Basically, this is my singers and songwriters section. “Singers and Songwriters” was actually a category at one time (believe it or not). It usually consisted of huge artists who wrote and performed their own music. However, today I think it’s safe to say that “Easy Listening” took its place as most artists that were in the old category were mostly folk, ballads, and sometimes light jazz performers. Enjoy sifting through my light music selections.
Song: At Seventeen
Artist: Janis Ian
Album: Between The Lines (1975)
Genre: Folk Music
I guess I can safely say that anyone under 30 years of age either don’t remember Janis Ian, or just never heard of her before. It’s understandable, because today I think that most people around the globe barely listens to folk music anymore. And by the way, I don’t think it’s because people now see folk music as “boring,” or not enjoyable anymore. My personal opinion is that a significant amount of folk music from the 60s & 70s were very political, and it was from an era that most people can no longer relate to, or the lyrics are no longer applicable to the average person’s life anymore (I guess).
In 1975, Ian Crushed The Charts With Her Only One Top 10 Hit
“I learned the truth at seventeen,” was the first lyric sung that pretty much said it all!! Ian’s hit “At Seventeen,” was a very special song in my opinion because it was a song of re-contemplation, perhaps re-assessment of who you are. The blend of mellow music and meaningful lyrics sort of forced one to re-evaluate yourself. The song was appropriately titled “At Seventeen,” because all the lyrics described what I think almost every child has gone through at least one in their life. Particularly young girls. The question of beauty. Being physically worthy of having a relationship. Wondering if whether or not one can even compete in the harsh world perfectionism and good looks.
I also believed that the song hit #3 on the Top 100 Chart, because young people resonated with those lyrics. Speaking from experience, teenage social issues were emotionally heavy stuff in my era. And if you didn’t have the kind of parents with the kind of grace necessary to help you through some of those teenage issues, you become a basket case as an adult. Maybe if you read her lyrics you’ll understand what I mean. She also had a song that almost made Top 10 called “Society’s Child (Baby I’ve Been Thinking),” it only got as far up as the #14th position. I think Ian will only be most remembered for “At Seventeen.” It’s a shame because her first album “Between The Lines” was really an amazing album I think.
Song: Y Hubo Alguien
Artist: Marc Anthony
Album: Contra La Corriente (1997)
Genre: Latin Salsa
You know, as a blogger, it’s kind of scary when you write about some of your favorite artists, then you have that realization that…… “Oh shit, this song is over 20 years old!” So many songs I write about feel like it’s been only yesterday. I guess this is one of the many reasons people in my age group experience a massive culture shock (in regards to today’s music). What young kids today see as musically “hot,” is most likely not our cup of tea. On the other hand, if their parents wasn’t musically cultured, it’s inevitable that the kids isn’t going to have anything to compare what music to.
He Truly Loves Music
When I think about old school Latin artists, like the late Celia Cruz,the late Tito Puente, Willie Colon, Johnny Pacheco, or even younger artists, such as La India and perhaps Gloria Estefan. They all posses a certain special magic in their music that very few artists have today (not even J Lo, sorry to say). There’s a huge difference between being a performer, and being a musician. I’m not sure if I have any words to explain it. Then again, I’m sure the love of music is hard to explain because it’s very much part of emotion; and if you can’t connect on an emotional level (musically), I don’t believe we can truly explain it. It’s one of those things you have to see them perform, see their interaction with the audience, the expressions on their faces as the feel the music, etc.
I think Marc Anthony is one of those important, and still relevant musicians that posses that magic. If I had to pic one important quality about these people, I think it would be their ability to attract music lovers of all generations. And I think very few musicians accomplish this, because of not only the lack of culture, but today everything is done via keyboard! Marc Anthony has such an incredible voice, a distinctive voice, a voice with lots of vocal range. Marc could probably sing a whole album, with no band, and it would be a mega hit.
Ok, I’ve Babbled Enough LOL!
To be honest, most of the music I’ve liked by Marc Anthony have been in English. However, “Y Hubo Alguien,” I have to admit is a real favorite of mine. This song was so hot, I’ve even heard disc jockeys play this on English radio stations. Another Spanish old school I recommend is “Tu Amor Me Hace Bien (2004).” One of my favorite English Marc Anthony songs are “You Sang To Me (1999),” “I Need To Know (1999),” and “My Baby You (1999).”
Song: Deck The Halls
Artist: Nat King Cole
Album: The Christmas Song (1962)
Well, although I don’t celebrate Xmas anymore, given that my blog is about classic music, I thought it would be fitting to celebrate Xmas from a nostalgic point-of-view. Xmas for me now has a different meaning. It is not about the celebration of a savior, but the celebration of cherished memories of my late grandfather. Remembering him relax on his recliner while listening to ol’ Nat King Cole, gave me the joy of watching him enjoy his most favorite music, and letting his “hair down.” Without meaning to sound like I’m exaggerating, I think my grandfather was more religious than anyone I’ve ever met. And I don’t just mean that from the standpoint of belief, but the kind of person he was (in relation to what he believed).
Nat Has Been Immortalized By His Xmas Music!!
You know, I think when it comes to classic music being lost, Xmas seems to be the exception to the rule (so far). Unlike mainstream music we listen to frequently (and repetitively), we listen to Xmas music perhaps about 2 weeks consecutively, for once a year. Today, in the age of streaming, there is so much content out here that, if you don’t listen to a song for a couple of months, it’s forgotten about. Yet, this doesn’t seem to happen with Xmas music. I truly think it has a lot to do with the power Xmas has to bring families together in a way that goes far beyond even thanksgiving day. (just my opinion). Xmas music now becomes associated with that family time.
I know that I’ve selected Nat’s “Deck The Halls,” but, in reality, the whole entire album is a masterpiece. I haven’t met anyone who celebrates Xmas, who hasn’t enjoyed listening to this album from side A to B. Also, for my Boriqua readers, don’t for get about the cult classic Salsoul Orchestra! WOW! It seemed like everyone I knew growing up had the Xmas Jollies album. Here are some recommendations of classics that have been digitally reissued. “Santa Got A Bag Of Soul (2013),” by The Poets Of Rhythm; “Wonderful Xmas Time (2018),” by Diana Ross; “Mary’s Boy Child (2000),” by Harry Belafonte; “What Xmas Means To Me (2019),” by Stevie Wonder; “Put A Little Love In Your Heart (2001),” by Annie Lennox & Al Green (not exactly Xmas music but it fits the spirit); and finally “Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man This Christmas) (2014),” by The Weather Girls.
Song: Rising To The Top
Artist: Keni Burke
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Oh, I think I have a nice one for your guys today! My young readers don’t know anything about this man here! Keni Burke is a songwriter, singer, and producer. Keni started his career some time in the mid 60s. Damn! I had no idea he was around for that long 😜. Burke first joined the band called Five Stairsteps around ’67, they’re probably best known (if you do remember them) for their hit song “O-o-Child (1970).” After about two albums, the group disbanded. Well, you may not remember his name, however if you’re Black, I can say with almost full certainty that you’ve heard at least one of his works.
You May Not Remember His Name, But You’ll Recognize This Hit!!
Unfortunately, this is another example where I have trouble finding chart information 😡. All I can tell you is that today’s song “Rising To The Top” was perhaps the biggest song in his career, especially in the Black community. The song was sampled several times by big names. Probably the most memorable (I’m assuming) was done by the Mary Jane Girls, with “All Night Long (1994),” which hit #8 on the Dance Charts, and #11 on the R&B Charts.
Old school rapper Doug E. Fresh also sampled a little bit of Keni’s song with “Keep Risin’ To The top (1988).” Also, Big Daddy Kane with “Smooth Operator (1989).” Several other well known names has sampled Keni’s song. My young readers just don’t know how popular this beat was in the Black community back in the day. I’m dumbfounded I can’t find the stats on Keni’s song. I don’t know if there are technical issues on Billboards site in regards to Keni’s music? I don’t know…. Whatever….. There you have it… Another example of a master, lost in music history!
Song: Against The Wind
Artist: Bob Seger
Album: Against The Wind (1980)
Genre: Easy Listening
What? What? Don’t look shocked! I told you I was into all kinds of music! I meant that when I said it the first time! 😨 LOL I’m not exactly sure when I discovered Bob Seger, but, I had absolutely no idea just how many of his songs made the Billboard Charts until I started looking. In terms of categories, I’m not quite sure where to place Seger. Almost all his albums fluctuates between country and rock. Actually, that’s probably why I wasn’t aware of his other hits, I never really listened to rock stations. If I did, it was usually stations that would be considered really really light/soft rock. However, for today’s song, it is easy listening.
Bob Had Way More Hits Than I Realized!
Seger’s song “Against The Wind,” has got to be my ultimate favorite from him. I love those smooth and relaxing country type songs. If you were looking for music that allowed you to concentrate on something without distracting you? Say, building something, or perhaps giving your dog a bath or something like that, this would be the perfect song to add to your playlist in my opinion. Lyrics are sad, but it’s still a great song. The song reached #5 on the Top 100 Charts.
Some of his songs completely went over my head. “Shakedown (1987),” was on the Beverly Hills soundtrack, starring Eddie Murphy. It hit #1 on the Top 100. I remembered just about every song on that soundtrack, but couldn’t remember Seger’s song for the life of me. However, then again, this song wouldn’t be the type of rock music I normally would listen to, so I most likely blocked it from my head I guess. But, I do remember “Old Time Rock & Roll (1979),” which hit #28, yeah, that was a cute rock song.
Two More Favorites Of Mine
I’d like you guys to check out two more favorites of mine. You may remember this one, it was fairly popular called “Night Moves (1977).” It reached #4 on the Top 100. Lastly check out “Shame On The Moon (1983).” now, this one hit #2 on the Top 100. “Shame On The Moon,” is a really nice song in my opinion. For some odd reason, it reminds me of an old Sam Cooke song, but I can’t recall it right now. You should research some of Seger’s music, you may find some you’d consider classic gems.
Album: Half Nelson (1982)
Genre: Easy Listening
This is why I am a blogger! It’s a beautiful thing when you have a good enough memory that you can share a piece of history with others. You better continue to visit my blog, because I can assure you, you will not “discover” half the stuff I blog about on YouTube! Just because it may be uploaded, doesn’t mean it will show up on anyone’s playlist, or radio playlist. Let me tell you, these two men… Again, unless your family is cultural enough to still play this kind of music, if you’re younger than 20-25 years of age, I doubt you have any idea of their music.
Julio Iglesias Was Sexy As F**k!
I’m not gonna lie, I thought Julio Iglesias was sexy as hell when he was young. Even in the picture about he still looked good around the age of 42 (which indirectly added to the success of the song (I think)). The duet with country singer Willie Nelson proved to be the most successful move in Julio’s career. “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before,” hit #5 on the Top 100 Chart, and hit #1 on the Country Charts. Now, this isn’t to say Julio didn’t have any other #1 hits, they’re just in the Latin categories, whereas the Top 100 is more broad.
You know, it was interesting because, this song in particular seemed to have transcend not only across music cultures, but age as well. I mean, I’ve seen str8 women go bananas when they heard this song come on the radio! Then again, Julio had a kind of voice where, he could have been singing about taking a dump in the toilet, and still sound sexy as hell. 😂 Such a shame father time was not kind to Julio. I absolutely can’t believe it’s the same person now. Today, he looks so much like Mickey Rourke now. I wonder if Julio had plastic surgery too?
Song: Love Is A Battlefield
Artist: Luke Evans
Album: At Last (2019)
Do you remember the incredibly handsome & gorgeous Luke Evans? He’s the guy I think is probably best known for “Dracula, Untold (2014),” and “Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (2013).” I highly recommend both these movies, he’s a wonderful actor. He can practically play anything, and the movie winds up being a hit. Well!!!!! Let me tell you guys something! Not sure if any of my readers know about it, or have even been paying attention. This hunk of a man just came out with his first single a couple of days ago.
Actor Turned Singer? Hmmmm.
To be honest, I’m still feeling my way through his album. I guess if I’m taking this long to figure out whether I like it or not, it’s probably all that. Yet, it’s also true that I’ve only been familiar with him as an actor; so it could be an issue of trying to adjust. Immediately I’ve noticed that he’s got quite a bit of covers on his new album.
You know, now that I think about it… I think the one thing that appears to be throwing me off is the style of music on the album itself. Personally, without knowing anything about Luke’s tastes in music genres, I would have imagined his album would have been closer to either modern rock or pop music. However, after listening to his album, it definitely has a movie soundtrack feel to it. I’m not sure if this is the type of music he’s into, or this is what he was musically trained in.
The Album Has A Soundtrack Feel To It!
His cover of Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield” sounds pretty good though. I honestly never thought that it could be possible that a man would pull that off! Thank goodness he changed the tempo of the cover; I think it would have sounded really bad (given the texture of his voice) trying to keep up with the way Pat Benatar sang it.
My least favorite on this album is his cover of Etta James’s hit “At Last.” You know, in my opinion, this is a very delicate song. Not everyone can sing this song, it’s very difficult. I didn’t even liked the way Beyoncé sang it!! Sorry gay people, I’m over 50, it should be expected that I’m not gonna like many redoes made by much younger artists. For real, he should have left this song alone. This album is definitely an acquired taste. It’s not a bad album, on the other hand, a certain crowd will gravitate toward this album. I have a funny feeling I’m gonna enjoy him more as an actor than a singer. One thing’s for sure, if his album flops, he has his acting career to fallback on.
Song: That’s Amore
Artist: Dean Martin
Genre: Jazz Vocalist
I’ve never considered myself a Dean Martin fan at all. I thought to myself, I think I only ever liked one song from him. However, as I quickly skimmed through some research notes, I remembered 2 more songs he sang I’ve enjoyed as a kid. I still don’t favor him, at least not enough to listen to him on a regular basis. Dean had one of those Bing Crosby type of music and voice that I just didn’t connect with.
Dean’s Music Was An Acquired Taste.
Honestly, I think the only reason why I enjoyed “That’s Amore,” was because it had an addictive catchy tune, and it reminded me of Bugs Bunny cartoons. 😂 If it doesn’t remind you of some cartoon from back in the day; it will make you feel you’re having dinner with a huge Italian family! I’m just giving you a forward warning, once you listen to this song, it will be ringing in your head for a day or two! It’s that catchy! LOL It’s crazy that this tune did not register anywhere on the Top 100 Charts! Holy cow!
How funny is it that the song I considered to be one of his most boring songs, “Everybody Loves Somebody,” hit #1 in 1964! Eeerrr, the song is OK, but, I really have to be in the mood to listen to that. Don’t recommend listening to it if you’re depressed on any given day 😂. The second, and only song I ever liked from Dean Martin (other than “That’s Amore”) was a song called “Volare” which peaked at #15 in 1958. All his other songs will put you to sleep! LOL Sorry! Even as an actor, I didn’t really like him. The ONLY reason I would watch a movie with him in it, was unless Jerry Lewis was in it. And even then, I didn’t like him that much because Jerry was almost always the brunt of his jokes. The “Dean & Lewis” scripts was specifically crafted to make Dean look good. It was quite obvious, and it was a turn off to me. 😠