CLASSICS: EASY LISTENING / SOFT MUSIC (SINGLES)
“Live To Tell” by Madonna was one of my favorite songs from the mid 80s. I felt the music composition was beautiful, yet very dramatic, and was perfectly suited for the lyrics being sung. You know, thinking back, Madonna has actually done an outstanding job throughout her career. I don’t think there has been anyone who has caused so much controversy, pissed as many people off than Madonna; yet the more people she offended with her musical art, the bigger she actually became. It was also interesting how she tried really hard to emulate Marylin Monroe. I used to think that Madonna used to flip to the “Marylin persona” when things got too raunchy (just to show the public she can be a lady when she wants too). It became clear just how much she admired Marylin, when she came out with the the music video to “Live To Tell.” There were many female artists who have tried to take on that “Marylin persona,” and that included even the late Anna Nicole Smith. My opinion is that Madonna has done it best, and I think it was just the era we were in when she done it. Also favorite on this same album is “Papa Don’t Preach.” Talking about pissing parents off. WOW!! Many parents in the 80s interpreted Madonna as encouraging young girls to have children. Given her track record for exploiting her sexuality, I can understand why… Every single 80s talk show must have talked about that song. LOL.. Listen to this old classic, or add it to your Spotify playlist.
Do any of my readers like “The Steve Miller Band?” Here is an oldie you can add to your playlists. “The Joker,” released in 1973. It’s one of those songs I call “travel tunes.” You know, those specific songs you like to listen to while driving/riding long distances. Steve Miller actually has a lot of hits I like spread-out through various albums. Another song I love from Steve Miller, is a song called “Abracadabra,” Released in 1982. Their music is so unique that I personally don’t think there is an appropriate genre for them, simply because their music is a mixture of so many styles. However, this is what makes their music so great. Check them out if you haven’t already.
I wanted to take a quick minute to talk about Millie Jackson. Not sure of when she started, but I’ve been listening to her music for a very very long time since the seventies. In my opinion, she had a very nice soulful voice! But later in her career something seemed to have happened to her voice when the 80s came along. She did not sound the same at all. Not sure if it was drugs, smoking, or illness that caused her voice to change. Personally, I think this was one of the reasons her performances/albums became so vulgar at the end of the 80s. In other words, because she couldn’t sing any longer, she used vulgar comedy to try and sell her records. On top of that, the music changed too. Unfortunately, her music was a dying art, like so many. You know, she kind of reminds me of Macy Gray. If Macy just stayed off those damn drugs, and stayed sober enough, who knows? She could have been a modern-day (old) Millie! Millie has made many hits during the 70s, and here is one of my many favorites I remembered growing up. It’s a song that talks about a subject I witnessed many of my elders go through. The song is called “Leftovers,” release in 1975. Listen to it here on Spotify Mobile, OR Spotify Web.
It’s been so long since I’ve heard any music from Boys II Men. Sometimes I think when celebrities hit rock bottom, is when they start making cameo appearances in commercials, and or creating “reality TV” shows. *Sigh.* Not sure if they’re still doing well or not, all I know is I haven’t heard any big hits in a long time, which saddens me because they’re incredibly talented. Don’t know if it’s my imagination, but it appears as though ever since Michael Sean McCary had left the group (due to health), the group lost it’s popularity. Anyway, one of the many songs I still love from them is a song called “Water Run Dry (1994).” Can’t believe this song is already over 20 years old. Yes, I know it’s a sad song, but at the same time it’s a beautiful song. It’s a song about acknowledging that there exist serious problems in a relationship, but their still enough love that exist to try and work it out. We just don’t hear these kind of love songs anymore. Listen on Spotify app, or click here to use Spotify’s web player.
How many of you remember “The Spinners?” They’ve made a ton of hits, but one of my favorites that I used to love to listen too, was a song called “I’ll Be Around (1973).” The song peaked at number 3, on November 18th, 1973. “I’ll Be Around” stayed on the charts for about 15 weeks. Another favorite is “One Of A Kind Love Affair,” which was also released in 1973. This particular album has most, if not all of their memorable hits. Click the link here to listen on Spotify for FREE. Simply sign in with your Facebook account 🙂 .
Ok guys! We have to take a moment to reflect on another forgotten group, The Delfonics. The Delfonics was a Philadelphian group, and had tons of hits spanning 1965 to about 1979. The group originally started with Randy Cain, William and Wilbert Hart, and Ritchie Daniels. Randy left the group and was replaced with Major Harris (Love Won’t Let Me Wait). In the early 70s Cain had a hand in putting together the Blue Magic. Today, to my understanding what’s left of the group is still performing on special occasions from time to time. Their last recording was sometime in 1990, and at that time, music has changed so much, it did not do well as their earlier albums.
Not too long ago, a badass song came on the radio. Wouldn’t you know it, it was from The Delfonics, and it was called “Ready Or Not, Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love).” I absolutely LOVE this song, it truly is badass, from the lyrics down to the musical composition. This particular song is a huge change from the typical “I’m begging you please, baby, baby” songs that plagued the radio in the 60s/70s. This song said, I’m not begging no one, I’m coming to get you, and you’ll be mine! This song was with purpose, instead of whining and hoping to get the girl. I almost forgot to mention that I liked how Lauren Hill added the bridge medley to one of the songs to the Fugees first album (I believe). Some of my other great favorites from this group are, “I’m Sorry,” “La La Means I Love You,” “Didn’t (I Blow Your Mind This Time),” and “Hey Love.” Listen to The Delfonics on Spotify.
Donny Hathaway was mostly a blues and jazz singer, as well as a pianist. He was born in 1945 and died around 1979-1980. He song with many artists, including the talented Jerry Butler & Aretha Franklin; he also worked with musical groups such as, the Impressions and the Staple Singers. He’s even worked with Curtis Mayfield on quite a few projects. If I understood correctly, during the height of his career, he began to develop sever depression, and later it was discovered that he had bouts with mental illness. Unfortunately, from what I’ve read, it sounded like no one really knew he suffered from mental illness until it was too late. He claimed that “White people were trying to steal his music.” The very same day he said this, he was found died from suicide. It’s interesting, I couldn’t help but to wonder if he heard something he wasn’t supposed to hear, and it triggered something? Let’s be real, there were a LOT of record labels stealing a lot of money from Black performers in that era (this is not only a fact, but common knowledge). Maybe he knew something big was about to go down then (concerning him), and he had no recourse? Who knows?
I have to be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Donny. I found a lot of his songs either too slow, or the lyrics were depressing (now I know way). The only song that I can remember I really liked him to sing was a song called “A Song For You.” But I like many of the duets he did with Roberta Flack. Now that I think about it, it’s quite hilarious, because I’ve complained before about how boring I thought Roberta Flack is (they’re music is actually kind of similar in a way), yet when they collaborated they’ve made great music!! Who would have ever thought that two boring artists, would come together to produce positive music! I sure didn’t LOLOL. Some of those songs I love were, “Where Is The Love,” “The Closer I Get To You,” I really liked how they reinterpreted “You’ve Got A Friend,” and “Back Together Again.” Lastly, I like a song they did called “You’re My Heaven.” Listen to the album here.
Unfortunately, Air Supply, like many other great bands from back in the day, fell in to the big hole of “forgotten greats.” The group “Air Supply” was huge in the 80’s; radio stations literally played their music at least 2 or 3 times in a two hour span at the peak of their career. Now, I doubt that any young person even knows who they were (unless they have family cultural enough to play their music). If I’m not mistaken, the band was formed in Australia in 1975/76, and became a huge success in America. Russell Hitchcock was (and still is) the signature voice of the band, and helped to produce some of their biggest love hits to date. In my opinion, probably their most biggest and memorable song is “All Out Of Love (1980),” and the second I’d say would probably be “The One That You Love (1981).”
When Air Supply first started out, they got absolutely no attention outside of Australia. Their big American break, came when they opened for Rod Stewart in the late 70’s. Shortly after that, they landed a contract with Arista Records in 1980, and they’ve been rising to the top ever since. In later years, Air Supply has supported and performed with groups like Chicago and singer Boz Scaggs. In Australia, they were inducted in Australia’s Hall Of Fame in 2013. Air Supply’s hits are kind of scattered throughout many albums, but I think this particular album has the most hits (both American and Australian). Check them out on Spotify.