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?
Posted by Sal Nunziato at 6:39 AM