Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Time For Another Episode Of, "You Too Can Be An A&R Guy!"

Back in the early 90's, a friend was working for Prince at Paisley Park studios. I got to visit the Chanhassen grounds and it was every bit of spectacular as one would expect from Prince. The soundstage was mind blowing. And so was gently touching the handle bars of the "Purple Rain" motorcycle.

My favorite part of the trip was talking to my friend's friend, who worked very closely to Prince. She shared little bits of tid about his recording rituals and occasionally open rehearsals, where my friend once sat with a tuna sandwich in the bleachers and watched Prince shred for an hour. Talk about surreal. At this time, Prince had been working with Mavis Staples and was looking for a song to cover. My friend made some snarky comment about how I was a mental case because of how much music I listened to and thought I should offer some suggestions. I did. I suggested Barry White's "I"m Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More." I thought Mavis' husky voice would be perfect. No one had ever covered Barry White. Prince would probably turn this into something special. My friend's friend said, "Interesting."  That's it.

Weeks later, my friend called, "You know, they were talking about your Barry White cover all week." Well, that's great! Nothing ever came of it.

There was also talk about a Robert Palmer comeback. (My friend was plugged into many places in the music biz.) He came to me again. I suggested that Palmer should cover Sade's "The Sweetest Taboo." I thought it was perfect for him. Funky, plush, sexy, with a bossa nova beat. "It'd be huge!" My friend said, "That's fucking genius!" Robert Palmer died not long after. Idiot.

I loved John Wesley Harding's acoustic version of Madonna's "Like A Prayer." THAT was fucking genius. But since then, the ironic, acoustic cover version has been done to the death.

I heard Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" while I was getting my haircut, and the chorus really struck me as something that could really work in a rock and roll setting. Think of it stripped of the gloss, arranged with some real guitars and drums, maybe in the hands of Cheap Trick, with Robin Zander's pipes and harmonies? It'd be huge!

Any ideas? Is there an artist you'd like to match up with a song and arrangement?


richeye said...

I've always thought that almost any of the songs from the 1st Moby Grape album would make fine country hits; especially 8:05, Fall On You and Ain't No Use

Bombshelter Slim said...

I always thought that Joe Cocker should have done Delaney Bramlett's arrangement of "Faded Love", now that would have been killer!

Anonymous said...

I saw Richard Thompson last year at an all request show. My request was Nick Drake's Which Will. But he didn't do it.


Jeff in Denton TX said...

As a high school kid in the mid-80s, it occurred to me that someone should cover Simon & Garfunkel's "A Hazy Shade of Winter." I hadn't thought of The Bangles as that someone, but I should have--they crushed it.

I also thought a harder rock version of Christopher Cross's "Ride Like the Wind" could work. Years later, I heard Saxon's cover, which was not particularly good. I still think a good hard rock cover of that track could work--just not sure who should do it.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I could only handle 3 minutes of Lady Ga Ga, but I hear what you mean.

Moby Grape came close to playing straight country more than once.

I've always thought Bryan Ferry could have killed this hopelessly obscure Rosco Gordon song, "Little Bit Of Magic"

This Red Foley/Kitty Wells duet, "One By One" would have been perfect for Gram and Emmy Lou.

I wish the Rolling Stones could laugh at themselves a little and cover this Slim Dunlap sorta medley of "Not Yet/Ain't No Fair In A Rock N Roll Love Affair"

buzzbabyjesus said...

Another Rolling Stones Candidate: "Soul Jerky" by Kyf Brewer

Joe said...

Before he passed away, I was compiling a list of songs that I would have liked to see Levon Helm cover. I thought I would post it on The Band webpage and get some discussion going.

The one song that was on that list, and that I have been thinking about for quite some time, is Phil Ochs' Power and Glory. I always thought that if someone slowed that song down a bit and gave it a full band arrangement, it would be a powerful song. Still one of my favorites and I still would like to see a cover of it. joe

Anonymous said...

Courtney Barnett to cover "Gangster of Love

one of those neo-soul guys to cover the last song on the first side of Caravanserai, "All the Love of the Universe"

Edith Frost departed from her faux Appalachian thing to write a pop song on her 3rd album called "Cars and Parties." I always think of k. d. lang doing it, maybe slowed down.

Northing said...

a bit obvious, but in your ballpark: Halestorm...

Anonymous said...

Ever since about a month after I first heard REM's "The One I Love," I thought, man, Sinatra (or maybe Joe Piscopo as Sinatra) could tear this one up. I can hear it with a driving Billy May arrangement: "This one goes out to that one I love... This one goes out to the chick I left... a-behind!"


cmealha said...

My first thought was Gwen Stefani's "Make Me Like" done by Glen Tilbrook but then I thought better of it since he's done so many acoustic covers in his shows. How about Andy Partridge. Can't make up my mind. You decide.

Hey-its Mike said...

Always wanted to hear an angry, cynical Elvis Costello version of Paul Simon/Cyrkle's "Red Rubber Ball."

In an alternate universe, the Tom Waits versions of "Where the Boys Are" and "Hopelessly Devoted to You" are constant requests on late-night FM radio shows.

rhoule said...

I've always preferred this cover of Bad Romance over the original...Lissie