Rose Royce

Rose Royce formed in the early 1970s, in Los Angeles. Edwin Starr, a singer of soul on the label, Motown, introduced the octet to that company’s producer, Norman Whitfield, who had had such success with The Temptations.

Initially, the band was known as Total Concept Unlimited and then The Magic Wand. It was while under the latter name that Norman Whitfield recruited a female singer, Gwen Dickey, to lead the group. Gwen was given the stage name of Rose Norwalt. As Norman had been given the opportunity to score the music to the film, ‘Car Wash’, he decided to use The Magic Wand, featuring Rose Norwaldt, in the picture’s soundtrack, but not before changing the band’s name to Rose Royce.

In 1976, even before the film had opened, the world was listening to its main theme, in the form of the pulsating disco single, “Car Wash”. It sold more than a million copies, topping both Billboard’s rhythm and blues and pop singles charts. The group’s second single, “I Wanna Get Next To You”, also from the movie, performed almost as well as its first release.

Rose Royce’s album, ‘In Full Bloom’, was released in 1977. The first single to come from it, “Do Your Dance – Part 1”, was followed by “Ooh Boy” and, finally, “Wishing On A Star”. The following album, ‘Strikes Again!’, is a collection that includes the tracks “I’m In Love (And I Love The Feeling)” and “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”, a song that was to be revived by Madonna on her album, ‘Like A Virgin’.

“Rose” departed from Rose Royce shortly after the release of the band’s next album, ‘Rainbow Connection’. A year and a half was to pass before the band released its next album, ‘Golden Touch’, in 1981; with new vocalist, Ricci Benson. However, not one single from this album succeeded on the charts in the United States.

The albums, ‘Jump Street’, ‘Stronger Than Ever’ (1982), ‘Fresh Cut’ (1987) and ‘Perfect Cut’ (1989) followed, as the group’s personnel continued to change. By the middle of the 1980s Rose Royce had been reduced to a sextet and prior to the recording of ‘Perfect Lover’ Lisa Taylor had replaced Ricci Benson.

“Car Wash” was revived by Christina Aguilera (featuring Missy Elliott), in 2004.

Joe Dolan

On Boxing Day in 2007, Joe Dolan passed away from a cerebral haemorrhage, in the Mater Hospital, Dublin, at the age of sixty-eight. The Irish singer and entertainer had been born in County Westmeath, in October of 1939. Joe, the youngest of eight children, had lost his father, when he was eight, and his mother, at fifteen.

His first single, “The Answer To Everything”, was released in September of 1964. My favourite recording of Joe’s is “Pretty Brown Eyes”, from 1966.

Many singles were to come, with the likes of “Make Me An Island” (1969) and “You’re Such A Good Looking Woman” (1970), doing much to make him a global star.

The names of other recordings by Joe Dolan can be located in the suggested playlists. A list of my favourite recordings can now be found in the suggested playlists.

Nana Mouskouri

Nana Mouskouri is synonymous with Greece, however, as well as her native tongue, Nana could also speak and sing in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. She was truly an international superstar.

As a child Nana grew up amid poverty in Athens which, at that time, was under German occupation. The arrival of American troops in Greece exposed her to the sounds of such notable singers as Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald.

Nana’s love of singing and music, in general, prompted her parents to enrol her in the Athenian Conservatory of Music. She began singing on the radio and in Athenian clubs.

Continued advancement resulted in her travelling to Paris where she recorded the first of her many hits, “The White Rose Of Athens”. This recording launched her career globally, selling in excess of one and a half million copies.

In 1962, Nana¬† recorded her first album, ‘The Girl From Greece Sings’, in the United States. Its recording was supervised by none other than Quincy Jones.

Nana, in 1968, recorded a series of television shows for the BBC, in London. These were purchased by television networks from around the world.

During her career Nana performed concerts in such countries as The Netherlands, Australia, the United States, Canada, Russia, Belgium, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany and France, as well as the continent of South America.

In September of 1979, in the city of Boston, Nana Mouskouri marked twenty years of global success.


Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek rose to both national and international prominence as the trio, America, in 1972. This was achieved via the release of their single, “A Horse With No Name”. For much of the 1970s America’s popularity endured as hit after hit entered the charts.

Despite its name, America was actually formed in Britain, as its members were the sons of servicemen in the United States Air Force who were stationed near London. Veteran producer Ian Samwell, who had worked with Cliff Richard in the early part of his long career, secured the trio a contract to record for Warner Bros. “A Horse With No Name”, “I Need You”, “Sandman” and “Everyone I Meet Is From California” were all recorded in London.

The group moved to Los Angeles and produced its own album, ‘Homecoming’, which contains the single, “Ventura Highway”. In March of 1973 America won a Grammy for being the Best New Artist of 1972.

The band’s next album, ‘Hat Trick’, did not do as well as had been expected and so it was decided to turn to another producer, none other than the legendary George Martin who had worked so splendidly with The Beatles. The album, ‘Holiday’, was recorded at Sir George’s Air Studios in London, and from it came the singles, “Tin Man” and Lonely People”.

America’s second collaboration with Martin took place in Sausilito, California. The resultant album, ‘Hearts’, released in 1975, contains “Sister Golden Hair” which, when released as a single, gave the band its first No.1 hit since “A Horse With No Name”.

Dan Peek left the group, in 1977, to pursue a career as a Christian artist.


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.

“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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