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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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It’s African American Music Appreciation Month And I Need To Dance!

On May 31, President Obama issued a proclamation declaring June 2016 as African American Music Appreciation Month. The designation has actually been around since 1979, when President Carter commemorated the cultural and financial contributions of music made by African Americans at a reception at the White House. Back then it was Black Music Month, an idea conceived by music industry executive and radio personality Dyana Williams and her husband, Kenny Gamble.

You may not know Gamble’s name, but you know his music. The co-founder of Philadelphia International Records with Leon Huff, Gamble and his music partner have written and produced hits for Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations, Dusty Springfield, the Jacksons, the O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Jerry Butler, Archie Bell and the Drells, the Three Degrees, Joe Simon, MFSB, Billy Paul, the Soul Survivors, Teddy Pendergrass, the Intruders, Lou Rawls, People’s Choice and the Jones Girls.

Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party celebrates African American Music Appreciation Month with twenty dance floor packers, kicking off with a few of Gamble and Huff’s gems.


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It’s Cheryl Lynn’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

The Gong Show debuted on NBC in June of 1976. The program was a competition between amateur performers, whose acts were rated by three celebrity judges, rotating between Rip Taylor, Rex Reed, (Juicy) Jaye P. Morgan, Jamie Farr, Arte Johnson, Phyllis Diller, Steve Garvey, and Potsie Weber. The judges gave each act a rating between 1 and 9, unless any of them found the act particularly odious, in which case he or she would bang the gong and end the performance. The act who scored the highest cumulative rating of any given episode won a trophy and a cash prize of $516.32.

Performers on The Gong Show included Paul Reubens and John Paragon, prior to the creation of their alter-egos Pee Wee Herman and Jambi the genie; Andrea McArdle, just before she won the role of Annie in the Broadway musical based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip; and Cheryl Lynn, who would go on to sign a record deal with Columbia Records.

Ringo + Cheryl Lynn
On The Gong Show, Cheryl Lynn scored a 30 with her performance of “You Are So Beautiful.” However, she didn’t win the $516.32, as a juggler on the same episode also scored a 30, and audience applause settled the tie score in his favor. Still, the exposure netted Lynn the recording agreement, and odds are she made more than $516.32 from her pop/disco/r&b hit “Got to Be Real.”

“Got to Be Real” was Lynn’s only top 40 single on the pop chart. On the r&b chart, she scored twelve top 40 singles.

Today, Cheryl Lynn turns 59 years old. Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party kicks off with the disco classic “Got to Be Real.”


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

‘Cause when the train of thought gets off the track
The engineer, naturally, starts pullin’ back

I started meditating three weeks ago. Actually, I started meditating again three weeks ago. I’ve tried it before in fits and starts, but never made it past one month.

Much has been written about the benefits of meditation, which is why I continue to try. According to a graphic on the website Art of Living, meditation reduces ageing, helps one appreciate life more, increases one’s attention span, improves metabolism, and “helps you have a good night sleep.” I put that last phrase in quotes so you know the poor grammar is the fault of the creator of the quoted chart, not me. This person also wrote that meditation “keeps your stress-free.” Clearly it also makes you words. Meditation also “adds more hours to your day,” which I didn’t think was scientifically possible. Meditation may also keep one from making snarky comments about someone else’s Benefits of Meditation graphic, so I’ll keep trying.

I do guided meditations. A calm voice tells me what to do, and while I try to do what the calm voice says, my mind jumps all over the place. The sessions go something like this:
“Take a deep breath in through your nose.”
(inhale) I’m congested. I need to go to CVS and pick up more Claritin. I hate CVS.
“Now exhale through your mouth.”
(exhale) While at CVS I should get a flu shot.
“Gently close your eyes and feel your weight on the chair.”
I need to go to the gym. When I’m done meditating I’ll do some cardio.
“Scan down your body and notice, but don’t judge, any points of tension or discomfort.”
My eyes are so itchy. I wish I knew what medication to use, but when I asked the doctor last week, she told me what not to put on my eyelids, the opposite of the answer I was seeking. I’m not going back to her again. I don’t like this health plan. I wish I could have kept the doctor I’ve been seeing since 2004. I need to go back to my old health insurance. Not Anthem Blue Cross, as they are the worst, but Blue Shield, who aren’t great, but I can deal with them.
“Breathe in and out through your nose, counting each breath. One in, two out, until you reach ten. Then start again. Focus on your breath.”
One. Two. I hope this meditation is done soon. I have a blog post to write. What should I write about today? It’s Friday so the playlist is dance songs, but what about them?
“If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath and your counting.”
Oh, yeah. Three. Four. I have to go to the bank. Oh, and I need to bring the car back to the body shop. Why is there a warning light on when I start the engine? I just got the car back after being without it for six weeks. There shouldn’t be any issues. I’ll go to the body shop and then CVS. I hate CVS. Why is customer service such a challenge? Is it so hard to tell me how long I need to wait to pick up my prescription? Is it so difficult to pick up a tube and slap a sticker bearing my name on it? I don’t get it. I don’t think there’s another pharmacy I could use on this health plan. I hate this health plan. I hate CVS. I hate this doctor. I hate having to go back to the body shop. I hope this meditation relaxes me and changes this mind set. Oh, yeah. Five. Six.
“Now let your mind be free to do whatever it wants. If it wants to think, let it.”
Umm, this is ironic. Nothing is coming to mind. My head is devoid of thought. Wait. That is a thought. Thinking about not thinking about anything is still thinking. It’s a waste of thought. I should think about something more important while given this opportunity. But what? Nothing is coming to mind.
“Congratulations! You’ve completed another day in your meditation journey. Open your eyes, stretch, and contemplate how far you’ve come.”
I hate CVS.

I’m not ready to give up meditating just yet, but you know what activity clears my mind and makes me feel good? Dancing!

doggies + Hues Corp

This week’s dance playlist kicks off with The Hues Corporation’s other hit, their follow-up to the perennial “Rock the Boat,” the all-but-forgotten “Rockin’ Soul,” from which the lyric that opens this blog post is taken. Have a great weekend!


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

dogs + Chas 008

The number one song on Billboard’s dance chart on this day in 1982 was “Glad to Know You,” performed by Chas Jankel, a member of Ian Dury’s Blockheads. The Jankel record, which was listed alongside two other cuts from Jankel’s Questionnaire album – “3,000,000 Synths” and “Ai No Corrida” – remained at #1 on this chart for seven weeks, becoming the biggest club hit of the year, though it didn’t cross over onto the pop charts. (Quincy Jones had a big hit with his version of “Ai No Corrida,” a Jankel composition, the previous year.)

With Ian Dury, Jankel co-wrote the post-punk classics “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll,” “Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick” and “Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3,” all originally recorded by Ian Dury & the Blockheads.

Jankel’s sister Annabel is the co-creator of the character Max Headroom.

Today’s dance playlist kicks off with “Glad to Know You.” Why not comment? I would be glad to know you enjoyed this. 

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

dogs + MJ 002
Today’s dance playlist kicks off with Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” It was on this day in 1984 that Jackson swept the Grammy Awards, winning Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance for Thriller, Record of the Year and Best Rock Vocal Performance for “Beat It,” Best R&B Song and Best R&B Vocal performance for “Billie Jean” and Best Recording for Children for E.T., the Extraterrestrial. By the time the awards were presented Thriller had already been certified as the largest-selling album of all-time and received a record-setting twelve Grammy nominations. It would also smash the record for most top ten singles generated from one album by producing seven such smashes, three more than the previous record, held by Off the Wall, the previous album by Jackson. Prior to his Grammy victories that night thirty years ago, Jackson had won only one Grammy – Best R&B Performance for Off the Wall’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” With Thriller, Jackson also broke the perceived racial barrier on MTV, whose programming predominately featured white acts until “Billie Jean” proved to be an across-the-board smash.

Do you have a Thriller inside of you? It might be an album or an app or a blog post that brings joy to many. It might be an idea or a message that millions of people could get behind. It might be a business plan that changes the landscape. Carve out some time to work on your Thriller.

In the meantime, dance!

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

The 1970s were all about Star Wars and disco. One man had the brilliant idea to combine the two. Is it an overstatement to call Meco Monardo a genius? His disco version of the Star Wars score was a #1 hit in 1977.

That’s his only top ten hit where he is credited as the artist; however, Meco arranged the horns on Tommy James and the Shondells’ smash “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” played the trombone on Diana Ross’ classic “I’m Coming Out,” and, alongside Jay Ellis, Harold Wheeler and Tony Bongiovi, produced Gloria Gaynor’s “Never Can Say Goodbye” and Carol Douglas’ “Doctor’s Orders.”

He revisited the Star Wars connection in 1980 when he released Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album, which includes the holiday evergreen “What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)” and “R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” which features vocals by Tony Bongiovi’s second cousin John (who later dropped the “h” from his first name and changed the spelling of his last name. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.)

As it’s Friday, our playlist is designed to get you dancing into the weekend. It’s Meco’s birthday, so we’ll start with his track that encapsulates the seventies.

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