Black Magic Woman – Santana – 1970

June 27, 2013

Santana Black Magic Woman 1970First released by Fleetwood Mac in 1968, Santana’s 1970 version of Black Magic Woman became their highest charting hit, until Smooth in 1999.

carlos and his guitar and woodstock

Formed in 1964, Santana is another of those bands who rose to fame in the 70s and now just keep on keeping going.

They are also another band whose fame was boosted incredibly by playing at Woodstock where their Latin influenced music contrasted with the mostly folk-rock bands on offer. On the back of that performance, their first album, Santana, rocketed to the top of the charts and Carlos, and his ever-changing line-up of muso’s, has been thereabouts ever since.

putting the record straight

More than once I’ve heard radio DJ’s introduce Santana as a band from South America—not so! Carlos is actually Mexican, but it was in San Francisco that the band Santana formed.

black magic woman fax

  • Black Magic Woman was written by Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green and was released as a single by his band in 1968.
  • Santana covered the version on their album Abraxas in 1970. The vocals were sung by Gregg Rolie. (Gregg Rolie was also a foundation member of Journey and has toured with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band).
  • Black Magic Woman peaked at #4 on the US single charts.
  • Santana’s introduction to Black Magic Woman is an adaption of Gábor Szabó’s 1966 song, Gypsy Queen.
  • Santana released both an album and single version of Black Magic Woman; the former being over five minutes long, the latter just over three minutes.
  • Black Magic Woman lyrics.

black magic woman – Santana – 1970 – video

a treat for santana fans

And for the fans out there – here’s Santana’s finest song (IMHO), Sambi Pa Ti

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Stars on 45 Medley – Stars on 45 – 1979

June 20, 2013

Stars on 45 MedleyIn 1979, Dutch band Stars on 45 began a short-lived phenomenon—the pop medley—with their hit; Stars on 45 Medley.

a band we’d forgotten

I confess, I’d forgotten about this song, until I heard it while I was out driving today—you may quite rightly ask what two-bit radio station I was listening to. In actual fact, the station was only playing it because, they claimed, it had been released 40 years ago today. That’s not quite true, it was released in December 1979.

what i didn’t know

Stars on 45 was a Dutch band that kicked off in early 1979. In the USA they were known as Stars On, and in the UK they were known as Starsound.

What I didn’t know was that Stars on 45, a manufactured band made up of studio session musicians, was the brainchild of Jaap Eggermont, drummer of the 70s band, Golden Earring.

Stars on 45 recreated hit songs, running them together to form catchy medleys. The idea was adopted by other bands, notably Hooked on Classics.

stars on 45 fax

  • Stars on 45 was released in December 1979.
  • The track listing for Stars on 45 was; Stars on 45 Intro / Venus / Sugar Sugar / No Reply / I’ll Be Back / Drive My Car / Do You Want to Know a Secret / We Can Work It Out / I Should Have Known Better / Nowhere Man / You’re Going to Lose That Girl / Stars on 45. In other words, Shocking Blue, The Archie’s, and eight Beatles songs.
  • The official title of the track was; “Medley: Intro Venus / Sugar Sugar / No Reply / I’ll Be Back / Drive My Car / Do You Want to Know a Secret / We Can Work It Out / I Should Have Known Better / Nowhere Man / You’re Going to Lose That Girl / Stars on 45.” That makes it the longest titled song to ever appear on Billboard’s Top Ten. (The reason for the long title was copyright requirements for the use of The Beatles’ songs)
  • Stars on 45 , peaked at #2 in the UK in April 1980 and #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 20, 1981.
  • The success of Stars on 45 Medley led to a follow-up single, Stars on 45 Medley 2. It featured: Good Day Sunshine/My Sweet Lord/Here Comes the Sun/While My Guitar Gently Weeps/Taxman/A Hard Day’s Night/Things We Said Today/If I Fell/You Can’t Do That/Please Please Me/I Want to Hold Your Hand/Stars on 45. It peaked at #67 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and the Stars on 45 phenomenon was over.

stars on 45 medley – stars on 45 – 1979 – video

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Theme From Shaft – Isaac Hayes – 1971

June 13, 2013

Isaac Hayes - Theme from Shaft - 1971Supposed to be an album track only, Isaac Hayes’ 1971 hit Theme From Shaft was released as a single and  went straight to #1, winning him an Academy Award.

song writing

Best known for the hit Theme From Shaft, Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. was a songwriter and record producer of some renown – in 2005, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Of note were the songs he co-wrote for Sam and Dave:

  • 1966: Hold On, I’m Comin’
  • 1967: When Something is Wrong with My Baby
  • 1967: Soul Man

The last song on that list was recognised by the Grammy Hall of Fame as one of the most influential songs of the past 50 years.

song recording

During the late 1960s, Isaac released a number of solo soul albums and began writing movie scores.

enter shaft

The best known of his musical scores is the Academy Award winning, Theme From Shaft. In fact, in 1972, Isaac became just the third African-American, after Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel, to win an Academy Award in any field, and (I believe) the first to win for music.

He also won two Grammy’s that year. He won a third Grammy for his album Black Moses.

isaac rip

Isaac died on August 10, 2008. He’d suffered a stroke two years before and was thought to have suffered another while exercising on a treadmill.  He was found deceased on the floor, the treadmill still going next to him.

isaac trivia

Isaac was the voice of Chef on South Park.

theme from shaft fax

  • Theme from Shaft was written and recorded by Isaac Hayes in 1971 – the theme to the movie Shaft.
  • There are two versions; the album version and the shortened single version.
  • Theme from Shaft hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1971. It peaked at #4 on the UK singles chart.
  • Theme from Shaft won the Best Original Song Oscar in 1971. It was the first time the award was presented for a song written and performed by the same person.
  • Isaac only agreed to write and record the Shaft score after the movie’s producer promised him an audition for the lead role—he never got to audition, but wrote the music anyway.
  • Theme From Shaft was considered rather risqué in 1971. In fact, even in 1990, censors thought it too risqué to be sung on The Simpsons, until it was demonstrated that the song had indeed been played on television before).
  • Isaac re-recorded Theme From Shaft for the 2000 movie sequel.
  • Theme From Shaft has featured (or been parodied) on a number of television shows including: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Simpsons, Sesame Street, Scrubs, The X-Files, Father Ted,
  • A cover version of Theme From Shaft was released by Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jay-Z sampled it on his track Reservoir Dogs.
  • Theme From Shaft lyrics

theme from shaft – isaac hayes – 1971 – video – recorded live 1973

theme from shaft – Isaac hayes – 1971 – movie opening

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Let it Be –The Beatles – 1970

June 6, 2013

Let it be The Beatles 1970 single coverFrom the 12th and last Beatles’ album, the title track, Let It Be, is rated amongst the best songs of all time.

what can i say?

What can one really say about The Beatles that hasn’t already been said? All I know is this, as time goes on, I’ve come to an ever increasing appreciation of how fabulous the Fab-Four really were. The songs they produced, particularly later in the band’s career, are as great today as they ever were.

let it be fax

  • Credited to Lennon-McCartney, Let It Be was written by Paul McCartney.
  • Let It Be was released on 6 March 1970, The Beatles’ final single before Paul stunned the world with the announcement that he intended to leave the band.
  • Paul once said the idea for the song came from a dream he had about his mother, Mary. In it she told him, “It’ll be all right, just let it be.”
  • There are two different versions of Let It Be. The single version features Linda McCartney on backing vocals, in her only known contribution to any song by The Beatles. The album version was remixed by Phil Spector. It has less backing vocals, and features George’s fantastic guitar solo. Billy Preston plays the keyboards.
  • In the book, The 100 Best Beatles Songs: An Informed Fan’s Guide by Stephen J. Spignesi and Michael Lewis, a survey was taken to establish “The Fan’s Top Ten.” Let It Be came in at #1. It’s also considered to be one of the greatest songs of all time. Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time ranked Let It Be at #20.
  • The Beatles on the roofLet It Be won two Academy Awards in 1971. One for Best Original Song Score, and one for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special.
  • Notable covers have been produced by: Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin, John Denver, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Joan Baez, Ray Charles, and Leo Sayer. Aretha Franklin’s version was actually released before The Beatles’ version was.
  • Let It Be lyrics.

let it be – the beatles – 1970 – video

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