Funkytown – Lipps Inc. – 1979

January 18, 2019

lippsincfunkytown7inchsinglecoverRecorded in 1979, released as a single in 1980, Lipps Inc.’s Funkytown, their only song to make a dent on the US or UK charts, was a massive hit.

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  • A disco band from Minneapolis, Lipps Inc. was a band created by record producer Steven Greenberg and featuring lead vocalist Cynthia Johnson and a changing line-up of various session musicians.
  • Lipps Inc. produced three albums between 1979 – 1985. Cynthia is a member of three-time Grammy Award winning gospel band, Sounds of Blackness and worked with Prince.
  • She released All That I Am, a solo album, in 2013.

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  • Funkytown was written and produced by Steven Greenberg. It was recorded in 1979 by Lipps Inc. and appeared on their debut album Mouth to Mouth before being released as a single in early 1980.
  • Funkytown held the record for reaching the #1 spot in 28 countries, more than any other single release until Madonna’s Hung Up (it reached #1 in 41 countries in 2005).
  • Sales of Funkytown reached double-platinum.
  • Funkytown hit #1 in the US and #2 on the UK singles charts.
  • In 1986, the song was covered by Australian band Pseudo Echo, who took it to #1 in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and #6 in the US.
  • Funkytown lyrics.

funkytown – lipps inc. – 1979 – video

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Convoy – C.W. McCall – 1975

January 9, 2019

mccall_-_convoy10-4 Big Buddy – C.W. McCall had a #1 hit in a number of countries with his 1975 hit, Convoy.

c. w. mccall fax

  • C. W. McCall was the stage name and invented persona of William Dale Fries, Jr.
  • In 1973, while working as a creative director for an advertising agency, William created a television campaign advertising Old Home Bread. The ads featured a truck driver named C. W. McCall., played by actor Jim Finlayson and a waitress named Mavis Davis, played by Jean McBride Capps. The commercial’s success led to songs such as Old Home Filler-Up an’ Keep on a-Truckin’ Café, Wolf Creek Pass and Black Bear Road. William wrote the lyrics and sang while Chip Davis wrote the music.
  • While many of their songs tended to be humorous or amusing, some had serious undertones based on environmental conservation.
  • Between 1975 and 1979, William released six albums under then name C. W. McCall. Convoy was his only single to reach the US top ten – none other even came close.
  • In 1986, William was elected mayor of the town of Ouray, Colorado, ultimately serving for six years.

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  • Convoy is a 1975 novelty song performed by C. W. McCall (a character co-created and voiced by William Fries and Chip Davis). The words were written by William and the music by Chip, although the song’s credits feature C. W. McCall as a contributor – William and C. W. are the same person.
  • Convoy reached #1 on the country and pop charts in the US and is listed 98th among Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time. The song peaked at #2 in the UK
  • Convoy hit the charts as the fad for citizens band (CB) radio was at its peak. Much of the song features CB jargon.
  • Convoy was the inspiration for the 1978 Sam Peckinpah film, Convoy, starring, Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, and Ernest Borgnine.
  • In 1976, C. W. released a sequel to Convoy. Round the World with the Rubber Duck continues the story of the convoy as it leaves the United States and travels around the world, through Britain, France, West and East Germany, the USSR, Japan, and Australia.
  • A number of Convoy parodies appeared throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s.
  • The lyrics to the movie version of convoy are different to those of the single.
  • Convoy lyrics.

convoy – c. w. mccall – 1975 – video

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Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers – 1971

December 7, 2018

Aint no sunshine billOne of the most enduring Soul/R&B classics, Bill Withers’ 1971 smash, Ain’t No Sunshine.

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  • Born in West Virginia, USA, in 1938, Bill Withers was 32 before embarking on a musical career and, even then, he never fully immersed himself.
  • Bill was born with a stutter and said he felt it was difficult for him to fit in with his peers so, at the age of 18 he joined the US Navy where he served for nine years.
  • He left the navy in 1965, leaving his stutter behind. He moved to Los Angeles to embark on a career in singing and song writing. He worked a number of jobs while recording demo tapes and performing his songs in clubs in the evenings.
  • Famously, when Ain’t No Sunshine took off in the charts, he refused to resign from his day job believing that the music business was too fickle and his success may not last.
  • By 1985, Bill had effectively left the music business having recorded eight albums, two of which went gold; and 34 singles, including Lean On Me which reached #1 on the US and #18 on the UK singles charts. His last hit was in 1981, Just the Two of Us, with Grover Washington Jnr.
  • Bill fell out of love with the music industry in the mid-80s. He became frustrated by his record company dictating what he could and couldn’t release. He once talked about how frustrated he was as a professional musician when his record company would refuse to release what he considered good music, and yet they released an album by Mr T, an American actor.
  • In 1985, when his record deal ran out, he decided not to record or re-sign to a record label – this effectively ended his performing career. He has since stated that he does not miss touring and performing live and does not regret leaving music behind.

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  • Ain’t No Sunshine was written and recorded by Bill Withers in 1971. It appeared on his album Just as I Am and was produced by Booker T. Jones. The song features some greats of the music industry, including, Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass guitar, Al Jackson, Jr. on drums and Stephen Stills on guitar.
  • Ain’t No Sunshine was the breakthrough hit for Bill, peaking at #3 on the US singles chart. It peaked at #40 on the UK singles chart but not until 2009, an incredible 38 years after its release.
  • Bill was 31 years old and working at a factory making toilet seats for 747s at the time he wrote the song. It is said that, when the song went gold, the record company presented Bill with a golden toilet, marking the start of his new career – he had, until that point continued his factory work.
  • Ain’t No Sunshine won the 1972 Grammy award for best R&B song.
  • In 1971, Michael Jackson covered the song for his debut album, Got to be There. In the UK, it was released as the third single from the album and peaked at #8 in September 1972.
  • Other artists to have success with the song include, The Rockmelons, Boris Gardiner and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
  • Ain’t No Sunshine lyrics.

ain’t no sunshine – bill withers -1971 – 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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Babe – Styx – 1979

November 14, 2018

Babe - Styx - 1979The sole #1 US hit for American band Styx only just squeezed into the 70s; Babe entered the charts in December 1979 and remained there long enough to be the first #1 of the 1980s.

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  • Formed in Chicago in 1972, Styx continue to perform today, although they did take a couple of breaks in the middle there somewhere as various members pursued solo careers.
  • Initially known as a harder rock band, by the 1980s, they had begun to incorporate gentler pop elements into their music.
  • Originally named the Tradewinds, in 1972, the band decided to choose a new name after being signed to Wooden Nickel Records. They were spotted by a talent scout at a concert at St. John of the Cross Parish in Western Springs, Illinois (James Young’s hometown). After throwing around a few names, they settle on Styx because, according to Dennis DeYoung, “it was the only suggestion that none of us hated.”
  • Foundation members were, Chuck Panozzo and his brother John on bass and drums respectively, James Young on guitar and lead vocals, Dennis DeYoung on keys and vocals, and John Curulewski on guitar and vocals. The two Johns have both since died – Chuck and James are still a part of the band.
  • Not so popular in the UK, the band had three gold albums in the US and an incredible, five albums in a row that went platinum or multi-platinum in the US – those five albums add up to over 12 million album units! In all, Styx released 16 studio albums, 9 live albums, 16 compilation albums, and 31 singles.
  • The band were prolific in terms of album releases – one every year between 1972 and 1979 inclusive. Styx last released an album in 2017 – The Mission.

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  • Babe was released by American rock band Styx in September 1979. It was the first single from their 1979 triple-platinum album Cornerstone.
  • Babe was written by band member Dennis DeYoung as a birthday present for his wife Suzanne.
  • Babe was Styx’s first, and only, US #1 single. It peaked at #6 in the UK – the band’s only single to break the UK top ten.
  • The song was the US’s first #1 on the 1980s.
  • In 1999, Babe featured in the movie Big Daddy, starring Adam Sandler, whose character is a huge fan of Styx.
  • Babe lyrics.

babe – styx – 1979 – video

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Tony Joe White – 1943 – 2018

October 26, 2018

Capture

One of the great song writers of the 60s, 70s… right through to today, has died of a heart attack in Tennessee. Tony Joe White was 75.

Read Rolling Stone magazine’s obituary here.


Don’t Give Up on Us – David Soul -1976

October 25, 2018

Dont give up on us david soul 1976Just to prove that it’s not just in the 2000’s that otherwise average singers can achieve hit records simply due to celebrity status gained in other fields of endeavour, this week we visit David Soul, the American-British actor (and avid Arsenal FC fan) who had not one but two #1 UK hits back in the 70s. This is his first hit – Don’t Give Up on Us.

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  • David Soul is nothing if not talented… born in Chicago, he turned down a professional baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox in order to study political science. While studying, he learned the guitar and was smitten with music. He began to play clubs and appear on television.
  • Gradually, his acting took over. He appeared on such American classics as The Merv Griffin Show, Flipper and Here Comes the Brides (also featuring Bobby Sherman). On the strength of his television work, Clint Eastwood cast him in the movie Magnum Force.
  • For those of us who remember David in his heyday, we know him as Detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson from Starsky and Hutch, a hit television series which aired from 1975 – 1979.
  • During the mid- to late 1970s, David returned to singing. He recorded a number of hits which included, Don’t Give Up on Us (1977) which reached #1 in both the US and UK, and Silver Lady (1977) which reached #1 in the UK, but peaked #52 in the US. Between those two hits, he had a #2 UK single, Going In With My Eyes Open.
  • In all, between 1976 and 1978, David had five UK Top 20 singles and two Top 10 albums. In the late 70s, he toured extensively in the US, Europe, Far East and South America.
  • In the mid-1990s, David moved to London and, in 2004, became a British citizen.
  • David continues to work as an actor and singer.

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  • Don’t Give Up on Us was written by song producer Tony Macaulay and sung by David Soul.
  • A huge hit, the song spent four weeks at #1 on the UK singles chart in January and February 1977, and one week at #1 on the US singles chart in April 1977. It sold 1.16 million copies in the UK. It was the 9th greatest hit of the 1970s in the UK.
  • Don’t Give Up on Us was rated #93 in VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders because, although David had at least two more hits in the UK, he never again broke into the top 40 in the US.
  • In 2004, David recorded a new version of Don’t Give Up on Us. The story goes that he felt embarrassed when hearing the song by chance in an elevator as sung by Owen Wilson in the film version of Starsky and Hutch.
  • The song was also used in the film Johnny English Reborn (2011).
  • Don’t Give Up on Us lyrics.

don’t give up on us – david soul – 1976 – video

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That’s the Way (I Like It) – KC and the Sunshine Band – 1975

October 16, 2018

Tahts the way i like it KCThis latest 70s hit is from one of the survivors of the disco era – KC and the Sunshine Band, and their 1975 hit, That’s the Way (I Like It).

kc and the sunshine band fax

  • KC and the Sunshine Band were formed in Florida back in 1973 by lead vocalist Harry Wayne Casey.
  • The name came from Harry’s surname; Casey = KC; their original name was KC & the Sunshine Junkanoo Band.
  • Although he originally used studio musicians, that soon changed. Early in the life of the band, Harry met Richard Finch. The two began to write songs together and the rest, as they say, is history. One of their first songs was Rock Your Baby (one of the very first songs to feature a drum machine) which was recorded by George McCrae and became a #1 US hit.
  • KC and the Sunshine Band released 13 studio albums – ten between 1973 and 1984, and a further three after reforming in 1993. They are still performing today.
  • Their self-titled second album was their greatest album success. It featured the hits, That’s the Way (I Like It), Get Down Tonight, and Boogie Shoes. Other hits included (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty, I’m Your Boogie Man, and Please Don’t Go.
  • In all, the band produced seven Top Ten US singles, of which 5 went to #1.

that’s the way (i like it) fax

  • That’s the Way (I Like It) was the written by Harry Casey and Richard Finch. It was the second hit single for KC and the Sunshine Band (the first being Get Down Tonight) and come from the band’s second’s album which was self-titled.
  • The song is one of the few #1 singles to hit number one on more than one occasion during a one-month period. Having been at #1 in the US for a week, it was knocked off the top perch by Silver Convention’s, Fly, Robin, Fly. Three weeks later, That’s the Way (I Like It) was back for another week at the top.
  • That’s the Way (I Like It) peaked at #4 in the UK.
  • At the time of release, some considered the song to be rather risqué because of the obvious meaning behind the title as well as its chorus with multiple “uh-huhs.”
  • That’s the Way (I Like It) lyrics.

that’s the way (i like it) – kc and the sunshine band – 1975 – video

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