Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 11-18-23

In early 1980 newspaper The Village Voice published the results of its poll of 155 music critics. Voted the best album of 1979 was Graham Parker & The Rumour’s Squeezing Out Sparks. The rest of the top ten was:

Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps

The Clash – The Clash

Talking Heads – Fear of Music

Elvis Costello – Armed Forces

Van Morrison – Into the Music

The B-52s – The B-52s

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedoes

Pere Ubu – Dub Housing

Donna Summer – Bad Girls                                                                                                                                                                  Graham Parker was born on this date in 1950. A handful of his songs are included on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 10-2-23

In the same room where Ian Fleming wrote James Bond novels Sting of The Police wrote what he called a “nasty little song” about his feelings of jealousy and obsession over his first wife following their divorce. I’m not sure if hearing the song everywhere helped him get over those feelings, but the money the song generated may have lifted his spirits.

Sting was born on this date in 1951. Lotsa Police songs on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 7-28-23

Devo’s “Whip It” was inspired by a magazine article about how to be a better wife. The song’s cowriter and bassist for the band, Gerald Casale, said he’d found that story in a 1962 issue of The Family Handyman and thought it was funny. He decided to write a song that parodied the idea of whipping your problems away. Casale also drew from communist propaganda posters and a 1973 novel by Thomas Pynchon called Gravity’s Rainbow, which mocks capitalist slogans with satirical limericks.He wrote lyrics that taken out of context sound like motivational clichés: When a good time turns around, you must whip it. Give the past a slip. Whip it into shape. Get straight. Go forward. Move ahead. And my personal favorite: Before the cream sits out too long, you must whip it.

Jerry Casale turns 75 today. A couple of Devo tracks, including their biggest hit, “Whip It,” are included on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 1-6-23

In his excellent autobiography Le Freak, Chic’s Nile Rodgers writes how his group’s record label wanted to capture the magic Rodgers and his music partner Bernard Edwards brought to their group to other acts on the Atlantic Records roster, such as The Rolling Stones and Bette Midler. Nile turned down the acts that were firmly established, as with them less attention would be paid to the song’s writers and producers. He wanted to work with a lesser known act. Atlantic Records president Jerry Greenberg suggested a group of sisters who “stick together like birds of a feather,” and so it came to be that Rodgers and Edwards wrote and produced the We Are Family album for Sister Sledge. I think you know what happened next.

Today’s playlist celebrates the birthday of Sister Sledge lead vocalist Kathy Sledge by including several tracks from that classic album.