Friday, October 19, 2007

Who loves you, pretty baby?

So, I thought that when I finally posted new tracks I'd keep with my power pop theme. Then, via an outing in celebration of my mother's birthday, my focus shifted after attending a performance of the Chicago production of:

Jersey Boys is really a cute show. Well, either that or the guys playing the Four Seasons were really cute. Or both. If you're looking for a lame review from me, I'll say that the book was a tad cheesy for my taste, but the sets were cleverly done and the performances of the actors were solid, especially when it came to the crux of all musicals: singing and dancing. OMG, cute guys in suits (including the dreamiest Drew Gehling playing Bob Gaudio to the geekiest degree!) harmonizing and dancing in sync? In heaven—heh, as if!—they'll surround me for eternity!

So, yeah, I got on a Four Seasons/Frankie Valli kick and dug through my collection as well as gathered a few things I didn't have previously to bring you this whopping post. Yes, you're seeing 30 tracks there, ladies and gentleman! That's the most I've ever posted at one time, but I figure I waited so long to post, you deserve it. (Well, that and that this is only 1/3 of what I could have posted and what I was able to narrow it down to.) Let's all just cross our fingers that my bandwidth is as ready for action as I am.

  • Edith Massey "Big Girls Don't Cry" (Four Seasons cover)
    Ah, this is a weirdo classic I've meant to post at least a million times but never got around to—as well as the first of two John Waters stars covering a Four Seasons song in this post. We miss you and your eggs, Edith!

  • Liquor Giants "Big Man In Town" (Four Seasons cover)
    Because I never go in order when I write about tracks, this is the last one I'm writing and I'm burned out and don't have much to say except that I tend to like big men. Right now, Steve Agee has replaced Donal Logue as my No. 1 celebrity crush because I think he'd be more likely to want to just sit around watching stupid shit on TV with me.

  • King Kurt "Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby Goodbye)" (Four Seasons cover)
    I was going to post the Bay City Rollers version of this instead, but I caught a snippet of Love Actually on cable the other day and decided that its inclusion in a RomCom means enough people have heard it already.

  • The Colourfield "Can't Get Enough Of You Baby" (Four Seasons cover)
    I wish I could be more open-minded and loving when it comes to acts that cover songs to the point of terrorizing ubiquity, but I can't. Therefore, Smash Mouth's version of this song makes me shudder to this day, and in the wake of its reign, listening to any version is difficult. That said, I do have a soft spot for British new wave Terry Hall (ex Specials and Fun Boy Three, natch) projects. This reminds me of the Lightning Seeds. Of course, this recording preceded the Lightning Seeds first album by about five years, so I guess the Lightning Seeds remind me of this.

  • Grapefruit "C'mon Marianne" (Four Seasons cover)
    The cool thing about being in a psych (or psych-era) band in the '60s is that you could cover a hit less than a year or two after the original hit for no apparent reason and no one would bat an eyelash. But that was mostly because most people weren't buying psych albums. Sorry, kids.

  • Basil Henriques & the Waikiki Islanders "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    Had I so desired, I could have posted 30 tracks of covers of this song and this song alone. And then done 30 more the next day. I do not so desire. This is the first of a handful of instrumental covers in this post.

  • Ken Yokoyama "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    I know you were thinking: Wow, six songs in and no Japanese punk yet? Patience, my pretties. Patience.

  • Mina "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    Mina sings one of my all time favorite foreign language songs ("Ta-ra-ta-ta," in case you're curious), so I figured I'd throw her version in here.

  • Shiina Ringo "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    Not my favorite of her covers, but better than a lot of the ones I didn't post.

  • ZARD "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    This version made the list because of the kids in the chorus. Yay for kids in choruses!

  • The Rockin' Berries "Dawn (Go Away)" (Four Seasons cover)
    See what I wrote for "C'mon Marianne."

  • The Fatback Band "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night!)" (Four Seasons cover)
    The major cause of perceived fatback/backfat is actually an ill-fitting bra. Don't you pay any attention Oprah or Tim Gunn? Get fitted, already!

  • Yannick "Ces Soirées La" ["December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night!)]" (Four Seasons cover, French)
    Not to ruin the surprise for those who plan to see Jersey Boys, but it [SPOILER ALERT!] opens with a brief performance of a version of this cover. I found it a curious, almost jarring intro, but that was mostly because I think the temporary tension and confusion of all the Baby Boomers in the audience when they saw a person of color in baggy pants and crooked baseball cap was palpable and it seeped into me via osmosis.

  • ApologetiX "December, 5 or 6 BC (Oh, Holy Night!)"< (Four Seasons cover/parody/Bible story)
    Did you know there was a Christian parody band setting Bible stories to the tunes of hits from yesterday and today? Well, you're soaking in it. And you know, as jaded as I am, I've heard much worse. And old friend/co-worker of mine is a pastor and Christian musician and even she once told me, "The very best Christian song is only as good as a very mediocre non-Christian song." So far, I've found her assessment more than accurate, but at least in this band's little parodies the focus is on teaching Biblical facts—facts as in the stories it tells are actually written in the Bible, not facts as in things written in the Bible have been proved in any way—and not on converting non-believers. Anyhow, they have songs set to tracks as varied as Van Halen's "Panama" and Fountains of Wayne's "Stacey's Mom." Wait for it... "JC's Mom"!!! You know you're curious!

  • Johnny Johnson & Bandwagon "Let's Hang On" (Four Seasons cover)
    Dear Motowny/Northern Souly covers of '50s/'60s pop hits: You almost always rule. Thanks for everything! Love, Liza.

  • Queimada "Let's Hang On" (Four Seasons cover)
    This is my mother's favorite Four Seasons song (the original is, not this version, obviously) but it's only sung in the show in a very short snippet. I was kind of bummed for her. I like this version, not that it strays much from the original except accent-wise.

  • Richard Anthony "Tiens Bon" ["Let's Hang On"] (Four Seasons cover, French)
    Speaking of accents, this one's in a whole other language. Freaky!

  • Arthur Lyman "My Eyes Adored You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    The king of exotica and the king of covers, both the musical kind and the packaging kind.

  • Esther Phillips "Native New Yorker" (Frankie Valli / Odyssey cover)
    This is sort of a stretch since the first group to have a hit with it was Odyssey, but Frankie recorded it first. You can tell it was written for him once you know, can't you? There are a handful of covers of this, but I chose this one for its sassiness. (And because I don't think I've ever typed the word sassiness before, and I like it!)

  • Die Five Tops "Rag Doll" (Four Seasons cover, German)
    This one's in German.

  • The Quick "Rag Doll" (Four Seasons cover)
    Let not this post fool you, I'm still immersed in my newfound obsession with power pop. Therefore, I was excited to be able to pull out this glammy power pop nugget for this occasion. The Quick was a DIY Los Angeles band led by a young, effete-as-ever Danny Wilde (I forgive you the ubiquity of the Friends theme, my love!) and I would like to invent a time machine, set it to 1976 and stalk them.

  • Pete Anderson "Sherry" (Four Seasons cover)
    Weird that both of the "Sherry" covers are instrumentals, but at least they're totally different genres of instrumental music, I guess. (Actually, it's not so weird in fact because there aren't really that many "Sherry" covers out there, lyrics or no.) I wouldn't have guessed I'd run into any roots-rock guitar Four Seasons covers in my scavenges, but I would have been wrong. I guess it really HAS all been done! The Barenaked Ladies have pwned me yet again!

  • Santo & Johnny "Sherry" (Four Seasons cover)
    Now THIS is the kind of instrumental guitar Four Seasons cover I expected to hear. As we learned above, there's room for all kinds of interpretations in Jesus' world.

  • LB "Silence Is Golden" (Four Seasons cover)
    Well, just as I couldn't not post a Japanese punk cover today, I certainly couldn't have a post this long that didn't feature at least one "that doesn't sound anything like the original at all" track. Leave it to our old friend LB (aka Lassigue Bendthaus & DJ Atom Heart & SeƱor Coconut & Uwe Schmidt) to weird things up for us electronically!

  • The Klaxons "The Night" (Frankie Valli cover)
    A pretty standard indie cover, yet I find it very sexy.

  • David Bisbal "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" (Four Seasons cover, partially in Spanish)
    True, the Walker Brothers version is likely more famous, but again, Frankie et. al. did it first. There are millions of versions of this one as well, but I thought it was about time for cheesy Spanish disco.

  • Keane "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" (Four Seasons cover)
    Keane is a band I sometimes secretly like and sometimes secretly hate. The lead singer is pretty damned dreamy in person, though, as I saw him once at SmartBar after the M.I.A./LCD Soundsystem show a few years ago. Mmmm, corduroy pants...

  • Divine "Walk Like A Man" (Four Seasons cover)
    Every year around Halloween, I say I'm going to go as Divine. Then every year around Halloween, I realize that I have nowhere near the amount of money I would need to create the perfect Divine costume, and I won't do it if it's not perfect. Most of my inactivity isn't laziness; it's perfectionism!

  • Mary Jane Girls "Walk Like A Man" (Four Seasons cover)
    Ted Danson and Howie Mandel have gone on to much greener pastures since their performances in Blake Edwards' A Fine Mess, the soundtrack to which featured this gem. Danson is in two of my favorite shows (Damages and Curb your Enthusiasm) and Howie is somehow inexplicably charming America in that tedious game show. If only the Mary Jane Girls were able to meet the same fate. Listening to this, I'm guessing we can all see why that might not have meant to be. Oh no I didn't!!!

  • Oizone "Working My Way Back To You" (Four Seasons cover)
    Hey, the Japanese certainly don't corner the market on punk covers. We can't ignore UK punks and their "clever" names. (Oizone rhymes with Boyzone, get it? It's okay if you didn't. Trust me.)

    Larry said...

    Pulp apparently covered 'The Night' too but I've never been able to find it.

    Lobstar said...

    L- Yeah, they performed it live for a French radio show or something. I have it, if you want me to send it to you.

    clare said...

    Top post!

    Johnny D said...

    I am so glad you saw Jersey Boys! It is definitely one of my favorite musicals on Broadway now, and The 4 Seasons is one of my favorite pop groups. And thanks for putting up the actual French cover of "Oh, what a night." I just love your site!

    Lobstar said...

    Clare & Johnny - Thanks!

    PeanuT said...

    Apologetix are amazing! My personal faves are 'Love The Jews' (the Beatles' 'Love Me Do'), The Real Sin Saviour (Eminem's 'The Real Slim Shady') and 'I Love Apostle Paul' (Joan and the Jets' 'I Love Rock & Roll') :-D

    Really well done, too, if cringeworthy. They've worked with Weird Al's band, apparently, which is the 'parody musicians' equivalent of recording with Quincy Jones!

    Duncan said...

    1. This is totally awesome.
    2. When I saw Jersey Boys I was disappointed that they only did a snippet of my fave song, too: "Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'Bout Me)", though I understand, since it's the same lyrics over and over, they just change the key
    3. Wasn't Howie Mandel in a movie called "Walk Like a Man", too? In which he played a Tarzanic dog-boy?
    4. This is totally awesome.

    Adam Scott said...

    Sorry to be so damn pedantic, but "December 1963 (Oh What A Night!)" is actually a cover of another French song by Claude Francois called "Cette Annee-La". Whether or not Yannick's song comes via Claude Francois's or Frankie Valli's, I don't know. But Claude Francois sung the original version, and Frankie covered him.

    Claude Francois, whilst we're at it, also performed the original version of "I Did It My Way", also in French.

    Lobstar said...

    Adam - Okay, Yannick's version is a cover of the version you site. However, the version you site is a French rewrite of the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons song, yes? The original music and lyrics to which were written by Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons. Francois' version had lyrics reworked by Eddy Marney. Generally when I list a song as a cover of another song, I consider the the first group to record and have a hit with it as the version being covered, particularly in a case like this in which an actual member of the Four Seasons was the song writer. In cases in which another act made a song more popular than the first person who recorded it, I try to mention that (see "Native New Yorker" in this entry). And, in cases of songs that have been recorded by hundreds, if not, thousands of people and whose recordings all happened around the same era, I try to list the composer. Don't take this to mean that I don't appreciate your input, I do. I just don't have the desire to write research papers on every track I post. The bottom line in this case is that, and pardon my US-centric view, when the majority of people hear any version of this song's music, they recognize it as a Frankie Valli song.

    Lobstar said...

    Also, Adam, I presume you read/or speak French as I do, so in case, here is a bit of information on the Francois track that backs me up.

    Francis said...

    I'm now completely obsessed with ApologetiX. My favorite moment so far: they do a cover of a Butthole Surfers song, but refer to that band on their website as the "Buttonhole Surfers".

    Scott Bateman said...

    And but so "December 1963" is actually a Four Seasons track and not a Frankie Valli solo venture; Frankie Valli only sings the bridge and the rest is sunby um, another one of the Seasons. Autumn, perhaps. :-)

    And but so also thank you for the many wonderful covers I've downloaded from you since you started this blog back during the Eisenhower administration!

    Lobstar said...

    Scott - Thanks for the heads-up. I think that was the result of some incorrect copy-and-paste from other tracks. Either that or my subconscious is a purist in the sense that the late-1970s incarnation of the Four Seasons is not its "true" incarnation. Only Valli and Gaudio remained.

    Megan P.I. said...

    Holy crap! thanks for those!
    I saw Jersey Boys here in L.A. earlier this year and I unexpectedly loved it.

    Lobstar said...

    Francis - It's unclear whether I owe you a "you're welcome" or an "I'm sorry"! Heh.

    Megan - You're welcome!

    Matthew said...

    I was once working in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. On a break, I went to the World Trade Center - 27 stories to the Top of the World - and who should be standing in the rain outside the revolving door? John Waters and Divine. Being the wit that I am, I said "Y-y-your Divine!"

    He said "Yes, I am."

    I can still here his voice. Classic. That was 1983.

    Anonymous said...

    Dude,you forgot Neil Diamond's version of "The Sun Aint Gona
    Shine Anymore" produced by...Bob Gaudio.So here it is:

    Lobstar said...

    Anon - Thanks for thinking of me, but I didn't "forget" to post it. I have it but chose not to because it's pretty ubiquitous. As I mention in this post, there are a lot of covers of that song. I just generally try to stay away from popular major-label artists if I can help it. Third, that link is too long to read in the comment pop-up window, so I doubt anyone interested is going to be able to grab it from you.

    Anonymous said...

    third,all someone has to do is copy the link in the address bar.What makes Neil Diamond's version interesting is that it was produced by the Four Season who wrote it.Repeat-it was produced by the four season who wrote it.A moody version that I do not find
    ubiquitous at all dude.

    Lobstar said...

    Anon- I didn't mean to offend you anything and I hope you didn't read anything snarky in the tone of my last comment or in this one. Yes, I realize that Gaudio produced it, it's just that I posted 30 tracks and that's a lot. I can't please everyone in my selections nor post every cover I have. Attempts to do so would be futile, so very often my choices are random and inspired by what's interesting or new to me. The Diamond cover has been part of my collection for a long time and everyone knows Neil Diamond and I just didn't feel like posting it. Also, in Firefox, which is the browser I use, the text in the pop-up window gets cut off and cut and pasting it did not seem to work for me. Again, I appreciate you posting the info and the track for those unfamiliar with the Neil Diamond version, but I stand by my random decision not to post it. Also: I'm not a dude.

    Kevin H said...

    Liza- Thanks for your great post! BTW you are correct about the cut-and-paste-thing (I too use Firefox)- except this time it worked for me! (inexplicable, as it almost never has before). The resulting link, however, was to an mp3 in less than stellar (to these ears) 96kb, rather than the more pleasingly acceptable MOR 192kb. Anyhow, I am on your side about the Diamond cover, as any regular reader of your posts would (should) agree, it would be unexpected (though not untollerated) to find such a post from you. You are our go-to-guy, Liza (pardon), for digging deep!

    Thanks again, Dude-ette!