Artist: Ronnie Dyson
Ronnie sang what became one of my favorite childhood songs growing up ever!! You know, I perceived Ronnie to be very androgynous back in the day. When I first heard him sing my ultimate favorite, “(If You Let Me Make Love To You) Then Why Can’t I Touch You” as a child, for a very long time I thought he was a woman. Unfortunately, the face of my 45rpm record was damaged, and I had not learned his name yet. Even after years later when I finally saw his picture, I still was not sure, as there were many female artists that performed with male energy. I perceived him with a Nina Simone type energy. But, it didn’t matter to me because all I knew was, I loved this song!
For Quite Some Time I Mistakenly Thought Ronnie Was A Woman
I guess what drew my attention, was the slight caribbean background sound. The song reached #8 on the Pop Chart, and #9 on the R&B chart. Not sure where the song fell on the Top 100/200. I would imagine it would have been in the top #10 – #30 range. This was one of his most memorable hits in my opinion. Another popular hit of his was a song called “I Don’t Wanna Cry (1970).” Very nice fast paced and rhythmic beats. Honestly, I don’t remember hearing this song growing up, but I really love this as well.
There is one last hit that I do remember. I heard my late grandpa play this quite a few times too. The song is called “The More You Do It (The More I Like It Done To Me) (1976).” This song was the sh*t back in the day! But once again, Ronnie’s voice fooled me again. He had such vocal range that I thought it was a completely different person singing this. The high notes made me think it was actually Billy Paul or someone like that. The song reached #6 on the R&B Chart. Unfortunately, Ronnie passed away from heart failure at the age of only 40 years old, on November 10th, 1990.
Song: I Love The Rainy Night
Artist: Eddie Rabbitt
Genre: Traditional Country
Well, I can say for sure, the majority of my young listening don’t have a single clue about who the late Eddie Rabbitt was. Those who did not listen to country music back in the 80s have no idea just how huge Eddie Rabbitt was. He was truly a talented hit maker! In fact, his music at times didn’t even sound like country, it sounded more like borderline pop music. I love to hear that kind of diversity in an artists music. Eddie has made quite a few popular favorites of mine. I haven’t listened to any of his music for a long time; and listening to it recently just reminded me just how fun it was to listen to his work.
My Absolute Favorite Was His Duet With Crystal Gayle!
I love his song “I Love The Rainy Night (1981),” because it’s a song for everyone, whether you’re young or old. Almost everyone can relate to it in someway. So much of country music consisted of artists singing about either a broken heart, or something they like to do on their farm or something. This song was in essence about enjoying life, and enjoying the moment. Everybody can relate to that! The song shot up to #1, and stayed there for 2 weeks.
Another deep favorite of mine, is the duet Eddie did with the legendary Crystal Gayle. A song called “You And I (1983).” I thought this was such a beautiful song. Crystal’s voice was definitely on point for this song. Man, all these great potential wedding songs, and growing up I had not heard anyone play them in my surroundings. What a shame. This song shot up to #7. Another great hit he had was called “Drivin’ My Life Away (1980).” This was a very catchy tune. This song hit #5 on the Top 100. I didn’t realize until today that Eddie passed away some time in 1998 of a failed liver. So sad to read that we’ve lost such a great talent.
Song: I Wish
Artist: Carl Thomas
Album: Emotional (2000)
🤣 You know, it’s a bit ironic, and yet hilarious that 20 years ago, when I heard an old favorite from the 80s, I’d say OH WOW!!! That’s old!!! Now, in the year 2020, I find myself saying the exact same thing about a song from 2000 🤣. It really makes me appreciate the many years of memories I had enjoying non-stop music culture. I think a relationship with music can be stronger than that of people (in general).
Carl Has An Amazingly Cool Voice
Carl has one of those amazingly smooth and sensual male voices we rarely hear. I mean, if I had a man like him and I was pissed off at him, if he sang to me like that I’d probably forget what I was mad about! Just joking 😄! But, for real, he has a really relaxing voice that is perfect for romantic kinds of music. Not only his song “I Wish” was my favorite song, it was the biggest hit of his career. Although it only hit position #20 on the Top 100, it gained first position on the R&B category. And the Black community was playing his song all the time!
Unfortunately, my feeling is his first album “Emotional (2000),” was his only good album. At least when it comes to having the most hits on a single album. “Special Lady” is a good one, “Come To Me” is good, and “Emotional” are my favorites. I honestly don’t know what happened a After that. I just didn’t care for a lot of his music after his first album. Actually, let me change that statement. On his second album “Let’s Talk About It (2004),” he had a song called “She Is (feat. LL Cool J)” I really liked. Then on his third album “Conquer (2011),” he has a song called “Don’t Kiss Me.” That title alone made me want to listen to it. “Don’t Kiss Me” was the best song from that album, and didn’t get the traction it deserved in my opinion. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me being finicky with my music listening. It doesn’t look like he has recorded an album for quite some time, but to my understanding he still performs.
Artist: Percy Faith
Genre: Movie Scores
Ok, ok, I know this post will most likely put a lot of my young readers to sleep. 🤣 However, the whole point of building this blog is to share with you all kinds of music history, and not just one type. Remember I love all kinds of music. One thing for sure, my eclectic tastes will surely have my readers discovering all kinds of interesting & historic music!
Percy Faith Was One Of The Most Prolific Composers Of His Time!
When it comes to instrumental music, there are very few composers that I literally fall head over heels for. The late Percy Faith was one of those few. Percy was like a significant step up from composers like Lawrence Welk back then. I’m not sure if I can really explain what made Percy unique other than, I guess his music had more personality in comparison to other well known composers at the time. In fact, a lot of his work crossed over into popular music categories.
Percy has made outstanding movie scores, as well as a ton of instrumental cover versions of many well known songs. But I think my ultimate favorite is “A Summer’s Place.” I believe this was a cover to Andy Williams’s original “A Summer’s Place” in 1962 (if I’m correct). Although I like Andy Williams music too, but, in this case, I do prefer Percy’s instrumental version. You can just imagine yourself being in a fancy ballroom listening to this piece.
He Was An Eccentric Composer!
Percy was also very eccentric. Music has changed so much across the board, and I really can’t think of anyone right now I could compare him to. All I can say in my opinion, he was a musical genius. I’m sure once being both a bandleader, and leading a full-on orchestra gave him the experience to try things we wouldn’t normally hear from the average composer. Checkout more of his covers made instrumental, maybe you’ve heard of some of them in a movie. Some of my favorites are “Romeo & Juliet,” “I Will Follow You,” “Tara’s Theme (which you may remember from the movie “Gone With The Wind),” “Sierra Madre,” “La Vie En Rose,” “Oye Como Va,” and lastly “Never On A Sunday.”
Song: How ‘Bout Us
Album: How ‘Bout Us (1981)(2014)
I decided to call this post “The Lost Sounds Of Champaign,” ’cause, they really are! Hell, when was the last time you heard anything from Champaign? This is exactly why I’ve built this blog! Come on, be honest. And just in case, no, I don’t mean Evelyn “Champagne” King, I meant the band Champaign 🤣. The group decided to name themselves, after their hometown, Champaign, Illinois. We can say that the band has produced all kinds of music, but mostly pop, and perhaps borderline funk.
That One Hit That Probably Made A Lot Of Babies!
Their song “How ‘Bout Us,” was a HUGE success for the group! They ripped the music charts to shreds! It was #1 in Adult Contemporary, #4 in R&B, #12 on Pop charts, and 5 on the UK chart. I think this is an awesome song that you can add to any wedding reception in my opinion. There’s no doubt in my mind that this song helped to make a lot of babies in the 80s.
This was one of the very few songs I really loved, that I didn’t purchase a 45 for. But, then again, it wasn’t really necessary, as many compilation CDs really started to become popular at that time. Champaign had another massive hit I think you’ll remember. The song was called “Try Again (1983),” it hit #2 on the R&B chart and #6 under Adult Contemporary. Interesting that this song did so well in the U.S. Although they’ve made some really good music, in my opinion, these two songs were the best out of their career.
Song: Play That Funky Music
Artist: Wild Cherry
Album: Wild Cherry (1976)
This is another perfect situation of just how important music streaming is (at least those little of us who still value music history). Depending on just how obscure a band or artist is, we may not be able to find a whole lot of information about said artist or band, but at least using amazing technologies such as Shazam (which many of you refuse to learn how to use), we can quickly know their names, and most times discover a picture now and then.
All Throughout My Childhood, I Thought This Group Was Black!
I know for a fact that many people think I’m an *sswhole for holding older parents accountable for not using streaming technology. Well, I really don’t give a sh*t, because it’s true. Because if you actually used some of these technologies, you’d quickly realize how important they are to our classic American music culture, that is currently dwindling away. I remember growing up, I’ve seen many family members and family friends have huge arguments about the identity of an artist. And back then, it was so difficult because so many artists were groomed to sound so much a like, it was easy to assume that a song was from one band, but in actuality the song is from another.
Just imagine, if growing up we had Shazam then?! It would have stopped arguments in it’s tracks! Not only that, no one would make bets as to who was who anymore either!! Although we were all broke, we had no business betting anyway! 🤣 So, anyways, enough of my rants. It was unfortunate that “Play Thank Funky Music,” by Wild Cherry was the only hit of their entire career. The song hit #1 and stayed on the charts for 25 weeks. In my opinion, I think this was the best funk & rock infused song that came out of the 70s! They produced about 4 other songs that registered on the Music Billboards, however, they were very low ranking. I never really cared for them. I mean, that music was awesome, I just think the vocals were terribly over done. But out of those 4 poorly ranked songs, I think “Hold On,” from the same album, is the second only one worth listening to. The track peaked at #61 in 1977. This should have ranked much higher tho.
Artist: Johnny Nash
Genre: Soul Music
Oh my goodness! I had forgotten just what a beautiful voice Johnny Nash had. You know what? Listening to him sing “Don’t Take Away Your Love,” was almost like listening to Sam Cooke in a way. Are any of my readers familiar with Sam Cooke? He was another great singer too. This is such a beautiful romantic song, and I think it’s a great song to slow dance to as well. Although this is an American song, I’ve chose to put this in my “sweet reggae” category, because growing up about 85% of the music I listened to by Johnny were reggae. Interestingly enough, he was born in Houston Texas, USA. Even more interesting, he was the first non-Jamaican singer to record reggae music in Kingston Jamaica! And had many, many hits!! How’s that for awesome!! 👍
I Do Recommend That You Investigate Johnny’s Music
My grandpa and I REALLY loved Johnny’s music. Although, with this particular song, I don’t recall hearing my grandpa ever playing. But, there’s no doubt in my mind my grandpa would have not only loved this song, he would have played it to shreds!! 🤣 Now, I’m not sure the name of the original album, but also I’m thinking it may be possible it was released as a single. I’m making this assumption because Spotify has it as a single, and all other albums the songs appear in, are more recent re-releases.
Some of my most favorite Johnny Nash music I remembered my pops playing were songs like, “I Can See Clearly Now,” “Stir It Up,” his remake of this American classic “Cupid,” “Groovin’” “Hold Me Tight,” and my most favorite of all is “Guava Jelly.” Johnny has a lot of NICE music under his belt, but I think the music I just shared with you were/are is ultimate best in my opinion. I mean, not only was his voice on point, the reggae beats were just sick!! Well, you can just judge that for yourselves! To my understanding, this now 78 year old hit maker is still kicking it on the mic!
Artist: Nell Carter
Album: Not Found (On YouTube)
Genre: Pop Music
Again, this is one of those moments were it’s hard to believe a certain artist have become obscured. I really try to be mindful and not sound like a broken record. I just hope that at least some of my readers can understand, it’s not until you’re older that we really have a concept of just how fast time moves. Then, the next thing you know, you’re talking to a generation of people who don’t have a clue as to who you’re talking about. The late Nell Carter was a phenomenal actress and comedian, who also happened to be a phenomenal singer too!
Her Work Extended Beyond Her Hit TV Show!
If you ask an 80s baby, most will probably tell you that they only remember Nell Carter (if any) for her popular hit 80s TV show “Give Me A Break (1981-1987).” The theme song was so catchy, it was impossible to not at least be aware of Nell Carter, even if you never watched the show. Personally, I’ve watched quite a few episodes growing up, and I found it quite enjoyable too. Dealt with all kinds of subject matter, the kinds of subject matter that today’s writers would probably see as too politically incorrect or controversial for young children/family to watch. Nell really had a gift of acting. She knew how to deliver a joke right. But I really would have like to have seen her really expand her vocal career.
long before her hit show “Give Me A Break,” she was made famous for another hit. But, it wasn’t a TV show. It was actually a play. A musical play called “Ain’t No Misbehavin’.” I believe the play was first opened in 1978. She started as a featured actress, and the phenomenal performance she gave landed her a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award! Check out her live performance of a song called “If I Can’t Sell It (I’ll Keep Sittin’ On It),” from the play “Ain’t No Misbehavin’ (1999).” I also discovered that she was also in the Broadway play called “Annie,” around the very late 1990s close to 2000. Unfortunately, there are very, very few recordings of Nell singing. They’re almost non existent if you ask me. She had such a unique voice that was unmistakably hers.
She Appeared On Many Shows!
I didn’t realize just how many special TV appearances she’s made! That includes “227,” “Amen,” and “Ally McBeal.” She even had a small role on one of the day-time soap operas called “Ryan’s Hope” back in the day. It’s so hard to believe that Nell started out singing in coffee shops, to then become a superstar! She was a great person, and humanitarian woman to my understanding. Such a shame that her name has drifted away from the lips of most American people. Nell Carter 1948-2003.