Inspired by Black Music Month, LGBTQ Pride Month, and the June 17 birthdays of Kendrick Lamar, Barry Manilow, Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra, Mike + the Mechanics’ Paul Young, and Ricardo “RikRok” Ducent.
Tag Archives: Bee Gees
Inspired by the passing of Was (Not Was)’s Sweet Pea Atkinson and the May 7 birthdays of The Crests’ Johnny Maestro, Thelma Houston, Jimmy Ruffin, Jim Lowe, The Tremeloes’ Rick West and Starland Vocal Band’s Bill Danoff.
Inspired by the April 1 birthdays of Jimmy Cliff, Rudy Isley, Henry Gross, Gil Scott-Heron, Tom Shipley and Rachmaninoff, and April Fools Day.
Inspired by the March 29 birthdays of Monty Python’s Eric Idle, Toto’s Bobby Kimball, Jane’s Addiction/Porno for Pyros’ Perry Farrell, The Waitresses’ Patty Donahue, Terry Jacks, Vangelis, Astrud Gilberto, The Guess Who’s Chad Allan and Thunderclap Newman’s Speedy Kane.
Inspired by the March 2 birthdays of Lou Reed, Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man, Karen Carpenter, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Jay Osmond, Boogie Down Productions’ Scott La Rock, Missing Persons’ Dale Bozzio, Musical Youth’s Dennis Seaton, UTFO’s Doctor Ice, the Kooks’ Luke Pritchard, and composer Kurt Weill (“Mack the Knife”).
The Beatles’ lead guitarist, George Harrison, wrote the song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which appears on the band’s self-titled album, the one you call the white album. Harrison’s friend Eric Clapton plays guitar on the track. Clapton had a crush on Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd. Boyd inspired the Harrison composition “Something” and Clapton’s “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight.” Boyd and Harrison divorced in 1977. In 1979, Boyd and Clapton were wed. Top that, Shania Twain!
Today’s playlist is inspired by the February 25 birthdays of George Harrison, X’s John Doe, Faron Young, Afro B and Jim Backus.
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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In October of 1975, the band Queen played for their manager, John Reid, a song they recently finished recording that they wanted to release as their next single. Reid told them the track would not get any airplay. He played it for another artist he managed, Elton John, who reportedly said “Are you mad? You’ll never get that on the radio!”
Queen stayed firm, not relenting when their record company begged them to at least edit the song down from its nearly six-minute duration.
To promote the song, the band was invited to play on England’s hugely successful Top of the Pops television program. They were unable to appear due to tour commitments, so they did something that wasn’t very common in 1975 – they filmed a videoclip. Top of the Pops aired the clip. As the song rose up the charts, the video was shown repeatedly. Soon other artists in the UK made videos for their records, which is why when MTV launched in the United States in 1981, many of the clips they aired were of UK acts.
The single, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” went to #1 in England in December of that year, where it stayed for nine weeks. It got knocked from the top spot by a song whose title consisted of a phrase used in “Bohemian Rhapsody” – ABBA’s “Mamma Mia.” “Bohemian Rhapsody” hit #1 again there in December of 1991, a few weeks after the death of the band’s lead singer and the song’s composer, Freddie Mercury.
In the United States, the song didn’t go to #1, but it did hit the top ten in 1976 and 1992.
For this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist, Tunes du Jour revisits 1976 (part I can be found here), kicking off with the Queen classic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
You gotta get out while you’re young
New Jersey does not have an official state song. There have been attempts to adopt one since at least 1939, when the state’s Board of Education held a contest to find a suitable number. They named Samuel F. Monroe’s “The New Jersey Loyalty Song” as the contest’s winner, but it was not good enough to be the official state song.
In 1972, the state legislature proposed that Joseph “Red” Mascara’s “I’m from New Jersey” be the state’s song, but Governor William Cahill vetoed the measure, stating succinctly about the song “It stinks.”
In March of 1980, radio d.j. Carol Miller started a petition to have “Born to Run,” written and recorded by New Jersey’s favorite son, Bruce Springsteen, be named the state song. Three state assemblypersons drafted a resolution declaring “Born to Run” “as the unofficial *rock* theme of our State’s youth.” I’m confused to as to how an official resolution can name an “unofficial” theme, just as the state’s senate was confused as to how a song that includes the lyrics that open this post expresses pride in where one’s from. The bid died.
The song also includes these lyrics that tickle my friend Audrey so: Someday, girl, I don’t know when, we’re gonna get to that place where we really wanna go.
Oh, that place!
By the way, I got out of New Jersey when I was 24.
This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist spotlights some of the best tunes from 1975, kicking off with what is unofficially New Jersey’s unofficial state song, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”