Has there ever been a song that you hear and are instantly reminded of someone? Every time I hear the song “Hello, It’s Me” I think of my mother. It’s not because of the lyrical content of the song, but rather the memories that I attach to it. I can remember her playing this often when I was a child. While I didn’t grasp the meaning of the song until I was older, I have always enjoyed listening to it.
Todd Rundgren originally recorded this song in 1968 with his band Nazz. Right away, the percussion grabs my ear. The harmonies, particularly in the chorus, give it a fullness that I appreciate. I’m a fan of the slower tempo. I prefer the ending as well- the lyric “Sometimes I thought it wasn’t so bad” over the repetition of the phrase “Think of me”.
Todd Rundgren (1971)
Todd’s solo version is the one I grew up listening to. It has a faster tempo and includes a brass section. While I like the addition of the trumpet, sax and trombone, I still prefer the version by Nazz. It sounds a little more haunted than the solo.
The Isley Brothers (1974)
This song is unrecognizable when placed into the hands of the Isley Brothers. It becomes a much more sensual song, as evident by all the references to baby making in the comments section of youtube. I didn’t hear this version until recently and was pleasantly surprised.
Because it’s how I roll, I will leave you with one of my favorite scenes from The Virgin Suicides, which makes excellent use of the song: