Wednesday 3 April 2024


The 1978 contest was held in Paris after France won the previous year and Israel became the first winners from outside of Europe.

Broadcasters in many of the non-participating Arab countries in North Africa and Asia, who had been transmitting the contest, had to cut the broadcast when it was clear Israel was going to win. Indeed Jordanian television cut the broadcast and showed pictures of flowers instead. They then tried to convince the nation that Belgium were the winners.

The song is regarded by many fans as one of the better entries in the history of the contest (not sure how they come to that conclusion) and it received points from every other competing nation bar Sweden, gaining six sets of “douze points.”.

It actually is about the way children relate to love though you could be forgiven for thinking it is about wanting to be a polar bear!

ESC factoid: The Portuguese song from 1974 "E Depois Do Adeus" started a revolution in Portugal. The song was played on an independent radio station in Lisbon on 24 April, and was one of two secret signals which alerted the rebel captains and soldiers to begin the Carnation Revolution against the Estado Novo regime

Tuesday 2 April 2024


 In 1975 the contest moved to Stockholm (after Abba won the previous year) and the winners were the Netherlands. 

The Dutch version

Teach-in had enjoyed an earlier successful career in their own country, but “Ding-a-dong” catapulted them to Euro stardom (well, for a year anyway!). 

"Ding-a-dong" was notable for being one of the Eurovision winners that had a quirky or entirely nonsensical title or lyrics, similar to Lulu’s “Boom Bang a Bang” in 1969 and Massiel’s “La La La” a year before.

It was the first song to be performed on the night, being the first time the first song was successful. This feat was followed up twice more with Brotherhood of Man (UK) the following year and Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley for the Herreys (Sweden) in 1984.

The song was performed entirely in English although in the Dutch version, lyrically it varies significantly. It reached no,13 in the UK, but was no.1 in both Norway and Switzerland (not in the Netherlands however - only reached no.3).

ESC factoid: The youngest ever main artist was 11-year-old Nathalie Pâque from Belgium. She represented France in Eurovision 1989 with the song "J'ai Volé La Vie". The oldest was 95-year-old Emil Ramsauer from the Swiss 2013-band "Takasa"

Monday 1 April 2024


Today we start a series of songs that won the Eurovision Song Contest.

We start back in 1973 when the contest was held in Luxembourg after Vicky Leandros won the previous year with “Apres Toi.” 

The home nation was represented by French singer Anne-Marie David with "Tu te reconnaîtras" who was in a three way battle with the Spanish and UK entries (Cliff Richard - Power to all our Friends).

I would go so far as to say this is my favourite ever winner of the contest. A strong song, excellently sung, by a very attractive lady. Poor old Cliff didn’t stand a snowballs!!

Anne-Marie returned to the contest 6 years later when this time she sang for her home nation in Jerusalem with “Je suis l’enfant soleil.” Again it was a 3 nation bun-fight, but sadly she was edged into 3rd.

Sunday 31 March 2024


A treat for Easter Sunday, here we have the Stones going back to their bluesy roots.

Taken from “Mick and the Boys’ 2023 album Hackney Diamonds, this is certainly the stand-out track having been rated by the Telegraph as "a thrilling, uplifting proto-gospel song that belongs in the very highest echelons of the Stones' starry catalogue". Very reminiscent to the early Stones blues/gospel style, it proves that they are certainly not a spent force musically and capable of further hits.

With guest vocals by none other than Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder on keyboards, Irish national broadcaster RTÉ deemed the track the highlight of the album, stating "this is the Stones in excelsis, a cosmic mountain range of a gospel song featuring perhaps Lady Gaga's finest-ever vocals and astounding keys and piano playing from the band's old touring partner Stevie Wonder"  

Released as the 2nd single from the album, it reached no.2 in the UK singles sales chart.

You won't hear a better track this week……

Saturday 30 March 2024


Kiki Dee is far more than the person who had the mega hit “Don't Go Breaking My Heart” with Elton John. She can boast a very successful career of her own with such hits as “Star”, “I've Got The Music in Me” and the absolutely wonderful “Amoureuse”.

Originally written and performed by French legendary artist Véronique Sanson, Kiki recorded the song in English to make it the classic it is today.

Since writing this I have dug out the original version and although simpler and not so orchestrated, I love that as well.

Born Pauline Matthews in Bradford, Kiki, now 77 is honoured to have been the first white artist to have ever been signed by Tamla Motown.

Friday 29 March 2024


 It's Good Friday Double Bubble time 😁😁

Peter Skellern was a singer-songwriter / pianist who rose to fame in the 1970s having 2 top 20 hits, “You’re a Lady” and “Hold On to Love.”

After graduating with honours from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he struggled to make headway as a concert pianist and switched to a more popular style. His debut single and biggest hit “You’re a Lady” reached no.3 in the UK and was recorded alongside the National Youth Brass Band. Featuring the euphonium, Skellern wanted the song to evoke the North of England, saying "I wanted people to see the wet cobblestones and the Lowry paintings when they heard “You're a Lady”

Initially played by Radio Luxembourg on a pay for play basis, it was picked up by Terry Wogan on the Radio 2 Breakfast show and after extensive airplay  was catapulted into a hit. Famous acts who have covered the song include Johnny Mathis, Tony Orlando and Dawn and Telly Savalas.

His 2nd hit “Hold on to Love” charted 3 years later and couldn't have been any more different from it's predecessor if it tried. With more of a rocky, modern up-to-date feel, I really like them both.

Skellern passed away from a brain tumour in February 2017 aged 69. He held a long desire to be ordained by the Church of England as a deacon and priest which he achieved six months before his death.

Wednesday 27 March 2024


For today’s TOTD we go way back in the depths of time to the land of total obscurity, where we hit on The Flames.

The Flames were a 60s / 70s band out of Durban RSA (like yesterday we are back in South Africa!). 

The Flames

Because they were popular at the height of apartheid and would have been classed as “coloured” at home, they spent much of their later career here in the UK working with the likes of the Rolling Stones and the Faces and mixing with Keith Moon (the Who), Keith Richards (Stones) and Carl Wilson (Beach Boys) amongst others.

Considered as one of the most unique bands of 60s SA, they were made up from the Fataar brothers (Steve, Edries and Ricky) along with guitarist / vocalist Blondie Chaplin. They stood out with a blend of soul/rock music tinged with an Indian blend. 

Blondie Chaplin

In 1970, after Carl Wilson and fellow BB Alan Jardine saw them perform live at a club in London’s Kensington, they travelled to Los Angeles to record an album for the Beach Boys’ Brother Record label.

After that album two of the band actually joined the Beach Boys for a couple of years with Ricky on drums (as Dennis Wilson was unable to drum at that time due to a hand injury) and Blondie on vocals / guitar (Brian Wilson was having one of his many “absent periods.” from the band). Blondie is remembered during this period as singing lead vocal on the BB’s big hit “Sail on Sailor” to which he still refers as his signature track! 

Ricky Fataar

“Sail on Sailor" was initially recorded with Dennis on lead vocal, who didn't like the song and refused to finish it. Then they recorded it with Carl Wilson on lead, but he found it too low for his range of voice, so it was offered to Blondie and became the massive hit that it was.

Ricky went on to be featured in the Rutles spoof on the Beatles and has been the drummer in Bonnie Raitt’s band for 35+ years. Blondie still performs, often with Brian Wilson and Alan Jardine, and occasionally with the Rolling Stones. Both are now in their early 70s.

Tuesday 26 March 2024


Barbara and Sam Cooke’s eldest child Linda was born in 1953 and was 11 years old when her father was killed and her mother went on to marry Bobby Womack. However at age 17 she embarked on a relationship with Bobby herself, resulting in her mother shooting Bobby.

Linda collaborated with Bobby writing his 1972 hit “Woman’s Gotta Have It” and she gained renown as a writer of soul songs in the 70s and 80s writing for such previous TOTD artists Patti Labelle and George Benson to name but two.

Linda and Bobby separated and she then married Bobby’s brother Cecil Womack forging a successful career as Womack and Womack (Cecil was previously married to none other than Mary Wells - best remembered for “My Guy”). Womack and Womack had international success with “Teardrops” and the iconic “Love Wars.” amongst others.

After travelling to Nigeria in the early 1990s, they discovered ancestral ties to the Zekkariyas tribe, and Cecil adopted the name Zekkariyas. In 1993 they released their final album with a major label, Transformation To The House Of Zekkariyas and they finally settled in South Africa and Thailand, spending the following years travelling the world.

Cecil passed away in 2013, but Linda (Cooke, Womack) Zekkariyas remains, along with their 7 children, living and still recording in Johannesburg.

Monday 25 March 2024


 Bobby Womack started his career as Sam Cooke’s backing guitarist.

77 days after the death of Cooke,  20-year-old Womack and Cooke's widow Barbara Cooke, who was 10 years his senior, attempted to marry at the Los Angeles county courthouse. Their application was rejected as Womack was under 21 without his parents permission to marry. They finally tied the knot a day after his 21st birthday, ostracising the music world, audiences, disc jockeys and Womack’s brothers.

They split in 1970 when Barbara found out Womack was having an affair with her’s (and Sam’s) 17 year old daughter Linda. This resulted in Barbara trying to shoot Bobby (can't imagine where she got that idea from), but the bullet only grazed his head. It is said, Linda never spoke to her mother again.

Bobby was a prolific recording artist and songwriter, writing for the Rolling Stones amongst others and in 1981 recorded possibly the best R&B (soul) album of all time “The Poet” from which this track comes from (Secrets is my favourite cut from the album - any song with Kentucky Fried Chicken in the lyric does it for me).

He died in 2014 aged 70, after having survived colon cancer, but had been diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Tomorrow, whatever happened to Linda? You may be surprised…….

Sunday 24 March 2024


Today we start a story of Sam Cooke and his extended family.  

Considered one of the most influential soul artists of all time, Cooke is commonly referred to as the "King of Soul" for his distinctive vocals. In an 8 year career he released 29 singles which reached the top 40.

He had a very limited career however as he met his end at age 33, when he was shot by a motel manager in LA, who claimed she shot him in self-defense. After an inquest and investigation, the courts ruled Cooke's death to be justifiable homicide.

Tomorrow we delve into the story of Sam's widow.......

Thursday 21 March 2024


 Liverpool Express are best known for charting hit songs such as "You Are My Love" (which Paul McCartney once declared one of his favourite songs) and "Every Man Must Have a Dream.”

Set up by Billy Kinsley (ex Merseybeats), Northern Irish musician Roger Scott Craig, Tony Coates and Derek Cashin, they had three top 40 hits in 1976 and continued releasing music until the early 90s.

The band along with Billy Kinsley (now into his late 70s) still play the odd gig to this day in the Liverpool area.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

You're the One for Me / AM / Daybreak by Paul Hardcastle

Synth-pop composer and musician Paul Hardcastle is mainly remembered for his Vietnam war hit 19, but he did have other, albeit minor hits.

One of which being “You're the one for me / AM / Dayreak which reached the heady heights of no.41 in the UK.

A strange beginning (and ending it has to be said), it will certainly get your feet tapping and I actually really like it.

Monday 18 March 2024


The passing of Steve Harley, lead singer of Cockney Rebel was announced yesterday. He was 73 and had been suffering with cancer. Today's TOTD is in tribute to him.

Sunday 17 March 2024


 Was originally a Marvin Gaye classic from the What's Going On album. In December 1990, Robert Palmer combined the song in a medley with Gaye's 1976 hit "I Want You". Palmer's single reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 

I am always of the opinion that covering songs by the likes of people like Marvin (and for that matter The Beatles), is a pointless episode as the original could never be improved upon. That is except for this cover which is absolutely sublime (and maybe Barry White's version of “Just the Way You Are”). 

The song itself was written by Gaye as a requiem to Earth being in total disarray and on the verge of environmental destruction. Covered by numerous people over the years including Michael McDonald whose version is totally acceptable, but nothing comes close to Robert Palmer's attempt.

Yorkshire man Palmer, known for his sartorial elegance and his biggest hit Addicted to Love, had a powerful soulful voice and won many Grammy and MTV awards. He died of a heart attack in 2003, in his early 50s.

Saturday 16 March 2024

Friday 15 March 2024


As a refreshing change to TOTD, I thought instead of a musical selection today we would have a comedy track instead.

Bob Newhart is one of the cleverest, and I should say funniest US comedians there has ever been. Known for his stand-up deadpan style, he went on to star in two top US sitcoms in the 70s and 80s. This is one of his classic sketches which never fails to bring me to hysterics.

From 1972 to 1978, Newhart starred in the hit US sitcom "The Bob Newhart Show". He played the character Bob Hartley, Ph.D., a Chicago psychologist who is surrounded by eccentric patients, work colleagues, friends, and family members. Hartley was effectively the "straight man" to the wacky characters all around him.

From 1982 to 1990, Newhart starred in a second hit sitcom, called simply "Newhart". He played the character Dick Loudon, a Vermon-based innkeeper who finds himself surrounded by strange employees, neighbours, and competitors. The show had an infamous ending where the entire series is "revealed" to be a dream of Bob Hartley, Newhart's character from his first sitcom.

Bob is still going strong at 94 years old and let's hope he manages a few more yet.

Thursday 14 March 2024


Released in early 1986, On My Own was written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager and was originally recorded by Dionne Warwick.

Patti LaBelle and former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald's version was a massive hit reaching no.2 in the UK and going 1 better in the US. They recorded their parts of the song separately on either side of America and never actually met each other until after the song was released.

Wednesday 13 March 2024


We end the Twins series with me having to declare a vested interest and total bias in this choice having been a massive Cate Brothers fan since I first heard this track being played on the radio in the early 1970s. 

Twins Ernie and Earl Cate from Arkansas perform what could be classed as country soul music. Both brothers are singers, with Earl playing guitar and Ernie playing keyboards. The group began recording in 1970, releasing their final album in 2006.

The duo's only Top 40 single, "Union Man" spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 24 in May 1976. I personally consider this to be one of the best tracks musically of all time and often listen to it.

On subsequent tracks over the years they occasionally make reference to their relationship as identical twins (eg - “Stranger at the Door”) and now, into their 70s, they continue to perform.

Tuesday 12 March 2024


Blackfoot Sue was a British pop / rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1970 by twin brothers Tom and David Farmer along with Eddie Golga.

“Standing in the Road” was released in 1972 reaching no.4, spending 10 weeks in the chart. However they were written off as a teen sensation and labelled as pretty much one-hit wonders (they did have another release that flew up to the heady heights of no.36, but totally forgotten by me at least).

Interestingly they recorded on the Jam record label which resembled a record splodged with a dollop of strawberry jam in the middle of it, along with a somewhat naff written logo - classy it certainly wasn’t.

Monday 11 March 2024


Billy and Bobby Alessi, known as the Alessi Brothers or just  Alessi are an American pop rock singer-songwriter duo who first came to international prominence with their 1977 hit single "Oh, Lori" which reached no. 8 and spent 11 weeks in the UK Singles Chart. 

It became a Top Ten hit in seventeen more countries, but was never followed up with anything substantial.

Over the years Alessi have arranged, produced and/or written releases for many artists including Paul McCartney, Debbie Gibson, Frankie Valli, Richie Havens, Olivia Newton-John and Christopher Cross. They also provided backing vocals for the likes of Art Garfunkel and John Lennon.