Rockabilly Rebel – Matchbox – 1979

November 25, 2016

matchbox-rockabilly_rebel_sEnglish rockabilly band Matchbox – Major Matchbox in Australasia – formed in 1971 and still active.  Possibly their best known hit is ’79’s Rockabilly Rebel.

matchbox fax

  • Matchbox formed in Middlesex, England, in 1971.
  • Still active today, the band has had various line-ups but two, Jimmy Redhead and Fred Poke have remained throughout.  Steve Bloomfield, who wrote a number of their hit songs, has been with the band since 1976.
  • Matchbox appeared in the 1980 film Blue Suede Shoes which detailed the revival of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll music scene at the time.
  • Matchbox’s biggest hits include Rockabilly Rebel (1979), Midnite Dynamos (1980), and a cover version of The Crickets’ When You Ask About Love.  The latter was their only top five hit.
  • In Australasia, Matchbox was known as Major Matchbox because an Australian band had beaten them to the name.
  • In recent years the band has been playing live throughout Europe, especially in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Finland and Sweden.
  • In all, the band has released 11 albums, a number of those compilations.  Their last true studio album was Coming Home in 1998.  Their last single was from their 1982 album, Crossed Line – it was produced by Kirsty MacColl.

rockabilly rebel fax

  • Rockabilly Rebel was written by Steve Bloomfield and recorded by Matchbox.
  • It featured on the band’s self-titled 1979 album, Matchbox; Major Matchbox in Australasia.
  • Rockabilly Rebel peaked at #18 on the UK singles chart.
  • Rockabilly Rebel lyrics.

rockabilly rebel – matchbox – 1979 – video

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Leon Russell 1942 – 2016

November 14, 2016

leon-russellLeon Russell died in his sleep in at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, on November 13, 2016, at the age of 74, his wife said in a statement on his website. In 2010, he underwent surgery to stop leaking brain fluid, and he suffered a heart attack in July 2016. He was recovering from heart surgery.

Elton John, who had once been Russell’s opening act, said “He was my biggest influence as a piano player, a singer and a songwriter.”  On hearing of Russell’s death, he said “My darling Leon Russell passed away last night. He was a mentor, inspiration and so kind to me.”

Click here to read the New York Times press release.


Leonard Cohen – 1934 – 2016

November 11, 2016

leonardLeonard Cohen has passed away, aged 82.  Read Rolling Stone Magazine here

Can’t Get Enough – Bad Company – 1974

November 6, 2016

Bcant-get-enough-bad-company-1974-single-coverad Company, an English band with a great pedigree had their biggest hit in 1974 with their first single, Can’t Get Enough.

bad company fax

  • When English band Free split in 1973, singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke enlisted the talents of Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs and King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell to create Bad Company.
  • Add the management talents of Led Zeppelin manager, Peter Grant, and you got a winning combination.
  • Bad Company released 12 albums in all, the last in 1996.  The first three, released in ’73, ’74, and ’75 all made it into the top five in both the UK and US album charts.
  • Their best known singles, Can’t Get Enough, Good Lovin’ Gone Bad, and Feel Like Makin’ Love, remain on high rotate on classic rock radio stations across the world today.
  • Over the decades the band has gone through a number of incarnations and a number of hiatus’s.  The latest line-up, since 2008, features the original band members excepting Boz Burrell.  Although, it was recently announced that, for their latest tour (supporting Joe Walsh) Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes would be standing in for Mick Ralphs.

can’t get enough fax

  • Can’t Get Enough was written by Mick Ralphs.
  • It was recorded in November 1973 and released in August 1974 on Bad Company, the band’s second album.
  • Can’t Get Enough is Bad Company’s biggest hit reaching #5 on the US charts and #15 in the UK.
  • It is, arguably, the band’s most popular song, although Feel Like Making Love must come a close second.
  • Can’t Get Enough lyrics.

can’t get enough – bad company – 1974 – video

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Without You – Harry Nilsson – 1971

October 14, 2016

nilsson-without-you-1971As great as Harry Nilsson was at song writing, he didn’t write the two hits he’s best known for, Everybody’s Talkin’ and, this week’s song, Without You.

harry nilsson fax

  • Harry Edward Nilsson III is usually known simply as Nilsson.
  • Born in Brooklyn in 1941, he became one of the 70s great singer-songwriters.
  • nilsson-1Nilsson’s grandparents were circus performers.  His father left his home when he was very young and he had an upbringing characterised by poverty.  Because of the poor financial situation of his family, he started work as a young teen.  He worked initially at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles. When he theatre closed in 1960, he applied for a job at a bank, falsely claiming he was a high school graduate on his application (he only completed ninth grade).  He had an aptitude for computers, however.  Banks were just beginning to use computers and so good was he at his job that, even after uncovering his deception regarding being a high school graduate, the bank retained him.  He worked on bank computers at night, and in the daytime pursued his song writing and singing career.  By the mid-60s, he’d worked with Phil Spector and Little Richard, and had songs Glen Campbell, Fred Astaire, The Shangri-Las, The Yardbirds, and others.  Despite his growing success, Nilsson remained on the night shift at the bank.
  • nilsson-3Of interest is that Nilsson achieves his significant commercial success without ever performing major public concerts or undertaking regular tours.
  • Nilsson is best known for singles Everybody’s Talkin’ (1969), Without You (1971), and Coconut (1972).  Only the latter was actually written by Nilsson.  Nilsson also wrote Three Dog Night’s hit One (1968) and the Monkees’ hit, Cuddly Toy.
  • Nilsson released 16 albums, including four soundtracks.
  • Nilsson won two Grammy Awards; Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Male in 1970 for Everybody’s Talkin’, from the movie Midnight Cowboy, and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male in 1973 for Without You.
  • In 2015, he was ranked at #62 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.

nilsson trivia

  • In the 70s, Nilsson lived at Flat 12, 9 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London – an apartment he often lent to friends while he was away.  During one of his absences, Cass Elliot stayed at the flat while she was performing at the London Palladium.  It was in Nilsson’s apartment that Cass died on July 29, 1974.
  • Just over four years later, The Who‘s drummer Keith Moon was staying in the apartment when he died.
  • Both singers were aged 32.  Nilsson, distraught over another friend’s death in his apartment, sold it to Pete Townshend.

without you fax

  • nilsson-2Without You  was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger and first released on their 1970 album No Dice.
  • Without You has been recorded by over 180 artists – two artists having hit records with it; Harry Nilsson (1971) and Mariah Carey (1994)
  • Paul McCartney once described Without You as as “the killer song of all time”.
  • In 1972, writers Ham and Evans received the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
  • Hilsson’s version spent five weeks at #1 in the UK.  Mariah Carey’s version was based on Nilsson’s version and topped the charts in the UK and peaked at #3 in the US.
  • Without You lyrics.

without you – nilsson – 1971

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Moviestar – Harpo – 1975

September 30, 2016

harpo-moviestar-1975Who remembers this one? Probably not many of us – but it was a hit back in 1975; Harpo’s groovy,  Moviestar.

harpo fax

  • Jan Harpo Torsten Svensson was born in Stockholm, Sweden and began his entertainment career as an actor in children’s theatre.
  • To kill time while touring, he began to write songs – to cut the long story short, in 1972, he signed a recording contract with Stig Anderson who assigned him to in-house record producers, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus aka ABBA.
  • harpo-1Benny and Björn were contracted to help Harpo with an album of his children’s songs in Swedish.  It all fell apart and Stig released Harpo from the contract.
  • Harpo almost immediately signed with EMI releasing two singles in 1973 which both became smash hits on the Swedish singles charts.
  • A number of other songs followed, one, Moviestar, achieved hit status throughout Europe and further afield.
  • In 1978, Harpo released the previously planned children’s album and an album of his favourite rock and roll songs; both in Swedish.
  • By 1980, he was ready for mainstream pop again.  Harpo signed to Mickie Most’s label, RAK and released one single, She Loves It Too.
  • Combining horse training with his musical career, Harpo had an accident in 1980. Starter, one of his horses, kicked Harpo in the face several times resulting in him losing the sense of smell and the sight in one eye. To show there were no hard feelings, Harpo dedicated his next album to his horse, Starter.
  • Harpo continued to record and produce music throughout the 80s and 90s.  Even as recently as 2005, he released an album of new material.
  • Harpo continues to tour today and remains popular in Germany.

moviestar fax

  • harpo-2Moviestar was written and performed by Swedish pop singer Harpo.
  • It was recorded on 27 February 1975, and features Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida) from ABBA on backing vocals.
  • Moviestar reached #1 on the Swedish charts and #24 on the UK charts.  It also topped the charts in Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
  • In July 1976, a Swedish language version of Moviestar was released.  It also reached #1.
  • The song has been covered by a number of little known bands and was used on the Swedish TV Channel TV4 the mid-90s for Nissan commercials.
  • Moviestar lyrics.

moviestar –harpo – 1975 – video

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I Want You To Want Me – Cheap Trick – 1977 & 1979

September 23, 2016

cheap-trick-i-want-you-to-want-me-1977Perhaps Cheap Trick’s best known song, I Want You To Want Me didn’t even tickle the charts first time around—then came the live version (1979), and a #7 hit in the US and #29 in the UK. 

cheap trick fax

  • Tom Petersson, Randy “Xeno” Hogan (replaced very early on by Robin Zander) and Bun E. Carlos formed Cheap Trick in Rockford, Illinois back in the 60s.  After going through several band names, the boys went to a Slade concert.  Tom noted that the band used “every cheap trick in the book” as part of their act.  That became the band’s new name – one which has been used since 1973 through to today.
  • Tcheap-trick-1he band’s first album, Cheap Trick, was released in early 1977.  Two more followed and, while acclaimed by fans, had little real success in the US with none of them making it to the Top 40.
  • In Japan it was a different story, however.  All three albums went gold and, when Cheap Trick toured there for the first time in April 1978, their reception was reminiscent of Beatlemania.  While in Japan, the band recorded two concerts and Cheap Trick at Budokan was born.  Initially intended for release in Japan only, it was released in the US in 1979 and launched the band into international stardom—the album went triple platinum in the US.
  • The biggest hit from the album was I Want You to Want Me.  It had previously been released on the album, In Color.
  • The band’s next studio album, Dream Police, was a hit, as was the title track.
  • By 1980, Cheap Trick was headlining arenas and engaged George Martin to produce their album All Shook Up – another gold record.
  • Band members recorded tracks for John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s album Double Fantasy – their cuts were never used on the original album with John favouring a lighter sound. They can be found on bootlegs and various anthologies, however.
  • After four decades, Cheap Trick continues to tour and can now lay claim to over 5,000 live

i want you to want me fax

  • Written by Rick Nielsen, I Want You to Want Me first appeared on Cheap Tricks second album In Color.  Released in 1977, it was the first single from that album, and it did not chart in the United States.
  • I Want You to Want Me was, however a #1 single in Japan paving the way for Cheap Trick’s Budokan concerts and their subsequent international success.
  • The live version of I Want You to Want Me, released in 1979, became Cheap Trick’s biggest selling single, reaching #7 US charts. It was also the band’s highest charting UK single, peaking at #29.
  • Bass player Tom says:

My recollection is that Rick did that song as a bit of a joke, because at the time when we had done that song there was a lot of pop music on the radio—ABBA, and all sorts of things, disco, Rick thought, ‘I’m just going to do an over-the-top pop song. I just want to do one that’s so silly—total pop—and then we’ll do a heavy version of it.’ He didn’t know what was going to happen with it. The idea was to have it like a heavy metal pop song. Cheap Trick doing ABBA—except a very heavy version.

  • I Want You To Want Me has been covered by an eclectic mix of artists including: Dwight Yoakam, Lindsay Lohan, and Chris Isaak.

I Want You To Want Me lyrics.

i want you to want me – cheap trick – 1977 – video

i want you to want me – cheap trick – 1979 at the budokan – video

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