Tag Archives: The Monkees


Today is the birthday of Peter Gabriel. It’s also the birthday of Peter Tork of The Monkees. And Peter Hook of New Order/Joy Division fame. Those three inspired today’s playlist of guys named Peter. Only on Tunes du Jour, folks. And before anyone drags me on social media for not including any women, I couldn’t think of any female Peters. #SorryBernadettePeters

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Throwback Thursday – 1966

me - 1966001The blogger in 1966

“My mother used to tell me about vibrations. I didn’t really understand too much of what she meant when I was a boy. It scared me, the word ‘vibrations’ – to think that invisible feelings existed. She also told me about dogs that would bark at some people, but wouldn’t bark at others, and so it came to pass that we talked about good vibrations.”
– The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Rolling Stone magazine

“The concept of spreading goodwill, good thoughts and happiness is nothing new, but it is our hope. The ideas are there in ‘Good Vibrations,’ ‘God Only Knows,’ ‘Heroes and Villains,’ and it is why the new LP is called Smile.”
– The Beach Boys’ Carl Wilson

According to Brian Wilson, Capitol Records didn’t want to release “Good Vibrations” as a single because of its duration: three and a half minutes. Reportedly, executives at the label were also concerned about the psychedelic overtones of the lyrics. Wilson pleaded with Capitol to release the 45.

The song went to #1 and earned the Beach Boys a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Contemporary Group Performance, in which they were pitted against three fine recordings plus “Guantanamera” by the Sandpipers. The Beach Boys lost, thankfully not to the Sandpipers but to the Mamas & the Papas for “Monday, Monday.” Mojo magazine placed “Good Vibrations” at #1 on their Top 100 Records of All Time list, and Rolling Stone magazine had it at #6 on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time survey.

The crowning achievement of “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys was followed by an abrupt reversal of fortune for the group. While “Vibrations” was their 14th top ten single in just over four years, they would have to wait another ten years before cracking the top ten again, with their not-that-great remake of Chuck Berry’s “Rock and Roll Music” in 1976. It would be twenty-two years after “Good Vibrations” that the group hit #1 again, with the classic bad song “Kokomo.” The Smile album Carl Wilson referred to in the quote above went unfinished. Instead, the group released an album entitled Smiley Smile in 1967. Between 1963 and 1966 the group scored nine top ten albums; Smiley Smile peaked at #41. The following year’s Friends album only got as high as #126.

On this Throwback Thursday, Tunes du Jour listens to twenty of the finest singles from 1966, kicking off with the classic “Good Vibrations.”

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Throwback Thursday – 1967

I heard the news today. Oh boy! The Beatles’ recordings are now available on streaming platforms, including Spotify.

To celebrate, Tunes du Jour kicks off its 1967 playlist this Throwback Thursday with The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” a song that combines an unfinished song from John Lennon, inspired by newspaper articles, with one from Paul McCartney, a reflection of his school days.

Here are twenty of 1967’s finest musical moments.

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Ten Facts About Neil Diamond

Ringo + Neil Diamond
1) “Sweet Caroline” has been played during every Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park since 2002. Over the past couple of years it has been played in tribute to the city of Boston and those directly affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.
2) The Monkees’ cover of Diamond’s “I’m a Believer” was the biggest hit of 1966 in the US. It remained at #1 for seven weeks. The Monkees also had a hit with Diamond’s “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You.” Other hit versions of Diamond compositions include UB40’s “Red Red Wine,” Deep Purple’s “Kentucky Woman” and Jay & the Americans’ “Sunday and Me.”
3) In 1977 Diamond released a solo version of a song he wrote entitled “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” Shortly after, Barbra Streisand released her version of the song. An employee at a Kentucky radio station spliced the two versions together, creating a virtual duet. An official release of a duet version by Columbia Records, for whom both artists recorded, resulted in a #1 record. It was produced by Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons.
4) “Solitary Man” was Diamond’s first charting single as a performer. In 2005 Rolling Stone magazine called it Diamond’s best, saying “There’s not a wasted word or chord in this two-and-a-half minute anthem of heartbreak and self-affirmation, which introduced the melancholy loner persona that he’s repeatedly returned to throughout his career.”
5) He starred in the 1980 version of the film The Jazz Singer, for which he was a nominee for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and the winner of the Razzie for Worst Actor. The film’s soundtrack became Diamond’s best-selling album and spawned three top ten singles: “Love on the Rocks,” “Hello Again” and bad song I love “America.”
6) “Cracklin’ Rosie” is slang used by a Canadian Indian tribe for a bottle of wine. The tribe had more men than women, so the men that didn’t get a girl got with Cracklin’ Rosie. The song “Cracklin’ Rosie” became Diamond’s first #1 single as a performer.
7) “Heartlight” was inspired by the film E.T., The Extraterrestrial.
8) Urge Overkill’s version of Diamond’s “Girl, You‘ll Be a Woman Soon” became a hit on the Modern Rock chart due to its inclusion in Quentin Tarantino’s film Pulp Fiction. Diamond initially withheld the right for Tarantino to use the song in the film as he found the script too violent.
9) In the mid-sixties Diamond was working on a song he called “Money Money.” The head of his record label, Bert Berns, and songwriter Jeff Barry convinced him to change the title to something more teen-friendly. The result became Diamond’s first top ten single as a performer, “Cherry, Cherry.”
10) It took Diamond four months to write “I Am…I Said,” my favorite song about hearing-impaired furniture.

Today Diamond turns 74. Here is your Diamond Day soundtrack.

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The Twelfth Best Album Of All-Time, Subject To Change

Ringo + Carole King 002

I’m creating a list of my top 100 albums of all-time. I’ve been working on it for a couple of years. I need to get it right. I’ve whittled the list down to 112 nominees, which I listen to repeatedly, moving albums around as I assess their impact on my ears and emotions. Presently sitting at #12, between The Beatles’ Rubber Soul and the Phil Spector Christmas album, is Carole King’s Tapestry.

Released in 1971, Tapestry was a huge success, staying at #1 on the album charts for 15 weeks and remaining on Billboard’s album chart for 300 weeks, the longest run of any album by a female solo act. The album won King the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, its track “It’s Too Late” was named Record of the Year, its song “You’ve Got a Friend” won Song of the Year (as well as a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for James Taylor for his cover version), and its title track won King the Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female award.

The album includes new songs written or co-written by King, including “I Feel the Earth Move” and “So Far Away,” as well as covers of songs she wrote or co-wrote that had already been hits for other acts, such as “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” a smash for Aretha Franklin, and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” which The Shirelles took to #1 ten years earlier.

Other King compositions you may know are “Up on the Roof,” a hit for The Drifters, “One Fine Day,” a hit for The Chiffons, “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” a hit for The Monkees, “Go Away Little Girl” a hit for Steve Lawrence and later Donny Osmond, “I’m Into Something Good,” a hit for Herman’s Hermits, “It’s Going to Take Some Time,” a hit for The Carpenters, and “The Loco-motion,” a song which holds the distinction of going top ten in three different decades – in the sixties for Little Eva (King’s babysitter), in the seventies for Grand Funk and in the eighties for Kylie Minogue. In the forty years between 1959 and 1999 King made the Billboard Hot 100 118 times as a songwriter.

Tunes du Jour honors the classic work of Carole King, who turns 72 today.


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Happy Anniversary, Ringo + Winston!

Three years ago I adopted Ringo and Winston from a nearby dog rescue shelter. Ringo was abandoned by his previous owner(s). He was micro-chipped but they never sought him. He was fending for himself on the streets of L.A. When I met him he was malnourished, weighing six pounds. His fur was shaved as it was all knotted when he was found. He sat next to me and shook for a half hour.

My intention was to adopt one dog. While meeting Ringo someone dropped off Winston. I don’t remember his background, except that the person who dropped him off was looking after him for a few days and said he’s a great dog but his previous owners couldn’t keep him.

I couldn’t decide between the two so I adopted both. They are opposites in almost every way but they get on great.

Ringo wasn’t named Ringo when I met him. I changed his name so he would have a new identity for a new, happy life. I chose Ringo after the drummer in my favorite group. Winston was already named Winston when I met him. I recall that John Lennon’s middle name was Winston, which would go well with Ringo. My next two dogs will be Harrison and Mac.

Dec 2013 si9a1833Ringo, Glenn and Winston

Here is a dog-themed playlist for my two kids, Ringo and Winston.

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Wild Honey

Stevie Wonder is dating a girl he likes a lot, but his mother doesn’t approve, so he says to her ….

That’s how Beach Boy Mike Love explained the lyrics to the group’s hit “Wild Honey,” named after something sold in Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s health food shop.

The lead singer on this track is the late Carl Wilson, whose birthday is today.

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