Sunday, March 31, 2013

Guitar potpourri for the practicing musician

Doing some bookmark housecleaning while a job is uploading, I happened across this reprint of They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh's superb advice for gigging musicians; if I had read it when I was 17, I probably wouldn't have given up on playing in bands after learning most of these tips the hard way -- which ground my interest in live performance down to a fine powder that the crying girl looking for the ladies room in literally every club and bar currently in this universe would have been happy to snort if you told her that it would get her so high she'd forget whatshisface. My favorite TMBG protips: Park the van against a wall for the night and then no one can break in to steal stuff while you're asleep; the moist heat in the club is what's weakening your old amp's speakers; and "There's no money above the fifth fret."

The other great thing about that TMBG wiki; an exhaustive tabulature page for the band, if you're too lazy to figure out, say, the chords and solo from "Doctor Worm."


Here's something you don't see every day; a site where you can literally search for music by chord progression. "Bm, Bsus4, Am, G" didn't bring up the Stones' "One Hit To The Body," so I declare the site a failure that can never ever ever ever be improved.

Speaking of which, I need you to step into my office for a minute.

OK, look -- we need to have a talk about pasty/pudgy dudes recording headless videos of themselves playing along with rock tunes for small eternity, sometimes tacking an actual guitar lesson for the song at the very end, like anyone wants to listen to classic rock played by the faceless, carb-challenged dinosaurs who still work at classic-rock radio stations. This has to stop, OK?

At least this particular set of talking hands doesn't make you listen to five minutes of him playing four chords in his rec room before talking to you about the song. Let's have more of that, Headless Guitarist YouTuber:

Thanks, man -- good talk!


Oh, one more semi-headless guitarist clip before we all agree to never speak of this again: Young man burns through the head and two choruses of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps"

So, feel bad that you can't play Giant Steps like this kid? Here's a cool automated tab for a Trane tune that even you will be able to keep up with [eventually]. Plus, you get to pretend that you have a soulful, meditative side that the crying girl in the ladies room just doesn't see through her mascara, tears/snot and self-medicated mental illness. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

If It's Too Loud...

Looking at these photos, I suddenly feel better.

Aging Rock Stars: Old vs. Young

Friday, March 22, 2013

Super Hits 1982, Part 7

Prism, “Don’t Let Him Know,” #39, 3/13/82
Another Canadian rock band that never quite made it big in the United States (see Chilliwack, Triumph, April Wine, etc.).   This was the third of their four hits on the Billboard American chart, and their only one to break top 40 (albeit just barely).  This song was written by Bryan Adams (who was also starting on his own career) and Jim Vallance, who had been the group’s drummer back in the 1970s.  Prism’s still around today, with the usual mix of some members from the glory days and some new guys.  They’re scheduled to play in Saskatoon this month, if you happen to be in the area.

Sammy Hagar, “I’ll Fall in Love Again,” #43, 3/13/82
Fourth solo chart hit for Sammy Hagar, not counting his time spent as the lead singer of Montrose, and clearly not counting Van Halen, as he was a few years away from joining that band.  This didn’t make top 40, but between this, “There’s Only One Way to Rock,” and his remake of “Piece of My Heart,” the parent album, Standing Hampton, went platinum.  This one also went to #2 on the rock charts (a separate chart Billboard started in 1979 to measure songs album oriented rock stations played, which included songs not necessarily released on 45 rpm singles).

Larry Carlton, “Sleepwalk,” #74, 3/13/82
Longtime smooth/fusion jazz guitarist has been in a group (five years with The Crusaders in  the 1970s), appeared as a guest on lots of records (those are his solos on Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me,” Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne,” and Mike Post’s “Theme From Hill Street Blues,” among others), and has had a solo career for over 30 years.  Here’s his one solo chart record – a remake of the old Santo & Johnny instrumental that hit #1 in 1959.  He’s touring now, so keep an eye out in your area.

Gino Vannelli, “The Longer You Wait,” #89, 3/13/82
This is a weird story.  Gino Vannelli is a Canadian singer/songwriter (with a truly massive head of hair) who had released six albums on A&M Records in the 1970s, with only occasional midchart success in the States until a track from Brother to Brother, “I Just Wanna Stop,” hit the top 10 in 1978.  In 1981, Gino moved over to Arista Records – I’m not sure whether he had already decided to leave the label before “I Just Wanna Stop” hit, or the decision was made later on (a few Adult Contemporary artists on A&M, including The Captain and Tennille, expressed dissatisfaction over the label’s change of direction in the late 1970s to more contemporary rock acts).  His first album with Arista, Nightwalker, yielded another top 10 hit with “Living inside Myself” in that spring, and the title track just missed the top 40 that summer.  Flash forward to March 1982, and this song, which wasn’t on Nightwalker, makes an appearance, so the assumption was it would be the lead single for a new Gino Vannelli album.  It stalls out well below his usual standard, and then… nothing.  For three and a half years.  In the early 1980s, Stevie Wonder could do that, but almost no other artists – especially if the lead single to a presumably forthcoming album had been released.  (The only possible exception to that rule I can think of is Dan Fogelberg releasing “Same Old Lang Syne” about 10 months ahead of The Innocent Age’s appearance, but that was because the album changed from a single to a double, and Dan was furiously recording the rest of it.)

From what I can gather (and remember, internet bulletin boards can be inaccurate), Gino and Arista label head Clive Davis butted heads over the direction of the next album – Gino wanted to go in one direction, Clive another.  I’m not sure whether “The Longer You Wait” reflected Gino’s vision or Clive Davis’, but since the song charted so poorly, the end result was putting everything on hold until Gino’s Arista contract either ended or was terminated (his next album, Black Cars, came out in the late summer of 1985 on another label).  One thing that is inaccurate on the bulletin boards is the occasional note that “The Longer You Wait” was “unreleased” – which isn’t possible, obviously, if it charted in Billboard (at the time, any song on the Billboard Hot 100 had to be released as a 45 RPM; that’s no longer the case today, of course).

I did read in The Rolling Stone Record Guide about Gino’s “temperamental self-image” – whether that was a tossoff line from the reviewer or based in fact, it’s likely Herb Alpert, president at A&M Records (Gino’s former label) and a recording artist himself, was far more easygoing than the more demanding Davis.  (Maybe Kelly Clarkson has a few thoughts on working with Clive Davis – I’ll have to find out.)  In any case, the end result was Gino’s U.S. career hitting a brick wall – he put three more songs on the Billboard pop charts in the late ‘80s, but never made it to the top 40.

GQ, “Sad Girl,” #93, 3/13/82
Bronx-based four-man (later three) group that had two pretty big hits in 1979 with “Disco Nights (Rock-Freak)” and “I Do Love You” waited too long between their first and second albums, and then made the mistake of pushing “Sitting in the Park” as the lead single (it sounded almost identical as “I Do Love You,” not surprising since both were remakes of 1960s-era Billy Stewart tunes).  “Sad Girl,” from their third album, Face to Face, tried to reverse this trend, but barely scraped onto the Billboard charts, and that was it for their recording career, aside from a 1999 tribute LP to Marvin Gaye and, yes, Billy Stewart.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll,” #1, 3/20/82
Former guitarist and singer with the breakthrough all-female band The Runaways in the 1970s, Jett spent a few years in the wilderness before forming  her own band, the Blackhearts, and her own label, Blackheart Records.  A few early albums did nothing, but she did attract the attention of Neil Bogart, who had begun his own independent label, Boardwalk Records, after leaving Casablanca Records (Kiss, Donna Summer, The Village People) in 1979.  Boardwalk was already up and running with minor hits by Harry Chapin, Tierra, and Ringo Starr, but Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” was a smash from the start, climbing to number one in just a few weeks on the charts.  It remains her signature song 30 years later.

Stevie Wonder, “That Girl,” #4, 3/20/82
After knocking out 1980’s Hotter Than July less than a year after his double-album opus The Secret Life of Plants (the only Stevie album released between 1972’s Talking Book and 1987’s Characters that I don’t own), Stevie Wonder fell back into a methodical method of putting out new material (his next full studio album wouldn’t arrive until 1985, unless you count The Woman in Red soundtrack).   So in early 1982, he released a double album, Original Musiquarium Volume I, of greatest hits spanning from 1972 to 1980, with four new songs (one on each side – vinyl, remember?) to bring in those who already had those studio albums.  (To me, this was a great introduction, and a nice bookend to his anthology of early hits, which Motown allowed to slide out of print right after it was released.)  “That Girl” was the lead single, and it’s a solid midtempo funk number.

Oak Ridge Boys, “Bobbie Sue,” #12, 3/20/82
The Oak Ridge Boys, as the name of a musical act, have been around since the late 1940s.  All those years, and they’ve made the U.S. pop top 40 exactly twice – in 1981 with “Elvira,” and the following year with this near-carbon copy.  It never did anything for me, but I don’t think 19-year-olds from Jersey were the target audience.  Believe it or not, the same four singers are still touring today.

Rod Stewart, “Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me),” #20, 3/20/82
Second hit off the album of the same name for Stewart, after “Young Turks” hit the top 10 in late 1981.  This one sounds like the LP is being played at 45 RPM (kids, Google it), and combined with the subject matter (which fits Stewart’s love-‘em-and-leave-‘em musical persona), makes it utterly disposable.  I bought this album on vinyl when it was remaindered on the basis of an unusually strong Rolling Stone review (and a fondness for his remake of Ace’s “How Long,” which will be listed here in a few weeks); my mistake.

Cliff Richard, “Daddy’s Home”, #23, 3/20/82
Sir Cliff’s last top 40 hit in the states (he’s an icon in the UK) is a remake of the old Shep & The Limelites hit that was a successor to “A Thousand Miles Away” (and the songwriter/singer, James Sheppard, continued the tale about him and his girl through a bunch more songs).  As for Cliff’s version, it was done live (note the crowd noise at the end), and almost seemed like an afterthought on his Wired for Sound album; it may well have been one.

Smokey Robinson, “Tell Me Tomorrow,” #33, 3/20/82
Seventeenth Hot 100 hit for Smokey (and that doesn’t count goodness knows how many hits he had with the Miracles), and it’s a good one that should have charted a lot higher.  A midtempo song of a night of passion with questions of what will happen the next day – think Herb Alpert’s “Rise” without the trumpet.  This one made it to #3 on the R&B chart; don’t know why it didn’t do better at Top 40 radio.

Irene Cara, “Anyone Can See,” #42, 3/20/82
 First single off Cara’s solo album of the same name, but not her first hit, of course – she made the top 20 twice in 1980 with two songs from the Fame soundtrack:  the title track and the ballad “Out Here on My Own.”  This one’s a ballad too, but it didn’t do nearly as well.  Part of the blame could go to her label Network Records, a struggling subsidiary of Elektra (they would close up shop in a couple of years), or handing the producer’s reins to Ron Dante, a couple of years after his work with Barry Manilow had become passé.  This just came back into print after a long layoff – Cara, who’s been in show business forever (she was one of the original Electric Company kids, and first appeared on Broadway at age nine) and is still playing live dates, has managed to have eight chart hits, including five top 20s, without rating a greatest hits set. 

Anne Murray, “Another Sleepless Night,” #44, 3/20/82
Anne Murray really had a lot of hit records back in the day.  This was her 25th single to make Billboard’s Hot 100, but also her 16th to go to #1 on the Canadian Country chart, and 20th #1 on Canada’s adult contemporary chart.  Weirdly, some of her hits are hard to find nowadays – Capitol Records has done a pretty lousy job of keeping her studio albums in print (more are available for download, but not from all online stores), and since she’s rerecorded some of her biggest hits in the last few years, you may not get what you think you’re getting.

Sneaker, “Don’t Let Me In,” #63, 3/20/82
The band that hit with “More Than Just the Two of Us” in late 1981 comes back here with a song that sounds a little like Steel y Dan on an off day.  This is because Walter Becker and Donald Fagen actually wrote the song and donated it to the band (Sneaker’s name was actually taken from the Dan’s song “Bad Sneakers”).  Their last Hot 100 hit; they would release a second album in late 1982 with no chart hits, and then would go their separate ways. And we get Merv Griffin in the video!

Bryan Adams, “Lonely Nights,” #84, 3/20/82
Not lonely enough.  Ubiquitous singer-songwriter in the ‘80s and ‘90s had his first chart hit in the states here.  From the album You Want It – You Got It, which was originally going to be called Bryan Adams Hasn’t Heard of You Either.  Who would have known record label executives (in this case, A&M Records) don’t have a sense of humor?  If label president Herb Alpert was really going to be kind to record buyers, he would have kept putting models covered in shaving cream on album covers like on his album Whipped Cream & Other Delights.  (Great video, by the way.)

Buckner & Garcia, “Pac-Man Fever,” #9, 3/27/82
Despite the names, this is not a one-off single from the All-Star first baseman that let the ball go through his legs in the 1986 World Series and the Grateful Dead guitarist.  (Although wouldn’t that have been a cool album?)  Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia were songwriters and singers who had done novelty songs in the past (their “Merry Christmas in the NFL,” under the name Willis the Guard and Vigorish, hit #82 in late 1980), but struck gold with their ode to a video game craze (and surely all of you remember Pac-Man, right?).  This song was charming for a bit, but at 3:43, it’s way too long for a novelty song – an unnecessary guitar solo, and there’s no need to name-check all the ghosts.  Still, it gives the game (and its successors) a footnote in history – no one’s written a song for MLB13.  Garcia died in 2011, but Buckner placed “Wreck It, Wreck It Ralph” onto the soundtrack of that 2012 Disney movie.

Bob & Doug McKenzie, “Take Off,” #16, 3/27/82
Oh, it just keeps getting better.  Bob and Doug McKenzie were characters created for SCTV (Second City Television) by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas – the program, a parody of television shows and stations (especially those with low budgets) was taped in Toronto, and the Great White North segment featuring the McKenzie brothers was created after Canadian Broadcasting Company officials asked for two minutes of Canada-specific content for the show.  (They didn’t expect this mostly ad-libbed bit would dwarf the parent show’s popularity.)  Moranis and Thomas spun their creation off into an album with this single (with Geddy Lee from Rush on vocals – this song would chart higher in the States than any song he did with that band), a movie (Strange Brew), and a few other projects.  And, at two minutes and 20 seconds long, it’s a short and sweet novelty song.

Neil Diamond, “On the Way to the Sky,” #27, 3/27/82

Turgid ballad that served as the title track to Diamond’s 1981 LP, as well as the follow-up to “Yesterday’s Songs.”  Co-written by Diamond and Carole Bayer Sager, who would combine with Sager’s then-husband Burt Bacharach to write half the songs on Diamond’s next LP, Heartlight.  This one’s pretty disposable, but it did manage to make On the Way to the Sky one of Diamond’s few studio LPs on Columbia with more than one top 40 hit. 

Barbra Streisand, “Memory,” #52, 3/27/82
Who let the Cats out?  Streisand’s second single release from Memories gained its fame from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running stage show Cats.  Give Streisand credit for being ahead of the curve on this one, however, as Cats hadn’t yet opened in the United States when she recorded the song in late 1981 – it was strictly based on London at that point in time.  There have been dozens of versions of this song released commercially, but only two have hit the singles charts: this one and Barry Manilow’s take, which hit #39 a year later.

Survivor, “Summer Nights,” #62, 3/27/82
Second single from the band’s second LP, Premonition, which stopped short of the peak of 1981’s “Poor Man’s Son.”  (Here’s a thought – if you’re going to release a song called “Summer Nights,” why do so in the dead of winter?)  Survivor was still struggling to make the big time at this point, but their encounter with Rocky Balboa was just around the corner.

Fred Parris & The Five Satins, “Memories of Days Gone By,” #71, 3/27/82
And speaking of survivors, Fred Parris founded the Five Satins back in 1954 – they’re the ones who did “In the Still of the Night (I’ll Remember),” one of the first hits of the rock era, and one of the very first doo-wop songs.  This song serves as a medley of sorts, incorporating other songs from the 1950s as well as “In the Still of the Night.”  Except for Parris, none of the original five guys are on this recording, but it’s nice to know that Parris maintained control of the name.  I don’t believe he’s making many appearances today (the man’s got to be close to 80 years old at least), but still, nice career, huh?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Love So Hard and Filled with Defeat

As a First Day of Spring song, "Backstreets" is clearly more suited to being a First (or any) Day of Summer song, but I will admit that I play it every first day of spring every year anyway to celebrate. Maybe it's the piano intro, fading in gently and prettily, the way a perfect spring arrives. I dunno. Clearly, I need little excuse to play this, one of Bruce's great signature songs, but the feeling of hope in that piano is something I sorely need these days, so maybe that's why.

Monday, March 18, 2013

To Think I Killed A Cat: 36 Unexpected Cover Songs

Cover versions! Who doesn't love cover versions. Here's a list of some unusual and in some cases little-known reimaginings of some of yer favorite songs. As usual, add your own.

1. Toots and  the Maytals, "Country Roads"
2. Motion Device, "Wish You Were Here"*
3. Big Daddy," My Heart Will Go On"
4. Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, "Theme from Shaft"
5. Pretenders, "Creep"
6. Gipsy Kings, "Hotel California"**
7. Lemonheads, "Mrs. Robinson"
8. Hayseed Dixie, "Ace of Spades"
9. M Ward, "Let's Dance"
10. Cake, "I Will Survive"
11. Aztec Camera, "Jump"
12. Johnny Cash, "Cat's in the Cradle"
13. Tori Amos, "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
14. Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division)
15. Nouvelle Vague, "Guns of Brixton" (Clash)
16. R.E.M., "Wichita Lineman"
17. Jerry Lee Lewis, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
18. The Slits, "Heard it Through the Grapevine"
19. Scissor Sisters, "Comfortably Numb"
20. Sid Vicious, "My Way"

* Performed by an impressive 11 year-old girl.
** "It don't matter to Jesus. But you're not foolin' me, man."

UPDATE: the gang at Facebook came through as always!

21. Seattle Castaways, "Freeze Frame" (Tim Brechlin)
22. Don Ho, "Shock the Monkey" (Brian Middleton)
23. Two Nice Girls, "Sweet Jane/Love and Affection" (Meghan Hayes)
24. Shawn Colvin, "The Chain" (Meghan Hayes)
25. Nickel Creek, "Spit on a Stranger"  (Meghan Hayes)
26. Whitesnake, "Day Tripper" (Bill Moore)
27. Johnny Cash, "Hurt" (Mike Haines)
28. Ralph Stanley, "White Light/White Heat" (Dave Weil)
29. Anthrax, "Got the Time" (David Anderson)
30. Dwight Yoakam, "Train in Vain" (David Anderson)
31. Led Zeppelin, "Georgia on My Mind" (David Anderson)
32. William Shatner, "Common People" (Sergeff Suomi)
33. Overkill, "Frankenstein" (David Anderson)
34. Norah Jones, "Ride On" (David Anderson)
35. Tool, "Silly Love Songs" (David Anderson)
36. Richard Thompson, "Oops I Did It Again" (Milo George)

* New Prov shout-out!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

This Ball of Confusion, of Feelings and Stuff

It's a cold, dark winter night here in Arlington, and even though spring starts in a few days, it feels like one of those chilly, ominous nights that won't ever give way to day. Or maybe I'm just tired.

The first two verses of this song take me instantly to the bleaker periods of my younger life, when I dreaded pretty much everything, but mostly dreaded the disapproval of my Dad, who is a great guy but who for a very long time had no idea what to make of me, or what to do with me. Which is okay Dad, 'cause I sometimes still don't know myself.

Well my daddy he stood at the foot of the stairs

He was calling to me at the time

And I knew even then, I could die for the thoughts

That I kept in the back of my mind

But I dared not to speak

How I felt for my dad

Cause there were no words to define

The ball of confusion, of feelings and stuff

That I kept in the back of my mind

Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm a Man! I'm a SPIII-DER-MAN!

My personal heyday as a comic book fan was the 1970s, which was a weird time for a lot of things, but most especially pop culture. (Ignore internet memes and nostalgia freaks: every single 1970s TV show sucked.) Every week I would relentlessly blow my lunch money on comic books at a little store called Center Stationers, and for me comics were serious business. I'm not kidding around when I say that the fate of the Fantastic Four was more important to me than memorizing the periodic table. (And hey, it still is.) Imagine my bafflement when in 1975 ads for this weird Spider-Man "rock" album suddenly popped up in my favorite books. What fresh hell was this?

I doubt I ever had $6.98 to my name (I blew it all on comic books) but I still would not have spent it on this non-canon blasphemy. So I ignored it, and eventually it went away. Last night, through the magic of YouTube, I finally gave the songs a listen. All I can say is, if any rock album could perfectly encapsulate the pure fake-funk-jazz cheesiness of 70s "rock", Reflections of a Rock Hero does the job. Give a listen, and shake thy booty, True Believer!

 (Highlights after the jump.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Live at JVs

And so I returned this night to JVs in Falls Church (my former home) with the most excellent David McKittrick to perform at Daryl JR Cline's Songwriter Showcase. If I sound a little loud, it's because I couldn't help but notice that a few of the performers who had gone on before me -- and to whom I gave every bit of polite attention -- were hunkered in a booth conversing noisily, so I thought I'd let them know someone besides themselves was onstage. I'm considerate that way, see.

Not a bad set, considering it has been over 9 months since I've performed live, and as usual Dave's lead playing was impeccable. Check out his work on "Into the Night" and you'll see what I mean. Also, for the first time in over 30 years I performed "Hard to Tell" in front of an audience, specially dedicated to Ken Cadmus, to let him know I'm thinking about him. Feel better, brother.

One More Day to Rain

Oh, the Rich People Want What the Poor People's Got

Frank Zappa reportedly described the Shaggs as "better than the Beatles." You decide.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

These Times

(c) John E. Williams

The original purpose of this blog was, as the blurb up top says, to chronicle the making of an album of songs to be entitled Abandoned and Heartbroke, and the idea was to post the progress of the record as I went along. Time and life have stalled and even managed to sabotage that process, but over the next few weeks I will be posting a good number of songs and demos, starting with the acoustic version of "One More Day to Rain" I posted last week. I have mixed emotions about posting work in progress, because this version of "These Times" is not meant to be finished, and it shows, but on the other hand a warts-and-all approach was part of the concept of this blog. At some point the mighty David McKittrick will put on his producer hat and analyze the song and I have no doubt that it will undergo at least some amount of revamp. (We have a deal, which is that nothing will go on the album as a finished product that Dave feels is less than stellar. I trust him that much.)

So here is the latest rough demo of "These Times". The lyrics are about 75% finished, while the rest is placeholder. Right now I am trying to build a decent musical structure. This is a vastly improved version over the one I posted awhile back, in that I worked and worried at the melody to pull it away from the droning sameness I had come up with originally. But it is still a piece very much in progress, though I think we're finally getting somewhere with it. Give a listen when you have time, and let me know what you think.

These Times

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Just Like Pagliacci Did: 20 Songs About Crying

I'm actually quite cheerful today, so no need to read into this list. Except! They're all great songs about weepin'. Feel free to have a good cry.

1. Roy Orbison and kd lang, "Crying"
2. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, "Tracks of My Tears"
3. The (English) Beat, "Tears of a Clown"
4. Chris Isaak, "Tears"
5. Melissa Manchester, "Don't Cry Out Loud"*
6. Godley and Creme, "Cry"
7. The Orioles, "Crying in the Chapel" **
8. Van Halen, "Janie's Crying"
9. Dinah Washington, "Cry Me A River"
10. Patsy Cline, "I Cried All the Way to the Altar"
11. Elmore James, "The Sky is Crying"
12. Everly Brothers, Crying in the Rain"
13. Rolling Stones, "Fool to Cry"
14. Elvis Presley, "Daddy Don't Cry"
15. Bob Marley, "No Woman No Cry"***
16. Willie Nelson, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain"
17. Brenda Lee, "The Crying Game"
18. Shangri-Las, "He Cried"
19. Paul Westerberg, "Tears Rolling Up Our Sleeves"
20. Hank Williams, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"

*Just to be a jerk.
**Actually a religious song -- the singer is crying with joy. I like this better than Elvis's cover.
***This is a fantastic live version.

UPDATE: as usual, the Facebook gang came through with additions.

21. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "The Weeping Song" (Tim Brechlin)
22. The Cure, "Boys Don't Cry" (Steven Lewis)
23. Prince, "When Doves Cry" (Steven Lewis)
24. The Beatles, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (Tim Brechlin)
25. Jackie Wilson, "Lonely Teardrops" (Steven Lewis)
26. Eric Clapton, "Tears in Heaven" (Steve Lewis)
27. Johnny Cash, "Cry Cry Cry" (Andrea Palumbo)
28. Luciano Pavarotti, "Vesti La Giubba" (Mike Haines)
29. Pretenders, "Stop Your Sobbing" (Brian Middleton)
30. Proclaimers, "Teardrops" (Brian Middleton)
31. Janis Jopin, "Cry, Baby" (Brian Middleton)