Tuesday Tunes 102: Three Of Hearts

Well, I did say that this was a fruitful theme for this series, didn’t I! I said that I would probably be back for a third time, and here I am. This time I’m filling in some of the gaps for those of you who were expecting you could guess what my choices would be, but to balance those out I’m including a couple of potential surprises plus one I suspect none of you will even have heard of – either the band or the song. So, for the final time (for now) I give you: hearts.

For my usual rousing start, here is the one which I think most of you could have predicted:

Blondie included Heart Of Glass on Parallel Lines, their third album, in September 1978. Although they were an American band they were always much more successful here than in their homeland, and this album continued the trend set by their first two records, peaking at #6 in the US – still their best placing in the US albums chart – but giving them their first #1 UK album. This track was the third single taken from the album, in January 1979, and was #1 in both the US and the UK, and in several other countries too. It has sold over 4m copies, including 1m in the US and, in a rarity given our smaller market, more than 1.3m here in the UK. The album enjoyed the same result: 1.7m UK sales to 1.5m in the US.

Continuing the selections you might have expected, here’s another:

Hungry Heart was the first track on side two of Bruce Springsteen’s double album, The River, released in October 1980. The album was a huge success, reaching #1 in the US and Canada, #2 in the UK and many other top tens around the world. It was his first US #1, and he has now collected nine of those – he has eleven chart topping albums here in the UK though. This was the first single released from the album, also in October 1980, and it reached #5 in the US and Canada, but only #44 in the UK. An odd fact for you to digest: despite all of those massive album sales the Boss has never had a #1 single in either the US or the UK. That surprised me, when I looked it up.

Another from my usual suspects is up next. The sound on this is a little on the quiet side, but it is a charming live performance, during which we are treated to a voyage around the contents of Mr Young’s pockets:

Heart Of Gold was released in January 1972 as the lead single from Neil Young’s fourth album, Harvest, which followed a month later. The single topped the charts in the US and his native Canada, and reached #10 in the UK. The album, however, was a massive seller, getting to #1 in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, France, the Netherlands and Norway, It was the best-selling album of 1972 in the US, and has in total sold around 10m copies. I bought it when it first came out, and played it to death!

I’ve only ever featured Phil Collins as a solo act once before – yes, THAT one! – so I thought it about time I did so again. He has recently announced his retirement, and it is sad to see how his health has deteriorated. I prefer to remember him like this:

Two Hearts was written by Phil Collins with Lamont Dozier for the soundtrack to the movie Buster, in which Phil starred. The video was made especially to promote this track with the movie, and features one of the most annoying DJs the UK has ever produced – Tony Blackburn – alongside Phil playing the parts of all of the members of a fictitious band called the Four Pound Notes. The single was released in November 1988 and made it to #1 in the US and Canada, and to #6 in the UK. The soundtrack album, released the previous month, was a compilation of songs – mostly by other artists – which reached #6 in the UK and #54 in the US. This song has never been included on one of Phil’s studio albums, though it has been on several compilations and his live record Serious Hits…Live! I can recommend the movie, too.

I’m going back to one of my usual suspects for my next selection. I think I may have played this one before, but who’s counting? It’s lovely, so it was always going to be played as part of this mini-series:

Jackson Browne released In The Shape Of A Heart on his February 1986 album Lives In The Balance, which got to #23 in the US and #36 in the UK. Like everything he has done this is a superb album, but at the time it was released my music listening was rather curtailed. Our first daughter was born the following month, so playing loud music at home was a real no-no! I can still remember listening to this on the car stereo during a solo trip out to get something from our preferred shop for baby stuff, which was around eight miles from home – just time for a track or two! This was released as a single in May of that year, and reached #70 in the US and #66 in the UK. Jackson has been documented as saying that the song specifically addresses his relationship with his first wife, Phyllis Major, who died in March 1976 of a drug overdose. These lyrics are, in context, very poignant:

It was a time I won’t forget
For the sorrow and regret —
And the shape of a heart.

I promised you that one of today’s tunes would be so obscure that you wouldn’t know it: that time has come! As this is an album track and not from a mainstream band it is an audio-only clip, but never mind – it is an absolute belter:

Am I right? You’ve never heard of the Albion Band? This is what Wikipedia says about them: “The Albion Band, also known as The Albion Country Band, The Albion Dance Band, and The Albion Christmas Band, were a  British folk rock band, originally brought together and led by musician Ashley Hutchings. Generally considered one of the most important groupings in the genre, it has contained or been associated with a large proportion of major English folk performers in its long and fluid history.” So now you know! You may recall me speaking of Ashley before, as he has been a founder member of both of this country’s two main folk rock bands Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention. Allowing for the occasional hiatus, the Albions were around in various incarnations from 1973 to 2014. This is the title track from an album they released in 1995, and was written by the two female members, Julie Matthews and Chris While (L-R as you look at the video). I think it is lovely, a real tear-jerker. Given that it is very much a story of a young man leaving England for foreign shores (and then returning to marry his sweetheart), I am always amused by the fact that there is a cover version by The Clydesiders, a Scottish folk band. You’d have thought they wouldn’t want to go near anything by a bunch of Sassenachs, wouldn’t you? I guess it shows that I’m not the only one who thinks this is very good – a pity I can’t say the same for their cover version!

One more stop by a usual suspect for this week. I played a Tom Petty heart song earlier in the series, but I couldn’t really leave this out, could I:

Stop Dragging My Heart Around was written by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell and was intended to be a Heartbreakers recording, but Stevie Nicks was also in the studio and they recorded it together – the video is taken from that session. It wasn’t released as a Heartbreakers song, but instead became the first single to be taken from Stevie’s debut solo album Bella Donna – both the single and album came out in July 1981. The single peaked at #3 in the US and #5 in Canada, but to my surprise only reached #50 here in the UK. The album got to #1 in the US and Australia, #2 in Canada and #11 in the UK. It is a fine album, and I’ve always liked this song, too. Whilst it was never on a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers studio album it has appeared on several of their ‘best of’ compilations, all of which are highly recommended by me.

For today’s final song I’m going for a real outlier. I’ve never featured her before – never even considered it, to be honest – but this one really has to be included:

A first time for Dionne Warwick, and a rare appearance for anything to do with the Bee Gees, who wrote the song. You can tell, can’t you – it has their style about it. Heartbreaker was a comeback hit for her, and boy, was it a biggie! After a string of hits in the Sixties Dionne hadn’t really featured that often in the UK charts through the Seventies, and then this one came out in September 1982. She had previously had just two top ten hits in the UK, but this one took her up to #2, still her best ever chart placing here. It also reached #10 in the US and was a massive hit worldwide. Buoyed by the single, the album for which it was the title track also became her biggest UK hit by a distance, peaking at #3. Given that she had enjoyed continuing success in the US since her Sixties heyday it was a surprise to me to see that this album only made #25 over there. Nevertheless, this is a stonkingly good record, and feels like a suitable way to close this week’s tunes.

That’s all for now for my run of heart tunes. I may come back to this at some point, but I think I owe it to you to come up with a different theme for next week. I’ve no idea yet what it might be, though! I wish you a good week, and hope that all in your part of the world is going well. Take care 😊

39 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes 102: Three Of Hearts

  1. Pingback: Last Of May | Take It Easy

  2. another wonderful collection of heart songs. The first three songs are classics, I did not know the Phil Collins or Jackson Browne songs, but I really liked Jackson’s song, although it is a bit sad. You were right, I’d never heard of Albion, but that was a good song. And you can never go wrong with a song featuring Stevie Nicks, and a great closing song. You can pick up the Bee Gees influence!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jim. I had so much fun with these three posts, and felt it only right to include some classics for the last one. The Albion Band are well known in our folk music circles but probably totally anonymous elsewhere, but as you know I like dropping in the less obvious ones. The Bee Gees influence is very strong in the Dionne Warwick one isn’t it!

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  3. There are some great songs there Clive. The Albion Band are new to me and the song very pleasant. My favourites Heart-ists are Phil Collins (I’ve always been a big fan), and Tom Petty / Stevie Nicks but it’s always nice to listen to Jackson Browne and Neil Young.

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  4. There are just so many Heart songs out tnere! Brad had mentioned several of the others ones to me last time, for you had started his mind going. 🙂
    The Albion Band is a new group. Pretty confident that Brad hasn’t heard of them. So glad you shared them for I loved the song and how their voices harmonized so well together! Will be looking more of their stuff up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are loads of them! I came up with a list of over thirty without really trying, and I know I’ve missed a few that I could have chosen. I’m pleased you liked the Albion Band – I included them to counterbalance the more familiar names in this selection. They aren’t even that well known here, let alone anywhere else!

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  5. I’m with you on Tony Blackburn but that aside the Albion song was just beautiful…a big Stevie Nicks fan you have made a few good choices here, Clive you never disappoint me. Some great listening, Thank you 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never understood what girls saw in him – just thought he was an idiot, going right back to his pirate radio days. I’m pleased you enjoyed the Albion Band – few have heard of them outside the folk circuit. 😊 x

      Liked by 1 person

      • As you’ve probably noticed I love folk music, and Chris While has one of the best voices. Blackburn was a big-headed idiot, and I agree that you have good taste 😊 x

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m on;y blogging 15 minutes a day on vacation, so I’ll make it snappy, Clive. Stop Dragging My Heart Around and Two Hearts get the most praise from me today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Robbie. I enjoyed putting this selection together! I’m pleased you enjoyed them – Bruce and Tom are long time favourites of mine 😊

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  7. Hi Clive, it seems like Heartbreaker was a custom written song for Dionne – and the Albion one was new for me- sweet tune for sure.
    So The Boss “never had a #1 single in either the US or the UK” – that surprised me too!
    It was nice to Phil Collins young like that (and added Buster to my movie list) – it was also nice to Petty in action.
    Nice job again with the hearts theme.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Yvette,

      It was one of a number of songs the brothers wrote for that album, which Barry Gibb produced. You can almost hear the Bee Gees singing it, can’t you.

      Glad you liked the Albion Band – for me they are right up there with the best English folk rock bands.

      A surprise fact about the Boss for sure – loads of #1 albums though, and #1 singles in other countries, just not the two main markets.

      I’ve always liked Phil Collins and it really is sad to see him now. Much better to remember him like this.

      The Tom/Stevie one has always been a favourite.

      Glad you enjoyed them 😊

      Like

      • I could almost hear The Bee Gees (and Foo Fighters then came to mind – hahahah)

        and seeing Stevie Nicks reminded me of a show I saw where they talked about how she fell into the singing role – I don’t remember ll the story but it wasn’t like she was a diva with some strong pipes – and that is part of the wonder of her vocals – so unique

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      • Now there’s an idea for a new album: the Dee Gees Sing Dionne!

        I’ve always thought her voice was quite powerful – much more than, say, Sheryl Crow.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hahahaha to the Dee Gees Doing A Dionne song – Dang!

        And re: Sheryl Crow – she was never one of my favs either – even tho the song “if it makes you happy” really highlighted some of her singing range
        Oh and she recently got together with TobyMac to do a duet on his latest hit called “promised land” – – and when it was on – my hubs and I both agreed it didn’t even sound like Crow – but it was a nice little duet.

        Anyhow – another thing that came up this week was Rust Never Sleeps from Neil Young and so seeing heart of gold here was a plus – and I can imagine you enjoying it so much when it was newly out –

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like Sheryl, I just think her voice is a bit quiet and lacks power. I’ve not seen that duet, I’ll have to look for it.

        Rust Never Sleeps is a good one of his rockier albums, though I prefer Ragged Glory. At the time Harvest came out I lived off it, plus Blue by Joni and Mud Slide Slim by James Taylor 😊

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      • oh James Taylor always comes to mind from a job I had in 1992 – he had a couple of songs on whatever was looped through the restaurant we worked at and I still recall singing with some colleagues at different times…(I’ve seen fire and I’Ve seen rain”)-

        and funny you would bring up Joni – while also on the Neil Young topic – because there was a funny Joe recently – well sorta funny – but Joni and Neil Young threatened to leave Spotify (or left) because of The Joe Rogan podcast (they disagreed with his content – and wanted him silenced which seems to the MO of some folks – sigh) anyhow, the joke was something like

        “It is okay if Joni Mitchell and Neil Young want to leave spotify – – their listeners don’t need to stream because they probably still have the 8-track cartridges all ready to play…” hahaha it was a Joke

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      • I’ve always liked James Taylor. He has such a warm voice.

        I saw that about Spotify but as I don’t use it I didn’t really pay much attention to it tbh. A good joke, but at least I can say that I’m not so old that I ever had an 8-track machine!

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      • Wow – I am no sure of the years that they were available or even “in” – but I do recall my brother having a wall hanging of 8-tracks in a tray (in the basement) and I remember how clunky they were – and of course no chance for having a lot cover art – not like a record album –
        Oh and a I agree with Jackson Brown that music on a CD (or streaming) can be a “record” In other ways

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      • I worked summer 1974 with a guy who had one in his car and they were outdated tech by then. Great sound tho, much better than car cassette players were at that time.

        I thought he made a good point there too 😊

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      • They were quite substantial weren’t they!

        Wishing the same for you. It’s 11.49pm here so I think you may have more of your day left than I do 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this lineup, each one is a great tune. So happy to see Dionne Warwick here as she is an all-time favourite of mine. In fact, I gave my daughter the middle name Dionne, after her. She is 81 years old, looking great and going on tour again this summer. An amazing person and performer.

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