Even leaving out ‘The’, there are lots of choices in ‘T’. Please play along; any group, song, album, or singer, as long as the name begins with ‘T’. I have tried to avoid many of the obvious choices this time.
First up today, something of a one-hit wonder, from the American group They Might Be Giants. This quirky band released some very unusual songs, but this was the only one that they had a hit with, at least in the UK. They formed as long ago as 1982, and are still working today. This is from 1990.
Birdhouse In Your Soul
British female duo Banderas had a very short-lived career, with just two hits over here from their 1991 debut album. The girls had some pedigree, previously working in The Communards, with Jimmy Somerville. The album ‘Ripe’ also featured Johnny Marr on guitar, Bernard Sumner from New Order, and Jimmy Somerville, both doing backing vocals. I liked Caroline Buckley’s voice so much, and admired her shaven-headed look too. This track also has some very meaningful lyrics, and is a life lesson to us all.
This Is Your Life
I expect everyone has heard the song, ‘Try A Little Tenderness’. You might be surprised to learn that it was written as long ago as 1932, first performed by Ray Noble and his orchestra. The following year, the wonderful Ruth Etting recorded her version, soon followed by Bing Crosby, who had a hit with it.
But in 1966, a slightly revised version of the song was given the definitive Soul treatment, and released by Otis Redding. It doesn’t get much better than this. My favourite Soul song of all time, it makes me somewhat fragile every time I hear it. To say the least.
Try A Little Tenderness
Talking Heads, and the front man David Byrne, are something of a love/hate group. Byrne is undeniably strange, and his songs and sound hard to classify. But they have been hugely influential, and also made great use of the pop video phenomenon to promote their songs. I thought they deserved a mention on ‘T’.
Once In A Lifetime
In 1988, I heard a really powerful song on the radio. It was by someone I had never heard of. When they announced the name of the singer, I went straight to a record shop, and bought the album. Taylor Dayne enjoyed some success with releases from that album, and later went on to some acting roles too. She is still around, acting as well as singing, but I only ever really liked this song.
Tell It To My Heart
I have featured Tears for Fears previously, but they are good enough to deserve another outing. Last time, it was ‘Mad World’, but on this occasion it is something more involved, a song that is brilliantly constructed, and bordering on operatic in scale. That Roland Orzibal sure knows his stuff.
Sowing The Seeds of Love
Back to 1966 in my musical time machine, and a huge Tamla Motown hit from the marvellous Temptations. This takes me back to button-down collars, smart suits, and teenage romance. Wonderful stuff.
Scottish band Texas have been around since 1986. Their 1989 debut album brought them great success, and international acclaim. Much of this is on the back of the lead singer, Charlene Spiteri, with her instantly-recognisable tone, and excellent vocal range. They are still very active, and released a new album this year. Charlene has also had a well-received solo career alongside the band. From their many big hits, I have chosen this song, from the 1997 album, ‘White on Blonde’. Just perfect.
Say What You Want
I said that Amy Winehouse would feature again, and here she is, with today’s top choice. I just love her voice so much, but this is without doubt my favourite of all her songs. Written about a break up with her obnoxious long-time lover, you can feel the pain in every line. Funky, Jazzy, and yet still heartbreaking. One of my favourite songs of all time, from anybody.
Tears Dry On Their Own