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But I live for the end of the day.

April 17, 2009

What a week. Working a lot of long hours everyday this week, which has left me very little time for blogging and even less time for sleep. I apologize to the people that have been coming back and seeing the same post sitting there day after day, and thinking, “WTF, Paul? You start up a new blog and then you don’t give it the proper attention?” 

It’s the thing about working in the news world, you know. It never stops. 

But working such hours made me think of one of my all time favorite songs, the Vogues’ 1965 hit, “Five O’Clock World” (granted, most days this week my personal Five O’Clock world found me in the office awaiting return phone calls, or stuck in some city or state government meeting that even produce that good of a story… Christ…)

The song was written by a guy called Allen Reynolds, who I’m told went onto be a record producer and actually ended up working with Garth Brooks (my aversion to mainstream country music leads me to take a friend’s word for it and leave it at that). And while the Vogues’ Wikipedia page boasts about many other hits (and oh look, they’re open for engagement at your next village fair), this is the only thing I can say I’ve ever heard by them.

Still, if this was all I had to my name, I wouldn’t complain. The continuing guitar riff is fantastic, the vocals are solid and the production has that nice thick 1960s texture that made several otherwise square white vocal groups sound almost like R&B contenders. 

If oldies radio didn’t do enough for it in ensuing decades, Drew Carey (who I still fail to understand on any level) resurrected the song for perhaps one of the greatest opening sequences of any 1990s sitcom in his show’s second season:

It was enough to tune in each week to see, although the show’s producers kept going back to the well and trying to make more videos (let’s all admit that “Time Warp” and “What is Hip?” were a bit cack, but the show’s use of “Cleveland Rocks” — however trite — is still the best thing to happen to that city. LeBron and Spinal Tap included). And despite my lack of enthusiasm for or understanding of Carey, the show still dropped some great comedic musical references

The unfortunate byproduct of the way the music industry worked in the 1960s is that several labels were able to make bank on a hit single or two, but then either folded or were acquired by larger labels. In some cases, the rights to the label’s catalogue were then tossed up in the air, and “Five O’Clock World” was allowed to be rerecorded on several occasions for other fly-by-night labels looking to make a quick buck with compilations bearing titles like Super Awesome Hits of the 1960s. For some of the absolutely appalling examples of what I’m talking about, run a search of “Vogues Five O’Clock World” in the iTunes store, and listen to some of those 30-second samples. I honestly believe there’s a special place in hell for the people that allow that to happen. And the bands that are so hungry for cash that they agree to stoop to such levels.

Thankfully, legitimate compilations carry the proper version of the song, which is just… still unbelievably awesome. 

The Vogues – Five O’Clock World

And since you’ve been so patient with me during this busy week, here’s an added bonus for you. During the last couple seasons of “The Drew Carey Show,” the producers thought it would be fun to milk the “Five O’Clock World” cow a few more times and ask contemporary bands to record a version of it for the show’s intro. I can’t tell you if any of these versions ever made it on. I only ever saw a handful of episodes when it was actually on TV and not in syndication, and even then, “Cleveland Rocks” was the perennial opener. 

Nevertheless, my dear sweet Scotsmen, the Proclaimers, got to take a whack at the song as a result and did a pretty good version of it themselves. Perhaps unfulfilled by it’s inclusion on “The Drew Carey Show” (if it ever even made it on), the Reid brothers plugged it into their 2002 album, Born Innocent for posterity. 

It’s not a patch on the original, of course, but it definitely has its charms.

The Proclaimers – Five O’Clock World

Thank God the weekend’s nearly here…

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