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.

Sunday 10 March 2024


Set the furthest back in time of this Twins series are the Shangri-Las with their iconic "Leader of the Pack."

The 60s US girl group was made up of two sets of sisters - Mary and Betty Weiss and twins Margie and Mary-Ann Ganser. The girls were discovered singing at talent shows and school hops in and around the New York area and with striking angelic faces possessed a hard, piercing nasal sound.

Initial promo photo
Amy Winehouse was infatuated with their sound and once called their 1965 single I Can Never Go Home Anymore “the saddest song in the world”.

Named after a restaurant in Queens, NY, the girls had a string of melodramatic hits in the mid 1960s and their "tough girl" persona set them apart from other girl groups of the period. From a blue collar area of Queens, they were less demure than their contemporaries.

Betty Weiss left the 4-some in 1965 leaving them as a trio. They lost their recording deal and, unable to secure a new one, subsequently disbanded around the end of the 60s.

Shangri-Las as a trio
Sadly only Betty now remains from the original line-up with lead singer sister Mary passing away as recently as January of this year. The twins left us many years ago - Mary-Ann from a drug overdose in 1970 and Margie from cancer in 1996 at age 48.


Second in this series of musical twins are the Bee Gees.

The Bee Gees were a musical group formed in 1958 by brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The trio were especially successful in popular music in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and later as prominent performers in the disco music era in the mid- to late 1970s.

Born in the Isle of Man, then via Manchester and Australia, the group sang recognisable three-part tight harmonies: Robin's clear vibrato lead vocals were a hallmark of their earlier hits, while Barry's R&B falsetto became their signature sound during the mid to late 1970s and 1980s. 

Sadly twins Maurice (2003) and Robin (2012) have now both passed away leaving older brother Barry as the only surviving member of the group.

“Secret Love '' was a minor hit from 1991 which reached no.5 in the UK, but strangely never found a release in the US. In a similar up-tempo, “Supremes” style to Diana Ross’ “Chain Reaction” (which was also penned by the Bee Gees), it was always one of my favourites from their catalogue.

Friday 8 March 2024


For a few days, TOTD will be featuring famous twins in music.....

Our Twins miniseries starts in an obvious place with the Goss brothers. Matt and Luke were born in September 1968 in Lewisham and grew up in Surrey’s leafy Camberley. Their school friend Craig Logan made up the band and they achieved chart success and a large teenage fanbase.

Bros are estimated to have sold 16 million records worldwide. In 2017, the Goss twins reunited to perform two dates as Bros at the O2 Arena in London. Both now 55, Matt continued a solo singing career while Luke got the acting bug.

Tomorrow - a couple of Manx siblings!

Thursday 7 March 2024


Fairground Attraction are best known for the 1988 hits "Perfect" and "Find My Love", both from their debut studio album, The First of a Million Kisses. The band won two Brit Awards in 1989, but broke up the following year to pursue solo careers.

“Find My Love” peaked at number 7 on the UK Singles Chart and spent a total of 11 weeks on the chart. It was their last single to reach a top 40 position. Musically, "Find My Love" is characterised by its use of the Spanish guitar.

Scottish lead singer Eddi Reader went on to establish a successful solo career. In 2003, she showcased the works of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, which saw her being awarded an MBE for outstanding contributions to the arts in the New Year's honours list of 2006. 

I remember seeing her perform live at the 1997 London Fleadh in Finsbury Park, where to this day I have never heard any other live performance that has come close to her perfect pitch and deliverance (it has to be noted that the late Sinead O’Connor was also on the bill that day and yet Eddi Reader outperformed her IMO).

Fairground Attraction are re-forming for a 2024 Japanese tour!