Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ya learn something new...every once in a while.

I was adding this Pretenders song to my "Best of 198_" playlist today, but I wasn't sure what year it came out, so I went to Wikipedia to double-check.  Turns out it was released as a single in November 1982, even though I'd always thought of it as a 1984 song because that's when it appeared on their mainstream breakthrough album Learning To Crawl.  How that song, and album, came about is a story of tragedy and triumph, but I was also interested to find out that the "ooh - ah" chant from "Back on the Chain Gang" was borrowed from the Sam Cooke song "Chain Gang" from 1960.  Pretty direct lifting, I'd say, but certainly well-used, and I think it falls into the category of "tribute" rather than "larceny."

Plus the whole metaphor of "chain gang" as the daily grind of work (whether artistic or just going to the day job/office) resonates with me quite a bit, and I imagine just about anybody trying to make it through this life.

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