It Never Rains In Southern California – Albert Hammond – 1972

October 31, 2013

Albert Hammond 1Written and sung by an Englishman in the US, Albert Hammond’s, It Never Rains in Southern California peaked at #2 on the US charts in 1972.

songwriter extraordinaire

Albert Hammond was born in London, England. His family were from Gibraltar but had to evacuate during WWII. When the war ended, he returned to Gibraltar and grew up there before moving to Spain, and then the US.

Albert’s best known as a songwriter, co-writing with people such as, Mike HazeAlbert Hammond 2aalwood, Hal David and Carol Bayer Sager.

Here’s a few of Albert’s better known efforts:

  • Leapy Lee’s, Little Arrows
  • The Pipkins’, Gimme Dat Ding
  • Blue Mink’s, Good Morning Freedom
  • The Fortunes’, Freedom Come, Freedom Go
  • The Hollies’, The Air That I Breathe
  • Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson’s, To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before
  • Starship’s, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
  • Leo Sayer’s, When I Need You,
  • Chicago’s, I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love, and
  • Whitney Houston’s, One Moment in Time (the theme song to the 1988 Seoul Olympics).

He’s also written songs for:

That’s quite a list!!

Albert Hammond 2awards well deserved

Albert received an OBE in and is an inductee into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

these days

These days Albert lives in LA. His most recent success was co-writing and co-producing Duffy’s album, Endlessly.

like father like son

Albert’s, Albert Hammond, Jr., is a member of The Strokes.

it never rains in southern california fax

  • It Never Rains in Southern California was written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood. It was released on October 21, 1972.
  • While it peaked at #2 in the US, It Never Rains in Southern California never made the top 40 in the UK. Throughout the 70s, it was re-issued at least five times by various labels but never became a hit, despite still being played regularly on UK radio.
  • The chorus of It Never Rains in Southern California is sung by Julio Iglesias his 1984 hit, Moonlight Lady, which Albert wrote with Carole Bayer Sager.
  • It Never Rains in Southern California lyrics.

it never rains in southern california – albert hammond – 1972 – video

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Lou Reed RIP

October 28, 2013

Lou Reed RIP 2

Famed US songwriter and guitarist Lou Reed has died.  Lou had a liver transplant in May and expected to make a full recovery.

Born in New York in 1942, Reed found success with legendary 1960s band the Velvet Underground and produced music that influenced generations of musicians including the incomparable Walk on the Wild Side and Perfect Day.


Lovin’ You – Minnie Riperton – 1975

October 24, 2013

Minnie Riperton - lovin you - 1975 single coverOn April 5, 1975, the 400th #1 single appeared on the Billboard Hot 100. It was Minnie Riperton’s wonderful hit song, Lovin’ You.

Minnie Riperton 1lovin’ minnie

Minnie was destined for a career in music. Having studied music, drama, and dance she became lead singer for the girl group, The Gems, and became closely associated with Chess Records where she sang BVs for artists including: Etta James, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters.

By 1974, she was producing solo albums and her career peaked in 1975 with her #1 single, Lovin’ You.

a sad loss

Just a year after the release of Lovin’ You, Minnie was diagnosed with breast cancer. An emergency mastectomy was in vain and she was diagnosed terminal and given six months to live. Minnie continued to tour and used her fame to raise the public awareness of breast cancer.

In 1977, she became a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society and in 1978, received the American Cancer Society’s Courage Award.

At no stage did she tell the public of her terminal condition. She died at age 31 on July 12, 1979.

something you didn’t know

The birdsong heard in Lovin’ You is actually Minnie “singing.” Minnie had a coloratura soprano vocal range. Able to sing incredibly high, Minnie is remembered for her ability to sing in the whistle register, in which she sounds almost like an instrument.

According to Wiki:

The whistle register (also called the flageolet or flute register or whistle tone) is the highest register of the human voice, lying above the modal register and falsetto register. This register has a specific physiological production that is different from the other registers, and is so called because the timbre of the notes that are produced from this register are similar to that of a whistle.

Other whistle register singers include, Deniece Williams and Mariah Carey who is a huge fan of Minnie’s.

lovin’ you fax

  • Minnie Riperton 4Lovin’ You was written by Minnie and her husband Richard Rudolph. It was produced by Stevie Wonder and Richard Rudolph.
  • Recorded in late 1974 and released on January 13, 1975, Lovin’ You became the 400th No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 5, 1975. It peaked at #2 in the UK.
  • Lovin’ You has not percussion instrument, quite a rarity at the time it was released although, other songs to also hit #1 without the aid of percussion include, Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce, and two Beatles songs, Yesterday and Eleanor Rigby.
  • A number of cover versions have been released; the most notable by Leona Lewis when she was just 15.
  • Lovin’ You lyrics.

lovin’ you – minnie riperton – 1975 – video

lovin’ you – minnie riperton – 1975 live video

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I Was Made For Lovin’ You – KISS – 1979

October 17, 2013

KISS - I was made for loving youPainted faces, flamboyant concerts, still going strong today; KISS’s, I Was Made For Lovin’ You hit the airwaves in 1979.

there’s only one kiss

Grease paint, flamboyant costumes, spitting blood, flaming guitars, and that tongue! We all know KISS, one of the most prolific bands of the last 40 years.

KISS began life in 1971 under the name, Wicked Lester. By 1973, they had a new name and the line-up that has remained largely unchanged to this very day.

Then came the makeup and costumes. They took on the personas of comic book-style characters: Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), Spaceman or Space Ace (Frehley) and Catman (Criss).

the name

The name KISS came about because Ace Frehley had previously been in a band named, Lips. It seemed a natural name progression. Ace came up with the styalised KISS logo with the S’s looking like lightning bolts.

In Germany, however, it looked a little too much like the SS symbol which is banned. Hence, over there, the name is written with the S’s backwards.

gold record but still no #1’s

I Was Made For Lovin’ You was Kiss’s second gold record, the first being Beth. In all, the band produced 20 studio albums, 10 live albums, 13 compilation albums, 58 singles and 15 video albums – they are one of the highest selling artists of all time, but they have never achieved a #1 single in the US. Their highest chart listing is #7; Beth in 1976.

i was made for loving you baby fax

  • I Was Made for Lovin’ You, was released as a single on May 20, 1979 from the band’s album Dynasty.
  • I Was Made for Lovin’ You was KISS’s second gold single and certified gold in the US on August 16, 1979, and in Canada on August 1, 1979.
  • The song was written by professional songwriters, Desmond Child and Vini Poncia, and KISS guitarist, Paul Stanley. Desmond Child said of I Was Make For Lovin’ You,

Paul wanted to write a good disco song and I decided to help him with that. Paul started to write lyrics and chords then I played the song on the guitar and said “OK, we’ll do something to improve this and make it really a good song.

  • Paul Stanley said,

It was a conscious effort on my part to prove how easy it was to write and record a hit disco song.

  • Over 20 bands have produced cover versions of I Was Made For Lovin’ You. Jack Black covered the song as, I Was Made For Sliming You at the 2008 Kids Choice Awards, and some claim the central riff of the song was borrowed by Bruce Springsteen for his song Outlaw Pete, from his 2009 album Working On A Dream.
  • I Was Made For Lovin’ You lyrics.

i was made for lovin’ you – kiss – 1979 – video

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A Fifth of Beethoven – Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band – 1974

October 10, 2013

 Walter Murphy 2  One of the best known pieces of music from the disco era – Walter Murphy’s adaption of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony – 1974’s, A Fifth of Beethoven.

Walter murphy 3flying under the radar

Walter Murphy is one of those guys who’s been around the music industry forever, but tends to get very little attention.

Walter was just 20 years old, when a friend introduced him to Doc Severinsen who was musical director of Johnny Carson’s, Tonight Show. He showed Doc some of the jazz arrangements he’d been working on. Doc liked them enough to have The Tonight Show Band play them.

Walter Murphy 4Walter made an early living out of writing advertising jingles (e.g. Revlon and Woolworths) and the occasional television series.

then…

In 1974 (still only 22 years old), Walter was writing a disco song for a commercial. The commercial’s producer mentioned to Walter that it would be great for someone to update some popular classical music.

Walter grabbed hold of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and, being the height of the disco era, gave it a disco beat. And, the rest as they say…

An album under the same name featured a rendition of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee which peaked at #44 on the US singles chart. Three other albums followed. In 1982 a medley of Themes From E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial) reached #47 on the US singles chart, and then, Walter’s hit career was over.

where’s walter?

Walter now writes music for television and movies (and the occasional jingle). His music has been included in, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Family Guy, American Dad, and the 2012 movie Ted.

awards

Walter won Outstanding Music and Lyrics at the 2002 Emmy Awards for You’ve Got A Lot To See from Family Guy.

In 2012, he received an Academy Award for Best Original Song nomination for Everybody Needs a Best Friend, from Ted.

a fifth of beethoven fax

  • A Fifth of Beethoven was written by Walter Murphy and recorded by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band. Just before release, however, it was discovered that their already existed a Big Apple Band and so the artist name was changed to The Walter Murphy Band. The record company believed it had a better chance of being a hit if people thought it was by a band – despite the fact that Walter played almost every instrument. Eventually, they changed yet again, crediting the song solely to Walter.
  • Entering the US top 100 at #80, on May 29, 1976, A Fifth of Beethoven took 19 weeks to reach #1.
  • A Fifth of Beethoven appeared in the movie Saturday Night Fever and the movie The Stepford Wives.
  • A snippet of A Fifth of Beethoven is played during Chicago Bulls games, whenever the opposing team loses possession of the ball.
  • Robin Thicke’s 2002 song, When I Get You Alone, is based on A Fifth of Beethoven.

a fifth of beethoven – walter murphy – 1974 – video

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No Matter What – Badfinger – 1970

October 2, 2013

Badfinger No_Matter_What_(Badfinger_single_-_cover_art)Formed in Wales in 1968, UK band Badfinger produced some great songs amidst even greater tragedy. This week we listen to Badfinger’s 1970 hit, No Matter What.

it started so well

British rock band Badfinger formed in 1968 with the name, The Iveys. Within months they were signed by The Beatles’ Apple label. A few months later they changed their name to Badfinger. Within another year they’d had four consecutive worldwide hits: Come and Get It (written and produced by Paul McCartney), No Matter What, Day After Day, and Baby Blue.

The song writing team of Pete Ham and Tom Evans also wrote Without You which became a #1 one hit for Harry Nilsson.

then it fell apart

In 1970, the band appointed an American businessman, Stan Polley, to manage their commercial affairs. On the one hand, they experienced great success. However, they also became caught up in the dissolution of Apple Records. Signing with Warner Bros., things turned sour when Stan Polley’s creative financial machinations resulted in a lawsuit by Warner Bros., over missing account money.

As a response, Warner withdrew Badfinger’s 1974 album, Wish You Were Here from sale. It cut the band’s income. Three days before his 28th birthday, on 24 April 1975, Ham committed suicide by hanging himself, leaving a note that included damning comments about Polley.

Badfinger 3and it gets worse

For three years the remaining members of Badfinger attempted to rebuild their personal and professional lives. They released two further albums, but they floundered.

Tom struggled. He never got over the death of his friend, Pete. On 19 November 1983, Tom also took his own life by hanging.

no matter what fax

  • No Matter What was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in April 1970 by UK band, Badfinger. It appeared on their album No Dice and was released on November 6, 1970.
  • No Matter What was written by band member Pete Ham.
  • No Matter What peaked at #5 in the UK and #8 in the US.
  • No Matter What was included in the original cut of the movie Wayne’s World 2 but was cut due to the inability to gain rights to use it.
  • Cover versions have been released by many artists including: The Knack, Jars of Clay, R.E.M., Def Leppard (released as a single in 2005) and Mark Cohn.
  • No Matter What lyrics.

no matter what – badfinger – 1970 – video

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