Posts Tagged ‘Climax’

A Baker’s Dozen for the Texas Gal

May 17, 2011

Originally posted October 26, 2007

Sometimes the Texas Gal and I look at each other and marvel that we ever met, that our lives took the turns they did to bring us together, first in a small corner of the Internet and then – in a leap that took courage and faith for both of us – in a small corner of Minnesota.

Other times, we smile and acknowledge that, well, where else could we have ended up? As I’ve written before, we find the places and the people we are meant to find, no matter how crooked our paths might have been. And she and I are where we belong.

We’re not young, but there were reasons – ones we’ll never know – that our meeting was delayed until midlife. We find solace in knowing that the lives we led before we met are what made us each who we are. Those lives – we hope – have provided us with some level of wisdom that has guided us during the seven years we’ve known each other and will continue to guide us.

If this sounds solemn, it is. This afternoon, we’re going to go down to the courthouse, where we’ll formalize the marriage that took place long ago in our hearts. It’s something we’ve been planning to do for a while, and it’s time.

So here are some of the songs that have been important to us during the past seven years (with one ringer that I threw in). This is a Baker’s Dozen for the Texas Gal, who from today on will be my wife.

“Loving Arms” by Darden Smith from Little Victories, 1993

“Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer from Sixpence None the Richer, 1998

“Rest of My Days” by Indigenous from Circle, 2000

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House, Capitol single 5614, 1988

“I Knew I Loved You” by Savage Garden from Affirmation, 1999

“If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen from Lucky Town, 1992

“Precious and Few” by Climax, Carousel single 30055, 1971

“Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden from Savage Garden, 1997

“This Kiss” by Faith Hill from Faith, 1998

“Levee Song” by Darden Smith from Little Victories, 1993

“Two of Us” by the Beatles from Let It Be…Naked (recorded 1969)

“Wedding Song” by Tracy Chapman from Telling Stories, 2000

“Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison from Moondance, 1970

Saturday Single No. 14

April 22, 2011

Originally posted June 2, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, when I posted Jim Croce’s first album, I used as a framework for my discussion the Righteous Brothers’ single from 1974, “Rock And Roll Heaven” As I discussed the effects of the deaths of the six musicians listed in the song – Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Jim Morrison, Jim Croce and Bobby Darin – I wondered why songwriters Alan O’Day and John Stevenson hadn’t used some of the other famous dead rockers in their song, specifically Buddy Holly. I also mentioned Duane Allman and King Curtis.

An hour or so later, I heard the little chime that tells me I have email in the account I use for the blog. The message was titled, “Hey from Alan O’Day.” It was one of three he sent me that week as he filled me in on the history of “Rock And Roll Heaven.”

“If memory serves me,” he wrote, “I believe one of my earlier verse drafts did mention Buddy, by way of his girl ‘Peggy Sue,’ as well as Ritchie Valens’ ‘Donna.’ But the producers of the Righteous Brothers’ hit actually re-wrote that verse. They wanted more current dead people.”

He went on to quote the verse that the Righteous Brothers’ producers – Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter – discarded in favor of their own verse mentioning Jim Croce and Bobby Darin. The original second verse was:

“Peggy Sue and Donna, our sweethearts from the past –
“They crystallized our lives on the radio.
“The ones who loved them most of all have left before their time,
“But they’ll all be back together when they meet in one big show.”

Alan said in his note that he’d actually tried to include Jim Croce in the original version of the song: “I remember trying to work him into a verse of the song at some point, but I stumbled on the sound of ‘Croce’ as a lyric, and I already had mentioned two other Jims, referencing Hendrix and Morrison.”

And it turns out that the Righteous Brothers’ version of the tune was not the first time the song was recorded. The early 1970s group Climax – who had a No. 3 hit with “Precious And Few” in early 1972 – released “Rock And Roll Heaven” as a single in 1973.

Climax’s lead singer was Sonny Geraci, who had also been the lead singer for the Outsiders when they had their No. 5 hit, “Time Won’t Let Me,” in 1966. But the recording of “Rock And Roll Heaven” didn’t do well in the charts. “I felt the engineering and production hurt his version,” wrote Alan, who noted that Geraci was “a nice guy.”

After the single stiffed, Alan said, “I thought our song was dead.” He was a staff writer at Warner Bros. Publishing at the time, though, and the company gave the song to Lambert and Potter, who rewrote the second verse and got the Righteous Brothers to record it. The single hit No. 3 in the summer of 1974, the first hit for the duo in eight years. Their album, Give It To The People, reached No. 27, and threw off two more Top 40 singles, “Give It To The People (No. 20) and “Dream On (No. 32).

Alan seems to have mixed feelings about the Righteous Brothers’ single. He notes that it revived the song, but he also notes that when Lambert and Potter rewrote the second verse they didn’t consult with him and Stevenson. On the other hand, Alan said, “to their credit, [they] never asked us for a portion of the writing royalties.”*

And Alan has hopes for the song still. “‘Rock ’n’ Roll Heaven’ is a song that probably will never be finished,” he told me. “I recently resurrected it as ‘Rock ’n’ Roll Heaven 2007,’ trying for someone like Taylor Hicks or Travis Tritt to cut it.” There’s a link to the demo on Alan’s website. The site also has a link to a video for the 2007 version on YouTube as well as a recap of Alan’s career in the music business.

For my part, as soon as I learned that Climax had released “Rock And Roll Heaven” as a single, I clicked my way to Ebay. It took two weeks for the record to get here, which is why I didn’t write about it until today.

But here, as originally written by Alan O’Day and John Stevenson – who was a member of the band – is Climax’s version of “Rock And Roll Heaven,” today’s Saturday Single:

Climax – “Rock And Roll Heaven” [Rocky Road 30072, 1973]

*Alan O’Day later wrote me again and said that he has no complaints with Lambert or Potter or anyone connected with the Righteous Brothers’ version of “Rock And Roll Heaven.” Note added April 22, 2011.