While browsing the internet, I happened to notice that one of my most favorite rock artists from back in the day, has been fighting with prostate cancer. Damn! Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but, I’m really worried about this. Again, why are so many celebrities getting cancer? I mean, people who are considered relatively healthy are getting these visions diseases. This emotionally effects me personally, as this was what my grandpa recently died of. Not easy watching the person you love dealing with that. It is reported that he has been dealing with the terrible disease for about 3 years since his diagnosis. Now, Rod Stewart, Regina Bell, and many others have been reported to have life threatening cancers. Could you just imagine the untold amounts of people both here in America and abroad who are not famous, struggling with this. WTF? Something else is going on. I hope Stewart makes a full recovery.
Song: Best Part
Artist: Marcus Johnson
Album: Ballads: In My Voice (2019)
This is a wonderful piece I’ve heard not too long ago. “Best Part” is actually an instrumental cover of a song from a Canadian brotha by the name of Daniel Caesar, and an American female artist that goes by the name of H.E.R. (Gabriella Wilson). I love both versions actually. The original song hit double platinum, and reached #1 on the R&B category. I know you’ll love Marcus’s version, it is the perfect easy listening piece to start your morning off mellow, with some hot coffee.
Song: Juicy Fruit
Album: Juicy Fruit (1983)
I don’t remember if I’ve written about them on my old blog, but.. Oh well. With so much music out here, it’s humanly impossible to keep track of everything 😜. Growing up, the song “Juicy Fruit,” was one of those must have songs in every barbecue, or every other major Black “get together.” I loved this song. It was unique. It wasn’t fast enough to be a dance club song, but it wasn’t slow enough to be considered a romantic love song. It was smack right in between. The song only reached #45 on the Hot 100 Chart; but hit #1 on the R&B charts; and stayed there for 8 weeks! Awh, charts can be so misleading. By the way, this song was so popular, I read last year that James Mtune sued Sony for the music rights to “Juicy Fruit?” Read it here. The group had other hits, however, “Juicy Fruit” remains my ultimate favorite by them.
James Mtune Sues Sony For The Rights to “Juicy Fruit.”
It was kind of an interesting read that he’s suing Sony. Not that I don’t he has the right to; but from what I can tell, after the group recorded about two albums, they haven’t been active since the mid 80’s. Maybe there’s a hope of a “reboot’ of the song? You know, in many ways, a lot of their songs kind of reminds me of a group called “Parliament,” not sure if my readers are old enough to remember that group. Mtune also had a #2 hit on the R&B charts called “You, Me and He,” which a lot of people liked but….. I personally didn’t care too much for it.
Song: Lean On Me
Artist: Bill Withers
Album: Still Bill (1972)
I don’t think there are any words in the English language that exist, that could describe exactly just how phenomenal I feel Bill Withers is. He has produced some of the finest music. He is a unique musician that has produced his own brand of music like no other. The only other famous artist with that same unique genius (I can think), is Al Green, in my opinion. In fact, Bill’s talent is so unique, I had trouble figuring out a category for him. I’m sure most of the music industry has him under R&B; but to me, he’s more Black folk (if there was such a category). By the way, to all the Bill Withers fans, did you get a chance to see his documentary “Still Bill (2009)?” I highly recommend that you watch it if you have not already. It’s very interesting I promise you! One of the things I’ve learned in that documentary was that Bill was a stutterer. What a beautiful voice, I would have never suspected him of having a speech problem. I remembered how he cried sharing what he went through; but don’t worry, the documentary isn’t a tear jerker. At age 81 now, as far as I can tell, his last performance was in France last year. Go head with your bad self Bill!!
“Lean On Me” was the biggest song in his career. It reached #1 on the Hot 100, in 1972. A group called “Club Nouveau” did a cover version of “Lean On Me,” and believe it or not, it also hit #1 in 1987! From the same album, Bill had another super hit called “Use Me,” which peaked at #2. I loved that song, it has sick beat to it, and it matched the attitude of the song. In 1981, he recorded a song with Grover Washington called “Just The Two Of us,” and it reached #2. The dude was smokin’. A lot of artist sampled this song it was so popular. In my opinion, the his albums “Just As I am (1971),” and “Still Bill” are of his best works. However, if you love his music, listen to his “Essential Album.” It has practically all his most popular music, and some nice ones you may or may not have heard before.Save Up to 77% On Select Musical Instruments and Accesories
Song: In The Midnight Hour
Artist: The Silvertones
The song “In The Midnight Hour,” was another one of many reggae favorites of my late grandfather and I. It was released in 1968, I believe in the U.K. It was a cover of Wilson Pickett’s 1965 version of “Midnight Hour.” Wilson’s version hit #21 on the Top 100. Despite Wilson’s song being almost 55 years old now, Spotify alone has it registered at over 34M plays. Grandpa and I used to listen to both versions all the time. I don’t believe he ever owned a Silvertone album, however, I remember hearing him play their song on his big reel2reel player. Back in the day, poor folk saved soooooo much money on music by taping each others albums. I don’t know what the stats are for Silvertones’s “In The Midnight Hour,” but streaming appears to be less than 60k plays. It certainly was a hit in my house growing up. Lost reggae legends indeed. Check out another favorite of mine, “Young At Heart.”
Artist: Janet Jackson
Album: Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
We all know that Janet comes from a family where talent is in their genes. I think it’s safe to say that, there’s no question, for most people, at least half of Janet’s music we love. She’s done house, pop, romance, you name it! Janet has done just about every kind of music except country (that I’m aware of LOL). I’m so glad I hadn’t heard any country songs from her; because back in the day, once a known pop artist come out with a country album, usually it’s a bad sign that your career is dying. Not sure if that’s still true today but… Just sayin’… Out of all my many favorites, “Alright” has been on the top of my list. It may also be because of her music video, the whole “film noir” setting. One thing I’ve always loved about both Janet and Micheal, they always pay tribute (in someway) to classic film. “Alright (1989)” hit #4 on the Hot 100 charts! The entire Rhythm Nation album in my opinion is number one. I think both her Control & Rhythm Nation is her best work. Unfortunately, this single remix album is out of print. However, you can find it on Discogs.FragranceNet.com’s Best Selling Men’s Fragrances
Artist: The Manhattan Transfer
Album: Extensions (1979)
Genre: Pop Dance
Boy!! Talk about a forgotten group!!! I actually haven’t heard anything from these guys since a long time. These guys produced one of my favorite pop dance tunes (well technically, it’s more disco now that I think about it) of the 80s. I don’t know how many of my readers know, but are you aware that the cult classic TV show “The Twilight Zone” had it’s own disco theme? Yup!! And The Manhattan Transfer, performed this classic. According to a source I’ve read, the song hit #30 on the US Hot 100 chart. But, this song had to have been bigger than that; because by the time I was old enough to go to clubs (about 5 years after it’s original release date), this song was still being played. I’ve heard so many different versions of this song growing up, it wasn’t even funny. Recently a remix of the song was made. Check out the new remix of Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone.
Song: Close To You
Artist: Maxi Priest
Album: Bonafide (1990)
This is one reggae artist that should not be forgotten. Maxi Priest is so underrated in my opinion. He is a great singer and a phenomenal songwriter. His rise to fame came when he released his massive hit “Close To You” in 1990. The song hit #1 and stayed number one for a week. It’s important to remember reggae artists like him, because he’s one of the few reggae artists that hit number one (at least once) on the American charts. This means their music appeals to a wider audience. In the 90s, Americans played a LOT of Jamaican music, but I can count on one hand artists that registered anywhere on the American Billboard charts. I encourage you to seek out some of his older music. Another well known hit he produced was called “Wild World,” from his album “The Best Of Me (1991),” featuring John Gallon. This was actually a cover of Cat Steven’s Wild World released in 1970. Maxi did a wonderful job reinterpreting this song!