Spooky – Atlanta Rhythm Section – 1979

July 29, 2015

ARS SpookyNot often a band two incarnations of the same band has a hit with the same song… but it happened with Spooky; a hit for both The Classics IV and Atlanta Rhythm Section.

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  • Atlanta Rhythm Section, or ARS as they were sometimes called, formed in 1971.
  • Originally a session band, they worked at Studio One, a recording studio on Georgia. Studio One gained some kudos from recording such artists as Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Joe South.
  • The original ARS line-up was vocalist Rodney Justo, guitarist Barry Bailey, bassist Paul Goddard, keyboardist Dean Daughtry, and drummer Robert Nix. The line-up has changed consistently right up to the present day but Dean and Rodney remain front and centre.
  • ARS 1While not achieving the commercial success of some of the other Studio One acts, ARS had a number of hits including, So Into You, Imaginary Lover, and Spooky.
  • The band produced nine albums in the 70s, 13 albums in all; the last album was released in 1999.

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  • Spooky was originally an instrumental song performed by saxophonist Mike Sharpe (Shapiro), who, with Harry Middlebrooks, Jr. wrote the tune.
  • In 1967, The Classics IV hit #3 on the US charts and #46 on the UK charts with a version featuring lyrics written by James Cobb and Buddy Buie. The core of The Classics IV later became Atlanta Rhythm Section.
  • ARS 2In 1979, Atlanta Rhythm Section re-recorded Spooky, peaking at #17 on the US charts and #48 on the UK charts.
  • Spooky has been covered by a number of artists including: Dusty Springfield, Percy Sledge, Andy Williams, Martha and the Vandellas, and R.E.M.
  • Spooky lyrics.

spooky – atlanta rhythm section – 1979 – video

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Whiskey in the Jar – Thin Lizzy – 1972

July 17, 2015

Thin Lizzy - Whiskey in the Jar - 1972 - coverThin Lizzy are yet another iconic band of the 70s whose first hit was their biggest – 1972’s Whiskey in the Jar.

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  • Thin Lizzy formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 1969.
  • Bassist/vocalist Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey met in school, formed the band, and played together for the next 16 years until Phil’s death in 1986.
  • Phil was the undisputed frontman for the band, composer or co-composer of most their hit songs which featured on twelve albums.
  • Thin Lizzy 2Since Phil died the band has had a couple of breaks and a re-emerged via a couple of reincarnations – the latest comes together on occasion for live gigs. However, a decision was made not to record any new material as Thin Lizzy. Hence, a new band, Black Star Riders, was formed to tour and produce new releases such as the All Hell Breaks Loose album.

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  • Whiskey in the Jar, telling the story of a highwayman who is betrayed by his lover, is a traditional Irish folk song thought to have originated from the 17th Century.
  • Whiskey in the Jar gained international exposure when Irish folk band The Dubliners began to perform it in the mid-1960s.
  • Thin Lizzy 3In 1972, Thin Lizzy recorded the song; it was released in an effort to promote the band. Thin Lizzy was touring the UK with Slade and Suzi Quatro. Thin Lizzy’s record company decided to release the song which angered the band. They didn’t feel it represented their sound or image.
  • Thin Lizzy’s version reached #6 on the UK chart.
  • American band Metallica recorded their version – very similar to Thin Lizzy’s – in 1998. It won them a Grammy in 2000 for Best Hard Rock Performance.
  • Whiskey in the Jar lyrics.

whiskey in the jar – thin lizzy – 1972 – video

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Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In – The 5th Dimension – 1969

July 9, 2015

The 5th Dimension Aquarius Single 1969Originally known as The Versatiles, The 5th Dimension scored six Grammy awards but only two #1 hits, both in 1969.  This was their first: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.

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  • The 5th Dimension formed in 1965 and were originally known as The Versatiles.
  • Within a couple of years they were churning out the hits including: Up, Up and Away, Stoned Soul Picnic, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, Wedding Bell Blues (their second #1), and (Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All.
  • Original members were Billy Davis, Jr., Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, LaMonte McLemore, and Ron Townson.  While the band still performs but the original line-up lasted only until 1975.
  • The 5th dimension 2A number of songwriters owe their success, in part, to The 5th Dimension.  Some of these went on to forge careers of their own.  Notably, Ashford & Simpson and the late Laura Nyro.  They also recorded songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Jimmy Webb
  • The 5th Dimension won six Grammy awards five of them for their first hit, Jimmy Webb’s, Up, Up and Away.

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  • This song’s full title is, Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures).
  • The song is a medley of two songs taken from the 1967 musical Hair.
  • A platinum single, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In was released in September 1969 and sat at the top of the US singles chart for six weeks.  It peaked at #11 on the UK singles chart.
  • The song is listed at #66 on Billboard’s list of the Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • The 5th Dimension’s recording of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In won the Grammy Award for both Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group in the 1970 Grammy Awards.
  • The 5th dimension 3Aquarius/ Let the Sunshine In has been covered by an number of 60s and 70s artists that include: Cilla Black, Engelbert Humperdinck, Andy Williams, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Osmonds, and Spencer Davis Group.
  • Donna Summer sang it when she starred in the German version of the Hair stage show – that was before she became the disco diva.
  • The Let the Sunshine In portion of the song has been adopted by soccer fans in Argentina to support their team.
  • Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In lyrics.

aquarius/let the sunshine in – the 5th dimension – 1969 – video

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