Your Daily Playlist (1-21-20)

Inspired by the January 21 birthdays of Run-D.M.C.’s Jam Master Jay, Spice Girls’ Emma Bunton, Billy Ocean, Edwin Starr, Cat Power, Mac Davis, Rapsody and Wolfman Jack.

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Your Daily Playlist (1-19-20)

Inspired by the January 19 birthdays of Phil Everly, Dolly Parton, Janis Joplin, Robert Palmer, Caron Wheeler, America’s Dewey Bunnell, Deep Purple’s Rod Evans, and Shelley Fabares, and by National Popcorn Day.

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Your Daily Playlist (1-18-20)

Inspired by the January 18 birthdays of The Temptations’ David Ruffin, Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey, The Ting Tings’ Katie White, Bobby Goldsboro, Frankie Knuckles, Estelle, Hard-Fi’s Richard Archer and Kula Shaker’s Crispian Mills.

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Your Daily Playlist (1-17-20)

Inspired by the January 17 birthdays of Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs, Steve Earle, Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson, Calvin Harris, Kid Rock, the Delfonics’ William Hart, She & Him’s Zooey Deschanel, Lil Jon, Muhammad Ali, Paul Young, and Chris Montez, and the recent passing of The Left Banke’s Steve Martin.

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Twenty Songs You Should Hear (1-16-20)

A playlist inspired by the January 16 birthdays of Sade, Aaliyah, Jill Sobule, Maxine Jones of En Vogue, Jim Stafford, Ethel Merman, Ray Phillips of Nashville Teens and Barbara Lynn.

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Twenty Songs You Should Hear (1-15-20)

Inspired by the January 15 birthdays of Lisa Lisa, Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martha Davis of The Motels, Bobby Bloom and Pete Waterman of the Stock/Aitken/Waterman songwriting and production team.

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Twenty Songs You Should Hear (1-14-20)

Foo Fighters – “Learn to Fly”
Today is Foo Fighter Dave Grohl’s birthday. This is easily my favorite song from the group’s album There Is Nothing Left to Lose. Grohl said it’s one of his least favorites on the album. What does he know?

Kings of Leon – “Sex on Fire”
Today is the birthday of Kings of Leon’s lead singer Caleb Followill. About this song, Caleb’s brother and fellow bandmate Nathan said in an interview “Sex On Fire was just kind of a little lyric just to fill in to kill some time until we could actually write something that wasn’t about sex and fire.”

Kings of Leon – “Use Somebody”
Grammy Award winner for Record of the Year.

Foo Fighters – “Everlong”
David Letterman introduced a performance of this song on his talk show as “my favorite band playing my favorite song.”

Bobby “Blue” Bland – “I’ll Take Care of You”
Written by Brook Benton and originally recorded by Bobby “Blue Bland,” this song was covered by Gil Scott-Heron, whose version was remixed by Jamie xx. That remix was sampled in the Drake/Rihanna hit “Take Care.”

James Brown – “King Heroin”
This song is a poem written by New York City Stage Delicatessen worker Manny Rosen set to music.

Barbara Lewis – “Baby I’m Yours”
This song was written by Van McCoy, who hit #1 with his classic disco recording “The Hustle.”

Mary Wells – “Two Lovers”
This song was written by Smokey Robinson, who was inspired by a movie he was watching on television in which a woman had two lovers. Imagine the song we would have gotten had Smokey been watching The Thing With Two Heads.

Oasis – “Slide Away”
Oasis member Noel Gallagher, who write this song, says it contains his brother Liam’s best vocals ever.

Foo Fighters – “I’ll Stick Around”
This song’s music video was directed by Jerry Casale of Devo, who is coming up later on this playlist.

Dionne Warwick – “Promises, Promises”
Like most of Dionne Warwick’s sixties hits, this one was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

LL Cool J – “I’m That Type of Guy”
Today James Todd Smith turns 52 years old. He’s cool and the ladies love him, hence his rap moniker LL Cool J.

Run-D.M.C. – “Run’s House”
Run-D.M.C. sampled this in their final top 40 pop hit, “Down with the King.”

Clarence Carter – “Strokin”
Today is the 84th birthday of Clarence Carter Clarence Carter Clarence Carter Clarence Carter Ooh Shit Clarence Carter.

The Smashing Pumpkins – “Landslide”
In 1994, Smashing Pumpkins’ version of this Fleetwood Mac song hit #3 on the US Modern Rock chart, becoming the first version of this song to chart.

Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”
The title track from the 2011 Album of the Year Grammy winner.

Jack Jones – “Wives and Lovers”
Another Grammy Award winner, this one for Best Vocal Performance, Male. As with the Dionne Warwick song earlier in this playlist, this was written by the team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The lyrics, which may have already seemed backwards when they wrote it in 1963, come across as downright anachronistic today, telling women they need to stay attractive and attend to their husbands if they want them to remain faithful. Today is Jack Jones’ birthday.

Clarence Carter – “Making Love (At the Dark End of the Street)”
Another classic performance from Carter, referenced in “Strokin.”

Devo – “Working in the Coal Mine”
A cover of the Lee Dorsey classic, written by the late Alan Toussaint, whose birthday is today.

The Pointer Sisters – “Yes We Can Can”
Alan Toussaint write this song also. He wrote a lot of great songs. He also co-produced the Labelle classic “Lady Marmalade.” Respect.

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Twenty Songs You Should Hear (1-12-20)

Happy Sunday! I hope it’s a fun day. An I-don’t-have-to-run day.

Here are some songs to play while chillin’ in the crib:

Run the Jewels featuring Zack de la Rocha – “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”
Today is the birthday of Zack de la Rocha, best known as the singer for Rage Against the Machine.

Beck – “Black Tambourine”

Mary J. Blige – “PMS”

Ruth Brown – “I Can’t Hear a Word You Say”
Today is the birthday of the late Ruth Brown. She had so many best-sellers on Atlantic Records in the 1950s that the label became known as “the house that Ruth built.” You may know her from the original movie version of Hairspray, in which she played Motormouth Maybelle.

Marvin Gaye – “Hitch Hike”
With backing vocals by Martha and the Vandellas.

Ray Charles – “Drown in My Own Tears”

Stevie Wonder – “Love Having You Around”

Aretha Franklin – “Spirit in the Dark”
Aretha’s son Kecalf doesn’t want you to see the new biopic of the soul legend, which hits theaters sometime in 2020. He says her family wasn’t consulted about what is in the movie, aside from Jennifer Hudson as Aretha, which was the Queen’s choice.

King Curtis – “Memphis Soul Stew”

Kendrick Lamar – “Hiiipower”
Lamar’s first single, from 2011.

Amerie – “1Thing”
Today is Amerie’s birthday. This song sat on the shelves at Sony Music for a year and a half, at which point Amerie herself leaked it to radio stations. It reached #8 on the pop chart.

Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott featuring 702 and Magoo – “Beep Me 911”

Madonna – “Take a Bow”
This song went to #1 in the US. In the UK, it peaked at #16, ending her record-breaking streak of 35 consecutive top ten singles.

The White Stripes – “Black Math”

Foo Fighters – “This Is a Call”
Foo Fighter Dave Grohl wrote this song, sang it, and played every instrument on it.

Janet Jackson – “Throb”
Boom boom boom until noon noon noon.

OutKast featuring Raekwon – “Skew It on the Bar-B”
Today is the birthday of Raekwon, best known as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Big Star – “In the Street”
Today is the birthday of Big Star’s Chris Bell. This song was used as the theme for That 70’s Show. The soundtracks to that television sitcom were the first projects I worked on upon getting a job at Jive Records.

Spice Girls – “Say You’ll Be There”
Today is the birthday of Mel C (Sporty Spice).

Sly & the Family Stone – “Dance to the Music”
Today is the birthday of the late Cynthia Robinson, trumpeter and vocalist for Sly & the Family Stone. She and Jerry got a message that’s sayin’ “all the squares, go home!”

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Playlist For January 9, 2020

One of these guys goes by the name AJ

While grocery shopping yesterday I was struck by an announcement that came over the loudspeaker. I can’t recall it verbatim, but it was something like “Attention shoppers: Signing up for our rewards program is the greatest thing you will do in your life.” I thought about that as I stood in front of the frozen pizzas. How sad a life that must be! I put some frozen pizzas in my cart, then asked a clerk where I can get a rewards program application. It’s too early to know if filling it out was the first step to the greatest thing in my life, but it certainly was the greatest thing to happen to me thus far in this young year.

Lots of music birthdays to celebrate today. On the playlist you’ll find music from celebrants Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Joan Baez, AJ McLean of Backstreet Boys, Sean Paul, Crystal Gayle, Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth, David Johansen (a/k/a Buster Poindexter), Bill Cowsill, Scott Walker, Haddaway, Paolo Nutini, Domenico Modugno, Vic Mizzy and Mic Murphy of The System. It’s also the birthday of Orbital’s Phil Hartnoll, but I left his music off as I’m not too familiar with it. In addition, it’s Dave Matthews’ birthday. I left his music off as I am familiar with it.

As there are so many birthdayees, each of them got only one song in the playlist, except for Bill Cowsill, because come on! Also, I should confess that although I worked at Backstreet Boys’ record label for four years and while there licensed their music at least 734 times per day, I don’t know one Backstreet Boy from another. I selected “I Want It That Way” for the playlist. Hopefully the lead vocalist on that cut is Birthday Boy AJ and not one of those other Backstreet Boys, like Justin or Donnie or Peter or Blitzen.

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Playlist For January 8, 2020

I just thought of a great line to use in an improv scene I was in six years ago. I wish I could turn back time (not intending to quote a song title from birthday boy R. Kelly there) and use it. Ironically, the scene was about traveling back in time. I won’t tell you more about it, because describing an improv scene is .00003% as much fun as watching the improv scene, and this scene was no great shakes to start with, though with the addition of the line I just thought of its shakes would be .07% greater.

Today’s playlist begins with songs from two music legends with birthdays today – Elvis Presley and David Bowie. It’s also Little Anthony’s birthday, which led me to lean heavily toward oldies from the early days of rock and roll. Dame Shirley Bassey also celebrates her birthday today, so I threw in a couple of joints from her catalogue. i opted to not include any R. Kelly songs in the playlist, though Mary J. Blige and Erykah Badu are representing 90s r&b.

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