It isn’t unheard of for the artist credited on a track not to be the one who actually sings on that track. Carlos Santana, for example, made a career of it. But while many Santana tracks are still receiving airplay, one artist whose credited tracks are much more difficult to hear on American radio is famed producer Quincy Jones.
It’s always amazing when songwriters can cram a full story into a three-minute song. Some of these stories have lasted, while some have fallen by the wayside. Some of the more enduring story songs include (to name just a couple) Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got a Gun” and Meat Loaf’s “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”. Paul Nicholas’s one and only hit song, “Heaven on the 7th Floor”, on the other hand, falls into the latter category.
Rita Coolidge was one of those artists who could have been known for many different things during her career. She had some success with then-husband Kris Kristofferson. Before that, according to multiple accounts, she wrote the piano coda of the Derek and the Dominoes classic “Layla”. But I would imagine most people remember her best for a string of hits in the late 70s, all of which were remakes. Two of those were top ten hits (though even those are not getting much airplay these days), but how many of my readers remember a top 30 hit entitled, simply enough, “You”?
When one thinks of Herb Alpert, it’s easy to think about his long recording career. There were lots of hits, including a number one vocal hit and a number one instrumental hit. Most people, I would imagine, think mostly of the 1960s and 70s when thinking about all his hits. Fewer people, however, would think of a late 80s top ten hit that featured Janet Jackson.
September 2018 saw the loss of yet another name from rock music history, as Marty Balin died at age 76. Marty Balin was one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane and also sang with its offshoot, Jefferson Starship. But it was his solo career that has become forgotten by radio now.
It’s certainly not uncommon to hear of a popular recording artist switching labels. In some cases, the jilted label waits a while, then releases a greatest hits collection from that artist containing only those hits (and almost-hits) which that artist recorded while under contract to that particular label. And that’s all well and good. Less common, though, is for a label to continue to release singles by a long-gone artist. That, however, is exactly what happened with Donna Summer.
Some pieces of entertainment are best known for the memes they inspire. Such was the case for the 1984’s minor hit Breakin’. Virtually no one remembers the sequel, but its subtitle has appeared all over the internet in recent years. At this point, most people who have spent more than a few hours on the internet have seen a lousy sequel to something, be it a movie, a political debate, or virtually anything else, given the title “____ 2: Electric Boogaloo”. Well, thank Breakin’ for that. But also thank Breakin’ for a little remembered Top 10 hit called “Breakin’…There’s No Stopping Us” by a duo called Ollie and Jerry.
Once again, lovers of music from decades past have been saddened to hear of the passing of Aretha Franklin from cancer. To say that Ms. Franklin had a long and successful recording career, quite honestly, doesn’t do justice to the influence she had on many, many others.
Readers of this site know that, in many cases, two types of songs which find themselves forgotten by radio after their initial release are one-hit wonders and power ballads. I suppose it goes without saying that a song that is both is more likely still to be forgotten. Add to that the fact that the song was released in 1990, a mostly forgotten year in pop music, and you very nearly have the perfect storm. Such was the case for the one hit for the hard rock* group Giant.
At the end of the 1970s, the Southern rock band Wet Willie had decided to split up (though they still tour occasionally, even now). Lead singer Jimmy Hall, though, was invited to record a solo album by the band’s then-label, Epic Records. And while Jimmy Hall’s solo career did not produce a lot of chart success, it did yield one bona fide hit, a song which is, sadly, quite forgotten now.