With a pair of unsuccessful singles under their belt and the label breathing down their necks for a hit, The Kinks entered the studio in the summer of 1964 knowing they needed to make their next record count. They pulled it off in a big way with “You Really Got Me,” which made its U.K. debut on Aug. 4, 1964.
The song was an immediate sensation, shooting up the charts and claiming the top spot for two weeks in September. While it didn’t reach quite as high in other countries, “You Really Got Me” was a huge worldwide hit, making the Top 40 in Germany, Italy and France, and breaking into the Top 10 in Ireland, Canada and the U.S., where it peaked at No. 7. By the time the single had run its course, the Kinks were famous.
James is known in America mostly for their song “Laid,” but they’ve had far greater success in their native England. “Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)” was the only single released on their ninth studio album, Pleased to Meet You, which came out on Mercury Records. It hit #22 on the UK charts and helped the LP go to #11 on the UK Album charts.
30 years ago, a multicultural trio who found delights on New York City dancefloors released a single that merged funk, pop, and disco in a hip-hop collage style. ‘Groove is in the Heart’ is a colourful and infectious song that’s become an enduring classic
The band’s origins were similarly cosmopolitan. Deee-Lite were both very New York, their music slotting into the city’s decadent club scene, and globally disparate — DJ Dmitry was from Ukraine, Towa Tei from Tokyo, and Lady Miss Kier from the US — anticipating the explosion in global pop in the late 2010s.
When Pink Floyd recorded their seminal album, Wish You Were Here, everything seemed perfect after the success of The Dark Side Of The Moon. The album had catapulted them into international superstardom and their rise to worldwide domination seemed within grasp.
For most bands, this would have been everything they’d ever have dreamed of achieving. However, for Pink Floyd, they felt the pressure heaped on their shoulders as a result of their previous triumph. Mortality was on their mind when they went into the studio to record the follow-up, Wish You Were Here, and the deterioration of their former bandmate Syd Barrett rested heavily on their collective consciousness.
Then, there’s “Promised Land.” Three decades after its release, and after countless late-night airings, the song is a house music staple that has lost little of its power to work its magic on even the most jaded of dancers and the most cynical of revelers. Coming out in 1987 on Chicago’s essential D.J. International label, the original version was credited to Joe Smooth Inc.; later versions shortened that credit to Joe Smooth. And in typically casual early-house nomenclature, it was titled both “The Promised Land” and simply “Promised Land” on the label, with the latter becoming the standard moniker.
Spandau Ballet’s career had got off to a flying start with To Cut A Long Story Short and the success of their debut album, Journeys To Glory, in 1981, but they’d dipped in and out of the charts during the months that followed. The Diamond album had, however, served notice of the group’s ambition, and the five-piece returned to the UK Top 10 courtesy of Trevor Horn’s smart remix of Instinction, in early 1982. The following year, True became the song to finally take Spandau Ballet to the top of the UK singles chart, elevating them from New Romantic frontrunners to global pop stars.
The Nick Straker Band was a six-man Synthpop / New Wave / Jazz-Funk Fusion band out of London, several members of which were also in another London Synthpop group, New Musik, which which had three Top 40 U.K. singles in 1980. Tony Mansfield (who has gone on to work with artists like The B-52’s, a-ha, The Damned, Captain Sensible and Naked Eyes) was the primary songwriter, producer, lead vocalist and frontman of New Musik and was one of the members of The Nick Straker Band.
New Musik broke up in 1982, and between 1980 and 1984, The Nick Straker Band released 11 singles. 1980’s “A Walk In The Park” reached No. 20 on the U.K. singles chart.
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