Tell Me Something Good – Rufus (featuring Chaka Khan) – 1974

June 22, 2017

Rufus - Tell me something good 1974A band packed with great musicians, Chicago band Rufus is best known for launching the career of lead singer Chaka Khan.

rufus fax

  • Starting life as “Ask Rufus,” the band Rufus had their beginnings in pop band, The American Breed. Ask Rufus formed in 1970 and, by 1972 Chaka Khan had joined.
  • 1972 saw the band sign with manager Bob Monaco (Minnie Riperton was signed with him also).
  • Bob persuaded ABC Dunhill records to stump up some cash to pay for a demo record. In two days, the band had recorded 11 songs and signed a long-term recording contract.
  • With their first album receiving moderate success, Rufus hit the studio again to record their follow-up album Rags to Rufus which included the Stevie Wonder song, Tell Me Something Good, and a song by Ray Parker Jr. and Chaka, You Got The Love – both songs became smash hits.
  • Rufus was a band blighted by in-fighting and inner-tension, partly because of the rise in fame of Chaka ahead of the rest of the band. Such was the power of Chaka’s performing that the record company began billing the band as, Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan.  Often, at photo shoots and the like, only Chaka was photographed and her image alone was used in magazine articles and stories.
  • It wasn’t long before Chaka was releasing solo albums and finding great success; Rufus released an album without Chaka and it bombed.
  • By 1983, Rufus band members sensed that their tenure was over. They agreed to split on the terms they release one last live album to commemorate the occasion.  Chaka agreed to appear at their final concert performance which was filmed by Warner Bros.  The band then went their separate ways for good with Chaka becoming one of the most revered R&B artists of her generation with the release of the single I Feel for You cementing her reputation.
  • In all, Rufus released 11 albums and 30 singles in the time they were together.
  • The band won two Grammy awards: 1974: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: Tell Me Something Good, and 1983: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: Ain’t Nobody.

tell me something good fax

  • Tell Me Something Good was written by Stevie Wonder and recorded by Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan in 1974.
  • The song peaked at #3 on the US singles chart.
  • Tell Me Something Good is one of the first songs to use the guitar talk box effect – it was played by Tony Maiden.
  • Rufus won the 1975 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus for Tell Me Something Good.
  • Cover versions of Tell Me Something Good have been performed live and/or recorded by artists including Pink, Dave Matthews and Stevie Wonder.
  • The song has appeared or been referenced in the US comedy shows, Everybody Loves Raymond, Will and Grace, and That 70s Show. Note that the captioning to the Will and Grace episode incorrectly credits the song to Sly and the Family Stone.
  • Tell Me Something Good lyrics.

tell me something good – rufus featuring chaka khan – 1974 – video – slower version

tell me something good – rufus featuring chaka khan – 1974 – video – faster version

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The Thrill is Gone – BB King – 1970

June 19, 2017

The Thrill is gone BB King 1970Occasionally, in seventiesmusic, we feature a song by an artiste about whom little can be said – the name alone says it all. BB King is such an artiste.

bb king fax

  • Born on a cotton plantation in Mississippi, back in 1925, BB King was attracted to music and the guitar in church. BB died, aged 89, on May 14, 2015.
  • In between those two dates BB became one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, even earning the nickname, “The King of the Blues.”
  • From early in his career, which continued until very shortly before his death, BB was a tireless performer. Even into his 70s he would often perform 200+ shows a year.  It’s said that, in 1956, he performed 342 concerts!
  • BB was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

lucille

  • In 1949, BB was playing a gig in Arkansas. During a performance, two men began to fight, knocking over a barrel of burning oil used to heat the venue.  The hall burst into flames, and the building was evacuated.
  • Once outside, BB realised that he had left his beloved $30 Gibson guitar inside – he ran back into the burning building to retrieve it.
  • The next day, BB heard that the two men had been fighting over a woman who worked at the hall named Lucille. BB named that guitar, and every guitar he subsequently owned, Lucille, as a reminder never again to do something as stupid as run into a burning building or fight over women.

bb trivia

  • BB was had a certified private pilot’s licence and would often fly himself to gigs around the US.
  • BB’s favourite singer was Frank Sinatra. In his autobiography, BB wrote that he went to bed every night listening to Frank’s album In the Wee Small Hours.  During the 1960s, Frank had arranged for BB to play clubs in Las Vegas.  BB praised Frank for opening doors to black entertainers who were not given the chance to play in white-dominated venues.
  • Married twice, BB was said to have fathered 15 children to various women.
  • BB suffered throughout his later life with diabetes and was active in the campaign to warn people of the spread of diabetes.

the thrill is gone fax

  • The Thrill Is Gone was written by blues musician Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell in 1951. Roy’s recording, released the same year, peaked at #6 on the US R&B charts.
  • BB King recorded his version of The Thrill Is Gone in June 1969 for his album Completely Well.
  • When released as a single in December 1969, The Thrill is Gone, became one of the biggest hits of BB’s career, peaking at #15 on the US singles chart.
  • BB’s recording won the 1970 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 1998. It was ranked at #183 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
  • Other artistes to cover The Thrill is Gone include: Aretha Franklin (1970), Barbara Mandrell (1982), Jerry Garcia and David Grisman (1991), The Manhattan Transfer (1995), The Marshall Tucker Band (1975) and Christina Aguilera (2014).
  • The Thrill is Gone lyrics.

the thrill is gone – roy Hawkins – 1951 – video

the thrill is gone – bb king – 1970 – video


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Freedom – Richie Havens – 1972

June 11, 2017

Freedom Richie HavensIt’s a brilliant pub-quiz trivia question – who was the first onstage act at Woodstock? Answer, Richie Havens.  Richie is remembered for his amazing rendition of Freedom, a song not released as a single until 1972.

richie havens fax

  • Richard “Richie” Havens was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist known for his intense and rhythmic guitar style (often in open tunings) – but also for being the opening act at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
  • Richie was scheduled to perform for 40 minutes, but when a traffic jam delayed the other performers, he was asked to keep playing. Three hours later, Richie had run out of songs, so he started to make one up to the melody of “Motherless Child,” a spiritual he’d sung as a kid. He just kept singing “Freedom,” and it became one of the pivotal moments of the festival.
  • Born in Brooklyn, Richie was of Native American (Blackfoot) descent on his father’s side, and of the British West Indies on his mother’s.
  • As a teen, he organised local friends into doo-wop groups and performed on street corners. By the age of 20, he’d left to become a folk performer in Greenwich Village where he performed alongside the likes of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.
  • Performing at Woodstock was the turning point of Richie’s career. He became a star, known more for the passion of his live performances than for his recorded albums.
  • He recorded 12 albums between 1966 and 1977, and 21 throughout his career – the last in 2008.
  • In later years, Richie was dogged by ill-health. In 2010, he had kidney surgery from which he never fully recovered.  In 2012, he announced that, after 45 years, he would stop touring.
  • Just over a year later, on April 22, 2013, Richie died of a heart attack at home in Jersey City, New Jersey.
  • At the time of his death, the BBC referred to him as a “Woodstock icon,” while Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young said Richie “could never be replicated.” The Daily Telegraph wrote that Richie “made an indelible mark on contemporary music.
  • In accordance with Richie’s wishes, his remains were cremated and his ashes scattered from the air over the original site of the Woodstock Festival, in a ceremony held on August 18, 2013, the 44th anniversary of the last day of the festival.

freedom fax

  • Freedom was composed by Richie Havens on stage on the opening day of Woodstock 1969. Having been asked to keep playing long past his scheduled 40 minutes, Richie ran out of songs.  He began to make a song up based on the Afro-American spiritual, Motherless Child.
  • Richie once told Rolling Stone magazine,

I think the word ‘freedom’ came out of my mouth because I saw it in front of me. I saw the freedom that we were looking for. And every person was sharing it, and so that word came out.

  • When the cut of the song was put on the film Woodstock, it became an international hit instantly.
  • The song was released as a single in 1972. Despite its popularity, it charted on neither the US nor the UK charts.
  • Freedom appears in the movie Django Unchained.
  • Freedom lyrics.

freedom – richie havens – 1972 -video

freedom – richie havens – 1969 Woodstock – video

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Bye, Bye, Baby – Bay City Rollers – 1975

June 4, 2017

Bye Bye Baby Bay City Rollers 1975It had to happen – we had to feature the “tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh” sometime! Remember, Rollermania!?  Apparently, it was huge in the mid-70s, maybe, like me, you missed it.  I do remember the boys coming to my part of the world sometime in the 70s and the outcry from fans and parents alike when they played for a mere 35 minutes.  Anyway, despite all that, they proved rather popular amongst some of you younger ladies with hits both sides of the Atlantic, including the 1975, UK #1, Bye, Bye, Baby.

bay city rollers fax

  • Beginning life as The Saxons in 1966 Edinburgh, The Bay City Rollers changed to The Bay City Rollers by throwing a dart at a map of the United States, which landed near Bay City, Michigan.
  • Within a few years they were being hailed as, “biggest group since the Beatles” – but then, so were a hundred and one other bands.
  • After three non-album singles, the boys released their first album, Rollin’. The 1974 album contained three hit singles.
  • 1975 saw the release of two albums, Once Upon a Star, and Wouldn’t You Like It?, and another four hit UK singles.
  • 1976 saw the US release of the single Saturday Night – failing to chart in the UK, it went to #1 in the US and the Bay City Rollers were labelled “international superstars.”
  • Move forward to today – the band, having had a number of hiatus’s and several changes of line-up continue to perform – though their last album was released in 1985 and the last single to even dent the charts was You Made Me Believe in Magic, back in 1977.
  • During the heyday of Rollermania, the line-up was, guitarists Eric Faulkner and Stuart John Wood, singer Les McKeown, bassist Alan Longmuir, and drummer Derek Longmuir.
  • In all, the band have sold 300 million records.

bye, bye, baby fax

  • Bye, Bye, Baby, aka Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby Goodbye) was written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio (from The Four Seasons).
  • First realised by The Four Seasons in 1965, it peaked at #12 on the US charts.
  • In 1967, a cover version was released by British band The Symbols – it reached #44 on the UK singles chart.
  • The Bay City Rollers released a version – it hit #1 in the UK in March 1975, and sat there for six weeks. It was the top selling single in the UK for 1975.
  • The song features in the movie, Love Actually.
  • Bye, Bye, Baby lyrics.

bye, bye, baby – bay city rollers – 1975 – video

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