Tag Archives: music

Top 12 Donna Summer hits

On 17th May 2012, Donna Summer – a.k.a. “The Queen of Disco” – passed away after losing her battle with lung cancer at the age of 63. She was one of the most influential artists, particularly for a female, of her era – the 70s. She was inspired by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick, her contemporaries at the time included Diana Ross and Gloria Gaynor and she herself paved the way for other divas including Madonna, Whitney, Janet Jackson and Beyoncé.

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Because of her impact on modern disco and for helping to kickstart the craze of dance-pop and electronica genres that followed in the 80s and 90s, Donna not only cemented herself as one of the greatest musical legends of all time, but also became popular with the LGBT community, despite controversy surrounding things she allegedly said about gay men. She was still recording music well into her 50s and within the first two decades of her career, which were her most successful years, notched up 19 Number One songs on the Billboard Dance and Club Songs chart and sold over 100 million records worldwide. Here is our list of our top 12 favourite hits by her:

12) She Works Hard For The Money

11) Could It Be Magic

10) This Time I Know It’s For Real

9) MacArthur Park

8) Dim All The Lights

7) No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) – with Barbra Streisand

6) On The Radio

5) Bad Girls

4) Love To Love You, Baby

3) Last Dance

2) Hot Stuff

1) I Feel Love

What do you think of this list and what are your favourite Donna Summer songs? Let us know in the comment box below! And if you want to check out some of her best but rare and lesser-knows tracks, then click here.

International Women’s Day: Ten Female Empowerment Anthems

International Women’s Day is a globally-recognised day celebrated every year on 8th March; the focus of the day’s celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements. The day and the culmination of it has a long history that spans over 100 years since 1909 when the first National Women’s Day was observed in the USA, and many other nations held their own days in the following years, but was not observed internationally as a popular event until 1977 after a gathering of the United Nations. The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2013 is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women” and theme is “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum”. Coincidentally, International Women’s Day is close to Mother’s Day in many countries, which takes place on 10th March this year.

International Women's Day

To mark International Women’s Day, especially for all our LBT (lesbian, bisexual and trans women) fans, we have compiled a list of ten of our favourite female empowerment anthems from over the years from some of the biggest divas in the music industry, many of whom have spoken out about women’s rights and supported the feminist movement and are popular gay icons in today’s music culture. Check them out below:

10) P!nk – Stupid Girls

P!nk’s “Stupid Girls” was written about her despair with some girls’ ambitions and the way modern society, the media, popular culture and celebrities have influenced many women to have no drive for a real career, to objectify or dehumanise themselves or to act or look a certain way.

9) Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

“Man! I Feel Like Woman!” is about Shania expressing herself in different ways yet still managing to feel free, feminine and womanly, even when acting or dressing like a man. The song and video appears to challenge role reversals and the historical and stereotypical idea of what women should or should not wear (skirts and dresses, not shorts or trousers), yet Shania says you can still be, look and feel like a woman when doing so.

8) Cher – Woman’s World

Cher’s latest comeback song – which is not released until later this year, but was previewed late last year – is about bouncing back from a broken relationship, and is very reminiscent of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, but overall sounds like the female version of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”. Ultimately the song moves on from talking about a breakup to female empowerment about being able to overcome and do anything and everything.

7) Aretha Franklin – Do Right Woman, Do Right Man

Many consider a lot of Aretha Franklin songs such as “Respect” and “Think” to be strong female empowerment anthems, but “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”, although lesser known, should not be overlooked. The song contrasts the power of temptation and rewards of fidelity and urges men to respect women as their equals and not follow the then-common belief that it is “a man’s world” by using or abusing them, as well asking men to be loyal, responsible, and sexually expressive.

6) Destiny’s Child – Independent Women (Part I)

A lot of Destiny’s Child songs can be seen as anthems for women, but none more so than “Independent Women”, which talks about relationships between men and women and how even though being in one can be seen as an opportunity for some men to oppress and control their lady, these women won’t be and believe in a 50/50 relationship. The song also talks about although they are in relationship, ladies are able to fund and fend for themselves without the need for their man’s money.

5) Madonna – Express Yourself

Madonna was quoted in the book “Madonna ‘talking’: Madonna in Her Own Words” as saying “Express Yourself” is one of female empowerment, urging women never to “go for second-best.” She also added that “the ultimate thing behind the song is that if you don’t express yourself, if you don’t say what you want, then you’re not going to get it. And in effect you are chained down by your inability to say what you feel or go after what you want.”

4) Alicia Keys – Superwoman

“Superwoman” is about a woman who is able to stand above all her problems and still continue living her life every day and in particular talks about women who have become successful and famous through their hard work, including working and/or single mothers.

3) Chaka Khan/Whitney Houston – I’m Every Woman

This iconic song, first recorded by Chaka Khan and then Whitney Houston – both of whom had a hit with their versions, is about a strong woman who takes very good care of her man, supporting him and making him a better person. While some feminists may argue that living to “serve” a man in such a way is oppressive, this song appears to be about women who are willing to and want to do so, rather than feel like they have to.

2) Christina Aguilera, ft. Lil’ Kim – Can’t Hold Us Down

This song challenges the double standards in today’s society, particularly when it comes to sex, with Christina Aguilera – known for her feminist attitude – saying that while men can do or say what they want, women are slated for doing the same thing, whether it be sleeping around, not wearing many clothes or even just speaking one’s mind. Aguilera also lets people know that she does not appreciate being called a bitch simply because she stands up for herself and is a strong woman.

1) Annie Lennox/The Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin – Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

Probably the most obvious choice for a top female empowerment anthem, but definitely a good one, “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” sees two of the most successful and feminist women in music, Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin come together to sing this song. Women are the most extraordinary force in the world. In an interview, Annie Lennox said of the song: “There is such a strong need for feminism, particularly in developing countries where women are still relegated to third class citizen status – where they don’t have choices about their fertility, education and life choices. I’m very grateful for the things that feminism has offered me. I can vote in a democratic system. Women and men are trying to progress together, but women very often carry the brunt of the burden in life. Actually, I do like to take the opportunity to speak up for women’s rights.”

Top 10 Whitney Houston love ballads

A year ago on 11th February (3 days before Valentine’s Day no less), one of the greatest female artists and one of the world’s most praised vocalists of all time, Whitney Houston tragically passed away. So we’d thought with it being Valentine’s Day and Whitney having been known for her amazing back catalogue of love songs, it would be fitting to compile a list of our top ten favourite love ballads that she released. And here they are below:

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10) Didn’t We Almost Have It All

9) Where Do Broken Hearts Go?

8) You Give Good Love

7) All The Man That I Need

6) I Believe In You And Me

5) My Love Is Your Love

4) Run To You

3) Saving All My Love For You

2) I Will Always Love You

1) I Have Nothing

What do you think of our list? Which Whitney song is your favourite? Let us know in the comment box below!

Our top ten “coming out” songs

Coming out as an LGBT person to anyone, whether it be family, friends, classmates or colleagues, is not always easy. And for some it’s not that hard. However, nearly all LGBT people must take this turning point in their lives and is usually one of their biggest life-defining moments, but it is different for everyone. National Coming Out Day takes place on 11th October and “is an internationally observed civil awareness day celebrating individuals who publicly identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and to help support those who have not yet come out or are wanting to. To celebrate this important day, we have compiled together a list of top ten songs which were written about or can be related to “coming out” or coming to terms with your sexual identity and being proud of who you are:

10) “Aftermath” by Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert was the first major male artist in the US and much of the world who was already openly gay before he began his music career and some of his songs do touch on the topic of being gay. “Aftermath” may not specifically focus on LGBT issues but is a self-empowerment song about self-esteem, with which anyone can relate to.

9) “Freedom” by Wham!

Although “Freedom” is actually a song about two lovers who can’t be together and need time apart, it could also be related to being free and able to enjoy your life without any qualms. And the fact it is sung by one of the world’s most famous gay artists, George Michael, helps earn its title as a good coming out anthem.

8) “Proud” by Heather Small

The title of this song sums everything up perfectly. Heather Small sings about standing up and being proud of yourself no matter what you are or do.

7) “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross

A very obvious choice perhaps, but the lyrics to this song are most definitely relatable to coming out. It’s happy, fun and camp and all about being confident enough to come out and tell the world something you have to say, regardless of what it is.

6) “Glad To Be Gay” by Tom Robinson Band

Released back in 1978, this song was a pioneer in LGBT rights in the music industry and has since been labelled as Britain’s “national gay anthem”. Lead singer Tom Robinson was one of Britain’s first openly gay/bisexual musicians and the song openly addresses the movement of LGBT people and the discrimination they still faced in the country even after homosexuality had been decriminalized since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.

5) “Take Your Mama” by Scissor Sisters

“Take Your Mama” by Scissor Sisters is actually the only song on this list that is directly about coming out. Its lyrics talk about a young gay man (Jake Shears, the lead singer) who is raised in a strict society and family who struggles with the big step of coming out to his mum.

4) “I Am What I Am” by Gloria Gaynor

Gloria Gaynor (coincidental name?) seems to be a queen when it comes to gay anthems; we all know her for singing “I Will Survive”, a well-known one, but she also released a version of “I Am What I Am”, a song taken from the musical La Cage aus Folles. The song was also written by Jerry Herman, who was an openly gay man.

3) “Same Thing In Reverse” by Boy George

Taken from his 2002 album – the aptly titled “U Can Never B2 Straight” – this song by gay icon Boy George talks about being proud of your sexuality, particularly in public, and says that a man loving another man is simply as the song suggests “the same thing in reverse” as a heterosexual relationship and shouldn’t be treated any differently.

2) “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper, who has always been a big gay icon and prominent gay rights activist, dedicated “True Colors” to her lesbian sister. The song switches the coming out issue round to the point the view of the person whose family member or friend is the one coming out and about still loving and accepting them for who they are.

1) “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera

Arguably Christina Aguilera’s biggest hit single, “Beautiful” was written by openly lesbian singer-songwriter Linda Perry, but is not a song about being gay specifically, so is universal and relatable to anyone. The message is simple and clear and vocals are tinged with raw emotion about getting over any criticisms. The video was even more iconic, featuring two LGBT scenes – two gay men kissing (a first for a music video) and a drag queen, and both the song and the video have won several awards and topped various polls for its pro-LGBT themes.

What do you think of this list? Is there any we missed out and would you agree with? Which are your favourites?

Our top eleven travel songs

This week’s blog post is a compilation of some of the best travel songs that capture the spirit of travel that make great travelling “companions” for you to listen to whilst on the road, move, in the sea or air. They are are about travel in general, specific places to travel to, reasons why we travel, how we travel and songs that capture the joy of travelling. Some are happy, upbeat songs, others might be more sorrowful and emotional and some are ones you might not have heard before or seen on other lists of travel songs before. It was a long and hard decision to whittle a long list down to just ten, but the diverse outcome of different genres and artists (pop, rock, soul, funk, country, etc.) is perfect:

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11) Midnight Train To Georgia by Gladys Knight & The Pips

A relaxing and beautiful song about following your heart and your lover sung by soulful crooner Gladys Knight and her backing singers The Pips.

10) Holiday by Madonna

Perfect, fun and camp song to get you excited for a holiday and take a break that also really throws you back to the feel-good vibes of the 80s.

9) Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd

There’s no place like home for some and this classic country-folk song really emphasises that laid-back, carefree lifestyle one can live.

8) Proud Mary by Tina Turner

Travelling by water is one of the world’s oldest modes of transport and still popular, whether it be “rolling on the river”, sailing the seas or cruising across oceans. Either way, this track really gets you pumped and excited.

7) Freeway Of Love by Aretha Franklin

A lesser known but still great Aretha Franklin track, you can listen to this song and imagine you and your partner are zooming down motorways at top speed, enjoying a fun road trip together.

6) Route 66 by The Rolling Stones

Written about the famous Route 66 and the freedom of travelling by car and by road, this bluesy rock and roll classic (originally by Nat King Cole) has been covered by many artists and bands, with The Rolling Stones probably being the most prolific and their version being the most popular, while the likes of Chuck Berry and Depeche Mode have also recorded it.

5) A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton

Long-distance relationships are hard to maintain but this lovely piano-driven and orchestral song is all about pining after a loved one who you’ve been separated and how far you’re willing to travel just to be them and definitely a good listen if you’re taking the road, even if you’re not travelling to see someone.

4) Travelling Without Moving by Jamiroquai

The irony of this funky song is that you can’t listen to it without moving. It’s catchy and danceable and certainly makes a good upbeat change for a track to listen to when travelling.

3) Cruz by Christina Aguilera

If you’re feeling down and just want to get away from something and be by yourself or you’re moving away, this beautiful song can capture and fit that mood perfectly. It’s great to listen to as you’re travelling along trying to clear your head of all thoughts and lighten your mood.

2) Fly Away With Me by Aerosmith

Compared to our world-famous number one song, this rock ballad is a far lesser-known Aerosmith track. Written about wanting to escape from everything with a loved one, this is perfect to describe a romantic getaway. Or a forbidden love that means you have to elope…

1) Rockin’ All Over The World by Status Quo

A recognisable song that everybody should know, this fun rock and roll track is really something to get up and dance about. It is also very fitting for those who like to travel the world and have fun and be adventurous when they do so. Definitely a very fitting number one song!