Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Song sequels.

Last year James Lileks on The Diner revealed something I never knew, nor really needed to know:  Mungo Jerry, the band that had a massive hit with "In the Summertime" in 1970, tried to do a sequel with "Summer's Gone."

That worked about as well as you might expect.

Still, the idea of a sequel is oh-so-tempting when you've had a hit, especially if it looks like your bite of the cherry is all there is likely to be. You suddenly understand the idea of the sophomore slump---you threw your best pitch and now you can either vary it or throw as near the same pitch again, knowing that that's what the public expects. And then the public yawns and says, "They're still doing that same dumb thing."

Chubby Checker essentially made a career of it---although he had many non-Twist hits, he followed the massive 1960 chart-topper "The Twist" with "Twistin' U.S.A.," "Let's Twist Again," "Slow Twisting," "Twistin' Round the World," "Twist It Up," and, with the Fat Boys in 1988, "The Twist (Yo, Twist!)." All charted. But no less a light than Irving Berlin wiped out with a reworking of "Cheek to Cheek" called (really!) "Back to Back." * What was Irv thinking?

As they say: No one knows nothing. Hey, if I knew what the public wanted, I'd have freaking five books on the best-seller lists now. 

Still, one can only wonder what sequels other musicians might have tried... [Cue woowooshwoo music, woozy screen, dream sequence]

Musician Song Sequel
Blue Oyster Cult Don't Fear the Reaper Fear the Reaper's Cousin Melvin
The McCoys Hang On Sloopy Look Out Below (Sloopy's Fallin')
David Bowie Suffragette City Suffragette Sprawl
Paul McCartney/Wings    Band on the Run Band Settles Down, Gets Work
Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick Slimn as a Hymn
Peter Gabriel Shock the Monkey Revenge of the Monkey
The Drifters Under the Boardwalk Over the Tattoo Parlor
Sir Mix-a-Lot Baby Got Back I Changed My Mind About the Butts
Bill Withers Ain't No Sunshine (When She's Gone) Now There's Sunshine (Since She's Back)**
Chuck Berry Sweet Little Sixteen Bitter Old Seventeen
The Lemonheads It's a Shame About Ray Sucks About Bob, Too
R.E.M. Losing My Religion Also Lost My Car Keys
Shirley Ellis The Name Game The Date of Birth-Social Security Number Game
The Bangles Walk Like an Egyptian Crawl Like an Etruscan
Murray Head One Night in Bangkok Equals Three Nights in Buffalo
Dire Straits Sultans of Swing Barons of Bebop
Don Henley The Boys of Summer The Puberty of Autumn
John Mellancamp Jack & Diane Jack, Diane, Jack Jr., Lynnette, Little Peewee,
Francis, and Ditty the Labradoodle
The Free Design Kites Are Fun Balloons Are Okay
Frank Sinatra My Way (Thud)
Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven Dumbwaiter to Purgatory
Benny Goodman Sing, Sing, Sing Shut up, Shut up, Shut up
The Foo Fighters Long Road to Ruin Wide U-turn to Resignation
The Shangri-Las Leader of the Pack Treasurer of the Pack
Pink Floyd Learning to Fly Get Me the Hell Down
Clint Holmes Playground in My Mind Parking Lot in My Medulla
Tony Orlando & Dawn Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree Tie a Pink Bandanna to the Willow Stump
ABBA Waterloo Gettysburg
Bobby Darrin Mack the Knife Bill the Spork
Leslie Gore It's My Party (And I'll Cry if I Want to) It's the Next Day (Still Cryin')

* Really: "That's that new attack / That the other dances lack / You can see what goes on in the hall /When you dance back to back"

** He knows, he knows, he knows, he knows, he knows, he knows, etc.

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