CLASSICS: EASY LISTENING / SOFT MUSIC (SINGLES)
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.
Although, the subtitle of this album states “Greatest Hits,” this isn’t her best greatest hits album. I suggest visitors doing a search for Dionne Warwick’s music, she has actually produced quite a number of hits, and I don’t think they’re all on one album yet (at least I don’t recall/noticed one that exists yet). I selected this particular album because there is a song on here that I don’t think has gotten enough “old school credit.” The song is called “Heartbreaker (1982),” and if I remember correctly, it was written by the Bee Gees; however, only Barry’s voice was used for background vocals. According to Billboard, the songs was on the charts for 22 weeks, and peaked at #10 on January 15, 1983. This was a huge hit, it boggles my mind how even a lot of the major radio stations don’t even play this song anymore. Another phenomenal hit that was lost in old school history was “I’ll Never Love This Way Again (1979);” the song peaked at #5 and stayed on the charts for a total of 24 weeks. There wasn’t a radio station that wasn’t playing “I’ll Never Love This Way Again.” I also enjoyed “Deja Vu,” which is a very laid back romantic song. Again, search for her music, there doesn’t appear to be one album with all her greatest hits, they are all scattered unfortunately. But you can listen to THIS album here on Spotify.
Another forgotten group in today’s music history. Tony Orlando and Dawn was one of the hottest groups of the very late sixties and seventies. Dawn were Tony’s 2 amazing backup singers Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent. I loved a lot of their music, and still listen to them today. They sang great hits such as “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree,” “Knock Three Times,” and “Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose?” Tony Orlando’s and Dawn’s music was so distinct and unique, I don’t believe I remember any other group that sounded like them. The minute you heard their music on the radio, we instantly knew who it was. The group was so popular in the 70’s that they even had their own variety TV show, which was aired on CBS. Joyce Vincent was asked to replace Mary Wells of the Supremes. However, before that was made official, Motown decided to disband the group. But Ms. Vincent did manage to record as backup on one or two songs on the Supremes’ album called “Partners.” Telma Hopkins turned to acting, and has appeared in such movies as “How To Murder A Millionaire.” As far as I can tell, Tony Orlando still performs his same classic songs a couple of times a year. Listen with Spotify.
I can’t call Lou Rawls a one hit wonder, but unfortunately there is only one song I like from this entire album. The song also happens to be one of his biggest classic hits of all times; which pretty much put him on map forever as far as I”m concerned (at least those of my generation). That song is “You’ll Never Find A Love Like Mine.” Lou’s voice has turned that song in to something special; a song that I believed no one else could have song with the same romantic flair. But, again, that was pretty much it for this particular album. Unfortunately much of Lou Rawls music wasn’t my cup of tea. It was almost like listening to a soulful version of Frank Sanatra. Actually, I like more of Frank Sanatra’s songs than Lou Rawls. I guess that should tell you something. LOL. However, I’m not foolish to think there’s no one else out in the cyberspace that wouldn’t like it. Check out his album on Spotify.
This remains to be my most favorite album from Carole King. If I am not mistaken, this was also her very first album. Carole is a composer, and a songwriter. She has snatched lots of Grammy Awards, and had been inducted into the songwriter’s hall of fame. Carole’s music is sort of what I call, modern folk music; very similar to James Taylor. In fact, Carole and James performed together quite a few concerts. On the original album, there is only one vinyl. However, since the digital release, they have added an extra bonus album with 11 extra live performances. This album has the kind of mellow music that is perfect to listen to while you’re reading, or perhaps while relaxing in the park. This album is packed with what remains to be her most greatest hits (in my opinion). She released this album throwing some hard punches with 6 huge hits, starting from the first three tracks back to back. “I Feel The Earth Move,” “So Far Away,” and “It’s Too Late.” The piece “So Far Away” is so beautiful, I believe if she would have made it an instrumental only, it still would have become a huge hit anyway; the entire composition and the base is just wonderful. There is also “You’ve Got A Friend,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman.” Yes, that song is actually Carole’s song, not Aretha’s. Carole has written that song along with two other composers. Please listen With Spotify.
I think this was the first album I ever saw from Gladys Knight & The Pips. I was about 6 years old then. This continues to be my favorite album from them. However, this particular album Gladys Knight & The Pips: Imagination, is a special expanded edition on Spotify. That I can think of, absolutely no one has Gladys Knights distinctive voice. During the peaks of her career, the power in her voice was definitely a force that could not be reckoned with. My favorites are “Every Beat Of My Heart”, “Midnight Train To Georgia”, and “I Don’t Want To Do Wrong”. Also, her rendition of Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were” was jaw dropping (if you can get a hold of her 1977 live performance, it will knock you off your feet). Below is a link to one of their greatest hits albums.
Listen With Spotify