Tag Archives: Soul II Soul

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (1-26-20)

Inspired by the January 25 birthdays of Alicia Keys, Etta James, Edmund Sylvers and Antonio Carlos Jobim and the January 26 birthdays of Lucinda Williams, Anita Baker, Wham!’s Andrew Ridgeley, Eddie Van Halen, Ya Kid K, Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B, Huey “Piano” Smith and Jean Knight.

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Your Daily Playlist (1-19-20)

Inspired by the January 19 birthdays of Phil Everly, Dolly Parton, Janis Joplin, Robert Palmer, Caron Wheeler, America’s Dewey Bunnell, Deep Purple’s Rod Evans, and Shelley Fabares, and by National Popcorn Day.

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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 Ana Matronic’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

“A kiki is a party, for calming all your nerves
We’re spilling tea, and dishing just deserts when they deserve
And though the sun is rising, few may choose to leave”

It’s Friday and I need to dance, but you already know that.

I’ve always enjoyed going out clubbing, especially in the early nineties. Some Fridays and many Saturdays I’d go with whoever I was then dating or a good friend to The Roxy or The Limelight or Twilo (though Twilo may have come into being a few years into the nineties) or that club on Sixth Avenue around 15th Street whose name escapes me at the moment or that bar/club/fire hazard in the East Village or The Saint. In New York, the clubs didn’t close at 2 AM or 4 AM. They stayed open. There were times we wouldn’t leave until 8 or 9 the next morning. As that was breakfast time, we’d head for a diner (a “coffee shop” in the local parlance, before coffee shop meant a place like Starbucks) to eat before heading home to sleep. Watching people start their Sunday before we even finished our Saturday made me feel so alive. I’m here on this earth and taking advantage of it.

It’s been a long time since I stayed out all night. Though I cherish the memories, I can’t say I miss doing so. That may be because I haven’t hit upon a club that plays music I’d like to dance to for hours on end. The exception is Oil Can Harry’s, a dive in Studio City that hosts classic disco night on Saturdays. I love me some classic disco, and can stay there until closing if classic disco and post-disco 80s house was all that was played. For some reason, the DJ throws on Rihanna or other contemporary acts between midnight and 1. That’s my cue to leave. Nothing against Rihanna – she has many fun club songs – but it throws me off after I’ve been grooving to Donna Summer and KC & the Sunshine Band and Chic to suddenly be brought back to the 2010s.

If they didn’t call it Classic Disco Night, if they mixed up the eras and genres throughout the evening, that would be welcome. Seventies disco, eighties house, nineties alternative, aughts pop – take the best of each and mix ‘em up. I’ll leave when the sun comes up.

I’d love to DJ there. This way I can play the music that would keep me going all night.

Every Friday Tunes du Jour posts a slice of such playlists. Today’s slice kicks off with “Let’s Have a Kiki,” performed by Scissor Sisters, whose Ana Matronic turns 41 today.


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It’s Sheila E’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Prince wrote the song “The Glamorous Life” for the Apollonia 6 album. According to Apollonia, he wrote the song about her. Per Nilsen, who has written a couple of book about Prince, quotes Apollonia as saying “He used to make all these stupid jokes, ‘You’re the kind of chick who would wear a mink coat in the summertime.’ To this day I don’t have my own mink coat!”

Prince ended up giving the song to Sheila E. for her debut solo album. Prior to meeting Prince Sheila worked with Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Billy Cobham, Jeffrey Osborne, Con Funk Shun, and her dad, Pete Escovedo.

In 1984 “The Glamorous Life” hit #7 on the pop chart, #9 on the r&b chart, and #1 on the dance chart.

Ringo + Sheila E
Today Sheila E. turns 57 years old. We kick off our weekly dance party with her first hit single.

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

My plan was for today’s blog post to be a rant. Since 2011, over 80 pedestrians in West Hollywood have been hit by cars while in crosswalks. Three of them were killed. This city’s solution? Put signs on the side of the street that read “PEDESTRIAN SAFETY ZONE.” Oh, you mean we’re not supposed to run down pedestrians? Thanks for the heads up! Is there a sign when the zone ends so I can go back to business as usual?

Meanwhile, pedestrians walking on the sidewalk get run down by bicyclists. The city created bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd., but many bicyclists prefer to ride on the sidewalk. It’s illegal, but WeHo doesn’t enforce many of its laws. I spoke to one of our city councilmembers about this, and she said they have no intention of enforcing that law or the leash laws or replacing burnt out bulbs in streetlights.

But you know what? I don’t feel like ranting. It’s Friday, and I need to dance.

Ringo + Rose Royce 2014-10-10 11.27
This week’s dance playlist kicks off with Rose Royce’s “Car Wash,” which gives the sage advice that a car wash “ain’t no place to be if you planned on bein’ a star.” Now you know.

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

In 1967 Bill Withers moved to Los Angeles to try to make it as a songwriter. While pursuing this dream he worked at Lockheed Aircraft, making around $3.50/hour. He spent $2500 of his own money to record some demo tracks. Not one record company or publisher expressed any interest.

While working at a factory making toilet seats for 747s, he formed friendships with his co-workers and appreciated how they would help each other out. The mutual support this group of workers offered inspired him to compose a song. He titled it “Lean on Me.”

His upbringing played a large part in the song’s sentiment. “Being from a rural, West Virginia setting, that kind of circumstance would be more accessible to me than it would be to a guy living in New York where people step over you if you’re passed out on the sidewalk, or Los Angeles, where you could die on the side of the freeway and it would probably be 8 days before anyone noticed you were dead. Coming from a place where people were a little more attentive to each other, less afraid, that would cue me to have those considerations.”

He recorded the track for his album Still Bill. The single went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1972. He left his factory job, but retained a good perspective, telling the L.A. Times: “Even when I was working on bathroom seats, this was at least constructive. I challenge anybody: I won’t sing for a month and you don’t go to the bathroom for a month and let’s see…who comes off with less misery.”

“Lean On Me” won Withers a Grammy award for Best R&B Song … in 1987. On March 21 of that year Club Nouveau took their rendition of the song to #1, only the fifth time in the rock era that two different versions of the same song hit #1. (The first four? “Go Away Little Girl” – Steve Lawrence/Donny Osmond, “The Loco-Motion” – Little Eva/Grand Funk, “Please Mr. Postman” – The Marvelettes/The Carpenters, and “Venus” – The Shocking Blue/Bananarama.)

Winston + Club Nouveau

This week’s dance playlist kicks off with the record that hit #1 on this day 27 years ago – Club Nouveau’s “Lean on Me.”

UPDATE: For some reason, the original version of Club Nouveau’s “Lean on Me” is not on Spotify; only a cheesy re-record is there. Screw it! We’ll kick off our dance party with Aretha Franklin’s “Freeway of Love.”

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Thank God It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Oscar Winners 002

The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards were announced yesterday. Who will take home the statuette for Best Original Song? Will it be U2 for “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom? No. Will it be Pharrell for “Happy” from Despicable Me 2? No. Will it be someone or another for “Let It Go” from Frozen? No. Will it be that song that nobody’s ever heard from that movie that nobody’s ever seen? Hell no. Will it be Karen O. and Spike Jonze for “The Moon Song’” from Her? Yes. Yes it will.

How many of you know all five nominated songs? How many of you know any of the nominated songs? What happened to the days when the general public knew the songs that were nominated?

Today’s dance playlist is built around two Oscar winners – “Last Dance” and “Flashdance…What a Feeling.” That’s right – Thank God It’s Friday and Flashdance are Academy Award winning films. Thank God It’s Friday won more Oscars than North By Northwest, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Clockwork Orange, Psycho, Singin’ in the Rain, Rebel Without a Cause, Taxi Driver and 12 Angry Men put together. Ah, but nobody ever said life was fair, Tina.

Happy Friday!

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