Monday, December 17, 2007

Things That Make Us Go 'Huh?"

Long time readers are aware that I have a major thing for the Mother of Us All, a/k/a Patti Smith, so -- especially in the light of Friday's Weekend Listomania -- I thought this little artifact might be worth sharing (I know some of you have already seen it, but indulge me).

I interviewed Patti for Stereo Review back in August of '78, when she was touring the Easter album, and she said something to me in passing that made me raise an eyebrow.

"Y'know, the same girl that takes Jimi Hendrix as a master has learned a lot from Debby Boone this year.

"I really mean it. I've watched Debby Boone sing "You Light Up My Life" maybe fifteen, twenty times. Each time...perfect. Each time with total, focused, concentrated commitment to delivering that song. Which I think is real good.

"Now I ain't a Debby Boone fan, specifically, and I ain't gonna start wearing chiffon tent dresses tomorrow. But I did learn something by watching that. Especially considering the fact that I'm about to have a hit single. I've got to be able to deliver that song ["Because the Night"] with all the strength and integrity and clarity that I was able to deliver it with in the studio. And if Debby Boone can do it, I certainly can do it."


Call me naive, but I basically assumed she was kidding.

Guess what? She wasn't.

15 comments:

TMink said...

Wow. Good thing I had my coffee this morning, otherwise that large a dose of cognitive dissonance would put me in a real hurt.

It is going to be a good week!

Trey

BIlly B said...

Debbie Boone had a hell of a voice and that was an excellent tune.

Not at all my type of music, but it was a nice one.

Speaking of New Yorkers in music, I just picked up BOC's Secret Treaties last week. I hadn't listened to it since back in 76 when I had the 8 track tape of it. Great stuff.

Kid Charlemagne said...

I understand Miss Havisham was moved to tears with this performance.

Vintage BOC was the tits. "Tyranny and Mutation" is one of my fave records.

steve simels said...

My band once opened for Spencer Davis (yes him) with two of the guys from BOC backing him up -- the drummer and I think the keyboard guy.

Boy, did they suck. Especially the drummer.....

Remonster said...

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

Gummo said...

Around '79, Patti was covering this song all the time at her shows.

I used to have a bootleg where, after a powerful performance of it, you could hear her berate the audience, "Why don't you respond like that for MY single!"

virgotex said...

Call me naive, but I basically assumed she was kidding.

Steve, are you really saying that you- the Prof Emeritus of All Eclectic Minutiae of Cool- have never seen this clip?

my world is agog

steve simels said...

virgotex:

If truth be told, I knew the clip existed, but I had never actually sat through the thing until now....

return of the plumber said...

As with most of the great talents it's impossible to totally get a handle on figuring them out. Patti throws us this curveball like this but at the same time it makes complete sense within the total Patti Smith picture.

Look at the wacky old standards Dylan loves. Or the fact that Elvis worshipped ( and wanted to be) Dean Martin.

Vambo said...

"Don't go away...we'll be right back with Count Dracula and Adam Rich."

Classic.

The Humanist said...

Do you have the next segment where she sang "Rock N Roll Nigger" for the kiddies?

Mike said...


return of the plumber said...

Look at the wacky old standards Dylan loves. Or the fact that Elvis worshipped ( and wanted to be) Dean Martin.


Or even wackier, one of Elvis' influences was Slim Whitman.

I used to watch this show was I was about 10-11. I probably saw this and had no idea the magnitude of what just took place.

steve simels said...

The Humanist said...

Do you have the next segment where she sang "Rock N Roll Nigger" for the kiddies?


Sadly, they wiped the tape on that one...
:-)

Mister Pleasant said...

I am still reeling from watching this video, not quite believing my ears and eyes. It is either the biggest put-on in history, or Patti was blissed out on Tab and rum.

Luckily, to regain my sanity I quickly found this antidote:

http://www.youtube.com/v/7mIsN2JHPds

steve simels said...

No, Patti meant it.

I'm sure fans of Social Distortion, for example, had the same reaction to Mike Ness covering the Stones and Johnny Cash.

Not that I'm conflating Joe Brooks with those guys, but just that people have lots of influences that not everybody else gets....