1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Paradise Road”

Ain’t Gonna Stop Till I Get To The Top – Joy

Ain’t Gonna Stop Till I Get To The Top - Joy

Ain’t Gonna Stop Till I Get To The Top – Joy

‘Paradise Road’ became a South African classic that still reverberates around the local music world to this day. But before Joy brought us that chart topping hit, they had a lesser know song make number 11, about 6 months before ‘Paradise Road’ cracked the charts and that was ‘Ain’t Gonna Stop Till I Get To The Top’.

Like ‘Paradise Road’, ‘Ain’t Gonna Stop…’ was written by Fransua Roos and Patric van Blerk and both tracks appeared on the album called ‘Paradise Road’. However, unlike the soulful chart topper, ‘Ain’t Gonna Stop’ is a straight on disco floorfiller. From the moment the funky bass starts up (about 3 seconds into the song), you know that you are going to be dancing to this one and that is soon confirmed as that disco beat (you know the one I’m talking about) hits in. And while that is strutting around your turntable (remember those?), you are hit with a voice that is not too distant to that of one of the greats of the disco era, Donna Summer.

Interestingly, 2 years after ‘Ain’t Gonna Stop’ was released in 1980, Joy covered the Jon & Vangelis song ‘State Of Independence’ around the same time that Donna Summer released her own cover. Co-incidence? Well listen to ‘Ain’t gonna Stop’ and I think you’ll agree that Joy knew how to do disco the same way Donna Summer did.

Joy actually did not stop once they managed to get to the top because apart from the cover of ‘State Of Independence’ mentioned above they had one more song make the Springbok charts, but that’s for another entry on this blog.

Where to find it:
Singles Bins

Video:

Paradise Road – Joy

Paradise Road – Joy

Paradise Road - Joy

Paradise Road – Joy

‘Paradise Road’ is without a doubt a South African classic. The song had a 9 week run at the top of the SA Top 20 in 1980. Charisma’s ‘Mammy Blue’ (which spent 12 weeks at the top) was the only local act to do better. Richard Jon Smith’s ‘Michael Row The Boat Ashore’ also managed 9 weeks, however of these 3 songs, ‘Paradise Road’ was the one that was not a cover version of an international song. It also seems to have been the one that has stuck in the local psyche, perhaps helped by its inclusion in the musical ‘Umoja’ which had international success.

Apart from the lush orchestration and powerful, goosebump inducing vocal performance of Felicia Marian, Thoko Ndlozi and Anneline Malebo, there are the subtle political undertones in the lyrics. Talk of “fire smoking”, the “sky is blazing” and “a young man nearly beaten” hint at the troubled townships of the apartheid era. But what set this apart from other songs of this ilk was the message of hope in the song. “There are better days before us and a burning bridge behind us”, points to the transition that finally came almost 14 years after the song was topping our charts and made it an almost perfect anthem for the fall of apartheid. Watch the video for the cover version by Ladysmith Black Mambazo with Timothy Moloi mentioned below and you’ll see what I mean.

Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 3 (1994) GSP, CDREDD 610

Video:
Joy:


Ladysmith Black Mambazo with Timothy Moloi:


Umoja:

Lyrics:
Come with me down paradise road
This way please, I’ll carry your load
This you won’t believe.
Come with me to paradise skies
Look outside and open your eyes
This you must believe.

There are better days before us
And a burning bridge behind, fire smokin’ the sky is blazing,
There’s a woman waiting weeping
And a young man nearly beaten all for love.
Paradise was almost closin’ down.

Come with me to paradise days
It’ll change your life, it’ll sure change your ways
This you won’t believe.
Take my hand down paradise lane
Away from heart ache with out any pain
I know ’cause I have been.

There are better days before us
And a burning bridge behind, fire smokin’, the sky is blazing,
There’s a woman waiting weeping
And a young man nearly beaten all for love.
Paradise was almost closin’ down.

There are better days before us
And a burning bridge behind, fire smokin’, the sky is blazing,
There’s a woman waiting weeping
And a young man nearly beaten all for love

You must believe – you must believe this
You must believe – you must believe this
You must believe – you must believe this…
There are better days…

(Written by Patric van Blerk & Fransua Roos)

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