My Top Ten tracks of the month!
Needle In A Haystack - The Velvelettes (1964)
I went through a bit of a Motown phase at the beginning of the month, but this is the track I kept coming back to.
Founded in 1961, The Velvelettes were signed to Motown in '62 but never really given the star treatment. Their debut album was never completed and this first hit remained their biggest, reaching #45 on the mainstream USA billboard chart. Their only UK hit was in 1971 with the reissue of 1966's These Things Will Keep Me Loving You.
Tainted Love - Gloria Jones (1964)
Tainted Love is one of my all time favourite songs, in all its many and varied versions. This month I've been mostly listening to the original recording by US singer, Gloria Jones. It was the B-side of a single that failed to chart, later picked up in 1973 by Northern Soul DJ Richard Searling on a trip to the States. Jones re-recorded the track for release in 1976, with the help of boyfriend Marc Bolan of T-Rex, but it again failed to chart.
Bed and Breakfast Man - Madness (1979)
Madness are one of the greatest bands ever, I will accept no argument on that point. Bed and Breakfast Man, a track from their debut album, was only released as a single in Canada - Google doesn't seem to know whether or not it charted. Anyway, when I was YouTubing it I came across this fanvid - possibly the only fanvid ever - for Tucker's Luck, the Grange Hill spin-off following Tucker Jenkins and the rest of the very first cohort after they left school. The song really could have been written for the series two character Creamy Eames!
The Invisible Man (1984)
Also up on YouTube is the song Creamy's band plays in S02:E06 of Tucker's Luck. It's not brilliant by any stretch, but there's something kind of raw and engaging about it. The lyrics are still all too pertinent into the bargain:
I work so hard, every working day. I work so hard, for invisible pay. I've been a toilet cleaner, a dustbin humper, out of school and in the dumper.
I am the invisible man, you won't see me pay my tax, I'm part of the black economy.
I work so hard, it's always off the books. I work so hard, all I get is dirty looks. When I'm hurt no compensation. When I'm old no superannuation.
To Be Young, Gifted and Black - Bob & Marcia (1970)
Originally released in 1969 by Nina Simone - it was written in memory of her friend Lorraine Hansbery - various cover versions soon followed. The one that hit the UK charts, peaking at #5 in 1970, was released by Jamaican vocal duo Bob and Marcia.
It's an iconic song but also never fails to make me think of that scene in Men Behaving Badly when Les - the old, ungifted and white barman - claims it's the song that best fits him. When challenged he just shrugs and says plaintively: I never said it was an exact match.
Your Song - Rita Ora (2017)
I have had this on repeat so much this month! Written by Ed Sheeran, this Rita Ora track was always destined for chart success. It peaked at #7 in the UK but reached its highest chart position in Croatia where it made it to #5.
Échame La Culpa - Luis Fonsi & Demi Lovato (2017)
'Put The Blame On Me' features a team up of former Disney child star Demi Lovato and Puerto Rican superstar Luis Fonsi, and has been a #1 hit across much of Europe and further afield. So far it has peaked at #46 in the UK, although there is also an (inferior) English remix 'Not On You' doing the rounds. It's a fab summery sounding track though so if you haven't heard it already, give it a go!
Dura - Daddy Yankee (2018)
Another ubiquitous figure in Puerto Rico, Daddy Yankee's latest single topped the charts across South America and broke the top 20 in a few European countries including Sweden, Hungary, and the Netherlands. It's very old-school reggaeton - and performed just as well as the genre has always done in the UK by failing to chart at all.
Lie To Me - Mikolas Josef (2018)
I didn't watch Eurovision live this year - I was still down from the funeral and really wasn't in the mood. I caught up later though and this guy was definitely robbed! My other favourite was Norway's Alexander Rybak with That's How You Write A Song.
The UK's track was naff as usual. I think the last one I actually liked was in 2006 or something...
The Song That's 22 Verses Long - Bernard O'Shea
I loved Republic of Telly and this faux trad tune was one of the best running jokes of the series. :)
For more like this, please click the image below: