Things Ain’t What They Used to Be

Marvin Gaye wrote and recorded ‘Mercy Mercy Me’ on his 1971 album What’s Going On and it charted #4 in the USMarvin Gaye wrote this song about the environment and how we have an obligation to care for the Earth, many years before global warming became a hot topic.  This is his plea to everyone to hear mother nature’s desperate cries that it needs to be healed and a prayer to God to allow his message to reach their hearts.  Gaye got away from love ballads and explored deeper social themes, which at first didn’t sit well with Motown boss Berry Gordy, who thought these songs wouldn’t be marketable.  The song is a warning, to us, about direction that we are heading in, and although Mother Earth is forgiving our world may not be around for much longer.  The really sad part is that this song is over fifty years old, and it seems like we still haven’t learned from it, as we are making the same mistakes.

Marvin’s change in songwriting style can be traced back to a traumatic event that occurred on March 16, 1970, when Tammi Terrell, the singer’s longtime collaborator, died as the result of a brain tumor on her 25th birthday.  Her death sent shock waves through the deeply spiritual Gaye, who refused to tour for several years afterward, retreating from the limelight to examine his thoughts and feelings.  Tammi Terrell was one of the most popular singers of Motown’s early hit factory in the 1960s, and she is known for the duets she sang with close friend Marvin Gaye.  She had been involved in abusive relationships with James Brown and The Temptations lead singer David Ruffin.  On October 14, 1967, while performing ‘Your Precious Love’ with Marvin Gaye, she collapsed into his arms onstage.  Doctors diagnosed a malignant tumor on the right side of her brain, and she underwent brain surgery in early 1968.

Marvin felt that the days of clear, blue skies would become far and few between as we keep on consuming fossil fuel and belch the black smoke out into our atmosphere.  Marvin reminisces on the days of simple pleasures like seeing clear blue skies.  Marvin was ahead of his time knowing that pollution or poison as he refers to it in our skies, effects on the climate and weather and this didn’t become a serious issue till much later.  Marvin was mad at the human race for continuing to allow this to degrade our environment at an exponential rate and he thought that our values needed to be changed before things got worse.  Reports were released about Mercury getting into the blood of almost all fish, with the larger fish having absorbed all the mercury of the fish they’ve eaten.  The mercury thermometer was invented back around 1748 and it was in use everywhere, because it gave an accurate measurement of temperature, but most of the mercury emissions entered the oceans from power plants.  Many people still have mercury amalgam fillings in their teeth and it is still legal to buy mercury.  It wasn’t until 1991 that the use of mercury in paint was phased out in the US.  The mercury thermometer is going extinct and being replaced with the digital thermometer.  Mercury poisoning is particularly toxic in dolphins, which are regularly slaughtered and consumed by countries around the world, especially Japan.

Marvin mentioned radiation being underground and, in the sky, and this made him sad because animals were dying as a result of atomic bomb testing which continued for at least another 20 years.  The Soviet Union’s last nuclear test took place on October 24, 1990, the United Kingdom’s on November 26, 1991 and the United States’ last one took place on September 23, 1992.  France and China conducted their last tests in January and July 1996 respectively, before signing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  The last statement that Marvin makes in this song is about the land being overcrowded.  The song ends asking this poignant question, personifying the planet as a living being reaching its breaking point because of “abuse” suffered at the hands of man.

Woah, ah, mercy, mercy me
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north and south and east

Woah mercy, mercy me, yeah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury

Oh Jesus, yeah, mercy, mercy me, ah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Radiation underground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying

Hey, mercy, mercy me, oh
Hey, things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can she stand?

Oh, na, na, na
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Hey, ooh, woo

Written for Thursday Inspiration #142 I’ll Take You There where the prompt word is mercy.

Thursday Inspiration #142 I’ll Take You There

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word mercy, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘I’ll Take You There’, or by going with another song by The Staple Singers, or anything else that you think fits.  The Staple Singers were a family group which included Roebuck “Pops” Staples, his son Pervis and his daughters, Cleotha, Mavis, and Yvonne.  They had a #1 hit on the Billboard R&B Singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100 chart with ‘I’ll Take You There’ in 1972 and this was written by Al Bell who was born Alvertis Isbell.  Stax Records signed a simple distribution agreement with independent giant Atlantic Records that, unknown to almost anyone at the time, gave away the rights to all of their music that was performed, recorded, licensed and distributed.  It was common in the 1950’s and 1960’s for small independent labels to sign distribution agreements with larger, more-established labels to get the music out to radio stations and music stores.  Both labels provided talented artists, but Stax provided a killer studio band Booker T & the MGs and an amazing team of writers and producers, while Atlantic provided a distribution machine that allowed hit after hit to be disseminated to every radio station and record shop.

Al Bell was a very successful black Washington DC disc jockey that started his own label Devore.  In 1965, Stewart hired Al Bell as national sales director, to join Stax as head of promotion, because of problems that Stax was having with a distribution agreement that they made with Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records.  Bell was hired to try and turn the struggling record company around, so he moved from the business side to production, and he made his biggest contribution as a producer with the Staple Singers.  He had been introduced to the group while working at KOKY in Little Rock, and Bell wrote their biggest hit, ‘I’ll Take You There’ while visiting North Little Rock for his brother Louis’s funeral.

In the summer of 1971, Mr. Bell’s younger brother Louis was murdered in Arkansas.  Louis was shot to death and Arkansas native Al spent four or five days unable to interact with relatives while coping with this loss, doing nothing but looking to find his murderer.  Right before the funeral, Al Bell said, he sat on the hood of a junked school bus that his father kept in the backyard and something happened inside of him, as this song came to him.  He didn’t feel comfortable, even with being in this familiar place, because he kept thinking about his brother, and he began to hear this music.  Bell likes to say that he did not write the song, but that it was written through him.  All he could do was cry, and then he heard, “bum, bum, bum, bum,” in his head, as a bass line came to him and then the words.  Bell recalled trying to write other verses, but he couldn’t come up with anything and since nothing worked, there was nothing left to say.  Bell brought the song to a recording session with the Staple Singers, who “took it to the next level,” with its island groove.

Mavis Staples has a different recollection of how this song was written, as she said that this was a collaborative effort where she was working out the lyrics with Bell on the living room floor of her condo in Chicago when a neighbor complained they were making too much noise.  The Muscle Shoals rhythm section says the arrangement was developed from scratch in the recording studio, with a little help on the opening coming from an obscure Jamaican instrumental reggae tune by Harry J All Stars called ‘The Liquidator’ about an assassin.

The Staple Singers were among the first groups to move from gospel to inspirational soul music.  In 1968, the Staples signed with Memphis-based Stax and their first two albums were produced by Steve Cropper and backed by Booker T. & the MG’s, but this album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, Al Bell took the group down the road to Muscle Shoals, where things got decidedly funky as they were working with The Swampers.  ‘I’ll Take You There’ features lead singer Mavis Staples inviting her listeners to seek Heaven, a place where nobody is crying, and no one is worried.  The song was almost completely unrehearsed, and most of the lines that Mavis made up came from inside of her.

Help me now
(I’ll take you there)
Oh!
(I’ll take you there)
Oh! Oh! Mercy!

I Could Make an Offer You Can’t Refuse

‘Whatever You Want’ is a song by the British rock band Status Quo which reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart in 1979.  It was written by guitarist Rick Parfitt and keyboardist Andrew Bown who got drunk whilst writing it, and it was released on the album of the same name and was later re-recorded for their 2003 album Riffs.  Status Quo are an English rock band that formed in 1962, when the schoolboys Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster at Sedgehill Comprehensive School formed The Scorpions which soon became The Spectres, who were one of the longer-lived local bands from London.  Formed in South London they gradually developed playing local dates and backing visiting American singers.  The Spectres consisted of Francis Rossi (guitar, vocals), Alan Lancaster (guitar, bass, vocals), Rod Lynes (keyboards), John Coughlan (drums) and they endured through five years of club dates and spending a lot of time backing visiting American singers.  In 1967, Rick Parfitt of the Highlifes joined the band on bass and keyboards when they were calling themselves Traffic Jam.  When Steve Winwood adopted the name for his outfit, their name changed to The Status Quo in 1967, which was shortened to Status Quo in 1969.

The lyrics are probably about the excesses of the rock star lifestyle, where they are able to have whatever they want.  Some music journalists criticized Status Quo’s three-chord “boogie rock”, but their frontman Rossi says that this is just another way in which music is being overcomplicated and overanalyzed, as there’s not much music that isn’t three chords.  There doesn’t seem to be any information on why they chose the name Status Quo, but their current situation of the way things are now, certainly reflects a style that people like.  They have sold more than 120 million albums worldwide and had 64 British chart hits which is more than any other band, but oddly they never caught on in the US, however ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’ did reach #12.  They are hard-rock heroes to many and considered to be a people’s band with a natural working-class appeal and everyone seems to like their complete lack of pretentiousness.

This song starts off with a gentle beginning, picked notes in an almost lilting melody using chorus and fuzz guitar effects.  It was written with Drop D tuning, which is an alternative form of guitar tuning where the lowest string is tuned down from the usual E of standard tuning by one whole step to D.  So where standard tuning is E₂A₂D₃G₃B₃E₄, drop D is D₂A₂D₃G₃B₃E₄.  Status Quo entered the Guinness Book of Records in 1991 after playing four venues in one day (Sheffield International Centre, Glasgow Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Birmingham National Exhibition Centre and Wembley Arena) as part of a Rock Till You Drop tour to commemorate their 25th anniversary.  Rick Parfitt died on December 24, 2016 from an infection.

Whatever you want
Whatever you like
Whatever you say
You pay your money
You take your choice

Whatever you need
Whatever you use
Whatever you win
Whatever you lose

You’re showing off
You’re showing out
You look for trouble
Turn around, give me a shout

I take it all
You squeeze me dry
And now today
You couldn’t even say goodbye

I could take you home
On the midnight train again
I could make an offer you can’t refuse

Whatever you want
Whatever you like
Whatever you say
You pay your money
You take your choice

Whatever you need
Whatever you use
Whatever you win
Whatever you lose

You’re showing off
You’re showing out
You look for trouble
Turn around, give me a shout

I take it all
You squeeze me dry
And now today
You couldn’t even say goodbye

I could take you home
On the midnight train again
I could make an offer you can’t refuse

Whatever you want
Whatever you like
Whatever you say
You pay your money
You take your choice

Whatever you need
Whatever you use
Whatever you win
Whatever you lose
Whatever you want

Whatever you want

Written for Thursday Inspiration #141 Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves, where the prompt word is whatever.

Thursday Inspiration #141 Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word whatever, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves’, or by going with another song by Cher, or anything else that you think fits, or as Fandango likes to say, “whatever floats your boat.”  This song was written by Bob Stone under the title of ‘Gypsys, Tramps and White Trash’ and Cher released it on her seventh solo studio album in 1971.  Stone wrote this song specifically for Cher, in order to cater more to an adult audience and Rob Tennanbaum a music editor at Blender, a columnist at GQ, a man who has written for The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Details, New York Magazine, Playboy, Spin, and The Washington Post described this song in Billboard magazine as one of the greatest songs of the 20th century.  Cher earned her first Grammy Award nomination in the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category with this, and it became her first solo #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 and it reached #4 in the UK.  Cher is the only artist to have a #1 single on the Billboard charts each of the last six decades and she was backed by the Wrecking Crew on this, session musicians from L.A.

Gypsies and Travelers are often looked down on, facing routine daily racism, but the ones in this song were able to deal with the people in the town insulting them, because the men paid them well “every night” for their services.  In this song the narrator is a girl who was “born in the wagon of a traveling show.”  Her mother used to dance for the money that people threw at her, while her snake oil salesman father would do “whatever he could; preach a little gospel, sell a couple bottles of Doctor Good.”  The narrator is 16 when she hooks up with a 21-year-old man in Mobile.  Her family took care of him for a while and allowed him to travel with them to Memphis, although her father “would have shot him if he knew what he’d done”, implying that they had sex.  Three months later, she is a “gal in trouble”, and the young man is no longer around.  It is very likely that another child will be born soon in the wagon of a traveling show, while the narrator takes her mother’s place dancing for the money thrown at her and her father becomes the snake oil salesman.  Being a Gypsy is like being stuck in a vicious circle, as it is hard to get out of that lifestyle and they struggle every day to make a living even resort to scamming others for money.

I was born in the wagon of a travelling show
My mama used to dance for the money they’d throw
Papa would do whatever he could
Preach a little gospel
Sell a couple bottles of Doctor Good

You’re A Fool to Cry

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote the ballad ‘Fool to Cry’ for the Rolling Stones 1976 album Black and Blue.  Mick Taylor had just left the band and the Stones were left without a lead guitarist, so they got session man Wayne Perkins to play guitar on this track.  Jagger plays electric piano and Nicky Hopkins performs regular piano on the track, with Hopkins also playing the string synthesizer.  ‘Fool To Cry’ was the biggest Rolling Stones single since ‘Angie’ three years earlier and this song reached #6 on the UK Singles Chart and it went to #10 on the US Billboard Hot 100.  Jagger sings falsetto vocals while the beat is relaxed in this song, which was not typical of most Rolling Stones songs and Keith Richards admitted that he once fell asleep on stage while playing this in 1976 while touring Germany.

This is a sad song about being depressed and while Mick Jagger is feeling down, he gets comfort first from his daughter, then from his lover, as both of them tell him he’s a fool to cry.  Mick has everything that anyone could ever want, so there is no need for him to cry and his daughter and his significant other both love him.  My best guess is that his daughter and his lover are both telling Mick to man up and stop acting like a little bitch.

When I come home baby
And I’ve been working all night long
I put my daughter on my knee, and she says
Daddy what’s wrong?
She whispers in my ear so sweet
You know what she says, she says
Ooh, daddy you’re a fool to cry
You’re a fool to cry
And it makes me wonder why

Daddy you’re a fool
You know, I got a woman (daddy you’re a fool)
And she lives in the poor part of town
And I go see her sometimes
And we make love, so fine
I put my head on her shoulder
She says, tell me all your troubles
You know what she says?
She says, ooh, daddy you’re a fool to cry
You’re a fool to cry
And it makes me wonder why

Daddy you’re a fool to cry
Yeah, she says
Oh, Daddy you’re a fool to cry
You’re a fool to cry
And it makes me wonder why

She says, ooh, daddy you’re a fool to cry
Ooh, daddy you’re a fool to cry
Ooh, daddy you’re a fool to cry
Ooh, daddy you’re a fool to cry

Even my friends say to me sometimes
And make out like I don’t understand them
You know what they say?
They say, ooh daddy you’re a fool to cry
You’re a fool to cry
And it makes me wonder why, ah

I’m a fool baby, ah ya
I’m a certified fool, ah yeah
Gotta tell ya, baby
I’m a fool baby, ah yeah
Whoo
Certified fool for ya, mama, ya, yeah, come on, yeah
I’m a fool, yeah

Written for Thursday Inspiration #140 What a Fool Believes.

Thursday Inspiration #140 What a Fool Believes

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word fool, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘What a Fool Believes’, or by going with another song by The Doobie Brothers, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘What a Fool Believes’ is a Kenny Loggins song that made it big with The Doobie Brothers.  It was written by Kenny Loggins and the Doobie Brothers lead singer Michael McDonald and Loggins released it 5 months before the Doobie’s version.  They released it on their 1978 album Minute by Minute and it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it only got to #31 in the UK.  It received Grammy Awards in 1980 for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

1979 marked the end of Disco and this song was one of the few non-disco #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 during the first eight months of 1979.  This year was dominated by the Bee Gees, Chic, Rod Stewart, Gloria Gaynor, Peaches & Herb and Donna Summer and this song fits into what is termed the Yacht Rock genre.  The song is about a man who broke up with this girl a while back and now they reunited to talk.  The man sees her as an old love interest and he attempts to rekindle a romantic relationship with her before discovering that one never really existed.  These two people meet in a restaurant after a period of absence, and he gets it in his head that they had a passionate relationship long ago.  To the man, the affair was the best thing in his life, but it didn’t mean all that much to the woman.  For her, it’s just a cordial get-together to have a drink, and although she thought that it was fun, she knew that it was time to move on.  The man makes a complete fool out of himself when the woman excuses herself to leave, he doesn’t get the message, believing he still has a shot and that their affair was much more meaningful than it actually was.  Love makes a man a fool, as they see things from different perspectives and even a wise one can’t reason it away.

Michael McDonald worked out the first verse of this song and he jotted it down on an envelope while he was on a flight from New York back to L.A.  This song kind of just popped into his head and he had been messing around with the piano verse for the better part of a year.  When McDonald got stuck on the bridge of the song, Doobie Brothers bassist Tiran Porter mentioned to McDonald that he had run into singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins and told him that Kenny wanted to write with him.  They spoke on the phone and Kenny drive down the next day from his home in Encino to Michael’s house in Los Angeles.  Before Kenny arrived, Michael was at the piano playing unfinished songs to see if they’d be good ones for them to work on.  Just as he finished playing the verse to ‘What a Fool Believes’, Kenny arrived at the door.  Kenny asked what he was playing and he said, “That’s what I want to work on first.”

Anybody else would surely know
He’s watching her go

But a fool believes he sees
The wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be

Stand On Your Feet Again

‘Can’t Stop The World’ was written by the Go-Go’s bass player Kathy Valentine in 1978 when she moved from Texas to Los Angeles to pursue music.  It was released on the Go-Go’s 1981 album Beauty And The Beat.  Kathy was living in a ramshackle apartment with dim prospects when she took out the guitar and came up with the song, which is about not giving up ant it was the first song she ever wrote.  In the late 1970s, Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, and Margot Olavarria met while attending punk rock shows in California.  The three attended the Sex Pistols’ final performance in San Francisco in January 1978, that featured Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten and afterwards they felt like even though these guys were their heroes, they kind of sucked, so this inspired them to form their own band called the Misfits.  None of them actually knew how to play instruments, but they quickly learned, and began playing in Hollywood nightclubs under the name the Go-Go’s.  Carlisle was the singer, Wiedlin played rhythm guitar, Olavarria played bass, and the newly added Elissa Bello played drums.  A few months later, Charlotte Caffey joined the band as the lead guitarist even though she played bass and didn’t play guitar, she figured, “It’s a couple of more strings.  It’ll be okay!”

In the mid 70’s, Valentine formed the punk band the Violators and later she ended up being in a band called The Textones, but the chemistry wasn’t right, so she quit the band.  In December 1980, the Go-Go’s enlisted her to play bass at a run of shows at the Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood as a fill-in for their original bassist, Margot Olavarria, when she contracted hepatitis and had to take some time off to deal with health problems.  Kathy learned the Go-Go’s songs over a four-day period, and she rehearsed with them with the band twice before hitting the stage.  Valentine was a guitarist who had never played bass before, but she ended up joining the band full time, because she was willing to play pop songs which Olavarria hated.

It was rough going for the all-girl group as no label was willing to take a chance on them figuring that they were not capable of making a hit album.  The group did get a record deal with Miles Copeland’s IRS Records, and they worked on their first album with producer Richard Gottehrer.  The band had plenty of songs written from before Valentine got there, but Gottehrer wanted them to include one that wasn’t in their set, perhaps a cover song.  Valentine presented ‘Can’t Stop The World’, and it made the album, giving her a songwriting credit on the set.  That album, Beauty And The Beat, ended up going to #1 in America, making the Go-Go’s the first all-girl band to top the albums chart.

I gave up looking for a reason
To live with things just the way they are
I came around
Used to be easy to get to
And they got to me just about every way

Caught with no cards up your sleeve
Not much to choose from
Grew up all along thinking you couldn’t lose
Don’t want to live without that security
You think with just a little more
Things will be alright

Can’t stop the world
Can’t stop the world
Can’t stop the world
Why let it stop you
Why let it stop you
Why let it stop you
Can’t stop the world
Can’t stop the world

Your heart, your will, your car-
They’ve all been broken
You let everybody
You got beat
And it’s not entertaining
Watching you try to stand on your feet again

Can’t stop the world
Can’t stop the world
Can’t stop the world
Don’t let it stop you
Don’t let it stop you
Don’t let it stop you
Can’t stop the world

Written for Thursday Inspiration #139 I’ll Melt With You.

Thursday Inspiration #139 I’ll Melt With You

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word melt, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘I’ll Melt With You’, or by going with another song by Modern English, or anything else that you think fits.  This song charted #76 in the US and it was released in 1982 on their After The Snow album.  Robbie James Grey said he was stoned when he wrote these lyrics sitting on the floor of his flat in London, and the only took him about 10 minutes to write.  Robbie Grey the lead singer for Modern English wrote this song with his four bandmates guitarist Gary McDowell, bass player and violinist Michael Conroy, drummer Richard Brown, keyboardist Stephen Walker along with lyricist and composer Dalton Diehl who there doesn’t seem to be much information on.  Grey explained that it was about a couple making love as the bomb dropped, and they continue to make love, becoming one melting together.  A song written about people making love sounds romantic and there are some optimistic lines in this song, saying “The future’s open wide”, “it’s getting better all the time” and “Dream of better lives the kind which never hate”, but it is also filled with cynicism with “the world thrashing all around your face” after that bomb drops and people are actually melting, there is no turning back from here.

Robbie Grey felt that good music comes from England because the climate is gloomy, and you end up spending a lot of time indoors.  Grey said that he has no idea what the line “Dropped in the state of imaginary grace” means, but he liked the way it sounded.  I guess we will never know why they sang about “a pilgrimage to save this this humans race”, or why they were “Never comprehending the race that long gone bye”, but these lyrics seem to fit into an apocalyptic theme.  I guess if I knew that the bomb was coming, making love with someone melting together is probably not all that bad of an idea.  A lot of people say, “Stop the world, I want to get off” meaning, they want to be free of everything that is going on in their life and be allowed to escape from all of the pressure that life constantly throws at them.  Things are bad with Covid, but that bomb would kill more people and they would die a lot quicker.

Modern English is best remembered for this iconic song which became an MTV staple.  Exploring post-punk themes of loss, reflection, and devotion, the group faced changing waves of success over the 80s and early 90s, putting four albums into the Billboard 200 chart.  They disbanded a while in 1991, but they later resurfaced in 1995 with some new members.  They most recently released their seventh studio album in 2010, touring sporadically over the past recent decades.  The band formed in Colchester, Essex, England, in 1979 by Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar, vocals), and Michael Conroy (bass, vocals), and they were originally known as The Lepers.  The group became Modern English when Richard Brown (drums) and Stephen Walker (keyboards) were added to the line-up.  Their debut studio album is called Mesh & Lace and the lyrics “knowing it was always mesh and lace” made it into this song.

You’ve seen the difference and it’s getting better all the time
There’s nothing you and I won’t do
I’ll stop the world and melt with you
Dream of better lives the kind which never hate

The One and Only Promise I Can Keep

Jim Steinman wrote the Meat Loaf song ‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ and it was released on their 1993 album Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell.  Meat Loaf won a Grammy for Best Rock Solo Performance for his work on this song and the single charted #1 in both the UK and the US.  After a decade of bickering, feuding, lawsuits and bankruptcy Jim Steinman and Meatloaf reunited to create Bat Out of Hell II.  English singer and songwriter Lorraine Crosby was the female vocalist on this song, while Patti Russo was the backing singer in live concerts with him, and in the video for the song, the model Dana Patrick is lip-synching to Lorraine’s voice.  Whatever is sung just before that the line, “I will do anything for love, but I won’t do that”, is the “that”, which he is not willing to do.  For example, “But I’ll never forget the way you feel right now, Oh no – no way – I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that”, thus in this case the “that” is to “forget the way you feel right now.”  In the movie Spiceworld, Meat Loaf is the bus driver for the Spice Girls, and when their toilets are clogged, he is asked to fix them, but he says, “Listen, I love these girls, and I’ll do anything for them… but I won’t do that.”

Meat Loaf was born Marvin Lee Aday and although it is not clear how he obtained the nick name of Meat Loaf, he eventually changed his name in Texas by deed poll, which is a legal document that proves a change of name.  He moved to Los Angeles, fronted Meat Loaf Soul, who became Popcorn Blizzard to open for Hendrix, The Who, Sun Ra, The Bonzos and countless others.  Meat Loaf landed a part in a new stage musical called Hair and later he got a role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  He achieved commercial success in 1977 with what would become his landmark album, the rock opera Bat Out of Hell.  While in High School Jim Steinman fronted his first band called The Clitoris That Thought It Was A Puppy.  In 1973, Jim Steinman was auditioning for the New York Public Theater musical he wrote, More Than You Deserve and Meat Loaf tried out singing a Motown-style song called ‘(I’d Love to Be) As Heavy as Jesus’, and when he was done, Jim said, “By the way, you’re as heavy as two Jesuses.”  By 1975, they were touring with the National Lampoon Road Show, with Jim Steinman playing piano, while Loaf lectured the audience at length in an aggressive and critical manner and then they began working on what would become Bat Out Of Hell.

And I would do anything for love
I’d run right into hell and back
I would do anything for love
I’d never lie to you and that’s a fact
But I’ll never forget the way you feel right now,
Oh no, no way
And I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that
No, I won’t do that

Some days it don’t come easy
Some days it don’t come hard
Some days it don’t come at all,
And these are the days that never end
Some nights you’re breathing fire
Some nights you’re carved in ice
Some nights you’re like nothing
I’ve ever seen before or will again

Maybe I’m crazy, but it’s crazy and it’s true
I know you can save me,
No-one else can save me now but you

As long as the planets are turning
As long as the stars are burning
As long as your dreams are coming true
You’d better believe it, that I would do

Anything for love
Oh I would do anything for love
Oh I would do anything for love
But I won’t do that
No, I won’t do that

I would do anything for love
Anything you’ve been dreaming of,
But I just won’t do that
I would do anything for love
Anything you’ve been dreaming of
But I just won’t do that

Some days I pray for silence
And some days I pray for soul
Some days I just pray to the god of sex and drums and rock ‘n’ roll

And maybe I’m lonely, that’s all I’m qualified to be
That’s just one and only, the one and only promise I can keep

As long as the wheels are turning
As long as the fires are burning
As long as your prayers are coming true
You’d better believe it, that I would do

Anything for love
And you know it’s true and that’s a fact
I would do anything for love,
And there’ll never be no turning back
But I’ll never do it better than I do it with you.
So long, so long

I would do anything for love
Oh, I would do anything for love
Oh, I would do anything for love
But I won’t do that
No, no, no, I won’t do

Will you raise me up? Will you help me down?
Will you get me right out of this godforsaken town?
Will you make it all a little less cold?

I can do that
I can do that

Will you cater to every fantasy I got?
Will you hose me down with holy water, if I get too hot?
Will you take me places I’ve never known?

I can do that
Oh no, I can do that

I know the territory, I’ve been around
It’ll all turn to dust and we’ll all fall down
Sooner or later you’ll be screwing around

I won’t do that
No, I won’t do that

Anything for love
But I won’t do that

Written for Thursday Inspiration #138 Holding Out for A Hero.

Thursday Inspiration #138 Holding Out for A Hero

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word need, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Holding Out for A Hero’, or by going with another song by Bonnie Tyler, or anything else that you think fits.  In 1984, the Bonnie Tyler song ‘Holding Out for A Hero’ charted #2 in the UK and #34 in the US from the Footloose Soundtrack album.  Jim Steinman and Dean Pitchford collaborated writing this song for the Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler.  Tyler was born in 1951 as Gaynor Hopkins in Skewen, Wales and after she entered and placed second in a local talent contest in 1969, she was encouraged to pursue a singing career.  She performed off and on in her home country as a backing singer and in the R&B group the Mumbles.  In 1973, she met her husband, Robert Sullivan, a night-club manager and they’ve been married for 41 years.  In 1976, Tyler had nodules removed from her larynx, and this transformed her voice giving her this distinctive husky sound.

Bonnie spent several years performing in local pubs and clubs around South Wales, first with Bobbie Wayne & the Dixies and later with her own band, Imagination, where she changed her name to Sherene Davis, to avoid being confused with Welsh folk singer Mary Hopkin.  Some solo demos helped Bonnie become discovered by talent scout Roger Bell in 1974, and RCA Records asked her to change her name again and that is when she became Bonnie Tyler.  After winning the 10th World Popular Song Festival with 1979 single ‘Sitting On The Edge Of The Ocean’, Tyler converted from country music to rock music.

Bonnie Tyler signed with Columbia Broadcasting System, CBS Records in the early 80s, so she could work with producer Jim Steinman who had written all the tracks for Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell album and the Meat Loaf hits ‘Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad’ and ‘Paradise By the Dashboard Light’ hoping for material with his trademark epic sound.  She got her biggest hit with the ballad ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, which was recorded with E Street Band members drummer Max Weinberg and pianist Roy Bittan, along with guitarist Rick Derringer and backing vocalist Rory Dodd.

Dean Pitchford wrote the screenplay for Footloose and he wanted to get Bonnie Tyler involved on the film, so he contacted Jim Steinman after he came up with the opening lyrics to this song, “Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?  Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?”  Jim turned this opening into a song.  This song contains a rallying cry for a hero of great magnitude, as he is needed again and must rise from the ashes to save the day once more, so he can defy almost-impossible odds, blurring the line between reality and fantasy.  It’s a very strong and romantic song that gives visions of the idealistic hero that fights for the cause of right and seeks to uphold the virtuous, what a lot of folks think that heroism should be.

Late at night, I toss, and I turn
And I dream of what I need
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night