My “Go to” Karaoke Song(s)

It has been some time since a “Daily Writing Prompt” moved me enough to use it as a blog idea. Today’s though, was definitely one I could use. The Prompt? “What is your ‘go to’ karaoke song?”

I have to admit, I have sung a lot of karaoke. I did this mainly when I was in my mid 20’s to early 30’s. My friends and I had a couple places that we’d go and sing at. Looking back at it, I have to laugh because they were all dive bars.

I started singing karaoke with my old morning show partner, who actually COULD sing. He had a great voice and often sang ballads from the Great American Song Book. It was always funny because you’d have these people up there singing Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, Queen, and Prince. Then he would get up and sing something from Robert Goulet!

At one point, between radio jobs, I actually hosted karaoke, which I thought would be fun, but it really wasn’t. It was then that I realized there were plenty of people who “thought” they could sing, but couldn’t. They come up to you with requests like, “Put some reverb on my voice” or “Pitch the song up or down” or “Give me more volume on my microphone” … It was crazy! These people are up there thinking their Shania Twain or John Lennon or something.

I have never claimed to be a good singer. I have a handful of songs that I can sing and sing them well. I know which songs my voice will never be able to handle. I stick with the ones I know I can do without embarrassing myself. In my repertoire were songs like: The Wonder of You (the Elvis version), Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Bad Case of Loving You (Robert Palmer), The Lady is a Tramp (Sinatra) , Mack The Knife (Bobby Darin), And I Love You So (lol – yes! The Perry Como song!), and That’s Amore (Gotta do some Dean Martin!).

If I had to pick the 3 karaoke songs that people would associate with me, they would be:

#3 – Tutti Fruiti by Little Richard

The reason for this is that back in the day, I used to change the lyrics to this. The lyrics were … well, not clean. People always laughed when I did this, however, today, I couldn’t do that any more. It’s just not who I am. I actually kind of cringe when I think of some of the lyrics I sang.

#2 Delilah – Tom Jones

I’m not going to lie, this was always a hard song to sing. Tom has such a great and powerful voice. The end of this song is tough. The night is fairly high – and you have to hold it for some time. That high and long note was nothing for my old morning show partner. He used to do this song a lot. I am not sure how or why I started singing it, but it became one I was always asked to sing.

#1 – Secret Agent Man – Johnny Rivers

By far, one of my favorite songs to sing, and hence, my “go to” karaoke song. It was always a favorite of mine growing up. The Johnny Rivers single was recorded live (I think at the Whiskey A Go Go). I probably heard my dad play this hundreds of times on his guitar. It has such a great intro and awesome solo. I remember one time I brought a fedora and a trench coat to the place we were singing so I could wear them when I sang this. Yeah, I was quite the dork in my 20’s!

While I loved singing karaoke, eventually it got old. I felt like I was going out and wasting money on alcohol, and being forced to sing the same things every time. There were plenty of other songs I would have loved to try, but the people I was with always made me sing the ones they wanted to hear (“It’s my birthday! You HAVE to sing Bad Case of Loving You!” etc…) The karaoke “scene” just wasn’t were I wanted to be anymore.

If there was karaoke at a work party or back yard BBQ, would I get up and sing today? Yeah, probably, but I would leave the fedora at home!

Tune Tuesday – Bad Case of Loving You

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This has always been one of my favorite Robert Palmer songs.  I remember hearing it on the radio in the late 70’s and I remember having the 45.  As a radio/music guy, I am really ashamed to admit that I did not know that Robert Palmer’s version is NOT the original.  As you can see by the artist credit above, the writer of the song was John Moon Martin.

Moon was a singer/songwriter who played guitar in a 60’s band called Southwind.  When the band broke up in 1971, he became a studio musician. He played with Linda Ronstadt and almost became a member of the Eagles.  He got a record deal with Capitol Records and released an album entitled Shots From a Cold Nightmare.  Bad Case of Loving You was on the album and it was given a very small release in Europe.  I will put a link to his original version at the end of this blog.

The story is that a record rep played Moon’s version of the song for Robert Palmer on the way to a show.  Palmer liked it and began playing it at his shows.  It was getting good reactions and so he recorded it and included it on his Secrets album. In September of 1979 (a year after Moon’s version was released), Bad Case of Loving You reached #14 on the US Hot 100 Chart.

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In 1990, Palmer released a “greatest hits” compilation entitled “Addictions” Volume 1, in which he remixed some of his earlier hits.

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I remember the first time I listened to “Bad Case” on this compilation.  Immediately, I could tell it sounded more “full.”  I started to read the liner notes.  Despite an internet search, I was unable to find the actual liner notes, so pardon me while I paraphrase what I remember reading.  Palmer said he never really felt like the song was “finished.”  He added some heavier guitars and drums to the track and said that he felt like this version was more like the finished product.

I have come to like the remix version more than his original version, because I tend to agree with him.  It sounds great!  It sounds a bit more produced, and the original sounds weak in comparison.  The one change that I absolutely love is right after the bridge of the song.  There is a simple measure of just four bass drum beats before he starts the final verse.  I just love it!

Here is the original Palmer version….

Here is the 1990 Remix …

Here is the Moon Martin version – recorded a year before Palmer’s original…

“Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)”

A hot summer night fell like a net
I’ve gotta find my baby yet
I need you to soothe my head
Turn my blue heart to red

Doctor Doctor, gimme the news I got a
Bad case of lovin’ you
No pill’s gonna cure my ill I’ve got a
Bad case of lovin’ you

A pretty face don’t make no pretty heart
I learned that buddy from the start
You think I’m cute, a little bit shy
Mama, I ain’t that kind of guy

Doctor Doctor, gimme the news I got a
Bad case of lovin’ you
No pill’s gonna cure my ill I got a
Bad case of lovin’ you

I know you like it, you like it on top
Tell me mama, are you gonna stop?

You had me down twenty-one to zip
Smile of Judas on your lip
Shake my fist, knock on wood
I’ve got it bad, and I got it good

Doctor Doctor, gimme the news I’ve got a
Bad case of lovin’ you
No pill’s gonna cure my ill I got a
Bad case of lovin’ you

robert-palmer
Robert Palmer died of a heart attack in September of 2003.