Sunday, November 30, 1986

Prince: The Aborted Albums from 1986

First posted 3/9/2021.

The Aborted Albums from 1986


A Brief History: In between the release of Parade in 1986 and Sign ‘O’ the Times in 1987, Prince was incredibly prolific, recording material for three different proposed albums. All were aborted, but songs from all three projects survived to see the light of day on Sign ‘O’ the Times.

The Albums:

These three albums are spotlighted on this page. Appearing after song titles are the songwriters in italicized parentheses, running times in brackets, and when relevant, the date the song was released as a single and its peaks on various charts.

Finally, there are raised number codes indicating what album(s) the songs eventually appeared on.

1 Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987)
2 The Black Album (recorded 1987, released 1994)
3 Graffiti Bridge (soundtrack, 1990)
4 Crystal Ball (1998)
5 1999: Super Deluxe Edition (2019)
6 Sign ‘O’ the Times: Super Deluxe Edition (2020)

Dream Factory


Intended Release Date: mid-1986

Recorded: 1982 – July 1986

Charted: NA

Peak: NA

Sales (in millions): NA

Genre: R&B/funk

Tracks (April 1986 configuration):

Song Title [Time] (Writers)

  1. Visions (Lisa Coleman) 6
  2. Dream Factory 4
  3. Wonderful Day 6
  4. The Ballad of Dorothy Parker 1,6
  5. Big Tall Wall 6
  6. And That Says What? 6
  7. Strange Relationship 1,6
  8. Teacher Teacher 6
  9. Starfish and Coffee (Prince and Susannah Melvoin) 1
  10. A Place in Heaven 6
  11. Sexual Suicide 4

Written by Prince unless noted otherwise.

Tracks (June 3, 1986 configuration):

Song Title [Time] (Writers)

  1. Visions (Lisa Coleman) 6
  2. Dream Factory 4
  3. Wonderful Day 6
  4. The Ballad of Dorothy Parker 1,6
  5. It 1
  6. Strange Relationship 1,6
  7. Teacher Teacher 6
  8. Starfish and Coffee (Prince and Susannah Melvoin) 1
  9. Colors (aka “Wendy”) (Wendy Melvoin) 6
  10. In a Large Room with No Light 6
  11. Nevaeh Ni Ecalp A 6
  12. Sexual Suicide 4
  13. Crystal Ball 6
  14. Power Fantastic 6
  15. Last Heart 4
  16. Witness 4 the Prosecution 6
  17. Movie Star 4
  18. A Place in Heaven 6
  19. All My Dreams 6

Written by Prince unless noted otherwise.

Tracks (July 18, 1986 configuration):

Song Title [Time] (Writers)

  1. Visions (Lisa Coleman) 6
  2. Dream Factory 4
  3. Train 6
  4. The Ballad of Dorothy Parker 1,6
  5. It 1
  6. Strange Relationship 1,6
  7. Slow Love (Prince and Carole Davis) 1
  8. Starfish and Coffee (Prince and Susannah Melvoin) 1
  9. Colors (aka “Wendy”) (Wendy Melvoin) 6
  10. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man 1,6
  11. Sign ‘O’ the Times 1,6
  12. Crystal Ball 6
  13. A Place in Heaven (Lisa Coleman on vocals) 6
  14. Last Heart 4
  15. Witness 4 the Prosecution 6
  16. Movie Star 4
  17. The Cross 1
  18. All My Dreams 6

Written by Prince unless noted otherwise.

These songs were released in some version or another on the following albums:

The Players:

  • Prince (vocals, all instruments)
  • Lisa Coleman (piano, vocals)
  • Susannah Melvoin (background vocals)
  • Wendy Melvoin (guitar, vocals)
  • Bobby Z (drums)
  • Matt Fink (keyboards)
  • Mark Brown (bass)
  • Eric Leeds (saxophone)
  • Sheila E. (drums, percussion, vocals)
  • Levi Seacer, Jr. (bass)
  • Atlanta Bliss (trumpet)
  • Norbert Satchell (saxophone)
  • Clare Fischer (string arrangements)


2.137 out of 5.00 (average of 3 ratings)

About Dream Factory:

After the release of 1986’s Parade, Prince recorded a wealth of material. Prior to the double album release Sign ‘O’ the Times in 1987, Prince put together what could have been two more albums with Dream Factory and Camille. The former represented the last hurrah for his backing band, the Revolution, whom had worked with him since the 1999 album in 1982. On October 7, Prince fired Wendy, Lisa, Bobby Z, and Mark Brown. MM-61

Vibe magazine did a feature in March 2009 on “51 Albums That Never Were” and included Dream Factory on its list as a “coulda-been classic.” WK-1

The April Configuration:

He pieced together the first version, an 11-track album, in April 1986. Alternate double-album versions surfaced in June and July. Most of the songs were recorded in 1986, but versions of “Strange Relationship,” “Teacher Teacher,” and “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” date back to the summer of 1982. PV-1 The title cut was recorded in December 1985.

In mid-March of 1986, Prince set to work recording in his new home studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. From then through mid-April, he recorded “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker,” “Power Fantastic,” “A Place in Heaven,” “Movie Star,” and Witness 4 the Prosecution.” PV-1 During this same time, he recorded “And That Says What?” at Washington Avenue Warehouse in Edina, Minnesota. PV-1 In mid-April, Prince recorded “Crystal Ball,” “Starfish and Coffee,” “Big Tall Wall,” and “Visions.” PV-1

The June Configuration:

After putting together the tentative 11-track listing for Dream Factory in late April, Prince went on recording, laying down “In a Large Room with No Light” and “It.” This led to the second configuration of the album in June. It was even mastered, but Prince didn’t consider it final. PV-1

The July Configuration:

In mid-June and early July, Prince recorded “Slow Love,” “The Cross,” and “Sign ‘O’ the Times.” He also reworked “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man.” The third and final track listing for Dream Factory was put out on July 18, but the project never surfaced.


The songs from all three configurations of Dream Factory eventually surfaced on Sign ‘O’ the Times in 1987, the archival box set Crystal Ball in 1998, or the super deluxe edition of Sign ‘O’ the Times in 2020. “Train” was also released in 1989 by Mavis Staples on her Time Waits for No One album. Wendy & Lisa released “Visions” on a limited edition bonus CD with their album Eroica. An edited version of “Power Fantastic” showed up on Prince’s The B-Sides compilation in 1993. The 1982 version of “Teacher Teacher” was released on the deluxe edition of 1999 in 1982. PV-1

“Witness 4 the Prosecution” was released as a promo single for the super deluxe edition of Sign ‘O’ the Times on August 14, 2020.

Art Work:

While it was long believed that no work was done on the packaging, in 2017 Susannah Melvoin showed some color pencil sketches she made in 1986 for an album cover idea. It depicted “sort of a time-warp flash surrounded by a an array of flowers and a border of little hearts.” PV-1 There’s a rainbow at the bottom of the flash and Susannah is holding open the door to the “Dream Factory.” PV



Intended Release Date: January 1987

Track Listing Announced: November 5, 1986

Recorded: 1981 – October 1986

Charted: NA

Peak: NA

Sales (in millions): NA

Genre: R&B/funk


Song Title [Time] (Writers)

  1. Rebirth of the Flesh [4:54] 6
  2. Housequake [4:34] 1
  3. Strange Relationship [4:04] 1
  4. Feel U Up [6:27] 5
  5. Shockadelica [6:12] 6
  6. Good Love [5:11] 4
  7. If I Was Your Girlfriend [4:47] 1
  8. Rock Hard in a Funky Place [4:30] (Prince/Eric Leeds) 2

All songs by Prince (credited as Camille) unless noted otherwise.

The Players:

  • Prince (vocals, all instruments)
  • Eric Leeds (saxophone)
  • Atlanta Bliss (trumpet)
  • Wendy Melvoin (tambourine, congas)
  • Lisa Coleman (sitar, wooden flute, Fairlight sample)
  • Susannah Melvoin (background vocals)
  • Jill Jones (background vocals)


1.304 out of 5.00 (average of 3 ratings)

About Camille:

After Prince released Parade in 1986, he and his band The Revolution went to work on the potential follow-up, Dream Factory. By October, Prince had sacked the band and went to work on a new project, Camille, which was marked by his use of distorted pitched-up vocals that gave him a more androgynous sound. Prince intended to release the album under the pseudonym “Camille” and not acknowledge his identity. WK-2

While most of the songs were recorded in late 1986, “Feel U Up” dated back to 1981 and “Strange Relationship” to 1983. PV-2 Wendy and Lisa, from the Revolution, appear on the latter track but Prince buried their contributions in the mix. PV-2 Two other songs were recorded during this era, but were not planned for inclusion on the Camille album. “U Got the Look” ended up on Sign ‘O’ the Times and “Scarlet Pussy” was released as the B-side of the 1988 single “I Wish U Heaven.” WK-2

Prince compiled a track listing for the proposed album on November 5, 1986 and set for released in January 1987. It was to be proceeded by the single “Shockadelica.” PV-2 This project was also aborted, possibly because Prince’s record company wasn’t sold on the idea of releasing a Prince album without attributing it to him. WK-2

All the tracks except “Feel U Up” were then slated to appear on his next proposed project, a three-disc album called Crystal Ball. When the record company vetoed a three-disc set, he whittled it down to the two-disc Sign ‘O’ the Times, released in March 1987.

Of the eight cuts from Camille, three (“Housequake,” “Strange Relationship,” “If I Was Your Girlfriend”) survived to Sign. “Shockadelica” was released as a B-Side for “If I Was Your Girlfriend.” “Good Love” emerged as a cut from the Bright Lights Big City soundtrack in 1988 and “Feel U Up” surfaced as a B-side to Prince’s 1989 single “Party Man.” “Rock Hard in a Funky Place” was slated for The Black Album, which was intended for release in late 1987, but didn’t surface until 1994. “Rebirth of the Flesh” was released as a live rehearsal in 2001, but didn’t see a studio release until the 2020 release of the Sign ‘O’ the Times super deluxe edition.

“The album cover has been described as having a stick figure with X’s for eyes. However, rather than a fully developed design this is believed to have been only in the stage of Prince drawing on the white unmarked sleeve of a test-pressing, much like the 12" to Gett Off. The labels of the vinyl would have been the first with the new Paisley Park design and featured the song titles in Prince’s own writing, as well as the name Camille with the C as a crescent moon. And an x instead of the dot on the i. The name Prince would not have been on the record.” PV-2

Crystal Ball


Intended Release Date: early 1987

Track Listing Announced: November 30, 1986

Recorded: date

Charted: NA

Peak: NA

Sales (in millions): NA

Genre: R&B/funk


Song Title [Time] (Writers)

  1. Rebirth of the Flesh [4:54] 5
  2. Play in the Sunshine [5:05] 1
  3. Housequake [4:34] 1
  4. The Ballad of Dorothy Parker [4:04] 1
  5. It [5:10] 1
  6. Starfish and Coffee [2:51] 1
  7. Slow Love [4:18] 1
  8. Hot Thing [5:39] 1
  9. Crystal Ball [10:22] 4,6
  10. If I Was Your Girlfriend [4:47] 1
  11. Rock Hard in a Funky Place [4:30] (Prince/Eric Leeds) 2
  12. The Ball [4:22] 6
  13. Joy in Repetition [4:59] 3
  14. Strange Relationship [4:04] 1
  15. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man [6:21] 1
  16. Shockadelica [6:12] 6
  17. Good Love [5:11] 4
  18. Forever in My Life [3:38] 1
  19. Sign ‘O’ the Times [4:51] 1
  20. The Cross [4:46] 1
  21. Adore [6:29] 1
  22. It’s Gonna Be a Beautiful Night [8:59] 1

The Players:

  • Prince (vocals, all instruments)
  • Eric Leeds (saxophone)
  • Atlanta Bliss (trumpet)
  • Wendy Melvoin (tambourine, congas)
  • Lisa Coleman (sitar, wooden flute, Fairlight sample)
  • Susannah Melvoin (background vocals)
  • Jill Jones (background vocals)
  • Sheila E. (drums, background vocals)


2.062 out of 5.00 (average of 3 ratings)

About Crystal Ball:

After aborting Dream Factory and Camille, Prince prepared a three-disc collection which incorporated songs from both projects. Of the cuts from Camille, only “Feel U Up” didn’t make it to Crystal Ball. Nine songs from Dream Factory made the cut. Six more songs were brand new to this album – “Joy in Repetition,” “The Ball,” “Forever in My Life,” “It’s Gonna Be a Beautiful Night,” “Adore,” and “Play in the Sunshine.”

Prince submitted the album to Warner Bros. in late 1986, but they rejected it, wanting it to be reduced to a double album. 15 of the 22 songs from Crystal Ball eventually ended up on Sign ‘O’ the Times alongside “U Got the Look,” which was recorded in December 1986. This included four of the six songs specifically recorded for Crystal Ball. “Joy in Repetition” was eventually released on the 1990 soundtrack for Graffiti Bridge and “The Ball” was released on the super deluxe edition of Sign ‘O’ the Times in 2020. The latter song first appeared as “ No” on Lovesexy in 1988 in a reworked version.

It is unlikely there was any proposed artwork for the album cover as the project didn’t get to that stage when Warner Bros. declined to release Crystal Ball. PV-3 The artwork featured on this page is from the 1998 box set Crystal Ball, which features a vastly different track listing of archival material.

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, November 29, 1986

Bon Jovi “You Give Love a Bad Name” hit #1

You Give Love a Bad Name

Bon Jovi

Writer(s): Desmond Child, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora (see lyrics here)

Released: July 23, 1986

First Charted: August 9, 1986

Peak: 11 BB, 11 CB, 7 GR, 7 RR, 9 AR, 14 UK, 2 CN, 32 AU, 6 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 1.2 UK, 2.04 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 468.02 video, 1052.41 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The hair band genre of the ‘80s was rooted in heavy metal from the ‘70s. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple excelled at filling stadiums but weren’t much of a presence at top-40 radio. Kiss then used “costumes and face paint to stand out, pioneering a version of metal that was so theatrical that it practically crossed over into pantomime.” BR Then Van Halen conquered MTV with “the high-kicking flamboyant frontman David Lee Roth and the squeedling guitar virtuoso Eddie Van Halen.” BR That gave way to other MTV-friendly glam bands like Motley Crue, Ratt, Def Leppard, and Quiet Riot. It was Bon Jovi, however, “who truly turned metal into pop music.” TB

Bon Jovi leaned into the hair band image, “adapting the same teased-hair look and energetic, strutting stage presence as their contemporaries.” TB “It’s hard to find fault with Bon Jovi’s mix of hard-rock guitars and singalong choruses – a winning combination that made them one of the most successful bands of the 1980s.” TB

They formed in 1983 in New Jersey. After two platinum albums, they exploded with their third release, 1986’s Slippery When Wet. The #1 album was certified twelve times platinum in the U.S. and turned the band into a global sensation on the strength of #1 hits “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer” as well as top-10 hit “Wanted Dead Or Alive.”

Prior to “You Give Love a Bad Name,” Bon Jovi’s biggest hit was 1984’s “Runaway,” which peaked at #39. It was “the ultimate fist-pumping rock anthem.” TB It marked the group’s first time working with an outside collaborator; the group wanted someone “who coul turn out material that would bring the band a wider audience – specifically females.” FB Desmond Child had previously worked with Kiss, Billy Squier, Cher, and Bonnie Tyler, but it was his recycling of the chorus melody of Tyler’s “If You Were a Woman” as “You Give Love a Bad Name” TB gave him his first chart-topping success and put the future Songwriter Hall of Famer on the map.

“The song – a howl of frustration from a guy who’s been left behind – drew on ancient stereotypies about man-eating jezebels, a particular lyrical fixation for just about every glam-metal band in America…[but] without anything resembling venom or anguish.” BR It’s an “energetic rocker than emphasized their bulldozer melodies and the shimmering brightness of their sound.” BR Jon Bon Jovi was initially resistant to the song because it “sounded too Michael Jackson.” FB “The song recalled the bubblegum pop of decades past;” BR Anyone who listened to it “once could sing along by the end.” BR


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First posted 4/9/2024.

Bruce Springsteen live box set debuted at #1

First posted 2/14/2011; updated 11/16/2020.

Live 1975/1985

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

Released: November 10, 1986

Recorded: October 18, 1975 to September 30, 1985

Peak: 17 US, 4 UK, 17 CN, 3 AU

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.1 UK, 12.3 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic heartland rock


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts. Chart information is for original studio releases for pre-1986 songs. The raised numbers indicate the studio album on which the song was originally featured.

Disc 1:

  1. Thunder Road (1975, 1 CL) 3
  2. Adam Raised a Cain (1978, 42 CL) 4
  3. Spirit in the Night (5/73, 9 CL) 1
  4. 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (1973, 9 CL) 2
  5. Paradise by the “C”
  6. Fire (11/22/86, 46 US, 54 UK, 14 AR)
  7. Growin’ Up (1973, 19 CL) 1
  8. It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City (1973, 23 CL) 1
  9. Backstreets (1975, 12 CL) 3
  10. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (1973, 4 CL) 2
  11. Raise Your Hand (12/20/86, 44 AR)
  12. Hungry Heart (10/21/80, 5 US, 6 CB, 3 CL, 28 UK, 5 CN, 33 AU) 5
  13. Two Hearts 5

Disc 2:

  1. Cadillac Ranch (3/28/81, 48 AR, 11 CL) 5
  2. You Can Look But You Better Not Touch 5
  3. Independence Day 5
  4. Badlands (8/78, 42 US, 52 CB, 6 CL, 44 CN) 4
  5. Because the Night (12/6/86, 22 AR)
  6. Candy’s Room (1978, 11 CL) 4
  7. Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978, 17 CL) 4
  8. Racing in the Street (1978, 11 CL) 4
  9. This Land Is Your Land
  10. Nebraska 6
  11. Johnny 99 (10/9/82, 50 AR) 6
  12. Reason to Believe 6
  13. Born in the U.S.A. (6/23/84, 9 US, 6 CB, 8 AR, 5 UK, 11 CN, 2 AU, gold single) 7
  14. Seeds

Disc 3:

  1. The River (6/13/81, 19 CL, 35 UK) 5
  2. War (11/22/86, 8 US, 18 UK, 4 AR)
  3. Darlington County 7
  4. Working on the Highway 7
  5. The Promised Land (10/78, 21 CL) 4
  6. Cover Me (6/23/84, 7 US, 16 UK, 2 AR, gold single) 7
  7. I’m on Fire (2/16/85, 5a US, 5 UK, 6 AC, 4 AR) 7
  8. Bobby Jean (6/23/84, 36 AR) 7
  9. My Hometown (11/21/85, 6 US, 7 CB, 11 AC, 6 AR, 9 UK, 16 CN, 47 AU, gold single) 7
  10. Born to Run (8/25/75, 23 US, 1 CL, 16 UK, 53 CN, 38 AU) 3
  11. No Surrender (6/16/84, 29 AR) 7
  12. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out (1/10/76, 83 US, 5 CL, 82 CN) 3
  13. Jersey Girl

1 Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ (1973)
2 The Wild, the Innocent, & the Street Shuffle (1973)
3 Born to Run (1975)
4 Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)
5 The River (1980)
6 Nebraska (1982)
7 Born in the U.S.A. (1984)

Total Running Time: 216:13

The Players:

  • Bruce Springsteen (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
  • Roy Bittan (piano, synthesizer, backing vocals)
  • Clarence Clemons (saxophone, percussion, backing vocals)
  • Danny Federici (organ, accordian, glockenspiel, piano, synthesizer, backing vocals)
  • Nils Lofgren (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Patti Scialfa (backing vocals, synthesizer)
  • Garry Tallent (bass, backing vocals)
  • Steve Van Zandt (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Max Weinberg (drums)


4.084 out of 5.00 (average of 17 ratings)

Quotable: --


About the Album:

“Long before he sold substantial numbers of records, Bruce Springsteen began to earn a reputation as the best live act in rock & roll. Fans had been clamoring for a live album for a long time, and with Live/1975-85 they got what they wanted, at least in terms of bulk. His concerts were marathons, and this box set, including 40 tracks and running over three and a half hours, was about the average length of a show.” AMG

Anticipation was so high, the album generated over 1.5 million advance orders, the largest dollar-volume pre-order in record business history at that time. WK The album debuted at #1, a feat last seen a decade earlier with Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life. It was the first five-record set to reach the top 10 and the first to sell more than a million copies. WK The album was certified for sales of 12 million; U.S. sales were actually 4 million, but the RIAA multiplies that figure by the number of discs in the collection. The only live album certified for more was Garth Brooks’ Double Live at 13 times platinum. WK

“In his brief liner notes, Springsteen spoke of the emergence of the album’s ‘story’ as he reviewed live tapes, and that story seems nothing less than a history of his life, his concerns, and his career. The first cuts present the Springsteen of the early to mid-‘70s; these performances, most of them drawn from a July 1978 show at the Roxy in Los Angeles, present the romantic, hopeful, earnest Springsteen.” AMG

“The second section begins with his first Top Ten hit, Hungry Heart – this is the Springsteen of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, an arena rock star with working-class concerns. After an acoustic mini set given largely to material from Nebraska – songs of economic desperation and crime – comes a reshuffling of Born in the U.S.A., songs in which the artist and his characters start to fight back and rock out.” AMG Surprisingly, ‘Dancing in the Dark,” his #2 hit from that album and highest-charting song of his career, doesn’t make the cut. He does, of course, include his most iconic song, Born to Run, the “unofficial state anthem” AMG of New Jersey.

Reviews were “overwhelmingly positive,” WK but some critics cited the omission of concert highlights such as “Prove It All Night,” “The Fever,” and his cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain.” WK “Fans could rejoice in the seven previously unreleased songs,” AMG which included a cover of Edwin Starr’s War and Fire, a song written by Springsteen and a top-ten hit for the Pointer Sisters in 1979.

Resources and Related Links:

Robert Cray “Smoking Gun” charted

Smoking Gun

Robert Cray

Writer(s): Robert Cray, Bruce Bomberg, Richard Cousins (see lyrics here)

First Charted: November 29, 1986

Peak: 22 US, 34 CB, 28 GR, 32 RR, 2 AR, 5 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 6.6 video, 8.05 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Blues singer and guitarist Robert Cray was born in 1953 in Columbus, Georgia. He released his first album in 1980, but didn’t really catch on until his fourth album, 1986’s Strong Persuader. It went double platinum and reached #13 on the Billboard album chart, thanks largely to Cray’s only Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Smoking Gun.”

The song was the biggest blues hit on the pop charts since B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone” in 1969. SS Not only did “Smoking Gun” give Cray pop success, but he found a home at album rock radio where it reached #2 and gave him his first of nine entries on that chart.

Cray came along “just when the blues were in desperate need of a new hero in the 1980s.” SS He didn’t fit “the world-weary, almost down-and-out aura that so many of the genre’s performers possess.” AMG He had “good looks, a soulful voice, a distinctive songwriting style, and among the best guitar chops of his generation.” SS Author Tony Russell called him “one of the most important figures” in modern blues…”He steered the music into new territory, pointing out a direction that others could follow.” SS

To that end, “Smoking Gun” “ushered in the contemporary blues era with its respectful nod to blues tradition while imparting the genre with an underlying airiness.” AMG Its “arresting, up-tempo groove enliven[s] the otherwise depressing infidelity theme.” AMG It is “a totally compelling blues-rock story song about a man so consumed with jealousy and paranoia that it leads him to disaster.” SS In “the long tradition of great blues creations from the perspective of a psychologically disturbed protagonist” SS we never find out if the girlfriend is actually cheating on him.


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Robert Cray
  • AMG All Music Guide
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Pages 142-3.
  • WK Wikipedia

Related Links:

First posted 12/25/2022; last updated 12/26/2022.

Friday, November 28, 1986

On This Day (1936): Bing Crosby hit #1 with “Pennies from Heaven”

Pennies from Heaven

Bing Crosby with George Stoll’s Orchestra

Writer(s): Arthur Johnston/John Burke (see lyrics here)

First Charted: November 28, 1936

Peak: 110 US, 14 HP, 14 GA, 16 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.74 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This was the biggest pop hit from 1936. CPM Bing sang it in the film of the same name and garnered an Academy Award nomination for the song. It also appeared in 1954’s From Here to Eternity and 1960’s Pepe TY1 and cropped up again in the 1994 film Corrina, Corrina.

Presumably, the lyrics are intended to “evoke a sense of optimism in difficult times, assuring the listener that when it rains, ‘There’ll be pennies from heaven for you and me.’” BF However, in the introductory verse, listeners are warned that they may have to atone for their ancestors’ failure to appreciate the better things in life. “Storms may bring us fortune, but with that fortune we must buy what we used to get for free.” BF Burke, the lyricist, went on to become good friends with Bing and wrote other classics for him such as “Moonlight Becomes You”, “I’ve Got a Pocketful of Dreams”, “What’s New?”, and “Swinging on a Star.”

In 1978, “Pennies” was revived as the theme for a BBC-TV series of the same name. The show “took the conventions of 1930s musicals and satirized them by placing the songs into a modern story.” DJ That, in turn, inspired another Pennies from Heaven film in 1981 – this one starred Steve Martin and was directed by Herbert Ross. DJ

Among others to have recorded the song are Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, Dean Martin, Guy Mitchell, Louis Prima, Frank Sinatra, Big Joe Turner, and Dinah Washington. WK


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First posted 11/25/2011; last updated 9/6/2023