Biz Markie — Alone Again /
Produced by Biz Markie
Here’s yet another deleted track #12 from an early 90s Cold Chillin’/Juice Crew LP. This time it’s the controversial “Alone Again” from Biz Markie’s third release, I Need A Haircut. Biz’s record samples a 10-second piano loop and chorus from Gilbert O’Sullivan’s most well-known hit, “Alone Again (Naturally)”. As the story goes, a letter requesting permission to use the composition was sent to O’Sullivan’s representative, but Warner Bros. released Biz’s album before receiving a response. The loss of the resulting lawsuit led to I Need A Haircut’s removal from store shelves, but more significantly, forever changed hip hop’s sonic landscape. From that point forward, all major-label artists had to clear every sample, or risk similar litigation. Although one could argue that hip hop was always headed towards a more sample-free existence, the aftershock of this decision certainly sped up the process.
Warner Bros. reissued I Need A Haircut years later, with “Alone Again” removed. These copies are easy to spot because of the large, circular black-and-white “Collector’s Edition - Special Edition” emblem added to the lower-left cover corner. This logo can be seen on many Cold Chillin’ re-releases.
I don’t know if “Alone Again” was single bound, but it certainly seems to be a spiritual successor to his signature “Just A Friend”. Biz couples O’Sullivan’s keys with the well-worn “Impeach The President” drum break, much as he did with Freddie Scott’s “(You) Got What I Need” and Lee Dorsey’s “Get Out Of My Life Woman”. He also reprises his lyrical role as a man let down by social interactions. Instead of being strung along by a woman, he’s left lonely by friends (awwwww!). I often wonder if Bucwheed’s “On The DL” guest verse was inspired by “Alone Again’s” closing lines.