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


775-Chris Montez-The More I See You.

1966-Number 3 single.

Best Bit-At 1.22. It is said that until people actually saw a photograph, they thought it was a female singer.

Chris Montez was born Ezekiel Christopher Montañez, on January 17th, 1943, in Los Angeles, California, United States. He began his music career as a ‘Rock ‘N Roll’ performer, but once the hits dried up he was persuaded by Herb Alpert (see also best songs 815) the co-founder of ‘A&M’ records, the label he was signed to at that time, to move in to a more ‘middle of the road’ and ‘easy listening’ musical direction. In the early 1960’s Chris Montez toured with artists of the calibre of Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, (1931-1964) and The Patters, and while in England, the Beatles opened for him in London, Northampton, and York. Chris Montez commented at the time,’Who are these guys The Beatles? I try to keep up with the British scene, but I don’t know their work.’ During that tour, it is said that Montez and John Lennon (1940-1980) got into an argument, which led to a fistfight between the both of them.

The rendition of ‘The More I See You’ by Chris Montez can be filed under the genre of ‘Easy Listening’ music, which is a sub-genre of ‘Middle of the road,’ music, which is also known by its acronym ‘MOR.’ ‘Easy Listening’ music encompasses instrumental recordings of standards, hit songs, non-Rock vocals, and instrumental covers of selected popular Rock songs. It mostly concentrates on music that pre-dates the Rock and Roll era, characteristically on music from the 1940’s and 1950’s. ‘Easy Listening’ music is often confused with ‘Lounge Music,’ but while it was popular in some of the same venues, it was meant to be listened to for enjoyment rather than as background sound.

The discography of Chis Montez includes seven Albums released between 1963-1983, and 20 singles issued between 1960-1972. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, five of his tracks have made the top 40, with ‘Let’s Dance’ from 1962, peaking the highest at Number 4, and ‘The More I See You’ reaching Number 16. In the UK, Chris Montez has reached the top 40 on three occasions, with ‘Let’s Dance’ being the most successful, when making Number 2. He has also had seven of his singles chart on the Billboard ‘Adult Contemporary’ chart, and had two of his Spanish language songs reach the top 10 in the Netherlands in the early 1970’s.

‘The More I See You’ was originally written for the 1945 musical film ‘Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe,’ starring Betty Grable, (1916-1973) and Dick Haymes, (1918-1980) (see also best songs 842) who first introduced the song in the film. ‘The More I See You’ which was written by the legendary songwriting team of Mack Gordon, (1904-1959) and Harry Warren (1893-1981) (see also best songs 877-396 and 321) has been covered on many occasions over the years, with artists as diverse as Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and Marvin Gaye recording their renditions.

It was at the suggestion of Herb Alpert, that Chris Montez recorded ‘The More I See You’ for his 1966 second Album of the same name, with Alpert arranging and producing the track. This was the first of four Albums that Herb Alpert worked on with Chris Montez between 1966-1968. ‘The More I See You’ was the second of three singles released from the Album, with the first ‘Call Me,’ making Number 22 on Billboard, but not charting in the UK, and the other, ‘There Will Never Be Another You,’ reaching Number 33 on Billboard, and Number 37 in the UK.

‘The more I see you, the more I want you, somehow this feeling just grows and grows. With every sigh, I become more mad about you, more lost without you and so it goes.’

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


776-Runrig-Loch Lomond.

1982-Number 86 single.

Best Bit-At 1.12. In a survey in 2009, the ‘Hampden Remix,’ with the Tartan Army, was chosen as the greatest Scottish song ever.

‘Runrig’ were formed in the Isle of Skye, Scotland, in 1973, by the brothers Calum and Rory Macdonald, and their friend Blair Douglas, they were joined the following year by Donnie Munro. In total there have been 12 different members come and go up until 2018, when the group was retired. ‘Runrig’ who took there name from the Scottish name for a pre–agricultural revolution farming practice, did over the course of their career focus their lyrics on locations, history, politics, and people who are unique to Scotland.

‘Runrig’ released 14 studio Albums between 1978-2016, and 31 singles or extended plays between 1982-2018, there are also seven official live Albums, and eight compilation Albums available. In the UK, Runrig have charted within the top 40 on nine occasions, with ‘An Ubhal as Àirde (The Highest Apple’) peaking the highest at Number 18 in 1995. In 2007 ‘Runrig’ made the UK top 10 for the first and only time, reaching Number 9, when they re-recorded ‘Loch Lomond’ to raise money for the ‘BBC Children in Need Appeal.’ The recording featured the ‘Tartan Army,’ a group of Scottish football supporters, including Rod Stewart (see also best songs 965-565-206-179-70 and 34)) on backing vocals. The song was recorded shortly before the Scottish football team played a vital European Championship qualifier against Italy, which they lost 2-1.

The genre of music associated with ‘Runrig’ was ‘Celtic Rock,’ which is a genre of ‘Folk Rock,’ as well as a form of ‘Celtic’ fusion which incorporates ‘Celtic’ music, instrumentation and themes into a ‘Rock’ music context. It was in Ireland that ‘Celtic Rock’ first came to the fore, when musicians attempted to apply the use of traditional, and electric music, to their own cultural context. By the end of the 1960’s Ireland already had perhaps the most flourishing ‘Folk Music’ tradition, and a growing ‘Blues’ and ‘Pop’ scene, which provided a basis for ‘Irish Rock.’ Perhaps the most successful product of this scene was the band Thin Lizzy (see also best songs 125.) Formed in 1969 their first two Albums were recognisably influenced by traditional Irish music, and their first hit single ‘Whisky in the Jar’ (Ireland-Number 1 & UK Number 6) in 1972, was a ‘Rock’ version of a traditional Irish song. From Scotland, other bands in this ‘1000 best songs’ list who have incorporated ‘Celtic Rock’ into their sound are ‘The Waterboys, (see also best songs 755) and Big Country (see also best songs 962.)

‘Runrig’ first recorded ‘Loch Lomond’ in 1979 for their second studio Album ‘The Highland Connection,’ the song was first issued as a single in the UK in 1982, making little impact when stalling at Number 86. Over the years the song has become a fans favourite after being played live on many occasions. It became the groups signature tune, and was often used as the encore at their concerts.

‘Loch Lomond’ is a traditional Scottish Folk song, which was first published in 1841. It is thought that the subject of the song could be a captured soldier who knows he is unlikely ever to spend time again with his true love by the shores of Loch Lomond. The ‘Low Road’ may be a reference to the ‘Celtic’ belief that if someone died away from the homeland, then the fairies would provide a route for their soul to return home.

‘O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road, and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye. But me and my true love will never meet again, on the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.’

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


777-The Temptations-Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)

1971-Number 8 single.

Best Bit-At 2.34. Nothing wrong with some healthy fantasising.

The Temptations (see also best songs 1031-1001 and 569) were formed in 1960, in Detroit, Michigan, United States, in total there have been 27 different members come and go, and at the time of writing they remain active, with only one of the founding members, Otis Williams, remaining as the groups one constant. The extensive discography of The Temptations includes 43 studio Albums released between 1964-2022, and 109 singles released between 1961-1994, there are also 15 official compilation Albums, and four live Albums available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, 38 of their tracks have reached the top 40, with four of those songs making Number 1, including ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me,’) while in the UK, they have reached the top 40 on 19 occasions with the 1992 re-issue of ‘My Girl’ peaking the highest at Number 2.

‘Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me’) was the second of two singles issued from The Temptations 14th studio Album ‘Sky’s the Limit’ from April 1971. The song was written by Norman Whitfield, (1940-2008) (see also best songs 911-569-533-480-346 and 233) and Barrett Strong, (1941-2023) (see also best songs 569) with the production by Whitfield. ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me’) had originally been written in 1969, but purposely kept in the vaults due to The Temptations change in musical styles. In the early 1960’s, the group had been very successful recording ‘Soul,’ and ‘R&B,’ but when Norman Whitfield took charge in 1968, he wanted to experiment with ‘Psychedelic Soul,’ inspired by contemporary groups such as ‘Sly and the Family Stone,’ (see also best songs 589 ) and ‘Funkadelic’ (see also best songs 340 and 26.) At first this new style proved very successful, with hits such as ‘Cloud Nine,’ and ‘Psychedelic Shack,’ but by 1971 sales were starting to decline, with the single ‘Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite the World,’) stalling at Number 33 on Billboard, which was well below the previous standards set by the group. Things had reached the stage where both The Temptations themselves, and many of their fan base were crying out for a return to the more ‘Soulful’ days. It was at this point that Norman Whitfield relented, and got the group to record ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me,’) to appease the majority, and see a return to the good old days.

‘Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me,’) certainly satisfied the fan base, giving The Temptations the third of what would eventually be four Billboard Number 1 singles. It was the last song on which Eddie Kendricks (1939-1992) (see also best songs 491) sang lead vocal, as he left shortly afterwards to start his solo career. It was also the last performance for fellow group member Paul Williams, (1939-1973) who sang the ‘Every night on my knees I pray,’ line, as he was suffering from ill health, and would pass away at the age of 34. Paul Williams who was a founding member of The Temptations was born on July 2nd, 1939, in Ensley, Alabama, United States, he suffered from ‘sickle-cell anemia,’ which caused him constant pain, which in turn led to him developing alcoholism, and depression. He died on August 17th, 1973, from an apparent suicide. According to his fellow band mate Otis Williams, Paul had expressed suicidal thoughts to him and Melvin Franklin (1942-1995) months before his death.

‘Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me,’) is not your conventional love song in any shape or form. The narrator imagines a relationship with a woman he sees walking past his window everyday, but he is clever enough to realise that his fantasy’s are fiction, in fact the woman doesn’t even know that he exists. Norman Whitfield has said,’It was anything but romantic, but it did pretty good in the dollars and cents category.’

‘Every night on my knees I pray, dear Lord hear my plea. Don’t ever let another take her away from me, for I would surely die, her love is heavenly. When her arms enfold me I hear a tender rhapsody, but in reality, she doesn’t even know me, ’cause it was, but it was, just my imagination runnin’ away with me-once again.’

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


778-Tom Robinson-War Baby.

1983-Number 6 single.

Best Bit-At 1.08. 2-4-6-8 who do we appreciate. Great artist, great song.

Thomas Giles Robinson was born on June 1st, 1950, in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, Robinson is gay, and has spent his life promoting the cause of the ‘LGBT’ community. At the age of 13 in 1963, Robinson realised that he was gay when he fell in love with another schoolboy. Up until 1967 male homosexual activity was a crime in England, punishable by prison, and at the age of 16 he had a nervous breakdown and attempted to commit suicide.

In 1976 Tom Robinson founded the Punk Rock/New Wave group the ‘Tom Robinson Band,’ their debut single was ‘2-4-6-8 Motorway,’ written by Robinson, which reached Number 5 in the UK. Robinson also wrote ‘Glad to be Gay, which made Number 18 in the UK in 1978, and is now considered by many as ‘Britain’s national gay anthem.’ The Tom Robinson Band remained active until 1979, releasing two studio Albums, and seven singles, including extended plays, there are also two official live Albums, and five compilation Albums available. In the UK, the Tom Robinson Band had three top 40 singles, with ‘2-4-6-8 Motorway’ charting the highest, the song also reached Number 13 in Australia.

After the split of the Tom Robinson Band, Robinson founded the ‘New Wave’ band ‘Sector 27’ in 1979. With ‘Sector 27’ he recorded one studio Album called ‘Sector 27,’ and released four singles. Shortly after the release of the Album, the bands management company went bankrupt, the band disintegrated, and Robinson suffered another nervous breakdown. At the time Robinson had also just split from his lover, and he decided to go and live in a friends spare room in East Berlin, Germany, which was where he wrote ‘War Baby.’

‘War Baby’ was the first of four singles released from Tom Robinson’s second Album ‘Hope and Glory,’ from 1984, the song was written by Robinson, and produced by Robin Millar. As a solo artist Tom Robinson has released 14 Albums between 1982-2015, and 20 singles between 1980-1996. Two of those singles have reached the UK top 40, with the other being ‘Listen to the Radio: Atmospherics,’ which was the follow up to ‘War Baby,’ and peaked at Number 39 in 1983.

Sir Robin John Christian Millar CBE, who produced ‘War Baby,’ and its parent Album, was born on December 18th, 1951, in Tottenham, London, England. Millar is one of the worlds most successful music producers, with sales in excess of 55 million record sales to his credit. In 2010 He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire, (CBE) and in 2023 he was knighted in the New Year Honours for services to music, people with disabilities, young people, and charity. Millar’s production credits include the ‘Fine Young Cannibals self titled debut Album, (see also best songs 563) and ‘Wonderful Life,’ by Black, but his most successful work came with Sade in 1984, when he produced the Album ‘Diamond Life,’ which has gone on to sell 10 million copies worldwide.

Tom Robinson wrote ‘War Baby’ when he was massively in debt, particularly with the British tax authorities, he was technically bankrupt at the time, as well as suffering from depression. Robinson has described writing ‘War Baby’ whilst stoned after a bad experience at a gay sauna while living in Germany. He has said that he wrote ‘Only the very young, and the very beautiful can be so aloof.’ And the rest of it poured out onto the page, eight, ten pages of the stuff, just hand-written, stream of consciousness stuff. And it took about a year to get those ten pages down to something that you could actually sing in four minutes.’ ‘War Baby’ has been described as being about Robinson’s experiences of the divisions between East and West Germany, however, as to what it is all about says Robinson,’I couldn’t tell you, I just wrote what sounded right. Tom Robinson has also said,’War Baby’ is the song that I’m most proud of. … I think it’s the most truthful song that I’ve written, because I didn’t think about it at all.’

‘Corresponding disasters every night on the TV, sickening reality keeps gripping me in its guts. All my friends talk and joke and laugh about Armageddon, but like a nightmare it’s still waiting there at the end of every day.’

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


779-Duke Dumont-The Giver.

2012-It has never charted in the UK, but the vocal remix reached Number 32 in 2015.

Best Bit-At 4.09.The proof that it’s better to be a giver than a taker.

Duke Dumont was born Adam George Dyment in August 1981, in Harrow, London, England, he is a music producer in the genres of ‘Electronic,’ ‘Deep House,’ and ‘Tech House’ music. To date Duke Dumont has released one studio Album called ‘Duality,’ in 2020, plus nine extended plays between 2007-2021, and 17 singles between 2013-2023, of which five have reached the UK top 40, with ‘Need U (100%’) featuring A*M*E, making the Number 1 spot in 2013, while in America on the Billboard ‘Dance Club Songs’ chart he has had seven charting singles, with all seven reaching the Number 1 position. Duke Dumont who also records on his own record label called ‘Blasé Boys Club,’ has remixed tracks for other artists including ‘Missy Elliott, (We Run This-2006) Lily Allen, (The Fear-2009) and The Killers (The Man-2017,) he has also written and produced two songs with Katy Perry, including her 2017 Billboard Number 46, and UK Number 19 hit ‘Swish Swish’ featuring Nicki Minaj. Speaking of why it took him so long to release his debut studio Album in 2020, Duke Dumont has said,’It gave me an opportunity to make an album, and a body of music that has an emotional impact. There’s a reason there’s strings on a lot of the tracks. That’s to give it a sense of longevity. There’s a reason why the songs have chords and not just beats and synth lines. You’ve got to aspire to that long game.’

‘The Giver’ was originally released on an extended play (EP) in 2012, which was only made available in America and Canada. Following the success of Duke Dumont’s three consecutive Billboard ‘Dance Club Songs’ Number 1 hits in 2013-2014, ‘The Giver’ was remixed by the Australian music producer ‘Wave Racer,’ with new lyrics added, and a memorable promotional video, and called ‘The Giver (Reprise.’) This new version also went to Number 1 on the Billboard ‘Dance Club Songs’ chart, and reached Number 32 in the UK singles top 40 in 2015.

‘The Giver’ features a sample of the 1995 Dance track ‘Time For Love,’ by the American ‘Gospel,’ and ‘House Music’ singer Kim English, (1970-2019) that song was written by Byron Stingily, Hal Ritson, Byron Burke, Kelli-Leigh, and Henry-Davila, which is why they get song writing credits on ‘The Giver,’ and ‘The Giver (Reprise,’) alongside Duke Dumont. Incidentally both Byron Stingily, and Byron Burke were both members of the American House Music act ‘Ten City,’ who had two top 40 hits in the UK in the late 1980’s. ‘The Giver (Reprise’) was produced by Duke Dumont, and remixed by ‘Wave Racer,’ which is the stage name of Thomas Michael Purcell, who was born on April 26th, 1992, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

‘The Giver’ can be filed under the genre of ‘Deep House,’ which is a sub-genre of ‘House Music,’ ‘Deep House’ originated in the 1980’s, initially fusing elements of ‘Chicago House’ (see also best songs 981 and 424) with the lush chords of 1980’s Jazz-Funk, and touches of Soul Music. ‘Deep House is known for tempos typically from 110 to 125 bpm, with muted bass-lines, spacious use of percussion elements, often using a ‘Roland TR-909’ drum machine, soft keyboard sounds (pads,) use of advanced chord structures, ambient mixes, and soulful vocals. The lyrics usually focus on positive, uplifting themes,

‘The Giver’ also conveys a positive message. The narrator has been hurt in love before, and has up until now avoided the chance to get close to someone again. However he meets that someone special, and is willing to take that chance again. He knows she is his destiny, and he feels grateful to have found her.

‘You’re the special soul who makes me wanna give it. You’re the special soul who makes me wanna, makes me wanna.’

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


780-Shabba Ranks-Trailer Load a Girls.

1991-Number 63 single.

Best Bit-At 0.14. Shabba Ranks says more in 3.57 seconds than most people say in a week.

Shabba Ranks was born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon, on January 17th, 1966, in Saint Ann, Jamaica, and raised in Seaview Gardens, Kingston, Jamaica. Shabba Ranks who covers the genres of ‘Reggae,’ Dancehall,’ ‘Reggae Fusion,’ and ‘Ragga,’ was one of the most popular and successful Jamaican artists during the late 1980’s, and early 1990’s. His discography includes 13 studio Albums released between 1988-1998, and the compilation Album ‘Shabba Ranks and Friends,’ issued in 1998. Shabba Ranks has also released 18 singles between 1989-1997, several of them with featured artists, including Scritti Politti, Maxi Priest, and KRS-One. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, Shabba Ranks has charted within the top 40 on three occasions, with ‘Slow and Sexy’ featuring Johnny Gill, peaking the highest at Number 33 in 1992. In the UK he has had nine top 40 hits, with ‘Mr Loverman’ charting twice, the first time in 1992, with featured vocals by Deborahe Glasgow, (1966-1994) which reached Number 23, and after her death, the song was re-recorded with vocals by the Spanish singer Chevelle Franklyn, and this time it peaked at Number 3 in 1993.

Shabba Ranks who prior to finding fame, started his career in Jamaica by ‘toasting,’ (rapping) using the stage name ‘Co-Pilot. His 1990 song ‘Dem Bow’ uses a ‘riddim’ (rhythm) based on a track created in the late 1980’s by the Jamaican music producers ‘Steely & Clevie. The song ‘Dem Bow’ inspired a whole new music genre that would become known as ‘Reggaeton,’ and it is said that ‘Dem Bow’s’ riddim has been incorporated into over 80% of all Reggaeton productions. Reggaeton evolved from ‘Dancehall,’ and has been influenced by American ‘Hip-Hop,’ ‘Latin American,’ and ‘Caribbean Music.’ The vocals include rapping and singing, typically in Spanish. Reggaeton is now regarded as one of the most popular music genres in the Spanish speaking Caribbean, including in Puerto Rico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Colombia, and Venezuela. By the 2010’s, the genre increased in popularity across Latin America, as well as within mainstream Western music.

In 1992 during an appearance on the British television Channel 4 music show ‘The Word,’ Shabba Ranks caused controversy for his homophobic remarks when asked by the shows presenter Mark Lamarr for his thoughts on the subject of the current single called ‘Boom Bye Bye,’ from the Jamaican artist ‘Buju Banton.’ Shabba Ranks held a copy of a Bible which he carried with him, and stated that the ‘Word of God’ advocated the ‘Crucifixion of homosexuals.’ Following these comments, Shabba Ranks had concerts he was to perform at cancelled, and his record label ‘Sony’ made amendments to his contract. Shabba Ranks subsequently apologised, after realising that his comments might advocate ‘The killing of gays and lesbians, and any human being in retrospect,’

‘Trailer Load a Girls’ was the first of three singles released by Shabba Ranks from his seventh studio Album ‘As Raw as Ever,’ from May 1991. The song was written by Cleveland ‘Clevie’ Browne, Wycliffe Johnson, and Greville Gordon, with the production being by Browne and Johnson. The Album reached Number 1 on the American Billboard ‘Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums’ chart in 1991, and Number 89 on the mainstream ‘Billboard 200’ Album chart. ‘Trailer Load a Girls’ like many ‘Rap’ records is full of boasts. The narrator tells us of his dominance in the Dancehall scene, and his ability to make women go crazy with his music, he also boasts about how much money he has got. The lyrics contain a lot of Jamaican slang terms, with the main message being about his success and power in the music industry.

‘Girls graduation. Woii Shabba, world of girls in container loads. Any man out deh weh nuh have no baby wait ’til dem dock up and Shabba clear them, you come fi some, lord a mercy. Girls, girls, everyday from London, Canada, and the USA. Girls, girls, everyday, crown Shabba king as fi dem DJ.’

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


781-Ram Jam-Black Betty.

1977-Number 7 single.

Best Bit-At 2.01. For many years I thought that ‘Headbanging’ was bad for you, in that it killed off brain cells, every time you partook, but after briefly reading up on the subject, it appears that it is a fairly safe activity, if done within reason.

‘Black Betty’ is a 20th Century Traditional African/American work song, whose author is unknown. The origin, and meaning of the lyrics are subject to debate, as ‘Black Betty’ could refer to several different things. Over the course of time a ‘Black Betty’ has been a nickname given to a number of objects, including a musket, a bottle of whiskey, a whip, or even a penitentiary transfer wagon. In their 1934 book ‘American Ballads and Folk Songs,’ the father and son, John A. Lomax, (1867-1948) and Alan Lomax, (1915-2002) who were authors of historical ‘Folk Music’ describe the origins of ‘Black Betty’ as thus.’Black Betty is not another ‘Frankie,’ (Frankie and Johnny is a traditional American Murder Ballad) nor yet a two-timing woman that a man can moan his blues about. She is the whip that was, and is used in some Southern prisons. A convict on the Darrington State Farm in Texas, where, by the way, whipping has been practically discontinued, laughed at Black Betty and mimicked her conversation in the song.’

The earliest known recording of ‘Black Betty’ was in 1933 by the African/American traditional Folk singer James ‘Iron Head’ Baker, (1884-1944) who performed the song acapella while he was incarcerated in ‘Huntsville Penitentiary,’ in Texas. In 1939 Huddie William Ledbetter, (1888-1949) who is better known by his stage name ‘Lead Belly,’ (see also best songs 431) incorporated ‘Black Betty’ in to a acapella medley with two other traditional work songs, and that is the version that ‘Ram Jam’ based their 1977 recording on.

The ‘Ram Jam’ version of ‘Black Betty’ was the brain child of Bill Bartlett who took Lead Belly’s 59 second long ‘Black Betty,’ and arranged, recorded and released it with his group ‘Starstruck.’ The song was heard by the music producers Jerry Kasenetz, and Jeffry Katz, who edited the song down, and quickly put together another group with Bartlett in it, calling them ‘Ram Jam,’ and re-releasing the song nationally. ‘Ram Jam’ were active between 1977-1978, with five official members. In that time they released two studio Albums, and a ‘Very Best of Ram Jam’ compilation in 1990, which was basically both of the studio Albums issued in one package, They also released four singles between 1977-1978, with only ‘Black Betty’ charting, when reaching Number 18 on Billboard in America, Number 7 in the UK, and Number 3 in Australia. In 1990 the Dutch music producer Ben Liebrand did a remix of ‘Black Betty,’ called the ‘Rough ‘n Ready’ remix, which made Number 13 in the UK. Other significant covers of ‘Black Betty’ are by the English Rock band Manfred Mann, who recorded the song as ‘Big Betty’ on their 1968 Album ‘Mighty Garvey!’ In 2004 the Australian Alternative Rock band ‘Spiderbait’ released their version of ‘Black Betty,’ which went all the way to Number 1 in Australia.

Bill Bartlett was born on February 28th, 1943, in South Harrow, Middlesex, England. Prior to joining ‘Ram Jam’ he had been a member of the mid 1960’s American Rock band ‘The Lemon Pipers,’ who are best remembered for their 1967 Billboard Number 1, and UK Number 7 song ‘Green Tambourine,’ making them ‘one hit wonders’ in America. It was after the demise of ‘The Lemon Pipers’ in 1969, that Bartlett went on to form ‘Starstruck.’

Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz who produced the Ram Jam version of ‘Black Betty,’ had previously developed, and had great success in the genre of ‘Bubblegum Pop,’ (see also best songs 1000) working together as the ‘Super K Productions’ company, manufacturing and producing bands such as ‘Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus,’ ‘The Music Explosion,’ ‘1910 Fruitgum Company,’ ‘Crazy Elephant,’ and ‘The Ohio Express.’

‘Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam. Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam.
Black Betty had a child, bam-ba-lam, the damn thing gone wild, bam-ba-lam. She said, I’m worryin’ outta mind, bam-ba-lam, the damn thing gone blind, bam-ba-lam.’

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


782-Righteous Brothers-You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

1965-Number 1 single. When it was re-issued in 1969 it reached Number 10, and when re-issued again in 1990, it made Number 3.

Best Bit-At 2.56. Bill Medley sings the whole of the first verse on his own, much to the annoyance of Booby Hatfield, who asked Phil Spector,’What am I supposed to do,’ to which Spector replied,’You can go directly to the bank.’

‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” was written by the legendary songwriting team of the husband and wife, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil, (1940-2023) (see also best songs 568 and 257) the songs producer Phil Spector (1939-2021) is also given writing credit as was often his demand. Cynthia Weil has said,’Spector never really wrote, but instead ‘inspired’ songs.’ ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ is considered to be among the best of Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’ productions (see also best songs 820-737-262-192-127-91 and 20.)

Phil Spector first met Bill Medley, and Bobby Hatfield, (1940-2003) the duo who were the original ‘Righteous Brothers’ (see also best songs 91) in 1964, when the pair were performing on the same bill in San Francisco, where Spector was conducting the orchestra. Impressed with the pair, Spector asked them to sign to his ‘Philles Records’ label. All of the labels previous Spector productions had been with African/American singers, and the Righteous Brothers would be his first white vocal act. At that point the Righteous Brothers had only issued six previous singles, with their biggest success being their debut ‘Little Latin Lupe Lu,’ which had stalled at Number 49 on Billboard in 1963. Phil Spector commissioned Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil to write a song for them, which would become ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.’ Mann and Weil freely admit taking inspiration from the then current Motown charting song ‘Baby I Need Your Loving,” by The Four Tops, and Mann took the opening line ‘You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips,’ from his previous composition ‘I Love How You Love Me,’ (The Paris Sisters, 1961-Billboard Number 5) which includes the lyrics ‘I love how your eyes close whenever you kiss me.’

Bobby Hatfield was born Robert Lee Hatfield, on August 10th, 1940, in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, United States, he died on November 5th, 2003, in his sleep, at the age of 63. A toxicology report concluded that cocaine use had precipitated a fatal heart attack.The initial autopsy found that Hatfield had advanced coronary disease. The medical examiner stated that ‘In this case, there was already a significant amount of blockage in the coronary arteries.’ Bobby Hatfield first met Bill Medley in 1962, when both were performing with different groups, the pair would soon join forces later that year. Their stage name derives from black marines at a concert at ‘El Toro Marine Base’ calling them ‘righteous brothers,’ at the end of a performance, a black U.S. marine shouted, ‘That was righteous, brother.’ The Righteous Brothers performed together until 1971, before reforming again in 1974, then they split again in 1976. Their final reformation was in 1986, which lasted through to Hatfield’s death in 2003. As a solo artist Bobby Hatfield released one solo Album ‘Messin’ In Muscle Shoals,’ in 1971, and eight singles between 1963-1972, with ‘”Only You (And You Alone’) from 1969, breaking in to the Billboard Hot 100 at Number 95.

‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” is the only song to have been a top 10 hit on three separate occasions in the UK for the same artist. In 1999 the performing-rights organisation ‘Broadcast Music, Inc.’ (BMI) ranked the song as the most-played song on American radio and television in the 20th Century, having accumulated more than eight million airplays by 1999, and nearly 15 million by 2011, including all of the cover versions as well. The Righteous Brothers reached Number 1 on Billboard in America, and Number 1 in the UK with ”You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,” but there have also been significant other hit versions as well. In 1965 the English singer Cilla Black (1943-2015) released her version of the song at the same time as the Righteous Brothers in the UK, with Cilla’s recording reaching Number 2. In 1969 Dionne Warwick made Number 16 on Billboard with her version, and in 1979, the English Blues singer Long John Baldry, (1941-2005) dueted with the American Blues singer Kathi McDonald, (1948-2012) with their recording reaching Number 2 in Australia. The American duo of Daryll Hall and John Oates recorded their cover of the song in 1980, which peaked at Number 12 on Billboard, like the Righteous Brothers, Hall & Oates were leading lights in the genre of ‘Blue Eyed Soul,’ and in recent years Hall & Oates took over the mantle of the worlds best selling duo, from the Righteous Brothers.

‘Baby, baby, I’d get down on my knees for you., if you would only love me like you used to do, yeah. We had a love, a love, a love you don’t find everyday, so don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t let it slip away.’

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


783-The Railway Children-Every Beat of the Heart.

1990-Number 68 single. When it was re-issued in 1991 it peaked at Number 24.

Best Bit-At 0.13. I don’t know for sure, but it’s a fair bet that ‘The Railway Children’ took their name from the 1970 film of the same name.

The Railway Children were formed in Wigan, Greater Manchester, England, in 1984, by Gary Newby, (vocals, guitar, and keyboards,) Brian Bateman (rhythm guitar,) Guy Keegan, (drums) and Stephen Hull, (bass) the quartet were active through until 1991, with Newby continuing as a solo artist from 1996, but retaining the bands name. Newby also spent several years in Japan from 2002 onwards, writing, arranging music, and lyrics, for major Japanese artists including Anna Tsuchiya, Every Little Thing, V6, Detroit Metal City, Sailor Moon, and Yoshikuni Douchin. After the band split in 1991, Guy Keegan joined the Wigan based ‘Folk/Rock’ band ‘The Tansads, while Brian Bateman, and Stephen Hull retired from music. In 2016 all four original members began rehearsing together, and went on to play several times, including in London, and Berlin, their official website states that they have not been active since 2019.

Commercially The Railway Children met with limited success, releasing four studio Albums between 1987-1997, with none of them reaching the UK top 40, although their debut Album ‘Reunion Wilderness,’ did make the Number 1 position on the ‘UK Independent Singles and Albums Charts.’ There are also five official compilation Albums available, of which the 2007, and 2010 releases ‘Rarities 1#’ and ‘Rarities 2#’ are only available by download. The Railway Children have also released 10 singles between 1986-2002, with only ‘Every Beat of the Heart’ reaching the UK top 40, while in America the song did reach Number 1 on the Billboard ‘Alternative Airplay’ chart.

‘Every Beat of the Heart’ was the first of three singles released from The Railway Children’s third studio Album ‘Native Place,’ from 1990. The song was written by Gary Newby, who also wrote all the other 11 tracks on the Album, with the production being by Steve Lovell, (-2021) and Steve Power. Along with the four members of The Railway Children, also playing on ‘Every Beat of the Heart’ was Matt Irving, (1950-2015) who provided additional keyboards. Irving had been a member of ‘ Manfred Mann’s Earth Band,’ between 1981-1986, and after leaving that group, he had played keyboards for acts including ‘Squeeze,’ Chris Rea,’ and Paul Young, he died in 2015 due to prostrate cancer.

Steve Power who co-produced ‘Every Beat of the Heart’ was born in Liverpool, England, and has been a record producer, and Mixer, since 1981. Power began his career working alongside local Liverpool bands ‘Frankie Goes To Hollywood,’ ‘Dead or Alive,’ ‘Black,’ and ‘A Flock of Seagulls,’ but he his best known for his work with Robbie Williams, (see also best songs 406) producing the first five of his studio Albums between 1997-2002, which have each sold over 2 million copies, helping make Robbie Williams the best selling British solo artist in the history of the United Kingdom.

‘Every Beat of the Heart’ is about the break-up of a relationship, with the narrator realising that he wants to be free to start over again, he wants a clean break, with no drama.

‘That’s some angry sky behind me, but I don’t need you here to guide me. Identify too familiar ground, and I’ll keep away, I’ll keep away. I think I can control my need, but you’re so precious when you leave. Don’t demonstrate, its life and death, in front of me, in front of me.’

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


784-The Players Association-Turn the Music Up.

1979-Number 8 single.

Best Bit-At 4.26. ‘If you like it, I can play all night. If you like it, I can play all night.’ I used to take these lyrics for granted, until the ‘Covid 19’ pandemic set in.

The Players Association were formed as a studio group only, in New York City, United States, in 1977, by the drummer, and musical arranger Chris Hills, and the music producer Danny Weiss, they would remain active through until 1981. When required the duo would bring in some of the era’s top session musicians to perform on their records. In total The Players Association released five studio Albums between 1977-1981, and 11 singles in the same time period. Some of the groups recordings were cover versions, including the two single releases, ‘Disco Inferno,’ (1977) (see also best songs 184) and ‘Love Hangover (1977) (see also best songs 519.) but the majority of their songs were original compositions in the ‘Disco,’ and ‘Jazz Funk’ genres. The Players Association never had a hit on the American Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, but two of their tracks reached the Billboard ‘Dance Club Songs’ chart, with ‘We Got the Groove,’ peaking the highest at Number 18 in 1980. In the UK, only ‘Turn the Music Up’ made the top 40, but the follow up single ‘Ride the Groove’ just missed out, when reaching Number 42.

‘Turn the Music Up’ was the first of two singles released from The Players Association’s third studio Album of the same name from 1979. The song was co-written by Chris Hills, and Laurel Dann, (1947-2016) with the production being by Danny Weiss. As previously mentioned, The Players Association would bring in the best session musicians to record their songs, and these included Joe Farrell, (1937-1986) who was an American Jazz multi-instrumentalist, who primarily performed as a saxophonist and flautist. Farrell released 17 Albums between 1967-1985, and his other appearance on this ‘1000 Best Songs’ list, is playing the flute solo on Aretha Franklin’s 1973 hit ‘Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do.’) (see also best songs 366.) Other musicians who contributed to The Players Association include David Sanborn, who is an American alto saxophonist, his vast discography includes the very memorable saxophone part that he played on David Bowie’s 1975 song ‘Young Americans’ (see also best songs 209.) Another was James Mtume, (1946-2022) who is probably best remembered as the founding member of the American ‘R&B’ group ‘Mtume,’ whose 1983 song ‘Juicy Fruit,’ which James Mtume wrote and produced, is repeatedly sampled in the ‘Hip-Hop’ community.

Chris Hills who was one of the two founding members of The Players Association is a singer, songwriter, producer, drummer, and keyboardist. Prior to forming The Players Association, he was a member of the early 1960’s American Funk band ‘Everything Is Everything, who with Hills as a member in 1965, would evolve in to ‘The Free Spirits,’ who have been credited with being among the first ‘Jazz/Rock’ groups. In 1975, just prior to the forming of The Players Association, Chris Hills and David Weiss co-wrote the song ‘Isn’t It A Dream Come True,’ which was recorded by Hills, and released on the ‘All Platinum’ record label.

‘Turn the music up, turn the music up, turn it up, party down, c’mon. You got your music up, turn it up party down, party down. Turn the music up, turn it up and party down. Turn the music up
yeah and party down, and party down down down down.’