As with ‘R’ yesterday, ‘S’ throws up a huge number of possibilities, so expect a long post this time. Please play along with your own choices. Any band, album, singer, or song, as long as the name begins with ‘S’.
My fondness for British female solo singers kicks off this post today. Sam (Samantha) Brown is the daughter of the popular British performer, Joe Brown. He had some big hits in the old days, and went on to become a much-loved all round entertainer, still working today. Sam embarked on her own pop career in 1986, and had some minor hits. She went on to become a respected session singer and performer in her own right, and still performs now, aged 52. In 1988, she released her debut album, ‘Stop’. She co-wrote the title song, and the record had great success, selling almost three million copies to date. In 2004, a version by singer Jamelia featured in the film ‘Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason’. This led many people to wrongly believe that this is a ‘Jamelia song’, which irritates me more than I can say. So, as a tribute to Sam, here is the original. She looks very nice too!
Edwin Starr was a great soul artist from the late 1960s. His powerful voice attracted a large following, and he sold lots of records too. He later moved to England, and continued to perform until his death here, in 2003. I was fortunate to be able to see him live the previous year, in the cosy confines of the Jazz Cafe, London. He delivered a powerful set, and even teased me from the stage, which gave everyone a laugh. We are fortunate to also know his brother, Angelo, who played in his band, and continues to perform a tribute act to Edwin. Here’s one of his big hits, and a double ‘S’.
Stop Her On Sight
Carlos Santana has had a long and successful career. He is an excellent guitarist and songwriter, but best known for instrumental pieces that featured on his many top-selling albums. In 1999, he teamed up with singer Rob Thomas, and delivered a mix of Latin sounds, Funk, and such a feel-good song. I just had to feature it here, and waited for the double ‘S’!
English singer and songwriter Seal (it’s his real name) has sold a lot of records. You don’t hear about him much these days, but at one time, he was huge! I also picked him up in my ambulance once, when I was an EMT in London. He was having a panic attack of all things, as he was stressed out about his current recording, and having to travel to Amsterdam later that day. I told him that he could finish my shift, and I would go to Amsterdam in his stead. He sure can sing though. Here’s one of his best known songs, one that featured on a certain film soundtrack. And he used to be married to Heidi Klum too!
Kiss From A Rose
Colombian performer Shakira has done very well for herself. I can’t really take her that seriously, but as pop songs and videos go, she knows her stuff. Hip-wiggling beats, nice visuals, and always good to look at. She has the complete package, even if she won’t be found in any Hall of Fame.
The Shangri-Las cornered the market in the ‘disaster song’ genre, with their huge hit, ‘The Leader of The Pack’, in 1964. The unusual use of sound effects and heavy orchestration by their producer made the songs very difficult to perform live, but as records on the radio, they were fabulous. Their career was short-lived, as the girls split up in 1968. But the few records they left behind are still great to listen to today.
Remember.(Walking In The Sand)
Something of an oddity here, but I cannot resist this quirky song from the daughter of Frank, Nancy Sinatra. Very much of its time, (1966) and with an excellent cheesy video to boot. (Pun intended)
These Boots Are Made For Walking
On to something more serious, and my favourite British group ever. (Yes, ever) Swing Out Sister hit the UK music scene in 1985, enjoying chart success a year later. The sound is hard to categorise, with a mix of Jazz and Soul-inspired songs given a heavy brass treatment, allied to the brilliant vocals of the superb Corinne Drewery. (What a fantastic bob haircut!) I have seen this band live, and it was without doubt the best gig I ever attended, and I have seen a lot, I can tell you. I had the good fortune to meet Corinne after that show in the Jazz Cafe, and she was a very nice person.
I just love this band so much, I have to give them THREE tracks. Can you tell how much I like them?
And this sublime song from 1987.
Perhaps their signature song, a by the numbers cover of the wonderful 1968 song from Barbara Acklin. Shows what good taste they have.
Am I The Same Girl
Lily Allen also features below, in my top pick. Daughter of actor Keith Allen, brother of actor Alfie Allen, she had something of a tempestuous start to life, before settling into a successful recording career. I always liked her ‘London’ sound, and her cheeky personality appeals to me too. Here she is with a song that was a big hit here.
Cover versions. You either love them, or hate them. If you are a big fan of a singer, or group, and someone covers one of your much-loved songs of theirs, it can sometimes drive you crazy. So, fans of the band Keane may need to look away now.
My top pick for today comes from the former wild-child of British pop, Lily Allen. She recorded this version of the Keane song for a Christmas TV advert, in 2013. Breaks my heart, every time.
Sorry, Keane. She nailed it.
Somewhere Only We Know
Off you go with ‘S’. Such an enormous selection.