Crazy.

Five years later, I still enjoy this video and song very much.

Here’s Brian Kent, with “I’m Not Crazy”. I thought it might be a good theme song for the day.

It might make some people blush.

Saturday Dance Party.

I never knew there was a video for this track. It’s a very simple video, but nonetheless I still am happy to see that they went to the effort to make one. This is one of my very favorite tracks from the 90s. It was an import for the UK and was only heard on Abercrombie & Fitch in store radio here in the states, but nonetheless I LOVE IT.

Syncopated piano for the win. Those with a really good ear for this sort of thing will notice that the background singers are Miriam Stockley and Mae McKenna, who sang backups on many tracks by Rick Astley, Kylie Minogue, Sonia and even Donna Summer on her “Another Place and Time” album.

Here’s “Don’t Make Me Wait” by Loveland featuring Rachel McFarlane.

Blame Cher.

The small package arrived by Airborne Express. Hot delivery man (with the huge mustache) handed me the pad so that I could sign for it. I noticed the driver’s name at the top of the sheet and smiled.

The package was from Warner Brothers Records. The last time I had an overnight package from them it was a hard copy of the faxed cease and desist letter I had received for playing Madonna’s “Music” before I was suppose to.

The package contained a cassette tape with no label. Taped to it was a note: “new Cher track. Don’t play it on air.”

I popped the cassette into the tape player and pressed play. Out of my speakers came a track the sounded amazing for it’s day, in fact, a colleague in the other room came in to listen with me.

It was Cher’s “Believe”. We were into the second line of the first verse when I heard this really cool effect they did with her voice. It was like they turned her voice into some electronic instrument. It was definitely not a vocoder, I stopped the tape and rewound, listening to it again.

“That is wicked cool.”

The track played through and I realized I had been blessed by a sneak peek of what would be coming soon. The tape didn’t have the quality necessary to play the track on the air, but I could sneak it into a promo, if it was a really, really brief clip. I did, of course. No cease and desist that time.

By the way, that fresh, inventive sound we were hearing on her voice was auto-tune. It actually was auto-tune being used incorrectly, but it made for a really good effect. Cher demanded it be kept in the song.

And with that the auto-tune revolution was born.

Today, 99% of what you hear on pop radio or in dance tracks is auto-tuned. The folks at “Glee” auto-tune the hell out of their tracks, to the point of where it is so obvious that I want to kick in the television screen. What was once a really cool sounding effect, especially when used in moderation, became a necessity to sound 21st century. What’s worse is that auto-tune has sped up the American acceptance of mediocrity. Anyone can sing now. No talent required, just correct the pitch. Blah.

Back in the day Steve Perry had an amazing ‘arena rock’ voice. His voice is spectacular and is actually known for going a little sharp from time to time. The Human League, bless their hearts, are sometimes so off-key that you have to wonder if they’re in the same room as the instruments. (Listen to the opening ‘oohs’ of “Mirror Man” sometime). The honesty of a person’s singing voice should be celebrated, not electronically corrected.

People give a standing ovation now if the singer has simply made it through the song without forgetting the words and/or the pre recorded vocals haven’t skipped or crashed. This is crazy.

Cher was honest with her use of auto-tune as an effect in “Believe”. I wish more performers celebrated the honest instead of trying to cover up their individuality.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Bonus Track.

I think I need to get out and dance or something. Always a favorite on the dance floor back in the day, here’s Hazell Dean with “Love Pains”.

Notice the “Never Gonna Give You Up” percussion intro at the beginning. Hazell had teamed up with the Stock-Aiken-Waterman team for this tracks. They were known as the “Hit Factory” and used similar techniques in a LOT of records.

Vendetta.

As a club DJ of nearly 20 years or so, I was a baby DJ when Black Box hit the dance floors with their first hit “Ride On Time”. The track is recognisable to just about anyone that stepped foot in a dance club back in 1990 and is based on samples from the disco hit “Love Sensation” by Loleatta Holloway. The same disco song is sampled in “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch AND “I Don’t Know Anybody Else”, also by the aforementioned Black Box.

Black Box was big on looking good; even though it’s clearly Loleatta’s vocals in the track, they put this waify looking model named Katrin up on stage and had her lip sync the vocals a la Milli Vanilli. Back then, she was claiming to be the vocalist which made DJs and many of the gays rowdy because we all knew better. (By the way, she couldn’t speak English when interviewed after performing the songs). As an added bonus, permission was never obtained to use Loleatta’s vocals on “Ride On Time” and there were many lawsuits. Martha Wash also went through a whole bunch of stuff with Black Box (and C&C Music Factory come to thing about it), because they didn’t credit her for singing leads on just about the entire “Dreamland” album from Black Box and they claimed the waify woman could sing like Martha Wash too. Quick aside, I have met Loleatta in person and she’s fun and I know people that have met Martha and she’s fun too.

Because “Ride On Time” was such a good track, they re-recorded it with Heather Small (from the group “M-People” and then later her solo hit “Proud”) with just a hint of Loleatta’s sample (after she was properly paid) underneath the vocals to keep it familiar. When all was said and done, Martha Wash was paid and recognized for her work as well.

Anyways, I occasionally enjoy listening to some of these old tracks by watching the videos on YouTube and I still get angry at that fake singer up on stage claiming to be Loleatta/Martha/Heather, depending on the song. So then I write a snarky comment down where you’re allowed to do such things and then I move to a different video and my slight bit of anger subsides. I know it’s been 20 years, but deception doesn’t age well.

Moral of this story? Be real.

Here’s the re-released version with Heather Small on vocals and that waify bitch faking the whole thing. By the way, many claim that the waify bitch was first a man and then became a woman, and while I could see that, a transsexual operation would be too good for her.