LISTENING PROJECT: THE HEART OF ROCK AND SOUL: DAVE MARSH’S 1001 GREATEST SINGLES EVER MADE #759-#750

#759- “Rivers Of Babylon”- The Melodians 1970 Trojan Did Not Make Pop Charts. I prefer this version of the song which appeared on The Harder They Come soundtrack to Bony M’s version which made it to #30 on the American Hot 100 and spent 5 weeks at #1 in the UK and is one of only seven songs to sell over 2 million copies in the UK.  The Meloians aren’t singing about the Hebrews- they were Rastafarians and see themselves as being exiled from an African paradise. Have always liked the song but would probably fail to make my 1001.

#758- “Baby Workout”- Jackie Wilson 1963 Brunswick 1963- Billboard #5 Good sounding single- but there are other Jackie Wilson songs I like better than this one. I actually like a couple songs that mention Jackie Wilson more than I do this- ‘Jackie Wilson Said” by Van Morrison and Hozier’s “Jackie and Wilson.”

#757 “Come On, Let’s Go”- Ritchie Valens 1958 Del-Fi Billboard #42 Tragically killed “The Day The Music Died’ with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. He was only seventeen. This was not his most famous song- La Bamba is but this is his best song I think. Donna and La Bamba which reached #2 and #22. Who knows what might have been? Would he have had a successful career?

#756-“Without Love { There Is Nothing}- Clyde McPhatter 1957 Atlantic Billboard #19. Here is a trivia question you can use- Clyde McPhatter was the first artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice- as a member of The Drifters and as a solo artist. He died young at age 39 of complications of heart, liver and kidney disease. But what a great singer he was. He had a 22 year career and left behind a lot of fine recordings- this song is a good example of what a great singer he was. Under consideration for my 1001.

#755- “Without Love”- Aretha Franklin- 1974 Atlantic Billboard #45. Dave Marsh is a huge Aretha fan-{ as everyone should be} he has  a dozen of her singles in this book. I wouldn’t have a dozen of her singles in mine but she is a great singer and this is another excellent single from her. The key move in her career- she was treading water at Columbia- she goes to Atlanta and gets Jerry Wexler as her producer- and magic.

#754- “Alison”- Elvis Costello 1977 Stiff  Did Not Make Pop Charts, From Elvis’s first album 41 years ago [I counted it twice- 41 years ago} and still one of his most famous songs and his best love song. I loved how in the early Elvis songs he’d repeat a line over and over at the end of the song- on this one- he repeated a line that would be the title of his first album “my aim is true, my aim is true, my aim is true etc.” Alison would be on my 1001 greatest singles list.

#753- “Bird Dog”- The Everly Brothers 1958 Cadence Billboard #1. Another hit by The Everly Brothers. They had 26 Top 40 singles mostly in the late 50’s. This is one of their four #1’s. I love listening to The Everly Brothers and like this song a lot but there are probably at least ten EB songs I’d pick over this one. What turned me on to The Everly Brothers? In 1980 Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds short lived group Rockpile released their only album and they included an EP inside the album with their versions of ” Take A Message To Mary”, “Crying  In The Rain”, ” Poor Jenny” and “When Will I Be Loved” and I enjoyed their versions so much I had to go find the real deal.

#752- “Sign Your Name”- Terrence Trent D’Arby 1988 Columbia Billboard #4. When I played this this morning my wife was sitting at the table eating breakfast and she looks up and says exactly what I was going to type in “Whatever happened to Terrence Trent D’Arby?” His first album “Introducing the Hardline According To Terrence Trent D’Arby” was fantastic- the album went to #1 in the UK and #4 in the US and was deserving of its popularity.  Three hit singles in the US including “Wishing Well” which went #1- and then- what happened did he go into the Federal Witness Protection Program? I see he has released a dozen albums but none of them have charted anywhere for twenty years. Did you know he released an album last October? Did you know he now goes by Sananda Francesco Maitreya? Thirty years ago I wouldn’t have predicted obscurity. I’d consider this song and “Wishing Well” for my 1001.

#751- “Hopes On Hold”- Ruben Blades 1988 Elektra Did Not Make Pop Chart. Thirty years ago after reading Dave Marsh’s entry on this song I picked up the album that it was on “Nothing But The Truth” which was Blades first English language album. Good album but as Marsh did- I love this song. I had forgotten who the co-writer was- Lou Reed. No doubt he was the John Lennon adding more bite to Blades- McCartney on the lyrics. Would be in my 1001.

#750- “Oliver’s Army”- Elvis Costello 1979 Radar Did Not Make Pop Chart. If push came to shove I’d probably name this as my favorite Elvis song. It depends on the day as far as which EC album is my favorite- his third album”Armed Forces”- which “Oliver’s Army” is on, or his second album “This Years Model.” It has always been hard for me to pick out what say my Top 10 EC songs are because there are so many I love. Oliver’s Army of course makes my 1001. It wasn’t a hit in the US but made it to #2 in the UK. Elvis Is King.

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