Before Curtis Mayfield became the solo legend he was, he was in a musical group called “The Impressions.” In addition to being a singer and songwriter, like many performers at the time, he was also a political activist. Akin to Bob Marley in many ways, in the beginning Mayfield’s music was all about social consciousness, and it showed in his album art. In the 60s and 70s, it wasn’t just singing and dancing to music that told the stories of Blacks in poor communities; they visually showed the harsh realities in their art work. Which by the way, I can’t help but to reflect on the extreme difference in album covers between then and now. Back then it was about reality. Today, it’s about showing your Photoshop skills, and finding an excuse to publish any kind of T&A (the bigger the better) (especially in hiphop).
I can’t help to notice, when I listen to his song “Stay Close To Me,” On the album called “This Is My Country,” I am immediately reminded of Pharrell Williams. I guess because most young people don’t have a damn clue about classic music, young kids think Pharell’s style is all originally his. Anyway…… Unfortunately, I can’t find the stats to this song, but I think it’s a really nice love song. However, I do know the song called “This Is My Country,” from the same album hit #5 on the Top 100 Chart, so I’m taking a guess that “Stay Close To Me” did at least mediocre. This album was published under Rhino Records.
I’ve always been a fan of Phil Collins from the beginning; and that includes when he started with the group “Genesis.” Phil joined Genesis from early to mid 70s, so, the man has been around for a long, long time! This phenomenal Englishmen, is both a talented music performer and an actor. He started out as a master drummer and lead singer of Genesis; his music has been used on many TV shows and movies such as “CSI NY,” and “Despicable Me 3” just to name a few. Even after leaving Genesis and going solo, he continued to bust out some amazing songs that became hits in both the UK and in the US. One of my many favorite works from him is a song called “Take Me Home,” first released in the UK on 1985; then in the US in 1986. under Atlantic Records. This was a very popular song that reached #2 on the American Hot Contemporary Charts, but in the UK it reached only #19 (which wasn’t exactly bad either).
Another very very favorite song of mine he did, was a song called “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now),” which was the theme song to the movie “Against All Odds (1984),” starring Rachel Ward and Jeff Bridges. Now, I have to be honest, I don’t remember a whole lot of the movie, but Phil’s performance of this song without a doubt was jaw dropping in my opinion. Such powerful lyrics, together with Phil’s heartfelt performance, it almost makes you want to shed a tear. Unfortunately this historic tune is wiped away from the memories of many. In the U.S., Norway, Ireland, and Canada, the song reached #1. UK it reached #2, everywhere else was in the range between #4 & #10. So this was a hugely successful single. I dare to say it was more popular than the movie itself.
Ok, last one I’m going to share. I absolutely cannot end this article without talking about this song. Phil did a duet with Earth, Wind and Fire’s Phillip Bailey, called “Easy Lover (1985).” This song was a song made perfect for them! Two awesome performers coming together to give us perfection. It is a fun & danceable song; and you know what? That’s right!! You’ve guessed it! It also became another hit, in the #2 position on the Top 100 Chart, and stayed relevant for 23 weeks! So, there you have it! Amazing artists, and three amazing songs to start your Monday morning.
Not only was James Ingram handsome as hell back in the day, he was a very telented singer. James is best known for singing love ballads (although he’s made a lot of pop music back in the day), and many of his ballads became huge hits! One of them is called “I Don’t Have The Heart,” from the “It’s Real” album, under Warner Brothers Label. This is a very different, yet, interesting kind of love song. The average love song talks about how much one loves the other; while this particular song focuses on calming the fears of the person he loves. I can’t accurately find which chart category the song was number one (it had to have been “Top 100 Charts”), but I found this article showing that it was on a “Top Five.”
Another huge favorite of mine, is a song called “Just Once,” released in 1981. I believe it was all written and produced by Quincy Jones. This was a single release, I don’t think there was ever an album. However, it was promoted as Quincy Jones, featuring James Ingram. The song reached #7 on the Adult Contemporary Charts. It stayed relevant for twenty weeks.
Unfortunately, as talented as James Ingram is, he’s only had about 4 number ones throughout his career. And I think that “Baby Come To Me,” a duet with Patti Austin, was his most notable and memorable accomplishment. It was released in 1982, and hit number one on both Top 100 and Adult Contemporary Chart. The song was so popular, for a short time, it became the theme song to a soap opera called “General Hospital” in the mid eighties.
Hey guys, I’m back with another hand picked playlist for you. I decided to create a Light FM series. The music contained in this playlists are the kinds of music that I grew up listening to on light radio. I’m pretty confident that visitors of my age group, will certainly remember a lot of these great songs. 30 of some of the best easy listening songs of the 70s, 80s, & 90s. This playlist includes songs “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” by REO Speedwagon, which hit #1 in 1985; “All Out Of Love,” by Air Supply, which hit #2 in 1980; “Get Here,” by the talented Oleta Adams, her song hit #5 in 1991; and much, much more. Be prepared to be transported down to FM memory lane!! Enjoy!!!! Spotify link.
“The Doors” were one of America’s biggest rock groups of the mid 60s/70s. They formed around 1965, so I think this self titled record was actually their first album. The song called “Light My Fire,” became a cult classic. The song reached #1 on the Hot 100 Billboard, and stayed on the charts for 23 weeks. The song had been reinterpreted by many artists; including Jose Feliciano (my favorite), Young-Holt Unlimited, Minnie Riperton, Amii Stewart made an awesome disco version that really showcased her vocal range (although I think the original remix from her “Knock On Wood” album was much better), legendary Jackie Wilson, and Al Green, just to name a few.
There are actually a couple of nice songs on this album, and I think if you’re a fan of 60s rock, you’ll enjoy this album. “Break On Through (The Other Side) was another great hit too. I also like the song “Take It As It Comes,” it reminds me of the kinds of music you’d hear on those British secret agent movie sound tracks in the late 60s. The music I’ve shared with you represents a specific genre, and a specific moment in time in our history; I don’t think most younger generation would appreciate it. This is the kind of music that really has to grow on you; other than that, you’d most likely had to have been born in to it. Let’s face it, this music was from what I call “the psychedelic period.” The lead singer died very early in to the groups career; and the remaining 3 eventually broke up around 1973. From what I read, they were the best selling group of their time, and people are still listening to their music.
Love, love, love this song…. Today’s group is called The Paragons (along with Tommy McCook and The Supersonies), and their song “Only A Smiling Face,” under Trojan Records. At first, the song kind of fools you, because when you hear them sing “Only A Smiling Face,” you may automatically think it’s a beautiful love song. However, if you listen to the very short lyrics, the song is about a not so nice woman. It is interesting that, this is the only song I’ve heard that complained about a lover, but never explicitly sung what the person actually did. But whatever she was doing, must have been really messed up for two guys to leave her back to back. Of course, because it’s Caribbean/classic reggae, I can’t find any chart information. I’m not even gonna try anymore. Just trust me when I tell you it’s a hit.
There are other hits on this very album (“On The Beach With The Paragons”) as well. One song I’ve heard reinterpreted by so many reggae musicians called “Mercy Mercy.” Another favorite of mine is “The Tide Is High,” which was reinterpreted by America’s (then) biggest 70s/80s Rock band called Blonde. The song “Yellow Bird” was also a very popular song. I’ve heard many, many reinterpretations of this song; sometimes it seems as though there are a million of them. My most favorite unfortunately is the one that is out-of-print, by the steel band called Belltones, from the album “In The Mood.”
I absolutely fell in love with an old classic, that was produced by a group called “Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds.” In 1975, under Playboy Records (however, the rerecorded version was distributed by Purple Pyramid Records (not sure if related)), they released a song called “Fallin’ In Love.” The song was written by band member Dan Hamilton. This is the perfect kind of song to play, when you’re trying to rekindle a broken relationship, and your both on a picnic/beach vacation together. Although the rerecorded version sounds ok, I still prefer the original. It only reached up to #24 on the R&B Charts, but this was one of my biggest favorites from the group. The second song I love from this group is called “Don’t Pull Your Love (1971).” This song reached #4 on the Adult Contemporary Charts, and stayed relevant for about 12 weeks. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more songs I like from them, or at least songs that are worth listening. I believe the two above were their only hits throughout their career.
It was really difficult for me to pinpoint the release date for my next song; apparently the song was so popular that it had several re-releases. I think “Soul Of The Man,” was the original album where the song “I Get My Groove From You” was first recorded. There’s no billboard information for this song, so I’ll just assume that this wasn’t on anybody’s radar. Unfortunately, this great artist didn’t have any major hits. In fact, the highest he ever gotten on the charts was #36, for a King Floyd (sort of) styled dance song called ” T.C.B. or T.Y.A.” in 1969. So, anyway…. The song I’m introducing to you today, “I Get My Groove From You,” I feel is sooo underrated. This is a very nice music piece, with the perfect voice to go with it. In fact, I am hesitant to believe that this wasn’t a hit; but, as I’ve always said, the history we are losing isn’t just the music itself, but searchable and document-able history. So, I can’t prove it was, or wasn’t 🙁 All I do know, is that I think this is a badass song!