This is in my top five favourite songs of the year. You agree?
Bryan Adams is 60 this week.
He was born in Ontario to English parents who originally lived in Plymouth but emigrated to Canada in the mid-50. At the age of 15 he became the lead singer with a group called Sweeney Todd. In 1978, at the age of 19, he launch a solo career after meeting Jim Vallance, a former drummer and the pair formed a life-long writing partnership.
I had the pleasure of interview Bryan in 2005 whilst preparing a number one’s show for the once good station Capital Gold.
This is probably Bryan’s most well-known song and Jim revealed that the Jackson Browne song Running on Empty, which contains the lyrics, ‘In ’69 I was 21,’ was a subconscious influence on their writing, and that Bryan may have been influenced by the movie Summer Of ’42.
To learn the full story of this song, you can read it here https://www.jonkutner.com/summer-of-69/
Meanwhile, let enjoy the Summer of 69 all over again.
Darrin O’Brien, aka Snow is 50 this week.
He a white reggae rapper from Allenbury Gardens, Toronto and when he was growing up in the early eighties his neighbourhood experienced an influx of Jamaicans. They loved his music and rapping style and thus nicknamed him Snow, which some will tell you is an acronym for Super Notorious Outrageous Whiteboy.
He was accused of murder but whilst on bail he took a holiday in Queens, New York where he met the rapper M.C. Shan and the pair made a four-song demo which earned his a deal with East West records.
Before he had time to do anymore he was recalled to Canada to face sentencing. He was eventually acquitted but did serve eight months for assault.
“Whilst in prison,” Snow recalled in an interview with Genius, “I had my father and brother in my cell and when I was in custody, I wrote that little piece, ‘Informer, detective man say Daddy Snow stabbed somebody down the lane.’ I didn’t even want to be a singer – it wasn’t like I was handing out demos. I just did it because I got snitched on. Where I grew up, in my family, that was a terrible thing to do.” The song is about being wrongfully accused of murder.
When released Informer spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and also topped the charts in Australia, Finland, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. In the UK, it reached number two.
Let’s remember that song.
Gary Kemp has just turned 60.
Spandau Ballet chart 20 UK hit singles and Gary wrote everyone of them. They spent a hot of 159 weeks on the UK singles chart and one of their finest songs was the 1984 top three hit Only When You Leave which is about a man who crave a woman he knows is not really right for him, but continues to chase her. Tony Hadley’s superb voice just nails every song. Enjoy.
Sue Wilkinson had one quirky hit in 1980 called You Gotta Be a Hustler If You Wanna Get On and she would have celebrated her 75th birthday this week.
There are a number of rumours and some incorrect information going round about Sue including that she had acting roles in both General Hospital and Coronation Street, these are untrue. About nine years ago, I had a brief interview with Trisha O’Keefe who was Sue’s producer and friend who told me the aforementioned information and the fact she was born in 1944 not 1943 as various sites including Wikipedia claim.
She was signed to Cheapskate Records which was owned by Chas Chandler who was managing Slade at the time and there was also another rumour that Don Powell of the band played drums on the track and made the peculiar twanging noises, but as Trisha confirmed, “Don Powell did not appear on track, he wasn’t on the scene when the track was first recorded – but did make an appearance with Sue on Top of The Pops as a guest celebrity which Chas suggested and he was miming with an ordinary drum kit. I was the one banging and twanging things on the record!” The man on the keyboard is Andy Millar-Reid.
You Gotta Be A Hustler If You Wanna Get On was originally called You Gotta Be A Scrubber If You Wanna Get On but it was Doreen Davies at Radio 1 who used to run the playlist meeting who suggested it be changed if they wanted airplay.
The single was taken from her only album, a 17-tracker called Looking for Cover. Three further singles were released, Time ‘N’ Tide, Women Only and Toy Boys but all failed to capture the public’s imagination.
“Sue eventually moved to Nashville to work with several major songwriters,” Trisha explained, “and had huge success as a jingle writer out there. She was sadly diagnosed with breast cancer and returned to the UK, where she died in 2005.
Let’s remember that great little quirky hit which reached number 25 in the UK.
Time for some more comedy.