Cream

Eric Clapton, the legendary blues guitarist, had played in The Yardbirds, and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers prior to the formation of the trio, Cream. It was whilst playing with John Mayall that Eric met bassist, Jack Bruce and drummer, Ginger Baker.

This British trio was considered to be adventurous, even in the late 1960s, and quickly won a large following of devotees. However, the different temperaments within the group meant that, as an entity, it was to last for less than two years.

http://youtu.be/Cqh54rSzheg

“Sunshine Of Your Love”, “I Feel Free”, “Strange Brew” and “White Room” are the pick of Cream’s singles and of its albums, ‘Disraeli Gears’, is generally regarded as a classic.

Rosemary Clooney

In the first half of the 1950s Rosemary Clooney vied for popularity with such other leading female recording artists as Doris Day, Patti Page, Jo Stafford, Kay Starr and Peggy Lee. Rosemary had been born in Kentucky in May of 1928. By the time she was fifteen her parents had separated and she and her mother opted to live in California.

Although Rosemary had been recording on the Columbia label since 1946, her career as a solo artist did not really materialise until “Come On-A My House” spent eight weeks atop the American charts, in 1951. Similarly successful hits followed. These included “Half As Much”(1952), “Botch-A-Me (Ba-Ba-Baciami Piccina)”(1952), “Hey There”(1954), “This Ole House”(1954) — revived by the Welsh rocker, Shakin’ Stevens, in 1981 — and “Mambo Italiano”.

“Mambo Italiano”, written by the prolific Bob Merrill, has been covered by numerous artists over the years. One of the later versions is by Lady Gaga. Madonna performs “Come On A-My House” to her ‘master’ whilst they are marooned onĀ  an island in ‘Swept Away’, a film produced in 2002. A modernised version of the song also accompanies the ‘Girls Of The Playboy Mansion’ television series.

Rosemary also tasted success with “Too Old To Cut The Mustard”, a duet recorded, in 1952, with Marlene Dietrich. In 1954, she appeared in the film, “White Christmas”, with Bing Crosby,who had had the smash single of the same name twelve years earlier.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KwqTBFBvVA

Rosemary, while she continued to record and perform, became increasingly dependant upon pills. Nevertheless, it was to be lung cancer that eventually claimed her life, in June of 2002, at the age of seventy-four.

The names of Rosemary Clooney’s other hits can be located in the suggested playlists. While you are there, you may care to peruse the list of my favourite recordings. I will be adding more to it from time to time.

War

The origins of War can be traced back to 1962 when guitarist, Howard Scott and drummer, Harold Brown, were still in high school, in Los Angeles. By 1965 the pair had added Leroy Jordan, bassist B.B. Dickerson and saxophonist, Charles Miller, and, in total, were known as The Creators.

In 1968, Thomas Sylvester Allen was included, as a percussionist, by which time the group was calling itself The Nightshift. The band was also joined by Englishman, Eric Burdon — who had already experienced a string of international hits, via The Animals — and a Danish player of the harmonica, Lee Oskar.

At a time when the word ‘peace’ was on many people’s lips, this multi-racial new line-up decided to call itself War. It was to remain the backing band to Eric Burdon until 1971, when it branched out on its own.

Belying its name, the band set out to promote harmony and unity. War blended rhythm and blues with latin, pop and jazz. Its music was a forerunner to hip hop and rap.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMlrI6IkQv0

“Spill The Wine” sold in excess of a million copies, as a single, for Eric Burdon and War, in 1970, a combination that was also to release three albums. Nonetheless, War, as a solo entity, was to record many more albums than that during a period which spanned more than two decades. In addition the group had a series of singles, released between 1972 and 1976, that were to sell equally as well as “Spill The Wine” had.

For the names of more tracks by War, please, consult the suggested playlists.

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