ny time we talk about rock legends (for those of us who are old enough), what are the names that usually pop up immediately in our heads? I think it’s safe to say that the one name that’s always on the top of that list is Elvis Presley, you agree? Maybe another name that would probably pop up is, the legendary Chuck Berry? Or perhaps I should drop one more name. How about Bill Haley & The Comets? Although their probably only known today (if any), by their massive global hit, “Rock Around The Clock (1973),” which was the opening theme song to the TV cult classic “Happy Days.” It was a pretty good show I may add. Who would have ever thought that Ron Howard would move on to be a big time movie producer huh?
Although I’ve just named some good ones, there is one major rock legend that (in my opinion) seems to slip from many people’s memories. That is Jerry Lee Lewis. Jerry was like a one man Beatle(s), that’s the easiest way to describe just how popular this man’s music was, to those who are not familiar with him. This guy has published so many albums, he can literally have his own library. Although he’s best remembered for his rock ‘n’ roll, he also done a lot of country music as well. In fact, quite a few of them rose to #1. However, to be quite honest, I much preferred his wild “Chuck Berry” style of rock ‘n’ roll. Most if not all his country put me to sleep (and you guys should know by now, I love me some classic country music, but I’ll have to pass on Jerry’s country 😂). Now, I could be wrong with what I’m about to say, but I am just going by my memories of actually listening to his music growing up. I’m going to say that based on my opinion that Jerry’s song “Great Balls Of Fire,” released in 1957 was one of his (if not the) biggest memorable song in his entire career. I say this because out of all the other songs I’ve heard by Jerry, I remembered this one to be the dominant song on the radio. It reached #2 on the Top 100 Charts, and #1 on the Hot Country Charts. It was ranked 96 as the greatest song ever made according to Rolling Stone Magazine.
So, it’s kind of difficult for me to find out just how many hit songs Jerry actually had, because some songs of his I personally would categorize as rock, is actually under country. So I’ve obtained a few numbers, I’m just going to assume they include all his hits. O.K., I have the following; 4 Number Ones, 23 Top Tens, out of a total of 55 songs that actually made it to The Billboard Music Charts. This was impressive, considering his career could have been completely destroyed, after a scandal that broke about him marrying his cousin. Americans didn’t tolerate those things in the 50s (still don’t), and it’s quite shocking that he found venues to even perform after that. Now imagine the public rage, when the story broke about director Woody Allen married his adopted daughter. Jerry’s scandal was 10 times worse.
Jerry is now about 83 or 84 years old, alive and kicking. I’ve read some sources that say he’s still performing. Other songs I’ve enjoyed were “What’d I Say,” which was originally song by Ray Charles I believe. Finally a song called “Jailhouse Rock,” which I believe Elvis sang this song as well. Despite Jerry’s scandal somehow he still managed to achieve legendary status in rock music. If not for his music, he still would have been legendary for the scandal. Either way.Save up to 94% off cover price on your favorite magazines
You know, Barbra Streisand is one of the very few celebrities where, the mere mention of her name gets a wide variety of responses (depending on the group you’re in). In the gay community, I think it’s safe to say that a significant number of LGBT people (particularly the older group) loves Barbra. However, outside of the gay community is when the responses get really negative.
You Either Hate Her Guts, Or Love Her To Death!
Many people despise Barbra because of her personal political beliefs. Or perhaps more so because she’s a powerful Jewish woman with influence. She’s always been very political ever since I can remember. I guess now that she’s older and has lived an extremely successful career, her outspokenness has become more apparent. In fact, she’s been on Bill Maher’s HBO show called “Politically Incorrect” quite a few times. It shouldn’t be a surprise to people; especially since Barbra has an openly gay son; it’s even more of a reason to fight for equal rights. In fact, her latest album called “Walls (2018),” was inspired by what’s going on within the current Trump administration. As much as I love Barbra, I wasn’t particularly impressed with this album. And judging from the streams, a lot of her fans didn’t like it either.
Some people say she screws her fans, because she charges outrageous prices for her tickets. Well, that may be true. But at the same time, Barbra isn’t just a singer, she’s also a brand. So, if the price of her tickets are the current market value, then it is what it is. The other thing is, I can hear the unique quality of her voice; it’s like no other voice we’ve ever heard. Although I can’t afford her tickets myself, I know there is a value placed on that voice. Which is why she spent her entire life protecting it. Like it or not, she has the voice of a matured, and well trained vocal cords.
They Just Hated Her Music!
I used to hear so many people say, they couldn’t stand hearing Barbra’s music, and they think it’s the worse they’ve ever heard! I was usually taken back by this response/attitude, as if since they say “her music is awful,” then it’s true because it makes sense to them! 😂
Well, the fact is whether they “know” Barbra’s music stinks, her fans gave her 2 movie Oscar Awards, 14 Academy nominations, 5 number one hits, and 12 Top Tens! It’s a hard pill to swallow when your opinions doesn’t align with true fans of Barbra’s work. My favorites songs are just too many to post them all on this article, so I’ll just give you a few. I loved “The Way We Were (1974),” although I wish the movie script could have been better. “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (1978),” “Enough Is Enough (1979),” “Guilty (1981),” “The Main Event (1979),” “What Kind Of Fool (1981),” and finally “On A Clear Day (1961).”
Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces is an extremely rare band. In fact, at this point I’m sure most classic music enthusiast would consider this group obscure. If you’re lucky enough to find any of their physical songs/vinyl, it would most likely be on a compilation (and I do mean IF). However, a UK label called Jazzman Records, released a compilation of their most popular hits for digital streaming, and luckily Spotify has it.
Most, if not all the original band members, including their bandleader Bobby Moore are now deceased. Despite the band’s music not being played at all on mainstream radio or internet streaming, I was please to find that the band still exists and performing. Now that’s what I call longevity! To be honest, I am unclear as to just how many albums they’ve produced, because so little is written about them. But what I can say is that they’ve had one major hit on the R&B Category.
One Major Billboard Hit!
The band’s song “Searching For My Baby,” released in 1966, peaked at #7 on the R&B Charts! Now, I know for a fact this was a popular hit, because I remember hearing this a lot on the radio when I was still just a baby. This very short, 2+ minute song has a groovy rhythm and kicking bass.
The band formed in 1952, and performed a variety of music. I believe they started playing mostly New Orleans style music. Listen to their version of “Cheek To Cheek,” with then bandleader Max Collie. I’ve heard the do some crazy sweet reggae music too. Check out “Return Of The Bullet,” with Rico Rodriquez. Eventually they progressed to performing funk, rock, until finally mostly soul music. I’d like you to check out one last song I think you’ll enjoy. It’s called “What Is That You Got?” This is an amazing song! Lots of rhythm to groove with!10% off your purchase with code LNK10. Excludes clearance.
I thought to myself, one day I’d give this guy another chance. When I first heard Robert Palmer’s music, I was not impressed to say the least. The first time I discovered him, was when I heard his #2 hit song from 1986 called, “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On.” I absolutely hated this song! He performed this song as tho he was bored, and he was forced to sing it. His vocals were incredibly flat and monotone. Even the music video was kind of boring. The song was written by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (the very same men that produced Janet Jackson’s Control album), for an artist named Cherrelle. Cherrelle released her version of “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On” in 1984 without major success. However, I did note it ranked #6 on the dance category; but in terms of the Top 100s, it was only at #79.
To be honest, I didn’t like his 1986 song “Addicted To Love” either. It was one of those songs you just tolerated listening to on the radio, ’cause none of the other stations were playing anything interesting. I also check out his quote “Greatest Hits;” but didn’t hear anything I liked either. However, not too long ago I was listening to an Ohio radio station (I think it was), and I heard a great song, and I didn’t even know it was Robert Palmer. The song was called, “Every Kinda People,” from his 1976 album called “Double Fun.” This song peaked at #16 on the Top 100. This song should have been #1 if you ask me. I’m really feelin’ this song. In essence the song is about doin’ the best you can in life. This song is entirely different from anything I’ve heard from him.
Thanks to Spotify, I can now easily look up his other original old albums. I was absolutely stunned, to find out he did a cover of Toots & the Maytals’ “Pressure Drop,” on his 1975 album “Pressure Drop.” I was stunned because even when I was growing up, and when my mom was playing this kind of music, very few people knew who the hell Toots & the Maytals were. I’m no going to lie, Palmer did a very good job on this song. Lastly, I like his 1976 song called “Keep In Touch,” from his album “Some People Can Do What They Like.” It has a strong funk that hits hard, yet some hints of that Blaxploitation sound. So, I guess I had to really dig for his older stuff to find what I liked from Robert. This is one of the reasons streaming services are important. No way would I find this music from solely looking at YouTube (unless I already knew what I was looking for (and sometimes not even then)).
Legendary 80s dance deva Samantha Fox (not to be confused with the porn star Samantha Fox), was one of the baddest bitches in club music! Now, I know that some of my readers may disagree with Samantha being a dance deva; but this completely depends on the environment your in. Hate her/love her, her music was a must have in terms of the underground. In fact, believe it or not, her music just wasn’t big in the straight night clubs; but she was also a massive hit in the gay clubs too! Strangely enough, she had a considerable connection with Black gays. The common answer I got was “her music was easy to vogue to.”
She Was One Of The Biggest Dance Devas Of The 80s!
When I tell you records and tapes? Every mix, remix, dubs, tribal mix, and mega mixes that was released by Samantha, the gay community had it. Back in the 80s when we still purchased albums, about every hour someone would ask if a store had the latest Samantha Fox mix. It was so serious that if a club didn’t play Samantha Fox, I remembered people saying “They didn’t play my song!” 😂
Unfortunately, for this UK girl, Samantha was often confused with the porn star whose stage name was also Samantha Fox, because Samantha (the singer) done a lot of risque pinup work. Most of her pictorials were topless, and unfortunately, this was the only “safer for work” photo I found I could share. Ok straight boys, don’t drool all over your keyboard. LOL. Samantha started off posing semi-nude in a London paper at the estimated age of 16.
One of my ultimate favorites from Samantha was her massive 1989 hit, “I Wanna Have Some Fun.” This song peaked at #8 on the 100 chart. Another favorite is a song called “Love House.” I was quite surprised that the song only peaked at #14 in the U.S. But, then again, like I’ve mentioned earlier, it depends on your environment. I remember gay children literally jumping over each other just to get on the dance floor when this song was played. Goodness, I really do miss those days. The music was different, and the people were different. I’ll give you one more huge favorite of mine. It’s called “Naughty Girls (Need Love Too).” The song peaked at #3 in 1988. I think it’s a great dance tune!Save $2 off $40 with Coupon Code 2SCHOOL
You know, despite all the controversy and rumors (and perhaps accusations of being an intellectual property thief) that surrounded her in the 80s; the one thing that cannot be taken away from Paula Abdul, is her very real talent. You can dish out your worst about Paula, but the fact is, she can dance her ass off! Whether she has a singer’s voice or not is debatable. She’s kind of like Madonna in a way. Madonna never had a “singer’s voice,” but she had music that young people of her generation connected to, which in tern sold millions. Paula is the same way I think. But even so, I think her dancing makes up for a less than dynamic vocal range.
I Always Confused Paula With Lisa Lisa!
I Always confused Paula with Lisa Lisa back in the day. The were like blood sisters. The only difference was Lisa Lisa has a darker complexion. Today, @ age 56, Paula has a long successful career as an actress, dancer, choreographer, recording artists, and producer. There is no sign of this woman ever slowing down. She definitely kept herself busy.
Throughout the years, as Paula rose to the peak of her career; she’s been plagued with all sorts of rumors. Rumors ranging from Paula steeling dance moves from other choreographers (particularly after her success working with Janet Jackson), to her being accused steeling bras worth in the 5 digits. Check this article out from The Daily Mail. When someone publicly accuses a celebrity like Paula (with her status in Hollywood), that’s when you know they’ve reached a level of real fame and money. By the way, I don’t know how I manage to find this rare rehearsal video of Janet and Paula on YouTube.
Paula came out with a lot of music I really liked. One of my huge favorites is a ballad called “Rush Rush” from her 1991 “Spellbound” album. I was watching an old live Patti Labelle performance on VHS, and I remember her saying that this song was originally written for her, but Patti turned it down. So Paula took it instead. Patti stated she was sorry she turned it down, as it hit #1 that same year! 😂 “Cold Hearted” is another dance favorite. Oh, man! I can’t forget about “Straight Up.” Almost all the kids was dancing to that song. Paula hadn’t had a hit since the early nineties; but it’s wonderful to see she’s still working doing her thang @ age 56!
Today’s topic is, “An Artist’s Magic In The Background.” I guess, unless you’re an actual musician, the average person doesn’t know who Michael Anderson is. Michael has had a couple of R&B hits, one song is called “Take Me I’m Yours (1978),” which unfortunately although it hit #6 on R&B charts, it only got as high as #88 on the Top 100 Billboard. That was a shame because the man can sing. By the way, I think this song would be a perfect for this coming Valentine’s Day.
Henderson Reminds Me So Much Of Ray Parker Jr.
Back in the day, I just couldn’t get over the uncanny resemblance between Henderson and fine ass Ray Parker Jr. I’ve been going crazy trying to find any evidence that Henderson is Parker’s brother. However, I could not find anything, so I guess it’s just a coincidence. But, interestingly enough, Henderson has worked with many artists in the background, and that included Ray Parker Jr.
In addition to Henderson being a talented vocalist (although I think he doesn’t project his voice enough), he’s also an accomplished bass player. As a result, he’s been able to work with lots of very famous people, such as the late Miles Davis, Bob Seger, Phyllis Hyman, and even Adele. The list goes on and on. He is very much sought after.
Probably one of the biggest projects (that I can remember) Henderson has been a part of, is his collaboration with Norman Connors. Henderson was featured on the #4 R&B hit “You Are My Starship (1976).” Another great collaboration was with the legendary Phyllis Hyman, on the song called “Can’t We Fall In Love Again.” The song hit #9 on the R&B charts; but only #57 on the Top 100 Charts in 1981. Great song! Check it out.
Introducing, Reggae Bonnie, from country music!! Just kidding 🤓 You know, I don’t think I would be completely out of line, if I were to say that most long-time musicians had recorded at least ONE reggae song throughout their career, regardless of what their core genre is. Hell, even the hugely popular classic rock group “Blondie” recorded a reggae song. I guess… Why not? Reggae is good music when done right!
I Would Have Never Guessed She Was A Country Singer!
Bonnie Raitt did such a wonderful job performing this song. I have to say, when I first heard her sing “Have A Heart (1989),” if I didn’t already know who she was, I would have never guessed she was actually a country singer. The song was written by singer & record producer, Bonnie Hayes. I think it’s such a nice song with lyrics everyone can relate to. I was disappointed that the song only peaked at #49 on the Top 100.
So, despite the fact that Bonnie is such a talented performer, my next favorite song from her called “Something To Talk About (1991),” was the closest thing she ever had to a number one hit. The song peaked at #5 on the Top 100. It’s a very cute and youthful country song about two people in a new relationship, who really care for each other.
Oh, for goodness sake! I almost forgot about another major, major favorite of mine. I am also dumbfounded that this wasn’t a number one hit either. Do any of my readers remember her song, “I Can’t Make You Love Me (1991)?” If you love sentimental love songs, a song like this would cut deep when you hear it. Listening to the lyrics would have you saying “yes, yes, I can relate, I know what you mean.” This amazing song only peaked at #18.10% off your purchase with code LNK10. Excludes Clearance