Thursday 29 February 2024


One hit wonder Timmy Thomas wrote the song after he moved to Miami and heard the news on the radio reporting on the number of deaths in the Vietnam war. 

He once said in an interview: “WHAT?! You mean that many mothers’ children died today? In a war that we can’t come to the table and sit down and talk about this, without so many families losing their loved ones?” I said, “Why can’t we live together?” Bing! That light went off. And I started writing it there and then.

The song from 1972, notable for being recorded in mono, reached no.6 in the States and no.12 here. 

Timmy died of cancer on March 11, 2022, at the age of 77.

Wednesday 28 February 2024


Many folk of my age (and possibly a little older) will consider Poco's "Rose of Cimarron" as one of the greatest tracks of all. Very much country orientated it was not released as a single (as far as I know), just being an album track, but was constantly played on the radio and everyone I knew had a copy of the album.

Poco are considered one of the founders of the Southern California country rock sound, and three of the members of the band have been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as members of other bands (Richie Furay with Buffalo Springfield, Randy Meisner and Timothy B Schmit with the Eagles).

Rose of Cimarron was the name given to Rose Dunn,  a woman who took in outlaws in the late 1800s. She fed them, mended their wounds and sent them on their way. Or so they say.......

Rose Dunn

Rose lived to the grand age of 76, passing away in 1955.

Tuesday 27 February 2024


Pop Musik was a 1979 hit by M which in turn was a supposed project from English musician Robin Scott.

Scott said, I was looking to make a fusion of various styles which somehow would summarise the last 25 years of pop music. It was a deliberate point I was trying to make. Whereas rock and roll had created a generation gap, disco was bringing people together on an enormous scale. That's why I really wanted to make a simple, bland statement, which was, 'All we're talking about basically (is) pop music.

The UK 12-inch single version was notable for the A-side having a double groove so that the two tracks ("Pop Muzik" and "M Factor") both started at the outer edge of the record and finished in the middle (with a long silence at the end of "M Factor" since the track was the shorter of the two). This resulted in a random selection of the two tracks, depending on which groove the needle landed in the lead-in.

Pop Muzik was a big hit, only being kept off the top slot in the UK charts by Art Garfunkel and his rabbit anthem (“Bright Eyes” from Watership Down).

Monday 26 February 2024

I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World) by Donald Fagan

Donald Fagan, keyboard player and a mainstay of rock/jazz funk band Steely Dan, released his first solo album a year after they split in 1982.  I.G.Y. opened the album and was the first single to be taken from it

The "I.G.Y." of the title refers to the "International Geophysical Year", an event that ran from July 1957 to December 1958. The I.G.Y. was an international scientific project promoting collaboration among the world's scientists. 

Fagen's lyrics discuss the widespread optimistic vision of the future at that time, including futuristic concepts such as solar-powered cities, a transatlantic tunnel, permanent space stations, and spandex jackets!

It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1983, losing to "Always on My Mind".

It has been covered by British musician Howard Jones and American a cappella group Take 6, who modified the lyrics to recast the song with a gospel message.

The Howard Jones cover version

Sunday 25 February 2024


"Breaking Up is Hard to Do" is Neil Sedaka's signature song,  

A young Neil Sedaka performs the original

Originally recorded in the early 60s and re-recorded in 1975 when he was suffering a fall in popularity. He dramatically slowed the song down to a ballad which assisted the resurgenge of his career (and was a distinct improvement in my humble opinion). 

However, 5 years earlier, US crooner Lenny Welch covered the song in a similar, relaxed version. Welch apparently approached Sedaka asking him if he had any songs that would suit his style of singing and Neil, after giving the matter some thought, re-wrote the song for him.

Lenny Welch with his original slower version

The song has also been covered by Little Eva, the Partridge Family and the Carpenters amongst others. 

David Cassidy and the Partridge Family

My favourite? It might surprise you, but I always thought David Cassidy had an excellent voice suited to the uptempo style of the song, so it's TPF from 1972 for me.

Saturday 24 February 2024


Stevie Wonder's "A Time to Love" album was released in 2005 to mixed reviews and featured the single "Positivity" 

This track featured a lady on vocals with him, namely Aisha Morris, who just happens to be his daughter. She is the very same daughter he sang about on "Isn't She Lovely?" back in 1976 (lyric is "life is Aisha, the meaning of her name"). Aisha is now 49 years old!

Friday 23 February 2024


Continuing the gone far too soon theme, we come to Rodothas (Roy) Hamilton. 

Live on Ed Mathews Hit Parade Show

With a golden, classical style voice resembling deep, dark molasses, Roy was Epic Records' no.1 star in the mid to late 50s. "You'll Never Walk Alone" and this wonderful version of "Unchained Melody" were their first ever US R&B chart toppers in 1954 and 55. 

His version of Unchained Melody was a hit long before the accepted definitive version by the Righteous Brothers in 1965 while the song is one of the most recorded and performed songs of all time.

Roy died aged 40 in July 1969 from a cerebral hemorrhage after being in a coma for more than a week. Elvis Presley sent Roy's wife, Myrna, a rose every day Hamilton was in hospital and upon his passing he sent Myrna flowers for the following six months. 

Roy and Elvis

Roy was in severe debt at his death and the "King", who considered Roy to be one of his greatest influences, even settled outstanding funeral costs and medical bills.

The studio version

Thursday 22 February 2024


Best known for her 7 hit collaborations with Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell had an earlier successful solo career in her own right. This song was recorded when she was still a teenager under her earlier stage name of Tammy Montgomery. 

Born Thomasina Montgomery in Philadelphia, she was named after her father Thomas, a barbershop owner and local politician. Her mother Jennie was an actress.

After years suffering from headaches, one evening in 1967 she actually collapsed on stage into Marvin's arms and after 8 unsuccessful operations for a diagnosed brain tumour, passed away in 1970 aged only 24. 

There have often been rumours that in the latter days she was so ill that her vocals had to be touched up by using Valerie Simpson (of Ashford and Simpson - Solid fame) to help out.

Marvin, who was totally besotted with her although insisted their relationship was no more than platonic, never got over her passing and his legendary "What's Going On?" album of 1971 was in part a reaction to her death. 

At her funeral her mother banned all Motown personnel from attending in protest at their ignorance towards her treatment by Temptations singer David Ruffin, who abused her while in a relationship. All except Marvin that was.

Monday 19 February 2024


"Everyday" was something of a strange choice as a Slade single being it was not as "gung-ho" as previous releases, but it was a hit reaching no.3 in the UK charts.

Released as the 2nd single from the album Old, New, Borrowed and Blue, the idea for "Everyday" came out of an evening at Jim Lea's house where he was entertaining friends. Responding to the question of how he wrote songs, he said "easy, anyone can do it" and each person then attempted to come up with their idea for a song, there and then on the spot. 

Noddy Holder, Jim Lea, Dave Hill and Don Powell

Lea's wife Louise came up with an idea, which formed the basis of the song's verse. Lea later developed her idea further to become a Slade song. Once he had finished the music and some more of the lyrics, Noddy Holder finished the final lyrics off and "Everyday" was born! Initially Louise was not given a credit for her part in the songs' creation, but eventually this omission was rectified.

As an interesting snippet, at the time of recording of the song, lead guitarist Dave Hill was abroad on honeymoon so Lea actually played the guitar solo himself.