Thursday, January 19, 2017

Song #156: "Late In The Evening"--Paul Simon (1980)

I'm having a whole lot of school memories in recent days, which makes sense, as most of the countdown entries made their mark while I was still working hard on that education thing.  :)

Today, I have a very vivid memory. The Summer of 1980 was complete, and I woke up on the morning of Monday, August 25th, 1980, well, frankly, petrified.

It was my first day as an eighth grader at Liberty Junior High School after seven years plying my educational trade at Beaverdam Elementary. Longer bus ride, much bigger class, unfamiliar school, stairs, strangers. It was too much.

Man, I struggled eighth grade year. There were days where I just tried to survive to 3pm so I could get on the bus and go home. You also have to remember that, at this time, I'm less than a year into the sometimes debilitating symptoms of Sudden Onset Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder which came along in 1979.

So, I'm not fitting in and I feel like a freak. Perfect combination for 13 years old.

But I got a boost for Day 1 at Liberty when, much to my surprise, driving up to Beaverdam to see me off to school that first morning incredible brother.

36 years later, I haven't forgotten that gesture and want everyone to know just how much I appreciated it, both then, and now.  :)

So, here it is, my favorite song from Paul Simon: Late In The Evening, which was in heavy rotation on my stereo back on 8/25/1980.  :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Song #157: "Thunder Island"--Jay Ferguson (1977)

About 12 months after yesterday's entry, "The Things We Do For Love" by 10CC debuted on radio, we first heard Jay Ferguson and his story of what goes on out on Thunder Island as 1977 drew to a close, and I continued laboring hard in Mrs. Hartsell's fifth grade class at Beaverdam Elementary.

That was one of my favorite years of school, good ol' fifth grade. Except for the part where I got ripped off the ladder of the sliding board one morning before school on the playground, landing on my left side and ripping a nice gash in my left elbow (I still have a scar to this day).

That's okay, one of my teachers, when he/she found out about it, exacted punishment on my classmate that I could never have done. It was, however, the closest I ever came to getting into a fight at school.

Now that we've gone completely off topic, let's see how I can tie these two things together.  Oh!

Ahem......and now, for a feel-good song filled with testosterone, it's Jay Ferguson and Thunder Island.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Song #158: "The Things We Do For Love"--10CC (1976)

As 1976 was drawing to a close and I was knee-deep in Mrs. Ford's fourth grade class at Beaverdam Elementary, we were treated to this, my favorite song from the group 10CC, who appeared earlier in the countdown with the haunting ballad, "I'm Not In Love".

I remember owning, and playing, this 45 single a lot. Well crafted song, easy to sing to, and lots of fun. You just get a good feeling with this one, now 40 years since its original release.  :)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Song #159: "Ride My See Saw"--The Moody Blues (1968)

From "In Search Of A Lost Chord", this hit single from the Moody Blues from 1968 has become their encore anthem to conclude all of their fantastic concerts.

It's a great choice, because, as the audience, we're already so psyched up from the show, especially the final 25 minutes of Act II, that you can just go into absolute full party mode when they return with this gem.

If you've never seen me dance, go into the flow of music in any way at any time, I promise, if you're with me when Ride My See Saw begins at a Moody Blues concert, you'll see it. And you'll likely wish you could hit erase.  :)

But, even with all the health challenges I've had the past several years, I allow myself a good exercise with this, the seventh of twenty songs in our countdown by my favorite band.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Song #160: "In The Stone"--Earth, Wind & Fire (1979)

It's incredibly hard to believe that today's song is the lone Top 500 contribution from the legendary group Earth, Wind & Fire, but it is. "In The Stone", which first reached audiences in the latter half of 1979, got some rub here in the Mid-Atlantic as it was chosen by C.D. Chesley to be its theme song for ACC Basketball broadcasts as the 1980's got underway.

It was a minor hit for the group, which found bigger success on this album, "I Am" with the hits "After The Love Has Gone" and a little tune called "Boogie Wonderland".

I think of so many good songs that were part of the soundtrack of my early years, from Shining Star and Sing A Song to Getaway, Serpentine Fire, and their final major hit, 1981's "Let's Groove".

But "In The Stone" is definitely my favorite from them, and not just for its connection to ACC Basketball, because there, you never heard the lyrics, or the fantastic ending. Enjoy both below!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Song #161: "Someone To Lay Down Beside Me"--Linda Ronstadt (1976)

Today, it's the fifth of eight songs from Linda Ronstadt in our Top 500 countdown, truly one of the most gifted singers of the Twentieth Century. We've talked about her ability to sing so many different genres of music with ease.

But today's song shows Ronstadt's uncanny ability to bring out the very raw emotion of a song's content. In this case, it's the story of someone who seems almost broken to the point of no return, hoping for at least some attention, some affection, thinking that's all she's ever going to be able to find in this life.

Linda's vocal performance brings out every reality of the song, written by the highly talented and underrated Karla Bonoff. This song is from Linda's fantastic 1976 "Hasten Down The Wind" LP, which also contained her rendition of "Rivers of Babylon" and the hidden gem "Try Me Again".

Linda returns three more times, and two of them (hint, hint) won't be for awhile.  :)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Song #162: "Southern Cross"--Crosby, Stills & Nash (1982)

It was a pleasant surprise when Crosby, Stills and Nash returned to radio in a big way in the Summer of 1982 with "Wasted On The Way". CSN was one of a few "retro" groups to breathe life into radio that summer, including America, The Steve Miller Band, and Toto.

But the second single from CSN, today's song, has really stood the test of time and is my favorite from the band, by far. Beautifully crafted, you feel as if you are sailing free in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay from the very start of the song, thoughts provoked throughout looking back at life, and looking forward, too.

Yes, this group had many hit songs, many great tunes, but to me, this is a masterpiece.