The Original vs The Cover – “China Girl”

As everyone is aware, David Bowie had what is called his Berlin Era which was the time period between 1976-1979 when he lived in Berlin and recorded several albums including ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’ and ‘Lodger’.  During that same period, Iggy Pop was living in Berlin as well and the two got together and wrote the song we covering this month on The Original vs. The Cover.  That song is “China Girl”.

The Original version of this song is actually by Iggy Pop.  It was released by Iggy in 1977 on his album ‘The Idiot’.  David Bowie’s version didn’t come out until 1983 on his album ‘Let’s Dance’.  I will tell you that at the time of Bowie’s release I was completely unaware that Iggy had done this song 6 years earlier so I thought this was the original.

There has been discussion over the meaning of the song over the years.  One group believes the song is about a Vietnamese woman that Iggy was completely infatuated with.  Her name is Kuelan Nguyen.  The song is about his desire to be with her, but at the same time warn her of the problems of Western Civilization and the damage it can do as you can see with the line…”Visions of swastikas in my head”.  The fact the were in Berlin probably added to that commentary.

The other camp thought the song was about Heroin since the term “China White” is a term used to describe heroin.  The girl in the song was considered the Heroin and all the problems it can cause.  I can believe either version, but the truth is it was actually about the woman that Iggy was crazy about.  I prefer the love story over the drugs.  Now, let’s get to the music.

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My Sunday Song – “Life by The Drop” by Stevie Ray Vaughn

My Sunday Song #47 is “Life By The Drop” performed by Stevie Ray Vaughn from his album ‘The Sky is Falling’.  The album came out in 1991, a year after Stevie’s death.  It was his final studio album.

I had always thought the song was about drinking, but I was wrong.  The song is about two old friends reunited after years apart.  One of the friends has gone on to make something of themselves while the other has not.  The song is basically saying to live life to the fullest and go after your dreams.  You don’t want to end up old and having tons of regrets.  When I discovered this was the meaning of the song years later, it made sense and I connected on another level with the song.

The song was written by an old friend of Stevie’s name Doyle Bramhall with the help of Barbara Logan.  Doyle wrote the song about Stevie and how his friend went off and succeeded in life, but he didn’t reach the same level of greatness.  He was proud of Stevie, but apparently had a lot of regret on his own success or lack thereof.  From what I have read about Doyle, he did finally release his own album in 1994 which was 3 years after his friend had passed away.  Doyle later died in 2011.

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1983 – The Greatest Year in Music?

Last year, I explored the year 1987 as the greatest year in music.  It was a great year and had some huge top selling albums.  Now , I am going to argue for 1983 as the greatest year in music.  The greatest year in music is very subjective and each person will have a different year.  Probably your high school years and/or the year you really started digging music.  1983 was the year that I started becoming massively obsessed with music.

The year had some of the biggest selling albums and a ton of music that influenced me, but what makes the year even better were the debut albums that came out in 1983. Some of the biggest names in music.  Here are the albums and/or events that make 1983 the greatest year in music:

Michael Jackson:

michael_jackson_-_thrillerWe will start off with one of the biggest reasons 1983 might be the greatest year in music.  That reason is Michael Jackson.  His album, ‘Thriller’, actually came out on November 30, 1982.  However, the impact of that album was truly felt in 1983.  Believe it or not, ‘Thriller’, did not reach #1 until almost 3 months after its release.  On February, 26, 1983, ‘Thriller’ was the #1 album in the country.  It was the first of 37 weeks at #1.  The album is the top selling album of all time at over 65 million copies.  A number that is unheard of and might never be topped.

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