That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

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Blair N. Cummings
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That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

Has it ever been confirmed or definitively laid to rest that Bob Dylan was the first to be offered "Raindrops..." for the Butch Cassidy ST?
That Ray Stevens took a pass I can believe. That Burt would offer one of his songs to someone whose talent lay...well, outside the hitting of notes makes me a little more skeptical.
Anyone?

BachtoBacharach
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by BachtoBacharach »

Don't think we will ever know for sure...to my knowledge, Dylan has never commented about it nor has Burt ever confirmed or denied it. Dionne Warwick says that when she first heard the tune while Burt and Hal were finishing it up, she felt it would be perfect for friend and Scepter labelmate BJ Thomas and suggested him. BJ Thomas has told over the years three versions of his getting the tune: (1) the same version as Dionne and confirming that Dionne suggested him; (2) that Dylan was offered the tune and turned it down and (3) that Ray Stevens was offered the tune and turned it down. Ray Stevens has stated the he was offered the tune and turned it down and says that he heard it was also offered to Dylan. Both Ray and BJ were seeing a lot of chart action at the time and both were popular and talented vocalists. I agree that Dylan was likely not offered the tune by Bacharach as he was not known, as you say, to always sing a tune within the framework of the score and with Burt being such a perfectionist, I have my doubts. There were rumors in some quarters that Dionne was first offered the tune but she says absolutely not; that Burt wrote the tune with a male voice in mind and I agree; she would know and I believe that rumor circulated because Burt and Hal wrote most of her material. I believe the most consistent version is that Ray Stevens was offered first, turned it down and then the tune was offered to BJ, and the most consistent version also makes the most sense. In any of these cases, it can't be ruled out that Dionne suggested BJ. Interesting to note that "Raindrops..." was released in late 1969 and on December 3, 1969 Burt was in A & R Studios with Dionne and BJ working on duet versions of "Make It Easy On Yourself" and "They Don't Give Medals (to Yesterday's Heros)". Dionne also recorded around December 5, 1969 the original version "Everybody's Out of Town" (along with her solo version of "They Don't Give Medals (to Yesterday's Heros) but her version of "Everybody's..." was lost in the WB Vaults according to David Nathan, and all that remains is an empty tape box with those notations. Apparently BJ's version was recorded using the Dionne backing tape in January 1970.

Alistair
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by Alistair »

I would dearly love to hear that Dionne version of "Everybody's Out Of Town" - imagine her voice against that slithery backing track! (I love that intro). It is a very under-rated B/D song.
Wonder if it will ever turn up - maybe David Nathan could instigate a search of the vaults?
Alistair

steveo_1965
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by steveo_1965 »

Hi,
First of all, although the jaunty vocal styling of Raindrops seems like it
could fit "Bob"..it doesnt seem likely that Bob would record other peoples material....has he ever since he started writing?
Perhaps Burt and Hal thought they might have been able to persuade Bob to record Raindrops...but well, naturally in the light that he sings and records his own material....the chances would be slim...
So, I opt for the Ray Stevens story, even tho Burt and Hal may have tossed it to Bob for a lark...knowing that he would probably 99 and 9/10 % say "no"
My own take...
Steveo

Blair N. Cummings
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

In fact, Mr. Zimmerman recorded a double album of others` material back in(I believe )1970 , ironically entitled "Self Portrait". It included, among other atrocities, Bobby`s version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water".
Yes, it sucked...supposedly on purpose to rid himself of the adoration he so unjustifiably attracted from too many. But, who knows?
The old fraud has changed his stripes more often than even Lou Reed.
He lost me after "Blonde On Blonde".

steveo_1965
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by steveo_1965 »

Blair,
Ahh, ok. I didn't know that he recorded others material, although it was only once.. I didn't follow Bob's career that closely..
Well , his recording others tunes fits in with the "era" certainly...
1970.....
Steveo

mark
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by mark »

I thought the Dylan story originated with B.J. Thomas, but I could have sworn there was an interview with Hal David somewhere where he debunked the story. It's possible Burt and Hal wrote the song "inspired" to some degree by Bob's phrasing or voice, but I can't remember if Hal confirmed that.

BachtoBacharach
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by BachtoBacharach »

BJ Thomas and Burt Bacharach were an unusual combination in that BJ has stated in many interviews that he was so drugged out during this period that he doesn't remember much of anything about those years. BJ says that after the success of "Raindrops" he was thrown into the upper levels of Hollywoodland and the Texas country boy found himself rubbing shoulders socially with the likes of Burt, Angie, Dionne, John Wayne, Conrad Hilton, Rod Steiger, Claire Bloom, Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood, Redford, Newman, et al, singing at the Academy Awards and partying hardy. Warwick and Bacharach had always attracted celebrity fans and Dionne was known as a "singer's singer" (allegedly, two of her biggest fans were Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin) so it I would say it became inevitible that BJ would be drawn into that Hollywood celebrity circle and also to its dark edges. BJ said the success of "Raindrops" opened the doors even wider for some hardcore drug use. Both Burt and Dionne, in those days, were known to abhor working under the influence so it's interesting to wonder how Burt and BJ really got along if BJ was as stoned as he has stated and with Burt's perfectionism. Burt doesn't talk much about BJ but a lot about the songs he sang. I do believe Burt tried to recreate his success with "Raindrops" afterward with BJ but Dionne's departure from Scepter in 1971 seemd to put the quietus on Scepter and BJ and Scepter never recovered from her departure and Scepter went bankrupt in 1976 and BJ moved to ABC Records in 1973. Dionne and Bacharach/David were Scepter's cash cow and the label seemed to deflate after Dionne left, taking Bacharach and David with her. Bacharach later sued Scepter and was awarded $500,000 for back royalties on his recordings, the vast majority with Dionne, and the rest with BJ and others. The Shirelles also sued Scepter. Bette Midler purchased the rights to Scepter owner Florence Greenberg's story but was unable to negotiate the music rights for some of the Shirelles recordings to be used in the film and the project died in 1995. Greenberg was a red-headed, larger than life character and a dead ringer for Ethel Merman. She was known to have a great affinity for expletives and Midler would have been perfect for the part.

Blair N. Cummings
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

I recall Thomas telling Johnny Carson contemporaneous with the "Raindrops" success that he was doing a lot of speed, and also that he was recovering from the flu during the recording sessions resulting in takes (some final) which satisfied neither him nor Burt.
Whatever difficulties pertained in `69 obviously didn`t poison the relationship given the recordings they made later, culminating in the beautiful "Long Ago Tomorrow" in `71.
By the way, does anyone know anything about the story I read lately that Thomas was to have recorded "I`m A Better Man"?
Did he? Is that another vault item?

BachtoBacharach
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by BachtoBacharach »

Long Ago Tomorrow is my favorite BJ/Burt/Hal tunes and one of the most profoundly beautiful and poingnant they ever wrote. It should have been a hit, but alas wasn't. It was from a movie called The Raging Moon but retitled Long Ago Tomorrow in the US. Malcom McDowell starred in the story about a soccer player paralyzed by an accident. The film came out in 1971 and the single was one of BJ's last on Scepter. It is one of the tunes that I wish Dionne had covered but I believe Burt conceived the tune with a male vocalist in mind once again due to the subject matter of the film. They lyrics by Hal David are sorely underappreciated as well. Scepter was in the throes of losing Dionne at the time and I don't understand why their resources were not shifted to BJ to promote the single. But the whole recording industry was in flux and singer-songwriters were coming to the fore so possibly nothing Scepter could have done would have changed much to make the tune a hit. What a tragedy that this tune is so little known. The same story in a way applied to Dionne and Warner Brothers. After being given the largest contract ever given a female singer at the time, Warner''s seemed to lose Dionne and Burt and Hal along with her. Burt and Dionne both have stated that WB didn't know what to do with Dionne; they were largely an album oriented label and she was the top selling female recording artist in the USA at the time and sold singles by the millions. Only one single ever made it off her Warner Bros album "Dionne" and it was one on the album Burt and Hal DIDN"T write! Go figure. And on top of this comes Burt's "The Lost Horizon." Not happy days for Burt/Hal/Dionne/BJ/Scepter.

BachtoBacharach
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by BachtoBacharach »

Alistair, I believe David Nathan has searched the Warner vaults on many occasions when compiling the Rhino cd reissues of those Dionne Warwick albums on the Scepter label. I understand he's found several unreleased Warwick tracks including a couple by Bacharach/David and Bacharach/Simon which remain unreleased and several from Bacharach and other songwriters. There are also alternate takes which differ quite markedly from the official releases from what I have heard. If the master tape of Dionne's original of "Everybody's Out of Town" can ever be found, Nathan would be the man to find it. Scepter was known for the shoddy handling of it's master tapes and was quite careless with them. I've heard that Scepter taped over some masters to save money. My hope is one day that Nathan will post here a complete list of the Dionne Warwick recordings that exist in the Warner Vaults and elsewhere which have been unreleased and have never seen the light of day....no one even seemed to remember that Warwick recorded "California" in 1970 until Nathan unearthed it. It was listed as a Bacharach/David composition in publications by Serene Dominic and others but it was unknown until 2005 if anyone ever recorded the tune.

Bill Minnick
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by Bill Minnick »

I've often wondered if Burt was inspired by Randy Newman's arrangement of "Is That All There Is" for his arrangement of "Everybody's Out of Town." I know that he has publicly complimented Randy for his arrangement of that wonderful recording on at least one occasion. I'd be curious if anyone else sees any similarily, particularly in the chorus.

blueonblue
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by blueonblue »

Hi Bill,
You're absolutely right, the similarity is stunning !!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe9kKf7SHco

"blue"

BachtoBacharach
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by BachtoBacharach »

Love that Peggy Lee tune and the similarities are interesting. Has anyone noticed how Odds and Ends, a Warwick recording from mid-1969 also has some similarities to Everybody's Out of Town as well as Warwick's Who Gets the Guy recorded in mid-1970 and released in 1971? I also hear traces of Raindrops... and This Guy's In Love With You.

As a side note, Lee won the Grammy in 1970 for Bet Pop Vocal Performance, Female-1969 for Is That All There is, beating out Dionne Warwick, who was nominated in the same category for This Girl's In Love With You! Warwick had won in the same category the previous year for ...San Jose and would win again two years later for the album I'll Never Fall In Love Again.

blueonblue
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Re: That old Dylan / "Raindrops..." story

Post by blueonblue »

Burt just loves that "Oompah, Oompah, Oompah" sound !!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l19tP_lYI1I

"blue"

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