Annie’s Song – John Denver – 1974

February 3, 2015

Annies Song - 1974 - John DenverIt had to happen one day – it would be John Denver’s turn to feature on seventiesmusic.  I heard him at a party the other night.  I was with a musician friend whose wife’s name is Annie.  Jokingly I asked if my friend ever sang “Annie’s Song” to her.  While not answering the question she did admit that it was her all-time favourite song.

John Denver 3There followed some discussion about John and the general opinion was, despite seeming to be a little weird, John had produced some amazingly good songs (and some amazingly bad ones – Grandma’s Feather Bed = case in point!).

So, here’s this week’s blast from the seventies past – John Denver and his 1974 hit, Annie’s Song

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  • John’s real name was Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.
  • Perhaps some of John’s eccentricities could be explained by the fact that he was born in Roswell, New Mexico.
  • BJOhn Denver 2y the time John was 21 he had established himself as one of the most popular artists of the 70s – he released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he composed.  He sold over 33 million records including twelve gold and four platinum albums.
  • John won two Grammy Awards and, in 1996, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  • John also became a spokesperson for various political and environmental causes during the 70s and into the 80s.  This included an interest in oceanography (remember Calypso? His 1975 ode to environmental activist Jacques Cousteau); campaigning for Jimmy Carter (1976); and support for a number of charitable causes for the environmental movement, the homeless, the poor, the hungry, and the African AIDS crisis.
  • John died when his personal aircraft crashed on October 12, 1997.  He was 53.

annie’s song fax

  • Annie’s Song was written by John Denver and released in June 1974.  It was his second #1 US single following his 1973 hit, Sunshine on My Shoulders.  It reached #1 in the UK also – John’s only #1 UK hit.  A number of John’s songs became hits in the UK but for other artists.
  • John Denver 1John wrote Annie’s Song for his wife at the time, Annie Martell Denver. Annie said of the song:

It was written after John and I had gone through a pretty intense time together and things were pretty good for us. He left to go skiing and he got on the Ajax chair on Aspen mountain and the song just came to him. He skied down and came home and wrote it down… Initially it was a love song and it was given to me through him, and yet for him it became a bit like a prayer.

  • Annie’s Song was covered as an instrumental by Irish flutist, James Galway – it became his only hit.
  • Annie’s Song lyrics.

annie’s song – john denver – 1974 – video

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It’s a Heartache – Bonnie Tyler – 1977

December 17, 2014

Bonnie Tyler It's a heartache Bonnie Tyler single 1977One of the best-selling hits of all time comes from a Welsh country singer who later transformed into one of the greatest female rockers of all time.  Bonnie Tyler’s, It’s a Heartache hit #3 in the US and #4 in the UK back in 1977.

Bonnie Tyler Abonnie tyler fax

Bonnie Tyler was born in Wales and began her career by doing the hard yards – seven years singing in the pubs and clubs of South Wales.

In 1975 she was signed to RCA Records as a country singer.  Within a year or so she had a #4 UK hit (#3 in the US) and, in 1979, representing the UK, won the World Popular Song Festival.

With that win under her belt, she shifted her focus from country music to rock music.

In subsequent years she had hits with songs such as, Total Eclipse of the Heart (#1 in the US and UK) and Holding Out for a Hero (#2 in the UK).

Bonnie Tyler 1Her success was linked to her collaboration with Jim Steinman of Meatloaf fame.

Since the 1990s she has focused more on soft rock and continues to perform today.

Bonnie’s voice has been compared to artists such as Rod Stewart and Kim Carnes.  She claims the huskiness is the result of an operation to remove vocal nodules.

it’s a heartache fax

  • It’s a Heartache was recorded by Bonnie Tyler in 1977 and appears on her second studio album, Natural Force (1978).
  • It was written by Bonnie’s managers, Ronnie Scott and Steve Wolfe.
  • It’s a Heartache peaked at #3 in the US and #4 in the UK.  It sold over 6,000,000 copies making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.
  • Cover versions have been released by Juice Newton on foreign editions of her album, Come to Me. It earned Juice a gold record in Mexico but elsewhere it barely touched the charts.  Gene Pitney and Rod Stewart have also covered the song.
  • Bonnie has re-released the song a number of times.  The most notable re-release would have to be from her 2004 album Simply Believe.  It was recorded as a French/English bilingual track with Kareen Antonn.  It was a hit in Belgium, France and Switzerland.
  • It’s a Heartache lyrics.

it’s a heartache – bonnie tyler – 1977 – video

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Here You Come Again – Dolly Parton – 1977

July 6, 2014

Dolly Parton Here you come again single coverThe first US pop hit single from one of America’s most prolific songwriters—Dolly Parton’s, Here You Come Again peaked at #3 in 1977.

dolly parton fax

  • Dolly, born in 1946, needs no introduction—she is a country music phenomenon.
  • After a career as a child performer, Dolly gained a regular spot on a weekly television programme hosted by Porter Wagoner.  They released a duet of Tom Paxton’s, The Last Thing on My Mind, which was a hit on the US country chart.
  • By the mid-70s, Dolly was performing solo and had a string of hits on the country chart including the wonderful, Jolene.
  • A move towards more mainstream pop saw Dolly score her first hit on the US singles chart with, Here You Come Again (1977).  A string of further hits followed including her only #1 hit, 9 to 5 (1980).
  • Dolly had a second #1 hit on the US charts in 1983 with her Kenny Rogers duet, Islands in the Stream.
  • Dolly is the most honoured female country performer of all time with: 25 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards; 25 Billboard Country chart #1’s; 41 top 10 country albums and, 110 career charted singles over the past 40 years.
  • That all adds up to over 100 million records sold worldwide.
  • On the award front, Dolly’s mantelpiece holds: 8 Grammy Awards (with 46 nominations—that’s a tie with Beyoncé for the most Grammy nominations for a woman, 2 Academy Award nominations, 10 Country Music Association Awards, 7 Academy of Country Music Awards, and 3 American Music Awards.
  • The 3,000+ songs that Dolly has composed include: I Will Always Love You, a massive hit for Whitney Houston.
  • As an actress, Dolly has starred in: 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Rhinestone, A Smoky Mountain Christmas, Steel Magnolias, Wild Texas Wind, Gnomeo & Juliet, Straight Talk, Unlikely Angel, Blue Valley Songbird, and Joyful Noise.
  • Dolly has also received a number of awards for her efforts in environmental causes and in helping with child literacy.

here you come again fax

  • Dolly 3Surprisingly, after all the hits Dolly has written, she didn’t write, Here You Come Again—it was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
  • Here You Come Again hit #1 on the US country singles chart and won the 1979 Grammy award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.  Recorded in June 1977 and released in September 1977, it peaked at #3 on the US singles chart in January 1978.
  • Here You Come Again was written in 1975 and was intended as a potential comeback hit for Brenda Lee but Brenda turned it down. B.J. Thomas, Patti LaBelle and Maureen McGovern.
  • Here You Come Again lyrics.

here you come again – dolly parton – 1977 – video

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A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash – 1969.

May 30, 2013

 Johnny Cash-A Boy Named Sue-1970-single coverThe magnificent Johnny Cash hit #1 on the US singles chart only once.  It was in 1969 with the novelty country song, A Boy Named Sue.

american idol?

If ever I catch a glimpse of American Idol or X-Factor or one of the other Simon Cowell talent shows, I always think of people like Johnny Cash and Neil Young and Lucinda Williams and Macy Gray and Joe Cocker; people who are/were fantastic artists, uniquely talented, prodigious songwriters (well, not Joe), but with voices that, on the face of it, would appear quite uncommercial; and I wonder what the judges would have said to them if they auditioned for the show.

Johnny Cash 1It’s not that people on the Cowell-shows are lacking a tuneful voice. And it’s not that they don’t have talent. But, truly great artists have something more. There is a certain x-factor (‘cuse the pun) setting them apart from the rest. Johnny Cash is a case in point—a man whose music and personality are truly captivating.

san quentin i hate every part of you

On February 24th 1969, Johnny gave a concert for the inmates of San Quentin prison. It was recorded and became his 31st album release. His 30th album being the fabulous live Folsom Prison album.

A short while before the San Quentin concert, Johnny was handed the words of a poem written by comic poet, Shel Silverstein. He thought he’d try it out on the inmates. They loved it. The song was released as a single and became a hit around the world, peaking at #2 on the US singles chart.

sue trivia

The poem, A Boy Named Sue, was inspired by humourist Jean Shepherd, a close friend of Shel Silverstein, who was often taunted as a child because of his feminine-sounding name.

a boy named sue fax

  • A Boy Named Sue was a poem written by Shel Silverstein.
  • JOhnny Cash 4Johnny Cash recorded it for his Live At San Quentin album on February 24, 1969.
  • Peaking at #2 on the US singles chart, A Boy Named Sue was Johnny’s highest charting hit—his only top ten single in the US. He did, however, have numerous top ten and #1 hits on the Country charts.
  • Shel Silverstein also released a recording of “Boy Named Sue” in the same year as Johnny.
  • When originally released, the song was censored. The words, “son of a bitch” were bleeped over and the final line was edited to remove the word “damn”.
  • Shel Silverstein later wrote a follow-up named to A Boy Named Sue, called, The Father of a Boy Named Sue, telling the story from the point of view of Sue’s aging father.
  • A Boy Named Sue lyrics.

a boy named sue – johnny cash – 1969 – video

a boy named sue – shel silverstein – 1969 – video

the father of a boy named sue – shel silverstein – video

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