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Posted by: In: Other 28 Feb 2023 Comments: 0


944-Ella Fitzgerald-Anything Goes.

1956-It has never been released as a single in the UK.

Best Bit-At 0.47. Perhaps if Cole Porter had lived long enough to see ‘Punk Rock,’ and ‘Gangsta Rap’ he may have been more tolerant of his own era.

‘Anything Goes’ was written by Cole Porter for the 1934 musical ‘Anything Goes,’ it was based on an original script collaborated on by the Anglo/American playwright Guy Bolton, (1884-1979) and the English writer P.G. Wodehouse, (1881-1975) but shortly before it went in to production it was heavily revised by the team of the American playwrights Howard Lindsay, (1889-1968) and Russel Crouse (1893-1966.)

Cole Albert Porter (see also best songs 655-295 and 73) was born on June 9th, 1891, in Peru, Indiana, United States, he died of kidney failure on October 15th, 1964, at the age pf 73. Porter is one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th Century, with many of the songs that he wrote for stage musicals, later being used when those shows were made in to films. Dozens of his compositions have been covered by generations of artists, with several of those songs being acknowledged as part of the ‘Great American Songbook.’ There are 31 songs from the ‘Great American Songbook’ on this ‘1000 Best Songs’ list (see best songs 281 for the listing.) Most music critics agree that Cole Porters ‘golden era’ was during the 1920’s, and 1930’s,as in 1937 Porter suffered a serious horseback riding accident that left him disabled and in constant pain, which affected his future work, although in 1948 he made a triumphant comeback with his most successful musical, ‘Kiss Me, Kate,’ which won the first ‘Tony Award’ for ‘Best Musical’ in 1949. ‘Anything Goes’ may appear to some as prudish, but Cole Porter was far from that. Porter was a homosexual in an era where it was frowned upon, but it is said that in private he used his wealth to extravagantly live life to the full.

‘Anything Goes’ has been recorded on hundreds of occasions down the decades, including by many of the world’s most renowned artists. The version I have chosen was the first of two significant recordings by Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1966) (see also best songs 702-286-231 and 100.) This 1956 recording was released on the ‘Verve’ record label, and was track 2 of 32 Cole Porter written songs on the double Album ‘Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book,’ with the production being by Norman Granz (1918-2001) (see also best songs 286 and 100) In 1972 Ella Fitzgerald recorded a second Album of Cole Porter songs called ‘Ella Loves Cole,’ which this time was issued on one disc, that was released on the ‘Atlantic’ records label, and included 12 tracks. This time her version of ‘Anything Goes’ which was produced by Nelson Riddle, (1921-1985) (see also best songs 877-286 and 73) was a far more uptempo re-make.

‘Anything Goes’ has a fascinating lyric, warning that the people of today (1934) are becoming morally out of control, and they should look for guidance from their predecessors. Cole Porter probably meant by that the ‘Edwardian’ era (1901-1910) when ‘Showing a glimpse of stocking was something shocking. Porter was also not afraid to state his thoughts about well known people, and celebrities of the day, in the songs lyrics, but you will have to seek out some of the other versions by various artists in order to hear the verses in full, as Ella Fitzgerald edits out the most controversial bits in her recordings.

One of the earliest, and most popular versions that include all of the lyrics is the 1934 recording by ‘Paul Whiteman (1890-1967) and his Orchestra,’ with vocals by Ramona Davis (1909-1972.) ‘Anything Goes’ opening verse mentions ‘Plymouth Rock,’ in Massachusetts, United States, many believe that the lyrics influenced a 1964 speech by the ‘Civil Rights Movement’ minister ‘Malcolm X,’ (1925-1965) who said,’Our forefathers were not the Pilgrims, we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, the rock was landed on us.’ ‘Anything Goes’ also mentions the Hollywood sex symbol ‘Mae West,’ (1893-1980) the industrialist John D. Rockefeller, (1839-1937) the film producer Max Gordon, (1892-1978) and the wealthy American Vanderbilt family.

‘The world has gone mad today and good’s bad today, and black’s white today, and day’s night today, and that gent today, you gave a cent today, once had several chateaux.’

Posted by: In: Other 27 Feb 2023 Comments: 0


945-Billy Idol-White Wedding.

1982-It didn’t chart when first issued, and then again it failed to chart when re-issued in 1983. The song finally became a hit when it was again re-released in 1985, and reached Number 6.

Best Bit-At 2.24. ‘Love is the Drug.’

Billy Idol was born William Michael Albert Broad on November 30th, 1955, in Stanmore, London, England, his stage name derives from his school geography teacher who wrote on his report that ‘Billy was Idle.’ Billy Idol has said that he chose ‘Idol’ instead of ‘Idle’ as he felt it was too similar to ‘Eric Idle’ of ‘Monty Python’ fame.

Billy Idol began his music career as a guitarist with the English Punk Rock group ‘Chelsea’ in 1976, it was that bands frontman ‘Gene October’ who advised Idol to change his short sighted eye-glasses for contact lenses, and dye his hair blonde with a crew cut, for a retro 1950’s ‘Rocker’ look. Later on in 1976, Idol, along with fellow ‘Chelsea’ band mate Tony James, (see also best songs 163) left that group to form the ‘Punk Rock’ inspired ‘Generation X.’ Billy Idol would release three studio Albums with Generation X, between 1978-1981, and nine singles between 1977-1981, with ‘King Rocker’ from 1979 charting the highest in the UK at Number 11.

After Generation X disbanded in 1981, Billy Idol moved to New York City, United States, in order to pursue a solo career, where he teamed up with the American guitarist Steve Stevens. Together Idol and Stevens have worked together on seven Billy Idol Album projects between 1982-2022. Stevens who was born Steven Bruce Schneider on May 5th, 1959, in New York City, has worked with many other artists as well, including Michael Jackson, (‘Dirty Diana’-1987) and also on the soundtrack of the movie ‘Top Gun’ in 1986.

The solo discography of Billy Idol includes seven studio Albums that have been released between 1982-2014, and 37 singles that have been issued between 1981-2022. In the UK, 10 of those singles have made the top 40, with ‘White Wedding,’ (1985) and ‘Rebel Yell,’ (1985) both charting the highest at Number 6. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, Billy Idol has charted within the top 40 on nine occasions, with his live cover version of ‘Mony Mony’ making Number 1 in 1987. In America ‘White Wedding’ reached a peak of Number 36 on it’s first release, in 1982.

‘White Wedding’ was the second of two singles released from Billy Idol’s self titled debut studio Album from July 1982, all of the Albums 10 tracks were either written or co-written by Idol, with the production by Keith Forsey, who also played the drums on ‘White Wedding.’ Forsey who was born on January 2nd, 1948, in London, England, was involved heavily in the ‘Disco’ boom of the mid to late 1970’s, and can be heard playing the drums on the 1979 Donna Summer Album ‘Bad Girls,’ and the 1979 Album ‘No. 1 in Heaven,’ which was the eighth studio Album from ‘Sparks.’ Both of those Albums were produced by Giorgio Moroder, (see also best songs 78 and 11) who was a big influence on Forsey’s future work as a music producer. Other career highlights for Forsey include co-writing ‘Flashdance…What a Feeling,’ a 1983 Billboard Number 1 single for Irene Cara, (1959-2022) and co-writing and producing ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me’) a 1985 Billboard Number 1 single for Simple Minds (see also best songs 897.)

Billy Idol has explained what ‘White Wedding’ is about,’My sister was pregnant. She was getting married and there was no argument or anything, but I thought about all the different people and all the times past when that was such a taboo thing. I thought about that, the taboo nature and the convention, and the wedding being such a celebration, but then it turns into something like a shotgun wedding. Then it went on from there.Then I thought about this incestuous kind of sick brother who’s gallivanting across the globe on some wild… who knows what he’s looking for, leading a completely unconventional life, leaving behind all your friends and just going and going, and all those things started to play into the song.’

Billy Idol has struggled with alcoholism, and and drug addition, with his drug history including heroin and cocaine. My own personal opinion of what ‘White Wedding’ really means is completely different to what Billy Idol has stated. My interpretation is that the song is about ‘crack cocaine,’ as the clues are are far too many to be coincidental. ‘Crack’ is often referred to as ‘cocaine’s ‘Little Sister,’ since it is cheaper to buy. The ‘White Wedding’ is when a cocaine, or crack addict quits, only to ‘Start Again.’ The ‘Shotgun’ is referring to the practise where smoked drugs are exhaled by one user, in to the mouth of another user.

‘Hey little sister, who is it you’re with? Hey little sister, what’s your vice and wish? Hey little sister, shotgun, oh yeah, hey little sister, who’s your Superman? Hey little sister, shotgun. It’s a nice day to start again, it’s a nice day for a white wedding.’

Posted by: In: Other 26 Feb 2023 Comments: 0


946-Elton John-Crocodile Rock.

1972-Number 5 single.

Best Bit-At 1.58. Elton name checks the Bill Haley song ‘Rock Around the Clock,’ (see also best songs 628) surely ‘See You Later Alligator’ is more appropriate.

‘Crocodile Rock’ was, as with the majority of their songs, co-written by Elton John, (music) and Bernie Taupin (lyrics) (see also best songs 481-237 and 62.) The song was the first of two singles released from Elton John’s sixth studio Album ‘Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player,’ from January 1973, with production by Gus Dudgeon (1942-2002.) The Albums title came from Elton’s friend, the actor/comedian Groucho Marx (1890-1977.) Elton was playing the piano at a party at Groucho’s home, Groucho, who referred to him as ‘John Elton’, held out his middle and index finger in the style of a pistol. Elton then raised his hands and said ‘Don’t shoot me, I’m only the piano player’ at Marx’s gun imitation.

‘Crocodile Rock’ and it’s parent Album were produced by Gus Dudgeon, who was born Angus Boyd Dudgeon, on September 30th, 1942, in Woking, Surrey, England, in total Dudgeon worked on nine studio Albums with Elton John, seven of which reached Number 1 on Billboard in America. Dudgeon also worked with several other high profile artists during the course of his career including Joan Armatrading, Elkie Brookes, and Chris Rea. Dudgeon was also the producer of David Bowie’s 1969 single ‘Space Oddity.’ Tony Visconti (see also best songs 386-302-209 and 118) who had produced the songs parent Album ‘David Bowie (Space Oddity,’) didn’t want to produce ‘Space Oddity’ as he saw it as only a ‘novelty’ song. On July 21st, 2002, Gus Dudgeon and his wife Sheila died when their vehicle veered off the motorway between Reading and Maidenhead, in England. The inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death, noting that he was intoxicated and had possibly fallen asleep at the wheel while driving well in excess of the speed limit. He and his wife both suffered severe head injuries, and were trapped in the car which landed in a storm drain, and may they have drowned.

‘Crocodile Rock’ gave Elton John the first of his nine American Billboard Number 1 singles in 1972, enabling him to go on and become the best selling singles artist worldwide in the 1970’s decade. Both Elton John, and Bernie Taupin do not shy away from the fact that ‘Crocodile Rock’ borrows heavily from the music of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, in fact it was recorded that way on purpose. For example if you listen to the Del Shannon 1962 song ‘Cry Myself To Sleep,’ or The Diamonds 1957 hit ‘Little Darlin,” you will hear where the inspiration for the ‘La, La, La,’ refrain comes from. In 1974 Buddy Kaye, the composer of the 1961 song ‘Speedy Gonzales,’ filed a lawsuit against John and Taupin, a settlement was agreed out of court. It is also worth taking a listen to the intro of the 1962 song ‘Let’s Dance’ by Chris Montez, to hear where further inspiration was taken. Another song that had inspired Elton John was ‘Eagle Rock,’ by the Australian band ‘Daddy Cool.’ Elton John heard the song and the group on his 1972 Australian tour, and was greatly impressed by it. A photo included in the ‘Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player’ Album packaging features Bernie Taupin, wearing a ‘Daddy Who?’ promotional badge. Incidentally ‘Eagle Rock’ would go on to become the best selling single of the 1970’s in Australia, with sales in excess of 1 million copies, and spending 10 weeks at Number 1 on the ‘Aria’ chart.

Neither Elton John or Bernie Taupin see ‘Crocodile Rock’ as amongst their best works, with Elton having described the song as ‘Disposable Pop.’ Bernie Taupin has said,’I don’t want people to remember me for ‘Crocodile Rock.’ I’d much rather they remember me for songs like ‘Candle In The Wind’ and ‘Empty Garden,’ songs that convey a message. Well, they don’t really need to convey a message, as long as they can convey a feeling. But there are things like ‘Crocodile Rock,’ which was fun at the time, but it was Pop fluff. It was like, ‘Okay, that was fun for now, throw it away, and here’s the next one. So there’s a certain element of our music that is disposable, but I think you’ll find that in anybody’s catalogue.’

‘Crocodile Rock’ sees the narrator longing to return to the days of his youth, when he would dance with his girlfriend Suzie to a dance routine that they called the ‘Crocodile Rock.’ As time passed by Suzie left him for someone else, and music tastes changed. He now reminisces of those wonderful days.

‘Well Crocodile Rocking is something shocking when your feet just can’t keep still, I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will. Oh Lawdy mama those Friday nights when Suzie wore her dresses tight, and the Crocodile Rocking was out of sight.’

Posted by: In: Other 25 Feb 2023 Comments: 0


947-Ocean Colour Scene-Hundred Mile High City.

1997-Number 4 single.

Best Bit-At 3.25. If electric guitars could report physical abuse, then this lot would be in big trouble with the guitar police.

Ocean Colour Scene were formed in 1989, in Solihull, England, by the coming together of two local bands who had recently split. Simon Fowler, (vocals and guitar) Oscar Harrison, (drums) and Damon Minchella, (bass) had all previously been members of the Birmingham based band ‘The Fanatics,’ while the fourth member Stephen Cradock, (vocals, and guitar) had been a member of the Solihull based band ‘The Boys. After the disappointing sales of Ocean Colour Scene’s self titled debut Album in 1992, things finally began to take a turn for the better when Paul Weller (see also best songs 670-94 and 59) invited the band to support him on some tour dates. Ocean Colour Scene which is often abbreviated to ‘OCS’ then came to the attention of Noel Gallagher, (see also best songs 1006-758 and 15) which in turn led to ‘OCS’ supporting Oasis on their 1995 tour, and a contract being signed with ‘MCA Records.’

Ocean Colour Scene who biggest commercial success came at the height of ‘Britop’ in the mid 1990’s, play a mixture of ‘Blues Rock,’ and ‘Alternative Rock,’ and to date have released 10 studio Albums between 1992-2013, and 34 singles between 1990-2013, they have also issued seven live Albums, and four compilations. In the UK where they have achieved their greatest success, 17 of their singles have reached that charts top 40, with ‘Hundred Mile High City,’ and ‘The Day We Caught the Train,’ (1996) both charting the highest, when peaking at Number 4. In total there have been seven different members of Ocean Colour Scene come and go, and at the time of writing they remain active, with all current and previous members, having had pursued other musical projects over the years.

‘Hundred Mile High City’ was the first of four singles released from Ocean Colour Scene’s third studio Album ‘Marchin’ Already,’ from September 1997. All the members of ‘OCS’ at that time received the songwriting credits, with the production being by Brendan Lynch, and Martin ‘Max’ Heyes. Brendan Lynch is a London based music producer, who through the course of his career has also produced for the likes of Paul Weller, and Primal Scream. In 1996 Lynch became the first person ever to officially remix an Oasis song, when he reworked ‘Champagne Supanova’ (see also best songs 758.) ‘Marchin’ Already’ would prove to be the groups biggest success, giving them their only UK Number 1 Album to date. The Album knocked Oasis’ ‘Be Here Now’ off the top spot, which led to Noel Gallagher sending ‘OCS’ his congratulations through a plaque on which he had inscribed, ‘To The Second Best Band In Britain.’ Steve Cradock famously replied, ‘It’s an honour to be described as Britain’s second best band, ahead of Oasis, but behind the Beatles.’ In 1998 ‘Hundred Mile High City’ was one of the songs chosen for the British/American black comedy crime film ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,’ which led to the song becoming a staple of ‘Alternative Rock Music’ radio stations in America, and giving them exposure in the States.

In an interview in 2002 Steve Cradock explained what ‘Hundred Mile High City’s’ real meaning is, saying it was written about a friend of his who was in a deep depression over a failed love affair. Cradock went on to say that his friend was mortified because he had been oblivious to his own behaviour, which had led to an emotional breakdown. Cradock has said that the song is about the desperation of a love lost, and the need to escape the pain, (possibly through suicide) as he realises that he was the architect of his own downfall.

‘I get a need and I’m wanting to please it. I gotta face and I’m wanting to feel it. The more I feel is the more that I need it, the more I need is the less I believe it.’

Posted by: In: Other 24 Feb 2023 Comments: 0


948-Martha Reeves & The Vandellas-Dancing in the Street.

1964-Number 28 single. When it was re-issued in 1969 it peaked at Number 4.

Best Bit-At 1.35. Ever tried doing a mobile disco outdoors in England. If it doesn’t rain, then it’s probably two windy, or both. If it’s not two cold, then ever so occasionally it could be far two hot. And as for the neighbours telling you to turn it down, best not go there.

Martha and the Vandellas were formed in Detroit, Michigan, in 1957, by Annette Beard, Rosalind Ashford, and Gloria Williams, (1942-2000) they were joined by Martha Reeves, who was a friend of Williams in 1960, originally calling themselves ‘The Del-Phis.’ After the failure of their first two singles, Martha Reeves left the group to pursue a solo career, where she was spotted singing in a Detroit club by ‘Motown Records’ songwriter and producer William ‘Mickey’ Stevenson, who offered her an audition. Initially Reeves was hired to provide background vocals, which led to her getting back in touch with ‘The Del-Phis’ who had now become ‘The Vels,’ with some changes in members, and as a quartet they impressed Motown supremo Berry Gordy, who offered the quartet a contract, and changed their name to ‘The Vandellas.’ It was in 1967 that the group officially became ‘Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, and they remained active until 1972, in total there have been nine different members come and go, and since the turn of the Century there are two different groups of former members touring, and using the names ‘Martha Reeves & The Vandellas,’ and ‘The Original Vandellas.’

The discography of ‘Martha Reeves & The Vandellas’ includes eight studio Albums released between 1963-1972, and 29 singles that were issued between 1961-1973. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, 12 of those singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Dancing in the Street,’ charting the highest at Number 2 in 1964, while in the UK, they have charted on seven occasions, with the 1969 re-issue of ‘Dancing in the Street’ being their most successful, when reaching Number 4.

‘Dancing in the Street’ is one of Tamla Motown’s best known and most successful songs. It was co-written by Marvin Gaye, (1939-1984) (see also best songs 723-183 and 114) who also played drums on the track, William ‘Mickey’ Stevenson, and Ivy Jo Hunter (1940-2022.) The song later appeared on the debut studio Album ‘Dance Party’ by ‘Martha & The Vandellas’ in April 1965. Stevenson who was born in Detroit joined Tamla/Motown in 1959 the year it was founded, and was head of the A&R department during ‘the glory years.’ Other Motown classics he co-wrote include ‘Needle in a Haystack, a hit for ‘The Velvelettes,’ (see also best songs 346.) and ‘It Takes Two,’ for Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston. Ivy Jo Hunter was also born in Detroit, Michigan, and began working for Motown after being introduced to Stevenson in the early 1960’s by Hank Cosby (1928-2002) who was also a songwriter and producer at the label. Hunter wrote songs for many of Motown’s top acts including The Isley Brothers, ‘Behind a Painted Smile,’ (UK Number 5 in 1967) and for the Four Tops ‘Ask the Lonely’ (Billboard Number 24 in 1965.)

The idea for ‘Dancing in the Street’ came about while William ‘Mickey’ Stevenson, and Marvin Gaye were driving through Detroit. During the summer the city would open up fire hydrants and let water out in to the streets so people could cool off, what Stevenson saw appeared to him to be people dancing in the water in the street. The song became surrounded in controversy, with the height of it’s success concurring with riots in inner-city America, with many young black demonstrators citing the song as a ‘Civil Rights Anthem’ for social change. Martha Reeves strongly refutes any connection between the song and the ‘Civil Rights Movement,’ and it is also well known that Berry Gordy was extremely wary about affiliating his business with any organisation that might negatively influence his company’s commercial success.

‘Dancing in the Street’ has many cover versions, with the most memorable being the 1985 collaboration between David Bowie, (1947-2016) and Mick Jagger, in order to raise money for the ‘Live Aid’ famine relief cause. The iconic music video was shown twice during the ‘Live Aid’ event, helping to significantly boost charitable donations. In the UK the song sold in excess of 660,000 copies, and spent four weeks at Number 1, while in America the song peaked at Number 7 on Billboard.

‘It’s an invitation across the nation a chance for folks to meet. There’ll be laughing, singing, and music swinging, dancing in the street. Philadelphia, P.A. Baltimore and DC now, can’t forget the Motor City.’

Posted by: In: Other 23 Feb 2023 Comments: 0


949-Gilbert O’Sullivan-Matrimony.

1971-It wasn’t issued as a single until 1976, when it failed to chart.

Best Bit-At 2.13. Just before the first dance, when the Bride and Groom were cutting the cake, if I was feeling a little bit naughty, I would play this ironic homage to marriage, no one ever commented.

Gilbert O’Sullivan was born Raymond Edward O’Sullivan, on December 1st, 1946, in Waterford, Ireland, although he is Irish, music critics have described his quintessentially English song writing as the missing link between ‘The Kinks,’ (see also best songs 1014 and 770) ‘Squeeze,’ (see also best songs 507) and ‘Blur’ (see also best songs 256 and 21.) It is said that Gilbert O’Sullivan has always disliked touring, much preferring to stay home writing songs everyday between He has said that he avoided dating during the peak of his career, fearing it would inhibit his songwriting abilities, he didn’t get married until 1980. For a fuller career appraisal, and the discography of Gilbert O’Sullivan see beast songs 111.

‘Matrimony’ was first released as track 5 on side 1 of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s debut studio Album ‘Himself,’ from August 1971.’Matrimony’ and it’s parent Album was written by Gilbert O’Sullivan, with the production credited to Gordon Mills. Gordon Mills (see also best songs 129) was born Gordon William Mills, on May 15th, 1935, in Madras, British India, he died of stomach cancer, in 1986, at the age of 51. Gordon Mills first found success in music as a member of the British Pop group ‘The Viscounts,’ who had chart success in 1961, when reaching Number 21 in the UK with their cover version of the ‘novelty’ song ‘Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp’) Mills then went on to write, or co-write several mid 1960’s hit singles including ‘High Time,’ for Paul Jones, (1966-UK Number 4) ‘I’ll Never Get Over You,’ for Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, (1963-UK Number 4 single, and ‘It’s Not Unusual’ for Tom Jones (1965-UK Number 1.) Also in the 1960’s Mills moved in to management, with his two big signings being Tom Jones, (see also best songs 964 and 129) and Engelbert Humperdinck, it was Mills who gave both of those artists their stage names. In 1970 Gordon Mills, and Tom Jones co-founded ‘MAM Records,’ with Gilbert O’Sullivan being the labels biggest success, followed by the signing of Lynsey de Paul (1948-2014.) After years of working together O’Sullivan sued Mills over ‘cooking of the books,’ Mills had failed to pay O’Sullivan the correct royalties. In 1982 the court found in O’Sullivan’s favour, describing him as a “Patently honest and decent man,’ who had not received a just proportion of the vast income his songs had generated, he was awarded seven million in damages.

Another key player in the recording of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s debut studio Album ‘Himself,’ and on the track ‘Matrimony,’ was Johnnie Spence who did the Albums arrangements. John Spence Abrahams was born on February 4th, 1936, he died suddenly of a heart attack on August 15th, 1977, at the age of 41. Spence was a British musical arranger, and director, who worked on numerous records, and also in the field of light entertainment on television throughout the 1960’s, and 1970’s. Other key artists who Spence worked with included Matt Monro, (1930-1985) Ann Shelton, (1923-1994) and Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996.) (see also best songs 944-702-286-231 and 100) Sir George Martin (1926-2016) who had first worked with Spence in the late 1950’s said in a tribute,’Johnnie Spence was one of the best musicians I’ve ever known.He was a marvellous arranger, a great band man, and his scores for brass, saxes, rhythm and strings were the best I’ve ever had, much better than I could do. His work with Matt Monro was one of the highlights, one of the joys of my life. He always turned up with a very tasteful score. He was a lovely man, a great character. He did tend to burn the candle at both ends though, and in the middle! It was a great tragedy when he died, it was such a shock, he was so young.’

‘Matrimony’ tells the tale of a couple getting married on the cheap, and not telling anyone, as they think that their families wouldn’t approve of the marriage anyway. The narrator wants to go ahead with the wedding, but knows that like many other marriages, it might not work out.

‘I know how you’ve dreamt about being walked down the aisle, but think of the money we’ll save, and you’ll see it’s worthwhile. It won’t please our mums and dads, but they don’t even know, besides if they did what’s the betting they wouldn’t even go.’

Posted by: In: Other 22 Feb 2023 Comments: 0


950-Wildchild-Renegade Master.

1995-Number 11 single.

Best Bit-At 0.30. OK ‘Pop Pickers,’ can you name another UK top 40 single that has been a hit on two occasions for the same artist, using the exact same song, but using different titles.

Wildchild, or DJ Wildchild, was the stage name of Roger McKenzie, who was born on July 22nd, 1971, in Southampton, England, he died on November 25th, 1995, from an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of 24. Wildchild was a musician who made music in the ‘Electronic House’ genre, and during his career which was tragically cut short, he charted on the UK top 40 singles chart on five occasions. His first chart entry was in April 1995, when this song which was then titled ‘Legends of the Dark Black Pt 2,’ reached Number 34. Six months later the track was re-released, but this time the songs title was changed to ‘Renegade Master,’ and charted considerably higher, when reaching Number 11. Wildchild followed up the success of ‘Renegade Master’ with the posthumous releases ‘Jump to My Beat,’ which made Number 30, in November 1996, and then with his final chart entry ‘Bad Boy,’ which reached Number 38 in 1998. Between those final two hits, ‘Renegade Master’ was once again back in the UK top 40, following the 1998 ‘Big Beat’ remix by Fatboy Slim, (see also best songs 760-387 and 95) which surpassed the success of the Wildchild original, by reaching a peak of Number 3.

‘Renegade Master’ which was written, and produced by Wildchild, can be filed under the genre of ‘House’ music, The vocals on the track are sampled from the 1994 ‘Hip-Hop’ track ‘One for the Trouble,’ by the American ‘Hip-Hop’ artist ‘A.D.O.R.’ who was born Eddie Castellanos in New York City, New York, United States. ‘A.D.O.R.’ which stands for either ‘Another Dimension of Rhythm,’ or ‘A Declaration Of Revolution,’ has released six Albums, the first in 1994, and the latest in 2008. ‘One for the Money,’ was the second single released by ‘A.D.O.R.’ with the production being by the ‘Hip-Hop’ producer Marion Williams, who is better known by his stage name Marley Mal, he was also responsible for remixing duties on the 1987 Album ‘Paid in Full,’ by Eric B. & Rakim (see also best 856.)

‘House Music’ of which there are many examples of throughout this countdown, was created by DJ’s, and music producers from Chicago’s underground club culture in the early to mid 1980’s, as DJ’s began altering ‘Disco’ songs to give them a more mechanical beat. ‘House Music’ was pioneered by African American DJ’s and producers in Chicago such as Frankie Knuckles, (1955-2014) Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, (see also best songs 935) Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, (see also best songs 981) Marshall Jefferson, and others. ‘House Music’ soon expanded to other American cities such as New York City, and then became a worldwide phenomenon.

Such was the popularity of the lyrics on ‘One for the Trouble,’ and further popularised by Wildchild, they have made their way in to the ‘Urban Dictionary.’ A ‘Renegade’ is someone who rebels, and becomes an outlaw defector, or is a disloyal person who abandons their duty. ‘Ill Behaviour,’ is urban slang for acting in an unusual manner, maybe brought on by the use of alcohol, or drugs, and a ‘Default Damager’ is someone who has a lot to say, but offers little content in what they do say.

Back once again for the renegade master, D4 damage with the ill behaviour. Back once again for the renegade master, D4 damage with the ill behaviour.’

Posted by: In: Other 21 Feb 2023 Comments: 0


951-The Cure-In Between Days. (Extended Version.)

1985-Number 15 single.

Best Bit At 0.01. When I state that the ‘Best Bit’ is at ‘0.01,’ it generally means I an blown away by that songs intro. With this song I am blown away by all 1.51 seconds of it’s intro.

The Cure were formed in Crawley, West Sussex, England, in 1978, although the groups one constant Robert Smith refuses to be labelled with any genre, ‘The Cure’ are considered to have recorded ‘Gothic Rock,’ ‘Post Punk,’ Alternative Rock,’ and ‘New Wave.’ In total there have been seven past members, and six current members, with Robert Smith being the groups only ever present.

Robert James Smith was born on April 21st, 1959, in Blackpool, England, he is known for his guitar playing style, distinctive voice, and fashion sense. His public persona, and stage presence of a pale complexion, smeared red lipstick, black eye-liner, a dishevelled nest of wiry black hair, and all-black clothing, have been highly influential on the ‘Goth’ subculture that rose to prominence in the early 1980’s. The earliest incarnation of ‘The Cure’ was when a 13 year old Robert Smith and his schoolmates performed at a school function somewhere between 1972-1973 as ‘The Obelisk.’ The nucleus of that group moved on to secondary school where as friends they continued to play together, with other members coming and going, with Smith, and his other young band mates experimenting with differing musical genres. By 1977 they had become known as ‘Easy Cure,’ which was also the title of one of their earliest songs, it was Smith who changed the name to ‘The Cure’ on their official formation in 1978.

The discography of The Cure includes 13 studio Albums released between 1979-2008, and 46 singles issued between 1978-2019, their are also six official live Albums, and seven official compilations available. In the UK, 23 of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Lullaby’ from 1989 charting the highest at Number 5. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, two of their songs have made the top 40, with ‘Lovesong’ from 1989, charting the highest at Number 2. Away from The Cure, Robert Smith has appeared on two Albums by the English Alternative Rock band ‘Siouxsie and the Banshees,’ (see also best songs 668 and 238) as an official member. He played guitar on their 1983 live double Album ‘Nocturne,’ and also on their 1984 sixth studio Album ‘Hyaena,’ where he played guitar and keyboards. On Robert Smith’s time as a member of ‘Siouxsie and the Banshees,’ Steven Severin, that bands co-founder has said,’I think he learnt how to be a front person, just by standing next to Siouxsie for a couple of months every night. I think he completely changed his persona on stage because of that, he came out of his shell. I think that he learnt how to be a bit more flamboyant, and how it was okay, and I think he saw how, y’know… how should I put it… Siouxsie’s more ‘diva’ moments were kind of acceptable because they were the front person, and I think he learnt how to get away with stuff. And just a bit about stagecraft, and how to use the audience a bit more. Because if you look at early clips of their performances you can see he’s sort of much more shy and retiring than he becomes a bit later on, and of course, his whole look changes as well.’

‘In Between Days’ was written by Robert Smith, and produced by Smith and David M. Allen, who in total worked on five of The Cure’s studio Albums. Other notable production work from Allen includes Albums by ‘The Sisters of Mercy,’ (‘First and Last and Always’-1985) The Mission, (Aura-1996) and Nenah Cherry (Man-1996.) ‘In Between Days’ was the first of two singles released from The Cure’s sixth studio Album ‘The Head on the Door’ from August 1985, it has been noted that the songs bass line is very reminiscent to the 1981 song ‘Dreams Never End,’ the opening track on ‘New Order’s debut studio Album ‘Movement.’ ‘In Between Days’ is an upbeat, happy sounding ‘Pop’ song, something not always associated with The Cure, (although there have been a few) but unlike the beat, the lyrics are not happy, as they tell of an affair that the narrator had, then realising that he had made a mistake, he is now wanting to get his first love back.

‘And I know I was wrong when I said it was true, that it couldn’t be me and be her in between without you.’

Posted by: In: Other 20 Feb 2023 Comments: 0


952-Dennis Brown-Money in My Pocket.

1979-Number 14 single.

Best Bit-At 3.43. I am the very proud owner of this song on beautiful mint condition 12 inch vinyl. It probably has no monetary value, and besides I don’t even own a record player to play it on, but it’s lovely to look at.

Dennis Emmanuel Brown was born on February 1st, 1957, in Kingston, Jamaica, in the late 1990’s his health began to deteriorate, as he developed respiratory problems, probably caused by many years of drug addiction, mainly with cocaine. He died on July 1st, 1999, at the age of 42, having had a cardiac arrest, with the official cause of death being a collapsed lung. After Bob Marley, (1945-1981) (see also best songs 618 and 56) Dennis Brown is probably the most revered artist to come out of Jamaica, he was one of the leading protagonists in the genre of ‘Lovers Rock,’ which is a style of Reggae music noted for it’s romantic sound, and content. Bob Marley cited Dennis Brown as his favourite singer, and calling him ‘The Crown Prince of Reggae.’

Dennis Brown who cited Nat King Cole (1919-1965) (see also best songs 988-327-226 and 161) as great early influence, was a child star in Jamaica, he started singing professionally at the age of 11, and recorded his first single at the age of 12. Brown was a prolific singer/songwriter, and released over 80 Albums between 1970-1999, there have also been over 30 posthumous Albums that have been issued between 2000-2020. During his career Dennis Brown recorded alongside many of the best known names in Reggae production, and also with many of the most successful Reggae performers.

‘Money in My Pocket’ was co-written by Dennis Brown and Joe Gibbs, with the production also being by Gibbs. Dennis Brown had recorded the original version of the song as far back as 1972, with the production being by Winston ‘Niney’ Holness, on behalf of Gibbs. Holness who also played a major part in launching the career of Dennis Brown acquired his nickname ‘Niney’ after losing a thumb in a workshop accident. It was through ‘Money in My Pocket’ that Dennis Brown achieved international success. In 1978 the song was relaunched as a ‘Discomix’ on the ‘Lightning Records’ label, which was a London based label that specialised in ‘Disco,’ ‘Reggae,’ and ‘Dub’ music. A ‘Discomix’ is a ‘Reggae’ 12 inch mix that includes the full length version of a song, including the ‘Toasting.’ For ‘Money in My Pocket’ the original ‘Dub’ part was replaced by the toasting vocals of Prince Mohammed, who was born George Knooks, in 1968, in Kingston, Jamaica. ‘Toasting’ was a forerunner to ‘Rap,’ and was performed by DJ’s in Jamaica in the 1960’s, on their sound systems, at dances. ‘Money in My Pocket’ was released as a 12 inch single in 1978 that ran for just short of eight minutes, and it was also issued as a seven inch single, with Dennis Brown featured on the ‘A’ side, (part 1) and the Prince Mohammed version, featuring Dennis Brown on side ‘B,’ (part 2) which was known as the ‘Cool Runnings’ version.

Joe Gibbs was born Joel Arthur Gibson on October 14th, 1942, in Salt Spring, St. James, Jamaica, he died of a heart attack on February 22nd, 2008, at the age of 65. Gibbs was one of the most important names in the development of Reggae music, initially working with the equally influential Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (1936-2021) (see also best songs 817 and 789) In 1975 Gibbs began working with fellow Jamaican Errol Thompson, (1948-2004) and the pair would become collectively known as the ‘Mighty Two.’ Together they produced for artists including Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, (1951-2010) and most notably, (commercially) being the co-producers of the 1978 UK Number 1 single ‘Uptown Top Ranking,’ for Althea & Donna (see also best songs 101.) In 1977 Gibbs and Thompson co-produced an Album called ‘Two Sevens Clash,’ for the Jamaican ‘Roots Reggae’ group ‘Culture,’ this Album became a major influence on the then emerging ‘Punk’ scene, and was also an internationally acclaimed production. The album has been cited by the ‘Punk Rock’ band ‘The Clash’ (see also best songs 867-638 and 294) as a major influence.

‘It’s hard for a man to live without a woman, and a woman needs a man to cling to. You’ll see what love can do after making me feel blue, ain’t that a shame, yeah, whoa baby ain’t that a shame, yeah, to make me feel blue, whoa yeah.’

Posted by: In: Other 19 Feb 2023 Comments: 0


953-Avril Lavigne-Girlfriend.

2007-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 0.59. It’s the poor boyfriend I feel sorry for, it must be awful having all those girls fighting over you.

Avril Ramona Lavigne was born on September 27th, 1984, in Belleville, Ontario, Canada, she is considered a key player in the development of ‘Pop Punk’ in the early 2000’s, which earned her the honorific title ‘Pop Punk Queen.’ After signing with ‘Arista Records’ at the age of 16, her debut studio Album ‘Let Go,’ (2002) was her breakthrough, and went on to become the best selling Album of the 21st Century by a Canadian artist to date. Speaking about her early career development, Lavigne has said,’I had to fight to keep my image really me. I rejected some gorgeous publicity shots because they just didn’t look like me. I won’t wear skanky clothes that show my booty, my belly or my boobs. I have a great body.

The discography of Avril Lavigne includes seven studio Albums released between 2002-2022, and 33 singles issued in the same time period. In her native Canada, 15 of those singles have reached the ‘Canadian Hot 100’ top 40 chart, with ‘Complicated,’ (2002) and ‘Girlfriend,’ (2007) both making Number 1. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, she had reached the top 40 on 10 occasions, with ‘Girlfriend’ making Number 1, while on the UK top 40, she has charted on 13 occasions, with ‘Girlfriend’ peaking the highest at Number 2. With sales in excess of 40 million Albums, and 50 million singles sold worldwide, Avril Lavigne is the third best selling Canadian female artist of all time.

‘Girlfriend’ was the first of four singles released from Avril Lavigne’s third studio Album ‘The Best Dam Thing,’ from April 2007, it was co-written by Avril Lavigne, and Dr Luke, with the production also credited to Dr Luke. Dr Luke (see also best songs 870-824 and 566) was born Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald on September 26th, 1973, in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. he has also written and produced music using the names ‘Tyson Trax,’ and ‘Made in China.’ As a songwriter and music producer he is right up there with the most successful of the 21st Century, having worked with dozens of the most recent top ‘Pop’ acts, including Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and Pink. In 2011 Dr Luke founded ‘Kemosabe Records,’ and some of the artists he has signed, and developed on the label include, Kesha, Juicy J, and Doja Cat.

‘Girlfriend’ can boast being the best selling single of 2007 worldwide with sales in excess of 7.5 million copies, it has since gone on to top the 10 million mark. The song has been noted to have similarities to Toni Basil’s 1982 single ‘Mickey, (Billboard Number 1, and UK Number 2) and also to the American ‘Power Pop’ group ‘The Rubinoos’ 1979 single ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.’ That songs writer James Gangwer, and Tommy Dunbar of ‘The Rubinoos,’ sued Avril Lavigne, and Dr Luke, over claims that ‘Girlfriend’ was too similar to ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.’ Both Lavigne, and Dr Luke strenuously denied those accusations, stating that they had never heard of that song. Eventually things were settled out of court, with Lavigne saying it was cheaper to do it that way, rather than having to spend more on court costs. After the settlement Dunbar and Gangwer released a statement in which they claimed to ‘Completely exonerate’ Lavigne and Dr. Luke from any wrongdoing.

‘Girlfriend’ is sung by Avril Lavigne from the perspective of a girl who likes a boy that already has a girlfriend. In an ‘immature’ manner she tries to convince the boy that she would be a better choice of girlfriend for him. Avril Lavigne has said,’The song is just a fun song, and it doesn’t really mean anything. Writing it I just starting singing, ‘I don’t like your girlfriend, I think you need a new one,’ thinking this is cool. So we just went in that direction.’ Lavigne has also said,’Sometimes I’ve found that the stuff I write really quickly and don’t really think about tends to be the magic. We both knew, Dr. Luke and I, that that song was going to do well.’

‘I can see the way, I see the way you look at me, and even when you look away, I know you think of me. I know you talk about me all the time, again and again. So come over here and tell me what I wanna hear, better yet, make your girlfriend disappear.’