Covered Classics: “Hello, Hooray” by Fast Romantics

 

Photo of Fast Romantics performing live

Matthew Angus of Fast Romantics (Photo credit: Cathy Irving)

Toronto-based indie rock band and 2016 SOCAN Songwriting Prize Winners Fast Romantics are the latest to perform a song for the Hall of Fame’s Covered Classics series. The group take on Hello, Hooray, a hit song for both shock-rocker Alice Cooper and folksinger Judy Collins, written by Canadian singer-songwriter Rolf Kempf. The song is the latest to be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Hello, Hooray was written by Rolf Kempf on a borrowed guitar sitting by a pool in Laurel Canyon. The songwriter had just moved from Toronto to Los Angeles to aid his burgeoning music career but his band soon decamped. The song is about reinventing oneself after hard times.

The first to record Hello, Hooray was Judy Collins in 1968. She had been looking for new songs to extend her folk-singer boundaries when Kempf offered his newest creation. “I fell in love with it the moment I heard it,” Collins declared in her memoirs.

A few years later, Rocker Alice Cooper (the stage name of Vincent Furnier) heard the potential for the lines “Let the show begin/Let the lights grow dim” to directly address his concert audiences. So, he added his own lyrics about the special dynamic between a star and his fans. Songwriter Kempf, far from objecting to the liberties, was delighted with the new lyrics. “He got the emotional essence of the tune right, and added a tag to bring it home,” the composer said. Alice Cooper recorded his arena-rock interpretation of Hello, Hooray as the opening song on his 1973 platinum-selling album “Billion Dollar Babies”, produced by Canadian Bob Ezrin.

Hello Hooray has had a varied and successful run, from Judy Collins singing it at the Lincoln Center in 1969, to its appearance in the 2014 futuristic film “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” It has been a regular in Alice Cooper’s playlist, opening their shows for over 40 years starting in 1973. Other acts who have recorded the song include Pig (Raymond Watts), and The Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13.

A collaboration between the CSHF and CBC/Radio-Canada, Covered Classics invites our nation’s finest musical talent to perform their version of a classic song to celebrate its induction into the Hall of Fame. For more 2016 Covered Classics sessions, click here.

Watch Fast Romantics cover Rolf Kempf’s Hello, Hooray.