Celebrating the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin as she prepares to abdicate

On the day Madonna celebrates her 60th birthday, I find myself writing this blog article celebrating the life of Aretha Franklin.

At the time of writing, Aretha Franklin is still with us but there is a sad inevitability that her life is drawing to a close, so it is with a heavy heart that I’m preparing this obituary.

Just as Madonna’s 60th birthday is life affirming, it is very arguable that she would not have had a music life and career had female soul artists like Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield not paved the way in the 1960s.

Although the Tamla Motown record label gave us black soul female stars like Diana Ross and Martha Reeves in the 1960s, they were part of girl group ensembles, The Supremes and The Vandellas respectively. But Tamla Motown artists were seen as pop stars – Aretha Franklin was the real deal, with genuine soul credentials following in the footsteps of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday and Nina Simone.

Aretha Franklin stood alone and tall as a female soul singer in the mid to late 1960s. For this reason, Aretha Franklin is the architect of modern day R ‘n’ B, which is why Beyoncé paid tribute to her the other day on stage. She forged the path for all those R ‘n’ B singers that have followed and not just the female ones.

When researching this piece, I was amazed to find the all empowering “I Say A Little Prayer” didn’t reach No1 in the UK charts when it was released in 1968 – it was No4 over here and even more surprisingly only reached No10 across the “Big Pond” in the USA. Aretha Franklin had to wait nearly 20 years for her only No1 in the UK and US, her duet with George Michael “I Knew You Were Waiting ( For Me )”.

However as the Queen Of Soul prepares to abdicate, it will be Aretha Franklin’s signature tune “I Say A Little Prayer” that we will all turn to for solace and comfort at the point of her departure. I’m sure music fans across the world will be joining me in a private or public vigil, by saying a little prayer for Aretha Franklin and her family and friends.

Thanks for the music and the memories Aretha!!

Footnote ( after Aretha’s death ):

I Say A Little Prayer for you Aretha Franklin – not because you need it now you are in a better place, but because you deserve it for all the joy you gave so many during your lifetime. You will always be the Queen of Soul.

The Wacky World of One Hit Wonders or were they?

Ah, one hit wonders. Who knew that Martine McCutcheon was at number  one for 2 weeks in 1999? Not me, until I started researching this  piece. Mercifully, I’d also forgotten Glenn Medeiros and his only hit  single, ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change my Love for You’, which held the top  spot for 4 weeks in mid-1988. That’s 4 weeks of my Top of the Pops  peak viewing time I’ll never get back. (Maybe it should have been  renamed ‘Top if the Plops’ for that 4 weeks, thinks the childish part  of my brain…)

Anyway. One hit wonders or one trick ponies, if you prefer – who can we count among their number? Some  surprised me; songs that I was sure were one-off hits for certain acts had a bridesmaid follow up. The most unexpected example, for  me, was undoubtedly Robson and Jerome. Yes, we all remember ‘Unchained  Melody’ (whether we want to or not), which was at number one for 7  weeks from May 1985, but did you know that the ‘Soldier, Soldier’  stars also had 2 other number ones, in November 1985 – for 4 weeks, no  less. They followed this with another, a year later, which was at the  peak for 2 weeks. Who knew? Not me (and I’m a Geordie, like Robson, if  that makes any difference).

Perennial wedding favourite ‘Come on Eileen’ wasn’t Dexy’s Midnight  Runners’ only number one hit, either; they’d scored another, 2 years  previously, in 1980 when ‘Geno’ spent 2 weeks at the top. I can’t  recall ever having heard that one (but I was only 6 at the time, so  perhaps that explains it).

Often, one hit wonders could be described as novelty songs. From ‘Kung  Fu Fighting’, released in the mid-1970s, via the Spitting Image  ‘Chicken Song’ of 1986. Then Right Said Fred said ‘I’m Too Sexy’ in  the early 1990s, before 1997 brought us both the ‘Teletubbies’ ditty  and ‘Barbie Girl’. Yeah, thanks 1997. All but Right Said Fred reached  the top spot; Fred had to be content with number 2.

There are a lot more where those unique anthems came from, but many  were penned for a specific reason – as a charity single, a Christmas  song or for a film. Some were written as sporting chants; others  specifically to dance to – in a very precise, strictly choreographed  pattern.

Band Aid had one of the most memorable charity singles ever, firstly  in 1984, when the original topped the chart for 5 weeks. 5 years  after, Band Aid II managed 3 weeks at the peak. The 1980s were big for  fund-raising records – USA for Africa scored a number 1 for 2 weeks  with ‘We are the World’, right in the middle of the decade. 2 years  later, in 1987, Ferry Aid managed 3 weeks at the chart’s pinnacle,  raising money in the wake of the Zeebrugge disaster, when the Herald  of Free Enterprise capsized.

More cheerily, some novelty songs were made simply to dance to –  Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night (1984), the ‘Macarena’ in the 1990s, then  ’The Ketchup Song’ in the early noughties. All had in common that they  inspired scores of people to hit the dancefloor and throw very  specific, highly synchronised shapes.

From throwing shapes to kicking balls, some one hit wonders are still  hugely popular with sporting fans at present-day fixtures. New Order’s  1990 hit ‘World in Motion’ is still oft-heard whenever England are due  to play, as is ‘Tubthumping’ by Chumbawamba (1997). The most relevant  example right now, though, has to be 1996’s ‘3 Lions’, which recently  re-entered the UK charts during England’s most successful World Cup  campaign for decades. (I guess we can’t strictly call that a  one-hit-wonder, then.)

Some songs are released to coincide with a film in which they feature,  and can be huge hits. In 1982, ’The Eye of the Tiger’, from Rocky III,  reached number one, as did Berlin’s ‘Take my Breath Away’, from Top  Gun, in 1986. That was rapidly followed by ‘Stand by Me’ (from the  film of the same name) and ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop us Now’ by Starship,  in 1987, from the movie ‘Mannequin’. ‘Show me Heaven’ – from another  Tom Cruise film, ‘Days of Thunder’ – scored 4 weeks at the top in the  first year of the the 1990s.

Christmas rounds off each year nicely, and also rounds off this list  of novelty song choices – although not every yuletide one-trick-pony  is particularly festive. A case in point being the acapella ditty  ‘Only You’, which grabbed the coveted Christmas numero uno in 1983. It  enjoyed 5 weeks in the spotlight, before The Flying Pickets sank into  oblivion. ‘There’s no-one quite like Grandma’ wasn’t especially  festive, either, but it was a massive surprise hit for Christmas 1980  – presumably because everyone had to buy it for their Nan. I know I  (or rather, my parents) did. The Christmas hit phenomenon has been  immortalised in novel and celluloid form as well as vinyl; Nick  Hornby’s book ‘About a Boy’ tells the tale of a man who lives on the  royalties from his father’s one and only hit tune – which fortunately  for Hugh Grant’s character – happened to be a Christmas song.

Not all one hit wonders are novelty songs, though; there are many more  which range from dire, to good and great – or even absolute classic.  This piece was inspired when I happened to hear House of Pain’s lively  anthem ‘Jump Around’ on the radio. It wasn’t a huge hit here, reaching  number 8 in 1992, although it fared better across the pond, achieving  3rd place. I love that tune and am always happy to hear it.

How songs perform, chart-wise, here in the UK isn’t always reflected  in the US Billboard. I was surprised that some lists I stumbled across  classified A-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ as a one-hit-wonder, when I recalled  those boys from Norway having successive, massive hits over here. The  animated, sketch-style video, in fact, was apparently what catapulted  A-ha to the top of the Billboard across the Atlantic.

Another song I’m pretty fond of is ‘My Sharona’, released in 1979 by  the Knack, which peaked at number 6 here, but managed to secure the  top spot stateside – another of those one hit wonders. American artist Billy Ray Cyrus had a big hit with  ‘Achy breaky heart’ both here and in the US. Although he didn’t get to  number one in either, the song endures (possibly because it’s  profoundly irritating). Cyrus’s daughter Miley, aka Hannah Montana, is  far more famous than he these days.

Some real decade-defining tracks were but one hit wonders. In the  1970s, Wild Cherry had a number 1 in the US (number 7 here) with ‘Play  that funky music’, a song that still pops up on pretty much every funk  compilation album. Synth hot-hit ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ took us  into the 1980s, though I had to look up who even performed it (Bruce  Woolley). Toni Basil’s ‘Mickey’ was so fine in 1982, and is a tune  favoured by compilers of 80s hits albums, even though it didn’t quite  reach number one (it peaked in second place). 1982 also brought us  ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’, which roared for 3 weeks at number 1,  before Tight Fit disappeared into obscurity. Thankfully, some might say.

In 1983, Men at Work were ‘Down Under’ up top for 3 weeks; in ’84  Nena’s ’99 Red Balloons’ was a stratospheric, worldwide smash. 1985  brought us ‘na na na na 19’ by Paul Hardcastle, which topped the list  for 5 weeks. ‘You Spin Me Round’ only managed a week, but is very much  fondly and clearly remembered, judging by the airtime it still gets.  In fact, 1985 seems to have been THE year for one hit wonders, with  Jennifer Rush and Feargal Sharkey scoring number ones with ‘The Power  Of Love’ and ‘A Good Heart’ respectively.

By 1986 I was in the full throes of my first massive crush – on Nick  Berry from ‘Eastenders’, who hit the top spot with ‘Every Loser Wins’.  Not one that I ever hear these days, unlike ‘The Final Countdown’ by  Europe, which actually spent less time at number 1 – 2 weeks for the  latter as opposed to 3 for the former.

Rick Astley – who apparently has a new album out, right now – had a  huge 5 weeks at the top of the charts in 1987 with ‘Never Gonna Give  You Up’. Few people have forgotten him (alas, some might add). Most  will have forgotten his Stock, Aitken and Waterman peer Sonia, who had  one big hit in 1989.She’d completely slipped my mind, until I saw a  sign advertising her performance at my local holiday park a couple of  months ago…

Something of a Scottish anthem, The Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500  miles)’ peaked just outside the top 10 – at number 11 – in 1988. It’s  hard, now, to believe that this song, still heard so often now, didn’t  even make the top ten. Although it made number 3 in the US – and  number 1 in New Zealand.

By the end of the 1990s, things had something of a Latin flavour, with  Ricky Martin ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ for 3 weeks in July 1999, swiftly  followed by Lou Bega’s ‘Mambo no. 5’ which spent a fortnight at the  top a couple of months later.

By the time we reached the year 2000, I was 26 and my interest in new  music was already waning. Simon Cowell was poised to take the music  world by storm (a dire, dark, threatening type of storm in my book, at  that). I can’t really speak of music from that point on with any  authority, so I’ll stop right here.

Suffice to say that the world of music would not be the same without one hit wonders. Better, perhaps, maybe worse; it would definitely be  different. For me, variety is the spice of life. One good song is  still a good song, and the rich tapestry of music history may well be  somewhat less colourful without those one-off hits and misses.

 

This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @ BloggerByTheSea.com

Check out Polly’s very eclectic blog……There are some very entertaining and informative articles on a diverse range of subjects & topics. For instance her home made recipes are mouth watering and delicious!!

Top 5 Best LGBT Anthems / Gay Anthems that graced Brighton Pride 2018

There was never a better time to spend a weekend by the seaside than the 4th and 5th August 2018 in Brighton. The lethal cocktail of a summer heatwave, unparalleled since 1976, and Brighton Pride 2018 meant there was only one place to be on the first weekend in August 2018. But it’s the LGBT anthems / Gay anthems that will linger longest in the memory.

However as the colour and flamboyance of the Brighton Pride 2018 parade fades and diminishes, as it inevitably will, the residue that will remain after the pomp and pageantry is incarcerated in the memory bank, will be the music soundtrack.

A cacophony of LGBT anthems / Gay anthems emanated from all the floats and vintage double decker buses, but these were the five that stood out for the Record Press author –

 

Top 5 Best LGBT Anthems / Gay Anthems that graced Brighton Pride 2018

1) Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out

This comes in at No1 as it formed part of Nile Rodgers / Chic headline set at the Brighton Pride Love BN1 Fest at Preston Park on Sunday https://www.brighton-pride.org/lovebn1-fest/ Niles Rogers co-wrote the Diana Ross classic and his gig with Chic was the perfect conclusion to the weekend.

2) Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men

This gay anthem rang out several times during the parade on a hot sultry, weekend when it was only ever going to rain men as opposed to water / H2O droplets

3) Sylvester – You Make Me Feel Mighty Real

Admittedly nostalgia has played a part for including this in the Top 5 Best LGBT Anthems / Gay Anthems as I’m old enough to remember this tune being a hit in 1978. Gay or straight, this is one of the greatest dance / disco tunes

4) Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive

Again, gay or straight, this song empowers all that encounter it. I defy anyone to say that they don’t find the Gloria Gaynor standard uplifting and inspiring. It’s impact was immediate for me, so much so that I still remember lying in the dark in my bedroom one night in April 1979 and hearing the song for the first time on Radio Luxemburg ( Fab 208 )

5) Cher – Believe

Diva and song combine to make this one of the definitive LGBT anthems / Gay anthems

What are your favourite LGBT anthems / Gay anthems? Let us know in the Reply Box below.
You can order your LGBT anthems / Gay anthems as a framed and mounted vinyl single like the Cher “Believe” one ( to the left ). If it’s intended as a gift, it can  be personalised further with an inscribed / engraved plaque. ORDER NOW….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

Framed 7″ records / framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. 

THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT @ www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

Kenny Rogers’ international appeal & storytelling transcends his Country & Western roots

Recently the Record Press author posted a BBC article on social media announcing that Kenny Rogers had sadly been forced to cancel the remaining dates on his Farewell Tour due to ill health and then I thought little more of it……

A few hours later I returned to Twitter and Facebook, to be inundated by over a thousand responses to the sad news that Kenny Rogers had been forced to prematurely bow out of his final encore on the road. The fact that people on both sides of the “Big Pond” ( aka the Atlantic Ocean ) felt compelled to comment & convey not only shock and sadness but good wishes, demonstrates the love, affection and high esteem with which Kenny Rogers is held in throughout the world.

This in turn made me re-examine my relationship with Kenny Rogers. Like many in the UK, we were first introduced in the early summer of 1977  through a mutual friend, Lucille. The song “Lucille” stayed in the charts having peaked at No1 for many weeks, but the resonance of the sad story of the father and “four hungry children” she abandoned, lived on much longer in our hearts and minds. What Kenny Rogers proved in that moment and on that 7″ vinyl single was that not only was he a great vocalist, but also a great story-teller and raconteur.

My love of Kenny Rogers was cemented in 1979 and 1980 when he released the beautiful, poignant and moving ballads “She Believes in Me” and “Lady”, the latter a No1 in the USA. He also reached No1 in the USA in 1983 when he teamed up with good friend Dolly Parton with the classic duet “Islands in the Stream”.

Kenny Rogers has also had two No1s in the UK – the aforementioned “Lucille” in 1977 and “Coward of the County” two years later in 1979. Interestingly the two songs are great examples of storytelling as is “The Gambler”.

The news that Kenny Rogers’ health may be failing, possibly heralding the end of his active musical career, focussed my mind sufficiently for me to realise how much of a significant part Kenny has played in my life and the soundtrack of that life. So much so, that I have compiled this Record Press Top 5 Best Kenny Rogers Songs –

Top 5 Best Kenny Rogers Songs

 

1) Lady ( No12 1980 )

2) She Believes in Me ( No42 1979 )

3) Islands in the Stream ( No7 1983 )

4) Lucille ( No1 1977 )

5) The Gambler ( No22 2007 )

 

What are your favourite Kenny Rogers songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Fans of Kenny Rogers can order your favourite song as a framed and mounted vinyl single like this one ( to the left ). If it’s intended as a gift, it can  be personalised further with an inscribed / engraved plaque. ORDER NOW….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

Framed 7″ records / framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. 

THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT @ www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

Robert Smith marks 40th anniversary of The Cure as Meltdown Festival Cure-ator

Robert Smith has revealed to the NME that he’ll be performing at his own curated Meltdown Festival this summer, which has also inspired him to write new material for The Cure.

Following in the well-trodden footsteps of distinguished figures like David Bowie, Patti Smith, David Byrne, Nick Cave and Jarvis Cocker, Robert Smith has hand selected the acts heading to the Meltdown Festival at London’s Southbank Centre this June. Last month the initial line up was revealed, including Deftones, The Libertines, Manic Street Preachers, My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Placebo, The Psychedelic Furs, 65daysofstatic, Alcest, The Anchoress, Kristin Hersh, Kathryn Joseph, MONO, and The Notwist all announced for the 25th edition of the iconic Meltdown Festival.

Recently the reclusive Robert Smith gave a rare interview to Matt Everitt on BBC 6 Music, where he discussed the Meltdown Festival, and what the future holds for The Cure: “It might just be a reaction to the fact that in the modern world, people talk endlessly about nothing,” Robert Smith said to explain his media silence in recent years. He said that he was simply waiting for a “focal point to a new project”, claiming that without that “the whole notion of doing an interview becomes redundant” without new material to discuss.

Robert Smith’s research into acts to play the Meltdown Festival has inspired him to go back into the studio. The process of curation has “reinvigorated his creativity and made him want to do something new.” Robert Smith explained: “I’ve listened to more new music in the last six months than I ever have. I’ve suddenly fallen in love with the idea of writing new songs, so it’s had a really good effect on me. I booked some time to do some demos next month. Some of it’s really good, some of it not so good.”

Robert Smith will be performing on the closing Sunday of the Meltdown Festival with a selection of collaborators. He elaborated: “It will be me and four other people that I know really well, and some others,” he said, adding that they’d be playing “primarily Cure songs” and interpretations of tracks by the band with “different instrumentation”, with a set “completely different to the Hyde Park show” and “a little bit more weird.”

The Record Press author can’t believe that it is 40 years since Robert Smith and The Cure released their first single. My introduction to Robert Smith and The Cure was their 1980 single “A Forest”, which was one of the few songs guaranteed to get me on the dancefloor in the early 1980s, along with “Sanctuary” by The Cult and New Order’s “Blue Monday”. For me Robert Smith and The Cure were two sides of the same coin with Siouxsie Sioux and The Banshees. I’m sure Robert Smith and Siouxsie Sioux were separated at birth.
Since 1980 I have always adored the tortured, melancholic and morose vocals of Robert Smith and for this reason I can forgive him for accidentally smudging his red lipstick every morning!! Lest we forget the brilliance of Robert Smith and The Cure, here is our Record Press Top 5 Best The Cure Songs –
Top 5 Best The Cure Songs
1) A Forest ( No31 1980 )
2) The Love Cats ( No7 1983 )
3) Friday I’m In Love ( No6 1992 )
4) Fascination Street ( Non hit 1989 )
5) In Between Days ( No15 1885 )
6) A Strange Day ( Non hit 1982 )
7) Boys Don’t Cry ( No22 1986 )
8) Killing An Arab ( Non hit 1978 )
9) Let’s Go To Bed ( No44 1982 )
10) Close To Me ( No24 1985 )
What are your favourite The Cure songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Fans of Robert Smith and The Cure can order your favourite song as a framed and mounted vinyl single like this one. If it’s intended as a gift, it can  be personalised further with an inscribed / engraved plaque. ORDER NOW….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

Framed 7″ records / framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

 

Steve Ellis of the Love Affair to release new album on 50th anniversary of Everlasting Love

Steve Ellis, formerly lead vocalist with 1960s band Love Affair has collaborated with Paul Weller on a new album “Boom! Bang! Twang!”, to be released on vinyl and CD on the 20th April 2018.

The album is released 50 years after Steve Ellis had a huge hit with the classic “Everlasting Love” with his band Love Affair and sees a return to the label behind that single, CBS (via Sony).

The album has been co-produced by long-time fan and friend Paul Weller, with the album also featuring Paul Weller and Andy Crofts and Ben Gordelier (The Moons) and numerous other alumni of the rock and pop hall of fame.

The finished product will be a combination of new songs and covers, with the first single off the album, Lonely No More, co-written with Paul Weller, described as a ‘glorious Northern Soul-esque shaker’. As for the covers, they take on tunes from William Bell, Gerry Marsden, Jimmy Cliff and Tim Hardin.

For the Record Press editor, Steve Ellis has one of the great white British soul voices of the 1960s, only matched by Steve Winwood ( Spencer Davis Group & Traffic ) and Steve Marriott ( Small Faces ). A holy trinity of “Sixties Steves”! To prove the point check out this Top 5 Best Love Affair / Steve Ellis Songs –

 

Top 5 Best Love Affair Songs

 

1) Bringing On Back The Good Times ( No9 1969 )

2) Everlasting Love ( No1 1968 )

3) Rainbow Valley ( No5 1968 )

4) A Day Without Love ( No6 1968 )

5) One Road ( No16 1969 )

 

Framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

The wedding first dance song is de rigueur but is it absolutely necessary?

Inspired by Record Press author Simon’s recent post on funeral songs ( albeit a sombre subject ), I  thought a post on the wedding first dance song might uplift things a little. Such a  joyous occasion, a wedding; with all the fabulous flowers, divine  dresses, delicious food and, usually (sometimes regrettably) more than a little fizz!!

Mister and I didn’t have a wedding first dance song as such. We had a  Ceilidh first, before the DJ did his disco set. We chose to have  traditional country dancing to start things off, as we’d seen  previously what a great ice-breaker it could be, and as many of our  families and friends had not met before, that seemed ideal.

So the “wedding first dance song” was a Gay Gordon’s or Strip the Willow – something  like that, I can’t quite remember – and everyone joined in. We didn’t  really want to smooch around on the dance floor, dozens of pairs of  eyes boring into our backs, so we gladly forsake the first dance in  favour of a structured group fling.

We’re not really traditionalists. We had the speeches before the  wedding breakfast, too – simply to calm my Dad’s nerves. I knew he  wouldn’t enjoy his food if his stomach was churning at the thought of  making a speech, and he breathed a huge sigh of relief when we  suggested switching things around.

The other factor is Mister and his musical tastes. My musical taste is  very eclectic; I’m not a huge fan of ballads in general and I draw the  line at thrash metal, but the latter cannot be said about Mister. To  me, Napalm Death sound like someone vomiting; for him they deserve a  place in music history, if not quite in his music collection.  (Although he does have a couple of White Zombie CDs.)

It takes two to have a wedding and therefore a wedding first dance song, but for the purposes of this piece  it’s mainly my views I’m sharing, though there is of course more than  a nod to Mister’s musical tastes here. The thing is, we do share a  dislike of sugary sweet, fluffy ballads, and both prefer something  with a bit more grit, a little edgier.

So, what to choose? This is a tricky one, and I’ve had to peruse our music collection at length in pursuit of some answers. Age comes into it, too, of course; we wed in 2002, so any music released after that  date is out. The music of the 1980s and 1990s was what we grew up  with, so that’s what I have to draw upon. Stock, Aitken and Waterman  excluded, of course. Kylie and Jason’s ‘Especially for you’ is out,  then, darn it.

Much of the music of those decades is out, in fact, because much of it  is upbeat pop that just wouldn’t suit a slow, lingering dance.  Anything too frisky is no good, either, frankly, as it’s highly likely  that, after a verse or so, an Uncle will drag a bridesmaid onto the  dance floor. Granny might even join in at some point. I can’t see her  swaying her creaking hips to anything too sultry.

There’s an element, then, of one size fits all. The wedding first dance song should mean something to, and/or be loved by, the couple, but be suitable for all who share the occasion. It’s not easy, is it? I can see why – with a  zillion other things to organise, working full-time and living over 350 miles away from our wedding venue – we opted out of picking a  smoochy little number.

Then there’s the wording. Many ballads might sound right, in terms of tune, but once you listen to the words they’re simply not at all  suitable. The lament of a jilted lover is totally at odds with  lifelong promise made during the wedding ceremony. Think Adele’s  ‘Someone Like You’. You see what I mean? Not to mention that it was  released long after 2002 – Adele was only 13 when we wed.

INXS are one of the obvious contenders. They’re my all-time top band,  and Mister is also a fan. They’re Australian, too, which is relevant  because we met down under – even though we’re both British. Obviously  we’re not looking at ‘Devil Inside’ or ‘Suicide Blonde’; I’m thinking  more along the lines of ‘Never Tear us Apart’. Coincidentally, this was one the  songs Record Press Editor Simon chose to see him out in his aforementioned funeral songs article.

It’s definitely a contender for a wedding first dance song, but is it suitably joyous and uplifting?  It is all about love, but there’s an allusion to future hurt in there.  ‘If I hurt you, I‘d make wine from your tears’ is one of my very  favourite song lyrics ever, but it sits there in the middle of the  song, like a slightly shadowy warning. Maybe not the number one  choice, then.

I love George Michael, and he is King of the ballad. Boy,  could that man’s voice make a ballad utterly searing and soulful, while sounding completely effortless. ‘Careless Whisper’, though, is  once again essentially an effigy to a lost love. ‘Jesus to a Child’  is, too – as well as painfully raw and far too personal to George. ‘I  Want Your Sex’ is out, obviously – that’s more of a one for the  private, than the public, domain – and ‘Father Figure’ is not right,  either, for obvious reasons. Which leaves ‘A Different Corner’, but  like ‘Careless Whisper’ and Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’, the words are mournful. Not only that, but that song forever reminds me of the Brits  2017 and Andrew Ridgeley, Pepsi and Shirlie lamenting their lost  friend. Besides, Mister isn’t anywhere near as big a fan as me.

Which takes me right back to the very first wedding first dance song I thought of. It’s not  one that you might typically associate with weddings – but it’s  absolutely perfect. For us, anyway. It opens with the lines: “I’ll protect you from the hooded claw. Keep the vampires from your door”.

Gothic, admittedly, but there’s also a romantic undertone. It’s a  tender sentiment, really, wanting to protect the one you love, even if  the mention of vampires is a little fanciful. ‘Sparkling love, flowers and pearls and pretty girls’ couldn’t (frankly, Frankie) be more  appropriate for a wedding. The song speaks of love as a ‘force from  above’, proclaiming ‘undying, death defying love’. What could be more pertinent than lyrics that proclaim ‘I’m so in love with you’? Yet the  most fitting line, for me, is ‘make love your goal’. What’s heading  into the future together, to embark upon married life about, if not that very premise from Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘The Power  of Love’?…..

 

This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @ BloggerByTheSea.com

 

In a recent poll, these were the most popular Wedding First Dance Songs……. 

http://www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/recordpress/retro-music/framed-vinyl-copy-of-wedding-first-dance-song-makes-great-wedding-gift/

So if you have got a Wedding coming up and you are struggling to think of a unique wedding gift / original wedding present, then order the Bride & Groom’s Wedding First Dance Song in a vinyl single / CD single format; framed and mounted as a picture disc souvenir of the “Big Day”. You can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… 

ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Call me morbid, but I’ve already selected my funeral songs and here they are……

Recently my 78 year old mother organised her funeral with the local undertakers or funeral directors as they are commonly called these days. The only thing she did not determine or specify is her funeral songs / soundtrack.

Mum opted for a natural burial and a secular ( non religious ) service in keeping with her atheist beliefs. Logistics organised ( I know that makes her sound like a pallet of goods!! ), the only gaps in the service appear to be the music, which will be left to my siblings and myself. And because it will be a secular affair, the occasion will afford us the opportunity to intersperse the service with pop music rather than hymns.

Selecting Mum’s favourite songs will be “easy peasy” as her favourite songs from the 1960s & 1970s stand out like beacons on the landscape of my childhood memories. The funeral soundtrack would comprise of Al Martino “Spanish Eyes” ( 1973 ), Charles Aznavour “She” ( 1974 ), “Loving You” by Minnie Riperton ( 1975 ) and “Begin the Beguine” by Julio Iglesias ( 1981 ).

As you may have noted Mum’s favourite songs / 7″ vinyl singles from the 1970s tended to have a ballad bias, when perhaps she was going through a more pensive, philosophical phase in her thirties. Her vinyl record collection from the 1960s reflected the energy and vitality of someone in their twenties, but I think we might get away with one raunchy song within her funeral service. “Delilah” by Tom Jones ( 1968 ) is a possibility although my choice would be Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking” ( 1966 ) as the coffin and cortege process down the aisle and out of the church into the graveyard ( That would amuse Mum!! ).

There is one glaring omission from my Mum’s funeral songs / soundtrack and that’s a Shirley Bassey number. Although there was no Shirley Bassey singles in her record collection; there were a number of Shirley Bassey albums. As kids there was many a night that my sister and I drifted off to sleep, with the smell of cigar smoke and the sounds of Dame Shirley wafting up the stairs to our bedroom as Mum and Dad entertained friends downstairs in the lounge.

The designated Shirley Bassey song would be one of three: her cover of the Beatles / George Harrison’s “Something” ( 1970 ), the James Bond theme “Diamonds Are Forever” ( 1972 ) or the tormented “Never Never, Never” ( 1973 ). Now that will be a difficult choice when the time comes.

Of course whilst planning Mum’s funeral songs / soundtrack, inevitably I started musing on the options for my own funeral service soundtrack. It didn’t take me long to collate the list and here they are –

My Funeral Songs / Soundtrack

 

1) Terry Jacks – Seasons In The Sun ( 1974 )

2) Guns ‘N’ Roses – November Rain ( 1992 )

3) Genesis – Snowbound ( 1978 )

4) INXS – Never Tear Us Apart ( 1988 )

5) Pink Floyd – Time ( 1974 )

6) Hubert Parry – Jerusalem ( 1916 )

 

Which funeral songs would you opt for and why? Let us know in the Reply Box below.


On a happier note, framed vinyl singles ( like my Mum’s favourite “She” by Charles Aznavour – adjacent image ) with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

To cover or not to indulge in cover versions: that is the question?

Can you imagine the music business without cover versions? Yes, many  new releases are fresh, original songs, but many are also reworked  versions of someone else’s former hit – or miss. Some are fresh and  original covers, that do something new with the tune; sometimes so  much so that it becomes almost unrecognisable. Others are just a  rehash, and barely indistinguishable from the original.

A typical example of the latter is ‘Uptown Girl’, first recorded in  1983. It is something of an anthem of my youth and the uplifting  melody and simple premise are very appealing. It was a big hit, making  the top 20 bestselling singles list – of the entire decade. To date,  well over a million copies have been sold worldwide.

‘Uptown Girl’ was covered by Westlife, who released it in 2001. Now, I  can see why Westlife would want to record it, it’s a great tune. But  why we would want to buy it, I have no idea. The song is sung in the  same way as Joel’s original, but the vocals, and backing music, seem  to me to be lacking in a certain something that made the Joel version  sing with quality.

Why cover a song, if you’re not going to do anything new with it?  What’s the point? For Westlife, the point, presumably, was money.  Maybe, they’d also lay claim to attempting to bring a great song to a  younger audience. Fair enough, I guess. That doesn’t quite cut it for  me, but perhaps that’s my problem, not theirs.

We all seem to claim that the music we grew up with was the best –  well, my parents certainly did, singing the praises, in particular, of  the Beatles and Deep Purple – among many others – all of whom came  from the swinging sixties and glaring, flare-clad seventies.  Apparently, my Dad saw Jimi Hendrix perform in Newcastle in the early  1970s. Really? He barely mentions it…

I favour the eighties and nineties, no doubt because I grew up with  the music of those decades. Florence and the Machine’s 2009 cover of  ‘You Got the Love’ annoyed me intensely; from the get-go I much  preferred Candi Staton’s first version from 1986. I was 12 in 1986; by  2009 I was 35. Too old for very much new music perhaps, by then, let  alone for substandard (as I saw it) new versions of the tunes that  accompanied me, like old friends, through puberty, school, exams and  university and into the grown-up worlds of work, travel, relationships  and flat sharing.

Cover versions certainly don’t have to be good to be successful.  Robson and Jerome’s version of ‘Unchained Melody’ had some sort of  appeal that is invisible to the naked, suspecting eyes of many people,  yet it was the top-selling single of 1995. ‘Good’ is clearly in the  ear of the beholder. No offence Robson, who’s from my own stomping  ground – I do love your ‘Tales from Northumberland’, but that hit was  just altogether too cheesy for my tastes. But give me pudding over a  cheese-fest any day; each to their own. Either way the 1990 re-release of the Righteous Brothers’ far superior 1960s rendition of ‘Unchained Melody’ ( as part of the movie soundtrack from “Ghost” ), made the version by Robson and Jerome redundant.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate all cover versions. I am fond of  Alien Ant Farm’s 2001 cover of Michael Jackson’s 1988 hit ‘Smooth  Criminal’. It’s a far rockier, grungier version, and I like both  more-or-less equally. Both have their own merits, and Alien Ant Farm  made the song their own by covering it from a whole new angle.

Only relatively recently, did I discover that The Communards’  chart-topping hit, ‘Don’t Leave me this Way’ was not an original. The  song was in fact first recorded in 1975, and was a hit both then and  shortly after, in 1997. Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ version, the  original, reached the top 10 in both the UK and America, peaking at numbers 5 and 3 respectively. Thelma Houston’s rendition was far more  popular across the pond than here in Britain; it failed to reach our  top 10, peaking at number 13 here, while in America it made number 1.  I’m not familiar with the earlier versions, but The Communards’ cover  is an absolute triumph. Praise be to the Reverend Coles and Mr  Somerville.

The late, great George Michael even experimented with cover versions. He sang  ‘Killer’, which had previously been a huge hit for Adams and Seal, in  1991 at Wembley, and it was later released as part of the ‘Five Live’  EP, along with Michael’s rendition of ‘Papa was a Rollin’ Stone’ and  two duets – ‘Somebody to Love’ with Queen, and ‘These are the Days of  our Lives’ again with Queen and also featuring Lisa Stansfield. All  but the latter appeared on ‘Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George  Michael’, as well as ‘Don’t Let the Sun go Down on Me’, another duet,  this time with Elton John. Michael also, of course, could be said to  have covered one of his own songs, when he recorded ‘Freedom ’90’,  following Wham’s ‘Freedom’ in 1984. Though the 2 songs are very  different, both in terms of tune, lyrics and subject matter, the ’90  in the second title was added to differentiate between them.

Not a lot of time separates The Zutons’ ‘Valerie’ and Amy Winehouse  and Mark Ronson’s version, but the renditions are very different  indeed. I’m a fan of both the 2006 original and the 2007 cover, so  perhaps all is not lost. I didn’t stop liking all new music after the  1990s ended, and in fact I liked the cover very much, too. It would be  very hard to pick a favourite: both The Zutons and Ms Winehouse’s  renditions feature in my personal music collection.

As for a song that sounds like it must be the original, I can’t think  of a better example than The Mike Flowers Pops cover of ‘Wonderwall’.  Even Noel Gallagher was reportedly asked by the media whether he had  indeed penned the ditty. The cover is in the easy listening genre and,  although I grew up during the 1990s indie, ‘Madchester’ and Britpop  years, I do respect the Flowers version, simply because he dared to  put his own spin on a veritable pop classic from one of the UK’s  biggest bands ever.

Not all cover versions are released as singles, or make it into the  charts, of course. Many covers have a place in popular culture, and  our lives, though other means. One of the very best covers I’ve ever  heard was an uptempo, swing rendition of Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’, which  featured on Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, performed by Dave Arch’s orchestra. ‘Wonderful!’, as Brucie himself would have proclaimed.

In the press recently, I read an interview with a semi-professional  heavy metal guitarist, who claimed that one of his band’s stock covers  was Britney Spears’ ‘(Hit me) Baby One more time’. The mind boggles.

Are cover versions a good or a bad thing? It very much depends on the  rendition – and the listener. If I really like the artist, then I’ll  probably like the cover. I was never going to dislike George Michael  singing any decent song, for example. The best covers, I think, are  those that do something fresh and new with the original material.  After all, isn’t that what being an artist is all about?

Check out this BBC4 documentary on the best cover versions – “Better than the Original: the Joy of the Cover Version”  https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06n9q8y/better-than-the-original-the-joy-of-the-cover-version?suggid=b06n9q8y

 

This article was written by our guest blogger Polly Taylor @ BloggerByTheSea.com

Check out Polly’s blog……There are some very entertaining and informative articles on a diverse range of subjects & topics. For instance her home made recipes are mouth watering and delicious!!

Top10 Best Rock & Pop Songs to come out of Newcastle

When it comes to rock and pop music from the 1960s to the present day, the North East of England never seems to get a mention. All the plaudits go to the north west music powerhouses of Liverpool and Manchester.

But let’s spare a thought for Newcastle because this most northern of cities helped shape music, especially in the 1960s and 1980s. The first band from “Geordieland” to come to prominence was Eric Burdon’s blues orientated Animals. The Record Press author rates Eric Burdon’s vocals very highly – in my opinion only matched in the 1960s blues vocals performed by a white man category by Steve Marriott ( Small Faces ) and Steve Winwood ( Spencer Davis Group ).

The 1970s saw something of a hiatus for Newcastle bands, although folk ensemble Lindisfarne had some chart success, whilst Geordie Bryan Ferry’s solo sabbaticals away from Roxy Music spawned some classic cover versions.

However the 1980s were the golden age for dominance of the UK charts by Newcastle bands, with Dire Straits dominating the first half of the decade and the Pet Shop Boys taking over that mantel from 1985 onwards. Dire Straits literally handed over the chart success baton to the Pet Shop Boys in late 1985 when the latter premiered with their zeitgeist classic West End Girls, depicting the rise of the “Yuppie” East End City brokers in Thatcherite London. Dire Straits last big hit, earlier that year, Money For Nothing was also something of a zeitgeist song, depicting the shallow values of 1980s materialism and commercialism epitomised by MTV in the USA.

So although intermittent over the past half century, make no mistake Newcastle bands and solo artists have made a huge impact on British, European and US culture. This is exemplified by this Top10 Best Rock & Pop Songs from Newcastle:

Top10 Best Rock & Pop Songs from Newcastle

 

1) Animals – House of the Rising Sun ( No1 1964 )

2) Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls ( No1 1985 )

3) Bryan Ferry – In Crowd ( No13 1974 )

4) Alan Price – I Put A Spell On You ( No9 1966 )

5) Dire Straits – Private Investigations ( No2 1982 )

6) Pet Shop Boys – What Have I Done To Deserve This? ( No2 1987 )

7) Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood ( No3 1965 )

8) Dire Straits – Money For Nothing ( No4 1985 )

9) Pet Shop Boys – It’s A Sin ( No1 1987 )

10) Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing ( N08 1979 )

 


Framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

 

Elton John says Goodbye Yellow Brick Road as he quits touring

Elton John has announced he will stop touring to spend more time with his young family.

He made the announcement in New York, explaining he would say goodbye to fans with a series of 300 dates spanning three years. He commented: “I always thought I was going to be like Ray Charles, BB King – on the road forever. My priorities have changed. We had children and it changed our lives. That doesn’t mean to say I’m not going to be creative. But I’m not going to travel.”

Elton John continued: “Last year I picked up an infection and I was very ill and it knocked me sideways,” he admitted. But I still did 96 shows. Believe me – if you ever do 300 shows, you’re not in ill health.”

Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road will kick off in the US this September, just months after he ends his six-month residency in Las Vegas.

He added: “I don’t want to go out with a whimper, but a big bang,” he said, promising “the most fantastic show I’ve ever done”. Significantly he added the caveat that after his tour he might consider another residency “like Kate Bush,” who played 22 dates at London’s Hammersmith Apollo in 2014.

And this is why the Record Press author is sceptical. I think this could be “The Long Goodbye” in the words of the title of Raymond Chandler’s novel. Elton John is a consummate performer and entertainer and when push comes to shove, I suspect he simply won’t be able to quit permanently from live performances.

I’m sure he is genuinely torn between performing and parenthood ( with partner David Furnish ) when he says: “David and I sat down with a school schedule and I said, ‘I don’t want to miss too much of this’. I’m not stopping music. I’ll hopefully be making more records. I’ll be writing more musicals. But mostly, I’ll be taking my kid to soccer academy – which is the most important thing. Life is all about change.”

Elton concluded his press conference by saying he would be “creative up til the day I die” and that his farewell tour would be “a wonderful way to thank people”. But that’s the point, you can take the boy out of Pinner, but you can’t take the performer off the world stage……

Let’s remind ourselves of Elton John’s brilliance, with this Record Press Top 10 Best Elton John Songs

Top 10 Best Elton John Songs

1) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ( 1973 )

2) Candle In The Wind ( 1974 )

3) Little Jeannie ( 1980 )

4) Your Song ( 1970 )

5) Rocket Man ( 1972 )

6) Sartorial Elegance ( 1980 )

7) Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word ( 1976 )

8) Someone Saved My Life Tonight ( 1975 )

9)  Tiny Dancer ( 1972 )

10) Crocodile Rock ( 1972 )

What are your favourite Elton John songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Fans of Elton can order your favourite song as a framed and mounted vinyl single. If it’s intended as a gift, it can  be personalised further with an inscribed / engraved plaque. ORDER NOW….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

Framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

 

The Smiths are not the Smiths without Morrissey & Johnny Marr

Former members of The Smiths will reunite on stage for the first time in more than 30 years this summer.

Original members Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce and Craig Gannon have collaborated with Manchester Camerata Orchestra on the Classically Smiths performances. They have been reworking the band’s catalogue for a series of concerts.

All three Smiths members will perform with the orchestra on three planned gigs.  Former drummer Mike Joyce commented: “I’m massively excited to be playing with Andy and Craig again, but introducing a full orchestra into the mix takes this to another level.” He hinted at a cocktail of Smiths classics and songs that the band never performed live, “in a way they’ve never been heard before”.

Notable absentees from this so called reunion of The Smiths are lead singer Morrissey and lead guitarist Johnny Marr. Smiths’ songs will be performed by guest vocalists, who are yet to be announced.

The Smiths without Morrissey and Johnny Marr are not the Smiths

In the words of one of The Smiths’ best songs, what difference does it make? Well a hell of a lot as far as the Record Press author is concerned. What’s the point? The Smiths without Morrissey and Johnny Marr are not the Smiths. Just as Oasis without Noel Gallagher and Liam Gallagher would simply be an arid desert – in other words Oasis-less!! Maybe I’ll be proved wrong, but Smiths’ songs without Morrissey’s trademark melancholic vocals and Johnny Marr’s signature twanging guitar chords amounts to no more than karaoke.

What are your favourite Smiths songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Fans of The Smiths can order your favourite song as a framed and mounted vinyl single. If it’s intended as a gift, it can  be personalised further with an inscribed / engraved plaque.

ORDER NOW….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

Framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

AC/DC: From Pacific Highway To Highway To Hell

This is the Record Press tribute to Malcolm Young who passed away on the 18th November 2017 – RIP Rock & Roll Man……

AC/DC were the pioneers of Australian rock and pop music: created in Sydney and exported via the Pacific Highway to the USA and the rest of the world.

Yes you could argue that the Easybeats as forerunners were technically the pioneers of Australian rock and pop music. The Record Press author would argue that the Easybeats were the catalyst with their international 1965 hit Friday On ACDCMy Mind, but beyond that did not have the longevity or sustained impact to really be classed as Australian rock and pop music pioneers.

No the Australian rock band AC/DC, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, brothers of Easybeats guitarist George, should take the plaudits for Architects of Aussie Rock. If the Record Press author were being a provocative “Pom”, I might argue that brothers Malcom, Angus and George Young emigrated to Sydney from Glasgow in 1963 and therefore the real architects of Australian rock and pop music were “Poms”. However I would not be that churlish!!

Although AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album High Voltage on the 17th February 1975, Malcolm and Angus Young were always the lynchpins in the band. For five years AC/DC had a settled line up until months after recording the album Highway To Hell lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott died on the 19th February 1980 after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. AC/DC had achieved so much in those five short years but there was much more to come.

Such was Bon Scott’s charisma and influence, AC/DC considered disbanding, but encouraged by Bon Scott’s father, acdc highway to hellthey decided to find a new lead vocalist. Ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson was auditioned and selected to replace Bon Scott. Later that year, the band released the new album, Back in Black, which was recorded as a tribute to Bon Scott. The album launched them to new heights of success and became their all-time best-seller.

AC/DC’s next album For Those About to Rock We Salute You was their first album to reach No1 in the USA where they were to forge incredible success over the years: AC/DC have sold more than 200 million records worldwide but of those  71.5 million albums have been sold in the USA alone, making them the tenth-best-selling band in the US. Back in Black has sold an estimated 50 million units worldwide, making it the fifth-highest-selling album by any artist and the third-highest-selling album by any band.

And to think AC/DC were the original Aussie pub rock band who with no precedent to model themselves on became one of the world’s largest rock bands: For That Reason, AC/DC We Salute You………

Here’s a reminder why we salute AC/DC, with this Top 5 Best AC/DC Songs –

 

Top 5 Best AC/DC Songs

 

1) Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution 

2) Highway To Hell 

3) Hells Bells 

4) Rock and Roll Damnation

5) You Shook Me All Night Long 

 

What are your favourite AC/DC songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Celebrate your love of AC/DC, by ordering your favourite AC/DC song as a framed and mounted vinyl single. If it’s intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque.

ORDER NOW….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

framed acdc vinyl single

Framed vinyl singles and framed CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion ie a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT.  ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk

 

The Definitive Top 20 Best Psychedelic Songs of the 1960s

For the Record Press author the three abiding passions in terms of music genres throughout my life have always been heavy rock, soul and funk and that most niche of all niches, psychedelia.

It is almost impossible to say which band launched the psychedelic music movement but as the influence of the drug LSD took a vice like grip on the cultural counter movement emanating from the UFO Club in Tottenham Court Road, Soho in 1966,  it meant that psychedelic music spectacularly peaked in 1967.

What I love about psychedelic songs is that they take you on a surreal, mystical, magical journey that otherwise could only be gained in the fantasia of childhood novels or dreams…..Or through mind altering drugs, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to go down that route.

The psychedelic path was well trodden by the majority of the leading bands of the time like the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Small Faces, Rolling Stones and Traffic. They all appear in this definitive Record Press Top 20 Best Psychedelic Songs of the 1960s –

Top 20 Best Psychedelic Songs of the 1960s

 

1) Procol Harum – Whiter Shade Of Pale ( No1 1967 )

2) Beatles – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds ( Non hit 1967 )

3) Small Faces – Tin Soldier ( No9 1967 )

4) Traffic – Paper Sun ( No5 1967 )

5) Pink Floyd – See Emily Play ( No6 1967 )

6) Rolling Stones – Paint It Black ( No1 1966 )

7) Small Faces – Ichy Coo Park ( No3 1967 )

8) Beatles – A Day In The Life ( Non hit 1967 )

9) Move – I Can Hear The Grass Grow ( No2 1967 )

10) Rolling Stones – She’s A Rainbow ( Non hit 1967 )

11 ) Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever ( No2 1967 )

12) Who – I Can See For Miles ( No10 1967 )

13 ) Yardbirds – For Your Love ( No3 1965 )

14 ) Simon Dupree & Big Sound – Kites ( No8 1967 )

15 ) Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze ( No3 1967 )

16) Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin ( No9 1967 )

17 ) Donovan – Sunshine Superman ( No2 1967 )

18) Pink Floyd – Arnold Layne ( No20 1967 )

19 ) Move – Flowers In The Rain ( N02 1967 )

20 ) Zombies – She’s Not There ( No12 1964 )

 

Framed vinyl singles with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…..ORDER HERE www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Rhinestone Cowboy Glen Campbell rides off into the sunset

Country and Western artist Glenn Campbell has died at 81 due to Alzheimer’s Disease

The singer-songwriter, who was born in Arkansas, sold over 45m records over the course of a career that spanned more than 60 years. A statement from the Campbell family on his website read: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Primarily Glen Campbell was known as a Country and Western singer. Among his 80 songs that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 or Billboard Country charts were hits such as Rhinestone Cowboy, By the Time I Get to Phoenix and his cover of Gentle on My Mind. Glen Campbell recorded his final studio album, Adios, in Nashville in 2012 and 2013 after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis; Appropriately Adios was released in June this year.

Glen Campbell dropped out of school when he was 14, moving first to Wyoming and then to Los Angeles, where in the early 1960s he appeared as a session musician on the records of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector, Merle Haggard, Beach Boys, Mamas & the Papas and the Byrds. His first hit in his own right came in 1967 with By the Time I Get to Phoenix, written by Jim Webb. Their collaboration continued for many years on numerous records such as Wichita Lineman and the ballad Galveston.

Dolly Parton referenced the depth and versatility of Glen Campbell in this tribute: “Well Glen Campbell was special because he was so gifted. Glen is one of the greatest voices there ever was in the business. And he was one of the greatest musicians. He was a wonderful session musician as well, a lot of people don’t realize that. But he could play anything and he could play it really well. So he was just extremely talented.”

Celebrate your love of Glen Campbell by ordering your favourite Glen Campbell song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque….ORDER NOW… www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…..ORDER HERE www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

It’s the 50th anniversary of the best year for music: 1967

As we all know music taste is a very subjective thing but from a relatively young age the Record Press author has had a close infinity with 1967.

There are several reasons for this – my younger brother Dominic arrived in the family brood and all my earliest recollections only go back as far as 1967. The five year old me had a total obsession and love affair with John Steed and Emma Peel’s adventures in the TV series The Avengers – Patrick MacNee was suave and urbane, only matched by the debonair Simon Templar aka The Saint.

The impact of TV programmes often diminish with time; so often when you see  repeats years later they are an anti climax and don’t measure up favourably to your cherished memories of them. This is not true of music, especially the psychedelic sound of the late 1960s and specifically the chart music of 1967.

1967 was of course the year that gave us the hippie movement, coalescing into the “Summer of Love”. It was a year inevitably dominated by The Beatles who provided the signature anthem for that summer with their global telecast song “All You Need Is Love”. The Beatles provided the greatest high and greatest low of that summer 50 years ago with the release of their seminal, ground breaking album “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in early June and the death of their charismatic manager Brian Epstein at the end of August. The Beatles bookended the “Summer of Love”.

However lest younger generations think that the Beatles completely dominated 1967, that could not be further from the truth. Although the “Fab Four” may have laid the pavement, the psychedelic path was being well trodden by bands like Pink Floyd, Small Faces, Rolling Stones and Traffic. They all appear in this Record Press Top 10 best songs from 1967 –

Top 10 Best Songs from 1967 

 

1) Kinks – Waterloo Sunset ( UK Chart Position No2 )

2) Procol Harum – Whiter Shade Of Pale ( No1 )

3) Small Faces – Tin Soldier ( No9 )

4) Traffic – Paper Sun ( No5 )

5) Pink Floyd – See Emily Play ( No6 )

6) Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever ( No2 )

7) Small Faces – Ichy Coo Park ( No3 )

8) Move – Flowers In The Rain ( No2 )

9) Simon Dupree & Big Sound – Kites ( No8 )

10=) Rolling Stones – Dandelion ( No8 )

10=) Rolling Stones – She’s A Rainbow ( Non hit )

 

What illustrates the sheer depth of chart music in 1967 is that only one song in this top 10 was a No1 in the UK charts ( Procol Harum “Whiter Shade Of Pale”), although many would argue, including myself, that No2 hits, Beatles “Strawberry Fields Foreverand “Waterloo Sunset” by the Kinks merited No1 status.

1967 may now be half a century ago, but the music from that year remains just as vibrant and relevant – well certainly to this listener.

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…..ORDER HERE www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Bucks Fizz are to reform with first album for over 30 years

1980s pop group Bucks Fizz have announced that they are to reform and record again, 30 years after they last released new music.

The 1981 Eurovision winners, who had a hat trick of UK No1s, have been back in the recording studio recently and will release their new album, The F-Z of Pop, later this year, following the release of a new single Dancing in the Rain on Tuesday.

Bucks Fizz have had to re-launch and rebrand as simply The Fizz after a bitter legal battle with former member Bobby G, who now legally owns the rights to the original name. Bobby McVay has now joined the band in his place, joining established band members Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston.

The last Bucks Fizz album, Writing on the Wall, was released back in 1986 but only reached No89 in the UK charts. It was re-released in 2004 and then again for a second time in 2012, but failed to make much of a chart impact.

“I cannot tell you how happy I am to have been back in the studio, my favourite place,” said Cheryl Baker. Jay Aston added: “Despite the challenges over the years, we are more united than ever. The fans have been with us all the way.”

Bucks Fizz are best known for their debut Eurovision-winning single Making Your Mind Up, after which they released five studio albums between 1981-1986. However in the less than humble opinion of the Record Press author, their music got better and certainly became more sophisticated as this Top 5 best Bucks Fizz songs illustrates –

Top 5 Best Bucks Fizz Songs

 

1)  When We Were Young ( No10 1983 )

2)  Now Those Days Are Gone ( No8 1982 )

3)  The Land Of Make Believe ( No1 1981 )

4)  My Camera Never Lies ( No1 1982 )

5)   If You Can’t Stand The Heat ( No10 1982 )

 

Celebrate your love of Bucks Fizz by ordering your favourite Bucks Fizz song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque….ORDER NOW… www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!! PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…..ORDER HERE www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Saturday Night Fever was a better disco jukebox than film

Is it really 40 years since Saturday Night Fever was released on an unsuspecting cinema audience?

I say unsuspecting because Saturday Night Fever introduced  a mass audience to the phenomenon of disco and John Travolta ( making his film debut ). As the film opened to Tony Manero aka John Travolta strutting down a sidewalk in New York carrying a pot of paint, there was little to suggest that John Travolta would paint the “Big Apple” red on the dance floors of New York night spots. In fairness he looked more like a lothario than a “DIY Dad”, but nevertheless nothing prepared us for his moves on the dancefloor!!

Nor was there any hint that Saturday Night Fever would become a cultural and music phenomenon that would ingratiate it’s way into the hearts and souls of my generation and generations to come. The film plot / storyline is thin at best but where the movie excelled was in John Travolta’s dancing and athleticism, but most of all the musical score / soundtrack, spearheaded by the Bee Gees.

So let’s celebrate the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever, with this top 5 best songs from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack –

Top 5 Best Songs from Saturday Night Fever

 

1) Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive

2) Bee Gees – How deep is your love?

3) Trammps – Disco Inferno

4) Yvonne Elliman – If I can’t have you

5) Tavares – More than a woman

 

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever by ordering your favourite Saturday Night Fever song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

 

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

 

 

Beatles Sgt Pepper 50th anniversary does not mask the hype!!

It was 50 years ago today on the 1st June 1967 that the Beatles and EMI / Parlophone released the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band album.

For most of the intervening years Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band has been lauded as the Beatles’ seminal and most iconic album. At the risk of being controversial ( God forbid!! ) the Record Press author does not concur with this viewpoint.

Undoubtedly Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band has three of the Beatles finest songs on it – the dream-like “A Day In The Life”, the psychedelic “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and the atmospheric “She’s Leaving Home”.

These superlative tracks are backed up by good songs in the form of the title track “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band” and “With a Little Help from our Friends”. At best I would suggest the remaining songs on the album are mediocre and almost feel like album fillers.

 

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band would have been far stronger for the inclusion of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” which EMI decided not to include on the album, preferring to release them as a “Double A” side single. This decision backfired horrendously when the single was kept off the No1 spot by the cheesy “Release Me” by Englebert Humperdinck!!

I would argue that Rubber Soul and Revolver completely overshadow Sgt Pepper and are far superior albums……On this basis Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band would not get into this Record Press Top 5 best albums of all time –

 

 

Top 5 Best albums of all time

1)  Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon ( 1973 )

2)  Genesis – And Then There Were Three ( 1978 )

3)  David Bowie – Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust ( 1972 )

4)  Beatles – Revolver ( 1966 )

5)  Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell ( 1978 )

 

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band and your love of The Beatles by ordering your favourite Beatles song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Procol Harum are definitely not a whiter shade of pale after 50 years

As Procol Harum celebrate the 50th anniversary of their debut and biggest hit A Whiter Shade Of Pale with a UK tour, I can report that a half century on the band live on stage are anything but lack lustre!!

In the very week Procol Harum celebrated the 50th anniversary of the release of their seemingly timeless No1 A  Whiter Shade Of Pale, I went to see them in concert with a certain apprehension that the experience might be a major anti-climax.

The Record Press author should not have worried – it became patently clear after a couple of minutes in the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, that Procol Harum are a band of very accomplished  musicians with an eclectic back catalogue of songs.

I didn’t go into the gig blind or deaf to the fact that the Procol Harum sphere of influence goes well beyond their iconic 1967 No1 A Whiter Shade Of Pale. I’ve always loved their atmospheric, haunting 1975 hit Pandora’s Box in particular, along with Homburg and Conquistador.

What I wasn’t expecting was for lead singer and songwriter Gary Brooker to still be such a fine vocalist. The intervening half century since Procol Harum had such a massive hit with A Whiter Shade Of Pale in the feted “Summer Of Love” have not diminished Gary Brooker’s vocal range in the least.

Gary Brooker’s bluesey vocals were perfectly complemented by the blues drenched lead guitar play of Geoff Whitehorn. Infact Procol Harum delivered a very tight set and if there are tickets still available for their 50th anniversary UK tour I would recommend you go and see them.

Procol Harum’s influence on music cannot be underestimated – along with Pink Floyd, Procol Harum innovated the psychedelic sound in 1967 and as such were the forefathers of “Prog Rock”. If you are only familiar with A Whiter Shade Of Pale and the Prog Rock tag doesn’t put you off, then go onto Spotify and check out this Record Press top 5 best Procol Harum songs. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!  –

 

Top 5 Best Procol Harum songs

1) A Whiter Shade of Pale ( No1 1967 )

2) Pandora’s Box ( No16 1975 )

3) Homburg ( No6 1967 )

4) Grand Hotel ( Non hit 1973 )

5) Conquistador ( Non hit 1972 )

 

Celebrate your love of Procol Harum by ordering your favourite Procol Harum song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Bananarama are to reform for their first ever tour

Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward as Bananarama were the biggest girl band of the 1980s.

Although Bananarama had numerous hits including Cruel Summer, I Heard a Rumour, Venus, Shy Boy and Love In The First Degree, the trio never toured before Siobhan Fahey left the band to form Shakespears Sister in 1988. The split was acrimonious, but the members recently reconciled and have announced a 15-date UK tour for this winter. Having seen Bananarama at the Splendour festival in Nottingham in July 2015, the Record Press author can recommend them wholeheartedly!!

“This is the first time we’ve performed live together – with the exception of getting onstage with a cassette when we were 18!” Keren Woodward explained.

Speaking about the  Bananarama reconciliation, Fahey said: “I was really touched because it wasn’t for any other reason than we love each other and really loved what we did. These were my formative years. I never thought it would happen again.”

Formed in 1979, Bananarama took their name from two of their biggest inspirations: the kids TV show The Banana Splits ( one of the Record Press author’s favourite childhood shows ) and the Roxy Music song Pyjamarama.

Bananarama got their first taste of chart success by providing backing vocals for the Fun Boy Three on the single, It Ain’t What You Do, It’s the Way You Do It. A couple of months later, Fun Boy Three reciprocated the favour by joining the girls on their song Really Sayin’ Somethin, a cover of the 1965 Velvelettes song that was the first of Bananarama’s 26 UK chart hits.

Bananarama went on to sell more than 40 million records, including these in this Record Press Top 5 best Bananarama songs –

Top 5 Best Bananarama Songs

1) I Heard a Rumour ( No14 1987 )

2) Cruel Summer ( No8 1983 )

3) Venus ( No8 1986 )

4) Robert De Niro’s Waiting ( No3 1984 )

5) Love In The First Degree ( N03 1987 )

 

Celebrate your love of Bananarama by ordering your favourite Bananarama song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Beatles Sgt Pepper 50th anniversary launches with a film

It was 50 years ago that Sgt Pepper taught the band to play; the band in question being the Beatles.

As part of the Sgt Pepper 50th anniversary celebrations there’s a new documentary film celebrating the landmark event in popular music history.

It Was 50 Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper & Beyond is due for release in UK cinemas on 26th May. The documentary film focuses on the 12 months of recording of what is widely debated as the most iconic album ever produced. Director Alan G Parker utilises rare archive footage to tell his story, along with a series of interviews with subjects including original drummer Pete Best, John Lennon’s sister Julia and Hunter Davies.

It Was 50 Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper & Beyond examines the Beatles disillusionment with touring and the controversies that dogged the Beatles from drugs to blasphemy. The film give several first-hand accounts of what would become the world’s first concept album.

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt Pepper & Beyond is in cinemas from 26th May, including special Q&A previews. It will be released on digital on 1st June and DVD on 3rd July. In the meantime, here’s a taster…… https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/apr/05/sgt-pepper-is-50-new-documentary-beatles-alan-g-parker

Celebrate your love of The Beatles by ordering your favourite Beatles song as a framed vinyl single or CD single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

Chuck Berry, father of rock’n’roll, dies at age of 90

The legendary guitarist Chuck Berry, who fused blues and swing and thereby created early rock’n’roll, died on Saturday aged 90, according to Missouri police.

St Charles County police said in a post on Facebook they responded to a medical emergency at a home at approximately 12.40pm local time: “Inside the home, first responders observed an unresponsive man and immediately administered lifesaving techniques. Unfortunately, the 90-year-old man could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at 1.26pm.”

Musicians of all genres and ages paid tribute to the legend: “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived,” said Bruce Springsteen.

Chuck Berry was born the son of a deacon in a middle-class neighborhood of St Louis in 1926, and picked up the guitar in high school, playing at parties and developing his flourishes as a performer. As a teenager he was arrested for attempted robbery and served three years in reform school, after which he worked on an assembly line at a General Motors factory.

He turned to music full-time in the 1950s. His break came in 1955 when he met blues musician Muddy Waters and producer Leonard Chess, who formed the Chess record label in Chicago. For the remainder of the decade Chuck Berry merged the country and blues songs of the south with pop sensibilities starting to echo on the radio. He recorded some of his most famous hits in the 1950s, including Rock & Roll Music, Roll Over Beethoven, Johnny B Goode, Maybellene and School Days.

Chuck Berry’s music was a hugely influential figure for generations of rock musicians who followed him, many of whom recognised him during their lifetimes. “If you had to give rock’n’roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry,” John Lennon once famously said.

In 1972, he released his only No1 single, the novelty My Ding-a-Ling, which for my generation born in the 1960s is the song most synonymous with Chuck Berry. He continued playing sporadic concerts, often with the most famous rock stars of each era. Alongside his continued success, though, Chuck Berry continued running afoul of authorities.

In 2016, he announced his first studio album since 1979, to be titled Chuck and featuring his children on guitar and harmonica. “My darlin’ I’m growing old,” Chuck Berry said in a press release for the record, speaking to Toddy Berry, his wife of 68 years. “I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”

And a few months later in March 2017 he hung up his shoes and guitar for the last time…..RIP Chuck Berry.

Celebrate your love of Chuck Berry by ordering your favourite Chuck Berry song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records & framed CDs with a personalised engraved plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  ORDER @  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT……

 

 

Kasabian announce new album For Crying Out Loud

Kasabian have announced that their new album For Crying Out Loud will be released on the 28th April.

The new Kasabian album will feature 12 tracks including the first single, ‘You’re In Love With A Psycho’, which is out now.

Serge Pizzorno recently claimed that the album is about “saving guitar music from the abyss”.

He informed Magazine: “I was listening to ESG and Talking Heads and in that kind of world, then it just took on a life of its own. I just wanted to make a guitar record that was relevant and important.”

Kasabian have announced a UK and Ireland tour that will build up to the album’s release. They headline Reading and Leeds Festival this summer.

The Record Press author is a little conflicted about Kasabian. I love the band and still remember the watershed moment when I clapped eyes and ears on the band for the first performing their first hit single Club Foot in 2004. It was one of those defining moments where you go “wow” – the previous time that had happened had come ten years earlier when I first saw the Oasis video for Live Forever.

Of course Kasabian were initially seen as natural bed fellows to Oasis both as guitar based band with attitude, but they quickly forged an identity in their own right.

Kasabian are the only band I have seen twice live – my reasons for being conflicted are very trivial. Basically it comes down to the East Midlands football rivalry!! Kasabian are Leicester City fans; I’m a Nottingham Forest fan. But the good news is that my love for music is greater than my love of football, so I easily overcame my parochial partisanship.

Lest we forget the energy and power of Kasabian, here is a top 5 best Kasabian songs –


Top 5 Best Kasabian songs

1) Club Foot ( No19 2004 )

2) Empire ( No9 2006 )

3) Shoot the Runner ( No17 2006 )

4) Cutt Off ( No8 2005 )

5) Fire ( No3 2009 )

 

Celebrate your love of Kasabian by ordering your favourite Kasabian song as a framed vinyl single or CD single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

We are less of a family as Joni Sledge, of Sister Sledge, dies

Joni Sledge, who with her sisters recorded the definitive dance anthem We Are Family, has died.

Joni Sledge, 60, was found dead in her home in Phoenix, Arizona, by a friend on Friday, the band’s publicist, Biff Warren, said on Saturday. A cause of death has not been determined. The statement read: ” yesterday, numbness fell upon our family. We welcome your prayers as we weep the loss of our sister, mother, aunt, niece and cousin.”

While it celebrated their sisterhood, the 1979 hit so also became an anthem for female empowerment. It would become their signature song and was nominated for a Grammy. Both the song and album sold more than 1million copies.

Sister Sledge also had hits with Lost in Music, which for me is one of the definitive dance tunes of all time ( along with the Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers penned Good Times for Chic )  and Thinking of You – the latter in particular revered by critics. In 1985, their song Frankie became their only British No 1, though it fared less well in America, only reaching No 75.

But for most of us Sister Sledge will be defined by We are Family and Joni’s sisters will be truly “lost in grief”. Our thoughts are with you……

 

Top 5 Best Sister Sledge songs

 

1) Lost in Music ( No4 1984 )

2) He’s The Greatest Dancer ( No6 1979 )

3) We Are Family ( No8 1979 )

4) Mama Never Told Me ( No20 1975 )

5) Frankie ( No1 1985 )

 

 

Celebrate the life of Joni Sledge and your love of Sister Sledge by ordering your favourite Sister Sledge  song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT…… ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

 

Duran Duran to resume legal battle over US song rights

Duran Duran are to renew their legal battle over US rights to some of their most famous songs, including Hungry Like the Wolf and Girls on Film.

In December, Duran Duran lost their fight against publishers Gloucester Place Music, part of US business Sony/ATV, to prevent them terminating copyright agreements related to their first three albums.

Mr Justice Arnold in the high court ruled that English laws of contract prevented the band from reclaiming the copyright of their songs. Somewhat bizarrely the same judge has now given permission for an appeal against his decision. One of the many peculiarities of the legal system – who was it who once said “the law is an ass”?!! No date has yet been set for the hearing.

Duran Duran have issued a statement saying they were “particularly pleased to get the go-ahead as the ruling had an impact on the wider creative community and particularly their song writing peers.”

Duran Duran founding member and keyboardist Nick Rhodes said: “It was enormously disappointing that Sony/ATV decided to mount this aggressive and unexpected action against us to try to prevent the simple principles and rights afforded to all artists in America regarding their copyrights after 35 years. We are relieved and grateful that we have been given the opportunity to appeal this case because the consequences are wide-reaching and profound for us and all other artists.

Nick Rhodes added: “In his judgment Mr Justice Arnold stated that his decision was not made without hesitation; we were heartened by this sentiment because we felt it was an acknowledgement that something was truly flawed about the premise and reality of what is at stake. We remain hopeful that the ultimate outcome will be fair and measured to take into account and support our case and all artists’ rights.”

Whatever happens, nothing will detract from the brilliance of Duran Duran. Lest we forget here’s a top 10 best Duran Duran songs –

Top 10 Best Duran Duran Songsduran-duran-save-a-prayer-vinyl-single

1)  Save a Prayer

2)  Rio

3)  Girls on Film

4)  New Moon on Monday

5)  A View to a Kill

6)  The Wild Boys

7)  Hungry Like the Wolf

8)  Is There Something I Should Know?

9)  Union of the Snake

10)  The Reflex

 

Celebrate your love of Duran Duran by ordering your favourite Duran Duran song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT……

ORDER HERE  www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

 

John Lennon and Yoko Ono love story movie to be made

The relationship of John Lennon and Yoko Ono will form the basis of a new film from the writer of the Stephen Hawking movie, The Theory of Everything.

“The story will focus on ripe and relevant themes of love, courage and activism in the US – with the intention of inspiring today’s youth to stand up for and have a clear vision for the world they want,” said producer Michael De Luca, whose previous credits include The Social Network, Captain Phillips and Moneyball.

It is thought that the film script is likely to depict John Lennon and Yoko Ono  as a celebrity couple throughout the 1970s, Lennon’s drifting away from the Beatles, the couple’s music together ( which began with the anti Vietnam War anthem Give Peace A Chance ) and John Lennon’s murder in 1980.

In 2009, the life of John Lennon as a youth growing up in Liverpool was brought to the screen by Sam Taylor-Johnson in Nowhere Boy, where he was played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Yoko Ono was supportive of the finished product and was “flabbergasted” at how good it was, as was the Record Press author. If you haven’t seen it, I would definitely recommend Nowhere Boy.

Celebrate your love of John Lennon by ordering your favourite John Lennon song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT……

 

The Carpenters are getting “chippy” over unpaid royalties

Richard Carpenter has said he is owed at least £1.6m in royalties for the hits he wrote and recorded in The Carpenters, including Yesterday Once More.

He claims Universal Music have only paid the band a “miniscule fraction” of the money they were owed from downloads on sites like iTunes and Amazon. The musician is suing for compensation, according to legal documents filed in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The claim is also filed on behalf of his sister, Karen, who died in 1983.

Richard Carpenter hired accountants to examine financial statements from Universal Music and its subsidiary, A&M Records, which has released The Carpenters’ music since their debut album in 1969.

He says they found multiple errors, and that the labels “improperly classified” revenue from digital downloads of The Carpenters’ music as sales of physical records – which attract a lower royalty rate. He also claims that digital downloads were undercounted.

In a statement, Richard Carpenter said he had been unable to resolve the dispute without suing: “The Carpenters recordings are among the best sellers in the history of popular music, and after 48 years continue to contribute a substantial amount to [Universal’s] annual bottom line. It seems only fair that these companies account fairly to my sister’s estate and to me.”

Specialising in radio-friendly soft rock, The Carpenters sold millions of records in the 1970s. The brother-sister duo won three Grammy Awards in 1970 and 1971, including best new artist and best vocal performance for the ballad (They Long to Be) Close to You. The Carpenter’s career was cut short when Karen developed anorexia nervosa in 1975. Although they continued to record, the condition eventually led to her death, from heart failure.

Lest we forget their brilliance, here’s a Top 5 Best Carpenters Songs –

Top 5 Best Carpenters Songs

 

1) Yesterday Once More ( 1973 )

2) ( They Long To Be ) Close To You ( 1970 )

3) We’ve Only Just Begun ( 1970 )

4)  Only Yesterday ( 1975 )

5) Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft ( 1977 )

 

Which are your favourite Carpenters songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

 

Celebrate your love of the Carpenters by ordering your favourite Carpenters song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENTS! MAKING THE PAST THE PRESENT……

 

 

 

Ed Sheeran greets new year with new material

Ed Sheeran has announced the end to his sabbatical from music, with new material due to be released this Friday.

Ed Sheeran posted a video on Twitter in which he waves to fans while smiling and holding up a piece of white A4 paper with the words “New music coming Friday!!” scrawled on it. He then puts the sheet of paper in his mouth and drops it.

Ed Sheeran announced a year ago that he was “taking a break … to travel the world and see everything I missed”, but promised fans he would be back with his third album, which he called “the best thing I have made so far”. He also announced he would disappear from “my phone, emails and all social media for a while”, saying he had started to “see the world … through a screen and not my eyes”.

Ed Sheeran penned this year’s X Factor winner’s single, When Christmas Comes Around, which debuted at number three in the charts.

Ed Sheeran gave his first official return performance for a charity gig at the Natural History Museum at the end of November, days after it was reported that Princess Beatrice had accidentally lacerated his face when a prank went horribly wrong as she pretended to knight the singer James Blunt with a ceremonial sword.

Showing off a scar on his cheek, Ed Sheeran told the audience: “It’s nice to be back. I’ve had a whole year off. I went to Japan for about a month and hung out with Japanese people. Got my face cut open, anyone read about that?”

Which are your favourite Ed Sheeran songs? Let us know in the Reply Box below.

Celebrate your love of Ed Sheeran by ordering your favourite Ed Sheeran song as a framed vinyl single. If intended as a gift, you can also personalise it with an inscribed / engraved plaque…… ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/

Framed vinyl records and CDs with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th or 70th Birthday, a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!! 

 

UK sales of vinyl records peak with a 25-year high in 2016

UK sales of vinyl records in 2016 reached a 25-year high as consumers continue to embrace physical music formats .

More than 3.2m vinyl albums sold in 2016, a rise of 53% on the previous year and the highest number since 1991 when Simply Red’s Stars was the bestselling album. This was also the first year that spending on vinyl records outstripped that spent on digital downloads.

The deaths of some music world giants such as David Bowie and Prince was a key driver in vinyl sales, as people invested in records as mementos. After David Bowie’s death he became the bestselling vinyl artist of 2016, with five albums posthumously featuring in the UK top 30. His album Blackstar, which was shortlisted for a Mercury prize, was the most popular selling album of the year, while The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory, Nothing Has Changed and Changes One were also popular vinyl album purchases.

The statistics, compiled by BPI, show that this is the ninth consecutive year that vinyl record sales have increased, in part due to events such as Record Store Day, and the increase in national chains and independent shops selling vinyl records. Supermarkets such as Tesco now stock vinyl records and both HMV and Rough Trade have created extra floor space to accomodate more vinyl records.

At least 30 albums sold more than 10,000 copies in 2016, a stark contrast to 2007 when digital downloads began to take hold and a meagre total of 200,000 LPs were sold overall.

Geoff Taylor, the chief executive of the BPI and the Brit Awards, said: “Growth in UK music consumption in 2016 was fuelled by the explosive rise in audio streaming, which has increased 500% since 2013, and relative resilience from physical formats … We believe this performance is indicative of the promise of a new era for music, where recorded music’s investments in a digital future fuel compelling benefits for fans, artists and the entire music ecosystem.”

Simon Sterland, Record Press Blog author and owner of online framed vinyl record gift retailer MyFirstRecord.co.uk, points out: “The vinyl record industry is going from strength to strength, year on year. This is comprehensive proof, if it were needed, that there is a growing customer base for old school physical copies of music in a technology driven world. I can only see this trend for vinyl record buying continuing as clearly the music download is a poor substitute for the tactile warmth of the vinyl single or album, not to mention the decorative album cover artwork. Put simply, vinyl has a personality all of its own.”

 

 

Framed vinyl records with a personalised plaque, make unique presents or original gifts for a special celebration  / special occasion i.e. a Wedding ( Wedding First Dance Song ), an Engagement Party ( Our Song ), a House Warming Party ( New Home ), a 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th Birthday ( How about the No1 song on the day of birth? ), a Silver, Ruby or Golden Wedding Anniversary, Father’s or Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day!!  THE PERFECT PERSONALISED PRESENT!!   ORDER NOW…….. www.myfirstrecord.co.uk/