She was born Cecilia Veronica Peniston in Dayton, Ohio but grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and began writing lyrics whilst at school. Her music career began when a DJ friend asked her to contribute backing vocals to a track by the female rapper Tonya Davis who was professionally known as Overweight Pooch.
She was spotted and signed to A&M records in 1990, when Peniston was 21, and gave them a song called Finally, which she apparently had originally written the majority of at school. They released in the US and it shot up the Billboard chart. In the UK it became a classic 90s dance anthem but only reached number 29 on its initial release in October that year, but when re-issued in February 1992, it went to number two.
She had eight further UK hits including the top 10s We Got A Love Thang and Keep On Walkin’ but let’s enjoy her biggest hit.
The great singer and entertainer Joe Longthorne passed away last month at the age of 64.
In 1961, at the age of six, he won a talent show and when he was 14, he landed a role in Junior Showtime, a TV series produced by Yorkshire television. In 1981, he entered the talent show, Search For a Star, which he won and that in turn led to many appearances in London including the Palladium. In 1988, he got his own Joe Longthorne Show his regular magician guest was his friend Wayne Dobson who, in 1988, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
On stage he often impersonated big names like Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones and even Shirley Bassey, but he was plagued with bad health later in life having suffered from chronic lymphatic lymphoma, leukaemia and then throat cancer.
He died at his home in Blackpool with his husband/manager, James Moran by his side.
This is Joe performing a fantastic Don Black-penned song If I Never Sing Another Song which was made famous by Matt Monro. Enjoy.
This week former Fairground Attraction lead singer, the Glasgow-born Eddi Reader, whose real first name is Sadenia is 60.
Fairground Attraction charted four singles including the number one Perfect and the number seven follow up Find My Love. The group broke up in 1991 and Eddi returned to Scotland and before embarking on a solo career she tried her hand at acting and appeared as the singer and squeeze box player Jolene Jowett in the comedy series Your Cheatin’ Heart.
Her solo career began in 1994 with the beautiful Patience of Angels. Her fourth hit was a cover of Gene Pitney’s first US and second UK hit Town Without Pity which, for Gene, was awarded the very first Golden Globe award for best original song as well as being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. This led to Pitney becoming the first pop singer to perform at the Oscars in 1962. Pitney died in April 2005 and Town Without Pity was the song he finished his last show with in Cardiff.
Reader’s version became her last UK hit where is peaked at number 26. Let’s remember her version.
Not a big star in the UK, but he was born Richard Springthorpe in New South Wales, Australia but moved to the US in 1972.
He was also an actor and, in the mid-90s, appeared in the US TV series High Tide and also portrayed Dr Noah Drake in the drama General Hospital. In the early 80s his singing career took off and recorded a song called Jessie’s Girl. No one was ever sure who Jessie actually was, but in an interview with Songfacts, he said, “”I don’t know her name. It was a brief relationship I had when I was making stained glass for a while. I was going to a stained glass class in Pasadena, and I met this guy and his girlfriend. I was completely turned on to his girlfriend, but she was just not interested. So I had a lot of sexual angst, and I went home and wrote a song about it. Then about four months later I stopped going to the class and lost contact with them. The only thing I remember is his name was Gary, so I changed the name, because ‘Gary’ didn’t sing very well. But the whole thing is absolutely what I was feeling. He was getting it and I wasn’t, and it was really tearing me up. And sexual angst is an amazing motivator to write a song. Actually, Oprah’s people tried to find her, and they got as far back as finding the stained glass guy. I couldn’t remember his name, but I said it was late ’70s; they found him, and he had died two years earlier, and they’d thrown all his papers out a year after that. So we missed finding out who she was by a year.”
The song went to number in both the US and Australia but missed the top 40 in the UK despite much airplay on Radio 1. His previous hit, Human Touch reached number 25 in the UK, but let’s enjoy Jessie’s Girl.
Without doubt, one of the great guitarists, Mark Knopfler is celebrating his 70th birthday this week. There is no visual this week, but I thought I’d share a guitar-only track of Sultans of Swing. Enjoy.
Quite recently I’ve been watching some of the original American What’s My Line TV shows and this one is fantastic. It features Doris Day as the ‘mystery’ guest and the panellists have to ask her questions, which she answers in strange sounds to disguise her identity and they have to guess who she is.
This is the longest clip I’ve uploaded, it’s nearly half an hour long, but a great reveal at the end. Enjoy. If you do, there are many more clips of that show available and one of the greatest ‘mystery’ guests was Walt Disney.