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Posted by: In: Other 31 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


419-Percy Faith-Theme from A Summer Place.

1960-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 1.01. You say it better when you say nothing at all.

‘Theme from A Summer Place was written for the 1959 American romantic drama film ‘A Summer Place.’ Originally called the ‘Molly and Johnny Theme,’ it was performed for the movie by the American ‘Easy Listening’ music arranger Hugo Winterhalter (1909-1973.) The music was not the films main title music, and was only played intermittently during the film, it only came to be immediately associated with the movie after this recording by Percy Faith.

‘Theme from A Summer Place’ was written by Max Steiner (melody) and Mack Discant (lyrics.) Although the lyrics were not used in the film, or in the Percy Faith version, there have been dozens, or maybe even hundreds of vocal versions recorded. Max Steiner was born Maximilian Raoul Steiner on May 10th, 1888 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, he died from congestive heart failure in 1971 at the age of 83. Steiner composed over 300 film scores, including ‘Casablanca’ (1942) ‘Gone With the Wind’ (1939) and ‘King Kong’ (1933.) He is referred to as the ‘Father of film music,’ or the ‘Dean of film music.

In 1959 prior to the film ‘A Summer Place’ being released, Percy Faith had already recorded and released ‘Theme from A Summer Place’ as a single. At first it only charted moderately, but it eventually took off in February 1960, spending nine consecutive weeks at Number 1 on Billboard, which at that time set a new record, which would stand until 1977. The song remains the longest running Number 1 instrumental in the history of the Billboard singles chart.

Percy Faith was born on April 7th, 1908, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he died from cancer in 1976 at the age of 67. Percy Faith recorded around 100 studio Albums between 1951-1976, 21 of which made the Billboard Hot 200 chart. He also had great success as a music producer for himself, and others. His production can be heard on 16 Billboard hit singles, including both of his Number 1’s, this song in 1960, and the ‘Moulin Rouge Theme’ in 1953. Faith is credited with popularising the genre of ‘Easy Listening’ or ‘Mood Music,’ although at times he has been ridiculed for inventing ‘elevator music.’ Percy Faith re-recorded ‘Theme from A Summer Place’ twice. In 1969, as a female choral version, and then in 1976 as a ‘Disco’ version titled ‘Summer Place 76,’ which was released posthumously.

Posted by: In: Other 31 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


420-Janet Kay-Silly Games.

1979-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 4.20. For those about to ‘Lovers Rock’ we salute you.

The genre of music that is known as Lovers Rock has nothing to do with Rock music, it is in fact a style of Reggae music that is noted for it’s romantic content, rather than carrying a political message. It combines the Soul sounds that were coming out of Chicago, and Philadelphia in the early 1970’s, with Rocksteady, and Reggae bassline rhythms. The genre evolved out of London, England, and would go on to inspire future acts such as Boy George and Culture Club to bring it in to the mainstream.

‘Silly Games’ was written by Dennis Bovell who was born on May 22nd, 1953, in Saint Peter, Barbados, West Indies, in the 2021 Birthday Honours he was awarded an ‘MBE’ for services to music. He has released 14 studio Albums between 1978-2015, either using his real name, or the stage name ‘Blackbeard.’ He is also a long term associate of the Jamaican ‘Dub Poet’ Linton Kwesi Johnson,’ working with him on several of his Albums. Bovell is also a music producer, having worked with artists as diverse as Madness, The Thompson Twins, The Slits, and I-Roy.

Janet Kay Bogle was born on January 17th, 1958, in Willesden, London, England, she has released 12 studio Albums between 1982-2012. She came to the attention of Tony ‘Gad’ Robinson of the British Reggae band Aswad while singing impromptu at a rehearsal studio. Robinson was impressed and recommended her to the Jamaician singer/songwriter Alton Ellis who was now based in London, and was looking for a female singer who could hit the high notes comfortably. One of Kay’s earliest recordings was a cover of the Minnie Ripperton song ‘Lovin’ You,’ (see also best songs 503) which was produced by Ellis.

‘Silly Games’ was written by Dennis Bovell who has explained how it came about.’There was an advert for ‘Memorex’ where Ella Fitzgerald sang a note and broke a glass, and I wanted a song with a note like that, little girls always try to sing a high note, so when I wrote Silly Games and put that high note in there, it meant that every female in the dance would try and sing that note.’

‘Silly Games’ was split in to two parts for the 7 inch single release, with the ‘Dub’ part of the song released as the ‘B’ side, and called ‘Dangerous.’ For the 12 inch release the full six minutes and 18 seconds appears in full as one track. This song would prove to be Janet Kay’s only solo chart entry, although in 1990 a cover version by Lindy Layton featuring Janet Kay on backing vocals reached Number 22 in the UK.

‘I’ve been wanting you for so long, it’s a shame, oh baby. Every time I hear your name, oh the pain, boy how it hurts inside.’

Posted by: In: Other 31 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


421-Garbage-Only Happy When It Rains.

1995-Number 29 single.

Best Bit-At 1.52. I guess they won’t be buying a holiday home in the Sahara Desert then.

Garbage were formed in Madison, Wisconsin, United States, in 1993 by Butch Vig (drums and production) Shirley Manson (vocals) Duke Erikson (guitar, bass and keyboards) and Steve Marker (guitar and keyboards.) The band derived their name from something that Butch Vig wrote in his studio journal in 1993,’I hope that all this garbage will become something beautiful’. They have released seven studio Albums to date between 1995-2021, two compilations, and 33 singles, 16 of which have reached the UK top 40. They remain active, with the same four band members always being constant, although they have all pursued solo projects, especially when the band went on hiatus in 2006, and again in 2008-2009.

Butch Vig (see also best songs 641) was born Bryan David Vig on August 2nd, 1955, he is acknowledged as one of the world’s best, and most successful music producers. He was the producer of the 1991 Album ‘Nevermind’ by Nirvana,(see also best songs 788 and 9) which has sold in excess of 15 million copies worldwide to date. Vig had first met fellow future band mate Steve Marker at the University of Wisconsin where they both were students. Both Vig and Marker had known Erikson as far back as 1983 when he helped them set up ‘Smart Studios’ in Madison, Wisconsin. It was Marker who saw Shirley Manson performing on ‘MTV’ and recommended her to the other three as a potential lead singer for the band. Shirley Ann Manson was born on August 26th, 1966, in Edinburgh, Scotland.Her career breakthrough occurred when becoming a member of the Scottish Rock band ‘Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, she would go on to front the band, who would later splinter to become ‘Angelfish,’ which was where she was first seen by Marker. Garbage have sold in excess of 17 million records to date.

‘Only Happy When It Rains’ was taken from the self titled debut Album by Garbage, with all four band members credited as the songs writers, and producers. The lyrics are Garbage mocking themselves, as they, and particularly ‘Alternative Rock,’ and Grunge’ artists at that time were singing dark and depressing song lyrics. Steve Marker has said,’It’s really just us poking fun of ourselves. We’re poking fun at the alternate rock angst, wearing your heart on your sleeve thing, and at ourselves for writing such dark songs.’

‘I only smile in the dark, my only comfort is the night gone black. I only listen to sad, sad songs, I’m only happy when it rains.

Posted by: In: Other 28 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


422-Eddie Cochran-Somethin’ Else.

1959-Number 22 single.

Best Bit-At 1.49. The moral of the song. If you work hard you can achieve.

Eddie Ray Cochran was born on October 3rd, 1938, in Albert Lea, Minnesota, United States, he died on April 17th, 1960, in Bath, Somerset, England, at the age of 21. During his lifetime he released just one studio Album, the 1957 release ‘Singin’ to My Baby.’ After his death there have been 26 official compilations issued, plus three live Albums. During his lifetime he released 15 singles, three of which charted on Billboard, and five which reached the UK top 40. Since his death a further five singles have charted in the UK, including the 1960 posthumous Number 1 ‘Three Steps to Heaven.’

Eddie Cochran (see also best songs 50) was one of the most important figures in the development of Rockabilly, Rock N’ Roll,’ and Rock music in general, with his experimentation with multi tracking recording, distortion techniques, and overdubbing, dating back to as early as 1955. Cochran portrayed the image that every young male 1950’s Rocker craved, with his portrayal of a sharply dressed, handsome young man, with a rebellious attitude.

‘Somethin’ Else was co-written by Bob Cochran (Eddie’s brother) and Sharon Sheeley, at the time of Eddie Cochran’s death she was ‘unofficially engaged’ to him, the song was produced by Eddie Cochran. Sharon Sheeley was born on April 4th, 1940, in Newport Beach, California, United States, she died on May 17th, 2002 from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 62. Her other writing credits include ‘Poor Little Fool’ recorded by Ricky Nelson, (1940-1985) when the song made Number 1 on Billboard in 1958 Sheeley at the age of 18 became the youngest woman to write an American Number 1 hit. Sheeley also found great success as a songwriter when teaming up with fellow female American songwriter Jackie De Shannon (see also best songs 573.)

‘Somethin’ Else has been recorded by numerous artists over the years, notable covers include a live version from Johnny Hallyday (1943-2017) whose rendition topped the chart in France in 1962, and a version by the Sex Pistols with Sid Vicious (1957-1979) on lead vocals, which reached Number 3 in the UK in 1979.

‘Never thought I’d do this before, but here I am a-knockin’ on her door. My car’s out front and it’s all mine, just a ’41 Ford, not a ’59. I got that girl and I’m a-thinkin’ to myself, she’s sure fine lookin’ man, wow she’s something else.’

Posted by: In: Other 28 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


423-D’banj-Oliver Twist.

2012-Number 9 single.

Best Bit-At 3.04. ‘Please sir, I want some more.’

D’banj was born Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo on June 9th, 1980, in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria, his stage name is a combination of his first name and his surname. In 2001 he arrived in London, England, to continue his studies as a mechanical engineer, but his passion for music got the better of him when meeting the music producer and songwriter Michael Ajereh, better known by his working name Don Jazzy, who was also of Nigerian decent. Together they started the record label ‘Mo’Hits Records,’ from where D’banj released his first three studio Albums, and 13 singles between 2005-2008, the pair also released music from other artists who were signed to the label. D’banj and Don Jazzy worked together until their mutual split in 2011. By now D’banj had signed to the ‘G.O.O.D. Music’ record label owned by Kanye West, and appeared on the compilation Album ‘Cruel Summer,’ on the track ‘The Morning.'(see also best songs 849 and 267) D’banj is one of the most successful acts to come out of Nigeria, and Africa, his musical genres include Afrobeats, Pop, Hip-Hop, and R&B. According to ‘T.I.N. Magazine’ D’banj he is the wealthiest solo musician in Nigeria.In total he has released four studio Albums between 2005-2017, and 37 singles between 2005-2018, with this track being his only charting song in Europe.

‘Oliver Twist’ was co-written by D’banj and Don Jazzy, the song was also made available in 2013 on the compilation Album ‘D’Kings Men,’ released by the Nigerian record label ‘DB Records.’ As for the songs meaning, Charles Dickens’ poor workhouse boy Oliver Twist famously asked for more gruel, only to be rebuffed by Mr. Bumble. D’banj’s wish is more fanciful, he tells his girlfriend that his desire is to be with famous Pop Divas such as Beyonce, and Rihanna, but can’t, because he is just like Oliver Twist. He then tells his girlfriend that he knows that she is much the same as he is, because she desires the R&B singer Trey Songz, and also the music producer (of this song) Don Jazzy.

‘See I like Beyonce, but she dey with Jigga. I like Nikki, her yansh is bigger.I like Rihanna, she dey make me day go gaga.’

Posted by: In: Other 28 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


424-Technotronic-Pump Up the Jam.

1989-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 2.03. It’s a good job that the lyrics are not too taxing, as Congolese model Felly Kilingi who is lip-syncing couldn’t speak a word of English.

At that time it was considered normal to get someone attractive to appear on the CD sleeve, or front the video, pretending to be the actual vocalist on the track. Other well known examples include Milli Vanilli, C&C Music Factory, and Black Box (see also best songs 501)Technotronic was the brainchild of Jo Bogaert who was born in Aalst, Belgium, in 1956. Using the stage name Thomas de Quincey he co-wrote, and produced for Technotronic. Over the course of the bands existence from 1987-2001 he worked with 12 other artists releasing three studio Albums, and one remix Album. There have also been five official greatest hits compilations released between 1993-2012, and 25 singles, 12 of which reached the top 40 in Belgium (including two Number 1’s.) In the UK they have achieved nine top 40 singles, and in America they have charted on three occasions.

‘Pump Up the Jam’ is the opening track on Technotronic’s debut studio Album of the same name from 1989. The song was co-written by Jo Bogaert (music) and Manuela Kamosi (lyrics) using her stage name ‘Ya Kid K,’ she also provides the vocals on the track. Ya Kid K was born on January 26th, 1972, in Kinshasa, Zaire, she moved to Belgium at the age of 11. As well as providing input, and the vocals to other Technotronic Albums, she has also released two solo studio Albums in 1992, and 2014. She has a child with fellow Technotronic performer ‘MC Eric,’ who provided the vocals on ‘This Beat Is Technotronic.’ the bands third single release from 1990. Also in 1990 both Bogaert and Ya Kid K, using the stage name ‘Hi Tek 3,’ wrote, produced, and performed ‘Spin That Wheel,’ which appeared on the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ soundtrack Album, and was released as a single, reaching Number 15 in the UK.

‘Pump Up the Jam’ is a ground breaking song, and is an early example of Rap and House Music joining forces, in what was to become known as ‘Hip-House.’ ‘Pump Up the Jam’ is credited with being the very first ‘House Music’ track to break in to the Billboard top 10 in America, when reaching Number 2 in 1989.

On a personal note, when I first heard the track back in 1989, my first thoughts were, is this a novelty song, maybe that was because it sounded so different to anything I had ever heard before. The song has stood the test of time a lot better than most, and still sounds fresh and new to this day.

‘Pump up the jam, pump it up, while your feet are stompin’ and the jam is pumpin.’ Look at here the crowd is jumpin.’ pump it up a little more, get the party going on the dance floor.’

Posted by: In: Other 25 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


425-Tracy Chapman-Fast Car.

1988-Number 5 single. In 2011 the song re-entered the chart, and this time peaked at Number 4.

Best Bit-At 2.01. What about this for an accolade! ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine ranked the song at 167 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time, the highest ranking song both written and performed by a female artist.

Tracy Chapman was born on March 30th, 1964, in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, she has released eight studio Albums between 1988-2008. There have also been two greatest hits compilations, and a total of 22 singles, her only UK hit is ‘Fast Car,’ but in America on Billboard she has charted twice, with this song reaching Number 6, and her most successful track ‘Give Me One Reason’ making Number 3 in 1995.

Tracy Chapman was already signed to ‘Elektra’ records when she got her big breakthrough. On June 11th, 1988, at Wembley Stadium, London , England, Chapman was one of the many artists booked to play at the Nelson Mandela 70th birthday tribute, which was being broadcast to 67 countries, and an audience of 600 million. Chapman had duly played her afternoon spot, but when problems arose over Stevie Wonder’s backing track being lost, Chapman was asked to fill in at prime time, bringing her acclaimed exposure. The sales of her self titled debut Album rocketed, taking it to Number 1 on the Billboard Album chart, with the single ‘Fast Car’ going top 10 in the UK and America.

‘Fast Car’ was released as the debut single by Tracy Chapman from her 1988 self titled debut Album. The lyrics tell the story of someone trying to escape a life where there is very little prospect of them being able to better themselves, because circumstances are heavily weighted against them. The sting in the tail is that what the narrator is trying to escape, comes around full circle, and history repeats itself, and she ends up back at square one. I personally find myself thinking of the Mac Davis composition, ‘In the Ghetto’ sung by Elvis Presley from 1969 (see also best songs 442.)

In 2011 ‘Fast Car’ re-entered the UK top 40 after Michael Collings a contestant on the television show ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ sang his rendition. This time the song charted one place higher when reaching Number 4. In 2015 the ‘Dance Music’ producer Jonas Blue released a version of the song as his debut single, featuring the vocals of Sophie Elton, better known by her stage name ‘Dakota,’ and this version reached Number 2 in the UK.

‘You got a fast car, I got a job that pays all our bills. You stay out drinking late at the bar, see more of your friends than you do of your kids. I’d always hoped for better.’

Posted by: In: Other 25 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


426-Neil Diamond-Cracklin’ Rosie.

1970-Number 3 single.

Best Bit-At 2.33. I am confident that from this point onward in this song, even I could do a karaoke performance justice.

Neil Leslie Diamond was born on January 24th, 1941, in Brooklyn, New York, United States, with record sales in excess of 100 million he is one of the worlds best selling artists. In 2018 he announced that he would retire from touring due to having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but added that he would continue to write and record.To date Diamond has recorded 34 studio Albums, between 1966-2018.

‘Cracklin’ Rosie’ was written by Neil Diamond,(see also best songs 536 and 13) and was taken from his sixth studio Album ‘Tap Root Manuscript.’ In America it gave him the first of his three Billboard Number 1 singles, while in the UK the song is his highest charting, when reaching Number 3 in 1970. Many rumours have circulated over the years as to the true meaning of the lyrics, but Diamond has confirmed that his inspiration for writing the song came after hearing a story about a native Indian Canadian tribe who had more men than women in their flock, and that the lonely men of the tribe, who couldn’t get a partner would sit around the camp fire and drink their wine together.’Crackling Rose’ is the name of an inexpensive sparkling wine once produced by Andres Wines of British Columbia, and it is said that while on tour in the early days, Diamond may have purchased the product.

It is also rumoured that in a piece of very clever marketing in order to get his song played on the radio, Diamond directed the lyrics ‘Play it now, Play it now my baby’ directly at Rosalie Trombley who was the music director at the Canadian radio station ‘CKLW’ at that time. Trombley had the final say as to what got played, and what didn’t, and could make or brake a song, the 1973 song ‘Rosalie’ by Bob Seger, and later covered by Thin Lizzy (see also best songs 125) in 1975 is about her.

The session musicians who played on this song were members of the Los Angeles based ‘The Wrecking Crew’ who were employed for thousands of studio recordings during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Members of the ‘Crew’ who appear on this track, and it’s parent Album include Hal Blaine (1929-2019) (drums) Larry Knechtel (1940-2009) (keyboards) Joe Osborn (1937-2018) (bass) Al Casey (1936-2006) (guitar) Tony Terran (1926-2017) (trumpet) and Gene Estes (1931-1996) (percussion.) At a later date I will list all the songs in this countdown that The Wrecking Crew appeared on.

‘Cracklin’ Rose you’re a store bought woman, you make me sing like a guitar hummin,’ so hang on to me girl, our song keeps runnin’ on.’

Posted by: In: Other 23 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


427-Alice Cooper-Teenage Lament ’74.

1973-Number 12 single.

Best Bit-At 2.46. ‘We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy.’

Alice Cooper, also known as the ‘Alice Cooper Band’ can trace their roots back to ‘Cortez High School’ in Phoenix, Arizona, United States, where a 16 year old Vincent Furnier, and his school friends in 1964 formed a band to enter a local annual ‘Letterman’s’ talent show which they subsequently won using the stage name ‘The Earwigs’ (a probable nod to the Beatles.) They soon renamed themselves ‘The Spiders,’ and recorded their first single ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’. By 1967 the band members had graduated from high school, and once again changed their stage name, this time to ‘Nazz,’ but after finding out that the artist Todd Rundgren was already using that name for his backing band, they settled upon ‘Alice Cooper in 1968, Alice cooper was a character in the 1960’s, and 1970’s American television series ‘Mayberry R.F.D.’ The band remained active until 1975, with the original line up consisting of, Vincent Furnier (vocals and harmonica) Glen Buxton (1947-1997) (lead guitar) Michael Bruce (rhythm guitar and keyboards) Dennis Dunaway (bass) and Neal Smith (drums.) Two additional members, Mick Mashbir (guitar) and Bob Dolin (keyboards) performed with the band in 1973-1974. They released seven studio Albums between 1969-1973, and achieved five top 40 singles on Billboard. Five of their singles also made the UK top 40, including the 1974 Number 1 ‘Schools Out’. When the Alice Cooper Band split in 1975 the lead singer Vincent Furnier legally changed his name to Alice Cooper so that he could continue to perform with that stage name.

‘Teenage Lament ’74’ was taken from the Alice Cooper Band’s seventh and final studio Album ‘Muscle of Love,’ and was co-written by Furnier, and the bands drummer Neal Smith. The song tells of a young boy working his way through adolescence, with all the usual trials and tribulations. He thinks that being 15 will be a breeze, but trying to impress his peers, and hearing his parents squabble is taking it’s toll. The song is also noteworthy for it’s female backing vocals, which include contributions from Liza Minnelli,(see also best songs 182) Ronnie Spector, (1943-2022) (see also best songs 127) Labelle, and The Pointer Sisters.

Vincent Furnier was born on February 4th, 1948, in Detroit, Michigan, United States.As Alice Cooper he has gone on to have a very successful solo career, releasing 21 studio Albums between 1975-2021, he has also acted in several films, and appeared on many television programmes. When a member of the Alice Cooper Band he became famously known for his elaborate stage shows, and eccentric behaviour when performing. The music press dubbed this ‘Shock Rock,’ and Cooper is recognised as a major influence on future Heavy Rock performers.

‘Well I cut my hair weird, I read that it was in. I looked like a rooster that was drowned and raised again.’

Posted by: In: Other 23 Jan 2022 Comments: 0


428-Johnny Cash-San Quentin.

1969-Has never been released as a single in the UK.

Best Bit-At 1.42. Johnny Cash playing to a captive audience.

Johnny Cash was born J. R. Cash on February 26th, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, United States, he died on September 12th, 2003, at the age of 71 of complications from diabetes. Cash suffered from drug addiction for long periods in his life which led to him being arrested on occasions for possession, although he never spent more than one night in prison, (on at least seven occasions) he had great empathy with the conditions that long term inmates had to endure during their custodial sentences.

Johnny Cash (see also best songs 857 and 199) is one of the worlds best selling artists with sales in excess of 90 million records, he wrote over 1000 songs, and there have been a total of 97 Albums released since 1957. Among the Albums released include 15 live recordings, of which four were recorded in prisons. Cash first performed at San Quentin (also his first ever prison performance) on January 1st, 1959. San Quentin State Prison is in California, United States, and first opened in July 1852. In the audience that day was an inmate by the name of Merle Haggard (1937-2016) who at the age of 18 had been sentenced to 15 years in San Quentin for burglary. Seeing Cash perform turned Haggard’s life around, and he went on to become one of Country Musics most successful acts with 38 Number 1 songs on Billboard’s Country Music chart. In 1969 when appearing on the ‘Johnny Cash Show’ Haggard told Cash that the first time he had ever seen him perform was at San Quentin, to which Cash replied ‘I don’t remember you being in that show Merle,’ to which Haggard responded,’I was in the audience Johnny.’

‘Johnny Cash at San Quentin’ was the 31st overall Album release by Johnny Cash, it was recorded on February 24th, 1969, and released on June 16th, 1969. His first recorded for release concert prison Album had been the previous year, the ‘Folsom Prison,’ Album, which had also been met with critical acclaim. There would be two more ‘prison albums,’ ‘Pa Osteraker’ recorded in 1972 in Sweden, and ‘A Concert Behind Prison Walls,’ recorded in 1974 at Tennessee State Prison, but not released until 11 days after Cash’s death, on September 23rd, 2003.

The concert at San Quinton in 1969 was filmed by the English television company ‘Granada’ as part of a documentary about prison life. The music that appears on the Album has been heavily edited due to timing limitations on vinyl LP formats, but reissues on other formats have seen the Album expanded. Two songs from the concert were both being performed for the very first time. ‘San Quentin,’ and the Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) (see also best songs 242) cover of ‘A Boy Named Sue.’

‘San Quentin I hate every inch of you. You’ve cut me and scarred me through and through, and I’ll walk out a wiser weaker man, Mister Congressman you can’t understand.’