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. 😠
Song: Blue Velvet
Artist: The Clovers
In my opinion, The Clovers were a very underrated DooWop group. In many ways, their sound reminds me a lot of The Coasters. I think the only differences were that The Coasters were more on the R&B side. I discovered something interesting. As a young boy, when I first heard “Blue Velvet” on the radio, I only remembered hearing Bobby Vinton’s version (which by the way hit #1 on the Top 100 Charts in 1963). But, much to my surprise, I discovered that this song was originally performed by a famous jazz vocalist named Tony Bennett. His version of “Blue Velvet (1951),” reached up to #20.
In My Opinion, The Clovers Were A Very Underrated Group!
According to some sources I’ve read, The Clovers’s version of “Blue Velvet (1955)” reached #14 on the Billboard’s R&B charts. However, when I tried verifying that, I could not find it on Billboard’s website. Now, perhaps there were so many changes within the group, there are no stable search criteria that could be used? I’m thinking. The song did not appear to register anywhere on the Top 100/200 Charts (as far as I can tell). This is one of the many perfect examples of how artists and their music become obscure & erased from our memories.
I loved how The Clovers performed this song. Perhaps they sang the song too mellow to attract the tastes of most music goers in the Black community. I say this because by the time the 60s came along, Black music appeared to have made a 360° turn around. Our music became more soulful and grooveable. Well, you may not remember The Clovers for their cover of “Blue Velvet,” perhaps you’ll remember them for their one and only popular hit called “Love Potion No. 9 (1959).” The song only reached #23 on the charts, but it was extremely popular, and covered by many other artists.
Song: Troubled Mind
Artist: Everything But The Girl
Genre: Easy Listening
“Everything But The Girl.” What a name for a group huh? I actually discovered these guys way back when I was on Napster. The moment I heard the song “Troubled Mind,” I loved it! The song and composition is just perfect with her voice. Really really relaxing music. A lot of their music really should be put in a “Modern Folk” category, but I’m not sure if that’s an official genre? Well, music has evolved so much (culturally) in the last 50-60 years, we can literally place music in any number of categories. Even hip hop has so many sub-genres it can get quite confusing if you ask me.
I Thought I Never Heard Of This Group Before!
If Joan Baez was in her 20s again, I think this is what her music would sound a lot like, “Trouble Mind” today. I played this song so much, and at first, I really thought I never heard of Tracy Thorn & Ben Watt before. But I was wrong. They’ve actually been around since the early 1980s. Not only that, they had another hit song I was totally unaware was them! The song was called “Missing (1994).” That song took this London singing duo to #2 on the American Top 100 Charts! Also, for whatever reason, it was strange that I didn’t remember hearing the original hit (or radio edit). The only version I remember hearing of the song was the legendary DJ Todd Terry’s remix of “Missing.”
Looks like I’ve really took these guys for granted. Sometimes that does happen when all of a sudden you have access to almost the world’s entire music collection on your smartphone it seams! It just never occurred to me at the time to seek out more of their music. Now, according to some sources, I’ve read that they stopped performing in 2000, but I saw a couple of albums re-released. Not sure what that means. Sometimes when albums get re-released it means a reunion shortly after. So far, it doesn’t appear that they’re doing anything (at least in the US). I’m going to flip through more of their music soon. Check out this nice smooth house mix they have called “Wrong.”
Artist: Alison Krauss & Union Station
Album: Live (2003)
I don’t remember if I shared with my readers, the fact that I hate most live records. I just don’t think a great deal of them were produced well. Then again, someone can make a legitimate argument that “well, you haven’t heard every live album!” Although that would be a true statement; but at the same time, I’m also one of the very few people on this planet that can say, I’ve heard enough variety of music throughout my life that, I can say there are really only a few live records that exist that are really good (relatively speaking).
I Really Liked How She Performed This Song!
Now, I must admit, although I love country music, I wasn’t interested in her music. Actually, her music appears to lean towards a specific kind of country music called “Blue Grass,” or what I used to call “hillbilly music. That was the other genre I hated just as much as heavy metal. 😂 The featured song today is actually a cover from the group called “The Foundations.” A very popular song hit #11 on the Top 100 Charts in 1968. Unfortunately Alison never had any Top 10 or a number one hits. In fact, this cover wasn’t anywhere on the charts. However, I really, really liked how she performed this song. That’s a shame ’cause she truly did a wonderful job. She literally converted this rock song in to a beautiful romantic ballad.