Monday morning, Brooklyn’s own The Five Discs with John Carbone on lead. While they never had any big commercial successes, this once inter-racial group was recognized by other Doo-Woopers as one of the great purveyors of that kind of song.
Rolling Stone magazine named them the Greatest singing duo ever. They influenced everyone from the Beatles to Simon and Garfunkel. Phil and Don Everly, brothers whose artistic and business partnership was famously contentious, make some of the most beautiful harmonies ever in pop music.
They called “Let It Be Me” the most beautiful song they had ever recorded.
With the madness of the last week it’s nice to just relax and give oneself up to an artist who is totally in control of her talent.
Lady Gaga sings a jazz/pop version of the Rodgers and Hart standard that promises a lot and delivers a lot.
She sang this often on her 2015 tour, and if you look on YouTube, you can see that in every performance the vocal arrangement is different, she’s clothed in a different costume and wig, and yet every performance is right on the money. Really a rare talent.
At the time, 1975, the song was a highly unlikely candidate for a pop hit. It may have been the first pop song for young women of high school age that wasn’t for the cheerleaders. It might be hard to recall now, in the age of Glee, but songs examining the inner lives of high school students who saw themselves as social outcasts were not, at the time, the common fare. Millions of young women saw themselves in the lyrics of the song, and suddenly the singer/songwriter, Janis Ian, who at age 14 had had a qualified (and often censored) hit with her song of interracial love, “Society’s Child,” was overnight an international star.
The clip above seems so raw, true, and natural that you might think it was just an amateur effort turned lucky. But Ian by that time had already had seven albums of music released and was an accomplished songwriter. It was the one time, though, she said, that she had penned a song and told her manager that she had just written a hit.
Tracy Chapman was an unlikely singer/songwriter to chart in the top 10 in 1988, but there was something so pure, authentic, and truthful in her singing that this song resonated with many and, improbably, became a hit.
I was at a dance theatre concert the other day, and this was one of the songs they danced to in the program. I thought it was a cute pop song, and the accompanying official video by Lennon Stella even more cute.