Song Lyric Sunday – “Don’t Tell Me No” and “Don’t Go To Pieces” – The Cars

The last time I featured a Cars song for Song Lyric Sunday was September 22, 2019. That’s too long ago. This week’s theme Did/Didn’t/Do/Don’t/Does/Doesn’t gives me the opportunity to remedy that oversight. Quite a few Cars songs would fit, but I’m featuring two of the best, both relatively-unknown: “Don’t Tell Me No” and “Don’t Go To Pieces.”

As with all Cars songs, Ric Ocasek wrote both, but “Don’t Go To Pieces” is one of the few Cars songs for which he shares co-writing credit with someone — Greg Hawkes, the Cars’ “jack of all trades,” whose contributions to the Cars included keyboards, synth, sax, percussion, and background vocals.

Both songs were released as singles, but neither charted. “Don’t Tell Me No,” the second single off the Panorama album, was released in November, 1980, with “Don’t Go To Pieces” on the B-side. “Don’t Go To Pieces” was released again in January, 1981, as the B-side of the third Panorama album single “Gimme Some Slack” (which also didn’t chart.) “Don’t Go To Pieces” did not appear on a Cars album until the Just What I Needed Anthology album in 1995 but was also included with the Panorama expanded edition released in 2017. Although commercially unsuccessful, both songs are cult-favorites in the Fanorama. (Considering how many times DGTP was released, I wonder if Ric Ocasek also had a soft spot for it.)

Both songs are showcases for Benjamin Orr’s vocal versatility. I’ll start with my fave:

 

Don’t Go To Pieces

What’s it gonna be?
Red jacket girl, lover, midnight spree
What’s it gonna be?
You look so imperial

What’s it gonna be?
You tried and you tried
But you couldn’t hook your shoelace
What’s it gonna be?
Know you got intention, difficult to see

You can make the switch
You can have your wish

What’s it gonna prove?
Turning all the dials, makin’ all the right moves
What’s it gonna prove?
It’s all so mystical

What’s it gonna prove?
You look so tacky in your chrome drip belt
What’s it gonna prove?
You’re ready to rage and startin’ to melt down

You can make the switch
You can have your wish

Don’t go to pieces, b-b-baby
Don’t go to pieces
Don’t go to pieces, b-b-baby
Don’t go to pieces

What’s it gonna show?
All left out and ready to go
What’s it gonna mean?
You feel like trash but you look so clean

What’s it gonna do?
All of them angels jealous of you
Where’s it gonna go?
Anyplace, faster pace, overcome the low blow

You can make the switch
(Ooo)
You can have your wish

Don’t go to pieces, b-b-baby
Don’t go to pieces
Don’t go to pieces, b-b-baby
Don’t go to pieces

Don’t go to pieces, b-b-baby
Don’t go to pieces
(Ooo)
Don’t go to pieces, b-baby
(Ooo)

(Ooo)
Don’t go to pieces
(Ooo)
Don’t go to pieces, b-baby
(Ooo)
Don’t go to pieces
(Ooo)

 

 

It’s my party, you can come
It’s my party, have some fun
It’s my dream, have a laugh
It’s my life, have a half, well
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no (I like it when you tell me slow)
It’s my transition, it’s my play
It’s my phone call to beta ray
It’s my hopscotch, light the torch
It’s my downtime, feel the scorch, well
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no (I don’t like it when you tell me no)
It’s my ambition, it’s my joke
It’s my teardrop, emotional smoke
It’s my mercy, it’s my plan
I want to go to futureland, well
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no (I like it when you tell me slow)
Don’t tell me no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no, no, no, no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me, I don’t want to know)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no, no, no, ay (don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no (Don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no, no (don’t tell me no, no, don’t tell me no)
Don’t tell me no
Don’t tell me no (don’t tell me, you have to go, don’t tell me no)

 

 

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday -“Over Under Sideways Down” – Yardbirds

With this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme being Around/Down/Sideways/Up, how could I pick any song other than “Over Under Sideways Down” written and performed by the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck / Chris Dreja / Jim Mccarty / Keith Relf / Paul Samwell-Smith). Released in 1966, the song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The only other thing I have to say is: enjoy this classic earworm!

 

 

Over, Under, Sideways, Down

Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
Cars and girls are easy come by in this day and age,
Laughing, joking, drinking, smoking,
Till I’ve spent my wage.
When I was young people spoke of immorality,
All the things they said were wrong,
Are what I want to be.

(Hey)
Over under sideways down,
(Hey)
Backwards forwards square and round.
(Hey)
Over under sideways down,
(Hey)
Backwards forwards square and round.
When will it end, when will it end,
When will it end, when will it end.

Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
I find comment ’bout my looks irrelativity,
Think I’ll go and have some fun,
‘Cos it’s all for free.
I’m not searching for a reason to enjoy myself,
Seems it’s better done,
Than argued with somebody else.

(Hey)
Over under sideways down,
(Hey)
Backwards forwards square and round.
(Hey)
Over under sideways down,
(Hey)
Backwards forwards square and round.
When will it end, when will it end,
When will it end, when will it end.

Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
Over under sideways down…

Song Lyric Sunday –“I’ll Never Find Another You” — The Seekers

For the Song Lyric Sunday theme this week, Jim Adams gives us “Lost/Found/Hide/Seek.” One of my favorite songs from the mid ’60s covers two of those themes: “I’ll Never Find Another You” by The Seekers.

Researching for SLS always reveals information I hadn’t known. For example, I never knew The Seekers were an Australian folk/pop group. I also learned this song was written by Tom Springfield, English pop star Dusty Springfield’s brother. Released in 1964, “I’ll Never Find Another You” reached number 4 on the 1965 Billboard Hot 100 chart. American country singer Sonny James covered it in 1967; his version peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country chart.

 

“I’ll Never Find Another You”

There’s a new world somewhere
They call the promised land
And I’ll be there someday
If you will hold my hand
I still need you there beside me
No matter what I do
For I know I’ll never find another you

There is always someone
For each of us, they say
And you’ll be my someone
Forever and a day
I could search the whole world over
Until my life is through
But I know I’ll never find another you

It’s a long, long journey
So stay by my side
When I walk through the storm
You’ll be my guide, be my guide
If they gave me a fortune
My pleasure would be small
I could lose it all tomorrow
And never mind at all
But if I should lose your love, dear
I don’t know what I’d do
For I know I’ll never find another you

But if I should lose your love, dear
I don’t know what I’d do
For I know I’ll never find another you
Another you
Another you

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday – “Magic Pants” — Cap’n Swing

At 8:49 p.m. last Sunday, September 15, this message popped up in my Facebook feed: “Rip Ric O Omg I am in shock !!!😱😱😱.” “Somebody’s sick idea of a joke,” I thought. I searched through my slew of Cars-related FB memberships, but no where did I find any other mention of his passing. Less than ten minutes later, my feed contained nothing but reactions to the unbelievable news that the Cars’ founder Ric Ocasek had, indeed, passed. Now, a week later, the FANORAMA is still reeling. 

To many, Ric was a lyrical genius and a hero/role model. His music and creativity inspired so many musicians, known and unknown, to pick up an instrument, write songs, start a band. His words and music reached in and grabbed the souls of many of us. But more than anything, Ric was the foundation of the Cars. For over a decade, together with Benjamin Orr, he gathered musicians, forming and re-forming bands for the sole purpose of playing the songs he wrote, until he found the magical combination that joined with him and Benjamin to become the Cars: Greg Hawkes, Elliot Easton, and David Robinson. The Cars would not have been the Cars without them. After Ben passed away, the other Cars didn’t even try to replace him when they put out an album of new music in 2011. But make no mistake: Without Ric Ocasek there will be no new Cars music, no reunion album. No Cars. 

When I got that first Facebook notification last Sunday, I was looking at the Song Lyric Sunday schedule, trying to decide what to write. I was too stunned to write anything last week, but I knew then what song I’d pick for this week’s theme of Clothing/Hat/Pants/Scarf/Shirt/Shoes/Tie: “Magic Pants (a.k.a. Crazy Rock and Roll)” by Ric’s last pre-Cars band, Cap’n Swing. I’ve loved this song from my first listen because it is one of the few Ric (presumably) wrote that could have only one interpretation. It was all about Ric (Cap’n Swing) and Ben (Magic Pants) trying to make it in the music business. Now, somewhere in the universe, I hope Cap’n Swing and Magic Pants are making music again together.

Note: the picture on the video is the Cars, but (to my knowledge) no pictures of the Cap’n Swing band exist. Three of the Cars were in Cap’n Swing: Elliot Easton (center), Ric Ocasek (jumping), and Benjamin Orr (right).

 

 

Magic Pants

Cap’n Swing and Magic Pants they were floating down the street
Trying to get a gig or two where they can get some heat
Everybody feels their presence, everybody flows
Find a groove to settle in, let your feelings be the show
It will make you want to flow, crazy rock and roll, it’ll make you want to flow

Cap’n Swing and Magic Pants, they were shooting out their licks
Shooting out their music if you think you need a fix
Everybody feels their presence, some of you have heard
With Cap’n Swing and Magic Pants, listen is the word
It will make you want to flow, crazy rock and roll, it’ll make you want to flow

Yeah yeah

You know that Cap’n Swing and Magic Pants they were floating down the street
Trying to get a gig or two where they can get some heat
Everybody feels their presence, everybody flows
Find a groove to settle in, let your feelings be the show
It will make you want to flow, crazy rock and roll, it’ll make you want to flow

Cap’n Swing, yeah Magic Pants

 

Song Lyric Sunday – “I Am The Man” – Benjamin Orr

Today, on Song Lyric Sunday, Benjamin Orr would have been 72. I wanted to pay tribute using this week’s Bird/Fly/Sky/Wing theme, but, on July 20, 2018, I wrote about “Skyline,” the only Orr song to fit the theme. So, for the first time, my choice, “I Am The Man,” deviates. Sorry, Jim.

In late 1992 and continuing through most of the 90s, Benjamin Orr recorded tracks that were to have been his second album. He co-wrote half the songs with John Kalishes, who would become the lead guitarist in Benjamin’s ORR band. Although “I Am The Man” was recorded during this time, the writer is unknown. I’d like to think it was written by Orr and Kalishes because I interpret it as Benjamin’s response as he coped with a series of lost integral relationships: the Cars and his long friendship with Ric Ocasek, an eight-year engagement to co-writer of his first album Diane Grey Page, and a marriage to Judith Orr. In fact, I view the entire unreleased second album through that prism. Whether or not he wrote a particular song, each one fits that theme of loss, and “I Am” expresses the culmination of his struggle.

Whatever his reasons for possibly writing and definitely recording it, “I Am The Man” was important enough to him that, when the ORR band performed, he saved it for encores and for introducing his band. This video with 1997 audio from a live performance is an example. If you want to skip the band intros, they run from about 4:30 to 11:56. If you decide to skip, you’ll miss such mini-gems as “Wipe Out” and the Flintstone’s theme song played on bass. The lyric link takes you to my friend sweetpurplejune’s blog, where she has linked a video featuring the studio recording of “I Am The Man.”

 

I Am (author and copyright unknown)

I am the fire that shows no flame, I am the killer who has no name
I am the wind you cannot feel, I am the truth that is not real
I am the river that flows nowhere, I am the feeling that does not care
I am the drug your body’s been missing, I am the soul that you’ve been wishing for

I am… I am… I am… I am the man

I am the time that will not pass, I am the future living in the past
I am the shadow you cannot see, I am the prisoner you cannot free
I am the legend of lust, love and pain, I am the man who’s lost his name
I am the drug your body’s been missing, I am the soul that you’ve been wishing for

I am… I am… I am… I am the man
I am… I am… I am… I am the man
I am… I am… I am… I am the man

I am the fire that shows no flame, I am the killer who has no name
I am the wind you cannot feel, I am the truth that is not real
I am the river that flows nowhere, I am the feeling that does not care
I am the drug your body’s been missing, I am the soul that you’ve been wishing for

I am… I am… I am… I am the man