Kassner Music recently marked its 75th anniversary, so in celebration we’ve handed over the playlist reins to the independent music publisher for this week’s playlist.
Kassner Music was founded in 1944 by Edward Kassner and has represented some of the most celebrated songwriters of all time.
The company’s first hit came courtesy of their founder who penned How Lucky You Are, which was later sung by Dame Vera Lynn on BBC radio after the end of World War II.
Subsequent early hits included the Bill Haley & the Comet’s B-side Rock Around the Clock alongside further rock and roll classics like Hit the Road Jack and Reet Petite.
By the time the sixties hit Kassner Music had signed Ray Davies, whose band The Kinks went on to have a string of hits including You Really Got Me and All Day and All of the Night.
Since those early days Kassner Music has expanded to incorporate a wide range of musical genres into its repertoire.
More recently their catalogue has included classics from the eighties and nineties dance scene with acts like Sash!, Chicane and Jungle Brothers and contemporary international smashes from Dua Lipa (New Rules) and Clean Bandit.
Here, the folks at Kassner pick out some of the company’s highlights over the past 75 years…
Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa
With its instantly catchy melody and disco vibe, this latest release by Dua Lipa, out today, was written and produced by the same team as New Rules. It’s playful, it’s infectious, we love it!
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) – Nancy Sinatra
Written by Sonny Bono and originally released in 1966 by Cher, the smooth and haunting voice of Nancy Sinatra undoubtably reminds Quentin Tarantino fans of the cult blockbuster Kill Bill Volume 1 after the song was used in the opening credits.
All Day and All of the Night – The Kinks
We started working with a band called The Ravens in the early sixties who later changed their name to The Kinks. You Really Got Me, the band’s breakthrough success, was a huge moment in British music with its irresistible riff and power chords. Just three months later Sir Ray Davies followed up with another dose of raw guitar and drums releasing “All Day and All of the Night” which still sounds fresh more than 50 years on.
Shake A Tailfeather – Ray Charles [not on Spotify]
Get out of your seats and dance! First recorded by the Chicago-based group The Five Du-Tones, this song was later covered by Ray Charles for the film The Blues Brothers and makes the cut for most 60s playlists.
Rock Around the Clock – Bill Haley and the Comets
Our founder Eddie Kassner paid an ex-US marine $250 for a song that many had turned down. Six months later this song was recorded by Bill Haley and it exploded, starting the rock’n’roll era and becoming one of the best-selling songs of the 50s.
Crazy Crazy Nights – Kiss
“This is my music, it makes me proud, these are my people and this is my crowd”. An uplifting powerful rock anthem and the first top ten charting single in the UK for Kiss.
Fade to Grey – Visage
The seminal synth brilliance of Fade to Grey, written by Chris Payne, Midge Ure and Billy Currie, opens with lyrics spoken in French setting this song up to be the new wave classic it is today.
Stop! – Sam Brown
A heart-rending pop-ballad gloriously sung by Sam Brown and later covered by Jamelia for the film Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason.
Portrait of My Love – Matt Monro
The man with the golden voice, Matt Monro had his first ever hit with “Portrait of my Love” for which our company also received its first Ivor Novello award in 1960.
I Go To Sleep – The Pretenders
One day at a television studio in Manchester, David Kassner bumped into Chrissie Hynde. He introduced himself and without any pre-thought said: “I think I have a great song for you”. David later sent Hynde the Ray Davies demo which led to The Pretenders recording and releasing the song. It became the third top ten chart hit for the group.
Sly – Massive Attack
The wistful music of Sly works perfectly with the ethereal vocals of singer Nicolette, who makes a profound lyrical commentary on the cyclical nature of life.
Love of the Common People – Paul Young
Written by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins, many have recorded this song including The Everly Brothers, Nicky Thomas and Bruce Springsteen but those who came of age in the 80’s are most familiar with the Paul Young version which dominated US and UK radio during that time and tells a heart-warming story of hope.
She’s A Bad Mama Jama – Carl Carlton
This funk gem, written by Leon Haywood, became a major R&B sensation and is now known the world over as a staple on soundtracks and a source of samples for many renowned R&B and hip-hop releases.
Promised Land – Joe Smooth
A timeless house anthem with the soul of Motown. Initially released in 1987 the single soon became a definitive club hit, rising to further prominence with The Style Council’s Top 20 cover version two years later. Most recently Fatboy Slim selected it to open his soundtrack for documentary Ibiza: The Silent Movie.
Lola’s Theme – The Shapeshifters
The Shapeshifters are best known for this noughties release that went straight into the UK charts at number one. It is easy to understand why this much-loved track is still played on dancefloors around the world.
There For You – Gorgon City and MK
A brand new banger co-written and featuring the beautifully sweet voice of Frida Amundsen.
Ecuador – Sash!
This song captures the essence of Sash! and will have you dancing in seconds. A mix of pop and progressive trance beats, it is forever the sound of 90s dance.
Kassner celebrated their anniversary with an evening at The Ivy, and PRS for Music members can watch a video that was broadcast on the night here (log in required).