Aretha Franklin – I Wanna Be Around (1963)

October 22, 2019 – Day 122

“I Wanna Be Around” is a popular song by Sadie Vimmerstedt and Johnny Mercer and has been recorded many times. Brian Wilson is a fan, he originally intended to record it for The Beach Boys lost album “Smile” and recorded an instrumental version that was eventually released, also recorded a version with vocals, 30 seconds of which were weaved into his 2004 re-recording of the same album. At the time of the Smile recording sessions the Tony Bennett version from his 1963 album “I Wanna Be Around…” would’ve been the most popular, but the same year a 21 year old Aretha Franklin recorded the song. It was overlooked – it was still 4 years until “Respect” – but it is a good performance and Aretha placed it at the end of her album “Laughing On The Outside” to go out on a high note. “And that’s when I’ll discover that revenge is sweet / As I sit there applaudin’ from a front-row seat”

Frank Black – (I Want To Live On An) Abstract Plain (1994)

October 21, 2019 – Day 143

In the early 1990s as alternative music broke, Black Francis became a former Pixie and started a solo career with an inverted and blunted stage name name. Some of the songs on his first few solo albums followed the science fiction theme of the final Pixies album “Trompe le Monde” and some were deliberately weird, like “(I Want To Live On An) Abstract Plain” which kind of sounds like a pitch for a comedy science fiction movie, or at least an animated short. The melody is instantly memorable in the way many Pixies songs are, and it was frequently performed on Frank Black’s tours. “Is it up or down? I want to live on an abstract plane”

Pete Yorn – I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (2003)

October 20, 2019 – Day 142

“I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” was The Ramones second single from their debut album. Pete Yorn’s cover appeared on the tribute album “We’re a Happy Family: A Tribute to Ramones” which was curated by Johnny Ramone shortly before his death. At the time of this tribute album, Pete Yorn was fairly new on the scene with his criticaly acclaimed debut album “Musicforthemorningafter.” Johnny asked the musicians contributing to the tribute album to make the songs their own, and Pete did by playing it as a jangly guitar pop song but in some ways it’s pretty close to the original; the back up vocals, for one, and, for a Ramones song, it’s pretty gentle and straightforward. “Do you love me babe? / What can I say? / Because I want to be your boyfriend”

The Ramones – I Wanna Be Well (1977)

October 19, 2019 – Day 141

The classic release by The Ramones “Rocket To Russia” had the working title of “Get Well.” “I Wanna Be Well” is a song on side two credited to Johnny Ramone. Against the refrain “I want to be well” the minimalist lyrics reference LSD and DDT, referencing a list of things that are making him unwell, I guess. The Ramones bring a dark humour with their lyrics punctuated by “golly gee” and “wowee.” Rocket To Russia was the last album to feature the original lineup and it’s a strong set of songs to end the first chapter. “Daddy’s broke, holy smoke / my future’s bleak ain’t it neat?”

Nouvelle Vague – I Wanna Be Sedated (2016)

October 18, 2019 – Day 140

Nouvelle Vague are known for their bossanova and easy listening cover versions of new wave songs (hence their name.) This cover version of The Ramones best known song, 1978’s “I Wanna Be Sedated” starts with a dog barking in the distance and I imagine a band playing in a gazebo in park in the middle of the afternoon in the summer. The vocals are by Camille of Paris, France. She has a successful solo career in addition to her many guest turns with Nouvelle Vague. “I can’t control my fingers, I can’t control my toes”

Iggy Pop – I Want To Go To The Beach (2009)

October 17, 2019 – Day 139

From walking on the crowd in Cincinatti with The Stooges to reinventing himself in Berlin with David Bowie. Iggy Pop has always been Herr Artiste. As a follow up to the presumably final Stooges album, and also following the death of Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton, Iggy seemed to enter the “I’ll do whatever the hell I want” stage of his career and recorded a weird pseudo jazz album which includes “I Want To Go To The Beach” which is a slow piano tune which seems to be autobiographical in nature. Iggy is lamenting his desire to slow down and settle into retirement. The album was inspired by the novel La Possibilité d’une île (The Possibility of an Island) by Michel Houellebecq. “I don’t know where my spirit went / But that’s alright”

Al Green – I Want To Hold Your Hand (1969)

October 16, 2019 – Day 138

In 1969 The Reverend Al Green released Lennon/McCartney’s “I Want To Hold Your Hand” as a single. Although the recording is fun, it didn’t chart for Green but it probably bought him some attention, and he would go on to record 8 Gold singles over the next 5 years. The song was originally released as a non-album single but was added to the 40th anniversary version of the LP “Green Is Blues” as a bonus track. Fun fact: when Bob Dylan first met The Beatles, he was surprised to find out that they had never tried marijuana because he thought that the lyrics for this song said “I get high, I get high, I get high.” Lennon had to admit that Dylan was hearing the lyrics wrong. “It’s such a feeling that my love / I can’t hide, I can’t hide, I can’t hide.”

The Stone Roses – I Wanna Be Adored (1989)

October 15, 2019 – Day 137

The Stone Roses seemed primed to be the next big thing in British rock. They had, in Ian Brown and John Squire, a writing partnership in the mold of Lennon/McCartney, Jagger/Richards or Morrissey/Marr, if you will. They had legions of fans. What they didn’t have, was a follow up album to their debut LP until half a decade later due to a legal battle, and by then the mania had subsided and maybe the muse was gone, too. The first album, though, had some great songs. “I Wanna Be Adored” plays off the Rolling Stones obsession with the devil but with a twist: the Stone Roses don’t need to sell their soul for rock n roll because “he’s already in me.” The song is an anthem and it has a bassline that is instantly memorable. It leads off the album in the strongest way possible. “I wanna be adored / You adore me”

Dori Freeman – I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight (2017)

October 14, 2019 – Day 136

“I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight” is the title track from the fantastic 1974 album by Richard and Linda Thompson. The album is on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list published in 2012. Dori Freeman is a pure talent who seems to breathe out fantastic vocals like the rest of us breathe out air. It’s a treat to hear such a great voice on such a great song. Freeman is from an Appalachian town of Galax, Virginia and is being recognized in the country music community for her traditional approach. “A couple of drunken knights rolling on the floor / Is just the kind of mess I’m looking for”

Amason – I Want To Know What Love Is (2017)

October 13, 2019 – Day 135

Amason is a Swedish super group with international exposure. Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” doesn’t need any further exposure, having been covered by numerous artists and used in numerous movie soundtracks, however, Amanda Bergman’s poignant and emotive vocal take is enough to bring this song back to life. Amason has a few producers in the band including multi-instrumentalist Gustav Ejstes who produces albums for his other band, Dungen, Petter Winnberg, who has also produced Amanda Bergman’s solo work, and keyboard player Pontus Avant from pop production duo Bloodshy & Avant (Britney Spears, Katy Perry and Kelis, among others) so there are plenty of people to tweak the knobs in the studio and I’m sure they had fun in developing a mood and style for this well known song. The video for the song (which, hilariously, features a search for Bigfoot) was nominated for a Swedish “Grammi” for video of the year. “I’m gonna take a little time / A little time to look around me”