Showing posts with label sam cooke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sam cooke. Show all posts

Friday, June 1, 2012

Golden Voices

NPR (one of my faves?) has an online article, titled, "50 Great Voices".

Lists such as these are always interesting, but are generally consensual ~ a group of individuals gets together and hashes out their mutual top 50; weeding and eliminating and ranking artists as they go.

Music, however, is personal, emotional, and, I believe, mostly biographical.  Perhaps most of us can agree that certain voices are technically superior.  That does not account, however, for each of our life stories, and the way certain singers have influenced our own lives.  It's not necessarily the vocal prowess; often it's the way they have laid their hand upon our shoulder.     

And who, really, can even think of their own top singers, without first hearing them and realizing, hey!  This is one of my top singers!  Truly, one cannot even narrow the list to 50.  Somebody else is inevitably going to pop up; someone we hadn't even thought about.

I do know who my ultimate favorite singer is, but, in fairness, I have had almost 60 years to ponder the question (although I don't think I actually ever pondered it.  Maybe I did, when I was around 13, but what did I know then?)

But, for fun tonight, I thought I would search out some video performances of singers I really like.  All of them may not be the world's greatest singers, but don't forget the emotional and biographical aspect of this exercise.

There is no order to this, so I'm not ranking anybody.  I will, however, save the best for last (at least my best).

Steve Perry

Burton Cummings (and the Guess Who)

Art Garfunkel

Sam Cooke

Gordon Lightfoot

Daryl Hall (Hall & Oates)

Al Green (yea, the real one)

John Lennon (and the Beatles)

Eddie Brigati (and the Rascals)

Brian Wilson (and the Beach Boys)

Bill Medley (and the Righteous Brothers)

Connie Smith

Gene Watson

Tammy Wynette

Patsy Cline

Merle Haggard

George Strait

Dwight Yoakam

Roy Orbison

I know I have left out a bunch.  Inevitably.  I'm one of those people who is all about the songs, more so than the singers, usually.  I mean, if I was just going to list songs, I'd include Sheena Easton here.  Seriously. And ABBA.

I did try, however, to include the singers whose bodies of work are, to me, indisputable.

And yes, Alex, ultimately, I will go with Roy Orbison for the win.  I've heard a bunch in my 57 years, but I have never, and will never, hear one better.

But the question remains....Who are your golden voices?  Let me know, please.   I would love to discover artists I've missed, or don't even know about.

What's better than sharing music?  Nothin'.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pioneers Of Rock - The Early-To Mid-Sixties

In my previous post, I tried to note some of the very early 1960's songs that were major hits, but have somehow gotten lost amidst the sheer numbers of songs that have been released throughout the years.

As I write this, I'm not working from a list of any kind. I'm just going on memory here. If something rings a bell (ding!) in the recesses of my memory, I try to find it on YouTube.

So, here is where my mind is taking me tonight:


This was the biggest selling song of 1965. 1965? Really? I wouldn't have guessed 1965. I remember hearing the song on the radio. It was catchy. I, at my tender age, didn't know what "sham" meant. So, I just figured they were real Arabian guys - hey, what did I know? I was 10 years old, for pete's sake. In hindsight, I realize that he seemed to be well versed in the English language, with nary a hint of an Arabian accent. Later, much later, I found out that "Sam" was really Domingo Samudio, from Texas. Kind of disillusioning. On a side note, the reason I don't dance anymore is because I would dance exactly like they're dancing in this video. That would kind of date me.


Well, whaddaya know? This song was from 1965! This is one of my all-time favorite songs. I even have it on my MP3 player. I saw the Vogues in concert. They played a gig at Lee's Steakhouse, in the basement (Lissa, help me out here. What was the name of the bar?) This was in the early '70's. They put on a great show, and I was very impressed. Not to digress here, but I saw a few major acts in Lee's Steakhouse basement bar. I saw the Doobie Brothers there, too. I had forgotten about that until just this minute. Admittedly, I was underage, but that's neither here nor there. Geez, I'd totally forgotten about that. I guess I saw some great shows that I didn't even know I'd seen. But back to the song at hand, did I say I love this song? I do.


Okay, this is getting a bit spooky, but apparently, this song was also released in 1965. Here'e what I remember....Shindig was on Wednesday nights. Unfortunately, I also had my accordion lessons on Wednesday nights (DAMN YOU, ACCORDION LESSONS!) The biggest stress I had at that time was that I did NOT want to miss Shindig. And the artists who I remember most vividly from Shindig were The Righteous Brothers. I'm guessing they were on there every week ~ whaddya think? The Righteous Brothers were RIGHTEOUS; there's just no two ways about it. Bill Medley, Bobby Hatfield. Back then, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" wasn't even my favorite Righteous Brothers song. It was "(You're My) Soul & Inspiration". Funny story......I had a birthday party when I was nine (I think). I had all my friends from school, plus my best friend, Cathy, who didn't go to my school. Some of my friends asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I told Cathy I wanted something by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (I can't even remember which song it was!) and I told my friend, Debbie Fischer, that I wanted the single, "(You're My) Soul & Inspiration" by the Righteous Brothers. Well, when I opened my gifts, I made the mistake of saying, "Oh, just what I wanted!" (in reaction to the RB song), and that set off a big snit by my friend, Cathy. So, I somehow had to smooth that over. And I haven't heard from Cathy in about 43 years. I guess she really holds a grudge.


Can't actually find a live performance of this song, but it's still kinda cool watching the guy put the record on his turntable (ummm... what's a turntable?) Ha ha - I'm just kidding. This song was NOT from 1965, so that's a plus. I like this one. It reminds me of those JFK years, when my brother was trying to tell me what to think and what was what, and I blindly went along, because I was just a kid. And we were all gung ho about going into space, for whatever reason, but I just liked the song.


I couldn't NOT acknowledge Sam Cooke here. Everyone seems to have forgotten him. That's a real travesty. He was a SUPERB artist. This is not the video I would have chosen, but it's one of the few that actually shows a live performance by Sam. I think we would do well to not forget Sam Cooke. If Sam was alive today, we'd probably all be swooning over his songs. As is, it's good to remind people of what a unique talent he was.


This hit song, from 1963, was produced by Quincy Jones. Yes, THAT Quincy Jones, who also produced Michael Jackson. Lesley does a fine job lip-syncing here, despite the distraction of the dancers, who are over-dancing, if that is a word. I like, though, that the guys on the dance floor are all wearing suits and ties. You just don't see that anymore. Very respectful. Their moms told them to dress up. This created resentment in later years, so they all let their hair grow out and they got tangled up in the drug world of Haight-Ashbury. They are now all mortgage brokers. Just a bit of trivia and follow-up.

I like to end my posts with something special. Here is something special:


My stance has always been this: This is the quintessential rock and roll song. If one was forced to choose one song that represented rock music, I feel this would be the ideal choice.

So, onwards and upwards. There are many songs and artists yet to explore.

P.S. I had originally included Gary Lewis & The Playboys in this post, but some moron deleted the video from YouTube.