Monday, June 18, 2018

MFD Not-So-Random Five #6

In which I select five songs from 1976-1985 based on an arbitrary theme. (Not to be confused with this blog's Random Five feature, a different exercise in arbitrariness). Today's theme: Live Top 40 hits.

  1. "I Do" by J. Geils Band (1982, EMI)
    From the album Showtime!, this single peaked at #24 in 7 weeks in the Top 40. The band's last Top 40 hit, this single is a cover of a 1965 single by the Marvelows. Like most any live Geils performance, this is a non-stop high-energy, balls-to-the-wall performance. The highlight for me is the harmonica solo by the wonderfully named Magic Dick. I quickly bought the album, followed by other J. Geils live albums.

    And I've just repeated this song five times before moving on with the four tunes to follow.

  2. "Going to a Go-Go" by Rolling Stones (1982, Rolling Stones)
    From the album Still Life, this single peaked at #25 in 5 weeks in the Top 40. An appropriately named album as the band trudges through this lifeless cover of a Smokey Robinson tune. I submit that it only made the Top 40 because it was a Stones single. I'll take the 1965 original any day.

  3. "Daybreak" by Barry Manilow (1977, Arista)
    From the album Barry Manilow Live, this single peaked at #23 in 5 weeks in the Top 40. Love this one. This song makes me feel good, but if you don't like it, I get that - it's too saccharin for some. The key to this live version is the backing vocals by Lady Flash. I recently caught Barry's act and IIRC, he sang this at the beginning of the show because of course he did. And we all sang along and were happy.

  4. "She's Got a Way" by Billy Joel (1981, Columbia)
    From the album Songs in the Attic, this single peaked at #23 in 9 weeks in the Top 40. By 1981, I was buying anything Joel released, but I was pleasantly surprised by this album. This song is overwrought romantic pap, but it's also pretty easy to play. In 1982, I purchased the sheet music and quickly learned it (never had the range to sing the high G, but that didn't stop me from trying), and then used my playing/singing to seduce girls. Hey, I wasn't a jock and I didn't have a new sportscar, so I had to use the tools at my disposal. I'd like to tell you that my plan worked often, but I can't name one time that it did. Anyhoo, still dig the song.

    Sheet music from the MFD archives

  5. "I Want You to Want Me" by Cheap Trick (1978, Parachute)
    From the album Cheap Trick at Budokan, this single peaked at #7 in 13 weeks in the Top 40. When I was dreaming up today's theme, this was the first song I thought of. If you've heard the uneven studio cut, you know this live version blows it away - no comparison. Can't stand still, can't help but sing along, can't help but be in a good mood. And even though I've been married 29 years, I still want her to want me. 

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