“Dancing Queen.” Rumours. Punk. “Sir Duke.” Saturday Night Fever. Disco. “Hotel California.” What a great year for music!
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Inspired by the May 21 birthdays of Ronald Isley, The Notorious B.I.G., Sugababes’ Mutya Buena, Carl Carlton, Leo Sayer, Justice’s Gaspard Augé, Fats Waller, Marcie Blane and Anjulie.
An instrumental performed by then new Eagles member Don Felder was submitted to his bandmates Glenn Frey and Don Henley to add lyrics. The first working title the guys gave the song was “Mexican Reggae.”
Henley was determined to create the perfect song, spending eight months in the studio working on “Mexican Reggae,” which came to be called “Hotel California.” A lyric referring to the band Steely Dan was added (“They stab it with their steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast”) after Steely Dan included the lyric “Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening” on their song “Everything You Did.”
In 2009, music critic John Soeder asked Don Henley about the lyric “So I called up the Captain / ‘Please bring me my wine’ / He said, ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969’,” pointing out that wine isn’t a spirit, as wine is fermented whereas spirits are distilled. Soeder asked the singer/composer “Do you regret that lyric?” Henley replied “Believe me, I’ve consumed enough alcoholic beverages in my time to know how they are made and what the proper nomenclature is….My only regret would be having to explain it in detail to you, which would defeat the purpose of using literary devices in songwriting and lower the discussion to some silly and irrelevant argument about chemical processes.” Insert steely knife here!
This week for Throwback Thursday, Tunes du Jour listens to the hits of 1977, kicking off with Eagles’ “Hotel California.”
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As you may have heard, our sleepy little hamlet of Los Angeles got some rain over the past week. I assume you heard this because Los Angeles is the center of the world and our weather is likely reported everywhere, especially when we get rain, which lesser cities take for granted. More rain is forecast for this week.
If you were near a radio in the United States in 1972, you heard Albert Hammond’s hit single “It Never Rains in Southern California,” and learned that while in L.A. it never rains, it pours. Man, it pours.
Today’s playlist consists of songs with word rain or some variation thereof in the title. It includes Albert Hammond’s “It Never Rains in Southern California,” one of two top forty singles Hammond had as an artist. (The other was 1974’s “I’m a Train.” Remember that one? Didn’t think so.) As a songwriter, Hammond’s hits include The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe,” Leo Sayer’s “When I Need You,” Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time,” Chicago’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love,” Ace of Base’s “Don’t Turn Around,” Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson’s “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” and The Pipkins’ “Gimme Dat Ding.” His son is a founding member of The Strokes.
Back to the weather. Get your umbrella and enjoy today’s playlist while the sun is still shining.
The Clash released their self-titled debut album in 1977. At that time I was very much a Top 40/Disco kid, listening to KC & the Sunshine Band, The Bee Gees, Eagles, Leo Sayer, ABBA, Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow and Fleetwood Mac, etc. I’d read about punk rockers in Rolling Stone and Billboard, with their spitting and complaining. No thank you!
I heard a few Clash songs in the few years that followed – their two US top 40 singles “Train in Vain” and “Rock the Casbah,” plus “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” I liked all of those, but assumed they were the exception. They didn’t sound like the way I read punk described.
In 1986 I was working at CBS Records. One of the perks was employees could order five records or tapes each month from the CBS Records catalogue. I got the entire Springsteen back catalogue and some Dylan releases. Eventually I got around to ordering The Clash’s catalogue. I read about them so often and the records were free, so why not?
Wow! London Calling was the most impressive and the one that led to my rave review to Laura. It was not at all what I expected. It was very melodic and very accessible, with a diverse range of styles. The other albums all had their moments, enough such moments that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of their albums.
Let me amend that – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of their albums except Cut the Crap, released after Mick Jones left the band.
While I’m often way ahead of the general population on songs and artists that eventually gather wide acclaim, sometime I’m slow. The Clash was one of those times. And, in retrospect, I suppose I was a tad hyperbolic when I declared Men At Work to be the new Beatles.
Today Mick Jones of The Clash (and later Big Audio Dynamite) turns 59. Here are ten gems.
I didn’t get the film Muriel’s Wedding. Not as in I didn’t get the Blu-Ray of this movie for Hanukkah. I don’t even own a Blu-Ray player. No, I mean I didn’t understand it. Or rather, I didn’t buy it. Muriel, the ugly duckling girl who is mocked and abused, ends up marrying a beautiful South African swimmer and then splits up with him because of some self-esteem bullshit. WHAT? For fuck’s sake, Muriel! The man has beautiful eyes, a great body and doesn’t beat you. What more could you want? If this means I’m shallow and superficial then I don’t want to be right. She says to him “I don’t love you” and he replies “I don’t love you either but I think I could like having you around.” He’s so sweet! I dream of the day someone says something so romantic to me! Someone attractive, that is. Oh, um, SPOILER ALERT. I should have said that a few sentences ago. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and plan to (which you should, just to see what Muriel walked away from) then forget what you just read.
Muriel’s Wedding had its good points: a) David (Muriel’s husband), b) it introduced us to Toni Collette as Muriel, c) it introduced us to Rachel Griffiths, and d) along with The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, it brought ABBA back into the public consciousness.
Today Tunes du Jour celebrates the birthday of ABBA’s Benny Andersson who, along with the group’s Björn Ulvaeus, co-wrote and co-produced most of their hits.