Top 10 Georgie Fame Songs

Georgie Fame Songs

Feature Photo: unknown photographer (ANEFO), CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Georgie Fame Songs list showcases many of the best Georgie Fame Songs like “Yeh, Yeh,” “Get Away,” “Sunny,” and many more. Originally born as Clive Powell in 1943, Georgie Fame earned his claim to fame in the 1960s as an R&B, mixed with jazz, musician. Hailing from Lancashire, England, Powell learned how to play the piano as a child which would first lead him to serve as a pianist for a group called the Dominoes while he was a teenager. At one point, he was offered a job in North Wales after participating in a singing contest that won the attention of Rory Blackwell.

Shortly after turning sixteen years old, Powell moved to London to further embark on his musical career. It would be at this point in time he would adopt the stage name, Georgie Fame. The first part of Fame’s career had him perform with a series of other artists and was part of a backup band known as Blue Flames. Starting in 1961, when the band was now on its own, it was rebilled as Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. As a group specializing in the musical niche of rhythm and blues, they made a solid name for themselves in the UK music scene.

Let’s Be Heard

In addition to R&B, Georgie Fame was also musically influenced by jazz. This was infused into his musical style, becoming one of the first white musicians influenced by the musical subgenre called ska after hearing this style in English and Jamaican cafes. During this time, Fame also purchased himself an organ, learning how to play it as part of his growing musical repertoire. By 1963, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames released their debut album, Rhythm and Blues at the Flamingo. The Flamingo Club was where the band honed in on their mix of R&B, jazz, and ska musical styles.

While this particular album didn’t win much attention, the follow-up, Fame at Least, was a 1964 release that did. However, this didn’t come easy as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Radio Luxembourg were reluctant to play any of Fame’s recordings. This resulted in the creation of an offshore pirate radio station, Radio Caroline, as businessman Ronan O’Rahilly took it upon himself to create an outlet so artists like Fame could finally be heard.

With Georgie Fame finally having his music play on the air, he enjoyed a successful string of hits, starting in early 1965 with his cover version of the 1963 Lambert, Hendricks & Ross vocal recording of “Yeh, Yeh.” This would become one of his most identifiable singles as an all-time fan favorite.

Solos & Collaborations

Georgie Fame, after splitting from the Blue Flames, continued to record and play as a solo artist. In 1971 he and his friend, Alan Price, enjoyed a solid working relationship as the hits kept coming from Fame’s recorded performances. He would reunite in 1974 with the Blue Flames, which witnessed performances with European orchestras. Since the success of the jingle-turned-single “Get Away” in 1966, Fame continued to bring forth a series of musical advertisements for radio and television. He also composed music for 1970’s Entertaining Mr. Sloane and 1972’s The Alf Garnett Saga. In 1986, Fame released two additional singles, starting with Richie Cole’s “New York Afternoon” and later Gilberto Gil’s “Samba.”

From 1989 to 1997, Georgie Fame was a member of Van Morrison, both as a performer and as his musical producer. Fame was also one of the founding members behind Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings. The Rolling Stones fans will recognize Wyman as that band’s star bassist from 1962 until 1993. 1997 was the year Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings officially began as its own rock group and still has Georgie Fame as part of its lineup. Fame still goes on strong as a performer and has had his sons, James Powell and Tristan Powell, perform with him from time to time at various live concerts and festivals.

Longtime fans of Georgie Fame may recall James and Tristan as the son of Nicolette Powell, who was their father’s wife since 1972. Tristan, the firstborn, was the product of an affair his parents had while his mother was still the Marchioness of Londonderry. When it was revealed he was Georgie Fame’s son and not an heir to the marquisate, Nicolette was divorced from the 9th Marquess and married Georgie Fame. On August 13, 1993, Nicolette Powell plunged to her death from Bristol, England’s Clifton Suspension Bridge, not long after Fame made several public praises about her in an interview.

Georgie Fame Legacy

To George Fame’s credit, he has thirty-four studio albums, fourteen live albums, eighteen compilation albums, and ten extended plays (EPs). From the fifty singles he has so far released in his career, three of them became number one hits on the UK Singles Chart, along with four of them making an impression on the US Billboard Hot 100. Two of these singles, namely “Yeh, Yeh” and “The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde,” each sold over one million copies, becoming certified gold by the UK’s British Phonographic Industry (BPI)

Top 10 Georgie Fame Songs

#10 – In the Meantime

In 1965, “In the Meantime” was a single released by Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. On the UK Singles chart, it peaked as high as number twenty-two and was a number thirty hit in Canada. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it became the second time this British-based talent experienced a hit on its chart as it came in at number ninety-seven. It also peaked at number sixty-six in Australia. Released as a stand-alone single, “In the Meantime” this fun, jazzy number rightfully earned its place as a gotta-dance-to favorite.

#9 – Sitting in the Park

Billy Stewart’s 1965 single, “Sitting in the Park” was a big R&B hit for the artist from his album, I Do Love You. Georgie Fame’s 1966 version became a number twelve hit on the UK Singles Chart and also peaked as high as number ninety-two in Australia. His version came from the album, Sweet Things, which would be the final recording while still with the Columbia Records label. This beautiful song is about waiting for the narrator’s love interest and was beautifully performed as an easy-listening bluesy favorite with a hint of jazz. This was Georgie Fame’s trademark sound that made him a favorite among fans who appreciated this musician’s style for the genius it was and still is.

#8 – Moondance (featuring Van Morrison)

In 1977, Van Morrison released “Moondance” as a single, seven years after the album it was recorded on, also titled Moondance, was released. For Van Morrison, it became his signature song and became the most frequently played at his concerts. In 1991, three years after Georgie Fame teamed up with Van Morrison, recorded a cover version of this beloved single which is featured on the album, Cool Cat Blues. In 1992, it was released as a single only for the German market. When Georgie Fame and Van Morrison worked together from 1989 until 1997, fans were privy to eight years’ worth of a real musical treat. When these two perform “Moondance” together, it definitely added an awesome mix of blues and jazz to this incredible song that’s worth listening to.

#7 – That’s Life (featuring Van Morrison)

From 1989 until 1997, Georgie Fame was part of the Van Morrison entourage. “That’s Life” was first recorded in 1963 by Marion Montgomery and was favored for its inspirational message to simply deal with life’s issues because it will only be a matter of time before things look up again. The most famous version of this song came from Frank Sinatra’s 1966 performance but it has been recorded many times over by a flurry of artists from a variety of musical genres. As for the version credited to Van Morrison with Georgie Fame & Friends, this version of “That’s Life” became a number ninety-two hit on the UK Singles Chart in 1996.

#6 – Rosetta (featuring Alan Price)

Coming from the collaborative albums, Fame & Price, Price & Fame, and Together, “Rosetta” was a number one hit in Belgium after it was released as a single in 1971. In the Netherlands, it peaked as high as number three and was a number eleven hit on the UK Singles Chart. Australia, Germany, and Ireland also saw “Rosetta” make an appearance on their official music charts at number ninety-one, forty-three, and sixteen, respectively. Incredibly fast and fun, “Rosetta” was a song about a woman who had a rather rebellious reputation that won over the interest of the songwriting team who performed as one.

#5 – New York Afternoon (featuring Coral Gordon and Dee Lewis)

In 1986, “New York Afternoon” was a single Georgie Fame released as his version of the Richie Cole 1976 original. At the time, this single was credited to the group, Mondo Kane, which included Coral Gordon and Dee Lewis as part of a lineup that also featured Fame. The plucky start of this fun song already puts the listener into a mode to get ready to slap the knees and tap the toes. If there was ever an R&B number to get into a smooth New York groove, “New York Afternoon” would be it.

#4 – Sunny

On the UK Singles Chart in 1966, “Sunny” became a number thirteen hit, three years after Bobby Hebb’s original was recorded. Both of these versions were released and charted in 1966 with Hebb’s earning the most amount of global recognition. This jazzy soul number has been covered by a long list of artists, making it one of the most popular choices among recording and stage performers. For Hebb, it was marked as one of the top hundred songs of the twentieth century. For Hebb, he and his brother, Harold, were sons of visually impaired musicians and were very close to each other.

When Harold was murdered outside a nightclub in Nashville, “Sunny” was written by a heartbroken Bobby Webb as his way of paying tribute to his brother and his parents. Instead of allowing troubled times to drag a person down, no matter how bad it is, the decision to look on the bright side was the key source of inspiration behind “Sunny.” For Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, their version also peaked as high as number two in the Netherlands and at number eight in Belgium.

#3 – Get Away

Coming from the album, Sweet Things, “Get Away” was a summer of 1966 hit for Georgie Fame as this single topped the UK Singles Chart. It also became a number one hit in Canada, as well as peaking within the top forty official music charts belonging to Australia, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Sweden. Originally written as a jingle for a commercial, this song became a big fan favorite not long after it was first released. Although “Get Away” was performed as Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, the songwriting credit went to his birth name of Clive Powell.

Immediately after “Get Away” was used as a jingle for National Petrol, it was reworked to become a single that would become one of Fame’s signature songs. Between the fast lyrics and brassy instrumentation, this hustling favorite beautifully balanced the world of jazz and rock and roll in what is still regarded as perfect harmony. When “Get Away” was released in the US as a single, it also became a danceable favorite. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked as high as number seventy. In Australia, the popularity of this song became the theme music behind its informative series, Getaway.

#2 – Yeh, Yeh

In 1963, Latino talent Mongo Santamaria recorded “Yeh, Yeh” for his album, Watermelon Man! as an instrumental before vocals were added by Jon Hendricks of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross fame. It was Fame’s debut on the official music charts as a recording artist as “Yeh, Yeh” peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart after his version was released in 1965. “Yeh, Yeh” also became a number twenty-one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. However, the US version omitted the saxophone solo that was the break feature in Fame’s UK version. If anything, Georgie Fame’s “Yeh, Yeh” established why so many 1960s hits, regardless of who performed them, are still considered among the best examples of classic rock that are still favored today.

#1 – The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde

“The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde” became one of Georgie Fame’s signature songs after it was released in 1967 as a single. It became a number one hit on the UK Singles Chart, as well as in Canada, and a number seven hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. The inspiration for the song came to Fame after he watched the movie, Bonnie and Clyde. Styled as a jazzy number from the Roaring Twenties, the feature of the gangster-style life led by the infamous Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow outlaws, also inspired Fats Domino’s 1956 hit, “Blue Monday.” Although the information laid out in Fame’s song didn’t perfectly match the controversial history of Bonnie and Clyde, the very beauty of this bluesy jazz masterpiece deservedly earned its place as a major fan favorite. Globally, “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde” was also a top ten hit among the nations of Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand.

Top 10 Georgie Fame Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

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