5 Great Whitesnake Ballads That Taught Us What Love Is…

A huge portion of my music library is dedicated to power ballads of the 80s (and ballads in general). I am sure many of you guys will agree with me when I say that those songs, usually performed by glam rock bands, are so influential, possess such a special aura and are even “magical”. Characterized with sensual lyrics, hard rock sound and a strong vocal delivery, the power ballads of the 80s appealed to many people and turned into a huge and unforgettable trend (that of course brought a lot of money)…
When I think about power ballads of the 80s, probably the first band name that comes out of my mind is Whitesnake. To me personally, they are the kings of power ballads and there’s a reason behind it. The reason is called David Coverdale – who happens to be one of the greatest male vocalists of all time. I’ve listened to many rock ballads, performed by many rock musicians such as Warrant, Poison, Foreigner, etc., however none of those ballad songs have influenced me the way Whitesnake’s ballad songs have. To me, David has the perfect voice for rock ballads and every time I hear him perform those heartbreaking love songs, I get goosebumps. His voice is perfectly designed for a rock ballad and I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but the moment he starts singing about love, I completely melt down. Of course, being a huge Whitesnake fan, I love pretty much each and every song of theirs. However, among all, the ballads are my ultimate favorites – even after so many years of listening, I always get these feelings and emotions each time I play power ballads such as “Looking for Love” or “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City”. I’m not sure I can find the right adjectives to describe David’s voice but I find his singing very sensual and his voice is definitely one of those “mysterious” and “smoky” voices that captivate your soul immediately.

In order to celebrate my love for Whitesnake’s (power) ballads and David’s brilliant vocal deliveries, I came up with this idea of collecting 5 of my favorite Whitesnake love songs. Also, I hope my readers can be reminded of some of those classics from back in the day. In the spirit of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I thought it’s a good time to think about love and what better way to do it, than listen to this outstanding artist pouring his soul out into the music…

 

Looking For Love

I will start things with my favorite Whitesnake song, favorite power ballad from the 80s and one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time (yes, it’s that important to me). The song is part of their self-titled album which also happens to be their most successful album of all time. It was released back in 1987 and later on, the band also introduced a very interesting (?) music video that circulated around MTV. The reason why I adore this song with all my heart is the beautiful lyrics and of course, David’s vocal delivery – it turns from soft and gentle to strong and even a bit aggressive in a matter of seconds. To me, this is just the perfect rock ballad…

“I look in the mirror
Don’t like what I see
In my reflection
A stranger is staring at me
Looking for love”

Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

The next rock ballad by Whitesnake is actually not an original song – it’s a cover version of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s song, written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh back in 1974. The original version is more blues and R&B oriented, rather than hard rock. Whitesnake’s interpretation of this song was included in their debut EP – “Snakebite” in 1978 and it actually became one of their most successful and loved songs. Later on, they also included a live performance of this song in their 1980s Live…in the Heart of the City Live album. Needless to say, I absolutely adore this song and their version of it. Once again, David demonstrates how powerful and yet tender his voice can be.

“Ain’t no love in the heart of the city,
Ain’t no love in the heart of town.
Ain’t no love, sure ’nuff is a pity,
Ain’t no love ‘cos you ain’t around.
Baby, since you been around.”

Is This Love

I just had to include this song which also happens to be one of the perfect examples of 80s power ballads. Not to mention that they owe a lot of their success and public recognition to this breathtaking power ballad. It is indeed probably the first song that comes to everyone’s mind when we think about Whitesnake. The song was released in 1987 from their self-titled album and quickly reached number 2 in the USA charts. It is a beautiful and very well-written song. The music video is also very distinctive and “very 80s”. Interesting fact, David was asked to think of some ideas for a new Tina Turner song and that’s when he came up with “Is This Love”…Anyhow, I’m glad they kept the song for themselves. As much as I love Tina, this song just fits him and the band so perfectly that I just can’t imagine anyone else singing it…
P.S You can check out my previous publication in which the song was also included : – Greatest (Power) Rock Ballads Of The 80s

”I find I spend my time
Waiting on your call,
How can I tell you, baby
My back’s against the wall
I need you by my side
To tell me it’s alright,
‘Cos I don’t think I can take anymore”

Only My Soul

This is also another one of my favorite Whitesnake ballads. One might say that it’s not as powerful, ground-breaking and wall-shaking as some of their other ballads but what appeals to me are the guitar riffs as well as its atmosphere – a bit more relaxed, calming and even exquisite than some of their other ballads. The violins are also a nice touch. “Only My Soul” is featured in “Snakebite” – their first official release back in 1978. This album produced so many fascinating songs.

“Only my soul, stops me crying,
Wondering why I feel alone
And only my love keeps me from
Weeping, so bad,
Giving me strength, to carry on”

The Deeper The Love

The last song from my selection comes from Whitesnake’s 1989 album “Slip of the Tongue” and it’s called “The Deeper the Love”. It’s a very melodic and a bit more dynamic and it happens to be one of my favourite (power) ballads of all time. The song and as a matter of fact the whole album, are a little bit different than their original sound from the early 80s, however I still enjoy listening to it – especially this song. His voice is just so full of soul…it takes my breath away. The lyrics are also very emotional and full of hope – it’s all about how strong a man’s love can be…

“So when the sun goes down
An’ those nights grow colder,
I will be there
Looking over your shoulder
An’ the deeper the love
The stronger the emotion,
An’ the stronger the love
The deeper the devotion”

~~~

Well, this is it for now – five beautiful (power) rock ballad songs, coming from Whitesnake – one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time. The selection was very personal and subjective so I apologize if you didn’t see some of your favorite songs. I would like to make part 2 and include other beautiful ballads of Whitesnake and David because there are so much more… His voice is everything – I hope you guys feel the same way I do and truly enjoy those five breath-taking love songs…


 

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[Saturday Night Song Focus] Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer

Greetings!

It’s Saturday and it’s time for my weekly scheduled publication dedicated to a particular song. Once again, I would like to say that the choice is primarily based on my personal preferences and decisions. I was wondering which song to talk about today and suddenly the playlist on my phone decided to play this one so I thought it would be nice to tell you something about this iconic song by Peter Gabriel. Actually, it also happens to me one of my favorite songs of the 80, even though I’m not such a huge fan of Peter Gabriel. Don’t get me wrong, he is indeed one of the greatest “blue-eyed” soul singers, along with others such as Phil Collins, Steve Winwood and Robert Palmer. However, to me Peter Gabriel was always too eccentric and a little bit weird, wild and careless. I mean, we all remember those grotesque Genesis live performances in which he was dressed as a frog and a flower… He is though one of the most iconic figures of the 80s and I give him all the credit for that. He is not only famous for his distinctive vocal delivery, but he was also an activist and also made a protest song for Steve Biko – a noted black South African anti-apartheid activist who died in a prison.

Now let’s talk a little bit more about the song (somehow I always get carried away for which I’m sorry…). “Sledgehammer” was written, produced, composed, performed and pretty much all done by Peter Gabriel himself. The song was released back in 1986 from one of his most famous albums – “So”. It quickly became a huge hit – it topped Billboard Hot 100 in the USA, became #1 in Canada, #4 in UK, etc. Everyone simply fell in love with this catchy upbeat song with such distinctive and unique lyrics. Peter Gabriel’s music has always been influenced by 1960s soul musicians and we can also clearly see it in “Sledgehammer”. In particular, in this song, we can see the influence of Memphis label – Stax Records. Furthermore, the song has numerous distinctive elements, including a horn section and a synthesizer flute with which the song begins. I have to say the flute at the beginning is probably the most memorable part of the song! The reason why I love this song so much is because it has very interesting lyrics – I’m not saying they have special quality, I’m saying to me they are funny and catchy. Also, I love the drums, bass and sax in the song – the whole composition is just perfect! In term of genre, I would say most certainly a mixture between classical “blue-eyed” soul and commercial rock. However I think it has a lot of elements of funk music – The incredibly well-crafted mixture of genres is what made this song so legendary…

The music video is also one of the greatest music videos of all time – that’s just my personal opinion. Maybe now to many of you guys it may seem like nothing, however back in the days the MV was revolutionary! Say whatever you wish to say but facts are facts – up to date, the music video of “Sledgehammer” is the MOST PLAYED music video in the history of MTV!!! This speaks volumes! In addition, Peter Gabriel won the impressive nine MTV awards at the 1987 MTV Music Video Awards – the most awards a music video has ever won. He also got best British video award during 1987 Brit Awards. He also got nominated for Grammys – record of the year, song of the year and best vocal performance. Unbelievable, right…? The song and its music video were just making history and everyone loved it! The music video includes “claymation, pixilation, and stop motion animation that gave life to images in the song” done by Aardman Animations and Brothers Quay. The whole thing looks extremely unique and I can’t believe back in the 80s people could make things like that…revolutionary! There’s of course an irony in all this… Peter Gabriel absolutely hated the idea of music videos. To him, the emergence of MTV and the trend to produce music videos for every song was meaningless and was declining the value of the artist. I guess he also thought that “video killed the radio star”. Finally after so many years of pulling away and resisting the new trend and demand, he decided to produce a music video – and what a video that was. I guess he just said to himself – if I have to do it, I may as well just make something people have never seen before…and he did!

With no further due – enjoy the song and the memorable music video!

Velina

xoxox

Single / Album Cover


 

Music Video


 

Lyrics

You could have a steam train
If you’d just lay down your tracks
You could have an aeroplane flying
If you bring your blue sky back

All you do is call me
I’ll be anything you need

You could have a big dipper
Going up and down, all around the bends
You could have a bumper car, bumping
This amusement never ends

I want to be your sledgehammer
Why don’t you call my name
Oh let me be your sledgehammer
This will be my testimony
Show me round your fruit cakes
‘Cause I will be your honey bee
Open up your fruit cakes
Where the fruit is as sweet as can be

I want to be your sledgehammer
Why don’t you call my name
You’d better call the sledgehammer
Put your mind at rest
I’m going to be-the sledgehammer
This can be my testimony
I’m your sledgehammer
Let there be no doubt about it

Sledge sledge sledgehammer

I kicked the habit (I kicked the habit)
Shed my skin (Shed my skin)
This is the new stuff (This is the new stuff)
I go dancing in, (We could go dancing in)
Oh won’t you show for me (Show for me)
I will show for you (Show for you)
Show for me (Show for me), I will show for you

Yea, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I do mean you
Only you, you’ve been coming through
Going to build that power
Build, build up that power, hey
I’ve been feeding the rhythm
I’ve been feeding the rhythm
Going to feel that power, build in you

Come on, come on, help me do
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you
I’ve been feeding the rhythm
I’ve been feeding the rhythm
It’s what we’re doing, doing
All day and night, come on and help me do, come on and help me do


Credits:

Top 5 Best-Selling Debut Albums of All Time

Debut Albums collage!with link

Greetings!

For today’s publication I decided to make another informative (hopefully) list which this time is going to be dedicated to albums, rather than singes or songs. The publication won’t be based on my personal opinion; rather I would like to list the top 5 best-selling debut albums of all time.

First impressions count! The following albums made such great first impressions that they not only launched successful careers but also became a cultural landmark. The success of a debut album may give us some sort of idea how popular an artist/band can be. It also works as a key to set up a fan base and make impressions in the music industry. In my opinion, the initial impact has to be for sure the strongest one. Smash hit album release is a MUST in order to grab the audience and establish a name for yourself in the industry. Also, a debut album is important because it sets some sort of standards and expectations from the musician/s and the following projects. Many musicians are remembered by their unbelievably good debut albums. Unfortunately, some of them were not able to live up to those high standards in their second albums or following projects. Such are the cases with some of the following musicians – Guns ‘n’ Roses for instance – great debut album but where are they now? My point is that, in music industry, especially nowadays with the development of media, artists need CONSISTENCY – which also happens to be one of the most difficult things to achieve! That’s why musicians such as Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson were so great (and still are). Album after album they completely proved to their fans and to the industry that they most certainly are not a one-album-wonder.
Back to the debut albums, the following is a list of 5 best-selling debut albums. I am considering a part 2, which hopefully can happen sooner. I hope you enjoy the music and learn something new!
Here we go…


Guns ‘N Roses – Appetite For Destruction

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The ultimate game changer for Guns ‘n Roses and in my opinion the main and only reason why they are so famous and loved by fans all over the world. It also happens to be the best-selling debut album of all times! It is also the 11th best-selling album in the United States alone! The album sold more than 30 million copies worldwide – such an impressive number! The album was released on July 21st, 1987 and it spent more 147 weeks on Billboard chart! Axl, Slash and the boys spawned 7 singles from the album. Four of those singles – “Sweet Child O’ Mine“, “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” each peaked top 10 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 (#1, #5, and #7). Producer Mike Clink deserves nothing but huge applause! The album was released under the Geffen Records label – do I have to say more? This is probably one of the greatest record labels in history! The album became one of the most powerful forces in rock music history and its songs will always be a hit! Unfortunately, the only member left in the band is Axl and nowadays things are just not working well for him. The rest of the members departed and pursued solo careers. This is a perfect example how a band can have a tremendous success and in time gradually but steadily fall from its grace~ Too bad, the guys were rockin’ it!


 Boston – Boston

Boston-1.jpg

It saddens me that so many people are not aware of this amazing band and the legacy they left. Their self-titled album “Boston” was released back in 1976 and the success of the album was a surprise to so many people. Indeed, this unknown band came literally out of nowhere and dropped this amazing album which still remains the second best-selling debut album of all time! The album was released under the label of Epic Records and was produced by the great John Boylan and Tom Scholz, The album produced three singles, each of them absolute and smashing hits – “More Than a Feeling”, “Foreplay/Long Time” and “Peace of Mind”. Interesting fact, till today the songs from this album are constantly being played on radios all around the world, mostly in the USA, of course. The style of the album is often referred as “Boston style” rock, however in my opinion if I have to place a genre or style of music, I would say radio-friendly rock with classic elements and melodic guitar hooks! The influence and trend this album created was enormous. They were blamed for the creation of so called “corporate” rock and for the “transition of mainstream American rock from blues-based proto-metal to power pop”.


 Hootie and the Blowfish – Cracked Rear View

Cracked-Rear-View-cover

On number three, we have the debut album of Hootie & the Blowfish – Cracked Rear View, which was released back in 1994 under the label of Atlantic Records. Till today, it remains their most successful album. It was also the best-selling album of 1995! The album spawned five hit singles – “Let Her Cry,” “Hold My Hand”, “Only Wanna Be with You”, “Time” and “Drowning”, four of which became ultimate smashing hits. There was some sort of controversy – they were sued by Bob Dylan for unauthorized use of his lyrics in the song “Only Wanna Be With You”. Regardless, the album became a total hit! It appealed to both young people and the older generation – one of the reasons why it was such a success story. Another reason may be the catchy but soulful lyrics. The sound of the album is more alternative, pop oriented rock rather than heavy-sounding like the previous two albums.


Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time

Britney-Spears-Baby-One-More-Time-cover

Oh my…Remember when Britney was like 18 years old and became this huge global phenomenon back in the late 1990s? The popularity of this debut album was unimaginable! Oh and yes, I also had it – I was a kid once! I was 7 years old when this album came out and I remember how happy I was the moment I got my hands on it. She was the perfect pop star and quickly became my idol – only because of this influential debut album! The album came out on January 1999 and it quickly won the hearts of many young fans all over the world! The album is fourteen times platinum, according to the RAA and it turned into the 5th best-selling album of all time in the USA. She released five singles from the album – “…Baby One More Time”, “Sometimes”, “(You Drive Me) Crazy”, “Born to Make You Happy” and “From the Bottom of My Broken Heart”. Needless to say, the title song of the album was the most successful one among these songs, even though each one of them broke the records! The songs were catchy, rhythmic, easy to dance to and so innocent – they immediately reached to the hearts of the teenagers of the 90s! Britney got tons of nominations, Grammys and pretty much all the acknowledgements you can imagine – people and the music industry simply fell in love with this pop sensation! Interesting fact, the title song – “…Baby One More Time” was originally supposed to be given to the famous girl trio TLC, however they rejected it – such a huge mistake, if you ask me. In conclusion, I have to say this album is everything! It gave a new meaning to pop and it changed the music industry! This is one perfect example of how powerful a debut album can be! It was the ultimate revival of teen pop! Rolling Stone wrote: “Britney Spears carries on the classic archetype of the rock & roll teen queen, the dungaree doll, the angel baby who just has to make a scene.”


Backstreet Boys – Backstreet Boys

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Backstreet Boys! The famous boyband we all love and grew up listening to! I’m 100% sure that all of the 90s girls had a crush on them – they were those perfect, talented and handsome guys, singing about love and romance. My favorite one was Nick – he was just so adorable! Anyhow, back to the album – it is a bit confusing because internationally, the album was released in 1996 in Canada, Europe and Asia. However, their debut in the USA was one year later – in 1997 and they repackaged the initial international album and released a new version with some new songs. The USA release coincided with their second international album, titled “Backstreet’s back” so it contained songs from both the original 1996 debut and the 1997 follow-up “Backstreet’s Back“…It was always so puzzling to me and difficult to follow which album was where and when… Bottom line is, the debut album became one of the most successful debut albums of all time. It reached number four on Billboard and has been certified fourteen times Platinum by the RIAA for sales. The numbers are beyond impressive…but how can they not be? – the album produced some of their most famous and signature songs – songs we still know by heart and sing. I mean, who doesn’t know “Quit Playing Games with My Heart” or “As Long As You love me”… or of course…”Everybody”! The debut album also established their names and crafted their special and unique sound and style. I just want to go back in time…… too many memories!


This is it for now! The top 5 best-selling debut albums of all time! We have rock, alternative and pop artists who did so well with their career-launching albums that they simply made history!
I deeply recommend you guys listen and enjoy the albums because they have really beautiful and meaningful songs – they are best-selling for a reason!
Enjoy~

Velina

xoxoxo

 


Credits:
“Top 10 Best Selling Debut Albums in US History” by Adriano Valente, retrieved from http://www.therichest.com
“List of best-selling albums”, retrieved from Wikipedia

[Saturday Night Song Focus] Daryl Hall & John Oates – Out Of Touch

Greetings!

Due to busy schedule unfortunately the blog had to be left without a daily publication for a few days. For that I am sorry and I would definitely try my best to post things regularly from now on! The first few posts were a bit here and there – I am still experimenting and establishing the blog’s identity and what types of publications I would like to have on here. I was thinking about it and decided to make something like a weekly program – a consistent publication that will appear every week and will deal with a similar issue. I was wondering what it could be and then I decided that I’m gonna turn Saturday night into a song analysis/focus night! Every Saturday from now on, there will be a publication dedicated to a song. Of course, needless to say, the song would be chosen based on my personal preferences and views. I would also like to emphasize on variety – I will try to include different genres, eras, styles, etc. Those weekly song focus publications will also present additional song related media materials such as music video, artwork, lyrics and others. Most importantly, however, the aim of this publication would be to give some background, historical overview and significance of the song. I hope by doing so, my readers can learn something interesting about a song while listening to it!

*drumroll* ….
The first song I am going to talk about is Daryl Hall & John Oates’s “Out of Touch”. I know it is supposed to be a song review; however I cannot just say nothing about those two! Their story began from Philadelphia – the place where soul music bloomed. The duo was heavily influenced by 60s Motown soul artists and we could most certainly hear it in their work. In terms of production and signwriting they were considered simply as white people copying Motown sound. However, in the 1980s they finally established their own style. Believe it or not, they soon invented a very distinctive fusion between rock ’n’ roll and soul music. They called this genre “ROCK AND SOUL” – sounds cool, right? Their sound was carefully crafted by heavy use of electronic elements and they even experimented with funky and futuristic styles. “At their best, Hall & Oates’ songs were filled with strong hooks and melodies that adhered to soul traditions without being a slave to them by incorporating elements of new wave,” – said critics Stephen Thomas Erlewine and J. Scott McClintock. One of their first big successes was the song “I can’t go for that” which topped the Billboard chart in 1981. The song was covered by numerous artists. Personally, my favorite cover of this song is Simply Red’s “Sunrise”. Their success continued with songs such as “Maneater” which also topped the chart in 1982. If I have to be honest, “Maneater” is probably one of my most favorite pop songs from the 80s – it’s just so good! Their sound however was becoming way too soft, so they called Mr. Neil Kernon – a notable heavy metal producer who worked with bands such as Scorpions and Judas Priest. He helped them enhance their sound and make it a little bit heavier. The result was the song I want to present today – “Out of Touch”. Furthermore, I wanted to say a few more things about Hall & Oates before focusing on the song. When we think about the most successful duos of all time, many of you would probably say Righteous Brothers or Simon & Garfunkel or Tina & Ike or Everly Brothers or even Daft Punk. Surprise! According to the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) Hall & Oates is the most successful duo in popular music! They have seven RIAA platinum albums and six RIAA golden albums. They have sold more than 40 million records which makes them the second best-selling duo of all time (the Carpenters hold the record with more than 150 million records sold). Those two were unstoppable! Great innovators and probably the most definitive blue eyed soul artist of the era!

About the song itself, “Out of Touch” was released in 1984 and was the lead single from their 1984 album Big Bam Boom. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks in December 1984. Just a quick reminder that back in the 80s it was very difficult for a song to top the charts –since there were so many ground-breaking and prolific artists, a song rarely stuck on top of the charts for a long period of time. As writers and producers of the song, both guys are being credited. Also, if I have to place a specific genre next to the song I would say pop rock, definitely.
The video is just hilarious! Every little element of it just perfectly illustrates what a wild, crazy and irrational decade the 80s was! The MV begins with the “Dance on Your Knees” intro, which is the opening song of the album. Daryl Hall manages to quite well embrace the spirit of the song and as we can see he is totally feeling it – the funny leopard costumes, jumps, awkward dances, overly dramatic gestures and of course – the definitive hairstyle of the era! I just love his style of delivery in the MV. John Oates is also bringing it – he and his extremely odd and bizarre dancing moves are so entertaining to watch. It was obvious that they don’t really know what’s going on but they don’t even care – the musicians of the 80s were all about having fun, feeling good, free and dance crazily. My favourite element of the MV has to be the huge drums and the huge drumsticks! Watching Oates sitting behind those enormous drums and trying to play with the huge drumsticks is absolutely hilarious! The Music Video was also heavily featured on MTV back in the day when MTV actually played music!
I will wrap things up by saying that this is one of my most favorite songs from the 80s! The lyrics are extremely catchy and you can’t but sing with them! The value of the song, at least in my opinion, lies with the distinctive drum and bass elements and in the funky, new wave sound. In terms of vocal delivery, Hall is just perfect!
Nothing more to say! Just enjoy the song!

(Oh and by the way, I am not going to talk about the dreadful cover that was made a few years ago by United Nations. To me it was just one huge mess and the only thing it managed to achieve is to insult the work of Hall and Oates. Not to mention the tasteless and horrible music video.)

Single Cover

daryl-hall-and-john-oates-out-of-touch-rca

MUSIC VIDEO

 

LYRICS

Shake it up is all that we know
Using the bodies up as we go
Waking up to fantasy
The shades all around aren’t the colors we used to see
Broken ice still melts in the sun
And times that are broken can often be one again
We’re soul alone
And soul really matters to me
Take a look around

You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
x2

Reaching out for something to hold
Looking for a love where the climate is cold
Manic moves and drowsy dreams
Or living in the middle between the two extremes
Smoking guns hot to the touch
Would cool down if we didn’t use them so much
We’re soul alone
And soul really matters to me
Too much

You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
x2

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
(Out of touch)
(Out of touch)

You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around
You’re out of touch
I’m out of time
But I’m out of my head when you’re not around

Songwriters: HALL, DARYL / OATES, JOHN
Out Of Touch lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

5 Unforgettable Michael Jackson Duets & Collaborations

The-Legacy-The-Music-of-Michael-Jackson

Greetings, everyone!

Today’s publication is very special to me, since I am going to talk about the greatest entertainer that ever lived. The idea behind the publication came to me this morning when I was simply listening to the playlist I have on my phone and suddenly it played “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. As we all know, the song features Eddie Van Halen’s instantly recognizable and brilliant guitar riffs. This made me think about other famous and everlasting collaborations and duets he did throughout the years. I don’t think right now I will have the time to actually list all of them – they are that many. However, I wanted to present and cover at least five of my ultimate favorites and of course provide some background information about the projects.

It was very difficult to decide what to begin with actually, since we are talking about the King of the Kings – the person who did so much for the music industry – not only he broke the racial barrier on TV but he was also one of the greatest philanthropists. He gave the world something much more than music. Personally, I don’t think anyone can match his success or stage persona – he was that good. I was so lucky to be probably the last generation to be influenced by his music on such high levels. It is such a shame that we lost him…
Back to the publication, I don’t really think there were, are, or will be, any entertainers greater than him. However, he was a humble and gentle soul, everybody admired him and he had numerous friends in the industry. Throughout his career he made some unforgettable collaborations and duets with other artists. We grew up listening to those songs and we are still doing it – who can forget “USA for Africa” or “Beat It”? – No one.
I chose to talk about 5 songs in particular – my personal five I would say. In the future, I would most certainly plan on publishing a “part 2” so stay tuned for more. The following list of songs are not numbered chronologically or based on commercial success, popularity or any other recognition. The list simply reflects my preferences.

***********

“Beat It” (featuring Eddie Van Halen)
ROCK meets POP

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I won’t lie – the reason why I love this song so much is because of Eddie’s distinctive and powerful guitar riffs. Everyone who knows me is well aware of how much I love Van Halen, so it was only natural to begin with this song. Another reason why I chose to start with “Beat It” was because of its background story. The song itself was the third single from the singer’s sixth solo album, Thriller and it was released on February 3, 1983. It ultimately topped all the charts, including US R&B singles chart, US Billboard Top Tracks chart and Billboard Hot 100. Many music critics claim that this song was the best song of the album. I would agree for sure. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Thriller and Billie Jean and pretty much every song from the album. However, “Beat it” did it perfectly to me. It is a perfect fusion of rock and pop and what a fusion that was!! “I wanted to write a song, the type of song that I would buy if I were to buy a rock song… That is how I approached it and I wanted the children to really enjoy it—the school children as well as the college students,” – He said. The story of how Eddie Van Halen ended up in the song is also pretty interesting. When he was first contacted by Quincy Jones, Eddie thought it was a prank call – really? However, once he realized that Michael really wanted to collaborate with him for a rock song, Eddie quickly agreed. What I love about this story is the fact that Eddie didn’t even ask for money – he simply did it for free. “I did it as a favour…I was a complete fool, according to the rest of the band, our manager and everyone else. I was not used. I knew what I was doing – I don’t do something unless I want to do it,” – Eddie said. His guitar riffs were a bit too much though, so the producers had to reduce the distorted guitar a little. Another interesting fact is that when they were recording his solo, a monitor speaker in the control room actually caught on fire – imagine the power coming out of the guitar! Unfortunately, Eddie was not allowed to be in the music video of the song (Shame!) however he did appear on stage with Michael during Jackson brothers “Victory Tour”. Bottom line is – they were both phenomenal! Eddie was ripping through those notes with the speed of light! He wrote his own guitar solo, of course. However I should mention that the song itself was composed, arranged and written by Michael – and what a song that is!
“You have to show them that you’re really not scared
You’re playin’ with your life, this ain’t no truth or dare
They’ll kick you, then they beat you,
Then they’ll tell you it’s fair…”

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“Say, Say, Say” (featuring Paul McCartney)
Legend vs Legend

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Two music geniuses coming together and creating such an amazing, catchy and everlasting song with probably one of the most memorable music videos ever! The song doesn’t need introduction. In my opinion it is Michael’s most successful collaboration with another artist ever! In terms of commercial success and popularity it is indeed one of the greatest duet songs ever. However, in my opinion the vocal delivery of both Paul and Michael is not as impressive as I would like it to be.
“Say, Say, Say” was released in 1983 and was produced by George Martin for Paul McCartney’s album, Pipes of Peace. It quickly hit number one in charts all over the USA and Europe. It was also certified as gold by the RIAA for sales of more than one million copies in 1983.
During the recording sessions, Michael actually stayed and lived with Linda and Paul with whom eventually he became good friends. The majority of the song lyrics were written by Michael and the song itself was produced by George Martin who worked with The Beatles before. I am sure most of you guys know the story behind the feud between those two but I really think it is hilarious – so I would like to share it once more. During Michael’s stay in Paul and Linda’s house, Paul shared with him how much money he makes from all the publishing rights he bought to hit songs. That is indeed through because if you own the publishing rights, every time someone covers the song or plays it on the radio – you get money. Michael got inspired and eventually bought the company that owned most of the Fab Four’s music catalog – such an irony, right! “…to be someone’s friend and then buy the rug they’re standing on…,” – Paul said.
“What can I do
Girl to get through to you?
Cause I love you, baby
Standing here, baptisted in all my tears
Baby through the years
You know I’m crying…”

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“Scream” (featuring Janet Jackson)
Brother vs. Sister

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Phenomenal! Exceptional! Brilliant! I don’t even know what to say about this collaboration and this song! Not to mention the video which is indeed one of the craziest videos of the 90s – but that is Michael, after all – the king of the music videos! The song is very rough, wild and quite angry I think – it about how media misinterpret and misinform the society. (Quite sensitive and popular topic, especially after the 90s)… In the first half of the 90s, Michael Jackson was often the center figure of media backlash – so he decided that the best way to respond is through his music! Specifically, the song addresses the sexual child abasement claims that were made against Michael in 1993.
In my opinion, however, when we talk about this specific Janet and Michael collaboration, what made it so famous is the music video, rather than the song itself. Don’t get me wrong – it is a song to die for. However, the MV was why it stood out and made such a buzz – both of them took on a much darker and wild persona and took off to space to get away from all the media hustle and bustle. One other thing I wanted to point out is that they both sounded very different from their usual selves, especially Michael. With this song and his vocal delivery, you could tell how frustrated and angry he was – and most certainly was not hiding it.
The single was released on May 31, 1995.
“Tired of injustice
Tired of the schemes
The lies are disgusting
So what does it mean
Kicking me down
I got to get up
As jacked as it sounds
The whole system sucks”

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“State Of Shock” (featuring Mick Jagger)
Fun, Crazy, Pure Rock’n’Roll….

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I love this song! This song and “Beat It” are probably my top favorite Michael Jackson collaborations of all time! Mick Jagger – do I need to say more? Mick brought so much energy, so much passion and so much fun to the song! It was written by Jackson and guitarist Randy Hansen and it reached number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 (huh? It deserved number 1)… It was originally supposed to be a song featuring only Jackson’s guitarist Randy, but then they came up with the idea of inviting a rockstar.
Interesting fact, the song was originally supposed to be a duet between Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury, however their schedules were so different, that Michael eventually recorded it with Jagger. Personally, I think they made the right decision. I don’t wish to compare Mick and Freddie since I adore them both on so many levels; however for this song in particular, Mick’s energetic vocal delivery did it for me!
“State Of Shock” was released in June 1984 “by The Jacksons and it was their last platinum effort.
“The lead singer of the Rolling Stones eyed the phenomenal success of Thriller with envy,”
– said Christopher P. Andersen.
“Mick became obsessed with Michael Jackson” and explained it saying, “He wanted to know every detail about Jackson’s life, his contract with Columbia, how the Thriller singles were selling,…,” said Arthur Collins, then president of Rolling Stones Records.
“You gotta be mine
‘Cause you’re so fine
I like your style
It makes me wild
You take it to me good
Know you should
You get me on my knees
Well, please, baby, please…”

+ bonus – a live performance I absolutely adore – featuring my favorite female rockstar Tina Turner during LIVE AID in 1985

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“Give Into Me” (featuring Slash)
Power, Power, Raw Power…

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After the phenomenal success of “Beat It”, I think it was only natural for Michael to start making more and more projects with famous guitarists. This time, he chose Slash from Guns n Roses and what a perfect match!!! The song is often considered as a hard rock ballad and it was released on February 1993 as the tenth track on Michael Jackson’s 1991 studio album Dangerous.
Many people are sometimes confused when it comes to Slash and Michael Jackson’s collaborations because the guitarist is often associated with the song “Black or White”. However to set the records straight, the song’s main riff is not played by Slash.
“Give Into Me” on the other hand turned into this sensual, wild and rather aggressive heavy metal ballad tanks to Slash’s genius guitar skills. It was also written, composed, and produced by Michael Jackson and Bill Bottrell. Slash also appeared on the music video, as well as other musicians such as Muzz Skillings (Living Color) and Gilby Clarke (Guns n Roses).
“You Always Knew Just How To Make Me Cry
And Never Did I Ask You Questions Why
It Seems You Get Your Kicks From Hurting Me
Don’t Try To Understand Me
Because Your Words Just Aren’t Enough”

This is it for now!
Those are my five most favorite Michael Jackson collaborations of all time!
He was indeed the greatest and whatever he was doing – he was doing it with class, love and a lot of hard work! That is why so many people loved him and wanted to work with him.
I hope I brought back some memories to you guys ~
Stay tuned for more!

 

Velina

xoxoxo

 

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Credits:
“31 Years Ago: Mick Jagger Releases ‘State of Shock’ with Michael Jackson” by Tony Rettman; Retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com
“How ‘Scream’ became the craziest video of the 90s” by Michael Cragg; Retrieved from http://www.dazeddigital.com/music
“Paul McCartney vs. Michael Jackson” by Matthew Wilkening; Retrieved from http://ultimateclassicrock.com/paul-mccartney-vs-michael-jackson-nastiest-rock-feuds/
“10 unforgettable Michael Jackson collaborations” by Andy Huang; Retrieved from https://thebestten.wordpress.com