Monday, February 29, 2016

Song #481: "We Live For Love"--Pat Benatar (1980)

Originally available when "In The Heat of The Night" was released in 1979, this song is the third radio single from the LP that put Pat Benatar on the map. Once singing and waiting tables in Richmond, she became a rock mega-star, occupying a place, at that point in rock history, where few females had been.

Benatar will be all over the Rob Witham 500, and debuts here with this song that should be on classic hits radio today.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Song #482: "Kentucky Woman"--Neil Diamond (1967)

Released when I was all of four months old, the first of a few entries from the man who dominates my Periscope feed with people sending out his live concerts, usually in Australia early in the afternoon my time. :)

Thanks, Neil!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Song #483: "Leave A Light On"--Belinda Carlisle (1989)

We'll also see plenty of The Go-Go's in this countdown, but now it's time for the first of a few selections from the solo career of Belinda Carlisle.

So glad I got to actually see The Go-Go's in concert nine years ago at Innsbrook, even if my voice was completely gone, and I couldn't sing along. Definite bucket list moment.  :)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Song #484: "Listen To What The Man Said"--Paul McCartney and Wings (1975)

From the unforgettable Summer of '75, the first of many entries from Sir Paul, whether with Wings, alone, or with, of course, those bugs....

That summer 41 years ago had its big ups and downs, from Dad's first heart attack and three-plus weeks in the hospital, to, still, great times with friends, and the soundtrack of it came from "The Spirit of America, 1480, WLEE Richmond".

From Elton John to the Captain and Tennille, one of the best summers for music ever. Here's Sir Paul's contribution to that time.  :)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Song #485: "Be Good, Johnny"--Men At Work (1982)

From their smash hit of a debut album, the guys from Down Under, Men At Work, with a song that Casey Kasem never played on "American Top 40", because it wasn't physically released as a single (you know, on a 45 RPM record) in the Spring of 1982.

My personal favorite from this group, whose songs "Who Can It Be Now" and "Down Under" seem to be the only ones who find airplay these days. They are victims of overkill. No pun intended.

I can relate to Johnny, as I sometimes daydreamed and knew I'd never be a high school athlete. I had other aspirations, sometimes misunderstood. But, I did try to be good.  :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Song #486: "Paradox"--Kansas (1977)

From their fifth album, "Point of No Return", it's a "B" single from Kansas, a band that had a lot more songs than just "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust In The Wind", the only two seem to grab the attention of classic hits radio.

I think I listened to this side of this 45 more than I did the hit. That's not paradoxical, merely ironic. :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Song #487: "Streetcorner Symphony"--Rob Thomas (2006)

The first song from the 21st Century to make our countdown, it is one of many songs discovered while taking the kids to school or driving with the family, influenced by what they were listening to while I spent way too much time stuck writing up inane continuity orders in my work cubicle at Clear Channel.

But we're not here to discuss large regrets, this is a great song. Enjoy a little jam on a dreary Tuesday afternoon!  (Sorry, but "Tuesday Afternoon" will appear MUCH later on the Rob Witham 500. However, "On A Tuesday" will not.)  :)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Song #488: "The NBC Sports Theme" (1979-1981)

I said you would find a very wide variety of music on the Rob Witham 500, and that includes theme music, much of which will come from either sports, or my love of game shows.

The first appearance comes from the glory days of NBC Sports' NCAA Basketball coverage, before they lost the NCAA Tournament rights to CBS in 1981, a theme also used on their football coverage for some time. :)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Song #489: "Lucinda"--The Knack (1979)

The first of several songs from the group that reminded many of us of The Beatles for several months in 1979 and 1980, and who leapt back into obscurity as quickly as they exploded onto the scene.

Simply put, I wore my copy of "Get The Knack" out. :)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Song #490: "Space Age Love Song"--A Flock Of Seagulls (1982)

A recurring theme early in this countdown (and it will continue) is my penchant for enjoying songs other than the "big hit" from an album, including from those artists whose time in the limelight was brief.

For A Flock Of Seagulls, it was the Summer of 1982, where you couldn't turn on the radio for 15 minutes without hearing "I Ran", along with "Eye Of The Tiger", "Abracadabra" and "Tainted Love". It was a heckuva summer for music radio, that's for sure.

But, I preferred, overall, their second single, which peaked in the U.S. at #30, and is the first of two of their songs to appear in this countdown (the other will take months to get to, hint, hint...).

For a little while, I was falling in love. Here's the extended remix version for your enjoyment!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Song #491: "Turn It On Again"--Genesis (1980)

From their album "Duke", a catchy tune that charted well in the UK if not in the United States, but thanks to AOR radio stations, Genesis fans like me were exposed to it.

This will be the first of many appearances by this group in the Top 500, as Genesis' influence on me in the 1980s likened the influences of the Eagles and Beatles on me back in the 1970's.

So, turn it on again!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Song #492: "Flamethrower"--J.Geils Band (1981)

Peter Wolf, J. Geils and company sneak into the Rob Witham 500 with my favorite song from their most popular album, 1981's "Freeze Frame". It was a close call between this one, and "Rage In The Cage", rather than the two more widely known songs, the title track, and, of course, "Centerfold".

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Song #493: "Feelin' Satisfied"--Boston (1978)

As opposed to the running joke of the first half of the 1980's: "That'll happen when Boston releases their third album!", it didn't take as long for the band to release "Don't Look Back" after their highly successful debut self-titled release.

But, in the late 1970's, the era dominated by disco, two years seemed like an eternity, so we were SO ready when the next record arrived. And, for me, this is the best song from the second album. It charted poorly as a single, which is a good indication as to why I liked it. When we see more Boston later in this countdown, you'll note that trend, too.

Enjoy this jam, and if you have a newer car, drive home with it cranked up and the windows down!  It's warm enough!  :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Song #494: "Canary In A Coalmine"--The Police (1980)

I discovered The Police through their "Zenyatta Mondatta" album in 1980, of course, the one that produced "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da", which got played to death on the radio.

I preferred this less known tune (with a nod to the original XL102, not the crappy 2016 version). A toe tapper that gets its message across quickly. If you only need 2:24, take 2:24.

Do you ever feel so dizzy even walking in a straight line?  :)  #RobWitham500

Monday, February 15, 2016

Song #495: "Love Has No Pride"--Linda Ronstadt (1973)

Linda will be making many appearances in the Rob Witham 500, starting with this gut-wrenching reminder of the depth of missing love from "Don't Cry Now". Her songs in this list will run the gamut of musical genres, just proving how incredible Ronstadt has been throughout her career.  :)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Song #496: "Another Tricky Day"--The Who (1981)

From the highly underrated ninth studio album of The Who, "Face Dances", which arrived not too long before they announced their first "retirement". Several great songs on this vinyl, most of which was ignored by Top 40 radio in 1981. But thanks to the then awesome XL-102 (NOT to be confused with what is on that frequency today), we got to hear gems like this reminder that every day is not a national emergency.

Here's hoping your days are less trickier as life goes on!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Song #497: "I'm Gonna Love You, Too"--Blondie (1978)

From the album that brought you "Heart of Glass" and "One Way Or Another", and probably introduced most of you to Deborah Harry and Blondie comes this quick little tune, originally from the great Buddy Holly.

Clocks in about 2:10, and packs a powerful punch. Long live the soundtrack to my sixth grade year! Blondie occupies #497 in the Rob Witham 500.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Song #498: "Whenever I Call You Friend"--Kenny Loggins with Stevie Nicks (1978)

By the fall of 1978, I was starting sixth grade, I was the only child left in the parsonage, so I took lots of solace in music, whether by playing records on the stereo, or jamming to my radio in my room.

I wore this 45 record out that autumn, a nice change of pace from the barrage of disco that dominated the airwaves during this period. It's a song I wish Classic Hits radio would dump into the rotation some, as I'm tired of hearing, for example, "Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks 2-3 times a week. I'll refrain from writing a long editorial on the shallowness of that radio format....for now.

Enjoy Song #498 in the Rob Witham 500!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Song #499: Midnight Flyer--The Eagles (1974)

When you have an older brother and you share a room with him in a small parsonage, you get heavily influenced by his musical tastes. I'm very, very happy to say he had excellent taste!

Thus, two groups that I listened to, a lot, in the early and mid 1970's were The Beatles and The Eagles. Yes, you'll see a lot of them in this Top 500 list, beginning with a very happy jam from The Eagles' "On The Border" album, which will likely yield more than one track on this countdown.

"Don't think about me, never let cross your mind,
'Cept when you hear that midnight lonesome whistle whine..."

The "Rob Witham 500" Begins....A Day Behind....

So, I wanted to start this on Wednesday, February 10th, as, on that day, I found myself exactly 500 days away from my 50th birthday. And after playing down my 25th, 30th and 40th birthdays (the first two due to having newborns at the house, the latter due to a deep depression that left me in bed all that day), I've decided, especially after the heart attack, to celebrate the impending milestone.

As a radio guy, I can't think of a better way to do it than with a countdown, and, since music has been as important to my life as just about anything else, here we go on a unique 500-day musical journey unveiling my favorite music.

As we get closer, I will begin a simultaneous "Rob Witham CCM Top 200", which counts down my favorite music in the Contemporary Christian music genre I worked in for many, many years.

For now, let's begin!

#500: "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)"--Information Society (1988)

The 1980's will dominate this countdown, as it was the decade that began with me in seventh grade, and ended with me at 22, married, and on the radio five days a week. Junior high, high school, college, career, you get it. But don't worry, the 1970's make many appearances, too.

This is a high-energy, feel-good song from a part of the 1980's that I thought was weakest musically (1987-1989). Fun to turn up in the car and sing along. Which I've done. Many times. Thank God there's never been tape running.  :)