Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Song #206: "James Dean"--Eagles (1974)

Of the five Eagles songs to make my Top 500, the first three to appear all come from their 1974 masterpiece, "On The Border".

You won't find a bad song in the bunch, as Midnight Flyer and Ol' 55 have already left their mark here, and that doesn't even take into consideration lasting classics like "Already Gone" and "Best Of My Love". Interestingly, this song was released as a single, between the two aforementioned songs that went on to have tremendous radio success.

Bernie Leadon tears it up with the guitar as the late Glenn Frey handles vocals on this ode to an American film icon gone way, way too soon.

Two more songs from the Eagles still to come, and neither of them from "On The Border". Do we go further back, or later into their tumultuous times in the late Seventies? Time will tell.  :)

I will say this, I don't even think my own brother knows what my favorite Eagles song actually is. And considering we spent literally hundreds of hours listening to their albums growing up, that is a surprise. Or maybe he'll surprise me and know.  :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Song #207: "Say You Will"--Foreigner (1987)

Ironically enough, this song was released as the first single from Foreigner's "Inside Information" album just nineteen days before I asked my future wife, Bonnie, "the question" on Christmas Eve, 1987.

Here's how it went down.

I didn't want a simple proposal, I wanted to put some thought and excitement to it, but how? Working as assistant manager at the Regency Inn motel near Regency Square at the time, I decided to utilize my resources. I knew I would be staying there the week leading up to Christmas as our General Manager was taking time off. I knew the nice suite we used for business mixers and other events, that could also be rented out, was available on Christmas Eve.

The question was, how to get Bonnie to the hotel on the night of Christmas Eve.

So, the plan went into motion. Remember, it's 1987. Bonnie, her mom, and younger sisters, didn't have a home telephone in the apartment they'd recently entered. So, hypothetically, if the motel paged me due to a problem and I "had" to go back to check on things.....

So I had the front desk clerk on duty page me at exactly 9:30pm while I was with Bonnie. I said I'd have to run up the street and call on a pay phone to see what the problem was, and she drove up the street with me. I got into the car, explained there had been an apparent break-in in our business suite and I needed to return to deal with it.

Complete with speeding (if you know me, you know I don't do that a whole lot), we high-tailed it from Mechanicsville Turnpike across town to Parham and Quioccasin. I set her down in the lobby and headed to the third floor suite, with, of all things, a hole puncher in my hand. I wasn't armed, so, why not take an appropriate office tool. (Hilarious!)

Then, getting to the suite seeing everything I planned together (the sparkling grape juice, the ring, etc), I called her from the room politely asking her if she could come help me pick up the place.

A minute later, she arrived, and, I brought her in, sat her down, and said, "I've always said I was going to say this just one time so I'd better get it right. Bonnie Conley, will you marry me?"

She burst into laughter, and, after I took some time to collect my ego, we began negotiating the yearly fee I'd pay to be her husband.

Just kidding.

She said yes, and, 68 days after our first date, we were engaged. That was almost 29 years ago. Sigh.

I, essentially said, "Say You Will"??  And she did.

Back to the song, it's my second favorite from Foreigner, the third of four entries. My favorite comes further down the road, and you'll have to reach back earlier in their career, in fact, quite a bit earlier, to find it.  :)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Song #208: "My Clone Sleeps Alone"--Pat Benatar (1979)

As we were putting the wraps on one of the best summers ever for music, 1979, and as "My Sharona" by The Knack was dominating the pop chart in a way few songs did in that, or any, decade, Chrysalis Records quietly, on August 27, 1979, released "In The Heat Of The Night" from a dynamo named Pat Benatar.

It would become well known soon enough when the single "Heartbreaker" burst onto radio as, interestingly, the second single from the LP, peaking at #23 on Casey Kasem's chart, but also successful as introducing Benatar to AOR radio audiences like XL 102's.

A deeper look into the album, and I found this, today's song, the final cut from side one. From its great piano opening to its fantastic transition into classic Benatar rock, this song is a hidden gem that we Benatar fans know from start to finish, forwards and backwards.

This is the fourth of five tunes on the countdown from Pat Benatar. My favorite? What do you think it is? We'll find out, but not for a good while, again, as I said on another recent post, not until we've enjoyed the blooms and returns of, dare I say, another spring?  :)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Song #209: "My Brave Face"--Paul McCartney (1989)

I mentioned several days back about losing touch with pop radio, for the most part, during the late eighties and most of the nineties while I gladly focused on my work in Contemporary Christian music radio, so I can't really remember when I was exposed to this great solo song from Paul McCartney, released in the Spring of 1989.

It would be his last solo song on the Top 40 chart after nearly two decades of success post-Beatles, first with the group "Wings", then, on his own with the occasional collaboration with the likes of Stevie Wonder.

That is, until he collaborated again, this time with Kayne West, in 2014.

In the end, McCartney earns 16 spots in the Top 500: eight with the Fab Four, five with Wings, and three solo contributions, this being the top one.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Song #210: "Anytime At All"--The Beatles (1964)

From "A Hard Day's Night", here's the sixth of eight Beatle tunes to grace our Top 500.

It's a very simple tune with a great message of commitment wrapped up in about 2:13, just the way 1964 radio wanted it. The Beatles knew how to master that part of the music radio game. They also knew later how to make their heads explode as they transformed into a revolutionary experimental band via Sgt. Pepper and other works.

Two more songs left to reveal from the Fab Four. Any guesses?  :)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Song #211: "Feeling That Way/Anytime"--Journey (1978)

On this Black Friday, where now, by the time I post this most of you have probably already returned from your bargain hunting (rife with the occasional elbow, rude line-breaker and overtired cashier), I give you, in some people's opinion, two songs for the price of one!

But the reason they are listed "together" here is simple. In the annals of rock history, you really don't hear one without the other.

It's not quite that way in another similar situation from Journey, as "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" became a hit radio single that was immediately followed on the album by the awesome "City Of The Angels". But on radio, you never heard "Angels", as they segued into the next song in rotation after the final "nah nah, nah nah" was heard.

Classic rock radio rarely, if ever, separated these two, and thus, neither do I. They'd sound incomplete, both of them, without the other.

Lots of opportunities to sing along with Steve Perry and the gang here, so, the next time you head shopping this weekend, and you know you are, tear this one up at the highest volume and sing to your heart's content before you get bogged down by Christmas music.  :D :D :D

On a completely different note, I'm surprised that this is:

A) Journey's first song in our countdown;
B) One of only two appearances by the group.

If you know me very well, you know what the other will be. But if not, be patient. It'll come. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Song #212: "Feeling Stronger Every Day"--Chicago (1973)

On this Thanksgiving Day, it's the sixth of seven Chicago songs to appear in our musical journey. It's the classic definition of a "two-part song", with a completely, seriously awesome jam in the final stretch.

There's one Chicago song remaining as the countdown rolls on. There were several great songs that didn't quite make it (Saturday In The Park, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, and Baby, What A Big Surprise being three of them), and a couple that, well, I didn't care for (I thought Hard To Say I'm Sorry was the most overplayed, overrated song from an otherwise killer Summer of 1982 for music, though I liked the longer version with the upbeat jam that always got cut off of radio).

What is my favorite Chicago song? We'll find out.....soon. But, in a partial spoiler, it may not happen before the robins return and signs of life sprout again.  :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Song #213: "Don't Bring Me Down"--Electric Light Orchestra (1979)

We hit the halfway mark for contributions from Jeff Lynne and the gang known as "ELO" today with the fifth of their nine songs to make the Top 500.

This one is from the incredible music year of 1979 and certainly qualifies as being one of the best sing-along songs of all time. You absolutely cannot help but turn the volume up and sing along, especially on the chorus, when it comes on the radio.

And, in the "bridges" of the song, of sorts, when Lynne is purportedly heard singing, "Bruce!", it's not that, but a German word instead. But, since, in our version of "going viral" back in those days, people just thought he said "Bruce", he eventually would sing that "version" sometimes in concert just for kicks.

Talk about a perfect combination. Between the beat, the easy lyrics (except for Bruce....), the incredible drum can't go wrong with this song.

If you're in traffic today trying to get to Grandma's house, this tune will help waste some bumper to bumper time in a great way. :)

ELO returns four more times as the countdown continues.  :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Song #214: "Time The Avenger"--The Pretenders (1984)

From, by far and away, my favorite release from The Pretenders, "Learning To Crawl", comes the third of their five songs in our countdown. Four of them come from this album that took a long time to release, sadly, due to two deaths in the group.

So, some of the songs from the album were heard on radio as early as late 1982. But the full production finally became public in January, 1984, when we first heard today's song.

It's a very simple premise: time ticks away, and nothing lasts forever. And, for those of you reading this under the age of, say, 25, you will really, really understand that one day.

Sadly, most of us learn it after a lot of our own time has been placed in the rear-view mirror due to that tiny little tick, tick, tick......

Monday, November 21, 2016

Song #215: "Just A Job To Do"--Genesis (1983)

In case you didn't know, since he made our countdown as a solo artist back on Saturday, Phil Collins makes a grand total of sixteen appearances in the Top 500, six solo, and ten with his buddies from Genesis.

Releasing "Genesis", their 12th studio album, in the fall of 1983, the guys produced a ton of great music on this release, but nowadays on classic hits or classic rock radio, all you ever hear is "That's All", which has become tired and overplayed. There are so many other great tunes on that album, and side one is close to a masterpiece.

Today's song is the third on side two, and, generally, when I stopped listening, as cuts #9 and #10 didn't do much for me. This is a GREAT song to jam to, especially if you're in the car for a long drive and need to get rid of some frustration. Just turn it up to "10" and sing along as loud as you can.  :)

Just remember, however, to not use this song to work yourself up over someone you are upset with. Not the way to go.  :)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Song #216: "Stranger In Town"--Toto (1984)

Hitting radio as I began to come to grips with the fact that I really was a senior at Patrick Henry High School, this song was not one of Toto's more commercial successes. In fact, it was more successful at rock radio, peaking at #7, as opposed to pop radio, just cracking the Top 30, long enough for a cup of coffee with Casey Kasem.

But the song is simply fantastic, and, when I got to college, began working in radio, and discovered the "seven inch" single version of the song in the music director's office located in the back off the hallway at our stations in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, I discovered a whole new version of the tune.

From the makers of "99, which made our countdown earlier, plus the 1982 smash hits "Rosanna" and "Africa", which did not, here's the second of four Toto tunes in my Top 500.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Song #217: "Inside Out"--Phil Collins (1985)

From one of my all-time favorite albums, "No Jacket Required", it's the third song from the album to appear in my Top 500, the fourth of six Phil Collins singles overall. In case you missed them, the other two so far were at #291 and #451.

That doesn't even include popular songs from the album that missed the countdown, from "Don't Lose My Number" and "One More Night" to "Sussudio".

Love the drive of this song, even though it's technically a "ballad". It's almost an "anti-ballad", with a typical ballad message and BPM, but not the ballad feel.  :)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Song #218: "Eternal Flame"--The Bangles (1988)

Their past radio success thanks mostly to mid-tempo and high-tempo hits like "Manic Monday" and "Walk Like An Egyptian", which was their first number one hit, the Bangles returned to the top of the charts during the snowy (at least in Richmond) late winter of 1989 with this haunting ballad.

Interestingly, it would be over a decade later before I discovered this song. By early 1989, as Operations Manager, and, about to become Music Director, of the former WDYL-FM and WGGM, my life was firmly ensconced in what's known as "CCM", or Contemporary Christian Music.

I played it five hours a day on my afternoon drive air shift and was now beginning to make the decisions on what to add, what to put in heavy rotation, when it was time to send a song to the "recurrent" category (raise your hand if you know what that means!), etc. So, my time listening to pop music became reduced to what few songs I would hear while throwing newspapers in the early, early morning, and, most of that time, I was listening to the news.

So, it was a pleasant addition to my musical tastes when I discovered this, and many other songs, in "catch up" mode in the early to mid 2000's.

The ladies return two more times in our musical journey.  :)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Song #219: "Mr. Roboto"--Styx (1983)

It's the fifth of seven songs from a group that was woven into the musical fabric of the 1970's and early 1980's more than people remember now that we're over three decades removed from their run of incredible music.

Thinking about the variety of groups that populated some or most of that time frame, like Styx, Eagles, Chicago, Boston, Foreigner, Fleetwood Mac, The Pretenders, Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers....and that is only scratching the surface.

I'm not sure how the music of the 2010's will stack up a generation from now, and I suspect it will have its forty-somethings like me who will say it was the greatest time for music ever. Every generation tends to believe that way.

But I'd stack up the raw music talent of this era to any other, and I think it would fare just fine.

Today's Styx contribution is from their final album, really, in terms of the true "Styx". "Kilroy Was Here", was loved by many fans, and slammed by some. When I hear this song, I'm immediately transported to one of the greatest periods of my life, from February to April, 1983, when some fantastic things began to happen for me, and I started the final stretch to truly understanding who I was, and was meant to be.

And, (spoiler alert!), we will return to this album before the countdown concludes. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Song #220: "Alive Again"--Chicago (1978)

Coming out about a year after their last chart success with "Baby, What A Big Surprise", Chicago returned to the airwaves in the Autumn of 1978 with today's song.

The opening is, in my view, among the strongest from any Chicago song. The instrumentation throughout is fantastic, really a microcosm of the Chicago feel. You feel like you're transported to the streets of Chicago in an impromptu street party on a bright, sunny morning, being greeted by complete strangers, and, had Starbucks existed in 1978, maybe the barista would greet you outside the door of the shop with a free latte.

This song, which was later used by CBS Sports for its NBA coverage, has to be among the list of best "feel-good" songs ever. I dare you not to feel better after playing it once. You might find yourself playing it again. And again. Pun kinda intended.  :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Song #221: "Never Comes The Day"--The Moody Blues (1969)

It's the fifth of twenty entries in our Top 500 Countdown by my favorite group of all time, The Moody Blues.

This song got screwed. Plain and simple.

Released as a single, it was shredded down to 2:42. How, I don't know. I've never heard the "radio edit" single, and don't want to. I don't see how it made any logical, musical sense. This song must stay intact as a complete package.

It's also not a "radio-friendly" song, anyway. This is a classic album cut from the Moodies, and it is an absolute classic in concert. Justin Hayward continues, even today, 47 years after the original recording, to nail the bridge-like ending of each verse. The crowd loves singing along with the chorus, and the choral jam, and the build-up to it, is so much fun.

The original version is posted below.

The Moody Blues occupy 15 places in our Top 220 songs. Do they occupy the #1 spot? We'll find out on June 23rd.  :)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Song #222: "Chiquitita"--Abba (1979)

The first single from their monster album, "Voulez-Vous", which I owned, it's the second of six Abba tunes on our musical journey.

Yes, I was, and still am, a HUGE Abba fan. No, I didn't go see Mamma Mia (the musical or the movie), that's not for me. But their music was a major part of my 1970's soundtrack, as the latter half of the countdown will unveil.

This song also "re-introduced" itself to me while listening to their "Gold" CD after my Mama passed away late in 2002. Talk about turning your "mourning into dancing" as The Bible says, I can't tell you how many times I would be driving in the van, or sitting in the back parking lot at Clear Channel, either arriving early in the morning, or leaving late at night, turn this song on, and proceed to cry, a lot, but smile through my tears during the chorus.

Then, add the final minute or so of this song, it becomes a beautiful suite, and certainly a presentation that provokes a myriad of emotions, all in one package. At age 25, this wouldn't be in this countdown. Now, most definitely.

I continue daily to "try once more" and "sing a new song".

You should, too.  :)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Song #223: "Our Song"--Yes (1983)

Yes returns with their fifth song overall, and their third from one of my all-time favorite projects, "90125".

A song that gives Toledo so much credit can't be all bad.  :)

This is such a great jam and I find it to be a great sing-along song as well. It fits perfectly with all the other gems on this album. Song after song after song, Yes was on fire with "90125".

So much so, we have three more cuts from the album coming in the final 222 songs, and I will go ahead and add this spoiler: all three of the songs are in the Top 100.

So, until spring time and the homestretch of the Rob Witham 500, here's Yes!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Song #224: "Volcano"--Jimmy Buffett (1979)

Buffett's 1979 album that contained today's song, which was the title track, had some really good material, even if radio didn't opt to play it back in the final year of disco-mania. You would have thought as some stations starting ending the stranglehold disco had on their playlists, they would realize that a fun Buffett tune would go along quite nicely with, say, "Heart of Glass" from Blondie, "My Sharona" from The Knack, "Pop Muzik" by M, just to name a few.

Eventually, "Volcano" did make its way to my ears, and I absolutely loved it. Fast forward nearly twenty years later and Robbie comes home from school, I believe at the start of first grade, singing this song. Come to find out, his teacher, for both kindergarten and first grade, was using it! I'll have to get Christy to refresh my memory as to how she was teaching to the test with Jimmy Buffett (hee hee hee.....)

This is the second of three songs in the countdown from Buffett, so he's back later with my favorite Buffett song.  :)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Song #225: "867-5309/Jenny"--Tommy Tutone (1982)

Though officially released late in 1981, the phone number that got everyone talking, and trying to call Jenny, became famous nationwide in 1982 as I navigated the final months of ninth grade, and the awkward two-year period of my life known simply as "junior high school".

Some back stories about why I love a certain song I still cannot reveal publicly, even after all these years, and this song falls into that category. However, I was happily with my first-ever girlfriend during the heyday of this tune.

This song definitely had its haters, but you couldn't go to a junior high or high school in America without seeing this phone number, and Jenny's name, scrawled on a bathroom wall or stall door. It sure was better than some of the other stuff I saw.

Hey Tommy! Pick up the phone and call her. It's been almost 35 years!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Song #226: "You Dropped On Bomb On Me"--Gap Band (1982)

Their first #1 hit on the Rhythm and Blues charts, back in 1980, was the classic "Burn Rubber On Me". With fans grooving to "Early In The Morning" off the "Gap Band IV" release in 1982, the stage was set for the group to release, in my opinion, their signature song.

In 2005, we held our 20th Anniversary class reunion of the Patrick Henry High School Class of 1985. I didn't handle the music for that reunion, and we had a, well, a peculiar disc jockey. But he was spot on when he cranked up today's song. That was the closest I came that night to heading to the dance floor to throw back to 1982, but, for the sake of humanity, I chose to keep talking with friends. :)

This is one of the quintessential party songs of the 1980's. If you have an 80's party and don't play this song, it really wasn't, officially, an 80's party. So here comes the Gap Band's contribution to our musical journey, a song that kept KS 96 in Williamsburg hot and heavy.....until the night their tower fell down.  :(

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Song #227: "Talk Talk"--Talk Talk (1982)

Safely said, this is the one song in the Rob Witham 500 where the title and artist completely match. :)

I guess that spoils the fact at (In A) Big Country by Big Country did not make the countdown.  :(

This British band, that formed just a year before we were introduced to today's song, had its biggest success a couple of years later with the song, "It's My Life", later covered by that Stefani lady.  :)

Though they would later have another excellent song that should have been more accepted in "Life's What You Make It", their one contribution to our musical tapestry is their first successful single, which didn't hit the Top 40 in the U.S., but all the "cool" radio stations back in 1982 spun this one.

We recorded it, inevitably on our stereo with the 8-track record option. That's right, 8-track record. I'd buy old 8-track tapes, not to listen to, but to tape over and grab my favorite tunes on the radio that way, rather than with cassette. What I would give to have those tapes still, and, of course, a way to play them. :)

Don't remember today's song? A great addition to the soundtrack of what would be, for me, a very trying Summer of 1982.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Song #228: "Give Me Tonight"--Shannon (1984)

American audiences were introduced to Shannon in 1983 when she broke through on the charts with what would be her biggest hit, "Let The Music Play", a song that continues to populate 80's channels and Saturday Night 80's shows on the radio.

But I was a much bigger fan of her follow-up single, which did not do as well commercially, but should, in my opinion, have done better. Yes, some can accuse it of being "part two" of the first single, but though there are a few similarities between the songs, I prefer to think of it building on the first, not piggybacking.

There's much more of a sense of musical urgency in "Give Me Tonight", playing off the usual screenplay, if you will, of the lovers nearing the end of their relationship, the guy one final time trying to prove to his woman that it's his love she needs.

Good energy from Shannon on her vocal performance that tells a story more than just sings a song. Two thumbs up from me.  :)

Monday, November 07, 2016

Song #229: "Part of The Plan"--Dan Fogelberg (1975)

Most people were introduced to Dan Fogelberg, who first appeared in our countdown just a few weeks ago, with today's song, back in 1975.

It's a pretty simple song, yet very powerful. It's fun to sing along with, but also very thought-provoking. It is sad, though, that the ending of the song points listeners in the direction of a life after death without a hope of heaven, a hope of eternity with God. That's what gets me through some days, to be perfectly honest with you, the hope better known and identified as "The Blessed Hope". :)

It's cool, however, to see that a group has been working for several years now to create "Part of The Plan", a Dan Fogelberg musical, which continues to be in development. I'd love for this to come to fruition, as his music would make for an incredible Broadway score with a story of the 1970's and 1980's.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Song #230: "Open Your Heart"--Madonna (1986)

As I relished and cherished my final days with friends in the Berkshires 30 years ago this coming December, both at college and at WUPE/WUHN Radio, this song exploded onto Top 40 radio.

I'll never forget my final weekend in Pittsfield, as the station threw a nice luncheon for myself and a fellow co-worker, Kate Kapteyn, as we were both leaving the company. We got snow, but Mike, Brett and I still made it up to Albany Saturday morning to meet my "dream DJ", Mary Sinclair, who worked overnights at a CHR up there, Fly 92. She proved to be just as sweet, and pretty, as she projected over the air.

Then it was quickly back to the radio station for my last Saturday shift, finally spending all of Sunday there doing my last WUHN shift, going to my program director's house for dinner, then back to do my last WUPE airshift from 8pm to 1am. I then said goodbye to more great friends, headed to a friend's house in Lee, where, about four and a half hours later, we said goodbye to that chapter of my life and moved home.

My college friend Ruth Brisbin was moving home, too, so we packed a Chevrolet Chevette meticulously and made the ten-hour trip back home. And, as if it were yesterday, I distinctly remember hearing this song all the time, all across the dial.

Once instance in particular was when I was driving near Washington, DC, and then CHR-formatted "Power 105" WAVA started the song, near the top of a new hour, with this Legal ID:

"Never underestimate the Power of 105, WAVA, Arlington-Washington".

To this day, one of my favorite Legal ID's ever....

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Song #231: "I Say a Little Prayer"--Dionne Warwick (1967)

I was just a baby when Dionne Warwick found this song she recorded over a year earlier to be released, originally as the B-Side for a single for the theme from the motion picture "Valley Of The Dolls". It was written by the legendary team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Bacharach, the story goes, didn't like the final product, even after many studio retakes, and the song sat in obscurity until 18 months later when the head of Specter Records insist the song be on the "The Windows Of The World" LP he was releasing. Once the 45 RPM single went public, the listeners chose "Prayer" over "Valley of The Dolls", and today's song went on to peak at #4.

Now, "Dolls" ended up doing wonderfully on the charts, too, but not nearly as many people remember that song a generation later. Millions, however, equate Dionne Warwick with several signature songs, this being her first since 1964's "Walk On By".

This is Warwick's final countdown appearance, and thus, my favorite song from her.  :)

Friday, November 04, 2016

Song #232: "No More Words"--Berlin (1984)

It's the first of two appearances from a Los Angeles based band who finally saw their first real charting success with today's tune, the first single from their album, "Love Life".

"No More Words" was released in March of 1984 during probably the lowest point of my high school career. I bombed in forensics after placing third in the state in original oratory the previous year, the girl I liked had no reciprocal feelings, and our choral director was bravely fighting cancer, which forced the cancellation of a full spring musical.

Two months later, my Dad's brain aneurysm was discovered, and life really changed. So, I embraced this song that spring, sometimes relating to portions of the lyrics down to the very depths of my soul.

As an aside, the video today is "Bonnie and Clyde: The MTV Version".

Berlin's biggest success would come two years later, topping charts everywhere with "Take My Breath Away" from the movie "Top Gun", but that won't be the other Berlin song in our Top 500. Terri Nunn and company will return, but a hint for you, we won't see them for months to come.  :) :)

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Song #233: "Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)"--Looking Glass (1972)

We head back 44 years today for a song that was an absolute staple of WRVA Radio back in the early 1970's as I was discovering popular music. I would either hear music on the clock radio in our bedroom, the stereo in the dining room, or in the car.

And, apparently, this song made an impression, for one night, I had a dream that would become Witham legend.

My brother and I shared a room in the parsonage as our parents had bedroom #1, our sister bedroom #2. We had bunk beds for a time. I can remember going to sleep in the bottom bunk while "Eddie" (that's what we called Uncle Frank then) would begin his 40 winks listening to Washington Senators baseball on a transistor radio.

Well, someone had heard "Brandy" enough times that it entered the ol' subconscious, so much so that, one night, while dreaming, and yes, I was known for talking in my sleep, I changed the chorus from:

"Brandy, you're a fine girl, what a good wife you would be"


"Eddie, you're a fine boy, what a good wife you would be".

Enjoy the Looking Glass' contribution to our Top 500 now while I begin plotting how I can weave the best story in Witham Brothers history into a song on the countdown. Many things were involved, including a bad toilet, and popcorn.  :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Song #234: "Freewill"--Rush (1980)

Geddy Lee and company are back with the second of their four contributions to our countdown with a song that has it all.

Fantastic guitar opening?  Check.
Driving music set-up thanks to incredible guitar work? Check
Ability to slow down, speed up, matching the song's meaning? Check
Deep message? You got it.

The premise is painfully simple. There is free will, and while I disagree with the premise of it not being a gift, but rather a choice (I believe it's both), the kicker is right on the money. You can choose to elude free will altogether, but, by doing so, you've still made the choice.

I grab the lyrics for you just to post and think about. Today's lesson is about being grateful we have the ability to choose. I heart me some free will!

Now, the key choose wisely.

We'll return to their "Permanent Waves" project for another Rush tune in the not too distant future.

There are those who think that life
Has nothing left to chance
A host of holy horrors
To direct our aimless dance
A planet of playthings
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive
The stars aren't aligned
Or the gods are malign
Blame is better to give than receive
You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that's clear
I will choose free will
There are those who think that
They've been dealt a losing hand
The cards were stacked against them
They weren't born in Lotus-Land
All preordained
A prisoner in chains
A victim of venomous fate
Kicked in the face
You can't pray for a place
In heaven's unearthly estate

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Song #235: "(You Can Still) Rock In America"--Night Ranger (1983)

It's the second and final contribution from an underrated rock band of the early 1980's, the first single from their "Midnight Madness" LP, and their third single that received great airplay on AOR radio stations like XL102 and 3WV, but were generally ignored by the Q94 types.

That is, until early 1984, when the second single from this new album, a little diddy called "Sister Christian" came along. That's when, commercially, Night Ranger exploded. Before the year was out, a new album, and their other top ten hit, "Sentimental Street" was released.

But for me, Night Ranger meant hard-driving, head-banging, loud '80's rock 'n roll. Their, to me, best ballad, which didn't quite make our countdown, was "Sing Me Away" from earlier in 1983 from the "Dawn Patrol" release which brought us the other song to make the countdown back at #388.

Night Ranger's contributions to 1980's music, especially during the height of the decade in the mid 1980's, should never be forgotten. And, let's hope that, ten, twenty, fifty years from now, we can still rock in America.  :)