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)
(Uploaded to YouTube by StepsVEVO)
This week it’s the stylish and funky “cat in the hat” Jay Kay and his band Jamiroquai. This British band have been releasing jazz funk smooth funky tunes since 1992. They released their 8th studio album “Automaton” this week so the time seems apt to feature them.
They’ve had 26 top 40 hits including 9 top 10s and 1 number 1 from 1992 to present. They had sold more than 35 million albums worldwide before the release of “Automaton” this week, which early reports indicate it is number one or two in album charts worldwide. They have also had great success with their live performances as their musicianship is excellent and fronted by Jay Kay’s funky dance moves and charismatic persona.
I love Jamiroquai so it was hard to choose just two tracks, so I went for a classic disco track which is my favourite song of theirs, and then one which is lovely but wasn’t even on their albums!
“Little L” reached number 5 in 2001
(Uploaded to YouTube by JamiroquaiVEVO)
“Smile” was released in 2011 as a download which had not been on the last album. It is unclear whether it was available for the chart so it may have been lost! Anyway, it’s a lovely dreamy summer track which I thought I’d give an airing to!
(Uploaded to YouTube by Valter Kabas)
Something a bit different this week. We have two versions of the same song! One of my favourite songs is “Wishing on a Star”, no not the Disney song “When You Wish Upon a Star” but the Rose Royce ballad. It’s a lovely song and was originally a hit in 1978 reaching number 3. Rose Royce are probably most famous for disco classic “Car Wash” but this is a beautiful song which shows off lead singer Gwen Dickey’s voice to perfection. Later on in the same year they would hit number 2 with another heartfelt ballad “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”.
I’m not normally a fan of cover versions, but ex-Jam frontman and rock legend, Paul Weller released a cover of the song in 2004 which reached number 11. His version is a slow rock ballad with some lovely guitar in it and Weller’s voice suits it so well, and it’s a change to hear him not as “angry” as he usually is! interesting to hear the same song in different styles and in a female and male voice.
“Wishing on a Star” by Rose Royce
(Uploaded to YouTube by BakNDaDay)
“Wishing on a Star” by Paul Weller, live performance
(Uploaded to YouTube by jeffzpla)
This has been a year of many celebrity deaths and as Christmas Day arrived we probably thought 2016 might take a rest, but no, it took George Michael on Christmas Day of all days. “Last Christmas” is one of the nation’s favourite Christmas songs and now will be forever tinged with sadness. George is an 80s legend and music icon, and in my view has one of the best voices this country has ever produced and a very talented songwriter. Being taken aged just 53 is just so sad. A true superstar, he will be sorely missed.
Here are four songs which I love and are just the tip of the iceberg of his talent. RIP George.
Fabulous duet showing off his beautiful voice.
“This Is Not Real Love” with Mutya Buena (ex Sugababes) reached 15 in 2006.
(Uploaded to YouTube by CJ Media)
“Amazing”, a feel good pop song, reached number 4 in 2004
(Uploaded to Youtube by georgemichaelVEVO)
“Everything She Wants” which is my favourite Wham! song and was originally a double A side with “Last Christmas”. Reached number 2 in 1984.
(Uploaded to YouTube by watashi81)
I just had to include this one! Probably his most famous hit. Number 1 for three weeks in 1984.
(Uploaded to YouTube by georgemichaelVEVO)
This week it’s some unashamedly feel good pop songs but as it’s Christmas there’s 4 tracks instead of the usual 2! Two from two British pop groups and two from the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna.
“Don’t Stop Movin'” by S Club 7 was number 1 for two
non-consecutive weeks in 2001. This is a slightly different background mix to the original. More of a dance mix!
(Uploaded to YouTube by Shamsi Humbatzade
“Stomp” by Steps was number 1 for one week in 2000
(Uploaded to YouTube by Iluvmitchelmusso101)
“Holiday” by Madonna reached 6 in 1984 but then reached 2 when rereleased in 1985, held off the top spot by “Into the Groove”!
(Uploaded to YouTube by Sim Fortin)
“Into The Groove” by Madonna was number 1 for four weeks in 1985
(Uploaded to YouTube by sysmonnsongs)
This week it’s two tracks from British band Sade, fronted by the very elegant and cool Sade Adu. They have released a string of multi-platinum selling albums.
The band is best known for its hits in the late eighties such as “Sweetest Taboo”, “Your Love is King” and “Smooth Operator”.
The tracks here are a bit later.
The first track is “No Ordinary Love”‘ from the 1992 album Love Deluxe. The single reached number 23 and then 14 on its re-release in 1993. This was probably due to its prominent use in the film “Indecent Proposal”. It won a Grammy for best R&B performance by a group or duo.
It’s one of my favourite Sade songs.
(Uploaded to YouTube by fantomurs)
“Soldier of Love” from the 2010 album of the same name. Sadly the single didn’t chart in the UK although the album made number 4. The album did make number 1 in America and other countries. Like “No Ordinary Love” this also won a Grammy for best R&B performance by a group or duo. The album was the second best selling album by a British artist outside the UK, behind Susan Boyle’s The Gift.
The sound of Soldier of Love is not the jazzy type of song we associate Sade with. It has a stripped back style to it but it is has a very appealing bleakness to it and Sade’s voice is great.
(Uploaded to YouTube by SadesSME’s channel)
This week it’s a special theme. In celebration of my parents 60th (Diamond) wedding anniversary tomorrow we have four diamond named tracks. Some well known, some not so well known.
First up it’s a track that is a quite well known 60s instrumental but most people probably don’t know what it’s called or who did it. Well it’s called “Diamonds” and is by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan (ex Shadows members) which was number 1 for three weeks in 1963.
(Uploaded to YouTube by Kevin Allen)
A little known track from two well known artists. Nice dance song.
“Diamonds” (extended remix) by Herb Alpert feat. Janet Jackson, reached number 27 in 1987
(Uploaded to YouTube by musiclover3928)
Next a song by multi-million selling superstar Rihanna.
“DIamonds” by Rihanna, which was number 1 for one week in 2012
(Uploaded to YouTube by RihannaVEVO). There is a short ad before the track.
Finally, it’s an obvious choice but a goody! A great song (written by John Barry and Don Black) from a great, timeless singer.
“Diamonds Are Forever” by Shirley Bassey from the 1971 James Bond film of the same name. Reached a lowly 38 in Jan 1972 (what were the record buying public thinking!)
(Uploaded to YouTube by Valdeci Corrêa)
Happy Diamond Anniversary Mum and Dad. xxx