Here's a throwback song that has three throwbacks for one. (The play, the song, Cagney).
True story. One night, only a week before the U.S. premiere of Kenneth Branagh's "Public Enemy", director Nye Heron heard a knock at the door in the middle of the night. When he opened it, a bandaged and bloodied song fell forward, hitting the floor.
Our song "Whaddya Hear, Whaddya Say" blasted its way into the U.S. premiere of Kenneth Branagh's "Public Enemy" at the Irish Arts Center in 20 years back on a Thursday night, in fact. The play was set in '80s Belfast and centered on Tommy Black (played by Paul Ronan). Black's on the dole and finds a way to escape into the screen persona of Jimmy Cagney. Black ain't half bad at flashing Cagneys' pure charm (our chorus), but it's the viscious characters from "Public Enemy" and "White Heat" that consume him (Verse One couldn't keep its trap shut, then Verse Two squealed only hours later). In those two movies, fair to say things didn't work out as well for the leads (or even bit players) as well as they did for George M. Cohan & family in "Yankee Doodle Dandy."
James Cagney was one of a kind and loved by so many people, colleagues. Watch "Public Enemy" or "White Heat" with "Yankee Doodle" and then, actually I think there's a big-time dollop of his range in-between in "Angels with Dirty Faces". (Come to think of it... how many actors have been in films with that many classic endings?). Class act all the way and one of the greatest and most unique film actors of all time. If you haven't seen his greatest films, well, whatcha waitin' for? Cagney was also one of Bernadette's Dad's favorite actors of all time. She had dedicated her performance to her dad, Robert Quigley, but he died just a few nights before the opening, so never saw the dedication in that program.
Ok, so before you all start getting all soft on me, here's the skinny:
Jay Ward produced and sang lead, Marc Schulman on guitar. Jay played everything else and mixed up at his dogbrain music.
Background vocals by me-self, Bernadette Quigley (who also was one of the stars of the play, I'm told).
Check out more of Jay's songs on his "dogbrain: Nest" album at CD Baby:
Lyrics (Ward, Rosler)
I can’t really say how I feel
The rage in my bones and my teeth
Burning and mute in my room/Bathed in the cold light of the tv
Stand back, I’m breaking out tonight
Here I come, bigger than life
Whaddya hear, whaddya say
We’ll have a wee bit of a blast
Top of the world, round up the girls
We’re gonna start living at last
And we’ll dance off the rooves of Belfast
Yeah, now things are looking ok
My pockets are stuffed full of cash
And I’m packing a present for you
As for where it all comes from don’t ask
So, stick with me, life will change
As for where it all comes from, don’t ask
Whaddya hear, whaddya say…