Song: Mr. Blue Sky
Artist: Electric Light Orchestra
Album: Out Of The Blue (1977)
Guys, please don’t judge their name! Although their name sounds like they belong to some sort of circus or novelty act, this England born band produced beyond amazing music when I was growing up. And the proof in that, is their staggering streaming numbers. The song “Mr. Blue Sky” was released in 1977, how the hell did it manage to gather 360M streams from Spotify alone? Are you kidding me? That’s the kind of streams that only someone like Whitney Houston, or Michael Jackson got. Yet, if you ask the average person who they are, they draw a blank! Most people don’t have a clue.
How Can A Group Get So Much Plays, Yet People Barely Remember Them?
That’s mind boggling to me. Either this is an example of how complicated an artist/band stats are, or streaming is moving so incredibly fast, that we are missing a major part of our music history! Don’t you think? To throw an even bigger wrench into the equation, they never had a number one hit! But they do have 7 Top Tens under their belt.
Despite “Mr. Blue Sky” being so successful, the song was at the bottom when it came to my favorites. The song that I think is probably most known/remembered was from their album “A New World Record,” the song is called “Telephone Line (1976).”It also happens to be one of my top favorites. This peaked at #7 on the Top 100, and was their highest ranking song on the charts. Also, from that same album was another favorite of mine called “Livin’ Thing,” and it only peaked at #13 (which is not bad). It’s a really nice album, I recommend it. Check out some of their other hits, “Don’t Break Me Down,” and another great song of theirs “Evil Woman.”
Song: I Love You More
Artist: René & Angela
Album: Wall To Wall (1981)
Wow! In my opinion, this duo is obscure for sure! How many of my blog fans even remember who René Moore & Angela Winbush was? They’ve made some of my most favorite jams! It was a shame that their group project did not last very long, musically speaking they were a good match. Actually, for a while I assumed that they were a couple. Kind of like Ashford & Simpson. However, contrary to my beliefs at the time, I discovered later that they literally hated each other’s guts. I would have never guessed that, judging from the music I’ve heard from them. Their music was so popular back in the day. Now I don’t hear them at all! Not even on Live365 radio, and they play all kinds of obscure stuff.
For awhile I really thought they were a couple!
Their song “I Love You More,” my ultimate jam back in the day. It was one of those songs you hear while passing by a store or something, and you must stop and dance a little bit because the groove was so good! For me, that’s an example of some real R&B music of my generation! Actually their album “Wall To Wall,” was a pretty good album. I’m saddened that their business relationship ended so abruptly. They barely lasted 6-8 years together. Which probably meant they hated each other from the start! You might remember a couple of their other hits. One of them was from their 1985 album “Street Called Desire,” and the song was “I’ll Be Good.” I used to jam to that a lot as well. Checkout another classic from the same album called “Your Smile.” Very nice song. About 1985-1986, they eventually broke their contract and moved on with solo careers. I haven’t heard anything from Rene, but Angela had done quite a few recordings.
Song: How ‘Bout Us
Album: How ‘Bout Us (1981)(2014)
I decided to call this post “The Lost Sounds Of Champaign,” ’cause, they really are! Hell, when was the last time you heard anything from Champaign? This is exactly why I’ve built this blog! Come on, be honest. And just in case, no, I don’t mean Evelyn “Champagne” King, I meant the band Champaign ?. The group decided to name themselves, after their hometown, Champaign, Illinois. We can say that the band has produced all kinds of music, but mostly pop, and perhaps borderline funk.
That One Hit That Probably Made A Lot Of Babies!
Their song “How ‘Bout Us,” was a HUGE success for the group! They ripped the music charts to shreds! It was #1 in Adult Contemporary, #4 in R&B, #12 on Pop charts, and 5 on the UK chart. I think this is an awesome song that you can add to any wedding reception in my opinion. There’s no doubt in my mind that this song helped to make a lot of babies in the 80s.
This was one of the very few songs I really loved, that I didn’t purchase a 45 for. But, then again, it wasn’t really necessary, as many compilation CDs really started to become popular at that time. Champaign had another massive hit I think you’ll remember. The song was called “Try Again (1983),” it hit #2 on the R&B chart and #6 under Adult Contemporary. Interesting that this song did so well in the U.S. Although they’ve made some really good music, in my opinion, these two songs were the best out of their career.
Song: Play That Funky Music
Artist: Wild Cherry
Album: Wild Cherry (1976)
This is another perfect situation of just how important music streaming is (at least those little of us who still value music history). Depending on just how obscure a band or artist is, we may not be able to find a whole lot of information about said artist or band, but at least using amazing technologies such as Shazam (which many of you refuse to learn how to use), we can quickly know their names, and most times discover a picture now and then.
All Throughout My Childhood, I Thought This Group Was Black!
I know for a fact that many people think I’m an *sswhole for holding older parents accountable for not using streaming technology. Well, I really don’t give a sh*t, because it’s true. Because if you actually used some of these technologies, you’d quickly realize how important they are to our classic American music culture, that is currently dwindling away. I remember growing up, I’ve seen many family members and family friends have huge arguments about the identity of an artist. And back then, it was so difficult because so many artists were groomed to sound so much a like, it was easy to assume that a song was from one band, but in actuality the song is from another.
Just imagine, if growing up we had Shazam then?! It would have stopped arguments in it’s tracks! Not only that, no one would make bets as to who was who anymore either!! Although we were all broke, we had no business betting anyway! ? So, anyways, enough of my rants. It was unfortunate that “Play Thank Funky Music,” by Wild Cherry was the only hit of their entire career. The song hit #1 and stayed on the charts for 25 weeks. In my opinion, I think this was the best funk & rock infused song that came out of the 70s! They produced about 4 other songs that registered on the Music Billboards, however, they were very low ranking. I never really cared for them. I mean, that music was awesome, I just think the vocals were terribly over done. But out of those 4 poorly ranked songs, I think “Hold On,” from the same album, is the second only one worth listening to. The track peaked at #61 in 1977. This should have ranked much higher tho.
Song: Come And Get Your Love
Album: Come And Get Your Love (1973) (Single)
Maybe I’m wrong? Or maybe I’m right? But, I think I’ve shocked the shit out of my readers on this post! To those who are shocked, what did you think when I said that I love all kinds of music? What did you think I meant when I said that I am culturally diverse when it comes to music? If anything, I hope you’re visiting my blog to gain insight into great classic music that existed, and not simply scrolling down my posts until you see an artist you know. If you do, what’s the point of “discovery” if you’re not looking for it? I digress.
Their Massive One Hit Immortalized Them!
It is unfortunate that if today you’d ask an American contemporary rock fan, “who did they think was the best 70s rock band (or perhaps who did they think had the most popular song)?” Off the top of their head, what do you think would be the likelihood of them picking a Native American band? I would almost bet on zero. Although, I’m really not familiar with each individual band member’s heritage, my understanding is that most were mixed/descendants of a Mexican family tree. Thus, they’ve chosen to call themselves “Redbone,” a Cajun word meaning mixed race. Only 3 of 5 band members are still alive. Peter DePoe, Arturo Perez & Butch Rillera.
To simply say that their song “Come And Get Your Love” was a popular hit, would be a gross understatement in my opinion. The song peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 Charts in 1974. Now, even today, Spotify alone has this song at 132 million plays! And guys, that’s just this single! There are more plays because the same song is on different streaming albums. Do you realize how rare that is, to see a classic song streamed that much? A lot of the most popular classic artists don’t get streaming numbers like that! It really wouldn’t surprise me if we combined all the streaming services and include YouTube, and saw that they’ve amassed 600+ million streams. Seriously, this was a great song! I used to stop and listen to this on the radio all the time.
Song: Only You (feat. B.I.G. & Mase) Remix
Album: 112 (1996)
I’m sitting here grinding my teeth, as I am forced to consider that this song needs to be placed in the old school category. Not because I don’t feel this wasn’t an awesome song back in the day, but because it feels like only yesterday! It was 24 years ago this song hit the radio waves. Yet, how many 30 or 35 year olds are playing their music today? Well, I guess the reality is (like I’ve mentioned numerous times before), with the new age of music streaming, there’s just too much music we now have access to, and I believe this is at least 50% responsible for the loss of Black music history. In fact, just the loss of overall American classic music in general. The other half is households simply not playing enough classic oldies. We’re not so far in the future where no one possesses vinyl records anymore! Shit, I still own a lot of cassette tapes from my teenage years for goodness sake!
They’ve Made Many Collaborations!
Their song “Only You,” is probably my most favorite hit from the group. It reached #4 on the Hot 100 Chart. Personally speaking, I definitely feel this song has earned the right of being “barbecue cookout worthy!” 112 has done many, many collaborations with other artists/groups. However, I felt they were so talented, they really didn’t need to. This was probably my biggest pet-peeve when the 90s came along in regards to music. Every new and up coming artist was encouraged to collaborate with another to better promote themselves. I hated that because I saw how easily a group/person can become other artist’s “sidekicks.” Or even backfire, and be seen more of a backup singer, or an extra of some sort.
But, I’m happy to say that a lot of those hookups with other artists proved to be extremely beneficial. My most favorite song was a cover they produced along with a group called “Allure (remember them?).” That song was called “All Cried Out,” originally performed by Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam. Man, I played this song so much, I’m surprised my CD did not turn in to dust. I was pissed to find out it only peaked at 18 on the Hot 100 Chart. I’m sure it had to have been at least #1 on the R&B chart. Spotify alone has it at 5.5M plays, and keep in mind this was long after streaming was even a thing.
Their Biggest Collaboration?
I’d have to say their biggest collaboration in my opinion has to be Puff Daddy, with the release of “Missing You (1997),” a tribute to B.I.G. Another huge hit by 112 you shouldn’t forget is “It’s Over Now (2001),” which reached #6 on the Hot 100 Chart. Over creative differences, the group left Puff Daddy’s label and signed with Def-Jam around 2002. But, I don’t believe these guys had repeated the same level of success under Def-Jam as they once did under P. Daddy’s label. Although they did have a top 40 hit called “Hot & Wet (2002)” featuring Ludacris, but that was about the extent of it (I could be wrong about that). Honestly, I think Puff had his hand on this song too. Puff really was the golden producer of his time. They should have stayed with Diddy.
Artist: Blue Magic
Album: Blue Magic (1974)
The Blue Magic was an incredibly talented group that formed close to the beginning of the 70s. Still performing by the way; however I think all the original members has passed on. I could be wrong about that, but I do know (to my understanding) the lead singer, Rod Wayne, died awhile back. I know we all have differences of opinions (that’s why it’s called opinions), but this group deserved more credit than they got.
Another Great Group Silenced By The Disco Era!
Perhaps we can make an argument that the Blue Magic came to the music scene at the wrong time. It’s been said that the disco hurricane destroyed a lot of music careers during the 70s. Now mind you, I’m not saying that music from groups like Blue Magic wasn’t good enough. However, disco was one of those rare genres that wasn’t just a “genre” it was also a movement. Disco was such an obsession that it over shadowed many talented groups. I saw a documentary discussing how disco grew so large, that there were riots in some neighborhoods by those who resisted disco’s domination. I believe it was in cities like Chicago (if I’m not mistaken). Thank goodness that never happened in my neighborhood, but that must have been a sight to see.
Listening to Blue Magic was kind of like listening to a second version of
The Spinners The Stylistics in a way, with Wayne being that lead romantic falsetto. The song “Sideshow” became their biggest hit single of their career. It hit #1 on the R&B chart, #8 on the Top 100, and the album itself reached #4 on the R&B category. There was no better album after this one. In fact, “Sideshow” was such a popular song, it appeared on many of their other albums released and re-released on digital.
Two More Popular Songs!
There were two more popular songs. “Stop To Start,” wasn’t exactly my favorite song, but it was a popular one, and hit #14 on the R&B chart. Now, technically, this last song wasn’t a hit per-say, but it was a great song. It happens to be on this same album. It’s actually a cover of The Main Ingredient’s 1973 hit, “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely.” What a shame this song never got any traction (at least as far as I can tell). It was one of those severely overlooked remakes that was performed amazingly.
Song: Baby I’m For Real
Artist: The Originals
Album: Baby I’m For Real (1969)
Genre: Soul Music
Ladies…. If you were to tell me that you wouldn’t want your man to sing this song to you on your wedding day, I’d say you are a liar, a straight up liar! Unless of course, if your man can’t sing to save his life ?. In terms of classic music, I doubt you could get any more romantic and heart felt than this gem right here. I was just shy of two years old when this song came out, and even when I became a teenager, I felt the intensity and emotion of this song.
It Was Almost Like Listening To The 4 Tops!
Today’s group is called “The Originals,” and I’m not talking about the vampire TV show either! ? A beautiful classic ballad that literally slipped away from the radio waves, is still kicking ass on music streaming! 50 years after the release of “Baby, I’m For Real,” is still remembered by millions! By just looking at Spotify alone, the song picked up almost 6 million plays! This does not include other legal streaming services, internet radio, and YouTube! That is incredibly impressive for a song that is now considered obscure, at least when it comes to mainstream radio. As a blogger who’s trying to save our music history, this makes me feel very good.
The group made several albums, but “Baby I’m For Real” was their biggest hit that cemented the group’s career. The song hit #1 on the R&B charts, and #14 on the Top 100. A year later, they produced another major hit called “The Bells,” which hit #4 on the R&B chart, and #12 on the Top 100. These guys were extremely talented, and I’m shocked at the fact that despite being signed to Motown, they didn’t pump out more hits. The Originals sang all kinds of music, including disco. If you’d like, check out their “Very Best Of The Originals” album.