Tunes Du Jour Presents 1997

Music in 1997 was a true reflection of the decade’s diversity and boundary-pushing spirit. From the era’s biggest mainstream pop acts to the underground scenes bubbling up, the hits of ’97 showcased an exciting range of styles and genres commingling.

On the one hand, you had the unstoppable rise of wildly popular all-female groups like the Spice Girls with their debut smash “Wannabe” and the soaring vocals of Whitney Houston on “Step by Step.” At the same time, 1997 was also the year that brought the world jarring yet brilliant alt-rock statements like Radiohead’s sci-fi epic “Paranoid Android” and the dark, literary narratives of acts like Nick Cave.

Hip-hop continued evolving in dozens of directions, from the stunning lyricism of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize” to the early flashes of what would become the dominant sound of the 2000s with Missy Elliott’s groundbreaking “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” The year’s electronic/dance highlights came in all tempos and styles, whether the gritty yet blissful big beat of The Prodigy’s “Firestarter” or the sleek Daft Punk groover “Around the World.”

While teenager pop captured the mainstream with acts like Hanson’s “MMMBop,” the alternative/indie realm gifted 1997 with timeless gems spanning rockist earnestness (Ben Folds Five), fuzz-pop dreaminess (The Cardigans’ “Lovefool”), and idiosyncratic lo-fi (Elliot Smith, Yo La Tengo). It was an era of strange but beautiful hybrids, like the trip-hop soul of Erykah Badu’s “On & On.”

Looking back at 1997’s musical landscape, you’re struck by not just the sheer quality of the output, but the vibrant plurality of styles. It was a moment when the underground and the overground were engaged in an intriguing conversation, shaping what came next.

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Tunes Du Jour Presents Tribute Songs

This playlist consists of tributes to some of the most influential figures in history and culture:

Candle In The Wind – Elton John: A heartfelt tribute to the iconic Marilyn Monroe, Elton John’s poignant melody captures the essence of her tragic life and enduring legacy.

Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile) – Van Morrison: Van Morrison’s soulful tribute to Jackie Wilson celebrates the enduring power of music to uplift and inspire, capturing the essence of Wilson’s legendary performances and infectious charisma.

Vincent – Don McLean: Don McLean’s haunting ballad pays homage to the tormented genius of Vincent Van Gogh, intertwining his artistry with the complexities of his inner struggles.

When Smokey Sings – ABC: ABC’s smooth tribute to Motown legend Smokey Robinson pays homage to his soulful melodies and timeless contributions to music, evoking the nostalgic allure of his classic hits.

Pride (In The Name Of Love) – U2: With soaring vocals and stirring lyrics, U2’s anthem commemorates the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., inspiring listeners to carry on his message of love and equality.

The Late Great Johnny Ace – Paul Simon: Paul Simon’s poignant tribute to rhythm and blues singer Johnny Ace reflects on the tragic circumstances of his untimely death, capturing the essence of his brief yet impactful career.

Nightshift – Commodores: A soulful tribute to the legendary soul singers Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson, the Commodores’ “Nightshift” celebrates their contributions to music and honors their enduring impact.

King Tut – Steve Martin: Steve Martin’s irreverent tribute to the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun celebrates the enduring fascination with ancient history and the enduring legacy of one of its most iconic figures.

Man On The Moon – R.E.M.: R.E.M.’s enigmatic ode to the enigmatic Andy Kaufman captures the essence of his eccentricity and genius, inviting listeners to ponder the mysteries of his life and art.

Andy Warhol – David Bowie: David Bowie’s avant-garde homage to pop artist Andy Warhol captures the essence of his enigmatic persona and artistic vision, reflecting on his influence on contemporary culture and creativity.

Abraham Martin And John – Dion: Through Dion’s soulful rendition, “Abraham Martin And John” tenderly remembers the legacies of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and John F. Kennedy, reflecting on their enduring influence on American history.

Rock and Roll Heaven – The Righteous Brothers: The Righteous Brothers’ soul-stirring tribute to fallen rock ‘n’ roll stars celebrates their enduring legacy and contributions to music, offering a heartfelt homage to their memory.

All Those Years Ago – George Harrison: George Harrison’s heartfelt tribute to his late bandmate John Lennon not only reminisces about their time together in The Beatles but also serves as a poignant reflection on love, loss, and the passage of time.

Big Train (From Memphis) – John Fogerty: John Fogerty’s rollicking tribute to Elvis Presley captures the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion and pays homage to the enduring influence of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll on American music.

Biko – Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel’s powerful anthem honors the memory of South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, capturing the spirit of resistance and resilience that defined his legacy.

Tunic (Song For Karen) – Sonic Youth: Sonic Youth’s haunting tribute to Karen Carpenter reflects on the tragic circumstances of her life and untimely death, capturing the essence of her talent and the profound impact of her music.

Emmylou – First Aid Kit: First Aid Kit’s ethereal tribute to country music icon Emmylou Harris celebrates her timeless talent and profound influence on the genre, echoing the purity and grace of her musical stylings.

Brian Wilson – Barenaked Ladies: Barenaked Ladies’ whimsical tribute to Brian Wilson celebrates his innovative genius and enduring legacy as a founding member of The Beach Boys, capturing the spirit of his iconic melodies and harmonies.

Englishman in New York – Sting: Sting’s homage to the eccentric poet and playwright Quentin Crisp celebrates his unapologetic individuality and unwavering commitment to authenticity, embodying the spirit of self-expression and acceptance.

Velvet Underground – Jonathan Richman: Jonathan Richman’s heartfelt tribute to the Velvet Underground pays homage to their groundbreaking contributions to music and celebrates their enduring influence on alternative rock.

Alex Chilton – The Replacements: The Replacements’ infectious tribute to rock ‘n’ roll icon Alex Chilton pays homage to his rebellious spirit and enduring impact on music, capturing the essence of his legendary status.

She’s Madonna – Robbie Williams with Pet Shop Boys: Robbie Williams’ provocative tribute to Madonna celebrates her status as a pop culture icon, reflecting on her impact on music, fashion, and female empowerment.

Happy Birthday – Stevie Wonder: Stevie Wonder’s spirited anthem advocates for the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday, encapsulating the fervent spirit of the civil rights movement and celebrating the enduring legacy of King’s vision for equality and justice. With its infectious melody and uplifting lyrics, the song serves as both a tribute to King’s contributions to society and a call to action for continued progress and unity.

Elvis is Everywhere – Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper: Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper’s irreverent tribute to Elvis Presley humorously celebrates the enduring presence of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in popular culture, reflecting on his larger-than-life persona and lasting legacy.

Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way – Waylon Jennings: Waylon Jennings’ classic pays homage to the pioneering spirit of country music legend Hank Williams, reflecting on his influence and innovation within the genre.

Song To Woody – Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan’s heartfelt tribute to folk music legend Woody Guthrie pays homage to his influence on his own musical journey and celebrates the enduring power of Guthrie’s songs to inspire and provoke.

Sweet Gene Vincent – Ian Dury: Ian Dury’s rollicking tribute to rockabilly pioneer Gene Vincent captures the energy and excitement of his music, paying homage to his enduring impact on rock ‘n’ roll.

Bowie – Flight of the Conchords: Flight of the Conchords’ whimsical tribute to David Bowie celebrates his eclectic persona and musical genius, capturing the essence of his iconic status as a cultural icon.

Giorgio By Moroder – Daft Punk feat. Giorgio Moroder: Daft Punk’s electrifying tribute to legendary producer Giorgio Moroder not only celebrates his innovative contributions to electronic music but also reflects on the evolution of the genre and its impact on contemporary culture.

Martin Scorsese – King Missile: King Missile’s irreverent tribute to filmmaker Martin Scorsese playfully celebrates his contributions to cinema and pop culture, reflecting on his unique vision and enduring impact on the art of filmmaking.

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Tunes Du Jour Presents The Weeknd

The Weeknd is one of the most successful and influential artists of the 21st century. His music spans genres from R&B to pop to new wave, and his lyrics explore themes of love, loss, addiction, and identity. He has won multiple Grammy Awards, sold over 75 million records worldwide, and set several streaming and Billboard chart records. Beyond his musical achievements, The Weeknd is also a generous and outspoken philanthropist who supports various causes around the world.

The Weeknd was born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye in Toronto, Canada, to Ethiopian immigrant parents. He grew up speaking Amharic, one of the two main languages of Ethiopia, and attended an Ethiopian Orthodox church as a child. His cultural roots have influenced his music and his philanthropy. In 2016, he donated $50,000 to the University of Toronto to help establish an Ethiopian studies program. In 2021, he donated $1 million to the United Nations World Food Programme to provide meals for people affected by the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

The Weeknd has also shown solidarity with other communities in need. In 2020, he donated $300,000 to Global Aid for Lebanon to help the victims of the Beirut explosion, which killed more than 200 people and injured thousands more. He also donated $500,000 each to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund and to frontline health workers at Scarborough Health Network, the health care network in his hometown. Additionally, he has been a vocal advocate for racial justice and social change. He has donated to organizations such as Black Lives Matter, the Equal Justice Initiative, and the Colin Kaepernick Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative. He has also used his platform to raise awareness and call for action on issues such as police brutality, systemic racism, and human rights violations.

The Weeknd’s music reflects his passion and his vision. His songs often feature collaborations with other artists from different backgrounds and genres, such as Daft Punk, Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande, and ROSALÍ. His albums showcase his artistic evolution and experimentation, from the dark and gritty House of Balloons to the bright and more pop-oriented After Hours.

The Weeknd is more than just a musical star. He is a humanitarian star who uses his talent and his influence to try to make a positive difference in the world. Thirty of his best tracks are in the playlist below. Hit play and enjoy The Weeknd!

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 2-8-24

Here’s something I just learned about Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, born on this date in 1974: His great-grandfather, Francisco Manuel Homem Cristo Filho, was a writer, described by present-day historians as “the first authentic and indisputable Portuguese fascist” and a personal friend of Benito Mussolini’s. “I know him only from photographs, of course,” de Homem-Christo says. (from Rolling Stone, May 21, 2013)

Lots of Daft Punk on today’s playlist.

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A Pharrell Williams Playlist

In 2001 HBO aired a Britney Spears concert around the time Jive Records released the singer’s album Britney. A few days before the first promo for the concert was to run on HBO, Jive’s head of publicity had the idea that Britney’s then-brand new single “I’m a Slave 4 U” should be used in the promo spots. The song was written (and produced) by the team of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. I was running the licensing department at Jive at that time. I went to Pharrell and Chad’s publishers, EMI, to secure the necessary permissions. It was on a Wednesday. The spot was scheduled to premier the coming Saturday. The person at EMI with whom I spoke told me the song is so new that it is not yet in their system, and therefore she couldn’t license it. “Can’t you just add it to your system? You know they’re signed to your company.” “No. You won’t be able to use the song.”

Oh, really? A song cannot be licensed simply because someone at that company can’t think outside the box and figure out a way to effect the deal before the usual ingestion process is complete? That explanation doesn’t work for me. EMI will forego a license fee if the song isn’t used, which is fine, as their employee is the one not allowing it. Also, standing to forego revenue? Pharrell and Chad, who rely on EMI to make the deals for their music so they can get paid.

I called the Jive executive who paired Pharrell and Chad with Britney and told him EMI’s stance. He called Pharrell and/or Chad. Pharrell and/or Chad called EMI. On Thursday I got EMI’s approval to proceed. Don’t tell me something can’t be done.

Producer/Songwriter/NERD Pharrell Williams turns 47 today. In his honor I present to you this playlist of thirty songs Pharrell, often with Chad Hugo, had a hand in writing and/or producing and/or performing. You may be surprised at how many of these you know.

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Records of the Year

The Grammy Awards are being presented tonight. Woo. It’s billed as “music’s biggest night,” just as May 7 through May 16 is billed as “the biggest week in American birding,” if only because ten days is a lot for one week. Birders. Am I right, people? Performers at this year’s Grammys include Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak doing their new song, because what better way to celebrate the music of 2020 than with a single that was released last week? Performers I’m looking forward to include Miranda Lambert, Cardi B, HAIM, Megan Thee Stallion, Brittany Howard, Doja Cat, Dua Lipa, and Billie Eilish, whose “Everything I Wanted” is up for Record of the Year. That’s my favorite of the nominees, though I think the award will go to Beyoncé for “Black Parade,” and I have no problem with that. However, if the award goes to that record I never heard of until I started typing this sentence, sneakers will be thrown at my television (though that record may be good for all I know). For Album of the Year my vote goes to Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters, as it was handily the best album of 2020. It probably won’t win, seeing as it wasn’t nominated. What was nominated over Apple’s album? That Coldplay album you forgot about and the Jacob Collier album you never heard of until you started reading this sentence (though that album may be good for all you know). Of the albums nominated, I’d pick HAIM’s. It’s very good. Not Fetch The Bolt Cutters good, but very good nonetheless. If HAIM win I hope they hand their award to Fiona Apple live on the telecast, which would be super impressive, seeing as they won’t be in the same room. I’m sure tonight’s show will include a tribute to dead people done by living people who are no match for said dead people. I’d rather want a montage of clips of the dead people performing when they were living people. <Fill in the blank> screaming is not representative of what made Aretha Franklin amazing. No disrespect to <fill in the blank>, but there’s more to being the Queen of Soul than having a mic and ovaries.

It’s easy to shit on the Grammys, as they are so shittable, but to be fair, not every Record of the Year is as terrible as 1988’s recipient, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Here are thirty of the better winners:

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