With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“It takes two to tangle, takes two to even compete” September 30, 2011


Once again I have some rather sad news to impart; Sylvia Robinson has died aged 76 of congestive heart failure. She was perhaps the first person to see the commercial potential of rap music. She had a long career in the music industry before her involvement in the development of rap.

Her first hit came in 1957 with partner Mickey Baker (they were billed as Mickey and Sylvia). The song was “Love Is Strange” which still gets a reasonable amount of airplay even today. I know that song very well but I particularly remember her for the classic 1973 single “Pillow Talk”. This was a stone cold classic sultry, sexy and soulful song which was probably a massive influence on Donna Summer’s early career. Notably her 1975 hit “Love To Love You Baby

Sylvia was born in New York as Sylvia Vanterpool and she said that her first exposure to what I suppose you could call proto-rap was at a club gig by DJ Lovebug Starski. He was calling out over a set of R & B sounds and eliciting great responses from his audience. Similar to the Jamaican Dance Hall and Sound System DJs who were known as Toasters.  Later she was quoted as saying “A spirit said to me, ‘Put a concept like that on a record and it will be the biggest
thing you ever had” So that is exactly what she did! In 1979 she pulled together a few DJs and MCs that at the time were not well-known outside of New York; Big Bank Hank, Wonder Mike and Master Gee. She produced their first song “Rappers Delight” which made great use of a sample loop from Chic’s disco classic “Good Times”. It started life as a truly wonderful 15 minute epic tune and was then edited to around 7 minutes for release as a single. It was a massive hit in  both the US and the UK. Whilst arguably it may not have been the first recorded rap song it was certainly the first commercially successful rap song. Robinson  went on to co write the Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel hit “White Lines (Don’t Do It)”

She set up the Sugarhill record label in 1979 which sadly closed in 1986. Her New jersey studio burnt down in 2002. Someone so talented and influential will be sorely missed. My thoughts go to her family, friends and fans all over the world. To remember this great lady please enjoy some classic Sylvia and Sylvia related moments;

 

“Can hear me, can you hear me, through the dark night far away” July 11, 2009


Hello once again good people I thought I’d try and sneak in a few posts in the vein I started this blog, so here for you regular readers are a bunch of ‘onthisdays’ To those non regular or new readers these are snippets of music trivia that took place on this very day. The day in question today is July 12th

On this day in 1954 a very young Elvis Presley, just 19 years old in fact resigned from his job as a truck driver with the Crown Electric Company. The day was made much more important by the fact that Mr Presley also signed a contract with Sun Records

Even after he hit the big time Elvis refused to give up truck driving, although he did insist on using a customised rig ;-)

Even after he hit the big time Elvis refused to give up truck driving, although he did insist on using a customised rig 😉

On this day in 1962 Ray Charles was sitting at the top of the UK singles chart with the excellent “I Can’t Stop Loving You” I heard this a lot as a child as it was a great favourite of my parents. It was also one of the songs my Mum selected to have played at my Dad’s funeral in 2001. Another song played that day, was a massive favourite of my Dad, it was Rod Stewart’s excellent version of Gavin Sutherland off of the Sutherland Brothers’ “Sailing” Even now that song brings a tear to my eye, probably because it never fails to evoke memories of my Dad, a wonderful man who will always be missed. So dear readers tell me what songs make you cry and what your story is. In the meantime click here to see Rod singing “Sailing”. This one’s for you Dad!

Ray was somewhat annoyed with the road crew who had rather hastily removed his piano before he'd even had the chance to tell them to 'Hit The Road Jack'

Ray was somewhat annoyed with the road crew who had rather hastily removed his piano before he’d even had the chance to tell them to ‘Hit The Road Jack’

Also that same day in 1962 saw the live debut of a group you probably all know, it was at the Marquee Club in London and the group was the Rolling Stones. It was a bit of a different line up though, featuring Dick Taylor on Bass and Mick Avory on Drums. The band were actually billed as Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, I bet Keef and Brian weren’t happy with that (assuming they were a part of the group at that stage). They were paid the princely sum of £20 for the gig. A figure that might just about buy you a programme from a more recent Stones show

Mick thought he looked the business in his new jacket, the rest of the band thought less business and more.......twat!

Mick thought he looked the business in his new jacket, the rest of the band thought less business and more…….twat!

I suppose todays final ‘onthisday’ is still somewhat topical. On this day in 1988 Michael Jackson arrived in the UK for his first ever solo appearances in this country. He had appeared many times before with his brothers but never alone. He played eight nights to nearly 800,000 people and apparently grossed around £13 million. So even before Thriller he was able to earn big bucks! Here he is performing “Wanna Be Starting Something” on the Bad Tour from 1987

Clearly Michael intended to travel very light for his first solo UK tour. Well if you wanna be starting something you might as well wanna be starting it well ;-)

Clearly Michael intended to travel very light for his first solo UK tour. Well if you wanna be starting something you might as well wanna be starting it well 😉

To finish todays post I want to share this excellent Evian advert with you. I believe it’s called ‘Roller Babies’ and it is soundtracked by the fabulous “Rappers Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. Click here to view it

 

 
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