Tag: songs

Before We Was Fab: Benny Spellman, “Fortune Teller”

Before We Was Fab: Benny Spellman, “Fortune Teller”

Music
Before We Was Fab looks at some of the best songs of the pre-Beatles era, in search of great singles that have largely been forgotten. If you've heard of Benny Spellman at all, chances are it's because of his association with groups such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, The O'Jays, or The Hollies -- all of whom covered his songs. As it happens, I was listening to the iconic Who album Live at Leeds and paid particular attention to their live rendition of "Fortune Teller." The Who, as with many English rock bands of the time, had a deep love and appreciation for popular and obscure R&B, and that's where "Fortune Teller" comes in. The song was written by the great Allen Toussaint under the pseudonym Naomi Neville, and was first recorded by Spellman as the B-side of his only hit si
Club 99: Nat King Cole, “Nothing in the World”

Club 99: Nat King Cole, “Nothing in the World”

Music
In Club 99, I look at songs that peaked at position #99 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and help to put them into context. Together we can decide if the song deserved more success or got too much. The Song: “Nothing in the World" The Artist: Nat King Cole #99 Chart Date: August 11, 1958 Just one week after our last entry peaked at #99 on the Billboard Hot 100, one of the 20th century's greatest crooners grabbed the spot. And my friends, this is about as smooth and sumptuous a recording as we're likely to come across during this project. As far as I can tell, this song was actually the B-side to "Acércate Más (Come Closer to Me)", released on Capitol Records F4004, which itself peaked at #41 in September 1958. In addition to Cole's smoother-than-butter vocals,
Club 99: Billy Williams, “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You)”

Club 99: Billy Williams, “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You)”

Music
In Club 99, I look at songs that peaked at position #99 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and help to put them into context. Together we can decide if the song deserved more success or got too much. The Song: "I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)" The Artist: Billy Williams #99 Chart Date: August 4, 1958 Today's entry is the first #99 in the Billboard Hot 100 era, "I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)" by Billy Williams. Williams charted several times going back to the mid-1940s, but by far his biggest hit was "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," which hit #3 in the summer of 1957. Just over one year later he released "I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)" as the b-side of "It's Prayin' Time." In just about every important way, "I'll Get By" is a carbon c
Greatest Misses: Kiss (Spotify Playlist)

Greatest Misses: Kiss (Spotify Playlist)

Music
I'm starting a new music series on this site that I call Greatest Misses, with a debt owed to the Devo collection of the same name. The premise is simple -- I ID the least listened-to song for every (or most) of a band's studio records available on Spotify. A few caveats: Short, interlude-type songs don't count for me, and I also don't count live albums, compilations, or records of the like. Up first is Kiss, for whom every studio albums is currently available as of this posting except for 2009's Sonic Boom. Not surprisingly, this 20-song playlist is composed almost entirely of deep cuts that only the diehards would know (think "Two Timer" from Dressed to Kill or "Murder in High Heels" from Animalize.) But there are a few ones I was shocked to see heard so little. "Escape from ...
The Ultimate Hit Collection Spotify Playlists

The Ultimate Hit Collection Spotify Playlists

Music
Because I can't get enough of Spotify playlists or of gathering things into lists, I have undertaken what I think you'll agree is a great public service that combines those two loves. I am in the process of creating playlists -- which I've helpfully dubbed "Ultimate Hit Collection" -- that gather together every song to chart in the top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100 U.S. singles chart. These aren't your typical hits playlists, in that I'm not curating but collecting. That means if a song ever got into the top 10 and it's on Spotify, it goes into the playlist. So you get to hear some all-time classics and some head-scratching dross. Thus far I've completed my playlists for the 1980s, am almost halfway through the '70s, and have just started the '60s. I may one day get to the 1990s but that...
Pop Culture Capsule — January 1-7, 1984

Pop Culture Capsule — January 1-7, 1984

Capsules, History
It's a brand new year, so what better time to look to the past, right? Well anyway, I'm going to do it and I hope you'll join me for yet another pop culture capsule. To start off this year's capsules, I'm taking us back 30 years and putting us knee-deep in the 1980s. By this point in American popular culture, the last vestiges of the '70s have been shed and we're smack dab in the middle of the Reagan Era. For those of you on Spotify, a lot of the tunes listed here are included on some of my Ultimate '80s Hit Collection playlists. Specifically, the ones for 1983 and 1984. Top 10 Movies 1. Terms of Endearment ($11.5 million) 2. Sudden Impact ($9.6 million) 3. Scarface ($5.6 million) 4. Yentl ($5.5 million) 5. Uncommon Valor ($5.2 million) 6. Two of a Kind ($5 million) 7. Th...
Music from the Worst Album Covers — Merry Christmas & Happy New Year with the Mom and Dads

Music from the Worst Album Covers — Merry Christmas & Happy New Year with the Mom and Dads

Album Cover of the Week, Music
We’ve all seen at least one article showing the worst album covers of all-time. But what about the music inside? Should you judge an album by its horrible cover? Well in this series, we’re going to find out. Today we examine Merry Christmas & Happy New Year by The Mom and Dads. I'll say this much for the 1972 holiday album Merry Christmas & Happy New Year by the Mom and Dads -- if ever there was a Christmas album that sounded exactly like you would expect it to, this is it. I'm not going to sit here and judge whether or not that's a positive thing; I'm just throwing it out there as a heads up of sorts. Yes, that's the actual group on the cover. We've got (l to r) Quentin Ratliff (saxophone), Harold Hendren (drums), Doris A. Crow (piano), and Leslie Welch (accordion) l
Pop Culture Capsule — November 14-20, 1993

Pop Culture Capsule — November 14-20, 1993

Capsules, History
While the nation should be celebrating another win by my Rutgers Scarlet Knights, apparently it's considered bigger news that Notre Dame is back at #1 for the first time in 19 years. In fact, almost exactly 19 years. Before this week, the Fighting Irish last held the top spot in college football in the poll released November 16, 1993. To put all of this into context, here's what was going on in the world of American pop culture the last time Notre Dame was at the top of the college football world. Top 10 Movies 1. Addams Family Values 2. The Three Musketeers 3. Carlito's Way 4. My Life 5. Mrs. Doubtfire 6. Man's Best Friend 7. Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 8. The Remains of the Day 9. Cool Runnings 10. A Perfect World Will you look at that -- the top movie of...
Listening Booth — The New Mastersounds, “You Mess Me Up”

Listening Booth — The New Mastersounds, “You Mess Me Up”

Listening Booth, Music
With all the crap I've been dealing with thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I've had precious little time for music listening. And that means I haven't been able to really dig into the new record from the New Mastersounds, Out on the Faultline. I mean to correct that today, and the first step is sharing the official video for the first song off the LP, "You Mess Me Up." It's a fun video for an even funner song. That's right, funner. The group's last album, Breaks from the Border, made my 2011 year-end best of list, and I have a feeling this one will too. Out on the Faultline is available now! And if you're on Spotify, you can check out this track and most of the ones featured in my Listening Booth series by subscribing to this playlist.