In 1980, Kenny Rogers had an American number one and a UK number 12 with Lady. It was written by Lionel Richie and in this video Kenny tells how Lionel said he pitched it to the Commodores but they turned it down, but he was joking. Lionel received a call from Motown’s publishing company saying that Kenny Rogers wanted Lionel to write a song for him. Lionel agreed and flew to Las Vegas to meet Kenny and play him the demo. In an interview with The Metro who asked Lionel if he thought about keeping the song for himself, he replied, “Just the opposite. When I wrote the song for Kenny, I called my lawyer and said, ‘If I put my voice on this it’s going to be a smash, I want it.’ My lawyer said: ‘If you give it to Kenny, it will be bigger than you ever thought.’ Now this was true. What I did not realize was that not only did I have my crowd, I picked up all of Kenny’s following too. And that happened to be the rest of the world.”
Lemar Obika is celebrating the big 40 this week.
He was born in Tottenham and whilst growing up he and his siblings used to pretend to be the Jacksons and sing along with their songs. He got his break in 2002 when he applied for the reality show Fame Academy where he sang a duet with Lionel Richie on the Commodores hit Easy. After being invited by Beverley Knight to sing with her at a London concert, Sony Music was impressed and gave him a contract.
In August 2001 he’d released his first single Got Me Saying Ooh which failed to attract attention but after his appearance on Fame Academy, his next single, Dance (With U) and the parent album, Dedicated both charted with the single making number two and the album number 16.
One year later he released his second album, Time to Grow and from it, Another Day, If There’s Any Justice and the title track were all hit singles.
He continues to tour and in 2018 was chosen as a contestant for the 10th series of Dancing on Ice where he partnered Melody Le Moal but they were the fifth pair to be voted off.
Let’s enjoy, arguably, his best known song, If There’s Any Justice.
It was 40 years ago this week that Marc Bolan died in a car crash in Barnes. The car was driven by his girlfriend, the singer Gloria Jones who recorded the original version of Tainted Love and also write the 1979 disco hit Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet for Gonzalez.
T.Rex first hit the UK chart in 1968, under the name Tyrannosaurus Rex, with Debora. After three hits they shortened the name to T.Rex and chart 20 hit singles including the four chart toopers; Hot Love, Get It On, Telegram Sam and Metal Guru.
Let’s enjoy his last top 20 hit, from 1976.
The legendary Queen guitarist Brian May is 70 this week.
The great man, whom I’ve met on a few occasions, has many strings to his bow, but he is certainly an underrated songwriter, probably just over shadowed by his phenomenal guitar playing.
He wrote or co-wrote almost 50% of Queen’s 46 UK hit singles, the first, and a sole writer, was Now I’m Here, a number 11 hit in 1975. It was primarily written about the good times and the bad times of the hard, extensive touring, which the band did during their first few years.
In 1974, they famously supported Mott the Hoople on their American tour, and it that tour which also provided some inspiration, highlighted by the line ‘Down in the city, just Hoople and me.’
Of all the queen songs, this one holds the record for the longest stay in their live sets, Freddie recalled in a Record Mirror interview in 1976, “We released it after Killer Queen, and it’s a total contrast, just a total contrast. It was just to show people we can still do rock ‘n’ roll – we haven’t forgotten our rock ‘n’ roll roots. It’s nice to do on stage. I enjoyed doing that on stage.”
Let’s enjoy this live version in Budapest from 1986.
I’m not generally a fan of cover versions, but this one isn’t bad. Many will prefer the David Bowie original, but Bauhaus made a good job of this and their lead singer, Pete Murphy is 60 this week.
Bauhaus were formed in 1978 and originate from Northampton. They were led by singer Peter Murphy and backed up by brothers David on bass and Kevin Haskins on drums and completed by Daniel Ash on guitar. They were originally called Bauhaus 1919 which was a reference to the year that Bauhaus – the German Art School – was opened, but decided to drop the year almost immediately.
Their debut single in 1979 was called Bela Lugosi’s Dead which was championed by John Peel, but was also over nine minutes long thus restricting daytime airplay and in-turn, failed to make the chart. John Peel became a big fan and played all their tracks regularly and their first hit was called Kick in the Eye which stalled at number 59. The follow-up, THE Passion of Lovers made number 56 and then Spirit, the following year made number 42. Later in 1982 they covered Ziggy Stardust which shot to number 15 in the chart. That led to them appearing in the film The Hunger which starred the song’s originator, David Bowie
In 1983, they released two further singles, Lagartija Nick which peaked at 44 and was followed by She’s In Parties which reached number 26. Then at the end of a convert they announced their split. All members went on to various projects and Peter Murphy teamed up with Japan’s Mick Karn to form the short-lived band Dali’s Car who managed one number 66 hit in 1984 with The Judgement Is The Mirror. The pair reunited in 2010 to record the long-awaited second album, but by this time Karn had been diagnosed with cancer and died in January 2011. They did record five songs which were all featured on the InGladAloneness EP which came out in 2012.
Murphy married a Turkish lady and since 1992 has been living in Istanbul.
Let’s enjoy their cover of Ziggy Stardust.