The classic single ‘Everyday People’ from Sly & The Family Stone. This was 1968 – an annus mirabilis for popular music. Different strokes for different folks. The song would feature on their 1969 album Stand.
This gentleman is the epitome of cool. In the 1960s, the cigar-chomping Jacques Dutronc was the embodiment of French pop chic. In 1967/1968, he had a string of hits including “It’s five o’clock, Paris is waking”. An early contemporary of Johnny Hallyday, married to Françoise Hardy and a drinking buddy of Serge Gainsbourg… his is a Gallic life lived en plein.
In 1968, Aretha Franklin was at one of her early peaks. The Bacharach & David-penned song ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ was the second track on Aretha Now, the album pressed by Atlantic Records. Aretha came up with the arrangement,for a song that had been a hit for Dionne Warwick the year before. Bacharach later said that he liked Aretha’s version the best. As for the album, the first three songs were ‘Think’, ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ and ‘See Saw’. Not too shoddy, then.
Close to you, close to me… get it? The pressing of the LP This Is My Country looks and reads as if it should be a protest album by Chicago-based The Impressions. However, aside of the title track, the album was anything but. For example, the Curtis Mayfield-penned track ‘Stay Close To Me’ sounds more like upbeat Motown than gritty Chicago soul. In fact, The Five Stairsteps & Cubie version would become a Northern Soul dance floor staple. Both records were released in 1968 on Mayfield’s Curtom Records label. Have a great weekend.
Singer-songwriter, fashion icon, muse, Françoise Madeleine Hardy was a leading figure of the French music scene in the 1960s. By the latter part of that decade, she was working with such luminaries as Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg. ‘Comment Te Dire Adieu?’ is a composition by the latter and features on her untitled 1968 album, which has become also known by the title of the opening song. Smouldering lounge sounds and yé-yé.
Kanye West and Jay-Z sang about Otis Redding in 2011 and took the opportunity to feature soul singer’s classic version of ‘Try a Little Tenderness‘. But to me, if someone asks me to think of a standout Otis track, I always call upon the funk sound and the vocal hooks of ‘Hard To Handle’. The single was released posthumously on ATCO Records, in the same year the world was tragically robbed of his talent.
Some Friday morning soul. ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’ was released by Motown as part of Diana Ross & The Supremes Join The Temptations – a collaboration between Motown’s two best selling groups that the label released in 1968. Written by Kenneth Gamble and Jerry Ross, the song was originally a hit for Dionne Warwick’s sister, Dee Dee. Have a great weekend.
The cold has set in and this week’s posts may be a little lower key than usual. ‘This Will Be Our Year’ is shorter and less well known than its set fellow ‘Time Of The Season’, but it is better in my humble opinion. Both tracks featured on The Zombies 1968 masterpiece Odessey and Oracle. I have an inkling that my preference may be because the piano work on this particular track reminds me of ‘Penny Lane’.
Now for the real thing. The first song (‘Good Times Bad Times’) on Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut may have introduced the band’s confident and unique sound, but what followed did something more. While it sounded like another evil-woman blues “ramble”, Jimmy Page and gang had in fact selected and transformed a Joan Baez record for the second track. ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ would draw on folk music and give them the confidence to do so again and again, however heavy their journey became. Zep… what a great way to mark my 1000th post.” And I know that one day, baby, it’s gonna really grow, yes it is.”
Good Christmas music is an oxymoron, but if you look hard enough, you can find. And so I serve up another slice of melancholy with James Brown’s 1968 cut ‘Santa Claus, Santa Claus’. Brown is someone that invested in the festive season with a trio of Christmas-themed albums James Brown Sings Christmas Songs (1966), A Soulful Christmas (1968) and Hey America It’s Christmas (1970) during a time when he was reinventing soul. “Santa Claus, Santa Claus/Please, don’t make me suffer so.”