Anatomy Of A Song – A Surprising Super Hit

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong were busy and successful music pros who wrote a lot of memorable songs for the Temptations. But one that they avoided for a couple of years would end up as a #1 hit for the group and become a signature song. Written in 1969, "just My Imagination" was a ballad, … Continue reading Anatomy Of A Song – A Surprising Super Hit

Ruby And The Romantics – The Pride Of Akron

You wouldn't normally think of Akron, Ohio, an average Midwestern city, as the birthplace of a R&B group with a number-one hit in the 1960's, but that's exactly what happened when Ruby and the Romantics hit the top. Their 1963 recording of "Our Day Will Come" was a huge success, topping the charts in the … Continue reading Ruby And The Romantics – The Pride Of Akron

NoMo? Say It Isn’t So!

One of the natural manifestations of living a long life is seeing some of our favorite indulgences gradually disappear. Sometimes it's because they become obsolete and are replaced by something better. Other times it's just because they are no longer appreciated by enough people to matter, but there are also occasions when bad business practices … Continue reading NoMo? Say It Isn’t So!

Squeaky Wheel Says: Once A Boxman Always A Boxman

The subject of the latest installment of the Squeaky Wheel is going to seem like a relatively minor thing for me to be grumbling about, but it directly relates to a pet peeve of mine, one that's shared by most veterans of my former industry. My sore spot was poked when I spotted a recent … Continue reading Squeaky Wheel Says: Once A Boxman Always A Boxman

So Exactly What Is A Mungo Jerry?

A huge hit record from 1970 that has sometimes approached earworm status for me is a skiffle song called "In The Summertime" by Mungo Jerry. But even though I've heard it countless times in the last forty-plus years (and it's probably going through your head right now) it has never occurred to me to find … Continue reading So Exactly What Is A Mungo Jerry?

Beware The Super-Blue-Blood Moon

If you're fascinated by prophecies, then you probably already know that a very significant event is approaching and it's something that hasn't happened for more than 150 years. The occurrence -- which is called a Lunar Tetrad by scientists -- is due to show up January 31st, when the second full moon of the month … Continue reading Beware The Super-Blue-Blood Moon

The Harlem Hamfats Would Be Riding High

The FCC has been in the news lately because of the repeal of net neutrality, but in California it might turn out that a lot more attention is being paid to the BCC, the Bureau of Cannabis Control. Nope, you're not dreaming, folks; bureaucracy has caught up to marijuana, which becomes legal for personal use … Continue reading The Harlem Hamfats Would Be Riding High

The Amazing Valaida Snow

She was proficient on countless instruments but usually played the trumpet, and with such skill that Louis Armstrong declared her second only to himself (which led to her being called 'Little Louis'). She was also a talented dancer and a marvelous singer, with perfect pitch and the ability to handle everything from jazz to soulful … Continue reading The Amazing Valaida Snow

Five-Star Favs: A Mysterious Tale

Our newest Special Feature -- Five-Star Favs -- is only up to the third edition but it's already showing some diversity. After spotlighting classic rock in the first one and jazz in the second, today we're taking a look at a song from 1967 that isn't easy to classify. At first glance, "Ode To Billie … Continue reading Five-Star Favs: A Mysterious Tale

Marion Harris – Queen of the Blues

One of the earliest recording stars, a lady who was sometimes billed as the Queen of the Blues, was churning out hit records as early as 1917. Many of those who bought her records assumed she was black even though her style was a little more mainstream than singers like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. … Continue reading Marion Harris – Queen of the Blues