A Little Better

‘Getting Better’ is a Beatles song from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Paul McCartney devised the title for this song while he was walking his sheepdog Martha through London’s Regent’s Park in early 1967.  Paul said that one day he was sitting with John and he told him that he had this idea for a song and it was getting better all the time and John responded, “You couldn’t get much worse.”  Paul thought that this was brilliant and he said that John’s sarcasm was a big reason why he liked writing songs together with him.  Paul was being optimistic while John was being dismal.  John had regrets about his violent past, he said this came from not being able to express himself, so he hit women and got into fights with men.  John was able to see his own flaws and change them and after he said, “I am a violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence”, so after this, he led a life of peace.  In this song, John admits to beings mean, but he decided to change his scene and try to do the best that he could.

The actual phrase of getting better is credited to Jimmy Nicol who stood in for Ringo as the Beatles drummer for 10 concert dates, while Ringo was hospitalized with tonsillitis during the Australian leg of their 1964 world tour.  Whenever Jimmy was asked how he was getting on, he usually responded by saying, “It’s getting better” which stuck with Paul and he eventually used this phrase a few years later in this song.   To prepare himself for yet another marathon all-night session, Lennon reached into his trusty pillbox and he pulled out what he thought was an amphetamine.  While recording this song, Lennon complained that he did not feel well and that he could not focus.  He thought that he took an upper, but he had accidentally taken some LSD and he was terrified of the microphone.  George Martin who was naïve to the world of drugs took John up to the roof of EMI Studios to get some fresh air, it was a wonderful starry night, and John went to the edge of the roof, and looked up at the stars and said, “Aren’t they fantastic?”  To Martin they just looked like ordinary stars and he returned to Studio Two where McCartney and Harrison were waiting.  They knew why Lennon was not well, and upon hearing where Lennon was, they both rushed to the roof to retrieve him and prevent a possible accident.  George Martin played piano on this song and Harrison added an Indian tambura part to the final verse.

It’s getting better all the time

I used to get mad at my school (No, I can’t complain)
The teachers who taught me weren’t cool (No, I can’t complain)
You’re holding me down
Turning me round
Filling me up with your rules

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get no worse)
I have to admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better
Since you’ve been mine

Me used to be angry young man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word, I finally heard
I’m doing the best that I can

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get no worse)
I have to admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better
Since you’ve been mine

Getting so much better all the time!

It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better

I used to be cruel to my woman
I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved
Man, I was mean but I’m changing my scene
And I’m doing the best that I can (ooh)

I admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get no worse)
Yes, I admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better
Since you’ve been mine

Getting so much better all the time!

It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better
It’s getting better all the time
Better, better, better

Getting so much better all the time!

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge Nobody Does It Better Week 85.

Nobody Does It Better Week 85

Nobody does it better than Carly Simon, who rose to fame in the 1970s with a string of hit records and for my money she is the best, at least that’s the way I’ve always heard it should be. I have always waited in Anticipation for her new music to come out, but maybe it is because I’m so vein. Over the course of her career, Simon has amassed 24 Billboard Hot 100 charting singles, won 2 Grammy Awards, and has been called one of the quintessential singer-songwriters of the ‘70s. Stop by the MM Music challenge today and listen to her lovely voice, better yet join in on the fun.

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Marvin Hamlisch wrote the music and Carole Bayer Sager wrote the lyrics to the song ‘Nobody Does It Better’, which was the theme for the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me.  In 1977, this song charted #7 in the UK and #2 in the US spending three weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100 and it went to #1 on the Easy Listening chart.  Carly Simon sang this and she released it on her The Spy Who Loved Me Soundtrack album.  Unlike all previous Bond songs except Dr. No, this one isn’t named after the movie, and the film isn’t even mentioned in the chorus, but the film title is mentioned in the first verse, “But like heaven above me, the spy who loved me is keepin’ all my secrets safe tonight.”  Hamlisch and Bayer Sager didn’t write the song for the movie, but producer Richard Perry…

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Call Me Any Day or Night

Blondie is an American rock band co-founded by singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein.  The band were pioneers in the American punk and then the new wave scene of the mid-1970s in New York.   Other group members included drummer Clem Burke, bassist Gary Valentine, and keyboardist Jimmy Destri.  Frank Infante replaced bassist Gary Valentine and Nigel Harrison ended up replacing Frank Infante.  They had mainstream success with ‘One Way or Another’ and ‘Heart of Glass’.  Debbie Harry was a former waitress and she worked as a Playboy Bunny at New York City’s Playboy Club from 1968 to 1973.  Harry and Stein maintained a romantic relationship, but they never married.  Blondie broke up in 1982 after Chris Stein was diagnosed with pemphigus vulgaris, a rare autoimmune disease of the skin, but he has since regained normal function and they got back together in 1999 for a series of albums and tours.

Blondie were between post-production and release of their fourth studio album Eat to the Beat when frontwoman Debbie Harry was approached about working on a new song with the Italian composer, songwriter, and record producer Giorgio Moroder, who had already composed most of the music for the track, which was going to be used in the movie American Gigolo.  Moroder called the song ‘Man Machine’, but the 39-year-old producer needed someone to write lyrics and develop a melody around his instrumental.

The song’s music was initially offered to Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, but due to contractual conflicts because she recently signed on as a solo artist, she had to decline being restricted from outside collaborations.  Enter Harry who watched an early cut of American Gigolo and wrote lyrics for the song based on her impression of the male prostitute (played by Richard Gere) who was at the center of the movie.  She reportedly composed the words in just two hours.  The rest of the band joined Harry in the studio for the recording of ‘Call Me’.

This was Blondie’s biggest hit, and it was also the biggest song of 1980 in the US, spending six weeks at the top of the chart.  It also topped the UK pop chart and reached the top 20 in eight more countries overseas.  The original 8-minute-long version which was produced and co-written by Giorgio Moroder aka “The Italian Disco King” was trimmed down for the radio.  The phrase “Color me” is interesting and it can be said instead of visualize me, picture me, consider me, or regard me as.  A person might say color me stupid if they missed something that should have been obvious, or color me impressed if they learned something significant, but when Debbie Harry sings this, she is basically saying that the guy can do whatever he wants with her.

Color me your color, baby
Color me your car
Color me your color, darling
I know who you are
Come up off your color chart
I know where you are coming from

[Chorus]
Call me (call me) on the line
Call me, call me any, anytime
Call me (call me) I’ll arrive
You can call me any day or night
Call me

[Verse 2]​
Cover me with kisses, baby
Cover me with love
Roll me in designer sheets
I’ll never get enough
Emotions come, I don’t know why
Cover up love’s alibi

[Chorus]
Call me (call me) on the line
Call me, call me any, anytime
Call me (call me) I’ll arrive
When you are ready we can share the wine
Call me

[​​Bridge]​​
Oooh, he speaks the languages of love
Oooh, amore, chiamami, chiamami
Oooh, appelle-moi mon cheri, appelle-moi
Anytime, anyplace, anywhere, any way
Anytime, anyplace, anywhere, any day, any way

[Verse 3]
Take me out and show me off
And put me on the scene
Dress me in the fashions
Of the 1980’s
You’re a man, no in-between
You know what your words can mean

[Chorus]
Call me (call me) my love
Call me, call me any, anytime
Call me (call me) for a ride
Call me, call me for some overtime
Call me (call me) my love
Call me, call me in a sweet design
Call me (call me), call me for your lover’s lover’s alibi
Call me (call me) on the line
Call me, call me any, anytime
Call me (call me)
Oh, call me, oo-hoo-hah
Call me (call me) my love
Call me, call me any, anytime

[Outro]
Call me, ah-ha, call me, ah-ha-ha
Call me, ah-ha-ha, call me any day or night
Call me, ooh-ooh-ah-ha-ha, ooh-ooh-ha-ha-ha
Call me, ah-ah-ooh
Call me, my, my sleek designs
Call me for a ride, call me inside
Call me, ah-ha, call me ah-ha
Call me
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ah-ah-ah

Call me in my life
Call me, call me any, any time
Call me, I’ll arrive
Call me, call me for some overtime
Call me in my life
Call me, call me and my sleek designs
Call me, call me for your lover’s lover’s alibi
Call me in my life
Call me, call me any, any time
Ooh-ooh-ooh
Call me, oh-oh, call me
Call me in my life
Call me, call me any, any time

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge Smooth Operator Week 84.

Smooth Operator Week 84

The Smooth Operator is a banana-based cocktail made with Frangelico, Kahlua, Baileys Irish cream, a banana, some heavy cream and crushed ice blended until it is smooth. The smooth operator is a clinically tested topical treatment product that will supposedly work wonders by flattening your cellulite and diminishing stretch marks, boosting your confidence, so you can have it all this summer. Smooth Operator is also an anti-frizz blow out serum that makes blow dry styling easier with longer lasting results and tons of shine. All of these smooth operators exist, but today I have the Sade song ‘Smooth Operator’ for you. This will not get rid of your stretch marks, or improve your hair styling, or taste really delicious, but everyone is welcome to join in on the fun. IMHO this may be the most fun writing challenge on WordPress, because the choices are wide open and you never know what people will write.

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This song was released as the third single on the English band Sade album Diamond Life which was their debut studio album.  Sade pronounced Sha-day formed in London in 1982 and they consisted of guitarist and saxophone player Stuart Matthewman, bassist Paul Denman, keyboardist Andrew Hale, drummer Paul Cook and they named their group after their lead singer, Sade Adu.  ‘Smooth Operator’ was written by Sade Adu and Ray Saint John, who was a member of Sade’s previous band Pride.  The song is about an irresistibly attractive fashionable man who gets around, being very popular with the ladies, breaking their hearts where ever he goes.  A smooth operator is a player, a manipulative scoundrel and a con artist, who tells each woman exactly what she wants to hear.  He is described as smooth because he can easily entice a girl while toying with the heart of another.

This song became one of the…

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Two Lost Souls

The Pink Floyd song ‘Wish You Were Here’ which was written by David Gilmour and Roger Waters is about their original guitarist and vocalist Syd Barrett who had to be replaced because he lost touch with reality.  The group brought in David Gilmore to replace Syd Barrett on guitar.  Wish You Were Here was the title of their ninth studio album, released in 1975 and it followed The Dark Side of the Moon.  This album went to #1 in both the UK and the US and it was their second concept album revolving around the central theme of absence and disenchantment with the music industry, where Roger Waters reflects that the camaraderie that the band once had was by then, largely absent.

The members of Pink Floyd saw Syd Barrett visit them unannounced on June 5, 1975 while they were at Abbey Road Studios recording this album.  He gained a lot of weight which he said was from eating lots of pork chops and they had trouble recognizing him.  He shaved his head and eyebrows, and was clutching a plastic bag that contained his toothbrush.  Wright and Walters were both shocked and in tears when they realized that it was Syd, as they were recording the song ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ which was a tribute to him.  This was the last they ever saw of him, as he dropped off the map.

Syd Barrett died in 2006 at the age of 60 and if he didn’t suffer from mental illness, or taking too much LSD, he could have been so much greater than he ended up being.  In this song Gilmour and Waters were able to create something so incredibly emotional that it would have made Barrett very proud.  Waters and Gilmour were trying to make Syd understand that what he’s doing is wrong. Just because he was addicted to something.  They want him to stop listening to the voices that were stuck inside his head and think about making his life better.  They use contrasting imagery of heaven and hell, blue skies and pain, a green field and a steel rail to see if Syd could relate to any of this.  They blame the music industry for getting Syd to trade his heroes for ghosts.

They wonder if Syd could have replaced hot ashes for trees, hot air for a cool breeze and cold comfort for change.  They knew Syd went too far with drugs and that he was beyond hope at this point, so they ask him, “Did you exchange, A walk on part in the war, For a lead role in a cage?”  They miss Syd and they feel like they are going around in circles aimlessly without him, “Swimming in a fish bowl, Year after year, Running over the same old ground.”

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from hell
Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year
Running over the same old ground
And how we found
The same old fears
Wish you were here

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge I Know You`re Out There Somewhere.

I Know You`re Out There Somewhere

Mike Pinder was interested in how music changes people’s moods and since the band was playing blues at the time, they took the name Moody Blues. They released 12 albums between 1968 and 1973 which all charted in the Top 20 and four of them reached #1. The Moody Blues formed in 1964 and they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. The classic lineup consisted of songwriter, lead singer, and guitarist Justin Hayward who replaced Denny Laine, keyboard player Mike Pinder who was eventually replaced by Patrick Moraz, bassist John Lodge who replaced Clint Warwick, drummer Graeme Edge, and Ray Thomas who sang vocals, played flute, percussion, and harmonica. Today I have a Moody Blues song from their 1988 album Sur la Mer, come check out this fun writing challenge.

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This song was written by Justin Hayward and it was recorded on the Moody Blues thirteenth album Sur la Mer which was released in 1988.  The album got to #21 in the UK, and went to #38 in the US.  Flautist and vocalist Ray Thomas did not appear on the album, although he remained a member of the band at the time during which it was recorded.  The hit single ‘I Know You’re Out There Somewhere’ reached #52 in the UK and got to #30 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Justin Hayward received the 1988 Ivor Novello Award for Composer of the Year for writing this song.  Hayward said this song is about trying to find out what happened to your first love.  Hayward wrote 20 of the group’s 27 post-1967 singles and this was their final Top 40 single in the United States.

This song was a sequel to…

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If I Had a Song to Sing

This Grateful Dead tune, ‘If I Had the World to Give’ was written by Jerome J. Garcia and Robert C. Hunter.  It was first released on their 1978 album Shakedown Street, but it was only performed three times in concert.  Shakedown Street was the tenth studio album by the Grateful Dead, and this was the final album featuring Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux.  This sentimental love song was atypical for their style and according to Hunter, Jerry and him decided to write an obscure surprisingly emotional romantic song, on a lark just for the heck of it.  They were feeling sensitive because someone said “Oh you write songs about guys for guys.”  They tried to write something that would sound good in an old ‘50s cocktail lounge, but they ended up with a song that is difficult to sing and has large scale tempo changes in it, so it never fit in their rotation.

Many people want to give the world to their soulmate when they find one and this song celebrates a lover’s acceptance of their partner, flaws, and all.  This song talks about singing a song, a lullaby or a serenade to someone that you love.  Many Deadheads consider this Grateful Dead rarity suitable to be played at a wedding when two lovers are vowing to be with one another forever.  This song is about being able to express unconditional love and the Grateful Dead achieved what they set out to do with this song.

If I had the world to give, I’d give it to you
Long as you live, would you let it fall, or hold it all in your arms?

If I had a song to sing, I’d sing it to you
As long as you live, lullaby or maybe a plain serenade
Wouldn’t you laugh, dance, and cry or be afraid at the change you made

I may not have the world to give to you
But maybe I have a tune or two
Only if you let me be your world
Could I ever give this world to you

But I will give what love I have to give,
I will give what love I have to give,
I will give what love I have to give, long as I live.

If I had a star to give, I’d give it to you
Long as you live, would you have the time
To watch it shine, watch it shine
Or ask for the moon and heaven too? I’d give it to you.

Well maybe I’ve got no star to spare, or anything fine or even rare,
Only if you let me be your world, could I ever give this world to you.
Could I ever give this world to you.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge The Breakup Song.

The Breakup Song

They broke the mold when they made those old love songs and they don’t write them like that anymore. They were absolutely unique and nothing written today is comparable. What happened to all of those talented song writers in the Brill Building? In the early days of the record industry, when music was released on black vinyl records, songwriting was very much a job in the more traditional 9-to-5 sense, where they all punched a clock. These legendary songwriters created iconic songs that made pop and rhythm and blues, which had the power to get stuck in your head and they were written by the artists who were able to perform them.

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In 1981, the Greg Kihn Band which was started by frontman Greg Kihn and bassist Steve Wright had a huge pop hit with ‘The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write Em)’ which reached #15 on the charts and was released on their album Rockihnroll.  The song was written by Greg Kihn and Steve Wright and the Greg Kihn Band, consisted of Kihn, Wright, Robbie Dunbar playing guitar and Larry Lynch on drums.  Dunbar was replaced by Dave Carpender and the group became a quintet in 1981 when they added keyboardist Gary Phillips.  At one time this band was huge, they were on the edge of breaking into the big time, having had a #1 Dance record with their song ‘Jeopardy’ which also went to #2 on the pop charts and they opened for the Rolling Stones, toured with Journey, and played a lot of Grateful Dead gigs, but after 1985, there were no more Top 10 entries from them.

Greg wrote…

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Sunday Driving

‘Two Of Us’ is the opening song on The Beatles’ final album Let It Be from 1970, and it was written by Paul McCartney about his fondness for getting deliberately lost in the country with his future wife Linda.  The lyrics in this song also summarize Paul’s friendship and creative partnership that he had with John Lennon.  They were both aware that their time as members of The Beatles was drawing to a close.  ‘Two Of Us’ is also thought to contain a reference to The Beatles’ business troubles with Apple, in the line “You and me chasing paper, getting nowhere”.  The song displays the relief felt by McCartney at being able to leave these troubles behind and enjoy uncomplicated moments with Linda who he had married on March 12, 1969 six weeks after the song was recorded.

Linda said that she loved getting lost when she went out for rides with her father and when she moved to England to be with Paul, they would put their dog Martha an Old English sheepdog in the back of the car and drive out of London.  As soon as they were on the open road she would say, “Let’s get lost” and they would keep driving without looking at any signs.  It was during one of those adventures that McCartney composed what he originally titled ‘On Our Way Home’.  They both enjoyed sitting out in nature, and this song was about that, doing nothing, while trying to get lost, hence the line in the song, “Two of us going nowhere.”

The tune Lennon whistles at the end of this song always reminds me of the Woody Guthrie song ‘This Land Is Your Land’.  McCartney initially offered this to the group Mortimer, a New York trio being considered for Apple Records, but they were rejected by the Apple label and their eponymous album remained unreleased until 2017.  ‘Two Of Us’ was not released as a single and Rolling Stone magazine ranked this at #54 of the top 100 Greatest Beatles songs.

Two of us riding nowhere
Spending someone’s
Hard earned pay
Two of us Sunday driving
Not arriving
On our way back home
We’re on our way home
We’re on our way home
We’re going home
Two of us sending postcards
Writing letters
On my wall
You and me burning matches
Lifting latches
On our way back home
We’re on our way home
We’re on our way home
We’re going home
You and I have memories
Longer than the road that stretches out ahead
Two of us wearing raincoats
Standing so low
In the sun
You and me chasing paper
Getting nowhere
On our way back home
We’re on our way home
We’re on our way home
We’re going home

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge Just the Two of Us.

Reblog

Michael Jackson walked into an oasis where a Bedouin was drinking with his camel and he asks the Bedouin if he can buy the camel to finish his trip across the desert.  The Bedouin told Michael that he could have the camel if he could tell him how a camel hides out in the desert.  Michael said that the camel uses camouflage.  Michael said that he could make a crocodile smile and a kookaburra laugh and he asked the Bedouin, “What do you call a camel with no humps?”  The Bedouin gave up and Michael said, “Humphrey.”  Michael said, “When I bring the camel back, where should I park it?”, and the Bedouin replied, “Put it back in the Camelot.”

My Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge Midnight at the Oasis re-blog went to the wrong website, and I guess that you only get one, so this is a bit different, but if you want to read the whole post, then go here.

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2020/05/29/midnight-at-the-oasis/