ALAN PARSONS - Oh Life (There Must Be More)
One of the most haunting songs I’ve ever heard. Back in ‘93 when this came out, I was still anticipating Alan Parsons albums…and this one had a very Pink Floyd feel to it (especially the art work). Remember, of course, that Alan Parsons produced “Dark Side of the Moon”.
I was absolutely floored when I heard this last song on the CD. Alan Parsons had been known to put an emotionally heavy track on an album from time to time, but this one blew me away. Its a song about a woman who is contemplating suicide. The ebb and flow of the music and the build to the end will give you chills.
By the way, Parsons liked to use guest vocalists on each of his albums. Can you pick out who this singer is and what 70’s/80’s band he sang for?
EVERYBODY’S GOTTA LEARN SOMETIME - THE KORGIS
This is a re-recording of a great early 80’s forgotten tune. It was re-recorded in 1990 when a variety of songs from the early 80’s were being re-recorded, including “What About Me” by Moving Pictures, “Into The Night” by Benny Mardones and “Melt With You” by Real Life. Unfortunately for this song, the new version didn’t bare fruit…although it is as tight as the original single.
Enjoy this string-ladened forgotten ballad of the 80’s.
HOLLERADO - AMERICANARAMA (Hey Philadelphia)
Thanks to my friend @JohnMHoyt for sharing this with me. After watching White Knuckles by OK Go today, it would take a lot to impress me. Let me just say, this video is more fun and funny…and the song is actually really good (which helps it rank against OK Go songs which are as they state “ok”).
So I take a break from showing some classic ballads (I’m sure you’ll like the break) for something a bit more peppy!
JIM CAPALDI (of Traffic) - THAT’S LOVE
For fans of Traffic, this might not be what you would consider standard fare, but that eighties sound quickly becomes familiar when Steve Winwood kicks in with a keyboard solo.
Released in 1983 amongst the Duran Duran’s, Kajagoogoo’s, Naked Eyes, etc…this one was missed unless you listened to Adult Contemporary radio. Enjoy it now, it is a finely crafted 80’s pop song.
MODERN DAY DELILAH - VAN STEPHENSON (Tribute)
A rockin’ gem from the mid-eighties in the Corey Hart “Sunglasses at Night” mold (actually this came first).
I have a great personal story about this song. It was 1995 and I was working in a paint store in Nashville, Tennessee. I was waiting on a lady who was buying quite a bit of paint for her house. When she started writing her check, I noticed it said “Van Stephenson” on it. I asked her if she was related to the Van Stephenson who had a minor hit in the 80’s called “Modern Day Delilah”…she said, yes, that was her husband. Amazed, I asked her what he was doing now. She said, oh, he’s the lead guitarist for the country group “Blackhawk.” At the time, Blackhawk was even known to me, a very casual country listener.
Two days later, she came back to the store…she said “I brought him with me.” I said, who? She said “my husband…he had to meet the one guy who remembered his pop career.” We talked briefly, but it was a very cool moment. A guy who was on top of the world came to see a paint clerk who was a fan. It was extremely cool.
A sad follow up to the story though. If you followed the group Blackhawk, you’ll know that Van died of skin cancer in 2001. It was pretty much the end of the band and a sad end to my story. Its something I’ll never forget though…Van…this one’s for you.
MY GIRL (GONE, GONE, GONE) - CHILLIWACK
I must admit, I was once accused of liking too many Canadian groups. Since I was born in Detroit, I guess a little Canuck snuck into me. This song was once voted as the most popular forgotten hit. I’m not sure why it was forgotten…its a catchy little tune, showcased here are a part of the classic show “Solid Gold,” hosted by Marilyn McCoo. I used to love watching that show…okay the Solid Gold Dancers were campy…but it was always fun to watch bands try to lip sync to songs and then try to act normal when the song fades out. In this song there is a horrid edit in the single version, but they pull through it.
Kenny Rogers was my favorite guest on Solid Gold. That guy couldn’t lip sync to save his life.
Enjoy the song…its a pop hit blast from the 1981 past.
THEY DANCE ALONE - STING
A chilling true story, beautiful melody, and fantastic subtle story telling make this one of my all-time favorite songs.
When Sting traveled to Chile in the late 80’s, Augusto Pinochet was the dictator ruling the country. At that time, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for enemies of the government to just disappear, leaving families in despair.
As Sting relays it, “the women in Chile whose husbands and sons had disappeared would dance outside government buildings with invisible partners. I thought it was such a powerful silent protest and an incredible metaphor for loss and suffering that I wrote this song.”
My favorite part of this song is when Sting says,
“hey Mr. Pinochet…
No wages for your torturers
No budget for your guns
Can you think of your own mother
Dancin’ with her invisible son”
I have heard this line to mean, watch out Pinochet, you’ll get what you have coming. It could also be a plea to ask him to sympathize. But I always felt its strongest meaning was a more cutting…you are so vacant of feeling…your mother would be dancing with someone who bares no resemblance to a human.
Branford Marsallis was still playing saxophone for Sting at this time and his work is brilliant. In addition, the dance at the end adds a feel of hope at the end of an otherwise sad and chilling song. If you haven’t heard it before, pay close attention to the lyrics. This is powerful song writing.
STATE OF THE HEART - RICK SPRINGFIELD
I always thought Rick was unfairly stereotyped by “Jessie’s Girl,” his Dr. Noah Drake General Hospital character, his David Cassidy looks and screaming teenage girls. There were some really good songs in his collection and this was one that slipped by as his young fans started to get out in the world.
His albums continued to mature over time and “Tao” seemed to be the turning point. An accident left him away from recording for four years, but one of his best efforts followed in “Rock of Life.” Since then, he has resurrected his career on the tour circuit. I’ve heard his shows are quite good.
This song is always a great listen.
SHADOWFEET - BROOKE FRAZER
My favorite song of 2009. And yet, I don’t think this ever achieved hit status (I am so out of the loop on the pop charts now that they are dominated by rap and dance music). A New Zealander and Christian Contemporary artist…Brooke was one of many Christian acts last year to create very contemporary music that had subtle religious themes. I’ve always felt this form of message music was much more effective than praise music for the masses.
The video is quite interesting…not a smooth transition in morphing like Michael Jackson’s Black and White video…but along the same concept. What’s funny is, some people look bored…but the business guy gets into it.