Thursday, August 12, 2010

Top Songs of 1991: #14: "High Enough" by Damn Yankees

Damn Yankees were one of the first hard-rock super groups. Before Velvet Revolver and Audioslave, there were Damn Yankees! D.Y. included Ted Nugent and Tommy Shaw from Styx.

"High Enough" was their biggest hit and it went "high enough" in the Billboard was #14 for the year of 1991. The song was written by Nugent, Shaw and Jack Blades (formerly of the bands Rubicon and Night Ranger).

I gotta say, I find this song structure a little...strange....the pre-chorus kind of doesn't fit into the song. The verses and chorus to me sound like they are from the same era, the same idea, but then there is this crazy pre-chorus that has a totally different energy from the rest of the song. It stands out. It's like you are strolling in a quiet, serene forest. Then you are yanked out of the path by a hungry bear,who drags you over craggy rocks by your hair. And then he decides against eating you and calmly, carefully puts you back on the same serene path. It's like--what the hell just happened?

"High Enough" is saturated with power chords--it is a power chord haven! I do believe except for the first two chords of the verse, every single other chord in the song is a power chord.

The lyrics beg some questions:
1. "I just made one mistake--I didn't know what to say when you called me baby"
That qualifies as a mistake? I mean, it's not like the lady called him "Horse Breath". 'Baby" isn't that shocking. But I get the feeling the songwriter was nonplussed by the use of "baby".
2. By the second verse, being called "baby" doesn't seem like such a that point the lyric turns to "I know just what to do when you call me 'baby'". Thank goodness you figured it out!
3. "fly me over yesterday"
I will take two doses of 'fly me over yesterday', please. Thank you.

Gotta say, I kind of love the bridge to this song--it'd kind of killer heavy-metal scorcher!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Top Songs of 1991: #15: "From a Distance" by Bette Midler

The #15 Billboard hit of 1991 was "From a Distance", performed by Bette Midler. The song had quite a life of it's own before Bette got a hold of it. Julie Gold, an American singer-songwriter, wrote the song:

"Gold was working as a secretary at the time for Home Box Office and writing songs in her free time.[1] Gold's friend, Christine Lavin, introduced the song to Nanci Griffith who first recorded for her 1987 album, Lone Star State of Mind. It quickly became a favorite of Griffith's fans around the world. The Byrds recorded the song as one of 4 newly recorded studio tracks for their box set The Byrds released in 1990."

Also in 1990, Bette Midler recorded the song as part of her album "Some People's Lives". Like the #16 song of 1991 ("All the Man That I need" by Whitney Houston), this song very much fits into that Adult Contemporary genre.

My strongest association of Bette Midler is how Michael Shurtleff describes her in his book "Audition". He said she was such an innate artist, that she was like a "gland". That has stuck in my head since I read the book when I was 15. I love that description.

I mostly remember this song being strongly attached the the Gulf War. It came out around the same time and the video had lots of images of soldiers in black and white.

There is something about this song that feels like a folk-protest song from the 60s. I can almost hear Bob Dylan singing it.