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Posted by: In: Other 20 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


430-M People-Moving On Up.

1993-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 4.37. The ‘Saxy’ bit.

M People were formed in Manchester, England, in 1990, by Mike Pickering who chose the stage name ‘M People’ from the first letter of his name. He was soon joined by Paul Heard who had previously been a member of the Acid Jazz band ‘Ace of Clubs,’ the percussionist Andrew ‘Shovel’ Lovell, whose previous band were called ‘Natural Life,’ and the vocalist Heather Small, who had just left the Soul band ‘Hot House.’ M People have gone on to sell in excess of 11 million records, releasing five studio Albums between 1991-1997, and five compilation Albums between 1998-2007. They have released 19 singles all of which have reached the UK top 40, with this track being the most successful, as well as being their only charting song on Billboard, when reaching Number 34 in 1993. In 1999 the band went on hiatus, but reformed to sporadically tour, and remain active, although there has been no new music since 1999.

Mike Pickering was born on February 21st, 1954, in Manchester, England, prior to forming M People he had been a member of the critically acclaimed Electronic Music group ‘Quando Quango,’ who had failed to break into the mainstream. The original idea was for M People to use different guest vocalists on each track, but after hearing Heather Small they had a change of mind.

Heather Small was born on January 20th, 1965, in West London, England, as well as providing the vocals for M People she has also released two solo Albums in 2000, and 2006. She has had hits with the song ‘Proud’ (UK Number 16) in 2000, and in the same year ‘You Need Love Like I Do,’ a duet with Tom Jones reached Number 24. Small has also provided vocals to two UK Number 1 singles. In 1997 as part of the charity single ‘Perfect Day,(see also best songs 131) and in 1989 for the re-recorded version of ‘Ride on Time’ by Black Box(see also best songs 501.)

‘Moving On Up’ was the seventh overall single release from M People, and the second from their second studio Album ‘Elegant Slumming’ from 1993, the Album went on to win the UK 1994 ‘Mercury Music Prize, and is currently closing in on 800,000 sales worldwide.’Moving On Up’ was co-written by Mike Pickering, and fellow M People band member Paul Heard, and has become one of the most popular Dance/Pop tracks of the 1990’s. Although the song sounds uplifting, and inspiring, it is actually about a woman telling her man he is no longer wanted, as he doesn’t treat her the way he should. She is taking control of the situation, and telling him to go, which of course is inspiring for people in a similar situation to hear.

‘You’ve done me wrong, your time is up. You took a sip from the Devil’s cup. You broke my heart, there’s no way back, move right out of here, baby, go on pack your bags.’

Posted by: In: Other 20 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


431-Lead Belly-Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

1944-Has never charted in the UK. There was no chart until 1952.

Best Bit-At 2.31. The more I read and write about music the more I realise that if it wasn’t for the previous generations influence on the next generation, our music heritage would be an awful lot poorer. Perhaps Lead Belly was the most influential of them all.

Huddie William Ledbetter was probably born on January 23rd, 1888, in Mooringsport, Louisiana, United States, he died on December 6th, 1949, having earlier on that year been diagnosed with Motor Neuron disease.

Lead Belly was known for playing a twelve-string guitar, as well as the piano, mandolin, harmonica, violin, and windjammer. He recorded in many genres including Folk Blues, and Gospel, and also wrote many songs himself. George Harrison said,’If there was no Lead Belly, there would have been no Lonnie Donegan, no Lonnie Donegan,(see also best songs 484 and 136) no Beatles, therefore no Lead Belly no Beatles. Bob Dylan said,’Somebody I’d never seen before handed me a Lead Belly record with the song ‘Cotton Fields,’ on it, and that record changed my life right there and then.’From the current crop of musicians George Ezra (see also best songs 355) has said that he developed his singing style from listening to Lead Belly. ‘On the back of one of his records it said his voice was so big, you had to turn your record player down. I liked the idea of singing with a big voice, so I tried it, and I could.’

‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’ is a traditional American Folk song that developed from two songs, ‘In the Pines,’ and ‘The Longest Train, it is also known as ‘My Girl,’ and ‘Black Girl,’ and both were probably written around 1870 by an unknown source. Like many other Folk songs ‘In the Pines’ was passed down from generation to generation, and over time lyrics have been added, and also changed. The earliest recordings of the song date back to 1925, with many versions in differing genres recorded since. Lead Belly recorded the song at least six times between 1944-1948, most often under the title of ‘Black Girl,’ or ‘Black Gal.” Bill Monroe (1911-1996) recorded the song in 1941 and then again in 1952, with both versions being highly influential on the ‘Bluegrass’ and ‘Country Music’ genres. In the UK the song has charted on one occasion when the English Beat group ‘The Four Pennies’ reached Number 20 in 1964 with their version called ‘Black Girl,’ they never released the song as a single in America. The most famous, and also critically acclaimed version of the song is the 1993 MTV Unplugged recording by Nirvana,(see also best songs 788 and 9) which earned Kurt Cobain universal acclaim from critics and fellow musicians. Neil Young was deeply impressed with Cobain’s performance, he said,’The tortured final vocals sounded unearthly, like a werewolf, unbelievable.’

‘My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me, tell me where did you sleep last night. In the pines, in the pines, where the sun don’t ever shine.’

Posted by: In: Other 18 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


432-Robert Palmer-Addicted To Love.

1986-Number 5 single.

Best Bit-At 0.18. As I watch the iconic video I think to myself, if these girls have taken care of themselves, then they will now be very ‘glamorous grannies.’ (If you watch the video closely you can also see Robert Palmer.)

Robert Palmer was born on January 19th, 1949, in Batley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, He died from a sudden heart attack in a Paris hotel room on September 26th, 2003, at the age of 54. During the course of his career he experimented and recorded many different genres of music including Rock, Reggae, Bossa Nova, and the Blues. Palmer was born in Batley, but shortly after his birth his family uprooted and they moved 76 miles across Yorkshire, where he grew up in the seaside town of Scarborough.Before setting out on a solo career Palmer joined his first band the ‘Mandrakes’ at 15 while still at school, he was then a member of ‘The Alan Bown Set’ from 1969. In 1970 he joined the Jazz/Rock group ‘Dada’ which was where he first played with Elkie Brooks, and Pete Gage, the three of them would go on to co-form the Rock band ‘Vinegar Joe’ in 1972. When they disbanded in 1974 after three studio Albums Palmer pursued a solo career, releasing 15 studio Albums between 1974-2003. He has also released two Albums with the ‘supergroup’ The Power Station’ in 1985 and 1996.

‘Addicted to Love’ was written by Robert Palmer, and produced by Bernard Edwards (1952-1996) (see also best songs 175 and 17) and was released in edited form from Palmer’s eighth studio Album ‘Riptide’ from 1985. Edwards (bass) Andy Taylor (guitar) (see also best songs 903) and Tony Thompson (drums) (see also best songs 175) who had all been part of The Power Station played on the track. When Palmer originally wrote the song, he wrote it as a duet with Chaka Khan in mind, but due to contractual problems her record label refused permission, but Khan (see also best songs 703-228 and 85) still received credit on the Album sleeve for vocal arrangements.For his inspiration on writing the song Palmer has said that it all started with a guitar riff he heard in a dream,’That noisy riff woke me up. I went downstairs, got out the tape recorder, then went back to bed.Next morning, I thought, phew, caught one there!’

The songs video is one of the most famous in Pop music history, and was directed by Terence Donovan (1936-1996.) Five glamour models were chosen to appear wearing heavy makeup, dressed seductively, and showing a mannequin-like expression, they were also told there was no need to dance in sync, and there was no need to know how to play the instruments. One of the girls, Mak Gilchrist who was 21 at the time has said,’I remember feeling an acute sense of embarrassment when I first saw how sexy the video was. The most unusual place I saw it was on a huge screen on the side of a Tokyo building.’

‘Your lights are on, but you’re not home, your mind is not your own. Your heart sweats, your body shakes, another kiss is what it takes.’

Posted by: In: Other 18 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


433-Kid Rock-All Summer Long.

2008-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 1.07. If he could have so much fun reminiscing about ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ just think how much more he would have enjoyed those memories if it had been ‘Freebird.’ (see also best songs 12.)

Kid Rock was born Robert James Ritchie on January 17th, 1971, in Romeo, Michigan, United States. He has released 11 studio Albums between 1990-2017, of which eight have reached the Billboard Album chart top 10. He has had three of his 41 singles chart in America, and three also reach the UK top 40.

Kid Rock was brought up in an affluente family on his fathers six acre estate. As a teenager he became interested in Hip-Hop music, he learnt how to breakdance, and taught himself to Rap, entering talent shows around the Detroit area. His first endeavour as a professional musician was as a member of a Hip-Hop group called ‘The Beast Crew,’ where he came to be noticed by the music producer Mike E. Clark. Kid Rocks sound has gradually changed over the years, having began as a Rapper, he moved away from that genre, and over the course of his Albums he became a singer, encompassing Rock, Country, and Nu Metal. His song ‘Cowboy’ from 1999 is considered a pioneering song in the Country Rap genre.

‘All Summer Long’ was the third single released from Kid Rock’s seventh studio Album ‘Rock n Roll Jesus’ from 2007. The song samples two classic tracks from the 1970’s first suggested by Mike E. Clark,’Sweet Home Alabama’ (see also best songs 204) from 1973 by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Werewolves of London,’ from 1977 by Warren Zevon, because of this there are a total of eight people credited as the songs writers, the production is credited to Clark and Kid Rock. Billy Powell (1952-2009) who had been a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd and had played keyboards on ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ also played the piano on ‘All Summer Long.’

‘All Summer Long’ sees the songs narrator reminiscing fondly about his youth. Kid Rock has said,’I knew the track was solid, it’s got two of the best songs of all time mashed up together. It’s got great melodies, so really, my work was done’.

‘Splashing through the sand bar, talking by the campfire, it’s the simple things in life, like when and where.We didn’t have no internet, but man I will never forget the way the moonlight shined upon her hair.’

Posted by: In: Other 16 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


434-Procol Harum-A Whiter Shade of Pale.

1967-Number 1 single. When re-issued in 1972 it reached Number 13.

Best Bit-At 1.17. The songs title has become so ingrained in people’s consciousness that it has almost become a cliche.

Procol Harum were formed in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England, in 1967, and were active until 1977, the band was reformed in 1991 and remain active. The groups one constant is Gary Brooker (vocals and piano) who had been a former member of the English beat group the ‘Paramounts’ who had a 1964 UK Number 35 hit with a cover version of ‘Poisen Ivy.’ The other four founding members who played on this track, the bands debut single, were Matthew Fisher (Hammond organ) Ray Royer (guitar) David Knights (bass) and Bill Eyden (1930-2004) (drums.) In total since the bands inception there have been 24 group members come and go. They have released 12 studio Albums between 1967-2017, and 21 singles between 1967-1977, with five of those singles reaching the UK top 40.

At the time of writing’A Whiter Shade of Pale’ is still one of the top 40 best selling singles worldwide of all time, with sales in excess of 10 million copies. It is also recognised by ‘Phonographic Performance Limited’ as the most played record by British Broadcasting in the last 70 years. The songs lyrics were written by Keith Reid, and the music by Gary Brooker, but on July 30th 2009 after many years of legal wrangling the name of Matthew Fisher who provided the distinctive Hammond organ on the song had his name added to the writing credits.

One of the probable reasons for the songs enduring popularity is it’s unusual lyrics. Keith Reid has said he was at a party and he heard someone saying to a woman,’You’ve turned a whiter shade of pale,’ and the phrase stuck in his mind. Of the song Reid has said,’I was trying to conjure a mood, as much as tell a straightforward girl leaves boy story. With the ceiling flying away, and the room humming harder, I wanted to paint an image of a scene. I wasn’t trying to be mysterious with those images, I was trying to be evocative.’

‘We skipped the light fandango, turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor. I was feeling seasick, but the crowd called out for more. The room was humming harder, as the ceiling flew away. When we called out for another drink, the waiter brought a tray.’

Posted by: In: Other 16 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


435-The Undertones-Teenage Kicks.

1978-Number 31 single.

Best Bit-At 0.30. The late great DJ John Peel’s favourite ever song, enough said.

The Undertones were formed in Derry, Northern Island, in 1974, by John O’Neill (rhythm guitar) Feargal Sharkey (vocals) Michael Bradley (bass) Billy Doherty (drums) and Vincent O’Neill (guitar,) Vincent left the group in 1976 and was replaced by his younger brother Damian O’Neill (lead guitar.) They were active between 1974-1983 releasing four studio Albums, and 13 singles, of which seven reached the UK top 40.By 1983 the hits had dried up, with lead singer Feagal Sharkey unhappy about the musical direction the band had taken, he left the group to pursue a solo career. In 1999 The Undertones reformed without Sharkey who declined their invitation, so fellow Derry born Paul McLoon was drafted in as the new lead singer. Two further Albums were recorded in 2003, and 2007, with tours in Europe and North America undertaken, they remain active.

‘Teenage Kicks’ was the debut single by The Undertones, and appears on the band’s self titled debut Album from 1979, the song was written by John O’Neill. The song is famous for being the all time favourite of the influential BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel (1939-2004,) it is said that on first hearing the song in September 1978 Peel burst in to tears. In a 2001 interview Peel stated that apart from his name, the only words he wished to be engraved on his gravestone were the opening lyrics to Teenage Kicks (‘Teenage dreams so hard to beat.’) Peel’s wife Sheila said,’We have put the words on the stone that he world have wanted, I wouldn’t dare do anything else.

‘The songs writer John O’Neill has said of the song,’In 1978 we didn’t think Teenage Kicks was the best song, True Confessions was the one we thought people would go for, and we only named the EP after it because we were teenagers, and it seemed appropriate. When John Peel played it twice on his show we were in shock. I came up with the title, I was a MC5 (see also best songs 155) fan and they had a song called Teenage Lust and we used to cover Route 66, so with the licks in the chorus I just made the connection.

‘I’m gonna call her on the telephone, have her over ’cause I’m all alone. I need excitement, oh I need it bad and it’s the best I’ve ever had.’

Posted by: In: Other 14 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


436-Billie Jo Spears-Blanket on the Ground.

1975-Number 6 single.

Best Bit-At 1.11. It seems like a good idea, until you get sent to prison for lewd behaviour.

Billy Jo Spears was born Billie Jo Moore on January 14th, 1937, in Beaumont, Texas, United States, she died of cancer on December 14th, 2011, at the age of 74. She released a total of 18 studio Albums between 1968-1991, and 46 singles from 1953-1991. She is recognised as one of Country Music’s best loved and most successful female artists with 26 of those singles charting on the Billboard Country Music chart. Although none of those songs crossed over to the Pop chart in America she has achieved three UK top 40 singles, with ‘What I’ve Got in Mind’ being the most successful when reaching Number 4 in 1976.Talking of her career Spears once said,’I have no desire to be a Pop artist, I couldn’t go Pop with a mouthful of firecrackers.’

‘Blanket on the Ground’ was the title track from Billie Jo Spears seventh studio Album from 1974, and was written by Roger Bowling, who was born on December 3rd, 1944, in Helton, Leslie County, Kentucky, United States, he committed suicide on December 26th, 1982 at the age of 38, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer a year earlier. Other notable songs written by Bowling include the two UK Number 1 singles for Kenny Rogers,’Lucille’ in 1977, and ‘Coward of the County’ in 1979.

‘Blanket on the Ground’ tells of a couple who have been married for several years and she wishes to put some spark back into their relationship, by doing things that they did when ‘love was young.’

‘Just because we are married don’t mean we can’t slip around, so let’s walk out through the moonlight and lay the blanket on the ground.’

Posted by: In: Other 14 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


437-Scooter-”Ramp! (The Logical Song)”

2002-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 0.34. Guten Morgen.

If you were under the age of 18 in 2002 then your parents will have hated this song, which is what Pop Music should be all about. Every new generation needs it’s own identity.

Scooter (see also best songs 1033 and 144) are one of the worlds most successful Dance acts, having to date sold over 30 million records, they are Germany’s best selling singles act with 23 top 10 hits. Scooter were formed in Hamburg, Germany in 1993 by Hans Peter Geerdes, better known by his stage name H.P. Baxxter, and Hendrik Stedler who is better known as Rick J. Jordan, since their inception a further seven members have come and gone. When Jordan left the group in 2014, this left Baxxter as the bands one constant.To date they have released 20 studio Albums between 1995-2021, with their 2007 release ‘Jumping All Over the World’ reaching Number 1 in the UK. They have also achieved 11 UK top 40 singles, with this track being their most successful when peaking at Number 2 in 2002.

”Ramp! (The Logical Song)” was at the time of release one of four new songs recorded to promote Scooter’s second singles compilation Album ‘Push the Beat for This Jam (The Second Chapter’) released in January 2002. The song is loosely based on the English Rock band Supertramp’s 1979 UK Number 7 single ‘The Logical Song,’ with songwriting credits given to Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, the production was done by Scooter. The lyrical content includes a nod to the ‘KLF’ (see also best songs 329) who Scooter have always acknowledged as a big influence. The song features all of Scooter’s usual trademarks including high pitched voice, and vocal improvisation.

‘When I was young it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical, and all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily, so joyfully oh playfully, watching me.’

Posted by: In: Other 12 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


438-Nine Inch Nails-Head Like a Hole.

1990-Number 45 single.

Best Bit-At 2.37. Nothing in Pop music is totally original. Artists are influenced by what they have heard, and the very best add their own new ideas, and thus influence the next generation.

Trent Reznor was born Michael Trent Reznor on May 17th, 1965, in New Castle, Pennsylvania, United States, he founded the band Nine Inch Nails in 1988, as the only official member. Since the bands inception Reznor has employed a total of 32 musicians for studio work and for touring, including Atticus Ross who first teamed up with Reznor in 2002, and became only the bands second full time member in 2016.Nine Inch Nails have released a total of nine studio Albums between 1989-2020, one live Album and three remix Albums. There have been 22 singles released with ‘The Day the World Went Away’ being their biggest hit on Billboard, when reaching Number 17 in 1999. In the UK six of their singles have made the top 40, with the 2005 release ‘The Hands That Feeds’ peaking at Number 7.The band name Nine Inch Nails, and this songs title was inspired by a quote by Al Jourgensen the lead singer of the Heavy Metal band Ministry who said,’Listening to Ministry is like having a nine inch nail hammered into your head like a hole.’

‘Head Like a Hole’ was released as the second single from Nine Inch Nail’s debut Album ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ from 1999, all 11 tracks were written by Trent Reznor, and he also played all the instruments, provided the vocals, and is one of the five credited producers.’Head Like a Hole’ is a song about the control that money has over some people, and the pain associated with it. Rezner has said that the song is ‘Pretty much about yelling at a beast without putting a face to it.’

‘God money I’ll do anything for you. God money just tell me what you want me to. God money nail me up against the wall. God money don’t want everything he wants it all.’

Posted by: In: Other 12 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


439-Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes-(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.

1987 Number 6 single. In 1990 it re-entered the chart, this time reaching Number 8.

Best Bit-At 4.39. Bill Medley was reluctant to record the song because he thought Dirty Dancing sounded like a porno.

”(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” was co-written by Franke Previte, John DeNicola, and Donald Markowitz. Previte who had previously tasted success in the early 1980’s as the lead singer with the Pop group Franke and the Knockouts, achieving three Billboard top 30 singles, was approached by the music producer Jimmy Lenner to write some music for ‘A little movie called Dirty Dancing.’ Of the songs Previte presented, this track, and ‘Hungry Eyes,’ which was recorded by Eric Carmen, (see also best songs 625) were chosen for the Dirty Dancing film, and the films soundtrack, which has currently sold in the region of 40 million copies since it’s release.

Because of budget restrictions the Dirty Dancing film was filmed out of sequence with the finale being the first thing that was shot, and since Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes hadn’t recorded their version of ”(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” yet, a demo version recorded by Previte and the singer Rachele Cappelli was used instead, as a guide for the films actors Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. When Medley and Warnes recorded their version they used the final scene of the film as their guide.

The female vocals were initially offered to Donna Summer, but she turned it down, it was then offered to Jennifer Warnes who had already had great success with another film soundtrack song, her duet with Joe Cocker ‘Up Where We Belong,’ from ‘An Officer and A Gentleman’ had been a Billboard Number 1, and Grammy winning song in 1982. Once Medley (see also best songs 782 and 91) who had always been a fan knew Warnes was on board he accepted the role.

”(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” spent one week at Number 1 in America on Billboard in November 1987, while in the UK it has charted on two separate occasions. In November 1987 after the films release it peaked at Number 6, and after the film was first shown on mainstream television in 1990, it re-entered the chart, and this time reached Number 8.

‘Just remember you’re the one thing I can’t get enough of, so I’ll tell you something, this could be love.’