There seems to be a tiny but ongoing trend of bands taking older songs and reinterpreting them in such a way that their meaning, if that’s the right word, becomes either changed or enhanced. I’m thinking mainly of Mark Kozelek’s AC/DC covers, but it applies all the way back, in my mind at least, to Aztec Camera’s remake of Van Halen’s “Jump.”
My friends in the Go-Kartel and I had the idea that rather than trying to cover a song in this way we should instead try to remake something note for note. More or less impossible, for sure, but a fun thing to try. The song we’ve chosen is “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates. Why? Well, because it’s kind of a good song. Looking to download it off the web I came across another Hall & Oates classic from the ‘80s, a song that I always used to love hearing on the radio back in the day, and one I’d always try to sing along and harmonize with, albeit only when no one was within earshot.
“You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’” was of a course a remake of the Righteous Brothers’ classic (supposedly it's been played on the air over eight million times, a number which seems low considering that the YouTube video has already been viewed by more than a million people), and today’s post was going to be all about how the Hall & Oates version blows it out of the water. But in fact it doesn’t. Not at all. I’d forgotten about the “wall of sound” production of the original, courtesy of Phil Spector. Granted, Spector's trademark often sounds like nothing more than tambourine dropped down an empty well, but here it totally puts the song over the top. Hall & Oates had balls to even try to reproduce the effect, and while I still love the H&O breakdown, with its sort of call and response build of intensity, The Righteous Bros. do it so much better, and with an emotional quality that seems way more subtle and real. (Supposedly Sonny & Cher sing background vocals, apparently from the bottom of the same well into which the percussionist has fallen.)
As a final aside, when you’re lip-syncing a song for a video, as do Daryl and John, would it really be such a bad idea to plug in your guitars to at least make it look like you’re actually playing? And what do you do about the drums? Stuff them with pillows? Because otherwise you’ve got one guy making a racket while everyone else is trying to sing along with the studio recording.