Del Shannon – Runaway (Leaping Ahead #60)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #60: 160229

[A song from 1961]

Singer-guitarist Charles Westover and keyboard player Max Crook originally performed together as members of “Charlie Johnson and the Big Little Show Band” in Battle Creek, Michigan. They won a recording contract in 1960 and Westover took the new stage name “Del Shannon” and Crook became “Maximilian”.

After their first recording session for Big Top Records in New York City had ended in failure, their manager Ollie McLaughlin persuaded them to rewrite and re-record an earlier song they had written, “Little Runaway”, to highlight Crook’s unique instrumental sound. So, on January 24, 1961, they recorded “Runaway” at the Bell Sound recording studios. The rest is history. It was a No.1 on the Billboard top 100, a major international hit and subsequently No. 472 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

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Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze (Leaping Ahead #59)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #59: 160228

[A song from the ’27 club’]

Mentioned in the same sentence, what do Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Amy Winehouse, Alan ‘Blind Dog’ Wilson, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Richey Edwards and Jim Morrison all have in common? Sadly, they’re all posthumously part of the infamous ’27 Club’ having departed their precious lives after just 27 short years. Jimi Hendrix passed away on 18 September 1970, two months before his 28th birthday.

Of course, each will always be remembered first for their incredible contributions to the music industry and the gifts they’ve left which we all love and listen to time and time again years and years after their passing. But, rather morbidly, one can’t really think of each now without also thinking of the ’27 club’.

Dandy Warhols – Bohemian like you (Leaping Ahead #58)

Leaping ahead project 2016 #58: 160227

[Song from a band beginning with D]

Written by lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor after seeing a woman pull up in her car to the traffic lights outside his apartment, Bohemian Like You was released as a single from the Dandy Warhols’ third studio album, Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia, in August 2000. On its original release, it failed to reach the Top 40 in the UK, peaking at No. 42. However, after featuring in a popular Vodafone advert, it was re-released in 2001 and peaked at No. 5.

Eric Steckel – Funky C Funky do (Leaping Ahead #57)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #57: 160226

[Favourite guitar riff (2)]

Hailing from Lehigh, Pennsylvania, Eric Steckel cut his first live album ‘A few degrees warmer’ in 2002 when he was just 11. In this clip he’s only just turned 21 but, although just a part of the tune, his skills as a guitar virtuoso are absolutely evident. Sickening, isn’t it? He’s currently 25.

Billy Cobham – Stratus (Leaping Ahead #55)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #55: 160224

[A song from a band beginning with C]

Jazz fusion drummer Billy Cobham added ‘Stratus’ to his 1973 ‘Spectrum’ album. A tune later sampled many times over, perhaps most notably in Massive Attack’s ‘Safe from Harm’ from their 1991 Blue Lines album.

The Pretty Reckless – Heaven knows (Leaping Ahead #54)

Leaping Ahead project 2016 #54: 160223

[A twenty-tens song (2)]

Released in November 2013 as the second single from the band’s second album, ‘Heaven Knows’ topped both the UK Rock and US Mainstream rock charts. I like it because it’s everything a well-crafted song should be – good riff, catchy tune, rising chorus, quirkiness and oomph! Gets me every time.