Tag Archives: Stephanie Mills

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (3-22-20)

Inspired by the March 22 birthdays of George Benson, William Shatner, Stephanie Mills, the Yardbirds’ Keith Relf, the Human League’s Susan Ann Sulley, Broadway legends Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

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It’s National Teachers Day And I Need To Dance!

On the off-chance I don’t win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, which, seeing as I have yet to write a single scene, is a remote possibility, I’d like to present the text of my acceptance speech here and now.

“Thank you! Thank you so much! Thank you! (wink at Meryl) Wow! I wasn’t expecting to win. This is such a surprise. Let me read you the speech I wrote for this occasion.

I’d like to thank the Academy, specifically the members who voted for me. I’d like to thank everyone who bought a ticket to see my movie. I’d like to thank the cast and crew. It takes a village! Am I right? Of course I’m right! I’m a right-er! (smile, acknowledge the laughter in the audience)

Mostly, I’d like to thank all those who taught me about writing and provided encouragement. I’d like to thank all of my English teachers, my writing teachers, my stand-up comedy teachers and my improvisation teachers. I’d like to thank my fellow classmates, workshops and meetup members and the friends and family members who provided feedback and support. In particular, I’d like to…oh, they’re playing the music, indicating it’s time for me to leave. Until next year, remember I love you all, except those who voted for my competitors.”
Winston + Hall-Oates
Today is National Teachers Day. Our weekly dance party kicks off with Daryl Hall and John Oates’ “Adult Education.”


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It’s Umberto Tozzi’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Who is Umberto Tozzi? Is that what you just asked?

Born in Italy in 1952, Umberto Tozzi is a singer-songwriter who has sold over 70 million records throughout the world. In 1979 he released a single of his composition “Gloria,” which became a big hit in his home country, remaining in the top ten for 16 weeks, six of those at #2. The song also went top ten in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, South Africa and Spain.

Ringo + Umberto
In 1982, singer Laura Branigan collaborated with Trevor Veitch on English-language lyrics set to the original’s melody. Her recording of “Gloria,” co-produced by Greg Mathieson, arranger and keyboardist on the Tozzi version, reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Our weekly party kicks off with the track for which Umberto Tozzi is best-known in the United States.


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It’s Amelia Earhart’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Today is Amelia Earhart’s birthday. She was born on July 24, 1897, and for all we know she is celebrating her 118th birthday with a glass of Chardonnay and a cannoli.

During a 1937 attempt to fly around the world, aviator Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. Women. Am I right, fellas? Of course not.

Earhart went off the grid before “going off the grid” became part of our everyday vernacular. Maybe not everyday, but our at-least-twice-a-year vernacular.

Sometimes I contemplate going off the grid, but it seems the rewards of doing so are not worth the efforts.

This would have been a good week for me to be off the grid. It started out good. Sunday morning was the fourth and final day of an entrepreneur conference I attended whereat I got educated and motivated and met many cool people with inspiring stories. On my way home I got into a car accident. I’m fortunate I came out unscathed. My car? Not so much.

When I arrived at home I called my insurance company, then set about to make some lunch. I put my food in the microwave and set it on high for six minutes. When the machine beeped the food was still frozen. I know I’m fortunate in that I had a microwave that served me for 17 years, but did it have to die at that moment?

My car got towed to a body shop. They emailed me forms to sign and return. I couldn’t print them, however, as it turns out my printer and microwave were having an affair and the printer decided she could not go on without the microwave in her life. Women. Am I right, fellas?

Feeling a bit depressed about the turn my week/life had taken, I found it difficult to focus on the tasks at hand. Then I saw a videoclip of a colorblind young man who, thanks to new technology, experienced vibrant colors for the first time. His joy in seeing a patch of grass or a container of Clorox put things in perspective.

There is so much beauty in the mundane, and so much that I take for granted for which I should be grateful. My toaster oven, for example.

I have a music consulting business. I love my clients. I love that I can choose with whom I wish to work. I love the projects I’m handling.

I think I’ll stay on the grid for a while.

Steph and Ringo
Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Kicking off this week’s playlist is Stephanie Mills with “Pilot Error.”


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King Holiday

Winston + King

There was a trend in eighties pop music of superstars banding together for a cause. As trends go, it was certainly better than the medley craze of that same decade. Its high points included “We Are the World,” “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” “Sun City” and “King Holiday.”

“King Holiday” was the result of a conversation rapper Kurtis Blow had with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s son Dexter. The civil rights leader’s birthday was celebrated as a national holiday for the first time on January 20, 1986. To commemorate the occasion, Blow, along with Grandmaster Melle Mel, Bill Adler and Phillip Jones, composed “King Holiday,” which Blow and Jones produced.

To perform the song, they gathered an impressive list of crossover stars of the day. Joining Kurtis Blow and Melle Mel on the record were Run-D.M.C., Whitney Houston, Lisa Lisa, Full Force, James “JT” Taylor (of Kool & the Gang), Teena Marie, Whodini, Fat Boys, El DeBarge, Stephanie Mills, New Edition, Stacy Lattisaw and Menudo (featuring Ricky Martin). The single made the top 30 on Billboard’s Black Music chart. All proceeds from its sale were donated to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

Today Tunes du Jour jumps back in time to sing celebrate sing sing celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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25 Things You Don’t Know About Me (+ It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!)

25 Things You Don’t Know About Me:
1. I never wear flip-flops in public, except on the beach.
2. The first time I met Chaka Khan, I said to her “You are the ultimate sex goddess of life.” Her mouth said “Thanks.” Her eyes said “SECURITY!!!”
3. I have two eyes and two ears, but only one nose.
4. I can name every letter of the alphabet.
5. I sleep in a bed.
6. I can bench press over 18 pounds.
7. I eat solid food.
8. I’m an American citizen.
9. I know every word to the theme from S.W.A.T.
10. I celebrate my birthday once a year.
11. I’m always listening to music, except when I’m not.
12. I can recite the Pledge of Allegiance by heart.
13. Some of my best friends are gay.
14. I know how to say hello in English.
15. Everyone in my family is a homo sapien.
16. I’ve never met Barack Obama or Millard Fillmore; however, I did meet Jermaine Stewart, the guy who sang “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off.”
17. I’ll often wear the same jeans two or three times in a given month.
18. I’ve never gotten high, drunk, or a legendary engram.
19. I have no idea what a legendary engram is.
20. I am 5’9½” tall, though I was shorter at the time of my birth.
21. If I’m outside in the rain and I don’t have an umbrella, I usually end up getting wet.
22. I’ve never been pregnant.
23. I’m unable to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
24. I was not in the movies Star Wars, Rear Window or Beethoven 2.
25. I don’t know what a slide rule is for.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Our party kicks off with Sade. Sade, the lead singer of Sade, turns 56 today, which reminds me: 26. I once rode in an elevator with Sade, the lead singer of Sade.

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Ebola is now in the US. Isis is on its way. Unarmed civilians are getting shot by law enforcement officials. Civil wars, mass kidnappings, volcanoes, a new Lenny Kravitz album. It’s a scary world!

I got my flu vaccination earlier this week, so I have one less thing to worry about. There is a movement against the flu vaccine, but the flu is mighty unpleasant and can lead to death. I’d rather go on living and enjoying my life with a little mercury in my system than deal with chills, fever, a runny nose, a sore throat, muscle pains, a severe headache, coughing, and/or fatigue. If I wanted to be in that much pain I’d listen to the new Lenny Kravitz album.

Though I get my flu shot every year, the needle always scares me. This year the doctor used a very small needle. I barely felt it and I’m happy to say I suffered no side effects. I feel great and energized, which is great because it’s Friday and I need to dance.

Big_Love_singleThe cover art can be obtained from Warner Bros. Records.

We’ll kick off this week’s dance playlist with the only Fleetwood Mac song to make the US dance chart, “Big Love.” The track was written, co-produced and sung by FM’s Lindsey Buckingham, who turns 65 today.

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

I recently came across the following piece of advice:

We tend to beat ourselves up when we fail and fail to celebrate when we succeed. Strengthen your belief in yourself by reflecting on each decade of your life and every success you’ve experienced. You can begin as early as age five when you learned how to ride a bike. Write it all down. You’ll be inspired, motivated and amazed by your list and how and can be used to face your fear.
(from lifehack.org: 13 Tips To Face Your Fear and Enjoy the Ride)

My list includes:
Cast as the second male lead in high school production of Fiddler on the Roof
First person in my family to graduate college
Became a Vice President at Warner Music
Performed stand-up comedy – won contests, was mentioned in Backstage cover stories and secured an agent
Became a homeowner at 30
Adopted two rescue dogs (previously I had a fear of dogs)
Second place in Toastmasters humorous speech contest
Named President of ImprovMasters
Successfully sued landlord
Paid off student loans
Skied down the Swiss Alps
Learned how to ride a bike

I recommend doing this exercise. You’ll remember many things you haven’t thought about in a while or perhaps take for granted. Look at the list whenever you need a reminder of your fabulousness.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s Friday and I need to dance!

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It’s Quincy Jones’ Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Ringo + Quincy 001
Twenty Things You Should Know About Quincy Jones:
1) He’s had a record 79 Grammy Award nominations. He’s won 27.
2) He arranged the Frank Sinatra/Count Basie version of “Fly Me to the Moon,” which astronaut Neil Armstrong played when he first landed on the moon.
3) Jones produced the soundtrack of the motion picture The Wiz. He later said he hated working on it, as he didn’t like most of the songs nor did he like the film’s script. However, on the set on The Wiz he got to know the singer who played the scarecrow, Michael Jackson. Jackson asked him to recommend a producer for his next album. Jones threw out a few names and also offered to produce it himself. Jackson took him up on his offer, though his record label thought it was a bad idea. The album, 1979’s Off the Wall, went on to sell 20 million copies and won Jackson his first Grammy Award.
4) While widely known as the producer of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Bad and Off the Wall albums, Jones is also the producer of the hit records “We Are the World” by USA for Africa; “It’s My Party,” “You Don’t Own Me” and “Judy’s Turn to Cry” by Leslie Gore; “Angel” by Aretha Franklin; “I’ll By Good to You,” “Stomp” and “Strawberry Letter 23” by The Brothers Johnson; “One Mint Julep” by Ray Charles; and “Love is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)” by Donna Summer, among others. He also worked with Bono, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Little Richard, Paul Simon, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Billie Holiday, B.B. King, Louis Armstrong, Dizzie Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Diana Ross, Dinah Washington, Peggy Lee, Chaka Khan, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Luther Vandross, Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Mathis, James Ingram and Patti Austin, plus plenty more.
5) “Quincy Jones is one of the most versatile and potent figures of popular culture….When you listen to his impressive and monumental body of work, it’s easy to understand how and why he’s touched such a broad audience of music lovers. He’s done it all.” – Michael Jackson
6) Time magazine named him one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century.
7) In the early 1960s he became the Vice President of Mercury Records, the first African-American at a major record company to reach that executive level.
8) His middle name is Delight.
9) Along with Bob Russell, he became the first African-American to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song for “The Eyes of Love” from Banning.
10) With seven Oscar nominations, he is tied with sound designer Willie Burton as the African-American with the most Oscar nominations.
11) Jones produced the film The Color Purple, his first foray into film production. He asked Steven Spielberg to direct it, which he did. It was nominated for eleven Academy Awards.
12) Among his 33 movie scores are the ones for The Color Purple, In the Heat of the Night, In Cold Blood, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
13) He has a daughter with actress Nastassja Kinski as well as six other children.
14) He’s the father of actress Rashida Jones. She’s pretty.
15) In 1988 he formed Quincy Jones Entertainment, who produced the television program The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
16) He never learned how to drive.
17) Among the charities Jones supports are American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmfAR), Global Down Syndrome Foundation, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), MusiCares, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Rape Foundation, UNICEF, NAACP, Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, and Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.
18) In 1974 Jones suffered a brain aneurysm. He was given a 1 in 100 chance of surviving. Family and friends, including Richard Pryor, Marvin Gaye and Sidney Poitier, planned a memorial service for him, which he got to attend.
19) Today he turns 81 years old.
20) “The thing is to find your lightning – and ride your lightning.” – Quincy Jones

As Friday is dance day at Tunes Du Jour, we’ll kick off today’s playlist with Q’s #3 club hit of 1981, “Ai No Corrida.”

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King Holiday

Kings 003

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday was first celebrated as a national holiday in the United States on January 20, 1986. To commemorate this, a group of popular urban music acts of that time collaborated on a single entitled “King Holiday.” The song was written by Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Phillip Jones and Bill Adler. Appearing with Blow and Melle Mel on the record are Run-D.M.C., Whitney Houston, Lisa Lisa, Full Force, James “JT” Taylor (of Kool & the Gang), Teena Marie, Whodini, Fat Boys, El DeBarge, Stephanie Mills, New Edition, Stacy Lattisaw and Menudo.

A bill to turn King’s birthday into a national holiday was first introduced to the House of Representatives in 1979, but it didn’t receive enough votes to pass. The following year Stevie Wonder released “Happy Birthday,” a song calling for the holiday, and organized a rally in Washington DC for the cause. Soon, a petition was circulated calling for the same. Six million signatures were collected. Though President Reagan was initially against the holiday, he later signed the bill authorizing it.

Senator John McCain of Arizona was against the holiday, as was that state’s governor, Evan Meacham. New Hampshire didn’t acknowledge Martin Luther King Day until 1999. South Carolina made King Day a paid holiday for state employees in 2000. Prior to then, employees could choose between observing King’s birthday or one of three Confederate holidays.

Today Tunes du Jour celebrates the birthday and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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