Tag Archives: Gwen Stefani

The Song Retains The Name

Winston + Bobby Brown
Today is Bobby Brown’s 46th birthday. A former member of New Edition, Brown had his first solo hit in 1988 with “Don’t Be Cruel,” which reached #8 on the Hot 100. Though it shares its title with an Elvis Presley #1 hit from 1956, Brown’s “Don’t Be Cruel” is not a remake.

That brings us to today’s playlist, which I call The Song Retains the Name. It consists of different songs with the same title. I initially planned to include twenty such songs, but more kept springing to mind. Before I knew it, I passed 100 entries. There are plenty more, so I decided to open this up to my reader(s). If you have songs that share titles you’d like to add, feel free to do so.

(NOTES: I included The Jacksons’ “This Place Hotel” because when it was released in 1980 its title was “Heartbreak Hotel.” Thought he didn’t have to, Michael Jackson, the song’s writer, later changed its name to “This Place Hotel” to avoid confusion with the Elvis Presley song “Heartbreak Hotel.” Whitney Houston didn’t feel the need to make the same Hotel accommodation.

Also, though it is listed on Spotify as “The Best of My Love,” the Eagles track does not have a “The” on the 45 or the band’s On the Border album.)

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The #52 Album Of All-Time

Winston + Moby 2014-09-11 10.12

Ten facts about Moby and his album Play:

  • Moby was born Richard Melville Hall. Said Moby “Supposedly Herman Melville was my great-great-great-granduncle.” He took his stage name from Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick.
  • Play spent five weeks at #1 on the UK album chart; however, it only peaked at #38 on the US album chart, despite selling over two million units domestically.
  • Play has sold over 12 million units worldwide to date. Prior to this, Moby’s biggest-selling album was Everything Is Wrong, which scanned 250,000 units. Moby’s manager hoped Play would equal that album’s sales success.
  • LA Weekly was not a fan of this album upon it release. The paper’s critic wrote “There’s a song on this album which asks ‘Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?,’ and the reason is because I’m listening to this album.” Ouch. However, in the Village Voice’s annual survey of nearly 500 music critics, Play was named the year’s best album.
  • Every track on Play was licensed for use in films, television or advertisements.
  • Nine commercial singles were released from Play. The eighth, “South Side,” was the only one to make the US pop top 40, albeit in a new version with additional vocals performed by Gwen Stefani.
  • Moby wrote “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” in 1992. It started out as a techno song. Moby tried it again at a much slower tempo, which morphed into the version that appears on Play.
  • A music journalist friend of Moby received an Alan Lomax box set consisting of field recordings made by the ethnomusicologist and archivist. The friend didn’t want the collection, so he gave it to Moby. Samples from three of its songs were used by Moby on the Play tracks “Honey,” “Find My Baby” and “Natural Blues.”
  • Presently I rank Play at #52 on my All-Time Albums list.
  • In 2002, Moby wrote on his web-site: “Strange fact: best friend in 1973 was Robert Downey Jr…. haven’t seen him since.”

Today Moby turns 49 years old. Here are ten of his finest, with a focus on Play.

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Gwen Stefani, the lead singer and lyricist of the band No Doubt, wanted to do a dance-oriented solo album, but when the band finished its Rock Steady tour in November 2002, all she wanted to do was sleep. “I wanted to take a break and was really burned out, but the record company were ready to go.” Her label, Interscope, wanted her to work on her solo album with singer-songwriter Linda Perry, who was available for only five days.

Without the time to recharge, Stefani’s anxieties about doing the record rose to the surface and she spent a lot of time crying in bed. She’d been with the guys in No Doubt for seventeen years at that point; could she do a record without them?

On their second day in the studio together, Perry presented Stefani with the music of a song she stayed up the previous night to write. Stefani was to come up with lyrics, and she took the speed with which Perry came up with the song as a dare, as if to ask her “What are you waiting for?”

That was the inspiration Stefani needed. She wrote the lyrics to “What You Waiting For?,” addressing her fears about doing the record, her lack of inspiration, and the pressure the felt her label was putting on her. The song opens with Stefani referencing her bandmates and their years together – “What an amazing time / What a family/ How did the years go by?/ Now it’s only me.” Then the repeated background vocals of “tick tock” suggest the clock is ticking and she needs to get to work on this solo venture. Her nervous side sings “I’m worried if I go it alone,” to which her confident persona responds “You never know, it could be great” and “Take a chance, you might grow.”

“What You Waiting For?” was the first single released from Stefani’s first solo venture, Love, Angel, Music, Baby. The album sold seven million copies worldwide and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Hit singles from the album were “Hollaback Girl,” “Rich Girl,” “Cool” and “Luxurious.”

Of the experience making the record, Stefani said “I think it’s very important to put yourself in a situation that’s uncomfortable to be able to grow.”

Is there something you wish to do but have not yet started to tackle? What you waiting for?
doggies + Gwen 2014-07-18 11.34

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. We kick off this week’s party with Gwen Stefani’s “What You Waiting For?”

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This Date In Glenn’s Ten

In 1980 an Ohio-born performer living in Australia wrote and recorded a song that went on to sell over six million copies. It went to #1 in a dozen or so countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, France, and the UK, where it reigned on top for three weeks. It has been covered dozens of times in different languages, and that’s not including the many versions of the tune that have been uploaded to YouTube.

The performer is Joe Dolce and the song is “Shaddap You Face,” which was #1 in Glenn’s Ten (the only chart that matters) on this day in 1981.

Glenn's Ten 005Thirty-three years of Glenn’s Ten lists are in these books

My point in telling you this is this – no idea is too stupid. If there is a song you wish to write, a book you wish to publish, an invention you wish to create, go for it! You could be the next Joe Dolce! And if someone tells you your idea sucks, say to them “Ah, shaddup you face.”

Today’s playlist consists of songs that were #1 in Glenn’s Ten on May 8 going back to 1981. The only one missing is 1993’s entry, “Riding on a Rocket” by Shonen Knife, as that is not available on Spotify.

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A Beginner’s Guide To Pharrell

dogs + Neptunes 002

Perhaps while you were watching the Grammy Awards this past weekend you asked “Who is this cute guy with great hats who sings “Get Lucky?” He is Pharrell Williams and he has been having hits for more than twenty years.

He first hit the Top 40 as one of the writers of Wreckx-N-Effect’s “Rump Shaker,” which hit #2 in 1992. Since then he has co-written and co-produced hits for many pop and hip hop superstars. He has also performed as a member of N.E.R.D. Today’s playlist is a sampler of his work. You may be surprised as to how many of his hits you already know.

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