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Category Archives: male vocalist

“The Beatles Penny Lane”

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“Penny Lane” is a song by The Beatles.[5] It was written by Paul McCartney but credited to the Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership. The song was created in response to John Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever”, and its lyrics refer to a real street in Liverpool, England.

Recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, “Penny Lane” was released in February 1967 as one side of a double A-sided single, along with “Strawberry Fields Forever”. The single was the result of the record company wanting a new release after several months of no new Beatles releases. Although the song did not top the charts in Britain, it was still a top ten hit across Europe. The song was later included on the band’s US album, Magical Mystery Tour, despite not appearing on the British double EP of the same name.

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked “Penny Lane” at number 456 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[6]

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BILLY JOEL – SHE’S ALWAYS A WOMAN TO ME

“She’s Always a Woman”
is a song from Billy Joel’s
1977 album The Stranger. It is a love song about a modern woman, with whom he falls in love for her quirks as well as her flaws. The single peaked at #17 in the U.S. in 1977, and at #53 in the UK in 1986, when it was released as a double A-side with “Just the Way You Are”. It re-entered the UK chart in 2010, reaching #29. A Muzak version of the track is known to be one of the last songs played over the former World Trade Center complex before its collapse. The song is played in the compound time signature of 6/8.

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“Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is (With Lyrics)”

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Foreigner is a British-American hard rock band, originally formed in New York City in 1976 by veteran English musician Mick Jones and fellow Briton and ex-King Crimson member Ian McDonald along with American vocalist Lou Gramm.

Jones came up with the band’s name as he, McDonald and Dennis Elliott were English, while Gramm, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi were American.[1][2] Their biggest hit single, “I Want to Know What Love Is”, topped the United Kingdom and United States Charts among others. They are one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time with worldwide sales of more than 80 million records,[3] including 37.5 million albums in the US alone.[4]

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“Brook Benton – Rainy Night in Georgia” 

“Brook Benton – Rainy Night in Georgia” 

“Rainy Night in Georgia” is a song written by Tony Joe White in 1962 and popularized by R&B vocalist Brook Benton  in 1970.

In a January 17, 2014 interview with music journalist Ray Shasho, Tony Joe White explained the thought process behind the making of ”

Rainy Night in Georgia ” and “Polk Salad Annie”.

When I got out of high school I went to Marietta, Georgia, I had a sister living there. I went down there to get a job and I was playing guitar too at the house and stuff. I drove a dump truck for the highway department and when it would rain you didn’t have to go to work. You could stay home and play your guitar and hangout all night. So those thoughts came back to me when I moved on to Texas about three months later. I heard “Ode to Billie Joe” on the radio and I thought, man, how real, because I am Billie Joe, I know that life. I’ve been in the cotton fields. So I thought if I ever tried to write, I’m going to write about something I know about. At that time I was doing a lot of Elvis and John Lee Hooker onstage with my drummer. No original songs and I hadn’t really thought about it. But after I heard Bobbie Gentry I sat down and thought … well I know about Polk because I had ate a bunch of it and I knew about rainy nights because I spent a lot of rainy nights in Marietta, Georgia. So I was real lucky with my first tries to write something that was not only real and hit pretty close to the bone, but lasted that long. So it was kind of a guide for me then on through life to always try to write what I know about.

In 1969, after several years without a major hit, Benton had signed to a new record label, Cotillion Records (a subsidiary of Atlantic Records). Brought to the attention of producer Jerry Wexler, Benton recorded the song in November 1969 with producer Arif Mardin session personnel present on the hit record included Billy Carter on Organ, Dave Crawford on piano, Cornell Dupree and Jimmy O’Rourke on guitar, Harold Cowart on bass, Tubby Ziegler on drums, and Toots Thielmans on harmonica.

Taken from his “come-back” album

Brook Benton

Today, the melancholy song became an instant hit. In the spring of 1970, the song had topped the Billboard Best Selling Soul Singles chart. It also reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100,[1] and number two on the Adult Contemporary chart. In Canada, the song made #2 on the RPM Magazine Hot Singles chart.

The RIAA certified the single gold for sales of one million copies. In 2004, it was ranked #498 on the List of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

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“Johnny Ace – Pledging my love” 


John Marshall Alexander Jr. (June 9, 1929 – December 25, 1954), known by the stage name Johnny Ace, was an American rhythm-and-bluessinger. He had a string of hit singles in the mid-1950s. He died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 25.

Alexander was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of a preacher, and grew up near LeMoyne-Owen College. After serving in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, he joined Adolph Duncan’s Band as a pianist. He then joined the B. B. King band. Soon King departed for Los Angeles, and the band’s singer, Bobby Bland, joined the army. Alexander took over vocal duties and renamed the band the Beale Streeters. He also took over King’s radio show on WDIA.

He began performing as Johnny Ace. He signed with Duke Records (originally a Memphis label associated with WDIA) in 1952. His first recording, “My Song“, an urbane “heart ballad”, topped the R&B chart for nine weeks in September.[1] (A cover version by Aretha Franklin was released in 1968, on the flip side of “See Saw”.)

Ace began heavy touring, often with Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. In the next two years, he had eight hits in a row, including “Cross My Heart”, “Please Forgive Me”, “The Clock”, “Yes, Baby”, “Saving My Love for You” and “Never Let Me Go“.[2] In December 1954 he was named the Most Programmed Artist of 1954, according to the results of a national poll of disc jockeys conducted by the U.S. trade weekly Cash Box.[3]

Ace’s recordings sold very well for those times. Early in 1955, Duke Records announced that three of his 1954 recordings, along with Thornton’s “Hound Dog”, had sold more than 1,750,000 copies

After touring for a year, Ace had been performing at the City Auditorium in Houston, Texas, on Christmas Day 1954. During a break between sets, he was playing with a .32-caliber revolver. Members of his band said he did this often, sometimes shooting at roadside signs from their car.

It was widely reported that Ace killed himself playing Russian roulette.[4][5][6] However, Big Mama Thornton‘s bass player, Curtis Tillman, who witnessed the event, said, “I will tell you exactly what happened! Johnny Ace had been drinking and he had this little pistol he was waving around the table and someone said ‘Be careful with that thing…’ and he said ‘It’s okay! Gun’s not loaded… see?’ and pointed it at himself with a smile on his face and ‘Bang!’ — sad, sad thing. Big Mama ran out of the dressing room yelling ‘Johnny Ace just killed himself!'”[7]

Thornton said in a written statement (included in the book The Late Great Johnny Ace) that Ace had been playing with the gun but not playing Russian roulette. According to Thornton, Ace pointed the gun at his girlfriend and another woman who were sitting nearby but did not fire. He then pointed the gun toward himself, bragging that he knew which chamber was loaded. The gun went off, shooting him in the side of the head.

According to his biographer Nick Tosches, Ace shot himself with a .32 pistol, not a .22, and it happened little more than an hour after he had bought a new 1955 Oldsmobile.[8]

Ace’s funeral was held on January 2, 1955, at Clayborn Temple AME church in Memphis. It was attended by an estimated 5,000 people.[9] His remains were buried at New Park Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee.

Pledging My Love[6] was a posthumous R&B number 1 hit for 10 weeks beginning February 12, 1955. As Billboard bluntly put it, Ace’s death “created one of the biggest demands for a record that has occurred since the death of Hank Williamsjust over two years ago.”[10] His single recordings were compiled and released as The Johnny Ace Memorial Album.


 
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Posted by on November 29, 2017 in ballad, doowop, male vocalist

 

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“It’s A Shame”

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“It’s a Shame”

is a song co-written by Stevie Wonder, Syreeta Wright and Lee Garrett and produced by Wonder as a single for The Spinners on Motown’s V.I.P. Records label. The single became the Detroit-reared group’s biggest single on the Motown Records company since they had signed with the company in 1964 and also their biggest hit in a decade.

The lineup of the Spinners include original members Pervis Jackson, Henry Fambrough, Billy Henderson and Bobby Smith and lead vocalist G.C. Cameron. The quintet recorded the single in 1970.

The song, which is about a man who complains about a lover’s “messin’ around” on him, became a huge hit for the group reaching number-fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number-three on the R&B singles chart, making it their biggest hit to date. The song was the first song Wonder produced for another act by himself.

Two years later, the group would leave Motown for a contract with Atlantic Records on the advice of fellow Detroit native Aretha Franklin, also an artist on that label. Cameron, who was having an affair with Gwen Gordy (sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy) decided to stay in Motown and the group hired Cameron’s cousin Philippé Wynne to replace him. Later, Cameron moved with the Gordys to Los Angeles, and stayed with Motown for over a decade.

Early recording years: 1961–71
The Spinners first hit the charts in August 1961 on Harvey Fuqua’s Tri-Phi Records, with “That’s What Girls Are Made For”, peaking at number 27. Bobby Smith sang lead vocal on this track, coached by Fuqua. (Some sources report Fuqua sang lead vocal on this track, but both Smith and Fuqua have stated at various times that it was Smith.) The group’s follow-up, “Love (I’m So Glad) I Found You”, also featured lead vocals by Smith, although again some sources credit Fuqua. This track reached number 91 that November, but none of their other Tri-Phi singles charted.

The extent to which Fuqua became a member of the group during their stay at Tri-Phi is debated. Fuqua apparently sang on at least some of the records, and at minimum considered himself a Spinner, as made explicit by the credits on Tri-Phi 1010 and 1024—the artist credit on both these 1962 singles reads “Harvey (Formerly of the Moonglows and the Spinners)”. However most sources,[clarification needed] while respecting Fuqua’s contributions to the group, do not list him as an official member.

James Edwards’ brother, Edgar “Chico” Edwards, replaced Dixon in the group in 1963, at which time Tri-Phi and the entire artist roster was bought out by Fuqua’s brother-in-law Berry Gordy of Motown Records. The Spinners were then assigned to the Motown label.

In 1964, the Spinners made their debut at the Apollo Theater and won instant acclaim, a rare feat at the time.[citation needed] But with the exception of “I’ll Always Love You” (led by Smith), which hit number 35 in 1965, success mostly eluded them during the 1960s. After “I’ll Always Love You”, they released one single a year from 1966 to 1969 inclusive, but none charted on the Billboard Hot 100, and only their 1966 song “Truly Yours” (led by Smith) hit the Billboard R&B chart, peaking at number 16.

With commercial success virtually non-existent, during much of this decade the Spinners were used by Motown as road managers, chaperones and chauffeurs for other groups, and even as shipping clerks. G. C. Cameron replaced Edgar “Chico” Edwards in 1967, and in 1969, the group switched to the Motown-owned V.I.P. imprint. (The label name is somewhat ironic, given that V.I.P. was generally considered a substandard imprint behind Motown, Gordy, Tamla, and Soul).[citation needed]

In 1970, after a five-year chart absence, they hit number 14 with writer-producer Stevie Wonder’s composition (the Cameron-led) “It’s a Shame” (co-written by Syreeta Wright), and charted again the following year with another song Wonder wrote and produced, “We’ll Have It Made” (led by Cameron), from their new album 2nd Time Around. However, these were their last two singles for V.I.P.

Shortly after the release of 2nd Time Around, as Fambrough has stated in interview,[3] has it that Atlantic Records recording artist Aretha Franklin suggested the group finish out their Motown contract and sign with Atlantic. The group made the switch but due to his contractual obligations, Cameron was unable to leave Motown so he remained with Motown as a solo artist and suggested his cousin, singer Philippé Wynne, join the Spinners as Cameron’s replacement and the group’s new lead singer. However, original lead singer Bobby Smith also retained his lead position.

The hit years with Philippé Wynne Edit
When the Spinners signed to Atlantic in 1972, they were a respected but commercially unremarkable singing group who had never had a top-ten pop hit — despite having been a recording act for over a decade. However, under the helm of producer and songwriter Thom Bell, the Spinners charted five top 100 singles (and two top 10s) from their first post-Motown album, Spinners (1972), and went on to become one of the biggest soul groups of the 1970s.

The Bobby Smith-led “I’ll Be Around”, their first top ten hit, was actually the B-side of their first Atlantic single, (the Wynne-led) “How Could I Let You Get Away”. Radio airplay for the B-side led Atlantic to flip the single over, with “I’ll Be Around” hitting #3 and “How Could I Let You Get Away” reaching #77. “I’ll Be Around” was also the Spinners’ first million-selling hit single.[4]

The 1973 follow-up singles “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” (led by Smith), “One of a Kind (Love Affair)” (led by Wynne), and “Ghetto Child” (led by Wynne) cemented the group’s reputation, as well as further that of Bell, a noted Philly soul producer.

Following their Atlantic successes, Motown also issued a “Best of the Spinners” LP which featured selections from their Motown/V.I.P. recordings. They also remixed and reissued the 1970 B-side “Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music” (led by Smith) as a 1973 A-side. In the midst of their Atlantic hits, it crawled to number #91 US.

The group’s 1974 follow-up album, Mighty Love, featured three Top 20 hits, “I’m Coming Home,” “Love Don’t Love Nobody,” and the title track. Their biggest hit of the year, however, was a collaboration with Dionne Warwick, “Then Came You” (led by Smith and Warwick), which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming each act’s first chart-topping ‘Pop’ hit. The song also reached the Top 3 of Billboard′s R&B and Easy Listening charts.

The Spinners hit the Top 10 twice in the next two years with the Smith-led “They Just Can’t Stop It (The Games People Play)” (Billboard #5) and the Wynne-led “The Rubberband Man” (Billboard #2). “Games People Play” featured guest vocalist Barbara Ingram (though producer Bell disputed this in a UK-based interview, claiming Barbara’s line was actually group member Henry Fambrough – his voice sped up[5]) and led to a nickname of “12:45” for bass singer Jackson, after his signature vocal line on the song.

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“America- Tin Man (w/ lyrics)”

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Tin Man” is a 1974 song by the pop rock band America. It was written by band member Dewey Bunnell and produced by George Martin, who also plays the piano part on the recorded version. The song was included on the band’s album Holiday, also from 1974.

Background

The song’s title and some of its lyrics refer to the Tin Woodman from The Wizard of Oz.[3] Songwriter Bunnell was quoted describing the parallel: “My favorite movie, I guess. I always loved it as a kid. Very obscure lyrics. Great grammar – ‘Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man.’ It’s sort of a poetic license.”[3]

Dan Peek – who describes “Tin Man” as “quintessential Dewey, easy stream of consciousness with a major seventh acoustic bed” – states that Bunnell “actually begged us not to record the song. Knowing Dewey it was probably reverse psychology; if it was, Gerry and I fell for it, insisting it was perfect for the album.”[4]

Released as the first single from Holiday, “Tin Man” became the band’s fourth top-ten hit in the US, spending three weeks at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1974.[5] The song reached number one on the Billboard easy listening chart in October of that year.[3] In the UK, the song was relegated to the B-side of another album track, “Mad Dog”, released in July, but both sides failed to chart.

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