23. “HOLD MY HAND” – DON CORNELL

Weeks at number one: 5 (8th October – 5th November, 19th – 26th November 1954) / Length: 2m48s / Label: Coral

Notable for…featuring in (and being Oscar nominated for) ‘Susan Slept Here’, which if this clip is anything to go by, is an incredible film that I would like to watch very soon:

MELODY & HARMONY ~ 5 : Pleasantly playful… and more than four chords in this era is a real treat

WORDS ~ 5 : Seedy as a bunch of non-seedless grapes, but still somehow adorable. Don promises a girl (presumably) nothing less than IMMORTALITY, and all she has to do in return is hold his hand. His sweaty, cankerous, lizard-like hand. What’s that in your pocket, Don, you filthy old man? You disgust me

VOICE ~ 7 : An especially good bit is the sort of faint melisma on words like “spell”, “Eve”, and “immortal”  – he’s not quite hitting the notes properly, but does he care? Of course not

STRUCTURE ~ 4 : Fine. It’s the sort of song that you imagine still plays, infinitely, reverb tinged, in some empty house in the mid-west, the last remnant of a dust-buried, near-mythical age……(or like that bit in “Girl, Interrupted”, you know the bit…..[if you don’t know the bit, just say])

PRODUCTION & ARRANGEMENT ~ 3 : I am so sick of violins right now….i think they have been in every song so far bar one…and when you have strings all the way through the song, are they really the best instrument to use for the solo? Seriously, it makes such a difference to hear a different sound, even just for a verse

COOLNESS/STYLE ~ 4 : obviously with these old songs its pretty different whether its cool now, or whether it was cool then…but i’m working on the assumption that real coolness is kind of timeless….and this song has lasted okay. the delivery is really spot on i think

ORIGINALITY/NEWNESS ~ 5 : “Pass through the portal now / We’ll be immortal now”…..about the most futuristic couplet in ALL POP HISTORY

CATCHYNESS ~ 5 : five out of ten (i did not sleep much last night)

CONNECTION/EMOTIONAL HOLD ~ 3 : three out of ten (maybe not even at all)

MORALITY/INTENT ~ 2 : It’s scummy that a song can use religious metaphor for maximum Christ-appeal, but simultaneously be more than a little bit blasphemous….. because to Don Cornell the Garden of Eden was “never so grand” as what he’s experiencing now: i.e. a boner. Smite him, Lord, and smite him quick

OVERALL ~ 43/100

Spotify here, lyrics here, or buy it: CD“>CD or mp3

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  1. […] ~ 6 : Cheekily similar to Don Cornell’s Hold My Hand in theme, but you have to applaud the audaciously lame extended rhyming (“stranger in […]

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