‘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’.
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!