Tag Archives: Suzanne Vega

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (1-27-20)

Sharing memories and a laugh with my former assistant, singer/songwriter/musician Amy Rigby, who is now an author as well. Check out her memoir Girl To City, in which I make a cameo or two.

Inspired by the January 27 birthdays of Amy Rigby, Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Tricky, Faith No More’s Mike Patton, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

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Throwback Thursday – 1990

Take a DJ from the Ukraine, a style icon from Ohio, a graphic arts student from Tokyo, three legendary funk musicians from James Brown’s band, a homophobic rapper named after a personal hygiene implement, and a reference to a Dr. Seuss book, and you have the single that was named the best of 1990 by the Village Voice and New Music Express and the second best dance record of all-time (after Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”) by Slant magazine.

The song is “Groove is in the Heart,” and it kicks off this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist, in which we’ll hear twenty of the best hits of 1990.


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Throwback Thursday – 1987

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist is comprised of hits from 1987, a pretty nondescript year for pop music. The new wave music that dented the US charts earlier in the decade faded in popularity, while rap and alternative had yet to cross over in a major way. What we had was some good mainstream rock and pop. Here are twenty of that year’s biggest:


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Giorgio By Moroder

“What the hell is this, Giorgio?”

That is what Donna Summer asked Giorgio Moroder, the producer who brought her to international fame with the track “Love to Love You Baby,” upon hearing a song Moroder intended for her 1977 album I Remember Yesterday. The album’s concept was to combine modern sounds with sounds reminiscent of past musical eras. The title track opens the album with a 1920s feel, which is followed by a fifties throwback and a sixties throwback. The song that perplexed Donna was intended to signify the future.

The synthesizer-based futuristic track was the b-side of the album’s first single, a ballad entitled “Can’t We Just Sit Down (And Talk It Over).” Releasing a ballad as the first single for the Disco Queen’s new album was a strange move. The song failed to make the pop charts, though it did the top twenty of the r&b chart, Summer’s first single to do so since “Love to Love You Baby.”

In some foreign markets, the synth track was the single’s A-side. It made noise, ultimately topping the charts in the U.K., the Netherlands, France, Australia, Italy, Belgium, and Austria. It reached #3 in Germany, where David Bowie was recording with produce Brian Eno. Bowie remembered Eno running into the studio with a copy of the song. Eno played it for Bowie, who recalled him saying “’This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.’ Which was more or less right.”

In the U.S. this B-side became the A-side, and reached #6 on the pop chart. Rolling Stone magazine included the track, entitled “I Feel Love,” on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time.

Today, Giorgio Moroder, who has four Grammy Awards and three Academy Awards to his credit, turns 75 years old. He has a new album, Déjà Vu, featuring guest vocalists such as Britney Spears (on a cover of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner”), Kylie Minogue, Sia, Kelis, and Charli XCX, due to be released this June. Here are twenty career highlights.


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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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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

I’m at a place in my life where I very much wish to try new things. To enter into places not completely familiar. I’ve accomplished a lot utilizing my knowledge of popular music and negotiation skills. From college graduation until last September I’ve always worked at record companies. Is there somewhere else where I can use these attributes?

Figuring out the next step on one’s own can be challenging. Having a career coach is helpful. Better yet would be meeting someone who sees what you (or, in this case, I) have to offer and gives you (me) a job, or, optimally, collaborates with you (me) on a new venture.

I think about this fairly often. This morning it occurred to me that it came to be for me a couple of weeks ago, though not directly related to my record company jobs.

When I lived I New York I performed and-up comedy at night. I did well with it. I won contests, had an agent, and played to sold-out theaters. I understand comedy structure, know how to formulate a joke, and have good timing.

Two weeks ago a friend and I started working together on a TV sitcom pilot. I can write relatable characters and punchlines. My friend, who has a terrific sense of humor as well, can take what I do and add in his knowledge of script formatting and sitcom structure. I’m enthusiastic about our new venture.

Winston + Suzanne 2014-07-11 15.15
In 1987, singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega scored a huge hit with “Luka,” from her album Solitude Standing. Her biggest hit to date, the song went to #3 on the United States pop charts, and also hit the Top 40 in countries such as The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, France, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, New Zealand, Austria, and Ireland.

Vega can write great lyrics and catchy hooks. ”Luka” also performed well on the Rock chart. Vega is like me in this story, and the British production duo who called themselves D.N.A. are my friend with whom I am writing the television script.

D.N.A. took Suzanne’s skills, in particular the a capella track that opens the Solitude Standing album, and added a dance beat to it. The result was another top ten pop hit, this one credited to D.N.A. featuring Suzanne Vega. The song, “Tom’s Diner,” also brought Vega to the top 15 of the Dance Club chart, the Modern Rock chart, and the R&B chart.

Vega didn’t plan this success. By chance D.N.A. entered her life and together each reached new heights. Hopefully our sitcom pilot will have the same success.

Today Suzanne Vega turns 55. We’ll kick off our Friday dance party with the DNA mix of “Tom’s Diner.”

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Merry Annie Lennox’s Birthday!

Today marks the annual commemoration of the birth of Annie Lennox, a widely observed cultural holiday, celebrated in Western Christianity every December 25 by millions of people around the world. Annie Lennox’s birthday is a civil holiday in many of the world’s nations, is celebrated by an increasing number of non-new wave fans, and is an integral part of the holiday season.

The birth year of Lennox is estimated among modern historians to have been between 1953 and 1955 AD.

The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Annie Lennox’s birthday have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, Eurythmics music and caroling, an angel playing with your heart, walking on broken glass, rain again, and sweet dreams. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of Annie Lennox’s birthday involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, her birthday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Annie Lennox’s birthday is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.

Source: Wikipedia

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World AIDS Day

Today Tunes du Jour observes World AIDS Day with a playlist of diverse genres – pop, hip hop, rock, dance, r&b, gospel and whatever you call what Ween does.

Thematically there are songs of reminiscence, reunions, safe sex, politics, pride, goodbyes and whatever you call what Ween does.

Give it a listen and let me know what songs you discovered and if there are any great ones I missed.

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