SA Rock Digest charts:
This 2CD set is sub-titled 'Volume 6' to continue the 'Top 40 Hits Of All Time' series which was originally started by Top 40 magazine way back in 1991 and were compiled from readers' votes. Readers' were not consulted in compiling this CD, but very few people would be unhappy with the selection here. This is the also the first time in the series, that the track list is 100% South African artists.
This five-man, Hard Rock band emerged from the Boland in the mid-'90's and proceeded to dominate the SA rock scene until their split in 2001. This track, an early punk anthem off their debut album, 'Neanderthal 1', set the tone for the raucous, grunge sound and lyrics of the band's many successful albums and EPs and their legendary manic live performances.
This Gauteng pop/rock band have seen their reputations soar over the past few years following the release of two strong EP's 'Is It?' and 'Never Ever Ever Ever'. Cito, Danny, Martin and Wade recently released 'Rewind', a cover versions tribute album to the heroes of SA Rock. Wonderboom also boast one of the most dynamic live shows on the SA rock circuit.
'Like A Holiday', the first hit single off Wess-lee's impressive debut album 'Merry-Go-Round', introduced the SA public to their newest musical star. The album, which was produced by Marius Brouwer, includes two other smash hits (so far), 'What The Hell Did We Do' and 'These Sparks Will Fly', and has established Wess-lee as bright light on the SA pop scene.
These three mad "Monki Punkers" Princess Leonie, Chris Chameleon, and Ampie Omo burst onto the SA rock scene in an assortment of strange outfits and dress(es), playing their own quirky ska-punk concoction. Three albums and many concert appearances, both in SA and overseas, have established Boo as one of SA's top current rock acts.
Essentially the combined talents of Karma Swanepoel and Julian Sun, popular SA band Henry Ate released their worthy debut, 'A Slap In The Face' in 1997. The band's name then changed to Karma for the second album. Now once again appearing under the Henry Ate moniker, the band released 'Torn & Tattered' during 2001, and continue to gig extensively around the country.
Following her extended reign as SA's pop queen with superstars Mango Groove, Claire Johnstone took a break before returning to record and release her stunning debut solo album. 'Fearless', from which this, her comeback smash hit is taken, marks a very welcome return to the SA pop scene for this gorgeous and talented singer.
When Bright Blue decided to take a long break, guitarist Tom Fox joined up with James Stewart (v), Yoyo Buys (b) and Paul Tizzard (d) to form this popular Cape Town-based pop group. Two excellent EPs 'The Shape That I'm In' and 'Songs From The Inside' - and a great album 'Born In A Storm' enhanced the band's reputation and served up many radio friendly songs.
This Cape Town pop group emerged from the ashes of Black Diamond. Sascha Muller (d) and Chris Acker (d) found themselves a newbie vocalist called Tikara, wrote and recorded the best-selling album, 'A Life Less Strange', and are now sitting on top of the SA pop scene with their 'Life' single, the platinum-selling theme from the SA version of Big Brother.
Mean Mister Mustard
Named for the Beatles song, Mean Mister Mustard - Mark Beling, Darryl de Lange, David de Lange, Johnny Brunette - emerged from East London in the mid-'90's, signed to DGR and released the single 'Can't Get Enough' and the excellent 'Only When It Rains' album. The title track went to No.1 on 5FM and was followed the singles 'Without You', 'She's Crying Again' 'Hello She Said' and 'Stranger In The Head'.
Kaolin Thomson, the multi-talented and very striking front-person of the band Naked, has since gone solo with her latest album 'All I Am'. But this, the sensual title track off her debut album from 2000, shows off her fine voice, cool attitude and broad musical talent. She sings, she plays keyboard, flute and guitar, and she writes most of her own material.
This Durban-born singer and composer released his debut album, 'Kreesan' in 1995. A year later he was a household name in SA music, and played support slots for acts like Ezio, Mike and the Mechanics, Richard Marx and Via Con Dias. He released his second album, 'Walking On The Planets' in 1998 and 'Dig in Deep' is from the lastest CD 'Passage of Time recorded in 2001.
After beginning as a five-piece, Grannysmith slimmed down to a trio consisting of Adrian Olivier (v.g), Michael Turner (b), and Riaan Combrink (d). Their debut single, 'Starlight' was released in 1999 and immediately drew a lot attention to the band's strong pop feel. A full album, 'Grannysmith' confirmed the undoubted talents and included other pop gems including 'To You', 'Circles' and 'Getting Stronger.
One of the better '90's SA bands and a great live act as well. Amersham released some fun-filled pop-rock albums - 'Upside Downside', 'Wearing Thin' and '12 Songs' - packed with radio-friendly pop songs like 'Schizophrenic', 'Green Is For Go' and 'Matchbox'. 'Revolving Doors' was their swansong greatest hits collection.
Just Jinger were the most successful SA pop act of the '90's. They released four huge-selling albums and a string of hits, all of them currently appearing on their 'Greatest Hits' collection. Art Matthews and his band relocated to the UK for two years and are now setting their sights on the US market.
One of SA's most exciting and innovative new groups, Egyptian Nursery released this stunning first single, 'Search', in 1999. It immediately charted and set the stage for their next three consecutive Top 10 hits. The group's debut album, 'New Anthem', was released on the Fresh Music label, and was followed by their equally-acclaimed second album 'Desert Stream', both albums produced by Craigie Dodds, the band's leader and musical whiz-kid.
Diepkloof's finest pop twins, Marc and Alex Rantselli, burst on to the late-'80's SA pop scene with a dynamic live act and some slickly-produced and hooky songs and albums. 'Quick Quick' is still their finest moment and sounds as fresh today as when first released. That song appeared on their debut Tusk album, 'Marcalex'; their second, 'Boys B Boys', earned a prestigious Stock Aitken and Waterman remix.
This Indian soul group from Durban featured Blondie Chaplin and the Fataar Brothers. They released two classic albums in the '60's 'Soulfire' and 'Burning Soul' - and then headed off to work with the Beach Boys. 'For Your Precious Love', a cover of the Impressions track from 1958, was a No. 1 hit in 1968 and is still a SA pop classic.
Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Not to be confused with the American band of the same name from 1966, this South African white soul group dominated the SA airwaves in the early 70s with songs like 'Amen', 'Give A Little Love', 'Hold On To What You Got', 'Part Of Someone' and 'Understanding'. Sung by the gravelly-voiced Brian Mulder, 'Understanding' is a powerful and imploring soul classic with a not so-subtle message for his cheating girlfriend. It reached #2 on the Springbok Radio charts in March 1971.
'Umoja' ("Unity") is a stage musical devised, written and choreographed by Todd Twala, Thenbi Nyandeni and Ian von Memerty that celebrates of the best of South African popular music and dance and features a group of young South African singers and dancers. It charts the growth of South African music and showcases the many varied genres that fused together to create the wonderful hybrid that is SA music today.
From the powerful, ancient rhythms of tribal music, through the intricate steps of gumboot dancing, to the foot-stomping jazz of Sophiatown, the pounding energy of Kwaito and Pantsula, and the uplifting full throated joy of Gospel. Here the cast perform the show's versions of Miriam Makeba's 'Pata Pata' and Joy's 'Paradise Road, just two of the songs that have become part of the rich tradition of South African music and highlights of this wonderful production.
This Cape Town five-piece Kwela-pop band emerged in 1984 and proceeded to soundtrack the 'Rising Tide' of the anti-Apartheid struggle with some subversive but danceable pop songs, including 'Weeping', '2nd Avenue' and this glorious anthem off their debut, self-titled album. Their excellent 'Best Of' collection, 'Every Now And Then', was released in 2001.
Two fresh and sparkling albums 'Sea Level' and 'Tightroper' are '90's Durban band Urban Creep's legacy to the annals of SA rock. Most of these five members Brendan Jury, Ross Campbell, Chris Letcher, and Didier Noblia are still active in bands like Fetish, Benguela and OHM, but as this song clearly shows, this band had it all, violas, attitude, and great songs.
Big Sky is actually the band (brand?) name under which Cape Town's mellow rocker Steve Louw has been recording and releasing his five acclaimed albums to date. This song, the title track off his debut album, showcases the soaring rock ballads that epitomize his style. His second album, 'Horizon', won the 'Best SA Rock Album' SAMA award and 'Decades' is his excellent 'Best Of' collection.
Surely the strangest SA pop hit ever from the weird and wonderful '80's Cape Town duo. Neilen Mirror (v) and Allan Faull (g) (and Tully McCully on everything else) released five evocative and sometimes sinister albums, but played very few live gigs, preferring to spend their time in the studio. 'Johnny Calls The Chemist' was their 1985 concept album and this "Dylan meets Dire Straits" single is still an SA radio staple.
The Windrich brothers, Lucien and Erik created an SA pop sensation in the 1980's when they presented their bizarre look, sound and style to audiences who mobbed their every appearance and performance. Two albums 'eVoid' and 'Here Comes The Rot' (both recently re-released on CD) followed before the siblings left to seek their fortunes in the UK. 'Shadows' and 'Taximan' are still regarded as SA '80's pop classics.
African rhythms and rock meet in a joyful fusion. Fronted by the multi-talented Rene Veldsman, Via Afrika produced 2 bouncy afro-rock albums, 1983's 'Via Afrika' (re-released on CD in 2000) and 'Scent Of Scandal' in 1984. The song 'Hey Boy' never had a chance to chart as it was banned from radio play at the time! Via Afrika was Rene, Michelle Rowe, Lukas Luislang (nee Crous) and Spider Wider (Kitty Cooper). Spider appeared in the video for 'Hey Boy', but did not actually play on the 'Via Afrika' album, having joined after the album was completed.
One of SA's most unique and respected world-jazz groups, the Tananas trio Steve Newman (g), Gito Baloi (b), and Ian Herman (d) formed in 1988. They released their debut album, 'Tananas' in 1989, and have continued to produce a stream of evocative and eclectic albums for the past decade. The three members still consistently perform on stages around the world, while all living on different continents.
This great dance single, off the SA world-pop trio's wondrous debut album, 'Wake Up And Dream', topped the Billboard Dance Charts and gained an instant international reputation for Owl, Levannah, and Tziki. Singles like 'Big', 'Cloud Eyes', 'Happy Earthday' and a cover of Bright Blue's 'Weeping' enhanced that reputation. The album 'Butterfly Peepl' followed in 2000.
Initially the vocalist for '80's SA rock group Sweatband, Wendy Oldfield soon branched out into a very successful solo career with a string of great albums 'Ruby', 'Dunwayo' 'On A Small Blue Dot' and a non-stop schedule of live performances. But 'Acid Rain' is her best-known song and a staple of her live set.
Lesley Rae Dowling
This emotional ballad, her first release and big hit in 1981, introduced Cape Town pop vocalist Lesley Rae Dowling to the SA scene. For the next 15 years she consistently turned out a stream of albums and solid pop singles all available on her 2001 'Greatest Hits' collection ('Conspirare'). Now farming in Stellenbosch, she still had time to record and release the excellent 'Clear' allbum in 2000.
PJ Powers was born Penelope Jane Dunlop in Durban in July 1960. She sang in an all-girl group called Pantha along with Debbi Lonmon (who later formed Little Sister with her sister Jenni) in 1979. In the early 80s she fronted hard rockers Hotline who after 2 albums changed to a more afro-pop style having hits like 'Jabulani', 'You're So Good To Me' and 'Feel So Strong' with Steve Kekana (a SA #6 hit in 1983).
PJ (known to her fans as "Thandeka" the loved one) has had a very sucessful solo career including the UK hit 'World In Union' (The Official Anthem of the 1995 Rugby World Cup) sung with Ladysmith Black Mamabazo. In 2001 she released the album 'Talk To Me' which included this re-recording of 'Feel So Strong'.
One of the best South African pop acts of the 1980's featuring Jarrod Aston (v), Mike Todd (g), and an ever-changing line-up. The band released four notable albums 'Cinema', 'World's Apart', 'Another Life', 'Once In Your Life' - and a string of pop hits including this, their biggest hit of all from 1987.
This debut single from the Johannesburg hard rockers went to No 2 on the SA charts in 1979 and spawned a glowing career into the 1980's. The band Danny Anthill, Eddie Boyle, Dennis East, Allan Goldswain, Mike Pilot, and Shaun Wright released two albums, 'Stingray' and 'Operation Stingray', and a host of popular singles, but this was their finest moment.
This big hit from 1984 for Cape Town singer-songwriter Nike Daly is still often heard on SA radio stations and commercials. It also appeared on Daly's excellent solo album, 'Living In The Suburbs'. He is also known for the folk-based singles 'Sandy', 'I'll Take A Walk In The Rain', and 'Do Young Boys Believe In Love'.
Face To Face
This classy Johannesburg pop group formed in 1984 with a line-up of siblings Simon le Fevre (v) and John Campbell Le Fevre (g.v), Keith Armour McFarlane (v.g.k), Simon Fellow (b) and Jarrod Aston (d). They released two big singles 'Here We are' and 'Night Of The Long Knives' and two albums with the same name.
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