Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Music I Love - 'I'

I was, to be honest, expecting this entry in my A-Z of Music I Love to be a little more difficult. To be sure many artists are here just for a couple of tracks and there are fewer albums featured than I've managed for other letters of the alphabet, but hey... 'I' was not so stressful as I had feared!

I'm going to kick things of with Frank Ifield. A favourite of my Grandma Burke, he was a very pleasant crooner with an unfortunate tendency to suddenly descend into the odd yodelling outbreak. Many people think of him as Australian, but he was born in Warwickshire in 1937. His parents were Australian, however and unsurprisingly when they returned to live in Australia in 1946 he went with them...

He entered the charts in 1960 with Lucky Devil, a song which reached No.22 and which I have still, some 57 years later, yet to hear. He entered my conciousness with I Remember You which I think was one of only three singles my Grandma ever had (the others were both Frank Ifield songs too - told you she was a fan...) It gave him his first No.1 hit. It was by no means a new song. There's a clip from a 1940s wartime film on YouTube where Dorothy Lamour sings it with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and I wouldn't like to be pushed on which is my favourite version.

His next two singles followed I Remember You to the No.1 slot. They were Lovesick Blues and The Wayward Wind, which were my Grandma's other two singles. The latter contained no yodelling at all, perhaps because the B Side to Lovesick Blues was called She Taught Me How To Yodel and was almost entirely an Austrian mountain cow-herd's instruction manual with the last verse performed entirely as a yodelling marathon at double speed. His final No.1 came with Confessin' into which a minimal amount of yodelling was inserted, presumably to keep his Austrian audience happy. Today at 79 years of age, Frank is still touring with a show called 'I Remember You' - an intimate audience with Frank Ifield & friends in which he tells his story and sings a few songs including the hits.

Enrique Iglesias is the son of Spain's most successful singer, the great Julio Doubleglesias, whoops I mean Julio Iglesias. Enrique charmed a new generation of Iglesias worshippers with a debut top ten hit Bailamos and followed it with some lip-quivering ballads including a duet with Whitney Houston: Could I have This Kiss Forever. Girls went mad... I don't know what he's got that I haven't? I could be your hero, baby... I could kiss away your pain...

Imaani. The 1998 Eurovision Song Contest. She came second for the UK with Where Are You against a field that was filled with some great songs. 1998 was one of the classic years. We've come nowhere near as close since then.

Once upon a time if you were Australian and cute, the way into a singing career was via a TV soap opera. Natalie Imbruglia was one such racking up three top ten hits, two of which reached No.2, just a smidgeon off the top spot. She also provoked one of the more shocking or amusing, depending on your viewpoint, moments of Britain's Got Talent when a plainly untalented contestant after a rebuttal asked "And who are you exactly???" followed swiftly by her singing partner (obviously a fan) delivering a clenched fist to her chin.

They only had one entry in the charts according to my copy of the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, but of course there were many other records from The Ink Spots that pre-dated the official charts. The retail index charts based on record sales started in 1960 but the New Musical Express had compiled a weekly chart from 1952, albeit a top twelve only for the first two years. Perhaps the most famous hit these days would be Whispering Grass which resurfaced in later dates courtesy of Sandy Denny and then Windsor Davies and Don Estelle in their personas from TV's It Ain't Half Hot Mum. But there were others such as Java Jive (I like coffee, I like tea...), If I Didn't Care, It's a Sin To Tell a Lie, I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire and more.

The Isley Brothers. I almost think of them as having a career of two halves. The first brought those great Motown hits such as This Old Heart Of Mine, I Guess I'll Always Love You, Behind a Painted Smile, and Put Yourself In My Place. The second came with their move to the Epic label and with it a new sound for hits like That Lady, Highways Of My Life, Summer Breeze (I just love the guitar on that!), Harvest For The World etc.

And finally The Ivy League who had several sixties hits including top ten hits Funny How Love Can Be and Tossing And Turning. See you next time for the letter 'J'!

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