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  1. 120107-SteveWinwood

    I will always associate Steve Winwood with California – and more specifically my time in the “Silicon Valley” area in 1988.  This was around the time the “Chronicles” compilation album had been released – and his songs were playing non-stop on California radios, particularly “Valerie”, “Talking Back to the Night” and “Higher Love”.  Ah! California days!...

    Steve Winwood is of course English, but his sound is much more “American” in my opinion – a fusion of blues, soul, pop and rock.  And it is in America that he perhaps enjoyed the most success throughout the 80s.

    Equally adept on the guitar and keyboards, his trademarks include a high-pitched, soulful voice and distinctive keyboard solos played in the manner of a guitarist (great solo on “Valerie” and many others).

    Steve Winwood started his career in the 60s as a member of the Spencer Davis Group, which scored a number of hits in the UK, incl. “Gimme Some Lovin’” which was a worldwide hit in 1966 – and which I discovered only much later, incidentally thanks to one of my other idols, Cerrone, who covered the song with Kongas and then live as a solo artist...

     

  2. 120102-a-ha

    I’ve been struggling to find songs/artists that sound like “Whatever You Do”… in fact I haven’t really found any, but perhaps a-ha comes closest…

    a-ha is of course one of the all-time great pop bands. 

    The band formed in Norway in 1982, broke through on the world scene in 1985 with their landmark song and music video “Take On Me”, and went on to release 9 studio albums over the following 25 years, finally calling it quits in 2010.

    Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (pictured, center) is the main songwriter and possibly driving force behind a-ha.

    Morten Harket (pictured, left) is the voice and face of the band, with his distinctive falsetto, wide vocal range and enduring boyish good looks.

    Magne Furuholmen (pictured, right) completes the formula on keyboards and guitars.

    a-ha songs always have beautiful melodies, often bitter-sweet, moving, full of nostalgia and emotion.  The brilliant songwriting is served by immaculate production, grand arrangements – combining synthetic and organic elements – and of course Morten’s unique, beautiful voice.  The videos are often set in equally grand and awe-inspiring open spaces.

     I have made a list of my favorite a-ha songs, and a video playlist which you can watch below or on my YouTube channel

     


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