I could have sworn that I’ve written about this group before, but I guess I didn’t. Hmmm. Well, I think this group is one of many talented groups that were forgotten about. “Huey Lewis and The News” were also one of the very small number White groups that had both a soul and rock sound in the 80’s (at least that is my opinion). I say this because this was truly their style of music, it wasn’t like one or two songs on their album with the soul/rock style (that “hit” song), this was their sound! Huey truly knows how to take control of the mic. It’s a shame he hasn’t continued with the major success he had in the 80’s. But then again, the entire music culture has started to change shortly after the 80’s ended.
This particular album has all the hits that I love. I could be wrong, but I think most people probably remember this group by there hit song “The Power Of Love (1986),” which was one of the major sound tracks to the movie “Back To The Future.” Other hits that I love are “If This Is It,” the remake of a song (originally done by J. J. Jackson (I believe)) “But It’s Alright,” “Stuck With You,” “Heart And Soul,” and finally a song called “I Want A New Drug.” I would have loved to see them live. Check the album out on Spotify.
I’ve always liked Bobby Brown’s music believe it or not. But I felt that it would be more appropriate to write about him after I felt the shock of Whitney and Bobbi-Christina’s death died down. Why? I’ve heard way too many people blaming Bobby for Whitney’s addiction; rumors circulated for decades that Bobby got Whitney hooked. But, as we found out, Whitney had been hooked long before Bobby and Whitney met. Although it didn’t help that Bobby was on it too, but let’s be serious, when you have the kind of money Whitney had, do you think that just telling someone to quit drugs will stop them? We’ve seen this over and over with now deceased celebrities that had addictions.
Some have even claimed that Bobby used Whitney’s fame to capitalize on his own career. I disagree with this, because if you don’t have talent, I don’t care who you know, you’re not going to have the long career that Bobby had if he didn’t have at least a little bit of talent. The rumors probably started just after he left “New Addition.” It was said that Bobby was such a “bad boy,” that the group really couldn’t handle him any longer, he always wanted to do things his way. Don’t quote me, I think that was one of the reasons Johnny Gill joined the group. Well, Bobby leaving the group really seemed to have paid off for his career. I really do believe he would have made it with or without Whitney.
There were many chart topping hits that eventually became my very favorites. I think his first big hit was “My Prerogative.” Actually, if my memory serves, I think this was a song specifically written because of his relationship with Whitney back then. There’s also “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Roni,” and I “Every Little Step.” All the beats are consistent, easy to dance to, and he knew how to carry a tune. I don’t know if he still sings as good as he used to, but his oldies are still goodies to me. Here is his greatest hits on Spotify.
I’m not going to tell you know lie, I used to think Al B. Sure was fine as hell back in the 80’s. He sort of reminded me a lot of Christopher Williams in a way (they do look alike). I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most people probably remember him for his hit song “Night And Day (188).” I used to LOVE that song, it had such a unique sound to it, I no other musician’s music that I can think of compared to it at the time. “Night And Day” was probably his biggest hit, judging by how much I remembered hearing it on the radio. However, he actually had a few more hits, which happens to be on this same album above. One of them was a song called “Off On Your Own.” Let me tell you, when I saw the video to this song, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a video where the girls in it had skirts so high and tight, if they farted they’d be in trouble. LOLOL. The next song from this album I really liked was called “Rescue Me.” I really liked this song, the lyrics were fun and the beat was danceable (although the beat is reminiscent of “Off On Your Own” with different vocals LOLOL). I do like how he redid “Killing Me Softly.” Unfortunately, this was the first and only album from him I liked. Listen to his album here.
Sort of by accident, I found this wonderful documentary called “Downloaded (2013).” This film is almost two hours long. I’d never thought I would sit through a documentary like this; but like I said, it is extremely interesting and educational for me as far as hearing intimate feed back from RIAA and record labels. In essence, it is a very interesting look at the history of Napster, and how it changed the music industry forever. First, I’d like to say very quickly upfront, the film is not a “how to,” nor is this entire film about labeling all file sharers evil. I wanted to share this not because I want to sway people to think a certain way, but to help both music and film lovers be aware of the effects of file sharing, and how it really could have destroyed the industry.
Shawn Fanning was one of the original co-founders of Napster (long before Rhapsody took over). He quit school to pursue his dream of building a company with a fan based application, that would allow other fans to share files and communicate with other fans of the same artists or movie. Back then, because it has never been done before, it wasn’t officially illegal yet, in terms of sharing files. The music industry was slow to understanding the scope as to how many people were actually downloading, exactly how much was downloaded, as well as the ease of downloading with Napster. However, Fanning very much wanted to work a relationship with the music labels in order to get artists paid, this was his intent all along. However, the music industry still had problems with Fanning’s vision, because the music industry as a whole wanted to stick with their old ways and old formulas.
Many artists were divided on this issue. Some artists felt that Napster was doing a good thing; because statistics has shown that a significant amount of people that used Napster, actually purchased the music later on. Some artist saw it as stealing. But again, it boils down to something that was new, and the people that theoretically stand to lose money (in their eyes) was the ones that were most against it. However, the courts understand that you can’t stop technology, in addition to the fact that the music labels gave no room for fair use instances. Many fans saw Napster as no different than borrowing their friend’s record, then taping it on cassette and giving it back to them (which was legal for personal use). However, the sheer massiveness of the Internet changed the game as far as how fans get their entertainment.
I understand both sides. As I’ve said before, there are those who vow never to buy one piece of music ever again; as a form of rebellion against the greed of the music industry. It is interesting that throughout the legal battles, the music industry NEVER discussed the fact that the reason why many download so much, is because they couldn’t afford it. Once technology moved to CD, those prices went off the chain! However, through the years of long legal battles Napster had with the record labels and the RIAA, it’s helped shape the new business model we have today. Because the music labels felt that if they get rid of the “threat,” and the treat meaning Napster, everyone would stop downloading for free. This never happened; in fact, literally thousands of other file sharing software was developed using the same type of Napster infrastructure. But through the aftermath of all that mess, they have found away for fans to listen to music for free, and the labels can still get paid through an ad supported services. But I think the old peer to peer mindset still exist, and I think it will still take a while longer for old habits to break. JMHO.
After watching this documentary, I realized this might be one of the many reasons why the music labels haven’t attacked YouTube as harshly as they did Napster. They are literally scared of having an even worse repeat performance of piracy, and that people could theoretically stop using legal services like Rhapsody, etc, altogether; and really end the music industry as we know it for good. Even though the music industry would never admit it, the fans won; and the days of milking fans dry was over; and that was the bottom line. It was because of Napster, that music (and film) has now become more affordable/accessible to those who support their artists/actors. There are many companies such as Spotify who have a vision of making music free by using an ad based system. So far, despite the apposing view from companies like Apple, this formula does seem to work (they’re not making loads of money, but they work). But you know what? It is my view that it really doesn’t matter, because no matter what any music streaming service does, at a standard price point of 9.99 a month, the music labels are going to take 80% of the revenue anyway. Music streaming is a very hard business to get into. Which is why business like Live365 has folded. This is largely because labels want more and more money; labels just have a hard time understanding that our economy has changed. Especially when it comes to music, music is a part of our culture, fans have a right to afford their favorite music. Watch it on Netflix Downloaded (2013).
How many of you knew Sylvester Stallone had a brother? How many of you knew that his brother Frank Stallone could sing? Frank has sang quite a few songs that became hit soundtracks for a lot of movies. One of my favorites is a song called “Far From Over (1983),” it’s from the “Staying Alive” soundtrack. You may remember two songs “Take You Back,” and “Pushin'” which was on the “Rocky III (1982)” soundtrack. Honestly, “Far From Over,” was his best hit in my opinion. It’s a shame because he had such a great voice. Now it looks like he’s turned to country music; although I do like country music, I just wasn’t drawn to his music after that.
Not sure if anyone remembers this group from back in the day. They were called Klymaxx. I have to be honest, I never did like a lot of there music. However, there was one song that as far as I’m concerned, was their biggest song throughout their career. It’s called “I Miss You (1984). The original album was released in 1984, however, Wiki has it as 1985 and I’m not sure why? The only thing I can think of is that the song was re-released on a separate bonus album? Also, “Meeting In The Ladies Room” is cool also, but, that’s about it for that album. They’ve been performing off and on for a little over 20+ years collectively. Listen to “I Miss You” on Spotify.
A beer manufacturer named Corona kept running this commercial all day today; and the tune they used got stuck in my head. It’s a very catchy tune called “Take It Easy (1968),” by Hopeton Lewis, originally released under Merritone records. Recently, this album was digitally re-released last year. You know, the song does seem perfect for that commercial, see for your self here. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a whole lot written about him. But I do know he was born in Kingston, Jamaica; he had many hits during the 60’s; and started out as a background vocalist. There are two other songs I liked from this album, they’re called “Rock Steady,” and “Cool Collie.” Very smooth beat and easy to dance to. If you’re a fan of Ska and Rock Steady music, you’ll like most of the songs on this album. Check it out on Spotify.
My absolute favorite from this album, is the song called “The Boss.” I know a lot of my young readers don’t have a clue about this song. You’ll probably hear different opinions about it, but as far as I’m concerned this was the biggest hit of her career! Well, at least in the gay world, “The Boss” was once the anthem of the SGL community back in the day. It’s not that I don’t acknowledge her other music, it’s just this album has a special place in the “unsaid history.” This album catapulted Diana in the club and disco scenes. If you knew absolutely nothing about Diana Ross’s music, chances are you’d recognize “The Boss” immediately; this is how popular the song was. It was written by the late Nick Ashford, and wife Valerie Simpson. The song was so huge, there wasn’t enough hands to count how many remixes and LPs that existed then.
For some strange reason, I am having difficulty trying to pinpoint the exact stats to this album. I don’t know how accurate it is but, according to some sources I’ve read in 1979, it peaked #10 in the R&B charts, but I can’t find how long. I also had difficulty finding when it hit number one and it’s duration. Fans will enjoy this album, because it includes the extended version of “The Boss.” Unfortunately, the only other hit that came from this album was “My House.” Back from that, this album did not fancy me. Listen on Spotify.