5 facts about 5 songs . . .
Achy Breaky Heart:
- Written by the country songwriter and performer Don Von Tress, this was a remake of a 1991 song by the country act The Marcy Brothers, titled "Don't Tell My Heart." That original version had the lyrics: "Don't tell my heart, my achy, breakin' heart..."
- Achy Breaky Heart was the leader of the “New Country” wave as younger devotees deserted performers such as Willie Nelson, embracing the slick production and pop melodies. Although the purists were hostile, accusing Billy Ray Cyrus of desecrating country music, it was a huge hit in both country and popular music, leading the way for artists like Shania Twain and Faith Hill, who had massive pop success with country songs.
- Achy Breaky Heart became the most popular and prominent of the United States line dancing craze of the early '90s.
- Thanks to this song, the album Some Gave All went to #1 for 17 weeks - a record for a debut artist. It was the best selling album in 1992.
- Billy Ray's daughter, Miley Cyrus, became a Disney Channel star with the show Hannah Montana, playing a girl who is secretly a pop star by night. Billy Ray had a role on the show, playing her manager.
Miley Cyrus Joins Sister Noah and Dad Billy Ray to sing 'Achy Breaky Heart', 2017
- No, not the John Lennon version, the one just released by Yoko Ono, who is now aged 85. It forms part of her new album Warzone.
- Until recently, the song was credited solely to Lennon; Ono was added as a co-writer in 2017. The song’s central lyrical structure, a series of wistful, utopian scenarios, was inspired by Ono’s poetry collection Grapefruit, which featured lines like: “Imagine your head filled with pencil leads / Imagine one of them broken.” Lennon had acknowledged her contribution in a 1980 interview, saying: “A lot of it – the lyric and the concept – came from Yoko. But those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution. But it was right out of Grapefruit, her book.”
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- The song was released on October 10 this year, to mark what would have been John Lennon’s 78th birthday.
- Warzone was released on October 19 and is her fourteenth studio album. a collection of reworked tracks from her past.
Total Eclipse of the Heart:
- The song, by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler, was released in 1983 and became her biggest hit.
- According to Jim Steinman, who wrote the song: “ . . . with 'Total Eclipse of the Heart', I was trying to come up with a love song and I remembered I actually wrote that to be a vampire love song. Its original title was 'Vampires in Love' because I was working on a musical of Nosferatu, the other great vampire story. If anyone listens to the lyrics, they're really like vampire lines. It's all about the darkness, the power of darkness and love's place in the dark…”
- It has been reported that Steinman first offered this song, along with "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All" to Meat Loaf for his 1983 album Midnight At The Lost And Found. For financial reasons, Meat's record company wanted him to write his own songs for the album, so this song went to Tyler and "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" went to Air Supply. Steinman has denied those reports, saying that he wrote it for Tyler and as a showcase for her voice.
- Her voice has been likened to Rod Stewart and Kim Carnes as a result of her vocal nodules operation in the 1970s, sometimes even being referenced as "the female Rod Stewart", and, after her collaborations with Jim Steinman, "the female Meat Loaf".
- Tyler married property developer and 1972 Olympic judo contestant Robert Sullivan in 1973. on 14 July 1973. They have no children; Tyler miscarried when she was aged 39. Since 1988, Tyler and her husband have owned a five-bedroom home in Portugal and she and Sullivan have invested extensively in real estate. As of a 1999 interview, they owned farmland in Portugal and New Zealand, 22 houses in Royal Berkshire and London, and 65 stables offering horse boarding services. In a 2013 interview, Tyler stated that the farm in New Zealand had been converted to a dairy farm twelve years after they purchased the land. In the same interview she also stated that she and Sullivan also own a quarry.
Bette Davis Eyes:
- This was originally recorded in a 1920s Jazz style by Jackie DeShannon on her 1975 album, New Arrangement. DeShannon wrote the song with the songwriter Donna Weiss. It was Donna Weiss who submitted the demo to Carnes, who along with her band and producer Val Garay, came up with the hit arrangement for the song. Kim Carnes’ version made the song a commercial success.
- According to DeShannon, she got the idea for the song after watching the 1942 Bette Davis movie Now Voyager.
- Bette Davis Eyes was the Number One Song of 1981, and the third best-selling song of the entire 1980s, behind only Physical by Olivia Newton John and Endless Love by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie.
- After this song became a hit single, Bette Davis (then aged 73) wrote letters to Kim Carnes and the songwriters to say she was a fan of the song and thank them for making her "a part of modern history." One of the reasons the legendary actress loved the song is that her granddaughter thought her grandmother was "cool" for having a hit song written about her.
- Another raspy vocalist who has been compared to Rod Stewart, indeed when Bette Davis Etes was released, some thought it was Stewart singing.
And now for something completely different . . .
The Lumberjack Song:
- The song was written by Monty Python members Terry Jones and Michael Palin along with Python associate Fred Tomlinson.
- The song starts off with the famous line, "I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay, I sleep all night and I work all day." Further lyrics reveal that there is another side of the lumberjack, that he likes to dress up in women's clothing.
- From Wikipedia:
In the song, the Lumberjack recounts his daily tasks and his personal life, such as having buttered scones for tea, and the Mountie chorus repeats his lines in sing-song fashion. However, as the song continues, he increasingly reveals cross-dressing tendencies ("I cut down trees, I skip and jump, I like to press wild flowers, I put on women's clothing, and hang around in bars"), which both distresses the girl and disturbs the confused Mounties, who continue to repeat and chorus his lines, albeit with increasing hesitance. The last straw comes when he mentions that he wears "high heels, suspenders, and a bra. I wish I'd been a girlie, just like my dear mama", and some of the Mounties stop repeating his lines, and they eventually walk off in disgust. Stunned by the Lumberjack's revelation, the girl cries out "Oh, Bevis! And I thought you were so rugged!" (in some versions, she says, "I thought you were so butch!" and sometimes slaps him) before running off. In And Now For Something Completely Different, at the end of the song the Lumberjack is pelted with rotten fruit and eggs by the Mounties, who can also be heard shouting insults. Another notable difference is that, in the original version, the Lumberjack wishes he was a girlie "just like my dear mama", whereas subsequent versions replace "mama" with "papa", implying that the lumberjack inherited his tendency for transvestism from his father.
- At a 1976 Monty Python performance, George Harrison joined in the chorus dressed as a Mountie. Typical of Harrison, he blended in and never announced his appearance. The next night, after Harry Nilsson found out, he showed up for the role. This was a disaster, as Python member John Cleese recalls Nilsson wearing dark glasses and generally making an ass of himself. "Harry Nilsson came up and tried to take the show over, just one huge inflated ego," said Cleese. After the performance, Nilsson tried to shake hands with the crowd and fell into the audience, breaking his arm in the process.
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