As I make my way through the letter ‘A’ in my ‘Every Hit Song Ever’ project, I have finally reached the ‘Angel’ section and in case you couldn’t have surmised, people like to sing about angels!
They did way back in the 50s (Jimmy Darren’s “Angel Face”, Nat King Cole’s “Angel Smile”), sang about them out even more frequently in the 60s (“Angel Baby” by Rosie & the Originals, “Angel” – Johnny Tillotson, “Angel” – Jimi Hendrix) and the subject matter hasn’t stopped fascinating the pop music world since.
There have been nearly 100 titles that begin with the word “Angel” to have graced the US, UK and country music charts, and that’s not even taking into consideration hits such as “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” or “Johnny Angel” that don’t begin with the word. We sure are fascinated with the subject, aren’t we?
So I present to you, my favorite “Angel” songs from each of the past five decades:
The 60s – “Angel of the Morning” by Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts
The Seattle folksinger may have had one big hit, but she sure knocked it out of the park! The Chip Thomas-penned lament has since become a standard covered by everyone from Juice Newton to Barbara Mandrell to Rita Wilson, but it’s the 1968 Top 10 smash that still manages to hit home for me. After listening to about a dozen different versions yesterday, I believe it’s time to put it in my karaoke queue!
The 70s – “Angel Eyes” by Roxy Music
Only Bryan Ferry could make that color suit look THAT cool. This song was a #4 hit in the UK. How cool would it have been for this to be a Top 10 hit in the states as well? You look up cool in the dictionary……OK, I’ll stop!
The 80s – “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” by Willie Nelson
Instead of the obvious choices from Madonna, U2 or hell even Jeff Healey, I went with Sir Willie with my 80s pick. This song is so great, it makes me even want to see if “Honeysuckle Rose” is on Netflix.
The 90s – “Angel of Mine” by Monica
Sure, the ubiquitous late 90s churner is a little cookie cutter, but it certainly proved to be an incredible showcase for the teenage star’s pipes. One of the last #1 hit ballads of the pre-American Idol era. We can only guess how many young girls practiced their vocal runs to this very song.
The 00s – “Angels” by Robbie Williams
What? It was a less “angelic” decade. Did you think I was choosing that Shaggy song?
If you would like to check out my ongoing quest to post Every Hit Song Ever from A to Z, please check out my facebook page, Dan Paquette’s Music Obsession.