My Thang – James Brown – 1974

November 18, 2017

My Thang - James Brown - 1974 CoverWhat can you say? The Godfather of soul’s 1974 hit, My Thang…

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  • Born in 1933, passed away in 2006; James Brown is called The Godfather of Soul because, for many people, he was the progenitor of soul and funk music.
  • Like many of his era, James’ career began as a member of the in the R&B gospel group, the Gospel Starlighters. During 1950s, they evolved into the Flames and James was the lead singer.
  • By the late 1950s they were known as The Famous Flames and began to find chart success with songs like Please, Please, Please and Try Me.
  • Many say James’ success was at its peak in the 1960s with the live album Live at the Apollo and hit singles such as Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, I Got You (I Feel Good), and It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.
  • It was during the late 1960s that he began to refine his style – a style which greatly influenced the development of funk music.
  • By the early 1970s, James was playing with his band, the J.B.s and funk was a real thing. During this time, he became known for songs which made commentary of social issues of the day – songs like the 1968 hit Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.
  • James holds the record for the most singles to reach the US singles chart without ever reaching #1 – 64 singles. He did, however, have 16 singles that reached #1 on the R&B charts.  Between 1959 and 2002, James released a phenomenal 66 studio albums and 15 live albums.
  • The closest James came to a #1 US hit was in 1965 when, I Got You (I Feel Good) reached #3.
  • James is an inductee into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  • When Joel Whitburn analysed the Billboard R&B charts from 1942 to 2010, he placed James at #1 among The Top 500 Artists. He is also ranked seventh on the music magazine Rolling Stone’s list of its 100 greatest artists of all time. Rolling Stone also also cited James as the most sampled artist of all time.

my thang fax

  • My Thang was written and recorded by James Brown. From the album Hell, it was released in April 1974.
  • The song borrows lines from another of James’ songs, Funky Drummer. James often borrowed lines from his songs that did not chart to incorporate into a new song.
  • My Thang spent two weeks at #1 on the US R&B singles chart and reached #29 on the US singles chart.
  • My Thang is sampled on a number of Hip-Hop songs, including Brand New Funk by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
  • My Thang lyrics.

my thang – james brown – 1974 – video

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The Candy Man – Sammy Davis Jr – 1972

November 10, 2017

The_Candy_Man_Sammy_Davis_JrFrom the perennial Christmas movie… what would Christmas be without reruns of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on the tele? – The Candy Man which was a 1972 hit for Sammy Davis Jr.

sammy davis jr fax

  • Born into a show biz family, Sammy began his career when just three years old. He joined his father and Will Mastin to form the Will Mastin Trio, which toured nationally.
  • After WWII service – in which he was assigned to the Entertainment Special Services – Sammy returned to the trio.
  • Sammy’s solo career happened quickly. He became an overnight sensation following a nightclub performance at a West Hollywood bar after the 1951 Academy Awards.
  • He began his movie career in 1933, appearing as Rufus Jones in Rufus Jones for President, a short satirical musical. Sammy went on to appear in almost 40 movies, four stage musicals, and almost 30 television shows.
  • In all, Sammy released over 50 albums, with at least five different recording companies. Of his numerous singles, only two reached the US top ten; Something’s Gotta Give (1955) and The Candy Man (1972).  Two singles reached the UK top ten, Something’s Gotta Give and Love Me or Leave Me (both 1955).
  • The numerous awards won by Sammy include: a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Acheivement award (2001), a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and induction into the Internationcal Civil Rights Walk of Fame.
  • In 1954, Sammy was in a life-changing auto accident. In it he lost his left eye.  From the time on he had a glass eye.  A year before the accident, his friend, comedian Eddie Cantor, had given him a mezuzah. Instead of putting it by his door as a traditional blessing, Sammy wore it around his neck for good luck. The only time he forgot it was the night of the accident.  Taking it as some sort of omen, Sammy converted to Judaism in 1961.
  • Sammy was a member of The Rat Pack, a group of artistes prominent in the 1960’s. The Rat Pack was made up of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, with the three first mentioned being considered the leaders.
  • Sammy was a victim of racism throughout his life, particularly during the pre-Civil Rights era, and was a large financial supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. One day on a golf course with Jack Benny, he was asked what his handicap was. “Handicap?” he asked. “Talk about handicap. I’m a one-eyed Negro Jew.”
  • Sammy died of throat cancer on May 16, 1990, aged just 64.

the candy man fax

  • The Candy Man, sometimes called, The Candy Man Can, was written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley specifically for the 1971 film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The soundtrack version of the song was sung by Aubrey Woods, who played Bill the candy store owner in the film.
  • When lyricist Anthony Newley heard Aubrey Woods’ version for the first time, he was so appalled by the performance that he wanted to record it himself. He was convinced the song could win an Oscar if it was sung and produced properly.  The producers of the record refused his offer so Anthony suggest he dub his own vocal and still market the record under Aubrey’s name.  Again, he was refused.
  • Anthony did, however, record his own version prior to Sammy Davis Jr’s version.
  • The Candy Man’s best-known version is by Sammy Davis, Jr. It appears on Sammy’s album, Sammy Davis Jr. Now.  Sammy always said he didn’t like the song.
  • The Candy Man was Sammy’s only #1 US hit. Despite Sammy having songs in the UK charts, The Candy Man did not chart there.  Billboard ranked The Candy Man as the #5 song for 1972.
  • BVs on Sammy’s version were provided by the Mike Curb Congregation. They had previously released their own unsuccessful version.
  • So closely associated with Sammy is this song that, later in his career, he was often referred to as The Candy Man.
  • In 2014, Sammy’s lead vocals from the original 1972 recording were sampled to create a virtual duet with Barry Manilow. It appeared on Barry’s album My Dream Duets.
  • The Candy Man lyrics.

the candy man – sammy davis jr. – 1972 video

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Don’t Leave Me This Way – Thelma Houston – 1976

October 26, 2017

thelma-houston-dont-leave-me-this-way-1976Singer, actress, Grammy Award winner – Thelma Houston had a 1976 #1 hit with Don’t Leave Me This Way.

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  • Born Thelma Jackson in Leland, Mississippi, by the time she was 23, Thelma Houston was married, had two children, and was signed to Dunhill Records.
  • Her first album, released in 1969, was produced by Jimmy Webb.
  • In 1971, she signed with Motown Records with little success.
  • As well as singing, Thelma loved acting. In 1974 she featured in The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine, playing various characters during the show’s skits.  When the show was cancelled she worked on producing demo recordings and performing at small venues.
  • She also took acting lessons while working on her musical career. It was a slow climb for her: she recorded Do You Know Where You’re Going To which was set for single release when it was pulled and the song given to Diana Ross to serve as the theme song for the movie Mahogany.  She sang backing vocals for Jermaine Jackson on his album My Name Is Jermaine.
  • Then in 1976, Thelma Houston released her third album, Any Way You Like It. The first single from that album, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ 1975 song Don’t Leave Me This Way, went straight to #1.  It won Thelma a Grammy for Best Female R&B Performance in 1977.  She never had another top ten single.
  • Thelma still performs, however. She recently toured with Nile Rodgers and Chic.
  • She has appeared in half a dozen films and a number of television programmes, along with being featured on a number of movie soundtracks.

don’t leave me this way fax

  • Don’t Leave Me This Way was written by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff and Cary Gilbert.
  • The song has charted three times, first in 1975 as a hit for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass – #3 in the US and #5 in the UK. Next in 1977 as a #1 US hit for Motown artist Thelma Houston in 1977 (peaked at #13 in the UK. Then a third time for British group the Communards in 1986 (#1 in the UK and #40 in the US).
  • Thelma Houston’s version was originally to be recorded by Diana Ross as a follow-up to Love Hangover. It was handed onto Thelma – some justice after she’d lost Do You Know Where You’re Going To to Diana.
  • Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Thelma’s version became an unofficial theme song for the AIDS epidemic in gay male communities of the west.
  • The song appeared in the stage show, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and in the movie, The Martian (2015).
  • Cher has also covered the song in her live shows.
  • Don’t Leave Me This Way lyrics.

don’t leave me this way – thelma houston – 1976 – video

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Woodstock – Matthews Southern Comfort -1970

October 8, 2017

matthews-southern-comfort-woodstock-1970A great song recorded by a number of 70s artists – this the ’70 version of Woodstock by English band, Matthews Southern Comfort.

matthews southern comfort fax

  • Iain Matthews was a singer with Fairport Convention before forming his own band, Matthews Southern Comfort.
  • Influenced by both rock and roll and folk music, Iain Matthews performed mainly as a solo act, although he was a member of Fairport Convention during the early period when they were heavily influenced by American folk rock.
  • Iain led the bands Plainsong, Hi-Fi, No Grey Faith, More Than a Song, and Matthews Southern Comfort.
  • The latter were one-hit-wonders with the 1970 hit, Woodstock.

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  • Woodstock was written by Joni Mitchell and included on her 1970 album Ladies of the Canyon.
  • Woodstock has been covered by both Matthews Southern Comfort and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
  • The song was first released by Joni as a B-side to her hit, Big Yellow Taxi. Joni said she wrote the song from what she had heard from then-boyfriend, Graham Nash, about the Woodstock Music and Art Festival. She had not been there herself, since she was told by a manager that it would be more advantageous for her to appear on The Dick Cavett Show.
  • A month before Joni’s folky version, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released a rocker version as the lead single from their 1970 Déjà Vu album.
  • About three months after the two US releases of Woodstock, the song became an international hit thanks to Matthews Southern Comfort who performed to song on the Live in Concert programme broadcast live by BBC Radio 1 on June 28, 1970. Iain Matthews tells the story of how his band required an additional song for their set on the scheduled radio session.  Woodstock was his suggestion – Iain had purchased Ladies of the Canyon album earlier that week.
  • Matthews Southern Comfort’s version was received so well that the BBC contacted Matthews’ label Uni Records. The label suggested they add the song to the newly recorded Matthews Southern Comfort album, Later That Same Year.  Iain declined to mess with the completed album, but agreed to have them release the song as a single.
  • The Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young version of Woodstock peaked at #11 on the US charts. The Matthews Southern Comfort version peaked at #23 in the US but spent three weeks at #1 in the UK.
  • Woodstock lyrics.

woodstock – matthews southern comfort – 1970 – video

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Tom Petty 1950 – 2017

October 3, 2017

Tom petty

One of the true greats of rock music, Tom Petty, has passed away following a heart attack.  After a premature announcement by the LAPD, Tom’s family has now announced that he has gone – truly a rock ‘n’ roll great!

Read Rolling Stone Magazine’s tribute here.


Couldn’t Get It Right – Climax Blues Band – 1976

September 28, 2017

Couldn't Get it Right - Climax Blues Band - 1976From a band celebrating its 50th year in the business; Couldn’t Get It Right, Climax Blues Band’s 1976 hit.

climax blues band fax

The Climax Blues Band (originally known as the Climax Chicago Blues Band) have nothing to do with Chicago! They are a British blues rock band formed in Stafford, England, in 1967 and still active today – thought with none of the original line-up.

The original line-up was: vocals and harmonica Colin Cooper (1939–2008), guitar and vocals Pete Haycock (1951–2013), guitar Derek Holt (b. 1949), bass and keyboards Richard Jones (b. 1949), drummer George Newsome (b. 1947), and keyboardist Arthur Wood (1929–2005).

The band became the Climax Blues Band in 1972, apparently after some pressure from the American band Chicago.

Climax Blues Band released at least 17 albums but only two singles making it into the top 20 in either the US or UK.

couldn’t get it right fax

  • When the Climax Blues Band were told by their record label that their 1976 album Gold Plated lacked a standout track, the boys wrote, Couldn’t Get It Right.
  • Released in the UK in October 1976 and the US in February 1977, the song became the band’s greatest hit; peaking at #10 in the UK and #3 in the US.
  • In an obituary for band member Pete Haycock, the Independent wrote of the song:

[Couldn’t Get It Right] transcended the clichés of the road-song genre and incorporated several of their trademarks, including the vocal harmonies of Haycock and Holt behind Cooper’s lead, and Haycock’s guitar being played in unison with Cooper’s saxophone, to create a concise gem of a single equal to the best work of the Doobie Brothers or Ace.

  • Bands to record cover versions of Couldn’t Get It Right include, Fun Lovin’ Criminals on their 1999 album, Mimosa; and Stockholm Syndrome on their 2004 album, Holy Happy Hour.
  • Couldn’t Get It Right lyrics.

couldn’t get it right – climax blues band – 1976 – video

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Stay With Me – Faces – 1971

September 21, 2017

Stay with Me - Faces - 1971A supergroup made up of super-musicians at the beginning of lifelong stardom – The Faces and their 1971 hit, Stay with Me.

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  • In 1969, when Small Faces lead singer/guitarist Steve Marriott left to form Humble Pie, the remaining band members – Ian McLagan (keyboards), Ronnie Lane (bass guitar), and Kenney Jones (drums and percussion) – added Ronnie Wood (guitar) and Rod Stewart (lead vocals) to their ranks and renamed themselves Faces. Ronnie and Rod had come from Jeff Beck Group.
  • The new name wasn’t universally accepted; hoping to capitalise on the Small Faces’ earlier success, their record company urged the band to keep their old name. The band declined.  They argued that the personnel changes meant they were now a group very different from the Small Faces.  As a compromise, the band’s debut US album was credited to the Small Faces, while subsequent albums appeared under their new name – Faces.
  • In its first phase, the band was together from 1969 – 1975. They recorded four albums, the latter two being the most popular; A Nod is as Good as a Wink… to a Blind Horse (#2 in the UK and #6 in the US), and Ooh La La (#1 in the UK and #21 in the US).  They released 11 singles with varying success.  The most popular being, Stay with Me.
  • Faces have had more than one reunion, the latest being in the middle of the 2010s, with Mick Hucknall filling in on lead vocals in Rod’s absence.
  • Post-Faces, the band members have had varied successes: we know what’s happened to Rod; Ronnie Wood too – he joined the Rolling Stones; Ronnie Lane had a modest solo career that ended prematurely when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (he died in 1997); Kenney Jones joined The Who after the death of Keith Moon.

stay with me fax

  • Stay with Me was written by Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood and was recorded by their band Faces for the 1971 album A Nod Is As Good As a Wink… to a Blind Horse.
  • Stay with Me has also appeared on various Faces compilation albums and on albums by both songwriters.
  • Stay with Me peaked at #6 on the UK singles chart and #10 on the US singles chart.
  • Stay with Me lyrics.

stay with me – faces – 1971 video

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