All About Love

You know, ever since I was a child, I’ve always been aware of remakes. However, it wasn’t until I became a serious blogger and started researching, I would come to understand just how many songs have been redone, and redone multiple times! So, that ol’ saying “nothing new under the sun,” is literally true. In fact, some of these songs, such as a song called “Our Day Will Come,” have been redone by so many people, if it were not for the internet, it would have been impossible to know who were the original artists. Now, as a kid, I’ve only heard the song sung by the original performers, Ruby And The Romantics, because that’s all I remembered hearing on the radio as a kid (and mind you, I’ve listened to just about all the stations). The song was number one on the Hot 100 and R&B charts; it had also risen to #11 in Australia.

This song was so popular that, coming to find out, this song has been done by more than 40+ artists, and that includes the late Amy Winehouse (which I LOVE the deep reggae overtones). But the group I wanted to write about today, is a group called Spiral Starecase. This particular album should have been named the remake album, because there are several of them. The Spiral Starecase’s version of “Our Day Will Come,” is a smooth pop song with the typical sound that many of the male groups in the 60s. I felt they’ve recreated a danceable love song (in essence), and it was well done. The lead singer at the time, I think it was Pat Upton, always reminded me of the group Air Supply. The biggest hit from this album was a song called “More Today Than Yesterday,” which I like very much.

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Wow!! Now this is the blast from the past!! How many of you remember Malo? I bet a lot of you don’t. Listening to Malo’s music was a lot like listening to Santana. Actually, why wouldn’t they remind us of Santana? Jorge Santana (brother of the legendary Carlos Santana), co produced the group, with a guy named Arcelio Garcia. So much of Malo’s musical accent sounded almost identical to Santanas (as if to say, this formula works, let’s stick with it). They were signed to Warner Brothers Records, and in 1972, they released their first record titled “Malo.” On this album was their first and only big hit of their career called “Suavecito.” The song had beautiful vocal harmonies, infused with Latin jazz, gave them the sound of a high-class band, that you can only see perform in a ballroom setting. The song hit #8 on the U.S. Billboard Charts, and the album itself peaked at #10 on the R&B Charts. Back from that, this was it in terms of their career. They’ve made several albums after this, but none had the success of “Suavecito.” On this particular album, Warner Bro. had put together their best songs. Some of them are worth listening to. I recommend listening to “Chevere,” you can really hear the distinct “Santana sound” in this piece. And oh yeah, I also like “Oye Mama” too. That’s a great song to dance too. By the way, I think it’s kind of ironic that, they’ve only had one hit, and their band name is Malo. Maybe they should have changed their name?  😀

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Son of Jewish business man Sy Kravitz, and the very famous actress Roxie Roker (you may remember from the hit 70s TV show “The Jeffersons”); this morning’s artist is none-other than the legendary Lenny Kravitz. Damn, he was handsome back in the day! LOL. Lenny Kravitz is successful singer, songwriter, producer, and some say “actor.” And I’ve used quotes because I never thought of him as an actor, because the little films I saw him in were more like cameo appearances. Kravitz is also another one of those talented performers, where his music is almost impossible to categorize. It seems as tho he incorporates elements of every major genre & style into every song. However, tonight’s song falls in to the category of R&B. My all time favorite from Lenny is a song called “It Aint Over ‘Til It’s Over,” from the album  “Mama Said,” released in 1991 under Virgin Records. Oh my goodness! I thought this was one of the most beautiful and romantic new songs from a male performer at the time. Everything including the music was well composed. I also love the fact there was an old school element to the song’s melody. I actually searched for months thinking it was a remake, but as it turned out, it was all Kravitz. The song hit #2 on the billboards and stayed relevant for 19 weeks.

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Lenny has been performing since the very late 80s. He was married to actress Lisa Bonet, and they both had daughter together named Zoe. They later divorced, and I was soo happy after that!! LOL. I know some of you may think I’m mean but…. Have you guys seen her lately? Oh my goodness!! I’m telling you guys, she looks awful!! Go here and see for yourself guys. I am almost positive she is abusing drugs; she has that “look” that many heavy “users” have. I’ve sift through too many photos to be wrong about that. Granted, I couldn’t find any proof that she is/was on it, but that’s not good when both your ex and daughter look healthier than you do. Just sayin’. I just saw an article that she’s reportedly a “vegan.” Maybe she’s not consuming enough protein, because sometimes she looks emaciated. But, I still say something is going on with her. Shucks, Lenny still looks hot for his age (53).

Yes, believe it or not, I love country music too. However, the bulk of country music I hold dear are the older songs mostly; and usually from specific artists like Kenny Rogers. By the way, no disrespect…… But, have you guys seen the way Kenny looks now? Oh, my, goodness!!!! If he doesn’t stop with his addiction to plastic surgeries, he’s going to look like that cat lady. His skin is soooooo pulled back, he looks like he’s unable to close his eyes. I would have never recognized him, if I saw him walking the streets. He was growing old gracefully, and stayed handsome, until he went under the knife. Anyway, one of my favorite songs I’ve heard recently on Internet radio, is called “You Decorated My Life,” released in 1979. I think this was such a beautiful and romantic country song. His song hit #1, and stayed on the Top 100 for about 12 weeks. These were real & heartfelt love songs back in the day. Not like today, were it is all about ways of getting in to your pants. Hey, did you know that Kenny Rogers was also an actor as well? On Amazon, check out a movie called “The Gambler (1980),” starring Christine Belford & Bruce Boxleitner.

Wow, another great group forgotten about. In 1967, Ritchie Cordell written a song called “I Think We’re Alone Now” for the group Tommy James & The Shondells. The song was an instant hit, reaching #4 on the Top 100 chart! But then, a 16 year old Tiffany reinterpreted their song “I Think We’re Alone Now” in 1987, and it shot to #1 and stayed on the Top 100 for 24 weeks. Now, believe it or not, I really liked Tiffany’s version a lot. It’s one of those “innocent, teenage love songs.” However, one pattern I’ve seen time and time again with music labels. It seemed as though, each time they wanted to “promote new talent,” they often have them sing songs that were already hits!  I always have to question myself, if you always have to sing someone else’s hits (as a new up and coming artist), are you really talented? Fortunately for Tiffany I think she was. But at the same time, this is why parents should get involved and expose their children to different music. ‘Cause while they think they’re listening to “new stuff,” in reality much of them are recycled. Tommy James & The Shondells also has a few more favorites of mine you may remember, “Crimson and Clover,” and “Crystal Blue Persuasion.”