Huey Lewis & The News were at the height of their popularity when the single “Doing It All For My Baby” was released in 1987. Being the decade of Mtv, there had to be an accompanying music video. With the Halloween season starting, what better video to kick things off than this one featuring characters from Universal’s classic horror movies. The set design, effects, and costumes are fantastic and will get you into the Halloween mood.
Yep, I’m officially seeking out reasons to write about Chicago.
(Insert Chicago Explanation Here)
I’ll state the obivous: I love Chicago, I’ve seen them in concert, and I write about them ALOT.
I love this song, that song, and such and such album. The concert from 1993 is a Hair Party. I have lukewarm feelings toward Bill Champlin and Peter Cetera (love their singing though!), and OMG have you heard that disco song?!
Who Knew The Peanuts Gang Sang…Like This?!
Now, we’ve always known the Peanuts gang (Good Old Chuck and the Group!) to sing Christmas songs. There was also that time in the 1980s where child actors with actual singing talent played the characters. Every special in the 1980s had musical numbers. The characters came a long way from their over-enunciating days in the 1960s.
But they never quite sang like Chicago.
A few years ago, my dad shared this video on my Facebook timeline:
I was just getting into Chicago’s music (thanks I Heart Radio!), but I’d been into Peanuts for years.
This video, my friends, is the work of Garren Lazar. It is just one of several Chicago music videos he made, featuring the Peanuts gang.
Oh yes, there’s more!
“The Peanuts Gang…in the Park…”
Garren has done quite the job of matching mouth movments and the music. What results is nothing short of amazing!
Take, for instance, this song I’ve never heard before…
This one EVERYBODY has heard!
Do you know what time it is?
…time to smile?
The flute solo that got stuck in my head for two days…
This lovely day in a certain open air place…I think it was some warm weather holiday…
This one, complete with all the feels…
I remember seeing this special as a teenager, and being sad. This song does not help!
That other song that signals a start…
I just wanna be…
And ANOTHER song I haven’t heard before!
All uploads via Garren Lazar
You laughed, you cried…you probably sang along. Don’t hide it!
But Wait, There’s More!
Turns out Garren Lazar has a huge playlist of singing Peanuts Gang videos, not exclusive to Chicago music!
Seriously, check this out!
Uploads via Garren Lazar
Thank you so much, Garren Lazar, for sharing you talent for making You Tube music videos a true art form! :-)
Uh oh, guess who discovered – or rather, got pull-ed in the direction of – another Chicago song?
Gee, let me guess…
The Stone of Sisyphus Keeps on Rolling…
Several months ago, I wrote about an unreleased (until 2008) song penned by Jason Scheff, and performed by Chicago called “Bigger Than Elvis.” The song was a dedication piece to Jason’s father, Jerry Scheff, who was a bassist for Elvis Presley. “Bigger Than Elvis” was set to be released as part of the group’s ill-fated 1994 album Stone of Sisyphus.
The album was to be a return to Chicago’s personal, cultural, and musical roots, and not a strive for hits. The album was completed in secrecy (even from their label), in order to emphasize Chicago’s creative sovereignty, set for a March 1994 release, but suddenly rejected (it was initially well-received) from Warner Bros. Records. This resulted in the album going unreleased for fifteen years, and Chicago leaving the label altogether.
The 1993 “Greek Theater”Concert
Prior to the album’s ultimate rejection, there was one song that made the set list for Chicago’s 1993 Greek Theater concert. It was a song that I had not actually heard before, nor had I seen any concert footage from the 1990s. But I can tell you this: the concert is a total hair party, 1990s-era Chicago is as awesome as any era Chicago, and those horns…fabulous.
Bill Champlin’s hair. That hair is everything you’d expect in glorious hair.
I had total hair envy watching this concert. Can you see why?
Former Member of the Hair Party, bassist, and lead vocalist Jason Scheff had an arguably strong voice that contributed to the group from the mid-1980s and on through the 1990s, right up until his departure in 2016. It didn’t matter who wrote it or if Peter Cetera was the original voice, he could handle any song with a true performer’s glory.
He was the only one without long hair.
Even the horn section had Mandatory Mullets!
“The Pull” Gets Its Big Push in Concert
The 1993 tour was an obvious attempt to promote the group’s upcoming album, and they deviated from the usual set list to play one of the songs from that album. Perhaps this one had the “marketability” they were going for.
I’m not 100% sure, but I do know this – the song was quite catchy, and very reminiscent of mid-1980s Chicago.
Take a look at this amazing video of Jason Scheff giving his all to “The Pull.”
Uploaded by Mr Joe Lynch
Those horns, that sound, this is revived-in-the-1980s-era Chicago. This is everything this group was amazing for and yet, this (and the album it rode in on) didn’t see the light of day for fourteen years. It took ten albums and fourteen years (and Rhino Records) to release this amazing song and album.
The lyrics in “The Pull” tell listeners that no matter what, no matter how far one goes, one’s roots (and past) are always ready to draw one back.
It is truly a powerful song.
Departures, Arrivals, and Stones Finally Getting Their Push
Unfortunately, with the album’s unreleased status, it was the final album for guitarist Dawayne Bailey, whose contract was not renewed following the not release of Stone of Sisyphus. Bailey had been with Chicago during the ushering in of the “new era” in 1986.
But even with his departure, Chicago lucked out in the end…
Eventually, Sisyphus did succeed in pushing that stone – Rhino Records released the album as Chicago’s thirty-second album on June 17, 2008. Because when something is good enough, it will eventually get heard.
You can pretty much say someone had “The Pull” to get it released!
Get it, “The Pull…”
Oh, and if you really want to see the full concert, it is AMAZING!
Guess who’s back from a week-long vacation that included a break from writing?
Guess who hates taking writing vacations?
Methinks my next staycation should involve writing.
Those Weird Songs In My Playlist
A few weeks ago, I talked about the music video for Grateful Dead’s Touch of Greyand how it got the Pop-Up Video treatment.
Pop-Up Video, much like my music playlist, was an eclectic playground for music to roam free. Everything mingled and got the bubble o’facts treatment, and exposed me to music I otherwise wouldn’t have listened to. That, my friends, includes another artist who made a music video for the MTV crowd.
That artist, my friends, is Tom Jones. And the song was “If I Only Knew.”
New Record Label Amid Resurgence
Tom Jones signed with Interscope Records in 1993, and by 1994 released the album The Lead and How to Swing It. This occurrence came on the heels of Jones successfully covering Prince’s “Kiss,” which earned him airtime on both MTV and VH1. With things heading in a positive direction, the time came for another potential MTV crowd-style video.
The video for “If I Only Knew” involves a MTV crowd-type who favors watching Tom Jones sing this song, rather than walk his dog.
My eyes are equally wide over that hat!!!
So, he uses MacGyver-esque ingenuity to walk the dog – a tethered leash on a zipline. Apparently, he has done this before, because the zipline goes through town. And so this dog (and all the other dogs tethered up to this “Lazee-Walker” device) move about the town.
Because their owners are watching Tom Jones’ career resurge.
That’s how MTV is supposed to work, right?
The Song and The Video…Don’t Exactly Match
Of course, I’m not sure how this relates to Tom Jones singing about what he should have known so his love would stay with him, but the video is actually quite funny. And apparently, the dogs are quite attracted to Tom Jones.
And can you blame them?
He does this (among other things)…
Tom’s tickets for the gun show are armed and incredibly dangerous to stare at. No wonder women threw their panties at him in the day – he flashed his jacked arms for them. Women are putty over things like this!
And yet, I (and the dogs in the video) cannot stop watching!
And you’ll probably not be able to stop staring…when you click play!
Uploaded by Tom Jones VEVO
If Tom Jones Only Knew…
Who knew that this song would be successful?
“If I Only Knew” peaked at #11 in the United Kingdom…and #4 on Billboard’s Dance Club Chart in the United States. Of course, the video got airtime AND the Pop-Up Video treatment….which unfortunately is not on You Tube.
In 2011, Tom explained the song to the Mail on Sunday (source – Songfacts.com):
“I did a charity performance with Sting for his Rainforest Foundation in Carnegie Hall. The night was very successful and everybody thought it went well. Jimmy Iovine, a music producer and label boss, called. He had apparently heard about my performance and soon I was signed to Interscope Records.Jimmy knew about ‘If I Only Knew,’ which was by a new group called Rise Robots Rise – they were obscure then, and I think they still are. Nice bunch of fellas, though. They were a white rap group, but it was the big brass riff in there that Jimmy loved and we wanted to make more of a song of it.Trevor Horn was producing it but he knew we needed a melody. He offered to get Lol Creme (from 10cc) to write it but I said that I could do it – and that melody just shot out of my head. I should have had a writing credit but I didn’t because this group were struggling, and I didn’t have the heart to say that I wanted part of the royalties.”
That’s um…incredibly modest of you.
And Rise Robots Rise? This is their version of the song.
Uploaded by KR Moody
And as we drive off into the sunset in our living room on wheels, freshly-walked dog back from his adventure on the Lazee-Walker, with images of Tom Jones trying to seduce us with his giant arms, while wearing our choice hat, we bring my first post-vacation article to a close.
If I only knew why the Pop-Up Video treatment isn’t on You Tube…and why Tom Jones is trying so hard to seduce me…
When you think of Hawaii, what do you think of? Sandy beaches? Beautiful sunsets? Groundbreaking rock bands from Akron, OH? Not many people will think that last one, but thanks to a contest that MTV ran back in 1982, Devo and Hawaii are never far apart in mind. The MTV Hawaiian Holiday With Devo ran for a few months and was featured both in print and on MTV itself.
The winner would get 5 sunny day and 4 thrilling nights in Honolulu with the band. In addition they included a cool Walkman, DEVO albums, outfits, spending money and much more. Sadly it was a contest reserved for the 18 year and older crowd, so young spuds need not apply. As a guest of Devo, you would also get to go backstage at their concert. Which took place on February 22, 1982 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena in Honolulu, HI. Sadly no footage of that concert is online.
MTV seemed to be on a real contest kick back in 1982. My sister was always talking about the House Party contests that she wanted to win. I think that one took place right after the Devo contest. It was a real fun time to be watching MTV, I can only imagine how crazy it was working there.
This classic 1982 MTV promo for the MTV Hawaiian Holiday With Devo features Devo. Plus music video clips from Beautiful World, Whip It and Satisfaction. In the image above you can see JJ Jackson and Martha Quinn digging into the crate full of contest entries for a winner. I loved this version of MTV. Not only did they do fun contests, but they were also comically broad in their approach to things.
The winner of the contest was Dolli Markovich. Dolli, coincidentally hailed from the same town as Devo, Akron, OH. Looking online, I cannot find a Dolli Markovich. If you are out there Dolli, I would love to hear from you and know what winning this contest was like.