Sunday, July 27, 2008

Some Other Singer

Casey Kasem reminded me this morning that Meat Loaf's "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" (and indeed all of Bat Out of Hell) was produced by Todd Rundgren, not the ubiquitous Jim Steinman. I think of Rundgren as churning out finely wrought, concise Beatlesque pop, while Meat Loaf, of course, purveys that big, bombastic, theatrical sound. I wonder what Todd thinks of his old protege now.

Meat Loaf, by the way, who was born Marvin Lee Aday, changed his government name in 2001 to Michael Lee Aday. Your guess is as good as mine.

Anyway, I also recently learned that Jim Steinman didn't sing his 1981 hit "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" (and don't dreams usually come true? Are they coming through the sewer pipe, like Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption?), but rather it was some schmo named Rory Dodd. Dodd is also the guy who keeps saying "Turn around" on Bonnie Tyler's Steinman-produced "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

So I got to thinking, which other Top Forty hits are credited to solo artists who are not the vocalist? I've got Elvin Bishop's "Fooled Around and Fell in Love," with vocals by future Starship singer Mickey Thomas, and there was a 1987 Kenny G hit, "Don't Make Me Wait for Love," (unheard by me) with vocals by Lenny Williams. Quincy Jones had a hit called "Stuff Like That" from 1978, with vocals by Ashford & Simpson and Chaka Khan, and 1981's "Ai No Corrida," vocals by Dune; I know the latter but not the former.

But I can't find any others. Grover Washington Jr.'s "Just the Two of Us" was credited to "Grover Washington Jr. (with Bill Withers)," according to my source material. All of Carlos Santana's hits were credited to the group Santana. I'm sure there must be others; can anyone come up with one?


Scraps said...

When you say "solo artists", I assume you're excluding bands named after one person but sung by another, like the J. Geils Band and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes?

Anyway, sticking to music credited to a solo artist, I'm pretty sure that's not Bill Conti singing on "Gonna Fly Now".

Scraps said...

On a sort of related subject, there are also albums credited to one person but entirely written by someone else. Such as Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports, which is not only entirely written by Carla Bley but really sounds much more like a Carla Bley album that whatever you might expect a Nick Mason album to sound like.

(I just wanted to drop Carla Bley into consecutive comment threads.)

Gavin said...

May I ask your source on the Rory Dodd thing, Tom?

I came across that story a couple of years ago, and it sounds right to me--but at the time, I couldn't find reliable backup for it.

T. Nawrocki said...

Which part of the Rory Dodd thing? My Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits mentions that Dodd was the vocalist on "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through." I saw a mention of him doing the backing vocals on "Total Eclipse of the Heart" from Wikipedia, but nosing around, I find that its source was probably Fred Bronson's "Billboard Book of Number One Hits."

Gavin said...

The "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" part--the Steinman album's liner notes are vague on the subject. (I hadn't noticed the reference in the Billboard book.) Thanks!

I checked out Herb Alpert's career in an attempt to answer your question, and he doesn't seem to qualify, but I did learn that "Rise" became a hit in England at the wrong speed: DJs played a 33rpm track at 45rpm.

MJN said...

Kenny Wayne Shepherd doesn't (or didn't) do his own vocals. But I would be surprised if he's ever hit the Top 40.

Joe said...


T. Nawrocki said...

Santana belongs in the group Scraps mentioned above, bands named after a person other than the singer, such as his example of the J. Geils Band, or the Dave Clark Five, or, as an emailer suggested, Manfred Mann, which was apparently the name of the band in addition to being the name of the keysman. (They were at one point called Manfred Mann & the Manfreds.)

That would be a good list to compile, but that's not what I'm going for here. I'm looking for instrumentalists or producers who released hit singles under their own name, but with vocals by someone else. All of Santana's hits have been credited to Santana, rather than Carlos Santana, if you get my drift.

Kinky Paprika said...

Sergio Mendes' big hit "Never Gonna Let You Go" was sung by one Joe Pizzulo, as well as a female singer whose name escapes me.

Does the Alan Parsons Project count?
I always got the idea they were a somewhat fluid studio aggregate rather than a band.
Though I haven't made a study of their career.

If you wanna talk producers, I'm sure there were a bunch of disco-era producers who fit your requirements ... people like Meco and Cerrone.

T. Nawrocki said...

Sergio Mendes is a good one. The gal's name was Leza Miller, for the record. The Alan Parsons Project gets filed with the Dave Clark Five Division.

I don't know Cerrone, but were there any vocals on Meco's big hit? I don't recall any.

sdstein7 said...

"Just Once", sung by James Ingram, was credited to Quincy Jones.

And a slightly different twist:

The 1969 instrumental hit "The Horse" was actually the backing track to the "A" side of the record, entitled "Love is All Right". The singer on "Love is All Right", Cliff Nobles, is credited for "The Horse", although he does not perform on the track.

Tony S said...

Herb Alpert does qualify. He got to #5 in April 1987 with "Diamonds," which was sung by Janet Jackson and Linda Keith. Moost people thought it was a Janet Jackson song.

Also, in May, 1972 an Aussie group named Python Lee Jackson got to #56 with "In a Broken Dream," where they hired Rod Stewart for just that session to sing lead. Don't bother digging it up for that, though; it's an awful song.