♫ We’ve Got Tonight ♫

This is next on the list of requests for Kenny Rogers’ tribute week, and as I listened to it, I noticed that something about it bothered me.  I listened again, checked out a couple of other versions, but something still didn’t sound quite right.  And then, I figured it out.  Now, you all know I love Kenny Rogers, he is in my top ten favourites (Stevie Wonder is in the #1 slot), but for this song, I prefer the original done by Bob Seger.  However … this is a week-long tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, not the still-living Seger, so …

Seger wrote this and first recorded it on his 1978 album Stranger in Town. Seger wrote the song after seeing the movie The Sting, starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman. In the film, there’s scene where Redford puts the moves on a waitress, who says, “I don’t even know you.” He replies: “You know me. I’m the same as you. It’s two in the morning and I don’t know nobody.”  According to Seger …

“That just hit me real hard. The next day I wrote ‘We’ve Got Tonight,’ this song about two people who say ‘I’m tired. It’s late at night. I know you don’t really dig me, and I don’t really dig you, but this is all we’ve got, so let’s do it.’ The sexual revolution was still going strong then.”

In 1983, Kenny Rogers recorded the song as a duet with Scottish pop star Sheena Easton, and made it the title track of his album We’ve Got Tonight.  Said Rogers …

“I liked the idea of recording with Sheena: I thought the contrast in styles – I’m so throaty and she’s so trained and pure – would really work well.”

Easton’s contribution to the track would prove a bone of critical contention: whereas Rolling Stone critic Christopher Connelly would dismiss the Easton/Rogers duet of We’ve Got Tonight as “shrieking [and] insensitive”, and Jerseyite critic Jim Bohen would lament how Rogers “who usually sounds good duetting with women” was defeated by “Easton’s nails-across-the-blackboard voice”, Dennis Hunt (Los Angeles Times) would prefer the Rogers/Easton take to the Seger original due to a “very appealing blend of sharply contrasting voices, his deep and hers very high” adding that “Rogers, never known for his vocal power, stretches to match Easton, [attaining] his finest vocal performance”, and AllMusic critic Joe Viglione would opine that Easton’s “splendid voice reaching the high registers over Kenny’s familiar monotone…really makes [the track] special.”

We’ve Got Tonight
Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton

I know it’s late, I know you’re weary
I know your plans don’t include me
Still here we are, both of us lonely
Longing for shelter from all that we see
Why should we worry, no one will care girl
Look at the stars so far away
We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
We’ve got tonight babe
Why don’t you stay?

Deep in my soul I’ve been so lonely
All of my hopes fading away
I’ve longed for love like everyone else does
I know I’ll keep searching even after today
So there it is girl, I’ve said it all now
And here we are babe, what do you say?
We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
We’ve got tonight babe
Why don’t you stay?

I know it’s late, I know you’re weary
I know your plans don’t include me
Still here we are, both of us lonely
Both of us lonely

We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
Let’s make it last, let’s find a way
Turn out the light, come take my hand now
We’ve got tonight babe
Why don’t you stay?
Why don’t you stay?

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Seger
We’ve Got Tonight lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Lucille ♫

As we continue on our week-long tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, here’s some trivia I bet you didn’t know:

  • KENNY ROGERS AND DON HENLEY USED TO BE ROOMMATES.
    In 1970, Rogers discovered Don Henley’s pre-Eagles band, Shiloh, and produced their self-titled debut record. “It’s not like he was in the mud somewhere and I walked up,” Rogers explained of how he “discovered” the band. “But I found his group and took them to L.A. and they lived with me for six months.”
  • KENNY ROGERS WAS A PRO-LEVEL TENNIS PLAYER.
    “I played tennis for 10 years, eight hours a day every day and developed a national ranking while I was on the road playing with Wimbledon champs,” Rogers told Rolling Stone.
  • KENNY ROGERS DABBLED IN INTERIOR DESIGN.
    In 2003, Rogers formed Kenji Design Studio, an Atlanta-based interior design firm, with business partner Jim Weinberg. The company went on to score some major contracts, like its bid to design all of the graphics, common spaces, model units, and employee uniforms at the Trump Towers Atlanta.  For his part, Rogers admitted that his design skills were really self-taught: “I’ve done 20 houses of my own, so I come to this from a totally emotional standpoint,” Rogers told the Chicago Tribune in 2007.

I picked up my list tonight of the Kenny Rogers songs you guys had mentioned or requested, and next on the list was Lucille.  I thought … nah, I just played Ruby last night and I really didn’t know that I wanted to play another about a woman who was, shall we say less than what a woman should be.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I thought … “Yeah, the two kind of go hand-in-hand”, and Lucille wouldn’t leave my head, so … here we are.

This song, released in 1977, was written by Hal Bynum and Roger Bowling.  The song was inspired by real-life events, as Bynum’s own marriage was in trouble when he started writing this tune. He was struggling with the temptation of another woman’s amorous advances and as his wife was preparing herself for a trip away, Bynum said, “You picked a fine time to leave me.” 

Lucille was Kenny Rogers’ first major hit as a solo artist after leaving his band The First Edition the previous year. An international success, it was the first of 21 Country #1s for the singer.  Wow … 21 #1 hits???  That’s remarkable!  I didn’t know!

Kenny Rogers’ mother was named Lucille; when she heard the song, she called her son to admonish him because she thought it was about her. Kenny explained that he didn’t write the song, and no reasonable person would think that Mrs. Rogers would leave four hungry children to cheat on her husband. Lucille Rogers actually had eight children.

Lucille
Kenny Rogers

In a bar in Toledo across from the depot
On a barstool, she took off her ring
I thought I’d get closer so I walked on over
I sat down and asked her name
When the drinks finally hit her she said “I’m no quitter
But I finally quit livin’ on dreams
I’m hungry for laughter and here ever after
I’m after whatever the other life brings”
In the mirror, I saw him and I closely watched him
I thought how he looked out of place
He came to the woman who sat there beside me
He had a strange look on his face
The big hands were calloused, he looked like a mountain
For a minute I thought I was dead
But he started shaking, his big heart was breaking
He turned to the woman and said

“You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field
I’ve had some bad times, lived through some sad times
But this time your hurting won’t heal
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille”

After he left us, I ordered more whiskey
I thought how she’d made him look small
From the lights of the barroom
To a rented hotel room
We walked without talking at all
She was a beauty but when she came to me
She must have thought I’d lost my mind
I couldn’t hold her ’cause the words that he told her
Kept coming back time after time

“You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field
I’ve had some bad times, lived through some sad times
But this time your hurting won’t heal
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field
I’ve had some bad times, lived through some sad times
But this time your hurting won’t heal
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille”

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Richard Penniman / Albert Collins
Lucille lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Royalty Network, Songtrust Ave

♫ Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town ♫

As part of this week-long tribute to Kenny Rogers, one of my all-time favourites, each night I plan to include a bit of trivia.  In 2017, Kenny Rogers did an interview with Southern Living magazine.  One of the questions he was asked was to recount his favourite memory of Dolly Parton, his long-time friend and singing partner.  Kenny said his favorite moment was in 2013 while they were recording their final duet together called You Can’t Make Old Friends. At one point, he looked up and saw Parton was no longer at her microphone. Suddenly, she appeared by his side, and put her arms around his neck. “Kenny, I think you should know, I could never sing at your funeral.”

Rogers laughed at the memory. “I went, ‘So we’re assuming I’m going first?’ ” He chuckled again. “But I love her for that. You never know what she’s going to say, but it always comes from love.”Kenny-DollyWhen I first mentioned that I was considering Ellen’s idea for a week-long tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, you guys started giving me ideas, letting me know your favourites, and I jotted them all down.  The #1 favourite, with four requests, is this one … Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town.

I had no idea that Mel Tillis had written this song!  The song tells the story of a wounded soldier who has returned home to a woman who shows him little sympathy, leaving him to go out at night and enjoy the company of other men. All he can do is beg her to stay home and keep him company, but his pleas fall on deaf ears.

Tillis based the song on a real-life couple who lived near his family in Florida. In real life, the man was wounded in Germany in World War II and sent to recuperate in England. There, he married a nurse who took care of him at the hospital. The two of them moved to Florida shortly afterward, but he made periodic return trips to the hospital as problems with his wounds kept flaring up. His wife saw another man as the veteran lay in the hospital.  The real couple’s story had a tragic ending:  the man killed her in a murder-suicide.

I also didn’t know that Tillis was the first to release this song, including it on his 1967 album Life’s That Way. Waylon Jennings, Johnny Darrell, The Statler Brothers and Bobby Goldsboro all recorded the song later that year, with Darrell’s version going to #9 on the Country chart. Kenny Rogers recorded the definitive version with his band The First Edition in 1969, taking it to #2 in the UK and to #6 in the U.S.

A lot of controversy surrounded this song when it became a hit for Kenny Rogers in 1969, as the Vietnam War was raging and the song was often assumed to be about a man who came home crippled from that war. Rogers would perform the song in a jovial manner, and the crowd would often clap and sing along, so to some it was seen as disrespectful to veterans. In a 1970 interview with Beat Instrumental, Rogers defended the song, saying:

“Look, we don’t see ourselves as politicians, even if a lot of pop groups think they are in the running for a Presidential nomination. We are there, primarily, to entertain. Now if we can entertain by providing thought-provoking songs, then that’s all to the good. But the guys who said ‘Ruby’ was about Vietnam were way off target – it was about Korea. But whatever the message, and however you interpret it, fact is that we wouldn’t have looked at it if it hadn’t been a GOOD song. Just wanna make good records, that’s all.”

I’ve included two versions here.  The first is Kenny with The First Edition back in 1972, and the second is Kenny sans The First Edition, some thirty years later.  They are both good, I think my preference is the second, however.

Ruby
Kenny Rodgers

You’ve painted up your lips and rolled and curled your tinted hair
Ruby are you contemplating going out somewhere?
The shadows on the wall tell me the sun is going down
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town

It wasn’t me that started that old crazy Asian war
But I was proud to go and do my patriotic chore
And yes, it’s true that I’m not the man I used to be
Oh Ruby, I still need some company

It’s hard to love a man whose legs are bent and paralyzed
And the wants and needs of a woman your age really I realize
But it won’t be long, I’ve heard them say, until I’m not around
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town

She’s leaving now cause I just heard the slamming of the door
The way I know I heard its slams one hundred times before
And if I could move I’d get my gun and put her in the ground
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town

Oh Ruby, for God’s sake, turn around

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Mel Tillis
Ruby lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ What About Me? ♫

I was still debating, not quite sure if I was ready to do another week-long tribute or not.  It had been suggested by a couple of people, requests had rolled in, and before I fully finished pondering, our friend Ellen commented last night that she was looking forward to the week-long tribute.  So, I guess I have decided to do it!  I was all for it anyway, but I think I have a couple of readers who are not Kenny Rogers’ fans, but … you’ll just have to live with it, guys!  It’s only a week, eh?

This song was written by KennyRogers, noted producer David Foster, and singer-songwriter Richard Marx, who would later achieve superstar status as a musician with Right Here Waiting, and Now and Forever. It was the lead single from Rogers’s Platinum-plus 1984 album of the same name.

Rogers has described What About Me? as “like a three-way love song…Everybody involved said ‘Hey, what about me?’ I think it’s a beautiful record.” Originally the male and female parts not sung by Rogers were to be performed by Lionel Richie and Barbra Streisand, but after Richie backed out of the project, Streisand did as well. The second proposed trio of singers was Rogers, Olivia Newton-John, and Jeffrey Osborne, but Newton-John began working on a duet with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees and decided not to do both projects simultaneously. Osborne had a conflicting schedule as well, so the line-up of Rogers, Kim Carnes, and James Ingram was ultimately the one that recorded the song.

What About Me?
Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes, James Ingram

I see you here with me
I’ve waited all my life
For someone like you
Someone to give my heart and soul to

I look into your eyes
Your love for me
Was such a welcome surprise
I think at last I’ve found forever

Oh, what about me?
(I’ll always love you)
Oh, what about me?
(I’ll always need you)
You were my love before
But I need so much more of you

Time after time, I feel I’m losing my mind
Or maybe this is what lovers must go through
It never entered my mind, we could be wasting our time
What am I gonna do?
What about me? Oh, what about me?

No reason to pretend, true love affairs
Don’t have to come to an end
The moment we don’t
Have all the answers

I nearly go insane
(Oh, I go insane)
Each and every time
I hear you whisper my name
(I feel the same)
When I’m around you

But what about me?
(I’ll always love you)
Oh, what about me?
(I’ll always need you)
This is so hard for me
I wanted so much to be with you

Time after time, I feel I’m losing my mind
Or maybe this is what lovers must go through
It never entered my mind, we could be wasting our time
What am I gonna do?

Time after time, I’m losing my mind
It never entered my mind
We could be wasting our time
But what abut me

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: David Foster / Kenny Rogers / Richard Marks
What About Me lyrics © Chrysalis Music, Peermusic Iii Ltd, Chrysalis Music (digital Only), Peermusic Iii Ltd (df Account), Lionsmate Music, Co.

♫ Reuben James ♫

It has been suggested by a few that I make a week-long tribute to the late Kenny Rogers.  I hadn’t thought of it … well, I had thought of it, but a number of readers are not fans of Kenny, so I was about to discard the idea, but then I had so many people telling me their faves, and commenting on how Kenny and his music would be sorely missed (we still have his music, folks … it is his legacy to us), that I had to reconsider.

Our friend rawgod has now requested … or rather hinted at … this song twice now, and I feel badly that I hadn’t played it before.  I like the song, though it isn’t one of my favourites, but it highlights that gorgeous, sensual voice of Mr. Rogers (Kenny, not Fred), so for that, I love it.

Typically, I research and report the backstory and history of the song, but quite frankly I could find almost nothing about this song, and since what little I did find was conflicting, I have no history to report.  Rg … if you know of any, please enlighten us?  In lieu of a backstory, I share with you first, the tribute by Kenny’s long-time friend and sometimes musical partner, Dolly Parton, and some pictures of Kenny “through the years”.

kenny-rogers-6kenny-rogers-7

“Well, I couldn’t believe it this morning when I got up, turned on the TV checking to see what the coronavirus was doing, and they told me that my friend and singing partner Kenny Rogers had passed away. You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend.

And I know that we all know Kenny is in a better place than we are today but I’m for sure he’s going to be talking to God sometime today, if ain’t already, and he’s going to be asking him to spread some light on this darkness going on here. But I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart’s broken. A big ol’ chunk of it has gone with him today and I think that I can speak for all his family, his friends and fans, when I say that I will always love him.”

kenny-rogers-8kenny-rogers-9kenny-rogers-10

Reuben James
Kenny Rogers

Reuben James
In my song you live again
And the phrases that I rhyme
Are just the footsteps out of time
From the time when I knew you, Reuben James

Reuben James
All the folks around Madison County cussed your name
You’re just a no-account, sharecropping colored man
Who would steal anything he can
And everybody laid the blame on Reuben James

Reuben James, for you still walk the furrowed field of my mind
Faded shirt, the weathered brow
The calloused hands upon the plow
I loved you then and I love you now, Reuben James

Flora Grey
The gossip of Madison County died with child
And although your skin was black
You were the one that didn’t turn your back
On the hungry white child with no name, Reuben James

Reuben James
With your mind on my soul and a Bible in your right hand
You said “turn the other cheek
A-there’s a better world a-waiting for the meek”
In my mind these words remain from Reuben James

Reuben James, you still walk the furrowed field of my mind
The faded shirt, the weathered brow
The calloused hands upon the plow
I loved you then and I love you now, Reuben James

Reuben Jame
One dark, cloudy day they brought you from the field
Until your lonely pinebox came
Just a preacher and me in the rain
Just to sing one last refrain for Reuben James

Reuben James, you still walk the furrowed field of my mind
The faded shirt, the weathered brow
The calloused hands upon the plow
I loved you then and I love you now, Reuben James

Reuben James, you still walk the furrowed field of my mind
The faded shirt, the weathered brow
The calloused hands upon the plow
I loved you then and I love you now, Reuben James

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Alex Harvey / Barry Etris
Reuben James lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

♫ Through The Years ♫

I had another song already scheduled for this morning.  I was finishing up responding to comments, was on the last one, in fact, and planning to head upstairs to bed at just after 3:00 a.m., when a ‘Breaking News’ banner flashed on my screen:  “Country Music Legend Kenny Rogers Dies at 81”Noooooooooooooooooooo.  cryingI am not a country music fan, but for the most part, I didn’t think of Kenny’s music as hardcore country.  I loved his voice, loved his music, and he wasn’t too hard on the eyes either. 😉 So, tonight I shed a tear and play one two of my favourite Kenny Roger’s songs, Through the Years and Islands in the Stream.

Released in 1981, this song was written by Steve Dorff and Marty Panzer.  The song was produced by Lionel Richie, and it was Richie who decided Through The Years was a good fit for Rogers.  According to co-writer Steve Dorff …

“Kenny was actually the third or fourth person that was approached with that song. Barry Manilow and Mac Davis passed on it. Glen Campbell passed on it. Those were the notable ones. Lionel Richie had heard the song and loved it and played it for his people and that’s how it happened. I got a phone call from Gene Page, that great arranger, who called me and said, ‘Congratulations! We just cut your song with Kenny Rogers, and it sounds amazing.'”

kenny-rogers-1kenny-rogers-2kenny-rogers-3

kenny-rogers-4

Through the Years
Kenny Rogers

I can’t remember when you weren’t there
When I didn’t care for anyone but you
I swear we’ve been through everything there is
Can’t imagine anything we’ve missed
Can’t imagine anything the two of us can’t do

Through the years
You’ve never let me down
You turned my life around
The sweetest days I’ve found
I’ve found with you
Through the years
I’ve never been afraid
I’ve loved the life we’ve made
And I’m so glad I’ve stayed
Right here with you
Through the years

I can’t remember what I used to do
Who I trusted whom, I listened to before
I swear you’ve taught me everything I know
Can’t imagine needing someone so
But through the years it seems to me
I need you more and more

Through the years
Through all the good and bad
I knew how much we had
I’ve always been so glad
To be with you
Through the years
It’s better everyday
You’ve kissed my tears away
As long as it’s okay
I’ll stay with you
Through the years

Through the years
When everything went wrong
Together we were strong
I know that I belonged
Right here with you
Through the years
I never had a doubt
We’d always work things out
I’ve learned what love’s about
By loving you
Through the years

Through the years
You’ve never let me down
You’ve turned my life around
The sweetest days I’ve found
I’ve found with you
Through the years
It’s better everyday
You’ve kissed my tears away
As long as it’s okay
I’ll stay with you
Through the years

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Martin Panzer / Stephen Hartley Dorff
Through the Years lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group


Islands in the Stream
Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers

Baby, when I met you there was peace unknown
I set out to get you with a fine tooth comb
I was soft inside
There was something going on

You do something to me that I can’t explain
Hold me closer and I feel no pain
Every beat of my heart
We got something going on

Tender love is blind
It requires a dedication
All this love we feel needs no conversation
We ride it together, ah ha
Making love with each other, ah ha

Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah ha
From one lover to another, ah ha

I can’t live without you if the love was gone
Everything is nothing if you got no one
And you did walk in the night
Slowly losing sight of the real thing

But that won’t happen to us and we got no doubt
Too deep in love and we got no way out
And the message is clear
This could be the year for the real thing

No more will you cry
Baby, I will hurt you never
We start and end as one
In love forever
We can ride it together, ah ha
Making love with each other, ah ha

Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah ha
From one lover to another, ah ha

Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah ha
From one lover to another, ah ha

Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong
Sail away with me
To another world
And we rely on each other, ah ha
From one lover to another, ah ha

Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Maurice Ernest Gibb / Robin Hugh Gibb / Barry Alan Gibb
Islands in the Stream lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Those Were The Days ♫

The origins of the melody appear to be strongly claimed by the Russians, and Russian gypsies consider it their song. The name of this song seems to be “Dorogo’ Dlinnoyu” and translated means “By a long road (or way)” or “Along a long road (or way)” or “On a long way.” Some sources claim it was written by two Russian composers – B. Fomin (music) and K. Podrevsky (lyrics) at the end of the 19th century or in the beginning of 20th century. There is another song, Russian title given as “Darogoi Dli Mayou.” calling itself “Dear to Me.” this too is supposed to be a version of “Dorogo Dlinnoyu,” first recorded by Alexander Wertinsky in the 1920s.

n 1962, Gene Raskin took the melody and wrote English lyrics to it. It was popularized in the US by the folk trio The Limeliters.  In 1965, Paul McCartney saw Raskin and his wife perform this in a London club. McCartney remembered the performance 3 years later, when The Beatles formed Apple Records. In 1968, British model Twiggy telephoned McCartney about a singer who performed on the UK TV program Opportunity Knocks (the US had a similar TV show in the ’90s – Star Search). Three-time winner Mary Hopkin was a 17-year-old from Wales who had people talking about her performances. McCartney returned to London and auditioned Hopkin. He was impressed by her voice and recommended that she record “an American folk song” that he heard a few years earlier, “Those Were the Days.”

The single was released simultaneously with the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” While “Hey Jude” was #1 for nine weeks in the US, “Those Were the Days” was #2 for four of them and knocked the Beatles out of #1 in the UK charts. Not bad for the first two single releases of Apple Records.

Those Were The Days
Mary Hopkin

Once upon a time there was a tavern
Where we used to raise a glass or two
Remember how we laughed away the hours
And think of all the great things we would do

Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la La la la la la la

Then the busy years went rushing by us
We lost our starry notions on the way
If by chance I’d see you in the tavern
We’d smile at one another and we’d say

Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la La la la la la la

Just tonight I stood before the tavern
Nothing seemed the way it used to be
In the glass I saw a strange reflection
Was that lonely woman really me

Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la La la la la la la
la la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la La la la la la la

Through the door there came familiar laughter
I saw your face and heard you call my name
Oh my friend we’re older but no wiser
For in our hearts the dreams are still the same

Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la la la
La la la la La la la la la la

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Gene Raskin
Those Were The Days (Remastered 1991) lyrics © T.R.O. Inc.

♫ Drift Away ♫

Earlier tonight as I was answering comments, I came across one by Roger where he just happened to say, “I’m gonna drift away …” and that was all it took to bring this song front and center in my head, and for the rest of the evening, the song was there, but for the life of me I could not remember the artist!  And as is often the case, Google helped me out!  Although the first hit it gave me was a version by an artist named “Uncle Kracker”, of whom I’ve never heard.

This song, written by Mentor Williams, was first released by John Henry Kurtz on his 1972 album Reunion.  Now, I’ve never heard of John Henry Kurtz who is listed as a “swamp rock” singer … not sure what that is, but it sounds somewhat less than endearing.

It was later given to soul singer Dobie Gray for whom it became a surprise international hit; and the best known version. In 1973 the song became Dobie Gray’s biggest hit, peaking at #5 in the U.S.  Gray’s version was quite popular on this side of the pond, but across the pond, they preferred the Michael Bolton version released in 1992.  I like both almost equally, but I suppose if you force me to choose, I would pick Dobie Gray’s.

This song was not only a commercial breakthrough for Mentor Williams, but also a breakthrough as a recording project. He explained …

“I think one of the hardest things for me to learn about songwriting was to really expose my feelings and weaknesses and to write personal, emotional things. As soon as I started doing that, I realized other people were relating to my songs. You can study how to write and spend a lot of time writing, but without this emotional content in a song, it’s just not there. ‘Drift Away’ was a big breakthrough for me. It was a song where it suddenly was okay for me to write about being hurt and let people know that I had been hurt and I wasn’t afraid to expose my feelings.”

This has been featured in several movies, including the 1988 comedy Heartbreak Hotel (starring David Keith as Elvis Presley), the 2003 drama Wonderland (starring Val Kilmer), and 2006 sports biopic Invincible (starring Mark Wahlberg). It was also used on The Office (US), in the 2007 episode Product Recall.

Drift Away
Dobie Gray

Day after day I’m more confused
Yet I look for the light in the pouring rain
You know that’s a game that I hate to lose
I’m feelin’ the strain, ain’t it a shame

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Beginning to think that I’m wastin’ time
I don’t understand the things I do
The world outside looks so unkind
So I’m countin’ on you to carry me through

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

And when my mind is free
You know a melody can move me
And when I’m feelin’ blue
The guitar’s comin’ through to soothe me
Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me
I want you to know I believe in your song
Rhythm and rhyme and harmony
You help me along makin’ me strong

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Hey, hey, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Na na na, won’t ya, won’t ya take me
Oh oh, take me

Won’t find
Early in the morning, they wanna take me
Come on and free my soul na na and drift away

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Mentor R. Williams
Drift Away lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ How Can I Be Sure? ♫

This song was written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, and originally recorded by The Young Rascals for their 1967 album Groovin’ with a single release in August 1967 affording the group their fourth Top 10 hit peaking at #4 in the U.S.

The Young Rascals’ original version didn’t hit in the UK and the first time it charted was in 1970 when a revival by Dusty Springfield scraped into the charts at #36. Two years later David Cassidy, who was at the time along with The Osmonds the most popular teen idol in the UK, went all the way to the top of the British singles chart with his cover.

Since I have readers from all over the world, I decided to play all three … The Young Rascals, Dusty Springfield, and David Cassidy.  I have to confess that my headphones died in the middle of the first version and were still charging, so I did not get to listen to Springfield’s and Cassidy’s versions last night.  I love my wireless headphones, but I keep forgetting to charge them! Which version is your favourite?

How Can I Be Sure
The Rascals

How can I be sure in a world that’s constantly changing?
How can I be sure where I stand with you?

Whenever I, whenever I am away from you
I wanna die ’cause you know I wanna stay with you.
How do I know? Maybe you’re trying to use me.
Flying too high can confuse me. Touch me but don’t take me down.

Whenever I, whenever I am away from you
My alibi is telling people I don’t care for you.
Maybe I’m just hanging around with my head up upside down.
It’s a pity, I can’t seem to find someone who’s as pretty
and lovely as you.

How can I be sure? I really really really wanna know.
I really really really wanna know. Oh.

How can I be sure in a world that’s constantly changing?
How can I be sure? I’ll be sure with you.

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Edward J Brigati / Felix Cavaliere
How Can I Be Sure lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Have You Ever Seen The Rain? ♫

This song was written by John Fogerty and released as a single in 1971 from the album Pendulum (1970) by roots rock group Creedence Clearwater Revival.  The song charted highest in Canada, reaching #1 on the RPM 100 national singles chart in March 1971. In the U.S., in the same year it peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. In the UK, it reached #36. It was the group’s eighth gold-selling single.

Some have speculated that the song’s lyrics are referencing the Vietnam War, with the “rain” being a metaphor for bombs falling from the sky. In his review for Allmusic website, Mark Deming suggests that the song is about the idealism of the 1960s and about how it faded in the wake of events such as the Altamont Free Concert and the Kent State shootings, and that Fogerty is saying that the same issues of the 1960s still existed in the 1970s but that people were no longer fighting for them. However, Fogerty himself has said in interviews and prior to playing the song in concert that it is about rising tension within CCR and the imminent departure of his brother Tom from the band.  Tom Fogerty left the group in early 1971, after this album was released. He released three solo albums before dying of tuberculosis in 1990. A fourth album, completed in 1988, was released posthumously.

In an interview, Fogerty stated that the song was written about the fact that they were on the top of the charts, and had surpassed all of their wildest expectations of fame and fortune. They were rich and famous, but somehow all of the members of the band at the time were depressed and unhappy; thus the line “Have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny day?”. The band split in October the following year after the release of the album Mardi Gras.

Have You Ever Seen the Rain
Creedence Clearwater Revival

Someone told me long ago
There’s a calm before the storm
I know, it’s been comin’ for some time

When it’s over, so they say
It will rain a sunny day
I know, shinin’ down like water

I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

Yesterday and days before
Sun is cold and rain is hard
I know, been that way for all my time

And forever, on it goes
Through the circle, fast and slow
I know, it can’t stop, I wonder

I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

Yeah

I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: John C. Fogerty
Have You Ever Seen the Rain lyrics © Jondora Music