Saturday, July 28, 2012

I Don't Know How To Love Him - Melanie C

Melanie C's newest single is I Don't Know How To Love Him which is of course from the soundtrack to the musical Jesus Christ Superstar in which she plays the part of Mary Magdalene. She sang it live on the Superstar TV show recently and it was a really great performance. 

That song also features on her forthcoming album Stages which is released in September.

Rapture Riders - Blondie Vs The Doors

In 2005 Riders on the Storm by The Doors was mixed with Rapture by Blondie by Go Home Productions and the mash up was called Rapture Riders. It was a big club hit reaching number one on the US Hot Dance Club Play Chart in May 2006 and proved how timeless both songs continue to be many years after their original release. Both Jim Morrison and Debbie Harry really are two of music ultimate icons.

The video edit of video clips of The Doors and the original Rapture video below which was made by Addictive TV is great too. The look Jim gives to camera sums up in a moment how amazing he was.

You Bring Me Joy - Amelia Lily

You Bring Me Joy the debut solo single by X Factor UK contestant Amelia Lily is released on August 24th here in Ireland and on the 26th in the UK. It's produced by Xenomania and is one of their best pop creations of recent times. Her debut album is due in November. With Misha B's success with her single Home Run and the forthcoming hit Wings by X Factor winners Little Mix last years series has at least three strong pop acts to date. Marcus Collins so deserves better success than he has been having but a strong new song being featured on the forthcoming series live shows could turn his career around again. 

Amelia Lily recently filmed the music video You Bring Me Joy, in the meantime here's the lyric video.

100 Cover Versions #79: Robert Palmer covers 'I Didn't Mean To Turn You On' by Cherrelle

I Didn't Mean to Turn You On was the debut single by American R'n'B singer Cherrelle in 1984. It was produced by the legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. It was a top ten US Dance chart hit but only got to number 79 on the Billboard Hot 100. Cherrelle would have a big UK hit with Saturday Love her duet with Alexander O'Neal. 

In 1986 Robert Palmer released his album Riptide which featured his most famous song Addicted To Love. That album also featured his cover of I Didn't Mean To Turn You On and it was a huge hit for him. It got to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 8 here in Ireland and number 9 in the UK singles charts. 

Throughout the 1980s Robert Palmer was without doubt one of the best male vocalists either as a solo artist or with The Power Station. His death in 2003 at the age of 54 was a huge loss of a great and talented man. He was such a cool and elegant man, pure class. His music was never just one genre it was a wonderful mix of pop, jazz, dance and r'n'b and that is what he will always be remembered for.

Here is an American music Awards performance of I Didn't Mean to Turn You On. The production is this song still sounds so smooth today.

100 Cover Versions #78: Freemasons featuring Bailey Tzuke cover 'Uninvited' by Alanis Morissette

In 1998 Uninvited by Alanis Morissette was one of the songs featured on the soundtrack to the film City Of Angels. The other famous song from that soundtrack was Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls. It is still one of her most powerful sings.

In 2007 Freemasons produced their version of Uninvited and the vocalist was Bailey Tzuke. Their version was a top ten hit in the UK reaching number 8 in the singles chart and it was also a top 5 hit in the Danish and French singles chart as well.

Bailey is the daughter of Judie Tzuke who is the singer of many great and beautiful songs including one of my all time favourite songs Stay With Me till Dawn.

Here are two versions of Uninvited by Freemasons and Bailey Tzuke. The first is the video for the single edit.

and the second is an equally gorgeous acoustic version.

Let's Have a Kiki - Scissor Sisters

Let's Have a Kiki by Scissor Sisters features on their new album Magic Hour.  This week they released an 'instructional video' for Let's Have a Kiki. It's a fabulous lyric video which introduces Ana Matronic taking centre stage as the video begins and then the rest of the band all feature. Jake dances and Babydaddy and Del Marquis both look as handsome as ever. The choreography is by Brad Landers and the video is directed by Scissor Sisters, Aimee Phillips and Vern Moen.

There was also a fan made video for Let's Have a Kiki created by Videdrome Discotheque which features a wonderful montage of dozens of images from gay pop culture.

Here are both videos. First Videodrome Discotheque's.

and here is Scissor Sisters own video.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Promised Land - Joe Smooth

Here is one of the greatest songs from the House music era of the late 1980s. It is the forever classic Promised Land by Joe Smooth. The vocals on Promised Land were by Anthony Thomas. It was also covered by The Style Council in 1989.

100 Cover Versions #77: Lykke Li covers 'Silver Springs' by Fleetwood Mac

Silver Springs was written by Stevie Nicks in the late 1970s and was originally meant to be included on Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album Rumours. It instead became the b-side to Go Your Own Way and later became a single in it's own right when it featured on their 1997 reunion album The Dance. Silver Springs has a very interesting history which you can read more about here

Swedish singer Lykke Li covered Silver Springs for the French radio station LTL2 earlier this year and here is her version. Thanks to Mark Fulledge for posting the video and link below on his Youtube page.

You can also watch Lykke Li's in studio performance of Silver Springs here

100 Cover Versions #76: Nelly Furtado covers 'Feel So Close' by Calvin Harris

Here's Nelly Furtado and a gorgeous acoustic version of Feel So Close Calvin Harris which was a number 2 singles chart hit for Calvin Harris in Ireland and the UK last year and which got to number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Nelly's newest single is Spirit Indestructible from her forthcoming new album The Spirit Indestructible.  

Her cover of Feel So Close was recorded in the SiriusXM studios for Hits 1 which have had a great variety of singers and musicians record both their own songs and cover versions for their shows.

Todrick Hall's 'Cinder Fella'

Todrick Hall had a huge internet hit with Beauty and the Beat earlier this year which brought Beauty and the Beast's Belle through a wonderful musical journey through the Los Angeles suburbs. His newest project is Cinder Fella where he casts himself as the protagonist in his reinvention of Cinderella. Janice Dickinson is the Evil Stepmother, Prince Charming is a familiar face too and there are several other cameos of both stars and Disney characters at the ball. 

The title Cinder Fella was also the name of a Jerry Lewis movie from 1960 but it's very much different and political this time around!

The music is a mash up of well known Top 40 pop hits so like all of these viral videos it's best to watch it from the beginning and watch it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Only One - BoA

There's lots of good pop songs out at the moment but one that is great old fashioned gorgeous pop dance is Only One by South Korean K-Pop superstar BoA.

There are two videos for Only One. one is the drama version.

The second video is the dance version. The choreography which is by Nappytabs in this video is just fabulous.

Good Time - Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen

The music video for Good Time by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen has just been released. The song is released in the UK on the 12th of August but has already been a hit in various countries around the world. It's highest chart position to date is number one on the New Zealand charts. It has also got to number 6 in Australia, number 17 on the billboard Hot 100 and number 26 here in Ireland.

Owl City is still best known for his 2009 worldwide hit Fireflies. What is interesting is that Good Time is his ninth single since Fireflies. None of those previous 8 songs were hits. The highest position a previous song by him got to in the US was Vanilla Twilight which got to number 72. 

Good Time is very much a song that suits both Owl City and Carly Rae's pop genre and is the perfect follow up to her worldwide hit single Call Me Maybe.

Madonna's concert at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin

Last night I went to see Madonna in concert at the Aviva sports stadium in Dublin. It was my second time to see her in concert after seeing her in 2004 when she played Slane. That day the group of friends that I went with had hired a mini bus and we got there very early and got pit passes so we were right up the front. It was completely electric. The feeling of being in a pop video. When she sang Holiday I swear it was the greatest popular culture moment of my life. 

Slane was a huge concert. I always knew that if I had been at the very back of the venue my experience might have been different. When you are the front of a great concert the feeling is intensified. You play a part of the experience of the entire concert. I went to the Aviva stadium concert with my sister and her boyfriend. Our seats were at the back looking directly at the stage. We were glad that we were out of the rain which fell for most of the evening. From where we were sitting we could see every seat around us and the people on the pitch area. The standing tickets were divided into three parts; general standing, those closer to the stage and the fans in the Gold Circle who were right in the middle of the extended stage. 

Alesso played for 45 minutes and while he was very good I also thought two things. One was that Coldplay deciding to go dance music was a very wise career move and we really live in an age when DJ's play other DJ's songs when I heard Alesso play songs by Calvin Harris and David Guetta.

Our seats in the Aviva Stadium allowed us to see the entire stage. The multimedia screen at the back of the stage was perfect quality but the two side screens were much smaller. This meant that Madonna was a tiny speck on the stage as were her dancers and the immense detail of the production. However I always knew which person was Madonna on stage. There is only one her.

Once the concert began it was mostly non stop performance and spectacle from the beginning. Madonna simply gives 100% at any of her concerts. She performed nine songs from her album MDNA. I have to be honest and admit that her new songs have not been among my favourites from her but when you hear and see their presentation during the MDNA concert every one makes sense. Each performance of each song is like seeing a new Madonna video for the very first time. I adored the opening song Girl Gone Wild and Gang Bang was like seeing a brilliantly warped seedy play directed by Tarantino. Madonna always makes full use of traditional stage design and high tech multimedia imagery. Each song was a set piece within itself. It was obvious from the beginning  with the cathedral doors on the multimedia screen that religion was going to be  a major theme throughout the play but it was not just Christianity but also various images of Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and I'm sure kabbalah. It was no surprise that all of these themed song productions led up to a glorious anthem version of Like a Prayer.

During the concert Madonna acknowledged the fact of her 30 years in music and that is the point to remember. She is now at a point in her career where she can be completely selective about which songs she will perform in concert. Since her Virgin Tour in 1985 she has had several major tours. Each of them has contained a new approach to her songs. Each  of her concert tours have had an album or a period in her music or film career to promote. I think that some fans may have expected this tour to be a greatest hits tour but Madonna is always going forward. That is why she sang songs like Revolver which was her collaboration with David Guetta and ended the show with Celebration. They are not the distant past but are newer songs that now have been performed on major tour. It was interesting that she sang no songs from her Madonna debut album but she had a cross section of songs from various albums including True Blue, Like a Prayer, EroticaHard Candy and MDNA. In that way she will always give the true fans the performances and reinventions of songs they know and love.
I loved her cheerleader Express Yourself but for me other highlights were Masterpiece which really is such a beautiful ballad, the entire presentation of I'm a Sinner and also her new approach to Open your Heart, Like a Prayer and Vogue which also paid homage to the original songs and their video images. Her solo version of Like A Virgin received the most mixed reaction from the crowd but the point here is that she is still reinventing that song. She brought an intimate Berlin cabaret club performance to a football stadium. She had several costume changes which I felt paid homage to previous images of her own iconography.

I don't think any dancers work harder than those at a Madonna concert. They were amazing like little toys that you wind up and they just go like crazy. 

There were several people in the audience dressed up, many older than me! I saw one girl who was in her 20s and she was exactly the Like A Virgin album period look complete with the essential beauty spot. There were so many people with t shirts with different images of her from various periods of her career and that is one image that stayed with me afterwards. Madonna will always move forward in her own vision of creativity but she will also always also be the individual images that we most loved about her.  

It was obvious that there were many people there who were moving around and going to the bar that they didn't know the songs from her MDNA album but the true fans did. The only review I've read of a concert date was David McDonagh's review of her concert in Manchester which is here

I have just looked at a video that a fan recorded on a phone near the front of the stage and the rain was really falling heavy throughout the concert. Madonna just sang on and danced and gave the show her all. Amazing and wonderful and will always be the best.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Falling Up - Melissa Etheridge

Falling Up is the latest single by Melissa Etheridge. It features on her forthcoming studio album 4th Street Feeling which is released in September. 

She is currently on tour with upcoming concert dates in Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. In September Melissa plays an AARP benefit concert at the New Orleans Arena with Stevie Nicks and Gladys Knight which is sure to be a truly unforgettable evening. Oh! To live in America!

Here is Melissa singing her single Falling Up on The Morning Show in Australia with a short interview with the hosts directly after her song.

100 Cover Versions #75: Elliott Yamin covers 'A Song For You'

A Song For You is without doubt one of my all time most favourite songs. I've already featured that song on this list which is the version sung by Lalah Hathaway who is the daughter of the man who first made the song famous, that is the great Donny Hathaway. 

While I have featured songs that have been performed on television music shows or artist tribute specials here on this list, I haven't featured any performances from shows like American Idol or X Factor. There have been songs performed on that shows which I love such as Ruth Lorenzo singing Purple Rain and Shayne Ward singing You Make Me Feel Brand New but the only song I want to feature on this list is Elliott Yamin singing A Song For You who first sang it on American Idol.
I think the first time I heard him sing it I cried. I think in years to come when people hear Elliott Yamin sing that song they will experience the same effect. The purpose of any cover version is to make the listener believe, to make them feel that emotion that the songwriter or original singer first wanted an audience to feel. The joy and beauty of music is that we can connect with either watching it on TV with millions of other people or when we listen to the song on our own. 

There are several versions of Elliott singing the show on line including American Idol and in concert but the clip below is just the song. I have been lucky to have heard so many of my favourite songs sung at concerts over the years and someday I would love to hear Elliott Yamin sing A Song For You

100 Cover Versions #74: Sara Bareilles covers 'Stoney End' by Laura Nyro

The song Stoney End was written and first recorded by Laura Nyro. It featured on her debut album More Than a New Discovery in 1967. That album was later re-titled The First Songs. In 1971 Barbra Streisand covered Stoney End and that song was the title track of that album which was also Barbra's twelfth studio album. That album also included two other songs that were written by Laura Hands off the Man (Flim Flam Man) and Time and Love.

This year Laura Nyro was one of the new inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. One of the great things about these ceremonies is that it allows people and a younger generation to rediscover or discover the rich legacy of America's history of popular song.  Laura Nyro is really one of the worthiest people to be recognised for her music.

Sara Barielles performed Stoney End at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony this year and her version I think also acknowledged Barbra's version. Her performance was also introduced by the ever wonderful Bette Midler.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Madonna sings 'Bad Girl' on Saturday Night Live in 1993

This coming Tuesday I will see Madonna in concert for the second time in my life when she plays the Aviva stadium here in Dublin. It is a huge venue and the atmosphere should be great. I am going to see her with my sister Jane and her boyfriend. This summer I will have been to concerts with both my sisters so that is very special.

One of my favourite songs by Madonna is Bad Girl from her 1992 Erotica album. It was written  and produced by Madonna and Shep Pettibone. In 1993 it got to number 10 in the UK singles charts and was a top 3 hit in Italy. The video is also one of my favourites too. It was directed by David Fincher who had also directed the videos for Express Yourself, Vogue, Oh Father. They really are four of the most iconic videos of her career.

The photograph above is by Steven Meisel and was the poster that was included with the 12" disc of Bad Girl

To date Madonna has only sung Bad Girl live once. It was on Saturday Night Live. I had never seen this performance until today so as ever thank you to the person who posted it on Youtube. What is great about Saturday Night Live is that the guests sing live. the performance is so simple, just her and her band and a black background. Just Madonna singing a ballad.

Here also is the video for Bad Girl.

Glory Days - Karima Francis

I absolutely love this song. It's Glory Days by Karima Francis who is from Blackpool in England. Her debut album The Author was released in 2009 to great acclaim and Glory Days features on her second album The Remedy which is released in August. 

Out of The Game - Rufus Wainwright

Out of The Game was the first single release from Rufus Wainwright's seventh studio album of the same name. It has a country vibe that works so well with his voice. The lyrics of Out of the Game are wonderfully wry too with Rufus writing and singing about the younger generation. The lyrics could apply to anyone who is older and been there, done that but I think they really strike a note with gay men on the scene and how the social history of gay culture just repeats itself decade after decade.

The video is very interesting. Rufus plays three different characters in it but it's impossible for the focus not to be on Helena Bonham Carter who is super in it.

Household Goods - Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

Household Goods by Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is due to be re-released on August 20th in the UK. It was one of several songs and EPs released from the Trouble album which was released in June.

Blue - First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit are Johanna and Klara Soderberg. They are from Sweden where lots of good music comes from. I hadn't heard of them until my brother Mike told me about them recently. My brother is an artist but I think he would make a pretty good radio presenter too. 

First Aid Kit's latest album is The Lion's Roar and their new singles is Blue

Baby, Come Home - Scissor Sisters

Baby Come Home is the second single from Scissor Sisters' album Magic Hour.  The song is nicely 70s and is a real feel good follow up to Only the Horses. Baby Come Home was released on download on Friday here in Ireland and on Sunday in the UK. 

The video which is directed by Lorenzo Fonda has been on line for a few weeks now and is wonderfully inventive. Jake has been watching Querelle recently too by the looks of it. 

Here is a video with the band talking about the video. It also features Del Marquis in shorts which is always a good thing.

100 Cover Versions #73: Alfie Boe & Melanie C cover 'Come what May'

Come What May featured in the Baz Luhrmann's film Moulin Rogue in 2001 and was performed  in the film by Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman. It was originally written by David Baerwald for the soundtrack of the film Romeo & Juliet and was re-written and used in Moulin Rogue instead. I couldn't imagine that film without that song now. It was also released on single and got to number 10 in the Australian ARIA singles charts and number 27 in the UK. 

Alfie Boe recorded Come What May for his Bring Him Home album and the guest vocalist on his cover version was Kerry Ellis. When Alfie played at the Royal Albert Hall in London as part of the Bring Him Home tour the concert was recorded for video and the guest vocalist was Melanie Chisholm. Since the Spice Girls Melanie has had a great and successful career on stage appearing in Blood Brothers and will play Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar
In September she releases her latest album Stages which includes her covers of songs such as I Don't Know How to Love Him which features in Jesus Christ Superstar, Maybe This Time, Both Sides Now and I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself. I love the idea of Melanie C singing songs made famous by Joni Mitchell, Liza Minnelli and Dusty Springfield. Stages will also include Melanie's cover of I Know Him so Well with fellow Spice girl Emma Bunton.

I think Melanie has gotten more beautiful as she grows older as the cover for Stages below shows.

Here is Melanie with Alfie Boe singing Come What May. She really has that grace and elegance that is so important for a great stage career. This post is for my favourite Melanie C fan; David McDonagh. 

George Michael interviewed by Debbie Ryan on Gaydar Radio

George Michael was interviewed on Gaydar radio recently. It was a surprise for Debbie Ryan by her co-host Neil Sexton. The in studio video features Debbie's reaction before and after the interview starts. After her initial reaction Debbie seems to have composed herself quickly with all the questions ready! A true professional! I wasn't familiar with the show before hearing the interview and Debbie is very funny and likeable in the way Liza Tarbuck and Miranda Hart are. 

I love when George is interviewed. He is so relaxed and open about both his own life and his music. He talks about the White Light video, going back on tour, working on his new album, his fans and going out clubbing in London.

Open Your Eyes - Keith O'Brien

Open Your Eyes is the new single by Keith O'Brien who is a singer/songwriter from Glasnevin here in Dublin. Ireland has so many singer/songwriters but this song really stood out for me when I heard it for the first time this week. Open Your Eyes is currently in the Irish singles chart and is sure to climb much higher as it is definitely the kind of song that Irish radio loves. His voice is very like David Gray and the style of song draws on other similar influences but if singers like Ed Sheeran can do well world wide I don't see why this can't too. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

100 Cover Versions #72: Rufus Wainwright covers 'One Man Guy' by Loudon Wainwright III

Last night I went to see Rufus Wainwright in concert at the Iveagh Gardens here in Dublin's city centre. It was the third time that I saw him in concert; the other times were both in Vicar Street also here in Dublin. He played a mix of songs from his various albums including some from one of his most loved albums Poses and his new album Out of The Game. The first song he sang was Candles which was wonderful especially for the reason that for the first few months he sung it completely A Cappella. Rufus is a complete showman both in dress and banter, each song had a little introduction. He paid tribute to his mother the late Kate McGarrigle. I'm sure many people at the concert and on other dates on that tour remembered the unforgettable concert tour a few years ago that Kate, her sister Anna and her children Rufus and Martha all played together. 

There were several memorable moments during last night's concert. Such as when he asked the audience to buy his album as he said no one was buying records anymore and if they don't then he can't afford to go on tour. So much so that he was going to call the next album Adele. He also told a funny story about Liza Minnelli and followed that story up with a cover of her mother's song The Man I Love

Another cover that he performed was One Man Guy which was first recorded by his father Loudon Wainwright III which featured on his album I'm Alright in 1985. On that album Loudon worked with Richard Thompson and Richard's son Teddy Thompson has also played on Rufus's current tour but wasn't at the Dublin date. Last night Rufus sang One Man Guy with his band members  guitarist Sharief Hobley and backing singer Sherese Blackman centre stage. It was really superb. I wasn't familiar with the song before so that is now a song that is by Rufus, Sharief and Sherese now in my mind. 

Here is Rufus with Teddy Thompson on guitar and Sherese performing One Man Guy at a concert at Rabozaal, Melkweg in Amsterdam from April of this year.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

If I Can't Have You (Disco Boys Remix) - Bee Gees

If I Can't Have You is today one of the most well known songs from the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever when it was sung by Yvonne Elliman. It is without doubt one of the most classic songs of the disco era. It was originally released as the b-side to Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees. I love so many of the songs from the charts of this decade but the fact that a song like If I Can't Have You  was first released as a b-side really says so much! 

The many songs are the Bee Gees were perfect pop songs, disco songs and love songs. The extended remixes of their songs really did just that, they extended songs that were already perfect. I remember hearing the original extended remix of Stayin' Alive for the first time a few years ago and just being amazed at how wonderfully new and exciting it sounded all these years later.

A remix of a Bee Gees song by another remixer or producer has to extremely faithful to the original and one remix that does that is the Disco Boys remix of If I Can't Have You by the Bee Gees themselves. The chorus; "If I can't have you, I don't want nobody baby" is so simple but so direct.  Ever since I was a child I always thought that line stood out; there is that chill there in the lyrics that some disco songs did so well. The Disco Boys remix simply builds on that element, that edge.

Here is the Disco Boys remix of If I Can't Have You.

Skirts - The Other Tribe

The Other Tribe are from Bristol and their song Skirts is one of the best new songs I've heard in a good while. It's been out a few months but I'm only discovering it now. It is released on Black Butter records who also have Rudimental and John Newman on their label who are still in the UK singles charts top 10 with Feel The Love. MNEK and Jessie Ware are also on that label. That's the music the singles charts needs!

Spirit Indestructible - Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado has released the official new music video for her new single Spirit Indestructible. I much prefer this song to her previous single Big Hoops (Bigger the Better) which was a UK top 20 singles chart hit recently. It is the second single released from her forthcoming album The Spirit Indestructible whose cover art is pictured above.

The official music video for Spirit Indestructible is beautiful but it is also very different to the song's previous  lyric video which used the theme of the song in a very inspiring way with footage of Nelly's friend Spencer West's climb of Mount Kilimanjaro which he had participated in to raise awareness and financial support for clean water projects in Africa.
Almost all major music artists use lyric videos to promote a song before the official video is released and most are exactly that; just lyrics on a screen but the Spirit Indestructible lyric video had stood out for using visuals that were genuinely about the greatness of the human spirit and one individual so I guess fans were expecting a mix of that lyric video with or without Nelly in the official video. I think lyric videos become our first impression in a visual way of a song nowadays so if I choose a video I liked more I would choose the one with Spencer as it completely sums up the message of the song. On Nelly's Youtube page she writes about the song and video and Spencer is also quoted talking about the song so click here to read his own words too.  

Here are both videos. The first is the lyric video for Spirit Indestructible.

and here is the official video.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

100 Cover Versions #71: 10,000 Maniacs cover 'More Than This' by Roxy Music

In 1997 10,000 Maniacs had their second highest hit single to date on the Billboard Hot 100 when their cover of More Than This by Roxy Music reached number 25 in the charts. It featured on their album Love Among the Ruins. The vocalist on More Than This was Mary Ramsay who had replaced Natalie Merchant as the group's lead singer. In 1997 More Than This was 15 years old as it had first featured on their Avalon album in 1982. The original version was never a hit in the US for Roxy Music but the 10,000 Maniacs version made it famous again.

Many of the songs on this list are songs that I haven't heard before. I'm sure I had heard the 10,000 Maniacs version before but never knew it was by them. It really is quite lovely.

Here is a live version by the band of More Than This recorded in Jamestown, New York in 2010. I can remember hearing the original song on the local radio in Kilkenny 30 years ago.

100 Cover Versions #70: Tina Turner covers 'I Can't Stand the Rain' by Ann Peebles

I Can't Stand the Rain was first recorded by Ann Peebles and released in 1973. It has been covered many times including the famous and wonderful disco version by Eruption which was a top ten hit in many countries including Ireland and the UK.

I love Eruption's version of I Can't Stand The Rain but a version that is just as fine is Tina Turner's cover which was one of the singles released from her Private Dancer album. It wasn't a hit in the UK and America but went top ten in the German and Austrian singles chart and was a number 2 hit in the French singles chart in 1985. 

Private Dancer was an album that perfectly blended the genres of pop and rock. The remixes of the singles were fantastic. I will post some of them in another post including Better Be Good To Me which is amazing.

Tina Turner is without a doubt one of the all time best live in concert performers in music history. Here is the extended remix of I Can't Stand The Rain.

The Slighest Touch (Shep Pettibone Remix) - Five Star

In 1987 The Slightest Touch was one of Five Star's biggest hits when it reached number 4 in the UK singles charts. It was one of seven singles that were released from their Silk and Steel album. The single edit and 12" were remixed by Shep Pettibone who also famously remixed many songs by the greatest music artists of the 1980s including several of Madonna's greatest singles in the mid to late 1980s. He also remixed several singles for Five Star including Rain or Shine, If I Say Yes, Find The Time and Somewhere Somebody.  

His remix of The Slightest Touch made a great pop song into a brilliant dance song. 

Stronger Than You and Me

Stronger Than You and Me is a mash up of three songs; Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson, Rhythm is A Dancer by Snap! and You and Me by Electric Lady Lab, the latter had used the Snap! song as a sample in their own single version. The audio mix is by Dan Mei and the video edit is by Panos T. As ever Panos T is extremely inventive in his editing as he adds in a very famous music video from the 1980s at the end of this edit. 

Dan Mei - Stronger Than You & Me (Panos T Video) from Dan Mei on Vimeo.

Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men

Little Talks by the Icelandic group Of Monsters and Men has been on release since last August and this week reached it's highest position to date on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart where it is currently number 66 after spending 14 weeks on the chart. 
Little Talks has already been a top ten hit in Austria, Germany, the Flanders chart in Belgium and was also a number one single on the American Alternative singles chart. I think if you like Arcade Fire you will love this song.

It's Time - Imagined Dragons

Here's a song that I really like on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at the moment. It's by Imagine Dragons and the song is It's Time. They have released four EPs since 2009 and It's Time featured on their third EP. It's Time has been in the American singles charts for 5 weeks now and it is currently at number 91 after reaching a peak of 89. 
They performed It's Time on The Jay Leno show this week and it also features in the trailer for the forthcoming film adaptation of the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower so I'm sure it will climb higher on the charts. So many songs in the American singles charts are slow burners nowadays so like Ellie Goulding's Lights if a good song takes months to make the top ten then so be it!

Here's the video for It's Time.

and the Jailbirds Remix.

Angel Eyes - Love and Theft

Angel Eyes by American country music duo Love and Theft is currently at number 55 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It is also number 9 on the American country music chart. Love and Theft are Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson. Their only previous Billboard Hot 100 hit was Runaway which got to number 65 in 2009. Runaway was also a number 10 hit on the country music chart and their biggest hit to date on that chart was Dancing in Circles which got to number 7. Both of those songs were from their debut album World Wide Open.

Love and Theft were originally a three piece band until Brian Bandas left the band. Angel Eyes is the first single from their second album which is the self titled Love and Theft. Just like the rap and hip hop genre of music that feature in the current American chart a lot of country songs all sound pretty much the same but Angel Eyes I think is pretty good. I guess it's all a matter of taste and what ever song clicks with you.

Here's the video for Angel Eyes.

Settle Down - the new No Doubt music video directed by Sophie Muller

No Doubt have released the video for their comeback single Settle Down which is featured on their forthcoming new studio album Push and Shove. The video is directed by Sophie Muller who has previously directed several music videos for No Doubt including Don't Speak, Excuse me Mr and Sunday Morning back in 1996. She also directed some of Gwen Stefani's best solo music videos including Wind it Up, 4 In The Morning and Early Winter. I love the gorgeous use of colour and light in the video which is perfectly No Doubt.

Settle Down was written by No Doubt and was produced by Diplo. I love that Gwen dosen't appear until 40 seconds into the video reminding us that this is definitely a No Doubt song and not another solo single. 

30 Minute Love Affair - Paloma Faith

30 Minute Love Affair is the second single released by Paloma Faith from her hugely successful album Fall to Grace. It was co-written by her with Chris Braide who recently worked with Lana Del Ray on Born to Die. It is also produced by Nellee Hooper so it is no wonder the album is pure class. 30 Minute Love Affair is released on download on August 10th here in Ireland and on the 12th in the UK. Paloma is appearing at music festivals in the UK this summer and starts her own solo UK and Ireland tour in Dublin's Vicar Street venue on the 21st January 2013. 

'Because the Night' performed by Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen and U2

Because the Night is one of Patti Smith's most iconic songs. It was co-written by Bruce Springsteen and Patti and featured on her Easter album. When it was released in 1978 it was a number 13 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts, it got to number 16 here in Ireland and had it's highest chart position worldwide when it got to number 5 in the UK singles chart.

If you live in Dublin Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band plays the RDS tonight July 17th and tomorrow the 18th. It is a venue that he has played many times over the years.

Here is a performance of Because the Night by Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith and U2 which was performed at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concert.

White Light - The new music video by George Michael featuring Kate Moss

George Michael has released the new music video for his single White Light which is released on August 10th here in Ireland and on the 12th in the UK. It is one of his most stylish videos to date. It's very cinematic and is full of various imagery depicting life hanging in the balance as George draws on his own life experience with his health scare from last year. Kate Moss of course is a major focus in the video but she doesn't dominate it. While George uses some vocoder in his vocals  at the beginning of the song there is less use of it as the song progresses.

George will resume his Symphonica tour again later this year which he had to cancel last year. 2012 is the 30th anniversary of the beginning of his music career with Andrew in Wham! and it is  so wonderful to hear new music from him.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Turn Up The Radio - Madonna

The new video for Turn Up the Radio, the third single from Madonna's MDNA album was released today. It was directed by Tom Munro and was filmed in Florence, Italy in mid June. She's not giving up those fingerless leather gloves any time soon! For some reason the video is marked as explicit on Vevo even though it is surely one of the mildest pop music videos of her career.

It is released on August 3rd here in Ireland and August 5th in the UK. She plays Dublin's Aviva stadium on the 24th July and in Hyde Park tomorrow July 17th.  It seems a bit mad to be releasing the single after both those concerts but there you go! 

100 Cover Versions #69: The Chimes cover 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' by U2

Of all of U2's hit singles I think that I Still Haven't found What I'm looking For is one of their most beautiful and soulful songs. One of the first concerts that I went to was The Joshua Tree tour when they played in Croke Park. I just looked up the date and it was in June 1987 when they played two dates there. If you were at either of those concerts the set list and support acts are listed here.

In 1990 The Scottish band The Chimes covered I Still Haven't Found What I'm looking For and it got to number 6 in the UK singles chart. It was the same chart position that the original version by U2 got to in 1987 when their single was first released. The Chimes vocalist was Pauline Henry and the other two group members were Mike Peden and John Locke.

Bono has been quoted that The Chimes version of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For is one of his own favourite versions of the song. Listening back to it again today it really is a gorgeous version. It is a great version of a classic song. It just reminds you of a place and time. Both Pauline's voice and the production of the song are so beautifully balanced.
In 1990 The Chimes also had two American Dance chart number one singles with 1-2-3 in February of that year and Heaven a few months later in April 1990. 

Pauline Henry is also on Twitter @PaulineHenryUK

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Everyone's Waiting - Missy Higgins

Everyone's Waiting is the second single from Australian singer Missy Higgins third album The Ol' Razzle Dazzle. It charted this week at number 31 in the Australian ARIA singles chart.

Missy has had two number one singles to date in the ARIA singles chart with her debut single Scar from 2004 and Steer in 2007. All of her three albums to date have also gotten to number one in Australia. She has also released one live album and seven EPs

Everyone's Waiting is a gorgeous ballad and is one of the best songs I've heard this week.

Can't Get Better Than This - Parachute Youth

Here's a song that I first heard today via a link on Twitter from @PlugPlayPromo. It's Can't Get Better Than This by Parachute Youth who are from Melbourne in Australia. It has a real addictive quality about it.

The video is great too.

Home Run - Misha B

The new single releases in the UK go on release from Midnight every Sunday. Some of the more high profile single releases reach the top ten in just a few hours but it always interesting to see how newer songs with less of a sales history do in the charts. The only new single of all the new single releases that seems will be a certain hit in next Sunday's charts is Home Run the debut solo single by Misha B. As I write it is currently in the top 25 in the ITunes singles chart and climbing quickly. It was co-written by Misha B and MNEK who recently produced songs for The Saturdays and The Wanted and has remixed songs for Olly Myrs, Fazer from NDubz, Tinie Tempah and Simon Curtis. 

Misha B was often both the most praised and criticised contestant when she was on The X Factor. She really showed then on the show that she has the attitude and belief in herself to overcome negativity and it was always obvious that her sound and look was one that most suited what younger music fans are actually buying and listening to today. Interestingly Home Run is also only 59p on the ITunes chart compared to an average of 99p for most other singles on the chart.

Even though Home Run is her debut single she already has nine videos on Vevo which include remixes and the making of the video.

Here also is the Kat Krazy remix of Home Run.

100 Cover Versions #68: James Vincent McMorrow covers 'Wicked Game' by Chris Isaak

James Vincent McMorrow's cover version of Higher Love charted twice in the UK singles chart earlier this year and brought his music to an even wider audience. To date he has just recorded one studio album which is called Early in the Morning. He has also recorded two EPs, one of which was just for the U.S. He is currently touring and future dates later this month include the Galway Arts Festival on July 26th and the Cambridge Folk Festival on July 27th.

He has played in concert in many countries including the United States and Canada. Here is a cover of Wicked Game by Chris Isaak which he recorded at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee for a radio show in September of 2011. That cover also features on a re-released edition of his Early in the Morning album. Until today I never knew that Wicked Game wasn't a hit for Chris Isaak until it featured on the soundtrack for the David Lynch film Wild at Heart.

The drawing of James Vincent above is by my brother Mick Minogue who recently worked with him when he made a plush doll of James and was given to an audience member at James Vincent's concert at the Forbidden Fruit music festival here in Dublin earlier this summer. The whole story of that project can be read here.