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Posted by: In: Other 09 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


594-Kurtis Blow-The Breaks.

1980-Number 47 single.

Best Bit-At 1.25. There is no cussing on this ‘Old School Rap,’ so you can let your granny listen to it.

Kurtis Blow was born Kurtis Walker on August 9th, 1959, in New York City, United States, he is a Rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, DJ, actor, and became an ordained minister in 2009, founding ‘The Hip-Hop Church,’ in Harlem. In 1979 at the age of 20, he became the first Rapper to be signed to a major record label, ‘Mercury Records,’ for which between 1980-1988 he released eight studio Albums, he has also released a further three Albums between 2007-2010. Kurtis Blow has also produced , or collaborated with other Hip-Hop artists including The Fat Boys, Wyclef Jean, and Run DMC,(see also best songs 305 and 113) DJ Run actually started his career being billed as ‘The Son of Kurtis Blow.’ He has had two singles make the UK top 40, in 1979 ‘Christmas Rappin’ reached Number 30, and in 1985 ‘If I Ruled the World,’ which was covered by Nas in 1996 (UK Number 12) made Number 24.

‘The Breaks’ is taken from Kurtis Blow’s self titled debut Album from 1980, which was placed at Number 71 on ‘The Greatest 80 Albums of 1980,’ by Rolling Stone Magazine. Kurtis Blow wanted to make a tribute song for all the ‘Break Dancers’ who lived in around the South Bronx, and Harlem, in the early 1970’s. He took his idea to the songs producers, J.B. Moore, and Robert Ford, who suggested expanding the concept of other implied meanings for ‘breaks,’ such as the good, or bad breaks in life.

Kurtis Blow performed the song on Soul Train,’ whose host, and creator Don Cornelius (1936-2012) told the Rapper after the performance,’It doesn’t make sense to old guys like me…I don’t understand why they love it so much.’ Cornelius was expressing how many of his generation felt about the emergence of Hip-Hop.’

‘Clap your hands everybody if you’ve got what it takes,’cause I’m Kurtis Blow and I want you to know that these are the breaks.’

Posted by: In: Other 09 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


595-The Cranberries-Zombie.

1994-Number 14 single.

Best Bit-At 0.14. In April 2020 The Cranberries became the first Irish band to surpass 1 Billion views on You Tube with this song.

The Cranberries were formed in Limerick, Ireland, in 1989, originally called,’The Cranberry Saw Us,’ by Niall Quinn (vocals,) Noel Hogan (guitar,) his brother Mike Hogan (bass,) and Fergal Lawler (drums.) In 1990 Quinn left the group and was replaced as vocalist by Dolores O’Riordan (1971-2018.) The Cranberries were active until 2003, but got back together in 2009, and then were again active until the band retired in 2019. They released eight studio Albums between 1993-2019, and 22 singles, of which 10 entered the UK top 40.’Zombie’ was taken from The Cranberries second studio Album ‘No Need to Argue’ from 1994 and was written by Dolores O’Riordan. She was born on September 6th, 1971, in Ballybricken, County Limerick, she died on January 15th, 2018, when she drowned while under the influence of alcohol.

‘Zombie’ is a protest song, inspired by the ‘IRA’ bombing in Warrington, England, on March 20th, 1993, when two children, Johnathan Ball who was 3, and Tim Parry who was 12, both lost their lives, when two devices hidden in litter bins were detonated. O’Riordan had previously been on a tour bus in London, and had heard a bomb going off close by, and this, along with her Irish heritage inspired her to write this song. Musically the song was a departure from the bands previous output, as the band had been known for a more mellow sound, but O’Riordan wanted to get her point across with a ‘harder’ sound, hence the elements of ‘Grunge,’ which was very popular at that time.

The ‘IRA’ (Irish Republican Party) is a militant group, that were determined to remove British troops from Northern Island. On August 31st, 1994, just a few weeks after the song was released, the ‘IRA’ declared a ceasefire after 25 years of conflict.

‘It’s the same old theme since 1916, in your head, in your head, they’re still fighting. With their tanks, and their bombs, and their bombs, and their guns.’

Posted by: In: Other 07 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


596-Muddy Waters-Hoochie Coochie Man.

1954-Has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 0.01. I could tell you what a ‘Hoochie Coochie’ is, but it’s probably better you don’t know, but I’ll tell you anyway.

‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ is a ‘Chicago Blues’ song written by Willie Dixon, and first recorded by Muddy Waters, it is considered one of the most important links between ‘Blues’ music, and the onset of ‘Rock N’ Roll,’ and eventually ‘Rock’ music. The lyrics deal with superstitions, and mysticism, that have been passed on down through the generations, with the narrator telling us that even before he was born, ‘A gypsy woman told my momma,’ that he was ‘Gonna make these pretty women jump and shout.’ The term ‘Hoochie Coochie’ was first used in the mid-to late 1800’s, to describe several provocative ‘belly dances.’ In America, specifically in African-American culture, a hoochie coochie refers to the genitals of a drunken woman, the phrase is derived from the term ‘hooch,’ which is a slang word for alcohol, while ‘coochie’ is a slang word for a woman’s genitals.

‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ was written by Willie Dixon who was born William James Dixon on July 1st, 1915, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, United States, he died on January 29th, 1992, primarily as a result of long term diabetes. He is recognised as an important link between the Blues, and Rock N’ Roll, working with Chuck Berry, and Bo Diddley in the late 1950’s. Dixon’s songs have been covered many times, and include ‘Little Red Rooster,’ which when covered by The Rolling Stones, was a UK Number 1 in 1964. Another song,’I Just Want to Make Love to You’ is probably best known for it’s Etta James version, and his song ‘You Need Love,’ was a big inspiration on Led Zeppelin (see also best songs 135.)

Muddy Waters was born McKinley Morganfield in Issaquena County, Mississippi, United States, there is debate about his actual date of birth, but it was probably April 4th, 1913, he died on April 30th, 1983 from heart failure. His mother died shortly after his birth, and he was brought up by his grandmother Della Grant, who gave him his nickname ‘Muddy’ at an early age because he loved to play in muddy waters,’Waters’ was added in later years. Both Muddy Waters, and Willie Dixon were both employees of the ‘Chess Records’ label, and Waters influence on future generations of musicians such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and The Rolling Stones, is considered on a par with that of Dixon’s.’On the seventh hour, of the seventh day.

On the seventh month, the seventh doctor said,’He’s born for good luck, and I know you see.’ Got seven hundred dollars, and don’t you mess with me.’

Posted by: In: Other 07 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


597-Shirley & Company-Shame, Shame, Shame.

1975-Number 6 single.

Best Bit-At 0.38. There’s absolutely no shame whatsoever in lovin’ 70’s Disco.

Shirley & Company were an act put together by Sylvia Robinson to record the 1974 Album ‘Shame, Shame, Shame.’ The act consisted of six studio musicians, and two singers who would promote the songs in the media. Shirley was Shirley Goodman (1936-2005) who had initially found success in the 1950’s as part of the duo ‘Shirley and Lee, with Leonard Lee (1935-1976,) together they had two Billboard top 40 singles in 1956. Also worth noting is that Shirley was also a backing vocalist for other artists, she can be heard on The Rolling Stones 1972 Album ‘Exile On Main Street.’

The other vocalist on this song is Jason Alvarez, who was born Jesus Alvarus in Havana, Cuba, on December 28th, 1951. Since 1981 he has been a solo artist releasing 10 Albums in the ‘Christian R&B,’ and ‘Jesus Music,’ genres, he became an ordained minister in 1982.There is a debate about who actually wrote ‘Shame, Shame. Shame,’ as both Sylvia Robinson, and Donnie Elbert (1936-1989) both claimed authorship. This led to a rift, with Elbert leaving the ‘All Platinum’ record label, and Robinson remained the sole writer credited.

Sylvia Robinson was born Sylvia Vanderpool on May 29th, 1935, in Harlem, New York, United States, and died on September 29th, 2011, due to congestive heart failure. She is a very important figure, particularly in the development of ‘Hip-Hop.’ She first found success as half of the duo ‘Micky & Sylvia,’ who had the 1956 Billboard Number 11 hit single with ‘Love Is Strange,’ In 1973 she had a solo hit with ‘Pillow Talk,’ a song she had written. Robinson initially offered it to Al Green, but he turned it down, saying it’s suggestive lyrics went against his religious beliefs. The ‘orgasmic gasps,’ and moaning on the song, predate Donna Summer’s ‘Love to Love You Baby’ (see also best songs 78) by two years. Robinson has also been part of two consortium’s who have set up record labels. In 1967 she helped form ‘All Platinum Records,’ (see also best songs 466) and in 1979 she was part of the team responsible for the founding of ‘Sugar Hill Records.’ Two of ‘Hip-Hop’s’ most important songs ‘Rappers Delight,’ by The Sugar Hill Gang,’ (see also best songs 17) and ‘The Message,’ by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five (see also best songs 290) would probably not have happened without her influence, this led to her becoming known as the ‘Mother of Hip- Hop.

‘Got my sunroof down, got my diamonds in the back, put on your shaky wig woman, if you don’t I ain’t comin’ back.’

Posted by: In: Other 05 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


598-The Proclaimers-I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles.)

1988-Number 11 single.

Best Bit-At 1.34. To ‘haver’ is to talk foolishly. Some American radio stations initially banned the song, thinking that to ‘haver’ was something very rude.

The Proclaimers are the twin brothers Craig, and Charlie Reid, who were born on March 5th, 1962, in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland. They started out as an acoustic duo, before recruiting a backing band, and becoming more Rock orientated.They have released 11 studio Albums to date, between 1987-2018, and have achieved six UK top 40 singles, including the 2007 Number 1 ‘Comic Relief’ remake of this song.’I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles’) was taken from The Proclaimers second studio Album ‘Sunshine on Leith’ from 1988, The song was mainly written by Craig who said,’I can remember sitting at the piano, and the chords just came to me. I reckon I just wrote the whole thing in 45 minutes.’ I knew that it was a good song, maybe even a single, but I had no idea how popular it would become.’

In 1993 the song was chosen for the American romantic comedy film ‘Benny & Joon’ starring Johnny Depp, and due to this exposure the song gave The Proclaimers their only hit on Billboard, reaching Number 3.

In 2007 The Proclaimers re-recorded the song with the British comedians Peter Kay, and Matt Lucas, for the ‘Comic Relief’ song of that year, it went to Number 1 in March, and ending 2007 as the eighth best selling single of the year. The popularity of the song led to renewed interest in the original, and it re-entered the UK top 40 at Number 37, which is possibly the only time that a re-recorded version, and an original version of a song have been new entries on the UK top 40 in the same week?

‘But I would walk five hundred miles,and I would walk five hundred more, just to be the man who walks a thousand miles, to fall down at your door.’

Posted by: In: Other 05 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


599-Beatles-Eleanor Rigby.

1966-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 1.17. It appears that when Eleanor Rigby was alive nobody had heard of her, but now she’s dead, she’s very well known.

‘Eleanor Rigby’ was released in August 1966 as a double ‘A’ sided single, with ‘Yellow Submarine’, both tracks were taken from the Beatles seventh studio Album ‘Revolver.’ although the song is credited to Lennon/McCartney, (as all the Beatles songs were) this one was mainly McCartney. None of the Beatles played an instrument on the song, with McCartney providing lead, and harmony vocals, and Lennon (see also best songs 927-473-218-168 and 20,) and Harrison (see also best songs 737) both providing harmony as well. It was a classical string ensemble of studio musicians comprising four violins, and two cellos, that played the music, which was arranged and produced by George Martin (1926-2016.)McCartney (see also best songs 646-456-319-238-141-107-80-52-10 and 6) has stated that he came up with the name ‘Eleanor’ from the actress Eleanor Bron who had starred with the Beatles in the 1965 film ‘Help.’ He has said that ‘Rigby’ came from a shop in Bristol called ‘Rigby & Evens Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers,’ which he had seen while on a visit to see his girlfriend of that time Jane Asher. However it has been pointed out that the graveyard of St Peter’s Church in Liverpool, which is in walking distance of the Woolton Village garden fete, where McCartney and Lennon first met on the afternoon of July 6th, 1957, contains the gravestone of an individual called Eleanor Rigby. McCartney’s explanation for this is that he must have subconsciously remembered the headstone, as he insists that he made the name up.

The song tells the story of two lonely people, the churchgoing woman Eleanor Rigby, and the pastor Father McKenzie, whose sermons no one will hear. In the third verse Eleanor dies, and only Father McKenzie is present at the funeral to bury her. McCartney said,’When I was really little, I lived on a housing estate, there were lots of old ladies, and I enjoyed sitting around with these older ladies because they had these great stories, in this case about World War 2. One in particular I used to visit, and I’d go shopping with her, you know, she couldn’t get out, so I figured in my mind, of a sort of lonely old lady.’

‘Eleanor Rigby died in the church, and was buried along with her name, nobody came.Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands, as he walks from the grave, no one was saved.’

Posted by: In: Other 03 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


600-Jim Capaldi-It’s All Up to You.

1974-Number 27 single.

Best Bit-At 0.21. Just man up, and tell her what’s she’s missing, for goodness sake.

Nicola James Capaldi was born on August 2nd, 1944, in Evesham, Worcestershire, he died on January 28th, 2005, from stomach cancer. His father’s first name was also Nicola, and had been born to Italian parents in 1913, also in Evesham.

Capaldi’s first major breakthrough occurred in 1967 when forming the Psychedelic Rock band Traffic with Steve Winwood, Chris Wood (1944-1983,) and Dave Mason, in Birmingham, England. Capaldi, and Mason had both previously played together in the bands the ‘Hellions,’ and ‘Deep Feeling’, while Winwood had been the lead singer of The Spencer Davis Group from the age of 14.The other founding member Chris Wood had been a member of a Birmingham band called ‘Locomotive. Traffic were active on and off between 1969-2004, recording eight studio Albums, with alternating group members.The majority of Traffic’s material was written by all of the band members, with Capaldi co-writing two of their top 10 UK singles,’Paper Sun,’ and ‘Here We Go Round the Mullberry Bush,’ both in 1967. Capaldi was the drummer in Traffic, and it was also him who named the band, coming up with the name while the four of them were waiting to cross the street in Dorchester.

While still a member of Traffic, Capaldi launched his solo career in 1972, releasing his debut Album ‘Oh How We Danced, in total he released 13 solo studio Albums between 1972-2004. ‘It’s All Up to You’ was from Capaldi’s third studio Album ‘Short Cut Draw Blood,’ from 1975, which also featured his biggest solo hit single ‘Love Hurts,’ a cover of a song first recorded by The Everly Brothers in 1960, and reaching Number 4 in the UK in 1975.

Following Capaldi’s death a tribute concert took place in January 2007, with the proceeds going to the ‘Jubilee Action Street Children’s Appeal.’ Artists who took part included Pete Townshend, Paul Weller, Steve Winwood, and Gary Moore.

‘Everyday I watched you walkin,’ walkin’ by my window pane. From the first time that I saw you baby, I knew I’d never be the same.

Posted by: In: Other 03 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


601-Kid Cudi vs Crookers-Day ‘N’ Nite.

2009-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 1.14. This is one of a handful of songs in this countdown that have been chosen because of it’s remix.

Kid Cudi was born Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi on January 30th, 1984, in Cleveland, Ohio, United States., he is a Rapper, singer, songwriter,record producer,poet, record executive, and actor. He has released seven solo studio Albums to date between 2009-2020, and two collaborative Albums, one with Dot da Genius, the producer of this song, as WZRD, in 2012, and one with Kanye West, as Kids See Ghosts,’ in 2018.

‘Day ‘N’ Nite’ was the breakthrough hit for Kid Cudi, appearing on his debut Album ‘Man on the Moon,’ released in 2009. The song had originally been recorded in 2007, and first made available on Kid Cudi’s debut ‘mixtape,’ ‘A Kid Named Cudi,’ from 2008. On hearing the mixtape, Kanye West signed Cudi to his ‘Good Music’ record label (see also best songs 1049-849-636-477 and 267)

In the summer of 2008 Francesco ‘Phra’ Barbaglia, and Andrea ‘Bot’ Fratangelo who were two Italian music producers known as the ‘Crookers,’remixed ‘Day ‘N’ Nite’ which was a Hip-Hop track, and turned it in to an ‘Electro House’ track, which achieved great success in Europe. Initially Kid Cudi had reservations about the remix, saying,’Ah it’s Techno, so it’s going to be cheesy, but it came out really ill.’Kid Cudi had been living with his uncle, Kalil Madi, until he kicked him out. His uncle passed away in 2006, and Cudi wrote the song inspired by his feelings of regret at not patching up their differences before his death,’I never apologised for it, and that kills me,’Cudi said.

‘Day ‘n’ night, I toss and turn, I keep stressin’ my mind. I look for peace, but see I don’t attain.’

Posted by: In: Other 01 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


602-Neil Young and Crazy Horse-My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue.)

1979-Has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 1.54. A line from this song,’It’s better to burn out than to fade away,’ was the final line written by Kurt Cobain in his suicide note.

Neil Percival Young was born on November 12th, 1945, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, since 1963 he has accumulated an extensive discography. To date he has recorded 40 studio Albums as a solo artist, or with his band Crazy Horse. There have also been eight live Albums, and three compilations. As a member of Buffalo Springfield (see also best songs 559) he appeared on all three of their Albums, between 1966-1968, and has also appeared on three Albums with Crosby, Stills, and Nash (see also best songs 417.) There is also an Album attributed to ‘The Stills-Young Band.

‘My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue) is the opening song on Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s 1979 Album ‘Rust Never Sleeps. The whole of ‘Side 1’ is acoustic, and the whole of ‘Side 2’ is electric. The Album was recorded live at different concert venues in America between 1976-1978, and overdubbed in the studio in order to remove as much crowd noise as possible. The final track on the Album on ‘Side 2’ is an electric version of this song called ‘Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black,’) Neil Young’s often distorted electric guitar playing, of which the electric version is a fine example, earned him the nickname ‘Godfather of Grunge,’ and he became a major influence on bands such as Nirvana (see also best songs 788 and 9,) and Pearl Jam (see also best songs 458.)

Neil Young wrote ‘My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue’) at a time when he thought his music might not be relevant anymore. His idol Elvis Presley had recently died, and ‘Punk Music’ was the new ‘Rock N’ Roll.’ The song deals with the fleeting nature of fame, and how hard it is to stay relevant as an artist.

‘The king is gone, but he’s not forgotten, this is the story of Johnny Rotten.It’s better to burn out than it is to rust, the king is gone but he’s not forgotten.

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603-XTC-Making Plans for Nigel.

1979-Number 17 single.

Best Bit-At 1.44. British Steel had to take drastic measures, they were worried that this song would put potential future employees off wanting to work for them.

XTC were formed in Swindon, Wiltshire, England in 1972 by Andy Partridge (guitar, and vocals,) and Colin Moulding (bass, and vocals,) they would both become the bands main songwriters. The duo were also joined in 1972 by Terry Chambers (drums,) and David Gregory (guitar,) who was the other band member to play on this song, joined in 1979. XTC were active until 2006, with there being 10 group members come and go.Between 1972-1974 they were known as ‘Star Park,’ before becoming ‘The Helium Kidz,’ from 1974-1975, before deciding on ‘XTC,’ which came about after Andy Partridge had heard the American comedian Jimmy Durante exclaim, ‘That’s it! I’m In ecstasy! while performing one of his routines. XTC released 12 studio Albums between 1978-2000, and achieved six UK top 40 singles.

‘Making Plans for Nigel’ was taken from the bands third studio Album ‘Drums and Wires’ from 1979, and was written by Colin Moulding. The song is about overpowering parents who think they know best for their child.The lyrics are told from the point of view of parents who are certain that their son Nigel is ‘happy in his work,’ affirming that his future in British Steel ‘is as good as sealed.’ As a response to the song, British Steel gathered four employees named Nigel to talk about job satisfaction, for the company’s trade publication ‘Steel News.’

‘Nigel is not outspoken, but he likes to speak, and loves to be spoken to.’