The Marmalade – There’s A Lot Of It About (1968)

FrontCover1.jpgAt a time where a lot of bands were going for otherworldly psychedelic ‘mind-crashers’, Marmalade went another direction. They had a very commercial sounding aura about them, and after four failed singles, they finally made the top 10 of the U.K. Charts. Fortunately for them, unlike massive bands like the Small Faces and The Move, Marmalade actually had a top 10 hit in the United States with “Reflections of my Life”, making them a one hit wonder in that country.

What Marmalade captures to do is create commercially sounding pop songs, without going over the top with or sounding too corny (most of the time!) Lead singer Dean Ford really puts them in control with a fantastic voice, and one that is synergistic with the songs themselves. It is too bad that he never never made it big as a solo artist after he left the group in 1974, after doing four albums with them.

As for the songs themselves, lets start with the covers. There is a total of five of them included on here, and I would say three of them were worth recording. Their version of Big Brother & Holding Company’s “A Piece of my Heart” could have made it big itself. It perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the 60’s. Look up some live BBC songs on Youtube. There are many songs there that have that same feeling as “Piece of my Heart”. It’s easy to get lost in a magical rush of serotonin when Ford sings on this one. The Bob Dylan cover of “I Shall Be Released” might not be for everybody, but for a lot of people it will serve as a song you might listen to constantly for months. So smooth, and includes astounding horns that will make you reverse the songs a few times to hear it again.

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Their cover of “Hey Joe” starts a bit boring for sure, the first verse is a little lazy. However, it picks up speed quickly and the last 2/3 of the song is definitely worth it. Their version of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” is a song that I can take or leave it…Not bad, but not exceptional either. Now, as for the originals, you will mostly be happy with;

There are two particularly psychedelic songs on the album, one of them being the incredible “I See The Rain”, reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. Ironically, Hendrix stated that “I See The Rain” was the the best song of 1967 for him. Crunchy guitar riffs, and parts of “Hey Joe” noticeable throughout it. I have never read or heard anybody say that, but there is a guitar part in this song that is identical to parts of Hendrix’s version.

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The other psychedelic song, “There ain’t no use in Hangin’ on”, is a groovy piece of musical art that will captivate you with its catchiness and impressive guitar parts by lead guitarist William Junior Campbell. Then, we get to tracks like “Station on Third Avenue” and “Chains” both stylistically different, but they will each get you into music mode. “Chains” especially will grab you, with its Rubber Soul sounding maturity.

The opening track, “Lovin’ Things” got them into the charts. Not a bad song, but the non album single “Wait for me Mary-Anne” is much better and should have replaced “Lovin’ Thing”. However “Lovin Things” did get them their first hit in the UK, peaking at number six.

I would also recommend their follow up album, Reflections of the Marmalade, and 1974’s Our House is Rocking which features a much harder sound from them. If you enjoy pop, I would totally advise you check this album out. Not perfect by any means, but there are enough songs on here by this Scottish band that should make it on your on your miscellaneous playlists. (by Matt Kessler)

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Personnel:
William Junior Campbell (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Patrick Fairley (vocals, bass, guitar)
Dean Ford (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Graham Knight (bass, vocals)
Alan Whitehead (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Lovin’ Things (Schrock/Loring) 3.05
02. I Shall Be Released (Dylan) 4.04
03. I See The Rain (Campbell/McAleese) 3.48
04. Hey Joe (Roberts) 4.02
05. Summer In The City (J.Sebastian/M.Sebastian/Boone) 2.12
06. There Ain’t No Use In Hanging On (Campbell/McAleese) 1.59
07. Piece Of My Heart (Ragovoy/Berns) 3.56
08. Wait For Me Mary Anne (Blaikley) 3.23
09. Mr. Tambourine Man (Dylan) 3.16
10. Chains (Campbell) 2.33
11. Mr Lion (Campbell/McAleese) 3.02
12. Station On Third Avenue (Vandor/Young) 3.21
13. Mess Around (Campbell/McAleese) 3.14
14. Man In A Shop Campbell) 3.20
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15. It’s All Leading Up To Saturday Night (Stevens) 2.20
16. Wait A Minute Baby (Campbell/McAleese) 2.12
17. Can’t Stop Now (Wood/Fitzpatrick/Kellaher) 2.09
18. Laughing Man (Campbell/McAleese) 3.24
19. Cry (The Shoob Doroorie Song) (Campbell/McAleese) 2.40
20. Ob La Di Ob La Da (Lennon(McCartney) 3.03
21. Baby Make It Soon (Macaulay) 3.03
22. Time Is On My Side (Campbell/McAleese) 2.41
23. Butterfly (R.Gibb/B.Gibb/M.Gibb) 3.48
24. Otherwise It’s Been A Perfect Day (Westlake/Wood) 2.42
25. Clean Up Your Heart (Armstead/Ashford/Simpson) 2.32

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The Gaylords – Let’s Have A Pizza Party (1958)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Gaylords were an American singing trio, consisting of Ronald L. Fredianelli (who changed his name for performances to Ronnie Gaylord, taken from the group name), Bonaldo Bonaldi (who also, in 1976, changed his name to Burt Holiday, at which time the group became Gaylord and Holiday), and Don Rea (who had left the group by the time it became Gaylord & Holiday).

Fredianelli was born on June 12, 1930, in Detroit, Michigan. They formed the Gaylords (originally The Gay Lords) in Detroit in 1949.

The group’s name was decided upon after a chance encounter with Marcus Wren.

In the 1950s the group had a number of Italian-flavored hits on the charts, often consisting of a song partly sung in Italian and partly in English. Their most successful release was “Tell Me You’re Mine”, which had sold over one million copies by 1958. “Tell Me You’re Mine” reached #3 on the US chart.

Gaylords01As Gaylord and Holiday, the two remaining members of the group continued to perform until 2003.

Fredianelli died on January 25, 2004 in Reno, Nevada. Bonaldi still performed with Ron Gaylord, Jr., Ronnie Gaylord’s oldest son (the other son being rock guitarist Tony Fredianelli) until his death on May 10, 2017 in Carson City, NV.

Donald “Don” Rea, keyboardist for The Gaylords, born in Detroit, Michigan, on 9 December 1928, died in Reno, Nevada, on 30 June 2017 after a short battle with cancer. (by wikipedia)

A pre-rock white vocal trio, the Gaylords had a series of hits from 1952 to 1954 with novelty flavored material and Italian-derived love songs. It’s difficult for the latter-day listener not to associate the records with the kind of background music you might hear at the average pizza parlor. In its day, however, it was not background fodder, but highly commercial fare that was cleanly executed and unreservedly sentimental, wearing its heart on its sleeve as surely as excess tomato sauce on a napkin.

Formed in Detroit, the group, featuring Ronnie Fredianelli, Burt Bonaldi and Don Rea, made number two in 1952 with their debut outing, “Tell Me You’re Mine.” Derived from an Italian ballad, the song was originally recorded as a disc to be sold at Bonaldi’s father’s store. The engineer on that session was impressed enough to help pitch the act to established labels, and the trio ended up with Mercury. After a couple more hits, Fredianelli was drafted into the Army, changed his name to Ronnie Gaylord, and began recorded for Mercury as a solo vocalist. The Gaylords decided to keep going, recruiting Billy Christ as Ronnie’s replacement.

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“From the Wine Came the Grape,” “Isle of Capri,” and “The Little Shoemaker” were all big hits for the Gaylords over the next couple of years. Ronnie Gaylord had a big hit of his own with “Cuddle Me,” and got in on the rock & roll cover game with a version of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame.” The rock & roll revolution, however, made groups such as the Gaylords passe, although they continued to record for Mercury into the ’60s. Burt Bonaldi, after changing his name to Burt Holiday, formed the Gaylord & Holiday duo with Ronnie Gaylord. The pair even had a tiny hit in 1976 with “Eh! Compuri,” recorded for, of all things, a subsidiary label of Motown. (by Richie Unterberger)

And here´s their third album … I gues, The Gaylord was a important of the Italian-American music history …

It´s a nice lbum and I include a very interesting interview about the history of The Gaylords.

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Personnel:
Burt Bonaldi (vocals)
Ronnie Fredianelli (vocals)
Don Rea (vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Ah Marie (Barlow) 2.17
02. Neapolitan Nights (Zamecnik/Kerr) 2.52
03. Quando Mi Bacio Teresa (Raimondo/Gianipa) 2.39
04. Ti Volgio Tanto Bene (de Curtis/Furno) 2.49
05. Sicilian Tarantelle (Balsamo/Conn) 2.16
06. La Romanina (Lazzaro/Michell) 2.33
07. Bionda Biondina (unknown) 2.04
08. Scrivimi (Frati/Raimondo) 2.02
09. Sbarazzina (Lazzaro/Frati/Bruno) 2.11
10. Pansy (Rendine/Pisano) 2.09
11. Carmela (Stone) 3.05
12. Non Ti Scordar Di Me (Say You Will Not Forget) (Wimperis/de Curtis) 2.38

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Cliff Richard – Stronger (1989)

FrontCover1.jpgStronger is the twenty-sixth studio album by British singer Cliff Richard, released in October 1989. The album was produced by Alan Tarney and includes the singles “The Best of Me”(UK #2), “I Just Don’t Have the Heart” (UK #3), “Lean On You” (UK #17) and “Stronger Than That” (UK #14). The album reached Platinum,[3] peaking at number 7 in the UK Albums Chart. (by wikipedia)

The 30th anniversary of Cliff Richard’s entry into the music industry was marked in 1988, and the year fittingly found him experiencing one of his most successful spells ever. “Mistletoe and Ivory” became the biggest-selling single of the year, while the follow-up, the number two hit “The Best of Me,” established him as the first British artist to release 100 singles. The Private Collection 1979-1988, a compilation of a decade’s worth of hits, topped the chart, and Stronger, the first new album of his fourth decade, was to spin off no less than four hit singles, including “Just Don’t Have the Heart,” a dynamic collaboration with producers Stock, Aitken & Waterman. The album itself represents one of the most eclectic of Richard’s entire career, a fact signposted by his union with British reggae band Aswad for the wonderful “Share a Dream.”

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The aforementioned “The Best of Me” stands as one of the loveliest ballads he’d cut in years, and if Stronger has any serious shortcomings, it’s the reliance on machines, not men, for the drum sounds. Even at his weakest, Richard’s records had rarely lacked for emotion, but the robotic percussion saps the soul from far too much of the music. Indeed, if the selection of songs had been any weaker, Stronger might well have collapsed altogether. Instead, the likes of “Everybody Knows,” “Better Day,” and “Lean on You” conspire to raise it so high that many fans regard Stronger as one of the strongest of all Richard’s post-Shadows albums. (Dave Thompson)

Okay … But now … I need something that really rocks !

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Personnel:
John Clark (guitar)
Mark Griffiths (bass)
Paul Moessl (synthesizer on 17., drum programming)
Cliff Richard (vocals)
Alan Tarney (guitar, keyboards, drums)
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Keith Bessey (drum programming on 03., 08. + 13.)
Dave Bishop (saxophone)
Steve Laurie (guitar on 17.)
Alan Park (piano on 17.)
Henry Spinetti (drums on 17.)
Mike Stock (keyboards, drum programming on 07. + 14.)
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background vocals:
Keith Murrell – Mae McKenna – Mick Mullins – Miriam Stockley – Peter Howarth – Sonia Morgan
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Aswas (all instruments on 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. Stronger Than That (Tarney) 4.42
02. Who’s In Love (Tarney) 4.32
03. The Best Of Me (Foster/Lubbock/Marx) 4.11
04. Clear Blue Skies (Cooke/Turner) 2.54
05. Lean On You (Tarney) 5.00
06. Keep Me Warm (Tarney) 4.26
07. I Just Don’t Have The Heart (Stock/Aitken/Waterman) 3.27
08. Joanna (Eaton) 3.53
09. Everybody Knows (Tarney) 3.47
10. Forever You Will Be Mine (Tarney) 4.22
11. Better Day (Tarney) 4.50
12. Share A Dream (Trott/Sweet/Osborne) 4.30
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13. Wide Open Space (Walmesley/Abbot) 4.38
14. I Just Don’t Have the Heart (instrumental version) (Stock/Aitken/Waterman) 4.01
15. Hey Mister (Tarney) 3.56
16. Lindsay Jane (Richard) 4.44
17. Marmaduke (Spencer/Tarney) 5.28

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Bobby Darin – Sings Doctor Dolittle (1967)

FrontCover1.jpgBobby Darin Sings Doctor Dolittle is an album by American singer Bobby Darin, released in 1967. It was arranged and conducted by Roger Kellaway. The album sold poorly, received little label promotion and was subsequently dropped from the label’s catalog. This, in part, was to blame for Darin’s separation from Atlantic and the beginning of his own label, Direction. (by wikipedia)

Bobby Darin’s 1967 album, Sings Doctor Doolittle, was his personal pet project (pun intended). Darin chose to sing ten songs from the musical film over the objections of his label, extending his repertoire from standards to folk to rock and now (kind of) kids music. Atlantic must have wondered to whom to market Sings Doctor Doolittle, which is completely fair, considering that the theatrical bomb almost ruined 20th Century-Fox. (And that this is not the official soundtrack.) Songwriter Leslie Bricusse won an oscar for the song “Talk to the Animals,” which is included here. Not an essential Darin album, even to crazed fans. The songs are solid but the material is (obviously) neither his most weighty nor his most fun. An album of Oscar-nominated songs is one thing, but Sings Doctor Doolittle contains no great songs. It is interesting to note that only three of these songs appear on any Darin compilation: Swingin’ the Bobby Darin01.jpgStandards, Moods/Swing: The Best of the Atlantic Years 1966-67, and As Long As I’m Singin’. But none are on any greatest hits CDs. Not a coincidence. Worth buying for completists. But Sings Doctor Doolittle will not be among the most listened to albums in anyone’s collection. One of the few genuine missteps in Darin’s career. (by JT Griffith)

Bobby Darin’s Atlantic 1967 album of songs from the film Doctor Dolittle isn’t quite the anomaly that some suggest. After all, this is a film about love, acceptance and peace, and therefore lyrically the songs aren’t miles away from the themes that Bobby would explore for his own label the following year. Sadly, the album suffers from being split up into a ballad side and an upbeat side, but Beautiful Things and Talk to the Animals are classic Darin. Unfortunately, the release seemed to get lost amongst the official soundtrack album and the superior album of songs from the film by Sammy Davis Jr – someone who understood the songs of Leslie Bricusse better than anyone. But Darin’s Dolittle is much better than many biographies suggest.

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Personnel:
Bobby Darin (vocals)
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unknown orchestra conducted by Roger Kellaway

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Tracklist:
01. At The Crossroads 2.38
02. When I Look In Your Eyes 2.59
03. I Think I Like You 2.24
04. Where Are The Words 2.24
05. Something In Your Smile 3.33
06. Fabulous Places 2.20
07. My Friend, The Doctor 3.02
08. Beautiful Things 2.27
09. After Today 2.08
10. Talk To The Animals 3.20

All songs written by Leslie Bricusse

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Ten Sharp – Under The Water-Line (1991)

FrontCover1.jpgTen Sharp is a Dutch band, sometimes labeled as a one-hit wonder group, because they are best known for their early 1990s hit song “You”, a hit in some European countries in 1991 and in others (such as the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number 10) in 1992. The two band members are Marcel Kapteijn (vocals) and Niels Hermes (keyboards).

Niels Hermes also worked with Attie Bauw on the first single by Esther Amadea.

Streets was a local band formed in the beginning 1982, when the two rival bands Prizoner and Pin-Up came together in the same room. Influenced by Thin Lizzy, they started writing symphonic rocksongs and played mainly in Purmerend and around.

The first gig was at the Hutspop festival on March 3, 1982. The band at this stage was Marcel Kapteijn on vocals and guitar, Niels Hermes on keyboards, Martin Boers on leadguitar, Ton Groen on bass and Joop van de Berg played the drums. In the summer of ’82, Joop van de Berg was replaced by Wil Bouwes from Neon Graffiti. This would be the line-up until the break-up in 1987.

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In October 1982, the group was invited to record three songs at Vara’s Popkrant, which resulted in national airplay. In April 1983 they played live at KRO Rocktempel which brought them to several record companies, but no one seemed to be interested. Around the summer of 1983, Niels Hermes’ good old Fender Rhodes and ARP monophonic synthesizer were stolen. This resulted in buying the polyphonic Roland JX-3P and Yamaha DX7 synthesizers which caused a big change in sound.

Driven by this new impulse, they locked themselves in Fort Spijkerboor to write new songs to impress the record companies. When they got out in February 1984 with a brand-new demo, finally there was interest at CBS Records. In September 1984 they recorded three songs in Studio Spitsbergen with Michiel Hoogenboezem including a demo-version of “When The Snow Falls”. The plans were there to release the first single, until the record company found out there was already another band in the USA called TenSharp02Streets. The band had to change its name in October 1984. Ten Sharp was chosen because of the sound of the name.

“When The Snow Falls” was the first single, released in January 1985. The song ended up in the Tip-parade and Vara’s Verrukkelijke 15. It gave the band a lot of attention on radio and television. The second single “Japanese Lovesong” ended up in the charts (number 30) in July 1985, while having a busy schedule with live-performances through the club-circuit in the Netherlands. The next single “Last Words” failed to hit the charts and ended up in the Tip-parade in January 1986. The band shot their first video for the song.

After a year of recording demo’s and touring through the Netherlands, they recorded their fourth single “Way Of The West” in February 1987, a guitar-heavy rocksong which failed immediately. CBS Records was not happy with the song and dropped the band.[citation needed] On October 17, 1987 they played their last show in Hazerswoude as a 5-piece band.

Niels Hermes and Ton Groen did continue writing songs for other artists. In 1989 they contributed two songs for the National Songcontest, without success, and Niels played in the band of Conny Vandenbos.

After two years of songwriting, they asked Marcel Kapteijn to sing on the demos that already included “You” and “Ain’t My Beating Heart”. When Sony Music heard the demos they were very interested in the songs sung by Marcel, who was still fed up with the music business. Ten Sharp would be Marcel Kapteijn on vocals, Niels Hermes on keys and songwriting, and Ton Groen who provided the lyrics.

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It was the end of 1990 when they recorded 6 songs for “Under The Water-Line” at Studio Spitsbergen with producer Michiel Hoogenboezem. The name “Under The Water-Line” was chosen because of the way they liked to work: in the background.

The album was released on April 13 from 1991, together with the single “You”. The song became a national hit rapidly, and so did the album. By the time the single “Ain’t My Beating Heart” was released, the 7-track album was expanded to a 10-track full album. Also for release in other countries. After the singles “When The Spirit Slips Away” and the re-release of “When The Snow Falls” they released the song “Rich Man” in March 1992, which resulted in their third hit from the album. At this time, “You” was just released across Europe, enjoying a lot of success. The band toured through Europe to promote the single on TV and radio stations. Because of the line-up, live performances were done only with piano and vocals, sometimes joined by Tom Barlage on saxophone. This continued until the fall of 1992.

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Alternate frontcovers

Under The Water-Line is the debut album from the Dutch band Ten Sharp and contains the hit singles “You”, “Ain’t My Beating Heart” and “Rich Man”. The album was released in March 1991 with 7 tracks, but by the time “You” became a national hit the album was expanded in April of the same year with three new songs to make it a full 10-tracks album. The album itself entered the top ten in Norway, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland.

The LP version of this album plays an early version of “Rich Man”. This version is half a minute longer.

The song “When the Snow Falls” was previously released as a single in January 1985. The version that appears on the album contains the single version combined with the atmospheric intro of the extended version. (by wikipedia)

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I watched the Ten Sharp’s single from this album, YOU in 1992 at MTV. This dutch band has created an amazing album which has surprisingly not broken records, inspite of songs like “Ain’t my beating heart” and the mesmerising “When the spirit slips away”. Wish their record label Epic / Columbia invested more in marketing this album. We would have perhaps heard more of this group. (by Anurag Pathak)

I guess, this album is more for romantic women, but not for me … even I´m a romantic guy, too.

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Personnel:
Niels Hermes (all instruments, programming)
Marcel Kapteijn (vocals)
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Tom Barlage (saxophone)
Martin Boers (guitar on 09.)
Wil Bouwes (drums on 09.)
Hugo de Bruin (guitar on 03.)
Ton Groen (bass on 09.)
Rob Jansen (drums on 03. + 10.)
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Stylus Horns (horns on 03.)

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Tracklist:
01. You (Hermes/Groen) 4.34
02. When The Spirit Slips Away (Hermes/Groen) 4.45
03. Rich Man (Hermes/Groen) 4.14
04. Ain’t My Beating Heart (Hermes/Groen) 4.15
05. Lonely Heart (Hermes/Groen/Kapteijn) 4.55
06. Who Needs Women (Hermes/Groen) 4.41
07. Some Sails (Hermes/Groen) 4.16
08. Ray (Hermes/Groen) 4.01
09. When The Snow Falls (Hermes/Kapteijn) 5.15
10. Closing Hour (Hermes/Groen) 3.58

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Ten Sharp is still alive and well … here´s a screenshot from the website in 2019:

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Spice Girls – Spice (1996)

FrontCover1.jpgSpice Girls were the first major British pop music phenomenon of the mid-’90s to not have a debt to independent pop/rock. Instead, the all-female quintet derived from the dance-pop tradition that made Take That the most popular British group of the early ’90s, but there was one crucial difference. Spice Girls used dance-pop as a musical base, but they infused the music with a fiercely independent, feminist stance that was equal parts Madonna, post-riot grrrl alternative rock feminism, and a co-opting of the good-times-all-the-time stance of England’s new lad culture. Their proud, all-girl image and catchy dance-pop appealed to younger listeners, while their colorful, sexy personalities and sense of humor appealed to older music fans, making Spice Girls a cross-generational success. The group also became chart-toppers throughout Europe in 1996, before concentrating in America in early 1997.

Every member of Spice Girls was given a specific identity by the British press from the outset, and each label was as much an extension of their own personality as it was a marketing tool, since each name derived from their debut single and video, “Wannabe.” Geri Estelle Halliwell was the “sexy Spice”; Melanie Janine Brown was the “scary Spice”; Victoria Adams was “the posh Spice”; Melanie Jayne Chisholm was “the sporty Spice”; Emma Lee Bunton was “the baby Spice.” Each persona was exploited in the group’s press articles and videos, which helped send “Wannabe” to the top of the charts upon its summer release in 1996. If all of the invented personalities made Spice Girls seem manufactured, that’s because they were to a certain extent.

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Every member of the group was active in England’s theatrical, film, and modeling circuit before the group’s formation, and they all responded to an advertisement requesting five “lively girls” for a musical group in the summer of 1993. The manager who placed the ad chose all five members of Spice Girls, yet the women rejected his plans for their career and set out on their own two months after forming. For the next two years, the Girls fought to get a record contract, since most record labels insisted that the band pick one member as a clear leader, which is something the group refused.

Eventually, Spice Girls signed a contract to Virgin Records. They were without a manager, though, which made recording a debut album nearly impossible. All five members moved into a house and went on the dole as they searched for a manager. By the end of 1995, the group had signed with Annie Lennox’s manager Simon Fuller, and began writing songs with Elliot Kennedy. “Wannabe,” Spice Girls’ first single, was released in the summer of 1996 and became the first debut single by an all-female band to enter the British charts at number one. It remained there for seven weeks, and by the end of the year, “Wannabe” had hit number one in 21 other countries. Immediately following the success of “Wannabe,”

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Spice Girls became media icons in Britain as stories of their encounters with other celebrities became fodder for numerous tabloids, as did nude photos of Halliwell that she posed for earlier in her career. All of this added to the group’s momentum, and their second single, “Say You’ll Be There,” entered the charts at number one in the fall, selling 200,000 copies a week. Spice, their debut album, was released at the end of the year, accompanied by their first ballad, “2 Become 1.” Both the album and single went directly to number one, staying there for several weeks; both records were at number one over the Christmas week, making Spice Girls one of three artists to achieve that feat.

Having topped the charts in virtually every other country in the Western world, Spice Girls concentrated on America in early 1997, releasing “Wannabe” in January and Spice in February.

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They became massive stars in the U.S. as well, also scoring the hits “Say You’ll Be There” and “2 Become 1”; Spiceworld, their second LP, appeared later in the year in conjunction with their feature film of the same name. In May 1998, Geri Halliwell departed from the band, not citing major reasons for leaving the group. She did release a solo album, Schizophonic, a year later, but nothing chart-topping to match the success of her former band. Still not deterred by the absence of Ginger Spice, Spice Girls trudged on — Melanie B. married Spice Girls dancer Jimmy Gulzar and released the solo single, a duet with Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot called “I Want You Back.” By Christmas, Spice Girls scored a number one hit with Goodbye and with a career floating high, their personal lives were moving as well. Melanie B. gave birth to a daughter named Phoenix Chi in February 1999, and Adams followed a month later with a son, Brooklyn Joseph. And now only known as Victoria Beckham, Posh Spice married Manchester United soccer star David Beckham later that summer. Becoming now more noticeable for their social status than their singing, Spice Girls took a well-deserved break while Melanie C. took over the English charts with her successful solo effort Northern Star, which was released in the U.S. in fall 1999. The following year, the girls headed back into the studio with high-profile producers Rodney Jerkins, Terry Lewis, and Jimmy Jam (Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige) to record a follow-up to their pop-friendly Spiceworld.

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In the middle of recording, Melanie B. divorced Gulzar and endured a bitter custody battle throughout the remainder of 2000. Spice Girls’ creative power overruled media scrutiny so that they could fully focus on the new R&B sound they were trying for and a the new collaboration united the foursome once again to release the third album Forever, which hit American shores in fall 2000.

The group began to splinter not long after the release of Forever, which made little impact outside of the UK where it only had one hit single — the chart-topping double-sided single “Holler”/”Let Love Lead the Way” — before the Spice Girls stopped promoting the album. Just three months after the album’s November 2000 release, the band announced that they were separating in February of 2001.

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Over the next few years, the Spice Girls may not have existed as a group, but they were never out of various taboild headlines in the UK and America. As the wife of football superstar David Beckham, Victoria got the most attention, but Mel B wasn’t far behind thanks to her ill-fated romance with actor Eddie Murphy, which resulted in an out-of-wedlock child. Mel Chisholm had a steady career as a pop singer while Emma Bunton had some chart success of her own with her 2001 album A Girl Like Me and its 2004 successor, Free Me. Meanwhile, Geri Halliwell split her time between recording and TV projects.

After years of persistent rumors of a reunion — peaking heavily yet never materializing for Bob Geldolf’s 2005 charity event Live 8 — the Spice Girls announced in June 2007 that they would be reuniting for an eleven-concert tour beginning that December, which would be accompanied by a new greatest hits album and documentary.

In 2010, it was announced that the Spice Girls had joined forces with Simon Fuller to develop a musical based on their songs. Viva Forever: The Musical – penned by British comedienne Jennifer Saunders – was announced at a press conference in June 2012. After much speculation in the British press, the Spice Girls reformed once more for the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

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Spice doesn’t need to be original to be entertaining, nor do the Spice Girls need to be good singers. It just has to be executed well, and the innocuous dance-pop of Spice is infectious. None of the Girls have great voices, but they do exude personality and charisma, which is what drives bouncy dance-pop like “Wannabe,” with its ridiculous “zig-a-zig-ahhh” hook, into pure pop guilty pleasure. What is surprising is how the sultry soul of “Say You’ll Be There” is more than just a guilty pleasure, and how ballads like “2 Become 1” are perfect adult contemporary confections. The rest of the album isn’t quite as catchy as those first three singles, but it is still irresistible, immaculately crafted pop that gets by on the skills of the producer and the charisma of the five Spices. Sure, the last half of the album is forgettable, but it sounds good while it’s on, which is the key to a good dance-pop record. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

The Spice was really not my kind of music … but their first hit single “Wannabe” was one ofthe finest pop records in the Ninties !

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Personnel:
Mel B – Emma Bunton – Melanie C – Geri Halliwell (vocals)
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Absolute (instruments on 02., 04., 05. +  07.– 09.)
Matt Rowe (keyboards, programming on 01., 03., 06. + 10.)
Richard Stannard (keyboards, programming 01., 03., 06. + 10.); background vocals on 10.)
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Pete Davis (additional programming on 03.)
Jackie Drew (violin on 06.)
Eric Gooden (background vocals on 05.)
Judd Lander (harmonica on 02.)
Greg Lester (guitar on 03. + 06.)
Mary Pearce (background vocals on 07.)
Statik (additional programming on 03. + 05.)
Paul Waller (additional programming on 03. + 04.)
Tony Ward (cello on 06.)
Dave Way (additional programming on 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. Wannabe (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 2.53
02. Say You’ll Be There (Spice Girls/Kennedy) 3.56
03. 2 Become 1 (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 4.01
04. Love Thing (Spice Girls/Kennedy/Bayliss) 3.38
05. Last Time Lover (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.11
06. Mama (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 5.05
07. Who Do You Think You Are (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.00
08. Something Kinda Funny (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.05
09. Naked (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.25
10. If U Can’t Dance (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 3.48

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Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna really
Really really wanna zigazig ah.

If you want my future forget my past,
If you wanna get with me better make it fast,
Now don’t go wasting, my precious time,
Get your act together we can be just fine.

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna really
Really really wanna zigazang ah.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,(gottagetwithmyfriends!)
Make it last forever friendship never ends,
If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give,
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.

So what you think about that? Now you know how I feel.
Say you can handle my love are you for real,(are you for real)
I won’t be hasty, I’ll give you a try
If you really bug me then I’ll say goodbye.

Yo I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha I wanna ha, I wanna really
Really really wanna zigazig ah.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,
Make it last forever friendship never ends,
If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give,
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.

So here’s a story from A to Z, you wanna get with me
You gotta listen carefully,
We got Em in the place who likes it in your face,
We got G like mc who likes it on an
Easy V doesn’t come for free, shes a real lady
And as for me.. Ha you’ll see.
Slam your body down and wind it all around
Slam your body down and wind it all around.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,
Make it last forever friendship never ends,
If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give,
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta, you gotta, you
Gotta,
You gotta, you gotta!!!!! Make it last forever (stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!)
Slam your body down and wind it all around?
Slam your body down and wind it all around.(ha ha ha ha)
Slam your body down and wind it all around.
Slam your body down zigazig ah

Phil Collins – Serious Hits … Live (1990)

FrontCover1.jpgSerious Hits… Live! is the name of Phil Collins’ 1990 live album, released on vinyl and CD. It is also the title of the 2003 DVD video release of his concert at Berlin’s Waldbühne on 15 July 1990. (The original 1990 VHS and Betamax version of the video was titled Seriously Live.) The songs on the CD version are taken from various concerts during the Seriously, Live! World Tour. At the Brit Awards in 1992, the album brought Collins a nomination for British Male Artist.

When compiling the tracks for the album, instead of providing the experience of a complete live concert, the producers took the approach of putting together a “hits only” selection of songs. On the final song of the album, Collins thanks the fans in Chicago.

The live video and DVD version features one entire concert. The live performance at Berlin’s Waldbühne has been hailed by Collins as his best performance due to the energy of the German people after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The DVD presents an in-depth look at his solo concert experience. Special moments include the crowd not allowing the concert to continue with prolonged applause after “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” and the lighter vigil during “Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore”. (by wikipedia)

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Along with being a multi-talented musician and an excellent songwriter, Phil Collins is one of the best live performers in rock. His songs usually stay true to their original form, he puts plenty of fire into his vocals, and best of all, every one of his in-concert qualities transfers well into album form. Serious Hits…Live! is a wonderful example of this, with not only 15 tracks, but 15 of Phil’s best tracks, performed with an overcharged amount of enthusiasm and energy. There’s an equal number of ballads and fast songs on the album, but even on the slow stuff, Collins puts a lot of passion and feeling into the lyrics. Efforts such as “One More Night,” “Do You Remember?,” and especially his best ballad, “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” are heartfelt and unhindered. His moods shift easily without any false emotional dramatics, which in turn enhances the ambience of the songs. The tracks are taken from a number of shows during his Serious Tour in 1990, but his performance level remains enthusiastic the whole album through and the change of venues goes unnoticed, which is again another plus.

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Collins is just as sharp on the quicker tunes, with some wonderful percussion filling in behind him. The drumming is stellar on “Easy Lover” and again on “Sussudio,” but the album’s only downfall is its lack of credits, leaving the identities of the musicians a mystery. The album makes up for this with a spine-chilling version of “In the Air Tonight” as Collins does a good job of capturing the song’s haunting air, and from here the album switches gears with “You Can’t Hurry Love” but doing so with undefiled perfection. Almost all of the songs here broke Billboard’s Top Ten, and five of these tracks hit number one, which makes Serious Hits…Live! truly live up to it’s name. (by Mike DeGagne)

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Personnel:
Brad Cole (keyboards)
Phil Collins (vocals, piano, drums)
Leland Sklar (bass)
Daryl Stuermer (guitar)
Chester Thompson (drums)
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The Phenix Horns:
Rahmlee Michael Davis (trumpet)
Harry Kim (trumpet)
Don Myrick (saxophone)
Louis “Lui Lui” Satterfield (trombone)
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The Seriousettes (background vocals):
Bridgette Bryant – Arnold McCuller – Fred White

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Tracklist:
01. Something Happened On The Way To Heaven (Collins/Stuermer) 5.00
02. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)  (Collins) 3.29
03. Who Said I Would (Collins) 4.28
04. One More Night (Collins) 5.49
05. Don’t Lose My Number (Collins) 4.42
06. Do You Remember? (Collins) 5.40
07. Another Day In Paradise (Collins) 5.36
08. Separate Lives (Bishop) 5.17
09. In The Air Tonight (Collins) 6.35
10. You Can’t Hurry Love (Dozier, E.Holland/B.Holland) 2.54
11. Two Hearts (Collins/Lamont/Dozier) 3.07
12. Sussudio (Collins) 7.14
13. A Groovy Kind Of Love (Bayer-Sager/Wine) 3.30
14. Easy Lover (Bailey/Collins/East) 4.46
15. Take Me Home (Collins) 8.39

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