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It’s Pete Burns’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Ringo + Dead or Alive

Early in the career of the group Dead or Alive, UK music magazine Melody Maker described their lead singer Pete Burns as “a cross between Bette Midler and Jim Morrison.” Sure.

At the time Burns was sharing a home and a bed with his wife Lynne and his lover Steve. His marriage with Lynne dissolved in 2006, the year he announced his engagement to a man named Michael.

Today Burns celebrates his 57th birthday. Tunes du Jour kicks off its weekly dance party with Dead or Alive’s “Brand New Lover,” with lead vocals by the man Melody Maker called a “transvestite sex symbol.” Sure.


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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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It’s Falco’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Actually, I need to rest, as I have a cold. You go on and dance.


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It’s David Bowie’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Our weekly dance playlist kicks off with a track that was inspired by a song from the 1952 film Hans Christian Andersen. In the movie, Danny Kaye performs the Frank Loesser’s “Inchworm.” While schoolchildren sing “Two and two are four / Four and four are eight” etc., Kaye sings to the titular worm “You and your arithmetic/ You’ll probably go far,” and asking “Could it be you’d stop and see
how beautiful they are?” Singer-songwriter David Bowie told Performing Songwriter magazine “You wouldn’t believe the amount of my songs that have sort of spun off that one song. Not that you’d really recognize it. Something like ‘Ashes to Ashes’ wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t have been for ‘Inchworm.’ There’s a child’s nursery rhyme element in it, and there’s something so sad and mournful and poignant about it. It kept bringing me back to the feelings of those pure thoughts of sadness that you have as a child, and how they’re so identifiable even when you’re an adult. There’s a connection that can be made between being a somewhat lost five-year old and feeling a little abandoned and having the same feeling when you’re in your twenties. And it was that song that did that for me.”

Today is David Bowie’s 69th birthday. Put on your red shoes and dance the blues with this playlist of club tunes.


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It’s Black Friday And I Need To Dance!

What do people want more than anything else? Love, perhaps. When songwriter/Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. asked “What do people want most?,” his writing partner Janie Bradford answered “Money. That’s what I want.”

A song was born, a classic that became the first hit for Gordy’s Motown Records, with singer Barrett Strong taking “Money (That’s What I Want)” to #23 in 1960.

Ringo + Lizards
Twenty years after Strong hit with it, UK band The Flying Lizards took a cover of “Money” to #50 on the US pop chart. Their version also made the dance chart. It kicks off Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party.


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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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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

While performing stand-up comedy in the late 1990s/early 2000s I appeared in several contests. More often than not I scored very well. In a contest at the club StandUp NY to find New York’s funniest gay man, I came in second. First place went to Seth Rudetsky. Around that same time both of us were entrants in another stand-up contest. Again, I came in second to Seth’s first.

Our acts were similar. Both of us were (are) thin New York gay Jews who mocked silly pop song lyrics in our sets. Seth talked about Sheena Easton’s “Morning Train” while I discussed Air Supply’s “All Out of Love.” I don’t begrudge him his first place winnings – he was great.

Seth went on to write for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, which garnered him several Emmy nominations. He has written for the Grammy Awards and the Tony Awards. He hosts a radio show on SiriusXM about Broadway musicals.

This past Tuesday my friend Scott and I attended Seth’s one-person show at Largo. His opening act was Judd Apatow. In the audience were Barbra Streisand, Sean Hayes, and the guy who played Valerie Cherish’s PR person on The Comeback. Also in the audience was me, the runner-up. Was I jealous? Was I bitter? You bet I was!

On the positive tip, I was inspired as well. It was a very fun show and gave me some ideas as to how to structure the one-person show I’ve been saying I will write for the past fourteen years. Destiny is calling me – open up my eager eyes, ‘cause I’m Mr. Brightside.

Our weekly dance party kicks off with The Killers.


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The Supreme Court Ruled And I Need To Dance!

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– Justice Anthony Kennedy

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. We kick off today’s party with birthday boy Mick Jones of The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite, who turns 60.


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It’s Richard Butler’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

About the Psychedelic Furs song “Love My Way,” Richard Butler, the band’s lead singer, said “It’s basically addressed to people who are fucked up about their sexuality, and says ‘Don’t worry about it.’ It was originally written for gay people.”

I could be upset that he says I’m fucked up about my sexuality, but I choose to focus on the positive. He wrote a song about me. Thanks, Richard, and happy birthday!

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour, so let’s get this party started!


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It’s Pete Shelley’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

In 1981, Pete Shelley reached #14 on the US Dance chart with “Homosapien,” a keyboard-centric single that sounded much different than his work as the lead singer of punk band The Buzzcocks.

“Homosapien” did not get much airplay in Shelley’s native England, as the BBC took exception to the lyric “Homo superior in my interior.” Shelley said the song was not intended as a “gay song;” rather, it’s about homosapiens falling in love with other homosapiens. That may be so, but the opening line is “I’m the shy boy, you’re the coy boy / And you know we’re homosapien, too,” so there is more than a little homo in this sapien.

Shelley lives as the homosapien of his song, eschewing labels because “there doesn’t seem to be a word for ‘having relationships with people,’” regardless of gender, which is where Shelley sees himself.

It’s Friday and I need to dance! It’s also Pete Shelley’s birthday (he’s 60), so we’ll kick off our dance party with “Homosapien.”

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