into bands all that much, however, I did find this an interesting read. I learned quite a bit from it.

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

Thank you, I appreciate that!