Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Follow the Leader: Swimming Against the Tide, Musically...

 


Redartz:  you knew it as soon as you opened the page. He was waiting for you, lurking, plotting. The Leader!  Yes, the leader has returned,  and he thinks this might be the week when no spectacular subject is broached,  when he can take over and have his way with everything and everyone. Prove him wrong; you're wiser, smarter,  and much more interesting than he is! So great honor and laurels await the courageous one who names the topic for us! 

Oh, and please consider another invitation to join the discussions at our Twitter feed; Martinex keeps the tweets going and the fun flowing!

28 comments:

Colin Jones said...

I was recently listening to a song called 'You Light Up My Life' by Debby Boone which I'd somehow never heard before. I thought it was OK but nothing special and I'm in no hurry to hear it again anytime soon. Despite somehow managing to never hear this song before (it wasn't a hit in Britain) I did know that 'You Light Up My Life' spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977 and it was also the best-selling song of the '70s in the United States...but why? Why was this bland, average song so massively popular? So today's question is:

Name a song (or songs) that everyone seemed to love but you couldn't see the appeal.

Colin Jones said...

OK, I've listened to Debby Boone again (for research purposes obviously) and the song does grow on me second time around but even so - TEN WEEKS at #1??

Charlie Horse 47 said...

CJ - you are not getting any blowback from Charlie about your choice! 45 years later it still grates in me.

On Eagles Wings hurts me to hear. Not only on radio but in church, weddings, etc. is this played. I try to think of other things… Fly Like an Eagle for example.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie also has trouble with Karen Carpenter’s voice .

Who knows why?

I wonder if it is psychological or physiological!

Selenarch said...

Many, many tunes have thrilled others and mystified me as to why. Fresh to mind because I've overheard a neighbor playing it is, "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen.

Why is this a thing? What possible attraction could there be to it? As the great king of Siam (and by this I mean Yul Brenner) said, "Is a puzzlement!"

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I’m also with Selenarxh on Born to Run! Indeed most Springsteen and Bob Dylan stuff is really hard on my ears!

McSCOTTY said...

Although I like the Eagles i don't understand why so many folk love " Hotel California" so much. For me me it's just an average album track with an overly long guitar riff. However the song I really don't get people's adoration of is the Led Zeppelin"s "Stairway to Heaven" I love Zeppelin but jeez it goes on and on with no hook at all. And dare I add Abbas "Super Trooper" to that list a song where they had to crowbar in my cities name ( Glasgow) just to make it rhyme

Anonymous said...

Well, I love ‘Born to Run’, ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and Karen Carpenter. SO YOU ALL CAN JUST GO TO HECK!

Kidding, obviously. One Man’s ‘Super Trooper’ is another man’s ‘Hotel California’, and all that. It’s all good.

I have a pretty high tolerance for cheesy pop, so I’m having a hard time coming up with hit songs that I never liked, or couldn’t understand their popularity. ‘You Light Up My Life’ is super-bland and relentlessly optimistic, and yeah, kinda unfathomable that it became SUCH a sensation. Didn’t they even make a movie out of it?? And are the lyrics actually about Jesus? Is the Good Lord the guy lighting up Debbie’s life?

I like all four or five of Steve Miller’s hits, but they’ve all been played over and over and over again on Top 40 radio, for DECADES, to the point that I’m pretty tired of them. The Eagles — Christ, talk about over-exposed — ‘Hotel California’ in particular. I think it’s actually kind of a neat song, well-crafted, etc, but if I never hear it again in my lifetime, it’s okay by me.

b.t.

Redartz said...

Colin- totally agree with you on "You Light Up My Life ". It was a HUGE hit when I was in High School, and most of the girls adored it. I thought it was OK, but not a chart buster. Certainly not worth 10 weeks. Oddly, everyone must have gotten sick of it then, because in the years since it dropped off the charts I've heard it maybe twice. Over 44 years.

My 'don't get it' song: most anything by Rod Stewart, but especially "Tonight's the Night" . Forgettable and almost cringeworthy, imho...

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

So five minutes ago all was good. Had my morning coffee and thought, "Hmmm, Tuesday. Time to check out this week's subject over at Bronze Age."

Me now, cringing on the floor. Reliving the memories of my 1st semester in college with that SONG blaring from the dorm rooms. Gods above and below, it was everywhere.

That was a time. The Farrah Fawcett-Majors was in full swing and Star Wars ((( and at the time it was JUST Star Wars ))) ran in a local cinema from May to December of that year.

By the way, there was a movie by the same title that had the song as it's theme, but Boone's version was a cover, not the original.

And no, I'm not going over to YouTube to listen to it again.

Seeya,

pfgavigan

Mike Wilson said...

There are plenty of songs that made it high on the charts that I don't like, but I suppose that's just a matter of differing tastes. There are songs I think are really overplayed (Sweet Child O Mine and Welcome to the Jungle, just off the top of my head), but I guess any song can become grating after you've heard it the millionth time.

As for songs (or bands) whose appeal I don't get ... I can't stand U2, no matter how popular they are; I never much cared for REM either. And, at the risk of alienating all the 70s kids who hang out here, I personally never understood why Boston was so popular (all their songs sound the same to me), and I've never been a Fleetwood Mac fan either, but like I said, maybe that's just a subjective taste on my part.

Graham said...

I never really understood the appeal of "You Light Up My Life" either, but then most #1 songs were a puzzle to me. My taste in music was, and is, different from the mainstream apparently. Usually the songs I liked back in my junior high/high school days peaked in the late teens to early 30's, if they made the charts at all.

The worst offender to me was this song called "Pop Music" from around 79 or 80. It makes me cringe to even type that.

Have to agree with some of the others here regarding Springsteen, U2, and R.E.M. There are a few songs I like, but it's hard for me to listen to an entire album of any of them....actually over a couple of songs. Dylan sort of grew on me over the years.

Anonymous said...

I quite liked that first Guns N Roses album when it came out — and I still kinda/sorta like ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ — but boy, Axl Rose’s affected nasal screeching vocals are like nails on chalkboard to me now.

Reminds me, I liked Pearl Jam for about half a second. After listening to the first album a few times I decided, ‘Nope. Mumbly, mopey, pretentious’.

Oh Red, I’m right there with ya on Rod Stewart. Have NEVER liked that guy.

Here’s a band that WASN’T hugely popular but a devout group of fans have been insisting since 1975 that they SHOULD have been: Big Star. Their two albums got rave reviews from the music critics, and bands like R.E.M. and The Replacements cited them as a major influence. Someone even made a documentary about them a few years ago. Everyone is all, ‘These guys were great, why didn’t they ever hit it big? WHY?’ Well, I’ve listened to both albums, and it’s not much of a mystery to ME: a distinct lack of catchy, radio-friendly hooks. They had a nice, jangly Beatles/Byrds SOUND, but the songs just kinda lay there. They had one ‘almost’ hit, ‘September Girls’ — but frankly, The Bangles’ cover version is better.

b.t.

Steve Does Comics said...

Never having heard of it before, I've just played You Light Up My Life on YouTube. The thing that leaps out at me is it has a quite extraordinary chord sequence that just feels like it's completely random. I suspect that the "comforting" lyrics, combined with the total unpredictability of the chords is what gives it an almost hypnotic effect that, at the time, hooked people in.

There aren't really any bands whose popularity baffles me. I really don't like Fleetwood Mac, the Doors, the Eagles or Led Zeppelin but I understand why others do.

Mike Wilson said...

b.t.: Yeah, I love GNR's first album too, but Sweet Child, Welcome to the Jungle, and (to a lesser extent) Paradise City just so so overplayed for me that I can hardly listen to them now; the rest of the album is still great though. Big Star ... was that Alex Chilton's band? I haven't heard much of their stuff, but I love the Replacements song "Alex Chilton". I do like Rod Stewart, mostly his 70s stuff, and he had some great songs with the Faces.

Wasn't "You Light Up My Life" about God? Maybe that's why it's so polarizing.

McSCOTTY said...

I also liked Rod Stewarts early stuff like "In a broken dream" (Python Lee Jackson) and "I'm drinking again" ( Jeff Beck) and when he was in the Faces and his first four solo album. Then came songs like "Do ya think I'm sexy" accompanied by some truly awful performances consisting of him just sticking his bookie out and juggling it - dreadful stuff. I always wanted to like the Doors but can't get into them. U2 nope I just don't get the appeal at all. Pop Music by "M" at the time grated with me as well.

McSCOTTY said...
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McSCOTTY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McSCOTTY said...

Argh never text when you are a passenger in a car. Apologies and third time lucky, I meant " jiggling it" and not "Juggling it" and "bahookie" (his bottom) and not " bookie" ( predictive text is racist against Scots words) 😁

Anonymous said...

Ah yes I remember Debbie Boone's hit, it wall all over the airwaves when it first came out, I was just a young boy at the time.

I have to agree with my namesake (Mike Wilson) - while most people would rank U2 as one of their top bands, I don't really care for Bono's vocals all that much. Thee isn't much music that I hate, just stuff I'm not into like some fans.


Mike 'I still haven't found what I'm looking for' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Anonymous said...

Well! I just did some Wiki research and get this:

Not only did Debby Boone’s version of ‘You Light Up My Life’ spend 10 weeks at the top of the charts, the song itself won a Grammy for Song of the Year, and both a Golden Globe and a freaking ACADEMY AWARD for Best Original Song. The song’s lyrics aren’t actually about God, but supposedly Debby chose to believe that they were as she sang it, which no doubt accounts for her deeply heart-felt performance.

The movie sounds pretty dreadful, and the guy who wrote the song (as well as writing and directing the movie) apparently pulled some shady shenanigans to cheat the original singer who performed the song for the film out of her due payment. More to that sappy little ditty then we all thought….

b.t.

Colin Jones said...

Thanks for the comments! My own nomination for this topic is the song 'Everything I Do (I Do It For You)' by Bryan Adams which spent 16 weeks at #1 in the UK in 1991. SIXTEEN WEEKS. To me it sounded like a rather average album track and I was baffled by its' insane level of popularity.

Paul, apparently 'Super Trouper' is very popular in Glasgow BECAUSE it mentions Glasgow!

Red, did you know that the B-side of 'You Light Up My Life' was a cover-version of ABBA's 'Hasta Manana'? I've listened to Debby Boone's version on YouTube to see how it compares to the original and it's actually quite good. While Debby Boone was at #1 in the US, here in the UK ABBA spent four weeks at #1 with 'The Name Of The Game' so for the whole of November 1977 ABBA were at #1 in the UK and the US (well, sort of). But that had genuinely happened earlier in 1977 when 'Dancing Queen' was at #1 in the US while 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' was at #1 in the UK.

McSCOTTY said...

Colin: That Bryan Adams song - "Everything I do (I do it for you)" - has to be the winner . Similar to Wet Wet Wets version of the Troggs " Love is all around" they both do "ma heid in" 😣😱

Colin Jones said...

Paul, I quite liked Wet Wet Wet's version of 'Love Is All Around' (I've just been listening to it on YouTube to refresh my memory). But it stayed at #1 for 15 weeks so we were probably all sick of it by week 15.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Colin - this is a great opportunity for us to be vulnerable without facing backlash! It is very therapeutic.

After peaking at Steve Does Comics' posting today, I am duly reminded that I never, ever could listen to Genesis...

I also have mixed thoughts about U2 and David Bowie. Some definite highlights but in the main, not my cup of tea.

McSCOTTY said...

How can anyone not like Bowie CH lol he's my rock hero 😃

Anonymous said...

Well, Charlie's into McCartney solo records Paul, so what can you expect?

Hmmm... whats more baffling, The Frog Chorus or The Laughing Gnome?
Thats a puzzler.

-sean

McSCOTTY said...

Well Laughing Gnome was written when Bowie was about 19 and was influenced by his hero at the time Anthony Newley who did songs in a similar vein.I think Bowie at the time was more wanting to be a Tommy Steele type entertainer rather that the "Starman" he became. McCartneys Frog chorus/We all stand together song if I recall was written for the Rupert animated film and I think Paul McCartney was a Rupert fan. So both can be forgiven although for their type of song they were both pretty good. To be fair McCartneys song was imho quite nice.

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