Song: Something About You
Artist: Level 42
Album: Level Best (1989)
Genre: Pop Music
Hi guys!! Do you guys remember Level 42? These guys had a couple of hits, however, as far as I’m concerned, they’re a one hit wonder (both in terms of American Billboard & as far as my personal taste goes). Level 42 is an English group from the UK. From my understanding they’re pretty popular in the UK. I wasn’t really in to their music tho. Unfortunately, when it comes to music from the UK, I can be extremely picky. Very few (relatively speaking) artists from the UK I can think of where I liked a LOT of their music.
They Were A One Hit Wonder, As Far As I Was Concerned!
I think their song “Something About You,” was one of the best UK crossovers that helped to close the end of another music decade. In 1986, the song peaked at #7 on the Top 100 Chart, and has became one of their most memorable songs. Now, there were a few other songs that made it on the billboard, however, from my understanding, they ranked better in the UK.
One example that did better in the UK, was their song called “Lesson In Love (1987).” The song peaked at #3 in the UK, however, it’s highest reach in the US was #12 on the Top 100. I was actually quite surprised how popular this song was in the states, I really never cared for this at all. Although technically their music is pop, at the same time, a lot of pop music from the UK sounds almost like a genre of it’s own. Listening to many groups from (then) the United Kingdom, were almost like listen to an eighties soundtrack similar to “Flashdance” type movies. 😂 By the way, please checkout this acoustic version of “Something About You,” it’s really really nice! I like that one.
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.
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.
Song: Till You Come Back 2 Me
Artist: Jeffery Osborne
Album: From The Soul (2005)
Genre: Contemporary Jazz
I don’t know how the hell I missed this. On my old blog, I talked about how so underrated Jeffery Osborne is. I know he’s had a lot of hits, but still it just doesn’t seem people appreciate his music like they would someone like Peabo Bryson. But… I guess that’s just me. But, anyway… I came across an Aretha Franklin cover he did, and I don’t recall ever hearing it before! It’s her old cult classic “Till U Come Back 2 Me.” Now, I don’t remember if I shared with you guys how finicky I can be when it comes to male artist covering a song that’s been originally recorded by women. But when I heard Osborne’s cover I was so impressed! I must have listened to it at least about 6x consecutively before I moved on to the next song. He sang it at just the right tempo, with just the right octave level. When it comes to songs like these, I feel that a man choosing the right octave level is important, because you can easily run the risk of sounding like you’re straining your voice just to keep up with the original vocal arrangement. Please guys… Listen to it, I think you’ll enjoy it.
Song: MacArthur’s Park
Artist: The Four Tops
Album: Four Tops Now (1969)
You know what? I totally forgot about this song. The song “MacArthur’s Park” was written by Jimmy Web, and first recorded by Richard Harris in 1968. Man, talk about dozens and dozens of redoes! This song was covered so many times by so many people, It’s not even funny. But, I have to say, Sammy Davis Jr., version of the song is boring as fuck!! And you know I’m open to all kinds of music. This song is not for everybody. You’ll probably more likely to like the original if you like classical music. Honestly, I think my ultimate version of this song, was when the late disco queen Donna Summer turned this in to a disco cult classic! Loved the 12 inch, on her “Live And More album.”
However, did you know that the legendary Four Tops recorded this song in 1969? The song peaked at #38 on the Top 100 Chart. I was only 2 years old then. I can’t say that I love it as much as I do Donna Summer’s version, but I really enjoyed it a lot. When you listen to how it was originally sung by Richard Harris, and the way song was was structured, almost immediately I said in my mind, this kind of music was out of their league! But, The Four Tops actually did a wonderful job. Not only was the song soulful, they managed to preserve the original essence of the song. Check it out when you get a chance. You may like it. By the way, it wasn’t until I was about 18 or 19 did I learn that the song was actually about snorting cocaine! 🤣 But, I bet you’re going to listen to it closer now, aren’t you?!?!?
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: Close To You
Artist: Maxi Priest
Album: Bonafide (1990)
This is one reggae artist that should not be forgotten. Maxi Priest is so underrated in my opinion. He is a great singer and a phenomenal songwriter. His rise to fame came when he released his massive hit “Close To You” in 1990. The song hit #1 and stayed number one for a week. It’s important to remember reggae artists like him, because he’s one of the few reggae artists that hit number one (at least once) on the American charts. This means their music appeals to a wider audience. In the 90s, Americans played a LOT of Jamaican music, but I can count on one hand artists that registered anywhere on the American Billboard charts. I encourage you to seek out some of his older music. Another well known hit he produced was called “Wild World,” from his album “The Best Of Me (1991),” featuring John Gallon. This was actually a cover of Cat Steven’s Wild World released in 1970. Maxi did a wonderful job reinterpreting this song!
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