TV Draft Round 4 – Pick 3 – Keith Selects – Columbo

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. The remaining 7 rounds will be posted here. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Keith from https://nostalgicitalian.com/

TV Show Draft – Nostalgic Italian’s Round 4 Pick – Columbo

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Welcome to my fourth round pick in the Hanspostcard TV Draft. Last round I chose Perry Mason, which was the ultimate court room “whodunit!” You never knew who committed the crime until the end of the episode. I thought it appropriate to choose Columbo for this round, because it is almost the exact opposite of Perry Mason, in that you know who the killer is right from the get go. It was called a murder mystery where the murder was no mystery.

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The show pioneered the “inverted mystery” technique/format. Almost every show begins with a crime and the audience knows who the culprit is. Then enter the LAPD’s Lieutenant Columbo who spends the remainder of the show looking for clues, pestering the criminal, and eventually solving the case. The show was not a “whodunit” like Perry Mason, but rather it has been described as a “how’s he gonna catch him?”

The first season of Columbo began in September of 1971. I know that most of the shows being picked by others in the draft ran on a weekly basis. Columbo did not. Most episodes were featured as part of the NBC Mystery Movie rotation. It ran for 35 years with a total of 69 episodes.

The show was created by schoolmates Richard Levinson and William Link. The character first appeared in 1960 on The Chevy Mystery Show in an episode called “Enough Rope.” That episode was then adapted for a stage play entitled Prescription: Murder, which was then adapted for television in 1968. Columbo was played by Bert Freed in Enough Rope and by Thomas Mitchell in the stage version in 1962.

Bert Freed (L), Thomas Mitchell (R) – The Original Columbos

The writers of the show had originally wanted Lee J. Cobb to play Columbo, but he was unavailable. They next approached Bing Crosby, who turned down the role because it would take away from his time on the golf course. Peter Falk came across the script for Prescription: Murder and contacted Levinson and Link and said, “I’d kill to play that cop!”

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Peter Falk and Gene Berry

They weren’t really sure about Peter Falk, who was only 39 at the time. They envisioned the character as being older. He won the role, and he plays him as a much straighter, cleaner, and firmer Columbo in the first episode. It was a huge hit! The Columbo quirks and mannerisms that fans came to know and love would develop as he continued to play the role.

Peter Falk really threw himself into the role. He wore his own clothes. The suit was one that he had dyed brown, because he felt that looked better. He wore his own shoes. The world famous raincoat was one that he purchased in New York City while caught in a rainstorm. It cost him a mere $15. One difference between Peter and Columbo – Columbo preferred cigars, while Falk enjoyed cigarettes.

I am currently reading a fantastic book on the show written by David Koenig.

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Columbo is like no other cop. Koenig says, “There was nobody or nothing like Columbo at all before him. All the detectives were these hardboiled, emotionless, tough guys. And he was the opposite of that in every way. He hated guns and violence.” He describes the show this way, “Columbo wasn’t really a cop show. It was a drawing-room mystery done backwards with a cop as the lead. It was an anti-cop show.”

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During the first few seasons of Columbo, it really set the standard for what some refer to as “event television.” There were some fabulous guest stars who played the murderer. Those stars included Gene Berry, Jack Cassidy, William Shatner, Dick Van Dyke, Ruth Gordon, Robert Vaughn, Anne Baxter, Janet Leigh, Robert Culp, Donald Pleasence, Eddie Albert, Leonard Nimoy, Johnny Cash, and Patrick McGoohan – just to name a few!!

After the murder, when Columbo finally shows up, his genius is hidden by his often confused look. It is also hidden by the way he is dressed and by his friendly demeanor. He is looked upon as a stupid fool. The killer has no idea what a brilliant man Columbo is and they are lured into a false sense of security. The killer becomes even more arrogant and dismisses Columbo as a dope, only to be caught in the end.

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One of the things that certainly added to the character was his little idiosyncrasies like fumbling through his pockets for a piece of evidence, asking to borrow a pencil, or being distracted by something in the room in the middle of a conversation. Falk adlibbed those moments on camera while film was rolling as a way to keep the other actors off-balance. He felt that it really helped to make their confused and impatient reactions to Columbo more genuine. It really truly worked.

On the show, the murderer is often some famous person, or someone who is cultured or from high society. Either that, or some sort of successful professional (surgeon, psychologist, etc…). Paired up against Columbo, it is gold! The interactions between the two become such a marvelous part of the show and brings out Columbo’s character and cunning genius!

In those conversations Columbo is often confused. He doesn’t know anything about classical music, chess, fine wines, photography or pieces of art. One article on the show stated that his “ignorance” will often “allow him to draw in the murderer with a cunning humility that belies his understanding of human behavior and the criminal mind.”

Columbo

The last episode of Columbo aired in 2003 and was entitled “Columbo Likes the Nightlife.” Falk had planned for one final episode. It was to be called “Columbo’s Last Case” which was to begin at his retirement party. There was a lack of network interest and with his age and failing health, the episode was never to be.

Columbo remains as popular as ever. It was one of the most watched shows on streaming platforms during the pandemic. Author David Koenig says about the show, “It has stood the test of time for 50-plus years now. That character is still vibrant and alive, appealing to people. People love that central character, that basic format, the fact that it’s not political, it’s not violent, it’s not all the things television shows are today, it’s something different. And that is charm. That’s what people love about it.”

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Columbo Facts:

  • Steven Spielberg directed the first episode of Season 1 – Murder by the Book.
  • Peter Falk won 4 Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Columbo (1972, 1975, 1976, and 1990)
  • He also won a Golden Globe Award for the role.
  • Patrick McGoohan played a murderer more times than any other actor – 4 times. Jack Cassidy and Robert Culp each had 3 times, William Shatner and George Hamilton each played a killer twice.
  • Columbo’s name is never revealed – although a close up of his badge in the first season says it is ‘Frank.’ The creators of the show have stated that his first name was never known, so take that however you want to.
  • Columbo drives a 1960 Peugeot 403 convertible.
  • Columbo’s favorite food is chili and black coffee is his drink of choice.
  • In the 1972 episode entitled, “Etude in Black,” Columbo rescued a basset hound from the dog pound. The dog could be seen in many other episodes, and was as close to a sidekick/partner as Columbo ever got.
  • In 1997, the episode Murder by the Book was ranked #16 in TV Guide’s “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time” list.
  • In 1999, Lieutenant Columbo was ranked #7 on TV Guide’s “50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time.”
  • There is a bronze statue of Columbo (and his dog) in Budapest, Hungary. It was unveiled in 2017. Peter Falk is rumored to be a distant relative of the well-known Hungarian politician Miksa Falk (1828-1908).

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Columbo Statue in Budapest, Hungary

I thought I would close with little treat for you. In one of the Dean Celebrity Roasts, Frank Sinatra was the Man of the Hour. Now, these roasts were often edited down to make sure all the best stuff was shown on TV. In Lee Hale’s book, he stated that there was only one performance that was shown in its entirety – Peter Falk’s appearance during the Sinatra roast.

Falk appears from the audience – as Lt. Columbo. The entire 11 minute bit is just priceless. It is a must see. Enjoy:

TV Draft Round 3 – Pick 7 – King Of The Hill

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. The remaining 8 rounds will be posted here. We will have 64 different TV Shows by 8 different writers. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Dave from https://soundday.wordpress.com/

First I’d like to thank Max for keeping this project running, and for inviting me to take part. There are so many good TV shows to choose from, it’s hard to know where to begin, but I’ll opt for one that seems to hit close to home for me (LOL – literally)… King of the Hill.

King of the Hill was a long-running animated prime-time cartoon that somehow had characters a lot more “real” than most of its contemporaries made with real actors. It ran on Fox Network for 259 episodes from 1997- 2010, and has been seen in re-runs in syndication and on some of the streaming services. I’m not a gigantic fan of Fox overall, but one thing they do well is cartoons!

It typically ran on Sunday nights after The Simpsons, – itself a hilarious and ground-breaking show – at 8:30 Eastern time. Fox seemed to clue in on how much of a good thing they had going with Sunday night cartoons aimed at adults and forever were searching for ones to lineup with their corporate flagship show and its yellow-skinned Springfielders. Some of them caught on (e.g. Family Guy or, though I can’t fathom why, Bob’s Burgers), others were come and gone faster than you could say “Eat my shorts” …anyone remember Border Town? Although a few of the post-Bart and Homer series might have now topped King of the Hill in episodes, I don’t think any have topped it for humor and creating characters we felt we could relate to. No wonder Time magazine once called it “the most acutely-observed and realistic sitcom about American life, bar none.” Perhaps all the more surprising since its main creator was Mike Judge, whose previous claim to fame was Beavis and Butthead.

King of the Hill revolved around Hank Hill and his family – wife Peggy, tween son Bobby and their dog, a lazy hound called Ladybird. And the niece who lived with them, to Hank’s mild disapproval, Luanne. They were a typical, middle-class Texan family living somewhere in the suburbs, in the city of “Arlen.” Hank sold propane, and propane products and was proud of it. Peggy was a substitute teacher, specializing in Spanish classes (although her knowledge of the language was barely functional) who loved Boggle and making green bean casseroles; a woman described as “confidant, sometimes to the point of lacking self-awareness.”  Like most Texans, they loved things like rodeos, pickup trucks and Dallas Cowboys football – in one memorable episode Hank tries to get together a movement to move the Cowboys training camp to Arlen, but they pick Wichita Falls. To which Hank replies that city which claims to be “north Texas! More like south Oklahoma if you ask me!” a pretty stinging insult in the Lone Star State! Bobby, to his dad’s chagrin, is chubby, has little interest in sports and wants to be a stand-up comedian or worse yet, a clown.

Joining Hank is a supporting cast of neighbors we all seem to know in real life. There’s Bill, balding, overweight veteran who’s lonely and cuts hair on the nearby military base for income and amusement. Boomhauer, the suave, thin ladies man with the weird hillbilly accent who always seems to have female companionship and little to do outside of that but drink beer with the other guys and watch the world go by. (In the final episode’s surprise twist, we see his wallet lying open and find he’s a Texas Ranger – the elite branch of the state police.)  And there’s Dale, a man ahead of his time. Chain-smoker, exterminator by day, full-time conspiracy theorist and paranoid political commentator at night. Somehow he’s married to the lovely Nancy, the local TV weather girl and they have a son, Joseph… who looks nothing at all like him nor the blonde Nancy…but suspiciously like John Redcorn, the Native “healer” who has been giving her lengthy massages for her migraines for years. Dale has trouble figuring out why Joseph looks like that…but thinks maybe his wife was abducted and impregnated by aliens.  And we can’t forget Cotton, Hank’s cranky old father, lacking the bottom of his legs due to a war injury, nor the Khans. The Khans are from Laos, and while their daughter, Kahn Jr. (Connie to her friends) has assimilated well and is Bobby’s erstwhile girlfriend, and mother Mihn tries, Kahn Sr. fancies himself a successful businessman and can’t believe his bad luck landing up on a street full of hillbillies and rednecks. Somehow, the men all seem to get along and bond over things like appreciation of a good garbage can or love of (in Khan’s case, grudging acceptance of) Alamo Beer.

For the most part, the stories were fully relatable. They never starred in freaky Halloween episodes nor a big Broadway show (although ZZ Top did guest star once and put Hank unwillingly into a reality show following him around) or get abducted by aliens, perhaps to Dale’s surprise. Instead there were events like Hank trying to get the city to rescind it’s bylaw necessitating water-conserving toilets, or camping out in the local Megalomart with Dale (which bears a lot of resemblance to another American big box department store)  trying to catch a rat. In one episode, Bobby gets picked on by bullies leading Hank to try to get the boy into a boxing class. Instead of that, Bobby ends up in a women’s self-defence course and learns to kick anyone he’s mad at in the testicles…Hank included. And one of the final episodes really amused me … I was born and raised near Toronto, if you didn’t know that already. In it, Boomhauer decides to take a vacation in Canada and temporarily trades houses with a Canadian family. Hank and the Canadian dad take an instant disliking to each other, with them competing over who brews the best beer and whose brand of lawn mower rules. End result? Both get arrested for DWI while mowing their lawns; Hank and his buddies eventually sell a “keginator” beer-pump to bail the Canuck out of jail, because that’s what neighbors do. “We’re Americans,” Hank declares “we’re the world’s welcome mat. It doesn’t matter if they’re from Canada, Laos, or God forbid, even California!”

The show had Greg Daniels co-writing early on, a good pedigree since he’d worked on Saturday Night Live, the Simpsons and co-wrote the Seinfeld episode “The Parking Space”… Music City Mike probably remembers that one.  When it first came on, I liked it and often watched it, but it took years for it to really grow on me and come to appreciate how fully nuanced the characters were and how much attention to detail of human nature it showed…all the while being hilarious. There was a great sense of humanity in it all. People like Hank were trying their best, having a hard time keeping up with the changing times (he was the holdout on the office’s love of Facebook, for example) but doing his best to understand and be better. Nancy had her ongoing affair, but called it off eventually when she realized it was wrong to do to her husband, wacky as he was. And Luanne, sweet as pie and about as dumb as one too, with her little Christian puppets trying to teach kids right from wrong, boyfriend Lucky in tow. Lucky got his nickname when he slipped on pee at a Walmart and sued them for hundreds of thousands! (That makes watching it a tiny bit sad as both of the voice actors are gone – Brittany Murphy who did Luanne, and the one and only Tom Petty who was ‘Lucky’). They were all good people and the shows funny. But once I came to Texas…boy howdy, it took to another level for me.

Judge spent time in the Dallas Metroplex when young and said he based it on the suburbs like Arlington and Garland, Texas. Once I saw Waco, it seemed like Waco was Arlen…or vice versa. There are so many details that ring true like the Bush’s beans at dinner or love of Whataburger. When Peggy wants to have a serious talk with Bobby, she’ll treat him to one of those burgers…leading him to suspiciously note last time she took him there, she told him about Doggie Heaven!

I started this thinking I wouldn’t have enough to say about King of the Hill. Turns out I have too much to say for one column really. So one more thing – I just reminded myself how funny the show was. I think I’m going to go watch a few now!

TV Draft Round 3 – Pick 2 – Seinfeld

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. The remaining 8 rounds will be posted here. We will have 64 different TV Shows by 8 different writers. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Mike from https://musiccitymike.net

Seinfeld

I must begin by saying that I’m puzzled as to why it took me so long to decide what my next pick in the TV series draft would be. The number of Seinfeld YouTube clips I’ve watched should alone justify making the “show about nothing” my #3 overall pick.

My history with Seinfeld however is odd in that I did not watch a single episode in real time until I viewed the underwhelming series finale at a private corporate event on their then-expensive big screen. By then though I had at least seen some reruns but had yet to become passionate about the show. But not too long after the series ceased, I got hooked by watching many more reruns and running through my Dad’s DVD collection when I visited my folks. Watching Seinfeld soon became highly addictive for several reasons upon which I will elaborate.

Seinfeld ‘s obvious attractions are of course that it is very funny, all the characters are incredible, and like my prior two series picks, it is set mostly in New York City. And to that last point, the show’s brilliant production never once makes you think that it’s all done in a Hollywood studio. It really feels like it’s all happening in the Big Apple.

Remarkably, I have always been fascinated by how timeless Seinfeld is. Despite the lack of cellphones and the presence of Jerry’s dated haircut and his old Macintosh computer visible in the background, the storylines just seem so relevant to whatever decade you are watching them in. Relationship issues, comical character failures and the unabashed selfishness exhibited by the four main characters are things we can all forever relate to and laugh about.

Seinfeld’s impact on popular culture is also unprecedented. For a show that is now more that 20 years expired, there are so many expressions that are now accepted vernacular. Aside from the obvious “Yada Yada” and “No soup for you!”, quite often, personal situations have made me recall and reference old episodes. One recent example dealt with someone who was perpetuating an obvious lie until when like George Costanza, “He finally reached the end of the Hamptons!” Amazing how many people I said this to remembered that car ride ending in a walk when George didn’t admit to his fiancé’s parents that he didn’t have a house in the Hamptons until they all reached the Atlantic Ocean.

Each Seinfeld episode typically had three or four concurrent storylines and we often forget the classics that intersected with one another.  One was when the injured squirrel, for whom George paid for surgery to impress a girlfriend, got snatched away by a hawk during Kramer’s mock Merv Griffin Show. (After he found the old TV show set props in the trash bin.) On the same “show,” Jerry also was outed for drugging his girlfriend so that he could play with her rare vintage toy collection.

Being a baseball fan, having George work for the Yankees and seeing some real-life Yankees and Mets playing themselves on the show was something special. In fact, if I had to pick my favorite episode, it would be the one in which George suggested the Yankees wear cotton uniforms since cotton fabric breathes. Then came the problem when the non-polyester uniforms shrank making play difficult. This was also another great multiple story line show in which the gang watches the hapless Yanks from an Atlantic City hotel room where Jerry also accidently drowns the trained doves from Miss Rhode Island’s talent act. (Kramer was coaching Jerry’s girlfriend for the pageant.)

Writing about this show makes me want to watch it right now. It also makes me ponder where did Kramer get the money to live on and how many girlfriends did Jerry have? It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without the ability to go back and visit Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer on a regular basis.

Finally, while there never was an official Seinfeld reunion show, there was a short segment on Seinfeld co-creator Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm where we did see the show’s main four characters in the future. Here’s a look at those snippets all combined in a clever update that makes you long for some more new Seinfeld. Maybe someday.

The Spirit of 76… Movie

This movie is a B movie all of the way…and it plays up that fact… It was released in 1990 and if you are wanting to watch something that spoofs the 1970s… This movie is for you. You will also learn the word tetrahydrozoline.

This movie stars David Cassidy, Lief Garrett, Carl and Rob Reiner, and Olivia d’Abo… Citizen Kane, it is NOT. It’s a fun film about the future where all is gray and they lost every record because of a magnetic storm including the US Constitution.

Adam-11 (David Cassidy) has built a time machine because he wants to go to a beach…beaches don’t exist anymore in the future. The government wants him to use the time machine to go into the past to 1776 and get a copy of the US Constitution so they can rebuild their society with it. To make it work he needs a chemical that’s rare in the future… tetrahydrozoline (the main ingredient to a very popular item in the ’70s… Visine).

The government agrees to give him some tetrahydrozoline but sends two more travelers Chanel-6 (d’Abo ),  Heinz 57 (Geoff Hoyle) with Adam-11 to retrieve the document…but instead of going back to 1776 the time machine malfunctions and goes to 1976.

Devo makes an appearance as the “Ministry of Knowledge”…

It’s a corny movie but they have the 70s down in many parts of the movie. After meeting up with two teenage stoners (The group Redd Kross) they look for the constitution but lose the tetrahydrozoline. If you are looking for a second Gone with the Wind…don’t watch this but it’s funny and silly enough to entertain you.

You have to know a little about the 70s to get some of the jokes…Like David Cassidy’s character looking around a garage in 1976 asking “am I going to be stuck here forever?” while looking at a Partridge Family lunch box.

If you are bored, try this one. The trailer is below the complete movie is below that.

The complete movie

The trailer

Dave having A Sound Day

Thanks to Max, aka “Badfinger” for giving me the chance to write something for his site today! He’s likewise written something cool about the band from which he took his screen-name, for my site, A Sound Day, (http://soundday.wordpress.com today)  One of the best things about writing a blog, for about four years now, has been getting to know other bloggers with similar interests and read their posts. Of those, Badfinger has been a favorite of mine almost since I came to WordPress. I’m amazed that he and I are similar in age and have very similar tastes in music, and in baseball as well. So, needless to say he’s a pretty cool guy!

What I do at A Sound Day is post daily articles generally involving things which have happened on that calendar day in the world of music – album releases, records hitting #1, musicians having birthdays, that sort of thing.  A simple enough idea, and one which I must admit wasn’t entirely original. A decade or so back, ex-Sex Pistol John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) ran a short syndicated radio bit called “A Rotten Day” which did the same basically, but in headline form delivered in his characteristically snarky persona. So, it’s not a unique idea, but I try to go beyond the headlines and tell a story.  Make it interesting. For example, we pretty much all know the song “Midnight Train to Georgia”, but how many knew it was indirectly inspired by a Mississippi songwriter talking to Farrah Fawcett? Lots of us like London Calling, but do we know that the big hit single on it, “Train in Vain” wasn’t included on the track listing printed on the record because it wasn’t supposed to be on the album? How about an avant garde new wave rocker who has a successful second career writing books about archaeology?  It’s the details that make the stories interesting and I try to find them… and remind people of some great music that they might have forgotten. Or introduce them to music I love that they might not have even heard. Grudgingly, I sometimes even cover music that, well, didn’t really get my motor running but was important in its own way, and try to listen to it with a fresh ear. If it was rock, or pop, or maybe even occasionally country, and it was from the ’60s to the end of the century, I’ve probably given it a look.  That’s kind of an overview of what I do there, but let me tell you a bit about why.

Music has always been important to me. A big part of my memories… so much so that it can be an almost Rainman-like, frustrating ability. I can barely remember the names of my teachers or classmates from 1974, for example, but I can probably name two-thirds of the #1 songs of that year without ever looking to Google or Wiki. I couldn’t tell you the name of a girl I might have danced with at a junior high dance, but I can still recall the song was “Car Wash” by Rose Royce.

Mind you, there weren’t a lot of dances for young me. I was rather ill a lot of the time, and had by 1970s standards, a very over-protective mother…although by today’s standards, she was pretty lax. At least I walked or cycled to school myself instead of being driven to the door. But if it was raining, or cold, I probably wouldn’t be going out with friends to hang out on the weekend – “you’d get sick.” So I was home (with chain-smoking adults) and prone to lots of asthma attacks and bouts of pneumonia. Things like reading, looking outside at the birds coming to the feeder and music took on an import to me that many wouldn’t be able to relate to. Music especially.

Both my parents liked music, and every vague memory I have of being very young seems to have included music somewhere in the background. One of my first memories was listening to Sgt.Pepper and marveling in the weird but delightful sounds coming from the big wooden-cabinet stereo in the living room, while being dazzled by the funny-looking cover of the record. I can’t say whether it was my Mom or my brother who had the album… my Mom loved the Beatles and my older brother was a rocker as long as I can remember. One time just after he was old enough to drive, my Dad let him drive the car home most of the way from a family Florida vacation. He played Wish You Were Here on 8-track for almost the entire ride. It took some years for me to be able to listen to that with happy ears, I can tell you!  Pop, Beatles, Glen Campbell, some old-school country now and again… there always seemed to be music on in the house when I was little.

Around when I was five, I was given a little transistor radio. Might have been for my birthday, might have been for Christmas. I can’t remember. What I do remember is that little black plastic, mono radio with its’ rotating dial and tiny earbud let me listen to my own music…and life was never the same. And here, I feel very lucky because I grew up near Toronto, Canada… so I got to mature listening to two of the coolest radio stations on the continent…CHUM when I was a kid, and CFNY as I grew towards adulthood.

The first station I seemed to find on that little transistor was 1050 CHUM. A Toronto “hits” station that was by far the most-listened to station in the entire country at the time. It had been around since, well about since Noah went looking for two giraffes and two hornets ( did you really have to take them…but I digress!) but one which had switched to rock and pop before the curve, in 1957. “All Shook Up” was the first song they played apparently, and their first #1 song. Madonna’s “Live to Tell” was its final one, 29 years later before it changed formats (the station still exists but is now talk sports apparently) so it covered my early school and junior high years. My tuner rarely swayed back then, even though my radios got better and better through the ’70s, to a big transistor with a big built-in speaker to one of those only-in-the-70s white, plastic stereos with rounded corners and a turntable on top. And I put that to use; while other kids were spending their allowances on chocolate bars or comic books, I was saving my coins til we went to the mall and I could buy “Chevy Van” or “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” as singles. I still remember the first LP I bought – Elton John’s Greatest Hits. Nearly 50 years later, that still seems like a pretty decent place to start.

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CHUM was a pretty conventional “top 40” station, even though it actually had a “top 30”. And a cool thing about that was they actually published it weekly… I’d stop by the basement of Eatons and go to the records and pick up a little folder with the top 30 songs listed inside, as the picture shows. And take a look at that, a fairly typical example of one. Rock – how ’bout BTO or Rick Derringer? Country, dare you say? Umm, Tom T. Hall, John Denver. Cool pop? Elton John, Wings. Disco? It’s there. In fact, CHUM let us hear pretty much everything that was hot in the decade from Motown to Meco to McCartney. It was one of the great things about the decade, its music (which Max nicely reminded us last week with his 70s AM Radio series) and radio before it became too formulated and narrow in playlists. Plus, it mixed in a fair bit of Canadian content. That helped the homegrown artists and let us hear even more of a range of music. The world knew Anne Murray and BTO but we knew Wednesday (from my hometown, their biggest hit being a cover of “Last Kiss”) and Edward Bear too. Years before he was writing “Black Velvet” for his girlfriend Alannah Myles, we knew Christopher Ward as a decent singer of soft-rock ballads (www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E1VgsoS6i4 ) thanks to CHUM.

One thing Toronto was great for – many say best in North America – was being open to new sounds and “obscure” British music. By 1980, CHUM’s list of #1 songs included some classic rock mega-names – Led Zeppelin, John Lennon, Pink Floyd – but also things like “Turning Japanese” by the Vapors and “Making Plans for Nigel” by XTC. That might have been inspired a bit by the second great station that I lived with – CFNY.

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CFNY-FM was a station started in the late-’70s in “the little yellow farmhouse” in the outer suburbs. It’s reach was only a few miles at first; it’s nickname “the Spirit of Radio”… yes the one and the same name Rush wrote a song about. It concentrated on finding and playing great music other stations ignored. If you were going to hear the Damned, solo Peter Gabriel or Depeche Mode years before other people would in Canada, it was going to be on CFNY. As time went by though the station relocated, bought more powerful transmistors and was broadcasting to half a million regular listeners from the CN Tower. And making bands like the Psychedelic Furs and The Smths huge, arena-selling artists in Toronto. Such was their sway in the area that soon other stations began copying them to some degree. Not many hard rock stations were playing A Flock of Seagulls or “music at work” stations The Stranglers, but in Toronto they were. They had to to compete. Now, don’t get me wrong. I actually liked Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, even Madonna and I did hear them, once in awhile turning over to a hit station, or watching Much Music (our version of MTV) but by listening to so much CFNY I found incredible music by artists most elsewhere in North America never heard of – It’s Immaterial, Black (Liverpool singer Colin Vearncombe), (www.youtube.com/watch?v=koRT3HEmre4 )

Sinead O’Connor long before she flipped her wig and became a Saturday Night Live punchline.  And as with CHUM, CFNY highlighted a lot of great Canadian acts. A couple of them went on to become national heroes with a lengthy string of platinum records at home… while remaining anonymous outside the Great White North. Blue Rodeo and Tragically Hip. The latter had very Canadian-oriented lyrics that made them so endeared the Prime Minister attended their final concert… which was televised nationwide on the national network! The former mixed country and rock seamlessly to create a great music that at the time defied labels – alt country? Country rock? Later it would probably be described as one of the early examples of “Americana” music (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mqa4YzKPrFw ), following the traditions of The Band before them. Something we took to by the millions up there… but wouldn’t likely have ever heard were it not for that one station championing them in the early days. See an example of one of their year-end charts below.

When I was six or seven, and coughing and my parents were fighting, I could be in my room listening to Jim Gold or the Doobie Brothers on that transistor radio…and feel kind of happy. A decade or so later, I didn’t fit in that well in many places but when I went to the indie record store and picked up the latest import 12” Depeche Mode single, I was everyone else’s equal… the equivalent of a Sheldon in Stuart’s comic book shop on Big Bang Theory. Music was my friend.

It still is, and I feel priviledged to be able to help you discover some of it, and make some human friends all the while doing so. Thanks again Max, for giving me this space today.

REM – Everybody Hurts

When I heard this song in the 90s…I knew then it was one of those songs that would become an instant classic.

Most of this song was written by R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry. It is an anti-suicide song. Berry wanted to reach out to people who felt they had no hope. He quit the band in 1997 shortly before recording their album Up after an aneurysm. After that album, the band almost broke up, but decided to continue as a trio.

While he wrote this, he did not actually play on it. They used a Univox drum machine. R.E.M. bass player Mike Mills claims he bought Univox drum machine for $20, but it was perfect for the song’s metronome-ish feel.

It was on the album Automatic For The People, considered by some as the best album they ever released. The album peaked at #2 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in the UK, #4 in Canada, and #1 in New Zealand.

The album title was inspired by Weaver D’s soul food diner in Athens, Georgia. They had a sign that said “Delicious Fine Foods – Automatic For The People.”

The song peaked at #29 in the Billboard 100, #8 in Canada, #7 in the UK, and #12 in New Zealand in 1993.  I’m shocked now that it wasn’t in the top 10 in Billboard.

The string arrangement was done by no other than Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones.

Michael Stipe: “It saved a few. People have told me. And I love hearing that. That’s for me, that’s my Oscar, that’s my gold on a shelf right there… that something we did impacted someone’s life in such a profound way. That’s a beautiful thing.”

Mike Mills: Mike (Stipe) and I cut it live with this dumb drum machine which is just as wooden as you can get. We wanted to get this flow around that: human and non-human at the same time.”

Peter Buck: The reason the lyrics are so atypically straightforward is because it was aimed at teenagers.

From Songfacts

On many R.E.M. songs, Michael Stipe purposefully sings indecipherably. He sang very clearly on this one though, because he didn’t want his message getting lost. “I don’t remember singing it,” he noted in Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011, “but I still kind of can’t believe my voice is on this recording. It’s very pure. This song instantly belonged to everyone except us, and that honestly means the world to me.”

The Nevada legislature commended R.E.M. for “encouraging the prevention of teen suicides,” noting this song as an example (Nevada has a high rate of teen suicide).

The music video was directed by Jake Scott, son of movie director Ridley Scott, famous for movies like Blade Runner (1982) and Gladiator (2000). Filmed on Interstate 10 in San Antonio, Texas, the clip is set during a traffic jam where people’s thoughts are revealed through subtitles.

The video won four MTV Video Music Awards: Breakthrough Video, Best Direction, Best Editing and Best Cinematography. When it won for Best Direction, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, who were nominated for “Sabotage,” got to the podium before Michael Stipe. Dressed in character as his Swiss alter ego Nathanial Hornblower, he went on a rant, calling it a “farce” before being ushered off.

Disrupting an award for such a somber song is in poor taste, but it was hard to take this awards show seriously. Hosted by Roseanne Barr, it is best remembered for a cringe-worthy kiss between newlyweds Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. MTV didn’t harbor any resentment: they gave the Beastie Boys the Video Vanguard award in 1998.

This was used on an episode of The Simpsons when Marge is walking in a thunderstorm and thinks she has no friends. 

In February 2010 a charity cover was recorded by a collection of artists, Helping Haiti, to raise money for the victims of the earthquake that devastated the country. It sold over 200,000 copies in its first two days making it one of the quickest selling singles of the 21st century in the United Kingdom. Joseph Kahn directed a music video for the cover that features cameos from the performers and footage from the earthquake’s aftermath. Kahn is known for directing clips for the likes of Eminem, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift.

This topped a poll compiled by PRS For Music, which collects and pays royalties to musicians in the UK, of the songs most likely to make a grown man cry. Second in the list came Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven” followed by Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” PRS chairman Ellis Rich said: “From this chart, it is clear that a well-written tear-jerker is one that people can relate to and empathise with. It is this lyrical connection that can reach deep down emotionally and move even the strongest of men.”

In a rare authorized comedic use of this song, Mayim Bialik’s character on The Big Bang Theory plays this on the harp when she is upset over being left behind by her two girlfriends, who are shopping for bridesmaids dresses. Her “boyfriend,” played by Jim Parsons, comes by to cheer her up, resulting in an awkward cuddle scene.

Peter Buck likens the vibe of this song to Otis Redding’s “Pain in My Heart.” He wrote in the liner notes for Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011: “I’m not sure if Michael would have copped that reference, but to a lot of our fans it was a Staxxy-type thing.”

This was used in the 1992 film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, starring Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry and Rutger Hauer. Speaking of the subsequent TV series, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Peter Buck said: “I’ve never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the idea that high school is a portal to hell seems pretty realistic to me.”

Pink and Kelly Clarkson sang this to open the 2017 American Music Awards. They were introduced by Jamie Foxx, who said the purpose was to “pay respect to all those affected by the events of the past year,” meaning the hurricanes, shootings and hate rallies that took place.

Another comedic use was on The Office in the season 2 episode “The Fire,” where Dwight retreats to his car and blasts the song after Michael takes Ryan’s side in a business discussion.

Everybody Hurts

When your day is long
And the night
The night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough
Of this life
Well hang on
Don’t let yourself go
‘Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone (hold on)
(Hold on) if you feel like letting go (hold on)
If you think you’ve had too much
Of this life
Well, hang on

‘Cause everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts
Don’t throw your hand
Oh, no
Don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone
No, no, no, you’re not alone

If you’re on your own
In this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you’ve had too much
Of this life
To hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes
So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on

Everybody hurts

You are not alone

Heaven and Hell – by Don Felder and Wendy Holden…Book

Let me start this out by being completely truthful. I am not an Eagles fan whatsoever but I like biographies and I do respect the band as musicians and songwriters. This is a good book for Eagles fans and rock fans in general. It covers a lot of history of the Eagles and rock in the 60s and 70s.

Felder by far was the most versatile of the band. He was offereded a teaching job at Berklee College of Music in Boston before he even joined the Eagles.

What made me want to read this book was…the documentary on the Eagles released in 2013 (I also love rock documentaries). One of the reasons they made the documentary was because of this book! Don Henley and Glenn Frey were livid about Heaven and Hell and wanted to tell their side. The funny thing is… they ended up proving Don Felder right on most of what he wrote.

It’s a good book…I liked it because it helped document an important time in rock music…the sixties and seventies. The book is interesting for more reasons than the Eagles. Florida in the 1960s was a hotspot for future rock and roll stars. Don Felder, Tom Petty, Allman Brothers, Stephen Stills, and Lynyrd Skynyrd just to name a few were all playing clubs on both coasts of Florida.

Don Felder grew up in Gainesville Florida and worked at a music store. He gave young Tommy his first guitar lessons…that Tommy would be Tom Petty. He played in a band with Stephen Stills in high school. He then met future Eagle Bernie Leadon and they started to play in bands together. Felder was taught slide guitar by no other than Duane Allman! They played many of the clubs that the Allman Joys did.

It’s worth reading just for his pre-Eagle days.

When the Eagles first formed, their goal was to divide the writing and singing equally. That way, they reasoned, nobody would become a star or feel like a sideman. That had happened in their previous bands, and they didn’t create the Eagles to go through all that again. After a while that plan went out the window and the problems started.

You learn about the dynamics of the Eagles and how everything changed after Hotel California. Henley and Frey took over the band and called the shots. The problem was Felder was a full member (owner) in the band unlike Timothy B Schmit and Joe Walsh who were just paid employees then and now. When Felder would sugggest something or would want to know where the money was going…he was ignored or pushed off to Irving Azoff the manager by Henley and Frey.

He also covers the problems that Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner had with Frey and Henley….and the close friendship that he had with Joe Walsh.

This is not a gossip book. Felder doesn’t use the book just to slam Frey and Henley. Felder has faults and we see them in this book. He does seem to try to be even handed. As I’ve mentioned before…one look at the Eagles documentary and most of what he says will be verified. He covers their career…up until he was let go.

It’s an enjoyable book and I would recommend it. As I said, I’m not an Eagles fan but I enjoyed it.

Beatles – Christmas Time Is Here Again

It’s that time of year…and this is one holiday song that is on my list and not worn out. I first heard this in 1994 when I bought the Beatles Anthology album. I never knew of this song before. this song was never officially released until it appeared as the B-side to “Free As A Bird” in 1994. I’ve posted it every year since I’ve blogged and will continue to do so…it’s repetitive butI like it…it drives home the point.

My friend Dave posted this song a few days ago and he has more info than I do so check it out.

The song, credited to Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey. The original version was distributed to The Beatles fan club in 1967. It’s the only song ever written specifically for the Beatles Fan Club members. Along with the Beatles…actor Victor Spinetti  and roadie Mal Evans were on the recording.

Between December 1963 to December 1969, sent out 7 flexi discs that had  spoken and musical messages to their official fan clubs in the UK and the US at Christmas time.

The Beatles recorded this in 1967 and wasn’t released until 1994 paired with “Free As A Bird”. It is a fun Christmas song that will stick in your head. The Beatles did not release a Christmas song commercially… only to their fan club when they were active.

Many performers of this era like The Beach Boys and The Four Seasons released Christmas songs, but The Beatles never had an official Christmas release.

Christmas time is here again

Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again

Ain’t been round since you know when
Christmas time is here again
O-U-T spells “out”

Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again

Ain’t been round since you know when
Christmas time is here again
O-U-T spells “out”

Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again

Ain’t been round since you know when
Christmas time…[music continues and fades to background]

[spoken]

This is Paul McCartney here, I’d just like to wish you everything you wish yourself for Christmas.

This is John Lennon saying on behalf of the Beatles, have a very Happy Christmas and a good New Year.

George Harrison speaking. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas, listeners everywhere.

This is Ringo Starr and I’d just like to say Merry Christmas and a really Happy New Year to all listeners

[a John Lennon pastiche at this point, very hard to understand]

Webb Wilder – Meet Your New Landlord

I first heard Webb Wilder in the late eighties with songs Poolside and Human Canon Ball. He looked and sounded different right away.

Webb Wilder looks like he dropped out of a 50’s black and white detective show. By 1991 I was walking through a street fair in Nashville and there he was playing with his band. He had just released an album called Doodad that got some local and national airplay. His music is a mixture of rock/country/rockabilly/punk and anything else he can throw in…including the kitchen sink.

He has described his music as “Swampadelic”, “Service-station attendant music”, “Uneasy listening”, “Psychobilly”…they all fit.

I purchased the Doodad album and this song is what I zero’d in on. The hit off the album was Tough It out which peaked at #16 on the Mainstream Charts.  It included guest appearances by Al Kooper and Sonny Landreth.

The guitar riff is instantly catchy and the first verse was about losing your house/land in a poker game. A great story telling song.

Wilder got some MTV exposure with Human Canon Ball and a lot of local play with a song caled Poolside. He is a fantastic performer to catch live. He has been an actor, disc jokey, and a great artist…a true original.

The two videos are the same version…some were getting video not found.

Meet Your New Landlord

Neon lights don’t never dim
In the kind of bars that never close
In a back room game T. Jim yells
“Saint Gabriel, I’m gonna steal the show.”
He slapped his cards down on the table
Said, “Boys, i got me a winning hand.”
But the sight that made old T. Jim tremble
Was the king that took his land

Mister, meet your new landlord
Heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Plenty of room down on the floor

With a ticket burning in his hand
And the tip still ringing in his ear
Big Pete bet his whole life savings
As the race was drawing near

A shot was fired
The gates flew open
The years streaked right before his eyes
Too bad they were riding on a saddle
From the moment of ill advice

Mister, meet your new landlord
I heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Plenty of room down on the floor

Other names and other places
Different rules but it’s all the same
Cause if that bug ever b***s you
The scar will bear you shame
Hey listen, son, you know you’re in trouble
When you wake up one morning in a daze
And as you peer into the mirror
The face leaning over says

Mister, meet your new landlord
I heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Got plenty of room down on the floor

Mister, meet your new landlord
I heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Plenty of room down on the floor

Hey, mister, meet your new landlord
Whooo

Blind Melon – No Rain

This 1993 song has a sixties feel to it. The lead singer Shannon Hoon did a great job on this track.

Blind Melon bass player Brad Smith wrote this song before he formed the band. He had moved from Mississippi to Los Angeles, where he fell into a down period. He said that the song is about not being able to get out of bed and find excuses to face the day when you have nothing. At the time he was dating a girl who was going through depression  and for a while he told himself that he was writing the song from her perspective. He later realized that he was also writing about it himself.

The video was very popular. It has a very intriguing video featuring a girl dressed in a bee costume. The bee girl, Heather DeLoach, was 10 years old when she starred in it, creating one of the most enduring images on MTV.

The concept for the video was inspired by the Blind Melon album cover, which features a 1975 photo of Georgia Graham, the younger sister of Blind Melon drummer Glenn Graham. DeLoach was the first to audition for the role, and because she resembled Graham’s sister so much, director Samuel Bayer (who also directed Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”) chose her.

This song peaked at #1 in Canada, #20 in the Billboard 100, #17 in the UK, and #15 in New Zealand in 1993.

Blind Melon’s songs, were credited to the entire band even when one member wrote most of the song, as Brad Smith did with this one. Brad says that even though he wrote it, lead singer Shannon Hoon took it to a new level with his vocal.

The video made #22 on MTV’s Greatest Videos Ever Made countdown at the end of 1999.

From Songfacts

The bee girl parlayed the role into a credible acting career, appearing in the movie Balls of Fury, a remake of the Shirley Temple film A Little Princess and the TV shows ER and Reno911. She got married in 2017. DeLoach recalled to MTV News her audition for the bee girl: “They told me Sam didn’t look at any other tapes. I went in with my hair in braids and wearing those chunky glasses, because they said to look nerdy. My mom said we had to find some glasses before we went in, so we ran to a local mall right before the audition and bought them, and Sam liked them so much they’re the same ones I used in the video.”

This was a hit on a variety of formats. It reached #1 on the AOR (classic rock), modern rock and metal charts.

The first performances of this song were on Venice Beach, where Brad Smith would do his busking. “That’s where the lyric and the song was inspired from, is just having to write songs,” he said. “Then being in the state of mind I was in and having to come up with material to go play down on the beach for change. I played that song on the beach for change for over a year before Shannon Hoon actually joined the band and really made that song a hit.”

The band didn’t always appreciate this song. When they opened some shows for The Rolling Stones in 1994, they left it off their setlist. Their tour manager, Paul Cummings explained: “They had become one of those bands that hate their hit – at least at that point. I couldn’t understand it, but it’s not my call. That probably would have been the only song that crowd would have recognized.”

A hallmark of Brad Smith’s lyrics a feeling of melancholy, which doesn’t always match the music he puts to the song. He describes the music to this song as a “jaunty little happy halfway island beat,” which sounds like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” He explained: “A lot of my songs come from a darker place. And if you just met me walking down the street, you’d say, ‘Oh, you’re such a happy guy, Brad. Why the dark songs?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know.’ For me, it just has more meaning if you can get inside someone’s soul and identify with them on a heavier level and try to connect with them on that level. Because when you’re sad and you’re down, you’re the most vulnerable, and you feel the most alone.”

In 1993, Heather DeLoach reprised her role as Bee Girl in the Weird Al Yankovic video for “Bedrock Anthem” (a parody of “Give It Away” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers).

The inertia described in this song sounds typical of the stoner ennui like that described in “Because I Got High,” but you can blame this one on the herb. “I wasn’t even on drugs or drinking,” Brad Smith told us. “It was just a tough point in my life. And the cool thing about that song, I think a lot of people do interpret those lyrics properly and can connect with it on that level, where ‘I don’t understand why I sleep all day and I start to complain that there’s no rain.’ It’s just a line about, I’d rather it be raining so I can justify myself by laying in the bed and not doing anything. But it’s a sunny day, so go out and face it.”

In 2003, this was used in a commercial where a girl in a hot dog costume meets a guy in a Pepsi costume. Love blooms.

Pearl Jam has a song called “Bee Girl” that they first performed in 1994. With lyrics like, “Bee girl, you’re gonna die. You don’t wanna be famous, you wanna be shy,” the track was seen as a very accurate warning to Shannon Hoon that he was on a path of destruction. The song can be found on their Lost Dogs rarities album.

In 2016, the pop singer Mandy Jiroux released a song called “Insane” using many elements of “No Rain,” including the signature riff. Her song has similar but different lyrics, for instance:

All I can say is that my life’s not really plain
I like dancing in puddles that gather rain

In places where Shannon Hoon sang “no rain,” Jiroux substituted “insane.”

This prompted Blind Melon to file a lawsuit using the same lawyer who won big bucks for Marvin Gaye’s estate in the “Blurred Lines” case. Had Jiroux simply covered the song, it wouldn’t be an issue, but Blind Melon claimed that she created a “derivative work” that requires licensing.

The suit is unusual in that the plaintiff is trying to prove that the defendant didn’t make the song similar enough.

This song was featured in the 2004 comedy movie Without A Paddle.

No Rain

All I can say is that my life is pretty plain
I like watchin’ the puddles gather rain
And all I can do is just pour some tea for two
And speak my point of view but it’s not sane
It’s not sane

I just want someone to say to me, oh
I’ll always be there when you wake, yeah
You know I’d like to keep my cheeks dry today
So stay with me and I’ll have it made

And I don’t understand why I sleep all day
And I start to complain that there’s no rain
And all I can do is read a book to stay awake
And it rips my life away but it’s a great escape
Escape, escape, escape

All I can say is that my life is pretty plain
You don’t like my point of view, you think that I’m insane
It’s not sane, it’s not sane

I just want someone to say to me, oh
I’ll always be there when you wake, yeah
You know I’d like to keep my cheeks dry today
So stay with me and I’ll have it made, I’ll have it made, I’ll have it made
Oh, no, no, you know, I really wanna, really gonna have it made
You know, I’ll have it made

Violent Femmes – American Music…. 80’s Underground Mondays

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin band Violent Femmes are best known for their song Blister in the Sun released in 1983. A girl that I knew drove me crazy playing that song but after a while I started to like it…more than the girl. The song started to be played on alternative and college radio.

James Honeyman Scott (Pretenders guitar player) was booked to play a gig and he was so impressed by the Violent Femmes that he let them open for him. They were were then offered a record deal by Slash Records and soon after that they released their 1982 debut album, “Violent Femmes.” The album slowly hit and later went platinum.

This song was on their Why Do Birds Sing? album in 1991 and it was their fifth studio album. The album peaked at #141 in the Billboard Album Chart but the song peaked at #2 on Billboards Modern Rock chart.

Through breakups and reunions the band minus the original drummer Victor DeLorenzo  are still together. Gordon Gano is the singer- songwriter and Brian Ritchie is the bass player with new drummer John Sparrow.

They released an album in 2019 called Hotel Last Resort and it peaked at #29 in the Billboard Indie Charts.

American Music

Can I, can I put in something like…
“This is “American Music”… take one.” 1-2-3-4!
Do you like American music?
I like American music.
Don’t you like American music, baby?

I want you to hold me, I want your arms around me.
I want you to hold me, baby…
Did you do too many drugs? I did too many drugs.
Did you do too many drugs, too, baby?

You were born too late, I was born too soon,
But every time I look at that ugly moon, it reminds me of you.
It reminds me of you… ooh-ooh-ooh.

I need a date to the prom, would you like to come along?
But nobody would go to the prom with me, baby…
They didn’t like American music, they never heard American music.
They didn’t know the music was in my soul, baby…

You were born too soon, I was born too late,
But every time I look at that ugly lake, it reminds me of me.
It reminds me of me…

Do you like American music? We like American music.
I like American music… Baby.
Do you like American music? We like all kinds of music.
But I like American music best… baby.

You were born too late, and I was born too late,
But every time I look at that ugly lake,
It reminds me of me…
It reminds me of me
It reminds me of me
Do you like american music
It reminds me of me
Do you like american music
It reminds me of me
Do you like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me

Jayhawks – Big Star

I love this band…it seems I have a fondness for bands that released good to great music but never could get over that hump to mass audiences. Maybe if they would have cleared that obstacle their music would have changed…but who knows… maybe it’s a part of their appeal.

This song comes out in 1997 and was on their Sound of Lies album. At first I thought it was about the Memphis band Big Star and it is kinda…and also about The Jayhawks and loving what you have now. The album peaked at #112 in the Billboard Album Chart and #61 in the UK.

They have a Kinks tie… They recently backed Ray Davies on his albums Americana and Our Country – Americana Act II. Their 2016 album Paging Mr. Proust was produced by Peter Buck of REM.

They formed in the mid-80s in the Twin Cities .

Gary Louris when asked if the song is about the band Big Star: “Not exactly. Maybe in the back of my mind.” “You could say it about the Velvet Underground or Big Star or The Jayhawks,” “world’s unluckiest bands. They should have been bigger. But everybody in the audience started a band. Everybody that saw them started a band. The old cliché. But it’s true.”

 “I have a lot of famous friends.” “about achieving a place that you thought you wanted to be and maybe it would make you happy. It’s a typical human response. If I get there, then I’m finally going to be happy. And in reality, you probably won’t be. You should just be happy with what you have.”

Big Star

I’m flat-busted
Wild-eyed and free
I couldn’t get arrested if I tried
A has-been at a mere thirty-five

Straight, honest, forthright and true
Great expectations for someone
Doesn’t anybody know how to have fun
But I’m

Gonna be a Big Star
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday

Grape’s bitter
I’m no quitter
Revolutions come one by one
Seems it’s high noon and I ain’t got no gun

But it’s so hard
So hard
So hard getting by

Gonna be a Big Star
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday

Fine bourbon, Cuban cigars
Rude remarks observed at the C.C. Bar
I’m perfecting the finest art of wasting hours
But I’m

Gonna be a Big Star
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday

I’m gonna be a Big Star
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday

Droogs – Ahead Of My Time

The lyrics won’t make you mistake these guys for Bob Dylan but the guitar action is pretty cool in this one.

Several years before it became fashionable…the Droogs were playing what would later be called “garage revival”. They started playing together as pre-teens in 1966 and began issuing singles in the early to mid seventies.

Ahead of My Time was released in 1974. They missed out on the garage band sixties and they were ahead of the curve of the 60s garage band revival in the late 70’s.

They started to release albums in the mid-eighties and were part of the Paisley Underground Scene. They released 8 albums between 1984 to 2017.

The Droogs just released an album in 2017  called Young Gun and are still together doing their thing.

Ahead Of My Time

Hey babe, this must be your lucky day babe
I wanna kiss you if I may babe
Don’t care what people have to say babe

I’ve got to love you, the only way that I can
So please don’t misunderstand
They’ll tell you that I’m not your kind
But I’m just ahead of my time.

In your neighborhood, got a reputation that’s none too good.
For knowing things no young man should
I know baby, you would if you could

I’ve got to love you, the only way that I can
So please don’t me be your man
They’ll tell you true love’s hard to find
But I’m just ahead of my time.
I’m just ahead of my time.
I’m just ahead of my time.

We’re just ahead of our time.
We’re just ahead of our time.
We’re just ahead of our time.

Hey babe, this must be your lucky day babe
I wanna kiss you if I may babe
Don’t care what people have to say babe

I’ve got to love you, all the way babe

Connells – ’74-’75 ….80’s Underground Mondays

This is a very good acoustic pop song by the Connells.

The Connells were an alternative rock group formed in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1984 by David Connell (bass), his brother Mike Connell (guitar), Doug MacMillan (vocals) and John Shultz (drums), who was soon replaced by former Johnny Quest percussionist Peele Wimberley. In 1990 they added Steve Potak (keyboards) to their line up.

The band placed some songs in the alternative charts in the late 80s and 90s as they were played heavily on college radio The band released their 8th album in 2001 and since then haven’t done much. They never broke up but would get together and play various concerts… they are about to release their 9th album Steadman’s Wake on September 24, 2021.

This acoustic 1993 song became an unexpected smash hit in Europe, topping the pop charts in a couple of countries. The song peaked at #14 in the UK and was #1 in Sweden and Norway…It was on their Ring album.

The video is pretty cool. It was originally shot at Needham B. Broughton High School in the band’s hometown Raleigh, North Carolina in 1993, and features members of the Class of 1975 showing their yearbook pictures and them in 1993. In 2015 they remixed the song and updated the video to show the classmates they filmed in 1993 originally… and what they looked like now.

’74 – ’75

Got no reason for coming to me
And the rain running down
There’s no reason
And the same voice coming to me like it’s all slowin’ down
And believe me

I was the one who let you know
I was your sorry-ever-after seventy-four, seventy-five

It’s not easy
Nothin’ to say ’cause it’s already said
It’s never easy
When I look on in your eyes then I find that I’ll do fine
When I look on in your eyes then I’ll do better

I was the one who let you know
I was your sorry-ever-after ‘seventy-four, seventy-five
Giving me more and I’ll define
‘Cause you’re really only after seventy-four, seventy-five

Got no reason for coming to me
And the rain running down
There’s no reason
When I look on in your eyes then I find that I’ll do fine
When I look on in your eyes then I’ll do better

I was the one who let you know
I was sorry-ever-after seventy-four, seventy-five
Giving me more and I’ll define
‘Cause you’re really only after seventy-four, seventy-five

Seventy-four, seventy-five
Seventy-four, seventy-five
Seventy-four, seventy-five

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%2774%E2%80%93%2775