|George Michael: Still going for the clap today... what?|
WE ALL LOVE THE CLAP
by Jo Michelmore
Following on from the ‘whistling’ vintage post of last week, I was this week inspired by the delicious Ruby and the Rib Cage performing ‘The Clapping Song’, which reminded me of another feature in songs I’m a fan of: the clap. Everyone loves the clap, right? What is there not to love? You’re listening along pleasantly and then bam – surprise – clap! Sometimes double clap! Sometimes weird rhythmical clap! Sometimes solid beat keeping clap! I love being at a gig and listening to an audience try and keep time with the clap, or lose time, or never have time with the clap. I love participating in the clap. In honour of the clap, this week we look at some vintage songs featuring various types of claps.
The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go, 1964
Ok, so there’s not a huge amount of clapping in this one, but it starts with clapping, so it seemed appropriate to start our collection with it and it was an excuse to feature The Supremes. 1960’s, this is true vintage and The Supremes first number one, although, it wasn’t the first time they’d clapped hands. Part of the legend of The Supremes involves them convincing Motown execs they could do background vocals and claps for other Motown artists like Marvin Gaye, in order to get themselves signed to the legendary label. Wow, without those handclaps where would music be today? Without Beyoncé? Without Rihanna? Without Christina? Unthinkable. Who knows?
Stealers Wheels - Stuck In The Middle With You, 1972
Who were Stealers Wheels anyway and who’d heard of them before Reservoir Dogs? Some people alive in the early ‘70’s I suppose. This one has some of my favourite type of clapping – the single clap followed by the double clap. Although the lyrics could apply to so many situations, I love the fact that it was apparently written by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan after a dinner at a restaurant where they were literally sat between record executives and producers doing business, hence the lyric; “….clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you”. No! Music industry execs being referred to as clowns and jokers? Surely not! That’s genius. Clap. Clap clap.
Queen and David Bowie - Under Pressure, 1982
Completely indulging here. Even though it was top ten in countless countries and supposedly performed at every single Queen concert between ‘82 and ‘86, this is not the best of either Queen or David Bowie’s back catalogues, but it was a total excuse to feature two of my favourite artists in one hit and it also features the clap as well as the click. Amazing combination talent there. Clap, click, clap, click, bass line. Genius. It’s also one of my favourite road trip songs as it features the scream out loud in the car with the windows up or down while drumming on the steering wheel lyric; “(deep breath) love's such an old fashioned word and (deep breath) love dares you to care for the people on the (deep breath) edge of the light and love dares you (deep breath) to change our way of caring about ourselves (deep breath) this is our last dance this is our last dance (deep breath) this is ourselves, under pressure…” and then it ends with the clap, click, clap, click. Yes, Bowie, yes Freddie, yes. Perfect.
George Michael - Faith, 1987
Faith. When I think of the late ‘80’s, this is one of the songs I think of. Such an iconic song at the time it was from George’s first solo record and the clip features some of the most distinctive images of the 1980’s; the jukebox, the blue stilettos, the blue ripped jeans, the leather jacket, the unshaven George. All of that and it’s got the clap. The song that is, not George. This one’s got a variation on my fave combination, the double clap followed by the single. So catchy. So cheesy. Love it.
Madonna - Like A Prayer, 1989
We couldn’t visit the late ‘80’s without mentioning Madonna. That’s just not possible. This song and clip were so controversial at the time, the lyrics with their sexual innuendo in combination with religious tones, the black Jesus in the clip, Madonna lounging around a church in a skimpy dress, ok, so it’s not weird or confronting now, but this was the 80’s. (Without Madonna doing this we’d never have had as much ass in clips as we do now. You should be thankful for this. ) The best part of all though, of course, is the gospel choir kicking in toward the end, clapping like there’s no tomorrow and Madonna in the clip, facing them, clapping along herself. This is 80’s awesome.
OutKast - Hey Ya! 2003
I was reminded of this song a couple of weekends ago while participating in a little karaoke. There’s clapping all the way through this song. It’s catchy and I still love it, but at karaoke, instead of clapping, I slammed a tambourine into my leg for four minutes. My leg bruised, which taught me the important lesson; tambourines are good but clapping? Clapping rules. Got it? Itsmykindofscene – we love the clap. Er, what?