Inspired by the September 19 birthdays of Chic’s Nile Rodgers, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, Tegan and Sara, Mama Cass Elliot, The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley, Teddybears’ Patrik Arve, Skepta, Rex Smith, The Springfields’ Mike Hurst, Brook Benton, Lol Crème, Austin Roberts, Eamon, Marshall Jefferson, Adam West and Frances Farmer.
They came to dance. They came to celebrate. They came to enjoy life. They came to love.
They went to a place where they would feel comfortable. They went to a place where they would feel safe and supported. They went to a place where they could be themselves. They went to a place where they could be as gay as they truly are and wanted to be. They went to a place where they could escape the shitty world outside, with shitty jobs and shitty people with shitty views of those who are different than they are.
It was a Saturday night, and they needed to dance.
Children didn’t stop going to school, African Americans didn’t stop going to church, and we won’t stop going to clubs.
We will mourn. We will cry. We will persevere. We will win.
It’s Friday, and we need to dance. Don’t think you can stop us. Our Pulse is strong.
Because there are millions of people who tell us we shouldn’t be who we are because it doesn’t conform to who they think we should be;
Because this “government of the people, by the people and for the people” often isn’t for all the people;
Because “All men are created equal” doesn’t include those in the LGBT populations per many politicians and their constituents;
Because our Pride parades are attended not only by LGBT peoples are their allies, but by “counter protestors” who shout hateful rhetoric through megaphones in the name of religion, as these self-proclaimed Christians have no place better to be on a Sunday morning;
Because LGBT youth represent 7% of the youth population, while LGBT homeless youth make up 40% of the homeless youth population;
Because LGB and questioning youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-LGB youth;
Because queer youth need to see there are many people like them;
Because if we don’t celebrate who we are, then we tacitly say we are not worthy of celebration and things are fine as they are, neither of which is true;
Because there is strength in numbers;
Because in many parts of the world one is killed for the suspicion of being gay or lesbian;
Because in many parts of the world it is illegal and/or dangerous to show your LGBT pride;
Because nobody should live in fear of expressing their authentic self, including the asshats who attempt to intimidate us from doing so;
Because it is empowering to be able to express one’s sexuality or gender identity in a supportive environment;
Because coming together brings about positive change;
Because while marrying someone of the opposite gender has been legal throughout US history, the right to marry someone of the same gender is coming on just one year;
Because we still have a ways to get to before we reach true equality, and we’ve come too far to stop now;
Because it’s fun!;
Because diversity should be celebrated;
Because pride is respect for yourself and you deserve respect;
Because men in Speedos;
Because despite all of the bull feces, we persevere. That is why
We still need LGBT Pride Month celebrations.
Here is your expanded soundtrack:
Billboard magazine’s first disco chart was published in October of 1974. Its #1 song was “Never Can Say Goodbye” performed by Gloria Gaynor. That record stayed on top for four weeks, soon crossing over to the pop chart, where it peaked at #9.
An eighteen-plus minute medley of “Honey Bee,” “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” reached #2 on the Disco chart in early 1975, leading to Gaynor being named “Queen of the Discos” by the National Association of Discotheque Disc Jockeys in March of that year.
Six more top ten disco hits followed in 1975 and 1976, but then her fortunes dried up. Her sole entry on the Disco chart in 1977 reached only #38. Her next charted disco single was over a year later, and peaked at #24. By this point, Donna Summer was the new Queen of Disco. Summer was also crossing over onto the pop chart, while Gaynor’s sole top 40 pop single was “Never Can Say Goodbye.” She failed to crack the Hot 100 in 1976 and 1977.
Her record company, Polydor, reached out to producer Dino Fekaris and asked him to produce for Gaynor a cover of the Righteous Brothers track “Substitute,” then a recent hit overseas for a group called Clout.
Fekaris was a staff songwriter at Motown Record for almost seven years before the company let him go. Determined not to let that career setback derail him, Fekaris got together with his songwriter and production partner Freddie Perren, who also had a stint at Motown, and wrote a song about getting over the fear of the unknown and surviving what life throws at you. They wanted a woman to record the track, but didn’t have anybody in mind. They decided to give the song to the next diva they work with. That’s when Polydor called with the Gaynor gig.
As requested by her label boss, Gaynor recorded “Substitute” to be the A-side of her next single, but the song about survival, which she recorded to be the record’s B-side, really resonated with her. Besides her career troubles, she recently lost her mother and fell on stage while performing, which required her to undergo spinal surgery and spend six months in the hospital. She recorded the tracks wearing a back brace.
“Substitute” was released in the fall of 1978. It failed to make the Hot 100.
One night around that time, Studio 54 DJ Ritchie Kaczor flipped over “Substitute” and played its B-side. The patrons ignored it that first time, but Kaczor kept playing it. Eventually, it became the club’s most popular cut. Soon, all New York City clubs were playing the track.
In November 1978 Vince Aletti wrote in Record World magazine that this song “is Gaynor’s very best work in years…delivered with such relish that one can’t help but get caught up in the emotion.”
In Boston, disco radio DJ Jack King played the single’s B-side and reported that “my listeners went nuts!” Seeing the response this song was getting, Polydor reissued the single with “Substitute” as the B-side. The A-side was now the anthem “I Will Survive.”
In January 1979, “I Will Survive” returned Gloria Gaynor to #1 on the Disco chart, where she remained for three weeks. In March of that year the record hit #1 on the Hot 100, where it also stayed for three weeks. It went on to become a smash around the world.
At the 22nd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony on February 27, 1980, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” won for Best Disco Recording, the only time that award has ever been given, over Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?,” Earth Wind & Fire with The Emotions’ “Boogie Wonderland,” and then Queen of Disco Donna Summer’s Bad Girls.
“I Will Survive” kicks off Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party.
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This year’s Grammy nominations were announced this morning. Here they are:
Record of the Year
Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX – “Fancy”
Sia – “Chandelier”
Sam Smith – “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)”
Taylor Swift – “Shake It Off”
Meghan Trainor – “All About That Bass”
Song of the Year
Same as Record of the Year, except instead of “Fancy” you’ve got Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”
Album of the Year
They plan on announcing the nominees in this category tonight during the A Very Grammy Christmas television special. Ariana Grande, Maroon 5 and Album of the Year nominations? Cancel your Friday night plans!
Best New Artist
Some lady I’ve never heard of
Best Pop Vocal Album
Coldplay – Zzzzz
Miley Cyrus – Zzzzz
Ariana Grande – Zzzzz
Katy Perry – Zzzzz
Ed Sheeran – Zzzzz
Sam Smith – Zzzzz
Best Rock Album
Beck – Morning Phase
Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye
U2 – Are You Fucking Kidding Me?!?!
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Jhené Aiko – How Do You Pronounce That?
Beyoncé – I’m Now The Most Nominated Woman In Grammy History, So Bow Down Bitches
Chris Brown – Undeserved
Mali Music – Who?
Pharrell Williams – Gurl!
Best Country Album
Miranda Lambert – Platinum
+ four others
Best Spoken Word Album (a/k/a Best Audiobook)
Forget the titles; look at this list of nominated performers – James Franco, John Waters, Joan Rivers, Gloria Gaynor, Elizabeth Warren and Jimmy Carter! They better present this one on the telecast! Gurl!
Best Rock Song
Paramore – “Ain’t It Fun”
Beck – “Blue Moon”
The Black Keys – “Jack White Better Not Be Nominated”
Ryan Adams – “Gimme Something Good”
Jack White – “The Black Keys Better Not Be Nominated”
Best R&B Song
Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z – “Drunk In Love”
Usher – “I’m Going to Lose to Beyoncé”
Chris Brown featuring Usher and Rick Ross – “I Don’t Deserve a Nomination and I’m Going to Lose to Beyoncé”
Luke James featuring Rick Ross – “You Never Heard of Me and I’m Going to Lose to Beyoncé”
Jhené Aiko – “Though I Also Have an Accent over the Second E in My First Name I’m Going to Lose to Beyoncé”
Best Country Song
Miranda Lambert – “Automatic”
+ four others
Best Dance Recording
Seriously, there is a category for the best audiobook. The Grammy Awards’ tag-line is “Music’s Biggest Night.” Unless Elizabeth Warren sang her memoirs this category should not exist.
This post doesn’t cover all nominations. In total, the Grammy Awards have nominees in 12,623 categories, three of which are presented on the air. Tune in sometime in January or February to see who wins as well as a rare live television appearance from the reclusive Taylor Swift!
As for now, it’s Friday, which is dance day on Tunes du Jour. As tomorrow is Ira Gershwin’s 118th birthday, we’ll kick off this week’s dance party with Donna Summer, who by now may have dined with the famed lyricist.
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Every April, to coincide with Tax Day, my former Sony colleague Rich Appel creates the IRS countdown. In this case, IRS stands for It Really Shoulda, as in It Really Shoulda been a top ten hit. People vote for songs that they feel should have but didn’t make the top ten of Billboard’s Hot 100. Rich collates all of the entries and comes out with the Top 100 IRS songs.
Today is my birthday. Usually on birthdays, Tunes du Jour creates a playlist around the music of the birthday boy or girl. As Friday is dance day in these parts, I decided I would take inspiration from Rich’s IRS countdown and present to you a playlist of songs that I love to dance to that didn’t crack the pop top ten. Here are fifty such IRS tracks. (Actually, fifty-one, not because that’s how old I am but because the Diana Ross entry is two songs.) It’s my birthday and I need to dance!
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In the late 1980s the members of Depeche Mode were recording their seventh studio album, Violator. One of its songs began life as a slow ballad with the only instrumental accompaniment being from an organ played by the song’s writer, band member Martin Gore.
The group’s then-keyboardist Alan Wilder suggested speeding up the track and adding a beat. He and the album’s producer, Flood, then suggested Gore add a guitar riff. DM lead singer Dave Gahan, in an interview with Q magazine, recalls Gore being upset with what was happening to his song, though Gore told Mojo magazine that once he came up with the guitar part, “I think that’s the only time in our history when we all looked at each other and said, ‘I think this might be a hit.'”
Their instincts were spot on. The song went on to become the band’s first (and to date, only) top ten pop single in the US. The Violator album became their first top ten album stateside and their highest-charting album up to that time in the UK, where it peaked at #2. Said Gahan about the track, “It really made the album cross over into another cosmos. It had been a constant climb over the previous 10 years, but I don’t think we were prepared for what was about to come. The album was a worldwide success and suddenly these huge royalty checks started coming in and you were able to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted – the velvet rope was always open.”
If you’re working on something, keep tinkering with it. Approach it in varied ways. Experimentation may lead you to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want.