Stuck in the Middle with You – Stealers Wheel – 1973

March 9, 2017

Stuck in the Middle with You - Stealers Wheel - 1973I can’t believe we haven’t visited this tune before now… from the One Hit Wonder files, Stealers Wheel’s fabulous 1973 hit, Stuck in the Middle with You.

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  • Stealers Wheel was formed by school mates Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan in Scotland back in 1972.
  • Having released three albums and five singles, the band broke up in 1975. They reformed in 2008 without Gerry or Joe who had long since gone onto finer things.
  • Gerry’s musical career is well-known and includes the wonderful Baker Street (cue for saxophone solo). In 2011, Gerry died of liver failure having thrashed it over the years – his alcoholism has been widely documented.  Gerry’s first band, before Stealers Wheel, was the Humblebums which included comedian Billy Connolly.  Billy and Gerry were close friends right until Gerry’s death.
  • Stealers Wheel’s self-titled first album was released in 1972. It was produced by Leiber and Stroller and reached #50 on the US album charts.  Their hit Stuck in the Middle with You was lifted from this album.  By the time of release, Gerry had already left the band.

stuck in the middle with you fax

  • Stuck in the Middle with You was written by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, recorded by their band Stealers Wheel, and released as a single on 27 April 1973. It was produced by renowned American producers, Leiber and Stroller.
  • The song peaked at #6 on the US singles chart and #8 on the UK chart. It sold over one million copies.
  • Stuck in the Middle with You is famously used in Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 debut film Reservoir Dogs. Quentin once said of the song:

That was one of those things where I thought [the song] would work really well, and [during] auditions, I told the actors that I wanted them to do the torture scene, and I’m gonna use ‘Stuck in the Middle with You,’ but they could pick anything they wanted, they didn’t have to use that song. And a couple people picked another one, but almost everyone came in with ‘Stuck in the Middle with You,’ and they were saying that they tried to come up with something else, but that’s the one. The first time somebody actually did the torture scene to that song, the guy didn’t even have a great audition, but it was like watching the movie. I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is gonna be awesome!’

stuck in the middle with you – stealers wheel – 1973 – video

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Hocus Pocus – Focus – 1973

August 5, 2015

Focus Hocus Pocus single cover

Remember the days of prog. rock with bands like Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis and Rush? Well, stuck in the middle there somewhere was Dutch band, Focus, who had a 1973 hit with Hocus Pocus.

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  • Focus formed in The Netherlands in 1969.
  • Founding member Thijs van Leer was a classically trained organist and flautist.
  • With four breaks and reunions along the way, Focus continues to tour today.
  • Focus 3Past line ups have included, guitarist Jan Akkerman (a founding member) and American singer, PJ Proby.

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  • Hocus Pocus was recorded in 1971, released on the band Focus’s second album, Focus II (aka Moving Waves), in 1972 and hit the charts in 1973.
  • Hocus Pocus was written by Focus guitarist Jan Akkerman and flautist-keyboardist Thijs van Leer.
  • Focus 1Hocus Pocus peaked at #9 on the US singles charts and #20 on the UK singles charts. In 2010 it was featured in a Nike ad shown during the FIFA World Cup causing it to again enter the UK charts where it peaked at #57.
  • The original recording of Hocus Pocus was slower than the faster radio version which was, in turn, slower than the live version.
  • The song is often heard at sporting events, was featured in the 2014 remake of the movie Robocop, and has featured in television shows, Top Gear and My Name is Earl.
  • Hocus Pocus lyrics.

hocus pocus – focus – 1973

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Jeans On – David Dundas – 1976

February 25, 2015

David Dundas Jeans On LyricsIt’s not often a member of the British aristocracy gets to sit on their country seat and the UK top ten at the same time but it happened to Dundas, aka Lord David Paul Nicolas Dundas, back in 1976 when his song, Jeans On, hit the UK and US charts.

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  • David Dundas is a bona fide lord.  Son of the 3rd Marquess of Zetland, he is now rightly titled, Lord David Paul Nicolas Dundas.
  • His 1976 single, Jeans On, earns David (I mean, Lord David) entry to the one hit wonder club.
  • Lord David went on to release further singles including Another Funny Honeymoon (peaked at #29) and Where Were You Today, but he is remembered for his one big hit, Jeans On.
  • Lord David began his music career as a writer of advertising jingles.  In fact, at least two of his singles, Jeans On and Where Were You Today, had their beginnings as jingles.
  • Still in the music business, Lord David is going to be 70 years old this year and is known for writing film and television soundtracks.

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  • Jeans On was originally an advertising jingle for Brutus Jeans.  It was so popular that the jingle’s writer, David Dundas, with the help of iconic songwriter, Roger Greenaway, transformed it into a full length song and released it as a single.
  • In 1977, David (I’m letting go of the “Lord” bit – it gets rather tedious!) included Jeans On on his first album.  Self-titled it was the first of his three albums.
  • Jeans On peaked at #3 on the UK singles chart and #17 on the US chart.
  • David also released a French version of Jeans On – it was called Blue Jeans.
  • Keith Urban appears to be the only musician of note to cover Jeans On.
  • Fatboy Slim sampled the opening piano riff for his 1998 track, Sho Nuff.  Check it out; David is given credit as co-writer.  Coincidentally, Fatboy Slim’s track was also used in a commercial.  This one was for the SEAT Ibiza car.
  • Jeans On lyrics.

jeans on – david dundas – 1976 – video

brutus jeans ad – 1974 – video

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Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry – 1976

August 14, 2014

Wild Cherry Play that funky music 1976 coverFor the second week in a row, a one-hit-wonder.  This time, American band, Wild Cherry and their 1976 #1 hit, Play That Funky Music.

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  • From a small Ohio steel mill town named, Mingo Junction, comes Wild Cherry.
  • The band’s name came from the brand of a cough drop band founder, Rob Parissi had in his pocket the day he endeavoured to come up with something creative!
  • Wild Cherry were active from 1970-1973 before, disillusioned, they parted company. In 1975, Rob decided to give it another go.  With a new set of musicians, he hit the road again.
  • One night, at the 2001 Club in Pittsburgh, a group of Afro-American fans kept coming to the stage and teasing, “Are you white boys gonna play some funky music?”  Drummer Ron Beitle took up the teasing and, in a group meeting in the dressing room, said to the band, “Play That Funky Music, White Boy.”  Rob was inspired – in five minutes he’d written the song with a pen he borrowed from the bartender.
  • wild cherry 2The band was signed to Sweet City Records (Epic/CBS) on the strength of the song’s potential.
  • Over the next few years the band changed line-up a number of times before disbanding in 1979.

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  • Play That Funky Music was written by Rob Parissi and recorded by his band Wild Cherry. Recorded in 1975, it was released in 1976.
  • Play That Funky Music hit #1 on the US singles chart on September 18, 1976.  It eventually sold over 2.5 million copies in the US alone.
  • The song listed at no. 73 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • In 1990, Vanilla Ice released a song that included an interpretation of Play That Funky Music.  He didn’t credit Rob as the songwriter and was later forced to pay $500,000 in a copyright infringement lawsuit.  Vanilla’s version didn’t initially catch on, but the B-side did.  On re-release, Play That Funky Music peaked at #4 on the US charts and #10 in the UK.

Play That Funky Music lyrics.

play that funky music – wild cherry – 1976 – video

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Pop Muzik – M – 1979

August 4, 2014

M Pop Muzik CoverIn reality just one man, Robin Scott, and the members of 80s band, Level 42, M were a one hit wonder with Pop Muzik, one of the very first hit songs of the new wave/techno era.

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  • M = English musician Robin Scott.
  • A one hit wonder, M released four albums and ten singles but only one single, Pop Muzik, made any impression on the charts.
  • A number of musicians were involved in M, most notably Level 42’s, Mark King, and Phil Gould.
  • By 1984, M were no more, however, Robin went on to produce and EP of African artists.  He then released an album of his own, Robin Scott & Shikisha, which was recorded in Kenya and featured musicians from various African nations.
  • A resurgence of interest in M and Pop Muzik followed U2’s use of the Steve Osborne remix to open their PopMart tour.

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  • Written by Robin Scott, Pop Muzik was released in the UK and US in March and July 1979 respectively.
  • Pop Muzik peaked at #2 on the UK singles chart—it was kept from #1 by Art Garfunkel’s Bright Eyes—but it went all the way to #1 in the US.
  • Robin said of Pop Muzik:

I was looking to make a fusion of various styles which somehow would summarise the last 25 years of pop music. It was a deliberate point I was trying to make. Whereas rock and roll had created a generation gap, disco was bringing people together on an enormous scale. That’s why I really wanted to make a simple, bland statement, which was, ‘All we’re talking about basically (is) pop music.

  • The baby on Pop Muzik’s single disc pictures Robin’s daughter Berenice.  She is now a singer and piano/keyboard player and composer in her own right.
  • Pop Muzik lyrics.

pop muzik – M – 1979 – video

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