Belmont Club

Culture post of the day

Phil Spector’s conviction started a cascade of free association and so here’s the trivia question of the day. What song has made it to the top of the charts one decade after the other under different covers? In the 1990s, it hit the top of the British charts when it was sung on a drama series. Elvis Presley sang it six weeks before his death. The most famous version is by the Righteous Brothers, but it was really performed only as a solo.

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One of the characteristics of 1950s American mythmaking was its foundation upon archetypes. It dealt with concepts like lost love, revenge, salvation, wonder,  and damnation which contributed in no small measure to its universality. Later, after the sophisticates had burdened it with nuance and guilt, it could still be clever and occasionally original. But never again could the world listen to the voice of Bobby Hatfield, never even knowing his name, and say, “this is how I feel”. One of the most ironic things about American exceptionalism is that it is based, I think, on the supremacy of Everyman.