A used unwashed black t-shirt worn by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong during the promotion of the band’s American Idiot album sold for $2500 at a charity auction, with the proceeds going to the Oakland School of the Arts. I would love to dispose of my laundry pile the same way, but I doubt anybody would pay more than $400 for my sweat-stained socks.
Billie Joe Armstrong was born on this date in 1972. Tracks from his band are included on today’s playlist.
Melanie Safka wrote the song “Lay Down” after performing at Woodstock in 1969, where she was inspired by the sight of the audience lighting candles in the rain. It became her first US hit, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Melanie was born on this date in 1947. She passed away just over a week ago. A few of her songs are on today’s playlist.
The first artist fan club I ever joined was that of KC and the Sunshine Band. I received a membership card and a Christmas card from the band when that holiday I don’t celebrate came around. I don’t think there was more to it. I joined Olivia Newton-John’s fan club a year or two later, and received a membership card and a folio filled with photos of Livvy pressed on cardboard of various sizes. Years later I joined the R.E.M. and Pearl Jam fan clubs, which came with 45 rpm records and stickers and a calendar and a VHS tape and some other fun stuff.
Are any of y’alls in an artist’s fan club? Is it worth the price of entry?
KC was born Harry Wayne Casey on this date in 1951. A handful of his group’s songs are included on today’s playlist. Also included is his first number one single – as a songwriter with fellow Sunshine Band member Rick Finch on George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby.”
The year 1991 was a remarkable one for music, as it saw the emergence of genres, styles, and stars that would shape the musical landscape for years to come. Today’s playlist consists of thirty of the songs that defined 1991.
We’ve got slick pop hooks and hip-hop beats, soulful ballads and dancefloor anthems, synth pop and alt rock, industrial angst and Prince.
In late September of 1991, a trio from Seattle released an album that soon became a phenomenon that transcended music and defined a generation. Its first hit single inaugurated a new wave of alternative rock that would dominate the 90s. That song peaked on the pop charts the following year, so look for it when Tunes Du Jour Presents 1992.
For now, take a trip down memory lane and enjoy the musical smorgasbord that was 1991. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for more posts about music.
“One minute you’re just cooking up someone’s order of French fries and the next minute you’re laying on the floor and they blow your brains out.”- The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne reflecting on being held up at gunpoint when he was a fry cook at Long John Silver’s
The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne on this date in 1961. A few of his band’s cuts are included on today’s playlist.
R.E.M. was one of the most influential and innovative bands of the 1980s and 1990s, creating a distinctive sound that blended alternative rock, folk, and pop. The band, which consisted of Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry, formed in 1980 in Athens, Georgia, and soon became the quintessential college rock band, attracting a loyal fan base with their poetic lyrics, jangly guitars, and charismatic stage presence.
R.E.M. was not only a musical force, but also a social and political one. The band used their platform to raise awareness and support for various causes, such as environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, and AIDS research., and they also celebrated their own identities, with Stipe coming out as queer in 1994 and Buck embracing his Buddhist faith.
Some of R.E.M.’s songs reflected their activism and values, such as “Fall on Me”, which addressed acid rain and “Orange Crush”, which criticized the Vietnam War. Other songs captured the emotions and experiences of their listeners, such as “Losing My Religion”, which explored doubt and obsession, “Everybody Hurts”, which offered comfort and hope, and “Nightswimming”, which evoked nostalgia and innocence.
R.E.M. also experimented with different musical styles and formats, such as incorporating rap, electronica, and country elements. They also challenged the music industry norms, refusing to print lyrics with their albums until 1994, avoiding lip-syncing on television, and maintaining creative control over their work.
R.E.M. disbanded in 2011, after 31 years and 15 studio albums, leaving behind a legacy of music and social impact that inspired countless artists and fans. Their songs are still widely played and enjoyed today, and their influence can be heard in bands such as Nirvana, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, and Coldplay. R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, and received numerous awards and accolades for their artistic and humanitarian achievements.
If you want to revisit some of R.E.M.’s best songs, or discover them for the first time, check out this playlist that features some of their hits and deep cuts.
The year after I graduated from college I moved out of my parents’ house into my own apartment in Woodbridge, New Jersey, where I lived for two years before moving into Manhattan. Woodbridge was no great shakes, though there was one cool thing about it. Around the corner from me was an independent record store whose name I will never recall. Always on the hunt for new music, I would spend hours there flipping through the racks. It was on one of those occasions, in 1986 or ’87, that I chanced upon an album named Let It Be. I already had an album at home called Let It Be by a different band, and that one was pretty good, so I figured I’d take a chance on this Let It Be. It’s by a band named The Replacements, and while I had never heard their music, I did recall reading positive things about them in the music press. I splurged the $9 + tax on the still sealed vinyl LP, took that baby home, and have never looked back. I now own every album ever released by The Replacements in triplicate plus one (is that called quadruplicate?), not because I’m an obsessive, but because I worked for their record company. And because I’m an obsessive.
The Replacements’ Paul Westerberg was born on this date in 1959. A few of the band’s earlier recordings are included on today’s playlist.