My name is Gary, I'm the creator of VibeRide, and here's my 'life in songs'. We'd love to hear your 'Life In Songs'. So, if you want to feature on our blog, then get writing and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're a musician, DJ or have your own website, we'll link to your content too. Hope you enjoy mine.
Michael Jackson - Get On The Floor
Hearing that stonking Louis Johnson bass line in this song, and hearing the album (Off The Wall) for the first time, bridged the gap between the Motown Michael Jackson I had listened to on vinyl as a very young child, and the Bad era Michael Jackson I loved in my pre-teen years. As I soon went on to discover, in that ‘gap’ was all the incredible jazz-funk/soul/disco of the seventies and eighties.
I was absolutely blown away by this song and the album when I first heard it. I just couldn’t stop playing it and in an instant the music I’d been listening to up to that point (rock, mostly) took second billing to this amazing 'new' sound. I think this is testament to the sheer brilliance of an album involving the combined creative forces of: Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton, George Duke, Louis Johnson, Paulinho da Costa, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. Some songs, some albums are perspective-changers. This is one of them. This is mine.
Bill Withers - Lean On Me
I think this song is one of the most brilliant and beautiful songs ever written. It's a simple song but it says so much. It's one of those songs that raises the hairs on the back of your neck and makes you feel alive. It's a hymn to humanity. It speaks of what it is to be human.
I think capturing such enormous meaning so simply is one of the signs of genius in an artist. I find that Bill Withers' music can resonate with whatever mood or environment I find myself in. His music is timeless.
Stevie Wonder - Lately
Lately was one of the first 'sad' Stevie Wonder songs I remember hearing and liking. Although it is a quite brilliant expression of sorrow, I find it uplifting because that's what Stevie Wonder's voice does to me! Hearing him sing this song live was a memorable moment. It's not a song I play all the time but it’s always on my MP3 player, ready for the right moment.
There are so many Stevie Wonder songs that I love in terms of their musicianship, but this one I chose for the sheer expression in the vocals. With all his technical brilliance I think we sometimes forget that he is fundamentally an amazing singer, who could perform without any instruments or a microphone sitting in the middle of Piccadilly Circus and still sound incredible.
Jackson Five - I Want You Back
The day I discovered my parents had a collection of vinyl stashed away I set up the old record player and started listening to them. There was quite a lot of Motown stuff and I came across this Jackson Five single. When that keyboard roll and guitar lick burst into life my brain was like Woah! What's this! It just made me feel happy and want to bop around. I didn't (because I was too shy!) but the feeling was great.
Influenced by my older brother's music tastes and the usual teenage desires to fit in, I became a rock music listener up to my early twenties until coming full circle and making a 'return' to soul/disco/funk (see Michael Jackson - Get On The Floor). Whenever I hear this song it take me back to the excitement and anticipation of that moment I first heard it hiss and pop into life on that record player. Happy memory.
Earth, Wind & Fire - September
I love so many EWF songs, but this was the first EWF song that I ever heard and so it has sentimental value to me. It's a happy and joyous piece of music that will be forever associated with positive feelings in my mind. It got to number three in the UK charts in 1978 and so I think many of the people of my generation and most people of my parents' generation know it when they hear it. That's another reason I like it and will always play it, it's a song that will get people on the dance floor.
This song got to number 8 and number 1 in the US pop charts and RnB charts respectively, which was quite an achievement considering anti-disco sentiment was really starting to build up in the states at that time.
T-Connection - Danger Zone
I discovered T-Connection a couple of years ago and knew I had 'found' an absolute corker when I heard Danger Zone for the first time. It's such a great funk tune, brilliantly crafted. The bridge and breakdown are just immense! The anticipation the breakdown builds up is brilliant. I'm sure I will never tire of it and it's a song that gets heavy rotation on my system at home and on my MP3 player. I probably annoy people on the tube because I play it so loud (my poor ears...).
I have a really happy memory of bopping around to this track on my birthday at Jazz FM's Funky Sensation, upstairs at Ronnie Scott's. This song will forever be associated with good times. That's the beauty of music.