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.
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)
Last week I paid tribute to George Michael who died on Christmas Day, but this week I want to remember Rick Parfitt OBE who died aged 68 on Christmas Eve. He was rhythm guitarist for rock legends Status Quo who are one of the most successful bands of all time in the UK, having released over 100 singles and spent 415 weeks on the chart. They also have the most appearances on Top of the Pops (106)! As well as massive chart success it was their live performances which made “the Quo” beloved by their fans. In their 48 year history, it is estimated that they have played over 6000 live shows to a total audience in excess of 25 million people. In doing so, the band has travelled some four million miles. They also famously opened “Live Aid” in 1985 with “Rockin’ All Over The World”
A very talented musician and rock god.
”Whatever You Want” from 1979
(Uploaded to YouTube by LakeParadiseMusic1)
“What You’re Proposin’ ” from 1980
(Uploaded to YouTube by TheWhiteCat65)
“Two Way Traffic” from 2011
(Uploaded to YouTube by earMUSIC)
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)
2016 continues resumes its ruthless felling of celebrity talents at an early age.
This week is a tribute to comedian and writer Caroline Aherne who died of cancer this week aged just 52.
The first is the theme from BBC sitcom “The Royle Family” which she co-wrote, co-directed and starred in.
“Half The World Away” by Oasis
(Uploaded to Youtube by OasisVEVO)
The second is the theme to Channel 4’s reality show “Gogglebox” which Caroline narrated.
“Perfect World” by Kodaline
(Uploaded to Youtube by KodalineVEVO)