Tag Archives: Haircut 100

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

Inspired by the May 20 birthdays of Cher, Busta Rhymes, Joe Cocker, The Go-Go’s’ Jane Wiedlin, Haircut 100’s Nick Heyward, Shorty Long, and Paul & Paula’s Jill Jackson.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1V75BDhQ7vzY3UgWb56YJ3

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

Ringo + Dead or Alive

Early in the career of the group Dead or Alive, UK music magazine Melody Maker described their lead singer Pete Burns as “a cross between Bette Midler and Jim Morrison.” Sure.

At the time Burns was sharing a home and a bed with his wife Lynne and his lover Steve. His marriage with Lynne dissolved in 2006, the year he announced his engagement to a man named Michael.

Today Burns celebrates his 57th birthday. Tunes du Jour kicks off its weekly dance party with Dead or Alive’s “Brand New Lover,” with lead vocals by the man Melody Maker called a “transvestite sex symbol.” Sure.


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It’s Siouxsie Sioux’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

During the 1980s, Siouxsie and the Banshees, led by Susan “Siouxsie” Ballion, had 15 top 40 singles in the UK, where they formed. In the US, they had 15 fewer hits.

That changed in 1991, thanks to a song about a popular Hollywood actress of the 1950s who died in a car accident in 1967.

Vera Palmer, under her screen name Jayne Mansfield, won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year in 1957, beating out Natalie Wood. That was the year she appeared in the film Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, based on the Broadway show in which she also starred. She also starred in the hit film The Girl Can’t Help It, which featured appearances from Little Richard, Fats Domino, The Platters, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent.

Her career took a turn after these hits, perhaps due to a public backlash against her over-exposure, perhaps due to a decline in popularity of the “blonde bombshell” look, and/or perhaps due to her frequent pregnancies keeping her from accepting roles she was offered.

She did continue to work, however – in films, on television, on stage, and on records. Following a nightclub performance in Biloxi, Mississippi on June 28, 1967, Mansfield was en route to New Orleans where she was scheduled to be part of a radio show the following day. Her car collided with a tractor-trailer, and Mansfield, as well as her boyfriend and the car’s driver, were killed instantly.

The car accident is referenced in the fourth verse of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Kiss Them for Me,” named after Mansfield’s 1957 film in which she co-starred with Cary Grant.

“Kiss Them for Me” peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100, nine positions higher than its UK peak. It also went to #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and hit #8 on the Billboard Dance chart.

Today the woman born Susan Ballion turns 59 years old. Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party kicks off with her ode to the late Jayne Mansfield.


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It’s Black Friday And I Need To Dance!

What do people want more than anything else? Love, perhaps. When songwriter/Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. asked “What do people want most?,” his writing partner Janie Bradford answered “Money. That’s what I want.”

A song was born, a classic that became the first hit for Gordy’s Motown Records, with singer Barrett Strong taking “Money (That’s What I Want)” to #23 in 1960.

Ringo + Lizards
Twenty years after Strong hit with it, UK band The Flying Lizards took a cover of “Money” to #50 on the US pop chart. Their version also made the dance chart. It kicks off Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party.


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

“Turn on my VCR, same one I’ve had for years”

beta
I still have my beta player. It’s not a Betamax, which is a Sony brand, but rather a Sanyo. I haven’t used it since I moved to LA in 2003, because it isn’t working. I don’t want to get rid of it, though, as I have a lot of great stuff on beta tapes. Stuff that is irreplaceable.

beta tapesThere are plenty more where these came from!

Some of the recordings I have on beta tapes can be found on YouTube – The Making of “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” for example. Others, such as Purple Rain and The Flamingo Kid, are available on a host of formats that have hit the market since beta. I’m sure I could find Madonna’s pre-fame feature A Certain Sacrifice on-line if I bothered to look for it.

I used to always keep a recordable beta tape in the machine. You never know if while channel surfing you’ll come across Chaka Khan being interviewed on a Spanish talk show on UHF. (UHF pre-dates cable TV. It pre-dates beta tapes. Look it up.) I have several dozen tapes filled with television performances from artists I was obsessed with during my beta machine’s lifetime. Not that it’s dead. I refuse to believe it is. Perhaps I’m still in the denial stage of Dr. Kübler-Ross seven stages of grieving, but I believe the beta machine can easily be fixed. It probably needs a new band. Getting the machine fixed is on my To Do list. I can’t wait to dig in to those old tapes. I look forward to watching the one I labelled “Highlights from The Late Show With Joan Rivers.” It contains her interview with the late great disco queen Sylvester in which he accidentally outed his boyfriend. It also contains several appearances by The Bangles, as I was obsessed with both the Bangles and Joan Rivers. Sometimes I miss the 80s, but then I remember Duran Duran.

Might any of my LA readers be able to recommend a beta machine repair person?

The lyric that opens this post is from The Police’s song “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around.” I have some of the band’s TV appearances on those beta tapes.

Today is the 64th birthday of that band’s usual lead singer, Sting. Our weekly dance party kicks off with the song with the longest title of any in the trio’s recorded repertoire.


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

While performing stand-up comedy in the late 1990s/early 2000s I appeared in several contests. More often than not I scored very well. In a contest at the club StandUp NY to find New York’s funniest gay man, I came in second. First place went to Seth Rudetsky. Around that same time both of us were entrants in another stand-up contest. Again, I came in second to Seth’s first.

Our acts were similar. Both of us were (are) thin New York gay Jews who mocked silly pop song lyrics in our sets. Seth talked about Sheena Easton’s “Morning Train” while I discussed Air Supply’s “All Out of Love.” I don’t begrudge him his first place winnings – he was great.

Seth went on to write for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, which garnered him several Emmy nominations. He has written for the Grammy Awards and the Tony Awards. He hosts a radio show on SiriusXM about Broadway musicals.

This past Tuesday my friend Scott and I attended Seth’s one-person show at Largo. His opening act was Judd Apatow. In the audience were Barbra Streisand, Sean Hayes, and the guy who played Valerie Cherish’s PR person on The Comeback. Also in the audience was me, the runner-up. Was I jealous? Was I bitter? You bet I was!

On the positive tip, I was inspired as well. It was a very fun show and gave me some ideas as to how to structure the one-person show I’ve been saying I will write for the past fourteen years. Destiny is calling me – open up my eager eyes, ‘cause I’m Mr. Brightside.

Our weekly dance party kicks off with The Killers.


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It’s Richard Butler’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

About the Psychedelic Furs song “Love My Way,” Richard Butler, the band’s lead singer, said “It’s basically addressed to people who are fucked up about their sexuality, and says ‘Don’t worry about it.’ It was originally written for gay people.”

I could be upset that he says I’m fucked up about my sexuality, but I choose to focus on the positive. He wrote a song about me. Thanks, Richard, and happy birthday!

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour, so let’s get this party started!


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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 Limahl’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Ringo + Limahl
Young Chris Hamill was not popular at school. Expelled for disrupting class, the teen boy transferred to a new school, where the kids pointed out his effeminacy. Always the last one picked in sports, Hamill’s confidence level dropped. Discovering he was gay didn’t help. Unhappy at school, he became a loner, escaping into his music.

After leaving school Hamill pursued acting. He landed a few roles, but music was where his passion truly lied. Hamill reinvented himself. He rearranged the letters of his last name and became Limahl, the cutieface pop singer. He was recruited by a band named Art Nouveau. With Limahl on board, the group changed their name to KajaGooGoo.

While working as a waiter at London’s Embassy Club, Limahl met Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran. He gave Rhodes the group’s demo tape. Rhodes took it to his record label, EMI, who signed them.

In January 1983, EMI released the group’s Rhodes-produced debut single, “Too Shy.” It went to #1 in the UK and reached #5 in the US. At this time, Limahl kept his sexual orientation secret. “I wasn’t embarrassed about being gay, but my role as Limahl, my pop star role, had to be more enigmatic. I didn’t want to start talking about gay sex and gays in 1983 when most of our following was teenage girls.”

While “Too Shy” was on the US charts, the band completed a successful tour playing to 40,000 people in Finland. The following day, Limahl was fired from the group by its other members. About Limahl, KajaGooGoo guitarist Steve Askew said “His lifestyle is so different from ours. We’re very normal people whereas Limahl likes the bright lights.” Limahl, shocked by his dismissal, felt he was let go for being too cute and turning the group into a pop band solely for teens.

Following his sacking from KajaGooGoo, Limahl had a solo hit in 1985 with the theme from the film The NeverEnding Story. That song will kick off the dance playlist for today, Limahl’s 56th birthday.

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It’s Friday and I Need To Dance!

I love to dance. I also love to eat and to sleep, but I really love to dance. It is my favorite activity. Yes, I like it even more than swimming. If the music is right I can go for hours at a time. In the early nineties, while living in New York City, I would go dancing almost every weekend. Those weekends when I wasn’t at a club I’d be dancing in my living room. Being that I lived in a 200 square foot apartment, my living room also served as my bedroom, den, and dance studio.

Every Friday, Tunes Du Jour will publish a dance playlist. Play it loud and get down, whether in your living room, bedroom, den, dance studio, on a bus, in the waiting room of your ophthalmologist’s office or at the dog park. It’s a great way to welcome the weekend.

Being today is the birthday of Tina Weymouth, a founding member of both Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, we will spotlight some of her work. Our party kicks off with “Wordy Rappinghood,” a UK million-seller that topped the dance chart in the US in early 1982.

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