High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dell Rat Jerre Presents: Alone at the Top - The 15 Greatest Solo Songs...Ever!


Good friend and 
original Dell rat 
Jerre Slaybaugh 
is back with a 
new & different 
type of song list, 
The 15 Greatest 
Solo Recordings! 
Let's check out 
Jerre's super solo 
song survey! 

1. "Human" – Tommy Hunt (October 1961) 

2. "It’s A Heartache" – Bonnie Tyler (1977) 

3. "You Don’t Bring Me Flowers" 
– Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand 
(December 1978) 

4. "Midnight Blue" – Melissa Manchester 

5. "Sunday Morning Coming Down" 
– Kris Kristofferson (1970) 

6. "MacAarther Park" – Richard Harris 
(June 1968) 

7. "Heartbeat" – Buddy Holly (January '59) 

8. "Angel Baby" – Rosie 
 (Rosie & the Originals, February 1961) 

9. "Warm and Tender Love" – Percy Sledge 
(August 1966) 

10. "Just The Way You Are" – Billy Joel 
(September 1977) 

11. "Crying" – Roy Orbison (October 1961) 

12. "You Are So Beautiful" – Joe Cocker 
(August 1974) 

13. "If Not For You" – Olivia Newton John 
(July 1971) 

14. "Lady Willpower" – Gary Puckett 
(Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, July 1968) 

15. "Both Sides Now" – Neil Diamond (1969) 

Super song list, Jerre!

Several of these got me stoked.

"Human" is #1 on your list of the Shady Dell's Greatest Hits and Tommy Hunt's prayer within a song ranks in the top 30 on my list.

"Warm and Tender Love" reminds me of another great
southern style R&B song by Percy Sledge, his cautionary "Take Time to Know Her."

Until you flogged my memory I had forgotten how many fine recordings were made by raspy voiced, wildly gesticulating English blues rocker Joe Cocker. Along with your Pick to Click "You Are So Beautiful" Cocker had a string of hits extending back to the late 60s.

Joe Cocker was arguably the English king of covers. He covered the Beatles with a version of "With a Little Help From My Friends" which became the theme song of the
hit TV series The Wonder Years.
Who needs a Mini Cooper when you've got a Winnie Cooper, right Kev?

Joe Cocker cracked the top 30 with another Beatles cover
"She Came in Through the Bathroom Window." Cocker waxed
a killer cover of Dave Mason's "Feelin' Alright" and performed the song on Saturday Night Live with comic John Belushi by his side doing a spot on impression of the English icon.

Cocker released a worthy cover of the Box Tops' hit "The Letter" which went top 10 in the spring of 1970 and "Cry Me a River" which just missed the top 10 that fall. In June of 1971 Cocker just missed the top 20 with another great single "High Time We Went."

With their gimmicky garb (Union Army Civil War style uniforms), Gary Puckett & the Union Gap might have seemed at first glance like a knock off of Paul Revere & the Raiders, another Columbia Records band with Pacific Northwest origins.

The difference between the two groups becomes clear the moment you start listening to the Union Gap's melodic soft rock recordings that feature Gary Puckett's velvet vocals. It's interesting to note that "Young Girl" became the group's biggest hit and a million seller in the spring of 1968 in spite
of its controversial Lolita lyrics. Only a year earlier Mick Jagger had been forbidden to sing the words "let's spend the night together" on The Ed Sullivan Show because Ed and the nervous network censors worried that Jagger would lead innocent American youth into temptation and sin.  Could it be that our society became that much more permissive following the Summer of Love?

My Pick to Click in this song set is "MacArthur Park" sung by Irish actor Richard Harris. What a unique and brilliant piece of work - drama laden, wistful, sad and melancholy with inspired oddball lyrics by Jimmy Webb that somehow work perfectly for Harris, a man who could barely sing. "MacArthur Park" is, IMHO, the greatest one-hit-wonder recording of all time!

Thanks again, Jerre Slaybaugh,

for sending in your latest list!

Who's next?

If you have a Top Tunes list I'd love to see it.  It would be fascinating to discover which songs meant the most to you in your youth or which ones resonate now in the present. Why not do what Jerre and others have done? Make a list, submit it in the form of a comment and I'll get it posted.
It can be a list of your favorite songs, the most exciting songs, best songs from a particular time period similar to
my mid 60's Dell survey...anything you like!




Have a Shady day!


  1. Shady & Jerre this was indeed a real treat for me as some of the artists I have not followed or even knew of but hearing them here gave a new appreciation for their talent. A very refreshing list of 15 Jerre and I am sure everyone will enjoy this post a lot. You and Shady have a great Wednesday.

  2. Odie - Thank you for sampling Jerre's songs. These song lists are lots of fun. They remind us about music and artists that might have slipped our minds over the years and in some cases they introduce us to quality work that we never knew about. Have a wonderful wordless Wednesday, Odie!

  3. Both Sides Now and Heartbeat - nice. Thank you for posting this!

  4. Joanna - "Heartbeat" might also have been a favorite of your parents, yes? Thank you for visiting, listening, and commenting dear friend! Have a great day in England!

  5. Shady, Thanks for all the added info and the great clips. Another Joe Cocker favorite is Bird On A Wire. I saw Gary Puckett at Hershey Park and he bragged that one year in the 60s that he sold more records than Elvis. Don't know if that is true. Thanks again for your efforts and I hope others enjoy as much as I did.

  6. Jerre - If Gary Puckett claimed that he sold more records than Elvis and didn't give a last name he might have meant Elvis Kadiddlehopper! (LOL) I'm glad you enjoyed my reax to your song pics, good buddy, and thanks again for contributing so much to the success of the blog!

  7. Angel Baby is one of my favorite tunes! Love that it was featured on this list. I just stand and sway from side to side while listening to it. Oh and how cute is miss Winnie cooper :)

  8. Amber Blue Bird - The character of Winnie Cooper was inspired by YOU, dear friend! I'm glad you singled out the dreamy "Angel Baby" because it's one of the great slow dance cuddle classics of the pre-Beatles era. Thanks for coming over, Amber, and hugs to your wonderful dog Oliver!

  9. I loved your mini-Winnie joke. I literally laughed out loud when I read it.

  10. Ashton - I'm glad to know that you can relate to my humor. Being a news producer I'm sure you get an earful of "gallows humor" in the newsroom like I always did. It's a coping mechanism. I share your sadness today over the loss of Elizabeth Taylor. Thank you very much for coming over to my place, dear friend!

  11. Shady - Hallo! Well, these lists just seem to get better and better and congratulations to Jerre on his list. I have to admit that there were several that I hadn't heard of, so it is always good for me to hear these new songs that appear on your lists. Neil Diamond is one of my favourite singers and, to me, his voice is even better now! I love Bonnie Tyler's gravelly voice, and certainly, It's A Heartache is a real favourite of mine.Of course, you can't beat a bit of Buddy Holly, and MacArthur Park was something really different at the time. Jerre has picked another one of my all time favourites, Roy Orbison, so thank you for that Jerre! The Billy Joel and Olivia Newton John tunes I also loved when they were first released. Don't ever forget Shady, that we do appreciate all the hard work you put in on your posts, with all the extra information you give us.

  12. Thisisme - Such kind words. I thank you and Jerre thanks you. Time is a precious commodity and I appreciate you for devoting some of yours to SDM&M. Have a fine day in Southhams, dear friend!

  13. I always learn something new when I read your blog Shady. Thanks for being so knowledgeable.

  14. Alabee - I'm delighted to see you back to blogging. You've been missed! Thank you for visiting and commenting, dear friend!

  15. Jerre, this is such a great list of songs and some of my favorites too. "Human" is so beautiful and I got chills watching the video on "You Don't Bring Me Flowers". I'd never heard "Midnight Blue" but enjoyed it very much.
    "Warm and Tender Love" was warm and tender! And seeing Olivia sing that pretty song was exciting.
    "Crying", by Roy Orbison is one of the best from him.
    I laughed when I heard "Heartbeat" because I have watched that show many times and didn't know it was a Buddy Holly song.
    Thanks so much to you and Shady for the wonderful music.

  16. Belle - I'm very happy to see you back in action and to know that you didn't miss Jerre's latest song list. I had never seen that rare b&w clip of Olivia Newton-John before that captured the pop star at the very beginning of her career. I agree with you about that live performance by Neil and Barbra. It's one of those great moments in entertainment history when two of the world's top talents blended their voices into one and created a perfect storm. Thank you for your visit and your comment, dear friend Belle!

  17. Jerre really hit it with these favorites again! First of all, you can never go wrong when you include Richard Harris singing "MacArthur Park". I think I love every version of this song ever made, but the original outshines the others by far, with the electric harpsichord, strings, etc. I drove to hear Maynard Ferguson's big band play it at a college campus near Penn State and even had the sheet music for it. I've had it memorized for years, but can't play that harpsichord part nearly as smooth as the recording. It has always been one of the most personally special songs for me. I was just listening to it on YouTube the night before the Jerre/Shady blog came out, for the first time in years. I was going to include it in one of my lists.
    Thanks for showing the live video of Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand doing one of my favorite Streisand duets---untouchable. I'm always up to learn a "new" Buddy Holly song, really nice. It wasn't too long ago I learned "Not Fade Away" was not an original by the Stones. Bonnie Tyler, nice, Percy Sledge singing his underplayed follow-up to "When A Man Loves A Woman". I saw him perform both of them at the old Howard Theater in D.C., when it was popular. I always liked Judy Collins version of "Both Sides Now" and didn't think I'd care too much for Neil's version. Jerre, Mr. Diamond acted that song perfectly, he felt it! Probably the best rendition of it. "You Are So Beautiful" has been a favorite of mine ever since it came out, and still is. I got my mind blown last year, right after Billy Preston died, hearing Billy perform a live version, supposedly from "The Ultimate Billy Preston" CD. He sang it sweet, somewhat like Mr. Cocker, and he nailed it. I would compare the two recordings like a good T-bone and a London broil---you can't go wrong either way. Not a bad song in the bunch. I've always loved Pittsburgh's own Tommy Hunt, who was also a member of the smoothest doo-wop group in history, the Flamingos. Keep 'em coming, Jerre---and Shady---and the rest of you fellow & fellowette Dell Rats!

  18. Ron - I might be mistaken but I get the distinct impression that you liked Jerre's songs! I couldn't agree more about the Richard Harris version of "Macarthur Park." People either loved it or hated it and I'm one of those who loved it. Performers like Richard Harris and Joe Cocker might have had difficulty carrying a tune but they created works of art that still sound fresh today and still have the power to move me to tears. Thank you very much for your comments, Ron!

  19. Thanks to everyone for their favorable comments on some of my favorite non-Doo Wop songs. I wonder if Thisisme and Belle realize the Olivia Newton John song was written by Bob Dylan. Not only does she sing better, she looks much better. And to Ron, I like both versions, but still prefer Neil's. Hope everyone has a great day and I look forward to some other lists.

  20. Jerre - Some might argue with you but I agree. Ms. Newton-John was (and still is) a fetching lass, definitely easier on the eye than Bob Dylan (or Richard Harris or Joe Cocker for that matter). Her wholesome, girl-next-door looks, unassuming manner and vocal ability took her far. Thanks for checking your messages, Jerre, and have a great weekend!

  21. Jerre made some good selections! I have always thought MacArthur Park was the greatest. I had never heard "Human" before until now but was moved by it. It made me think of how sometimes we expect perfection from our fellow flawed humans: Expections are disapointments waiting to happen. "Sunday Morning Coming Down" is another favorite, I'm a fan of Kris Kristofferson. I like intelligent men and I'm assuming he must have had some smarts to be a Rhodes Scholar.:-) Goodness, I am being a little too philosophical today. :~D Your commentary was great as always, Shady! Thank you!

  22. Cindy - I don't mind if you wax philosophical. In fact I love it, and I am honored that you chose to do it on my blog. I wish you could have been there to witness the crowd reaction whenever "Human" came on the Dell jukebox. Laughter and conversation tapered off, a hush spread throughout the room, and couples swayed on the dance floor silently meditating, applying the song lyrics to their own lives. It was a sight to behold. Thank you very much for your interesting and intelligent observations, dear friend Cindy, and have a wonderful weekend!

  23. Buddy Holly glasses were so cool!
    Have a wonderful weekend Shady!

  24. Lenore - You're right! Thanks to Buddy Holly wearing glasses was cool and rock-a-billy ruled! Thank you for coming by, birthday girl, and have a wonderful weekend browsing the vintage shops!

  25. olivia newton john..i love her,she looks so sweet


You talkin' to me?