In The Year 2525 – Zager and Evans – 1969

August 30, 2012

Zager and Evans’ hit, In The Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus), was #1 on the US singles chart on July 20th 1969, the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on and walked on the moon.

neil armstrong and the bomb

Yes, I know this song is not really from the 70s but it’s near enough; and it’s topical. They played it on the radio this week when announcing that Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon, had died.

Those days of the, so called, space race were interesting times. It was USA versus USSR. There was the promise of holidays on Mars and day trips to the moon and Earth travel by robotic hovercraft transport – in fact, robots were going to run everything and we would simply relax; meals were a pill, communication was telepathic and science made everything possible.

Conversely, there were those for whom none of that mattered because, they believed, we were doomed. The planet was winding down. We were going to die of starvation, thrist and manmade pollution. That’s providing no one “pushed the button first.

Into that era came Zager and Evans’, In The Year 2525.

if man is still alive…

Zager and Evans, or Denny and Rick as I prefer to call them, formed a musical duo in the late 1960s and charted only once – at #1.

It’s quite unusual for a recording artist, even a one-hit-wonder, to have a #1 hit and then never have another chart single. Zager and Evans achieved this in both the US and the UK.

They did release a follow-up single to In The Year 2525. It was called Mr Turnkey, and was about a rapist who nails his own wrist to the wall as punishment for his crime. Surprisingly, it failed to make the charts anywhere.

warning,warning

In The Year 2525 reflected the thinking of young people of their era. It warned of the dangers of technology and advancement. It portrayed a future in which the human race destroyed itself with its own technological and medical innovations.

in the year 2525 fax

  • In The Year 2525’s full name is In The Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus). Exordium and Terminus means Beginning and End, or the beginning of the end.
  • In The Year 2525 hit #1 on the US singles chart on July 12, 1969 and stayed there for six weeks. Rick had written it in 1964 and released it in 1968 but it wasn’t picked up by RCA Records until 1969.
  • The song opens with the words; “In the year 2525, If man is still alive, If woman can survive, They may find…”. Subsequent verses move forward 1010 years at a time from 2525 to 6565, giving disturbing predictions for each year. Then it jumps to 7510, 8510 and 9595 (which you would have found out if you listened to the song!).
  • Total sales of In The Year 2525 top ten million units!
  • In The Year 2525 appeared in the movie Alien 3 and has been covered by at least 60 artists in seven different languages – but, by no artist of note.

in the year 2525 – zager and evans – 1969 – video


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Cherry, Cherry – Neil Diamond – 1972

August 23, 2012

First released in 1966, Neil Diamond’s Cherry, Cherry is best remembered for its inclusion on the classic 1972  live album Hot August Night.

the greatest live album of the 70s?

So, could this be the greatest live album of the 70s? Neil Diamond’s Hot August Night has been on high rotation on the radio around these parts lately. It’s just been re-released to celebrate its 40th anniversary and the advertisements boldly proclaim it to be “the greatest live album of all time.”

That’s a bold claim.

what could be better?

I wonder if the hype is a little over the top?? Hot August Night is a good album but there were some great live albums in the 70s. Check these out:

Yep, I think many people would agree, this is not THE best live album of the 70s but it is, considering it’s Neil Diamond, a very good one.

neil singer-songwriter extraordinaire

Love him or hate him, and there are plenty in both camps, Neil has been successful. His career spans over five decades from the 1960s until the present day. Even before the turn of the century he’d sold over 115 million records worldwide. He’s the 3rd most successful adult contemporary artist ever on the US charts. Only Barbra Streisand and Elton John are ahead of him.

He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. He’s had eight #1 US singles: Cracklin Rosie, Song Sung Blue, Desiree, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Love on the Rocks, America, Yesterday’s Songs, and Heartlight.

There is no doubt in my mind, however, Hot August Night was a highpoint.

love him or hate him…?

I cannot make up my mind. Neil is something of an enigma. Suffice it to say, in my humble opinion, he’s written and sung (well, shouted) some great songs, (I’m a Believer, Solitary Man, Girl You’ll be a Woman Soon, Shilo) and some terrible songs, (Desiree, Forever in Blue Jeans, I am… I Said, with that terrible line,

“I am,” I said

To no one there

An no one heard at all

Not even the chair).

cherry, cherry fax

  • Cherry, Cherry was written, composed, and recorded by Neil Diamond, and first released in July 1966.
  • Cherry, Cherry was Neil’s first big hit reaching #6 on the US singles chart.
  • The release of the 1972 album Hot August Night saw Cherry, Cherry re-released. It peaked at #24.
  • Rolling Stone magazine called Cherry, Cherry “one of the greatest three-chord songs of all time.”
  • Two versions of Cherry, Cherry have been released. The most familiar is the 1966 version. A second version, with different lyrics, was released in June 1983 on the compilation album Classics: The Early Years.
  • In the original version there were no drums because it was intended as a demo, with hand claps providing the drum beat.
  • When the original became a hit, Neil’s songs were suddenly in demand. This led to The Monkees recording I’m A Believer which was the biggest hit of 1967.
  • Neil made his television debut performing this song on American Bandstand.

cherry, cherry – neil diamond – 1972 – video

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The Streak – Ray Stevens – 1974

August 16, 2012

The novelty song to beat all novelty songs, back in 1974 Ray Stevens’ The Streak hit #1 on the US, Canadian, UK and New Zealand singles charts.

an album or two

Ray Stevens has had an amazing career beginning in 1958 and, believe it or not, continuing through to this very day.  Yep, he’s still performing.

In that time he’s released an amazing 112 albums! Yep, 112 albums!! The first was 1,837 Seconds of Humour in 1962, the latest Encyclopaedia of Recorded Comedy Music in 2012. But wait, an astounding 33 of those were greatest hits compilations.

whichever way you look at it…

Ray has certainly been prolific. Born in 1939, the American singer signed his first recording contract when he was 16 years old and has had hits across several genres of music in the years since.

awards galore!

Ray’s been nominated for 11 Grammy awards and has won twice. The second was in 1975, for the arrangement of his country and western version of the jazz standard Misty.

The first was rather interesting because the song won two awards, one each for different artists.  It was 1971 and Everything Is Beautiful won the award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for Ray and the award for Best Inspirational Performance for Jake Hess.

Ray in an inductee of the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

And, check out some of his other awards…

  • 1969: Gold Single — “Gitarzan”
  • 1970: Gold Single — “Everything Is Beautiful”
  • 1970: Grammy — “Everything Is Beautiful” (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance)
  • 1974: Gold Single — “The Streak”
  • 1975: Grammy — “Misty” (Best Arrangement of the Year)
  • 1980: Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
  • 1980: Georgia Music Hall of Fame
  • 1984: Gold Album — “He Thinks He’s Ray Stevens”
  • 1985: Gold Album — “I Have Returned”
  • 1986: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1986: #1 Country Album Plaque from Billboard — “I Have Returned” (week ending March 15, 1986)
  • 1987: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1987: Platinum Album — “Greatest Hits”
  • 1987: Gold Album — “Greatest Hits, Volume Two”
  • 1988: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1989: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1990: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1990: Gold Album — “All-Time Greatest Comic Hits”
  • 1991: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1992: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1992: #1 Home Video Plaque from Billboard — “Comedy Video Classics”
  • 1992: Ten Times-Platinum Home Video — “Comedy Video Classics”
  • 1993: Billboard Home Video of the Year
  • 1993: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1993: Platinum Home Video — “Ray Stevens Live!”
  • 1994: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1995: Platinum Home Video — “Get Serious!”
  • 1995: Country Weekly Golden Pick Award “Best Comedian”
  • 2001: Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame
  • 2002: Gold Single — “Osama Yo’ Mama”
  • 2009: Christian Music Hall of Fame

don’t look ethel!

The Streak was one of Ray’s greatest hits. For those who have forgotten, the song is a series of three newsflashes in which an action-news-reporter reports on streaking events at the supermarket, the gas station, and the basketball court.

The reporter interviews a man who gives his views of what happened. The man warns his wife, Ethel, not to look but is always too late. After the third interview the man sees the streaker again and, horrors, Ethel is running with him!!

the streak fax

  • The Streak, written by Ray Stevens was released in March 1974, the first single from his 16th album Boogity Boogity.
  • The Streak was Ray’s second #1 US hit (after Everything is Beautiful). It spent three weeks at the top of the charts and a week at #1 on the UK singles chart. It also hit #1 in Canada and New Zealand and was a hit in a number of other countries.
  • The Streak sold over 5,000,000 copies.
  • Five days after the release of The Streak, one of the most high-profile of all streaks took place. It was at the Academy Awards when advertising executive Robert Opel streaked past David Niven on live TV.
  • The Streak was Ray’s fourth novelty hit. The first was Ahab the Arab in 1962. Then came Along Came Jones and Gitarzan in 1969.
  • The Streak lyrics.

the streak – ray stevens – 1974 – video

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Paranoid – Black Sabbath – 1970

August 9, 2012

Consistently ranked as one of the greatest heavy metal songs of all time, Black Sabbath’s 1970 release Paranoid is still performed in concert by both Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath.

an evolving project?

The core members of Black Sabbath are Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler but 27 other musicians can lay claim to have been part of the band since its formation in 1969. And that doesn’t include the many musicians who have guested with the band who include; Brian May and Rick Wakeman.

The foundation of the band, however, has always been the eccentric personality of Ozzy. Ozzy was with the band until April 1979 when, because of his heavy and disruptive drug and alchohol use, he was fired. That’s when Sharon Arden (soon to become Sharon Osbourne) took over the management of his career. It took off and he eventually sold over 55 million albums.

heavy metal pioneers

Black Sabbath are often credited with being the band that helped define heavy metal music. MTV ranked them as the Greatest Metal Band of all time. VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock placed them second behind Led Zeppelin. Rolling Stone bestowed on the band the title of heavy-metal kings of the ’70s.

Black Sabbath have sold over 70 million records worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Rolling Stone ranks them at #85 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time saying,

Black Sabbath are The Beatles of heavy metal music.

paranoid

I remember distinctly when my brother brought home the album Paranoid – it must have driven our folks mad!

Released in 1970, it was the band’s only album to reach #1 on the UK charts. It contained three of their best known songs; Iron Man, War Pigs and Paranoid.

paranoid fax

  • Paranoid was the first single from Black Sabbath’s second album, Paranoid.
  • Paranoid was released in August 1970. It peaked at #4 on the UK Singles Chart, #61 on the US Singles Chart – but reached #1 in Germany.
  • Q magazine listed Paranoid at #11 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks of all time. VH1 placed it at #34 on their 40 Greatest Metal Songs, while Rolling Stone ranked it #250 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • A number of bands have covered Paranoid, including: Megadeth, Green Day, Queens of the Stone and Metallica.
  • In Finland, Paranoid has legendary status. Audiences find it funny request during concerts. No matter who the band or the style of music being played, the crowd will call out, “Soittakaa Paranoid!” (“Play Paranoid!”).
  • Paranoid lyrics.

paranoid – black Sabbath – 1970 – video

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Marvin Hamlisch – songwriter extraordinaire.

August 8, 2012

Marvin Hamlisch passed away today.  He was one of only eleven people to have been awarded an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. He was also one of only two people to have won those four prizes and a Pulitzer Prize.  He also won two Golden Globes.

Marvin wrote a number of movie scores which went on to produce hit songs or tunes.  Of note were:

  • The Way We Were (1972)
  • The music for The Sting – remember The Entertainer? (1973)
  • Nobody Does It Better,  from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

He wrote the soundtracks for 45 well-known movies.

He died aged 68 after a brief illness.


Video Killed The Radio Star – The Buggles – 1979

August 2, 2012

Released late 1979, The Buggles’ hit, Video Killed the Radio Star, was the first music video played on MTV in the US.

what’s in a name?

Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes met when auditioning for the backing band of English disco singer Tina Charles. They didn’t make that band and went their separate ways for a while. Cutting a long story short, they came together in 1979 to form The Buggles.

Trevor said he chose the name because,

It was the most disgusting name I could think of at that time.

Meanwhile, Geoff claims the name arose out of a joke and was actually a pun on The Beatles:

It was originally called The Bugs. The Bugs were studio insects—imaginary creatures who lived in recording studios creating havoc. Then somebody said as a joke that The Bugs would never be as big as The Beatles. So we changed it to The Buggles.

first time lucky

Video Killed the Radio Star was the first song the duo recorded. It was sent to Island Records who signed them immediately.

The band released their debut album, The Age of Plastic, in 1980. In addition to Video Killed the Radio Star, three other songs from the album were released as singles: (Living in) The Plastic Age, Clean, Clean, and Elstree.

life after buggling

In 1980, while working as The Buggles, Trevor and Geoff began work on their second album. In the studio next door was the band, Yes. The band had been successful but had just lost vocalist Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman.

When Trevor and Geoff were asked to join the band, they jumped at the chance.  Geoff still tours with Yes.

video killed the radio star fax

  • Video Killed the Radio Star was released on September 7th 1979 as the debut single of UK band The Buggles. It was from their debut album, The Age of Plastic.
  • The meaning of Video Killed the Radio Star is quite obvious; it looks back at the life of a singer whose career is cut short by television.
  • Video Killed the Radio Star has the distinction of being the first music video shown on MTV in the US. It aired at 12:01am on 1 August 1981.
  • Video Killed the Radio Star was listed at #40 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80’s.
  • Video Killed the Radio Star hit #1 on the UK singles charts on October 20th 1979. It was Island Records’ first #1 single
  • Video Killed the Radio Star also hit #1 in Australia but only made it to #40 in the US.
  • Covers of Video Killed the Radio Star have been released by The Presidents of the United States of America, Ben Folds Five and Alvin and the Chipmonks.
  • Video Killed the Radio Star lyrics.

video killed the radio star – the buggles – 1979 – video


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