Song: Mr. Blue Sky
Artist: Electric Light Orchestra
Album: Out Of The Blue (1977)
Guys, please don’t judge their name! Although their name sounds like they belong to some sort of circus or novelty act, this England born band produced beyond amazing music when I was growing up. And the proof in that, is their staggering streaming numbers. The song “Mr. Blue Sky” was released in 1977, how the hell did it manage to gather 360M streams from Spotify alone? Are you kidding me? That’s the kind of streams that only someone like Whitney Houston, or Michael Jackson got. Yet, if you ask the average person who they are, they draw a blank! Most people don’t have a clue.
How Can A Group Get So Much Plays, Yet People Barely Remember Them?
That’s mind boggling to me. Either this is an example of how complicated an artist/band stats are, or streaming is moving so incredibly fast, that we are missing a major part of our music history! Don’t you think? To throw an even bigger wrench into the equation, they never had a number one hit! But they do have 7 Top Tens under their belt.
Despite “Mr. Blue Sky” being so successful, the song was at the bottom when it came to my favorites. The song that I think is probably most known/remembered was from their album “A New World Record,” the song is called “Telephone Line (1976).”It also happens to be one of my top favorites. This peaked at #7 on the Top 100, and was their highest ranking song on the charts. Also, from that same album was another favorite of mine called “Livin’ Thing,” and it only peaked at #13 (which is not bad). It’s a really nice album, I recommend it. Check out some of their other hits, “Don’t Break Me Down,” and another great song of theirs “Evil Woman.”
Artist: Pat Benatar
Album: Crimes Of Passion (1980)
Genre: Alternative Rock
You know, technically, I don’t think Pat Benatar is a forgotten artists per-say. At least not from the standpoint of her music being obscure. However, I do think she’s a forgotten artist from the standpoint of her being a woman within the rock genre. Like rap, the 80s was really tough for female rockers, in a male dominated genre. She had (and still has) the voice for rock music, but unfortunately this very talented rock artist never had a number one, and as far as I know, never been inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. However, that didn’t stop her from obtaining 4 awesome Top 10 Hits! As I’ve said earlier, I’ve never had any particular interest in borderline hard rock. But, Mrs. Benatar was one of those rare acceptations.
Such Power In Her Voice, Yet She Never Had A #1 Song!
And one of the 4 Top Tens, happens to be today’s song pick. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” from her 1980s “Crimes Of Passions” album. This song peaked at #9, and in my opinion, is probably one of the most memorable songs of her career. To my understanding, this song was actually her first Top 10 Hit. The song was so popular, it was heard during many sports games and sports commercials. Another hit I loved was her song “Love Is A Battle Field (1989).” I thought the video was awesome too. While I mentioned her video, I want you to check it out. One of the dancers has a striking resemblance to Stephanie Mills. I’ll give you one more favorite. The song “We Belong (1985),” was a badass song back in the day. I used to listen to it all the time. This amazing song reached #5 on the Top 100 Chart.
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.