Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Just Another Purple Monday AKA C'mon Bangles, Let's Go Make Some Chart Noise

So after one impressive, if mostly under-the-radar, album, and one random Leonard Nimoy video, the Bangles began attracting some ... unusual fans. One of those unusual fans also happened to be unusually powerful. This particular fan ... Hmmm. How can I describe him? Let's just say he wore lacy underwear, he liked purple a little too much, and he wrote about thirty-five songs per day.

When you sit back in your easy chair with a cherry Slurpee and think about music that Prince would be into, you probably wouldn't think of the Bangles. But you probably didn't think he'd change his name to a giant symbol either. From an A/V Club interview with Susanna Hoffs:
It was all very mysterious. I got a call … We were working with Peggy and David Leonard, a husband-and-wife engineer team who had done a lot of stuff with Prince in Minneapolis, and then I guess everybody came west, and they were working in studios in L.A. ... Anyway, somehow word got to me to go to Sunset Sound and pick up the cassette from Prince. It was the old days of cassettes, you know. There were two songs on it, and one of them was “Manic Monday.” I didn’t actually see Prince that day, because… I don’t know, either he wasn’t there or he just wasn’t coming out of the studio or something. [Laughs.] But I just got the tape and played it on the way back to the studio where The Bangles were, and we immediately thought that “Manic Monday” was… [Hesitates.] I’ve got to look for that tape, ’cause there was another song on it, and… I have it somewhere—thank God I didn’t throw it out!—but I just haven’t had a chance to go through my old box of cassette tapes. I should probably do it soon, because that tape’s going to start degrading! [Laughs.] But it was cool. The title was really great. It just reminded me of “Manic Depression,” the Hendrix song, and had kind of a psychedelic thing. And then it had these great harmonies, and I don’t know, there were a lot of things about it where I just thought, “This is a really good fit for The Bangles."
And Susanna's instincts ... were correct. Aside from Hendrix, there's also a definite hint of the Mamas & the Papas' "Monday, Monday," which would've made it an even more obvious fit. However, I don't believe it's accurate to say that Prince wrote the song for the Bangles (originally it was intended for Apollonia 6), but he was certainly making his presence known one way or another. According to various sources, right around 1985, either Prince became a little infatuated with the whole Paisley Underground scene (naming his new label Paisley Park Records, building a new complex called Paisley Park Studios, and releasing the psychedelically-tinged Around the World in a Day, the one with "Raspberry Beret" on it), or he was trying to sleep with Susanna Hoffs; no one's quite sure, least of all Susanna. From an MTV Hive interview:
I heard that he wrote “Manic Monday” for the Bangles because he had a crush on you. Is that true?

I would never be able to speak for him in any way, so it’s all conjecture. I know he liked the band, and he invited us on many occasions to jam with him in the studio, just for fun. It was a big thing having Prince’s endorsement. But I couldn’t speak for him in terms of what the motivation was.

If “Manic Monday” was Prince’s way of trying to woo you, he could’ve done better.

Really? I thought it was a great song.

Oh, it was. But when you rhyme “Sunday” with “Funday,” that’s some lazy seduction.

Well yeah, but there’s a lot of stuff in the song that’s suggestive. “Let’s go make some noise” and all that. So who knows? I haven’t talked to Prince in a very long time. Not since the ’80s. I couldn’t begin to guess at what he was thinking.
Nor could anyone else. In fact, if I ever meet the man who can tell me what Prince is thinking, I'll give him a million dollars. The man, I mean, not Prince. Prince is rich enough as he is. Anyhow, I suspect the lustful gazes of Mr. Rogers Nelson were both welcome and unwelcome, but as far as I know, no banging of the Bangle ultimately occurred. Nor did he even write the song as "Prince," instead using the pseudonym "Christopher." What was wrong with this guy? He couldn't even give his pseudonym a last name? If mystery was his game, it was all for naught, since everybody figured out it was Prince, probably because the verse melody sounds exactly like "1999" ("I was dreaming when I wrote this/Forgive me if I go astray"), but it's hard to imagine his pinched, fluttery voice singing this instead of Susanna's summery coo. As another Bangle says, "It was a Banglefication of a Prince arrangement. He had a demo, that was very specifically him. It was a good song, but we didn't record it like 'This is our first hit single! Oh my God! I can feel it in my veins!' "
Six o'clock already
I was just in the middle of a dream
I was kissin' Valentino
By a crystal blue Italian stream
But I can't be late
'Cause then I guess I just won't get paid
These are the days
When you wish your bed was already made

It's just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
'Cause that's my funday
My I don't have to runday
It's just another manic Monday

Have to catch an early train
Got to be to work by nine
And if I had an aeroplane
I still couldn't make it on time
'Cause it takes me so long
Just to figure out what I'm gonna wear
Blame it on the train
But the boss is already there

All of the nights
Why did my lover have to pick last night
To get down
Doesn't it matter
That I have to feed the both of us
Employment's down
He tells me in his bedroom voice
C'mon honey, let's go make some noise
Time it goes so fast
When you're having fun
Of course, this being a Prince song, there has to be a section about the bone-rattlingly awesome sex the singer's been having, but these days Susanna has stopped singing "C'mon honey, let's go make some noise" altogether, on the grounds that it's "a corny line" and "something I'd never say." Oh, but Prince sure would've said it. He probably just said it last night.

As for the Bangles' whole "60s garage rock/sunshine pop" sound: there's maybe a teenie weenie sliver of it still present, perhaps in that synthesized harpsichord at the start, and the mildly folkie harmonies, but it was right about here where the Bangles kind of gave up and just apathetically agreed to sound like a slick '80s Top 40 band. Yeah, they're singing harmonies, but can you even tell it's them? Biggest production mistake: the decision to use an imitation string section on the chorus. Even Prince used a real string section on "Raspberry Beret."

And the video looks just like a thousand other videos, although, with its cross-cutting between sepia-tinted and black & white footage, occasional usage of the fish-eye lens, some dizzying time-lapse photography, and the girls' surprisingly bohemian wardrobe, it kind of anticipates an early '90s video. So it's still a dated video, it's just six or seven years ahead of time in it's "dated-ness"! Just swap out the Bangles with the Spin Doctors, but keep the same exact footage, and who could tell the difference?

In the end, while it's not my favorite Bangles single, I think it still deserved to be the band's first real mega-hit; it peaked at #2 in the US, UK, and Canada, ironically blocked from the US #1 spot by ... Prince's "Kiss". But the true legacy of "Manic Monday," which might have been Prince's secret agenda all along, is that the Bangles quickly became ... The Susanna Hoffs Show. The other three girls were really about to wish it was Sunday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Never Ask For Whom The LaBelle Tolls; She Tolls For Thee

In 1984, Patti LaBelle must have been the biggest singer in the universe. At least that was the conclusion I arrived at while looking at the credits for the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack back in elementary school. Because she didn't just have one song on the album, she had two. I mean, not even Shalamar had two songs on that album.

And then, I didn't hear the name Patti LaBelle for a long time.

Ages later, I heard about this group from the '70s called LaBelle. Any relation to that legendary soulstress on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack? Indeed, a direct relation. "Lady Marmalade" didn't really appeal to me for years (the chorus sounded like gibberish and/or French), but a little while back I downloaded the full Nightbirds album, and holy Superdome, this is some nasty - I mean nasty - New Orleans R&B. But I guess the group never topped it, and to paraphrase the title of her infamous duet with Michael McDonald, Patti headed out "on her own."

Pop success eluded her (although she scored a couple of R&B hits) until that fateful rendezvous with Jerry Bruckheimer and/or destiny, where she landed the opening cut on the soundtrack, "New Attitude," which hit #17. I feel like if the distraught woman from "Neutron Dance" eventually got her act together, and then wrote a song about it, that song would have been "New Attitude":
Running hot
Running cold
I was running into overload
It was extreme

I took it so high
So low
So low, there was no where to go
Like a bad dream

Somehow the wires uncrossed
The tables were turned
Never knew I had
Such a lesson to learn

I'm feeling good from my hat to my shoe
Know where I am going and I know what to do
I've tidied up my point of view
I've got a new attitude

I'm in control, my worries are few
'Cause I got love like I never knew
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
I've got a new attitude
Hey, so I just found out that she sings "like I never knew" and not "Aaaahm ooh-pah-doo!" as I had thought for all these years. Let it also be said that the producer, a certain Harold Faltermeyer, inserts just the right amount of that squiggly "tire screech" synth effect wherever necessary. Now, for the first minute and forty-five seconds of the video, Patti looks like a reasonably fashionable young African-American woman, but at the 1:45 mark, she suddenly transforms into ... a Japanese toilet brush? I didn't realize getting a new attitude meant sticking your fingers in an electrical socket. Maybe those wires hadn't quite uncrossed yet.

Despite only making it to #41 pop, in my mind "Stir It Up" looms just as large in Patti's legend, and it did make #5 R&B, and also accompanied a better scene in the movie (if I recall correctly - it's all a blur). For starters, 1) it's got a synth riff that could've toppled the Ottoman Empire; 2) it's got a pseudo-gospel chorus that the Pointer Sisters would've stolen a thousand brand new Chevrolets for; and 3), it's got a sax solo that could've cracked Glenn Frey's balls. The two best YouTube comments: "In the 80's, jazz-saxophone players were always hanging out on rooftops. It was actually a pretty big problem at the time" and "Came here for Bob Marley actually haha." No, it's not that "Stir It Up" - but Patti LaBelle might be the only singer who could've won a contest with Bob Marley for most untameable hair.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Everything I "Wants" In A Wham! Song AKA Remix Hijinx

Back when I had a record player in college, my friends and I found Make It Big in the dollar section of the record store and we bought it, mainly so that we could make fun of the album cover. But one day, on a whim, I put it on the turntable. I figured I knew only two songs from the album: the first ("Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go") and the last ("Careless Whisper"). I'd heard that "Freedom" had been a hit too, but aside from knowing that Oasis had cheerfully plagiarized its melody for a B-side, I didn't know what it sounded like. Suddenly, I got to Track #2, "Everything She Wants." I swiftly realized I had been mistaken. For there was a third song from Make It Big that I had heard repeatedly throughout my childhood. And it was a good one.

Funny, I'd never connected the song title with the music, possibly because the title was not in the chorus, but then again, the same is true of "Careless Whisper." (Side note: who did George Michael think he was, Bob Dylan? This was some serious "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35" shit).

Of the three US #1 hits produced by Make It Big, "Careless Whisper" may be more famous, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" may be more ... infamous, but, when push comes to shove, my favorite of the three is "Everything She Wants." It is, to lazily paraphrase the title, "everything I want" in an '80s pop song. It is five minutes of unfathomable perfection, 300 seconds of unquestionable magnificence, one twelfth of an hour of unending tastiness. If a terrorist group took me hostage and said, "Either we destroy 'Everything She Wants' from the universe, or we'll kill you," I mean, hey, it's been a nice life, but make it quick.

Bizarrely, AMG's ever-reliable Stephen Thomas Erlewine dismisses the song as "merely good bubblegum" (but for some reason drools all over "Freedom"). "Merely good bubblegum"? Yeah, and the Titanic was merely a big boat. I'm more inclined to agree with the author of the song himself. From Wikipedia:
Although Michael bemoaned much of Wham!'s material as he began his solo career, "Everything She Wants" remained a song of which he was proud, and he continued to perform it in his shows. Furthermore, Michael remarked in an interview (to promote 25 Live tour) that "Everything She Wants" is his favourite Wham! song.
Looks like George Michael and I agree on something, because it's my favorite Wham! song too. I have listened to "Everything She Wants" precisely 78,433 times, and yet I still wonder what it is that makes it so gooooooood. It doesn't sound like it could have been very expensive to make. It doesn't fully re-invent the time honored structure of the popular song. It just ... hits all my '80s sweet spots.

"Everything She Wants" starts out with a drum machine, but the drum machine continues to lope along for what seems like a longer than normal time period of about eight bars. It's the Pink Floyd method; George is testing the listener's patience, leaning back in the thrall of absolute studio power. Ah, but this just sets the stage for the main event at this freaky circus, for at the 0:17 mark, in comes...

1) The "squishy" synth. I don't know what he did to get it to make that "squishy" sound, but it's outrageous, simply outrageous. It sounds like someone sticking his palm on a giant pile of Play-Doh. Well, to be more precise, there are really two parts to the squishy synth: a high-pitched part on the far right channel, and a bass part in the center. Both parts are glorious. But one doesn't even have time to digest the wonder of the squishy synth before, at 0:20, the next epic element comes in:

2) The vocal echo. It has to be the cheapest effect in the book, but hey, Victor Hugo didn't need an iPad to write Les Miserables, you know what I'm saying? It works like this: George's initial, unprocessed vocal appears in the center, but then an echo of his vocal shortly appears on the right channel, and then another echo appears on the left channel! It's like he's singing a "round" .. with himself! Row, row your fuckin' boat, George, that's what I say. I also like his choice of introductory vocal ad libs, to get us warmed up: first there's a feathery "a-ha-ha," followed by a sultry "oh yeah," and topped off with a whispered and supremely aerobic "work!" But if you think he's about to couple this intoxicating musical puree with some cutesy, run-of-the-mill pop lyrics, you're in for a surprise.

"Everything She Wants" describes a situation. In real life, it is, I imagine, a common situation, but in the world of pop music, it is rarely captured in such detail. "Everything She Wants" is the story of a newly married couple who are quickly finding out that they may have ... jumped the gun. Perhaps their union ... was a mistake. George sings from the viewpoint of the husband, and given that, obviously, the song is not autobiographical, he does something fascinating with it. He turns the husband into ... kind of a jerk! This is an '80s pop song with an unsympathetic protagonist! It's like the Barry Lyndon of '80s dance-pop, the Five Easy Pieces of Top 40 fluff. Granted, I've never met this guy's wife. Maybe she's a pain, but last time I checked, no one forces you to get married, and no one forces you to stay married - at least not anymore. Nevertheless, I find this scenario 100% plausible:
Somebody told me
"Boy everything she wants is everything she sees"
I guess I must have loved you
Because I said you were the perfect girl for me

And now it's six months older
And everything you want and everything you see
Is out of reach, not good enough
I don't know what the hell you want from me
Oh, so you got more than you bargained for, hey buddy? Domestic bliss not all it was cracked up to be? So far so groovy, but then George shakes things up a little bit with:

3) A wordless bridge, dropping the echo effect but double-tracking several overdubbed mini-Georges who bounce around the stereo channels. Their words are words to live by: "A-ha-ha, a-ha-ha, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, a-ha-ah, a-ha-ha, doo-doo-doo la la la la la." George very obviously did not sing these overdubs in one continuous take. In fact, the "doo-doo-doo"s sound like one solitary "doo" that was electronically rewound Max Headroom-style, while the following "la la"s were quite clearly spliced in afterwards. This bridge seems to retain the feel of the verses, but all that changes with one magical chord at 1:24. This chord is like the moment in The Wizard of Oz where everything goes from black & white to color. This chord is like that moment when you finally get your car to start after seventeen tries. This chord is everything.

George comes in with a completely new melody that is bold but not cheerful, strong but not comforting. His voice soars into the upper register as he bemoans his doomed relationship situation: "Somebody tellll meeeee, oh-ooh-oh!" Yeah, but then he sneaks in another vocal overdub, this time in a much lower register, almost like a bass singer in a doo-wop song, adding in sing-songy fashion, "Won't-you-tell-me," which is pushed ever downward by what sounds like ... shimmering, synthesized bells! You can literally feel the song moving up and down. My head literally bounces back and forth every time I hear the "Won't-you-tell-me" line. And then "lead singer" George swoops right back in with a much higher "Why I work so hard for youuuu!" This chorus deserves the Nobel Prize. In what category, I'm not sure. Physics? All the different chord changes and melodic hooks interlock in perfect interstellar harmony, like the world's greatest Einstein equation ... but with synthesizers!

The squishy synth gives a squishy little solo, and then this "Jaded Yuppies In Love" scenario takes an even more bitter turn:
Some people work for a living
Some people work fun, girl I just work for you
They told me marriage was a give and take
Well you show me you can take, you've got some givin' to do

And now you tell me that you're having my baby
I'll tell you that I'm happy if you want me to
But one step further and my back will break
If my best isn't good enough, then how can it be good enough for two
I can't work any harder than I do
I give 'em about two years tops, but he better be prepared to pay some child support. My guess is, she'll take one more step and his back will literally break in half. He's pissed off that she's pregnant! The popular idea in our society of today is that, when your wife tells you she's pregnant, it's supposed to be this unsurpassed moment of unequivocal joy. But the reality for many couples is probably a lot messier. And I stand in awe (awe I tell you!) of George Michael for writing a pop song which, smack in the middle of the '80s, portrays a young man who is experiencing "everything" society tells people they should "want"  from their lives... but he hates it! He's like, "Bitch, you're draggin' me down!"

The exhausted protagonist vents one last time in the bridge, where George pulls most of the instrumentation back, turns the echo up even higher than it'd already been turned to, and presses the "bongos" button on the drum machine:
Why do I do the things I do? (I do I do)
I'd tell you if I knew (I knew I knew)
My God! (God God)
I don't even think that I love you
You "think"? You "think" you don't even love her? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you definitely don't love her. Better luck with Wife #2.

George spends the last minute of the song throwing everything that was already great about the song back into the pot. First he switches back to the verse melody, but adds some robust (and probably synthesized?) hand claps, coupled with some Richard Simmons-esque grunts of "Work! Work!," and sprinkles it with more of the aforementioned "doo-doo-doo la-la-la-la-la"s. But he wisely lets the song fade out to the minor key chorus melody, the doomed husband left wailing in the night, wondering how it all went wrong so quickly. At 4:47, George lets out an inhumanly falsetto "Sommmmmmebody tell me!" that adds an extra dose of poignancy to this cad's screed. Aaaaand "scene."

Except not. In a more perfect world, this would be the conclusion of the "Everything She Wants" saga. But no, there is the "remix." See, when Wham! put out "Everything She Wants" as a single in the UK (paired with "Last Christmas"), they decided to put it out as a remix. Why remix perfection? That's the question I have. But that would be fine if the remix had been treated like a silly remix. Instead, either George Michael, or the record company, (or both) have decided that this remix should now be the more widely available version of "Everything She Wants." You won't find the original version on any Wham! "best of" collection. When George performs the song live these days, he does it in the style of the remix. Most questionably of all, the official video produced for the song features ... the remix!

Stop this madness!

That spellbinding introduction? The remix totally fucks with it. There are these extra keyboard notes that come in too early. Way too early. There are extra drum hits that don't need to be there, extra synthesized horns that don't belong ... it's like remixing "Yesterday," and then adding a brand new verse in the middle. That's right, a new verse, with a whole different melody! I'm not even going to print out the lyrics to it.

Here's what I don't get. Every version of the song that I've ever heard on the radio, ever heard at a gas station, ever heard in a restaurant, is the 5:00 "album" version. Maybe in England the remix was the hit version, but in England they also still take the royal family seriously, so there you go. I don't even like to hear the remix by accident. I'm not even going to embed the video, but, for the curious, here's the link.

Interestingly, Prof. Higglediggle and I find ourselves entirely at odds on this subject:
In its inceptive album mix, "Everything She Wants" is a shockingly banal Wham! recording, an artistic misfire from a consistently trenchant and piquant act. While the casual Wham! fan might be impressed with its theme of domestic conflict, the subject matter here, normally an area of immense strength for the duo, is protrusive, meretricious, not at all as subversive and ironic as "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" or "Club Tropicana," vastly superior efforts at societal exposition. The musical arrangement is underdressed, weak, devoid of invention and appeal, a seemingly naked attempt at "catchiness" or "poppiness." The single's few desirable qualities are only brought to the fore by a redeeming remix, which rescues the au courant slant of the language via additional embellishments. The remix becomes an integral commentary on the married couple's evolution, as if the album mix were the husband's misguided effort, the remix now the wife's revision. The extra verse, evidently, represents the much-dreaded offspring, shoehorning its way into a composition which the husband clearly feels it does not belong, but in a fitting twist, is easily the most memorable element of this otherwise humdrum offering.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Robert Palmer: Before He Went Yuppie (AKA Robert Palmer: Proto-Yuppie?)

To paraphrase Noah Cross from Chinatown, you may think you know Robert Palmer, but believe me, you don't. "Hey, it's that 'Addicted to Love' guy! It's cool how he came out of nowhere with a killer video like that." Yes, "nowhere" - or to be more specific, ten years and seven albums of nowhere. Yuppie Rockers don't grow on trees, you know.

But if this Yuppie Rocker could have grown on trees, they would have been palm trees. Either palm trees, or those big drippy weeping willow-looking thingies you always see in pictures of plantations, because on Palmer's first couple of albums, he thought he was a funky New Orleans R&B singer. The thing is, when you're being backed by the Meters and covering Allen Touissant, you practically are a funky New Orleans R&B singer. Also, by chance, if anyone reading this happens to be looking for the great lost Little Feat album, Palmer's early albums are it, since that critically revered '70s boogie band played back-up on most of the songs, and he covered several Lowell George numbers as well. Here's the Touissant-penned title track from his first album, Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley, back when he thought he was the white reincarnation of Al Green. When people think of Robert Palmer, they don't think of music that sounds like this:

I know I didn't. I figured, "Well, if I'm going to write about the guy, I guess I better hear some of his early albums." And then "some" turned into "all of them except one," because, hey, each AMG review sounded kinda interesting, and then before I knew it, I woke up in an outhouse in Baton Rouge smothered in Robert Palmer mp3s. I thought a Best Of was gonna do it, but it turns out there's way more Robert Palmer than anyone other than his former agent can claim to know and understand. And his catalog is fairly consistent - although not exactly predictable. As I dug deeper and deeper, an existential question crept into my mind: Just exactly what kind of a singer was Robert Palmer? He was a little bit bar band rock, a little bit reggae, a little bit disco, a little bit blue-eyed soul, a little bit New Wave, and a little bit easy listening - you know, the usual. I was trying to think of a similar artist. AMG lists everyone from Foreigner to Bryan Ferry to Chic to the Knack (!). And the thing is, those all work! He was like the bastard child of Jimmy Cliff and Eddie Money. Despite all the shifts in musical style, however, there was one quality of Palmer's which remained constant: style. The man was like the James Bond of pop music, perennially prepared to pose for a Calvin Klein ad, with not even a single strand of hair out of place. Robert Palmer was suave before suave was "in." He was, if you will, proto-Yuppie.

So I thought this would be easy and I could just post a couple of videos and move on to the crap we all know, but now I find I've come to a crossroads. It's the worst kind too: the Robert Palmer crossroads. How do you sum up the '70s output of Robert Palmer? What happens to a dream deferred?

Well, you've got the reggae Robert Palmer. Here's his cover of "Pressure Drop" from his second album, which sounds more like the Doobie Brothers than Toots & The Maytals, but hey:

Then he moved to the Bahamas. I don't know if people are aware of this, or it's possible they forgot, but Palmer actually started having hits in the late '70s. Although his first three albums were solid from top to bottom (I actually haven't heard Some People Can Do What They Like, but I'll do what I like and assume it sounds like the other ones), he didn't sniff the charts until Double Fun's "Every Kind of People," which peaked at #16 in 1978. It's not so much "reggae" as it is "Caribbean," and the verses sound a little like Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)," which Palmer eventually covered in the '90s, so I guess that shouldn't be too surprising.

And how could I skip "Bad Case Of Lovin' You (Doctor Doctor)," which hit #14 in 1979? Like the Rascals with "Good Lovin'" before him, Palmer seems to misunderstand what exactly it is that doctors do. Here he is doing a great Jimmy Fallon impersonation, about thirty years too early:

Honorable mentions: "How Much Fun," "Give Me An Inch," "Trouble," "Which Of Us Is The Fool," "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)," "Best Of Both Worlds," "You're Gonna Get What's Coming," "Can We Still Be Friends," "Jealous," "Woman You're Wonderful." Surprise all your friends at an upcoming house party with a killer '70s Robert Palmer mix.

Anyways, the existence of early Robert Palmer always confused the hell out of me. "You mean that's the same guy who did 'Addicted to Love'? How could he have had a hit in 1979 and then have done nothing for so many years?" Well, as any Eastern sage will tell you, it is impossible to do nothing, but the point is, in the years leading up to his MTV glory days, as we shall see, Robert Palmer mostly continued to do what he'd already been doing. Here was a '70s singer who didn't need to go and transform into a Yuppie. He let the Yuppie ... come to him.