“It’s like cool epilepsy.” And, we knew we’d love Brittany forever. “Hairography” wasn’t everyone’s favorite (when we did our Worst Songs on Glee, several people said “Papa Don’t Preach”), but there was a ton of music in it, so let’s take a look at some of the highlights.
“Don’t Make Me Over”
Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David
Performed Most Notably by Dionne Warwick
Performed on GLEE by Amber Riley
While not her most significant single with fan or critics, Don’t Make Me Over marked the debut recording of Dionne Warwick in 1962, and was the first of over 56 singles she would place on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998. It was actually a B-side to Warwick’s “I Smiled Yesterday,” but “Don’t Make Me Over” was the one that stood the test of time. In 2000, the song was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Josh Note: For the kids in the house, a “B-side” comes from 45’s. And, a 45 was a record that was played at 45 RPM’s. Traditionally, they were about 7-inches in diameter, with a large hole in the center (larger than a full-size 33 1/3 record). They had a song on each side: The A-side was the big hit (or what they intended to be the big hit) and the B-side was a bonus track. Still, there’s a history of B-sides that became bigger hits than the original. How Soon is Now? was actually the B-side of William, It Was Really Nothing. I Will Survive was the B-side of Substitute. And, Ice Ice Baby was the B-side of Play That Funky Music.
“Papa Don’t Preach”
Written by Brian Elliot, add’l lyrics by Madonna
Performed Most Notably by Madonna
Performed on GLEE by Dianna Agron
Madonna’s second single from her True Blue album became her fourth #1 in 1986. Brian Elliot wrote the song based on gossip he heard out his studio window which was a large plate glass window that doubled as a mirror where schoolgirls from the North Hollywood High School regularly stopped to fix their makeup.
Josh Note: I was at the laundromat once and three highschool girls walked by. One of them said “I can’t believe she’s having a baby. She’s not nearly as cool as us.”
“Crazy in Love” / “Hair”
Written by Rich Harison, Beyonce Knowles and Shawn Carter / Galt MacDermot, James Rado and Gerome Ragni
Performed Most Notably by Beyonce / The Cowsills
Performed on GLEE by New Directions
“Crazy in Love” was released in 2003 as the lead single from Beyonce’s debut solo record Dangerously in Love. It won Grammys for Best R&B Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (they have a category for that?!), and ranked 118th on Rolling Stone’s 2010 list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. It features a sample from The Chi-Lites’ 1970 song “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So).”
“Hair” was the title track from the 1968 musical of the same name, as well as the 1979 film version. It’s performed by two hippies, explaining the importance of their coifs to their love-rock movement. The song was also major hit single for The Cowsills in 1969.
Josh Note: The Cowsills were the original family band. Bill, Bob, Barry, John, Susan and Paul Cowsill made up the group. At one point they were even joined by their mother, Barbara. Bob’s twin brother, Richard, was their road manager. In 1967, they ranged in age from 8 to 19. Not surprisingly, they were the inspiration for the 1970 TV show The Partridge Family.
Written by John Lennon
Performed Most Notably by John Lennon
Performed on GLEE by New Directions and the Haverbrook Deaf Choir
The title track from Lennon’s 1971 album, Imagine only peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, though it reached #1 in Canada and Australia. Lennon said it was as good as anything he wrote with the Beatles. It ranked #3 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Josh Note: I love watching American Idol contestants give this one a whirl. David Archuleta made his mark with it in 2008. Why that’s hilarious is that the lyrics of the song are, essentially, the Communist manifesto. Lennon said Imagine was an “anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic [song].” Archuleta, conveniently, skipped the line “Nothing to kill or die for and no religion, too.”
Written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg
Performed Most Notably by Cyndi Lauper
Performed on GLEE by New Directions
Billy Steinberg wrote “True Colors” about his mother, the submitted it to Tom Kelly, who changed a couple lyrics, and submitted it to Cyndi Lauper. Their demo was performed as a traditional piano based gospel balled, but Lauper stripped it down to the version we know today. It reached #1 in the U.S. and became a standard in the gay community.
Josh Note: I’ve nothing to say about “True Colors,” other than that it’s a truly beautiful pop song. Our children’s children will hum it to their kids.