Treated With Respect

I have heard it said that, “Pain makes you stronger, tears make you braver and heartbreak makes you wiser”, but Aretha Franklin put it this way, “All I’m askin’ Is for a little respect when you get home (just a little bit)”, and everyone needs that in their life.  Nobody wants to be with a girl who will dangle sex in front of them like a carrot, treating them like a push over.  It is nice to find someone and settle down for the long haul, but it always takes time to really get to know a person and there are times in every relationship where you need to keep looking around to see who else is out there.  The Everly Brothers 1960 song ‘Cathy’s Clown’ was written by Phil after his father Ike Everly who was his musical mentor, spoke about a girlfriend that he once had who caused him to be ridiculed by his friends.  Don applied the name of the first girlfriend Catherine that he had in High School as a way of personalizing the tale.  Cathy’s Clown was the Everly Brothers’ most successful hit single and it was the Everlys first single after they switched labels.

Don was inspired to write Cathy’s Clown when he was listening to the conductor Andre Kostelanetz’ version of the orchestral piece Ferde Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite, which remains one of the most popular of American orchestral pieces.  Grofé visited the Grand Canyon in 1916 and he watched a sunrise, which inspired him to write this domp-de-domp-de-da-da-da, boom-chaka-boom tune.  The Everly Brothers cranked out a string of hits for Cadence Records, including ‘Bye, Bye Love’, ‘Wake Up, Little Susie’, ‘All I Have to Do Is Dream’, ‘Bird Dog’ and others.  The Everly Brothers recorded 38 songs for Cadence, and they had eight gold discs and issued six albums for this label.

Cadence record label owner Archie Bleyer felt like he couldn’t afford to re-sign the Everly Brothers to another contract, as he thought they had a limited shelf life and in general he felt that rock and roll was on its way out.  Bleyer decided to shop the brothers to other labels in the hopes of selling them off before they went cold.  It was a shortsighted move, but understandable when considering the limited scope of many artists’ careers and the feeling that the Everly Brothers had passed their peak.  The relatively young Warner Bros. Records which was backed by the big bucks of the relatively old Warner Bros. film studio, in an effort to beef up their roster and compete with the big labels, bought the act’s contract for a reported one million dollars.  This was a bold move considering that Sam Phillips of Sun Records only paid 35 thousand to RCA Victor for Elvis’s contract just four years earlier.  The Everly Brothers were given a ten-year deal which eventually paid off for Warner and as it paved the way for the label’s own record industry dominance in later years.

Studio and Label Owner Jack Warner was about to shut down his two-year-old fledgling record label, as its costs had kept growing, its sales had not reached what he expected, but then he got a call from label head Jim Conkling a longtime recording industry executive who played a key role in the formation of Warner Bros. Records.  Conkling told Jack Warner about this deal that he had been offered that could change everything.  In order to make the deal Conkling had to go get the signing money from their distributors getting them to lend the label their share of the cash it needed.  It took 45 days of phone calls, lawyers getting paid for 300 hours, and that cost the distributors, too to sign this deal, but it was a zero-risk deal for Warner.  The Everly Brothers became the first artists to be offered a million-dollar recording contract, and they understood that by getting the biggest contract in the music industry meant that Warner Brothers Records expected a hit, so the pressure was on them and they had to keep the big hits coming so their new label would remain happy.

When the Everly Brothers left Cadence Records they lost their production team and their songwriting team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.  Signing with Warner led to a fall out with their manager Wesley Rose, and his music publishing company, so they were shut off from the Acuff-Rose songwriters, particularly the Bryant’s who had written the majority of their hits up to that point, as well as not being able to write themselves, as they were still contracted to the company.  After signing the new contract with Warner Brothers, they went on to have a string of top 10 hits and by the end of 1962 they had earned $35 million from record sales.  Their new success all started with ‘Cathy’s Clown’ which went to #1 on May 23, 1960 and it stayed there for 5 weeks.  In 2013, ‘Cathy’s Clown’ was added to the Library of Congress National Song Recording Registry.

The song was recorded in Nashville with Wesley Rose producing, and the musicians on this track were Floyd Chance on bass, Buddy Harman on drums and Floyd Cramer on piano.  Studio engineer Bill Porter used tape loops to add additional beats which gave the false impression that two drummers were playing.  A heavy reverb was added to the vocal harmonizing that created a distinct and haunting sound.  The Everly Brothers toured the UK backed by Buddy Holly’s Crickets during this time, and they are in the video below.

Don’t want your love anymore
Don’t want your kisses, that’s for sure
I die each time I hear this sound
Here he comes, that’s Cathy’s clown

I gotta stand tall
You know a man can’t crawl
When he knows you’re tellin’ lies and he hears ‘em passing by
He’s not a man at all

Don’t want your love anymore
Don’t want your kisses, that’s for sure
I die each time I hear this sound
Here he comes, that’s Cathy’s clown

When you see me shed a tear
And you know that it’s sincere
Don’t you think it’s kinda sad that you’re treating me so bad
Or don’t you even care?

Don’t want your love anymore
Don’t want your kisses, that’s for sure
I die each time I hear this sound
Here he comes, that’s Cathy’s clown

That’s Cathy’s clown
That’s Cathy’s clown

21 thoughts on “Treated With Respect

      1. It will no doubt. It’s a great piece of songwriting. These guys influenced so many that came after them…Beatles, Hollies and the list goes on.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. So, even though they had a fallout with Wesley Rose due to the new contract, he still produced Cathy’s Clown? I guess Wesley reconsidered…. I love this song, everything about it, even Cathy and her puppet on a string.

    Liked by 1 person

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