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Posted by: In: Other 31 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


511-Michael Jackson-Thriller.

1983-Number 10 single.

Due to the introduction of downloads, and the songs popularity at Halloween, it reached Number 35 in 2008, and Number 34 in 2017. After the death of Michael Jackson in 2009, the song reached Number 12.

Best Bit-At 4.24. Don’t be frightened, it’s about as scary as the Honey Monster.

‘Thriller’ was the seventh and final single released from Michael Jackson’s sixth solo studio Album of the same name from 1982, with sales in excess of 66 million it is the best selling Album of all time. The Album had already been a major success, and with sales now beginning to drop off after six top 10 Billboard singles, Jackson (see also best songs 812-249-191 and 137) pushed for the release of the single ‘Thriller,’ but the record company having already paid for previous video’s refused to promote a seventh single, so Jackson financed it himself.The video was directed by John Landis, and co-written by Landis and Jackson, and ran for 13 minutes and 43 seconds.It was premiered on MTV on December 2nd, 1983, and is credited with transforming the music video in to a serious art form. In 1999 MTV listed it as being the greatest music video ever, on their list of ‘100 Greatest Videos.’

‘Thriller was written by Rod Temperton (1949-2016) (see also best songs 812 and 703) and produced by Quincy Jones, the pair had both worked with Michael Jackson on his 1970 Album ‘Off the Wall.’ Rodney Lynn Temperton was born on October 9th, 1949 in Cleethorpes, Lincolshire, England, as a student he had attended ‘De Aston School’ in Market Rasen, England, the same school as the future lyricist Bernie Taupin.

Temperton had first come to the attention of Quincy Jones through the recording engineer Bruce Swedien (1934-2020) who had recommended Temperton on the basis of his songwriting for the UK band ‘Heatwave,’ whose songs he had written included ‘Boogie Nights,’ and ‘Always and Forever.’ Temperton wrote ‘Off the Wall,’ and ‘Rock With You’ for Jackson’s 1979 Album, and he also wrote three of the nine tracks on Thriller. The other two songs ‘Baby Be Mine,’ and ‘The Lady in My Life,’ were the only songs on the Album not released as singles.

With ‘Thriller Temperton wanted to write something theatrical for Jackson knowing his love of films. At first Temperton called the song ‘Starlight’ but Quincy Jones (see also best songs 1022-889-812-703-357 and 191) didn’t think that suited the image they were looking for, eventually after giving it a great deal of thought Temperton said that he awoke one morning with the word ‘Thriller’ on his mind.It was Peggy Lipton (1946-2019) who was the wife of Quincy Jones at that time who suggested that Vincent Price (1911-1993) who was a friend, should provide the spoken word, which was also written by Temperton.

Incidentally I suggest you take a listen to the Rick James song ‘Give It To Me Baby,’ from his 1981 Album ‘Street Songs,’ to hear where Temperton may have taken inspiration for this songs bassline.

‘Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand.Creatures crawl in search of blood to terrorise your neighbourhood, and whosoever shall be found without the soul for getting down, must stand and face the hounds of hell, and rot inside a corpse’s shell.’

Posted by: In: Other 31 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


512-Jefferson Airplane-White Rabbit.

1967-It did not chart in the UK until 1987 when reaching Number 94.

Best Bit-At 2.17. One of Grace Slick’s many memorable quotes is ‘All Rock ‘N Rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire’.

Grace Slick was born Grace Barnett Wing was born on October 30th, 1939, in Highland Park, Illinois, United States. Her career in music began in 1965 when she, and her husband Jerry Slick, his brother Darby Slick, and David Miner formed the Rock band ‘The Great Society’ in San Francisco.

In the autumn of 1966 Grace Slick was approached by Jack Casady of the band Jefferson Airplane who were on the lookout for a new singer as Signe Toly Anderson (1941-2016) had decided to leave to raise her child. With Slick on board they transformed from a Folk/Rock band in to Psychedelic outfit with the recording of the ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ Album in 1967. The Album contained the two top 10 Billboard singles ‘White Rabbit,’ and ‘Somebody to Love,’ which had both been originally recorded by The Great Society.In 1973 Jefferson Airship fragmented, as band members left, and the remaining musicians along with new members formed Jefferson Starship in 1974. After several more personal changes, and a lawsuit about who could use the bands name, a new group was set up in 1984, this time calling themselves ‘Starship.’ As lead singer of Starship Grace Slick sang on three Billboard Number 1 singles,’We Built This City,’ and ‘Sara’ in 1985, and ‘Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now,’ in 1987. Grace Slick officially retired from the music business in 1990, in compliance with her famous quote.

‘White Rabbit’ was written by Grace Slick in late 1965, and early 1966, the song is about drug use, and it attempts to get it’s point across by using imagery found in the novels of Lewis Carroll’s,’Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’ written in 1865, and also it’s 1871 sequel ‘Through the Looking Glass.’ Slick has said the song was supposed to be a slap to parents who read their children such novels, and then wondered why their children later used drugs. Slick has also said, ‘The White Rabbit is about following your curiosity.’ In the 1960’s, in Slick’s social circle drugs were seen as part of everyday life, for both mind expansion, and social experimentation.

‘One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small, and the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all. Go ask Alice when she’s ten feet tall.’

Posted by: In: Other 31 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


513-Roni Size & Represent-Brown Paper Bag.

1997-Number 20 single.

Best Bit-At 1.12. One Size fits all.

Roni Size is the stage name of Ryan Owen Granville Williams who was born on October 29th, 1969, in Bristol, England. At the age of 16 he met members of ‘The Wild Bunch’ in Bristol, a group of musicians who would later go on to form Massive Attack (see also best songs 733.) Roni Size learned the basics of music production at his local youth club, later setting up a home studio, and buying a sampler.

In the mid 1990’s Roni Size co-founded ‘Roni Size & Represent with other fellow like minded musicians to record music in the ‘Drum and Bass’ genre. These other artists included Tracey Bowen ‘Onallee’ (vocals) Dominic Smith ‘Dynamite MC’ (vocals, and writing) Daniel Kausman ‘DJ Die’ (writing, and production) Kirk Thompson ‘Krust’ (writing, and production) Clive Deamer (drums) and Si John (bass.) The end product became the groups debut Album ‘New Forms’ which has been universally critically acclaimed, and was the winner of the 1997 ‘Mercury Music Prize’ Album of the year, and is considered one of the leading Albums in the development of ‘Drum and Bass’ Music.In 2008 ‘New Forms’ was re-released with four new tracks, but omitted some of the songs from the original Album. As Roni Size & Represent, a second Album called ‘In the Mode’ was released in 2000, there has also been one remix Album, and one live Album as well. They released eight singles between 1997-2008, six of which made the UK top 40.

‘Brown Paper Bag’ was the third of four singles released from the ‘New Forms’ Album, and the most successful peaking at Number 20 in the UK in 1997. The lyrics are a tribute to ‘Drum and Bass,’ the genre of music the artists performed.

‘Delivering the style we give you, so that means a mention. In your direction, is the baron that we aimed, ascension, instead the way the floor, the stunner made a we invention.’

Posted by: In: Other 28 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


514-Tavares-Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel.

1976-Number 4 single.

Best Bit-At 0.24. It may have a corny title, but a song of this quality can be forgiven for that.

Tavares are a family of brothers made up of Antone, Perry, Feliciano, Ralph, Victor, and Earl, some of the brothers were born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and some were born in Providence, Rhode Island. United States, their parents had originated from the Republic of Cabo Verde. Victor left the group in 1974, shortly after the recording of their debut Album ‘Check It Out.’ The brothers had originally began performing together in 1959 as ‘Chubby and the Turnpikes, a later incarnation saw them called ‘The Turnpikes,’ and by 1973 they officially became Tavares. They have released 12 studio Albums between 1974-1983, and 34 singles, eight of which reached the Billboard top 40, and eight which also made the UK Top 40, but not all the same tracks.

‘Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel’ was taken from the brothers fourth studio Album ‘Sky High’ from 1976, and was co-written by Freddie Perren (1943-2004) and Keri St. Lewis. Perren was born in Los Angeles, California, United States, and had a very successful career as a songwriter, producer, and arranger. In 1969 Perren joined Motown records, to work with The Jackson Five, his successes with them included co-writing, and co-producing hits such as ‘I Want You Back,’ (see also best songs 137) and ‘ABC.’ Perren left Motown, and signed with ‘Capitol Records’ in 1976, where he worked with Tavares, their cover of The Bee Gees song ‘More Than A Woman’ was chosen for the soundtrack Album ‘Saturday Night Fever,’ along with another Perren produced song ‘If I Can’t Have You,’ sung by Yvonne Elliman. Other notable songs attributed to Perren include the two Billboard Number 1 singles ‘Boogie Fever’ by The Sylvers,’ and ‘I Will Survive,’ from Gloria Gaynor.

‘There’s a rainbow over my shoulder, when you came my cup runneth over.You gave me your heavenly love, and if one night you hear me crying from above.’

Posted by: In: Other 28 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


515-Barry Ryan-Eloise.

1968-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 3.38. File this one under ‘Baroque Pop.’

‘Baroque Pop’ is the fusing together of Classical Music, and Rock Music,’ which emerged in the mid 1960’s, as artists experimented with new sounds. Harpsichords figure prominently, as do oboes, French Horns, and string quartets.

‘Eloise’ was written by Paul Ryan (1948-1992) ans performed by his twin brother Barry Ryan (1948-2021.) The twins were born on October 24th, 1948, in Leeds, England, their mother was the singer Marion Ryan (1931-1999) who had had a 1958 UK Number 5 hit single with ‘Love Me Forever’. Prior to his solo career Barry and his brother Paul had performed as a duo, scoring five UK top 40 singles between 1965-1967. Due to the pressures of performing, Paul took a backseat in order to concentrate on song writing, among his other best known compositions are ‘Who Put the Lights Out,’ a 1972 UK Number 14 hit for the Irish singer Dana, and ‘I Will Drink the Wine,’ which Frank Sinatra recorded for his 1971 Album ‘Sinatra & Company.’ Paul retired from the music industry in 1976, he died of lung cancer, at the age of 44, in 1992. As a solo artist Barry Ryan released 23 singles between 1968-1989, six of which have charted in the UK top 40. He died on September 28th, 2021, at the age of 72.

‘Eloise’ was written by Paul Ryan who said that his inspiration for the song came after hearing a ‘demo’ version of ‘MacArthur Park’ by Richard Harris,(see also best songs 119) two notable session musicians who played on the song were Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones, who would later go on to form Led Zeppelin. The song has sold in excess of 3 million copies worldwide, and topped the charts in 17 countries. There are two notable cover versions of the song, in 1986 the English Rock band ‘The Damned’ took their cover to Number 3 in the UK, and in 1988 a ‘Techno-Pop’ version by the Spanish singer Tino Casal (1950-1991) reached Number 1 in Spain for several weeks.

‘Eloise’ is probably a song with dark subject matter.It appears unclear whether Eloise is a real person who has left the narrator, or it could be possible that she is a figment of his imagination, that he fantasises over.

‘My Eloise I’d love to please her, I’d love to care, but she’s not there, and when I find you, I’d be so kind, you’d want to stay, I know you’d stay.’

Posted by: In: Other 26 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


516-Black Box Recorder-England Made Me.

1998-Number 89 single.

Best Bit-At 0.59. Don’t get this lot confused with ‘Ride On Time,’ (see also best songs 501) they haven’t got a lot in common.

Black Box Recorder were formed in London, England, in 1998 by Luke Haines, John Moore, and Sarah Nixey. They were active until unofficially splitting in 2003 to work on solo projects, but they did reform again in 2007, until the final parting of the ways in 2010.Luke Michael Haines was born on October 7th, 1967, in Walton-on-Thames, England, he is best known as the co-founder of the Alternative Rock group ‘The Auteurs’ who were active between 1991-1999, releasing four studio Albums. Haines has claimed that The Auteurs debut Album ‘New Wave’ from 1993 started ‘Britpop.’Black Box Recorder were formed by Haines, and the former drummer of ‘The Jesus and Mary Chain’ (1986-1988) John Moore, they persuaded Sarah Nixey to join them as lead vocalist, by promising her that she would become famous. Moore and Nixey were married in 2001, and had a child, but they divorced in 2006.

Black Box Recorder were critically acclaimed, releasing three studio Albums, and a compilation ‘The Worst of Black Box Recorder’ in 2001, which brought together tracks from the bands first two Albums, plus their singles ‘B’ sides. They released eight singles, with ‘The Facts of Life’ being their only UK top 40 entry, reaching Number 20 in 2000.’England Made Me’ was the second single released from Black Box Recorder’s debut Album, and was the title track, it was written by Haines, and Moore, as were all of the other tracks on the Album, with the exception of a cover version of the Althea & Donna song ‘Uptown Top Ranking.’The songs lyrics are a reflection on growing up in England, and trying to escape the mundane existence of everyday life by imagining exciting, and dangerous situations.

‘I trapped a spider underneath a glass, I kept it for a week to see how long he’d last. He stared right back at me, he thought that he could win. We played a waiting game, he thought that I’d give in.’

Posted by: In: Other 26 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


517-Mumford & Sons-Little Lion Man.

2009-Number 24 single.

Best Bit-At 1.09. Their name might lead you to think that they are a family run removals firm, but they are actually a Folk/Rock band.

Mumford & Sons were formed in London, England, in 2007 by Marcus Mumford (vocals, guitars, and drums,) Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboards, and piano,) Ted Dwane (vocals, bass guitar, and double bass,) and Winston Marshall (Banjo, vocals, and guitars,) Marshall left the band in 2021, stating he needs to take a break to ‘Examine his blindspots.’ The bands name originated from Marcus Mumford being the most visibly active member of the group, both on and off stage, Lovett has said that the name was meant to evoke the sense of an ‘Antiquated family business name. Before finally finding success with the release of this song, the band toured extensively throughout Europe, and America, they also toured for several months as the backing band for the British Folk singer Laura Marling.To date Mumford & Sons have released four studio Albums between 2009-2018, and three live Albums between 2011-2016.

‘Little Lion Man’ was the debut single from Mumford & Sons taken from their 2009 debut Album ‘Sigh No More,’ with all four band members receiving song writing credits. In Australia the track was voted the years best song in that countries prestigious ‘Triple J’s Hottest 100,’ by the listeners of the Australian radio station ‘Triple J.’ Speaking about the song Marcus Mumford has said,’It’s a very personal story, so I won’t elaborate upon too much. Suffice to say, it was a situation in my life I wasn’t very happy with, or proud of, and sometimes when you can’t describe a feeling with your own words, it’s almost easier to express in a song. I suppose the song should stand on it’s own, and people draw their own interpretation from the words.’

‘But it was not your fault but mine, and it was your heart on the line, I really f….. it up this time, didn’t I, my dear, Didn’t I my dear.’

Posted by: In: Other 24 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


518-Eddy Grant-Living on the Front Line.

1979-Number 11 single.

Best Bit-At 3.33. A listen to this will change your mind,’I DO WANNA DANCE.’

Edward Montague Grant was born on March 5th, 1948, in Plaisance, British Guiana, in 1960 he emigrated to join his parents in London.In 1965 Grant was co-founder of The Equals, the first major interracial Rock group in the UK, he initially played guitar, and sang backing vocals, but would later become their main songwriter. With The Equals Grant released seven studio Albums in four years between 1967-1970, and achieved six UK top 40 singles, including the 1968 Grant written Number 1 ‘Baby Come Back.’On January 1st, 1971, Grant suffered a heart attack, and collapsed lung, leading to him leaving The Equals to concentrate on production, which led to him starting his own record label ‘Ice Records’ in 1974.

Eddy Grant released his first self titled solo Album in 1975, and his latest ‘Plaisance’ in 2017, in total he has released 15 solo studio Albums. He has achieved eight UK top 40 singles, including the 1982 Number 1 ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance.’ While in America he has charted twice, with ‘Electric Avenue’ being his best known song in the States, having reached Number 2 on Billboard in 1983.

‘Living on the Front Line’ was taken from Eddy Grant’s third studio Album ‘Walking on Sunshine’ from 1978, becoming his first solo hit single.As well as writing and arranging the song, Grant also played all the instruments on the track, and with the exception of congas, and the drums on two of the songs, he also played all the instruments on all eight of the Album’s tracks. The Album is an eclectic mix of musical genres, with Grant experimenting with Caribbean music, Reggae, Dance, Calypso, and Soul. ‘Living on the Front Line’ is a call for peace, unity, and understanding, with Grant reminding us that we are all brothers who should choose the right path in life.

‘Stop this brother killing brother, over in our land in Africa. Stop this brother shooting sister,oh mama,mama you got me, living on the front line.’

Posted by: In: Other 24 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


519-Diana Ross-Love Hangover.

1976-Number 10 single.

Best Bit-At 2.42. It’s where she goes from Romantic Ross, to Disco Diana.

‘Love Hangover’ was the second single released fro Diana Ross’ seventh solo studio Album ‘Diana Ross,’ from 1975. This was her second self titled Album, as her 1970 debut was also called ‘Diana Ross.’ ‘Love Hangover was written by Marilyn McLeod, and Pam Sawyer, who were both employed at Motown at that time as songwriters. McLeod was born in Detroit, Michigan, United States in 1938, and was employed by Motown from 1968-1985, in the early 1990’s she became a songwriter for the Motown revival label ‘Motorcity Records.’ Pam Sawyer was born in London, England, in 1938, she joined Motown in 1967, she is the co-writer of several hit singles on the label (see also best songs 411 ) until leaving in the early 1980’s, to set up her own production company.

It was this songs producer Hal Davis (1933-1998) who wanted Motown to keep up with the latest musical trends, namely Disco, but both the labels owner Berry Gordy, and also Diana Ross, were none too keen. The ballad ‘I Thought It Took a Little Time (But Today I Fell in Love’) had been chosen and released as the Album’s first single, while the American group the ‘5th Dimension’ (see also best songs 202) had released their own version of ‘Love Hangover.’ When the ‘5th Dimension’s version entered Billboard at the lower reaches of the chart, Berry Gordy realised he had made a mistake, and rush released Diana Ross’ version. The 5th Dimension’s recording stalled at Number 80, as Diana Ross shot up the charts, spending two weeks at Number 1, in May and June 1976. The songs producer Hal Davis would go on to repeat the same formula around six months later when Thelma Houston’s cover version of ‘Don’ Leave Me This Way’ (see also best songs 725) also topped the chart on Billboard.

Diana Ross (see also best songs 1001-900-411-365-212-183-148 and 28) recorded her vocals at, and after a vodka, it is said she kicked off her shoes, and got on with it, improvising, and at one point letting out a laugh which made it on to the record. Ross has said,’It was a spontaneous thing that we captured on record, and if I had to go back in and do it again, I couldn’t have. The music was me, and I was the music. Things came out of my mouth that I didn’t even expect.’

‘Don’t call a Doctor, don’t call her momma, don’t call her preacher, no I don’t need it, I don’t want it.’

Posted by: In: Other 22 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


520-Mark Morrison-Return of the Mac.

1996-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 1.00. It’s probably what the inmates said to him every time he returned to Her Majesty’s Pleasure.

Mark Morrison was born on May 3rd, 1972, in Hanover, West Germany, both of his parents originated from Barbados. As a child he emigrated to Highfields, Leicester, England, and then to Miami, United States, before returning to Britain at the age of 19.Morrison has been involved in several legal issues, which has hindered the progress of his career. His is considered a ‘one hit wonder’ in America, where this song was his only hit, reaching Number 2 on Billboard in 1997. In the UK he has achieved nine top 40 singles between 1995-1999, and released four studio Albums, the first in 1996, and the latest in 2014.In 2000 Morrison signed a five year worldwide deal with Suge Knight the founder of the American record label ‘Death Row Records,’making him the first, and only British, or European artist to be signed by the label.

‘Return of the Mack’ was written by Mark Morrison, who also produced the song along with Phil Chill, and Cutfather & Joe. To date the song has sold in excess of 3 million copies worldwide, and is currently the 570th best selling song on Billboard since 1958,in the UK it has sold 1.2 million copies, making it one of 178 singles that have sold in excess of 1 million copies. The song features unaccredited vocals from Angie Brown, in the songs video her lyrics are lip-synced by the British model Susana Agrippa. Brown has performed backing vocals for many of the worlds top artists including The Rolling Stones, and Kate Bush. She is a credited co-artist with Bizarre Inc on their 1992 UK Number 3 single ‘I’m Gonna Get You.’ ‘Return of the Mack’ has several samples, although none get any song writing credits. The main sample is taken from the track ‘Genius of Love,’ which was a 1992 single from the Tom Tom Club.’ Other samples that can be heard to a lesser extent include ‘Games’ by Chuckii Booker, which is a 1992 song, and ‘UFO’ from the American band ‘ESG,’ which is a 1980 recording.

‘Return of the Mac’ tells the story of Morrison being rejected by his then girlfriend, but instead of feeling sorry for himself, he turned the experience to his advantage. Morrison has said,’When I wrote that song it was all about my moving from the negative to the positive, and that’s how it turned out.Within the space of a year I went from the lowest point of my life to return as the Mack, and move forward to what’s become the highest point of my life.’

‘You lied to me, all those times I said that I loved you. You lied to me, yes I tried,I tried.’