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Cool Newish Music

Billie Eilish’s album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is one of my favorites of 2019.

Here are twenty recently-released tracks I’ve been grooving to of late. Let me know if you have a favorite I should check out.

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Prince: Compositions

Around ten years ago, while I was working at Warner Music, we were trying to think of catalogue projects that may engage Prince. One of my suggestions was a two-disc set in which one disc consisted of Prince songs recorded by others and the second disc was Prince’s demo versions of songs made famous by others.

Two weeks ago Warner released on Tidal Prince’s Originals, demo versions of songs Prince wrote that were recorded by other acts. (It hits others streaming services tomorrow, with CD and vinyl releases coming as well.) I’m not saying Warner took my idea without giving me credit; I’d be surprised if I were the only person who thought of it.

Today’s Tunes du Jour playlist is the concept of the other disc of my proposed set – songs Prince wrote or co-wrote performed by other acts. It’s not exactly what I envisioned that disc to be, as many (MANY!!) of the songs I would choose are not available on Spotify. There’s all the Paisley Park material that reverted to Prince (Vanity 6, Apollonia 6, Mazarati, Jill Jones, The Family, Ingrid Chavez, etc.), as well as commercially-released covers that for whatever reason are missing, by artists such as Foo Fighters, Robyn, Jesus and Mary Chain, Mavis Staples, Eels, and Living Colour.

Even with those limitations, not a bad list. Enjoy!

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Message In Our Music: A Black Music Month Playlist

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter declared June Black Music Month. In 2016, President Barack Obama, who recognized the month as African-American Music Appreciation Month, said the music of African-American artists helped the country “to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.” Today’s Tunes du Jour playlist embodies that sentiment.

(The Spotify embed function is not working.)

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Pride 50

On June 28, 1969, what was supposed to be a routine raid on a gay bar by the New York City police turned violent when patrons at the Stonewall Inn fought back, thus setting off the gay liberation movement. That pivotal moment was recognized one year later with a gathering in New York’s Greenwich Village, where the Stonewall Inn is located, and Gay Pride marches in Los Angeles and Chicago. The following year, Gay Pride marches sprang up in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin and Stockholm. The Pride movement grew with each passing year, and it continues to expand to this day.

Tunes du Jour celebrates 50 years of Pride with today’s playlist. Be seen. Be heard. Be proud. Celebrate. Love.

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The Elton John Songbook: R&B Covers

Elton John has often professed his love for rhythm and blues music. Today’s playlist consists of soul or r&b covers of songs composed by Sir Elton.

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Disco 1975

If you see Patti LaBelle today, wish her a happy birthday.

Nineteen seventy-five was a pivotal year for disco music. The genre was still very young; the name “disco” as a reference to the music genre was coined just two years earlier by journalist Vince Aletti. Disco music crossed over into the mainstream with more frequency, yet was not as ubiquitous a presence on the pop charts as it would become in the ensuing years of that decade. Artists who had their first top 40 singles in 1975 include Gloria Gaynor and KC and the Sunshine Band. In December of 1975, Donna Summer made her first appearance on the Hot 100 when “Love to Love You Baby” made its debut, having already been a smash in the clubs. The Bee Gees updated their sound in 1975 with “Jive Talkin’,” which became their first top ten single since 1971. Ben E. King, who had hits in the early 1960s as a solo artist and as the lead singer of The Drifters scored his first top ten pop hit since 1961’s “Stand By Me” with the funky “Supernatural Thing.” As the lead singer of the trio named after her, Patti LaBelle scored her first top ten hit in over a decade with “Lady Marmalade.” Veteran acts such as Frankie Valli, The Temptations, The Miracles, The Isley Brothers and Esther Phillips filled the dance floors. And it was in 1975 that the world was doing the hustle.

Today’s playlist is made up of forty disco gems from 1975.

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Nineties R&B

Today is Janet’s birthday!

The most popular r&b group of the nineties was probably Boyz II Mej3y64t.,huy

Sorry. My head hit the keyboard. Just typing that group’s name puts me to sleep. I find their music devoid of personality, emphasizing vocal histrionics over soul-felt passion. They should call themselves Boyz II Meh! Am I right, people? Tip your waitstaff.

Much of nineties r&b suffers from the same. Technique over feeling. Not all, though. I’m not damning a whole genre with a wide paintbrush, or whatever that expression is.

Today’s playlist showcases twenty of the best r&b hits from last millennium’s last decade, the decade being 1990 to 1999, for the purposes of this post. Nothing obscure this time. All of these songs received a fair amount of airplay back in the day.

If I missed any of your favorites, let me know in the comments section, unless it’s a song by Boyz II Mebg;hev.

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Produced by Mike Chapman

You may not know the name Mike Chapman. Then again, maybe you do. Chances are I don’t know you, so I have no idea what familiarity you may have with the name Mike Chapman. Even if I do know you, I don’t know everything that you know. I mean, I don’t know how much familiarity you have on certain subjects. Of course, you know things I don’t. Where am I going with this? I forgot. I’ll start over.

Mike Chapman. Even if you don’t recognize the name, chances are you recognize his hit songs. He produced Blondie’s Parallel Lines album. He produced Get the Knack. He produced lots more, some of his earlier efforts with his former business partner Nicky Chinn. The Chapman-Chinn team is also credited with writing many hit songs, as is Chapman without Chinn. Have you ever heard Toni Basil’s “Mickey?” Of course you have. It was written by Chapman and Chinn. Do you know Tina Turner’s “Better Be Good to Me?” That was written by Chapman and Chinn with Holly Knight.

Today’s playlist consists of nineteen songs on which Mike Chapman has a production credit, with Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” as a bonus track. Chapman didn’t produce that, though he and Chinn wrote it, as they did Sweet’s hit “Little Willy.” I love both of those records! Chapman and Chinn also wrote but didn’t produce the Huey Lewis and the News hit “Heart and Soul.” It’s no “Ballroom Blitz.” If you want to listen to it, you’re on your own.

Today may be Mike Chapman’s birthday. Then again, maybe it isn’t. It depends on what website you look to to get your information. Either way, the man is responsible for so many great hits, and that’s reason enough to post a playlist of some of his finest work (plus Rod Stewart’s “Love Touch,” which Rod agrees isn’t his finest, but whatevs). Included are the original versions (produced by Chapman) of the previously-mentioned hits for Toni Basil and Tina Turner.

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Cool New Music (3-20-19)

Here are twenty new(ish) songs that float my boat.

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A Hint of Mint – Volume 69: LGBTQ Music From 1976 to 1977

Twenty songs, some performed by artists who fall somewhere under the LGBTQ umbrella, others with queer lyrical content. During the years covered in this post, punk entered the picture and disco became more popular, while singer-songwriters held their ground and classic British rock acts endured. Performers include Sylvester, Village People and Elton Motello.


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