Monday, December 20, 2021

"Put a Little Love in Your Heart" by Annie Lennox & Al Green

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3707
Date:  11/05/1988
Debut:  96
Peak:  9
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Following the release of their 1987 album Savage, Eurythmics got the opportunity to provide a song for a movie soundtrack. A&M Records got the task of creating a soundtrack album for the '88 Bill Murray holiday comedy Scrooged. Of course they wanted to promote their own artists and among their stable was R&B/gospel singer Al Green. Green had recorded a pair of gospel albums for the label and his second one, '87's Soul Survivor, ended up doing fairly well reaching #1 Gospel/#25 R&B/#131 Pop. Perhaps looking to boost his career, A&M wanted to get Green on the soundtrack, but pair him with a more current, successful singer for a duet. Although she was on a different label, the idea of hiring Eurythmics' Annie Lennox was brought up. When the dust settled, Green and Lennox would do a cover version of "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" with Eurythmics' Dave Stewart producing. The finished song would then be issued out as a single a couple of weeks before the film hit theaters. The tune didn't click out of the box, but after the movie did fairly well and the song's associated MTV video became popular, it climbed the Pop chart and was able to crack the Top 10. It also got to #2 AC and #29 Dance. The hit helped the soundtrack get to #93. For Green, it was his first Pop Top 10 hit since 1974's #7 "Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)." Unfortunately, it didn't do enough to really spark Green's career. His next album in '89 which tried to mix gospel with more mainstream songs didn't quite pay off and he parted ways with A&M.

ReduxReview:  This fluffy cover tune joined together a pair of great voices and it came out just at the right time with the holiday season approaching. With an updated, modern arrangement and production by Dave Stewart, the tune was radio ready for the late 80s. Still, I was surprised this chestnut made the Pop Top 10. As much as I adored Annie Lennox and appreciated Al Green, the song came off as one of those "hey, this would be fun" things; a sort of lark or detour that would draw attention for a minute and perhaps become a hit. For example, the one-off Bowie/Jagger duet of "Dancing in the Streets." While this song is nowhere near as bad as that duet was, it still wasn't great or inspired. It was a quick ditty done for a film and it luckily paid off. These days it comes off as a nearly forgotten oddity in each artist's catalog.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally co-written and recorded by Jackie DeShannon. It would be issued out as a single and would get to #4 Pop in 1969. It would end up being DeShannon's biggest hit. Although many artists have covered the tune, the version by Lennox/Green would be the only other one to make the Pop chart. However, country singer Susan Raye would record a version in '69 that would get to #30 on the Country chart.  2) Lennox and Green had not met prior to the recording of the song. They also didn't meet during or even after. According to an Apple Music interview with Lennox, a track was produced of the song and agreements were made on which parts of the song Lennox and Green would sing. Lennox added her vocal to the track in the UK, then the track was sent to Green in the US for his vocal. The same technique was then applied to the song's associated video. Although it sort of appears as if the two singers are performing together, their video portions were also taped separately and stitched together. Without ever meeting, the pair ended up with a Top 10 hit. Apparently, Lennox didn't actually meet Al Green until years later.


No comments:

Post a Comment