Tag Archives: Kate Bush

Presidents Day Top 40

Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson – they’re here. This Presidents Day playlist kicks off with one of the Bushes. Kate.


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The Story Of Eric Clapton And Layla

In the latter half of the 1960s, Eric Clapton and George Harrison developed a close friendship. Clapton also developed a crush on Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd. The two started having an affair, but Pattie didn’t want to leave her husband.

Clapton wrote a song about his feelings for Pattie. He called the song “Layla,” after a title character in the book The Story of Layla and Majnun. The book told of a man, Majnun, who was madly in love with a woman, Layla, but was forbidden to marry her. His longing for her drove him mad.

Clapton’s band Derek and the Dominos released “Layla” in 1971. Pattie and Eric started living together in 1974. They wed in 1979. George Harrison, along with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, played at the wedding. Clapton left Pattie for another woman in 1985.

Today Eric Clapton turns 71. Here are twenty tracks that feature the musician.


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When I Met Sir George Martin

Several years I ago I had the honor of attending a presentation in the recording studio in the iconic Capitol Records tower in Hollywood. Sir George Martin was there to speak about a documentary series he was working on. I was asked to help out with the show’s music licensing.

Sir George Martin, who died yesterday at the age of 90, was a record executive, musician, composer and arranger, but he is best-known to most people as a producer, specifically, the producer of every album by The Beatles save Let It Be.

Sometimes it’s intimidating to meet one’s idols. What if they aren’t friendly or approachable? I’m happy to say that most times that isn’t the case for me, and it wasn’t the case with Sir George. He graciously accepted my request that he autograph the cover of The Beatles album I brought with me. He started signing in the upper left corner, but when he realized his misheard my name, he scribbled out what he wrote and started over in the center. He apologized to me for mussing up, to which I replied, “Are you kidding me?? I now have original George Martin artwork! I’m honored!” After signing my album cover we chatted for a few minutes, until he was called away to tend to other business. Friendly, approachable and gracious, the man was a class act and a true gentleman.

George Martin autograph
Here are twenty of Sir George Martin’s finest productions:


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Throwback Thursday – 1978

Just how popular were the Bee Gees in 1978? So big that they accounted for two percent of the record industry’s profits that year.

On January 1, 1978, the trio, made up of brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, were at #1 with “How Deep is Your Love,” which the three performed, wrote and co-produced. It stayed on top for three weeks. In February they returned to the #1 position with “Stayin’ Alive.” That stayed at #1 for four weeks. It was knocked from the top spot by “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water,” performed by Andy Gibb, younger brother of the Bee Gees. “Thicker Than Water” was co-written and co-produced by Bee Gee Barry Gibb. “Thicker Than Water” was knocked from the top spot after two weeks by “Night Fever,” performed, written and co-produced by the Bee Gees. That song remained at #1 for eight weeks, only to be knocked from the top by “If I Can’t Have You,” performed by Yvonne Elliman and written and co-produced by the Bee Gees. Starting in mid-June, “Shadow Dancing,” written by the Bee Gees and Andy Gibb, co-produced by Barry Gibb, and performed by Andy Gibb went to #1 and stayed there for seven weeks. In late August Frankie Valli had his first #1 single in three years with “Grease,” written and co-produced by Barry Gibb.

Not everything they touched hit #1 that year. “Emotion,” written by Barry and Robin Gibb, co-produced by Barry Gibb and performed by Samantha Sang, peaked at #3 in March 1978. It was kept from #1 by “Night Fever” and “Stayin’ Alive.”

The album from which “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep is Your Love” and “If I Can’t Have You” were taken is the soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever, which spent 24 weeks at #1 and became the largest-selling album in history at that time. It remains the only soundtrack to have spawned four #1 singles. It could have been five if the Bee Gees’ version of their composition “More Than a Woman” had been released as a commercial single. Instead, the Tavares version of the song, which also appears on the soundtrack, was the single and became a top forty hit. Saturday Night Fever became the first soundtrack album to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The Bee Gees also won Grammy Awards for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals (both “How Deep is Your Love” and “Stayin’ Alive”) and Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices (for “Stayin’ Alive”), and Barry Gibb, along with Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson, won Producer of the Year.

In 1978 the Bee Gees were connected with another high-profile movie project: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, in which they starred and performed on the soundtrack. Though Robin Gibb hit #15 with the film’s “Oh! Darling”, the album and film were considered flops.

The relative failure of Sgt. Pepper’s notwithstanding, the Bee Gees remained huge throughout 1978. Their blend of pop, soul, and dance music gave them mass appeal. Besides hitting #1 on the pop charts, “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever” were top ten hits on the r&b and disco charts.

Tunes du Jour celebrates Throwback Thursday this week with the music of 1978. The Bee Gees may have dominated the mainstream, but as you’ll hear, rumblings of new and exciting permutations of rock & roll were rumbling under the surface.

We’ll kick off today’s playlist with the song that went to #1 in the UK, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and the US.


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 33: One ‘Mo Christmas

The fourth and final Xmas playlist for 2015. Have a happy!


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The Time I Met Kate Bush

My first job in the music business was in the Accounts Receivable department of CBS Records. After a couple of years there I moved into T&E Accounting. T&E stands for Travel and Entertainment. In those halcyon days of the music biz in the late eighties, there was a lot of money spent on traveling and a lot of money spent on entertaining. Employees using their company credit card had to file expense reports documenting all money spent. My job was to audit those reports. If an employee’s reports weren’t filed in a timely manner, I had to cut off his/her corporate card.

In the autumn of 1989, Kate Bush was in town to review the marketing of her then new album, The Sensual World. She was out to lunch with her product manager. The latter called me from the restaurant – her card was declined. She knew she was behind in filing her expense reports, but had no other means of paying for the lunch. I saw to it the lunch was taken care of. As a thank you, when she got back to the office she invited me up to the 12th floor conference room to meet Kate. It was just the three of us. Kate signed a promo shot for me.

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The product manager got caught up on her expense reports, I met one of my favorite performers, and Kate Bush got fed. Everybody’s happy.

Today Kate Bush turns 56. Here is a playlist of some of the highlights of her recording career. Her best-selling and most critically-acclaimed album, Hounds of Love, is not on Spotify – I assume there is a remastered reissue of the album on the way – so we’ll make do without her best-known recording, “Running Up That Hill,” her only US top 40 single.

For more on Kate Bush, check out my friend Bradley’s blog here.
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Just Say Yes, And…

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Last week I gave a speech about improvisation and how the elements of this art form can be applied to other parts of your life, leading to better health, greater wealth, and stronger relationships.

Among the things I discussed is improv’s most fundamental concept, that of “Yes, and” – accepting your scene partner’s idea and building upon it – and how this idea can be applied to one’s work life.

There is an improv game called Conducted Story. We get a title from the audience; then the conductor points to someone who starts the story, then someone who continues, etc. You want to progress the story and have it make sense. Yes, and.

As the head of the licensing department at Rhino Entertainment, I often did conducted stories in staff meetings. Not literally, but as music sales slipped, we looked for new ways to increase revenue. “We could license to other media besides CDs” “such as greetings cards” “which Hallmark would sell and pay us a royalty” “and we can suggest licensable songs for each holiday” “and expand that into other things sold at Hallmark shops, such as gift boxes and Christmas tree ornaments.” Despite CD sales plummeting during the second half of the last decade, my licensing department’s revenue rose each year.

For those of us who have struggled with shyness, performing improv, even in a classroom setting, increases self-confidence. It worked for me. I used to be shy. Incredibly shy. Painfully shy. Music was my best friend. While other kids were doing Little League, I’d be home listening to my Four Seasons records. I went to therapist after therapist, but they didn’t help me get over my shyness.

Once people got to know me they would tell me “You know you’re very funny.” That gave me an idea. I’ll overcome my shyness by becoming a stand-up comedian. I’ll stand in front of strangers and express my thoughts and feelings, and they’ll have to listen, as I have a mic and a spotlight.

For me, the stand-up helped. I wrote out my sets and memorized them, word for word. I got laughs and more gigs, but was still shyer than I wished. A fellow comedian suggested I take an improv class.

Studying improv gave me the courage to get on stage with topic bullet points memorized, but not each word. It freed me and took my stand-up to another level. An agent liked my set and represented me. I got more bookings and made a little money.

Mind you, my goal was not to become a famous stand-up comic. It was to gain self-confidence. Within five years of starting improv, I went from this shy music geek making a meager salary to a Vice President at a major record company, Warner Music Group, where I made a six-figure salary and negotiated complex deals with artists and attorneys.

Over the course of my music biz career I’ve met many of my favorite all-time artists, including Prince, Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz of Tom Tom Club and Talking Heads, Art Garfunkel, Jack White, Kate Bush, Smokey Robinson, Tina Turner, Donna Summer, Rufus Wainwright, Boy George, Joan Jett, Frankie Valli and Chaka Khan.

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Today’s playlist is in honor of one of those, Frankie Valli, who celebrates his 80th birthday today.

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Merry Annie Lennox’s Birthday!

Today marks the annual commemoration of the birth of Annie Lennox, a widely observed cultural holiday, celebrated in Western Christianity every December 25 by millions of people around the world. Annie Lennox’s birthday is a civil holiday in many of the world’s nations, is celebrated by an increasing number of non-new wave fans, and is an integral part of the holiday season.

The birth year of Lennox is estimated among modern historians to have been between 1953 and 1955 AD.

The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Annie Lennox’s birthday have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, Eurythmics music and caroling, an angel playing with your heart, walking on broken glass, rain again, and sweet dreams. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of Annie Lennox’s birthday involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, her birthday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Annie Lennox’s birthday is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.

Source: Wikipedia

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It’s Sinéad O’Connor’s Birthday And I Can’t Think Of A Headline

The latter half of the eighties was a great time for alternative rock music and its fans. During the years after the new wave boom but before Nirvana penetrated the mainstream, bringing a host of new rock acts with them, we would hear fresh, interesting acts on WLIR/WDRE and see them on MTV’s 120 Minutes.

In early 1988 120 Minutes aired a video from a new Irish singer named Sinéad O’Connor. The song was “Mandinka.” It grabbed me immediately. I bought her LP The Lion and the Cobra. It was (and is) great. I became obsessed. Not in a creepy stalker kind of way. I felt the need to own every note this woman released. I bought the albums, the remixes, the non-LP singles (e.g. “My Special Child”), the singles with non-LP b-sides (the UK CD single of “Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home” with its cover of “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” the UK CD single of “This Is a Rebel Song” with its cover of “Redemption Song”), every movie soundtrack album she appeared on (Married to the Mob, In the Name of the Father) and every compilation she appeared on (Red Hot + Blue, Help, A Very Special Christmas 2). I loved her passion, her songs, her intelligence, her tenderness, her individuality and her look. She stood out from the pack.

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Today Tunes du Jour celebrates the birthday of Sinéad O’Connor with a playlist inspired by her and the music of the 120 Minutes era.

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