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Twenty Songs You Should Hear (1-12-20)

Happy Sunday! I hope it’s a fun day. An I-don’t-have-to-run day.

Here are some songs to play while chillin’ in the crib:

Run the Jewels featuring Zack de la Rocha – “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”
Today is the birthday of Zack de la Rocha, best known as the singer for Rage Against the Machine.

Beck – “Black Tambourine”

Mary J. Blige – “PMS”

Ruth Brown – “I Can’t Hear a Word You Say”
Today is the birthday of the late Ruth Brown. She had so many best-sellers on Atlantic Records in the 1950s that the label became known as “the house that Ruth built.” You may know her from the original movie version of Hairspray, in which she played Motormouth Maybelle.

Marvin Gaye – “Hitch Hike”
With backing vocals by Martha and the Vandellas.

Ray Charles – “Drown in My Own Tears”

Stevie Wonder – “Love Having You Around”

Aretha Franklin – “Spirit in the Dark”
Aretha’s son Kecalf doesn’t want you to see the new biopic of the soul legend, which hits theaters sometime in 2020. He says her family wasn’t consulted about what is in the movie, aside from Jennifer Hudson as Aretha, which was the Queen’s choice.

King Curtis – “Memphis Soul Stew”

Kendrick Lamar – “Hiiipower”
Lamar’s first single, from 2011.

Amerie – “1Thing”
Today is Amerie’s birthday. This song sat on the shelves at Sony Music for a year and a half, at which point Amerie herself leaked it to radio stations. It reached #8 on the pop chart.

Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott featuring 702 and Magoo – “Beep Me 911”

Madonna – “Take a Bow”
This song went to #1 in the US. In the UK, it peaked at #16, ending her record-breaking streak of 35 consecutive top ten singles.

The White Stripes – “Black Math”

Foo Fighters – “This Is a Call”
Foo Fighter Dave Grohl wrote this song, sang it, and played every instrument on it.

Janet Jackson – “Throb”
Boom boom boom until noon noon noon.

OutKast featuring Raekwon – “Skew It on the Bar-B”
Today is the birthday of Raekwon, best known as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Big Star – “In the Street”
Today is the birthday of Big Star’s Chris Bell. This song was used as the theme for That 70’s Show. The soundtracks to that television sitcom were the first projects I worked on upon getting a job at Jive Records.

Spice Girls – “Say You’ll Be There”
Today is the birthday of Mel C (Sporty Spice).

Sly & the Family Stone – “Dance to the Music”
Today is the birthday of the late Cynthia Robinson, trumpeter and vocalist for Sly & the Family Stone. She and Jerry got a message that’s sayin’ “all the squares, go home!”

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Let’s Twist!

Ringo + Chubby
On January 13, 1962, Chubby Checker returned to #1 with “The Twist,” a record he previously took to #1 in September of 1960, making it the only record to hit #1 in two separate chart runs.

The song was originally recorded and released in 1959 by its writer, Hank Ballard, and his band, The Midnighters, as the b-side to their single “Teardrops on Your Letter.” A Baltimore DJ named Buddy Deane played “The Twist” on his television dance party program and got a good response. He told Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand about the tune.

Depending on what account you read, Ballard was unavailable to appear on American Bandstand or Clark was wary of Ballard, who previously hit with such lascivious songs as “Work with Me, Annie” and “Sexy Ways.” Either way, Clark had Chubby Checker (born Earnest Evans; his stage name was a take-off on popular singer Fats Domino) record “The Twist.”

Checker’s version is an extremely faithful cover of the Ballard recording. It is difficult to tell them apart; even Ballard thought the Checker recording was his!

In its 1960 release, Chubby Checker’s record launched a national dance craze. On the second release of the Chubby Checker version, “The Twist” became a worldwide phenomenon. Other twist hits included “Slow Twistin’,” “Dear Lady Twist,” “Twist, Twist Señora,” “Twistin’ the Night Away,” “Percolator (Twist),” “Soul Twist,” “Twist and Shout,” “Hey, Let’s Twist,” “Twistin’ Matilda (and the Channel),” “Twist-Her,” “Bristol Twistin’ Annie,” “Twistin’ Postman” and The Chipmunks’ “The Alvin Twist” – and that was just in 1962!

Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” spent one week at #1 in 1960 and two more weeks at #1 in 1962 before it was knocked from the top by…”The Peppermint Twist,” by Joey Dee & the Starlighters.

Here are twenty twistin’ favorites.

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