With my i-pod really tripping out today, I was treated to a variety of musical selections, beginning with the letter "A". So what was Linda Ronstadt doing at the beginning of the alphabet? Crooning the absolutely show-stopping "The Very Thought of You" with Aaron Neville. (Of course, yesterday I listened to "Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind", her almost half album full of duets with him. What a great disc! Including background vocals by Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson on the chilling "Adios".)
Akiko Kobayashi. The name should be familiar to anyone who has followed Richard Carpenter and his production efforts post- Karen. Her album, City of Angels, is a solid effort. One day, I may do a full review of the disc as it is chock full of great selections. Her voice is warm and inviting, uniquely her own, and she's a fairly good songwriter as well. Should you ever want a glimpse of where Richard might have taken the Carpenters in the late 80's, just give a listen to the intoxicating "Only the Angels Know".
She may be the first breakout star from Christian Contemporary to mainstream Pop, but Amy Grant is certainly no flash in the pan! Her classic smash "Baby Baby" popped on, and I grooved along. The album Heart in Motion holds many great memories for our family and our road trips. As do many of her albums before and since.
I remember A&M's then promo guy Jon Konjoyan working hard on this- and to good result. He relayed to me that he had been to Amy's home for a barbecue, recalling she was one of the nicest people he'd ever met.
The Beatles are a very tough act to cover, but may I say that Anne Murray's remake of "You Won't See Me" still remains one of my very favorites? There's a "lift" to the tune that's irresistible. She's pretty quiet nowadays, and that really is a shame.
Annie Lennox. Sweet dreams are made of this! Her voice rocks- and I love her remake duet of Sting's "We'll Be Together". However, it was her remake of The Clash's classic Train in Vain that was rocking my world. Totally different arrangement and 100% just as powerful.
Last but certainly not least, the legendary Aretha Franklin. The woman is often imitated, but no one comes close to her power and sass! In so many ways, the music of the 80's and early 90's was instantly dated- and this song may be one of them- but I totally love "I Knew You Were Waiting For Me". He may be somewhat of a cliche by now, but George Michael is great on the song- and even though he can't hold his own with Aretha, he comes pretty close.
One day, I'll cover the "B's" on my player, but for now, I'm enjoying the "A Team". What about you?