A Musical A-Z: V

‘V’ is a lot easier than I expected, with lots of choices. Please play along; any group, song, album, or artist, as long as the name begins with a ‘V’.

Back to early 1960s pop to start, with the American teenage heartthrob, Bobby Vee. I liked his nasal singing at the time, and enjoyed the catchy songs. Who can forget ‘Rubber Ball’? “Bouncy, Bouncy…”.
But here’s a better one.
Take Good Care Of My Baby

Don McClean gave the world that anthem to the USA, ‘American Pie’. Surely there cannot be anyone who hasn’t heard it? It’s a great song, but doesn’t start with a ‘V’. Luckily, this one of his does.

Culture Club had a great run of success from 1981, until 1986. They dominated the UK pop charts, and the strange outfits and androgynous look of lead singer Boy George also dominated the headlines. In the middle of all the fuss, the drug-taking revelations, and discussions about homosexuality, it was easy to forget that they were actually very good at what they were doing. And Boy George could really sing.

British band The Verve started out with great promise. Formed in 1990, they went on to win two Brit awards, and achieved great critical acclaim. This song from them was even nominated for a Grammy. But the band broke up in 1999, and despite re-forming later, they never managed to stay together, finally splitting for good, in 2009.
Bitter Sweet Symphony

Trevor Horn might not be a name you know. He is the successful man behind a raft of talent from his time at ZTT studios. This is the man behind Seal, Yes, ABC, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and Band Aid. But he also performed, and had one of the first hits spawned off the MTV/pop video phenomenon. And very prescient that song was too. Here he is with The Buggles. (He’s wearing the big glasses)
Video Killed The Radio Star

I couldn’t let ‘V’ pass without featuring another song from Madonna. Maybe not as sexy as some, but one of my favourites from her vast catalogue of great videos that accompanied her songs. Strike the pose!

As regular readers will know, Jamiroquai has been a mainstay of this blog during the last year. My post about the band has continued to be the most-read on here, and sparked a great deal of debate too. I know I already had ‘Space Cowboy’, but good old Jay Kay deserves another one, for ‘V’.
Virtual Insanity

OK, I have already said how much I love Amy Winehouse, so make no apologies for featuring another one from her. Allied to the sheer talent of Mark Ronson, she did something rarely seen, by improving on a song that was already pretty damn good. She may not be in this superb video, but she sings this song like nobody else can. Please bear with this video, it’s just great.
Her cover of this song from The Zutons may seem unacceptable to their fans, but I have only three words for you. Suck it up. Oh, and I will have their original in ‘Z’, so no crying now.

My top pick today is surprisingly not that Amy Winehouse song. This one comes from the strange but compelling work of the Icelandic phenomenon that is Bjork. She can do it all, it seems. Write songs, sing, dance, act in films, create amazing videos, and most of all, stay unique.
Venus As A Boy

Off you go with ‘V’. So much to explore!


52 thoughts on “A Musical A-Z: V

  1. I bought the American Pie album when it first came out. The title track and “Vincent” were my favorites, but the whole album was good. It’s nice to see the song mentioned here! By the way, the film, “Loving Vincent,” is hitting theaters. I really want to buy this on DVD/Blu-Ray when it becomes available.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a fun, diverse array. โ€œVincentโ€ is a longtime favorite, Don McLean is great. And that Amy Winehouse video was great, I didnโ€™t recognize the name Mark Runson as the guy with โ€œUptown Funk!โ€ and now I read heโ€™s a heavyweight producer. I also knew nothing about Bobby Vee and thought he was the same person as Bobby Vinton, and I guess there was also a Bobby Sox back then? Hereโ€™s a couple more suggestions: Vampire Weekend is maybe not a great band, but definitely a fun band. I’m also a fan of Van Morrison โ€“ weird that an Irish guy sings R&B so well, I love everything on โ€œMoondanceโ€. Verdi – – Iโ€™m definitely not an opera fan, but I love it when Iโ€™m in a barbershop and they have Verdi and the ballgame on simultaneously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have had some Van Morrison in earlier letters, so left him off of ‘V’. Mark Ronson is huge. He started in England, and is now international. Multi-award-winning, Grammys and Brits, and of course produced the entire ‘Back To Black’ album for Any Winehouse. He’s a rich Jewish boy from one of the most affluent parts of London, which gave him a great start. Born in England, he moved to the US as a child, and went to school in Manhattan, followed by NYU.
      I’m sure you are joking about Bobby Sox, but Bobby Vee had big hits in the UK.
      Verdi is a good call. Can’t say much more than Aida, and don’t need to.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea, bobby sox was an attempted joke. I recognize Bobby Vee’s tunes when I looked them up, but like Frankie Valli, I think either you flip for that style or find it too nasal. I’ve got family that absolutely love Frankie Valli/4 Seasons. You’re getting a lot of cool responses, Pete, this is fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. There were lots of ‘Bobby’ singers in the early sixties (no, I’m really not that old, but I remember them.) Here’s another one with a last name of Vinton. ‘Roses are Red (My Love)’, ‘Blue Velvet’, and ‘Mr. Lonely’.. things were simpler then weren’t they? ๐Ÿ™‚ And I do like, ‘Vincent (Starry Starry Night’) too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was hot on the heels of FR then as all I could think about was Vangelis and the Blade Runner link. Top choices Pete, I will be listening in the morning and taking a trip on memory lane with many of your picks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. many of these I know and I really like Valerie too, but not Bjork. Along with Kate Bush she makes me reach for the off button. But you missed out Van Morrison – my favourite of his has to be “Moondance”, but do you remember “Whatever happened to PJ Proby”?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Time is running so fast. I would like to read the previous entries.
    For today I can only say: great selection. My favorite is Valerie.
    I add: Shocking Blue with Venus, VNV Nation with Illusion and Vaya con dios with Nah Neh Nah and Puerto Rico.
    Best wishes ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great choices again,Pete. I knew (I’m sure we all did) that that version of Valerie would feature. I think it’s one of her best performances, but I do prefer the original by the Zutons. There is also Visions of Johanna by Bob Dylan.

    Here’s a song that’s been following me around for nearly a year.

    Vuela Corazon (might appeal to your love of foreign language artistic endeavours).

    You’ve pretty well covered the V artists, I think. The only one I would really add is the Von Bondies (a bit of a Strokes – esque band from the 00s

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ian. I found a lot more ‘V’s to consider. I had to leave a lot out. The Zutons will feature in ‘Z’. I like their original, but naturally think that Amy really nailed it. I played your Spanish-language song, and it’s not bad at all. Reminds me of (distant) holidays in Spain.
      Cheers, Pete.


  8. Songs~ Virgin State of Mind~K’s Choice, Victim of Love~Bryan Adams, (The) Voice Within~Christina Aguilera, Voodoo Child~originally Jimi Hendrix but really cool version by Angelique Kidjo.

    Artist~ Vangelis, for themes from Blade Runner, Gladiator and Braveheart. (Especially Blade Runner!)

    Liked by 3 people

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.