Lisa Lisa socks

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

Today is National Hat Day. I was unable to find the origins of this holiday online, though to be honest, I didn’t research it very hard. Frankly, I don’t care. I don’t care from where this holiday sprang. For that matter, I don’t care much about hats.

I don’t look good in hats. Some people look great in hats, such as Pharrell Lanscilo Williams. Some people look great without hats, such as Pharrell Lanscilo Williams.

When I lived in New York, I wore a hat when the temperature fell below zero. Saving my ears trumped vanity. (Sorry about the use of a verb form of the word trump.) Now I live in Los Angeles. No hats.

Moving to the other end of my body, I always wear shoes when outside. Sneakers, actually. I’ll wear flip-flops on the beach, but not when I’m off the sand. I also always wear socks, except when I’m wearing flip-flops. On the beach. And I’ll confess to you, my readers, that I’m judgmental toward those who wear flip-flops in public off the beach or wear shoes with no socks. And don’t get me started on people who wear flip-flops in public off the beach WITH SOCKS! I’d love to hear their therapist explain the root cause of that sociopathic behavior.

As I’ve gone from head to toe, I know I should tell you that not only is today National Hat Day, but it is also the 50th birthday of Lisa Lisa Velez.

Lisa Lisa socks
Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Put on your dancing shoes (no flip-flops) with socks and party down to this twenty-track playlist, kicking off with Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam’s “Let the Beat Hit ‘Em.”


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Winston + Ini

It’s Ini Kamoze’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

I’m reading NLP: The Essential Guide to Neuro-Linguistic Programming, subtitled Creating the Person You Want to Be, by Tom Hoobyar and Tom Dotz with Susan Sanders. The book teaches one how to think, as opposed to what to think.

Of the many exercises in the book is one the authors call “Creating a Well-Formed Outcome.” You list things you want and answer six questions related to each want. Within those six questions is an exploration of “meta-outcomes.” To explore the meta-outcomes, one must keep asking what will happen if I achieve this goal.

For example, one of my goals is to have a leaner physique. Using this exercise, I say “When I am leaner, I’m more confident. When I am more confident, more guys will be attracted to me. If more guys are attracted to me, I’ll date more often. If I date more often, I’ll end up with a boyfriend. If I have a boyfriend, I’ll have someone with whom to watch movies, dance, and share other activities I enjoy. If I do more activities I enjoy, I’ll be “in the flow” more often. If I am in the flow more often, my happiness will increase.

Another goal I have is to work with more clients. If I work with more clients, I’ll make more money. If I have more money, I can partake more often in the activities I enjoy. If I partake more often in the activities I enjoy, I’ll be in the flow more often. If I am in the flow more often, my happiness will increase.

Now you try it. What is a goal you have? Keep asking yourself what will happen if you achieve each part. If you don’t end with me being happier, you’re doing it wrong. Start over!

Winston + Ini
Something that makes me happy is dancing. Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Today happens to be the birthday of John Lennon. As he never hit the Billboard dance charts, we’ll kick off this week’s party with someone else whose birthday is today, Ini Kamoze. More accurately, today is the 58th birthday of Cecil Campbell, who later changed his name to Ini Kamoze. Here are twenty songs you can hotstep to.


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Winston + King

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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Ringo + Sheila E

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 Berry Gordy’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

It’s interesting that Berry Gordy, the head of Motown Records who in 1970 told his top male vocalist Marvin Gaye that the new song Gaye had written, “What’s Going On,” was “the worst thing I ever heard in my life” and that he shouldn’t do protest songs, would five years later have Motown be the first major label to release a pro-gay anthem.

Bunny Jones, a heterosexual Christian woman, owned several beauty salons in Harlem. Most of her employees were gay. Seeing how they needed to suppress their natural selves and being aware of the issues they faced, she wrote song lyrics about a man who says he’s “happy, carefree and gay,” the way God made him.

Set to music written by Chris Spierer, also straight, Jones looked for a male vocalist to record her song. After catching a performance of Hair at the Westbury Music Fair, she approached one of the show’s actors, Charles “Valentino” Harris, and told him of the song.

In 1975, at age 22, Valentino recorded his only record, a single entitled “I Was Born This Way.” Jones released it on a label she started, named Gaiee. On her own she sold 15,000 copies of the song. This got the attention of Berry Gordy, whose Motown Records picked up the single for distribution.

Valentino’s record got some club play, particularly in the UK where it was a #1 disco hit.

Two years later Motown approached a gospel singer named Carl Bean and asked him if he would record a new version of “I Was Born This Way.” Unbeknownst to Motown, Bean was gay. In early 1978, Bean’s version of the tune reached #15 on the Billboard Disco chart.

The song has since become something of a classic. Two years after Bean’s success with “I Was Born This Way,” Motown released Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.” It would hold the #1 position on the Disco chart for five weeks and have much crossover success at pop and r&b radio as well.

Today Berry Gordy celebrates his 85th birthday. Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Here are twenty of Motown’s best disco/dance tracks from the 1970s thru 1990.

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