I wonder how many of my readers remembers this group? Or do you at least remember the song? As far as the hood is concerned, the song OPP, was almost like an anthem growing up. By the way, for those of you who don’t know what OPP stands for; it means Other People’s Property. Normally, I don’t like songs that degrade women, or songs that encourage degradation of others. But, this song has a REALLY catchy tune. Perhaps the other thing about the song was, the group sampled one of little Michael Jackson’s most popular songs, which put a familiarity to what we were hearing. I don’t know.. When I heard this song, I felt kind of like I had no other choice but to bop my head up and down, simply because I immediately connected with the song. I connected with the beat, and growin’ up in the hood myself, I connected with the lyrics, because it was literally the mindset and culture back then. Still is actually, the only thing is, I’m not sure people are rappin’ or singin’ about it as much as they used to.
This song truly represented our 90s culture
I’m not gonna lie, I was NEVER attracted to thuggish dudes. But, there was something about Treach that made him very attractive when he got older. By the way, I’m not necessarily talking about his beautiful hard body. I guess, you know how people learn a lot about life, and they finally “grow up,” they eventually start to look attractive. I believe our life lessons and life experiences can actually change the way we look; very much in the same way how drugs accelerate the body’s aging process 30 fold. Now, keep in mind, I don’t know anything really about the group, so I could be totally wrong. Anywayz……. Another song I liked by Naughty By Nature, was a song that got really popular as well. That song was “Hip Hop Hooray,” which was released in 1993. This too had an incredibly catchy tune, and it got stuck in my head for a very long time!
Album: Playlist: 37 Awesome Reggae Covers (2021)
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.
Song: Be Thankful For What You Got
Artist: William DeVaughn
Album: Be Thankful For What You’ve Got (1974)
Wow…. I wonder how many people remember this guy? When I was growing up, he had a massive unforgettable hit that invaded Black communities everywhere! I doubt anyone under the age of 40 has any knowledge of who he is (unless their parents were cultured enough to play music like his). William DeVaughn, now 73, is an R&B/Soul singer with a 50+ career in music. However, as far as my memory goes (and what I see in my research) he only had one hit within that fifty year time span. What an eerie and strange coincidence, that his one and only hit song was called “Be Thankful For What You Got,” as if to say the song itself is what he should be thankful for. ?
His Curtis Mayfield Like Grooves!
It is very clear that Curtis Mayfield had an influence. I’m not sure if that means he literally had a hand in it, or the song was inspired by Curtis’s music. What’s interesting is that he worked in government at the time, and paid almost $1,000 dollars for studio time to record the album. Various members of MFSB helped with background music. I think this is interesting because rarely have I heard about someone working in government, turned hit musician. I guess he also had connections on some level as well. Usually stories like these are told about celebs who were waiters, fast food workers, etc.
“Be Thankful For What You Got,” climbed to #4 on the Top 100 Charts, and #1 on the R&B Chart, as well as selling over a million copies. According to what I’ve read, Williams had another hit called “Blood Is Thicker Than Water (1974),” from the same album. The song reached #10 on the R&B Charts. I don’t remember ever hearing this song before, but as I listen to the song on YouTube, it sounds too similar to “Be Thankful For What You Got.” I really hate it when record companies used to force artists to literally recreate replicas of various songs. Not only does it actually cause the artist music to become boring after awhile, it becomes harder for fans to find their music, because we couldn’t figure which album to buy.
Song: Dance With Me
Artist: Earl Klugh
Album: Finger Paintings (1977)
Genre: Instrumental/Easy Listening
Wow… Not only do I think today’s artist was incredibly handsome (and still is), he is incredibly talented! Yet he is so very underrated. Very sadly underrated. He has done a beautiful job of covering some of my most favorite classic songs, reinterpreting them in such a way that his music forces you to just relax and enjoy! There aren’t many artists that has that kind of power today. His style is definitely uniquely his own. If I had to describe his music, I would have to say it’s like modern day Black folk music. But, despite the fact of how wonderfully talented he is, his albums ranked very low on the billboards. On average, most of his albums are below #100 position on the charts.
Today, I Consider Klugh To Be An Unexplored Gem!
I guess the reality is, he’s a jazz musician; and like it or not, jazz is a world onto itself. Billboard’s rating calculations do not reflect the true talents of a jazz artist. Reason being, they’re not mainstream, as in a comparison to a pop artist. As far as I can tell, the only instrumental piece of work he’s done that was received very well by music fans, was today’s pick called “Dance With Me.” “Dance With Me” is actually a song he covered by the band “Orleans.” When I heard Klugh’s reinterpretation, I kept playing it over and over again. It was so soothing and wonderful to listen to. He’s one of those few artist that at times actually appear to make his guitar “sing.” Almost as tho his guitar had vocal cords. I guess this is the difference between an artists that plays because he needs money, and an artist that feels the music as he plays. Big difference.
He’s One Of The Few Artists That Can Make His Instrument Sing!
Another great instrumental piece I love from Klugh happens to be on the same album. It’s called “Dr. Macumba,” which has a relaxing mixtur I e of African and Brazilian energy to it. Another amazing cover he did recently came from his 2013 album called “HandPicked,” which got absolutely no attention, was from the legendary Eagle’s massive hit “Hotel California (duet with Jake Shimabukuro).” If you haven’t heard already, I really think jazz lovers will really love “Wishful Thinking (2005),” from his “Lovers Only” album. If I understand correctly, this piece actually hit 1# on the Jazz Chart. Last one, check out his piece called “Living Inside Your Love (2005),” from his album “Living Inside Your Love.”
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.
Song: Try Jah Love
Artist: Third World
Album: You’ve Got The Power (1982)
I can’t even attempt to find the words to explain how much of an impact this album has made around the world. How many Americans even remember the group Third World? You’ll probably think long and hard for a good half our thinking about their name, until you hear this song! This song is so unique, I still have trouble figuring out an appropriate category. You know it’s has a Caribbean element to it, yet some times it sounds more like American club music. Some might even dare to say it borderlines disco. Maybe this is one of the many complex mysteries of what makes this song not only so awesome, but attract so many people of all walks of life!
This Awesome Song Was Co-Written With Stevie Wonder!
Kind of by accident, I found out that the song was co-written along with Stevie Wonder. Stevie was inspired to write this song shortly after the heartbreaking death of the late Bob Marley. The song became an instant hit. Without knowing any stats, there is no doubt in my mind this turned out to be the biggest global hit of Third World’s career! It truly put them on the map. Probably, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it made them the most famous in America, in terms of reggae bands are concerned (next to the Wailers, and even then, most American people remember Bob Marley, and never think about the band playin’ in the background). Now, unfortunately, I think Billboard is tryin’ to charge $10 a month for Billboard Chart info (not gonna happen with me). So, as far as Wikipedia is concerned, “Try Jah Love,” supposedly reached #42 in the UK and #101 on the Top 100 Chart. That sounds wrong to me, I remembered that this song was just too popular in the Black community for those numbers to be right. Black clubs played this all the time, I heard this song throughout the streets of NYC. Those numbers can’t be right.
Again, I don’t mean to hop on this all the time, but it’s true. I’ve heard very few professional reggae performers or bands, were able to fuse their reggae culture with other styles of music and come out successful like this. If never before, this song certainly immortalized them, don’t you think? It’s a shame Spotify doesn’t have this original album, it has some good stuff in it!! If this album doesn’t spark any one of your memory cells, perhaps you’ll remember them for another hit about 4 years before called “Now That We’ve Found Love (1978).” Man…………….. If you don’t at least move your hips to either one of these songs, you’re just a deadbeat dancer. Straight up deadbeat. ?
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: 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: Ohh Baby, Baby
Album: Uptown Festival (1977)
Wow! This goes to show you just how much good classic music exists. I have been a long time fan of Shalamar, and I don’t recall ever hearing their cover of Smokey Robinson’s “Ooo Baby, Baby,” c 1965. What was an even bigger shame was that, according to one source I’ve read, the song actually reached #1 in the US. Not sure what chart that was on, but I’m banking on the fact that it had to have been at least the R&B category. Unfortunately, sometimes categories could make a difference as to where you hear certain songs on the radio.
This Was An Awesome Cover Song That Slipped passed My Ears!!
Not knowing the specifics of the song, I’ve read enough material to get a sense that the album “Uptown Festival” did very well back in the day. But honestly, out of all of the tracks I’ve heard on this album, “Ohh Baby, Baby” was the best one. I would have played the hell out of this song. It was a nice surprise finding this, cause honestly I wouldn’t have looked for it. However, the other thing was, Shalamar has changed so much other the years. They’ve swapped/replaced so many members, it became a choice of what version of Shalamar you liked best. That sometimes became a headache when looking for their music too. Even with music streaming, as results given are usually only the popular searches.
Song: Dance With Me
Album: Let There Be Music (1975)
Genre: Soft Rock
I can’t remember if I already blogged about this group on my old blog. I guess it doesn’t really matter, there will always be content someone hasn’t seen yet ?. Well, today’s group is a group called “Orleans.” They’ve been around for a really, really long time. In fact, they’ve been performing since about the early 1970s. This is the kind of light rock I’m attracted to. Actually, I guess technically you can make an argument that today’s song leans more towards country. I wouldn’t disagree.
I Love How Well They Harmonize!
Their hit “Dance With Me,” reached #6 in the US, and #5 in Canada. The song eventually hit certified gold! This remains my most favorite song throughout their entire discography. They harmonized so well together, making it one of the most romantic songs by a group (of this genre) (in my opinion). Another major hit I loved from Orleans was their song called “Still The One (1976).” I considered this song to be another masterpiece.
“Still The One” reached #5 in the US and #9 in Canada, and also grabbed gold certification! They just don’t make good music like this anymore, and neither are they playing them anymore. Unfortunately, the two above songs were their greatest accomplishments musically. However, they did have a song called “Love Takes Time (1977)” that reached #11, but I didn’t like it at all. It borderlines the kind of rock I normally don’t listen to. I don’t think the group has made any new material for a while. Most of what I’ve seen were republished songs. It’s a shame they only had 3 major hits, they’re actually a very talented group in my opinion.
Song: Something About You
Artist: Level 42
Album: Level Best (1989)
Genre: Pop Music
Hi guys!! Do you guys remember Level 42? These guys had a couple of hits, however, as far as I’m concerned, they’re a one hit wonder (both in terms of American Billboard & as far as my personal taste goes). Level 42 is an English group from the UK. From my understanding they’re pretty popular in the UK. I wasn’t really in to their music tho. Unfortunately, when it comes to music from the UK, I can be extremely picky. Very few (relatively speaking) artists from the UK I can think of where I liked a LOT of their music.
They Were A One Hit Wonder, As Far As I Was Concerned!
I think their song “Something About You,” was one of the best UK crossovers that helped to close the end of another music decade. In 1986, the song peaked at #7 on the Top 100 Chart, and has became one of their most memorable songs. Now, there were a few other songs that made it on the billboard, however, from my understanding, they ranked better in the UK.
One example that did better in the UK, was their song called “Lesson In Love (1987).” The song peaked at #3 in the UK, however, it’s highest reach in the US was #12 on the Top 100. I was actually quite surprised how popular this song was in the states, I really never cared for this at all. Although technically their music is pop, at the same time, a lot of pop music from the UK sounds almost like a genre of it’s own. Listening to many groups from (then) the United Kingdom, were almost like listen to an eighties soundtrack similar to “Flashdance” type movies. ? By the way, please checkout this acoustic version of “Something About You,” it’s really really nice! I like that one.
Song: Against The Wind
Artist: Bob Seger
Album: Against The Wind (1980)
Genre: Easy Listening
What? What? Don’t look shocked! I told you I was into all kinds of music! I meant that when I said it the first time! ? LOL I’m not exactly sure when I discovered Bob Seger, but, I had absolutely no idea just how many of his songs made the Billboard Charts until I started looking. In terms of categories, I’m not quite sure where to place Seger. Almost all his albums fluctuates between country and rock. Actually, that’s probably why I wasn’t aware of his other hits, I never really listened to rock stations. If I did, it was usually stations that would be considered really really light/soft rock. However, for today’s song, it is easy listening.
Bob Had Way More Hits Than I Realized!
Seger’s song “Against The Wind,” has got to be my ultimate favorite from him. I love those smooth and relaxing country type songs. If you were looking for music that allowed you to concentrate on something without distracting you? Say, building something, or perhaps giving your dog a bath or something like that, this would be the perfect song to add to your playlist in my opinion. Lyrics are sad, but it’s still a great song. The song reached #5 on the Top 100 Charts.
Some of his songs completely went over my head. “Shakedown (1987),” was on the Beverly Hills soundtrack, starring Eddie Murphy. It hit #1 on the Top 100. I remembered just about every song on that soundtrack, but couldn’t remember Seger’s song for the life of me. However, then again, this song wouldn’t be the type of rock music I normally would listen to, so I most likely blocked it from my head I guess. But, I do remember “Old Time Rock & Roll (1979),” which hit #28, yeah, that was a cute rock song.
Two More Favorites Of Mine
I’d like you guys to check out two more favorites of mine. You may remember this one, it was fairly popular called “Night Moves (1977).” It reached #4 on the Top 100. Lastly check out “Shame On The Moon (1983).” now, this one hit #2 on the Top 100. “Shame On The Moon,” is a really nice song in my opinion. For some odd reason, it reminds me of an old Sam Cooke song, but I can’t recall it right now. You should research some of Seger’s music, you may find some you’d consider classic gems.
Song: Soul Makossa
Artist: Manu Dibango
Album: Soul Makossa (1972)
Genre: African Jazz
If you are lucky enough to own this album, you own a part of Africa’s forgotten history. This is my favorite album of all times from Manu Dibango! And in my opinion, this is his greatest master piece! You will play from beginning to end! Depending on where you go, there appears to be digital variations of this album. This may or may not be because the album was released in many parts of the world, including Japan, Brazil, and France. And from what I observed in situations like this, quite often I’ve noticed slight edits to original music for different countries. If you cannot open your heart to this kind of music, you can’t call yourself cultural, or even diverse.
Americans never heard of Manu before, much less his music. But that all changed in 1972 when he released “Soul Makossa,” from his 1972 album called (you’ve guessed it) “Soul Makossa.” This song (well mostly instrumental) was a huge international hit! Although it reached only #35 on the Top 100 Charts (I still consider that a huge accomplishment, since most Americans were not listening to this kind of music (let’s be real about that)), it hit #11 on the American R&B Charts. Just imagine how huge that was! This incredibly talented, badass saxophonist from Cameroon, located in Central Africa, managed to rattle many music cultures around the world with his brilliance! While at the same time, forcing people to listen to music they would have never listened to otherwise. That’s deep.
However, today’s featured album is called “Gone Clear (1980),” which has a piece called “Reggae Makossa,” which is a remix of his original afro-beat hit “Soul Makossa.” It’s just a more smoother dance groove. In my opinion, this album is worth searching for, especially if you’re in my age group from the Island. I know you’ll enjoy it. Spotify doesn’t have the original album, but they do have the original songs scattered through out his other albums. My very top favorites from this album are “Doctor Bird,” “Goro City,” and “Full Up.” Manu is now about 85 years young, and much to my surprise, he is still performing! That is a man that loves music. Very few people are this dedicated. Off the top of my head, I can only count on one hand artist with that level of dedication. Celia Cruz, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Orbison, and Tito Puente, all of those people practically performed until their last breath.
Song: Till You Come Back 2 Me
Artist: Jeffery Osborne
Album: From The Soul (2005)
Genre: Contemporary Jazz
I don’t know how the hell I missed this. On my old blog, I talked about how so underrated Jeffery Osborne is. I know he’s had a lot of hits, but still it just doesn’t seem people appreciate his music like they would someone like Peabo Bryson. But… I guess that’s just me. But, anyway… I came across an Aretha Franklin cover he did, and I don’t recall ever hearing it before! It’s her old cult classic “Till U Come Back 2 Me.” Now, I don’t remember if I shared with you guys how finicky I can be when it comes to male artist covering a song that’s been originally recorded by women. But when I heard Osborne’s cover I was so impressed! I must have listened to it at least about 6x consecutively before I moved on to the next song. He sang it at just the right tempo, with just the right octave level. When it comes to songs like these, I feel that a man choosing the right octave level is important, because you can easily run the risk of sounding like you’re straining your voice just to keep up with the original vocal arrangement. Please guys… Listen to it, I think you’ll enjoy it.
Song: MacArthur’s Park
Artist: The Four Tops
Album: Four Tops Now (1969)
You know what? I totally forgot about this song. The song “MacArthur’s Park” was written by Jimmy Web, and first recorded by Richard Harris in 1968. Man, talk about dozens and dozens of redoes! This song was covered so many times by so many people, It’s not even funny. But, I have to say, Sammy Davis Jr., version of the song is boring as fuck!! And you know I’m open to all kinds of music. This song is not for everybody. You’ll probably more likely to like the original if you like classical music. Honestly, I think my ultimate version of this song, was when the late disco queen Donna Summer turned this in to a disco cult classic! Loved the 12 inch, on her “Live And More album.”
However, did you know that the legendary Four Tops recorded this song in 1969? The song peaked at #38 on the Top 100 Chart. I was only 2 years old then. I can’t say that I love it as much as I do Donna Summer’s version, but I really enjoyed it a lot. When you listen to how it was originally sung by Richard Harris, and the way song was was structured, almost immediately I said in my mind, this kind of music was out of their league! But, The Four Tops actually did a wonderful job. Not only was the song soulful, they managed to preserve the original essence of the song. Check it out when you get a chance. You may like it. By the way, it wasn’t until I was about 18 or 19 did I learn that the song was actually about snorting cocaine! ? But, I bet you’re going to listen to it closer now, aren’t you?!?!?
Song: The Air That I Breath
Artist: Simply Red
Album: Blue [Expanded] (1998)
Genre: Slow Pop
I absolutely love me some Simply Red. In my opinion, this is a really talented group, and lead singer Mick Hucknull is a true blue “blue eyed soulster.” I mean, based on his look, when you see Mick, you’d never think such power and feeling would come out of his mouth. I’ve always been a huge fan ever since they came out with “Holding Back The Years (1986),” and “Money$ Too Tight (To Mention) (1986).” The first time I discovered them was when I was watching MTV late one night. At that time, I was hypnotized because I just never heard any other White guy sing like that (other than Tom Jones, but his music was totally different). “The Air That I Breath” is a 1974 cover song from a group called the “Hollies.” I feel that Mick has done such a wonderful job, I didn’t even realize it was him, because it sounded just like I was listening to a remix of the Hollies and their song. Check it out.
Song: Close To You
Artist: Maxi Priest
Album: Bonafide (1990)
This is one reggae artist that should not be forgotten. Maxi Priest is so underrated in my opinion. He is a great singer and a phenomenal songwriter. His rise to fame came when he released his massive hit “Close To You” in 1990. The song hit #1 and stayed number one for a week. It’s important to remember reggae artists like him, because he’s one of the few reggae artists that hit number one (at least once) on the American charts. This means their music appeals to a wider audience. In the 90s, Americans played a LOT of Jamaican music, but I can count on one hand artists that registered anywhere on the American Billboard charts. I encourage you to seek out some of his older music. Another well known hit he produced was called “Wild World,” from his album “The Best Of Me (1991),” featuring John Gallon. This was actually a cover of Cat Steven’s Wild World released in 1970. Maxi did a wonderful job reinterpreting this song!
Artist: Spandau Ballet
Album: True (1983)
Genre: Pop Ballads
Ok, ok. If you told me that you never heard this song before; I would have said you’re lying (unless you’re under the age of 25-30)! This song was such a massive hit in the 80’s. It was a love song of all love songs back then. No matter if you were young, old, Black, White, everyone was singing this tune. This English group named, Spandau Ballet, took this song to #1 not just in the United Kingdom, but #1 in America (Adult Contemporary), #1 in Ireland, and #1 in Canada! Other countries such as France & Germany, the song was in the Top 10 range. “True,” remains to be one of my most favorite romantic songs ever! The song practically immortalized this group forever. This was their only massive hit of their career. Of all their works after the “True” album, only one song, “Gold,” made its highest peak at #29 in 1984.Vices Reserve
Song: Perfect Match
Artist: Lauryn Hill
Album: A Perfect Match (2019)
Genre: Hip Hop
Wow guys!! Maybe I was totally oblivious, but I don’t think I’ve heard anything new (or major) from Lauryn, since her iconic 1998 album called “The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill (1998)!” Ever since that scandal broke out, about her stealing music for “The Miseducation” album, if you haven’t heard about it, you can read it in this Rolling Stones article, despite albums released after that, it kind of felt she was missing in action. I was hoping her daughter wasn’t gonna follow her footsteps, but so far, so good (I guess). “A Perfect Match” is released as a single. She doesn’t come hard like she did on her first album, but the essence of what she represented back in the day, still there. It’s a sweet romantic love song, and I think it really works for her voice. All the tones, tempos, and inflections we heard on her first and only iconic album is undoubtedly present in this song. Only difference is that it’s more laid back.Battery Heated Jackets, Hoodies, and Gloves
Song: Love Overboard
Artist: Gladys Knight & The Pips
Album: All Our Love (1987)
Genre: Pop Music
I think the last generation took for granted just how many hits Gladys Knight & The Pips actually had (beyond their “Imagination (1973)” album) back in the day. Fans immediately zero in on their iconic songs like “Midnight Train To Georgia,” and “If I Were Your Woman.” However, “Love Overboard” was the sh*t too back in the day. The song peaked at #13 on the Top 100 charts. This was the perfect dance love song. At the time, this song was huge, because it was their first top 40 hit in quite a few years.
Song: An Awesome Playlist!
Album: Most Popular Hits Of 1970! (1970)
Hey guys, it’s been a while since I’ve made a playlist. As always, I think I have a really good hand picked playlist for ya. Today’s playlist consist of 20 of the most popular songs of 1970! From soul, to original R&B, to Rock. A little bit of everything to fit most people’s taste. The first song in my playlist is from the legendary Freeda Payne, called “Band Of Gold (1970).” I remember every family member, and friends of family playing this song. I loved the beat and melody song so much, I was upset that the song was so short. Another favorite that was somewhat popular in the Black community was a song from The who called “American Woman.” Those of my listeners who are old enough to remember Tom Jones at his prime, I have “Without Love” on this playlist. I always used to say that Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck had very similar voices & vocal textures. However, “Without Love” is the one song that separates Tom from Engelbert. Tom really projected his voice and sang his ass off! Tom could have easily been a Broadway performer. The song was another favorite that my grandpops and I loved to listen to. I also have “Turn Back The Hands Of Time by Tyrone Davis!” This was a huge hit back in the day. Check out more songs on my new 70s playlist.