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hrishikesh Episode 200: Yusuf / Cat Stevens

“Father and Son”



The legendary singer/songwriter Yusuf / Cat Stevens released his first album in 1967. He’s a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and his albums have sold millions. In 2020, he released Tea for the Tillerman², a re-imagining of his hit 1970 album Tea for the Tillerman. In the song “Father and Son,” he sings a duet between the two title characters, doing both voices. But in the 2020 version, he approached this song in a kind of astonishing way  —  he recorded the part of the father, but for the part of the son, he used a live recording of himself from 1970, taken from a show he played at The Troubadour in Los Angeles. So the two parts are still both sung in his voice, but 50 years apart. In this episode Yusuf / Cat Stevens tells the story of how he created, and then re-created “Father and Son.”

You can buy or stream the 2020 version of “Father and Son” here and the original version of “Father and Son” here.


Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
The West End, neighborhood
Nigel Hawthorne, actor and collaborator
Mona Bone Jakon
Morgan Studios
Chris Blackwell, Former Head of Island Records
Island Records
Paul Samwell Smith, producer
The Yardbirds
Moonshadow, The Musical

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Olivia Wood Episode 199: Common

“A Riot In My Mind”

 

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Common is a Grammy- and Oscar-winning rapper, actor, and activist from Chicago. He’s been making records since 1992, and in October, he released his thirteenth album, A Beautiful Revolution. In this episode, he breaks down how he made the song “A Riot In My Mind,” along with a handful of collaborators, including Lenny Kravitz and a cameo from Chuck D.

You can buy or stream “A Riot In My Mind” here.


Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
PJ – singer & cowriter
Bookmarks – Netflix show
Isaiah Sharkey – guitarist
Boom Bishop – bassist
Karreim Riggins – drummer
Robert Glasper – cowriter
Muhammad Ali
DJ Dummy

The post Episode 199: Common appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Olivia Wood Episode 198: Jewel

“You Were Meant for Me”

 

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Jewel is a singer-songwriter from Homer, Alaska, who’s received four Grammy nominations and sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Her debut album, Pieces of You, came out in 1995, and a 25th anniversary edition was released in November 2020. That album contains the hit song “You Were Meant for Me,” but it turns out it wasn’t a runaway success—not at first. In this episode, Jewel traces the history of making “You Were Meant for Me,” starting with the demo, and moving through all the different versions that were made along the way.

You can buy or stream “You Were Meant for Me” here.


Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Steve Poltz – cowriter
Neil Young
The Stray Gators
Juan Patino – producer
Peter Collins – producer
Flea

The post Episode 198: Jewel appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Olivia Wood Episode 197: Billie Eilish

“Everything I Wanted”

 

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Billie Eilish started releasing music when she was 14 years old. Her debut album came out last year, when she was 17. It debuted at Number 1 on Billboard, went triple platinum, and won her five Grammys. Billie made that record with her brother and creative partner, producer and artist Finneas O’Connell, in their parents’ house in Highland Park, Los Angeles.

While working on that album, they also started writing this song, “Everything I Wanted,” which came out as a single in November 2019. It was Billie’s second top ten hit, and it went double platinum, too. In this episode, you’ll hear some of the original voice memos Billie and Finneas made while writing, and the two of them explain why the song was almost never finished.

You can buy or stream “Everything I Wanted” here.


Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

If you or someone you love is having thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK, or text HELLO to 741-741. You’re not alone. And if you’d like to make a donation to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, you can do so here.

footnotes
Side-chain compression

The post Episode 197: Billie Eilish appeared first on Song Exploder.

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Olivia Wood Episode 196: Deftones

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Olivia Wood Episode 196: Deftones

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