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


54-Sinead O’Connor-Nothing Compares 2 U.

1990-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 0.10. In the original version by Prince he sings,’It’s been 7 hours and 13 days,’ in Sinead’s version she has suffered two days longer.

Sinead O’Connor has said,’I did meet him (Prince) a couple of times. We didn’t get on at all, in fact we had a punch up. He summoned me to his house, and it’s foolish to do this to an Irish woman. He said he didn’t like me saying bad words in interviews, so I told him to f..k off. He got violent. I had to escape out of his house, he packed a bigger punch than me.’

Sinead Marie Bernadette O’Connor was born on December 8th, 1966, in Glenageary, County Dublin, Ireland. In 1999 she was ordained as a priest by the ‘Latin Tridentine Church’, a sect that is not recognised by the mainstream Catholic Church, and then in 2017, she changed her name to Magda Davitt. In 2018 she converted to Islam, and she then changed to the Arabic name Shuhada’ Sadaqat.

Sinead O’Connor has led a very troubled life, having suffered with mental health issues since her childhood, and all through her adult life she has caused controversy. One of her most famous stunts was on October 3rd, 1992, when she was performing on the American ‘Saturday Night Live’ television programme. She presented a photo of Pope John Paul II to the camera while singing the word ‘evil’, after which she tore the photo into pieces and said, ‘Fight the real enemy’, and then threw the pieces towards the camera. This was in protest to the rumoured sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, and occurred nine years before John Paul II finally acknowledged the sexual abuse within the Church in 2001.

The discography of Sinead O’Connor includes 10 studio Albums that have been released between 1987-2014, and 54 singles that have been issued between 1987-2020. In the UK, five of her singles have reached the top 40, with this song making Number 1, she has also appeared on five other top 40 hits as a featured artist. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 top 40, this song remains her only chart hit when reaching Number 1, which makes her a ‘one hit wonder’ in that country.

‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ was written by Prince, (1958-2016) (see also best songs 884-487-269 and 85) in 1984, and the song remained relatively obscure until recommended to Sinead O’Connor by her then manager Fachtna O’Kelly as a possible track for her to record for her second studio Album ‘I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got,’ in 1990. By the mid 1980’s Prince had become a prolific songwriter and was wanting to release much more music than his record label would let him do, so in order to get around this he decided to create a new band which he called ‘The Family,’ and with musicians that he had hand picked he recorded an Album also called ‘The Family,’ on where ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ first appeared in 1985. Until the song became a hit for Sinead O’Connor, Prince never played it live, and his original studio version was not posthumously released until 2018. A live version of the song performed with one of his backing singers Rosie Gaines appeared on Prince’s 1993 compilation Album ‘The Hits/The B-Sides.’

The Sinead O’Connor recording of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ was produced by Nellee Hooper, who was born Paul Andrew Hooper on March 15th, 1963, in Bristol, England, his other significant productions include work with ‘Soul 11 Soul,’ (‘Back to Life’) and ‘U2.’ (‘How to Dismantle an Atom Bomb.’) The songs video which was directed by John Maybury is one of the most memorable in Pop music history. Towards the end of the song tears run down O’Connor’s face. She has said that the tears were real, she did not intend to cry but then thought,’I should let this happen.’ She explained that the tears were triggered by thoughts of her mother who had died in a car accident in 1985.

‘I went to the doctor and guess what he told me? Guess what he told me? He said, “Girl you better try to have fun no matter what you do, but he’s a fool,” ’cause nothing compares, nothing compares to you.’

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


55-System of a Down-Chop Suey!

2001-Number 17 single.

Best Bit-At 2.11. As the old Heavy Metal saying goes,’It’s heads down and I’ll see you at the other end.’ Presumably that old saying also applies to Alternative Metal. Progressive Metal. and Nu Metal.

System of a Down are a quartet of whom all the musical genres above apply. The band was formed in Glendale, California, United States, in 1994 by Serj Tankian, (lead vocals, and keyboards) Daron Malakian, (lead guitar) Shavo Odadjian, (bass) and Andy Khachaturian, (drums) Khachaturian left in 1997 and was replaced by John Dolmayan (drums.) They remained active until 2006, but re-united again in 2010, there has been no new Album since 2005, but in 2020 they did release two singles, a full 14 years after their latest Album. All of the bands members are of Armenian descent, being born to Armenian immigrants, or being immigrants themselves.

The discography of System of a Down includes five studio Albums released between 1998-2005, three of which have made the Number 1 spot on the American Billboard Album chart, and 19 singles issued between 1998-2020, of which the 2005 release ‘B.Y.O.B.’ remains their only charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 top 40, having made Number 27. In the UK four of their singles have reached the top 40, with this song being the most successful, in total worldwide System of a Down have sold in excess of 13 million records to date.

‘Chop Suey!’ is considered to be the signature song of System of a Down although it only reached Number 76 on the Billboard Hot 100. The likely explanation for it’s poor chart showing is that is was released only a month before the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the twin towers, and was one of many songs that radio stations were advised against playing for having inappropriate titles, or lyrics at that time. ‘Chop Suey was co-written by the bands members Daron Malakian, and Serj Tankian, they also produced the song with Rick Rubin, (see also best songs 977-610 and 305) who was a big supporter of the band, having signed them to his ‘American/Columbia’ record label in 1997.

‘Chop Suey!’ was the first single issued from ‘Toxicity,’ which was the second studio Album release from System of a Down in September 2001. The songs co-writer Daron Malakian has said,’The song is about how we are regarded differently depending on how we pass. Everyone deserves to die. Like, if I were now to die from drug abuse, they might say I deserved it because I abused dangerous drugs. Hence the line, ‘I cry when angels deserve to die.’ The lyrics,’Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,’ and ‘Why have you forsaken me,’ are a reference to Jesus’ death on the cross, as according to the Gospels, it was one of the seven things Jesus said while he was dying.

‘Chop Suey!’ was originally titled ‘Suicide,’ but the band realising that they would receive very little airplay with that title, came up with ‘Chop Suey.’ The songs title is a play on words,’Suey’ is ‘suicide’ ‘chopped’ in half. The songs producer Rick Rubin has said,’It’s an unusual song because the verse is so frantic. The style is so broken up and unusual. It’s both difficult to sing, and arguably difficult to listen to, but then the chorus is this big, soaring, emotional, surging, beautiful thing, and then it’s got this incredible bridge. It’s just real heavy, biblical and grand. It’s so unusual that it goes between these crazy rhythmic explosive verses into this emotional, anthemic ending.’

‘Wake up, grab a brush and put on a little makeup. Hide the scars that fade away the shake up. Why’d you leave the keys upon the table? Here you go create another fable. You wanted to.’

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


56-Bob Marley and the Wailers-No Woman, No Cry.

1975-Number 22 single. When it was re-issued in 1981 following Bob Marley’s death it peaked at Number 8.

Best Bit-At 3.19. There are 996 studio recordings in this countdown, but only four live tracks, (see also best songs 924-214 and 155) and here is the highest placed of them.

Bob Marley (see also best songs 618) was born Robert Nesta Marley on February 6th, 1945, in Nile Mile, Saint Ann Parish, Colony of Jamaica, he died from skin cancer on May 11th, 1981, at the age of 36. The discography of Bob Marley and the Wailers includes 13 studio Albums released between 1965-1983, and 133 singles issued between 1962-2016. In the UK, 16 of those singles have reached the top 40, with the 1999 ‘Funkstar De Luxe’ remix of ‘Sun is Shining’ charting the highest at Number 3. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart he has never had a top 100 chart entry. In 1984, around three years after Marley’s death a compilation Album called ‘Legend’ was posthumously issued, which has gone on to become the best selling Reggae Album of all time, with sales worldwide currently in excess of 25 million copies.

The original version of ‘No Woman, No Cry’ first appeared on Bob Marley and the Wailers seventh studio Album ‘Natty Dread,’ released in October 1974. In it’s original form ‘No Woman, No Cry’ runs for 3.46, and is a far more uptempo recording than the live version which runs for 7.07. In 1975 Bob Marley went on tour to promote the Album, which was called the ‘Natty Dread Tour,’ the tour dates took place in America, Canada, and England, which included two dates at the ‘Lyceum Theatre’ in London. On July 17th, 1975, the Lyceum concert was recorded for a future Album release. The Album which was issued on December 5th, 1975, was called ‘Live,’ and ‘No Woman, No Cry’ was chosen for release as a single in all of it’s seven minutes performance, it is this live recording which is also the version chosen for inclusion on the ‘Legends’ Album.

‘No Woman, No Cry’ was co-written by Bob Marley, and Vincent Ford, (1940-2008) and produced by Bob Marley and the Wailers, Steve Smith, and Chris Blackwell. Vincent Ford probably had very little input in to the writing of the song, but he and Marley had been life long friends, and when Marley had been a child, he and his family had been recipients at a soup kitchen in Trenchtown, Kingston, Jamaica, that had been run by Ford, so the royalties from the song could go to help in his charitable works. Chris Blackwell who was born on June 22nd, 1937, was the founder of ‘Island’ records in 1969, and is the single person most responsible for introducing ‘Reggae’ music to the masses (see also best songs 291.)

‘No Woman, No Cry’ is actually pronounced ‘no woman ‘nuh’ cry’ in ‘Jamaican Patois,’ the ‘nuh’ actually means ‘don’t.’ In the song the narrator is telling his woman not to cry and not to worry because he has to go, but things will turn out better in the end. Marley mentions the ‘Government Yards’ of ‘Trench Town’, which is a public housing project in Kingston where he grew up. The lyrics also mention cornmeal porridge, which is a popular breakfast in Jamaica. Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett who was one of the ‘Wailers,’ and played bass on the song has said,’The song is about the strength in the mama of course, strength in the ladies, and we love a woman with a backbone, something like a wishbone! They have to be like a she lion! Woman strong, you know, not depending on the man. Of course the man is there to help you, then for every successful man, there is a good woman.’

‘Seh, seh, seh I remember when we used to sit in the government yard in Trenchtown Oba observing the ‘ypocrites, as they would mingle with the good people we meet. Good friends we have, oh, good friends we’ve lost along the way. In this great future, you can’t forget your past, so dry your tears, I seh.’

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


57-Roxy Music-Virginia Plain.

1972-Number 4 single.

Best Bit-At 2.37. Before becoming a Pop superstar, back in 1964 Bryan Ferry had been an art student in Newcastle, England. He took the title ‘Virginia Plain’ from one of his own paintings featuring an image of a cigarette packet in the same style as that of the artist Andy Warhol (1928-1987) (see also best songs 58.)

Bryan Ferry (see also best songs 721 and 316) was born on September 26th, 1945, in Washington, County Durham, England, as well as co-founding Roxy Music in 1970, he has also enjoyed a long and successful solo career, selling in excess of 30 million records worldwide. With Roxy Music he has released eight studio Albums between 1972-1982, and 26 singles between 1972-1996, of which 18 have made the UK top 40, with ‘Jealous Guy’ giving Roxy Music their only UK Number 1 single in 1981. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, only ‘Love is the Drug’ from 1975 has charted, reaching Number 30. The solo discography of Bryan Ferry includes 16 studio Albums released between 1973-2018, and 45 singles issued between 1973-2014, of which 16 have made the UK top, with ‘Let’s Stick Together’ from 1976 charting the highest at Number 4. In America on Billboard his only charting solo single is ‘Kiss and Tell, which reached Number 31 in 1988.

‘Virginia Plain’ was the debut single from Roxy Music which was released two months after the bands self titled debut Album from June 1972. ‘Virginia Plain was written by Bryan Ferry, and produced by Peter Sinfield, who had been the co-founder of the English Rock band ‘King Crimson’ in 1968, who were leading lights in the development of ‘Progressive Rock’ music. Seeing the success of Roxy Music’s debut Album, the bands record label was keen to continue the momentum, and requested a single as they didn’t think that their was anything commercial enough for radio airplay on the Album.

‘Virginia Plain’ is based on Bryan Ferry’s 1964 painting of the same title, which features a large packet of ‘Virginia Slims’ cigarettes, with a picture of one of Andy Warhol’s ‘Superstar’ actresses ‘Baby Jane Holzer’ on the front. Speaking in 1972 Bryan Ferry said,’The painting was a sort of throwaway watercolour, and the song has lots of little images and throwaway lines. The painting was done in 1964, and although the song was written this year, it reflects the feeling of that time.I was up in Newcastle, living with a guy who’d helped Warhol to make the Marilyn Monroe silkscreens. It’s a whole American Dream thing, living up there yet constantly thinking about Warhol’s Factory and Baby Jane Holzer. It’s got some other things in it now. Vegas, Nevada, Route 66.’ Ferry went on to say,’I liked the phrase Virginia Plain, so it later became the title of the first single I put out with Roxy Music, with a slightly imponderable lyric.’

The songs first verse mentions ‘Robert E. Lee, (not the American Confederate general) who at that time was the lawyer for Roxy Music. Ferry is telling him not to mess things up as it has taken them many years to get to where they are now. The tracks guitar solo was played by Roxy Music band member Phil Manzanera, who claims that at the recording of ‘Virginia Plain’ he had nothing ready, so he improvised and played the first thing that came in to his head.

‘Far beyond the pale horizon, some place near the desert strand. Where my Studebaker takes me, that’s where I’ll make my stand, but wait. Can’t you see that Holzer mane? What’s her name, Virginia Plain?’

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


58-Lou Reed-Walk on the Wild Side.

1972-Number 10 single.

Best Bit-At 3.38. If I said to you, ‘Can I kick it?’ What would you answer?

Lou Reed (see also best songs 401-165 and 131) was born Lewis Allan Reed on March 2nd, 1942, in New York City, United States, he died from liver disease on October 27th, 2013, at the age of 71. Lou Reed had been a founding member of the Velvet Underground in 1964, (see also best songs 401 and 165) and remained a member until 1970 when he then began to pursue his solo career. The discography of Lou Reed includes four studio Albums with the Velvet Underground, which were issued between 1967-1970, then a further 22 studio Albums as a solo artist, which have been issued between 1972-2022, As a solo artist he has also released 46 singles between 1972-2011, of which only this song has made the American Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, when reaching Number 16. While in the UK, five of his singles have made the top 40, with the 1997 re-recording of ‘Perfect Day’ for the ‘Children in Need’ charity reaching Number 1 in 1997.

‘Walk on the Wild Side’ was the first of three singles released from Lou Reed’s second solo studio Album ‘Transformer’ from 1972, and was released as a double ‘A’ sided single with ‘Perfect Day,’ (see also best songs 131) which was also a track from ‘Transformer.’ ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ was written by Lou Reed, and produced by David Bowie, (1947-2016) (see also best songs 807-701-440-334-302-209-186-131-118-47 and 31) and Mick Ronson, (1946-1993) (see also best songs 661-405 and 131) as was the whole of the’Transformer’ Album. On ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ David Bowie plays the acoustic guitar, while Mick Ronson received a special mention from Lou Reed for the songs string arrangement. The baritone saxophone solo was provided by Ronnie Ross (1933-1991) at the request of Bowie, as he had been a saxophone tutor to Bowie in his youth. Others to appear on the track included Herbie Flowers, (bass) and the British female vocal group ‘Thunderthighs.’

Lyrically ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ was groundbreaking and exceptionally risque for it’s time, as it contained references to prostitution, transgender people, and oral sex. There are many songs in this countdown that were banned from being played on the radio and television, often for very little reason, but because Lou Reed disguised the lyrics, much of the media in their naivety let it go under the radar, although the term ‘coloured girls’ was an issue in America, so ‘RCA’ records provided radio stations with a version changing ‘coloured girls’ to ‘and the girls.’

‘Walk on the Wild Side’ is about the people who worked for the American artist, director and producer Andy Warhol (1928-1987) in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, they were referred to as ‘Superstars,’ and were well known to Lou Reed from his days with the Velvet Underground. For example ‘Holly’ is based on Holly Woodlawn (1946-2015) who was a transgender actress. ‘Candy’ is based on Candy Darling, (1944-1974) another transgender actress, who was also the basis for an earlier Lou Reed song ‘Candy Says.’ Little Joe’ was the nickname of Joe D’Allesandro who claims that he had not yet met Reed at the time of the songs release. ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ is a reference to the actor Joe Campbell, (1936-2005) who played a drug dealer in Andy Warhol’s 1965 film ‘My Hustler, and ‘Jackie’ is based on Jackie Curtis, (1947-1985) who was another actress employed by Warhol.’

‘Holly came from Miami, F.L.A. Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A. Plucked her eyebrows on the way, shaved her legs and then he was a she,she says, ‘Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,’ said, ‘Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.”

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


59-Jam-Town Called Malice.

1982-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 1.59. When Roland Orzabel of Tears For Fears (see also best songs 640 and 24) wrote,’Politician granny with your high ideals have you know idea how the majority feels? So without love and a promised land, we’re fools to the rules of a government plan,’ I reckon he was probably thinking about Paul Weller, and this song.

Many of the Paul Weller songs that he wrote for the Jam reflected his anger with the political landscape at that time, so what was his reaction when the ex Conservative party Prime Minister, David Cameron told the Guardian newspaper that he had attended Jam gigs in the 1980’s, and that ‘The music of the Jam meant a lot.’ Weller said,’I’d have been really, really surprised. I think I pretty much nailed where I was at to the mast, but people come to gigs for different reasons, it isn’t necessarily about what the person on stage is singing, but at the same time, you do think, ‘Well, maybe this’ll change their minds.”

Paul Weller was born John William Weller on May 25th, 1958, in Woking, England, He was the principal figure of the 1970’s, and 1980’s ‘Mod’ revival, and is often referred to as ‘The Modfather,’ and he was also a major influence on the rise of ‘Britpop’ in the mid 1990’s. In 1972 Paul Weller was one of the founding members of the Jam, and they remained active until Weller announced he was leaving the group in 1982 while they were still at the height of their success, in order to explore other music genres as a solo artist and also with others. The discography of the Jam (see also best songs 670 and 94) includes six studio Albums released between 1977-1982, and 18 singles issued in the same time period. In the UK all 18 of those singles reached the top 40, with four of them making Number 1, while in America the Jam never managed to reach the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, with the explanation probably being that they were quintessentially too English for an American audience. For the discography of Paul Weller away from the Jam (see best songs 94.)

‘Town Called Malice’ was the first of two singles released from the Jam’s sixth and final studio Album ‘The Gift’ from March 1982, the song was written by Paul Weller, and produced by Peter Wilson, and the Jam.’The song was released as a double ‘A’ side together with another track from ‘The Gift’ called ‘Precious,’ Although ‘Precious’ was largely ignored when it came to airplay, the Jam did perform the track on the British music programme ‘Top of the Pops’ along with ‘Town Called Malice,’ making them the first act since the Beatles (‘Day Tripper,’ and ‘We Can Work it Out’) to perform both tracks from the same single on the same programme.

‘Town Called Malice’ is a play on words of the 1950 Nevil Shute (1899-1960) novel ‘A Town Like Alice,’ but the song has nothing to do with the book, in fact Weller has said that he hadn’t read the novel when he wrote this song. ‘Town Called Malice’ is about unemployment in a working town, Weller has said,’It could have been written about any suburban town, but it was in fact written about my hometown of Woking.’The UK was more than three years into Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) being the Prime Minister, the country was in recession, and unemployment had passed the two and a half million mark.Weller also recalled,’I was trying to capture a sense of the anger that I felt that a lot of people felt about ‘Thatcherism’ and the way that she and the ‘Tory Party’ at that time were trying to dismantle the communities of the working classes.’

‘Town Called Malice’ has been described as a ‘Northern Soul,’ ‘Soul,’ Post Punk,’Rock,’ and ‘New Wave’ influenced song. As always I wouldn’t want to start any legal disputes, but if you take a listen to the 1966 ‘Motown’ song from Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, (see also best songs 948) called ‘I’m Ready for Love,’….it’s got a lovely bass guitar intro.

‘A whole street’s belief in Sunday’s roast beef gets dashed against the Co-op. To either cut down on beer or the kid’s new gear, it’s a big decision in a town called malice, ooh yeah.’

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


60-Gerry and the Pacemakers-You’ll Never Walk Alone.

1963-Number 1 single. It also re-entered the chart in 2012 when reaching Number 12.

Best Bit-At 1.55. According to former Liverpool Football Club player Tommy Smith, (1945-2019) Gerry Marsden gave the Liverpool manager Bill Shankly (1913-1981) a recording of this song which was to be their next single. Shankly was very impressed, he said,’Gerry my son, I have given you a football team, and you have given us a song.’

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ started out life as a show tune, from the 1945 Richard Rodgers, (1902-1979) and Oscar Hammerstein (1895-1960) (see also best songs 842 and 82) musical ‘Carousel,’ which was also made into a 1956 film, both the musical and the film were based on the 1909 play ‘Lillom,’ written by the Austrian/Hungarian novelist Ferenc Molnar (1878-1952.) In the musical it was first sung by Christine Johnson, (1911-2010) in the role of Nettie Fowler, while later in the show it was reprised by Jan Clayton, (1917-1983) in the role of Julie Jordan.

In 1963 at Anfield, the home of Liverpool Football Club, the Disc Jockey would play the current top 10 Pop chart singles before every home game. After a while some of the crowd would start to sing-a-long to ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ As the weeks went by more and more would begin to join in, and even after the record dropped out of the top 10 it would still be requested. The song has since become ingrained as part of the pre match ritual at Anfield, and is probably the most famous sporting anthem worldwide. The Liverpool Football Club’s official emblem has the words ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ inscribed in white, on a green background, and those words are also above the ‘Shankly Gates,’ which are on the Anfield Road side of the ground.

‘Gerry and the Pacemakers’ were formed in Liverpool, England in 1956 by Gerry Marsden, (1942-2021) his brother Freddie Marsden, (1940-2006) and Arthur ‘Mack’ McMahon, who stayed with the group until departing in 1961. They originally started out life as ‘Gerry Marsden and the Mars Bars,’ but had to change when the ‘Mars Company’ who made the chocolate ‘Mars Bar’ complained. In total there have been eight different members over the years, with the group being active from 1956-1966, and then in 1972 Gerry Marden reactivated the band using differing members, and they remained active until 2018. The discography of Gerry and the Pacemakers includes nine studio Albums released between 1963-1983, and 26 singles issued between 1963-2012. In the UK they have achieved 10 top 40 hits, and were the first artists to get to Number 1 with their first three singles,’How Do You Do It,’ ‘I Like It,’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone,’ all in 1963. In America seven of their singles have charted on the Billboard Hot 100 top 40, with ‘Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying’ charting the highest at Number 4 in 1964.

At the time Gerry and the Pacemakers released ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ they were working with some of the same people as the Beatles, as both groups shared the same manager Brian Epstein, (1934-1967) and both bands also shared the same producer George Martin (1926-2016.) ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ has also reached Number 1 on two other occasions in the UK, in 1985 following the Bradford City Football Club stadium fire in which 56 people died, Gerry Marsden sang lead vocals on a re-make of the song with all profits going to the families of the bereaved. Marsden was joined by many musicians and celebrities of the day, playing as ‘The Crowd.’ In April 2020, to mark 99-year old Captain Tom Moore (1920-2021) completing the first phase of his fundraising walk during the COVID-19 pandemic, English actor, singer and broadcaster, Michael Ball sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” for him live on BBC Television Breakfast. Within 24 hours their rendition was released as a download and went straight to Number 1 in the UK. Captain Tom Moore who turned 100 years old six days later became the oldest living person to achieve a UK Number 1 single, beating the previous record-holder Tom Jones, (see also best songs 964 and 129) who was 68 years old when a Comic Relief rendition of ‘Islands in the Stream’ reached Number 1 in 2009.

In May 1989 Gerry Marsden sang lead vocal on a charity version of his own composition ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey,’ which had originally reached Number 8 in 1964, and was made for those affected by the ‘Hillsborough disaster’, which had claimed the lives of 95 Liverpool fans (which has since risen to 97.) Marsden was joined on the recording by other Liverpool artists, Paul McCartney, The Christians, and Holly Johnson, with production provided by Stock Aitken and Waterman.

‘When you walk through a storm hold your head up high, and don’t be afraid of the dark. At the end of a storm there’s a golden sky, and the sweet silver song of a lark.’

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


61-Gerry Rafferty-Baker Street.

1978-Number 3 single.

Best Bit-At 5.13. Some people think this song is better than sax.

Gerald Rafferty was born on April 16th, 1947, in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, he died of liver failure on January 4th, 2011, at the age of 63. Gerry Rafferty’s early musical influences were both Irish and Scottish Folk songs, and then after hearing the Beatles, and Bob Dylan, he started to write his own material. In the early 1960’s Rafferty played in a local band called the ‘Maverix,’ with a school friend of his, Joe Egan, the pair would later move to London where both became members of the band ‘Fifth Column,’ and recorded the commercially unsuccessful single ‘Benjamin Day’/’There’s Nobody Here,’ in 1966. In 1969 Rafferty became the third member of a folk-pop group, the ‘Humblebums’, along with the future Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, and Tam Harvey (who died in 2021.) After Harvey left in 1969, Rafferty and Connolly continued as a duo, releasing two Albums together in 1969, and 1970. Then after the ‘Humblebums’ parted ways in 1971, Rafferty recorded his first solo Album ‘Can I Have My Money Back?’ in 1971, before joining forces again with Joe Egan to form ‘Stealers Wheel in 1972 (see also best songs 524.) The solo discography of Gerry Rafferty includes 11 studio Albums released between 1971-2021, and 20 singles issued in the same time period. In the UK three of his singles have made the top 40, while in America on the Billboard Hot 100, five of his singles have reached the top 40, with this song peaking at Number 2 for six weeks behind ‘Shadow Dancing,’ by Andy Gibb.

‘Baker Street’ was the second of six singles released from Gerry Rafferty’s second solo studio Album ‘City to City,’ from 1978, the song was written by Gerry Rafferty, and co-produced by Rafferty and Hugh Murphy (1946-1998.) Due to legal problems with Stealers Wheel, Rafferty was unable to release any new music between 1975-1978, it was during that period that he wrote ‘Baker Street.’ He would regularly travel between his family home in Paisley, Scotland, to stay at a friends flat on Baker Street in London. Rafferty has said,’Everybody was suing each other, so I spent a lot of the time on the overnight train from Glasgow to London for meetings with lawyers. I knew a guy who lived in a little flat on Baker Street, we’d sit and chat or play guitar there through the night’. Rafferty would also spend a lot of the time there drinking, which he acknowledges in the songs lyrics. Rafferty’s daughter Martha has said that her father was inspired to write this song and many of his others after reading the 1956 book ‘The Outsider,’ written by Colin Wilson (1931-2013.) The book explores the psyche of the ‘Outsider,’ his effect on society, and society’s effect on him. Rafferty had a very troubled life, he hated being a ‘Pop Star,’ shunned publicity, suffered from long periods of depression, and was an alcoholic, which ultimately led to his death. ‘Baker Street’ is a song about someone trying to make a better life for themselves, but he cannot achieve his goals as he is a drunk. He drinks to forget what he doesn’t have, and knows he is wasting his life.

‘Baker Street’ can probably boast the most famous saxophone riff in Pop Music, which was played by the session musician Raphael Ravenscroft (1954-2014.) Ravenscroft who was only paid the statuary £27 has said about his performance on ‘Baker Street’,’I’m irritated because it’s out of tune, yeah it’s flat by enough of a degree, that it irritates me at best.’ Ravenscroft also claimed to have written the saxophone part, but when a demo came to light in 2011 it clearly showed Rafferty playing the part on an electric guitar. However Rafferty may not be able to take full credit, as a very similar sax line can be heard being played by the American Jazz saxophonist Steve Marcus, (1939-2005) on the track ‘Half a Heart,’ from his 1968 Album ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’

‘He’s got this dream about buyin’ some land, he’s gonna give up the booze and the one night stands, and then he’ll settle down, it’s a quiet little town, and forget about everything.’

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


62-Elton John-Your Song.

1971-Number 7 single.

Best Bit-At 1.54. There is a rumour that Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics while sat on a roof, he didn’t, in fact he wrote them in Elton John’s mother’s kitchen.

Sir Elton Hercules John (see also best songs 946-481 and 237) was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, on March 25th, 1947, in Pinner, Middlesex, England. In 1962, Dwight with others formed a band called ‘Bluesology,’ who by the mid 1960’s were backing touring American Soul and R&B groups such as the Isley Brothers, and Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. In 1967 Dwight answered an advertisement in the British magazine ‘New Musical Express,’ which would lead to his first meeting with his future songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. As well as initially writing for other artists, the duo also began to shape Dwight’s solo career. The first song they wrote together was called ‘Scarecrow,’ and then some six months later Dwight began going by the name ‘Elton John,’ in homage to two members of ‘Bluesology,’ the saxophonist Elton Dean, (1945-2006) and vocalist Long John Baldry, (1941-2005) Dwight legally changed his name to Elton Hercules John on 7 January 1972.

The extensive discography of Elton John includes 31 studio Albums released between 1969-2021, and 140 singles issued between 1968-2022 as the main artist, he has also appeared as a featured artist on a further 22 singles. As a solo artist Elton finally made it to Number 1 in the UK at the 86th attempt in 1990, when the double ‘A’ side of ‘Sacrifice,’ and ‘Healing Hands’ gave him his first chart topper, he had been to Number 1 previously in 1976 when dueting with Kiki Dee on ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ (see also best songs 481.) In the UK, Elton has appeared on 70 top 40 singles, of which 10 have made Number 1, Elton is the only artist to have achieved top 40 hits in six separate decades. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 top singles chart, Elton has had 59 hits, of which nine have made the Number 1 spot.

‘Your Song’ was co-written by Elton John, (music) and Bernie Taupin, (lyrics) and was the second single released from Elton John’s self titled second studio Album from 1970. According to Bernie Taupin,’I scribbled the lyric down on a lined notepad at the kitchen table of Elton’s mother’s apartment in the London suburb of Northwood Hills, breakfast time sometime in 1969.’ Taupin was only 17 years old, and has admitted to a very limited knowledge of romance,’Hence the extraordinary virginal sentiments,’ he said. Elton claims that he doesn’t ask Taupin what his lyrics are about, he has said,’I always thought ‘Your Song’ was written about one of his girlfriends, and then when I asked him that he just said,’No it wasn’t,’ he gets fairly defensive.’

‘Your Song’ was the breakthrough hit for Elton John and Bernie Taupin who had initially given it to the American Rock band ‘Three Dog Night’ to record for their 1970 Album ‘It Ain’t Easy,’ but instead of that band releasing it as a single, they suggested that Elton should have a go with it, which saw it peak at Number 8 on Billboard, and Number 7 in the UK. In 2002 Elton re-recorded ‘Your Song’ as a duet with the Italian Operatic tenor Alessandro Safina for the ‘Sports Relief Charity,’ and this new version reached Number 4 in the UK. In 2010 the English singer Ellie Goulding (see also best songs 304) recorded the song, which was later chosen as the Christmas advert for the department store ‘John Lewis,’ for that year, and helped her recording reach Number 2 in the UK. I would also highly recommend the 1972 recording of ‘Your Song’ by the American Sou;l singer Billy Paul, (1934-2016) which was first issued as the ‘B’ side of ‘Me and Mrs Jones,’ (see also best songs 896) and later as an ‘A’ side, which reached Number 37 in 1977 in the UK.

‘I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss. Well a few, of the verses, well they’ve got me quite cross, but the sun’s been quite kind while I wrote this song. It’s for people like you that oh keep it turned on.’

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


63-LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock-Party Rock Anthem.

2011-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 2.17. They think they’re sexy, and they think they know it.

LMFAO which is an initialism for ‘Laughing My F..king Ass Off’ are the duo of Skyler Austen Gordy, who was born on August 23rd, 1986, and goes by the stage name of ‘Sky Blu,’ and Stefan Kendal Gordy, who was born on September 3rd, 1975, and uses the stage name ‘Redfoo.’ Skyler Gordy is the grandson of ‘Motown’ records founder Berry Gordy, and Stefan Kendal is the youngest son of Gordy, and therefore that makes them uncle and nephew to each other.

‘Sky Blu’ and ‘Redfoo’ grew up in Pacific Palisades. Los Angeles, California, United States, and formed ‘LMFAO’ in 2006, their first major taste of success came in 2010 when they co-wrote, (with others) and also performed on the UK Number 1 single ‘Gettin’ Over You,’ with David Guetta (see also best songs 909.) The duo remained active until 2012, and have been officially on hiatus since, with both pursuing different solo musical projects since. The discography of LMFAO includes two studio Albums released in 2009, and 2011, and 16 singles issued between 2008-2012. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, three of their singles have made the top 40, with this song, and ‘Sexy and I Know It,’ both reaching Number 1, while in the UK they have achieved six top 40 hits, with this track, and ‘Gettin’ Over You,’ both topping the chart.

‘Party Rock Anthem’ was the first of four singles released from ‘Sorry for Party Rocking,’ which was the second studio Album released by LMFAO, in June 2011. The song was co-written by Sky Blu, and Redfoo, along with David Listenbee, (GoonRock) who also performs on the track, and Peter Schroeder, it was produced by GoonRock and Redfoo. Also performing on the song is Lauren Bennett, who provides the female vocals, she would later go on to find success with the girl group ‘G.R.L.,’ who reached Number 11 in the UK in 2014 with ‘Ugly Heart.’ ‘Party Rock Anthem’ is one of the best selling songs of all time, with sales in excess of 14 million copies worldwide. In Australia it is their best ever selling single, and in the United States it is currently the sixth best seller on Billboard of all time, with sales in excess of 10 million units.

‘Party Rock Anthem’ is accompanied by a very memorable video which on ‘YouTube’ has currently been viewed over 2 billion times, and has no doubt helped enormously with the songs popularity. The video which features choreography by the American Hip-Hop dance act’Quest Crew,’ was produced by Sky Blu and Redfoo, with the assistance of Shinzu Ai. The video is a take on the 2002 British zombie movie ’28 Days,’ in which Sky Blu and Redfoo awake from a ‘party induced coma’ to find the world has been possessed to dance to this song. The video’s director Mickey Finnegan explained,’There’s been a epidemic, the world has gone crazy, as soon as the song came out everyone got possessed, and all they want to do is shuffle.’

The ‘shuffle’ in question is the ‘Melbourne Shuffle’ that is a ‘Rave Dance,’ that developed in Melbourne, Australia, in the 1980’s, and is typically performed to ‘Electronic Music.’ The dance moves include a fast heel-and-toe movement, combined with a variation of the ‘running man,’ coupled with a matching arm action. The dance is improvised and involves repeatedly shuffling your feet inwards, then outwards, while thrusting your arms up and down, or side to side, in time with the beat.

Redfoo has stated that he was not surprised by the songs success,’We made a decision for that to be the first single from the Album for the very reason that we thought it could be a Number 1 song. It’s a song that is quite unique as it’s a party track that actually talks about how to party. It’s like an instruction to dance. We were excited about it when we first finished it, especially as it took over year to make.’

‘Yo, I’m running through these hoes like Drano. I got that devilish flow, Rock and Roll, no halo, we party rock. Yeah, that’s the crew that I’m reppin,’ On the rise to the top, no Led in our Zeppelin.’