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 songs from Scottish singer/songwriter Gerry Rafferty. His most well known songs are “Baker Street” and “Stuck in the Middle With You” but these two tracks are great too. Sadly he died in 2011.
“Right Down The Line” from 1978
(Uploaded to YouTube by stlblair)
“Get It Right Next Time” from 1979
(Uploaded to YouTube by budcritchlow)
This week we have British electronic singer,songwriter and producer, Thomas Dolby. His real name is actually Thomas Robertson but his stage name came from his nickname of “Dolby”, after Dolby Laboratories of cinema fame, which he got for his hobby of playing with tapes and keyboards.
His music was a bit too experimental and unusual for mainstream success the majority of the time, but the tracks here did reasonably well.
He is now Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland USA.
First up is a track which I love but only got to 49 in the UK. It did well in the US peaking at number 5.
The scientist speaking in the song is Dr Magnus Pyke OBE who was a scientist and TV personality of the day, known for his eccentric way of speaking and wild gesticulating!
“She Blinded Me With Science” from 1982
(Uploaded to YouTube by Gustavo Mario Rodriguez)
“Hyperactive” from 1984 which got to number 17
(Uploaded to YouTube by NewWaveWonders)
This week it’s two iconic female singer/songwriters.
Carole King is a phenomenally successful artist, having written many successful songs. Her songs have been covered by a multitude of artists. There is currently a musical running in London based on her life called “Beautiful” named after one of her songs on the album “Tapestry”. “Tapestry” is King’s most famous album and is one of the biggest selling albums of all time. It won many Grammys including album of the year in 1972 and is almost a greatest hits album in itself, containing among others “You’re Got a Friend”, “I Feel the Earth Move” and my favourite song of hers “It’s Too Late” which is below.
“It’s Too Late” by Carole King from 1971
(Uploaded to Youtube by Dixie Blue)
In 1972 Carly Simon released her third studio album “No Secrets” and on it was the runaway hit “You’re So Vain” which catapulted her to fame. She has had a string of hits ever since including a number of very successful movie songs such as “Nobody Does It Better” from The Spy Who Loved Me and “Let The River Run” from Working Girl, which she won an Oscar for.
My favourite song of hers is also on “No Secrets” and here it is
“The Right Thing To Do” by Carly Simon from 1972
(Uploaded to Youtube by 2Funkyangel)
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)