September – Earth, Wind & Fire – 1978

August 31, 2016

EWF September 1978Originally The Salty Peppers, Maurice White’s band, Earth, Wind & Fire went on to huge success which included the 1978 hit, September

 earth, wind & fire fax

  • Rolling Stone Magazine declared Earth, Wind & Fire to have “changed the sound of black pop”.
  • Founded in Chicago in 1971 by Maurice White, Earth, Wind & Fire grew out of a previous band with the very uncool name of The Salty Peppers.
  • EWF 1aOther band members included Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson, Larry Dunn, Al McKay and Andrew Woolfolk.
  • Earth, Wind & Fire has received 20 Grammy nominations, winning six awards.  Maurice and Philip have won Grammys as individuals.  The band has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • With over 100 million records sold, the band is one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.
  • But it doesn’t stop there, incredibly, five band members, Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Larry Dunn and Al McKay, have been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  • Throughout the ‘70s and early ‘80s, Earth, Wind & Fire had a number of funk/disco hits, including: Shining Star, Devotion, Can’t Hide Love, September, Boogie Wonderland, and After the Love Has Gone.  Despite a plethora of hits, the band hit the #1 spot on the US singles charts only once – with Shining Star in 1974.  September was their highest charting UK hit (#3).
  • Earth, Wind & Fire have influence many artists with three in particular, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, and Dionne Warwick, heaping praise on the band.
  • Maurice passed away in February 2016 but the band continues to perform with Philip Bailey still leading the vocals (which he previously shared with Maurice).EWF 2

earth, wind & fire trivia

  • Earth, Wind & Fire was the first African-American act to sell out Madison Square Garden.
  • President Barack Obama invited Earth, Wind & Fire to perform at the White House for the first social event of his administration.

september fax

  • SEWF 1eptember was released as a single by Earth, Wind & Fire on November 18, 1978. 
  • It was written by Earth, Wind & Fire members, Maurice White, Al McKay, and Allee Willis.
  • It was recorded during the I Am sessions and featured on the band’s The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1.
  • September reached #1 on the US R&B chart, #8 on the US singles chart, and #3 on the UK singles chart.
  • The song was also later released as December.  Chord changes andmelody remained identical, with the lyrics re-written for the “…Twenty-fifth of December…”
  • September has been covered and sampled by numerous artists and appeared in dozens of movies and television programmes.
  • September lyrics.

september – earth, wind & fire – 1978 – video


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Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad – Meat Loaf – 1977

August 20, 2016

Meat Loaf Two out of Three Ain't Bad coverGreat singer – great song – Meat Loaf’s 1977 hit, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.

 meat loaf fax

  • With over 80 million records sold, Michael Lee Aday is one of the highest selling music artists of all time.
  • Born in Dallas, Texas, Michael is better known as Meat Loaf.  Meat Loaf’s music career began in Los Angeles with his band, Meat Loaf Soul, named after his mother’s favourite dinner.  Their first gig was in Huntington Beach opening for Van Morrison’s band, Them.
  • Meat Loaf 2By the 1970s, Meat Loaf had gone solo although his first album was on a Motown subsidiary label as a duet with Shaun “Stoney” Murphy.  The album’s production team wrote and selected the songs while Meat Loaf and Stoney were invited to lay down their vocals, nothing more.  The album, titled Stoney & Meatloaf (Meatloaf being shown as one word), was released in 1971 and left the charts untouched.
  • Then came the trilogy of Bat Out of Hell albums.  Bat Out of Hell, Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, and Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose.  The first sold more than 43 million copies worldwide and continues, 40 years after its release, to sell around 200,000 copies each year.  It stayed on the charts for a phenomenal nine years.
  • Meat Loaf won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for the song I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).  That song being his only #1 single, hitting the top of the charts in over ten countries around the world, including USA and UK.
  • Alongside his singing career, Meat Loaf has appeared in over 50 movies and television shows.
  • Meat Loaf 3It was in the early 1970s while touring with the musical Hair that Meat Loaf auditioned for a musical named, More Than You Deserve, that he met his future collaborator Jim Steinman.  Jim wrote most the material for the Bat Out of Hell trilogy.  He also wrote or co-wrote hit songs for: Bonnie Tyler (Total Eclipse of the Heart), Air Supply (Making Love Out of Nothing at All), and Boyzone, No Matter What.  Meat Loaf and Jim subsequently fell out and ceased working together.
  • Meat Loaf continues to perform – with varying reviews – today, although it is amazing that he’s lasted this long.  It’s said that he’s cheated death on numerous occasions, including: a serious car crash, being struck on the head with a shot during a shot put event, jumping off a stage during a concert and breaking both of his legs, and being afflicted with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, a heart condition.  In October 2006, his private jet had to make an emergency landing at Stansted Airport, London, after the plane’s landing gear failed.  In 2011, he fainted on stage in Pittsburgh; in June 2014, he collapsed while on stage in Edmonton – his vocal double track continuing while he lay unconscious on the stage.

Meat Loaf 1two out of three ain’t bad fax

  • Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad was written by Jim Steinman and recorded by Meat Loaf for his 1977 Bat Out of Hell album.
  • The song peaked at #11 on the US singles chart and 32 on the UK singles chart.  It earned a million-selling Gold single.
  • Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad was the final song written for Bat Out of Hell.  In 2003, Jim said of the song:

“I remember Mimi Kennedy [a cast member of Jim’s then-current musical Rhinegold] telling me, “Steiny, your stuff is so complicated. Can’t you write something simple?”  And while she was saying that the oldies station was on the radio and it was playing that old Elvis song, ‘I Want You, I Need,’ whatever it was. ‘I Want You, I Need You, I Love You’, you know. I just started singing my own song but it was ‘I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.’ She said, “Why don’t you write something simple like that, ‘I want you, I need you, I love you’?” I said, “Well I’ll try.” I don’t try to make them complicated. I remember going home and I tried so hard but the best I could do was: I want you, I need you but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you, don’t be sad, ’cause two out of three ain’t bad. So it was still a twist but it was my closest to a simple song, and one Elvis could have done.”

  • Two versions of the song exist; one timed at around 5:27 and one at around 3:50.
  • Todd Rundgren produced the Bat Out Of Hell album. On this song, he used the other three members of his band Utopia: Kasim Sulton on bass, Willie Wilcox on drums, and Roger Powell on synthesizer. Todd played guitar and sang BVs on this one.
  • Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad lyrics.

two out of three ain’t bad – meat loaf – 1977 – video

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Take Me to the River – Talking Heads – 1978

August 11, 2016

Talking Heads Take Me to The RiverFor all their brilliance, Talking Heads only once cracked the top ten singles charts in the US and the UK.  The former, in 1983 with Burning Down the House, the latter in 1985 with Road to Nowhere.  Take Me to the River was their second top 100 US hit, a follow-up to 1977’s Psycho Killer. 

talking heads fax

  • Formed in New York in 1977, Talking Heads were pioneers of the New Wave music scene.
  • Talking Heads In Concert

    HOLLYWOOD, CA – CIRCA 1980s: (From L to R) Jerry Harrison, David Byrne, Chris Frantz, and Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads perform at a concert circa the early-1980s in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

    The band was made up of Chris Frantz (drums), Tina Weymouth (bass), Jerry Harrison (keyboards, guitar), and, of course, the amazing David Byrne (lead vocals, guitar).

  • The band produced eight studio albums, two live albums, nine compilation albums, one remix album, one video album, thirty-one singles and fifteen music videos.
  • Four of the band’s albums appeared on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and three of their songs (“Psycho Killer”, “Life During Wartime”, and “Once in a Lifetime”) were included among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll – that’s pretty good going!
  • Talking Heads officially disbanded in 1991, before Tina, Chris, and Jerry reunited in 1996 for a one-off album called No Talking, Just Head under the name The Heads in 1996.  Without David as vocalist, the band commandeered the vocal talents of a number of artists including, Debbie Harry, Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes), Michael Hutchence, and Maria McKee.
  • Talking Heads 3These days, David continues his solo career, Jerry is a record producer with work by bands such as the Violent Femmes’, the Fine Young Cannibals, General Public, Crash Test Dummies, and No Doubt to his credit.  Chris and Tina married in 1977 and have been recording as Tom Tom Club since 1981.
  • In 2002, Talking Heads was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  At the ceremony they played, Life During Wartime, Psycho Killer and Burning Down the House.

take me to the river fax

  • For all the great songs written by Talking Heads, Take Me to the River is not one of them.  Take Me to the River was written in 1974 by Al Green and his guitarist Mabon  Hodges.
  • At least three well-known versions exist; Al Green, Syl Johnson and Talking Heads all had hits with the song.  Al Green’s version was, in 2004, ranked #117 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • Talking Heads’ version peaked at #28 on the US charts.
  • In 2000, the tune was used in the popular animatronic singing toy Big Mouth Billy Bass. According to Mabon Hodges, he made more money in royalties from that toy than from any previous versions.
  • Take Me to the River lyrics.

take me to the river – talking heads – 1974 – video

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Indiana Wants Me – R. Dean Taylor – 1970

July 23, 2016

R. Dean Taylor Indiana Wants Me 1971Quite an unlikely Motown artist/producer, Canadian and white, R. Dean Taylor was once described as “one of the most underrated acts ever to record under the Motown aegis.”  R. Dean had two big hits – I Gotta See Jane (1968) and 1970’s Indiana Wants Me.

r. dean taylor fax

  • Richard Dean Taylor was born in Toronto, Canada back in 1939.  He began his music career in 1961 and still works in the music business today.
  • R. Dean Taylor 1R. Dean in the US and UK for his three hits, Indiana Wants Me, Gotta See Jane (later covered by Golden Earring, and There’s a Ghost in My House.
  • Taylor began his career in Toronto before moving to Detroit in 1964, where he was hired by Motown Records as a songwriter and recording artist.
  • R. Dean’s first Motown single (on their V.I.P. label), Let’s Go Somewhere was Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, who had already produced five No. 1 scoring songs for The Supremes. In 1968, Taylor’s self-produced single Gotta See Jane, (co-written with Brian Holland), hit #2 on the UK singles chart. 
  • In the late 60s and early 70s, R. Dean found success as a Motown songwriter.  As part of the Motown writing and production team known as The Clan he wrote material for Diana Ross & the Supremes (Love Child), The Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Four Tops, Jackie DeShannon, Marvin Gaye, La Toya Jackson, Graham Parker and Rick Danko.
  • In 1970, R. Dean signed to Motown’s subsidiary Rare Earth, which was dedicated to Caucasian artists.
  • R. Dean Taylor 2His first Rare Earth single, Indiana Wants Me, became a #1 hit in the US and Canada.
  • After a break from the music industry, R. Dean attempted a comeback during the early 1980s but found little success.
  • He owns his own record company, Jane Records.

indiana wants me fax

  • Indiana Wants Me was written and recorded by Canadian singer-songwriter R. Dean Taylor.
  • R. Dean wrote Indiana Wants Me after watching the movie Bonnie and Clyde.
  • The single features a police siren at the beginning.  Thes was removed from some copies supplied to radio stations after complaints that drivers hearing the song on the radio had mistakenly pulled over, thinking that the sounds were real.
  • Released in August 1970, Indiana Wants Me was a #1 hit in both the US and Canada.  It was R. Dean’s only US hit and his biggest hit in the UK where it peaked at #2 in May 1971.
  • Indiana Wants Me lyrics.

indiana wants me – r. dean taylor – 1971 – video

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Locomotive Breath – Jethro Tull – 1971

July 19, 2016

 Jethro Tull Locomotive Breath 1971One of my favourite albums back in boyhood days was Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick – a concept album that was written and designed to parody the plethora of concept albums that were in vogue at the time.  Not often you hear Thick as a Brick on the radio but I did hear two great Jethro Tull tracks this week – Locomotive Breath and Living in the Past!  The former from 1971’s fabulous Aqualung; the latter from 1969’s, Living in the Past album.  Living in the Past was released and re-released at least four times, 1969, 1975, 1985, and then in 1993 (a rather more up tempo version dubbed, Living in the (Slightly More Recent) Past).

Jethro Tull 1jethro tull fax

  • Active from 1967 through until 2012, Jethro Tull was a rock band formed in Bedfordshire, England.
  • Starting out as a blues band, Jethro Tull’s sound became unique when they began to meld elements of British folk music with hard rock characterised by the flute of lead vocalist Ian Anderson.  Other founding members were, guitarist Mick Abrahams (who, wanting to move in a hard rock direction, was replaced for a few weeks by Tony Iommi who formed Black Sabbath and was subsequently replaced by the fabulous Martin Barre), keyboardist John O’Hara, drummer Clive Bunker, and bassist Glenn Cornick.
  • Within two years of forming, Jethro Tull hit #1 on the UK album chart with Stand Up (1969) – a blues album not reflective of their later style.
  • In terms of success Jethro Tull made it! Over 60 million albums sold, including 11 gold and five platinum albums.
  • The band continued to tour until late 2011 although their last recordings were from 2003.  In 2014,Ian announced that the band was “finished.”

jethro tull trivia

  • Jethro Tull 2Originally playing a mixture of blues and Motown covers, the band initially had trouble getting repeat bookings so they took to changing their name frequently so clubs would book them without realising who they were.  Names used included, Navy Blue, Ian Henderson’s Bag o’ Nails, and Candy Coloured Rain.  Band names were invented by their booking agents’ staff, one of whom, a history enthusiast, eventually christened them Jethro Tull after the 18th century agriculturist. The name stuck because they happened to be using it the first time a club manager liked their show enough to invite them to return!

locomotive breath fax

  • Recorded between December 1970 and February 1971, Locomotive Breath first appeared on Jethro Tull’s 1971 album, Aqualung.
  • Locomotive Breath didn’t enter the charts until 1976 peaking at #62 on the US singles chart – despite that, it remained one of the band’s most popular live tracks.
  • Locomotive Breath has a long, rather wonderful, bluesy piano introduction and an equally wonderful flute solo halfway through.
  • Ian Anderson wrote Locomotive Breath endeavouring to create music that resembles a train chugging along.  The term “locomotive breath” refers to the steam exhaust from a steam locomotive with the song employing the imagery of an impending and unavoidable train wreck as an allegorical portrayal of a man’s life falling apart.
  • Locomotive Breath has been covered a number of times, notably by Styx on their 2005 album Big Bang Theory. 
  • A Swedish rock band, formed in 1995 by Janne Stark, has taken its name from the song.
  • Locomotive Breath lyrics.

locomotive breath – jethro tull – 1971 – video

living in the (slightly more recent) past – jethro tull – 1993

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The Logical Song – Supertramp – 1979

July 8, 2016

Supertramp The Logical Song 1979A difficult band to label, chocked full of keyboards and saxophones – Supertramp were one of the distinctive sounding bands of the 70s and 80s.  More an album band than a single band, they did find success with their 1979 single, The Logical Song.

supertramp fax

  • Supertramp formed in 1969 and were originally known as Daddy.  By the time of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, they’d changed their name to Supertramp – a name inspired by the William Henry Davies book, The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp.
  • Pivotal to the band were founders Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson – not to mention the Wurlitzer electric piano and saxophone.
  • Supertramp 1After half a decade or so of mainstream progressive rock, the mid-70s saw Supertramp incorporating more radio-friendly aspects into their work – it resulted in 1979’s Breakfast in America, which has sold more than 20 million copies.
  • Supertramp was better known for their albums than their singles; Succesful albums included, Even the Quietest Moments, Crisis? What Crisis, and Breakfast in America ( a #1 album in both the US and UK).
  • Supertramp’s singles, though recognisable and still receiving airplay today, didn’t fare so well on the charts.  Most 70s fans will, however, remember Roger’s songs, Give a Little Bit, The Logical Song, Take the Long Way Home, Dreamer, and It’s Raining Again, and Rick’s songs, Bloody Well Right, Goodbye Stranger, and “Cannonball.
  • Supertramp continue to tour today but without Roger – he left in 1983 and tours today with his Breakfast in America tour.
  • In August 2015, Supertramp was forced to cancel their current tour when Rick was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.  He is currently undergoing treatment.

Supertramp 2roger hodgson trivia

  • Before Supertramp, Roger was in band Argosy; a band with a short lifespan which featured the talents of one Reginald Dwight.

the logical song fax

  • The Logical Song was written by Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson.  It is autobiographical from his experience of ten years at boarding school.
  • Released as a single in March 1979, The Logical Song was one of four singles taken from Supertramp’s sixth album, Breakfast in America.
  • The Logical Song is Supertramp’s biggest chart hit in both the US (peaking at #6) and the UK (peaking at #7).
  • In 2001, German techno band Scooter released the song as, Ramp! (The Logical Song).  It reached #1 in several European countries and Australia.
  • The Logical Song appeared in The Simpsons episode I Married Marge, and the soundtrack of the film Magnolia.
  • The Logical Song won the 1979 Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
  • The Logical Song lyrics.

the logical song – supertramp – 1979 – video

ramp! the logical song – scooter – 2001 – video

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Come and Get Your Love – Redbone – 1974

July 3, 2016

Redbone Come and Get Your Love 1974The first Native American band to have a #1 hit either at home or internationally! Redbone’s best known hit, Come and Get Your Love, peaked at #5 on the US charts in 1974.

redbone fax

  • Redbone was formed in 1969 by brothers Pat and Lolly Vasquez-Vegas and became the first Native American band to have a #1 single in the US and internationally – their first single The Witch Queen of New Orleans topped the charts in Belgium in 1971.
  • The brother’s music career began with Pat winning a singing contest sponsored by Coca-Cola.  With it came a recording contract.
  • redbone 1The brothers moved to LA, formed their band and began playing in clubs around Hollywood and Sunset Blvd.  They worked hard writing material and playing guitar and bass on records by some familiar 60s and 70s icons such as, Tina Turner, Sonny & Cher, James Brown, Little Richard, and Elvis.
  • Peter DePoe and Robert Anthony Avila (aka Tony Bellamy) joined the band and they signed to Epic Records.
  • Pat always said it was Jimi Hendrix – himself part Cherokee – who inspired them to form an all-Native American band.  Meanwhile, Jimi once said Lolly was his favourite guitar player, and Pat his favourite bass player!  That’s pretty high praise.  Jimi also cited the Vegas brothers as his greatest musical influence!!
  • Redbone is cajun term for a mixed race person.
  • Redbone released their first album – Redbone – in 1970.  By 1977, they had produced seven albums and achieved five hit singles, including the #5 hit, Come and Get Your Love.
  • Redbone 2In 2008, Redbone was inducted into the Native American Music Association Hall of Fame.  Then, in 2013, inducted into the NY Smithsonian.  In 2014, Pat was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement “Legend” Award from the West Coast American Indian Music Awards.
  • Tony died in 2009 and Lolly died in 2010.  Pat continues to tour as Redbone using an array of musicians.

come and get your love fax

  • Come and Get Your Love was written by Lolly Vegas and featured on the 1973 album Wovoka by Native American band Redbone.
  • Come and Get Your Love peaked at #5 on the US singles chart in April 1974, spending 18 weeks in the Top 40 – it was the 4th most popular song of 1974.
  • It is Redbone’s highest charting song.
  • Come and Get Your Love exists in two versions; the shorter radio version and a longer version, with an introductory slow part, plus a longer repeated coda.  The song also features the use of an electric sitar.
  • In 1995, German band Real McCoy released a cover version.  It peaked at #19 on the US singles chart and #18 on the UK charts
  • Cyndi Lauper samples the main hook of Come and Get Your Love on her remix of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun which features on the soundtrack to the movie To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar.
  • Other movies to use Come and Get Your Love include: Dance Me Outside, Dick, and Guardians of the Galaxy.  It is the opening theme for Netflix’s animated-comedy series F Is for Family and featured in Sky UK’s advertisement for their superfast fibre broadband.
  • Come and Get Your Love lyrics.

come and get your love – redbone – 1974 – video – short version

come and get your love – redbone – 1974 – video – long version

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