It concerns corporal punishment, three years before the United Kingdom banned the practice in state-run schools. It seems many an English schoolboy who grew up before the ban went on to write songs about their experiences on the wrong end of the cane.
I was shocked to discover that, before today, not once in nearly 4,000 Songs of the Day have I featured The Animals. It’s not that they’re a favorite of mine, but you’d think through years of Random Weekends and the fact that they do have a handful of very special songs, they would have made the cut at least once.
‘I’m Crying’ was a top ten hit for the British band in both the U.K. and Canada, and a top 20 hit in the U.S. It was their second U.S. hit after ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ reached #1 earlier the same year.
One interesting aspect of this soul classic is that two of its nine tracks started as country tunes: Hank Williams’ ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ and Willie Nelson’s ‘Funny How Time Slips Away.’
In one of those moments of sublime serendipity, the Random iTunes Fairy has offered up an Aimee Mann track exactly one week after the last random Aimee Mann track. You won’t hear me complaining.
In fact, back before Random Weekends, when I dedicated weekend posts to specific artists (The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello, among others), Aimee Mann was one of the artists I considered. At the time I was looking for artists with voluminous discographies and hers was a little on the lean side, but she easily could have carried several months’ worth of posts.
My second Michael Jackson post in a little over a week, this one comes from Jackson’s classic 1979 album Off the Wall, arguably his overall best release.
Written by Tom Bahler, ‘She’s Out of My Life’ became the fourth top ten single from Off the Wall. Producer Quincy Jones originally intended to give the song to Frank Sinatra but he wanted to see what Jackson could do with a mature ballad. Jackson famously couldn’t help but tear up during the song’s final lines, and you can hear his voice cracking on the final version.
Hard to believe it’s already two years since Aimee Mann released her last album, the gorgeously melancholy Mental Illness. This was the sweetest, saddest Aimee Mann album an Aimee Mann fan could ever hope for.
Mann’s lyrics are always beautifully evocative even when they’re maddeningly inscrutable. Today’s SOTD, ‘Philly Sinks,’ appears to be about a man who abuses both alcohol and women, but that’s just a guess.
This was Eminem’s second full-length album and his first with Interscope records. While his debut album, 1996’s Infinite, sold only 1,000 copies, this record was a massive success, going quadruple platinum and kicking off a period where he was the most talked about and listened to rapper in the industry.