Throwback Thursday: 1979

Nineteen seventy-nine was a very good year in music. In compiling today’s Throwback Thursday playlist focusing on 1979 I had so many very good songs from which to choose. 208 songs, to be exact. That’s how many 1979 cuts bring me much joy. There are another 181 1979 tracks I also like. Somehow I was able to whittle it down to the 30 cuts below. Some years it’s a struggle to come up with 30!

Disco was at its commercial peak in 1979. So many of the disco songs that charted then remain popular today – “I Will Survive,” “We Are Family,” “Y.M.C.A.,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Hot Stuff,” “Good Times,” “Heart of Glass,” “Ring My Bell,” “Knock on Wood,” “Got To Be Real.” While the genre seemed omnipresent, there was more to 1979 music than clams on the half shell and roller skates roller skates. Hear what was going on below.

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Ringo + Alicia

It’s Alicia Bridges’ Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Ringo + Alicia
“I will never do a disco album. I’d prefer to do deodorant commercials. I didn’t sing since I was ten years old so I could stand up like a moron and go ‘Getfunkynow, getfunkynow, getboogie-woogie, getfunkynow’.”
– Alicia Bridges, Sounds magazine

Alicia Bridges. You know, the lady who sang “I love the nightlife, I gotta boogie on the disco round.” She co-wrote that song as well. That record is a disco classic, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Disco chart. It crossed over to the pop chart, hitting #5, and the r&b chart, where it reached #31. It was Bridges’ only top 40 hit on any chart. Nowadays she shills for Arrid Extra Dry. Not really.

Today, Alicia Bridges turns 63 years old. Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour, and we’ll celebrate Ms. Bridges’ birthday with a playlist she’s bound to hate, full of disco hits, kicking off with “I Love the Nightlife (Disco ‘Round).” Getboogiewoogie!

Oh, and what is a disco round?


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

In the early 1990s a demo of a song written by four men circulated through Warner Bros. Records. Though people at the label appreciated the song’s chorus, nobody wanted to record it.

Thinking that with some work the song may be good for Cher, whose last top ten pop hit was 1989’s “Just Like Jesse James,” Warner sent the demo to London’s Metro Studio, where two additional songwriters took a stab at improving the composition. Producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling created a dance track for the revised song, which they presented to Cher. She liked it.

She recorded the song. She and her producers played with a new technology called Auto-Tune, which added a robotic sound effect to her voice. When Warner heard that, they asked that it be removed, but Cher was adamant it stay.

In October of 1998, more than a half-decade after the composition’s original incarnation, Warner released Cher’s recording of “Believe.” On March 13, 1999, the song, the first pop tune to feature Auto-Tune, became Cher’s fifth #1 single in the United States, making her, then age 52, the oldest woman to top the US charts. It was her first #1 single since “Dark Lady” in 1974, the longest span ever between #1 records. It was the biggest-selling single stateside of 1999.

The record hit #1 in the UK, where it became the best-selling single of all-time by a female artist. It also topped the charts in Germany, Canada, The Netherlands, Australia, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand and Ireland.

Today the woman born Cherilyn Sarkisian turns 70 years old. Our weekly dance party kicks off with “Believe.” Have a superb weekend!


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Blondie + Ringo

Throwback Thursday – 1979

Blondie + Ringo
Blondie’s hit single “Heart of Glass” was written by band members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein and had the working title of “The Disco Song.” Drummer Clem Burke said his part was inspired by the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive.”

Said Harry “When we did ‘Heart of Glass’ it wasn’t too cool in our social set to play disco. But we did it because we wanted to be uncool,” with the band’s keyboardist Jimmy Destri adding “We used to do ‘Heart of Glass’ to upset people.”

The song was included on Blondie’s Parallel Lines LP “as a novelty item to put more diversity into the album,” per Stein. The novelty song became the group’s first charted single and first #1, in 1979. Its success prompted John Lennon to send Ringo Starr a postcard advising to write songs like “Heart of Glass.”

Today’s Throwback Thursday playlist spotlights twenty of the best tracks from 1979, kicking off with Blondie’s upsetting disco novelty.


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Jada Pinkett Smith announced that she is boycotting the Academy Awards this year due to the lack of diversity among the acting nominees. I’m sure that will put a huge dent in the show‘s ratings, as the 40 million people who tend to tune in to the telecast do so to see Jada Pinkett Smith. Following in Pinkett Smith’s footsteps, Spike Lee and Pinkett Smith’s husband Will Smith announced that they were joining in the boycott.

The issue is that out of twenty nominated actors and actresses, twenty are Caucasian. At first glance that doesn’t appear to be very diverse. At second glance, it’s still not diverse, but a boycott is not going to bring about the change that is needed.

Granted, the conversation about the lack of diversity among the nominees needs to be had. The Motion Picture Academy needs to step up its efforts to expand its membership beyond white men, who at this time overwhelmingly make up its ranks.

However, the Academy Award nominations are the result of the actual problem, which is the lack of diversity involved in the movies being made by Hollywood. Movie studios and production companies need to be engaged in the diversity conversation. They’re the ones making the majority of films from which the Academy chooses the nominations. While Caucasian men make up the majority of ticket buyers, serving other demographics adds to a studio’s bottom line. Remember how shocked everyone was when the Sex & the City movie proved a box office bonanza? It’s a movie with female leads that sold tickets primarily to women moviegoers and grossed over $400 million, and it isn’t even good!

Women like to see their lives on the screen. So do African Americans. And Latinos. And people of Asian descent. And gay people. And trans people. And older people. And so on and so on.

Seeing one’s life on the screen means more than merely seeing people of one’s race or ethnicity or gender or sexual orientation on screen. As the conversation surrounding this year’s nominees focuses on race, let’s look at some recent black nominees.

During the past decade, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o were nominated for portraying slaves. Denzel Washington was nominated for his role as an alcoholic drug-abusing pilot. Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis were nominated for playing maids. (Spencer won, but Davis lost to Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. Yes, the Iron Lady won over the lady who irons.) Mo’Nique won for her portrayal of an abusive mother. Forest Whitaker won for playing a corrupt, human rights-abusing dictator. Barkhad Abdi was nominated for playing a pirate. Ruby Dee was nominated for playing the mother of a drug kingpin.

Also nominated was Gabourey Sidibe for her portrayal of an African-American teenager who is repeatedly raped by her father and abused by her mother and others. That performance lost to Sandra Bullock’s portrayal of a nice, white lady who takes in a troubled African American teen.

Other characters portrayed by recently nominated white folks include Colin Firth as a king with a speech impediment, Eddie Redmayne as a brilliant scientist, Benedict Cumberbatch as a brilliant computer scientist, Leonardo DiCaprio as a stockbroker, Patricia Arquette as a loving mother, Sandra Bullock as an astronaut, Daniel Day-Lewis as the U.S. president who freed the black slaves, Robert Downey Jr. as a white actor portraying a black man, and Christoph Waltz as a bounty hunter who emancipates and mentors a black slave. I’m not going to go through every white nominee; we’ll be here all day!

From the examples given, eagle-eyed observers may notice the types of parts for which black actors and white actors get nominated for Academy Awards. Lee and the Smiths are not wrong in saying there is a problem here that needs to be fixed.

Joining the boycott are Curtis Jackson, star of such not-Oscar nominated films as Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Home of the Brave and Righteous Kill. Under his nom de rap 50 Cent, Jackson posted on Instagram a plea for Chris Rock to step down as the award show’s host. The same request came from Tyrese Gibson, star of such not-Oscar nominated films as The Fast & the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, and Furious 7.

Calvin Broadus, under his nom de rap Snoop Dogg, posted a video on Instagram that said “Fornicate the Academy Awards,” though not in those exact words. Broadus was not nominated for his role in The Wash, in which he stretched his acting chops by portraying Dr. Dre’s weed-smoking best friend. That film has an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Until a few minutes ago I thought The Wash was a remake of the seventies movie Car Wash, which has an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Per Wikipedia, The Wash is an original movie written and directed by Mark Jordan under his nom de rap, DJ Pooh.

While the soundtrack of The Wash didn’t produce any Billboard Hot 100 hits, the soundtrack to Car Wash did. It was on January 29, 1977, that its theme song hit #1, an incredible feat given it’s a song about a car wash. Amazingly, the song holds up to this day.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Our playlist kicks off with Rose Royce’s “Car Wash.”


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

In the early 1990s a demo of a song written by four men circulated through Warner Bros. Records. Though people at the label appreciated the song’s chorus, nobody wanted to record it.

Thinking that with some work the song may be good for Cher, whose last top ten pop hit was 1989’s “Just Like Jesse James,” Warner sent the demo to London’s Metro Studio, where two additional songwriters took a stab at improving the composition. Producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling created a dance track for the revised song, which they presented to Cher. She liked it.

She recorded the song. She and her producers played with a new technology called Auto-Tune, which added a robotic sound effect to her voice. When Warner heard that, they asked that it be removed, but Cher was adamant it stay.

In October of 1998, more than a half-decade after the composition’s original incarnation, Warner released Cher’s recording of “Believe.” On March 13, 1999, the song, the first pop tune to feature Auto-Tune, became Cher’s fifth #1 single in the United States, making her, then age 52, the oldest woman to top the US charts. It was her first #1 single since “Dark Lady” in 1974, the longest span ever between #1 records. It was the biggest-selling single stateside of 1999.

The record hit #1 in the UK, where it became the best-selling single of all-time by a female artist. It also topped the charts in Germany, Canada, The Netherlands, Australia, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand and Ireland.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. We kick off this week’s party with Cher’s “Believe.” Have a superb weekend!

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Ringo + Rose Royce 2014-10-10 11.27

It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

My plan was for today’s blog post to be a rant. Since 2011, over 80 pedestrians in West Hollywood have been hit by cars while in crosswalks. Three of them were killed. This city’s solution? Put signs on the side of the street that read “PEDESTRIAN SAFETY ZONE.” Oh, you mean we’re not supposed to run down pedestrians? Thanks for the heads up! Is there a sign when the zone ends so I can go back to business as usual?

Meanwhile, pedestrians walking on the sidewalk get run down by bicyclists. The city created bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd., but many bicyclists prefer to ride on the sidewalk. It’s illegal, but WeHo doesn’t enforce many of its laws. I spoke to one of our city councilmembers about this, and she said they have no intention of enforcing that law or the leash laws or replacing burnt out bulbs in streetlights.

But you know what? I don’t feel like ranting. It’s Friday, and I need to dance.

Ringo + Rose Royce 2014-10-10 11.27
This week’s dance playlist kicks off with Rose Royce’s “Car Wash,” which gives the sage advice that a car wash “ain’t no place to be if you planned on bein’ a star.” Now you know.

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Ringo + Livvy 2014-09-25 19.24

It’s Olivia Newton-John’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

I celebrated my thirteenth birthday in 1976. I was your typical heterosexual teenager. My bedroom was plastered with posters of the girls I loved. Diana Ross, Bette Midler, Joan Collins, Joan Rivers, Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer. Miss Piggy. Girls, girls, girls!

Ringo + Livvy 2014-09-25 19.24I’m not going to mention that I still have the 27 O N-J posters that adorned my childhood bedroom walls. That may sound weird.

Olivia was my favorite. I had a major crush on her. I was in her fan club. I even invited her to my bar mitzvah. On her invitation I wrote “They named a country after you called Bolivia. The ‘b’ is for beautiful.”

She didn’t come.

yearbooks 2014-09-25 11.19My friends in elementary and high school were very encouraging regarding my relationship with Livvy.

In 1984, Olivia married Matt Lattanzi, a muscular dance eleven years younger than she. They met on the set of the 1980 smash film Xanadu. By chance at the newsstand I noticed that Matt was mentioned in Playgirl, a women’s magazine. It was in an article about up-and-coming actors. There was a photo of him leaning against a wall in jeans, no shirt. Nice-looking guy. Good for you, Olivia! Good for you! Out of my devotion to my favorite female singer, I bought a copy of this issue. Sure, as I had the magazine, I browsed though it a handful of times. There were some interesting articles that gave me insight into how females think. Also, I thought the guys were nice-looking, objectively speaking. I can see why girls would like the magazine.

Matt Lattanzi001It could have been me!

In 2008 Olivia performed at West Hollywood Gay Pride. I watched her along with a few hundred other guys who I’m sure also learned a lot browsing Playgirl.

Olivia 106I found many of the guys watching Livvy at Gay Pride nice-looking, objectively speaking.

Today is Olivia’s 66th birthday. We kick off this week’s dance playlist with her smash “Physical.” The song’s video featured Olivia surrounded by a bunch of men who turn out to be gay. Can you imagine?

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