Friday, July 21, 2017

Delaney & Bonnie and Friends – "Superstar (Groupie)" (1969)

And I can hardly wait
To sleep with you again

A few nights ago, I heard the Carpenters’ 1971 hit, “Superstar,” on the Sirius XM ’60s on 6 channel.

I usually change channels quicker than you can say “Jack Robinson” when a Carpenters song – any Carpenters song – comes on the radio.  (“Close to You,” “We’ve Only Just Begin,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “Top of the World” . . . it’s hard to say which one I dislike the most.)

For some reason, I listened to “Superstar” all the way through that night.  It turns out that it is a GREAT record.  The song itself isn’t anything special, but Karen Carpenter’s singing and her brother Richard’s arrangement are quite extraordinary.  

I ended up writing five posts about five different recordings of the song.

That’s just how it works sometimes.  I like to think I’m in control of 2 or 3 lines, but but my wildly popular little blog has a mind of its own.  Stuff happens, and when it does, all you can do is try to hold on and enjoy the ride.

*     *     *     *     *

In 1969, Rolling Stone bought a full page ad in the New York Times to promote an upcoming special issue on “groupies.”  (The story goes that publisher Jann Wenner had to empty the magazine’s bank account to pay the $7000 that the ad cost.)

The term “groupies” was originally used to describe the screaming teenage girls who innocently worshipped the Beatles and other pop groups of that era.  But by the time the Rolling Stone issue came out, the word had taken on a sexual implication.

Groupies were no longer the innocent female fans who got picked up and driven home by mom or dad after a concert.  Instead, they were the adventurous women who went backstage after the show and usually ended up spending the night at the band’s hotel (or on the tour bus).

Rolling Stone's “groupies” issue
Frank Zappa, one of the musicians who were interviewed by Rolling Stone, had this to say about groupies:

New York groupies are basically New York chicks. They're snobbish and uptight -- they think they're big. San Francisco groupies are okay, but they think there's nothing happening outside San Francisco. L.A. groupies are without doubt the best -- the most aggressive and the best f*cks, and the only drawback is the incredibly high rate of venereal disease.

(That’s a little harsh, but it’s the kind of provocative thing that Frank Zappa was always saying.)

Later that year, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends released a song titled “Superstar (Groupie).”  It told the story of a gullible groupie who believed that a touring musician she had slept with would someday come back to be with her.

The chances of that happening, of course, are slim and none – and Slim just left town, along with the musician and his band.  But every time the groupie hears the musician’s record on the radio, she thinks about him and wishes for his return.

Eric Clapton with Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett
“Superstar (Groupie)” was written by Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett – or that’s what the record label says.  After the Bramletts divorced, Delaney claimed that he assigned the ownership of a number of songs he had written or co-written to Bonnie in order to avoid the provisions of an onerous publishing contract he had signed.

Rita Coolidge later said that she came up with the idea for “Superstar (Groupie),” and the next 2 or 3 lines will feature her cover of the song.

*     *     *     *     *

Here’s the original Delaney & Bonnie and Friends recording of “Superstar (Groupie),” which was released as the B-side of the group’s “Comin’ Home” single in 1969.  (Both songs were released on Delaney and Bonnie’s sixth and final studio album, D&B Together, in 1972.  The couple divorced a year later.)

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

No comments:

Post a Comment