This morning Bob Seger announced his final tour with the Silver Bullet Band. That’s reason enough to create a playlist of highlights from his catalogue. If you’ve taken Bob for granted, slept on his music, or are an aficionado, there is something for you here.
When I was 13 years old I asked my parents to get me the Aretha Franklin greatest hits album Ten Years of Gold for Hanukkah. I’d heard “Until You Come Back to Me” and “Respect” and maybe one more of her songs before then. That album started a life-long love of her music. I now have 50 Aretha albums, plus many singles. One of the highlights of my professional life was working with this woman who I idolized since my teens.
I’m very sad she has left us, but so grateful for the countless hours of joy she brought. Here is my Aretha top 40.
Here are sixty of my favorite Madonna songs. Did I leave out a favorite of yours? Let me know.
You may not know their names, but you know many of their songs. Individually, but more often as a team, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff wrote and/or produced a lot of timeless classic songs in the soul music genre. They were the pre-eminent rhythm and blues architects of the first half of the 1970s, and their production style paved the way for disco, before that genre got watered down. Plenty of their records found their way to the top of the pop charts as well.
Today is Kenny Gamble’s 75th birthday. To celebrate, Tunes du Jour presents a playlist of twenty great Gamble and Huff sides.
I interrupt my interruption to bring you twenty new(ish) songs that are rocking my world these days. Let me know which ones hit you.
Regular blogging will resume at some point this year. Maybe.
“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have Bon Jovi as a member.”
– Groucho Marx
On April 14, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct several worthwhile acts and Bon Jovi. Over the next few weeks, Tunes du Jour will spotlight artists that are eligible for induction (i.e. they commercially released their debut recording at least 25 years ago), but have not been inducted as they are not as talented, innovative or influential as Bon Jovi.
Today we look at and listen to The Smiths. They sounded nothing like their mid-eighties contemporaries, creating songs that appealed to those who felt like outsiders, when in reality those people were humans with a need to be loved, just like everybody else. Lyrically the songs displayed wit and vulnerability and expressed feelings of loneliness and longing in ways never heard before in pop music. These lyrics were coupled with Johnny Marr’s fresh guitar riffs, hooks that worked their way into your head and never left, that often worked as the musical opposites of what was being sung.
The Smiths influenced and continue to influence countless indie rock artists. The way their songs played with traditional male roles opened the door to LGBTQ acts whose lyrics conveyed an openness toward sexuality, even though Morrissey, The Smiths’ singer and lyricist, has never publicly come out. Their songs are smart, with literary references one need not get to enjoy. However, they never sang anything like “I was running away from the only thing I’ve ever known / Like a blind dog without a bone / I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone / I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold.” Do you know who did? Bon Jovi.
Here are twenty of The Smiths’ finest tunes.