Saturday, August 27, 2016

100 MOST ESSENTIAL MOTOWN SONGS. This update: #80-71. The countdown continues tomorrow.
Hear the 10 songs added today on spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/alanrosscaffelatte
                                                                    spotify:user:alanrosscaffelatte

Caffe` Latte` presents…
THE 200
MOST ESSENTIAL
MOTOWN
Motown Productions
SONGS
80
DANCING ON THE CEILING
Lionel Richie
With the memorable line: "Oh! What a feeling...", "Dancing on the Ceiling" was a guaranteed success. The single climbed to #2 Pop, 3 AC and 6 R&B in America and peaked at #7 in Britain. It was the title track from Lionel Richie's #1 album.
 LionelRichie-DancingOnTheCeiling.jpg
79
PART TIME LOVER
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder's hit song "Part Time Lover" reached #1 in America on the Pop, AC, R&B and Dance charts in 1985: the first to reign over all 4 Billboard lists. Wonder sang lead, synthesizers and drums on the track. Luther Vandross, Philip Bailey (from Earth, Wind & Fire) and Wonder's ex-wife Syreeta Wright contributed vocals. The single topped the charts of Canada, New Zealand and parts of Europe.

78
gET READY
The Temptations
Smokey Robinson wrote and produced The Temptations' "Get Ready", another R&B Chart #1 in 1966 for the vocal group. It's one of Motown's greatest songs.
 
77
IF I WERE YOUR WOMAN
Gladys Knight & The Pips
High drama, quality production and breathtaking lyrics; no one has ever managed to match Gladys Knight's lead vocal on this Motown gem. It was co-written by Gloria Jones (who recorded the original version of "Tainted Love"). The single reached #9 Pop and topped the R&B chart in 1970.
 
76
CRUISIN'
Smokey Robinson
"Cruisin'" was a laid back solo hit for Robinson in 1979. The single was a #4 hit in the USA and reached the top in New Zealand.
 
75
BRICK HOUSE
The Commodores
In 1977, The Commodores dropped their funkiest track, "Brick House". The group wrote and co-produced with regular collaborator James Carmichael. 
 The Commodores, Brick House, US, Deleted, 12" vinyl single (12 inch record / Maxi-single), Motown, M-00007D1, 405103

74
I'M GONNA MAKE YOU LOVE ME
Diana Ross & The Supremes & The Temptations
Motown combined its most popular male vocal outfit with its hit girl group in 1968 and "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" peaked at #2 Pop and R&B. Diana Ross & The Supremes and The Temptations traded lines on this #3 UK single, a cover of Dee Dee Warwick's original 2 years prior.
73
ISN'T SHE LOVELY
Stevie Wonder
Wonder sang about his daughter Aisha on the jazzy / pop track "Isn't She Lovely". This is one of his best known non- single songs. The track was included on his 'Songs In The Key Of Life' album (1976). Wonder wrote and produced the cut.
 Songs in the key of life.jpg
72
BABY I NEED YOUR LOVING
Four Tops
"Baby I Need Your Loving", written by Holland / Dozier / Holland, was the first release by The Four Tops on Motown in 1964. The single climbed to #11.
 

71
  I HEAR A SYMPHONY
The Supremes
In 1965, The Supremes placed its 6th single atop the Pop chart. H/D/H again created the catchy chart-topper, which ruled the Top 40 in the USA for a fortnight.
    

Friday, August 26, 2016

The History of Motown: The Writer / Producers Part 4 - Norman Whitfield
Caffe` Latte` presents…
THE 200
MOST ESSENTIAL
MOTOWN
 SONGS
THE MOTOWN SOUND:
  Norman Whitfield on Pinterest Car Wash Soul Music and 1970s
THE WRITER/PRODUCERS
 Pt.4- The Golden Years
Motown Records was a constant presence on the pop chart throughout the 1960s and continued beyond that golden era with a roster that boasted an abundance of talent. Along with its flagship acts, the label attracted creative artists that played a key role in shaping the 'Motown Sound'. The company was served well by a capable pool of songwriters and producers. Some were key architects of Motown's success and crossover appeal. 
NORMAN WHITFIELD
  Marvinnorman.jpg
Norman Whitfield's arrival on to the Detroit music scene was unplanned but led to encounters with the early seeds of what was to become the vocal group The Temptations. Berry Gordy's founding of the Motown label provided opportunities for not only countless performers, but also writers and producers. Whitfield gradually inserted himself at the label. Gordy eventually spotted his potential. In the early years, Whitfield co-wrote hits for the girl groups The Marvelettes ("Too Many Fish In The Sea") and The Velvelettes ("Needle In A Haystack") as well as Marvin Gaye ("Pride And Joy").
Tempts-wish-it-would-rain.jpgAs a producer, Whitfield was daring. His creative vision is most evident on the tracks he produced for The Temptations. Many of these hits were composed with his regular collaborator Barrett Strong. These began with the US #1 "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" and led to Whitfield steering The Temptations into psychedelic soul. He infused the group's recordings with a darker and grittier style of soul that was light years away from the polished fare usually associated with 'The Motown Sound'. With Whitfield at the helm, The Temptations scored with R&B classics such as "Cloud Nine", "I Wish It Would Rain", "I Can't Get Next To You", "Psychedelic Shack", "Ball Of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today)", "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" and the spectacular "Papa Was A Rolling Stone".
Tempts-alldirections.jpgAlong with his work with The Temptations, Whitfield provided Motown with hits for the likes of Gladys Knight & The Pips ""Friendship Train"), The Undisputed Truth ("Smiling Faces Sometimes") and Edwin Starr ("War").
War & Peace, Edwin Starr album.jpgBy far his greatest sonic achievement was the composition and production of a defining soul classic, Gaye's rendition of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine". Gordy failed to see its potential, but Whitfield persevered and was ultimately vindicated with another #1 single. 
  When the powerhouse trio of Holland/ Dozier/ Holland departed Motown, Whitfield (and Strong) filled most of the void. 
In 1975, he too joined the exodus from Motown and formed his own label (Whitfield Records). One of the groups he recruited was Rose Royce. That R&B outfit achieved a US #1 with "Car Wash" in the following year. 
Whitfield died due to diabetes and poor health,in 2008, aged 65. His extensive legacy lingers on.
Have a listen to the Introduction To Motown playlist on spotify. It includes many of the greats from the legendary record label, including: Diana Ross, The Jackson 5, The Marvelettes, The Four Tops, Lionel Richie, Martha & The Vandellas, Mary Wells and The Miracles.
spotify:user:alanrosscaffelatte
Before It Was A Hit Song... IV. Continues next week.
BEFORE IT WAS A HIT SONG
These songs are well known but you may not know about the earlier attempts to score a hit record with prior versions of the same song.
                 
"The Best" has become a signature song for the mighty Tina Turner. In 1989, the single was charting everywhere. Hard to believe now, but hers was not the first recording of the song. A year before, Bonnie Tyler released the original of "The Best". Lifted off her 1988 album 'Hide Your Heart', Tyler's rendition was released as a single, becoming a Top 10 hit in Norway. 
               
Each new song will be added to the spotify playlist named: ‘Before It Was A Hit Song’.  You can check out the earlier / original versions of the hit songs you know and love.
The playlist and other Caffe` Latte` selections can be found at:
spotify:user:alanrosscaffelatte

Thursday, August 25, 2016

100 BEST ALBUM COVERS: #39. Continues next week.
Caffe` Latte` presents…
THE 100 BEST
ALBUM COVERS
 Sergio Mendes Timeless.jpg
39
TIMELESS
SERGIO MENDES (2006)
NEW SEGMENT: Before It Was A Hit Song... III
BEFORE IT WAS A HIT SONG
These songs are well known but you may not know about the earlier attempts to score a hit record with prior versions of the same song.
 Killing me softly (album cover).jpg
The Fugees and Roberta Flack both topped charts around the world with a version of "Killing Me Softly". Their remakes were hits in 1996 and 1973 respectively.
 
The original was recorded by  Lori Liebermanin 1972. This interpretation was ignored but Flack heard it as part of the in-flight entertainment on a plane and decided to cover the song. It was re-tweaked  and became one of the niggest hits of the 1970s.
Each new song will be added to the spotify playlist named: ‘Before It Was A Hit Song’.  You can check out the earlier / original versions of the hit songs you know and love.
The playlist and other Caffe` Latte` selections can be found at:
spotify:user:alanrosscaffelatte

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

100 BEST ALBUM COVERS: #40. Continues tomorrow.
Caffe` Latte` presents…
THE 100 BEST
ALBUM COVERS
 Rubber Soul.jpg
40
RUBBER SOUL
THE BEATLES (1965)
NEW SEGMENT: Before It Was A Hit Song... II
BEFORE IT WAS A HIT SONG
These songs are well known but you may not know about the earlier attempts to score a hit record with prior versions of the same song.
GloriaJones76.jpgSoft Cell achieved global success with "Tainted Love" in 1981. The synth-pop duo 's chart topper was a revamp of an obscure soul gem that served as a B-side for R&B vocalist Gloria Jones. Her original take burst out in 1965. It is now a cherished Northern soul classic.
http://picture-disc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Gloria-Jones-Tainted-Love-1964.jpg
Each new song will be added to the spotify playlist named: ‘Before It Was A Hit Song’.  You can check out the earlier / original versions of the hit songs you know and love.
The playlist and other Caffe` Latte` selections can be found at:
spotify:user:alanrosscaffelatte

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

100 BEST ALBUM COVERS: #41. Continues tomorrow.
Caffe` Latte` presents…
THE 100 BEST
ALBUM COVERS
Van Halen - 1984.jpg
41
1984 {aka MCMLXXXIV}
VAN HALEN (1984)
NEW SEGMENT: Before It Was A Hit Song... I
BEFORE IT WAS A HIT SONG
These songs are well known but you may not know about the earlier attempts to score a hit record with prior versions of the same song.
  
UB40 scored a hit with a reggae version of Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine" in 1983 (and 5 years later on re-issue in the USA). The original version was included on the American soloist's 1968 album 'Just For You' and released as a single that year. That disc only reached #62 in America. 
Years later, when UB40 considered covering "Red Red Wine", the group was unaware of the Diamond original. The band was aware, however, of an earlier reggae remake of the song, recorded by Jamaican singer Tony Tribe in 1969. This was the version UB40 modelled its interpretation on.
 Tony Tribe - Red, Red Wine
Each new song will be added to the spotify playlist named: ‘Before It Was A Hit Song’.  You can check out the earlier / original versions of the hit songs you know and love.
The playlist and other Caffe` Latte` selections can be found at:
spotify:user:alanrosscaffelatte

Monday, August 22, 2016

200 MOST RECOMMENDED ALBUMS : #38. Continues later this week.

THE CAFFE` LATTE`
200
MOST RECOMMENDED ALBUMS
Some are the best selling, while others may be obscure, but the albums listed here are all worthy of a listen. No compilation/ best of sets. Only exceptional live albums included. This is a personal listing of the albums I enjoy the most to this day.
#38
THE FOX: ELTON JOHN 
 The fox (Elton John album) coverart.jpg
 [1981] 
'The Fox' is far from the perfect Elton John album, with a few filler tracks that time has been unkind to; but it does include enough highlights to have remained among my list of all-time favourite LPs. Among the gems is the heartfelt "Elton's Song". This ballad deals with the secret yearning of a boy for another male. Its lyrics are understated and kept to a minimum. John's vocal is sensitive throughout. Few songs convey a mood as effectively. "Nobody Wins" started life as a French song that John decided to have translated into English. The Euro-pop track sees him deliver a song in a genre that was new to his fan base. "Just Like Belgium" also sports a European flavour and is a fun change of pace. The instrumentals "Carla / Etude" and"Fanfare" are a welcome opportunity for John to showcase his keyboard skills. It concludes with the underrated love song "Chloe". The lack of a consistent collaborator and producer does affect the album's overall strength. Only 4 of its tracks were written with Bernie Taupin. Gary Osborne co-wrote 5 songs for the album (4 were written with John).
Highlight tracks: Elton's Song; Nobody Wins; Chloe & Just Like Belgium.