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?!?!?
Song: Tell It Like It Is
Artist: Bettye Swan
Album: Bettye Swan (2004)
Before you think it, let me quickly say that the above photo is NOT Aretha Franklin! 🤣 I forget how much Bettye Swan looked like her, by a LOT! In fact, some of her songs she kind of sounds like her. When I tell you a forgotten legend….. Ms. Swan is definitely one of them. Unfortunately, she never had a number one hit, nor did she at least make the top ten (almost); but she had the voice of angel in my opinion. “Tell It Like It Is,” was a song written by George Davis, and originally recorded by falsetto superstar Aaron Neville in 1966. It reached #2 on the Top 100 chart. The song was covered by several other artists.
Sorry, But I Loved Ms. Swan’s Version Better.
I almost fainted when I discovered that Swan’s cover of this song didn’t make it anywhere on the charts as far as I can tell. Growing up, my grandpa only played Aaron Neville’s version, so I never knew any other artists cover until I got way older. The fact that she was so vocally talented, and the sheer popularity of this song, this should have been at least on the bottom #200 chart. Boy, I was so shocked. Although I have an attachment to Neville’s original, I think Swan did a much much better job. That’s just my opinion.
I guess this also means that, unless you’ve already been a Ms. Swan fan, this song would have been lost and unknown if it were not for Spotify and other streaming services. Her biggest and most popular song of all her music, is a song called “Make Me Yours,” which peaked at #21 on the Top 100. What’s interesting is that this song really didn’t showcase the soul in her voice, yet it got more attention than many of her unknown songs. Check out “I Think I’m Falling In Love,” she definitely had that “Motown sound that all these female groups were trying to mimic back in the day. See how you groove to this forgotten song called “Ain’t That Peculiar,” this was originally recorded by Marvin Gaye. Ms. Swan’s career only lasted about 15 years. She left her music career after the death of her husband sometime in 1980. She decided to become a teacher, and is now enjoying her life at age 74 (if my math is correct).Designer Fashion Fabric
Song: A Playlist
Artist: Various Artists
Album: Romantic Nights (2019)
Genre: Romantic Love Songs
You know, with the thirties of thousands of songs (and climbing) saved on my Spotify alone, you’d think that it would just be easier for me to just create playlists. But for me, even creating a playlist is a lot of work (not if you want to create a meaningful playlist, that is). A true classic blogger, who has lived through the various music eras will not just dump any ol’ songs in a playlist and say “here!” That’s just not gonna happen (unless you’re lazy as hell, and in that case why bother going through the trouble of starting a blog in the first place?) Putting together what I consider a perfect playlist, takes just as much work (perhaps more) as it does writing about a single artist. I still believe that people in my age group would more appreciate hand picked songs from someone who lived through our generation, appose to a teenager high on marijuana trying to give you a 7,000 song playlist of a bunch of random shit. I don’t know what the fuck these people are thinking? Let me be the first to tell you it’s retarded.
The Kind Rare Classics You’ll Remember
My new playlist consist of 30 amazing songs starting from 1960s up to 1990s. There should be at least about 6 songs you’ll enjoy regardless of the time line. If you’re looking for a real romantic playlist (and not twerk music) this is the playlist to follow. In this playlist I have music from Eric Benet (I know a lot of you forgot about his ass), BoyzIIMen, Carole King, & Monica. For my older readers, I’ve added groups like The Dupress, The Flamingos, and Jerry Butler. I don’t think even Time Life could have put together a better playlist! That’s right! I said it! 🤣