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#MusicMonday Fontella Bass “Rescue Me”

I’ve been thinking a lot about Aretha. Previously I posted a video of her sister Erma singing Piece of My Heart. Today I feature Fontella Bass. Many people wrongly associate the song “Rescue Me” with Aretha, but Fontella Bass sang the song.

“Rescue Me” was released in 1965, two years before Aretha joined Atlantic Records and cut loose from the artistic constraints that Columbia Records put upon her. Fontella Bass recorded the song at Chess Studios in Chicago. Backing musicians on the track included drummer Maurice White (later leader of Earth, Wind, & Fire) and Minnie Riperton as a background singer.

This video captures Fontella Bass’s appearance on Shindig!

“Rescue Me” gave Chess its first million-selling single in 10 years. Bass recalled:

I had the first million seller for Chess since Chuck Berry about 10 years before. Things were riding high for them, but when it came time to collect my first royalty check, I looked at it, saw how little it was, tore it up and threw it back across the desk.

The original versions of the record and BMI credited Raynard Miner and Carl William Smith. Bass approached her manager Billy Davis about securing her writing credit, but when the record came out, her name was still not on it.

Sources:
Fontella Bass. (2018, August 17). Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fontella_Bass
Fontella Bass – Rescue Me (Shindig – 1965). (2015, January 27). Retrieved September 9, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4__kPN77DAU

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#MusicMonday Erma Franklin – Piece of My Heart

The whole world knows by now that Aretha Franklin died last week of pancreatic cancer.  This is heresy, but I could not get into Aretha.  Is it a cultural thing?

You might remember that Starbucks sold compilation CDs at its counters.  Here’s a gem that I found through those compilation CDs:

You might associate Piece of My Heart with Janis Joplin, but Erma Franklin (Aretha’s sister) recorded it in 1967 before Janis. This video is a live performance from 1992.

#MusicMonday – Janet Jackson – Alright

This delightful 1990 Janet Jackson video features her idols Cyd Charisse, The Nicholas Brothers, and Cab Calloway

Speaking of The Nicholas Brothers, check out this awesome performance that Fred Astaire called “the greatest dance number ever filmed”:

#MusicMonday I Got You Babe – Cher with Beavis & Butthead

Cher is a 2018 Kennedy Center Honoree along with Philip Glass, Reba McEntire, and Wayne Shorter.  In tribute to her selection, I present this cover of ex-husband Sonny Bono’s I Got You Babe featuring Cher and Beavis & Butthead.

Butthead: “Is it true that you used to be, like uh, married to that Bono dude?”

Cher: “Bono. Sonny Bono”

#MusicMonday Keely Smith “When Day is Done”

Three months ago, I promised a feature on Keely Smith, who died on December 16, 2017.

 

See the source image

Keely Smith

 

This video is taken from the Frank Sinatra show in 1958. It starts with wise-cracking between Sinatra and Keely Smith’s then husband Louis Prima. Keely sings “When Day is Done.”

 

While she put away the crinolines, she wore the same haircut throughout her life. 🙂

#MusicMonday France Gall #France

France Gall was a French pop singer, one of the yé-yé girls of the 1960s, which included Françoise Hardy and Sylvie Vartan. She died earlier this month, on January 7, 2018, of an infection from cancer. She was age 70.

She shot to prominence when she won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965, singing Serge Gainsbourg’s song Poupée de cire, poupée de son (wax doll, rag doll):

Wikipedia dissects the meaning of the lyrics of Poupée de cire, poupée de son: for example, poupée de son can also be interpreted as “singing doll.” The lyrics portray her as an ingenue, that is, “an innocent or unsophisticated young woman.”

Seule, parfois je soupire
Je me dis à quoi bon
Chanter ainsi l’amour sans raison
Sans rien connaître des garçons

In English:

Alone, I sometimes sigh
Thinking, what’s the point
Of singing love like this, without reason
Without knowing anything about boys?

Gainsbourg exploited her innocence with Les Sucettes or Lollipops, which is a thinly veiled allusion to oral sex. France Gall apparently wasn’t aware of the double entendre. In this video, she talks about the humiliation she suffered when she found out the double meaning of Les Sucettes:

Next week, I will pay tribute to American singer Keely Smith, who died last month, December 2017.

#MusicMonday #France Johnny Hallyday et Sylvie Vartan – À plein cœur

French singer Johnny Hallyday died last month, December 5, 2017, at age 74. He was the closest thing that France had for a rock’n’roll star.

Here is Johnny Hallyday with his soon-to-be wife Sylvie Vartan singing À plein cœur from the film D’où viens-tu Johnny? (1963).

Johnny Hallyday and Sylvie Vartan were married in 1965 and divorced in 1980. He subsequently married 4 times (including twice to the same woman). Sylvie Vartan remarried once.

In subsequent #MusicMonday posts, I’ll feature other singers whom we lost recently: Keely Smith (d. December 16, 2017) and France Gall (d. January 7, 2018).