From the Summer/Autumn months in 2012. I enjoyed doing this – it was great to be restrained by three people rather than appearances which can be so contentious.

Number 1 – The Dixie Cups – Barbara Ann, Rosa Lee Hawkins, Joan Marie Johnson – ‘Iko Iko’

Barbara Ann & Rosa Lee were sisters and Joan Marie was their cousin and they hailed from the Caliope Housing Project in New Orleans. They all had to leave New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina displacing the sisters who had to move to Florida. This tells the story of a spy boy encountering a flag boy on a parade and threatening to set their flag on fire (anyone who has ever seen Treme or been to New Orleans will understand what I mean). The actual recording came about when the girls were bashing some ashtrays on the studio and Leiber & Stoller stuck it on tape. James Crawford sued the Cups record label claiming that he had, in fact, written the song back in ’53 and called it Jock-a-Mo, the case was settled and Crawford claimed 25% public performance revenue in the US. Covered numerous times and a hit for both the Belle Stars and by Natasha (who had the bigger hit) in the early 80’s. And the video is as cute as. Particularly those two fellows who seems to have stepped off the Starship Enterprise.

Number 2 – Isley/Jasper/Isley – Chris Jasper, Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley – ‘Caravan of Love’

These three split from the rest of the Isley due to acrimonious musical differences. How come that this glorious, gorgeous, spiritual, summery single barely scraped the UK charts whilst the substandard acapella version by the far less talented Housemartins reached Christmas Number 1? Eh? Marvin sadly died due to complications linked to diabetes in 2010, Ernie is a musical mentor at an elementary school (and what a talent he is), and Chris is a born again Christian, Not quite Harvest For The World, Highways Of My Life or Summer Breeze but pretty bloody close.

Number 3 – Young Disciples – Carleen Anderson, Marc Nelson, Femi Williams – ‘Apparently Nothin”

The Disciples released one LP on the home of Acid/Jazz, Talkin’ Loud, the Young Disciples were UK based threesome. Released in 1991 – the same year (when I wasn’t even 30!!) as Unfinished Sympathy (Massive Attack coming later), Apparently Nothin’ felt like one of the best records ever – as retro as it sounded – it also sounded quite unlike anything else, the Disciples only lasted for one LP. And for a time Carleen was giving Shara Nelson a run for her money. Carleen, daughter of James Brown Soul Legends Bobby Byrd & Vicky Anderson had a successfulish solo career and joined the Brand New Heavies. She spent some time teaching music at BIMM in Brighton. Marc Nelson could also be the son of Phyllis ‘Move Closer’ Nelson but not sure of the whereabouts of either him or Femi. Anyway, 1991 was a bloody good year musically and this was one of the best. Gives me a bit of a swagger too.

Number 4 – Genesis – Phil Collins, Tony Banks & Mike Rutherford – ‘Follow You, Follow Me’

From the appropriately titled LP ‘And Then There Were Three’ (following the departure of Steve Hackett), this was the trios first major hit single. And rather lovely it is too. Never got Prog Genesis and they lost me once the 80’s hit, according to Tony Banks, this was the first song to be written by the whole group. Snuggled in among all those Punk/New Wave songs, FYFM still sounds great. Deeply unfashionable at the time – Dad Rock I think it was called.. But I like this as much as I like Blondie or Siouxsie. A Journo type once wrote that if Phil was better looking, he would be regarded as right up there with the finest. And if I had a wife I would quite like to divorce her by fax. Lovely.

Number 5 – Emerson, Lake & Palmer – ‘Fanfare For The Common Man’

Written as a modern classical piece by Aaron Copeland, FFTCM became an unlikely hit in the Summer of ’77 from Works Vol 1. Filmed in the Montreal Olympic Stadium (must have been a bit cold as they are all snuggled up), ELP completely passed me by (tips Prog Fans).. Keith Emerson (keyboards) grew up in Worthing (never knew THAT) and cut his Musical Teeth with The Nice. During a routine medical examination, a colonoscopy revealed a rather dangerous polyp in his lower colon delaying his tour. Greg Lake (bass, vocals) cut HIS Musical Teeth with King Crimson, has put on a considerable amount of weight but DID record I Believe in Father Christmas which is My Favourite Christmas Single Of All Time. Carl Palmer – shoo in for Hot Drummers In Pop should I ever do such a thing – began his musical career drumming for the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, often used to ‘strip off’ during his many lengthy drumming solos (usually lasting more than an hour), and was replaced by Cozy Powell when he left, so they were STILL ELP.

Number 6 – Duran Duran – Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor – ‘Notorious’

Produced with Niles Rogers, this signaled a new direction for the Duranies. Roger & Andy were long gone, and Power Station proved something of a damp squib. Who would have imagined they could have been so funky – the groove reminds me of a Prince single (can’t place which one though).. Seeing Nick Rhodes nowadays always makes me chuckle though!

Number 7 – Human League – Philip Oakey, Susan Anne Sulley & Joanne Catherall – ‘Human’

The League became a threesome after hotfooting it to Minneapolis, leaving Callis, Burden and eventually Wright behind. Here they recorded Crash (incredible overstocks in all Virgin Megastores I remember) with the ubiquitous Jam & Lewis. This could have been recorded by Janet Jackson, or a nifty duet between Cherrelle & Alexander O’Neil or even Prince couldn’t it? Yet there is something very Northern English about it . Reaching Number 1 in the States, Human was there last big hit (at least until they reappeared in the 90’s). Remarkably, they are still together and recording slightly left-field pop/dance stuff. The girls were spotted dancing at the Crazy Daisy Nightclub (now a branch of Santander) in Sheffield, and they have never had another job apart from THIS. And we all know, don’t we, that Dare is one of the greatest LP’s ever made.

Number 8 – Heaven 17 – Glenn Gregory, Ian Craig-Marsh & Martyn Ware – ‘Penthouse & Pavement’

The other half of the Human League, who on paper, should have been the more successful when they split. The Penthouse & Pavement LP stands head & shoulders above everything else they did in my opinion. The bass-line on this is incredible (the bassist was only 17 at the time) and those sultry vocals are by Josie Jones. This funny old video features a secretary carrying out some office sabotage to fulfil her aspirations – but what is interesting is the lack of technology, so no mobile phones and no computers – cripes. And Ian Craig-Marsh was possibly the first wearer of a pony-tail in Pop (can’t think of one before him).

Number 9 – Ashton, Gardner & Dyke – Tony Ashton, Kim Gardner & Roy Dyke – ‘Resurrection Shuffle’

Their solitary hit as a group. And one of my favourite pop from the era – here they look gloriously wobbly and possibly drunk among all that horny brass action (some immense crowd dancing also). Ashton (keyboards) hooked up with members of Deep Purple for a couple of collaborations and formed Paice Ashton & Lord. He co-hosted a TV show called ‘GasTank’ with Rick Wakeman in the 80’s. He died in 2001 from cancer. Gardner lived next to and went to college with Ron Wood. When the band split he married and moved to LA becoming a session musician in the States. He also die from cancer in 2001. Roy Dyke (drummer) is still alive (Hoorah) – possibly down to his marriage to buxom brunette (in Pop), Stacia from Hawkwind.

Number 10 – Busted – James Bourne, Matt Willis and Charlie Simpson – ‘Year 3000’

The thing is I LOVE Busted (and McFly) and DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT. With at least EIGHT very funny, very Power Poppy Top Ten hits (The Day I Crashed The Wedding & You Said No off the top of me head), Year 3000 was released in 2002. Which is 10 years ago! James Bourne – the talent – wrote the majority of the hits (with the rest of the band) – and also wrote many more for McFly. He went out with Kara Tointon but dumped her the day after Busted split. Matt Willis has been more in the public eye, winning I’m A Celebrity, marrying the lovely Emma Griffiths and presenting rubbish awards ceremonies on ITV2. Bit of a drinker, Amy Winehouse once said that everyone fancied him at their school (including her). He is currently appearing in Wicked. Finally Charlie and his incredible eyebrows.. He always seemed a bit too posh for this malarkey. And now fronts the serious indie rock act, Fightstar. Pop Life.

Number 11 – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Martha Reeves, Annette Beard and Rosalind Ashford – ‘(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave’

Plenty of MR&TV hits to choose from then. Right up there with DR&TS (who are coming later), you simply can’t beat anything on Tamla Motown in the 60’s. There is little I can say about this extraordinary record (well anything by MR&TV is pretty extraordinary), apart from this – it was never a hit in this country (check it out if you don’t believe me). Martha came to greater prominence in the UK following the Motown Revue Tour and appearing on Ready Steady Go where this clip comes from. Annette & Rosalind still appear as the Original Vandellas in the States, and our Martha regularly pops up on Jools Holland (although truth be told her voice isn’t up to much). Released in 1963 this RSG performance is from 1965. By this time Ms Beard had left and had been replaced by ex-Velvelette, Betty Kelly. Poor Betty became partially deaf in one ear and retired from the business. Go ahead Girl!

Number 12 – Bell Biv DeVoe – Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe – ‘Poison’

One half of New Edition – the other half contained Bobby Brown, of course. Part of the New Jack Swing movement (I Want To Sexx You Up anyone?). This is BBD’s biggest hit, reaching Number 19 in the UK & Number 3 in America

Number 13 – Black Uhuru – Sandra Puma Jones, Michael Rose and Derrick ‘Duckie’ Simpson – ‘What Is Life?’

Black Uhuru (the name) has been in existence since 1972 but only really came to prominence in the late 70’s when they employed Sly & Robbie. Any of those Island LP’s are worth getting. Puma Jones died from breast cancer in 1990 aged 36. The last great Reggae act really.

Number 14 – Pointer Sisters – June, Anita & Ruth Pointer – ‘Automatic’.

Originally a quartet, until Bonnie (who was arrested in 2011 for possession of crack cocaine), upped and left to try a solo career. The Sisters were way more successful without her than you very much. Providing backing vocals on tour for Boz Scaggs, Sylvester and Grace Slick, their first TV appearance as a quartet was on the Helen Reddy Show in 1974. A string of great rock-tinged singles from the cover of Fire, through Slowhand to Dare Me. Like many others, I’m sure, on first hearing I was convinced that this was a bloke singing. But it was Ruth who had a daughter with the mighty Dennis Edwards from the Temptations. June died in 2006.

Number 15 – Mai Tai – Jetty Wheels, Mildred Douglas and Caroline de Windt – ‘History’

What an extraordinary video eh? Cheap as chips, Camp as Christmas. This even has a smoking Prince look-a-like. The thing with 3-somes in pop is that you can call yourself what you like and sound like a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race & GET AWAY WITH IT (I mean Jetty Wheels pur-lease). Anyway this wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Studio 54 Dance Floor. Mai Tai came from Holland and this was a huge hit in this country. And it has taken me years to realise that they are actually singing ‘Gonna Burn The LETTERS You Were Sending Me’ instead of the LASHES.

Number 16 – Thin Lizzy – Phil Lynott, Eric Bell & Brian Downey – ‘The Rocker’

Back in the olden days. Lizzy were a threesome. Thin Lizzy were named after Tin Lizzy from the Dandy comic. This fantastic archive clip is from the Indoor Festival in Germany in front of a rather bemused audience. Eric was certainly the equal of Scott, Brian or Gary. He left the group after this following this due to ill-health and disillusionment with the music industry. We all know that Phil went onto be one of our most treasured bass-players and extra bonus points go to him marrying Leslie Crowthers’ daughter, and coming from Dublin.

Number 17 – (La) Belle Epoque – Evelyne Lenton, Jusy Fortes and Marcia Briscoe – ‘Disco Sound/Black Is Black’.

There is something utterly charming about Eurodisco isn’t there (see also Baccara, Patrick Juvet, Boney M)? Belle Epoque had to wait for Disco to kick in to have any kind of success (Evelyne began recording in 1966). Black Is Black was initially a hit by Los Bravos (still European) reaching Number 2 in the UK – incidentally the same position as LBE. Bit confused about whether there should be a La or not – sometimes it is used and sometimes it isn’t. La Belle Epoque translates as the Golden Era. Extraordinary amount of drugs were taken by LBE when filming this clip – particularly by Evelyne (blonde) – who very nearly misses her cue to mime. Wooooo

Number 18 – Labelle – Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx & Sarah Dash – ‘Lady Marmalade’.

Written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan writers of many of the Four Seasons best hits, this has charted three different times by three different acts. But this is the best version by a long way. The joy of seeing clips of Labelle is trying to spot which planet they are actually from. With a recording career dating back to 1959, brilliant backing singers (check out the gorgeous LP by Laura Nyro for proof), they slowly morphed into the fabulous creatures we see before us here. Patti has been the most successful, scoring a Number 1 with Beards In Pop star, Michael McDonald (Patti was sued by a woman, after she allegedly hurled insults at her for allowing her then 18-month-old daughter to walk steps away from her at an apartment lobby). And how brilliant does Nona Hendryx look here! Like a cross between Michael Phelps and Cathy Freeman. Voulez-Vous coucher avec moi, ce soir (Ken)?, was also Raquel’s finest Corrie moment wasn’t it?

Number 18 – The Supremes – Jean Terrell, Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong – ‘Stoned Love’.

Not the last time that the Supremes will appear in Threesomes In Pop (of course). Proof that there was life after Ms Ross. In fact if you only half listen to this, it could actually BE her. Released in 1970, this clip is from 1972. When the Funk Brothers take it to the bridge, this becomes even better.

Number 19.  – Vince Guaraldi Trio – Vince Guaraldi, Colin Bailey & Monty Budwig – ‘Cast Your Fate To The Wind’

Written by Guaraldi but a hit in this country by Sounds Orchestral Johnny Pearson). Bailey is the only surviving member, and was born in Swindon. Guaraldi was born in San Francisco and is the nephew of ‘Jazz whistler’, Muzzy Marcellino. Guaraldi scored the Peanuts Christmas special and went on to compose further scores for seventeen Peanuts television specials – how cool is that. Would not seem out of place in an episode of Mad Men.

Number 20 – Deee-Lite – Super DJ Dmitri (Dmitry Brill), Lady Miss Kier (Kierin M. Kirby) and Towa Tei (Dong-hwa Chung) – ‘Groove Is In The Heart’

GIITH features at least 8 samples and Tina Turner on tambourine. Guaranteed to fill any floor at any Wedding, GIITH was the first record to tie for the Number 1 spot (with The Joker). It feature Bootsy Collins & Q-Tip. Fabulous, Dig?

Number 21 – Motorhead – Lemmy, Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor and ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke – ‘Ace of Spades’

I have to confess that I have never heard another record by Motorhead except for this one. Motorhead and the one with Girlschool (Headgirl? Motorschool?). Never mind. Lemmy was Christened Ian Kilminster and is now the grand old age of 66 (and looking very page three by all accounts). Phil has been subjected to a wide range of unfortunate events: being dropped by a friend on his head in a test of strength (causing him to be in a neck brace), breaking his fingers after punching a bloke outside of his flat, being sacked from Motorhead for his poor performance and never washing his hair. Lemmy continues to be a force of nature, sweaty, warty and greasy.

Number 22 – Husker Du – Bob Mould, Grant Hart and Greg Norton – ‘Makes No Sense At All’

Once hardcore punk (whatever THAT means), Husker Du became more melodic the closer they got to the mainstream and the nearer they got to a major record deal. The alternative side to the late 80’s, this is just very catchy. The B side was a version of the Theme Tune to Mary Tyler Moore Show – which goes someway to explain Mr Mould’s reinvention as a great old Bear. Hart & Mould met when working in a record shop and formed Huskee Du in 1979 – Hart quit when he felt that HD were going soft. Despite appearances (huge handlebar moustache), Mould & Hart were not an ‘item’ but are both out & proud. Mould has been the most successful, forming the more successful band, Sugar and embarking on a solo career. Not everyone’s cuppa though. It’s all about the harmonies innit?

Number 23 – Bronski Beat – Jimmy Somerville, Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek – ‘Why?’

Having One Out Gay Man, let alone THREE, was, and still is, something of a rarity in the charts. Why? Was the second single from the Age of Consent. The Bronski’s only lasted for one LP with Somerville, he left to form the Communards (I always preferred him when he wasn’t doing Disco covers), Steve & Larry kept the band name and had a hit with Hit That Perfect Beat from A Letter To Brezhnev. Wee Jimmy lives just around the corner from me and can often be found buying paint in the local hardware shop.

Number 24 – The Toys – Barbara Harris, Barbara Parritt and June Montiero – ‘A Lover’s Concerto’

This rather lovely record was released in 1965 and was a Number 2 hit in the UK. Discovered at a Talent Show, they supported Gene Pitney and are probably still singing this in Butlins (or Pontins or Hoseasons). Written by Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell – who also wrote Working My Way Back To You, Let’s Hang On & Native New Yorker, they based the melody on the familiar “Minuet in G major” (BWV Anh. 114) by J.S. Bach – this is one of those songs that EVERYONE knows but perhaps, doesn’t know who it is by. Actually can’t find anything about the whereabouts of the Toys. Barbara Harris released a solo CD called Barbara Now!! They were also all in a rather seedy sounding film called It’s a Bikini World. The bit in this video clip when they finally stand up, is Magic.

Number 25 – Reparata & The Delrons – Mary Aiese, Nanette Licari and Lorraine Mazzola – ‘Captain Of Your Ship’

It seems that this clip from German TV is the only surviving footage of the group performing this fabulous single. Foghorns, A Ships Bell and a Morse code coda are all included on this UK Number 13 Hit. When the band split up there were two Reparata’s – the best one being with Mary Aiese who recorded the phenomena that is ‘Shoes’. Sampled in Betty Boo’s hit Doin’ The Do too.

Number 26 – The Flirts – Andrea Del Conte, Rebecca Sullivan & Holly Kerr – ‘Passion’

But actually this is all about Bobby ‘O’ Orlando. He wanted a blonde, a redhead and a brunette for his group and he got them. The Flirts career lasted for 10 years with a line up change for each of their 7 LP’s. Passion was a particular favourite of a young(ish) Neil Tennant, who whilst working for Smash Hits, on a visit to interview The Police in America, tracked Orlando down. Orlando agreed to produce the early version of West End Girls (and One More Chance). If there was ever a record MADE for Pole-Dancing, it is this..

Number 27 – Tight Fit – Steve Grant, Denise Gyngell & Julie Harris – ‘Fantasy Island’

I have always been very fond of this record, ever since it burst onto my TV screen way back in 1982. At that point I had never set foot outside the country and my idea of fantasy was to fly to somewhere like Ibiza or Majorca for a week or so. Of course, the world is a much bigger place than that, but I did get to Ibiza and fell down a hole in the road queuing to get into Ku (to see Divine), Steve Grant was a male model and Denise (brunette) married Pete Waterman, Julie went on to record as Chopper Harris. FI was entered into the Dutch heats of the Eurovision Song Contest but was knocked out. Good as it is way better than that. A great Abba or Bucks Fizz pastiche (if you will). Shame they did nothing else anywhere near as good.

Number 28 – Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – Karen O, Nick Zinner, and Brian Chase- ‘Maps’

Love this – it’s a sort of Banshees/Joy Division hybrid. Formed in 2000 and have released 3 LP’s so far. Maps was released in 2003 and was voted by the NME as the Best Alternative Love Song (of All Time). The video was filmed as an audition in a High School Gym and Karen is crying real tears. Saw them at the Old Market about 8 years and they were phenomenal.

Number 29 – Manic Street Preachers – James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore – ‘A Design For Life’

1996. I went to Duckie every other week. Either on my ownsome- lonesome or with a couple of Brighton friends. 19:50 train up to Victoria, change at Clapham Junction and pop over to Vauxhall for the opening. Suede, Blur and Pulp were all present and correct and this record, as much as any other reminds me of that time. Despite the rather silly, pretentious lyrics (ergo – ‘Libraries gave us power ‘), there will always be something thrilling about singing the lyrics ‘We don’t talk about love, we only want to get drunk’, particularly when sung at the top of our voices at 1:30 in the morning.

Number 30 – blur – Damon Albarn, Alex James and Dave Rowntree – ‘Out Of Time’

I have been musically posting for almost three years and have never posted anything by Blur – so this is a first. Taken from Think Tank and reaching Number 5 in the UK Charts, Out of Time was the first blur single as a threesome. And a lovely gorgeous thing it is too. Rowntree is a trainee Solicitor and wannabe Labour candidate (losing out to two Tories), he also has a full pilots licence (is there no end to his talents etc etc). Alex James is a noted produced of cheese (of the dairy variety), holds an Honorary Doctorate from Bournemouth University, often pops up on Reality TV programmes and runs a farm in Oxfordshire. Damon, as well as being a handsome fellow, has his little pinkees in many a musical pie (Gorillaz, The Good, The Queen and The Dead and composer of an Opera). Delightfully Lo-Fi and with a bit of Dr Who involved too.

Number 31 – Black Box – Valerio Semplici, Daniele Davoli and Mirko Limoni – ‘Ride On Time’

The members of the group included a trio made up of a club DJ (Daniele), a classically trained clarinet teacher (Valerio), and a keyboard and electronic music “wiz” (Mirko). Add in French fashion model Katrin Quinol and we have one of the greatest Number 1 hits of the 90’s. Of course Katrin never actually sang a note did she? No matter this gallops along like a baby pony. I used to do a rather embarrassing strip to this when I was a (much) younger man.

Number 32 – The Flirtations – Ernestine Pearce, Shirley Pearce and Viola Bilups – ‘Nothing But A Heartache’

Northern Soul is one of my favourite genres of music. Watched Soulboy on Saturday night (late sat night BBC2) – a bit disappointed but the music was brilliant.

Written by Bickerton and Waddington (who also wrote hits for the Rubettes), this reached Number 51. Made up of the Pearce sisters, they were joined by Viola (who became known as Pearly Gates in the 70’s HiNRG Fans). If you recognise the setting, it is Tintern Abbey, I know this as I studied Wordsworth at ‘A’ level. Had the poem been as exciting as these girls I may well have done better.

Number 33 – The Paper Dolls – Susie ‘Tiger’ Mathis, Pauline ‘Spyder’ Bennett and Sue ‘Copper’ Marshall – ‘Something Here In My Heart’

These ‘dolly birds’ only had one hit single (this) in 1968. Mathis went on to become the vocal coach for the St Winifred’s School Choir.. not sure what happened to Bennett & Marshall. This video clip is an absolute joy too. Possibly the BEST video of all time. Filmed on the back of a train in Germany (I know this as the words Kraft Durke Freude! appear). Tiger, Spyder and Copper pre-empted the Spice Girls don’t cha know, with their use of nicknames. And who would like to join me on the back of an open air train carriage, on a foggy British weather day, in those hotpants.. Marvellous.

Number 34 – The SpringfieldsMary O’Brien, Dion O’Brien and Mike Hurst – ‘Island Of Dreams’

A Number 5 hit in 1962, and sort of like a British version of Peter, Paul & Mary, Island of Dreams was a staple record on Radio 2, normally on Sunday lunchtime (Family Favourites maybe?).. Mike has a long career in the music industry: owner of Lamborgini Records who are best known for ‘discovering’ Samantha Fox’s vocal abilities, discovering Cat Stevens, producing PP Arnold, Manfred Mann and Spencer Davies, signing Showaddywaddy and producing a Disco LP for Cilla Black. Dion became Tom Springfield who wrote the majority of the hits for The Seekers (and what a great band they were too). And then we have Mary (Tom’s sister), who became Dusty. The rest is History. I am particularly fond of her look here – kind of PVC shirt (electric blue I imagine)/polka-dot blouse (with braces) combo. With baby beehive to boot. Springfield’s parents came from Hove (Actually).

Number 35 – Saint Etienne – Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs and Sarah Cracknell – ‘Nothing Can Stop Us’

Saint Etienne formed in 1990 and this was the first single to feature the lovely Sarah Cracknell on lead vocals. When I interviewed Bob Stanley for a job we were both young whippersnappers from Peterborough. He would have been 21 and I would have been 23. We didn’t really discuss his aspirations to become a music journalist or to form one of the best band of the 90’s/00’s and anyway the job was only for a sales assistant so aspirations didn’t really matter. The lovely flutey sample used in this record (I discovered yesterday) is from a record by Dusty Springfield (I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face). Huge respect for a band named after a French Football Team

Number 36 – Violent Femmes – Gordon Gano, Brian Ritchie and Victor DeLorenzo – ‘Blister In The Sun’

Discovered busking in front of the Oriental Theatre (in Milwaukee) by James Honeyman-Scott, I never really took to the Violent Femmes. I assumed from their covers that they were some awful American Goth Band. So I avoided them until the mid-noughties when this popped up in some advert or another. Now I love them. Brian could lose the mullet, Gordon is a cutey pie and this is perfect for a blisteringly hot day like today.

Number 37 – The Andrews Sisters – LaVerne Sophia, Maxene Angelyn and Patricia Marie “Patty” Andrews – ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’

The sisters were born In Minnesota to Peter Andreas (no not Peter Andre). Peter & Mum Olga, were the very definition of pushy-parents – the sisters formed their act when Maxene was 7. Without these sisters then you could argue that there would be no Pointer Sisters, no Manhattan Transfer, and Christina Aguilera would have never have been recorded. From the Abbott & Costello film, ‘Buck Privates’, BWBB is an early example of jump blues in Pop. And quite possibly the oldest clip I have ever used. Classy.

Number 38 – Dawn – Tony Orlando, Telma Hopkins & Joyce Vincent Wilson – ‘Knock Three Times’

Any song which begins ‘Hey girl what you doin’ DOWN THERE’ is fine in my book. And Tie A Yellow Ribbon (which I loathe) aside, Dawn hardly put a foot wrong. Joyce was invited to join a later version of the Supremes (but declined), Hopkins is now a TV actress and Orlando (who made many knees go weak both pre & post moustache), began his recording career as early as 1961. The actual girl singers on this track were Toni Wine & Linda November but were replaced by Hopkins & Vincent. Of course, Dawn were also quoted in Disco 2000 by Pulp. A tale of as love affair in a block of hi-rise flats, this lovely, almost Country record (with actual banging on the pipes) topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Is this the house used in the Great British Bake Off?

Number 39 – Odyssey – Lillian Lopez, Louise Lopez & Tony Reynolds – ‘Native New Yorker’

Possessed of the most gorgeous voice in pop, Lillian died over the weekend (RIP Lillian). If Your Looking For A Way Out (try listening to that without your heartbreaking), Inside Out, Use It Up – Wear It Out & Going Back To My Roots are amongst my absolute favourites and this was a difficult choice. Tony joined the New York Police Department as an electrician and died in 2010. This speaks disco as much as Donna Summer or Chic, and is my favourite New York themed song – kind of glamourous but with a hint of the thrift shop, you can practically smell those taxi-cabs as you join the queue for Studio 54. New York is such a fantastic city too – must go back one day.
“When he dropped you off and he stayed in third” is one of the greatest lines in Disco

Number 40 – Indeep – Michael Cleveland, Réjane Magloire and Rose Marie Ramsey – ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’

I will spare you all the words we actually sang to this song (particularly this early in the morning). This reminds me of my first road trip, driving round Peterborough with my Regional Manager. It was raining, we had pulled another late, late shift and I think he was dropping us home (to Bretton?). This came on the radio. He thought it was groovy, I hated it. In retrospect it is rather good. Michael Cleveland (Beardy), was a DJ (I suppose) and it certainly isn’t him who supplies the rap bit. Rejane from Zaire (the main vocalist) went on to be in Technotronic but is also an Opera type. Featuring plenty of gurgling, phone ringing and, yes, splashing, LNADJSML, has been sampled/covered by Mariah Carey and was the only success Indeep ever had.

Number 41 – First Choice – Rochelle Fleming, Annette Guest and Joyce Jones – ‘Smarty Pants’

If you skip over that rather embarrassing cheesy intro, you get to a proper slice of Disco from this Philadelphia trio. Released on Philly Groove they moved to Salsoul where they continued to produce quality hits for the dance-floor. From the unbeatable Soul Train archives. Rochelle spent much of the 80’s & 90’s courting the pink pound. Joyce is now, I think, a born again Christian with the most incredible look (google it yourself).. As always the studio audience is a joy to behold (especially the girl at about 1:56)..

Number 42 – The Walker Brothers – Scott Engel, John Maus and Gary Leeds – ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’

What an opening line – ‘Loneliness in a cloak you wear’. Surely the greatest tributes to the Wall of Sound EVER recorded. Covered numerous times but nothing (and certainly not Robson & Jerome) comes close – not even the original by the Four Seasons (and those of you that follow my post know how highly I rate them). And somehow they seem so British too and I always have to check myself to realise that they are not. The band dissolved initially in 1968, Scott was suffering from depression and tensions between Maus and Leeds and they had to leave the UK to renew their working permits. They reformed in the 70’s and since then it has all been about Scott. Maus was from New York and was married four times and spent the rest of his life (he died in 2011) customising guitars. Leeds drummed for the Standells as well as the walker Brothers. And Scott. Well I could write a book about his towering influence over popular culture and his amazing timbre of a voice. Hardly prolific (3 lp’s in 30 years is not prolific) – intensely private, fascinating, beautiful character who is on the verge of being 70. The bit when he sweeps his hands across his eyes @ 0:26 seconds just gives me the tingles.

Number 43 – Big Fun – Phil Creswick, Mark Gillespie and Jason Herbert – ‘Blame It On The Boogie’

When I contemplated THREESOMES IN POP, somebody shouted Big Fun at me. So here they are. Produced by the ubiquitous SAW, Big Fun could barely sing a note (the register is way too high for whichever one is singing the lead). Pete wouldn’t allow them to publicly come out (as if they needed any help). Only one LP and three top 20 singles in their pop pockets, listening to them now is not quite as distressing as I feared it would be. Originally a monster hit by the Jacksons, BF can be held responsible for the Blame It On The Boogie Dance (popular at all weddings even now). Phil continued to write (with Vince Clarke mainly), Jason manages Geri Halliwell and Lee from Blue and Mark gave up his pop life to become a painter & decorator. Which one is which. I have absolutely no idea.

Number 44 – Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton & Linda Ronstadt – ‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’

From the multi-million selling LP Trio, here are three of the greatest singers in Country music together (plus why not chuck in Ry Cooder and David Lindley). Similar in age (Dolly is the oldest, just) – it must have been a real thrill to have finally got them together in the same recording studio – they waited 12 more years until their schedules allowed them to do it again. Some of the clothing on show, however, should carry a health warning.

Number 45 – Arrows – Alan Merrill, Jake Hooker and Paul Varley – ‘I Love Rock N Roll’

Produced by Mickie Most for RAK Records, this was the smallest of three hit singles, and of course, I Love Rock n Roll became a huge hit for Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. They are also the only band in history to star in their own TV Show (3 series running on Granada from 76/77) without a record to promote. Merrill was one of the first western pop-stars to achieve success in japan, he still records and tours (although age has not been THAT kind). Hooker (the other American) returned from music in 1978 and married Lorna Luft (sister of Liza Minneli) and Varley (drummer) had a baby with June Child-Bolan and died in 2008. You literally couldn’t open a copy of Music Week or Look-In without seeing Alan pouting out at you.

Number 46 – The Delfonics – William Hart, Wilbert Hart & Randy Cain – ‘Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)’

Extensively sampled by the likes of the Fugees, Notorious B.I.G and Missy Elliot, the Delfonics met at High School. All of their early hits were written by Thom Bell who had much greater success with the Stylistics and went on to produce The Thom Bell Sessions with Elton. The lyrics are by William Hart. Beautiful, dreamy, randy buttock grabbing song that was used to the best effect in Jackie Brown. Randy was the mastermind behind Blue Magic (original version of Sideshow). Possibly one of the greatest discoveries you are likely to make all day if you have never heard..Those suits are amazing, the synchronization is even better and the audience are practically at it.. hardly surprising.

Number 48 – Livin’ Joy –Janice Robinson, Paolo & Gianni Visnadi – ‘Dreamer’

After last nights ‘FB Dance Off’, where I decided to open a Nightclub in Ibiza and called it Equity, here is one of the suggestions. Released twice in the space of 12 months (the second time in a remixed version – when it reached Number 1).

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Livin’ Joy is precisely the right phrase to describe this giddy, gorgeous, glorious record. Janice has turned her hand to song-writing and acting. The Italian brothers were originally in Alex Party (and I bet you thought that was the name of a person). If you bought Don’t Stop Moving – the lp that this was from – Janice had her vocals replaced by Tameka Starr. Plus there are far too many words in the verses, I find it hard to keep up with her. My Nan always called me a ‘Dreamer’, and I suppose she was right. Love, life and laughter is all I believe too.

Number 48 – The Police – Gordon Sumner, Andy Summers and Stuart Copeland – ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic’

Say what you like about Sting, but the Police made some cracking singles and, for a moment, were the biggest band in the world. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic reached the top of the charts in the UK and reached the Top 3 in the US. Nearly 70 year old Summers, was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Bournemouth University. Copeland was born in Virginia, is the ex-hubby of Sonja from Curved Air, lives in LA, recorded under the pseudonym of Klark Kent (Don’t Care is a fantastic single btw) and recorded the soundtrack to Rumblefish. Sting, the son of a hairdresser and a milkman, was born in Wallsend in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is an agnostic and adheres to a strict macrobiotic diet (glad to see he has the time for THAT).

‘It’s a big enough umbrella 
But it’s always me that ends up getting wet’

Number 49 – De La Soul –Kelvin Mercier, David Jude Jolicoeur & Vincent Mason – ‘Say No Go’

De La Soul were a Rap Trio (I suppose) featuring Pos (Mercier), Trugoy (Jolicouer) & Maseo (Mason). 3 Feet High & Rising is something of a high-watermark in late 80’s Hip-hop. Sprinkled with imagined outtakes from a Game Show and containing more samples that you can shake a stick at. Say No Go was cautionary tale against the use of drugs (kind of inspired by Mrs Reagan’s Just Say No anti-drugs message) 3 Feet High & Rising regularly features heavily in those Greatest LP’s Ever Made Polls and still sounds as fresh as a Daisy (Age). And as Hall & Oates are all over my FB page this week, the timing is right. All three popped up (fairly) recently on Gorillaz : Feel Good Inc. All three are Native New Yorker’s and all three are still in the music business. Clever little sausages. (although De La Soul Is Dead wasn’t quite as good).

Number 50 – Destiny’s Child – Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams & Beyonce Knowles – ‘Lose My Breath’

Produced by Darkchild Rodney Jerkins, Lose My Breath was the last great single by Destiny’s Child. Watching this again, I still firmly believe that Beyonce is the greatest POP star of the 00’s (I think Gaga tried to have a go but, lately, has lost the pop plot) and she is still just over 30. The sample is from the University of Michigan Marching Band. Both Williams and Rowland have featured in those UK reality TV type shows and have probably made enough money not to care about what they do.

Number 51 – The Poni-Tails – Toni Cistone, LaVerne Novak and Patti McCabe – ‘Born Too Late’

A staple of those great retro 50’s films that came out in the 70’s.early 80’s (American Graffiti, Diner etc), The Poni-Tails only recorded two handfuls of singles. I don’t think I was born too late, however, if I was born in 1958, I might have had an even better musical experience.

Number 52 – Gap Band – Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson – ‘Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)’

The brothers Wilson began their music career back in 1967. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma (hence the stetsons), they rose to global prominence with Oops Upside your Head. But this is way better that that particular record. Sampled by George Michael for his hit Starpeople, BROM (WYWHM), is one of a series of great singles by the Gap Band (who were not terribly inventive when it came to LP titles). Retiring from the music industry after 43 years and following Robert’s death from a heart-attack. I wanna take to HIGHER..

Number 53 – Boys Town Gang – Jackson Moore, Tom Morley and Bruce Carlton – ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’

I ignored this first time around, TOO Gay, I thought,. Then, about 20 years ago, I got hold of a CD copy of Disc-Charge and fell utterly in love with this properly. The 20 minute + Cruisin’ The Streets just spoke to me of the Castro District in San Francisco. And the string laden introduction is nothing short of breathtaking – almost to the point of reducing me to tears (with the extended version even better). It still somehow sounds celebratory but with a hint of sadness (which touches many a Disco hit post see also: Don’t Leave Me This Way & I Will Survive).

Of course, the song was written by the immensely talented duo of Crewe & Gaudio (the longer I post the more I believe that they are right up there with the best). And what do we know about the Boys Town Gang? Jackson Moore took over vocal duties for Disc Charge and released a duet with Jimmy Ruffin when the band split. I am not even sure whether the two dancers featured her are Morley & Carlton or whether they are some prettier clones. For a moment it looks like the one on the left cops a feel (which is frankly unlikely). With all that said, they look like they are having the time of their life.

Number 54 – Love Unlimited – Glodean James, Linda James and Diane Taylor – ‘Walking In The Rain (With The One You Love)’

The marvelously named Glodean James (who I think is the one in the middle) was otherwise known as Mrs Barry White – who created a whole industry of love around him. Love Unlimited were his backing singers, and this was a biggish UK hit in June 1972. Glo & the Unlimited disbanded in 1985 following the death of Taylor. This clip is notable for three things a) some amazing dancing taking place behind the girls b) channeling Lieutenant Uhuru in both costume, hair and make-up and c) Barry’s rather irritable response on the telephone @ 3:01. Didn’t spot this in anyone’s recent rain related posts.

Number 55 – Muse –Matthew Bellamy, Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard – ‘Supermassive Black Hole’

All three of Muse hail from Teignmouth in Devon. Bellamy is the son of Tornados Rhythm Guitarist, George. He was encouraged into playing guitar by his Granny. Wolstenholme grew up in Rotherham, is the father of six and entered rehab in 2010. Howard plays the drums (um nothing else really). I’ve always liked this, it’s practically Prog-Glam in structure. I have no idea what this is about but it is Scientific I’m sure.

Number 56 – Placebo – Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Hewitt- ‘Nancy Boy’

Filthy. FILTHY record from the international trio which can cause a severe outbreak of Love-Bites if heard too frequently in an evening (believe me I know). A key single from the mid-90’s, Nancy Boy was Placebo’s breakthrough hit. And this is right there among the best. Molko also had the best nail varnish in pop.

Today is also my last day at work. I’ll kind of miss it and the people (but not really the work) so fingers crossed there will be something waiting for me just around the corner. Now let’s put this baby to bed.

Number 57 – Peter, Paul & Mary –Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey and Mary Travers – ‘Leaving On A Jet Plane’

Lovely song written by John Denver, this clip features John on co-vocals. This September, particularly, has seen the end of plenty of stuff in my life, the end of the Olympics, the end of my job and two very good friends are, as we speak, Leaving on A Jet Plane to go to the other side of this world and to start a new life in Aussie. Good luck to David Slimings and Claudia Slimings

Number 58 – Sneaker Pimps – Liam Howe, Chris Corner, & Kelli Dayton – ‘6 Underground’

The Sneaker Pimps were from Hartlepool and were named after a man who pimped actual sneakers (from an article by the Beastie Boys). Ms Dayton was dismissed following their promotional tour for the LP and Corner took over vocal duties. Used in the Channel 4 ‘show’, Blue Jam, this samples the harp bit from Golden Girl which is on the soundtrack to Goldfinger. Trippy.

Number 59 – Frantique – Tricia Cheyenne, Florence Raynor & Denise Russelle – ‘Strut Your Funky Stuff’

Frantique were signed to the mighty Philadelphia International label (home of the O’Jays, Billy Paul, the Jones Girls. MFSB) so how come, then. that they agreed to let the group give this monstrous performance. Out of tune, out of sync, the TOTP’s orchestra blaring away – it’s practically TOO MUCH! Listen to the proper version it’s actually normal.

Since posting this though – this has appeared on Youtube and is amazing.

Number 60 – The Main Ingredient – Luther Simmons Jnr, Tony Silvester and Cuba Gooding, Sr. – ‘Just Don’t Wanna Be Lonely’

Yes that’s right – Cuba Gooding Senior (I think you will be able to spot him) was a singer with the Main Ingredient until 1977 when he left the band for a solo career at Motown records. They settled on the name of the band after reading it on a Coke bottle. Dreamy stuff (shall always have this in my imaginary emergency record bag) and another fab clip from the Soul Train stable.

Number 61 – The Thompson Twins – Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway – ‘Love On Your Side’

I still have the 12” of this and In The Name Of Love – not actually played them since 1986 mind. And, Hold Me Now aside, the last thing they released before becoming really irritating. Bailey & Currie were an item at this time. Bailey was born in Chesterfield and began his career as a music teacher in Sheffield. Currie is now married to Jimmy Cauty from the KLF and makes sculptural art-furniture under the name Miss Pokeno. Leeway dabbled in acting and is currently residing in LA working as a Hypnotherapist.

Number 62 – The Jones Girls – Brenda, Valorie and Shirley Jones – ‘Nights Over Egypt’

Released in 1981 and reminiscent of wine-bars up and down the country, the Jones Girls were originally the backing singers for Linda Clifford, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and Teddy Pendergrass. Ignored by the wider UK record buying public (who were more into Duran and Spandau), this has become a cult classic. Apologies for not being able to find a clip of the girls but some nice photos of your ACTUAL Egypt. At night. Exotica..

Number 63 – Stock Aitken Waterman – Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman – ‘Roadblock’

Famously settled with M/A/R/R/S over a sample used from Roadblock in Pump Up The Volume, Roadblock was released at the height of the UK’s obsession with SAW. And very good it was too (think the Average White Band oldies). Mike wrote the music for Sheila’s Wheels, Matt has retired from the music business and Pete (Net estimated worth 47m) is now an OBE, lives in Warrington, has been married thrice and is a bit of a secret train spotter. Heard these oooh-oooh-oooh’s before though… Listen without prejudice.

Number 64 – The Sandpipers – Jim Brady, Mike Piano and Richard Shoff – ‘Guantanamera’

This song originates from Cuba – but the actual date is unknown. Actually one of the first LP’s in our house – can’t remember if it was mine (if so this is the first LP I owned) or my Mum & Dad’s – but it was played on our first ever record player (teak chest, with radio, speakers and room for your LP’s – they don’t make them like that anymore.) The Sandpipers were originally called the Grads until they came to the attention of Herb Alpert who signed them up and this became their first hit in 1966. Still gorgeous, I only saw this video clip yesterday and fell in love with it all over again.

Number 66 – SWV (Sisters With Voices) – Cheryl Elizabeth “Coko” Gamble, Tamara “Taj” Johnson-George and Leanne “Leelee” Lyons – ‘Right Here’

SWV are, in fact, not sisters at all. They split up in 1997. Coko released a couple of highly successful Gospel LP’s Stateside. Johnson-George signed up for model agency Ford Modelling Agency and marrying Eddie George (they met in a Shopping Mall) who is an American Football player (and what a gorgeous couple they make). We only had to wait a couple of years for another band with an acronym as a name to achieve greater success. But in the meantime this Michael Jackson sampled monster is just fine..

Number 67 – The Marvelettes – Wanda Young, Gladys Horton and Katherine Anderson – ‘When You’re Young and In Love’

Right from the clattering of the drums in the Drama of the Introduction, you just know this is going to be one fine record. To say that there does not seem to be a clip of the Marvelettes actually performing this is a tragedy, is an understatement. In fact, little actual footage does exist. Signing to Motown in 1961, they performed together at High School (initially they were a foursome). They began with Please Mr Postman and Don’t Mess With Bill, but their efforts were eclipsed by the Supremes and the promoters at Motown seemed to forget about them. Georgia Dobbins left the group just after Please Mr Postman as her Dad forbid her to appear in nightclubs. Gladys, who was the lead singer on most of the records, she semi-retired to look after her disabled son but died following several strokes in 2011. Wanda was married to Bobby Rogers from the Miracles and suffered from substance abuse and alcoholism following the break up of the band and Katherine is the stayer having survived several personnel changes until the band split for the first time in 1970 (despite never having sung lead on any tracks).. When You’re Young And In Love is their only charting single in the UK – you could use that fiver that you were going to spend on a pint buying a compilation by the ‘Lettes instead. You really won’t regret it..

Number 68 – Stargard – Rochelle Runnells, Debra Anderson, and Janice Williams – ‘(Theme Song From) Which Way Is Up’

More famous from the Richard Pryor film, this was a global hit in 1978. I must admit to never having seen Which Way Is Up (and if it is anything like Carwash then I have no desire to..). Written by the mighty hand of Norman Whitfield, I had not heard this for ages (it wasn’t even on my IPod) and rediscovered it during my extensive research for Threesomes. It is now one of my favourite disco records. Stargard (correct spelling) also appeared as the Diamonds in Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (the Bee Gees version). Superfine interview with the chocolate tones of Don Cornelius at the end. This is just incredible, duper funky and sassy and the girls are WORKING IT.

Number 69 – Mis-teeq – Alesha Dixon, Sabrina Washington and Su-Elise Nash – ‘Scandalous’

Great single from Britain’s own Destiny’s Child. Better as you don’t get much of Alesha rapping. I once witnessed a drag queen (Betty Swollocks in fact) doing a version of this at a karaoke bar in town (don’t ALL Brighton gay bars have karaoke in them nowadays? SHAME!). Eight hit singles and Mis-teeq’s Greatest Hits (is all you need really). Su-Elise has been the least successful of the three – her Mum, though, is a Cabin Director with B.A. Sabrina reached the finals of the wonderful Celebrity Scissorhands and was also a ‘contestant’ on I’m A Celebrity GMOOH. Alesha we know rather better. Fairly successful solo career, cheated on by Harvey from So Solid Crew but more known, by older readers, as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing before defecting to Britain’s Got Talent (it hasn’t). Don’t really like her but this bit of urban light from 2003 is just fine..

Number 70 – Stooshe – Alexandra Buggs, Karis Anderson and Courtney Rumbold – ‘Black Heart’

Here’s a thing – nowadays, I rarely come across a record that stops me in my tracks. And Girl bands are so much better than Boy bands aren’t they (witness Girls Aloud vs One True Voice – no contest). I was suspicious of this back in June when it was released, expecting some dreadful X-Factor failures, but this is great. They were quietly manufactured by Warner Bros by scouting in Topshop. Auditions passed, Stooshe were formed in 2010. Written by Jo Perry and Shaznay Lewis (yes Shaznay from All Saints) – this fills the gap left by the Sugababes and Girls Aloud whilst continuing the long line of really great girl bands. So thank you to my mates who pointed me in the right direction only yesterday.

Number 71 – Ten City – Byron Stingily, Herb Lawson and Byron Burke – ‘That’s The Way Love Is’

Reaching Number 8 on it’s UK release, this sounded like the second coming of Sylvester, this was one of the earliest Chicago House Records. Produced by one Marshall Jefferson. This twists and turns it’s way to the climax whilst supporting Byron’s voice of wonder. Unusually for ANY group, Ten City had two people called Byron. Stingily, the singer, re-recorded this in 1999 when it was again a hit and is currently a principal at a Chicago School (yes Principal Stingily). Burke, who was the creative force behind the threesome, is a successful businessman as well as a songwriter and producer.

Number 72 – Loose Ends – Carl McIntosh, Jane Eugene and Steve Nichol – ‘Hanging On A String (Contemplating)’

Somewhat overlooked in the history of UK R&B/Britfunk, this marvelous record was a hit in early ’85. Loose End (they added the S later on) were formed in 1980 and signed to Virgin in 1981. Their final UK Chart hit came in 1991 (the lineup had changed and only McIntosh remained. Nichol (who was an incredibly handsome chap) was a Classically Trained Young Musician of the Year (at the tender age of 16), played trumpet with the Jam..and recruited Jane (working in a fashion show – I, btw, was in a hair show (as a hair model) about the same time but that is another story)..and picked up Carl ‘in a bar’. My ‘extensive’ research (looking her up on Facebook) shows that Jane is very much alive and living in LA – possibly with Mr McIntosh.
Glorious…

Number 73 – Peter, Bjorn & John – :Peter Morén, Björn Yttling and John Eriksson – ‘Young Folks’

Just in case you were thinking which one of the three had such a girly voice, the singer in this track is Victoria Bergsman from The Concretes. This was listed in Rolling Stones list of the 15 Best Whistling Songs of All Time and the lovely animated video was directed by Ted Malmos with the animation by Grahame Samuels. Probably the first song where I was aware of the power of the internet – as I remember seeing this initially on My Space. PB&J formed in Stockholm which is the home of Abba & The Bridge (*thinks* must go to Sweden)

Number 74 – Living In A Box – Richard Darbyshire, Marcus Vere and Anthony Critchlow – ‘Living In A Box (A Cardboard Box)’

Formed in Sheffield in 1985, Living In A box became a Top 5 UK hit and reached the Top 20 in the States in 1987 (some 25 years ago). Covered by Bobby Womack, this was produced by Richard James Burgess whose production credits range from America through to Adam Ant and Shock – he was also in Landscape (Einstein A Go-Go). Darbyshire (what a dish) had a modest solo career and wrote for Lisa Stansfield, Vere is now an award winning DVD producer for pre-school age children and Critchlow (or Tich) has his own company providing bespoke illumination and lighting installations.

Number 75 – Linda Carr & The Love Squad – ‘Highwire’

Poor Linda/ she doesn’t even have her own Wikipedia page which has meant that researching for her (let alone the Love Squad) has been nigh on impossible. What I do know is that this reached Number 15 in the UK charts in July 1975. She was signed to Chelsea Records (home Ride A Wild Horse). Sassy and sort of a bridge between 60’s girl bands (i.e The Supremes) to Disco. Linda has an exceptional voice and this is reminiscent of M People – but 20 years earlier. Don’t let that put you off though. Anyone know the names of the Love Squad, I would like to know. Nice outfits too girls..

Number 76 – Limme & The Family Cookin’ – Limme, Martha and Jimmie Snell – ‘A Walkin’ Miracle’

Gender confusion. I always assumed that Limme was a girl (the lead singer), then I saw that Limme was a fella and that Jimmy was the lead singer… hell’s bell’s. In fact JIMMIE is the lead singer, Limmie is indeed a geezer and Martha was just Martha. Got it. Limme signed to Columbia aged 11 and he and his family released three corking hit singles in the middle of the 70’s (You Can Do Magic is perhaps the best).. A Walkin’ Miracle was a cover of an old hit by The Essex. Great clip, lots of head nodding, some funny lad dancing (is Jimmie FLIRTING?).. and the Ting of the bell does it everytime.. 

Number 77 – Nirvana – Kurt Cobain. Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic – ‘Come As You Are’

Forming in 1987, Grohl was the last permanent member to join. At the forefront of the American grunge thing, Come As You Are was the second single released from the monster selling Nevermind. And it sounds exactly like Eighties by Killing Joke.

Number 78 – The Silver Convention – Linda Thompson (real name Linda Übelherr), Penny McLean (real name Gertrude Wirschinger) and Ramona Wulf (real name Ramona Kraft – ‘Fly Robin Fly’

Formerly Silver Bird Convention (which makes no sense to me either), Silver Convention were session singing divas who emerged from the Munich music scene and were formed by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay. This clip is from ABBA-Nacht NDR and features the girls whizzing around the (German) countryside on their motorbikes. Linda was a member of the Les Humphries Singers (who did some wonderful stuff late 60’s/early 70’s). The only other hits, in this country, were Get Up and Boogie and Save Me, although they did pop up on the telly recently ‘performing’ ‘Everybody’s Talking ‘Bout Love’

Number 79 – Fun Lovin’ Criminals – Huey Morgan, Brian Lester and Steve Borgovini – ‘The Fun Lovin’ Criminal’

Brian and Steve met Huey in the club where they worked and the FLC were born. ‘Fun Lovin’ Criminal’ was a minor UK hit and the lead off track from their debut LP. Steve left before the third LP, Brian dated Saffron from Republica (remember her?) and is nicknamed Fast because of the speed he talks. Huey seems to have pretty much settled over here. He wrote a regular wine column, is still in the Criminals, and is a successful DJ on Radio 6, dog-lover (The Underdog Show on BBC2 was proof) and housewives favourite.

Number 80 – Supergrass – Gaz Coombes, Danny Goffey & Mick Quinn – ‘Moving’

Gaz & Danny were initially in a shoe-gazing, Oxford band called the Jennifers. Criminally under-rated as a singles act in my opinion, Movin’ is just one in a long line of super bits of pop music. Danny is married to Pearl Lowe (singer with Powder, friend of Kate Moss, Liam Gallagher, mother of Gavin Rossdale’s son) who often pops up on programmes like Celebrity Masterchef, when not drumming for Babyshambles. Poor Mick fell out of a first floor window in Toulouse breaking two vertebrae and smashing his Calcaneus. Our Gaz used to live in Brighton (on Upper North Street I think) and is returning tonight to play again. Check out Danny’s t-shirt!

Number 81 – The Beastie Boys – Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz & Adam Yauch – ‘Intergallactic’

I have a funny old relationship with the Beasties. I own very little (not even Paul’s Boutique) and I considered them to be a bit daft really. This was the biggest UK hit of their career and came along 11 years after the release of Licensed To Ill and sounds remarkable fresh and innovative. ‘Mike D’ raps, sings and plays the drums and was raised in an upper class Jewish New York Household. ‘Ad-Rock’ was in a punk band before joining the Beasties and with the rest of the band, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. ‘MCA’ died earlier this year from cancer, leaving a huge, unfillable hole that I don’t think they will be able to fill..

Number 82 – The O’Jay’s – Eddie Levert , Walter Williams and William Powell – ‘Backstabbers’

Three minutes of pure joy. With a bit of nastiness/bitchiness thrown in for good measure. Gamble & Huff production the fiercest ‘fros, quick side nod & wink to Smiling Faces Sometimes by the Undisputed Truth and Don’t Leave Me This Way. The O’Jays really were on a roll. Soul Train seemed like their spiritual home and the audience are LOVING IT. Motivated to sing after seeing Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Eddie Levert has outlived two of his three sons.

Number 83 – Trio – Stephan Remmler, Gert ‘Kralle’ Krawinkel and Peter Behrens – ‘Da Da Da’

(Wait 20 seconds before the video starts).. Not really in the mood to write much to say today but Peter Behrens has worked as an ACTUAL clown and ‘ich lieb dich nicht, du liebst mich nicht’…

Number 84 – The Bee Gees – Robin, Barry & Maurice Gibb – ‘To Love Somebody’

No-one does misery like the Bee Gees do they? Not even Morrissey (the first verse was tailor made for him.) Written by Barry for Robert Stigward, To Love Somebody was intended to be recorded by Otis Redding (who died before he could get round to it). Covered by everyone from Leonard Cohen to the Black Crowes (there is at least one reggae version that I would love to hear also – tips?)..

Barry Alan Crompton, Robin Hugh and Maurice Ernest Gibb were all born on the Isle of Man before hotfooting it to Brisbane in the late 50’s, returning to the UK when their writing began to draw attention. Of course only Barry is left now (poor Mother Gibb I say) and despite all of the cruel swipes about their image/voice/naffness (thank you Kenny Everett), they are proof that a great song is a great song. Top Ten Band of all time?

Definitely.

Number 85 – Three Degrees – Sheila Ferguson, Fayette Pinkey and Valerie Holiday – ‘Dirty Ol’ Man’

Actually a difficult choice as the Degrees barely put a stilettoed shoe wrong. Dirty Ol’ Man was not even a hit in this country (so how come I know it so well?) – it certainly felt as if these three would turn up and play anywhere. Signed to Philadelphia under Gamble and Huff, their first recording was on TSOP (by MFSB). Pinkey left in 1976 and died in 2009. Sheila has appeared on I’m A Celebrity and will be appearing in panto in Nottingham (if you fancy it) and Valerie is the only remaining, original member. At a time when our memories of the 70’s are being routinely destroyed by Savillegate and the media, it’s great to see this lot putting a man firmly in his place (with added shimmer). And they were, famously, Prince Charles’s favourite group.. (I still think he ‘did’ too)

Number 86 – The Shamen – Mr C (Richard West), Jhelisa Anderson, Colin Angus – ‘L.S.I (Love, Sex, Intelligence)’

Mr C became more and more irritating by each single. I can easily stomach this but by the time of Ebeneezer Goode I disliked him. He currently records as a solo artist and as part of the Sycophant Slags. The first Shamen LP was released in 1987, called Drop and was psychedelic rather than funkadelic. Angus discovered early House music (thank you S-Express & M/A/R/R/S). There have been for than 15 members of the Shamen, who called it a day in ’99.

Number 87 – Cream – Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce – ‘I Feel Free’

One of the first supergroups, Clapton came from The Yardbirds, Baker came from the Graham Bond Organization (with Bruce) and Bruce came from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (with Clapton). Cream had massive success both over here and overseas and performed at the Royal Albert Hall for their final gigs. And yes this WAS used in a car advert. (and wasn’t Jack Bruce the dish?)

Number 88 – The Family Stand – Sandra St. Victor, Peter Lord Moreland, and V. Jeffrey Smith – ‘Ghetto Heaven’

Originally called Evon Geffries & The Stand. Ghetto Heaven came from their second album and was their biggest (only?) UK hit (I really like Shades of Blue – see below). Remixed by Nelle Hooper & Jazzy B, Ghetto Heaven could actually be a Prince single.

Number 89 – Hues Corporation – St Claire Lee, Fleming Williams and Hubert Ann Kelly – ‘Rock The Boat’

Deep, deep joy including this record in this list though! Wonderful & full of memories about the inception of Disco (same year as George McCrae) & mirror balls. The Corporation only ever achieved another hit in the country (the equally marvelous Rockin Soul in this country) and two more in the States. The band split in 1978 but reformed in the early 90’s. It was also sometime in the 90’s that Williams died. The actual date is unclear but it seems that it was due to drug abuse. Bernard St Claire Lee died last year from natural causes. Possibly the only record in chart history (Happy 60th Birthday btw The Chart) to rhyme Notion with Ocean.

Number 90 – Hanson – Isaac, Taylor & Zac Hanson – ‘MMMBop’

A fertile lot these Hanson’s. The boys were three of seven and are now fathers in their own right (yes ALL of them), to NINE (Taylor has FIVE). In my head, I suppose they will always be, like most teen stars, the same age (see also Little Jimmy Osmond) and the thought of the procreating is a bit nauseating. Anyway, I don’t think I have ever heard anything else by them but this is infectious, bubblegum pop of the finest order.

Number 91 – The Emotions – Wanda, Pamela and Sheila Hutchinson – ‘Best Of My Love’

I did not realise that the Emotions were actually genetic sisters (as opposed to soul sisters) until yesterday in fact. They didn’t really hit the big time until the release of Flowers and teaming up with Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire for this (and Boogie Wonderland). VERY similar to Got To Be Real by Cheryl Lynn (who is lucky to have not been sued over nicking bits of it). BOML reached Number 1 in the States and top ten over here. For me, it’s all about those incredibly tight harmonies and those (rather bonkers) synchronised dance moves.

Number 92 – Eels – Jonathan ‘Butch’ Norton, Tommy Walter & Mark Oliver Elliott – ‘Novocaine For The Soul’

A video inspired by Mary Poppins, sampled Let The Four Winds Blow by Fats Domino and released in 96. Norton (the drummer), is currently playing with Lucinda Williams and Rufus Wainwright. Walter (bassist), left Eels after one tour and went solo. But it has always been Everett’s band. E married a Russian dentist he met at a salad factory/psychologists office. Novocaine is the trade name given by German chemist Alfred Einhorn and is used in Dentistry.

Number 93 – House of Pain – Everlast, DJ Lethal & Danny Boy – ‘Jump Around’

Irresistible opening shot courtesy of Bob & Earl – Harlem Shuffle. Dodgy lyrics courtesy of Erik Francis Schrody, Daniel O’Connor and Leor Dimant. Guaranteed floor-filler anyway. Leor (DJ Lethal) went on to join Limp Bizlit (I know) and was born in Latvia. Daniel was born in New York and is currently in hiphop band La Coka Nostra. Erik (Everlast) is of Irish descent, wishes to be considered as a serious artist and converted to Islam from Catholicism and with involved in a public spat with Eminem.

Sexy.

Number 94 – Dream Academy – Gilbert Gabriel, Nick Laird-Clowes & Kate St. John – ‘Life In A Northern Town’

The Dream Academy always struck me as incredibly posh and la-di-da. Laird-Clowes was born in London in 1957, was the principal songwriter for this wonderful record, briefly presented the Tube before his career descended into drug abuse meaning he had to retreat to a Himalayan Monastery to get clean. Dr Gilbert studied piano & clarinet at Goldsmiths College (Dartington College of Arts) and currently lectures in film & the soundtrack at Cambridge. Kate plays the oboe, accordion and cor anglais. The (brilliant) second LP features Lindsey Buckingham on a cover of Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime. LIANT was inspired by Nick Drake and the video was filmed in Hebden Bridge (and we all know what that is famous for)..

Educated.

Number 95 – The Jam – Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton & Rick Buckler – ‘The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)’

What a tough, tough choice. The Bitterest Pill came from The Gift, which is, I think, my favourite LP by The Jam. String-laden, with plenty of snogging and gum chewing by Paul (who never looked better), this was a hit in 1982. The Jam could really do no wrong by this point. They had developed from an okay-ish power-pop trio into the producers of some of the greatest singles ever. Then they split up (last ever gig in Brighton too I think?). Rick and Paul have not spoken for some 20 years – following the split he formed a new band called Time U.K and spent some time touring with From The Jam with Foxton. Bruce pursued a solo career and was reunited with Weller for three songs at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008 – the first time for 28 years. Paul has continued with his solo career following the demise of the Style Council. He was married to Dee C Lee and has 7 children by 4 different women (the rascal). Nice Sarah Lund jumper too Paul.

Number 96 – TLC – Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes, Rozanda ‘Chilli’ Thomas, Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins – ‘No Scrubs’

An acronym of each letter of their first name (and I always thought it was Tender Lovin Care),TLC were formed in 1991. Rozanda replaced Crystal Jones and was named Chilli in order for them to be able to keep the name. TLC are the second biggest selling girl group of all time selling 65 million + records worldwide. Could have had any of their brilliant hits really. “A scrub is a guy that thinks he’s fly, And is also known as a buster, Always talkin about what he wants, And just sits on his broke ass, so” – we all know one of those don’t we people?!.

Clever

Number 97 – Sugababes – Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Heidi Range – ‘Push The Button’

Despite the fact that I loved the original line up (and am a bit excited about them reforming), this incarnation of the Sugababes made the best singles IMHO. Stuttering, strutting, staggering, sexy track with a wink and a bump of the hip thrown in for good measure. Peaking at Number One for three weeks, Push The Button was written by Dallas Austin writer of Creep and Unpretty for TLC. Mutya was the second to leave in December 2005 – she has appeared in Celebrity Big Brother and had both her buttocks and breasts enhanced. Keisha was next to leave in (or was asked to leave) in 2009 (would have liked to have been in the room during THAT discussion). Heidi is hanging on in there (she does always seem a bit of a wet blanket).. So hopes are high for Mutya Keisha Siobhan which, according to Popjustice, we are likely to see new material this side of Christmas.. And surely ‘Overload: The Singles’ ranks right up there with Abba: Gold, Queen: Greatest Hits, The Beatles: Red & Blue, The Stones: Rolled Gold etc etc etc

PHWOOOAR

Number 98 – Shalamar – Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Daniel & Jody Watley – ‘There It Is’

Back in the 80’s, Friends (the album), was (and still is) right up there with Dare, Lexicon of Love, Rio and Tin Drum. Friends, I Can Make You Feel Good, A Night To Remember and this are all present and correct. The Motown baton had been passed from the Philly sound to Solar – the official spin off Soul Train record label. Howard met his first wife when she was a Soul Train dancer. Jeffrey & Jody WERE Soul Train dancers though. Jeffrey invented the moonwalk, was briefly married to Stephanie Mills and has worked on Give My Regards To Broadstreet, on the videos for Bad & Smooth Criminal and as a judge on Nigerian Idol. Ms Watley has never quite repeated the success of her self titled debut LP. She was the first celebrity to appear in an ad campaign for Gap. Reminds me of my first Summer living away from home and going to Annabelles in Peterborough for a bit of a bop. Hairy knees.

Number 99 – The Ronettes – Veronica Bennett, Estelle Bennett & Nedra Talley – ‘Be My Baby

The first Ronettes single and the first time that a record featured Cher (somewhere on backing vocals). Practically impossible to find any clips of The Ronettes moving – huge, huge influence over popular culture & music. Once Ronnie escaped from Phil, she continued to make the occasional, extraordinary record.. poor Estelle (Ronnie’s sister) died in 2009 having suffered from anorexia and schizophrenia for many years. No miming here either.

Number 100 – The Supremes – Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson – ‘The Happening’

.From the film of the same name (which starred Faye Dunaway), The Happening became the tenth US Number One single. It was the final record which Florence would appear on and the final record by just the Supremes (they became Diana Ross & The Supremes and Florence was replace by Cindy Birdsong). We know all about Ms Ross – not the greatest singer ever but one of the most distinctive pop voices – you can see the future in this clip as she slides the band further way from their secretarial roots towards showbiz (the bridge in this is still terribly exciting). I guess I will need to see the film to find out exactly what The Happening is. A Greatest Hits of the Supremes would be one of my desert island discs. Fact.

Number 101 – Fun Boy 3 – Terry Hall, Neville Staple and Lynval Goulding – ‘Tunnel of Love’

Co-written by the band and taken from the superb second LP, Waiting. Always really liked the Fun Boy 3, in some ways more than the Specials. They always struck me as funny and clever. And Terry had the best haircut ever around this time. David Byrne produced the LP and played piano on some tracks along with June Miles Kingston and Annie Whitehead. Terry went on to form the Colourfield, Vegas etc and then embarked upon a solo career. He reformed the Specials with all the personnel apart from Dammers in 2008 and they continue to tour to this day. Stick this on Strictly for a bit of a tango.

BONUS THREESOMES: The Scaffold – Mike McGear, Roger McGough & John Gorman – ‘Lily The Pink’

These kind of comedy/novelty records always been huge hits around Christmas time. This was number one at Christmas 1968 and took us chuckling into 1969. Lily the Pink was a modern take on the old folk song (pre-First World War anyway), ‘The Ballad of Lydia Pinkham’. Namechecking the film director, Stephen Frears and the Hollies hit single Jennifer Eccles, this featured Elton John, Tim Rice and Graham Nash on backing vocals. Mike McGear is, of course, Macca’s younger brothers, McGough is a renowned Liverpool poet & author & narrator (possibly heard in the Waitrose advert). Gorman appeared regularly in Tiswas and was a member of the Four Bucketeers.


BONUS THREESOMES: Portishead – Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons and Adrian Utley – ‘Sour Times’

Not heard Portishead for a while. My upstairs neighbour before last always played Dummy at top volume, and despite protests from me, never stopped. Think they were going through a sour time themselves. So I have neither had the need or the inclination to hear again. This is perfect for a late night, lights turned low, wrapped up in a duvet, eating Pringles with Cream Cheese dip. Those Bond people really should have roped this lot in to write music for a film, it would be perfect.

BONUS THREESOMES: A-ha – Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen, and Pål Waaktaar-Savoy – ‘Stay On These Roads’

A key element in Quiffs In Pop, here are A-ha again – a bit further on in their career, but the Harket sounding as amazing as ever. I have the utmost respect for this lot – more so than many of their contemporaries actually (INXS anyone). This ballad is quite breathtaking in it’s beauty and scope – like watching the best black & white European film – and has, fortunately for us, never been used in an advert for Car Insurance or De-Icer. So, Furuholmen’s father is Kåre and mother is Annelise and his Dad was a Jazz Musician who died in a plane crash when Magne was 5 – remarkably, the crash was witnessed by a young Morten. Waaktaar-Savoy is the main songwriter with the band, he is married to Lauren and is a distant relative of Morten Gamst Pedersen (who plays for Blackburn Rovers and Norway). Harket’s family are master bakers in Norway and specialise in Scotch Pies. Warms you up – and that voice just swoops and swirls round your speakers (and your head).

BONUS THREESOMES: ZZ Top – Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard – ‘Rough Boy’

Following on from the hugely successful Eliminator album, the Top released this as the third single from Afterburner. And rather lovely it is too – a bit of a shock actually after all that Southern Boogie. Frank Beard, as you well know, is the one without a beard. The video was directed by Steve Barron who was responsible for Take on Me, The Sun always Shines on TV & Hunting High & Low.. Watch out for those legs..

BONUS THREESOMES: Honey Cone –Carolyn Willis, Shelly Clark and Edna Wright – ‘Want Ads’

Topping the Soul/R&B chart in the US, this was pretty much ignored over here. Discovered by Eddie Holland, the Cone split in 1973. Wright went solo, Willis was the featured singer on Get Closer by Seals Crofts and Clark married one of Earth Wind & Fire.


BONUS THREESOMES: Ray Parker Jnr – Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd and Harold Ramis – ‘Ghostbusters’

Ray Parker Jnr was the lead singer of Raydio and performed with Barry White alongside his Raydio career. He also wrote You Make Me Feel Like Dancing for Leo Sayer! From the huge 84 film of the same name, the theme tune could have been written by one Lindsey Buckingham (which wouldn’t have been the same at all).. so this is a tribute to the three main actors, the funny little green globby ghost and to the myriad of cameo appearances in the video.. and hang on I have never actually SEEN Ghostbusters!

BONUS THREESOMES: The Peddlers – Trevor Morais, Tab Martin & Roy Phillips ‘Over The Rainbow’

One of the joys of this internet is rediscovering stuff you had completely forgotten about. Two of my friends posted something by these chaps earlier today. They seemed to be always on some TV show or other (very few clips remain – Roger Whittaker’s World of Music is one) and even had a few hit singles (Birth is probably the best). Morais joined Quantum Jump, of Lone Ranger fame. There is a compilation available from Amazon which is a must have once I get paid.