Posts Tagged ‘Labelle’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #90 – Labelle: “Lady Marmalade” b/w “Space Children”– Epic 8-50048

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #90 – Labelle: “Lady Marmalade” b/w “Space Children”– Epic 8-50048

Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…

“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?”

With that one line from today’s jukebox classic, American music fans were introduced to a certain creole lady of the night and also got a French lesson. At the same time, America also discovered the wonders of Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, who collectively went under the moniker of Labelle.

Labelle was not a new entity in the music business. The group formed in the 1960s in Philadelphia under the name The Blue Belles with the same lineup as above, plus Cindy Birdsong (who went on become a member of Diana Ross and The Supremes). They scored several soulful doo wop flavored ballads that highlighted Patti’s huge set of pipes including “Down the Aisle (The Wedding Song),” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Over the Rainbow.”

The group changed their name to Labelle after Birdsong left for The Supremes in 1967 and shared co-billing with Laura Nyro on her Gonna Take A Miracle, album which in my estimation is one of the greatest records ever recorded. (If you’ve never heard this album, stop reading and go to Spotify immediately!) By 1974, the group changed their persona and became an outlandish funk group. The group’s sexually infused personality and freaky party attire made them huge with the Gay community, and to this day, Patti LaBelle is still one of their main divas.

“Lady Marmalade” was written by Bob Crewe, who also wrote most of the Four Seasons’ biggest hits with Bob Gaudio, and Kenny Nolan, who along with Crewe wrote Frankie Valli’s “My Eyes Adored You” and many others. The track was produced by none other than recently-passed New Orleans’ favorite son, Allen Toussaint, who wrote numerous hits including “Working In The Coalmine,” “Yes We Can-Can,” “Fortune Teller,” “Southern Nights” and “Mother-In-Law,” to name but a few. He is also heard playing piano on the track.

Labelle was not the first group to take a crack at recording the song. It was originally recorded by Nolan’s group, Eleventh Hour in 1974. It was Toussaint who chose the song for Labelle’s chart-topping album Nightbirds. The song topped the R&B and Pop Singles charts in 1975, knocking out another Crewe and Nolan’s composition, “My Eyes Adored You” by Frankie Valli from the top slot.

The song saw a resurgence in popularity in 2001 when it topped the charts again after it was recorded by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa, and Pink. That version was produced by Missy Elliott for the soundtrack to the film Moulin Rouge. It went on to win the 2001 Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. It is the only song to top the U.S. and UK charts twice. The song was also covered by All Saints (who topped the UK charts with it), Sheila E., the disco group Boogie Knights and Lords Of Acid.

The aforementioned hook of the song, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?” which translates to “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?,” was originally spoken in the play A Streetcar Named Desire by the character Blanche DuBois. When LaBelle performed the song on TV, they were forced to change the famous line to “Voulez-vous danser avec moi, ce soir?” which means “Do you want to dance with me tonight.”

Patti Labelle: “I swear I had no idea for a while what it meant, until I asked Bob Crewe, who recorded it, ‘what’s voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?’ He told me, ‘Oh gosh’, I said, ‘what will my mother think?’” (New Musical Express via Songfacts.com)

By 1977, Labelle’s popularity began to decline and all three members went their separate ways, each scoring hits on their own. Today, Patti LaBelle is still the most visible member of the group and has rightfully held on to her title as Diva.

“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over fourteen years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.

I’ve posted the whole album here for your listening pleasure!

Edited: December 1st, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Electricity (Drugs)” by Talking Heads

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Electricity (Drugs)” by Talking Heads

One of the musical highlights of our 16 hour car trip from The Outer Banks of North Carolina back home to Chicago was listening Talking Heads’ live double album entitled The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads. The second half of the album features recordings from the 1980-81 Remain In Light tour when Talking Heads expanded from a quartet of David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz to a 10-piece band adding Adrian Belew on guitars, Busta Cherry on bass, Bernie Worrell on keyboards, Joe Rossy on percussion and Dolette McDonald and Nona Hendryx on vocals.

By 1979, Brian Eno’s influence was felt all over the Heads’ music, especially on more atmospheric songs like today’s Song Of The Day originally from their Fear Of Music album. Eno’s input was beginning to create a chasm within the band because the rest of the group felt that he was monopolizing David Byrne’s attention. Today’s song’s title was changed from “Drugs” to “Electricity” by the time it was released on the album in 1979. Whatever tension Eno’s presence created also resulted in the band taking off in a far more interesting direction with a brand-new funkified line-up. The video portion of today’s posting shows the expanded Heads in action (particularly Belew) from a show broadcasted on TV from Rome in 1980. (Today’s Song of The Day begins at 20:00 into the 64-minute clip.) Having seen this version of Talking Heads several times in concert, it is well worth watching if you have the time.

By the time we got around to hearing the The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads album at the tail end of our trip it was as a follow-up to a most-enjoyable spin of XTC’s Black Sea. And it was just the tonic we needed to wield our way through Saturday night Chicago city traffic and back up to the northern suburbs. Home Sweet Home!

Edited: August 10th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #90 – Labelle: “Lady Marmalade” b/w “Space Children”– Epic 8-50048

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #90 – Labelle: “Lady Marmalade” b/w “Space Children”– Epic 8-50048

Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…

“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?”

With that one line from today’s jukebox classic, American music fans were introduced to a certain creole lady of the night and also got a French lesson. At the same time, America also discovered the wonders of Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, who collectively went under the moniker of Labelle.

Labelle was not a new entity in the music business. The group formed in the 1960s in Philadelphia under the name The Blue Belles with the same lineup as above, plus Cindy Birdsong (who went on become a member of Diana Ross and The Supremes). They scored several soulful doo wop flavored ballads that highlighted Patti’s huge set of pipes including “Down The Aisle (The Wedding Song),” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Over The Rainbow.”

The group changed their name to Labelle after Birdsong left for The Supremes in 1967 and shared co-billing with Laura Nyro on her Gonna Take A Miracle, album which in my estimation is one of the greatest records ever recorded. (If you’ve never heard this album, stop reading and go to Spotify immediately!) By 1974, the group changed their persona and became an outlandish funk group. The group’s sexually infused personality and freaky party attire made them huge with the Gay community, and to this day, Patti LaBelle is still their main diva.

“Lady Marmalade” was written by Bob Crewe, who also wrote most of the Four Seasons’ biggest hits with Bob Gaudio, and Kenny Nolan, who along with Crewe wrote Frankie Valli’s “My Eyes Adored You” and many others. The track was produced by none other than New Orleans’ favorite son,  Allen Toussaint, who wrote numerous hits including “Working In The Coalmine,” “Yes We Can-Can,” “Fortune Teller,” “Southern Nights” and “Mother-In-Law,” to name but a few. He is also heard playing piano on the track.

Labelle was not the first group to take a crack at recording the song. It was originally recorded by Nolan’s group, Eleventh Hour in 1974. It was Toussaint who chose the song for Labelle’s chart-topping album Nightbirds. The song topped the R&B and Pop Singles charts in 1975, knocking out Crewe and Nolan’s composition, “My Eyes Adored You” by Frankie Valli from the top slot.

The song saw a resurgence in popularity in 2001 when it topped the charts again after it was recorded by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa, and Pink. That version was produced by Missy Elliott for the soundtrack to the film Moulin Rouge. It went on to win the 2001 Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. It is the only song to top the U.S. and UK charts twice. The song was also covered by All Saints (who topped the UK charts with it), Sheila E., the disco group Boogie Knights and Lords Of Acid.

The aforementioned hook of the song, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?” which translates to “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?,” was originally spoken in  the play A Streetcar Named Desire by the character Blanche DuBois. When LaBelle performed the song on TV, they were forced to change the famous line to “Voulez-vous danser avec moi, ce soir?” which means “Do you want to dance with me tonight.”

Patti Labelle: “I swear I had no idea for a while what it meant, until I asked Bob Crewe, who recorded it, ‘what’s voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?’ He told me, ‘Oh gosh’, I said, ‘what will my mother think?’” (New Musical Express via Songfacts.com)

By 1977, Labelle’s popularity began to decline and all three members went their separate ways, each scoring hits on their own. Today, Patti LaBelle is still the most visible member of the group and has rightfully held on to her title as Diva.

“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.

Edited: March 17th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 5/14/13

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Medley: Yell Help/Wednesday Night/Ugly” by Elton John

By the release of Rock Of The Westies in 1976, the bloom was beginning to fall off of the Elton John flower. While Westies was indeed a very good album that debuted at the pole position of the charts, its release signaled the beginning of a long decline in the quality of the music and the relevance of the star.

Up to this point, Elton was a white-hot commodity that seemingly could do no wrong. The costumes were at their most outlandish and everything he recorded literally turned to gold and platinum.

Westies includes a clutch of great Elton songs, including its sole hit, the number one single “Island Girl,” “Dan Dare,” “Hard Luck Story” and this track that features LaBelle on background vocals.

Elton’s follow-up album, Blue Moves, was a double-length downer that didn’t live up to his larger-than-life persona, and although it did include the huge hit “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word,” the double album failed to reach the top of the charts and only spawned the one hit single.

Fear not for Elton, he weathered the dry patch that lasted almost ten years, and to be fair, did include a few hits, cleaned up his hard-partying act and recovered nicely by writing songs for Disney films, most notably The Lion King.

Edited: May 13th, 2013