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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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It’s Jesus’ Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Actually, today is not Jesus’ birthday. At least not Jesus Christ’s birthday. Maybe Jesus de la Guarda of East L.A. was born on this date in 1983 (happy birthday, Jesus!), but Jesus Christ was not.

Most likely, Jesus (Christ, not de la Guarda) was born in autumn, perhaps on November 18. Not only is December 25 not His birthday, but 0 was not His birth year, according to some scholars. The assumed year of His birth is 6 to 4 B.C. That means Christ was born six to four years before Christ! He was truly ahead of his time! Ba-dum-bump.

Regardless of when His actual birth date was, folks in many parts of the world celebrate it today, because nothing is open anyway so why not?

As for me, I need to dance! The Tunes du Jour weekly dance party kicks off with Snap!’s “Mary Had a Little Boy.” Happy birthday, Jesus de la Guarda!


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

“You’re gettin’ busy like a bee and that’s the troof
I got a feeling there’s a fire on the roof.”

– “Wiggle It” by 2 in a Room

The phrase “busy like a bee,” or at least a variation thereof, dates back to the 14th century, when Geoffrey Chaucer used it in his The Canterbury Tales:
Ey! Goddes mercy!” sayd our Hoste tho,
Now such a wyf I pray God keep me fro.
Lo, suche sleightes and subtilitees
In wommen be; for ay as busy as bees
Be thay us seely men for to desceyve,
And from a soth ever a lie thay weyve.
And by this Marchaundes tale it proveth wel.

What on earth is he banging on about? Next time, Chaucer, use Spellcheck.

Per Wiktionary, the phrase “busy as a bee” means very active, working constantly.

The phrase is a bit of a misnomer, though. Not all bees work constantly. Take the drone. Unlike other bees, the drone does not collect nectar or pollen. The drone does not participate in the construction of the hive. Drones don’t have stingers so they are unable to cause pain to the frightened blogger who runs shrieking at the site of a bee. Per Slate.com, drones “don’t leave the hive until early afternoon, at which time they carouse around in packs, and when they get home just a few hours later, they rely on the worker bees to feed them.” Drones are assholes.

The drone exists to fertilize a queen bee. The mating takes place while the bees are in flight. Literally, they give a flying fuck. From penetration to ejaculation takes about two seconds, which to me is forty seconds shorter than sex should last. The drone dies soon after, as his penis and other much-loved body parts are ripped off during sexual intercourse. Any drones reading this, take it from me – no woman is worth that aggravation, and that’s the troof.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. This week’s party kicks off with 2 in a Room’s “Wiggle It.”


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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 Paula Abdul’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

I was in my convertible car with my then-friend Victor, sitting in traffic on La Cienega Boulevard just below Sunset. It was late afternoon or evening a few months after I moved to Los Angeles. A convertible containing two young ladies pulled out of a parking garage onto La Cienega. They stopped next to us. One of the women excitedly told us “The lakers won!”

Victor and I looked at the lass and then each other. Neither of us knew to what she was referring. What is a laker? Someone who works on a lake, obviously, but what do they do on/to the lake? Was there an ongoing lake workers’ strike that finally ended when their greedy overlords caved in to their demands? Did the lake workers pool their money to buy Powerball tickets and succeed in matching each number? Who are these lakers, what did they win, and how does this benefit Victor and me?

That we didn’t respond quickly and with equal enthusiasm upset the woman who shared with us this news. “I was going to tell you guys you’re cute, but I changed my mind.” Oh, darn. The traffic moved and off we went. I made a left on Sunset; the woman went right.

Victor and I went for chocolate malts at Mel’s Drive-In, where we learned that the Lakers are a local basketball team. Oh, those Lakers! I heard of them. They gave us Paula Abdul. She was an LA Lakers cheerleader before she became a well-known choreographer/”singer”/reality show judge. If only those ladies said to Victor and me “The basketball team for which Paula Abdul was a cheerleader in the early eighties won a game today,” they may have gotten lucky with two cute guys.

Today Paula Abdul turns 53 years old. We kick off our weekly dance party with “Straight Up.”


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Every Friday Tunes du Jour presents a dance playlist to get your weekend started on an upbeat note. This week’s party kicks off with Haddaway, who turns 50 today. That’s right – I know Haddaway’s birthday. Have a great weekend!

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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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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Ringo + C + C

Every Friday Tunes du Jour presents a dance playlist to get you into the weekend spirit. Today we kick off with C + C Music Factory’s “Things That Make You Go Hmmm…” in memory of David Cole, who with Robert Clivillés were the C + C of the Music Factory. Besides their own group’s hits, Cole and Clivillés produced/remixed tracks for Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Chaka Khan, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Mariah Carey, Cover Girls, Seduction, Martha Wash and, um, Jim Carrey. Cole died on January 24, 1995 of complications of spinal meningitis brought on by AIDS. He was 32.

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The History of Glenn’s Ten

2013 marked the thirty-second anniversary of Glenn’s Ten. Every Saturday for the past thirty-two years I’ve tracked my ten favorite songs of that week. The practice started in high school when my friend Lydia, who preferred to be called Candice, gave me a diary for Chanukah, which I prefer to spell Hanukkah. I never kept a diary before, as my life was lonely and depressing and I didn’t want someone to find my diary years later and read “July 15. The kids at summer camp threw rocks at me today. I thought that would have stopped by the time I became a counselor.” I was optimistic things would improve – I prefer to see the glass as 1/8 full as opposed to 7/8 empty.

The diary Lydia/Candice gave me had a drawing of Paddington Bear on the cover. I didn’t know who Paddington Bear was or why he was famous, making him the 1981 version of a Kardashian. Being a packrat (euphemism for hoarder) I couldn’t throw away this gift from Lydia/Candice. I gave diary keeping a try.

“January 1. I woke up ‘round 12. Had bacon for lunch. Clam chowder for dinner.” I know how to ring in a new year! [NOTE TO SELF – Don’t share diary entries with anyone.]

My entry for January 6 reads “Instead of antiperspirant, I accidentally sprayed shaving cream in my armpit.” [REMINDER TO SELF – Don’t share diary entries with anyone.]

Four days after that burst of genius, Glenn’s Ten debuted. In my diary I wrote “My ten fave songs: 1. “The Tide Is High” – Blondie, 2. “9 to 5” – Dolly Parton, 3. “Time is Time” – Andy Gibb, 4. “Seven Bridges Road” – Eagles, 5. “I Love a Rainy Night” – Eddie Rabbitt, 6. “Giving It Up for Your Love” – Delbert McClinton, 7. “I Made It Through the Rain” – Barry Manilow, 8. “Celebration” – Kool & the Gang, 9. “Guilty” – Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb, 10. “Suddenly” – Olivia Newton-John and Cliff Richard. I rocked hard in my youth! (If any of these titles are unfamiliar to you, stay tuned. At some point I’ll feature them on this blog.)

I’ve kept track of my top ten every Saturday since. When Paddington ran out of Saturdays I bought a Ziggy notebook. Ziggy’s comic misfortunes made me feel good about my life. While both he and I were lonely, at least I had hair. My cover subjects have since improved – I’m presently tracking my lists in a John Lennon notebook. It can be argued that my song choices have also improved (no disrespect to Barry Manilow, Cliff Richard or Eddie Rabbitt).

Today’s playlist consists of all the songs to be #1 in Glenn’s Ten on November 24, in chronological order, except for 1985’s entry, as I cannot find that notebook.

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