Moviestar – Harpo – 1975

September 30, 2016

harpo-moviestar-1975Who remembers this one? Probably not many of us – but it was a hit back in 1975; Harpo’s groovy,  Moviestar.

harpo fax

  • Jan Harpo Torsten Svensson was born in Stockholm, Sweden and began his entertainment career as an actor in children’s theatre.
  • To kill time while touring, he began to write songs – to cut the long story short, in 1972, he signed a recording contract with Stig Anderson who assigned him to in-house record producers, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus aka ABBA.
  • harpo-1Benny and Björn were contracted to help Harpo with an album of his children’s songs in Swedish.  It all fell apart and Stig released Harpo from the contract.
  • Harpo almost immediately signed with EMI releasing two singles in 1973 which both became smash hits on the Swedish singles charts.
  • A number of other songs followed, one, Moviestar, achieved hit status throughout Europe and further afield.
  • In 1978, Harpo released the previously planned children’s album and an album of his favourite rock and roll songs; both in Swedish.
  • By 1980, he was ready for mainstream pop again.  Harpo signed to Mickie Most’s label, RAK and released one single, She Loves It Too.
  • Combining horse training with his musical career, Harpo had an accident in 1980. Starter, one of his horses, kicked Harpo in the face several times resulting in him losing the sense of smell and the sight in one eye. To show there were no hard feelings, Harpo dedicated his next album to his horse, Starter.
  • Harpo continued to record and produce music throughout the 80s and 90s.  Even as recently as 2005, he released an album of new material.
  • Harpo continues to tour today and remains popular in Germany.

moviestar fax

  • harpo-2Moviestar was written and performed by Swedish pop singer Harpo.
  • It was recorded on 27 February 1975, and features Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida) from ABBA on backing vocals.
  • Moviestar reached #1 on the Swedish charts and #24 on the UK charts.  It also topped the charts in Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.
  • In July 1976, a Swedish language version of Moviestar was released.  It also reached #1.
  • The song has been covered by a number of little known bands and was used on the Swedish TV Channel TV4 the mid-90s for Nissan commercials.
  • Moviestar lyrics.

moviestar –harpo – 1975 – video

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I Want You To Want Me – Cheap Trick – 1977 & 1979

September 23, 2016

cheap-trick-i-want-you-to-want-me-1977Perhaps Cheap Trick’s best known song, I Want You To Want Me didn’t even tickle the charts first time around—then came the live version (1979), and a #7 hit in the US and #29 in the UK. 

cheap trick fax

  • Tom Petersson, Randy “Xeno” Hogan (replaced very early on by Robin Zander) and Bun E. Carlos formed Cheap Trick in Rockford, Illinois back in the 60s.  After going through several band names, the boys went to a Slade concert.  Tom noted that the band used “every cheap trick in the book” as part of their act.  That became the band’s new name – one which has been used since 1973 through to today.
  • Tcheap-trick-1he band’s first album, Cheap Trick, was released in early 1977.  Two more followed and, while acclaimed by fans, had little real success in the US with none of them making it to the Top 40.
  • In Japan it was a different story, however.  All three albums went gold and, when Cheap Trick toured there for the first time in April 1978, their reception was reminiscent of Beatlemania.  While in Japan, the band recorded two concerts and Cheap Trick at Budokan was born.  Initially intended for release in Japan only, it was released in the US in 1979 and launched the band into international stardom—the album went triple platinum in the US.
  • The biggest hit from the album was I Want You to Want Me.  It had previously been released on the album, In Color.
  • The band’s next studio album, Dream Police, was a hit, as was the title track.
  • By 1980, Cheap Trick was headlining arenas and engaged George Martin to produce their album All Shook Up – another gold record.
  • Band members recorded tracks for John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s album Double Fantasy – their cuts were never used on the original album with John favouring a lighter sound. They can be found on bootlegs and various anthologies, however.
  • After four decades, Cheap Trick continues to tour and can now lay claim to over 5,000 live

i want you to want me fax

  • Written by Rick Nielsen, I Want You to Want Me first appeared on Cheap Tricks second album In Color.  Released in 1977, it was the first single from that album, and it did not chart in the United States.
  • I Want You to Want Me was, however a #1 single in Japan paving the way for Cheap Trick’s Budokan concerts and their subsequent international success.
  • The live version of I Want You to Want Me, released in 1979, became Cheap Trick’s biggest selling single, reaching #7 US charts. It was also the band’s highest charting UK single, peaking at #29.
  • Bass player Tom says:

My recollection is that Rick did that song as a bit of a joke, because at the time when we had done that song there was a lot of pop music on the radio—ABBA, and all sorts of things, disco, Rick thought, ‘I’m just going to do an over-the-top pop song. I just want to do one that’s so silly—total pop—and then we’ll do a heavy version of it.’ He didn’t know what was going to happen with it. The idea was to have it like a heavy metal pop song. Cheap Trick doing ABBA—except a very heavy version.

  • I Want You To Want Me has been covered by an eclectic mix of artists including: Dwight Yoakam, Lindsay Lohan, and Chris Isaak.

I Want You To Want Me lyrics.

i want you to want me – cheap trick – 1977 – video

i want you to want me – cheap trick – 1979 at the budokan – video

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Ebony Eyes – Bob Welch – 1978

September 14, 2016

bob-welch-ebony-eyes-1978From Fleetwood Mac to solo performer – Bob Welch’s highest charting solo hit came in 1978 with Ebony Eyes.

bob welch fax

  • Born in Los Angeles, Bob Welch was the son of Robert L. Welch, who worked as a producer for at Paramount Pictures.  He produced films starring, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, and TV programmes such as Bonanza.  Bob’s mother, Templeton Fox, was a singer and actress who worked with Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre in Chicago and appeared in numerous television programmes and movies.
  • bob-welch-3In 1964, Bob joined the band, The Seven Souls, as a guitarist.  That year they lost a battle of the bands competition and a contract with Epic Records… the winners? Sly and the Family Stone.
  • When the band broke up, Bob played with a variety of bands but with little success until 1971.  That was the year he was invited to join blues band Fleetwood Mac.  With fellow newcomer Christine McVie, Bob helped steer the band towards the more melodic sound we know them for today.
  • What followed were a number of Fleetwood Mac albums and continuing friction within the band which saw onstage bickering, offstage frustration and lawsuits.
  • By 1974, Bob was Fleetwood Mac’s one and only guitarist.  The Heroes Are Hard album was released and, for the first time, the band cracked the US top 40 (#34 on the albums chart).
  • It was also Bob’s last year with the band; he resigned from Fleetwood Mac in December 1974 and was replaced by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.
  • Of the Fleetwood Mac albums on which Welch appeared, American album sales totalled 500,000 units shipped between 1971 and 2000 for Future Games; 1 million units of Bare Trees between 1972 and 1988; and 500,000 units of Mystery to Me between 1973 and 1976, when it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America – these figures were important in later years when Bob sued the band for withholding royalties.
  • Meanwhile, the band’s new incarnation achieved superstar status with the albums Fleetwood Mac (1975) and Rumours (1977), which shipped 5 million and 19 million units in the US alone, both reaching #1 in the US.
  • Bitterness returned to the band when Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, original band members Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were named to the Hall, as were Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.  Bob, however, despite anchoring the band for several years and five albums, was not.  Bob was quoted as saying,

My era was the bridge era.  It was a transition. But it was an important period in the history of the band. Mick Fleetwood dedicated a whole chapter of his biography to my era of the band and credited me with ‘saving Fleetwood Mac.’ Now they want to write me out of the history of the group. It hurts.

  • In 1975, Welch formed the short-lived trio Paris; other members were ex-Jethro Tull bassist Glenn Cornick and former Nazz drummer Thom Mooney.
  • Bob WelchThen, in September 1977, Bob released his first solo album, French Kiss, featuring contributions from Mick Fleetwood, Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie.  It peaked #12 on US album chart in 1978 and yielded three hit singles: a revamped version of Sentimental Lady produced by Buckingham and McVie (#8), the Ebony Eyes (#14; featuring Juice Newton on backing vocals) and Hot Love, Cold World (#31).
  • Three Hearts, Bob’s 1979 follow-up album, peaked at #20.  Other solo albums followed, as did a close relationship with Guns N’ Roses.  Slash and the boys rehearsed in his garage and introduced him to a short lived cocaine and heroin addiction.  
  • Bob continued to release albums through the 90s and even in the 2000’s; his last being in 2011
  • On June 7, 2012, at the age of 66, Welch committed suicide in his Nashville home.  His wife explained that Bob had undergone spinal surgery three months earlier.  Doctors told him that he would not fully recover. He was in serious pain and he did not want his wife to have to care for an invalid.

ebony eyes fax

  • Ebony Eyes was written and recorded by Bob Welch.
  • Ebony Eyes was the second single release from Bob’s album French Kiss and featured BVs by Juice Newton.
  • Ebony Eyes peaked at #12 on the US singles chart. 
  • The song should not be confused with the Everly Brothers hit of the same name
  • Ebony Eyes lyrics.

ebony eyes – bob welch – 1978

ebony eyes – bob welch & stevie nicks – 1981

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