Monday, 31 March 2014

Marvin Gaye (April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984)

To mark the 30th anniversary of Marvin Gaye's death on 1 April. Marvin's genuine love for his fellow man was the reason behind his recording of Abraham, Martin And John, which was a British hit. Marvin performed at Motown president Berry Gordy's house during the holiday season in 1960, shortly after he singed with the Tamla label. His first run of hit singles started in 1962 with, "Stubborn Kind of Fellow", "Pride and Joy", then went on to, "Can I Get a Witness" in 1963, plus a minor hit with his first duet partner, Mary Wells. "Once Upon a Time" which was the start of his hit duets, "It Takes Two" was the pair's biggest duetting hit. After scoring the hit single, "It Takes Two" with Kim Weston, Motown producers Johnny Bristol and Harvey Fuqua reasoned that Tammi would be the perfect match for Gaye, they began working with Tammi Terrell on a series of duets, mostly composed by Ashford & Simpson, including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Your Precious Love", ''If This World Was Mine'', "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By". On March 16, 1970, Tammi Terrell passed in Gaye's arms. Following this, he went into prolonged seclusion from the music business. Affected by depression, he decided he would not perform in public for a time. In 1968 he reached, #1 in both the US & UK, with his cover version of the Norman Whitfield song "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", which was first recorded by Smokey Robinson, but an American hit for, Gladys Knight & the Pips, prior to Marvin's hit version of the song. "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" & "That's the Way Love Is" were also hit for Marvin in 1969. ''Whats Going On'' was released in 1971, plus it was the first Marvin Gaye album credited as being produced. Marvin Gaye had already proved his worth as a producer, writing and producing songs for Motown vocal group The Originals, Baby, I'm for Real" and "The Bells", became US hits as a result. One night, Gaye called Berry Gordy about doing a protest record while Gordy vacationed at the Bahamas, to which Gordy chastised him, "Marvin, don't be ridiculous. That's taking things too far. Gaye approached Gordy with the "What's Going On" song while in California where Gordy had relocated. Gordy took a profound dislike to the song, calling it "the worst thing I ever heard in my life", Gordy also felt the song was too political to be a hit on radio and too unusual compared with what was considered a part of the popular music sound of that time to be commercially successful. Upon its release, the song became a hit and was Motown's fastest-selling single at the time, reaching #1 on the Soul Chart & #2 in the American Pop chart.It just goes to show that recording artist, sometimes are right with their decisions The album has remained in Soul Music history as possibly one of the best Soul albums ever made. The album included such songs as, "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)", "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" & "Save the Children"..
The Trouble Man soundtrack followed, i putting a Mizell Brothers project in the can, that included, ''Where Are We Going'' that was later released on a compilation album. Let's Get It On was Marvin's 12th album release, the album once again took him to the top of the US album chart in 1973, the album included, American Billboard hit singles, "Let's Get It On", "Come Get to This", and "You Sure Love to Ball". Initial plans to make the Ross/Gaye duet album began as early as 1970, but with the lull of Tammi Terrell,passing,it did happen at that time.

Recording sessions for the album took place in 1972 and 1973 at Motown Recording Studios in Hollywood, California. The album featured covers including, f Wilson Pickett's "Don't Knock My Love", the Stylistics previously recorded, ''Stop Look Listen'', You Are Everything, in which the latter two songs became the UK hit single from the album, where as in America, they were, "My Mistake (Was to Love You)" & "You're a Special Part of Me", but the album has a hit selling in both America & in the UK. In 1974 he released a Live album, with "Distant Lover (Live)" becoming a hit single again. on the strength of the sheer quality of the live performance of the song. Marvin's next live album was recorded in London, the side four, of the double album included the US #1, ''Got To Give It Up'' recently an influence to Robin Thicke on his #1 selling song, ''Blurred Lines''. Gaye's next studio album, I Want You, followed in 1976 with the title track becoming a number-one R&B/Soul smash hit, the title song was written by Leon Ware & T Boy Ross. The song was originally intended to be included in Ware's Musical Massage album, but when Ware, who was also signed to the label as a solo artist, presented it to, Berry Gordy, he persuaded Leon to give it to Marvin, for the album he was working on. Reportedly recorded at Marvin's Room, the singer's new recording studio in Los Angeles, Marvin also reportedly recorded the song while lying on his back of his sofa according to Ware, who said that he couldn't see Gaye at first but then discovered a laid-back Marvin delivering the song in his trademark tenor vocals. The erotic, sexual album proved to be a success not only in the bedrooms, but chart wise also. The album once again, is yet another, Marvin masterpiece, a timeless set of songs, including, "I Wanna Be Where You Are" that was first a hit for, Michael Jackson, also written by, Leon Ware, who co wrote & produced the album. In the later part of 1978, Gaye issued Here, My Dear, the album was a concept album, for his ex wife, Anna Gordy. After months of delays, in March of 1977, the singer's attorney Curtis Shaw wanted to end divorce proceedings and convinced Marvin to give up half of the percentage of album royalties he would earn from his next Motown album to Anna. The Gayes' divorce was finalized in June.. The ''Here My Dear'' album was completed in three months but the singer held it back for over a year, scared of letting it be released.

Larkin Arnold bought Marvin out of his Motown contract, thus ending the singer's 21-year relationship with the company in 1982 . New label, fresh start for the singer who was now living in, Ostend Belgium. Midnight Love was his debut album for, Columbia Records released in the autumn / fall of 1982. It was one of his most successful albums, containing the worldwide hit, ''Sexual Healing''. Marvin was back on top, the album was nominated for a 1983 Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, spawning the two-time Grammy Award-winning smash, "Sexual Healing", NME album of the year, but in the 1984 Grammy Awards, the album was nominated for a Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Grammy, losing out to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". The two Grammys Marvin won the previous year, were the only two Gaye won in his lifetime. On this sad day of, April 1, 1984, as Marvin was seated on his bed talking to his mother, Gaye's father fired a shot at Marvin twice. The first shot, which entered the right side of Gaye's chest, was fatal, having perforated his vital organs. Gaye was taken to the emergency room of the California Hospital Medical Center and was pronounced dead on arrival at 1:01 pm. His father was sentenced to probation, later died himself in 1998. We will always ask ourselves why, how could you shoot your own son. Marvin Gaye will always be in our hearts & his music will live forever. R.I.P Marvin, you wonderful one.

Forget Me Nots -This Friday!

New Michael Jackson - Xscape album due

New Michael Jackson album due

March 31, 2013) Five years after the death of "King of Pop" Michael JacksonBillboard magazine has reported today that Epic Records and the estate of Michael Jackson will be releasing Xscape, an album of eight previously unreleased songs, including collaborations with Ne-Yo and Stargate, Rodnew "Darkchild" Jerkins, and more.  This continues the unseemly annual crate digging of Jackson's previously unreleased work by Epic.
Epic CEO L.A. Reid said in a statement, "Michael left behind some musical performances that we take great pride in presenting through the vision of music producers that he either worked directly with or expressed strong desire to work with. We are extremely proud and honored to present this music to the world."
While we haven't heard any music from Xscape, we can't help but feel this is another cynical scavenging of the deep vault of music that MJ left behind, much of which would be better left hidden. As in releases like 2010's Michael, we expect that there will be some redeeming moments, but also expect that these songs were largely unreleased for a good reason -- they weren't of the high quality that Michael Jackson expected of his CD releases. At some point, it will be time to stop this scavenging. Let's just hope it is soon.
By Chris Rizik
Thanks to Gary V. of Disco, Soul, Gold for letting us know about this.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Motown Site Considered For Historical Designation

Motown Site Considered For Historical Designation. 
The Detroit City Council is looking into whether a recording studio where Berry Gordy cut a record that led the way to the Motown music dynasty meets the criteria for historic designation.
Detroit City Council to seek historical designation for site of first Motown recording. The building where United Sound Systems is housed was made into a studio in 1933 More here:

Monday, 24 March 2014

Happy Birthday Aretha Franklin

All Night With Aretha Franklin

On her 72nd birthday, Queen of Soul opens up about working with Andre 3000, love for Beyonce and why she won't retire

Read more: 
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Aretha Next album - She’ll be covering her favorite singers like Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand

Happy Birthday to Diana Ross -March 26th

Diana was born and raised in Detroit. She rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the vocal group The Supremes, originally called The Primettes. At the early age of just 15, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown (Barbara Martin replaced her in 1961), won a singing contest in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in 1960, which featured Ross singing lead on their version of The Drifters' hit song, "There Goes My Baby". Berry Gordy signed the young act under the condition they change their name. Each member picked out various names from friends. Eventually they settled on The Supremes. Following Martin's exit in 1962, the group became & remained a trio. Their first hit single, "When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes", was an American top 30 success, followed by "Where Did Our Love Go" which was a worldwide success. Between August 1964 and May 1967, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard sang on ten US number-one hit singles, all of which also made the UK top 40. The success was at the time, bigger than The Beatles. "Baby Love" made it to #1 not only in America, but also in the UK & other parts of the world. "Come See About Me", "Stop! In the Name of Love", "Back in My Arms Again", were written by the team of, Holland–Dozier–Holland & produced by Brian Holland & Lamont Dozier. With the Sound of Motown exploding all over the world, they were now also achieving hit selling albums. In April 1967, Gordy then contacted Cindy Birdsong, a member of Patti LaBelle & the Blue Belles who superficially resembled Ballard, with plans to bring her to replace Ballard, Birdsong was brought in to begin rehearsals. In 1967 the group played the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. What made this appearance significant was the fact that they were being billed as "The Supremes with Diana Ross", the first time in which Ross was billed separately from the group. Soon afterwards, Gordy renamed the group "Diana Ross & the Supremes," putting Ross's name ahead of the group. Gordy initially thought of Ross leaving the Supremes for a solo career as early as in 1966, but changing his mind when he figured the group's success was still too massive. Diana Ross would remain with the group until early 1970. Between their early 1968 single,"Reflections", "Forever Came Today","Love Child", and their final single, "Someday We'll Be Together", which was written by Johnny Bristol & in fact you can hear him singing on the track. It was in fact, Diana Ross's first solo hit, but credited to, Diana Ross & The Supremes Diana Ross & the Supremes gave their final performance on January 14, 1970 at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, Jean Terrell was announced at the concert to be Diana Ross's replacement. In March 1970 new contracts were signed & the solo career, was ready to start... eight weeks later.

Motown released her eponymous solo debut, which included the hits, "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," which Diana had recorded already twice before (one with The Supremes & also with The Supremes with The Temptations). "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" in 1970, shot to the top of the American charts & also to the top 10 in the UK. The Ashford & Simpson, writing & production was a big success for her debut solo album. "Everything Is Everything" was the second album by Diana Ross, released in 1970. It included the UK, #1 song, "I'm Still Waiting", which for some reason, did not achieve the same success in America. "Everything is Everything" failed to become a success in America, so the same year, they rushed out, "Surrender" ("I'm Still Waiting" in the UK). "Remember Me" was a hit single in both America & the UK, with the title track becoming only a minor hit in the US. Because of the outstanding success in the UK, "I'm Still Waiting", was added & was renamed the title of Diana's third album. Diana Ross began working on her first film, "Lady Sings the Blues", which was a loosely based biography on music legend Billie Holiday in 1971. She talked with doctors at drug clinics for research of the film, as Billie Holiday had been a known drug addict. Diana Ross, focused on Holiday's vocal phrasing in the songs. "Lady Sings the Blues" opened in cinemas in October 1972, becoming a major success in Ross's career. Ross's role in the film won her Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. In 1973 the, '' Touch Me in the Morning'' album was released, the title track was a US #1 & also a top 10 single in the UK. Later that year, the Diana & Marvin album, her duet album with Gaye, was released, giving the duetting couple, hits both in the UK & America, as Motown records decided that the released single would differ, "You're a Special Part of Me" & "My Mistake (Was to Love You)" , would both be US Hits, but in the UK, "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" & "You Are Everything" would both be the hit single, the album reached the top 10 in the UK & top 30 in America. In 1975, ''Mahogany'' was her second film, in which she starred alongside Billy Dee Williams. The film was a box office success, plus she scored a US #1 & top 5 single with the theme song to the film, "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)". Ross returned on the charts in 1976 with another eponymous album, which saw her gaining her a Disco/Dance audience after the release , "Love Hangover," which also returned her to number-one in the US plus a UK tour saw the song reaching the top 10. In 1977, she toured with, The Jones Girls as backing singers & released her second live album, "An Evening with Diana Ross", which was a double vinyl release. The film adaptation of The Wiz had been a $24 million production, but upon its October 1978 release, it earned only $21,049,053 at the box office, for Diana Ross & her co stars (Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, Richard Prior were amongst the cast". "Ease on Down the Road" was released as a, Jackson / Ross duet single. In 1979, Diana achieved her first gold-selling album in three years with "The Boss" which was written & produced by Ashford & Simpson. "The Boss" gave Ross her first US Top 20 hit in three years; since 1976's "Love Hangover". For her next album, after attending a Chic concert, Diana Ross requested to work with, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. Motown agreed & the deal was struck...

1980 was a good year for Diana, she had one of Motown's biggest ever selling singles with Lionel Richie , who wrote their hit single for the soundtrack to the film, "Endless Love- Billboard magazine named it the greatest song duet of all time. Diana's last Motown offering, was written & produced by Chic members Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. The Chic offering spawned hit after hit, "I'm Coming Out" which Diana thought was a song about her leaving Motown, Nile Rodgers says he had to lie to the singer. Rodgers got the idea for "I'm Coming Out" after noticing three different drag queens dressed as Diana Ross at a New York club called the GG Barnum Room. ''Upside Down'' reached #2 in the UK, but in America it zoomed to #1 in all three charts, Pop, Soul / R&B & Disco/Dance. In 1981, Ross released her first RCA album, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love". The album sold over a million copies and featured hit singles such as her remake of the classic hit of the same name and "Mirror Mirror." The "Silk Electric" album followed in 1992, that included the Michael Jackson penned song,'' Muscles'', as well as the original version of the song, "In Your Arms", which was written by Linda Creed & Michael Masser, which was covered by Teddy Pendergrass and Whitney Houston as "Hold Me". 
"Missing You", the Lionel Richie written ballad was her US hit tribute to Marvin Gaye in 1984. In 1985 she teamed up with, The Bee Gees who graced Diana with the UK #1 single "Chain Reaction".
She appeared as part of the supergroup USA for Africa on the '"We Are the World"' charity single, which sold over 20 million copies worldwide. In 1988, Ross chose to not renew her RCA contract. Around this same time, Ross had been in talks with her former mentor Berry Gordy to return to Motown. When she learned of Gordy's plans to sell Motown, Ross tried advising him against the decision though he sold it to MCA Records that same year. Following this decision, Gordy offered Ross a new contract to return to Motown with the condition that she have shares in the company as a part-owner. Ross accepted the offer. "Workin' Overtime 1989" saw her returning with Nile Rodgers, trying to add new sounds with an attempt to get her to appeal to a younger audience, but did not work. "The Force Behind the Power" (1991) gave her an international comeback, when the album went double platinum in the U.K & led by the # 2 U.K. hit single, "When You Tell Me That You Love Me". "Take Me Higher" (1995), included her minor hit cover of ''I Will Survive'', meanwhile "Every Day Is a New Day" (1999), would be the last Motown studio album until the label released the shelved jazz standards album, "Blue", in 2006 and would also be Ross' last studio album of new material for another seven years. In 2006 she released her last studio album to date called, ''I Love You '' featuring "I Want You" which was written by her late brother, Arthur "T-Boy" Ross & a hit recording by Marvin Gaye. Diana Ross continues her legendary reputation by touring, giving us wonderful live moments and great memories. She remains a larger than life superstar and one of the most important singers of her generation. Happy 70th Birthday, Diana!

Cover Me - Best Soul covers ever!

Cover Me (Best Soul cover versions) -Friday 28th March Please join us on Facebook

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Motown Review 21st March

In Loving memory of Tammi Terrell

In Loving memory of Tammi Terrell 
(born Thomasina Winifred Montgomery- April 29, 1945 – March 16, 1970). Tammi spent nearly two years as a member of James Brown's Revue, recording for Brown's Try Me label, recording the song "I Cried". She signed with Motown records in 1965, she was spotted by Motown CEO Berry Gordy, during a performance at the Twenty Grand Club in Detroit. Gordy suggested a name change. Figuring "Tammy Montgomery" was too long of a name to put on a single, Gordy changed it to "Tammi Terrell". He felt this name screamed "sex appeal". "I Can't Believe You Love Me" became Terrell's first US R&B/Soul top forty single, followed almost immediately by "Come On and See Me". In 1966, Terrell recorded two future classics, Stevie Wonder's "All I Do (Is Think About You)" (which were not released until fairly recently) and The Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)".
In early 1967, Motown hired Terrell to sing duets with Marvin Gaye, who had achieved duet success with Mary Wells and Kim Weston. This was perfection, like a duet marriage that you could feel the love coming from the songs they recorded together, but at first the duets were recorded separately. The sessions of their first recording, the Ashford & Simpson composition, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", both Gaye and Terrell recorded separate versions. Motown remixed the vocals and edited out the background vocals, giving just Gaye and Terrell vocal dominance. The song became a crossover pop hit in 1967, "Your Precious Love" became a US follow up hit in 1967, along with, "If I Could Build My Whole World Around You", "If This World Were Mine" 1968, "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing", "You're All I Need to Get By" & "You Ain't Livin' till You're Lovin'" (UK top 20). Migraines and headaches that she suffered with as a child were becoming more constant. While she complained of pains, she insisted to people close to her that she was well enough to perform. However, on October 14, 1967, while performing with Gaye at Hampden-Sydney College, just outside the town of Farmville, Virginia, Terrell fell and buckled onstage; Gaye quickly responded by grabbing her by the arms and helping her offstage. Shortly after returning from Virginia, doctors diagnosed a malignant tumor on the right side of her brain. Terrell made her final public appearance at the Apollo Theater where Marvin Gaye was headlining the bill in 1969. "The Onion Song" featured, Valerie Simpson as a guide vocal. In David Ritz's biography of Gaye, Divided Soul, Gaye alleged that Simpson sung on the record because Terrell was "too ill to record". Terrell was in the studio, it was claimed, but was using a wheelchair. By early 1970 Terrell was confined to a wheelchair, suffered from blindness and hair loss, and weighed a scant 93 lb. Following her eighth and final operation on January 25, 1970, Terrell went into a coma for the remaining month and a half of her life. On March 16, Terrell died of complications from brain cancer. She passed six weeks short of her 25th birthday. Gone Too Soon for sure, her music will live forever & she will always be in our heart.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Drop Out Orchestra ones to watch!

Since the Drop Out Orchestra began in 2008, the project has grown from one man and a sampler to a studio team consisting of a music teacher, a studio engineer and a music tech writer. What has remained constant is the mystery regarding their true identity with no names or pictures, ensuring the focus remains on their music. To date, the troupe have had some seriously big releases, including their Daft Punk cover “International Track”, (Released as Drop Out City Rockers, crowned “Essential Tune of the Week” on Pete Tong’s BBC Radio 1 show and charted at #1 by Fatboy Slim!) their single ‘Baby Come Home’ and their impeccable remixes of Paul Weller's cover of, Joe Smooths classic, ''Promised Land''.  
In addition to these official releases Drop Out Orchestra delight in reworking some of pop music’s most iconic figures with the likes of Rick Astley, Diana Ross & The Supremes. The O'Jays have already treated to the Drop Out magic. Over the last few months they have received huge amounts of love from dance music maestro’s such as Aeroplane, Greg Wilson, Jaymo & Andy George, The Magician, Fatboy Slim, Tronik Youth, Mylo, Chris Coco, Annie Mac, Classixx, Laidback Luke, Seamus Haji & more. The dropouts Live DJ sets deliver a performance out of the ordinary with added live bass and percussion playing on top of an intense mix of unique edits, loops and acapellas. Since their live debut 2010 the touring orchestra – consisting of two people – have played a string of gigs all over the world, from Australia to Mexico. 

Hear their new vinyl release version of T L C 1999 classic - No Srubs 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Songs that should have been bigger

This Friday special only on - Please join us.

Aretha Franklin takes over the White House

Aretha Franklin takes over the White House Women of Soul", 6 March 2014.

"Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House will be broadcast Monday, April 7 at 9:00 PM ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings). The program will also be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Betty Wright is not tired

Betty Wright has been constantly recording good music since her debut album in 1968. She is nicknamed the, "Clean Up Woman" after her 1971 US #2 R&B Soul anthem. It's hard to believe that Betty Wright was only 17 when her signature song, was first released. With her 1972 American hit, "Baby Sitter," she showed off her powerful whistle register vocals and once
again reached the R&B top 10 in America. Over the next few years she landed big hits with "Shoorah! Shoorah!" plus the song she co wrote with, Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch of K C & The Sunshine Band, "Where Is the Love."
In 1985, Betty Wright became a music pioneer for independent artists, forming her own label, Miss B Records, and she released constantly good product including such gems as, "Pain" in 1986, "No Pain, No Gain" and "After the Pain" in 1988.  Betty
Wright became appreciated by the next generation when she produced and contributed to Joss Stone's debut album, The Soul Sessions & half of the follow up album, Mind Body & Soul, which made the UK's Joss Stone a household name around the world.
Betty Wright returned in 2011 with, Betty Wright: The Movie - with The Roots. The album featured guest spots from Joss Stone, Lenny Williams, Snoop Dogg, Lil' Wayne and included the track "Surrender," which was nominated for a 2011 Grammy in the "Best Traditional R&B Performance" category.
We are now in 2014 and the excitement starts again as Betty Wright drops her new album on us. I includes the new single. ''Tired,'' plus a further 13 tracks in a typical classy style that we have come to expect from Betty Wright through the years. I have to say I have never been disappointed with a Betty Wright album & in 2014 it's no different. May the Clean Up Woman carry on Cleaning up!!
By Gary Van den Bussche 
Disco, Soul, Gold   Read more here :

UK Soul Radio Broadcasters dream come true

A big congratulations to Pete Scoey Schofield from the UK. He writes ...Well my dear friends,,,after an emotional week ...I am so thrilled to have been accepted to send my SOUL SHOW's to the great USA Station WMEL 104.1 >>>> The People Internet Radio Station for The 30 & Over - DJ Mel Entertainment Radio "Where Good Music Lives" ..  Make sure you tune in this Sunday...
------UK 4pm .. 16.00h
------Central Euro .. 5pm .. 17.00h
------U S A East Coast .. 11am 11.00h 
------USA WEST Coast 8am 08.00h
------Hong Kong .. 10pm .. 22.00h
------Australia .. WEST Coast .. 12am Midnight(monday) 24.00h
------Australia EAST Coast 3am (monday)

Check out his Motown show from earlier this moth here: