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> Cathy Dennis talks Can't Get You Out of My Head
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Liam.k.
post Mar 20 2019, 01:45 PM
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QUOTE
Hitmakers: The songwriting secrets behind Can't Get You Out Of My Head
March 19th 2019 | Andre Paine



Not only did Canít Get You Out Of My Head give Kylie Minogue her biggest hit so far, it also became one of the most iconic pop songs of all time. Here, la-la-la-legendary songwriter Cathy Dennis recalls creating a phenomenon...

I always feel that Canít Get You Out Of My Head shouldnít have been the hit that it was Ė it was written in about two-and-a-half hours. There have been lots of songs that have been easy to write over the years, but it was probably one of the quickest, if not the quickest, sessions Iíve ever done in my life.

It was a very fluid session with Rob [Davis, formerly of Mud] at his house in Epsom. I remember Robís wife at the time, Christina, was making a fuss of both of us making sure that we had what we wanted, like nuts and seeds, but it was just for a couple of hours of writing. Itís a great example of when youíve got two people in the room and they give each other creative freedom, thatís what can happen.

Rob is a guitarist and he had some chord ideas, so I started jamming around that. I had an idea in my head about Bronski Beat for some reason, so thatís where I was coming from melodically Ė although lyrically there was no reference to that at all. Then I had an idea for the, well, I call it the bassline, which was a kind of Kraftwerk idea which I played on the Korg Triton.

I remember going for a wee, and it was quite an inspirational one! I came back and a lot of lyrics fell into place quite quickly. Then we worked on the second verse together and then I came up with the, Ďla, la, laí thing just before I was leaving and that was it.

Initially, I loved Canít Get You Out Of My Head, but I thought, ĎOh, maybe Iíll just release it myselfí, because I was still kind of interested in releasing music. We sent it to Sophie Ellis-Bextor and it got turned down for whatever reason, probably just by her label. Then it was [Dennisí then manager] Simon Fullerís idea to send it to Kylie. Jamie [Nelson, who co-signed Minogue to Parlophone] loved it and they said itís going to be the albumís first single. I thought, ĎThey donít know what theyíre talking about, itís going to be a terrible mistakeí [laughs]. But it wasnít.

Canít Get You Out Of My Head was written on its own and then we got back together after that to do another one, Come Into My World, which was equally great, because we got a Grammy for that one.

I co-produced Canít Get You Out Of My Head with Rob. Kylie was in the studio at the same time Ė I didnít have any expectations and I donít think she did either. We recorded some of it in Universalís writing room and we put the finishing touches to it in a studio in Hampstead. It was a really cheap production.

The only way to template your song initially is to sing it yourself, and producers donít normally volunteer themselves for that kind of thing. Iím not saying that I enjoy vocaling Ė unless itís a song that Iím really into Ė but I did background [vocals] on the finished version. When Rob and I produced it, we kept my backing vocals in but it doesnít sound exactly the same [as the original Dennis recording] at all. Iíve sung on most of my big hits, I think maybe people like the sound of my voice in the background or something. Iíve done backgrounds on the finished versions of Toxic, I Kissed A Girl and some of my other big hits.

Kylie put her own stamp on it vocally. My voice doesnít sound like hers, but she brought the same ambience to the production. The lead vocal is very different. She did an amazing video and did the song justice, vocally. Sheís a very hard worker, everyone always says how lovely she is and she really is.

Iím a really free spirit and I love to make music that mirrors the kind of person I am, which is why I like the song so much. As a song, itís not sticking to any stereotypes. I guess in that respect I would say that itís one of my proudest works, just because it is totally uninhibited.

Writerís Notes

Publisher Sony/ATV/UMPG
Writers Rob Davis, Cathy Dennis
Release Date 08.09.01
Record label Parlophone
Total UK sales (OCC) 1,342,820

(Source: Music Week)
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pippa
post Mar 20 2019, 03:13 PM
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It is astonishing to think Kylie almost missed out on it had Sophie Ellis Bextor or her team accepted it.
I would believe Sophie Ellis Bextor was kicking herself for not releasing it.
That said, i strongly feel it wouldn't have become the huge hit it was if Sophie had released it instead.
The video was iconic and very Kylie at that time and it played its own role in the huge hit it was.
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Tawdry Hepburn
post Mar 20 2019, 04:14 PM
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Sophie has confirmed loads of times (even to me) that she was never offered the song, I assume at best it reached her label and they rejected it.

Interesting to read the story behind how this came about!
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pippa
post Mar 20 2019, 04:20 PM
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Those at the label made a big mistake turning it down but the mistake was one that benefited Kylie greatly.
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Liam.k.
post Mar 20 2019, 04:42 PM
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QUOTE(Tawdry Hepburn @ Mar 20 2019, 04:14 PM) *
Interesting to read the story behind how this came about!

Agreed! Seems like Cathy had no idea this would become the phenomenon it was. It's funny what catches on and really captures the interests of the public. The video definitely had a helping hand and Kylie's status at the time worked too. Plus it's just so timeless, it's not really like any other song before or since.

Regarding Cathy's vocals being used on some of the songs she writes, that's definitely evident on Toxic. I'm pretty sure the chorus of the finished product is mainly Cathy's vocal - you can hear it on the demo.
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vibe
post Mar 20 2019, 05:32 PM
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Sorry Cathy we are not appreciating your backing vocals lol. But we are certainly appreciating your songs.
You have wrote some corkers .
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tommie
post Mar 20 2019, 05:48 PM
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Honestly, there's a lot of songs that become hits that were offered to different artists before landing; Umbrella was offered to both Mary J Blige and Britney before landing with Rihanna (who also previously picked up SOS that Christina Milian rejected). Sometimes some tracks obviously just won't work or be as big as they would if a certain artist took it?

I mean, if Britney had recorded "Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex" as originally intended instead of that talent vacuum, who's to say it wouldn't have been a multiple week number one worldwide hit? SEB would've brought a very different energy to CGYOOMH too, so I'm not sure it would've been as big as it was with Kylie; it likely would've had problems crossing over in the US due to her strong British accent...
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pippa
post Mar 20 2019, 06:34 PM
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Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex is a song that i feel would have worked and suited Brittney Spears.
Cant Get You Out Of My Head would not have suited Sophie Ellis Bextor and likewise Umbrella i feel would not have suited Mary J Blige or Brittney Spears.
Toxic is another example, i am on the fence as to if Kylie could have pulled this one off or not.


This post has been edited by pippa: Mar 20 2019, 06:35 PM
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Monzo
post Mar 21 2019, 09:05 AM
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I love Cathy Dennis and wish she would release some music of her own again. Her debut album "Move To This" is still great after all these years. Back then her music got better reputation than Kylie's. Cathy was so big in the states having four top ten hits (more than Kylie). Sadly she lost some steam after her debut, but I got the feeling she never really enjoyed the limelight and she prefers being a songwriter and producer right now.
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tommie
post Mar 21 2019, 10:24 AM
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QUOTE(Monzo @ Mar 21 2019, 10:05 AM) *
I love Cathy Dennis and wish she would release some music of her own again. Her debut album "Move To This" is still great after all these years. Back then her music got better reputation than Kylie's. Cathy was so big in the states having four top ten hits (more than Kylie). Sadly she lost some steam after her debut, but I got the feeling she never really enjoyed the limelight and she prefers being a songwriter and producer right now.


She worked on some supposed solo music about a decade ago, but nothing came out of it. I assume she's more comfortable behind the scenes as you say.
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pippa
post Mar 21 2019, 07:17 PM
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Some of her older hits remain great but she faded relatively quickly after her debut and from listening to her back catalogue she lost her way.
She has managed to sustain a very successful career behind the scenes and has some huge hits to her name.
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Liam.k.
post Mar 21 2019, 07:42 PM
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I was quite surprised to learn Cathy had a hand in writing Galantis' 'Runaway (U & I)' as well as singing the verses, although heavily processed.
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Monzo
post Mar 22 2019, 08:04 AM
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I have to say I didn't like Cathy with Galantis, but I enjoyed the track "You Control Me" she did with Chris Blaide a few years ago.

I recently watched old VCR tapes with appereances and interviews of Kylie, Dannii, Cathy and other artists I liked back then. Compared to the Minogues Cathy seemed a little shy and cold. I guess she could only sell her music when it was really good and not because of her attitude.
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pippa
post Mar 22 2019, 12:28 PM
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I could never identify whether Cathy was a cold character or was if she was shy character.
That said, she appears more of a behind the scenes person and not totally suited to fame.
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Feel_The_Fever
post Mar 22 2019, 04:51 PM
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A very close friend of mine met cathy years ago and I remember him saying she was nice but was awkward in that not great with been fanous.
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slowdown73
post Mar 23 2019, 12:18 AM
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No other artist could have done the song the same justice as Kylie. It was clearly meant for her.
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Feel_The_Fever
post Mar 23 2019, 06:06 PM
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I agree it was meant for kylie.
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