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Posted by: In: Other 30 May 2022 Comments: 0


300-Chemical Brothers-Block Rockin’ Beats.

1997-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 3.10. Ed Simons left school with 11 ‘O’ levels, and three ‘A’ levels, Tom Rowlands achieved nine ‘O’ levels, and three ‘A’ levels, but I don’t know if any of them were for Chemistry.

The Chemical Brothers (see also best songs 53) are the Electronic Music duo of Ed Simons, who was born on June 9th, 1970, in Herne Hill, Lambeth, London, England, and Tom Rowlands who was born on January 11th, 1971, in Kingston upon Thames, London, England, the pair first met when both were studying at the University of Manchester in 1989. Prior to meeting Simons, Rowlands had been in a band called ‘Ariel’ who had issued a few tracks with little success, and Rowlands felt that the quality of their output was deteriorating. One of the last songs Ariel recorded was a song called ‘T Baby,’ which became the first joint remix by Simons and Rowlands, this was remixed by the duo using the name ‘Dust Brothers,’ in tribute to the American trio of E Z Mike, King Gizmo, and Matt Dike (1961-2018) who were the original ‘Dust Brothers, famed for their work with artists such as the Beastie Boys, and Beck. The Dust Brothers were not happy with Simons and Rowlands taking their name, but eventually came to an agreement. Simons and Rowlands eventually decided on ‘Chemical Brothers,’ which was taken from the title of one of their early songs called ‘Chemical Beats.’

‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ was co-written by Tom Rowlands ans Ed Simons, with Jesse Weaver who is better known by his stage name ‘Schooly D’ also receiving writing credit as he his vocals, and lyrics are used on the track. The song which was produced by the Chemical Brothers was the second single released from their second studio Album ‘Dig Your Own Hole’ from 1997, and as with the Albums first single release ‘Setting Sun’ it also reached Number 1 on the UK top 40 singles chart.

‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ can be filed under the genre of ‘Big Beat,’ which is music that normally consists of heavy and distorted drum beats, as well as synthesizers, and sampled loops of 1960’s, and 1970,’ Funk, Soul, Jazz, and Rock music. The genre was at it’s most popular during the later part of the 1990’s, and early part of the 2000’s. Other notable acts of the genre include The Prodigy, (see also best songs 925 and 151) and Fatboy Slim (see also best songs 760 and 95.)’Block Rockin’ Beats’ was put together from many clever samples. The drums are sampled from a 1973 song called ‘Changes’ which is a track on the ‘Shaft’ soundtrack, (see also best songs 398) and was played by Bernard Purdie. The vocals ‘Back with another one of those block rockin’ beats’ was lifted from the song ‘Gucci Again,’ by the American Rapper Schooly D, of whom fellow Rapper ‘Ice T’ has credited as a major influence on the development of ‘Gangsta Rap.’ Another prominent sample is the tracks bass line which was taken from the British band ’23 Skidoo’s song ‘Coup,’ from 1983. The opening bass riff on ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ resembles the intro to Pink Floyd’s 1968 song ‘Let There Be More Light,’ while the bass sound has been sampled from The Crusaders 1974 song ‘The Well’s Gone Dry.’

Posted by: In: Other 30 May 2022 Comments: 0


301-Link Wray & His Ray Men-Rumble.

1958-Has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 1.10. Sometimes fact can be stranger than fiction. This song was banned from being played on the radio.’IT’S AN INSTRUMENTAL!’

Link Wray was born Fred Lincoln Wray Jr. on May 2nd, 1929, in Dunn, North Carolina, United States, he died on November 5th, 2005, of heart failure at the age of 76. Wray’s mother was descended from ‘Shawnee,’ and as a result of being indigenous, Wray and his family were always in fear of their lives from the ‘Ku Klux Klan. Wray served in the United States Army during the Korean War between 1950-1953, where he contracted tuberculosis, leading to him having a lung removed, and doctors telling him that he would never be able to sing again.

Link Wray is considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time for his groundbreaking use of ‘distortion,’ and ‘tremolo’ on this track ‘Rumble,’ which enhanced ‘Rock N’ Roll,’ and if not giving birth to ‘Rock’ music, then it certainly gave it a big push. Among the many greats who have acknowledged this are Pete Townshend (see also best songs 926-891-306 and 265) who has said,’He is the king, if it hadn’t been for ‘Rumble’ I would have never picked up a guitar.’ Jimmy Page (see also best songs 135 and 66) said that as a kid he used to listen to anything with a guitar on,’But the first time I heard ‘Rumble’ that was something that had so much profound attitude to it,’ and Bob Dylan (see also best songs 792-621-358-103-36 and 7) has called ‘Rumble’ The best instrumental ever.’

‘Rumble’ was officially written by Link Wray, and Milt Grant (1923-2007) but the chances are Grant had nothing to do with the composing of the song. Grant was a radio and television presenter who probably had his name added to the credits in return for commercial exposure. When Link Wray first came up with the instrumental he called it ‘Oddball,’ and was pleased with the reaction when performing it live. The song was brought to the attention of Archie Bleyer (1909-1989) of the ‘Cadence Records’ label, who being from a previous generation had a very low tolerance when it came to ‘Rock N’ Roll,’ he only agreed to the record being released due to his step-daughters fascination with the song. It was also Bleyer’s step-daughter who suggested the songs title ‘Rumble.’ as it reminded her of the rumble scenes in ‘West Side Story, although there is another story which suggests that it was Phil Everly (1939-2014) who suggested the songs title, the Everly Brothers were signed to ‘Cadence Records’ at that time. (see also best songs 799) The title made the song somewhat controversial because it implied gang violence, with ‘rumble’ being a slang name for street fighting among gangs of youths in America. This led to some radio stations refusing to play it for fear of glorifying juvenile delinquency. The song can be heard at it’s most ‘menacing’ in a scene from the 1994 film ‘Pulp Fiction,’ between John Travolta, and Uma Thurman.

Posted by: In: Other 30 May 2022 Comments: 0


302-David Bowie-Boys Keep Swinging.

1979-Number 7 single.

Best Bit-At 1.30 (Check out the songs official video) I don’t fancy yours much.

‘Boys Keep Swinging’ was the lead single released from David Bowie’s 13th studio Album ‘Lodger’ from May 1979.’Boys Keep Swinging’ was co-written by Bowie, and Brian Eno, who had worked with Bowie on his previous two Albums ‘Low,’ and ‘Heroes.’ This song and the ‘Lodger’ Album were produced by Toni Visconti, who had previously worked with Bowie since 1969 on seven Albums, and would go on to produce another six, including Bowie’s final studio Album ‘Blackstar’ in 2016.

Although the ‘Lodger’Album is the third in the so called ‘Berlin Triolgy,’ following on from ‘Low’ (January 1977) and ‘Heroes,’ (October 1977) the ‘Lodger’ Album was not recorded at the ‘Hansa’ studio in West Berlin, Germany, where the previous two had been, in fact ‘Lodger’ was recorded at the ‘Mountain’ studio in Switzerland, and mixed at the ‘Record Plant’ in New York City.

For ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ Bowie (see also best songs 807-440-334-209-186-118-47-31 and 5) wanted to create a ‘garage band’ sound, so at the suggestion of Brian Eno (see also best songs 766-190-109 and 57) the musicians on the song actually played instruments that they were not totally familiar with, for example the accomplished guitarist Carlos Alomar played the drums on the track, while the lead guitar on the track was played by Adrian Belew, who was told to improvise as he wished. Tony Visconti (see also best songs 386-209 and 118) added bass guitar over the finished song, which many music critics have noted has a similarity to the Beach Boys 1965 song ‘You’re So Good to Me.’ The other musicians on the track were David Bowie, (vocals, guitar, and piano) Brian Eno, (piano, and synthesizer) and Simon House (violin.)

David Bowie was always one step ahead with the latest technological breakthroughs, and the ever changing ways in which new music was promoted. This was two years before the debut of ‘MTV,’ but Bowie knew that the best way to get his music across to the masses was to make a promotional video. The songs memorable video which was directed by David Mallet sees Bowie dressed in drag, as a ‘working class tart,’ the actress Lauren Bacall, and also, in a third guise, as a combination of the actresses Marlene Dietrich, and Greta Garbo. Bowie also promoted the release of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ with a comical performance on ‘The Kenny Everett Video Show,’ which was also directed by Mallet, that also helped get the song in to the UK top 10 singles chart.Bowie teases us with the lyrics on ‘Boys Keep Swinging.’ It can appear that Bowie is telling us how wonderful it is to be born male, as you can achieve so much with the advantage of being born that gender, but with tongue in cheek he was probably having a dig at the stereo typical male who sees himself as ‘a bit of a lad.’ Bowie has said,’The glory in that song was ironic. I do not feel that there is anything remotely glorious about being either male or female. I was merely playing on the idea of the colonisation of a gender.’

‘Uncage the colours, unfurl the flag, luck just kissed you hello when you’re a boy. They’ll never clone ya, you’re always first on the line, when you’re a boy.’

Posted by: In: Other 27 May 2022 Comments: 0


303-Cab Calloway-Minnie the Moocher.

1931-Has never charted in the UK. There was no UK chart until 1952.

Best Bit-At 0.49. A Hoochie Coochie dancer would even make a twerking Beyonce blush.

Cab Calloway was born Cabell Calloway on December 25th, 1907, in Rochester, New York, United States, he died from pneumonia, and other complications on November 18th, 1994, at the age of 86. His energetic live performances were an influence on future artists such as James Brown, and Michael Jackson. The film director John Landis who produced ‘The Blues Brothers’ film, which was Calloway’s last movie performance in 1980, said of Calloway, when asked about his influence on Rap artists,’Cab Calloway is Hip-Hop.’

Cab Calloway became the first ever African/American to sell a million records from one single, with this song, which was one of his 48 chart entries in America between 1930-1978, as a result of the success of ‘Minnie the Moocher’, Calloway gained the nickname,’The Hi De Ho Man.’He also appeared in 15 films between 1932-1980, including the 1943 movie ‘Stormy Weather,’ where he played himself (see also best songs 634.)’Minnie the Moocher’ was co-written by Calloway, Clarence Gaskill, (1892-1948) and the Jazz music publisher Irving Mills (1894-1985.) The song is based lyrically on the Vaudeville performer Frankie ‘Half Pint’ Jackson’s (1896 or 1897-1953) version of the early 1900’s song ‘Willie the Weeper.’

‘Minnie the Moocher’ tells the story of a woman called Minnie who was a ‘Hoochie Coocher,’ which is a kind of provocative dancer, that was heavily frowned upon in some quarters in those times. The guy she was in love with was addicted to Cocaine, and he took her to Chinatown where he introduced her to Opium. Her dreams of living the good life with this man are shattered when they get arrested for driving while under the influence. Minnie ends up in jail, and further down the line ends up in a mental asylum, where she died. Basically the song is saying that Minnie got in with the wrong crowd, and made some bad decisions, but deep down she was kind, and we should feel sorry for her.

The thing which made the song so popular with the public was it’s call-and-response ‘Scat’ battle that Calloway would engage in with the audience. He would start off with ‘Hi De Hi De Hi De Ho,’ which a crowd could easily repeat, but then his scats would steadily get faster, and more difficult, until finally he would give them a ‘Skeedle-a-booka-diki diki skeedy beeka gookity woop,’ to which the people couldn’t repeat, but would find very humorous.

‘Folks here’s a story about Minnie the Moocher, she was a real live hoochie coocher. She was the roughest toughest frail, but Minnie had a heart as big as a whale. Hi De Hi De Hi De Ho.’

Posted by: In: Other 26 May 2022 Comments: 0


304-Ellie Goulding-Anything Could Happen.

2012-Number 5 single.

Best Bit-At 3.07. In an era when great music is at a premium, here is a song which would stand out in any decade of Popular music.

Elena Jane Goulding was born on December 30th, 1986, in Hereford, England, at the time of writing she has released four studio Albums, 38 singles, and eight EP’s. On the UK top 40 singles chart she has achieved 20 hits as the lead artist, with three of those songs reaching the Number 1 spot. She has also had a further three top 40 hits as the featured artist, and a further two (which both reached Number 1) when appearing on collaborative charity songs. In America on the Billboard singles top 40 she has charted on six occasions, with ‘Lights’ charting the highest when reaching Number 2 in 2011.

‘Anything Could Happen’ was the first single released from Ellie Goulding’s second studio Album ‘Halcyon’ from 2012, the song was co-written, and co-produced by Jim Eliot, who also co-wrote with Goulding seven of the 12 tracks on the first edition release of ‘Halcyon.’ Eliot who was born in London, England, has been a member of the ‘Electropop’ duo ‘Kish Mauve’ with the vocalist Mima Stilwell since 2005. The duo are probably best known for providing several of the songs that appeared on the American television series ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ first aired in 2007. Eliot’s other notable successes include co-writing and producing Kylie Minogue’s 2007 UK Number 4 hit ‘2 Hearts,’ and 2010’s ‘All the Lovers’ which reached Number 3. He also co-wrote the song ‘Jealousy,’ which was a Number 5 hit for Will Young in 2011.

‘Anything Could Happen’ is a song about not taking anything for granted, it tells us to live for today, because tomorrow isn’t promised. Goulding has said,’I suppose it’s one of those songs where I sort of talk about bits of my childhood, but also about my friendship with this person, and um, I suppose it’s a song of realisation. I’m hoping it will make people go out and propose to their girlfriends, or go on that holiday they never ended up doing. I hope it will provoke positivity, as opposed to make people really sad.’ On working with Jim Eliot, Goulding said,’This was fun because Jim’s a really experienced, clever producer, but acts like a child like me. We’re both like little kids, just wanting to create sounds, like ‘Oh that sounds cool,’ and let’s see what happens when we do this. It’s like child play, and that’s how ‘Anything Can Happen’ started, it’s quite childlike and quite innocent.’

‘Stripped to the waist we fall into the river, cover your eyes so you don’t know the secret I’ve been trying to hide. We held our breath to see our names are written on the wreck of ’86, that was the year I knew the panic was over.’

Posted by: In: Other 26 May 2022 Comments: 0


305-Run-DMC and Aerosmith-Walk This Way.

1986-Number 8 single.

Best Bit-At 1.13. ‘Ebony and Ivory living together in perfect harmony.’

Aerosmith were formed in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, in 1970 by Steven Tyler, (vocals) Joe Perry, (lead guitar) Joey Kramer, (drums) Tom Hamilton, (bass) and Ray Tabano, (guitar) Tabano would leave in 1971 to be replaced by Brad Whitford (guitar.) There have been a total of nine different band members come and go, and they remain active. They have released 15 studio Albums between 1973-2012, and 72 singles between 1973-2013, with 22 of those reaching the Billboard top 40, with their only Number 1 being achieved in 1998 with ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.’ In the UK 12 of their singles have made the top 40 with the highest charting song being ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ which made Number 4. With sales in excess of 150 million records they are the best selling American Hard Rock band of all time.

The original version of ‘Walk This Way’ first appeared on Aerosmith’s breakthrough third studio Album ‘Toys in the Attic’ from 1975, and was co-written by Joe Perry (music) and Steven Tyler, (lyrics) the song reached Number 10 on Billboard in 1976. In 1986 the Hip-Hop group Run-DMC (see also best songs 113) heard their music producer Rick Rubin (see also best songs 977 and 610) playing ‘Toys in the Attic’ and they started free styling over the intro of ‘Walk This Way,’ which led to them introducing it to their live shows. It was a friend of Rubin’s called Sue Cummings who was an editor at ‘Spin’ magazine who first suggested a collaboration between Aerosmith, and Run-DMC.

By the mid 1980’s Aerosmith had fallen from grace, their record sales had dropped dramatically, and they were struggling, partly through their drug abuse. Run-DMC were already acknowledged as pioneers of Hip-Hop, but it was this collaboration that brought them to the attention of a much wider audience. Both groups were nervous of what public reaction would be to them joining forces, and neither party had any idea if the mixing of Rock and Rap would even work. ‘Walk This Way’ did break new ground introducing the music genre of ‘Rap Rock.’ and paving the way for bands such as The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Linkin Park, and Faith No More.

The songs lyrics which were written by Steven Tyler are about a teenage boys sexual enlightening, where he has an encounter with not one, not two, but three women at the same time. It is the women who are in charge though, as the line ‘walk this way’ refers to the experienced girl showing the young man where to put his finger, showing him how to walk. The songs title came before the lyrics were written, some of the band had been to see the film ‘Young Frankenstein’ a comedy starring Gene Wilder. There is a scene in the film where ‘Igor’ played by Marty Feldman tells Dr. Frankenstein to ‘Walk this way,’ meaning to follow him. Dr. Frankenstein imitates Igor’s walk which the band thought was hilarious, on their return they told Tyler, and suggested it as a great title for a song. Tyler however has said that his inspiration for the songs title came from watching ‘The Three Stooges’ on television, something the band all did together while getting high.

‘School girl sleazy with a classy kind of sassy, little skirt hangin’ way up her knee. It was three young ladies in the school gym locker, and they find they were lookin’ at D.’

Posted by: In: Other 26 May 2022 Comments: 0


306-The Who-Pinball Wizard.

1969-Number 4 single.

Best Bit-At 0.24. It’s highly unlikely that a deaf dumb and blind kid could play pinball, because he wouldn’t be able to find the slot to put the 50 pence into.

‘Pinball Wizard’ was written by Pete Townshend (see also best songs 926-891 and 265) who was born Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend on May 19th, 1945, in Chiswick, England. Townshend was the co-founder of ‘The Who’ along with Roger Daltrey, and John Entwistle, (1944-2002) the recognised classic lineup was completed by Keith Moon (1946-1978) who joined the band in 1964.

By 1968 Pete Townshend felt that The Who’s shelf life was coming to an end, and if he didn’t take the band in a different direction then they may split. For The Who’s fourth studio Album ‘Tommy,’ Townshend wrote a concept ‘Rock Opera’ that tells the story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy, his life’s experiences, and his relationship with his family. Townshend came up with the concept of ‘Tommy’ after being introduced to the work of Meher Baba (1894-1969) who was an Indian who claimed to be God in human form, and gained a following of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. The story of ‘Tommy’ was an attempt by Townshend to translate Baba’s teachings into music.

‘Pinball Wizard’ and it’s parent Album ‘Tommy’ have become one of Pete Townshend, and The Who’s most enduring works. In 1975 ‘Tommy’ was made into a film, with a not entirely, but similar story line, starring Jack Nicholson, and Ann-Margret, as well as vocal contributions from Tina Turner (Acid Queen) (see also best songs 752-485 and 192) and Elton John (Pinball Wizard) (see also best songs 946-481-237 and 62.) A year later in 1976 Elton John’s version of Pinball Wizard was released as a single and reached Number 7 in the UK, the only time that a cover version of a ‘Who’ song has made the top 10. There is a famous story that Rod Stewart had been offered the role to sing in ‘Tommy,’ and had asked Elton John if he should accept, to which Elton replied,’Don’t touch it with a barge pole.’ A year later The Who asked Elton John to sing the same song, Elton grabbed his barge pole and took up the offer. Years later Elton said,’I don’t think Rod’s quite forgiven me for that.”

‘Tommy’ was also made into a ‘Rock Musical’ first opening in San Diego, California, in 1992. Other productions have been performed on Broadway, and in the West End.

‘Pinball Wizard’s lyrics are written from the perspective of a pinball champion called ‘Local Lad,’ who is astounded by the skills of the deaf, dumb and blind kid called ‘Tommy Walker.’ The ‘Local Lad’ always thought of himself as being the very best, but after watching Tommy he has to concede that Tommy is better.

‘I thought I was the Baly table king, but I just handed my pinball crown to him. Even on my favourite table he can beat my best, his disciples lead him in and he just does the rest.’

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


307-The Notorious B.I.G.-Big Poppa.

1995-Number 63 single.

Best Bit-At 2.38. He was known by many names including MC West, Biggie, Biggie Smalls, and The Notorious B.I.G., but his mother called him Christopher.

Christopher George Latore Wallace was born on May 21st, 1972, in New York City, United States, he was shot dead on March 9th, 1997, in Los Angeles, California, United States, at the age of 24. Wallace who was nicknamed ‘Big’ at the age of 10 because he was overweight, started rapping as a teenager using his earliest stage name ‘MC CWest.’ At the age of 17 he dropped out of high school and became involved in crime, two years later in 1991 he was arrested for dealing in crack cocaine, and spent nine months in jail.

On his release from jail he made a demo tape, calling himself ‘Biggie Smalls,’ alluding to both Calvin Lockhart’s (1934-2007) character in the 1975 film ‘Let’s Do It Again,’ and to his own stature and obesity. In 1993 he found out that another artist had already claimed that name, so he finally settled on ‘The Notorious B.I.G.’ The demo tape was circulated and eventually came to the attention of Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs who was at that time was working with the A&R department of ‘Uptown Records,’ who signed him up.

During his lifetime ‘Biggie’ only released one studio Album, with his second Album ‘Life After Death’ being released just two weeks after his death, (see also best songs 955) there have since been three posthumous compilation Albums. In total there have been 27 singles released, of which 17 of those were with him as a featured artist. 13 of those singles reached the Billboard top 40, with two of them reaching Number 1, while in the UK he has made the top 40 on 11 occasions, with ‘Nasty Girl’ in 2005 making the Number 1 spot.

On March 9th, 1997,The Notorious B.I.G. was in California to promote his new Album ‘Life After Death.’ At, the vehicle he was travelling in stopped at a red light where a black Chevy Impala pulled up alongside. The Impala’s driver rolled down his window, drew a 9 mm blue-steel pistol, and fired at ‘Biggie’s’ car. Four bullets hit him, and he was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead at, no one has ever been arrested for the murder.

‘Big Poppa’ was the second single released from The Notorious B.I.G.’s first studio Album ‘Ready to Die’ from 1994. The song heavily samples The Isley Brothers (see also best songs 823-681-382 and 176) 1983 song ‘Between the Sheets,’ with all six members of that group receiving co-writing credit along with The Notorious B.I.G., who wrote the songs lyrics. The track was produced by Chucky Thompson (1968-2021) and Sean Combs who would go on to work under the name ‘Puff Daddy,’ and later as ‘P-Diddy.’

As like many other Rap records, the Notorious B.I.G. Raps about his successful lifestyle, and how he attracts women with his vocal ‘flow,’ his wealth, and fame.

‘How ya livin’ Biggie Smalls? In mansion and Benz’s givin’ ends to my friends and it feels stupendous. Tremendous cream, f..k a Dollar and a dream, still tote gats strapped with infrared beams (what?’)

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


308-Chuck Berry-Roll Over Beethoven.

1956-Has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 0.01. It’s a Rock N’ Roll Classic-al.

Chuck Berry was born Charles Edward Anderson Berry on October 18th, 1926, in St Louis, Missouri, United States, he died of a heart attack on March 18th, 2017, at the age of 90. No one person can solely claim to have invented Rock N’ Roll, but many agree that Chuck Berry came the closest, blending together the guitar riffs of Country & Western, with the sounds of Rhythm & Blues, earning him the nickname the ‘Father of Rock and Roll.’ As with all artists involved in Popular Music, Chuck Berry (see also best songs 548 and 30) was also influenced by a previous generation, in the case of Berry he cited the American Blues guitarists ‘T-Bone Walker, (1910-1975) and Carl Hogan (1917-1977) as inspirations, as he incorporated their style and sound in to his own.

Berry’s showmanship on stage has been influential on the next generation of Rock guitarists, particularly his famous ‘Duck Walk.’ He first did it as a child when he walked (in his own words) ‘Stooping with full-bended knees, but with my back and head vertical, under a table to retrieve a ball’, which his family found entertaining and funny. It was when performing in New York for the first time that a journalist branded it the ‘Duck Walk’.

‘Roll Over Beethoven’ was first released as a single in May 1956, and later appeared on Chuck Berry’s 1959 third studio Album ‘Chuck Berry Is on Top’, the song was written by Berry, and co-produced by Leonard Chess (1917-1969) and his brother Phil Chess, (1921-2016) who were the co-owners of the ‘Chess Records’ label. Chuck Berry got his initial idea for the song after watching his sister Lucy using the family piano to play Classical Music, while he wanted to play Popular Music. The lyric ‘Roll over Beethoven, and tell Tchaikovsky the news’ refers to how Classical composers would roll over in their graves upon hearing that Classical Music had given way to Rock N’ Roll.’

The songs clever lyrics are worth having a look at. ‘Early in the morning’ refers to the title of the 1947 song by Louis Jordan, (1908-1975) while the mention of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ is a nod to the 1955 song by Carl Perkins (1932-1998) (see also best songs 664.) The ‘Hey diddle diddle’ from the nursery rhyme ‘The Cat and the Fiddle’ is an indirect reference to Berry’s fellow Chess Records recording artist Bo Diddley, (1928-2008) (see also best songs 381) and although the lyrics mention ‘rocking and rolling,’ the genre of music that the Classics are supposed to step aside for is referred to as ‘Rhythm & Blues. ‘Roll Over Beethoven’s’ iconic guitar intro was lifted by Berry from the 1946 song ‘Ain’t That Just Like a Woman’ by Louis Jordan, originally played by Carl Hogan, and to further show how music recycles, in 1964 the Beach Boys (see also best songs 930-811-180 and 74) lifted the intro of ‘Roll Over Beethoven for their Billboard Number 5 hit ‘Fun, Fun, Fun.’

‘Well I’m-a write a letter, I’m gon’ mail it to my local DJ. Yeah that’s the jumpin’ little record I want my jockey to play, roll over Beethoven, I gotta hear it again today.’

Posted by: In: Other 21 May 2022 Comments: 0


309-Smokey Robinson-Just My Soul Responding.

1974-Number 35 single.

Best Bit-At 1.50. When Smokey sings, it’s as easy as ABC.

William Robinson Jr. was born on February 19th, 1940, in Detroit, Michigan, United States. He has explained how his nickname ‘Smokey’ came about.’My Uncle Claude was my favourite uncle, he was also my godfather. He and I were really, really close. He used to take me to see cowboy movies all the time when I was a little boy because I loved cowboy movies. He got a cowboy name for me, which was Smokey Joe. So from the time I was three years old if people asked me what my name was I didn’t tell them my name was William, I told them my name was Smokey Joe. That’s what everyone called me until I was about 12, and then I dropped the Joe part. I’ve heard that story about him giving it to me because I’m a light skinned black man, but that’s not true.’

In 1972 Smokey Robinson left ‘The Miracles’ (see also best songs 193) the band he had co-founded in 1955, retiring from music, but still working in his role as vice president of Motown Records. After a year of retirement Robinson (see also best songs 1031) announced his comeback as a solo artist with the release of his 1973 Album ‘Smokey’ from where this song was taken. In total Smokey Robinson has released 23 solo studio Albums between 1973-2017, and 58 solo singles, of which 10 have reached the Billboard top 40 singles chart, and three have made the UK top 40. His most successful single on both sides of the Atlantic is his 1981 song ‘Being With You,’ which reached Number 2 in America, and Number 1 in the UK.

‘Just My Soul Responding’ was co-written by Smokey Robinson, and fellow ex member of The Miracles Marv Tarplin, (1941-2011) who had been a member of The Miracles from 1958, until leaving the band shortly after Robinson in 1973. Tarplin co-wrote numerous songs with Robinson and others for his fellow Motown artists including ‘Ain’t That Peculiar’ and ‘I’ll Be Doggone for Marvin Gaye. Tarplin and Robinson had first met in 1958 when Tarplin turned up at Motown Records accompanying the ‘Primettes’ on guitar, as they auditioned for Smokey Robinson. Robinson was impressed with Tarplin’s guitar playing and lured him away from the Primettes to join The Miracles.The Primettes managed to survive without him, as they would go on to future success as the Supremes (see also best songs 1001-411-212 and 148.)

‘Just My Soul Responding’ is a protest song dealing with the hardships of ghetto life in America, it also addresses the plight of the Native American Indian.

‘This land once belonged to my father, and to his father before him too. Let me tell you now, I’m on a reservation, living in a state of degradation. What’s a soul suppose to do?