Last week I played a set of songs which had the name of a fruit in their title and said that I might do some more soon. Well, in the absence of any inspiration for anything else in what I laughingly call my brain I’m going with part two this week. Just to ring the changes, there are some fresh fruits in this week’s set that weren’t here last week, and fortunately I’m not at the mercy of supermarket stock shortages for some more fruit songs.
This first one is a bit of a cheat (aren’t they all?) and I’ve played it before, but it is such a pop classic that I couldn’t resist going with it again. However, I’m ringing the changes a little, as I’ve previously played the famous one but think this fabulous cover deserves an airing:
The original version of I Heard It Through The Grapevine was, of course, by Gladys Knight and the Pips, though the big hit was by Marvin Gaye, who had a #1 with this in 1968 in both the US and the UK. Gladys got to #2 in the US but only made #47 in the UK. Marvin’s was the first to be recorded, though not to be released. CCR’s epic 11 minute version was included on their album Cosmo’s Factory, which was released in July 1970, making #1 in both the US and the UK, and also in Australia, Canada and several other countries. I’m giving you this shorter version today, but recommend the full version if you want to try it – here. It’s still a great album, from a band who were at the top of their powers.
Creedence sold records by the truckload – over 50m worldwide – and so did this next band:
That 50m figure almost pales into insignificance alongside Led Zeppelin, who are estimated to have sold more than 300m around the world. Tangerine is one of their lesser known songs, but I’ve always liked it, and this superb live version has the added bonus of Robert Plant’s introduction and explanation of what it means to the band. The song was written by Jimmy Page and was on their Led Zeppelin III album, released in October 1970, which of course got to #1 in both the UK and the US. It is one of those songs which kind of creeps up on you unawares, like quite a few of their slower, more acoustic tracks.
Robert Plant was born in the Midlands, which is where this next band came from. They may not be well known outside the UK, but had a lot of success here. They had a couple of #2 hits and a #3, but this was their only #1:
The Move was where Roy Wood began his pop career, and although he hadn’t yet joined it was where Jeff Lynne started out before he and Roy formed the Electric Light Orchestra, which made him a huge star. Blackberry Way was released as a single in November 1968 and topped the UK chart for a week in February 1969, but like everything else they did, it meant nothing in the US charts. Ironically, though he is shown performing in this video, Carl Wayne refused to take part in the recording, for which Roy Wood sang. You pick up some odd trivia along the way, don’t you!
Let’s get a little more exotic with our fruit now, shall we:
Crowded House released Pineapple Head on their fourth album, Together Alone, in October 1993. The album got to #4 in the UK, #2 in Australia and #1 in New Zealand, as befits a band from the Antipodes, though it only got to #73 in the US. It was also released as a single in the UK, peaking at #27. I bought the album at the time and loved it: it was one of those that accompanied me many times on my commute around London’s North Circular Road (aka the road from Hell). Which is a rather strained way of linking into my next song, which comes from the guy who gave us a single and album called The Road To Hell:
God’s Great Banana Skin was the title track of Chris Rea’s twelfth album, which was released in October 1992 and got to #4 in the UK Albums chart. Like just about everything he did it didn’t make the US charts, for some reason which has always mystified me, as I’d have thought his music was ideally suited to that market. Maybe he was just too good? This was also the second single taken from the album, in November 1992, when it got to #31 in the UK – again, nothing doing in the US.
One of you commented last week on a song I might have included in my first set. It was already on my list, so I thought I’d play it this time round. Having played three apple songs last time it’s about time that I included a lemon too:
I think that shows Meat Loaf at his best, as a fantastic live performer. I wish I’d been able to see him in concert before he was taken from us in January 2022. The two female singers on that deserve some credit too: they are Marion Raven (brunette) and Aspen Miller (blonde). Both are incredible. The performance is from the Seize the Night tour in 2007, also known as the Three Bats tour, as it was promoting his album Bat Out Of Hell III. This song was actually a track on the Bat Out Of Hell II album, which was released in September 1993, making #1 in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, selling over 14m copies in the process. It wasn’t officially released as a single though it was given to radio stations as part of the album’s promotion, and made #17 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart (based on airplay) as a result.
Another fruit I have yet to include is the little cherry. I’m closing this week with a pair of them, firstly this one:
Cherry Cherry goes all the way back to July 1966, when it was released as a single by Neil Diamond and reached #6 in the US, #8 in Canada and #52 in the UK. It is a timeless pop classic, although it had originally been intended just as a demo. They knew what they were doing when they put this one out, as it became his first big hit. It was included the following month as the closing track on his debut album, The Feel Of Neil Diamond, which made #137 in the US. Maybe its awful title held it back? If you’re wondering where the intro sounds familiar from, think The Monkees and A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You. Neil Diamond wrote that one too, proving that there is no harm in recycling a good riff if you have one.
I’m finishing this week’s selection from the fruit bowl with one of my favourite singer-songwriters, who you will have seen here before:
Cherry Bomb was a track on John Mellencamp’s ninth album, The Lonesome Jubilee, released in August 1987 and getting to #6 in the US and #31 in the UK, though it did get to #1 in Canada. I have long been a fan and have bought all of his albums – I can especially recommend them for keeping you company on long drives! This track was released as a single in October 1987, making #8 in the US and #5 in Canada, though it wasn’t a hit in the UK. Those like me had the album already, anyway!
That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this second helping of a healthy diet. I have more of them, maybe next week or maybe not. I’ll see you again in a couple of days, and again for Song Lyric Sunday: I have something sweet lined up for that. Take care 😊