Monday, October 24, 2016

Song #243: "Weather Channel"--Sheryl Crow (2002)

Sheryl Crow hit it big in 1994 with her "Tuesday Night Music Club" CD, and, eight years later, did pretty well with the release, "C'mon, C'mon".

Without creating a spoiler here about a future countdown song, I purchased the latter CD sometime in 2003, I believe, because of another song I really liked that was on it. And that is when I discovered today's countdown entry.

"Weather Channel" was never a single, and closes the CD. And, in the wake of the loss of my mother to cancer at just age 64 on December 28, 2002, this song hit home with me in a ton of ways. I referred to my bout with depression (something that can lessen, but doesn't go away) several days earlier, and, when I first heard this song, it brought everything I was feeling emotionally to full circle.

Life continued, I worked, too much, and thus, I missed some of the development of my kids. Then, when I wasn't working, I was usually in bed sleeping away full days, sometimes even full weekends after I gave up my pastorate at the end of 2005.

I was in a storm, yet I was "waiting for the storm" simultaneously, which is a feeling, by the way, I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

This is a deeply depressing song. And, for a time, it was right on the mark for me. I'm glad I reached, as far as I have, over on the other side of it,

My message to anyone reading this who is in, or preparing for, the storm, or both comes by using the lyrics at the song's conclusion.

Don't be "the better faker."  Reach out. Get help. There's hope. Especially for those of you who are believers in Christ who have, at some point, been taught depression, or not being constantly filled with the joy of the Lord is a sin. I'm here to tell you those who purport that are dead wrong.

It's a natural human experience, and it can be dealt with and, to a significant extent, overcome. I am living proof.  :)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Song #244: "Cool Places"--Sparks with Jane Wiedlin (1983)

We had mentioned earlier that Go-Go's member Jane Wiedlin would return once more on her own in our countdown. Well, to a point.

Wiedlin's second non-Go-Go's appearance comes with, interestingly enough, one of her favorite childhood groups. She'd have no idea in the seventies that, in the next decade, she would record with them and help them achieve one of their better known songs.

Today's tune didn't hit Casey Kasem's American Top 40, peaking at #49, but certain radio stations gave it a spin in the Spring and early Summer of 1983, and I was sure glad of it.

Scratching your head trying to remember the song? Hit that play button below. Jane returns again with the Go-Go's soon as the countdown rolls on.  :)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Song #245: "Tom Sawyer"--Rush (1981)

One of my favorite groups of all time arrives!

I caught a documentary on the early history of Rush not too long ago, and now have an even greater appreciation for Geddy Lee and company after seeing how hard they worked, how long they labored to finally get the success they deserved, not just because it was their "time", but that the masses finally "got it" when it came to their style, their sound.

I can't say I was a huge fan of their very long "suites", but I'm a huge fan of many of their songs. Obviously, Lee's vocals are part of the equation, but Rush, with its music, created a different, unique niche in sound. When a new Rush song hit the radio, you knew it, and didn't need an intro by the disc jockey.  :)

This song was one that helped me navigate the second half of the worst year of my public school life: the eighth grade. New school, big class (compared to 28 of us at Beaverdam Elementary), lots of teasing, the bully on the bus, my first huge crush that left me speechless in Algebra I, and, unbeknownst to anyone, I was into my second year dealing with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Mine came as the "Sudden Onset" kind in 1979.

That was a lot to deal with at 13 1/2 years old. So, I think of this song, and others from that period, and smile, as I buried myself in music, A LOT, to get me through those days.  :)

More Rush to come as the countdown continues!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Song #246: "Galveston"--Glen Campbell (1969)

My first recollection of Glen Campbell was this.

Then, as a young boy, I guess at some point I put two and two together, realizing the TV guy was the also the same guy I heard sing bunches of songs on both WRVA and WXGI, the first two radio stations I ever remember listening to.

Today's song is the first of three songs from Campbell in not only my Top 500, but my Top 250. He really did have an impressive catalog of music, including a few songs from a later album released to Christian Radio in 1991 that I absolutely love.

I'm posting two versions today, the original as well as a live version from 2001.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Song #247: "Walking On Sunshine"--Katrina And The Waves (1985)

Can you think back in your life about a song that you love that was released at the perfect time, encapsulating all the good things happening to you at that snapshot of your earthly journey?

"Walking On Sunshine" is "that" song for me.

The song was released the day before my senior prom, which was April 27, 1985. Things were really, really, really good in life.

I was in the homestretch of senior year, had a wonderful girlfriend, had started a new job at Kings Dominion, my Dad was still recovering, and struggling, with effects from his brain aneurysm of a year earlier, but, hey, he was with us, and that in itself was a huge blessing.

Now, as May rolled and became June, and as I prepared to, then walked across the stage at The Mosque to wrap up twelve years in Hanover County Public Schools, Katrina and The Waves came crashing into the party to give me, essentially, a theme song to this important period of my life.

I had family, a pretty woman's love, a 1979 Chevette, a diploma, a few dollars, and big dreams for my future. Put all that together with this song, and it's "meant to be".

Need a pick me up? Need to celebrate? Just click play below. The song takes me back to an exact moment when, returning from somewhere, I had this song blasting in my aforementioned car as I rolled into the driveway back at the parsonage in Beaverdam.

I was on top of the world.  :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Song #248: "Dream Police"--Cheap Trick (1979)

Most people, when they think of Cheap Trick in the 1970's, think of their big hit, "I Want You To Want Me". Frankly, I didn't like that song at all.

"Dream Police", however, the first single from and title track from their 1979 LP, is another story. This song is jam packed with fun, great sing-along moments, a crazy bridge, and a super suspenseful build-up.

I don't know about you, but I dream every night. Most nights, I remember my dreams while they go on, briefly upon awakening, then can just remember vague generalities, but not specifics once the day is going. Occasionally, I remember the dream well, sometimes vividly, like last night, where I dreamed of being in Alaska and they were about to start a period of windstorms expected to last 12-18 MONTHS. So glad it was a dream for all you Alaskans out there.  :)

And, recently, I had a first. Have you ever dreamed about falling, only to wake up before you "land"? Well, after 49 plus years, I dreamed I fell, and I actually landed. And, I was fine.

What does it mean? I have no idea. Maybe it was the Cap'n Crunch just before bed. :)

Anyway, enjoy Cheap Trick's contribution to our musical journey!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Song #249: "Don't Leave Me This Way"--Thelma Houston (1977)

This song is usually lumped into the "disco" category by most music fans and critics, and I think doing that doesn't quite give this song the full credit it deserves.

Originally released, to pretty good success on the new "Billboard Disco Chart" in 1975 by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, today's tune was headed for Diana Ross originally, who enjoyed chart success in 1976 with "Love Hangover", a song with some definite similarities with our tune today. But it ended up in Houston's lap, and she absolutely nailed it.

Yes, I know the song screams "disco", but my earlier statement is to make sure Houston gets credit for fantastic vocals and the producers and band used for the song get credit for their work, especially the beginning. Forty years later, when this song comes on the radio, you know in 1.5 seconds what it is (listen at ;16 below). There are ten million songs in the world that would kill for that ability.

I'm posting the full album version, because, well, if you've followed the countdown at all you know I'm partial to the "real" version, not the chopped out "single" versions we were fed by radio stations, especially in the 1970's and 1980's when executives still shuttered at the thought of a song longer than four minutes.

If you think about it, radio singles back in the 1960's as "music radio" came of age was almost like the "Twitter Generation" of music. Anything over 2:30 long and you were in trouble. It was like they were thinking in 140 characters or less back then. :)

Transport yourself back just shy of a generation, and enjoy Thelma's contribution to music, disco, and our countdown.