Song of the day: Colleen Hewett – "Day By Day"

August 1, 2013

I haven’t finished with music of the ’70s just yet. (A couple more and I’ll try to move on to another decade.)

Colleen Hewett – “Day By Day (1972)

Here’s the original:

PS: My Internet access has been playing up recently (the phone line is very iffy at the moment), so this blog may or may not be posting things over the next few days, depending on how quickly I can get the problem sorted out.

Musical coincidences # 23

September 17, 2009

Here’s the start of Grand Atlantic‘s “Wonderful Tragedy,” the second single from their debut album, This Is Grand Atlantic (2007):


And here’s the start of the vocal line in The Carpenters‘ 1971 monster hit* “Superstar“:


“Superstar” had a rather long journey on its way to the singing siblings. Wikipedia has all the details, but here’s a short version of events. The song was written by Bonnie Bramlet and Leon Russell, and originally titled “Groupie (Superstar)”. It first appeared as the B-side of Delaney and Bonnie‘s 1969 single, “Comin’ Home.” And this is what it sounds like:


The song was then modified slightly, renamed “Superstar” (no Groupie, alas), and next appeared on Joe Cocker’s 1970 Mad Dogs And Englishmen live album. It was sung not by Joe but by one of his backup singers, Rita Coolidge, who was billed on the album as ‘The Delta Lady.’ Here’s Rita’s version, which marks the official debut of “Superstar”:


But it wasn’t either of the above versions that caught the attention of Richard Carpenter – he heard the song being performed by Bette Midler on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson in August 1970. Bette eventually recorded her version in 1972 (after The Carpenters’ version had become successful). I won’t present you with Bette’s recording because there are enough versions of the song on this post already and, well, because Bette sings it.

There were some other early versions – Cher recorded it in 1970 – but the majority of the other versions (and there have been plenty) came much later. There have been all sorts of different versions – post-rock, post-punk, post-ironic etc. They all seem to be making some kind of artistic statement, rather than simply be a good song performed well. Unfortunately, as they’ve tended to be “post-” something, that spells Art with a very serious capital A. Despite all those “post-” versions, for most people it’s The Carpenters all the way. (Perform a good song with taste and sensitivity, and you can’t go wrong.)

Although I could go on and on about “Superstar” (well, it is a good song), I’ve got to finish this post sometime, so I thought I’d finish it with an Australian version. Here’s Colleen Hewett with her version of “Superstar” from 1972, where she belts it out as if she’s channelling Shirley Bassey at full force (‘overwrought’ is the word I’m thinking of):


Finally, here are the full versions of the songs mentioned at the very beginning of this unnecessarily long post:

Grand Atlantic – “Wonderful Tragedy” (2007)


The Carpenters – “Superstar” (1971)


(*The song’s not actually about monsters.)