We've sung "Just A Friend" at karaoke. You've sung "Just a Friend" at karaoke. But, when an avant-garde music legend steps up to the stage and sings "Just a Friend," it's time to take a moment out of your day and pay attention.
Last night at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan, former Talking Heads frontman and genre-defying solo artist David Byrne picked up the mic and belted out Biz Markie's classic song of love and loss, "Just a Friend." Unlike the last time you might have sang the tune, he was not drunk pitchers of Kirin beer and soju shots. Also, he was doing it for a good cause.
See, the concert in question was in support of the Content Creators Coalition and its drive to have artists paid for radio broadcasts of their work. As Byrne put it in a newsletter for the event, "Mr. Markie didn't write that tune (although he did probably write the rap)...The drum and keyboard loop was lifted from a Freddie Scott recording, but the song was written by Gamble and Huff, the great songwriting team that wrote for the O'Jays and the Spinners." He continued, "So, chances are Biz Markie didn't see any royalties from all the radio play that song got."
It's a good cause, so we'll forgive Byrne's somewhat, um, unconventional cover. Actually, it's really endearing to see a 61-year-old icon fumble through the tune in pretty much the same way you did the last time you got up enough liquid courage to take it on. We're all friends here. (Rolling Stone)
Video: Via YouTube.