Tag Archives: Randy Newman

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (2-18-20)

I’m experimenting here at Tunes du Jour. Yesterday I started including multiple songs by the birthday performers who inspired that day’s playlist. As of today I’m not limiting myself to twenty songs. My thinking is that by removing that restriction I can posts playlists (almost) dailier and you get a deeper dive into some of the artists. I’m living on the edge!

Today’s playlist is inspired by the February 18 birthdays of Regina Spektor, Yoko Ono, Styx’s Dennis DeYoung, John Travolta, Randy Crawford, Juelz Santana, Irma Thomas, Juice Newton, and Space’s Tommy Scott.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (2-6-20)

A 20-song Spotify playlist, inspired by the February 6 birthdays of Bob Marley, Guns ‘n Roses’ Axl Rose, Natalie Cole, Jens Lekman, Rick Astley and Dave Berry; and the February 5 birthdays of Bobby Brown, Three Dog Night’s Cory Wells, Barrett Strong and Christopher Guest.

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Your Daily Playlist (1-24-20)

Inspired by the January 24 birthdays of Neil Diamond, Warren Zevon, Aaron Neville, Ray Stevens, John Belushi, clipping.’s Daveed Diggs, Matthew Wilder and Jools Holland.

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A Fourth Of July Playlist

On the fourth of July in 1776, the Declaration of Independence, in which the thirteen American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain, was adopted.

None of the songs in today’s playlist address the events of 1776 directly. However, the song selection is inspired by our 4th of July holiday.

Besides being great songs on their own, the collection represents one of the great things about the United States – its diversity. Long considered a melting pot where people of different backgrounds and beliefs could come to achieve their dreams and goals, the U.S. of A. is powerful and innovative as a result of this blend of people. Today’s playlist represents this diversity with a blend of genres – rock, funk, pop, Broadway, new wave, soul, and then some. Despite our differences, we are one nation, under a groove, with liberty and justice for all.

Whether or not you celebrate Independence Day, enjoy this Fourth of July-inspired playlist.


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Throwback Thursday – 1972

Willie Mitchell, the producer of Al Green’s string of hits in the first half of the 1970s, recalled the one time he and the singer had a fight. It was over a song the two men had written with Al Jackson, Jr. While producing that track, Mitchell told Green to sing it much more softly than he had sung his other material. Green thought that direction was wrong and the song would never become a hit.

That recording was “Let’s Stay Together,” and it became Green’s first #1 on the pop chart. It also spent nine weeks at #1 on the r&b chart.

Following the success of “Let’s Stay Together,” Mitchell said Green never again argued with him.

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist focuses on the year 1972, kicking off with the song that Rolling Stone magazine named the 60th greatest of all time, Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”


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Travel Deals With Randy Newman And A Czech Hooker

Have I ever told you about the time I accidentally hired a prostitute? If I know you in real life, the answer is probably yes. It’s a good story, one to share each Thanksgiving with the whole family, even Little Timmy. For those with whom I haven’t eaten stuffing, I’ll briefly summarize what happened.

I was looking to book a trip to the Czech Republic. I found an amazing package deal on-line. For $999, I would get a seven night hotel stay, a few meals, plus my own personal tour guide to show me the sights. The site didn’t use the term “tour guide,” though. They said “escort.” My escort would pick me up from the airport, take me to my hotel, and then show me everything. I booked the trip, and after paying found out that the word escort means the same thing there that it does here. So I get a hotel room, some meals, and a hooker for the week, all for $999? What a deal!

I won’t get into all the details now, but suffice to say that after the Czech police shut down the “travel agency,” I had to find other accommodations, my promise of a Czech romance (I use the word romance very loosely) dashed.

In his song “Sail Away,” Randy Newman’s ship captain makes promises to those about to board his ship about what they will find when they arrive at their destination. He tells them of days spent singing, of being fed without having to hunt for the food or worry about dangerous animals. He leaves out the part that the Africans he is addressing will be slaves when they arrive in America.

Today Randy Newman turns 72 years old. Here are twenty of his best.


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Eric Clapton: England Is For White People

“Do we have any foreigners in the audience tonight? If so, please put up your hands. Wogs I mean, I’m looking at you. Where are you? I’m sorry but some fucking wog…Arab grabbed my wife’s bum, you know? Surely got to be said, yeah this is what all the fucking foreigners and wogs over here are like, just disgusting, that’s just the truth, yeah. So where are you? Well wherever you all are, I think you should all just leave. Not just leave the hall, leave our country. You fucking (indecipherable). I don’t want you here, in the room or in my country. Listen to me, man! I think we should vote for Enoch Powell. Enoch’s our man. I think Enoch’s right, I think we should send them all back. Stop Britain from becoming a black colony. Get the foreigners out. Get the wogs out. Get the coons out. Keep Britain white. I used to be into dope, now I’m into racism. It’s much heavier, man. Fucking wogs, man. Fucking Saudis taking over London. Bastard wogs. Britain is becoming overcrowded and Enoch will stop it and send them all back. The black wogs and coons and Arabs and fucking Jamaicans and fucking (indecipherable) don’t belong here, we don’t want them here. This is England, this is a white country, we don’t want any black wogs and coons living here. We need to make clear to them they are not welcome. England is for white people, man. We are a white country. I don’t want fucking wogs living next to me with their standards. This is Great Britain, a white country, what is happening to us, for fuck’s sake? We need to vote for Enoch Powell, he’s a great man, speaking truth. Vote for Enoch, he’s our man, he’s on our side, he’ll look after us. I want all of you here to vote for Enoch, support him, he’s on our side. Enoch for Prime Minister! Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!”
– Eric Clapton, to his audience during an August 1976 concert in Birmingham, UK. (Per Wikipedia, “in British English, wog is an offensive racial slur usually applied to Middle Eastern and South Asian peoples.”)

Clapton’s rant, coupled with the rise of fascist and neo-Nazi rhetoric in England, led to the formation of Rock Against Racism, a UK campaign in which recording artists including The Clash, Elvis Costello, The Buzzcocks, Steel Pulse, Aswad and Generation X performed concerts with an anti-racism theme.

In an interview some years later, Clapton claims his remarks weren’t aimed at any one particular minority. True. They were aimed at “wogs” and “coons” and Arabs and Jamaicans, so several minorities. You dug yourself out of that one! “It was kind of a feeling of loss of identity, being English and losing my Englishness,” said the blues guitarist whose first solo top ten hit was a cover of a reggae song written by Bob Marley.

In his 2007 autobiography, cleverly entitled Clapton: The Autobiography, in a paragraph that begins with the sentence “I had never really understood, or been directly affected by, racial conflict,” Clapton says of the 1976 outburst “Since then I have learned to keep my opinions to myself.” Okay, that’s one lesson. I think there may be more if one looks hard enough.

Today Eric Clapton turns 70 years old. To celebrate, here are twenty songs about the idiocy of racism.

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Find Myself A City To Live In

Thinking of moving but don’t know where to? Let today’s playlist help you out. It kicks off with “Chicago” by Graham Nash. Nash turns 73 today.

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Songs Of Great Social And Political Import (1980 – 2011)

Ringo + Maniacs
Today is the birthday of Natalie Merchant, former lead singer of 10,000 Maniacs, whose 1987 album In My Tribe is one of my favorites. The album opens with “What’s the Matter Here,” a song that addresses child abuse. That inspired the theme of today’s playlist – songs about social or political issues.

While such recordings seemed more commonplace on the radio in the sixties and early seventies, there remain plenty of songs that speak to topical issues. I decided to make 1980 my starting point, with that year’s “Biko” by Peter Gabriel being the oldest song on the list. As the studio version is not on Spotify I used a live recording. The most recent recording included is Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” from 2011. Lots of great songs of different genres about a variety of topics populate the program. If you’re so inclined, let me know what favorites of yours I missed.

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I auditioned for American Idol

In February 2002 my friend Sophie and I auditioned to be the hosts of a new US television series based on the successful UK show Pop Idol. On American Idol, amateur singers competed against each other and the public voted for the winner.

I’ve never seen American Idol. It’s not because I’m bitter I didn’t get the job. I have a different opinion than many of the show’s viewers as to what constitutes good singing. Being loud and hitting high notes do not necessarily make for great singing. A great singer is expressive, feeling the words they are singing. Aretha Franklin and Adele are two singers who can belt and hit a wide range of notes. They also know when to sing softly or when not to let vocal gymnastics get in the way of the song. They are great singers. Bob Dylan and Tom Waits are also great singers. They own their material. They feel their material. They live their material (more accurately, the personas they put forth for each song lives the material).

Dylan and Waits are also great songwriters. Dylan is the better-known of the two, but as today is Waits’ birthday, I’m going to focus on him. His songs have been recorded by a diverse group of artists, including Elvis Costello, Eagles, The Ramones, Johnny Cash, The Pogues, Solomon Burke, Steve Earle, Marianne Faithfull, The Neville Brothers, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Norah Jones, Bette Midler, Bruce Springsteen and Neko Case, the latter two appearing on today’s playlist with Waits covers. His sole US top forty hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was not as an artist, but as the writer of “Downtown Train,” which Rod Stewart took to the top ten in 1990.

Today’s Tom Waits-inspired playlist kicks off with the singer-songwriter’s version of that one hit. Enjoy!

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