A Martin Luther King Day Playlist

“You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 1963

“He had a dream now it’s up to you to see it through, to make it come true” – “King Holiday”

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (11-5-20)

Inspired by the November 5 birthdays of Art Garfunkel, Ryan Adams, Ike Turner, Herman’s Hermits’ Peter Noone, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore, Gram Parsons, Bryan Adams, Inner City’s Paris Grey, Loleatta Holloway, A Flock of Seagulls’ Mike Score and Dominatrix’s Dominique Davalos; and the November 4 birthdays of Squeeze’s Chris Difford, Diddy/Puff Daddy, Fat Boys’ Kool Rock-Ski, and Frances Faye.

Lisa Lisa socks

It’s Lisa Lisa’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Today is National Hat Day. I was unable to find the origins of this holiday online, though to be honest, I didn’t research it very hard. Frankly, I don’t care. I don’t care from where this holiday sprang. For that matter, I don’t care much about hats.

I don’t look good in hats. Some people look great in hats, such as Pharrell Lanscilo Williams. Some people look great without hats, such as Pharrell Lanscilo Williams.

When I lived in New York, I wore a hat when the temperature fell below zero. Saving my ears trumped vanity. (Sorry about the use of a verb form of the word trump.) Now I live in Los Angeles. No hats.

Moving to the other end of my body, I always wear shoes when outside. Sneakers, actually. I’ll wear flip-flops on the beach, but not when I’m off the sand. I also always wear socks, except when I’m wearing flip-flops. On the beach. And I’ll confess to you, my readers, that I’m judgmental toward those who wear flip-flops in public off the beach or wear shoes with no socks. And don’t get me started on people who wear flip-flops in public off the beach WITH SOCKS! I’d love to hear their therapist explain the root cause of that sociopathic behavior.

As I’ve gone from head to toe, I know I should tell you that not only is today National Hat Day, but it is also the 50th birthday of Lisa Lisa Velez.

Lisa Lisa socks
Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Put on your dancing shoes (no flip-flops) with socks and party down to this twenty-track playlist, kicking off with Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam’s “Let the Beat Hit ‘Em.”


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It’s Rebbie And LaToya Jackson’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

If you’re like me, you woke up at 2:17 AM last night, wondering if any animals besides humans can dance, and then you had trouble falling back asleep. If this sounds like you, I suggest you seek therapy. If you’re in L.A., please pass on to me the name of your doctor.

I Googled “Can animals dance?”. I read about a sea lion who loves to shake it to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland.” That doesn’t prove anything. Only a corpse wouldn’t move to that song.

A neuroscientist at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California discovered that parrots and elephants can dance, but other animals cannot. He defines dance as a natural untrained reaction to music involving moving to the beat. By that definition, most humans can’t dance, either. I know. I’ve been to straight weddings.

The Week reported that scientists found that bees, cockatoos, peacock spiders, dung beetles, manikin birds and freshwater algae can dance. First off, I didn’t know algae was an animal. Secondly, doesn’t algae merely move along with the ebb and flow of the tide? By that definition, everyone’s a good dancer, even attendees at straight weddings.

Looking at dancing animals on YouTube was a depressing experience. I’m sure that sea lion at Sea World doing the “Thriller” moves would rather be in his native habitat than forced to do Michael Jackson impersonations for crowds that pay way too much money, none of which the sea lion sees. The moves probably didn’t come naturally to him. Had he been asked, I’m sure he would’ve said “No, I’m not going to be your monkey.”

Speaking of monkeys, the Daily Mail reported that bonobos like to dance to very fast music. The article was accompanied by several photos of polar bears striking Saturday Night Fever poses. Polar bears are classified as an endangered species, so I can see their concern with stayin’ alive stayin’ alive. Still, I wouldn’t confuse them for bonobos. I know a bear when I see one. I’ve been to gay weddings.

I saw a video of a cockatoo dancing to Backstreet Boys. There’s no accounting for taste, but I must admit, the moves were good. Not Michael Jackson good, but if that is the standard, then no animals can dance. By that measurement, most humans can’t dance. Most Jacksons can’t dance.

Today is the birthday of Michael Jackson’s older sisters, Rebbie and LaToya, not particularly good dancers from any video evidence I’ve seen. Rebbie had a hit song called “Centipede.” I’ve read nothing in my research about whether or not centipedes can dance, but I doubt they can, given they have fifty left feet.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. All animals are welcome to participate, whether human or centipede (though please don’t bring up The Human Centipede.)


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Winston + King

King Holiday

Winston + King

There was a trend in eighties pop music of superstars banding together for a cause. As trends go, it was certainly better than the medley craze of that same decade. Its high points included “We Are the World,” “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” “Sun City” and “King Holiday.”

“King Holiday” was the result of a conversation rapper Kurtis Blow had with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s son Dexter. The civil rights leader’s birthday was celebrated as a national holiday for the first time on January 20, 1986. To commemorate the occasion, Blow, along with Grandmaster Melle Mel, Bill Adler and Phillip Jones, composed “King Holiday,” which Blow and Jones produced.

To perform the song, they gathered an impressive list of crossover stars of the day. Joining Kurtis Blow and Melle Mel on the record were Run-D.M.C., Whitney Houston, Lisa Lisa, Full Force, James “JT” Taylor (of Kool & the Gang), Teena Marie, Whodini, Fat Boys, El DeBarge, Stephanie Mills, New Edition, Stacy Lattisaw and Menudo (featuring Ricky Martin). The single made the top 30 on Billboard’s Black Music chart. All proceeds from its sale were donated to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

Today Tunes du Jour jumps back in time to sing celebrate sing sing celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Kings 003

King Holiday

Kings 003

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday was first celebrated as a national holiday in the United States on January 20, 1986. To commemorate this, a group of popular urban music acts of that time collaborated on a single entitled “King Holiday.” The song was written by Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Phillip Jones and Bill Adler. Appearing with Blow and Melle Mel on the record are Run-D.M.C., Whitney Houston, Lisa Lisa, Full Force, James “JT” Taylor (of Kool & the Gang), Teena Marie, Whodini, Fat Boys, El DeBarge, Stephanie Mills, New Edition, Stacy Lattisaw and Menudo.

A bill to turn King’s birthday into a national holiday was first introduced to the House of Representatives in 1979, but it didn’t receive enough votes to pass. The following year Stevie Wonder released “Happy Birthday,” a song calling for the holiday, and organized a rally in Washington DC for the cause. Soon, a petition was circulated calling for the same. Six million signatures were collected. Though President Reagan was initially against the holiday, he later signed the bill authorizing it.

Senator John McCain of Arizona was against the holiday, as was that state’s governor, Evan Meacham. New Hampshire didn’t acknowledge Martin Luther King Day until 1999. South Carolina made King Day a paid holiday for state employees in 2000. Prior to then, employees could choose between observing King’s birthday or one of three Confederate holidays.

Today Tunes du Jour celebrates the birthday and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.