#3. The Bee Gees Wrote the Biggest Country Song of the '80s
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If you were alive in 1983, you were aware of two things: Pac-Man and Dolly Parton's boobs. Actually, if you've been alive at any point since the late 1960s, you've been aware of Dolly Parton's boobs, but that was especially true in 1983, when Dolly was singing the biggest song of the year with her future partner in face surgery crime Kenny Rogers.
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Here they are, playing Dueling Strokes.
Their duet "Islands in the Stream" was the perfect example of middle-aged sexual chemistry between the two biggest country stars of the day. See for yourself in the performance below: Rogers and Parton are practically reaching for the clean-up sex towel when the whole song is over.
"Islands in the Stream" was so huge that it hopped from the country charts to the pop charts, where it reigned until the other king of pop, Lionel Richie, knocked it out with "All Night Long (All Night)," which is a stupid fucking name for a song. But back to "Islands in the Stream." Parton is a celebrated songwriter, as you probably know, so you'd think that she was the one who penned this steaming celebration of doin' it with a professional Santa impersonator.
"We ride it together, ah-ah. Makin love with each other, ah-ah." -actual lyrics
But "Islands in the Stream" didn't come from the loins of Gramps and Granny Horny up there, it came from someone altogether more disturbing: the Bee Gees.
By 1983, the Bee Gees were six years past the insanely successful soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, and by then disco was so passe that Congress practically gave it a state funeral. But the brothers Gibb weren't ones to let something so small as being intensely hated and completely out of favor stop them from working. They just wrote and produced hit songs for other people, including "Islands in the Stream," which was actually meant for Marvin Gaye.
Fortunately for them, 20 years later, the Gibb backlash subsided enough for the team to perform their own songs once more. Their version of "Islands in the Stream" below isn't bad, considering it's three brothers using tight harmonies to sing about making love to each other.
#2. Neil Diamond Wrote "Red Red Wine"
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If you've ever been to a wedding, prom, bar, or Jamaican winery, you've heard UB40's "Red Red Wine." UB40 is a mostly white British reggae band featuring a redheaded lead singer. Your gut reaction upon seeing them is probably a mix of laughter and outrage. But look again, because this band has had over 50 songs chart in the U.K., sold over 70 million albums, and kept touring after 30 years together. They're like the Rolling Stones of reggae music, if the Rolling Stones were bankrupt.
The point is, when Americans finally found out about UB40 and "Red Red Wine" in 1988, we went apeshit. Watch this song and try not to be happy.
The song is so iconic that dummies the world over assume it was once performed by Bob Marley, which not only never happened but is a huge compliment to its original author, a Jewish boy from Brooklyn. If reggae were the Milky Way, the original writer of "Red Red Wine" would be the remnants of the Big Bang, that's how far away from the reggae genre he is.
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Neil goddamn Diamond. Not only did Diamond write the song that eventually became a reggae hallmark, but his original version made it all the way to No. 62 on the Billboard chart in 1968. And believe it or not, his version of the song is as somber as a baby's funeral. Without the jaunty beat and fun rap lyric, you have to actually pay attention to the fact that this is a song about a man drinking himself to death. It's the Leaving Las Vegas of pop songs. Try to get 10 seconds into the song without killing yourself.
But here's the best part: Diamond released his sad sack version in 1968. Two other bands covered it before UB40 got their mitts on it in the '80s. But that version became so well known that once it went reggae, it never went back. Eventually Diamond started performing the reggae version himself, with his own rap breakdown, to the horror of EVERYONE.
#1. Bono and the Edge Wrote the Theme to GoldenEye
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When you think "Bond song," the first things that probably comes to mind are a driving guitar riff, a gun barrel sequence, and an urge to make a pistol with your hands and sneak across the room all stealthy-like. Once you get that out of your system, the next thing that comes to mind is a brassy, seductive title song, usually sung by a diva wearing shiny clothes and thick eyeliner. The Bond people have never strayed from the formula, even when Duran Duran sang "A View to a Kill" in 1985.
The soundtrack to 1995's GoldenEye is no exception. Only this time it was Tina Turner singing the title song. Or Tina Turner's soul and 50-something-year-old voice singing through a stolen husk of a supermodel's body. Watch the video and try not to remember that the woman singing was already a quarter of a century old when the Beatles landed in America.
Usually the theme songs from Bond movies are written by composer veterans with tons of movie soundtracks under their belts -- guys like Oscar winner John Barry and the guy who wrote the theme to Rocky, Bill Conti. But 1995 was no ordinary year: Val Kilmer was Batman, Coolio had the biggest song of the year, and O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murder. It was a topsy-turvy world. So of course when mega-group U2 wanted a shot at writing the theme to the new Bond movie, they got it.
Bono and the Edge were Turner's neighbors in the south of France at the time, and upon hearing that she'd been offered the theme song, they dashed off "GoldenEye" for her. The song is all Bondian horn flourishes and Turner's smoky, soulful vocal. What is not clear is whether or not the band was actually able to watch the film beforehand. "GoldenEye" is the name of a weaponized satellite that Bond must destroy, a sequence of events that U2 described as follows:
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Photo included so you can picture them singing this while rolling around on the ground.
GoldenEye not lace or leather
Golden chains take him to the spot
GoldenEye I'll show him forever
You'll never know how I watched you from the shadows as a child
You'll never know how it feels to be so close and be denied
It's a gold and honey trap
I've got for you tonight
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"Thank you, Clevel- wait, where'd they all go?"
Yeah, they pretty clearly thought "GoldenEye" was Bond's nickname for his dick.
For more unexpected sources of entertainment, check out 7 Shockingly Dark Origins of Lovable Children's Characters and The 6 Raunchiest, Most Depraved Sex Acts (From the Bible).
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 5 Features of the New Xbox That Are About to Ruin Everything.
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