Inspired by the November 9 birthdays of Pepa, Mary Travers, Scarface, Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker, French Montana, Roxanne Shante, Big Pun, Sisqo and Dorothy Dandridge.
Happy Sunday! I hope it’s a fun day. An I-don’t-have-to-run day.
Here are some songs to play while chillin’ in the crib:
Run the Jewels featuring Zack de la Rocha – “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”
Today is the birthday of Zack de la Rocha, best known as the singer for Rage Against the Machine.
Beck – “Black Tambourine”
Mary J. Blige – “PMS”
Ruth Brown – “I Can’t Hear a Word You Say”
Today is the birthday of the late Ruth Brown. She had so many best-sellers on Atlantic Records in the 1950s that the label became known as “the house that Ruth built.” You may know her from the original movie version of Hairspray, in which she played Motormouth Maybelle.
Marvin Gaye – “Hitch Hike”
With backing vocals by Martha and the Vandellas.
Ray Charles – “Drown in My Own Tears”
Stevie Wonder – “Love Having You Around”
Aretha Franklin – “Spirit in the Dark”
Aretha’s son Kecalf doesn’t want you to see the new biopic of the soul legend, which hits theaters sometime in 2020. He says her family wasn’t consulted about what is in the movie, aside from Jennifer Hudson as Aretha, which was the Queen’s choice.
King Curtis – “Memphis Soul Stew”
Kendrick Lamar – “Hiiipower”
Lamar’s first single, from 2011.
Amerie – “1Thing”
Today is Amerie’s birthday. This song sat on the shelves at Sony Music for a year and a half, at which point Amerie herself leaked it to radio stations. It reached #8 on the pop chart.
Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott featuring 702 and Magoo – “Beep Me 911”
Madonna – “Take a Bow”
This song went to #1 in the US. In the UK, it peaked at #16, ending her record-breaking streak of 35 consecutive top ten singles.
The White Stripes – “Black Math”
Foo Fighters – “This Is a Call”
Foo Fighter Dave Grohl wrote this song, sang it, and played every instrument on it.
Janet Jackson – “Throb”
Boom boom boom until noon noon noon.
OutKast featuring Raekwon – “Skew It on the Bar-B”
Today is the birthday of Raekwon, best known as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan.
Big Star – “In the Street”
Today is the birthday of Big Star’s Chris Bell. This song was used as the theme for That 70’s Show. The soundtracks to that television sitcom were the first projects I worked on upon getting a job at Jive Records.
Spice Girls – “Say You’ll Be There”
Today is the birthday of Mel C (Sporty Spice).
Sly & the Family Stone – “Dance to the Music”
Today is the birthday of the late Cynthia Robinson, trumpeter and vocalist for Sly & the Family Stone. She and Jerry got a message that’s sayin’ “all the squares, go home!”
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Today is the birthday of two music icons – Jam-Master Jay of rap pioneers Run-D.M.C. and disc jockey Wolfman Jack. Besides their place in their history of rock and roll, both men have another thing in common – they were the subjects of songs. That inspired me to put together today’s playlist – songs named after real people.
I found fifty songs whose titles are actual people. Actually I found more than fifty, but I didn’t want to subject you to Chiddy Bang or Mac Miller. I made a few rules for myself:
1) The title can’t have words besides the person’s name, hence no Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes” or Sleater-Kinney’s “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone.”
2) The title has to be the full name the person is known by, so no “Springsteen” by Eric Church or “Jessica” (about Jessica Simpson) by Adam Green. Allowed are “Galileo,” “Joan of Arc” and “King Tut,” as that is how most people identify Galileo Galilei, Joan d’Arc and Tutankhamun.
3) The song doesn’t have to be about the person after whom it is titled, so “Jack the Ripper” and “Rosa Parks” are in.
4) The track has to be on Spotify. This means I left out Bob Dylan’s “George Jackson” and Hoodie Allen’s “James Franco.”
Amazingly for a playlist based on such a goofy concept, it holds together quite well, if I say so myself.
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