Live on Stage 60's, 70's & 80's Artists

James Taylor - "Carolina In My Mind"




 

 A track from his self-titled debut album, James Taylor wrote and recorded this song in 1968 while staying in an apartment in London. In this song, James sings about longing to return to North Carolina, the place he and his siblings called home in their childhood days. He says it's about "that feeling of being called away to another place." There has been a great deal of speculation as to the identity of Karin, the woman he sings about in the line, "Karin, she's a silver sun." Until 2009, Taylor would not reveal her identity, leading listeners to create their own theories: Some felt that Karin was a poetic name for Carolina, others believed that Karin was a beautiful young woman that James met while on a trip to Spain, and many have said that this song is about drugs, since at the time it was written, Taylor was trying so hard to kick a serious addiction to heroin.

Taylor cleared this up in a concert screened by BBC Television in March 2009, when he revealed the identity of the Karin alluded to in this song.

The album was recorded in London the same time the Beatles recorded their White Album and was released on their Apple label; at some point Taylor skipped across to the island of Formentera, where he met Karin. This appears to have been a fleeting relationship, or perhaps simply a meeting, but he never saw her again. She was Scandinavian, about twenty-four years old, and had shoulder length blonde hair, reminiscent of Annalena Nordstrom in the Wishbone Ash song "Blowin' Free." Her ghost was still haunting him 35 years later, and with the advent of the Internet he decided better late than never, located a police artist and commissioned him to draw a sketch of what she would look like after all this time. The artist e-mailed him a most unflattering sketch the next day as a joke. Though Taylor was pleased with the real sketch, he said that try as he may he couldn't stop thinking of her now as a criminal.

Blondie - "Heart OF Glass"



Blondie members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein (who were a couple) wrote the first version of this song in early 1974, shortly after they first met. They didn't have a proper title for the song, and would refer to it as "The Disco Song." Harry explained on the show Words and Music: "Lyrically, it was about a stalker who was pursuing me, and Chris saved me from him."It wasn't until they recorded this song in 1978 that Stein came up with the title "Heart Of Glass." He didn't know that it was also the title of a 1976 German movie directed by Werner Herzog.

 

  • According to Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 Songs, Harry and Stein wrote the song in their dingy New York apartment and keyboardist Jimmy Destri provided the synthesizer hook. The result brought punk and disco together on the dance floor. Said Destri, "Chris always wanted to do disco. We used to do 'Heart Of Glass' to upset people."

  • Debbie Harry (from 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh): "When we did Heart Of Glass it wasn't too cool in our social set to play disco. But we did it because we wanted to be uncool. It was based around a Roland Rhythm Machine and the backing took over 10 hours to get down."

    Chris Stein added, "We didn't expect the original to be that big. We only did it as a novelty item to put more diversity into the album."

  • Blondie re-recorded this in 1978 in a reggae style, but their producer Mike Chapman suggested reggae didn't sell in America. As Harry and Stein had a fascination with the disco sound that was then sweeping the country, so they adopted a sound that was an amalgamation of their New Wave background and Eurodisco.

songfacts.com

George Michael - "Careless Whisper"



Live in China, 1984.  "Careless Whisper" is a pop ballad written by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of Wham!. It was released on 24 July 1984 on the Wham! album Make It Big. The song features a prominent saxophone riff, and has been covered by a number of artists since its first release. It was released as a single and became a huge commercial success around the world. It reached number one in nearly 25 countries, selling about 6 million copies worldwide—2 million of them in the United States

Unlike most of the other Wham! singles, the song was co-written by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. The two wrote it together as developing artists three years earlier in Watford, England.[4] Michael and Ridgeley wrote the song when they were 17, taking inspiration from stories from Michael's early romantic overtures.[5] Michael explained in his autobiography, Bare, that much of the song's content is based on events from his childhood. Michael wrote in his biography, "With 'Careless Whisper' I remember exactly where it first came to me, where I came up with the sax line... I remember I was handing the money over to the guy on the bus and I got this line, the sax line..."[6]
 

The song went through at least two rounds of production. The first was during a trip Michael made to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where he went to work with producer Jerry Wexler at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.[7] Michael was unhappy with the original version produced by Wexler, and decided to re-record and produce the song himself; the second version was the one ultimately released as a single.
 

After the backing track and George's vocal had been recorded, Wexler had booked the top saxophone player from Los Angeles to fly in and do the solo.[8] "He arrived at eleven and should have been gone by twelve", recalled Wham! manager Simon Napier-Bell. "Instead, after two hours, he was still there while everyone in the studio shuddered with embarrassment. He just couldn't play the opening riff the way George wanted it, the way it had been on the demo. But that had been made two years earlier by a friend of George's who lived round the corner and played sax for fun in the pub."[8]

 

The Eagles - "Rocky Mountain Way"



Live at the Capital Center, 1977. After his group the James Gang at the end of 1971, Joe Walsh moved from Cleveland to Boulder, Colorado, where he wrote this song, which celebrates the scenery and the lifestyle of Colorado. In some ways, the song is a Rocked-up version of John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High, which was released the previous year. Both songs use the famous Rocky Mountains as a focal point for the virtues of Colorado. Joe Walsh left the James Gang just as they were building momentum, having scored minor hits with "Walk Away" and "Funk #49." Splintering the band as they were on the verge of stardom didn't go over well with Walsh's bandmates or their record company, but Joe felt creatively limited in the 3-piece band and wanted out.

"Rocky Mountain Way" reflects Walsh's range of emotions after making the big move. He explained in the book The Guitar Greats: "I got kind of fed up with feeling sorry for myself, and I wanted to justify and feel good about leaving the James Gang, relocating, going for it on a survival basis. I wanted to say 'Hey, whatever this is, I'm positive and I'm proud', and the words just kind of came out of feeling that way, rather than writing a song out of remorse. It was special then, and the words were special to me, because the words were like, 'I'm goin' for it, the heck with feeling sorry for this and that', and it did turn out to be a special song for a lot of people. I think the attitude and the statement of that have a lot to do with it – it's a positive song, and it's basic rock'n'roll, which is what I really do."

Joe Walsh described writing the lyrics to this song during an interview with Howard Stern. Walsh explained he had the track recorded but had no ideas for lyrics. He had been living in Colorado after leaving the James Gang over creative differences with the direction of the music. He was mowing his lawn and looking at the Rocky Mountains and the lyrics came to him. He ran inside to write the lyrics but forgot to shut off the lawn mower. The mower ran into his neighbor's yard and ruined the neighbor's garden.

 

credit: songfacts.com

Paul McCartney & Billy Joel - "Let It Be"



Live at Shea Stadium, 2008. t takes a lot to upstage Billy Joel at Shea Stadium.
But late on Friday night, nearly three hours into a career-spanning performance advertised as the last concert at Shea before it was to be demolished, Mr. Joel seemed happy to turn over the spotlight to Paul McCartney, who, he said, had just flown in from London. The sold-out crowd of 55,000 people let out an ear-splitting roar as Mr. McCartney sang the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There,” with Mr. Joel singing backup and, fitting his reputation as a self-deprecating rock star, looking on from his piano as if he were just another fan himself. Before beginning “Let It Be,” Mr. McCartney alluded to the Beatles’ first concert at Shea in 1965, the year after the stadium opened.“It’s so cool to be back here on the last night,” he said. “Been here a long time ago — we had a blast that night, and we’re having another one tonight.”

 

The concert was the second of two farewell shows by Mr. Joel, who told the crowd earlier in the night: “They’re tearing this house down. I want to thank you for letting me do the job and keep doing it — the best job in the world.” Mr. McCartney wasn’t the only big guest. The country star Garth Brooks, dressed in a Mets T-shirt, sang Mr. Joel’s “Shameless,” which was a big hit for Mr. Brooks; Steven Tyler of Aerosmith performed “Walk This Way;” and Roger Daltrey of the Who — which played at Shea in 1982 — sang “My Generation” as Mr. Joel smashed a guitar on the center-field stage. Before the show, fans praised Mr. Joel, Long Island’s favorite son, as an approachable superstar whose songs chronicle everyday New York lives and struggles. “Only New Yorkers have a true sense of what he talks about,” said Lauren Marchiano, 26. As an avowed follower of both Mr. Joel and the Mets, she said, the night was doubly poignant for her. 

 

- New York Times 

Lionel Richie - "All Night Long"



Live from the 'Can't Slown Down Tour'. 1984. Lionel Richie told CNN: "What I try to write about are real events. There will always be an easy like Sunday morning. There will always be an endless love. There will always be an all night long." Richie said to CNN that it took him about two months write this song. He explained: "I just couldn't find the ending - I couldn't find all night long to save my life. I had everything, the verses, the middle part, all the stuff. I just did not have all night long. It took me forever to find it. And finally one night, the heavens opened up and came through."

Written by the man himself, this was Lionel Richie's fourth solo single - the first being a duet with Diana Ross. "All Night Long..." is basically a fun track. Released on the Motown Label in both 7-inch and 12-inch formats, co-produced with James Carmichael and backed by "Wandering Stranger," it topped the Hot 100 for four weeks. The radio edit runs to 4 minutes 16 seconds; the album version to 6 minutes 25 seconds. The song also sold well internationally, and was performed by Richie at the closing ceremony of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Richie told The Epoch Times that he got the vibe for this song from his vacations in the Caribbean. He explained: "I'm one of those guys that - I don't look for something new. I look for what people do everyday. And I noticed that, anytime I would come on vacation, everybody who can rap is on vacation doing a calypso dance. Everybody who's singing Opera, they conform to some form of calypso or some form of reggae. So when I went back to do 'All Night Long' it was very simple. All I had to do was find that beat that everybody dances to when they go on vacation."

The Police - "Every Breath You Take"



Live in Atlanta, 1983. In America, this was the biggest hit of 1983, according to Billboard's year-end chart. It stayed at #1 for eight weeks, longer than any other song that year (Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" was #2, with a seven-week stay). This won Grammys in 1984 for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance By Duo Or Group With Vocal. This is one of the most misinterpreted songs ever. It is about an obsessive stalker, but it sounds like a love song. Some people even used it as their wedding song. The Police frontman Sting wrote it after separating from his first wife, Frances Tomelty.

In a 1983 interview with the New Musical Express, Sting explained: "I think it's a nasty little song, really rather evil. It's about jealousy and surveillance and ownership." Regarding the common misinterpretation of the song, he added: "I think the ambiguity is intrinsic in the song however you treat it because the words are so sadistic. On one level, it's a nice long song with the classic relative minor chords, and underneath there's this distasteful character talking about watching every move. I enjoy that ambiguity. I watched Andy Gibb singing it with some girl on TV a couple of weeks ago, very loving, and totally misinterpreting it. (Laughter) I could still hear the words, which aren't about love at all. I pissed myself laughing."

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/the-police/every-breath-you-take 

The Bee Gees - "To Love Somebody"



1967. This moving ballad was released on the first Bee Gees album. Years later, they became one of the most popular disco acts, but in the '60s they were known for slower songs like this one and "Words." Legend has it that this song was written for Otis Redding, who died before he had the chance to record it. While this is a chance Redding would have recorded the song, that's not who the Bee Gees had in mind when they recorded it. The Animals, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Nina Simone (who had a big hit with it in the UK), Janis Joplin, Michael Bolton and Tom Jones, among others, have recorded this song.

The Bee Gees wrote the song for their manager, Australian-born impresario and entertainment entrepreneur Robert Stigwood, who was an influential part of London's gay showbiz establishment. Barry Gibb explained in a June 2001 interview with Mojo magazine: "It was for Robert. I say that unabashedly. He asked me to write a song for him, personally. It was written in New York and played to Otis but, personally, it was for Robert. He meant a great deal to me. I don't think it was a homosexual affection but a tremendous admiration for this man's abilities and gifts.". Billy Corgan (with Robert Smith singing backup) included his take on this song on his debut album, marking the first time Corgan let an old song be placed on one of his albums. Corgan sings this very different from The Bee Gees' original. His version is much more sad, and he even changes the words in the second verse, adding "Yeah" on most lines.

Donna Summer - "Last Dance"



Live1983. The lyrics could be viewed as a woman looking for the love of her life, but in more literal terms, it's the last song before closing time at the disco and she is looking for someone to go home with for the evening. Paul Jabara wrote this for the 1978 movie Thank God It's Friday. The movie takes place at a dance club, and Jabara played the role of Carl, a clueless club patron. The film didn't do nearly as well as Saturday Night Fever, which was released a year earlier and was also centered around a disco. This song, however, was a huge hit and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Jabara also wrote "It's Raining Men" for The Weathergirls, as well as Barbra Streisand's theme to her 1979 movie The Main Event. Jabara died of AIDS related causes in 1992 at age 44. Summer performed this in the movie, which also featured a performance by the Commodores singing "Too Hot To Trot." It was Summer's first role in a major motion picture, and she played an aspiring young singer named Nicole. In the film, she tries to convince the DJ at a hot nightclub to let her sing, and at the end of the night, she gets her chance and performs this, knowing it might be her last chance.

Three Dog Night - "One"



Live 1969. This was written by Harry Nilsson, a popular songwriter who had hits as a singer with "Everybody's Talkin'" and "Without You." Nilsson was inspired to write "One" from the rhythm of a telephone busy signal that he kept hearing. This was the first song on Three Dog Night's first album. It was one of 21 US Top 40 hits for the group, who did very well with songs written by other artists. Other hits by Three Dog Night include "Joy to the World" (written by Hoyt Axton), "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" (written by Randy Newman) and "The Show Must Go On" (written by Leo Sayer). This is about loneliness. It was used in the film Recess: School's Out when the character of TJ is lonely and bored after all his friends go to summer camps.

Neil Young - "Heart Of Gold"



Live at Farm Aid 1985. With a straightforward metaphor and complete lack of pathos, this is not a typical Neil Young song. It finds him mining for a "heart of gold," which depending on your perspective, is either a touching and heartfelt sentiment, or a mawkish platitude. Rolling Stone took the churlish view, complaining that the album evoked "superstardom's weariest clichés." The listening public and Young's fans were far more accepting, however, and the song became his biggest hit. By far, this was the biggest hit for Young as a solo artist, reaching #1 on the Hot 100 on March 18, 1972 (the Harvest album went to #1 a week earlier, supplanting Don McLean's American Pie). A very influential musician, he was never too concerned about making hit records. His next-highest Hot 100 entry was his next single, "Old Man," which reached #31.

Young wrote this in 1971 after he suffered a back injury that made it difficult for him to play the electric guitar, so on the Harvest tracks he played acoustic. Despite the injury, Young was in good spirits (possibly thanks to the painkillers), which is reflected in this song. The next few years were more challenging for Young, as he suffered a series of setbacks: his son Zeke was born with cerebral palsy, his friend Danny Whitten died, and he split with his girlfriend, Carrie Snodgress. His next three albums, which became known as "The Ditch Trilogy," expressed these dark times in stark contrast to "Heart of Gold."

This song was recorded at the first sessions for the Harvest album, which took place on Saturday, February 6, 1971 and were set up the night before. 

Neil Young was in Nashville to record a performance for The Johnny Cash Show along with Tony Joe White, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. Elliot Mazer, a producer who owned nearby Quadrafonic Studios, set up a dinner party on February 5, inviting the show's guests and about 50 other people. Mazer was friends with Young's manager Elliot Roberts, who introduced the two at the gathering. Young and Mazer quickly hit it off when Neil learned that Elliot has produced a band called Area Code 615. Young asked if he could set up a session the next day, and Mazer complied.

Nashville has an abundance of studio musicians, but getting them to work on a Saturday could be a challenge. Mazur was able to get one member of Area Code 615: Drummer Kenny Buttrey. The other musicians he found were guitarist Teddy Irwin, bass player Tim Drummond, and pedal steel player Ben Keith. All were seasoned pros.

Keith, who had never heard of Neil Young, recalls showing up late and sitting down to play right away. He says they recorded five songs before they stopped for introductions.

Source: Songfacts.com

John Denver - "Take Me Home Country Road"



"Take Me Home, Country Roads", also known as "Take Me Home" or "Country Roads", is a song written by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, and John Denver about West Virginia. It was released as a single performed by Denver on April 12, 1971, peaking at number 2 on Billboard's US Hot 100 singles for the week ending August 28, 1971. The song was a success on its initial release and was certified Gold by the RIAA on August 18, 1971, and Platinum on April 10, 2017.[2] The song became one of John Denver's most popular and beloved songs. It has continued to sell, with over 1.5 million digital copies sold in the United States.[3] It is considered to be Denver's signature song.

The Eagles - "Hotel California"



Written by Don Felder, Glenn Frey and Don Henley, this song is about materialism and excess. California is used as the setting, but it could relate to anywhere in America. Don Henley in the London Daily Mail November 9, 2007 said: "Some of the wilder interpretations of that song have been amazing. It was really about the excesses of American culture and certain girls we knew. But it was also about the uneasy balance between art and commerce."

On November 25, 2007 Henley appeared on the TV news show 60 Minutes, where he was told, "everyone wants to know what this song means." Henley replied: "I know, it's so boring. It's a song about the dark underbelly of the American Dream, and about excess in America which was something we knew about."

He offered yet another interpretation in the 2013 History of the Eagles documentary: "It's a song about a journey from innocence to experience."

Don Felder came up with the musical idea for this song. According to his book Heaven and Hell: My Life in The Eagles, he came up with the idea while playing on the beach. He had the chord progressions and basic guitar tracks, which he played for Don Henley and Glenn Frey, who helped finish the song, with Henley adding the lyrics.

Felder says they recorded the song about a year after he did the original demo, and in the session, he started to improvise the guitar part at the end. Henley stopped him and demanded that he do it exactly like the demo, so he had to call his wife and have her play the cassette demo over the phone so Felder could remember what he played.

The lyric, "Warm smell of colitas," is often interpreted as sexual slang or a reference to marijuana. When we asked Don Felder about the term, he said: "The colitas is a plant that grows in the desert that blooms at night, and it has this kind of pungent, almost funky smell. Don Henley came up with a lot of the lyrics for that song, and he came up with colitas."

The Eagles aimed for a full sensory experience in their songwriting. Felder adds, "When we try to write lyrics, we try to write lyrics that touch multiple senses, things you can see, smell, taste, hear. 'I heard the mission bell,' you know, or 'the warm smell of colitas,' talking about being able to relate something through your sense of smell. Just those sort of things. So that's kind of where 'colitas' came from."

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/eagles/hotel-california

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/hear-eagles-perform-a-rousing-live-version-of-hotel-california-202441/

The Rascals - "A Beautiful Morning"




Concert unknown. 1968. A Beautiful Morning written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati is performed live by The Rascals. The single recorded in 1967 was the first under that name instead of The Young Rascals. The song first appeared on the album Time Peace: The Rascals' Greatest Hits. A Beautiful Morning is one of The Rascals most popular hits, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1968.This was the first of the group's singles to be credited to "The Rascals," the original name of the group, rather than "The Young Rascals" which their producer had them take in order to avoid confusion from listeners with another group "The Harmonica Rascals."

Diana Ross - "I'm Still Waiting"



This was originally just an album track, however the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show DJ Tony Blackburn, who was a massive Diana Ross fan, had other ideas. He told Motown Records that if they released it as a single, he would make it his "Record Of The Week," playing it every morning for 5 days. The label did, Blackburn kept his word, and the result was Diana Ross' first UK #1 as a solo artist. It was not a major hit in the US, reaching only #63. However when Diana Ross performed the number on her UK tour, she was amazed at the reaction of the British public and even more astounded when she received standing ovations.

Ramones - "Danny Says"



Joey Ramone wrote this poignant love song at the Tropicana Hotel in Los Angeles when the Ramones were staying there for the recording of End of the Century. The vocalist penned the tune about Linda Danielle, his girlfriend at the time. She later begun a relationship with and eventually married guitarist Johnny Ramone, resulting in Joey refusing to speak to him for the rest of their lives. The title of this ballad pertains to the band's former tour manager Danny Fields. "That song isn't really about me," Fields told Uncut magazine February 2014. "It's a love song Joe wrote to Linda. It's a poisoned song and I get introduced as the person it is about. Well, it's not about me, I had nothing to do with the album and it's about a love affair that turned into a tragedy."

This song, along with the rest of End of The Century, was produced by Phil Spector. Johnny later commented in Rolling Stone, "It really worked when he got to a slower song like 'Danny Says' - the production really worked tremendously. For the harder stuff, it didn't work as well."

Billy Joel - "Honesty"



In 1987 Billy Joel made history, becoming one of the first American performers to bring his full stage production the Soviet Union since the construction of the Berlin Wall. Watch Billy Joel's live performance of 'Honesty' from his 1978 album, 52nd Street. This song makes the case that truth is harder to find than love. Joel sings about how he can find someone to comfort him with promises, but honesty is far more rare. You can be in love with someone, but it doesn't mean you're going to have truth. 

When Joel started writing this song, he started with the title "Home Again," but was looking for something more appropriate. At his Howard Stern town hall appearance in 2014, he explained: "I didn't have a lyric for it, so my drummer started to sing 'sodomy' - 'sodomy... such a lonely word.' So I had to come up with some lyrics fast."

The Eagles - "Best Of My Love"



On The Border was the Eagles third album, and like their first two, they started recording it in London with producer Glyn Johns. This time, the band abandoned the sessions and recorded most of the album with Bill Szymczyk. Glyn Johns thought of the Eagles as an acoustic act, and helped them create several hits with this sound, including "Witchy Woman" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling." The band members, especially Glenn Frey, thought they should be rocking harder, and the Eagles eventually found success with rockers like "Life In The Fast Lane" and "Heartache Tonight." This song was one of two that was leftover from the Glyn Johns sessions and included on On The Border, and it became the Eagles first #1 hit.

This song is often played at weddings and anywhere else one wants to demonstrate affection, but it's really a breakup song: "You see it your way, and I see it mine, and we both see it slipping away." No happy ending here, just a guy who gave it his best, but things didn't work out.

According to Don Henley, he Souther and Frey wrote some of the lyrics over libations at the Los Angeles restaurant Dan Tana's where they were regulars. There, they studied women and relationships. Henley says they were "typical, frustrated, young men" at the time.

The Doors - "Roadhouse Blues"



When Jim Morrison got drunk, he liked to sing blues numbers at The Doors jam sessions. This in one of the songs he came up with at one of those inebriated sessions. When Jim Morrison got drunk, he liked to sing blues numbers at The Doors jam sessions. This in one of the songs he came up with at one of those inebriated sessions. There was a cabin behind the Topanga Corral that many sources say Morrison bought for his girlfriend, Pamela Courson. This could be what provided the line, "In back of the Roadhouse they got some bungalows."

John Sebastian from the Lovin' Spoonful played harmonica. He is identified on the album as "G. Puglese" because he was afraid to be identified with The Doors in light of Morrison's arrest at a concert in Miami when he was accused of exposing himself to the crowd. Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure and sentenced to six months in jail, but he died while the case was being appealed. In 2010, Florida governor Charlie Crist granted Morrison a pardon, clearing him of the charges.

Allman Brothers - "Blue Sky"



Allmans guitarist Dickey Betts wrote this about his Native Canadian girlfriend, Sandy "Bluesky" Wabegijig. They married in 1973 and divorced two years later. This was the first time Betts sang lead on an Allman Brothers song. He also sang lead on their biggest hit, "Ramblin' Man."
For a while after his 1975 divorce from this song's muse Sandy, Dickey Betts refused to perform this song. This was released after Duane Allman's death on Eat A Peach. The album is dedicated to him. Betts and Sandy Bluesky had a daughter, Jessica, on May 14, 1972. Betts wrote "Jessica" about her a year later. Duane Allman and Dickey Betts played on the bridge solo - one playing "lead" lead, the other playing "rhythm" lead. They switch up half way through - listen very carefully and you will hear them synch up on a riff for two measures or so right around 2:30 into the track.

Whitney Houston - "Greatest Love Of All"



 

Live Washington D.C. 1997. This was written by songwriters Michael Masser and Linda Creed. Linda Creed was recovering from breast cancer when they wrote the song in 1977. Originally recorded by George Benson, his version went to #24 in the US. In 1985, the song was revived by Whitney Houston, and on May 17, 1986, it went to #1 for the first of three weeks.

Creed's cancer claimed her life on April 10, 1986. She was later inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on the strength of this song and the many hits she co-wrote for The Spinners, The Stylistics, and other acts on the Philadelphia International label. Phil Hurtt, who also wrote for the label, told us, "There are thousands of ways to say I Love You, and the difficulty is trying to find a nuance, a new way to say what's been said thousands of times, and Linda Creed is someone who was able to do that."

Masser and Creed wrote this for the 1977 film biography of Muhammad Ali, The Greatest, and the song first appeared on the film's soundtrack recorded by George Benson. Ali played himself in the movie, essentially recreating his defining moments intercut with clips of his actual fights. Ali was the heavyweight champ at the time of the film's release. 

Michael Jackson - "Billie Jean"



This song is about a girl who claimed Jackson was the father of her child. Jackson based it on a woman who used to stalk him, writing him letters about a son she thought was his. Jackson rarely spoke about this woman, but he had a very hard time dealing with this unwanted attention and became more reclusive as a result. The song was his way of expressing his feelings without addressing her directly.While Jackson didn't give many details about the real Billie Jean, his producer Quincy Jones said that Jackson found the woman one day lounging by his pool with a bathing suit and sunglasses on. According to Jones, she accused Jackson of being the father of one of her twins, which Jones thought was pretty funny.

Michael Jackson said of this song in Moonwalk, "A musician knows hit material. It has to feel right. Everything has to feel in place. It fulfills you and it makes you feel good. You know it when you hear it. That's how I felt about 'Billie Jean.' I knew it was going to be big while I was writing it. I was really absorbed in that song. One day during a break in a recording session I was riding down the Ventura Freeway with Nelson Hayes, who was working with me at the time. 'Billie Jean' was going around in my head and that's all I was thinking about. We were getting off the freeway when a kid on a motorcycle pulls up to us and says, 'Your car's on fire.' Suddenly we noticed the smoke and pulled over and the whole bottom of the Rolls-Royce was on fire. That kid probably saved our lives. If the car had exploded, we could have been killed. But I was so absorbed by this tune floating in my head that I didn't even focus on the awful possibilities until later."

Frank Sinatra - "New York New York"



Though many people associate this song with Frank Sinatra, it was Liza Minnelli who debuted it in the 1977 film of the same name, which was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Minnelli and Robert De Niro as musicians and lovers. It was written for the film by John Kander and Fred Ebb, who wrote many songs for her, including the Cabaret songs "Maybe This Time" and "Yes." Frank Sinatra began performing this in 1978 at concerts in New York's Radio City Music Hall. His version was released on his 1980 triple album Trilogy: Past, Present and Future, which was highly acclaimed and brought the singer back in the public eye. "New York, New York" quickly became one of Sinatra's signature songs.

While many songs have been written about New York City, no song has captured the pride and elegance of the city quite like this one. The lyrics, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere" sum up what many New Yorkers feel about their city: competition is intense, but success there is richly rewarded and very satisfying. The song stresses personal responsibility in the line, "It's up to you, New York, New York," as it's a place where you can't expect a handout but have an opportunity to succeed no matter who you are. This song also popularized New York as the "City that never sleeps," which is true in the literal sense that many businesses are open 24 hours but also in the figurative sense that you are expected to always be at your best.

Aretha Franklin - "Natural Woman"




This was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. They were a married couple who helped shape the Brill Building sound, named for the famous building in New York City where many hits from the '60 were written and recorded. Ode Records owner Lou Adler, who worked closely with King and Goffin, said: "Gerry Goffin is one of the best lyricists in the last 50 years. He's a storyteller, and his lyrics are emotional. 'Natural Woman,' 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.' These are perfect examples of situations, very romantic, almost a moral statement. Coming out of the 1950s, with the type of bubble gum music, and then in 1961, Gerry is writing about a girl who just might let a guy sleep with her and she wants to know, 'is it just tonight or will you still love me tomorrow?' Goffin could write a female lyric. If he could write the words to 'Natural Woman,' that's a woman speaking. Gerry put those words into Carole's mouth. He was a chemist before he was a full time lyricist. He's very intelligent and obviously emotional."

Regarding the origins of the song, Adler added: "Last year (2007) I spoke to Jerry Wexler at his home in Florida, and he told me the story that Gerry was coming out of a building in New York, (Goffin now remembers it as an Oyster House), and Jerry Wexler is passing in a car, and yells out, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Natural Woman'?' They felt the title was so distinct and so important to the song that they gave him a piece of it. So, when I spoke to Jerry recently to call him on his 90th birthday, he said, 'Isn't it amazing what those kids gave me? The checks keep coming in and I'm really happy about it.' Knowing how much he added to the song, not really as a third writer but the title and the inspiration of what was to be, a great song."

Janis Joplin - "Piece Of My Heart"




"Piece of My Heart" is a romantic funk/soul love song written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns, originally recorded by Erma Franklin in 1967. The song came to greater mainstream attention when Big Brother and the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin on lead vocals) covered the song in 1968 and had a much bigger hit with it. The song has since been remade by several singers, including Dusty Springfield on her 1968 album Dusty... Definitely, Bryan Ferry on his solo debut album These Foolish Things in 1973. It was recorded by Sammy Hagar on his first Geffen Records release, Standing Hampton, which hit the airwaves in 1982, and reached platinum status , Faith Hill in 1994 and Melissa Etheridge in 2005. In 2004, the Big Brother and the Holding Company version was ranked number 353 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song is also included among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

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MPT's 2020 Rhythm & Soul Concert

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1212 Cathedral Street
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Sat, Apr 25, 3:00 PM

Patti LaBelle (18+ Event)

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