The Supremes – Reflections

The title song from their 1968 album, The song reached #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart on September 9, 1967. I remember this song as the opening intro for the ABC show China Beach.

From Songfacts

“Reflections” was written by the Motown songwriting team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland. In a Songfacts interview with Dozier, he explained: “It’s about when the love has gone bad, or when things have changed in life. One thing in life that’s ever changing is tomorrow is always different from today. Things change for many reasons, and you have to be aware of why, and what is happening around you. You have to adapt to the changes in life. That’s what that was about: your reflection on how things used to be, can be and will be, hopefully.

It’s all about hope, too. The main theme of that song is hope: although things have come to pass, you have to start changing, remembering the old to get involved with a new approach in life.”

This song tells the story of a woman who looks back in anguish at her lost love, wondering what could have been had things worked out. But the song was directed in some ways at Motown head Barry Gordy, with the same sentiment.

Sonically, this was a departure for The Supremes, with no saxophone or prominent electric guitar backbeat. It retained the sturdy bassline of James Jamerson, but featured a Wurlitzer electric piano by Earl Van Dyke and tambourine by Jack Ashford. Pistol Allen was the drummer and Joe Messina added guitar. The oscillator-generated sound effects also appear throughout the track.

This was the first foray for The Supremes into psychedelic pop, a sound fully realized by The Beatles a month earlier when they released their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

“Reflections” has some mind-bending lyrics:

Trapped in a world
that’s a distorted reality

It also opens with some trippy sound effects that were created with a custom oscillator designed by one of The Funk Brothers, who were session musicians for most Motown songs of the period. >>

This was released during The Summer of Love (1967) when the Vietnam War was raging. This made it an appropriate choice for the theme song of the TV series China Beach, which was set in Vietnam during the war. The series ran on ABC from 1988-1991.

Reflections

Through the mirror of my mind
Time after time
I see reflections of you and me

Reflections of
The way life used to be
Reflections of
The love you took from me

Oh, I’m all alone now
No love to shield me
Trapped in a world
That’s a distorted reality

Happiness you took from me
And left me all alone
With only memories

Through the mirror of my mind
Through all these tears that I’m crying
Reflects a hurt I can’t control
Although you’re gone
I keep holding on
To those happy times
Oh, girl when you were mine

As I peer through the windows
Of lost time
Keeping looking over my yesterdays
And all the love I gave all in vain
(All the love) All the love
That I’ve wasted
(All the tears) All the tears
That I’ve tasted
All in vain

Through the hollow of my tears
I see a dream that’s lost
From the hurt baby
That you have caused

Everywhere I turn
Seems like everything I see
Reflects a hurt I can’t control

In you I put
All my hope and trust
Right before my eyes
My whole world has turned to dust

Reflections of
The love you took from
Reflections of
The way life used to be

In you I put
All my hope and trust
Right before my eyes
My whole world has turned to dust

Now baby, why did you do it?
ReflectionsWriter/s: DAVID BRYAN BENOIT
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Brenda Lee – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Free Fallin'

Brenda Lee was only 13 years old when she recorded this song. Recorded in October of 1958 at Owen Bradley’s studio in Nashville. The song was written by Johnny Marks. It would be one of the first stereo recordings to come out of Nashville. The song did not sell well until Brenda Lee had gotten more popular. In 1960 it reached #14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop singles chart. It peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Christmas singles chart in 1965. SoundScan has estimated total sales of 1,000,000 digital downloads in 2016.

From Wikipedia.

The song’s declaration of a rock and roll sound notwithstanding, its instrumentation also fits the country music genre, which Lee more fully embraced as her career evolved. The recording features Hank Garland and Harold Bradley on guitar, Floyd Cramer on piano, Boots Randolph on sax, Bob Moore on bass, and veteran session player Buddy Harman on drums…

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The Who – Behind Blue Eyes

This is my contribution to Song Lyric Sunday for Jim Adams’s blog. This week’s prompt…Chin/Ears/Eyes/Face/Mouth/Nose.

From their 1971 album, Who’s Next. The song reached #34 on Billboards Hot 100 chart on December 18, 1971.

From Songfacts

Pete Townshend originally wrote this about a character in his “Lifehouse” project, which was going to be a film similar to The Who’s Tommy and Quadrophenia. Townshend never finished “Lifehouse,” but the songs ended up on the album Who’s Next.
Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey both have blue eyes, but the song is not autobiographical. Townshend has said that he wrote it to show “How lonely it is to be powerful.”
Townshend was going to use this as the main song in the Lifehouse film for the villain, Jumbo.
Pete Townshend has explained that he never behaved like a typical rock star when he was on tour, especially when it came to groupies, which he tried to avoid. He says it was a run-in with a groupie that was the impetus for this song. Townshend, who got married in 1968, was tempted by a groupie after The Who’s June 9, 1970 concert in Denver. He says that he went back to his room alone and wrote a prayer beginning, “If my fist clenches, crack it open…” The prayer was more or less asking for help in resisting this temptation. The other words could be describing Townshend’s self-pity and how hard it is to resist.
Roger Daltrey’s dog got run over on the day he recorded his vocals for this song – it was the first dog he ever had. The Who singer recalled to AARP The Magazine that he “was desperately trying to hold it together.”

Behind Blue Eyes

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

No one knows what it’s like
To be hated
To be fated
To telling only lies

But my dreams
They aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That’s never free

No one knows what it’s like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you

No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through

But my dreams
They aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That’s never free

When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool

And if I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
And if I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

Songwriters: Pete Townshend

Black Pumas – Colors

I heard this song on a Bank Of America commercial last night. I thought it was an old song that I had just never heard before, but it wasn’t. It was by this new duo called the Black Pumas.

From Afropunk April 2019

Though they have only been around a short time and still months away from dropping their debut album, the Austin duo Black Pumas have been earning a name for their dynamic live shows. Singer Eric Burton and producer Adrian Quesada’s blend of vintage soul, hip-hop, and electric energy comes through on their new single, the hook-filled “Colors.” The song has an easy charm, fitting for something he wrote “on the rooftop of an uncle’s house.” The band describes the songwriting process this way: “Eric woke up midday and started the song as the sun was going down. He was inspired by the rich multicolored hues of the sky. The song was written in the themes of mortality and togetherness.”

Colors

I woke up to the morning sky, first
Baby blue, just like we rehearsed
When I get up off this ground
I shake leaves back down to the brown, brown, brown, brown
‘Til I’m clean
Then I walk where I’d be shaded by the trees
By a meadow of green
For about a mile
I’m headed to town, town, town, in style
With all my favorite colors, yes, sir
All my favorite colors, right on
My sisters and my brothers
See ’em like no other
All my favorite colors
It’s a good day to be
A good day for me
A good day to see
My favorite colors, colors
My sisters and my brothers
They see ’em like no other
All my favorite colors
Now take me to other side
Little bitty blues bird flies
And gray clouds, or white walls, or blue skies
We gon’ fly, feel alright
And we gon’ (Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh), yeah
It sound like (Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh), yeah
The least I can say, I anticipate
A homecoming parade as we renegade
In the morning, right on
With all my favorite colors, yes, sir
All my favorite colors, yes, ma’am
My sisters and my brothers
See ’em like no other
All my favorite colors
All my favorite colors, right
All my favorite colors, yes, ma’am
My sisters and my brothers
See ’em like no other
All my favorite colors
It’s a good day to be
A good day for me
A good day to see my favorite colors, colors
My sisters and my brothers
They see ’em like no other
All my favorite colors
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Adrian Quesada / Eric Burton

Dorothy – Raise Hell

From their 2015 album, Rockisdead. The song reached #31 on Billboards Mainstream Rock chart in 2015…Happy Thanksgiving!

Raise Hell

Young blood, run like a river
Young blood, never get chained
Young blood, heaven need a sinner
You can’t raise hell with a saint
Young blood, came to start a riot
Don’t care what your old man say
Young blood, heaven hate a sinner
But we gonna raise hell anyway
Raise hell
Yeah
Raise hell
Somebody gotta, gotta raise a little hell
Baby drop them bones
Baby sell that soul
Baby fare thee well
Somebody gotta, gotta raise a little hell
(Oh my my, oh hell yeah)
Somebody gotta, gotta raise a little hell
(Oh my my, oh hell yeah)
Somebody gotta, gotta raise a little hell
Young blood, stand and deliver
No need for a queen affair
Young blood, gotta pull the trigger
When the whole world running scared
Raise hell, baby drop them bones
Baby sell that soul
Baby fare thee well
Somebody gotta, gotta raise a little hell
(Oh my my, oh hell yeah)
Somebody gotta, gotta raise a little hell
(Oh my my, oh hell yeah)
Somebody gotta, gotta raise a little hell
baby drop them bones
(Raise hell) baby sell that soul
(Raise hell) baby fare thee well
Somebody gotta, gotta raise a little hell
(Oh my my, oh hell yeah)
Somebody gotta, gotta raise a little hell
(Oh my my, oh hell yeah)
Somebody gotta, gotta raise a little hell
Raise hell
Somebody gotta, gotta raise a little hell
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Dorothy Martin / Mark Jackson / Ian Scott / George Robertson

Fastball – Out Of My Head

Free Fallin'

From their 1998 album, All The Pain Money Can Buy. The song reached number 20 on Billboards Hot 100 chart in 1999.

From songfacts.

Tony Scalzo wrote “Out Of My Head,” which reflects his mindset. “I was a struggling musician,” he said in a Songfacts interview. “I had a record deal, so I knew there was a chance that things were going to turn around for us and for me, but I was struggling, and I was really ambitious at that time. Maybe I was just thinking about recurrent situations and how hopefully things would come out right.”

Things did come out right: The first single from Fastball’s second album was “The Way,” which became a huge radio hit. “Out of My Head” was a more modest hit, but still did very well, helping that second album, All the Pain Money Can Buy, sell over one…

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Temple Of The Dog – Hunger Strike

This is my contribution to Song Lyric Sunday for Jim Adams’s blog. This week’s prompt…Bounty/Dessert/Eat/Feast/Food/Hungry/Turkey

From their 1991 self-titled album. The song peaked at #4 on Billboards Mainstream Rock chart on September 5, 1992.

From Songfacts

Temple of the Dog began when Chris Cornell of Soundgarden wrote two songs in honor of his good friend Andrew Wood, who died of a heroin overdose in March 1990. Wood was kept on life support for three days after he overdosed, during which time Cornell and his band mates came to see him. Wood was in a promising Seattle band called Mother Love Bone with Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, who were forming their new band that would become Pearl Jam. Cornell teamed up with them and guitarist Mike McCready with the intention of recording some of Wood’s solo songs along with Cornell’s two tribute tracks. Responding to concerns that they were somehow exploiting Wood’s work, the guys decided to release an album of all original material in tribute to Wood, and called the band Temple of the Dog after a Mother Love Bone lyric from their song “Man of Golden Words.”

“Hunger Strike” was the last song recorded for the album; Chris Cornell wrote it because they had only nine tracks and he has a compulsive distaste for odd numbers. Describing the song in the Pearl Jam Twenty collection, he said, “I was wanting to express the gratitude for my life but also disdain for people where that’s not enough, where they want more. There’s no way to really have a whole lot more than you need usually without taking from somebody else that can’t really afford to give it to you. It’s sort of about taking advantage of a person or people who really don’t have anything.”

The same verse is repeated twice in this song, as Cornell felt he had said everything he could on the subject with those words. Once these verse lyrics are out of the way, it’s all chorus and bridge, which works thanks to the second vocalist on the song: Eddie Vedder.

Temple of the Dog recorded the song on the very day Vedder flew in from San Diego to meet with his new bandmates in what would become Pearl Jam: October 8, 1990. It was the first time he met any of the guys, and for most of the sessions, he kept to himself (Vedder was chosen based on a tape he sent to the guys where he added vocals to some of their tracks). Chris Cornell planned to sing both the high and low parts of the “Going Hungry” chorus by himself with the help of overdubs, but he was struggling with the low register. In a defining moment, Vedder stepped up to the microphone and sang the low parts of the chorus, which made the song click for Cornell.

With two distinct voices, Cornell could now sing the verse lyrics at the beginning of the song, and Vedder could follow with the same lyrics, giving it a different sound. With both voices on the chorus, the song really came together and became the highlight of the album. It was a huge moment for Eddie, as he interjected himself into Cornell’s song without coming off as arrogant, and gained the respect of his new bandmates in the process. It was Vedder’s first recorded vocal for a major record, and it proved to those in the room that he understood their sound and was willing to contribute any way he could, even if it wasn’t for his band.

The video for the song was shot in Discovery Park in Seattle. The western view at sunset with band members’ backs to the camera facing Bainbridge Island, home of Andrew Wood, was a symbolic goodbye to their friend.

Hunger Strike

Well I don’t mind stealing bread
From the mouths of decadence
But I can’t feed on the powerless
When my cup’s already overfilled
Yeah
But it’s on the table
The fire’s cooking
And they’re farming babies
The slaves are all working
Blood is on the table
The mouths are all choking
But I’m goin’ hungry
Yeah
I don’t mind stealing bread
From the mouths of decadence
But I can’t feed on the powerless
When my cup’s already overfilled
But it’s on the table
The fire is cooking
And they’re farming babies
The slaves are all working
And it’s on the table
Their mouths are all choking
But I’m going hungry (Going hungry)
I’m going hungry (Going hungry)
I’m going hungry (Going hungry)
I’m going hungry (Going hungry)
I’m going hungry (Going hungry)
I don’t mind stealing bread (I don’t mind)
I don’t mind stealing bread
I’m going hungry (Going hungry)
I’m going hungry (Going hungry)
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: CORNELL CHRISTOPHER J