Sugar Pie DeSanto (born Peylia Marsema Balinton) was a ton of dynamite in a tiny 4′ 11″ frame… and still is, at the time of this recording. Let’s have a listen to this super-fun classic track, recorded with the great Etta James in 1966.

“In The Basement (Part 1)” (Billy Davis, Raynard Miner & Carl Smith) Copyright 1966 Chevis Music Inc BMI

Here’s the first episode of a new series that we’ll be exploring occasionally here on the “I’m In Love With That Song” Podcast. I’m always interested to hear about music that made a big impact on other people’s lives; in this series, I’m inviting some fellow podcasters and friends in the music industry to discuss an album that shaped their lives in some way.

For this first episode, Podcaster Extraordinaire Eric Miller joins us to talk about Living Color’s “Vivid”. And I discuss one of my influential albums, “Anthology” by Sly & The Family Stone. Hope you enjoy the conversation!

The Ohio Players paid their dues for 15 years before their first #1 Top 100 hit, but by then, they were on fire (pun intended). Built on an incessant groove that won’t quit, they brought heavy funk to the top of the pop charts. On this episode, we take a look at all the elements that make up this funky classic.

“Fire” (Ralph Middlebrooks, Marshall Jones, Leroy Bonner, Clarence Satchell, Willie Beck & Marvin Pierce) Copyright 1974 Play One Music and Segundo Suenos Music

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Merry Clayton never had a big hit, but her voice can be heard in dozens of songs you know (we’ve listened to one of them here before– see episode #42). One of the legendary background singers profiled in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, most of her solo work is largely unknown– which is a shame, because there’s some great music on those albums. Take this example from her first album, Gimme Shelter. Merry takes this James Taylor classic to a whole new place, one of my favorite cover songs of all time.

“Country Road” (James Taylor) Copyright 1970 Blackwood Music Inc./Country Road Music Inc. (BMI)

— This show is just one of many great podcasts on the Pantheon network–THE home for music podcasts!

Rare Earth’s sound was equal parts funky soul and straight-up rock. For decades, when there’s cause for celebration, folks have been crankin’ up this chunk of funk rock. Let’s take a closer look at how Rare Earth carved their place in history with this track.

“I Just Want To Celebrate” (Nick Zesses, Dino Fekaris) Copyright 1971 Jobette Music Co., Inc (BMI)

— This show is one of many great music-related podcasts on the Pantheon network. You should check them out! And don’t forget to subscribe to the show — that way, you’ll never miss an episode, they’ll be delivered right to you.

Earth, Wind & Fire’s 6th album, That’s The Way of The World, was ostensibly a soundtrack album; when the film bombed, the album was on the verge of fading away, too– until “Shining Star” was released as a single and it became their first (and surprisingly only) #1 Top 10 Hit. The whole band is on fire here; beneath the pop sheen is the heaviest of funk grooves, with particularly tasty guitar & bass work. Let’s climb inside this funk machine & see what it took to create this stellar track.

Earth Wind & Fire – “Shining Star” (Maurice White, Philip Bailey and Larry Dunn) Copyright 1975 (Renewed 2003) EMI April Music Inc. 

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The Temptations’ first #1 Hit on the Billboard “Hot 100” chart was “My Girl” in 1965. 4 years later, they had their 2nd #1 with “I Can’t Get Next To You”, and the difference between these 2 songs tells you a lot about the 1960’s. “I Can’t Get Next To You” features a different lead vocalist, a more aggressive, funky beat and a trippy vibe courtesy of producer & songwriter Norman Whitfield. The early Temptations songs are great, but for my money, they were never better than when they teamed up with Whitfield and created “psychedelic soul”. Let’s listen to each piece of the puzzle that created this masterpiece.

“I Can’t Get Next To You” (Barret Strong & Norman Whitfield) Copyright 1969 Jobette Music Co., Inc. All rights controlled and administered by EMI Blackwood Music Inc. on behalf of Stone Agate Music (A division of Jobette Music Co., Inc.)

Stevie Wonder was on an unrivaled creative streak starting in 1972, releasing 5 brilliant albums in a row, culminating with Songs In The Key Of Life in 1976. That album spawned 2 hit singles, including “I Wish”, the subject of this episode.  A masterpiece blending funk with pop sensibilities, it’s a celebration of youthful innocence and simpler times.  How does this song make *you* feel?  Let me know on Facebook, write a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to this show.  And share it with your friends!

“I Wish” (Stevie Wonder) Copyright 1976 Jobette Music Co. Inc, and Black Bull Music c/o EMI April Music Inc.

Who’s the greatest singer in rock history? You could make an argument that it’s Glenn Hughes. He’s played & recorded with Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Gary Moore, KLF… and released a collection of great solo albums. He’s an amazing hard rock vocalist & bass player, but my favorite stuff is when he’s getting funky– real funky. This track combines the funk with the hard rock – the best combo since Reese’s put peanut butter in their chocolate. (Do you have to be a certain age to get that reference?) Regardless, Crank It Up! 

“Crave” (Glenn Hughes) Copyright 2008 Ponce Songs (BMI)