Tag Archives: Devo

The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

Today is the day after Thanksgiving here in the United States of America. You’re officially allowed to start listening to holiday music now. To get you started, I compiled a playlist of what I consider to be 100 of the best Christmas songs. Okay, 98 songs, a stand-up routine and a skit. It’s a mix of standards, versions of standards with which you may not be familiar, and obscure but delightful tunes.

Enjoy!

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Throwback Thursday – 1980

Winston + Blondie
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.”


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It’s Fred Schneider’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

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.)


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 32: Even ‘Mo Christmas

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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The Supreme Court Ruled And I Need To Dance!

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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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It’s Pete Shelley’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

In 1981, Pete Shelley reached #14 on the US Dance chart with “Homosapien,” a keyboard-centric single that sounded much different than his work as the lead singer of punk band The Buzzcocks.

“Homosapien” did not get much airplay in Shelley’s native England, as the BBC took exception to the lyric “Homo superior in my interior.” Shelley said the song was not intended as a “gay song;” rather, it’s about homosapiens falling in love with other homosapiens. That may be so, but the opening line is “I’m the shy boy, you’re the coy boy / And you know we’re homosapien, too,” so there is more than a little homo in this sapien.

Shelley lives as the homosapien of his song, eschewing labels because “there doesn’t seem to be a word for ‘having relationships with people,’” regardless of gender, which is where Shelley sees himself.

It’s Friday and I need to dance! It’s also Pete Shelley’s birthday (he’s 60), so we’ll kick off our dance party with “Homosapien.”

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It’s Andy Bell’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Winston + Erasure 003
I want to go back to 1984. Not the year. The party.

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.

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Winston + B-52s 003p

Today is the anniversary of The B-52s’ first live performance. Today is Valentine’s Day. Today is Friday. It’s only appropriate that we kick off today’s playlist with “Love Shack.”

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Happy Hanukkah!

Tonight is the first of the eight nights of Hanukkah, so I thought I’d treat my readers to a Hanukkah playlist, with the hope that you’re not tired of all the Hanukkah music played on the radio and in stores this time of year.

I wanted to start with Beck’s “Little Drum Machine Boy,” which tells the little-known story of the Robot Funk, who does the blessing over the menorah candles, and the Hanukkah Pimp. Unfortunately, this holiday classic is not on Spotify.

As I couldn’t use the Beck song, I decided to kick off with the classic “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” as performed by the cast of South Park. Unfortunately, this holiday classic is not on Spotify.

Does Spotify have “Hanukkah Rocks” by Gefilte Joe & the Fish? No? Okay, then. Clearly Spotify is taking sides in the War On Hanukkah.

Suffice to say I have enough Hanukkah songs for each night of the holiday, save the last five.

Running out of Hanukkah-specific tunes, I turn to holiday fare associated with that other big holiday that’s coming up. Many of these songs are considered Christmas classics; however, they don’t mention Jesus or Santa, so for our purposes they now will be considered Hanukkah classics.

With those songs in the mix, our playlist clocks in at just over a half hour. Sigh. I’m adding in Thanksgiving tunes. Enjoy your holidays!

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