Throwback Thursday: 1986

For many years I’ve been saying that 1986 was a crap year for music. I prove myself wrong with this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist. Listen to these gems! How did I get this so wrong until now? My theory is this: In 1986 I was still listening to top 40 radio more than other formats. While there were many great hit songs in ’86 (as evidenced by the playlist below), there was also a lot of garbage songs that were successful on the pop chart. My thoughts of all those garbage songs outweighed my fond memories of all of the good songs. Well, no more, missy! Nineteen eighty-six was a good year for music. The proof is in the pudding (pudding meaning this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist).

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Throwback Thursday: 1974

In 1974 Grandpa Abe gave ten-year-old me a radio. Very quickly that radio became shy me’s best friend. I hadn’t paid much attention to music previously, only hearing what played in the family care when we went out to eat or to Sunday school or the orthodontist. With my best friend Radio by my side I was exposed to so much more. Mostly I listened to the top 40 station WABC. By the autumn of 1974 I was making weekly treks on my bicycle to Melody Manor to buy whatever single entered the top 40 that week, unless it was something truly heinous like “Cat’s in the Cradle.” It’s a habit I kept up until the mid to late eighties, when “Lady in Red,” “The Final Countdown,” “Hip To Be Square” and Milli Vanilli convinced me to eschew that habit and only buy records that were tolerable. Today’s playlist celebrates the music of the year I started collecting records.

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A Bee Gees Playlist

Back when I handled the licensing for the Bee Gees, they turned down requests to be included on disco compilations. They rejected the disco label, as it limited them. Fair enough. As performers the trio placed 42 entries on the Billboard Hot 100. Do you know how many entries they placed on Billboard’s Disco chart? Three. “You Should Be Dancing” went to number one on that chart, “Tragedy” peaked at number 22, and the three new uptempo songs they recorded for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack – “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever” and “More Than a Woman” – constituted one entry, which peaked at number three. It’s the association with Saturday Night Fever,a movie where much of the action takes place at a disco, that saddled them with the disco label. That said, those five disco songs are nothing to be ashamed of. All are great. Today’s playlist spotlights their work in and outside of the disco genre, and it includes extracurricular production and songwriting activities one or more of the guys did for other acts.

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Throwback Thursday: 1964

Nobody would deny that 1964 was among the most pivotal years in rock and roll. Nobody except Lester, a guy I worked with decades ago. He was an idiot. The Beatles and the other artists who stormed the US pop charts during the first British Invasion made an indelible impact on contemporary music and culture. Motown was ascending and producing classic singles. Girl groups were still hanging around creating pop perfection. Bob Dylan was making himself known, messing with the vocals one expected on a hit record. And Dionne Warwick was already the queen of Twitter.

Here are thirty songs that partly defined 1964. Take note, Lester.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (11-8-20)

Inspired by the November 8 birthdays of Bonnie Raitt, Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace, Eric B., Rickie Lee Jones, Sam Sparro, Wizzard’s Roy Wood, Minnie Riperton, The Manhattans’ Gerald Alston, Leif Garrett, Khia, J.J. Jackson, Diana King, Patti Page, Icona Pop’s Caroline Hjelt and Glass Tiger’s Alan Frew.