Friday, February 18, 2011

The Other "Born This Way"

Lady Gaga has a new hit song called "Born This Way." It's a good song but it's not the first recording to have this title coupled with a positive message of self-acceptance.

Back in 1990 British pop and soul vocalist Dusty Springfield (right) recorded a song entitled "Born This Way" for her album Reputation. Unfortunately, it was never released as single. If it had been I think it could have been quite the hit.

Anyway, with Friday evenings often being "music night" here at The Wild Reed I thought I'd share the extended mix of Dusty's "Born This Way." The song itself is written by Geoffrey Williams and Simon Stirling. The spirited backing vocals are provided by Tawatha Agee, Fonzi Thornton and Vaneese Thomas.

Dusty's original recording of the song was produced by Dan Hartman and appeared on her critically acclaimed 1990 album Reputation. (Why, then, the choice of a 1960s image of Dusty to accompany the YouTube video below remains a mystery!) The extended mix you're about to hear is, unfortunately, not (as previously stated) available on the 1997 release Reputation and Rarities. Rather, it's a bonus track on the CD single release of the Reputation album track "Arrested By You."

Some people know what they wanna be
Some people see what they wanna see
Everyday needs some kind of dream
But with the complexities of life
escape to an ideal scene.

Yeah, people try to tell you how to live your life
Let the blind lead the blind
Well, that's all right
So make up your mind
The fool or the wise
There are things in this life
That you can't compromise

Break away
And take the time and know your mind
And leave it all behind you
And say
That's the way I am

Yeah – I was born this way
Can't you see it in my eyes
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Oh, I was born this way
Can't you feel it in your heart
Yeah, yeah, yeah

It's not always easy to disagree
Don't make excuses for what you see
There's one thing in life
Oh, have no doubt
You're on the way up
Or on the way out, baby, oh

Some people see what's gonna be
But they hide in a corner
From reality
Sometimes you're up
And sometimes you're down
You can't spend your whole life
Just fooling around

Break away
And take the time to break the ties
And leave it all behind you and say
That's the way I am

Yeah – I was born this way
Can't you see it in my eyes
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Oh, I was born this way
Can't you feel it in your heart and say
Yeah, yeah, yeah

In this world
There's a love that's unspoken
Letting go
Reaching out
Then it's time to search your heart
And stop, it's you
Learn to love yourself
Respect yourself
And say
That's the way I am

Following is what Paul Howes says about "Born This Way" in his indispensable book The Complete Dusty Springfield.

By no means the best cut on Reputation, 'Born This Way" nevertheless has its moments due to Dusty's very spirited and uplifting delivery. Dusty said that she was really looking forward to working with Geoffrey Williams, describing him as the most brilliant vocal talent she'd heard in many years. "He wrote a marvellous song for me and it'll be a tough one to do, but that's what it's all about, it's about challenge. The song is a real old rave and I don't think the record company's too keen on it, but I believe in taking risks and I think it will come out great – I hope so anyway. I love working with people who are talented and this guy's brilliant."

There's a sense of nostalgia as her performance certainly does hark back to the rave performances she used to give on stage in the 1960s. It was the very last vocal to be cut for the album and Dusty flew to the States to complete it in February 1990.

Recommended Off-site Link:
Should We Care If We Were "Born This Way"? – John Corvino (, February 18, 2011).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Remembering Dusty
Time and the River
Soul Deep
Something In Your Eyes
The Sound of Two Decades Colliding
Celebrating Dusty
Classic Dusty
Classic Dusty II
Classic Dusty III
Classic Dusty IV
Classic Dusty V
Remembering Dusty, Eleven Years On


Mark said...

This was an excellent post. It was good because I listened to both "Born This Way" songs. I do like that picture of Dusty Springfield. I know that you are a big fan of hers. Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed it.

Michael J. Bayly said...

Thanks, Mark!