Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*: #120-111

These songs in this range are indeed part of the "cream of the crop", the best of 60 years of the Rock Era.  Enjoy these 10!


Another Brick In The Wall Part II
 Pink Floyd

"Hammer hit.  Super."
"Loved it then, love it now."
"Absolutely love this song!"
"Superb music."
"A rock classic!"
"Great song!"
Here we have the only #1 song for this group (they never got close with anything else).
This classic was one of three parts of a song containing the same basic theme, written by Pink Floyd lead singer and bassist Roger Waters.  Each of the three segments of the song featured on the album The Wall is similar in tune and lyrical structure, and the tone grows from sadness in Part I to protest in Part II and finally rage in Part III.  Part II of "Another Brick In The Wall" is a protest against strict schooling in general and boarding schools in the U.K. 

Each of the three parts has a similar tune, and lyrical structure (though not lyrics, aside from the "all in all" refrain), and each is louder and more enraged than the one before, rising from the sadness of Part I to the protesting Part II to the furious Part III.
Waters grew up attending the Cambridgeshire School of Boys, and felt his teachers were more interested in keeping the kids quiet than teaching them.  The wall theme in both the song and the album refers to the wall that Waters built up around himself because he wasn't in touch with reality.  The individual bricks in the wall represent events in his life which caused him to build this wall, and his teacher was one of those bricks.  Waters later explained to Mojo magazine in 2009:     

You couldn't find anybody in the world more pro-education than me.  But the education I went through in boys' grammar school in the '50s was very controlling and demanded rebellion.  The teachers were weak and therefore easy targets.  The song is meant to be a rebellion against errant government, against people who have power over you, who are wrong.  Then it absolutely demanded that you rebel against that.

The ironic thing about the song is that the line "We don't need no education" is grammatically incorrect.  It is a double negative and really means "We need education."  
Producer Bob Ezrin came up with the idea to use a school choir in the song, which took some finagling behind the group's back.  Ezrin explained that portion of the song to the magazine Guitar World:
The most important thing I did for the song was to insist that it be more than just one verse and one chorus long, which it was when Roger wrote it.  When we played it with the disco drumbeat I said: "Man, this is a hit!  But it's one minute 20.  We need two verses and two choruses."  And they said, "Well you're not bloody getting them."  So I said, "Okay, fine", and they left.  And because of our two [tape recorder] set up, while they weren't around we were able to copy the first verse and chorus, take one of the drum fills, put them in between and extend the chorus. 
Then the question is what do you do with the second verse, which is the same?  And having been the guy who made Alice Cooper's "School's Out", I've got this thing about kids on record, and it is about kids after all.  So while we were in America, we sent [recording engineer] Nick Griffiths to a school near the studios in Islington, London.  I said, "Give me 24 tracks of kids singing this thing.  I wan Cockney, I want posh, fill 'em up", and I put them on the song.  I called Roger into the room, and when the kids came in on the second verse there was a total softening of his face, and you just knew that he knew it was going to be an important record.
Griffiths went to see music teacher Alun Renshaw of Islington Green School, which was just around the corner from Pink Floyd's Britannia Row Studios, about using his choir for the song.  The school choir consisted of 23 kids ranging in age from 13 to 15.  The vocals were overdubbed 12 times, which made it sound like there were more.  When Griffiths played it for Waters, he loved it. 
Although the school received a lump sum payment of 1000 pounds, there was no contractual agreement to receive royalties.  However, when a copyright law was passed in the U.K. in 1996, Islington Green became eligible for royalties from airplay of the song.  Agent Peter Rowan tracked down members of the choir and together, the choir made a claim for royalties in 2004.
Pink Floyd released the single November 23, 1979.  While "Another Brick In The Wall, Part II" was on the charts, it faced competition from  "It's Still Rock & Roll To Me", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", Michael Jackson's "Rock With You", "Call Me" by Blondie, "The Rose" by Bette Midler, "Heartache Tonight" and "I Can't Tell You Why" by the Eagles, "Lost In Love" and "All Out Of Love" by Air Supply, "Coward Of The County" by Kenny Rogers, "Magic" from Olivia Newton-John, and "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer" by Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes.
"Another Brick In The Wall, Part II" spent 4 weeks at #1 and 12 weeks inside the Top 10.  The song also landed at #1 in the U.K., Germany, Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, #2 in Australia, and #3 in the Netherlands.

"Another Brick In The Wall, Part II" won a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Performance by a Rock Duo or Group.
The song and album were banned in South Africa when "Another Brick In The Wall, Part II" was adopted as a theme song by supporters of a nationwide school boycott to protest the racial inequalities of education under the apartheid regime.
The single sold over four million copies worldwide, including one million in the U.S.  It helped sell 29 million albums, and has been played four million times thus far.


I Can't Help Myself 
Four Tops

"Just love this one..."
"Love the bass line."
"One of my favorite songs that is both catchy and positive."
"Just oozes class.  What a great tune."
"Gigantic talent."
"This song will forever give me butterflies."
"One of the best songs ever made."

There are 18 songs from 1965 represented in The Top 500*, including this one at #119*.  By coincidence, there are also 18 songs by artists from Detroit, Michigan in the special. 

This great soul group formed when  they were asked to sing together at a friend's birthday party in Detroit.  They must have sounded good together, for they began as the Four Aims in 1953.   The quartet began performing in small clubs in the area, and sang backup for acts such as Brook Benton, Della Reese and Count Basie.  As the Ames Brothers were hot on the scene, their musical conductor suggested they change their name to the Four Tops.
The Tops toiled for 10 years before they were able to sign a recording contract with Motown Records for an advance of $400.  They scored their first hit in 1964 with "Baby I Need Your Loving". 
The legendary songwriting team of Lamont Dozier and Briand and Eddie Holland wrote this song for the group, which established the Four Tops as superstars.  Lamont told the magazine Performing Songwriter about the experience:

The song was started with a bass figure, with me sitting at the piano.  It wasn't slowed down, like the usual songs.  The bass line was the whole song, at that tempo.  When I said, 'Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch,' it was over with.  We went right in and cut it.

The Four Tops released the single April 23, 1965.  The song encountered stiff competition from classics such as "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones, "Help!" and "Ticket To Ride" by the Beatles, "California Girls" and "Help Me Rhonda" by the Beach Boys, "Unchained Melody" from the Righteous Brothers, "I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher, and Elvis Presley's "Crying In The Chapel".

"I Can't Help Myself" was not only a huge hit, and is one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*; it was the first #1 for the Four Tops.  It posted 2 weeks at #1 with an impressive 10 in the Top 10.  On the R&B chart, it was an even bigger hit, with 9 weeks at #1.  Amazingly, the classic stalled at #23 in the U.K.

"I Can't Help Myself" has been played over three million times.




Three Times A Lady

"Great classic!"
"There are no words to express how inspirational, and emotional I get listening to this extended version.  Especially at the end the way Richie builds it up as far as it could."

 "One of the most beautiful songs ever written."
"Truly one of my beloved love ❤ song of all times, such a beautiful message in this song."
"One of my all-time favorites."
"Such a beautiful song."
"This is just an unbelievable composition. The full version is so much better than the radio cut. It is just a deeper song."
"One great song."

This great R&B act formed at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1967 under the name of the Mighty Mystics.  Six students attended Tuskegee, and later, they linked with two members of another group on campus, the Jays.  The Mighty Mystics rehearsed and entered a talent contest at Tuskegee in the hopes of impressing girls.
The group changed their name to the Commodores and became popular in Montgomery, Alabama and the surrounding area.  In 1968,  they represented their school at a benefit at Town Hall in New York City.  The group returned to their studies, then in 1969, returned to New York for an audition at Small's Paradise.  After several personnel changes, the Commodores then began a tour of the European clubs.
In 1971, Suzanne de Passe, Creative Vice President for Motown Records, was searching for an opening act for Motown's biggest act, the Jackson 5.  De Passe saw the Commodores perform at the Turntable club in New York City and booked them for the tour.  The Commodores signed a recording contract with Motown and released their first album in 1974.   

Lionel Richie, lead singer of the Commodores, wrote this incredible song.  It was a personal song for Richie, as he told Blues & Soul magazine:

I wrote it back in 1978 and it was a very personal meaning to me.  I attended the wedding anniversary of my parents and my father made a speech about how much he loved my mother and appreciated the way she had stood beside him for 37 years.  It was beautiful and I started to think about my own life and how my wife stands by me, how she does so many things without being asked or thanked.  So, I wrote "Three Times A Lady" as a dedication to my wife and my mother.  I think my next door neighbor summed it up when she said that if a man wanted to buy her a present, all he need do is buy her that record and he wouldn't have to say anything else.

The Commodores released the single from their album Natural High, produced by James Anthony Carmichael.  "Three Times A Lady" debuted on the charts in June of 1978, when Rock Era fans could also hear songs such as "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever" by the Bee Gees, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" from Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond, Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You", "Shadow Dancing" from Andy Gibb, Chic's "Le Freak", "Kiss You All Over" by Exile, "Hopelessly Devoted To You" by Olivia Newton-John, "You're The One That I Want" from Newton-John & John Travolta, and "Reminiscing" by the Little River Band.
"Three Times A Lady" was a huge across-the-board smash, #1 on the Popular chart #1 for 2 weeks with 11 weeks in the Top 10, #1 Adult Contemporary (#1 for 3 weeks), and #1 R&B (#1 for 2 weeks).  "Three Times A Lady" also dominated the U.K. and Australian charts for five weeks, was #1 in Ireland for three weeks, and hit #2 in New Zealand.  It was the biggest U.K. hit ever for Motown Records.

"Three Times A Lady" helped sell over three million albums and has registered four million in radio airplay.

Although this was the first #1 song that Richie wrote, it was far from his last.  Richie in fact penned #1 songs in each of the next eight years, counting his work with the Commodores, his solo career, and the #1 smash "Lady" for Kenny Rogers.  That feat tied him with Paul McCartney for the Rock Era record.  Paul had written #1 songs with the Beatles from 1964-1970 and also wrote the #1 he and wife Linda recorded in 1971, "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey".



Kiss From A Rose 

"Beautiful music."
"This will always be a great song."
"One of the best love songs ever."
"I love this song ❤❤❤"
"This song is timeless."
"Awesome song."
"So beautiful."
"Love this song so much."


This artist performed in local clubs and pubs in Great Britain, then joined the funk group Push in 1987.  He then moved to Thailand, where he joined a blues band before traveling throughout India on his own.  Seal got his big break when he met the producer Adamski, singing on his song "Killer", a #1 song in the U.K.  

Seal signed a recording contract with ZTT Records and released his first self-titled album in 1991.  Besides his own version of "Killer", the album contained the big worldwide hit "Crazy".
Seal reunited with producer Trevor Horn (who also produced his debut) in 1994 for Seal's second self-titled album, which featured the great but underrated "Prayer For The Dying".  Seal says that he wrote "Kiss From A Rose" as a tribute to Crosby, Stills & Nash.  In addition to including the song on Seal's second album, the song was later used in the movie Batman Forever
"Kiss From A Rose" debuted in June of 1995, a time when Rock Era fans could also hear "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men, Carey's "Fantasy", "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio, "Waterfalls" and "Creep" by TLC, and Madonna's "Take A Bow".

"Kiss From A Rose" initially dropped off the charts after a short stay, but its inclusion in Batman Forever seemed to change its fortunes forever.  Once given that exposure, the song rose to #1 and resided in the Top 10 best-sellers for 17 weeks in the U.S.  It also led the way on the Top 40 chart for 9 weeks, and reached #9 on the Adult Contemporary chart.  The song also peaked at #1 in Australia, #2 in Canada, #3 in Austria and Norway, #4 in the U.K., Ireland and the Netherlands, #6 in Denmark, #7 in Switzerland, and #8 in Sweden.
"Kiss From A Rose" captured Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, and an MTV Video Music Award for Best Song from a Movie.  Seal's album was also nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys.
The song sold half a million singles and helped the album Seal go Quadruple Platinum.  It is by far the leader in airplay since 1995 with four million plays already.   




Like A Virgin

"Absolutely love this song!"
"This song is sheer perfection."
"The best!!!"

"I love this!"

"Still brilliant!"

"Always a favorite."

Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg wrote this song for Madonna--the two have also teamed up to write "So Emotional" by Whitney Houston, "Alone" by Heart, "Eternal Flame" by the Bangles and "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper.
Steinberg told Songfacts:

I had a rock band called Billy Thermal and we were signed to Planet Records, Richard Perry's label.  That band had just split up, so I was working out in the vineyards with my dad in Thermal, California.   I remember writing the lyrics to "Like A Virgin" while driving in a red pickup truck that I owned around our dusty desert vineyards.   I had been involved in a very emotionally difficult relationship that had finally ended and I had met somebody new.   I remember writing that lyric about feeling shiny and new - I made it through the wilderness, somehow I made it through - I made it through this very difficult time.   I took that lyric to Tom, he knew what I had gone through.   He read those first lyrics and he sat down at the piano and tried to write a sensitive ballad to them.   He'd come up with a few interesting things, but every time we got to the chorus lyric where it said, "Like a virgin," it just hit a brick wall - how can you write a tender ballad called 'Like a Virgin'?  It just sounded ridiculous.  
At that time Tom and I were writing rock songs. Tom had this voice that was not unlike Lou Gramm (from Foreigner).  Tom had that kind of voice - very high, very powerful range.  Out of nothing more than utter frustration, Tom started to play the bass line to "Like a Virgin"  and sing the lyric falsetto to this bass line he was playing.  I said, "That's it!"  He stopped and went, "What?" and I said, "That's it, that's the song."  He couldn't imagine because he had this style of singing that was usually based on that male rock thing.  I think he was trying to imagine doing a falsetto, almost Motown inspired vocal and I said, "Yeah, that's it."
He went along with it and agreed that that's how the song was working.  We did a demo where Tom sang the song falsetto and I added a few background vocal parts.  Tom didn't like me to sing because he never liked my singing.  He sort of indulged me and I added a few little parts that ended up being used on the Madonna record.
Steinberg and Kelly met at a party at producer Keith Olsen's house. Kelly was a prominent background singer, who was in the group Fool's Gold with Richard Page, who later formed Mr. Mister, and Bill Champlin of The Sons of Champlin. 

Nile Rodgers of Chic produced the song, and introduced something new to Madonna's music--real musicians, including great bassist Bernard Edwards and drummer Tony Thompson, Rodgers' mates in Chic. Madonna had recorded her first album with synthesized music.  Rodgers also worked with David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Al Jarreau, and Sister Sledge.  Madonna recorded "Like A Virgin" in April of 1984 at the Power Station Studios in New York City.  She released the single November 6, 1984 from the album Like a Virgin.

At the time, "Like A Virgin" could be heard with other current songs such as "What's Love Got To Do With It" by Tina Turner, "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears for Fears, Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You", "We Are The World" by USA for Africa, "Careless Whisper" by Wham!, "Can't Fight This Feeling" from REO Speedwagon, Madonna's own "Crazy For You" and "Material Girl", "I Want To Know What Love Is" from Foreigner, Chicago's "You're The Inspiration", "Missing You" by John Waite, "One More Night" by Phil Collins, "Caribbean Queen" by Billy Ocean, and "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince.  If you judge those songs against the competition for most other songs of the Rock Era, it is plain to see that this was pretty strong competition.

"Like A Virgin" vaulted to #1 for 6 weeks, but only spent 9 weeks in the Top 10, so a quick rise and a precipitous fall for Madonna. It made it to #9 R&B, but only #29 on the more-important Adult Contemporary chart.  The song also reached #1 in Canada and Australia, #2 in New Zealand, #3 in the U.K., #4 in Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands, #5 in Finland, and #8 in France, Austria and Norway, and #9 in Switzerland.

Madonna won Billboard Awards for Top Pop Album Artist--Female and Top Pop Sales Artist.  "Like A Virgin" sold 1 million singles and helped sell 20 million albums.  To date, the song has logged four million radio airplays.




Rock With You
Michael Jackson

"A classic song like no other!"
"Love this song!  Michael was amazing in that time."
"Pure audio magic."
"Great song by a musical genius."
"One of the best songs ever!"
"The best of all-time."
"Great song after all these years."


Along with singing lead vocals for the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson recorded his first solo record in 1972, reaching #4 with "Got To Be There" when he was 14 years old.  Jackson continued to release solo songs from time to time while remaining in the family business, but didn't really begin his solo career in earnest until 1979. 

Jackson's 1979 album Off The Wall came about as the result of a meeting with producer Quincy Jones the year before.  Jackson was selected to play the role of the Scarecrow in the film adaption of The Wiz, itself adapted from the classic movie The Wizard of Oz.  Jackson played opposite longtime friend Diana Ross, who played Dorothy.  Jones was hired to produce the soundtrack, and while on the set, Jackson asked Quincy if he knew a producer who might assist him with a solo album.  Of course, Quincy was interested in producing Michael's album himself.

Rod Temperton, formerly with the group Heatwave, wrote this song for Jackson at the urging of producer Jones.  Temperton went on to write other songs for Michael, including "Off The Wall" and "Thriller".

"Rock With You" debuted on the charts in November of 1979, when Rock Era fans could also hear great new songs such as "Another Brick In The Wall" by Pink Floyd, "My Sharona" from the Knack, "Heartache Tonight" and "I Can't Tell You Why" by the Eagles, "Call Me" by Blondie, Bette Midler's "The Rose", "You Decorated My Life" and "Coward Of The County", "Babe" by Styx, "Still" from the Commodores, "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer" by Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes, and Air Supply's "Lost In Love".
"Rock With You" gave Jackson his second #1 from the album (after "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough")--#1 for 4 weeks, with 9 weeks in the Top 10.  It also reigned on the R&B chart for 6 weeks, and rose to #4 in Canada and Australia and #7 in the U.K.

Jackson captured American Music Awards for Artist of the Century, Favorite Pop/Rock Album (the compilation album Number Ones), Favorite Male Soul Artist and Favorite Soul Album (for both Off the Wall and Number Ones), a World Music Diamond Award, and Billboard Awards for Top Black Artist and Top Black Album.
"Rock With You" has sold over 2 million singles and helped sell 24 million albums.  It has not yet been certified as having one million radio airplays.


Open Arms


"Always and forever."
"Love this song!"
"This is one of the best--just beautiful."
"An anthem from my youth.  Epic guitar-based rock with moving lyrics that everyone can relate to."
"Tears on my keyboard..."
"Perfect song!"
"Awesome sauce!  After all these years."


Keyboardist Gregg Rolie was one of the co-founders of the group Santana, and sang lead on several of that group's most popular early songs, such as "Black Magic Woman" and "Evil Ways".  Neal Schon was a guitar phenom when he joined Santana at age 17 following the group's Abraxas album.  Both left Santana in 1972, as Rolie started a restaurant in Seattle, Washington with his father, and Schon jammed with other musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.
Former Santana road manager Walter Herbert is responsible for getting Schon and Rolie together again, introducing them to ex-Steve Miller bassist Ross Valory.  The band chose the name Journey after listeners at radio station KSAN-FM in San Francisco were asked to name the band.   Aynsley Dunbar, a journeyman drummer with John Mayall, Jeff Beck, Lou Reed and David Bowie, soon became the group's permanent drummer, and lead singer Steve Perry came aboard four years later for Journey's album Infinity.
In 1978, just when Journey's star began to rise, Dunbar was let go.  Steve Smith, who studied at the famous Berklee School of Music and had played with Focus and Montrose, became the new man behind the set for Journey. 
At #114*, a song written by Journey lead singer Steve Perry and keyboardist Jonathan Cain about a couple who had drifted apart, but came back together, only to realize how much they loved each other.  Cain had written the song while with the group the Babys, but that group didn't want to record it.  Big mistake, although no one in the Babys was in the same vocal league as Steve Perry.  Upon joining Journey, Cain played the song for Perry on his portable Wurlitzer keyboard, and Perry immediately wanted to record it.  The rest of Journey wasn't keen on it, but it became the biggest song they ever did.  Perry said:

I had to keep my head down on the console when "Open Arms" was on.  There is one line in the song that I always wanted to be a certain way.  I have ideals about certain things. The line "wanting you near" — I just wanted that line to go up and soar.  I wanted it to be heartfelt.  Every time it would come by I would just have to keep my head down and try to swallow the lump in my throat.  I felt so proud of the song.

Journey released the single from their biggest career album Escape.  In January of 1982, "Open Arms" began its ascent up the charts, facing great songs such as "I Love Rock N' Roll" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, "Ebony And Ivory" by Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder, Foreigner's "Waiting For A Girl Like You", "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John, "Always On My Mind" by Willie Nelson, "I Can't Go For That" from Hall & Oates, "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by the Police, "Arthur's Theme" from Christopher Cross, Journey's own "Don't Stop Believin'", and "Hurts So Good" by John Cougar.

"Open Arms" is one of The Top #2 Songs of the Rock Era*, residing in the runner-up spot for six weeks.  The song piled up 10 weeks inside the Top 10 and also peaked at #7 on the Adult Contemporary chart.  It also reached #2 in Canada.
"Open Arms" sold over one million singles and helped to sell over 19 million Journey albums in the United States alone.  To date, the song has logged over three million airplays.

Mariah Carey had a big hit with a remake of "Open Arms" in 1996; Celine Dion, Barry Manilow, and Boyz II Men are among the artists who have also recorded it.




Philadelphia Freedom 
Elton John Band

"I adore this song."
"This is one of my favorites."
"What a tune!"
"Awesome song!"
"A classic..."
"My favorite song by Sir Elton."
"I can never get enough of this one."
This legendary child prodigy won a piano scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music at age 11.  Six years later, Reginald Dwight began the long hard work necessary to be in show business.  He played keyboards, wrote songs, and sang lead for the group Bluesology and performed solo at a bar in a London hotel.  Before long, Long John Baldry hired Bluesology as his backing band.
Dwight met lyricist Bernie Taupin through an advertisement in a British music trade magazine, but the two simply wrote songs for other artists in their early years.  By this time, Dwight was calling himself Elton John, combining names of Long John Baldry and Elton Dean, a saxophonist with Bluesology.  Taupin wrote lyrics all day, sometimes a song an hour, and delivered a bundle of songs to John every few weeks.  Elton then fit his music to Taupin's lyrics, never changing a word.  The two worked this way throughout their partnership.
When music publisher Steve Brown suggested that the pair write songs for John to record, fortunes began to change for Elton and Taupin.  John's first single, "I've Been Loving You" in 1968, was produced by Caleb Quaye, former guitarist with Bluesology.  John recorded the highly regarded album Empty Sky the following year, and he was on his way.  
Elton John's star was golden in the 70's, with 15 of 16 albums going Gold in the decade.  John racked up 15 Top 10 hits, with 5 of those going to #1 during that time. 
Elton places a sensational 13 songs in The Top 500*.  As you might guess, that is among the most of anyone in the Rock Era.  Here's one of them.

Taupin was the lyricist behind most of Elton's songs; sometimes Elton suggested a song title, as he did with Song #113*.  John was friends with tennis player Billie Jean King, who coached a team in the World Team Tennis league called the Philadelphia Freedoms, and Elton wanted a title to play tribute to King.  None of Taupin's lyrics in the song are about King, and he insists the song had nothing to do with America's upcoming bicentennial celebration in 1996, although Americans used it as inspiration.  Gene Page arranged the orchestra parts, including flutes, horns, and strings. 

In March of 1975, Rock Era fans could also hear these songs being played on the radio along with "Philadelphia Freedom":  "Best Of My Love" and "One Of These Nights" by the Eagles, "Have You Never Been Mellow" by Olivia Newton-John, "Love Will Keep Us Together" by the Captain & Tennille, "You're No Good" and "When Will I Be Loved" from Linda Ronstadt, "My Eyes Adored You" by Frankie Valli, and "Black Water" from the Doobie Brothers.

"Philadelphia Freedom" marched to #1 for 2 weeks, and also received R&B airplay in the U.S.  It also became Elton's eighth #1 song in Canada.  The song sold over 2 million singles, helped sell over 12 million albums, and has been heard on the radio over 4 million times.

Love Rock 'N Roll 
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts



"One of the top rock & roll songs ever!"
"I love this song!"
"So cool!"

"Incredibly great song!" 
"One of the best!!!"
This artist first became known as the lead singer for the all-female group the Runaways, the groundbreaking act that was essentially the biggest hard rock all-girl group to that point.  Check out the song "Cherry Bomb" if you ever get the chance.
Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker, lead singer and guitarist of a group called the Arrows, wrote this song in 1975 as a knee-jerk response to the Rolling Stones' song "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll".  Merrill told Songfacts:  
I remember watching it on "Top of the Pops".  I'd met Mick Jagger socially a few times, and I knew he was hanging around with Prince Rupert Lowenstein and people like that – jet setters.  I almost felt like "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll was an apology to those jet-set princes and princesses that he was hanging around with - the aristocracy, you know.  That was my interpretation as a young man: Okay, I love rock and roll. And then, where do you go with that?

The Arrows were given their own U.K. television show, The Arrows Show, in 1976 and 1977.  Joan Jett saw one of the episodes, which led to her getting a copy of "I Love Rock 'N Roll".  Jett was touring England with the Runaways at the time.  Jett wanted to record it with the group, but the other members of the Runaways decided against it.  Joan first recorded the song in 1979 as a B-side, then two years later, recorded it with her group the Blackhearts.

Jett and her producer Kenny Laguna both thought the song was a big hit waiting to happen, but held on to it until they could better establish themselves.  Laguna was responsible for recording Tommy James & the Shondells and Tony Orlando, among others.

When the songs "Do You Wanna' Touch Me" and "Bad Reputation" began receiving airplay, Jett & the Blackhearts recorded their second album and included "I Love Rock 'N Roll".
In February of 1982, "I Love Rock 'N Roll" could be heard alongside great songs such as "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor, "Open Arms" by Journey, "Ebony And Ivory" from Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder, "Waiting For A Girl Like You" from Foreigner, "Physical" from Olivia Newton John, Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind", "I Can't Go For That" by Hall & Oates, Chicago's "Hard To Say I'm Sorry", and "Hurts So Good" from John Cougar. 
"I Love Rock 'N Roll" vaulted to #1 for 7 weeks in the United States, with 12 weeks in the Top 10.  It also roared to #1 in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Sweden, #2 in Ireland, #3 in Switzerland, #4 in the U.K., France and Austria, and #6 in Germany. 
The song has sold over two million singles and helped sell over one million albums.  It has topped four million in radio airplay.


Black Magic Woman

"One of my favorites."
"This song is the embodiment of Epic."
Oh man--truly glorious track."
"Absolutely brilliant--love it!"
"A classic that today's youth are discovering."
"Some of the very best guitar riffs in history."
"One of the gems of all-time."
"Simply the best."
This group had its origins as the Santana Blues Band, with guitarists Carlos Santana and Tom Frazer, keyboardist Gregg Rolie, bassist David Brown and drummer Rod Harper.  The band soon shortened its name to Santana and began to implement the Latin music of Santana's background into the blues-based foundation.  Frazer and Harper then left, with drummer Michael Shrieve and percussionists Mike Carabello and José Chepito coming aboard.
After three years together, things began to happen very quickly for Santana in 1969.  In the space of a month, the group played in the Atlantic City Pop Festival in New Jersey with Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, B.B. King and others, signed a recording contract with Columbia Records, appeared at the legendary Woodstock festival, and also played at the Texas International Pop Festival.
Santana released their debut album Santana, already widely anticipated after their historic performance at Woodstock.  The group scored a big hit with "Evil Ways" before setting out to record their follow-up album.

Peter Green wrote this for his group, Fleetwood Mac, to record.  But then Santana came along a few years later with the definitive version of the song.  Rolie, keyboardist with Santana, sang lead on the song--he would later join Journey in 1973.

Santana added the song "Gypsy Queen" by Gabor Szabo to form a medley that is heard back-to-back with "Black Magic Woman" on the album Abraxas and the combination that most radio stations played together. 
"Black Magic Woman" started receiving significant airplay in November of 1970.  Other songs out at the time included "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison, James Taylor's "Fire And Rain", "We've Only Just Begun" from the Carpenters, "Your Song" by Elton John, "I'll Be There" from the Jackson 5, "Me And Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin, "Knock Three Times" by Tony Orlando & Dawn, "Rose Garden" from Lynn Anderson, and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Diana Ross.

"Black Magic Woman" peaked at #4 for 2 weeks, with 7 weeks in the Top 10.  It can be described as another late bloomer; a big hit, to be sure, but even bigger now than it was when released.  The song has helped sell over 14 million albums to date, and has now topped six million in radio airplay.  In the latter category, "Black Magic Woman" is among the Top 30 in the Rock Era. 
Because of the segmentation of radio, you won't be able to hear all of these classics together in the same place, except on Inside The Rock Era.  If you're as much of a Rock Era fan as we believe you to be, we know you're already hooked on the music.  Join us tomorrow for more fun!

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