Isley Brothers – Forever Gold (Epic 2017 #120)

The Epic 2017 Project #120: 170430

The Isley Brothers – Forever Gold (1977)

The Isley Brothers from Cincinnati, Ohio originally comprised four brother – O’Kelly Jr., Rudolph, Ronald and Vernon, performing gospel music until Vernon’s death a few years after formation in 1954.

After moving to the New York City area in the late 1950s, the group had modest chart successes during their early years, first coming to prominence in 1959 with their fourth single, “Shout”, written by the three surviving brothers. Initially a modest charted single, the song eventually sold over a million copies. Afterwards the group recorded for a variety of labels, including the top 20 single, “Twist and Shout” and the Motown single, “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” before recording and issuing the Grammy Award-winning hit, “It’s Your Thing” on their own label, T-Neck Records.

Influenced by gospel and doo-wop music, the group began experimenting with different musical styles incorporating elements of rock and funk music as well as pop balladry. The inclusion of younger brothers Ernie Isley (lead guitar, drums) and Marvin Isley (bass guitar), and Rudolph’s brother-in-law Chris Jasper (keyboards, synthesizers) in 1973 turned the original vocal trio into a self-contained musical band. For the next full decade, they recorded top-selling albums including The Heat Is On and Between the Sheets.

Forever Gold is a greatest hits album capturing that success and released in 1977.

Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (Leaping Ahead #277)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #277: 161003

[A 1950’s song (10)]

Unplugged before the term was really invented with Elvis reinventing his hit from 12 years previously and admirably demonstrating in 1968 why he was most definitely ‘The King’. If this doesn’t bring goosebumps, you’ve probably joined him and hadn’t realised!

Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill (Leaping Ahead #132)

As I’m away these next few days, here’s ‘Leaping Ahead’ parts #130 – #135 all in one go.

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #132: 160511

[A 1950’s song (5)]

Originally published in 1940, this became an international hit in 1956 for Fats Domino and has become a rock and roll standard. It reached No.2 for three weeks on the Billboard Top 40 charts, becoming his biggest pop hit, and spent eight non-consecutive weeks at No.1 on the R&B Best Sellers chart. It was also ranked 82 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was Domino’s greatest hit.

Cliff Richard – The Young Ones (Leaping Ahead #74)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #74: 160314

[A song from 1962]

Released January 1962, ‘The Young Ones’ was the title song of the 1961 film of the same name. Cliff’s voice initially took it to No.1 for The Shadows but, on its 20th anniversary in 1982 the British sitcom, again of the same name, catapulted it to a new super-status. Cliff was the late Rik Mayall’s rock n roll hero, a fact he frequently made known during the series’ two-year but forever etched run, culminating in 1986 when ‘The Young Ones’ teamed up with Sir Cliff (sporting a totally ridiculous mullet) for a ‘Comic Relief’ reworking of Cliff’s 1959 hit ‘Living Doll’

Elvis Presley – Hound Dog (Leaping Ahead #45)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #45: 160214

[A song about an animal (2)]

Written in 1952 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller,”Hound Dog” was first recorded by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton and released by Peacock Records in March 1953. It was Thornton’s only hit record, spending 14 weeks in the R&B charts, including seven weeks at #1.

“Hound Dog” has been recorded more than 250 times and by far the best-known is the July 1956 recording by Elvis Presley, which is ranked No. 19 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Presley’s version, which sold about 10 million copies globally, was his best-selling and one of the best-selling singles of all time. It was simultaneously No. 1 on the US pop, country, and R&B charts in 1956, and topped the charts for 11 weeks — a record that stood for 36 years. Presley’s 1956 RCA recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1988, and it is listed as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”.