I love the idea of these episodes, where the songs fit a certain theme, more artful than “all by the same artist” or “all from the same album.” “Hell-O” gave us songs with “hell” or “hello” in the title. It’s just enough to add direction and focus, but not enough to be a one-note conceit. This is also the episode that introduced Shelby Corcoran, one of the few guest-stars that it seems nobody has a probably seeing return in Season 3. This episode was also the second highest rated, after “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle,” so it appears that America doesn’t entirely disagree.
“Hello, I Love You”
Written by Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore
Performed Most Notably by The Doors
Performed on GLEE by Cory Monteith
One of The Doors most recognizable songs, “Hello, I Love You” came from their 1968 album Waiting for the Sun. It went to #1 in the US and became the band’s first UK hit, topping out at #15. Some music fans have claimed that Robby Krieger, The Doors’ guitarist, stole the musical structure from Ray Davies, who played a similar riff on The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night.” But, Krieger insisted in the liner notes of The Doors Box set that the song’s vibe was taken from Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love.”
Josh Note: I’m still reeling with anger from that silly Doors reunion back in 2002. Krieger and Manzarek reunited with Stewart Copeland (from The Police) on drums and Ian Astbury (from The Cult) on vocals. I mean, I know Krieger and Manzarek wanna play and they wanna play the old songs, knock yourselves out. But, calling yourselves The Doors? Without Jim Morrison? Silly. Then John Densmore sued them and they became The Doors of the 21st Century. Lame-tastic.
“Gives You Hell”
Written by Nick Wheeler and Tyson Ritter
Performed Most Notably by The All-American Rejects
Performed on GLEE by New Directions
“Gives You Hell” was the first single from The All-American Rejects 2008 album, When the World Comes Down, and became the band’s first #1 hit and their most successful song to date. It was made into a playable song on Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Band Hero and is played at every home game for the Missouri Mavericks hocket team.
Josh Note: A couple years into the Rock Band/Guitar Hero craze, there was an article in Entertainment Weekly where artists were asked their opinions of the games. Nick Wheeler of the members of The All-American Rejects said ”It’s kind of a shame. When I was growing up, kids wanted to be in a band. Now everyone wants to play Rock Band.” I would disagree. I brought Rock Band home for Thanksgiving one year and played The All-American Rejects’ “Dirty Little Secret” with my mother. That’s an experience we couldn’t have shared as a “real band.”
Written by Lionel Richie
Performed Most Notably by Lionel Richie
Performed on GLEE by Lea Michelle and Jonathan Groff
Lionel Richie‘s 1984 hit topped the charts the year it was released in the US and the UK. Still, to a certain age group, it’s more remembered for its music video that featured Richie teaching a blind girl how to sculpt and discovers that she loves him (as he does her) when she sculpts his head. Of course, the bust looks more like Wilt Chamberlain with bee sting. It is considered Richie’s signature song.
Josh Note: This song may be Lionel Richie’s signature song, but for a while, it was David Cook‘s signature song as well. He performed it on Top 16 night of American Idol: Season 7. His version was slow and spooky and was the first time we all said “This kid could win it.” And we were right.
Written by Neil Diamond and Alan Lindgren
Performed Most Notably by Neil Diamond
Performed on GLEE by Will Shuester
A Top-10 single for Neil Diamond in 1980, it came from the soundtrack for his film The Jazz Singer, a remake of the Al Jolson movie, notable for being the first “talkie.” Diamond’s version is about a young Jewish singer who ditches his synagogue choir for a chance at rock superstardom. It received “mixed” reviews, with Diamond winning the first Razzie Award for Worst Actor. Still, the soundtrack was enormously successful, scoring three #1 hits and became Diamond’s most successful record.
Josh Note: I saw this movie when I was 9 or 10. I didn’t understand why everyone was being so mean to Neil Diamond. It’s not the worst movie, but it’s not high art. Certainly worth a watch, like A Star Is Born before it.
“Highway to Hell”
Written by Bon Scott, Angus Young and Malcolm Young
Performed Most Notably by AC/DC
Performed on GLEE by Jonathan Groff
In 2009, “Highway to Hell” won Most Played Australian Work Overseas at the Australasian Performing Right Association Awards, so what’s left to be said. The single was released in 1979 on an album of the same name. The band said the lyrics described what life was like on tour, however it (and its cover) inspired rumors that the band were satanists, which is almost too predictable to stand.
Josh Note: I’ll just leave this here.
Written by Lennon/McCartney
Performed Most Notably by The Beatles
Performed on GLEE by New Directions
Though the songwriting credit is Lennon/McCartney, “Hello, Goodbye” was solely written by Paul McCartney. From Wikipedia, according to Steve Turner’s A Hard Day’s Write, “Alistair Taylor, who worked for the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, had asked McCartney how he wrote his songs, and McCartney took him into his dining room to give him a demonstration on his harmonium. He asked Taylor to shout the opposite of whatever he sang as he played the instrument—black and white, yes and no, stop and go, hello and goodbye. Taylor later said, ‘I wonder whether Paul really made up that song as he went along or whether it was running through his head already.'”
Josh Note: That note is better than anything I can think of.