Song of the Week Revisited – Whatever Gets You Through the Night, John Lennon

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Today the great sax player, Bobby Keys, died at the age of 70. In his honor I’m re-posting a SotW I originally sent out 2 years ago tomorrow – November 3, 2012.

One of my favorite session men is tenor sax player Bobby Keys. Known mostly for his long association with the Rolling Stones – that’s Keys on “Brown Sugar”, “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and all over Exile on Main Street – Keys also made significant to contributions to recordings by everyone from Joe Cocker, to George Harrison, to Harry Nilsson, to Buddy Holly.

He played the sax on Elvis Presley’s “Return to Sender.” That’s him again on Dion’s “The Wanderer.”

Keys rock star lifestyle excesses are legendary. In February he published an autobiography titled Every Night’s a Saturday Night: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Life of Legendary Sax Man. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m certain it contains some great stories.

My pick for the SotW is John Lennon’s collaboration with Elton John – “Whatever Gets You through the Night.”

I chose this song because Lennon really created a lot of space for Keys to do his thing. (And let’s face it; it’s a really fun song that you probably haven’t heard in a dog’s age.) From the opening note, Keys is blaring away. Then he gets a couple of opportunities in between each verse and chorus to add short solos. He really makes the song.

As a side note, WGYTTN has an interesting story to go along with it. Apparently, in the recording studio Elton predicted it would be a hit. Lennon didn’t agree, so they made a bet. If the song reached #1, Lennon would have to appear on stage to perform it with Elton. Indeed, the song hit #1 on the Billboard charts on November 16, 1974. Lennon made good on his wager and appeared with Elton at Madison Square Garden on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1974.

Enjoy… until next week.

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