Every Night – Phoebe Snow – 1979

September 3, 2015

Phoebe Snow - Every NightWith her  astounding four-octave voice, Phoebe Snow had a 1979 hit with Paul McCartney’s, Every Night.

Phoebe Snow 1phoebe snow fax

  • Early in 1972 Denny Cordell – who along with Leon Russell, owned Shelter Records – visited the Bitter End Club in Greenwich, New York.  There he first heard the voice of Phoebe Snow and was so taken with it that he signed her on the spot.
  • Phoebe’s first album, Phoebe Snow, sold over a million copies and produced the wonderful single, Poetry Man.  The same year she was nominated for a Grammy in the Best New Artist category.
  • Phoebe performed as the opening act for artists like Jackson Browne, Paul Simon and Linda Ronstadt.
  • Phoebe’s second album was produced by Phil Ramone.
  • Rolling Stone called Phoebe; One of the most gifted voices of her generation, Phoebe Snow can do just about anything stylistically as well as technically … The question that’s still unanswered is how best to channel such talent.
  • Phoebe Snow 2After the birth of her daughter, Valerie, Phoebe spent long periods away from recording.  Born December 10, 1975, Valerie was born with severe brain damage.  Phoebe refused to institutionalise Valerie and cared for her at home until Valerie died in 2007.  Phoebe’s commitment to Valerie severely limited and almost scuttled her singing career.
  • In 1998, Phoebe received the Cultural Achievement Award by New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. She was also the recipient of a Don Kirschner Rock Award, several Playboy Music Poll Awards, New York Music Awards and the Clio Award.
  • Phoebe suffered a cerebral haemorrhage on January 19, 2010 and slipped into a coma.  She died on April 26, 2011 at age 60.

ePhoebe Snow 3very night fax

  • Every Night was written by Paul McCartney and first released on his McCartney album in 1970.
  • Phoebe Snow included the song on her 1978 album Against the Grain and, in 1979, released it as a single.
  • The 5th Dimension also covered Every Night on their 1970 album Love’s Lines, Angles and Rhymes.

Every Night lyrics.

every night – phoebe snow – 1979 – video

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Whiskey in the Jar – Thin Lizzy – 1972

July 17, 2015

Thin Lizzy - Whiskey in the Jar - 1972 - coverThin Lizzy are yet another iconic band of the 70s whose first hit was their biggest – 1972’s Whiskey in the Jar.

Thin Lizzy 1thin lizzy fax

  • Thin Lizzy formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 1969.
  • Bassist/vocalist Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey met in school, formed the band, and played together for the next 16 years until Phil’s death in 1986.
  • Phil was the undisputed frontman for the band, composer or co-composer of most their hit songs which featured on twelve albums.
  • Thin Lizzy 2Since Phil died the band has had a couple of breaks and a re-emerged via a couple of reincarnations – the latest comes together on occasion for live gigs. However, a decision was made not to record any new material as Thin Lizzy. Hence, a new band, Black Star Riders, was formed to tour and produce new releases such as the All Hell Breaks Loose album.

whiskey in the jar fax

  • Whiskey in the Jar, telling the story of a highwayman who is betrayed by his lover, is a traditional Irish folk song thought to have originated from the 17th Century.
  • Whiskey in the Jar gained international exposure when Irish folk band The Dubliners began to perform it in the mid-1960s.
  • Thin Lizzy 3In 1972, Thin Lizzy recorded the song; it was released in an effort to promote the band. Thin Lizzy was touring the UK with Slade and Suzi Quatro. Thin Lizzy’s record company decided to release the song which angered the band. They didn’t feel it represented their sound or image.
  • Thin Lizzy’s version reached #6 on the UK chart.
  • American band Metallica recorded their version – very similar to Thin Lizzy’s – in 1998. It won them a Grammy in 2000 for Best Hard Rock Performance.
  • Whiskey in the Jar lyrics.

whiskey in the jar – thin lizzy – 1972 – video

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Cat’s in the Cradle – Harry Chapin – 1974

June 28, 2015

Harry Chapin Cat's in the Cradle - 1974The late Harry Chapin is one of the great 70’s poets/songwriters.  Cat’s in the Cradle (1974) was his only #1 hit.

Harry Chapin 1harry chapin fax

  • Harry Chapin was born into music – his father was a big band drummer playing with acts such as Woody Herman.
  • As a teenager Harry performed with his brothers as a trumpeter, however, hanging out with the folk singers of Greenwich Village caused Harry to turn his attention to the guitar and pretty soon he and a few mates were playing local nightclubs around New York.
  • Harry’s first album – with his brothers Tom and Steve, was a flop.
  • For his second album, Heads and Tales, Harry went it alone.  It contained his first single, Taxi, which peaked at #24 on the US charts.
  • Harry Chapin 2On the strength of this first solo album, Harry signed with Elektra Records.
  • It was his fourth album, Verities & Balderdash, that contained Harry’s only #1 single, Cat’s in the Cradle (Harry’s only UK hit was W*O*L*D.  It peaked at #34 in 1974).
  • Harry was somewhat renowned for his philanthropic work.  He served on the boards of a number of local arts societies and organisations.
  • In the mid-70s, Harry began his crusade to raise money to combat hunger in the United States. It’s said that he donated a third of his paid concerts to charitable causes and often performed alone with his guitar to reduce costs.
  • Harry was killed in an automobile accident on Thursday, July 16, 1981 on the way to perform at a free concert at Eisenhower Park, New York.
  • On December 7, 1987, on what would have been his 45th birthday, Harry was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his campaigning on social issues, particularly his highlighting of hunger around the world and in the United States.
  • The Lakeside Theatre at Eisenhower Park in New York, was renamed Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre and a number of other Long Island landmarks bear his name.

cat’s in the cradle fax

  • Harry Chapin 3Cat’s in the Cradle was written by Harry Chapin and released on October 1, 1974 on his album, Verities & Balderdash.
  • In December 1974, Cat’s in the Cradle became Harry’s only #1 US single.
  • Cat’s in the Cradle began as a poem written by Harry’s wife, Sandy Gaston and was inspired by the awkward relationship between her first husband, James Cashmore, and his father.  Harry later said the song was also about his relationship with his own son, Josh.
  • In 2001, Cat’s in the Cradle was ranked number 186 of 365 on the RIAA list of Songs of the Century.
  • Cat’s in the Cradle has been used a number of times in modern movie and television culture, including the following television series: The Simpsons (three episodes), King of the Hill, Scrubs, Modern Family, The Office (US version), How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Californication, Cougartown and Two and a Half Men.  Also the movie, Shrek the Third.
  • US hard rock band Ugly Kid Joe included a cover of Cat’s in the Cradle on their 1991 debut album America’s Least Wanted – in 1993 it peaked at #6 on the US singles chart.
  • Other cover versions include: Judy Collins and Johnny Cash.
  • Cat’s in the Cradle lyrics – Harry Chapin – 1974.

cat’s in the cradle – harry chapin – 1974 – video

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You Sexy Thing – Hot Chocolate – 1975

May 10, 2015

Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate - 1975The death this week of the original Hot Chocolate frontman, Errol Brown, meant the airwaves were fit to bust with Hot Chocolate hits including the 1975 hit, You Sexy Thing.

Hot Chocolate 1hot chocolate fax

  • Originally known as The Hot Chocolate Band, UK soul band Hot Chocolate began their career with Apple Records under the production of Mickie Most.
  • The link with Apple arose when Hot Chocolate recorded their first song, a reggae version of John Lennon’s, Give Peace a Chance.  When he discovered he needed permission to release the song, lead singer Errol Brown contacted John Lennon.  John loved their version and not only gave permission for them to use it – he signed them to the Apple label.  It was a short-lived relationship.  The Beatles broke up and the contract ended.
  • Hot Chocolate 2Hot Chocolate released at least one hit every year between 1970 and 1984 – Diana Ross and Elvis were the only other acts to have hits in every year of the 1970s.
  • It wasn’t until 1977 that Hot Chocolate made the #1 spot in the UK; with You Win Again.
  • Hot Chocolate parted company in 1986 and Errol began a solo career.  The band was reformed, without Errol, in 1992 and continues to perform today.
  • Errol received a MBE; he died on May 6, 2015 of liver cancer.

you sexy thing fax

  • You Sexy Thing was written by Hot Chocolate lead singer Errol Brown and produced by Mickie Most.
  • It peaked at #2 on UK singles chart in 1975 (beaten to #1 by Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody); and #3 on the US singles chart a year later.
  • You Sexy Thing was originally the B-side of the 1975 Hot Chocolate single, Blue Night.
  • Hot Chocolate 3You Sexy Thing made the British top ten in three consequtive decades – the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
  • You Sexy Thing featured prominently in the movie The Full Monty.  It’s also featured in a number of other moives including: Boogie Nights, Reservoir Dogs, Bicentennial Man, Rat Race, Dude, Where’s My Car, and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.
  • It has been used in a number of television commercials including a popluar Burger King television commercial (1999).  The song played while the camera panned across a BK Double Whopper.
  • You Sexy Thing has been covered by a number of artists and was, for a short time, a part of Bruce Springsteen’s live show.
  • You Sexy Thing lyrics.

you sexy thing – hot chocolate – 1975 – video

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Rich Girl – Hall and Oates – 1977

May 8, 2014

Hall and Oates Rich Girl Single CoverIn the midst of the New Wave era sat Hall and Oates, the most successful rock duo of all time with a staggering 34 singles reaching the US Top 40.  Their first #1 was Rich Girl in 1977.

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  • Daryl Hall & John Oates hail from Philadelphia in the US of A.
  • Daryl provides the lead vocals while John plays electric guitar and provides the BVs.
  • During the latter part of the 70s and into the 80s Hall and Oates had six #1 US singles.  As well as Rich Girl, there was: Kiss on My List, Private Eyes, I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do), Maneater, and Out of Touch – you remember them all now, don’t you?
  • Hall and Oates 1Hall and Oates had, in all, 34 hits on the US charts, seven platinum albums, and six gold albums. They are the most successful duo of the rock era.
  • In 2003, Hall and Oates were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  • Billboard magazine list Hall and Oates at #15 in their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
  • In April 2014, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April of 2014.
  • Daryl and John still perform and, if you’ve never seen any episodes of Live From Daryl’s House then you are really missing out on something special!

rich girl fax

  • Rich Girl, written by Daryl Hall, was Hall and Oates first #1 single.
  • Rich Girl was recorded in 1976 and featured on the album, Bigger Than Both of Us.  It reached #1 on March 26, 1977.
  • Rich Girl, about a spoiled girl who can rely on her parents’ money to do whatever she wants, was rumoured to be about newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. The song is actually about an ex-boyfriend of Daryl Hall’s girlfriend, Sara Allen. Daryl explained,

You can’t write, ‘You’re a rich boy’ in a song, so I changed it to a girl.

rich girl – hall and oates – 1977 – video

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Family Affair – Sly and the Family Stone – 1971

February 6, 2014

Sly 1 coverBelieve it or not, one of the very first single records I ever bought – back in the days when we still bought single records – was I Want to Take You Higher, by Sly and the Family Stone. Unfortunately, with a 1969 release date, that song falls just outside of the seventiesmusic boundary (not that that’s stopped us before). But this one doesn’t; Family Affair, a 1970 #1 hit for Sly and the Family Stone.

sly and the family stone fax

  • Obviously an American band, Sly and the Family Stone originated from San Francisco and, from 1967 to 1983, put out a string of hit funk/soul singles and albums.
  • Headed by Sly Stone, the band contained both family members and friends, but was actually an amalgam of two bands: Sly’s band, Sly & the Stoners and his brother Freddie’s band, Freddie & the Stone Souls.
  • Sly and the Family Stone had five top ten US hit singles and four hit albums. Hit songs included: Everyday People, Stand!, I Want to Take you Higher, and Family Affair.
  • They appeared at Woodstock in what is often referred to as one of the highlights of the festival.
  • So pivotal were Sly and his band in the shaping of soul and funk music that it was once said,

There are two types of black music: black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone.

  • Sly and the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
  • The band was dogged with scandal involving drug use and, in 1987, Sly was arrested and sentenced for cocaine use. That heralded his retirement.
  • In September 2011, the New York Post reported that Sly was homeless and living out of a white camper-van in Los Angeles:

The van is parked on a residential street in Crenshaw, the rough Los Angeles neighborhood where ‘Boyz n the Hood’ was set. A retired couple makes sure he eats once a day, and Stone showers at their house.

family affair fax

  • Recorded in early 1971, Family Affair was released as a single on November 6, 1971 ,taken from Sly and the Family Stone’s album, There’s a Riot Goin’ On.
  • It became a #1 single on the US charts.
  • Family Affair was unlike Sly and the Stone’s previous recordings, being quieter than their previous lively funk sound.
  • Rolling Stone magazine once ranked Family Affair at #138 on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • Cover versions of Family Affair have included: The Brothers Johnson, Iggy Pop, Madonna, Bunny Wailer, and Janet Jackson, and is sampled in The Black Eyed Peas song, Weekend.
  • Family Affair’s drum machine-created rhythm was used in The Temptations’, Let Your Hair Down (1973), and Stevie Wonder‘s You Haven’t Done Nothin’ (1974). In 2005, John Legend, Joss Stone, and Van Hunt recorded a cover featuring elements of the original recording for Different Strokes by Different Folks, a Sly & the Family Stone tribute/remix album. This version won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
  • Family Affair features on the soundtrack of The Addams Family movie.
  • Family Affair lyrics.

family affair – sly and the family stone – 1971 – video

i want to take you higher – sly and the family stone – 1969 – video – live

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Yellow River – Christie – 1970

September 19, 2013

Christie Yellow River 1970 single coverThe musings of a young soldier who is looking forward to returning to his home town on Yellow River, is the theme of Christie’s 1970 #1 UK single, Yellow River.

not quite a one hit wonder

Formed in the 1960s, Christie was a UK band whose greatest hit was Yellow River. The follow-up single, San Bernadino, peaked at #7 on the UK charts before the band faded away…

Many US one-hit-wonder lists include Christie because, while Yellow River peaked at #23 in the US, classifying it as a hit, San Bernadino didn’t survive the Atlantic crossing and was unheard of Stateside.

(I must confess – for years I thought Christie were an American band, linking their second hit to San Bernardino, California).


The band’s name came from the founder – Jeff Christie. The band broke up in 1976, but Jeff resurrected it (well, the name at least – it was a completely new line-up) in 1990. They toured until 2009.

In all, the band released five albums between 1969 and 1976.

yellow river fax

  • Yellow River was written by Jeff Christie.
  • Yellow River was originally offered to, and recorded by, The Tremeloes. They decided against releasing it although it has since appeared on a number of their compilation albums.
  • So, rather than Christie recording it, the vocals were taken off The Tremeloes version, and Jeff’s vocals added to their music.
  • Where is Yellow River? No one has ever said. The video of the song had Christie on a barge sailing down the Thames River, however.
  • Yellow River lyrics.

yellow river – christie – 1970 – video

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