Day 157: A song that you consider to be one of the most beautiful you have ever heard.
“At The End Of The Day” – Mike Rutherford
Mike Rutherford is perhaps my least favorite member of Genesis.
Tony Banks: Brilliant songwriter and keyboardist.
Phil Collins: Amazing drummer, and he can kind of sing, too.
Mike Rutherford: Meh.
I said that once at a table full of Genesis fans. It was one of those movie-like scenes where every thing stops. No sound. No movement. Just people looking at you in astonishment, unable to believe you said something so heretical. And then, just like a movie, they all decided to completely ignore it and move on. Continue Reading
For as long as I’ve known this song, I’ve always wanted to put it in a movie. I’m not sure what originally made me think that way, but I guess the opening notes always evoked images of the sun rising over a city. And it went from there (as you’ll find out). I just think it lends itself to the opening scenes of a movie. And since I’m the Academy-Award winning director of a dozen films, I should know.
What’s that? I’m not? Oh. Well, then maybe this is my big break.
I should probably address the song itself before I describe the whole movie thing to you. “Get Up” opens Mike + The Mechanics’ third album Word Of Mouth. You probably never heard of either the album or the song. And that’s because this was the album where Atlantic Records decided they no longer gave a crap about Mike + The Mechanics, despite the millions that “The Living Years” had made for them a scant four years previous.
It was 1991, and everything was Grunge, Hip-Hop, or some sort of House/Dance/Europop thing. To be honest, the album didn’t fit what was “in,” so the record company simply didn’t (couldn’t?) promote it. I remember seeing many, many, many copies in the bargain bin during my pore-over-the-CD-bins-looking-for-gems phase. I’ll admit it: That killed a teeny little part of me each and every time.
To be honest, it’s not that great of an album. It’s probably my least favorite of theirs, at least until Rewired, but that one hardly counts because by then it was just Mike Rutherford and Paul Carrack. Word Of Mouth is not awful, it’s just very… blah. Nothing really stands out, except perhaps the title track.
But back to the song and the movie.
I should mention that this song has already been in a movie: 1993’s Rookie Of The Year. However, I didn’t know that until about 12 seconds ago and I’ve never seen the movie anyway. But at least someone in Hollywood has some taste. No matter what, I can pretty much guarantee they didn’t use it in the way I have always envisioned, anyway.
So, to help you along, here’s a snippet of the beginning of the song, which is the important part from my directorial point of view.
0:00 – 0:09: Time-lapse photography of the sun rising over a city skyline.
0:09 – 0:18: Time-lapse photography of traffic moving, stop and go, through the city streets.
0:18 – 0:20: Shot of a subway car arriving gliding into the station.
0:20 – 0:25: Shots of people, many dressed for work, walking the sidewalks.
0:25 – 0:26: (As Paul Young says “Get Up!”) A shot of our protagonist looking at his/her watch.
0:26 – 0:35 (and beyond): Various establishing shots of an office, cubicles, etc.
And so on. Can you see it? Can you picture it in your head like I can? No? I’m just a lunatic? Okay, fine.
I have no idea what this movie is about. It’s set in an office, obviously, but beyond that, I haven’t got a clue. Perhaps there’s a script floating around inside me where this happens. Perhaps not. But anyway, I’ve always thought that would be a cool visual. Maybe it’s just me.
But an Academy Award-winning director has to start somewhere…
“I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)”
Mike + The Mechanics
There are a lot of cover songs out there. (Um, duh! Could you be more obvious?) And there are a lot of them that I like. (Okay, I guess you could.)
So when thinking of a candidate for today’s post, one of my personal criterion was that I like the cover better than the original. So, as I tend to do, I started going through my iTunes list to help me whittle down the field.
I was originally thinking “Shout” by Otis Day and the Knights (from Animal House). It’s a classic, but I think I’m going to keep that one in my pocket for a little while longer.
Then I came to this song. For those that don’t know, “Mike” of Mike + The Mechanics happens to be Mike Rutherford of Genesis. Or for those that know Genesis only by the “Land Of Confusion” video, the guy to the left. And yes, Mike + The Mechanics released more albums than just the one with “All I Need Is A Miracle” and the one with “The Living Years” on it. (Which is called Living Years, but did you even know that? Educate yourselves people!)
So, to be clear, when this album (Beggar on a Beach of Gold) was released in 1995, I had never heard Stevie Wonder’s original version. Thus, the Mike + The Mechanics version was my introduction to the song, and my theory is that the version of any song you that you first hear (and like) is most often the version that becomes your favorite. And that is the case here.
This is another one of those songs (this version, anyway) that you’ve probably never heard before. And that’s because, even though Atlantic Records ostensibly released it in the United States they decided to promote it… well… not at all. As a result I’ve heard “Over My Shoulder” and “Another Cup Of Coffee” (both good songs from the album) on the loudspeaker at the grocery store way more often than I’ve ever heard them on the radio.
And that is why I’ve given you the link to a YouTube video (which is not a video, but the song with various images in a slide show format) here. It is not my video. Please don’t shoot the messenger. But, you’ll at least get to hear the song.
Now, Eddie Murphy says Stevie Wonder is a musical genius, and actually, I agree with him, so don’t start sending me death threats about this. (I’d have to try to separate them from the others that I get, and, honestly, I don’t have time right now for death threat categorization.) But the way Paul Carrack sings this song gives it some punch (especially the part at 2:30, I love that part) that the Stevie Wonder version just doesn’t have. Plus I don’t like the change in style at the end of the original.
Don’t get me wrong, Stevie’s version is good, but I think Mike and crew have one up on him in this case. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
So, out of curiosity, what is your favorite cover? (And/or did you know Mike + The Mechanics’ second album was called Living Years? Be honest!)