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.

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  • 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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David Cassidy – 1950 – 2017

November 22, 2017

David

David Cassidy, pop culture idol of the 1970s, has died in a Florida hospital. The musician and actor remembered for his starring role in The Partridge Family was 67.

Read Rolling Stone Magazine’s tribute here.


My Thang – James Brown – 1974

November 18, 2017

My Thang - James Brown - 1974 CoverWhat can you say? The Godfather of soul’s 1974 hit, My Thang…

james brown fax

  • Born in 1933, passed away in 2006; James Brown is called The Godfather of Soul because, for many people, he was the progenitor of soul and funk music.
  • Like many of his era, James’ career began as a member of the in the R&B gospel group, the Gospel Starlighters. During 1950s, they evolved into the Flames and James was the lead singer.
  • By the late 1950s they were known as The Famous Flames and began to find chart success with songs like Please, Please, Please and Try Me.
  • Many say James’ success was at its peak in the 1960s with the live album Live at the Apollo and hit singles such as Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, I Got You (I Feel Good), and It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.
  • It was during the late 1960s that he began to refine his style – a style which greatly influenced the development of funk music.
  • By the early 1970s, James was playing with his band, the J.B.s and funk was a real thing. During this time, he became known for songs which made commentary of social issues of the day – songs like the 1968 hit Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.
  • James holds the record for the most singles to reach the US singles chart without ever reaching #1 – 64 singles. He did, however, have 16 singles that reached #1 on the R&B charts.  Between 1959 and 2002, James released a phenomenal 66 studio albums and 15 live albums.
  • The closest James came to a #1 US hit was in 1965 when, I Got You (I Feel Good) reached #3.
  • James is an inductee into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  • When Joel Whitburn analysed the Billboard R&B charts from 1942 to 2010, he placed James at #1 among The Top 500 Artists. He is also ranked seventh on the music magazine Rolling Stone’s list of its 100 greatest artists of all time. Rolling Stone also also cited James as the most sampled artist of all time.

my thang fax

  • My Thang was written and recorded by James Brown. From the album Hell, it was released in April 1974.
  • The song borrows lines from another of James’ songs, Funky Drummer. James often borrowed lines from his songs that did not chart to incorporate into a new song.
  • My Thang spent two weeks at #1 on the US R&B singles chart and reached #29 on the US singles chart.
  • My Thang is sampled on a number of Hip-Hop songs, including Brand New Funk by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
  • My Thang lyrics.

my thang – james brown – 1974 – video

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The Candy Man – Sammy Davis Jr – 1972

November 10, 2017

The_Candy_Man_Sammy_Davis_JrFrom the perennial Christmas movie… what would Christmas be without reruns of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on the tele? – The Candy Man which was a 1972 hit for Sammy Davis Jr.

sammy davis jr fax

  • Born into a show biz family, Sammy began his career when just three years old. He joined his father and Will Mastin to form the Will Mastin Trio, which toured nationally.
  • After WWII service – in which he was assigned to the Entertainment Special Services – Sammy returned to the trio.
  • Sammy’s solo career happened quickly. He became an overnight sensation following a nightclub performance at a West Hollywood bar after the 1951 Academy Awards.
  • He began his movie career in 1933, appearing as Rufus Jones in Rufus Jones for President, a short satirical musical. Sammy went on to appear in almost 40 movies, four stage musicals, and almost 30 television shows.
  • In all, Sammy released over 50 albums, with at least five different recording companies. Of his numerous singles, only two reached the US top ten; Something’s Gotta Give (1955) and The Candy Man (1972).  Two singles reached the UK top ten, Something’s Gotta Give and Love Me or Leave Me (both 1955).
  • The numerous awards won by Sammy include: a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Acheivement award (2001), a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and induction into the Internationcal Civil Rights Walk of Fame.
  • In 1954, Sammy was in a life-changing auto accident. In it he lost his left eye.  From the time on he had a glass eye.  A year before the accident, his friend, comedian Eddie Cantor, had given him a mezuzah. Instead of putting it by his door as a traditional blessing, Sammy wore it around his neck for good luck. The only time he forgot it was the night of the accident.  Taking it as some sort of omen, Sammy converted to Judaism in 1961.
  • Sammy was a member of The Rat Pack, a group of artistes prominent in the 1960’s. The Rat Pack was made up of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, with the three first mentioned being considered the leaders.
  • Sammy was a victim of racism throughout his life, particularly during the pre-Civil Rights era, and was a large financial supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. One day on a golf course with Jack Benny, he was asked what his handicap was. “Handicap?” he asked. “Talk about handicap. I’m a one-eyed Negro Jew.”
  • Sammy died of throat cancer on May 16, 1990, aged just 64.

the candy man fax

  • The Candy Man, sometimes called, The Candy Man Can, was written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley specifically for the 1971 film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The soundtrack version of the song was sung by Aubrey Woods, who played Bill the candy store owner in the film.
  • When lyricist Anthony Newley heard Aubrey Woods’ version for the first time, he was so appalled by the performance that he wanted to record it himself. He was convinced the song could win an Oscar if it was sung and produced properly.  The producers of the record refused his offer so Anthony suggest he dub his own vocal and still market the record under Aubrey’s name.  Again, he was refused.
  • Anthony did, however, record his own version prior to Sammy Davis Jr’s version.
  • The Candy Man’s best-known version is by Sammy Davis, Jr. It appears on Sammy’s album, Sammy Davis Jr. Now.  Sammy always said he didn’t like the song.
  • The Candy Man was Sammy’s only #1 US hit. Despite Sammy having songs in the UK charts, The Candy Man did not chart there.  Billboard ranked The Candy Man as the #5 song for 1972.
  • BVs on Sammy’s version were provided by the Mike Curb Congregation. They had previously released their own unsuccessful version.
  • So closely associated with Sammy is this song that, later in his career, he was often referred to as The Candy Man.
  • In 2014, Sammy’s lead vocals from the original 1972 recording were sampled to create a virtual duet with Barry Manilow. It appeared on Barry’s album My Dream Duets.
  • The Candy Man lyrics.

the candy man – sammy davis jr. – 1972 video

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I Can Help – Billy Swan – 1974

September 15, 2017

Billy Swan, I can Help 1974Remember this one? A simple rockabilly number that topped the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the US and Canadian country charts in 1974 – Billy Swan’s, I Can Help.

billy swan fax

  • Born in Missouri, USA, Billy Swan is one of those musicians whose life has been music.
  • Billy has played drums, piano and guitar, since he was a child and has been writing songs since back then too.
  • Clyde McPhatter gave Billy his first big break by recording one of Billy’s songs – Lover Please. It made it to #7 on the US charts.
  • That was back in 1962. Billy moved to Memphis to work on his music; he even worked on Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate for a while.  All the time he was improving his song writing skills and had his tunes recorded by artists like Conway Twitty, and Waylon Jennings.
  • By 1969, he was also producing records – he produced Tony Joe White’s Top Ten hit Polk Salad Annie.
  • A stint as Kris Kristofferson’s bass player followed before signing his own recording deal with Monument Records.
  • Billy’s first album included the title song I Can Help. It was a big hit, destined to become (like has happened to so many stars) his only top ten song.  Five albums and 18 singles followed, but none saw anything like the success of I Can Help.
  • Throughout the 70s and early 80s, Billy supplemented his solo career by continuing to tour as a member of Kristofferson’s band. He also recorded with Randy Meisner of The Eagles.
  • Today, Billy still makes a living as a backing singer and session musician.

i can help fax

  • I Can Help was written by Billy Swan and first appeared as the title track of his first album, released in July 1974.
  • The song hit #1 in around 15 countries across the globe including #1 in US and Canada, and #6 in the UK.
  • I Can Help was Billy’s only major hit single, although he had success as a songwriter for other artists and as a session musician.
  • I Can Help was recorded in just two takes (without overdubs) using an RMI organ that Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge had bought for Billy as a wedding gift.
  • Artists to cover this song included, Elvis Presley (on his 1975 album, Today), and Shakin’ Stevens (1994). Ringo Starr recorded I Can Help, but it was never released.
  • I Can Help appears in the moviesThor and Zootopia.
  • While the single version of the song is under three minutes long, the album version extends to just over 4 minutes, thanks to an organ solo ending.
  • I Can Help lyrics.

i can help – billy swan – 1974

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