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


577-Hawkwind-Silver Machine.

1972-Number 3 single. It has been re-issued on a further three occasions, failing to chart in 1976, reaching Number 34 in 1978, and Number 86 in 1983.

Best Bit-At 0-22. The last song Lemmy wrote before being fired from Hawkwind in 1975, was a track called ‘Motorhead,’ and the rest is history.

Hawkwind were formed in Ladbroke Grove, London England, in 1969, and at the time of writing they remain active, with founding member Dave Brock being the groups one constant. In total to date there have been 46 official different members come and go, including some famous and influential names. Ian Kilmister, (Lemmy) (1945-2015) (see also best songs 16) was a group member between 1971-1975, Ginger Baker, (1939-2019) (see also best songs 726) was a member between 1980-1981, and Simon House, (see also best songs 302) was on board between 1973-1978, and then again between 1989-1991. The six group members who performed on this recording of ‘Silver Machine’ were Dave Brock, (guitar, and vocals) Nik Turner, (saxophone, flute, and vocals) Lemmy Kilmister, (1945-2015) (lead vocals) Michael ‘Dik Mik’ Davies, (1943-2017) (synthesizer) Del Dellmar, (synthesizer) and Simon King (drums.)

The discography of ‘Hawkwind,’ who started out life as ‘Group X,’ before becoming ‘Hawkwind Zoo,’ and finally ‘Hawkwind,’ includes 35 studio Albums released between 1970-2024, and 22 singles released between 1970-2023, there are also eight extended plays, 10 official compilation Albums, and 13 live Albums available. In the UK, 13 of their Albums have reached the top 40, with ‘Warrior on the Edge of Time,’ peaking the highest at Number 13 in 1975. They have never charted on Billboard in America, but their second studio Album ‘In Search of Space,’ did reach Number 34 in Australia, in 1971. Hawkwind’s only charting single remains ‘Silver Machine,’ which peaked at Number 3 in the UK in 1972.

‘Silver Machine’ was co-written by Dave Brock, who wrote the music, and Robert Calvert, (1945-1988) who provided the lyrics, the song was produced by Brock using the pseudonym ”Dr Technical,’ he also used the pseudonym ‘Sylvia McManus,’ (who was his wife) for his writing credit. ‘Silver Machine’ was first recorded live at a ‘Greasy Truckers’ benefit gig, at ‘The Roundhouse,’ London on the 13th February 1972. The recording was the taken away for mixing, but it was decided that the lead vocals of Robert Calvert were not up to scratch, and Ian Kilmister, (Lemmy) who was the groups bass player recorded his stronger vocals over the track in the studio. At the time Calvert who suffered from ‘Bi-Polar disorder,’ had been sectioned, so he was unavailable to attempt another version. Doug Smith, who was Hawkwind’s manager at the time has said, ‘Lemmy had a high voice, but it was just very much more powerful, he had a gruffness with it, so we decided to use his vocal.’ It is said that when Calvert was in recovery, and found out that his vocals had been removed, he was not best pleased.

Hawkwind are a ‘Rock’ group, who have recorded in the genres of ‘Progressive Rock,’ ‘Psychedelic Rock,’ ‘Acid Rock,’ ‘Proto-Punk,’ and ‘Space Rock.’ ‘Space Rock’ is a genre of music that is characterised by lengthy song structures, that may feature distorted and reverberation laden guitars, with the lyrical themes often dealing with science fiction. The genre emerged in the late 1960’s, with ‘Psychedelia,’ and ‘Progressive Rock’ groups such as the English Rock band Pink Floyd,’ (see also best songs 992 and 280) and the French formed group ‘Gong,’ exploring different musical sounds. Pink Floyd’s early Albums including ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,’ (1967) and ‘A Saucerful of Secrets,’ (1968) contain pioneering examples of ‘Space Rock,’ on tracks such as ”Lucifer Sam,’ and ‘Let There Be More Light.’

The lyrics for ‘Silver Machine’ were inspired by the French writer Alfred Jarry’s (1873-1907) essay, ‘How To Construct a Time Machine.’ The lyrics are a send up, whereas Jarry wrote about constructing a ‘Cosmic space travel machine,’ Calvert made it about a new silver racing bike. Robert Calvert has said,’I thought it was a great idea for a song. At that time there were a lot of songs about space travel, and it was the time when ‘NASA’ was actually, really doing it. They’d put a man on the moon and were planning to put parking lots and hamburger stalls and everything up there. I thought that it was about time to come up with a song that actually sent this all up, which was ‘Silver Machine.’ ‘Silver Machine’ was just to say, I’ve got a silver bicycle, and nobody got it. I didn’t think they would. I thought that what they would think we were singing about some sort of cosmic space travel machine. I did actually have a silver racing bike when I was a boy. I’ve got one now, in fact.’

I, I just took a ride in a silver machine, and I’m still feeling mean. Do you want to ride, see yourself going by the other side of the sky. I’ve got a silver machine, it flies sideways through time, it’s an electric line to your zodiac sign. I’ve got a silver machine.’

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


578-Public Enemy-Fight the Power.

1989-Number 29 single.

Best Bit-At 0.23. If you’re a Rapper born after the start of the 21st Century, then take a good listen to this, then have a long look at yourself in the mirror. Are you making the most of your right to freedom of speech.

Public Enemy (see also best songs 37) are an American ‘Hip-Hop’ group formed in Long Island, New York, United States, in 1985, and at the time of writing they remain active, with Chuck D, (Carlton Douglas Ridenhour) and Flavor Flav, (William Jonathan Drayton Jr.) being the groups only constant members. Chuck D was born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, on August 1st, 1960, in Long Island, New York, United States, the group took their name from one of the earliest tracks he wrote called ‘Public Enemy Number One.’ Chuck D is recognised as one of the most influential Rappers of all time, and is a major player in the sub-genre of ‘Hip-Hop’ music called ‘Political Hip-Hop,’ which developed during the 1980’s. Other songs which would come under the ‘Political Hip-Hop’ banner include ‘The Message,’ by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, (see also best songs 290) and ‘F#ck tha Police,’ by N.W.A. (see also best songs 128.) With Public Enemy, Chuck D has released 15 studio Albums, and 41 singles between 1987-2020, he has also released four solo studio Albums, and two compilation Albums between 1996-2018. Chuck D has been a member of two ‘supergroups,’ releasing the Album ‘Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear,’ as part of ‘Confrontation Camp,’ in 2001, and ‘Prophets of Rage,’ with Prophets of Rage, in 2017.

‘Fight the Power’ was the first of five singles released from ‘Fear of a Black Planet,’ the third studio Album released by Public Enemy, from April 1990. The song was co-written by Chuck D, Eric Sadler, Hank Boxley, and Keith Boxley, the latter three were part of the production team ‘The Bomb Squad,’ (see also best songs 37) who also produced this track, and it’s parent Album. Prior to appearing on ‘Fear of a Black Planet,’ ‘Fight the Power’ had first been used as part of the soundtrack to the 1989 American comedy drama film ‘Do the Right Thing.’ The films writer, and producer Spike Lee wanted a hard hitting song, Lee has said,’I wanted it to be defiant, I wanted it to be angry, I wanted it to be rhythmic. I thought right away about Public Enemy.’ As with many Public Enemy songs from around that period, numerous samples and loops were used, this was because artists didn’t have to get permission to clear samples, until the landmark case of 1991 (see also best songs 37.)

Chuck D who wrote the lyrics for ‘Fight the Power’ has explained why Bobby McFerrin, John Wayne, (1907-1979) and Elvis Presley, (1935-1977) (see also best songs 954-664-442 and 194) all get name checks in the song. About Bobby McFerrin he has said,’Don’t Worry Be Happy’ (1988-Billboard Number 1 & UK Number 2 single) doesn’t apply to protests. If you’re not worried and you’re happy, you’re like, why protest? Not everybody’s gonna feel like that.’ On John Wayne he has said,’John Wayne is ‘Mr. Kill All the Indians and Everybody Else Who’s Not Full-Blooded American.’ The lyric was assassinating their iconic status so everybody doesn’t feel that way.’ And of Elvis Presley, Chuck D said,’It’s not that Elvis was not a talented dude and incredible in his way, but I didn’t like the way that he was talked about all the time, and the pioneers of Rock and Roll, especially at that time, weren’t talked about at all. When people said ‘Rock and Roll’ or ‘The King,’ it was all ‘Elvis, Elvis, Elvis, one trillion fans can’t be wrong’ type of s#it.’

Of his inspiration for the song, Chuck D added,’I wanted to have sorta like the same theme as the original ‘Fight the Power,’ (1975-Billboard Number 4 single) by The Isley Brothers, (see also best songs 823-508-382 and 176) and fill it with some kind of modernist views of what our surroundings were at that particular time.’ Brian Hardgrove who has played bass for Public Enemy probably sums up the songs meaning the best,’Law enforcement is necessary. As a species we haven’t evolved past needing that. Fight the Power is not about fighting authority, it’s not that at all. It’s about fighting abuse of power.’

‘1989 the number, another summer, sound of the funky drummer. Music hitting your heart, ’cause I know you got soul. Listen if you’re missing y’all, swinging while I’m singing, giving whatcha getting, knowing what I know in. While the Black bands sweatin’, and the rhythm rhyme rollin’.’

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


579-CamelPhat and Elderbrook-Cola.

2017-Number 18 single.

Best Bit-At 3.25. The ‘Cola’ companies must have spent millions on purchasing ‘Pop’ songs to use in their advertisements down the years, but they haven’t used the best one yet.

CamelPhat is the stage name of the British ‘Dance Music’ producers Dave Whelan, and Mike Di Scala, who formed in Liverpool, England, in 2006. Prior to joining Whelan, Mike Di Scala had tasted chart success as a member of the English ‘Electronic’ group ‘Rezonance Q,’ with the UK Number 29 hit single ‘Someday,’ in 2003. He was also a member of the English ‘Electronic Dance Music’ group ‘Ultrabeat,’ who achieved five UK top 40 hits, including the 2003 Number 2 track ‘Pretty Green Eyes.’ Dave Whelan, and Mike Di Scala had released music, and remixed for others using several different names prior to ‘CamelPhat,’ those names included ‘Whelan & Di Scala,’ ‘Wheels & Disco,’ ‘Shake n’ Jack,’ ‘Mancini,’ ‘Pawn Shop,’ ‘Da Mode,’ ‘High Society,’ and the ‘Bassline Hustlers.’ Their dozens of remixes include Café del Mar,’ for Energy 52, (Whelan & Di Scala remix) (2007) (see also best songs 79) ‘Da Funk,’ for Daft Punk, (‘Funk’ by Wheels & Disco remix) (2007) (see also best songs 140) and ‘Ride on Time’ (‘Black Sensation,’ by Whelan & Di Scala) (2009) (see also best songs 501.) Dave Whelan, and Mike Di Scala also have many production and songwriting credits, including the UK 2017 Number 7 hit single ’17,’ for the American artist ‘MK.’

The discography of CamelPhat under all of their different working names, includes two studio Albums released in 2020, and 2023, and 68 singles released between 2006-2023, there are also 19 extended plays available. In the UK, three of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Cola,’ with Elderbrook, charting the highest at Number 18. In America on the ‘Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs’ chart, five of their tracks have made the top 40, with ‘Rabbit Hole,’ featuring Jem Cooke, peaking the highest at Number 23 in 2019.

‘Cola’ was the first of seven singles added to ‘Dark Matter,’ the debut studio Album by CamelPhat, from October 2020, the song was co-written by Dave Whelan, and Mike Di Scala, who wrote the music, and Alexander Kotz, who wrote the lyrics, and also provides the vocals. The songs production is credited to CamelPhat. Alexander Kotz, who works under the stage name of ‘Elderbrook,’ was born on December 20th, 1992, in London, England, he is a musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer. The discography of Elderbrook includes two studio Albums released in 2020, and 2023, and 27 singles released between 2015-2023, there are also five extended plays available. In the UK, his only chart entry to date remains ‘Cola,’ while in America on the ‘Billboard Dance Club Songs’ chart, ‘Cola’ went all the way to Number 1. Elderbrook has also done remixes for other artists, most notably providing the official remix for ‘Rockabye,’ by Clean Bandit, featuring Sean Paul, which was the UK Christmas Number 1 single in 2016.

‘Cola’ which can be filed under the musical genre of ‘House Music,’ has always courted controversy surrounding it’s actual meaning, with some interpreting the song as being about a female who has had her drink spiked. Elderbrook has always denied that, saying that it is actually about a girl who has had too many drinks before going out for the night, and then being refused entry into a club. ‘Cola’ was recorded in February 2017, during a three day recording session in London. Elderbrook was one of several vocalists that CamelPhat invited to come into the studio during their sessions. Elderbrook has recalled,’They had a few different instrumentals that I tried out that day, Then they played what everyone now knows as the instrumental to ‘Cola.’ There was a lot of space on the record for vocals. But I wanted to keep it going, keep it pumping, so my vocal delivery is quicker than I would usually have done.’

‘Got ready for the night, and she’s heading for the lights, but she sees the vision going, copping line after line. See how she looks for trouble, see how she dances, and she sips the Coca-Cola, but she can’t tell the difference yet.’

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


580-Happy Mondays-Step On.

1990-Number 5 single.

Best Bit-At 0.01. Don’t panic, this is not fruit abuse. The term ‘Twistin’ my melon man,’ actually means being confused by something to the point that it’s really annoying.

The Happy Mondays were formed in Salford, England, United Kingdom, in 1980, by Shaun Ryder, (vocals) his brother Paul Ryder, (1964-2022) (bass) Gary Whelan, (drums) Paul Davis, (keyboards) and Mark Day, (guitar) they were soon joined by Mark ‘Bez’ Berry, (dancer and percussionist.) In 1990 they were joined by Rowetta, (vocals) in 2004, by Kav Sandhu, (guitar and keyboards) and in 2006 by Dan Broard, (keyboards.) It was Paul Ryder who named the group, as after the day their unemployment benefit cheques arrived, as Paul put it, ‘It was the day for getting off your face.’ The Happy Mondays remained active between 1980-1993, but have since reformed on a further three occasions. They played an important role in the development of the Manchester music scene, which became known as ‘Madchester,’ by incorporating ‘Rock’ music, with ‘Psychedelica,’ ‘Funk,’ and ‘House Music,’ helping to pave the way to ‘Dance Music.’ The Happy Mondays were also an influence on other groups, including The Stone Roses, (see also best songs 979 and 253) and Oasis (see also best songs 1006-758 and 15.) In 1990 Paul McCartney told the British music magazine ‘New Musical Express,’ ‘I saw the Happy Mondays on TV, and they reminded me of the Beatles in their Strawberry Fields phase.’

The discography of the Happy Mondays includes five studio Albums released between 1987-2007, and 20 singles released between 1986-2015, there are also four extended plays, six official compilation Albums, and two live Albums available. In the UK, six of their singles have reached the top 40, with both ‘Step On,’ (1990) and ‘Kinky Afro,’ (1990) both peaking the highest at Number 5. The Happy Mondays failed to breakthrough commercially in America, with only ‘Step On’ making the Billboard Hot 100, when reaching Number 57, although ‘Kinky Afro’ made Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Alternative Airplay’ chart, and ‘Stinkin’ Thinkin” (1992) reached Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Dance Club’ chart.

‘Step On’ was the first of four singles released from the Happy Mondays third studio Album ‘Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches,’ from November 1990, the song was co-written by John Kongos, and Christos Demetriou, with the production being by Paul Oakenfold, and Steve Osborne, who also produced the Album. ‘Step On’ is a cover version of the 1971 UK Number 4 hit single ‘He’s Gonna Step on You Again,’ by John Kongos, the Happy Mondays incorporate a short sample of three guitar notes from the original, as well as the groups lead singer Shawn Ryder ad-libbing phrases such as ‘You’re twistin’ my melon man,’ and ‘Call the cops.’ The former was a catchphrase of a ‘Haçienda’ nightclub patron, while the latter was taken from a line of dialogue in ‘Man on the Edge,’ a documentary about the actor Steve McQueen.

John Theodore Kongos was born on August 6th, 1945, in Johannesburg, South Africa. After having had success in South Africa in the early 1960’s with his band ‘Johnny and the G-Men,’ as well as also having had success as a solo artist, he left to pursue a musical career in the UK in 1966. His first UK based group was ‘Floribunda Rose,’ which were formed in April 1967, and comprised of five members, including this songs co-writer Chris Demetriou, who had been born in Cyprus. After 18 months of gigging in Britain and Europe, Kongos released his first solo Album, ‘Confusions About a Goldfish,’ in 1969, on the ‘Dawn’ record label. In 1971, and now signed to ‘Fly Records,’ he achieved two hit singles in the UK, with ‘He’s Gonna Step on You Again,’ reaching Number 4, and ‘Tokoloshe Man,’ also making Number 4. ‘He’s Gonna Step on You Again’ is cited in the ‘Guinness Book of Records’ as being the first song to ever use a sample. However, according to the sleeve note of the CD reissue of the ‘Kongos’ Album, it is actually a tape loop of African drumming.

Prior to the Happy Mondays covering ‘He’s Gonna Step on You Again,’ the song had been a hit twice for two Australian bands. The Australian ‘supergroup’ ‘The Party Boys’ took their version to Number 1 in Australia in 1987 for two weeks, and the Australian Pop group the ‘Chantoozies,’ took their recording to Number 36, also in 1987. The original version by John Kongos was written as a protest song against the white man’s appropriation of native territory in Africa.

‘Gonna stamp out your fire, he can change your desire, don’t you know he can make you forget you’re a man. Gonna stamp out your fire, he can change your desire, don’t you know he can make you forget you’re the man, you’re a man. You’re twistin’ my melon man, you speak so hip.’

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


581-Shalamar-Take That to the Bank.

1978-Number 20 single.

Best Bit-At 3.06. For a brief period in the early 1980’s, ‘SOLAR’ records were being talked up as being the new ‘Tamla Motown,’ and Shalamar were the labels biggest band.

Shalamar who were fomed in Los Angeles, California, United States, in 1977, were the brainchild of Don Cornelius, (1936-2012) and Dick Griffey, (1938-2010.) Don Cornelius was the creator, and presenter of the American nationally syndicated music television show ‘Soul Train,’ and Dick Griffey was a music producer, concert promoter, and booking agent for the ‘Soul Train’ show.

The first song credited to Shalamar, whose name had been chosen by Griffey, was the 1977 track ‘Uptown Festival,’ (UK Number 30) which had been recorded by studio session musicians. Due to it’s popularity and success, Cornelius and Griffey decided to put together a group to perform as ‘Shalamar.’ They chose the ‘Soul Train’ dancers Jody Watley, and Jeffrey Daniel, as well as the singer Gary Mumford, who had performed the studio session on ‘Uptown Festival.’ Mumford soon quit the band, and was replaced by Gerald Brown, who sang lead vocals on this song and it’s parent Album. Brown left the band shortly before the songs official release, and was replaced by Howard Hewett, who lip synced Brown’s vocals for the songs promotion. Jody Watley, Jeffrey Daniel, and Howard Hewett are recognised as the groups classic line up. Watley and Daniel both left in 1983 to pursue solo careers, leaving Hewett to continue with new members. In total there has been nine official different group members come and go, and at the time of writing they remain active.

The discography of Shalamar includes 10 studio Albums released between 1977-1990, and 35 singles released between 1977-2017, there are also six official compilation Albums available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, four of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘The Second Time Around,’ peaking the highest at Number 8 in 1979, with ‘Take That to the Bank’ only making Number 79. They have had far more success on the Billboard ‘R&B’ and ‘Dance’ charts, where 18 of their tracks have made the top 40, on either, or both charts, including ‘The Second Time Around,’ which reached Number 1 on both. In the UK, Shalamar have achieved 11 top 40 hit singles, with both ‘A Night to Remember,’ (1982) and ‘There It Is,’ (1982) both peaking at Number 5.

‘Take That to the Bank’ was co-written by Kevin Spencer, and Leon Sylvers III, with the production being by Leon Sylvers III, and Dick Griffey, the song was the only single released from ‘Disco Gardens,’ which was the second studio Album from Shalamar, from August 1978. Leon Frank Sylvers III was born on March 7th, 1953, in South Bend, Indiana, United States, he became one of the most successful producers in black music in the late 1970’s to the mid-1980’s, with Dick Griffey saying, ‘Aside from Quincy Jones, I think Leon is the hottest producer around. He’s grown with SOLAR, and has been exposed to other creative forces in putting together different kinds of songs and sounds. He’s gotten a different kind of polish and sophistication.’ Prior to becoming the in house producer at ‘SOLAR’ records, Leon Sylvers III had been a member of the ‘R&B’ group ‘The Sylvers,’ which was made up of him, and nine of his other siblings, who performed in the group at different times between 1958-1985. The Sylvers are best remembered for their 1976 Billboard Hot 100 Number 1 single ‘Boogie Fever,’ and ‘Hot Line,’ which reached Number 5, also in 1976. Leon Sylvers III wrote and produced for the other big acts on ‘SOLAR’ records, including ‘The Whispers,’ ‘Dynasty,’ and ‘Lakeside.’

From the classic line up of Shalamar, Jody Watley went on to have a very successful solo career, releasing nine studio Albums between 1987-2006, and 24 singles between 1984-2013, with ‘Looking for a New Love,’ reaching Number 2 on Billboard, and Number 13 in the UK in 1987. Jeffrey Daniel went on to choreograph the music video’s for ‘Bad,’ and ‘Smooth Criminal,’ with Michael Jackson, (1958-2009) it was Daniel who first performed ‘The Backslide,’ which would later become known as the ‘Moonwalk,’ a full year before Michael Jackson first performed it. Howard Hewett left Shalamar in 1985 to pursue a solo career, releasing seven solo studio Albums between 1986-2007, and releasing 24 singles between 1985-2017, including the track ‘This Is for the Lover in You,’ with Babyface, LL Cool J, Jody Watley, and Jeffrey Daniel, in 1996, which reached Number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Howard Hewett, and Jeffrey Daniel rejoined Shalamar in 1999, and are still members at the time of writing, along with Dick Griffey’s daughter Carolyn Griffey, who has been a member since 2001. Incidentally ‘SOLAR’ stands for ‘Sound of Los Angeles Records.’

”Cause we build a strong love affair on investments of equal share. Two hearts that beat as one, just look what love has done. Dime in the socket, just like money in my pocket, baby love. Take that to the bank.’

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


582-Kenny Rogers and The First Edition-Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town.

1969-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 1.57. When playing the song live, the group would often perform it in a jovial manner, and the audience would clap and sing along, which was seen by some as disrespectful to war veterans.

The First Edition were formed in 1967, in California, United States, by Kenny Rogers, (1938-2020) (lead vocals, and bass guitar) Mike Settle, (guitar and vocals) and Thelma Camacho, (vocals) who had all been members of the American ‘Folk’ group ‘The New Christy Minstrels,’ they had left that group in order to broaden their musical horizons. They were soon joined by Mickey Jones in 1967, (1941-2018) (drums) Mary Arnold, (vocals) joined in 1968, and Kim Vassy, (1943-1994) (vocals) joined in 1969. In 1970, shortly before the release of this song, the group changed their name to ‘Kenny Rogers and the First Edition,’ and remained active until 1976, with some members, and others, who joined later, reforming in 2010, and then again between 2014-2015. As ‘The First Edition’ they began recording and experimenting with ‘Rock,’ ‘Folk,’ and ‘Psychedelic Pop,’ before taking the ‘Country Rock’ route.

The discography of Kenny Rogers and The First Edition includes 15 Albums issued between 1967-2015, and 22 singles released between 1967-1974. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, seven of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In’) peaking the highest at Number 5 in 1967, while ‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,’ reached Number 6. In the UK, two of their singles have made the top 40, with ‘Something’s Burning,’ which made Number 8 in 1970, providing them with their other hit.

‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town’ was written by Mel Tillis, (1932-2017) and first recorded by the American Country singer Wayne Jennings (1937-2002) in 1966. The first hit version of the song was by the American Country Music artist Johnny Darrell, (1940-1997) whose recording reached Number 9 on the American Billboard Country Music chart. The song has been covered on many occasions over the years, including an answer song entitled ‘Billy, I’ve Got to Go to Town,’ in 1969, by the American singer Geraldine Stevens, (who had previously recorded as Dodie Stevens) using the same melody, with an arrangement quite similar to The First Edition version, which reached Number 117 on Billboard, and Number 57 on the Country chart in America.

‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town’ was the second of three singles released from the fourth studio Album of the same name, by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition in 1969. The song was written by Mel Tillis, with the production being by Jimmy Bowen, whose greatest commercial success as a producer is the 1966 American, and UK Number 1 single ‘Strangers in the Night,’ for Frank Sinatra (1915-1998.) Jimmy Bowen who was born James Albert Bowen, on November 30th, 1937, in Santa Rita, New Mexico, United States, was also responsible for bringing Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood (1929-2007) together, (see also best songs 1010-367 and 124) and introducing Nancy Sinatra to Mel Tillis, for their 1981 Album ‘Mel and Nancy.’ Jimmy Bowen was also the co-writer of ‘Party Doll,’ (1957-Billboard Number 2 & UK Number 29) with the American singer Buddy Knox, (1933-1999) as well as co-writing with Knox, ‘I’m Stickin’ with You,’ (1957-Billboard Number 14) which Bowen performed himself, giving him his only hit single as a recording artist.

Mel Tillis was born Lonnie Melvin Tillis, on August 8th, 1932, in Tampa, Florida, United States, he died of respiratory failure on November 19th, 2017, at the age of 85. Mel Tillis was a Country Music singer and songwriter, who in 2012 won the ‘Country Music Association Awards’ most coveted award, ‘Entertainer of the Year.’ Tillis was a member of the ‘Grand Ole Opry,’ ‘Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame,’ and the ‘Country Music Hall of Fame.’ His discography includes 38 studio Albums released between 1966-2010, and 98 singles released between 1957-1999.

‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town’ tells the story of a paralysed war veteran, who fears that his woman is cheating on him. He begs her to stay at home with him, but his pleas fall on deaf ears. Mel Tillis was inspired to write ‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town’ after having lived near a couple in Florida. In real life the man he wrote about had been wounded in World War II. and his wife was seeing another man. The man murdered his wife, and then committed suicide. Tillis changed the setting to the ‘Korean War,’ and made no mention of murder, but does say that the man would kill her if he could move and get his gun.

‘You’ve painted up your lips and rolled and curled your tinted hair, Ruby, are you contemplating going out somewhere? The shadow on the wall tell me the sun is going down, oh, Ruby, don’t take your love to town.’

Posted by: In: Other 19 Apr 2024 Comments: 0


583-Limp Bizkit-Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)

2000-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 0.07. At a cost of approximately $3 million, the songs video was filmed around, and on the roof of the World Trade Centre. The day before the twin towers were destroyed the band received a letter from the World Trade Centre thanking them for featuring the towers in the video.

Limp Bizkit were formed in Jacksonville, Florida, United States, in 1994, and remained active until 2006, then after a hiatus they reformed in 2009. The original line up was made up of Fred Durst, (vocals) John Otto, (drums) Sam Rivers, (bass) and Rob Waters (guitars.) Waters left in 1995, soon after the arrival of Wes Borland, (guitars) then DJ Lethal, (turntables, and sampling) joined the group in 1996, after leaving the ‘Hip-Hop’ group ‘House of Pain.’ (see also best songs 75) The groups other two members were Terry Balsamo, (guitars) who was a member in 1995, and Mike Smith, (guitars) who was a member between 2002-2004. It was the groups lead singer Fred Durst who named them ‘Limp Bizit,’ because he wanted a name that would repel listeners, he has said,’The name is there to turn people’s heads away. A lot of people pick up the disc and go, ‘Limp Bizkit, they must suck.’ Those are the people that we don’t even want listening to our music.’ It is said that every record label that showed an interest in the band pressured its members to change its name.

Limp Bizkit who record in the musical genres of ‘Nu Metal,’ ‘Rap Rock,’ and ‘Rap Metal,’ have sold in excess of 40 million records worldwide. Their discography includes six studio Albums released between 1997-2021, and 21 singles released within the same time period, there are also three official compilation Albums, and one live Album available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, they have never had a top 40 hit single, although the majority of their singles have charted high on either the ‘Alternative Airplay’ chart, or the ‘Mainstream Rock’ chart. In America they are seen as an Albums group, with two of their Albums ‘Significant Other,’ (1999) and ‘Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water,’ (2000) both reaching Number 1. In the UK Limp Bizkit have achieved seven top 40 singles, with ‘Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle’) making the Number 1 spot in 2000.

‘Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle’) was the third of five singles released from ‘Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water,’ the third studio Album by Limp Bizkit from October 2000. The music was written by group members Wes Borland, Sam Rivers, and John Otto, with the lyrics written by Fred Durst, who also co-produced the track along with Terry Date, who is an American music producer who has produced, engineered, or mixed for dozens of other ‘Rock’ artists, including Soundgarden, Slipknot, and Pantera.

‘Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle’) was not actually the original version of the song, as it in fact started out life as a ‘Hip-Hop’ track called ‘Rollin’ (Urban Assault Vehicle’) collaborated upon by Fred Durst, and the Hip-Hop music producer Swiss Beatz, with contributions from the rappers DMX, (19070-2021) Method Man, (see also best songs 359 and 166) and Redman. The ‘Hip-Hop’ version appears on the ”Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water’ Album as the second last track, and is the version which reached Number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit has said, ‘Rollin’ was originally going to be just a straight Hip-Hop song,, but after we heard it, we were like, ‘No, man, we’ve got to turn this into a rock song.’ We liked both versions so much that that’s what it ended up being, two versions: a Hip-Hop version of the song and a rock version of the song.’

Limp Bizkit are one of the leading protagonists in the development of the musical genre ‘Nu metal,’ which is a sub-genre of ‘Alternative Rock,’ that combines elements of ‘Heavy Metal’ music, with elements of other music genres such as ‘Hip-Hop,’ ‘Alternative Rock,’ ‘Funk,’ ‘Industrial,’ and ‘Grunge.’ Vocal styles in ‘Nu Metal’ include singing, rapping, screaming and growling. In the late 1980’s, and early 1990’s, it was groups such as Pantera, Helmet, Faith No More, (see also best songs 335) and Korn who were influential in the development of ‘Nu Metal,’ with groups such as Papa Roach and Linkin Park helping it reach it’s commercial peak in the early 2000’s.

‘Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle’) has been critically acclaimed by many publications, but not always the songs lyrics. My advice is don’t look for any in-depth meaning, after all the American wrestler ‘The Undertaker’ used the song for his entrance in the ‘WWE.’

‘Alright, partner, keep on rollin’, baby, you know what time it is. Throw your hands up, throw your, your hands up. Ladies and gentlemen, Chocolate Starfish, wanna keep on rolling, baby.’

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


Johnny Nash-You Got Soul.

1968-Number 6 single.

Best Bit-At 0.06. You Got Soul. He was also blessed with more than his fair share of Reggae, and Pop.

Johnny Nash was born John Lester Nash Jr. on August 19th, 1940, in Houston, Texas, United States, he died of natural causes in his home, surrounded by close family, in Houston, on October 6, 2020, after a period of declining health, at the age of 80. As a child he sang in the choir at the ‘Progressive New Hope Baptist Church,’ in South Central Houston, and then at the age of 13 in 1953, he was hired to sing covers of ‘R&B hits’ on ‘Matinee,’ which was a local variety show on ‘KPRC-TV,’ in Houston. Between the years of 1956-1963, he was a singer on the broadcaster Arthur Godfrey’s (1903-1983) radio and television programmes In 1956 he signed with the record label ‘ABC-Paramount,’ releasing his first single ‘A Teenager Sings the Blues,’ which failed to chart later that year. At that time Johnny Nash sang in the same style as Johnny Mathis, (see also best songs 706) and was marketed as a competitor. In 1959 he appeared in the first of four films, starring in the American coming-of-age drama ‘Take a Giant Step,’ he would appear in a further three movies, with his last being the Swedish romance ‘ Vill så gärna tro,’ in 1971.

By 1964 Johnny Nash had teamed up with Danny Sims, (1936-2012) who was now his manager, and together they formed ‘JoDa Records,’ in New York. Although the label filed for bankruptcy within two years, they were successful promoting American artists abroad. Nash and Sims relocated to Jamaica in 1966, where they were taken to a Rastafarian party, where Bob Marley & The Wailing Wailers (see also best songs 618 and 56) were performing. Bob Marley introduced Nash to the local music scene, and Nash in turn signed Bob Marley, (1945-1981) Bunny Wailer, (1947-2021) Peter Tosh, (1944-1987) and Rita Marley, to a contract for J$50 a week.

The discography of Johnny Nash includes 19 studio Albums released between 1958-1986, and 66 singles released between 1956-1989, there are also four official compilation Albums available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, five of his singles have reached the top 40, with ‘I Can See Clearly Now,’ from 1972 reaching Number 1, while in the UK, he achieved eight top 40 hit singles, with ‘Tears on My Pillow,’ from 1975, making the Number 1 spot.

‘You Got Soul’ was the second of three singles released from Johnny Nash’s seventh studio Album ‘Hold Me Tight,’ from 1968, the song was written by Johnny Nash, with the production being by Nash and Arthur Jenkins. By the time of the Albums release, Johnny Nash was heavily influenced by the music coming out of Jamaica, as all of his recordings from then onward were influenced by ‘Reggae Music.’

‘You Got Soul’ was co-produced by Arthur Jenkins, (see also best songs 927-690 and 703) who was born Arthur Eugene Jenkins, Jr. on December 7th, 1936, in The Bronx, New York, United States, he died unexpectedly at home on January 28th, 2009, at the age of 73. Jenkins was a keyboardist, composer, arranger and percussionist, who worked on the Albums of some of the worlds most iconic artists, including John Lennon, (1940-1980) Bob Marley, (1945-1981) and Harry Belafonte (1927-2023.) Arthur Jenkins worked with Johnny Nash for nine years, collaborating as musical director and accompanist, and travelling with him to Jamaica. In 1967, along with Nash, and Danny Sims, the three of them formed the ‘JAD Records’ label, to which Bob Marley and the Wailers, and others, including Byron Lee, (1935-2008) Neville Willoughby, (1937-2006) and Jimmy Cliff were signed.

Johnny Nash semi retired from music in 1980, although there was one more Album issued in 1986. At the age of 40, his priorities had changed, and he began to focus more on family life, church activities, and helping local causes. He had been a keen horse rider in his youth, and in 1993 he set up the ‘Johnny Nash Indoor Arena,’ in Houston, where he financed weekly rodeos for youngsters who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to get on a horse. Speaking about his love of ‘Reggae’ he once said,’Reggae represented to me a layer of rhythm that was really infectious. I could lay on top of the rhythm, and do my ballads.’

‘Hey, I can tell by the way you walk you got soul, soul. I can tell by the way you talk you got soul, soul. You somethin’ deep inside, nothin’ in the world can hide, yeah, you got soul.’

Posted by: In: Other 17 Apr 2024 Comments: 0


585-Jo Stafford with Paul Weston and his Orchestra-You Belong to Me.

1953-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 2.32. Jo Stafford became the very first female singer to have a UK Number 1 single, when this song topped the chart in January 1953.

Jo Elizabeth Stafford was born on November 12th, 1917, in Coalinga, California, United States, she died of congestive heart failure on July 16th, 2008, at the age of 90. Her first venture into music was when forming the ‘Stafford Sisters,’ a vocal trio, at the age of 12, with her two older sisters. The girls found moderate success on radio and in film. In 1938 while the sisters were working for ‘Twentieth Century Fox,’ Jo Stafford was invited to join the singing group ‘The Pied Pipers,’ becoming their lead singer. In 1939 the Bandleader Tommy Dorsey (1905-1956) hired The Pied Pipers’ to perform vocals with his orchestra, and from 1940-1942, the group often performed with Dorsey’s new male singer, Frank Sinatra (1915-1998.) During World War II, Jo Stafford linked up with the ‘United Service Organisations,’ performing concerts regularly for soldiers, which earned her the nickname ‘G.I. Jo.’ As well as singing, she was also an actress, appearing in 15 films between 1936-1947, she also had her own musical variety television programme in America on ‘CBS,’ ‘The Jo Stafford Show,’ which ran from 1954-1955, and then using a similar format, it was commissioned by ‘ITV’ in the UK, and broadcast over nine episodes in 1961.

The discography of Jo Stafford includes 80 top 40 hit singles on Billboard in America between 1944-1959, with four of those songs, including ‘You Belong To Me,’ reaching Number 1, while in the UK, where the first singles chart wasn’t issued until November 14th, 1952, four of her songs have charted, with ‘Make Love to Me,’ providing her with her only other top 10 hit, when reaching Number 8 in 1954. There are also dozens of official compilation Albums available, that have been issued on a regular basis since 1955 to the present day. In 1952 Jo Stafford married the American composer and conductor Paul Weston, (1912-1996) who was born Paul Wetstein, together they developed a comedy routine in which they assumed the identity of an incompetent lounge act named ‘Jonathan and Darlene Edwards,’ parodying well-known songs. Under that name they released six Albums of comedy music between 1957-1993, and two singles, including a cover version of ‘Stayin’ Alive,’ by The Bee Gees in 1979.

‘You Belong to Me’ has been recorded by dozens of different artists down the years, with this version by Jo Stafford being the best known, and most successful. The first recording of the song was in February 1952, by the American singer Joni James, (1930-2022) which failed to chart. The only other hit version of the song is by the American ‘Doo-Wop’ group ‘The Duprees,’ who took their recording to Number 6 on Billboard in 1962. The song has also featured in many films and television programmes, being performed by a variety of different artists including Bob Dylan, (1994-Natural Born Killers) and Tori Amos (2003-Mona Lisa Smile.)

‘You Belong to Me’ was recorded on June 24th, 1952, by Jo Stafford with Paul Weston and his Orchestra, and released on July 18th, 1952. It appeared on the very first UK singles chart on November 14th, 1952 at Number 2, and finally reached the Number 1 spot in January 1953. The song was co-written by Chilton Price, (1913-2010) Pee Wee King, (1914-2000) and Redd Stewart, (1923-2003) with the arrangement, and production being by Paul Weston (1912-1996.) At the time of recording, Jo Stafford and Paul Weston were married, and she was pregnant at the time with their first child.

‘You Belong to Me’ was initially written by Chilton Price while she was working as a librarian at the Louisville radio station ‘WAVE,’ where the Country Music artists Pee Wee King, and Redd Stuart were regular performers. Chilton Price showed this song and others she had written to King and Stewart, and after they had made lyric and melody adjustments, they were co-credited as the songs authors. Price claimed that King and Stewart had no part in the writing of the song, but Billy Stewart, the son of Redd, refutes that claim, saying that Stewart and King revised the lyrics, and improved the melody. The other song of note to which all three are credited is the 1951 composition ‘Slow Poke,’ which gave Pee Wee King a Billboard Country Number 1 single in 1951, as well as topping the chart in Australia in 1952.

‘See the pyramids along the Nile, watch the sun rise on a tropic isle. Just remember, darling, all the while you belong to me. See the marketplace in old Algiers, send me photographs and souvenirs. Just remember when a dream appears, you belong to me.’

Posted by: In: Other 16 Apr 2024 Comments: 0


586-Tinie Tempah-Pass Out.

2010-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 3.23. It appears that the very well travelled Tinie Tempah has visited Miami, and Ibiza, and also Southampton, but it seems he still has the delights of Scunthorpe to look forward to.

Tinie Tempah, (see also best songs 883) who in 2020 changed his stage name to Tinie, was born Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu, on November 7th, 1988, in Plumstead, London, England, he has recorded in the genres of ‘Hip-Hop,’ ‘Electronic,’ ‘Dance-Pop,’ and ‘UK Rap,’ and has appeared on seven UK Number 1 singles, which is more that any other British born Rap artist. He chose his stage name at the age of 12, by using a ‘thesaurus’ in school, juxtaposing ‘tempah,’ ((temper), which he saw under ‘angry,’ with ‘tinie,’ (tiny) to ameliorate the aggressive sound of ‘tempah.’ Tinie Tempah began his music career in 2005, releasing his first ‘mixtape’ later on that same year, which he gave away for free. This gained him a great deal of airplay on the British music TV channel ‘Channel U,’ particularly for his song ‘Tears.’ In 2006 with his manager and cousin Dumi Oburota, the pair founded he independent record label ‘Disturbing London,’ primarily as an outlet for Tinie Tempah’s music, but also with the idea of signing other young artists. ‘Disturbing London’ also has gone on to produce a clothing range, that Tinie Tempah wears and promotes. Tinie Tempah got his big break in 2009 when signing with ‘Parlophone Records,’ which was where he first met this songs co-writer, and co-producer ‘Labrinth.’ In 2019, Tinie Tempah married Eve De Haan, daughter of Sir Roger De Haan, the former owner of ‘Saga plc.’

The discography of Tinie Tempah includes three studio Albums released between 2010-2017, and 28 singles released as the lead artist between 2010-2023, he has also appeared on a further 12 singles as a featured artist between 2011-2020, there are also six mixtapes, and two extended plays available. In the UK, he has had 24 top 40 chart entries, as either the lead or featured artist, with seven of those tracks, (three as the lead artist) reaching Number 1. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, his only top 40 entry is ‘Written in the Stars,’ featuring Eric Turner, which reached Number 12 in 2010.

‘Pass Out’ was the first of six singles released from Tinie Tempah’s debut studio Album ‘Disc-Overy,’ from October 2010, the song was co-written, and co-produced by Tinie Tempah, and Labrinth, who was born Timothy Lee McKenzie, on January 4th, 1989, in Hackney, London, England. Labrinth who has been referred to as ‘One of the most important British musicians of his generation,’ has worked with numerous artists as a songwriter and producer, including Beyonce, Rihanna, and Kanye West. His discography includes three solo studio Albums released between 2012-2024, and two soundtrack Albums for the original score for the American television ‘HBO’ drama ‘Euphoria,’ series 1 & 2. He has also released an Album as part of the ‘supergroup’ ‘LSD,’ titled ‘Labrinth, Sia & Diplo Present… LSD.’ Labrinth has released 21 singles as the lead artist, and has appeared on a further 11 as a featured artist between 2010-2024, with 12 of those tracks reaching the UK top 40, with ‘Beneath Your Beautiful,’ featuring Emeli Sandé, making the Number 1 spot in 2012. In 2011, Labrinth, along with the English singer/songwriter Gary Barlow, co-produced the song ‘Teardrop,’ with an assembled ‘supergroup’ named ‘The Collective,’ to raise money for ‘Children in Need,’ the song peaked at Number 24 in the UK. In America on Billboard, only ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ has made the top 40, reaching Number 34.

Prior to their collaboration on ‘Pass Out,’ Tinie Tempah and Labrinth had never met, but Tinie Tempah has said that on meeting, he instantly related to Labrinth. He also said that they spent many hours in the studio experimenting with different sounds, and it was quite by chance that they came up with the ‘Drum & Bass’ ending on ‘Pass Out.’ ‘We tried out so many different things by going in the studio and having fun. It wasn’t like we just put a Drum & Bass ending on it and then thought, done! We tried out so many things, guitars, reggae bass; we were having so much fun. The drum & bass mix up was a trialled and tested method. Once we put it in there everyone went crazy in the studio, and that’s why we thought we would keep it there.’

As for the songs meaning, (which I do not condone in any manner) it is about ‘getting so out of it,’ that you end up passing out.

‘I’m born famous, I’m sorta known, and if your son doesn’t I bet your daughter know. Check out my visual, check out my audio, extraordinary, yo, hope you enjoyed the show.’