Lights – Journey – 1978

August 4, 2017

Journey_Lights_CD_SingleThe first charting song from a band who have been around for over 45 years and are still touring; Lights, the 1978 single by supergroup, Journey.

journey fax

  • When remnants of Santana 60s band Frumious Bandersnatch came together in San Francisco in 1973, Journey was born.
  • Taking a while to get going, Journey hit their stride between 1978 and 1987 when their popularity peaked – their 1981 hit single Don’t Stop Believin’ is the top-selling track in iTunes history among songs not released in the 21st century.
  • While the lead singers may have changed over the years, the band continues to tour and record today.
  • Original band members were: Neal Schon (lead guitar), Gregg Rolie (keyboards and lead vocalist), Ross Valory (bass guitar), George Tickner (rhythm guitar) and Prairie Price (drims). Neal and Ross are still in the band.
  • The band’s peak popularity coincided with the fabulous Steve Perry on lead vocals. It is often mentioned that Randy Jackson was a member of Journey – while that is true, Randy was only in the band for less than two years (1986 – 1987).
  • Journey have achieved massive record sales; two gold albums, eight multi-platinum albums, and two diamond albums (including seven consecutive multi-platinum albums between 1978 and 1987). Added to this are, 18 Top 40 singles in the US; the second most without a achieving a #1 single (behind Electric Light Orchestra with 20).  This includes six Top 10 singles.
  • Journey has sold 48 million albums in the USA. That makes them the 25th highest-selling band in the US.  Worldwide they have sold around 90 million records.  That makes them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.
  • In 2017, Journey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Inductees included lead singer Steve Perry, guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardists Jonathan Cain and Gregg Rolie, bassist Ross Valory, and drummers Aynsley Dunbar and Steve Smith.

lights fax

  • Lights was written by Steve Perry and Neal Schon and released in 1978 on Journey’s fourth album, Infinity
  • Lights peaked at #68 on the US charts. Other singles from the Infinity album were, Wheel in the Sky (Journey’s first single to make the US charts – peaking at #57) and Anytime (peaking at #83).
  • Lights is about San Francisco, but it didn’t’ start out that way. Steve Perry once said:

I had the song written in Los Angeles almost completely except for the bridge and it was written about Los Angeles. It was ‘when the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on LA.’ I didn’t like the way it sounded at the time. And so I just had it sitting back in the corner. Then life changed my plans once again, and I was now facing joining Journey. I love San Francisco, the bay, and the whole thing. ‘The bay’ fit so nice, ‘When the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on the bay.’ It was one of those early-morning-going-across-the-bridge things, when the sun was coming up and the lights were going down. It was perfect.

  • Lights is often played at Levi’s Stadium when the NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers win a home game.
  • Lights lyrics.

lights – journey – 1978 – video

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Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep – Middle of the Road – 1971

July 27, 2017

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep Middle of the Road 1971Before ABBA, the sound of Europop was Middle of the Road with million disc selling songs like Sacramento, Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum, Soley Soley, and their biggest hit, 1971’s, Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep – which all just goes to prove; the 70s produced some rather bizarre hit records!

middle of the road fax

  • From Glasgow, Scotland, Middle of the Road were popular throughout Europe and Latin America in the early 1970s. Before ABBA appeared on the charts, Middle of the Road were considered the leading sound of Europop scene.
  • The band had an interesting history – lead singer Sally Carr, drummer Ken Andrew, guitarist Ian McCredie and his bassist brother Eric McCredie, originally played as Part Four, before adopting a Latin American flavour and winning the UK TV talent show Opportunity Knocks under the name, Los Caracas.
  • Within a year of forming, and having found little success, the band moved to Italy where they met an Italian music producer – Giacomo Tosti, who gave the band their distinctive sound and gave them their international break.
  • Middle of the Road’s biggest hit single was their debut UK single, Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep. Reaching #1 in the UK singles chart, it sold over ten million copies!  Over the next two years, another five hit singles followed, including four million sellers.
  • But that was nothing compared to their success in Germany where Middle of the Road had eleven Top 40 hits between 1971 and 1974.
  • In 1974, Bay City Rollers member Neil Henderson joined the band on guitar.

chirpy chirpy cheep cheep fax

  • Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep was written by Lally Scott, who wrote several songs for the Scottish band, Middle of the Road.
  • Middle of the Road recorded Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep in 1971, and released it the same year as the title track of their debut album.
  • Probably unheard of in the US, Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep hit #1 in the UK where it sat for four weeks.
  • Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep is one of only around forty singles to have ever sold in excess of 10 million physical copies worldwide.
  • Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep lyrics.

chirpy chirpy cheep cheep – middle of the road – 1971 – video

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Coalminer’s Daughter – Loretta Lynn – 1970

July 21, 2017

Coal miner's daugherThe signature tune from one of the all-time country music greats; Loretta Lynn’s 1970 hit, Coalminer’s Daughter.

loretta lynn fax

  • Born in 1932, Loretta Lynn began her music career in 1960 and is still going – though not quite as strong as she once was.
  • Loretta was the second of eight children born to a Melvin Webb, a coal miner and subsistence farmer and his wife, Clara. Loretta’s father died of Coalworker’s pneumoconiosis, also called black lung disease, at the age of 52 – a pertinent fact relating to the song Coalminer’s Daughter.
  • Loretta’s youngest sister is country singer, Crystal “Don’t it Make my Brown Eyes Blue” Gayle.
  • Loretta married Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn – whom she called “Doo” – when she was just 15 years old. Their life together inspired the music she wrote.
  • In 1953, Doo bought her a $17 Harmony guitar which she taught herself to play. She started her own band, Loretta and the Trailblazers, with her brother Jay Lee playing lead guitar.
  • By the 1960s, Loretta as an integral part of the Nashville country music scene and, in 1967, she had the first of 16 number-one hits (in all she had a phenomenal 70 charted songs as a solo artist and a duet partner). She has released 41 albums.
  • With her song writing, Loretta focused on blue-collar women’s issues with themes about philandering husbands and persistent mistresses, inspired by issues she faced in her marriage. Apparently, Loretta and Doo fought frequently, but she said;

He never hit me one time that I didn’t hit him back twice.

  • Loretta recalled in one of her autobiographies;

I married Doo when I wasn’t but a child, and he was my life from that day on. But as important as my youth and upbringing was, there’s something else that made me stick to Doo. He thought I was something special, more special than anyone else in the world, and never let me forget it. That belief would be hard to shove out the door. Doo was my security, my safety net. And just remember, I’m explainin’, not excusin’… Doo was a good man and a hard worker. But he was an alcoholic, and it affected our marriage all the way through.

  • Loretta has received numerous awards and other accolades for her ground-breaking role in country music. She has awards from both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music as a duet partner and an individual artist. She is the most awarded female country recording artist and the only female ACM Artist of the Decade (1970s).
  • On May 4, 2017, Lynn suffered a stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She was taken to a Nashville hospital, and according to her website she is expected to make a full recovery.

coal miner’s daughter fax

  • Coal Miner’s Daughter is an autobiographical country music song written and performed by Loretta Lynn.
  • Recorded in October 1969, and released in 1970, Coalminer’s Daughter became Loretta’s signature song. It provided the basis for both her autobiography and a movie on her life.
  • Coal Miner’s Daughter peaked at #83 on the US singles chart but reached #1 on the country music chart.
  • An album of the same name was also released in 1970, and despite the fact that the title track was the lone single, Coal Miner’s Daughter became quite successful.
  • Few singers have released cover versions of Lynn’s hit, as it is a biographical song about Loretta’s life. However, Sissy Spacek recorded a version for the soundtrack of the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter.  Loretta re-recorded the song with guest vocals from Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow in 2010 for Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn; and Stella Parton, younger sister of Loretta’s good friend Dolly Parton, also recorded the song on her 2010 album, “American Coal.”
  • Coal Miner’s Daughter lyrics.

coal miner’s daughter – loretta lynn – 1970 – video

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Night Moves – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band – 1976

July 14, 2017

Night Moves Bob Seger 1976A few name changes along the way, but Bob Seger and his band have been rockin’ the music scene since 1961 and are still going strong.

bob seger fax

  • Bob Seger began his life as a musician in Detroit, performing as Bob Seger and the Last Heard, then Bob Seger System (three albums), then as Bob Seger, from 1971 – 1975, (five albums), then as Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, from 1976 – 1995, (seven albums), then as Bob Seger again, 2006 -present (another two albums) – plus a number of live and compilation albums along the way.
  • It was with the Silver Bullet Band and their 1976 live album, Live Bullet that Bob first found success; quickly followed by the wonderful studio album, Night Moves.
  • On his studio albums, Bob worked extensively with the Alabama-based Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, which appeared on several of his best-selling singles and albums.
  • Despite phenomenal success, Bob had only one #1 album on the US charts (Against the Wind – 1980) and only one #1 US single, (Shakedown – 1987). Bob produced some GREAT recordings though – Katmandu, Mainstreet, Night Moves, Stil the Same, We’ve Got Tonight, Old Time Rock and Roll, Against the Wind, Hollywood Nights, to name a few.
  • Bob was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.

night moves fax

  • Night Moves was written by Bob Seger and appeared on the album Night Moves by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.
  • Some music critics state Night Moves to be the song that lifted Bob from being a Detroit star to a national star.
  • Bob based Night Moves on a teenage love affair he experienced in the early 1960s.
  • Because the Silver Bullet Band were not around at the time of recording, Bob used local session musicians from around Ontario.
  • Released as a single in December 1976, Night Moves peaked at #4 on the US singles chart, #5 on the Canadian chart and #45 on the UK singles chart.
  • In 1977, Rolling Stone magazine named Night Moves as the Best Single of the Year. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named it one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.
  • Night Moves lyrics.

night moves – bob seger and the silver bullet band – 1976 – video

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Blue Skies – Willie Nelson – 1978

July 9, 2017

Blue Skies Willie Nelson 1978Born in 1933, Willie Nelson released his first single in 1957. He became a regular on the US and Canadian country charts but barely featured on the singles charts, until his 1978 album Stardust – two #1’s and a #3 changed everything for Willie.

willie nelson fax

  • Willie is hailed as “one of the most recognised artists in country music,” and that is probably true; in fact, he may be THE most recognised artist in country music!
  • Willie was born in Texas, with music flowing through his veins – he wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at ten. During high school, he toured locally with the Bohemian Polka as their lead singer and guitar player.
  • After school, he endured a brief stay in the US Air Force before being discharged due to back problems.
  • He worked as a DJ in Texas radio stations and a singer in honky-tonk bars around the state.
  • In 1958, he signed a contract with D Records and wrote a number of songs that would become country standards, including Funny How Time Slips Away, Hello Walls, Pretty Paper, and Crazy.
  • In 1960 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music and, by 1962, had recorded his first album, …And Then I Wrote.
  • That success enabled Willed to sign with RCA Victor and join the Grand Ole Opry.
  • Believe it or not, Willie retired in 1972. He moved to Austin, Texas and tried to settle down but the music kept flowing.
  • He signed to Atlantic Records, then Columbia Records. It was here that he produced those great albums from the mid-late 70s, including Stardust.
  • During the mid-1980s, while creating hit albums like Honeysuckle Rose and recording hit songs like On the Road Again, and To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before, Willie joined the country band, The Highwaymen, alongside fellow singers Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.
  • Willie continues to perform today. He has won twelve Grammy awards, including a lifetime achievement award; seven American Music Awards, nine CMA awards, five Academy of Country Music awards – in fact, it would appear, Willie has won every major award he’s ever been nominated for!

blue skies fax

  • Blue Skies was written by Irving Berlin in 1926. It was a last-minute addition to the Rodgers and Hart musical Betsy.
  • The show, Betsy, ran for a mere 39 performances, but Blue Skies was an instant hit. On the opening night of the musical, the audience demanded 24 encores of the song.
  • In 1927, Ben Selvin had a hit with the song.
  • The same year, Blue Skies became one of the first songs to be featured in a talkie movie – Al Jolson sang it in The Jazz Singer.
  • Other artistes to sing or perform Blue Skies include: Benny Goodman and his Orchestra (1935), Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, and Count Basie, and Benny Goodman all recording it in 1946. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye performed the song in 1954’s White Christmas.  Jim Reeves sang it in 1962.
  • Best known in recent times is Willie Nelson’s 1978 recording from his album Stardust. This version was a #1 hit on the US country charts.
  • Blue Skies lyrics.

blue skies – willie nelson – 1978 – video

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Chanson D’Amour – The Manhattan Transfer – 1977

July 1, 2017

Chanson d'Amour The Manhatten TransferClassy a capella vocals – the Manhattan Transfer’s 1977 hit, Chanson D’Amour.

the manhattan transfer fax

  • Formed in New York in 1969, The Manhattan Transfer is a jazz vocal group.
  • There have been two editions of the Manhattan Transfer, with Tim Hauser the only person to be part of both. The first group consisted of Tim, Erin Dickins, Marty Nelson, Pat Rosalia, and Gene Pistilli. They released only one album – it was unsuccessful and the group broke up.  The second version of the group, formed in 1972, consisted of Tim, Alan Paul, Janis Siegel, and Laurel Massé.
  • In 1979, after Laurel being badly injured in a car accident, Cheryl Bentyne joined the group. Then, in 2014, following Tim’s death, Trist Curless joined.
  • In 1975, the group released their eponymous album and hit the charts for the first time. The album included their first hit single, the gospel song, Operator.
  • In all, they have released 29 albums – the last in 2009 being a collection of Chick Corea music.
  • In 1981, the Manhattan Transfer made music history by becoming the first group to win Grammy awards for both popular and jazz categories in the same year with their hit, The Boy from New York City. In 1982, they won another Grammy – Best Jazz Vocal Performance for Route 66.  In all, they won eight Grammy’s.
  • In 1998, they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
  • The Manhattan Transfer continue to tour today.

chanson d’amour fax

  • Chanson D’Amour, meaning Love Song, was written by Wayne Shanklin in the mid-1950’s.
  • Chanson D’Amour was first recorded by husband and wife duo, Art and Dotty Todd in 1958. Their version peaked at #6 on the US charts in 1958.
  • Charting concurrently with Art and Dotty were The Fontane Sisters who recorded a version of Chanson D’Amour and peaked at #12.
  • The Manhattan Transfer recorded the song in 1976 for their Coming Out album and, in 1977 reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • Cover versions have also been released by The Lettermen, The Muppets and The Nolans.
  • Chanson D’Amour was featured in the episode “The Pop Star”, the 1984 series finale of the long-running British sitcom Are You Being Served?
  • It also features on the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick’s final film Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
  • Chanson D’Amour lyrics.

chanson d’amour – the manhattan transfer – 1977 – video

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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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