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The "Restless Restless" Story

Updated: Nov 23, 2019

It's been called the worse song of all time and thanks to a contest on the Howard Stern show, it has become one of the most covered songs of all time with close to 1000 cover versions. The song is called "Restless, Restless" and this is it's story.

CD cover for the Best Of Restless Restless Volume 1

Tom Gesimondo (co-writer of "Restless, Restless") and I first met in 1982 when we both worked for WNBC radio. Or as Howard would call it W-NNNN-BC! We initially bonded over our discovery of the massive and legendary NBC music library on the 3rd floor at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York. In the pre internet days and pre Virgin super store days, the NBC library was probably the greatest collection of music in one place. It's wasn't long before Tom and I discovered that we were musical mirror images of each other.

At the time, WNBC was playing an endless loop of early 80's Top 40 AM radio (think Barry Manilow, Bee Gees, Shena Easton).


Tom and I decided we could write songs that were, at the very least, just as commercial as what was playing on the radio. It helped that we shared a love for pretty much all genres of music. At the time, we were heavy into the Punk Rock/New Wave evolution but we also were heavy into classic performers like Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles and Elton John. We decided that our handicap (the fact that we can't really sing or play an instrument) wasn't going to get in the way. We knew we were great at lyrics, melody and that we had a strong sense of what was commercial. It sounds a little shallow but we just wanted to write hit songs. It wasn't about art or really expressing our own personal views. We pretty much shared stories on our failed relationships over the years (the best foundation for any songwriter) and channeled it into writing songs.


The first song we wrote was called "Headlines, Headlines" and it was written mainly as an exercise ('let's write a song about a failed relationship using a newspaper metaphor'). "Restless, Restless" was the second song we ever wrote together. It was a perfect collaboration because Tom helped articulate my feelings about a really bad breakup with my girlfriend at the time. As with all of our songs, we made a quick demo with us singing the song. We really didn't have a melody worked out when we sang it but we wanted to see if the lyrics flowed together. The song was very much of it's time (New Wave, CBGB, purple dresses and dancing shoes) so the melody had a slightly new wave "jerk" to it. While Tom and I pursed our careers (me in television and Tom in radio) we continued to write songs together.


Thanks to our relationship with the great Howard Stern, he mentioned on the air one morning, to millions of listeners, that Tom and I were songwriters. Curious as to what our songs would sound like, he asked us to bring in a demo. The "Restless, Restless" cassette had survived over 20 years and we felt that it was a pretty good representation of our passion for music so we handed it over. Before long, Howard had declared it one of the worse songs of all time. He would play the demo almost every day for several weeks. This eventually lead to the "Restless, Restless" song contest on his show where people were encouraged to cover the song any way they wanted as long as they didn't change the lyrics. There was a cash prize of $5,000 and close to a thousand cover versions were submitted.


Tom and I had no idea what to expect. We knew that Howard's audience were a pretty hip, smart bunch of people but nothing prepared us for what we were about to hear. We expected a bunch of novelty versions with hopefully a few gems but it was a complete reversal. The few novelty once we received were pretty damn funny but there was a high ratio of good to great covers that covered the history of modern music. There were rap versions, hard rock, soft rock, jazz and blues versions. There were some celebrity versions (Robert Goulet and William Shatner!) as well as techno and disco.


Tom and I were so inspired by the whole thing that we actually put a band together of some incredibly talented musicians, (the Crucial Heads) and covered our own song. Hearing what all of these incredibly talented musicians were able to to with the song was beyond words. Howard and his staff eventually went through all the submissions and picked the top three. Tom and I were judges along with Harvey Leeds from Epic Records and John Titta from Warner Chappel Music. The three finalists were Kevin Remuck, a young singer songwriter from Boston who blew everyone away with his beautiful Country/Soul cover, Robert Goulet, perhaps best known for originating the role of Sir Lancelot on Broadway in Camelot and Jeff Stillman who did a nice Honky Tonk/Country styled version.


Howard was kind enough to indulge us and played some of the other great versions that had been submitted which was an obvious kick for some of these bands. Kevin Remuck was the hands down winner and the whole thing aired on the E Entertainment cable network [check the listings for reruns]. Kevin's beautiful version is available for digital download at RealRhapsody.


We hope to eventually host every singe version of the most covered song of 2004! In the meantime, check out the "Restless, Restless" jukebox for links to some of the most popular versions. We encourage you to also visit the various bands websites. trust us, there some incredible music to be heard out there


Thanks to the exposure of the song on the Howard Stern show, Tom and I have met an incredible group of musicians throughout the country [featured below]. We've made some great friends with some of the guys already (Kevin Remuck, Eric Garner, Bump, and Pat Barry from Navar) and we hope to meet more of you.


Keep checking back for more updates.



Restless, Restless

[Gesimondo & Favale]


You wore your purple dress

I put on my dancing shoes

A night like all the rest

I didn’t have a clue


I picked you up at ten

And to a fault you were quiet

I didn’t know it then

That I was off your diet


You said you needed time to think for yourself

While all the time you were thinking ‘bout somebody else

Now I can tell by the look that’s on your face

That someone else has taken my place


What’s his name?

What’s his name?

What’s his name?


Chorus

Restless 

[Restless, Restless]

It happens all the time

I love you

I love you

I like you

I’ve changed my mind


Restless

[Restless, Restless]

She starts to feel that way

You used to leave her Breathless

Now you leave her with nothing to say


You never said it

Not even to this day

You made sure I read it

The author doesn’t sign her name


You tell all your friends

How I left you in haste

You don’t tell them

How you left me with this after taste


Chorus

Restless 

[Restless, Restless]

It happens all the time

I love you

I love you

I like you

She's changed her mind


Restless

[Restless, Restless]

She starts to feel that way

You used to leave her breathless

Now you leave her with nothing to say

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