DAILY DIRT: Dusty, Ronnie and Diana set the pace for the girls of the ’60s

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Daily Dirt for Sunday, July 31, 2022

We’ll be touching on three of my favorite items in life today: music, baseball and “Yellowstone” … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 355 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Today we’re starting a week-long tribute to the top singers, both female and male, of the era that defined what we now refer to as “pop music” — the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

We’ll start with the girls of the 1960s, the trailblazers. The following 10 singers left indelible marks on … “pop music”:

I consider this particular decade the most important stretch in the aforementioned 30-year period. There’s not a name among the ensuing top 10 that would not be described as legendary. I think you’ll agree. Here are my 10 favorites:

  • 1. Dusty Springfield: Sadly, the raspy-voiced — and oh so gifted — Springfield was not inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame until two weeks after her death in 1999, which followed a long battle with breast cancer.  Her real name was Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien.
  • 2. Ronnie Spector: She was the signature talent of producer Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” in the early-to-mid 1960s (and also his wife).
  • 3. Diana Ross: I’ve always felt she garnered the most attention — and deservedly so — while serving as lead singer of the talented trio of Supremes. At the time, she epitomized the heart and soul of Motown en route to fronting 12 No. 1 songs.
  • 4. Aretha Franklin: She was known as the Queen of Soul, and could belt out a song like few others. Throughout the 1960s, there was an ongoing discussion among pop music fans: Was Aretha or Diana Ross the real female face of the Motown sound? I would not argue with whoever your choice would be.
  • 5. Petula Clark: “Downtown” and “I Know A Place” mirrored the sound and overall feeling of the mid-1960s. Petula Clark, which is her actual name, is alive and well at age 89. She now lives in Switzerland, and despite her advanced years, enjoys skiing.
  • 6. Janis Joplin: Her checkered off-stage lifestyle will likely be what is most remembered about this marvelous talent, who left us way too early at age 27. 
  • 7. Martha Reeves: Arguably the biggest hit for Martha Reeves and the Vandellas came in 1964 with “Dancing In The Street,” which became an anthem for the civil rights movement in the turbulent 1960s. 
  • 8. Lesley Gore: Unfortunately, her star began to fade in the second half of the decade, which was a shame. She became pigeon-holed into the sound of the early 1960s, and when the industry’s sound was changing she was left behind. Her voice, however, was magnificent.
  • 9. Dionne Warwick: She emerged in the 1960s, and remained a star attraction well into the 1970s and 1980s.
  • 10. Mary Wells: An often overlooked talent who burst on to the scene with “My Guy” and helped define the Motown sound in the 1960s, Wells died in 1992 at age 49 of throat cancer.

Next: The Girls of the 1970s.

2. Here’s an interesting note for MLB fans.

Since the start of the 2021 season, here are the top five sluggers who have mashed the most 420 foot-plus home runs:

  • 1. Shohei Ohtani, 31
  • 2. Aaron Judge, 30
  • 3-tied. Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. 27
  • 3-tied. Giancarlo Stanton, 27
  • 5. Kyle Schwarber, 26.

The only mild surprise might be Schwarber, but overall a legit list and about who you’d expect.

Those totals are through Saturday night.

3. Fans of the No. 1 show on television, “Yellowstone,” will be glad to hear there will be 14 episodes this season.

That’s an increase from the 10 that made up each of the first four seasons. The new season debuts on Paramount Nov. 13.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — Speaking of “Yellowstone,” I see hints being dropped about the level of violence being ratcheted up during season five, not to mention the “steam” between John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and Summer Higgins (Piper Perabo). As they say, stay tuned …

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Be ready for more “Yellowstone” content as we draw closer to the season premiere.

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