Peter Tork – 1942 – 2019

February 22, 2019

Peter TorkAnother pop/rock legend passed away today; Peter Tork, of the Monkees will be remembered for his zany personality and under-rated musical skills.

Read the Rolling Stone Magazine obituary here.

video – the monkees – daydream believer featuring piano intro by peter tork

video – Aunty Grizelda – the monkees featuring peter tork

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Respect Yourself – The Staple Singers – 1971

February 14, 2019

Respect_Yourself_-_The_Staple_SingersOne of the truly great – perhaps the greatest – gospel bands, The Staple Singers, had a 1971 hit with Respect Yourself.

the staple singers fax

  • Formed in 1948, The Staple Singers were Roebuck “Pops” Staples and his children Cleotha, Pervis, and Mavis. Yvonne joined when Pervis was drafted into the Army.
  • Note that, the family’s surname was Staples, but they chose for forgo an “S” for the sake of show business.
  • The children were in their early teens when they began to sing in churches around Chicago and in 1952, signed their first professional contract.
  • By 1970, they had recorded 17 albums but it wasn’t until 1971 that one actually made the charts. That was The Staple Swingers – nine albums followed, the last in 1984.
  • The Staple Singers released over 20 singles with two, I’ll Take You There (1972) and Let’s do it Again (1975) making it to #1 on the US charts.
  • In 1999, The Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, in 2005, were awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Pops died in 2000,. Cleotha in 2013, Yvonne in 2018. Mavis continues to sing and tour.

respect yourself fax

  • Respect Yourself was written by Luther Ingram and Mack Rice (writer of Mustang Sally), and was recorded by The Staple Singers.
  • Released in October 1971 from the album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, the song peaked at #12 on the US single chart.
  • Respect Yourself has been covered by Herbie Mann, BB King, Robert Palmer, Joe Cocker, The Temptations, Randy Crawford, Huey Lewis and the News and Melissa Etheridge. And, by actor Bruce Willis who, with the help of June Pointer and The Pointer Sisters, to the song to #5 on the US charts in 1987.
  • In 2002, Respect Yourself was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and, in 2010, was ranked #468 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • Respect Yourself lyrics.

respect yourself – the staple singers – 1971 – video

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Funkytown – Lipps Inc. – 1979

January 18, 2019

lippsincfunkytown7inchsinglecoverRecorded in 1979, released as a single in 1980, Lipps Inc.’s Funkytown, their only song to make a dent on the US or UK charts, was a massive hit.

lipps inc. fax

  • A disco band from Minneapolis, Lipps Inc. was a band created by record producer Steven Greenberg and featuring lead vocalist Cynthia Johnson and a changing line-up of various session musicians.
  • Lipps Inc. produced three albums between 1979 – 1985. Cynthia is a member of three-time Grammy Award winning gospel band, Sounds of Blackness and worked with Prince.
  • She released All That I Am, a solo album, in 2013.

funkytown fax

  • Funkytown was written and produced by Steven Greenberg. It was recorded in 1979 by Lipps Inc. and appeared on their debut album Mouth to Mouth before being released as a single in early 1980.
  • Funkytown held the record for reaching the #1 spot in 28 countries, more than any other single release until Madonna’s Hung Up (it reached #1 in 41 countries in 2005).
  • Sales of Funkytown reached double-platinum.
  • Funkytown hit #1 in the US and #2 on the UK singles charts.
  • In 1986, the song was covered by Australian band Pseudo Echo, who took it to #1 in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and #6 in the US.
  • Funkytown lyrics.

funkytown – lipps inc. – 1979 – 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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Convoy – C.W. McCall – 1975

January 9, 2019

mccall_-_convoy10-4 Big Buddy – C.W. McCall had a #1 hit in a number of countries with his 1975 hit, Convoy.

c. w. mccall fax

  • C. W. McCall was the stage name and invented persona of William Dale Fries, Jr.
  • In 1973, while working as a creative director for an advertising agency, William created a television campaign advertising Old Home Bread. The ads featured a truck driver named C. W. McCall., played by actor Jim Finlayson and a waitress named Mavis Davis, played by Jean McBride Capps. The commercial’s success led to songs such as Old Home Filler-Up an’ Keep on a-Truckin’ Café, Wolf Creek Pass and Black Bear Road. William wrote the lyrics and sang while Chip Davis wrote the music.
  • While many of their songs tended to be humorous or amusing, some had serious undertones based on environmental conservation.
  • Between 1975 and 1979, William released six albums under then name C. W. McCall. Convoy was his only single to reach the US top ten – none other even came close.
  • In 1986, William was elected mayor of the town of Ouray, Colorado, ultimately serving for six years.

convoy fax

  • Convoy is a 1975 novelty song performed by C. W. McCall (a character co-created and voiced by William Fries and Chip Davis). The words were written by William and the music by Chip, although the song’s credits feature C. W. McCall as a contributor – William and C. W. are the same person.
  • Convoy reached #1 on the country and pop charts in the US and is listed 98th among Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time. The song peaked at #2 in the UK
  • Convoy hit the charts as the fad for citizens band (CB) radio was at its peak. Much of the song features CB jargon.
  • Convoy was the inspiration for the 1978 Sam Peckinpah film, Convoy, starring, Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, and Ernest Borgnine.
  • In 1976, C. W. released a sequel to Convoy. Round the World with the Rubber Duck continues the story of the convoy as it leaves the United States and travels around the world, through Britain, France, West and East Germany, the USSR, Japan, and Australia.
  • A number of Convoy parodies appeared throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s.
  • The lyrics to the movie version of convoy are different to those of the single.
  • Convoy lyrics.

convoy – c. w. mccall – 1975 – video

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UK Christmas #1’s

December 23, 2018

Step_Into_ChristmasAnyone who has ever watched the movie Love Actually will know the prestige that is accorded the single to top the UK singles chart on Christmas Day. According to that font of all knowledge – Wiki – “In the United Kingdom, Christmas number ones are singles that are top of the UK Singles Chart in the week in which Christmas Day falls. Novelty songs, charity songs or songs with a Christmas theme have regularly been at the top of Christmas charts. Traditionally the volume of record sales in the UK peaks at Christmas, with the Christmas number one being considered especially prestigious, more so than any other time of year. Many of the Christmas number ones were also the best-selling song of the year.

Not every #1 Christmas single has a Christmas theme and there have been some interesting songs to top the charts.

 list of #1 christmas songs of the 70s

Year Artist Song Title Weeks at #1
1970 Dave Edmunds I Hear You Knocking 6
1971 Benny Hill Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West) 4
1972 Jimmy Osmond Long Haired Lover from Liverpool 5
1973 Slade Merry Xmas Everybody 5
1974 Mud Lonely This Christmas 4
1975 Queen Bohemian Rhapsody 9
1976 Johnny Mathis When a Child Is Born (Soleado) 3
1977 Wings Mull of Kintyre / Girls’ School 9
1978 Boney M. Mary’s Boy Child – Oh My Lord 4
1979 Pink Floyd Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) 5

do they know it’s christmas?

Over the years, charity songs have made the list on several occasions, the quintessential example being, Do They Know it’s Christmas?

Band Aid spent five weeks at #1 over Christmas 1984. Band Aid II repeated the feat for three weeks over Christmas 1989. Band Aid 20 took the song to #1 again in 2004 (four weeks).

Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody has made the #1 slot twice – in 1975 and again in 1991.

the beatles & the spice girls

The Beatles and the Spice Girls have both managed to score the #1 slot three years in a row;

The Beatles 1963 – 1965 with I Want to Hold Your Hand, I Feel Fine, and Day Tripper/We Can Work it Out.

The Spice Girls with 2 Become 1, Too Much, and Goodbye.

The Beatles had a fourth Christmas #1 in 1967 with Hello, Goodbye.

2018

This year’s #1 is, LadBaby with We Built This City.

christmas treat – step into christmas

Step into Christmas never made it to #1, peaking at #24 on the UK singles chart and #56 in the US. It made the UK charts again in 2017, peaking at #11.

Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and performed by Elton John, Step into Christmas was released as a stand-alone single in November 1973 – the B-side was Ho, Ho, Ho (Who’d Be a Turkey at Christmas).

Step into Christmas was later included as a bonus track on the 1995 remastered re-issue of the album Caribou and appears on various Christmas compilation albums.

Two versions of the song exist with different vocals.

In December 2018 the song was certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry for sales of 400,000 copies.

Step into Christmas lyrics.

step into Christmas – elton john – 1973 – video

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Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers – 1971

December 7, 2018

Aint no sunshine billOne of the most enduring Soul/R&B classics, Bill Withers’ 1971 smash, Ain’t No Sunshine.

bill withers fax

  • Born in West Virginia, USA, in 1938, Bill Withers was 32 before embarking on a musical career and, even then, he never fully immersed himself.
  • Bill was born with a stutter and said he felt it was difficult for him to fit in with his peers so, at the age of 18 he joined the US Navy where he served for nine years.
  • He left the navy in 1965, leaving his stutter behind. He moved to Los Angeles to embark on a career in singing and song writing. He worked a number of jobs while recording demo tapes and performing his songs in clubs in the evenings.
  • Famously, when Ain’t No Sunshine took off in the charts, he refused to resign from his day job believing that the music business was too fickle and his success may not last.
  • By 1985, Bill had effectively left the music business having recorded eight albums, two of which went gold; and 34 singles, including Lean On Me which reached #1 on the US and #18 on the UK singles charts. His last hit was in 1981, Just the Two of Us, with Grover Washington Jnr.
  • Bill fell out of love with the music industry in the mid-80s. He became frustrated by his record company dictating what he could and couldn’t release. He once talked about how frustrated he was as a professional musician when his record company would refuse to release what he considered good music, and yet they released an album by Mr T, an American actor.
  • In 1985, when his record deal ran out, he decided not to record or re-sign to a record label – this effectively ended his performing career. He has since stated that he does not miss touring and performing live and does not regret leaving music behind.

ain’t no sunshine fax

  • Ain’t No Sunshine was written and recorded by Bill Withers in 1971. It appeared on his album Just as I Am and was produced by Booker T. Jones. The song features some greats of the music industry, including, Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass guitar, Al Jackson, Jr. on drums and Stephen Stills on guitar.
  • Ain’t No Sunshine was the breakthrough hit for Bill, peaking at #3 on the US singles chart. It peaked at #40 on the UK singles chart but not until 2009, an incredible 38 years after its release.
  • Bill was 31 years old and working at a factory making toilet seats for 747s at the time he wrote the song. It is said that, when the song went gold, the record company presented Bill with a golden toilet, marking the start of his new career – he had, until that point continued his factory work.
  • Ain’t No Sunshine won the 1972 Grammy award for best R&B song.
  • In 1971, Michael Jackson covered the song for his debut album, Got to be There. In the UK, it was released as the third single from the album and peaked at #8 in September 1972.
  • Other artists to have success with the song include, The Rockmelons, Boris Gardiner and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
  • Ain’t No Sunshine lyrics.

ain’t no sunshine – bill withers -1971 – 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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Grandad – Clive Dunn – 1970

November 25, 2018

GrandadThey many not be popular now but novelty songs were regular features on the 70s hit-parade. It’s been a while since we had one on seventiesmusic – so here goes. This one not so well-known outside of the UK but a big hit back in 1971; Clive Dunn’s, Grandad.

 clive dunn fax

  • Clive Dunn was an English actor, comedian, artist, author, and singer best known for playing the role of the rather doddery Lance Corporal Jones in the BBC sitcom Dad’s Army, which ran for 80 episodes between 1968 and 1977.
  • After Clive’s drama training at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, in London, WWII broke out. Clive joined the army and served with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars. The unit fought during the German invasion of Greece but surrendered after fighting a rear-guard action near the Corinth canal. One of the four hundred men taken prisoner, Clive was held as a prisoner of war in Austria for four years. He remained in the army after the war ended, and was finally demobilised in 1947.
  • During his film and television career, Clive tended towards playing his trademark character, that of a doddery old man.
  • He was the unlikely singer of a #1 UK single in 1971 and subsequently released a number of other singles. His #1, Grandad, resulted in a children’s TV series, also called Grandad.
  • Clive was 92 when he died in Portugal in 2112.

grandad fax

  • Grandad was written by Herbie Flowers and Kenny Pickett, and released in November 1970, by Clive Dunn.
  • The story often retold has the song written specifically for Clive. While starring in the BBC sit-com Dad’s Army, Clive met bassist Herbie Flowers. On learning that Herbie was a songwriter, Clive challenged him to write a song for him. Grandad was the result.
  • Released in November 1970, Grandad reached #1 on the UK chart in January 1971 where it remained for three weeks, during which time Clive celebrated his 51st birthday. In all it spent 27 weeks on UK singles chart.
  • Clive appeared on Top of the Pops four times singing Grandad but never had another hit single.
  • He released an album which featured Grandad and its B-Side I play the Spoons. The album was titled Permission to Sing, Sir!, which referred to his character in Dad’s Army.
  • Grandad lyrics.

grandad – clive dunn – 1971 – video

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