Friday, October 26, 2012

Cusp Song of the Day: Bad Blood

Neil Sedaka wrote some great songs, but "Bad Blood" is not one at the top of my list. In Cusp I have it playing in the background during a conversation between Karen and Craig: "Sunday I call Craig to wish him a safe trip back to Syracuse. I can hear Neil Sedaka's annoying 'Bad Blood' in the background as he says hello, and it immediately puts me in a bad mood."

After a decade off the charts, by the mid-'70s Sedaka's career had moved from performing to songwriting. Thinking he was ripe for a comeback, Sedaka fan Elton John signed him to Rocket Records in 1973. The title of his next album, Sedaka's Back, proved prescient, as "Laughter in the Rain" hit number one in 1975. His second Rocket album, The Hungry Years, spawned the number-one hit "Bad Blood" in October that same year. A remake of his early '60s hit "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" followed shortly on its heels. That song appears in a later Cusp chapter.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cusp Song of the Day: You Can’t Hurry Love

"You Can’t Hurry Love" by the Supremes was released in 1966 and became their seventh number one hit. Like "Forever Came Today," it bears the imprint of Motown's brilliant songwriting and production team, Holland-Dozier-Holland.

In Cusp, there is a lot of twisting of radio dials to find a song worth listening to. Mark always seeks Supremes and Diana Ross tunes. And one night, driving into Manhattan to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with Karen and Craig, he locates the tail end of "You Can't Hurry Love."

A note on the video link: In 1983 I chaired Billboard's Video Music Conference and Awards Show, and invited Mary Wilson to be a presenter. She spoke about the Supremes' 16 Ed Sullivan Show performances, making the point that the Supremes were video stars in an era before MTV.  The link at the beginning of this post features the group's September 25, 1966 performance of "You Can't Hurry Love."