Back in the day, when an artist had a hit record, conventional wisdom was that his or her label tried to follow it up with another record that was very similar in sound and concept.
So something like this…
…was followed by something like this.
Perhaps we can agree that, as delightful as “My Boy Lollipop” is, “Sugar Dandy” is a bit too close for comfort.
Can you think of a follow-up that was this close to its original? Can you think of a case where the follow-up was better than the original?
[Thanks to Simon Reynolds’ blissblog for pointing me to these video clips.]
The Knack’s “My Sharona” was followed by “Baby Talks Dirty,” which is essentially a re-write. It didn’t top the original, either as a song or as a hit record — though it’s not terrible. Here it is for your consideration:
Wouldn’t the classic example here be the Four Tops’ “It’s The Same Old Song” as a follow-up to “I Can’t Help Myself”?
Chubby Checker’s almost endless follow-ups to The Twist may earn him the title of The Big FU (follow up).
He has at least 20 songs with the word Twist in them and although I haven’t heard them all I do know that “Let’s Twist Again” (I think the first FU) is mightily similar.
Even his album titles are chock full of FUs:
Twist with Chubby Checker
For Twisters Only
Let’s Twist Again
Your Twist Party
For Teen Twisters Only
Don’t Knock the Twist [Soundtrack]
Twistin’ Round the World
Has anyone else gotten more mileage out of one song?
I think “Let’s Twist Again” is better than “The Twist,” but musically they’re not that similar, are they? I mean they have that rumbling Twist beat but one has a straight-ahead energy while the follow-up is more melodic and reflective.
NOTE: That’s probably the first time “reflective” was ever used in association with the music of Chubby Checker.
The “C’mon baby…” hits me as very similar to the “Let’s Twist again…” 4 syllables, delivered in a similar pattern. Followed by “Let’s DO the twist” in a similar down-the-stairs way (?) as “Like we DID last summer”
I can sing “C’mon baby, Like we did last summer” and “Let’s twist again, let’s do the twist” and get a sense that the second is just 2 or 3 Rubic’s Cube twists from the former.
Quicksand by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas followed Heatwave. Similar metaphors set to the same beat. I like them both.
Also, the second tracks on Buffalo Tom’s second and third albums (Let me Come over and Big Red Letter Day) sound very similar but I much prefer the first version.
Btw isn’t Millie Small great in these clips? Young and innocent days….
Isn’t All Day and All of the Night (slightly) greater than You Really Got Me? Isn’t Foxy lady (slightly) greater than Purple Haze?
Do bands nowadays still write obvious follow-up songs? I know there’s not that label pressure “gimme another hit!” for the less-commercial music we tend to listen to these days. Ted Leo seems to have at least one “paralell” song to his biggest “hit,” “Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone,” but is it a case of him trying to catch lightning in a bottle or is that just part of his songwriting style? The Knack song that HVB cited seems to be more “modern” attempt at an obvious follow-up hit.
Al’s mention of the Four Tops’ “It’s the Same Old Song” is my nominee for quintessential remake that topped the original. I think it has none of the cheesey lyrical content, “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch”, of the original and best yet, the title’s sly comment on it’s remake status is so meta!
“You Really Got Me” is, in the words of Mr. Mod, OBJECTIVELY better than All Day and All of the Night”. I base this on the superior verse of the former where the melody slides across the rhythm Guitar pattern and then lines up right with it as the chorus climax. On “All Day and All of the Night”, the singing just mimics the chord rhythm throughout. It lacks the secret sauce of the verse tension.
I like “Purple Haze” better than “Foxy Lady”, but that’s more a matter of taste than fact.
The Kinks tracks bring to mind The Who’s “I Can’t Explain” & “Substitute”, the first being an admitted attempt at replicating that Kinks power chord riff sound.
The Soul Survivors’ “Explosion in your Soul” as a follow up to “Expressway to your Heart” is a pretty blatant example of this. Even title having the same form and number of syllables for good measure.
But no, the follow-up wasn’t as good as the original hit in this case.
Chubby has not only milked The Twist for years in song, but also in meat:
New York Twist Strip Steaks
Hot Twist Hickory Beef Jerky
remember the twist with the Fat Boys?
Suddenly Last Summer was a follow-up to Only The Lonely. It was a good try, but it was not quite as good.
BTW, I finally got a chance to listen to these clips. That Millie Small and her performances are pretty cool! I don’t think I’d ever heard of her or these songs. I wonder if it’s a matter of the discrepancies in regional hits. I usually know a good deal of hits from this period.
My wife is a big fan of black singers from the early ’60s with this type of girlish voice. Like the Frankie Valli/Lou Christie male voice, it’s a lost art.
Wow, I’m surprised. The internets say My Boy Lollipop was a #2 hit in both the US and UK. It’s one of the few examples of Jamaican music penetrating the Anglo-American market, and it was Island Records’ first hit.
Geo, way to apply the scientific method to your Kinks’s song analysis! No opionions; just the facts. You’ve convinced me.
When MTV first came out, they had a daily video showing entitled “Closet Classics.” It was basically old 60’s video promos & “LIVE” performances, and “My Boy Lollipop” was in heavy rotation.
I am embarrassed that you didn’t know this song!
I’m surprised Chubby Checker has yet to commission a study charting the rise in inner city violence since his last Twist song, in an effort to show that the nation needs a “21st Century Twist”, which he would only deliver upon completion of a giant statue of him in front of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
That said, noonetwisting’s comment suggests angry Chubby (heh) releasing a statement to the press that he’d moved on from music and was now concentrating all his efforts “in the meat medium”, which would be equally great.
“Meat is the new music,” says Checker. “And with their iphones and their ipods and what not, we needed to respond with portable meat they could enjoy on the go, just like their music. And so I thought, ‘Chubby, what the ipod of meat?’ and I knew the answer right away: beef jerky! Beef jerky is the ipod of meat.”
Agreed with Al that “Same Old Song” is one of the best examples, working as both a meta comment on the concept of follow-up songs and actually completing the ‘story’ of the original song.
“Bottled Up In Cork” on Ted Leo’s most recent album is pretty great and seems to be, at least in theory, a follow-up song to his “Ballad of the Sin Eater”, though I don’t know that he specifically meant it to work that way.
It seems like hip-hop took up the torch of the follow-up and and answer song ideas for a while, but I don’t think you see it happening as much in that setting anymore, either.
I know. I’m sorry to have let you down. I am holding a press conference at 2:00 pm EST to address the shame that I feel.