The song that really put her on the map was “You’re No Good” in 1974, a remake of a Betty Everett minor hit from 1964. Andrew Gold played drums, keyboards, and guitars (including the solo).
Surprisingly, it was her only #1 hit.
“You’re No Good” studio version.
The live version (below) is first rate with an incredibly hot band with Andrew Gold on guitar and Richie Heyward of Little Feat on drums and Skunk Baxter of Steely Dan (later the Doobie Brothers) on congas, plus legends Ronnie Spector and Clydie King on backing vocals. Listen to the interplay between the congas, drums, and guitar starting around 1:20 in.
The next several years were a barrage of hit single after hit single, playing stadiums on tour, becoming an overnight star with lots of magazine covers and TV appearances.
But for me her ballads are where she really lets loose and showcases her true range of vocal skills.
Here’s one of the best, “Lose Again”, and this video, with her and the band recording it live in studio (or appearing to), is mesmerizing.
Within the first ten seconds she has already shown her tremendous power, range, and tone. That’s all her natural voice and talent. No Auto Tune, no Pro Tools, no nothing. Just her voice and a microphone.
“The Tracks of My Tears”, the 60s hit by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles.
Again, the combination of range, power, and pure tone … it’s hard to believe anyone can sing that well. Like, is that a real person?
Her best known ballad, “Blue Bayou”, originally by Roy Orbison.
Part 3 coming soon.
Part 1 is here.