A look back at the music performed by Taylor Hicks and the era....by Taylor's Angels

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Taylor Hicks Retro 1973-1976

1973

Living For The City



One of Stevie Wonder's social commentary songs, this tells of a young kid from Mississippi who moves to New York City. In Mississippi, he dealt with many hardships, but was surrounded by caring people. In New York City, he is quickly taken advantage of and is caught with drugs. His dreams are destroyed when he is sentenced to 10 years in jail.
Ray Charles covered the song as did Ike and Tina Turner.

This won a 1974 Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song. The album it came from Innervisions won the Grammy Award for the Album of the Year.




The purple jacket worn by Taylor Hicks the night is by Dolce & Gabbana and retailed for a whopping $1,648. Taylor was with his stylist when he purchased the jacket from the trendy LA store Traffic. The moment Taylor tried the velvet number on, his comment was, “Okay, I feel it!” and instantly bought the jacket. Taylor wore it again for the AI tour homecoming in Alabama. The jacket is now displayed at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.




Long Train Runnin'



"Long Train Runnin'" is a song written by musician Tom Johnston and recorded by The Doobie Brothers. It was included on the band's 1973 album The Captain and Me and released as a single, becoming a top-ten hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number eight. The tune evolved from an untitled and mostly ad-libbed jam that the Doobies developed onstage years before it was finally recorded. Its working title, according to Johnston, was "Rosie Pig Moseley." Johnston performed the signature harmonica solo as well as the lead vocal and the distinctive, rhythmic guitar strumming that propels the song.





One of the most popular encores performed by Taylor and a favorite harmonica solo for all.


1974

She's Gone


Hall & Oates wrote this while they were consoling each other over heartbreaks. Daryl had just divorced from his wife Bryna Lublin and a New Years Eve date had stood up John.

This is John Oates' favorite Hall and Oates song.

This was not immediately a hit for the duo, instead it was originally a hit for The Tavares who topped the R&B chart in 1974 with their cover. It was re-released by Atlantic after the success of "Sara Smile" and this time it rose into the American Top Ten.





You Are So Beautiful



This Billy Preston/Bruce Fisher song was first recorded by Preston on his 1974 album The Kids and Me and was the B-side of his hit single "Nothing From Nothing." Producer Jim Price created a slower arrangement for Cocker's cover.



Randy Jackson chose Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful" for the king of the Soul Patrol on American Idol. They told Taylor this was his best performance yet.
Taylor performed a wonderful version of this on the internet site "Rehearsal".



Sweet Home Alabama



Lynyrd Skynyrd is from Jacksonville, Florida. They wrote this as a tribute to the studios at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where they recorded in 1971. The studios gained fame during the '60s and '70s when it became the vogue thing for bands to record there. Artists like Bo Diddley, Aretha Franklin, and all the big Southern Rock groups recorded there. "The Swampers" were a group of studio musicians who worked there, acting as the backup band for the solo artists. That's where Skynyrd got the line: "Muscle Shoals has got The Swampers."

One of the verses is an attack on Neil Young: "I hope Neil Young will remember a southern man don't need him around anyhow." Young had written songs like "Southern Man" and "Alabama," which implied that people in the Southern US were racist and stuck in the past. Skynyrd responded with this, a song about Southern pride and all the good things in Alabama. The feud between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young was always good-natured fun; they were actually big fans of each other. Ronnie Van Zant often wore Neil Young T-shirts on stage and is wearing one on the cover of Street Survivors, the last Skynyrd album before his death.

Neil Young performed this once. He played it at a memorial to the 3 members of Lynyrd Skynyrd who died in a plane crash in 1977.




Taylor sang this for the first time on tour at "Alabama Adventure".


1976

Takin' It Too The Streets




This song was written by Doobie Brothers keyboard player and lead singer Michael McDonald, who joined the group when Doobie guitarist Tom Johnson fell ill. The words were partly inspired by an essay McDonald's sister wrote, hence the lyrics, "Take this message to my brother."





This song was on Taylor's first single "Do I Make You Proud" it was an AI favorite and a favorite during the AI tour.




Lowdown



David Paich wrote this with Scaggs. Paich would later join Toto and write many of their hits.

This won a Grammy for Best R&B Song of 1976.

The producers of Saturday Night Fever asked to use this in their movie, but Scaggs' manager turned them down and instead used it in the movie Looking For Mr. Goodbar. Not a good move - Saturday Night Fever became one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time.





Taylor performed this on tour and on "Rehersals". A crowd favorite and Taylor sometimes shouts "Everybody Skate!".



Play That Funky Music




Wild Cherry was a hard rock band. They had a regular gig at the 2001 Club, and with Disco big at the time, their sound didn't go over well. After one show, a black audience member shouted, "Play some funky music, white boy." Parissi decided they should, and wrote down the phrase on a bar order pad. They recorded it in Cleveland with a Disco sound - drum and bass mixed way up front. The band was concerned about the lyrics, but Parissi insisted on keeping them.

This was going to be the B-side of Wild Cherry's cover of the Commodores' "I Feel Sanctified." When they heard it, the owners of their record label suggested that the B-side become the A-side. The song sold over 2 million copies, but was Wild Cherry's only hit.





Week 8 of American Idol 2006: "Play That Funky Music" (Wild Cherry) Songs from the birth year of the contestants.
Randy Jackson loved the performance and said he felt like he was at a bar and "had a couple". Abdul also loved the performance and thought Hicks dressed the part, it was fun and "authentic Taylor we love." Cowell thought it was like another "horrible wedding performance."

Taylor's paisly shirt he wore is now at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.



Dancing Queen



This was written by ABBA members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. They were inspired by Queen Silvia, who married King Gustaf XVI of Sweden in 1976. Abba performed this at a televised tribute to the couple the day before they were married.

This is arguably the world's first Europop Disco hit.

This was ABBA's only #1 hit in the US. They had 14 songs crack the Top-40 in The States.



DIMYP and DANCING QUEEN -Taylor Hicks- Seattle from Taylor's Angels on Vimeo.

A joke between Loren Gold and Taylor Hicks during a rehearsal video, this song turned into a wonderful suprise for the fans. Taylor performed at the end of his 2007 Spring tour in Seattle, WA.









Wednesday, August 20, 2008

1970-1972

Take Me To The Pilot





Bernie Taupin wrote and composed this song for Elton John's second album in 1970. Bernie has no clue what the lyrics mean but says it all sounded good together. According to Elton, this and other songs recorded during this period were inspired by the science fiction books Bernie was reading at the time.

Take Me To The Pilot from cydter on Vimeo.


Taylor performed "Take Me To The Pilot" at the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City. It was the first time he added this song to the concert tour set list.

Relix Magazine had this to say about Taylor performing this song:

"Perhaps what made Hicks a contest champion became evident by show’s end as the band eased into Elton John’s “Take Me to the Pilot” without a hint of misplaced showmanship. The man appears determined to deliver the entertainment goods his way and if that means that he earns his crown via the road one gig at a time then it is certainly a setting he embraces without qualification."


Levon


This song is a tribute to Levon Helm the drummer from THE BAND. This is from Elton John's sixth album released in 1971.



Taylor sang this song on American Idol saying it was a song about family value. He dedicated it to his father. Simon gave him great reviews on this performance and told him he was wrong when he told him he could not make the finals.


Call Me The Breeze


"Call Me the Breeze" is a song by J.J. Cale . It first appeared on his 1971debut album, Naturally, as the opening track. The song consists of a 12-bar blues guitar shuffle over the backing of a primitive dru m machine.


Call Me The Breeze from cydter on Vimeo.

Taylor performed this on tour for the first time at Universal Studios in Orlando. It was also featured in Work Play DVD with LMBO. It was a favorite cover, often performed by Taylor and LMBO.


Going Mobile


This is about taking a vacation by riding around in a car with no particular destination. It was something Pete Townshend liked to do.
Pete Townshend wrote this. It was part of his "Lifehouse" project, which was a film script featuring The Who in a future world where Rock 'n' Roll saves the masses. When the movie lost funding, The Who scrapped plans for a double album and released most of the songs on Who's Next. This was much lighter and more simplified than the other songs on the album.
For the solo, Townshend ran his guitar through a device called an Envelope Follower. It was a type of synthesizer distortion that made it sound like he was playing under water.


Going Mobile from cydter on Vimeo.

Taylor first performed this cover at none other than the Mobile Civic Center in Mobile, Alabama! He said he was listening to the original and thought this was a good song to describe the mood they were in while on tour.



Take Me Home Country Roads



This was released as a single in the spring of 1971. It broke nationally in mid-April, but moved up the charts very slowly. Denver pushed RCA records to keep promoting the song, and their persistence paid off when it became a huge hit that summer.

This was John Denver's first big hit ("Friends With You" charted at #47 earlier in the year), and it established him as a crossover artist with appeal to Pop, Country and Easy Listening audiences.

Denver didn't write this song. In fact, when he recorded it he had never even been to West Virginia. Two musicians, Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert, wrote it while driving to Maryland - they'd never been to West Virginia either! Danoff got his inspiration from postcards sent to him by a friend who DID live there.



Randy thought it was a decent choice but that the vocal was not that great, with little personality. Paula agreed and said that the song choice didn’t highlight his abilities . Simon thought it was safe, boring, lazy with no rehearsal and nothing special. This was not one of Taylor's favorite performances according to interviews that followed.




Use Me

This song is about a guy whose girlfriend walks all over him. His friends try to convince him to break up with her, but he enjoys the abuse and won't consider leaving.
Still Bill was Withers' second album. It also included his hit "Lean On Me."
Artists who covered this song include Grace Jones, Al Jarreau, Hootie & The Blowfish, Better Than Ezra and Widespread Panic.



Taylor only played this song once during his tour, he performed it at HOB in NOLA. It was also featured as a duet on the Workplay CD/DVD with Elliot Yamin and LMBO.
Taylor performed it once again during the Asian Tour in 2007.