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.

faces fax

  • 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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I Can Help – Billy Swan – 1974

September 15, 2017

Billy Swan, I can Help 1974Remember this one? A simple rockabilly number that topped the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the US and Canadian country charts in 1974 – Billy Swan’s, I Can Help.

billy swan fax

  • Born in Missouri, USA, Billy Swan is one of those musicians whose life has been music.
  • Billy has played drums, piano and guitar, since he was a child and has been writing songs since back then too.
  • Clyde McPhatter gave Billy his first big break by recording one of Billy’s songs – Lover Please. It made it to #7 on the US charts.
  • That was back in 1962. Billy moved to Memphis to work on his music; he even worked on Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate for a while.  All the time he was improving his song writing skills and had his tunes recorded by artists like Conway Twitty, and Waylon Jennings.
  • By 1969, he was also producing records – he produced Tony Joe White’s Top Ten hit Polk Salad Annie.
  • A stint as Kris Kristofferson’s bass player followed before signing his own recording deal with Monument Records.
  • Billy’s first album included the title song I Can Help. It was a big hit, destined to become (like has happened to so many stars) his only top ten song.  Five albums and 18 singles followed, but none saw anything like the success of I Can Help.
  • Throughout the 70s and early 80s, Billy supplemented his solo career by continuing to tour as a member of Kristofferson’s band. He also recorded with Randy Meisner of The Eagles.
  • Today, Billy still makes a living as a backing singer and session musician.

i can help fax

  • I Can Help was written by Billy Swan and first appeared as the title track of his first album, released in July 1974.
  • The song hit #1 in around 15 countries across the globe including #1 in US and Canada, and #6 in the UK.
  • I Can Help was Billy’s only major hit single, although he had success as a songwriter for other artists and as a session musician.
  • I Can Help was recorded in just two takes (without overdubs) using an RMI organ that Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge had bought for Billy as a wedding gift.
  • Artists to cover this song included, Elvis Presley (on his 1975 album, Today), and Shakin’ Stevens (1994). Ringo Starr recorded I Can Help, but it was never released.
  • I Can Help appears in the moviesThor and Zootopia.
  • While the single version of the song is under three minutes long, the album version extends to just over 4 minutes, thanks to an organ solo ending.
  • I Can Help lyrics.

i can help – billy swan – 1974

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Walter Becker (1950 – 2017)

September 4, 2017

Walter Becker

Walter Becker, legendary guitarist, songwriter, and co-founder of Steely Dan passed away on September 3, 2017. 

Steely Dan bandmate, Donald Fagen, issued a memorial letter praising Walter’s talent and remarking that he was,

…smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter… He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny.

 Donald also said,

I intend to keep the music we created together alive.

 Read the full Rolling Stone obituary here.

 steely dan – my old school – 1973 – video

steely dan – fm (no static at all) – 1978 – video


Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) – Looking Glass – 1972

August 28, 2017

Brandy_-_Looking_GlassI love this song – one of the finest narrative songs around – Looking Glass and their 1972 hit, Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl).

looking glass fax

  • Elliot Lurie and Larry Gonsky formed the band Looking Glass back in 1969 while they were students at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
  • At the end of college, the band broke up but Elliot and Larry recruited Jeff Grob (drums) and
  • Pieter Sweval (bass) to create the more successful quartet that went on to produce the wonderful Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl).
  • Looking Glass released just two albums; Looking Glass (1972) and Subway Serenade (1973). Two singles were released from their first album; one (Golden Rainbow) didn’t even dent the charts while the second (Brandy), went straight to #1 in the US and #51 in the UK!  Their second album featured the single Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne.  It peaked at #33 on the US charts.
  • By 1974, the Looking Glass dream was over. Elliot left to pursue a solo career.  The remaining band members found a replacement and changed their name to Fallen Angels, then Starz.
  • Starz is a heavy metal band – believe it or not – and still exists today performing to a cult following around the New Jersey area.

brandy (you’re a fine girl) fax

  • Released on May 18, 1972, Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) was written by Elliot Lurie and recorded by his band, Looking Glass. It featured on their debut album Looking Glass.
  • Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) reached #1 on the US singles chart and #51 on the UK charts.
  • Barry Manilow’s 1974 hit Mandy was originally titled Brandy. Also released in 1972 by Scott English; Barry changed the name when he covered the song to avoid confusion with Looking Glass’s monster hit.
  • Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) has been covered by Kenny Chesney, Ray Conniff and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
  • Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) lyrics.

brandy (you’re a fine girl) – looking glass – 1972 – video

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Harper Valley PTA – Jennie C. Riley – 1968

August 20, 2017

Harper Valley PTA - Jennie C. RileyOkay, not quite the seventies, but I heard this catchy little song the other day and couldn’t resist… Jennie C. Riley’s 1968 #1 hit, Harper Valley PTA.

jennie c. riley fax

  • Still performing today, as a 71 year old, Jennie C. Riley (born Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson), had her biggest hit with her debut single, Harper Valley PTA.
  • Since the late 70s, she has focused on gospel music.
  • Initially struggling to make any impact on the country music scene, a demo tape of Jennie C. found its way to the desk of record producer Shelby Singleton. He was endeavouring to establish his own own label, Plantation Records, and loved her sound.  Introducing Jennie C. to a Tom T. Hall demo-song (Harper Valley PTA), he produced one of the best-known country music songs of all time.
  • Jennie C. is credited with starting something of a revolution in the world of country music. She quickly became known as much for her sex appeal and beauty as for her music.  While most her contemporaries were keeping a wholesome image by wearing gingham dresses, Jennie C. adopted the typical fashion on the late-1960s by wearing a miniskirt and go-go boots on stage.  Jennie C. later announced that she felt uncomfortable with this sexy persona and reverted to more modest attire.

harper valley pta fax

  • Written by Tom T. Hall, Harper Valley PTA was a 1968 #1 US and Canadian hit for US country singer Jeannie C. Riley.
  • Harper Valley PTA sold a staggering six million copies as a single.
  • Harper Valley PTA saw Jennie C. become the first woman to top both the Billboard Hot 100 and the US Hot Country Singles charts with the same song, a feat that would go unrepeated until Dolly Parton‘s 1981 hit, 9 to 5.
  • It is said of Harper Valley PTA:

The country singer Margie Singleton asked Tom T. Hall to write her a song similar to Bobby Gentry’s Grammy-winning hit “Ode To Billie Joe”, which she had covered the previous year, and which Gentry wrote and recorded in 1967. The melody is essentially the same as that of the Gentry song, but Gentry seemingly was never informed or given any credit by Hall. After driving past a school called Harpeth Valley Elementary School in Bellevue, Tennessee, Hall noted the name and wrote “Harper Valley P.T.A.” about a fictional confrontation between a young widow Stella Johnson and a local PTA group who objected to her manner of dress, social drinking, and friendliness with town’s men folk. Jeannie C. Riley, who was working as a secretary in Nashville for Jerry Chesnut, got to hear the song and recorded it herself and it became a massive hit for her.

  • The song was later the inspiration for a 1978 motion picture and a short-lived 1981 television series, both starring Barbara Eden, playing the heroine of the song, Mrs. Johnson—who now had a first name, Stella.
  • Several other songs in the Harper Valley PTA album also told stories of some of the other characters from the song, including Mayor Harper, Widow Jones, and Shirley Thompson.
  • The classic Harper Valley PTA album cover shows a mini-dress-clad Riley—portraying Mrs. Johnson with PTA note in hand—standing beside a girl, who is portraying the teenage daughter of Mrs. Johnson.
  • Jeannie C.’s recording of Harper Valley PTA won a Grammy for the Best Country Vocal Performance, Female. It was also nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in the pop field.
  • Harper Valley PTA lyrics.

harper valley pta – jennie c. riley – 1968 -video

harper valley pta – jennie c. riley – 1968 – video from movie

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Must be Love – James Gang – 1973

August 15, 2017

Must be Love James Gang 1973The band that must hold the record for the number or metamorphoses! The James Gang were active from 1966 to 1977, then in 1991, then in 1996, then in 1998, then in 2001, then from 2005 to 2006, then in 2012. Perhaps their most memorable song was released in 1973 – Must be Love.

james gang fax

  • The James Gang formed in the US city of Cleveland, Ohio in 1966. Original members were,
  • Greg Grandillo: guitar, Ronnie Silverman: guitar, Tom Kriss: bass, percussion, vocals, Jimmy Fox: drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals, Phil Giallombardo: keyboards, vocals.
  • The band later featured the guitar skills, first of Joe Walsh of Eagles fame (1968–71, 1991–96, 1998, 2001, 2005, and 2006), then Tommy Bolin of Deep Purple fame (1973–74).
  • Between 1969 and 1976, the band released nine albums and ten singles, having moderate success. Two of their albums went Gold in the US.  None of their singles even cracked the top 50; the closest being Walk Away which peaked at #51 in 1971.

must be love fax

  • Must be Love first appeared on the James Gang’s sixth album, Bang which was released in September 1973.
  • Co-written by Tommy Bolin, the single, Must be Love peaked at #54 on the US singles chart.
  • Must be Love lyrics.

must be love – james gang – 1973 – video

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Glen Campbell (1936 – 2017)

August 9, 2017

Glen C 2Glen Travis Campbell (April 22, 1936– August 8, 2017) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, television host, and actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, and for hosting a music and comedy variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television, from January 1969 through June 1972.

During his 50 years in show business, Campbell released more than 70 albums. He sold 45 million records and accumulated 12 RIAA gold albums, four platinum albums, and one double-platinum album.

One of the greats passed away todayRead Rolling Stones Magazine’s article here.