Google Engine: Find What You Need
Artist: Michael Sembello
Album: Flashdance (1983)
Wow! Talk about a ?hot? & hairy muscle bear! *Cough* *Cough* Anyway…. The 80s were filled with all types of muscle bears everywhere, and they were not afraid to show-off their hairy chest ?. Today, it appears that hairy chests are viewed as “unsightly,” and many men are encouraged to shave their chest hairs off ?. Could you imagine? Being made to feel ashamed of part of what makes a guy a man? Oh, brother! I digress! Anywayzzz.. When you think of the 80s…….. Does anyone think of Michael Sembello anymore? In terms of music, Michael Sembello was a “jack of all trades! Not only does he play several instruments, he is an incredible songwriter!
His Music Instantly Takes Me Back To The Dance Movie Craze Of The 80s!
Unfortunately, despite Michael’s talents, he was a “1 hit wonder” I have to say. It’s so disappointing when you hear the talent in an artist, and they just don’t get the overall recognition they deserve. Although, in Michael’s case, in my opinion he unfortunately fell in to a producer’s box that many talents are put in by the music industry. In other words, when Michael gave us his first and only massive hit, “Maniac (1983),” (by the way, he also co-wrote) the industry expected him to give us that same type of hits. “Maniac,” reached #1 in the U.S., #2 in Australia, and #6 in Germany. “Maniac,” was one of many songs selected to be on the “Flashdance Sound Track.” I think that the combination of “Maniac,” and Irene Cara’s “What A Feeling,” made the movie even more popular. Although, the entire album was great from beginning to end.
Was Michael Musically Typecasted?! ?
You know, sometimes I wonder if it’s possible to be “musically typecasted,” in the same way that many actors have been? It must hit musicians harder (I would imagine), because at least if you’re a well known actor, most have acquired the power to say no to certain roles. However, when you’re a songwriter, it’s impossible to know if something will become a hit, and if that hit could cause the industry to pigeonhole you into category of songwriters. The good thing is tho….. According to Spotify, he has roughly a little over 3M listeners a month. Not sure what the other streaming services are pulling in for him. But, that’s pretty good for a one hit wonder, and considering the fact that no one really speaks his name anymore. Have you heard of Baggallini bags before? They’re a little on the expensive side, but their really nicely designed. Check them out here.
Artist: The Elgins
Another forgotten treasure! Maybe I should have called my blog “forgotten treasures!” Because most of the artists a blog about are. One thing I really love about myself, is that I am open to so many different types of music, and it allowed me to find such phenomenal artist, as well garner enough culture to hand create a blog such as this one. Today, my focus is on a wonderful group called The Elgins. To me, this was such an unusual name back in the day, and I don’t recall ever hearing this name in my personal circles or otherwise. Back then, very few radio stations mentioned the name of these artists after their music was played. Having said that, because The Elgins were on the Motown Label, and since Motown had their own distinct sound, I easily mistaken the lead singer’s voice, Saundra Mallett, for groups like The Vandellas, or Martha Reeves.
The Height of their career only lasted about 10 Years
I don’t remember my family owning any of The Elgins’s music (at least I don’t own any original albums, but I may have one or two of their songs on a cassette compilation, I think). However, their biggest hit song “Heaven Must Have Sent You,” was heard all over the radio. This was my jam back in the day. You couldn’t help but to involuntarily dance to this song. The beat sort of made you dance. I was shocked to discover that in 1966 the hit song only reached #9 on the R&B chart, and 11 on the Hot 100 Chart. That song became one of many Black Anthems (I remembered growing up). I would have sworn this song was number 1, it was so incredibly popular in the Black community. But, no matter, it was still a colossal hit, and at the time appeared to have immortalized them.
Even Motown Sort Of Forgotten The Elgins!
Another great forgotten song you guys should investigate, is their song called “Darling Baby.” Personally, I felt this was an amazingly beautiful romantic song. What I find really strange tho… Also released in 1966, the song hit #92 on the Top 100 Chart, yet an the R&B Chart, it reached #4. Now, I am no expert when it comes to the flow of Billboard numbers, but to me that’s a huge gap, and I’m wondering if this had to do with the fact that “Darling Baby,” was originally released as a side B. I truly feel that The Elgins were truly underrated, and that includes by Motown too to some extent. I say this because despite only having a few hits under their belt, they were huge enough to be included in much of Motown’s memorabilia collections. And in my opinion, it had a lot to do with people like Berry Gordy. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but lets not forget, Berry Gordy had his hands in Diana Ross’s pants for quite some time. Not only that, performers such as Martha Reeves, The Temptations, and The Four Tops, got all the promotion when it comes to being included in collectable albums. Their existence felt almost compulsory. There were so many more talents on the Motown label that were not acknowledged until well after the very artists were forgotten by fans. Now, if you do find music from The Elgins, it will be on some sort of “obscure collections.” By the way, Summer is approaching. See what Google found for designer T-Shirts!!
Genre: Club Music & Remixes
I’ve been meaning to do this for a very long, long time ?! As I’ve said before, just as straight people have history, so does the LGBT community. We have a history that is unique to us as LGBT people. In addition, LGBT/SGL Black American and Boriqua/Hispanic American have our own unique sub-history within LGBT history. And like the straight community, we have huge generation gaps within our gay history. Learning about gay history is just as important as any other history, especially when it comes to Black and Hispanic gay culture. We are presented with our own unique challenges, and our ability to try and convey our stories largely depends on the gay generation you come from. It is unfortunate that it appears that there are more young LGBT people in politics, that aren’t connected to any part of gay history. This should not be, as understanding our journey gives you a deeper understanding and perspective of our diverse realities. Not only that, I’ve seen str8 hip hop videos where the dudes where actually vogueing. But because it’s hip hop, and you’re supposed to be “gangster,” it’s not seen as anything… No one bats an eye… Meanwhile, my gay brothers and sisters where beat-up and chased for our uniqueness back in the day, and straight people are allowed to steal and recycle something that’s been created by us, and been in our community for decades. Know your gay history MF. LEARN!! It’s important.
LGBT People Have Our Own Unique Music History!
I can honestly say that for most of us, the music we listened to literally kept many of us alive, both in our mind and spirit. The club scene allowed us to escape from our deepest emotional pain; as well as escape from abusive relationships. The pressures put on LGBT people to be straight was immense. I don’t think I could find the words to even begin to explain to a straight person what that’s like, and the damage they’ve caused for many LGBT people. When I was growing up, for many straight people, having a Walkman and headphones was simply optional. However, for most gay people in the poorer communities, owning a Walkman or CD player was a necessity. It was the only effective tool we had to use that helped to block out negativity and devastatingly hurtful words.
Most Music Played In Gay Clubs Were Str8!
I’m not sure if there was a reason for this, or perhaps it just happen to be the way it was back in the day, but…. You’d think in the clubs we’d hear our own music made by gay artists. However, for whatever reason, there just wasn’t that many. And when I came out, RuPaul hadn’t emerged yet. Actually, there was only one prominent gay performer producing his own recordings. That was performer’s name was Kevin Aviance. The best way to describe Keven was, he was almost like a male version of Grace Jones ?. Unfortunately, I only liked one song he produced, and that was a song a called “Cunty (1999).” Yeah, I know, some of you may take issue with the title song; however, this was what the gay culture was back then. For many LGBT people, embracing words that would normally be considered inappropriate, were used to take back our lost power in defiance. The power that was lost due to living in a predominantly oppressive hetero society. I love this song because it had a fierce vogue-able dance beat in it’s background.
Back Then, In The Black/Hispanic Gay Club Scene, Our Music Was Very Much Underground For The Most Part!
One reality that wasn’t talked about in regards to underground music; gay clubs played a significant role as to whether or not an underground song/beat would be successful or not. Also, let me just say that, back then, I think it’s safe to say that if a song/beat was not vogue-able, it would be a guaranteed flop! I knew so many people who refused to go to certain clubs if the music played were not vogue-able (hissy-fit and all). It is also interesting that a lot of underground str8 music played in gay clubs, were usually not heard in str8 clubs unless the song went mainstream. It is also true that a lot of good Latin club music would not be heard in a predominantly gay Black establishments either. This not only baffled me, it frustrated me too. This was an era where both Black and Hispanics done the most music collaborations. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why in this aspect, we appeared to be separated. Unfortunately, if we wanted to hear Latin club music in the 80s, we needed to go to specific places, such as an establishment called “Escuelita.” Escuelita has been closed for about 5-6 years now I think. To be honest, I hated that club, because if I remember correctly, they functioned like a lot of the str8 clubs did. That being, they used to pick and choose who gets to enter in the club. I’ve been in too many situations where many of them that operate like that, didn’t live up to the hype (once you finally get in).
Some Of The Biggest Club Mixes Where Dirty As F***!
So, this is the largest playlist I ever made for pubic consumption. It has a whopping 101 major gay anthems I could remember growing up in the gay clubs. This isn’t even all of them. I may consider doin’ a part 2 in the future, I’ll think about it ?, I darn near popped a brain cell trying to remember all these greats! One of my many most memorable favorites was, “Break 4 Love.” You know, it was funny, although this was one of my most favorite club mixes, I was frightened to play this around family back then. For me, I felt it was way too raunchy, and was not appropriate to play for family. At times I kind of felt embarrassed. However, when I started hearing it played on the radio, I was like, f** it, I’m gonna play it too. LOLOL
Today, EDM Appears To Be The Replacement Genre For What Was Once The Greatest Club Music Of My Time!
Another dirty song I used to like a lot was a song by a performer named, Sweet P**** Pauline.” She had a song out called “Work This P****.” Unfortunately, this was one of those songs that was so popular, there were like a million remixes for it. It seems that Spotify doesn’t have the original (or at least the most popular one I remembered), but, I think the one I found on YouTube is ok, because it contains full lyrics. This song was hilarious!!!! Other favorites on this list is “I Can’t Get Enough,” by Liz Torres; “Work That Muth*****,” by Steve Poindexter; “The Party,” by Kraze; “Magic Carpet Ride,” by Mighty Dub Katz. We also vogued to a lot of traditional classic oldies, such as Diana Ross’s “The Boss,” and many music by Salsoul Orchestra. I hope you enjoy your trip through memory lane.
Artist: Alicia Keys
Album: Songs In A Minor (2001)
You know I’m old, when I struggle accepting the fact that I now have to label an artist such as Alicia Keys as “old school” now. Darn it! I just can’t believe it is now 20 years since this album came out? Twenty years! Time really moves fast, which is one of the many factors as to why we’re losing our music history. I really love Alicia Keys music because; she was one of the few (then) young female artist that performed hip hop/R&B blends that I felt truly had talent. I really love the fact that although she sang a lot of love songs, she didn’t do a lot of that moaning and begging “come back to me baby” kind of music.
Her First Album Hit Big! And Was A Force To Be Reckoned With!
Keys’ song called “Fallin’,” from her album “Song In A Minor,” was her money maker. On Spotify alone, the song reached almost 275M plays. This was significant, as music streaming just started to become popular. The song hit number one in many places around the world, including the UK and Netherlands. Because of the fast pace of music streaming, I really think a lot of people forgot about this gem. But, forgot about it not in a sense that we wouldn’t remember it if we heard it, but in a sense if we were looking for her music, I’m sure most likely people would be looking for her newer music. It’s a shame that a song that literally became not only her signature song, but an anthem in many of our Black communities has been forgotten. ?
Keys Is Very Musically Diverse, I Like That!
Alicia is very diverse with her music. I don’t think any of her music sounds the same. That’s a true artist! She really wasn’t trying to be like anybody else but her! Not that many artist has the balls to do that! Kudos girl! ? I also love the fact that she’s one of the few artist that has an old school sound to many of her music. And I think that her songs “A Woman’s Worth,” “If I Ain’t Got You,” and “You Don’t Know My Name,” really showcased this. Not only did she bring back the art of old school song writing, she showed us her power to command an audience. There are many new artist who perform new classic sounds, but very few have become international in the way Alicia Keys did. By the way, check out her cover “Every Little Bit Hurts,” from her “Unplugged” 2005 album. Unfortunately, I could only find the live performance on Spotify. I could have sworn she had a studio version. Anyway, she did this one really nice too. I love Alicia, her music is one of the very few new ones that I consider timeless.
I have something important to say that is weighing on my heart. However, the problem is, I’m not sure how to convey what I feel in order that my readers can understand what I’m talking about fully. I will try to explain as best I can without rambling. I think the cancel culture continues to affect us in ways that even I couldn’t imagine. It has gotten to the point where social media influencers are now looking for new platforms to create their content. Before I move on, I would like to make one thing clear; my blog is not about politics at all; my blog is strictly about music history. However, at the same time, I could not foresee the troubles bloggers like myself would endure indirectly as a clear result of this new political climate.
Understand That Even The Innocent Are Being Cancelled!
I realized the new “cancel culture” has became a problem when various social media platforms started giving me warnings about “inappropriate language” on my own website (a site I pay for). This didn’t matter if I typed special characters such as the @ sign in order to replace other letters. Some ads were even taken down. All of these things were happening, and my blog is not even political. I was really, really perplexed. And what confused me more than anything else is that, social media is inundated with hip hop media. Over 70% of hip hop media has foul language in it. Therefor, I couldn’t understand why small music bloggers were all included in this new world-wind of “disinformation.” There was a time when the first thing someone would say was “what makes you an authority?” “What are your credentials?” It’s funny, if big tech companies would sensor and block religious blogs and websites they way they do others, there would literally be bloody hell to pay.
How Is It That People Are Losing Our Voices? How Big Tech is responsible?
In the simplest and easiest way I can explain how big tech is responsible for America losing our voices— Our own ignorance. Without turning this post in to a 400 page book, I’m gonna say that I estimate our problems emerged shortly after the popularity of “podcasting” back in early c. 1980s. If I’m correct, Apple pioneered in the world podcasting. In fact, I’m pretty sure that podcasting was probably the one thing that attracted many people to use Apple products. Podcasting was that one tool that anyone can use to make known issues going on in their communities. People got on the mic and talked about everything known to man. That included sports, music, movies, etc. Even various kinds of therapists created their own podcasts to discuss a wide range of issues from children with “attention deficit disorders,” to sex education. There were tons of websites that specialized on giving you advice on what kinds of mics to use for podcasting, software, etc. There were even hosting services that were purely dedicated to storing your podcasts online. Podcasting was a way for regular people like you and I, who had no political attachments, to speak their voice.
This Was The Moment We Lost Our Voice!
The moment I pinpointed when we started losing our voice was when business took notice of not only how popular podcasting got, but the heavy following podcasters accumulated. All of a sudden, CNN had a podcast, CBS had a podcast, NPR had a podcast, etc. All of a sudden, I could no longer find independent podcasters in Apple’s search box. They’ve been all “shadowed,” or almost completely removed from their index. It was then I knew that it was a rap. Big business has taken over. Same was true for blogging. The meaning of the word “blog,” meant a personal journal. A blog is almost like a public diary. Today you hear companies like MSNBC say “visit us on our blog!” A blog was never about business or “news” for that matter. Blogging was about having a personal journal. Now, Big tech has effectively taken that over too. Don’t let me get started on corrupt YouTube! I hate YouTube with a passion. You can write a paragraph long response to someone, and YouTube will delete your entire post in less than a second, if it contains a word YouTube set as a flag. Regardless of how you felt (and still feel) about our former commander and chief, for the love of our country, you must understand that if a company such as twitter can make a decision to shutdown a former commander and chief’s account that is a very very serious problem, and is unthinkable. And if you think that’s ok, then you obviously don’t understand what democracy is, and how it’s supposed to function.
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.”
I sincerely hope that all my readers and first time visitors are doing well during this crazy pandemic. I apologize for the long, long hiatus. I really needed that time to think some things through in regards to my blog. I really struggled deciding whether to keep my blog or not. In the midst of trying to decide the future of my blog, I was having what they call “blogger’s burnout.” I learned the hard way that blogging everyday is not healthy! Regardless of what other opinionated bloggers say. It’s just too much work for a single person to do. Now, that’s not a complaint, it’s just a fact that the brain needs rest, and blogging everyday consecutively is just not reasonable for a single blogger. But, unfortunately, every single blogger that recommend this as a way of gaining followers is an utter lie. Especially when you consider the fact that we are all bombarded by so many different images and links everyday on the net. In fact, I learned for myself, it’s important NOT to blog everyday, so that you don’t completely lose interest in your blog projects.
There is bullshit lies everywhere, as far as tips from how to design and build a blog, to how exactly we should blog. Now, I’m not saying everything out there isn’t useful information, but I think we should be asking ourselves, is the advice realistic? Then again, I guess we wouldn’t know whether or not something is realistic unless we do some of these suggestions. As I’ve mentioned before, I still love what I do, so it’s not a matter of self insecurity, but more about the frustrations of dealing with social media and how they now operate.
It really can be frustrating when you’re doin’ something unique, and you literally can’t find anyone to model after, or at least use as some sort of guide. But, what I do know, I still think that blogs that focus on classic culture is incredibly important. Not just from the standpoint of keeping history alive. I realized that if other people didn’t make content available on social media, I would never find 90% of the news I curate for twitter. That brought a new realization for me. Although, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t a whole lot of obstacles that a blog owner face trying to get seen on social media.
I was inspired by another classic music blogger, who had his blog online for a long time too. Although he hadn’t made a blog post for a few years, his blog was still available for others to see, and his twitter followers still interact with him. I sent him a short message thinking him for in essence reigniting my interest in continuing to blog. I once again felt proud I’m a site owner/and technically a writer. However, I think I’ve been putting too much pressure on myself, and I needed to step back and do some analyzing.
So, I decided to keep my blog around a little longer. To save money on storage and SSL features, I changed my server. I hope you’ve noticed my blog is a little faster now ?! Also, because my blog is a personal blog, I decided to add an option for my readers to donate. I hate asking for donations, but the reality is server costs are expensive. With cancel culture in full force, I think personal blogs are more important than ever, as our voices should not be stifled (especially by a nonhuman computer algorithm)! I’ve had music ads removed because of an innocent word blocked by algorithms. Algorithms cannot account for context, and this is why it means our free speech is and has been violated. So, this is why it is necessary that bloggers have our own platforms. I have chosen to use BitCoin as a way for you to donate to my blog. Any little bit helps. I don’t require any personal information, in addition, cryptocurrencies are decentralized.
Now, I’m not sure just how frequent I will blog, I’m still figuring that out. However, at least you can look forward to new oldies content in the near future. I’m usually very active on twitter. So, as always, follow me on twitter to get my latest blog pins. Thanks everyone for your understanding and support. Remember, America is really going through a tough time, but don’t let that cause you to forget our American music history!
Genre: Sweet Reggae
This was probably my most difficult handpicked playlist yet!! ? I know it seems like I say that all the time, but it really is true. These days, it’s really hard to find a good cover song. Because either the artist’s voice don’t fit the song, or the musical arrangements are just terrible. I much prefer the 80s covers and older. I know a lot of artist feel like they can sing and do anything the want. However, as a fan of music I beg to disagree. I think a true artist is honest enough to know when a song doesn’t suit them, and if you try to force sing it, it only makes it sound worse. I think the most problem I usually have is with the musical arrangements, particularly today’s cover songs from certain countries. Many cover songs today (both Reggae and some American songs) appear to have a distinct sound; tunes that sound as though the artist purchased their first Yamaha keyboard (earlier models) with artificial drum beats and other electronic “push button” flat sounds that try to mimic other natural instruments. These kind of equipment makes the end product sound outdated, karaoke*ish, and sometimes like an amateurish live performance. Therefor, I’m extremely particular about the covers I listen to.
I’m Extremely Particular About The Covers I Listen To!
So, now that I’ve aired out my pet-peeve, I’d like to draw your attention to a great female reggae artist known by one name, Fiona. Fiona recorded a few covers, but my most favorite cover she did is a song called “You Don’t Know My Name,” which was recorded by Alicia Keys. It was upsetting to know this got so little plays on the streaming platforms, because in my opinion this song is freakin’ amazing! So much great music overlooked. I guess the young people aren’t interested in true love songs anymore; they’re only interested in what they can jiggle their ass to. Another amazing cover I highly recommend you check out, is a female artist known as Natty Bong. She released a cover called “Royals,” which was written and performed by Lords. Natty Bong’s cover got over 5.5M plays from just Spotify alone. It’s a really great song! Check it out!
Enjoyable Cover Songs Are Harder To Find These Days!
Let’s go back a little further in time. 1961 to be exact, when the late Peter Tosh released his cover of a song called “Here Comes The Sun.” The late Peter Tosh recorded this song with the legendary reggae band, The Wailers. “Here Comes The Sun,” was originally written and performed by The Beatles (if I’m not mistaken). I’m shocked as to how many reggae musicians done so many covers by them. Then again, I forget that their are a LOT of British reggae performers.
The Most Shocking Was Bob Marley’s Cover!
I have to say, I think the most shocking cover I ever heard was by the late Bob Marley, when he recorded a song called “Sugar Sugar,” which is the original theme song for the 1968 TV cartoon, The Archie’s. The reason why Bob’s cover shocked me was because, of all the diverse American covers made in to reggae, I just never pictured someone like Bob Marley to do this kind of music. Perhaps it’s because my mind associated his music with political messages, and cartoon themes just wasn’t on my radar. Today, I could see it, but not then. Check out my playlist, I have plenty more surprises in it. I hope you enjoy!