Stevie Wonder recorded Higher Ground for his 1973 album Innervisions. Wonder played most of the instruments himself on the album, and he is the only credited musician on Higher Ground. The song was entirely written and recorded in just three hours. The Innervisions album was released three weeks before a near-fatal car accident landed him in a coma for four days. While in a come his tour manager was singing this song directly in his ear, eventually Wonder started moving his fingers to be beat of the song. This was the first sign that he was coming out of the coma. Higher Ground hit #1 on the US Hot Singles Chart, yet it only reached #29 on the Hot Singles Chart in the UK.
Shining Star is a song off the soundtrack of the unsuccessful 1975 film That's The Way of the World. The soundtrack to the film was recorded by Earth Wind & Fire, who appeared in the film as a music group being produced by star Harvey Keitel. The album was a major hit for Columbia Records, and it was the first R&B album to top the US Pop charts and the US Album charts at the same time. Major record labels took notice to the album's success, which showed that Black bands could sell albums and not just singles. Shining Star was the only song from Earth Wind & Fire to hit #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, and the hit song also topped the Hot Soul Songs chart at the same time. Because of the popularity of the song, the film That's The Way of the World was rereleased with the title Shining Star.
Look-Ka Pi Pi was the title track off the second studio album from legendary New Orleans-based funk pioneers The Meters. The 1969 album was a follow-up to their self-titled debut album earlier in the year. The instrumental funk album appeared on the Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time list in 2003, 2012 and again in 2020. Look-Ka Pi Pi peaked at #11 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart, and the album hit #23 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart. The group was formed in 1965 by keyboardist and vocalist Art Neville, who had established a successful solo career in New Orleans since the mid-1950's. Neville left The Meters in 1977, a few years before the group officially broke up, and formed the group The Neville Brothers with three of his brothers. In 2018 The Meters were honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and they have been nominated and lost four times for an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ironside was a TV series about a retired San Francisco police detective who had been shot by a sniper and was paralyzed from the waist down. The NBC crime drama starred Raymond Burr and aired from 1967 to 1975. In 1971, for the show's fifth season, composer and producer Quincy Jones was commissioned to create a new theme song for the show. Jones also scored the entire sound track for the 2-hour season opener and the first eight episodes of the season. The iconic theme song marked the first time that a synthesizer-based theme song was used for a television show. A full 4-minute version of the song appeared on the Quincy Jones 1971 album Smackwater Jack. The Ironside theme song has been sampled well over a hundred times in songs across many genres of music from hip-hop to reggae to electronic. The notorious siren sample from Ironside was also prominently used in Quentin Tarentino's American martial arts film Kill Bill, in both volume 1 and 2, from 1993 and 1994.
In 1939 Bing Crosby first recorded the classic Irish folk standard When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. The song was published in 1912, and written by vaudeville composer Ernest R. Ball and lyricists George Graff Junior and Chauncey Olcott. In 1913, Olcott performed the song in the unsuccessful play The Isle O' Dreams. The play set in Ireland in 1799 opened at New York City's Grand Opera House and shut down in less then a month. In 1923, during World War I, the song was recorded by Irish tenor John McCormack, but it wasn't until Bing Crosby's 1939 recording that the song gained widespread popularity. In April 1943 When Irish Eyes Are Smiling was the subject of a copyright dispute that was settled by The Supreme Court of the United States. In 1949, Bing Crosby performed the now popular song with actress Ann Blyth in the film Top O' The Morning. The song is now in the public domain. Smiling with your eyes has come to be known as a Smize - a neologism that has gained popularity the past couple years as people have had their faces covered with masks.
El Chicano was a "Chicano soul" band (also known as brown-eyed soul") that formed in Los Angeles, California in 1970. That year their first album produced their first major hit with the album's title track Viva Tirado. The song topped the charts in Los Angeles for over three months straight. Viva Tirado was a cover of a song about a bullfighter by big band trumpeter and composer Gerald Wilson. The Spanish/Mexican theme was not uncommon for Wilson, who's compositions were often inspired by the love for his Mexican-American wife of over 50 years. El Chicano's name was derived from the emerging Chicano Movement in the growing Mexican-American community. The band El Chicano formed a year after Santana's 1969 self-titled debut album, which featured the hit songs Jingo and Evil Ways. In August 1969, Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana enjoyed instant fame when his band's manager, the legendary concert promoter Bill Graham, secured a spot for the new unknown group Santana to perform at the Woodstock music festival.
In 1959, Brazilian singer Joao Gilberto recorded Chega de Saudade (also known in English as No More Blues) for his first album of the same name. Chega de Saudade is considered the first recorded bossa nova song, and the album is considered the first bossa nova album. Gilberto actually first recorded the song 2 years before - he played guitar on a less successful first recording of Chenga de Saudade by Brazilian singer and actress Elizete Cardosa. The song was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and lyricist Vinicius de Moraes. In 1962, the two songwriters composed the seminal bossa nova classic The Girl From Impanema. Chega de Saudade launched Gilberto's career, and it sparked a worldwide bossa nova sensation. In 2000, Gilberto's version of Chega de Saudade was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. And in 2001, in the first year of the Latin Grammys, Gilberto's influential first album was in the first group of 17 recordings inducted into the Latin Grammys Hall of Fame.
In 1950, blues legend Muddy Waters released Rollin' Stone, it was his first release on Chess Records. The song is a variation of the 1920's traditional blues song known as Catfish Blues, an early favorite of Waters'. Waters had recored in Chicago since 1943, he was signed to Okeh (a subsidiary of Columbia Records) before moving to Aristocrat. In 1950, Aristocrat became Chess - Rollin' Stone was the second release for new label. It was Water's first successful recording, and it's sales allowed for him to quit his day job. In 1951, Waters used the Rollin' Stone melody on his follow-up record Still A Fool, which charted and sold even better. Waters is one of the most influential musicians ever, and his music is credited with influencing rock music and other genres. In 1962, the song Rollin' Stone is said to have inspired the name for rock group The Rolling Stones. Waters died in 1983, and in 2000 Rollin' Stone was appropriately acknowledged with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award.
"If you like to lounge