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.
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.