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


832-B.J. Thomas-Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.

1969-Number 38 single.

Best Bit-At 2.26. It’s a glass half full song, and if you can catch some of them raindrops, it will be even fuller.

‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’ was written by the legendary songwriting team of Burt Bacharach, (1928-2023) and Hal David, (1921-2012) (see also best songs 902-815-740-644-376 and 224) for the 1969 American Western film ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,’ which starred Paul Newman, (1925-2008) and Robert Redford. ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,’ which would become the first million selling recording for the songwriting duo, was first offered to the American Country singer Ray Stevens, who turned it down, it was also supposedly offered to Bob Dylan, who also declined. It was Dionne Warwick (see also best songs 224) who recommended B.J. Thomas to Bacharach and David, as she had already recorded many of their songs, and shared the same record label, ‘Sceptor Records’ with Thomas.

‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’ was written and produced for B.J. Thomas, by Bacharach and David, and became the first American Billboard Number 1 single of the 1970’s, staying at the top of the chart for four weeks. The vocals on the single, are a re-recording by Thomas, as when he recorded the vocals for the film version, he had been recovering from laryngitis, which made his voice sound huskier, but the films producers liked the ‘raspy’ quality, and decided to use it. In the film version the song is played while Paul Newman performs stunts on a bicycle, in order to impress his girlfriend. Halfway through the film version of the song, a ‘Vaudeville-style’ instrumental break, cuts in, while on the 7 inch singles release, the song ends with a horn solo. Burt Bacharach has said about the song,’That is my title, ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.’ Hal tried to change it and come up with another lyric, but it never seemed to work as well. I watched the film so much when I was scoring it.’ While B.J. Thomas said,’I was in the right place at the right time, and probably got their best song ever.’

B.J. Thomas was born Billy Joe Thomas on August 7th, 1942, in Hugo, Oklahoma, United States, he died from lung cancer on May 29th, 2021, at the age of 78. B.J. Thomas first tasted chart success as a member of the ‘Triumphs’ in 1966, when a cover version of the Hank Williams song ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,’ reached Number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. As a solo artist B.J. Thomas recorded in the genres of ‘Country,’ ‘Pop,’ ‘Rock,’ and from 1986, ‘Contemporary Christian’ music. His discography includes 59 official Albums released between 1966-2017, and 71 singles issued in the same time period. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, 13 of his tracks have made the top 40, with ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,’ and ‘(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,’ both making the Number 1 spot, with the later having the longest song title ever to become a Billboard Hot 100 Number 1 single. In the UK, ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,’ is his only chart entry.

‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,’ which won the ‘Oscar’ for ‘Best Song From A Motion Picture,’ at the 1970 awards, is an uplifting song, with the narrator being an optimist. He has his fare share of troubles and worries, but knows that,’It won’t be long till happiness steps up to greet me.’ Some of those who worked on the film, felt that the song set a wrong tone for a Western, but the films director George Roy Hill (1921-2002) insisted on it’s inclusion. Robert Redford who was one of the films stars, was one of those apposed to the songs use, but later on he admitted he was wrong, saying, ‘When the film was released, I was highly critical. How did the song fit with the film? There was no rain. At the time, it seemed like a dumb idea. How wrong I was, as it turned out to be a giant hit.’ Other significant, and hit versions of ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’ include, the 1970 recording by the British born Australian Johnny Farnham, which spent seven weeks at Number 1 in Australia on the ‘Go-Set National Top 40.’ Also in 1970 the French singer Sacha Distel (1933-2004) recorded a version in French called ‘Toute La Pluie Tombe Sur Moi,’ which went to Number 10 in France, his English recording also reached Number 10 in the UK, becoming the biggest hit version of the song in that country. The one other version of the song to chart in the UK, is the 1970 recording by Bobby Gentry, which reached Number 40. Another version worth checking out is the 1995 recording by the Welsh Rock band the ‘Manic Street Preachers,’ who have said that they were always fans of the film, and from their earliest days together, they would incorporate the song in to their live sets.

‘But there’s one thing I know, the Blues they send to meet me, won’t defeat me. It won’t be long ’til happiness steps up to greet me.’

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


833-Captain Sensible-Glad It’s All Over.

1984-Number 6 single.

Best Bit-At 0.16. This isn’t happy talk, this is sensible talk.

Captain Sensible was born Raymond Ian Burns on April 23rd, 1954, in Balham, London, England. He adopted his stage name ‘Captain Sensible,’ ironically, because he used to be a ‘debauched maniac,’ who had fun,’regardless of the consequences,’ but he admits to calming down after becoming a vegetarian. He is known for his distinctive appearance, which includes a red beret, and sunglasses, usually with white frames.

Captain Sensible was a founding member of the English ‘Punk Rock’ group the ‘Damned’ in 1976, who are considered to be the first group to release a ‘Punk Rock’ single, ‘New Rose,’ in 1976 (see also best songs 273.) While still a member of the ‘Damned,’ in 1978, Captain Sensible released his first solo single, ‘Jet Boy, Jet Girl,’ in the Netherlands only, and his first solo studio Album, ‘Women and Captains First,’ in 1982. The discography of Captain Sensible includes eight solo studio Albums released between 1982-1996, and 28 singles between 1978-2014, there are also seven compilation Albums, and two extended plays available. In the UK, none of his studio Albums have reached the top 40 Album chart, but three of his singles have made the top 40, with his 1982 cover version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune ‘Happy Talk’ reaching the Number 1 spot.

In 2006 Captain Sensible formed a new British political party known as the ‘Blah! Party,’ he said,’I always wanted to put a brick through the TV when I saw (Tony) Blair pop his head up. It’s quite easy to write lyrics when politicians are so corrupt. I had to start my own political party I was so angry. I called it the Blah Party. It was 50 per cent joke, 50 per cent serious, but was my way of dealing with it. He has also said,’We believe that voting is an important part of the democratic process, and we want the Blah! Party to be the party of protest, a channel through which the people of the U.K. can vent their dissatisfaction at nonsensical everyday things, and protest against the government and the current crop of political parties.’ The ‘Blah! Party’ was short lived, with it’s members deciding to become a protest group instead, in December 2008.

‘Glad It’s All Over’ was co-written by Captain Sensible, and Tony Mansfield, with the production being by Mansfield. The song was the third of three singles issued from ‘The Power of Love,’ which was the second solo studio Album from Captain Sensible, from November 1983. Tony Mansfield was born Anthony Charles Mansfield, on January 19th, 1955, in Wimbledon, London, England, he is probably best known for being the main songwriter, and producer for the English Synthpop group ‘New Musik,’ of which he was also a co-founder. ‘New Musik’ who were active between 1977-1982 released three studio Albums, and 10 singles, of which three of those singles made the UK top 40, with ‘Living by Numbers,’ charting the highest at Number 13, in 1980. After the split of ‘New Musik,’ Mansfield became a full time music producer for acts including ‘a-ha,’ ‘The B-52’S, and ‘After the Fire.’

‘Glad It’ All Over’ is Captain Sensible’s comment on the ‘Falklands War,’ which occurred in 1982, and is an anti-war song. Captain Sensible has said,’With the Falklands war, and the mass build up of nuclear missiles in my mind, I thought the planet could do with a bit more love and a bit less unpleasantness. So me, and my neighbour Bob (Jones) wrote a song called ‘The Power of Love,’ which also ended up as the Album title.’ Captain Sensible also lauded Tony Mansfield for the part he played, describing ‘Glad All Over,’ as,’A result of my highly tuned Pop sensibilities, and the aural sculpting genius of producer Tony Mansfield, who actually plays the drum parts live himself on a ‘Duckhams’ oil can (floor tom), a casserole dish lid (high hat) and a ‘Rowntrees’ choc tin (snare drum). After a bit of ‘tuning’ with a panel hammer, the kit sounded just right, and we rolled the tape, with the result transforming the song into something rather special.’

‘Submarines in the harbour, incognito, submarines of your dreams not mine. The red red sky must take the price, for giving to the people who never never go to war.’

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


834-Spinners-It’s a Shame.

1970-Number 20 single.

Best Bit-At 1.11. Tamla Motown’s second team, finally given their day in the spotlight.

In America they are known as the ‘Spinners,’ but in the UK, in order to avoid confusion with the British Folk group ‘The Spinners,’ they are known as the ‘Detroit Spinners,’ and sometimes, the ‘Motown Spinners.’ The Spinners were formed in 1954, in Ferndale, Michigan, United States, by Billy Henderson, (1939-2007) Henry Fambrough, Pervis Jackson, (1938-2008) C. P. Spencer, (1938-2004) and James Edwards, they were all friends who lived in Detroit’s ‘Herman Gardens public housing project,’ and initially they sang ‘Doo-Wop,’ calling themselves ‘The Domingoes.’

The Spinners first recording contract was with ‘Tri-Phi Records,’ where they were mentored by Harvey Fuqua, (1929-2010) (see also best songs 162) who co-wrote, and produced their first hit single ‘That’s What Girls Are Made For,’ (Billboard Number 27-1961.) In 1964, ‘Tri-Phi Records,’ was bought out by Fuqua’s brother-in-law, Berry Gordy, of ‘Motown’ records, where the Spinners found themselves well down the pecking order, behind Motown’s biggest stars such as ‘The Four Tops,’ and ‘The Temptations.’ In 1969 the ‘Spinners’ were switched to the Motown subsidiary label ‘V.I.P.’ Prior to the switch, the ‘Spinners’ only charting single on ‘Motown’ had been ‘I’ll Always Love You,’ (Billboard Number 35-1965.) It Was Aretha Franklin, (1942-2018) (see also best songs 644 and 366) who in 1972, suggested to the ‘Spinners’ that they end their contract with ‘Motown’ records, and join her at ‘Atlantic Records,’ which they did. They teamed up with the songwriter, and producer Thom Bell, (1943-2022) (see also best songs 765 and 183) and during the next decade the ‘Spinners’ would achieve their greatest successes.

The discography of the ‘Spinners’ includes 20 studio Albums released between 1967-2021, and 58 singles released between 1961-2021, there are also 13 official compilation Albums, and three live Albums available. In America on Billboard, 18 of their singles have made the top 40, with ‘Then Came You,’ with Dionne Warwick (see also best songs 224) reaching Number 1 in 1974. In the UK, the ‘Spinners’ have had nine top 40 hits, with ‘Working My Way Back to You / Forgive Me, Girl,’ (medley) reaching Number 1 in 1979. In total there have been 18 different members of the ‘Spinners,’ since 1954. In 2023 the last surviving original member, Henry Fambrough retired from singing live with the group, leaving four current touring members, none of whom have been with the group longer than 2009.

‘It’s a Shame’ was co-written by the legendary Stevie Wonder, (see also best songs 920-843-682-570-503-366-205-152 and 65) along with Syreeta Wright, (1946-2004) and Lee Garrett, (see also best songs 843) Stevie Wonder also produced the song, (the first track he had ever produced for anyone other than himself) and played drums on the track as well. ‘It’s a Shame’ was one of five singles released from the ‘Spinners’ second studio Album ”2nd Time Around,’from 1970. The quintet who were the ‘Spinners’ at that time, and who provided the vocals on the the track were, G.C. Cameron, who was the lead vocalist, with Bobby Smith, (1936-2013) Pervis Jackson, Henry Fambrough and Billy Henderson, all on backing vocals. The instrumentation on the song was played by members of ‘Motown’s’ in house band,’The Funk Brothers’ (see also best songs 948-650-569-414-382-212-148 and 28.) G. C. Cameron (George Curtis Cameron) who sung the lead vocals on ‘It’s a Shame,’ was the only member of the ‘Spinners’ to stay with ‘Motown,’ when the others moved to ‘Atlantic Records’ in 1972, he was replaced by Philippe Wynne (1941-1984) (see also best songs 340.)

‘It’s a Shame’ tells the story of a man who is being used by his partner, who doesn’t care about the way she makes him feel, which leaves him hurt and confused. In 1990 the English Rapper Monie Love, reworked the song as ‘It’s a Shame (My Sister,’) (UK Number 12, and Billboard Number 26) In her version, Monie Love tries to convince a friend to leave her unfaithful partner.

‘Why do you use me, try to confuse me, how can you stand to be so cruel. Why don’t you free me from this prison, where I serve my time as your fool’

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


835-Flo Rida featuring T-Pain-Low.

2008-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 0.15. If you are stood in front of the bedroom mirror at home, and thinking, which is the best song for me to practice my ‘Twerking’ to, try this one.

Flo Rida was born Tramar Lacel Dillard, on September 16th, 1979, in Miami Gardens, Florida, United States, he has seven sisters, the youngest who is his twin. He took his stage name from the American State that he was born in ,Florida. Flo Rida is one of the best selling ‘Rap’ artists of all time, with worldwide sales in excess of 80 million records. His discography includes four studio Albums released between 2008-2012, and 41 singles issued between 2007-2021. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, he has had 14 top 40 hits as the lead artist, and a further two as a featured artist. Three of those songs have made the Number 1 spot, including ‘Low,’ which spent 10 weeks at the top during 2009. In the UK, he has charted within the top 40 on 15 occasions as the lead artist, and a further five as the featured artist, with five of those tracks reaching Number 1.

The featured artist on ‘Low’ is ‘T-Pain,’ who was born Faheem Rashad Najm, on September 30th, 1984, in Tallahassee, Florida, United States, his stage name is short for ‘Tallahassee Pain,’ and was chosen because of the hardships he experienced while living there. T-Pain is best known for popularising the use of ‘Auto-Tune,’ something he has used on many of his recordings. ‘Auto-Tune’ is a pitch-correcting audio processor, for vocals, with the effect turned up to give the voice a robotic quality, one of the earliest successful examples of the use of ‘Auto-Tuning,’ was the 1998 UK, and U.S. Number 1 single,’Believe,’by Cher. T-Pain has released seven studio Albums between 2005-2023, and 28 singles as the lead artist between 2005-2021. In America on Billboard, nine of those tracks have made the top 40, with ‘Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’) featuring Yung Joc, making Number 1 in 2007. He has also charted as a featured artist on 21 occasions, with two of those tracks reaching Number 1. In the UK, he has had six top 40 hits as the lead artist, with ‘5 O’Clock,’ featuring Wiz Khalifa and Lily Allen, charting the highest at Number 6 in 2011. He has also had a further five top 40 hits in the UK as the featured artist, with ‘Low’ peaking the highest at Number 2.

‘Low’ was the debut single for Flo Rida, which was co-written by him, and the songs featured artist T-Pain, and was the first of three singles released from ‘Mail on Sunday,’ the debut Album by Flo Rida, from March 2008. ‘Low’ was co-produced by T-Pain, and DJ Montay, who would go on to produce the track ‘Sugar,’ (Billboard Number 5, and UK Number 18) also for Flo Rida in 2009. ‘Low’ has the distinction of being the most downloaded song of the 2000’s decade, with digital downloads in excess of six million. It went to Number 1 in nine countries, including in America, where it spent 10 consecutive weeks at the top of that chart. When ‘Low’ reached the top of the American Hot 100, it equaled the record for the shortest song title to top that chart. The other five three-letter titled songs to reach the Number 1 spot prior to ‘Low’ were, ‘Why,’ by Frankie Avalon, (1959) ‘ABC,’ by The Jackson 5, (1970) ‘War,’ by Edwin Starr, (1970) ‘Ben,’ by Michael Jackson, (1972) and ‘Bad,’ also by Michael Jackson (1987.)

Flo Rida has spoken about ‘Low,”I recorded this record so fast, it was almost like a freestyle. I think it probably took me less than an hour to do all the verses. T-Pain having such a good melody on the hook, and me having some great melodies on the verses. The record just has so much ear candy and the lyricism was just amazing. When I heard it, I just knew it was gonna be big, especially ’cause T-Pain was doing a lot of huge records at the time.’

‘Low’ makes reference to a ‘Shawty’ in a club, a shawty is American slang, used as a term of endearment, for an attractive woman, or girlfriend.The song concentrates on two women, one is wearing ‘Apple Bottom Jeans,’ which is a fashion brand for women, and the other is wearing ‘baggy sweaty pants,’ and ‘Reebok’ brand shoes. T-Pain prefers the former, and Flo Rida the later, but in the second verse T-Pain admits that he, ’Prefers them, no clothes.’

‘She had them Apple Bottom jeans, boots with the fur, the whole club was lookin’ at her. She hit the floor, next thing you know, Shawty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low.’

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


836-Elvis Costello and the Attractions-Oliver’s Army.

1979-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 1.53. A deceptively jolly ‘ABBA’ type tune, that hides a sinister message.

Elvis Costello was born Declan Patrick MacManus, on August 25th, 1954, in Paddington, London, England. His father Ross MacManus (1927-2011) was a Jazz trumpeter, and vocalist, who recorded using the stage name ‘Day Costello,’ the ‘Elvis’ part of his name is in tribute to Elvis Presley (1935-1977) (see also best songs 954-664-442 and 194.) In 1974 using the stage name ‘D.P. MacManus, Costello’s first broadcast recording was with his father in a television commercial for ‘R. White’s Lemonade’ (‘I’m a Secret Lemonade Drinker,’) His father sang the song, and Costello sang backing vocals, the advertisement won a silver award at the 1974 ‘International Advertising Festival.’ Elvis Costello began his music career playing what would be described as ‘Pub Rock,’ and ‘Punk Rock,’ before moving in to ‘New Wave,’ and ‘Power Pop.’

The discography of Elvis Costello includes 32 studio Albums released between 1977-2022, and 62 singles issued between 1977-2023, there are also 16 official compilation Albums, and six live Albums available. In the UK, he has never had a Number 1 Album, or single, but 26 of his Albums have made the top 40, and 17 of his singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Oliver’s Army,’ charting the highest at Number 2. In America on the Billboard charts, 16 on his Albums have made the top 40, with ‘Armed Forces,’ from 1979, peaking the highest at Number 10, while two of his singles have charted within the Billboard Hot 100, with ‘Veronica,’ which he co-wrote with Paul McCartney, charting the highest at Number 19, in 1989.

‘Oliver’s Army’ which was written by Elvis Costello, and co-produced by Costello, and Nick Lowe, (see also best songs 273) who co-produced all of the first five Elvis Costello studio Albums, was the first of two singles released from Elvis Costello’s third studio Album ‘Armed Forces,’ from January 1979. This was also the second studio Album that included the musicians who were known as the ‘Attractions,’ playing on all of the tracks. The ‘Attractions’ were Steve Nieve, (keyboards) Bruce Thomas, (bass) and Pete Thomas, (drums) the two Thomas’ are not related. In total the ‘Attractions’ would back Costello on 10 studio Albums between 1978-1994, the ‘Attractions’ also released the Album ‘Mad About the Wrong Boy,’ in 1980, without Costello.

Nick Lowe who co-produced ‘Oliver’s Army,’ has said that Costello was going to dump the song when they first started recording it,’We went through it all afternoon, and it just wasn’t happening at all. Elvis didn’t like it, and he was getting more and more shirty. Then out of the blue Steve Nieve said,’What about if I do a sort of Abba (see also best songs 44) piano part on it.’ We knew their records were good, but no one wanted to own up to it. Nieve did the piano part, and suddenly the thing went from black-and-white to fireworks.’

‘Oliver’s Army’ was written by Elvis Costello after he had visited Belfast, in Northern Island, for the first time. He was shocked to see such very young soldiers from the British Army walking around with machine guns. It was a time of great unemployment, especially in the North of England, and Costello is saying that the only real option that young men had at that time to avoid unemployment was to join the army. The songs title is a reference to the English statesman, politician, and soldier Oliver Cromwell, (1599-1658) who established the first professional, properly trained, fighting force, who were known as the ‘New Model Army,’ who fought the ‘English Civil War,’ (1642-1649) against the Royalist army of King Charles 1 (1600-1649.)

The lyrics ‘With the boys from the ‘Mersey’ and the ‘Thames’ and the ‘Tyne,” refers to the rivers of the three largest population centres on the coasts of England, which are, Liverpool, London, and Newcastle. These areas were economically depressed at the time when Costello wrote ‘Oliver’s Army,’ and it was where the Army did much of it’s recruiting from. Also mentioned in the song is the ‘Murder Mile,’ which is a section of Northern Belfast, where Protestant loyalists routinely snatched Catholics off the streets in the 1970’s, to face torture, and painful deaths. The most controversial line in the song is the phrase ‘White Nigger,’ which up until recent years remained uncensored on radio stations. Elvis Costello has explained that the use of the ‘N’ word was in no way racist, as in the context of ‘Oliver’s Army,’ ‘White Nigger’ is a derogatory slang term used by a British private soldier for Irish Catholics.

On a lighter note, Elvis Costello has said,’Oliver’s Army became our biggest hit single, stalling at Number 2 on the charts, while records by Blondie, Boney M, and the Bee Gees, all overtook us at the top of the hit parade. I thought briefly about changing my name to something beginning with ‘B.’

‘But there’s no danger, it’s a professional career, though it could be arranged with just a word in Mr. Churchill’s ear. If you’re out of luck or out of work, we could send you to Johannesburg.’

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


837-Rage Against the Machine-Killing in the Name.

1993-Number 25 single. In 2009 it peaked at Number 1.

Best Bit-At 3.51. As a protest against the monotony of the UK Christmas Number 1 single being another mind numbing, syrupy, soulless, inane, predictable, force fed to us ‘X-Factor’ winning depressing karaoke rendition of someone else’s song, in 2009 the general public finally saw sense, and purchased 502,672 downloads, in this songs first week of re-release.

In early December 2009, the English DJ Jon Morter launched a group on ‘Facebook,’ encouraging people to buy the Rage Against the Machine track ‘Killing in the Name, in an attempt to prevent the winner of the British reality television music singing competition ‘The X-Factor’ from topping the UK Christmas week top 40 singles chart for the fifth year running. The campaign was successful as ‘Killing in the Name’ outsold that years ‘X-Factor’ winner Joe McElderry, with his cover version of the Miley Cyrus song ‘The Climb,’ by 52,000 units. The following week ‘Killing in the Name’ dropped to Number 2, and ‘The Climb’ went to Number 1, becoming the first Number 1 single of 2010. Rage Against the Machine gave all of their royalties to charity, and of course it must also be pointed out that all of the royalties from ‘The Climb,’ also went to charitable causes.

Tom Morello who was a co-founder of Rage Against the Machine, and also one of the co-writers of ‘Killing in the Name’ has spoken about his bands surprise 2009 Christmas Number 1 single,’This shouldn’t be misinterpreted. This is a grass roots effort. It’s nothing against the candidates or the guy that runs the show [X-Factor]. A little dose of anarchy for the Christmas holidays is good for the soul. I love the independent spirit of the British rock fans. Your country has a great rich history of cutting-edge, exciting rebel music. Whether it’s the early Stones and The Who, or The Clash and The Sex Pistols, or Prodigy and Muse, I think that people are just fed up with being represented every Christmas holiday, being spoon fed some overblown, sugary ballad that sits at the top of the charts.’

Rage Against the Machine were formed in Los Angeles, California, United States, in 1991, by Zack de la Rocha, (lead vocals) Tom Morello, (guitars) Tim Commerford, (bass) and Brad Wilk, (drums) they were active between 1991-2000, then again between 2007-2011, and then again from 2019 to the present day. Rage Against the Machine who have sold in excess of 16 million records worldwide, play a mixture of ‘Rap, Metal,’ Rap Rock,’ ‘Funk Metal,’ and ,Alternative Metal,’ their lyrics can often be controversial, as they are known for their ‘revolutionary socialist political views.’

The discography of Rage Against the Machine includes four studio Albums released between 1992-2000, and 17 singles within the same time period, there are also two official live Albums, and one compilation Album available. In America on the ‘Billboard 200 Album’ chart, two of those Albums have reached the Number 1 spot, although none of their singles have made the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ top 40 chart. They have had five top 40 chart entries on the Billboard ‘Alternative Airplay,’ and ‘Mainstream Rock’ chart though. In the UK, six of their singles have made the top 40, with ‘Bulls on Parade’ from 1996, giving them their other top 10 hit, when reaching Number 8.

‘Killing in the Name’ was the debut single release from Rage Against the Machine,’ and was the first of four singles released from the groups debut studio Album ‘Rage Against the Machine,’ from November 1992. All four band members are credited as the songwriters of ‘Killing in the Name, and they are also credited as the tracks producers, along with the Canadian Garth Richardson, who would go on to produce several other ‘Alternative Rock’ acts, including ‘The Jesus Lizard,’ ‘Skunk Anansie,’ and ‘Biffy Clyro.’

‘Killing in the Name’ is a protest song, the lyrics tell of police brutality, and racism by the police in America, saying that many members of the police force are also members of the ‘Ku Klux Klan,’ hence the lyrics,’Some of those that work forces, are the same that burn crosses.’ The song which reflects racial tensions that exist in the United States, was inspired by the police beating suffered by the African/American Rodney King (1965-2012) in 1991, and the subsequent Los Angeles riots of 1992.

‘Those who died are justified for wearing the badge. They’re the chosen whites, you justify those that died, by wearing the badge.’

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


838-Petula Clark-Downtown.

1964-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 1.58. In America ‘Downtown’ is the heart of the city where the action happens. The word isn’t used much in Britain, but it generally means the less affluent part of town.

Petula Clark was born Sally Olwen Clark on November 15th, 1932, in Ewell, Surrey, England, her stage name ‘Petula,’ was invented by her father, who joked that it was a combination of the names of his two former girlfriends, Pet and Ulla. Petula Clark became a child star, at the age of nine while attending a BBC broadcast with her father, she was trying to send a message to an uncle who was stationed overseas, but the broadcast was delayed by an air raid. During the air raid Clark performed to the nervous audience, which caught the attention of the shows producers, which led to her becoming a regular performer, appearing in over 500 programmes which were designed to entertain the troops. In addition to her radio work Petula Clark also toured the country, by the age of 12 she had already performed in front of King George V1, and the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. She was nicknamed the ‘Singing Sweetheart,’ and was considered to be a mascot by the British Army, some of whose troops attached her photos on their tanks for good luck as they advanced into battle. By 1944 Petula Clark’s career had expanded in to film, she made her acting debut in the 1944 British comedy movie ‘Medal for the General,’ in total she would appear in 30 films between 1944-1981. She also began a career in television in 1946, which led to her hosting her own afternoon television series ‘Petula Clark. Pet’s Parlour,’ in 1950.

Petula Clark who has sold in excess of 68 million records worldwide, also recorded many of her songs in different languages including French, German, Italian, and Spanish. During a recording career that has covered six decades, she has released 46 studio Albums between 1956-2018, and approximately 132 singles between 1949-2013. In the UK, 21 of those singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Sailor,’ from 1961, and ‘This Is My Song,’ from 1967, both making Number 1. In America where Petula Clarke is known as the ‘First Lady of the British Invasion,’ she has achieved 15 top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, with ‘Downtown,’ from 1964, and ‘My Love,’ from 1965, both making Number 1.

‘Downtown’ was written and produced by Tony Hatch, and was the third of the three singles released from her 16th studio Album, also called ‘Downtown,’ from 1965. Tony Hatch was born Anthony Peter Hatch, on June 30th, 1939, in Pinner, Middlesex, England. He first entered the music business in the mid 1950’s, when signing up with ‘Top Rank Records,’ as a songwriter, where he initially worked under the name ‘Mark Anthony.’ Tony Hatch began working with Petula Clark in 1961, when assisting with the recording of ‘Sailor,’ following the success of ‘Downtown,’ he would write many more of her best known hits of the 1960’s, including ‘Don’t Sleep in the Subway,’ (1967 UK-Number 12 & Billboard Number 5) and ‘The Other Man’s Grass Is Always Greener’ (1967 UK-Number 20 & Billboard Number 31.) Tony Hatch is also a prolific writer of film, and television theme tunes, among the many themes he has written, are, the theme from ‘Crossroads,’ (1964) ‘The Champions,’ (1967) ‘Emmerdale Farm,’ (1972) and ‘Neighbours’ (1985.)

Tony Hatch has explained how he first got the idea for ‘Downtown,’ ‘I was staying at a hotel on Central Park, and I wandered down to Broadway and to Times Square and, naively, I thought I was downtown. I loved the whole atmosphere there, and the music came to me very, very quickly.’ He was standing on the corner of 48th Street waiting for the traffic lights to change, looking towards Times Square when ‘The melody first came to me, just as the neon signs went on.’ Petula Clark has also spoken about hearing the song played to her by Tony Hatch for the first time,’My head wasn’t in it at the time, I was totally into French, Italian, German, whatever. I said: ‘Well, you know, if I could find the right song’ and he said he had an unfinished song he wanted to play me, and he played ‘Downtown’ on the piano. I said: ‘Woah, I like that.’ So I asked him to write a lyric up to the standard of the tune, and two weeks later we did it.’ Petula Clarke has also said of the songs lyrics,’I’ve always thought there was this loneliness, and there’s even a slight feeling of desperation in it.’

‘When you’re alone, and life is making you lonely, you can always go downtown. When you’ve got worries, all the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know downtown. Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city, linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty.’

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


839-Neneh Cherry-Buffalo Stance.

1988-Number 3 single.

Best Bit-At 2.35. Neneh Cherry received a lot of criticism when she performed the song live on ‘Top of the Pops,’ as she was somewhere between seven and eight months pregnant. When asked by a reporter if it was safe to go up on stage and perform, Cherry answered,’Yes, of course! It’s not an illness.’

Neneh Cherry was born Neneh Mariann Karlsson, on March 10th, 1964, in Stockholm, Sweden, her parents separated when she was very young, and her mother then married the American Jazz musician Don Cherry, (1936-1995) and she took her step fathers surname. From her mothers side, Cherry has a half brother, ‘Eagle-Eye Cherry, and from her biological father Ahmadu Jah’s marriage to Maylen Bergstrom, Cherry is the half-sister of the Swedish ‘R&B’ singer Titiyo, and the music producer Cherno Jah. Neneh Cherry is also the mother of the singers Tyson McVey, who is also known as ‘Lolita Moon,’ and Mabel McVey, who has recorded two solo studio Albums, in 2019, and 2022, and has appeared on 13 top 40 UK hit singles.

The discography of Neneh Cherry includes six studio Albums released between 1989-2022, and 16 singles as the lead artist, issued between 1988-2018, she has also appeared on a further 17 singles between 1987-2020 as a featured artist. In her native Sweden on the ‘Sverigetopplistan’ music chart she has had six top 40 hits, with ‘Buffalo Stance’ reaching Number 1, while in the UK, as either the lead or featured artist, she has charted within the top 40 on 12 occasions, with ‘Love Can Build a Bridge,’ with Cher, Chrissie Hynde, & Eric Clapton, reaching Number 1 in 1995. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, she has had two hits, with ‘Buffalo Stance’ peaking the highest at Number 3.

‘Buffalo Stance’ was co-written by Neneh Cherry, Cameron McVey, Jamie Morgan, and Phillip Ramacon, with the songs production being by Tim Simenon, and Mark Saunders. ‘Buffalo Stance’ was the first of five singles released from ‘Raw Like Sushi,’ the debut studio Album by Neneh Cherry, from June 1989. An early version of ‘Buffalo Stance’ appeared as the ‘B’ side on the 1986 ‘Stock, Aitken, and Waterman’ (see also best songs 627) produced single ‘Looking Good Diving,’ by the duo of ‘Morgan-McVey,’ which was made up of Jamie Morgan, and Neneh Cherry’s future husband Cameron McVey. The original version which was titled ‘Looking Good Diving with the Wild Bunch,’ was sung by Neneh Cherry, but failed to have any commercial impact, with Cameron McVey later saying that he was embarrassed by the song, although he did compliment ‘Stock, Aitken and Waterman for their production work.

Jamie Morgan has said that after the ‘Morgan-McVey’ recording of the song had flopped, that no one who had worked on the track recognised it’s hit potential, but it was a chance meeting by Morgan with Tim Simenon that changed everything, when Simenon expressed interest in reworking the song. Simenon who retired from the music industry in 2013, is an English ‘Electronic’ music producer, who worked under the stage name of ‘Bomb the Bass,’ and he is best remembered for his experimentation with ‘samples,’ scratching,’ and ‘loops,’ in the mid to late 1980’s. As ‘Bomb the Bass,’ Simenon released six studio Albums between 1988-2013, and 14 singles between 1988-2008, of which six made the UK top 40, with ‘Beat Dis,” from 1988, charting the highest at Number 2.

The songs title ‘Buffalo’ refers to the group of photographers, models, musicians, hair, and makeup artists, etc, that were working for the ‘fashion house,’ ‘Buffalo,’ which had been created by the Scottish fashion stylist Ray Petri, (1948-1989) of which both Neneh Cherry, and her future husband Cameron McVey both were contracted models. McVey, and Cherry had first met in 1987 at Heathrow Airport while they were en route to Japan as fashion models, as part of Ray Petri’s ‘Buffalo Posse,’ they married in 1990. The ‘Stance,’ in the songs title, would be what you would do when posing for a photo shoot. Neneh Cherry has said about the song,’It’s not a feminist record, none of my songs are. But it’s about female strength, female power, female attitude.’

‘They were makin’ noise, manhandlin’ toys. There’s the girls on the block with the nasty curls, wearin’ padded bras, suckin’ beers through straws. Droppin’ down their drawers, where did you get yours?’

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


840-Sparks-This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us.

1974-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 1.54. If Ron Mael, with his menacing demeanour tells you that there isn’t room for both of you, you’d better leave. After watching Ron Mael sitting motionless at the keyboards, throwing out chilling looks, while Sparks were performing on ‘Top of the Pops,’ John Lennon quipped,’It’s Hitler on telly.’

‘Sparks’ were formed in 1966, in Pacific Palisades, California, United States, by the brothers Ron Mael, (keyboards) who was born Ronald David Mael, on August 12th, 1945, in Culver City, California, and his younger sibling Russell Mael, (vocals) who was born Russell Craig Mael, on October 5th, 1948, in Los Angeles, California. The brothers first recordings were made using the name ‘Urban Renewal Project,’ in 1967, only the song ‘Computer Girl,’ has ever been released officially from that session. In 1968 they changed their name to ‘Halfnelson,’ after the wrestling hold, and in 1971 they released their debut studio Album called ‘Halfnelson.’ In 1972 they finally settled on the name ‘Sparks,’ which was a play on the ‘Marx Brothers.’

‘Sparks’ are one of the most critically acclaimed acts of all time. In the early 1970’s their sound was defined as ‘Glam Rock,’ but fearing that they were going musically stale, in 1978 they changed styles radically, when working with the legendary music producer Giorgio Moroder (see also best songs 78 and 11) on the Album ‘No. 1 in Heaven,’ making them forerunners of ‘Synthpop,’ and influencing the next generation of musicians, such as ‘New Order,’ and ‘Depeche Mode.’ The discography of ‘Sparks’ includes 26 studio Albums released between 1971-2023, and 76 singles issued between 1972-2023, there are also two Soundtrack Albums, 12 official compilation Albums, and one live Album available. In America there commercial success has been very limited, with only their fourth studio Album, ‘Propaganda,’ (1974) making a dent on the Billboard chart, when reaching Number 63. Their greatest success has been achieved in Europe, where in the UK, they have charted within the top 40 singles chart on 12 occasions, with this song peaking the highest at Number 2. Seven of their studio Albums have also made the UK top 40 Album chart, with ‘Kimono My House,’ charting the highest at Number 4.

‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us,’ was written by Ron Mael, with the production being by Muff Winwood. The song was the first of four singles released from ‘Kimono My House,’ which was the third studio Album from ‘Sparks,’ from May 1974. Muff Winwood, who would also produce the next ‘Sparks’ Album ‘Propaganda,’ also in 1974, was born Mervyn Winwood, on June 15th, 1943, in Erdington, Birmingham, England, he was nicknamed ‘Muff,’ after the popular 1950’s children’s television character ‘Muffin the Mule.’ Prior to moving in to music production, Winwood had been the bass player in the very successful 1960’s ‘R&B outfit ‘The Spencer Davis Group,’ of which his brother Steve Winwood was also a member. Muff Winwood’s other notable production work includes the Sutherland Brothers original version of ‘Sailing,’ (1972) and the debut studio Album from Dire Straits, in 1978 (see also best songs 829.)

‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us,’ like many of the songs written by Ron Mael has very ‘quirky,’ but clever lyrics. In the song the main character is very shy, but keeps on trying to work up the nerve to ask out girls, but he always ends up chickening out. In order to make himself feel better he watches old cowboy movies, where he invents imaginary hero scenes to boost his weak self confidence. Ron Mael has spoken about the song,’This town ain’t big enough for the both of us’ is a movie cliché, a challenge from one gunfighter to another. But having a song that was the opposite of a cliché, but used a clichéd line, really interested me. The vocals sound so stylised because I wrote it without any regard for vocals and Russell had to adapt. We were shocked when the record company thought it was a single, but doing Top Of The Pops had a tremendous effect. Suddenly there were screaming girls. We recorded it during the energy crisis, and we were told that because of the vinyl shortage it might never come out.’

‘Zoo time, is she and you time, the mammals are your favourite type, and you want her tonight. Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat, you hear the thunder of stampeding rhinos, elephants and tacky tigers. This town ain’t big enough for the both of us, and it ain’t me who’s gonna leave.’

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


841-The Pussycat Dolls featuring Busta Rhymes-Don’t Cha.

2005-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 1.04. Having a positive body image is a good thing, but this lot appear to suffer from a severe case of egotism.

The Pussycat Dolls were the brainchild of the American dancer, and choreographer Robin Antin, who formed the original Pussycat Dolls in 1995 as a ‘modern burlesque troupe,’ that was based in Las Vegas, and featured a rotating cast of dancers. At the suggestion of Jimmy Lovine, the co-founder of ‘Interscope Records,’ Antin decided to reinvent The Pussycat Dolls as a mainstream ‘Pop’ group in 2003.The six members who made up the new group were, Nicole Scherzinger, Carmit Bachar, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta, Melody Thornton, and Kimberly Wyatt. The Pussycat Dolls were active between 2003-2010, and then reformed without Melody Thornton between 2019-2021.

The Pussycat Dolls discography includes two studio Albums released in 2005, and 2008, and 15 singles issued between 2004-2020. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, eight of those tracks have reached the top 40, with ‘Don’t Cha’ peaking the highest at Number 2, while in the UK, they have charted within the top 40 on 11 occasions, with both ‘Don’t Cha,’ and the follow up single ‘Stickwitu,’ both making Number 1. Although The Pussycat Dolls only released two studio Albums, they are currently the fourth best selling ‘Girl Group’ of all time, with worldwide sales in excess of 55 million.

‘Don’t Cha’ was written by Cee-Lo Green, (see also best songs 174) with the original version of the song being recorded by the American singer Tori Alamaze in 2004, Alamaze had previously been a backing singer for the American ‘Hip-Hop’ duo ‘Outkast,’ (see also best songs 351.) After her version only had minor commercial success, Alamaze gave up her rights to the song. At the suggestion of Doug Morris, who was then the chairman of the ‘Universal Music Group,’ the song was offered to The Pussycat Dolls,’ who were then an unknown act, Cee-Lo Green was initially sceptical,’I didn’t know too much about them, but when I found out that ‘Interscope Records’ was involved, that was an alliance I didn’t hesitate to make.’

‘Don’t Cha’ was the first of six singles released from The Pussycat Doll’s debut studio Album ‘PCD,’ from September 2005. The song was written and produced by Cee-Lo Green. Also credited as songwriters are Busta Rhymes, (see also best songs 675 and 210) and Anthony Ray, who is better known by his stage name ‘Sir Mix-a-Lot,’ as the songs chorus is a slightly modified interpolation of the chorus line sung by Sir Mix-a-Lot on his 1988 track ‘Swass.’ ‘Don’t Cha’ is a song about a girl who taunts a guy about his girlfriend, this makes the girlfriend jealous, as the girl asks the guy if he wishes that his girlfriend was as hot as her.

The female vocals on ‘Don’t Cha’ are provided by Nicole Scherzinger, who was born Nicole Prascovia Elikolani Valiente, on June 29th, 1978, in Honilulu, Hawaii, United States. As well as being a singer, she has also acted in films, and on television, having appeared in four films between 2003-2016. The discography of Nicole Scherzinger who has sold in excess of 16 million records worldwide, include two studio Albums released in 2011, and 2014, and 14 singles as the lead artist, and a further 11 singles as a featured artist. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, she had had three top 40 hits, with ‘Come to Me,’ by ‘Diddy’ featuring Nicole Scherzinger, charting the highest at Number 9 in 2006. In the UK, she has charted within the top 40 on 12 occasions, with ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’ from 2011, reaching Number 1. Nicole Scherzinger has said that she did most of the singing on The Pussycat Dolls’ Album ‘PCD.’ ‘People don’t even know the whole story. They have no idea, I was in the centre because I was singing. I hope I don’t get in trouble for the stuff that I say, but I’ll never forget I finished the album, ‘PCD,’ and Ron (the executive producer Ron Fair) and I brought the girls into the studio, and we played it for them. It was the first time they’d ever heard the music. Do you understand what I’m saying? We played the Album for the Pussycat Dolls. It was the first time they’d ever heard the songs.’

‘I know you like me, I know you do, that’s why whenever I come around she’s all over you. I know you want it, it’s easy to see, and in the back of your mind I know you should be uhh with me.’