Musical coincidences # 239

May 9, 2012

Today’s coincidence may get a little messy (it involves at least four different artists), but I’ll try to be as concise as I can.

A couple of weeks ago I heard Al Green‘s “I’m Still In Love With Youover at Popdose. At the 1:02 mark in the song there’s a little riff played on the strings. This is it:

Al Green – “I’m Still In Love With You (1972) (excerpt)

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The first half of that tiny, tiny riff reminds me of one of the riffs melodies* in Tchaikovsky‘s 1812 Overture:

Tchaikovsky1812 Overture (excerpt)
(Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sian Edwards)

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Incidentally, that Tchaikovsky riff melody features rather prominently in another pop song:

The Move – “Night Of Fear (1966) (excerpt)

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Apparently that was deliberate, so it really shouldn’t be here (i.e., it’s not a coincidence), but what the hey (i.e., why not?). That Al Green violin riff on the other hand was coincidental. (Maybe.)

Here are the full versions:

Al Green – “I’m Still In Love With You (1972)

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Tchaikovsky1812 Overture (excerpt)
(Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sian Edwards)

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The Move – “Night Of Fear (1966) (excerpt)

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Oh, and one more thing:

This is the cover of Al Green’s album I’m Still In Love With You:

As soon as I saw that wicker chair I remembered this Al Di Meola album from 1978:

And then I remembered this:

That’s the photo on the back cover of ABBA‘s 1975 self-titled album:

Here’s the front:

Wicker chairs sure were popular in the Seventies.

(*Can you call melodies in classical music “riffs”?)

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Musical coincidences # 231

April 30, 2012

Today’s coincidence revolves around Disney tween, Miley “I don’t wanna be a Disney tween anymore! I’m all grown up and sexeh!” Cyrus. I happened upon a song of hers called “Start All Over“. As soon as Miley (or her Auto-Tune) starting singing the verse, the melody reminded me of something from the Sixties. This is the bit:

Miley Cyrus – “Start All Over (2007) (excerpt)

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Exactly what that tune reminded me of, I wasn’t entirely sure. At first I thought it might have been The Move‘s “I Can Hear The Grass Grow“:

The Move – “I Can Hear The Grass Grow (1967) (excerpt)

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But that wasn’t quite it. It took a little more humming to myself and a little more brain-wracking before I got it. That Miley Cyrus verse reminds me of this:

The Zombies – “If It Don’t Work Out” (1969) (excerpt)

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Yep. That’s it.

Here are the full versions:

Miley Cyrus – “Start All Over (2007)

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The Move – “I Can Hear The Grass Grow (1967)

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The Zombies – “If It Don’t Work Out” (1969)

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Musical coincidences # 135

October 25, 2011

Boy, this riff sure is popular. It was only a few weeks ago that I noticed a tune in The Move‘s “I Can Hear The Grass Grow” that appears in a couple of other songs. (Gruesome details here.) Now I’ve found it in another song.

First, though, a reminder of the original tune. In “I Can Hear The Grass Grow” it’s the “Get a hold of yourself now baby” part in the song’s middle eight:

The Move – “I Can Hear The Grass Grow (1967) (excerpt)

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In addition to the other two songs I found that tune, this time it’s in Australian band Grand Atlantic‘s “Smoke And Mirrors”. I heard a guitar near the start of the song playing something suspiciously familiar (it’s in the right channel):

Grand Atlantic – “Smoke And Mirrors” (2007) (excerpt 1)

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In the same song, another guitar plays it later on (this time it’s in the left channel):

Grand Atlantic – “Smoke And Mirrors” (2007) (excerpt 2)

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Here are the full versions:

The Move – “I Can Hear The Grass Grow (1967)

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Grand Atlantic – “Smoke And Mirrors” (2007)

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Musical coincidences # 132

October 6, 2011

Today’s coincidence comes courtesy of my friend Stonefish (Hi, Stonewashed!) and his music blog. A few days ago, Stoney posted an utterly dreadful* song by Ellen Foley called “Young Lust”. It starts with this guitar riff:

Ellen Foley – “Young Lust” (1979) (excerpt)

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As it kept being repeated, that riff sounded familiar to me but I couldn’t quite figure where I’d heard it – or something like it – before. It took me quite a while of having that riff tumbling about in my head until I remembered where I’d heard it before – it’s the “Get a hold of yourself now baby” bit in the middle eight of The Move‘s “I Can Hear The Grass Grow“:

The Move – “I Can Hear The Grass Grow (1967) (excerpt)

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But the more I heard that tune in my head, the more I thought “I’m sure I’ve heard it somewhere else as well.” And then it dawned on me:

The Yardbirds – “Heart Full Of Soul (1965) (excerpt)

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Here are the full versions:

Ellen Foley – “Young Lust” (1979)

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The Move – “I Can Hear The Grass Grow (1967)

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The Yardbirds – “Heart Full Of Soul (1965)

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OK. That’s it for the musical coincidences. There is one more coincidence involving Ellen Foley’s song, though. It reminded me of another song, but only because of the title. It reminded me of this:

Pink Floyd – “Young Lust (1979)

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(*That’s only my opinion. You, on the other hand, may think it’s a very good song.)


Frank’s Faves on Fridays

July 16, 2010

Terry Black – “Baby’s Gone” (1966)

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I liked this a lot, but I kept thinking it would sound much better sung by a girl (as in “a girl singer from the 60’s”), because I reckon it’d make a great torch song. Why can’t I find any cover versions of this sung by a girl? Grrr. (Or maybe that should be Grrrl.*)

The Move – “Curly (1969)

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I honestly don’t know how to respond to either “Curly” or The Move. I know that I’m supposed to absolutely adore it because it’s by The Move, and I’m supposed to love The Move even more. (One music critic I like, George Starostin, goes into paroxysms when talking about Roy Wood and The Move: “Wood was, no doubt about it, one of the most brilliant musical geniuses of his epoch” etc) However, I like the song. I like The Move. I like Roy Wood, but I don’t actually think the band (or Roy) were all that revolutionary. Sure, their instrumentation was occasionally odd (you can thank Roy’s imagination for that), but to me that’s irrelevant – what matters to me, as always, is the song itself. “Curly” is pleasant, but I don’t think it’s the work of brilliant musical geniuses. (Or maybe the plural of that is “genii”.) For me, I’ll describe “Curly” in a word that has the unfortunate habit of damning with faint praise: it’s “pleasant”.

The Coasters – “Shake ‘Em Up And Let ‘Em Roll” (1968)

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I hadn’t heard this before. I didn’t mind it, but I can imagine The Band doing a cracking version of this song.

Gene Vincent – “Lotta Lovin'” (1957)

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One Elvis clone. I’d always thought that Gene Vincent was Gene: Leather-Clad Individualist. This song, however, throws that notion out the window. Unfortunately for Gene, “Lotta Lovin'” reminds me of one of my favourite Elvis songs, “Stuck On You” (1960):

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(I’ve never been much of an Elvis fan, but everything – and I mean every single thing – about “Stuck On You” is utterly, completely, and totally irresistible to me. And Elvis’s singing in the middle eight makes my brain perform cartwheels.)

Bonus instrumental:

The T-Bones – “No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach Is In)” (1965)

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Groovy. I like it a lot. (Update: I’ve heard it a few more times now. I’ve also found out that it was originally an ad for Alka-Seltzer. I now officially Love This Song.)

(*Sorry about that.)


Musical coincidences # 24

September 20, 2009

It’s time for some layered vocals…

Here’s a snippet of Electric Light Orchestra‘s “Do Ya” (1977), just before the chorus:

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Add a few more vocal layers, and I reckon you have something a little like this bit in Sweet‘s “Fox On The Run” (1975), just before the chorus:

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Here are the full versions of each song:

Electric Light Orchestra – “Do Ya (1977)

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Sweet – “Fox On The Run (single version) (1975)

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Incidentally, each of those artists have two versions of their songs. “Do Ya,” written by Jeff Lynne, was first recorded in 1971 by the band he was in at the time, The Move, and appeared as the B-side of their 1972 single, “California Man.” It was then recorded by Jeff’s next band, ELO, and appeared on their 1976 album, A New World Word. “Fox On The Run,” on the other hand, was recorded twice by Sweet – it first appeared as a pretty heavy album track on Desolation Boulevard (1974) and was then re-recorded as a more radio-friendly single in 1975.

Here are those earlier versions:

The Move – “Do Ya” (1972)

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Sweet – “Fox On The Run (album version) (1974)

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And speaking of musical coincidences, the verse of “Do Ya” (in its ELO incarnation) reminds me of the chorus of ABBA‘s fabulous “Hey, Hey, Helen” (1975):

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