Saturday, August 2, 2008
ALAN'S REFLECTIONS ON THE GREATEST HITS VIDEOS
O.K., I decided to sit down after twenty some videos and write down my thoughts and reflections on Vikki Carr's Greatest Hits Videos. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Alan Suboter and I from Vikki's birthplace, El Paso, Texas, USA. I have been a lover of Vikki's music every since her "En español" LP, but I wasn't a true dieheart fan of hers until "Total" back in 1981.
Allow me to explain. Growing up in El Paso, we were exposed to her music in Spanish, and when I was in high school, that's when Vikki came out with her "El retrato del amor" LP. I had always heard Vikki Carr singing in Spanish and assumed she was just a Mexican artist like Juan Gabriel, Jose Jose, and Angelica Maria. I had no idea she had ever had a carear singing in English.
It wasn't until about five years ago that I discovered she had sung in English and had hit recordings on the American charts! The way I "discovered" her English recordings was ... one day I was at my parent's house and my mom was playing the soundtrack to the movie "Moonstruck." The song "It Must Be Him" came on. I immediately recognized the voice and said to my mom, "Wow! I didn't know Vikki Carr recorded a song for that movie. It's amazing! She sounds just as good in English as she does in Spanish." My mom looked at me as if I was from another planet and said, "You idiot. That's was her hit back in the 60's!" Well, after that, I began my quest to find everything she sang in English. It was that quest that led me to the Vikki Carr Fan Site, meet Vito, and eventually be in charge of her discography pages.
For her 50th anniversary in show business, I decided to honor Ms. Carr with video presentations of all her hit singles starting from the very first, and eventually getting to the latest recordings to date. In the truest sense of the word, all her songs could be called "hits" because her performance is flawless every time, but I am a historian by nature and chose to only feature those songs that were released as singles. Not every single made the charts, and some made the charts both on the A-side of the disc and the B-side. Some singles were only hits in countries other than the U.S. I have tried my best to research what songs truly constitute her greatest hits as far as single 7" 45 RPM releases are concerned.
I purposely left my name off the credits on the videos for a few reasons, but mainly because, while I may be the one creating the videos, the credit goes first and foremost to God, who blessed us with a talent like Ms. Vikki Carr. Second, I think her parents need to be thanked for allowing her, a little Mexican-American girl from a traditional family, to go perform in places such as Reno and Vegas, often on her own, and for encouraging her to fulfill her dream. And of course, a big chunk of credit goes to Vikki herself for her diamond gem performances on every song she sings, live or in the studio.
I guess the biggest reason why I left my name off the credits is because, in all reality, this is a gift from ALL of us fans who can play a Vikki Carr CD, LP, cassette, or 45, and fall in love with each song as if we were hearing it again for the first time. These videos are from ALL OF US, because it is we, the fans, who love to hear one of the greatest voices of all-time, the voice, the heart, the soul, and the talent of Vikki Carr.
- Alan Suboter (02 August 2008)
COMMENTS ON EACH VIDEO
1. I'LL WALK THE REST OF THE WAY
Actually, this was the second video I created, although it was her first single released. I had just finished "He's a Rebel" and thought I would tie in James Dean again with Vikki. Maybe this is James Dean "before" he became a rebel! This was one of my first attempts at animation. It is time consuming to say the least!
The song is sort of an odd song for an artist debut, but it does fit the time period. The doubling of Vikki's voice is a trick the studio producers were doing with girl singers at the time (a throw back to Patti Page's "Tennessee Waltz" recording). Dottie West had a minor country hit with this song but it was titled "Let Me Off at the Corner." Dottie West recorded several of Vikki's songs including "It Must Be Him."
2. HE'S A REBEL
This is the first video I created for the Greatest Hits series. I knew right away I wanted to pair Vikki with James Dean on this one. I found some pics of James Dean with Elizabeth Taylor and Natalie Wood, so I took their faces off and put Vikki's on for the video.
As much as I love Vikki's version of "He's a Rebel" over the Crystals' version, I am so glad she did not have a hit with this song in the states because, if she did, knowing the music industry at that time, they would have turned her into Liberty's answer to Wanda Jackson or Leslie Gore. They would have probably had Vikki's follow up records be "He's Not a Rebel Anymore," "He's a Rebel Again," "I'm the Rebel Now," etc. etc. Not having the hit in the U.S. was a blesssing in disguise because it gave Vikki the chance to record a huge variety of styles. Had she had the hit, most likely Liberty would have pigeon-holed her into being a teeny-booper, rockabilly one-hit wonder.
3. BE MY LOVE
I was glad EMI UK added this song on its "Ultimate Collection" CD. I think Vikki does such a tremendous job on this song.
4. THE ROSE AND THE BUTTERFLY
I wanted the video to reflect the time period so I looked for things to give it that concept. I took a B&W photo of Vikki's and colored it like they used to do in the 50's and early 60's. This a rare song that most fans don't know about. I'm glad to bring it back with a visual I hope enhances the listening experience.
5. SAN FRANCISCO
What can I say except the song demanded to put pictures of a beautiful city with a beautiful lady. Who else but Vikki Carr? This song is the 7" 45 RPM version as the album version has an introductory lead in with vocal and piano. But I opted for the single release to be consistant with the concept of these videos. Maybe when I finish I'll go back and make a video of the album version.
6. POOR BUTTERFLY / STAY
If reincarnation exists then I think Vikki should come back as a beautiful butterfly. I think she would want to come back as something that brings beauty and joy to people's lives, like a butterfly can! I love the coupling of the songs, and this song was actually very popular with her audience in Japan.
7. FORGET YOU
I wanted to pair Vikki up again with someone so I decided on Elvis. If you look at her aitting at her desk with the large stack of papers, on the side is a picture of Elvis, the King! The broken heart image I thought really looked 60-ish and I purposely used images from that time period to make the video reflect the time period. I especially love the Italian version of this song, and the horns add so much to it. It gives the song a Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass sound to it. In fact, I am surprised Herb Albert & TJB didn't record at least an instrumental version of this great song.
8. THE COLOR OF LOVE
When I began my collection of Vikki's work in English, this was a song I fell deeply in love with. I love the images it brings to the mind, and I tried to make the images my head had come out in the video. Again, I wanted to give it that 60-ish feel to it.
9. BUSCA ESE CAMINO
This is truly Vikki's first all-Spanish release. It was a 7" 45 RPM with both sides recorded in Spanish: "Busca ese camino" b/w "No seas asi." Vikki has always been proud of her Mexican heritage and of the Spanish language. What is so cool about this song is that it was released the month and year I was born!
Listening to her recording of "Unforgettable," I kept thinking to myself, "Why didn't this hit?" When I go back and listen to what was Top 10 back in 1965, I realize that Vikki was a little too ahead of her time. Her music is timeless, whereas a lot of songs that did become hits show their age. This is the first time I tried the trick of making the images go fast. It was fun to do, but again, time consuming.
11. TELL HER OF OUR LOVE
This was a hit in Europe and the UK only. It was never released in the US until EMI UK released the exceptionally brilliant Ultimate Collection (something Sony should think about doing with Vikki's 1970's material). The magazine and newspaper covers are fake by the way.
12. NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART
I was real simplistic with this video because I think the song says more than what can been seen visually. Vikki's voice is so soft and yet sad in this beautiful ballad. It has a nice, soft, bossa nova sound to it.
13. THE SILENCERS
Watching Cyd Charisse lip synche to Vikki's brilliant performance is more than I can bare. They should have put Vikki in the movie, so for the Greatest Hits version of the song, I did! Dear sir, she IS a silencer!
I always loved Patsy Cline's 1962's hit version of this song, but I always thought this song would sound better had she recorded it as a ballad. So, when I bought the "Anatomy of Love" LP and heard Vikki's version for the first time, I just stopped and went, "WOW!" The performance is flawless. The only thing I would have done differently is make the song at least go 3 minutes with maybe an instrumental break in the middle. But this was the 60's and songs were usually two minutes and a few seconds in length, so it fits the time period it was recorded in. I think I would be in seventh heaven if Vikki ever rerecorded this song or performed it live today. (If she did, that she keep it as a ballad and add an instrumental break in the middle.)
15. MY HEART REMINDS ME
This is Vikki's first charted single after He's a Rebel, and it is so beautifully done. Hearing the difference between "He's a Rebel" and "My Heart Reminds Me" shows how glad I am she was allowed to record in a variety of styles. I love "He's a Rebel," but I wouldn't have wanted to hear the same sound repeated one right after the other!
16. IT MUST BE HIM
This song still makes me cry when I hear it, especially the Spanish version. This is the song my mom told me was Vikki's big hit in the 1960's. I never knew Vikki sang in English, but now that I listen to it, I can hear the desperation in her voice as she is pleading with God to let her boyfriend be on the other end of the telephone line. The song was a hit in the UK a year before it finally hit in the US, mainly because it contained the word "God" in it. What I can't get is why the censors didn't want her praying to God in a song? Could you imagine if those very same censors had to listen to what is being played on the radio today? At least Vikki was using the word "God" with the utmost reverence. By the way, the Spanish version wasn't released by Liberty until it was bought out by United Artists. UA released it in 1971, bu the Italian version was released around 66/67. Anyways, I kinda have my doubts about how I did this video. If any one has suggestions, I'm all ears.
17. SO NICE
This song needs to be rereleased. While censors were having problems with "It Must Be Him," DJs were still willing to give the B-side a try. "So Nice" is such a wonderful song and has recently been recorded by several artists. I think Vikki's is the definitive version. This is my second attempt at animation. It gave me practice for "Now I Know the Feeling" which I think I did a better job in animating than on this video.
18. UNTIL TODAY
This was a song from a Broadway musical that didn't do so well called "Make a Joyful Noise" with Bonnie Raitt's father. When the show closed, Liberty decided to push the B-side of the single instead ("Now I Know the Feeling"). When I first heard this song I pictured it being a wedding song, so when I finally sat down to make the video for it, that's the image I had ... a wedding song. I think EMI UK should release this song on a Wedding album collection. I think it would get a lot of play at weddings.
19. NOW I KNOW THE FEELING
I love this video because I got to put the image of my cat Gazpacho in it! Well, it is a clip art image, but I swear my cat looks exactly like it. The animation takes a long time to do, but the end result is awesome! I wanted to make sure to use an image of Vikki from the "Intimate Excitement" LP, and the image I finally chose is from the same photo shoot although it is from the cover of her compilation LP entitled "Just for You." I put the Go-Go dancers in because my vague memories of watching performers during the '60's on television was that there were always Go-Go dancers in the background.
Just a simple video with some images of Vikki against a sunshine background. The last picture I thought was cool so I added it at the last minute putting Vikk's head over the original one. After this single, Liberty reissued "It Must Be Him" b/w "That's All." This time, the song hit the Top 10!
21. THERE I GO
Vikki gets to fall into the arms of Gary Cooper this time! I added a picture of Vikki when she was a little girl because the song mentions being like a child. I love that picture of her. This song was a hit only in the UK and the single only stayed on the charts for a week. But it's a great song, and Vikki's performance is again timeless.
22. THE LESSON
This video was tough because I wanted to use the live footage of her singing it. The problem was that she sang it live, not lip synche. So I had to cut back and forth to images in order for her lips to match the recorded version. I tried my best. This song, unfortunately, gets lost in the shuffle of Vikki's tunes. I think the song is so powerful, and I know some might think the lyrics are archaeic, but anyone who's been in love knows that you get hurt and yet you have to find a way to forgive as well.
23. SHE'LL BE THERE
I was just talking to Vito about this video. This is the one I think I am the most proud of because I was able to get the exact message in my mind across visually. I always thought this song had a James Bond-like sound to it, not the title theme, but maybe a song played somewhere in the midst of the movie. When I thought of who Vikki's rival should be, who other than the beautiful and talented Ms. Liz Taylor. I hope the video does the song justice.
24. YOUR HEART IS FREE JUST LIKE THE WIND
This will be the next video I create in honor of Vikki's 50th Anniversary. It is in the planning stages right now (05 August 2008). I'll let you know when it is complete. Until then, Pax.
TO BE CONTINUED
Posted by Alan at 8:42 AM