Friday, May 27, 2016

Song #393: "Mexico"--James Taylor (1975)

When you think of 1975 and James Taylor, and you're either his fan or a fan of popular music history, the song which immediately comes to mind is "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)", which was a smash hit, reaching the top of the charts.

His follow-up single from the "Gorilla" LP wasn't so successful on the charts, but still makes most of the compilation CD's released in subsequent years. I take this song, which you don't hear on the radio like you do the other song mentioned. But this one always stuck with me; I find it easy to sing to, love the chorus especially. Another song I'd sing in the car or shower without ANY human interaction. :)

Enjoy the second song from Sweet Baby James in our Top 500.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Song #394: "Can You Read My Mind"--Maureen McGovern (1978)

This is the first of multiple appearances from, honestly, one of the best female singers of her generation, who, unfortunately, is only known to most people as "the lady who sang all the disaster songs".

There were just two, really, from Irwin Allen films, and we may discuss them at another point (hint, hint), but this song, connected obviously to the 1978 release of "Superman", ended up not making the soundtrack, though it does appear on a 2000 two-disc set. As you see below, the single made the connection.

McGovern went on to have a career on Broadway and other musical theater, recording more albums, especially in the 1990's. You may have seen her a time or two performing on Labor Day on the former Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.

This song sends shivers for me, wonderfully done. And we'll get more from Maureen as the countdown continues.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Song #395: "Pick Up The Pieces"--Average White Band (1974)

When you think of groove music in the mid-1970's, this song has to be near, or at, the forefront. In reality, though, it's a timeless classic and will get any generation up on the dance floor anywhere, anytime, except maybe at that hardcore country wedding reception.  :)

Man, I loved this song back in the day, and it has never lost its appeal. Enjoy a little mid-week groove from the Average White Band, their only number one hit. The album cover, on the other hand, ah, certainly from the Seventies.....

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Song #396: "Got To Get You Into My Life"--The Beatles (1966)

I fully admit to being late to the Beatles party.

But, it's not my fault. Being born in the Summer of 1967, there wasn't a lot of time left in their reign as king of music in the 1960's. So, rather, my discovery of the Beatles came from this little two-record set below:

This set came out in June, 1976 as I was finishing up the third grade. That summer was filled with Bicentennial stuff, including my first taste of "Cherry Cola Slurpees", and a new wave of Beatles nostalgia. Paul McCartney and Wings were hot at the time (in fact they kept this album from topping the charts, peaking at #2), and overall there was still a prevalent sense of hope that, one day, "The Beatles Reunion" would occur.

To promote this release, Capitol Records made today's song the single from the LP (with "Helter Skelter" as the B-side, not long from the debut of CBS' mini-series of the same name based on the Charles Manson murders), so this song was really my "introduction" to the Beatles. Had I heard some of their songs before? Yes, but after this one, and then listening to both LP's, I became immersed in them.

It's the second Beatles tune to crack our Top 500.....and there will be more. Interestingly, the version from this release isn't on YouTube, so let's enjoy McCartney's rendition at the White House several years back instead.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Song #397: "Calling All Angels"--Train (2003)

And now for just the fifth song in our countdown from the 21st Century, out of the 104 released so far.

This tune came at me from multiple directions: in the car with Bonnie and the kids when we were all actually together doing something, usually driving to and from church on Sundays up and down I-295. I inevitably would hear it at work as it became a staple on Lite 98. It took awhile for it to become one I'd look up on the computer and listen to during my many late nights processing production orders in the cubicle.

But it's ending certainly gave me some hope during a period of a few years when, after the death of my Mama, I, frankly, wasn't seeing a lot of hope. I'm so glad those days are far behind.  :)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Song #398: "Wrap Her Up"--Elton John with George Michael (1985)

Before they left their mark together on adult contemporary radio in 1991 with the release of a live version of Elton's classic "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" fronted by Michael and featuring John, this pair of Brits, made for collaboration, got together six years earlier to create this gem, a salute to some of the classiest ladies of the Twentieth Century.

Anyone that can get Nancy Reagan, Princess Caroline of Monaco and Marilyn Monroe in the same song as Dusty Springfield, Julie Andrews, and Little Eva is okay by my book.

Great chorus, super dance beat, and the extended version is highly recommended to fully enjoy the "roll call" near the song's end. This is Elton's second appearance in the countdown, and the only entry featuring Michael. The closest song for Wham!, interestingly was "Edge of Heaven" by a razor thin margin over "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", but, sadly, neither will appear.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Song #399: "Gone At Last"--Paul Simon, Phoebe Snow & The Jessy Dixon Singers (1975)

Everything about this song just screams "classic gospel tune". Paul Simon shows yet another part of his vast talent, Phoebe Snow's vocal play off Simon's in absolute marvelous fashion. Then add the late, great Jessy Dixon's contributions, and the piano. Oh, that piano.

No matter how you feel, or where you are in life right now, you cannot hear this song and not finish it feeling, at the very least, a bit lifted from where you were three and a half minutes earlier. Whatever your issue is this day, my prayer is that, soon, it will be gone at last.  :)