Show 291: Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Review of Bon Iver, Greg's DIJ
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1 Hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot talk about two news stories merging Broadway and the pop world. The Tony award-winning musical Book of Mormon is now also a chart success. It's the highest-charting Broadway cast album and first in the top 10 since 1969, when Hair spent 13 straight weeks at #1. On the other end of the spectrum, YouTube phenom Susan Boyle has inspired a new musical called “I Dreamed a Dream.” It will be a fairy tale of sorts, where the heroine gets swept away to Hollywood (and the big bad wolf is Simon Cowell).
2 This past weekend Bruce Springsteen lost his constant sidekick and friend, Clarence Clemons. Greg calls Clemons the first among equals in a large band of characters. His saxophone was as important to many of Springsteen’s songs as the Boss’ guitar. And even in later years, when sax wasn’t as prominent a component, Clemons was a large presence onstage. Jim will miss that energy, though he has always been critical of his sax style. To remember Clarence Clemons our hosts listen to “Jungleland” from the 1975 album Born to Run.
3 It’s always interesting to get the backstory behind our favorite music and hear from producers, songwriters and session musicians. So this week Jim and Greg talk to songwriting duo Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil. The husband and wife team made their mark during the Brill Building era of the 1960’s alongside other hired guns like Carole King & Gerry Goffin and Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller. Barry and Cynthia talk about the friendly competition between songwriters during that time and how they came up with classic pop tunes like “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” “On Broadway,” and “Kicks.” They also wrote “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” but as a single for Barry…not The Animals. Barry and Cynthia recently received the Johnny Mercer Award presented by The Songwriters' Hall of Fame. And Cynthia has got something for the younger set as well. Check out her children's book Rockin' Babies.
4 There’s been a whole lotta commentary about the new album by Bon Iver—some good, some bad. Justin Vernon first made a splash in 2008 with For Emma, Forever Ago. Even Kanye West is a fan. But, the mythology precedes the record according to Greg. Bon Iver, Bon Iver is much more lushly orchestrated, but it really starts to sag in the middle. By the last track Greg was having bad visions of Steve Winwood and Bruce Hornsby. He says Burn It. Jim hears Mike and the Mechanics and thinks Greg is being kind. The production is grating, the lyrics nonsensical and the vibe drippy and snoozy. In other words: Trash It.
5 To cap off the show Greg pays tribute to Robert Johnson. The 100th anniversary of the bluesman’s death is this year. And since he died at the age of 27 and didn’t get to record much in his lifetime, but he became so influential many regard him as the godfather of rock and roll. With his unique vocal and piano performance and complicated narratives, it’s easy to understand why Johnson resonates today. Greg chooses to add the song “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day” to the Desert Island Jukebox.
Songs Featured in Show #291
The Book of Mormon: Original Cast Recording, “Hello,” The Book of Mormon: Original Cast Recording, Ghostlight Records, 2011
Bruce Springsteen, “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” Born to Run, Columbia, 1975
Bruce Springsteen, “Jungleland,” Born to Run, Columbia, 1975
The Ronettes, “Walking in the Rain” The Best of The Ronettes, ABKCO Records, 1992
Barry Mann, “Who Put the Bomp,” Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp), Wea, 1961
Bobby Vee, “Take Good Care of My Baby,” Devil or Angel, Weton, 1960
Tony Orlando, “Happy Times Are Here To Stay,” Bless You and Seventeen Other Great Hits, Collectables, 1997
The Drifters, “Saturday Night At The Movies,” The Very Best of the Drifters, Sony Music, 1963
Eydie Gorme, “Blame It on the Bossa Nova,” Blame It on the Bossa Nova, GL Records, 1963
Wilson Pickett, “Come Home Baby,” In the Midnight Hour, Collectables, 1965
The Righteous Brothers, “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling,” You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling, Philles, 1964
The Crystals, “Uptown,” Twist Uptown, Philles, 1962
The Cookies, “On Broadway,” The Complete Cookies, Sequel, 1994
The Drifters “On Broadway,” Up on the Roof: The Very Best of the Drifters, Sony Music, 1963
Barry Mann, “Soul and Inspiration,” Unreleased
Barry Mann, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place [Original Demo],”Red Bird Story, Snapper UK, 2011
The Animals, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” Animal Tracks, EMI, 1965
Paul Revere & The Raiders, “Kicks,” Midnight Ride, Sundazed, 1966
Dolly Parton, “Here You Come Again,” Here You Come Again, DCC Compact Classics, 1977
Bon Iver, “Calgary,” Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Jagjaguwar, 2011
Bon Iver, “Beth/Rest” Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Jagjaguwar, 2011
Robert Johnson, “If I Had Possession over Judgement Day,” King of the Delta Blues Singers, Columbia/Legacy, 1961
Statik Selectah, “The Thrill is Gone,” 100 Proof: The Hangover, Showoff Records, 2010
Wolf Parade, “Language City,” At Mount Zoomer, Sub Pop, 2008
The Muppets, “Mahna Mahna,” Best of the Muppets, Disney, 2006
Grateful Dead, “Box of Rain,” American Beauty, Warner Bros., 1970
Everything But the Girl, “A Piece of My Mind,” Like The Deserts Miss the Rain, Virgin, 2002
Bob Dylan, “Forever Young,” Planet Waves, Columbia, 1974