Monday, August 31, 2009

She Came Along

Whenever I hear a new song I like I play it so many times that I either don't ever want to hear it again or will always like it. Today, I've been listening to a new Sharam song, She Came Along. I don't really know Kid Cudi and am not mad on his vocals on the song but I have the Patsy Cline sample in the chorus lodged in my head. Sharam is currently touring with his Wild West multimedia show which sounds very intriging. Here's She Came Along by Sharam featuring Kid Cudi, out this week in the UK. So much dance sounds the same it has to be commended for trying a different type of sample.

Just For A Little While

Sam Sparro was forever in the charts with Black and Gold in 2008. His follow up single 21st Century Life charted outside the top 40 in both the UK and Australia. Sam is too good to be sent to pop's dumper-bin already. Thankfully, the new Basement Jaxx song Feelings Gone features him on vocals. Basement Jaxx have collaborated with some great vocalists over the years and Sam is now added to that list. Feeling Gone sounds a bit Prince like in places. Which is never a bad thing.

Come Home From The Road

Thank you to Paul for letting me know that the reason for the Luther Vandross song Dance With My Father being back in the charts was due to the fact it was sung by a hopeful contestant on X Factor. It shows you that X Factor is also a factor when it comes to download purchases from Irish fans of the show. Paul also mentioned that his personal favourite Luther song is The Power Of Love/Love Power which is a really great song. I have 3 songs by Luther that I adore. The first is when he was with the group Change and the song Searching. The second is his version of Superstar. The third is the song below. It is Stop To Love from Luther's 1986 album Give Me The Reason. The line Come home from the road is a reason alone to love it in my book.

Chillin

Earlier this year, Lady Gaga added her name to the many, many 'featuring' songs in the charts worldwide. Chillin is her collaboration with rapper Wale. Pronounced Wall Eh! It is released in the UK today but has been out as a download in the US since last April. It is one of those songs that you will either love or hate. It has a sample of the 1960's song Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye). That sample has also been used this year on Kristina Debarge's Goodbye and Jay Z's D.O.A. (Death Of Auto Tune). Here's Wale featuring Lady Gaga and Chillin.
In 1983 Bananarama released their now well known version of Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) which was a number 5 hit in the UK.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sing Holiday

The single greatest pop concert moment for me ever was Madonna singing Holiday at Slane on her Reinvention tour. I was there with a great bunch of people including Brian and Patrick. We were right up the front of the stage. There was 80,000 people behind us. The whole concert was of course amazing but Holiday! Oh, Holiday. How you have been a part of my life. From the very first time playing it from the original Madonna album. From it's various chart successes. All the places I lived in, all the clubs and bars I heard it in. How many times I played it on single, album or CD just to have a few minutes of chase-all-your-cares-away pop. Watching her Detroitness sing it on Live Aid. Meeting friends over the years who like Holiday as much as me and wishing and hoping for that someone who loves pop just as much as me. So that's the 40 songs that mean a lot to me or rather some of them! And just in time too as I am 40 today. It is a weird number to write. But it is all good! Here are 3 wonderful live performances of Holiday, my most favourite pop song of all time. First back to the beginning. This is from the Virgin tour.
The second is from the Girlie show tour. The third performance is from the Reinvention tour.

A Song For You

A Song for You was written by Leon Russell. It has been covered by so many music artists. This week a lot of people are writing about Whitney Houston's version of the song. It is one that she sang before at concerts but her version now is a dance version and it seems right that she is making her comeback with that song on her album. Thank you Paul for the great review you gave to the album. Donny Hathaway's version is still one of the greatest and many male singers have sang it like Donny or in tribute to him. Leon Russell's own version is very different to the one we most know. That version that most people know is by the Carpenters. Did you know it was never a single for them? I didn't until today. It is as good as their version of Superstar which is my joint favourite Carpenter song. Here are three versions of A Song For You. Song number 39 of my 40. The first is by the Carpenters.
The second is by Christina Aguilera with Herbie Hancock.
The third version is by Elliott Yamin. Of the more modern versions of the song it is his version that I find is the most emotional, in other words it makes me cry!

On The Radio

There are many artists that should be on my list of 40 songs like Whitney, Abba, Kylie, Celine. They all have amazing songs from their music careers but my list is really a snapshot of the music I like. So some are remixes or one hit wonders. However, these next three songs are really my top 3 songs of all time, well so far! For me, pop music began with my Dad. He is a great man, I have said that before here. My parents are my home in Kilkenny. My mother has been behind everything that my dad has done with her constant support and they have always supported me in whatever me or my brother or sisters have done. One of the greatest things that my father did was set up a radio station in Kilkenny, KCR. I have also I written about it on my site. I am so proud of him. My dad is 64 now and is still working away on new projects, he is always positive, never negative. I am also proud of myself for having my own show and that show created a lifelong love of the UK charts and later the American chart. I don't think my love of pop would be the same without the radio station in our back garden that my dad set up with 3 other people Liam Carroll, Mike Breen and Jerry Joyce. Today I think of those times and all the songs. The hundreds of songs, the thousands. Every genre of music but mostly pop and country and a million love songs. My darling sisters Jane and Emma and my brother Mike all like their own music and we are a little different in our music tastes though Emma likes pop a lot and I love her for that. Every time she goes to a concert with our friend Mary I am almost there with her. Emma texted me last year to tell me she and Mary had bumped into Mutya Sugababe in a London hotel foyer and I thought well that's a true sister of mine! . There are loads more songs that I will post on my site. Today I will post the last three of my All Time 40. The first song is from 1979 and is On The Radio by Donna Summer. It is for me a flawless pop song. Song number 38 of my 40. I remember looking at a Donna Summer album in Theresa's office in the radio station and that Casablanca label pictured above. This is On The Radio by Donna Summer. If my blog was my radio show this is for all my family, for my Uncle Christy and his record collection, for my aunt Theresa buying all those early singles, my readers and friends here, all kindred spirits and very much this is for my Dad and Mam, to say thank you for starting the music.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cambodia

I have always loved pop songs where the lyrics contained a story. How wonderful it always was to have a tale, sometimes tragic, with a beginning, a middle and an end all within 3 minutes on the radio. I know that is because when I was a child I grew up listening to country music and also groups like Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, and Abba who always seemed to have a story in their songs. So by the time I became totally obsessed with pop music from 1981 onwards I already had a song structure in my head that has remained with me ever since. Kim Wilde, for me, has to be one of pop's greatest stars. Her whole image (especially that black and white top), her gorgeous attitude and of course her hit singles. From the very early songs like Kids In America, Chequered Love, View from A Bridge, The Second Time and Child Come Away to the later hits like You Keep Me Hangin' On, You Came and If I Can't Have you. There was one song that is also in my top ten songs of all time. That song was her 4th single and is Cambodia. It was produced by her brother Ricky and written by Ricky and their father Marty. It is a great story song. It was a number 12 hit in the UK, 15 in Ireland and number one in France, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. Kim's Child Come Away, for me was a classic example of a song that's almost a bit scary. Godley & Creme's Under Your Thumb is another. Cambodia is also a song where 'something happened'. The video for Cambodia is here and the clip below is a better audio version and is also the reprise version of the song. From November 1981 this is song number 37 of my 40, Cambodia.

Dublin's Got Dance

Here in Ireland it usually takes us at least 47 years to catch up on popular culture trends. It was not long ago that a 'night out' resembled the picture above. In many places it still does. Maybe the flash mob in a southside shopping centre happens on a regular basis here in Dublin but I haven't seen it before on the auld internet. The video below, taken from Ms Panti's blog, brought a smile to my face today. It has some good dancers, some truly-awful-but-bless-them dancers, dancing Mammies and a 'that's the last time Dolores drags me to Harvey Nicks!' older man at the end. They could also release the music clip as a kind of Stars On 45 2009.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Forbidden Colours

By the time David Sylvian had moved on from the group Japan and became a solo artist I hadn't really known Japan's songs. I first remember his solo song Red Guitar which I played a lot on my Now That's What I Call Music 3 album in 1984. It was years later that I started to like Japan's music. I Second That Emotion, Life In Tokyo, Quite Life and Ghosts are classic Japan songs. My favourite is Nightporter. With all the 80s music in the charts they surely are or should be one of today's greatest influences. For all the concerts I have seen in Dublin, David Sylvian in Vicar Street in 2007 was really the most disappointing. How I wished I would never write that line! It was really a concert for the most devoted fan as he played mostly songs from his more recent solo albums. I did the silly thing of looking at the check-list of the songs he would sing on the night in advance. Never do that again folks even if it's Madonna! The only song that myself and my friend Seamus knew was Ghosts and that was a very different version to the original. I wonder how many other people there on the night had gone along thinking that he might sing a few songs that made him a successful artist in the first place. I know artists should not have to constantly perform their older songs every time but I was very disappointed. The newer songs were all a bit bleak. I know he is an artist synonymous with a certain genre of music but at one stage my friend Seamus said (a bit Bridget Jones like too loud) 'sing a happy song!'. The song that I most wanted to hear him sing was Forbidden Colours, the song that Sylvian wrote the lyrics for with music by Riuichi Sakamoto. It was a vocal version of the theme to the 1983 film Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. The film's plot included a story of forbidden love between two men and starred David Bowie, Tom Conti, Takeshi Kitano and Riuichi Oshima. Forbidden Colours got to number 16 in the UK charts in July 1983 and is in the top ten songs of all time for me. It is number 36 of my 40.

Sailing

I have been living in Dublin for almost 20 years now. For all that is awful about Dublin such as the lack of civic pride that some people have for their city there has also been the great things. That for me is all the friendships I have made over the years. In every job I have worked in I have made some friends along the way that has made the experience of working there a good one such as a bookshop job a few years ago where I met my friends Anna Lena and Susan and my cinema job days where I met Orla, Tara and Sinead. My current job is full of some brilliant people and they know who they are. A lot of my friendships are female relationships while, like most gay men, the majority of my male friends are gay. My friend Brian is someone whom I made other friends through because of him. I met him through a surprise party for one of my greatest darlings, Rosie, whose birthday is also this week. Through Brian I also met my wonderful friend Patrick who is from Boston and lives here with his partner Liang. Patrick adores music and especially the American music that I love. Over the years I have gone to many concerts and nearly all of them have been with a good friend. I don't like going to a concert by myself. One concert that I went to with Patrick was Christopher Cross in Vicar Street. For every concert I see there is one song that I most want to hear. So I have heard Cyndi sing She Bop, Yazoo sing Only You, Duran Duran sing The Chauffeur and so on. Christopher Cross sang Sailing perfectly. It was number one in the USA but it wasn't a hit in the UK, only getting to number 48. Could that be true? Here's song number 35 of my 40. From 1980 this is a more recent live performance of Sailing by Christopher Cross.

Forever Autumn

The image above is one that most frightened me as a child. Like most images in popular culture that stay with us it is the mix of wonder and fear that stay with us through life. I remember the music equally as much as the images of The War Of The Worlds and of course Richard Burton's masterful narration. The music alone was cosmic and huge. This was 1978 and it was the time of the beginning of my love of all things to do with science fiction. From Star Wars to Star Trek. Space 1999 and Buck Rogers to Blake's 7 and Doctor Who. The War Of The Worlds soundtrack contains two great songs, The Eve Of The War with it's lyrics; the chances of anything coming from Mars area million to one they say, but still...they come. The other song was Forever Autumn as sung by Justin Hayward. Written by Jeff Wayne, Gary Osborne and Paul Vigrass the song, for me, is one of the truly great songs of the 1970's. The song's melody was first written in 1969 though it was 1978 when it was a hit single. in the UK charts. All of the song's lyrics are beautiful because of the arrangement and the way Justin Hayward sings but how can you get better than a line such as Like the sun through the trees you came to love me, like a leaf on the breeze you blew away. Forever Autumn was a number 5 hit in 1978. It got there on August 26th 1978, a day before I was 9 years old. The info on the song's chart progress is here on a great site called Chart Stats where you can track every song's UK chart history. Here's song number 34 of my 40. From 1978 this is Forever Autumn by Justin Hayward.

Hangin' On A String (Contemplating)

The next few songs on my list of 40 are truly my most listened to in my life songs. They are songs that I will never grow tired of. That has to be the magic of a song is it's amazing ability for no matter how many listens it is like hearing it for the first time. Song number 33 is Hangin' On A String (Contemplating) by Loose Ends from 1985. It was their fourth single by the original successful line up. They were Carl McIntosh, Steve Nichol and of course Jane Eugene. This is one of my favourite vocals on a pop song. The song was a number 13 hit in the UK and got to number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100. (Something I didn't know until today, thank you Wikipedia). It was also a number one hit on the Billboard R'n'B chart so maybe some of you American bloggers remember it? Loose Ends had a number 16 hit with Magic Touch also in 1985 which was also good but no Hangin' On A String (Contemplating). Both songs were from the album So Where Are You. The song also proudly brings out the music OCD in me as it reminds me of how much I like song titles that contain words in brackets. When I read a song title it has to be written as it originally was such as no g in the word hangin'. Loose Ends also had a hit with the anti-drugs song Don't Be A Fool in 1990 though by that time the band was then just Carl McIntosh with new vocalists. A remix of Hangin' On A String (Contemplating) got to number 25 in the UK in 1992 as well. From February 1985 this is Loose Ends and Hangin' On A String (Contemplating).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kiss Curl

It is funny how songs remind you of people. This week I have been listening to the Freemasons album Shakedown 2. There are loads of remix gems on that album and I will post a few of them over the next few days. One song that is extremely remixtastic is a mix of Ghosts & Stuff by Deadmau5 and People Hold On by Coldcut featuring Lisa Stansfield.
How I loved Lisa and all her songs especially All Around the World, Change, All Woman and This is the Right Time. I got to see her in concert here in Dublin a few years ago with my friend Orla.
People Hold On is a wonderful pop dance song. When I looked at the video again I remembered that Lisa had her kiss curl and it reminded me of the first guy I kissed. That was back in 1990. He had a devilish grin and a kiss curl. One day several years later I was listening to the radio in work and I heard that the same guy had gone to jail. But that's another story. Anyway! Here's Lisa.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just The Way

Just a few songs left on my 40 now. The majority as you may have seen are from the 1980s or before. There are a few from the 1990s but I don't think I've included any from the last decade. It's not that there haven't been great songs but I just think it takes a while for a song to become an all time classic. I had to pick at least one song from the past few years so here's one. The Way I Are by Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson. I think Timbaland is a genius, I loved everything he did with Aaliyah and Destiny's Child as well as all his more recent collaborations. This is song number 32 of my 40 and is the Andre LaRo remix of The Way I Are.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

She Bop

Of all the concerts I've seen in my life seeing Cyndi Lauper last Autumn was easily one of the highlights, it was one of those perfect concerts. David has a wonderful review of seeing her in Birmingham here. That's what I love about my fellow pop bloggers is that they are still so passionate about the pop I grew up with. Here's a post I did on Cyndi previously which includes her version of Strawberry Field Forever.
The songs below are ten Cyndi songs I adore:
  • Who Let In The Rain
  • Sally's Pigeons
  • Heading West
  • Time After Time
  • The World Is Stone
  • Change Of Heart
  • True Colors
  • When You Were Mine
  • Into The Nightlife
and of course She Bop. This is a classic example of a pop song having controversial lyrics but at the same time not being blatantly obvious. The songwriters of today could learn a lot from artists like Cyndi. Mind you five people including Cyndi wrote the song. The video for that song is here;
This is song number 31 of my 40. Here's Cyndi on the US music show Solid Gold and a classic performance of She bop.

Wendy & Lisa

Yesterday I did a post on Prince. Without Wendy & Lisa the days of Purple Rain and Parade would have been very different indeed. The sub plot in that film of the characters played by Wendy & Lisa trying to get their music noticed in Purple Rain was a very interesting one. Their self titled album Wendy & Lisa in 1987 was mainly about relationships and the time they spent working with Prince & The Revolution. Waterfall is the most well known single. It is one of those albums that I love from beginning to end. If you do not have it treat yourself to it. There is an alternative cover which was used on the CD release but the original album release featured the above cover image. Everything But You, Song About, The Life, Blues Away, all classic moments in music. Song number 30 of my 40 is Chance To Grow by Wendy and Lisa but like so many other songs by great music artists it could be any of the songs on their debut album. Check out the William Orbit mix of Lolly Lolly from later in their career too and the lovely mix they did for Gwen Stefani on The Real Thing. From 1987 here is Wendy & Lisa with two songs from their debut album; Song About as well as The Life.

Sidewalk Talk

John 'Jellybean' Benitez worked with Madonna on her songs Holiday, Borderline, Lucky Star, Everybody, Gambler and Crazy For You. In 1984 his song Sidewalk Talk was released. It was written by Madonna and was sung by Catherine Buchanan. Madonna sang the backing vocals. Sidewalk Talk is completely a classic early Madonna song. It got to number 18 in the US Billboard chart but was also a number one hit on the Billboard Hot Dance Club chart.
Looking back now, I am amazed at the amount and variety of pop I was able to buy when I was a teenager in my home town of Kilkenny. Sidewalk Talk is fab bubblegum pop. It also had a great B-Side called Was Dog A Doughnut. The cover above is the European edition and featured the legendary Written By Madonna under the Jellybean name. Jellybean had other hits as a music artist himself which included Who Found Who featuring Elisa Fiorillo on vocals and also Just A Mirage featuring Adele Bertei. He also produced one of Whitney's great pop dance moments, Love Will Save The Day. Pop would have been an emptier place without Jellybean. Here's song number 29 of my 40. From 1984 this is Sidewalk Talk by John 'Jellybean Benitez featuring Catherine Buchanan and Madonna on vocals. Here's one other Jellybean pop moment, Jingo.

Where Love Lives (Come On In)

When I first heard Where Love Lives (Come On In) by Alison Limerick I thought it was by Madonna. Of course Madonna has nothing to do with the song but I think it could be a great song for her to cover. Where Love Lives (Come On In) was first released in 1990 and re-released in 1991. It got to number 27 in the UK charts but was a huge club hit. This was a time when dance songs were first hits in clubs and then many of these songs became big chart hits in the early 1990s. If there is a revival of that genre of music in the next decade then that would be a very good thing. A remix of Where Love Lives (Come On In) in 1996 got to number 9 in the UK charts and another remix of the song charted at 44 in 2003. Other great songs by Alison are her covers of Make It On My Own and Love Come Down. The cover for When Love Lives (Come On In) is not the one I have as I look at it now which is the same picture but on a white background. Like all dance songs there is just a few versions I like. This is song number 28 of my 40. From 1990 this is the Classic mix of Where Love Lives (Come On In) which was produced by Lati Kronlund and additional production by both Frankie Knuckles and David Morales.

Yesterday - Well It Seemed So Cool

Between Disco and rock and the New Romantic period of chart music there was a combination of all of those genres, Roxy Music. They defined an age. They were that little bit more respected than other chart acts in the 1970s and early 1980s. They have to be an influence on some of the chart artists today. Bryan Ferry is one of the few singers that I still want to see in concert. In 1979 I was 10 and I remember Roxy Music on the radio, there was always something adult and grown up about their music. Their album and single covers were often very sexual and a few years later you could see a group like Duran Duran using various Roxy Music imagery in their own identity. They are today most well known for the ballads Avalon and their version of Jealous Guy, their John Lennon tribute. In 1979 Roxy Music released the album Manifesto with its mannequin featured cover. For me Manifesto had two memorable singles. One was Angel Eyes. The other song was Dance Away, song number 27 of my 40. Dance Roxy was a number two hit in the disco days of 1979. It was kept off the top by Blondie's Sunday Girl in the UK charts. Lyrically, I love it with lines like Let The Strobe Light Up Them All and Loneliness is A Crowed Room. Here's a song that is 30 years old this year, this is Roxy Music and the extended mix of Dance Away.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sing Blue Silver

Add ImageChristmas 1984. One of my presents that year was the album Arena by Duran Duran. It was a live album recorded from concerts around the world. Critics were dubious if the album really was live or were the crowd bits just added in on a mixing desk. I didn't care either way. Bar Smash Hits! most critics in the media were dubious or scathing of Duran Duran anyway, they were then simply the pop I most liked. Back in 1984 teenagers, mainly girls, were always very loyal to either Duran Duran, Wham! or Culture Club. I liked all 3 groups. I had posters of John Taylor and Simon Le Bon on my bedroom wall alongside Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. Nobody I knew liked pop in school. Arena featured singles such as Is There Something I Should Know, Union Of The Snake, The Wild Boys, Hungry Like The Wolf and Save A Prayer. Save A Prayer should be my favourite Duran Duran song but there was one song that was better. That song was The Chauffeur. It was an album track on their Rio Album. The words the chauffeur are never sung in the song but Sing Blue Silver is. Sing Blue Silver was the name I wanted to use for my blog originally but that blog is v different to this one if you check it out. They are the three words that remind me of a whole period of pop music. I loved the Arena album because I never thought that I would ever see Duran Duran in concert. Then one day a few years ago I read on Teletext that they were to play Dublin. I was 15 again. My good friend Brian said he would go even though he didn't know some of the early songs. The concert was simply like being in a video. Though not The Reflex video. The band were all high on the nostalgia that 1980s bands were gaining from the nostalgia tours that still are happening today. The crowd was mainly women aged 30+ but there were guys there too. I smiled at the thirty something guys standing near us singing along football fan style to Wild Boys and Hungry Like The Wolf. You never sang those songs on a Ballinasloe street back in 1984 I thought to myself. The concert was one for the true fans and the band performed all the singles. They also performed The Chauffeur. How wonderful it sounded in a live concert, as good as it did one Christmas from a vinyl record. One of the last songs they performed was a cover version of White Lines (Don't Do It) by Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel. I never knew that Duran Duran had a hit with it in 1995 from their album Thank You. At the end of the concert I tried to get a copy of the set list from the stage. Instead what I got was the lyrics of White Lines. Who were they for? Simon? Who knows. It's a great souvenir. Duran Duran are of course famous for their videos and video films. The Chauffeur was never a single but it had it's own video which was very influenced by the film The Nightporter. I don't know when I first saw the video but it is one that tells a guy if he's straight or not. That video is of course 'embedding not enabled!!' and can instead be viewed here. This is song number 26 of my 40. From the albums Rio in 1982 and Arena in 1984 this is The Chauffeur by Duran Duran. This is a version performed as part of the 1984 Cinemax/MTV film As The Lights Go Down.

Maybe He's Just Too Demanding

Of the 40 songs on my list I've decided to just post ones that can be accompanied by a Youtube video. This is not easy when all the many Prince songs that I could select are not on Youtube or the audio is forever silent. This annoys many a Prince fan but that's what makes him Prince I just. I think it's to do with his Napoleon complex! I can't think of music from the 1980s without having Prince on that list. There are so many quality Prince songs but almost all of them are from Purple Rain, Parade and Sign O' The Times. Other songs include Lady Cab Driver, 1999, Little Red Corvette, Alphabet Street and I Wish U Heaven. So here I will only mention two of the best on my list. I only watched Purple Rain, the film, for the first time last year. I think I was always a bit nervous that I would be disappointed by it. The album is in my top ten albums of the 1980s and I didn't want the icon status of the songs diminished. But how wrong I was because Purple Rain the film is the songs. They are the film's heart. It is a very sexual film and it's violence towards women such as the character of Apolloina is something that unnerved me but it all is part of the background story. I loved the whole feel of the film especially the scenes with Wendy & Lisa and the Revolution as well as Morris Day and the way that the songs are performances played in full. It was a true 1984 musical. When Doves Cry was my favourite song for years and the title of my blog is a tribute to that song. Take Me With U just makes me happy every time I hear it. Let's Go Crazy = Perfect. Like most very famous songs, the album's title track Purple Rain would be my least favourite though it is the definition of the great songs of the 1980s. It is the song The Beautiful Ones that is song number 24 of my 40. There is all you need to know about the song here. I also liked Mariah's cover of the song with Dru Hill on her 1997 album, Butterfly. A brave choice of cover version at the time. The second Prince song on my list is from the 1986 album Parade. My favourite single is not Kiss but Girls and Boys. Mountains comes a close second.
The song on that album that is number 25 on my list was, like The Beautiful Ones, an album track and it is Sometimes It Snows In April. It's lyrics were by Prince and music by Wendy & Lisa who will get their own post soon here on this site. I remember listening to the lyrics and just hearing a song being sung by a man about another man and since then it has always meant something to me even with all that Prince may believe himself these days. Last year I was so disappointed when Prince cancelled his Dublin concert despite selling over 57,000 tickets. I have seen him twice in concert though.
Of course neither songs on my list can be posted here but a cover version can be. Vanessa Paradis did a nice version of Sometimes It Snows In April years ago but here is one by Zabeth Dkos.

The Second Only Makes You Wonder

In 1985 the German group Propaganda released two classic singles. Both were featured on their second album A Secret Wish. Propaganda were fantastic synth pop. They were on the famous ZTT label and produced by the genius Trevor Horn. Singer Claudia Brucken was fabulous then and still is today. Their first great single was Dr Mabuse which got to number 27 in the UK charts and was a top ten hit in Germany. The second song by them is song number 23 of my 40. This is Propaganda and Duel.
Sophie Ellis Bextor did a Sophie Ellis Bextor type cover of the song many moons later. Here's her version.

Just Call

The great joy about having my own radio show was that every week I choose my own playlist. The songs I played on my show weren't always ones that I heard on other Irish radio stations. I used to buy the music magazine Record Mirror each week and it had a full listing of international charts, I think that magazine is a reason why I was so obsessed with chart positions and hit singles. It is a lifetime obsession. I loved the American chart the most and that's why I find it is a bit sad that the American chart can be a very dull one these days. In the 1980s there was amazing mix of genres in the Billboard Hot 100. Pop, rock, ballads, r'n'b, dance. One of those American songs that I played on my radio show in the mid 1980s was Just Call by Sherrick. There isn't much about him on the net bar this page. He died in 1999 when he was just 41. This is song number 22 of my 40. From 1987, a song that got to number 23 in the UK charts this is Sherrick and Just Call.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Classic Fizz!

For me Bucks Fizz were one of the 1980s perfect pop groups. They had all the elements. A Eurovision winning beginning in 1981, they all looked gorgeous, several hit singles and albums, catchy pop songs and love songs. They were an early reason why I loved British pop music. Here's three songs by them. The first is a song that got to number 8 in the UK charts in 1982.
This is Now Those Days Are Gone. The second is from 1983. This was a number 10 hit in the UK and number 6 in Ireland. Here's When We Were Young.
The third song is I Hear Talk from 1984. At the time of the singles release the group were involved in a tour bus crash and singer Mike Nolan was severely injured. As a result of the accident, in the days before a 1000 digital TV music stations and Youtube, there was limited promotion of the song and it only charted in the 30's in the UK chart. I Hear Talk should have easily have been a bigger hit as it is lovely, joyous pop. So, for that reason, of the three songs featured here I am choosing I Hear Talk as song 20 of my 40.

Doing It For The

Lovegame will be Lady Gaga's new single in the UK. Originally released in Canada and the US in March it will be released in the UK and Ireland on September 21st on CD single. Of her four singles I think it's the weakest. I wish it was The Fame.

That's What They Call You

Song number 19 of my 40 is also from 1981. Kiki Dee is most well known for her number one duet with Sir Elton on Don't Go Breaking My Heart which they did a fantastic version of at Live Aid in 1984. My favourite song by Kiki Dee is Star. It got to number 13 in the UK chart and is one of the songs I remember being on the radio a lot when I was just 12 years old. Here's a true pop classic. Star by Kiki Dee.

Souvenir

This is song number 18 of my 40. From 1981 a song that would prove to be the biggest hit single of their career. This is the OMD and the very beautiful Souvenir.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Miss Melanie Fiona

What is the most unfortunate number of all? 13? 99? Six billion. Well, if you are a potential popstar it must be 41. That's the number that Melanie Fiona's single Give It To Me Right stopped at recently in the UK charts. This is a great big shame as I think the song is very good indeed.
Melanie has a great voice and already has a variety of images. I love the one above which is very Chaka Khan. How about this one. Ciara called! She wants her image/hoodie/street corner back! Or black and white photoshoot was going well until Melanie Fiona crashed to ground due to sheer weight of 'couture' earphones.
Or maybe 'Oh fuck that moody respected artist malarkey nonsense I just wanna be a centrefold.' Anyway! Here's Melanie Fiona and Give It To Me Right which features a lot of The Zombies Time Of The Season which is always good. Introduced by the lovely Lorraine Kelly. An extra bonus.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sky High

I've Seen The Film, I've Read The Book was a 1975 single by the British group Jigsaw. I don't think a lot of people will remember that song. But they may remember the follow up song which was called Sky High. It was written for a martial arts film called The Man From Hong Kong. The song was a top 3 US hit, top ten in the UK and a number one in Japan.
I think it's one of those forever catchy pop songs and it's song number 15 of my 40.
Here's Jigsaw and their gorgeous pop hit from 1975 Sky High.
In the 1990's Mike Stock and Matt Aitken of SAW produced a version of Sky High for the singer Newton. Newton was a former fireman turned pop star. Excellent career move. Here he is.

The Irish Chart Featuring Amelle, Kanye, Akon, Nelly, Kelly & Various Other Popstars

I should really just publish the Irish Chart on shuffle each week. Black Eyed Peas are still number one with I Gotta Feeling. 4 weeks! Beyonce moves up to 7 with Sweet Dreams and David Guetta and Akon drag their poor demented Sexy Bitch into the top 5. Mr Hudson's Supernova swops seats with Beat Again by JLS. This week's UK number one Never Leave You by Tinchy Stryder featuring a Sugababe whose image is on Keisha's dartboard is the only new entry in the Top Ten at number two. The only two Irish artists in the Top 40 are The Sawdoctors who drop from last week's number 2 to number 11 with She Loves Me. U2 are at 38 with Magnificent.
Here's the Irish Top Ten singles chart from last Friday: 1(1): I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas 2(42): Never Leave You - Tinchy Stryder featuring Amelle 3(4): Supernova - Mr Hudson featuring Kanye West 4(3): Beat Again - JlS 5(10): Sexy Bitch - David Guetta featuring Akon 6(6) I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) - Pitbull 7(9): Sweet Dreams - Beyonce 8(5): Evacuate The Dancefloor - Cascada 9(8): Bulletproof - La Roux 10(7): When Love Takes Over - David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland
In the rest of the Top 40 there are only two other brand new songs. Muse chart at 27 with Uprising and Madonna's Celebration charts at 33. My friend Connell told me that the Irish Chart is actually released at midnight on Thursday night so that means that Celebration charted on just a few days sales. Singles are released usually on a Friday here and Celebration was released on the Monday. It will be interesting to see how much of a climb it has next week.
Other climbers in the Irish Chart included: * Remedy - Little Boots. Up 17 to 14. * 22 - Lily Allen. Up 13 to 21. * Beautiful - Enimem. Up 11 to 33 * Jump - Flo Rida featuring Nelly Furtado. New in the Top 40 at 34 or up 11 from 45.
Poker Face by Lady Gaga has been in the top 50 for 30 weeks now. Alas, nobody I know in Ireland will still admit to liking Lady Gaga. Release Me by Agnes is at 15. 11 weeks in the chart. I love that song!
I wasn't going to use the photo of Tinchy and Amelle as I thought his T-Shirt said Stab In The Hood. Hmmm I thought, Strike Curious Poses only does bad taste so far. But! On closer inspection it says STAR in The Hood.
Here they both are singing in a shopping centre in Bayswater, London for BBC sound. Somehow, I can't see Madonna or Rihanna doing the same venue. Maybe Mariah at the rate she's going these days. Amelle sounds good but the Cheese and Diary sign behind them takes from the whole 'experience' somewhat.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Let's All Chant Again

I've a had a little blogging break this week but I'll be back with some new posts soon. In the meantime here's a great Paul Oakenfold Dub remix of Celebration. After 4 days on sale the single version has charted at number 33 this week on downloads in Ireland.
Listening to the mix I thought I heard a bit of another sample in it with the 'my body' lyrics. It reminded me of Let's All Chant by the Michael Zager Band which is all good. Here's a wee trip down the lane of memory.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rapture

As you all know I love coming across songs and videos and remixes on Youtube that I haven't seen before. This week when I posted the Riders On The Storm video I found this mix of the song mixed with Rapture by Blondie. I love the way Jim Morrison looks at the camera at the beginning of the video and the way Debbie wanders around too.
When I was a child my family lived out in the country and every week my aunt would bring me comics. Over the years they went from The Beano to 2000AD. Then my aunt would bring me pop singles. I remember getting Ring My Bell by Anita Ward, Chiquitita by Abba, Tragedy by The Bee Gees, Bang Bang By BA Robertson and Heart of Glass and Sunday Girl by Blondie. Blondie's songs were always amazing. Hangin' On The Telephone, Call Me and Atomic. They are all equal favouites but Rapture is the song that is completely perfect. The above mix just adds to it.
Here's song number 14 of my 40. From 1981 Rapture by Blondie.