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  1. #1
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    Russell Grand & The Starlettes: "No Matter What Sign You Are"

    Quite an...er...interesting cover:


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    Had the ladies done this song alone, I think I would like it. This dude though? No. Just no Sans.

    But how interesting for this cut to be covered.

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    It's actually Russell GRANT; a British astrologer. The cover was cut as a cute promo to tie into his business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    It's actually Russell GRANT; a British astrologer. The cover was cut as a cute promo to tie into his business.
    Thanks for the clarification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Had the ladies done this song alone, I think I would like it. This dude though? No. Just no Sans.

    But how interesting for this cut to be covered.
    ROTFL! I was just agog all around.

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    I remember a friend of mine played it for me. Lawd have mercy

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    just dont like the track whoever sings it.. a dud supremes song - oh well their costumes for it on Sullivan looked fly thou..

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    From what we know of Russell, i’m pretty sure this was recorded as a fun promo and not meant to be taken to seriously.
    I have always loved NMWSYA. I remember hearing it for the first time as a kid on the Motown chartbusters album and falling in love with its joyous sound. Classic Diana vocal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    From what we know of Russell, i’m pretty sure this was recorded as a fun promo and not meant to be taken to seriously.
    I have always loved NMWSYA. I remember hearing it for the first time as a kid on the Motown chartbusters album and falling in love with its joyous sound. Classic Diana vocal.
    Russell is a nice guy and a huge Diana fan. He is a friend of a friend so i know him vaguely.
    I also love NMWSYA. It is not a very well loved song by many fans, but you and i are in esteemed company Ollie. The excellent English actor Martin Freeman is a big fan too, and Diana herself likes it, but i am told Mary didn't care for it.

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    I love No Matter what sign you are. I think this is a fun cover. The backing track sped up works for this song and I have to say that the background singer [[The Starlettes) sound better than the actual background singers on the Supremes' version.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    I have always loved NMWSYA. I remember hearing it for the first time as a kid on the Motown chartbusters album and falling in love with its joyous sound. Classic Diana vocal.
    I love it too Ollie. I used to really love it and then at some point it was reduced to "like" level. I think the version I originally enjoyed was a different mix to the one I ended up playing the most over the years. I have to figure out which mix is which. I recall originally loving Diana's vocal, the backing vocals and the track so much. I've read where some fans think the lyrics are stupid but I don't get it. That whole "sign" thing was all the rage at the time. Why not a song about not giving a shit about it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TYK1986 View Post
    I love No Matter what sign you are. I think this is a fun cover. The backing track sped up works for this song and I have to say that the background singer [[The Starlettes) sound better than the actual background singers on the Supremes' version.
    The ones on the Supremes version is the Blackberries. I wouldn't say the Starlettes sound better, but they are definitely the stars of this version. They sound great.

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    Thanks Ran. Just love the girls on this version . I think the speeding up the song helped a lot. I think if the Supremes version was sped up it might have worked as well. But that's just my view on it.

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    I liked NMWSYA well enough on first release. I enjoyed the Sullivan appearance very much. Then I thought it was a too obvious and blatant capitalization on Aquarius. Then it quickly slipped out of sight and hearing.

    Now I like it! It's a fun reminder of an era.

    RanRan, you're absolutely right:
    That whole "sign" thing was all the rage at the time. Why not a song about not giving a shit about it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    I liked NMWSYA well enough on first release. I enjoyed the Sullivan appearance very much. Then I thought it was a too obvious and blatant capitalization on Aquarius. Then it quickly slipped out of sight and hearing.

    Now I like it! It's a fun reminder of an era.

    RanRan, you're absolutely right:
    I know this thread isn't technically about DRATS' version of NMWSYA, but I agree with both RanRan and Lucky2012: "No Matter What Sign You Are" has a banging music track and great background vocalists [[even if The Blackberries and not Mary and Cindy). Sure, the whole astrology theme was a tad too on-the-nose, but the song is always a romp for me. I have to wonder what the lyrics were when the song was originally called "The Paper Said Rain"? Did Hank Cosby just pick a phrase to attach to his music track or did he actually write lyrics for that title? [[I suspect that Berry never did much more than something like, "why not have Diana scream 'ow' right here on the track?" I just don't see Berry sitting down and writing lyrics with or without Hank Cosby by this point in the Motown timeline.) I suppose unless Andy and George ever have the chance to go through tapes from that time, we'll never know if it even got as far as DR singing "The Paper Said Rain."

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    Quote Originally Posted by danman869 View Post
    I know this thread isn't technically about DRATS' version of NMWSYA, but I agree with both RanRan and Lucky2012: "No Matter What Sign You Are" has a banging music track and great background vocalists [[even if The Blackberries and not Mary and Cindy). Sure, the whole astrology theme was a tad too on-the-nose, but the song is always a romp for me. I have to wonder what the lyrics were when the song was originally called "The Paper Said Rain"? Did Hank Cosby just pick a phrase to attach to his music track or did he actually write lyrics for that title? [[I suspect that Berry never did much more than something like, "why not have Diana scream 'ow' right here on the track?" I just don't see Berry sitting down and writing lyrics with or without Hank Cosby by this point in the Motown timeline.) I suppose unless Andy and George ever have the chance to go through tapes from that time, we'll never know if it even got as far as DR singing "The Paper Said Rain."
    the annoying sitar guitar was not an asset to the finished Sign product. nor would it have been a good idea with Paper Said Rain either.

    but aside from that, the track is a very strong one. the melody is also good. quite hum-able, easy to whistle. but the lyrics are just such a cheap knockoff of Aquarius. to me, Aquarius and Sign are like the Marvelettes Postman and Twistin Postman.

    I think the LTSI album should have simply had Side 2 be "the supremes sing Hair" and do 5 or 6 tracks from the show. obviously some of the songs are too naughty for DRATS but if they did:

    Side A
    I'm Living in Shame
    Everyday people
    western union man
    Discover me
    I'm so glad
    no matter what sign

    Side B
    Aquarius/Let the Sunshine
    Good morning starshine
    Hair
    Where do i go
    Easy to be hard

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    the annoying sitar guitar was not an asset to the finished Sign product. nor would it have been a good idea with Paper Said Rain either.

    but aside from that, the track is a very strong one. the melody is also good. quite hum-able, easy to whistle. but the lyrics are just such a cheap knockoff of Aquarius. to me, Aquarius and Sign are like the Marvelettes Postman and Twistin Postman.

    I think the LTSI album should have simply had Side 2 be "the supremes sing Hair" and do 5 or 6 tracks from the show. obviously some of the songs are too naughty for DRATS but if they did:

    Side A
    I'm Living in Shame
    Everyday people
    western union man
    Discover me
    I'm so glad
    no matter what sign

    Side B
    Aquarius/Let the Sunshine
    Good morning starshine
    Hair
    Where do i go
    Easy to be hard
    See, I don't exactly mind the sitar guitar in a song from 1969. THAT would be enough of a nod to the times of 1969 [[during 1969) than something as topical as astrological-themed lyrics. The only thing I might want to see changed [[if I could time-transport back to 1969 and have a say at Motown! LOL) for "The Paper Said Rain," is that the sitar intro be revised. I'm not sure what I'd want instead, but... the sitar opening definitely wouldn't fit. You're right, though, Grant, in that the melody of this song is good, hum-able, and easy to whistle. The lyrics were just a bust as NMWSYA.

    I wouldn't have minded your concept of the LTSI album being Motown one side, Hair the other side. It would be contemporary without being novelty. As long as they didn't go too heavy on the sitar on those Hair tracks, it would've been a good move. Oh--and [[no surprise) I would've preferred that the Hair material from such an album project have included Mary and Cindy in the background.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by danman869 View Post
    See, I don't exactly mind the sitar guitar in a song from 1969. THAT would be enough of a nod to the times of 1969 [[during 1969) than something as topical as astrological-themed lyrics. The only thing I might want to see changed [[if I could time-transport back to 1969 and have a say at Motown! LOL) for "The Paper Said Rain," is that the sitar intro be revised. I'm not sure what I'd want instead, but... the sitar opening definitely wouldn't fit. You're right, though, Grant, in that the melody of this song is good, hum-able, and easy to whistle. The lyrics were just a bust as NMWSYA.

    I wouldn't have minded your concept of the LTSI album being Motown one side, Hair the other side. It would be contemporary without being novelty. As long as they didn't go too heavy on the sitar on those Hair tracks, it would've been a good move. Oh--and [[no surprise) I would've preferred that the Hair material from such an album project have included Mary and Cindy in the background.
    absolutely! i looked into the idea of DMC singing Black Boys and White Boys lolol. but figured the odds of Berry Gordy allowing that on a DRATS album [[or any motown album lololol) was low They certainly would have to pick the most innocuous material from the show. nothing too scandalous. Perhaps they would segue the tracks together a bit, like they did with Funny Girl. and FG had been a year earlier so perhaps this could have been something to explore

    or maybe with GIT they could have done a larger Hair segment with the Tempts. skip some of those idiotic skits

  19. #19
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    If you watch their performance from "Sullivan", you can hear audible gasps from the audience, just as the song starts. I've took it as delight; a "funky" look for the group complete with afros and pantsuits.

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    Loved it the first time I saw the Sullivan performance but rarely have listened to it in the last 20 years. I played it once for sure like 6 years ago for my ex husband who was really into astrology and he loved it of course. It was one of the songs where I played it 20 times a day for a few months and then grew tired of it. There's other songs I've done that with too like Come See About Me or You Keep Me Hanging On but I never grew tired of those ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebrock View Post
    Russell is a nice guy and a huge Diana fan. He is a friend of a friend so i know him vaguely.
    I also love NMWSYA. It is not a very well loved song by many fans, but you and i are in esteemed company Ollie. The excellent English actor Martin Freeman is a big fan too, and Diana herself likes it, but i am told Mary didn't care for it.
    Yeah I remember Mary said in Dreamgirl she thought it was one of the worst songs they released but she sure seemed to be enjoying it when they lip synced to it on Sullivan! Even more than Diana.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    Yeah I remember Mary said in Dreamgirl she thought it was one of the worst songs they released but she sure seemed to be enjoying it when they lip synced to it on Sullivan! Even more than Diana.
    That must be where i learned of Mary's dislike of the song. I knew i had seen it somewhere but my memory isn't quite what it was sadly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    If you watch their performance from "Sullivan", you can hear audible gasps from the audience, just as the song starts. I've took it as delight; a "funky" look for the group complete with afros and pantsuits.
    i agree! love hearing that. and these outfits were awestriking!!

    it's one of those times where Tony Turner really got the quote right lol

    "You like these gowns? how do they look, do you like them, are they dazzling are they shocking, is it a new style, am i breaking ground with this fashion? not, how long is it going to last, can i get it cleaned'

    lolol

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    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    Yeah I remember Mary said in Dreamgirl she thought it was one of the worst songs they released but she sure seemed to be enjoying it when they lip synced to it on Sullivan! Even more than Diana.
    well that goes to show how both Mary and Cindy were committed to their jobs. we all have idiotic projects we have to undertake or do some task that we dislike.

    M and C were being grossly disrespected during this time. many of the recording sessions they weren't even scheduled to attend. mary says she skipped singing on Shame. who knows. but clearly they were not being included in any strategic planning for their group or in much of the studio work. but they understood that there are other equally important components of their job. which is to promote the recorded work. they never let their personal feelings or this disrespect cloud their judgement. they went on stage every night and sang their hearts out on every tune. in interviews they never made a big stink bout things

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    Sign is definitely not one of the songs i bother with including much on playlists. but out of the "duds" from the group, i do happen to like it better than most. I prefer it to composer. maybe in a tie with Shame. both Shame and Sign have GREAT backing tracks but both are marred with dumb lyrics.

    Sign is more silly than dumb i guess. the noxious jam momma was making that released some poisonous gas that killed her make Shame the worst of the two, in terms of lyrics. lolol

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    Quote Originally Posted by danman869 View Post
    I have to wonder what the lyrics were when the song was originally called "The Paper Said Rain"? Did Hank Cosby just pick a phrase to attach to his music track or did he actually write lyrics for that title? [[I suspect that Berry never did much more than something like, "why not have Diana scream 'ow' right here on the track?" I just don't see Berry sitting down and writing lyrics with or without Hank Cosby by this point in the Motown timeline.) I suppose unless Andy and George ever have the chance to go through tapes from that time, we'll never know if it even got as far as DR singing "The Paper Said Rain."
    I've always wondered that too. Thought the "Paper" title was so intriguing. I wonder if maybe there was a tie in between astrology, horoscopes and the weather report? A storyline where the singer is pointing out that the paper might say this astrology sign and that sign are where it's at, but not this sign or that other sign, but then the paper also said it would rain and it didn't. I don't know, just guessing.

    As for Berry's songwriting, while I suspect that he spent the majority of his time dealing with the business of Motown, he was a songwriter, and a pretty damn good one too, so it doesn't make me stretch my imagination to believe he sat down and wrote this song, especially considering if he was struck by how popular the astrology thing had become and he saw a way for Diana to get a hit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    I think the LTSI album should have simply had Side 2 be "the supremes sing Hair" and do 5 or 6 tracks from the show. obviously some of the songs are too naughty for DRATS but if they did:

    Side A
    I'm Living in Shame
    Everyday people
    western union man
    Discover me
    I'm so glad
    no matter what sign

    Side B
    Aquarius/Let the Sunshine
    Good morning starshine
    Hair
    Where do i go
    Easy to be hard
    This is a great idea! Can't argue against it.

  28. #28
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    I'm not hearing any resemblance between "Sign" and "Aquarius" other than they both have some astrology tie in. One song is about planets aligning and world peace, the other is about someone not allowing astrology to dictate who she falls for. It's like comparing "You Can't Hurry Love" and "You Keep Me Hangin On" because they both have "You" in the title. Two very different storylines. I also don't get anything "silly" from the lyrics of "Sign". The fact is that there are still people who make decisions with their lives based on astrology. In 1969 I bet a lot of young folks were hung up on it, if only for a little while. Makes sense to me for someone somewhere to be like "fuck that astrology shit and get yo ass over here and..."

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    I've always liked this song, as it was uplifting, it was sung well, and for me, more in the style of 'Forever came today' in that the production was powerful [[unlike the throw away song of 'in and out of love').

    I didn't realise Russell Grant had made a version of this - and maybe it's because I do like the original version, that I think Russell's attempt is actually ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    Quite an...er...interesting cover:

    I actually love NMWSYA.

    On this version”the starlettes’ are actually a uk girl group called Sylvia & The Sapphires. They released 3 singles on stiff records in the uk in the 80s. All 3 were Motown pastiches. The debut 45 ‘shopping around ‘ [[nothing to do with The Miracles) is fabulous. By their 3rd 45 they’d dropped the name to ‘the sapphires’ and released a cover of My baby must be a magician

    they also appeared on TOTP with Yazoo

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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I'm not hearing any resemblance between "Sign" and "Aquarius" other than they both have some astrology tie in. One song is about planets aligning and world peace, the other is about someone not allowing astrology to dictate who she falls for. It's like comparing "You Can't Hurry Love" and "You Keep Me Hangin On" because they both have "You" in the title. Two very different storylines. I also don't get anything "silly" from the lyrics of "Sign". The fact is that there are still people who make decisions with their lives based on astrology. In 1969 I bet a lot of young folks were hung up on it, if only for a little while. Makes sense to me for someone somewhere to be like "fuck that astrology shit and get yo ass over here and..."
    Aquarius started a real rage about your astrological charts. of course they had been around much earlier but having your charts done, understanding what moon was rising or what house Jupiter was in become super popular as people in the late 60s started becoming more "in tune" with the cosmos.

    You're right that the actual content of the two songs is quite different. Aquarius was a prelude in Hair - an opening song. the cast enters the theater announcing a new dawn has emerged and we're entering an age of enlightenment. and they're inviting the audience to come along

    Sign is a basic love song using astrological elements as the basis. the notion that some signs are more compatible with others.

    the problem is Sign really comes off as simply an opportunistic rush by Motown to tap into a sudden fad. that isn't a crime of course. but motown had been LEADING cultural changes in music in the mid years of the decade. the motown producers, Brian Wilson and the Beatles were all cutting edge and on the forefront. So it's a bit of a letdown that they chose to write and release a song that's so pandering to another trend. and with the hopes that it would be the FINAL single for the biggest female group ever.

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    ^^^
    Good stuff Sup . There was also probably intentional thought that it didn't hurt that this topic would venture the group into Fifth Dimension territory.

    It's entertaining to watch the groups and artists interviewed on SOUL TRAIN and part of the ritual of introduction was the declaring of what sign you are .


    It's kind of maddening to me , because outside of the J5 horoscope thing , I find the song itself most likeable and Diana is superb with her delivery, she sounds like she's singing directly to someone and by the end sounds believably in [[shout it out) love [[was she at the time??)


    [[ added : boy you knew you were really in love back then, when you decide I don't even care what sign you are! lol!)
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 01-27-2021 at 08:20 PM.

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