Hans Plays His 45’s-
“A Fine, Fine Day”/ b-side: “Say It’s All Over”- Tony Carey. Tony Carey has had a long career- he released an album in 2019 but the song I remember him for it this “A Fine, Fine Day” which hit #22 in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. Carey had one other hit single #33 “The First Day Of Summer” also in 1984. A keyboardist and singer- he played keyboard for Rainbow and was the lead singer for Planet P. The b-side to this single “Say It’s All Over” is the only b-side I played out of the four single that I liked.
” STRAWBERRY LETTER #23″ b-side: “Dancin’ And Prancin'”- THE BROTHERS JOHNSON. When I wrote about this song last year I was surprised to learn that it wasn’t a Brothers Johnson original- it was a cover of a 1971 Shuggie Otis song. While both the original and this cover are outstanding -this is the best known version. The Brothers Johnson were an R&B Funk duo from Los Angeles. “Strawberry Letter #23” went to #5 in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977. It was produced by Quincy Jones. Their biggest hit was a #3 “I’ll Be Good To You” a year earlier. Louis Johnson died in 2015. “Strawberry Letter #23” was one of my favorite singles from 1977. Note- I remember the single had a strawberry smell to it- which didn’t fade for a few years.
“IT’S MY LIFE”- b-side: “Again. A Game Again”-The best opening act I have ever seen- which could be truly billed as an opening act- Talk Talk opening for Elvis Costello and The Attractions in the summer of 1982. The band had been formed a year earlier and at the time had one album out. I was impressed enough by their concert performance that I bought the album. I hadn’t heard of them previously. Led my Mark Hollis the band had an interesting history. They started out in the early 80’s as a synth-pop band-that would describe their first two albums- then in the second half of the 80’s released three more experimental albums- while I like their work from start to finish- it’s was the more experiment music that I cherish the most- the albums Spirit Of Eden and Laughing Stock are masterpieces.
“It’s My Life” is from the synth-pop days- it was the title of their second album released in 1984. As a single it peaked at #31 in the Billboard Hot 100. The version you may be more familiar with is the 2003-2004 #1 hit which No Doubt had with the song. While I do like both versions- I will go with the Talk Talk as my favorite.
Talk Talk disbanded in 1991- and after one solo album Mark Hollis retired from the music industry to spend more time with his family. He died last February at the age of 64.
AIN’T NO STOPPIN’ US NOW”/ b-side: “I GOT THE LOVE” MCFADDEN AND WHITEHEAD: McFadden and Whitehead only had one Hot 100 single- this was it- it peaked at #13 in 1979. The R&B duo from Philadelphia- Gene McFadden and John Whitehead- had a successful career though as songwriters for many of the Philadelphia soul acts of the 1907’s which defined The Philly Sound. Whitehead was shot to death in 2004 at the age of 56, Whitehead died of cancer in 2006- also age 56.
I loved this single- and one reason for that was- while my Pittsburgh Pirates adopted Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” [another Philly group} as their theme song that year- I always thought of this song as their theme. For some reason- I felt that 1979 was going to be the Pirates year- even after they had a bad start and were 7 1/2 games out of first place as late as July 7th- I just believed- and of course they did win the World Series that season. They haven’t been back to the World Series since.