Tag Archives: Carpenters

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (10-16-20)

Inspired by the October 16 birthdays of Nico, Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould, Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, Angela Lansbury, Kelly Marie, John Mayer, Aswad’s Brinsley Forde, and Oscar Wilde; and the October 15 birthdays of Richard Carpenter, The Dead Milkmen’s Joe Genaro, The Orb’s Alex Paterson, Ginuwine, Marv Johnson, Barry McGuire and Jessie Ware.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (9-13-20)

Inspired by the September 13 birthdays of Fiona Apple, Don Was, Chicago’s Peter Cetera, Blood Sweat & Tears’ David Clayton-Thomas, The Church’s Steve Kilbey, Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, and Swizz Beats.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (6-17-20)

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.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (6-8-20)

Inspired by Black Music Month, LGBTQ Pride Month, and the June 8 birthdays of Kanye West, Three Dog Night’s Chuck Negron, Boz Scaggs, Nancy Sinatra, Bonnie Tyler, Joan Rivers, Robert Preston, Gang of Four’s Jon King, and James Darren.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (4-22-20)

Inspired by Earth Day and the April 22 birthdays of Glen Campbell, Ace/Mike + the Mechanics’ Paul Carrack, Peter Frampton, Von Bondies’ Jason Stollsteimer, silverchair’s Daniel Johns, Larry Groce, Jack Nitzsche, Lipps Inc.’s Cynthia Johnson, UTFO’s Mix Master Ice, Moose Jackson and Eddie Albert.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (3-2-20)

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”).

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My First 45 By The Carpenters

When I was young I’d listen to the radio waitin’ for my favorite songs
When they played, I’d sing along; it made me smile

One of my favorite songs when I was young(er) was “Please Mr. Postman,” to which I was introduced via the version performed by The Carpenters, as the original hit version by The Marvelettes pre-dated my existence.

The Carpenters’ single entered the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974, the year my Grandpa Abe gave me a radio, entering me on a path of music fandom from which I have yet to stray. It ultimately went to #1, the same position at which The Marvelettes’ version peaked fourteen years earlier (and in doing so, became Motown Records first #1 pop hit). Incidentally, The Carpenters final Hot 100 entry was also a cover of a Marvelettes hit, “Beechwood 4-5789.” It peaked at #82, sixty-five notches below the peak position of the original.

I bought the Carpenters 45, which came with a picture sleeve cleverly replicating an envelope.

Carpenters002Zip codes? We don’t need no stinkin’ zip codes!

I wrote to the address on the sleeve. A few weeks later I received this in the mail:

Carpenters001
By the way, the lyrics that open this blog post are taken from “Yesterday Once More,” a #2 hit for The Carpenters. The song was written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis.

Karen Carpenter, the sibling duo’s singer and drummer, was born on March 2, 1950. She died in 1983 at age 32 from “emetine cardiotoxicity due to or as a consequence of anorexia nervosa.”

Between 1970 and 1981 The Carpenters scored twenty top 40 hits on the Hot 100. Here they are:


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Throwback Thursday – The Hits Of 1973

Singer/Songwriter/Record producer Ed Townsend had, in his own words, “a monstrous addiction to alcohol.” While in rehab he wrote a song which he described as a message to himself “about the business of getting on with life.”

On March 13, 1973, Townsend recorded a demo of Marvin Gaye singing this composition.

Nine days later, the men were again in the studio. Visiting the two men there was Barbara Hunter, a friend of Townsend. She came with her 16-year-old daughter, Janis.

Gaye was immediately smitten with Janis. As he often did, Gaye made up new lyrics in the studio. Inspired by the presence of this beautiful teenage girl, Townsend’s song about understanding and brotherhood became a paean to enjoying sex for its own sake, particularly when it is with someone you love.

Marvin and Janis got married in 1977, four years after the song Gaye recorded the day they met, “Let’s Get It On,” hit #1.

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist consists of twenty big hits from 1973, kicking off with the classic “Let’s Get It On.”


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A Ben Folds Mix Tape

When all words fail, she speaks / Her mix tape’s a masterpiece
– Ben Folds, “Kate”

tapes
The precursor to this blog was mix tapes. In high school I made mix tapes every day to get us through the 45 minute bus ride to school. For friends I made mix tapes of songs I thought they should know. After I graduated college and started a job, I made mix tapes to get through the work day. As I didn’t have my own office for several years, I aimed to make compilations that would have broad appeal, so my coworkers could enjoy them as well. It’s hard to please everyone. Try as I might, I could not get Karla to enjoy the tunes I included. She thought Whitesnake were the greatest group in creation, so how could I expect her to like music that was good?

In his book Love is a Mix Tape, Rob Sheffield writes that there is always a reason to make a mix tape. He provides the following categories:
The Party Tape
I Want You
We’re Doing It? Awesome!
You Like Music, I Like Music, I Can Tell We’re Going to be Friends
You Broke My Heart and Made Me Cray and Here Are Twenty or Thirty Songs About It
The Road Trip
No Hard Feelings, Babe
I Hate This Fucking Job
The Radio Tape
The Walking Tape
And the drug tape, the commute tape, the dishes tape, the shower tape, the collection of good songs from bad albums you never want to play again, the greatest hots of your significant other’s record pile, the night before you break up.

I love mix tapes. I love to categorize music. Not by genre. I miss the old days of top 40 radio when Led Zeppelin and the Carpenters were played on the same station. I love to find connections between songs that nobody else would have thought to put together.

There’s an art to making a good mix tape. I have my rules – open with an uptempo song, don’t clump all the best known songs together, mix in lesser-known tracks with the more famous ones.

This blog is my mix tape outlet for the 2000s. Here I usually focus the playlists on single artists (meaning playlists of one artist, not unmarried artists, though maybe I’ll make a mix tape of the latter). The art of a single-artist mix tape differs from that of a various artists collection. For that matter, the methodology varies from artist to artist.

When I created a Buddy Holly playlist last week, it wasn’t difficult to decide what songs to include. The man had a short career, so it was pretty obvious which twenty songs would comprise the compilation. The Michael Jackson playlist I created just over a week before than was more challenging. The man had so many hits and other great tracks that were not hits. In that case, I figured whoever would be listening knows Thriller inside and out, so I focused on his other releases. I chose songs that were hits but since forgotten, songs that were not hits but have held up great over time, and mixed them with the best-known songs from his teenage and pre-teen years. I approach each artist differently.

Part of the challenge of creating a good mix is I don’t know exactly who my audience is for the blog. For example, being today is Ben Folds’ birthday, I made a Ben Folds mix. Who is going to listen to it? Is it the Ben Folds fan? Is it the person who knows Folds from his only crossover hit, “Brick?” Is it the person who has never heard of Folds, but gives the playlist I listen because they trust my recommendation?

I don’t know, so I created a playlist in which my favorite Folds album tracks hang out with many of the fun cover versions he has released digitally between albums. I usually don’t include so many covers in a playlist of a singer/songwriter. In Folds’ case, he approaches covers in different ways. Some are faithful to the original, as when he performs Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” of Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes.” Some are radically different than the original versions, a la his covers of the Flaming Lips’ “She Don’t Use Jelly” or Dr. Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit.” Though covers, the ones in the latter category reveal his artistry as much as his originals do.

In honor of Ben Folds’ 49th birthday, here is a Ben Folds mix tape.


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Throwback Thursday – 1970

me - 1970The blogger in 1970

Today Tunes du Jour introduces Throwback Thursday playlists, in which we go back to hear some of the biggest hits from a particular year. We start with 1970, when you could hear Led Zeppelin and the Carpenters played back-to-back on your favorite AM Top 40 station..


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