Cars – Gary Numan – 1979

May 16, 2018

Cars GAry Numan 1979Considered an epitome of the 70’s – 80’s new wave genre – Gary Numan’s 1979 #1 hit, Cars.

gary numan fax

  • Born in West London, England, Gary Anthony James Webb was 15 years old when his father bought him a Gibson Les Paul – which he still regards as his most treasured possession.
  • Gary played in various bands, before forming Tubeway Army with his uncle.
  • Gary’s first pseudonym was Valerian – it’s assumed it was a reference to the hero in French science fiction comic series Valérian and Laureline. His choice of adoptive surname is a little less artistic; he choose the surname Numan after seeing a Yellow Pages ad for a plumber whose surname was Neumann.
  • Tubeway Army produced a couple of albums and three or four singles; none of which charted until the single Are ‘Friends’ Electric? Released in May 1979, it took seven weeks to reach #1 on the UK charts.
  • It was only a few months later that Gary released Cars, using his name rather than the band’s.
  • Cars was from the album, The Pleasure Principle, which reached #1 in the UK. A feature of the album was that no guitars were used – instead synthesisers fed through guitar effects pedals to achieve a similar tone.
  • Gary has released 24 albums, the last released in 2017 – Savage (Songs from a Broken World). It peaked at #2 in the UK.
  • Gary is still involved in making music and now lives in California.

cars fax

  • Cars was written by Gary Numan – his debut single as a solo album.
  • Cars was the first single from Gary’s debut solo album, The Pleasure Principle.
  • Released on 21 August 1979, Cars hit the #1 spot in the UK and peaked at #9 on the US singles charts (his only song to make the US top 100, though he had other hits in the UK).
  • In 1999, US heavy metal band, Fear Factory, began to perform Cars as an encore at their concerts. Gary eventually provided the vocals for Fear Factory’s recorded version of the song.  This version peaked at #57 on the UK charts and #16 on the US Rock chart.
  • Other artists to cover the song include: Frank Zappa, using his own lyrics (1980), Nine Inch Nails (2009), and Daft Punk (2011).
  • Cars lyrics.

cars – gary numan – 1979 – video

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Ol’ ‘55 – Tom Waits – 1973

May 6, 2018

Tom Waits Closing Time 1973Ol’ ‘55 – Tom Waits – 1973

A wonderful song from one of the great poets/singers – Tom Waits’ 1973 song, Ol’ ’55.  If you haven’t heard this song before – you are in for a treat!!

tom waits fax

  • Tom Waits has one of those distinctive voices – once described as, “sounding as if it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car” – and is almost as well-known for his persona as he is his music. (Tom’s persona is perhaps best observed when we compare the live and studio versions of Ol’ ’55).
  • Aged 12 years and living in San Diego, Tom was inspired by Bob Dylan and the Beat Generation. Four years later, he began singing in local folk clubs before moving to LA.
  • In LA, Tom worked as a songwriter before gaining a recording contract of his own. The result was the fabulous album, Closing Time (1973).
  • Since then, he has released a further 15 studio albums and has worked as a composer for movies and musicals. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his soundtrack work on One from the Heart.
  • He has also appeared in 39 movies to date with a couple more due for release later this year.
  • An incredible 19 Tom Waits tribute albums have been released around the world!
  • Although his albums have experienced mixed commercial success in the US, Tom is cited as an inspiration by many well-known artists. His albums have also gone gold in a number of nations around the globe.  Some of this songs are best known for the cover versions produced by more commercial artists, e.g. Jersey Girl by Bruce Springsteen, Ol’ ’55 by The Eagles, and Downtown Train by Rod Stewart.
  • Tom was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. He is included in the 2010 list of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers, and the 2015 list of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.

ol’ ’55 fax

  • Written by Tom Waits, Ol’ ’55 is the opening track and lead single from Tom’s debut studio album, Closing Time.
  • Recorded in early 1972, Ol’ ’55 was released in March 1973 on Asylum Records.
  • Ol’ ’55 has been covered by numerous artists including: Eagles (1974 on the On The Border album and B-side of Best of My Love), Fairport Convention singer Iain Matthews (1974), Richie Havens (1980) and Sarah McLachlan (1994).
  • In a 1975 interview Tom criticised Eagles’ cover version of his song, admitting that he was “not that particularly crazy about (their) rendition of it … I thought their version was a little antiseptic.” Tom has since admitted he had a chip on his shoulder, and he is prouder now of that version.
  • Ol’ ’55 lyrics.

ol’ ’55 – tom waits – 1973 – video – LIVE

ol’ ’55 – tom waits – 1973 – video – STUDIO VERSION

Sometimes the YouTube links dropout – if this link doesn’t work, please go to YouTube and search for the song – it will be worth it!

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Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas – 1974

April 26, 2018

Kung Fu FightingRiding on the crest of the kung fu movie craze of the early-mid 70’s, Carl Douglas scored a massive 1974 hit with Kung Fu Fighting.

carl douglas fax

  • Carl Douglas was born in Jamaica in 1942 and began his music career in 1961.
  • Carl grew up in both Jamaica and California before moving to the UK to study sound engineering.
  • His first foray into performing came in 1964 when he formed the band Big Stampede. They released two singles with no chart impact.
  • By the early 1970s, Carl was a session musician with Pye Records.
  • In 1974, Indian-born music producer Biddu asked Carl to provide the vocals for a song, I Want to Give You My Everything. Biddu then gave Carl some music for lyrics Carl had written about Kung Fu.  It was a smash hit.  So much so that, Carl’s entire music career has been overshadowed by his 1974 hit, Kung Fu Fighting.
  • Carl was the first Jamaican to score a #1 hit in the USA.
  • The follow-up to Kung Fu Fighting—Dance the Kung Fu—bombed in the USA, but made it to #20 in the UK. Despite other minor successes, Carl is considered a one-hit wonder.
  • Carl now lives in Hamburg, Germany and owns a production company that supplies music for films and advertisements.

kung fu fighting fax

  • The writing of Kung Fu Fighting is credited to Carl Douglas, who, it is said, recorded it in ten minutes.
  • It was released as a single in 1974 and rode the crest of the martial arts movie craze of that time.
  • Kung Fu Fighting hit #1 on the singles charts in the UK, US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, and New Zealand. It made the top ten in a number of other countries.
  • The song eventually sold eleven million records worldwide and is one of the best-selling singles of all time.
  • Kung Fu Fighting was rated number 100 in VH1’s 100 Greatest one-hit wonders, and number 1 in the UK Channel 4’s Top 10 One Hit Wonders list in 2000.
  • In 1998, British dance act, Bus Stop released a Kung Fu Fighting remix which sampled the original vocals by Carl Douglas and included added rap verses. It peaked at #8 on the UK singles chart.
  • In 2008, American artist, CeeLo Green covered Kung-Fu Fighting. His version appeared on the soundtrack for the movie, Kung Fu Panda.
  • Kung Fu Fighting lyrics.

kung fu fighting – carl douglas – 1974 – video

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Blitzkrieg Bop – The Ramones – 1976

April 8, 2018

Blitzkrieg Bop The Ramones 1976Debut single from Johnny, Dee Dee, Joey and Tommy (not forgetting Marky, Richie, Elvis and C.J.), 1976’s Blitzkrieg Bop.

ramones fax

  • The Ramones formed in New York in 1974.
  • Original members of the band were Jeff Hyman (Joey), John Cummings (Johnny), Douglas Colvin (Dee Dee), and Thomas Erdelyi (Tommy). The guys all adopted the surname “Ramone” although none of them were related.  Dee Dee was the first to adopt the name having been inspired by Paul McCartney’s use of the pseudonym Paul Ramon during his Silver Beetles days.  Dee Dee then convinced the other members to take on the name and came up with the idea of calling the band the Ramones.
  • Like many bands of their genre, the Ramones had little commercial success but are remembered as one of the formative punk bands.
  • In 22 years of playing together—the band split in 1996—The Ramones performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for the life of the band.
  • Over the years, critics have become more convinced of the band’s influence on punk music and rock music in general. Rolling Stone magazine place The Ramones at #26 in their 100 Greatest Artists of all Time list.
  • In 2002, the original four band members, and Marky who replaced Tommy as drummer in 1978, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, the group was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • By 2008, all four of the band’s original members had died; lead singer Joey Ramone (1951–2001), bass guitarist Dee Dee Ramone (1951–2002), guitarist Johnny Ramone (1948–2004) and drummer Tommy Ramone (1949–2014).

blitzkrieg bop fax

  • Blitzkrieg Bop was written by Tommy and Dee Dee Ramone and was the debut single for The Ramones.
  • Recorded in January 1976 and released a month later, the song appeared on the album, Ramones.
  • Blitzkrieg Bop failed to make it onto any singles chart throughout the world. Only six Ramones songs ever dented the singles charts anywhere.  The highest ranking being Baby, I Love You, which hit #8 in the UK in 1980.
  • On the Rolling Stone magazine list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, Blitzkrieg Bop sits at #92. In 2009, VH1 named the song at #25 on its list of the greatest hard rock songs of all time.
  • Blitzkrieg Bop appears in a number of movies including: National Lampoon’s Vacation, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. In the UK, it is regularly played before home games at St. James’ Park, home of Newcastle United F.C.
  • The song continues to remain popular at sporting events where “Hey! Ho! Let’s go!” is sometimes shouted as a rallying cry.
  • Blitzkrieg Bop lyrics.

blitzkrieg bop – the ramones – 1976 – video

Sometimes the YouTube links dropout – if this link doesn’t work, please go to YouTube and search for the song – it will be worth it!

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Earache My Eye – Cheech and Chong – 1974

March 25, 2018

Earache My EyeHere’s one out of leftfield – comedians Cheech and Chong’s 1974 song, Earache My Eye, featured in their 1978 movie, Up In Smoke.

cheech and chong fax

  • Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong are a Grammy Award winning comedy duo. They were especially popular for their films and stand-up routines in the 1960 – 70s.  They parted ways in 1985 but reunited in 2002 and continue to perform to this day.
  • Chong is a Canadian (though he has since become an American citizen); Cheech moved to Canada in the 1960s to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War – it was in Canadian that the pair met and began working together.
  • Alongside their stand-up routine, Cheech and Chong produced a number of comedy films, and released a number of novelty songs and albums – including 1985’s Born in East L.A., based on Bruce Springsteen’s, Born in the USA.
  • Perhaps their best-known movie is Up in Smoke. Released in 1978, it has become a cult classic.
  • Having parted company in 1985, the pair were guests on a 2011 episode of The Simpsons, and have joined for a number of projects since that time.

earache my eye fax

  • Earache My Eye is a novelty heavy metal song written by Tommy Chong and Gaye Delorme and recorded by Cheech and Chong – Cheech adopting the persona of a fictitious rock star named Alice Bowie.
  • The song appeared on Cheech and Chong’s fourth comedy album, Cheech and Chong’s Wedding Album (1974) and later appeared in their first movie, Up in Smoke (1978).
  • Earache My Eye spent 13 weeks on the US singles chart.
  • Earache My Eye has been covered by both Soundgarden and Korn (Cheech performing the vocals on the latter), and was sampled on Eminem’s track Untouchable.
  • Earache My Eye lyrics.

earache my eye – cheech and chong -1974 – video

Sometimes the YouTube links dropout – if this link doesn’t work, please go to YouTube and search for the song – it will be worth it!

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Why Me – Kris Kristofferson – 1973

March 11, 2018

Why Me - Kris K - 1973Kris Kristofferson, the man who wrote the fabulous Me and Bobby McGee, had his greatest hit with a 1973 gospel country song, Why Me.

kris kristofferson fax

  • Kristoffer Kristofferson was born in Brownsville, Texas, in the USA; his grandparents were from Sweden, which explains the surname.
  • Kris is a pretty bright guy. He graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts in literature and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in the UK.  At Oxford he was awarded his Blue for boxing and played rugby for his college.
  • About this time, he began writing and recording songs using the name Kris Carson. He found little success in the music world but graduated with a B.Phil degree in English literature.
  • Kris joined the US Army and attained the rank of captain. He also worked as a helicopter pilot for a while.
  • In 1965, he left the army, moved to Nashville, and began pursuing his music career between working various odd jobs. While sweeping floors at Columbia Studios, he met June Carter and handed her a tape which he asked be given to Johnny Cash.  Johnny didn’t get around to listening to it for a while and, frustrated with waiting, Kris landed a helicopter in Johnny’s front yard.  Apparently, Johnny wasn’t home, but it did get Johnny’s attention.  A short time later, Johnny recorded Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down, earning Kris the Songwriter of the Year award at the Country Music Awards.
  • Kris continued writing songs and other artists continued to have success with them – including Janis Joplin (who Kris dated until her death) with Me and Bobby McGee. Kris recorded his own music but with little initial success.
  • Then, in 1971, Kris’ second album, The Silver Tongued Devil, was released. It was successful, as was his third album, Jesus was a Capricorn.
  • In 1972, he appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test in the UK with Rita Coolidge (to whom he was married for a while), singing Help Me Make It Through The Night, a song off his unsuccessful first album. His success as a solo artist was established.
  • About this time, Kris made his acting debut in in The Last Movie, directed by Dennis Hopper. He enjoyed acting and made the that a focus for a while.  He is best known for his starring roles in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Heaven’s Gate, and A Star Is Born, the latter of which earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
  • In 1985, Kris joined fellow country artists Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash in forming the country music supergroup The Highwaymen.
  • In 2004, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

why me fax

  • Why Me was written by and recorded on July 8, 1972, by American country music singer and songwriter Kris Kristofferson. It was released as a single in April 1973 – the third single from Kris’ third album, Jesus was a Carpenter.
  • Why Me was Kris’ greatest hit, peaking at #16 on the US singles chart, but topping the US and Canadian Country singles chart.
  • Artists to cover Why Me include, Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and Conway Twitty.
  • Why Me lyrics.

Why Me – Kris Kristofferson – 1973 – video


the why me story – kris Kristofferson – video

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Tight Rope – Leon Russell – 1972

February 22, 2018

Tight Rope Leon Russell 1972A great song (IMHO) from a man who wrote a heap of them; Leon Russell’s, Tight Rope.

leon russell fax

  • Leon Russell’s real name was Claude Russell Bridges.
  • Born in Oklahoma, in the USofA, Russell began making music with David Gates—later of Bread fame—who was in his high school class. Leon and David recorded together as The Fencemen. Also at the school were Anita Bryant and Elvin Bishop.
  • Leon was only 16 when he moved to Los Angeles and became a session musician and then a touring musician. Over his career he performed and recorded with many of music’s greats including: The Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, Elton John (he was once Leon’s support act), George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Doris Day, Ray Charles,  the Byrds, Barbra Streisand, Willie Nelson, Badfinger, Frank Sinatra, the Band, Bob Dylan, J. J. Cale, B. B. King, Glen Campbell, Joe Cocker, and the Rolling Stones.
  • In 1970, he began working as a solo artist going on to record 33 albums.
  • Leon was an accomplished songwriter best known for: Delta Lady (recorded by Joe Cocker); This Masquerade (George Benson and at least 75 others), Hummingbird (BB King), A Song for You (The Carpenters and at least 200 other artists), Superstar (The Carpenters), and Shine a Light (The Rolling Stones). Many of these songs, he also recorded himself.
  • Leon’s song A Song for You was included in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2018.
  • In 2011, Leon was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  • Leon died in his sleep while recovering from heart surgery, on November 13, 2016.

tight rope fax

  • Tight Rope was written by Leon Russell and released in August 1972.
  • The song was from his album Carney.
  • Tight Rope peaked at #11 on the US singles chart.
  • The B-side of the single featured Leon’s song, This Masquerade, which became a hit for George Benson in 1976.
  • Tight Rope lyrics.

tight rope – leon Russell – 1972 – video

Sometimes the YouTube links dropout – if this link doesn’t work, please go to YouTube and search for the song – it will be worth it!

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