Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler...Former teacher... Scientist... Published author... Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published August 11th 2018
Prepare to be pleasantly surprised
It seems amazing who can release songs these days. Crowds of sports supporters, politicians, and way, way, way too many movie stars. Of course, a lot of these people say they are all-round entertainers and actually classify themselves as musicians. Sure, some are okay (and I'm going to admit that I like Never Be Alone Again by 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts featuring Russell Crowe), but many are… not.
However, some artists do not classify themselves as musicians and yet have still released songs just because, well, they could, I guess. Many, many of these can be readily consigned to the trash-can of history… or at least, literally the trash-can.
Under no circumstances ever should you listen to this...
Some, on the other hand… well, I like 'em! And here's my favourite 5!
1) Tracy Ullman – 'They Don't Know' and 'Breakaway'
Tracey Ullman at the 1990 Emmy Awards
Yes, I know Tracey released two acclaimed music albums in the early 1980s, but these two songs from her 1983 album are singularly fantastic. Both are covers, but I'd only heard the original of 'They Don't Know' (by Kirsty MacColl). She does them both really well, and I still find it hard to reconcile the woman who played Latrine in Robin Hood Men In Tights with the wonderful singer of these two tracks. Yes, they are part of my teenaged soundtrack. I think I also need to say that Tracey's version of 'They Don't Know' was played at me by a so-called friend when he thought I was dating someone way out of my league, so it has that sort of memory for me. For what it's worth, I was not dating her, and Mel and I were only ever good friends.
2) Eddie Murphy – 'Party All The Time'
Eddie Murphy in 1990
Yes, he released many singles, some comedy, some not, but, unfortunately, many are disposable. 'Party All The Time' on the other hand, is a party song from my teenage years, heard at too many Blue Light Discos and the like, and that's probably why it has such a place in my heart. The song's lyrics are actually a little sad – Eddie tries to be there for his girl but she just wants to go out and party. Its musicality is probably helped by the presence of Rick James, but there is no doubting this is Eddie's song and he owns it.
3) Richard Harris – 'MacArthur Park'
MacArthur Park single cover
The actor is best known for Camelot, A Man Called Horse and being the original Albus Dumbledore released this song in 1968 and it has deservedly become a classic… or, incredibly, derided as one of the worst songs of all time. It's not. At a running time of over 7 minutes it is quite the epic, with full-on orchestrations and laments about a cake being left out in the rain, but even Richard's delivery suits the song. He doesn't go through it like an actor but hits it as a singer who feels Jimmy Webb's lyrics as if they were his own. I still don't really know what the song is about, but… I like it anyway.
4) Randy Savage – 'Perfect Friend'
Randy "Macho Man
In the 1990s every man and his dog released rap albums, too many missing the letter 'c' from the start of the word. And that included way too many wrestlers. John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson… and of course, there were also heavy metal albums (Stone Cold Steve Austin did that), country albums (Mickie James) and even punk (Lita). (Okay, yes, I am a wrestling tragic and have even had my head knocked in in the squared circle for a few years… deal with it…) But the best song was by Randy Macho Man Savage and his tribute to Curt Mr Perfect Hennig after the latter's death. Savage and Hennig were two of my favourites, so there's definitely bias creeping in here, but the lyrics of the song are still heartfelt and I still get a little emotional if I listen to it at the right time. Is it an Eminem classic? No. Is it a good song? Yes.
5) Bruce Willis – 'Respect Yourself'
Bruce Willis in 2018
I have been known in this very website to slag off the musical talents of Mr Bruce Willis. The Return of Bruno was an album I have no idea why I bought… Yes, I do. I bought it for this one song. I should have bought the single. Because, as far as cover versions go, this is not that bad. No, really – I actually prefer it over the chart-reaching 1984 version by the Kane Gang. The video and the song play on Bruce's Moonlighting character persona, which is not a bad thing. So, there you have it – I am recommending a Bruce Willis song…
And what are your takes on this? Feel free to sound off below!