Tunes Du Jour Presents Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye wasn’t just a singer; he was a cultural touchstone. His music transcended genres and generations, leaving an indelible mark on the soundtrack of our lives.

Today’s playlist delves into the multifaceted artistry of this musical giant. We hear the early days of Gaye, the prince of Motown, with classics like “Ain’t That Peculiar” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You).” These tracks showcase Gaye’s undeniable charisma and his ability to deliver a love song that could melt glaciers.

But Gaye wasn’t content to simply be a love ballad specialist. One can’t ignore the social and political commentary woven into Gaye’s later works, particularly What’s Going On, which topped Rolling Stone’s 2020 survey of the greatest albums of all time. That record tackled war, poverty, and environmental concerns with a raw honesty that resonated deeply. Tracks like “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” tackled environmental degradation, while the title track became an anthem for a generation yearning for peace and a response to society’s ills. This willingness to confront social issues set Gaye apart, making him a voice for the voiceless.

Gaye’s influence on music is undeniable. His use of layered instrumentation paved the way for future generations of artists. More importantly, his vocal prowess – the raspy vulnerability, the effortless power – became a benchmark for countless singers across genres. From R&B to soul to pop, Gaye’s influence can be felt in the music we listen to today.

Beyond the music, Gaye’s personal struggles became part of his narrative. His tempestuous relationships and inner demons fueled the emotional intensity of his music, adding a layer of authenticity that resonated with listeners. But it’s important to remember the man behind the music, not just the turmoil. Gaye’s collaborations with Tammi Terrell, Kim Weston, Mary Wells, and Diana Ross produced some of the most beloved soul duets ever recorded, showcasing a tenderness and vulnerability that balanced his more confrontational moments.

The accompanying playlist offers a glimpse into the vast and multifaceted world of Marvin Gaye. You’ll find heart-wrenching ballads like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” alongside the dancefloor anthems like “Got to Give It Up.” There are the iconic duets with Tammi Terrell, the socially conscious anthems, and the smooth, seductive grooves that made him a legend.

Marvin Gaye’s legacy extends far beyond the number of records sold or awards won. He was a cultural icon, a voice for a generation, and an artist whose influence continues to be felt today. So put on your headphones, crank up the volume, and let the music of Marvin Gaye wash over you.

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Tunes Du Jour Presents Diana Ross

Diana Ross is a name synonymous with powerhouse vocals, unforgettable style, and a career that has spanned over six decades. But beyond the glitz and glamour, Ross’ impact on music is undeniable. As the lead singer of The Supremes, she shattered racial barriers and brought a new level of sophistication to pop music. Hits like “Baby Love,” “Where Did Our Love Go,” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” remain timeless classics, while tracks like “Love Child” subtly challenged societal norms.

Leaving The Supremes to forge a successful solo career, Ross continued to push boundaries. Songs like “Upside Down” and “Love Hangover” cemented her status as a disco queen, while the uplifting “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” became a rallying cry for overcoming obstacles, “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” displayed her versatility as a dramatic performer, and “I’m Coming Out” became a cultural touchstone, an anthem for the LGBTQ+ community. Whether intentional or not, Ross’s music consistently resonated with those seeking empowerment and self-discovery. Ross’ music wasn’t just catchy; it spoke to the aspirations and heartaches of a generation.

While the spotlight often shines on her musical achievements, Ross’s philanthropic efforts deserve equal recognition. She has championed causes that touch the lives of many. Here are some highlights:

  1. Autism Movement Therapy: Ross’s support for this organization underscores her commitment to inclusivity. By promoting movement-based therapies for individuals with autism, she advocates for a world where everyone’s unique abilities are celebrated.
  2. Elton John AIDS Foundation: Ross’s involvement in this foundation reflects her compassion. She recognizes the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS and works tirelessly to raise awareness and funds for research and support.
  3. Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center: Inspired by her dear friend Muhammad Ali, Ross contributes to this center, which provides care and resources for those battling Parkinson’s disease. Her empathy extends beyond the stage.
  4. United Service Organization (USO): Ross’s dedication to supporting military personnel and their families is unwavering. Her performances for troops stationed around the world demonstrate her gratitude and respect.

Listening to the playlist as a whole, it’s clear that Diana Ross’s legacy goes beyond just chart-topping hits. She was a pioneer for Black artists in the music industry, an artist whose music continues to inspire and uplift. By paving the way for future generations of artists, she helped diversify the soundscape of popular music. So crank up the volume, hit play, and let yourself be swept away by the timeless sounds of Diana Ross.

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Tunes Du Jour Presents Tribute Songs

This playlist consists of tributes to some of the most influential figures in history and culture:

Candle In The Wind – Elton John: A heartfelt tribute to the iconic Marilyn Monroe, Elton John’s poignant melody captures the essence of her tragic life and enduring legacy.

Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile) – Van Morrison: Van Morrison’s soulful tribute to Jackie Wilson celebrates the enduring power of music to uplift and inspire, capturing the essence of Wilson’s legendary performances and infectious charisma.

Vincent – Don McLean: Don McLean’s haunting ballad pays homage to the tormented genius of Vincent Van Gogh, intertwining his artistry with the complexities of his inner struggles.

When Smokey Sings – ABC: ABC’s smooth tribute to Motown legend Smokey Robinson pays homage to his soulful melodies and timeless contributions to music, evoking the nostalgic allure of his classic hits.

Pride (In The Name Of Love) – U2: With soaring vocals and stirring lyrics, U2’s anthem commemorates the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., inspiring listeners to carry on his message of love and equality.

The Late Great Johnny Ace – Paul Simon: Paul Simon’s poignant tribute to rhythm and blues singer Johnny Ace reflects on the tragic circumstances of his untimely death, capturing the essence of his brief yet impactful career.

Nightshift – Commodores: A soulful tribute to the legendary soul singers Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson, the Commodores’ “Nightshift” celebrates their contributions to music and honors their enduring impact.

King Tut – Steve Martin: Steve Martin’s irreverent tribute to the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun celebrates the enduring fascination with ancient history and the enduring legacy of one of its most iconic figures.

Man On The Moon – R.E.M.: R.E.M.’s enigmatic ode to the enigmatic Andy Kaufman captures the essence of his eccentricity and genius, inviting listeners to ponder the mysteries of his life and art.

Andy Warhol – David Bowie: David Bowie’s avant-garde homage to pop artist Andy Warhol captures the essence of his enigmatic persona and artistic vision, reflecting on his influence on contemporary culture and creativity.

Abraham Martin And John – Dion: Through Dion’s soulful rendition, “Abraham Martin And John” tenderly remembers the legacies of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and John F. Kennedy, reflecting on their enduring influence on American history.

Rock and Roll Heaven – The Righteous Brothers: The Righteous Brothers’ soul-stirring tribute to fallen rock ‘n’ roll stars celebrates their enduring legacy and contributions to music, offering a heartfelt homage to their memory.

All Those Years Ago – George Harrison: George Harrison’s heartfelt tribute to his late bandmate John Lennon not only reminisces about their time together in The Beatles but also serves as a poignant reflection on love, loss, and the passage of time.

Big Train (From Memphis) – John Fogerty: John Fogerty’s rollicking tribute to Elvis Presley captures the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion and pays homage to the enduring influence of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll on American music.

Biko – Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel’s powerful anthem honors the memory of South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, capturing the spirit of resistance and resilience that defined his legacy.

Tunic (Song For Karen) – Sonic Youth: Sonic Youth’s haunting tribute to Karen Carpenter reflects on the tragic circumstances of her life and untimely death, capturing the essence of her talent and the profound impact of her music.

Emmylou – First Aid Kit: First Aid Kit’s ethereal tribute to country music icon Emmylou Harris celebrates her timeless talent and profound influence on the genre, echoing the purity and grace of her musical stylings.

Brian Wilson – Barenaked Ladies: Barenaked Ladies’ whimsical tribute to Brian Wilson celebrates his innovative genius and enduring legacy as a founding member of The Beach Boys, capturing the spirit of his iconic melodies and harmonies.

Englishman in New York – Sting: Sting’s homage to the eccentric poet and playwright Quentin Crisp celebrates his unapologetic individuality and unwavering commitment to authenticity, embodying the spirit of self-expression and acceptance.

Velvet Underground – Jonathan Richman: Jonathan Richman’s heartfelt tribute to the Velvet Underground pays homage to their groundbreaking contributions to music and celebrates their enduring influence on alternative rock.

Alex Chilton – The Replacements: The Replacements’ infectious tribute to rock ‘n’ roll icon Alex Chilton pays homage to his rebellious spirit and enduring impact on music, capturing the essence of his legendary status.

She’s Madonna – Robbie Williams with Pet Shop Boys: Robbie Williams’ provocative tribute to Madonna celebrates her status as a pop culture icon, reflecting on her impact on music, fashion, and female empowerment.

Happy Birthday – Stevie Wonder: Stevie Wonder’s spirited anthem advocates for the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday, encapsulating the fervent spirit of the civil rights movement and celebrating the enduring legacy of King’s vision for equality and justice. With its infectious melody and uplifting lyrics, the song serves as both a tribute to King’s contributions to society and a call to action for continued progress and unity.

Elvis is Everywhere – Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper: Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper’s irreverent tribute to Elvis Presley humorously celebrates the enduring presence of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in popular culture, reflecting on his larger-than-life persona and lasting legacy.

Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way – Waylon Jennings: Waylon Jennings’ classic pays homage to the pioneering spirit of country music legend Hank Williams, reflecting on his influence and innovation within the genre.

Song To Woody – Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan’s heartfelt tribute to folk music legend Woody Guthrie pays homage to his influence on his own musical journey and celebrates the enduring power of Guthrie’s songs to inspire and provoke.

Sweet Gene Vincent – Ian Dury: Ian Dury’s rollicking tribute to rockabilly pioneer Gene Vincent captures the energy and excitement of his music, paying homage to his enduring impact on rock ‘n’ roll.

Bowie – Flight of the Conchords: Flight of the Conchords’ whimsical tribute to David Bowie celebrates his eclectic persona and musical genius, capturing the essence of his iconic status as a cultural icon.

Giorgio By Moroder – Daft Punk feat. Giorgio Moroder: Daft Punk’s electrifying tribute to legendary producer Giorgio Moroder not only celebrates his innovative contributions to electronic music but also reflects on the evolution of the genre and its impact on contemporary culture.

Martin Scorsese – King Missile: King Missile’s irreverent tribute to filmmaker Martin Scorsese playfully celebrates his contributions to cinema and pop culture, reflecting on his unique vision and enduring impact on the art of filmmaking.

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Tunes Du Jour Presents 1968

In the tumultuous year of 1968, the world was ablaze with social and political upheaval, and the music of the time resonated deeply with the spirit of change. As we reflect on the sounds that defined this pivotal era, it’s impossible not to be swept away by the eclectic mix of genres and emotions that filled the airwaves. From soulful ballads to psychedelic rock anthems, the music of 1968 was a reflection of the turbulent times in which it was created.

One cannot delve into the musical landscape of 1968 without acknowledging the timeless classics that continue to capture hearts and minds today. Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” remains a soulful testament to the power of love and betrayal, while The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” stands as an enduring anthem of hope and resilience. Meanwhile, Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” evokes a sense of quiet contemplation amidst the chaos, its melancholic melody lingering long after the last note fades away.

The year also saw the rise of revolutionary artists who pushed the boundaries of conventional sound and style. Jimi Hendrix’s electrifying rendition of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” redefined the possibilities of guitar-driven rock, while Sly & the Family Stone’s “Dance To The Music” infused funk with a vibrant energy that transcended racial and cultural divides. Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild” became the anthem of a generation, capturing the restless spirit of rebellion that coursed through the veins of youth around the world.

Each track on this playlist is a testament to the power of music to unite, inspire, and console, even in the darkest of times. Let us remember the year that was 1968 and the enduring legacy of the artists who helped shape it.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 2-2-24

The Honey Cone was the first act signed to Hot Wax Records, a label started in 1968 by Eddie and Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, who previously were staff writers and producers at Motown Records and in that role wrote twelve number one singles between 1962 and 1967, two performed by The Four Tops and the other ten by The Supremes, with lead vocals by Diana Ross, who would soon leave the trio and be replaced by Jean Terrell in 1970, with Terrell being replaced in 1973 by Scherrie Payne, who before then was the singer in a group called Glass House, also signed to Hot Wax Records, who recorded “Want Ads” prior to The Honey Cone, but neither Scherrie nor the track’s producer, Greg Perry, liked their version, leading Scherrie to re-record the song with her sister Freda, who had a number 3 record in 1970 with “Band of Gold,” a song co-penned by Holland-Dozier-Holland under assumed names, but the sisters’ version of “Want Ads” was also discarded, which then led Scherrie to suggest to Perry that he try the song again with Edna Wright singing, Wright being the lead singer for The Honey Cone and the sister of Darlene Wright, the singer for the group The Blossoms, and while you may not recognize the names Darlene Wright or The Blossoms, you may know their music, for producer Phil Spector renamed Darlene Wright Darlene Love (without her knowledge) and released records by The Blossoms under the name The Crystals, who hit number 1 with “He’s a Rebel,” and should not be but will be confused with another group called The Crystals, also produced by Phil Spector at the same time he was working with Wright/Love and The Blossoms, but let’s get back to Edna Wright, who recorded “Want Ads” with backing vocals by the other two members of The Honey Cone, Shellie Clark, who a couple of years earlier was singing backup for Ike and Tina Turner, and Carolyn Willis, who toured as a member of Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, a group whose records were produced by Phil Spector and featured vocals from Darlene Wright/Love. In June of 1971 The Honey Cone took “Want Ads” to number 1. (This paragraph is pulled from my long-awaited (by me, anyway) book, which I’m trying to get out this year.) 

The late Edna Wright of The Honey Cone was born on this date in 1945. A couple of the group’s best-known songs, including “Want Ads,” are on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 12-19-23

One of the very things I ordered from the Columbia House Record and tape Club when I signed up back in 1975 was the Earth, Wind & Fire album That’s The Way Of The World, which includes their breakthrough hit “Shining Star.” Loved it then, love it now. 

The late Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire was born on this date in 1941. Lots of EWF on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 12-10-23

“Nightshift” was Commodores’ biggest hit following the departure of usual lead singer Lionel Richie. The group’s Walter Orange, a co-writer of the song, sings lead on verse one. Orange also sang lead on Commodores’ hits “Brick House” and “Too Hot Ta Trot.” So there. 

Commodores’ Walter Orange was born on this date (or maybe yesterday’s date) in 1946. Two of the group’s songs on which he sang lead are included on today’s playlist.

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