Song: Star Search
Album: CBS Productions (1983-2003)
Genre: TV Show
Hi guys!!! Today, I thought it would be fun to write a little ’bout a forgotten talent show called “Star Search.” To be honest, I forgot what channel I used to watch it on, but, it had to have been either channel 5 or 7 in NYC. This show was on way longer than I realized. I remember watching it in the early 80s, however, the show lasted until about 2003. Star Search was a show similar to the Apollo; the only difference was that Star Search’s format was a lot more formal, and appeared to be more structured. The show was hosted by a number of people throughout the seasons, including Arsenio Hall (believe it or not). But the host I remembered the most was the late Ed McMahon. Mr. McMahon literally became a house hold name back then; in fact, I dare to say his popularity could be compared to the legendary sports announcer, the late Howard Cosell. They both had very distinctive voices. You knew immediately who they were the second you heard their voices. In fact, Ed McMahon was so popular, he often appeared on the late Johnny Carson Show just to hangout.
Truthfully, I Only Remembered Two Performers On The Show That Became Mega Famous!
To be honest, despite the fact that I did enjoy the show most of the time, I was an occasional watcher. Thinking back, I hadn’t realized just how many people Star Search has made famous! One guy that stuck in my head was a guy named Sam Harris. No disrespect, but…… If the late Patrick Swayze was gay, I think he’d look something like Sam Harris 🤣 💯! Come on, you know it’s true! LOLOL.. The audience appeared to have fallen completely in love with Harris. The song that put him on the map, was his rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” You know, it’s funny, back then I thought he tore the shit out of this song. Now, 30+ years later, I think he put a lot of stress on his vocal chords. Then again, Star Search was the first of it’s kind, and perhaps that was what it meant for contestants to “give it their all.”
Some Of The Biggest Celebrities That Started Off On Star Search Didn’t Perform All That Well!
One of my all-time favorite contestant of the show was a woman named Linda Eder. She left such a huge impression on me. Listen to Linda sing her rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream.” My jaw completely dropped to the floor when I heard her sing on the show for the first time. This was one woman I wish I could have saw perform live. Linda performs mostly Broadway tunes, and music standards. If you’re into this kind of thing, I definitely recommend you check her albums out. Sam Harris and Linda Eder are the only two performers that were prominent in my memory. However, below is a list of just a few contestants that became big names in their profession.
Beyonce, performed with a group called “Girls Tyme.”
Artist: Three Dog Night
Genre: Soft Rock
Unless your preferred music listening has always been rock, you most likely forgot about this group, or never heard of them at all. I don’t think they’re necessarily an obscured band, but I definitely think so among general music fans (especially 30 and younger). When I look at their streaming numbers, relatively speaking they’re not really that high. However, this doesn’t mean they didn’t do great music in the rock genre. To be honest, I hadn’t listened to their music for a really longtime. There are so much great classic music that exist, neglect of our old favorite classics is just bound to happen. It wasn’t until I started lookin’, that I actually realized how many songs they’ve done that turned out to be some of my favorites.
If There Is A Such Thing As Quality Rock Music
You know, I still don’t consider myself a “rock expert.” However, I’ve always said to myself, if there is a such thing as “quality rock music,” I think Three Dog Night’s name would be on that list. They’re one of the very few rock bands that create real love songs that actually borderline between soft and hard rock. I can’t think of too many bands that make these kinds of music. Surprisingly, one of my most favorite songs by them was one of the least played on music streaming. “An Old Fashioned Love Song,” for some reason was one of my favorites. Thinking back, the song sort of reminded me of one of those early eighties travel commercials. You know, one of those vacation resorts 😜. However, their biggest hit of their career was actually a song called “Joy To The World.” You know, I still couldn’t figure out the meaning of this song. I think what threw me off was the title. It automatically sends a message that this is a xtian song, but it’s not. Perhaps the lyrics in the song were cryptic. Then again, maybe it was just one of those quicky songs where random sentences were put together. We had a lot of those in the 70s & 80s. America’s “Horse With No Name,” was another annoying song I couldn’t figure out. WTF?? Anywayz…… Although I can’t figure out what the hell the song meant, it had an awesome tune that made it popular.
Joy To The World – The Lyrics Didn’t Make Sense To Me!
Throughout the band’s existence, they’ve gone through a heavy turnaround rate. It’s amazing how many members they’ve gone through, and yet they still managed to pump out hits. Today, the band is unrecognizable. If it were not for their brand name, and the consistency in their music, I wonder if they’d still have that faithful fan base? Checkout some of their other awesome hits. Such as, “Mama Told Me (Not To Come),” “One” (I always mistaken “One,” for a Beatles song), and “Black and White.” Lastly, I want you guys to check out a cover that was first made popular by Otis Redding. It’s called “Try A Little Tenderness.” Wow!! They sounded amazing! In my opinion, they tore this song up! I really appreciated that they kept Otis’s spirit in the song. Very nicely done for all you old Otis fans out there!
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.
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.”
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!
Song: Fast Car
Artist: Tracy Chapman
Album: Tracy Chapman (1988)
Genre: Modern Folk
I’m pretty sure that anyone under 20 years of age has never heard of Tracy Chapman. As far as I’m concerned, I most definitely consider her a classic music legend. I also consider a huge legend of the LGBT community as well. For someone of the LGBT community to receive such a positive and accepting response globally was and is still very rare. Only a handful of LGBT icons have reached mainstream level. Perhaps the most widely known are Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, K.D. Lang, and Boy George. They’ve all made music that is literally timeless! We can listen to this kind of music in any point and time, and never feel their music sounds “dated.” Artists today just don’t have that kind of skill anymore. This is what happens when your career is purely driven by money, and not by the art of music.
I Always Thought She Was A Handsome Young Man! LOL
I was about 21 years old when her album called “Tracy Chapman (1988)” came out. I think I heard her smash hit on the radio “Fast Car,” then I went around begging my friends to tell me who that person was singing on the radio. Back then, cassettes was still the preferred way to consume music. When I first saw her picture on cassette, I said to myself “wow, that’s a cute guy.” Now, keep in mind, guys still had “Tracy” as a first-name, and sometimes both guys and girls would spell it the same way. So I still had no idea he was actually a she at first. LOL I really didn’t care to be honest, I was just digging her music. “Fast Car,” reached #6 on the billboard charts. Pretty impressive for a new LGBT artist on the scene at the time.
It’s Unfortunate That Her Peak Success Only Lasted Her Second Album!
Although only one song from this album was a hit, the entire album is quite good! I consider her music a “modern folk” type music. I haven’t enjoyed good folk music like that since Jim Croce. The entire album is relaxing, and it is playable from beginning to end. This is one of those “coming to age,” type albums. Come to think of it, that kind of music was very common for the 80s. You should check out “Across The Lines,” and “Baby Can I Hold You,” are two of my favorite songs from the album. Her next huge hit would be a song called “Give Me One Reason,” from her “New Beginning (1995)” album. The song shot up to #3 on the Top 100.