January 21 – Chart Finale 2 : Going Out With A Bang

Eleven years to the day after one of the big alt rock bands of the ’80s launched what would be their final top 40 American hit onto the charts (The Police with “Wrapped Around Your Finger” which we looked at on today’s other post), another one of the biggies of the ’80s alt rock scene did the same. R.E.M. hit the U.S. top 40 for the final time this day in 1995 with “Bang and Blame.”

Which is surprising given that they were red-hot at the time and we often look back at the ’90s as being the decade when “alternative” rock became the dominant, mainstream version of it. And while it might have been true of album-buyers and the thriving number of alt-rock based radio stations, it probably wasn’t so true of mainstream radio nor the diminishing number of consumers who were still buying physical singles, be they vinyl or CD types.

Bang and Blame” followed “What’s the Frequency Kenneth?” as the second single off the band’s Monster album, which took many by surprise given that it was loud, brash and grunge-inspired, following on the heels of two, well “monster”-selling largely acoustic records, Out of Time and Automatic for the People. Part of that was the desire to do a large tour for the record, something they hadn’t done since the ’80s, and wanting some new songs fitting a big sports stadium type show befitting a band Rolling Stone at the time described as “one of the most successful on the planet.” A mantel which might have been weighing heavily on Michael Stipe who still didn’t adore the spotlight, at least when off-stage. The same magazine, in its review of the album chided “Bang and Blame” for beginning to “sound not unlike the proverbial rock star, whining about all those fans who just won’t let (Michael Stipe) alone.” Cashbox looked at it more positively, declaring “the propulsive rhythm of this track should also prove enticing even to non-fans.” Interestingly, it’s the only R.E.M. song where Michael Stipe’s sister, Lynda, is credited, as a backing vocalist.

It seemed they were right, the rhythm, imaginative, split-screen, fast-changing video and sing-along chorus made it their last overall big American hit, getting to #19. It became their fifth to top the Billboard Alternative Rock chart. Elsewhere, the reaction was better as their fanbase seemed to shift outside their nation’s borders. It got to #15 in the UK but in Canada was a #1 song. More to that point, while it was their last top 40 at home, they’d score ten more in Canada over the following decade and a remarkable 17 more in Britain before calling it quits in 2011.

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January 12 – It Was A Day To Circle On Your ’90s Calendars

If you were a mover or shaker in the rock world, this was a day to mark on your calendars back in the 1990s. That’s because January 12 was a day the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame enjoyed using for its induction ceremonies.

The ceremonies are of course, lavish shows designed to showcase the Best of Rock, with the annual inductees being officially inducted in, usually three months or so after they had been announced. Typically, a star who has followed in their footsteps makes a speech, followed by the artists themselves, and fitting for a Rock hall, they all perform two or three of their hits in concert at the end. It’s quite an event.

Though the actual physical building only opened in Cleveland in 1995, the idea for it was begun back in 1983, and they started inducting people into it in 1986. And during the ’90s, they picked this day for the 1993, 1995 and 1998 ceremonies. The 1993 was held in Los Angeles, but the other two were at its “usual” site, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The ’95 was the first to be televised (on MTV as it were, back when they still remembered the “M” in their name was “music”); it’s surprising they missed out on the golden opportunity to showcase the museum/Hall and a great show for the first seven years.

In recent years, there’ve been a number of complaints about the choices as the Rock Hall both runs out of its catalog of old rock greats to honor – most already have been – and tries to diversify to satisfy younger, more mulit-racial or multi-national audiences. However, in the ’90s it was quite still new and the roster was a powerhouse each year.

In ’93, the list of honorees included Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Doors and Van Morrison, not to mention the great voice of Etta James. And that was only part of the fun; the list of presenters was impressive too, with ZZ Top honoring Cream, Bruce Springsteen talking about CCR and Eddie Vedder welcoming in the Doors. Mind you, the ’93 show was perhaps remembered for its controversy and one man’s pettiness more than anything else. When it came time for CCR to play, John Fogerty – the voice of and songwriter for them – refused to play with the two living members, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford (Fogerty’s brother Tom, the fourth member, had passed away three years prior) and got them barred, choosing to play with Springsteen and Robbie Robertson instead.

The ’95 show was equally talent-laden with the Allman Brothers, Al Green, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and Neil Young being welcomed in, by the likes of Melissa Etheridge (Joplin), Eddie Vedder again (Neil Young) and Willie Nelson (the Allmans). And in ’98, the quintessential soCal stars of the late-’70s made it in together, the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. Sharing the bill with them were Santana, the Mamas and Papas, and rock pioneer Gene Vincent; Jimmy Buffett brought in the Eagles and Sheryl Crow, Fleetwood Mac. Interestingly, the Hall included all seven members of the Eagles throughout their years and founding members Peter Green and Danny Kirwan, long gone by the Rumours era, with Fleetwood Mac. At times it’s been known to only include a “classic lineup” of some bands, excluding a number of members.

The 2023 induction ceremony won’t be for quite a few months; the ’22 edition only took place last November 5. Tears For Fears, Alanis Morissette, Kate Bush and – I only report it, not pick it – Mariah Carey are predicted as the most likely recipients.

January 8 – Saturday Nights Were A ’60s Shindig

If you were going out for a fun Saturday night this night in 1966, it would have been worthwhile to stay in until at least 8 PM…because then you could have seen the final episode of Shindig on TV. And take in performances by The Kinks and The Who while doing so.

Shindig was a short-lived but star-packed American music show that ran on ABC between September 1964 and January ’66. However, it ran regularly without a summer break, unlike many shows, and never re-ran any of its 86 episodes. It was produced by Jack Good, who managed several musicians including Cliff Richard. He managed to sell ABC on the impact that rock and R&B music, and in particular the British Invasion, was having on the younger generation and that as such a weekly show showcasing the hottest acts would be a hit. They got Jimmy O’Neill to host it and ran it on Wednesday evenings. Initially it was a half hour show, then briefly they expanded it to a full hour, before eventually changing it to two half hour shows a week, on Thursdays and Saturdays (they’d decided the Wednesday slot wasn’t good because it was going up against The Beverly Hillbillies.) Although O’Neill and Good did a few comedy skits, the focus of the show was always the musical performances. And while it was shot in the U.S., because so much of what was hot was in Britain, they set up a stage in the Twickenham Studios in London, later famously used by the Beatles to rehearse for Let It Be and their rooftop concert. They recorded bits for the show there regularly, and thus American fans got to see some artists – notably The Who – before they even arrived in America. The Who actually played “My Generation” on it two months before it was released!

Through the less than two years it ran, it showcased a real “who’s who” of music stars of the day including …Aretha Franklin, the Four Tops, Temptations, Little Eva (the only known video recording of her doing “The Locomotion”), the Hollies, the Kinks, the Grass Roots, Mamas & the Papas, Moody Blues, Hank Williams Jr., Chubby Checker, Ray Charles and of course, The Rolling Stones and yes, The Beatles. What’s more they had a house band and dancers, the dancers choreographed by Toni Basil and the house band including Leon Russell, Larry Knetchel and Billy Preston!

Shindig also was probably responsible for NBC starting the similar Hullaballoo soon after.

Rhino put released the entire series on VHS in 1991, but it hasn’t been “officially” released on DVD. However, a quick internet search finds that it’s readily available from small labels and is labeled as “public domain.” However, being essentially homemade, one might wonder how good the quality would be. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a power-packed video collection of mid-’60s music, it might be the one to pick up.

January 6 – Fab Four Said Goodbye ’67, Hello ’68 With A Little Deja Vu

The Beatles started 1968 pretty much the way they’d left 1967 – high on top of the world. Very high perhaps! They hit #1 on the U.S. album chart for the 11th time this day 55 years back, with Magical Mystery Tour. Meanwhile, a few pages over in Billboard, they were still at #1 on the singles chart with “Hello Goodbye” from that album.

1967 had been very good to The Beatles, and they to their fans. They released the super-successful Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band and standalone hit singles like “All You Need Is Love” and “Penny Lane.” They had gotten over their little fall from grace in the States the year before (due to John’s comments about being “bigger than Jesus”) and were again loved…and selling records by the ton.

Perhaps though, something was gnawing at them. They were big, no question about it, but they perhaps had competition for the title of most popular group. There were those pesky Monkees, and their TV show, who’d scored the biggest-selling album of ’67 in North America, More of the Monkees! While no one’s suggested as much, one might wonder if that didn’t influence Paul’s thinking when in early-’67, he decided the Beatles should make a fab fantasy movie, where the band could, err “monkey” around. Enter Magical Mystery Tour.

Now the film itself was designed to be a psychedelic “romp” loosely based on old bus tours out of Liverpool McCartney remembered his family taking when he was little. The movie premiered on the BBC on Dec. 26th, 1967. The film was…not universally adored. As Pitchfork would later say, “this understated experimental film turned into a sapping distraction.” But the music, that was something else. They created six new songs for it, including the title track, “I am the Walrus”, “Fool on the Hill” and the George Harrison-penned “Blue Jay Way.” That is where the Magical Mystery Tour “album” gets confusing.

In Britain, it was released as a soundtrack, with the new songs on two singles, making a 19 minute EP. Over here however, Capitol decided to toss in some of the singles they’d released over the past year or so that hadn’t been on previous albums. So North Americans got a full, 37minute LP, with the movie songs on one side and “Hello Goodbye”, “Penny Lane”, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “All You Need Is Love” and “Baby, You’re A Rich Man” on the other.

It’s perhaps surprising the music was as good. This was at the height of both the Beatles LSD use and their interest in Eastern spiritualism, and they were so off-putting to George Martin (the old-timer called it “disorganized chaos”) he more or less stepped aside and let his assistant Ken Scott, a sound engineer take over trying to rein the band in in the studio. And tensions were growing; Lennon was clearly miffed that Paul’s “Hello Goodbye” was chosen as the single instead of his “I Am the Walrus”.

But good it was. Critics were uncharacteristically kind to the record (the Beatles had fallen out of favor with some by then). Hit Parader, for example gushed “the beautiful Beatles do it again! Widening the gap between them and 80 scillion other groups,” while in their homeland, Melody Maker declared the EP “six tracks which no other pop group in the world could begin to approach.”

January 3 – Thom Bell, And All The Others For Whom The Bell Tolled

Bat Out of Hell. Rumours. Grease. Not only three of the most iconic and popular albums of the late-’70s, but among the biggest ever. No wonder so many Gen X and Baby Boomers felt a tinge of sadness on this past New Year’s Eve, as they looked back and remembered huge parts of all of those albums passed away during 2022.

It seems a bit gloomy to ruminate over death, especially when we are full of hope for the new year, but it seems appropriate to have a bit of a glance back and remember some of the great musical talent that went on to, as the Righteous Brothers put it years back, “Rock & Roll Heaven.” That “hell of a band” has expanded greatly since the days of Jimi, Janis and Otis they recalled.

Big old Meat Loaf didn’t look like a rock star, but he sure could sing like one as the world found out in ’77 with Bat Out of Hell. He follows his songwriter extraordinaire, Jim Steinman, into the Great Beyond; Steinman died in 2021.

Christine McVie wasn’t as flashy as Stevie Nicks, and all things considered, might have been the most low-key member of Fleetwood Mac, but she certainly created some excellent songs for them through the years – after, it should be noted, a successful career in Britain as a member of Chicken Shack. She passed away on November 30; ironically barely two weeks later Canadian Shirley Eikhart did as well. Eikhart made a name for herself in the Great White North with a cover of McVie’s Fleetwood Mac hit “Say That You Love Me”, then went on to bigger success writing tunes for the likes of Bonnie Raitt.

And of course, anyone who had a heart and lived in the ’70s was probably saddened to say the very least in August when the lovely Olivia Newton John finally succumbed to cancer which she’d been trying to keep at bay for two decades. Sadly, as planes get safer, now it seems cancer is the primary reaper of musicians, but that’s probably not that different than the rest of society. From country to pop to disco, ONJ was the biggest of the big when it came to female singers of the ’70s and early-’80s, scoring 21 top 20 singles in the States and helping make “grease” much more than just a kitchen nuisance.

Just as Olivia had success singing in Hollywood musicals, so too did Irene Cara, who also is on the sad list. Cara actually did that twice, with Fame and again with Flashdance.

If Olivia was the “queen of pop”, country had a queen that passed away too – Loretta Lynn. The great had a 57 year career touring and is recognized as the most awarded female country singer ever. And Naomi Judd and Mickey Gilley added to the losses in the country music world.

We remember Alan White, a drummer in Yes for 50 years who also was with John Lennon for his first concert with the Plastic Ono Band. And another friend of Lennon’s, Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins, a redneck country-rocker who grew up in Canada, where he was immensely popular as a live performer in the ’60s and ’70s…and happened to have a pretty good backing band. Most of The Hawks went on to work behind Bob Dylan, before going it alone as The Band. And the other member of the Hawks in that era, David Clayton Thomas, went on to sing with Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Even rowdier and more controversial than Hawkins was one of rock’s first real “bad boys”, Jerry Lee Lewis, who passed away in October.

And alas, the list seems endless. We might not know all the names but we remember the music by the likes of drummer Taylor Hawkins– no relation to Ronnie – (along with Nate Mendel, Taylor was the longest-standing member of the Foo Fighters besides Mr Foo himself, Dave Grohl), Andy Fletcher, one of the Depeche Mode constants, and Terry Hall, singer in Fun Boy Three and co-writer of “Our Lips Are Sealed” with his then girlfriend Jane Wiedlin. And Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the music of Jules Bass, who wrote lyrics to many of the great specials of the ’60s like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

R&B and soul losses were plenty too. Thom Bell helped make the “Philadelphia Sound”, co-starting Philadelphia Intl, Records, producing The Spinners, and writing many songs including most of the Stylistics hits like “Stone In Love With You.” Anita Pointer joined her two sisters that formed the original trio the Pointer Sisters. And one of the great songwriters of any age, Lamont Dozier, who helped pen a good chunk of Motown’s 1960s hit catalog as well.

Ronnie Spector, the “first bad girl of rock and roll”. Sister Janet Mead, who actually had a gold single with an upbeat version of “The Lord’s Prayer” in 1974 (she donated all her income from it to charity.) Bill Pitman lived to a ripe old age of 102; he was a popular session man who among other things played ukulele on “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.” Dan McCafferty, singer from Nazareth. Movie score great Vangelis. Keith Levene, basically the lesser-known half of John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd. Canadian alt rocker Dallas Good from the Sadies, whom I never met but shared a couple of mutual friends with. Barry Bailey, long-time guitarist for the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Jim Seals, half of Seals & Crofts. 

The list doesn’t end there, in fact it could seem endless. But rather than be sad, let’s listen to some of the great music they left us with and feel blessed. And perhaps be sure to appreciate some of the older artists still putting out records and playing gigs for us just a little bit more.

December 31 – Clark Was New Year’s To Many

Dick Clark gave us a hip alternative to the old Big Band sounds of Guy Lombardo to ring in the new year back in 1972 – his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

Lombardo, a Canadian violinist and band-leader, had become something of an institution by then, seeing in the new year with his Royal Canadians big band, playing waltzes for elegantly-dressed people in New York’s classy Waldorf Astoria. In 1929 it was broadcast for the first time, on the relatively new medium of radio. The last time he did it, in 1976, shortly before his death, it was shown on CBS TV and a highly-rated program. However, Clark and some others realized that it didn’t necessarily speak to the younger crowd of the ’70s nor show the fun going on outside the hotel in Times Square, so the new “rockin’” tradition on TV began.

The first show, ringing in 1973, was hosted by Three Dog Night with help from Al Green and Helen Reddy but two years later the show was all Dick’s and he hosted it from New York City, something he kept doing until his stroke in 2004 (which December Regis Philbin filled in). The next year Dick was back, although with a speech impediment and joined by Ryan Seacrest. Clark had some cache with TV execs then; he’d taken American Bandstand from a local, low-budget Philadelphia show in the ’50s to a mainstream TV hit that ran for three decades, largely on ABC, and introduced U.S. audiences to acts like Blondie , Kiss, Village People ….and Donna Summer, who was his cohost (the only one the show had ) in 1978! It was a doubly special night for Donna, who was riding high on the charts at the time. A New Year’s Eve baby, Summer was turning 30 that day.

Clark passed away in 2012, only a couple of weeks before Donna Summer. Of course the TV show is still a popular tradition for many, and is still hosted by Seacrest but remembers Clark by still using his name in its title. Summer’s music lives on in our memories and on our speakers. Here at A Sound Day we hope you’re enjoying some happy traditions tonight and ring in a very happy and musical new year!

December 30 – Apparently The Never-ending Show Did End

They may have been known for saying “welcome back my friends to the show that never ends” and they were the quintessential ’70s Prog Rock group – for good or bad. So maybe it was a bit surprising when they called it quits with the decade itself. Emerson, Lake & Palmer officially broke up on this day in 1979.

The British trio of keyboardist Keith Emerson, drummer Carl Palmer and singer/bassist Greg Lake formed around the beginning of the decade with the concept of creating music that blended the length and depth of classical music with the energy, instruments and lyrics of rock. They were in the words of allmusic, “the original Prog Rock supergroup”. Through the ’70s, they put out seven studio albums, one of which, Tarkus, hit #1 in their home of the UK. All seven went gold in the States, as did a couple of live albums – not a surprise since their reputation was built largely on their complex and extravagant concerts. All that without a real “hit single”… although “Lucky Man” did make the Canadian and German top 30 and got considerable radio on the growing American FM rock market in the ’70s. At the height of their popularity, they were headlining world tours and playing for as many as 78 000 fans on a night (as was the case in Montreal in 1977.)

However, they were becoming a bit bored and their seventh studio album, Love Beach, didn’t do well in comparison to previous works. That, according to Palmer was because it was produced just to fulfill their contractual obligation to Atlantic Records…never a good formula for success. They’d lost money on the previous tour, “Works”, which was supposed to be 120 shows but ended up culled by about 100! They took along a full orchestra for that one, which drove costs up, and tensions as well, as it was apparently Emerson’s desire against the wishes of the other two.

Palmer says “we had been together roughly eight, eight-and-a-half years. We’d made a lot of albums, and we’d toured a lot. We hadn’t really started families, except for Keith… so we wanted some time (apart) – we didn’t fall out, no fights, nothing like that. It just ended.”

End it did, although like lots of other groups of the era, they did reunite in the ’90s after about a dozen years apart. In the decade between, Emerson did some movie soundtrack work and he and Lake briefly formed the similar and similar-sounding Emerson, Lake & Powell with drummer Cozy Powell replacing Palmer. He also toured in 1990 with a short-lived act , not too demurely called The Best, which also included Joe Walsh, Skunk Baxter and John Entwistle. Carl Palmer went on to brief but big stardom with Asia, which Lake also joined very briefly (not being present on their smash debut record.)

Sadly of the three only Carl Palmer is still with us; Emerson and Lake both passed away in 2016.

December 28 – Fab Four #1 At Being #1

A few weeks ago, Taylor Swift became just the third artist to have been #1 on Billboard‘s album charts for a cumulative 60 weeks, when her 2022 release Midnights went to the top. With it she surpassed Garth Brooks, who’d had albums on top for 52 weeks. The Rolling Stones, perhaps surprisingly had done so for only 38 weeks over their 60 years. So, like her or not, there’s no questioning Ms. Swift is the current Queen of Pop Music. But she’s got a ways to go still to top the “silver medalist” – Elvis Presley, who spent 67 weeks at #1. But it’s doubtful anyone will ever best The Beatles in that category. The Fab Four added to their total, which eventually tallied 132 weeks, on this day in 1968 when they scored their 11th #1 album of the ’60s – their self-titled one, generally referred to as “The White Album.” With it they ended ’68 on top, just as they had begun it, with Magical Mystery Tour. Remarkably, back in 1964, they had the top-seller for 30 different weeks, or over half the year. More than every other artist combined. That’s pop music dominance!

The White Album” is considered by some (like our regular reader and guest writer Power Pop Blog) as their best. Best or not, it was certainly their most ambitious and adventurous by far. For starters, it was a double album, rolling out 30 songs and 93 minutes of music for their fans. As such it was their most extensive album. George Harrison had begun to really show himself as a talented writer, writing four tunes on it including the classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” , which had Eric Clapton make a guest appearance on.

There was perhaps the most hard-rocking material of their career, in “Helter Skelter” , as well as more psychedelia they’d come to embrace on the previous couple of albums, with tunes like “Dear Prudence” and “Glass Onion.” There were lovely soft rock gems like “Blackbird” and “Julia”, some goofy pop ditties like “Ob la di, Ob la da”, and the downright weird… “Revolution 9”, which Yoko Ono had a hand in, for example.

The entire album wasn’t necessarily to everyone’s taste, but there was plenty of variety for any fan to find something they loved on it. Interestingly, one song that wasn’t on “The White Album” was the big hit they had simultaneously, “Hey Jude”. That was released as a standalone single, and keeping a trend that they’d begun on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, they in fact didn’t release any singles off it in their UK or in North America. “Ob la di, Ob la da” was put out as a 7” in Oceania, and it was a #1 hit in Australia and New Zealand, but the rest of us would have to wait eight years until it was released as a single, long after the band had broken up!

The White Album” would spend nine weeks at #1 in the U.S., and sell an estimated 17 million copies worldwide, third best in their catalog of studio albums behind Sgt. Pepper... and Abbey Road.

December 23 – John & Yoko Were Saying Give Peace A Chance To PM

1969 was a big year for John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It was their wedding year, Year of Peace and year of Canada, That culminated in the pair meeting Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau at Ottawa’s Parliament this day 53 years ago.

The three chatted for over 50-minutes and afterwards Lennon said “if all politicians were like Mr. Trudeau, there’d be world peace,” something Trudeau was very proud of. (And yes, it is Pierre’s son Justin who is now Canadian PM). Trudeau was the only world leader that the pair got to meet directly to campaign for peace with. Lennon had been having difficulties getting into the U.S. so chose Canada as an alternative “home base”. Canada had in general more liberal views than the States and didn’t view Lennon and his left-leaning politics with nearly as much suspicion as their Nixon-era neighbors. The couple thus spent much of the summer and fall between Toronto and Montreal, spending time in both as well as at Ronnie Hawkins farm in between, and having an outdoor concert in Toronto in September where he played his anti-war anthem “Give Peace A Chance” publicly for the first time. The song had been recorded in a Montreal hotel room that summer, when the pair were staging their famous “Bed in for Peace,” and had among the crowd on the recording Tommy Smothers, playing guitar, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, cartoonist Al Capp and popular Canadian radio DJ David Marsden.The single was Lennon’s first solo one and was a top 10 hit in Canada, as well as the UK and Germany.

December 22 – Hazy? Perhaps. Winter? Most Definitely.

Welcome to winter! Today marks the first complete day of winter, and boy, for most of North America, it feels it too! So, that in mind, what better day to look at a “winter” song so nice, it was on the charts this day twice – once in 1966, and again in 1987. We’re talking about “A Hazy Shade of Winter.”

The slightly gloomy song was written by Paul Simon, at the time barely in his 20s, but looked ahead to a character entering the “winter” of their life, lamenting “time, time, time, see what’s become of me”. It was recorded by Simon & Garfunkel, and released as a standalone single late in ’66; in fact on this day that year it was enjoying its final week in the top 40. The song was later incorporated into their 1968 album Bookends, which essentially was a concept album tracing a man’s lifetime. It was, by their standards, a bit uptempo and “rock” …allmusic for instance described it as “one of the toughest and most rock-oriented” songs of the duo’s career. Radio DJ Pete Fornatale thought it , with Decembery lines like “leaves are brown, there’s a patch of snow on the ground” as the perfect counterpoint to the more optimistic winter tune “California Dreaming” which was a hit around the same time. Cashbox thought it was “a strong session bound for Biggiesburg!”

Fast forward some 20 years and the producers of the movie Less than Zero, a dour look at college aged kids sinking into the drug culture and despair were piecing together a soundtrack. They invited The Bangles to take part, and gave them some freedom to pick a song. The ladies chose to cover “A Hazy Shade of Winter” , a song they’d played regularly in their live shows for four years. With Rick Rubin producing the soundtrack, they got to make it a bit faster and more rock-oriented still than the original, although omitting one verse about drinking vodka and lime which the record label had worried about. Michael Steele of the band said “we sounded the most on this record (like) the way we actually sound live.” Making it a bit different for them, all four harmonized on much of the song, instead of having Susanna Hoffs sing lead.

Whether or not it hit “Biggiesburg”, it did well for Simon & Garfunkel, hitting #13 in the U.S., and #11 I Canada. Later it would make the British top 30. However, the public took to the Bangles take of it better. It was in its third week on the top 40 charts this day in ’87 and would make it to #2 at home, #3 in Canada and #11 in the UK despite the soundtrack album itself posting mediocre results.

The Bangles were happy with their recording, and with getting to meet Paul Simon…after their cover of it had been a hit. “We had loved Simon & Garfunkel, and naturally we also loved Paul as a solo artist” Hoffs explained, “we were really happy to see them perform and then go backstage for a meet and greet.” But they were a bit hesitant to mention the song, which they’d done better (commercially at least, though many would argue artistically too) than the writer. “I don’t think we talked about it very much,” she said, ”I remember he was very sweet.”Better than being cold like a hazy winter day.