Tag Archives: Ray Charles

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (3-20-20)

Inspired by the March 20 birthdays of Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, Fabulous Thunderbirds’ Jimmy Vaughan, Carl Palmer, and Carl Reiner, and International Day of Happiness; and the March 19 birthdays of Ruth Pointer, The Specials’ Terry Hall, and Clarence “Frogman” Henry.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (3-14-20)

Inspired by the March 14 birthdays of Quincy Jones, Este Haim, Taylor Hanson, Michael Martin Murphey, Colby O’Donis and Billy Crystal.

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Your (Almost)Daily Playlist (2-26-20)

Inspired by the February 26 birthdays of Johnny Cash, Fats Domino, Erykah Badu, Sandie Shaw, Mitch Ryder, fun.’s Nate Ruess and Sharon Van Etten.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (2-19-20)

Dr. Dre’s album The Chronic is not on Spotify. Seems like those brothercluckers forgot about Dre.

Today’s playlist is inspired by the February 19 birthdays of Smokey Robinson, The English Beat/General Public’s Dave Wakeling, Gossip’s Beth Ditto, Dr. Dre, Lou Christie, Falco, and Fat Boys’ Prince Markie Dee.

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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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Twenty Songs You Should Hear (1-12-20)

Happy Sunday! I hope it’s a fun day. An I-don’t-have-to-run day.

Here are some songs to play while chillin’ in the crib:

Run the Jewels featuring Zack de la Rocha – “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”
Today is the birthday of Zack de la Rocha, best known as the singer for Rage Against the Machine.

Beck – “Black Tambourine”

Mary J. Blige – “PMS”

Ruth Brown – “I Can’t Hear a Word You Say”
Today is the birthday of the late Ruth Brown. She had so many best-sellers on Atlantic Records in the 1950s that the label became known as “the house that Ruth built.” You may know her from the original movie version of Hairspray, in which she played Motormouth Maybelle.

Marvin Gaye – “Hitch Hike”
With backing vocals by Martha and the Vandellas.

Ray Charles – “Drown in My Own Tears”

Stevie Wonder – “Love Having You Around”

Aretha Franklin – “Spirit in the Dark”
Aretha’s son Kecalf doesn’t want you to see the new biopic of the soul legend, which hits theaters sometime in 2020. He says her family wasn’t consulted about what is in the movie, aside from Jennifer Hudson as Aretha, which was the Queen’s choice.

King Curtis – “Memphis Soul Stew”

Kendrick Lamar – “Hiiipower”
Lamar’s first single, from 2011.

Amerie – “1Thing”
Today is Amerie’s birthday. This song sat on the shelves at Sony Music for a year and a half, at which point Amerie herself leaked it to radio stations. It reached #8 on the pop chart.

Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott featuring 702 and Magoo – “Beep Me 911”

Madonna – “Take a Bow”
This song went to #1 in the US. In the UK, it peaked at #16, ending her record-breaking streak of 35 consecutive top ten singles.

The White Stripes – “Black Math”

Foo Fighters – “This Is a Call”
Foo Fighter Dave Grohl wrote this song, sang it, and played every instrument on it.

Janet Jackson – “Throb”
Boom boom boom until noon noon noon.

OutKast featuring Raekwon – “Skew It on the Bar-B”
Today is the birthday of Raekwon, best known as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Big Star – “In the Street”
Today is the birthday of Big Star’s Chris Bell. This song was used as the theme for That 70’s Show. The soundtracks to that television sitcom were the first projects I worked on upon getting a job at Jive Records.

Spice Girls – “Say You’ll Be There”
Today is the birthday of Mel C (Sporty Spice).

Sly & the Family Stone – “Dance to the Music”
Today is the birthday of the late Cynthia Robinson, trumpeter and vocalist for Sly & the Family Stone. She and Jerry got a message that’s sayin’ “all the squares, go home!”

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Playlist For January 6, 2020

Happy New Year!

I’m going to make an attempt to blog more frequently this year. To that end, I’ll posts playlists of eclectic music several times per week. Give them a listen. Skip the songs you don’t like. Heart the ones you do.

Today’s playlist is inspired by the January 6 birthdays of Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner, Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett, Sister Sledge’s Kathy Sledge, Van McCoy, the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ Kim Wilson, Nino Tempo and Earl Scruggs.

Here’s to music discovery!

Glenn

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Not In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame: Chaka Khan

“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have Bon Jovi as a member.”
– Groucho Marx

On April 14, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct several worthwhile acts and Bon Jovi. Over the coming weeks, Tunes du Jour will spotlight artists that are eligible for induction (i.e. they commercially released their debut recording at least 25 years ago), but have not been inducted as they are not as talented, innovative or influential as Bon Jovi.

Today we look at and listen to Chaka Khan. Though on the short list of artists being considered for induction this year, she was passed over by the nominating committee, the same committee that approved for inclusion Bon Jovi.

A listen to the Khan’s catalogue, a sample of which is presented below, reveals an extraordinary singer who masters rhythm and blues, funk, dance, soul, jazz, uptempo tracks and slow burners. Elsewhere in her catalogue one finds her taking on gospel, Broadway tunes and the great American songbook, excelling at everything she to which she lend her voice. Jon Bon Jovi has mastered all of these genres as well, except for rhythm and blues, funk, dance, soul, jazz, gospel, Broadway tunes and the great American songbook.

Chaka Khan is a trailblazer. She was the first r&b artist to have a hit song that featured a rapper (her 1984 cover of Prince’s “I Feel for You,” performed with Melle Mel), a blend which became increasingly popular and is prevalent on today’s pop charts. Still, she never sang “With an iron-clad fist I wake up to French kiss the morning.” Do you know who did? Bon Jovi.

Here are twenty of Chaka Khan’s finest tunes.


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Throwback Thursday – 1960

“I’ve always been very content when I wrote all those songs. By this I’m saying that a lot of people think you have to live through something before you can write it, and that’s true in some cases, but I remember the times that I was unhappy or discontent, and I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t communicate, and I certainly couldn’t write a song, no way. All the songs I wrote that were successful were written when I was in a contented state of mind.”
– Roy Orbison, NME, 1980

From its title, you’d never know that the guy who wrote “Only the Lonely (Know How I Feel),” was content. Orbison wrote the lyrics to this song while sitting in his car outside his house. Being there by himself inspired the sentiment expressed in the song’s title.

As he had yet to have any hits as a performer, Orbison offered “Only the Lonely” to the Everly Brothers, who by that time (1960) had many hits, including “Claudette,” written by Orbison. Don Everly told Orbison he should record “Only the Lonely” himself.

“Only the Lonely,” written with Joe Melson, became Orbison’s first top 40 single as a performer, reaching #2 on the pop charts in the summer of 1960. He’d go on to have 22 more top 40 singles.

On this Throwback Thursday, Tunes du Jour presents twenty great tracks from 1960, kicking off with Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely (Know How I Feel),” one of three hits about loneliness to impact the charts that year.


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Ruth Brown And 1950s Rhythm And Blues

So successful was Ruth Brown in the 1950s that her label, Atlantic Records, which started in 1947, was nicknamed The House the Ruth Built.

Her first single for the label, “So Long,” reached #4 on the Rhythm & Blues chart in 1949. Her next hit, “Teardrops from My Eyes,” spent 11 weeks at #1 on that chart. She earned the nickname the Queen of R&B, and over the next ten years scored an additional nineteen r&b top ten singles, including four more number ones. In total she spent thirty-two weeks at #1 on the r&b singles chart. In 1953, Brown crossed over to the pop top 40 with “(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean.”

In the 1960s Brown focused on her family life. She returned to music the following decade, and added acting gigs to her resume. In 1979 she was a regular character on the sitcom Hello, Larry, and she famously portrayed Motormouth Maybelle in the original 1988 movie version of Hairspray, a role which had echoes of her life performing at segregated dances in the sixties. She won the 1989 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her performance in the Broadway show Black and Blue. Her companion album, Blues on Broadway, won Brown the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance, Female.

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Brown was also influential in the creation of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, founded in 1988. Per the nonprofit’s mission statement, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation is “dedicated to the historical and cultural preservation of Rhythm & Blues music and recognition of participants in its community by providing services and programs to Rhythm & Blues artists and their fans.”

In 1993, Ruth Brown was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

She died in 2006 from complications resulting from a heart attack and stroke.

Inspired by Ruth Brown, who was born on January 12*, 1928, today’s playlist presents twenty of the best rhythm and blues recordings from the 1950s.


(*I initially prepared this entry to be posted on January 12. However, once I was about to post it, I read in a few places that the information I had was incorrect, and that Brown’s birth date was January 30, so I saved it for today. Just after I finished re-editing it this afternoon, I looked on Wikipedia and see they (now) list her birthday as January 12, which some other sites confirmed.)

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