Significant Songs (128)

You Get What You Give

Following from the previous post about a band with a ‘one-hit wonder’ song, I got to thinking about similar songs that have endured in my mind over the years. There have been a few of these songs that bring to notice a previously unheard of vocalist or band, stick in your brain, and take your thoughts back to where you were, or what your life was like at the time.

In early 1999, my life was in a period of transition once again. I was living outside London, in Hertfordshire, in the soulless commuter town of Borehamwood. I spent a great deal of time on my own, listening to music, reading books, and watching films. This was long before I had a computer, and a time when I was learning to adjust to solitude once more.

I was watching a music programme on TV, and saw a performance by a new American band, New Radicals. I liked the song straight off, and thought that the gyrating front man had a good voice. The structure of the song seemed old-fashioned, but had great lyrics and a memorable chorus. In the middle of a lonely winter, it cheered me up no end. I wrote down the name of the song, and went to a record shop later that week to buy a copy. After that, I heard nothing about them at all, although their promotional video was often on television.

Once I had a laptop, I could do some research. New radicals only existed from 1997-1999. In essence, it was the work of one young man, Gregg Alexander. He wrote, produced, and sang the songs, using various other musicians and performers who came and went over those three years. He continued to work as a songwriter and occasional performer, and won an Emmy in 2003 for a song he wrote for Santana. I never heard another record by the band, and never bought one either.

But I still love to hear this one, and to reflect on a bleak winter in a very boring suburb.

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