JJ Cale December 5, 1938 – July 26, 2013

July 28, 2013

JJ CaleJJ Cale, 70s guitarist, singer, songwriter and music icon passed away in a Californian hospital on Friday July 26, 2013.

Born John Weldon Cale, in Oklahoma, he adopted the name JJ Cale to avoid being confused with the Velvet Underground’s John Cale.

JJ is credited with developing the Tulsa Sound—a style of music that combines blues, country and rockabilly.

It’s often said that JJ’s fame arose from Eric Clapton recording his song After Midnight in 1977. In reality, JJ had already released four very good albums by this time. There is little doubt, however, JJ will be recalled for some of the fine tunes he penned for other people, including: After Midnight, Call Me the Breeze (Lynyrd Skynyrd), and Cocaine (also Eric Clapton).

Other artists to record his songs included: Waylon Jennings, Tom Petty, Herbie Mann, Kansas, Carlos Santana and Captain Beefheart.

JJ himself once said he considered himself a songwriter more than a recording artist.

JJ’s biggest hit single, Crazy Mama, peaked at #22 on the US charts in 1972. JJ later recounted the story of being offered an appearance on American Bandstand; he turned it down when producers told him he couldn’t perform with his band and would be required to lip-sync the words.

JJ Cale – Crazy Mama 1972

JJ Cale – Cocaine

JJ Cale – After Midnight and Call Me The Breeze – featuring Eric Clapton


In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry – 1970

July 25, 2013

Mungo Jerry - In the Summertime - 1970 - single coverA one hit wonder in the US, Mungo Jerry had three #1’s in the UK, one of them, their 1970 hit, In the Summertime, becoming one of the bestselling singles of all time.

still crazy after all these years

With an name inspired by TS Eliot’s poem “Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer”, Mungo Jerry formed in 1970 and achieved their greatest success that year.  They are, however, still performing. Sure the band line up has changed in the past 43 years, but frontman Ray Dorset has remains constant.

Mungo Jerry 2amongst giants

Mungo Jerry’s first public performance was at the 1970 Hollywood Festival in Newcastle. Performing alongside superstar acts such as Black Sabbath, Traffic, and The Grateful Dead, Ray and the boys stole the show. Within weeks they released their first single, In the Summertime, and within another two weeks, they had a #1 hit.

So rapid was the band’s rise to stardom that Ray had to ask his boss for time off so that he could appear on Top of the Pops.

While In the Summertime was the band’s only US hit, they made #1 in the UK twice more; first with Baby Jump and then with Lady Rose (see video below).

mungo jerry trivia

In the Summertime was the first ever maxi-single pressed. It was also known for having introduced the kazoo to our airwaves—perhaps a rather dubious claim to fame!

in the summertime fax

  • In the Summertime was recorded and released in 1970.
  • In the Summertime hit #1 on the singles charts in the UK, the US, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and South Africa.
  • The song has sold over 30 million copies making it one of the highest selling singles of all time.
  • Composer, Ray Dorset, claims he wrote it in under ten minutes (but then, isn’t that what Bob said about Blowin’ in the Wind?)
  • In the Summertime has been used in a UK drink-driving campaign, focusing on the lyric “have a drink, have a drive, go out and see what you can find.”
  • The single of In the Summertime was the world’s first maxi-single. It was 33size but played at 45rpms. It had two songs on the A-side. The second song being Mighty Man.
  • In 1995, rapper Shaggy released a version of In the Summertime—it peaked at #3 in the US and #5 in the UK.
  • In the Summertime lyrics.

in the summertime – mungo jerry – 1970 – video

lady rose – mungo jerry – 1971 – video

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I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony) – The New Seekers – 1971

July 18, 2013

The New Seekers single coverFrom soft drink jingle to a #1 hit – The New Seekers’ hit, I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony), sold over one million copies back in 1971.

fan mail

Recently a seventiesmusic follower commented that I had, so far, failed to mention one of his favourite bands – The New Seekers. Enter the Twilight Zone, because that very afternoon, as fate would have it (!), while driving around town, I heard said band’s song, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony).

down memory lane

The New Seekers 2The New Seekers have a special place in my memory because their predecessors, The Seekers, are probably the first band I remember hearing on a regular basis.

My mum loved The Seekers and had most of their records. I would listen to them, revel in the harmonies and dream of Judith Durham (only about 20 years older than me!).

the birth of the new seekers

The Seekers were a Melbourne based quartet who achieved international success in throughout the 60s. With four million selling singles, they sold over 60 million records worldwide.

When The Seekers broke up, band member Keith Potger gathered a number of UK musicians and formed The New Seekers. After releasing one single, the band’s make-up was reworked and a place found for the wonderful voice of Lyn Paul (although she does not sing the lead vocal in I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)).

The band found instant success with a cover of Melanie Safka‘s song, What Have They Done To My Song, Ma (Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma, in the USA.

i’d like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony) fax

  • I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony) began life as an advertising jingle for Coca-Cola. It was so popular that it was re-recorded as a full-length song.
  • The New Seekers did not, initially have time to record the song. That meant it was recorded by a group of studio singers who named themselves The Hillside Singers. Their version reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • When The New Seekers finally recorded I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony) they had an instant hit. It sold 96,000 copies in one day and, eventually, 12 million total.
  • I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony) was a #1 hit in the UK and peaked at #7 in the US.
  • I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony) has sold over one million copies in the UK alone.
  • The Coca-Cola Company waived any claim on royalties to I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony), instead donating $80,000 to UNICEF.
  • The song is credited to veteran songwriters, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, with original jingle writers, Bill Backer and Billy Davis, also gaining credit.
  • Oasis were sued after their recording Shakermaker borrowed the melody and some lyrics from I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony). As a kinda-response, in 1996, Oasis tribute band No Way Sis released a cover of I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony). It peaked at #27 on the UK charts.
  • I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony) lyrics.

i’d like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony) – the new seekers – 1971 – video

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It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) – AC/DC – 1975

July 11, 2013

AC-DC It's a Long Way to the Top Single CoverIt’s a long way to the top if you want to rock ‘n’ roll, but these boys made it. Back in 1975 they were still little known Aussie rockers – but they were on their way.

ac/dc on the radio

This week a local station played ten songs in a row from their pick of the top ten rock bands of the seventies. Here’s who they chose:

1. Led Zeppelin

2. Queen

3. Pink Floyd

4. Aerosmith

5. Black Sabbath

6. The Who

7. AC/DC

8. The Rolling Stones

9. Deep Purple

10. Uriah Heep

As I listened to the songs I realised there was only one band who hadn’t featured on seventiesmusic – AC/DC.

ACDC 3beginnings

The history of AC/DC is well chronicled. Formed in Australia by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young—the boys were inspired by their brother George who was a member of iconic Aussie band, The Easybeats.

When lead singer Bon Scott died in 1980 (meaning it’s his voice we hear on this week’s song), the band thought seriously about quitting. It was Bon’s parents who urged them to keep going saying it was what Bon would have wanted.

The rest is history, with Bon’s replacement, Brian Johnson, AC/DC have gone on to become one of the highest-grossing bands of all time.

accolades

ACDC 2As of 2010, AC/DC had sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. That included 71 million albums in the United States.

Back in Black, having sold 50 million units worldwide, is the second-highest-selling album by any artist and the highest-selling album by any band—Michael Jackson’s Thriller claims the #1 spot.

AC/DC rank fourth on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, and seventh on MTV’s list of the Greatest Heavy Metal Bands of All Time.

In 2004, AC/DC were listed at #72 on the Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

it’s a long way to the top (if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll) fax

  • It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) is the first track from AC/DC’s album T.N.T.
  • The song was written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott and was released in December 1975.
  • It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) is known for its use of bagpipes—perhaps the first heavy rock song to use them. The idea to use bagpipes came from George Young. He heard Bon was in a pipe band and encouraged him. What he didn’t know was that Bon was a drummer and had never played the pipes. He rose to the challenge, however, and the rest, as they say, is history.
  • It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) also appears on the international version of the album High Voltage.
  • Artists to cover the song include: Jack Black (in the movie, School of Rock), Pat Boone, Dropkick Murphys, John Farnham, Motörhead, Hanson, The Wiggles, and Lucinda Williams
  • Metallica play the song over the PA at every concert just before they perform.
  • It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) was Bon’s signature song and so, out of respect for him, AC/DC no longer performs it.
  • It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) lyrics.

it’s a long way to the top (if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll) – ac/dc – 1975 – video

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She’s a Mod – Ray Columbus and the Invaders – 1964

July 4, 2013

ray-columbus-and-the-invaders-shes-a-mod-1964She’s a Mod, originally recorded by English band, The Senators (featuring the drumming skills of John Bonham), was covered by New Zealand band Ray Columbus and the Invaders in 1964. It went on to become the first New Zealand song to become an international #1 hit.

why are we in the 60s?

Yes, I know this is a seventies music blog, but this week thenews down my end of the world is that one of our rock ‘n’ roll icons, Ray Columbus, is knocking on Heaven’s door, having been diagnosed with a terminal illness some time ago. It seemed fitting to pay some sort of tribute to him.

ray 1ray the man

Ray has been a popular figure in the Kiwi music industry ever since rock ‘n’ roll first hit these shores. He’s received numerous awards throughout his career, and toured in concert with Roy Orbison, The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Herman’s Hermits, The Searchers, Del Shannon, Shirley Bassey, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Gene McDaniel’s, Ben E King, The Hollies, Robin Gibb, The Turtles, Eric Burdon and the Animals.

In 2002, he toured with the sell-out Long Way To The Top – the history of Australian Rock N Roll – show, which saw him perform to over 220,000 people in 20 arena concerts throughout Australia.. He later went into music management.

Ray Columbus and the Invaders played together for only two years, from 1964 to 1966. In that time they became the first New Zealand band to record an international #1 record with She’s a Mod topped the Australian charts.

the inevitable

It’s seems inevitable that Ray will be leaving us soon, and when he does, all New Zealand fans will be saddened – he truly is, one of our music greats.

she’s a mod fax

She’s a Mod was originally recorded by UK band, The Senators before being covered by Ray Columbus and the Invaders.

It was the first song by a Kiwi band to hit #1 internationally.

She’s a Mod lyrics.

she’s a mod – ray columbus and the invaders – 1964


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