All posts tagged: Gladys Knight

slits

Greatest Un-Hits: The Slits’ “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1979)

The Slits’ cover of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” should have been that one song from the weird, still-breaking genre of punk that got some radio play and introduced the mainstream to something new, and encouraged the more adventurous to seek out the weirder, outre stuff. It’s a little bit disco, it’s a lot bit tribal punk, post-Television, pre-Le Tigre frenetic, wailing three-piece orgy of infectious, but scary energy. There’s something for everybody here, but not enough people bought the 45 for it to register with Billboard. It was arguably heard by more people when used on an episode of Eastbound and Down. Covering “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” is almost a pop music rite of passage, making stars out of, or at least significantly raising the profile of pretty much anybody who’d recorded it—Smokey Robinson did it first, then Gladys Knight, then Marvin Gaye’s definitive version, then Credence Clearwater Revival’s version in 1970 that took the song’s essence, the bass hook, and stretched it out to what I’m pretty sure was a …

Consumerism: The Motown Tour

Berry Gordy, Jr. served in Korea, returned to Detroit, got a job at Ford, and started writing songs for his friend Jackie Wilson. Gordy figured out two things. First, there was money in publishing. Second, a lot of the kids who came up singing in Detroit’s black churches had voices that were perfect for rock and roll. In 1959, Gordy borrowed money from his family, bought a two-flat at 2648 West Grand Boulevard, and put up a giant sign reading “Hitsville USA”. He lived upstairs with his wife and kids, and set up shop downstairs. He built out a recording studio in the attached garage, and the rest is history. Where there’s history, there’s a museum. Gordy eventually acquired the house next door to 2648 for office space, and that’s where the Motown Historical Museum tour begins. It’s $10 a head, and it’s a bargain. The facility itself isn’t: basically, the museum is the dining room of a two-flat with a bunch of record jackets tacked to the walls. But, your tour comes with a …

Friday Night Videos!: The Hits of 1986

If you’re holding your breath for the day MTV starts playing music videos again, let it go. It’s never going to happen, not while there’s a solitary teen mom left in America to exploit (and really, it’s 2010. Is there any other kind of mom anymore?) But who needs MTV in the digital age? We’re here, the time’s right, and the videos are waiting for us. So set the way-way-back machine for 1986, strap on your shoulder pads, poof up that hair and layer those jackets. It’s time to rock. Daryl Hall – Dreamtime: ’86 is when the overall testosterone level of the nation began to plummet. How could I make that assumption? Daryl Hall provides one of the very few rockin’ moments this evening. Epic Win. The Dream Academy – Life In A Northern Town: A heyo, nah, nah, nah, a nino nayah, potato, nah, nah, nah, a no papaya… Van Halen – Why Can’t This Be Love: Here’s a short list of why – syphilis. That is all. Jermaine Stewart – We Don’t …