So much great oldies in the digital world it’s ridiculous!! Absolutely no one should be crying they don’t have money to buy their favorite song or album! Because guess what? You virtually don’t need money any more these days. Just take the initiative and search Spotify or YouTube! Today’s musicians are the legendary Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. You may remember Marilyn as off and on lead singer for “The Fifth Dimensions.” Her long time husband Billy Davis Jr. founded the group some time in 1965. However they first came out under a different name. In 1965 they were first known as “The Versatiles.” A year later, they changed the name to “The Fifth Dimensions.”
Both Were Affiliated With The Fifth Dimensions!
The group has been known for many many huge hits, such as “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” and “Up Up And Away,” just to name a few. The group was so huge back in the day, and I’ve always associated Marilyn McCoo with the group. However, I tend to forget that McCoo actually had both a few solo and duet albums with her husband. Unfortunately, she only had one real hit outside of “The Fifth Dimensions.” In my opinion, this was her most memorable song (in my age group) it’s called “You Don’t Have To Be a Star (To Be In My Show) (1976).” I played this song so many times as a kid, I’m surprised that 45rpm did not turn in to dust and disappear!
I Often Forgot That Marilyn Had Albums Outside Of The Fifth Dimensions!
Now, this doesn’t make any sense. Unless I’m missing something, or Billboard can’t give me the information I need. I remember as a young boy how huge his song was; almost every Black household was playing this song, yet Billboard did not have this song registered. That is impossible. It was too popular not to be registered anywhere on there. I’ll try a little longer and see, but I just can’t find it. Anyway, before I get sidetracked, I’d like to make a quick comment about their album “Marilyn & Billy.” I believe this album was released around 1978, then digitally re-released in 2014. I did not personally own this album, so I was in catatonic shock, when I discovered that a song McCoo sang, “Saving All My Love For You,” was performed originally by her! I don’t even think I heard her version on the radio. I assumed this was originally recorded by the late Whitney Houston! You see, we all learn something new every day!!
Song: Oh Sherrie
Artist: Steve Perry
Album: Greatest Hits + 5 (1998)
Now, of course, many people are going to have different opinions about this, but just keep in mind that this is my own personal opinion. As both a blogger and a heavy music fan, when it comes to rock music, I feel that Steve Perry is one of the very few greatest rock voices that ever lived (at least in my generation). Steve has a voice that demands attention. I mean, the only other person I can think of, that has a voice powerful enough (and better even) could even dare challenge him, would have been the late Freddy Mercury of QUEEN (that would have been a spectacular concert if that indeed happened, yes?) That’s my opinion. Let’s face it, very few male 80s rock “singers” could actually sing, without interpreting their output as pure yelling!
I’ve Heard Very Few Male 80s Rock Singers, That Didn’t Scream Their Way Through!
You know, I looked at Steve, and never thought that an amazing voice could come out of that tiny body. 🤣 I think it’s safe to say that Steve truly made his mark as lead singer of Journey, with the following two songs. The first, a song called “Open Arms (1982),” which reached #2 on the Top 100 chart. The second song was called “Never Stop Believin’ (1981),” which peaked at #9 on the Top 100. You know, after the fact, it seemed very strange that this song peaked at only #9 considering this song was remixed and played so many times. At times it seemed more popular than “Open Arms.” Then again, I guess I have to remember it depends on the environment I’m in. Because in the clubs, they played “Never Stop Believin'” a lot. In fact, many “Bring To Action” type groups used this song as their anthem.
What a great song it was though. There’s no doubt that this song was and still is extremely inspirational. After Steve left the group Journey, he produced two songs from his solo career that became my ultimate favorites. The First Song is called “Oh Sherrie (1984),” and peaked at #3. I loved this song. Not only was the music great, I loved the way he sang it. I thought the way he emphasized the “N” sound, in the lyrics “You Should Have Been Gonnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeee” was absolutely hilarious! 🤣 Since he partly written the song, I guess some of that was personal experience (as most songs where back in the day). The last ultimate favorite is called “Foolish Heart (1985).” I think this was a really nice rock ballad. It only reached #18 (which isn’t bad). I’ll tell you one thing, all those classic rock stations playing love songs from back in the day, usually this song would bound to popup at some point.
Song: You Sexy Thing
Artist: Hot Chocolate
Album: Hot Chocolate (1975)
Ok guys, I have to be honest. The only Hot Chocolate I liked actually came from Nestle! But when it came to the band, not so much. Unfortunately, despite having several hits under their belt, I have to put them in my “one hit wonder section.” Simply because for whatever reason, I wasn’t attracted to their music. I don’t know what it was. Their style, their voice, the equipment they’ve used? It just sounded like most of the music I’ve listened to them all sounded like cheap karaoke songs. I hate karaoke music, especially since most of us had to pay for our music back then.
Unfortunately, I Had To Place Them In My One Hit Wonder Section!
The only song throughout their entire career I felt was solid (in my opinion), and it also turned out to be their biggest hit of their career (numbers wise), was called “You Sexy Thing (1975).” The song shot up to #3 on the Top 100 Chart in 1976. This song played EVERYWHERE! And that included many commercials too. The only other song I somewhat had feelings for, was a 1973 cover they did from a band called Story. The song was called Brother Louie, from on their 1974 album called Cicero Park. I loved the Blaxploitation feel of the song. It’s a shame that it doesn’t appear anywhere on the charts. It was a decent reinterpretation. The group has changed a lot. Some have moved on, and others have died. Although the group is still performing to my understanding, they haven’t had a major hit since the late 70s.
Song: Beautiful And Dangerous
Artist: Desmond Dekkar
Genre: Sweetest Reggae
You know, I’m not trying to brag, or make myself better than any other classic music blogger. We all celebrate the classics in our own personal way. However, I just want to say what makes my blog special from 85% of blogs in cyberspace, is that it IS a music history blog! Not a collection of random YouTube videos grabbed by a query some lazy programmer written. There’s truly a difference between an automated “blog,” and a blogger that handwrites his or her articles, and shares his/her memories. I am literally telling you a story and sharing my childhood with my readers. I’m pretty sure that at least more than half of what I’ve written, no other popular blogger is writing about. Except for, those stupid and pointless “happy birthday” photo posts on Facebook. And even then they still don’t know shit, if they need to find birthdays.
The Late Desmond Is A Forgotten Reggae Legend Now!
Again, unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any sort of billboard information to share with you. All I can do is share some of the most popular music I remember growing up. Desmond had recorded a LOT of music, and all the so called “reggae fans,” doesn’t seem to have heard of Desmond. When in fact, I remember his song “007 (Shanty Town) (with The Aces)” to have been his most popular single of everything he’s done in 1967! Actually, another song that was just as popular I heard growing up is “Israelites,” released in 1968.
I Loved Desmond’s Cover Of “You Can Get It If You Really Want!”
I really loved his cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “You Can Get It If You Really Want,” c. 1970s. Both versions are wonderful really. In addition to a lot of political songs, he performed some love songs too. Although the lyrics to “Beautiful and Dangerous” are a little confusing to me, I still love how the background music was done. It remains to be one of my many favorites. I do recommend that you take the time to skim through some of his albums. I know most reggae fans will find something of his they’ll enjoy.
Song: Sitting In The Park
Album: TWO (1980)
Another amazingly talented band that has been forgotten. Even when I’d visit 70s/80s parties, maybe once or twice I’ve heard their music played. This awesome band formed in the Bronx, New York, sometime in the late 60s. Their history is hard for me to trace, as they’ve performed under different names & different music labels. Their music genre was mostly disco. They almost had a Chic, sound to their music in my opinion.
They’ve Produced 2 Unforgettable Hits!
Most older folk would probably remember their monumental #1 R&B hit “Disco Nights (Rock Freak) (1979).” I used to dance the hell out of this song. One of the very few songs I’ve heard where R&B and Disco merged beautifully (in my opinion). You may also remember their cover of Billy Stewart’s 1965 classic “I Do Love You (1979).” Their rendition did very well, reaching #5 on the R&B chart. However, from that same year (I believe) there was another cover they did by Billy Stewart, and I don’t recall the song receiving a whole lot of buzz. It’s called “Sitting In The Park (1980).” They did a beautiful job with this song as well, and I appreciated how they kept the essence of the song in tact, without changing the song completely. It reached #9 on the R&B Chart. Unfortunately, the groups ended before 2000. Keith Crier (above, first left) passed away, and the remaining group members eventually went their separate ways doing other things. So sad.
Song: Mr. Blue Sky
Artist: Electric Light Orchestra
Album: Out Of The Blue (1977)
Guys, please don’t judge their name! Although their name sounds like they belong to some sort of circus or novelty act, this England born band produced beyond amazing music when I was growing up. And the proof in that, is their staggering streaming numbers. The song “Mr. Blue Sky” was released in 1977, how the hell did it manage to gather 360M streams from Spotify alone? Are you kidding me? That’s the kind of streams that only someone like Whitney Houston, or Michael Jackson got. Yet, if you ask the average person who they are, they draw a blank! Most people don’t have a clue.
How Can A Group Get So Much Plays, Yet People Barely Remember Them?
That’s mind boggling to me. Either this is an example of how complicated an artist/band stats are, or streaming is moving so incredibly fast, that we are missing a major part of our music history! Don’t you think? To throw an even bigger wrench into the equation, they never had a number one hit! But they do have 7 Top Tens under their belt.
Despite “Mr. Blue Sky” being so successful, the song was at the bottom when it came to my favorites. The song that I think is probably most known/remembered was from their album “A New World Record,” the song is called “Telephone Line (1976).”It also happens to be one of my top favorites. This peaked at #7 on the Top 100, and was their highest ranking song on the charts. Also, from that same album was another favorite of mine called “Livin’ Thing,” and it only peaked at #13 (which is not bad). It’s a really nice album, I recommend it. Check out some of their other hits, “Don’t Break Me Down,” and another great song of theirs “Evil Woman.”
Song: Free Me From My Freedom
Artist: Bonnie Pointer
Soulful singer Bonnie Pointer is the sister of singing group, the Pointer Sisters. I started off my title with “What A Shame,” because quite frankly, it is. It’s a same because she has become one of many really, really talented forgotten American performers. Also, I say it’s a shame because of her battle with drugs and alcohol. It breaks my heart to see people who have the gift of singing, and their careers have literally been obliterated by drugs. But, it is also so common among extremely famous music artists of the 70s & 80s (mostly in my opinion (it seems)). From her public divorce, to her embarrassing mugshot after being caught for drug possession. Bonnie became a steamy hot plate of mess. The worst thing in the world is for a music artist to be on TMZ’s list, because a significant amount of music fan base reads and watches TMZ. You can read more about it from The Daily Mail.
In Essence, She Lost Her Career Through Drugs & Alcohol!
I’m not sure if a lot of people remember, but… Back in the day, we had a lot of what I think was called “Double Featured Albums,” such as the one I have below. Usually the music labels would release 12 inch version of 1 hit song from 2 different artists on the same album. Side A for one artist and side B for the other. Man, I played the hell out of “Free Me From My Freedom (1978).” This was my sh*t. This was a powerful, soulful and a fun disco love song, that in essence talks about telling her man to take her off the singles market. I love these kinds of love songs. I hate love songs where the lyrics sound like the singer is begging.
Now, I have to be honest, I hated “What You Gave Me (1978),” by Diana Ross. This should have been on Side TWO instead, but I knew the game. It was “Diana Ross,” ooooooo. Bonnie has such a soulful voice, I really think Motown should have picked another performer that complimented her (Sorry Diana Ross fans). Now, according to Wikipedia, “What You Gave Me,” was actually a cover of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, ’cause Wiki recorded the release date as being 1969. By the way, I liked Marvin & Tammi‘s version better. Way better.
After Bonnie Gone Solo, She Only Had 3 Major hits (Tho Not Number Ones)!
It was absolutely disappointing that Bonnie’s amazing song “Free Me From My Freedom,” only peaked at #58 on the Top 100, and only #26 on the Club Chart. Perhaps despite being a dance song, the rhythm wasn’t fast enough to appeal to more dance fans? Two other popular hits you should listen to. “Heaven Must Have Sent You (1979)” should be the first you listen to! This song was not only the most popular, but the biggest one of her career. It shot up to #11 on the Top 100. Wasn’t a Top 10, but it was close enough 😄. Lastly, she made a cover of The Four Tops “I Can’t Help Myself (1980).” I have to say tho, this song had to grow on me. I wasn’t immediately turned on by the song, but I’ve come to like it over time.
Artist: Pat Benatar
Album: Crimes Of Passion (1980)
Genre: Alternative Rock
You know, technically, I don’t think Pat Benatar is a forgotten artists per-say. At least not from the standpoint of her music being obscure. However, I do think she’s a forgotten artist from the standpoint of her being a woman within the rock genre. Like rap, the 80s was really tough for female rockers, in a male dominated genre. She had (and still has) the voice for rock music, but unfortunately this very talented rock artist never had a number one, and as far as I know, never been inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. However, that didn’t stop her from obtaining 4 awesome Top 10 Hits! As I’ve said earlier, I’ve never had any particular interest in borderline hard rock. But, Mrs. Benatar was one of those rare acceptations.
Such Power In Her Voice, Yet She Never Had A #1 Song!
And one of the 4 Top Tens, happens to be today’s song pick. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” from her 1980s “Crimes Of Passions” album. This song peaked at #9, and in my opinion, is probably one of the most memorable songs of her career. To my understanding, this song was actually her first Top 10 Hit. The song was so popular, it was heard during many sports games and sports commercials. Another hit I loved was her song “Love Is A Battle Field (1989).” I thought the video was awesome too. While I mentioned her video, I want you to check it out. One of the dancers has a striking resemblance to Stephanie Mills. I’ll give you one more favorite. The song “We Belong (1985),” was a badass song back in the day. I used to listen to it all the time. This amazing song reached #5 on the Top 100 Chart.