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Posted by: In: Other 31 May 2023 Comments: 0


857-Johnny Cash-Man in Black.

1971-It has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 2.26. Definitely not a dedicated follower of fashion.

Johnny Cash was born J. R. Cash, on February 26th, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, United States, he died on September 12th, 2003, of complications from diabetes, at the age of 71. His mother wanted to call him John, and his father wanted to call him Ray, so ‘J.R.’ was the compromise. When he joined the United States Air Force in 1950, he changed his name to John, as they wouldn’t allow people to join who just used initials. Johnny Cash is one of the worlds best ever selling artists, with sales in excess of 90 million. His extensive discography includes 67 studio Albums, released between 1957-2014, and 105 official compilation albums, and 16 live Albums. He has also released 170 singles between 1955-2014, with 13 of those tracks reaching the Billboard Hot 100 top 40 singles chart, with ‘A Boy Named Sue’ peaking the highest at Number 2 in 1971. On the Billboard ‘Hot Country Songs’ chart, 101 of his singles have reached the top 40, with 14 of those tracks making the Number 1 spot, all of those entries include his collaborations with June Carter Cash, (1929-2003) Waylon Jennings, (1937-2002) Willie Nelson (see also best songs 337) and Kris Kristofferson, (see also best songs 341) and also The Carter Family. In the UK, Johnny Cash has charted within the top 40 singles chart on six occasions, with both ‘A Boy Named Sue,’ (1971) and ‘A Thing Called Love,’ (1971) both peaking the highest at Number 4.

‘Man in Black’ is a ‘protest song,’ which was written and produced by Johnny Cash, it is also the title track of his 38th overall Album release, from May 1971. ‘Man in Black’ was the first of two singles released prior to the Albums release, the other track issued as a single was ‘Singing in Viet Nam Talking Blues.’ The lyrics to ‘Man in Black’ are a protest statement of the way poor people are treated by politicians, as well as highlighting mass incarceration, and the war in Viet Nam. Johnny Cash states that until there is justice, he will only ever wear black clothing. It was following this songs release, that Cash gained his lifelong nickname ‘Man in Black.’

By 1971 Johnny Cash had already worn black clothing on stage for many years, it had started in the early days when Cash and his band were constantly on tour, and couldn’t afford new outfits, so they mixed and matched their wardrobe, and since black hid the dirt best, that was what they wore. W. S. ‘Fluke’ Holland, (1935-2020) who played drums with Johnny Cash for many years, spoke to ‘Mojo’ magazine in 2012,’And I say it’s real simple. Back then when we’d leave on tour, the longer you could wear the clothes you had on, the better it was. So if you had on black, it wouldn’t show dirt as quickly as anything else.’

Johnny Cash probably had the ideas in his head for quite sometime about what he wanted to say in ‘Man in Black,’ but when he finally put pen to paper the words came very quickly. Speaking to the audience on his very first performance of the song, at ‘Ryman Auditorium,’ in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1971, Cash admitted that he had written the song the previous weekend, and then revised it a few times before the concert on the Wednesday, Cash performed the song for the first time using cue cards with revised lyrics, that he had only updated that day. At the end of the song he received a standing ovation. His eldest daughter Rosanne has offered her perspective on what the song meant to her father,’There’s so many levels to it. One is saying, ‘I’m wearing this symbol for the downtrodden and the poor.’ The other was much more subtle to me, it reflected the sadness, the convulsions, just that mythic dark night of the soul that he went through so many times.’

‘Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day, and tell the world that everything’s okay. But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back, ’til things are brighter, I’m the man in black.’

Posted by: In: Other 30 May 2023 Comments: 0


858-Rihanna featuring Drake-What’s My Name?

2011-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 1.26. She’s Robyn Rihanna Fenty, and he’s Aubrey Drake Graham.

‘What’s My Name?’ was co-written by Mikkel S. Eriksen, and Tor Erik Hermansen, who collaborate under the working name of ‘Stargate.’ The songs other writers are Ester Dean, Traci Hale, and Drake, who wrote the songs ‘Rap.’ The track was produced by Stargate, along with Kuk Harrell. ‘What’s My Name?’ was released as the second of seven singles from Rihanna’s fifth studio Album ‘Loud,’ from November 2010.

‘Stargate’ are one of the most successful songwriting, and production teams of the 21st Century. They originally formed in 1996, in Trondeim, Norway, as the songwriting trio of Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor E. Hermansen, and Hallgeir Rustan. After initial success in Norway, where they produced the Norwegian R&B singer Noora Noor, they then branched out into the British market, writing and producing the 1999 UK Number 2 hit ‘S Club Party,’ for the English ‘Teen Pop’ band ‘S Club 7.’ It was that success which gave them the confidence to branch out even further, and attempt to conquer the American market as well. ‘Stargate’ have gone on to write or produce 10 American Billboard Hot 100 Number 1 singles to date, six of which have been in collaboration with Rihanna.

Another of this songs writers. Ester Dean, is also one of the most successful songwriters of the 21st Century. Ester Renay Dean was born on April 15th, 1986, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, United States, and since 2007 she has been writing songs for herself, and others to record. Artists who have had hit singles with songs she has written, or co-written, include, Beyonce, Chris Brown, and Christina Aguilera. Ester Dean has also charted twice on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart as an artist, in 2009 with ‘Drop It Low,’ featuring Chris Brown, (Number 38) and in 2010, as the featured artist on ‘Super Bass,’ with Nicki Minaj (Billboard Number 8, and UK Number 8.)

‘What’s My Name?’ is one of five collaborations between Rihanna, (see also best songs 566) and Drake, (see also best songs 1043 and 921) with the others being ‘Lemon,’ (Remix) from 2007, ‘Too Good,’ (2016-Billboard Number 14, and UK Number 3) ‘Work,’ (2016-Billboard Number 1, and UK Number 2) and ‘Take Care’ (2011-Billboard Number 7, and UK Number 9.) The collaboration for ‘What’s My Name?’ was originally intended to be just a remix of the song, with the solo version by Rihanna intended for the Album ‘Loud,’ Regarding Drake’s inclusion on the song, Rihanna said at the time,’Drake is the hottest rapper out right now, and we’ve always been trying to work together, he’s a young rapper who has incredible melodies,’ Tor Erik Hermansen of Stargate, who co-wrote, and co-produced ‘What’s My Name?’ has said,’She (Rihanna) played the record to Drake backstage somewhere, to try to get him on a verse. She’s calling me up saying, ‘Where are the files?’ That’s one thing you don’t hear often from artists on her level. When ‘What’s My Name? topped the UK singles chart in January 2011, Rihanna became the first female solo artist in chart history to achieve Number 1 singles in five consecutive years.

Drake has come in for a certain amount of criticism for a portion of his rap on the track, with some calling it ‘cheesy,’ and others going a step further by calling it, ‘beneath him.’ The line critics are referring to, is when Drake says,’The square root of sixty nine is eight something, right? This is a disguised reference to oral sex, as ‘sixty nine is a sexual position,’ and ‘eight something’ (ate something.) Is it clever or childish?……who cares.

‘Hey boy, I really wanna see if you can go downtown with a girl like me. Hey boy, I really wanna be with you, ’cause you just my type. Ooh na na na na. I need a boy, to take it over, looking for a guy, to put in work uh, ooh, ooh.’

Posted by: In: Other 29 May 2023 Comments: 0


859-Wheatus-Teenage Dirtbag.

2000-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 2.49. If your schooldays are meant to be the happiest, then you’re in for some tough times ahead.

Wheatus were formed in Northport, New York, United States, in 1995, by Brendan B. Brown, (lead vocals, and guitars) his brother Peter Brown, (drums) and Rich Liegey, (bass) in total there have been 31 different members come and go, with Brendan B. Brown being the groups one constant, and at the time of writing they remain active. As children the Brown brothers were nicknamed ‘wedus’ by their father, and that is from where the groups name derives. The discography of Wheatus includes five studio Albums released between 2000-2013, and 32 singles issued between 2000-2022, their are also two official live Albums, and two extended plays available. In their home country of America, they have never managed to break into the national charts, but they have achieved great success in Europe, and Australia, where ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ was a Number 1 single, and also the second best selling song in Australia in the year 2000. In the UK, three of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ charting the highest at Number 2. Their other two UK hits are a cover of the Erasure (see also best songs 700) song ‘A Little Respect,’ which made Number 3 in 2001, and the double ‘A;’ sided release ‘Wannabe Gangstar’ / ‘Leroy,’ which reached Number 22 also in 2001, all three of their hits in the UK were taken from their self titled debut studio Album.

‘Teenage Dirtbag’ was written by Brendan B. Brown, who is affectionately known to his fan base as ‘BBB.’ with the songs production credited to Philip A. Jimenez, who was also co-producer with Wheatus on the the songs parent Album. ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ was the first of three singles released from the debut studio Album by Wheatus from August 2000, and has gone on to sell in excess of five million copies worldwide.

Brendan B. Brown got the idea for the song from a very famous incident that shocked America in the summer of 1984. In the woods behind the house, in Long Island, where Brown, who at the time was 10 years old was living, there was a so called ‘Satanic, drug induced ritual teenage homicide.’ The person who committed the crime was called Ricky Kasso, (1967-1984) who when arrested was wearing an ‘AC/DC’ – T-shirt. Brown has said,’That made all the papers, and the television, obviously, and here I was, 10 years old, walking around with a case full of AC/DC, (see also best songs 797-245 and 170) and Iron Maiden, (see also best songs 666) and Metallica (see also best songs 730 and 52) and all the parents and the teachers and the cops thought I was some kind of Satan worshipper. So that’s the backdrop for that song.’ Brown has also said that the sing-a-long chorus is an act of defiance,’So when I sing: ‘I’m just a teenage dirtbag’, I’m effectively saying: ‘Yeah, f–k you if you don’t like it. Just because I like AC/DC doesn’t mean I’m a devil worshipper, and you’re an idiot. That’s where it comes from.’

It is suspected, but not fully confirmed, that Brendan B. Brown actually performs all of the vocals on ‘Teenage Dirtbag,’ including the female sounding parts. The second verse of the songs begins with ‘Her boyfriend’s a dick/He brings a gun to school,’ the radio edits often omit the word ‘dick,’ or replace it with the slightly less offensive ‘prick,’ while the ‘He brings a gun to school,’ is often covered up by ‘scratching sounds,’ as when the song was released the ‘Columbine High School massacre,’ (1999) was still fresh in people’s minds. On the subject of the songs continued popularity, Brown has recalled the words of his father,’Every teenager has to go through that, being an outsider, thing, at least a little bit, so that story is still the same for people, even if it’s 30 years after I went through it.’

‘I’ve got two tickets to Iron Maiden, baby, come with me Friday, don’t say maybe. I’m just a teenage dirtbag, baby, like you ooh.’

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


860-The Sweet-Block Buster!

1973-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 1.40. This song is so good, that even the band are lost for words.

The Sweet were formed in London, England, in 1968, by Brian Connolly, (1945-1997) (vocals) and Mick Tucker, (1947-2002) (drums) who had previously played together in a band called ‘Wainwright’s Gentlemen,’ they were soon joined by Steve Priest, (1945-2020) (bass) with the classic line up completed by Andy Scott, (guitar) who joined in 1970. When first forming they were known as ‘The Sweetshop,’ but when another band with the same name released a single, they changed to ‘The Sweet,’ and then from 1974, they became just ‘Sweet.’ Brian Connolly left to pursue a solo career in 1978, with the remaining members continuing as a trio, through until they split in 1982. Between 1984-1997, Brian Connolly put together a band called ‘New Sweet,’ and then between 2008-2020, Steve Priest assembled his own version called ‘Steve Priest’s Sweet. Also Andy Scott and Mick Tucker organised their own version of ‘Sweet,’ in 1985, as ‘Andy Scott’s Sweet’ and they remain active at the time of writing. In total 19 different members have performed under the ‘Sweet ‘ banner to date.

From their inception in 1968, through until the split in 1982, the musical output of the ‘Sweet’ changed from ‘Bubblegum Pop,’ to ‘Glam Rock,’ and then finally to their first love of ‘Hard Rock.’ The discography of the ‘Sweet’ includes nine studio Albums released between 1971-1982, with a further five by ‘Andy Scott’s Sweet,’ issued between 1992-2020. They have also released 50 singles between 1968-2023, and there are 24 official compilations, and 11 live Albums available. In the UK, 15 of their singles have made the top 40, with ‘Block Buster!’ being their only Number 1, but five of their tracks have reached the Number 2 spot. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, they have charted within the top 40 on five occasions, with ‘Little Willy’ from 1972, peaking the highest at Number 3, although ‘Block Buster!’ only reached Number 73 in America.

‘Block Buster!’ was co-written by the legendary songwriting duo of Nicky Chinn, (see also best songs 773 and 686) and Mike Chapman, (see also best songs 773-686 and 402) with the songs production being by Philip Wainman, who worked with the Sweet through until 1974. Michael Donald Chapman was born on April 13th, 1947, in Nambour, Queensland, Australia, with Nicky Chinn, he worked under the ‘Chinnichap’ brand, writing and producing for artists including Suzi Quatro, Smokie, and Mud. Chinn and Chapman worked together between 1970-1978, with their golden period from 1973-1974, seeing them achieve 19 UK top 40 hits, including five Number 1 singles, but Mike Chapman is most critically acclaimed for his later work with the American ‘New Wave’ group ‘Blondie,’ and in particular their 1979 Album ‘Parallel Lines,’ which he produced, and which took ‘Blondie’ to the next level of international success.

‘Block Buster!’ was released shortly after David Bowie (1947-2016) had reached Number 2 in the UK chart with ‘The Jean Genie,’ on the same record label ‘RCA.’ Both of the songs have the same guitar riff, but neither party ever commented accusingly about the similarities, and that maybe because the riff is also identical to that used by the English Rock band the ‘Yardbirds,’ on their 1964 cover version, of the 1955 Bo Diddley (1928-2008) song ‘I’m a Man.’ On first hearing ‘The Jean Genie’ Andy Scott of the ‘Sweet’ has recalled, ‘We sat there with horrified looks on our faces. The guy asked what was wrong, and we said ‘That’s the same f—ing guitar riff as Blockbuster. He said, ‘Well, it’s quite similar isn’t it?’ ‘It’s the f—ing same. I got on the blower to Nicky Chinn and said, ‘We can’t release this.’ He said, ‘Don’t worry, they’re completely different kinds of records and I predict this will be a Number one.’ I thought, ‘Good luck with that.’ But he was proved right. A few weeks later, we were at Number one, and Bowie was at Number two.’

‘Block Buster!’ tells the tale of a man called ‘Buster,’ who women find irresistible, in order to stop him taking your woman, you must block him.’

‘You better beware, you better take care, you better watch out if you’ve got long black hair. He’ll come from behind, you’ll go out of your mind, you better not go, you never know what you’ll find.’

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


861-O. C. Smith-Little Green Apples.

1968-It has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 1.12. Granny Smith must have been very proud of him.

‘Little Green Apples’ was written by Bobby Russell, (1940-1992) for the American Country Music singer Roger Miller, (1936-1992) who took his original version of the song to Number 39 on the American Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and Number 19 in the UK, in 1968. Another recording by the American ‘Traditional Pop/Country’ American singer Patti Page, (1927-2013) also charted on Billboard in 1968, reaching Number 96, and giving Page her final ‘Hot 100’ chart entry. The most successful version of ‘Little Green Apples’ is this one, which was recorded by O. C. Smith, also in 1968, for his second studio Album ‘Hickory Holler Revisited.’ Smith had just achieved his first hit single with ‘The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp,’ (Billboard Number 40, and UK Number 2) and the follow up single ‘Main Street Mission,’ (Billboard Number 105) was stalling when, as Buzz Cason (the writing and business partner of this songs writer, see also best songs 875) recalled, ‘A disc jockey in Detroit played the Album cut of ‘Little Green Apples’ one morning.’ That single play of the record triggered such a reaction, and rush of phone requests, that it prompted the DJ to call Steve Popovich, (1942-2011) head of promotion for ‘Columbia Records,’ in New York, and ‘Little Green Apples’ replaced ‘Main Street Mission’ as Smith’s then current single.

O. C. Smith was born Ocie Lee Smith on June 21st, 1932, in Mansfield, Louisiana, United States, he died on November 23rd, 2001, of a heart attack at the age of 69. Smith signed his first recording contract in 1955 with ‘Cadence Records,’ where he released four singles without any success, he then signed with ‘MGM Records,’ but once again he failed to chart. Between 1961-1965 Smith was recruited by the ‘Count Basie Orchestra,’ (see also best songs 73) to be their vocalist, while at the same time continuing to pursue a solo career. Smith finally achieved a hit single in 1968 when his cover of ‘The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp,’ reached number 2 in the UK, and Number 40 on Billboard. In later years Smith became the pastor and founder of ‘The City Of Angels Church,’ in Los Angeles, California, where he ministered for 16 years. The discography of O. C. Smith includes 14 Albums released between 1966-2000, and approximately 26 singles issued between 1956-1987. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, he achieved three top 40 singles, with ‘Little Green Apples,’ charting the highest at Number 2, while in the UK, he has charted twice, with ‘The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp,’ reaching Number 2, and ‘Together,’ from 1976, making Number 25.

‘Little Green Apples’ was the third single released from O.C. Smiths second Album ‘Hickory Holler Revisited,’ from 1968, the song was written by Bobby Russell, with the production credited to Jerry Fuller. Bobby Russell was born on April 19th, 1940, in Nashville, Tennessee, United States, he died on November 19th, 1992, of coronary artery disease, at the age of 52. Other notable songs written by Russell include the American, and Canadian 1972 Number 1 single ‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,’ which was first recorded by Vicci Laurence, who at that time was Russell’s wife. An even bigger success for Russell was writing the 1968 Billboard Number 1, and UK Number 2 hit ‘Honey’ for Bobby Goldsoro, (see also best songs 942) which in 2011, the ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine ranked the song as the second worst song of the 1960’s. Bobby Russell also had a career as a performer, releasing three Albums between 1968-1971, and 12 singles between 1966-1975, with two of those tracks reaching the Billboard Hot 100, with ‘Saturday Morning Confusion,’ making Number 28 in 1971.

The title of ‘Little Green Apples’ is based on the well known saying ‘Sure as God made little green apples.’ Buzz Cason, who worked closely with Bobby Russell has said that the song, and also ‘Honey,’ were ‘An experiment in composing,’ after they realised that there was a market for ‘slice-of-life stories with more ‘meat’ in the lyrics.’

‘And if that’s not lovin’ me, then all I’ve got to say, God didn’t make little green apples, and it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime. And there’s no such thing as Doctor Seuss, or Disneyland, and Mother Goose, no nursery rhyme. God didn’t make little green apples, and it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime.’

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


862-The Beautiful South-Love Is.

1989-It has never been released as single in the UK.

Best Bit-At 6.05. Right, we’ve done our song, now who knows that one by the Beatles.

The Beautiful South were formed in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, in 1988, by Paul Heaton, (vocals) and Dave Hemingway, (vocals) following the break up of their previous band The Housemartins (see also best songs 387.) They were soon joined by Sean Welch, (bass) Dave Stead, (drums) and Dave Rotheray, (guitar) and it was this quintet who played on this song. Briana Corrigan who sang guest vocals on this track, became an official member in 1990, and sang vocals on The Beautiful South’s second and third studio Albums in 1990, and 1992. Jacqui Abbott was the female vocalist for Albums four through to seven, and Alison Wheeler provided her vocals on the final three The Beautiful South Albums. In total there have been eight different members of The Beautiful South, from their inception in 1988, through until the split in 2007, when tongue in cheek they claimed, that the split was due to ‘musical similarities.’

The Beautiful South who have sold in excess of 15 million records, released 10 studio Albums between 1989-2006, and 34 singles in the same time period, there are also five official compilation Albums available, including ‘Carry On Up the Charts: The Best of the Beautiful South,’ which has sold over 1.8 million copies, and was the second best selling Album in the UK in 1994.All 10 of their studio Albums have reached the UK top 20, with two of them making Number 1. They have also achieved 21 top 40 singles in the UK, with ‘A Little Time’ from 1990 making the Number 1 spot.

‘Love Is’ was co-written by Paul Heaton, and Dave Rotherway, who were the groups main two songwriters, with the production credited to Mike Hedges (see also best songs 668.) ‘Love Is’ which was never issued as a single, appears as track 10 on The Beautiful South’s debut studio Album ‘Welcome to the Beautiful South,’ from October 1989. There were three singles released from the Album, including the groups debut single ‘Song for Whoever’ (UK-Number 2.)

Paul David Heaton was born on May 9th, 1962, in Bromborough, Cheshire, England. Billing himself as ‘P.d. Heaton,’ he formed ‘The Housemartins’ in 1983, they released two studio Albums in 1986, and 1987, and nine singles between 1985-1988, and then at the height of their success they split, with Heaton going on to form The Beautiful South. Paul Heaton who is critically acclaimed as one of the UK’s best ever songwriters, has also released nine ‘solo’ studio Albums between 2001-2022, and 20 singles in the same time period. His latest five Albums since 2014, have been in collaboration with the ex The Beautiful South vocalist Jacqui Abbott, with their last two Albums, both reaching Number 1 in the UK. Paul Heaton has also issued two compilation Albums, with ‘The Last King of Pop’ from 2018, bringing together 23 of his compositions that he recorded throughout his career in The Housemartins, The Beautiful South, his solo years, and also his collaborations with Jacqui Abbott.

I can only think that ‘Love Is’ was never issued as a single because of it’s considerable length (7 minutes and 4 seconds.) The song tells the tale of how hollow fame can be. It says that you only want to be associated with me because I am famous, and in 25 years from now when I am long forgotten, will you be bothered to come to my cremation.

‘So here’s an invitation to this caring nation. Twenty-five years from now, will you come to my cremation? Sherry or beer, family and friends, will you be there? Will you be there? No fame, no fortune, no name in lights, will you be there? Will you be there?’

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


863-Boys Town Gang-Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

1982-Number 4 single.

Best Bit-At 4.31. This is one of the most covered songs in the world ever, and has been interpreted in many different musical genres.

The Boys Town Gang was the brainchild of the American DJ and music producer Bill Motley, who formed the ‘Boys Town Gang’ in 1980, in San Francisco, California, United States, to cater for the large gay community. The Boys Town Gang comprised of four members, Cynthia Manley, between 1980-1981, Jackson Moore, between 1981-1984, Tom Morley, between 1980-1984, and Bruce Carlton, between 1981-1984. Motley would record mainly classic 1960’s, and 1970’s hits, in a ‘Post Disco’ style, with both the use of an orchestra, and synthesizers. The Boys Town Gang released three studio Albums between 1981-1984, and 11 singles between 1981-1985, with a further four singles issued from 1988-1997. Although they never troubled the American Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, three of their tracks did make the Billboard ‘Dance Club Songs’ chart. Their greatest success was in Europe, where their version of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,’ reached Number 4 in the UK, and Number 1 in Spain, and Belgium. The Boys Town Gang’s debut Album ‘Cruisin’ the Streets,’ featured lead vocals by Cynthia Manley, who departed the group soon after, and was replaced by Jackson Moore for the second Album, which included, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.’ For the third and final Album Bill Motley introduced guest artists, including ‘Two Tons O’ Fun,’ ‘Sylvester,’ (1947-1988) (see also best songs 162) ‘Margaret Reynolds,’ and ‘Marlena Shaw’ (see also best songs 98.)

The music of the Boys Town Gang can be described as ‘Post Disco,’ and ‘Hi-NRG’ (see also best songs 534.) ‘Post Disco’ is the term used to describe the period of 1979-1986, in the aftermath of ‘Disco’ music, which had been the most popular music genre during the 1970’s, but had run it’s course, with many coming to despise it, probably through being force fed it from the various media outlets. Whereas ‘Disco’ music had been played live in the recording studios by orchestras, ‘Post Disco’ saw the orchestras replaced by drum machines, synthesizers, and sequencers. During the early years of the 1980’s Electronic instruments were becoming more and more prevalent, and by the mid 1980’s they had become the dominant force in ‘Pop Music,’ with artists such as Madonna, (see also best songs 774 and 587) New Order, (see also best songs 885 and 619) and the Pet Shop Boys,’ (see also best songs 871 and 378) bringing ‘Electronic Music’ into the mainstream.

‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ (see also best songs 112) is one of the most covered songs of all time, it was written by the legendary song writing team of Bob Crewe, (1930-2014) and Bob Gaudio, (see also best songs 1007-914-739-499-393-284-164-112 and 83) with the original version of the song being recorded by Frankie Valli (see also best songs 739-284 and 83) in 1967.

Bob Crewe was born Robert Stanley Crewe on November 12th, 1930, in Newark, New Jersey, United States, he died on September 11th, 2014, at the age of 83, having been in declining health for several years following a fall. In 1953 Bob Crewe created a songwriting partnership with Frank Slay Jr. (1930-2017) and the duo are best remembered for writing the ‘Doo-Wop’ anthem ‘Silhouettes.’ It was in the early 1960’s that Crewe first began writing with Bob Gaudio, with their first composition ‘Sherry,’ making Number 1 on Billboard in 1962, for the Four Seasons. Crewe also had great success in the 1970’s, when teaming up with Kenny Nolan. Two of their songs ‘My Eyes Adored You,’ by Frankie Valli, and ‘Lady Marmalade,’ by Labelle, became back to back Number 1 singles on the American Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1975. In the stage musical and film, the ‘Jersey Boys,’ Crewe was portrayed as openly gay, but his brother Dan Crewe in an interview has said that his brother was discreet about his sexuality, particularly during the time he was working with the Four Seasons. Dan Crewe said,’Whenever he met someone, he would go into what I always called his John Wayne mode, this extreme machoism.’

‘I love you, baby, and if it’s quite alright I need you, baby, to warm the lonely night. I love you, baby, trust in me when I say, oh, pretty baby.’

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


864-Hot Chocolate-Brother Louie.

1973-Number 7 single.

Best Bit-At 1.12. Between 1970-1980 in the UK, Hot Chocolate had at least one hit single every year, the only two other acts to match this fete were Elvis Presley, and Diana Ross.

Hot Chocolate were formed in West Hampstead, London, England, in 1968, by Errol Brown, (1943-2015) (vocals) Franklyn De Allie, (guitar) Jim King, (drums) Patrick Olive, (percussion) and Tony Wilson (bass.) Hot Chocolate remain active, and in total there have been 17 different members come and go, with Patrick Olive being the bands one constant. They started out as ‘The Hot Chocolate Band,’ which was eventually shortened to ‘Hot Chocolate,’ by Mickie Most, (1938-2003) after they signed to his ‘RAK’ record label. The discography of Hot Chocolate includes eight studio Albums released between 1974-1993, and 50 singles issued between 1969-1998, there are also 14 official compilation Albums available. In the UK, they have achieved 29 top 40 hits, with the Russ Ballard penned song ‘So You Win Again,’ reaching Number 1 in 1977. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, they have charted within the top 40 on five occasions, with ‘You Sexy Thing,’ peaking the highest at Number 3 in 1975.

Hot Chocolate began their recording career with a cover version of John Lennon’s (1940-1980) 1969 song ‘Give Peace a Chance,’ but before releasing it they had to get permission from Lennon, who was impressed enough to sign them to ‘Apple Records.’ Their version failed to chart, and in 1970 they moved on to ‘RAK’ records, and Micky Most. Tony Wilson along with Errol Brown, were the groups main songwriters, with Brown taking over more or less full control in 1976, after the departure of Wilson. In 1986 Brown, and Larry Ferguson departed the band, with Brown going on to pursue a solo career, which saw the release of four solo Albums between 1989-2001, and 14 singles issued between 1987-2002, with two of those tracks reaching the UK top 40. Lester Errol Brown was born on November 12, 1943, in Kingston, Jamaica, but moved to the UK at the age of 12. In 2003, Queen Elizabeth II named him a ‘Member of the Order of the British Empire,’ for ‘services to popular music for the United Kingdom.’ and in 2004 he received an ‘Ivor Novello Award’ for ‘outstanding contributions to British music.’

Hot Chocolate were one of the first high profile interracial groups in the UK, and this was very unusual for the time. ‘Brother Louie’ which was written by Errol Brown, and Tony Wilson, with the production by Mickie Most, is a song about an interracial love affair between a white man, and a black woman, who are told in no uncertain terms by their respective families that they shouldn’t be together. Errol Brown has said that the song was inspired by his own real life experiences,’That comes from early dating in a place where there’s a majority of white people,That was fine for us because we grew up and rubbed shoulders with other nationalities, so it wasn’t a heavy thing. but in those days a lot of white parents never had anything to do with black people. It was understandable, they just didn’t know what was going on, apart from what they read in books or saw on TV, jungle scenes.’ The spoken words on ‘Brother Louie’ were provided by Alexis Korner, (1928-1984) and although Cozy Powell, who was also signed to ‘RAK’ records at the time did do session work for Hot Chocolate, I cannot be fully sure that he played the drums on this song.

In America, the Hot Chocolate version of ‘Brother Louie’ failed to chart, with radio stations shying away from the songs controversial subject matter. Around six months after it’s American release a version by the New York City based Rock band ‘Stories,’ was issued, leaving out the spoken parts, and the verse where Louie meets the girl’s parents, this version went all the way to Number 1 on Billboard in America, and sold over one million copies, giving ‘Stories’ their one and only chart hit single.

In 2009 Errol Brown proudly spoke about being tagged Britain’s first multiracial Pop band.’That was deliberate. I wanted to show the world that we could work together, whatever our colour or creed. It may sound idealistic, but bigotry and prejudice have always offended my sensibilities. I thought it important to show that we were all God’s children, and needed to respect each other. This is my philosophy of life. It’s the way I’ve tried to live.’

‘See what I mean, Louie really caused a scene. He did, I tell you, ain’t no diff’rence ‘tween black or white, brothers, you know what I mean.’

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


865-Blake Shelton-Austin.

2001-It has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 3.13. If you’re accusing me of being a big sentimental slush, for including this most cheesy of love songs, then I’m guilty as charged your honour.

Blake Tollison Shelton was born on June 18th, 1976, in Ada, Oklahoma, United States, with Album sold in excess of 13 million copies, and singles sold topping 52 million, he is one of the most successful ‘Country Music’ artists of the 21st Century. Away from recording music, Shelton has appeared in six films, and had voice roles in two others between 2005-2019, he has also many television credits, including being a coach on the American ‘NBC’s,’ ‘The Voice,’ since its inception in 2011.

The discography of Blake Shelton includes 12 studio Albums released between 2001-2021, and 52 singles issued within the same time period. He has also released four extended plays, three of which have charted on the Billboard Country Music Album chart, and two of which have reached the Billboard 200 Album charts top 5 in America, there are also five official compilation Albums available. In America on the ‘Billboard Hot Country’ singles chart, 46 of those tracks have charted within the top 40, with 14 making the Number 1 spot, while on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, 18 of his singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Boys ‘Round Here’ featuring Pistol Annies and Friends, peaking the highest at Number 12 in 2013. ‘Austin reached Number 1 on the Country chart, and Number 18 on the Hot 100, while in the UK, he has never charted within the top 40 singles chart.

‘Austin’ was the first of three singles released from Blake Shelton’s self titled debut studio Album from July 2001. The song was co-written by David Kent, and Kirsti Manna, with the production, and also the Album’s production, credited to Bobby Braddock. Kent and Manna had first offered ‘Austin’ to the Country Music artist Clay Walker, but he turned it down. On first hearing the song Shelton and Braddock were not two keen either, Braddock has said, ‘About a third of the way through the song, I was thinking, this is pretty corny,This is kinda like one of those Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan love stories. By the end of the song, I had a lump in my throat. Blake, not the real ‘sensitive guy,’ found it a little mushy for his taste, but I asked him to listen again, and he warmed up to it a bit.’

Bobby Braddock was born Robert Valentine Braddock, on August 5th, 1940, in Lakeland, Florida,United States, he is a member of the ‘Country Music Hall of Fame,’ and the ‘Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.’ Braddock has written, or co-written 13 American Country Number 1 singles, with his best known composition in the UK being his 1968 co-write with Curly Putman, (1930-2016) (see also best songs 964 and 646) ‘D-I-V-O-R-C-E,’ which reached Number 12 in 1975 for Tammy Wynette (1942-1998) (see also best songs 329.) Another Braddock, and Putman co-write ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today,’ which was recorded by George Jones (1931-2013) in 1980, has been voted ‘Country Song of the Century’ in a poll by ‘Radio & Records’ magazine, as well as ‘Best Country Song of All Time,’ in a poll conducted by the ‘BBC,’ and ‘Country America’ magazine. It was Braddock who discovered Blake Shelton, getting him signed to his first recording contract, and then producing several of Shelton’ Country Number 1 songs.

It’s ironic that Braddock, who is nicknamed ‘The King of Tears,’ was not over keen on recording ‘Austin’ when he first heard it, as the song is one of the best ‘tearjerkers’ of all time. ‘Austin tells the tale of a woman who leaves her boyfriend, and moves away to Austin, Texas, thinking that she will have a better life there, but within a year she realises that she was wrong, and that she still loves him. She calls him and is always greeted by the answerphone, which always ends with the boyfriend saying,’And P.S. if this is Austin, I still love you. Eventually she plucks up the courage to leave her phone number, and then he rings her.

‘If your callin’ ’bout my heart, it’s still yours, I should have listened to it a little more. Then it wouldn’t have taken me so long to know where I belong. And by the way, boy, this is no machine your talkin’ to, can’t you tell, this is Austin, and I still love you.’

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


866-Kate Bush-Wuthering Heights.

1978-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 0.46. Whilst most teenage girls were reading ‘Jackie,’ Catherine Bush was reading Emily Bronte’s novel.

Kate Bush was born Catherine Bush on July 30th, 1958, in Bexleyheath, Kent, London, England, at the age of 19 in 1978 she became the first ever female artist to have a UK Number 1 on the singles chart with a self written composition, when ‘Wuthering Heights’ topped the chart for four weeks. Bush was also the first female artist in Pop Music history to have written every track on a million selling debut Album (‘The Kick Inside.’) The discography of Kate Bush includes 10 studio Albums released between 1978-2011, and 36 singles issued, or re-issued between 1978-2022, there are also five EP’s released between 1978-2011, which include the ‘Kate Bush On Stage’ EP, from 1979, which included the track ‘Them Heavy People,’ which reached Number 10 on the UK singles chart. Kate Bush has also released four box sets, two compilation Albums, and two live Albums. In the UK, all 10 of her studio Albums have reached the top 10, with two of them making Number 1, while 25 of her singles have reached the UK top 40, with ‘Wuthering Heights,’ and the 2022 re-issue of ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God’) both making Number 1. In America, two of her studio Albums have reached the Billboard top 40, with ‘Hounds of Love’ from 1985, peaking the highest at Number 12, while on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, her only song to chart within the top 40 remains ”Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God’) which reached Number 30 in 1985, and Number 3 on re-issue in 2022.

‘Wuthering Heights’ was the first of five singles released from ‘The Kick Inside,’ the debut studio Album by Kate Bush, from February 1978, ‘Wuthering Heights’ was written by Kate Bush, and produced by Andrew Powell (see also best songs 130-81 and 2.) Kate Bush had been inspired to write ‘Wuthering Heights’ after watching the 1967 BBC television adaption of the 1847 novel ‘Wuthering Heights,’ she then read the book, and after learning that she shared the same birthday of July 30th, with the author Emily Bronte, (1818-1848) she felt an even closer affiliation. ‘Wuthering Heights’ is sung from the perspective of the books character Catherine Earnshaw, who is pleading at Heathcliff’s window to be allowed in to his room, those who have read the novel will know that Catherine is actually a ghost. The songs lyrics include dialogue from the novel such as, ‘Let me in,’ ‘I’m cold,’ and ‘Bad dreams in the night.’ Kate Bush has said,’The name Cathy helped, and made it easier to project my own feelings of want for someone so much that you hate them. I could understand how Cathy felt.’ Kate has also said that she felt such a connection with the text, that she even found lines in the book after she’d already written them in the lyrics.

‘Wuthering Heights’ which has sold in excess of 600,000 copies in the UK, was re-recorded in 1986 with new vocals, for Kate Bush’s first compilation Album ‘The Whole Story,’ that version of the song also appears as the ‘B’ side to her 1986 single ‘Experiment IV’ (UK-Number 23.) As well as producing the original 1978 version of ‘Wuthering Heights,’ Andrew Powell also arranged the song, and played bass guitar, and celeste (keyboard instrument.) Other artists who played on the track include Duncan Mackay, (Hammond organ) and Stuart Elliott, (drums) both had been former members of the English Rock group ‘Cockney Rebel’ (see also best songs 410 and 2.) There were also two members of the Scottish band ‘Pilot,’ who had had a UK Number 1 hit with ‘January,’ in 1975, playing on ‘Wuthering Heights, they were David Paton, who had written ‘January, (acoustic guitar) and Ian Bairnson, (1953-2023) (electric guitar.) Ian Bairnson, who it is said, played the guitar solo with a broken arm, has admitted that he initially disliked the ‘tone’ for many years, due to ‘purely guitarist reasons.’

‘Out on the wiley, windy moors we’d roll and fall in green. You had a temper like my jealousy, too hot, too greedy. How could you leave me, when I needed to possess you? I hated you, I loved you, too.’