Song: My Eyes Adored You
Artist: Frankie Valli
Album: Closeup (1975)
Genre: Easy Listening
What a shame! Kids today never even heard of the great Frankie Valli! Not only that, I doubt they ever heard of The Four Seasons either! Frankie Valli was a massive hit maker, yet, not even internet radio is playing their music (and let me tell you, I’ve heard some pretty obscure music on internet radio). Shame on any parent who has not introduced their kids at some point to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons! The Four Seasons sounded as though they were meant to be an A cappella group instead a pop band. Frankie had such a distinctive voice (still has). Nobody in my opinion could sing their music as good as The Four Seasons. The songs were simply made for them.
In my opinion, they sang some of the most romantic music of their time, be it an actual ballad or a pop song. It was not always about the voice either, it was about the lyrics. “My Eyes Adored You,” is a perfect song to play at any wedding or reception. The song was also another major favorite of my late grandfather. I remember any time this song came on the radio or something; it didn’t matter what my grandma was doing; my she could have been in the middle of preparing dinner; my grandpa made her stop what she was doing to dance with him to this song. Definitely, men don’t come like that anymore.
Looking For Special Romantic Music For Your Partner? Choose Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons!
There are just too many of their great music to list all of them. So, I’m going to share with you some of my ultimate favorites I remember growing up! In addition to listening to “My Eyes Adored You,” I also recommend songs such as, “Sherry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Let’s Hang On,” “Grease,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” “Swearin’ To God,” “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!),” and “Searching Wind.” Those are my most favorite childhood songs from Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.
Song: Soul Makossa
Artist: Manu Dibango
Album: Soul Makossa (1972)
Genre: African Jazz
If you are lucky enough to own this album, you own a part of Africa’s forgotten history. This is my favorite album of all times from Manu Dibango! And in my opinion, this is his greatest master piece! You will play from beginning to end! Depending on where you go, there appears to be digital variations of this album. This may or may not be because the album was released in many parts of the world, including Japan, Brazil, and France. And from what I observed in situations like this, quite often I’ve noticed slight edits to original music for different countries. If you cannot open your heart to this kind of music, you can’t call yourself cultural, or even diverse.
Americans never heard of Manu before, much less his music. But that all changed in 1972 when he released “Soul Makossa,” from his 1972 album called (you’ve guessed it) “Soul Makossa.” This song (well mostly instrumental) was a huge international hit! Although it reached only #35 on the Top 100 Charts (I still consider that a huge accomplishment, since most Americans were not listening to this kind of music (let’s be real about that)), it hit #11 on the American R&B Charts. Just imagine how huge that was! This incredibly talented, badass saxophonist from Cameroon, located in Central Africa, managed to rattle many music cultures around the world with his brilliance! While at the same time, forcing people to listen to music they would have never listened to otherwise. That’s deep.
However, today’s featured album is called “Gone Clear (1980),” which has a piece called “Reggae Makossa,” which is a remix of his original afro-beat hit “Soul Makossa.” It’s just a more smoother dance groove. In my opinion, this album is worth searching for, especially if you’re in my age group from the Island. I know you’ll enjoy it. Spotify doesn’t have the original album, but they do have the original songs scattered through out his other albums. My very top favorites from this album are “Doctor Bird,” “Goro City,” and “Full Up.” Manu is now about 85 years young, and much to my surprise, he is still performing! That is a man that loves music. Very few people are this dedicated. Off the top of my head, I can only count on one hand artist with that level of dedication. Celia Cruz, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Orbison, and Tito Puente, all of those people practically performed until their last breath.
Artist: Burt Bacharach
Genre: Easy Listening
I know for most of my readers, they’ve never heard of this man, and I think his music is worth remembering and celebrating. Burt Bacharach is genius musical composer (and occasionally, singer), who produced some of the most popular hits of his time. He started on his path to success writing hits in the fifties all the way through the 80s. He has done everything from pop music to huge movie scores & movie themes.
Long Time Professional Relationship With Dionne Warwick
I’m going to make an assumption that, those that do remember Bacharach, probably remember him because of his association with Dionne Warwick. Burt has written some of Dionne’s biggest hits, including “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again,” “What The World Needs Now,” “Do You Know The Way To San Jose,” and “Walk On By.” As I delved more in to Bacharach’s work, I discovered something I didn’t know. Burt produced the famous cult classic “Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head,” which was performed by B.J. Thomas.
Now, I have to be honest, although Bacharach has produced a ton of hits; I think the musical styles of many of his hits are just way too broad; meaning, many of them have not reached mainstream despite being cult classics. Having said that, I don’t think there’s enough of his music that reached mainstream to warrant creating a playlist. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I feel at the moment. So rather than putting together a playlist, I’ll just focus on his most popular music in hopes you’ll likely remember them. In addition to the songs I’ve shared in the last paragraph, also check out the following: “The Look Of Love,” “Always Something There To Remind Me,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” “Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do),” “They Long To Be) Close To You,” “Alfie,” “Any Day Now,” and “One Less Bell To Answer.”Fall Sale! Get 20% off sitewide with code LNKSAWC9. Limited Time Only.
Song: Johnny Too Bad
Artist: The Slickers
Album: Johnny Too Bad (1971)
Genre: Sweet Reggae
Ok… I know, in general we shouldn’t judge people. But, I’m betting almost any amount of money that, unless you’re an old school Jamaican, or West-Indian (with age, or “seasoned” as we used to say), it’s likely you don’t know this group at all. The even sadder part is, there is so little written about this obscure group that there is little chance of discovery, unless you come from a family connected with reggae history. The Slickers was a Jamaican group that performed mostly rock-steady style of reggae. The Band’s career in music was extremely short (around 10 years give or take).
Only Well Seasoned Folk Would Know About This Group!
It’s unclear to me why they disbanded. It’s a shame because their song “Johnny Too Bad,” literally catapulted their career in ways we could not imagine. I mean, they were in fact talented, there was absolutely no reason why their career could not continue. I couldn’t even find an original album for this song. Almost every work I found from the group have all been released as singles. Now, this could also be possible that if there were more albums, they may have been released only in the UK.
If after listening to this reggae gem, you still can’t remember, or figure out where you’ve heard this song from. “Johnny Too Bad,” was on the hugely successful soundtrack to the movie called “The Harder They Come (1972),” starring legendary singer Jimmy Cliff. You know, I’ll share with you something interesting about the movie soundtrack. Growing up, I’ve always assumed that Jimmy Cliff was the only artist that sung “Many Rivers To Across,” just because I never recalled anyone else covering it. However, while searching for more of The Slickers’s music, Lo’ and behold, they have an UK album called “Many Rivers To Cross (1976).” Wow, it was strange listening to someone else sing this song. I really like the Slickers’s version of “Many Rivers To Cross,” but, I don’t know, if felt a more emotional connection to Jimmy Cliff’s version. Maybe I’m just a little bias ’cause I love Jimmy’s music. What you guys think?
Artist: Elvis Presley
You know, It’s a shame.. In this day and age, if anyone were to play any of Elvis’s music, someone would probably scream “turn that shit off!” 🤣 But, seriously. Elvis wasn’t some ordinary street dude who got hooked on drugs. Elvis was a brilliant performer that racked up 7 number one songs, and 25 top 10 hits! Do you really know how incredibly hard that is to do? Not only that, he acquired these things within 20 years from the start of his music career. In my generation, that was literally damn near Michael Jackson status (if not equivalent). It’s so heartbreaking to know that sad stories like Elvis’s life were so common, and still is.
Now, Elvis Is Just A Novelty!
It’s really mind-boggling to me, how someone who was a mega superstar, someone who reached greater heights than most performers of his time. Yet, after his death, our memories of him had shifted from being the greatest hit maker of the 50s, to a straight up novelty act, and that includes his likeness. I don’t think there is/was anyone else on this planet, that has been not only impersonated the most, but where people have made a livable career out of it, other than Elvis.
I also think it’s kind of sad that even those performers who imitate him (a large portion of them), whore costumes that projected (what I interpret to be) the worst points of Elvis life (towards the end of his career/life). Make no mistake, Elvis was a hot tamale when he was young. Maybe I’m viewing this the wrong way. But, when I was younger, I felt there was a fine line between entertaining the public, and making fun of Elvis after the fact. The playlist I made for you has many of his #1 hits, some redoes, and songs you may not have heard before. It has 26 of what I considered his best recordings. I think ultimate favorite is a song called “Suspicious Minds,” released in 1969.
Song: Hello, It’s Me
Artist: Todd Rundgren
Album: Something/Anything? (1972)
Do you remember this guy? Todd Rundgren’s music really isn’t obscure (I don’t think), but relative to today’s masses, he’s unheard of. Although he performed many different genres, so far the ones I found worth listening has been his pop songs. He started his career in the mid seventies, and has been known for his outrageous/unconventional wardrobe. Now, I don’t know, I always thought that his music required a certain taste. But, much to my surprise, it appears that a LOT of people love his music! For me, I only loved one song he has written. And that song was “Hello It’s Me,” from his 1972 album “Something/Anything?.” The song hit #5 on the Top 1000 Charts. I played this song so much back in the day, it wasn’t even funny. I was barely 5 years old when this song came out. What the hell was it about the song I loved so much? I thought perhaps it was the arrangements of the synthesizers; or perhaps his voice. Till this day, I still can’ figure out why only this song, and not none of his other works? I should have put him in the “one hit wonder” category, but this may or may not be exactly true. Check out this remix of “Hello, It’s Me,” I found by Philip Steir. Two years later, in 1974, the legendary Isley Brothers performed a cover of “Hello, It’s Me.” It’s a shame that the Isley’s cover didn’t appear anywhere on the Billboard’s 100/200 charts. I loved their version too.
Artist: Frank Sanatra
Genre: Vocal Jazz
I wouldn’t say that I’m a diehard fan of Frank Sanatra, but considering how much I love Barbra Streisand, a lot of his music is up my alley 😇. Frank Sanatra started recording music since the early 1940s. He made a LOT of albums. I was never attracted to what I called “Bing Crosby type of music,” but out of all his many many albums, this playlist I put together contains all of my Frank favorites.
The Reality Of Demographics.
Sometimes I become sad at the reality that within my demographics, most people would never listen to someone like Frank Sanatra, and would never be open to it either. It’s one of the many explanations for our lost musical culture. But… I digress. I remember reading about so much controversy over said friendship of Frank and Sammy Davis Jr. The newspapers and television literally had two entirely different views of what their relationships was actually like.
One narrative painted Sanatra as a racist who never liked Sammy, and only used him for his talents. Then we were fed another narrative of the supportive Frank, that stuck up for Sammy through a then much more racist era; especially when Los Vegas became pupular. Just for a moment, if we can just remove whatever bias, and enjoy Sanatra for his music alone, here are some of my favorites I’ve added to the playlist. A popular tune I’m sure everybody recognizes is “Love & Marriage,” which happens to be the theme for the hit cult classic TV show “Married With Children.” Another popular song was called “Come Fly With Me.” I think it was in an official Pan Am commercial. I’m not exactly sure, but I know it was in some commercial. “Young At Heart,” was my late grandpa and I favorite. It’s funny I was so young, yet I was able to connect to the nostalgia of that song. There are 18 popular hand picked Sanatra songs for you to enjoy!
Song: MacArthur’s Park
Artist: The Four Tops
Album: Four Tops Now (1969)
You know what? I totally forgot about this song. The song “MacArthur’s Park” was written by Jimmy Web, and first recorded by Richard Harris in 1968. Man, talk about dozens and dozens of redoes! This song was covered so many times by so many people, It’s not even funny. But, I have to say, Sammy Davis Jr., version of the song is boring as fuck!! And you know I’m open to all kinds of music. This song is not for everybody. You’ll probably more likely to like the original if you like classical music. Honestly, I think my ultimate version of this song, was when the late disco queen Donna Summer turned this in to a disco cult classic! Loved the 12 inch, on her “Live And More album.”
However, did you know that the legendary Four Tops recorded this song in 1969? The song peaked at #38 on the Top 100 Chart. I was only 2 years old then. I can’t say that I love it as much as I do Donna Summer’s version, but I really enjoyed it a lot. When you listen to how it was originally sung by Richard Harris, and the way song was was structured, almost immediately I said in my mind, this kind of music was out of their league! But, The Four Tops actually did a wonderful job. Not only was the song soulful, they managed to preserve the original essence of the song. Check it out when you get a chance. You may like it. By the way, it wasn’t until I was about 18 or 19 did I learn that the song was actually about snorting cocaine! 🤣 But, I bet you’re going to listen to it closer now, aren’t you?!?!?