I'm gonna be strong, I'm gonna be fine...
Tina Turner-Don't Turn Around The Original
Bonnie Tyler-Don't Turn Around The first cover
Aswad-Don't Turn Around The first version to be a hit
Neil Diamond-Don't Turn Around Cover in the same vein of the original
Ace To Base-Don't Turn Around Includes the iconic spoken bit "I Will Survive..without you"
Owen Grey-Don't Turn Around South London star Owen pays tribute to Aswad/Ace to Base with this spikey cover
Ace To Base-Don't Turn Around(Groove Extended Mix) Poptastic extended mix by the Swedish 4.
Its amazing to think that Don't Turn Around was originally a brilliant power ballad written by Diane Warren when considering the famous versions of the songs are miles apart from its original form. Originally recorded for Tina Turner the record company left it as a b-side for her single Typical Male in 1986. Despite a Bonnie Tyler cover in 1988(seeing an ironic pattern here?) the song was gaining dust amongst the flurry of bigger and better power ballads that has now pretty much shaped the 1980s. Ironic you say...why? Well, Bonnie Tyler covered Don't Turn Around on the LP Notes From America which contained Tylers original version of Simply The Best. I can imagine Turner hearin' about Tylers cover of Don't Turn Around, popping down to her local HMV in Zurich, buying the LP, finding Simply The Best and immediately ringing up those at Parlophone demanding a recording session of that song asap.
However in that year it wasnt Tylers version that brought the song to the attention of many in the UK. It was Aswads lite-reggae mix of Don't Turn Around that has now become the definitive version of the song. Indeed, when a Swedish band(we'll come to them later) covered the song many presumed they'd covered Aswad and not Tina Turner.
As you can hear in this tiny little snippet with Ace of Bace they themselves seem to think it was originally by Aswad. Of course it had already been released in the U.S. By Bonnie Tyler and Tina Turner! In fact, the song had already been a single in the US when the rnb act Luther Ingram released it who takes the prize as the first act in the world to have the aforethought to consider the song worthy as a single. Turner left the song as a b-side while Tyler gave it album-track status.
But hey, thats the magic of PopEatsPop...it works in funny ways.
Aswad launched their career with the song and even to this day its still played on radio stations like Magic. It was a hit in most countries and again realises the brilliance of Bonnie Tyler to spot a good track and record it but is alas let down by surrounding circumstances. With Aswads version of Don't Turn Around dominating the charts and radio, Tylers recording was dropped as a possible single in favour of releasing Simply The Best which sadly bombed but would later be released with massive success by the original singer of Don't Turn Around, Tina Turner. But you guys knew that right...
Moreover if u happened to catch the previous post you'd see Bonnie Tylers 1988 album Notes From America contained three songs that would later become monster hits for other acts in the late 1980's. Of course theres Turner with The Best, Don't Turn Around for Aswad/Ace of Base and Cher with Save Up All Your Tears. It also included Bonnie's stunning version of the Bee Gees 60's hit To Love Somebody; a version that would be copied and later made into a hit by Michael Bolton. All of which means Tyler could be one the most unluckiest singers of all time. That album can claim to be the iconic album that just wasnt meant to be for it included so many future hits. Imagine if, say Rachel Stevens, had released an album in 2000 with original versions of Can't Get You Out Of My Head, Toxic, Sound of The Underground and Leave Right Now and you get the drift. Bonnie's LP contained 4 songs that would later be huge hit singles for other acts and if it wasnt for her record company - CBS - messing it up, Notes From America might have just become one of the biggest albums of the 1980's. It is because of this I think Bonnie, sadly, deserves to win the tragic title of Queen of PopEatsPop as theres no act in the history of pop whose been so close to having a hit but yet so far.
So now to Ace To Base who used the Aswad template of the song rather than the Turner/Tyler power ballad framework. Their version added something quite dark and sinister but very '1994' to the release. I'd also say they had the most success with the song as it recieved Gold Status from the American RIAA. This means its sold over 500,000 units in the US alone. Its world chart positions overshadow that of Aswads with the Ace to Base single landing at no.4 in the US, no.5 in the UK, no.1 in Canada and no.2 in Sweden. Thus quite huge. As the last single from their The Signs/Happy Nation LP it secured platinum status around the globe for the album which, er, sold, er a massive 25 million!
So today we have the original Turner version, the Bonnie Tyler version, the Aswad cover, the famous Ace To Base poptastic hit, the Neil Diamond cover and a brillian version by Owen Grey who smothers it with Culture Club spices. I love the fact that a song by an American hit writer Diane Warren with its thick slabs of power ballad cheese has evolved into a reggae anthem with cultural references firmly based in the context of black South London. And from the Brixton/Electric Avenue over to Stockholm and the rest of the world. Talk about bridges and multi-multiculturism...and all in the name of pop!
Stuck on your heart, I hang on every word you say...
Bonnie Tyler-Simply The Best The original
Tina Turner-Simply The Best The cover that became an anthem for Tina & symbolises the Thatcher/Reagan 1980's
Jimmy Barnes/Tina Turner-Simply The Best Jimmy is quite sexy don't ya think? Nice earing sweetie
DJ Cammy-Simply The Best Trashy club cover. Sounds like an alien ate Cher.
Simply The Best by the Turner that is Tina was the last time a real power pop ballad dominated the world charts and probably dealt the genre its final blow. Thing is, it was actually wasnt originally by her but by the queen of the power ballad: the Welsh stunner that is Bonnie Tyler. However name a Tina Turner song most will scream out Simply The Best. Its like the song has fused itself to Tina even if the Bonnie original is very similar to the cover.
The song is sung outloud on most drunk nights out in lost discos where in which girls called Trish, Tracy and Megan decked out in the finest Argos bling get moshed out on Barcardi Breezers and lose their knickers to guys named Trev, Perry and Ryan. I know I've been there: its well fun! Whether or not the DJ actually plays the song the girls, at a certain stage of the night they'll start to sing it. Its bonding, its trash, its Essex and its the kind of song that would unify Girls Aloud after a huge fall out over who got the best boobtube on a recent FHM photoshot. A trancetrash remix is then quite natural and included here too!
So now for the PopEatsPop part. The song was originally given to Bonnie Tyler by the writers Mark Chapman and Holly Knight for her 1988 Notes From America album. The song was expected to be her comeback track as her career had gone stale after Holding Out For A Hero dominated the charts a few years previously. However it was deemed a paltry mish-mash of her epic no.1 single Total Eclipse of The Heart and her breakout hit single Its a Heartache. The record company refused to release the song in the US after the UK chart entry stalled at a career destroying no.95. Some fans have said it was this flop that ensured the end of Bonnie Tyler as a viable act. It was only in Norway where The Best made an impression. The record company thus tried once more with another single release to retrieve the career in the aftermath of the flop. That song was called Save Up All Your Tears which would, like The Best, become a hit for another huge female pop star(this time Cher) but sadly refused to pump anything back into Bonnie Tylers ability to sell.
A year later Tina Turner was looking for a hit that screamed hit single to push her LP Foreign Affair. That song was The Best and ultimately pushed the album over the ten million mark and as a single eclipsed Turners previous hits Steamy Windows, I Can't Stand The Rain, Private Dancer and Whats Love Got To With It. It stormed the Billboard charts in the U.S and all around the world. It would obtain iconic status when it was used in many sporting events and to me is rather symbolic of the rich-greedy ambiance that drenched the 1980's. With its crucial 1989 release its message rode a wave of Western triumphanism in the defeat of those awful Commies in the demise of the Iron Curtain. Turners edition and reason for its very success must located within this socio-historical context. The State/Hegemony was winning its wars however cold, showing off its weaponary, winning was everything and who cares about human rights abuses, those dying of AIDS/GRIDS and in poverty. This was a time of Victory and those rich enough to be on the right side of the moral might were simply the best and those weak Others were absolutely ignored. Turners version is an anthem for greed, conversativism, imperialism, the big man and capitilism. Indeed theres a version out there that reorganises the song in support of the UVF and is about "crushing the IRA" by "preparing for battle" and that "we'll fight to the death". So for some, it clearly outlines the problems of imperialism, war and violence that was endemic in particular polarities during the 1980's.
On the other hand, the Tyler original is simply a song about a lover in total awe of her boyfriend which is why i prefer her version despite its failure.
Today we have 4, yes 4, versions of the said song. Of course theres the Bonneh original, the Tina hit, the duet version Tina did with ozzie hunk-a-spunk Jimmy Barnes and a trashtastic pop cover that sounds like cows farting on it. Which is nice.
Wheel's on fire, rolling down the road, best notify my next of kin....
Bob Dylan-Wheel's On Fire Original version that was a flop
The Band-Wheel's On Fire Second attempt to make the song a hit. Rather honkeytonk. I could see Dolly Parton producing this version
Julie Driscoll-Wheels On Fire The Hit that defined a thought, idealogy, philosophy, decade, fashion and spirituality.
Bob Dylan/The Band-Wheel's On Fire So after the hit of the Driscoll version the boys teamed together to make some money out of the Julia Driscoll cover.
The Hollies-Wheel's On Fire This one is sooooo Austin Powers it hurts. Groovy Baby YEH!
The Bryds-Wheel's On Fire Excellent Rock-Bad Attitude version. Slightly chilling/choral.
Leslie West-Wheel's On Fire If RockCher or Meatloaf ever recorded it, it would sound like this.
Golden Earing-Wheels On Fire Includes brilliant Wizard of Oz spiralling string session at the end. Very creative version
Siouxsie Sou & The Banshies-Wheel's On Fire One of the best versions of this song. A real mish-mash of genres.
June Tabor-Wheel's On Fire If Girls Aloud recorded the song it just might sound like this. Oozes energy. Slightly irish feel to it too.
Julie Driscoll-Wheels On Fire New version Brilliant new recording by Julie especially for Jennifer Saunders and Abfab
Debbie Harry-Wheels On Fire Sadly just a snippet. Would love to hear the full version someday.
Jennifer Saunders-Holding Out Of A Hero. Not only is she rather funny but the lass can sing!
To restart this blog I'm stepping back in time. Right back to Bob Dylan. Eak! Don't worry I've not gone all NME. Wheels On Fire goes down in PopEatsPop history has the most succesful non-hit that ever was. Originally recorded the Bob in the early 1960's it only came to greater attention to pop pickers when Julie Driscoll released her version in 1968. Julie Driscoll is one of those late 60's that solidifies what present day society has come to accept as a the definitive modus operandi of that decade. Her music and her style IS the 1960's. She defines. She is iconic. When Kylie steps back in time along with Emma Bunton & Austin Powers is it is Julie Driscoll they reference. Many say it is Twiggy but Twiggy was just a cheap copy of the Driscoll. Her music codified what we now associate as the funk lovin, groovy swank and hip swinging 1960's of early psycho-delica and peace signs. If you've never heard of Madam Driscoll she's the 3rd one from the left in the image above. I strongly recommend her albums for the sheer origininality and impressive capacity to cover songs that improve on the original. Take her version of Light My Fire. It is her mix of the track that has been covered by Jose Feliciano and recently Will Young and not the Doors original. Her albums are must in any cd-rack/hard-drive.
Image-wise Julia Driscoll is the amber of fashion sense. Iconic and groundbreaking, her style has been referenced by anyone trying to seek out that colourful steam arising out that decade. She IS Carnaby Street. Want some proof?
Now, to the PopEatsPop element to Wheel's On Fire. As you might have guessed, it was originally released by Bob Dylan whose version sounds very much Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. I love his original because it drags on like a stoned nomadic siren who can't remember whether her heart was lost to a spy of the USSR or a Pucci dress she saw down Kings Road. Despite this it totally bombed. It was far too ploddy. Then came another attempt by the pop group The Band. Current acts like Mika and Scissor Sisters remind me of The Band. Anyway, it bombed too but do notice how with each version the song becomes more and more electronic and poppy. Part of the failure of the song by The Band was the fact that a little British lass had recorded a stunning spunky electro-baroque version that was getting heavy airplay from the radio. That lass was the sublime Julia Driscoll. Despite being a rather dated folk Bob Dylan pop song Driscolls version reached out to the LSD boogie bunchers and teenage groovy-fabulous crowd. It then became an anthem for the time and symbolised the spirit the late 1960's.
After this version evolved into such a hit came the cash-in re-releases by Bob Dylan and the Band. Also came some fabulous versions by the Manchester band The Hollies, The Bryds and Leslie West. All tried to interupt the success of the Julia Driscoll hit by releasing their versions of the song before the Driscoll mix was sent to radio especially in the US. This failed. The Driscoll version was just too good have its thunder stolen. It was clear the significance of the song was pretty central to the experience of the 1960's and then 1970's. Further covers would come in the form of the excellent versions by Golden Earring and most recently June Tabor. Still, all these couldnt quite shake the monolithic poptastic streams of the Julie Driscoll version and/or the rock exuberance of the Bob Dylan original. It wouldnt be until the late 1980's that the song was given a new lease of life by the punk band Siouxsie & The Banshees.
Some two years later the song that symbolised free loving suddenly became an anthem for all things fabulous & Stoli/Boli. For nowadays the song is mostly known as the theme tune to the hit show Absolutely Fabulous by Jennifer Saunders. The main frame of the show follows one of its characters, Eddie, a teenager of the world of Wheel's On Fire who lives in a perpetual paradigm between the groovy 1960s that she didnt quite get and the post-structural 1990's/00 that rejects absolutely everything. Eddie pathetically purs over fashionistas that praise stuff worn by tramps while adores artists who charge millions for a bin bag. Eddie wants the chic and glamour of Driscoll that she missed first time round and not the celebrity of Big Brother or postmodern crap of uberLondon yet in her attempt to be cool she consumes it all like the rentboys of Earls Court. In her confusion that she calls her life, she follows the zeitgiest and becomes fabulously desperate. & for this we love her too. We all know Eddie would be fabulous if she just gave up and returned to the glamour presented in the world of Driscoll but sadly shes too lost in Wallpaper to realise this. Tragically for her but hilarious for us.
As Wheel's of Fire has recieved this new burst of life some of its cameo stars have recorded the song. These include Marriane Faithful and Debbie Harry. Sadly these two legends of pop have never thought to actually release their versions. But, still I've included a snippet of Debs version. So today I've included all the key versions including a new version by Driscoll herself especially for Absolutely Fabulous. Sadly the selection does not cover all versions that are out there.....for e.g the recent cover by KT Turnstall. As you will see its called a "tribute to Bob Dylan" but why pick that song? It was a forgotten Bob Dylan track. Its only famous because of Julie Driscoll and her power to make pop eat pop. This makes Wheel's On Fire a PopEatsPop classic! The huge number of versions out there highlights the fact. Also loaded today is the star of Absolutely Fabulous Jennifer Saunders and her disco take on Holding Out for A Hero....it hints to what will follow next on PopEatsPop
For now though I'll just say the next two updates will be all power ballads, big hair and Swedish superstars.
Still, I'm dying with every step I take but I don't look back..
First the good news. I've been given a laptop. Not new mind. Second-hand and from a friend. Still, it has a coolish webcam & internet access. Now the bad news: my old iBook will be with me soon but all the information previously on it has gone. That includes all the music files. I am currently preparing my previously dusted up cd's so they can be copied back onto the hard-drive as soon as my ibook returns. In the meantime I will continue to update the blog as a destination of thoughts, dreams, gossip and hopes. Possibly.
So where does one start today? I think I might refer to other better people/bloggers. A review if you wish. First of all, kudos and kisses to the blog DontStopthePop who've given us a Robyn unreleased track With Every Heartbeat. Those on popjustice have described it with the following praise: "baroque", "beautiful", "Oh. My. God.", "exquisite" and "Unfailing genius". Some have proffered the song the mantle "song of the year" which I think I am inclined to agree with. But this was a review of the song and not of the blog. Forgive me...so lets bump to it!
...D..D.dd.d..Don't Stop The Pop!
DontStopthePop has long had the ability to cover music from around the world, drop witty remarks and remain ever dedicated to good strong catchy music. There hasnt been one post by the diva divine Ella, pop professor Robpop and Steve that smells whiffy. I've always been seduced by their vast pop knowledge and amazed by their huge back catalogue. In one week DontStopthePop will make the listener an expert on Greek/Danish divas and the next they'll take you to the catwalks of the New York fashion industry. The music on the site doesnt always consist of new acts/material which makes the blog one of few within the pop blog world(a world that tends to prefer ranting about a pre-release Christina Aguilera/P.Diddy remix-yawn!). In the past, DontStopthePop has had their fair share of exclusives but they don't hesitate in getting their disco hands dirty by stepping back in the time. From a song from the 1950s to a Supersister rare b-side I have to say that this place is one of the most educational popblogs out there...
Gonna Zap It Right To ya...
Hot on the disco heels of DontStopthePop and probably recieves far much more webtraffic than is healthy for just one blog is the one-man-extravaganza The Zapping/ZappingIt2Ya. Run by Paul aka The Man With A Rather Big Heart, this blog reads more like interdisciplinary opus that explores not simply pop music but also fashion, culture, the zeitgeist, gay life in Birmingham and so on. However all the threads have one essential foundation which is music. Not all up for your aural delights on this blog will be new but rather forgotten bands/acts of the 80, 90's and 00's. Which makes this blog brilliant! Paul's manner on his blog is more personal than any of the others. He allows you into his closet, maybe wear his fab coat from FCUK, gossip about his friends/family and watch a bit of TV with him while he creates a brilliant playlist for your IPOD. In other words, his blog has a real family feel to it. A family that doesnt mind rude words like 'bumming', 'willy' and 'gay pride'. Another unique point to this blog is the music is new but not in the same vein as "Madonna's new single" but acts (which tend to be quite pretty) that arn't signed or huge or lauded by museo mags(yet!). The Zapping is a great promotional site, a place where Paul brings new music to you and the acts themselves love him for it. And to sum up Paul as a person I turn to the brilliant Patsy Stone who once said "Oh he just a windscreen washer I picked up at the traffic lights, bum so tight he was bouncing off the walls". Ahem...
Your PopPosterGirl Dream Are made of these...
ZappingIt2Ya is quite heavy on the boy eye-candy but PopPosterGirl puts Paul to shame. Once you enter this zone of boyband heaven, you suddenly want to a) coat my hair in gel and b) feel very ugly. This is because this blog is brimming with what cyber linguistics denote as "hawt"/"sex-on-legs". It is here where the core of that Smash Hits spirit remains as strong as ever. Its run by an American lass who journeys amongst the canals of good ole, mainly European, pop music sung by a boatload of young men who have faces built to melt a thousand dictactors, voices that either serenade angels or depend on autotune and generally rely on tv shows to launch their careers. What I love about this place is that is devoid from all the political mess that has splattered itself all over the genre of pop music. What I mean is that the music produced by, say Gareth Gates, is dogged by its singer which means pop traditionalists will be turned off due to its surrounding negativity and will forget the music. This blog puts a stop to this, lifts the negativity surrounding such acts and says "hey, this music needs returning to cos its actually pretty good!". For e.g: on its release time I hated everything by the Abs. Couldnt stand any of it. But since featuring on PopPosterGirl I can't get enough of it. Megahugs...
Looking dappa in my TipTopPop!
Closely related to PopPosterGirl is TipTopPop. All of the above blogs will simply raise your interest in a band or act but like every man I've ever had will always leave you wanting more. With one song on DSTP/ZAP/PPG you tend to end up buying the entire back catalogue of the given act. This is sometimes a pretty hard thing to achieve. Why? Because pop is quite rare these days and many a time acts will pass you by without you even noticing due to poor funds on the side of the record company. Well, TipTopPop is somewhat different for it gives you a full blown overview of the acts output. Often or not these acts have never been released but its owner Splitchick uses her blog to bring ya stuff that aint ever gonna be in ya local VirginMegastores. You won't see no Gwen, Beyonce and Kylie here. Thankfully...For this reason alone makes TipTopPop makes proper bo! If you want some supreme chunks of pop where you get a real feel for the act this is the place to be. You won't get a full blown album, demo or Dutch only single. Oh no, this girl goes deeper than that. In this pop corner, you'll get an some of an unreleased album, a brilliant Japanese bonus track, something from a soundtrack: basically the best from the rest and reviews/selections from pop acts that history did best forget. This place is a must...Two good examples of how deep and dirty TipTopPop gives it you are the postings on Moonbaby and Mania. No one can compete against that kind of research/giving.
If you wanna be my lovah you gotta chartrigga-zah!
Making sense of of this strange world called pop is the popblog bible ChartRigger run by the Eddie/Patsy of blogspot: Jason and Moogaboo. You'll get all your news, gossip, giggles and chart information here. Occasionally you'll get a nice little track but this is more about the framework of the music industry rather than the content. Essential readings are the lovely dialectics involving Jason and Moogaboo which cover everything from Dannii Minogue and a thing called a Clay Aitken. Not quite sure what a Clay Aitken is but I think it involves art n crafts. But back to subject. These dualogs are called banterviews and they are now legend. In 2300 years time people will be forming religions over what the great Lord Jason and the Savior Moogaboo said. Many lives will be lost in the religious wars that ensues but for now grab some beluga and champers and cackle away at the damn funny comments and remarks.
So thats about it. Naturally I also love XO, SoundsOfSweden, Hotstuff, Fetch, OxygenChunks and PurePop but I couldnt cover them in all in here.
Forgive the lack of updates; its not that I've fallen head over heals with a Swedish sailor or begun a new Shamen course in mountain ranges of India but have come undone with my laptop deciding to take a sabatical. This has led to my entire music collection soaring up into the disco lands of lysia. Now free, my mp3s-some of which included new unreleased Kylie tracks and Disney Demos-are fluttering around the cyberskies with halos and harps. Good luck to them I say!
While I've returned to reality I have been attempting to gain a six pack, fall in love and start the new university year in hope. These things I loved: Helen Mirren in The Queen, watching two girls bitchslap each other in Waitrose, the Cinnamon latte at Nero's and snogging girls I've not seen since stealing Smash Hits in 1994. Musically its about Dannii's new version of He's The Greatest Dancer which should leak soon. Emotionally its about Matthew (yum, yum, squeeze). Materially its about political t-shirts. Sexually its about sweat. Physically its about football practice on Saturday at the Hackney Marshes. Theoretically its about rethinking feminism. Negatively I can't quite get over my deep hatred of the PussyCat Dolls, President Bush and my brother. Therapeutically I'm sorting out the latter 'issue'. Realistically thinking this is going to be impossible. Conditionally though I'm fine.
Logicially its about...
This Blog. Coming back to its former self. This wont happen until I get my cumputer back from the Republic of Mackintosh. It is only then will I know about my music files and thus whether or not to continue this blog.