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Posted by: In: Other 31 Jan 2024 Comments: 0


652-Dizzee Rascal featuring Chrome-Holiday.

2009-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 3.08. It’s one of those wonderful hands in the air moments, where you can dance yourself Dizzee.

Dizzee Rascal (see also best songs 138) was born Dylan Kwabena Mills, on September 18th, 1984, in London, England, he was an important player in the development of the musical genre ‘Grime’ (see also best songs 813) in the early 2000’s, with his debut Album ‘Boy in da Corner,’ which is a prime example of the genre, winning the 2003 ‘Mercury Music Prize.’ Dizzee Rascal who partly took his stage name from one of his school teachers, who was the first to call him ‘rascal,’ has at the time of writing released eight studio Albums between 2003-2024, and 45 singles in the same time period. In the UK he has had 21 top 40 hits as the lead artist, with four of those tracks reaching Number 1, he has also had a further three top 40 hits as a featured artist. Dizzee Rascal has appeared on two charity singles, which have also made the Number 1 spot, performing on, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ as part of Band Aid 20, (2004) and ‘Shout,’ as ‘Shout for England,’ with James Corden (2010.)

‘Holiday’ was the second of six singles released from Dizzee Rascal’s fourth studio Album ‘Tongue n’ Cheek,’ from September 2009, the song was co-written by Dizzee Rascal, (lyrics) and Calvin Harris, (music) along with Nick Detron, who is also credited as a co-writer of the track, as well as others tracks on the ‘Tongue n’ Cheek’ Album. Providing vocals on ‘Holiday,’ alongside Dizzee Rascal, is the ‘R&B’ singer ‘Chrome,’ who had also previously sang on Dizzee Rascal’s 2008 UK Number 1 single ‘Dance wiv Me,’ which was produced by Calvin Harris, who is also the producer of ‘Holiday.’ ‘Tongue n’ Cheek’ was a further departure from Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Grime’ roots, as he moved towards a more ‘commercial sound,’ alienating some of his fan base. Speaking about ‘Holiday’ Dizzee Rascal has said,’I live in a country house in Kent now, big pond, big fish, big whatever, and when I first moved in, I had a little pool party kind of thing. Where I lived before I didn’t really invite anyone round, but this time there were about 20 people there, and I suddenly realised that what I needed to do was make an Album you could play all the way through without spoiling the party.’ Calvin Harris had originally written the music for ‘Holiday’ with the British girl group ‘The Saturdays’ in mind, but after their management turned it down, he then offered it to Dizzee Rascal.

Calvin Harris (see also best songs 760 and 566) was born Adam Richard Wiles, on January 17th, 1984, in Dumfries, Scotland, both of his parents were English, and had moved to Dumfries after marrying. Calvin Harris has spoken about how he came about his stage name,’My first single was more of a Soul track, and I thought Calvin Harris sounded a bit more racially ambiguous. I thought people might not know if I was black or not. After that, I was stuck with it.’ Calvin Harris who has stated that it was the English ‘Funk’ band ‘Jamiroquai,’ and the English music producer Fatboy Slim, (see also best songs 760-387 and 95) who inspired him to make music, is one of the worlds highest paid disc jockeys/music producers, and is ranked in the top 30 ‘British Millionaires in music,’ according to ‘The Sunday Times Rich List.’

For his first two studio Albums, Calvin Harris sang the vocals on many of the tracks, but after coming to the realisation that others could perform his songs better than he could, he decided to concentrate on writing and producing, and from then on for the majority of his songs, he has employed many different guest vocalists. The discography of Calvin Harris includes six studio Albums released between 2007-2022, and 55 singles released between 2007-2023. In the UK, 38 of his singles have reached the top 40, with nine of those tracks making the Number 1 spot, he has also had a further four top 40 hits as the featured artist, with two of those songs also reaching Number 1. Calvin Harris has also reached Number 1 in the UK in 2012 with his official remix of ‘Spectrum (Say My Name’) by Florence and the Machine, and then in 2013 his official remix of ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat,’ by Fatboy Slim and Riva Starr featuring Beardyman, reached Number 3. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, Calvin Harris has had 14 top 40 singles, with ‘This Is What You Came For,’ featuring Rihanna, peaking the highest at Number 3 in 2015. On Billboard, Calvin Harris has also reached Number 1 in 2011, as the featured artist on ‘We Found Love,’ by Rihanna.

‘Then after we’ll take a truck to the night spot, the hot spot, the top spot, party around the clock. And when we get there it’s strictly VIP, no need for ID, security know me. No waiting in line, no high entry fee.’

Posted by: In: Other 30 Jan 2024 Comments: 0


653-ZZ Top-Legs.

1984-Number 16 single.

Best Bit-At 0.20. ZZ Top were Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard, and Dusty Hill, can you guess which one didn’t sport a beard.

ZZ Top were formed in Houston, Texas, United States, in 1969, in total there have been seven different members come and go, and at the time of writing they remain active, with the classic line up being Billy Gibbons, (guitar, and vocals) Frank Beard, (drums) and Joseph ‘Dusty’ Hill (1949-2021) (bass and vocals.) ZZ Top were visually unforgettable when performing, as both Billy Gibbons, and Dusty Hill both wore sunglasses, hats, and ‘strikingly’ long beards. The original line up of ZZ Top, which consisted of Billy Gibbons, Lanier Greig, (1948-2013) and Dan Mitchell, and were managed by Bill Ham, (1937-2016) released their first single, the Billy Gibbons composition ‘Salt Lick,’ in 1969. The song met with no commercial success, and by 1970 Frank Beard, and Dusty Hill would replace the previous members, and the line up of ZZ Top was in place for the next 51 years, until the death of Dusty Hill in 2021. At the request of Hill, the groups long term collaborator Elwood Francis replaced Hill in 2021, providing lead vocals, and bass guitar. It was the groups one constant Billy Gibbons who chose the groups name, he had noticed that many acts such as ‘B.B. King,’ and ‘Z.Z. Hill,’ used initials, and he thought of combining the two into ‘ZZ King,’ but considered it too similar to the Blues legends name, so as he had always thought of BB King as a top performer, he came up with ‘ZZ Top.’

The discography of ZZ Top, who can be filed in the genres of ‘Blues Rock,’ ‘Hard Rock,’ ‘Boogie Rock,’ and ‘Southern Rock,’ and have sold in excess of 40 million records worldwide, includes the release of 15 studio Albums between 1971-2012, and 38 singles that have been released between 1969-2012, there are also six official compilation Albums, and four live Albums available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, eight of their singles have reached the top 40, with both ‘Legs,’ (1984) and ‘Sleeping Bag,’ (1985) both peaking the highest at Number 8, while in the UK, they have charted within the top 40 on 10 occasions, with ‘Gimme All Your Lovin,” (1983) and ‘Viva Las Vegas,’ (1992) both peaking the highest at Number 10.

‘Legs’ was the fourth and final single released from ‘Eliminator,’ the eighth studio Album from ZZ Top, from March 1983. The songs writing credit is given to all three of the groups members, Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard, with the production being by Bill Ham. ‘Eliminator’ would prove to be the peak of the groups commercial career, and although it has never peaked above Number 9 on the ‘Billboard 200’ Album chart, it has sold in excess of 11 million copies in America, as well as topping the one million mark in both the UK, and Canada. The making of ‘Eliminator’ continued a shift towards a more radio friendly commercial sound for ZZ Top, which wouldn’t have pleased some of their long term fans, who grew up listening to the more rawer ‘Blues Rock’ the band had played in the 1970’s. ‘Eliminator’ was heavily influenced by the ‘new’ Electronic synthesizers, used by such groups as ‘Depeche Mode,’ (see also best songs 968-261 and 134) and ‘Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’ (see also best songs 720.)

‘Eliminator’ was produced by Bill Ham, who was born Billy Mack Ham, on February 4th, 1937, in Waxahachie, Texas, United States, he died on June 20th, 2016, at the age of 79. Many agree that Bill Ham was instrumental to the success of ZZ Top, as their manager since their incarnation, co-writing songs, constructing their image, and producing every one of the group’s Albums, from their debut, through to 1996’s ‘Rhythmeen’ Album. Ham and ZZ Top parted ways in 2006.

Billy Gibbons has explained how he got the idea for ‘Legs,’ ‘I was driving in Los Angeles, and there was this unusual downpour. And there was a real pretty girl on the side of the road. I passed her, and then I thought, ‘Well, I’d better pull over’ or at least turn around and offer her a ride, and by the time I got back she was gone. Her legs were the first thing I noticed. Then I noticed that she had a Brooke Shields hairdo that was in danger of falling. She was not going to get wet. She had legs and she knew how to use them.’

‘She’s got legs, she knows how to use them, she never begs, she knows how to choose them. She’s holdin’ leg, wonder how to feel them. Would you get behind them, if you could only find them?’

Posted by: In: Other 29 Jan 2024 Comments: 0


654-Fratellis-Chelsea Dagger.

2006-Number 5 single.

Best Bit-At 0.33. ‘Do-do-do-do-do-do.’ The songs writer, John Lawler said,’It came to me really quickly. I was going,’Do-do-do-do-do-do,’ and it was so easy to write, that I couldn’t believe nobody had ever used the melody before.

The Fratellis were formed in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2005, after John Lawler, (Jon Fratelli) (lead vocals & guitarist) responded to an advert placed in a music shop by the groups future drummer Gordon McRory, (Mince Fratelli) they were joined soon after by the bass player Barry Wallace (Barry Fratelli.) Even so none of the three group members are related, they all chose the stage name ‘Fratelli,’ taking the name from the criminal family in the 1985 American comedy film ‘The Goonies.’ The Fratellis were active until going on hiatus in 2009, they reformed in 2012, and at the time of writing they remain active. The trio played their first official live show in March 2005, and word soon got around, with ‘Fallout Records’ signing them almost immediately. The discography of the Fratellis includes six studio Albums released between 2006-2021, and 17 singles issued within the same time period, there are also four extended plays (EP’s) available. In the UK, the Fratellis have achieved five top 40 singles, with two of their tracks reaching the top 10, ‘Chelsea Dagger,’ (2006 Number 5 single) and ‘Whistle for the Choir’ (2006 Number 9 single.) In their native Scotland, where the chart is compiled by the same company who compile the UK chart (Official Charts Company, OCC,) they have had seven top 40 hits, with ‘Look Out Sunshine!’ making Number 1 in 2008.

Jon Fratelli who was born John Paul Lawler on March 4th, 1979, in Glasgow, Scotland, he is the main songwriter for the Fratellis, as well as being the groups lead singer, and guitarist. In 2009 when the Fratellis went on hiatus, Lawler teamed up with the female Scottish singer/songwriter Lou Hickey to form the duo ‘Codeine Velvet Club,’ and together they issued one Album called ”Codeine Velvet Club’ in 2010. John Lawler’s Album discography is completed by the releases of his two solo Albums, ‘Psycho Jukebox,’ in 2011, and ‘Bright Night Flowers,’ in 2019.

‘Chelsea Dagger’ was the second of six singles released from the Fratellis’ debut studio Album ‘Costello Music’, from September 2006, the Album took it’s title from the studio that they used to rent in Budhill, Glasgow. ‘Costello Music’ has gone on to sell in excess of 900,000 copies in the UK, and in excess of a further 300,000 worldwide. The Album has been critically acclaimed, and led to the Fratellis winning the ‘Brit Award for best Breakthrough Act’ in the UK in 2007. ‘Chelsea Dagger’ was written by Jon Fratelli, with the production being by Tony Hoffer, who is credited for his work on multiple platinum selling Albums, including, ‘Midnite Vultures,’ by Beck (1999) and ‘Inside In/Inside Out,’ by The Kooks (2006.)

‘Chelsea Dagger’ was written by Jon Fratelli for his wife Heather, who worked as a burlesque dancer with the stage name ‘Chelsea Dagger.’ Her stage name is a play on the name ‘Britney Spears, ‘Chelsea::Britney, Dagger::Spear.’ Heather performed as ‘Chelsea Dagger’ at the ‘Club Noir,’ which according to ‘Guinness World Records’ was the largest burlesque club in the world, until it closed it’s doors for the last time in 2017. Jon Fratelli has said the song has been wonderful for the band, as its royalties have supported them financially ever since.

‘Chelsea Dagger’ has become an anthem for sports teams all over the world. The first team to adopt the song were the Scottish football team ‘Glasgow Celtic,’ whom Jon Fratelli is a lifelong fan of, the song is also often played by the English football team ‘Chelsea’ at their home games. The song has also been used in the North American National Hockey League, Australian Rugby League, and by the Professional Darts Corporation, with many more sporting events, and teams playing the song, when celebrating success.

Well, you must be a girl with shoes like that, she said, ‘You know me well.’ I’ve seen you and little Steven and Joanne around the back of my hotel, oh yeah. Someone said you was askin’ after me, but I know you best as a blagger. I said, ‘Tell me your name, is it sweet?’ She said, ‘My boy, it’s Dagger,’ oh yeah.’

Posted by: In: Other 28 Jan 2024 Comments: 0


655-Gary Shearston-I Get a Kick Out of You.

1974-Number 7 single.

Best Bit-At 3.10. It is not uncommon for comedians to perform in a ‘deadpan’ manner, but it appears that there are singers who do as well.

Gary Rhett Shearston was born on January 9th, 1939, in Inverell, New South Wales, Australia, he died on July 1st, 2013, after suffering a stroke, at the age of 74. It was at the age of 19 that Gary Shearston became a professional singer, having learned to play the guitar, he studied English, American, and Australian Folk songs. This led to him signing with ‘Leedon Records’ in 1962, and then in 1963 he was signed to the Australian division of ‘CBS Records.’ In 1965 radio stations in Sydney started playing the song ‘Sydney Town,’ from his Album ‘Australian Broadside,’ which reached the top 10 in Sydney, and then a year later it reached Number 33 nationally. This success led to him becoming Australia’s biggest record seller of Folk music, and hosting his own national television show called ‘Just Folk,’ After several years of touring, in 1989 Gary Shearston became a cleric in the Anglican Church of Australia, in rural New South Wales. He was ordained a deacon in 1991, and a priest in 1992.

The discography of Gary Shearston includes 18 Albums released between 1964-2013, and five singles released between 1965-1975. In Australia two of his singles reached the ‘Kent Music Report’ top 40 singles chart, (the ‘ARIA’ chart since 1988) with ‘Sydney Town’ reaching Number 33, and ‘I Get a Kick Out of You,’ peaking at Number 19. His only international hit was ‘I Get a Kick Out of You,’ which reached Number 7 in the UK in 1974.

‘I Get a Kick Out of You,’ was written by Cole Porter (1891-1964) (see also best songs 944-295 and 73) and was covered by Gary Shearston in 1974 for his eighth Album ‘Dingo,’ with the production being by Hugh Murphy (1946-1998) (see also best songs 61.) ‘I Get a Kick Out of You,’ which has countless cover versions, has never charted in America on Billboard by any artist, and in the UK only Gary Shearston has had a hit with the song. Cole Porter wrote ‘I Get a Kick Out of You’ in 1931 for the musical ‘Star Dust,’ but it wasn’t used. It was first introduced in the 1934 musical ‘Anything Goes,’ (another Cole Porter musical) and then sung by the American actress Ethel Merman (1908-1984) in the 1936 film version.

Cole Porter’s lyrics to ‘I Get a Kick Out of You’ have caused more than their fair share of controversy over the years. The line ‘Some get a kick from cocaine,’ had to be re-written by Porter as ‘Some like the perfume from Spain,’ for the 1936 movie version, as a reference to drugs was not allowed at that time by the ‘Hollywood Production Code’ of 1934. Frank Sinatra (1915-1998) (see also best songs 877-567-469-120 and 73) recorded ‘I Get a Kick Out of You’ without the drug reference in 1953, and then with the drug reference on a recording live in Paris in 1962, which was not commercially released until 1994.

‘I Get a Kick Out of You’ originally included the lyrics ‘I get no kick in a plane, I shouldn’t care for those nights in the air that the fair Mrs. Lindbergh goes through, but I get a kick out of you.’ These lyrics were changed by Cole Porter to ‘Flying too high with some guy in the sky, is my idea of nothing to do.’ The change was made due to the tragic kidnapping, and murder of Anne Lindbergh’s (1906-2001) infant child in 1932.

In ‘I Get a Kick Out of You,’ Cole Porter is stating that cocaine, or alcohol, or even flying in an aeroplane, are just plain boring, when compared to the kick he gets out of the one he yearns for.

‘I get a kick every time I see you’re standing there before me. I get a kick though it’s clear to me you obviously do not adore me.’

Posted by: In: Other 27 Jan 2024 Comments: 0


656-Boz Scaggs-Lowdown.

1976-Number 28 single.

Best Bit-At 3.19. The makers of the film ‘Saturday Night Fever’ approached the management of Boz Scaggs, asking if they could use this song on the soundtrack of their new film. Scaggs’ management said no, instead taking up the offer of another film called ‘Looking for Mr. Goodbar, released around the same time. The ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack to date has sold in excess of 23 million copies worldwide.

Boz Scaggs was born William Royce Scaggs, on June 8th, 1944, in Canton, Ohio, United States, he acquired the nickname ‘Bosley’ while at school, which was later shortened to ‘Boz.’ At the age of 15 he attended the same school as Steve Miller, (see also best songs 715) the pair would later attend the same university. Boz Scaggs played on both of Steve Millers first two studio Albums, ‘Children of the Future,’ (1968) and ‘Sailor’ (1968.) Between 1965-1974 Boz Scaggs released six solo studio Albums, which all met with poor sales, it wasn’t until the release of his seventh Album ‘Silk Degrees’ in 1976, that things changed.

The discography of Boz Scaggs includes 19 solo studio Albums released between 1965-2018, and six official compilation Albums, that have been issued between 1980-2019. He has also released 17 singles between 1971-1994, of which eight have reached the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart top 40, with ‘Lowdown’ peaking the highest at Number 3, while in the UK he has charted within the top 40 on four occasions, with ‘What Can I Say’ from 1976, charting the highest at Number 10.

‘Lowdown’ was the second of four singles released from ‘Silk Degrees,’ the seventh solo studio Album from Boz Scaggs, from February 1976, the song was co-written by Boz Scaggs, and David Paich, with the production being by Joe Wissert. ‘Silk Degrees’ was initially a slow burner, but after the release of ‘Lowdown,’ sales quickly began to pick up, and at the time of writing it has sold in excess of five million copies in the United States. As well as the Album’s hit singles, which also included, ‘It’s Over,’ ‘What Can I Say,’ and ‘Lido Shuffle,’ was the song ‘We’re All Alone,’ which when covered by the American singer Rita Coolidge, reached Number 7 in America, and Number 6 in the UK. Boz Scaggs has spoken about how the Album’s title came about,’It was just something I had scribbled on the side of a page. The last thing I do after I record an album is name it. Silk Degrees doesn’t mean anything specifically. It’s just an image I couldn’t get out of my head.’

‘Lowdown’ was co-written by David Paich, who was born on June 25th, 1954, in Los Angeles, California, United States. In 1977 he was one of the co-founders of the American Rock group ‘Toto,’ and he is best known as their principal songwriter, and keyboardist. With ‘Toto’ he has sold in excess of 40 million records worldwide, with the songs he has written, or co-written for ‘Toto’ including, ‘Hold the Line,’ (1978-Billboard Number 5 & UK Number 14) ‘Rosanna,’ (1982-Billboard Number 2 & UK Number 12) and ‘Africa,’ (1982-Billboard Number 1 & UK Number 3.) Other notable work, away from ‘Toto’ include, co-writing the ‘Disco’ track ‘Got to Be Real,’ which made Number 12 on Billboard for the American singer Cheryl Lynn in 1978, and also working as a session musician, and musical arranger on Michael Jackson’s 1982 Album ‘Thriller’ (see also best songs 511 and 191.) David Paich had been brought in by Boz Scaggs to help him create a change in direction, in order to achieve commercial success, Scaggs also brought in Jeff Porcaro, (1954-1992) (drums) and David Hungate, (bass) who would both join up later with Paich to form ‘Toto.’

Boz Scaggs has explained his early working experience with David Paich, ‘We took off for a weekend to this getaway outside of LA, where there was a piano. and stayed up all night banging around ideas. We hit on ‘Lowdown,’ and then we brought it back to the band and recorded it. We were just thrilled with that one. That was the first song that we attempted, and it had a magic to it.’ As for the songs meaning, the word ‘Lowdown’ is a popular slang word meaning, a summary of what’s going on for real. The song is about a girl who doesn’t appreciate what her man gives her. The ‘dirty lowdown’ is the honest truth.

‘Baby’s into running around, hanging with the crowd, putting your business in the street. Talking out loud, saying you bought her this and that, and how much you done spent. I swear she must believe it’s all heaven sent.’

Posted by: In: Other 26 Jan 2024 Comments: 0


657-Roy Orbison and the Candy Men-Oh, Pretty Woman.

1964-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 0-35. ‘MERCY!’

Roy Kelton Orbison was born on April 23rd, 1936, in Hendersonville, Tennessee, United States, he died of a heart attack on December 6th, 1988, at the age of 52. Music critics described his music as ‘Operatic,’ which earned him the nickname, ‘The Caruso of Rock,’ after the Italian Operatic tenor Enrico Caruso, (1873-1921) he was also widely known as ‘The Big O.’ During his career Roy Orbison suffered badly from stage fright, which is why he took to wearing dark sunglasses when performing, leading many initially in to thinking that he was actually blind. It was while at high school that Roy Orbison and some friends formed the band ‘Wink Westerners,’ playing ‘Country’ standards and Glenn Miller songs, (1904-1944) (see also best songs 808-321 and 146) which led to appearances on the local radio station ‘ KERB,’ in Kermit, Texas. With the ‘Wink Westerners,’ Orbison won a talent contest, leading to television appearances on ‘KMID-TV,’ in Midland, Texas. When Johnny Cash (1932-2003) (see also best songs 857-428 and 199) toured the area in 1955 and 1956, he appeared on the same local television show, and suggested to Roy Orbison that he should get in touch with Sam Phillips (1923-2003) at ‘Sun Records,’

Roy Orbison cut his teeth as as singer and songwriter at ‘Sun Records,’ but he failed to make a commercial breakthrough, until coming to the attention of the American music producer Fred Foster (1931-2019) (see also best songs 341) who signed him up to ‘Monument Records,’ in 1960, a label which he had founded in 1958. Fred Foster is credited with the development of Roy Orbison, and he would oversee the most successful period in Orbison’s career between 1960-1965, but with the inevitable change in music tastes, Roy Orbison would find his record sales declining over the next 20 plus years, until his career was given a big boost when he was asked to join the British/ American ‘supergroup’ the ‘Traveling Wilburys’ in 1988, performing alongside Bob Dylan, George Harrison, (1943-2001) Jeff Lynne, and Tom Petty (1950-2017.) With the ‘Traveling Wilburys’ Orbison adopted the stage name ‘Lefty Wilbury,’ in honour of one of his earliest musical influences, the American ‘Country,’ and ‘Honky Tonk’ singer Lefty Frizzell (1928-1975.)

The solo discography of Roy Orbison includes 23 studio Albums released between 1961-2015, and 92 singles issued between 1956-2017, there are also 24 official compilation Albums, and four live Albums available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, 20 of his tracks have made the top 40, with ‘Running Scared,’ (1961) and ‘Oh, Pretty Woman,’ (1964) both reaching Number 1. In the UK he has achieved 32 top 40 hits, with ‘Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel’) (1960) ‘It’s Over,’ (1964) and ‘Oh, Pretty Woman,’ (1964) all making the Number 1 position.

‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ was co-written by Roy Orbison, and Bill Dees, (1939-2012) with the production being by Fred Foster, and was released as a stand alone single. It has gone on to sell in excess of seven million copies worldwide, and after being chosen as a piece of music for the film, the producers named the 1990 American romantic comedy ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ after the song. The songs title was inspired by Roy Orbison’s wife, Claudette, (1941-1966) interrupting a conversation to announce that she was going out. When Orbison asked if she had enough cash, Bill Dees, the songs co-writer interjected,’Pretty woman never needs any money.’ Bill Dees has also said,’Mercy,’ was mine, I used to say that all the time, when I saw a pretty woman, or had some good food.’

Bill Dees has told how quickly the song came about,’He sang it (Orbison) while I was banging my hand down on the table, and by the time she returned (Claudette) we had the song. I love the song. From the moment that the rhythm started, I could hear the heels clicking on the pavement, click, click, the pretty woman walking down the street, in a yellow skirt and red shoes. We wrote Oh Pretty Woman on a Friday, the next Friday we recorded it, and the next Friday it was out. It was the fastest thing I ever saw. Actually, the yeah, yeah, yeah in Oh Pretty Woman probably came from the Beatles.’

‘Pretty woman, walkin’ down the street, pretty woman the kind I like to meet. Pretty woman I don’t believe you, you’re not the truth, no one could look as good as you, MERCY!.’

Posted by: In: Other 25 Jan 2024 Comments: 0


658-Katrina and the Waves-Walking on Sunshine.

1985-Number 8 single.

Best Bit-At 0.09. How would you like to own the rights to a song that earns approximately $1 million per year.

Katrina and the Waves were officially formed in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, in 1985, by Kimberley Rew, (songwriter, guitarist) Katrina Leskanich, (vocals) Vince de la Cruz, (bass) and Alex Cooper, (drums) they remained active through until the group was dissolved in 1999. The discography of Katrina and the Waves includes 10 studio Albums released between 1982-1997, and 33 singles (including re-releases) in that same time period, there are also six official compilation Albums available. In the UK, three of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Love Shine a Light’ peaking the highest at Number 3 in 1997. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, they have also charted within the top 40 on three occasions, with ‘Walking on Sunshine’ providing them with their biggest hit, when making Number 9 in 1985.

The primary songwriter for Katrina and the Waves was Kimberley Rew, who was born on December 3rd, 1951, in Bristol, England. Prior to co-founding Katrina and the Waves, he had been a member of the English Rock group ‘The Soft Boys,’ between 1978-1981, who played in the genres of ‘Alternative Rock,’ and ‘Neo-Psychedelia.’ Although they were critically acclaimed by many music critics, they were not commercially successful. Prior to co-forming Katrina and the Waves, Kimberley Rew released his first solo Album in 1982, and since 2000 he has issued a further 11 Albums, and one extended play. As well as writing ‘Walking on Sunshine’ he also wrote ‘Love Shine a Light,’ which when performed by Katrina and the Waves, went on to win the 1997 ‘Eurovision Song Contest,’ for the United Kingdom. Kimberley Rew also wrote, and recorded the original version of ‘Going Down to Liverpool,’ which when recorded by the all female American group ‘The Bangles,’ in 1985, reached Number 21 in Ireland, and Number 56 in the UK.

The lead singer of Katrina and the Waves was Katrina Leskanich, who was born on April 10th, 1960, in Topeka, Kansas, United States, her father who was a colonel in the United States Air Force, moved the family to England in 1976. Katrina started her music career in 1978 as a member of a ‘Pop’ covers band called ‘Mama’s Cookin’,’ which included her then boyfriend, and future Katrina and the Waves bassist Vince de la Cruz. In 1981 Kimberley Rew joined Mama’s Cookin’, and the group were re-named ‘Waves,’ in time Katrina would take over as the groups lead singer, leading to them re-naming themselves ‘Katrina and the Waves.’ After the groups break up, Katrina has gone on to release eight solo Albums, between 2004-2020, and six compilation Albums, she has also issued eight singles between 2006-2023. Katrina can also be heard singing backing vocals on the Natalie Imbruglia 1997 UK Number 2 hit single ‘Torn’ (see also best songs 938.)

‘Walking on Sunshine’ was written by Kimberley Rew, and in it’s original form in 1983, first appeared on Katrina and the Waves debut studio Album also called ‘Walking on Sunshine, the song, and it’s 1985 re-recording, were both produced by the veteran music producer Pat Collier, who has worked with dozens of artists over the years including ‘The Wonderstuff,’ ‘The House of Love,’ and ‘Robyn Hitchcock.’ In 1985 after signing with ‘Capitol Records,’ Katrina and the Waves re-recorded many of the songs from their first two studio Albums, for their third release called ‘Katrina and the Waves, and the tracks included a re-recording of ‘Walking on Sunshine,’ which has gone on to become one of the best money spinners of all time. According to a former employee at ‘EMI Records,’ ‘Walking on Sunshine’ is the crown in ‘EMI’s catalogue. Between 2000-2010, it became one of the most sought after songs with advertisers willing to pay up to $250,000 a time for the privilege.

Kimberley Rew has spoken about the song that changed his life,’I’d love to say Walking on Sunshine relates to a significant event in my life, like walking out of my front door, seeing a comet and being inspired, but it’s just a piece of simple fun, an optimistic song, despite us not being outstandingly cheery people. We were a typical young band, insecure and pessimistic. We didn’t have big hair, and didn’t look anything like a Motown-influenced group. We didn’t have any credibility or a fan base in awe of our mystique. We were a second-on-the-bill-at-a-festival-in-Germany pop band. But we had this song.’

‘I used to think maybe you loved me now, baby I’m sure, and I just can’t wait ’til the day when you knock on my door. Now every time I go for the mailbox, gotta hold myself down, ’cause I just can’t wait ’til you write me you’re coming around.’

Posted by: In: Other 23 Jan 2024 Comments: 0


659-Laurie Anderson-O Superman.

1981-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 2.40. If you know of a more unlikely song ever to make the UK top 40, then please let me know.

Laurie Anderson was born Laura Phillips Anderson, on June 5th, 1947, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, United States, you could call her a ‘Jack of all trades,’ but you would have to add, ‘master of many.’ During her long and illustrious career she has always tried to push back the boundaries, in the fields of ‘Pop Music,’ ‘Performance Art,’ and her multimedia projects. Laurie Anderson is also noted for inventing several devices that she has used in her recordings, in the genre of ‘Electronic Music,’ including the ‘Tape-bow violin,’ the ‘Talking Stick,’ and ‘Voice Filters.’ In 1992 she met the American singer/songwriter Lou Reed, (1942-2013) (see also best songs 401-165-131 and 58) the pair became romantically involved, and were married from 2008 until his death in 2013. The pair both worked together musically, contributing to each others recordings. The discography of Laurie Anderson includes seven studio Albums, released between 1982-2010, two Spoken word Albums, two official live Albums, and one compilation Album, she has also released an audio book in 2001, and has collaborated with several music artists since 1977, including Nona Hendryx, Jean Michel Jarre, and Nancy Wilson. Laurie Anderson has released 11 singles between 1981-2010, with only ‘O Superman’ charting, reaching Number 2 in the UK, Number 9 in the Netherlands, Number 11 in Ireland, Number 16 in South Africa, and Number 28 in Australia.

‘O Superman,’ which is also known as ‘O Superman (For Massenet,’) was the only single issued from Laurie Anderson’s debut studio Album,’Big Science,’ from April 1982, and was written and produced by Laurie Anderson. The genres of music that ‘O Superman’ can be filed under are ‘Electronic,’ Art Pop,’ ‘New Wave,’ ‘Experimental Pop, and ‘Minimalism.’ ‘O Superman’ remains one of the most unlikely songs to have become a hit single in the UK. It was the legendary BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel (1939-2004) (see also best songs 435) who championed the song, getting it on to the Radio 1 playlist, and therefore giving the general public a chance to hear something that they otherwise probably wouldn’t have.

In writing ‘O Superman’ Laurie Anderson has said that she drew from the aria, ‘Ô Souverain, ô juge, ô père” (“O Sovereign, O Judge, O Father,”) from Jules Massenet’s (1842-1912) 1885 opera ‘Le Cid.’ The first lines. ‘O Superman / O Judge / O Mom and Dad,’ echo the aria. The American musicologist Susan McClary suggests in her book ‘Feminine Endings’ that ‘O Superman’ may also have been inspired by Massenet’s 1902 opera ‘Le jongleur de Notre-Dame.’ The three musicians who played on ‘O Superman’ were Laurie Anderson, who provided the vocals, by using a ‘Roland VP-330 vocoder, which distorts the voice, the other most recognisable track to use a ‘vocoder’ in this ‘1000 Best Songs’ list, is the Electric Light Orchestra, with ‘Mr Blue Sky’ (see also best songs 25.) ‘O Superman’ was recorded on a sparse background of two alternating chords, formed by the repeated spoken syllable ‘ha,’ which was created by looping with an ‘Eventide Harmonizer.’ The flute, and the saxophone on the track were played by the American Perry Hoberman, and the organ, and keyboards, were provided by the Canadian artist Roma Baran. There is also a sample of bird noises, that can be heard at various points during the song.

‘O Superman’ addresses issues of technology and communication, in particular planes and arms. Laurie Anderson has explained the songs meaning, ‘In 1979, Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran. America went blazing in with helicopters to get hostages out, but it backfired. A helicopter and a plane crashed in the desert, we were left with dead bodies, and a pile of burning debris, so I thought I’d write a song about all that, and the failings of technology.’

‘Cause when love is gone, there’s always justice, and when justice is gone, there’s always force, and when force is gone, there’s always Mom.

Posted by: In: Other 22 Jan 2024 Comments: 0


660-Mamas & the Papas-California Dreamin’

1966-Number 23 single. When it was re-issued in 1997 it peaked at Number 9.

Best Bit-At 0.08. The Mamas & the Papas took their name from ‘The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club,’ whose female associates are known as ‘Mamas.’

The Mamas & the Papas were formed in Los Angeles, California, United States, in 1965, by the the husband and wife duo of John Phillips, (1935-2001) and Michelle Phillips, the pair would file for divorce in 1969. Prior to forming the Mamas & the Papas the pair had both been members of the American Folk Music group ‘The Journeymen.’ The other founding member was Denny Doherty, (1940-2007) who had previously been a member of the American Folk/Rock group the ‘Mugwumps.’ The groups fourth member, was Cass Elliot, (1941-1974) (see also best songs 247) who had also been a past member of the ‘Mugwumps,’ and was taken on soon after the groups formation, on the recommendation of Denny Doherty. These four are considered as the classic line up, with the American singer Jill Gibson, spending a brief period of time in 1966, replacing Michelle Phillips as a group member. The Mamas & the Papas would remain active until 1968, but due to contractual reasons with their record label, they ‘unofficially’ reformed in 1971 to release a final studio Album, ‘People Like Us.’

The discography of the Mamas & the Papas, who have sold in excess of 40 million records worldwide, includes five studio Albums released between 1966-1971, and 17 singles issued between 1965-1972, there are also 11 official compilation Albums available. In America on Billboard, their debut studio Album, ‘If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears,’ reached Number 1, with their next three all making the top 15, although their final Album stalled at Number 84. On Billboard, 10 of their singles reached the top 40, with ‘Monday, Monday,’ (1965) going all the way to Number 1, while ‘California Dreamin” peaked at Number 4. In the UK, the Mamas & the Papas have achieved six top 40 hit singles, with ‘Dedicated to the One I Love,’ charting the highest at Number 2 in 1967.

‘California Dreamin’ was the second of three singles released from ‘If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears,’ the debut studio Album from the Mamas & the Papas,’ from February 1966. ‘California Dreamin” was co-written by the then newlyweds John, and Michelle Phillips, with the production being by Lou Adler (see also best songs 527.) The song was written with the American singer Barry McGuire in mind, as the follow up to his 1965 Billboard Number 1 hit ‘Eve of Destruction,’ (see also best songs 527) McGuire recorded the song with the Mamas & the Papas providing backing vocals, but after hearing the ‘Mamas’ sing it, the music producer Lou Adler persuaded them to release it themselves instead.

‘California Dreamin” was written by John and Michelle Phillips when they were both living as newlyweds in New York City in 1963. Michelle Phillips was homesick, and finding the winter very cold, compared to what she was used to in California, and the song was inspired by her longing to be in another place. Michelle enjoyed visiting churches, and the songs second verse is inspired from a visit to ‘St. Patrick’s Cathedral,’ a few days previously. It is said that John hated the verse, as he disliked churches because of unpleasant memories of parochial school, but the verse was left in, as he couldn’t think of anything better to replace it with, and the other group members also overruled him.

‘California Dreamin” can boast some of the era’s top session musicians playing on it, including two members of the ‘Wrecking Crew,’ Hal Blaine, (1929-2019) (see also best songs 978-811-672-527-426-202-127-110 and 71)on drums, and Joe Osborn (1937-2018) on bass guitar. Playing guitar on the track was the American singer/songwriter P. F. Sloan, (1945-2015) (see also best songs 527) it was Sloan who also provided the songs guitar intro. ‘California Dreamin” has an unusual instrumental break in the middle of the song. John Phillips was looking for something a little different instead of a guitar break, so asked the American alto saxophonist and flautist Bud Shank, (1926-2009) who in one take improvised, and provided the middle section of the song, with an alto flute solo.

‘California Dreamin” was re-issued in the UK in 1997 after being used in a commercial for ‘Carling Premier Beer,’ and this time it charted at a new high of Number 9. The song was also a UK hit in 1990 for the English ‘Folk/Rock’ group ‘River City People,’ who took their version to Number 13. Other significant recordings of ‘California Dreamin”, include the American group ‘America,’ (1979-Billboard Number 56) the Beach Boys, (1986-Billboard Number 57) Jose Feliciano, (1968-Billboard Number 43) and Bobby Womack (1968-Billboard Number 43.) In 2016 a ‘Tropical House’ version by the German DJ/remixer, ‘Freischwimmer,’ reached Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Dance Club Songs’ chart, making it the first time that ”California Dreamin” had ever reached the Number 1 spot on any Billboard chart.

‘All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey, I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day. I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A. California dreamin,’ on such a winter’s day.’

Posted by: In: Other 21 Jan 2024 Comments: 0


661-Ian Hunter-Once Bitten, Twice Shy.

1975-Number 14 single.

Best Bit-At 0.07. The warmest of welcomes.

Ian Hunter Patterson was born on June 3rd, 1939, in Oswestry, Shropshire, England, due to the onset of World War 2, he moved with his family to Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, to live with the family of his Scottish father. Hunter lived in Scotland until the age of six, and has stated that he considers himself a Scot, but also identifies as English and British. Success for Ian Hunter came a little later in life than your average ‘Pop Star,’ as it wasn’t until 1972 at the age of 33, that as the lead singer of the English Rock group ‘Mott the Hoople,’ he achieved his first hit single, with the David Bowie (1948-2016) (see also best songs 807-440-334-302-209-186-118-47 and 31) written and produced ‘All the Young Dudes’ (see also best songs 334.) Mott the Hoople would achieve a further five UK top 40 singles, all written by Hunter., then in 1974 he left the group to pursue a solo career.

The solo discography of Ian Hunter includes 23 Albums released between 1975-2023, and 20 singles issued between 1975-2016. In the UK, only ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’ has charted within the top 40, when reaching Number 14 in 1975, Other career highlights away from Mott the Hoople include producing the second studio Album ‘Valley of the Dolls,’ by the English Punk Rock group Generation X, in 1979. Also in 1979 the American singer Barry Manilow covered Hunter’s song ‘Ships,’ taking it to Number 9 on Billboard, and then in 1997 the American Rock group ‘Presidents of the United States of America’ covered Hunter’s song ‘Cleveland Rocks,’ which was used as the theme song for the American television sitcom ‘The Drew Carey Show.’ ‘Cleveland Rocks’ became such an anthem in Cleveland, Ohio, by being played on the city’s radio station, and by being used as a victory song for the city’s sports teams, that in June 1979, Hunter was given the key to the city by Cleveland mayor.

‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’ was Ian Hunter’s debut solo single, and the first of two singles released from his self titled debut studio Album, from March 1975. The song was written by Ian Hunter, with the production credited to Hunter, and Mick Ronson, (1946-1993) who also played guitar on the track. Mick Ronson (see also best songs 440-405-334-186-131-58-37 and 5) was born on May 26th, 1946, in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England, he died of liver cancer on April 29th, 1993, at the age of 46. Mick Ronson had first met Ian Hunter in London in 1966 when both were trying to make the big time, Hunter with a group called ‘The Scenery,’ and Ronson with the ‘Voice,’ and also with ‘The Rats,’ whom with both groups, he was the guitarist at that time. Mick Ronson’s stellar career included working with David Bowie on five studio Albums between 1970-1973, and along with Bowie, working with Lou Reed (1942-2013) on his 1972 Album ‘Transformer.’ Ronson also had a long working relationship with Ian Hunter, working on six of his Albums, issued between 1979-1995. One of Ronson’s final assignments was producing ‘Your Arsenal,’ the third solo studio Album from Morrissey in 1992. Mick Ronson also released two solo Albums in 1974, and 1975, with a further four being issued after his death, between 1994-2001.

The definition of once bitten twice shy is, if you have failed, or been hurt when trying to do something, then you will be careful, or fearful about doing it again. The lyrics to ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’ maybe a true story, or just an observation. The song tells of a girl groupie, whom the narrator has taken a liking to. He first encounters her in the tour bus with the drummer, but before much action can take place between them, the narrator claims her, as he is a more senior member of the group. The groupie soon learns that ‘Rock ‘N Roll’ is a hard life, with lots of travel, and heaters on the bus that don’t always work, but as she gets the hang of it, she starts messing around with other guys, much to the narrators dismay.

In 1972 Ian Hunter wrote a book called ‘Diary of a Rock’n’Roll Star,’ which was published in 1974. The book chronicles the endless travelling, hotels, sound checks, performances. and notably, it strips away the ‘glittering facade’ of the ‘Rock Star’ that the music industry ‘PR’ machine would have music fans believe. A review of the book said,’Hunter delivers a distinctly British perspective, as he encounters the diverse American cultural landscape. Already in his 30’s and a show biz veteran, Hunter offers not only the usual cliché’s, but also mature, hard-won insights into the Rock game.’ In 1989 the American Rock group ‘Great White’ covered ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy,’ with their version reaching Number 5 on Billboard in America, and stalling at Number 83 in the UK.

‘You didn’t know what rock and roll was, until you met a drummer on the Greyhound bus. I got there in the nick of time, before he got his hands across your state line.’