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


566-Rihanna-Where Have You Been.

2012-Number 6 single.

Best Bit-At 1.16. A good idea for a song can emerge from the most unlikely of places.

Robyn Rihanna Fenty (see also best songs 858) was born on February 20th, 1988, in Saint Michael, Barbados, with record sales in excess of 250 million she is the second best selling female artist of all time, behind her childhood idol, and inspiration Madonna (see also best songs 774 and 587.) Away from music Rihanna is recognised for her humanitarian involvement, entrepreneurship, and fashion industry influence. She established the ‘Clara Lionel Foundation’ in 2012, which is a nonprofit organisation, that funds groundbreaking education, and emergency preparedness and response programs around the world. In 2017 she founded the cosmetics brand ‘Fenty Beauty,’ and fashion house ‘Fenty,’ working with the French multinational holding and conglomerate ‘LVMH,’ becoming the first black woman to lead a luxury brand for ‘LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.’ Rihanna has two children born in 2022, and 2023 with her partner, the American rapper ASAP Rocky.

The discography of Rihanna includes eight studio Albums released between 2005-2016, and 70 singles as either the lead artist, (53) or featured artist, (17) there are also seven official box sets available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, as the lead artist, 42 of her tracks have reached the top 40, with seven of them making the Number 1 spot, with ‘Where Have You Been,’ reaching Number 5, while as a featured artist she has had 13 top 40 hits, with three of those songs making Number 1. In the UK, Rihanna has had 37 top 40 hits as the lead artist, with six of those tracks reaching Number 1, and a further 13 as the featured artist, of which three of those songs have made the Number 1 spot.

‘Where Have You Been’ was the fifth of six singles released from ‘Talk That Talk,’ the sixth studio Album from Rihanna from November 2011. The writing of the song is credited to Ester Dean, (see also best songs 858) Dr Luke, (see also best songs 953-874 and 824) Calvin Harris, (see also best songs 760 and 652) Henry Walter, and Geoff Mack, (1922-2017) with the production credited to Dr Luke, Henry Walter, Calvin Harris, and Kuk Harrell. ‘Where Have You Been’ is loosely based around the 1959 song ‘I’ve Been Everywhere,’ written by Geoff Mack, who was born Albert Geoffrey McElhinney, on December 20th, 1922, in Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia, he died on July 21st, 2017, at the age of 94. Geoff Mack was one of Australia’s most celebrated musicians, having been inducted into the ‘Songwriters Hall of Fame,’ in Nashville in 1963. In 2005 he was awarded the ‘Medal of the Order of Australia,’ for his service to Country Music, and his support of community and senior citizens’ groups, and in 2008 he was inducted in to the ‘Australian Country Music Roll of Renown.’

In Geoff Mack’s original version called ‘I’ve Been Everywhere,’ he lists some of the places he has visited, whereas in Rihanna’s version, she states that she has been everywhere in search of a sexual partner, who can please her all night long. The Geoff Mack song has been covered many times, notably by the Australian singer ‘Lucky Starr,’ who reached Number 1 on the Australian ‘Sydney’ chart in 1962, and in the same year by the Canadian singer Hank Snow, (1914-1999) who took his re-written ‘American friendly’ lyrics to Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Country Music’ chart. ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ is said to have been recorded by at least 130 artists down the years, with another notable version being by Johnny Cash, (1932-2003) who covered the song for his 1996 Album ‘Unchained.’

‘Where Have You Been’ is one of Rihanna’s best selling singles, with worldwide sales being around seven million copies to date. Like many ‘Dance Music’ tracks there are several official remixes of the song available, including the ‘Hardwell Club Mix,’ the ‘Vice Club Mix,,’ and the ‘Papercha$er remix,’ which all accompanied the single on it’s initial release.

I’ve been everywhere, man, looking for someone, someone who can please me, love me all night long. I’ve been everywhere, man, looking for you, babe, looking for you, babe, searching for you, babe. Where have you been?’

Posted by: In: Other 14 May 2024 Comments: 0


567-Frank Sinatra & Sammy Davis Jr.-Me and My Shadow.

1962-Number 20 single.

Best Bit-At 2.29. Sammy Davis Jr. was once asked while playing a round of golf, what his handicap was, ‘Handicap?’ he asked. ‘Talk about handicap. I’m a one-eyed Negro who’s Jewish.’

Samuel George Davis Jr. was born on December 8th, 1925, in New York City, United States, he died of complications from throat cancer on May 16th, 1990, at the age of 64. Sammy Davis Jr. is recognised as one of the greatest all round entertainers of the 20th Century, appearing in numerous films, and television programmes between 1933-1990, including his own television shows ‘The Sammy Davis Jr. Show’ in 1966, and the ‘Sammy and Company’ show between 1975-1977. Davis who was a singer, actor, comedian and dancer, began his career in ‘Vaudeville’ at the age of two with his father Sammy Davis Sr. (1900-1988) who was a dancer, and his associate, the dancer and singer Will Mastin, (1878-1979) the three would perform as the ‘Will Mastin Trio’ touring nationally. In 1954, at the age of 29 Davis lost an eye in a car accident, and for the rest of his life he wore a glass eye. It was in 1961 that he converted to Judaism, finding commonalities between the oppression experienced both by black Americans, and the Jewish communities.

Sammy Davis Jr. recorded extensively throughout his career, with his discography including 15 Albums recorded for ‘Decca Records’ between 1955-1963, and 24 Albums recorded for ‘Reprise Records’ between 1961-1970. In 1970, in an attempt to appeal to a younger audience he signed with ‘Motown Records,’ and recorded an Album called ‘Something For Everyone,’ which was critically panned, and is considered the lowest point of his musical career. Sammy Davis Jr. released 91 singles between 1950-1984, of which nine of those tracks have made the American Billboard Hot 100, with ‘The Candy Man’ reaching Number 1 in 1972, while in the UK, eight of his singles have made the top 40, with ‘Love Me or Leave Me,’ peaking the highest at Number 8, in 1955.

‘Me and My Shadow’ was written in 1927 by Billy Rose, (1899-1966) who provided the lyrics, and Dave Dreyer, (1894-1967) who was responsible for the music. Officially the American singer Al Jolson, (1885-1950) (see also best songs 310) is also credited as a co-writer, but his input would have been minimal, as he would often insist on having his name added to a song he was willing to record, or promote. Jolson did perform the song live, but never got around to producing a studio version. ‘Me and My Shadow’ has become a standard over the years with dozens of artists stamping their interpretation on it. One of the earliest recordings was by ‘Whispering’ Jack Smith, (1896-1950) in 1927. The American entertainer Ted Lewis, (1890-1971) first performed the song in 1928, and for the rest of his career he would use it to close his act. The British comedy duo Eric Morecambe (1926-1984) and Ernie Wise (1925-1999) recorded a parody version in 1961, and more recently the English singers Robbie Williams, (see also best songs 406) and Jonathan Wilkes duetted the song for Williams 2001 Album ‘Swing When Your Winning.’

Frank Sinatra 1915-1998) (see also best songs 877-469-120 and 73) and Sammy Davis Jr. have recorded the song twice. The first time was in 1958 for ‘Capitol Records,’ when conducted by Nelson Riddle, (1921-1985) (see also best songs 286 and 73) and released on the Album ‘Classic Duets.’ The version of the song I have chosen was recorded in 1962, for the ‘Reprise’ record label, and released on the Album ‘At the Cocoanut Grove,’ with the arrangement being by Billy May (1916-2004.)

Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. were both members of a small group of performers known as the ‘Rat Pack’ in the 1960’s. The other members were Dean Martin, (1917-1995) (see also best songs 919) Joey Bishop, (1918-2007) and Peter Lawford (1923-1984.) It is said that they got their name after the American actress Angie Dickinson approached the group, and said, ‘You all look like a pack of rats.’ The nickname caught on, and they were then called the ‘Rat Pack.’ Another group of performers that originated in the 1940’s were also called the ‘Rat Pack,’ these elite group of celebrities included Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, (1899-1957) and Lauren Bacall (1924-2014.)

The original lyrics for ‘Me and My Shadow’ tell the tale of a lonely person who goes home each evening to an empty house, where they just have their shadow for company. Over the years the lyrics have been altered in many of the numerous recordings of the song. For example in the Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. version they sing, ‘We’re closer than Bobby is to J.F.K.,’ John Fitzgerald Kennedy, (1917-1963) was the President of the United States of America at the time they recorded their version. Whereas the original lyrics are a tale of loneliness, Sinatra and Davis turn the song into a tale of warm companionship.

‘Before we get finished, we’ll make the town roar, we’ll make all the late spots, and then a few more. We’ll wind up at Jilly’s right after Toot’s Shore, life is gonna be a we-wow-whee, for my shadow and me.’

Posted by: In: Other 12 May 2024 Comments: 0


568-Drifters-Saturday Night at the Movies.

1964-Number 35 single. When it was re-issued in 1972 it peaked at Number 3.

Best Bit-At 0.36. The Drifters must have been very partial to a night at the movies, because I can recall another occasion when they told us what they got up to when sitting in the back row.

The Drifters are one of, if not the longest running act in Pop Music, having formed in New York City, United States, in 1953. Since their inception there has been a total of 45 different group members, with several splinter groups being formed by former members, usually identified with a ‘possessive credit,’ such as ‘Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters,’ or’Charlie Thomas’ Drifters,’ as examples. The Drifters have had nine different lead singers appear on their chart hit singles since 1953, with perhaps the best acknowledged being Clyde McPhatter, (1932-1972) who was the first lead singer with the original Drifters between 1953-1955. Ben E, King (1938-2015) (see also best songs 804) was the lead singer between 1958-1960, before leaving for a solo career, and then returning for a second stint between 1981-1985. The lead singer with the longest longevity was Johnny Moore, (1934-1998) who joined the Drifters in 1954, and intermittently was in and out of the group until his death.

The discography of the Drifters includes 10 studio Albums released between 1956-1976, and 72 singles released between 1953-2013, there are also nine official compilation Albums available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, 16 of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Save the Last Dance for Me,’ with Ben E King on lead vocals making it all the way to Number 1, while ‘Saturday Night At the Movies’ reached Number 18. In the UK, the Drifters have had 17 top 40 hits, with both ‘Save the Last Dance for Me,’ (1960) and ‘Kissin’ in the Back Row of the Movies,’ (1974) both peaking at Number 2.

‘Saturday Night At the Movies’ which had the lead vocals sung by Johnny Moore, was written by Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil. (1940-2023) with the production being by Bert Berns, (1929-1967) (see also best songs 762) the song was added to the Drifters fifth studio Album ‘The Good Life with the Drifters,’ from 1965. In America the song was far more successful than in the UK, where it didn’t become a major hit until 1972, when re-issued as a double ‘A’ sided single with ‘At the Club’ (1965-Billboard Number 43.) This led to a resurgence in popularity in the UK for the Drifters, as their then current record label ‘Bell Records’ released new material, giving the group nine consecutive UK top 40 hits between 1973-1976, with Johnny Moore providing lead vocals on eight of them, the exception being ‘Like Sister and Brother,’ (1973-UK Number 7) which had lead vocals by Bill Fredericks (1941-1999) In America the Drifters couldn’t replicate that success, as ‘Saturday Night At the Movies’ (1964) remains their final chart entry on Billboard to date.

‘Saturday Night At the Movies’ was co-written by the legendary song writing team of Barry Mann (melody) and Cynthia Weil, (lyrics) (see also best songs 782 and 247) who were husband and wife from 1961 until Cythia Weil’s death in 2023. Barry Mann was born Barry Imberman, on February 9th, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York City, United States, and Cynthia Weil was born on October 18th, 1940, in New York City, United States, she died at her home on June 1st, 2023, at the age of 82. Prior to writing their first hit together in 1961, Barry Mann had a singing career that began in 1959, and had charted on Billboard in 1961 at Number 7 with ‘Who Put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp’) but although he would continue to record, his first love was songwriting. Classic songs written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil that would help shape the sound of the 1960’s include ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ for The Righteous Brothers, (1964-Billboard & UK Number 1) ‘We Gotta Get out of This Place,’ for The Animals (1965-Billboard Number 13 & UK Number 2) and ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music,’ for Mama Cass Elliot (1969-Billboard Number 36.) Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil have also written with others and as individuals, with Mann having written or co-written 98 Billboard hits, and 53 UK hit singles. In 1987 they were both inducted into the ‘Songwriters Hall of Fame,’ and in 2011, they jointly received the ‘Johnny Mercer Award,’ which is the highest honour bestowed by that Hall of Fame.

‘Well, there’s Technicolor and CinemaScope, a cast out of Hollywood, and the popcorn from the candy stand makes it all seem twice as good. There’s always lots of pretty girls, with figures they don’t try to hide, but they never can compare to the girl sitting by my side. Saturday night at the movies.’

Posted by: In: Other 11 May 2024 Comments: 0


569-The Temptations-Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.

1972-Number 14 single.

Best Bit-At 3.54. The legend is that the songs lead singer Dennis Edwards thought that the songs co-writer Norman Whitfield was trying to aggravate him with the songs opening line,’It was the 3rd of September, that day I’ll always remember, yes I will, ’cause that was the day my daddy died.’ Edwards father was said to have died on that date, but he actually found out later it had been October 3rd. Norman Whitfield said that he chose the date because it fit in well with the song, he said he had no idea when Edwards father had died.

The Temptations (see also best songs 1031-1001 and 777) were formed in Detroit, Michigan, United States, in 1960, and at the time of writing they remain active, with the groups one constant being the only surviving co-founder of the group Otis Williams. Over the 60 plus years there have been 27 different official members come and go, with Williams having performed on all of The Temptations recordings. Otis Williams was born Otis Miles Jr. on October 30th, 1941, in Texarkana, Texas, United States, shortly after his birth his parents split, and when he became a teenager, he adopted his mother’s maiden name for his stage name. Although Williams has been the groups one constant, he has very rarely sung lead vocals, focusing instead on his role as the group’s leader and organiser, and as the background ‘baritone.’ Williams can notably be heard providing the spoken word contribution on The Temptations & Supremes duet ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’ (see also best songs 1001.)

‘Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone’ was the only single released from The Temptations 15th studio Album ‘All Directions,’ from July 1972, the song was co-written by Norman Whitfield, (1940-2008) (see also best songs 911-777-533-480-346 and 233 ) and Barrett Strong, (1941-2023) (see also best songs 777) with the production being by Whitfield. ‘Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone’ was originally written in 1971, and first recorded by fellow ‘Motown’ group ‘The Undisputed Truth,’ but when it was released as a single it got no higher than Number 63 on Billboard in 1972. Norman Whitfield who was always trying to push the musical barriers, reworked the song in to a 12 minute epic, filling the song with long instrumental parts. This didn’t please everyone, with some saying that The Temptations were only playing a bit part, while Whitfield put the music first. The five members of The Temptations at that time who performed on the track were Dennis Edwards, (1943-2018) Damon Harris, (1950-2013) Richard Street, (1942-2013) Melvin Franklin, (1942-1995) and Otis Williams. Lead vocals on the track were performed by Edwards, Franklin, and Street, who sang a verse each, taking on the roles of siblings questioning their mother about their now dead father.

Barrett Strong Jr. was born on February 5th, 1941, in West Point, Mississippi, United States, he died on January 28th, 2023, at the age of 81. Barrett Strong is the co-writer of some of Motown records most enduring classics, including ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine,’ originally recorded by Gladys Knight & the Pips,’ but made timeless by Marvin Gaye, (1968-Billboard & UK Number 1) and ‘War,’ for Edwin Starr (1970-Billboard Number 1 & UK Number 3) Barrett Strong was also the co-writer with Norman Whitfield of many of The Temptations hits of their ‘Psychedelic Soul’ period. His solo recording discography includes four studio Albums released between 1975-2001, and at least 14 singles released between 1959-1981. In 1959 Barrett Strong recorded ‘Money (That’s What I Want’) which became the first ever ‘Motown’ hit single, when reaching Number 23 on Billboard in America in 1960.

The music for ‘Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone’ was provided by the ‘Motown’ in house studio band ‘The Funk Brothers,’ (see also best songs 948-920-650-411-382-212-148 and 28) with some of the players on the track being Maurice Davis, (1941-2012) (trumpet) Melvin ‘Wah Wah Watson Ragin, (1950-2018) (guitar) Bob Babbitt, (1937-2012) (bass) and Aaron Smith (drums.) ‘Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone’ was the last classic ‘Motown’ track to be recorded at the original famous ‘Studio A’ in Detroit, as most of Motown’s studio work had moved to Los Angeles by then, but The Temptations chose to record this in Detroit.

Berry Gordy the founder of Motown records in 1959, has paid a glowing tribute to Norman Whitfield, saying, ‘He could take one chord, like on ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone,’ and play the same chord and do all these different beautiful melodies and stuff that many people could not really imagine this guy doin’. And I would watch him and he did it all by himself as a producer. He would work with five guys in the Temps, and he would change leads on each one. He would pick the right lead for the right song, ya know, and he’d utilise all five of those leads in a song that was just incredible. When I listen to ’em today, now that I have time to listen to ’em, I’m saying, “Wow! This guy was probably the most underrated producer we had.’

‘It was the 3rd of September, that day I’ll always remember, yes I will, ’cause that was the day that my daddy died. I never got a chance to see him, never heard nothin’ but bad things about him, Momma I’m depending on you to tell me the truth. Momma just hung her head and said, son Papa was a rolling stone.’

Posted by: In: Other 09 May 2024 Comments: 0


570-Jermaine Jackson-Let’s Get Serious.

1980-Number 8 single.

Best Bit-At 2.50. When performing the song on various music shows, not only did Jermaine Jackson have to mime his own vocals, he also had to mime the verse sung by Stevie Wonder. I wonder how many people actually realised.

Jermaine La Jaune Jackson was born on December 11th, 1954, in Gary, Indiana, United States, he is the fourth oldest of the 10 Jackson children, his brother Marlon’s twin brother Brandon died shortly after his birth in 1957. Jermaine and his brothers first signed as the ‘Jackson 5’ (see also best songs 249 and 137) with the Gary, Indiana, record label ‘Steeltown Records’ in 1967 where they recorded two singles, before being signed by Berry Gordy of ‘Motown’ records in 1969. The Jackson’s would stay at Motown until 1975, when they left due to financial disputes, although Jemaine refused to join his brothers, staying with Motown to pursue a solo career. His four brothers signed with ‘Epic Records,’ changing their name to the ‘Jacksons,’ (as Berry Gordy owned the name ‘Jackson 5’) with Jermaine being replaced in the group by his brother Randy. The main reason for Jermaine remaining at ‘Motown,’ was probably because at that time he was married to Hazel Gordy, the daughter of Motown supremo Berry Gordy.

The solo discography of Jermaine Jackson includes 14 studio Albums released between 1972-2012, and 32 singles released between 1972-2015, there are also eight official compilation Albums available. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, seven of his singles have reached the top 40, with both ‘Daddy’s Home,’ (1972) and ‘Let’s Get Serious,’ (1980) both peaking the highest at Number 9, while in the UK, he has had three top 40 entries, with ‘Do What You Do,’ (1984) charting the highest at Number 6. Like his brother Michael, (1958-2009) (see also best songs 812-511 and 191) Jermaine had a solo career that ran concurrently with the Jackson 5 while at Motown Records.

After his brothers parted Motown Records, Jermaine struggled to stay successful as a solo artist. Berry Gordy was concerned that his son-in-law’s career was waning, so he approached fellow Motown artist Stevie Wonder, (see also best songs 920-843-834-682-503-366-205-152 and 65) who provided three songs for Jermaine’s sixth studio Album ‘Let’s Get Serious,’ from March 1980. The Album’s title track ‘Let’s Get Serious’ was released as the first of two singles off the Album, the other ‘You’re Supposed to Keep Your Love for Me,’ (1980-Billboard Number 34) was also a Stevie Wonder composition. ‘Let’s Get Serious’ was co-written by Stevie Wonder and Lee Garrett, with the production being by Stevie Wonder, who also sang co-lead vocals, and played piano, synthesizers, celesta, guitar, and drums on the track. The Album ‘Let’s Get Serious’ would go on to be Jermaine Jackson’s most successful of his career, selling in excess of 2 million copies worldwide, with the title track being ranked Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Soul chart’ for 1980, ahead of his brother Michael’s ‘Rock With You,’ which ranked at Number 2.

Lee Garrett who co-wrote ‘Let’s Get Serious’ with Stevie Wonder, was born on June 30th, 1943, in Mississippi, United States, like Stevie Wonder, Lee Garrett is also blind, the pair initially met at the ‘Michigan School for the Blind.’ Lee Garrett worked in radio as a DJ in the 1960’s, and 1970’s, where he was known as ‘The Rocker Mr G,’ while working in Philadelphia and Detroit. He has also had a recording career, releasing an Album in 1976, and issuing several singles since 1964. His biggest success as a solo artist was with his 1976 track ‘You’re My Everything,’ which reached Number 15 in the UK. Lee Garrett co-wrote several songs with Stevie Wonder, including ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,’ (1970-Billboard Number 3 & UK Number 15) and ‘It’s a Shame,’ for The Detroit Spinners (1970-Billboard Number 14 & UK Number 20) (see also best songs 834.)

Lee Garrett has spoken about the first time Stevie Wonder introduced the track that would become ‘Let’s Get Serious’ to him. ‘He said, ‘What do you hear?’ I listened and listened, and all of a sudden it hit me, and I started jumping up and down, singing ‘let’s get serious.’ That’s it. He wrote most of the words and stuff. I just kind of did the track and the melody. I felt particularly proud of that, because it was only our two names on it.’

‘In your arms is the place I want to be, with my love in you, and your love inside of me. Longing for each other just ain’t fair, when we’ve got so much love we want to share. Let’s get serious, let’s get serious, let’s get serious and fall in love.’

Posted by: In: Other 08 May 2024 Comments: 0


571-Archie Bell & the Drells-Here I Go Again.

1969-It didn’t chart in the UK until 1972, when reaching Number 11.

Best Bit-At 0.06. There have been some unusual names for backing groups over the years. According to my research ‘Drell’ is a fairly uncommon surname, but is in use. In science fiction a ‘Drell’ is a ‘Reptilian Humanoid,’ that evolved on the arid world of ‘Rakhana,’ but the most likely reason this band were called the ‘Drells,’ is because it rhymes with ‘Bell.’

Archie Bell was born on September 1st, 1944, in Henderson, Texas, United States, he is the second oldest of seven brothers, including the ‘NFL’ football player Ricky Bell, (1955-1984) and Jerry Bell, who is a former world karate champion, and a former member of the American ‘R&B’ and ‘Funk’ groups the ‘Dazz Band,’ and ‘New Birth.’ Archie Bell is also related to the music producer and songwriter Thom Bell (1943-2022) (see also best songs 765 and 183.) Archie Bell founded Archie Bell & the Drells in Houston, Texas, United States, in 1966, with his friends James Wise, Willie Parnell and Billy Butler, (1945-2015) and they would remain active through until 1980, in total there were seven different members come and go. Following the split of the group, Archie Bell released a solo Album called ‘I Never Had It So Good,’ in 1981, he then continued to tour on and off as ‘Archie Bell & the Drells’ for many years, with differing touring musicians. In more recent times he has recorded a ‘Blues’ Album, and a ‘Country Music’ Album. On April 16th, 2013, the Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, honoured Archie Bell, Lucious Larkins, and James Wise, with a proclamation of ,Archie Bell and the Drells Day.’

Archie Bell and the Drells who recorded in the genres of ‘Funk,’ ‘R&B,’ ‘Soul,’ and ‘Southern Soul,’ released their first three studio Albums on the ‘Atlantic Records’ label between 1968-1969, they then moved to ‘Philadelphia International’ records, where their other four studio Albums were issued between 1975-1979, there is also a greatest hits compilation covering the ‘Philadelphia International’ years released in 1990. The singles discography of Archie Bell and the Drells includes 25 singles released between 1968-1981, of which three of those tracks have made the Billboard Hot 100 in America, with their debut single ‘Tighten Up,’ reaching Number 1 in 1968. In America ‘Here I Go Again’ has never charted, while in the UK, they have also had three top 40 hits with ‘Here I Go Again’ peaking the highest at Number 11.

‘Here I Go Again’ was co-written, and co-produced by the legendary songwriting and production duo of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, (see also best songs 1001-896-725-648-604-338-322 and 258) with the musicians on the track credited to the ‘Leon Huff and Thom Bell’s Orchestra.’ The track was one of six singles issued from ‘There’s Gonna Be a Showdown,’ the third studio Album from Archie Bell and the Drells, from 1969. On it’s release ‘Here I Go Again’ stalled at Number 112 in America on Billboard, and it also failed to chart in the UK. Due to the popularity of the ‘Northern Soul’ scene (see best songs 969) in the UK, the song gained a cult following, and when it was re-issued in 1971, it became a UK hit, peaking at Number 11.

Kenneth Gamble was born on August 11th, 1943, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, together with Leon Huff he has written or produced in excess of 3000 songs. Gamble and Huff were also responsible for founding the ‘Philadelphia International Records’ label in 1971, which would go on to take the mantle of the Number one ‘Soul Music’ record label from ‘Motown’ records in the 1970’s. ‘Philadelphia International Records’ were also a leading light in the development of ‘Disco’ music, with their in house musicians, and orchestra’s laying down the sound that would become the most popular music of the second half of the 1970’s. Together, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff have co-written three Billboard Number 1 singles, including ‘TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia’) for ‘M.F.S.B. featuring the Three Degrees,’ in 1974, which had been written especially as the theme music for the American musical television program ‘Soul Train,’ which specialised in African/American musical performers. Kenny Gamble has also written, or co-written four Billboard top 40 hits without Leon Huff, including the 1973 track ‘Break Up to Make Up,’ with Thom Bell and Linda Creed, (1948-1986) which reached Number 3 on Billboard for The Stylistics.

‘Here I go again, thinking with my heart, here I go again, blinded by the dark. , I should have learned my lesson, you hurt me before, but every time I see ya, I keep running back for more.’

Posted by: In: Other 07 May 2024 Comments: 0


572-Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.-You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)

1976-Number 7 single.

Best Bit-At 1.16. In 1978 Janet Jackson performed this song in the final season of the American ‘CBS’ sitcom ‘Good Times,’ she was 11 years old at the time.

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. are husband and wife, having married in 1969. Marilyn McCoo was born on September 30th, 1943, in Jersey City, New Jersey, United States. At the age of 15, she made her television debut on the American ‘CBS’ ‘Art Linkletter’s Talent Show,’ and then began modelling. After graduating from the ‘Susan Miller Dorsey High School,’ in Los Angeles, California, she enrolled in the ‘University of California, Los Angeles,’ where she earned a degree in business administration. In 1962, she entered the ‘Miss Bronze California beauty pageant,’ where she won ‘Miss Grand Talent.’ In the early to mid 1960’s, Marilyn McCoo was a member of the vocal group the ‘Hi-Fi’s,’ who often opened for Ray Charles (1930-2004) (see also best songs 475 and 185.) She first met Billy Davis Jr. in 1966, when he formed the ‘Versatiles,’ who would soon become the ‘5th Dimension’ (see also best songs 202.)

Billy Davis Jr. was born on June 26th, 1938, in St Louis, Missouri, United States, In 1975 he and Marilyn McCoo left the ‘5th Dimension,’ after a very successful nine years, to pursue their music careers as a duo, and signing with ‘ABC Records.’ They would go on to release three studio Albums between 1976-1978, and a fourth one 30 years later in 2008. In America on the Billboard Hot 100, two of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show’) making the Number 1 spot, while in the UK this song remains their only chart entry to date. In 1977 they became the first African/American married couple to host a network television series, ‘The Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. Show,’ on ‘CBS.’ By 1982 they both decided to pursue solo careers, McCoo going in to acting, appearing in three films between 1989-2021, and also hosting the American music television programme ‘Solid Gold.’ She has also continued to record new music, and tour. In 1982 Billy Davis Jr. recorded a Gospel Album called ‘Let Me Have a Dream,’ and in 2020, he and McCoo released a fifth Album together, called ‘Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons,’ their first new Album together in 12 years.

‘You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show) was the second of three singles released from ‘I Hope We Get to Love in Time,’ which was the debut studio Album by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. from 1976. The song was co-written by James Dean, (1943-2006) and John Glover, with the production being by Don Davis (1938-2014.) James Anthony Dean was born on February 7th, 1943, in Detroit, Michigan, United States, he died from cancer of the spine, at the age of 63. James Dean is best remembered for his work at Motown Records in the 1960’s, often in collaboration with William Weatherspoon, (1936-2005) with whom he co-wrote several hits, including Jimmy Ruffin’s ‘What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,’ (1965-Billboard Number 7 & UK Number 8) and ‘I’ve Passed This Way Before,’ (1966-Billboard Number 17 &UK Number 29.) James Dean was the cousin of the legendary Motown songwriters and producers Eddie Holland and Brian Holland.

‘You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show.) was produced by Don Davis, who was born on October 25th, 1938, in Detroit, Michigan, Unites States, he died after a short illness on June 5th, 2014, at the age of 74. After leaving school, Davis formed his own Jazz group, the ‘Don Davis Trio,’ before becoming a session musician in the Detroit area. Although unaccredited, it is very likely that Davis played guitar on ‘Tamla Motown’s’ first ever hit single ‘Money (That’s What I Want’) by Barrett Strong (1941-2023) (1959-Billboard Number 23.) In the early 1960’s Don Davis joined ‘Stax Records’ in Memphis, where he would write and produce for the American Soul singer Johnnie Taylor, including his 1968 Billboard Number 5 hit ‘Who’s Making Love,’ and then later in 1976, when Taylor had moved to ‘CBS,’ records, they joined forces on the Billboard Number 1 single ‘Disco Lady.’

‘Somebody nobody knows, could steal the tune that you want to hear. So stop your running around, ’cause now you’ve found what was cloudy is clear. Oh honey, there’ll be no cheering from the crowd, just two hearts beating out loud. There’ll be no parades, no TV or stage, only me till your dying day.’

Posted by: In: Other 06 May 2024 Comments: 0


573-Jackie De Shannon-When You Walk in the Room.

1963-It has never charted in the UK.

Best Bit-At 0.04. One of the best guitar riffs in the world ever. It is said that it hadn’t gone unnoticed by the Beatles.

Jackie De Shannon, was born Sharon Lee Myers, on August 21st, 1941, in Hazel, Kentucky, United States. In 1960 she signed with ‘Liberty Records,’ who thought that the name Sharon Myers would hinder record sales, so she adopted the stage name ‘Jackie Dee Shannon,’ whom she believed had been the name of one of her Irish ancestors. She has said that she chose ‘Jackie,’ as a cross-gender name, since she had a low singing voice, which could be heard as either male or female. When she found that ‘Jackie Dee’ was too similar to Brenda Lee, or even Sandra Dee, she changed it to Jackie Dee Shannon, which people heard as ‘DeShannon,’ and the name stuck. Her first marriage was to the Liberty Records executive Irving V. “Bud” Dain, whom she married in 1966, but the marriage was annulled a year later. Jackie De Shannon has been married to the American singer/songwriter, and film composer Randy Edelman since 1976 (see also best songs 761.)

Jackie De Shannon was one of the first female singer/songwriters of the ‘Rock ‘N Roll’ era, although as a singer all of her first 23 singles failed to reach the American Billboard Hot 100. It was her cover of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David (see also best songs 902-832-815-740-644-376 and 224) composition ‘What the World Needs Now Is Love,’ which finally saw her chart on Billboard, when reaching Number 7 in 1965. Her other major Billboard hit was ‘Put a Little Love in Your Heart,’ which made Number 4 in 1969. That song would later be a hit in 1988, when recorded as a duet by Annie Lennox and Al Green (Billboard Number 9 & UK Number 28.) As a songwriter Jackie De Shannon came to the attention of Eddie Cochran, (1938-1960) and this led to her teaming up with Cochran’s girlfriend Sharon Sheeley, (1940-2002) (see also best songs 422) and together the pair wrote ‘Dum Dum,’ (1961- Billboard Number 4 & UK Number 22) and ‘Heart in Hand,’ (1962-Billboard Number 15) which were both hits for Brenda Lee. They also wrote ‘Breakaway’ for Irma Thomas, which when covered by Tracey Ullman in 1983 reached Number 4 in the UK. But perhaps Jackie De Shannon’s best known, and most successful composition was ‘Bette Davis Eyes,’ a track she co-wrote with Donna Weiss in 1974, and when recorded by Kim Carnes in 1981, it made Number 1 on Billboard, and Number 10 in the UK. The discography of Jackie De Shannon includes 21 Albums released between 1963-2011, and 61 singles released between 1956-1980, there are also appearances on three soundtrack Albums, from the three films she appeared in, between 1964-1979, and 19 official compilation Albums are available. In America on Billboard two of her singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Put a Little Love in Your Heart,’ peaking the highest at Number 4 in 1969, while ‘When You Walk in the Room,’ made Number 99. Jackie De Shannon has never had a hit single in the UK.

‘When You Walk in the Room’ was the first of five singles released from Jackie De Shannon’s second Album ‘Breakin’ It Up on the Beatles Tour!’ from 1964, the song was written by Jackie De Shannon, with the production being by Jackie De Shannon, and Dick Glasser (1933-2000.) Although Jackie De Shannon had opened for the Beatles on their 1964 North American tour, the 12 tracks on the Album are songs recorded for Liberty records between 1962-1964, and have nothing at all to do with the tour. ‘When You Walk in the Room’ was produced by Dick Glasser, who was born Richard Eugene Glasser, on December 8th, 1933, in Canton, Ohio, United States, he died on July 10th, 2000, of lung cancer at the age of 66. During the mid 1970’s Glasser was director of ‘MGM Records’ Country Music division in Nashville, producing C. W. McCall’s (1928-2022) 1975 Billboard Number 1 & UK Number 2 hit ‘Convoy.’

Although ‘When You Walk in the Room’ was never a hit for Jackie De Shannon, the song found success when recorded by others, In 1964, the English ‘Merseybeat’ group ‘The Searchers’ took their version to Number 3 in the UK & Number 35 in America, while the most successful cover in America on Billboard, is the one by the American Country singer Pam Tillis, who reached Number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1984.

‘When You Walk in the Room’ is a song about unrequited love, with Jackie De Shannon singing about the ‘glowing sensation’ she gets every time her love interest walks in to the room. Jackie De Shannon has spoken about the songs influence on the Beatles,’We talked about songs. On the plane, The Beatles had one section and the opening acts had the other. George (Harrison) came up and asked me about the little riff on ‘When You Walk In The Room.’ He asked me to play it, and of course I was shaking. You think you hear its influence on ‘Ticket To Ride?’ Well George really did like the riff!’

‘I close my eyes for a second and pretend it’s me you want, meanwhile I try to act so nonchalant. I feel a summer’s night with a magic moon, every time that you walk in the room.’

Posted by: In: Other 04 May 2024 Comments: 0


574-Placebo-Nancy Boy.

1997-Number 4 single.

Best Bit-At 1.47. One of the songs co-writers, Brian Molko has called the lyrics ‘Obscene,’ so we had better read on.

Placebo were formed in London, England, in 1994, by Brian Molko, (vocals, and guitar) who was born on December 10th, 1972, in Brussels, Belgium, and Stefan Olsdal, (bass) who was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, on March 31st, 1974. They had both attended the ‘American International School of Luxembourg,’ in Hollerich, Luxembourg City, although they did not interact at the time, as they were part of different social circles. It was quite by chance that years later in 1994, the pair met at the ‘South Kensington Tube Station,’ in London, and realised that musically they had a lot in common. The duo were soon joined by Robert Schultzbourg, (drums) who was an acquaintance of Olsdal, he would remain a group member until 1996, then Steve Hewitt took over the drumming duties until leaving in 2007. The groups final drummer to date is Steve Forrest, who was a member from 2008-2015. Since then Molko and Olsdal have remained active as a duo. When first forming they performed using the name ‘Ashtray Heart,’ but later chose ‘Placebo,’ due to it’s Latin meaning,’I shall please.’

The discography of Placebo, who have recorded in the genres of ‘Alternative Rock,’ ‘Glam Rock,’ and ‘Britpop,’ and have sold in excess of 14 million records worldwide, includes, eight studio Albums that have been released between 1996-2022, and 33 singles that have been released between 1995-2022, there are also six extended plays, (EP’s) nine official compilation Albums, and three live Albums available. In the UK, all of there studio Albums have reached the top 20, with ‘Never Let Me Go,’ (2022) peaking the highest at Number 3. On the UK top 40 singles chart, Placebo have had 15 top 40 hits to date, with ‘Nancy Boy,’ (1997) and ‘Pure Morning,’ (1998) both peaking the highest at Number 4.

‘Nancy Boy’ was the fourth of five singles released from Placebo’s debut studio Album of the same name from June 1996. The song was co-written by Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal, and Robert Schultzberg, who were the three group members at that time, with the production being by Phil Vinall, who also mixed the track, this was the only song on the Album that Vinall had anything to do with. The single release of ‘Nancy Boy’ is a different version to the original one which appears on the Album, as it is a re-recording. Phil Vinall who was born in London, has worked in the recording studio since 1980, receiving credits as a mixer, engineer, and producer. He has worked with many household names including Mark Knopfler, and Radiohead, and was the co-producer of the 1998 ‘Black Box Recorder’ Album ‘England Made Me,’ (see also best songs 516.)

In English language ‘slang,’ the term ‘Nancy Boy’ refers to a gay, or effeminate man, and undoubtedly is used to cause offence. The lyrics to ‘Nancy Boy’ refer to a man who is very feminine in appearance, putting on makeup, and perfume in his room. Brian Molko who considers himself to be bi-sexual, got the idea for the song after reading a quote by Brett Anderson the lead singer of the British band ‘Suede,’ (see also best songs 695 and 244) who said, ‘I’m a bi-sexual man who’s never had a homosexual experience.’ This angered Molko, who has said, ‘I saw that as a very opportunistic statement, and it led me to want to write something about tourism of the sexual kind, which is where the chorus comes from: ‘It all breaks down at the first rehearsal.’ I had in mind a tourist who gets stuck in, and then realises they’re out of their depth.’ Brian Molko has also gone on to say, ‘I’m questioning people’s reasons for sleeping with someone of the same sex. In the same way that Heroin is very hip today, being bi-sexual seems to be very chic.’ Molko has said about ‘Nancy Boy,’ ‘It’s an exploration into somebody’s misogyny, yet heartfelt. It’s angry, nasty, and completely politically incorrect.’

‘Alcoholic kind of mood, lose my clothes, lose my lube. Cruising for a piece of fun, looking out for number one. Different partner every night, so narcotic outta sight. What a gas, what a beautiful ass.’

Posted by: In: Other 03 May 2024 Comments: 0


575-The Move-Blackberry Way.

1969-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 0.36. I do realise that some will think it a bit sad, but I have checked my sat-nav, and it appears that there are nine Blackberry Way’s in the UK.

The Move were formed in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, in 1965, from several locally based Birmingham groups, with the intention being to cherry pick the best available talent around at that time. The original line up comprised of Roy Wood, (see also best songs 821 and 239) (multi-instrumentalist) Bev Bevan, (drums) Carl Wayne, (1943-2004) (vocals) Trevor Burton, (guitar) and Ace Kefford, (bass) Kefford left the group in 1968, Burton left in 1969, and Carl Wayne left in 1970. Rick Price, (1944-2022) (bass) was a member between 1969-1971, and Jeff Lynne, (guitar) (see also best songs 970 and 25) was a member from 1969-1972. The Move officially split up in 1972, with Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, and Bev Bevan going on to form the ‘Electric Light Orchestra.’ The Move reformed with original, and new members, to tour between 2004-2014, and then again in 2016. There has been a total of 13 official members come and go between 1965-2016, after which the group was finally retired. The reason they called themselves ‘The Move,’ was because all band members had moved from other groups.

The discography of The Move includes four studio Albums released between 1968-1971, and 18 singles issued between 1966-1974, there are also 20 official compilation Albums, one live Album, and one extended play (EP) available. In the UK, 10 of their singles have reached the top 40, with ‘Night of Fear,’ (1966) and ‘Flowers in the Rain,’ (1967) (the first record to be played on BBC Radio 1, on September 30th, 1967) both peaking at Number 2, and ‘Blackberry Way’ giving them their only Number 1 single. In America, unlike many of their contemporaries of that time, they failed to achieve any commercial success, despite touring there.

‘Blackberry Way’ was released as a stand alone single in November 1968, it was written by Roy Wood, with the production being by Jimmy Miller (1942-1994.) Roy Wood sang lead and backing vocals on the track, as well as playing the guitar, and the sitar, while Trevor Burton played bass, and Bev Bevan the drums. Richard Tandy, (1948-2024) who was never an official member of The Move, but performed with them on several occasions, played the harpsichord, while the mellotron performer is uncredited. The groups vocalist Carl Wayne had refused to sing on the track, as he felt that The Move’s management were pushing Roy Wood to the forefront of the band and himself to the background, by encouraging Wood to write The Move’s songs, and allowing The Move to record songs which Wayne did not sing lead on. Wayne was also unhappy with the musical direction he felt that the group were going in.

‘Blackberry Way’ was produced by Jimmy Miller, who was born James Miller, on March 23rd, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York, United States, he died on October 22nd, 1994, from liver failure, at the age of 52. Jimmy Miller first rose to prominence when working with the English singer/songwiter Steve Winwood, and the various groups he played in, including the ‘Spencer Davis Group,’ ‘Traffic,’ and Blind Faith.’ Miller is best remembered for the five Albums he produced for The Rolling Stones, between 1968-1973, starting with ‘Beggars Banquet,’ and finishing with ‘Goats Head Soup.’ In the late 1970’s Miller produced two Albums for the English Rock band ‘Motorhead,’ ‘Overkill,’ (1979) and ‘Bomber,’ (1979) and in 1991 he was a co-producer of ‘Screamadelica,’ the third studio Album, and commercial breakthrough for the Scottish Rock band ‘Primal Scream’ (see also best songs 724.)

‘Blackberry Way’ can be filed under the musical genre of ‘Baroque Pop,’ which is also sometimes called ‘Baroque Rock.’ It is a ‘fusion genre,’ that combines Rock music with particular elements of Classical music. In Baroque Pop recordings, musical instruments including ‘Harpsichords,’ ‘Oboes,’ ‘French Horns,’ and also string quartets figure prominently. In Classical music, the term ‘Baroque’ is used to describe the very best ‘Classical Music’ of Europe, approximately between the years of 1600-1750, with some of its most prominent composers being J. S. Bach (1685-1750) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741.) In ‘Pop Music,’ ‘Baroque Pop’ was at it’s commercial peak between 1968-1973.

On ‘Blackberry Way’ the songs ‘bridge’ is lifted from the intro of the 1968 song ‘Good Old Desk,’ by Harry Nilsson (1941-1994.) ‘Blackberry Way’ is a sad song about a failed love affair. The narrators memories of a failed romance come flooding back as he walks around Blackberry Way. The song has been cited as an answer song to the Beatles ‘Penny Lane.’ Roy Wood has said,’We were all very influenced by what the Beatles were doing, because they were the best songwriters around.’ Roy Wood has also said that ‘Blackberry Way’ is his favourite song of ‘The Move’ of all time, commenting that ‘It could have been performed in any era and still worked.’

Blackberry way, absolutely pouring down with rain, it’s a terrible day. Up with the lark, silly girl I don’t know what to say, she was running away. So now I’m standing on the corner, lost in the things that I said, what am I supposed to do now.’