Aren’t the Brits tired of “You Got The Love” yet?

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

              Every Sunday mid

-afternoon, whether I’m home or on my way to a gig, I’m usually tuned in to BBC Radio 1 Chart Show, just as I’d listen to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 in the 70’s, or local radio countdowns before that. For me, it’s the easiest way of finding out what’s out there, and to come up with things to talk about on stage.

                 Yesterday, I was home, and listened to the entire show for the first time in three weeks. Some of it was interesting, like the latest from teen star Justin Bieber, a 14-year old Canadian, whose current hit, “Baby,” features a rap by Ludacris that includes the phrase “she woke me up daily, don’t need no Starbuck’s,” but it sure sounds like “star fuck.” I like the current #1, “This Ain’t A Love Song,” by Scouting For Girls, though it sounds like they just took what worked on their first album and rewrote it a little better. I also must admit to liking the Timbaland/Timberlake song, in spite of my constant bewilderment at how such a white boy as THAT Justin could be continuing to turn out convincing hip-hop records.

                   What is even more bewildering, though not as much as the continual annoying presence of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” along with the Glee Cast’s version, is the undying support that such an average tune as “You Got The Love” continues to get. This week, the remake by Florence & The Machine RE-entered the top 40, while the live version “You Got The Dirtee Love,” taken from a Brits Award performance by F&TM with rapper Dizzee Rascal, remains in the top 20 after two months. I don’t get it! There have been many better songs that have been remade or reissued. How is it that this one, which never charted in the US in any incarnation, is now celebrating its 4th and 5th UK chart runs?

                  The song goes back to 1986, as a gospel/disco track by a studio group Streetwave. The vocal by US Gospel/Soul singer Candi Staton was added to a 1991 re-mix, taking it from a song she’d sung in an unrelated documentary. Staton had given up secular recording by the early 80’s and has since been a full-time gospel singer and for a time a televangelist. That 1991 re-mix, credited to The Source featuring Candi Staton, hit #4 that year. A 1997 re-mix, a lot of which is a capella, hit #3, and a 2006 further re-mix hit #7. Her accidental contribution to this hit was similar to that of one Camile Yarbrough, whose obscure 70s a capella recording “Take To Praise” became the basis of Fatboy Slim’s global hit “Praise You” in 1999.  Neither one was aware their songs were being used until the records were already due for release. Yarbrough, like Staton, received writer credit and royalties, nice when God gives you a gift like that.

                    Staton was a great soul singer, and her most notable record was “Young Hearts Run Free,” a much bigger hit in UK than US first time out. It remains a disco staple here some 35 years after its release, while in the US it’s largely forgotten. It’s a far better song than “You Got The Love,” and Florence follows Staton’s vocal in a near-karaoke fashion in both her versions. In between all the Staton re-issues and the Florence version, there was a version on a Joss Stone album. I haven’t heard that version, but I’m sure she didn’t take any chances.

                   Florence has a powerful voice, this year’s version of Duffy, and she has better material, evidenced by her other two singles off her album. For however long her career goes, and no matter how sick she gets of that song, she’s going to have to sing it in concert. I think of a similar dilemma facing the band Los Lobos, who have a great body of profound, inventive material, but are still going to have to sing “La Bamba” in every show, the one song that they didn’t write, simply because it was their #1 single.

                       So after this run is over, everybody can leave the song alone for awhile, OK? At least I can avoid it by not ever going to a Florence & The Machine concert. 

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.