Le Freak – Chic – 1978

June 18, 2018

chic-le_freak_1978Still touring, still featuring the incredible Nile Rodgers, still Le Freak remains their greatest hit – American band, Chic had a massive hit in 1978 with Le Freak.

chic fax

  • Chic was formed in 1976 by guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards. One of their original names was, the Big Apple Band. This was dropped in favour of Chic when Walter Murphy released the single and album A Fifth of Beethoven under the name Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band.
  • Chic went on to produce a number of success disco hits, including: Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah) (1977), Everybody Dance (1977), Le Freak (1978), I Want Your Love (1978), and Good Times (1979).
  • The band has been cited as having influenced many successful bands, including a number from the UK. John Taylor, bassist from Duran Duran, claims the bass part of their top 10 single Rio was influenced by his work with Chic.  Johnny Marr of The Smiths cited Chic as a formative influence. Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust was inspired by the bass guitar riff on Good Times.
  • Chic have been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame eleven times – the most nominated act not to receive induction. In 2017, Nile Rodgers was inducted for Musical Excellence.
  • The band still tours under the name, Nile Rodgers and Chic.

le freak fax

  • Written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, Le Freak was the third single by American R&B band, Chic. It was the first of three singles from their second album, C’est Chic.
  • Released in September 1978, Le Freak was the band’s first #1 US single; it peaked at #7 in the UK. The following year, Chic had a second #1 US single with Good Times.
  • Many of Chic’s songs had deeper meanings. Le Freak commemorates the nightclub Studio 54 for its notoriously long customer waiting lines, exclusive clientele, and discourteous doormen. On New Year’s Eve 1977, Nile and Bernard were refused entrance to the club, where they had been invited by Grace Jones. The original lyrics refrain were “F*** off!” later tempered to “Freak out!”
  • Le Freak” was the first song to score the #1 position on Billboard’s Hot 100 three separate times. Around five songs have since achieved this.
  • In 2018, Le Freak was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the US Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or artistically significant.”
  • Le Freak lyrics.

le freak – chic – 1978 – video


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Wand’rin’ Star – Lee Marvin – 1970

June 5, 2018

Wand'ring Star Lee Marvin 1970Sometimes the most unlikely people wind up with a #1 hit – take actor Lee Marvin for instance, and his 1970 song, Wand’rin’ Star.

lee marvin fax

  • Lee Marvin was an American film and television actor, best known for his deep voice which made him perfect for playing the roles of cowboys, villains, police detectives, and soldiers.
  • Lee’s acting awards included, an Academy Award for Best Actor, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe Award.
  • Lee served as a US marine during WWII. After the war, he found work as a plumber’s assistant at a local community theatre in New York.  One night, he was asked to replace an actor who had fallen ill during rehearsals. Lee fell in love with acting and the rest is, as they say, history.
  • But, we’re interested in his song… Lee gained a the role in the 1969 movie, The Wild Bunch but fell out with the movie’s director, Sam Peckinpah.  He pulled out of the movie and took a role alongside Clint Eastwood in the Western musical Paint Your Wagon.
  • No one would claim Lee was a great singer but, despite that, he had a hit song with “Wand’rin’ Star”.
  • This was back in 1970, and he was getting paid a million dollars per film—a phenomenal amount at the time.
  • Lee featured in around 65 movies and several television programmes and series.
  • Lee died of a heart attack on August 29, 1987.

wand’ring star fax

  • Wand’rin’ Star was written by Alan J. Lerner (lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music) for the stage musical Paint Your Wagon in 1951.
  • In 1969, a movie version was released starring Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. Lee took the role of prospector Ben Rumson who had a number of songs in the film, including Wand’rin Star.
  • It was initially suggested that Lee mime to the voices of other singers but, despite his limited singing ability, he refused.
  • Wand’ring Star hit #1 in the UK and Ireland keeping The Beatles’ Let it Be at #2 in the UK. It was Lee’s only single. It didn’t feature on the US charts.
  • The B-Side to Lee’s version featured I Talk to the Trees—also from Paint Your Wagon—by Clint Eastwood.
  • In 1990, Wand’rin’ Star was covered by English comedian Julian Clary. It was also covered by Shane MacGowan and The Popes on their 1997 album, The Crock of Gold.
  • Wand’ring Star lyrics.

wand’ring star – lee marvin – 1970

i talk to the trees – clint eastwood – 1970

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Magnet and Steel – Walter Egan – 1978

May 30, 2018

Magnet_and_SteelHere’s one you forgot about – Walter Egan’s rather easy-going 1978 gold record hit, Magnet and Steel.

walter egan fax

  • Despite releasing around a dozen singles, American muso, Walter Egan, can probably be considered a one hit wonder.
  • Walter graduated from uni with a degree in Fine Arts, majoring in sculpture.
  • Barely out of his teens, Walter began writing songs and played guitar in a college band known as Sageworth and Drums. The band broke up in 1971, Walter moved to LA and began his career as a solo artist.
  • In LA, Walter met members of Fleetwood Mac – Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks produced his first album, Fundamental Roll, and songs on his second album, Not Shy.
  • Walter’s highest charting song was Magnet and Steel (#8 on the US charts). He also wrote Hearts on Fire, which was covered by Gram Parsons on his album Grievous Angel, and Hot Summer Nights, which was the first hit for the band Night, which included such session musicians as Nicky Hopkins and Robbie McIntosh.
  • Walter is credited as a co-writer of the Eminem hit We Made You because Dr. Dre, who produced the song, believed he was inspired by the bass line from Hot Summer Nights.
  • Walter remains involved in the music industry and, as recently as 2011 produced an album titled Raw Elegant.
  • Walter is also known for appearances on US game shows. In 1985, he was a four-time champion on Catchphrase. In 1986, he appeared as a contestant on the television game show Scrabble. During his introduction on the latter show, Walter was introduced as a singer and songwriter. When the show’s host asked Walter to sing something he’d written, he sang the main chorus of Magnet and Steel.
  • Walter is apparently currently employed as a substitute teacher in Williamson County, Tennessee, near Franklin.

magnet and steel fax

  • Magnet and Steel was written by Walter Egan. Released in May 1978, it was the first single from Walter’s, second solo album, Not Shy.
  • Magnet and Steel peaked at #8 on the US singles chart.
  • Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham sang background vocals and co-produced the song. The third producer was Richard Dashut who produced a number of Fleetwood Mac albums, including: Rumours, Tusk and Mirage.
  • Stevie Nicks is said to be Walter’s inspiration for the song.
  • Magnet and Steel features in at least three movies: Boogie Nights (1997), Overnight Delivery (1998) and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999).
  • Magnet and Steel lyrics.

magnet and steel – walter egan – 1978 – video

Sometimes the YouTube links dropout – if this link doesn’t work, please go to YouTube and search for the song – it will be worth it!

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Ol’ ‘55 – Tom Waits – 1973

May 6, 2018

Tom Waits Closing Time 1973Ol’ ‘55 – Tom Waits – 1973

A wonderful song from one of the great poets/singers – Tom Waits’ 1973 song, Ol’ ’55.  If you haven’t heard this song before – you are in for a treat!!

tom waits fax

  • Tom Waits has one of those distinctive voices – once described as, “sounding as if it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car” – and is almost as well-known for his persona as he is his music. (Tom’s persona is perhaps best observed when we compare the live and studio versions of Ol’ ’55).
  • Aged 12 years and living in San Diego, Tom was inspired by Bob Dylan and the Beat Generation. Four years later, he began singing in local folk clubs before moving to LA.
  • In LA, Tom worked as a songwriter before gaining a recording contract of his own. The result was the fabulous album, Closing Time (1973).
  • Since then, he has released a further 15 studio albums and has worked as a composer for movies and musicals. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his soundtrack work on One from the Heart.
  • He has also appeared in 39 movies to date with a couple more due for release later this year.
  • An incredible 19 Tom Waits tribute albums have been released around the world!
  • Although his albums have experienced mixed commercial success in the US, Tom is cited as an inspiration by many well-known artists. His albums have also gone gold in a number of nations around the globe.  Some of this songs are best known for the cover versions produced by more commercial artists, e.g. Jersey Girl by Bruce Springsteen, Ol’ ’55 by The Eagles, and Downtown Train by Rod Stewart.
  • Tom was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. He is included in the 2010 list of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers, and the 2015 list of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.

ol’ ’55 fax

  • Written by Tom Waits, Ol’ ’55 is the opening track and lead single from Tom’s debut studio album, Closing Time.
  • Recorded in early 1972, Ol’ ’55 was released in March 1973 on Asylum Records.
  • Ol’ ’55 has been covered by numerous artists including: Eagles (1974 on the On The Border album and B-side of Best of My Love), Fairport Convention singer Iain Matthews (1974), Richie Havens (1980) and Sarah McLachlan (1994).
  • In a 1975 interview Tom criticised Eagles’ cover version of his song, admitting that he was “not that particularly crazy about (their) rendition of it … I thought their version was a little antiseptic.” Tom has since admitted he had a chip on his shoulder, and he is prouder now of that version.
  • Ol’ ’55 lyrics.

ol’ ’55 – tom waits – 1973 – video – LIVE

ol’ ’55 – tom waits – 1973 – video – STUDIO VERSION

Sometimes the YouTube links dropout – if this link doesn’t work, please go to YouTube and search for the song – it will be worth it!

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Why Me – Kris Kristofferson – 1973

March 11, 2018

Why Me - Kris K - 1973Kris Kristofferson, the man who wrote the fabulous Me and Bobby McGee, had his greatest hit with a 1973 gospel country song, Why Me.

kris kristofferson fax

  • Kristoffer Kristofferson was born in Brownsville, Texas, in the USA; his grandparents were from Sweden, which explains the surname.
  • Kris is a pretty bright guy. He graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts in literature and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in the UK.  At Oxford he was awarded his Blue for boxing and played rugby for his college.
  • About this time, he began writing and recording songs using the name Kris Carson. He found little success in the music world but graduated with a B.Phil degree in English literature.
  • Kris joined the US Army and attained the rank of captain. He also worked as a helicopter pilot for a while.
  • In 1965, he left the army, moved to Nashville, and began pursuing his music career between working various odd jobs. While sweeping floors at Columbia Studios, he met June Carter and handed her a tape which he asked be given to Johnny Cash.  Johnny didn’t get around to listening to it for a while and, frustrated with waiting, Kris landed a helicopter in Johnny’s front yard.  Apparently, Johnny wasn’t home, but it did get Johnny’s attention.  A short time later, Johnny recorded Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down, earning Kris the Songwriter of the Year award at the Country Music Awards.
  • Kris continued writing songs and other artists continued to have success with them – including Janis Joplin (who Kris dated until her death) with Me and Bobby McGee. Kris recorded his own music but with little initial success.
  • Then, in 1971, Kris’ second album, The Silver Tongued Devil, was released. It was successful, as was his third album, Jesus was a Capricorn.
  • In 1972, he appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test in the UK with Rita Coolidge (to whom he was married for a while), singing Help Me Make It Through The Night, a song off his unsuccessful first album. His success as a solo artist was established.
  • About this time, Kris made his acting debut in in The Last Movie, directed by Dennis Hopper. He enjoyed acting and made the that a focus for a while.  He is best known for his starring roles in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Heaven’s Gate, and A Star Is Born, the latter of which earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
  • In 1985, Kris joined fellow country artists Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash in forming the country music supergroup The Highwaymen.
  • In 2004, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

why me fax

  • Why Me was written by and recorded on July 8, 1972, by American country music singer and songwriter Kris Kristofferson. It was released as a single in April 1973 – the third single from Kris’ third album, Jesus was a Carpenter.
  • Why Me was Kris’ greatest hit, peaking at #16 on the US singles chart, but topping the US and Canadian Country singles chart.
  • Artists to cover Why Me include, Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and Conway Twitty.
  • Why Me lyrics.

Why Me – Kris Kristofferson – 1973 – video


the why me story – kris Kristofferson – video

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Tulsa Time – Don Williams – 1978

January 17, 2018

Tulsa Time Don WilliamsDon Williams – one of the artists we lost in 1978, was the first to record the Danny Flowers song, Tulsa Time.

don williams fax

  • Born in 1939, was in his early 30s when he began his solo career as a country singer – a move that saw him amass 17 #1 US Country hits and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame (2010). Don had success in the UK too.  In 1976, he was on the UK Top 40 with You’re My Best Friend and I Recall a Gypsy Woman.  In 1978, his album Images reached #2 on the UK charts.
  • Don only ever had one song on the US singles chart – I Believe in You peaked at #24 ihn 1980. He did, however, release 63 singles and 25 albums.
  • Don was a prolific and gifted songwriter. His songs being recorded by artists including: Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Alison Krauss, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, Waylon Jennings, and Pete Townshend.
  • Don died in Mobile, Alabama on September 8, 2017 due to emphysema.

tulsa time fax

  • Tulsa Time was written by American songwriter, Danny Flowers.
  • It was first released by Don Williams in October 1978 – the first single from his album, Expressions.
  • It became Don’s eighth #1 single on the US Country Chart.
  • Tulsa Time was also recorded by Eric Clapton for his 1978 album Backless. There is also a live version on his album Just One Night.  It peaked at #30 on the US singles chart in 1980.
  • Reba McEntire recorded Tulsa Time for her 1995 album, Starting Over. It wasn’t included on the final release, however, but was released on her 1999 compilation album Comfort from a Country Quilt.
  • Tulsa Time lyrics.

tulsa time – don williams – 1978

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Fire – The Pointer Sisters – 1978

November 30, 2017

fireWritten by Bruce Springsteen in 1977, Fire, had its highest profile as a 1978 single release by the Pointer Sisters.

the pointer sisters fax

  • With a career spanning four decades, The Pointer Sisters began as a duo back in 1969. That’s when June and Bonnie began singing in clubs around Oakland, California.  Anita soon joined in and then, in 1972, Ruth completed the line-up.
  • 1972 was also the year they recorded their debut album, winning a 1975 Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance for Fairytale.
  • Since then their repertoire has stretched across many genres, including pop, disco, jazz, electronic music, bebop, blues, soul, funk, dance, country and rock.
  • In all, The Pointer Sisters have won three Grammys, have a star on the Hollywood Hall of Fame, and have had 13 US top 20 singles and five top 20 UK singles.
  • June passed away in 2004 and was replaced by Ruth’s daughter, Issa. Since 2009, the group has consisted of Anita, Ruth, Issa, and Ruth’s granddaughter Sadako Pointer.

fire fax

  • Fire was written by Bruce Springsteen in 1977.  In writing Fire, Bruce envisioned is as a song that could be recorded by his idol Elvis Presley.  Bruce says he sent Elvis a demo of it but he died before it arrived.
  • Bruce recorded Fire for his 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town but it didn’t make it onto the disc. It was, however, included in the set list of the Darkness Tour.
  • As a single, Fire peaked at #46 on the US chart and #54 on the UK chart.
  • In 1978 The Pointer Sisters, then a trio of Anita, June and Ruth, released Fire as the first single from their album Energy.
  • The Pointer Sister’s version peaked at #2 on the US charts and #34 on the UK charts. Stopping it get to #1 in the US was Rod Stewart with Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?
  • It became The Pointer Sisters first gold single.
  • Billboard named the song #48 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.
  • Fire lyrics.

fire – the pointer sisters – 1978 – video

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