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


521-Little Richard-Good Golly, Miss Molly.

1958-Number 8 single.

Best Bit-At 0.17. Little Richard first heard the phrase ‘Good Golly, Miss Molly’ when it was spoken by an American Disc Jockey, by the name of Jimmy Pennick.

Little Richard was born Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5th, 1932, in Macon, Georgia, United States, he died on May 9th, 2020, at the age of 87 from a cause related to bone cancer. He is considered one of the most influential figures in popular music, and not just in the development of Rock ‘N Roll, but also in the genres of Soul, Funk, and Rock music. Richard is cited as one of the first black artists to reach audiences of all races, at a time when black and white segregation was still the normal thing, Little Richard’s music, and stage presence helped greatly to break down the barriers.

Little Richard was born in to a deeply religious family, and in 1970 he was ordained a minister, preaching about the Bible’s black characters, and trying to unite the races through God’s love. Richard was bi-sexual, and struggled with the Bible’s teachings, and his own sexuality, throughout his life.

‘Good Golly, Miss Molly’ was co-written by John Marascalco,and Robert Blackwell (1918-1985) who also produced the song. The pair were also responsible for other Little Richard hits including ‘Ready Teddy,’ and ‘Rip It Up.’ Like many a good ‘Rock ‘N Roll’ song ‘Good Golly, Miss Molly’ contains lots of sexual innuendo, for example ‘sure like to ball’ was a euphemism for oral sex, and ‘rockin’ and a rollin,’ also refers to a sexual act. Little Richard has admitted that the songs intro is more or less lift from the 1951 song ‘Rocket 88,’ by Ike Turner, and Jackie Brenston, Richard said,’I always liked that record, and I used to use the riff in my act, so when we were looking for a lead-in to ‘Good Golly Miss Molly,’ I did that and it fit.’

‘I am going to the corner, gonna but a diamond ring, when she hugs me, and kiss me ting-a-ling-a-ling.’

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522-Brenda Lee-Sweet Nothin’s.

1960-Number 4 single.

Best Bit-At 1.40. ‘And the radio played that forgotten song, Brenda Lee’s ‘Comin’ On Strong.’ (see also best songs 937.)

Brenda Lee was born Brenda Mae Tarpley on December 11th, 1944, in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, at her birth she weighed just 4lb and 11 ounces. Her height as an adult is four feet and nine inches (approximately 145 cm.)She received her stage name from a local Disc Jockey called Peanuts Fairclough, as he said it would be easier to remember when she was famous. After recording the song ‘Dynamite’ in 1957, and because of her height, she would become affectionately known as ‘Little Miss Dynamite.’ John Lennon was once quoted as saying,’She has the greatest Rock N’ Roll voice.’ Brenda Lee has to date released 29 Studio Albums between 1959-2007, and achieved 29 top 40 singles on Billboard. Lee’s total of nine consecutive top 10 hit singles on Billboard between 1960-1962 set a record for a female solo artist that was not surpassed until 1986 by Madonna.

‘Sweet Nothin’s was written by the Rockabilly singer/songwriter Ronnie Self (1938-1981) who also wrote two other hits for Lee, ‘I’m Sorry,’ which reached Number 1 on Billboard in 1960, and is currently the 159th best ever selling single in America, and also Lee’s 1962 Billboard Number 6 song ‘Everybody Loves Me But You.’

‘Sweet Nothin’s was the second single released from Brenda Lee’s self titled second studio Album, and was produced by Owen Bradley (1915-1998) who was one of the main architects in the development of the ‘Nashville Sound’ in Country Music in the 1950’s, and 1960’s, other artists he worked with included Patsy Cline, and Red Foley. The songs saxophone break was played by Boots Randolph, (1927-2007) other songs of note he can be heard on include ‘Return To Sender,’ with Elvis Presley, and Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.’ Randolph also composed the Pop novelty instrumental ‘Yakety Sax,’ which reached Number 35 on Billboard in 1963, but became far better known when used as the closing theme music of ‘The Benny Hill Show.’

In 2013 the Hip-Hop artist Kanye West sampled Lee’s voice from ‘Sweet Nothin’s’ for his song ‘Bound 2,’ on his Album ‘Yeezus,’ which in turn was sampled by the ‘Drum and Bass’ duo ‘Sigma’ on their 2014 single ‘Nobody To Love,’ Brenda Lee stated she was flattered.

‘Mama turned on the front porch light sayin’ ‘come here darlin,’ that’s enough for tonight.’

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523-Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel.-White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)

1984-Number 7 single.

Best Bit-At 3.25. A second wonderful ‘Message.’

When this song was originally released on ‘Sugar Hill’ records, it was credited to Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel, this was to done to mislead the public in to thinking that Grandmaster Flash (see also best songs 290 and 87) had participated on the record, as he had done a year earlier on ‘The Message,’ but he hadn’t, as he had recently left the record label over a dispute about royalties.

Melle Mel was born Melvin Glover on May 15th, 1961, in The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States, he was a member of ‘Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five who formed in 1978. It was Keith ‘Cowboy’ Wiggins another member of the Furious Five who is credited with coining the term ‘Hip-Hop,’ in 1978, while teasing a friend who had just joined the U.S Army by scat singing the made up words ‘Hip/Hop/Hip/Hop,’ in a rhythmic cadence of marching soldiers. Melle Mel has appeared on 10 studio Albums between 1982-2009. and has been either lead, or featured artist on 44 singles, including the 1984 UK Number 1 single ‘I Feel For You,’ by Chaka Khan (see also best songs 85.)

‘White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It) was co-written by Melle Mel and Sylvia Robinson (1935-2011) (see also best songs 597-466-290 and 17) and like it’s predecessor ‘The Message’ is considered an inspiration for future socially conscious, and politically orientated Rap groups such as Public Enemy, and N.W.A. ‘White Lines’ heavily samples a song called ‘Cavern’ from 1983 by the American band ‘Liquid Liquid.’ The bands record label ’99 Records’ successfully sued Sugar Hill’ records for $660,000, but Sugar Hill who were struggling financially at the time didn’t pay, instead declaring themselves bankrupt.

‘Little Jack Horner sitting on the corner with no shoes or clothes, this ain’t funny but he took his money and sniffed it up his nose.’

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524-Stealers Wheel-Stuck in the Middle With You.

1973-Number 8 single.

Best Bit-At 1.02. It’s the Reservoir, Dogs b…….s.

Stealers Wheel were a Folk/Rock group formed in Paisley, Scotland, in 1972, the two main protagonists were Gerry Rafferty (1947-2011) (see also best songs 61,) and Joe Egan. Rafferty left the band shortly after the release of the bands debut Album in 1972, but returned for the remainder of the groups life span in 1973, staying until they split in 1975. Over the three year period of the bands existence there were another nine other members come and go, with four of them reuniting briefly in 2008, but neither Rafferty, or Egan took part. They released three studio Albums between 1972-1975, and achieved three UK top 40 singles, two of which also reached the Billboard top 100 singles chart.

‘Stuck in the Middle With You’ was the third single released from Stealers Wheel’s self titled debut Album from 1972, and along with this song, all the other nine tracks were written by Egan and Rafferty. The producers of this song, and the Album were the legendary song writing team of Jerry Leiber (1933-2011) and Mike Stoller (see also best songs 954-804-124 and 86.) Egan and Rafferty wrote the song as a parody of Bob Dylan’s paranoia, and it was sung to imitate Dylan, which indeed did fool many in to thinking it was a Bob Dylan song.The lyrics refer to people in the music industry, the management and executives of record labels, who are the clowns and the jokers.The band had to reluctantly do a promotion in a fancy London restaurant, and the lyrics tell the tale of them trying to get out of the entire thing, which they detested.

In 1992 the song was brought to the attention of a whole new generation when the film producer Quentin Tarantino chose to use it in the scene where the character of Mr Blonde taunts and tortures a policeman in the film ‘Reservoir Dogs.’

‘Well I don’t know why I came here tonight, I got the feeling that something ain’t right. I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair, and I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs.’

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525-Ramsey Lewis-Wade in the Water.

1966-On it’s initial releases it did not chart in the UK. Due to it’s popularity with the ‘Northern Soul’ scene it entered the UK chart in 1972, reaching Number 31.

Best Bit-At 0.11.’Slave to the Rhythm.’

‘Wade in the Water’ in it’s original form is a ‘spiritual’ song that dates back to the early 19th Century, whose lyrics were meant to convey, encourage, and remind escaping slaves, in a coded message of the dangers they were in, for example, if the would be fugitive took to the water as a means of trying to escape, it would throw pursuing bloodhounds off the scent. The songs verses compare the plight of the African/American slave with that of the Israelite’s escape out of Egypt.The lyrics to ‘Wade in the Water’ were first published in 1901, in ‘New Jubilee Songs,’ as sung by the ‘Fisk Jubilee Singers’. The first commercial recording of the song was in 1925 by ‘The Sunset Four Jubilee Singers,’ which was released on ‘Paramount Records.’

Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis Jr. was born on May 27th, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois, United States, his discography boasts over 80 Albums recorded between 1956-2021. His initial work was in the genre of Jazz, but after finding commercial success with this song and ‘The In Crowd,’ and ‘Hang On Sloopy,’ on the Billboard singles chart, a lot of his work became more Pop orientated.

‘Wade in the Water’ was also the title track of Lewis’ 1966 Album, his 24th release, and features Ramsey Lewis on keyboards, John Avant on trombone, Cleveland Eaton (1939-2020) on bass (see also best songs 980) and Maurice White (1941-2016) on drums. White of course went on to form Earth Wind & Fire in 1969 (see also best songs 916 and 462.)

Posted by: In: Other 18 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


526-Nas-One Mic.

2002-Has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 0.57. Too often all Rap is tarred with the same brush. There are those who brag about the six figure sums they have just been paid, the amount of b…..s they have taken to bed, and the size of their genitalia, and then there are there are the real Rappers, with a real message.

Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones was born on September 14th, 1973, in New York City, United States. To date he has released 12 solo studio Albums, five of which reached Number 1 on Billboard between 1994-2020, and a further two collaboration Albums with the ‘Firm,’ (1997) and Damian Marley (2010.) He has also released a total of 35 singles as the main artist, a further 14 in collaboration, and another 35 as the featured artist. He has sold in excess of 25 million records worldwide, and in many compiled lists of the best ever Rappers, and lyricists, he continuously appears in the all time top 10.’One Mic’ was the third single released from Nas’ fifth studio Album ‘Stillmatic’ from 2001, and was co-written, and co-produced by Nas, and Chucky Thompson. Thompson is one of Hip-Hop’s most sought after producers, who has worked with many of the genres biggest names including Usher, Mary J. Blige, and The Notorious B.I.G. (see also best songs 307)

‘One Mic’ samples the Phil Collins song ‘In the Air Tonight,’ but Collins does not receive any song writing credit. Among the subjects discussed in the song, Nas tells us of his experiences growing up in the ghetto. He tells us of his desire to lead a simple, and positive life, with the guidance of God. The ‘One Mic’ is Nas telling us his message.

‘All I need is one mic, that’s all I need, that’s all I need. There’s nuttin else in the world, that’s all a n…. need to do his thing.’

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527-Barry McGuire-Eve of Destruction.

1965-Number 3 single.

Best Bit-At 0.34. Unfortunately the songs lyrics will probably ring as true tomorrow, as they do today, and did yesterday.

‘Eve of Destruction’ was written in 1964 by the 19 year old singer/ songwriter P.F.Sloan, who also co-produced the song along with Lou Adler, and Sloan’s long time writing, and producing partner Steve Barri. The song became one of the biggest protest songs of the 1960’s, referencing many of the social problems of that period, including the Vietnam War, the threat of Nuclear war,the Civil Rights Movement, the draft, the problems in the Middle East, and the American Space Programme. Due to the songs ‘controversial’ lyrics, many American radio stations refused to play the song, claiming it was ‘An aid to the enemy in Vietnam,’ which of course only helped to bring the song even more to the attention of the general public, and helping it reach Number 1 on Billboard.

Barry McGuire was born on October 15th, 1935, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. He started his career as a Folk/Rock singer, before turning to Christian Music, when becoming a born again Christian in 1971, McGuire recorded ‘Eve of Destruction’ in one take late at night, his voice was raspy, and he was tired, and the take was only meant as a guide, but on hearing it the producer Jay Lasker (1924-1989) liked it so much, he took the ‘demo’ to the Los Angeles radio station ‘KFWB’ the very next morning, where it was played for the first time. McGuire has stated that he sang the lyrics while reading them off a crumpled up piece of paper, and at one point in the song you can hear him go ‘ahhh,’ when he couldn’t read the words properly.McGuire hadn’t been the first choice to record the song, with it being initially offered to ‘The Byrds’ as a ‘Dylanesque’ potential single, but they turned it down.

P.F.Sloan was born Philip Gary Schlein on September 18th, 1945, in New York City, New York, United States, he died on November 15th, 2015 from pancreatic cancer. The ‘F’ in his stage name stands for ‘Flip,’ which was his nickname.The ‘Eve of Destruction’ remains his best known song, but he wrote many songs for other artists, as well as releasing eight solo studio Albums between 1965-2014.

‘The Eastern world, it is explodin,’ violence flarin,’ bullets loadin.’ You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin.’ You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin.’

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528-The Real Thing-You to Me Are Everything.

1976-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 0.57. Everybody knows about ‘Mersey Beat,’ but here’s some classic ‘Mersey Disco/Soul.’

The Real Thing were formed in 1970, in Liverpool, England by Chris Amoo, Dave Smith, Kenny Davis, and Ray Lake (1946-2020.) They were first signed to ‘EMI’ records, but their early releases failed to make any commercial impact. They then were invited to tour Europe with David Essex, and signed a new record deal, this time with ‘Pye’ records, after which Chris Amoo’s brother Eddie Amoo (1944-2018) joined the band.The Real Thing released four studio Albums between 1976-1980, and have appeared on the UK top 40 singles chart on 14 occasions between 1976-2005. The Real thing were named by their manager Tony Hall, who chose the name after seeing the ‘Coca-Cola’ advert on a large billboard, in Piccadilly Circus, London. The band remain active as a duo of original founding member Chris Amoo, and fellow vocalist Dave Smith.

‘You to Me Are Everything’ appears on The Real Things debut Album ‘Real Thing,’ and spent three weeks at Number 1 in the UK during the exceptionally hot summer of 1976. ‘ The Real Thing had up until that point been writing their own material, but achieving no commercial success, so in an attempt to get radio play they turned to the songwriting team of Ken Gold, and Michael Denne, who also wrote their follow up hit, the UK Number 2 single ‘Can’t Get By Without You.’ The other hits achieved by the band were either written, or co-written by the Amoo brothers, with Ken Gold sometimes being called in to produce.

A decade later in 1986, after being away from the charts for seven years, three of The Real Thing’s songs were remixed, and entered the UK top 40. ‘You to Me Are Everything (The Decade Remix 76-86’) was the brainchild of DJ Froggy (1950-2008,) Simon Harris, and KC, this time the song reached Number 5 in the UK, spending 13 weeks in the top 40, which was two weeks longer than the original version had in 1976. The other two songs that were remixed and made the chart were ‘Can’t Get by Without You (The Decade Remix’) reaching Number 6, and ‘Can You Feel the Force?'(86 Remix) which made Number 24.

‘You give me just a taste of love to build my hopes upon, you know you’ve got the power boy to keep me holding on.’

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529-Simon & Garfunkel-Homeward Bound.

1966-Number 9 single.

Best Bit-At 1.40. It’s Widnes railway stations claim to fame.

Widnes railway station is one of three stations where Paul Simon reputedly composed ‘Homeward Bound,’ the others being ‘Ditton,’ and ‘Warrington Bank Quay.’ The probability is that Simon composed the song in all three. Widnes railway station has a plaque commemorating the event, which is actually the third plaque, as the first two were both pinched by memorabilia collectors.

‘Homeward Bound’ was written by Paul Simon while he was on tour in England in the spring of 1964. He had just recorded his first Album ‘Wednesday Morning 3.AM,’ with Art Garfunkel, and he felt it would be a commercial failure. While on tour he met the 16 year old Kathy Chitty who was working as a ticket-taker at the ‘Railway Hotel’ in Essex where Simon was performing nightly. Simon (see also best songs 200-96 and 71) became infatuated with her, but she wasn’t willing to travel with him to London, and other city’s, resulting in an emotional farewell. Following a performance in Liverpool, Simon was waiting for the morning train, and he began to write ‘Homeward Bound’ on a scrap of paper. Chitty never wanted to be part of the ‘Pop Star’ lifestyle, and married and settled down quietly in Wales, away from any limelight. This was not the only song that Simon wrote about Chitty, as ‘Kathy’s Song,’ and ‘America’ are also about his time spent with her.

‘Homeward Bound’ was the second single release from the duo, now known as Simon & Garfunkel, and first appeared in the UK on their second studio Album ‘Sounds of Silence,’ while in America it first appeared on their third Album release ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.’ While in England ‘The Sound of Silence’ had become a surprise hit in the States, reaching Number 1 on Billboard, a year after it’s initial release, and Simon flew back to America to renew his partnership with Art Garfunkel.

‘Tonight I’ll play my songs again, I’ll play the game and pretend, but all my words come back to me, in shades of mediocrity. Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.’

Posted by: In: Other 12 Oct 2021 Comments: 0


530-Sam & Dave-Soul Man.

1967-Number 24 single.

Best Bit-At 0.08. Soul Music is a genre of music that originated in the African/American community throughout the United States in the 1950’s, and early 1960’s, but it was this songs title that made ‘Soul’ a household word, and known to a much wider audience.

‘Soul Man’ was co-written, and co-produced by the songwriting team of Isaac Hayes (1942-2008) and David Porter. Hayes was watching a television news programme in July 1967 about the ‘Civil Rights Movement,’ and the aftermath of the 12th Street riot in Detroit, Michigan. Hayes noted that black residents had marked buildings that had not been destroyed during the riots, mostly African/American owned and operated, with the word ‘Soul.’ Hayes related the scene to the story of Passover in the Bible, Hayes said,’It’s a story about one’s struggle to rise above his present conditions. It’s almost a tune kind of boasting, ‘I’m a soul man,’ it’s a pride thing.’

Isaac Hayes (see also best songs 398 and 1) came up with the title, but it was David Porter who wrote the lyrics describing what he thought a ‘Soul Man’ should be. Porter has said,’He didn’t have the fancy big city slant, but had the emotional thing happening inside of him that made people really love him.’ In 1971 Isaac Hayes was commissioned to write the soundtrack to the film ‘Shaft,’ in which Hayes describes the Soul Man’ John Shaft, as a bad mother……

Sam & Dave were the American singing duo of Sam Moore, and David Prater (1937-1988) Moore is a tenor, and Prater was a baritone, they formed in Miami, Florida in 1961, and remained active as a duo through until 1981. They were nicknamed ‘Double Dynamite,’ or ‘The Sultans of Sweat’ due to their all action live performances, and the American Soul revivalist duo The Blues Brothers were modelled on them. Together they released five studio Albums between 1966-1975, they also released a total of 32 singles between 1962-1977, of which three reached the Billboard top 40, and four charted in the UK.’Soul Man’ was taken from Sam & Dave’s third studio Album ‘Soul Men’ released in 1967. As they recorded on the ‘Stax’ record label, the instrumentation was provided by members of Booker T. & the M’G’s (see also best songs 906) as well as the labels session band the ‘Mar-Key Horns’. The songs very famous intro was written and played by Steve Cropper,(see also best songs 906 and 828) who was asked by Hayes to develop something, as he was struggling with the start of the song.

‘Coming to you on a dusty road, good loving, I got a truck load, and when you get it, you got something, don’t worry ’cause I’m coming.’