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.”
Album: Jam On Revenge (1983)
Genre: Hip Hop
Let me ask you guys something? How many of you lovers of old school freestyle/hip hop remember a group called “Newcleus.” I would bet not many (at least today’s generation who claim to know old school hip hop). Although Newcleus only had about 2 major hits, their unique sound put them on the same rank (in terms of popularity) as groups like the Sugar Hill Gang, and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five.
Artists Back In The Day, Experimented With A Lot Of “Space Age Sounds.”
“Jam On Revenge,” represents the kind of fun music I always write about. The old mainstream hip hop artists loved to experiment with all kinds of sounds, that produced some of the most memorable raps in hip hop (in my generation). It is a stark contrast to what we hear today. I never owned the album, but I did purchase the 12 inch version. It has about 5 remixes on it. That’s the other good thing I missed about the 80s. Once a song becomes a huge hit, you’d also find single albums with several remixes that were only played on certain radio stations. Those became rare out-of-print collections.
There was so many remixes to this song it wasn’t funny. However, I believe this “Jam On It,” is the original hit. Now, this song only peaked at #56 in the Top 100 Chart in 1984. However, it peaked at #9 on the R&B Chart. Some how I feel that this song should ranked much higher than that. For you young guys reading my blog, while this song may perhaps sound corny to you, this was massively popular in the Black community. I remember a show called “Video Music Box,” that was hosted by a guy named Ralph McDaniels. I believe he was the executive producer of the show. I found an interview put together by VladTV. Very interesting you should watch it. Anyway, I remember Video Music Box playing this song a lot. At the time, Video Music Box was not only the hottest show, it was the first and only show promoting Hip Hop.
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: Safety Dance
Artist: Men Without Hats
Album: Rhythm Of Youth (1982)
Ok. This is when I know I must REALLY love to blog, when almost every time I say to myself, “I need a little rest,” I windup needing to blog about something still! LOL. Oh well.. I’d rather be addicted to blogging, instead of being addicted to drugs or something worse.
“Men Without Hats” is a Canadian synth-pop group that had a really popular hit song in the early 80s. Now, according to Billboard, they only had 1 Top Ten hit, and 1 mediocre hit. I don’t know what their numbers in Canada are like, but as far as America is concerned, they’re a one hit wonder.
The song they’re most known for in America is called “Safety Dance.” I’m not sure why, but for some reason, every time I hear this song, it almost always remind of Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus (1985).” Remember Falco? His song was another huge 80s hit too. Maybe it’s just because the 80s were a fun time in terms of music. Almost every major genre had so much creativity in the lyrics and composition. Today’s music is literally night and day. But, I digress. “Safety Dance,” hit #3 on the Top 100 Charts. It was insane how much the pop radio stations were playing this song.
Song: The Air That I Breath
Artist: Simply Red
Album: Blue [Expanded] (1998)
Genre: Slow Pop
I absolutely love me some Simply Red. In my opinion, this is a really talented group, and lead singer Mick Hucknull is a true blue “blue eyed soulster.” I mean, based on his look, when you see Mick, you’d never think such power and feeling would come out of his mouth. I’ve always been a huge fan ever since they came out with “Holding Back The Years (1986),” and “Money$ Too Tight (To Mention) (1986).” The first time I discovered them was when I was watching MTV late one night. At that time, I was hypnotized because I just never heard any other White guy sing like that (other than Tom Jones, but his music was totally different). “The Air That I Breath” is a 1974 cover song from a group called the “Hollies.” I feel that Mick has done such a wonderful job, I didn’t even realize it was him, because it sounded just like I was listening to a remix of the Hollies and their song. Check it out.
Song: In The Midnight Hour
Artist: The Silvertones
The song “In The Midnight Hour,” was another one of many reggae favorites of my late grandfather and I. It was released in 1968, I believe in the U.K. It was a cover of Wilson Pickett’s 1965 version of “Midnight Hour.” Wilson’s version hit #21 on the Top 100. Despite Wilson’s song being almost 55 years old now, Spotify alone has it registered at over 34M plays. Grandpa and I used to listen to both versions all the time. I don’t believe he ever owned a Silvertone album, however, I remember hearing him play their song on his big reel2reel player. Back in the day, poor folk saved soooooo much money on music by taping each others albums. I don’t know what the stats are for Silvertones’s “In The Midnight Hour,” but streaming appears to be less than 60k plays. It certainly was a hit in my house growing up. Lost reggae legends indeed. Check out another favorite of mine, “Young At Heart.”
Artist: Spandau Ballet
Album: True (1983)
Genre: Pop Ballads
Ok, ok. If you told me that you never heard this song before; I would have said you’re lying (unless you’re under the age of 25-30)! This song was such a massive hit in the 80’s. It was a love song of all love songs back then. No matter if you were young, old, Black, White, everyone was singing this tune. This English group named, Spandau Ballet, took this song to #1 not just in the United Kingdom, but #1 in America (Adult Contemporary), #1 in Ireland, and #1 in Canada! Other countries such as France & Germany, the song was in the Top 10 range. “True,” remains to be one of my most favorite romantic songs ever! The song practically immortalized this group forever. This was their only massive hit of their career. Of all their works after the “True” album, only one song, “Gold,” made its highest peak at #29 in 1984.Vices Reserve