It’s Monday, and May the Fourth be with you! Yeah, that’s pretty lame… and I don’t need to worry about upsetting any Star Wars nerds by saying that, because they already hate me since I’m firmly on Team Jar Jar. But in a galaxy not so far, far away, we have an equine DJ and her two sparklehorned apprentices who are more than ready to drop the needle on the next song in The Nest’s awesome Top 30 Covers Songs of All Time countdown! Maybe if you’re really nice, they’ll invite the Cantina band along to do a mash up of today’s featured track…
#22. “Respect Yourself” – Bruce Willis
The Staple Singers were a family act that got their start in the
horrific uplifting world of gospel music, and were rocking the church circuit decades before they finally broke out into the mainstream in the early 70’s with a string of low tempo R&B hits. One of those songs that caught the attention of pop radio was 1971’s “Respect Yourself,” which made it all the way up to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
As it often goes in the world of pop music, though… if you want a song about black empowerment to be its most successful… find yourself a cheesy white artist to record it. Enter Bruce Willis…
Yes, Bruce Fucking Willis, with all the musical talent of William Hung, hijacked a 16 year old R&B moldy oldie and took it all the way up to #5 in 1987. And you know what…. his version really does kick the original one’s ass!
OK, he had a little help from June Pointer, who came from another famous R&B family act. But still…
At the time Willis released his first foray into the musical world, 1987’s “The Return of Bruno,” he was essentially only known for his role in the TV series “Moonlighting,” and as a pitchman for Seagram’s hooch. “Respect Yourself” was the only cut from that album that got major radio airplay, and at that, it was a very short-lived flash in the pan that got pitched into the dustbin of rock history faster than Casey Kasum could put on a long distance dedication. Bruce went back to being a C-list thespian until the “Die Hard” series turned him into one of the biggest badasses in Hollywood history.
The 80’s were a crazy time in music history, and one of the fads of the decade was actors trying to become rock stars. Eddie Murphy, Patrick Swayze, Jack Wagner, Don Johnson, even Rodney Dangerfield showed no respect, no respect to the world of hip hop.
So Bruce Willis was just following a trend…. a trend that he was perhaps gratefully one of the last ones to get in on. But I love his little piece of cover song one-hit wonderdom, and it brings back great memories of 6th grade inside recesses during the Winter of 1987… when we’d crank up the stereo we had in the classroom (No, I’m dead serious, we had a stereo in the class!) and this was one of the songs that was being played a lot at the time…
And coincidentally, another one of those songs from the Winter of ’87 will be popping up next Monday. See ya next week for #21….
Why don’t I remember this song?
Too stoned in junior high?
Because it sucks.
Haha…yes it does.
LOL! I can’t wait to see if this is my first unanimous turkey…
Well, it was pretty fowl. 😀
Aw man Bruce, what were you thinking? Wow. I missed that one.
I’m not surprised… it was one of those blink and you’d miss it hits.
1987 was a weird year for pop music… I think there were over 40 different number one songs that year. The top song changed with almost every week’s countdown! And how long has Uptown Funk been #1 now?
I was listening to a lot of new wave stuff at the time. Uptown Funk is #1 but if you go a little off to the smaller bands and indie/alternative/blues bands there is a lot going on in music right now. Many of the younger bands have 80’s rock and new wave influences. Exciting times. That said, I’m glad Bruce stuck with acting. I see dead people.
So, he was moonlighting as a music star?
Awesome! That reference never even occurred to me…
I’m glad to read here in the comments that I’m not the only one who doesn’t remember this song. I don’t even remember Bruce Willis singing, ever.
Heck, who knows? Maybe Bruce doesn’t even remember doing this. perhaps even purposely….
As a massive Bruce fan I did know about this, but can remember how freaking surprised I was the first time I found this video on Youtube haha.
As you think Star Wars day is lame (fair enough, I don’t hate you!), I’m going to just wish you a happy Monday 😀
LOL! I laughed when I saw you did a tribute to it as well this morning. How wude of me! 😉 Everything is in good fun around here…
I don’t remember it either! So, Bruce Willis singing. What’s up next week? Classic Shatner? 🙂
I know someone who is fascinated with Shatner covers. I can assure you, I am not that person! I think the rest of the songs are by established musical acts…. or alleged musical acts anyway!
Bruce Willis … and Jane Pointer? Like of … The Pointer Sisters … Pointer? Wow. That makes me all shivery.
That’s right! She was so excited to accompany Bruce on this cover. I actually never knew who the female voice was on this song until I did the research for this post yesterday…
Cool. I guess that answers 1/4 of my unasked question: Whatever happened to The Pointer Sisters?
I heard this playful joke about the Force or Fourth be with you and thought of all the Star Trek groupies who would smile and sent a few texts with it this am.! Smiles!
It seems like I’d come across that May 4th joke every year. It’s the kind of thing that funny the first time you hear it, but by the 20th time, has pretty much lost its humor steam…
Oh my! Bruce is lovely. 😀
I’m going to take that as a vote for Bruce’s version! 😉
Mavis Staple over June Pointer. Pops Staple over Bruce. Now he’s going to hunt me down and make me die harder, isn’t he, Bill? By making me listen to the whole damn album, maybe?
I guess that depends on how badass Bruce still is in his…. what, late 50’s I’d guess now. It’s also possible that he just might target me instead for bringing up this moment in his life may have wanted to forget…
Bruce Willis turned 60 on March 19, Bill. Yeah, he’s going to be in a generally pissy mood all around. Uh-oh. I wonder if he Googles his name.