international man of mystery, bon vivant, swinging playboy and irresistible babe magnet.
London is my home, shag is my bag,
planet earth is my playground and
danger is my middle name, baby.
Your regular host, Shady Del Knight, is indisposed. He's in Cabo playing
beach volleyball with the Swedish Bikini Team. Lucky bugger! Since our
boy Shady has his hands full, he asked me to pop over and fill in for him
again this year as host of his Valentine's Day dance potty. Shady wants
me to spin stacks o' wax. To each his own, mate, but I think you might
have more fun if I play vinyl phonograph records instead.
These ditties by stateside sweeties and beauteous Britties are perfect
for V-Day because they teach you all about the birds and the bees.
Reminds me of the time a burly bloke in Liverpool accused me
of being the son-of-a-bee that pollinated his daughter.
That's a gag, baby ...
I abso-bloody-lutely saw you crack a smile just then, dove... Go on now... admit it!
Okay, enough levity. On with the show as I present a shagadelic
Valentine's Day salute to warbling thrushes on both sides of the
pond doing original songs along with some very groovy covers!
In the fall of 1968, English sparrow
Pet Clark released Petula, her last
album of original material produced
by Tony Hatch who, along with song-
writing partner Jackie Trent, was
responsible for several of Pet's
biggest hits. Here's one of the
Hatch - Trent compositions
from the album released that
year as a single. Petula Clark
sings-- "Don't Give Up!"
"Don't Give Up" - Petula Clark
(Aug. 1968, highest chart pos.
#23 Canada, #27 Cash Box, #37 Hot 100, from Sept. 1968 album Petula)
Now we're back in the U.S... back in the U.S... back in the U.S. of A., baby...
to hear one of the biggest and best by the drama queens of Queens, New York,
The Shangri-Las. In the summer of 1965, Mary Weiss and her streetwise
girl group appeared on Dick Clark's TV show Where The Action Is
and performed a song that cracked the top 20 earlier that year.
With Jeri Lyn Stapleton of The Action Kids dancers working it out on
the right, here are The Shangs and-- "Give Him A Great Big Kiss!"
You know you want to, baby - YEAH!
"Give Him A Great Big Kiss" - The Shangri-Las
(Jan. 1965, highest chart pos. #15 Cash Box/#18 Hot 100,
perf. on July 29, 1965, ep. of Where The Action Is)
Hey now... it's time for me to introduce another
New York-based songstress, pop queen Lesley Gore.
The poster above is fibbing, mate, because the seldom heard "Hey Now"
turned out to be one of the lowest charting non-hits of Lesley's career.
The recording style is R&B influenced, a departure from Lesley's
earlier recordings. As such, it didn't tickle fan fancy. Sales also
suffered from controversy over the B side, "Sometimes I Wish
I Were a Boy," which some people thought contained misogynistic
lyrics. Just before Halloween, 1964, Lesley performed "Hey Now"
on the star-studded T.A.M.I. Show which alternately stood for
"Teenage Awards Music International" and "Teen Age Music
International," an event that was released as a film at the
end of the year. "Hey Now," here's Lesley!
"Hey Now" - Lesley Gore
(Oct. 1964, highest chart pos. #54 Cash Box/#76 Hot 100,
Oct. 28 & 29, 1964, perf. on T.A.M.I. Show, film released Dec, 29, 1964)
FIRST TO ELEVEN
In 1980, the American new wave band Blondie scored the biggest hit
of their career with "Call Me," the theme from the movie American Gigolo.
The Blondie platter spent six weeks atop the U.S. pop chart. Fast forward
42 years to present and enjoy frontwoman Audra Miller and her popular
Erie, Pennsylvania, rock band First To Eleven aka F211, doing their
exciting cover of the Blondie classic-- "Call Me!
"Call Me" - Blondie cover by First To Eleven
In 1958, the song "Everybody Loves a Lover" was a big record for Doris Day,
the last major hit in the U.S. for the veteran singer and actress. In the fall of '62,
the New Jersey girl group The Shirelles released a cover that made the top 20
in the early weeks of 1963. Here now are The Shirelles, one year later at
the start of '64 appearing in the UK TV movie It's Little Richard and
#19 Hot 100, Jan. 8, 1964, perf. in UK TV movie It's Little Richard)
THE PAPER DOLLS
The Paper Dolls were a Brit girl pop trio of the late 60s. Seeing
as how each bird had a nickname (lead zinger Susie 'Tiger' Mathis,
Pauline 'Spyder' Bennett and Sue 'Copper' Marshall)... the act
predated The Spice Girls and paved the way for future
girl-pop trios like Bananarama and Atomic Kitten.
In 1963, "My Boyfriend's Back"
by the U.S. girl group The Angels
spent three weeks at the top of the
chart, earning it a spot high on
Billboard's list of 100 Greatest
Girl Group Songs of All Time.
Here now, for your listening
and dancing pleasure, are those
pretty Britties, The Paper Dolls,
with their toe-tapping cover
released in 1970.
"My Boyfriend's Back"
- The Paper Dolls
(Feb. 1970, uncharted)
We started the party with a number by Petula Clark, and Pet gets the nod
to sing the last song of the night. Everybody knows Petula is one of
Britain's biggest singing stars, but you might not know that she is
also a gifted songwriter. Ironically, some of Petula's songs and
recordings were more popular in the U.S. and France than
they were back home in the UK.
Along with famed British composer Tony Hatch, Petula co-wrote "You're the One"
and it became a top 5 hit stateside for the vocal group The Vogues. Pet released
her own version of the song as a single and it fell short of the UK top 20. The B side, an English version of a French song that Petula co-wrote with French poet Pierre Delanoë, might have been a better choice
to promote as the A side. To wind up this year's V-Day bash
and send us running along home to mum, here's Pet Clark
with her killer bee entitled-- "Gotta Tell The World,"
That Was Then - This Is Now!
It is not my intention to pass judgement. (That's your job. :) This series
merely invites you to compare apples and oranges. Hard as it might
be for you to believe, I enjoy all of the female recording artists
you are about to see and hear. Join me on this jarring journey
back and forth through time as we compare the look,
the sound and the attitude of female singers
then... and now!
THAT WAS THEN
It's a different world, my friend. When I was a boy, girls looked, sounded
and acted like Connie Francis and the other coeds in the coming-of-age
romantic comedy film Where the Boys Are (Spring Breakers 2012 was
light years away!). Return with me now to the age of innocence as
Connie sings a song from the Brill Building songwriting team of
Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, the theme from the movie
that hit theaters at the end of 1960 and marked her acting
debut-- "Where The Boys Are.""
Lead zinger Addie Nicole's hair ranges from fire engine red to carrot orange,
and the exciting frontwoman is back at Shady's Place along with her fierce
Phoenix-based rock band Halocene. They're here to perform a metal/rock
cover of "Bang Bang," the chart-topping 2014 hit by English singer
Jessie J in collaboration with American singer Ariana Grande and
the spark-plug who just sang "Starships," Trinidadian-American
rapper Nicki Minaj. Joining Addie Nicole on lead vocals is
Alanna Sterling aka "Mermaid Unicorn." YouTube star
Lauren Babic will blow you away when she jumps in
on the rap part. Yessum, it's three rockin' ladies for
the price of one - Addie, Alanna and Lauren -
comin' atcha with guns blazing, doing their
electrifying version of-- "Bang Bang!"
"Bang Bang" - Jessie J/Ariana Grande/Nicki Minaj
metal/rock cover by Halocene ft. Lauren Babic
and Alanna Sterling (Feb. 2022)
THAT WAS THEN
Marianne Faithfull turns age 76 this year.
I repeat. Marianne Faithfull turns 76 this year.
The English singer, songwriter and actress was
discovered by Rolling Stones manager and
producer Andrew Loog Oldham. Marianne
had a long and turbulent relationship with
Mick Jagger and the two were part of the
hip Swinging London scene of the mid
to late 60s. Here is Marianne singing
her best known hit, a song penned by
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and
Andrew Loog Oldham entitled--
"As Tears Go By."
"As Tears Go By" - Marianne Faithfull
(Jan. 1965, highest chart pos.
#22 Hot 100/#30 Cash Box)
THIS IS NOW
Lastly but not leastly, here's eye and ear candy for your feastly. Her name is
Annalise Mahanes and she fronts the Nashville-based pop trio imy2 which
stands for "I miss you, too." The band writes and records original music
with, in their own words, "a dose of confidence, individuality and self-
love... powerful, nostalgic female vocals supported by the band's
undeniable chemistry." Here's Annalise supporting a woman's
right to chews... performing a song you can really
NADV 1502031AM1 Sarah Collins. Picture : Adrian Murray (1502031AM1)
Sarah Collins, as you recall, is the mum of two in Yorkshire,
England, who underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor,
bounced back to health and became a YouTube sensation
in recent years with shot-at-home videos in which she
sings covers of Northern Soul favorites.
Sarah also appears at clubs
in England and other parts
of Europe fronting the
Northern Soul band
Keep The Faith.
So inspired am I by
Sarah's touching story
and her soulful singing
that I created this series
to showcase her covers
along with the originals.
The song "Reet Petite (The Sweetest Girl in Town)" was originally
subtitled "The Finest Girl You Ever Want to Meet." The up tempo
1957 R&B ditty was co-written by Motown founder Berry Gordy
and recorded by Jackie Wilson. It was Jackie's first solo hit after
leaving his post as lead singer for Billy Ward & His Dominoes.
Strange as it seems, "Reet Petite" failed to register on the R&B
chart, but reached #62 pop and brushed the top 5 in the UK!
"Reet Petite" - Jackie Wilson
(Sept. 1957, highest chart pos. #62 Hot 100/#6 UK)
Now listen to Sarah Collins' cover of "Reet Petite," the
song made popular by The Titan of Soul, Jackie Wilson.
"Reet Petite" - Sarah Collins cover
In vol. 4, Sarah covered three Etta James songs. Today Sarah
will do a second Jackie Wilson number. This one is Jackie's
signature song. In the fall of 1967, "(Your Love Keeps
Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" topped the R&B
chart and brushed the top 5 on the pop survey.
"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"
Jackie Wilson (October 1967, highest chart pos.
#6 Hot 100 & Cash Box/#1 R&B)
Now here's Sarah's rousing rendition of Jackie Wilson's
big crossover hit "Higher And Higher."
"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"
Sarah Collins cover
In 1972, Philadelphia's smooth, sweet soul group The Stylistics,
featuring the lead vocals of Russell Thompkins Jr., gained their
first top 3 crossover hit with a cover of "Betcha By Golly Wow,"
a song originally recorded by actress and pop singer Connie
Stevens. Released in 1970, Connie's single was entitled