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I’ve loved “Amoureuse” by Kiki Dee from the first time I heard it…probably over the radio of my dad’s metallic blue Hillman Hunter Estate on the way to school back when Radio 1 was still on 247 Medium Wave.

I was too young then to understand what “Amoureuse” was all about. Although a few years later when I did understand the lyrics, I was rather surprised the BBC had broadcast it in the first place.

As a kid, I was swept along by the emotions of the song, Kiki Dee’s lovely voice and the sophistication of the arrangement. …


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I’d forgotten that Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You” came from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack until I saw a documentary about the Bee Gees the other evening. I always liked the song…possibly the smoothest song of the disco era…but it’s definitely one for smooching to, not for dancing to.

The arrangement and production is first class. “If I Can’t Have You” shimmers at a level few other songs did back in the heyday of disco…or since, for that matter. …


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I always think “P. P. Arnold”. You might think Sheryl Crow, Rod Stewart, Keith Hampshire or even Cat Stevens.

But for me the mellow soulfulness of P. P. Arnold is hard to beat.

A former backing singer for Ike and Tina Turner, P. P. Arnold came to London in the late 1960s and signed for Immediate Records, formed by Andrew Loog Oldham, The Rolling Stones’ manager at the time.

By chance, Mike Hurst, P. P. Arnold’s producer, was also working with a promising teenage singer/songwriter called Cat Stevens and, thank to him, would find the song that made P. P…


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Although credited to Edison Lighthouse, “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” was recorded by a group of session musicians, including session singer extraordinaire Tony Burrows.

You might not know his name, but you’ll certainly know his voice. Tony Burrows was in the original incarnation of Brotherhood of Man (not the Eurovision winners, but a previous line-up), for whom he sang lead vocal on “United We Stand”, a UK Top 10 in 1970.

He was also in The Ivy League (probably best known for their pre-Tony Burrows hit “Funny How Love Can Be”), The Flowerpot Men (“Let’s Go To San Francisco”)…


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Considering it was a hit way back in 1990, until this week I never knew what “Birdhouse In Your Soul” by They Might Be Giants was all about.

That didn’t stop me enjoying the record. It had a idiosyncratic, indie feel to it along with a quirky video, perfect for MTV. So I haven’t spent 30 years consumed with a sense of frustration from not knowing what They Might Be Giants were singing about. …


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Poetry lovers will recognise the reference to the famous Robert Browning poem (although Browning stylised it “Home-Thoughts, From Abroad”). Sadly Clifford T. Ward’s song lives on today only in the memories of those of us old enough to remember listening to the radio in the mid-1970s.

“Home Thoughts From Abroad” was a radio hit, but in chart terms it was only the B-Side to Clifford T. Ward’s 1973 Top Ten hit “Gaye”. While that’s a perfectly decent song, I much prefer the B-Side.

And time has been much kinder to “Home Thoughts From Abroad” than it has been to “Gaye”…


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If you know the name Carole Bayer Sager at all, it’s likely to be from her quirky 1977 hit “You’re Moving Out Today”. This song pops up occasionally in those “one-hit wonder” listings you see online or in the newspapers.

However Carole Bayer Sager is far from a one-hit wonder. She’s been in the upper reaches of the pop charts plenty of times, although mostly with a writing credit for a song she’s written for someone else. “You’re Moving Out Today” was her only significant chart appearance as a performer.

The music business was different back in the 1970s…along with…


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If there’s one thing that 12 months of a pandemic has taught us, surely it’s that none of us is a rock…or an island for that matter…we all depend on one another, sometimes in ways we’re aware of and at other times in ways we don’t consciously think about.

Of course, we all know we depend on wonderful healthcare professionals to keep us safe in the middle of a pandemic and look after us if things go wrong.

But what about the Amazon delivery driver whose name we don’t know…the grocery supplies which turn up on our doorstep thanks to…


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By any measure, “As Tears Go By” is an iconic song. It’s not necessarily the best song ever written, it doesn’t have the most eloquent lyrics, Marianne Faithfull’s performance doesn’t knock you off your feet with its power, verve and style.

But it captures a moment in time perfectly.

In the same way as I can’t hear the Charleston without thinking about flapper dresses, Model T Fords and speakeasies, I can’t hear “As Tears Go By” without thinking of a Britain still going about its business in post-war black-and-white, before the hippies and colour TV came along to show us…


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On one of their live videos, Katie White, The Ting Tings’ lead singer, dedicates “That’s Not My Name” to “all the invisible people”.

Sadly, in our society, that often means women, young people, people of a different ethnicity to ours and those we perceive to be of a lower social class.

Some years ago, I remember reading about a British journalist who worked as a healthcare assistant for a few shifts. When dressed in a healthcare assistant’s uniform, she because invisible, even to powerful people she had previously interviewed who passed her in the corridor.

Dressed differently, reporter’s notebook in…

No Words, No Song

Without words, it’s just a nice tune. Add words — now you’ve got a song. And songs can change your world. I write about some that changed mine.

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