Flashback: “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse

I thought Amy Winehouse was going to be a much bigger deal than she wound up being.

She had the perfect modern day voice for the retro lyrics arranged for her on that Back To Black album she had that was a joy to listen to. (It’s still the last physical CD I have bought, my purchases ever since have been downloads.)

“Rehab” wound up being her biggest hit, but also the moral for own life’s story, passing away at age 27 back in 2011.

Flashback: “It’s A Heartache” by Bonnie Tyler

This is one of the first songs I could remember word for word when I was 6, and this year marks the 40th anniversary of its first release in late 1977.

The one thing that drew me back to the song many years later is the drum track, performed by the late Mike Gibbins of the group Badfinger. Try and listen to that “boomp, boomp, boomp, ba-boomp” sound as Bonnie lays down the vocal.

While this song put Bonnie (born Gaynor Hopkins) on the global radar (she already had two hits in Europe in late ’76 and early ’77: Lost In France and More Than A Lover), her voice is much more huskier than it was on her debut album, The World Starts Tonight. That was due to damaged vocal cords, requiring surgery to remove nodules in the cords. It gave her that vocal delivery that often reminded me of a left-handed baseball pitcher that just so happens to throw knuckleballs.

In the US, the song went to #3 on the pop charts and #10 on the country charts in the spring of 1978. The song has been covered scores of times, from everyone to David Johansen (anyone have that track?) to Gene Pitney to the country group Trick Pony, and still holds up well today. In the here and now, Bonnie is still at it at 66 years of age come June, with an album slated for release late in 2017 produced by John Carter Cash. Yep, June Carter and Johnny Cash’s son.

Looking forward to how that one sounds…

Flashback: “El Paso” by Marty Robbins

For the relatively new viewers of this blog, I should probably explain the Flashback segment every week I’ve been doing since 2013.

Every Friday (occasionally late on a Thursday night, rarely a Saturday) I post a YouTube clip from a song from pop or country history. Usually a different song every week (although twice I’ve erroneously put up the same song on two separate occasions), and the song it’s always at least 10 years old. Thus with the passing of a new year, everything from 2007 and older is currently eligible.

I thought “El Paso” would be a good start to the year, as this Marty Robbins epic tells quite a good yarn. It spent two weeks at #1 in late 1959 and early 1960, straddling not only two years but two decades.