This is a clip from the 1941 film Hellzapoppin’. The musicians and dancers are pretty amazing, but watch closely at 17 seconds in when Slim Gaillard actually plays with his hands upside down.
Leapy Lee is 80s this week.
He was born in Eastbourne with the name Graham Pulleyblank which he later changed to Lee Graham.
He signed to Pye records in 1965 and released the single, It’s All Happening which went nowhere. The following year he signed with Decca and recorded one track, King of the Whole Wide World which also went nowhere. Again, the following year he went with CBS and released Boiled Beef and Carrots which did the same as the previous two releases.
He got his break when he was working as a bingo caller and the songwriter Albert Hammond came in. Albert told me in an interview that Lee went up to him after he recognised him and said that he was also a singer and did he have any spare songs he could have. Albert said, “Well, I’ve got one song which I’ve had for a while and can’t get anyone to record it so you can have a go if you like.” The song was Little Arrows and indeed Albert did make it a hit when it reached number two in October 1968.
He is classed as a one-hit-wonder, but actually did chart a follow up, Good Morning petered out at number 29 in January 1970.
He moved to Spain and was next seen in the late 90s when he appeared as a ‘roving reporter’ with Nadia Sawalha on the TV show Passport to the Sun.
He still lives in Spain and has a regular column in the Euro Weekly News which is an English newspaper but based in the Costa del Sol, mainly focusing on anti-immigration matters.
Let’s remember the catchy Little Arrows from the wonderful Beat Club in 1968.
Time for another little bit of comedy as I always get a good reaction and nice comments when I post some comedy. This week its Dave Allen – never a joke teller, just observation comedy and this sketch he talks about aeroplanes. He died just over 14 years ago and is sadly missed as he was one of my favourites. Enjoy.
Lionel Brockman Richie Jr. is 70 years old this week.
He was born in Tuskegee, Alabama and formed The Commodores when he was 19. He got an initial recording contract with Atlantic records but moved to Motown the following year as a support act to the Jackson 5.
With The Commodores they charted 16 UK hits including their only chart-topper Three Times a Lady, a title Lionel got from a speech his father made at a family party in which he was talking about Lionel’s mother.
He began writing hits for other artists including Kenny Rogers and Diana Ross and he duetted with her on the theme to the film Endless Love. In 1985, he teamed up with Michael Jackson to write the million-selling We Are the World by USA for Africa which sold over 22 million copies and won his a Grammy.
His 1983 album Can’t Slow Down won him another Grammy for Album of the Year and sold eight million copies. It contained the hit singles All Night Long (All Night), Running with the Night, Penny Lover, Stuck on You and the number one hit, Hello.
Let’s remember his third UK hit, You Are from 1983.
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.