All About Love
You know, I’m thoroughly shocked! Absolutely dumbfounded! That the hugely popular musical group called “The Platters” only had one number one hit, and only two top 10s, according to Billboards’ Top 100 Charts (since formed in 1952)! Holy cow! Well, let me tell you, growing up, The Platters as a group were certainly #1 in our family. I remember my grandpa playing this group just as much as all his other favorites. Even as a young child, this was the kind of music I personally gravitated to.
The Original Lead Singer, Johnny Barnes, Had The Most Beautiful Voice!
The original lead singer, Johnny Barnes, had the most beautiful male voices I ever heard at the time. Even today, no other group comes to mind (when it comes to doo-wop), where their lead singer carries a tune so beautifully the way he did. Actually, you know I should add a small disclaimer to my prior statement. There were so many members that changed, members that were swapped, etc., Johnny may not actually be the original lead singer. However, his voice is the predominant voice I remembered growing up. There were sooooo many songs they produced, that became my all-time favorites. One of them on the top of that list, which also happens to be their only #1 song, is called “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” released in 1959. Man…. For me to be so young, and know nothing about love/adult relationship and somehow be able to connect with this song, was a huge testament to the power of his voice.
I was thrilled when I actually found a YouTube video of Johnny Barnes singing some of their old tunes! That was so cool! Now, that was a moment I hope the guests cherished. I would have loved to be present for that. If my research is correct, Gaynel Hodge is the only living member left from the legendary Platters. You know, considering all the scandals I’ve read; including drugs, as well as 4 male members being accused of sex trafficking (although never charged), I don’t even understand how that group continued to exist in that era, especially when news like that entered the public domain. Honestly, I really think that Johnny’s voice saved The Platters from total destruction. If they were not so talented, and had great songs, they would have been toast by the end of the 60s.
Before I close this article, I’d like to leave you with some more of my Platters favorites. “Only You (And You Alone),” “The Great Pretender,” “You’ve Got The Magic Touch,” “My Prayer,” “My Way,” “Unchained Melody,” “Please Have Mercy,” “I’m Sorry,” “As Time Goes By,” and finally, “I Only Have Eyes For You.” Thanks for reading… I hope you’ve enjoyed this article.
Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake. If Michael was alive at the time of this mix, there would have been no greater collaboration! I’m talking about the hit song “Love Never Felt So Good.” Their voices blended nicely and seamlessly together. I have to say, this song is one of my ultimate favorite songs from the late MJ. I just appreciate the fact that while the producers involved offered a new spin on the song, they also managed to keep Michael’s essence of the 70’s. Hearing this song just made me miss MJ all over again 😭
The Song Was Co-written with Paul Anka!
I learned something interesting. NEVER in a million years would I ever thought the song was co-written with Paul Anka! I found this out indirectly, when I heard the original piano version, and guess who was on piano? Yup, the legendary Paul Anka! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me some Anka, I was just thinking from the standpoint of their musical styles are so different, I just would have never matched those two together. Yet, at the same time, I am not surprised. Michael was inspired by many people that are not spoken of today, and that includes Charlie Chaplin. MJ was truly musically diverse indeed. To my understanding, the song was still just a demo put together from the 1980s, and was never released until 2014.
Now, for various reasons, I don’t watch award shows; and haven’t done so since the 80s. But it is my understanding that Justin has received a Vanguard Award @ The VMAs, according to The Rolling Stones Magazine. So, I guess the remix of Michael’s song was good timing, as Justin was at the very peak of his career. Watching the tribute video to this song just makes MJ fans wanna cry. To hear the words sung “Love Never Felt So Good,” and to see footage of some of Michael’s best performances, was just heartbreaking to me.
You know, given light to all of Michael’s past personal problems; especially in regards to his financial troubles; the only question that seemed to be in the media just before his death; “would Michael be able to make enough money for a successful comeback?” The song “Love Never Felt So Good” alone was such a huge success around the world, there was no doubt about it, he would have been very successful. It seemed that every single artist on the planet covered this song. It was like listening to a karaoke explosion or something.
Today, I’d like to write about an awesome classic, Rock The Boat by Hues Corporation. The Hues Corporation probably became the most famous Black musical group on the planet, because of their hit “Rock The Boat,” which was released in 1974. This massively popular song became their one an only major hit single. The song reached #1 for a total of one week!
Song Reached #1 For One Week!
Although the song only stayed number one for a week; It felt like it was still number one for years I remember waking up, the stations were paying it; came home from school and the stations were playing it; barbecues parties were playing it; oh my goodness!! You young kids just don’t understand. Despite only having one big hit, that big hit was a major contribution to Black disco music.
They officially got together as a group in 1969, and dominated the disco scene with their first album featuring “Rock The Boat.” Now, according to sources, the single sold over 2 million copies. However, I don’t know what the cut off date was? Because even when the song finally dropped off the charts, we still heard it in commercials and other venues, which means it was till making money. I am almost positive that even when they removed their 7″ from circulation, the 12″ versions are usually sold for a lot longer. Not sure if those are under a different category? Interesting now that I think about it.
The group disbanded by the eighties, and once again reformed sometime in the 90s. I believe the current members are Flemming Williams, St. Claire Lee, & H. Ann Kelley. The group still looks good by the way, especially Flemming; I’ve read reports that he was heavy in to drugs unfortunately. Can’t say that I’m surprised at that. This was something that was unfortunately common. Other musicians loved to work with The Hues Corporation. To my understanding, they had great relationships with other groups such as The Spinners.
The Group Appeared In The 1972 Cult Movie Classic, Blacula!
There’s one other song that did not do too bad on the charts. The song is called “Rockin’ Soul,” which is on the same album. It reached #18 on the Top 100. I think it’s an ok song. It’s kind of reminiscent of “Rock The Boat,” it has that same obvious flavor. Let me say that this album was not a bad album; they’re a very talented group; it’s just unfortunate that they didn’t have a lot of huge hits.
I’d like to recommend one last song from this album. The song is called, “I’ll Take A Melody.” I am very surprised that this didn’t make the charts. The medley kind of reminds me of Ann Murry’s “A Love Song,” which is also another one of my very favorite classic country songs.
You know, before I get to his song “Promises.” I’d like to say that, arguably…… Sam Smith (in my opinion), could very well be one of the most successful out LGBT musicians in today’s pop culture. I mean, he’s even larger than Adam Lambert was, since his first major break on American Idol. They’re both talented, but let’s be real, Adam Lambert has a set of pipes on him. If you can lean a gig, singing with the legendary rock group Queen, you’ve got talent! However, Sam’s unique smooth and relaxed voice attracted the attention of many types of music fans, as well as LGBT supporters.
5 Top Tens, Within Four Years!
Just a shy over four years, Sam has managed to land 5 top ten hits! That’s incredible! That is not easy to do. However, even in this era of music streaming, I still think that if he was already out before he released his albums, he would not have had the same success. I mean, technically speaking, Adam has a trained voice, and look how much hell he got on American Idol! I also think the obvious….. Despite the micro movements towards LGBT acceptance, “straight acting” is still a major problem in the entertainment industry, be it music or film.
Fans fell in love with his song “Stay With Me (2014),” from his album “In The Lonely Hour,” which reached #2 on the Top 100 Charts. The next song that would become Sam’s next hit was, “Too Good At Goodbye (2017),” from his album “The Thrill Of It All,” which reached #4 on the Top 100 Chart. However, the song I really like from him did not reach high on the charts. It was the last single (I believe) he put out in 2018. The song is called “Promises.” Promises, is way down at #65, what a shame. I’m shocked that the song ranked so low. I loved his… Almost like a Bing Crosby sound. The song was mixed by Calvin Harris. There’s a remix album for this song, done by various DJs. Check it out on Spotify. Some of them sound hot.
Wow!! Look who I dug up! Does any of my readers remember the legendary Jeffrey Osborne? Yes, I’ve called him legendary because, although he never had any Billboard Top Ten Hits, Osborne hit the charts hard enough that most 80s kids like me still remember him. His song “On The Wings Of Love,” was released in 1982. It only peaked at #29, but it remains one of my most favorites from Jeffrey. Interesting to note that, what I didn’t know was that Jeffrey’s version was actually a cover song 😱 !! Yup. The original song was recorded by Regine Velasquez. But, sorry Regine, I love Osborne’s version better. Turns out that Velasquez released quite a few albums; but her music is not my cup of tea. All her music sound like demo tapes! Anyway, it doesn’t stop there; the song became a cover once more; done by an artist named Kyla as part of a soundtrack to a romantic/comedy TV show. What Show? You’ve guessed it! “On The Wings Of Love (2015).”
Not having a top ten hit didn’t stop Osborne from landing a Miller Beer ad contract. I remember this ad being all over Jet and Ebony magazine. You know, it’s funny, I always laugh when I see this particular ad. Because it reminds me of his song, “Stay With Me Tonight (1984),” which hit #30 on the Top 100 Charts. I laugh because if the ad was actually a TV commercial, this song would fit right in, in a bar, and he’s with the woman he’s interested in. Don’t ask me why, it’s just one of those crazy thoughts that come in to your head. That would have been a cool commercial tho. 😄
He Still Is So Very Talented
To be honest, I’ve only listened to his old popular hits from back in the day. However, I acknowledge that Jeffrey is a very talented brotha. The dude can sing, and he still got soul! In fact, I don’t know if my readers realized it yet, but, Jeffrey just released an album last year in 2018! The album is called “Worth It All.” It has some pretty good tracks in there! I love it when veteran performers continue to make themselves musically relevant. One song I really like from the album is a song called “Just Can’t Stand It.” The song has a nice modern funk sound to it. His voice is still on point. Another song I think you should check out from his album is called, “That Man.”
I know I’ve written about the legendary Eagles band not too long ago on my old site. However, while listening to some internet radio, I heard more amazing classics by them, which inspired me to share more of their legendary music. The first time, I’ve written about their hit song (#4 in position) “Take It To The Limit.” Now, I’d like to introduce to you some of their number ones.
The Eagles Is One Of The Most Beloved Bands In America
I think it’s safe to go ahead and say that The Eagles is one of the most beloved bands in America (at least when it comes to classic rock/country). They too, are one of the very few groups where their music has transcended generations and genres. Good music is just good music; these are the kinds of artists that become immortalized.
If you’re a young person who digs classic rock bands, I highly recommend that you check out The Eagle’s music. Out of 21 songs that were popular enough to make it on the charts; 5 of them were #1, a #2 song, and 9 other top 10 hits during their career. They formed in the early 1970s, and the original members were Glenn Fry, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. The group amassed 6 Grammy Awards, 5 American Music Awards, and 6 number one albums. The Eagles meant serious business!!
Hotel California Was My Jam!
It’s difficult to say which is my most favorite song. However, If I were forced to pick one; I’d have to say “Hotel California (1977).” I think this was their second number one song. Man, it seemed like every single artist that new how to sing, or play an instrument did a cover of this song! It was like….. You know how you make the decision to learn how to play an instrument, and there’s always that one “easy” go to melody? That’s what it was like listening to soooooo many different renditions of this song. 😂 I have to say, the only rendition that was worth my ears, was from a group called the Gypsy Kings. They perform mostly flamenco and salsa music.
Also, in my opinion, The Eagles has produced some of the most romantic soft rock songs I’ve ever heard. A good example is “Best Of My Love (1975),” which by the way also hit #1 on the Top 100 Charts. How about their song called “Heartache Tonight (1979)?” Did mention that was a number one too? Goodness!! Too many great songs. However, I want to end with one of my very favorites. The following song peaked at #8, and it’s called “I Can’t Tell You Why (1980).” I think this is such a beautiful song. Even if there were no lyrics, I think the background composition still would have became a hit! There’s only one other song I felt like that, and that’s Carole King’s “So Far Away (1971).”
I really loved “May The Best Man Win” kind of songs! Back in the 80s, a lot of male artists collaborated, or made some what duets (particularly in hip hop); friendly and fun songs about competing for the one girl they’ve liked. However, for those type of songs, I preferred songs more like “The Girl Is Mine,” by Paul McCartney and the late Michael Jackson. And the reason is because, lyrically speaking, it was about two guys expressing why one of them is more suited to have a relationship with the girl than the other; rather than your typical “this girl is fresh meat.” 😂
Friendly Girl Competition
However, the song “Say Say Say,” written by both Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney, was always an interesting song to me (lyrically), yet weird at the same time. Because, you got two expressing their honest feelings about not wanting the girl stringing them along, or keeping their relationship in limbo; however, the music video threw me off, as I see absolutely no relation between street performances and this love song! 😂 This had to be one of those moments they didn’t have creative ideas, so they just threw the video together to meet a deadline. 🤣
Well, I guess that really didn’t really matter in the long run; because the song hit #3 on the Adult Contemporary Charts, #1 on the Top 100 Charts, #1 in both France & Canada, the song did very well for itself. I think a half a century from now, you can listen to this song and still enjoy its rhythm an lyrics. That’s what makes a legendary hit! If you want to walk down memory lane, check out the video for this song on YouTube.
Wow! Talk about a famous and popular group! When it comes to favorite groups from the soul & doo-wop combo era, The Drifters are high on my list of groups! Very high!! The drifters were formed some time in the early 50s. They were originally supposed to be a backup group for well known artist named Clyde McPhatter. Some of you may remember Clyde for a cover song he made popular called “Little Bitty Pretty One” released in 1962. The song was originally recorded by Bobby Day.
The Drifters has gone through 2 dozen members (literally). I gasped when I realized that many people didn’t know/remember that the late Ben E. King was once a member of The Drifters. Mostly because King sang what I think probably the biggest, and memorable song in the Drifters’ career, “Save The Last Dance For Me.”
The Late Ben E. King Was A Member
You know, just a side note, it’s interesting how different Kings music became after he left the group. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ben E. King’s music too. I just couldn’t help but noticed that much of his music had a Caribbean flair to it. Ok. back to The Drifters 😄 It’s difficult for me to narrow down my favorites, as there are also favorites of mine that did not make the charts. But for the purpose of my blog, I will share some of the most famous ones. They include, Under The Boardwalk,” “This Magic Moment,” “Without Love – There’s Nothing, (many singers including the legendary Tom Jones covered this song)” “Bip Bam,” and “Some Kind Of Wonderful.” So many more.. Browse more of their music when you get a chance.