Forgotten Artists

OMG!!!! I couldn’t believe I rediscovered this album by accident. I literally have not heard this song since my club days. Actually, I stopped hearing this song just about the end of the 90s. You see, this is why sometimes you need to get off YouTube!! You’ll never really find the kinds of music you liked back in the days (in our age group) unless you truly venture out to other websites!! Wow, wow!! “Two Of Hearts” by Stacy Q (note: not to be confused with Suzy Q) was hugely popular back in the day. Although I’ve heard this song in clubs, she was really a pop singer than anything else. The song hit #3, and stayed on the charts for about 22 weeks. From what I can tell, this was her only big hit from her career. Her next hit below this one, was a song called “We Connect,” which only peaked #33 if I’m not mistaken.

Timmy Thomas is a one hit wonder that made it big with his first song called “Why Can’t We Live Together,” released in 1972. The song hit number 12 in the UK, number 3 on the Pop Charts, and number 1 on the R&B charts. This is interesting, as it was never my opinion that this was R&B; ever since I was a child, I’ve always identified this song as being more Latin jazz than anything else. It’s an extremely unique composition I’ve never heard before in any other song. It almost sounds like a theme song to a Latin 70s science fiction movie. Almost like a Spanish version of a “War Of The Worlds,” if it had existed. LOL. He sang a lot about social issues in our country, and it’s a shame that he had no real hits after that.

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Wow!! This is an OLDIE!! I totally forgot about Ms. Nicolette Larson! Believe it or not, Nicolette was a very talented performer. But, unfortunately, she only had one hit to her career. It was a song called “Lotta Love.” The song was written by Neil Young, and recorded under Rhino/Warner Brothers Records. “Lotta Love hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary Chart, and stayed on the charts for about 23 weeks. Even after the song dropped off the charts, people were still requesting this song on the radio. The song seemed to have appealed to mostly teenagers with new relationships.

Nicolette, appeared to have lived a pretty wholesome life. In many ways she reminded me a lot of a younger Juice Newton. She performed on many TV shows, and the first I remembered was a show called “Solid Gold.” Nicolette recorded so many albums and it’s a shame she only had one major hit, because I think she was really vocally talented. She probably just needed some better songwriters/producers; being that she was under Warner Brothers, I’d think she would have. “I’ll Fly Away (Without You) (1982),” from her album “All Dressed Up & No Place To Go” I thought was a nice song. But, I can’t even find it on any charts. But, that could have been simply, the labels did not push the song to the radio stations. Sadly, she passed away in 1997 from liver failure.

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O.K. guys, this has got to be my most favorite 80s club remix of all times!! Well, I know I must have said this quite a few times on quite a few songs, but this song is very high on my list. Oh, this song takes me back when I hear it. I am literally transported back to the days when I used to hang out in the village. It was a very different time then, the culture, type of clothing, and the music compared to today, are “night & day.” Unfortunate, Spotify does not have the license for “Instinctual,” by Imagination. So, this is one of those rare instances I have to use YouTube to share my memories. This song hit #1 on the Dance Charts, and stayed relevant for about 10 weeks. But I have to be honest, I love this remix  100x more than the original release.

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O.k. Today….. A lot of you maybe squeezing your brains trying to remember exactly, who the hell is Colonel Abrams! This Detroit Michigan born musician, was best known for his club music. Throughout his career, he’s had about 3 #1 dance tunes. Out of those 3, the only one I really loved, was the song called “Trapped.” The song was originally released in 1985, under Universal Music. I believe it was only released as a single. I remember this song was playing a lot in the clubs back in the day. I couldn’t even remember his other #1 hits; “The Truth,” and “I’m Not Gonna Let You.” The only one I really remembered us dancing to was Trapped. Unfortunately, Abrams died from complications of diabetes, and other health issues in 2016.

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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.”

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This is a very nice portrait of “The Commodores.” I always thought that these guys were naturally photogenic. However, music wise (I think I’ve mentioned this before), I don’t they were much without Lionel Ritchie. I really hate to say that. And it’s not that I think they’re not talented, maybe it’s the songwriters. Or maybe to fans, Lionel was the Commodores! As far as I can remember, I think it’s safe to say they’ve really only had one big hit after Lionel left the group, and that song was called “Nightshift (1985).” The song was a tribute to the late Jackie Wilson and the late Marvin Gaye. If you listen closely, both their names were mentioned in the song. The song peaked at #3 and stayed relevant for 22 weeks. That same year, Diana Ross sung her tribute to Marvin Gaye in a song called “Missing You.” Diana’s song shot to #10 and stayed relevant for 27 weeks. Interesting how The Commodores’ song peaked higher than Diana’s; yet Diana’s song was on the Top 100 Charts for a little over a month longer.

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If my research is correct, the last album they’ve recorded was in 1993 called “No Tricks.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Spotify has the original album available, but at least they have the song. I guess the album was a flop anyway, because by the time this album was released, there was only three of them left. I can’t seem to find any chart information, I guess that was pretty much it for their career. It’s a shame they could not work out their differences with Lionel. If you are a Commodores fan, Spotify does have one of their Greatest Hits albums.

Damn! Ever since I started my web project, and each time I go through my memories, I’m dumbfounded as to just how much music culture I’ve lived though. Once you start doing research on these beloved music artist, you really get an eye opening sense of just how much time has gone by. This morning’s artist is about MC Hammer. He was an amazing rapper, dancer, and all around talented performer. Such a shame that he is not on the mind of many classic lovers, because I feel that his story was one that should not be forgotten. With his smash hip-hop dance hit called “U Can’t Touch This,” released in 1990, Hammer set a new standard on how hip-hop artist would perform going forward. Hammer’s performances were electrifying! Tons of energy, and fun to watch! Hammer was so popular, I can’t even watch this episode of Family Guy, without having flashbacks of his performances. If you didn’t laugh at that episode, you must have been living under a rock.

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Along with Hammer’s success being in the limelight, so was his failures as well. You see, unbeknown to Hammer, he would experience the worst public embarrassment of his life. In the beginning of the 90s, Hammer’s estimated worth was over 33+ million dollars. But after just 5 years of performing, Hammer found himself over 13+ million dollars in debt. In 1996, Hammer finally filed for bankruptcy. When I saw this on the news, I was thinking to myself, how the f**k could this even be possible? I kept thinking, if I was worth 33 million dollars, trust and believe, every single bill I had would have been paid first! Shortly after he filed for bankruptcy, I remember he did a frank television interview. He explained that bottom line it was money management. However, the problem wasn’t even about money being spent on himself, almost all his money was spent on other people. All the crowds of dancers, expensive houses for his family, wardrobe, etc, etc. But for me, I know what must have been the real kick in the balls, was the fact that once all his money depleted, so was his friends! I remember him explaining that almost everyone in his life during his music success literally disowned him. The man that changed the face of hip-hop forever, was quickly forgotten in less than a year after his filing. A few years back, I accidentally discovered a YouTube video of Hammer doing internet marketing. Well kids, what was the takeaway of this post? Be careful of the company you keep!