Inspired by the May 18 birthdays of Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh, Rick Wakeman, Butch Tavares, Robert Morse, Big Joe Turner, Rob Base, Ezio Pinza, George Strait, Martika, Enigma’s Michael Cretu, Albert Hammond, Perry Como, Oak Ridge Boys’ Joe Bonsall, the Rubettes’ Paul DaVinci, Jack Johnson, and Broadway composer Meredith Willson.
Tag Archives: Devo
Inspired by the May 16 birthdays of Janet Jackson, Modern Lovers’ Jonathan Richman, New Edition’s Ralph Tresvant, Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory, Special Ed and Redd Holt.
Foo Fighters – “Learn to Fly”
Today is Foo Fighter Dave Grohl’s birthday. This is easily my favorite song from the group’s album There Is Nothing Left to Lose. Grohl said it’s one of his least favorites on the album. What does he know?
Kings of Leon – “Sex on Fire”
Today is the birthday of Kings of Leon’s lead singer Caleb Followill. About this song, Caleb’s brother and fellow bandmate Nathan said in an interview “Sex On Fire was just kind of a little lyric just to fill in to kill some time until we could actually write something that wasn’t about sex and fire.”
Kings of Leon – “Use Somebody”
Grammy Award winner for Record of the Year.
Foo Fighters – “Everlong”
David Letterman introduced a performance of this song on his talk show as “my favorite band playing my favorite song.”
Bobby “Blue” Bland – “I’ll Take Care of You”
Written by Brook Benton and originally recorded by Bobby “Blue Bland,” this song was covered by Gil Scott-Heron, whose version was remixed by Jamie xx. That remix was sampled in the Drake/Rihanna hit “Take Care.”
James Brown – “King Heroin”
This song is a poem written by New York City Stage Delicatessen worker Manny Rosen set to music.
Barbara Lewis – “Baby I’m Yours”
This song was written by Van McCoy, who hit #1 with his classic disco recording “The Hustle.”
Mary Wells – “Two Lovers”
This song was written by Smokey Robinson, who was inspired by a movie he was watching on television in which a woman had two lovers. Imagine the song we would have gotten had Smokey been watching The Thing With Two Heads.
Oasis – “Slide Away”
Oasis member Noel Gallagher, who write this song, says it contains his brother Liam’s best vocals ever.
Foo Fighters – “I’ll Stick Around”
This song’s music video was directed by Jerry Casale of Devo, who is coming up later on this playlist.
Dionne Warwick – “Promises, Promises”
Like most of Dionne Warwick’s sixties hits, this one was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
LL Cool J – “I’m That Type of Guy”
Today James Todd Smith turns 52 years old. He’s cool and the ladies love him, hence his rap moniker LL Cool J.
Run-D.M.C. – “Run’s House”
Run-D.M.C. sampled this in their final top 40 pop hit, “Down with the King.”
Clarence Carter – “Strokin”
Today is the 84th birthday of Clarence Carter Clarence Carter Clarence Carter Clarence Carter Ooh Shit Clarence Carter.
The Smashing Pumpkins – “Landslide”
In 1994, Smashing Pumpkins’ version of this Fleetwood Mac song hit #3 on the US Modern Rock chart, becoming the first version of this song to chart.
Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”
The title track from the 2011 Album of the Year Grammy winner.
Jack Jones – “Wives and Lovers”
Another Grammy Award winner, this one for Best Vocal Performance, Male. As with the Dionne Warwick song earlier in this playlist, this was written by the team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The lyrics, which may have already seemed backwards when they wrote it in 1963, come across as downright anachronistic today, telling women they need to stay attractive and attend to their husbands if they want them to remain faithful. Today is Jack Jones’ birthday.
Clarence Carter – “Making Love (At the Dark End of the Street)”
Another classic performance from Carter, referenced in “Strokin.”
Devo – “Working in the Coal Mine”
A cover of the Lee Dorsey classic, written by the late Alan Toussaint, whose birthday is today.
The Pointer Sisters – “Yes We Can Can”
Alan Toussaint write this song also. He wrote a lot of great songs. He also co-produced the Labelle classic “Lady Marmalade.” Respect.
In 1979, Giorgio Moroder, famous mostly for his production work on Donna Summer records, composed the score for the film American Gigolo. He asked Stevie Nicks to sing the movie’s theme song, for which Moroder wrote the music, but she had to decline for contractual reasons. He next turned to Deborah Harry of Blondie.
Harry write the lyrics to the song that became “Call Me,” the second #1 single for her band. Of her experience with Moroder, she told Billboard “He’s very nice to work with, very easy, (but) I don’t think he has a lot of patience with people who fool around or don’t take what they do seriously. I think he’s very serious about what he does and he’s intense and he’s a perfectionist and he’s very talented, so I think that people who are less talented or less concentrated bore him quickly…you really have to pay attention.”
Said Moroder of working with Blondie, “There were always fights. I was supposed to do an album with them after that. We went to the studio, and the guitarist was fighting with the keyboard player. I called their manager and quit.”
Moroder did end up working with Deborah Harry again years later on another soundtrack song, producing “Rush Rush” from Scarface, and in 2004 remixed Blondie’s single “Good Boys.”
Tunes du Jour’s Throwback Thursday playlist this week spotlights the best of 1980, kicking off with Blondie’s “Call Me.”
The B-52’s 1980 single “Private Idaho” made Pitchfork’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs from Punk to Present,” present being 2006. In his capsule review, Nitsuh Abebe wrote “Those who dismiss the B-52’s as silly or kitschy should live in fear of the frenzied last half-minute, which sounds like it’s out to track those people down, lock them up in cages, and make them go-go dance until they cry for mercy.”
Every Friday, Tunes du Jour tries to make you dance to welcome in the weekend. This week’s dance playlist kicks off with The B-52’s’ “Private Idaho,” featuring the vocals of Fred Schneider, who turns 65 today. (By the way, the B-52’s first performed in Idaho in 2011.)
Make the Yuletide gay – VERY gay – with this twenty-song playlist. Openly gay folks mix with closeted folks mix with allies. Christmas classics sit alongside soon-to-be classics and never-in-a-million-years-will-this-be-a-classic. Artists include R.E.M., Devo and Cheyenne Jackson.
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– Justice Anthony Kennedy
Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. We kick off today’s party with birthday boy Mick Jones of The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite, who turns 60.
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In 1993 I spent Friday nights at Crowbar, a tiny venue at 339 E. 10th Street in New York City. The weekly party was called 1984. Admission was $3. The music was new wave and pop, primarily from the 80s. Crowbar was about the size of my studio apartment, but that didn’t stop the proprietors from squeezing in a couple hundred folks who wanted to dance to Madonna and New Order and Culture Club.
Because the place was jam-packed, dancing consisted of nodding your head. There was no room to move your legs or arms. There was no air circulation, so one worked up a sweat just standing still. It was great fun, getting lost in the music. Even songs I don’t like were fun at Crowbar. When they played the rare song I couldn’t get into, I would think “If there’s a fire, we’re all going to die. There’s no way for most of us to get out.” Good thing I liked most of the songs!
Mayor Giuliani had the same thought. Not about how great Pet Shop Boys are, but that the place was a fire hazard. He had Crowbar shut down. The party didn’t stop, though. 1984 moved to the more spacious Pyramid Club on Avenue A and was just as much fun, maybe even more so being now one can actually move to the music.
One band that got a lot of play at the party was Erasure. The duo’s singer, Andy Bell, was one of the very few openly gay pop stars in the eighties. 1984 was a gay party (though non-gays were welcome), and the guys who went to Crowbar and then The Pyramid on Friday nights hailed Andy as one of their heroes, in an era when few celebrities were out.
Erasure had two crossover hits in the US. The first was “Chains of Love.” To the general public it was a catchy ditty. To the gay population it was an anthem. In an era when many media outlets portrayed gay and AIDS as automatically connected, fear was rampant. Bell advised listeners to not let who you love shackle you into holding back your love, your compassion, your pursuit of happiness. “Come to me, cover me, hold me. Together we’ll break these chains of love. Don’t give up.” The joy in that club when that song played, hands in the air and patrons singing along, is something I miss.
Andy Bell turns 50 today. Our Friday dance playlist is in honor of him and everyone who made 1984 the party so special.