Thursday, October 24, 2013

Song of the Week: The Tell-Tale Hearts - Too Many Lovers

The smart ones of you out there new this was coming. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? 

Yesterday we looked at the 1965 recording by The Scorpions doing Too Many Lovers. Some comments to that post led us to today where we jump 21 years ahead to 1986 and across many, many miles to land in San Diego. It was there and then that The Tell-Tale Hearts traveled to a 3-track recording studio tucked away in the mountains East of town. The band at that time was (from L-R), Bill Calhoun, Mike Stax, Dave Klowden, Ray Brandes and Pete Meisner. (Meisner and Stax are both alums of The Crawdaddys, btw) This is the only TTH recording with the über talented Pete Meisner on lead guitar. And it was the last recording of The Tell-Tale Hearts as we really knew them. The TTH's superb take on Too Many Lovers was released on the Australian Kavern-7 Records.

While the arrangement stays largely faithful to the original by The Scorpions, there are some clear differences. The ethereal harmonies are gone, Calhoun's Vox Continental organ doesn't quite go to the quirkiness of the original. Mike Stax's bass work is brought to the fore, Dave Klowden's drum gets a huge production boost, particularly towards the end where the reverb drenched drum fills bring the song to a percussive end. On top of that, singer Ray Brandes attacks the song with anger whereas the Scorpions singer, Peter Lewis, sang the song with regret and sadness. And last, The Tell-Tale Hearts give the song a much needed supercharge at guitar. Meisner's guitar work (which I believe was done with a Guild Starfire III and a Vox AC30) is phenomenal and buttresses Brandes' bitter approach perfectly. Listen for the click at 1:11 as he steps on the Vox Tone Bender to take the lead to 11. 

Enjoy the two back-to-back. And if you are up for it, check out this 2009 Flip-Side post on The Tell-Tale Hearts.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


  1. Truth be told I was not aware that this was a Scorpions cover. This is the only version I have ever known. Thanks for shedding some light on these Scorpion fellows.

    1. Truth be told, I was clued into The Scorps by one of the members of the Tell-Tale Hearts, so it is kinda poetic.