Monday, August 27, 2018

Musical Monday - Crying by Don McLean


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: June 21, 1980 through July 5, 1980.

Last week I couldn't figure out why Suicide Is Painless reached number one on the U.K. chart in 1980. This week I can't even figure out why this recording exists, let alone why it reached number one on the U.K. chart for three weeks.

This is not to say that Don McLean is not a good singer-songwriter. American Pie is an iconic fixture in the history of music, and songs like Vincent and Castles in the Air are pretty good. The only problem is that he is not Roy Orbison, and Crying, then, now, and forever, belongs to Roy Orbison.

The primary issue is that while McLean is a decent vocalist, Orbison was described by Elvis Presley as the greatest rock singer he ever heard. And Crying, along with Only the Lonely and Pretty Woman, is one of Orbison's signature songs. No one else can do a version of this song that is as good as Orbison's, and that makes McLean's success with this cover of the song kind of perplexing. Orbison was still alive in 1980. His recording of this song still existed (and still exists). Just listen to that version and leave McLean's on the shelf where it belongs.

Previous Musical Monday: Theme from M*A*S*H (Suicide is Painless) by the Mash
Subsequent Musical Monday: Coming Up by Paul McCartney

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Theme from M*A*S*H (Suicide is Painless) by the Mash
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Xanadu by Olivia Newton John and the Electric Light Orchestra

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

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