Music Labyrinth Episode 046
You’ve Made Me So Very Happy / Blood, Sweat & Tears
Hello Listener, and welcome along to episode 46 of The Music Labyrinth. 46, as it turns out, in addition to being the number of the current president of the United States of America, has a particularly strong sporting pedigree. It is the number worn by the Geelong Football Club’s best and fairest winning utility player, Mark Blicavs, and recently by his sister Sarah Blicavs who is a professional basketballer playing for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA. 46 is also the racing number of choice of motorcycle champion Valentino Rossi. And, most importantly, 46 is the racing number of the magnificently named Cole Trickle (as played by Tom Cruise) in the movie Days of Thunder. So, with all that on board, it is entirely appropriate that we commenced this episode with the song You’ve Made Me So Very Happy by Blood, Sweat and Tears. As we noted at the end of last week’s episode, that song was co-written by Berry Gordy, the legendary record executive, producer, songwriter and founder of the Motown label. As you would imagine, Berry Gordy has a number of songwriting credits to his name, including this song.
Money (That’s What I Want) / The Flying Lizards
First recorded in 1959, and reworked there by The Flying Lizards 20 years later, that was Money (That’s What I Want). The version we just heard appeared in the soundtrack of the wonderful British TV series Ashes To Ashes, as too did this song.
I Fought The Law / The Clash
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where we last left The Clash breaking rocks in the hot sun, in the form of their cover of the Bobby Fuller Four hit, I Fought The Law. That song has been covered plenty of times by plenty of acts, and has been sampled if a few. If you listen closely to this next track, you will hear a short sample of the song near the end of this track. This is Rhymin’ And Stealin’ by The Beastie Boys.
Rhymin’ And Stealing / Beatie Boys
Did you catch the sample of I Fought The Law in that track from the Beastie Boys? I promise you its in there. Perhaps, like me, you missed it the first time because you were still mildly surprised to find that the drumbeat prominent at the start of the track was lifted directly from this classic Led Zeppelin tune.
When The Levee Breaks / Led Zeppelin
This is The Music Labyrinth where I suspect we have just set a personal best in the category of oldest song that we’ve encountered in our 46 episode history. That was, of course, the Led Zeppelin version of When The Levee Breaks, recorded in 1971, but even then the song was 42 years old, having been written by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929. The writing of the song was inspired by the great Mississippi flood of 1927. Now, we arrived at that song by observing that the opening drum beat was prominent in the preceding track. When I did my homework around that, I found that particular drumbeat has been sampled more than 200 times in contemporary music. So I couldn’t help lining up one more track featuring that sample. This is Neneh Cherry, featuring Michael Stipe, with Trout.
Trout / Neneh Cherry, Feat. Michael Stipe
From her 1992 album Homebrew, that was Neneh Cherry, featuring the vocals of Michael Stipe, with Trout. In addition to the sample of John Bonham’s drums from When The Levee Breaks, that song also featured another sample. Have a listen to this.
The Pusher / Steppenwolf
This is The Music Labyrinth where we just enjoyed the mellow, acid chill of Steppenwolf’s version of The Pusher, which comes from their 1968 eponymous album. That song was written by Hoyt Axton, who may be a name unknown to The Listener, but this, his best known composition, will not be.
Joy To The World / Three Dog Night
Of course, that was Joy To The World by Three Dog Night. The song was released in 1971 and reached number 1 on the Billboard Top 100 later that year. Now, here again, The Music Labyrinth is taking us in a direction that I may not have chosen to go, but this is just too good a piece of trivia to let slip by. When Joy To The World reached number 1 status, Hoyt Axton and his mother, Mae Axton became the first mother and son to have each written a number 1 pop single in the modern era. I’m sure now that The Listener is wondering about Mae Axton’s contribution to that achievement. Well, its this.
Heartbreak Hotel / Elvis Presley
Heartbreak Hotel was written in 1958 by Mae Axton and Tommy Durden. Elvis himself is also credited as a co-writer of the song. I dont need to tell you about its immense impact on modern music. What I can tell you is that, in the 2006 animated film Happy Feet, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman perform a mash-up of Heartbreak Hotel and Prince’s song Kiss. Now, as you recall, we have already played a version of Kiss in episode 22 of The Music Labyrinth, but lets stay with the Happy Feet soundtrack, which also featured a version of this song.
I Wish / Stevie Wonder
From his Grammy Award winning album of 1976, Songs In The Key Of Life, that was Stevie Wonder with I Wish. That album is so epic in the realms of modern music, that any glib link to our final tune this week would appear to be disrespectful. However, with all respect intended, glib is where we are going. We spent a bit of time in this episode focussing on samples of songs in other songs. Lets stay with that theme for now. Thanks very much for your company. Please come back again in a week for episode 47, which will commence with this song from Will Smith. This is Wild Wild West.
Wild Wild West / Will Smith