Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (10-2-20)

Inspired by the October 2 birthdays of The Police’s Sting, Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard, Genesis/Mike + the Mechanics’ Mike Rutherford, The Human League’s Philip Oakey, Mousse T., Badly Drawn Boy, Foxy/OXO’s Ish Ledesma, The Diamonds’ Dave Somerville, Don McLean, Richard Hell, Redbone’s Lolly Vegas, Aqua’s Lene Nystrom, and Bud Abbott.

Throwback Thursday – 1998

Your knees start shakin’ and your fingers pop
Like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock

I think I read somewhere that there is a new Star Trek movie opening this weekend, or sometime soon. I didn’t pay too much attention. I’ve never seen any Star Trek movie, nor have I seen any episode of the TV show Star Trek, or any of its offshoots.

I saw part of one episode from the original series. Joan Collins was a guest star. I watched when she was on screen; I changed the channel when she wasn’t. That small fact told my friend Laura’s brother more about me than I knew about myself at that time.

I don’t know what Star Trek is about. I know there’s a spaceship called the Enterprise, and that’s about it. I don’t know when the show takes place. I don’t know the characters’ personality types or if they all get along or if any of them hook up.

I’ve heard William Shatner recite the lyrics to “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Space Oddity” and other songs that were classics until the moment I heard Bill do ‘em. I’ve heard Leonard Nimoy “sing” a song about Hobbits (don’t get me started on my lack of knowledge about Hobbits! I’m not even sure the word Hobbits should be capitalized.). Those recordings weren’t enough to entice me into checking out the work that made those guys famous.

I’m also familiar with the song “Star Trekkin’” by a group called The Firm, not to be confused with the Jimmy Page band The Firm, though equally awful. “Star Trekkin’” went to #1 on the UK singles chart in 1987, and by doing so removed the bragging rights of anyone else who hit #1 on the UK singles chart. “Oh, you had a #1 UK single, Nicole Scherzinger? You know what else was a #1 UK single? ‘Star Trekkin”’.”

William Shatner was on another television show somewhat recently. I don’t recall what it was. I think it was set in a courtroom or a law office. I never watched it.

I don’t know if Leonard Nimoy did anything after the Star Trek TV series.

Though I don’t know from and couldn’t care any less about Star Trek, I do recognize some Star Trek references in pop culture, like in the lyrics that opened this post, which are from Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic,” one of 1998’s best singles and the song that kicks off Tunes du Jour’s 1998 playlist on this Throwback Thursday. I take it when Mr. Spock touches someone’s neck, their knees shake and their fingers pop, like mine do when I listen to Beastie Boys. Let’s get poppin’!


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It’s Q-Tip’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Here’s the thing…I started writing today’s blog entry about mishaps I’ve recently encountered in on-line dating, specifically with an app I downloaded last week that despite my creating a profile that says I’m a man looking for a man, keeps trying to set me up with straight guys. I tied that into today’s birthday, Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, by saying he’s one straight guy who wouldn’t date me. I quoted lyrics from Tribe’s song “Georgy Porgy.” While I was typing those lyrics, my stomach turned. I had trouble finding the humor in a song that refers to a gay guy as gross, ill, a fag, wounded, weak, a fucking faggot, and then some. The post started out funny but when I got to Q-Tip’s lyric “You can call me homophobic but I know it and you know it/ you’re filthy and funny to the utmost,” I decided I may be funny, but he isn’t, nor is he worth celebrating.

Odd that such a hateful bigot should appear on a record by Deee-Lite, a trio of gay and gay-friendly performers. Q-Tip appears on a lot of good records.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Today’s playlist doesn’t celebrate the loathsome Q-Tip, but rather twenty great club tracks, a few of which feature Q-Tip. I’ll fill you in on my dating app experiences later.


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Let’s Sing About Sex

Today is the 57th birthday of English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg. My favorite song of his is “Sexuality,” a #2 US Modern Rock hit from 1991. Co-written with The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, “Sexuality” is, as described by Wayne Studer in his book Rock on the Wild Side, “a bouncy, ringing celebration of healthy, open-minded live-and-let-live attitudes about the human body and human relationships.” Singing “your laws do not apply to me” and “I demand equality,” this is a protest song that remains relevant 20+ years later.

In celebration of “Sexuality,” today’s playlist consists of twenty songs with the word sex or some variant thereof in the title. Get down!

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doggies + New Edition

It’s My Birthday And I Need To Dance!

doggies + New Edition
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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Clowns Angry At Media (+ It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!)

The new season of American Horror Story features a character named Twisty the Clown. Twisty the Clown is a psychopath who murders people with scissors and imprisons children in a school bus. The character is getting professional clowns’ knickers in a twisty.

Glenn Kohlberger, president of Clowns of America International, is quoted in The Hollywood Reporter as saying “Hollywood makes money sensationalizing the norm. They can take any situation no matter how good or pure and turn it into a nightmare.”

His sentiments are echoed by the United States’ second largest clown trade group, the Society of Clowns for the Advancement of Realistic Expression (SCARE). “Business was going great for me until the autumn of 2001,” said that organization’s president, Slappy bin Laden. “You have to ask yourself ‘Why would business suddenly drop off?’ The answer must be the media’s portrayal of clowns.” Bin Laden points to The Simpsons’ Krusty the Clown as an example. “[Krusty the Clown] is a buffoon masquerading as a clown. He’s not a real clown.”

“Things have not improved since then,” bin Laden continues. “We got a Batman movie in which a clown called The Joker is a sociopath. We got a sitcom called Modern Family in which a clown is actually a homosexual. These portrayals give clowns a bad name.”

“Hollywood is not going to change unless it is pressured to do so.” That is why bin Laden pitched a new sitcom that portrays clowns in a positive, and per bin Laden, more truthful light. Everybody Loves Slappy will premiere on the FX network in January 2015. In the show, bin Laden plays Slappy Hussein, a sportswriter living with his family in Lynbrook, NY. “The show is good clean entertainment. It’s about a clown who works hard and loves his family, though he’s an alcoholic who beats his wife, because all clowns do that.”

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Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. You can vogue, hustle or do the twisty. Put on your dancing shoes (or big clown shoes) and hit the floor!

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Winston + Queen 2014-09-05 11.07

It’s Freddie Mercury’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

The band Queen released their eighth studio album, The Game, in 1980. The album’s first single, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” released eight months prior to the LP, went to #1 on the US pop charts. “Play the Game,” released as a single just a month before the album dropped, failed to make the US top 40.

Backstage after a Queen concert in Los Angeles, a fan of the group, Michael Jackson, suggested to Freddie Mercury that “Another One Bites the Dust” should be the next single. The band were initially reluctant to do so, but the track was getting airplay on black radio stations and demand was increasing, so their label, Elektra, put it out.

Inspired by the bass line of Chic’s “Good Times,” “Another One Bites the Dust” went to #1 on the US pop charts. It also hit #2 on the Soul chart and on the Dance chart, the group’s highest-placing songs on those formats.

A few years later Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson recorded a few tracks together, including one written by Jackson and Randy Hansen entitled “State of Shock.” The pair never completed the track; explanations given or conjectured being they both got too busy with other commitments and couldn’t find time to reunite, Jackson objected to Mercury’s cocaine use, Mercury objected to Jackson bringing a llama into the recording studio, Queen’s record label fearing Mercury associating with Jackson would lead consumers to think he was gay (ahem). Whatever the reason, “State of Shock” was eventually released with Mick Jagger trading vocals with Jackson. It hit #3 in 1984.

Winston + Queen 2014-09-05 11.07
Today is Freddie Mercury’s birthday, so we’ll kick off our weekly dance party with “Another One Bites the Dust.”

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