Nov 17, 2014

Music A to Z - part one - Numbers


Music is a thread that has stitched together my entire life. From my dad playing "Moonshadow" on his acoustic guitar, to my mum cranking up Earth, Wind and Fire on the hi-fi. From my P4 music teacher making the class tap out the rhythm of "Mars: Bringer of War," to learning "Sur le Pont D'Avingnon" during piano lessons. From 70's disco, to 80's pop, to 90's alternative, to movie soundtracks, to the songs I wrote in my bedroom, music has always been a massive part of my life.

After sharing some song selections on Facebook, I thought I'd dive further in. I've decided to go through the alphabet A-Z, sharing favorites and maybe introducing some interesting or little-known artists along the way. And I promise it won't all be disco music. :)

It occurred to me that not all bands start with a letter; some have numbers. I figured that would be as good a place as any to start...

10cc - "I'm Not in Love" (1975)


If you were one of the hordes who went to see Guardians of the Galaxy earlier this year, you would've heard "I'm Not in Love" playing on young Peter Quill's Walkman. I first heard this song on the radio in the 70's and was reintroduced to it in the mid-80's on a boxed set of vinyl dubbed "The Sensational Seventies." 10cc had other hits in the 70's, but this remains their most well known hit.



For further listening, check out the songs "Dreadlock Holiday", "The Things We Do for Love" and "Rubber Bullets."

Kevin Godley and Lol Creme left the band in the 70's and a decade after "I'm Not in Love," they released their biggest hit: "Cry." The video, also directed by the duo, showed faces morphing into other faces and is seen as a precursor to Michael Jackson's groundbreaking "Black or White" video. The second last face you see in the video is Trevor Horn, prolific producer of acts like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Seal, Tina Turner, Genesis, and Paul McCartney. He was also a member of the groups YES, The Art of Noise, and The Buggles, who had the first video on MTV: "Video Killed the Radio Star."







1 Giant Leap (feat. Robbie Williams) - "My Culture" (2001)

This is a "better than the sum of the parts" type song. I know nothing about the group or if they are even around anymore. I'm not a fan of Williams particularly, or songs where words are rapped or spoken, but this one I enjoy. The theme of the song, that we are the culmination of the generations before us, is interesting to me.



One line in the song - "Lace up your boots, we're going back to the roots..." -  is a doff of the cap to a well known 80's hit "Going Back to My Roots," sung by the band Odyssey. My mum was a fan of the band, so I heard the song often in my house, except Odyssey sang, "zippin' up my boots."

And this is something I love about music, following the threads of songs and bands. History.

Odyssey's disco-infused hit is a cover of a nine-and-a-half-minute song by Lamont Dozier from his 1977 album Peddlin' Music on The Side. Dozier was part of the powerhouse writing trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland who helped define the Motown sound in the 60's, penning numerous number 1's for artists like The Supremes and The Four Tops.

I love that a 2001 song about culture can reference a song made famous in the 80's, which ties it to the original in the 70's, and to the writer who wrote hits in the 60's. We are just a culmination of those who came before us.

Since I'm blethering a bit about music history, it's also worth noting that Graham Gouldman of 10cc was, like Lamont Dozier, a writer for hire in the 60's. Gouldman wrote "For Your Love" which was a big hit for the Yardbirds in the United States. (They followed the Beatles over as part of the British Invasion.) The song wasn't a hit with everyone though. The Yardbirds' guitarist at the time, a Mr. Eric Clapton, quit in disgust and returned to the blues, joining John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, which in turn lead to Cream, etc., etc.

Meanwhile, The Yardbirds had to make do with hacks like Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page as replacements. I guess they muddled through.

That's all for the numbers. For now. Perhaps I will come back to them. There's 11, Four Non Blondes, Five for Fighting...

...but next time, we're gonna talk about "A."

Let me know what you think and what your favorites are as we go along.

~ GSY