Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sequel Songs Part One

What do “Star Wars,” “Alien,” “The Godfather,” “Toy Story,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Rocky,” and “Die Hard” have in common? They were all popular movies that were later followed up by sequels. In most cases, the first movie could stand alone and there would not need to be a sequel. Today’s “Anything Goes” Wednesday looks at three sets of songs that had sequels – thus, today’s selection is called Part One. There will be more to come in the future.

In each case the original song stood alone and the follow-up was due to the success of the first. In most cases, the original artists did the sequel, but not always. I am not including answer songs as these are a separate genre that I’ll address at a later date.

Peggy Sue / Peggy Sue Got Married

The original tune recorded by Buddy Holly and the Crickets was written by Holly, drummer Jerry Allison, and producer Norman Petty. "Peggy Sue" topped the charts at #3 in 1957 and was Holly's second most popular tune. The first being "That'll be the Day."

The song's original working title was Cindy Lou named after Holly’s niece; however, the title was changed to Peggy Sue in deference to Allison’s girlfriend with whom he had a recent break-up. The song was a colossal hit and is listed as #194 on Rolling Stones’ Greatest Songs of All Time. One of the features of the song is the paradiddles played by Allison on the drums.

In December 1958, Buddy Holly had written and recorded a follow-up to his 1957 hit titled “Peggy Sue Got Married.” Recorded only with an acoustic guitar, the demo recording was found after Holly’s untimely death in February 1959.

Three versions of the song were released. Version one featured the demo augmented additional instrumentation and backing vocals by the Ray Charles Singers. This version was released on a single in 1959 and on “The Buddy Holly Story Volume 2.” While the single was a top 15 hit in the UK, it failed to chart in the US. Jack Hansen produced this recording.

A second version of the song was released in 1964 by producer Norman Petty with the Fireballs providing the backing instrumentation to Holly's demo. There are no backing vocals on Petty's production.

Finally in 1979, the original demo version was issued on the six disc collection released by MCA called “The Complete Buddy Holly.”

Taxi / Sequel

In 1972, Harry Chapin released his debut album “Taxi” – the title cut dealing with a cabby named Harry and a rich socialite named Sue. The song is somewhat autobiographical as it is based on a chance meeting of Harry and an old girlfriend while he was a cabby in New York, and not San Francisco as in the song. The song charted at #24 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

In 1980, Chapin recorded his sequel to his hit from eight years earlier and appropriately titled “Sequel.” Ironically, “Sequel” charted slightly higher at #23 than the original release; however, it doesn’t hold up as well as “Taxi.” Both songs featured here are from a live performances; the second occurring 11 months prior Chapin’s death on July 16, 1981.

Your Wildest Dreams / I Know You’re Out There Somewhere

The next two selections written by Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues are not so evident from the lyrics that they are two chapters of the same story. During the MTV age, the videos that accompanied the releases tied the story of love lost and love found – well, sort of found. While Chapin lyrically presented flashbacks, it is the videos that accomplish this visually for these two songs. “Your Wildest Dreams” was the first single from the 1986 LP “The Other Side of Life” and charted in the US at #9 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts.

“I Know You’re out there Somewhere,” the follow-up to “Your Wildest Dreams,” was issued as the debut single from the album “Sur La Mer” in 1988. This sequel didn’t fare as well as the initial tune charting at #30 on the Hot 100 and at #9 on the AC charts.

More sequel songs will be forthcoming at a later date.

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