Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 2-2-24

The Honey Cone was the first act signed to Hot Wax Records, a label started in 1968 by Eddie and Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, who previously were staff writers and producers at Motown Records and in that role wrote twelve number one singles between 1962 and 1967, two performed by The Four Tops and the other ten by The Supremes, with lead vocals by Diana Ross, who would soon leave the trio and be replaced by Jean Terrell in 1970, with Terrell being replaced in 1973 by Scherrie Payne, who before then was the singer in a group called Glass House, also signed to Hot Wax Records, who recorded “Want Ads” prior to The Honey Cone, but neither Scherrie nor the track’s producer, Greg Perry, liked their version, leading Scherrie to re-record the song with her sister Freda, who had a number 3 record in 1970 with “Band of Gold,” a song co-penned by Holland-Dozier-Holland under assumed names, but the sisters’ version of “Want Ads” was also discarded, which then led Scherrie to suggest to Perry that he try the song again with Edna Wright singing, Wright being the lead singer for The Honey Cone and the sister of Darlene Wright, the singer for the group The Blossoms, and while you may not recognize the names Darlene Wright or The Blossoms, you may know their music, for producer Phil Spector renamed Darlene Wright Darlene Love (without her knowledge) and released records by The Blossoms under the name The Crystals, who hit number 1 with “He’s a Rebel,” and should not be but will be confused with another group called The Crystals, also produced by Phil Spector at the same time he was working with Wright/Love and The Blossoms, but let’s get back to Edna Wright, who recorded “Want Ads” with backing vocals by the other two members of The Honey Cone, Shellie Clark, who a couple of years earlier was singing backup for Ike and Tina Turner, and Carolyn Willis, who toured as a member of Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, a group whose records were produced by Phil Spector and featured vocals from Darlene Wright/Love. In June of 1971 The Honey Cone took “Want Ads” to number 1. (This paragraph is pulled from my long-awaited (by me, anyway) book, which I’m trying to get out this year.) 

The late Edna Wright of The Honey Cone was born on this date in 1945. A couple of the group’s best-known songs, including “Want Ads,” are on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 11-26-23

Superstar producer Phil Spector went to see Ike Turner. He told Ike that he wanted to record a song with Tina that would become a number one smash on the pop charts and break them bigger. However, Ike could have nothing to do with the recording. Ike agreed, provided his name was still on the record label, which led to the awkwardly phrased Ike & Tina Turner featuring Tina. The track, “River Deep—Mountain High,” was recorded over five sessions. At various times during the recordings, studio guests included Mick Jagger, Brian Wilson, and Dennis Hopper. After subjecting Tina to take after take, Spector finally got what he wanted. He knew he had a smash on his hands.

In the US, the single debuted on the Hot 100 at number 98. The following week it was up to number 94. The next week, number 93. Then number 88. And that was that. Its chart run was over. In the UK the record went to number 2, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy Spector, who retreated from music production for the next couple of years.  

The late great Tina Turner was born on this date in 1939. Lots of Tina on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 10-31-23

“Good times / These are the good times”

Yeah. We’re doomed.

Chic’s Bernard Edwards, who gave us one of the most recognizable basslines in all of rock and roll in “Good Times,” was born on Hallowe’en in 1952. He passed away from pneumonia in 1996. A buncha Chic tunes are on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 9-2-23

“Will It Go Round In Circles,” Billy Preston’s second US number one single, was borne from a comment Preston made to his songwriting partner, Bruce Fisher, about having a song but no melody. From there the pair came up with lyrics about having a dance with no steps and added to those words a very catchy melody. A session that included pre-stardom guitar and bass players The Brothers Johnson brought the groove and the funk.

Billy Preston’s first time having his name appear at the top spot of the Hot 100 was in 1969 with “Get Back,” credited to The Beatles With Billy Preston. Following The Beatles’ breakup, Preston continued working with its members, including playing with George Harrison at the Concert for Bangladesh. Preston was the first artist to record Harrison’s My Sweet Lord,” which Harrison co-produced and later recorded himself.

“Will It Go Round In Circles” entered the Hot 100 at number 99. It reached the top ten eleven weeks later, at which time the number one song was Paul McCartney and Wings’ “My Love.” “My Love” was knocked from the top spot by George Harrison’s “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth),” which was knocked from the top spot by “Will it Go Round In Circles.” The b-side of the Preston single was his cover of The Beatles’ song “Blackbird.”

The late Billy Preston was born on this date in 1946. A handful of his songs feature on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 8-29-23

FUN FACT: The original lyrics to the song pictured were “Billy Joel is not my brother / He’s just some shlub who sang that the good die young / But he’s not my mother’s son.” Michael Jackson changed the words when Quincy Jones told him “That’s really stupid, Smelly.” (Note: I didn’t get this info from a reliable source, so take it with a grain of salt.)

Michael Jackson was born on this date in 1958. Lotsa Jackson on today’s playlist.

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