Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Songoftheday 3/15/16 - Well you know I can be found sitting all alone, if you can't come around at least please telephone...


"Don't Be Cruel" - Cheap Trick
from the album Lap Of Luxury (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #4 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's song of the day is by the American power-pop rock band Cheap Trick, who made a big comeback in the late 80's by going the straight-and-narrow route with the power-ballad "The Flame", which topped the U.S. pop chart in July of 1988. For the follow-up the group released a cover of one of the biggest hits of all-time, by the biggest artist of all-time, Elvis Presley. "Don't Be Cruel", written by Otis Blackwell (who gave up sole writing credit to have Presley record the song), was one-half of "The King"'s longest stay at #1, spending 11 weeks in 1956 as the double-A side to "Hound Dog"...


By the 1980's the song got a resurgence when country duo the Judds took their cover of the song to #10 on the country chart in 1987...


The Cheap trick version didn't stray much from the original, aside from some spacey Cars-like "ooohs" and "bops" in the background and a more pronounced guitar pick from Rick Nielsen. It was an odd choice for a radio hit in that time, but at the time mainstream radio was getting pretty quirky itself, and the theme of being stood up for a date is universal...


Cheap Trick's "Don't Be Cruel" became the band's third and so-far last top-ten pop hit in October of 1988. The single also climbed to #8 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, and even crossed over to their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") list at #32.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Aside from Cheap Trick, many artists had success with the song. In fact, Elvis' original bassist Bill Black and his Combo released an instrumental of the track that went to #9 on the R&B chart, #11 on the Pop chart, and #32 in England in 1960...


In 1963, pioneering electric blues artist Barbara Lynn slipped in at #93 with her take on "Don't Be Cruel"...


American "blue-eyed" soul singer Billy Swan had an international hit with his cover, which went to #4 in Switzerland, #18 in France, and #26 in Germany in 1975...


...and back to Cheap Trick, live in concert in 1989...


Up tomorrow. Same title, different book from his departed R&B boy-bander.

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