Thursday, January 30, 2014

YOU Can Be A Producer! Yes, YOU!

I was in a short-lived power pop band in 1989. Mostly originals written by the guitar player and a few covers. I can't remember anything about that band except this:

Me and the guitarist both agreed that "I Heard A Rumour" by Bananarama was a fantastic pop song and had a real chance of true credibility if made over. We decided to slow the tempo down. Think John Waite's "Missing You" for pace. We had Dwight Twilley's "I'm On Fire" in mind for a guitar sound. A nice, solid Ringo drum feel. And for the hell of it, we added some call & answer backing vocals that overlapped on the chorus, something like--

"I heard a rumour (YOU HEARD A RUMOUR)/they said you had a broken heart/BROOOO-KEN HAAAART"

Anyway, we worked this out and it went over like gangbusters at our one and only gig.

I thought about all of this the other night in the wake of the Grammy Awards, how even pop music and dance music and disco and so many other bad rap genres, as well as rap, used to be so much better.

But that's not really why I am here.

I have this fantasy that someone reading this blog will see this post and say to his bandmates, "Wow! Sal has this great idea for a Bananarama cover." They demo it and it's great, just like me and the guitarist pictured it in 1989. Of course, the fantasy will also include a producer credit for me, more work in the future, and lots of royalty checks. But one thing at a time.

And also...

Can you think of a song that you like, but ultimately hear in a different way?


Anonymous said...

Sal, "a chance at true credibility"????
Bananarama made great records!


Sal Nunziato said...

Yes they did. And so did the Pet Shop Boys. I won't argue that. But great records don't always translate into credibility. Pop music is often treated as fluff and underneath the gloss and fluff of "I Heard A Rumour's" production, is a fantastic song with a fantastic melody.

Shriner said...

The band I was briefly in in the late 80s did a mashup of "Biko" and "Bad" (by U2) that I thought could have been a hit for some hipster indie band...

(Not in a "Will To Power" way, but it was pretty organic and natural...)

I can never listen to either song without thinking of the other any more because of that...

That said, there are a *bunch* of hits by small indie artists that if the song got covered by a "major artist" would be world-wide smash, probably, without much of a reworking.

Anonymous said...

Glad I'm not the only one who imagines such things.

For example, I think the Paul Simon's song (recorded by 'Cyrkle') "Red Rubber Ball" would sound great if it was redone with the bitter voice and fierce guitar attack of 1978-era Elvis Costello. The verse (though not the chorus) lyrics even fit.

No, really. Once I imagined it this way, I can't hear it any other way in my head.


Robert Kennedy said...

Red Rubber Ball - The Diodes?

Robert Kennedy said...

Red Rubber Ball? Check out the Diodes

Todd Glaeser said...

I once imagined re-doing "Sweet & Innocent," the Donny Osmond hit, with a slower, "You Can Leave your Hat On," strip club-type of groove.

Christine said...

A more pumped up, heavier version of Tom Petty's "American Girl" with Freddie Mercury breathing "OH YEAH, ALLRIGHT?" ;)

simonthecat said...

The Debbie Gibson song 'Only in My Dreams' with a really loose, early KC & the Sunshine Band type caribbean groove and then a Santana-ish guitar break.

Jack Cheng said...

I'm in a family chorus (50+ people ages 5-75) and I suggested a vocal arrangement of Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time:

Adults thinking about their kids ("Lying in my bed...")

Kids breaking away from the family ("You're calling to me but...")

and finally, older folks waiting for a telephone call ("After my picture fades...")

Not sure it worked out as I imagined it, but I liked the idea of turning "bummer of a romance" song into the every day story of kids finding their independence from adults.

wardo said...

I was in a band that ran "Sympathy For The Devil" into "Hungry Like The Wolf". No recordings exist.

I've also toyed with playing Billy Joel's "Only The Good Die Young" at the same tempo as "It Ain't Me Babe", acoustic with harmonica.