Friday, March 30, 2018

Rolling Stones – "Fortune Teller" (1966)

Went to the fortune teller
Had my fortune read

Check out the cover of the June 1, 2015 issue of the New Yorker magazine:

Who's missing from this picture?
That Mark Ulriksen cover (which was titled “Suiting Up”) depicts seven of the candidates for the 2016 Presidential nomination as if they were getting dressed in a locker room after working out.  

Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio are in the foreground of the cover.  Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee (reading a Bible), Scott Walker, and Ted Cruz (shown tying his tie in the mirror) are also depicted.  (I didn’t recognize Walker at first.  How quickly we forget!)

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is shown in the background, peeping through a window at her half-clothed potential opponents.  (Imagine the mishegas if the cover had depicted Ms. Clinton in bra and panties, blow-drying her hair while Bush, Cruz, et al. gawked at her.) 

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The seven white males on the New Yorker cover weren’t the only GOP Presidential hopefuls, of course.  Carly Fiorina (a woman), Ben Carson (an African-American), and Bobby Jindal (an Indian-American) also sought the nomination – but putting Fiorina in a men’s locker room would have been weird, and including a Republican candidate of color wouldn’t have fit the New Yorker’s narrative.

Of course, the New Yorker left out one other candidate: the one, the only Donald J. Trump, who not only grabbed the Republican nomination but also shocked tout le monde by winning the Presidency.

A more prescient New Yorker cover
You’d think that Trump would have been an irresistible target for the artist.  He was more recognizable than any of the other seven men on the cover, and easy to caricature as well.

But the New Yorker obviously dismissed Trump as a serious contender, choosing instead to include the likes of Scott Walker (who ended up dropping out of the race months before the Iowa caucuses) on this cover. 

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New Yorker staff writer Amy Davidson Sorkin acknowledged that there were plenty of prospective GOP candidates other than those included on the magazine cover.  But she made it clear that she was putting her money on the Ulriksen seven:

[O]ne of these seven men is almost certainly right about his chances for the nomination.   


And that wasn’t the only faux pas in Sorkin’s little essay.  Here’s her explanation of why the only Democratic candidate who made the New Yorker cover was the former First Lady:

Some other Democratic candidates might emerge, ones tougher to beat than Bernie Sanders, but at the moment Clinton doesn’t really have to share. 

Hopefully Madame Sorkin has traded in her old crystal ball for a less cloudy model.  Bernie Sanders turned out to be a pretty tough opponent for Hillary after all.

Not as tough an opponent as Trump, of course.

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Former football coach Pat Dye once said that “Hindsight is 50-50.”  (So true!)

Ordinarily I don’t pile on when someone’s prognostication turns out not to be true.  Heaven knows that 2 or 3 lines has made its share of mistakes when it comes to predicting the future.

But the New Yorker is so smug, so self-satisfied, and so high and mighty in general that it does my little pea-pickin’ heart good to see the magazine hoist itself with its own petard.

(You can click here if you don’t know what a “petard” is.  And don’t feel bad – 2 or 3 lines didn’t know either until I looked it up.)

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“Fortune Teller” was written by Allen Toussaint under the pseudonym Naomi Neville.  It was first recorded by New Orleans R&B singer Benny Spellman in 1962.

2 or 3 lines is featuring the Rolling Stones’ cover of the song because it’s better than the original – and better than any of the other covers I know.  (Especially the 2007 Robert Plant–Alison Krauss version, which is a real head shaker.)

I first heard the Stones’ version on Got LIVE If You Want It!, the band’s first live album.  I was a 14-year-old Rolling Stones-obsessed ninth-grader when that album was released, and I played my copy half to death.

I found out today that the recording of “Fortune Teller” that was included on that album was actually a 1963 studio take.  The record company overdubbed that recording with crowd noise and passed it off as a live recording.

The Rolling Stones were not amused, and have essentially disowned Got LIVE If You Want It! ever since.

Here’s the overdubbed “Fortune Teller”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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