“Gloria” (Enchantment), “Oh Sheila” (Ready for the World), “Lucille” (Little Richard), “Bernadette” (the Four Tops), “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (Jim Croce), “Take a Letter, Maria” (R.B. Greaves), “Billie Jean” (Michael Jackson), “Sherry” (the Four Seasons), “Don’t Mess With Bill” (the Marvelettes), “Louie Louie” (the Kingsmen), “Tyrone” (Erykah Badu), “Jamie” (Eddie Holland), “Jack and Jill” (Raydio), “Roxanne, Roxanne” (UTFO), “Johnny B. Goode” (Chuck Berry).
“Jimmy Mack” (Martha & the Vandellas), “Little Walter” (Tony Toni Toné), “Nadine” (Chuck Berry), “Ruby” (Ray Charles), “Eleanor Rigby” (the Beatles), “My Girl Josephine” (Fats Domino), “Cleo’s Mood” (Jr. Walker & the All Stars), “Charlie Brown” (the Coasters), “Hey Joe” (Jimi Hendrix), “Mickey’s Monkey” (the Miracles), “Diana” (Paul Anka), “Kelly’s Eyes” (André Cymone), “Long Tall Sally” (Little Richard), “Brandy” (the O’Jays), “Stan” (Eminem).
“Joanna” (Kool & the Gang), “Goodnight Irene” (Leadbelly), “Amos Moses” (Jerry Reed), “Michael” (the C.O.D.s), “Alfie” (Dionne Warwick), “Angie” (the Rolling Stones), “Sadie” (the Spinners), “Nathan Jones” (the Supremes), “Frankie” (Sister Sledge), “Maybelline” (Chuck Berry), “What Will My Mary Say?” (Johnny Mathis), “Georgia on My Mind” (Ray Charles), “My Name Is Not Susan” (Whitney Houston), “Hey Paula” (Paul and Paula), “Ben” (Michael Jackson), “Eddie My Love” (the Teen Queens).
“Belle” (Al Green), “Work With Me, Annie” (Hank Ballard & the Midnighters), “Oh! Carol” (Neil Sedaka), “Lee Cross” (Walter Jackson), “Big Bad John” (Jimmy Dean), “Bette Davis Eyes” (Kim Carnes), “Marlena” (the Four Seasons), “Danny Boy” (Jackie Wilson), “Judy’s Turn to Cry” (Lesley Gore), “Shimmy Like Kate” (the Olympics), “Good Golly Miss Molly” (Little Richard), “Chuck E.’s in Love” (Rickie Lee Jones), “Lovely Rita” (the Beatles), “Maggie May” (Rod Stewart), “Wait ’Til My Bobby Gets Home” (Darlene Love).
Can you think of others — and how many of these songs do you remember?
INDIA.ARIE is one of those artists with a strong dislike for categorization. She said she operates based on what she feels intuitively, without the labels that the record industry and radio are obsessed with.
When asked by Billboard magazine about being categorized as neo-soul, Arie, whose just-released album is titled “Testimony: Vol. 1, Life and Relationship,” said, “(The term) was coined to make money. That’s what the music industry is about, but that’s not what I’m about. I never called myself that. They were seeking to define a group of artists, so we were put in a box. How dare they label someone to make people feel comfortable.”
Donell Jones’ new album, “Journey of a Gemini,” went straight to No. 1 in its first week on the national R&B Albums chart....Brian McKnight has switched labels — from Universal/Motown to Warner Bros. His first WB album, “10,” is scheduled for release in the last quarter of this year. People are looking forward to hearing his duet with Jill Scott.... Comedienne/actress Wanda Sykes says she is in no hurry to have another TV show. In her words, “It’s too much work for the way it gets treated, and how much of it is out of your control.” (Sykes was hilarious on the big screen in “Monster-in-Law” with the equally funny Jane Fonda.)
BILL WITHERS, whose voice, style and songwriting are completely unlike any other artist, past or present, said he withdrew from the music business (and performing) mainly because of the disrespect he was shown, by Columbia Records and elsewhere, after sales slowed up and advanced middle-age became a reality.
This despite the never-ending appeal of his biggest hits, including “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me” (both classics), “Lovely Day” and the duet with Grover Washington Jr., “Just the Two of Us.”
A new low was reached, said Withers, when a Columbia exec allowed his 4-year-old daughter to run around the studio naked while Withers was recording. (Talk about inconsideration and a distraction!)
Now that he is no longer interested — he still makes a lot of money from songwriting royalties — Withers says several record companies have made overtures.
WHO DO you think would make a good replacement for Star Jones Reynolds on “The View”? Two that crossed my mind are Debbie Allen and Natalie Cole. I disagree with Entertainment Weekly magazine, which suggested Mo’Nique and Jackée. I think either one would be too brash and loud. What we need is class. Black people adhering to stereotypes has got to go!
Speaking of “us,” so much talk goes on about this politician’s party and that politician’s party, where the Black community’s “loyalty” should be, etc., and it all becomes tiresome. It won’t make much, if any, difference for Detroit whether Jennifer Granholm remains governor or Dick DeVos slides into the position.
Until the Black community gets itself together, Detroit will remain exactly the same, and that includes declining neighborhoods, dirty streets, bad schools, murder barely considered an abnormality, people who just don’t care. There is a reason why so many thousands of people move out of Detroit every year. Sometimes it seems that upstanding, enlightened African Americans are outnumbered by those who pull us all down, and embarrass us too.
(It makes sense of an entertainment writer to make political comments because entertainment and politics are closely related. In a very real sense, politicians are enterainers!)
The late, famed gospel choir director, singer and songwriter Mattie Moss Clark said, “Don’t let the rap music get into the church.” She would probably not be pleased if she heard a genre of gospel music known as “holy hip-hop.” And the R&B/funky gospel music of granddaughter of Kierra “Kiki” Sheard probably wouldn’t please her either.
Which brings to mind the fact that not too long I visited a large Detroit church and, believe it or not, the youth choir sang Foxy’s still popular 1978 hit “Get Off” — but with religious lyrics. It was weird!
One more thing: I basically like Jay-Z, but he was out of line to use the word “racist” with regard to the makers of Cristal champaigne not being pleased with rappers mentioning their product in their songs, on stage and in videos. If you manufactured an expensive, upscale product like Cristal, would you want unsolicited endorsements from the likes of Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent and Busta Rhymes? Probably not!
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW.... that Dionne Warwick’s hit song “Message to Michael” was originally recorded as “Message to Martha,” by Lou Johnson.
MEMORIES: “Does Your Mama Know About Me?” (Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers), “The Second Time Around” (Shalamar), “Let the Music Play” (Shannon), “Let the Music Play” (the Drifters...a completely different song recorded two decades earlier, and where the sign-off line of this column came from), “We’re Gonna Make It” (Little Milton), “Court of Love” (the Unifics), “Take Care of Your Homework” (Johnnie Taylor), “The Right Stuff” (Vanessa Williams).
BLESSINGS to Ortheia Barnes, Rick Ware, Tom Walker, Jay Butler, Ken Cochrane, Diane Steinberg-Lewis, Eunice McCall, Doris A.D. Richardson, Jim Burns, Gisele Caver and Brendy Perryman.
WORDS OF THE WEEK: “The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”
Let the music play!
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