Monthly Archives: September 2015

A Hint Of Mint – Volume 22

Lots of ladies in this week’s installment of A Hint of Mint, which includes some college radio classics plus two different songs entitled “I Kissed a Girl,” neither of which is performed by Katy Perry, at least not the version here.


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This Is Not About Matt Lattanzi

This post is not about Matt Lattanzi. If you’ve come here looking for information about Matt Lattanzi, the actor/dancer who appeared in the film Xanadu and went on to marry that film’s star, Olivia Newton-John, you’re not going to find it here. I don’t know much about Matt Lattanzi, other than he starred in My Tutor alongside Crispin Glover, and the Xanadu/Olivia thing.

matt lattanziMatt Lattanzi, not the subject of this post

I read somewhere that Matt Lattanzi unplugged and is living in a tent on the beach in Malibu. Maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t. I don’t know. This post is not about Matt Lattanzi.

I have fun writing this blog and curating its playlists. I often don’t know what brings you readers here. How did you find me? Maybe you’re more than a virtual friend – I may know you in real life.

Interestingly, the most popular search for finding Tunes du Jour is “Matt Lattanzi.” “Matt Lattanzi” leads four times as many readers to Tunes du Jour’s than this blog’s second most-popular search term, “TunesDuJour.”

I’ve only mentioned Matt Lattanzi in one blog post, which was one year ago today, on Olivia Newton-John’s birthday. Matt Lattanzi was not the subject of that post. Olivia Newton-John was. Do people search for Olivia Newton-John and end up here? No. They search for Matt Lattanzi. One mention a year ago! Yes, I mentioned him today, but that’s just to say I’m not going to talk about Matt Lattanzi. Just because he’s brought more readers to my blog than anyone else doesn’t mean I’m going to make Matt Lattanzi click-bait and write his name over and over again. I’m above that.

People, I can’t tell you more about Matt Lattanzi than I already have! I probably wouldn’t recognize him if I were to go to Malibu and trip over his tent pole.

No more Matt Lattanzi mentions for me!

Today’s post is about Matt Lattanzi’s first wife, Olivia Newton-John, who celebrates her 67th birthday today. Do you think Matt sent her a gift? Maybe he called, though if he’s living off the grid, that might be difficult. Do pay phones still exist? How does one get by in this modern age living off the grid? Why are you asking about Matt Lattanzi again? Come on, readers! Focus! Olivia!

Here are twenty fun tracks from Matt Lattanzi’s first wife:


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It’s T.I.’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Last night I debuted a new speech about diversity and inclusion in corporate America. It was the first time I tackled the subject in a presentation and I’m pleased to say it went very well.

I’m working on a series of speeches about what makes good leaders. It’s a departure from my usual speeches, which lean toward storytelling or purely humorous. Last night’s speech had plenty of humor (and all the jokes hit!), but it had a message and action steps as well. I delivered the twenty minute version. I’m working on a thirty minute and hour-long version as well.

Comments I received afterwards included “Great style – loved every moment,” “enjoyed all aspects,” “good mix of information and humor,” “very interesting,” “very creative,” and “I don’t like your shirt.” For the record, my shirt was a crisp, white Surface To Air button-down with a grey stripe down the center. What’s not to like?

I look forward to the next presentation.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. We kick off this week’s party playlist with “Blurred Lines,” which features a guest spot from Clifford Harris, Jr., better known by his initials, T.I., who turns 35 today.


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Throwback Thursday – 1959

Today’s playlist consists of twenty hits from 1959, when the pop charts were one big sausage fest.


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 21: Television

Television inspires this playlist of TV theme songs, covers of TV theme songs, songs that sample TV theme songs, songs about watching TV and sung critiques of watching TV. This may be the only place where Beck and Bruce Springsteen rub shoulders with The Brady Bunch.


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Ten Things You May Not Know About Mama Cass

1. She was born Ellen Naomi Cohen on September 19, 1941. Per bandmate Denny Doherty, she may have chosen the new first name Cass after actress Peggy Cass. She later assumed the surname Elliot in memory of a deceased friend. In 1965 she became Mama Cass after joining The Mamas & the Papas. In 1971 she became Baroness von Wiedenman, when she married Baron Donald von Wiedenman. The marriage lasted just six months.

2. Prior to marrying the baron, Cass married James Hendricks, a bandmate of her pre-Mamas and the Papas groups The Big Three and The Mugwumps, to help him avoid being drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War. The marriage wasn’t consummated and later was annulled.

3. Cass dropped out of high school her senior year. She moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. She toured with a production of The Music Man. In 1962 she went for the part of Miss Marmelstein in I Can Get It for You Wholesale, but lost out to Barbra Streisand.

4. She reportedly had an IQ of 165.

5. The Mamas and Papas’ John Phillips was reluctant to let Cass join the group, because of her size and because she couldn’t hit the high notes. While walking past a construction site, a metal pipe fell and conked Cass on the head, knocking her to the ground. She spent three days in the hospital with a concussion. After being released, she joined the group at one of their rehearsals and amazingly, was able to hit the high notes. Phillips then made her a member of the group.

6. Per writer Julia Phillips, Mama Cass owed the IRS $10,000, which she paid via a truckload of pennies. The government cited her for contempt.

7. She was attributed with the following quote: “I would say the world’s in terrible shape, but I’m afraid the world would say, ‘Look who’s talking.’”

8. In 1967 Cass posed nude for Cheetah magazine.

9. On July 29, 1974, following two sold-out concerts at The London Palladium, Cass retired to her hotel room. That night she died in her sleep of heart failure.

10. She died in room no. 12 at 9 Curzon Place in London. Four years later, The Who’s drummer Keith Moon died in the same room.

Tunes du Jour remembers Mama Cass Elliott on her birthday with this twenty-track playlist.


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It’s Ricky Bell’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Parents often say the following expressions to their children as life lessons: “If you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all.” “You can get more with honey than you can with vinegar.” “Never trust a big butt and a smile.”

Your parents got the last one from the Bell Biv DeVoe song “Poison.” Hell, they may have gotten the first two from Bell Biv DeVoe songs – I don’t know the group’s catalogue that well.

I’ve heeded that advice, which is why I’m still single. As the great Pee Wee Herman famously said in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, “Everyone I know has a big but. C’mon, Simone, let’s talk about your big but.”

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. You don’t need a partner to dance, unless you are doing the tango. As many parents have said, “It takes two to tango.” That expression predates Bell Biv DeVoe, who didn’t do tango music. Then again, maybe they did. I don’t know the group’s catalogue that well.

Today, Ricky Bell of Bell Biv DeVoe and New Edition turns 48. Our dance playlist kicks off with BBD’s “Poison.” Trust!


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Throwback Thursday – 1987

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist is comprised of hits from 1987, a pretty nondescript year for pop music. The new wave music that dented the US charts earlier in the decade faded in popularity, while rap and alternative had yet to cross over in a major way. What we had was some good mainstream rock and pop. Here are twenty of that year’s biggest:


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 20

Twenty tunes – nineteen dance tracks plus one ballad, all with a hint of mint.

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A Ben Folds Mix Tape

When all words fail, she speaks / Her mix tape’s a masterpiece
– Ben Folds, “Kate”

tapes
The precursor to this blog was mix tapes. In high school I made mix tapes every day to get us through the 45 minute bus ride to school. For friends I made mix tapes of songs I thought they should know. After I graduated college and started a job, I made mix tapes to get through the work day. As I didn’t have my own office for several years, I aimed to make compilations that would have broad appeal, so my coworkers could enjoy them as well. It’s hard to please everyone. Try as I might, I could not get Karla to enjoy the tunes I included. She thought Whitesnake were the greatest group in creation, so how could I expect her to like music that was good?

In his book Love is a Mix Tape, Rob Sheffield writes that there is always a reason to make a mix tape. He provides the following categories:
The Party Tape
I Want You
We’re Doing It? Awesome!
You Like Music, I Like Music, I Can Tell We’re Going to be Friends
You Broke My Heart and Made Me Cray and Here Are Twenty or Thirty Songs About It
The Road Trip
No Hard Feelings, Babe
I Hate This Fucking Job
The Radio Tape
The Walking Tape
And the drug tape, the commute tape, the dishes tape, the shower tape, the collection of good songs from bad albums you never want to play again, the greatest hots of your significant other’s record pile, the night before you break up.

I love mix tapes. I love to categorize music. Not by genre. I miss the old days of top 40 radio when Led Zeppelin and the Carpenters were played on the same station. I love to find connections between songs that nobody else would have thought to put together.

There’s an art to making a good mix tape. I have my rules – open with an uptempo song, don’t clump all the best known songs together, mix in lesser-known tracks with the more famous ones.

This blog is my mix tape outlet for the 2000s. Here I usually focus the playlists on single artists (meaning playlists of one artist, not unmarried artists, though maybe I’ll make a mix tape of the latter). The art of a single-artist mix tape differs from that of a various artists collection. For that matter, the methodology varies from artist to artist.

When I created a Buddy Holly playlist last week, it wasn’t difficult to decide what songs to include. The man had a short career, so it was pretty obvious which twenty songs would comprise the compilation. The Michael Jackson playlist I created just over a week before than was more challenging. The man had so many hits and other great tracks that were not hits. In that case, I figured whoever would be listening knows Thriller inside and out, so I focused on his other releases. I chose songs that were hits but since forgotten, songs that were not hits but have held up great over time, and mixed them with the best-known songs from his teenage and pre-teen years. I approach each artist differently.

Part of the challenge of creating a good mix is I don’t know exactly who my audience is for the blog. For example, being today is Ben Folds’ birthday, I made a Ben Folds mix. Who is going to listen to it? Is it the Ben Folds fan? Is it the person who knows Folds from his only crossover hit, “Brick?” Is it the person who has never heard of Folds, but gives the playlist I listen because they trust my recommendation?

I don’t know, so I created a playlist in which my favorite Folds album tracks hang out with many of the fun cover versions he has released digitally between albums. I usually don’t include so many covers in a playlist of a singer/songwriter. In Folds’ case, he approaches covers in different ways. Some are faithful to the original, as when he performs Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” of Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes.” Some are radically different than the original versions, a la his covers of the Flaming Lips’ “She Don’t Use Jelly” or Dr. Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit.” Though covers, the ones in the latter category reveal his artistry as much as his originals do.

In honor of Ben Folds’ 49th birthday, here is a Ben Folds mix tape.


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