"We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel
11/20/2013 6:00:00 AM
Not since Reunion's "Life Is A Rock But The Radio Rolled Me" has a song rattled off so much in so little time. After many listens and hitting the pause button as many , I've counted 119 references.
When I first heard this Number One, Grammy Award winning hit in '89, I pulled over so I could make out exactly was flying out of my Jensen Coaxials. I had to buy it, listen and study before I hypothesized that this was a lot of the stuff that happened during a 40 year old's life.
My thoughts were turned into a theory when I read Wikipedia's rundown of the song.
What do you think he left out?
"Thriller" by Michael Jackson
10/30/2013 6:05:00 AM
This edition of our quality musical blog that falls near Halloween again. There are so many spooky classics to choose from, but one stands out. It’s even more chilling (with a beat) after the singer’s untimely death.
While the song clocked in 5:57, the John Landis-produced video was almost 14 minutes long. That’s kinda funny seeing that MTV rarely shows short videos today. In late ’83, we had the attention span to sit through the entire production. I remember pausing a pool game at RVC’s Student Center, so no one will miss a frame. Check out the full length video here.
The coolest touch in the song was the edition of Vincent Price. After a year of cheesy cameos, including one as a Hawaiian cave-dweller in the Brady Bunch, Price returned to his ghoulish glory. I hope you enjoy it on the Halloween 9@9.
"Word" by The Missing Persons
10/23/2013 6:02:00 AM
I’ll just come out and say it: I believe Lady Gaga shtick started with Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons. Don’t believe me? Look at the video to “Words”.
The anger, the revealing getup, the strange vocal quirks.... did I mention the revealing getup? Some said it was just weird, not commercial, and strange for the sake of being strange. Sound familiar?
Missing Persons featured Dale and her drummer husband-at-the-time Terry plus guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, bassist Patrick O’Hearn and Chuck Hearn on the keys. Terry and Dale met while working on Frank Zappa’s album “Joe’s Garage”.
Like most husband-wife bands “tensions” led to M.P.’s break up in ’86. Cuccurullo has had the most success as a member of Duran Duran for fifteen years. To this day, only The Cranberries have produced anything in the “Hiccup Pop” genre Missing Persons created.
Two of Hearts by Stacey Q
10/8/2013 4:00:00 PM
For a Christmas season, she was The Dutch Puppet at Disneyland. She went on to be a showgirl and elephant ride at the circus. Those were all great prerequisites to a career as one-hit-wonder pop singer for Stacey Q.
For five years the former Stacey Swain was in the pop-synth band Q. Everybody in the name had taken the last name Q. It was like paying homage to the guy in James Bond while saluting The Ramones. She was then noticed by Atlantic Records.
Her debut solo single “Two of Hearts” made it to Number Three on the Billboard Hot 100. Great agent or what? She performed the tune in the character of “Cinnamon” Tooty's rival for a part in a Broadway play on “Facts of Life”. I'm still intrigued by the way she can make an “I” bounce around her throat like a ping-pong ball as in, “I-ah-I-I-I-I-need-I-need-you”!
"Dreamer" by Supertramp
9/25/2013 1:01:00 PM
Oh the power of The LP in the '70s. You'd buy an album, sit around listening with friends and eventually know every song. “Crime of the Century" was released in '74 and had a slight US hit with “Bloody Well Right”. “Dreamer” seemed to be another popular sing-along-song from that release, without chart performance.
In 1979 the band recorded “Live In Paris” and that version of the tune was a Top 15 US hit in 1980. The “plunk, plunk” sound you hear has been said to be a partially filled wine glass. The crowd adds great energy to this rendition with Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies doing a great job of matching the dueling vocal section.
Hodgson left the band in 1983. He continues to perform his signature tunes such as “Dreamer”, “Give A Little Bit” and “The Logical Song”. Davies still leads Supertramp, only performing his classics such as ...
Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus
9/4/2013 6:06:00 AM
The nonsensical title...the mullet.... the line dance... the mullet. “Achy Breaky Heart” was a phenomenon in 1992 as unexplained as most X- Files. According to the always-reliable Wikipedia, the song was to have been originally recorded by The Oak Ridge Boys, but they reportedly didn’t like the “Achy Breaky” part. Maybe if they thrown in a couple of oom boppas , they would’ve topped Elvira? The world will never know.
Thank goodness the O.R. B. rejected this gem, otherwise we would’ve have been exposed to the guy whose mullet, at the least had to have been the main inspiration for David Spade’s Joe Dirt. His name was Billy Ray Cyrus.
Not only was the song so-darn-catchy, the girls liked watching him on TNN. Even a novice guitarist could cover the tune. They’d only have to know the “A” and “E” chords. You add “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” from that year and ...
"The Heart of Rock 'N Roll" by Huey Lewis
8/7/2013 6:00:00 AM
Before there were lyric websites, we all had to figure out words to the hit songs using our keen ears. “Yeah the oboe maybe barely breeding”, was a line my friends and I deciphered from “The Heart of Rock ‘N Roll” by Huey Lewis and the News. Boy was I embarrassed when technology proved me wrong.
We could though correctly make out the names of the cities mentioned and were not happy about the omission of Rockford and even “The Windy City”. I suppose people from Anchorage were just as miffed. That didn’t stop all of us at the Rock Valley Student Center from gathering around the suspended TV when the video popped up on MTV.
Maybe the charm of the video was the d-list acting skills when the band was staring in shock at themselves on stage, like they were gazing at the parallel universe. And how about that ...
(Encore) "Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)-Reunion
7/17/2013 6:00:00 AM
Before that fast-talkin’ Fed-Ex guy there was the fast-singin’ Joey Levine and his band of studio musicians called Reunion. Levine was the ‘60s bubble-gum guru behind “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and “Chewy Chewy”. Great brain-mouth coordination is required to sing this song.
At my count, the song names 89 musicians, songs or musical entities. Rock’em Sock ‘em Robots? Okay that’s a left curve, but sounds great in the song. Alan Freed, The Fish, The Swim and the Boston Monkey were all legendary AM DJ’s. “Here’s my ring, we’re going steady” was a reference to an Elvis Presley song. ZZ Top is mentioned and they’re the only band in the song currently scheduled to play in Rockford (October 27).
I really surprised that “Spew as many words as you can in 3 minutes” genre hasn’t really continued since 1974. The closest thing we have today is rap. Maybe modern day songwriters are ...
(Encore) "Afternoon Delight" by The Starland Vocal Band
7/3/2013 10:05:00 AM
Anchorman Ron Burgundy called it, “the greatest song ever”, I think it was the greatest bit of 70’s pop irony: Smooth singing, wholesome folksters who looked like they’d “Like to Teach The World To Sing” instead harmonize about having an “after-nooner” that cause skyrockets to fly.
Love this video. Compare it to this (parental discretion advised).
The Starland Vocal Band went to Number One with “Afternoon Delight” this week in 1976. Then, taking the same career path as The Captain and Tennille, suddenly had their own variety show. All clips of this have been removed from You Tube, but my memories tell me that it was worse than the C&T show, but better that the Brady Bunch Variety Hour.
Husband and wife Bill and Taffy from S.V.B. were songwriters collaborating with John Denver for tunes including, “Take Me Home Country Roads”. Jon and Margot joined the band and also married. ...
"The Glamorous Life"
6/19/2013 6:00:00 AM
Sheila E. has been performing and recording since she was a kid, playing the drums and other percussion instruments with Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock and Diana Ross. When she joined in on Prince’s recording sessions for Purple Rain, things really got going. She even sang a duet with the purple one called “Erotic City”.
Prince originally wrote “The Glamorous Life” for his all-girl backup group Apollonia 6. When that band dissolved, it was Prince’s mission to launch Sheila’s solo career. The song was a gift to her.
The message of the tune is clear: You can have all the bling you want, but “without love, it ain’t much”. These days Sheila E. basks in the love of her family, touring with the Family E. Band featuring her dad Pete and Uncle Juan. When she plays “The Glamorous Life”, get ready for the drum solo.