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Category Archives: American music artists

“Working in the Coal Mine – Lee Dorsey”

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COAL MINING IS DEADLY!

Working in the Coal Mine” is a song with music and lyrics by the American musician and record producer Allen Toussaint. It was an international hit for Lee Dorsey in 1966, and has been recorded by other musicians including Devo in 1981.

Lee Dorsey

After Toussaint returned to New Orleans from the US Army, in which he served from 1963 to 1965, he formed a production company, Sansu (also known as “Tou-Sea Productions”), with partner Marshall Sehorn. He produced a number of singles performed by Lee Dorsey in 1965 and 1966, including “Ride Your Pony” and “Working in the Coal Mine”.[1]

Written and arranged by Toussaint, the song concerns the suffering of a man who rises before 5 o’clock each morning in order to work in a coal mine, five days a week, where the conditions are very harsh and dangerous, but which offers the only prospect of paid employment. The singer repeatedly asks the Lord, “How long can this go on?” and complains that when the weekend arrives, he’s too exhausted to have any fun. In the instrumental section, as in the song’s fade, he says: “Lord, I’m so tired / How long can this go on?” The song features the sound of a pickaxe clinking, as if the musicians were working in a mine. The musicians were the Sansu studio band, including guitarist Roy Montrell, drummer Albert “June” Gardner, and bassist Chuck Badie.[2][3]

It was a hit for Lee Dorsey, released on Amy Records (catalogue number 958), and entered the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on July 23, 1966, eventually peaking at #8, while reaching #5 on the Billboard R&B chart.[4] It also reached #8 on the UK Singles Chart.[5]

Toussaint said that neither he nor Dorsey had ever been down a coal mine: “We didn’t know anything about a coal mine”. He said of Dorsey: “He was very good to work with. Very inspiring because he had such a happiness about him. He loved what he was doing when he was singing. He was a body and fender man when he wasn’t singing and even at his peak, when he would come off the road at the end of a successful tour, he would go and get into his grease clothes, his dirty work gear and go and work on cars. Straightening out fenders and painting bodywork. But really it was his finest hour when he was singing. He was a very good person for me to work with and he totally trusted me every step of the way.”[6]

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“Bob Seger Roll Me Away”

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Bob Seger

SONG:

Roll Me Away

Peak of success: 1976–1987

In 1977 Seger finally achieved his commercial breakthrough with his October 1976 album Night Moves. The title song “Night Moves” was a highly evocative, nostalgic, time-spanning tale that was not only critically praised, but became a #4 hit single on the Billboard pop singles chart as well as a heavy album-oriented rock airplay mainstay. The album also contained “Mainstreet” (written about Ann Arbor’s Ann Street), a #24 hit ballad that emphasized Seger’s heartland rock credentials as well as guitarist Pete Carr’s haunting lead guitar. The album also featured the anthem “Rock and Roll Never Forgets”. Night Moves was Seger’s first top ten album in the Billboard album chart, and as of 2006 was certified at 6 million copies in the United States alone – making it the biggest-selling studio album of his entire career. Furthermore, it activated sales of Seger’s recent back catalog, so that Beautiful Loser would eventually sell 2 million and Live Bullet would go on to sell some 5 million copies in the United States. Indeed, Live Bullet stayed on the Billboard charts for 168 weeks and it remains one of the ten best-selling live albums of all time.

The following year, original Silver Bullet drummer Charlie Allen Martin was hit by a car from behind while walking on a service road, and was left unable to walk. David Teegarden, drummer for Seger on the Smokin’ O.P.’s album, replaced him. Despite the loss, Seger followed up strongly with 1978’s Stranger in Town. The first single, “Still the Same”, emphasized Seger’s talent for mid-tempo numbers that revealed a sense of purpose, and reached #4 on the pop singles chart. “Hollywood Nights” was an up-tempo #12 hit rocker, while “We’ve Got Tonight” was a slow ballad that reached #13 on the Hot 100. (The latter became an even bigger hit when country music superstar Kenny Rogers and pop singer Sheena Easton teamed up for a 1983 treatment of it that topped Billboard’s Country and Adult Contemporary charts.) “Old Time Rock and Roll”, a song from George Jackson and Thomas E. Jones III that Seger substantially rewrote the lyrics for, was not a big pop hit initially, but achieved substantial album track airplay. Moreover, it would later become one of Seger’s most recognizable songs following its memorable Tom Cruise-dancing-in-his-underwear use in the 1983 film Risky Business. Indeed, it has been ranked the second-most played Jukebox Single of all time, behind Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”. The iconic recording of “Old Time Rock and Roll” was named one of the Songs of the Century in 2001. (Seger has ruefully remarked that not taking one-third writing credit on his recording was “the dumbest thing I ever did” financially.)

Seger also co-wrote the Eagles’ #1 hit song “Heartache Tonight” from their 1979 album The Long Run; their collaboration resulted from Seger and Glenn Frey’s early days together in Detroit.

In 1980, Seger released Against the Wind (with ex-Grand Funk Railroad member Craig Frost replacing Robyn Robbins on keyboards) and it became his first and only #1 album on the Billboard album chart. The first single “Fire Lake” featured Eagles Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, and Glenn Frey on backing vocals and Muscle Shoals guitarist, Pete Carr, on 12-string acoustic. Fire Lake reached #6 on the Hot 100, while the title song “Against the Wind” reached #5 as a single and even crossed over to the Top 10 on Billboard ’s Adult Contemporary chart. “You’ll Accomp’ny Me” became the third hit single from the record, reaching #14. Against the Wind would also win two Grammy Awards. As of 2006, both Stranger in Town and Against the Wind had sold over 5 million copies each in the United States.

The live 1981 album Nine Tonight encapsulated this three-album peak of Seger’s commercial career. Seger’s take on Eugene Williams’ “Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You” became a Top Five hit from Nine Tonight and the album would go on to sell 4 million copies.

Seger released the acclaimed The Distance in the final days of 1982. During the recording of this album, Silver Bullet guitarist Drew Abbott left the band due to his frustration with Seger’s frequent use of session musicians in the studio, and was replaced by Dawayne Bailey. After the album’s release, David Teegarden also left the band due to internal conflict, and was replaced by ex-Grand Funk drummer Don Brewer. Critically praised for representing a more versatile sound than that of his recent material, The Distance spawned numerous hits beginning with Rodney Crowell’s “Shame on the Moon”. It was the biggest hit of the Silver Bullet Band’s entire career, hitting #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and holding at #2 for four consecutive weeks – behind Patti Austin and James Ingram’s “Baby, Come to Me” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” – on the Hot 100. It also crossed over to #15 on Billboard’s Country Singles chart. The follow-up single, “Even Now”, just missed the Top 10 and “Roll Me Away” peaked at #27. The driving album track “Making Thunderbirds” was a popular music video filmed in Detroit and well-received on MTV. Seger’s multi-platinum sales dropped off at this point, with The Distance peaking at #5 and selling only 1.9 million copies in the United States. (This album was belatedly released on 8 track tape; Capitol reportedly had no plans to do so, but Seger, guessing that a good many of his fans still had 8 track players in their vehicles, prevailed upon the label to release the album in that discontinued format as well.)

In 1984, Seger wrote and recorded the power rock ballad “Understanding” for the film soundtrack Teachers. The song was another Top 20 hit for Seger in late 1984. In 1986, he wrote and recorded “Living Inside My Heart” for the film soundtrack of About Last Night….

Seger was no longer as prolific and several years elapsed before his next studio album, Like a Rock emerged in the spring of 1986. The fast-paced “American Storm” was another Top 20 single aided by a popular music video featuring actress Lesley Ann Warren, and “Like a Rock” followed, reaching #12 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Later, it would become familiar to many Americans through its association with a long-running Chevrolet ad campaign (something Seger explicitly chose to do to support struggling American automobile workers in Detroit).Seger’s 1986–1987 American Storm Tour was his self-stated last major tour, playing 105 shows over 9 months and selling almost 1.5 million tickets. Like a Rock reached #3 and eventually sold over 3 million copies although it has never been certified above platinum.

The following year Seger’s “Shakedown”, a somewhat uncharacteristic song off the 1987 film Beverly Hills Cop II’s soundtrack, became his first and only #1 hit on the pop singles chart. The song had originally been intended for Seger’s fellow Detroiter Glenn Frey, but when he lost his voice just prior to the recording session, Frey called in Seger to take his place. Seger changed the verses of the song but kept the chorus the same. The song earned Seger an Academy Award nomination as co-writer in the Best Original Song category the following year.

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Bob Seger

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“The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody

“The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody

The Righteous Brothers were the musical duo of Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley. They recorded from 1963 through 1975 and continued to perform until Hatfield’s death in 2003. Their emotive vocal stylings were sometimes dubbed “blue-eyed soul”.

Hatfield and Medley both possessed exceptional vocal talent, with range, control and tone that helped them create a strong and distinctive duet sound and also to perform as soloists. Medley sang the low parts with his deep, soulful baritone, with Hatfield taking the higher register vocals with his soaring countertenor.

They adopted their name in 1962 while performing together in the Los Angeles area as part of a five-member group called The Paramours, which featured John Wimber (a founder of the Vineyard Movement) on keyboards and artist and sculptor Nick Turturro on saxophone. At the end of one performance, a U.S. Marine in the audience shouted, “That was righteous, brothers!”, prompting the pair to adopt the name as they embarked on their duo career.

Musical career 

John Wimber (then Johnny Wimber) brought Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley together for the band The Paramours in 1962. The Righteous Brothers started their recording career on the small Moonglow label in 1963 with two albums and two moderate hits: “Little Latin Lupe Lu” and “My Babe”.

Their first major hit single was “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”, their first release on the Philles label in 1965. Produced by Phil Spector, the record is often cited as one of the peak expressions of Spector’s Wall of Sound production techniques. It was one of the most successful pop singles of its time, despite exceeding the then standard length for radio play. Indeed, according to BMI, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” was the most played song on American radio and television in the 20th century, estimated to have been broadcast more than eight million times. Spector used Cher (of Sonny & Cher fame) as a backing singer on this and other recordings.[citation needed]

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“The Young Hearts – Misty”

The Young Hearts – Misty – Minit 32066:

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“Creedence Clearwater Revival: Green River”

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Creedence Clearwater Revival was an American rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The band consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter John Fogerty, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford. Their musical style encompassed the roots rock and swamp rock genres. Despite their San Francisco Bay Area origins, they portrayed a Southern rock style, with lyrics about bayous, catfish, the Mississippi River, and other popular elements of Southern American iconography, as well as political and socially-conscious lyrics about topics including the Vietnam War.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music is still a staple of American radio airplay; the band has sold 26 million albums in the United States alone. Creedence Clearwater Revival was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Rolling Stone ranked the band 82nd on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. Their musical influence can be heard in many genres, including southern rock, grunge, roots rock, and blues.

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“Louie Louie – The Kingsmen (HQ)”

“Louie Louie – The Kingsmen (HQ)”

In 1962, while playing a gig at the Pypo Club in Seaside, Oregon, then managed by Al Dardis, the band noticed Rockin’ Robin Roberts’s version of

“Louie Louie”

being played on the jukebox for hours on end. The entire club would get up and dance.Ely convinced the Kingsmen to learn the song, which they played at dances to a great crowd response. Unknown to him, he changed the beat because he misheard it on a jukebox. Ken Chase, host of radio station KISN, formed his own club to capitalize on these dance crazes. Dubbed the “Chase”, the Kingsmen became the club’s house band and Ken Chase became the band’s manager. On April 5, 1963, Chase booked the band an hour-long session at the local Northwestern Inc. studio for the following day. The band had just played a 90-minute

“Louie Louie”.

Despite the band’s annoyance at having so little time to prepare, on April 6 at 10 am the Kingsmen walked into the three-microphone recording studio. In order to sound like a live performance, Ely was forced to lean back and sing to a microphone suspended from the ceiling. “It was more yelling than singing,” Ely said, “’cause I was trying to be heard over all the instruments.” In addition, he was wearing braces at the time of the performance, further compounding his infamously slurred words. Ely sang the beginning of the third verse several bars too early, but realized his mistake and waited for the rest of the band to catch up. In what was thought to be a warm-up, the song was recorded in its first and only take. The Kingsmen were not proud of the version, but their manager liked the rawness of their cover. The B-side was “Haunted Castle”, composed by Ely and Don Gallucci, the new keyboardist. However, Lynn Easton was credited on both the Jerden and Wand releases. The entire session cost $50, and the band split the cost.

“Louie Louie” was kept from the top spot on the charts in late 1963 and early 1964 by the Singing Nun and Bobby Vinton, who monopolized the No.1 slot for four weeks apiece. The Kingsmen single reached No. 1 on the Cashbox chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Additionally in the UK it reached No. 26 on the Record Retailer chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

The band attracted nationwide attention when “Louie Louie” was banned by the governor of Indiana, Matthew E. Welsh, also attracting the attention of the FBI because of alleged indecent lyrics in their version of the song. The lyrics were, in fact, innocent, but Ely’s baffling enunciation permitted teenage fans and concerned parents alike to imagine the most scandalous obscenities. All of this attention only made the song more popular. In April 1966 “Louie Louie” was reissued and once again hit the music charts, reaching No. 65 on the Cashbox chart and No. 97 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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“Never Grow Up -Taylor Swift – Lyrics” 

Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter. One of the most popular contemporary female recording artists, she is known for narrative songs about her personal life, which has received much media attention.

Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee at age 14 to pursue a career in country music. She signed with the independent label Big Machine Records and became the youngest artist ever signed by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house. Her eponymous debut album in 2006 peaked at number five on Billboard 200 and spent the most weeks on the chart in the 2000s.

The album’s third single, “Our Song”, made her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number-one song on the Hot Country Songs chart. Swift’s second album, Fearless, was released in 2008. Buoyed by the pop crossover success of the singles “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me”, Fearless became the best-selling album of 2009 in the United States. The album won four Grammy Awards, with Swift becoming the youngest Album of the Year winner.

In 2009, Swift appeared in the late-night show Saturday Night Live followed by her film debut the following year in Valentine’s Day. Swift was the sole writer of her 2010 album, Speak Now. It debuted at number one in the United States and the single “Mean” won two Grammy Awards. Her fourth album, Red (2012), yielded the successful singles “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble”. With her fifth album, the pop-focused 1989 (2014), she became the first act to have three albums sell a million copies within one week in the United States. Its singles “Shake It Off”, “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood” reached number one in the US, Australia and Canada. The album received three Grammy Awards, and Swift became the first woman and fifth act overall to win Album of the Year twice. The 2015 eponymous concert tour for 1989 became one of highest-grossing of all time.

As a songwriter, Swift has received awards from the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She is also the recipient of ten Grammy Awards, five Guinness World Records, one Emmy Award, 23 Billboard Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards, and one Brit Award. Swift is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 40 million albums—including 27.1 million in the US—and 130 million single downloads. She has appeared in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world (2010 and 2015), Forbes’ top-earning women in music (2011–2015), Forbes’ 100 most powerful women (2015) and Forbes Celebrity 100 (2016). She was the youngest woman to be included in the third of these and ranked first in Celebrity 100.

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Posted by on February 18, 2019 in American music artists, pop music

 

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