Song: Love Come Down
Artist: Evelyn Champagne King
Album: Get Loose (1982)
She was once the queen of dance/funk music. But, today, people barely knows who she is. Perhaps they may vaguely remember hearing one of her tunes, because they heard their mother or father play it once, or maybe twice. It’s hard to accept that fact that there was a time her music burned across dance-floors in just about every club in NYC, and now, Evelyn who? Strange that I don’t even remember hearing her music in many 70s parties ?. In fact, she was one of the few music performers (along with perhaps the Mary Jane Girls) that helped to make hair beads extremely popular in the Black communities (med/late 70s).
She Was The Queen Of Dance, 70s and 80s!
Now, as far I can tell, Evelyn never had a number one hit on the Top 100 List. However, on the dance categories she has had 2 number ones, and 6 Top 10 hits. Perhaps her biggest and most memorable hit (I think) was a song called “Love Come Down (1982).” Despite the fact that I haven’t personally heard any classic radio station play her music since the mid 80s, fans continue to show her support on streaming services. “Love Come Down” alone accumulated over 40M streams! That’s pretty cool considering the major culture shift America has been undergoing for years.
Evelyn Had More Hits Under Billboard’s Dance Category!
Another huge favorite of mine was “I Don’t Know If It’s Right (1979).” I was surprised to find out it reached only #25 on the dance chart. I played this record on practically every family party back in the day. It had an unusual (and still distinct) recognizable beat. Another hit I used to shake my ass too was “Shame (1978).” This song was my sh*t back in the day! This was one of those songs that sounded so good, you didn’t care how crazy you looked on the dance floor ?! One last song for ya. Check out her #1 dance hit called “I’m In Love (1981).” I totally forgot about this song. This was my sh*t too. I highly recommend you skim through her music. She’s totally worth investigating! Seems that Evelyn (now in her 60s) hasn’t come out with a new album in quite some time. But, according to wiki, she is still actively performing.
Artists: A Variety
Genre: Ska & Rock Steady
Since playlists are so incredibly important, I decided to do another one this week. Today, I want to focus on a forgotten music label called Trojan Records. Coming from a family of heavy music lovers and performers, growing up, I can safely say that Trojan Records for reggae artists was the equivalent to Motown for Black American artists. In terms of the hits they pumped out, and the tremendous contributions they’ve made to Black music in general. I really don’t think, not just Americans, but other countries around the world would have ever known what reggae was, if it were not for labels like Trojan Records.
Trojan Played A Pivotal Role In Reggae Music!
Like Motown, Trojan employed many hit makers such as Toots & The Maytals, Bob Andy, Peter Tosh, John Holt, Marcia Griffiths, are just a very small fraction of the very talented people they had on their raster. Trojan is actually a British label, that was formed some time in 1968. As far as I know, the label has strictly dedicated itself to ska & rock steady type of reggae. To be honest, I can’t even recall ever hearing calypso from Trojan (at least when I was a young boy anyway). Today I’m not really sure if the label is producing new music. I can’t really find a whole lot of new stuff, with the exception of re-releases of their old music. Traditional reggae is such beautiful music! It just hurts my heart that it’s become “an old fad” in America. Almost never to be listened to again, as if it ran its course. Huh! Again, just like Motown! When Berry Gordy sold Motown, when last have you heard any advertisement for anything Motown? They had no interest in keeping the memory of Black music, only to own the value of it’s name.
Trojan Is Actually A British Label!
Trojan is now under Sanctuary Records. It doesn’t appear that Sanctuary has produced a lot of (or if any) new reggae under their name either. Please think about this for a moment. Trojan was affiliated with more than 30 other Black reggae labels (which I’m sure Sanctuary also owns or have license to), and I’m having difficulty finding new Black reggae music from them. However, they’re offering imports of their old music for extraordinary amounts of money. Another reason why music streaming is so important! So that poor people who can’t afford that kind of money for those rare reprints/originals, still have another way to access our history for practically free!
Reggae Music From Trojan Records Almost Feels Extinct!
Ok, a little about my new hand-picked playlist?! The process of putting together this playlist was sort-of difficult. Because it is not an American label, I can’t find chart information as easily as I’d like. Most if not all don’t even have chart information. I had to really rely on my childhood memories, my mom’s vinyls and my late grandpa’s reel2reel tapes and vinyls, and pretty much start diggin’ through several hundred music streams ?. Out of about 800 Trojan tunes I’ve curated, I’ve narrowed them down to 40 treasures for this playlist. I really think people from the Island around my age will enjoy this list most definitely; and hopefully it will jar some memories for you too! Yes?
After Hours & Hours Of Listening, I Made The Perfect Classic Trojan List!
Soooo, some of the great artists I have on this list includes the great Desmond Dekker & The Aces, with their hit called “Shing A Ling.” This wasn’t Dekker’s biggest hit, but I loved this song anyway. You’d probably are more familiar with one of his bigger hits, such as “007 (Shante Town) (1967).” By the way, I wish I was able to find more information about the above photo with Dekker in it. I noticed the sign in the photo mentions Byron Lee (not pictured (although I’m sure it’s the guy with his head turned the other way, but I’m not certain)). My late grandfather absolutely loved Byron Lee. Byron was HUGE in the reggae world. In my opinion, he was like the reggae version of Tito Puente ?. Speaking of Byron Lee, he was also on the Trojan label. One song by Byron my late Grandpa used to play a lot was called “Only A Fool (with Sparrow)(1977).” Ahhh, this was such a beautiful record. Byron also had another huge hit called “Tiney Winey,” and I believe it was released in 1984. Now, I know I said early in this article that I hadn’t heard any calypso music out of the Trojan label. But here’s the thing, with songs like “Tiney Winey,” artists often change labels, sometimes labels get taken over, sometimes they’re also under sub-labels that specialize in a specific genre. It’s really hard to know what’s what.
Byron Lee Was Almost Like A Reggae Version Of Tito Puente!
Next, I have the legendary Millie Small, who many Americans would be shocked to find out she was actually from Jamaica! Unfortunately I never considered her to have a really talented voice. However, she exploded in the music scene when she released her one massive hit “My Boy Lollipop (c.1964).” The song hit #2 on the top 100 American Billboard. Unfortunately, Millie past away in early 2020, at the age of 72. A lot of famous artists on the Trojan label also made some awesome covers of American music. “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” by John Holt; “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” by my girl Marcia Griffiths; “Don’t Play That Song For Me,” by Derrick Morgan; and plenty more on this playlist. I hope you enjoy!!
Song: When You Are Who You Are
Artist: Gil Scott-Heron
Another forgotten phenomenal musician! Well, perhaps forgotten in the mainstream world, but in the world of Funk and Jazz, I think he’s well remembered. In my opinion, in terms of musical status (or popularity if you will), I considered him among the same ranks as Jimmy Hendrix. Keep in mind, I mentioned “popularity,” not meaning to infer that their music are similar. I think their paths were obviously very different.
Gil Scott Was Very Politically Conscious!
The late Mr. Gil was very politically conscious. Growing up, none of my family (that I can recall) had any of his music. However, if I heard him on the radio or on TV I savored the moment and just enjoyed what I heard. I was too young to fully understand half the sh*t he said, but some how I knew there was some serious messages in his music. I admired him so much because he wasn’t just a politically conscious Black musician, he was one of the few well known music figures that actually went in to the communities and literally showed you the challenges of the Black communities. Very few musicians I can think of right now that were that passionate about educating the Black community. The only person that comes to mind at this moment is James Brown. And even then I wonder? Mind you, not saying James did nothing for the community, but there’s a difference between showering the Black community with money, and actually being in the Black community. Not to disrespect the late entertainer, but the more I reflect as I get older, I felt that James was motivated by pure fear (after the assassination of MLK) rather than “helping the community.” Fear in a selfish way. After the assassination of MLK, I felt that he was more concerned that it would have effected his ability to perform in the Black neighborhoods. I could be completely wrong about that, but….. Just my opinion.
Well, enough of my soapbox. During America’s political climax of the 60s-70s in regards to Black Americans, probably (I think) the most well known song (or perhaps technically not really a song) was called “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1971).” I know some of my young readers may not like to pay attention to lyrics, but I do recommend that you take the time to listen to that song. It is a true direct representation of what Blacks were going through in the seventies, and in many ways still going through. Shifting the topic a little, there’s a song Gil did that became one of my favorites, and it’s called “When You Are Who You Are.” I think what attracted me to this song was, lyrically speaking, it was one of the very few songs I’ve heard where the male artist sings loving someone for who they are, and not having the need to try so hard to impress him. The lyrics are just beautiful, as well as the music being nice and funky!
Song: So Much Love
Artist: Laurel Aitken
? Wow!! This is obscure. I so love rediscovering obscure artists, it’s almost like discovering buried treasure! To think that today’s artist was dubbed “King Of Ska.” You know, I look at music history very different. I think one of the biggest challenges with getting younger folk to be open enough to listening to classic music, is with young people it seems like there must be some sort of prerequisite. If they can’t twerk to it, or do a nasty dance, or sound “modern enough,” it’s not good music. I also thought about social pressure. Not wanting their friends to know they like “old music.” But, “good music” in terms of old school isn’t just about dancing, it’s also about feeling, and how the music can talk to your heart. Unfortunately, this is not the way we connect with music today.
Finding Obscure Music, Is Sometimes Like Finding Buried Treasure!
The late Mr. Laurel Aitken was born in Cuba, and was a descendant of Jamaican family. He was bilingual, but he mostly sang in English, as the majority of music he produced were ska music. You know, it’s interesting how a genre, ska, was so huge even in America, and today it’s been reduced to an acquired taste. Even a lot of old school reggae lovers would probably be more likely to listen to rocksteady before they’d pick up a ska album.
There Was A Time When Ska Music Was Almost Preferred Among Many Black Music Lovers!
One of my rare favorites from Aitken, is a song called “So Much Love (c.1970).” A very nice reggae love song. I just love these lyrics, “I’ll never turn my back on you.” Those are words you don’t hear in songs anymore. My only gripe is that the song is just way to short (I think). Aitkens also made outstanding cover songs in my opinion. Checkout some of my favorite covers from him, starting with “Why Can’t I Touch You,” “Groovin’,” “You Send Me,” and “(Sloop) John B.” Here are some of his other hits, “Baby, I Need Your Livin’,” this one has a some sick beats “Three Dogs Night,” and “I Can’t Stand It.”
Song: Take A Message
Artist: Remy Shand
Album: The Way I Feel (2002)
Genre: Neo Soul
As I sift through my collection, my eyes pop wide open. I completely forgot about Remy Shand! Actually, I’m sure a lot of people forgot about him too. It’s such a wonderful thing to have a way to save our memories in digital form, otherwise we’d forget about all this shit. No matter how good of a memory we have. As far as I’m concerned, Remy was one of those explosive one hit wonders, then we never hear from them again. You know, sometimes I think when these guys get too famous, the attention is too much for them. Next thing you know, they’re “low key,” like writing songs in the background, or specializing on the mixing board.
Remy’s Music Is An Acquired Taste Tho!
I have to say that a lot of Remy’s music is an acquired taste. In fact, to be honest, I haven’t met too many people who are genuinely into Neo-Soul, unless you’ve been exposed to different music growing up. The one and only song that hit the American Billboard charts was “Take A Message.” Unfortunately, my favorite song out of the whole album only reached #89th position. However, in Canada, the album itself did very well, it actually reached #1. Go figure?
Remy Won For Best Album Of The Year In Canada 2003!
I really love his almost Curtis Mayfield & Marvin Gaye style in his music. Personally speaking, I think he should have stayed along those lines. To my understanding he’s still actively performing, but hasn’t really made a good album in a really long time. A couple of songs I want you to checkout. Listen to “Rocksteady,” and I also like “The Mind’s Eye,” which is a relaxing instrumental piece.
Song: Various Songs
Artist: Various Artists
Wow, I didn’t realize it’s been ages since I’ve put together a playlist for you guys. Well, this album was pretty much inspired by “The Big Chill Movie Sound Track.” Remember that movie? Let me tell you, “The Big Chill (1983),” not only became a cult classic, the sound track was amazing! The sound track was jammed packed with the most popular classic sounds!! The music that was chosen for this movie was so good, when I first watched this movie, I almost couldn’t pay attention to the movie, cause all I could think about was the music I didn’t hear for a long time! ?
I have the original sound track on cassette, but I didn’t know about what appears to be some sort of second “extended” album? It’s called “More Songs From The Original Soundtrack Of The Big Chill 15th Anniversary (1984).” Keep in mind that the Internet wasn’t even widely known about back then. So, as far as I knew, I had the one and only sound track on cassette. By the way, there are a lot of great hits on that album as well!
Many of the songs on today’s featured album are truly indeed obscure by today’s standards I guess. However, to people from my age group this music still feels like yesterday! In total, my playlist consists of 12 amazing original recordings. Unfortunately, about half of these Motown recordings have been forgotten. However, in this particular case, I think they’ve been forgotten not because the music was mediocre; I actually think it was because other huge hits these same artists had over shadowed the music on this album.
Some of those forgotten gems include “The Happening,” by The Supremes. To my understanding this was actually #1 Top 100 Chart in 1967. Another forgotten gem is by Mary Wells, called “You Beat Me To The Punch.” That was an amazing song by her, unfortunately, I think her other hit “My Guy” was so huge, it just destroyed people’s memory of “You Beat Me To The Punch.” And then there’s “Hitch Hike (1963),” by Marvin Gaye. When it comes to Marvin Gaye’s music, “Hitch Hike” is as obscure as it comes. I doubt a whole lot of people remember it. Well, I hope you guys enjoy this playlist. it’s one of my favorite classic albums. Just FYI, one of the songs on this sound track was not by Motown. Can you guess which ones? ? If you want to hear the first original sound track, it’s here.
Song: Every Time You Go Away
Artist: Paul Young
Genre: Branches Of Rock
Not only was Paul Young’s “Every Time You Go Away,” one of my favorite songs by him, it turned out to be one of the biggest hits of the 80s! This song was HUGE! The song practically immortalized him. One things for sure, you may not remember his name immediately off the bat; but I think you’ll definitely remember his music when you hear it. Well, at least those of us who are at least 40(ish) and older. Now, I have to be honest, I can’t say I was a huge fan of his music in general. However, there were two songs he made that hit big, and pretty much those two were the only favorites of mine (including featured song).
He Only Had Two Top 10 Hits!
“Every Time You Go Away,” hit #1 in 1985 on the Top 100. The song stayed on the charts for about 22-23 weeks. I remember almost every radio station playing this song, and that included stations that were categorized as mostly “easy listening.” In my opinion, this was the perfect “coming of age” love song, yet adult enough to apply to anyone of any age. The second song I really liked from him was a song called “Oh Girl (1990).” Actually, this is a cover song originally sang by The Chi-Lites. Paul Young’s version reached #8 on the Top 100 Chart. This pretty much concludes all his hits. He did have two more songs that did ok, but the two I’ve mentioned earlier were his money makers, as well as most popular.
Song: The Horse
Artist: Willie Mitchell
Album: Solid Soul (1967)(2014)
I don’t know if any of my blog readers have ever heard of the late Willie Mitchell before. But, if you fancy instrumental music, I recommend you look him up. Another one of many tunes I clearly remember my grandpa playing all the time (as though it was yesterday). If I’m not mistaken, this piece was originally composed and performed by Cliff Nobles c. 1967. Although I do love both versions, I do prefer Willie Mitchell’s version better because I really dig the funk rhythms. I wonder why Cliff decided to name this piece “The Horse?” You gotta love the 60s! Although the names of their projects doesn’t make sense, the music themselves are masterpieces in my opinion.
Song: Only Conversation
Artist: Lymie Murray
Album: Only Conversation (2001)
Genre: Sweet Reggae
Although I love blogging about music, it can be a tough job! There are so many great music everywhere; and it can become quite overwhelming sometimes; whether you’re an organized blogger or not. However, I’m about quality and NOT quantity. Today’s artist….. This reggae man right here…… Mr. Lymie Murray…. I LOVED his music! I have absolutely no idea what happened to him. I found very little information about him. I’ve read that he supposed to be still performing, however, I think the last full album I traced from him was in 2014. You know, I’ve noticed a lot of my favorite legendary reggae artists such as Maxi Priest, Third World, etc, a lot of their performances tend to be in places like Europe/EU, which makes me wonder if reggae is now dead in America? That’s really concerning to me.
Lymie Is Amazingly Talented! But I Can’t Find Solid Proof He’s Actively Performing
Who the hell knows? Sometimes with these guys, they realized they’ve ran out of hit songs and windup (for the most part) becoming DJs after a while. However, in my opinion, Lymie is no ordinary performer. He can actually sing his ass off, and he has potential to bust out more hits (I think). But, I also know that it’s more complicated than that. Sometimes I think in today’s culture, a phenomenal voice is often replaced by what is interpreted as “good beats.” I’ve found small articles in various Jamaican online newspapers that said he performs as part of some celebration of something, but not his own concerts and what not.
Lymie Can Really Sing In My Opinion
My top favorite from Lymie is a song called “Only Conversation (2001).” I thought that was the hottest reggae song I heard in a long time. I’m so happy I heard this song, because in the 90s I gave up on reggae. In the 90s, we were bombarded with that dance-hall music; it completely destroyed true reggae culture as I knew it. To me it was like the equivalent of when OG rappers explain how new rappers obliterated hip hop today. So, from that perspective, listening to him perform this song was refreshing! It literally helped to restore my faith in reggae music.
Before I forget, I want you to check out another favorite of mine. I don’t know if it was a hit or not, but I love it! It’s a Delfonics cover of “La La Means I Love You.” I really, really loved how he did this. One more song for you. I beg reggae fans to listen to his song called “For Cynthia,” from his “Good Things Forward (2014)” album. I really think this song showcased the talent in his voice. I heard very few reggae artist that project their voices in that way! I recommend listening to this whole album actually. Some good stuff!!
So much great oldies in the digital world it’s ridiculous!! Absolutely no one should be crying they don’t have money to buy their favorite song or album! Because guess what? You virtually don’t need money any more these days. Just take the initiative and search Spotify or YouTube! Today’s musicians are the legendary Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. You may remember Marilyn as off and on lead singer for “The Fifth Dimensions.” Her long time husband Billy Davis Jr. founded the group some time in 1965. However they first came out under a different name. In 1965 they were first known as “The Versatiles.” A year later, they changed the name to “The Fifth Dimensions.”
Both Were Affiliated With The Fifth Dimensions!
The group has been known for many many huge hits, such as “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” and “Up Up And Away,” just to name a few. The group was so huge back in the day, and I’ve always associated Marilyn McCoo with the group. However, I tend to forget that McCoo actually had both a few solo and duet albums with her husband. Unfortunately, she only had one real hit outside of “The Fifth Dimensions.” In my opinion, this was her most memorable song (in my age group) it’s called “You Don’t Have To Be a Star (To Be In My Show) (1976).” I played this song so many times as a kid, I’m surprised that 45rpm did not turn in to dust and disappear!
I Often Forgot That Marilyn Had Albums Outside Of The Fifth Dimensions!
Now, this doesn’t make any sense. Unless I’m missing something, or Billboard can’t give me the information I need. I remember as a young boy how huge his song was; almost every Black household was playing this song, yet Billboard did not have this song registered. That is impossible. It was too popular not to be registered anywhere on there. I’ll try a little longer and see, but I just can’t find it. Anyway, before I get sidetracked, I’d like to make a quick comment about their album “Marilyn & Billy.” I believe this album was released around 1978, then digitally re-released in 2014. I did not personally own this album, so I was in catatonic shock, when I discovered that a song McCoo sang, “Saving All My Love For You,” was performed originally by her! I don’t even think I heard her version on the radio. I assumed this was originally recorded by the late Whitney Houston! You see, we all learn something new every day!!
Song: Oh Sherrie
Artist: Steve Perry
Album: Greatest Hits + 5 (1998)
Now, of course, many people are going to have different opinions about this, but just keep in mind that this is my own personal opinion. As both a blogger and a heavy music fan, when it comes to rock music, I feel that Steve Perry is one of the very few greatest rock voices that ever lived (at least in my generation). Steve has a voice that demands attention. I mean, the only other person I can think of, that has a voice powerful enough (and better even) could even dare challenge him, would have been the late Freddy Mercury of QUEEN (that would have been a spectacular concert if that indeed happened, yes?) That’s my opinion. Let’s face it, very few male 80s rock “singers” could actually sing, without interpreting their output as pure yelling!
I’ve Heard Very Few Male 80s Rock Singers, That Didn’t Scream Their Way Through!
You know, I looked at Steve, and never thought that an amazing voice could come out of that tiny body. ? I think it’s safe to say that Steve truly made his mark as lead singer of Journey, with the following two songs. The first, a song called “Open Arms (1982),” which reached #2 on the Top 100 chart. The second song was called “Never Stop Believin’ (1981),” which peaked at #9 on the Top 100. You know, after the fact, it seemed very strange that this song peaked at only #9 considering this song was remixed and played so many times. At times it seemed more popular than “Open Arms.” Then again, I guess I have to remember it depends on the environment I’m in. Because in the clubs, they played “Never Stop Believin'” a lot. In fact, many “Bring To Action” type groups used this song as their anthem.
What a great song it was though. There’s no doubt that this song was and still is extremely inspirational. After Steve left the group Journey, he produced two songs from his solo career that became my ultimate favorites. The First Song is called “Oh Sherrie (1984),” and peaked at #3. I loved this song. Not only was the music great, I loved the way he sang it. I thought the way he emphasized the “N” sound, in the lyrics “You Should Have Been Gonnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeee” was absolutely hilarious! ? Since he partly written the song, I guess some of that was personal experience (as most songs where back in the day). The last ultimate favorite is called “Foolish Heart (1985).” I think this was a really nice rock ballad. It only reached #18 (which isn’t bad). I’ll tell you one thing, all those classic rock stations playing love songs from back in the day, usually this song would bound to popup at some point.
Song: You Sexy Thing
Artist: Hot Chocolate
Album: Hot Chocolate (1975)
Ok guys, I have to be honest. The only Hot Chocolate I liked actually came from Nestle! But when it came to the band, not so much. Unfortunately, despite having several hits under their belt, I have to put them in my “one hit wonder section.” Simply because for whatever reason, I wasn’t attracted to their music. I don’t know what it was. Their style, their voice, the equipment they’ve used? It just sounded like most of the music I’ve listened to them all sounded like cheap karaoke songs. I hate karaoke music, especially since most of us had to pay for our music back then.
Unfortunately, I Had To Place Them In My One Hit Wonder Section!
The only song throughout their entire career I felt was solid (in my opinion), and it also turned out to be their biggest hit of their career (numbers wise), was called “You Sexy Thing (1975).” The song shot up to #3 on the Top 100 Chart in 1976. This song played EVERYWHERE! And that included many commercials too. The only other song I somewhat had feelings for, was a 1973 cover they did from a band called Story. The song was called Brother Louie, from on their 1974 album called Cicero Park. I loved the Blaxploitation feel of the song. It’s a shame that it doesn’t appear anywhere on the charts. It was a decent reinterpretation. The group has changed a lot. Some have moved on, and others have died. Although the group is still performing to my understanding, they haven’t had a major hit since the late 70s.
Song: Beautiful And Dangerous
Artist: Desmond Dekkar
Genre: Sweetest Reggae
You know, I’m not trying to brag, or make myself better than any other classic music blogger. We all celebrate the classics in our own personal way. However, I just want to say what makes my blog special from 85% of blogs in cyberspace, is that it IS a music history blog! Not a collection of random YouTube videos grabbed by a query some lazy programmer written. There’s truly a difference between an automated “blog,” and a blogger that handwrites his or her articles, and shares his/her memories. I am literally telling you a story and sharing my childhood with my readers. I’m pretty sure that at least more than half of what I’ve written, no other popular blogger is writing about. Except for, those stupid and pointless “happy birthday” photo posts on Facebook. And even then they still don’t know shit, if they need to find birthdays.
The Late Desmond Is A Forgotten Reggae Legend Now!
Again, unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any sort of billboard information to share with you. All I can do is share some of the most popular music I remember growing up. Desmond had recorded a LOT of music, and all the so called “reggae fans,” doesn’t seem to have heard of Desmond. When in fact, I remember his song “007 (Shanty Town) (with The Aces)” to have been his most popular single of everything he’s done in 1967! Actually, another song that was just as popular I heard growing up is “Israelites,” released in 1968.
I Loved Desmond’s Cover Of “You Can Get It If You Really Want!”
I really loved his cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” c. 1970s. Both versions are wonderful really. In addition to a lot of political songs, he performed some love songs too. Although the lyrics to “Beautiful and Dangerous” are a little confusing to me, I still love how the background music was done. It remains to be one of my many favorites. I do recommend that you take the time to skim through some of his albums. I know most reggae fans will find something of his they’ll enjoy.
Song: Free Me From My Freedom
Artist: Bonnie Pointer
Soulful singer Bonnie Pointer is the sister of singing group, the Pointer Sisters. I started off my title with “What A Shame,” because quite frankly, it is. It’s a same because she has become one of many really, really talented forgotten American performers. Also, I say it’s a shame because of her battle with drugs and alcohol. It breaks my heart to see people who have the gift of singing, and their careers have literally been obliterated by drugs. But, it is also so common among extremely famous music artists of the 70s & 80s (mostly in my opinion (it seems)). From her public divorce, to her embarrassing mugshot after being caught for drug possession. Bonnie became a steamy hot plate of mess. The worst thing in the world is for a music artist to be on TMZ’s list, because a significant amount of music fan base reads and watches TMZ. You can read more about it from The Daily Mail.
In Essence, She Lost Her Career Through Drugs & Alcohol!
I’m not sure if a lot of people remember, but… Back in the day, we had a lot of what I think was called “Double Featured Albums,” such as the one I have below. Usually the music labels would release 12 inch version of 1 hit song from 2 different artists on the same album. Side A for one artist and side B for the other. Man, I played the hell out of “Free Me From My Freedom (1978).” This was my sh*t. This was a powerful, soulful and a fun disco love song, that in essence talks about telling her man to take her off the singles market. I love these kinds of love songs. I hate love songs where the lyrics sound like the singer is begging.
Now, I have to be honest, I hated “What You Gave Me (1978),” by Diana Ross. This should have been on Side TWO instead, but I knew the game. It was “Diana Ross,” ooooooo. Bonnie has such a soulful voice, I really think Motown should have picked another performer that complimented her (Sorry Diana Ross fans). Now, according to Wikipedia, “What You Gave Me,” was actually a cover of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, ’cause Wiki recorded the release date as being 1969. By the way, I liked Marvin & Tammi‘s version better. Way better.
After Bonnie Gone Solo, She Only Had 3 Major hits (Tho Not Number Ones)!
It was absolutely disappointing that Bonnie’s amazing song “Free Me From My Freedom,” only peaked at #58 on the Top 100, and only #26 on the Club Chart. Perhaps despite being a dance song, the rhythm wasn’t fast enough to appeal to more dance fans? Two other popular hits you should listen to. “Heaven Must Have Sent You (1979)” should be the first you listen to! This song was not only the most popular, but the biggest one of her career. It shot up to #11 on the Top 100. Wasn’t a Top 10, but it was close enough ?. Lastly, she made a cover of The Four Tops “I Can’t Help Myself (1980).” I have to say tho, this song had to grow on me. I wasn’t immediately turned on by the song, but I’ve come to like it over time.
Artist: Pat Benatar
Album: Crimes Of Passion (1980)
Genre: Alternative Rock
You know, technically, I don’t think Pat Benatar is a forgotten artists per-say. At least not from the standpoint of her music being obscure. However, I do think she’s a forgotten artist from the standpoint of her being a woman within the rock genre. Like rap, the 80s was really tough for female rockers, in a male dominated genre. She had (and still has) the voice for rock music, but unfortunately this very talented rock artist never had a number one, and as far as I know, never been inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. However, that didn’t stop her from obtaining 4 awesome Top 10 Hits! As I’ve said earlier, I’ve never had any particular interest in borderline hard rock. But, Mrs. Benatar was one of those rare acceptations.
Such Power In Her Voice, Yet She Never Had A #1 Song!
And one of the 4 Top Tens, happens to be today’s song pick. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” from her 1980s “Crimes Of Passions” album. This song peaked at #9, and in my opinion, is probably one of the most memorable songs of her career. To my understanding, this song was actually her first Top 10 Hit. The song was so popular, it was heard during many sports games and sports commercials. Another hit I loved was her song “Love Is A Battle Field (1989).” I thought the video was awesome too. While I mentioned her video, I want you to check it out. One of the dancers has a striking resemblance to Stephanie Mills. I’ll give you one more favorite. The song “We Belong (1985),” was a badass song back in the day. I used to listen to it all the time. This amazing song reached #5 on the Top 100 Chart.
Song: I Wanna Love You Forever
Artist: Jessica Simpson
Album: Sweet Kisses (1999)
Ok, I’ve really changed gears on my readers today! Do you guys remember Jessica Simpson? I’m gonna make an assumption that ruffly the middle aged group have heard of her, or played her music. Boy, talk about celebrity media drama! This girl’s life stayed in the news! I used to wonder which celebrity had the most personal stuff out on the news; Jessica or Britney Spears! Actually on some songs, they kind of sound a like. LOL However, make no mistake, Jessica is the one with the real golden voice.
Media Portrayed Jessica As A Space Cadet!
Whether the news was about her then estranged relationship with her now ex-husband Nick Lachey, or her children, you name it, it was out there to be judged and ridiculed by the media. One of the main awful things I remembered about the media at the time, was how they did their damnedest to portray Jessica as stupid, or a “dumb blonde” if you will. Granted, I never knew her personally, I’m just a blogger. However, any fan that followed her career can see she’s not just a vocalist, she’s also a fashion designer, author, and an actress!
In order to do any one of those things, you must have some level of brain capacity. And I’m learning from experience, writing a book is NOT easy. I believe her album “Sweet Kisses (1999),” was her first. From that album “I Wanna Love You Forever” shot up to #3 on the Top 100 Charts. I think she sang the shit out of this song! It remains my most favorite out of all her work. On that same album, she has a song called “I Think I’m In Love With You,” using sample music from John Cougar Melloncamp’s song “Jack & Diane.” I really liked this one as well, but it only reached #21. Still a good number tho! Say what you will about Jessica, you can not deny her vocal talents.
Song: You are In My System
Artist: The System
Album: Sweat (1983)
Ok guys… This is one of those situations where, I do not think this group is anywhere near extraordinarily talented. I’m not even sure if I think their music is average. Honestly, I think they’re the kind of group that you may hear cover for a sick performer, or perhaps open a show for someone more famous. Lead singer Mic Murphy & keyboardist David Frank, came together to form “The System.” They started their career in the early 80s. I believe the above was actually their first album I think.
They’ve Performed Off And On Throughout Their Career.
Although, I wasn’t particularly turned by their music, they did produce two of what became my only favorites by them. The first is a song called “You Are In My System,” released in 1983. I remember hearing this music a lot, just before dance movies started becoming popular, like “Beat Street (1984).” The song only reached #64 on the Top 100 Chart, but reached #10 under R&B singles. If I’m not mistaken, Robert Palmer did a cover of this song too. Would you believe Robert’s version reached #4 on the dance category? That was interesting to me, since I don’t think he really changed the music arrangements much. I guess it really boiled down to performance.
The second and last song they’ve mad that became my ultimate favorite, as a song called “Don’t Disturb This Groove.” It was released in 1987, and it was off of their tittle album “Don’t Disturb This Groove.” Now, oooooooo snaps!! This song was boss in my opinion! And I guess other people thought so too, because it shot up to #1 on the R&B category and #4 on the Top 100 Chart. Growing up I never had any of their albums, but I loved hearing it on the radio. You should check out the video too.
Artist: Ronnie Dyson
Ronnie sang what became one of my favorite childhood songs growing up ever!! You know, I perceived Ronnie to be very androgynous back in the day. When I first heard him sing my ultimate favorite, “(If You Let Me Make Love To You) Then Why Can’t I Touch You” as a child, for a very long time I thought he was a woman. Unfortunately, the face of my 45rpm record was damaged, and I had not learned his name yet. Even after years later when I finally saw his picture, I still was not sure, as there were many female artists that performed with male energy. I perceived him with a Nina Simone type energy. But, it didn’t matter to me because all I knew was, I loved this song!
For Quite Some Time I Mistakenly Thought Ronnie Was A Woman
I guess what drew my attention, was the slight caribbean background sound. The song reached #8 on the Pop Chart, and #9 on the R&B chart. Not sure where the song fell on the Top 100/200. I would imagine it would have been in the top #10 – #30 range. This was one of his most memorable hits in my opinion. Another popular hit of his was a song called “I Don’t Wanna Cry (1970).” Very nice fast paced and rhythmic beats. Honestly, I don’t remember hearing this song growing up, but I really love this as well.
There is one last hit that I do remember. I heard my late grandpa play this quite a few times too. The song is called “The More You Do It (The More I Like It Done To Me) (1976).” This song was the sh*t back in the day! But once again, Ronnie’s voice fooled me again. He had such vocal range that I thought it was a completely different person singing this. The high notes made me think it was actually Billy Paul or someone like that. The song reached #6 on the R&B Chart. Unfortunately, Ronnie passed away from heart failure at the age of only 40 years old, on November 10th, 1990.
Song: Love’s Train
Artist: Con Funk Shun
Wow!! Blast from the past, for your nerves!!! Are those memory cells burning up yet? I hope so, because I’ve got limitless classics to share with my readers! I can’t keep up. Well, it’s been a really long time since I’ve heard anything from Con Funk Shun. Do you remember them? Man I used to love how they used to harmonize together. It was as tho they were born as septuplets, singing together in harmony. Although the word “Funk” is in their name, they actually made different types of music, ranging from funk to disco.
Although Funk Is In Their Name, They Sang Different Types Of Music
However, there was one romantic song that became my absolute favorite! That song was “Love’s Train (1982).” Now, I’m a bit surprised to find out that the song hit only #47 on the R&B charts. It’s hard for me to believe that because the song was so popular growing up. I heard it on the radio all the time! But, like I said before, this goes to show you, the stations you listen to back in the day unfortunately made a bit of a difference.
Now, despite the song reaching only #47 (which technically isn’t a horrible number in my opinion, just not recognized as a top hit), in terms of streaming, this song earned the most plays of all their other songs. And that even includes across several of their greatest hits albums. Over 5+ million plays “Love’s Train” received ya’ll! The second most popular hit was this funk dance tune called “Ffun (1977).” I hate to call Con Funk Shun a one hit wonder group (although I guess technically they are when it comes to stats), but they did make some good music. I guess the other truth of the matter is that their music was also very typical of the 80s, and a lot of bands like them were producing the same funk sounds.
Song: I Love The Rainy Night
Artist: Eddie Rabbitt
Genre: Traditional Country
Well, I can say for sure, the majority of my young listening don’t have a single clue about who the late Eddie Rabbitt was. Those who did not listen to country music back in the 80s have no idea just how huge Eddie Rabbitt was. He was truly a talented hit maker! In fact, his music at times didn’t even sound like country, it sounded more like borderline pop music. I love to hear that kind of diversity in an artists music. Eddie has made quite a few popular favorites of mine. I haven’t listened to any of his music for a long time; and listening to it recently just reminded me just how fun it was to listen to his work.
My Absolute Favorite Was His Duet With Crystal Gayle!
I love his song “I Love The Rainy Night (1981),” because it’s a song for everyone, whether you’re young or old. Almost everyone can relate to it in someway. So much of country music consisted of artists singing about either a broken heart, or something they like to do on their farm or something. This song was in essence about enjoying life, and enjoying the moment. Everybody can relate to that! The song shot up to #1, and stayed there for 2 weeks.
Another deep favorite of mine, is the duet Eddie did with the legendary Crystal Gayle. A song called “You And I (1983).” I thought this was such a beautiful song. Crystal’s voice was definitely on point for this song. Man, all these great potential wedding songs, and growing up I had not heard anyone play them in my surroundings. What a shame. This song shot up to #7. Another great hit he had was called “Drivin’ My Life Away (1980).” This was a very catchy tune. This song hit #5 on the Top 100. I didn’t realize until today that Eddie passed away some time in 1998 of a failed liver. So sad to read that we’ve lost such a great talent.
Song: I Wish
Artist: Carl Thomas
Album: Emotional (2000)
? You know, it’s a bit ironic, and yet hilarious that 20 years ago, when I heard an old favorite from the 80s, I’d say OH WOW!!! That’s old!!! Now, in the year 2020, I find myself saying the exact same thing about a song from 2000 ?. It really makes me appreciate the many years of memories I had enjoying non-stop music culture. I think a relationship with music can be stronger than that of people (in general).
Carl Has An Amazingly Cool Voice
Carl has one of those amazingly smooth and sensual male voices we rarely hear. I mean, if I had a man like him and I was pissed off at him, if he sang to me like that I’d probably forget what I was mad about! Just joking ?! But, for real, he has a really relaxing voice that is perfect for romantic kinds of music. Not only his song “I Wish” was my favorite song, it was the biggest hit of his career. Although it only hit position #20 on the Top 100, it gained first position on the R&B category. And the Black community was playing his song all the time!
Unfortunately, my feeling is his first album “Emotional (2000),” was his only good album. At least when it comes to having the most hits on a single album. “Special Lady” is a good one, “Come To Me” is good, and “Emotional” are my favorites. I honestly don’t know what happened a After that. I just didn’t care for a lot of his music after his first album. Actually, let me change that statement. On his second album “Let’s Talk About It (2004),” he had a song called “She Is (feat. LL Cool J)” I really liked. Then on his third album “Conquer (2011),” he has a song called “Don’t Kiss Me.” That title alone made me want to listen to it. “Don’t Kiss Me” was the best song from that album, and didn’t get the traction it deserved in my opinion. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me being finicky with my music listening. It doesn’t look like he has recorded an album for quite some time, but to my understanding he still performs.
Artist: Percy Faith
Genre: Movie Scores
Ok, ok, I know this post will most likely put a lot of my young readers to sleep. ? However, the whole point of building this blog is to share with you all kinds of music history, and not just one type. Remember I love all kinds of music. One thing for sure, my eclectic tastes will surely have my readers discovering all kinds of interesting & historic music!
Percy Faith Was One Of The Most Prolific Composers Of His Time!
When it comes to instrumental music, there are very few composers that I literally fall head over heels for. The late Percy Faith was one of those few. Percy was like a significant step up from composers like Lawrence Welk back then. I’m not sure if I can really explain what made Percy unique other than, I guess his music had more personality in comparison to other well known composers at the time. In fact, a lot of his work crossed over into popular music categories.
Percy has made outstanding movie scores, as well as a ton of instrumental cover versions of many well known songs. But I think my ultimate favorite is “A Summer’s Place.” I believe this was a cover to Andy Williams’s original “A Summer’s Place” in 1962 (if I’m correct). Although I like Andy Williams music too, but, in this case, I do prefer Percy’s instrumental version. You can just imagine yourself being in a fancy ballroom listening to this piece.
He Was An Eccentric Composer!
Percy was also very eccentric. Music has changed so much across the board, and I really can’t think of anyone right now I could compare him to. All I can say in my opinion, he was a musical genius. I’m sure once being both a bandleader, and leading a full-on orchestra gave him the experience to try things we wouldn’t normally hear from the average composer. Checkout more of his covers made instrumental, maybe you’ve heard of some of them in a movie. Some of my favorites are “Romeo & Juliet,” “I Will Follow You,” “Tara’s Theme (which you may remember from the movie “Gone With The Wind),” “Sierra Madre,” “La Vie En Rose,” “Oye Como Va,” and lastly “Never On A Sunday.”