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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Childhood Mistakes

Don't know 'bout you, but there are some errors I've made as a young boy that I just can't forget every time I hear certain songs.  Do you have any stuck in your memory too?

"The Air That I Breathe" - The Hollies  > I used to think this one was Badfinger and much later, Air Supply until I finally learned who.

"Something In The Air" - Thunderclap Newman  >  Another one I figured had to be Badfinger.  Who could ever remember the name Thunderclap Newman anyway?  Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers remade this one perfectly for modern audiences to find.

"Don't Fear The Reaper" - Blue Oyster Cult  > In 1976 I asked my father to hurry-up and buy Boston's "More Than A Feeling" thinking it was "Don't Fear The Reaper."  The song was good enough that I didn't realize until years later that it wasn't the tune I wanted.  "...Reaper" is my type of tune...atmospheric hard rock.  The type of style I'd come to prefer in all my favorite artists.

"Turning Japanese" - The Vapors  >  Due to the fact The Vapors never had another big hit in America, I fell victim to thinking that the buzz surrounding The Cars was due to this song.  It seemed a lifetime in kid-years before I'd realize that the band singing "Just What I Needed" was not the band singing "Turning Japanese".  I eventually would like The Cars, but I would have loved to have had a Vapors album at the time.  In '84 I got a cassette copy of New Clear Days.  In the '90's I found out there was another record, Magnets.  I loved it even more than the first album.  A great band that deserved more hits.  They certainly wrote enough radio potent songs to warrant it!

"I Melt With You" - Modern English  >  Even with the video in rotation, I don't think I ever saw it from the beginning title card or heard the d.j. mention the band's name on radio.  So, good luck memorizing their name until I was an adult.  Every time I heard it I thought, "Well, that's an alright tune, I guess" and gave the credit to a band called The Cure.  Listening now, I can tell the vocal timbre isn't the same as any Cure song.  But, with so much new music flooding the airwaves in the early '80's, it was hard to keep up.

"Give A Little Bit" - Supertramp  >  I was very shocked to find out this wasn't REO Speedwagon.  The vocal box just seemed identical to me and this pseudo-anthem-style-guitar-strummer just had to be them.  Wrong!  I did like one REO tune I'd heard on the radio, the very upbeat "I Do' Wanna Know".  At the time I hated "Take It On The Run" with its 'Heard it from a friend...' line.  I flipped-out every time I heard that vocal timbre and big echo.  Power-cheese to the max!

Speaking of REO ... When Roger Hodgson went solo from Supertramp with his great song "Had A Dream (Sleeping With The Enemy)" in '84, I thought it was Speedwagon yet again.  After all, the face in the video sure coulda been the guy.  And if I hadn't know better, Supertramp's most famous song of '79, "The Logical Song" could have been Geddy Lee of Rush singing a George Harrison number from '69 for all I knew !

"Live And Let Die" - Paul McCartney > "...You've got to give the other fella hell!"  Great line, but I never knew it until recently!  I thought it was "you've got to give the other fellow a hand" with the 'a' dropped for poetic license. Shit !

"Young Lust" - Pink Floyd > Not a big deal considering the purpose of the song, but a minor letdown that he isn't singing, "I need a valiant woman", "I need a valiant gal/girl".

"Where Do The Children Play ?" - Cat Stevens > Now you KNOW I'm not the only one who thinks  he says 'Why' instead of 'Where' !

"Girl U Want" - Devo > Sometimes the mistakes aren't drastic errors, but misunderstandings of a different nature. In this classic 1980 radio staple I didn't understand that the accent should fall on 'just' instead of 'want' or 'girl'.  To not destroy the flow of a sentence the artist must sing certain words in a way one would never speak. So, if Devo is singing with the accent on 'girl' or 'want', we're still supposed to understand that the accent is really spoken on the word 'just' for it all to make sense.  Now that I'm no longer 12 yrs. old it makes sense to me.

*A more drastic example (one that I did figure out due to the spelling) was Men At Work's "Helpless Automaton". There's no 'i' to make it 'automation' regardless of their singing it that way.  [The host of In The Studio messed it up anyway.]

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