Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Song #24: "Shine A Little Love"--Electric Light Orchestra (1979)

After taking the time to compile this list of a half-century of the greatest musical influences in my life thus far, I was surprised by just how many songs came from the year 1979.

Most remember that year as the year disco started dying, but still had a big influence on radio and the pop charts. But if you dig just under the surface, you begin to see an incredible variety of songs, especially from that summer.

Today, it's the first of two in a row from 1979, and the ninth of ten songs from ELO, who had, in my view, an incredible stretch of music lasting from 1975 into the early 1980's, and with less frequency until their last major American hit, "Calling America", from 1986, which was earlier in our countdown, back on March 10th.

I fell in love with this tune the first time it graced my radio, and, as you did back in those days, got it recorded onto cassette off the radio, and played it over, and over, and over.

It's not one of the biggest ELO hits of the 1970's, but it's my second favorite song from them. One to go. In June.  :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Song #25: "Walkin' Down Your Street"--The Bangles (1987)

This song has the distinction (I believe) of being the last 45 RPM record I ever bought, way back 30 years ago.

Now, in the heyday of buying singles, they are always 86 cents each, whether you bought them from Woolco, or from Dee, the very pretty and very nice employee in the record department at Woolworth, both in Azalea Mall.

My Dad was such a trooper, going shopping on Thursdays while my brother and I headed to school. He would be armed with a list of records for the week (there was a limit!), and he'd generally get Dee to help him find them since, of course, Dad knew nothing about Top 40 music back in the day.

Fast forward to 1987, and the first time this song graced the airwaves, a year or so after the band burst onto the scene with "Manic Monday", then seized the charts at the end of 1986 with "Walk Like An Egyptian", with its must-see video.

But "WDYS" is my favorite Bangles song of all. The opening guitar work and the beat that is set up by it is phenonemal. The bass work is crazy good. And, if you can't sing along to this one, well, you just can't sing along.

It's the story of a lady who knows what she wants, more specifically, who she wants, and won't stop until she wins.

Today's video, the official one for the song, features a music icon from the early days of rock 'n roll. :)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Song #26: "It Was A Very Good Year"--Frank Sinatra (1965)

The Chairman Of The Board returns to our musical journey after a long absence (click here for his other contribution) with what I consider to be the definitive song on aging.

The orchestration sets the mood and scene from the opening note, and Sinatra's ability to sing life into these lyrics, at a time in his life where maybe he was beginning to see a little of the writing on the wall, especially after seeing his career explode, wane, then come back huge, much in part to his acting work.

I had heard the song before, but really locked into it when, as we were cleaning out WRVA up on Church Hill in 2000-2001, I discovered a CD single re-release of the song for a television movie. I still have it along with other artifacts from the greatest radio station in Richmond history that I simply wouldn't allow to be tossed into the trash, literally, by

I guarantee you, you will relive every stage of your life listening to this song.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Song #27: "I Can't Let Go"--Linda Ronstadt (1980)

She occupies eight of our 500 slots in this musical journey, and today, Linda Ronstadt returns for the seventh time. Three of those eight songs came from her 1980 "Mad Love" release, including this powerful oxymoron of a song that has a driving beat, and can be sung to easily. But the subject matter is heart wrenching, more apt to appear in a tear jerker than in a song like this.

And, this song could also be also named my personal theme song from 2003 to 2005, as I erased the "lost my love" theme of the song and replaced it, frankly, with "lost my mother". I can't tell you how many times after my Mama passed on December 28, 2002 that I would play this song on CD in my van, mostly driving to and from work, singing along, and crying on, well, much more than one occasion.

I loved the song before this happened, but then, it took a new, deeper, and more special meaning. And I cannot hear it to this day without thinking about those dark days, and how thankful I am that I am in a better place, a better stage of my life here in 2017. The song, mind you, also brings back wonderful memories of Mama, so, today, it elicits many more smiles than tears.  :)

We have one final masterpiece from Ronstadt coming later in June, and it could be much later. Any guesses?  :)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Song #28: "Glow Worm"--The Mills Brothers (1952)

The origins of this song go back 115 years to the start of the 20th Century, from an German operetta from Paul Lincke. Five years later, the song is translated to English and debuts in a Broadway musical entitled, "The Girl Behind The Counter".

Fast forward another half-century, and the great songwriter Johnny Mercer takes the song, works it, reworks it, and creates a masterpiece for the Mills Brothers, who, with the Hal McIntyre Orchestra, turned "Glow Worm" into a number one song, spending three weeks atop the charts in the final year of the Presidency of Harry S. Truman.

I discovered this song on the large reel to reel tapes provided to us at WUHN Radio in Pittsfield, Massachusetts by "The Music Of Your Life", a former radio format belonging to Al Ham which was used by mainly AM stations across the country back in the 1980's and 1990's. "MOYL" continues to this day, especially online, changing its format to feature later standards and music that my generation grew up with.

The Mills Brothers, John, Senior, John, Junior, Herbert, Harry and Donald, began as a quartet that was hired by WLW Radio in Cincinnati back in 1928. They eventually sold over 50 million records.

For my money, one of the greatest songs from the "Big Band/Adult Standards" golden era of music from the Great Depression to the Eisenhower years. Don't know it? Invest 2:40 now and push play below. You'll be singing along the rest of the day.  :)

You're welcome.  :)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Song #29: "Turn To You"--The Go-Go's (1984)

Our fifth and final song from The Go-Go's is the third to come from their final studio album of their original run, "Talk Show".

It sold well thanks to the chart success of opening radio single, "Head Over Heels", which we just featured four days ago. The next release, today's tune, for me was just a little bit better. Though it didn't chart as well as "HOH", "Turn To You" had, for me, the grooviest beat of any Go-Go's song (and that is hard to determine), and, most importantly, one of the best riff moments in pop music history.

Go to 2:27 in the video below, and listen for about seven seconds. Nothing fancy, nothing hard. But coming out of the cold break, that particular part of the song just sealed it for me. I could listen (and I have) to that portion alone on a loop, over, and over again.

That's the cherry on top for this one, which has sing-along value at a "10", and is easy to dance to. Not that I dance in 2017. I did in 1984, however.

I'm SO glad I got to see The Go-Go's live eleven years ago with Rachel at Innsbrook After Hours, even if I didn't have a voice that night and couldn't sing along or scream in delight.  :)

"There are no explanations for why I feel the way I do....
The world makes its rotations, but I just want to turn to you...."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Song #30: "Words"--Missing Persons (1982)

The first time our ears were tickled by the unique sounds of Missing Persons was when today's song first hit radio in the classic summer of 1982. The summer, now almost 35 years ago, brought us:

Eye Of The Tiger--Survivor
Abracadabra--Steve Miller Band
Jack and Diane--John Cougar
Ebony & Irony--Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder
Hard To Say I'm Sorry--Chicago

However, none of these songs that neared, or topped, the charts appear in this journey. Dale Bozzio and company do, three times, all in the Top 100. It's a shame we didn't get more from this group, as their subsequent album in 1984 was deemed too experimental and radio barely touched it. By 1986, the band, and Dale's marriage to fellow band member, Terry, were falling apart.

Just a passing thought. What was musical variety 35 years ago? The same week "Words" peaked at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100, also on the chart was Kenny Rogers, Melissa Manchester, The Alan Parsons Project, Gary U.S. Bonds, Kim Wilde, Billy Idol, Frank Zappa (who was instrumental in Missing Persons' career), The Clash, and Barry Manilow, all in the Top 50 the week of August 28, 1982, my first week as a student at Patrick Henry High School.

Back to our story.....we have the classic "Spring Session M" from 1982, an album titled that way because it is an anagram of their name, and from it, three fantastic songs, my favorite of which is below.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Song #31: "Nights In White Satin"--The Moody Blues (1967)

As I mentioned not too long ago with "Tuesday Afternoon", it's the 50th anniversary of The Moody Blues' iconic breakthrough album, "Days of Future Passed". And perhaps no song in the deep and mighty catalog of my favorite band is more known, and more connected to them, than today's song.

This summer, the second half of their concert will be playing the album in its entirety. In a normal show, "Nights In White Satin" is part of an absolutely heartstopping final four songs that all Moody fans know is coming, but every time they play through that part of the set, it seems as fresh, as real, as emotional as the first time you hear it.

For me, it's almost impossible to hear this song live and not, at the least, tear up. Justin Hayward's vocals continue to nail the heartfelt emotions of the piece, especially the very simple yet powerful chorus that repeats just "I love you".

And Norda Mullen's work on the flute over the past decade plus has been nothing short of phenomenal.

So now, the 18th of 20 songs in our journey from the incomparable Moody Blues. Happy 50, Nights In White Satin. I'm honored to share 1967 with you.  :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Song #32: "Journey Of The Sorcerer"--Eagles (1975)

We come today to my favorite song by the super group of the 1970's, the Eagles, and I'm not so sure anyone, including my brother, would have guessed this correctly.

It comes from their huge 1975 release, "One Of These Nights", which produced mega-hits with the title track and the great "Take It To The Limit", solidifying their position as one of the most popular bands in the world. Also from the album, "Lyin' Eyes" remains, to this day, a fixture on classic rock radio (it is one of the few Eagles songs that I actually cannot stand....)

But closing out side one of the album is a nearly seven-minute classic of an instrumental, which feels like an actual journey. And, in addition, when I hear or even think of this song, I go to one distinct moment.

It's four years after its release, 1979, and my Dad, Stepmom and I embark on, for me, a landmark trip, by car, from Beaverdam, Virginia to Overland Park, Kansas to visit, for me, new relatives. I celebrated my 12th birthday there, went to my first Major League Baseball game there (the Royals hosted the A's), and, unfortunately, my Dad had to fly home in the middle of the vacation due to a death in our church family.

So, the two of us remaining took some extra time going home, and, by the time we got into the heart of West Virginia, I remember playing this song on a cassette tape I made on the portable cassette player I had along for the trip while winding through the mountains, on Route 60 no less, because Interstate 64 through West Virginia was not completed in 1979.

The song absolutely fit the location, the scenery, everything. It was eerie and glorious all at the same time.

Now, 38 summers later, I'm proud to say that, of all the great songs this group produced, if given the choice to listen to one, I'd press play below.  :)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Song #33: "Sole Survivor"--Asia (1982)

I had clearly no idea, when I first heard the news that several successful members of several bands were coming together to form what was then called a "supergroup" called "Asia", how much influence they would have over me musically when they dropped (as we say today) their debut album.

Self-titled, and released in Spring, 1982, "Asia" became of those five must-have albums, for me, of the 1980's. Which ones were they? In no particular order:

Long Distance Voyager--Moody Blues
No Jacket Required--Phil Collins
Synchronicity--The Police

By the way, what's your five?

Today's song, my favorite from Asia, builds on other songs from the album, leaving the ashes strewn during "Time Again", healing the fresh heart wound in "Here Comes The Feeling".

This song leaves all that behind and creates a new person really to challenge the future, refusing to be shackled by the past, even if everyone else chooses to do so.

I'm so glad "Asia" was a thing. They left behind one of the seminal albums of the decade.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Song #34: "Getting Closer"--Paul McCartney and Wings (1979)

Once again, we find another great song from the unforgettable musical year of 1979, and this song greeted us now rising seventh graders as we finished the sixth grade at Beaverdam Elementary School, and became, for me, an important part of the soundtrack to that iconic summer.

I took my longest road trip ever, to visit "new" family, my stepmom's gang, out in Kansas City, celebrated my 12th birthday there, went to summer camp for the first time, not by choice, and spent a homesick week there, then jammed to tunes at home the rest of the summer before getting ready for my final year at good ol' BES.

You have to remember the way schools were split up then. I had been at Beaverdam since first grade (they didn't open kindergarten there until I was in second grade), and seventh grade had been the holy grail for years. To actually BE in seventh grade soon was a remarkable achievement, especially when your world essentially revolves around the happenings in a hamlet such as Beaverdam.

So, I guess you could say in a sense I was Getting Closer.  :)

Seriously, this song jams, and, to me, is some of Wings' best work. So simple yet so ridiculously good, especially when they break out into a sweet jam to close things out.

Paul and Wings return once more before we are through, and, spoiler alert, it could be when we are just about through......

The version below also includes the intro "song" to it on "Back To The Egg", called "Reception".


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Song #35: "Watching The Clothes"--The Pretenders (1984)

Today, my all-time favorite song from The Pretenders, a hidden gem on their fantastic "Learning To Crawl" release about one of mankind's favorite endeavors.

Spending one's Saturday night at the laundromat.

On an album filled with great songs, this one, which never got airplay on the radio, leaps out at you. A sudden start, and, without warning, you're immediately transported to the rinse cycle down the street, lamenting about the fact that you seem to be going nowhere currently in life as you, well, think the following....

"There goes another Saturday night....I go without a fight.....watching the clothes go round....."

Add to it a simple yet frenetic jam and a perfect ending, and it's Pretenders perfection.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Song #36: "I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock and Roll Band)"--The Moody Blues (1972)

It's a simple pronouncement, the song, and the moment when, in the second act of a Moody Blues concert, the group reminds us that we're all just singers in a rock 'n roll band.

Which, of course, means, we can leave a much bigger mark on this earth than some people want us to think, if we'll simply ignore the skeptics, ignore the norm, ignore what is "expected" of us by the elite, by those in charge, and just carve the path we're meant to carve.

The song could easily be I'm Just A Truck Driver, or Delivery Guy, or Receptionist, oops, Administrative Professional, or insert job here. Same premise, we can do so much more than our "labels" indicate.

And this song, live in concert, is also a wonderful invitation to party and sing along.

Add the fantastic drum opening and the cool way the song winds down to its massive conclusion, and you've got a song for all times, the 17th of 20 Moody Blues songs in our journey.

The original song is posted below, as well as a live version taken from last year's tour, so you can enjoy the jam version we do there, about a month after I last saw them at the Mos...ah Carpent.....ah Altria Theater!  :)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Song #37: "They Don't Know"--Tracey Ullman (1984)

You probably best know her from her comedy work on television on the early, early days of the then fledging Fox Broadcast Network, and later on cable.

But did you know Tracey Ullman was a one-hit wonder of the 1980's?  And, of course, her comedic talents were squarely on display in the music video, which, if you've never seen, I won't spoil it here.

When the song debuted, I didn't know her comedic side, but I loved, loved the song. It had a throwback feel to it, and, upon learning she hailed from Britain, you almost felt like you were walking through London or Birmingham, or maybe even the small town of Witham, with the one you loved, even though it was a secret.

I really should dance around a supermarket one day.

But, for as much as I loved this song in 1984, it took on much deeper meaning to me early, early on the morning of December 29, 2002. Upon finally leaving Henrico Doctors Hospital, a few hours after the death of my Mama at 11:28pm the previous evening (Saturday, December 28, 2002), I got in my car, turned the ignition, and the first song to hit my CD player was this one.

And so, now going on 15 years later, I can't think but to think of her when this song begins. I wept as I drove, contemplating the loss, how to tell my kids, especially my son, who became her everything in their ten years together, and also rested in how thankful I was for my time with her, though it was seriously cut short due to divorce early in my life.

Mom and I were together 24/7 for seven and a half years, and then, one day, she wasn't there. I smile when I remember her telling me that, when she spent time with my Robbie in her later years, that time reminded her of being with a little me.

And it's true. There's a special, special love between mother and son. And if it's rekindled for a season, all the better.  :)

(Pictured: Bonnie and Robbie, Easter 1998, Nana (my Mama) and Robbie, 1996, Rachel circa 1998 with her "B")

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Song #38: "Head Over Heels"--The Go-Go's (1984)

It's Spring Break, 1984. My life was about to change in a huge way, but I had no idea.

All I had in my mind was a trip down to North Carolina to hang out with my brother for a few days. That meant seeing him, seeing my Grandparents, and.....WATCHING CABLE TV!!!

We never, I do repeat, never, had cable in Beaverdam growing up. Heck, we didn't get our first microwave oven until 1985, a few months before I moved to college and reverted back to a bunsen burner.....I mean hot plate to warm up those late night Ramen Noodles I bought at Price Chopper.

What's a Price Chopper, you ask?  Click here to find out.

Anyway, back to Spring Break 1984. The number one destination for me when I got to my brother's place on cable, of course, was MTV.

For those of you under 38 years old, I'll explain something. For its first several years, MTV was a 24-hour music video channel. That's right. radio on television.

But for those of us who only got to see "Friday Night Videos on NBC", and didn't have access to 24-hour video marathon madness (and were denied the chance to swoon over Martha Quinn every day), a chance to spend a few hours with MTV, the real MTV, was musical heaven.

Hot on MTV at the time was Duran Duran, and, at some point in 1984, they reminded you that your TV speakers sucked and you needed a hook-up so MTV could be heard in stereo.

Also in hot rotation that April was the return of The Go-Go's, as they were racing up the charts again with today's song. It's hard not to sing along with Belinda, Jane and the gang. The video, today, seems real cheesy and simplistic, but in 1984, believe me, it was cool.

Let's go back 33 years ago and forget about those upcoming final exams in tenth grade.  :)

The Go-Go's return to our countdown soon one final time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Song #39: "Cinema/Leave It"--Yes (1983)

The eighth and final contribution from the progressive masters, Yes, is the sixth song from their not-really-progressive 1983 LP, "90125".

Now, yes, there are still progressive elements in that music, but it's not "All Good People", and the suites created a decade or so earlier. But Yes did a fantastic job melding their past with the musical present, which is why "90125" is easily one of my all-time favorite albums.

Picking my favorite song from it wasn't easy. There were several, obviously, worthy candidates. But, in the end, when paired with the opening "track" of side two of the LP, "Cinema", it creates a bit of an old-school Yes feel, followed by a fantastic anthem. It "wins" the competition by a hair.

Did you know there were 18 different "versions" of the music video for this song? The one deemed the "official" version was the 11th. MTV certainly helped "90125" along the road to success.

Thank you Yes, for all the great music! One down, one to go, another town and one more show..... :)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Song #40: "Valerie"--Steve Winwood (1982)

Today, my favorite song from a rock stalwart whose career started very, very young, who also enjoyed some solo success, specifically in the 1980's

After songs like "While You See A Chance" and "Arc Of A Diver" in 1981, Winwood released "Talking Back To The Night", which did not see as much chart success as his work the year before. But from it came the original version of today's song, which got fine airplay on AOR radio stations, where I discovered, and fell in love with the tune.

Then, much to my surprise about five years later, a remixed version of the song was placed on his "Chronicles" release, and cracked the Top 20 (as did the single "Talking Back To The Night").

Maybe mainstream America wasn't ready in 1982, Winwood ahead of his time. But I ate up today's song during my first semester at Patrick Henry, and prefer the original version to the one that became a hit five years later.

A song that tells the simple story of a man hoping to convince a lost love to come back to him, as he's the same boy he used to be.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Song #41: "Invisible Touch"--Genesis (1986)

When Genesis went into the studio to record "Invisible Touch", the album, I don't have a clue what their thought process was. But if someone said, "we need to write the definitive pop song for Genesis' catalog", and that was one goal, then mission accomplished.

Today's song will never be mistaken for Genesis' early years, where radio airplay wasn't even a thought in their mind. But that changed when Peter Gabriel left, Phil Collins took over at vocals (while playing drums) and the metamorphosis of Genesis began, becoming one of the top pop bands of the 1980's, and launching a massive solo career for Collins himself.

And when this song hit radio 31 years ago, it took it by storm, and became a Genesis, and a pop, anthem for all time.

We have one more Genesis song coming, and, spoiler alert, it also comes from the "Invisible Touch" release. And, another spoiler alert, you won't see it until June......

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Song #42: "The Salt In My Tears"--Martin Briley (1983)

Today, a confession to my kids.

I didn't always pay full attention in class while in school.


I can remember being in class one day, I can't remember which one for sure, but I would bet it was either Algebra II or Biology, in tenth grade at Patrick Henry in 1983 after today's song had first appeared on radio. It was played mostly on AOR stations, as this song was not a chart topper, so thank you XL102 (the real one, not the pretender of today), 3WV, and others for giving Martin Briley a platform so I could hear this song and fall in love with it.

The actual song? Another post break-up "I will be just fine without you" tunes like "Don't Shed A Tear" just two days ago. But this one also gave me some other inspiration.

I loved writing novelty tunes back in high school, along the lines of the great Weird Al Yankovic. I did it for fun, and for the challenge of being able to match lyrics (they didn't have to be necessarily good) that would rhyme with the original song, yet tell a funny (I hope) story.

So, one period of my sophomore year of high school was not spent taking as many notes as I should (or maybe I zoned out during a "filmstrip"), and instead was invested in creating the parody song "The Fashions At Sears" to go with the tune of "The Salt In My Tears".

Today, of course, the parody would be that you can actually find any fashion at Sears, but that's another story.....

Here is Martin Briley's contribution to the 80's rock scene, and my countdown with a song that made one realize, they weren't worth it any way.......

Friday, May 12, 2017

Song #43: "Get It Right Next Time"--Gerry Rafferty (1979)

The second single from his 1979 "Night Owl" album is number one in my heart when it comes to the music of the late, great Gerry Rafferty.

Rafferty's work included his time with Stealers Wheel before he made it big for several years as a solo artist beginning with his monster single, "Baker Street" in 1978. And, while he's best remembered for that song, that song did not make my Top 500, another victim of overplaying through the years by classic rock and classic hits radio.

Today's song? It's one they've long forgotten, but not me. Again, the full version gives you the best experience, as the important opening of the song is slashed to almost a bare minimum on the 45 RPM single.

Another artist to leave us way too soon, the fourth and final contribution from Gerry Rafferty in our musical journey of my first fifty years. In full form.  :)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Song #44: "Don't Shed A Tear"--Paul Carrack (1987)

Today, another strong entry into the category of songs where one lover essentially pronounces to the other, don't let the door hit you too hard on the way out.  :)

This time, it's the former lead singer of the underrated 1980's group Squeeze who provides us with an anthem for guys (or ladies) who are still working through the anger of the end of a relationship, but in this case, are more interested in using it as fuel to move forward rather than wallowing in the "what could have been".

Now, by the time this song debuted, I was weeks away from saying my "I Do's", and writing my first yearly check to Bonnie to stay married (a long running joke here in Witham Nation), but I could see where this song would have played well with me a time or two during the angst of high school and early college.

In fact, another song that plays on this theme from my high school years will be up in just a few days (spoiler alert!). For now though, enjoy the hard-driving sounds of Paul's biggest solo hit from (gulp!), 29 years ago.

And, of course, around here, you get the full version, not the radio edit.  :)


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Song #45: "Oh, Atlanta"--Little Feat (1974)

It's 1974, the year of Hank Aaron surpassing Babe Ruth as the home run king, the year of Watergate crashing in on one Richard Nixon, and the year the torched passed from the Miami Dolphins to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Oh, and for my brother, it was the year the Broad Street Bullies, also known as the Philadelphia Flyers, first hoisted the Stanley Cup.  :)

Now, in Atlanta, there wasn't a lot to cheer for on the fields and courts after Aaron's accomplishments. The Braves, still, weren't good. Neither were the Falcons, or the Hawks. And the Atlanta Flames of the NHL were still several years of mediocrity away from moving to Calgary.

But, in other areas of life, there was plenty to love about Atlanta, all encompassed in this classic tune by the southern rock band Little Feat. Again, here's a case of a band that, commercially on the charts, didn't have what would be called an "impressive" career, but something tells me that wasn't something that bothered them.

They made great music, had a good following, and I bet the concert and residual checks kept them very happy.  :)

Their best known tune is, like yesterday's entry, a classic Southern Rock jam, in every sense of the word. So, let's go watch some planes land, and dream of being with that redhead dream down in what is known today as "The ATL".


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Song #46: "Champagne Jam"--Atlanta Rhythm Section (1978)

Let's head down I-85 today, shall we?

In my view, the best Atlanta Rhythm Section release came 39 years ago when "Champagne Jam" hit record stores. Today's song, the title track, was a single, but didn't do very well on the Hot 100 singles chart.

Before it was over, though, Atlanta Rhythm Section enjoyed a top ten hit in "Imaginary Lover", and a Top 15 hit in an earlier countdown song seen here.

But, for my money, "Champagne Jam" is the quintessential ARS tune, with great hooks, and an incredible, well, appropriately enough, jam to replace the usual "bridge, then last chorus" part of a song. It was different, it rocked, had a good helping of soul and blues, it was a masterpiece.

This song was part of my "junior high morning jam" on the old, big stereo along with other Top 100 hits "Coming Up (Live At Glasgow)" and "I Saw Her Standing There" early in the morning before the dreaded bus ride all the way from Beaverdam to Liberty Junior High School. And, believe me, it wasn't an express.  :)


Monday, May 08, 2017

Song #47: "The Power of Gold"--Dan Fogelberg/Tim Weisburg (1978)

When Dan Fogelberg released "Twin Sons of Different Mothers" in 1978, his biggest chart success was still ahead of him. Up to that point, his biggest hit, the great song "Part Of The Plan", only reached #31 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975.

This album was, in part, a collaboration with musician Tim Weisburg, and its most lasting effort is today's song, my favorite from Fogelberg, another artist who doesn't get the credit today for all the work he created, crafted, and added to the musical landscape of the 1970's and 1980's.

How many weddings have used "Longer"? How many times have you found yourself humming along at the end of "Heart Hotels"? And, of course, no Christmas-formatted station is complete over the holidays without the emotional "Another Auld Lang Syne".....

So, a salute, and a big thank you to Fogelberg, who left us way too soon almost ten years ago. Here's his anthem to avoiding greed and staying true to yourself, and not that which you've collected.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Song #48; "Theme From 'Whew!'"--(1979)

Today, likely the shortest "song" of our Top 500, and I know there has been some debate during our journey when I have posted theme songs before if one can actually quantify it as a "song".

According to my executive by-laws, the answer is yes, so here's today's story.

As you may already know, I was a huge fan of game shows growing up (and while full-sized, too). And, as the Summer of 1979 arrived, so did a new show on CBS with a quirky, but very interesting premise.

Two players try to block each other as they moved up a question board in 60 seconds or less in order to win the game, then head to face "the villains", who attempted in ten different ways to dissuade you from making it to the "pot of gold" at the end, where one finds "$25,000 in cash!"

The game was short-lived, unfortunately, and wasn't the same when, in an attempt to boost ratings and save the show, the producers added celebrities to "help" contestants, because, of course, everyone in 1979 or 1980 turned on their TV simply because they could see Marcia Wallace or Jamie Farr.

With its cancellation, perhaps the best opening to a game show in television history went away, only to be rediscovered to a new generation thanks to YouTube, like the version below. :)

This is my favorite game show theme of all time, however, there are two more TV themes to come. :)

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Song #49: "Danger Man"--Four Out Of Five Doctors (1980)

`Today's song goes out to, probably, the only friend I have on Facebook (and otherwise) who actually remembers this song with me!

I have shared earlier in our journey my deep love for my all-time favorite radio station, Q107 in Washington, DC. Their jock lineup in 1980, when I discovered it early that year, was nothing short of remarkable. Their imaging was on point, and, they weren't afraid to veer away from what Billboard decreed to be acceptable to play on a Top 40 station.

Their evening jock, in particular, one Uncle Johnny, really got behind a song from a D.C. based group called "Four Out of Five Doctors", giving "Danger Man" regular airplay. And by "regular", I mean, every night. It was cool to hear a big radio station in a major market really push and promote what was a really good local band.

Though they weren't really a "new wave" band, the song pushed certainly had new wave overtones. So, if you've never heard the story of a CIA agent, the "danger man in a foreign land", you need to give yourself close to a four-minute break, and travel back in time to where the U.S. Olympic hockey team shocked the Soviets, and the world, the Incredible Hulk ruled Fridays on television when the Olympics weren't on, and "Nightline" debuted on ABC out of the Iranian Hostage Crisis.

And yes, my friend, you're 55 days to "the rest of your life".  :)


Friday, May 05, 2017

Song #50: "Gone Hollywood"--Supertramp (1979)

We begin the Top 50, the final ten percent of this musical journey today with my all-time favorite song from a group that really never received the credit it deserved either during its time on the charts and in the public eye, and certainly not years later.

The legacy of Supertramp should be much larger when a discussion of rock music is held, especially when discussing the 1970's. I'm not sure one second of CNN's "The Seventies" documentary episode on music in that decade featured anything of the group.

It's always a discussion of disco, punk rock, top stars like Eagles, the fads of the decade (of which there were many....remember "Convoy" by C.W. McCall??), but to me, one of the seminal albums of the 1970's was "Breakfast In America".

And, from it, the song that opens the album, "Gone Hollywood", is my favorite Supertramp song. Love the beginning and the ending, and the story of one down on his or her luck in their quest to find their Hollywood story, make their Hollywood dream come true, only to find themselves stuck near a Taco Bell.

But then, after the bridge, we cut to the latest fad in town reminding the new tenants near that Taco Bell that "there's no use in quitting when the world is waiting for you."

And that's a reminder all of us, even someone like me pushing fifty with all the limitations I currently face in my journey, could definitely use.

Ponder that as you enjoy your upcoming weekend.  :) :)

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Song #51: "Illegal Alien"--Genesis (1983)

Our final song before the Top 50 will likely elicit thoughts and feelings not thought of when this song made its debut 34 years ago.

I've tested it, and trying to sing this song with a revised title of "Undocumented Worker" doesn't quite work.

Here, I guess, is the most politically incorrect song title in our musical journey. I'm not going to use this forum as a chance to offer my opinion on the subject. Phil, Mike and company were obviously using the song to try to humanize the plight of those looking to flee their current situation for a better life, they hoped, on the other side of the border.

In 1983, naive Robbie heard a cool sounding song and eventually caught a cool video on MTV.

Eight Genesis songs down and two to come before we're done, and, spoiler alert, one of them is definitely in the Top 10. And you can write that in ink.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Song #52: "King Of Pain"--The Police (1983)

From their incredible album "Synchronicity", the third of four songs by The Police to make our musical journey. Having already heard it on AOR radio before it was made the final radio single early in 1984, I was thrilled when I started hearing today's song on a regular basis across the dial.

It's the story of someone stuck in the rut of believing nothing but bad luck would happen to him. And, in 1983/1984, there was enough negative going on in my world of teenage angst for me to identify with the song quite powerfully.

Mind you, I wasn't depressed at the time or anything, but we all went through those teenage feelings of am I good enough, will anyone like me, will I ever get a date, why are they snickering and looking in my direction....again......

I suspect a lot of people my age identified with this song like I did. But more than that, musically, it's an absolute wonder, and part of one of the best albums the decade produced.

In fact, one more song from "Synchronicity" appears later....much later on this spring....which one do you think it will be?  :)

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Song #53: "Destination Unknown"--Missing Persons (1982)

Today, the second of three songs from the only musical act in our Top 500 to have three or more songs, and have all of them in the Top 100.

That's how much I loved, and respected, the work of Missing Persons. Yes, their sound is, some would say today, "stuck in the 1980's", but for its time, it was magnificent, and cutting edge.

From the electronic foundation to the very unique vocals of lead singer Dale Bozzio, it's hard for me to digest the fact that Missing Persons never had a song hit the Billboard Top 40. Never once did Casey Kasem play them on American Top 40. That's a doggone shame, as we say down South.  :)

Maybe I'll rattle the back of your musical brain with today's song, or maybe you'll be hearing this for the first time, but take three minutes and change and walk back 35 years with me to one of the best periods for music ever, and one of the most unique sounds to come from it.

Dale and the gang returns once more not too far down the road on our musical journey.  :)

Monday, May 01, 2017

Song #54: "Time Again"--Asia (1982)

Four songs from Asia's fantastic debut album 35 years ago landed in the Top 500, and today, it's the third of those songs, an anthem of defiance for all lovers, or friends, who found out they've been betrayed, sometimes, over and over and over.

The music here is incredible, especially the opening, building and building, all the while setting the stage for about five minutes of an emotional outpouring, everything you wanted to say to the one who jilted you, betrayed you, but hadn't, or couldn't.

On top of that, it's just good early 1980's rock and roll. And, as I mentioned with Pat Benatar back on Saturday, here's another case where a song like "Heat of The Moment" from the same release has just been heard way too many times on radio. Time and time again, you might say. :)

We'll hear from Asia once more later this spring, and I will admit, it was very close between "Time Again", and the song still to be revealed, as to which was my all-time favorite from this "shooting star" of a group from the early 1980's.