Tuesday, April 21, 2015

JOHNNY KEMP (1959 - 2015)


This is a tribute to Johnny Kemp, who had a big hit single back in 1987, "Just Got Paid". The Bahamian singer passed away under mysterious circumstances in Jamaica on April 16th.

I loved "Paid" (co-written by Kemp and Teddy Riley) and it was one of the major songs of the new jack swing era, reaching number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the r&b chart. This hit also brought Kemp a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song. Surprisingly, Kemp only recorded two albums during his entire career but continued to entertain as a live performer over the years.

"Just Got Paid" - Johnny Kemp (1987) mp3

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

PERCY SLEDGE (1940 - 2015)


Percy Sledge, whose fiery and passionate voice rocked the original version of "When A Man Loves A Woman", passed away on April 14th at the age of seventy-four.

Sledge was born and raised in Leighton, Alabama and worked a series of jobs as a field hand before becoming an orderly at a hospital. It was during this time he was introduced to producer, Quinn Ivy where he went on to impress him with his amazing vocal ability during an audition and was signed to a recording contract.

"Woman" was Sledge's very first single and became an international smash in 1966, reaching number one on the U.S. pop and r&b chart. While he never had another song this successful, Sledge would continue to record and became a very popular touring act. "When A Man Loves A Woman" has since become a classic with it being covered by a countless number of performers. A version by Michael Bolton would become a major success, hitting number one in the U.S. in 1991.

Percy Sledge was honored with The Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award in 1989 and inducted in to The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

"When A Man Loves A Woman" - Percy Sledge (1966) mp3

Here are Michael Bolton and the great Percy Sledge performing their number one song together:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

MY TUNE OF THE DAY


Today's tune took me by surprise as this great new song comes from an artist I never would have expected. When Carly Rae Jepsen was taking the world by storm with her irresistibly catchy, "Call Me Maybe" back in 2012, I thought it was a fun little tune but she would simply end up being added to the long list of one-hit wonders.

This third-place runner-up on Canadian Idol just dropped some new music last month with "I Really Like You". While it's another solid pop song, most of the attention it's received is due to the music video that features not only fellow Canadian Justin Bieber but movie star, Tom Hanks.

Jepsen made a recent appearance on "Saturday Night Live" as the musical guest where she debuted an impressive new song, "All That", a sexy slo-jam that features a 1980's era Prince vibe. Written by Jepsen and Dev Hynes (or as he's better known Blood Orange), this is an unexpected sound from the singer with a sweet, girl-next-door image but she convinces with breathy, sensual vocals. Now, I don't know if she's actually escaped the dreaded one-hit tag but this song may be a very good indication that her upcoming record (due sometime this summer) should be interesting.

"All That" - Carly Rae Jepsen (2015) mp3

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

RANDOM SIGHTS + SOUNDS

To kick this off, here are some hot new tracks I'm digging right now:

"Can't Deny My Love" - Brandon Flowers (2015) mp3

"Worship" - Years & Years (2015) mp3

"Alone" - Selah Sue (2015) mp3

"Pedestrian At Best" - Courtney Barnett (2015) mp3





The recent anniversary of "We Are The World" made me think of some of the other amazing musical accomplishments by Quincy Jones. This incredibly gifted musician, producer and humanitarian is probably best known for his work with Michael Jackson but he had a pretty phenomenal career before the King of Pop was even born.

Jones has made several studio albums under his own name with one of his most popular was "The Dude" in 1981. It featured four amazing singles including "Just Once" and "One Hundred Ways" which introduced the magnificent voice of James Ingram to the world.

"Ai No Corrida" - Quincy Jones (1981) mp3

"Razzamatazz" - Quincy Jones featuring Patti Austin (1981) mp3

"One Hundred Ways" - Quincy Jones featuring James Ingram (1981) mp3

Let's hope Brit-pop star, Natasha Bedingfield will be releasing some new music very soon. I think she's one of the more interesting singers out there now and it's been since 2010 since we last heard from her. In the meanwhile, here are a couple of my favorites:

"These Words (I Love You, I Love You)" - Natasha Bedingfield (2004) mp3

"Piece of My Heart" - Natasha Bedingfield (2007) mp3

Saturday, April 4, 2015

THE WRECKING CREW


Most people would be surprised to learn that a little-known group of session musicians played a very large part in creating many of the memorable pop songs in music history. A fascinating new documentary out right now called, "The Wrecking Crew", which is named after this band, sheds some light on how these jazz-trained musicians are actually who you hear playing on those popular hits heard throughout the 1960's and early 1970's. They worked with everyone; from Elvis to Sinatra to The Beach Boys to Simon and Garfunkel not to mention performing on many of those iconic television theme songs ("Hawaii 5-0", "Mission: Impossible", "Batman", "Bonanza").



It's been said that these musicians played on over 150 top-ten hits and worked on at least 35,000 pieces of music during their time. Listen to this very tiny selection of classic songs that the Wrecking Crew played on to get an idea of how they helped shape and influence pop music:

"The Pink Panther Theme" - Henry Mancini (1963)mp3

"A Taste of Honey" - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (1965)mp3

"Good Vibrations" - The Beach Boys (1966)mp3

"Strangers In The Night" - Frank Sinatra (1966)mp3

"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" - Nancy Sinatra (1966)mp3

"Something Stupid" - Frank & Nancy Sinatra (1967)mp3

"Windy" - The Association (1967) mp3

"Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" - The 5th Dimension (1969) mp3

"Song Sung Blue" - Neil Diamond (1972) mp3

"Annie's Song" - John Denver (1974) mp3

RANDOM SIGHTS + SOUNDS

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