Celebrate Phenomenal Artists
In this category, I’ll celebrate the phenomenal works of musical artist long forgotten about. Artists that once produced many hard hitting hits, and now no longer remembered.
Song: End Of The Road
Group: Boyz II Men
Album: Cooley High Harmony (1991)
Genre: Slow Jams
Wow.. Talk about forgotten talent. In my opinion, arguably Boyz II Men were one of the biggest and most talented male groups of the nineties! I mean, in terms of male groups of color, the only other group I loved equally as much was Dru-Hill (who also fell off the face of the earth). Now again….. I know I’ve said the same thing multiple times about quite a few artist I write about, but it’s true…. Back in the day, you could not turn on the radio without first hearing at least one of Boyz II Men’s music first! And if you didn’t hear their music first, guaranteed it will be heard no more than three songs later 🤣. That was how popular Boyz II Men were.
To Date: 173.5M Plays, Yet The Song Was Released Before The Popularity Of Streaming!
Now, today, I would imagine it would be a little difficult to understand the magnitude of a classic group’s popularity if we look at streaming numbers. Why? Because when it comes to streaming, we have more than quadrupled our music consumption. So, relatively speaking, Boyz II Men’s biggest hit was “End Of The Road (1991)” received well over 173M plays on Spotify alone. If we take in to account when the song was released, and the fact that streaming wasn’t even a thing yet back then, those numbers are a huge accomplishment. However, by today’s standards, you don’t have a hit song unless your song is streaming by the billions of plays.
Michael McCary, Single Handedly Brought Young Romance To The Group’s Music
Michael McCary was like the equivalent of a young 20’s version of an older Barry White. I mean, he had such a strong bass in his voice, that when we heard it on radio, or on a record, the speakers just vibrated. Just made you feel like OMG! Take me! Just take me now! 🤣 Unfortunately, McCary had to eventually leave his very famous group due to early stages of MS. Check out some of my other favorite hits by them, such as “One Sweet Day,” “I’ll Make Love To You,” “Motownphilly,” and “Water Runs Dry.”
No doubt! In my opinion, Will Smith is either “The King Of Bubblegum Rap,” (or at least one of). To my recollection, I don’t think I’ve heard the slightest bit of profanity in any of Will’s music. Will definitely had his own unique style, and he made his rap music fun to listen to. He was one of the few young rap artists that took control of the images he was projecting out in the media. Not too many rap artists cared, or even understood the long term impact of negative imagery within hip hop.
Gave Strong Positive Messages To Our Youth Without The Profanity!
As many of my long time readers my know already, when it comes to rap music, almost anything that was not considered bubblegum, and or anything past the 80’s time line was a no-go for me. I wasn’t really attracted to most rap music beyond that. However, as a kid I’ve listened to my fare share of late 70s and 80s rap. Having said that, when I look at rap documentaries, or read articles about rap’s GOATs, I don’t understand why Will Smith is never mentioned.
Sometimes I think this is so because the younger generation doesn’t think rap is good unless there are at least 15 expletives in a single rap verse. To be honest, I’m really not sure what people use as a criteria to figure out who and what music are the “greatest of all time.” Once again, I’ll admit, this could be of my own ignorance of the scope of rap history. However, the fact remains, even his music that didn’t make the Top 200 Billboard Charts, such as “Ya’ll Know (1997),” was extremely popular on Black radio stations.
Not only that, I don’t think there has been any other rap artist, turned actor, who has taken their acting career to the level he has. I know many rap fans consider LL Cool J as being a GOAT (in terms of rap to acting); however, Will Smith has been in pretty big budget films. From “Independence Day (1996),” to “I, Robot (2004),” to “Men In Black (1997).” Those films were nothing to sneeze at. Will has not done a rap album in about a decade and a half. Some of my favorites are, “Switch (2005),” “If U Can’t Dance (2005),” “Miami (1997),” and “Wild Wild West (1999).” You know, the beauty of watching Smith’s career is that, he was one of the few rapper turned actors that wasn’t typecasted. He can literally play any character. Both Hollywood and fans accepted Smith as a true actor, and didn’t pigeonhole him into one type of role, simply because he was a rapper.
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I almost forgot to share with you guys! Last week, I was walking through Manhattan and spotted this amazing digital ad, featuring the legendary Calypso Rose! I was just shocked & stunned. It took me about 10 minutes before I realized my jaw hit the grown! Understand that I have not seen anything physical that pertained to Calypso Rose since I was a little boy in the seventies. No album, no magazine article, no nothing! A lot of Jamaicans and West-Indians I’ve encountered in my life time claim they love calypso music, & know music history, yet did not appear to have ever owned a Calypso Rose album, or have trouble remembering who she is. Fire In Me Wire (c.1967) was one of her biggest calypso hit of her career. Every party my family thrown together always included Calypso Rose’s music. Damn, thinking about this makes me miss my grandpa all over again. Anyway, I was elated to see that she is honored in this way. Maybe now as we advance in to digital technology, we can see more of our lost culture!
Believe it or not kids (and some grown ups), Mrs. Olivia Newton-John is most definitely a legend in every sense of the word! She is perhaps one of the few artists I’ve put in to my ultimate favorites category of the seventies and eighties. I think she’s just one of those artists that we don’t realize just how much she has contributed to the entertainment industry until we really look back and reflect. My goodness! Let’s see, she’s an actress, songwriter, business woman, and oh yeah, did you know she was also a model in her younger years?
Olivia Is Most Remembered For The Movie, Grease!
I am confident in saying that of all the phenomenal things that Olivia has done throughout her career, she is instantly remembered for her work in the 1978 movie Grease! She co-starred John Travolta, and they both did an incredible job! Olivia not only acted in the movie, she was also a huge part of the soundtrack as well. Both the movie and the soundtrack were successful hits. “Grease,” performed by Frankie Valli, & “You’re The One That I Want,” performed by Travolta and Olivia were #1 on the charts. “Summer Nights” also performed by Travolta and Olivia hit #5, and Olivia’s “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” reached #3 on the charts! In Australia, the album hit 14x Platinum, and in America 8x Platinum. Back then, those figures were eye popping.
I could be wrong, but I think the project Grease really made a difference in her career! Music was going through a major shift (and that included the world of country music), and I just don’t think she would have been as successful if she didn’t participate in the movie. Listening to Olivia’s music was kind of like listening to an Australian country version of Karen Carpenter. 🤣 Don’t beat me up for that, I loved Karen’s music too.
Beyond The Grease Soundtrack!
Ok, I need to make my readers aware of just how badass Olivia was back in the day! Out of 38 songs that actually registered on the Billboard Charts, she has managed to get 5 number ones, and 15 top tens. That’s an incredible achievement, not only as a woman, but as a mostly country artist. Also keep in mind, she accomplished this just when disco was on its why out, and both rock and pop was slowly dominating the 80s.
Some of my favorites dear to my heart are “Physical (1981),” “I Honestly Love You (1974),” “Have You Ever Been Mellow (1975),” and another badass song “Magic (1980).” I soooo love the beat to “Magic.” And you know, “Suddenly (1981),” was a nice song too, but unfortunately it only reached #20 on the Top 100 Charts (which is not bad technically). If I’m not mistaken “Suddenly” was on the original Xanadu (1980) soundtrack. Olivia didn’t have all that much of a vocal range (in my opinion), but she managed to crank out some huge memorable hits in my lifetime.Barbasol Ultra 6 Plus Value Pack
Once upon a time, a very young female singer and actress named Irene Cara was burning up both the music and movie scene in the eighties. Today, people barely know who she is, yet alone the massive hits she has produced. This inspired me to create a new category, to celebrate not just the forgotten artists, but the artists who made history with their music. Irene Cara deserves to be the first to be added to this new category. Unfortunately, because of licensing, Spotify doesn’t have her most important hits (originally recorded that is). So, I must enlist the help of YouTube and SoundCloud for this article.
Out of all of Irene’s massive hits, she is probably best known for her iconic theme song “Fame,” from the original movie “Fame (1980),” which Irene also co-starred in. This was at the height of the dance movie craze. Irene belted out another massive hit that immortalized her forever in music history; the song was called “What A Feeling,” from the original movie “Flashdance (1983),” starring Jenifer Beals. On the same album called “What A Feeling,” Irene had a hit few people remember. It’s called “Breakdance,” the song was significant during the breakdance era. I always found it interesting that she had a hit called “Breakdance,” yet, she never actually breakdanced. Another dance favorite was “Why Me,” which was released in 1983. Lastly, I want to share a simple SoundCloud playlist of some of my most favorite Irene Cara club remixes. Irene has put together her own group called “Hot Caramel.” Aaaahhmmmm, yeah….. I’m not impressed. They don’t sound bad, but… I just wasn’t moved enough to save it in my collection. I think this was Irene’s last album in 2011.