Today, I was grooving to some sounds of the late Dennis Brown. It’s been 19 years since Dennis’s death. Sometimes I still can’t rap my head as to how long it’s been. One of my very favorites from Dennis is a song he sang called “Money In My Pocket,” released in 1979 I believe. If I understand correctly, this was his first major hit that help to launch his career. The song reached #14 in the UK reggae charts. However, the song was first produced by Winston “Niney” Holness some time in 1972, and it was actually intended for another artist named Joe Gibbs. Gibbs version of “Money In My Pocket,” is an instrumental dub, which I also like very much. There are a few different versions of the song, but in my personal opinion, these two are the best out of all of them.
Another great classic that is not only one of my biggest favorites, it was the biggest hit of 1987. Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes came together to sing the theme song to the hit movie called “Dirty Dancing (1987),” starring the late Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. The song is called “I Had The Time Of My life.” You know to be honest, I don’t remember a whole lot about the movie; but I do remember Swayze’s serious dance movies. I’ve always been a Swayze fan, but I didn’t know he was such a talented dancer until I saw this movie.
I dare to say that the theme song was so huge, that sometimes I think that it was more popular than the movie. The song hit #1 and it stayed @ number 1 for a whopping 4 weeks! Zoinks!! Bill and Jennifer really had luck on their side, to be at the right place, time, and the right song. And let me tell you, I’ve heard a lot of Bill’s songs back in the day, and none of his songs appealed to me except for “I Had The Time Of My Life.” At least I can say that Jennifer had a couple other hits under her belt. My favorite song she released was in 1977 called “Right Time Of The Night,” which reached #6 on the Top 100 Chart.
YES!!!!!!! I went there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Weird Al Yankovic is one of the many artists I missed from the eighties era. Again, for those readers who did not live through the eighties, it was the best era in terms of music that was plain fun (before what it has become now, tits , ass, drama, and celebrity laundry aired on television…. But, I digress). Weird Al is a musical comedian who basically did a lot of spoofs on other artists work, in a non-degrading way. They were fun to listen to, his videos were fun to watch, and very tastefully done. Al has redone a few of Michael Jackson’s music, and one of my favorites is a song called “Eat It,” released in 1984. It was a re-interpretation of Micheal’s “Beat It.” Al’s version is just way too funny, and even funnier when you watch the video. Some of the lyrics remind me a lot of what my mom used to say “boy, you better eat the food I gave you.” Or “boy, people are starving in Africa.” Just having those memories and watching the video, cracked me up.
Another Michael spoof He’s done, was a song called “Fat,” which was an hilarious re-interpretation of Michael’s song called “Bad.” Al was obsessed with making food the subject matter for most of his music, however, most of it were mad funny. Please watch Weird Al’s “Fat” on YouTube, this shit is just too funny; and the dances are even funnier. I don’t think there was any other performer like Al in the 80s, he was definitely an eccentric performer. Check out some of his other classics such as, “Like A Surgeon,” “Amish Paradise,” and “White & Nerdy.”
One of my favorite songs from some of hip hop’s biggest groups back in the day; from Run DMC was “King Of Rock.” It was on side B, of their hit single “Walk This Way,” a duet with famous rock group Aerosmith. If I am not mistaken, Run DMC was the first mainstream rap group to experiment and incorporate rock in to their music. This experiment turned out to be a huge success. As far as I can recall, no other rap group has matched both the success of “Walk This Way,” and “king Of Rock.” The background music for “The King Of Rock” was perfect as far as helping to bring out the classic Run DMC persona we remember and loved.
“Real Love” was a great song produced in the 1980s, recorded by the Doobie Brothers, Michael McDonald was the lead singer. This was definitely a unique romantic song. I don’t know what the instrument is called, but it’s from the violin family I think; when I heard that sound, I said to myself what was that? I didn’t think it was a string instrument at first, it sounded almost synthesized. I never heard that sound before. but, the sound kind of made me want to listen to the song. I loved it ever since. It was perfect for Michael’s voice. The song reached #5 on the Hot 100 Billboard Charts, and stayed on the charts for about 16 weeks.
Another lost classic and movie. Cyndi Lauper released a very fun song called “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough,” in 1985. It’s an unusual song, with an almost 60’s hippie sound to it. It’s the theme song to the 80s movie “The Goonies,” directed by Richard Donner. It stars Sean Austin and Jeff Cohen. Although Cyndi’s song is fun and a little bit goofy (especially if you’ve seen the music video), the movie itself is actually a great adventure movie. Cyndi’s Goonies song peaked at #10 on the Top 100 Charts, and stayed relevant for about 15 weeks. Cyndi recorded the song while she was still at the height of her career.
I have to tell you, I was very disappointing to discover that Patti Drew’s version of “Hard To Handle,” released in 1968, only reached 93 on the Hot Billboard Charts. In my opinion, this was a badass song! How could people not like it. This was a soul sister that not only meant business when she sang the song, her vocals took this song to the next level. Who the hell knows why it wasn’t a hit? Another sad interesting fact, the late Otis Redding, Al Bell, & Allen Jones, all came together to write this awesome song. I think Otis recorded “Hard To Handle” first that same year, and the song only peaked at 51. Over 22 years later, it was reinterpreted again by a rock group called “The Black Crowes.” Not only did the song hit #1, it stayed number one for two weeks! WTF??
Now THIS!!! I haven’t heard in a really, really, really long time. This was one of my favorite songs from the Jacksons, and it is rare indeed. This is why I love streaming so much. Could you imagine if we didn’t have streaming on the net? Could you imagine just how time consuming, and financially straining it would be to find just one of your classics? Then again, you have to have people old enough to remember these, to make it available on the net. Anyway, this was a hard song to categorize, because technically, back in the day, we would have categorized it as disco. However, as we have evolved musically, I felt it was probably best to put it in R&B. The song is called “Show You The Way To Go,” and it was released in 1976. It’s a smooth/soft, romantic type of disco song, soft enough to be considered R&B.