Song of the Day #5,199: ‘Kitty’ – Racey

Here’s another case of a late 70s song by a man turning into an early 80s hit by a woman. In this case, swapping the genders in the lyrics also led to a title change for the song.

‘Mickey’ was released in 1982 by American singer Toni Basil, reaching #1 in the United States and cementing the 39-year-old as a classic one-hit wonder. Basil’s career as a choreographer is far more interesting, including co-directing videos for Talking Heads and serving as choreographer on such films as American Graffiti, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Legally Blonde, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

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Song of the Day #5,198: ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ – Robert Hazard

This next example of an unlikely cover is a little hard to swallow. Can it really be that Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 girl-power anthem was actually first written and recorded by a man?

Indeed it was. Singer-songwriter Robert Hazard wrote the song in 1979 and recorded this demo, though he opted not to put the track on his 1982 self-titled EP. Lauper worked with Hazard to rewrite some of the lyrics from a woman’s perspective and put her own musical stamp on the song. Her debut single, it became a worldwide hit and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Song of the Day #5,197: ‘Valerie’ – The Zutons

I’m enjoying the ‘Songs You Didn’t Know Were Covers’ series so much I’ve decided to stretch it into a third week. I like the idea of “discovering” a new song that isn’t quite new. It’s like meeting an alternate universe version of an old friend.

Today’s song is best known as a 2007 recording by Amy Winehouse for the Mark Ronson album Version. As the album’s title suggests, it features cover versions of songs given a retro makeover in Ronson’s favored Motown style.

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Song of the Day #5,196: ‘Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter’ – R.E.M.

Today’s random selection is a track from R.E.M.’s 2011 album Collapse Into Now, their 15th studio release and the last album they released before breaking up later that year.

Hard to believe it’s been more than a decade since the band split. And any hope of a reunion is likely fruitless, as just last year, Michael Stipe had this to say about the prospect: “We decided when we split up that that would just be really tacky and probably money-grabbing, which might be the impetus for a lot of bands to get back together.”

Honestly, I’d be fine with a tacky, money-grabbing new release from R.E.M.

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Song of the Day #5,195: ‘Heart’s Desire’ – Ron Sexsmith

After my series on second hits by one-hit wonders, frequent commenter Dana suggested I feature some artists who have had long career despite never having a single hit. It’s a good idea I will add to the list.

In the meantime, the Random iTunes Fairy has made one such selection today, offering up a song from Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith’s 2002 album Cobblestone Runway.

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