Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Songoftheday 7/5/17 - I am waiting at the counter for the man to pour the coffee, and he fills it only halfway and before I even argue...

"Tom's Diner" - D.N.A. & Suzanne Vega
from the albums Tom's Album (various artists, 1991) & Retrospective: The Best Of Suzanne Vega (2003)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #5 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's song of the day was a remix of a song originally released as an acappella album track by indie-folk artist Suzanne Vega, who had tasted mainstream success with her anti-child abuse anthem "Luka" in the summer of 1987. Another song from the album, "Tom's Diner", was on the set twice, once as an a cappella of Suzanne and an instrumental reprise at the end of the record. The vocals-only version reached #58 on the British chart back in 1987, when Vega performed it at the Prince's Trust concert, and hit the top-40 in Denmark and Ireland...


In 1990, British remixing duo DNA (Nick Batt and Neal Slateford) took the a cappella version of "Tom's Diner" and laid it on top of a sample from British R&B group Soul II Soul for a bootleg 12" record that they distributed in dance clubs. Vega's record label, upon hearing of the success of the proto-"mash-up", bought the recording from DNA to put out as a proper single. It ended up being a left-field international hit, returning her to the American pop chart in a big way...


The DNA remix of "Tom's Diner" became Vega's second and final top-5 pop hit in America in December of 1990. The single also climbed to #7 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart, and even crossed over to #10 on their R&B list. The 12" remixed single made it to #13 on the Dance Club Play chart as well. Internationally, the remix was a #1 hit in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, and reached the top ten in the UK (#2), Ireland (#2), the Netherlands (#4), Belgium (#3), Australia (#8), New Zealand (#8), and Italy (#9).

In 1992, Vega came back with another album, 99.9F, and lead single "Blood Makes Noise", which had some subtle hints of the success of "Tom's Diner" in its dance-music-inspired production, spent a week at #1 on the Modern Rock radio chart. The title track followed it up to #13 on that list. Four years later, she reached the top-40 in the UK with "No Cheap Thrill" from her Nine Objects Of Desire album. Those two albums were produced by her then-husband Mitchell Froom. Since then, she's put out a few more sets, most recently with 2016's Lover, Beloved: Songs from an Evening with Carson McCullers.

Meanwhile, DNA followed up the success of "Tom's Diner" with "La Serenissima" (named for a nickname for the Italian city of Venice), which reached the top 40 in France, Germany, and their native UK (#34). A year later, they provided the single mix for Kylie Minogue's release "Shocked", which peaked at #6 in the UK and #2 in Ireland. The pair put out a proper album, Taste This, in 1992, which included "Tom's Diner", and also "Can You Handle It" featuring disco singer Sharon Redd, which climbed to #17 on the British singles chart. They also mixes new age artist Loreena McKennitt's track "The Mummers Song", which rose to #18 on the American pop chart in 1997. Batt went on to work with the electronica act Goldfrapp.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Here's Suzanne performing "Tom's Diner" with an orchestra giving a subtle reading of DNA's version in the Czech Republic in 2010...


In 2015, disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder recorded a cover of "Tom's Diner" with Britney Spears singing Suzanne's part, and the track reached the top-40 on the dance music sales chart without even being released as a single in the U.S...



...and finally, Vega talks about the writing of the song before performing it a cappella...


Up tomorrow: Former teen idol is back and is pretty hot again.

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