True Colors

Happy TUNEBACK TUESDAY!! In honour of the Pride Celebrations happening all over the globe (including this upcoming weekend in Toronto), I’m tuning it back to one of my favourite songs… “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper. Please spread the love. Be yourself. Show your true colours.

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: August 25, 1986

TRIVIA: True Colors was written by American songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. Billy Steinberg originally wrote the song about his own mother. Tom Kelly altered the first verse and the duo originally submitted the song to Anne Murray, who passed, and then to Cyndi Lauper. Their demo was in a form of piano based gospel ballad like “Bridge over Troubled Water”. Steinberg told Songfacts that “Cyndi completely dismantled that sort of traditional arrangement and came up with something that was breathtaking and stark.”

“True Colors” also became a standard in the gay community. In various interviews, Lauper elaborated that the song had resonated with her because of the recent death of her friend, Gregory Natal, from HIV/AIDS. While not directly promoted as a song defending LGBT rights, Lauper is pleased that her song was adopted by that community. Years later, Lauper co-founded the True Colors Fund, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating LGBT youth homelessness.

Happy Pride!! See you next Tuesday!!

In The Summertime

Happy TUNEBACK TUESDAY!! It’s officially summer!!! To kick off the season I’m tuning it back to “In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry. Enjoy!

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: 1970

TRIVIA: The song took lead singer Ray Dorset only ten minutes to write and compose, which he did using a second-hand Fender Stratocaster while he was taking time off work from his regular job, working in a lab for Timex. The song’s lyric “have a drink, have a drive, go out and see what you can find” led to the song’s somewhat ironic use in a UK advert for the campaign Drinking and Driving Wrecks Lives.

It is considered one of the best-selling singles of all time with an estimated 30 million copies sold.

See you next Tuesday!

Rise Up

It’s TUNEBACK TUESDAY! A couple days ago, fear and hate took the lives of innocent people in Orlando. Hate is taught. We are not born with an urge to hate people because they are different than us. Please spread a message of love. Today I’m tuning it back to Parachute Club’s “Rise Up”. “We want freedom to love who we please.”

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: 1983

TRIVIA: The song’s first ever live public performance took place at the 1983 Toronto Pride parade. In 2014, the surviving band members released a contemporary dance remix of the song in conjunction with Toronto’s hosting of the 2014 edition of WorldPride.

In 1998, the song was licensed by EMI Music Canada to McCain Foods for a television commercial for its line of frozen rising-crust pizzas. Members of Parachute Club publicly opposed this commercial use of the song and commenced legal action for breach of copyright against EMI Music Canada and McCain Foods. A spokesperson for EMI Music Canada stated that “the contract…allows us to license the song in all commercials and films except for political endorsements, religious messages and X-rated motion pictures, so we had no reason to believe that they would object.”

While the position of EMI Music Canada was technically correct, the music publisher had overlooked the concept of “moral rights” recognized as being protected under Canadian and U.S. copyright law. While EMI Music Canada had been granted the right to license the song, band members had the moral right to prevent its association with a product that they believed brought their reputation into disrepute.

In a news release issued at the time of the commencement of the litigation, band members stated that “(a)s a result of its use on the ad…the song, the people who believe in it and the reputation of its creators have suffered damage within the sphere of public credibility and our personal reputations.” The action was settled before trial, with the result that band members were able to recover from EMI Music Canada all of the band members’ music publishing rights.

See you next Tuesday!

Walking on Broken Glass

Happy TUNEBACK TUESDAY!! Today I’m tuning it back to “Walking on Broken Glass” by the incredible Annie Lennox.

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: August 22, 1992

TRIVIA: Directed by Sophie Muller, the music video is based in part on the 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons, and on period films dealing with the late 18th century, such as Amadeus. John Malkovich, who starred in the former film, is joined by Hugh Laurie, in character as Prince George, The Prince Regent from Blackadder the Third.

The setting of the video is that of a salon evening at Prince George’s Carlton House, and is meant to represent an assembly of nobles and notables for an evening of society, gambling and dancing, the highlight of which is the arrival and feting of the newlyweds, the groom of which is played by Malkovich.

Annie Lennox’s character is striking in her somewhat unusual dress (a royal red in an environment dominated by white, a stage costuming technique designed to draw significant attention to her), and in wearing a ‘Turkish’ headdress hat in an environment dominated by wigs of the period. Lennox’s character displays significant pique, as she is emotionally wounded by the appearance of her former lover on the arm of his new bride.

Throughout the video, she tries to communicate the conflicting emotions of jealousy, continued desire, and anger towards this man who still clearly holds her heart. In the process, she spurns the previously welcome advances of the Prince Regent (Laurie), and repels him, to his embarrassment.

See you next Tuesday!!