Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hurting Each Other

Speaking of original versions and remakes ... and keeping with the spirit of The True Oldies Channel's "Remakes Weekend" ... we thought we'd feature THIS little gem today in Forgotten Hits.

One of the HOTTEST acts of the '70's was The Carpenters. Brother and Sister Richard and Karen Carpenter ran up a string of twenty Top 40 Hits between 1970 and 1981 ... and they found their music virtually EVERYWHERE!!!

Their first A & M single was a slowed-down remake of The Beatles' classic "Ticket To Ride". (It hit #54 in 1970). Next came "Close To You", a rare Hal David - Burt Bacharach composition that bombed for virtually EVERYBODY else who recorded it until Karen lent her perfect vocals to the tune. (We discussed several years back how TV's Dr. Kildare, Richard Chamberlain, was the FIRST artist to record this song. It wound up on the B-Side of his 1963 Hit "Blue Guitar". Even Bacharach - David muse Dionne Warwick failed to have a hit with this song!) "Close To You" topped the pop charts for The Carpenters in the Summer of 1970 ... and was followed by ANOTHER #1 Record, "We've Only Just Begun", which was a song originally featured as part of an Insurance Company television jingle!!! Next came "For All We Know", from the film "Lovers And Other Strangers" (which was anonymously written by Bread members James Griffin and Robb Royer, who won an Academy Award for their efforts!) The beautiful ballad "Superstar" (#2, 1971) came from the pen of rocker Leon Russell ... and "It's Going To Take Some Time" (#12, 1972) was written by songstress Carole King, who included it on her "Music" LP. "Sing" (one of those annoying songs that made our "Guaranteed Gaggers" list) was first done on the children's television series "Sesame Street"! "I Won't Last A Day Without You" bombed for its songwriter Paul Williams the year before ... but when The Carpenters did it, it soared to #9 on The Cash Box Chart. They scored a #15 Hit when they redid Neil Sedaka's song "Solitaire" in 1975, and today that song is considered an American classic. In early 1975, The Carpenters hit #1 again when they did an updated remake of The Marvelettes' tune "Please Mr. Postman" and the following year they hit #12 when they revived Herman's Hermits' "There's A Kind Of Hush." 1976 found them revamping a song from the 1930's when "Goofus" went to #56 and the following year they took "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft" by Klaatu, a group rumored at the time to REALLY be The Beatles, all the way to #24. As we said, the source of their material was really QUITE outstanding ... yet they made everything from Sesame Street to Motown to Album Rock work with their soft-rock arrangements.

One of the songs mentioned as a remake by both Scott Shannon on The True Oldies Channel and Joel Whitburn in his Billboard "Top Pop Singles" Book is the #2, 1972 Hit "Hurting Each Other." Both sources credit Jimmy Clanton as the first to record the song ... and he did, in fact, release it as a failed single in 1965.

But while working on another project, we received this email from Forgotten Hits Regular Tom Diehl, who told us:

I tend to think the Ruth Lewis version may actually be the true original version (in spite of it not being released until the following year) given that the guys who wrote the song (Geld & Udell) also wrote the flipside of hers and produced both sides as well.
Tom Diehl

Hmmm ... interesting ... kind of goes to the whole "Gimme Some Lovin'" discussion we had last week ... can the originator of the song actually record and release the "cover version" of that song???

We won't solve THAT debate anytime soon ... but what we WILL do is feature all three versions of "Hurting Each Other" ... 'cause THAT's what Forgotten Hits is ALL about!!!

The big hit version by The Carpenters

The recognized "original" version by Jimmy Clanton

The REAL Original Version (???) by Ruth Lewis
(a pretty soulful version actually!)