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12 Great Love Songs from 1978

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1978 Love Songs 02

1978 was the year of the 50th Academy Awards, and Annie Hall beat out Star Wars for Best Picture; The Doobie Brothers make a guest appearance on ABC’s What’s Happening!!, and The Blues Brothers made their first appearance on Saturday Night Live.  A host of iconic television shows made their debut in 1978, like Fantasy Island, Dallas, The Incredible Hulk, 20/20, Taxi, Mork & Mindy, WKRP in Cincinnati, Diff’rent Strokes and Battlestar Gallactica, while other 70s classics like The Six Million Dollar Man, Maude and Columbo came to an end.

In music, Saturday Night Fever became a cultural phenomenon; Grace Slick leaves Jefferson Starship and Van Halen released their debut self-titled album. The film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band featuring The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton bombed at the box office in 1978, while the movie-musical Grease became the highest grossing film of the year.

Below are twelve of the best love songs of 1978, most by artists that had no footprint a decade earlier.  Half of the love songs on the list were released in August of that year.  Scroll to the bottom of the list, click play, and relive the love of 1978.

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“Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel

Rumor has it that this classic love song – written by Billy Joel himself – was not a personal favorite, and it was at the urging of Linda Ronstadt – who happened to be in the studio at the time – that Billy recorded it at all..  Lucky she did, as it was to be Billy Joel’s first Top 10 hit.  Initially reaching the Top 40 in December of 1977, it climbed to #3 in early 1978 and held that position for two weeks.

“Always And Forever” by Heatwave

Perhaps one of the most popular slow dance songs of the late 1970s and the 1980s at proms and weddings, it never actually scratched the Top 10 although it is still one of the most recognizable ballads of the era.  “Always And Forever” stalled at #18 on the Billboard Pop Top 40 charts and #16 on the R&B charts.

“The Closer I Get To You” by Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway

The first of three duets on this list, “The Closer I Get To You” is a tender and romantic ballad, bordering on sexy-time.  Flack and Hathaway are well matched, and the chemistry is undeniable, making the lyrical dialogue believable and beautiful.  This tune came one short of the top spot, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Top 40.

“Count On Me” by Jefferson Starship

“Count On Me” is the most notable song of the Jefferson Starship album Earth, released in 1977.  The single reached the Top 40 on March 25 of 1978, reaching #8.  This piano driven song features Marty Balin on lead vocal, and as the title suggests, has the singer pledging that his love can count on him and his love.

“You’re The One That I Want” by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John

This duet from the motion picture soundtrack of Grease is pure fun.  It is a playful love song which makes an innocuous jest at the “shape up or ship out” theme, while, being a duet, has the back-and-forth of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John joining in unison at the end, reassuring “you’re the one that I want”.  This upbeat sing-along classic topped the charts at #1 in 1978.

“Love Is In The Air” by John Paul Young

Disco, disco, disco!  This 1978 one-hit-wonder might just make you spontaneously start dancing to its infectious electro tambourine rhythm in a Carlton Banks kind of way (it was later actually covered by Tom Jones).  It’s 1970s cheese at its best, fun and danceable and a true hustle song, while its lyrics rejoice in love.  “Love Is In The Air” made it into the Top 10, reaching #7 on the Pop charts.

“Got To Get You Into My Life” by Earth, Wind & Fire

This funked-up love song was written by Paul McCartney and originally recorded by The Beatles in 1966, and although never released as a single, remained a standard on the McCartney touring set list.  The 1978 Earth, Wind & Fire version was featured in the flop film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that same year, but was so awesome it reached #9 on the Pop chart and #1 on the R&B chart. In spite of the awful movie from whence it came, this is a powerful, semi-danceable mega-hit, and a lyrically perfect love song.

“Kiss You All Over” by Exile

A number one single in the United States for four weeks, “Kiss You All Over” is a 70s Soft Rock classic, and as the title suggests, it promises a shower of kisses amongst other things.  Certainly one of the sillier songs on this list, it is nonetheless an undeniably loving-sentiment love song, and its chart position clearly reflects the music tastes of 1978.

“Whenever I Call You “Friend”” by Kenny Loggins (with Stevie Nicks)

The third duet on this list, the unlikely one-time teaming of Kenny Loggins and Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks created an upbeat fun and super happy love song.  Stevie was never actually credited on the single, which reached #5 on the Pop Top 40, making this Kenny Loggins first solo appearance on the Billboard Top 40 charts.  The back and forth lyrical dialogue is bouncy and uplifting, especially the catchy chorus.  This one is easily one of my personal favorites, and pure 1978 love. J

“You Needed Me” by Anne Murray

Another number one hit from 1978, “You Needed Me” is a bit more melancholy, with its theme being that of unconditional undeserved love.  At the same time, from the side of the subject, it sure is nice to be appreciated. This would prove to be the last tune from Canadian songstress Anne Murray to break the Top 10 on the U.S. Top 40 Billboard charts.

“Right Down The Line” by Gerry Rafferty

This 1978 love song from former Stealers Wheel front man Gerry Rafferty is really a hidden gem.  It is certainly steeped in a very 70s sound, while its lyrics speak to an unending and unwavering love that will, as the tile states, remain right down the line.  One of the more clever love songs ever written, it makes for a great dedication, and rightfully reached #12 in late 1978.

“I Just Wanna Stop” by Gino Vannelli

A great slow dance, and a great love song, with this disclaimer; the opening line sings “When I think about those nights in Montreal”, alluding to a specific experience with a proper noun named city.  I’ve avoided this scenario in all of the previous love songs, but let this one slip because – aside from affairs in Montreal – this is a classic 1978 love song.  Vanelli happened to be born in Montreal, Quebec, which is perhaps why this tune soared to #1 on the Canadian charts, while stalling at #4 in the U.S.

So there you have it, a dozen of the greatest love songs of 1978.  Each song has been sifted with care, listening to the lyrics again and again to ensure they sang of only the best kind of feel-good fuzzy love.  The songs are listed in the order of their appearance on the U.S. Billboard Top 40 chart, and are among some of the best love songs of the 1970s.

Love the love…

-Craig


Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.








Cutting Edge @ July 28, 2014

Sharon and Nathan’s Knowlton Mansion Wedding

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Bride and Groom

I am very grateful to get the opportunity to work with so many awesome people – weekend after weekend – just like Sharon and Nathan, the bride and groom from this wedding. Sharon and Nathan were laid back and their primary concern was with making sure that their friends and family had a great time at their wedding reception. At our wrap up meeting just prior to the wedding, we spent a lot of time going over the music for the ceremony, dinner, and dancing. We sat together for a while just listening to music and looking for the perfect grand entrance, cake cutting, and parent dance songs. The best part of my job is getting to know my clients and share in their excitement for their big day, and sitting down with them face to face really gives me the chance to do just that.

This wedding was a lot of fun to be a part of as the Wedding DJ, and the energy of the bride, groom and all their guests was contagious. I have worked with some brides and grooms in the past that sometime worry that not many guests will dance, because they are shy or just not big dancers – when I hear that I always smile, because most times these couples underestimate their guests. People do not get all dressed up in their fancy suits or dresses to just sit at their table and listen to music; they came to have a great time and because they love you and want to celebrate your special day with you. I feel it is up to me to make sure I create that fun, relaxed environment to allow people to let loose and party hard. Now of course the bartender always helps us out, we will never deny that, and once the party begins it’s the DJ that makes sure all of the guests are out there, whether they are dancing, singing along, or just clapping their hands off to the side, I know they’re having a good time. In my opinion, once the party is over – and days, weeks, months and even years go by, you may forget what you ate, you may forget what you wore, there is even a good chance you may forget what kind of music we played, but you should always be able to remember the great time you had.

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As always I enjoyed working with Tiffany from Tiffany Atlas Wedding Photography, and I look forward to working with her again in the future. She is very talented and was great to work alongside with. Thank you for letting me feature these images for the readers of our blog to see. As always, the staff at Knowlton Mansion and Conroy Catering did an outstanding job. The entire staff there is amazing and I enjoy working with them. And of course, it is pretty easy to have a good party when you are working with a great couple like Sharon and Nathan. Thank you again for having us be a part of your wedding day, it was my pleasure to be your Wedding DJ!

-Richie

Images courtesy of Atlas Wedding Photography


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Wedding DJ and Lighting
Philadelphia







Cutting Edge @ July 23, 2014

12 Great Love Songs from 1977

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Love Songs from 1977

It was the year of a 25 hour blackout in New York City and the release of the Atari 2600 game system. British Airways inaugurated regular London to New York City supersonic Concorde service, while Reggie Jackson led the New York Yankees to a World Series Win over the L.A. Dodgers and the Toronto Blue Jays played their first baseball game. It is also the year Quarterback Tom Brady was born.

In 1977, Disco was in full swing, the Punk scene was just emerging (The Sex Pistols were kicked from two record labels that year), and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was released to become the then best selling album of all time. Bands Van Halen, The Police, The Cars and Devo are signed to record labels, while three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd – including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant – are killed in an airplane crash. 1977 was also the year we lost crooner Bing Crosby and the King, Elvis Presley, left the building.

Yet love found a way in 1977, and several notable musical babies were born that year like Jason Mraz, Shakira, John Mayer, Fiona Apple, Kanye West and Robin Thicke. Check out the list below for twelve great love songs from the third to the last decade of the 1970s, and scroll down to click play so you might listen as you reminisce.

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“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” by Leo Sayer

This tune won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1978. It actually debuted on the Pop Top 40 charts in November of 1976 and topped the U.S. and Canadian Billboard charts at #1 in 1977. It’s a fun and flirtatious love song that’s one part Disco and two parts Pop, and its repeated chorus which merely repeats the title is infectious. What better way to express the elation of love than the title (and chorus) of this tune?

“After The Lovin’” by Engelbert Humperdinck

This sentimental love song is a slow dance classic, and was the last U.S. Top 40 appearance of the peculiarly named artist Engelbert Humperdinck. It’s arrangement, tone and lyrics have a distinctly Popular Standard sound, which, although a #8 Top 40 hit of 1977, makes this powerful love ballad virtually timeless.

“Evergreen (Love Theme from ‘A Star Is Born’)” by Barbra Streisand

This moving love song was penned by Paul Williams for the 1976 motion picture A Star Is Born and delivered by the brilliant voice of Barbra Streisand. This 1977 hit was Streisand’s second #1 Top 40 Billboard chart hit, and its lyrics transcend the trap of a movie theme or song, singing of the glory and awe of good love, ageless and ever green.

“Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney & Wings

Written as a dedication to his wife Linda, McCartney wrote this love song in 1969, originally releasing it in 1970 on his album McCartney, which was never released as a single and hence never charted. It was the live version from the album Wings over America that was released as a single on February 4, 1977 climbing to its peak position of #10 on the charts that year.

“When I Need You” by Leo Sayer

The second love song on this list by British singer Leo Sayer, and his second #1 song on the Pop Top 40 charts (two in one year; not too shabby). The lyrics – while unquestionably vowing love – suggest some sort of long-distance relationship with the sentiment being that with a little patience and time the lovers will come together, but their love remains unwavering.

“I Just Want To Be Your Everything” by Andy Gibb

This was the first U.S. single to be released by non-Bee Gees brother Andy Gibb, where it debuted on the Billboard Top 40 in late May of 1977, reaching the top of the charts in late June and holding the position for a non-consecutive four weeks, being bumped by “Best Of My Love” by The Emotions for a week only to return to the #1 spot the week after. A great love song, and a declaration of boundless love.

“(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher”

A Top 10 hit for Jackie Wilson in 1967, it reached #6 on the Pop Top 40. Ten years later, with a slightly different title, Rita Coolidge covered the Soul classic, almost entirely omitting the chorus of the original Jackie Wilson version. This more mid-tempo version from 1977 reached the #2 spot and was the Top 40 debut for 70s songstress Rita Coolidge.

“Best Of My Love” by The Emotions

The 1977 Disco hit “Best Of My Love” was written by the members of Earth, Wind & Fire, and literally battled back and forth with another love song on this list – Andy Gibb’s “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” for the top spot, winning out in the end with a cumulative five weeks at #1. The title sums up the theme of this love song with a catchy chorus and endearing love lyrics.

“Just Remember I Love You” by Firefall

The 1970s Soft-Rock group Firefall reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts with this love song, but failed to break the Pop Top 10, stalling at #11. Regardless, as the title suggests, this love song falls into the “I’ll be there for you no matter what” sub-genre of love songs (a popular theme), with a love-filled uplifting message of encouragement.

“You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone

Debby Boone loved the Lord, or at least that’s what she claims she was thinking of when she recorded this song. Whether love for the Lord or a dedication to a beloved or betrothed, this mega-hit from 1977 spent ten weeks in the #1 Billboard Top 40 charts, the first to do so since Elvis Presley did it in 1956 with “Don’t Be Cruel”. This love song won Debby Grammys for Best New Artist and Song of the Year (tied with Barbara Streisand’s “Evergreen (Love Theme from ‘A Star Is Born’)”).

“How Deep Is Your Love” by The Bee Gees

“How Deep Is Your Love” was the first single to be released from the soundtrack of the motion picture Saturday Night Fever, prior to the release of the film. An anthem of the Disco sub-culture of the 1970s, this love song remained in the Top 10 for a record-breaking seventeen consecutive weeks, and holding the #1 spot on the Pop Top 40 for three weeks.

“You Make Loving Fun” by Fleetwood Mac

Written and performed by Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, and the fourth Top 10 hit from the album Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. “You Make Loving Fun” was arguably Fleetwood Mac’s dip into the Disco pool, while receiving strong Rock radio airplay. The title suggests what we sometimes forget, that love should be made fun. Although “You Make Loving Fun” broke the Top 10, it stalled at a peak #9 position on the Pop Top 40 Billboard charts.

 

This list of 12 love songs from 1977 are listed in order of their appearance on the Top 40 charts, and have been carefully checked and re-checked for any lyrics that might suggest heartache, breakup, lost love or infidelity, leaving some of only the very best love songs of the year. Any of these tunes would make for a great dedication of love, with over half of them being #1 hits, proving that love was as popular as ever.

Love the love…

-Craig


Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.






Cutting Edge @ July 21, 2014

10 Great Love Songs from 1976

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1976 Love Songs

The 1976th year of the Common Era was the Bicentennial of the creation of the United States of America as an independent republic, marking 200 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the same city in 1976, the Philadelphia Flyers ice hockey team defeated the Soviet “Red Army” team in a famous exhibition game 4-1.

That same year, a man by the name of Steve Jobs formed the Apple Computer Company, gambling was legalized in Atlantic City, New Jersey  and the space shuttle Enterprise was first rolled out of its hangar for the world to see.

In music, The Beatles declined an offer of $30 million to reunite for one concert, while groups like The Band, Deep Purple, Three Dog Night and Ike & Tina Turner would disband.  In the same year, newly formed music groups of 1976 like The B-52’s, U2, The Clash, Ratt, Foreigner and The Cure would ready themselves to take the stage as the decade marched inevitably toward the 80s.

The following ten tunes are some of the purest love songs to populate the Top 40 charts in 1976, with eleven of them achieving Top 10 status.  Scroll down, press play, and fill your ears with the love of 1976.

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“You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate

Initially, the British Group Hot Chocolate didn’t believe this tune was hit material and released it as a B-side.  Later in 1975 it was re-released and rocketed to #3 on the Pop charts. This fun and distinctively sounding 70s love song with its blend of Pop and funk has been used in dozens of movies, television shows and advertisements and although the title may me somewhat misleading, the lyrics reveal an undeniably loving sentiment.

“Love Machine (Part 1)” by The Miracles

Released in late 1975, “Love Machine” rocketed to #1 in early 1976, and although it only remained there for one week, it became the Miracles biggest selling single of all time remarkably after Smokey Robinson had left the group.   Using a machine metaphor, it’s fun lyrics and Disco beat make playful comparisons like “when I think of you I blow a fuse” and “to turn me on just set my dial” with the repeating chorus proclaiming “my body won’t work for nobody but you”.

“Love To Love You Baby” by Donna Summer

If there were ever Disco royalty, the Queen would certainly be the talented and beautiful Donna Summer.  “Love To Love You Baby” is part Disco and part sexy-time with Donna’s sultry moans and breathy seductive lyrics throughout the song.  It’s a baby-making love song for sure, and an impressive Top 40 debut for Donna Summer, released in late 1975 and peaking in 1976 at #2 on the Pop charts and #3 on the R&B

“Let Your Love Flow” by The Bellamy Brothers

The Pop Top 40 charts of the 1970s certainly had their share of Country music flavor, and this 1976 love song by the Country duo The Bellamy Brothers is no exception.  “Let Your Love Flow” is a catchy foot-stomping tune, and its chorus encourages us to embrace all that is amazing about love.  It’s no surprise that this upbeat Country/Rock love song climbed its way to the top of the charts reaching #1 on the Billboard Pop charts.

“Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney & Wings

Somewhere between being a Beatle and becoming a Knight, Paul McCartney wrote this silly love song.  Legend has it that this is actually a response song to former Beatles band mate John Lennon, who teased McCartney publicly for writing lightweight songs.  This #1 Billboard hit is much more than a love song, but a song about love songs, repeating the verse “I love you” (by both Paul and Linda McCartney) over and over interspersed with pure love praises.  What’s wrong with that?  No Paul, we’ve not had enough of silly love songs at all.

“Love Hangover” by Diana Ross

Former Supreme Diana Ross was keeping up with the times releasing this steamy Disco hit in 1976, which speaks of love as a malade that she just doesn’t want a cure for.  “Love Hangover” begins slowly and sultry, but after a minute breaks into an up-tempo Disco beat.  “Love Hangover” achieved the #1 spot on both the Pop and R&B charts in 1976.

“Love Is Alive” by Gary Wright

Gary Wright is likely better remembered by his #2 hit “Dream Weaver”, released in 1975 and reached #2 in 1976 on the album of the same name, but “Love Is Alive” – which also charted at #2 – is the true love song, albeit musically it’s a bit edgy.  “Love Is Alive” may have been a hit in 1976, but was unquestionably a glimpse into an 80s sound just around the corner.

“Baby I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton

Peter Frampton’s double live album Frampton Comes Alive! was the best selling album of 1976, with “Baby I Love Your Way” being the lowest charting of all the singles released from that album, coming is at #12 on the Billboard charts.  Frampton’s first hit off that album, “Show Me The Way” which charted at #6  almost made this list, but a few verses seemed suspect so in the end it was cut from the final draft.  “Baby I Love Your Way” was clearly the love song of the three.

“Still The One” by Orleans

This tune is all 70s, and unsurprisingly was a #5 Billboard hit in 1976.  It’s one of the hardest rocking Soft Rock tunes of the era, and its entire theme is pretty much summed up in the line “I want you to know after all these years, you’re still the one I want whispering in my ear”.  It speaks of mature, tried and true love and less to new love, but good love all the same.  In 1977 and 1978 it was used as the ABC television jingle… It was just that 70s.

“You Are The Woman” by Firefall

Seventies Soft Rock with flute… hard to get cheesier than that, yet it was 1976 cheesy was in vogue and this love song rose to the #9 spot on Billboard’s Pop Top charts.  As cheese ball as it may have been, the lyrics are actually quite endearing, making this tune a shoe-in for the list.  “You Are The Woman” was Firefall’s Top 40 debut, and they would return again in 1977 with yet another lyrically endearing yet musically cheesy love song, full of 1970s je ne sais quoi.

So there you have it; ten great love songs of 1976 in the order of their appearance on the Top 40 charts of that year.  Each song has been vetted and listened to (again and again) with the lyrics read and scrutinized to weed out any troubled love like breakups, infidelity, done-me-wrong or lost love lyrics, leaving only happy fuzzy snugly 1976 love songs.

Love the love…

-Craig


Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.






Cutting Edge @ July 14, 2014

The Cairnwood Wedding of Lauren and John

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bride and groom wedding dj

April is always a busy month for Cutting Edge Entertainment, and this past April was no exception. Cairnwood is by far one of my favorite venues; I like the staff, the venue, and the fact that it’s located only a few short minutes drive from our office. However, the thing I like most about Cairnwood is that each and every wedding or party I do there is uniquely different. In other words, it never gets boring at Cairnwood. There are so many different caterers, decorators, planners, florists and other event professionals that all bring their own individual style, enhancing the event and adding something new and different to each event I do there.

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Lauren and John were a really fun couple to work with, and we had a blast at our wrap up meeting a couple weeks prior to the wedding. The meeting we had lasted about two hours and I believe it was good for Lauren and John to get to know me better and gain confidence in my ability to rock out their wedding. For me, getting to know them was more like making new friends than working with a client, and as it turned out we had so much in common.

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Their wedding was one of the highlights of my month, and by the pictures featured here you can tell this was one great crowd. Of course when I DJ a wedding I consider it a team effort, and the wedding can not be successful unless all of the wedding professionals work in sync. The caterer for the wedding was Karen Spire Catering, and Kevin from Kevin York Photography did an awesome job capturing the images of the event. Kevin is a superstar photographer that does great work. Finally, a successful wedding can’t be complete without the bride and groom, and Lauren and John were perfect.

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A few weeks after their wedding the bride and groom posted the following testimonial on The Knot:

Richie Abrams rocked our wedding!! He is the best! Very helpful and personable. He really knows his stuff!! He took the time to help us pick our music, to make our wedding a memorable event. He even stuck to our DO NOT PLAY LIST!! Lol All our guest were dancing and intermingling until the end. People are still raving about the great time they had!!

Thank you so much Lauren and John, and wishing you both the best of everything in your lives together as husband and wife!!

-Richie

Images courtesy of Kevin York Photography


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Cutting Edge @ July 9, 2014

12 Great Love Songs from 1975

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1975 Love Songs

The year 1975 was the beginning of the second half of the 70s decade, and the times they were a-changing. It was the year that saw the birth of the microcomputer (the Altair 8800), which would lead to the personal computer, and then the internet and eventually to this blog post.

Wheel of Fortune premiered on NBC television, as well as the first episode of Saturday Night Live. The Superdome opened in New Orleans as did Space Mountain at Walt Disney World, Florida. Peter Gabriel left Genesis, the Talking Heads made their debut at CBGB, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show opened on Broadway. There were also a few future music artists born that year including Fergie, 50 Cent, Lil’ Kim, Michael Buble, Jack Johnson, Enrique Iglesias, Lauren Hill and Andre 3000.

The love songs of 1975 included tunes from artists making their first Top 40 appearances like Minnie Riperton, Styx and Natalie Cole, as well as familiar names like Frankie Valli, Neil Sedaka and Joe Cocker to name a few.

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“You’re The First, The Last, My Everything” by Barry White

Disco love!! Each verse drips with syrupy soul love in this Barry White hit that entered the Top 40 in late 1974 peaking at #2 on the Pop Top 40 in early 1975. Remarkably, “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything” was written as a Country song in 1953, and went unrecorded for 21 years.

“Laughter In The Rain” by Neil Sedaka

“Laughter In The Rain” is a story song, as Neil Sedaka sings of a walk in the rain with the girl he loves. This was the second of three #1 Top 40 hits for the prolific singer/songwriter/arranger Neil Sedaka. Although this number made its first appearance on the charts in November of 1974, it remained on the charts for 15 weeks taking it well into 1975.

“Some Kind Of Wonderful” by Grand Funk

First appearing in the Top 40 in late December of 1974, “Some Kind Of Wonderful” is the hardest rocking love song of 1975 on this list. Everything about this rocker screams love, while, other than the Disco tunes on this list, is one of the most danceable Rock love songs of the 1970s. Grand Funk rode the railroad all the way to #3 with this great 1975 love song.

“Lady” by Styx

“Lady” was the first song ever written by Styx lead singer Dennis DeYoung (written for his wife), and the first Top 40 hit for the band Styx. It reached #6 on the charts in early 1975, and its popular title is not to be confused with “Lady” by The Little River Band, Kenny Rogers, or The Commodores (same title, completely different songs) just to name a few.

“You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker

His highest chart hit to date, “You Are So Beautiful” is an undeniable classic, and although it never utters the word “love”, it succeeds at establishing its heartfelt sentiment in less than three minutes. Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” rose to #5 on the Billboard Top 40 charts in 1975, and is still a popular tune at weddings today.

“Lovin’ You” by Minnie Riperton

Whether because of the chirping birds, or the high pitched voice of Minnie Riperton, this is unquestionably one of the most recognized love songs of the 70s era (and perhaps most cliché and parodied). Nevertheless, it is one of my favorites, and an a.m. radio hit that topped the charts at #1. Sadly, it would be the only chart hit for Riperton, who would die of cancer four years later.

“Love Won’t Let Me Wait” by Major Harris

This 1975 love song was a one hit wonder and the only solo chart hit for Major Harris, former member of the R&B group The Delfonics. It rose to the #5 position on the Top 40 charts, and went certified gold in the summer of 1975. The female moaning makes this tender track a bit steamy, but its love sentiment remains undeniable.

“Swearin’ To God” by Frankie Valli

Part Disco, part Rock, and all love. This was a solo hit for Frankie Valli, front man for the famed 60s New Jersey group The 4 Seasons. “Swearin’ To God” is a pseudo-duet featuring Patti Austin singing a response in the bridge of the song. This silly love song got all the way to #6 in 1975.

“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” by James Taylor

In 1964, Marvin Gaye took this tune to #6 on the Pop Top 40, and eleven years later, it would be James Taylor who one-upped Marvin’s version, taking this catchy Pop classic to #5. This version also includes Carly Simon on accompanying vocals and David Sanborn on Saxophone, and – as always – shows off Taylor’s unique blue-eyed soul style.

“Dance With Me” by Orleans

The title of this love song is a metaphor for love, and uses variations of that metaphor throughout. From references of “I want to be your partner” and “the music is just starting”, to “let it lift you off the ground”. The “dance” represents the romance in this, the first Top 40 hit for the 70s Soft Rock group Orleans, which reached the #6 position in 1975.

“Who Loves You” by The Four Seasons

Somewhat of a rhetorical question, “Who Loves You” was the first 4 Seasons Top 40 chart hit in eight years, making it a tremendous comeback hit reaching #3 on the Pop Top 40. The song’s “I’ll be there for you come rain or shine” theme is nothing new, but this fresh take on the concept by this 60s Doo Wop group is a refreshing foot-tapping Disco-esq love song.

“This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole

This soulful love song is the first Pop Top 40 appearance for Natalie Cole, daughter of Nat “King” Cole (making her music royalty). Repeating the word “love” more times than I can count, the title says it all. “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love” stalled at #6 on the Pop charts, but could and should have gone farther. Almost timeless, it is used still today in movies and television, and is a wedding classic.

All of the love songs on this list were arranged in order of their appearance on the Billboard Pop Top 40 charts. All have been carefully listened to again and again to be certain they sang of true love. No heartache, no done-me-wrong, and no jealousy exists in any lyric or line, making them some of the best love songs of 1975.

Love the love…

-Craig


Post Script: It was with great sadness that I had to omit the song “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain & Tennille from this list, but it seemed the subject of the love in the lyrics had a bit too much of a roaming eye for other women.


Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.








Cutting Edge @ July 7, 2014

“I Got A Name” The Jim Croce Story

Musicology Comments (3)

Jim Croce

More a memoir than a biography, “I Got A Name” The Jim Croce Story was authored by Jim’s widow, Ingrid Croce, and I absolutely loved it. Admittedly, I made the mistake of reading a few reviews of the book before writing my own summation, and I found some of them interesting at best, but although they did not sway my own opinion of the book, yet, they are worth addressing.

First, in a general consensus of reviews I read, the resounding opinion is that this book is biased, because it was weighed heavily from Ingrid’s perspective.  To this I say of course it is.  I suppose it might have been more aptly titled “I Got A Name” My Life With Jim Croce, because that is what it was, and I didn’t really expect otherwise.  I’ve read enough memoirs by former wives to know this is par the course, and to expect an unbiased perspective, you’d better not turn to spouses.  For that matter, the author of any book will inevitably write in their own voice and from their own perspective.

Secondly, some reviews whined that she painted an “unfair” picture of Jim Croce.  Well, in the classic words of Colonel Jessup played by Jack Nicholson from the movie A Few Good Men… “You can’t handle the truth”.  Jim Croce was a music superstar, and as history has proven time and time again, stars of the music world are often far from angelic.  No, Jim wasn’t always the happy fuzzy Jim we would all like to believe he was, but an immensely talented individual haunted by all too familiar demons that populate that path.  Additionally he was a human being, and not an immortal and untouchable icon.

And that’s the charm of this book.

I don’t love Jim Croce any less than I did before finding out he was mortal and flawed, it only helped me to understand him more.  I also understand what kind of a woman Ingrid Croce was, and I enjoyed getting to know her as well.  This book isn’t about Jim Croce the Superstar, it’s about a man who was a husband, a father, and who struggled desperately to express himself, which – outside of his music – was apparently challenging, making the songs he wrote that much more sincere and endearing.

As for the book, it’s great, and more importantly, it’s necessary.  It’s been over 40 years since the tragic death of this beloved singer/songwriter, and if there are to be future biographies, Ingrid Croce’s memoir will serve as an invaluable resource.  From their cute and romantic first meeting, all through their courtship and marriage and finally Jim’s end, there are facts and memories in this bio that opened my eyes to Croce and the music world he lived in.

I don’t believe – had Jim lived – that he and Ingrid would have stayed together.  She was a communicator, and he was not, and that makes for a troubled marriage.  But them again, I’m no marriage counselor.  Ingrid may have actually loved Jim to a fault, but in his life she stuck by his side and put up with some unnecessary behaviors, but she loved him just the same.  I also believe he loved her as well in his own tortured artist kind of way, which takes a very special person to tolerate as Ingrid tried so desperately to do.

The real eye-opener was Jim’s reluctance to stand up to his record label and management, and their blatant mistreatment of Jim and the strain that put upon him.  Ingrid touches on that in the epilogue, alluding to concluded legal battles.  I hope for the Croce family’s sake she cleaned them out because they were truly less than human. They deserve nothing (if not very little) from Jim’s creativity after raking him over the coals for years paying him pennies on the dollar.  You get em’ Ingrid.

As for my own thoughts on Jim, I’ll borrow a verse from Elton John’s “Candle In The Wind”, as song is the language Jim understood best.

It seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind
Never knowing who to cling to
When the rain set in
And I would have liked to have known you
But I was just a kid
Your candle burned out long before
Your legend ever did

Heck, I’m really no book reviewer, just a lover of music (and books), and like the Elton John lyric says, I was just a kid, and my childhood was populated with characters like Bad, Bad Leroy Brown and a guy named Jim who you’d ought not mess around with, and these characters of my pre-adolescence are as beloved to me as Baloo the Bear, Indiana Jones or Godzilla.  It was the 70s, and Jim’s characters and songs were part of the cultural fabric and remain so even today.

Thank you Ingrid for this book, and thank you Jim for writing some of my favorite songs.  And if you love the music of Jim Croce, and you want to learn more, this is not only a great book to pick up.

-Craig






Cutting Edge @ July 2, 2014

10 Great Love Songs from 1974

Musicology, Song Lists Comments (2)

1974 Love Songs

In 1974, Captain and Tennille were married while Cher filed for divorce from Sonny Bono. Van Halen played their first gig on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, and The Ramones played their first gig at CBGB in New York City. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac, Journey was signed to Columbia Records and KISS released their debut album.

Love was certainly in the air in 1974, and quite popular at that. All ten songs on this list were Top 10 hits, four of them reaching #1 on the Billboard Pop Top 40 charts. Each of the ten love songs have been carefully selected for their lyrical purity. No breakups, no “love lost”, no scorn or heartache, just lots and lots of love.

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“Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up” by Barry White

Part love song, and part bow-chicka-bow-bow , Barry White and his distinctive voice were a powerful force of love in the 1970s, and this tune is likely responsible for many, many subsequent births in late 1974. “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up” was technically released in late 1973, but peaked at #7 in 1974 and was part of a barrage of funky loving love songs from Barry White in the early part of the 1970s.

“Hooked On A Feeling” by Blue Swede

This is a song etched in the subconscious “Ooga-Chaka, Ooga-Ooga, Ooga Chaka…”, and is certainly one of the silliest fun love songs not just of the 1970s, but even today. The original recording was by B.J. Thomas and released in 1969, reaching #5, yet the Blue Swede version is the most recognized and most often used in film and television. Blue Swede’s version topped the charts at #1 in 1974, and was later covered again in an even sillier version by David Hasselhoff.

“Best Think That Ever Happened To Me” by Gladys Knight & The Pips

The title of this Gladys Knight classic sums up the sentiment of this 1974 love song in a simple phrase. This tune is not only a beautiful love song, but would absolutely make a perfect choice as a dedication for anything from anniversary to wedding first dance, and anything in-between. Ray Price took “Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” to #1 on the Country charts in 1973, while Gladys Knight & The Pips made it their own, reaching #1 R&B and #5 Top 40 on the charts in 1974.

“I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song” by Jim Croce

This tender love song was written by Jim Croce for his wife Ingrid, and is probably the best song ever written for those guys who struggle for just the right way to say it. “I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song” was released posthumously in 1974, as Jim Croce was killed in an airplane crash a year earlier. It reached #9 on the U.S. Billboard Top 40, remaining in the Top 40 for eleven weeks.

“Midnight at the Oasis” by Maria Muldaur

Okay, so this one’s a little out there as far as love songs go, but it’s also one of my favorites. The whole song is lyrically analogous, and thematically metaphorical. It dances in playful love wordplay where a desert oasis becomes a lover’s getaway. With arabesque references like “I’ll be your belly dancer and you can be my Sheik” and “You won’t need no harem when I’m by your side”, it’s a clever and cute take on the love song. This one landed a #6 chart position in 1974, and is also unique due to its Jazz styling, uncommon to the Pop charts in the 1970s.

“You Make Me Feel Brand New” by The Stylistics

The last Top 10 hit for the Philadelphia based group The Stylistics, this is a phenomenally endearing love song, and a dance floor favorite (particularly in Philadelphia). This is a heartfelt and romantic tune, with a expresses sincere sentiment of appreciation for the subject of the song’s love. “You Make Me Feel Brand New” peaked at #2 on the Pop Top 40 in early 1974.

“The Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies

This killer love song was covered by countless artists since, but it was in 1974 that The Hollies that made the biggest impression with this tune charting at #6 in the U.S., #5 in Canada and #2 in the U.K. As far love songs go, to say “All I need is the air that I breathe and to love you” is a pretty profound statement in itself. That particular lyric aside, the entire song is a bold and powerful statement of love, and was an a.m. radio favorite in the summer of 1974.

“Feel Like Makin’ Love” by Roberta Flack

This one’s tricky. The title is an accurate sentiment, but a bit misleading as to the theme of the song. In 1974, Roberta Flack’s smash hit “Feel Like Makin’ Love” shot to #1, perhaps helped by its risqué title (yes, “Makin’ Love” as a song title was somewhat risqué in 1974). Yet it’s not the chorus or title, it’s the verses that make this such a beautiful love song… the ‘thing’ that cause you to feel like makin’ love like strolling in the park, watching the seasons change, hearing your sweet voice and feeling your touch. All the romantic gobbledygook that love is made of.

“Then Came You” by The Spinners with Dionne Warwick

From the first note, this tune says bouncy upbeat love song, and moving along is a celebratory declaration of love. With the powerhouse sounds of Dionne Warwick paired with The Spinners (who had a great run in the 1970s), this one is Funky Soul 70s love at its best. In 1974, “Then Came You” reached #1 on the Pop Top 40, while stalling at #2 on the R&B charts.

“Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe” by Barry White

Barry White’s second 1974 love song on our list, this one topped the Billboard Top 40 at the #1 spot. Of all the love songs in 1974, this is the one featuring a new sound, which would soon become known as Disco, and departs slightly from the typical Barry White love-making sound to something more up-beat. Yet the title says it all, and as the opening banter suggests, when it comes to love, too much of a good thing just isn’t enough when it comes to love.

The love songs on this list on this list were arranged in order of their appearance on the Billboard U.S. Pop Top 40 charts. After sorting the list, I found that Barry White songs fell into both the first and last spots chronologically, and that the last had a Disco groove, so, enter Disco to the 1970s. Yet regardless of the eclectic genres of 1974; Soft Rock, Funk, Disco, Rock, Jazz or R&B, love would continue to find its praises sang.

Love the love…

-Craig


Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.  Additionally the biography “Time In A Bottle” The Jim Croce Story by Ingrid Croce was used to reference “I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song”.






Cutting Edge @ June 30, 2014

The Aldie Mansion Wedding of Brianne and William

Client Testimonials, Weddings Comments (0)

bride and groom

Summer 2014 is here, but before 2013 is forgotten, I wanted to post a blog about a November Wedding I had the opportunity to DJ at the Aldie Mansion in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Brianne and William – the bride and groom – first contacted us after checking out our reviews online. Although looking at reviews online is nice, we recommend to all of our clients that they meet us in person before they make a final decision. Cutting Edge wedding clients have the option of locking in their personnel for no additional fee. It makes sense to us, that if you meet a DJ or see an individual perform at another event, you can lock in that specific Wedding DJ for no additional charge. There is no guessing who you will be matched up with for your wedding, instead, the name of that DJ is on the contract.

dancing 01

I have worked many times in the past at Aldie Mansion, as you may have seen in previous blog posts. It’s important that the DJ is constantly communicating with the catering staff. The goal; to ensure the party is running smoothly avoiding any unnecessary breaks (down time) in the reception. As the entertainer for the wedding, I want to make sure the crowd is either eating, taking in a traditional formality such as the first dance, cake cutting, etc., or of course, dancing. Since I have worked so many times before at Aldie Mansion, I know the party is going to have a nice flow. Brianne and William’s wedding was just that. We transitioned smoothly from cocktail hour to dinner, and then after dinner we went right into dancing. The dance floor was filled with guests the entire night. I played a variety of music from the 60s all the way up to today’s latest hits.

dancing 02

dancing 03

I’m extremely appreciative to Brianne and William for letting me be a part of their special day, and hope all their guests had a great time. I also am grateful to them for sharing these pictures to feature on our blog. I can’t end this post without also thanking the staff at Aldie Mansion. Kim and Shelly of Jeffrey Miller Catering do a fantastic job running the show. All of their maitre d’s, bartenders, and servers are first class, and I look forward to many more events at this historic and elegant venue.
A few weeks after the wedding Brianne and William were kind enough to post the following testimonial on Wedding Wire:

Richie Abrams of Cutting Edge Entertainment was the DJ for our November 16th wedding at Aldie Mansion and he did an excellent job! From the very first time we met Richie, we knew that he was going to be great to work with and would make our wedding so much fun. Richie is very funny and easy to work with and made us feel like he was truly excited to be DJing our wedding. He was completely on top of the process and helped us plan out the events of our reception, which made us feel very at ease. He played the perfect combination of songs that satisfied all the different generations and had everyone on the dance floor. We are so thrilled that we went with him for our reception and would highly recommend his services to anyone that is planning a wedding!

Wishing all the best to Brianne and William in your future together.

- DJ Richie

Images provided by the bride and groom


Aldie Mansion


Wedding DJ and Lighting
Bucks County








Cutting Edge @ June 25, 2014

10 Great Love Songs from 1973

Musicology, Song Lists Comments (0)

Love Songs from 1973

In 1973, both the World Trade Center in New York City and the Sydney Opera House in Sydney were completed, the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, the D.E.A. was founded and the Evel Knievel stunt-cycle was the biggest selling toy of the year.

In music news, a band called Aerosmith released their first album; Elvis Presley rocked Hawaii in a televised concert and the immensely gifted and talented up-and-coming singer/songwriter Jim Croce lost his life in an airplane crash.  As for love songs, 1973 saw no shortage with both new and familiar voices filling the airwaves with love.

The following ten love songs have been carefully chosen to make certain they sang of only the best kind of  love; reciprocal, mutual, healthy and happy love.  Scroll down and press play to flash back to the love of 1973.

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“Danny’s Song” by Anne Murray

This endearing vow of love was written and recorded by Kenny Loggins, with Loggins and Messina (a great version), but it was not until it was covered by Canadian songstress Anne Murray that it broke the Top 40, climbing to #7.  Both versions are phenomenal and certainly great love songs… unless you’re a gold-digger. :)

“Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got)” by The Four Tops

This was the last tune for Levi Stubbs and the Motown super-group The Four Tops to break the Pop Top 10, going gold and reaching #7.  Clearly it’s a one-way love song (from him to her), but is clearly a declaration of love, although it can only be assumed that the love is reciprocal.

“Kissing My Love” by Bill Withers

A funked-up Bill Withers tune that sadly did not chart as high as it should have, making it a rare and lesser known gem.  The title essentially encapsulates the theme, both in how the singer feels when he kisses his love, but also assuring that the love is returned in the verse “all she wants to do is kiss and love”.  “Kissing My Love” reached #31 on the Pop and #12 on the R&B Top 40 charts in 1973.

“You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder’s third #1 hit, and a Grammy winner.  Perhaps one of the most timeless and endearing love songs of the 1970s (if not today), this chart-topper was written by Stevie himself.  Little known fact: The first two lines of this love song are delivered not by Wonder, but by Jim Gilstrap and Lani Groves, with Stevie Wonder’s vocals coming in afterward.

“My Love” by Paul McCartney & Wings

The second #1 Pop Top 40 hit on the 1973 love song list, reportedly written by Paul about his wife Linda McCartney, and was the second of nine  #1 songs in the post-Beatles career of McCartney.  The title phrase “My love” has a dual meaning, both as an expression of a feeling and a term of endearment.

“I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More” by Barry White

And then came Barry White… “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More” was White’s first Top 40 chart appearance, reaching #3 Pop and #1 R&B in the hot summer of 1973, and this tune only made it hotter.  Clearly a love song, but yet clearly a little bit more, this song established Barry White and his distinctive deep sensual voice as a between-the-sheets favorite.

“Diamond Girl” by Seals and Crofts

Quite the analogous love song, “Diamond Girl” makes many clever comparisons of its subject (“Diamond Girl”) to how she is like a precious stone, to how she shines, to how she is unearthed with cliché wordplay. This Soft Rock classic reached #6 in the summer of 1973, and lives on today as an elevator easy-listening classic.

“Just You ‘N’ Me” by Chicago

With bassist Peter Cetera on lead vocal, this 1973 Chicago love song rose to #4 on the Billboard Pop Top 40, and is an endearing song with lyrics like “You are the love of my life, you are my inspiration” and “Baby you’re everything I ever dreamed of” clearly expressing warm and fuzzy love.

“Top Of The World” by The Carpenters

The Carpenters recorded love song after love song, and this 1973 #1 hit is no exception.  Co-written by Richard Carpenter, with the angelic multi-tracked vocals of the legendary Karen Carpenter, this up-beat love song is both melodious and beautiful.  It’s a bouncy classic, fun-filled and positively love.

“Time In A Bottle” by Jim Croce

By far of the most poetic love songs of the 1970s, singer/songwriter Jim Croce sat down to write this classic in 1970 upon learning that his wife Ingrid was pregnant.  Its chilling lyrics suggest a precognition, as they suggest a desire for more time with the subject of the song’s love.  “Time In A Bottle” was released as a single in late 1973 after Croce’s untimely death earlier that year, and rose to #1 on the charts.

The list of ten love songs above has been arranged in order of their appearance on the Billboard Top 40 charts, starting with Anne Murray and finishing with the late Jim Croce.  Each song is a celebration of all that is amazing about love, with many of them still popular today.

Love the love…

-Craig


Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.





Cutting Edge @ June 23, 2014

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