Tag Archives: Depeche Mode

Not Your Typical LGBTQ+ Pride Playlist

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Tune du Jour celebrates with this playlist consisting of two hundred songs by and/or about Ls, Gs, Bs, Ts and Qs. Happy Pride!

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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 74: LGBTQ Music From 1981 To 1982

The British are coming! Not that they ever left, but the early eighties brought the U.S. pop charts another British invasion, this one queerer than the previous ones. Half of the twenty songs on this playlist come from UK artists, including new acts such as Soft Cell and Depeche Mode, plus some folks we’ve heard from on previous playlists in this series.

Also debuting in this edition is Luther Vandross. He didn’t come out publicly during his lifetime, but that doesn’t mean his place in queer music history should be left out.


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Throwback Thursday – 1990

Take a DJ from the Ukraine, a style icon from Ohio, a graphic arts student from Tokyo, three legendary funk musicians from James Brown’s band, a homophobic rapper named after a personal hygiene implement, and a reference to a Dr. Seuss book, and you have the single that was named the best of 1990 by the Village Voice and New Music Express and the second best dance record of all-time (after Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”) by Slant magazine.

The song is “Groove is in the Heart,” and it kicks off this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist, in which we’ll hear twenty of the best hits of 1990.


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It’s Vince Clarke’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Erasure + Winston 1
As a member of Depeche Mode, Vince Clarke made one album. As one-half of the duo Yaz (Yazoo outside the US), Vince Clarke made two albums. As one-half of Erasure, Vince Clarke has made more albums than he did with both of his prior bands put together!

About his Yaz partner Alison Moyet, Vince said “I don’t think we could have continued working together without probably strangling each other.”

About his Erasure partner Andy Bell, Vince said “In him I’ve found somebody that I feel incredibly comfortable with, who I could have married.”

Vince also said “I’m a terrible dancer.”

Well, I’m not a terrible dancer and today is Friday, which is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Vince Clarke turns 55 today, so let’s celebrate the birthday of this self-proclaimed terrible dancer with twenty of his biggest dance hits, kicking off with “A Little Respect,” because dammit, I’d like some of that right about now!


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Eric Clapton: England Is For White People

“Do we have any foreigners in the audience tonight? If so, please put up your hands. Wogs I mean, I’m looking at you. Where are you? I’m sorry but some fucking wog…Arab grabbed my wife’s bum, you know? Surely got to be said, yeah this is what all the fucking foreigners and wogs over here are like, just disgusting, that’s just the truth, yeah. So where are you? Well wherever you all are, I think you should all just leave. Not just leave the hall, leave our country. You fucking (indecipherable). I don’t want you here, in the room or in my country. Listen to me, man! I think we should vote for Enoch Powell. Enoch’s our man. I think Enoch’s right, I think we should send them all back. Stop Britain from becoming a black colony. Get the foreigners out. Get the wogs out. Get the coons out. Keep Britain white. I used to be into dope, now I’m into racism. It’s much heavier, man. Fucking wogs, man. Fucking Saudis taking over London. Bastard wogs. Britain is becoming overcrowded and Enoch will stop it and send them all back. The black wogs and coons and Arabs and fucking Jamaicans and fucking (indecipherable) don’t belong here, we don’t want them here. This is England, this is a white country, we don’t want any black wogs and coons living here. We need to make clear to them they are not welcome. England is for white people, man. We are a white country. I don’t want fucking wogs living next to me with their standards. This is Great Britain, a white country, what is happening to us, for fuck’s sake? We need to vote for Enoch Powell, he’s a great man, speaking truth. Vote for Enoch, he’s our man, he’s on our side, he’ll look after us. I want all of you here to vote for Enoch, support him, he’s on our side. Enoch for Prime Minister! Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!”
– Eric Clapton, to his audience during an August 1976 concert in Birmingham, UK. (Per Wikipedia, “in British English, wog is an offensive racial slur usually applied to Middle Eastern and South Asian peoples.”)

Clapton’s rant, coupled with the rise of fascist and neo-Nazi rhetoric in England, led to the formation of Rock Against Racism, a UK campaign in which recording artists including The Clash, Elvis Costello, The Buzzcocks, Steel Pulse, Aswad and Generation X performed concerts with an anti-racism theme.

In an interview some years later, Clapton claims his remarks weren’t aimed at any one particular minority. True. They were aimed at “wogs” and “coons” and Arabs and Jamaicans, so several minorities. You dug yourself out of that one! “It was kind of a feeling of loss of identity, being English and losing my Englishness,” said the blues guitarist whose first solo top ten hit was a cover of a reggae song written by Bob Marley.

In his 2007 autobiography, cleverly entitled Clapton: The Autobiography, in a paragraph that begins with the sentence “I had never really understood, or been directly affected by, racial conflict,” Clapton says of the 1976 outburst “Since then I have learned to keep my opinions to myself.” Okay, that’s one lesson. I think there may be more if one looks hard enough.

Today Eric Clapton turns 70 years old. To celebrate, here are twenty songs about the idiocy of racism.

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Top 30 New Wave Songs

Winston + new wave w2
My friend and fellow improviser Josh asked me to compile a playlist consisting of my thirty favorite new wave songs. This proved challenging, for what is new wave? As a genre there is no clear definition of the term. For some it’s any musical act from England that emerged between 1977 and 1985. For some it includes any band that wasn’t punk that played at CBGBs. For some new wave was defined by the way the synths or guitars were played. For others it was a look.

I decided to not get too caught up on a precise definition; otherwise, I’d make myself crazy. For example, initially I was hesitant to include songs by Cheap Trick, Cyndi Lauper, Kid Creole and the Coconuts and even Pet Shop Boys (the latter because the song I chose was a poppy number that hit in 1988), but then I decided a case could be made for each to be considered new wave.

I limited myself to one song per artist. The limitation imposed by using Spotify to create the playlist proved to not be so bad – only one song I would put in my top thirty is not on the service, that being Yoko Ono’s “Kiss Kiss Kiss.” I see some people writing Spotify thank you notes already.

Herewith are my thirty favorite new wave songs. Did I leave out any of your all-time favorites? Tell me in the Comments.

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It’s Nile Rodgers’ Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Winston + Chic 2014-09-19 13.37

Nile Rodgers, with his friend Bernard Edwards, formed the band Chic in the mid-1970s. The pair wrote and produced the group’s music. In 1978, they had their first top ten pop single, “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah),” which went to #1 on the Disco/Dance chart and remained on top for eight weeks.

Later in 1978, Chic released “Le Freak,” which was #1 on the pop chart for six weeks and became the biggest-selling single in Atlantic Records’ history.

Two more top ten singles followed in 1979 – “I Want Your Love” and the #1 smash “Good Times.” Rodgers and Edwards also wrote and produced Sister Sledge’s We Are Family album, which spawned that quartet’s only top ten pop hits – “He’s the Greatest Dancer” and the classic title track.

By late 1979 a disco backlash hit hard in the US. Any act the public perceived as a disco act had trouble getting hit records. “Good Times” was to be Chic’s last top 40 single. Even in clubs the group faltered. “Good Times,” coupled with “My Feet Keep Dancing” and “My Forbidden Lover,” hit #3 on the Disco/Dance chart. Chic wouldn’t make the top ten on that chart again until 1992.

By 1980, Chic the band were considered over, just two years after they arrived. Luckily, Chic were more than a disco band, and one person who knew that was Suzanne de Passe. De Passe was the president of Motown Productions. She hired Rodgers and Edwards to work with Diana Ross, who hadn’t had a top ten single since “Love Hangover” in 1976. The resulting album, diana, sold over ten million copies and remains the singer’s biggest-selling album to date. (I should note that it wasn’t the Chic mix of the album that got released. We’ll save that story for another time.) It spawned the top ten smashes “Upside Down” (#1 for four weeks) and the classic “I’m Coming Out,” both Rodgers/Edwards compositions.

In 1982, Nile Rodgers met David Bowie at New York club The Continental. Bowie hired Rodgers to work with him on a new album. The result? Let’s Dance, co-produced by Bowie and Rodgers. The title track became Bowie’s first top ten single since 1976’s “Golden Years” and his second (and last) #1, with 1975’s “Fame” the first. “China Girl” and “Modern Love” were also hit singles.

1983 kept Rodgers busy, working with Paul Simon, INXS, Daryl Hall and John Oates and Southside Johnny. One night he went to New York’s Roxy to catch a performance by Jenny Burton. He was intrigued by Burton’s opening act, an up-and-coming singer who went by her first name, Madonna. By the summer of ‘84, Madonna had three pop hits – “Holiday,” “Borderline” and “Lucky Star” – under her belt. When it came time to record her sophomore album, she called on Nile Rodgers.

Madonna named her second album Like a Virgin. Its title track, produced by Nile Rodgers, became Madonna’s first #1 single, staying on top for six weeks. Other hits pulled from the album were “Material Girl,” “Angel” and “Dress You Up,” all produced by Rodgers. The album has sold 21 million copies worldwide.

I won’t go into detail about every artist Nile worked with, but here’s a partial list: Duran Duran, Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Prince, Rod Stewart, Robert Plant, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, Grace Jones, Bryan Ferry, Johnny Mathis, Kim Carnes, Jeff Beck, Thompson Twins, Sheena Easton, Laurie Anderson, Al Jarreau, Ric Ocasek, The B-52s, David Lee Roth, Michael Bolton, Adam Lambert and Daft Punk.

Today Nile Rodgers turns 62. As it’s Friday, and I need to dance dance dance yowsah yowsah yowsah, today’s playlist consists entirely of songs Rodgers worked on. Good times!

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It’s Dave Gahan’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

In the late 1980s the members of Depeche Mode were recording their seventh studio album, Violator. One of its songs began life as a slow ballad with the only instrumental accompaniment being from an organ played by the song’s writer, band member Martin Gore.

The group’s then-keyboardist Alan Wilder suggested speeding up the track and adding a beat. He and the album’s producer, Flood, then suggested Gore add a guitar riff. DM lead singer Dave Gahan, in an interview with Q magazine, recalls Gore being upset with what was happening to his song, though Gore told Mojo magazine that once he came up with the guitar part, “I think that’s the only time in our history when we all looked at each other and said, ‘I think this might be a hit.'”

Their instincts were spot on. The song went on to become the band’s first (and to date, only) top ten pop single in the US. The Violator album became their first top ten album stateside and their highest-charting album up to that time in the UK, where it peaked at #2. Said Gahan about the track, “It really made the album cross over into another cosmos. It had been a constant climb over the previous 10 years, but I don’t think we were prepared for what was about to come. The album was a worldwide success and suddenly these huge royalty checks started coming in and you were able to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted – the velvet rope was always open.”

If you’re working on something, keep tinkering with it. Approach it in varied ways. Experimentation may lead you to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

Ringo + DM 002
Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode turns 52 today. Our Friday dance playlist kicks off with this ballad-turned-crossover dance smash, “Enjoy the Silence.”

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Ringo + Lisa S 002
Today’s dance party kicks off with Lisa Stansfield’s “All Around the World,” a 1989 record that was a big hit all around the world, going to #1 in the U.K., Canada, Holland, Spain, Norway, Austria, and Belgium. It topped the U.S. Dance chart and R&B chart and reached #3 on the pop chart.

Lisa Stansfield turns 48 today. Her new album is entitled Seven.

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It’s Sinéad O’Connor’s Birthday And I Can’t Think Of A Headline

The latter half of the eighties was a great time for alternative rock music and its fans. During the years after the new wave boom but before Nirvana penetrated the mainstream, bringing a host of new rock acts with them, we would hear fresh, interesting acts on WLIR/WDRE and see them on MTV’s 120 Minutes.

In early 1988 120 Minutes aired a video from a new Irish singer named Sinéad O’Connor. The song was “Mandinka.” It grabbed me immediately. I bought her LP The Lion and the Cobra. It was (and is) great. I became obsessed. Not in a creepy stalker kind of way. I felt the need to own every note this woman released. I bought the albums, the remixes, the non-LP singles (e.g. “My Special Child”), the singles with non-LP b-sides (the UK CD single of “Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home” with its cover of “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” the UK CD single of “This Is a Rebel Song” with its cover of “Redemption Song”), every movie soundtrack album she appeared on (Married to the Mob, In the Name of the Father) and every compilation she appeared on (Red Hot + Blue, Help, A Very Special Christmas 2). I loved her passion, her songs, her intelligence, her tenderness, her individuality and her look. She stood out from the pack.

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Today Tunes du Jour celebrates the birthday of Sinéad O’Connor with a playlist inspired by her and the music of the 120 Minutes era.

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