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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 2:34 pm
by Rob Hall
Here y'go, lifted from one of those sites that fails to give Leiber & Stoller composer credits, while bombarding you with adverts for stuff you don't need:

IS THAT ALL THERE IS?
Peggy Lee

SPOKEN:
I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire.
I'll never forget the look on my father's face as he gathered me up
in his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement.
I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames.
And when it was all over I said to myself, "Is that all there is to a fire"

SUNG:
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

SPOKEN:
And when I was 12 years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth.
There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears.
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads.
And so I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle.
I had the feeling that something was missing.
I don't know what, but when it was over,
I said to myself, "is that all there is to a circus?

SUNG:
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

SPOKEN:
Then I fell in love, head over heels in love, with the most wonderful boy in the world.
We would take long walks by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other's eyes.
We were so very much in love.
Then one day he went away and I thought I'd die, but I didn't,
and when I didn't I said to myself, "is that all there is to love?"

SUNG:
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing

SPOKEN:
I know what you must be saying to yourselves,
if that's the way she feels about it why doesn't she just end it all?
Oh, no, not me. I'm in no hurry for that final disappointment,
for I know just as well as I'm standing here talking to you,
when that final moment comes and I'm breathing my lst breath, I'll be saying to myself

SUNG:
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 3:05 pm
by Pete Fowler
To square one of the circles in the quoted piece: the New Labour project has failed, at one level, because of its goal orientation - the architect of which was Brown. It's been mired in the quantitative; and forgotten the meaning of the word 'quality', which, as a word, has been perverted almost beyond meaning by its New Labour association with numerical targets. We've been left with a Public Services Personnel Paradox: whenever a person has 'quality' in their job title, it invariably means they have none.

So, I send a child to a school because of its examination results; and discover that any great 'improvements' in that school have been achieved by a massive profileration of new qualifications that allow the so-called 'Academies' to excel - with not even the need of a nod towards what most of us have traditionally thought education ought to be. So, I go to the Doctor with a worrying pain in my stomach and find that, actually, he's more interested in my blood pressure and my cholesterol levels - because these are in the targets, these impact on salary.

The end result, across these services, is, then, the same: we reach our goals, but there's a continuing void. We run and run and run, but in Paul Goodman's Apparently Closed Room; and the goal we hit is just another corner flag.

On the larger points, process always trumps product. It was one of the central lessons we learned in the 60s and then forgot: the heart of On the Move, the driver for On The Road.....'those people keep a-moving/and that's what tortures me'.....in that song, the movement that people enjoyed was always far more important than that they happened to be 'big folks eating in a fancy dining car'. Their 'big cigars' made Johnny Cash angry - but their freedom of movement tortured him. Watch his face when he sings that line.

Rambling, sorry about that. But maybe it's that kind of thread.

It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.


PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 3:21 pm
by Charlie
Pete Fowler wrote: the goal we hit is just another corner flag.

Another phrase to join our short-list of this forum's great epigrams.

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 3:27 pm
by Charlie
Ed Howarth wrote: As I remember one of the reasons that Cristina's great version was taken off the shelves, was that there was a Bette Midler version released at the same time and this was the one that was favoured (!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????). It wasn't entirely because of the subversion - more about money as I recall! Annie Nightingale used to play it death on her request show and I'm sure remembers the detail better than I do.

Yes, it was Cristina.

Song-writers and publishers can't usually control or deny versions done of their songs, provided no lyric is changed and the main melody is adhered to. So I think Cristina must have changed something, in order for Leiber & Stoller to exercise their right of veto. But I might have not have understood the rules, and perhaps publishers can register a song as requiring permission for any new version. In any case, it's difficult to think that anybody would expect Cristina's version to affect the success or otherwise of Bette Midler's, and be important enough to require suppression.

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 7:07 pm
by Ed Howarth
My memory may not be entirely correct but I do remember Annie being very exercised about it. The details obviously elude me this many years down the line. Bette Midler's version was not a hit in this country. Cristina's version got a great deal of support from the likes of Blondie and Siouxsie Sioux. According to a variety of accounts it was the most requested single on BBC1 for two years ( presumably Annie's show) and therefore may well have been a hit, had it not been withdrawn. Whether the song was withdrawn because of the author's dissatisfaction with the word changes, or for other reasons depends on which version of 'history' you read/accept.

I still think its great.

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 7:26 pm
by Nigel w
What Is Success?
written by Allen Toussaint
Published by Screen Gems-EMI Music

How does one decide
That the methods he's using,
they just won't jive?
truly believing and trying
Over and over again
Living in hopes,
that someday he'll be in with the winners

when should one change his mind
and jump the fence, oh Lord,
for the dollar sign
Its a sad thing, its a bad thing
but so necessary
that this cold world
cause your values to become
monetary

now what, what, what
what is success?
is it doing your own thing
or to join the rest?
or if you truly believe
should you try over and over again
and live in hopes that someday
you'll be in with the winners?

How does one decide
that the tactics he's using
they just won't jive
truly believe
and try over and over again
living in hopes
that someday you'll be in with the winners


My favourite version of this is by Bonnie Raitt, who is possibly the best interpreter of Toussaint songs around - I love her gender-changed version of What Do You Want The Boy To Do, which pips even Boz Scaggs' magnificent cover , as well as Lowell George...

Great woman, Bonnie. I had lunch with her a few years ago and she was one of those rare people who you've always wanted to meet and when you do, they turn out to be not only everything you hoped they would be but more so.

I was interviewing her for The Times and she persuaded me to donate the fee for my article to her Rhythm & Blues Foundation to support old and poverty-stricken blues/soul singers who never got their dues. Good cause, but if she'd asked me to walk through fire, I think I would have. The sort of woman you couldn't really refuse anything!

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 11:46 pm
by nikki akinjinmi
Charlie wrote:
Ed Howarth wrote: As I remember one of the reasons that Cristina's great version was taken off the shelves, was that there was a Bette Midler version released at the same time and this was the one that was favoured (!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????). It wasn't entirely because of the subversion - more about money as I recall! Annie Nightingale used to play it death on her request show and I'm sure remembers the detail better than I do.

Yes, it was Cristina.

Song-writers and publishers can't usually control or deny versions done of their songs, provided no lyric is changed and the main melody is adhered to. So I think Cristina must have changed something, in order for Leiber & Stoller to exercise their right of veto. But I might have not have understood the rules, and perhaps publishers can register a song as requiring permission for any new version. In any case, it's difficult to think that anybody would expect Cristina's version to affect the success or otherwise of Bette Midler's, and be important enough to require suppression.


In this country songwriters/ and or publishers can register a song which requires the permission from them for a first recording (the first use of the song), for example before a licence authorizing a release is issued.

Generally speaking, I would imagine that writers like Leiber & Stoller, (and/ or their publishers) might have more than enough influence/ clout to affect the releases - of those covering their material, if they wish (even if the material has been released before by other artists).

I remember talking to a member of a group who had covered a D'Angelo written song, some years ago. It had been played as promo on the radio, but the release date seemed to be put back. I hunted high and low for this record and managed to speak to one of the musicians about it. My understanding was that D'Angelo, or his publishers refused permission for it's release. So that was that, but in my humble opinion their version was far better than D'Angelo's version. As far as I know it has never been released other than as a promo.

Incidentally, I did listen to the Cristina version of the song (Is That All There Is?). I don't recall hearing it before. But I understand that August Darnell (aka Kid Creole) produced it. I also listened to the Bette Midler version. Very different versions.

Thanks to those who posted up the lyrics for the songs I mentioned. Funnily enough, I now associate "Is That All There Is?" with a scene from the TV show, Sex & The City, where Dianne Reeves (as opposed to the Peggy Lee version) is wistfully singing at a wedding (or after the wedding has taken place) for a seemingly oddly matched couple. Incidentally, not sure why one would want to hear this at one's wedding, but hey....(shrug of shoulders)

Allen Toussaint's version of his own song (What Is Success?) is my favourite. He sings it like he is a humble man, almost world weary. For someone to have had the amount of success as he appears to have had, and to come up with that song. Wow. I am not sure how early on he wrote it. Perhaps, he doesn't feel as though has been successful. Who knows? He has written so many songs, which have been covered by numerous people in their own way.

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 11:36 am
by Charlie
nigel w wrote:My favourite version of this is by Bonnie Raitt, who is possibly the best interpreter of Toussaint songs around - I love her gender-changed version of What Do You Want The Boy To Do, which pips even Boz Scaggs' magnificent cover , as well as Lowell George...

I'm with you on the quality of Bonnie's interpretations, Nigel, but I do like Allen's own version too, recorded in 1970 and to be found on the Ace compilation of his recordings from that time: What Is Success: The Scepter & Bell Recordings.

I have taken the liberty of editing the lyric you posted, which was incorrect and incomplete, as most of the lyrics posted on those annoying webs lyrics sites are. They all repeat the same errors, but I can never work out which is the one that posts the incorrect lyrics first. The lyric now accurately reflects Allen's version, but I haven't double checked it against Bonnie's, which maybe be slightly different.

May I make a general request, that where we reproduce lyrics in this forum, we credit the writes and publishers, which will make it less likely that they chase us for infringement of their copyrights.

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 12:51 pm
by Des
I haven't understood one word of this thread. Something about the meaninglessness of life and Allen Toussaint. Stuff like that. Can I have a precis? My brain 'urts.

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 6:44 pm
by Gordon Moore
Des, does this help?

Ecclesiastes 1:2 “The greatest vanity!â€

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 8:32 pm
by Paul
So is the Cristina version now available? Have Leiber and Stoller relented or do we have to wait until it is out of copyright before this wonderful record is available again.

The song was mentioned on the recent excellent Peggy Lee biography on BBC4, with L&S remarking how pleasantly surprised they were when Ms Lee took up their offer to record the song, as they thought this Brecht like song might not appeal to Peggy and her fanbase. Seems they forgot this generosity of spirit when they made the absurd decision to block Cristina's remake.

Charlie is quite correct, the Cristina version is in the same spirit as the magnificent original and I for one will make plans to hear them both real soon.

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 9:43 pm
by Des
[quote="Gordon Moore"]Des, does this help?

Ecclesiastes 1:2 “The greatest vanity!â€

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 10:35 pm
by felonious munk
So is the Cristina version now available? Have Leiber and Stoller relented or do we have to wait until it is out of copyright before this wonderful record is available again.


It's available on

Going Places -- The August Darnell Years 1976 to 1983

http://www.dustygroove.com/item.php?id=sbsd8nsy3q&ref=index.php

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 9:22 am
by Ed Howarth
........ or Cristina's 'Doll in the Box' on Ze as I mentioned earlier in the thread (ZEREC.CD11) - got mine from Amazon a couple of years ago

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 9:56 pm
by Neil Foxlee
As an antidote, try Randy Newman's Lonely at the Top.... (unfortunately doesn't seem to be on YouTube, except covered by others/amateurs).

As I noted in another thread, Rand did the arrangement for Peggy Lee's Is That All There Is?