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Easy Listening

Bobby Womack - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Today I’d like to talk about the late legendary Bobby Womack; who is arguably one of the hardest working men in show-business. I say arguably because I think originally the late James Brown earned that phrase. In fact, the music industry used that phrase so much that it literally became James Brown’s slogan. You didn’t even have to mention Mr. Brown’s  name, people already knew who they meant. Now, depending on who you talk to, Womack may not have worked as hard as James (comparatively speaking), however, Womack has certainly paid his dues to the industry.

Mr. Womack Was A Secret History Maker!




Womack was one of those secret history makers. The average Womack fan has no idea how much he helped to change history. For instance, did you know Womack wrote and performed a song called “It’s All Over Now (1964)” with his group called The Valentinos; which eventually became The Rolling Stones first number one hit in the UK? Not impressed? Well how about this tidbit… Did you know who originally discovered Bobby Womack and his family? It was the late Sam Cooke! Yup! After Sam saw what the Womack family can do musically, Sam damn near signed Bobby’s entire family to his record label, which was called SAR back then.

Bobby Womack - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Wow, I never realized till today just how much Bobby resembled Lou Rawls. Bobby’s life’s work payed off in a huge way, as he was inducted in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Throughout Bobby’s career, he has worked with some huge names in the business. Many include Sly & The Family Stone, Janis Japlin, and George Benson to name a few. After reading some of the things Bobby has gone through, including the murder of one of his brothers (in Bobby’s home) by a jealous girl friend, noway would I have thought that after all that trauma, he would have had the frame of mind to still be musically creative. This man went through a slot of sh*t. But then again, he had the support that most artists didn’t in his era.

SpotifyThrowbacks.com

One of my most favorite songs from Womack I can remember, was a cover he did of The Mamas & The Papas’s song “California Dreamin’” in 1969. I actually love both versions. I was blown away Bobby reinterpreted the song inside out. The bass and the rhythm made me feel I was listening to a blaxploitation movie soundtrack. Another favorite of mine is a popular hit called “Across 110th Street (1972),” a story of street life in the ghetto. Also, check out a song called “Lookin’ For A Love (1974).”For some reason, every time I hear him sing “Lookin’ For A Love,” I almost always think of Wilson Pickett.

Richard Marx - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Unfortunately, although Richard Marx is an incredible performer and talented songwriter, I only really loved one song he recorded (so far in his career). Not that Richard didn’t have hits, he had many. I just only connected with one song. Now, before I reveal my favorite song, allow me to share with you some of his accomplishments. Richard started his career in the early eighties, and performs adult contemporary and pop music for the most part.

Richard Marx - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Marx collaborated with many artists, including NSYNC and the late Luther Vandross. I haven’t heard anything new by him in like over 2 decades, but homeboy has a lot of faithful fans. I’m pleased to discover that he’s still performing. In fact, he’s playing in Carnegie Hall next week. If he managed to fill-up Carnegie Hall, homeboy has got it goin’ on!

Richard Marx - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

His first self-titled album, released in 1987 I believe, yielded about 3 hits. “Don’t Mean Nothing,” “Endless Summer Nights,” “Hold On To The Nights,” and oh yeah, I guess there was a forth one called “Should’ve Known Better.” Despite these hits, I still wasn’t particularly drawn to his music, until I hard a song from his 1989 “Repeat Offender,” and the song was called “Right Here Waiting.” “Right Here Waiting” is a very romantic soft rock song that hit #1 on the Top 100 Charts, and has been used on many movies and television shows, such as “The Good Place (2018),” and “The Bachelorette (2018).”

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Johnny Gil & Stacy Lattisaw - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Oh my goodness!!! A true blast from the past!! Do you remember these guys?!?! They seemed to be such an odd couple. I didn’t even know they were dating! I thought they were just together to promote their 1984 hit song “Perfect Combination.” This is the one and only New Edition’s Johnny Gill, and solo artist Stacy Lattisaw! You know, when I looked at Johnny Gill’s young face at the time, I just couldn’t believe that that strong voice came out of a guy that was still pretty much adolescent. “Perfect Combination” reached #10 on the R&B charts; and was released about 2 years BEFORE he was signed on as a new member of the legendary New Edition.

Herbie Mann - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

I was flipping through my album collection and thought I’d write about another forgotten composer. The late Herbie Mann was born in Brooklyn NY in the 1930s, and grew up to be a very well known musician/flutist. Herbie has performed many types of music (but mostly classical). However, in my opinion, I think it’s safe to say he is most remembered for some of his disco tunes.

His Music Was Very Popular, But His Billboard Ranks Were Mediocre




It’s kind of weird to explain Herbie’s music, because a lot of his music rankings were mediocre, yet at the same time many of his music were very popular. I guess the only possible explanation for that is his connection to the club & disco scenes. This particular album, “Super Mann,” released in 1978 I feel is his best work. My most favorite song on the album is “Super Mann.” Super Mann is a song with intense flirtatious energy and heavy dance beats. The piece peaked at #26 on the Top 100 Charts.

Herbie Mann - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Another great composition (I think) from the same album is called “Rock Freak.” Both composition are disco infused with a Brazilian influence. Herbie had another hugely popular hit from his “Discotheque” album called “Hi-Jack (1975).” This was my jam back in the day too. This was actually an instrumental cover, taken from the original band called Barrabas.  For pure disco fans, I think the works I’ve mentioned in this article will appeal to you the most. Everything else would probably be too mellow for most disco fans. However, if you like instrumental jazz, check out his cover of “Comin’ Home Baby,” written by Ben Tucker, and originally performed by Mel Tormé w/vocals. But it was made popular by a Ray Charles TV performance. I don’t remember if it was a concert or on a variety TV show. I honestly don’t remember hearing Tormé’s original until after I heard Ray sang it. Herbie died while in Mexico c. 2003.

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Harold Faltermeyer - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Harold Faltermeyer is a music composer and record producer born in Munich, Germany. Although I’ve tagged him as being a forgotten artists, technically he’s not depending whether or not we’re talking about the public or the movie industry. Within the movie industry, he is one of the most sought after composers I can think of.

Famous Behind The Scenes




Harold is one of those talented musicians that is famous from behind the scenes. Despite the fact that he has composed scores for some pretty big well known movies, such as “American Gigolo (1980)” starring Richard Gere, and “The Midnight Express (1978),” starring Brad Davis; composers are not given the same notoriety as lead singers to a sound track unfortunately. I’m not quite sure why is that.

Harold Faltermeyer - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

I’ve always wondered what is the method of figuring out a truly successful sound track producer? Because it’s not exactly the same thing as your traditional mainstream vocal performer right? Because part of their success is also about the success of the movie, which technically has nothing to do with each other. Someone can make a legitimate argument that people only buy sound tracks when they’re a fan of the movie.

Harold Faltermeyer - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Harold pretty much stayed unknown to most music fans, until his success with “Beverly Hills Cop (1984).” It was so successful, he got a Grammy Award for best original sound track (co-writer) some time in 1986. The composition that blew up the charts was Axel-F. The piece shot to #3 on the Hot 100 Charts. It is probably (as far as I’m concerned) one of the few biggest dance/synth-pop tunes of all times.

The legendary Regina Belle - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

OK everybody! Let’s put our hands together for the legendary Regina Belle! You know, I’m not sure if I’m using the word “phenomenal” too much or not. But, sometimes I just can’t think of any other word to describe these very talented artists! I’m also not sure if I can truly say we’ve forgotten about Regina, but certainly, we are not playing her music anymore. Throughout Regina’s career, she didn’t have that many number ones. However, her music is iconic enough to where it’s definitely worth listening to! Especially if you love or are in the mood for mellow/romantic music.

She’s The Queen Of Smooth Jazz




She’s the queen of smooth jazz! Well, this isn’t her official title. However, much of my most favorite music from her has been within that genre. Regina started her career in the mid 80s, and her success landed her the opportunity to perform for former President George W. Bush. After Regina’s scary ordeal with having brain cancer; her loyal fans have never forgotten her, despite not having a #1 hit in decades. I’m going to make the assumption she’s cancer free, since my research alludes she’s still performing.

Regina Belle - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

By the way, I’m pretty concerned with all these celebrities I’m hearing getting all sorts of cancer. This is some scary shit. Anyway, I think the moment I fell in love with Regina’s music, was when I heard her iconic song “Make It Like It Was (1989),” which hit #1 on the R&B Chart, and #5 on the Top 100 Chart. Another favorite is “Baby Come To Me (1989),” which was also number one on the R&B Chart. However, I think the song that really put Regina on the map, was a song called “A Whole New World (Theme From Aladdin) (1992),” a duet with the legendary Peabo Bryson. This song reached #1 in the Adult Contemporary category. From the same album, check out “Quiet Time,” a duet with Barry White. Oh my goodness. Barry had a way of making any song sound sexy as hell.

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The legendary Barbra Streisand! SpotifyThrowbacks.com

You know, Barbra Streisand is one of the very few celebrities where, the mere mention of her name gets a wide variety of responses (depending on the group you’re in). In the gay community, I think it’s safe to say that a significant number of LGBT people (particularly the older group) loves Barbra. However, outside of the gay community is when the responses get really negative.

You Either Hate Her Guts, Or Love Her To Death!




Many people despise Barbra because of her personal political beliefs. Or perhaps more so because she’s a powerful Jewish woman with influence. She’s always been very political ever since I can remember. I guess now that she’s older and has lived an extremely successful career, her outspokenness has become more apparent. In fact, she’s been on Bill Maher’s HBO show called “Politically Incorrect” quite a few times. It shouldn’t be a surprise to people; especially since Barbra has an openly gay son; it’s even more of a reason to fight for equal rights. In fact, her latest album called “Walls (2018),” was inspired by what’s going on within the current Trump administration. As much as I love Barbra, I wasn’t particularly impressed with this album. And judging from the streams, a lot of her fans didn’t like it either.

The legendary Barbra Streisand! SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Some people say she screws her fans, because she charges outrageous prices for her tickets. Well, that may  be true. But at the same time, Barbra isn’t just a singer, she’s also a brand. So, if the price of her tickets are the current market value, then it is what it is. The other thing is, I can hear the unique quality of her voice; it’s like no other voice we’ve ever heard. Although I can’t afford her tickets myself, I know there is a value placed on that voice. Which is why she spent her entire life protecting it. Like it or not, she has the voice of a matured, and well trained vocal cords.

They Just Hated Her Music!




I used to hear so many people say, they couldn’t stand hearing Barbra’s music, and they think it’s the worse they’ve ever heard! I was usually taken back by this response/attitude, as if since they say “her music is awful,” then it’s true because it makes sense to them! 😂

The legendary Barbra Streisand! SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Well, the fact is whether they “know” Barbra’s music stinks, her fans gave her 2 movie Oscar Awards, 14 Academy nominations, 5 number one hits, and 12 Top Tens! It’s a hard pill to swallow when your opinions doesn’t align with true fans of Barbra’s work. My favorites songs are just too many to post them all on this article, so I’ll just give you a few. I loved “The Way We Were (1974),” although I wish the movie script could have been better. “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (1978),” “Enough Is Enough (1979),” “Guilty (1981),” “The Main Event (1979),” “What Kind Of Fool (1981),” and finally “On A Clear Day (1961).”

The legendary Marilyn Monroe, SpotifyThrowbacks.com

You know, having Marilyn Monroe here probably seems a little out of place. Most of the time, when we hear or read anything about Marilyn, it’s usually one of three following things. It’s either about her struggles as an actress; her scandalous relationship with Bobby Kennedy; or whether her death was an accidental overdose or murder. However, as strange as it may seem, I chose to write about her because believe it or not, Marilyn was also a talented singer too. Luckily for us, Spotify has a treasure trove of music history hidden in its massive library.

Happy Birthday Mr. President!




Not to sound arrogant or anything, but… I’m willing to wage a bet that for most people, the only singing anybody has ever remembered by Marilyn (if any) was her famous “Happy Birthday Mr. President.” Marilyn sung Happy Birthday to then president John F. Kennedy, for his 45th birthday in 1962. Well, I guess it would make sense, since back in those days, Marilyn was considered a sex goddess. That performance was such a big deal! LOL. She sang to the president in such a way, that it seemed she was trying to seduce the president on stage! 😳

The legendary Marilyn Monroe, SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Not only the late Marilyn Monroe could sing, she had several albums to prove it. Now, unfortunately it appears I can’t find any chart information for Marilyn, but that doesn’t mean that she did not have any popular music! Especially when it came to her movie soundtracks! One of the most popular songs I remembered growing up was a song called “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” The song was recorded in c. 1953. She performed this song in the movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and it became the inspiration for Madonna’s “Material Girl (1984).”

The legendary Marilyn Monroe. She wasn't just an actress, she was a beautiful singer as well!! SpotifyThrowbacks.com

You know, it’s a shame. Marilyn isn’t really spoken of, unless you happen to watch an old documentary about her, or some sort of conspiracy theory episode on one of those “unsolved mysteries” type of shows. But Marilyn had a powerful influence in American culture. From paintings, to fashion, film, photography, and even music performances. One good example is when Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) from “Bewitched,” turns in to her character “Serena.” She was basically a brunette version of Marilyn. Performers such as Madonna; even Donna Summer! It is said that Donna Summer literally channeled Marilyn when she recorded her hit song “Love To Love You Baby,” in 1975.

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