The song known by many folks in my generation as the joint that plays at the end of “Cruel Intentions”, one of the classic teen movies from the 90s that stands out from the rest for it’s unapologetic lusty arrogance from stars Ryan Phillipe, Reese Witherspoon and Michelle Gellar. But the song itself not only wraps up the movie pretty perfectly, it’s an amazing combination of Brit pop, alternative rock and Rolling Stones-inspired orchestral music wrapped all up in a neat little package for consumption during the height of the TRL Era. It’s curious how The Verve were able to make the song so melancholy and yet so vivid and triumphant at the same time, taking listeners on an emotional roller coaster of ups, downs, ins, outs and lots more, as singer Richard Ashcroft conveys a sense of struggling to come to grips with his own self. It appears on their third studio album Urban Hymns. An interesting note: the song was accused of using too much in the sample of the song that inspired it, 1965’s “The Last Time” by The Rolling Stones, and after re-negotiation and changes made, the song and lyrics are credited to Verve lead singer Richard Ashcroft but also Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
Too many times, it’s rather easy for us to forget our history, and even more easy to forget some of the unsung heroes and heroines that have helped to pave the way for many of us to be doing this thing called music for a living. The new movie “Twenty Feet From Stardom”, in the same vein as “Standing In The Shadows of Motown”, helps make that fact even more clear. Some of the most important voices in all of music history are featured in the film, from some of the women that helped to fuel some of the greatest songs, careers, albums and moments in Rock, Motown, Soul, R&B and beyond. Without the strongly stellar voices of these and so many other singers to help bring out some of the best in artists like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and The Rolling Stones, it’s pretty questionable to figure out what direction popular music would have taken. As a powerful music nerd, I’m looking forward to indulging in the history and the personal stories of these singers, and how they helped to change music.