Thursday, May 14, 2009

Can't Find The Time

We've covered this topic before ... typically, we all end up liking the version of any given song that we heard first ... regardless of whether or not it was the first version, remake or whatever ... as far as we're concerned, THAT'S the way it's SUPPOSED to sound in our minds ... and it's pretty rare that anybody improves upon that first inspired moment.

Now don't get me wrong ... it DOES happen from time to time ... but honestly, looking back over the past fifty five years of rock and roll, it doesn't happen all that often. (I'll never forget John Lennon's quote during the post-Beatles days when he commented, "Nobody's ever improved on 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On' for my money" ... and then proceeded to record an entire album's worth of rock and roll remakes himself ... not really improving on any of HIS favorites either!!! lol)

Well, today I think we've found the ULTIMATE "Exception To The Rule" ... and it's a song that has proven to be a Forgotten Hits Favorite ... despite the fact that it was never really a bonafide hit for ANYBODY!!! (Regardless, I believe that once you give these a listen, you'll agree that EACH subsequent release improved upon the version that preceded it ... and that it absolutely SHOULD have been a hit for SOMEBODY!!!)

Back in 1968, Boston's Orpheus first released their version of "Can't Find The Time" ... but it was barely noticed, peaking at #88 in Cash Box Magazine and "Bubbling Under" at #111 in Billboard.

A year and a half later, MGM gave it another shot ... and this time it climbed to #72 in Cash Box and hit #80 in Billboard ... still not a very impressive chart run.

But it was a good song ... so, in 1971, Rose Colored Glass picked up the tempo a little bit and came up with a #53 Hit in the process. THIS is the one that I first fell in love with here in Chicago, where it peaked at #15 ... that slight increase in tempo made ALL the difference in the world to THESE ears ... yet the song STILL couldn't crack The Top 40 nationally.

Although you would hear both of these versions on rare occassions, the song pretty much went forgotten. When we first featured it in Forgotten Hits back in 2001, the reaction was overwhelming ... you guys LOVED hearing it again (or discovering it for the very first time) ... and, despite a seemingly genuine affection for the Orpheus version from our readers in the Boston area (who remembered quite vividly hearing it on the radio in their neck of the woods way back when), the REST of you pretty much preferred the Rose Colored Glass version hands down.

In 2000, Hootie and the Blowfish recorded THEIR much-improved version for the soundtrack to the Jim Carrey film "Me, Myself And Irene". Truth be told, it was one of the FEW highlights to this film ... and by NOT releasing it as a single, I feel that Hootie and the Blowfish missed out on yet another sure-fire Top 20 Hit at the peak of their career. (Their track "I Go Blind" from the "Friends" TV Soundtrack got played like a single but was never released as one ... I feel certain that it, too, would have been a Top Ten Smash had it been marketed this way. Instead, it pretty much single-handedly pushed the "Friends" Television Soundtrack album to platinum status ... of course the title tune, "I'll Be There For You" by The Rembrandts didn't hurt either!!!) And I believe that their killer version of the old Bill Withers' tune "Use Me" also manages to surpass the original ... but this, too, was never released as anything more than a CD Single "Bonus Track".

Today, we've got all THREE versions of "Can't Find The Time" to share with you. Listen to them in the order in which they were released ... and see if you don't agree that you CAN improve upon a good thing ... every once in a while!!!

FOR THE RECORD: Despite what I said earlier, I really DO like John Lennon's versions of "Stand By Me" and "Just Because" from his "Rock And Roll" LP ... but I don't think EITHER one of these truly surpasses the original recordings by Ben E. King and Lloyd Price!

AND, SPEAKING OF DISCOVERING NEW FAVORITES: It's always fun when we hear from readers who are discovering some of this great music through our newsletter ... but it is ESPECIALLY fulfilling when I get to see the reaction on Frannie's face when SHE hears some of these tunes for the very first time. Since moving here in 2000, she's been deeply indoctrinated to the Chicagoland music scene through songs like "It Could Be We're In Love" and "Upon The Roof" by The Cryan' Shames, "I Will Always Think About You" and "You're Gonna Be Mine" by The New Colony Six and "L.A. Goodbye" by The Ides Of March, songs that were pretty much ignored by Texas radio when she was growing up. When we first featured the Orpheus and Rose Colored Glass versions of these songs several years ago, she was also hearing these for the very first time ... apparently NEITHER of these versions ever got airplay down in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. Her VERY positive reaction was immediate ... and they've been amongst her all-time favorites ever since ... overshadowed only by the Hootie remake from 2000!!! (Honey, I think you're gonna LOVE today's Forgotten Hits Feature ... 'cause you get all three!!!)