Sharing thoughts about Taylor Hicks and concert travels and other musical musings!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

On Broadway: Under the Radar No More

As I was driving to work the other day, playing nothing but Taylor Hicks music as usual, a song from Taylor’s 2005 independent CD, “Under the Radar” started to play. A rather interesting number, given where Taylor Hicks can be found for the next several weeks: playing Teen Angel in “Grease” on that magical strip in New York City known as Broadway!

Written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weill, Jerry Leiber, and Mike Stoller, the song was recorded by the Drifters in sixties and later featured in the Broadway musical, “Smokey Joe’s Café”. And now Taylor Hicks has recorded his own version of the song, which at the time meant something special to him, but today has probably taken on a whole new meaning!

Here are the lyrics to that great song:

They say the neon lights are bright (On Broadway)
They say there's always magic in the air (On Broadway)
But when you're walking down the street
And you ain't had enough to eat
The glitter rubs right off, and you're nowhere (On Broadway)

They say the girls are something else (On Broadway)
But looking at them just gives me the blues (On Broadway)
But how're ya gonna make some time
When all you got is one thin dime
And one thin dime won't even shine your shoes (On Broadway)

They say that I won't last too long (On Broadway)
I'll catch a Greyhound bus for home, they all say (On Broadway)
But no, no they're wrong, I know they are
'Cause I can play this here guitar
And I won't quit till I'm a star (On Broadway)

On Broadway
On Broadway
On Broadway

I'm gonna make it, yeah (On Broadway)
I'll be a big, big, big man (On Broadway)
I'll have my name in lights (On Broadway)
Everybody, everybody's gonna know me, yeah (On Broadway)
Oh, up and down Broadway (On Broadway)

So I’m thinking about these lyrics and how Taylor Hicks must have viewed them at the time. While I can’t speak for Taylor, and have no idea whether I’m even close to the truth, I thought I would give my take on it anyway.

Broadway is known for the bright lights that decorate the various theatres that have made their mark over the years with great plays, musicals and other performances. For an artist to see his name on the marquee as the head lining star must have been a dream come true – meaning one had finally made it in a town that’s flooded with thousands of others also looking to make their mark on Broadway.

At the time Taylor Hicks recorded this song, it was late 2005, probably just before giving an audition on American Idol any thought. Certainly well-fed but perhaps having little extra cash, he was feeling those words of ‘all you got is one thin dime’. After all, when at the Las Vegas audition, Taylor was quoted as saying he was a ‘broke musician’.

While I’m certain that Taylor Hicks didn’t arrive in New York City on a Greyhound bus, I’m equally certain that he won’t be leaving there on one either! Taylor may not be playing a guitar in his Broadway début, but he sure is giving it a go with his trusty harmonica. And from what I’ve seen and read, those "Grease" audiences are really enjoying it! The guy sitting next to me when I went was really impressed by what he heard when he made his comments to his companion!

Whether he lasts too long, who can say, but a three month stint as Teen Angel in "Grease" is nothing to sneeze at – it’s a great role for Taylor, and allows him the opportunity to get his feet wet on Broadway while garnering new fans at the same time. The critics have run the gamut, much as one would expect, but my favorite reviews are the ones that give kudos for his ability to put it out there and give a performance that delights the audience.

So now that Taylor Hicks has made his mark on Broadway, there one line I hope he never takes to heart: “I won’t quit till I’m a star”. His fans want to enjoy his music and talent for years to come, myself included.

Oh, and the title of that CD, “Under the Radar”, Taylor is anything BUT under the radar for those who have followed his career and love his music! Taylor Hicks will be releasing his “Early Works” CD on August 12 which I’m hoping will carry his version of “On Broadway”.

Check out Taylor Hicks as Teen Angel in "Grease", 8 performances each week (the theatre is dark on Mondays), at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre,, from June 6 through September 7, 2008.

ETA: Someone kindly pointed out to me that the CD in question was actually "In Your Time" which was recorded in 1997, which makes the song all that more special! How much more insightful was Taylor Hicks back then we may never know, but this makes the song all the more special! That's what I get for listening to nothing but Taylor Hicks - I can't even keep the CDs straight any more! Mea culpa!

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maryqtpi said...

Once again a great read! Yes, I do believe he will not quit till he is a star. As often but not nearly as much as you get to see him, I will. I reeeaaallllyyyy enjoy his concerts and his music. He is the total package.

Anonymous said...

He recorded On Broadway on his In Your time CD in 1997, the year he turned 21. Taylor has said many times he is living the american dream. I just love the guy and want to see him do bigger roles on Broadway. Rags I hope I have as much fun as you when I see him on Aug.15

Anonymous said...

It seems that the angst has been lifted for Taylor Hicks...

What a great feeling this must be !!!


tygrlillie said...

It is rather spooky, reviewing the lyrics and the present situation Tay finds himself in, but is he still under the radar? Of sorts, but definately not for long! There's a general feeling I get with Taylor, Ma'am. A feeling not unlike that of supporting an underdog. I know he will rise to the top - the cream always does - but where that is, I've yet to decide. I personally am selfish enough to not want him playing arenas and mega-stadiums, not because he can't carry them and I don't believe in him, but because I like being close and intimate with his music, letting it weave around me and carry me away. That's the star I want for him. That is the star that shines brilliant enough for me.

RagsQueen said...

LOL! I went back and amended my original post! When I was looking at my CD's, "Under the Radar" was on top and "In Your Time" was on the bottom and the cover differences just didn't click at the time! Thanks for letting me know the 'error of my ways' and keeping me on my toes!

Your comments are always appreciated! Thanks for taking the time to not only read but to comment as well!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Mandy.. I too have listened to the words of "On Broadway" and probably way before he ever thought about really being there. I thought about it as he was standing on that big stage.. and all the other stages he's been on since. I wish him all the luck, luv and happiness. And can't wait till he goes back out on the road.

Anonymous said...

I knew Taylor was good, but it was "In Your Time" that convinced me he was great. And "On Broadway" was one of the reasons why. It wasn't a song that I cared much for, and thought it a bit of an odd choice. An old show tune for a guy not to long out of high school. But his arrangment made me listen to it, I never really had before, never realized it had such great words. Taylor has the ability to make you listen to a song like no one else can. I had heard the song a zillion times and here was this kid doing the best arrangment of it I had ever heard IMO. And there is a lot of conviction in his voice when he sings " I won't quit till I'm a star" Don't know if Broadway was that important, but he wasn't quitting till his voice was heard thats for sure.

The lyrics as they were written are not quite the way Taylor sings them. He changes them around a bit.

KarinP said...

Mandy, one has to wonder what Taylor thinks when he now listens to his recording of "On Broadway". His "star" is definitey shining brighter every day and I am really happy for him that he is receiving recognition for his talent!

The "Road of Life" certainly does take us to places that we did not expect to be. When there is a knock at our doors of opportunity, we need to open it to see what is there. Taylor has bravely opened his "doors of opportunity" and with determination and perseverance, he has walked inside the doors which have provided him with much success!

Looking forward to the release of the Early Works CD!

Gr8fulheart said...

Jeez Mandy ~ I think we have the same 'illness' ~ Taylor-itis! If so, I do Not want any cure! I also have Taylor singing to me as I drive. Pure Torture, isn't it! How about those 'head-bobs'.
I'm also thrilled he is doing so well on Broadway but it seems there's nothing he cannot do. I wonder if thoughts from the lyrics were rolling thru his mind at the time.
I'm anxious to hear about his future tour we're reading about. Hopefully, I'll be able to carch another concert. The one I was able to attend was addictive; as you well know.
Loved the read Mandy♥

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