This week it’s British music icon Peter Gabriel. He rose to fame in the 1970s as lead singer and concept artist to prog rock band “Genesis”. He left the band in 1975 to pursue a solo career and was replaced (somewhat reluctantly at first) by their drummer Phil Collins.
As a solo artist he has had 10 top forty hits including 4 top 10s. He first charted at number 13 in 1977 with “Solsbury Hill” when he followed up with “Games Without Frontiers” which got to number 4. His major breakthrough came with “Sledgehammer” in 1986 (of more later).
He went on to champion world music, founded his own record label, and has been involved in humanitarian causes and benefit concerts and co-founded WOMAD (World of Music Arts Dance).
He has received many prestigious awards for both his music and his humanitarian work including three BRITs, six Grammys, thirteen MTV video awards, first “Pioneer” award at the BT Digital Music awards, Lifetime achievement” from the Ivor Norvello and Q awards, icon award at the British Music Industry awards and “Man of Peace” award from the Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
“Sledgehammer” reached number 4 in 1986. It won a record nine awards at the 1987 MTV video awards! The video was groundbreaking and is the most played video in the history of MTV.
It’s so well known that I’ve decided not choose that video here (it can be found easily!) but concentrate on the song which in itself is a masterpiece of 80s production.
(Uploaded to YouTube by fendergibsonsounds)
“Steam” reached number 10 in 1993.
(Uploaded to YouTube by Edifice5151)
My favourite of his “Big Time” reached number 13 in 1987 and has already been featured on this blog Here
Tomorrow it’s my birthday! So two appropriate tracks!
“Happy Birthday” by Altered Images reached number 2 in 1981
(Uploaded to Youtube by mandaluyongboy)
“Music and Wine (speakeasy 3000 mix)” a deep trance song by Blue Six from 1999
(Uploaded to Youtube by superskunkrabbit)
It’s Friday 13th today so here are two appropriate tracks!
“Black Cat” by Janet Jackson reached number 15 in 1990
(Uploaded to YouTube by JanetJacksonVEVO)
“Wishing I Was Lucky” by Wet Wet Wet reached number 6 in 1987
(Uploaded to YouTube by WetWetWetVEVO)
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 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 two female singer songwriters.
First it’s the iconic Kate Bush, who came to fame with the first UK number one single written and performed by a female, “Wuthering Heights” in 1978 at the young age of 19. From her first single to her last one before a self-imposed hiatus.
“And So Is Love” by Kate Bush from 1994 from her 1993 album “The Red Shoes”. It was to be Kate’s last single until 2005.
The distinctive guitar is played by Eric Clapton and the Hammond organ by Gary Brooker of Procol Harum.
(Uploaded to Youtube by mdbrbpt)
Next is the American singer songwriter Tori Amos who came to prominence in 1991 and had a number of hits in the nineties. Her vocal style is not dissimilar from Bush’s.
“Cornflake Girl” by Tori Amos from her 1994 album “Under the Pink”
(Uploaded to Youtube by Eiffel T)
As another Friday 13th arrives, here are two appropriate songs from the rock genre. Brit guitarist Jeff Beck declaring he isn’t superstitious and American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd musing on good and bad luck.
(Click on “watch on Youtube” or try refreshing the page if they don’t play)
“I Ain’t Superstitious” by Jeff Beck from 1968
(Uploaded to Youtube by Toni Davey)
“Good Luck, Bad Luck” by Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1994
(Uploaded to Youtube by SpeedofSound)