Gary: “This part of my writing is a part that Russ usually enjoys. I will try and put this into one simple post. Every now and then I like to look at people who we either never really knew or have just forgotten. Normally these are singer/songwriter’s that never became huge, but did have some impact on the Music Scene in their time.
The first one is a female singer that I remember for two songs, both were on Elton John’s “Rocket Label” and her fame was greatly influenced by Elton. Her name is Pauline Matthews, but Elton convinced her to change her name to…
Kiki Dee (born Pauline Matthews on 6 March 1947, in Little Horton, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England) is a highly successful singer/songwriter, with a career that has lasted over 40 years.Her most famous song was a duet with Elton John, entitled “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, which was released in 1976 and went to #1.
Kiki Dee began singing with a local band in Bradford in the early 1960s. Her recording career began as a session singer. She sang backing vocals for Dusty Springfield, among others, and was highly regarded by other singers but did not achieve solo success in the UK for many years.
In the USA, her style was admired and she became the first British artist to be signed by Tamla Motown, releasing her first Tamla single in 1970.
In the days before Radio 1 Kiki Dee was a regular performer of other people’s hits on BBC radio, and she starred with a group of session singers in the BBC2 sing-along series One More Time. Nevertheless, it was only after she joined forces with Elton John and Rocket Records that she became a household name in the UK. Her first major hits were “I Got The Music In Me” (1974) and “Amoureuse” (1973).
Don’t go breaking my heart (With Elton John) – 1976 Star – 1981 True love (with Elton John) – 1994
She has released 39 singles, 3 EPs, 9 LPs and 2 CDs to date. During the 1970s and 1980s was regularly voted the top UK female singer, with her powerful and soulful voice equally suited to rockers or ballads.
Eddie Lee Floyd was born 25 June 1937, in Montgomery, Alabama, but grew up in Detroit, Michigan. Eddie founded a Detroit based group called the Falcons. They were forerunners to future Detroit vocal groups such as The Temptations and The Four Tops.
Eddie’s Falcons most successful songs included “You’re So Fine” (1959) and later, when Wilson Pickett was recruited into the group as the lead singer, “I Found a Love” (1962). Pickett then embarked on a solo career, and The Falcons disbanded.
Eddie went on to record solo for the Lupine label in Detroit and the Safice label in Washington, DC, before moving to Memphis in 1965 to join the Stax Records organization as a songwriter.
He made his mark as a composer. He wrote a hit song, “Comfort Me” recorded by Carla Thomas. He then teamed with Stax’s guitarist Steve Cropper to write songs for Wilson Pickett (now signed to Atlantic Records). Atlantic distributed Stax and Jerry Wexler brought Pickett down from New York to work with Booker T. & the MGs. The Pickett sessions were successful, yielding several pop and R&B hits, including Eddie Floyd’s co-written “Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)” and “634-5789 (Soulsville USA)”
During Floyd’s recording tenure at Stax, he enjoyed the use of the session bands Booker T. And The MGs and the Mar-Keys.
In 1966, Floyd recorded a song intended for Otis Redding. Jerry Wexler convinced Stax to release Floyd’s version. The Steve Cropper/Eddie Floyd “Knock On Wood” was what launched Floyd’s singing career… one of soul music’s enduring moments, and probably the only time ‘lightning’ and ‘frightening’ have been coupled without sounding trite.
Floyd was one of Stax’s most consistent and versatile artists. He scored several more hits on his own, including “I Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)” and “Raise Your Hand“, which was covered by both Janis Joplin and Bruce Springsteen.
He wrote a series of powerful singles, including ‘Love Is A Doggone Good Thing’ (1967).
His song “Big Bird” (featuring Booker T. Jones on organ and guitar, Al Jackson, Jr. on drums, and Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass) was written while Floyd waited in a London airport for a plane back to the United States for Otis Redding’s funeral. Although not a US hit in 1968, it became an underground favorite in the UK, was later covered by The Jam, and was featured on the video game, Test Drive Unlimited.
All of these songs confirmed Floyd’s stature both as a performer and songwriter.
Although his compositions were recorded by several acts, his next US Top 20 pop hit came with Sam Cooke’s ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ in 1968.
Floyd stayed with Stax until its bankruptcy in 1975, whereupon he moved to Malaco Records. His spell there was thwarted by commercial indifference and he left the label for Mercury Records in 1977, but met with no better results.
Briefly relocated to London, he recorded under the aegis of Mod resurrectionists Secret Affair.
In 1988, Floyd linked up with William Bell’s Wilbe venture to release the Flashback album.