Monday has arrived – and you know that Monday means music! For the month of February, our Spotlight Dancer is our friend and fabulous Monday’s Music Moves Me regular participant, Robin of Songbird’s Crazy World! The theme selected for this week is “Love songs.” Let’s get this loving party started!
Let’s start with a song that will most likely be shared multiple times today. It first appeared in the 1955 movie Unchained, which takes place in a prison, and the song was written for the movie to reflect the mood of the prisoners as they wait for time to pass.
This group’s version was a huge hit, but it was recorded with far more modest expectations – their producer at the time considered it album filler and released it as a B-side. Since it was on the B-side, the single had this song with no producer credit on the label, but many DJs preferred this song and played it instead.
The famous climax of this song where the singer sings the high line wasn’t how the song was written. The singer did two takes of the song, then left. He would often reconsider his performance and come back later to change it, and that’s what he did on this track, returning to ask the other half of the duo if he could make an edit. This was no easy task, since with a maximum of four tracks to work with, you had to record over part of the original take, but the singer was accommodated and delivered that soaring vocal line. His duo partner said:
“I punched that in and he left. He said, ‘No, I can do it better.’ And I said, ‘No, you can’t.’ [Laughs] And I think it’s a big part of that song.”
This returned to both the US and UK charts in 1990 after it was included in the motion picture Ghost (the scene featuring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and pottery). Two versions charted in the US that year: a reissue of the 1965 original single was available only as a 45 RPM single, peaking at #13, and a 1990 re-recording of the song was available only as a cassette single, peaking at #19. For eight weeks, both versions were in the Hot 100 simultaneously.
Get ready for goosebumps, here’s the Righteous Brothers with “Unchained Melody”:
Next up is a song from one of my favorite British recording artists who recorded this song for the film Fifty Shades of Grey. I still haven’t seen the movie yet, but love the video – and love that one of my former crushes (Don Johnson) daughter is one of the stars of the movie. This song was released on January 7, 2015 as the second single from the soundtrack.
This song held the record for the most streamed track in a single week. The music video features the artist with her boyfriend (I think that’s her boyfriend) in and around their house, as well as scenes from the movie.
Here’s the inimitable Ellie Goulding with “Love Me Like You Do”:
Next up, one of my favorite bands from the late 80s started out as a Beatles-influenced garage-rock band before gradually becoming glossier and poppier as the ’80s barrelled on. This power ballad topped off with a shameless key change was controversial even within the group. Still, it topped the charts worldwide in 1989 and remains pretty much impossible to resist.
Here’s some 80s love from The Bangles with “Eternal Flame”:
Last, but certainly not least is a song from 1968 that this Swedish pop group did a cover version of, which included the “ooga chaka” introduction. This is the version I’m more familiar with (and love) from a 1998 episode of Ally McBeal – the main character’s neurosis about being able to conceive a child before her biological clock runs out is illustrated by her imagining a computer generated baby dancing into her bedroom to this version of the song.
A website featuring the dancing baby and this group’s recording became an internet meme, further cementing this scene as one of the most memorable moments in pop culture history.
In 1992, this version was featured on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s debut feature Reservoir Dogs.
The 2014 feature film Guardians of the Galaxy, featured this version prominently in its trailers and theatrical release, which resulted in a significant spike in sales for the recording; the film’s soundtrack reached the top of the Billboard 200 chart in August 2014. The song was also featured heavily in the teaser trailer for the 2017 sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, although the song was not used in the actual film.
More recently this version of the song was featured on one of my favorite shows, This Is Us.
I dare you to resist the urge to dance, here’s Blue Swede with “Hooked on a Feeling”:
That’s a wrap for this week – see you on the dance floor!
I have the supreme honor and privilege of being a co-host with the inimitable Xmas Dolly and our musical cohort, the awesome Cathy from Curious as a CAThy, Callie of JAmerican Spice, and Alana of Ramblin’ with AM!
Want to join in the fun? It’s easy – just find a tune that rocks your boat, post it and link up – don’t forget to grab Xmas Dolly…er, um, I mean her button…over at her place here. Check out Xmas Dolly’s sidebar for the random themes we sport each week – and you can always ask for a specific theme of music you like, too. Check out the other music lovahs and let’s jam!
Robin of Songbird’s Crazy World