Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ipod Summer Songs

Just loaded my wife's Ipod with my yearly selection of Summer songs.  The list keeps getting bigger (much like my Xmas songs that I give her).
I've got the usual suspects on there.  I guess I could put the whole Beach Boys 60's era on it, but I've also got anything that just sounds like Summer.  Stephen Bishop's "On and On" and Jay Ferguson's "Thunder Island" are 2 that I always think of when I describe what Summer sounds like.
I'll keep them on there until the end of August, when I officially call Summer over.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bee Gees Poll

Another Poll.  This one I voted in was a tribute to Robin Gibb.  Anything Bee Gees related goes here, solo, songs for others, etc. etc.
Once again this was done very quickly.  At the end of my Top 30, I list songs that I had to cut.
This was, as you can imagine, a tough poll.
What songwriters they were!

1.  Stayin' Alive
2.  To Love Somebody
3.  Jive Talkin'
4.  I've Gotta Get A Message To You
5.  Night Fever
6.  Holiday
7.  Fanny
8.  You Should Be Dancing
9.  How Can You Mend A Broken Heart
10.  I Just Want To Be Your Everything  (Andy Gibb)
11. How Deep is Your Love
12.  Guilty  (Barry Gibb/Barbra Streisand)
13.  Islands In The Stream  (Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton)
14.  I Started A Joke
15.  Love So Right
16.  NY Mining Disaster
17.  If I Can't Have You   (Yvonne Elliman)
18.  Shadow Dancing  (Andy Gibb)
19.  More Than A Woman   (Bee Gees version)
20.  Lonely Days
21.  Spirits Having Flown
22.  (Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away   (Andy Gibb)
23.  Massachusetts
24.  Grease  (Frankie Valli)
25.  Emotion  (Samantha Sang)
26.  Nights on Broadway
27.  Tragedy
28.  Boys Do Fall In Love   (Robin Gibb)
29.  Too Much Heaven
30.  You Win Again

Just Missed:  Words, Run To Me, Everlasting Love (Andy Gibb), Chain Reaction (Diana Ross), Heartbreaker (Dionne Wawrick), More Than A Woman (Tavares), Come On Over  (Olivia Newton-John & Bee Gees).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Will Donna Summer Ever Get Inducted?

Jann Wenner told Paul Schaffer the week of the Rock Hall Induction Ceremony that he thinks Donna Summer should be in.  Jon Landau told the NY Times in its Summer obit, that Summer should be in.  And Dave Marsh said so too, but that's she's out because she's black. Elton John said it was a disgrace she's not inducted.  And it went on and on the days after she died.

Oh, BTW, read Dave Marsh's Donna Summer paragraph again to understand what he means by how the color of her skin has kept her off voters' ballots.  Like I said, read it carefully and you'll get what he's saying about the way she sang and how her records sounded.  I got what he said, but others didn't.   davemarsh.us
                                                                                                                                                                   Summer has been nominated 4 times.  2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.  True, the NomCom waited 10 years from her first year of eligibilty to finally nominate her.  But then again, they did the same thing with Alice Cooper, Donovan, Bob Seger, Buddy Guy, Dr. John, Tom Waits and the Ronettes and a host of others.  And all of those got in right away, save for Donovan and Bob Seger, who waited an extra year.

So, who's more to blame?  The NomCom or the voting bloc.  Ultimately, it comes down to the voters.  And as I've been saying for years, they are a highly anti-Disco bunch.  Chic, 6 times nominated, can't get in.  But I thought Summer had a great chance last year.  The Great Satan that is Disco!   But mark this down.  If she doesn't get in this year, the howls of protest will be huge.  

So, her death will get her in now?  It's very possible.she'll pick up just enough votes to put her over.

 To those that say the Hall has inducted Disco artists.  I don't count Earth, Wind & Fire or the Bee Gees as wholly Disco.  Nor Madonna, either.   Dabbling in a genre doesn't make you a King or Queen of it.

I keep thinking about this Twitter exchange I had:  In 2008, Robert Hilburn, who is still on the  NomCom, yet doesn't attend any more of the yearly meetings, told me that Summer's discography wasn't Hall worthy, and that Summer herself wasn't Hall material.

But the Hall knows how the voting is going, even if we don't, and they want a Disco artist inducted.
Is there anything they can do about it, except keep nominating Summer?  Can they make up another "special" category to usher in her and Chic?

On my yearly ballot, I always placed her near the top.
In fact, in her 4 times nominated on my own ballot, I only had her below #1 twice.  Behind Madonna and my beloved Spinners.  Yes, she was that important.

Of course, now her death is only reinforcing that, as the various tribute articles show.

Now it's up to the Rock Hall voters to get their head out of their you-know-what and get this woman rightly inducted.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Garage

One channel I listen to a lot on XM is Little Steven's Garage channel.  Notice I didn't say Garage Rock, because it's not all "Rock" on there.

But I noticed that on Little Steven's channel you might get an idea of what Rock Hall acts he's pitching on the NomCom.  In the past I heard the Hollies (who got in) and the Ronettes (who got in).  Lately I've heard Paul Revere & The Raiders (who should be there), the Shangri-La's (ditto) and Dick Dale (ditto) and Link Wray (ditto again), and of course plenty of Monkees songs. I could see these names getting a push from him..

Or just listen to the channel for a few days, and you get an idea (since he created it) of what might come down the line.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

American Idol 2012

It's still the #1 show in the Country and will be as long as it is on the air.  But it is losing viewers each year.  And it doesn't help that it's become predictable and a snooze.
I only watch the live shows, can't stand the audition or Hollywood crap.

But this year only reinforced why the show, while still popular with parts of the public, is no longer viable in harboring talent.  For the 5th year in a row a boring white dude playing guitar wins.  For the 5th year in a row a handsome white dude wins.  The teenage girls and women rule the roost as voters.

How can the show change that?  Only the judges can.  And, boy what a set of judges we have.  Steven Tyler utters the word "beautiful" as much as he can.  $15 million a year?  He must be laughing all the way to his Aerosmith rehearsals.  Jennifer Lopez at $20 million did nothing this year until early on Jimmy Iovine started criticizing the judges.  Iovine is sort of a judge-not-judge, but is a mentor to the Idols.  But his best moments of the season are when he bombed on the weekly performances of both the Idols and the judges.
And Randy Jackson has been a laughingstock since Season 1.  And don't get me started on that smug-ass-Ryan Seacrest.   Without a Simon Cowell this show (save for Iovine) has become a weekly love fest.

People complain about the song choices, but that's a problem on all of these shows.  "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston must have been done by every singing show in 2011-2012.  Why can't they just ban any Whitney, Mariah, Queen, Journey songs?

And the show, as well as The Voice and X Factor, is poor on making superstars.  How many Idols actually had a recording career.  Even the winners seem to fade fast.

But the show will live on despite people saying it's over.  It's still wholesome entertainment for a good segment of the population.  So wholesome that a Adam Lambert will never win.  And it appears that the public has no use for Black singers, as no one has placed above #3 since Fantasia won.

I'm a glutton for punishment so I'll keep watching.  The Voice, X Factor, etc.  What can I say?


Read the NY Times article, even the producers of the show realize that things need to be shaken up.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/arts/television/american-idol-ponders-a-ratings-dip-on-fox.html?_r=1

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

XM

I'm at the point now where I can't listen to anything else in the car but Sirius.  And if I'm stuck in our 1 car that doesn't have it, I usually go to the Public Stations at the bottom of the FM dial.
Look, it's simple, terrestial radio play the same songs over and over.  There is no variety.  And then there's the commercials.

No future car of mine will not have XM.  The only problem with it is that there's too much to digest.  But a small price for those of us hungry for variety.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dave Marsh On Donna Summer & Rock Hall

Another take on why Donna Summer is not in the Rock Hall.
From Dave Marsh, Rock Hall NomCom member.

He's right.

http://bit.ly/KDJzUc

Robin Gibb

By the time the Bee Gees switched to R&B based dance music in 1975, Robin Gibb's vocals, which played an integral part of the Bee Gees initial success, were pushed to the background, as Barry's falsetto took over.  Most of his leads were on album tracks.  "Come On Over" and "Love Me" are 2 of my favorite from the "Disco Years".  Both became hits for others  (Olivia Newton-John and Yvonne Elliman).  But I like some of his 80's solo records as well, "Juliet" and "Boys Do Fall In Love" are better than anything on Barry's solo album from the 80's.

So, while Barry became the face and voice of the biggest part of the Bee Gees success, it was Robin and Maurice that were as big a part of the whole sound of the Bee Gees legacy.
The brothers leave behind not just there own excellent records, but the ones they made for  Andy and the many others they wrote hits for.    A big thank you to Robin (and Maurice and Andy) for great music and memories.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Playlist for 5/19

Albert Collins - Ice Pickin'
Gilbert O'Sullivan - Back to Front
Chelle Rose - Ghost of Browder County
Rufus Wainwright - Out of the Game
Now 42

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Fave Donna Summer Songs

Her greatest songs were the singles, but she had some album cuts and low charting singles I loved as well.  Here they are.

These are not ranked.  But all would make good additions to your Ipod.

Hot Stuff
Bad Girls
Love to Love You Baby
Dim All The Lights
Heaven Knows
Sunset People
She Works Hard for the Money
Could It Be Magic
Rumour Has It
MacArthur Park
No More Tears  (with Barbra Streisand)
Last Dance
On The Radio
Wanderer   (incredibly underrated album and single)
Woman In Me
Cold Love
This Time I Know It's For Real
I Love You
Spring Affair
Love Is In Control
State of Independence
Dinner With Gershwin
Try Me I Know We Can Make It
Stamp Your Feet  (from her last album in 2008)
I'm A Fire  (also from her last album)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Donna Summer

If you hear the name Donna Summer, and all you can think about is the word "Disco", then you missed out on all that made her great.
While she courted the Disco market in her first few years, she slowly moved away from it by the time her seminal Bad Girls was released.
In fact, her 80's work had left the genre behind so much that she was dabbling in New Wave and straight up Rock.  Eventually going all R&B.

But her hits have endured.  With her powerful voice, something only hinted at on "Love to Love You Baby", Summer's "Queen of Disco" tag was earned by "I Feel Love" and her remake of "MacArthur Park".  Along with the great Giorgio Moroder, who produced most of her classics, Summer crafted a perfect brew of Top 40  songs.  

Her run of chart hits should have turned even the avid disco hater.  They sounded that good on our radio.
Sadly, it didn't.
Summer has been nominated 4 times for the Rock Hall.  No less than Jann Wenner recently said she belonged.
But the anti-Disco voters have kept her (and Chic) out.  Unable to get past their Disco prejudices.  I can remember Robert Hilburn telling me years ago that her catalog just wasn't strong enough to warrant a Hall nod. Well, consider the source.
I say screw them.  No F___k them.  Donna Summer was a seminal figure in Pop music history.  Disco, R&B, Rock.  She touched bases with them all.  She was quite the seminal figure.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blogging

A Facebook friend recently began blogging again after giving it a rest.  The reason?  He couldn't think of anything to write blog about.  It was easier to post on Facebook or Twitter than to sit in front of his computer and write something.
This is all too true for many bloggers.  It sounds easy.  Pick a subject and start writing.  But even after 7 years of being on Blogger, and many more on my website, writer's block can be common even to those of us who only write a few paragraphs every other day.

There are many topics to write about, but putting a new spin on them is the problem.  I now know what authors  go through when they talk about writer's block.

But I keep going.  Some things provide plenty of columns.  The Rock Hall is the big one.  Other things seem like good subjects, and then I discard them.  I can tell you that I don't spend a lot of time staring at the computer waiting for an idea to pop up.  When they come, they come.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Now 42

Last week Now 42 was released.  Which means that I'm now up to 42 volumes of this series, which as you all know, basically mines the best singles from iffy albums.

It's also the equivalent of Rhino's Super Hits of the 70's series which tapped out at 25 volumes.  Rhino could have added more to that series.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Lindsey Buckingham

My wife's Birthday present to me were tickets to see Lindsey Buckingham at a small venue.  It was great, and it was a one man show (although there was a rhythm machine behind him), with Buckingham showing off his underrated guitar prowess.
More solo stuff than Fleetwood Mac songs.  Had a feeling most in the audience didn't know his solo songs, but  they sounded good enough that the crowd seemed to enjoy them.  Would have liked to hear "Second Hand News" or "The Chain", but "Never Going Back Again", "Big Love", "Go Your Own Way", and the obscure "Come" and "Bleed to Love Her"  from 2003 were good enough.
I don't go to many concerts.  Prices are just too steep.  But this was a good night out.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Playlist for 5/9

Loudon Wainwright III -
Todd Snider - Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker
Marty Stuart -  Nashvill Vol. 1
Norah Jones - Little Broken Hearts
Carrie Underwood - Blown Away

Sunday, May 06, 2012

2012 HBO Rock Hall Induction Ceremony Thoughts

Having watched the condensed version of the 2012 Rock Hall Ceremony, I'm more convinced than ever in who I think belongs there from this year's class, and who doesn't.
The obvious sore thumb in the whole batch are the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a band I don't hate, but don't think have ever been Hall worthy.  It didn't help that the Hall brought out Chris Rock who told us nothing about why they belonged, or that the Peppers best musician, John Frusciante was  a no show.  And now, is no longer in the band.

These no shows make me laugh, and I've already blogged about Axl.  But not showing up to make a point is just stupid.  Unless you're sick, like Rod Stewart was, then you have no excuse to show up and thank family, fans, friends and whoever got you that Hall trophy.

I'm still ambivalent about Freddie King.  I think Albert King was a more important Blues figure.  But ZZ Top's induction speech was pretty persuasive for those who are on the fence about Freddie.  Now, while still hazy about whether he belongs, I'm not fretting it.   Let's hope the Hall finally gets to Stevie Ray (or Albert King), or even Johnny Winter next.

The Small Faces are still a mystery to  a lot of people.  We all know the one hit, and I've delved into their catalog the last couple years.  Still on the fence about them.  Sorry.
But the Faces!  Excellent band, and I have to admit, I thought they would always be overlooked.  BTW- Mick Hucknall was pretty good filling in for Rod Stewart.

And that's about it.  Laura Nyro is the other name from this year's class that got the likes of Eddie Trunk all worked up.  But her presentation by Bette Midler was excellent, and there is an influence there, even it wasn't commercial.

The much talked about Guns N' Roses segment was also good (as was the Beasties one).  But why did Green Day play one of their own songs at the start of the show?  And, frankly, I don't get the connection between them and G N' R.   The performance by the put together G N' R, sans Axl, was good, though.  As for sourpuss Rose, I hope the Hall never invites him back ever again to induct someone.   The boos in the crowd were deserved.

A lot of future Hall acts took the stage:  Chuck D, LL Cool J (he'll get in, but he wait may be long), Green Day, LIttle Steven (E Street Band).

The In Memoriam segment was also touching, although they added Dick Clark and Levon Helm, since both were alive when the Induction ceremony took place.

The Hall continues to look for big names to induct people, even those names aren't remotely influenced by the artist.  Mellencamp-Donovan?  If you say so.  Chris Rock-Peppers?  See my comments above.  Little Steven-Small Faces/Faces?  No.  Robbie Robertson-The Music Engineers/Producers?  No again.
But they want star power, always have.  But they could at least match things up better.

On to 2013.


The Big 4-8

Yesterday was my 48th Birthday, and today I woke up not feeling any differnt than I did at 47.  This being a music blog I can tell you that as I've gotten older my tastes in music haven't changed.  I still get a kick out of what's topping the charts today, and I still get a kick out of finding some obscure oldie.

I've probably gotten a little more sentimental about the songs and artists I've grown up with.  Maybe even a little more defensive about it as well.

But with the big 5-0 staring me down, hopefully I'll feel the same way about all of this when I write about turning 49.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Adam Yauch

I had the Beasties as my 9th pick on my Hall of Fame Ballot last year.  That's no knock on their legacy, which is huge, but the 8 before them were just as worthy.

I loved the early albums, but mention the Beastie Boys and people still think all they made were party-anthems like the ones on Licensed to Ill.  

But while that was a landmark, I always preferred the 2nd one, Paul's Boutique, even though, at the time it was deemed a commercial disappointment, it is their masterpiece.    And they began to experiment both sonically and visually.

They deserved their spot in the Rock Hall.  Stretching the boundaries of Hip-Hop, that is still practiced today.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Promotion

The Lionel Richie Country duets album sold because Lionel worked his butt off promoting it.  Plus Lionel is a likable star.  It was a gimmick album, for sure.  Typical Record Company strategy of having an over-60 artist do either a duets or covers album.
The Madonna album isn't selling because she didn't work her butt off.  Yes, she's going on tour, but those people will show up for the spectacle and the hits.  She did the Super Bowl this year.  But that was 2 months before the album came out.  And she's also a more polarizing figure than Lionel ever will be.
And I like her album.  But she should have done more than an online Fallon interview.


Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Goldmine Rock Era Hall of Fame

Goldmine is starting their own Rock Hall.  They are calling it,   The Goldmine Rock Era Hall of Fame.
And Phill Marder ( who writes a lot for the magazine and their website about the Rock Hall) is doing the whole thing himself.  So support him!

It should be interesting, especially for those of us who have problems with the many names missing from the Rock Hall of Fame, if some of these missing artists will get a nod from Phill.  

Anyway, I'm always up for any new type of Music Hall.  Could be interesting.

I'll let Phill at the link below explain all the details.
http://www.goldminemag.com/article/meet-the-first-class-of-goldmines-rock-era-hall-of-fame

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

That Creepy Feeling

Such a creepy feeling when you hear that someone is near death.  How many people when they heard that Levon Helm had only a few days to live, started researching his catalog and bio?  The same with Robin Gibb.  First time I did this was when Warren Zevon was diagnosed with cancer.  I began to listen to back catalog titles that I may have missed.

The tap of a computer button has made doing this stuff easier than ever.  But I always feel like I'm just waiting for someone to pass so that I can write my obit or post my fave song from them.
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