Tag Archives: Paula Abdul

It’s Samantha Fox’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

In 1982, Carole Ann Wilken of London sent photos she took of her 16-year-old daughter wearing lingerie to the newspaper The Sunday People as part of an amateur modeling contest. The girl, Samantha, placed second. Newspaper The Sun took note of the pics and, with her parents’ permission, soon published topless photos of the teenager on page three of the paper. News. England.

Before long Samantha Fox became a household name in the United Kingdom. In 1986 she released the single “Touch Me (I Want Your Body),” which went to #1 in 17 countries. In the U.S. it peaked at #4.

Her music career graced us with four top 40 hits stateside and nine in her home country. England.

For my money, her best single is easily 1989’s “I Wanna Have Some Fun,” which hit #8 in the U.S., but only reached #63 in the U.K. It was her last solo single to chart there.

In 2009, Fox announced her engagement to her longtime girlfriend/manager, Myra Stratton. Stratton lost her battle with cancer last summer.

Ringo + Sam Fox
Today Tunes du Jour celebrates the 50th birthday of Samantha Fox. Our party playlist should kick off with her best track, “I Wanna Have Some Fun.” However, that track is not on Spotify. Spotify. England. Sheesh.


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Throwback Thursday – 1989

During the February 22, 1989 telecast of the Grammy Awards, Pepsi premiered a thirty-second spot that featured a new song by Madonna, “Like a Prayer.” It was the first time a major artist’s new single was used in a television commercial prior to being released to radio or record stores.

The following week, a two-minute version of the commercial aired during The Cosby Show, at the time a highly-rated program starring America’s favorite dad, Bill Cosby. The ad, part of a $5 million endorsement deal Pepsi struck with Madonna that also included tour sponsorship, featured Madonna dancing in the street, in a school hallway, and in a church.

The song’s music video premiered the following day on MTV. In the video, Madonna witnesses the murder of a white girl by white supremacists. A black man gets arrested for the killing. Madonna seeks refuge in a church, where she has a dream that includes stigmata on her hands, kissing a black saint, and dancing in front of burning crosses.

The Vatican and other religions organizations condemned the video and threatened a protest against Pepsi products. Pepsi dropped its sponsorship of Madonna, never again aired the television spot, and let Madonna keep the $5 million they paid her.

“Like a Prayer” became Madonna’s seventh #1 pop hit in the United States. It also topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Italy, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Belgium, and Switzerland.

“Like a Prayer” won the Viewers Choice award at the 1989 MTV Music Video Awards, a program that incidentally was sponsored by Pepsi. In her speech, Madonna said “I would really like to thank Pepsi for causing so much controversy.”

Tunes du Jour’s playlist this Throwback Thursday spotlights the year 1989, and kicks off with Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.”


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It’s Paula Abdul’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

I was in my convertible car with my then-friend Victor, sitting in traffic on La Cienega Boulevard just below Sunset. It was late afternoon or evening a few months after I moved to Los Angeles. A convertible containing two young ladies pulled out of a parking garage onto La Cienega. They stopped next to us. One of the women excitedly told us “The lakers won!”

Victor and I looked at the lass and then each other. Neither of us knew to what she was referring. What is a laker? Someone who works on a lake, obviously, but what do they do on/to the lake? Was there an ongoing lake workers’ strike that finally ended when their greedy overlords caved in to their demands? Did the lake workers pool their money to buy Powerball tickets and succeed in matching each number? Who are these lakers, what did they win, and how does this benefit Victor and me?

That we didn’t respond quickly and with equal enthusiasm upset the woman who shared with us this news. “I was going to tell you guys you’re cute, but I changed my mind.” Oh, darn. The traffic moved and off we went. I made a left on Sunset; the woman went right.

Victor and I went for chocolate malts at Mel’s Drive-In, where we learned that the Lakers are a local basketball team. Oh, those Lakers! I heard of them. They gave us Paula Abdul. She was an LA Lakers cheerleader before she became a well-known choreographer/”singer”/reality show judge. If only those ladies said to Victor and me “The basketball team for which Paula Abdul was a cheerleader in the early eighties won a game today,” they may have gotten lucky with two cute guys.

Today Paula Abdul turns 53 years old. We kick off our weekly dance party with “Straight Up.”


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Proud Mary

CCR + Winston
One of our summer camp activities was Group Sing, an American Idol-like competition in which teams made up of each age group performed song parodies about how wonderful they are, written by their counselors. Amy and Maury Stein were the camp’s owners and our Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, watching and listening to each song and deciding which was the winning team. (Is that how American Idol works? I‘ve never seen it.)

My group’s counselors wrote a song based on “Proud Mary.” They asked me to play the part of Tina Turner. In the spoken word intro of the Ike & Tina Turner version of the song, she says “We never evah do nothin’ nice and easy. We always do it nice and rough.” I said that describing the Inter-C’s, our group. When the song kicked into high gear I shimmied and whipped my hair with abandon. It’s like my counselors saw something in eight-year-old me that I wouldn’t realize until years later. Proud Mary indeed!

Today the writer of “Proud Mary,” John Fogerty, celebrates his 70th birthday. Here are twenty of his best:


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Trivia Question – Who is the only male solo artist whose first eight singles all went top ten in the UK?

Elton John? No. Elvis Presley? No. Cliff Richard? No. It was Rick Astley. In the US many people remember Rick as a one-hit wonder, but that is incorrect. Rick had seven top 40 singles stateside, including five top tens, two of which, “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Together Forever,” went to #1. He retired from recording in 1993, by which time he had sold around forty million records.

Winston + Rick A
Today Rick turns 49 years old. We kick off our weekly dance party with a largely-forgotten tune of his that went top ten on both sides of the Atlantic.

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The Song Retains The Name

Winston + Bobby Brown
Today is Bobby Brown’s 46th birthday. A former member of New Edition, Brown had his first solo hit in 1988 with “Don’t Be Cruel,” which reached #8 on the Hot 100. Though it shares its title with an Elvis Presley #1 hit from 1956, Brown’s “Don’t Be Cruel” is not a remake.

That brings us to today’s playlist, which I call The Song Retains the Name. It consists of different songs with the same title. I initially planned to include twenty such songs, but more kept springing to mind. Before I knew it, I passed 100 entries. There are plenty more, so I decided to open this up to my reader(s). If you have songs that share titles you’d like to add, feel free to do so.

(NOTES: I included The Jacksons’ “This Place Hotel” because when it was released in 1980 its title was “Heartbreak Hotel.” Thought he didn’t have to, Michael Jackson, the song’s writer, later changed its name to “This Place Hotel” to avoid confusion with the Elvis Presley song “Heartbreak Hotel.” Whitney Houston didn’t feel the need to make the same Hotel accommodation.

Also, though it is listed on Spotify as “The Best of My Love,” the Eagles track does not have a “The” on the 45 or the band’s On the Border album.)

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Happy Britney Spears’ Birthday!

Britney Spears was the first recording artist to thank me in her CD booklet liner notes. The album was 2000’s Oops!…I Did It Again, which set a record when it sold over 1.3 million copies in the US its first week. At the time I was running the licensing department at Zomba Recording Corporation, parent company of Jive Records, to which Britney was signed. It was a great time to be at that company. I worked with smart, creative people, and I got to apply my skills to our superstar roster (Britney, Backstreet Boys, R. Kelly, NSYNC), enabling us to increase licensing revenue four-fold during my four years of employment there.

Britney plaque

When I started at Zomba, Britney was 17 years old and was on her second hit single, “Sometimes.” Today she turns 32. To date she has had 23 top forty hits in the US. Her latest album, Britney Jean, was released last week.

Enjoy today’s Britney-inspired playlist.

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