For this week’s Thursday Inspiration prompt, Jim Adams has instructed us to respond to this challenge by either using the prompt word, break, or going with above picture, or by means of the song “The Chain,” or with another song by Fleetwood Mac, or anything else that you think fits.
I’m going to do something a little different today. I’m going to focus on the words chain and break and the three songs featured below.
“Unchain My Heart”
“Unchain My Heart” was written by Bobby Sharp and recorded first in 1961 by Ray Charles. Sharp, a drug addict at the time, sold the song to Teddy Powell for $50. Powell demanded half the songwriting credit, but Sharp later successfully fought for the rights to his song. In 1987, he was also able to renew the copyright for his publishing company, B. Sharp Music.
The song was a hit for Charles when released as a single in late 1961. Accompanied by his backup singers, the Raelettes, Charles sang about wanting to be free from a woman “who won’t let (him) go.” The song reached number 9 on the pop singles chart and number 1 on the R&B singles chart.
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” was a 1976 duet by English musician Elton John and English singer Kiki Dee. It was written by John with Bernie Taupin under the pseudonyms “Ann Orson” and “Carte Blanche,” respectively, and intended as an affectionate pastiche of the Motown style, notably the various duets recorded by Marvin Gaye and singers such as Tammi Terrell and Kim Weston. “There hadn’t been any around for a bit,” said Kiki Dee, “we thought we’d do one ourselves.”
It was good that they did. It was the second-biggest-selling record of 1976 in both the UK and the U.S. and it was a huge international success, topping the charts in a number of countries, including France, Italy, Australia, and Canada.
Chain Gang” was a song by the American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, released in July 1960. The song became one of Cooke’s most successful singles, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Overseas, “Chain Gang” charted at number 9 on the UK Singles Chart.
This was Cooke’s second-biggest American hit, his first single for RCA Victor, and was also his first top 10 hit since “You Send Me” from 1957.
The song was inspired after a chance meeting with an actual chain-gang of prisoners on a highway, seen while Cooke was on tour. According to legend, Cooke and his brother Charles felt sorry for the men and gave them several cartons of cigarettes. Cooke was reportedly unsatisfied with the initial recording sessions of this song at RCA Studios in Manhattan in January 1960, and came back three months later to redo some of the vocals to get the effect he wanted.