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Mainstream Rock: The Who, “You Better You Bet” (1981)

Zack Dennis: Every time I get hooked in by Pete Townsend’s synthesizers, I feel kind of silly. And yet it always happens. While I’d rather listen to the entirety of Quadrophenia rather than any particular single by the Who, the singles almost universally have the capacity to cheer me up and this one is no exception.

Jason Hare: I’m on a lot of Who discussion groups, and Face Dances is generally regarded at the band’s worst studio album — ranked worse than ’82’s It’s Hard — but I quite like it. Perhaps Bill Szymczyk (you know how hard it is to Google that name when you don’t know how to spell it?) wasn’t the best producer for The Who (just as Kenney Jones wasn’t the best choice of drummer), but he helped them create a sound that accurately heralded in The Who 2.0, post Keith Moon. “You Better You Bet” is a ridiculously stupid song but I love it anyway. I love how Pete’s vocals are omnipresent, and Roger sings with fantastic attitude that, for one of the first times, just doesn’t translate to “I’m angry.” (See just about any track from Who Are You).

Ted Asregadoo: Man, I loved this song when it came out — and then I bought the cassette and wanted to return it because I thought someone was playing a joke on me. I mean, yeah, there was this gem and “Another Tricky Day,” but what about everything in between? I thought some smelly socks idiot at the mastering lab dubbed in a bunch of songs from … well, I had no idea where because, to me, it wasn’t the Who singing “Cache Cache” and the other forgettable songs, it was some group who sounded like the Who trying to foist dung on me while calling it prime rib. But hey, who doesn’t love Townshend missing his vocal cue and smiling at his mistake?

Dw. Dunphy: I was as surprised as anyone when longtime Eagles producer Bill Szymczk ended up as the Who’s choice for Face Dances. Yet when you backtrack, it actually makes a little sense. Leaving their comfy home of MCA Records, this was their first Warners release, all old-timers were feeling pinched to prove they still could turn the charts their way and they had the huge hurdle of overcoming Keith Moon’s death. Of course a “hitmaker” was called in, and this is exactly what was expected. “You Better You Bet” is bouncy, snarly, a little dirty and has major hookitude. Townshend employed most of those same hooks on the superior “Let My Love Open The Door.”

David Lifton: One of the things I love about this song is that it brings out Townshend’s sense of humor. There are so many lines in here — “Your dog keeps licking my nose,” “You welcome me with open arms and open legs,” and “I look pretty crappy sometimes” — that go against his usual angst that it’s irresistible, and Daltrey sounds like he’s having a lot of fun with it.

Beau Dure: I find it funny that so many people slag The Who’s post-Moon work. I have limited tolerance for “eh, we’re not really sure what to make of this relationship, but let’s enjoy it for now” genre — personally, I think if her dog is attached to you, it’s time to man up and make a commitment — but this song is just too catchy and clever to resist. Of course, I like “Eminence Front,” so what do I know?

Jon Cummings: As someone whose first experience with the Who was as a 10-year-old deciphering the phrase “Mama’s got a squeeze box, daddy never sleeps at night,” I have what may be a generational lack of concern with the incoherent silliness of “You Better You Bet.” Daltry’s vocal is perfect — somehow, as he has done so many times through the years with all sorts of Townsend’s material, he finds a way to give a lived-in feel to that last verse and my favorite phrase, “I showed up late one night with a neon light for a visa.”

When I lived in London a decade ago, I used to find myself singing this song in my head every time I watched a bunch of rowdy football fans cram onto the Tube after a match. I came to believe it was written in their voice — working-class guys who are complete fuck-ups, but who at least are grateful that their women don’t toss them to the curb. I know the entire Who catalog backwards and forwards now that I’m old, but whether it’s the sentimental value or whatever, this is still one of my favorites of theirs.

Scott Malchus: Like many people from my generation, the first song by The Who I heard was “You Better You Bet.” In the early ’80s, there was no classic rock radio, so Pete had to cater to the MTV crowd and come up with something poppy. I’ve always felt that the last two Who albums were extensions of the material he was releasing on his solo records at the time (Empty Glass and All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes). The son gs are more straightforward and painfully introspective. Which makes “You Better You Bet” a joy, because it’s so silly. Kenny Jones was definitely the wrong choice for the band. I can see why they wanted to get a drummer with a different style than Moon, but they could have chosen someone a little more original in their playing. Jones is just plain boring as a drummer. Still, this song brings back nice memories of my childhood, and it’s always a pleasure to hear when it comes on the radio.

Will Harris: I know people love to trash Face Dances, but my experience with it has never been quite as awful as others…but, then, thatÁ¢€â„¢s probably because I didnÁ¢€â„¢t have any knowledge of their earlier incarnation when I first encountered it. I totally missed out on this song when it was first released, and, indeed, I spent several years knowing far more about Pete Townshend than the Who, since Á¢€” at least by my recollection Á¢€” Pete ended up getting way more airplay on MTV than his band ever did. In fact, Á¢€Å“You Better You BetÁ¢€ made absolutely no impression on me until I picked up PeteÁ¢€â„¢s Another Scoop in a cut-out bin and fell in love with that whole album (I still enjoy spinning Á¢€Å“Girl in a SuitcaseÁ¢€ and Á¢€Å“Football FugueÁ¢€ on a regular basis), but while IÁ¢€â„¢ve now come to prefer the Daltrey-sung version of Á¢€Å“You Better You BetÁ¢€ by the Who, I maintain a fondness for TownshendÁ¢€â„¢s solo version as well.

Mike Heyliger: Not much of a Who enthusiast, but this is a nice, bouncy tune. Has anyone pointed out the song’s vague similarity to Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door” yet?

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Modern Rock: U2, “Mysterious Ways” (1991)

Ted: Love! Love! Love! U2. However, I could never see what made this song so popular.

Beau: Achtung Baby is a brilliant album. The singles don’t do it credit. Especially this one.

Zack: Speaking of favorite albums, Achtung Baby is up on the top of my list. After what “So Cruel” does to me, every song on the album is kind of like punching your opponent a few more times as he lies there unconscious on the canvas, and then maybe hitting with a chair for good measure. It’s just an incredible album. And it’s unfortunate that “Mysterious Ways” got so much airplay as a single, because it’s the only song on the album that I’ve actually managed to get tired of.

Will: I canÁ¢€â„¢t listen to this song without one line leaping out at me: Á¢€Å“SheÁ¢€â„¢s slippy.Á¢€ I read some review at the time of the albumÁ¢€â„¢s release that positively tore Bono a new one for that one lyric, and itÁ¢€â„¢s always stuck with me. As for Achtung, Baby, I admire the way U2 escaped the sound of The Joshua Tree, but I never embraced this record nearly as much as most of my friends did. ItÁ¢€â„¢s okay, but with the exception of Á¢€Å“WhoÁ¢€â„¢s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses,Á¢€ which is prime radio-cranking material for me and probably always will be, I donÁ¢€â„¢t find myself drawn to it very often.

Lifton: A good first single from Achtung, Baby. It’s not nearly the best song on it, but it’s not too soncially radical to make people think that the years of silence from them had completely remade them. I like the wah-wah pedal on it.

Zack: This is one of the only times when I actually know something like this off the top of my head (compared to the other Popdose writers, who could tell you everything down to and including the name of the cleanser used to wipe down the control board surfaces in the studio the day the track was recorded), but wasn’t “The Fly” actually the first single released from Achtung Baby?

Mike: I’m also pretty sure “The Fly” was the first single released from Achtung Baby. Either way, I love U2 and love this song. It was certainly nice to hear the band sound this loose and funky. It’s the first U2 song you can legitimately dance to.

If, God forbid, something happened to my record collection, Achtung is one of the first 10 albums I’d re-purchase.

Scott: “Mysterious Ways” (which I think was actually the third single after “The Fly” and “One,” no?) was all over the place in the summer of ’92 when I met my wife. Therefore, the song has a special place for me. The transformation from arena rock band to techno dance arena rock band was a brilliant move on the part of U2. The groove of this song and Larry Mullen’s snappy drumming is what makes it for me. For all of Bono’s posturing and the Edge’s technical wizardry, U2 is nothing without Clayton and Mullen.

Jason: Just as we were discussing (okay, I was discussing) The Who 2.0, here comes U2 2.0. (U2.0?) I don’t really listen to a lot of U2, but Achtung Baby is one of the few albums of theirs that I own and play every so often.

Jon: Some of the hype about Achtung Baby being such a radical departure for U2 was overblown, but even to this day I find it fascinating that the boys rolled out that album in the fashion they did. Releasing “The Fly” to radio first seemed like a screw-you to pop and Album Rock radio, and an attempt to leave the Joshua Tree/Rattle and Hum era as far behind as possible. But then came “Mysterious Ways,” which to me is one of the band’s most glorious achievements. Threading the needle between past majesties and a more futuristic sound, it announced that the band was moving in a new direction while welcoming the mainstream to come along.

Has one act ever released a double-shot of singles as brilliant as “Mysterious Ways” and “One”? Maybe “Hey Jude”/”Revolution,” but otherwise I say no.

Dunphy: I like Achtung, Baby as much as the next guy who thinks it’s kind of overrated. “One”? Awesome. “Even Better Than The Real Thing”? Well, maybe. “Mysterious Ways”? Just doesn’t click with me, I suppose. The unintended consequence of the album was that, after becoming a huge seller, every band with a few years behind them started reinventing themselves with Madchester beats and Euro-trash smarm, hoping to hijack the trappings of hipness. In retrospect, even Achtung, Baby sounds absurdly calculated, but we’ll always have “One” and the album cover with Adam Clayton’s naughty bits.

Do you know what Clayton could have used to remedy those unsightly testicles? Read on!

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Adult Contemporary: Bread, “If” (1971)

Scott: Sniff, sniff. So heartfelt.

Mike: Whoo! Falsetto alert! Goddamn! How come no one warned me?

When I hear this song, I picture flowers, morning dew, and those K-tel commercials where they featured the best Soft Rock hits of whenever. A friend of mine was giving away a portion of his music collection earlier this year and I took the Bread anthology just out of curiosity. Consciously listening to this song (as opposed to it just being background filler) does not make me want to investigate the rest of the album.

Jason: I would be remiss if I didn’t point you towards this clip, which has been sent to me by at least three of you on this list. I don’t even know what to say about it, other than Telly must have been thinking, during filming, “I am so full of shit right now.”

This will not come as a surprise to anybody, but I do love this song. If I had my way, every night at around 11:45 PM, I’d call David Gates and he’d sing me to sleep. (That may very well be the most emasculating thing I’ve ever written.) He could sing anything he wanted. He could sing fucking “Creeping Death” and I’d drift off peacefully. He’d have to include the “wahwahwahwahwah” sound in there somewhere, though.

Ted: Damn, Jason! Thanks for including the Telly Savalas clip. I had no idea that it was single, AND IT CHARTED! In 1977, our family took a trip to England and we went to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. There among the celebrity figures was a wax version of Telly holding his trademark “Kojak” lollipop. But if you stood around long enough, out of some hidden speaker, Telly started speaking the first lines to “If” — followed by the sounds of gun fire, sirens, and the theme to “Kojak.” I must have stood there for a good 25 minutes listening to that over and over.

As far as the Bread version of this song goes … if I ever decide to kill myself, I’ll make sure this song is playing in the background.

Dunphy: I was reading Kevin Trudeau’s book Miracle Cures They Don’t Want You To Know About and it’s fascinating. Did you know that if you listen to “If” by Bread every day for a month, you can avoid the need for a vasectomy entirely? Think about all the money and pain saved, and the discomfort avoided as Dad doesn’t have to go get the love-hose cauterized! And with “If’s” patented gonad-shrinking formula, you’ll never have to worry about the boys playing peek-a-boo down the jogging shorts pantleg again! Huzzah!

Lifton: If only Fogelfuck hadn’t passed away, we could have had a steel cage deathmatch between him and David Gates for the title of world’s wimpiest soft rocker. Maybe it would be redeemable if this was in a key that didn’t require a falsetto, but I can’t listen to it.

Jon: “Oh, yeah, David Gates? Well, if I could save time in a bottle…” I wonder if Gates ever thinks to himself, “Man, if only I could have died in a plane crash, my song might be remembered as ‘poignant’ instead of ‘syrupy.'” This song is just a mile or so too far down Molasses Road for me, though I have a high tolerance for Bread. I greatly prefer “Lost Without Your Love” or “The Goodbye Girl.”

Beau: I was disappointed that this isn’t the Darling Buds song, but it’s not bad. I just can’t figure out what instrument makes the waa-waa-waa-waa sound.

Robert: “If” isn’t as great as “Baby I’m-a Want You” or “The Guitar Man,” but it’s still pretty dreamy in a grainy early-’70s photograph kind of way, and it features David Gates’s songwriting at its most risque: “And when my love for life is running dry / You come and pour yourself on me.” It doesn’t sound dirty when Gates sings it, but Savalas knew how to up the smut quotient.

Zack: Youtube isn’t loading this fast enough for me to fast-forward through it. Seriously, there’s like three different things that happen in this song — a burst of guitar effect noise, some high pitched singing, and…wait, there’s only two things that happen. No wonder this band is called “Bread”: this song is about as interesting as a sandwich made out of two pieces of bread and nothing else.

Will: One of the greatest wedding presents I received when Jenn and I tied the knot was from David Medsker, who gave me a gift certificate to buy CDs. What can I say? The guy knows me. As it happens, one of the CDs I purchased with that gift certificate was Rhino RecordsÁ¢€â„¢ compilation of the best of Bread, and, man, screw street cred, IÁ¢€â„¢m going on the record and saying that David Gates wrote some great love songs, of which this is but one.

Dunphy: I have to wonder: did your wife have any say in the purchase of Bread? I mean, she may have been hoping you’d bring home something funky and sexy, and you walk through the door with Bread. You may have missed out on some glorious freaky-deaky.

But I recuse myself because I’ve already gone on record as saying I love “Guitar Man.” Hell, I’ll take any of David Gates’ output (even if it is sung by David Soul) so long as it’s not “If” or “Baby, I’m-a Want You,” ’cause that’s just ignorance.

Will: As it happens, I thought I was buying it for her, because I remembered her saying something about liking them but not having anything by them. When I showed it to her, though, she wasn’t nearly as excited as I’d thought she would be. Her response was something along the lines of, “Um, that’s nice, I guess…” Ultimately, however, she couldn’t resist the charms of “Make It With You”…

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R&B/Hip-Hop: Mariah Carey, “Loverboy” (2001)

Beau: I was disappointed that this isn’t the Billy Ocean song, or possibly a Loverboy song called “Mariah Carey.” They could probably use the same video footage, couldn’t they?

Lifton: Mariah hasn’t been the same since Derek Jeter dumped her ass.

Will: IÁ¢€â„¢ll watch any Mariah Carey video you put in front of me. I wonÁ¢€â„¢t listen to the song, butÁ¢€¦I like to watch. But, okay, somewhere around the 2-minute mark, I un-muted it to hear the great Larry Blackmon do his thing.

Lifton: As with Shania, the best way to watch a Mariah Carey video is with the sound, and your pants, down.

Zack: Mariah Carey seems like the kind of girl that would piss you off by making too much noise in bed. Normally noisy is a good thing, but I get the feeling you’d get up fed up with her squawking, losing your temper and eventually shouting “for God’s sake, can you just shut up and let me finish!” This song is basically annoying, but no more annoying than any of her other material.

Jon: What a waste–of time, of talent(?), of an American flag for her boobs, of gasoline for the cars. This song is even more brain-dead than most of the other crap Mariah has recorded since she decided to be a gangsta ho instead of a prim pop star. Oh, wait a minute — this is from Glitter? Well, now I feel bad for piling on. Poor, poor “exhausted” Mariah. Too bad we didn’t kick her enough when she was down.

Zack: I will not stand idly by and listen to you badmouth Mariah Carey’s boobs. Sure, the song is annoying as all hell, and the outfit is stupid, but leave the boobs out of this, man. They’ve done nothing wrong.

Scott: Ever since Mariah started dressing in short shorts and low cut tops, she has come off as one of those girls you knew in high school who tried to hard to fit in. You know the ones I’m talking about. Wannbes. Mariah always seems to me to be selling her sexuality instead of actually being sexy. And when I look at her, I just think, “sad.” As for the song… whatever.

Jason: I swear I’ve never heard this before, which shocks me, because I had a nagging feeling that all of Mariah Carey’s singles resided somewhere in the back of my head, never to leave unless David Gates sung them away. Listening now, though, I can see why this one slipped past me: it truly sucks. I can’t even find a discernible hook here. I mean, hooray for Cameo and everything, but other than that? Blech.

Ted: I think this is the first time I’ve heard this song, too. Toward the end, the song so gets so busy with the layering of Mariah and Cameo’s voices that it seems like the poor sod who had to mix this just kind of gave up and let it all run together. The video, however, is, I believe, Mariah at her porniest (if that’s a word). She sings about how shy she is right as she’s tweaking her nipples, does the pole dancer “bend over,” and all the while has that crazy smile on her face. I’m not sure what year it was when Mariah had that weird appearance with an ice cream cart on MTV, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the year this single came out.

Dunphy: You could probably get everything you were looking for from this video with twenty dollars in singles and a drive to the go-go bar. You might actually get a better song too.

And is it just me or does Mariah look a little like a Special Ed kid? She just doesn’t cause me to need twenty cc’s of “If” is all I’m saying.

Robert Cass: I have a feeling several of you were dumped on your ass by Mariah Carey, hence the hostility. Or maybe Tommy Mottola has threatened to kill you if you don’t call her a whore.

I only like a couple of Mariah songs, but I also only like a couple of Duran Duran songs. They both suck, people. Now, let the trash talking commence in full.

Mike: What? Duran Duran sucks? NO YOU DI-INT!!!!

John C. Hughes: Oh, Robert, the earrings and heels just came off — hold onto your weave!

Mike: I just pictured myself with earrings, heels and a weave. No disrespect, Robert, but you’d probably make a better looking woman than me.

“Loverboy” is an incredibly shitty single. It’s lazy — Mariah basically follows the same pattern as she did for the lead single off of each of the three albums that preceded “Glitter”. Painfully recognizable sample, guest rapper (although I think that may have been on the remix), it might be the worst single she ever made, and that’s saying a lot because whenever I hear “Hero” (which is usually in the supermarket or at a doctor’s office) I want to go postal.

I won’t say Mariah sucks, because she doesn’t. While she’s never made a great album, she’s certainly made a handful of semi-decent ones. Especially since she ditched the whole Lite-FM schtick.

Dunphy: I have never heard Mariah sing like she’s feeling anything, even the most heartfelt ballads… She knows how to put across the sound of heartbreak and longing, but it always sounds like an act to me. Then she goes all nuts with the tightrope singing.

Zack: That’s exactly where I was coming from with my bedroom noise comment — it all just feels transparent.

Beau: My problem with Mariah may be nothing more than a bias against singers who aren’t also songwriters or creative visionaries. All they can do to stand out is add a few more bells and whistles to melodies that usually don’t need them. Compare her to, say, Madonna. The one-time Material Girl clearly doesn’t have Mariah’s pipes — never has, never will, though I’d argue her performance on Ray of Light is powerful and nuanced. And I have no idea if she has even one-tenth of Tori Amos’ skill at a keyboard. But she has an idea of what she wants to do musically besides show off.

That’s also one reason I respect Kelly Clarkson more than a lot of the Idol alumni. She clearly has more going for her than a strong voice and cute face.

Idol has sinned against music by putting singers on a pedestal. I need more than that. I need a song to which the singer has some connection. I need a singer connecting with a band. Otherwise, music is nothing more than a karaoke contest.

Dunphy: You just made Rod Stewart cry.

Mike: So a singer can’t necessarily have a connection to a song they didn’t write? “I Wish it Would Rain” by The Temptations and “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 just popped into my head.

And not that Mariah’s a creative visionary, but she does write all of the lyrics to her songs.

Beau: Okay, hammer me with the exceptions, I know. I think my biggest problem is with singers (Mariah, Michael Bolton) who aim for vocal gymnastics in place of anything novel from an artistic point of view. There’s a reason why Mark Knopfler is so much more effective than Whitney Houston at conveying emotion. (For sheer cringing value, check out the Indigo Girls version of “Romeo and Juliet,” in which Amy Ray — usually one of my favorites — tries to go all showy.)

Mike: Of course, as I read this, there’s this book sitting next to me called 1000 Songs, which says, and I quote, “Mark Knopfler is the most inexpressive singer in history.” Although I think that was a backhanded compliment. Those crazy rock journalists.

Jeff Giles: I have that book, and it’s full of insults for the artists mentioned. I remember them singling out Supertramp for particularly heavy scorn.

Jason: I’m the polar opposite on this one. I didn’t find Amy Ray’s version of “Romeo and Juliet” showy at all; I thought it was tremendously passionate.

Zack: Ugh, I hated it. I’ll take “Blood and Fire” over it every single day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

Jeff: I prefer Cliff Eberhardt’s version. You guys are both stupid.

Jon: I don’t get it — why are all these singers covering Henry Mancini’s theme from Romeo & Juliet, which is an instrumental anyway?

Don’t slag off the Indigo Girls. Their version of “R&J” was always the emotional high point of their shows in the early ’90s — I never even bothered with Dire Straits’ version until Amy & Emily had hooked me on the song.

Beau: I love the Indigo Girls — listened to their first two albums all through college, and I’ve stayed with them long enough to blast “Tether” on my iPod. Love seeing “Least Complicated” and “Fugitive” live. That’s the one recording I’ve heard from their catalog that I simply can’t stomach.

But there are different tastes. Like I said, it’s just a bias of mine that I need more than a voice to get me into a song. They say there’s no accounting for taste — I’m just accounting for mine.

Now I’m wondering if any singers have thought about covering Mancini’s Pink Panther theme. “Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant …”

Mike: Mariah-bashing aside, what I hate about this song is that it’s a blatant recycle of a song that wasn’t that good to begin with. I mean, the fact that the crappy “Word Up” and “Candy” became Cameo’s biggest hits almost poisons me to the fact that they released some great material before and (for a short while) after.

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Hot 100: Dion, “Runaround Sue” (1961)

Jason: Simply wonderful. This might be one of the happiest songs written about a slut.

Zack: A while back I had an idea for a WB television show called Rain Men. It would have been about an a cappella group at a college in the Pacific Northwest, and one of the shows would have involved one of the members running around through a dormitory trying to find “protection” so he can hook up with the younger sister of one the female characters on the show. In a subsequent episode, when the Rain Men hit the road to sing at other colleges and visit hers, he’s pretty crushed to find that she of course has a boyfriend — and an a cappella arrangement of “Runaround Sue” would be used to deliver the scene. I love this song. I’ve listened to it three times already, and I feel like I could listen to it all day.

Beau: I’ll take “Music I Can Only Listen To When I’m At Silver Diner With Imminent Arrival of Pancakes” for $400, Alex. I’m sorry — for me, going back to listen to stuff like this must be like Bach’s contemporaries going back to Palestrina and saying, “Dude, what’s up with the strict rules on counterpoint?”

Mike: Along with “You Better You Bet” and “If,” this is one of those songs I’ve heard a bunch of times before but didn’t really consciously listen to until now. For whatever reason, music made before The Beatles breakthrough/the heyday of Motown doesn’t really resonate with me, and although it’s a pleasant enough song, all it really does it make me want to listen to Billy Joel’s “An Innocent Man.” Damn — being born in the mid-to-late Seventies kinda sucks.

Jon: Hmmm, Popdose seems to have a Dion fetish. That’s fine, though — I could listen to “Runaround Sue” all day. These days we tend to forget that doo-wop singers could be tough — but Dion, who was trying to bridge into a more ’60s sound once he dumped the Belmonts, has the stones to admit he’s been crying and that he still loves her, and enough bravado to get off a snarling line like “People, let me put you wise — she goes out with other guys.” After listening to this or “The Wanderer,” it’s hard to argue with his later claim (on the album we discussed a few weeks ago) that he was “King of the New York Streets.”

Will: Mr. DiMucci came up in a recent Á¢€Å“Bottom FeedersÁ¢€ column, at which point I praised his early Á¢€Ëœ90s shouldÁ¢€â„¢ve-been-a-comeback album, Yo Frankie. I still donÁ¢€â„¢t have nearly as much stuff from his back catalog as I know I ought to, however, as this classic song reminds me. The manÁ¢€â„¢s still putting out great stuff, too.

Dunphy: What is it about these super-simple late ’50s / early ’60s pop tunes that make them so irresistible? I mean, getting right down to it, this is a song about a straight ho. Sue is a ho. She digs guys who think with their meatballs and aren’t listening to “If” seven times a week. Yet there’s nothing to get so offended by here and, before too long, you’re singing along with the hooks.

That said, I still can’t believe this is the same guy who would go on to sing “Abraham, Martin & John.”

Lifton: What is it about those tunes that makes them irresistible? It’s because they swung like hell. Straight ahead rock drumming hadn’t been invented yet, so you had all these session jazz guys who could do all sorts of cool stuff. On this song you can add that you also had guys who learned how to sing on street corners, and that attitude naturally found its way into the songs.

Ted: I’m not going to mess with a classic ’cause, really, what can you say about this song other than it’s a classic? Sure, you can bring up the fact that Sue is a whore, but whoring is a classic, too. I mean it’s the world’s oldest profession, right? Still, I love the video because the audience is clearly waiting for their martinis and highballs to kick in.

Scott: Dion rules, man. “Runaround Sue” is the definition of timeless.