Educating Peter # 57

July 21, 2013

This week Michael has reached into his bag of ’80s songs and pulled out “Please Stand By” by The Shivvers, a Milwaukee power pop band. (I know they’re a power pop band from Milwaukee because their compilation album is rather helpfully called Lost Hits From Milwaukee’s First Family Of Powerpop: 1979-1982.)

Before I listen to the song, I feel compelled to comment on the band name. I think it’s dreadful. I can think of two reasons the band wanted to call themselves The Shivvers:

1. It’s normally so cold in Milwaukee that it doesn’t do justice to the temperature by simply saying it gives you “the shivers” – it gives you “the shivvers”.

…or…

2. It has something to do with “shiv“, the word used for a weapon used in prison. Maybe the band considered themselves so tough that they went around shivving people – because they’re “shivvers”.

But whatever the reason, I think the band name is dreadful.

By the way, Michael reminded me that I posted a song by The Shivvers ages and ages ago. It was their version of Eric Carmen‘s “Hey Deanie“, and I posted it as part of a “Hey Deanie” extravaganza. (The post contained five versions of the song.)

OK. Now for “Please Stand By”…

The Shivvers – “Please Stand By” (1981)

0:00-0:12 – Oh yeah. I like this introduction.

0:12-0:24 – This verse, not so much. It’s all a bit too staccato for my liking – especially the 2/4 bar (at 0:17) dividing the verse in two.

I’m afraid this verse is way too jumpy for me. It reminds me of one of the skinny-tie dance moves popular back in the day: pogoing. Now I’m picturing a lot of people pogoing in a sweaty venue, with this song being played very loudly.

0:24-0:30 – Wow. That part of the song passed by very quickly. Was it the chorus? I’m not sure, but I like how the last part of it (0:27-0:30) harked back to the introduction.

0:30-0:42 – Another verse. Pogo, pogo, pogo, pogo…

I do like the little fancy guitar frill at 0:40-0:41, though.

0:42-0:54 – The chorus again. I think.

Ding!

My brain just notified me of this:

The Shivvers – “Please Stand By” (1981) (excerpt)

Bobby Darin – “Dream Lover (1959) (excerpt)

0:54-1:06 – A key change, which means one thing: the middle eight.

Boy oh boy that was a short middle eight. This band doesn’t mess about with anything lengthy. Considering the brevity of this song, instead of “The Shivvers” I think it’d be more suitable to call them “The Brevities”.

This song’s probably going to finish sooner than I imagine, so I think I’d better start pay attention.

The singer is a little flat.

1:06-1:19 – Here’s another verse, and the singer is still singing a little flat.

I liked the guitarist’s frilly bit at 1:17-1:18. Unfortunately, it was obscured by the singer’s “please, please…”.

1:19-1:40 – And another chorus. This song is whizzing by.

“I want, a girl, to call, my own…”

Oh, here’s something different. The band are extending the end of this chorus (from 1:28). Fair enough. But I don’t hear the extension doing anything for the song except making it longer.

1:40-1:53 – Ah, here’s another middle eight. It sounds like it was shipped in from another song. (Or, putting it another way: it sounds like it belongs in another song.)

1:53-2:21 – A guitar solo. In two parts.

The first part is melodic, and I like how the guitarist made the effort to play something with a melody, instead of just a pile of phrases he’s learnt over the years.

After all that melodic playing, the guitarist chucks in a weird, fast thing (2:06-2:07).

And after the weird, fast thing, it’s the second part of the solo, where the guitarist goes into a different style of playing, with some bent notes (unfortunately, there’s a badly bent note at 2:12), and a couple of semi-successful attempts at pinching notes (2:14-2:16).

All in all, I enjoyed the solo.

2:21-2:33 – Another verse. And the singer sounds as she if she’s getting a cold. (Must be that Milwaukee weather.)

2:33-2:46 – And another chorus. Where did that acoustic guitar come from?

2:46-2:58 – Here’s another extension of the chorus, but this time with tricky singing.

Ding!

The Shivvers – “Please Stand By” (1981) (excerpt 2)

The Cars – “Just What Needed (1978) (excerpt)

2:58-3:13 – Yet another extension of the chorus, but a little different from the previous one. This one features a really flat note from the singer (3:01). It made me wince.

***

I didn’t mind “Please Stand By”.

Oh, and here are the full versions of the songs that were excerpted earlier in the post:

Bobby Darin – “Dream Lover (1959) (stereo)

Or, if you’re a ’50s purist:

Bobby Darin – “Dream Lover (1959) (mono)

The Cars – “Just What Needed (1978)

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Song of the day: Shaun Cassidy – "Hey Deanie"

April 29, 2010

In last week’s Frank’s Faves on Fridays post, one of the songs featured was a 1981 track called “Hey Deanie” by Gary Charlson. Gary was a chap I’d never heard of before – and I didn’t recall hearing the song before either.

After I mentioned that I wasn’t especially keen on “Hey Deanie”, Frank surprised me by mentioning that the song was actually written by Eric Carmen, one of my power pop heroes (he wrote “Go All The Way“, and as far as I’m concerned that’s all he ever needed to do to become one of The Power Pop Immortals™). Frank thought that Eric’s version was a whole lot better than Gary’s. (I suppose it would be – Eric wrote the thing after all.)

Which leads me to wonder why on Earth Frank presented me with Gary’s version of “Hey Deanie” and not Eric’s. Why, Frank, why?

(By the way, Frank: you don’t have to answer that. Even though you’re named in the question, it was purely rhetorical.)

To refresh your memory (and mine), here’s the Gary Charlson version:

Gary Charlson – “Hey Deanie (1981)

Now here’s Eric’s version:

Eric Carmen – “Hey Deanie (1978)

I think that’s a vast improvement, but the song itself still didn’t do much for me. Was there a better version out there perchance?

You better believe it, baby.

Frank also mentioned* that although Eric wrote “Hey Deanie” he actually wrote it for Shaun Cassidy. I’m mighty glad that I was told that, because I hunted down the Señor Cassidy version, had a listen, and thought “Hallelujah! That’s the one! That’s the version!”

So, for your listening pleasure** here’s the original version of “Hey Deanie”:

Shaun Cassidy – “Hey Deanie (1977)

Now I like the song.

Thanks, Shaun, for bringing out the song’s inner bubblegum.

Incidentally, I found two other versions of “Hey Deanie”, and they’re both by power pop bands that I know absolutely nothing about. You may enjoy them more than I did. (I’m only putting them here because I’m a hopeless completist…)

The Shivvers – “Hey Deanie (1982)

The Nicoteens – “Hey Deanie (1996)

(*I didn’t know any of this “Hey Deanie” stuff until Frank told me.)

(**That depends entirely on your tolerance of:
a. Shaun Cassidy;
b. Bubblegum;
c. 70’s male teen idols;
d. Satin clothing;
e. Impossibly white teeth;
f. All of the above.)