Ads #44: Album Adverts

Leo Sayer is the perfect example, for me, of an artist whose music would suck were it not for the intimate tie-in with my childhood.  Even the most ardent Sayer fan would have to agree that "When I Need Love" and "You Make Me Feel Like Dancin'" are both pretty cheesy.  But when I hear those songs I am psychically transported back to my childhood days in Massachusetts.

I think I've mentioned that my school bus actually had an eight track player.  We'd all request the Grease soundtrack so we could shout out the expletives in Greased Lighning.  I also have fond memories of the whole bus shouting "You make me feel like dancin', WHOOO! Dancin' WHOOO! Dance the night away."

In summary: Are Leo's greatest hits cheesy? Yes.  Will I continue to love everyone of them till the day I die? Fuck, yeah.

Back in 2008, I stated that Dr. Hook is the ugliest band in the history of popular music.  I still stand by that claim. But, unlike Leo Sayer, I don't have the same warmth and affection for their music. They always seemed like they were having a good time; but, their goddamn songs sucked. I'm pretty sure you have to be baked to like anything in their catalog.

A combination of tortured artist persona and heavy handed lyrics made this sort of music off limits for me as a kid.  I could handle nouveau if sounded like The Cars, but bands like Genesis were out of my league.  It's funny that, as I got old enough to appreciate a more intellectual and creative brand of music, Genesis had gone in the reverse direction.

Had they started out with trite garbage like "Invisible Touch" and "I Can't Dance" and ended their run with quality stuff like Selling England by the Pound, we'd have been in sync, Genesis and I.

And speaking of selling out in the 1980s... but then, who didn't sell out in the 80s? Everybody from Jefferson Airplane to Steve Winwood had traded in their hippie cred for a Casio and big heaping wads of cash.  "Danny's Song" is a stroke of motherfucking genius.  "Danger Zone", not so much.

"I'm Rick James, bitch!" 
(Sorry.  I saw this ad and just couldn't resist.)


  1. In defense of cheesy songs from our childhood, I maintain that there are songs that are the musical equivalent of tater tots: you know they're no good and you wouldn't want a steady diet of them, but as an occasional treat, they're SO much fun!

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  3. If I ever met the Starland Vocal Band, I'd punch every one of them in the mouth. But I still can't help loving their goddamn song. Has there ever been a more butt-simple idiot-proof drum track? No. I get seizures when I think of how stupid that drum part is. But it only takes one overdriven and flanged steel guitar "skyrocket" sound to make me feel better.

    And Dr. Hook songs do not suck. Fucking genius songs.

  4. Wasn't the title of Sayer's big hit "When I Need You"?

  5. Dr. Hook's songs, at least the popular ones, seemed to be gimmicky or novelty songs. "Cover of Rolling Stone" was catchy, but still a novelty song, and remember "Sylvia's Mother" where the singer sounds like he is fake crying/sobbing while singing. Cheesy.

  6. Let's not forget the big bucket of cheese Buck Owens dropped on us with his cover version of Sayer's When I Need You. I love Buck but his WB recordings are all cheese. Gilligan, you would love his cover of Massachusetts too!

  7. Leo Sayers was produced by Adam Faith?!

  8. Leo Sayer is now an Australian citizen and is still performing regularly here.

    And dare I mention Air Supply?

  9. The comments on Peter Gabriel are a little off base, but I can understand if that's how he seemed to you at the time. Really though, the two bands called Genesis were fundamentally different groups with members in common. (Much like the difference between the awesome Fleetwood Mac and the commercial hit group with Stevie Nicks in it, both of which included Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.)

  10. The Kenny Loggins advert is scaring me. The Peter Gabriel one is pretty damn cool.

  11. I think the first Dr. Hook album is pretty cool. I have had since I was a kid. The lyrics were written by Shel Silverstein.

    Leo Sayer also wrote songs for Roger Daltrey.

  12. I always thought that Dr. Hook was the name of a solo artist and not a band. Decades later I stand corrected.

  13. Did someone deface that Dr. Hook poster with a ballpoint pen, or did they really look like that?

  14. You talk about kids singing songs on the school bus...

    in late 1975, right before moving from New jersey to North Carolina, the song "That's The Way (I Like It)" had JUST come out, by KC and the Sunshine Band.

    I recall the class clown singing those very sexual lyrics on the bus at the top of his lungs("That's the way/Uh Huh/Uh Huh"), and believing he HAD to have made them up!

    Next thing ya know, that song is on every 4 minutes!

    Al Bigley