A Musical A-Z: S

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.
Whenever, Wherever

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.


68 thoughts on “A Musical A-Z: S

  1. S: there are so very much Bands or songs with this letter!
    I add: Samba Pa Ti – my favorite song from Santana
    To the moon and back – Savage Garden
    Vonda Shepard ( Music from the series Ally Mc Beal )
    Simon & Garfunkel ❤
    Bruce Springsteen
    Steeley Span
    Steve Miller Band
    Cat Stevens
    Barbra Streisand
    The German Band: Schiller, Söhne Mannheims, Subway to Sally
    and the song Summerwine – sung by Ville Velo & Natalia Avelon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Irene, you mentioned Steeleye Span ,and Cat Stevens. Thanks for that. You were the only person to remember them. ‘S’ was indeed huge, ad perfect for this challenge.
      Best wishes Pete.


      1. My older brother liked Cat Stevens very much. And he played the music all day long. I grew up with that music.And today I`m happy if I hear Cat Stevens at the radio. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          1. My favourite is Lady D`Arbanville and Wild world! He made great music and with such a pleasant voice!
            Now I will read your post about “Q” 🙂
            And now I hear Rehab from Amy. ❤
            Hope weather is ok in England. Best wishes, Irene

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Never heard of Dave Matthews? I love his work. The drummer is also a percussionist and has the biggest drum kit I’ve ever seen.
    Between you and the comments most of my S thoughts have been covered. But unless I missed it, there is one big gap—Summertime.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Siouxsie and the Banshees “Kiss Them for Me”. Squirrel Nut Zippers “Hell”. Sonic Youth. Slade. Squeeze has absolute classic pop songs and has got a lot of diehard fans in the U.S. The Specials, because I love British ska-style bands. Spoon is an excellent band from Austin, and not the usual beer/pickup/America/shotgun/Jesus stuff from Texas (I hope I got those Lone Star country-song-priorities in the right order). If you’ve never listened to Sigur Rós, from Iceland, you should give them a try sometime, probably when you’ve had a few, kind of a trippy, almost classical sound sometimes, please don’t ask me to spell any of their songs, or even guess what they’re about, but very cool unearthly sound. Springsteen is a great musician and American storyteller, a second Woody Guthrie. Great tunes and his lyrics are a lot more nuanced than a lot of people realize. Just avoid the “Nebraska” album, which I think was written for suicidal people preparing to jump off grain silos. Artie Shaw was one of the swing era greats. Erik Satie – I don’t know anything about classical music, but his pieces just have a unique mood to them. Sade “Cool Operator” for late night.
    I’m very much looking forward to listening to all your “S” videos tonight, for your #1 British band, it will be all new to me. RPT

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Robert. My wife and I are huge fans of Squeeze, one of the definitive ‘London’ bands, from the same area that I came from. I left them off, expecting lots of comments about them, but that didn’t happen.
      I was a big fan of the Specials, and the Two-Tone Ska revival in general. I wrote this, in 2013.

      Siouxsie Sioux is good for a double S, and I still play Sade’s first album a lot.

      As for Springsteen, I never really got his ‘blue-collar rock’. I concluded that he was just ‘too American’, but in a way that I couldn’t relate to, unlike Steely Dan, who I did ‘get’.

      Hope you liked some of the songs you didn’t know.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You did a great line-up. I’m a big Motown fan, that’s cool you met Edwin Starr. I don’t worship Santana, he has fanatic fans, or Matchbox 20 for that matter, but “Supernatural” was a great album, and I literally don’t know anybody that doesn’t get into that particular song “Smooth”. I really like your “Swing Out Sister” band, and very appealing videos, I looked up some more of their stuff and she does a really excellent retro R&B sound. That 3rd tune you put up, I’ve heard a lot, but always as an instrumental version “Soulful Strut” Young-Holt Unlimited. No idea why she isn’t a bigger presence in the U.S. I think I will buy “Where Our Love Grows”. Have a great weekend, Pete

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The original version of ‘Am I The Same Girl’ is worth a listen too. Stripped-back, early soul. Very happy that you liked Swing Out Sister, I am always plugging them to anyone who will listen. Over here, you can get a ‘Best Of’ compilation, which is a good overview of their work. It is also available in the US from Amazon, from around $14.
          I finally got to Squeeze, so look out for ‘U’.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t believe it! I just spent the last 20 minutes typing out my choices, and I must have hit something because it all disappeared.😭 Well, let me just say that you’ve picked many of my favorites Pete (Sia, Seal, Shakira, Santana and Swing Out Sister). My list would also include: Frank Sinatra (I can’t remember if he was on my F list), Shania Twain, Sheryl Crow, Shirley Bassey, Sting, Steven Tyler, Susanna Hoffs, Sting, Survivor, Stone Temple Pilots, and Swedish House Mafia.
    S.O.S. – ABBA
    Sad Angel – Fleetwood Mac
    Sunday, Bloody Sunday – U2
    Safety Dance – Men Without Hats
    Sailing – Christopher Cross
    Same Old Lang Syne – Dan Fogelberg
    Same Old Song and Dance – Aerosmith
    Same On the Inside – Stone Temple Pilots
    Sancta Maria – Enya
    Sara – Fleetwood Mac
    Saturday In the Park – Chicago
    Save a Prayer – Duran Duran
    Save Me -Hinder
    Save My Love – Bruce Springsteen
    *Save the World – Swedish House Mafia ( One of my favorite music videos EVER! A must see for dog lovers!)*
    Sympathy For the Devil – Rolling Stones
    Sweet and Tender Romance – Bangles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry about your typing glitch, Kim. But thanks so much for your extensive list, and for liking Swing Out Sister, which I always love to see. Happy that I picked so many of your favourites.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So many to choose from. I still think Seal’s best jam is his first hit, “Crazy.” How about some Slighty Stoopid with “World Goes ‘Round.” Salt N Pepa’s first hit was another I really liked, “Push It.” I’d slap myself if I didn’t put “Scenario” here by Tribe Called Quest and Leaders of the New School.” Also, I’m a sucker for Journey’s “Send Her My Love.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Crazy’ was a good tune indeed. And ‘Push It’ is a good call too.
      Thanks as always for playing along, and for all your great suggestions, Aaron.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  6. Yes, Santana would certainly have been on my list.

    There are so many more, though. Scissor Sisters, Stone Roses (I’ve just been listening to Sally Cinnamon). Can’t ignore the Sex Pistols, either. Or the Specials, the Strokes. And how about Steppenwolf?

    As for songs? Seven Nation Army (Oh Jeremy Corbyn), Sex Crime (Eurythmics), Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll (Ian Dury) Silver Machine (Hawkwind) Sound of the Suburbs (the Members) Starman (him again) Suspect Device (Stiff Little Fingers).

    I might be showing my age a bit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Starman was high on the list, but I have overplayed my Bowie hand a bit. I’m not a Stone Roses fan, so they were never going to feature, except in comments. Thanks for the other suggestions, Ian. Don’t forget, you can show your age, but you will never be as old as me! Give my love to Janice.
      Cheers mate, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. S is the best! Simon & Garfunkel, Sounds of Silence and every other song too. Supremes, You just keep me Hanging on, and more. Barbra Streisand, all the songs from Funny Girl, plus Sweet Inspiration, Somewhere, and Stony End to add more S’s. Stormy Weather and Somewhere over the Rainbow sung by Judy Garland. Also love the rendition of Somewhere over the Rainbow, by Israel K, Hawaiian style, so pleasant. Better stop there!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yay! Three cheers for Swing out Sister. I love “Breakout”. How can anyone be sad listening to that song??? (The opening few chords sound like Pet Shop Girls, “East End Girls”)
    What a fun Seal story. I love that song, too. I hear it all the time and it never gets old.
    My faves would be anything by Santana, “Scarborough Fair” by Simon and Garfunkel, “Save A Prayer”, by Duran Duran, “Shout”, Tears for Fears, “Solitary Man”, by Neil Diamond, “Space Oddity”, by David Bowie, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, by U2 and “Sunrise” both versions by Hall & Oates and Simply Red. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always happy to hear from another Swing Out Sister fan, Cindy. Seal was actually a very nice guy. Huge to encounter physically, but gentle, and very vulnerable.
      Thanks for all your other choices, and for playing along.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. WHAT? 😉 I have loved the group for a very long time. Big in the 90s and 00s. He has a cult following. His band is talented and his sound is jazzy/folky/rock — the lyrics and the musicianship is complex and satisfying.

            Liked by 2 people

  9. Great choices, Pete and she did nail the Keane song, didn’t she? Here are a few additions: Supertramp gives us a double “S” with “School” front heir debut album, and Steely Dan could be mentioned in a million ways – I’ll choose my favorite song “Pretzel Logic” this time. Finally, the majesty of The Stone Roses and “I Wanna Be Adored” must be mentioned as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had forgotten about Supertramp, John. I might have included one of theirs, maybe ‘The Logical Song’. Glad you agree about Lily’s version. I think I have had enough mileage out of Steely Dan in this series, but I may not be finished with them yet…
      Best wishes, Pete.


  10. Ah, well I like nearly all of your choices… and will come back later to listen to/watch them… maybe when the light has gone from the sky. Have to make the most of the sunshine. An S from me? Sting.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I would have chosen Seal and Santana’s Smooth so will have to find something different!

    Songs~Separate Lives~Phil Collins, She’s a River~Simple Minds (double S 🙂 ) She’s So Fine~Thunder , Sing for Absolution~Muse

    Artists~Shinedown, Sheryl Crow, Spandau Ballet & Slash

    Great Albums~Stripped~Christina Aguilera, Sticky Fingers~Rolling Stones, Somethings Dripping~Bonafide.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved “These Boots” as a little girl — went around singing it in my little white go-go boots.
    But Santana… Angels come to earth when he plays guitar… and they cry out in anguish when he stops. Mega hugs, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow – I completely forgot about Sinatra and Santana – where is my head at this morning – MORE COFFEE – NOW!!
    I came up with Sting and his ‘Sacred Love’ and for an oldie – Al Jolson’s ‘Swanee.’

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You asre right…there is enough “S” to go around….my artists are Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins…..First tune that comes to mind….”(Sittin’ ON)Dock of the Bay” by Otis….”Sex Me” by Rihanna and she would only half to ask once….”Saturday Night” by Bay City Rollers…..”School’s Out For The Summer”…Alice Cooper….and “Saigon Bride” by Joan Baez……I will leave some for others….time for coffee and a biscuit…LOL chuq

    Liked by 1 person

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