Saturday, August 26, 2017

Songoftheday 8/26/17 - And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply", so I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why...

"Signs (Live)" - Tesla
from the album 5 Man Acoustical Jam (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #8 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's song of the day comes from the heavy metal band Tesla, who had landed a top ten pop hit in the winter of 1990 with the power-ballad "Love Song". Touring with Motley Crue, the group recorded an acoustic side-show in Philadelphia and released it as 5 Man Acoustical Jam later that year. The set had a mix of cover songs and Tesla originals, but their version of a 70s hit is what was serviced to radio. "Signs", a hippie anthem written by Les Emmerson for his band Five Man Electrical Band (hence the pun title on the Tesla album), originally went to #3 on the American pop chart in 1971...


Tesla's version took away the electric guitars, but the message carried clear for the generation of metal heads in the same situation where they're judged for their appearances...


"Signs" became Tesla's second top ten pop hit in April of 1991. The song also spent a week at #2 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, their biggest success on either the pop or rock lists. Across the Atlantic, the single was a minor hit in the UK at #70. A live version of "Paradise" was put out as a follow-up, and made it to #28 on the Mainstream Rock chart.

Later that year, the band released their third studio album Psychotic Supper. From the record five of its tracks reached the Mainstream Rock chart, with "What You Give" going the highest to #7, but that song was the only one to nick the pop Hot 100 at #86. However, the album sold over a million copies and peaked at the highest position on the albums chart out of their studio sets at #13 (Five Man Acoustic Jam got a notch higher at #12). Another album, Bust A Nut, followed in 1994, landing them another top ten rock hit with "Mama's Fool" (#5). After a greatest hits set that had a new minor rock hit in "Steppin' Over" (#31 MR), Tesla went their separate ways for a decade. They reunited in 2004 and hit #21 on the rock chart with "Caught In A Dream". They had a few more rock radio successes, with "I Wanna Live" from their 2008 album Forever More hitting #38. The band's most recent album, Simplicity, peaked at #24 on the albums chart in 2014, making all their studio sets top-40 successes, a rarity in long-standing metal bands.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


In 2007, the band recorded a studio "electric" version for an iTunes exclusive EP...


Other than the Tesla cover, the most notable use of the song was as a sample on Fatboy Slim's club cult classic single "Don't Let The Man Get You Down" in 2005...


Finally, here's the band live in 2008...


Up tomorrow: A Prince protege is going in circles.

No comments: