The Hump Day Picker-Upper

Cheering you up for a dreadful Wednesday, one song at a time

For those of us taking care of business during the regular workweek, I guess it’s safe to assume we’ve all felt that dreadful Wednesday blues. Sometimes, that middle point of the workweek can be a true drag. But help is on the way!

My proposition for today: Three Little Birds by Bob Marley and the Wailers. In addition to listening to the song, I recommend watching the official music video. It will boost the efficacy of the treatment!

Written by Marley, the song first appeared on Exodus, the ninth studio album by Bob Marley and the Wailers released in June 1977. It also appeared separately as a single in September 1980. Not sure about the three-year delay for one of the Jamaican reggae artist’s most popular songs.

According to Songfacts, the uplifting tune was inspired by birds that frequented Marley’s porch stoop in Kingston, Jamaica: “That really happened,” he told Sounds magazine. “That’s where I get my inspiration.”

An alternate version is the song was about Marley’s vocal backing trio, The I Threes: Group member Marcia Griffiths explained: “After the song was written, Bob would always refer to us as the Three Little Birds. After a show, there would be an encore, sometimes people even wanted us to go back onstage four times. Bob would still want to go back and he would say, ‘What is my Three Little Birds saying?'”

In any case, don’t worry about a thing, ’cause ev’ry little thing’s gonna be alright! Happy Hump Day, and always remember the words of the wise George Harrison: All things must pass!

Sources: Wikipedia; Songfacts; YouTube

The Hump Day Picker-Upper

Cheering you up for a dreadful Wednesday, one song at a time

For those of us taking care of business during the regular workweek, I guess it’s safe to assume we’ve all felt that dreadful Wednesday blues. Sometimes, that middle point of the workweek can be a true drag. But help is on the way!

Today’s remedy is Beautiful Day by U2. With lyrics by Bono and the music credited to the band, Beautiful Day was first released on October 9, 2000, as the lead single of U2’s 10th studio album All That You Can’t Leave Behind, which appeared at the end of that month.

Beautiful Day became one of the Irish band’s biggest hits to date, reaching Platinum status in the UK and Australia, and securing Gold certification in the U.S. The tune topped the charts in U2’s native Ireland, as well as the UK, The Netherlands, Canada and Australia. In the U.S., it climbed to no. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s performance helped fuel the album’s Platinum status in multiple markets and U2 win three Grammys in 2001 for Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

According to Songfacts, The lyrics were inspired by Bono’s experience with Jubilee 2000, a benefit urging politicians to drop the Third World Debt. Bono describes the song as about “a man who has lost everything, but finds joy in what he still has.”…The Edge recalled the recording of this tune to Mojo Magazine July 2010: “(The song) had come through various different incarnations and though we’d always felt it had something it was kind of hard to see where it was going. Really, the moment it got exciting was when Bono hit on the lyric: ‘It’s a beautiful day.’ It seems in some ways such a banal sort of lyric, but combined with the music something wild happened and we all recognized it. Then Brian (Eno) contribution was that fantastically Euro kick drum opening and keyboard line, and that gave us the clue as to where it should go next.”

In full transparency, Beautiful Day isn’t my favorite U2 song, but it definitely has an upbeat vibe. To me, this makes it a good pick to address any Wednesday work blues you may experience.

That’s all for today, boys and girls! Happy Hump Day, and always remember the words of the wise George Harrison: All things must pass!

Sources: Wikipedia; Songfacts; YouTube

The Hump Day Picker-Upper

Cheering you up for a dreadful Wednesday, one song at a time

For those of us taking care of business during the regular workweek, I guess it’s safe to assume we’ve all felt that dreadful Wednesday blues. Sometimes, that middle point of the workweek can be a true drag. But help is on the way!

Today, the hump day blues doctor prescribes Happy Together by The Turtles. I love everything about this tune and also can’t think of a better song to cheer you up. I can honestly say listening to this tune always puts me at ease. One application should be sufficient, but you can repeat as needed!

Happy Together was co-written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, the bassist and drummer, respectively, of Boston area rock group The Magicians. The Turtles first released the tune as a single on February 14, 1967. It also became the title track of their third studio album that appeared in late April of the same year.

Happy Together turned out to be The Turtles’ biggest hit and only no. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached no. 2 in Canada and the top 20 in various other countries, including no. 12 in the UK. The song’s popularity also turned the album into the group’s most successful record, which climbed to no. 25 on the Billboard 200.

According to Songfacts, Happy Together actually is about unrequited love: Our desperate singer wants the girl to “imagine how the world could be so very fine,” proposing what would happen “if I should call you up.” The line in the fadeout, “How is the weather?” is when he realizes they will never be more than passing acquaintances, as he resorts to small talk to keep from bursting into tears. That’s kind of a bummer and also ironic for a song released on Valentine’s Day!

Well, if Songfacts is correct about the lyrics- and to me, it’s one possible interpretation, not crystal clear – the hump day doctor suggests focusing on the upbeat melody and the beautiful harmony singing and ignoring the lyrics!

Happy Hump Day, and always remember the words of the wise George Harrison: All things must pass!

Sources: Wikipedia; Songfacts; YouTube

The Hump Day Picker-Upper

Cheering you up for a dreadful Wednesday, one song at a time

For those of us taking care of business during the regular workweek, I guess it’s safe to assume we’ve all felt that dreadful Wednesday blues. Sometimes, that middle point of the workweek can be a true drag. But help is on the way!

Today, the music doctor’s prescription is Soak Up the Sun by Sheryl Crow, one of my favorite long-time female artists. Every time I hear the catchy pop-rock song, it chases any clouds away that may bother me. I also love the line, It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got. So here you go, take it all in and lighten up!

Soak Up the Sun, co-written by Crow and her longtime collaborator Jeff Trott, was first released in February 2002 as the lead single for her fourth studio C’mon, C’mon, which appeared in April that year.

According to Wikipedia, the tune was written after Crow and Trott discussed the weather during a flight from Portland, Ore. to New York City. At the time, Crow was also recovering from surgery, inspiring the two of them to write a happy song that would cheer her up.

Soak Up the Sun became Crow’s first no. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 Airplay; it reached no. 17 on the Hot 100 mainstream chart. Outside the U.S., the song topped the charts in Japan, reached no. 16 in the UK, and climbed to no. 24 in Canada.

Happy Hump Day, and always remember the words of the wise George Harrison: All things must pass!

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube

The Hump Day Picker-Upper

Cheering you up for a dreadful Wednesday, one song at a time

For those of us taking care of business during the regular work week, I guess it’s safe to assume we’ve all felt that dreadful Wednesday blues. Sometimes, that middle point of the work week can be a true drag. But help is on the way!

For today, my proposition is I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash. The song was written by Nash and first appeared as a single in June 1972. I Can See Clearly Now also became the title track of his 11th studio album released in July of the same year.

After some 16 years into his career, the tune finally gave the reggae and pop singer a no. 1 hit in the U.S. on Billboard Hot 100. I Can See Clearly Now also topped the charts in Canada, and reached no. 3 and no. 5 in Australia and the UK, respectively. That strong performance also fueled the album and made it Nash’s most successful as well.

I Can See Clearly Now has been covered by various other artists. One of the best known versions is by Jimmy Cliff who recorded it for the 1993 comedy movie Cool Runnings. It became a chart-topper in France, Iceland and New Zealand, and reached no. 19 in the U.S. It was Cliff’s rendition that introduced me to this upbeat song. Other covers I’m not familiar with include Canadian jazz vocalist Holly Cole (1993) and Neil Finn (1998).

Happy Hump Day, and always remember the words of the wise George Harrison: All things must pass!

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube

The Hump Day Picker-Upper

Cheering you up for a dreadful Wednesday, one song at a time

For those of us taking care of business during the regular work week, I guess it’s safe to assume we’ve all felt that dreadful Wednesday blues. Sometimes, that middle point of the work week can be a true drag. But help is on the way!

My pick for today is Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves. The British-American new wave band’s song is such an upbeat tune. I’ve loved it right away when I heard it first in 1985.

Written by the band’s guitarist Kimberley Rew, Walking on Sunshine was first recorded as the title track of their second album from December 1983, the first to appear under the name Katrina and the Waves. The group’s debut album Shock Horror!, released earlier that year, was credited to The Waves.

The song (and the album for that matter) were overlooked in 1983. But things changed when the tune was re-recorded for the band’s self-titled fourth album from March 1985 (or third, if you don’t count The Waves), their first major label release.

That version of Walking on Sunshine not only put Katrina and the Waves on the map but also became their biggest hit, climbing to no. 8 in the UK and no. 9 in the U.S. Elsewhere it enjoyed significant chart success as well, hitting no. 3 and no. 4 in Canada and Australia, respectively, and charting within the top 30 in various other European countries.

Lead vocalist Katrina Leskanich left the group in 1998 to launch a solo career, and they disbanded the following year.

Happy Hump Day, and always remember the words of the wise George Harrison: All things must pass!

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube

The Hump Day Picker-Upper

Cheering you up for a dreadful Wednesday, one song at a time

For those of us taking care of business during the regular work week, I guess it’s safe to assume we’ve all felt that dreadful Wednesday blues. Sometimes, that middle point of the work week can be a true drag. But help is on the way!

With the fourth post on the fourth Wednesday in a row, it’s starting to look like I might be able to sustain The Hump Day Picker-Upper as a weekly recurring feature.

My pick for today is I Got You (I Feel Good) by James Brown. Written by the hardest working man in show business, the song first appeared on Brown’s album Out of Sight from September 1964. An alternate take was released as a single in October 1965. The song also was the title track of a compilation album that came out in January 1966.

The above single version of I Got You (I Feel Good) became Brown’s highest charting mainstream hit in the U.S., reaching no. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was his third no. 1 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. It’s hard to believe that none of Brown’s other gems like Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World or Cold Sweat ever topped the Billboard Hot 100.

Happy Hump Day, and always remember the words of the wise George Harrison: All things must pass!

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube

The Hump Day Picker-Upper

Cheering you up for a dreadful Wednesday, one song at a time

For those of us taking care of business during the regular work week, I guess it’s safe to assume we’ve all felt that dreadful Wednesday blues. Sometimes, that middle point of the work week can be a true drag. But help is on the way!

This is the third weekly installment of my recently launched series, so dare I say it is going to be recurring weekly feature? Perhaps, but as noted before, it all depends on time, and unfortunately, my time for blogging remains quite limited.

Today’s picker-upper is Takin’ Care of Business by Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Admittedly, this tune hasn’t exactly suffered from underexposure, but I dug the song when I heard it for the first time and still do. Plus, I think it’s a perfect fit for this series.

Penned by Randy Bachman, Takin’ Care of Business is from BTO’s sophomore album Bachman–Turner Overdrive II released in December 1973. It also became the record’s only single in January 1974.

Talkin’ Care of Business became the Canadian rock band’s biggest hit. The song climbed to no. 3 in Canada and reached no. 12 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100. It also charted in Australia, climbing to n0. 14.

Happy Hump Day, and always remember the words of the wise George Harrison: All things must pass!

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube

The Hump Day Picker-Upper

Cheering you up for a dreadful Wednesday, one song at a time

For those of us taking care of business during the regular work week, I guess it’s safe to assume we’ve all felt that dreadful Wednesday blues. Sometimes, that middle point of the work week can be a true drag. But help is on the way!

This is the second post of a new recurring feature I introduced last Wednesday. As noted then, I’m not sure yet whether it is going to become a weekly series.

Today’s pick is Workin’ For a Livin’, a tune by Huey Lewis and the News I’ve dug since the first time I heard it on the radio back in Germany in the early ’80s. Co-written by Lewis and News lead guitarist Chris Hayes, the song first appeared on Picture This, the sophomore album by Huey Lewis and the News that came out in January 1982. It was also released separately as a single in July that year.

Workin’ For a Livin’ became the band’s third charting single in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching no. 41. It did better on the Mainstream Rock chart where it climbed to no. 20. The band’s mega hit The Power of Love from 1985 was still about three years away.

Happy Hump Day, and always remember the words of the wise George Harrison: All things must pass!

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube

The Hump Day Picker-Upper

Cheering you up for a dreadful Wednesday, one song at a time

For those of us taking care of business during the regular work week, I guess it’s safe to assume we’ve all felt that dreadful Wednesday blues. Sometimes, that middle point of the work week can be a true drag. But help is on the way!

Since music can make you feel better about almost anything, I’ve decided to introduce a new feature ingeniously titled The Hump Day Picker-Upper. Given my two other existing weekly recurring features Best of What’s New and The Sunday Six, and that there’s only so much time I can devote to this blog, I’m not sure yet The Hump Day Picker-Upper is going to become another weekly series. I’ll have to play it by ear.

Picking a song titled Hump Day felt like a natural thought for this inaugural post. Searching my streaming music provider’s database, I was surprised how many tunes are out there, which are named Hump Day. Obviously, I had never searched for that song title before. Here’s one by Bill Cockrell, a Florida artist who is completely new to me. He included it on a 2014 album called Aquaholic. Love this happy, county flavored tune that makes you want to snip along with your fingers!

According to his website, Cockrell began playing the drums at the age of 10 and quickly found himself playing many different styles of music with many different bands over the years. He has performed jazz, Dixieland, classical, rock, pop and everything in between. Growing up in the 70’s, he was heavily influenced by the singers and songwriters of that era. He is also a fan of many other styles of music. As he performed in bands and music programs through his school years, he knew he would have a lifelong connection to music...Being a Florida native and growing up on the beaches soon influenced his music. Hearing Jimmy Buffett provided a way to experience some of the feelings of beach life through music...Bill has also been nominated for several Trop Rock Music Awards in 2016 and 2017, including Song of the Year, Album of the Year and the Horizon Award for best new artist.

Happy Hump Day, and always remember the words of the wise George Harrison: All things must pass!

Sources: Apple Music; Bill Cockrell website; YouTube