Thursday, April 09, 2009

Number 402 - Bruce Hornsby


Number 402

Bruce Hornsby

"The Way It Is"

(1986)
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401 ............Genre: Vocal............... 403
art by strany
One of the most influential songs ever to come out of the 80s. Bruce Hornsby could never recreate what he did in 1986, but then again, why would he have to? Imagine if the Beatles first ever album was Sgt. Peppers? Anything else after that would have been pale by comparison. I know what you are saying, i can hear it from here, how can i even compare "Sgt. Peppers" to "The Way It Is"? [which is also the name of the Hornsby album]. Well don't worry I'm not! So stop writing that email. It is a metaphor only. But, if Bruce Springsteen had recorded this song instead of Bruce Hornsby, it would have gone down as one of the most iconic songs of our time and no-one would even question the song's entry being here at #402, except maybe for wanting it higher. Funny that, but its just the way it is. And don't forget, you can vote what you think down the bottom of the page.
a man alone
Hornsby was born in Williamsburg, VA, and grew up in that combination college town and tourist center, later attending the University of Miami and the Berklee School of Music. He then spent years playing in bars and sending demo tapes to record companies. In 1980, he and his brother (and songwriting partner) John Hornsby moved to Los Angeles, where they spent three years writing for 20th Century Fox. There Bruce Hornsby met Huey Lewis, who would eventually produce him and record his material. Hornsby finally signed his band, the Range, to RCA in 1985. Their debut album, The Way It Is, was released in August 1986. It eventually produced three Top 20 hits, the biggest of which was the socially conscious "The Way It Is," which featured Hornsby's characteristically melodic right-hand piano runs. The album stayed in the charts almost a year and a half and sold two million copies. Hornsby & the Range won the Best New Artist Grammy Award for 1986. Hornsby's second album, Scenes from the Southside, was not as successful as his debut, though it sold a million copies and produced the Top Ten single "The Valley Road." Hornsby also began to make his mark as a songwriter for others: Huey Lewis had a hit with his "Jacob's Ladder," as did Don Henley with "The End of the Innocence."
doors to sucess
Hornsby's third album, A Night on the Town (1990), found him trying to break out of his signature sound into other areas. It was less successful than its predecessors but, along with the pianist's extensive session work, it signaled his determination to tackle new musical challenges. Hornsby worked extensively as a producer and sideman in the early '90s, notably doing temporary duty in the Grateful Dead after their keyboardist, Brent Mydland, died in July 1990, and producing a comeback album for Leon Russell, an idol of Hornsby's. He also became the father of twin sons. He finally turned in his fourth album, Harbor Lights, for release in 1993. This solo album, which did not feature his backup band, the Range, went gold, and Hornsby toured the U.S. and Canada through the end of the year. He followed it with a similar effort, Hot House, in July 1995, returning three years later with the double album Spirit Trail. Here Come the Noise Makers was issued in fall 2000. Since that time, Hornsby has released a handful of albums including Big Swing Face in 2002, Halcyon Days in 2004, and the jazz-oriented Camp Meeting in 2007. ~ [William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide]
The Way It Is [was]
Bruce Hornsby & the Range
"The Way It Is" is a hit song by Bruce Hornsby and the Range from their 1986 album The Way It Is. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986. Written by Bruce Hornsby, it made explicit reference to the American Civil Rights Movement. This song was sampled by Tupac Shakur in his song, "Changes." Led by hit title track "The Way It Is", the album went on to achieve multi-platinum status, and helped the group to win the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Other hits from the album include "Mandolin Rain" and "Every Little Kiss". Fellow musician Huey Lewis is also featured on the album, lending his harmonica and vocal talents to the track, "Down The Road Tonight". Lewis also helped to produce that song, as well as "The Long Race" and "The River Runs Low". ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
For Huey Lewis see Number 735 & #852
For Don Henley see the Eagles Number 509
For 2pac see Number 646
For the Beatles see Number 489, #587, #894 & #947
For Bruce Springsteen see Number 817
What does Rolling Stone think about Mr Hornsby?
Bruce Hornsby's mid-'80s singles were almost aggressively tasteful: ultraprofessional piano pastiches, Americana, and MOR-ready hooks. But "The Way It Is" and "Mandolin Rain" suffered from an air of wistfulness that passed, on first listen, for melancholy but left a "Well-then-who-gives-a-damn?" aftertaste. Scenes From the Southside continued in the same vein, producing "The Valley Road," another stainless hit. Hornsby enlisted such diverse talents as Jerry Garcia and Wayne Shorter to help make A Night on the Town his most direct, almost bluesy record. Not that great a departure from the Range's earlier sound, it garnered critical encouragement but no big hits. Harbor Lights and Hot House found Hornsby dropping the Range and moving further jazzward. The double-album Spirit Trail was his most ambitious yet, stretching out his playing without resorting to aimless jamming. By this time, he was almost as well known for his part-time membership in the Grateful Dead as he was for his own music. The two-disc live album Noise Makers is culled from concerts in 1998 through 2000 and includes hits from "The Way It Is" to "Mandolin Rain." ~ [Source: PAUL EVANS From 2004's The New Rolling Stone Album Guide]
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '402nd Song of all Time' was "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" by Sly & The Family Stone. Sly & The Family Stone has not appeared in The Definitive 1000.
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Honest, it was the er 501st choice) and the Album ranked at (And ah the 501st album .. kaff)
This song has a Definitive 1000 rating of 78.4 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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