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


628-Bill Haley & His Comets-Rock Around the Clock.

1955-Number 1 single. When it was re-issued in 1968 it reached Number 20, and then when re-issued again in 1974 it made Number 12.

Best Bit-At 1.32. It was the end of the world as we know it. The onset of teenage anarchy, with individuals gyrating in an unspeakable fashion, yes, ‘Rock ‘N Roll’ had been invented. It may all appear very tame by today’s standards, but back in 1955, this was ‘Punk Rock,’ Thrash Metal,’ and ‘Happy Hardcore’ all rolled into one.

‘Rock Around the Clock’ was originally written in 1952 by Max C. Freedman, (1893-1963) and James E. Myers, (1919-2001) using the pseudonym ‘Jimmy De Knight,’ although there are disputes surrounding the songs authorship, with some suggesting that Freedman had written the song on his own. ‘Rock Around the Clock’ was written with Bill Haley (1925-1981) in mind to record, but due to contractual problems with his record label at that time, he was unable to. The first version of ‘Rock Around the Clock’ to be recorded was by the American vocal and instrumental group ‘Sonny Dae and His Knights,’ on March 20th, 1954, in a completely different style to the Haley version, but it failed to chart. When Bill Haley & His Comets were contractually free to record, their version, which was recorded on April 12th, 1954, and issued on May 20th, 1954, climbed to Number 13 on Billboard. The song didn’t take off in a major way until it was chosen for the soundtrack of the 1955 American social drama film ‘Blackboard Jungle.’ The film attracted large teenage audiences, and their response sometimes overflowed into violence, and vandalism at screenings in the theatres. The film has been seen as marking the start of a period of visible teenage rebellion in the later half of the 20th Century. ‘Rock Around the Clock’ would go on to become the best selling single of the 1950’s, with sales now in excess of 25 million sold worldwide. In America on Billboard it spent eight weeks at Number 1, while in the UK, it is the best selling song of the 1950’s, with sales in excess of 1.4 million. ‘Rock Around the Clock’ is recognised as the first ‘Rock ‘N Roll’ Number 1 single, with some citing it as the start of the ‘Rock’ era in music.

‘Rock Around the Clock’ was produced by Milton Gabler, who was born on May 20th, 1911, in Harlem, New York, United States, he died on July 20th, 2001, at the age of 90. Milt Gabler was a record producer, responsible for many innovations in the recording industry of the 20th Century, including being the first person to deal in record reissues, the first to sell records by mail order, and the first to credit all the musicians on the recordings. During the 1940’s Gabler worked with many of the eras top artists, including Billie Holiday, and The Andrew Sisters, and is credited with being the first to bring Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald together on record.

Bill Haley was born William John Clifton Haley, on July 6th, 1925, in Highland Park, Michigan, United States, he died on February 9th, 1981, with his death certificate stating, ‘natural causes, most likely a heart attack,’ as being the cause, he was 55 years old. Bill Haley had originally been a Country Music performer, but changed musical direction to a new sound, which came to be called ‘Rock ‘N Roll,’ a genre of music that originated from musical styles including ‘R&B,’ ‘Jazz,’ and ‘Country Music.’ Bill Haley formed the first incarnation of the group who would eventually become the ‘Comets’ in 1947, calling themselves ‘4 Aces of Western Swing,’ Between 1949-1952, they were known as the ‘Saddlemen,’ and then ‘Bill Haley & His Comets,’ until Haley’s death in 1981. The discography of Bill Haley & His Comets includes 23 studio Albums released between 1956-1979, and 68 singles (including re-issues) between 1952-1981, there are also at least 10 official compilation Albums, and five live Albums available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, 16 of their singles have made the top 40, with ‘Rock Around the Clock’ making Number 1, while in the UK, they have had 14 top 40 hits, with ‘Rock Around the Clock,’ also being their only chart topper.

‘One, two, three o’clock, four o’clock, rock. Five, six, seven o’clock, eight o’clock, rock. Nine, ten, eleven o’clock, twelve o’clock, rock, we’re gonna rock around the clock tonight.’

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


629-The Band-The Weight.

1968-Number 21 single.

Best Bit-At 0.11. Here’s another one for the pub quiz. The Scottish group Nazareth took their name from the opening line of this song.

‘The Band’ were officially formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1967, and remained active until 1977. Some of the original group members reformed with new members in 1983, and remained active until 1999. The five original members, who also performed on this song were Rick Danko, (1943-1999) (co-lead and harmony, vocals, and bass guitar) Garth Hudson, (keyboards) Richard Manuel, (1943-1986) (Hammond organ) Robbie Robertson, (1943-2023) (guitar) and Levon Helm, (1940-2012) (drums, and vocals.) The members of the group who would eventually become ‘The Band’ had gradually come together in the early 1960’s, having been cherry picked by the Toronto based Rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins, (1935-2022) for his backing group called ‘The Hawks.’ In 1964 they split from Hawkins, and released, a few singles using the name ‘Levon and the Hawks,’ and also ‘The Canadian Squires.’ In 1965 Bob Dylan, (see also best songs 792-621-358-103-36 and 7) was looking for a backing band for his first ‘Electric’ tour, and on recommendation they played and toured as ‘Bob Dylan and The Band.’ That collaboration with Bob Dylan came to an end in October 1967, after which they set about recording their first studio Album. Stories vary as to how their name ‘The Band’ came about, but Robbie Robertson has said that during their time with Dylan, everyone just referred to them as ‘the band,’ and the name stuck. Initially they disliked the moniker, but eventually they grew to like it, thinking it both humble and presumptuous.

‘The Band’ are considered to be one of the most influential acts of all time, combining elements of ‘Roots Rock,’ ‘Americana,’ Folk Rock,’ and ‘Country Rock.’ Artists who have acknowledged their influence include George Harrison, (1943-2001) Elton John, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd. The discography of ‘The Band’ includes 10 studio Albums released between 1968-1998, and 33 singles issued between 1965-1996, as well as 10 official compilation Albums, and nine live Albums being available. There are also four official Albums of recordings made with Bob Dylan, including the 1975 ‘The Basement Tapes.’

‘The Weight’ was the debut, and only track issued as a single from ‘Music from Big Pink,’ the debut studio Album by ‘The Band,’ from July 1968. The Album took it’s name from the pink house in West Saugerties, New York, located at 56 Parnassus Lane, which was formerly 2188 Stoll Road, where ‘The Band’ recorded. ‘The Weight’ was written by Robbie Robertson, with the production being by John Simon, although the songwriting credit was disputed years later by Levon Helm. Helm insisted that the composition of the lyrics and the music was collaborative, declaring that each band member had made a substantial contribution. Helm has said that 60% of the lyrics were Robertson’s, with Danko and Manuel providing 20% each, with much of the music being by Garth Hudson, Helm also credits himself with input for the lyrics.

‘The Weight’ tells the story of a man who visits Nazareth, Pennsylvania, United States, having been asked by a friend of his called Annie to check on all of these strangers. The characters in the song were based on real people who the band new, for example ‘Crazy Chester,’ was an eccentric character, who used to go watch the band perform regularly. Robbie Robertson has said that he was influenced to write the song by the work of the Spanish film director Luis Buñuell, (1900-1983) who made some of the first movies dealing with surrealism. Robertson was intrigued by the characters in his films, who were often good people who did bad things. Many music critics have deliberated over the true meaning of ‘The Weight,’ with some suggesting that it’s meaning is biblical, but Robertson always denied that.

Robbie Robertson has said that he chose the destination of ‘Nazareth’ when he looked inside his ‘Martin guitar’ and saw the standard ‘Martin’ imprint, saying that the instrument was crafted in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Robertson has explained the songs meaning,’Luis Buñuel did so many films on the impossibility of sainthood. People trying to be good in Viridiana, and Nazarín, people trying to do their thing. In ‘The Weight’ it’s the same thing. People like Buñuel would make films that had these religious connotations to them, but it wasn’t necessarily a religious meaning. In Buñuel there were these people trying to be good, and it’s impossible to be good. In ‘The Weight’ it was this very simple thing. Someone says, ‘Listen, would you do me this favour? When you get there will you say ‘hello’ to somebody or will you give somebody this, or will you pick up one of these for me? Oh? You’re going to Nazareth, that’s where the Martin guitar factory is. Do me a favour when you’re there.” This is what it’s all about. So the guy goes and one thing leads to another, and it’s like “Holy shit, what’s this turned into? I’ve only come here to say ‘hello’ for somebody, and I’ve got myself in this incredible predicament.” It was very Buñuelish to me at the time.’

‘I pulled into Nazareth, was feeling ’bout half past dead. I just need some place where I can lay my head. Hey, mister, can you tell me, where a man might find a bed? He just grinned and shook my hand, ‘No’ was all he said.’

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


630-Patrick Juvet-I Love America.

1978-Number 12 single.

Best Bit-At 1.21. It’s a good job that the song has a strong chorus, because he repeats it 12 times.

Patrick Juvet was born on August 21st, 1950, in Montreux, Switzerland, he died on April 1st, 2021, of a cardiac arrest, at the age of 70. In 1968 at the age of 18, Patrick Juvet moved to Paris, France, where he was persuaded by a friend to become a model, which took him to Düsseldorf, Germany, for the next two years. On his return to Paris in 1970, he began to pursue his real love of music, and recorded his first single ‘Romantiques pas morts,’ in 1971. It was at this time that he also co-wrote the song ‘Le Lundi au soleil,’ for the Egyptian born French singer Claude François (1939-1978.) Patrick Juvet then began collaborating with the French composer, and producer Jean-Michel Jarre, and the recordings that they made can be heard on Juvet’s second studio Album ‘Love,’ from 1973. Also in that year Patrick Juvet represented Switzerland in the ‘Eurovision Song Contest,’ finishing in 12th place. In 1978 Juvet turned his attentions to ‘Disco’ music, working with Jacques Morali, (1947-1991) Henri Belolo, (1936-2019) and Victor Willis (see also best songs 105.) After the decline of ‘Disco’ music, Patrick Juvet returned to Paris, and to his roots as a singer/songwriter, with the release of his 10th, and what would turn out to be, his final studio Album, ‘Solitudes’ in 1991. In 2005 he issued his autobiography, ‘Les bleus au cœur: Souvenirs (‘Bruises on My Heart: Memories,’) in which he wrote about his career and his bisexuality.

The discography of Patrick Juvet includes 10 studio Albums released between 1973-1991, and 49 singles issued between 1971-2010, there are also 11 official compilation Albums, two live Albums, and one soundtrack Album available. It was in France and Belgium where Patrick Juvet had his greatest commercial success, with 19 of his singles making the ‘SNEP’ French music chart, with ‘La Musica,’ from 1973 reaching Number 1, and ‘I Love America,’ peaking at Number 6, while in Belgium on the ‘Ultratop’ singles chart, 11 of his songs have made the top 40, although ‘I Love America’ failed to chart. In the UK ,he has had two top 40 hits, with ‘I Love America’ reaching Number 12, and ‘Got a Feeling,’ making Number 34, both in 1978. Patrick Juvet never had a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in America, although ‘I Love America’ did reach Number 5 on the Billboard ‘Dance Club Chart.’

‘I Love America’ was co-written by Jacques Morali, Patrick Juvet, and Victor Willis, (lyrics) with the production being by Jacques Morali, and weighs in at a whopping 13.55 seconds, on the 12 inch single version. The song was the first of two tracks released as singles from Patrick Juvet’s sixth studio Album ‘Got a Feeling – I Love America,’ from April 1978. Jacques Morali was born on July 4th, 1947, in Casablanca, Morocco, he died on November 15th, 1991, of AIDS-related causes, at the age of 44. Morali was a ‘Disco,’ and ‘Dance’ music producer, and is best remembered for creating the acts, ‘Village People,’ (see also best songs 105) and ‘The Ritchie Family,’ with his long term collaborator Henri Belolo, who was born in Casablanca, French Morocco, on November 27th, 1936, Henri Belolo died on August 3rd, 2019, at the age of 82. Unlike his associate Morali, Belolo was not gay, but visited clubs with Morali, and saw the potential of appealing to the gay nightclub scene. In 1977 they created the ‘Village People,’ working in tandem with Victor Willis. Willis who was born Victor Edward Willis, on July 1st, 1951, in Dallas, Texas, United States, had been originally hired by Morali, and Belolo to sing lead and background vocals under the guise of ‘Village People,’ whom at that point were a non-existent studio concept group, but when the Album called ‘Village People’ proved successful in 1977, Morali, Belolo, and Willis advertised in the music trade papers for ‘macho singers’ who, could also ‘dance,’ and, ‘must have a moustache,’ As the only non gay member of the Village People,’ Victor Willis’ would perform as either a policeman or a naval officer. In 2015, a jury determined that the sole writers of 13 songs by the Village People (including Y.M.C.A.) were Jacques Morali and Victor Willis, and the name Henri Belolo was removed, giving Willis a 50% ownership of those songs.

‘I Love America’ is a song about someone, who on arriving in the United States, soon realises that the music scene is multicultural, and there is much to enjoy, from ‘Rock ‘N Roll,’ to ‘Funk,’ to ‘Country,’ to ‘Latin American,’ and much, much, more. In 1996 the song was sampled by the British ‘House Music’ producers Michael Gray, and Jon Pearn, working as ‘Full Intention,’ and taking their version to Number 32 in the UK.

‘When I first heard funky music it just blew my mind, the funky music was so good, I’d play it all the time. All the funky rhythms, going all through my mind and body, they make me have to move, you can’t escape the groove. I love America.’

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


631-Bucketheads-The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind.)

1995-Number 5 single.

Best Bit-At 4.42. Did you know that a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase is called a ‘mondegreen.’ When listening to ‘Street Player’ by Chicago, this songs creator Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez misheard ‘Street sounds swirling through my mind,’ as ‘These sounds fall in to my mind.’ For Pop music’s most famous, and successful ‘mondegreen’ see best songs 501.

The Bucketheads was the brainchild of Kenny Gonzalez, who was born on July 6th, 1970, in Brooklyn, New York, United States, and works under the name of ‘Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez.’ He is best known for being one half of the production and remix team ‘Masters at Work,’ with Luis Ferdinand Vega Jr., who goes by the stage name of ‘Little Louie Vega,’ the duo have been referred to as one of the most influential acts in the history of ‘House Music,’ with many of their tracks in the 1990’s being remixed by UK DJ’S, leading to the creation of the ‘Speed Garage’ genre, they have also been credited with generating the ‘Golden Age’ of ‘Latin House’ music. As ‘Masters at Work,’ the duo have issued seven Albums between 1993-2001, with two of those credited to their alias ‘Nuyorican Soul.’ They have also released 57 singles between 1991-2007, using 10 different aliases, including, ‘KenLou,’ ‘Groove Box,’ and ‘Black Magic,’ and they have also produced, and remixed tracks for many of the worlds top artists. As a solo artist Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez has released music under his own name, as well using many other aliases, including ‘Bucketheads,’ ‘Liquid Dope,’ and also being part of the ‘Todd Terry All-Stars’ (see also best songs 805 and 348.)

‘The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind’) was the second of three singles released from the sole studio Album of Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez, working as ‘Bucketheads,’ from August 1995. Gonzales has said that at that time he was unimpressed with what he perceived to be fellow producers copying his characteristic style, and hoped that he would throw a ‘curveball,’ by exploring influences such as ‘Disco,’ Hip-Hop,’ and ‘Latin Music.’ He has also stated that at that time he thought that he and the music industry as a whole was going stale, and felt that he had to try something new, ‘I was tired of everyone being on the same tip as we were. Everything out there sounded the same. I was bored, and I thought ‘Yo, I gotta come with something different” ‘The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind,’) which was released to critical acclaim, became a top 20 hit in many countries around the world, although on the Billboard Hot 100 in America, it did stall at Number 49, though it did make Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play’ chart.

‘The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind’) is built around a sample from the song ‘Street Player,’ by the American Rock band ‘Chicago,’ (see also best songs 328) from their 1979 eleventh studio Album ‘Chicago 13.’ ‘Street Player’ had been written by Daniel Seraphine, who was the drummer, and co-founder of ‘Chicago,’ along with David Wolinski, who was the keyboard player for the American Funk band ‘Rufus.’ The version of ‘Street Player’ recorded by ‘Rufus’ appears on their sixth studio Album, from 1978, also called ‘Street Player.’ Due to the sample, both Daniel Seraphine, and David Wolinski, both receive songwriting credits on ‘The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind,’) along with Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez, who was also the songs producer.

‘The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind’) also samples the 1993 song ‘Preacher Man,’ by the American music producer Curtis Jones, who works under the stage name of ‘Green Velvet,’ the spoken intro on ‘The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind’) is lifted from that track. In 2009 the American Rapper ‘Pitbull,’ (see also best songs 876 and 531) sampled the ‘Bucketheads’ interpretation of ‘Street Player,’ for his song ‘I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho,’) which reached Number 2 on Billboard, and Number 4 in the UK. The lyrics on ‘The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind’) are ‘These sounds fall into my mind,’ it is said that Kenny Gonzales had misheard the lyrics on the Chicago original ‘Street Player,’ which are ‘Street sounds swirling through my mind.’

‘These sounds fall into my mind.’

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


632-The Boomtown Rats-Rat Trap.

1978-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 4.08. Many artists found that performing on ‘Top of the Pops’ was a necessary evil, as the producers of the show would insist that they mime. Like many others, Bob Geldof knew that if he wanted to get the best exposure for his song he would have to perform, but he got his own back on the show, by miming the saxophone part on a candelabra.

The Boomtown Rats were formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 1975, by Bob Geldof, (vocals) Gary Roberts, (1950-2022) (lead guitar) Johnnie Fingers, (keyboards) Pete Briquette, (bass) Gerry Cott, (rhythm guitar) and Simon Crowe, (drums) they were active until 1986, but then reformed in 2013, without Johnnie Fingers, and Gerry Cott. They were initially known as ‘The Nightlife Thugs,’ but soon changed to ‘The Boomtown Rats,’ with Bob Geldof taking the name from the gang of children who are referred to in Woody Guthrie’s (1912-1967) (see also best songs 103) 1943 autobiography, ‘Bound for Glory,’ which Geldof had read.

The discography of The Boomtown Rats includes seven studio Albums released between 1977-2020, and 23 singles released within the same time period, there are also seven official compilation Albums, and four live Albums available. In their native Ireland, on the ‘Irish Singles Chart,’ which is the Republic of Ireland’s music industry official chart, 11 of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘I Don’t Like Mondays,’ peaking the highest at Number 1 in 1979, while ‘Rat Trap,’ reached Number 2. In the UK, 12 of their singles, including the 1994 re-issue of ‘I Don’t Like Mondays,’ (Number 38) have made the top 40, with both ‘Rat Trap,’ and ‘I Don’t Like Mondays,’ making the Number 1 spot. Although they have issued most of their recordings in America, and spent time touring there as well, they never made a commercial breakthrough, with their only entry on the Billboard Hot 100 being ‘Rat Trap,’ which stalled at Number 73.

Bob Geldof was born Robert Frederick Zenon Geldof, on October 5th, 1951, in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ireland, prior to co-founding The Boomtown Rats, he had worked as a slaughterman, a road navvy, and he had also had a job canning peas, while residing in Wisbech, England. He was then hired as a music journalist in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, for the free weekly news and entertainment newspaper ‘The Georgia Straight,’ and also while in Canada he briefly guest hosted the ‘Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’ children’s program ‘Switchback.’ Bob Gedof of course will always be best remembered for his charitable work, in particular the 1984 ‘Band Aid’ single ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ (see also best songs 455) and the 1985 ‘Live Aid’ concerts, at the ‘Wembley Stadium,’ in London, England, and the ‘John F. Kennedy Stadium,’ in Philadelphia, United States. Among the many awards he has received for his fundraising, is being invested by Queen Elizabeth II as an honorary ‘Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire,’ in 1986. Bob Geldof is entitled to use the post-nominal letters ‘KBE,’ but not to be styled ‘Sir,’ as he is not a citizen of a Commonwealth realm, nevertheless he is affectionately referred to as ‘Sir Bob’ by many. After the split of The Boomtown Rats in 1986, he pursued a solo music career, which has seen the release of five studio Albums between 1986-2011, and 17 singles within the same time period. In Ireland four of his singles have reached the top 40, with his 1996 self-mocking cover version of ‘Rat Trap,’ with ‘Dustin the Turkey,’ being that years Christmas Number 1 single, while in the UK, two of his singles have made the top 40, with ‘The Great Song of Indifference,’ from 1990, charting the highest at Number 15.

‘Rat Trap’ was the last of three singles released from The Boomtown Rats’ second studio Album ‘A Tonic for the Troops,’ from June 1978, the song was written by Bob Geldof, and produced by Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange (see also best songs 479 and 314.) When ‘Rat Trap’ went to Number 1 in the UK, it became the first single by a ‘Punk’ or ‘New Wave’ act to do so, The Boomtown Rats also became the first ‘Irish Rock’ group to have a UK Number 1 single. Bob Geldof had written the lyrics to ‘Rat Trap’ as far back as 1973, while working in an abattoir. The song tells the tale of young Billy, who knows that he is already trapped by his surroundings, and if he is to have a better life, then he must move away from the town he lives in. Bob Geldof has said, ‘I wanted to be famous, because I wanted to use fame to talk about things that bothered me. That really was me working in the abattoir.’

‘Billy don’t like it living here in this town, he says the traps have been sprung long before he was born. He says hope bites the dust behind all the closed doors, and pus and grime ooze from its scab crusted sores.’

Posted by: In: Other 24 Feb 2024 Comments: 0


633-B-52’s-Love Shack.

1989-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 4.49. Fred Schneider exclaims, ‘You’re what!,’ to which Cindy Wilson replies, ‘Tin roof rusted.’ This is Southern American slang, meaning she’s pregnant.

The B-52s were formed in Athens, Georgia, United States, in 1976, by Fred Schneider, (vocals, and percussion) Kate Pierson, (vocals, keyboards, and synth bass), Cindy Wilson (vocals, and percussion) her brother Ricky Wilson, (1953-1985) (guitar), and Keith Strickland, (drums, guitar, and keyboards) there have been a further 10 members come and go, and at the time of writing they remain active, with all four original living founding members, still performing with the group. The B-52’s took their name from a particular style of hairdo, resembling the nose cone of the ‘Boeing B-52’ aircraft, which Kate Pierson, and Cindy Wilson wore in performances during the bands first decade. In 2008 the ‘B-52’s’ dropped the apostrophe in their name, and are now known as ‘B-52s,’ Kate Pierson has said, ‘It was not grammatically correct. It’s not like a possessive. It just seemed superfluous.’ In 1985 tragedy struck when one of the groups founding members Ricky Wilson died of Aids at the age of 32, which affected the group as a whole, leading to them going on hiatus, until reforming in 1988, and continuing as a four piece.

The discography of the B-52s includes seven studio Albums released between 1979-2008, and 31 singles released between 1978-2008, there are also six official compilation Albums, and three live Albums available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, five of their singles have made the top 40, with ‘Love Shack,’ (1989) and ‘Roam,’ (1990) both peaking the highest at Number 3. In the UK, they have charted within the top 40 on six occasions, with ‘Love Shack’ peaking the highest at Number 2.

‘Love Shack’ was the third of five singles issued from the B-52’s fifth studio Album ‘Cosmic Thing,’ from June 1989, with all four group members at that time receiving the songwriting credits, and the production being by Don Was, who also produced three of the other tracks on the Album. Don Was was born Don Edward Fagenson, on September 13th, 1952, in Detroit, Michigan, United States, he is a musician, music producer, and documentary filmmaker. In 1979 he co-founded the ‘Disco/Funk’ group ‘Was (Not Was’) with David Weiss, and adopted the stage name Don Was. As ‘Was (Not Was’) and with other group members, they have issued five studio Albums, and 19 singles, and are probably best remembered for the 1987 hit single ‘Walk the Dinosaur’ (Billboard Number 7 & UK Number 10.) Don Was has produced Albums that have sold around 100 million copies worldwide, for artists including The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. In 2014 He won the ‘Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Music Direction,’ for his work on the CBS television special ‘The Beatles: The Night That Changed America.’

It was the release of the B-52’s fifth studio Album ‘Cosmic Thing,’ in 1989, that took the group from a cult following to mainstream success, particularly with the release of ‘Love Shack’ as a single. One inspiration for the song came from a real club outside of Athens, Georgia, called the ‘Hawaiian Ha-Le,’ where the group would meet up, Cindy Wilson has said, ‘I personally was thinking about this bar that was out in the country, it was really a cool place, a run-down love shack kind of thing, but it was a disco. It was a really interesting place.’ For Kate Pierson, the actual love shack for her was where she lived in the 1970’s, in a five room cabin, where the group would sometimes work on songs such as ‘Rock Lobster,’ and ‘Planet Claire.’ Pierson has said, ‘It really was set back in the middle of a field, with no plumbing, or running water, but it did have a tin roof.’ Unfortunately that building isn’t there anymore, as it burned down in 2004, the reason being arson.

‘Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale, and it’s about to set sail. I got me a car, it seats about twenty, so come on and bring your jukebox money. The love shack is a little old place, where we can get together, love shack baby.’

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


634-Lena Horne-Stormy Weather.

1941-It has never charted in the UK. There was no UK chart until 1952.

Best Bit-At 0.13. As the old saying goes, ‘It never rains, but it pours.’

‘Stormy Weather’ was originally written in 1933 by Harold Arlen, (1905-1986) (see also best songs 934-281 and 68) who composed the music, and Ted Koehler, (1894-1973) who wrote the lyrics. ‘Stormy Weather’ was first performed by the American singer and actress Ethel Waters, (1896-1977) who sang it at ‘The Cotton Club’ night club, in Harlem, New York City, in 1933, and recorded it with the ‘Dorsey Brothers” Orchestra on ‘Brunswick Records’ later that same year, The song has also been recorded over the decades by many of the worlds top artists, including Billie Holiday, (1955) Frank Sinatra, (1959) Ringo Starr, (1969) and Bob Dylan, (2017) there is also a ‘Disco’ version of the song by Viola Wills (1982.) Perhaps the most famous rendition of ‘Stormy Weather’ is this one by Lena Horne, (1917-2010) who recorded the song for the first time in 1941, but when she appeared in the 1943 movie of the same name, she then re-recorded it. In 1957, she once again redid the song, this time as the title track of what would be her seventh studio Album.

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born on June 30th, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States, she died of congestive heart failure, on May 9th, 2010, at the age of 92. Lena Horne who was born into a affluent African-American family, was a singer, dancer, actress, and Civil Rights activist. She appeared in 24 films between 1935-2012, and released at least 53 Albums between 1942-2006. Her final release was ‘Seasons of a Life,’ which was recorded between 1993-1997, but not made available until 2006. She used her celebrity status to advocate for ‘Civil Rights,’ and took part in the ‘March on Washington,’ in August 1963. During World War II, while entertaining the troops, she refused to perform for segregated audiences, or for groups in which German prisoner of war were seated in front of Black servicemen. In June 2022, the ‘Brooks Atkinson Theatre,’ on Broadway, was re-named the ‘Lena Horne Theatre,’ meaning that Lena Horne is the first Black woman to have a Broadway theatre named after her.

‘Stormy Weather’ was co-written by Harold Arlen, (music) and Ted Koehler, who provided the lyrics. Ted L. Koehler was born on July 14th, 1894, in Washington D. C. United States, he died on January 17th, 1973, at the age of 78. His most successful collaborations were with the composer Harold Arlen, with whom he wrote many famous songs, from the 1920’s, through until the 1940’s. As well as ‘Stormy Weather,’ (1933) together the duo also composed other enduring songs, including ‘Get Happy,’ (1930) ‘I’ve Got the World on a String,’ (1932) and ‘Let’s Fall in Love,’ (1933.) Other composers with whom Ted Koehler worked with include, Rube Bloom, (1902-1976) Harry Warren, (1893-1981) (see also best songs 877-775-396 and 321) and Sammy Fain (1902-1989.)

‘Stormy Weather’ is a ‘torch song,’ which is typically one in which the singer laments an unrequited, or lost love. The term comes from the saying, ‘to carry a torch for someone,’ or ‘to keep aflame the light of an unrequited love.’ In ‘Stormy Weather,’ the weather is a metaphor for the feelings of the singer. In 1991 the Australian band ‘Crowded House’ paid homage to the song, on their hit ‘Weather With You,’ (Australia Number 27 & UK Number 7) with the lyrics,’Walking ’round the room singing stormy weather.’ The original handwritten lyrics, to ‘Stormy Weather,’ along with a painting by Ted Koehler, were featured on the American television programme ‘Antiques Roadshow’ in 2011, where they were appraised for between $50,000 and $100,000, the lyrics show a number of crossings out and corrections. In 2000, the 1941 recording of ‘Stormy Weather’ by Lena Horne, was inducted into the ‘Grammy Hall of Fame,’ and then in 2003, so was the Ethel Waters 1933 recording.

‘Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky, stormy weather, since my man and I ain’t together, keeps rainin’ all the time. Life is bare, gloom and misery everywhere, stormy weather, just can’t get my poor self together, I’m weary all the time.’

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


635-T-Connection-At Midnight.

1979-Number 53 single.

Best Bit-At 3.07. The percussion intro was meant to go on for longer, but the bongo player got cramp.

T-Connection were a ‘Funk,’ and ‘Disco’ group, who were formed in Nassau, the Bahamas, in 1975, by Monty Brown, (drums) Theophilus ‘T’ Coakley, (guitar & keyboards) his brother Kirkwood Coakley, (bass & drums) David Mackey, (guitars) Anthony Flowers, (percussion) and Berkley Van Byrd, (1953-2012) (drums) they were active until 1984, releasing their first four studio Albums on ‘TK Records,’ (1977-1980) and the other four on ‘Capitol Records’ (1981-1984.) T-Connection never had an entry on the American Billboard Hot 100 top 40 singles chart, but did manage five consecutive top 10 hits, with their first five singles, on the ‘Billboard Dance Club Songs’ chart, including their 1977 track ‘Do What You Wanna Do,’ which made Number 1, and has been pin pointed by the Scottish music producer Calvin Harris (see also best songs 760-652 and 566) as a major influence on him beginning to produce music at a young age. They also achieved six top 40 entries on the ‘Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs’ chart, with ‘Everything Is Cool,’ from 1981, peaking the highest at Number 10. Their 1977 track ‘Groove to Get Down,’ has been heavily sampled, after being chosen for inclusion on the 1986 ‘Ultimate Breaks and Beats’ compilation series of Albums. T-Connection issued a total of 18 singles between 1976-1984, finding their greatest commercial success in the UK, where two of their singles, ‘Do What You Wanna Do,’ (1977-Number 11) and ‘On Fire,’ (1977-Number 16) both reached the top 40, with another three, including ‘At Midnight,’ (1978-Number 53) all charting between Number 41 to 53.

‘At Midnight’ was the only single released from T-Connection’s self titled third studio Album from 1978, and was co-written by the group members Theophilus ‘T’ Coakley, and David Mackey, with the production being by Cory Wade, who was born in 1936, and is an American music producer and songwriter, who played a significant role in the development of ‘Disco’ music in the 1970’s. His production credits include, ‘The Way You Do the Things You Do,’ for Foxy, (1976) ‘Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me,’ for Peter Brown, (1977) as well as several of the ‘TK Records’ recordings of T-Connection.

T-Connection left the Bahamas in 1975, to relocate in Miami Florida, the home of ‘TK Records’ who had just signed them to a recording contract. ‘TK Records’ were an American independent record label, that had been founded in 1972 by Henry Stone (1921-2014) and Steve Alaimo, ‘TK’ was inspired by the initials of the sound engineer Terry Kane. ‘TK Records’ was closely associated with the early rise of ‘Disco Music,’ with worldwide hits on the label being provided by George McRae, (see also best songs 64) and KC & The Sunshine Band (see also best songs 893.) In 1980 ‘TK Records’ encountered financial problems, and was declared bankrupt in 1981, with the label being acquired by Morris Levy’s (1927-1990) ‘Roulette Records,’ in a merger of the two labels. On October 12th, 2013, Henry Stone received a proclamation from the ‘City of Hialeah’ Mayor Carlos Hernandez, declaring it ‘TK Records Day’ every year on October 12th.

The 12 inch vinyl record of ‘At Midnight’ was significant for being ‘DJ friendly,’ as there were etchings on the vinyl, to let you know where to place the needle. For instance if you wanted to skip the percussion intro, this was clearly marked. These were the days before ‘mixing,’ but the seeds were beginning to be sown.

‘Look into my eyes, tell me what you see, do you see some possibilities? Try and get away tonight, you can be with me, it’s a golden opportunity.’

Posted by: In: Other 20 Feb 2024 Comments: 0


636-Jay-Z-Girls, Girls, Girls.

2002-Number 11 single.

Best Bit-At 0.02. Even if only 1% of what he brags about is true, he must still have a very understanding wife.

Jay-Z (see also best songs 477-267 and 23) was born Shawn Corey Carter, on December 4th, 1969, in New York City, United States, with record sales in excess of 140 million worldwide, he is one of the best selling artists of all time. Jay-Z is also an entrepreneur, and through his business ventures, he has become the first ‘Hip-Hop’ billionaire. His portfolio includes ‘Rocawear,’ which is a clothing retailer, the ’40/40 Club,’ which is a luxury bar chain, ‘Roc Nation,’ which is a multi-disciplinary entertainment agency, ‘Aspiro,’ which is a technology company, and ‘Tidal,’ which is a media streaming service. As of 2024, he is the wealthiest musical artist in the world, with a net worth of US$2.5 billion. Jay-Z was the first Rapper to be inducted into the ‘Songwriters Hall of Fame,’ and the first solo living Rapper inducted in to the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.’

The discography of Jay-Z, who took his stage name in honour of the fellow New York Rapper, songwriter, and producer, ‘Jaz-O,’ who was an early influence on the young Jay-Z, includes 13 studio Albums released between 1996-2017, and 119 singles, released between 1989-2024, there are also a further five collaborative Albums, released between 2002-2018, as well as one official compilation Album, and two live Albums available. In America on Billboard, Jay-Z has sold in excess of 29 million Albums, and holds the record for the most Number 1 Albums of any solo artist, with a total of 14, which includes 11 of his studio Albums, and three of his collaborative Albums. His singles discography consists of 68 singles as the lead artist, and 51 singles as the featured artist, as well as a further 14 promotional singles. As the lead artist, Jay-Z has achieved 29 top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, with ‘Empire State of Mind,’ featuring Alicia Keys, reaching Number 1 in 2009, while ‘Girls, Girls, Girls,’ peaked at Number 17. As the featured artist, Jay-Z has made the top 40 on Billboard on 16 occasions, with three of those tracks reaching Number 1. In the UK, Jay-Z has had 30 top 40 hits as the lead artist, with ‘Run This Town,’ featuring Kanye West, and Rihanna, making the Number 1 spot in 2009, and he has also achieved a further 14 top 40 hits as the featured artist, with three of those tracks also reaching Number 1.

‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ was the second of four singles released from ‘The Blueprint,’ which was the sixth studio Album released by Jay-Z, from September 2001 , the songs writing is credited to Jay-Z, Tom Brock, (1942-2002) and Justin Smith, who also produced the track, working under his stage name of ‘Just Blaze.’ ‘The Blueprint’ was unfortunately released on September 11th, the same day as the ‘9/11’ tragedy in 2001, but that didn’t stop the sales of the Album topping 427,000 in it’s first week, it has since gone on to sell in excess of 3 million copies in America. ‘The Blueprint’ has been critically acclaimed, and is widely considered to be the best work of Jay-Z. In 2018, the Album was selected by the ‘Library of Congress,’ for preservation in the ‘United States National Recording Registry,’ for being ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,’ the Album was the first to be selected, that had been created in the 21st Century. ‘The Blueprint’ was a major influence in the world of ‘Hip-Hop,’ at that time, as it featured many vintage Soul based sampled songs, with vocal samples from artists such as Al Green, and David Ruffin being used. Prior to ‘The Blueprint,’ ‘Hip-Hop’ producers mainly used synthesizers and keyboards to recreate their samples, this was due to the financial and legal issues associated with copyright laws.

‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ samples the 1974 song ‘There’s Nothing In This World That Can Stop Me From Loving You,’ by the American Soul singer Tom Brock, which had been produced by Barry White, (1944-2003) and is the reason why Brock receives co-writing credit. The songs chorus of ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ was inspired by the 1980 ‘Old School’ ‘Hip-Hop’ track, ‘High Power Rap,’ by the New York based the ‘Crash Crew.’ ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ also has additional vocals provided by Q-Tip, Slick Rick, and Biz Markie (1964-2021.) There is also a remix of ‘Girls, Girls, Girls,’ produced by Kanye West, (see also best songs 1049-636-477 and 267) which can be found as a hidden track on ‘The Blueprint,’ with unaccredited vocals from Michael Jackson (1958-2009.)

‘I got this young chick, she so immature, she like, ‘Why you don’t buy me Reeboks no more?’ Like to show out in public, throw tantrums on the floor, gotta toss a couple dollars, just to shut up her holla.’

Posted by: In: Other 18 Feb 2024 Comments: 0


637-Joni Mitchell-Big Yellow Taxi.

1970-Number 11 single.

Best Bit-At 2.08. Joni Mitchell laughing at her own vocal gymnastics.

Joni Mitchell (see also best songs 637 and 558) was born Roberta Joan Anderson, on November 7th, 1943, in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada. She is recognised as one of the most influential singer/songwriters in the genre of ‘Folk Music,’ with the American online music database ‘AllMusic,’ going even further with their statement,’Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th Century.’ As well as ‘Folk Music,’ Joni Mitchell has also recorded Albums in the genres of ‘Pop,’ ‘Jazz,’ and ‘Rock,’ and along with writing and producing, she is known for playing the guitar, and piano. In 2008 she was ranked 42nd on Rolling Stone’s magazine ‘100 Greatest Singers’ list, then in 2015, she was ranked ninth on their list of the ‘100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time,’ and in 2023 the same publication named her the 9th greatest guitarist of all time, and the highest ranked female on the list.

The discography of Joni Mitchell includes 19 studio Albums released between 1968-2007, and 33 singles released between 1968-2000, there are also 15 official compilation Albums, and six live Albums available. In Canada, Joni Mitchell has had eight top 40 hit singles, with ‘Help Me,’ from 1974, peaking the highest at Number 6, with ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ making Number 14. She has also charted as the guest artist on the 1997 track ‘Got ’til It’s Gone,’ by Janet Jackson, with Q-Tip, which reached Number 19, as well as also charting at Number 6 in the UK. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, Joni Mitchell has had four top 40 hits, with ‘Help Me’ peaking the highest at Number 7. On Billboard ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ stalled at Number 67, but a live version, did make Number 24 in 1974. In the UK ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ remains as her only top 40 hit, when reaching Number 11 in 1970.

‘Big Yellow Taxi’ was the only single released from Joni Mitchell’s third studio Album ‘Ladies of the Canyon,’ from April 1970, as well as writing and producing all 12 tracks on the Album, she was also responsible for creating and painting the Album’s cover sleeve. Joni Mitchell is a very talented painter, who has described herself as a ‘Painter derailed by circumstance.’ ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ is a song about the damage being done to the environment, with Joni Mitchell explaining,’I wrote ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ on my first trip to Hawaii. I took a taxi to the hotel, and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart… this blight on paradise. That’s when I sat down and wrote the song.’ ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ also reminds us not to take anything for granted, and that if we don’t make a stand to protect the natural world, it will all be gone tomorrow. In the final verse Joni’s ‘old man’ is taken away in a big yellow taxi. This refers to an old boyfriend being arrested by the Canadian police, for being an environmental activist. In Toronto, Canada, many of the police vehicles were yellow, with red flashing lights on the roof, and this is from where the song takes it’s title.

According to Joni Mitchell’s official Website, ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ has been recorded by 556 other artists as of June 5, 2023. Other notable versions include the 1995 recording by the American singer Amy Grant, who took her version to Number 20 in the UK, with slightly changed lyrics, at the request of Joni Mitchell, to bring the song more up to date. In 2002 the American Rock group ‘Counting Crows,’ with backing vocal by the American singer Vanessa Carlton, reached Number 16 in the UK, after being featured in the film ‘Two Weeks Notice.’ Aside from Joni Mitchell’s live recording, the only version of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ to chart within the top 40 on Billboard in America, is the 1970 cover by the ‘Neighborhood,’ which reached Number 29, and also peaked at Number 19 in Australia.

‘They took all the trees, put ’em in a tree museum, and they charged the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em. Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone? They paved paradise, put up a parking lot.’