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"If I told you the words, you wouldn't believe them anyway." -- R. Berry

Louie Louie is a song with a curious history. Inspired by (and/or partially copied from) El Loco Cha Cha by Rene Touzet and Havana Moon by Chuck Berry (YouTube), the original song by Richard Berry and The Pharaohs (YT) is a mix of calypso, cha-cha, and rhythm & blues. The next version was by Rockin' Robin Roberts & The Wailers (YT), which added a certain rock and roll swagger that will sound more familiar to most folks. But the vocals are all wrong, as they're too sharp, too easy to understand. The Kingsmen made the version everyone was talking about, with concerns of obscene lyrics getting the FBI involved (choice excerpts on The Smoking Gun). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 30, 2013 - 50 comments

 

Great White Wonder: Bob Dylan and the birth of Rock Bootlegs and Album Leaks

In the summer of 1969, two guys pressed a few thousand records with white label stickers, and packaged them in nondescript white sleeves. They didn't have their own cars to deliver the records so they borrowed friends' cars, and the record ended up throughout California, with copies getting airplay at 5 southern California radio stations. The music wasn't their own recordings, but unreleased material from Bob Dylan. The recording became known as the Great White Wonder, "the entertainment industry's first truly hip situation comedy" (in other words, the first bootleg ever to be produced in the rock-and-roll era). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 3, 2012 - 24 comments

Response Records: Answers to Hit Songs

Before hip-hop beefs, there were response records, also known as answer songs, usually replies to well-known songs. There are a few key eras: blues and R&B recorded music in the 1930s through 1950s, including a number of responses to "Work With Me, Annie" (1954), recorded by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, with answers including "Annie had a Baby," and "The Wallflower" by Etta James; and Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" (1953), with a quick response by Louis Innis and Charlie Gore, made a mere week after the original was released, and Rufus Thomas' "Bear Cat" (1953), Sun Records' first hit. Country, rock & roll, doo-wop and pop music picked up where the blues left off, with most activity in the 1950s to 60s. Two examples from this era are "Are You Lonesome To-night" and "Who Put The Bomp," and responses to both. The most well known from the next decade was Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" (1974), a response to Neil Young's "Southern Man" (1970) and "Alabama" (1972). Until the 2000s, no answer songs had charted as high as the original hits. That changed with Frankee's "F.U.R.B. (Fuck You Right Back)" (2004), a response to Eamon's "Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)" (2003), which was the first answer song to reach number 1 in the UK. Six years later and across the pond, Katy Perry's "California Gurls" was a response to "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z. It was the first answer song to reach No. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100. More Responses inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 31, 2012 - 53 comments

The how and why of leaking your own album, in two forms: Ben Folds Five and Wiley

In July 2008, there was a suspicious leak of new Ben Folds Five material, two months in advance of the (then) forthcoming album, Way to Normal. One month later, Ben Folds confessed that he and his touring band made the 6 fake songs in 8 hours (plus three tunes actually from the album), and he compared the fake tracks to the real album. Two years later, Wiley tweeted that he sacked his manager, and in a form of retaliation, shared 11 seemingly random collections of tracks in various forms of completion. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 7, 2011 - 51 comments

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