Sunday, October 30, 2016

Top Halloween Songs

Some of my favorite Halloween songs:

1.  Thriller - Michael Jackson
2.  Monster Mash - Bobby "Boris" Pickett
3.  I Put A Spell On You - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
4.  Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.
5.  (Don't Fear) The Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
6.  Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
7.  Haunted House - Jumpin' Gene Simmons
8.  Time Warp - Rocky Horror Cast
9.  Theme From "Halloween" - John Carpenter
10.  Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield
11.   Nightmare On My Street - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
12.  Somebody's Watching Me - Rockwell
13.  Season of the Witch - Donovan
14.  Pet Sematary - Ramones
15.  Purple People Eater - Sheb Wooley
16.  Bela Lugosi's Dead - Bauhaus
17.  Fire on High -ELO
18.  In The Hall Of The Mountain King - ELO
19.  Dream Within A Dream/Raven - Alan Parsons Project
20.  Lucifer - Alan Parsons Project
21.  Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo 

 Suggestions at email below:

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Playlist for 10/29

Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run  (book)
Brian Wilson - I Am Brian Wilson  (book)
Dwight Yoakam - Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars
John Prine - For Better Or Worse
Drive-By Truckers - American Band
Ian Hunter - Fingers Crossed
Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression

Friday, October 28, 2016

Personal Picks: 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

These are my personal picks, not predictions.

19 nominees!?  The biggest ballot since 1990 (30 nominees!).  And 1997 (17 nominees).  Impossible to just pick 5.

Regardless of how many eventually get in,  the Rock Hall tells its voters to only choose 5 names.   Anyway, just for fun, the name with a triple*** would be my 6th choice.

All picks from the Top 5 and 6-15 are in alphabetical order.

Top 5
Chic  -  How many times can I shout it?  They were a top-notch band, not just a top-notch disco act. Have been a personal pick since they've been nominated.   11th year on the ballot.

Electric Light Orchestra -   They made great albums, and crafted classic singles.  Jeff Lynne is a genius. They've always been near the top of my snub list.

Chaka Khan - One of the best R&B vocalists of her era.  And the Hall needs more 70's/80's female R&B greats.   3rd nominated (2 solo, once with Rufus).

Journey - A big Populist act that gets under many critics' skin.  In other words, my kind of group. Yep, the Journey haters were out in full force when this was announced.  "Journey? Who's next?  REO Speedwagon. Styx?"  They were wrong then, and are wrong now.  Steve Perry forever!

Joe Tex - A tip of the cap to the NomCom member (Dave Marsh?) who got this incredibly underrated R&B great from the 60's/70's back on the ballot.   Southern Soul at its finest.  5th time nominated (first since 2011).  You have no excuse. Go explore his catalog.

Bad Brains - This year's surprise, no shocking nominee.  One of the best Punk/Reggae bands from the 80's,  I love their early stuff.

Joan Baez - A name I predicted would be a NomCom pick this year. Folk icon whose best era was her biggest: the 60's, of course.

Cars -   Ric Ocasek & Co. crafted some of the best singles in the late 70's/80's.  They are one of the few from that genre that crossed over to Classic Rock radio. And their albums were pretty good, too.  2nd year nominated.

Depeche Mode -  The big synth-Pop band of the 80's/90's,  I like the singles more than their albums.

J. Geils Band - Most people forget that before they hit #1 with the Freeze Frame album, they were kind of a R&B loving journeymen Rock band.  4th time nominated.

***Janet Jackson  -  Think about this for a second.  Is it possible that despite her influence on other female R&B singers, and her great run of hit singles/albums, that she is underrated?  2nd year on the ballot.

Jane's Addiction -  Not the biggest fan of this group, even though I respect his Indie Icon status. But I think that Perry Farrell's greatest moment was coming up with Lollapalooza.

Kraftwerk - Influenced EDM, Rap music and a host of Rock acts that wanted to dabble in electronic dance sounds.  4th time nominated.

MC5 -  One of the great, early Punk bands.  Music not as well known as the Stooges', but Rock just as hard.  2nd time nominated (last in 2003!)

Pearl Jam -   I've had a hit and miss relationship with this band's music.  Loved their debut and like many of their other albums.

Steppenwolf - Another surprise nominee. Hard Rock?  Heavy Metal?  Most only know a few of their songs.  But I say go back to their early albums and you will find some gems beyond their hits.

2Pac -   He could have had a great career as an actor when his Rap career slowed down (e.g. LL Cool J).  Some good stuff scattered throughout his catalog.

Yes -   My favorite Prog Rock act. In my personal Top 10 snub list. 3rd year nominated. Would be my 7th pick.

Zombies -  A band that never gets mentioned much when discussing the best British Invasion bands of the 60's, despite some classic singles and an incredible album, Odessey and Oracle.  2nd time nominated.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Playlist for 10/23

Against Me - Shape Shift With Me
Dawes - We're All Gonna Die
Nick Cave - Skeleton Tree
Heartworn Highways - Various (2016 reissue)
Caetano Veloso - s/t (1968)
Eight Days A Week - Beatles Documentary  (2016)
Maurice White - My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire  (book)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Top Iggy Pop/Stooges Songs (Poll)

Latest poll I voted in was an interesting one:  Top 20 Iggy Pop/Stooges songs.  Iggy's peak years were from 1969-1979 and that's where 18 of my picks come from.  He made some decent music from the 80's onward, but his best decade was hard to top.  Interesting note:  Iggy had only one Top 40 hit, "Candy", which came in 1991, peaking at #28 (and was a duet with B-52's singer Kate Pierson).

1.  I Wanna Be Your Dog  (Stooges)
2.  Search and Destroy  (Stooges)
3.  Lust for Life   (Iggy)
4.  Raw Power   (Stooges)
5.  Passenger   (Iggy)
6.  Loose   (Stooges)
7.  1969    (Stooges)
8.  China Girl    (Iggy)
9.  Gimme Danger    (Stooges)
10. T.V. Eye   (Stooges)
11. Tonight   (Iggy)
12. Nightclubbing   (Iggy)
13. L.A. Blues   (Stooges)
14. No Fun   (Stooges)
15. Candy   (Iggy)
16. 1970   (Stooges)
17. Down On The Street   (Stooges)
18. Funtime   (Iggy)
19, Neighborhood Threat    (Iggy)
20. Real Wild Child   (Iggy)

Top 5 Iggy/Stooges Albums
1.  Raw Power (Stooges)
2.  Lust for Life (Iggy)
3.  Funtime  (Stooges)
4,  Idiot  (Iggy)
5.  Stooges

Monday, October 17, 2016

Current TV Shows I Watch (Updated for Fall 2016)

Shows I watch:
Not in any order.  Updated for Fall 2016.
Only listing current shows that are still on the air.

30 for 30
American Pickers
Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown
Austin City Limits
A Word  (UK)
Better Things
Big Interview w/Dan Rather
Black Mirror
Black Sails
Broad City
Chef's Table
Chewing Gum
Deutschland 83
Difficult People
Documentary Now
Fall (UK)
Fear The Walking Dead
Fleabag  (UK)
Game of Thrones
Get Down
Grace and Frankie
Graham Norton Show
High Maintenance
Hinterland  (UK)
Horace and Pete
House of Cards
Independent Lens
Indian Summers
Jessica Jones
Lady Dynamite
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Later with Jools Holland
Little Couple
Live from Daryl's House
Luke Cage
Marcella  (UK)
Marco Polo
Master of None
Masters of Sex
Mindy Project
Moone Boy
Mozart In The Jungle
New Girl
One Mississippi
Orange Is The New Black
Orphan Black
Poldark  (UK)
Please Like Me
Ray Donovan
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
Silicon Valley
Sleepy Hollow
So You Think You Can Dance
Stranger Things
Tunnel  (UK)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Vice Principals
Walking Dead

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Playlist for 10/15

Heaven 17 - Penthouse and Pavement
Heaven 17 - Luxury Gap
Against Me - Shape Shift With Me
Willie Nelson - For The Good Times
Time Jumpers - Kid Sister
Shovels & Rope - Little Seeds
Norah Jones - Day Breaks
Amanda Shires - My Piece of Land

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Going Disco: My Spotify Playlist

My latest Spotify playlist focuses on another era that always fascinated me.  When it seemed like every artist was adding Disco elements to their music.  This would be from 76-80 when Disco was at its peaked.  Anything earlier than that qualifies.  Post-80 was when the dreaded "disco" word got replaced with a more universal word, "dance".
Disco continues to get a bad rap.  Look what the Rock Hall voters did to Donna Summer.  Only inducting her after her death.  Or the way they've treated Chic.  Shameful.  During its run, Rockers, Soul legends, R&B acts, even Country artists cut a Disco song or two.  Some were forgettable, while others have aged better three decades later.

My Spotify playlist (link below) includes the obvious names who went Disco:  Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Bee Gees.  But it also includes surprises like Ronnie Milsap, Karen Carpenter, Glen Campbell.  R&B legends like the Spinners, Wilson Pickett.  I'm still looking for ones that I missed.  So suggestions are welcome.

Going Disco

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Playlist for 10/8

Gino Vannelli - Nightwalker
Britney Spears - Glory
Diana Ross - Eaten Alive
Kurtis Blow - s/t
Champaign - How 'Bout Us/Modern Heart
Kenny Rogers - Eyes That See In The Dark
Bayou Maharajah - (2013 James Booker Doc)
Chuck Eddy - Terminated For Reasons of Taste  (Book)

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Rod Temperton's Best Songs

Despite writing numerous hits for many artists and with Heatwave, I've always felt that Rod Temperton was an overlooked songwriting genius.  Although his name was finally showing up as a Songwriters Hall of Fame nominee in recent years, he's yet to get inducted.   The accolades may have been his sales and wealth that his songs brought him, but he deserved some late career awards.

Here's a list of my 20 favorite Rod Temperton songs.

And if you are on Spotify, then here's a link to a Playlist I made months before Temperton died (note Michael McDonald's "Sweet Freedom" is not on Spotify).
Rod Temperton Songbook

1.  Rock With You - Michael Jackson
2.  Give Me The Night - George Benson
3.  Always & Forever - Heatwave
4.  Stomp - Brothers Johnson
5.  Groove Line - Heatwave
6.  Off The Wall - Michael Jackson
7.  Sweet Freedom - Michael McDonald
8.  Baby Come To Me -  Patti Austin & James Ingram
9.  Secret Garden - Quincy Jones w/El DeBarge, Barry White, Al B.Sure, James Ingram
10. Lady In My Life - Michel Jackson
11. Thriller - Michael Jackson
12. Boogie Nights - Heatwave
13. Love Is In Control - Donna Summer
14. Ain't No Half Steppin' - Heatwave
15. You Put A Move On My Heart - Mica Paris or Tamia
16. Gangsters of the Groove - Heatwave
17. Yah Mo B There - James Ingram w/Michael McDonald
18. Love X Love - George Benson
19. Dude - Quincy Jones
20. Leavin' For A Dream - Heatwave

Top 20 George Michael/Wham Songs: Poll

Latest Poll I voted in:  Top 20 George Michael/Wham songs.
Remember George Michael?  He was a big Global superstar in the 80's/90's.
His star in the U.S. began to fade as the 90's ended  (tabloid fodder and record company woes). But he remained big overseas.
So, this poll comes at a good time.  A moment to reevaluate his past catalog.
There are no songs after 1996 on my list, even though I could have listed a couple.  And besides, Michael hasn't released much new material in the last 20 years.

As with many of my lists, this could have been expanded, even though Michael's discography isn't that large.

1.  Father Figure
2.  Careless Whisper
3.  Everything She Wants
4.  I'm Your Man
5.  Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
6.  Freedom '90
7.  Faith
8.  I Knew You Were Waiting (w/Aretha Franklin)
9.  Freedom
10. One More Try
11. Fastlove
12. Battlestations
13. Edge of Heaven
14. Different Corner
15. Waiting For That Day
16. I Want Your Sex
17. Heal The Pain
18. Young Guns
19. Too Funky
20. Last Christmas

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

R.I.P. Rod Temperton & Kashif

Rod Temperton and Kashif, both died last week, played major roles in transitioning Disco to 80's R&B.  With the sounds of Disco dying, a new kind of dance music began to emerge in the early 80's.  It was light, airy with hints of Disco, but using more synthesizer.  And it crossed over to the Pop charts.

Kashif is the least known of the two, but his production and songwriting skills are all over early 80's R&B.  His best known hits were for Evelyn King, "Love Come Down" and "I'm In Love".  But he also produced and wrote for Whitney Houston, George Benson, Dionne Warwick.  And he had R&B hits of his own.

Rod Temperton was one of the most underrated songwriters of his generation.  His list of classics is long, and his exclusion from the Songwriters Hall of Fame is a crime.  Everyone knows the Michael Jackson hits he wrote:  "Rock With You", "Off The Wall", "Thriller", "Lady In My Life".  And he started out with Heatwave where the origins of that sound came from:  "Boogie Nights", "Always and Forever", "Groove Line".
Thanks to those Heatwave hits his sound became wanted by Quincy Jones who used it not only on the Jackson tracks but with Brothers Johnson's "Stomp", George Benson's "Give Me The Night", and Patti Austin and James Ingram's "Baby Come To Me".   And my fave, the non-Quincy produced, "Sweet Freedom" by Michael McDonald.

Both Kashif and Temperton slowed down post-80's, but their greatest work continued to endure.  Kashif, in death, is just now starting to get the praise that eluded him while he was alive.  Rod Temperton will one day get into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, which will be a justly awarded posthumous honor.

For those of you on Spotify, I've made 2 playlists for both.  The Kashif is missing his early 80's R&B jam with Howard Johnson, "So Fine".  And the Temperton is missing "Sweet Freedom".  Both aren't on Spotify.

Rod Temperton Songbook

Essential Kashif

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Playlist for 10/2

Dolly Parton - Pure & Simple
Felice Brothers - Life In The Dark
John Conlee - Rose Colored Glasses
John Conlee - Friday Night Blues
Florida Georgia Line - Dig Your Roots
Charlie Rich - Every Time You Touch Me/Rollin' With The Flow/Take Me
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