Up to ‘O’, with untold options. Please continue to play along. Any song, artist, album, or band. As long as the name begins with ‘O’.
I will start with two songs that have the same title, but couldn’t be more different. When Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young released the album ‘Deja Vu’, in 1970, I had little idea how long that album, and the songs it contained, would stay with me. This was such a complete work, almost operatic in scale and ambition. It had so many memorable songs on it, I have never tired of listening to them. Including this one.
Many years later, (1980) British group Madness were on a roll, with their revival of Ska and Bluebeat tunes from the 1960s. The group personified a London sound, and used wacky pop videos to great effect. They went on to become part of the British musical establishment, and continue to perform to this day. This song from 1982 summed up working-class life in 1970s London. You had to be there. Wonderful.
American singer/songwriter Erykah Badu appeared on the scene in 1997, with the release of her album ‘Baduizm’. I was hooked from the start, with the mix of soul and jazz, alongside her smooth and sultry vocals. She had a great look too, and dominated the stage with a powerful presence. She is still around today, but for me it never got better than this.
On and On
During the great disco craze of the 1980s, few other female vocalists achieved the success of Donna Summer. Her huge voice, allied to some classic disco beats guaranteed her an audience and huge record sales. For a while, she was very much the ‘Big Thing’. Even now, decades later, her well-known songs are played all the time, and never lost their appeal. Including this powerhouse, from 1979.
On The Radio
When Andre Benjamin formed Outkast in the 1990s, I never imagined I would like their songs so much. The Rap and Hip-Hop crew soon turned their attention to making some superb pop videos though, and changed their style to suit the market. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
I have never been religious, but I have long been a fan of Gospel music. This gave us the Blues, which in turn led to Rock and Roll, Soul music, and every other genre that ever existed. Looking for an example to use for ‘O’, I went straight to this inspirational song from The Edwin Hawkins Singers. Believe or not, you cannot help but to be carried along by the joy.
Oh Happy Day
Before Fleetwood Mac became known for the vocals of Stevie Nicks, and released albums that sold untold millions, they were a Blues band from England who flirted with Progressive Rock. They released some great stuff, including this, from 1969.
A tricky top pick today, as I had quite a few favourites to choose from. But when it came down to it, I had to go with the sheer genius of David Bowie once again. Here he is, live on the BBC.
Oh You Pretty Things