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


727-Police-Wrapped Around Your Finger.

1983-Number 7 single.

Best Bit-At 3.39. Sting uses some big words in this one, such as ‘Scylla, ‘Charybdes,’ ‘Mephistopheles,’ and ‘Alabaster,’ with that kind of knowledge he should have been a school teacher.

The Police (see also best songs 1020) were formed in London, England, in 1977, by Gordon Sumner, better known as ‘Sting,’ (bass guitar, lead and backing vocals, double bass, and keyboards) Stewart Copeland, (drums, percussion, and backing vocals) and Henry Padovani, (guitars) Andy Summers (guitars, backing vocals, and keyboards) would replace Padovani within six months of them forming, and that trio are recognised as the classic line up. The Police remained active through until they split in 1986, since then there has been a one off performance in 1992, and another in 2003, with a final re-union, for a world tour in 2007-2008, to mark the groups 30th anniversary.

With record sales in excess of 75 million sold worldwide, the Police are one of the best selling groups of all time.Their discography includes five studio Albums released between 1978-1983, and 26 singles issued between 1977-2000, there are also seven official compilation Albums, three box sets, and three live Albums available. In the UK the Police’s final four Albums all reached the Number 1 position, while in America their only Album to top the ‘Billboard 200’ Album chart was their final release ‘Synchronicity,’ in 1983. In the UK, 18 of their singles have reached the top 40, with five of them making the Number 1 spot, while in America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, they have had nine top 40 entries, with ‘Every Breath You Take,’ from 1983 reaching the Number 1 position.

‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ was the second of five singles released from ‘Synchronicity,’ the fifth and final Album by the Police, from June 1983. ‘Synchronicity’ is the groups most critically acclaimed Album, and their best selling, with sales in excess of nine million worldwide. At the time of the Album’s release, and following the supporting tour, the Police’s popularity was at such a high that many were calling them the ‘biggest band in the world’ at that time. ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ which was one of the 11 tracks on ‘Synchronicity,’ (track 3-side 2) was written by Sting, with the production credited to the Police, and Hugh Pagdham, (see also best songs 741 and 603) who had also worked with the Police on their previous Album ‘Ghost in the Machine,’ from 1981.

‘Wrapped Around Your Finger,’ which peaked at Number 8 on the American Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, like other tracks on ‘Synchronicity,’ such as ‘Every Breath You Take,’ and ‘King of Pain,’ were loosely written by Sting about his own personal life experiences. Sting has described ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ as ‘A spiteful song about turning the tables on someone who had been in charge.’ Of the songs meaning Sting has said,’This song is vaguely alchemical, and probably about a friend of mine, a professional psychic and my tutor in tarot, with bits of ‘Doctor Faustus’ and ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ thrown into the pot for good measure.’ Sting would often at around that time use mythological, and literary references in his songs. In ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger,’ he includes ‘Scylla,’ and ‘Charybdis,’ who were mythical sea monsters from Greek mythology. The saying ‘Being between Scylla and Charybdis, is an idiom deriving from Greek mythology, which has been associated with the proverbial advice ‘to choose the lesser of two evils.’ The sayings between the devil and the deep blue sea,’ and ‘between a rock and a hard place,’ express similar meanings. Sting also sings ‘Mephistopheles is not your name,’Mephistopheles’ is another name for the devil.

‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ is a song about being under the control of another person. For most of the song, the singer is under the control of the woman who dominates him, but by the end however, he figures her out, and turns the tables.

‘Devil and the deep blue sea behind me, vanish in the air you’ll never find me. I will turn your face to alabaster, when you’ll find your servant is your master. You’ll be wrapped around my finger.’

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


728-Medicine Head-One and One Is One.

1973-Number 3 single.

Best Bit-At 1.35. In 1972 Medicine Head released their third studio Album called ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ Pink Floyd had just recorded an Album with the same title, and to avoid confusion Pink Floyd changed it’s name to ‘Eclipse,’ when the Medicine Head Album turned out to be a commercial dud, Pink Floyd changed the title back to ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ and the rest is history.

Medicine Head were formed in Stafford, England in 1968, and remained active through until 1977. For the majority of their career Medicine Head were the duo of John Fiddler, who was born on September 25th, 1947, in the Moxley area of Darlaston, Staffordshire, and Peter Hope-Evans, who was born on September 28th, 1947, in Brecon, Powys, Wales, the pair had first met while attending ‘Wednesfield Grammar School,’ in Wolverhampton, they would both later attend ‘Stafford Art School,’ before quitting, in order to begin performing music together. The duo got their big break when coming to the attention of the legendary DJ John Peel, (1939-2004) (see also best songs 435) who had seen them perform live in Birmingham, England, and he signed them to his recently founded ‘Dandelion Record’ label. Peter Hope-Evans left Medicine Head for over a year during the recording of ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ and and was replaced by Keith Relf (1943-1976) (see also best songs 361) on bass, and John Davies on drums, Hope-Evans returned to Medicine Head in 1973 for the recording of their most successful Album ‘One and One Is One.’ After the break up of Medicine Head in 1977, John Fiddler became a member of the short lived British Rock band ‘British Lions,’ between 1977-1980, and then the English Rock band ‘Box of Frogs,’ between 1983-1986, he also released a solo Album called ‘Return of the Buffalo,’ in 1995. Peter Hope-Evans has since appeared as a session musician on many Albums, most prominently with Pete Townshend, and he has also played in several bands, including the ‘Rock/Pop’ group, ‘The Dance Band,’ who released the 1980 album ‘Fancy Footwork.’

Medicine Head released seven studio Albums between 1970-1976, the first three were for the ‘Dandelion Record’ label, but after that label fell in to financial difficulties, Medicine Head signed with ‘Polydor’ records. Medicine Head also released 13 singles between 1969-1976, and there has been a further five official compilation Albums issued between 2001-2011. In the UK, four of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘One and One Is On,’ peaking the highest at Number 3 in 1973, their other three UK top 40 singles were (‘And The) Pictures in the Sky,’ (1971-Number 22) ‘Rising Sun,’ (1973-Number 11) and ‘Slip and Slide’ (1974-Number 22.)

‘One and One Is One’ was the the only single released from Medicine Head’s fourth studio Album of the same name from 1973, the song was written by John Fiddler, with the production being by Tony Ashton, (1946-2001.) who also played the piano, organ, and mellotron on the Album. Tony Ashton was born Edward Anthony Ashton, on March 1st, 1946 in Blackburn, Lancashire, England, he died of cancer on May 28th, 2001, at the age of 55. In 1962 Ashton became a member of the Liverpool based band ‘The Remo Four’ as an organist and vocalist, and although they had no chart success with any of their solo 13 singles, they did chart at Number 33 in the UK in 1964 with Tommy Quickly, on the track ‘Wild Side of Life,’ ‘The Remo Four’ are probably best remembered for backing George Harrison (1943-2001) on his 1968 debut solo Album ‘Wonderwall Music.’ After the demise of ‘The Remo Four’ in 1968, Tony Ashton co-formed the group ‘Ashton, Gardner and Dyke’ in 1969, releasing three studio Albums, and four singles between 1969-1972, and finding success in the UK in 1971 with ‘The Resurrection Shuffle, which reached Number 3. Tony Ashton also released three solo studio Albums between 1974-1984, and 10 singles/EP’s between 1971-1996.

‘One and One Is One’ which was written by John Fiddler is a love song, and a celebration of compatibility.

‘Don’t need nobody just me and you. Like the way you walk, like the things you do. Got no confusion with you by my side, and when it’s time to go I’m satisfied.’

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



2004-Number 4 single.

Best Bit-At 0.58. Lifestyle recommendation: The secret to having a good party, just drink enough, but not too much. Everything in moderation.

J-Kwon was born Jerrell C. Jones, on March 28th, 1986, in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. It appears that he had a very difficult childhood, having lived on the streets homeless for a period of time from the age of 13, making a living by selling drugs. At the height of his fame around 2004 he refused to talk any further about his life in the drug trade, but some of his lyrics do reflect his life at that time, he has called his music of that period ‘street music.’ His ambition had always been to make it as a ‘rapper,’ and after entering and winning a ‘rap battle,’ he came to the attention of the production duo ‘Trackboyz,’ leading to him being signed to a contract with the ‘So So Def’ record label. Mark Williams of the ‘Trackboyz’ has said of J-Kwon,’Most other 17 or 18 year old’s are worried about going to college. Kwon was homeless, Kwon was in the street, so he didn’t have the comfort that other 17 year old’s have. His rapping I liked it, but it was his personality, how he sold himself to me that really got me. He was cocky and charismatic. He had a little bit of everything in him and he wasn’t scared.’

The discography of J-Kwon includes four studio Albums released between 2004-2010, and nine singles issued between 2004-2009, there is also one official mixtape, and a remix Album available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, his only top 40 entry remains ‘Tipsy,’ which reached Number 2 in 2004, being kept off the top spot by Usher with ‘Yeah!’ (see also best songs 982.) His only other entry on that chart was his follow up single ‘You & Me,’
featuring Sadiyyah, which reached Number 58, also in 2004, although he did make Number 23 as a featured performer on the track ‘Fresh Azimiz,’ by Bow Wow, which also featured Jermaine Dupri, in 2005. ‘Tipsy’ which also made Number 2 on the Billboard ‘Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs’ chart, was the only charting single for J-Kwon in the UK, it also saw success in Australia, where it made Number 5, and in Germany where it peaked at Number 17.

‘Tipsy’ was the debut single from J-Kwon, and the only single released from his debut Album ‘Hood Hop,’ from April 2004. The song was co-written by J-Kwon, along with Joe Kent, and Mark Williams, who are an American Hip-Hop’ production duo, who are also credited with producing ‘Tipsy.’ Joe ‘Capo’ Kent, and Mark ‘Tarboy’ Williams, as they are professionally known, formed their partnership in 2002, and at the time of writing remain active. Commercially ‘Tipsy’ remains the duo’s biggest success, but they were also the producers for the track ‘Air Force Ones,’ by Nelly featuring Kyjuan, Ali and Murphy Lee, which made Number 3 on Billboard in 2002, Their only other chart entry to date is the track ‘Po Folks,’ by Nappy Roots, featuring Anthony Hamilton, which reached Number 21 on Billboard in 2002.

‘Tipsy’ is a song about under age drinking, in America the lawful age to consume alcohol is 21, while in the UK it is 18. In the song J-Kwon is bragging that that he knows under age drinking is wrong, but he has got a fake ‘ID,’ to enable him to purchase the alcohol. ‘Tipsy’ has a memorable promotional video, in which J-Kwon is hosting a house party while his parents are away. The video pays homage to the 1990 comedy film ‘House Party,’ and the 1983 sex comedy ‘Risky Business,’ and also to the music video of the 1994 song ‘Gin and Juice,’ by Snoop Dogg. The ‘So So Def’s’ record labels Daz Dillinger, Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat, and Derrty’s Murphy Lee make cameo appearances, along with the American comedian and actor Lavell Crawford, who makes an appearance at the end and beginning of the video as J-Kwon’s father. It should be pointed out that the music video is more in the style of Will Smith, (prankster) rather than 50 Cent (gangster.)

‘One, here comes the two to the three to the four, everybody drunk out on the dance floor. Baby girl ass jiggle like she want more, like she a groupie and I aint even on tour. Maybe ’cause she heard that I rhyme hardcore, or maybe ’cause she heard that I buy out the stores.’

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


730-Metallica-Enter Sandman.

1991-Number 5 single.

Best Bit-At 2.43. After the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, this was one of the songs chosen to be played continuously to try to break the will of the uncooperative supporters of Saddam Hussein, by American interrogators. Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich said. ‘I can name 30 Norwegian ‘Death Metal’ bands that would make Metallica sound like Simon & Garfunkel.’

Metallica (see also best songs 52) were formed in Los Angeles, California, United States, in 1981, by James Hetfield, and Lars Ulrich, at the time of writing Metallica remain active with both Hetfield and Ulrich being the the only remaining original members of the band. It was Ulrich who got the bands name from a friend called Ron Quintana, who was choosing names for a Heavy Metal fanzine he was creating, and ‘Metallica’ was one of the options, the other being ‘Metal Mania.’ Ulrich encouraged Quintana to choose ‘Metal Mania,’ and used the name ‘Metallica’ for himself. In their early days Metallica were influenced by the ‘Rock Music’ that came out of England in the 1970’s, from bands such as Black Sabbath, (see also best songs 814) Iron Maiden, (see also best songs 666) and Diamond Head, but with their fast tempos, and aggressive musicianship, they were pioneers of the musical genre ‘Thrash Metal,’ a term which was first used in the music press by the Heavy Metal magazine ‘Kerrang!’ journalist Malcolm Dome, (1955-2021) while describing the American group ‘Anthrax,’ (who like Metallica formed in 1981) and their song ‘Metal Thrashing Mad.’ Prior to that, James Hetfield had always referred to Metallica as ‘Speed Metal,’ or ‘Power Metal.’

‘Enter Sandman’ was the first of five singles released from Metallica’s self titled fifth studio Album, from August 1991, the song was written by Kirk Hammett, who has been a member of the group since 1983, along with James Hetfield, and Lars Ulrich, with the production credited to Hetfield, Ulrich, and Bob Rock (see also best songs 959.) The Album ‘Metallica’ which is now more commonly known as ‘The Black Album’ because of it’s black sleeve, marked a change in the band’s music from the ‘Thrash Metal’ style of their previous four albums to a slower, heavier, and more refined sound, due to the recruitment of Bob Rock who was brought in for that purpose. Bob Rock steered Metallica towards a more commercial, ‘Heavy Metal’ sound, but still kept characteristics of ‘Thrash Metal.’ Instruments not usually used by Heavy Metal bands, such as the cellos in ‘The Unforgiven,’ and the orchestra in ‘Nothing Else Matters,’ were added at Bob Rock’s insistence. The change in style paid off, elevating Metallica to the very top, with sales of the Album exceeding 30 million copies sold worldwide. In 2009 the Album became the best selling Album in America since 1990, with sales currently in that country in excess of 17 million copies sold.

‘Enter Sandman’ is a song about children being frightened of having nightmares. James Hetfield originally had written the lyrics about ‘Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,’ (Cot Death) when a baby dies inexplicably in its crib. The line, ‘Off to never never land, was, ‘Disrupt the perfect family,’ and the ‘sandman,’ kills the baby, but at the persuasion of Bob Rock, Hetfield re-wrote the lyrics, to be more accessible and meaningful. James Hetfield has spoken of the songs meaning,’I wanted more of the mental thing, where this kid gets manipulated by what adults say. And you know when you wake up with that s–t in your eye? That’s supposedly been put in there by the sandman to make you dream. So the guy in the song tells this little kid that and he kinda freaks. He can’t sleep after that and it works the opposite way. Instead of a soothing thing, the table’s turned.’ The line in the chorus, ‘Take my hand, we’re off to Never Never Land,’ is a reference to the children’s story Peter Pan, as Peter lives in the magical world of Neverland. In ‘Enter Sandman,’ the Sandman lives in Never Never Land, and it is a much less pleasant place.

Kirk Hammett has told how he wrote the riff to ‘Enter Sandman,’ ‘Soundgarden (see also best songs 614) had just put out ‘Louder Than Love.’ I was trying to capture their attitude toward big, heavy riffs. It was two o’clock in the morning. I put it on tape and didn’t think about it. When Lars Ulrich heard the riff, he said, ‘That’s really great. But repeat the first part four times.’ It was that suggestion that made it even more hooky.’

‘Say your prayers, little one, don’t forget, my son to include everyone. I tuck you in, warm within, keep you free from sin, till the Sandman he comes. Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight, exit light, enter night, take my hand, we’re off to never never land.’

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


731-Jack Payne and His Band (Vocal chorus by Billy Scott Coomber) -It’s A Lovely Day To-Morrow.

1939-It has never charted in the UK. There was no UK chart until 1952.

Best Bit-At 1.04. Possibly the ultimate ‘half glass full’ song.

‘It’s A Lovely Day Tomorrow’ was one of approximately 1,500 songs composed by Irving Berlin between 1907-1971 (see also best songs 457-385 and 100.) Irving Berlin was born Israel Beilin, (Yiddish: ישראל ביילין;) on May 11th, 1888, in Tyumen, Russian Empire, he died in Manhattan, New York City, United States, on September 22nd, 1989, of a heart attack, and other natural causes, in his sleep, at the age of 101. Irving Berlin is considered by many to be the greatest songwriter of all time, as a composer and lyricist his music forms a large part of the ‘Great American Songbook,’ of which there are 31 of those songs featured in this ‘Best 1000 Songs’ list (see also best songs 281 for the full list.) During his 64 year career as a composer, he wrote songs that included, ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band,’ (1911) ‘Blue Skies,’ (1926) ‘Easter Parade,’ (1933) ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz,’ (1927) ‘Cheek to Cheek,’ (1934) ‘White Christmas,’ (1942) ‘Happy Holiday,’ (1942) ‘Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better,’) (1946) and ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’ (1946.) Among the songs written by Irving Berlin, several of those compositions appeared in 20 original Broadway shows, and 15 original Hollywood films, with his songs being nominated eight times for Academy Awards. The composer George Gershwin (1898-1937) (see also best songs 286 and 231) called him ‘The greatest songwriter that has ever lived,’ and another composer Jerome Kern (1885-1945) (see also best songs 687 and 82) said that ‘Irving Berlin has no place in American music, he is American music. Emotionally, he honestly absorbs the vibrations emanating from the people, manners and life of his time and, in turn, gives these impressions back to the world, simplified, clarified and glorified.’ The ‘American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers,’ (ASCAP’) have stated that 25 of Irving Berlin’s songs have reached the top of the charts, including ‘White Christmas,’ (1942) (see also best songs 457) which is the best selling song worldwide of all time, with sales in excess of 50 million physical copies sold.

‘It’s A Lovely Day Tomorrow’ was written by Irving Berlin in 1938, coming about after a conversation between Berlin, and the Hungarian film producer Alexander Korda (1893-1956.) The ‘Munich Agreement’ had just been reached, and had depressed both men, and Korda asked Berlin if he had written a war song yet. Berlin used ‘It’s A Lovely Day Tomorrow’ in his 1940 musical ‘Louisiana Purchase,’ in which it describes feelings of despair, and hope during the American ‘Great Depression’ of the 1930’s, the song was first performed by the American actress Irene Bordoni (1885-1953) on the musicals opening night.

‘It’s A Lovely Day Tomorrow’ has been recorded on many occasions. In 1940 in the UK, the song was recorded by Al Bowlly, (1898-1941) and also by Denny Dennis, (1913-1993) with Jay Wilbur And His Orchestra. ‘It’s A Lovely Day Tomorrow’ was also recorded by Vera Lynn, (1917-2020) and promoted to lift the spirits of the British people during the darkest days of World War II, and the Blitz. In America the song was also recorded in 1940 by Frank Sinatra, (1915-1998) who recorded it with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The version I have chosen is the 1939 recording by Jack Payne and His Band, with vocals by Billy Scott Coomber, which was recorded for the ‘Decca’ label.

Jack Payne was born John Wesley Vivian Payne, on August 22nd, 1899, in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, he died on December 4th, 1969, at the age of 70. Jack Payne was a bandleader, composer, vocalist, and an actor, who played in the genre of Jazz, and led his own band at the height of the British dance band era in the 1930’s. In 1928, Jack Payne became the ‘BBC Director of Dance Music,’ and the leader of the BBC’s first official dance band. In 1929, the band were featured in the first ever BBC television broadcast, and also appeared in the short film ‘Jazz Time’ that same year. His signature tune was ‘Say it With Music,’ which was written by Irving Berlin. After leaving the ‘BBC’ in 1932, Payne took his band on national, and international tours, and made the films ‘Say it with Music’ in 1932, followed four years later by ‘Sunshine Ahead.’ In later years he became a disc jockey, and appeared as himself in the 1957 musical film ‘Jamboree,’ (see also best songs 99) he also made the occasional television appearance as a panellist on the BBC television music show ‘Juke Box Jury,’ between 1959-1967.

Providing the vocals for Jack Payne and His Band on ‘It’s A Lovely Day Tomorrow’ was the Indian born Irish singer Billy Scott Coomber (1905-1990.) Coomber also recorded under the pseudonym ‘Malcolm Desmond, as well as working with others, through until his retirement from performing in 1970. This version of ‘It’s A Lovely Day Tomorrow’ was chosen as part of the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed ‘Singing Detective’ BBC, television serial drama from 1986. The other songs on that soundtrack that appear on this ‘1000 Best Songs’ list are (see also best songs 960-934-842-759-702-535-310-288-281 and 172.)

‘It’s a lovely day tomorrow, tomorrow is a lovely day. Come and feast your tear dimmed eyes on tomorrow’s clear blue skies. If today your heart is weary, if ev’ry little thing looks grey, just forget your troubles and learn to say tomorrow is a lovely day.’

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


732-Joan Armatrading-Love and Affection.

1976-Number 10 single.

Best Bit-At 1.42. Discerning listeners will realise that Joan Armatrading doesn’t actually possess a male baritone voice, in fact it belongs to the American actor Clark Peters.

Joan Anita Barbara Armatrading, CBE, was born on December 9th, 1950, in Basseterre, Saint Christopher and Nevis, British Leeward Islands, in what was then a British colony. When she was three years old, her parents moved with their two eldest boys to Birmingham, in England, sending Joan to live with her grandmother on the Caribbean island of Antigua. In early 1958, at the age of seven, she joined her parents in Brookfields, which was then an area of Birmingham. In 1968 Joan joined a touring production of the stage musical ‘Hair,’ which was where she met the lyricist Pam Nestor, who would work with her on her debut Album ‘Whatever’s for Us,’ which was released in 1972. Joan Armatrading who has recorded in the genres of ‘Rock,’ ‘Pop,’ ‘Folk/Rock,’ and ‘Blues,’ was appointed ‘Member of the Order of the British Empire,’ (MBE) in the 2001 Birthday Honours, and ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire,’ (CBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours, for services to music, charity, and equal rights. She has always been reluctant to discuss her personal life in interviews, but has said,’People who like my music have a legitimate interest in me, but I need to retain some privacy, not to be telling people what’s going on, or what I feel. When you go home, the reason it’s beautiful is because it’s personal to you, and the people you want to include in it.’ In 2011, Joan Armatrading entered into a civil partnership, but she does not talk publicly about being gay.

The discography of Joan Armatrading includes 20 studio Albums released between 1972-2021, and 57 singles issued between 1973-2018. there are also 13 official compilation Albums, four live Albums, and two box sets available. In the UK, where she has had far more success with her Albums, rather than her singles, 13 of her studio Albums have made the top 40, with her 1980 Album ‘Me Myself I,’ peaking the highest at Number 5. She has had three of her singles make the UK top 40, with ‘Love and Affection’ reaching Number 10 in 1976. In America on Billboard, two of her Albums have reached the top 40, with ‘Me Myself I’ charting the highest at Number 28, and in 2007, her 16th studio Album ‘Into the Blues,’ reached Number 1 on the American ‘Billboard Blues’ chart, remaining on the top spot for 12 consecutive weeks. Joan Armatrading’s only entry on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart remains ‘Drop the Pilot,’ which peaked at Number 78 in 1983.

‘Love and Affection’ was the first of two singles released from Joan Armatrading’s self titled third studio Album from July 1976, it was her fifth single release overall, and her first to become a hit. The song was written by Joan Armatrading, with the production being by Glyn Johns, who appears on this ‘1000 Best Songs’ list in the capacity of producer, engineer, or for mixing, on many occasions, (see also best songs 1048-933-662-265-77 and 70.) Also appearing on ‘Love and Affection’ were Jerry Donahue, (acoustic & electric guitars) Dave Mattacks, (drums) Jimmy Jewell, (alto saxophone) Dave Markee, (1943-2020) (bass) and Leroy Champaign, and Clarke Peters, both on backing vocals. Both Donahue, and Mattacks have both been members of the English Folk/Rock band ‘Fairport Convention, and at the time of writing Mattacks remains their drummer. Jimmy Jewel who plays the memorable alto sax on ‘Love and Affection,’ was a long term contributor to much of the work of the Scottish duo ‘Gallagher & Lyle,’ while Clarke Peters who provided his ‘baritone’ vocals on the track, would later move in to acting, and is best known for his roles as Lester Freamon, in the television series ‘The Wire,’ (2002–2008) and also as Albert Lambreaux, in the television series ‘Treme’ (2010–2013.) Clarke Peters can also be heard prominently on ‘Boogie Nights,’ which was a UK, and Billboard Number 2 hit for the British Funk/Disco group ‘Heatwave,’ in 1977.

Joan Armatrading has spoken about how ‘Love and Affection’ came to fruition while she was driving along the ‘Kings Road,’ in London.’I can show you the spot where I was when those lyrics came to me, It was somebody trying to persuade me to be with them.’ She has said that the opening line,’I’m not in love, but I’m open to persuasion,’ is about herself, as someone was trying to persuade her into a romantic relationship. Joan has also said,’It’s just deeply, deeply personal, and I can’t talk about it without talking about the person I wrote it for, which I never, ever do.’

‘Thank you, you took me dancing ‘cross the floor cheek to cheek. But with a lover I could really move, really move. I could really dance, really dance, really dance.’

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


733-Massive-Unfinished Sympathy.

1991-Number 13 single.

Best Bit-At 2.25. The songs title is a pun on Schubert’s 1822 ‘Unfinished Symphony,’ who says Classical Music never gets a mention in this countdown.

Massive Attack were formed in Bristol, England, in 1988, by Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja, Adrian ‘Tricky’ Thaws, Andrew ‘Mushroom’ Vowles, and Grant ‘Daddy G’ Marshall. In total there have been nine different members come and go, with ‘3D,’ ‘Tricky,’ and ‘Daddy G,’ making up the current line up at the time of writing, Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja is the groups one constant. The four who formed Massive Attack had all previously been members of the Bristol based ‘The Wild Bunch (sound system,’) (see also best songs 839) who were a collective of musicians, who performed as a ‘sound system’ (see also best songs 734) in the Bristol area between 1985-1989. Massive Attack had originally started out as a ‘spin-off’ of ‘The Wild Bunch,’ but things got serious in 1990 when they signed to ‘Circa Records,’ committing to deliver six studio Albums, and a ‘best of’ compilation.

The discography of Massive Attack includes five studio Albums released between 1991-2010, and 18 singles issued between 1988-2016, there are also three official compilation Albums, six extended plays, and five remix Albums available. Massive Attack who have sold in excess of 13 million Albums worldwide have had two UK Number 1 Albums, ‘Mezzanine,’ (1998) and ‘100th Window,’ (2003) with there other three Albums all reaching the top 20, In America their Albums have failed to make a commercial breakthrough, with ‘Heliogoland,’ (2010) charting the highest at Number 46. In the UK, 10 of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Teardrop’ from 1998 peaking the highest at Number 10, while in America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, they are yet to chart, with ‘Teardrop’ being their best placing when stalling at Number 10, on the ‘Bubbling Under Hot 100’ chart.

Massive Attack play ‘Electronic Music,’ and they have been filed in the genre of ‘Trip Hop,’ which is a musical genre that originated in the early 1990’s in the UK, especially Bristol. ‘Trip Hop’ has been described as a Psychedelic fusion of Hip-Hop and Electronica, with slow tempos and an atmospheric sound, often incorporating elements of Jazz, Soul, Funk, Reggae, Dub, R&B, and other forms of Electronic music, as well as sampling from movie soundtracks, and other eclectic sources.

‘Unfinished Sympathy’ was the second of four singles released from ‘Blue Lines,’ the critically acclaimed debut studio Album from Massive Attack, from April 1991. The song was co-written by Robert Del Naja, Grantley Marshal, Shara Nelson, Jonathan Sharp, and Andrew Vowles, with the production credited to Massive Attack, and Jonny Dollar (1964-2009.) As well as co-writing ‘Unfinished Sympathy,’ Shara Nelson also sang the lead vocals on the track. Shara Nelson who was born in London, England, in 1965, has also had a successful solo career, releasing three studio Albums between 1991-1995, and 19 singles between 1983-2008. Five of those solo singles have reached the UK top 40, with ‘Down That Road,’ (1993) and ‘Uptight,’ (1994) both peaking the highest at Number 19, she also provided the lead vocals on ‘Safe From Harm,’ with Massive Attack, that reached Number 25 in 1991.

‘Unfinished Sympathy’s’ release coincided with the outbreak of the ‘Gulf War,’ so as to avoid a potential radio ban, the group were advised to drop the word ‘Attack’ from their name, so the song is actually credited to just ‘Massive.’ ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ has been critically acclaimed for it’s string orchestration, it’s arrangement, drum programming, and samples. The samples include a percussion break from the 1974 instrumental track ‘Parade Strut,’ by J. J. Johnson, (1924-2001) while the vocal sample of a man singing “hey, hey, hey, hey,’ was lifted from the John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s 1976 track ‘Planetary Citizen.’

‘Unfinished Sympathy’ has a very memorable promotional video of one continuous shot filmed on West Pico Boulevard, between South New Hampshire Avenue, and Dewey Avenue, in Los Angeles, California. It features Shara Nelson walking along the sidewalk, taking no notice of her surroundings, which include drunks, gangs, and bikers. The video is reminiscent in many ways to the one recorded by the ‘Verve,’ for ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ (see also best songs 1047) some six years later, which shows Richard Ashcroft also walking downtown. Many people have joked that when watching Shara Nelson, they half expect to see Richard Ashcroft passing her from the other direction.

‘I know that I’ve imagined love before, and how it could be with you. Really hurt me, baby, really cut me, baby, how can you have a day without a night? You’re the book that I have opened, and now I’ve got to know much more.’

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


734-Prince Buster-Al Capone.

1964-It didn’t chart in the UK until 1967, when it reached Number 18.

Best Bit-At 0.14. ‘Buster he sold the heat, with a Rocksteady beat.’

Prince Buster (see also best songs 139) was born Cecil Bustamente Campbell, on May 24th, 1938, in Orange Street, Kingston, British Jamaica, he died on September 8th, 2016, having been in poor health for some time after a series of strokes, including one in 2009 that left him unable to walk. His death came after suffering heart problems, at the age of 78. His middle name ‘Bustamente,’ was given to him by his family in honour of the Labour activist and first post-Independence Prime Minister of Jamaica in 1944, William Alexander Clarke Bustamante (1884-1977.) Prince Buster is best remembered as being the main figure in the development of the musical genre ‘Ska,’ which would later develop into ‘Rocksteady,’ and then ‘Reggae.’ Ska music combines elements of ‘Caribbean Folk’ music, ‘Calypso,’ ‘American Jazz,’ and ‘R&B,’ with Prince Buster utilising all of these genres in to his music.

As a child in the early 1940’s, Prince Buster was sent to live with his grandmother in rural Jamaica, where he was brought up in the Christian faith, gaining his first musical experience singing at the local church. On his return to Orange Street, as a teenager, and still at school, he would perform a ‘Rock ‘N Roll’ themed show with others at the ‘Glass Bucket Club,’ in Kingston. After leaving school he became interested in the ‘Sound System’ culture, where organisers would load up a truck with a generator, turntables, and huge speakers, and set up street parties. Prince Buster became actively involved in the operational side of running a sound system, eventually leading to him setting up his own ‘sound system,’ called ‘Voice of the People.’ It was when he was finding it difficult to import the latest American ‘R&B’ record releases, that he decided to start to record his own music, with other local musicians.

There is probably no complete discography available of all of the recordings made by Prince Buster, but he was prolific between 1963-1972, both as a recording artist, and as a producer for himself and others. His music transitioned from ‘Ska,’ to ‘Rocksteady,’ and when musical tastes inevitably changed his output slowed down, and he eventually retired from making new music in 1973. Even with the renewed interest in his music following the ‘2-Tone’ led Ska revival in the UK in 1979, he remained out of the limelight, but in 1984 after being asked to perform at ‘Reggae Sunsplash,’ in London, he resumed performing, and then in 1992, he also began to record new music again. In 2001, he was was awarded the ‘Order of Distinction’ (OD) by the Jamaican Government, for his contribution to music.

‘Al Capone’ is one of only two singles released by Prince Buster to reach the UK top 40, the other was ‘Whine and Grine,’ which made Number 21 in 1998, after being used in a nationwide television advertising campaign for Levi jeans. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, his only entry was ‘Ten Commandments,’ which peaked at Number 81 in 1967. ‘Al Capone’ failed to chart on it’s initial release in the UK in 1964, but by the mid 1960’s, interest in the Jamaican ‘Rude Boy’ culture was growing among the UK ‘Mods,’ and ‘The Rockers,’ and the ‘Skinheads, which led to ‘Ska’ music becoming popular, and seeing ‘Al Capone’ reach Number 18 on the UK top 40 in 1967.

‘Al Capone’ was written and produced by Prince Buster, and featured some of the best known Jamaican musicians of the day, including Gladstone Anderson, (1934-2015) on piano, Jerome ‘Jah Jerry’ Haynes, (1921-2007) on guitar, and Baba Brooke on trumpet. During the ‘second coming of Ska’ in 1979 in the UK, the British band the ‘Specials’ (see also best songs 924 and 372) borrowed elements of ‘Al Capone’ for their 1979 UK Number 6 hit ‘Gangsters,’ and prior to that in 1975, the German Pop/Disco group ‘Boney M,’ had sampled ‘Al Capone’ for their debut single ‘Baby Do You Wanna Bump,’ which reached Number 8 in Belgium, and Number 12 in the Netherlands. At the time it was written, ‘gangster’ and ‘Western films’ from Hollywood were very popular in Jamaica, which probably explains the songs subject.

‘Al Capone guns don’t argue. Don’t call me scarface, my name is Capone. C-A-P-O-N-E, Capone. Al Capone, my name is Capone, Al Capone.

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


735-Teena Marie-Behind the Groove.

1980-Number 6 single.

Best Bit-At 1.09. Many artists, including Olivia Newton John, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Rush, and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, have sang of the delights of ‘Xanadu,’ but only Teena Marie made it ‘Funky.’

Teena Marie was born Mary Christine Brockert, on March 5th, 1956, in Santa Monica, California, United States. In 2004 while sleeping in a hotel room, a large picture frame fell and struck her on the head, the blow caused a serious concussion, that resulted in momentary seizures for the rest of her life. On December 26th, 2010, Teena Marie was found dead at her home by her daughter Alia Rose, an autopsy was performed which found no signs of apparent trauma, or a discernible cause of death, and concluded she had died from natural causes. She had suffered a generalised tonic–clonic seizure a month before. Teena Marie was 54 years old at the time of her death.

Teena Marie first found success when signing with the ‘Gordy’ record label, a subsidiary of ‘Motown’ records. Her first Album for the label, ‘Wild and Peaceful,’ in 1979 was produced by fellow ‘Motown’ artist Rick James, (1948-2004) (see also best songs 418) and because her picture didn’t appear on the Album’s cover, many believed that she was an African-American. It wasn’t until she appeared on the American music show ‘Soul Train’ in 1979, becoming the show’s first white female performer, that the myth was finally disproved. Teena would appear on ‘Soul Train’ on a further eight occasions, more than any other white act. It was during her childhood that she acquired the nickname ‘Tina,’ and it was after taking the stage name ‘Teena Marie,’ that she was given the nickname ‘Lady T,’ by her friend and collaborator Rick James.

The discography of Teena Marie includes 14 studio Albums released between 1979-2013, and 35 singles issued between 1979-2012, there are also 13 official compilation Albums available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, two of her tracks have reached the top 40, with ‘Lovergirl’ from 1984, peaking the highest at Number 4. ‘Behind the Groove’ has never charted, but did reach Number 21 on the Billboard ‘Hot R&B’ songs chart, where she also had a further 14 entries, including the 1988 Number 1 ‘Ooo La La La.’ In the UK, she has had two top 40 entries, with the other being ‘I Need Your Lovin” reaching Number 28 in 1980.

‘Behind the Groove’ was co-written by Teena Marie, and Richard Rudolph, (see also best songs 503) with the production being by Rudolph, and was the second of three singles released from Teena Marie’s second studio Album ‘Lady T,’ from February 1980. With Rick James not being available at the time, Teena Marie turned to Richard Rudolph, who was born on October 27th, 1946, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Richard Rudolph’s career as a music producer had begun when he and Stevie Wonder jointly produced Minnie Riperton’s second Album, ‘Perfect Angel,’ in 1974, included on the Album was the song, ‘Lovin’ You,’ (Billboard Number 1 & UK Number 2-1975) written by Rudolph and Minnie Riperton, who was his wife. Minnie Ripperton died of cancer in 1979, at the age of 31. Richard Rudolph has written in excess of 200 songs, which have been recorded by several artists, including Chaka Khan, The Temptations, and The Rotary Connection, and he has contributed to worldwide sales in excess of 30 million Albums. Richard Rudolph has also supervised the production of music for several feature films, including, ‘Cocoon,’ ‘Running Scared,’ and ‘Black Rain, Flatliners,.’

‘Behind the Groove’ encourages the listener to embrace the groove, and be carefree, as it could lead to the fulfilment of your dreams, and the finding of love. The lyrics suggest that the listener can find happiness and remove any fear they may have by getting ‘Behind the Groove,’ and opening their eyes to the possibilities in life. Teena Marie sings that ‘Xanadu’ is behind the groove. In the 1797 poem ‘Kubla Khan, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, (1772-1834) which was first published in 1816, ‘Xanadu’ is a metaphor for opulence, or an idyllic place, based upon the description of ‘Shangdu,’ in the poem.

‘Hey, baby. Oh, yeah. Let me take you to Xanadu. Where is that? Behind the groove, well, alright. Behind the groove, there’s another side inside of you. Behind the groove, you can make your wildest dreams come true.’

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


736-Lenny Kravitz-Are You Gonna Go My Way.

1993-Number 4 single.

Best Bit-At 2.55. Jimi Hendrix for the 1990’s generation.

Lenny Kravitz was born Leonard Albert Kravitz, on May 26th, 1964, in Manhattan, New York, United States, he was named in honour of his uncle, Leonard M. Kravitz, who was killed in action in the Korean War at the age of 19, while defending against a Chinese attack, saving most of his platoon in the process, for which he received the posthumous ‘Medal of Honour.’ Lenny Kravitz mother was the actress Roxie Roker, (1929-1995) who portrayed ‘Hellen Willis’ in the ‘CBS’ network sitcom ‘The Jeffersons’ between 1975-1995, as half of the first interracial couple to be shown on prime time American television. Lenny Kravitz is the father of Zoe Kravitz, who is an actress, and singer, having appeared in films including ‘X-Men: First Class,’ (2011) and having released two studio Albums, and nine singles between 2013-2020. Lenny Kravitz’ mother was African/American, and his father Sy Kravitz (1924-2005) was of Ukrainian-Jewish origin, and although he didn’t grow up in a religious environment, he found religion himself at the age of 13, and later becoming a ‘ non-denominational Christian.’ Many of Kravitz songs deal with religious themes, including this one.

The discography of Lenny Kravitz includes 11 studio Albums released between 1985-2018, and 59 singles that have been issued between 1989-2023, there are also five official compilation Albums, and three live Albums available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, five of his songs have reached the top 40, with ‘It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over,’ peaking the highest at Number 2 in 1991. In America ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ was never released as a single, and was only released to radio stations for promotional play. At that time in 1993, tracks that only received airplay were not eligible for the Billboard Hot 100. In the UK, Lenny Kravitz has had eight top 40 hits, with ‘Fly Away’ from 1998 reaching the Number 1 spot. Other notable songs written by Kravitz include his co-write and production of ‘Justify My Love,’ which gave Madonna a Billboard Number 1, and UK Number 2 hit single in 1990. He also co-wrote most of the self-titled 1992 album by Vanessa Paradis, which produced the worldwide hit ‘Be My Baby’ (UK Number 6.)

‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ was co-written by Lenny Kravitz and Craig Ross, with the production being by Kravitz. The song was the first of four singles issued from Lenny Kravitz’ third studio Album of the same name from March 1993. The Album has sold in excess of two million copies in America, and in excess of three million copies worldwide. ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ which was a hit in several European countries, including France, where it made Number 4, was also very successful in Australia, where it made Number 1, and in New Zealand where it peaked at Number 2, was co-written by Craig Ross, who was born in 1964, in Los Angeles, California, United States. He first began working with Lenny Kravitz on ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way,’ and has contributed with his songwriting, and guitar playing, on all of his Albums since.

Lenny Kravitz has said that ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ is about Jesus Christ, whom Kravitz has referred to as ‘The ultimate Rock Star.’It’s about how God gives choice to man about where to turn.’ Kravitz has also explained the origins of the song,’We were just jamming in the studio. You know, I was jamming with Craig Ross, who I wrote the song with. It was one of those songs that happened in five minutes. We were jamming. I thought there was something happening. I told Henry to turn the tape machines on, and we played it. And that was it. And then I went and wrote the lyrics on a brown paper bag, I remember at my loft on Broome Street at the time. Went in and sang it the next day. And that was it. I thought the subject matter was really interesting, because it’s coming from the mouth of Jesus Christ, as I thought. So basically, ‘Are you gonna go my way?’ meaning ‘my way of love.’

As I have written on many previous occasions, ‘I don’t want to start a lawsuit,’….but, if you take a listen to the 1990 song called ‘Carry On,’ by the Christian Rock artist Philip Keaggy, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Lenny Kravitz got inspiration for ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ from that track.

‘I was born long ago, I am the chosen, I’m the one. I have come to save the day, and I won’t leave until I’m done. So that’s why you’ve got to try, you got to breath and have some fun. Though I’m not paid, I play this game, and I won’t stop until I’m done.’