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


83-Frankie Valli-My Eyes Adored You.

1974-Number 5 single.

Best Bit-At 2.03. Reading between the lines I get the feeling that all of his other body parts were equally as keen.

Franki Valli (see also best songs 739 and 284) was born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio on May 3rd, 1934, in Newark, New Jersey, United States, he took his stage name from the American ‘Hillbilly’ singer ‘Texas Jean Valli,’ of whom he was an admirer. Frankie Valli’s first venture into music was in the early 1950’s where he was one third of the ‘Variety Trio.’ He recorded his first solo single, ‘My Mother’s Eyes’ in 1953, as ‘Frankie Valley,’ and then following this he became part of the quartet ‘The Variatones,’ who changed their name to the ‘Four Lovers’ in 1956. As the ‘Four Lovers’ they issued many unsuccessful singles, and one Album, and it wasn’t until Bob Gaudio (see also best songs 1007-914-863-739-499-393-284 164 and 112) joined the band in 1959, and they re-named themselves the ‘Four Seasons’ in 1960, did success finally arrive.

Franki Valli also launched a solo career which ran concurrently with being the lead singer of the Four Seasons, he has released 12 solo studio Albums between 1967-2021, and 33 singles between 1953-1981. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart top 40 he has achieved nine hits, including the two Number 1 songs, ‘My Eyes Adored You,'(1974) and ‘Grease’ (1978.) In the UK five of his singles have made the top 40, with ‘Grease’ charting the highest at Number 3.

‘My Eyes Adored You’ was co-written by the legendary Bob Crewe, (1930-2014) (see also best songs 914-863-739-499-393-284-164 and 112) and Kenny Nolan, Crewe was also the songs producer. ‘My Eyes Adored You’ was written initially for the Four Seasons, but their record label at that time ‘Motown’ records refused to release it. Franki Valli who had great faith in the song bought the rights to it for $4,000, and took it to ‘Capital Records,’ and then ‘Atlantic Records,’ who both also turned it down. Eventually Valli managed to get the song released on the smaller ‘Private Stock’ record label, and the song went onto become 5th best selling song of that year in America.

Although ‘My Eyes Adored You’ is a solo single release from Frankie Valli, the other members of the Four Seasons at that time also played on the track, Joe Long, (1932-2021) (bass) Gerry Polci, (drums) Lee Shapiro, (keyboards) and Demitri Callas (lead guitar.) ‘My Eyes Adored You’ spent one week at Number 1 on Billboard, before being notably replaced at the top by another Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan composition, ‘Lady Marmalade,’ by Labelle. Kenny Nolan was born on September 30th, 1949, in Los Angeles, California, United States, and in the early to mid 1970’s wrote or produced for the ‘Chelsea’ record label. His successes include ‘Swing Your Daddy’ for Jim Gilstrap (UK Number 4) in 1975, and ‘Get Dancin,” a Number 2 UK hit for ‘Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes’ in 1974 (see also best songs 1007.) Kenny Nolan also had a solo singing career, issuing six singles between 1976-1983, two of which made the Billboard Hot 100, with ‘I Like Dreamin,” reaching Number 3 in 1976.

‘My Eyes Adored You ‘tells of the narrator reminiscing about the time he was in love as an adolescent, but he never got the nerve up to tell her how much he loved her. Now many years later he wonders how different things could have been.

‘Carried your books from school, playing make believe you’re married to me. You were fifth grade, I was sixth when we came to be. Walking home every day over Barnegat Bridge and Bay, till we grew into the me and you who went our separate ways.’

Posted by: In: Other 29 Sep 2022 Comments: 0


84-U2-All I Want Is You.

1989-Number 4 single.

Best Bit-At 4.08. The songs video tells the tale of a dwarf who falls in love with a trapeze artist while working in a circus, and one of them dies towards the end of the story. There is a disagreement amongst fans as to who actually died, as it leaves the viewer in doubt, although ‘The Edge’ has been quoted as saying it is the trapeze artist who dies.’ Another longstanding mystery was who actually played the part of the dwarf, many think it is the future ‘Game of Thrones’ star Peter Dinklage in an early role, but it isn’t, it was actually an actor of around the same age, named Paolo Risi.

U2 (see also best songs 766-320 and 190) were formed in ‘Mount Temple Comprehensive School,’ in Dublin, Ireland, in 1976, they were originally known as ‘Feedback,’ (1976-1977) then ‘The Hype,’ (1977-1978) before settling on ‘U2.’ Dik Evans who is the older brother of Dave Evans, (The Edge) and Ivan McCormick (a mutual friend) soon left, leaving the classic line up of Bono, (Paul Hewson) (vocals) The Edge, (guitar) Adam Clayton, (bass) and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums.) The discography of U2 includes 14 studio Albums released between 1980-2017, and 83 singles issued between 1980-2021. In their native Ireland 50 of their singles have reached the top 40, with a staggering 21 of those making the Number 1 spot. In the UK, they have achieved 43 top 40 singles, with seven of those reaching Number 1, while in America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, they have had 17 top 40 hits, of which two have made the top spot. U2 are one of the worlds best ever selling groups, with record sales in excess of 175 million.

‘All I Want Is You’ was the fourth and final single released from U2’s sixth studio Album ‘Rattle and Hum’ from 1987. The lyrics are written by Bono, and all four band members are given the credit for composing the music. The song and it’s parent Album was produced by Jimmy Lovine, with the string arrangements on ‘All I Want Is You,’ being the work of the American composer, songwriter, arranger, and producer Van Dyke Parks, who since the 1960’s has worked alongside artists of the calibre of The Beach Boys, Harry Nilsson, and Ringo Starr.

‘All I Want Is You’ was written by Bono about his wife Alison Hewson, who was born Alison Stewart on March 23rd, 1961, the pair first met at ‘Mount Temple Comprehensive School’ at the age of 12, and they married in 1982, and have four children. Often when performing the song live, Bono will dedicate it to his wife. It is said that Alison who is an Irish activist was also a major influence on other U2 songs such as ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday,’ and ‘New Years Day,’ the U2 song ‘Sweetest Thing’ was also written about her. In ‘All I Want Is You,’ the narrator is saying that material things are not important, it is love that really matters.

‘You say you want diamonds on a ring of gold. You say you want your story to remain untold, but all the promises we make from the cradle to the grave, when all I want is you.’

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


85-Chaka Khan-I Feel For You.

1984-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 0.05. To have your name constantly repeated in one of Pop music’s most famous raps must be very special, but it must also be a double edged sword. Poor Chaka Khan, every time some ‘numpty,’ thinking they are the first to do it, sings it to her, she will have to show remarkable patience.

Chaka Khan (see also best songs 703 and 228) was born Yvette Marie Stevens on March 23rd, 1953, in Chicago, Illinois, United States. She first found success as the lead singer with the American Funk band ‘Rufus,’ where she appeared on six of their 11 studio Albums between 1973-1978, she was also the lead singer on all of the bands 10 American Billboard Hot 100 top 40 singles, including their breakthrough hit ‘Tell Me Something Good,’ (1974, Number 3) which was written for them by Stevie Wonder (see also best songs 920-843-634-682-570-503-366-205-152 and 65.) It was while still a part of Rufus in 1978 that Chaka Khan also launched her solo career, which has seen the release of 13 studio Albums between 1978-2019, and 46 singles issued between 1978-2022, of which four have reached the Billboard Hot 100, with this song being the highest charting when reaching Number 3 in 1984. As a featured artist Chaka Khan did reach Number 1 in America in 1986 as the co vocalist on Steve Winwood’s ‘Higher Love.’ In the UK six of her singles have made the top 40, with this song being the most successful when making Number 1.

‘I Feel For You’ was written by Prince, (1958-2016) (see also best songs 884-487-269 and 54) and he recorded the song for his second studio Album titled ‘Prince,’ from 1979. Prince had first offered the song to the American R&B singer Patrice Rushen, who is best remembered in the UK for her 1982 hit ‘Forget Ne Nots,’ but she turned it down. Prior to Chaka Khan recording the song, ‘The Pointer Sisters’ recorded a version for their 1982 Album ‘So Excited,’ and then in 1984 Rebbie Jackson, who is the oldest member of the ‘Jackson family,’ recorded the song for her debut Album ‘Centipede.’

‘I Feel For You’ was produced by Arif Mardin, (1932-2006) (see also best songs 985-882-881-554-541 and 228) and among the musicians playing on the track is Stevie Wonder who plays the chromatic harmonica. Wonder’s song ‘Fingertips’ from 1963 is also used as a sample, but it is the tracks almost ‘novelty’ rap which has captured the public’s imagination. It was written by Melvin Glover who is better known as ‘Grandmaster Melle Mel, who had already had success with the groundbreaking Hip-Hop songs ‘The Message’ (see also best songs 290) and ‘White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It’) (see also best songs 523.)

In 1984 it was still rare for ‘Pop’ songs to have a rap on them, and it was the brainchild of Arif Mardin who specified that the ‘rap’ have a theme of ‘love,’ with no hip-hop cliches like money and cars, Mardin also suggested that the ‘rap’ should be kept short to eight lines. The repetition of Khan’s name at the start of the song was a lucky mistake made by Arif Mardin. While recording he pressed a wrong button causing the word ‘Chaka’ to repeat, he liked it so much that he decided to keep it in. Mardin has said,’As we were mounting the recording onto the main master, my hand slipped on the repeat machine. So it happened to be, ‘Chaka-Chaka-Chaka-Chaka-Chaka-Chaka Khan,’ and we said, ‘Let’s keep that. That’s very interesting.’

‘I wouldn’t lie to you, baby, It’s mainly a physical thing. This feeling that I got for you, baby, makes me wanna sing. I feel for you.’

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


86-Big Mama Thornton-Hound Dog.

1952-It has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 1.04. This original version, and the Elvis Presley cover are completely different renditions, but both are in there very different ways equally groundbreaking in the development of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll.’ I could happily of posted the Elvis version as well, but this is a top 1000 countdown, not a top 1001.

Big Mama Thornton was born Willie Mae Thornton on December 11th, 1926, in Ariton, Alabama, United States, she died on July 25th, 1984, at the age of 57, of heart and liver disorders due to her longstanding alcohol abuse. She was given her nickname ‘Big Mama’ by Frank Schiffman, (1894-1974) the manager of Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, because of her strong voice, size, and personality. Thornton stated that ‘She was louder than any microphone, and did not want a microphone to ever be as loud as she was.’

Big Mamma Thornton first started singing Gospel music as a child in a Baptist church where her father was a minister. In 1940 she joined the ‘Hot Harlem Revue,’ where comparisons where soon being made between her and the late American Blues singer Bessie Smith, (1894-1937) (see also best songs 345) whom Thornton greatly admired. Big Mama Thornton was also a songwriter of ‘Blues’ songs, with her most famous being ‘Ball ‘n’ Chain,’ which gained a much wider audience when performed by Janis Joplin (1943-1970) (see also best songs 341) who was an admirer of Thornton’s, at the 1967 ‘Monterey Pop Festival.’

In August 1952 R&B bandleader and music entrepreneur Johnny Otis (1921-2012) invited two 19 year old budding songwriters by the names of Jerry Leiber, (1933-2011) and Mike Stoller (see also best songs 954-804 and 124) to his home to meet the Blues singer Big Mamma Thornton. After hearing her sing, they wrote a song to suit her personality. Jerry Leiber recalled,’She looked like the biggest, baddest, saltiest chick you would ever see, and she was mean, a ‘lady bear.’ She must have been 350 pounds, and she had scars all over her face.’ Mike Stoller said,’She was a wonderful Blues singer, with a great moaning style.’ Big Mamma Thornton’s singing style was a major influence on ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll,’ which was now only just around the corner, and music critics have also cited the song as an important part of the beginning of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll,’ especially in it’s use of the guitar as the key instrument.

In 1955 the American vocal group ‘Freddy Bell and the Bellboys’ recorded a ‘tongue in cheek’ sanitised for mainstream version of ‘Hound Dog,’ removing innuendo such as ‘You can wag your tail but I ain’t gonna feed you no more,’ and basically changing a racy song about a disappointing lover into a song that was literally about a dog. They also gave the song a ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll’ rhythm, which did not please Jerry Leiber who found these changes irritating, saying that the rewritten words made ‘no sense.’

Elvis Presley (1934-1977) (see also best songs 954-664-442 and 194) saw Freddy Bell and the Bellboys perform their version of ‘Hound Dog’live, and decided to record the song himself in a similar style. Presley’s gyrating performance of the song on television shocked many of the older generation, and ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll’ had arrived. Presley’s version of ‘Hound Dog’ spent 11 weeks at Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in America, and is his all time best selling single.

‘You told me you was high class, but I could see through that. she told me you was high class, but I could see through that, and daddy I know you ain’t no real cool cat.’

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


87-Grandmaster Flash-The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel.

1981-It has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 5.39. The kids today don’t know they’re born. This is how granddad had to get the party started.

Grandmaster Flash (see also best songs 523 and 290) is the stage name of Joseph Saddler who was born on January 1st, 1958, in The Bronx, New York, United States, he is considered to be one of the pioneers of ‘Hip-Hop DJing, which involves, cutting, scratching, and mixing. Saddler wasn’t the first to experiment with these techniques, but it was he who popularised and advanced the skills, bringing them into the mainstream. The artists who influenced Saddler included the DJ Pete Jones, DJ Kool Herc, and Grandmaster Flowers (1954-1992.)

Grandmaster Flash was a founding member of ‘Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five which formed in The Bronx, New York City, in 1978, they signed with ‘Sugar Hill Records’ (see also best songs 597-523-466-290 and 17) in 1980, and were active until 1983. They did reform in 1987 releasing one studio Album ‘On the Strength,’ which met with a lukewarm reception, and the original line up then broke up for good in 1988. The discography of Grandmaster Flash includes 11 Albums issued between 1982-2009, and nine singles released between 1979-1996.

If you were born after 1985 you’re probably listening to this song and wondering what the fuss is all about, because after all it’s just a bunch of songs mixed together. Well the fact is, it was the first song ever made by mixing different tracks together in order to create a new song. It also introduced sampling, and the cutting and scratching techniques that we’re the hallmarks of early Hip-Hop. Today anybody with a computer and the correct software can create their own music, but that technology was not available in 1981. In order to achieve what Grandmaster Flash did required three turntables, a mixer, headphones, and a complete knowledge of the music he was mixing, plus endless hours of practise. There was no fancy editing on this track, Grandmaster Flash recorded it live in one take. His unique foresight, and DJ skills cannot be overstated, especially in the development of ‘Hip-Hop,’ and ‘Dance Music.’

There are 10 different songs mixed into ‘The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel,’ and also sampled is the spoken word vocals from a 1966 album titled ‘The Official Adventures of Flash Gordon.’ The only artists who receive the songwriting credits are Clifton ‘Jiggs’ Chase, Melvin Glover, (see also best songs 228) George Jackson, and Sylvia Robinson (1935-2011) who participated in the writing of ‘8th Wonder,’ ‘Birthday Party,’ ‘Freedom,’ ‘Monster Jam,’ and ‘Rappers Delight,’ (see also best songs 17) which were the songs that were licensed to ‘Sugar Hill Records.’ The other five songs that were used are Chic-‘Good Times,’ (1979) (see also best songs 175) Blondie-‘Rapture,’ (1980) Queen-Another One Bites the Dust,’ (1980) Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band-‘Apache,’ (1973) and The Hellers-‘Life Story’ (1968.)

‘Fab Five Freddie told me everybody’s high, DJ’s spinnin’ are savin’ my mind. Flash is fast, Flash is cool. Francois c’est pas.’

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


88-James Brown-Get Up (I Feel Like Being a ) Sex Machine.

1970-Number 32 single.

Best Bit-At 2.12. If you Google sex machine it brings up some very weird results, so my advice is to add the words James Brown song, because this is a family friendly music countdown.

In March 1970 most of James Brown’s (see also best songs 880-349 and 270) mid to late 1960’s backing band of musicians who were known as ‘The James Brown Band, and The James Brown Orchestra,’ had walked out on him due to money disputes, although his longtime collaborator Bobby Byrd, (1934-2007) (see also best songs 561) and the drummer John ‘Jabo’ Starks (1937-2018) remained. James Brown set about organising a new backing band which included William ‘Bootsy’ Collins and his brother, guitarist Phelps “Catfish” Collins, (1943-2010) (see also best songs 850-612-340-143 and 26) formerly of the obscure funk band ‘The Pacemakers.’ Also added were three inexperienced horn players, who were Clayton “Chicken” Gunnells, Darryl “Hasaan” Jamison, and Robert McCollough, Brown also added the conga player Johnny Griggs. It was this line up that recorded ‘Sex Machine,’ thus proving that James Brown could still be successful without the majority of his old band.

The new line up were called ‘The J.B.’s,’ and with a total of 34 different members coming and going, they would remain active until 2006. As well as backing James Brown, in the studio and on tour, the ‘J.B.’s’ would also be used as the in house band at ‘People Records,’ which was the label owned by James Brown to record artists such as Lynn Collins, (1948-2005) and Vicki Anderson. The ‘J.B.’s’ also issued 13 Albums between 1972-2014, and 25 singles between 1970-1978.

‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine’ was co-written by James Brown, Bobby Byrd, and Ron Lenoff, (1931-2006) with the production credited to Brown. The song is considered to be another important step in the development of ‘Funk’ music, the genre that Brown and Byrd had already had a big say in, with some music critics pointing to Brown’s 1967 song ‘Cold Sweat’ as the first ‘Funk’ record. ‘Sex Machine’ is a call and response song, Brown would sing his line, and Byrd would respond. Towards the end of the song Brown starts singing ‘Shake Your Moneymaker,’ this is a tribute to the American Blues singer Elmore James, (1918-1963) who had recorded the Blues song ‘Shake Your Money Maker’ in 1961. Elmore James wasn’t credited as one of ‘Sex Machine’s’ writers, so it is highly unlikely that his estate received any of the songs royalties.

In 1970, using the word ‘sex’ in a songs title was brave, with no track up until then ever having charted on Billboard with the word ‘sex’ in the title. The song would peak at Number 15 on Billboard, and it would be a further four years until the ‘Moments’ (see also best songs 466) would reach Number 17 with ‘Sexy Mama.’ In the UK, ‘You Sexy Thing’ by ‘Hot Chocolate’ (see also best songs 864) was one of the first songs to get the ball rolling, when it reached Number 2 in 1975.

As for the songs meaning, ‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine’ is probably not about sex, but more to do with motivation, and channelling all your energy into being the best at what you attempt to do.

‘Fellas, I’m ready to get up and do my thing! (Yeah! That’s right! Do it!) I want to get into it, man, you know? (Go ahead! Yeah!) Like a, like a sex machine, man, (Yeah!) movin’, groovin’, doin’ it, y’know? (Yeah!) Can I count it off? (Okay! Alright!) One, two, three, four!’

Posted by: In: Other 24 Sep 2022 Comments: 0


89-Deep Purple-Smoke on the Water.

1971-It didn’t chart in the UK until it was re-issued in 1977 when reaching Number 21.

Best Bit-At 0.01. It’s the most famous and iconic guitar riff in the world ever. Whenever a budding rock star decides that they want to learn how to play an electric guitar, this is the riff they always attempt to play first.

Deep Purple (see also best songs 550) have gone through many personnel changes since their initial forming in 1968, in London, England. They remained active through until going on hiatus in 1976, and then they reformed in 1984, and remain active at the time of writing, with Ian Paice being the bands one constant. In total there have been 16 different members come and go, with the five who are considered to be the classic line up being Ian Paice, (drums) Ritchie Blackmore, (guitar) (see also best songs 976) John Lord, (1941-2012) (keyboards) Ian Gillan, (vocals) and Roger Glover (bass) (see also best songs 558.) The group took their name from the 1933 song called ‘Deep Purple,’ written by Peter DeRose, (1896-1953) as it was Ritchie Blackmore’s grandmothers favourite song.

Alongside Led Zeppelin (see also best songs 135 and 66) and Black Sabbath, (see also best songs 814) Deep Purple have been referred to as the ‘unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid- seventies,’ and they are considered to be one of the most influential rock bands of all time, with record sales in excess of 100 million. The discography of Deep Purple includes 22 studio Albums that have been released between 1968-2021, and 58 singles issued over the same time period. In the UK five of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Black Night’ from 1970 charting the highest at Number 2, while in America on the Billboard Hot 100, three of their singles have made the top 40, with both ‘Hush’ from 1968, and ‘Smoke on the Water,’ (1972) both peaking at Number 4.

‘Smoke on the Water’ was the third single released from Deep Purple’s sixth studio Album ‘Machine Head’ from 1972, with all five band members at that time being given the songwriting, and the production credits. The lyrics to ‘Smoke on the Water’ tell a true story. The band had flown in to Montreux, Switzerland, and on December 4th, 1971, were to record an Album using ‘The Rolling Stones’ mobile recording studio (mentioned in this song) that was parked in the Montreux Casino entertainment complex. In the evening the Deep Purple band members went to see ‘Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention’ playing a concert in the casino’s theatre, where at some point in the evening somebody in the audience fired a flare gun towards the ceiling. Although there were no major injuries, the resulting fire destroyed the entire casino complex. The ‘Smoke on the Water’ that became the songs title is down to Roger Glover who has related how the title occurred to him, after he woke from a dream a few days later, ‘It was probably the biggest fire I’d ever seen up to that point and probably ever seen in my life. It was a huge building. I remember there was very little panic getting out, because it didn’t seem like much of a fire at first, but, when it caught, it went up like a fireworks display.’

The opening guitar riff to ‘Smoke on the Water’ is probably the most famous guitar riff of all time. Ritchie Blackmore who wrote the riff has said that on first hearing it friends of the band gave it the thumbs down saying it was too simplistic. Blackmore has claimed that the riff is an interpretation of inversion of ‘Symphony No.5,’ (written between 1804-1808) by Ludwig van Beethoven, (1770-1827) Blackmore has said,’And for that “I owe him a lot of money.’ Ian Paice has said,’The amazing thing with that song, and Ritchie’s riff in particular, is that somebody hadn’t done it before, because it’s so gloriously simple, and wonderfully satisfying.’

‘We all came out to Montreux on the Lake Geneva shoreline,to make records with a mobile. We didn’t have much time, but Frank Zappa and the Mothers were at the best place around, but some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground.’

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


90-Meat Loaf-Paradise by the Dashboard Light.

1976-It has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 4.27. Is that the gear stick, or are you just pleased to see me.

‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ is track 2 from side 2 of Meat Loaf’s solo debut Album ‘Bat Out of Hell’ from 1976, although the Album wasn’t released until October 1977. The Album is currently the 12th best selling of all time with sales in excess of 34 million copies, with an estimated 200,000 copies being sold worldwide every year. All seven tracks were written by Jim Steinman, and the Album was produced by Todd Rundgren.

James Richard Steinman was born on November 1st, 1947, in Hewlett, New York, United States, he had a stroke in 2004, and then another one in 2017, he died from kidney failure on April 19th, 2021, at the age of 73. On reacting to his death, Meatloaf (1947-2022) said,’We didn’t know each other, we were each other..’ Steinman and Meatloaf worked together on a total of six Albums, Steinman also released one solo studio Album ‘Bad for Good’ in 1981. Other notable songs written by Steinman include ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart,’ which was a UK and U.S Number 1 for Bonnie Tyler in 1983, and ‘Making Love Out of Nothing at All,’ which made Number 2 in America for Air Supply,’ also in 1983.

‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ was the third of five singles released from the Album ‘Bat out of Hell,’ (see also best songs 22) and is a duet between Meat Loaf and Ellen Foley, which some music critics have called the greatest duet of all time. Ellen Foley was born in 1951, in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, and recorded her vocal for the song individually in one take, with Meat Loaf in the room to help her sing in character. Foley would go on to issue five solo Albums between 1979-2021, and also provide vocals for bands such as Pandora’s Box, The Clash. and Blue Oyster Cult.’ It is said that Foley is the subject of ‘Should I Stay, or Should I Go,’ the 1991 UK Number 1 single from The Clash. When Meatloaf toured the ‘Bat out of Hell’ Album Foley had prior commitments, and was replaced by the singer Karla DeVito, who also appears in the songs official video lip syncing.

At 3.35, seconds in to the track the American Baseball commentator Phil Rizzuto (1917-2007) broadcasts a portion of an imaginary baseball game that serves as a metaphor for the male character in the song trying to get sex. Rizzuto tried to distance himself from the record saying he had no idea his commentary was linked with sex, Meat Loaf refuted that ,saying that he knew exactly what he was doing.

The song is divided in to three parts. ‘Part 1’, is ‘Paradise,’ The song opens with the characters reminiscing their about days as a young high school couple on a date.They are parked in a car in a secluded area when the male character suggests they go all the way. ‘Part 2’ is ‘Let Me Sleep on It’ and tells of the female character refusing to have sex unless he promises to love her forever and marry her. Reluctant to make a long term commitment, the boy asks if he can sleep on it, however that is not enough for her. He finally cracks and gives his promise, ’I started swearing to my God and on my mothers grave that I would love you to the end of time.’ ‘Part 3’, is ‘Praying for the end of Time.’ Back in the present the male character can no longer stand the woman, but he cannot break his vow, he is now ‘Praying for the end of Time.’ Perhaps if this song was used in schools as part of ‘Sex Education’ there might be less teenage pregnancies.

‘So now I’m praying for the end of time to hurry up and arrive,’cause if I gotta spend another minute with you I don’t think that I can really survive. I’ll never break my promise or forget my vow, but God only knows what I can do right now.’

Posted by: In: Other 22 Sep 2022 Comments: 0


91-The Righteous Brothers-Unchained Melody.

1965-Number 14 single. When it was re-issued in 1990 it reached Number 1.

Best Bit-At 1.56. The original version of the song was first performed in the 1955 prison film ‘Unchained,’ where Todd Duncan (1903-1998) sings to a ‘captive’ audience. The song has captivated every generation since.

The Righteous Brothers (see also best songs 782) were originally the duo of Bill Medley, (see also best songs 439) and Bob Hatfield, (1940-2003) when the duo first split in 1968, Hatfield performed as ‘The Righteous Brothers’ with his new partner Jimmy Walker between 1968-1972, and Medley has been performing as ‘The Righteous Brothers’ with Bucky Heard since 2016. Medley and Hatfield had reformed again between 1974-1976, and then again between 1986-2003. The discography of The Righteous Brothers includes 15 Albums released between 1963-2016, and 41 singles (including re-issues) released between 1963-1990. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, 12 of their songs have made the top 40, with ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,’ (1964) and ‘You’re My Soul and Inspiration,’ (1965) both making Number 1, while in the UK they have charted on eight occasions, (including re-issues) with ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,’ and ‘Unchained Melody,’ both reaching the top spot.

‘Unchained Melody’ was written by Alex North, (1910-1991) who wrote the music, and Hy Zaret, (1907-2007) who provided the lyrics for the little known film ‘Unchained’ released in 1955. Alex North who was also commissioned to write further music for the film is also remembered for writing the scores to ‘A Streetcar Named Desire,’ (1951) and ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf’ (1966.) ‘Unchained Melody tells of someone who pines for a lover he has not seen in a ‘long, lonely time.’

In the 1950’s it was normal for several artists to jump on the bandwagon and record a version of the best new songs of the day. In 1955 four versions appeared in the UK top 20 simultaneously. Al Hibbler (1915-2001) reached Number 2, Les Baxter, (1922-1996) made Number 10, Liberace, (1919-1987) reached Number 20, and Jimmy Young (1921-2016) took his recording all the way to Number 1. The song was also very successful in America where three versions all made the top 10, recorded by, Al Hibbler, Les Baxter, and Roy Hamilton (1929-1969.)

The Righteous Brothers recording of ‘Unchained Melody’ was sung solely by Bob Hatfield, with Bill Medley handling the songs production, he also played the Wurlitzer piano on the track. On the original pressings of the single it is Phil Spector (1939-2021) (see also best songs (820-782-737-262-192-127 and 20) who is credited as the songs producer, but on later pressings this was changed. In 1990 the song was brought to the attention of a whole new generation when it was used in the film ‘Ghost.’ The song was re-issued, and this time went all the way to Number 1 in the UK. In 1995 ‘Unchained Melody’ was covered by the English Pop duo ‘Robson & Jerome,’ and once again the song made Number 1, and then in 2002 the English singer Gareth Gates also took the song to Number 1.’Unchained Melody’ has been to Number 1 on four occasions in the UK, a fete that is only matched by the four different recordings of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ by ‘Band Aid.’ (see also best songs 455.)

‘Lonely rivers flow to the sea, to the sea to the open arms of the sea. Lonely rivers sigh wait for me, wait for me, I’ll be coming home, wait for me.’

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


92-Sex Pistols-Anarchy in the UK.

1976-Number 36 single.

Best Bit-At 2.00. I can recall doing a teenagers disco in a village hall shortly after this song first came out. From out of nowhere the local village policeman, a middle aged man from what I remember came up to me and politely but firmly asked me not to play this song as it was according to him offensive and not the sort of thing young people should be listening to. When I think of some of the songs I play today, I realise how times and attitudes have changed.

The Sex Pistols (see also best songs 576 and 27) were formed in London, England, in 1975 by the vocalist John Lydon, (Johnny Rotten) (see also best songs 967 and 323) Steve Jones, (guitar) Paul Cook, (bass) and Glen Matlock, (guitar) under the management of Malcolm McLaren (1946-2010) (see also best songs 751) Matlock left the group in 1977, before the release of the bands only studio Album ‘Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols,’ and was replaced by Simon John Ritchie (Sid Vicious) (1957-1979.)

‘Anarchy in the UK’ was the debut single by the Sex Pistols, and was released by ‘EMI’ records on November 26th, 1976, with all four band members at that time receiving the song writing credits, although it has always been a bone of contention, particularly between Jones and Matlock as to whom had the most input in the actual writing of the music. Matlock states that although he was not a member of the Sex Pistols at the time of the Album’s release that he had a significant hand in 10 of the 12 tracks, for which he is credited on the Album. ‘Anarchy in the UK’ is also credited with three producers, Chris Thomas, (see also best songs 576-316-285 and 27) Bill Price, (1944-2016) and Dave Goodman (1951-2005.)

Anarchy is society without government or law, but the songs lyrics writer John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) isn’t actually advocating anarchy, he has said,’I have always thought that anarchy is mind games for the middle class, it’s a luxury. It can only be afforded in a democratic society, therefore kind of slightly f–king redundant. It also offers no answers and I hope in my songwriting I’m offering some kind of answer to a thing, rather than spitefully wanting to wreck everything for no reason at all, other than it doesn’t suit you.’

The songs lyrics mention the ‘MPLA,’ which are a political party that took control of Angola, formerly one of Portugal’s African colonies, in a 1975–76 civil war, and still run the country today. Also mentioned are the the ‘IRA,’ and the ‘UDA’ who were the largest paramilitary armies in the conflict in Northern Ireland. The heavily armed IRA (Irish Republican Army) were on the Republican (anti-British, pro-unification) side, while the thousands-strong ‘UDA’ (Ulster Defence Association) were on the Loyalist (pro-British, anti-unification) side. Lydon also sings ‘I use the enemy,’ which is a play on words, he actually means the ‘NME,’ which is a British magazine called the ‘New Musical Express.’ The Sex Pistols definitely used them for lots of publicity.

‘How many ways to get what you want, I use the best, I use the rest, I use the enemy, I use anarchy. ‘Cause I want to be anarchy, its the only way to be.’