Song Lyric Sunday — Indie Rock

When Jim Adams gave us songs by Indie Rock or Indie Pop groups as this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, I was at a loss. I had to Google “Indie Rock Songs” and when I did, it didn’t help much. I didn’t recognize any of the songs or artists. Except for one. “Somebody Told Me” from The Killers. I recognized this song because The Killers is one of my daughter’s favorite bands and “Somebody Told Me” is one of her favorite songs by that band.

The Killers is an alternative rock, indie rock band. “Somebody Told Me” was a song released as the second official single from the group’s debut studio album Hot Fuss in 2004. The song was written by band members Brandon Flowers, Mark Stoermer, Dave Keuning and Ronnie Vannucci Jr.

When the Killers first started out, their music was little noticed by music buyers and the media, which is why “Somebody Told Me” has been released twice in slightly different forms. The first release was little noticed and had poor sales. But after being re-released, the single peaked at number 51 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. In the UK, it charted at number 28 upon its first release in March 2004, becoming the band’s first hit in the Top 40. When it was re-released in January 2005, it reached number three. In 2009, it was voted at number nine in XFM’s Top 100 Songs of the Decade.

Flowers said the song is a look inside the mind of a young man laden with testosterone and libido. “We were going out to clubs a lot at the time,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “It speaks to a young man’s frustration, the difficulty of picking up girls.” Flowers was 20 or 21 at the time he wrote the lyrics and said, “I was just trying to write about what I was doing and seeing in these indie nightclubs in Vegas. I was listening to Pulp and David Bowie, trying to channel all of that stuff.”

Here are the lyrics to “Somebody Told Me.”

Breakin' my back just to know your name
Seventeen tracks and I've had it with this game
A breakin' my back just to know your name
But Heaven ain't close in a place like this
Anything goes but don't blink, you might miss
'Cause Heaven ain't close in a place like this
I said Heaven ain't close in a place like this
Bring it back down, bring it back down tonight (hoo hoo)
Never thought I'd let a rumor ruin my moonlight

Well somebody told me you had a boyfriend
Who looked like a girlfriend
That I had in February of last year
It's not confidential, I've got potential

Ready let's roll onto something new
Takin' it's toll then I'm leaving without you
'Cause Heaven ain't close in a place like this
I said Heaven ain't close in a place like this
Bring it back down, bring it back down tonight (hoo hoo)
Never thought I'd let a rumor ruin my moonlight

Well somebody told me you had a boyfriend
Who looked like a girlfriend
That I had in February of last year
It's not confidential, I've got potential

A rushing, rushing around

Pace yourself for me (for me)
I said maybe, baby, please (please)
But I just don't know now (baby, baby)
When all I want to do is try

Well somebody told me you had a boyfriend
Who looked like a girlfriend
That I had in February of last year
It's not confidential, I've got potential

A rushing, rushing around

Now somebody told me you had a boyfriend
Who looked like a girlfriend
That I had in February of last year
It's not confidential, I've got potential

A rushing, rushing around

Somebody told me you had a boyfriend
Who looked like a girlfriend
That I had in February of last year
It's not confidential, I've got potential

A rushing, rushing around

Song Lyric Sunday — What’s Going On

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has given us the theme of Motown songs. I have chosen the iconic song, “What’s Going On” from Marvin Gaye.

“What’s Going On” was written by three Motown hitmakers: songwriter Al Cleveland, Four Tops member Renaldo “Obie” Benson, and singer Marvin Gaye, who added lyrics and worked on the arrangement. Gaye wanted the Originals to record the song, but Benson and Cleveland prevailed upon Gaye to do it himself.

The song was released in 1971 on the Motown subsidiary Tamla. It was inspired by a police brutality incident witnessed by Benson as well as by the stories Gaye’s brother Frankie told him when he came back from the Vietnam War. The song marked Gaye’s departure from the Motown Sound towards more personal material.

This was one of the first Motown songs to make a powerful political statement. Stevie Wonder and the Temptations were also recording more serious and challenging material, which was a radical departure from the Motown hits of the ’60s. The song had a tremendous impact because listeners weren’t used to hearing social commentary from Gaye. As Jackson Browne said in a 2008 interview with Rolling Stone: “No one was expecting a protest song from him. But it was a moment in time when people were willing to hear it from anybody, if it was heartfelt. And who better than the person who has talked to you about love and desire?”

Gaye wrote this when he could no longer take refuge in his love songs. His marriage to Anna Gordy was in shambles, his duet partner and friend Tammi Terrell collapsed into his arms during a concert and died in 1970, drug use was pervading the inner city culture, and Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy were all gunned down.

“What’s Going On” was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1972 including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), but failed to win in any of the categories. It was ranked at number 4 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of all Time in 2004 and 2010.

Here are the lyrics to “What’s Going On.”

Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today, yeah

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today, oh, oh, oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what's going on
What's going on
Yeah, what's going on
Ah, what's going on

(In the mean time)
Right on, baby
Right on babe
Right on babe

Mother, mother
Everybody thinks we're wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply 'cause our hair is long?
Oh, you know we've got to find a way
Bring some understanding here today
Oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
C'mon talk to me
So you can see
What's going on
Yeah, what's going on
Tell me what's going on
I'll tell you what's going on
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Right on baby
Right on, right on

Right on baby

Right on baby, c'mon, right on

Song Lyric Sunday — Recognizable Intros

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt, Clive, from Take It Easy, suggested to Jim Adams the theme of songs with recognizable intro. And for a certain generation of bloggers, is there any more recognizable song introduction than the plaintive, repetitive cry, “I want my MTV”?

“Money for Nothing” was a song by British rock band Dire Straits. It was written by Mark Knopfler and Sting and it was the second track on their fifth studio album, Brothers in Arms. The song was released as the album’s second single at the end of June 1985.

It was Dire Straits’ most commercially successful single, peaking at number 1 for three weeks on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 in the band’s native UK. In July 1985, the month following its release, Dire Straits and Sting performed the song at Live Aid (the video above). At the 28th Annual Grammy Awards in 1986, “Money for Nothing” won Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year as well. At the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards, the music video received 11 nominations, winning Video of the Year and Best Group Video.

“Money for Nothing” is about rock star excess and the easy life it brings compared with “real” work. Knopfler wrote it after overhearing delivery men in a New York department store complain about their jobs while watching MTV. He wrote the song in the store sitting at a kitchen display they had set up. Many of the lyrics were things they actually said.

Sting sings on this and helped write it (he and Knopfler are the credited writers). That’s him at the beginning singing “I want my MTV.” Sting did not want a songwriting credit, but his record company did because they would have earned royalties from it.

The music video for the song (see below) features early 3D computer animation illustrating the lyrics. The video was one of the first uses of computer-animated human characters and was groundbreaking at the time of its release.

Here are the lyrics to Money for Nothing.

(I want my, I want my MTV)
(I want my, I want my MTV)
(I want my, I want my MTV)
(I want my, I want my MTV)

Huh, now look at them yo-yos, that's the way you do it
You play that guitar on the MTV
That ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Money for nothin' and your chicks for free

Now that ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Lemme tell ya, them guys ain't dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

We got to install microwave ovens, custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators, we got to move these color TVs, ow

See the little faggot with the earring and the make up
Yeah, buddy, that's his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot, he's a millionaire

We got to install microwave ovens, custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators, we got to move these color TVs

Huh

We got to install microwave ovens, custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators, we got to move these color TVs
Looky here, look out

I shoulda learned to play the guitar
I shoulda learned to play them drums
Look at that mama, she got it stickin' in the camera man
We could have some

And he's up there, what's that?
Hawaiian noises?
He's bangin' on the bongos like a chimpanzee
Oh, that ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Get your money for nothin', get your chicks for free

We got to install microwave ovens, custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators, we got to move these color TVs

Ow, ow ow ow

Listen here
Now that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Money for nothin' and your chicks for free
Money for nothin', chicks for free
Get your money for nothin' and your chicks for free
Ooh, that money for nothin', chicks for free
Get your money for nothin', chicks for free
Money for nothin' (all that money for nothing), chicks for free
Get your money for nothin', get your chicks for free (ow)
Get your money for nothin' and the chicks for free
Get your money for nothin' and the chicks for free (what's that?)

Look at that, look at that
Get your money for nothin' (I want my, I want my)
And the chicks for free (I want my MTV)
Money for nothin', chicks for free (I want my, I want my, I want my MTV)
Get your money for nothin' (I want my, I want my)
And the chicks for free (I want my MTV)
Get your money for nothin' (I want my, I want my)
And the chicks for free (I want my MTV)
Easy, easy money for nothin' (I want my, I want my)
Easy, easy chicks for free (I want my MTV)
Easy, easy money for nothin' (I want my, I want my)
Chicks for free (I want my MTV)
That ain't workin'

Money for nothing, chicks for free
Money for nothing, chicks for free

Song Lyric Sunday — On the Cover of Rolling Stone

For this week’s edition of Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has asked us to focus on songs by an artist or a group that was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The artist I have selected is Tina Turner. In November 1967, Turner became the first female artist and the first black artist to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

Above is Tina Turner appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone Volume 1, Number 2 published on November 25, 1967. The Tina Turner song I’m featuring is “What’s Love Got To Do With It”

“What’s Love Got To Do With It” was written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle. It was recorded by Tina Turner and released in 1984. It was taken from her fifth solo album, Private Dancer, and became Turner’s most successful single. Interestingly, the song was offered to a number of other singers, including Cliff Richard, Phyllis Hyman, and Donna Summer, but ultimately Tina Turner recorded it and was her “comeback song.”

Tina Turner first hit the pop charts with her husband Ike in 1960, and their biggest hit came in 1971 with a cover of “Proud Mary.” After enduring years of spousal abuse, Tina split from Ike in 1976 and her career was in limbo until “What’s Love Got To Do With It” thrust her back in the spotlight 13 years after “Proud Mary.”

In “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” a woman enjoys having sex with her lover, but feels no emotional attachment. She wants him to know that there’s nothing more to it, as for her it’s purely physical. Their relationship has nothing to do with love, which she dismisses as “a sweet, old-fashioned notion.”

Turner initially hated what she called an “anti-love” song. She balked at recording it, but she ultimately deferred to her manager, Roger Davies, who was engineering her comeback and was sure the song would be a hit.

The song won Grammys in 1985 for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Female Vocal Performance. Tina gave one of the awards to Davies, whom she credited with reviving her career.

Turner set two records when this song went to number 1 on the Hot 100 on September 1, 1984. At 44, she became the oldest female solo artist ever to top the chart, a remarkable feat in an industry that prizes youth, especially among female singers.

She also set the record for longest time between first song to chart and first number 1 hit. Her first song to chart was “A Fool In Love” with Ike Turner in 1960, 24 years earlier.

Here are the lyrics to “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”

You must understand though the touch of your hand
Makes my pulse react
That it's only the thrill of boy meeting girl
Opposites attract
It's physical
Only logical
You must try to ignore that it means more than that
Oh, oh, oh

What's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a second hand emotion
What's love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

It may seem to you that I'm acting confused
When you're close to me
If I tend to look dazed I've read it someplace
I've got cause to be
There's a name for it
There's a phrase that fits
But whatever the reason you do it for me
Oh, oh, oh

What's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a second hand emotion
What's love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

Ooh

I've been taking on a new direction
But I have to say
I've been thinking about my own protection
It scares me to feel this way
Oh, oh, oh

What's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a second hand emotion
What's love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

What's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a sweet old fashioned notion
What's love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken

(What's love got to do) Ooh got to do with it
(What's love but a second hand emotion)
What's love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken
(What's love got to do with it) Oh oh, got to do with it
(What's love)

Song Lyric Sunday — John Raitt’s Kid

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim is going with a theme suggested by Paula Light of Light Motifs II. The challenge is to find songs from artists who have famous musician parents. I am going with Bonnie Raitt. Bonnie’s father was the celebrated Broadway singer John Raitt (Carousel, Oklahoma!, The Pajama Game). Her mother was the accomplished pianist/singer Marge Goddard. The Bonnie Raitt song I am featuring is “Nick of Time.”

Bonnie Raitt is an American blues singer and guitarist. “Nick of Time” was the third single from her 10th solo album of the same name. The single was released in May 1990 and was a Top 10 Adult Contemporary hit. It also won Raitt a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

The album, Nick of Time, was a reflection on love and aging after enduring a personal and professional slump. She was dropped from her record label, was shattered by a failed romance, and had become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Fast approaching 40, she decided it was time to turn her life around and got clean and sober — just in the nick of time. Not only did the album revive her career, but it was also her first #1 hit on the Albums chart and earned three Grammy awards, including Album of the Year.

In an interview, Raitt said that the midtempo ballad “came from a part of me that hadn’t yet seen the light of day. I wanted to dig deep and honor the changes in my life. Writing it gave me a sense of confidence and self-awareness that helped me break through some stifling self-doubt. While writing the song, instead of comparing myself to greats like Jackson Browne and Randy Newman and then giving up, I was just writing for myself, as a gift for the miracle that had happened.”

The song title, Raitt said, had a double-edged meaning. ‘Nick,’ as in just in the nick of time, and also the wear and tear of time and the nicks it leaves on the body and the spirit.”

The first verse (“A friend of mine, she cries at night…”) was taken from a conversation she had with a heartbroken friend who was nearing middle age and desperately wanting a baby.

The second verse (“I see my folks, they’re getting old…”) was inspired by observing her elderly father sleeping in the car during a road trip. She recalled, “In his vulnerable state I could see he was getting older and could really feel what it was like for a body to age. This whole idea of time and it being more precious as you age, I realized this would be what I’d write about.”

The third verse (“You came along and showed me…”) pulled Raitt back from the edge of the abyss when love came to the rescue. But, she said, it wasn’t about anyone in particular. “It was about a bigger, more universal love.”

Here are the lyrics to “Nick of Time.”

A friend of mine she cries at night
And she calls me on the phone
Sees babies everywhere she goes
And she wants one of her own
She's waited long enough she says
And still she can't decide
Pretty soon she'll have to choose
And it tears her up inside
She's scared
Scared she'll run out of time

I see my folks, they're getting old
And I watch their bodies change
I know they see the same in me
And it makes us both feel strange
No matter how you tell yourself
It's what we all go through
Those eyes are pretty hard to take
When they're staring back at you, oh

Scared to run out of time

When did the choices get so hard?
With so much more at stake
Life gets mighty precious
When there's less of it to waste

Scared to run out of time

Just when I thought I'd had enough
And all my tears were shed
No promise left unbroken
There were no painful words unsaid
You came along and showed me
How to leave it all behind
You opened up my heart again
And then much to my surprise

I found love, baby
Love in the nick of time
(Love in the nick of time)

I found love, darling
Love in the nick of time
(Love in the nick of time)

I found love, baby
Love in the nick of time
Ooh ooh ooh ooh yeah baby
Oh oh oh found love
In the nick of time
Thought I'd give it up
Give enough babe oh babe