Into the Ear of Madness: Week 15 — Hitman!

Written by Into the Ear of Madness, Music

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Over the next year Terje Fjelde has agreed to listen to nothing but David Foster on his iPod. He’s loaded the thing with over 1,200 songs produced, arranged, composed, and/or played by David Foster. A deal with the devil? He keeps wondering.

Lee Ritenour – “If I’m Dreaming (Don’t Wake Me),” from Earth Run, 1986. Vocals: Phil Perry. Foster played keyboards and synth bass.

I bring excellent news, good friends! After nearly a lifetime in the music business, David Foster has decided to call it quits to write his autobiography. It’s long overdue — we’re finally getting Foster’s take on his own reputation as an all-powerful, evil mastermind of popular music, not to mention juicy details from his collaborations with thousands of artists and musicians over the years. I can’t wait to get behind the scenes of all those magnificent recording sessions that he participated in during the early ’80s — this is the real story of “yacht rock.” Unless, God forbid, he decides to focus on his marriages, his kids or the later parts of his career.

It’s due November 11 – just in time for the Christmas season. And he’s so modest: It’s called “Hitman: Forty Years Making Music, Topping the Charts, and Winning Grammys” and comes with an accompanying double CD with, let’s face it, very little punch — among the contributors are Babyface, Eric Benet, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Peter Cetera, Charice, Celine Dion, Kenny G and… well, you get the idea. Boz Scaggs is on it, though.

The good news (for me) is that there will be no need to go on writing about David Foster here on Popdose come November 2008. Yes! Christopher Cross can finally reclaim my iPod. Cross has never collaborated with Foster, at least not to my knowledge. Bomb! And for God’s sake, don’t hit me with some Google search proving me wrong. I can’t take it anymore!

[Not to worry, Ear of Madness fans. Thanks to some last-minute “negotiations,” we’ve made sure Terje isn’t going anywhere. Literally. -Ed.]

Anyway, buy the book, buy the CD’s, read a chapter a month and listen in to the pulchritudinous sound of Katharine McPhee and Michael Johns. Yes, they’re in on it, too. It will be almost as good as Ear of Madness — I’m certain that Foster has plenty of snark lined up for Celine and Kenny G.

I’m not paid by Warner Brothers or anything, I’m just, you know, a fan.

The Tubes – “Don’t Want to Wait Anymore,” from The Completion Backwards Principle, 1981. Foster produced, co-wrote and played.

A conditional fan, maybe, but a fan nonetheless. Speaking of fans, the Tubes probably lost a few when they heard this ballad for the very first time back in 1981. It doesn’t sound like anything the Tubes ever did before or after — so I think it’s safe to say that this song had a lot to do with David Foster. He produced and co-wrote it, and I’ve always considered it to be the original template for the ballads he did so well for Chicago.

Mix “Don’t Want to Wait Anymore” with a Peter Cetera ballad from his 1981 self-titled solo album called “On the Line” (which David Foster had nothing to do with) and Bill Champlin’s “Tonight Tonight,” from his second solo album Runaway (1981), and you basically have all of the Chicago ballads from 16 (1982) and 17 (1984) wrapped up — “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” “You’re the Inspiration,” “Hard Habit to Break,” “Love Me Tomorrow,” (there are so many!) and “Remember the Feeling.” Also, let’s not forget “If She Would Have Been Faithful…” and “Will You Still Love Me” from 18 (1986).

And let me just say this: I’m an undiscerning and romantic fool. I love every single one of these mawkish ballads. Always have, always will. How’s that for credibility?

Bill Champlin – “Tonight Tonight,” from Runaway, 1981. Foster produced, co-wrote and played.