Category: Flashback

Toto Defies The Critics

This week in 1978 “Toto” released their hugely successful self-titled debut album. Both band and album were initially not well received by critics, with an article in “Rolling Stone” magazine calling Toto “the kind of dull debut you’d expect from a bunch of career session players” and lacking “at least two elements crucial to good rock: a singer and a writer.” The article went on to say that three Toto members sang “passably” while calling a fourth, the lead vocalist, “terrible.” In spite of critical opinions like this, Toto quickly gained a following, with the album reaching the top 10 in the USA, Australia, Sweden, Canada and West-Germany. The album also delivered three chart singles – “Hold the Line,” “I’ll Supply the Love” and “Georgy Porgy.” “Hold The Line,” Toto’s debut single, reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is today considered a rock classic by many.

It’s My Party

A song by American singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, “It’s My Party,” from her 1963 debut studio album “I’ll Cry If I Want To,” went to number 1 in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. Gore was 16 when she recorded this song, which led the media to call her “The Teen Queen.” Gore was driving when she heard the song on the radio for the first time. She had never heard her voice through a car radio before, and initially didn’t recognize it as herself, thinking somebody else had recorded her song,”

“It’s My Party” is about the discomfort a teenage girl feels at her birthday party when her boyfriend Johnny disappears, only to return later in the company of Judy, who is “wearing his ring”, indicating Judy has replaced the birthday girl as Johnny’s love interest.

This week in 1981 a cover version by Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin topped the singles chart in the UK.

Love Me Do

On 11 October 1962 The Beatles made their debut on the UK charts with the single “Love Me Do.” John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote it in 1958 when John was 17 and Paul was 16. They made time for songwriting by skipping school. They had written songs before, but “Love Me Do” was the first one they liked enough to record. The song peaked at number 17.

In 1964 it was released in the United States where it became a number one hit. It also topped the Australian and New Zealand charts. Re-released in 1982 as part of EMI’s Beatles 20th anniversary, “Love Me Do” re-entered the UK charts and peaked at number 4.

The Beatles came very close to releasing another song as their first single. At their September 4 recording session their Manager, George Martin decided their first single should be a song called “How Do You Do It?” which was written by someone else. The Beatles were not happy but did some lackluster takes of the song before they were allowed to record “Love Me Do.” Eventually, Martin changed his mind and went with “Love Me Do.” “How Do You Do It?” became a hit for Gerry & the Pacemakers in 1964.

The Sixth, Not The Best But Still, Number 1

This week in 1984 David Bowie scored his sixth UK number 1 album with “Tonight.” However, reception by critics was poor, with most finding a lack of creativity. Bowie himself would later call “Tonight” not one of his stronger efforts. The album featured the singles, Tonight,” “Loving The Alien” and the top 10 hit “Blue Jean.”

Rock Me to The Top, Gently and Slowly

In 1969 Canadian singer and songwriter Andy Kim had two hit singles, “Rainbow Ride,” which made the US Top 50, and “Baby, I Love You,” which got to number 9 in the USA and number 1 in Canada. Over the next few years, he had a few minor hits but after September 1971 he did not have a top 100 single until…

In 1974 he released the self-written “Rock Me Gently which went to number 1 in the USA on 28 September.” The song also topped the chart in Canada and made the top 10 in the UK and South Africa.

Tainted Love

This week in 1981 “Soft Cell,” a British synth-pop duo consisting of Marc Almond and Dave Ball, hit number 1 in the UK with an electronic cover of “Tainted Love,” a song originally released by the American soul singer Gloria Jones in 1964. The song also topped the charts in a number of other countries.

While often thought of as a one-Hit Wonder, Soft Cell had a number of other hits in the UK but Tainted Love was their only number 1.

A Cry For Help

On this day in 1965 The Beatles started a three-week run at number 1 on the U.S. singles chart with “Help!,” the title of their second film and the group’s ninth U.S. number 1.

“Help!” was written by John Lennon with some help from Paul McCartney. John once said that the song was one of his favourites among the Beatles songs he wrote. During an interview with “Playboy” in 1980, he recounted: “The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension. I was subconsciously crying out for help”.

Phil Lynott Immortalized

This week in 2005 a life-size bronze statue of Phil Lynott, designed by Irish sculptor Paul Daly, was unveiled on Harry Street in Dublin. The ceremony was attended by his former “Thin Lizzy” band members Gary Moore, Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham. Lynott had a string of hits with “Thin Lizzy,” including “Whiskey in the Jar”, “The Boys are Back in Town” and “Jailbreak.”

In the 1980’s Lynott increasingly suffered drug-related problems, due particularly to a heroin addiction. In 1985 he had a final chart success in collaboration with Gary Moore. ” Out in the Fields” reached number 3 on the Irish singles chart, number 2 in Norway and Sweden, and number 5 in the UK.

Phil Lynott died of pneumonia and heart failure due to septicemia at the age of 36.

Tell Me Why!!!

“I Don’t Like Mondays” by “The Boomtown Rats” hit number 1 in the UK this week in 1979 for the first of four weeks. At a basic level, this song is often heard as lamenting the beginning of the working week. Some radio stations even play it every Monday at a certain time. However, the actual subject matter of the song is a real-life school shooting.

According to lead singer Bob Geldof, he wrote the song after reading about the shooting spree by 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children in a school playground at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California, on 29 January 1979, killing two adults and injuring eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime; her explanation for her actions was “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.”

Spencer’s family tried to prevent the single from being released in the United States, but were unsuccessful. Geldof had originally intended the song as a B-side, but changed his mind after the song was well received by audiences on the Boomtown Rats’ US tour.

“I Don’t Like Mondays” was a number 1 in 32 Countries!

AC/DC Defies Adversity with Back In Black

On July 25, 1980, AC/DC released “Back In Black,” their first album without the late Bon Scott as the lead singer. This album served as a heartfelt tribute to Scott, who tragically passed away five months prior due to alcohol poisoning after a drinking binge. Rather than disbanding, the remaining members of the band made the bold decision to carry on and enlisted Brian Johnson, formerly the vocalist for “Geordie.”

“Back In Black” went on to achieve unprecedented success both commercially and critically, cementing its position as one of the best-selling albums in the history of music. Sales estimates from around the world consistently place it second only to Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller.”

After Back in Black was released, AC/DC’s previous records “Highway to Hell,” “If You Want Blood You’ve Got It,” and “Let There Be Rock” all re-entered the British charts, which made them the first band since “The Beatles” to have four albums in the British Top 100 simultaneously.