Category Archives: Music

Goodbye Music for the Weekend

This week it’s two songs called “Goodbye” as I’ve decided to stop doing the ‘songs for the weekend’ except for the occasional tribute. I started in Oct 2015 so almost two years. Thanks for listening.

First up it’s Mary Hopkin who 6 top forty hits including 4 top tens and 1 number 1 in the late 60s and early 70s. Hopkin won the talent show “Opportunity Knocks” and her first single “Those Were The Days” hit number one for a massive 6 weeks in 1968. I always liked Mary Hopkin, she had such a beautiful pure voice.

“Goodbye” by Mary Hopkin reached number 2 in 1969. The song was written by Paul McCartney and stopped from reaching the number 1 spot by “Get Back” by The Beatles!
(Uploaded to YouTube by RicoSouvenirs)

Finally the Spice Girls who had a phenomenal 11 top 40 hits including 10 top tens and 9 number 1s.

“Goodbye” by The Spice Girls, the Christmas number 1 in 1998. It was the first song without the vocals of Geri Halliwell.
(Uploaded to YouTube by SpiceGirlsVEVO)

Goodbye.

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Some Billy J Kramer for the weekend

This week it’s Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas who were one of the many pop bands of the Merseybeat era in the 1960s. Billy J Kramer was actually William Howard Ashton and was born in Bootle, Lancashire. He was managed by the Beatles manager Brian Epstein and had a number of hits with Lennon and McCartney songs.
The two songs chosen here though are hits penned by other composers. “Trains and Boats and Planes” was written by another famous songwriting partnership of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

They had 6 top forty hits, including 5 top tens and two number 1s.

“Little Children” was number 1 for two weeks in March 1964. The other number one was “Bad to Me”, for three weeks in Aug 1963
(Uploaded to YouTube by MrPurser)

“Trains and Boats and Planes” reached number 12 in May 1965
(Uploaded to YouTube by MrPurser)

Some Pet Shop Boys for the weekend

This week it’s the UK’s most successful duo, The Pet Shop Boys. Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe formed the synth band in London in 1981. Tennant worked for the massively popular music magazine “Smash Hits”. He met Chris in an electronics shop and discovered a common love of dance music. They produced songs and singles but didn’t hit it big until they signed to Parlophone and remixed some earlier material with new producer Stephen Hague. One of the remixes was “West End Girls” which started off slowly but then began a chart ascent ending at the number 1 summit in Jan 1986 (the first number one of that year)

It sold an estimated 1.5 million copies worldwide and is still probably their most well known hit.
They have had a consistently successful chart career ever since. They have sold 50 million records worldwide, having to date had 44 top forty hits including 22 top tens and four number 1s.

In 2009 they got a Brit “Outstanding Contribution to Music” award and in 2016, Billboard named them the number one dance duo/group over the last 40 years. In 2017 they got NME’s “Godlike Genius Award”.
They continue to release music, with album “Super” released in 2016 and reached number 3 in the album chart.

There are just two of my favourites of theirs.

“Heart” was number 1 for three weeks in April 1988
(Uploaded to YouTube by Christoff Wehmeyer)

“Left to My Own Devices” reached number 4 in Nov 1988
(Uploaded to YouTube by PetShopBoysParlophone)

Walter Becker tribute

This week is a tribute to Walter Becker who died, aged 67, this week.
Becker was co-founder of American rock,jazz group Steely Dan along with Donald Fagen.
Steely Dan were more of an album band, and their jazz/rock American style didn’t resonate with younger UK record buyers, so didn’t have much single chart success. They had two top forty hits in the UK. They did much better in the US. Their biggest hit in the US “Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number” reached number 4 in the States in 1974 but only managed a lowly 58 in the UK!

Becker was a songwriter and played bass guitar and provided backing vocals in the group. However, he is relatively unknown as Fagen’s distinctive vocals tended to provide the focus. This doesn’t detract from Becker’s musicianship and massive contribution to one of America’s great bands.

Becker wrote today’s songs which are my two favourites of theirs.

“Do It Again” remixed here by Cubanix (but still almost the original). The original reached number 6 in the US in 1973 and 39 in the UK in 1975.
(Uploaded to YouTube by Cubanix)

Interestingly when it was covered along with Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” by Italian producers Clubhouse in 1983 the song “Do It Again- Billie Jean” reached number 11 in the UK. The similarity between the rhythm of the two songs made for a catchy club hit. Becker and Fagen were credited for the use of their song. It only reached 75 in the US which just shows the disparity between the UK an US in music sometimes!

“Do It Again Billie Jean” by Clubhouse
(Uploaded to YouTube by Len E Bones)

“FM (No Static At All)” from 1978 reached number 22 in the US (49 in the UK)
Becker plays the guitar solo starting at 3:02
(Uploaded to YouTube by Moon doggy)

RIP Walter Becker.

Some Smokie for the weekend

This week it’s Bradford band “Smokie” who had hits mainly in the 1970s. Their biggest success was with the songwriting team of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman who also wrote hits for Mud, Sweet & Suzi Quatro. Smokie’s songs were always catchy with good musicanship and production but it was lead singer Chris Norman who provided the distinctive vocals and good looks. Norman left the band in the 80s and pursued a successful solo career, but Smokie continued without him. In recent years the band have done reunion gigs and Norman has worked with other artists, most notably Agnetha Fältskog of Abba.

Smokie had 13 top 40 hits, including 7 top tens.
I think they’re probably best known for their hit “Living Next Door To Alice” which reached number 5 in 1976 and was a hit again with comedian Roy “Chubby” Brown when it reached number 3 in 1995, but I’m going to go with two of their other hits.

Smokie had their first hit in July 1975 reaching number 3 with “If You Think You Know How To Love Me”
(Uploaded to YouTube by smokieVEVO)

“It’s Your Life” reached number 5 in 1977
(Uploaded to YouTube by smokieVEVO)

Some Steps for the weekend

This week it’s British 4 piece vocal group Steps. They were formed in 1997.

An unashamedly pop group, Steps specialised in feelgood pop tunes accompanied by dance routines for each song. They disbanded in 2001 after a massively successful run, having sold over 20 million records worldwide. They had 16 top forty hits, including 14 top tens and two number 1s. The number ones being Heartbeat/Tragedy in 1998 and Stomp in 2000.

In 2011 they reformed for a 4 part documentary reunion show, and a subsequent greatest hits compilation which reached number 1. In 2012 they embarked on a 22 date tour, released a new studio album and did a six date tour.
They reunited again this year for their 20th anniversary and released a new album “Tears on the Dancefloor” which reached number 2 in the album chart.

These songs are both from their “Tears on the Dancefloor” album and has their typically upbeat catchy pop vibe.

“Scared of the Dark”
(Uploaded to YouTube by StepsVEVO)

“Neon Blue”
(Uploaded to YouTube by StepsVEVO)

Glen Campbell tribute

This week it’s a tribute to Glen Campbell who died of Alzheimers on August 8th, aged 81.
One of the true greats of popular music, Campbell was a singer, guitarist, songwriter and TV presenter. He crossed the music divide and was highly regarded by people in the music business in other musical genres; rock legend Alice Cooper was one of his close friends.

During his 50 years in show business, Campbell released more than 70 albums, sold over 45 million records and received numerous awards. His partnership with songwriter Jimmy Webb produced some classic songs such as “Wichita Lineman”, “Galveston”, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and “Honey Come Back”.

He made history in 1967 by winning four Grammys in the country and pop categories. Three of his songs were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame (“Wichita Lineman” in 2000, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” in 2004 & “Gentle On My Mind” in 2008), while Campbell himself won the Grammy Lifetime achievement award in 2012.

In the UK he had top forty singles including five top tens.
These are well known hits of his but are also my favourites. Wichita Lineman in particular is one of my all time favourite songs.

RIP Glen Campbell.

“Wichita Lineman” reached number 7 in 1969. Should have been number 1.
(Uploaded to YouTube by 2old2Rock)

“Rhinestone Cowboy” reached number 4 in 1975.
(Uploaded to YouTube by GlenCampbellVEVO)