Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Song #144: "I Saw Her Again"--The Mamas and The Papas (1966)

Our one contribution from The Mamas and The Papas to our musical journey has a wild background.

First, though, my first exposure to the song was on a promo for my late, great friend Mike Rancourt's Saturday Night Oldies Show that aired on WUPE-FM on Saturday nights. Once a month, he'd go all night, going past the usual 2am ending, rolling on to 5am and "Ask The Professor", which was the coolest public affairs show in radio history. But that's another story for another day.

After success with their first LP release, and having "California Dreamin'" become their first hit, the group returned to the studio for their next project.

Today's song was created thanks to John Phillips' wife, Michelle, having an affair with the other male member of the group, Denny Doherty. The affair ended, John and Denny reconciled, and, incredibly, they wrote this song inspired by all the events.

And yes, the fake start to the chorus by Denny near the end wasn't supposed to be there in the final mix. They tried to expunge it, had trouble doing it, and finally the producer, Lou Adler, said to leave it in, as he reportedly actually liked its effect.

There's a million ways to get the inspiration to write a hit song. Here is one of the stranger ones.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Song #145: "Don't Let Him Go"--REO Speedwagon (1981)

The one song from REO Speedwagon's massively successful "Hi Infidelity" album to make our Top 500 is, indeed, my favorite Speedwagon song of all-time.

From its drum-driven fade in beginning to the so-easy-to-sing-to chorus, it's a song that pleads for someone not to make a huge mistake, but it's done in rock n' roll mode rather than in ballad form.

It's a fantastic combination of message, energy, and urgency, from an album that produced some incredible songs, from "Tough Guys" and "Out Of Season" to "In Your Letter".

Enjoy my favorite from Kevin and the gang!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Song #146: "Here Comes The Feeling"--Asia (1982)

Back in July, we talked about the importance of Asia's 1982 debut album to my teenage years when I posted the first of four songs from the release that made the Top 500 here.

Today, it's the second of those four songs, as the "supergroup" returns with driving drums, and the perfect mixture of musical fits and spurts, which ideally match the subject matter of the song. One moment calm, another in realization mode, and another which some people could interpret as panic, others anticipation, still others a combination of both, as "the feeling" comes again.

As stated last summer, this is from one of my five "must-have" LP's from my high school years. The others will become known as we hit the latter stages of the countdown.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Song #147: "Don't Pay The Ferryman"--Chris DeBurgh (1982)

Late in 1982, I got my first-ever taste of Chris DeBurgh, a UK-based artist born in Argentina, a member of the A&M Records label since 1974 who once toured with Supertramp.

This song, like many that I loved back in my high school days, was not a big Top 40 chart success, so you had to go to rock radio to discover it. Sure enough, XL102, 3WV, K94 and others gave this song the attention and exposure that it well deserved.

Not long later, DeBurgh would enjoy major chart success, but with a tune I would likely put in a countdown of my Top 100 Most Disliked Songs, "The Lady In Red".

If you missed this song back in its heyday, take four minutes and click the player below. This is Chris DeBurgh, and his contribution to our musical journey.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Song #148: "Someone Saved My Life Tonight"--Elton John (1975)

Released on my eighth birthday, June 23, 1975, today we salute my all-time favorite Elton John song.

It comes from the monumental release, "Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy", a concept album about the early years of John and longtime music collaborator Bernie Taupin, back in Great Britain in the late 1960's. Today's song is the lone radio hit from the album, and it made some history back in the Summer of 1975.

At 6:45 in length, MCA Records was, as was always the case, planning to release an edited version for radio, as stations just wouldn't play a song this long. John absolutely refused, and, surprisingly, he won, and when you went to Woolco or Woolworth at Azalea Mall to buy the 45 RPM record for 86 cents, you got the whole version, and you heard it all on WLEE.

Now, some stations did find a way to edit out the expletive in the second verse (it was an issue back then, certainly wouldn't be today), but otherwise, it was presented in its entirety. And my favorite part is, by far, the bridge through the end fade. You can feel someone rising from the ashes of considering suicide (which John did in the late 1960's) to rediscovering themselves again and moving forward.

Imagine for a moment popular music without Elton John. Wow.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Song #149: "Something In The Way She Moves"--James Taylor (1968)

Today, a confession of sorts, as I introduce my all-time favorite James Taylor song.

There is the age-old question of, when you are blessed with multiple children, how you love them equally. I most certainly do. I've also learned that, in nearly 25 years (GASP!) of parenting, the love may be equal, but it's different, and it's for different reasons.

When Bonnie and I found out we were expecting for a second time in August, 1991 (almost six months after losing our first pregnancy), we were certainly excited, but decided, due to recent circumstances, to keep the news to ourselves until she was through her first trimester. For years, I had dreamed of having a son, of continuing the Witham name, of having a Robert Edward Witham III.

That dream came true on April 29, 1992. He assumed my nickname of Robbie, causing much confusion at our house in the months leading up to a high school class reunion. Robbie is my high-flyer, my surprisingly deep thinker (on the surface, you wouldn't think he does that), and a survivor. He's gone through much more in his first 25 years than I did in mine, and I'm so incredibly proud of him for his perseverance.

Then came my daughter, Rachel, on my Dad's 65th birthday, February 26, 1997. Our bond is different, forged in the fact that I was her stay-at-home Dad for her first two years and eight months. Time spent together like that creates a union that you can only understand if you do it.

My heart attack, and her response to it in April, 2013, combined with her love of activities in high school at that time that were similar to mine, but not forced or even suggested by me (drama, forensics), galvanized the bond. And it was shortly after all this that I began to identify today's song with my baby girl.

There is a song for Robbie coming much later in the countdown, and it will not make sense for most of you, but it makes perfect sense for me. Today I salute Rachel, who helps me feel fine, whether she's at home or 72.4 miles away in Farmville. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Song #150: "I Got You"--Split Enz (1980)

We begin the Top 150 today paying homage to a short, but influential portion of pop/rock music history.

"New Wave", in its mainstream popularity, didn't last a long time as an "era". There were rumblings of it on Top 40 radio in the late 1970's as the disco stranglehold began to finally wane, but 1980 was the year that the genre took over, for a time, the charts.

After M's "Pop Muzik" helped usher in the new decade, you had everyone from Gary Numan and Devo to early radio songs from The Police, as well as today's group from New Zealand, putting New Wave on stereos and car radios nationwide.

The genre's effect, however, lasted well into the decade as it morphed and evolved, but 1980 was a special year for its sound, and from that year, today's tune, the only charting song for Split Enz in America.

They almost had two songs in our Top 500, as "Nobody Takes Me Seriously" fell just short, but they do make the countdown with a song that caused me to immediately turn up the radio back in the magical, transitional year (personally and musically) of 1980.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Song #151: "Theme From Mahogany"--Diana Ross (1975)

After the success of her "Lady Sings The Blues" soundtrack album in 1972, three years later, the former lead singer of The Supremes releases another soundtrack, "Mahogany".

The motion picture was the rags to riches story of Tracy Chambers, played by Ross, who went from having essentially nothing to become a noted and popular fashion designer in Rome. It was released in October of 1975, a couple of weeks after today's song first hit radio. It took awhile, but the tune finally made the top of the Billboard charts as 1976 began.

This is an absolutely beautiful song with a simple yet profoundly probing question, one that every human being asks themselves, at many points, in their lives. We're still in January, so, today is another good time to do a "quick reset", ask yourself where you are, where you want to be, if you're headed in that direction, and, if not, what do you need to do to change things.

This is the final countdown appearance for Ross, and thus, my favorite song from the legend.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Song #152: "Love Will Keep Us Together"--Captain & Tennille (1975)

Today, it's the story of my first major crush. And when I say major, I mean MAJOR.

The world learned that "Sedaka was back" when Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille released what would become the #1 song of 1975, dominating radio over the summer with "Love Will Keep Us Together". Neil Sedaka wrote a lot of great tunes over the decades, but I think this is his best work.

It put him back in the top songwriters conversation after being out of the loop for awhile, and happened as his solo career had rebounded with "Laughter In The Rain" and other hits, including a duet with Elton John, "Bad Blood".

If you break down today's song, the music is perfect for its time, Toni's vocals are unreal, the pacing rocks, there's just no weakness to this one. And its wild success made Captain & Tennille household figures, as they premiered their own variety show on ABC one year later.

By then, my crush on Toni was based on album covers, her voice and some TV appearances. Now, every Monday night, I got to watch her on TV for an hour. Heaven at nine years old.  :)

Looking back, I can't believe that this is the only C&T song in our countdown. There were so many other songs of theirs I listened to so many times in the mid to late 1970's, but none of the others broke out like the song that, well, broke them out and made them major stars.

This one's for you, Toni!  Thanks for the incredible music and memories.  :)

NOTE: Five months from today, we reveal the #1 song!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Song #153: "Go For Soda"--Kim Mitchell (1985)

Time for some more full disclosure as our countdown continues.

1) I have never tasted a beer in my life. Ever. Not once. The smell, to me, is repulsive. When Robbie was very little and we passed the beer section at the store, I would point to it with a wretched looking face and call it "horse-pee", trying to instill a non-interest in it. Bless his heart, he took it, reversed it, and for years at the store would call out, "pee-horse, pee-horse!"  

2) Generally, I don't drink. I don't like wine, can't stand champagne, and there's nothing "stronger" I care to carry out of the ABC store in a paper bag.

3) I drank WAY too many sodas for 45 years. That's not the case any longer.

But, if you're young, and thinking of having "one more round" or "one for the road", today, Canadian Kim Mitchell reminds us all what sounded so old-fashioned when we came of age in the 1980's, but we find ourselves telling our kids the same thing now 30 plus years later:

"Might as well go for a soda, nobody drowns, nobody dies."

A 21st-Century remake, say, called "Go For Water" would be cool. 

I really, really, really loved this song my senior year of high school because of its great music, good instrumentation, and it made my opinion sound cool. For once.  :)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Song #154: "Go Insane"--Lindsey Buckingham (1984)

Released as I was getting settled in at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg for my unforgettable month at The Governor's School for The Gifted, the Summer of 1984 gave us a song that never got the recognition, or chart position, that it deserved.

This song came from Buckingham's second solo project done during an extended hiatus by the group Fleetwood Mac, and it's my favorite song from him. Love, love, LOVE the chorus and the way the song ends is very unique, and almost gives off a bit of a vibe of insanity.

I look at myself that way, too, as very unique, and usually giving off a bit of a vibe of insanity.  :)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Song #155: "Weekend In New England"--Barry Manilow (1976)

As the countdown draws in towards the Top 150, we'll be seeing my favorite songs from dozens of artists over the next five months. Today, it's my favorite Barry Manilow song.

It's one of the best love songs ever that deals with unfulfilled love as a major part of its theme. It's not "waiting for the first kiss, first embrace" kind of unfulfilled love. They've been together before, and Barry wants to return to "long rocky beaches and you by the bay".

Musically, the pacing is breathtaking, from verse to chorus, the building bridge, then the final chorus, almost an anthem to the inevitability that Manilow feels in his vocals knowing that, one day soon, they'll be together, forever, at last.

And the key change is to die for (I'm a sucker for them, aren't I, Rachel Witham?)!

This song had personal meaning for a time, but that wasn't meant to be. And that's cool, nor does it diminish my love for this song. Kudos to Randy Edelman for a love song that's been around for 40 years, and should be around for 400 more.

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 was......my 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.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Song #163: "Square Pegs"--The Waitresses (1982)

It's a doggone shame that Patty Greene and Lauren Hutchinson couldn't have had the same three-year ride through high school that my friends in the Class of 1985 had. Just as my class was settling in as the slumpy sophomores in our first year at Patrick Henry, CBS premieres the new television series, "Square Pegs", and, for many my age, it immediately became appointment television.

Unfortunately, not many of us who were 15 or 16 in 1982 had discretionary income, and not nearly enough of our parents wanted to sit through our teenage angst each week, and a little over five months after its debut, "Square Pegs" was cancelled.

But one long-lasting reminder of the genius of this show is the theme song, done perfectly by The Waitresses. Honestly, no one else could have pulled off the psuedo-Valley Girl, serious-attitude sound like The Waitresses could.

And, this song contains one of my all-time favorite quotes:

"Ya know, our school colors should be black and blue....."

So wear your glasses....or not....and return to those first frightening days of high school.  :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Song #164: "Pennsylvania 6-5000"--The Glenn Miller Orchestra (1940)

Today, it's the third of four song contributions in our countdown from one of the giants of the "Big Band" and "Swing" eras of popular music from the 1930's and 1940's, the era that saw my Dad growing up as a child in Maine, and my Mom in her early years on the tobacco farm in Four Oaks, North Carolina.

My first real exposure to this genre of music was while playing a role in "The 1940's Radio Hour" my sophomore year at Patrick Henry. My first professional radio job, as I've mentioned before, was at WUHN-AM in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a Big Band/Adult Standards station. I was already familiar with some of their playlist upon arrival, and that helped an 18-year old guy feel more comfortable on a station such as that.  :)

Glenn and company will return one more time for a timeless classic, but, then again, all four of the songs we've posted certainly have stood the test of time.

Now, to find an operator so I can make this call.....

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Song #165: "Generals And Majors"--XTC (1980)

Today's song only hit #104 on the Billboard singles chart, but hit the Top 40 in their native Great Britain, and, I believe the reason why I was familiar with the song was because my favorite radio station at the time, Q107 in Washington, D.C., had the guts to play this song for awhile in a Top 40 or "CHR" format.

But Q107 was unique as a Top 40 station during its brief stint at brilliance. Their morning team was Dude Walker, whose voice you have undoubtedly heard on voiceovers on radio stations for decades along with other work, and his newsman/sidekick was the one and only Doug Limerick, who went on to a huge career at ABC Radio as an anchor, and, for a long time, as Paul Harvey's fill-in when Harvey was away from the microphone.

Afternoon drive was handled by Joe Cipriano, who you know as the voice of Fox Television comedy show promos. Heard a "Simpsons" promo? That's Joe.

Then, from 6-10pm was Uncle Johnny, who had more personality in his thumb than 90 percent of all disc jockeys ever hired. He was a nut, in a good way, and made evening listening fun. Sandi Weaver was next, hosting the "Top Five At Ten" at 10pm, the first station I heard do that feature, which I immediately fell in love with.

Then there was the Q lady, Chris Delisle, on their TV commercial (below), which ended with "Q107 is a remarkable radio station!" It most certainly was. Too bad the magic ended when they wooed "Elliott and Woodside" from rival WPGC to host mornings, replacing Walker and Limerick. The station was never the same after that.

There's another song happening later in the countdown (that few of you will even know exists) that is thanks to the geniuses who programmed music at Q107 at the time. That radio station, in 1980, was just about perfect.

From it, today's song, our one entry from XTC.  :)

Monday, January 09, 2017

Song #166: "Head To Toe"--Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam (1987)

Boy, did this song come out of nowhere during the late spring and summer back in 1987. Full disclosure story, during my time working overnight weekends at "Soft 96", WQSF-FM down in Williamsburg, during 20-25 music sweeps of the 101 Strings Orchestra and others whose sole musical purpose was to induce deep sleep, I would flip on my Sony Walkman, tune to a Top 40 station, and pray this song would come on to give me boost, especially since this wasn't available in 1987.

When it did, I jammed, and, when I was off the air, whether in the car or on the stereo, I maxed out the sound with this number. By now, I had my first "new" car, a 1987 Chevrolet Cavalier that was officially used since it was, I believe, either used by the dealership, or by a car rental company, for some time.

That car ended up getting us through the first three and a half years of our 14-year newspaper route odyssey in Raintree subdivision. I can tell you, by the time we had to trade it in shortly after Robbie's birth in 1992, we had utilized it......yeah, from head to toe.  :)

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Song #167: "Into The Groove"--Madonna (1985)

If "Walking On Sunshine" from Katrina and the Waves was the official party song of high school graduation in the Summer of 1985, and if "Glory Days" from Bruce Springsteen was the official "in the moment" song, both looking forward and back, trying to warn us how we'd feel now 31 years later, then today's song, my favorite song from Madonna, was the official "dance track" of the Summer of 1985.

Try to listen this song and not allow any part of your body to move.

Good luck with that.

This song immediately screamed, "TURN UP THE RADIO!!!", whether in the 1979 Chevette or in my bedroom with the headphones on, jamming to the stereo. It's an important part of the soundtrack of one of the biggest summers of my life, for sure.  :)

P.S.--To this day, I've never seen "Desperately Seeking Susan".  :)

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Song #168: "Working Girl"--The Members (1982)

It is the only song from this British group to crack the American charts, peaking at #35 on the mainstream rock chart. You had to be an XL 102 or 3WV fan in the first quarter of 1983 to get to hear this gem, an anthem to guys who want to goof off all day while their woman works, hoping to get lucky later that night.

The ultimate lazy man song. Can't agree with the premise, but it's sure fun to sing to. I know I won't ever be known by this song. Heck, at Target there's a cashier who knows me as "the guy who buys his wife's yogurt". Gotta keep her happy, you know.  :)

Shop by day, cover games by night. By the way, good luck to my "Working Girl" who starts her new job on Monday!!

Friday, January 06, 2017

Song #169: "The Tears Of A Clown"--Smokey Robinson and The Miracles (1967)

It wasn't released as a single until three years after it made its debut, but today's song, a collaboration of Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Hank Cosby, first arrived on the scene on the 1967 album, "Make It Happen".

How it took the braintrust three years to figure out they had gold on their hands is beyond me, but I'm thankful someone did. To me, it is the masterpiece of Robinson's career and will sound just as good in 50 years, in 2067, than it did when it debuted the same year I did.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Song #170: "Jesus Is Just Alright"--The Doobie Brothers (1972)

Originally written in the mid-1960's by Art Reynolds, whose own group recorded it, this song was covered once by The Byrds before The Doobie Brothers got their hands on it and created a hit in the United States in late 1972.

The song got popular in multiple circles, including within the "Jesus Movement", which was the launching point of what we know today as "Contemporary Christian Music" or "CCM". There wasn't much Christian rock in late 1972, and while people like Larry Norman were working to change that, Christians took to this song big time, and for good reason.

Interestingly, it peaked in the Hot 100 at #35, but its real mark was on AOR radio, and later, classic rock, as nearly 45 years later, Jesus is still alright with program and music directors.

(Note: 20 years later in 1992, the Christian rap group DC Talk came out with their own version of the song, which was very good, and was a Christian Skate Night staple for years, but isn't quite as good as the version below.)  :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Song #171: "Stars On 45 Medley"--Stars On 45 (1981)

1981 may have been the only year, musically, in my lifetime where a song like this could be conceived, produced, and actually succeed..

Stars On 45, the group, hailed from the Netherlands, and found quick, if not fleeting success at home, in the United Kingdom and here stateside. The originator, for lack of a better term, looked long and hard for soundalikes of the late John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The original version of the song lasted 11:30. Inside of it was the four plus minute segment that we all eventually heard on the radio in the middle of 1981.

1981 was a musical year of upheaval, which saw disco buried, new wave quickly begin to wane (quicker than many thought it would), a year where Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes could be the top song of the year, The Moody Blues could have a career resurgence, Juice Newton could keep the country alive, and Olivia Newton-John could suddenly get really, really sexual.

In the midst of change, there was a sliver of opportunity for Stars On 45, and they took full advantage of it.  :)

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Song #172: "Voulez-Vous"--Abba (1979)

Today, the title track from Abba's big 1979 release, and the second single from the album, which got plenty of radio airplay in the unforgettable musical summer of 1979.

This song just jumped off the record player when playing the album for the first time, a perfect dance track for the era which it was in, and I believe it translates very well now.

Abba returns a few more times as our musical journey rolls on here in 2017! Thankfully, they won't be taking their outfits with them.  :) :)

Monday, January 02, 2017

Song #173: "I Know You're Out There Somewhere"--The Moody Blues (1988)

We will hear from Justin and the gang fifteen times in the final 173 songs of our Top 500, starting with today's song, which can be argued to be the group's final successful hit.

Two years after the massive success of "Your Wildest Dreams" came today's song, the anthem for people who are not currently with the love of their life but continue to burn the flame, holding out hope that "somehow I'll return again to you".

This song, though a big lengthy, translates very, very well in concert, as you will see below. :)

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Song #174: "The Royal Mile (Sweet Darlin')"--Gerry Rafferty (1980)

From his "Snakes and Ladders" release comes what ended up being the final successful radio single for Gerry Rafferty, and the second of four tunes that made my Top 500, as I was, and continue to be, a huge Rafferty fan.

There are two songs to go, which we will hear in this new year of 2017! Thanks so much for being with us this far into this look back at my favorite music. I know I've had a few people unfriend me on Facebook, likely because of this (at least I know it wasn't due to political postings!!), but that's okay. This is a project I first thought about maybe eight to ten years ago, and I'm so proud of the fact that I actually had the discipline to make it happen.

I also hope it's brought back a good memory or two for you, too, and, believe me, at least in my view, the best is yet to come as we head to June 23, the #1 song, and my 50th birthday.  :)