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Posted by: In: Other 24 Sep 2021 Comments: 0


548-Chuck Berry-Maybellene.

1955-Has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 1.06. After doing my usual thorough research, it appears that ‘Back to the Future’ didn’t get all of the facts correct.

Chuck Berry was born Charles Edward Anderson Berry on October 18th, 1926, in St Louis, Missouri, United States, he died on March 18th, 2017, from a heart attack. Berry was a significant player in the development of ‘Rock N’ Roll,’ earning him the nickname of the ‘Father of Rock and Roll,’ predominately through his refining and development of ‘Rhythm and Blues,’ but also through his on stage persona, and his song lyrics.

There are many who cite ‘Maybellene as the first real ‘Rock N’ Roll’ song. Berry had heard the American traditional song ‘Ida Red’ performed by Bob Wills (1905-1975) and his backing band the ‘Texas Cowboys,’ played in the style of ‘Western Swing,’ which is a sub-genre of American Country Music. Berry would play his take on the song in racially integrated clubs, and saw that the music brought people together.It was on Muddy Waters (see also best songs 596) recommendation that Berry took the song to Leonard Chess, the owner of ‘Chess Records.’ Chess had become aware that now that World War 2 was 10 years in the past, there was a whole new generation of teenagers with money to spend, and Chess knew exactly how to manipulate the situation. Chess suggested a bigger beat for the song, and added a bass, and a maracas player at the recording session. Berry (see also best songs 308 and 30) re-wrote the lyrics on Chess’ direction, singing about fast cars, and sexuality, subjects which appealed to teenagers.

There are conflicting stories as to how the song got it’s title.Berry has said that Maybellene was the name of a cow in a child’s nursery rhyme, but Johnny Johnson (1924-2005) who played the piano on the track has said that on spotting a ‘Maybelline’ mascara box on the floor of the studio Leonard Chess said,’Well hell, lets name the damn thing Maybellene,’ altering the spelling to avoid a law suit by the cosmetic company.

‘As I was motivatin’ over the hill, I saw Maybellene in a Coup de Ville. A Cadillac a rollin’ on the open road, nothin’ will outrun my V8 Ford.’

Posted by: In: Other 24 Sep 2021 Comments: 0


549-Bruce Springsteen-Born to Run.

1975-Number 93 single. The song was also released as a live version in 1987, reaching Number 16.

Best Bit-At 3.04. In an episode of ‘The Sopranos,’ the character Christopher Moltisanti quotes the songs lyrics, saying,’The highway’s jammed with broken heroes, on a last chance power drive.’ This was an in-joke by the script writers, as Steven Van Zamdt of ‘The E Street Band,’ who provided input on this song, also played Silvio Dante in the Sopranos.

Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was born on September 23rd, 1949, in Long Branch, New Jersey, United States. With record sales in excess of 150 million, he is one of the all time worlds best selling artists, he has affectionately been nicknamed ‘The Boss.’ To date he has recorded 20 studio Albums between 1973-2020, his 1984 Album ‘Born in the U.S.A. has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

‘Born to Run’ was taken from Bruce Springsteen’s third studio Album of the same name. His first two Albums which were both released in 1973, were commercially unsuccessful, although critically acclaimed. In recording the song Springsteen (see also best songs 1040) earned the reputation for being a perfectionist, spending many months perfecting the song, which was inspired by Phil Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’ production. Springsteen also acknowledges Steven Van Zandt for being partially responsible for the songs signature guitar line.Springsteen wrote the lyrics in his home in New Jersey.He recalled,’One day I was playing my guitar on the edge of the bed, and the words born to run came to me.At first I thought it was the name of a movie, or something I’d seen on a car.I liked the phrase because it suggested a cinematic drama that I thought would work with the music that I’d been hearing in my head.’ The lyrics tell the tale of a young couple who think that if they want a better life, then they have to leave town, to find out if their dreams can be achieved, like in the movies.

Springsteen played the song live for the first time on May 9th 1974,Rock critic Jon Landau was at the show and wrote,’I saw Rock ‘N’ Roll’s future, and it’s name is Bruce Springsteen.’Landau eventually became Springsteen’s manager.

‘In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream, at night we ride through mansions of glory, in suicide machines.’

Posted by: In: Other 22 Sep 2021 Comments: 0


550-Deep Purple-Hush.

1968-Number 58 single.

Best Bit-At 2.47. It’s the answer to that age old question, how much fun can you have with your organ?

Deep Purple (see also best songs 89) were formed in 1968, in Hertford, Hertfordshire, England, by Ian Paice (drums,) who is the bands one constant, Jon Lord (1941-2012) (keyboards,) Ritchie Blackmore (guitars,) (see also best songs 976) Nick Simper (bass,) and Rod Evans (vocals.) They started out as a ‘Psychedelic Rock,’ and ‘Progressive Rock’ band, but shifted towards ‘Hard Rock,’ and Heavy Metal’ by 1970. It was those five original members who recorded ‘Hush’ for their 1968 debut Album ‘Shades of Deep Purple.’ In 1988 they re-recorded the song for the live Album ‘Nobody’s Perfect,’ to celebrate the bands 20 anniversary, the lineup for that version were the original remaining members Paice, Lord, and Glover, plus Ian Gillan (vocals,) who had joined the band in 1969, and Roger Glover (bass,) who had also joined in 1969.In the UK the original version of ‘Hush’ only reached Number 58, but in the States it was a big success, peaking at Number 4 on Billboard. In the UK the 1988 live version fared no better, by only reaching Number 62, and Number 44 in the States.

‘Hush’ has been recorded on many occasions, in many different genres. The first version of the song was by Billy Joe Royal (1942-2015,) in 1967, who had already worked with Joe South (1940-2012,) who was the songs writer, for many years. South had written Royal’s debut hit ‘Down in the Boondocks’ (Billboard Number 9) in 1965. Also in 1967 ‘Hush’ was a hit in Australia, reaching Number 15, for the Australian Rock band ‘Somebody’s Image.’ The most successful version of the song in the UK was recorded by Kula Shaker in 1997, in the same style as Deep Purple, their re-make peaked at Number 2.Joe South was born Joseph Alfred Souter on February 28th, 1940, in Atlanta Georgia, United States, he died on September 5th, 2012, from heart failure. He won the ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Song of the Year’ in 1970 for ‘Games People Play,’ and was nominated in 1972 for ‘Rose Garden.’ South probably got the idea for ‘Hush’ from an old African/American spiritual song, which included the line ‘Hush I heard Jesus calling my name.’ It has also been pointed out that the ‘Na nana, na na’ part of the song is very similar to the melody in the 1967 Beatles song ‘A Day in the Life’ (see also best songs 10.) In 1990 The Charlatans lifted the organ riff from this version of ‘Hush’ for their 1990 UK Number 9 hit ‘The Only One I Know (see also best songs 844.)

‘I got a certain little girl, she’s on my mind. No doubt about it she looks so fine. She’s the best girl that I ever had, sometimes she’s gonna make me feel so bad.’

Posted by: In: Other 22 Sep 2021 Comments: 0


551-Kings of Leon-The Bucket.

2004-Number 16 single.

Best Bit-At 2.18. The correct pronunciation is bucket, not bouquet.

The Kings of Leon were formed in Nashville, Tennessee, United States in 1999 by the three brothers Caleb, Jared, and Nathan Followill, and their cousin Matthew Followill, the bands name comes from their grandfather who was called Leon.When first starting out their music was described as a mixture of ‘Southern Rock,’ and ‘Garage Rock,’ which over the course of time has changed to a more ‘Alternative Rock,’ and ‘Arena Rock’ sound.

To date the Kings of Leon have released eight studio Albums between 2003-2021, initially finding far greater success abroad, than in the United States. It wasn’t until the release of their forth studio Album ‘Only by the Night’ in 2008, that they achieved mainstream success on Billboard. In the UK they have achieved 11 top 40 singles, with ‘Sex on Fire’ reaching Number 1 in 2008 (see also best songs 106.)

‘The Bucket’ was the first single released from the Kings of Leon’s second studio Album ‘Aha Shake Heartbreak’ from 2004, and the songs writing is credited to all four band members. The song was written partly about the bands youngest member Jared Followill who was 18 years old at the time. It tells of Caleb’s observations of how he, and his brother deal with fame, and also the things that can be aggravating, especially when touring, but it’s also a song about brotherly love.

‘I’ll be the one to show you the way. You’ll be the one to always complain. Three in the morning, come a-bang-bang-bang, all out of fags, and I just can’t wait.’

Posted by: In: Other 20 Sep 2021 Comments: 0


552-Thompson Twins-Love on Your Side.

1983-Number 9 single.

Best Bit-At 1.29. Sturdy hips, and very good balance are the requirements.

The Thompson Twins were formed in 1977, in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, by Tom Bailey. Pete Dodd, John Roog, and Jon Podgorski, the latter three would leave before the band found mainstream success. They took their name from the two detectives, Thompson and Thompson in the comic strip ‘The Adventures of Tintin.’ The classic line up was Tom Bailey (bass guitar, keyboards, and vocals,) Joe Leeway, who was a member between 1981-1986, (percussion, keyboards, and vocals,) and Alannah Currie (drums, and vocals,) who was a member between 1981-1993, when the band stopped being active, Bailey and Currie were married between 1991-2003. Another four members came and went before the release of the bands breakthrough third studio Album in 1983. In total the Thompson twins released eight studio Albums between 1981-1991, and achieved 10 UK top 40 singles, with the highest charting being ‘You Take Me Up,’ which reached Number 2 in 1984. They were also very successful in America, with six of their singles reaching the Billboard top 40.

‘Love On Your Side’ was taken from the Thompson Twins third studio Album ‘Quick Step & Side Kick,’ and songwriting credits are given to all three band members. The original lyrics were written by Alannah Currie from a female perspective, but because the vocals were performed by Tom Bailey, they were changed to a male perspective. Joe Leeway has said of the songs meaning,’It’s actually a complicated, and quite dark song. It’s about discovering that your girlfriend, or boyfriend wants to experiment with a relationship in a much deeper or broader sense than you were prepared to do, and so it drags you into this kind of helpless feeling of being lost, helplessly in love, but taking some kind of confidence from the fact that love will help you through those difficult situations. So it’s a naive and complicated song.’

‘I hear you laughing in some other room, and it makes me feel locked out. You say my passion often stifles you, and you need to move about.’

Posted by: In: Other 20 Sep 2021 Comments: 0


553-Freda Payne-Band of Gold.

1970-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 1.38.It might sound like Motown, it may look like Motown, it smells like Motown, in fact the only thing that’s not Motown is the record label it was recorded on.

In 1968 Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier. and Eddie Holland (see also best songs 823-650-411-212 and 148) left Motown records over a dispute with the labels owner Berry Gordy Jr. over profit sharing, and royalties. The trio set up two new record labels in their own name, one being ‘Invictus’ the label where this song was recorded, and the other being ‘Hot Wax Records.’As a result of an on going court case between H-D-H, and Gordy, no songs written by the trio could appear on the song writing credits in their own names, so the name ‘Edyth Wayne,’ who was an acquaintance, was used alongside that of Ronald Dunbar (1939-2018,) who had worked with the trio at Motown, and had joined them in the new venture.

Freda Payne was born on September 19th, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan, United States, she is the older sister of Scherrie Payne who was the lead singer of The Supremes between 1973-1977. During here career Payne has been a TV talk show host, and an actress in musicals, and film. She has released 17 studio Albums between 1964-2014, and achieved three top 40 singles on Billboard, including this song which reached Number 3.

When first offered ‘Band of Gold’ Payne was reluctant, stating that the songs subject was more suitable for a young innocent girl. According to Ron Dunbar, it was he who encouraged Payne to record the song, saying,’You don’t have to like it, just sing it.’ The songs subject is open to interpretation, some think it is about a bride not being able to consummate her marriage because this is her first time, and some think it is the groom who is impotent, perhaps through being gay.

‘Band of Gold’ was written by Motown’s most successful writers, H-D-H, and the instrumentation was provided by members of the ‘Funk Brothers,’ who were the house band at Motown. The backing vocals were provided by Scherrie Payne, Thelma Hopkins, Joyce Vincent Wilson, and Pamela Vincent, the latter three would go on to form ‘Dawn’ with Tony Orlando (see also best songs 886.) One of the guitarists on the track is Ray Parker Jr (see also best songs 560.)

‘We kissed after taking vows, but that night on our honeymoon we stayed in separate rooms.’

Posted by: In: Other 18 Sep 2021 Comments: 0


554-Scritti Politti-Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin.)

1984-Number 10 single.

Best Bit-At 1.03.’The moment I wake up, before I put on my makeup.’ (see also best songs 644.)

Scritti Politti were formed in Leeds, England, in 1977 by Green Gartside, who was born Paul Strohmeyer on June 22nd, 1955, in Cardiff, Wales, and his childhood friend Nial Jinks, the original trio were completed by Tom Morley who Gartside had met while the two were studying at Leeds Polytechnic.The name ‘Scritti Politti’ was chosen as a homage to the Italian Marxist writer Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937.) The correct spelling in Italian to refer to ‘Political Writings’ would have produced ‘Scritti Politici,’ but Gartside changed it to ‘Scritti Politti,’ as he thought it sounded more ‘Rock N’ Roll.

‘Scritti Politti originally started out life as a Punk Rock group, inspired by the Sex Pistols, and The Damned, but after the release of their debut Album ‘Songs to Remember’ in 1982, Gartside grew tired of their musical style, and was becoming influenced by American Funk/Soul acts like Chic, The Jacksons, and Aretha Franklin. This caused the parting of the ways with Jinks, and Morley, who were replaced by David Gamson, and Fred Maher, for the bands second Album. In total there have been five studio Albums released between 1982-2006, with Gartside being the bands one constant.

‘Wood Beez’ was the seventh single release by Scritti Politti in 1984, becoming their first UK hit, it was later added to their second studio Album ‘Cupid & Psyche 85,’ from 1985. The song was written by Green Gartside, and produced by the legendary music producer, and arranger Arif Mardin (1932-2006,) who had worked with Aretha Franklin previously.

‘Wood Beez’ isn’t just a declaration of love, it borders on complete infatuation of someone. The narrator states that there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for this person, stating that he prays every night just like Aretha Franklin, in her 1968 hit ‘I Say a Little Prayer.’

‘There’s nothing I wouldn’t take oh, even intravenous. There’s nothing I wouldn’t take, to get to be approved. There’s nothing I wouldn’t be, oh that’s the gift of schizo.’

Posted by: In: Other 18 Sep 2021 Comments: 0


555-Hank Williams-Jambalaya.

1952-It has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At-0.30. A Jambalaya is a Creole rice dish of West African, French, and Spanish influence, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice, but what the hell am I going on about, this is a music countdown, not recipe pamphlet.

Hank Williams was born Hiram Williams on September 17th, 1923, in Mount Olive, Butler County, Alabama, United States, he died at the age of 29, on January 1st, 1953, from alcohol abuse, and prescription drugs. Williams had been born with ‘Spina Bifida occulta,’ a birth defect of the spinal column, which had given him lifelong pain.Both of Williams parents were followers of ‘Freemasonry,’ and had named their son ‘Hiram 1’ after a king in the Hebrew Bible, however his name was misspelled on the birth certificate. Although dying at a young age Williams is considered a great influence in the development of Country Music, writing, or co-writing around 167 songs. Artists who he inspired, and have covered his songs include Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

‘Jambalaya (On the Bayou’) was co-written by Hank Williams, and the Country and Western singer/songwriter Moon Mullican (1909-1967.) Because Mullican was under contract to ‘King Records’ at the time he was not credited as co-writer so that he wouldn’t have to pay royalty’s to the record label. The song has been covered many times down the years, with two versions reaching the UK top 40, in 1952 Jo Stafford took her recording to Number 11, and in 1974, The Carpenters version made Number 12. In 1962 the recording by Fats Domino just missed out on being a hit, when peaking at Number 41.

Williams and Mullican based the songs melody on an old Cajun song called ‘Grand Texas,’ but whereas that songs lyrics tell of a lost love, where the narrator is left by his woman for another,’ Jamalaya (On the Bayou,’) is about celebration. The narrator attends a party with his girlfriend Yvonne, where he is introduced to her family, as a possible future husband. At the party they are treated to Cajun cuisine, notably Jambalaya, crawfish pie, and file gumbo.’

‘Thibodaux Fontaineaux, the place is buzzin’, a kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen.Dressed in style they go hog wild, me oh my oh, son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the Bayou.’

Posted by: In: Other 16 Sep 2021 Comments: 0


556-B.B. King-The Thrill Is Gone.

1969-Has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 3.13. B.B. King was once performing in Arkansas, United States, when a fight broke out between two men, which caused a fire. King evacuated the hall along with the audience, but forgot his guitar, so he decided to go back in and retrieve it. He found out later that the two men were fighting over a woman called Lucille.From that moment on he named his guitar ‘Lucille,’ as a reminder not to fight over women, or run into any burning buildings.

B.B. King was born Riley B. King on September 16th, 1925, in Berclair, Mississippi, United States, he died at the age of 89, on May 14th, 2015, from Vascular dementia, caused by a series of small strokes as a consequence of his type 2 diabetes. B.B. King was one of the most influential Blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname ‘The King of the Blues.’ He was a major inspiration, especially on white guitar players such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Gary Moore (see also best songs 932.) In the late 1940’s King worked as a singer, and disc jockey at ‘WDIA’ a radio station in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was given the nickname ‘Beale Street Blues Boy,’ which was later shortened to ‘Blues Boy,’ and finally ‘B.B.’

‘The Thrill Is Gone’ was originally written and recorded in 1951 by the Blues musician Roy Hawkins. King had known of the song from playing it when he was a disc jockey, and finally got around to recording it for his 1969 Album ‘Completely Well.’ King was not happy with his recording, until at the suggestion of producer Bill Szymczyk, he added strings, which was a departure from his usual sound. Szymczyk would go on to become one of the worlds top producers, working with artists that included The Who, and Bob Seger, as well as producing six Albums by the Eagles, including 1976’s ‘Hotel California.

There have been 44 Studio Albums by B,B, King released between 1956-2006, and several more compilations, and live Albums. His only charting song in the UK came in 1988 when he collaborated with U2 on the track ‘When Love Comes To Town,’ from the ‘Rattle and Hum’ Album, which reached Number 6.

‘The thrill is gone, It’s gone away from me. The thrill is gone away from me, although,I’ll still live on, but so lonely I’ll be.’

Posted by: In: Other 16 Sep 2021 Comments: 0


557-Safri Duo-Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song.)

2001-Number 6 single.

Best Bit-At 1.11. The tribal drum is said to have been invented in the 12th Century in West Africa. In African culture the beating of the drum is performed on important occasions such as weddings or funerals. It is said that once fully engaged, a performer or listener can reach a ‘trance’ like state through the hypnotic beats, which leads me nicely into this song.

The Safri Duo were formed in Copenhagen, Dennmark, in 1990, by Uffe Savery (born April 5th, 1966,) and Morten Friis (born August 21st, 1968.) The duo took their stage name from the first letters of their respective surnames. The pair had first met at the Tivoli Garden, an amusement park in Copenhagen, and again later during their time at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music, also in Copenhagen, where they formed an experimental musical duo.Their early releases were in the genre of Classical Music, performing pieces by Bach, and Mendelssohn, as well as by more contemporary composers. They released six studio Albums of Classical Music between 1990-1998, with much of their work being critically acclaimed.

Mainstream success came in the year 2000 when Savery, and Friis experimented with Tribal Drums and Trance Music, for their seventh studio Album ‘Episode 2.’ ‘Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song’) went on to become a major hit in Europe, and one of the most popular Dance tracks of the year.The song went to Number 1 in their native Denmark, and also topped the chart in Switzerland. In the UK the song reached Number 6, and remains the duo’s sole hit, the only other time they have bothered the chart was in 2002 when their cover version of ‘Sweet Freedom,’ featuring Michael McDonald, the songs original performer, made Number 54.

‘Played-A-Live (The Bongo Song’) was produced by fellow Dane Michael Parsberg (born in 1974.) Parsberg is a producer of ‘Trance,’ and ‘House Music, finding great success with artists such as DJ Encore, and Barcode Brothers. He is also a sought after remixer, having worked with artists such as Shakira, and the Danish bands Aqua, and Infernal.