Monthly Archives: September 2014

Glenn’s Ten – 9/30/14

Ariel Pink’s “Put Your Number in My Phone” moves into #1 in Glenn’s Ten this week, knocking from the top Meghan Trainor’s “All About that Bass.” There are three new entries – “Beggin for Thread” performed by Banks, “i” performed by Kendrick Lamar and “Dangerous” performed by Big Data featuring Joywave.

Glenn’s Ten for this week is:
1. “Put Your Number in My Phone” – Ariel Pink
2. “Gotta Get Away” – The Black Keys
3. “Secrets” – Mary Lambert
4. “All About that Bass” – Meghan Trainor
5. “Beggin for Thread” – Banks
6. “Alone in My Home” – Jack White
7. “i” – Kendrick Lamar
8. “Flawless” – Beyoncé featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
9. “Dangerous” – Big Data featuring Joywave
10. “Do You” – Spoon

Rounding out today’s playlist are ten tunes that were #1 on this date in Glenn’s Ten history, in reverse chronological order.

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To Friends

Yesterday was my friend Christoph’s 37th birthday. On Friday night a group of his friends and colleagues got together to honor the man. Sid Krofft of H.R. Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos and Land of the Lost fame and a client of Christoph emceed an evening of musical performances by Brian and Nikki of Silversun Pickups (Christoph and I worked with Nikki at Rhino Entertainment; he and Nikki became close friends), Chrysta Bell (who worked with David Lynch, another client of Christoph), Dean Wareham of Galaxie 500 and Luna (Christoph and I worked on a Luna retrospective release while at Rhino) and Joey Altruda. Sid entertained us with stories of parties he attended with Christoph. Chrysta thanked Christoph for being so instrumental in her career.

After the performances we watched a short film. It opened with a black screen. A recording of Christoph played. He first mentioned the date of the recording, which was a couple of months ago, and then talked about what he wanted at his funeral – music and champagne, a celebration of his life. The remainder of the film consisted of images of Christoph, most of the time with friends, most of the time smiling.

When the film ended, we each took candles and flowers and walked from the Masonic Hall at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where this celebration of Christoph’s life took place, to the cemetery’s South Palms building, where Christoph’s urn is. Brain cancer took him last month.

His absence is deeply felt.

Christoph001Christoph Lonnie Balderrama-Buerger
1976 – 2014

Based on the Stephen King novella The Body, Stand By Me was a 1986 movie about a group of friends. The film took its name from Ben E. King’s 1961 smash hit.

Today is Ben E. King’s 76th birthday. Our playlist includes the best of his solo work and his work with the second incarnation of The Drifters.

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It’s Olivia Newton-John’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

I celebrated my thirteenth birthday in 1976. I was your typical heterosexual teenager. My bedroom was plastered with posters of the girls I loved. Diana Ross, Bette Midler, Joan Collins, Joan Rivers, Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer. Miss Piggy. Girls, girls, girls!

Ringo + Livvy 2014-09-25 19.24I’m not going to mention that I still have the 27 O N-J posters that adorned my childhood bedroom walls. That may sound weird.

Olivia was my favorite. I had a major crush on her. I was in her fan club. I even invited her to my bar mitzvah. On her invitation I wrote “They named a country after you called Bolivia. The ‘b’ is for beautiful.”

She didn’t come.

yearbooks 2014-09-25 11.19My friends in elementary and high school were very encouraging regarding my relationship with Livvy.

In 1984, Olivia married Matt Lattanzi, a muscular dance eleven years younger than she. They met on the set of the 1980 smash film Xanadu. By chance at the newsstand I noticed that Matt was mentioned in Playgirl, a women’s magazine. It was in an article about up-and-coming actors. There was a photo of him leaning against a wall in jeans, no shirt. Nice-looking guy. Good for you, Olivia! Good for you! Out of my devotion to my favorite female singer, I bought a copy of this issue. Sure, as I had the magazine, I browsed though it a handful of times. There were some interesting articles that gave me insight into how females think. Also, I thought the guys were nice-looking, objectively speaking. I can see why girls would like the magazine.

Matt Lattanzi001It could have been me!

In 2008 Olivia performed at West Hollywood Gay Pride. I watched her along with a few hundred other guys who I’m sure also learned a lot browsing Playgirl.

Olivia 106I found many of the guys watching Livvy at Gay Pride nice-looking, objectively speaking.

Today is Olivia’s 66th birthday. We kick off this week’s dance playlist with her smash “Physical.” The song’s video featured Olivia surrounded by a bunch of men who turn out to be gay. Can you imagine?

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Ray Charles And The Birth Of A Classic

In 1927, Howard Hoagland Carmichael was working at a law firm in his native Indiana. He befriended cornet player Bix Beiderbecke, who introduced Hoagland to trumpet player Louis Armstrong. Smitten by the jazz music his friends played, Hoagy, as he was known, quit the law firm and moved to New York, attempting to make it in the music business as a composer.

Another friend of Hoagy, saxophone player and bandleader Frankie Trumbauer, suggested to the former attorney “Why don’t you write a song called ‘Georgia?’” and helped get the lyrics started by adding “It ought to go ‘Georgia, Georgia’.” Big help that Frankie was.

At a party one night, Hoagy sat at the piano and began to bang out a tune based on Trumbauer’s suggestion. His college roommate, Stu Gorrell, who moved to New York to make a name for himself in banking, was with him, and suggested a song title – “Georgia on My Mind.”

Neither Carmichael nor Gorrell had ever been to Georgia. In fact, it has been suggested that Gorrell, who wrote the lyrics to “Georgia on My Mind,” was not writing about the state at all. He wrote the song’s words about Carmichael’s sister, who at that time was going through a messy divorce. Her name? Georgia.

On September 15, 1930, Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra made the first recording of “Georgia on My Mind.” Bix Beiderbecke played cornet in what turned out to be his last recording session. He died from pneumonia less than a year later at age 28.

That record wasn’t a big seller, but one year later, on September 24, 1931, Frankie Trumbauer, the man who suggested Carmichael write a song about Georgia, recorded the tune and had a #10 hit with it.

In the years that followed other jazz greats recorded renditions of “Georgia on My Mind,” including Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Django Reinhardt, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, and Gene Krupa with Anita O’Day.

Prior to “Georgia on My Mind,” Stu Gorrell had never written a song. The closest he came to doing so was suggesting that Carmichael name a tune he wrote “Star Dust.” Subsequent to “Georgia on My Mind,” Gorrell never wrote another song. He went on to become a Vice President at Chase Bank.

doggies + Ray 2014-09-24 11.53
Ray Charles was born in Albany, Georgia on September 23, 1930, eight days after Carmichael first recorded “Georgia on My Mind.” Charles became familiar with the tune from all the versions of it performed over the years. He would hum the tune in his car on the way to gigs. He would hum the tune in his car on the way home from gigs. His driver, Tommy Brown, had an idea. Said Charles, “Cat said, ‘You hum it so much, why don’t you record it?’”

Charles took Brown’s advice. In 1960, “Georgia on My Mind” became Ray Charles’ first #1 pop hit.

On April 24, 1979, “Georgia on My Mind,” written by two men who had never been to Georgia, and possibly about the sister of one of those men, was adopted by the Georgia General Assembly as Georgia’s state song.

Today’s playlist is made up of twenty classic Ray Charles’ recordings, including the sublime “Georgia on My Mind.”

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Bruce Springsteen Hoped For Better Sex

Ringo + Bruce 2014-09-23 16.30

“Something is opening up to you. Something is opening up. What I hoped it would be when I wrote the song was what I got out of rock and roll music, which was the sense of a larger life, greater experience, hopefully more and better sex, sense of fun, more fun, the sense that your personal exploration and your possibilities and the idea that they were all lying somewhere inside of you just there on the edge of town.” – Bruce Springsteen introducing “Thunder Road” on VH-1 Storytellers

Reader – lets you and I make a pact. Let us travel on our Thunder Road, seeking greater experiences, a sense of fun, and more and better sex.

Bruce Springsteen turns 65 today. Here are twenty of his finest.

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I Love NYC And Joan Jett

I had a great time in New York City last weekend. I was in town for a few days for my nephew’s bar mitzvah. I stayed in Manhattan, where I lived for fifteen years before resettling in Los Angeles in 2003.

My first few years in LA I pined for NYC daily. I missed my friends. I missed Manhattan’s energy. I missed having everything I want just outside my door, around the clock.

I’ve visited Manhattan at least once per year since I moved. I have a great time each trip, though I find myself missing it less and less. Part of the reason is I’ve adjusted to LA. I like the weather and found people who share my interests with whom to hang. Also, many of my favorite NYC hot spots are no longer. Tower Records on East 4th Street, where I was every weekend, is no more. The alternative bookshops I frequented are now a hardware store and a Starbucks.

Happily, The Strand bookstore is still there. I stop by every time I’m in the city. Also still there is my favorite bar in Chelsea, Barracuda. I haven’t stopped in there my last few trips, but I’m glad it’s around, as I have memories of good times spent there, despite my not being a bar person.

One night Joan Jett popped in to do a short performance promoting a new album, either Fit to be Tied or Fetish. It’s cool to see an artist you love perform in such a small space in your own neighborhood. She was great as always. Afterwards, she signed my copy of her Bad Reputation album.

Joan 2014-09-22 15.53

New York is not the same as it was when I lived there, but it’s still awesome. I’m not the same as I was when I live there; I’m more awesome.

Joan Jett turns 56 today. She’s awesome. A lot of her classics are not on Spotify, so today Tunes du Jour presents a Joan Jett YouTube playlist. Rock on!

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I Get Kicks From Champagne Supernova

At brunch with friends this morning, music was discussed (as it always is) and it was mentioned that I’m not a lyrics person. I often don’t pay much attention to the words of a song (notable exceptions being “Fast Car,” “One” and “MacArthur Park”). I can sing along with a song and have no idea about what I’m singing.

doggies + Oasis 2014-09-21 14.43
Today is the birthday of Liam Gallagher, usual lead singer of the band Oasis. I was trying to figure out what to write about this band (besides mentioning that their album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? is presently ranked at #28 on my Top Albums of All-Time list). My favorite Oasis track may be “Champagne Supernova.” In line with our brunch conversation, I haven’t the foggiest what this song is about.

Liam’s brother Noel, the band’s chief songwriter, explained where the song’s title came from – he misheard someone who mentioned the Pixies album Bossanova while he was watching a documentary about champagne. Okay then. What about the rest of the words? “Some of the lyrics were written when I was out of it,” Noel said in a 2005 interview. He went on to explain that “some of the words are about nothing. One is about Bracket The Butler who used to be on Camberwick Green, or Chipley or Trumpton or something. He used to take about 20 minutes to go down the hall. And then I couldn’t think of anything that rhymed with ‘hall’ apart from ‘cannonball’. so I wrote ‘Slowly walking down the hall/ Faster than a cannonball’ and people were like, ‘Wow, fuck , man’. There’s also the line ‘Where were you while we were getting high?’ because that’s what we always say to each other.”

Here are ten great Oasis tracks for you to sing along with Liam.

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It’s Nile Rodgers’ Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Winston + Chic 2014-09-19 13.37

Nile Rodgers, with his friend Bernard Edwards, formed the band Chic in the mid-1970s. The pair wrote and produced the group’s music. In 1978, they had their first top ten pop single, “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah),” which went to #1 on the Disco/Dance chart and remained on top for eight weeks.

Later in 1978, Chic released “Le Freak,” which was #1 on the pop chart for six weeks and became the biggest-selling single in Atlantic Records’ history.

Two more top ten singles followed in 1979 – “I Want Your Love” and the #1 smash “Good Times.” Rodgers and Edwards also wrote and produced Sister Sledge’s We Are Family album, which spawned that quartet’s only top ten pop hits – “He’s the Greatest Dancer” and the classic title track.

By late 1979 a disco backlash hit hard in the US. Any act the public perceived as a disco act had trouble getting hit records. “Good Times” was to be Chic’s last top 40 single. Even in clubs the group faltered. “Good Times,” coupled with “My Feet Keep Dancing” and “My Forbidden Lover,” hit #3 on the Disco/Dance chart. Chic wouldn’t make the top ten on that chart again until 1992.

By 1980, Chic the band were considered over, just two years after they arrived. Luckily, Chic were more than a disco band, and one person who knew that was Suzanne de Passe. De Passe was the president of Motown Productions. She hired Rodgers and Edwards to work with Diana Ross, who hadn’t had a top ten single since “Love Hangover” in 1976. The resulting album, diana, sold over ten million copies and remains the singer’s biggest-selling album to date. (I should note that it wasn’t the Chic mix of the album that got released. We’ll save that story for another time.) It spawned the top ten smashes “Upside Down” (#1 for four weeks) and the classic “I’m Coming Out,” both Rodgers/Edwards compositions.

In 1982, Nile Rodgers met David Bowie at New York club The Continental. Bowie hired Rodgers to work with him on a new album. The result? Let’s Dance, co-produced by Bowie and Rodgers. The title track became Bowie’s first top ten single since 1976’s “Golden Years” and his second (and last) #1, with 1975’s “Fame” the first. “China Girl” and “Modern Love” were also hit singles.

1983 kept Rodgers busy, working with Paul Simon, INXS, Daryl Hall and John Oates and Southside Johnny. One night he went to New York’s Roxy to catch a performance by Jenny Burton. He was intrigued by Burton’s opening act, an up-and-coming singer who went by her first name, Madonna. By the summer of ‘84, Madonna had three pop hits – “Holiday,” “Borderline” and “Lucky Star” – under her belt. When it came time to record her sophomore album, she called on Nile Rodgers.

Madonna named her second album Like a Virgin. Its title track, produced by Nile Rodgers, became Madonna’s first #1 single, staying on top for six weeks. Other hits pulled from the album were “Material Girl,” “Angel” and “Dress You Up,” all produced by Rodgers. The album has sold 21 million copies worldwide.

I won’t go into detail about every artist Nile worked with, but here’s a partial list: Duran Duran, Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Prince, Rod Stewart, Robert Plant, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, Grace Jones, Bryan Ferry, Johnny Mathis, Kim Carnes, Jeff Beck, Thompson Twins, Sheena Easton, Laurie Anderson, Al Jarreau, Ric Ocasek, The B-52s, David Lee Roth, Michael Bolton, Adam Lambert and Daft Punk.

Today Nile Rodgers turns 62. As it’s Friday, and I need to dance dance dance yowsah yowsah yowsah, today’s playlist consists entirely of songs Rodgers worked on. Good times!

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Glenn’s Ten – 9/17/14

Meghan Trainor’s “All About that Bass” moves into #1 in Glenn’s Ten this week, knocking from the top Demi Lovato’s “Really Don’t Care.” There is one new entry – “Alone in My Home” performed by Jack White.

Glenn’s Ten for this week is:
1. “All About that Bass” – Meghan Trainor
2. “How Can You Really” – Foxygen
3. “Really Don’t Care” – Demi Lovato featuring Cher Lloyd
4. “Electric Lady” – Janelle Monae featuring Solange
5. “Do You” – Spoon
6. “Flawless” – Beyoncé featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
7. “Dark Sunglasses” – Chrissie Hynde
8. “Chandelier” – Sia
9. “Alone in My Home” – Jack White
10. “New Dorp, New York” – SBTRKT featuring Ezra Koenig

Rounding out today’s playlist are ten tunes that were #1 on this date in Glenn’s Ten history, in reverse chronological order.

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The #31 Album Of All-Time | Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

You may have noticed that music is my passion, and I’m passionate about the music I like. I’m always on the hunt for new music. Usually I discover new acts from listening to satellite radio or from reading music blogs.

In late 2006 two tracks performed by a woman named Amy Winehouse appeared on UK music blogs. Both “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good” blew me away. The music sounded like nothing else out at that time, and that voice was distinctive and sublime. The album on which these songs appeared, Back to Black, was released in the UK in October of 2006. The US release was months away. I couldn’t wait. I called a friend who worked at Universal Music, the album’s distributor, in the UK. She sent me Back to Black and Winehouse’s prior album, Frank.

Frank was very good, but Back to Black was the best album I’d heard in years. The songs came from a dark place – Winehouse’s break-up with her boyfriend (with whom she later reconciled and married), but I didn’t find it a depressing listen, as the singing and production thrilled me. She sang how love is a losing game, how after their break-up she wanted to die, how despite feeling that way she knew they had to break up, and I smiled all through it.

Not every song is about a gloomy subject. In “Me and Mr. Jones” Winehouse asks “What kind of fuckery is this?” and takes her “best black Jew” to task for making her miss the Slick Rick concert, among other things. The Mr. Jones of the title is rapper Nas, with whom Winehouse later collaborated and who shares a birthday with the songstress.

Amy Winehouse ticket 2014-09-11 15.08
Back to Black was released in the US on March 13, 2007, entering the Billboard album chart at #7, at that time the highest debut ever for a British woman. Six days later I saw her perform at the 500 person capacity Roxy on Sunset Boulevard, where the majority of the audience already seemed to know the album backwards and forwards.

One song from the UK edition was left off the US version of the album – the wonderful “Addicted.” What kind of fuckery is that? Was her US label trying to hide a truth about the artist? We already knew they tried to make her go to rehab but she said no no no. We knew she went back to black. I think we could take her berating someone for smoking all her weed and not buying more. Did they not want the US public to know she was an addict? We knew. We knew very well.

Back to Black is #31 on my top albums of all-time list. In honor of what would have been Amy Winehouse’s 31st birthday, today’s playlist consists of ten of her finest performances, with a focus on that classic album.

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