Instead Of A Christmas Day.

Hi pals.

If you and I are Twitter pals, you’ve no doubt been sick of me going on and on, for months, about the Christmas song I wrote and was trying to put together. It’s called ‘Instead Of A Christmas Day’.

It’s been a bit of a struggle. Learning to use software, recording the tracks, accidentally wiping the tracks, starting from scratch etc…

Bad news is that I didn’t quite get it finished in time for Christmas like I wanted. Good news is that you can still hear an all over the place/working demo version right here >>>

Probably the BEST news is that I now have a whole YEAR to re-record a better and more organised version of it now!

Best wishes for 2016! x

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The Evolution Of ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name’: The Theme From “Cheers”.

I’m a sucker for demos. I like to hear a great song come together. Who the Hell wants to hear dozens of static filled demo recordings and then sit through 58 takes of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’? Me. That’s who.

I love that stuff and today we’re gonna take a look at a song which is even better than ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, The Theme From “Cheers”. Or as it was originally titled, ‘My Kind Of People’. But let’s go back to before even then.

Cheers Single

From Wikipedia…

By 1981, New York songwriter Gary Portnoy had already written songs for the likes of Air Supply (“I’ll Never Get Enough”) and Dolly Parton (“Say Goodnight”). One night in the summer of that same year, his friend Judy Hart happened to be seated next to a Broadway producer at dinner. Upon finding out that Hart was working for a music publisher, he asked her if she could recommend someone to compose the score for a new musical he was producing. On a whim, Hart, who had never written a song, approached Portnoy, who had never written for the theater and, together, they set out to compose the words and music for the musical named Preppies.

In the spring of 1982, Judy (now using her full married name) Hart Angelo sent a tape of Preppies’ opening number, “People Like Us”, to a friend in California, who then passed it on to television producers Glen and Les Charles. Upon hearing it they each felt that, with a lyric re-write, “People Like Us” would be the perfect theme song for their upcoming NBC sitcom Cheers. Upon learning that “People Like Us” was legally bound to the musical Preppies, the Charles Brothers asked Portnoy and Hart Angelo to take a shot at composing a theme specifically for Cheers. The song that resulted, “My Kind of People”, was somewhat of a reworked version of “People Like Us”. It was subsequently rejected.

Portnoy and Hart Angelo then wrote and submitted two more potential themes for Cheers. One of them, entitled “Another Day” contained a lyric line “There are times when it’s fun to take the long way home” that greatly appealed to the Charles brothers. But, overall, the song missed the mark and was passed on. The fourth song began with a catchy intro followed by simple, alternating chords on a piano. The opening verse lines, both musically and lyrically, were something of a lament. The verse then transitioned into a soaring refrain that seemed to capture the essence of why people might want to go to a place like “Cheers” — a place “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”. The two songwriters recorded a simple piano/voice demo of the new song for the Cheers producers. Upon hearing it, the Charles Brothers gave it their stamp of approval and, once Portnoy and Hart Angelo had complied with a request for a few lyric changes intended to broaden the song’s appeal to a more general audience, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” was officially designated the “Theme From Cheers”. The original verse:

‘Singing the blues when the Red Sox lose,
it’s a crisis in your life.
On the run ’cause all your girlfriends
wanna be your wife.
And the laundry ticket’s in the wash.’

Was changed to:

‘Making your way in the world today
takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries
sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?’

After several months of mulling over possible outside singers, the producers eventually asked Gary Portnoy to record the vocal for the opening credits of their new series. (The chorus of the song is six of Portnoy’s vocals that he recorded one on top of the other to create the “group sound” of the hook.) It was also decided to maintain the simple feel of the New York demo in the TV version by keeping the number of instruments to a minimum. The final Cheers Theme was recorded on August 13, 1982 at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles, California.

I’d read that Wikipedia article before and I’d always wanted to hear the original songs and demos but could never find them. YouTube’s a great thing. Here’s the evolution of the song…

Cheers Opener

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* The Exact Opposite Of Happy Days
* Ralph Macchio: “Wax On, Fuck Off.”

Published in: on September 27, 2015 at 16:33  Leave a Comment  
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Poster Illustration: “This Is England ’90”.

I recently entered a Channel 4 competition to design a Rave poster for Shane Meadows’ upcoming miniseries, “This Is England ’90“. This is what I ended up turning in…

Al Cook This Is England '90 Poster.

Now the reason why it’s so plain is because I couldn’t decide on an idea that covered everything in the brief and I spent so much time fucking around with ideas that when it came down to it, the deadline was in three days and I hadn’t even started it yet!

I really like “This Is England”. The film and the two TV series. I’d heard about there being a third series set in the 90’s around Acid House and the FIFA World Cup and all that so I was interested when a guy down the pub told me about this poster competition.

But see, I tried to be sneaky. The brief didn’t mention the FIFA World Cup but I knew the series was gonna revolve around a lot of that. So I tried to stick football into my Rave poster ideas wherever I could.

But what does fitba have to do with designing a Rave poster?
Fuck all. That’s what.

The short story is that I spent far too much time on bullshit waste of time sketches instead of paying attention to what they were asking for the poster.

Here’s everything in order…

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Let’s make it so that the ball is a disco ball and the street is a dance floor and…” NAW!
Back to the wall idea I went…

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What if it was a ripped up fitba poster and underneath was a RAVE poster?!”…

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…”Or what if it was HALF Rave poster, HALF FIFA poster!?”

Ball

It was beginning to get out of hand altogether. All of those scribbles ended up in the bin. And then for some reason after all of that, I decided it should look like a postage stamp. So it became a stamp…

Card022

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Al Cook. This Is England.

Al Cook. This Is England Notes.

Al Cook This Is England 90. Version 3.

Al Cook This Is England. Postage Stamp Version.

The brief didn’t allow for any text with ’90 in it so it had to go in the end.

Al Cook This Is England '90 Poster.

Is that wee smiley face guy copyrighted? Probably is.

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* From Pencil To Paper To Pen To Pencil To Photoshop To Poster
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From Pencil To Paper To Pen To Pencil To Photoshop To Poster.

Hi folks,

I’ve been working on a poster for Glasgow band, The Attic Lights, who’re doing a wee set of FREE gigs up ra North ae Scotland during the Summer. And here it is here…

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The text has obviously still to go on it but I’m not dealing with that part because I’m not very good at it. Another thing I’m not very good at is Photoshop. As a matter of fact, I’ve never ever used it and so I got help with the colours in this illustration. Pretty pleased with how it turned out! I must learn how to use Photoshop myself.

Everything else is hand drawn and here’s the Pencil To Paper To Pen To Pencil To Photoshop To Poster of it all…

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EDIT:
The band added their text on…

Poster

The Attic Lights sound like THIS and they are playing…
Thursday, July 16th, 2015: Twa Tams. Perth.
Friday, July 17th, 2015: Hootananny, Inverness.
Saturday, July 18th, 2015: The Arch Inn, Ullapool.

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* Album Cover Artwork: Love Lust Tales”
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The Soundtrack To My Life. 07/03/2015.

Belle

Record: Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance.
Year: 2015.
Artist: Belle And Sebastian.

Belle And Sebastian’s best record in some time, if you ask me. I was pretty surprised and impressed to find a Euro-Disco track in the middle of the album but yep, that’s just what they’ve done. Suits them too…

AMW

Record: A Mighty Wind (OST).
Year: 2003.
Artist: Various.

I’d never seen this film until recently. LOVED IT! Loved ALL the songs in it! Especially this one…

ghouls front

Record: Dracula’s Deuce.
Year: 1964.
Artist: The Ghouls.

I went looking specifically to find some sort of Horror themed Surf music and found ‘Dracula’s Deuce’ by The Ghouls. It’s exactly what I was after! Imagine an entire album of tracks by a band that sound like early Beach Boys meets early Chuck Berry where every song sounds a bit like ‘The Monster Mash’? EXACTLY what I was looking for…

PB

Record: Foundations Of Burden.
Year: 2014.
Artist: Pallbearer.

I found Pallbearer through Pitchfork. I never read Pitchfork reviews but they seem to keep a better eye out for new bands than I do so I occasionally drop by there to see if anything catches my eye and the artwork to Foundations Of Burden did just that.

I liked this band just fine. I think they’re musically interesting. I think they have a good sound. I think they can be hard and rough when they want to and gentle and melodic when they try. But the only thing is that Black Sabbath did all of this years ago.

SITN

Record: Shadows In The Night.
Year: 2015.
Artist: Bob Dylan.

For the first time in YEARS, Dylan has made a record that does almost zero for me. What we have here is a collection of Sinatra songs that have been covered hundreds of times before by various artists and that’s kind of my problem with it.

Dylan says that they’ve been covered so many times that these songs have almost been buried. I think he was aiming to put a bit of life back into these songs and I love that he recorded them all live but for me personally, Dylan doesn’t add anything to the likes of ‘What’ll I Do’ for me. But then again, nobody could add anything to that song for me. Not since I first heard Harry’s version…

Kurt Vile

Record: It’s A Big World Out There (And I Am Scared).
Year: 2013.
Artist: Kurt Vile And The Violators.

Kurt Vile. That name stood out to me in a Reddit forum thingy in which Tom Waits fans were recommending music to each other so I got this album. I don’t see why so many fans of Tom Waits’ music recommended Kurt Vile. I thought it was all a bit bland but I like this track…

Beetroots

Record: Hide.
Year: 2013.
Artist: The Bloody Beetroots.

I got a hold of this record solely because I heard and liked the name, The Bloody Beetroots. I dunno what I was expecting. That’s the fun of going in blind like that. This was the only track I liked from the record…

DOTD

Record: Dawn Of The Dead (OST).
Year: 1987.
Artist: Goblin.

I’m a sucker for soundtracks and I like to listen to Horror soundtracks especially when I can’t sleep and wander around Glasgow. But y’know, Goblin’s music for “Dawn Of The Dead” doesn’t really do anything for me on its own without the film. I dunno why because I really like the soundtrack! It just doesn’t work for me on its own without the film…

EP

Record: EP.
Year: 2005.
Artist: The Fiery Furnaces.

I’ve liked The Fiery Furnaces ever since I heard their ‘Bitter Tea‘ record years ago…

Harry

Record: Harry.
Year: 1969.
Artist: Harry Nilsson.

I’ve always had lots of time for Harry Nilsson and last week I found this record in Glasgow for £2.00. A Canadian Import seemingly. It has Nilsson’s great cover of The Beatles’ ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ on it…

NC

Record: Fox Confessor Brings The Flood.
Year: 2006.
Artist: Neko Case.

When Andrea recommended the soundtrack and film, “A Mighty Wind”, she also hit me with hundreds of other artists and albums she thought I may like and I’m working my way through those at the moment. I was glad to be introduced to Neko Case and this ‘Fox Confessor Brings The Flood’ album. I don’t like the album cover and so I bet I’ve passed this by when I’ve been record hunting. Anyway, I’m glad I found it eventually because it’s a brilliant record and really well produced too! So far, this is my favourite track from it…

You May Also Be Interested In…
* The Soundtrack To My Life. 07/01/2015
* The Soundtrack To My Life. 09/04/2014
* The Soundtrack To My Life. 14/02/2014

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