Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Pink Floyd – "Great Gig in the Sky" (1973)

Now that I’ve announced the 2022 inductees into the 2 OR 3 LINES “GOLDEN DECADE” HIT SINGLES HALL OF FAME, it’s time to present the 2022 inductees into the 2 OR 3 LINES “GOLDEN DECADE” ALBUM TRACKS HALL OF FAME.

But before I do that, I need to take care of one bit of unfinished business that concerns the 2021 class of that hall of fame.

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Did none of you notice that the 2021 class of the 2 OR 3 LINES “GOLDEN DECADE” ALBUM TRACKS HALL OF FAME had only nine members – not the usual ten?

That’s because I was on vacation when my post about the tenth new inductee was scheduled for publication.  

But things have a way of slipping between the cracks when I’m not around to ride herd over the motley crew of scatter-brained millennials who work [sic] at 2 OR 3 LINES World Headquarters.

There’s an old saying that I think applies to what goes on when I’m out of the office:

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“When the cat’s away, the mice will play” is a rather trite expression.  You’ve probably heard it a thousand times.

But the reason that saying is used so often is that it frequently hits the nail very squarely on the head.  That’s why “When the cat’s away, the mice will play” is a universal expression used the world ’round.

Ever wonder who first said “When the cat’s away, the mice will play”?

From the Grammarist website:

The expression when the cat’s away the mice will play is derived from a Latin phrase, “Dum felis dormit, mus gaudet et exsi litantro.”  A literal translation is “When the cat sleeps, the mouse leaves its hole, rejoicing.” This medieval Latin phrase gave rise to similar expressions in many different languages. 

For instance, the Russian translation is “Без кота мышам раздолье,” which literally means “Without a cat, there is freedom for mice.” The German translation is “Wenn die Katze aus dem Haus ist, tanzen die Mäuse auf dem Tisch,” which when literally translated means “When the cat is out of the house, then the mice dance upon the table.” 

The Spanish translation may be either “Cuando el gato no está los ratones hacen fiesta,” which one may translate as “When the cat is not here, the mice have a party,” or “Cuando el gato no está, los ratones bailan,” which means “When the cat is not here, the mice dance.” 

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The album track that was supposed to be the tenth and final member of the 2021 class of the 2 OR 3 LINES “GOLDEN DECADE” ALBUM TRACKS HALL OF FAME was Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig in the Sky,” which was released in 1973 on the legendary The Dark Side of the Moon LP.

What follows is a lightly edited version of my original February 10, 2014 post about “Great Gig in the Sky” – which is currently the only instrumental album track to be honored with induction into my wildly popular hall of fame:

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How can a record that has a singer be an instrumental?  

I'll tell you, boys and girls -- just hold your horses for a moment.

Michael Jackson's Thriller is usually considered to be the biggest-selling album of all time, but Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon isn't far behind.  It appeared on Billboard's top albums chart shortly after it was released in 1973, and stayed there for an astonishing 741 consecutive weeks -- that's over 14 years.  

If you were in high school or college in 1973 and you didn't buy this album, either you had a boyfriend or girlfriend who did own it or there was something seriously weird about you.

The Dark Side of the Moon was not only enormously popular among fans but also highly admired and respected by musicians.  I've met quite a few really talented professional musicians in the course of doing 2 or 3 lines over the past four-plus years, and I've never heard one of them say anything negative about this record.

Richard Wright
"Great Gig in the Sky" started out as a chord progression composed by Pink Floyd keyboard player Richard Wright.  When the group decided to record it, they tried adding various spoken word samples – for example, snippets of recordings of NASA astronauts speaking during space missions – but they weren't happy with the results.

Finally, just as they were finishing up work on the album, the band decided to have a female singer improvise a vocal to accompany the instrumental track.  The album's engineer, Alan Parsons, suggested they hire Clare Torry, a 25-year-old backup singer.

Here's the rest of the story, told in the form of quotes from those involved that appeared in a 2003 Rolling Stone piece celebrating the album's 30th anniversary:

Roger Waters
Roger Waters (Pink Floyd singer/songwriter and co-founder):  ["Great Gig in the Sky"] was something that Rick [Richard Wright] had already written.  It's a great chord sequence. . . . I've no idea whose idea it was to have someone wailing on it.  Clare [Torry] came into the studio one day, and we said, "There's no lyrics. It's about dying – have a bit of a sing on that, girl."

Alan Parsons
Alan Parsons:   [Clare Torry] had done a covers album; I can remember that she did a version of "Light My Fire."  I just thought she had a great voice.  When the situation came up, they started head-scratching, saying, "Who are we going to get to sing on this?"  I said, "I've got an idea – I know this girl."  She came, and in a couple of hours it was all done.  She had to be told not to sing any words: when she first started, she was doing "Oh yeah baby" and all that kind of stuff, so she had to be restrained on that.  But there was no real direction – she just had to feel it.

David Gilmour
David Gilmour (Pink Floyd guitarist):  Clare Torry didn't really look the part.  She was Alan Parsons's idea.  We wanted to put a girl on there, screaming orgasmically.  Alan had worked with her previously, so we gave her try.  And she was fantastic.  We had to encourage her a little bit.  We gave her some dynamic hints: "Maybe you'd like to do this piece quietly, and this piece louder."  She did maybe half a dozen takes, and then afterwards we compiled the final performance out of all the bits.  It wasn't done in one single take.

Clare Torry
Clare Torry:  I went in, put the headphones on, and started going "Ooh-aah, baby, baby – yeah, yeah, yeah." They said, "No, no — we don't want that. . . . Try some longer notes," so I started doing that a bit.  And all this time, I was getting more familiar with the backing track.  That was when I thought, "Maybe I should just pretend I'm an instrument."  So I said, "Start the track again."  One of my most enduring memories is that there was a lovely [headphone] balance.  Alan Parsons got a lovely sound on my voice: echoey, but not too echoey.  When I closed my eyes — which I always did — it was just all-enveloping; a lovely vocal sound, which for a singer, is always inspirational.

So that's why "Great Gig in the Sky" – which is dominated by a singer – is an instrumental. 

By the way, Clare Torry was paid only 3o pounds for her performance – which was the flat daily rate for a studio musician.  In 2004, she sued Pink Floyd and its record company, claiming that she was really the co-writer of the track and should receive songwriting royalties.  The case was settled out of court, and all CDs manufactured after the date of the settlement give writing credits to both Wright and Torry.

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Click here to listen to "Great Gig in the Sky," the tenth and final member of the 2 OR 3 LINES "GOLDEN DECADE" ALBUM TRACKS HALL OF FAME.  (Better late than never, right?)

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, August 5, 2022

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – "Tears of a Clown" (1970)


Just like Pagliacci did

I try to keep my sadness hid

I’m aware of three well-known popular songs that make reference to the famous Leoncavallo opera, Pagliacci

The first is “The Masquerade is Over,” an Allie Wrubel-Herb Magidson collaboration that was first recorded in 1939:

I guess I’ll have to play Pagliacci

And get myself a clown’s disguise

And learn to laugh like Pagliacci

With tears in my eyes

The song was covered by everyone from Sarah Vaughan to Patti Page to Marvin Gaye to Stevie Wonder to Peggy Lee to José Feliciano to Aretha Franklin to . . . well, you get the picture.  Click here to listen to Sarah Vaughan’s 1956 recording.

Enrico Caruso in Pagliacci

“Mister Sandman” – a #1 hit for the Chordettes in 1954 – includes these lines:

Mister Sandman, bring us a dream

Give him a pair of eyes with a come-hither gleam

Give him a lonely heart like Pagliacci

And lots of wavy hair like Liberace

Click here to listen to the Chordettes’ version of “Mister Sandman.”

Today’s featured song – “Tears of a Clown” – also makes reference to “Pagliacci” in the lines quoted at the beginning of this post.  

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Pagliacci – which was a big hit when it was first performed 1892, and remains very popular among contemporary opera fans – has a “play within a play” structure (like Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Chekhov’s The Seagull).

The opera is about a troupe of traveling actors who are putting on a play in which a character named Pagliaccio learns the identity of his adulterous wife’s lover and stabs both of them.  We have a case of life imitating art here: the actor who portrays Pagliaccio is actually married to the actress playing his wife, who is having a real-life affair with the actor who has the role of her lover in the play.  

When Pagliaccio stabs his wife and her lover in the play, he’s not just acting – he really stabs his wife and her lover, killing both of them.

That must have come as quite a surprise to the audience.

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Did you notice that the character’s name is “Pagliaccio” – not “Pagliacci”?  All three of the songs discussed above mistakenly use “Pagliacci” when they really meant “Pagliaccio.” 

“Pagliacci” – which is the title of the opera – is the plural form of the Italian word for “clown.”  “Pagliaccio” – the name of the character who murders his wife and her lover – is the singular form of that word.  

It’s not unusual for even a major character in a play not to be identified by his given name.  For example, Our Town has the “Stage Manager,” and Cabaret has “The Master of Ceremonies” – famously portrayed by Joel Grey in the 1972 movie.  

There’s good reason to identify the main character in Pagliacci simply as “The Clown” because that is his role in the play with the play (or the play within the opera.)

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“Tears of a Clown” – the final member of this year’s group of inductees into the 2 OR 3 LINES “GOLDEN DECADE” HIT SINGLES HALL OF FAME – was originally released on the 1967 Smokey Robinson and the Miracles album, Make It Happen.  

Three years later, some genius decided to release it as single in the UK, where it promptly went to #1.

When it was subsequently released as a single in the U.S., it went to #1 just as promptly.  (Better late than never.)

Click here to listen to “Tears of a Clown,” which is yet another note-perfect Motown production. 

Click on the link below to buy the record from Amazon:

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Norman Greenbaum – "Spirit in the Sky" (1969)

Never been a sinner

I never sinned

In 2011, the readers of Rolling Stone magazine were asked to vote for their favorite one-hit wonders of all time.  “Spirit in the Sky” was voted #3.

Today, that record joins several other memorable one-hit wonders (e.g., “96 Tears” and “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”) in the 2 OR 3 LINES “GOLDEN DECADE’ HIT SINGLES HALL OF FAME.

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Norman Greenbaum’s greatest claim to fame prior to “Spirit in the Sky” was “The Eggplant That Ate Chicago,” a 1967 novelty record released by a Greenbaum-led psychedelic group named Dr. West’s Medicine Show and Junk Band.

Norman Greenbaum in 1969

Greenbaum was inspired to write “Spirit in the Sky” after seeing the flamboyant country singer Porter Wagoner perform a gospel song on television:

I thought, “Yeah, I could do that,” knowing nothing about gospel music, so I sat down and wrote my own gospel song.  It came easy.  I wrote the words in 15 minutes.

I always assumed that Greenbaum was a “Jews for Jesus” type who had written today’s featured song after converting to Christianity, but he remains an observant Jew.  

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Greenbaum submitted a simple, acoustic-guitar-accompanied demo of the song to his record company.  But producer Erik Jacobsen had a radically different vision of the record, juicing up the very simple song with heavily-distorted electric guitar, lots of drums, and a local female gospel trio as backup singers.

The result was a #3 hit single that remained in the Billboard “Hot 100” for 15 weeks, and sold two million copies.

It’s been covered frequently, and is featured in a number of movie soundtracks.

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Nothing about “Spirit in the Sky” sounds like any other single from the “golden decade” era.  Hit songs rarely have a religious theme, and I can’t think of another record with a more distinctive arrangement.  It sounded great when it was released 50-odd years ago, and it sounds just as good today.    

Norman Greenbaum in 2020

A few years ago, Greenbaum – who has lived off “Spirit in the Sky” royalties for decades – told a interviewer that he has heard from funeral directors who have said that only “Danny Boy” is requested more often by people arranging funeral services.  

I find that a little hard to believe, but what do I know?

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Click here to listen to “Spirit in the Sky.”

Click on the link below to buy the record from Amazon:

Friday, July 29, 2022

Brooklyn Bridge – "Worst That Could Happen" (1968)

I’ll never get married

You know that’s not my scene

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned that "Worst That Could Happen" was written by the very talented Jimmy Webb – who also penned "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Up, Up and Away," "Wichita Lineman," "Galveston," and the truly fabulous "MacArthur Park."

"Worst That Could Happen," which was originally recorded by the Fifth Dimension, became a big hit in 1968 for The Brooklyn Bridge.  The group's lead singer, Johnny Maestro (who died of cancer in 2010), had been the lead singer of the Crests, a doo-wop group whose "16 Candles" had reached #2 on the Billboard charts almost ten years earlier.

By the way, you may have thought the title of our featured song was "The Worst That Could Happen," but BMI says it's "Worst That Could Happen."

Jimmy Webb: everyone agrees
that he's one of the all-time greats
"Worst That Could Happen" is one of the several songs by Webb that were inspired by his love affair with Linda Ronstadt's cousin, Susan Ronstadt.  Just like the girl in "Worst That Could Happen," Susan decided to break Webb's heart and marry some other guy.

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Veteran songwriter and record producer Wes Farrell – he co-wrote "Come a Little Bit Closer" and "Hang On Sloopy," among other hits, and produced the music for The Partridge Family TV show – pulled out all the stops when he produced "Worst That Could Happen."  Which is exactly what he should have done, because Jimmy Webb certainly held nothing back when he wrote the song.

The first two verses (and their accompanying choruses) of "Worst That Could Happen" are fairly straightforward – they lay the foundation for the shenanigans in the second half of the song.

At 1:42 – following the second chorus – Webb gives us a classic pop-song bridge (in a different key, which accentuates the contrast between the previous part of the song and the bridge).  

At 2:06, when the bridge is over and we move to the third and final verse, Webb changes keys again, modulating upward to increase the dramatic tension created by the song.

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

At 2:28, producer Farrell whacks us in the face with a musical 2 x 4.  To wit, he abruptly steps on the brakes before singer Maestro completes the final line of the chorus, and inserts an organ flourish that leads into a trumpet fanfare based on Mendelssohn's famous "Wedding March."  

Everyone – Maestro, his backup singers, the trumpeters, and the rest of the band – then join in for a somewhat frenzied outro that turns the volume and intensity up to an 11 on a 10 scale.  

After that, I need to lie down and put a cool washcloth on my forehead. 

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Click here to listen to "Worst That Could Happen," which today is being inducted into the 2 OR 3 LINES "GOLDEN DECADE" HIT SINGLES HALL OF FAME.

Click below to buy the record from Amazon:

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Doors – "Touch Me" (1969)

Come on, come on, come on, come on now
Touch me, babe!

NOTE: “Touch Me” was one of the songs on the reel-to-reel tape that played in my high school cafeteria during lunch in 1969-70, when I was a senior.  

I’m not sure why the school administration allowed us to play “Communication Breakdown” (Led Zeppelin) and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (Rolling Stones) and “Touch Me” over the cafeteria P.A. system while we ate – especially given that my friends and I were wont to sing rude alternate lyrics for the song.  (Oliver Stone copied our idea in his 1991 movie about the Doors.)

What follows is an edited version of my original May 1, 2018 post about the newest inductee into the 2 OR 3 LINES “GOLDEN DECADE” HIT SINGLES HALL OF FAME:

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The Washington Post recently published a long article about professional cuddlers.  Here are some excerpts from that article, which was written by reporter Tara Bahrampour:

The 32-year-old photographer from Virginia had a busy life, but he was single, and starving for physical contact.  “I started to get to a place where if somebody started to greet me with a hug or even being in close proximity to someone, it was almost sort of a shocking feeling,” he said.

And so he turned to one of the country’s newest professions: cuddling for hire.  Once a week he paid $80 to be held, stroked and embraced for an hour in a nonsexual way.  Like most people interviewed for this story, the man, Chuck, wanted only his first name used because paying to get cuddled can feel embarrassing — especially in less touchy-feely areas like Washington.

But demand is growing.  In the past four years storefront cuddle shops have opened in Portland and Los Angeles, and one-on-one cuddle providers are proliferating across the nation.

While paying for touch may sound awkward or unnatural to those who get plenty of it from partners or other close connections, for some people it is an antidote to a culture where casual physical contact seems elusive.  The percentage of U.S. adults living without a spouse or partner has risen from 39 to 42 percent in the past 10 years, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, and the rise in on-screen interactions means more socializing takes place without even the possibility of touch.

The Post article focuses on the certified professional cuddlists who are listed on the Cuddlist.com website, which contains profiles of hundreds of certified professional cuddlists who charge $80 an hour to cuddle:

The Cuddlist site has logged over 10,000 requests and lists dozens of providers.  The West Coast and New York City are home to many, but the practice appears to be catching on more slowly in the D.C. area. . . .

Jasmine Siemon, 37, a cuddler in Germantown, Maryland who trained in Los Angeles and was recently certified by Cuddlist, said there is a robust market in this area, from stressed-out college students to lonely empty-nesters. . . .

While massage therapy might seem to be the perfect way to fulfill the need for touch, nonsexual cuddling addresses a deeper, more emotional need, professional cuddlers say.

“Massage therapy ethics are all about one-way touch,” said Annie Hopson, a Cuddlist provider in Ellicott City, Md., who is also a massage therapist.

Some cuddlers also host cuddle parties where strangers come together for a communal hug.  These have an eager clientele in the Washington area, said Edie Weinstein, a licensed social worker who has hosted over 300 of them here since 2004.

Dan, 43, who works in finance, said cuddling sessions took the place of an intimate relationship for about a year when he didn’t have one.

“I was aware that I needed contact with people,” he said. “I had been to massage parlors that were not on the up-and-up. I’d leave there with feelings of shame or feeling dirty, and this was different.” 

Click here to read the entire Post article.

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A lot of the comments that readers of the article posted on the newspaper’s website were more than a bit weird.

From henryfpotter:

I've seen, in various books, the claim that physical touch is a necessity of life.

1. All these books were written by women; if a man were to say such a thing out loud, it would immediately peg the creep-o-meter.

2. I haven't been touched since before 9/11 and I'm doing just fine.

From nancykmiller:

speak to people, don't touch them in this time.
we have a big problem with contagion.
you don't really want their germs, they don't want yours.

Here’s what fried003 had to say:

If I casually or accidently touch a female, it might be grounds for accusation of sexual harassment.  If I touch a male beyond a handshake or fistbump – it's something that I learned in primary school not to do.  Moral of the story – it's best not to touch anyone who isn't a close relative.

Another commenter who wanted no part of cuddling was asgoodasitgets:

I live alone and haven't been in a relationship in eight years, but I'm not this desperate.

Another negative comment came from vanative:

Our culture is getting lamer and needier by the day. Paying for cuddles is sad and creepy.

But amytales thought vanative had it backwards:

Or here's a thought: we might be getting lamer and needier in part due to lack of physical contact with other humans.

I’m not sure if zlwonder’s comment was serious:

I don't mind cuddling in a nonsexual way, as long as it leads to sex.

Here’s active999’s take on the article:

Cuddling is a start.  Prostitution (male and female) should be legal.  If the hubby or wife goes cold you can still get some lovin.’  Everybody needs a booty call every now and then.

From globalperspective:

My friend's marriage broke up after her husband began using a cuddler.  Call it what you'd like, but I wouldn't feel real great if my spouse suddenly started seeing a cuddler.

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My original plan was to poke fun at people who pay $80 an hour to spoon with “professional cuddlists,” which strikes me as more than a little ridiculous.

But being deprived of physical contact with others is no laughing matter.  It’s a very, very, VERY sad state of affairs in which to find yourself.  

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“Touch Me” reached #3 on the Billboard “Hot 100” chart in early 1969.  It was released on the Doors’ fourth studio album, The Soft Parade, which I played pretty much to death.   

Click here to listen to “Touch Me,” which famously closes with Morrison singing “Stronger than dirt” – that was the well-known slogan for Colgate-Palmolive’s Ajax household cleaner.

Click below to buy the record from Amazon:

Friday, July 22, 2022

Cream – "White Room" (1968)

In the bathroom
With pay toilets
At the station

[Cream is more of an album tracks band than a hit singles band.  Their albums are chock full of great songs, but “Sunshine of Your Love” and “White Room” were their only real hit singles.  Both are worthy of being in the 2 OR 3 LINES “GOLDEN DECADE” HIT SINGLES HALL OF FAME, but I think “White Room” is a much better song.  What follows is an edited version of the February 1, 2015 2 or 3 lines post that featured “White Room.”]

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I know, I know – the lyrics quoted above aren't the actual lyrics to "White Room."  Those are the made-up lyrics my really cool friends and I sang when "White Room" came on the tape that played during lunch period in my high-school cafeteria.

I'm not sure which is more amazing – that our student government was able to persuade the administration at good ol' Parkwood High School to install a soda dispenser in our cafeteria, or that our student government persuaded the administration at good ol' Parkwood High School to allow us to use the proceeds from the sales of Coca-Cola and Sprite and Dr. Pepper to buy a big-ass reel-to-reel tape recorder and make a tape with songs of our own choosing to play on it.  

Parkwood High School (Joplin, Missouri)
Like "Touch Me," by the Doors . . . "Venus," by the Shocking Blue . . . Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown" . . . "You Can't Always Get What You Want," by the Rolling Stones . . . and Cream's "White Room."

Anyway . . . here are the actual opening lyrics to our featured song: 

In the white room 
With black curtains
Near the station

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Holy moly, "White Room" is a MONSTER song.  Everything about it is fabulous – especially Ginger Baker's relentless drumming and Jack Bruce's surreal lyrics.

Ginger Baker
You'll probably find this hard to believe, but "White Room" was covered by Joel Grey of Cabaret fame.  Click here to listen to Grey's cover (which is terrible).

It was also covered by Waylon Jennings, of all people.  Click here to listen to Waylon's cover (which is terrible, but in an entirely different way).

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I can't explain why power trios started coming out of the woodwork in the late sixties, but there's no denying the greatness of three-man aggregations like Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the James Gang, and Grand Funk Railroad.

"White Room" was released on
Cream's Wheels of Fire album
Click here to listen to the album version of "White Room," which includes a third verse that was omitted from the single version of the song (which was all I ever heard played on the radio):

At the party
She was kindness
In the hard crowd
For the old wound
Now forgotten

Click below to buy the record from Amazon:

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Friend and Lover – "Reach Out of the Darkness" (1968)

I think it's wonderful and how

That people are finally getting together

[NOTE: Did you know that Ray Stevens – best known for his comedy/novelty records, which included “Gitarzan,” “Ahab the Arab,” and “The Streak” – started out as a studio musician and arranger?  In fact, that’s him playing keyboards on today’s featured song, which is the newest member of the 2 OR 3 LINES “GOLDEN DECADE” HIT SINGLES HALL OF FAME.  He also arranged the strings for that recording, which was produced by Joe South of “Games People Play” fame.  I wasn’t aware of any that on June 2, 2015, when I originally featured “Reach Out of the Darkness” on 2 or 3 lines.  What appears below is a  slightly edited version of that post.]  

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Usually, the phrase "and how" is used to express one's emphatic agreement with a statement made by someone else – not to emphasize the speaker's own sentiments, which is how it is used in the lines quoted above.

Here's something else odd about this song.  The title of the song (and the title of the album it was subsequently released on) is "Reach Out of the Darkness," as this photo of my rental car's SiriusXM display plainly shows:

But the song's lyrics never say "Reach out of the darkness."  Instead, the lyrics say "Reach out in the darkness."  In fact, that line is repeated no fewer than nine times.  (I'm guessing the discrepancy may have been accidental – a mistake.)

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I heard "Reach Out of the Darkness" on a recent visit to Cape Cod.  I was on my way to rent a bike to ride on the Cape Cod Rail Trail when the song popped up on my satellite radio.

My route to the bike rental place took me past the Brewster home of someone who sells tie-dyed T-shirts and other garments:

The tie-dyer trusts his or her customers to be honorable people and drop the appropriate amount of cash for their purchases through a slot in a wooden box:

Surely karma would severely punish anyone who purloined a tie-dyed shirt without paying for it.

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Later that day, I saw a tie-dyed ukulele at The Sparrow Store in Orleans:

That store had ukuleles of all descriptions:

It even had ukuleles that can stand up by themselves:

Ukuleles are fine as long as you hang them on the wall for decorative purposes rather than actually playing them.  Like children, ukuleles should be seen and not heard.

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The Sparrow Store had a lot of other interesting gift items for sale, including a nice selection of hip flasks:

Here's a closeup of a couple of those flasks:

The store also had this dish towel, which would be a perfect gift for any new mom:

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"Reach Out of the Darkness" first appeared on the Billboard "Hot 100" on June 1, 1968 – just a few days before the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.  One of the producers or writers of Mad Men must have figured that out because they played the song during an episode of that show that depicted people watching television when news of the Kennedy assassination was breaking.

I love "Reach Out of the Darkness."  I can't make a convincing intellectual case that it's a good song, but I've always had a soft spot for it.

Friend and Lover was comprised of Jim Post (who wrote the song) and his wife Cathy.  The couple eventually split up, but at the time they recorded the song, each presumably viewed the other as a friend and a lover.

I think most people would like to have a partner who is both a friend and a lover.  But a friend and a lover are two very different things.

A friend may eventually become a lover, but there's no guarantee that will work out in the long run.  Someone who is a wonderful friend is not necessarily the right person to be your lover.  (Take my word for it, boys and girls.)

Click here to listen to "Reach Out of the Darkness."

Click below to buy the record from Amazon: