Hi classic fans! How many of you were aware that the legendary Aretha Franklin had a sister? Yes she did! Google it!! Actually, she had 2 sisters. One named Carolyn Franklin, and other who is the focus of today’s article, is named Erma Franklin. She was an amazing performer in my opinion. Although Erma had been performing for more than 50 years, it appears she had very little albums to show for it. I discovered that Erma’s career was plagued by continued throat problems. Long story short, Erma was diagnosed with a form of throat cancer, and succumbed to her illness in 2002. During Erma’s brief album history, there were a couple of songs she did I really liked. One of them was called “Piece Of My Heart,” released in 1967, recorded under Sony Records. I don’t have enough fingers to count how many versions of this song I’ve heard. However, this song is not an easy song to sing; it’s almost as though the song belongs to someone with a “rock voice,” such as the late legendary Janis Joplin. Erma’s version of this song hit #10 on the R&B charts, and stayed relevant for about 14 weeks. You know, it’s interesting, I naturally thought that since Erma was Aretha’s sister that she would somewhat sound like Aretha? But she does not at all. However, when she sings certain vowels, like her A’s you can hear some Aretha. She actually sounds more like a young Cissy Houston in my opinion. Another Awesome song she sung was “Never Again.”
I have another totally forgotten dance craze for you today! This one is by a two man group known as “Bob & Earl.” They recorded a song attached to a new dance craze that caused dance fans to go absolutely bananas!! The song was called the “Harlem Shuffle.” I loved this song, and even though I was not born when the song came out, it was still popular enough that I remembered hearing it a lot on the radio around 6-7 years of age. If there existed an official “Hair Spray Playlist,” this is exactly the kind of music that would be on it (or at least on Tracy Turnblad’s playlist). So, I’m a bit confused…… According to the American Music Billboard, the song only peaked at #44, and stayed relevant for about 11 weeks. But there’s also a Harlem Shuffle in the UK released in 1969, that has peaked @ #7, and stayed on the UK charts for about 13 weeks. I don’t find any different versions on YouTube, and I can’t listen to Spotify’s UK link because of copyright restrictions. F^$&^%$^%!!!!! So, there you have it guys, copyright red tape at it’s best. It can be a blogger’s nightmare. It is possible that either the song didn’t catch on in the UK until later; or it could have been re-released in the UK later on, or because there have been several changes in terms of group members, it’s possible there was a different version with a different duo. I’m just not sure to be honest. In any event. It’s an awesome and groovy song from back in the day.
Ok, ok. I know I’ve posted a song from Nancy almost two months ago, but I love this song so much, plus Nancy is such an awesome singer I just had to post it. It was released in 1970, and it was from her album called “Now I’m A Woman.” The song is called “Make It With You.” The song was written by a guy named David Gates, who has been lead singer on a few occasions, for one of my favorite bands called “Bread.” Nancy’s version is so different, it took me a few seconds to realize it was a remake. Like I’ve said before, I am extremely picky when it comes to remakes; especially when it comes to women singing very famous male songs; or men singing very famous female songs. In my opinion, it’s kind of like singing “standards.” When you’re performing someone else work, you’re either going to singing it really really good, or really really bad. I can’t seem to find any chart information for this song, which more likely means it simply wasn’t promoted. But I absolutely loved her version. This is a kind of song you’d enjoy listening to on a very sunny morning, looking outside your window, and drinking coffee.
I got a good one for you guys this morning. Do you remember Neneh Cherry? Believe it or not, Neneh was born in Sweden, and grow up to be one of the most well known “one hit wonders” of the 80s (speaking in terms of foreign/imported music to America). I’m really not sure how her music did around the world, so I really can’t say. However, from my perspective, she sang only one song I liked which became a huge hit here. The song is called “Buffalo Stance.” The song peaked at #3 both in the U.S. and in the U.K. It stayed relevant for about 26 weeks. I really liked this pop song, and I used to listen to it all the time. Unfortunately, I didn’t like anything else she produced throughout he career. I know there’s another song that did well on the charts called “Kisses On The Wind,” which I think peaked #8, but I really wasn’t feeling that song. Neneh continues to perform, and even sometimes DJ everyone in a while.
Do you guys remember Kid ‘N’ Play? Or better yet, do you remember the movie “House Party?” I don’t like many hip hop movies, but this sh*t was funny as hell! This is the kind of hip hop I like, which by today’s standards it would be considered “bubble gum music.” Anyway, I highly recommend that you put this on your Netflix queue. The movie has a lot of old stars in it, such as Tisha Campbell, Paul Anthony, Clifton Powell, and of course, Martin Lawrence. Just to give you fair warning to those of you who have kids, it’s rated R. The move’s comedy is along the same lines as “Friday” starring Ice Cube, and Chris Tucker (which was also very funny). Actually, to be honest, “House Party” was a little more raunchy.
However, having just said that, I do think that it represented exactly what the young rap culture was all about in the 90s. Well, one of the raps from the soundtrack I remember very well, was “Kid Vs. Play.” Back in the day, or I should say, in the 90s, hip hop themed movies tend to have rap with a lot of funk (James Brown type) samples, and in my opinion, this was one of the best types of rap (next to hip house). I can’t find a whole lot of information as to what they’re doing now. As far as I can tell, Kid is just doing bad awful. Got in to car accidents and all kind of crazy stuff. However, although Play hasn’t done anything really huge after “House Party,” he has gotten some TV acting gigs here and there.
The legendary Janet Jackson, and her oldest sister in the background, Rebbie Jackson. This photograph was taken during the success of Janet’s “Rhythm Nation 1814” album in 1989. Judging from Rebbie’s face in the background, you can tell she was very proud of her little sister. If I remember correctly, this was also the day she got her Star on Hall Of Fame. What’s so special about Janet is that, everyone expected her to follow in Michael’s footsteps, in terms of dancing like him, singing like him, doing everything that he did. But it turns out she was her own artist, and found her own talents.
I was soooo tempted to insert these guys in the “One Hit” category. These odd looking characters are from England, and they call themselves the “Thompson Twins.” The first thing I thought was, they don’t look like twins at all! Not by a long shot! 😀 What the hell? LOL. But then I realize that their name was actually genius! Why? Because you read the name, and you look at these three, it kind of forces you to want to see what their music is about. Worked on me! Believe it or not, these guys have been around for a long, long time. In fact, they were originally known as “Thompson and Thompson,” with several more members. The band formed in 1977, and they performed mostly British pop music. But as members dropped over the years, they then decided to rename themselves and go more “mainstream.” I interpret that “mainstream” meant to be more American.
Although they’ve had many hits through their career, I really only liked two songs from them. The one that I love the most, is a song called “Hold Me Now,” from their album named “Into The Gap.” Not sure what it was about the song I liked so much. When you first hear Tom Bailey sing, you can immediately tell he’s British. I found it kind of mesmerizing, because for most British performers, you don’t hear their strong accent when they perform. In fact, most sound quite American if you ask me. However, the Thompson Twins sound very much like a British band singing over American music. Maybe that’s what attracted me, the unique blend of a British voice with American style. “Hold Me Now” shot up to #3 on the American Billboard, and stayed relevant for about 21 weeks. The second song I like from the same album, is a song called “Doctor, Doctor.” Actually to be truthful, it’s still a lame song, but “Doctor, Doctor,” became more of a catchy phrase I could not get out of my head. If I’m correct, this song peaked at #11, and stayed on the charts for about a little more than 15 weeks. These are the only works I liked from the group. I just couldn’t get into them. They were like listening to rebellious 80s teenagers, singing all the type of songs their mom didn’t want them to sing. But I loved their unique look tho.
Today’s post was a nightmare (still is)! Why? I couldn’t find what I wanted. It was as though the information was wiped from the face of the internet!! LOL. You guys will just have to trust me on this one. The Happenings, is another great music group I like. Their harmonization sounded almost like a replica of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (or maybe vise verse). In fact, they both sang a song I love called “See You In September,” released in 1966. The song was originally performed by a group called “The Tempos.” Of course without question, I love The Happenings’ version much better!
Now, here’s the hard part I’ve been struggling with. Finding only one of two commercial the song was actually in. Now, I know that it was in a Roy Rogers commercial; but to my understanding, the commercial was pulled because of a complaint they got from a High School. According to said school, they felt the commercial was sending the wrong message about the school cafeterias and it’s workers. Here is the original commercial from YouTube. However, I could have also sworn that it was on another commercial, a ski resort/vacation maybe? Or I’m also thinking a hotel commercial? I was racking my brain trying to remember what it was, but I was unsuccessful finding other videos on YouTube. It was more time I was willing to spend on it.