Yesterday

Paul McCartney’s iconic song “Yesterday”, is now inspiration for a movie.

The Movie ‘Yesterday‘ is due out in theatres on June 28th. Looks like it will be a fun movie, anything with a lot of Beatles songs has to be good. Initial reviews aren’t very great but I recall Bohemian Rhapsody was in the same spot, seems it did very well at the box office and at awards shows. Though in this case ‘Yesterday’ is not autobiographical it is fiction, still one has to think a Beatles Soundtrack is going to do as well or better. At the very least it will remind us of how great The Beatles actually were and that songs still hold up today. The plot of the movie is based on a struggling musician being the only one who remembers ‘The Beatles’ existed ‘yesterday’ as ‘today’ they are absent from everyone’s memory. It’s a brilliant premise and poses the question, what if these songs did just come out now, how popular would they be? If nothing else it highlights the genius of ‘The Beatles‘, the Lennon-McCartney duo and the added touches of the ever creative Sir George Martin.Read More »

Famous Duets

As in the ‘Couples that Sing‘ post, I’ve mentioned some duets in past posts, specifically the number one duet according to Billboard.com, Endless Love.

If you follow the Billboard.com list next is a song by Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson which I have chosen not to add, but here is a cover by Louis Delort & Atef Sedkaoui, ‘The Voice France’ in 2012. Rounding out the top five are “The Boy Is Mine” (1998) Brandy & Monica, “Ebony And Ivory” Paul McCartney once again with Stevie Wonder (1982), and “Dilemma“, Nelly & Kelly Rowland (2002).

If we look at RollingStone.com from 2014 the ‘duets’ readers poll (list) looks like this; “Under Pressure” (1981) written by Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon and David Bowie, the duet being Freddie and David though I think the rest of Queen was in on that song as well, followed by “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (1981) performed by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty, written by Petty and Mike Campbell (of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), Stevie Nicks again with Don Henley, “Leather and Lace”, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, “Don’t Give Up” (1986) and at #5 is Elton John and Kiki Dee, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”. All worthy contenders in a category too deep to start listing ‘best of’s’ at all.

There are these sort of one off collaborations as mentioned above and certainly one can add to this list with legendary names such as Frank Sinatra and Liza Minnelli  “I’ve Got the World on a String“, arrangement by Nelson Riddle, music by Harold Arlen lyrics by Ted Koehler.  A ‘digital’ duet of which there are many great ones out there “We Call on Him” from an album of songs Glen Campbell recorded for the ears of Elvis Presley only, Glen Campbell ‘Sings For The King’. One of my favorites is ‘Genius Loves Company’ the final studio album from Ray Charles, “Here We Go Again” (with Norah Jones). A pleasant surprise to me when researching this topic was the couple of Otis Redding and Carla Thomas, I was a fan of both their music and completely unaware they had recorded together.

The other ‘duets’ are the actual groups that sing together on an ongoing basis. Or referred to as a ‘duo’ that being a musical or dance collaboration with or without the vocals. Top of the list here for me has to be ‘The Everly Brothers‘ with songs like these and the heartbreaking “Ebony Eyes” this video clip includes some interesting facts about the brothers as well. I’ve already blogged some of the top ones such as Simon and Garfunkel, and several more throughout my blog.

Daryl Hall and John Oates, known of course as ‘Hall and Oates’ are not only one of the most successful duos of all time but rock bands period, charting 34 hits in the Billboard Hot 100. Their biggest hits came in the late 70’s and early 80’s with 6 #1’s like “Out of Touch” (1984) written by Daryl Hall and John Oates. My personal favorite is “Sara Smile” written by Daryl Hall and John Oates and it reached #4 in 1976. “She’s Gone” is another great song originally from 1974 reaching #60 but hit #6 when re-released in 1976 off of the strength of “Sara Smile”.

I’d be in trouble at home if I didn’t mention Richard and Karen Carpenter, originally known as ‘Carpenters’ but since to be called ‘The Carpenters‘. They are a ubiquitous part of the Holiday Season with their legendary ‘Christmas Portrait’ album. Karen is undeniably one of the best voices ever to record, as evidenced here in a little known version of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” (Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice). A tragic story that ended with Karen’s death in 1983 at age 32. Among their many memorable hits where; “We’ve Only Just Begun” written by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams (1970), “Only Yesterday” written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis (1975), “Top of the World” (1972) written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis (1973), “(They Long to Be) Close to You” (1970) written by the legendary pair of Burt Bacharach and Hal David

Other notables include; Wham!, Soft Cell, The Black KeysBrooks & DunnThe Civil WarsEurythmicsThe Weather Girls, and for some real throwbacks, Mickey & Sylvia, Sam and Dave and Inez and Charlie Foxx.

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/readers-poll-the-10-greatest-duets-of-all-time-11074/5-elton-john-and-kiki-dee-dont-go-breaking-my-heart-211157/https://www.billboard.com/articles/list/473075/the-40-biggest-duets-of-all-timehttps://www.ranker.com/list/music-duos/jacob-shelton,

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Couples that Sing Together

Couples (that sing together don’t always stay together)

There have been many ‘couples’ that sing together and I have mentioned several already in previous posts such as; Johnny Cash and June Carter, Tammy Wynette and George Jones, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood all from Country Music.

While anecdotally we can say that Country Music has the most couples that sing together, and from what I’ve seen this is indeed the case, what about other genres? In looking at these couples it seems singing together is not a formula for staying together-at least in most cases.

Ok I will get this one out of the way real quick, Jay-Z and Beyoncé! And despite their initial assertions they were brother and sister, Jack and Meg White (White Stripes) were married from 1996 to 2000, but performed together until 2011 (not as an unusual situation as you might think). Carly Simon and James Taylor were married from 1972-1983. Then there’s the whole ABBA thing with the couples together and then not while still performing together. Ditto with Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were recording together, before they joined the band and the other couple, John and Christine McVie, both would split up but continue with the band.

Elvis Costello and Diana Krall were very well established stars before becoming a couple and recording together.

John and Yoko would do some great songs with the Plastic Ono Band.  Sonny and Cher had several fantastic songs. Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa of The E Street Band, what else can I say? Win Butler and Regine Chassagne of Arcade Fire. Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson were a living love story. Richard and Linda Thompson representing the Folk genre and another example of couples that did not survive the pressures of working together.

I can’t leave out the Captain & Tennille, together for a not always happy 39 years yet remained friends after their divorce until Captain’s (Daryl Dragon) death in January of this year. Canada’s premier couple has to be Ian and Sylvia Tyson who stopped performing together after their divorce in 1975 but did reunite for some performances particularly in 1986 and 2010. The very tumultuous relationship of Ike and Tina Turner produced some remarkable music.

While many a fleeting or short lived relationship have produced music such as John Mayer & Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne & Chad Kroeger or Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo I have stuck with some of the more enduring couples. Though this post is far from comprehensive I’ve collected more ‘couples’ in one spot than on any list I could find but I know I have missed quite a few, maybe a favorite of yours?

Here is one of mine Paul and Linda McCartney.

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_PageSecondhandsongs.com
Images: http://www.astrudgilberto.com/index.htmlhttps://spinditty.com/artists-bands/Musician-Couples-in-Popular-Music,https://www.buzzfeed.com/verymuchso/the-24-most-adorable-musician-couples-in-history , https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/20-greatest-duos-of-all-time-16272/2-ike-tina-turner-239736/,
Images; https://hitberry.com/diana-krall-and-her-husband-elvis-costello-are-very-supportive-of-their-childrenhttps://www.billboard.com/articles/list/5901276/20-best-love-songs-by-celebrity-couples, nightflight.com

If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it’s not tracking in terms of anyone’s identity. For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well or post it to your timeline on FB. And many thanks as always for reading my blog!

World Music

Women of World Music

When it comes to music outside of my usual purview, generally that being for the most part Canada, the U.S. and the British Isles, this is what I’ll refer to as ‘World Music’. Vague definitions aside it is easy for me to decide where to begin.

In 1915 in Belleville, Paris, France, a little girl named Édith Giovanna Gassion was abandoned by her mother at birth and dropped off by her father on his way to fight in WW1 to be raised by his mother in her brothel in Bernay, Normandy. There is a story she (and others) had told that she was blind from the ages of 3 to 7 when she was miraculously cured after a religious pilgrimage. By age 14 she had left the brothel and rejoined her father who was a street performing acrobat. She soon met her half sister Simone “Mômone” Berteaut and in 1930 the two began singing and performing together, earning enough to rent their own room at the Grand Hôtel de Clermont. Soon after Édith’s boyfriend moved in to the tiny room and at the age of 17 she had a little girl. Ill equipped to handle a child, relationship and a more than full time job singing, sadly the little girl Marcelle would die at age two while living with her father, apparently from meningitis.

In 1936 Édith’s now burgeoning career was sidelined after her possible involvement in the death of nightclub owner Louis Leplée. She changed her name to Édith Piaf and in 1944 met Yves Montand at the Moulin Rouge. She wrote “Mais qu’est-ce que j’ai ?” (music by Henri Betti) for Yves. Édith revolutionized cabaret performing while becoming the most popular singer in France. She toured internationally and “La Vie en rose” would become her signature song and is still known word for word in France generations later. With eight appearances on the Ed Sullivan show and two at Carnegie Hall she was an American superstar. Her life was shortened by pain, unbearable tragedy, controversy, alcohol and drugs. She died in 1963 of liver cancer, at age 47. While Piaf wrote the song ‘La vie en rose’ (with the Louis Guglielmi) she first offered it to singer Marianne Michel who recorded it in 1945. Piaf would be the next to record it in 1947. There are over 320 versions of this song of love and happiness. I believe the first english version is by Bing Crosby (1950), Yves Montand (1967), Grace Jones (1977), Michael Bublé featuring Cécile McLorin Salvant (2018) and seemingly the most popular version ever, at least on YouTube at over 44 million views is Daniela Andrade from Montreal.

Astrud Gilberto (born Astrud Evangelina Weinert, March 29, 1940 (age 79) was raised in Rio De Janeiro. She married the bossa nova pioneer João Gilberto, but soon after started a relationship with his musical collaborator Stan Getz. She is best known for her contribution to the cover song “The Girl from Ipanema” (Norman Gimbel wrote the english lyrics) by Stan Getz & João Gilberto (1962). The song was written by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, originally performed in a medley tune entirely in Portuguese “Garota de Ipanema” (by her husband João Gilberto and the two writers). From that initial two minutes of memorized english lyrics (as she spoke none) in the song with João Gilberto, Astrud has made a career of singing bossa nova’s, samba’s and American standards. João’s Portuguese was edited out and the song was released as a single selling over 1 million copies while she toured the U.S. and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Some are critical of the fact she was untrained and had never sung professionally before. Those that can appreciated her unassuming and low key style truly understand her talent. Although she looks somewhat terrified in this video clip it was after all her very first television performance. She toured and recorded with Stan Getz for several years but has gone on to record 16 studio albums with songs like “Corcovado“, “Samba de Verão“, “Manha De Carnabal” and “Fly me to the Moon“. She recorded songs in at least six different languages.

Susanne Sundfør was Born and raised in Haugesund, Norway. She is a wonderfully talented and creative singer-songwriter, musician and producer. “White Foxes“, “Fade Away” and “Mountaineers” (featuring John Grant).

Sia Furler (Sia Kate Isobelle Furler) is an Australian singer-songwriter that you have heard before. Her smash hit song “Chandelier” took the world by storm in 2014 with videos starring Maddie Ziegler. This of course was not her first worldwide hit either, “You’ve Changed” came out in 2010. She spent many years in the business including lead singer for Zero 7, before teaming up with the likes of Christina Aguilera and writing songs for the movie ‘Burlesque’.

Ioanna Mouschouri, born October 13, 1934 is known professionally as Nana Mouskouri. Trained as a classical singer Nana gravitated toward Jazz with influences such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. She has released over 200 albums and has singles in at least twelve different languages, including Greek, French, English, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Hebrew, Welsh, Mandarin Chinese and Corsican. A native of Greece she grew up in Athens and came to national notice for winning at the Greek Song Festival in 1959 and 1960. Where to start and where to end with such an amazing and prolific career, for now just this short note about a remarkable artist. Although she has recorded many original works such as “Je chante avec toi Liberté“. She is perhaps best known internationally for her cover versions of songs like; “Plaisir d’amour” and “The White Rose of Athens“.

Celia Cruz (October 21, 1925-July 16, 2003) grew up in Havana, Cuba. A natural vocalist, her Aunt would take her around to local Cabarets to sing. Referred to as the ‘Queen of Latin Music’ and the ‘Queen of Salsa’. While on tour in Mexico after the Cuban Revolution her band ‘La Sonora Matancera’ all decided to move to the U.S. where she became a citizen in 1961. She has received many honours including seven Grammys, a Star on the Walk of Fame and The National Medal of Arts. She appeared in several movies and produced dozens of albums. “La Negra Tiene Tumbao“, “Bemba Colora“, “Melao de Caña“.

Angélique Kidjo born July 14, 1960 (age 58), Ouidah, Dahomey (now Benin). Know as Africa’s premier Diva, via Paris she now lives in New York City. With over a dozen albums to her credit, she is a humanitarian, an actor and has received countless awards including a Grammy in 2008. “Quimbara“, “We We“,
Summertime“.

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_PageSecondhandsongs.com
Images: http://www.astrudgilberto.com/index.html, Angelique Kidjo Photo: Sofia and Mauro.

If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it’s not tracking in terms of anyone’s identity. For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well or post it to your timeline on FB. And many thanks as always for reading my blog!

HBD Richelle!