Tag Archives: Beastie Boys

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (3-17-20)

Inspired by the March 17 birthdays of Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner, The Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian, Nat King Cole, Gene Ween, The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins, Altered Images’ Clare Grogan, and Hozier; and the March 16 birthdays of Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav, Heart’s Nancy Wilson, Blu Cantrell, and Murs.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (1-29-20)

Me with rap icon Rakim. He’s the one with the hat.

Inspired by the January 28 birthdays of Rakim, Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon, Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs, Gene McFadden and Steps’ Lee Latchford-Evans; and the January 29 birthdays of Tommy Ramone, Bettye LaVette, Aztec Camera’s Roddy Frame and Adam Lambert.

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Your Daily Playlist (1-21-20)

Inspired by the January 21 birthdays of Run-D.M.C.’s Jam Master Jay, Spice Girls’ Emma Bunton, Billy Ocean, Edwin Starr, Cat Power, Mac Davis, Rapsody and Wolfman Jack.

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Throwback Thursday – 1998

Your knees start shakin’ and your fingers pop
Like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock

I think I read somewhere that there is a new Star Trek movie opening this weekend, or sometime soon. I didn’t pay too much attention. I’ve never seen any Star Trek movie, nor have I seen any episode of the TV show Star Trek, or any of its offshoots.

I saw part of one episode from the original series. Joan Collins was a guest star. I watched when she was on screen; I changed the channel when she wasn’t. That small fact told my friend Laura’s brother more about me than I knew about myself at that time.

I don’t know what Star Trek is about. I know there’s a spaceship called the Enterprise, and that’s about it. I don’t know when the show takes place. I don’t know the characters’ personality types or if they all get along or if any of them hook up.

I’ve heard William Shatner recite the lyrics to “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Space Oddity” and other songs that were classics until the moment I heard Bill do ‘em. I’ve heard Leonard Nimoy “sing” a song about Hobbits (don’t get me started on my lack of knowledge about Hobbits! I’m not even sure the word Hobbits should be capitalized.). Those recordings weren’t enough to entice me into checking out the work that made those guys famous.

I’m also familiar with the song “Star Trekkin’” by a group called The Firm, not to be confused with the Jimmy Page band The Firm, though equally awful. “Star Trekkin’” went to #1 on the UK singles chart in 1987, and by doing so removed the bragging rights of anyone else who hit #1 on the UK singles chart. “Oh, you had a #1 UK single, Nicole Scherzinger? You know what else was a #1 UK single? ‘Star Trekkin”’.”

William Shatner was on another television show somewhat recently. I don’t recall what it was. I think it was set in a courtroom or a law office. I never watched it.

I don’t know if Leonard Nimoy did anything after the Star Trek TV series.

Though I don’t know from and couldn’t care any less about Star Trek, I do recognize some Star Trek references in pop culture, like in the lyrics that opened this post, which are from Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic,” one of 1998’s best singles and the song that kicks off Tunes du Jour’s 1998 playlist on this Throwback Thursday. I take it when Mr. Spock touches someone’s neck, their knees shake and their fingers pop, like mine do when I listen to Beastie Boys. Let’s get poppin’!


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Throwback Thursday – 1989

During the February 22, 1989 telecast of the Grammy Awards, Pepsi premiered a thirty-second spot that featured a new song by Madonna, “Like a Prayer.” It was the first time a major artist’s new single was used in a television commercial prior to being released to radio or record stores.

The following week, a two-minute version of the commercial aired during The Cosby Show, at the time a highly-rated program starring America’s favorite dad, Bill Cosby. The ad, part of a $5 million endorsement deal Pepsi struck with Madonna that also included tour sponsorship, featured Madonna dancing in the street, in a school hallway, and in a church.

The song’s music video premiered the following day on MTV. In the video, Madonna witnesses the murder of a white girl by white supremacists. A black man gets arrested for the killing. Madonna seeks refuge in a church, where she has a dream that includes stigmata on her hands, kissing a black saint, and dancing in front of burning crosses.

The Vatican and other religions organizations condemned the video and threatened a protest against Pepsi products. Pepsi dropped its sponsorship of Madonna, never again aired the television spot, and let Madonna keep the $5 million they paid her.

“Like a Prayer” became Madonna’s seventh #1 pop hit in the United States. It also topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Italy, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Belgium, and Switzerland.

“Like a Prayer” won the Viewers Choice award at the 1989 MTV Music Video Awards, a program that incidentally was sponsored by Pepsi. In her speech, Madonna said “I would really like to thank Pepsi for causing so much controversy.”

Tunes du Jour’s playlist this Throwback Thursday spotlights the year 1989, and kicks off with Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.”


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The Beastie Boys Parody That Changed Rock And Roll

Ringo + Beasties
In 1986, a group that started out as a punk rock quartet released a single that mocked party anthems, and in doing so made music history.

The group is the Beastie Boys and the song is “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!).” Per the group’s late founder, Adam “MCA” Yauch, “the song began as a goof on dumb rock songs” and a satire of drunken frat boys and the like. The trio recorded vocals and their friend, Rick Rubin, who produced Run-D.M.C.’s rock/rap breakthrough album Raising Hell, added loud drums and guitars. An iconic video was shot and received a lot of airtime on MTV.

“Fight for Your Right” took off. In early 1987 it reached #7 on Billboard’s Hot 100, the group’s only top ten single. It was hugely popular with the audience at whom it poked fun. Lamented the group’s Michael “Mike D” Diamond, “The only thing that upsets me is that we might have reinforced certain values of some people in our audience when our own values were actually totally different. There were tons of guys singing along to ‘Fight for Your Right’ who were oblivious to the fact it was a total goof on them.”

“Fight for Your Right” brought hip hop to the suburbs, with bored kids finding the same rebellion in rap that they did in punk. It is on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Among other accolades, it was named one of its release year’s top singles by the Village Voice, New Music Express and Record Mirror, and was later named one of the 100 Greatest Singles Of The Post-Punk Era by Uncut, one of the 100 Greatest Songs Of All Time by Q, and one of 1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear by The Guardian.

The album from which “Fight for Your Right” was taken, Licensed to Ill, became the first rap album to hit #1 in the United States. It remained at the top of the album chart for seven weeks, becoming the best-selling hip-hop album of the 1980s.

As today is the 49th birthday of Beastie Boy Adam “King Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Tunes du Jour celebrates with a playlist of twenty of the trio’s best.


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My Birthday Advice: Don’t!

doggies + Elvis
Today is my birthday. Over my 25+ years on earth, I’ve learned many life lessons. Most of them came from songs. My birthday gift to you is a playlist of 100 songs offering advice as to what not to do.


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Neil Young’s Homophobia and AIDS-phobia

“You go to a supermarket and you see a faggot behind the fuckin’ cash register, you don’t want him to handle your potatoes.” – Neil Young in Melody Maker, September 1985

It sucks when anybody makes an ignorant and offensive statement, particularly when it’s somebody the public eye. For this post I‘ll focus on homophobia (and related AIDS-phobia).

It sucks when Pat Boone says children are being “indoctrinated with an appreciation for homosexuality,” but that didn’t hurt me too much as Pat Boone is a talentless has-been who built his career on taking songs recorded by Little Richard and Fats Domino and making them safe for uptight white folks. I wasn’t his target audience (notwithstanding that I wasn’t born yet when he rose to fame).

It sucks when Donny Osmond says he condemns homophobia and opposes gay marriage, but at least he’s (inadvertently) condemning himself, thereby saving me the trouble. Also, he’s marginally more talented and slightly less of a has-been than Pat Boone, and while I love “Morning Side of the Mountain,” if someone told me I had to delete all Osmonds recordings from my iTunes library, I wouldn’t put up much of a fight.

It sucks that Eminem’s new song has the lyric “Happy as Anderson Cooper having a tuba crammed in his pooper.” It’s not so much that it’s homophobic per se. It’s that a 42-year-old feels he has to resort to such juvenilia to feel relevant and not see his career go the way of Pat Boone and Donny Osmond. He doesn’t need to stoop to this. He still sells truckloads of records, despite having made only one or two good singles in the past decade. He could probably keep coasting for a while. And seriously, a tuba? That doesn’t even rhyme.

It sucks that The Beastie Boys wanted to title their first album Don’t Be a Faggot, with a couple of song lyrics that were interpreted as homophobic. However, in 1999 the trio’s Ad-Rock sent a letter to Time Out New York that read “I would like to … formally apologize to the entire gay and lesbian community for the shitty and ignorant things we said on our first record, 1986′s Licensed to Ill. There are no excuses. But time has healed our stupidity. … We hope that you’ll accept this long overdue apology.”

It’s odd that director Jonathan Demme reached out to Neil Young to compose and record a theme song for his 1993 film Philadelphia. Demme told The Toledo Blade that the film was “intended to reach an audience in desperate need of sensitization on the issue of homophobia. We thought how the right movie could help young males – the most rigid of all – open up to the humanity and courage of gay people. So I had this idea that I would start it off with a giant Neil Young guitar anthem and it would relax all the young uptight homophobic guys.” So he asked a guy who thought AIDS was spread via potatoes touched by faggots. Young recorded a song for the film, and while it wasn’t the anthem Demme was expecting (Bruce Springsteen ended up providing that), it fit the film well and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, which it lost to Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia.”

I don’t recall Neil Young ever apologizing for his boneheaded homophobic and AIDS-phobic remarks; however, I don’t recall him making similar statements since the mid-eighties, and that may be better than an apology.

In his 2002 biography of Neil Young, Shakey, Jimmy McDonough writes “I had found out that Young was planning on donating the proceeds from the ‘Philadelphia’ track to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis center. He acknowledged it was true but didn’t seem anxious to publicize the fact. I got the feeling there were other chartable acts I didn’t know about. ‘I’m not trying to score any social points,’ he said.”

Today Neil Young turns 69 years old. Here are twenty career highlights. (NOTE – “Philadelphia” is not on Spotify.)

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Glenn’s Ten – July 23, 2014

There is a new #1 in Glenn’s Ten this week, as Spoon’s “Do You” jumps up from #4 to claim the top spot from Sharon Van Etten. There are three new entries this week – Interpol’s “All the Rage Back Home,” Alt-J’s “Left Hand Free” and Jenny Lewis’ “Just One of the Guys.” They replace Jack White’s “Just One Drink,” Pharrell Williams’ “Come Get It Bae” and Michael Jackson’s “Love Never Felt So Good.” The White track had a seven-week run, the Pharrell track a five-week run and the MJ track a nine-week run, three of those weeks at #1.

Glenn’s Ten for this week is:
1. “Do You” – Spoon
2. “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” – Sharon Van Etten
3. “Control” – Broken Bells
4. “Heart is a Drum” – Beck
5. “Somethin’ Bad” – Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood
6. “All the Rage Back Home” – Interpol
7. “Do It Again” – Röyksopp and Robyn
8. “Left Hand Free” – Alt-J
9. “Just One of the Guys” – Jenny Lewis
10. “West Coast” – Lana Del Rey

Rounding out today’s playlist are ten tunes that were #1 on this date in Glenn’s Ten history, in reverse chronological order.

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Glenn’s Ten – 7/16/14

There are two new entries in Glenn’s Ten this week – Spoon’s “Do You” and Beck’s “Heart is a Drum.” They replace Conor Oberst’s “Hundreds of Ways” and Paramore’s “Ain’t It Fun.” The Oberst track had a ten-week run. The Paramore track entered Glenn’s Ten the first week in April and spent two weeks at #1.

Glenn’s Ten for this week is:
1. “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” – Sharon Van Etten
2. “Somethin’ Bad” – Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood
3. “Control” – Broken Bells
4. “Do You” – Spoon
5. “West Coast” – Lana Del Rey
6. “Heart is a Drum” – Beck
7. “Just One Drink” – Jack White
8. “Do It Again” – Röyksopp and Robyn
9. “Come Get It Bae” – Pharrell Williams
10. “Love Never Felt So Good” – Michael Jackson

Rounding out today’s playlist are ten tunes that were #1 on this date in Glenn’s Ten history, in reverse chronological order.

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