Monthly Archives: May 2015

A Hint Of Mint – Volume 5: Broadway

On this installment of A Hint Of Mint we get ready for next week’s Tony Awards with minty show tunes and minty covers of show tunes from classic Broadway musicals. Artists include Erasure, k.d. lang and Magnetic Fields, plus original Broadway cast recordings from Hedwig & the Angry Inch, The Book of Mormon, La Cage Aux Folles, Avenue Q, and Spamalot.


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It’s Rebbie And LaToya Jackson’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

If you’re like me, you woke up at 2:17 AM last night, wondering if any animals besides humans can dance, and then you had trouble falling back asleep. If this sounds like you, I suggest you seek therapy. If you’re in L.A., please pass on to me the name of your doctor.

I Googled “Can animals dance?”. I read about a sea lion who loves to shake it to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland.” That doesn’t prove anything. Only a corpse wouldn’t move to that song.

A neuroscientist at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California discovered that parrots and elephants can dance, but other animals cannot. He defines dance as a natural untrained reaction to music involving moving to the beat. By that definition, most humans can’t dance, either. I know. I’ve been to straight weddings.

The Week reported that scientists found that bees, cockatoos, peacock spiders, dung beetles, manikin birds and freshwater algae can dance. First off, I didn’t know algae was an animal. Secondly, doesn’t algae merely move along with the ebb and flow of the tide? By that definition, everyone’s a good dancer, even attendees at straight weddings.

Looking at dancing animals on YouTube was a depressing experience. I’m sure that sea lion at Sea World doing the “Thriller” moves would rather be in his native habitat than forced to do Michael Jackson impersonations for crowds that pay way too much money, none of which the sea lion sees. The moves probably didn’t come naturally to him. Had he been asked, I’m sure he would’ve said “No, I’m not going to be your monkey.”

Speaking of monkeys, the Daily Mail reported that bonobos like to dance to very fast music. The article was accompanied by several photos of polar bears striking Saturday Night Fever poses. Polar bears are classified as an endangered species, so I can see their concern with stayin’ alive stayin’ alive. Still, I wouldn’t confuse them for bonobos. I know a bear when I see one. I’ve been to gay weddings.

I saw a video of a cockatoo dancing to Backstreet Boys. There’s no accounting for taste, but I must admit, the moves were good. Not Michael Jackson good, but if that is the standard, then no animals can dance. By that measurement, most humans can’t dance. Most Jacksons can’t dance.

Today is the birthday of Michael Jackson’s older sisters, Rebbie and LaToya, not particularly good dancers from any video evidence I’ve seen. Rebbie had a hit song called “Centipede.” I’ve read nothing in my research about whether or not centipedes can dance, but I doubt they can, given they have fifty left feet.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. All animals are welcome to participate, whether human or centipede (though please don’t bring up The Human Centipede.)


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Proud Mary

CCR + Winston
One of our summer camp activities was Group Sing, an American Idol-like competition in which teams made up of each age group performed song parodies about how wonderful they are, written by their counselors. Amy and Maury Stein were the camp’s owners and our Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, watching and listening to each song and deciding which was the winning team. (Is that how American Idol works? I‘ve never seen it.)

My group’s counselors wrote a song based on “Proud Mary.” They asked me to play the part of Tina Turner. In the spoken word intro of the Ike & Tina Turner version of the song, she says “We never evah do nothin’ nice and easy. We always do it nice and rough.” I said that describing the Inter-C’s, our group. When the song kicked into high gear I shimmied and whipped my hair with abandon. It’s like my counselors saw something in eight-year-old me that I wouldn’t realize until years later. Proud Mary indeed!

Today the writer of “Proud Mary,” John Fogerty, celebrates his 70th birthday. Here are twenty of his best:


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 4

Some news you may have missed:
– Tom Hardy will portray a famous singer/songwriter/pianist in the upcoming film musical Rocketman, though he admits he’s not a singer.
– A documentary about that late, great British songstress who in 2011 died way too young from alcohol poisoning opens this July.
– The Eurovision Song Contest 2015 wrapped up. The winning entry came from Sweden, who are no strangers to winning this competition. In 1974 a Swedish quartet won with a song called “Waterloo.”
Twin Peaks is returning with David Lynch’s involvement!
– Taye Diggs is joining the Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
– The star of Funny Girl, The Way We Were and Meet the Fockers announced her autobiography will be published in 2017.
– On May 21 Boy George was honored at the Ivor Novello Awards for his outstanding contribution to music.

Inspired by the above, here is the latest installment of A Hint of Mint. It also includes a minty tribute to Bob Dylan, who turned 74 on May 24. Did you know Bob wrote the theme song of the television series Absolutely Fabulous? Listen and learn.


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Gladys

Three albums I a&r’d are now available for purchase in the iTunes store.

The Essential Gladys Knight & the Pips: The Buddah & Columbia Years includes the classic “Midnight Train to Georgia,” plus the smash hits “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” “Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me,” “On and On,” “Try to Remember/The Way We Were” and “That’s What Friends Are For” (with Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder and Elton John). I also threw in some extended mixes, making their digital debut.

The Essential Evelyn “Champagne” King collects 30 tracks from one of the most successful disco/post-disco vocalists. The classic “Shame” is here, as are “I’m in Love,” “Love Come Down” and “I Don’t Know If It’s Right.” Plenty of rare mixes are what makes this collection essential.

The Essential Melba Moore includes the top ten disco hits “You Stepped Into My Life” (written by the Bee Gees) and “This Is It,” plus 28 other tracks from the Tony Award-winning performer.

Thanks to Jeff James at Sony Music for working with me on these releases. Get ‘em now!

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Today’s playlist consists of selections from these three Essential collections.


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 3

On the latest installment of A Hint of Mint, we’ll hear a version of a Cher hit in which she switches pronouns, making it mintier than most Cher songs. Also, we’ll hear a minty song from The Who and remember B.B. King, plus more! Country, disco, blues, rock, pop, punk and then some. Dive in!

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I Say A Little Prayer On Burt Bacharach’s Birthday

Songwriters/Producers Burt Bacharach and Hal David had a string of hits with Dionne Warwick in the 1960s. They usually got the master they wanted after just one take; however, on “I Say a Little Prayer,” they did ten takes with Warwick, not liking any of the end results. They felt the tempo was too rushed. They gave up on the recording and into the vault it went, until October 1967, when the head of Warwick’s record label slated it to be the b-side of the new single “(Theme from) Valley of the Dolls.” While “Dolls” eventually became a hit, it was “I Say a Little Prayer” that raced up the chart first, becoming Warwick’s first gold record.

Against the advice of Jerry Wexler, the head of her record label, Aretha Franklin recorded a cover of “I Say a Little Prayer” just weeks after Warwick’s record peaked. Wexler thought it was too soon to remake the song, not to mention that he felt the song was far better suited to Warwick’s voice. Franklin came up with a new arrangement for the tune and used the same backup singers that sang on Warwick’s version. Though he loved what she did with the song, Wexler still didn’t think it was a hit, and scheduled it as the b-side to Aretha’s July 1968 single “The House That Jack Built.” As with Dionne’s record, both sides of Aretha’s single hit the top ten and the record went gold.

Though he didn’t produce Franklin’s recording, Bacharach has called it “the definitive version.”

Today Burt Bacharach turns 87 years old. Here are twenty classic songs from his songwriting catalogue.


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 2

On this installment of A Hint of Mint, we:
– Hear the hit song from an Irish quartet about a gay man telling his homophobic father he’s contracted AIDS (more about that song here)
– Hear the original version of “(They Long to Be) Close to You,” from 1963
– Hear the hit song performed by a woman from a famous musical family, written by her as a ballad tribute to a friend who dies from AIDS-related illness but transformed as a dance/house anthem
– Celebrate National Bike Month
– Celebrate Dance Like a Chicken Day (May 14)
– Hear a minty song from Donovan
– Celebrate Limerick Day (May 12) with a very-NSFW song from Loudon Wainwright, followed by a NSFW song about him by his daughter and a song he wrote performed by his son
– Hear a couple of songs that appeared on the TV show Girls, one a Rolling Stones cover performed by lesbian twins, the other by a woman who won a Grammy earlier this year
– Honor Stevie Wonder with two covers and one song on which he plays harmonica
– Hear recordings one is unlikely to hear elsewhere

A Hint of Mint – Volume 2 from Glenn Schwartz on 8tracks Radio.

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A Mothers Day Playlist

It’s Mothers Day weekend. Today’s playlist consists of songs about mothers. Not mothers like Shaft, a bad mother shut-your-mouth. Real mothers.

Happy Mothers Day!


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It’s Philip Bailey’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Gravelly-voice rapper Ja Rule told Fox Business that while Jeb Bush is a good candidate for President of the United States of America, he plans on voting for Hillary Clinton.

This surprised me, as I thought Mr. Rule was still in prison or back in prison or somewhere where he couldn’t appear on Fox Business.

I figured with Ja behind bars it would be a while before I found out who his candidate of choice for President of the United States of America is. Finding out his selection in May of 2015 is a wonderful surprise, and I’ll sleep better because of it.

This is just one more excuse to dance. Today is the 64th birthday of Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind and Fire. We kick off our weekly dance party with that band’s “Saturday Nite,” which Bailey co-wrote.


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