We're honoured to support the charity War Child. Music and the use of music therapy have been proven to assist in the treatment and rehabilitation of children and young people affected by armed conflict and war. This important non-profit organisation has pioneered some of these methods and continues to do so.
We invited War Child to take over this week's Music Seen, and they've chosen some kids classics as well as lyrically poignant tracks from the catalogue. If you want to help, you can contact them www.warchild.org.
From the wondrous 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, this song remains a firm children's classic to this day - 'Hold your breath, make a wish, count to three...'
An emotive lyric and uplifting vocal from the brilliant singer Judith Hill.
Better days will surely come
Find a way
Find a way to carry on
Till the hurt in me is gone finally
Better days will come
Another wonderfully soulful vocal with heart-warming lyrics, from one of our favourite British singers Andreya Triana
"You know you're never alone
When times are hard I'll hold you close
Let love heal you and I'll do the same
You know I will be here at the end of the day".
Seriously moving vocal and instrumentation on this track from July 2020, written by Christine and the Queens for the TV series Hanna.
"She will come whenever I call her
But she'll leave as soon as I sigh
She's got the eyes of a child
And she'll love without any sorrow
For she just aims for the light
She's got the eyes of a child".
Covering Beyonce's beautiful track 'Other Side', James Blake shows us here why he's one of the world's great producer/singer songwriters.
"If the storm comes, if we burn up
If the wells run dry
You're my reason to believe in
If it all ends, and it's over
If the sky falls fire
Best believe me, you will see me
On the other side".
To coincide with Cannes Lions, the "Oscars" of the advertising industry’, this week we’re all about
the art of the sync, where a song is ‘synched’ with the visual and brand message for an advert, tv show or movie.
Working on Music Seen with one of the biggest independent publishing libraries means we can cherry pick our favourite successful syncs that Concord Music Publishing have achieved over the last few years...
We kick off with 'Where We Come Alive’, a track from Ruelle for an ad from 2021 for Standard Chartered Bank. The Agency is TBWA/Singapore.
Ruelle is known in the industry as 'The Queen of Sync!'- she was Tunefind (a music discovery website)'s no.1 artist in 2018.
This track was used in an Apple 11 ad and was chosen by Media Arts Lab from LA. Apple are notoriously clever at choosing music for their ads and have been from the beginning, so this is a serious accolade!
Says Alice: 'Growing up I was obsessed with iPod ads and I’d download all the songs from them. Apple choosing my song “In My Mind” for a global iPhone 11 ad campaign is something I never could have dreamed of!'
It's awesome when a piece of music is a bit incongruous and adds a bit of humour to a piece of film...
We think this track with Churchill is an unusual but brilliantly balanced fit! Hats off to the Agency Engine and music supervisors Adelphoi for this one.
Kavinsky's excellent flavour of moody 80s sounding synth pop has been used in numerous films (anyone remember Nightcall featuring in Drive from 2011?) and is cleverly utilised in an ad for Gousto, the meal kit retailer, by the London agency Mother.
Do you remember the ad from 2015, featuring a bunch of monkeys who come across a kitchen in the middle of their jungle? It's a good'n, and we love the energy the music gives to it - 'Pyschotic Reaction' by the brilliant Brenton Wood. Hats off to the agency for this one.
This was used in a US Audi ad called 'Cashew' for the Superbowl in 2019. It's worth tracking down on Google as it's another pretty funny film! This was chosen by the company Venables Bell and Partners.
To celebrate Pride Month we've chosen tracks we love from some icons of the LGBTQ+ community as well as some fresh and diverse talent.
A cool opener for our week celebrating Pride month. Australia's dance producer Touch Sensitive is joined here by American singer Daniel Wilson. We love this track!
Hailing from Sudan but now based in the Twin Cities, Saleh made the beats to this track on their cell phone! Clever and biting lyrics aimed at an inquisitive neighbour accompanied by this inventive use of a metronome and minimal staccato production make this an exciting release.
Samuel Falso, an Australian who made his name via stints in LA and London released this soulful 80s inspired pop number in late 2019.
This rap/boy band formed in 2010 and have been described as "gay, black, white, DIY, ambitious, all-inclusive, and would-be pop stars!"
Multiple Emmy winning drag queen, actor, model, singer, songwriter, television personality, and author, RuPaul is indifferent to which gender specific pronouns are used to refer to him and once quipped, "You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don't care! Just as long as you call me."
American singer, actress and TV personality, Cher has been recording and performing for 6 decades and is one of the most successful; recording artist of all time, has received a Grammy, an Emmy, an Oscar and three Golden Globe awards amongst numerous other accolades and is the only artist to have a number-one single on a Billboard chart in six consecutive decades, from the 1960s to the 2010s! This living legend has become an iconic figure in the gay community mainly for her philanthropic endeavors, and social activism, including LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS prevention.
The love of food and cooking is a theme close to most of our hearts (and stomachs) and we've chosen 7 tracks that translate this in a deliciously musical way.
A favourite synth-popclassic from 1980, this is an ode to escaping the melee and chat up members of the opposite sex, in the quiet confines of the kitchen.
This Rodgers and Hart popular song, describes having to perform to earn your food... Sing for your supper, and you'll get breakfast. Songbirds always eat, if their song is sweet to hear. The Mamas and the Papas were a mixed gender folk-rock group who famously imploded after a tumultuous period of typical 60s abandon!
Born in 1999, this was released in 2016 and is described as; "a song about the greed of people, the thoughts that we’re all sort of stuck in this consumerist frame of mind. You live for over-kill, but you’re ungrateful still. All you want is honey, well honey I tried, you just want more and now it’s all gone.”
A jazzy little instrumental number from our favourite experimental, folk pop group, dedicated to the wonderful Opuntia, commonly called prickly pear, which is a genusof flowering plants in the cactus family. Prickly pears are also known as tuna, sabra, nopal, or nostle!
This electro pop track is about everyone's favourite sweet/savoury ice cream flavour! A summery banger from 2019.
This is from the 1968 album The Beatles, also known as The White Album. Written by George Harrison, it's inspired by his friend Eric Clapton's fondness for chocolate. The lyrics list the various flavours offered in Mackintosh's Good News chocolates and serve as a warning to Clapton about the detrimental effect that his gorging would have on his teeth!
To balance the chaos that life sometimes throws at us, we've compiled a meditation playlist to coincide with International Meditation Day. Sit back, relax and be transported somewhere transcendental.
Georgs Pelecis style is described as new consonant music with an amazingly clear positive spirit, the perfect soundtrack to clear your mind through the practise of meditation. Joined here by celebrated Australian pianist Tamara Anna Cislowska and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for the album Into Silence.
The wave-like piano progression of Karl's White Water can (hopefully) send you into a world far away, a meditative state of escape and harmony.
Max Richter is an extraordinarily talented composer who captures such sensitivity in so much of his music. Embers is a beautifully moving piece that can bring up so much emotion.
Unsent love-letters, a touching and thought provoking piano piece which can transport you to another time and place, again featuring the talents of Tamara Anna Cislowska.
There is something about a man and woman's harmony coming together that brings up feelings of contentment. We love Hallelujah by Oh Wonder withits beautiful piano accompaniment.
Music for film has a powerful way of taking hold of the listener, it makes the film if the soundtrack is good. The Peanut Butter Falcon is no exception and welove this piece by Jonathan Sadoff.
This week we celebrate the REMIX! The art of the remix, adding (or in the case of our final offering this week subtracting - you'll have to wait to see and hear!) elements to take the track somewhere new - usually to the club!
The original acoustic ode to her young children from one of Belgium's most successful pop stars is turned into a deep glitchy modern piece, with a nice twist on the original vocal courtesy of Kuna Maze aka Edouard Gilbert, the French-born producer, DJ and multi-instrumentalist.
This is a neo-soul ballad from the Norwegian singer songwriter, taken up a gear or two with some pretty awesome UK Bass and skippy beats from London's Jack Latham AKA Jam City.
Nick makes another appearance on Music Seen, with this remix of his (in our humble opinion) pretty faultless track, remix duties come from the frankly wonderful band in their own right, Little Dragon. It's taken to a kind of wonky new place which is no bad thing!
The original of this track from Turin based producer Andrea Tirone AKA Mind Enterprises is a jaunty Italo electro pop record, reminiscent of everything good about Italian music in the mid 80s! The remix for this comes from the ever brilliant Norwegian producer Prins Thomas who takes the track to a disco in space and leaves it there without a lift home.
This original is a perfect electro pop outing from 2013 from Tunisian born London resident Nadia Ksaiba, a stalwart of the East London club scene and far beyond. This remix is by the Belfast DJ/producer Jordan and takes the track to a darker club, but this time shares an UBER home with it.
Also known as Chet Faker, Australian singer/songwriter/producer Nick Murphy has been releasing ace music for ages! This cool housey remix of his 2019 track comes from fellow Melbournian Cleopold.
It's the biggest music awards ceremony in the UK and has had its fair share of eventful shenanigans over the years at the live shows!
This track taken from the 2019 album Psychodrama (which won Dave the Mercury prize and album of the year at the 2020 Brits) is a message of positivity and self acceptrance: 'I fell in love with optimism. That whole track is metaphorical, but it’s about a constant chase for happiness. So when I’m saying, ‘All my life, I hear voices when I sleep, and they say, “You’re everything I need”,’ the everything I need is myself. Inner happiness. What everyone’s looking for.'
The wonderful James Blake has received three Brit nominations over the years, as well as winning a Grammy and the Mercury Prize in 2013! This track was released last July.
This is Christine's second feature on Music Seen and this is one of our favourite tracks of hers. She was nominated for a Brit in 2017 and 2019.
This track, nominated in 1989 for a Brit for British video of the year is one of Harrison's best songs. The recording references the psychedelic sound that the Beatles had helped popularise in 1967, through its use of sitar, cello, and backwards-relayed effects. Ringo also featured on the recording!
This classic opener from Dark Side Of the Moon is a perfect example of the British psychedelic sound of the 70s. Despit being one of the world's most successful bands, The Floyd strangely never won a Brit but was nominated for 4.
Unless you've been living under a rock, this song has firmly made its way into your consciousness in the last year!
We celebrate arguably the greatest American musical export with a list featuring 7 of the most revered, prolific and inventive singers, players and writers in the history of this wonderful genre.
Little Girl Blue (also known as Jazz As Played in an Exclusive Side Street Club) was the debut album released in 1959 by Nina Simone. We feature the title track here, a song written by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart. Nina, then in her mid 20s was an aspiring classical concert pianist and soon after recording this record, sold the rights to Bethlehem Records for $3,000 (the equivalent of around $27,000 today) Losing out on a million dollars in royalties! One of Jazz's most talented and original singers and pianists, the iconic Nina Simone is the perfect person to launch our selection of tracks dedicated to Jazz Appreciation Week.
The title track from the 1957 album features the technique of 'Strolling', used here by Rollins for the first time, in which he would play his solo Tenor Saxophone over only drums and bass, with no pianist playing chords. Now aged 90, Sonny Rollins is a legend of the genre and has been called "the greatest living improviser" and the "Saxophone Colossus".
Penned by Rollins but this time he's alongside the great Mile Davis and this was released in 1954 by the Miles Davis Quintet. Mile Davis had a decade that spanned 5 decades and had him play with some of the most revered musicians in the history of the genre. Rolling Stone magazine said of him "the most revered jazztrumpeter of all time, not to mention one of the most important musicians of the 20th century."
Written by Bennie Benjamin and George Weiss, this reached number 7 in the US R&B charts in 1950. Ella Fitzgerald is one of Jazz's most sublime singers, sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. After 60 years in the music industry, In 1993, she gave her last public performance. Her accolades included fourteen Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Coltrane was a band leader, composer and saxophonist who inspired and delighted with his use of 'free jazz'.
He played with Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk amongst a roll call of other jazz luminaries and this track is from his album Soultrane, recorded in 1958.
Recorded in the late 50s, this is an uptempo rendition of the 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune from the musical Oklahoma! Jamal is still going aged 90 and when asked by a New York Times critic about his playling habits commented: "I used to practice and practice with the door open, hoping someone would come by and discover me. I was never the practitioner in the sense of twelve hours a day, but I always thought about music. I think about music all the time." A true legend of the scene.
This week we're celebrating the biggest awards ceremony in film, when music is recognised for its contribution to their successes (or failures), alongside all the other magical visual ingredients that make up our favourite movies.
It's the opening credits of our Oscars week playlist and we begin with a titan of a track (which most people of a certain age know some of the lyrics to!) My Favourite Things.
The 1965 musical The Sound Of Music won 5 academy awards (!) and was originally a broadway production telling the story of Maria (played by Andrews) a governess who falls in love with the 7 children in her charge, the Von Trapps, and then romantically with their father Captain Von Trapp, played by the great (and recently departed, RIP) Christopher Plummer. This merry bunch of Austrian hill worriers manage to escape the clutch of the Nazi's and live happily ever after. The American Film Institute named this the 55th greatest American movie of all time, and the 4th greatest movie musical!
Written by Nicholas Brodszky and Sammy Cahn this featured in the 1951 musical Rich Young And Pretty and was nominated for best original song. Using the latest technology of the time Technicolour, The New York Times said of the movie that it was as "pretty as a picture postcard and just about as exciting."
Written by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936, this "symphonic fairy tale for children" is Prokofiev's most frequently performed work. The academy award connected to this piece was won by Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman for their short animated version of the story from 2006.
Written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, this version from the movie High Time about a middle aged businessman (Crosby) deciding to go back to college aged 51 to gain his degree, was nominated for an Oscar in 1960. Henry Mancini conducted his orchestra for the recording! The track was later successfully recorded by Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand.
This song about Chicago is from the movie Robin and the 7 Hoods, a spoof gangster flick, and a retelling of the tale of the eponymous Robin Hood, who took from the rich and gave to the poor. This time Robin, or Robbo is a mobster who inadvertently becomes a folk hero for donating some ill gotten gains to a local orphanage. This was nominated in 1964 for the oscar for best original song.
Nominated for an academy award in 1985, this was one of Phil Collins's biggest hits and was commissioned by director Taylor Hackford as a soundtrack for the movie of the same name. Hackford stated that it "decidedly" helped the film: people identified the song with the film and came to watch it. When the single reached the top five (going on to reach no 1 in the US), it contributed to the increased box office sales of the movie.
Earth Day falls on April 22nd this year and is an important series of virtual and physical events held around the world. Here's our choice from the catalogue that has a thematic link or lyrical connection to our beloved mother Earth.
This track is one of Dan Playlister's all time favourites and a brilliant launch to this week's Music Seen in honour of our Earth. This song released in 1991 from the band's debut album The Stone Roses, is perhaps an ode to Britain's Americanisation, or a tale of a strong and resolute woman... you tell us what you think the lyrics of this baggy anthem mean!
See the steeple pine
The hills as old as time
Soon to be put to the test
To be whipped by the winds of the west.
The second outing for London's Ghost Culture on Music Seen... This wonderful and wobbly electronic outing is named after everyone's favourite ground clouds. We love this melancholic yet uplifting production especially the slightly eerie vocal treatment.
Apart from being a wonderful atmospheric alt-pop track that talks of the rain falling, essential behaviour enabling literally all of life on earth as we know if to take place, we discovered that Rainbow Jones is a highbred type of marijuana, created by breeders at the infamous Connoisseur Genetics farms as a 'dank cross between the insanely popular Grand Daddy Purple & Candy Jones strains'. Who knew!
Another of Playlister's favourites from Music Seen so far, anyone who's never heard this is in for a treat. Nitin is one of the UK's most talented musicians and contemporary jazz composers, and this track was huge for Playlister senior music curators and programmers back in 1999. The track is layered with sounds of the majestic and beleaguered ocean throughout, and it's only lyrics make reference to one of humanity's epic faux pas's.
This is beautiful, and again, melancholic electronic pop... from the catalogue at Concord Music Publishing. Released in 2016 this is a track with over 26 million (and counting) streams for a band that have toured with Years and Years and are surely destined for greater success. We can't wait for more from this lot.
We will go to the ocean
And we'll find love on the other side
And I'll take all our chances
Just as long as we're together
We can set sail to the night
Flow water flow
Our worries go
Flow water flow.
More emotive and atmospheric electronic pop music from Marina (of Marina the Diamonds fame), the Welsh singer songwriter and (we think) one of the UK's most underrated and wonderfully talented artists.
This week we're celebrating all things French and fabulous! We've got 7 cool jams to whisk you away to the streets of Paris and the divine beaches of the South!
The perfect song to begin our homage to France is from the unmistakable voice of Serge Gainsbourg. Perhaps France's most celebrated and controversial pop singer songwriter, Gainsbourg was as renowned for breaking the rules with his lyrics, as he was for his diverse artistic output, fusing multiple genres and styles from jazz and chanson, to funk, reggae and electronica. This jaunty pop number was released in 1964.
Influenced by Gainsbourg's Yé-yé movement (a pop scene in France in the 60s, meaning Yeah Yeah and inspired by bands like The Beatles), this Perpignan based husband and wife team release filmic pop that has forged it's own unique path. The lyrics in this song describe a boy meeting a girl on the Line 15 train, having a typically Parisian assignation, resulting in a botched escape attempt in the morning once discovering that the storyteller is bound at the hands and ankles, before getting married!
L'Eppe (The Sword) is a psychedelic rock supergroup formed of The Liminanas, Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and French actress Emmanuelle Seigner. This is a brilliant song with lyrics that when translated to English, tells the story of hallucinogenic dreams, of time travel and occult science where the La Brigade Des Malefice (or Hex Brigade) dwell!
This French band who plays funk-electronic-80s-soundtrack-revival music released this blissed out homage to the God of the sea in 2019. It seems to be a song about dancing on the sand dunes naked at 30 Degrees latitude, with Neptune!
This French group, composed of Jonathan, Damien and Clément, work between Paris and Berlin andthis eroticcally charged electro pop outing features Miss Kittin on vocal duties.
The video is certificate 18!
The fabulous Héloïse Adelaide Letissier aka Christine here continues her lyrical themes with a sing about love and the complexities of relationships '“Nuit 17 à 52” is a vignette covering the development of what turns out to be a dysfunctional romance where the participants struggle with identity and image as they pass the stage of superficial getting-to-know-you into a transitional stage covering nights 17 to 52'
Here's a collection of tracks we've picked that reference cities in a variety of styles and lyrical messages... Bring back the time we were able to consider city hopping!
Albert Hammond is a prolific songwriter of British/Gibraltan descent and the father of AH Jr, of the Strokes fame!
He's written hit singles for a phone book of stars including Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and Diana Ross amongst multiple other household names. This ode to the Big Apple kicks off our travel themed week.
A song about love across the time zones... Anyone who's ever had a long distance love affair can relate to this message! A marriage of acoustic and electronic styles make this one of the most interesting tracks from the 2018 EP, I Am With You.
Since 2011, Leftwich has gained 2,510,535 monthly listeners and sold 100,000 copies of his first album Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm which received over 150 million global Spotify plays!
More guitar led indie-pop business this time from this American band of hipster misfits. This may not be so much an ode to the city but more of a mild complaint that it's a tough place to be!
The Cortinas were a Bristolian punk band active between 1976 and 1978. They supported The Stranglers and Blondie and were one of the first pioneering punk bands to play at the infamous Roxy club in London. Guitarist Nick Sheppard went on to play with the final incarnation of The Clash and in keeping with the art-meets-music-meets-art journey of Music Seen, bass player Dexter Dalwood went on to become a successful fine artist, was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2010 and is currently a research professor of Fine Art at Bath Spa University!
This track by Nashville based singer songwriter is written as a letter to an unattainable love here... is it a girl or LA itself? This is from his 2020 EP, Falling.
'Such Expensive taste, a million different ways but she makes it all look amazing...
Her name is California... '
The ubiquitous sound of every bar, restaurant and hotel lobby in the early 2000s, this Paris based band that fuses Argentinian tango with beats and samples was a huge hit for music programming companies all over the world! Did for Argentina what Buena Vista Social Club did for Cuba! This tango is dedicated to the south of the country and was written by Astor Piazzolla and Fernando Solanas for the 1988 Argentine film “Sur”
I dream of the South,
a great big moon, sky upside down,
I seek the South,
the open time, and afterwards.
I love the South,
its good people, its dignity,
I feel the South,
like your body in intimacy.
To hark the change of seasons in the northern hemisphere, this week we celebrate the annual rebirth of mother nature with two extreme versions of the notion of spring; from the gentle sway of a breeze through the trees from a jazz trio at the top of their game.
Bill Evans, a favourite at Playlister HQ was an American pianist and composer who played with Miles Davis (importantly on the best selling Jazz album of all time Kind Of Blue) and Chet Baker (on Chet) before forming his famous trio and recording some of the most revered and blissful jazz albums of the 60s. He had a troubled life with drug addiction but was hugely influential to artists such as Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall and Rick Wright of Pink Floyd. Music critic Thom Jurek wrote of the album where this Rodgers and Hammerstein Oscar winning classic featured "...selections are so well paced and sequenced the record feels like a dream... Moon Beams was a startling return to the recording sphere and a major advancement in his development as a leader. Velvet Underground collaborator and singer Nico graced the cover art of the album Moon Beams, where this song appeared.
Influential and essential jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader Miles Davis started out professionally as a member of Charlie Parker's bebop quintet in the mid 40s. He was an early proponent of hard bop, a fusion of rhythm and blues, gospel and blues music that appeared on the jazz scene in the early 1950s. Davis recorded some of the most important jazz albums of all time and his band included such luminaries as the aforementioned Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane. Rolling Stone described as "the most revered jazz trumpeter of all time, not to mention one of the most important musicians of the 20th century,"
Another Richard Rodgers composition, this time with Lorenz Hart on lyrical duties. This version from Patti Page is from her 1956 album In the Land Of Hifi. Often introduced as 'The Singing Rage, Miss Patti Page, she sold over 100 million records over a career spanning six decades
Released on his 2010 debut album Signs And Signifiers, this is a mellow breeze of a track compared with the rest of this brilliant record, referencing 1950s R&B, Rockabilly and rock and roll, inspired by Little Richard and Fats Domino, recorded as it was using vintage mics, old amplifiers and a Berlant reel-to-reel recorder from the '60s.
The title track from the dream team of composer Kats Chernin with Tamara-Anna Cislowska (on piano duties). This is an exciting album of “symphonious cascades” - dynamic yet minimalist pieces that recall the work of Philip Glass.
A change of tack now as we near the end of our week dedicated to new beginnings and the joy of spring. Inspired by Underworld, Orbital and Kraftwerk, Avery'sseminal dance album Drone Logic from 2013 featured this spacey analog synth masterpiece (if you like that sort of thing). This builds from nowhere into an epic electronic banger, heavy on the gritty beats and chords.
This is our first selection of Latin tracks for Music Seen and are a nod to New York in the 60s and 70s, a time where with enough talent and tenacity, epic international careers were achievable for young immigrants from latin America... if you could just avoid the trappings of fame and fortune.
This is one of our favourite dance tracks, let alone 'Latin' dance tracks! Ray Baretto was a Puerto Rican by descent but a native New Yorker. He hated the term 'Latin Jazz', and would prefer to use the term 'Jazz-Latin', inspired as he was by swing bands and artists such as Duke Ellington and Chick Webb, and importantly by the track Manteca by Dizzy Gillespie, which forged Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz. This fusion of styles ignited Barretto's love of the congas, and led to him playing with legends such as Tito Puente and Jose Curbelo. Sessions with Blue Note, Prestige and Riverside record labels followed, but it was when he joined Fania Records that his career skyrocketed.
Acid is a tumbao (a foundational, repetitive rhythmic pattern played on the bass) and was recorded in one take with the improvised instrumentation and solid groove causing mayhem on dance floors to this day!
Flamboyant and bohemian Domenican artist Frankie Dante's band were big on the New York underground salsa scene and remain favourites of fans of that period. This track describes how the Venezuelan dancers enjoyed dancing sabroso (savory) to his music.
Dante was a security guard at Macy’s, but he really wanted to be John Lennon,” says salsa superstar Larry Harlow who produced this recording. “He was the Dominican John Lennon... He wore those round rose-colored glasses, just like John Lennon.”
A debonair and handsome crooner, Feliciano was a huge star on the salsa scene in the 1970s. He recorded with top band leaders such as Eddie Palmieri and Tito Puente, and was a longtime member of The Fanias Allstars, the group organized by Fania Records which included virtually all the major figures of salsa’s ’70s heyday.
Feliciano started out as a percussionist with Tito Rodriguez and Luis Cruzand eventually found his voice working with Joe Cuba Sextet around the late 1950s and led to his playing with Eddie Palmieri. It was around this time that he also discovered drugs and became a heroin addict at aged 21. A stint in a rehab program in Puerto Ricofollowed which resulted in him getting clean and becoming a vehement anti-drug campaigner. It wasn't until 1971 that he released his first solo record which smashed all sales records for latin music at that time.
Born to Cuban and Puerto Rican parents, Perez was an American composer, violinist, pianist, bandleader and singer! This track is taken from his 1977 album"De Todo un Poco", the title track of which was used on the soundtrack to the hit movieDirty Dancingin 1987 which in turn led to his earlier albums becoming collectors' items.
One of the most charismatic and versatile artists of the era, pianist and vibraphonist Ramirez recorded this in 1978 at the height of the salsa scene in NYC. This song is a love letter to Puerto Rico and is performed by the great Adalberto Satiago, who until 1973 was the vocalist with Ray Barretto's orchestra.
Another Puerto Rican New Yorker, Lavoe or "La Voz" ("The Voice") had a stellar career spanning 3 decades.
Released on his second solo album De Ti Depende this record was supported by the great Willie Colon who for this album decided to try something new in Salsa, using the sound of violins (using keyboards) which was unheard of at the time. Possessing a big personality and stage presence, Lavoe sometimes resembled a stand up comedian. This willingness to joke with his audience backfired badly when on one occasion, an insulting refusal to play a certain track resulted in an onstage beating which nearly hospitalised him!
This week we celebrate the 63rd GRAMMY Awards ceremony. Taking place this Sunday March 14th, the hottest awards in music recognises recordings released between Sept. 1, 2019, and Aug. 31, 2020. We hope you enjoy tracks from some of CMP's legendary winners, past and present!
To launch our Grammy's selection we give you singer, songwriter, actress, activist and two-time GRAMMY winner Cyndi Lauper. She memorably performed Time After Time at the 27th Awards ceremony having won Best New Artist that year, having also won Song Of The Year for this epic 80s classic.
The title track from Lady gaga's fifth studio album from 2016, this is our favourite Gaga track and won Best Pop Solo Performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.
Her album Golden Hour album won in all four of its nominated categories at the 61st Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Best Country Album. Golden Hour was ranked at 270 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. This is a beautiful country pop track melodically reminiscent of Joni Mitchell.
This classic won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Song and Song of the Year in 1968. South also wrote Rose Garden made famous by Lyn Anderson in 1970.
Second time on the Music Seen playlist but who can ignore the talent of Jacob Collier, here with a pretty faultless pop/R&B drop, featuring the support of superstars Mahalia dn Ty Solla $ign. Collier already has four Grammys to his name. Good luck this year Jacob!
With nine nominations and three wins, Concord artist Glasper is no stranger to Grammy success. This is one of our favourite records of the year so far. The sublime production and vocal deliveries on this haunting track from these two legendary singers never fails to deliver.
This week we celebrate International Women's Day with a collection of tracks that champion the female story in all it's diversity and power.
Flipping the backwards thinking 50s concept of a cover version, this belter of a track was originally a hit for writer John Fogerty and his band Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1969, and nearly as successful for Ike and Tina in 1971. Their Rock and Roll rendition has one of the greatest slow builds of any record ever recorded!
Written from Morissette's brutally honest perspective, as a woman wanting to take control of the emotional journey of the relationship she was having with an older man. The album Jagged Little Pill released in 1995 was co-written with Glen Ballard who told Rolling Stone Magazine
"I just connected with her as a person, and, almost parenthetically, it was like 'Wow, you're 19?' She was so intelligent and ready to take a chance on doing something that might have no commercial application. Although there was some question about what she wanted to do musically, she knew what she didn't want to do, which was anything that wasn't authentic and from her heart."
This song is featured on the excellent compilation 7-inches for Planned Parenthood, with a progressive message for women, and which benefits the women's health organization. The album also features tracks by Feist, Arca, Mitski & St. Vincent.
Ranked number 26 in Rolling Stone magazine's 2008 list of the 100 greatest singers of all time, Janis is a firm Playlister favourite too. This Rogers and Hart classic (originally from the Broadway production of Jumbo) is a lamenting track in Joplin's hands and features on her excellent solo debut studio album I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, released just a year before her untimely death at age 27.
Brittney Denise Parks, better known as Sudan Archives is a classically trained violinist and singer/songwriter currently living in LA. Her seemingly effortless delivery and beautiful tone and lyrical skill make this a stand out track from 2020. The video is pretty wonderful too. We love Sudan Archives at Playlister HQ.
This Rogers and Hammerstein classic from the musical South Pacific is the original feminist anthem, sung from the perspective of the heroine of the story.
In the 1950s a 'Cover up' was a song recorded by a record label to eclipse the release of the same song by a rival label. Here's our selection of cover versions (or remakes as some music historians would rather they were known), that we feel in some way bring a fresh take on the original.
Flipping the backwards thinking 50s concept of a cover version, this belter of a track was originally a hit for writer John Fogerty and his band Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1969, and nearly as successful for Ike and Tina in 1971. Their Rock and Roll rendition has one of the greatest slow builds of any record ever recorded!
Written in 1953 by Gene De Paul and Sammy Cahn, this was a huge hit for Dinah Washington in 1954. Nancy Wilson's sultry version was used to great effect on the recent (and awesome) chess series The Queen's Gambit.
Apart from Miss Jones, Peggy Lee, Marcia Hines, Englebert Humperdink and Bing Crosby all released a version of this show tune (from a Chorus Line) in 1977! Grace's uptempo version was produced by Disco supremo Tom Moulton.
This was Public Image Ltd biggest hit @ number 5 in the UK charts. Nouvelle Vague famously invited female singers who had never heard the originals to record these tracks... and created an easy listening cover version phenomenon that none of us knew we needed back in the early 2000s!
The original is by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (who also wrote the lyrics to My Funny Valentine, Blue Moon, The Lady is a Tramp and Manhattan amongst many others). This version was recorded by the Supremes as their 11th studio album for Motown, following a TV special about Rodgers and Hart from 1966, where none other than the great Quincy Jones was musical director.
This song was a Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune from the musical South pacific. Dylan's version is a cover of a cover (!), as Dylan does Frank Sinatra, from his 2014 release Shadows in the Night.
Sophie Winder's joyous illustration promotes this week's theme of togetherness, duality and harmony, something all of our chosen acts have demonstrated this week in droves.
A star studded collaboration, with Robyn and Channel Tres's vocals adding something wonderful to newcomer (and Concord Music Publishing signing) SG lewis (and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs's) clubby production.
A trippy collab with an excellent number of dogs in the video! In the video (worth a google), the UK producer meets the ex Late Of The Pier frontman head to head, as they lay down in the park for some canine shenanigans and deliver a lovely dose of skippy synth pop.
First rate Aussy electronic producer enrols Canadian rapper Cadence Weapon to add some sunny sparkle to her brilliant bouncy party jam.
Crossbreed Records founder Kiwi teams up with Daniel Avery collaborator & James Greenwood AKA Ghost Culture,(Concord Music Publishing signing) for this minimal electronic instrumental with epic synth action.
The band had already recorded this track with a mumbling vocal, when they then heard Devin sing on Jamaican TV show Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall, loved his delivery, wrote and sent him some lyrics and the result is the very special guest appearance.
Grammy award winning, Kendrick Lamar, Q-Tip, Herbie Hancock and Anderson.Paak collaborating Glasper, invites legendary singer/songwriter (and Playlister favourite) Jill Scott to partner up on this conscious and delicate song. This shoulda/coulda been in our Valentine's playlist... it's a rare and poignant love letter to a decent man!
Valentine's is a day we long for, or long to see the back of. Whatever your romantic inclination this year, here's 7 songs devoted to the notion of love.
A jazz standard with lyrics written by Englishmen Eric Maschwitz (under the alias Holt Marvel) with music by Jack Strachey. Maschwitz cited "fleeting memories of a young love" as inspiration for the song, although various women in the author's life have claimed ownership of this ode to love and memory.
Fuelled by coffee and vodka, the verse and three choruses were written by Maschwitz over one Sunday morning at his flat in London. The song has been covered by many of the greats with memorable versions by Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole, and was recorded 3 times by James Brown.
The infamous music video tells the tale of an acting teacher (Richie) having an unrequited love for a blind student (Laura Carrington) until he discovers she is sculpting a likeness of his head in clay, and maybe feels the same way! Richie's album Can't Slow Down which features this huge hit won the 1984 Grammy for Album of the Year, and is the biggest-selling album in the history of Motown Records.
Chosen today for obvious reasons, this jazz standard has been recorded by over 600 artists and appeared on over 1300 albums!
It became Chet Baker's signature song (he recorded it over 100 times) and we love this version the best.
It’s actually a love song written from the perspective of a woman to a man... his ‘figure’ is ‘less than Greek’ (i.e., not the Olympian ideal of masculine beauty) but with Baker's laconic drawl and wonderful delivery, this song transcends gender and just evokes a feeling of love.
Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?
But don't change your hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is Valentines day
Written by George Harrison and widely viewed by music historians as having marked his ascendancy as a composer to the level of the Beatles' principal songwriters, Lennon and McCartney, this most romantic of the Beatles songs was written for Harrison's then wife Patti Boyd. In her 2007 biography she wrote "He told me, in a matter-of-fact way, that he had written it for me. I thought it was beautiful."
Written and recorded between 1991 (when he was just 18 years old) and 1995, this neo-soul classic from the album of the same name made D'Angelo a star and a heartthrob to millions. Co-produced by such luminaries of the scene as Raphael Saadiq and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (of A Tribe Called Quest), the song personifies his love of smoking weed and compares it with his love of a woman.
Let me tell you 'bout this girl, maybe I shouldn't
I met her in Philly and her name was Brown Sugar
See we be makin' love constantly
That's why my eyes are a shade, blood burgundy
And whenever you let me hit it
Sweet like honey when it comes to me
Skin is caramel with the coco eyes
Even got a big sister by the name of Chocolate Ty"
Jacob's career is a thing of recent music industry legend; From uploading homemade split screen videos (incorporating his harmonisation and multi instrumentation skills) on youtube in 2011, to being signed by Quincy Jones, to opening for Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2015 at the age of 19, to beginning working on Djesse, a four-volume, 50-song album featuring more than two dozen artists and ensembles in 2018, and now nominated for Album of the Year at this year's Grammys as well as Best R&B performance and Best Arrangement, Instrument and Vocals for tracks from Djesse Vol. 3.This track premiered as part of one of his TED talks.
From classic R&B, Hip hop & grime, this is our first collection dedicated to rhyme.
Today is the 26th anniversary of the release on Def Jam Records of this debut single from Montell Jordan. Representative of the hip hop/soul style popular at the time, Jordan sings over an enhanced sample of Slick Rick's "Children's Story" which in turn samples Bob James' "Nautilus". The rap demonstrates some very old school lyrical tropes:
'This is how we do it, all hands are in the air
And wave them from here to there
If you're an OG mack or a wanna-be player
You see the hood's been good to me
Ever since I was a lower case G
But now I'm a big G
The girls see I got the money
Hundred dollar bills, y'all'
This track from DJ Shadow features verses from American rap duo Run the Jewels. The song was first a part of Run the Jewels' Record Store Day release, which was a virtual reality cardboard viewer that included a digital download code for the song. It also acted as the lead single from Shadow's fifth studio album, The Mountain Will Fall (2016).
Shadow chose El-P and Killer Mike as collaborators due to their vocal style fitting with the song's killer instrumental.
Lyrically this track veers between hilarious juvenilia and some dark imagery!:
'We the best
We will cut a frowny face in your chest, little wench
I'm unmentionably fresh, I'm a mensch, get correct
I will walk into a court while erect, screaming
"Yes! I am guilty motherfuckers, I am death"'
Stone Cold Rhymin' was the debut album by rapper Young MC and was released in 1989 on Delicious Vinyl. Young was born in London, to Jamaican immigrants and emigrated to NYC aged 8.
He earned a degree in economics from the University of Southern California where he met Michael Ross and Matt Dike from Delicious Vinyl. Young rapped over the phone for Ross and Dike, who ended up delivering a record contract to his college dorm room.
'Now I wrote this record for when I perform,
from the nights inside a university dorm,
I put pen to paper with a paper and pen,
for the times I'm rockin' the mic in front of women and men,
The song famously begins with the line "Don't call it a comeback/I've been here for years." Before "Mama Said Knock You Out" was released, critics felt that LL Cool J's career was waning. The story goes that his grandmother told him to "knock out" all his doubters!
She is featured in the closing scene of the music video, saying: "Todd! Todd! Get upstairs and take out that garbage.”:
West premiered this self-professed theme song from his album Yeezus on May 18, 2013 on Saturday Night Live. Featuring some stripped down production with the help of Rick Rubin, the lyrics to this track reference West's relationship with the media and his relationship with Kim Kardashian.'Enter the kingdomBut watch who you bring homeThey see a black man with a white womanAt the top floor they gone come to kill King Kong'
Formerly known as Common Sense, this rapper, writer, activist and actor has consistently written provocative, poetic and conscious lyrics for his tracks since his album debut in 1992.
Pray these words may hug you, baby
Look into the mirror and say "I love you" daily
Remember your light when the world seem shady
You're born with it, adorned with it
A gift to the world, go on, give it
As anyone who's ever enjoyed a nightclub looks to the moment we'll throw shapes together again, here's our first in a series of uptempo dance tracks from the Concord catalogue.
Despite Kanye's stage invasion during the presentation, this banger won MTV Europe Music Award for Best Video in 2006. The 2015 Zac Efron movie about an EDM DJ We Are Your Friends took its title from the track.
Written in 1998 and first released as a single in November 2000 and later included in their 2001 album Discovery, this was a commercial success as well as a critical hit. Rolling Stone listed it at number 33 of their top 100 songs of the decade (2000–2009) as well as number 307 on its amended "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list in May 2010.
Described by critics as an "indie anthem", the song was not initially a huge success in Australia where the band originate from, but it fared better in Japan and Europe. It generated fresh interest after it was included in the soundtrack for the 2009 film 500 Days of Summer—eventually reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in the United States.
Created by electronic musician Quentin Dupieux better known as Mr. Oizo, Flat Eric began life as a character in some short films and gained a cult following in the UK and France. His popularity (and the love of this dance track) soared when Levi's featured Flat Eric in an ad for Sta-Press clothing in 1999. In 2003, Q Magazine ranked "Flat Beat" at number 175 in their list of the "1001 Best Songs Ever."
Written by Henry Smithson (better known as Riton) and featuring vocals from Nigerian singer-songwriter Kah-Lo, this club/pop crossover was up for Best Dance Recording at the 59th Grammy awards.
Having previously remixed Depeche Mode, Dua Lipa and Gorillaz between them, these are producers who know what works on a dancefloor, inside out and upside down. This club cut was released in December 2020 on Anjunadeep.
Music that describes the complexities of human emotions and relationships.
This track is dedicated to Syd Barret, and was based on a poem that Roger Waters wrote about Syd Barrett’s drift away from reality. A love song to a fallen friend.
Perhaps written from the perspective of someone wanting to take a friendship to the next level, this classic song expresses that aching feeling of the uncertainty of love.
An ode to bad relationships! Loving a bad guy is such a sin, yeah! He's got me all won, can I get him?
A song about how everyone is imperfect... how perhaps sometimes we must admit our faults and be honest, to hold on to the relationships that mean the most to us."I never wanted you to see this part of meI wish you would've told the truth. Oh, than make us settle, "Cause even when it's wrong, you'll see that it's what you need."
Always On My Mind is a heartfelt ballad completed in 1971 by Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher and Mark James. It was voted the number-one song of Elvis Presley's recording career in a 2013 poll and Willie Nelson's beautiful version won 3 Grammys in 1982. A song of yearning; of mistakes made to a lost love.
This song was written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, in collaboration with Lori Leiberman after she was inspired by a Don Maclean concert in 1971.Its lyrics take the perspective of a singer being emotionally floored by another singer's delivery of a song. This version won a Grammy for the band in 1997.
To celebrate Martin Luther King day 2021 (Jan18th) we’ve chosen songs of protest, freedom and positivity.
Revival Written in 1969 in protest to the Vietnam War, the song references rich people who orchestrate wars and then draft poor to fight in them. The track features in many movies and montages about the war, most famously Apocalypse Now.
Regularly featuring on Barack Obama's 2008 campaign playlist, and sampled on EPMD's 1990 track Give The People, this track's lyrics feel as poignant now as they must of then.
Used in movies Pineapple Express and Slumdog Millionaire and co-written by Diplo, this track was inspired by Mathangi Arulpragasam's struggle with homeland security when trying to enter the US. It plays on the image of a threatening, violent illegal immigrant and was banned in some clubs and TV shows for the use of gunshot sound effects.
Lyrics 'So where you gonna be when this freedom comes?' To celebrate Martin Luther King day we've chosen a track with a title relevant to his message and the movement he inspired, as important today as it was in the 60s.This track was released in October last year as part of the album Portals, and recorded by the artists whilst on a month-long retreat at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios.
An uplifting message of positivity from everyone's favourite choir-robe-wearing 20+ piece band!The band formed in 2000 and first came to the UK as part of David Bowie's Meltdown festival in 2002. This song is the most used in UK advertising, and has featured in movies and TV shows including Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind, The Lorax and Scrubs as well as being performed live at the Oscar De La Renta 2008 catwalk show in NYC.Lyric: 'Follow the day and reach for the sun!' 'Reach for the bright side!'
A protest against police brutality and systematic oppression for black people in the US. It's been featured in multiple movies and TV shows such as La Haine, Attack The Block and Brooklyn 99, and samples Sing a Simple Song by Sly and The Family Stone, and Inside Looking Out by Grand Funk Railroad.
7 songs of love and blues, dreams of people and places, imagined and real.
Dearie's love letter to the city she called home. Dearie's voice and songs have been heard on many tv shows and movies including The Artist, The Squid and the Whale and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. Her vocal style was described by the New Yorker as a "childish treble" yet she brushed off these criticisms. "I have never been a singer who could stand up and sing like a theatrical singer. I sit down, and I've always used a microphone. I have a kind of microphone technique.”
Written by Big Bill Broonzy this version was recorded by Witherspoon for his 1963 album Blues Around The Clock. Lyrics: "Oh I just lay awake and dream, people, About that place, way across the sea, oh yea. Where I was raised, where I was born, Place that means so much to me."
Written by Sammy Cahn and Nicholas Brodszky for the 1955 movie Love Me Or Leave Me and sung by Doris Day, this track has been covered by many artists over the years including Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and Dinah Washington. It was also used in the popular UK tv show The Saint starring Roger Moore in the episode The Saint Sees It Through. Jamal's sublime instrumental version was from his album Happy Moods released in 1960 on the Argo label.
Written and produced by Frank Ocean and Daniel Aged and released as a 7-inch single on March 25, 2020, Dear April consists of an "acoustic" version as side A, and a remix by Justice as side B. An intimate track with minimal instrumentation and a beautiful vocal treatment.
Lyrics: "I believe that no matter
What it makes us new
Take us through it
And wake us up again"
Lyrics: "Go on, fill your heart up with gladness" A founding member of Portico Quartet, Mulvey has enjoyed a successful solo career since 2011. As the title track to his 2014 EP, Fever to the Form is a fine example of a distinctly British type of uplifting and positive modern folk music.
Critic Richie Unterberger describes it as "as close to the roots of acoustic down-home blues as the Stones ever got."
It was released on their 1969 album Let It Bleed.
Written and recorded by Robert Johnson in 1937, the song uses a departing train as a metaphor for the loss of his lover Willie Mae.
Taking inspiration from the dawn of a precious new year following a pretty terrible 2020, we present songs from the Concord catalogue which evoke a feeling of positivity and hope, and most importantly, new beginnings.
One of our favourite all-time classics and positive lyrics from the Concord Music Publishing Catalogue to kick of Music Seen for 2021. "Little darling, the smile's returning to their faces". Onwards and upwards!
Lee was nominated for 12 Grammy Awards in her lifetime. This song is an uplifting masterpiece that does exactly what it says on the tin.
A part of the native tongues collective, known for their like-minded Afrocentrism, positivity and eclectic sampling, it was NME's review that stated "This is not rap, this is perfection."
"I think it's so groovy now, that people are finally getting together". It goes without saying that this is a lyrical message we're all dreaming about in some shape, way or form'
This song is described by James as being about "after a certain amount of time, somebody becomes too precious to lose, and now you want to protect them in any way you can," referring to his girlfriend Jameela Jamil.
Today is the 63rd anniversary of Come Fly with Me, One of Frank Sinatra's most beloved hit songs.