Monthly Archives: June 2016

Throwback Thursday – 1997

Randy Badazz Alpert received many requests to license “Rise,” a song he co-wrote that became a #1 hit for his uncle Herb in 1979, as a sample in hip hop tracks. He said no to Ice Cube, Vanilla Ice, Eazy-E, and the others who requested permission. However, when he received a cassette from the producer then known as Puff Daddy of a new song utilizing the sample, he consented. He loved the new tune and felt it could make his song go to #1 again.

He was right. The new recording was “Hypnotize” and it was performed by the Notorious B.I.G. “Hypnotize” topped the Billboard Hot 100 in May of 1997, less than two months after the rapper was killed in Los Angeles.

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist spotlights the best of 1997, kicking off with The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize,” which uses a sample from a songwriter whose middle name really is Badazz.


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 59: New York

A very minty tribute to New York, specifically New York City, with a side trip to a local weekend getaway.


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It’s Curt Smith’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Tears for Fears, the duo consisting of Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith, released their debut album, The Hurting, in 1983. In their native England the album spawned three top five singles, “Mad World,” “Change” and “Pale Shelter.” In the US, their most successful single, “Change,” peaked at #73 on the Billboard Hot 100.

When it came time to do their second album, they wanted to break the US market. Needing one more song to round out the record, the duo’s producer, Chris Hughes, suggested Orzabel flesh out a song sketch he brought into the studio. Orzabel did so, and while he didn’t think much of the finished piece, Smith and Hughes thought this is the song that would change their fortunes stateside.

This song, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” was the first single released in the US from Songs from the Big Chair. It went to #1. The song that was the album’s first single in much of the world, “Shout,” was the second US single from the album, and the duo’s second #1.

Ringo + T4F
Today, Curt Smith of Tears for Fears turns 55 years old. Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party kicks off with a song on which Smith sings lead, Tears for Fears’ #1 breakthrough hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”


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Throwback Thursday – 1986

By 1986, Aerosmith appeared to have had their best years behind them. Sales of their releases that decade lagged significantly behind their hits in the 1970s, and the group’s members were struggling with drug addictions.

They did have fans, though. One was music producer Rick Rubin. He was working with rap group Run-D.M.C., who were known in hip hop circles and with music critics for incorporating rock guitars and beats in their boastful raps, such as “Rock Box” and “King of Rock.”

Rubin suggested Run-D.M.C. do a remake of Aerosmith’s 1977 hit “Walk This Way,” but the rappers had no interest in doing a cover. However, the group’s DJ, Jam Master Jay, was open to the idea, and Rubin called Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry to come into the studio. Perry was familiar with the rappers, as his stepson was a fan. Jam Master Jay convinced Run and D.M.C. to give the remake a shot, seeing as Tyler and Perry were in the studio with Rubin.

The Run-D.M.C./Aerosmith version of “Walk This Way” was not only massively successful, but highly influential as well. It became Run-D.M.C.’s first crossover hit, and the first rap track to make the top ten of Billboard’s Hit 100, peaking at #4, six notches higher than Aerosmith’s original peaked. It opened the door to future song/rap collaborations, something that continues to dominate the charts to this day, not to mention bringing “rock rap” to a wide audience.

Steven Tyler went to rehab in 1986, and the other members of Aerosmith also sought treatment for their drug addictions. On the heels of the success of the “Walk This Way” remake, Aerosmith released the Permanent Vacation album in the late summer of 1987. Its first single, “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” became the group’s first hit single outside the Run-D.M.C. collaboration since 1978’s “Come Together.” They followed that single with a string of big hits over the next few years, including “Love in an Elevator,” “Cryin’,” “Janie’s Got a Gun,” “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” “Livin’ on the Edge,” and “Jaded.”

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist spotlights the best of 1986, kicking off with the groundbreaking “Walk This Way,” performed by Run-D.M.C. and featuring Aerosmith’s “Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.


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The Beach Boys – “Don’t Worry Baby”

Winston + Beach Boys
Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys calls “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes his favorite single of all-time. So blown away by the song he was that he attempted to match it. He wrote a song in the same key, E Major, and opened his song with the same drum riff that opens “Be My Baby.” The title of Wilson’s composition was inspired by his then wife, Marilyn. When he wondered if he could write a song as good as the Ronettes one, she said to him “Don’t worry, baby.”

Wilson’s “Don’t Worry Baby,” as recorded by his group the Beach Boys, is a classic in its own right. It kicks off our playlist celebrating Wilson’s 74th birthday, which coincides with the first day of summer, which makes sense. Here are twenty of Brian’s greatest contributions to popular music.


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 58: A Total Blam-Blam

I’d love to tell you what’s on this playlist, but I’m late for an appointment and the words aren’t coming to me. I can tell you it includes The Smiths, Queen and Bronski Beat, that it’s a rocking affair, and that the oldest song on it is from 1966 and the most recent from 2002. Now if you’ll excuse me….


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Celebrating Paul McCartney’s Birthday

Paul McCartney has a writing credit on 32 #1 Hot 100 singles. He has 21 Grammy Awards. He’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – as a solo artist and as a member of The Beatles. His song “Yesterday” is the most covered song in history, with more than 2000 versions in existence. He has 60 gold records. Between 1962 and 1978 he wrote or co-wrote 43 million-selling singles. In the UK he has amassed nearly 100 top ten singles, more than 30 of which went to #1. He is an Academy Award winner who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

And I’m going to reduce his career into a twenty-song playlist. Let me be the first to proclaim how ridiculous such an attempt is.

Today Sir Paul McCartney turns 74 years old. This playlist isn’t complete, but it’s a start.


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It’s Friday And We Need To Dance!

They came to dance. They came to celebrate. They came to enjoy life. They came to love.

They went to a place where they would feel comfortable. They went to a place where they would feel safe and supported. They went to a place where they could be themselves. They went to a place where they could be as gay as they truly are and wanted to be. They went to a place where they could escape the shitty world outside, with shitty jobs and shitty people with shitty views of those who are different than they are.

It was a Saturday night, and they needed to dance.

Children didn’t stop going to school, African Americans didn’t stop going to church, and we won’t stop going to clubs.

We will mourn. We will cry. We will persevere. We will win.

It’s Friday, and we need to dance. Don’t think you can stop us. Our Pulse is strong.


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Throwback Thursday – 1975

It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
You gotta get out while you’re young

New Jersey does not have an official state song. There have been attempts to adopt one since at least 1939, when the state’s Board of Education held a contest to find a suitable number. They named Samuel F. Monroe’s “The New Jersey Loyalty Song” as the contest’s winner, but it was not good enough to be the official state song.

In 1972, the state legislature proposed that Joseph “Red” Mascara’s “I’m from New Jersey” be the state’s song, but Governor William Cahill vetoed the measure, stating succinctly about the song “It stinks.”

In March of 1980, radio d.j. Carol Miller started a petition to have “Born to Run,” written and recorded by New Jersey’s favorite son, Bruce Springsteen, be named the state song. Three state assemblypersons drafted a resolution declaring “Born to Run” “as the unofficial *rock* theme of our State’s youth.” I’m confused to as to how an official resolution can name an “unofficial” theme, just as the state’s senate was confused as to how a song that includes the lyrics that open this post expresses pride in where one’s from. The bid died.
The song also includes these lyrics that tickle my friend Audrey so: Someday, girl, I don’t know when, we’re gonna get to that place where we really wanna go.

Oh, that place!

By the way, I got out of New Jersey when I was 24.

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist spotlights some of the best tunes from 1975, kicking off with what is unofficially New Jersey’s unofficial state song, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 57: Broadway Revisited

Pop, rock, r&b and disco covers of show tunes. A sequel of sorts to A Hint of Mint – Volume 5. Artists include The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and the White Stripes.


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