Abba – Waterloo (Leaping Ahead #44)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #44: 160213

[A song from a band beginning with A]

The reason I’ve chosen this tune for today – apart from the fact that it’s a cracking song – is because it and Abba won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with it. But there’s more still – for the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest was hosted at the Dome concert hall in Brighton, UK – a stone’s throw from where I live.

The Ventures – Walk don’t run (Leaping Ahead #43)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #43: 160212

[A song from 1960]

‘Walk don’t run’ is an instrumental composition written and first recorded by jazz guitarist Johnny Smith in 1954. After hearing a Chet Atkins recording of the tune, the Ventures released their version as a single in spring 1960 on Dolton Records. This made the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 2 and reaching number 3 on the Cash Box magazine chart for five weeks in August and September 1960.The band re-recorded the song in 1964 and became the first to score two top ten hits with two versions of the same song.

Smoke Fairies – Blood Speaks (Leaping Ahead #42)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #42: 160211

[Song from a band seen in 2012]

I first saw the Smoke Fairies at a John Grant gig. I’d arrived too late to catch their supporting band slot, but he’d invited them back later to accompany one of his songs. I was captivated from that moment on and have since seen them live five times and counting. The 2012 outing was at a brilliant little venue in Brighton called ‘Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar’. Two local girls from Chichester in Sussex done good!

Stiff Little Fingers – Alternative Ulster (Leaping Ahead #41)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #41: 160210

[A song from a band seen in 2013]

I first saw Stiff Little Fingers in a pokey little venue on the Loughborough University student campus back in 1978. So catching them again over 35 years later at Brighton’s Concorde II was a particular treat. Slightly different look to the band – but the music’s the same!

Cilla Black – Anyone who had a heart (Leaping Ahead #39)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #39: 160208

[A song from someone lost in 2015]

Cilla’s second single was originally written for Dionne Warwick who’d released it late in 1963. However, with Brian Epstein’s backing, Ms Black’s version (released in February 1964) overtook it and quickly rose to become her first UK number 1. It stayed at the top of the charts for three weeks and sold 800,000 copies in the process. (Cilla Black – May 1943 to August 2015).

Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk (Leaping Ahead #38)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #38: 160207

[A song from 7 February 2015]

Played to death this time last year and onwards through the Spring and Summer, you still have to hand it to this British DJ for coming up with a mix that combines all that’s good about a catchy number. Something memorable to get your feet tapping and your soul feeling good. Love it or hate it – it’s a tune that got to the top of the charts and stayed there for a summer. That says something.