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Album: Lift Your SpiritReleased: 2013Charted:
American Soul singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc achieved his first commercial success when his single "I Need A Dollar
," peaked at #2 on the UK singles chart in 2010. Three years later he collaborated with Swedish DJ Avicii on his international hit "Wake Me Up
." Blacc registered his first Hot 100 hit under his own name when this song was used as the background music for the Beats by Dr. Dre "Hear What You Want" commercials featuring Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Garnett and San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick.
This pays tribute to Elton John's 1970 hit "Your Song
" by opening its chorus with the same "you can tell everybody" line. Blacc turns the interpolation on its head by twisting the lyric about the effect a loved one has on somebody's life into an anthem for believing in oneself.
Said Blacc to Q
magazine: "I became a huge fan of Elton's after I purchased his greatest hits in the late '90s. I studied how Bernie Taupin wrote lyrics and Elton wrote melodies and I eventually ran all this through my head and wrote a song that sort of sampled it. I'm interested in divining and filtering what is pop-as in popular-music. I study the people who've made music of real quality and Elton John is at the top of my list."
Blacc recalled to Billboard
magazine getting some feedback from Dr. Dre, which helped turn this song's demo into a hit tune. "Interscope Exec VP of A&R] Larry Jackson said, 'Dre wants to meet you. He loves (2010 hit single) 'I Need A Dollar
,'" the singer recalled. "When I met him, I asked what he thought about my other songs, and he wasn't impressed by 'The Man.' It gutted me. I felt like I had disappointed him."
Blacc had been trying to incorporate "Your Song" into a tune he was writing for his Hip-Hop duo Emanon; after meeting with Dre, he paired it instead with this song's demo with help from Dre producer DJ Khalil.
The title appears 41 times in this song, which is a lot but not as many title repetitions as Pharrell put in his song "Happy
," which is another retro-sounding song that was on the charts at the same time. "Happy" shows up 56 times in that one.
The interpolation of "Your Song" on this hit tune meant that Elton John and writing partner Bernie Taupin notched their first Top 20 Hot 100 placements as writers since "Candle In The Wind 1997
" spent 14 weeks at #1 in 1997-98.
The song's music video revisits both some of the adversities that African Americans have had to overcome and a selection of their triumphs. It was directed by American filmmaker Mathew Cullen (Pacific Rim, London Fields), who has previously helmed clips for Adele, Black Eyed Peas, Jay Z, Katy Perry, Pink and Taylor Swift.
This topped the UK singles chart. The sales were enhanced by Blacc's performance of the song on the British edition of The Voice.
The song's remix features rapper Kid Ink, who spits rhymes about being resilient and achieving his goals.
A throwback to '70s Soul music, this song is heavy on horns and bass, and even incorporates a string section and a harpsichord.