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Afternoon Song – Pink Cadillac

January 6, 2016

The great Natalie Cole died last week. Her cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac” isn’t her best-known (or best) song, but it’s the one that restarted her career in the late 1980s after a “lost decade” of drug addiction and personal loss.

“Pink Cadillac” is one of dozens of songs Springsteen wrote in the late ’70s-early ’80s that teeter on the brink between rockabilly and R&B. With the help of veteran producer Dennis Lambert (and a hot club mix by C & C Music Factory), Cole made the song her own and had a top 5 hit with it.

Her recording of “Pink Cadillac”, and the video made to go with it, both more than fulfill this little blog’s First Rule Of Cover Songs*.  Musically, Cole turns it into a loose, playful, sexy dance-pop song.  If anything, the video goes further—completely upending the sexual, political and racial norms of the Reagan Era and of Springsteen’s original version of the song.

Not only does Cole’s character charmingly seduce the leather-jacketed, mullet-haired Springsteen look-alike; she drives off in his car leaving him fondling his…Coke bottle, in frustration and disbelief.

*You’ve got to bring something new to it.

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  1. Morning Song – Better In The USA | MassCommons

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