Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 10-14-22

Today’s playlist celebrates the October 14 birthdays of The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward, Usher, Cliff Richard, The Chicks’ Natalie Maines, All Saints’ Shaznay Lewis, Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty, Bill Justis, Thomas Dolby, Robert Parker, Karyn White, and Omar; and the October 15 birthdays of The Jacksons’ Tito Jackson, The Orb’s Alex Paterson, Carpenters’ Richard Carpenter, Jessie Ware, Barry McGuire, The Bad Plus’s Reid Anderson, Ginuwine, The Dead Milkmen’s Joe Genaro, Marv Johnson, and Chris DeBurgh.

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It’s Fred Schneider’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

The B-52’s 1980 single “Private Idaho” made Pitchfork’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs from Punk to Present,” present being 2006. In his capsule review, Nitsuh Abebe wrote “Those who dismiss the B-52’s as silly or kitschy should live in fear of the frenzied last half-minute, which sounds like it’s out to track those people down, lock them up in cages, and make them go-go dance until they cry for mercy.”

Every Friday, Tunes du Jour tries to make you dance to welcome in the weekend. This week’s dance playlist kicks off with The B-52’s’ “Private Idaho,” featuring the vocals of Fred Schneider, who turns 65 today. (By the way, the B-52’s first performed in Idaho in 2011.)

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It’s Siouxsie Sioux’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

During the 1980s, Siouxsie and the Banshees, led by Susan “Siouxsie” Ballion, had 15 top 40 singles in the UK, where they formed. In the US, they had 15 fewer hits.

That changed in 1991, thanks to a song about a popular Hollywood actress of the 1950s who died in a car accident in 1967.

Vera Palmer, under her screen name Jayne Mansfield, won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year in 1957, beating out Natalie Wood. That was the year she appeared in the film Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, based on the Broadway show in which she also starred. She also starred in the hit film The Girl Can’t Help It, which featured appearances from Little Richard, Fats Domino, The Platters, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent.

Her career took a turn after these hits, perhaps due to a public backlash against her over-exposure, perhaps due to a decline in popularity of the “blonde bombshell” look, and/or perhaps due to her frequent pregnancies keeping her from accepting roles she was offered.

She did continue to work, however – in films, on television, on stage, and on records. Following a nightclub performance in Biloxi, Mississippi on June 28, 1967, Mansfield was en route to New Orleans where she was scheduled to be part of a radio show the following day. Her car collided with a tractor-trailer, and Mansfield, as well as her boyfriend and the car’s driver, were killed instantly.

The car accident is referenced in the fourth verse of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Kiss Them for Me,” named after Mansfield’s 1957 film in which she co-starred with Cary Grant.

“Kiss Them for Me” peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100, nine positions higher than its UK peak. It also went to #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and hit #8 on the Billboard Dance chart.

Today the woman born Susan Ballion turns 59 years old. Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party kicks off with her ode to the late Jayne Mansfield.

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It’s Michael Hutchence’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

There’s a dead bird on my balcony. I don’t know the bird. I don’t know how he or she died. I raised the shades on Tuesday morning and saw the bird underneath one of the two lounge chairs I bought at Ikea ten years ago.

I don’t know what to do with the dead bird. I’d like to alert his or her family, who for all I know are keeping a vigil, hoping to see their loved one come home to roost, or whatever non-chicken birds do when they return home. More so, I’d like the dead bird off my balcony, as it makes me sad to see him or her whenever I have the shades up. Dead bird aside, I like to have the shades up.

It would be great if a huge breeze came along and blew the dead bird off of my balcony and into a neighbor’s backyard, where he or she would no longer be my problem, but that seems unlikely. We were promised that El Niño would hit Los Angeles in mid-January and wreak havoc through mid-May, also bringing about some much-needed rain to our drought-ridden state, but our hopes for miserable weather have been dashed. Yesterday was sunny and in the mid-seventies with nary a breeze in sight (in feel?), and today is a mere five degrees cooler.

If I were still living on the east coast, I’d be preparing for a huge blizzard right now, one in which dead birds are blown far away, or at the very least covered in snow, where they can’t be seen when one raises their shades. Count your blessings, east coasters. Each and every morning I’m forced to face a dead bird, and by extension my own mortality, while you get to lock yourselves up inside your tiny apartments, never to again set foot outdoors. Lucky.

You may be wondering what all of this has to do with the late Michael Hutchence, who was born on this date in 1960. I’ll tell you. Michael Hutchence was the original lead singer of INXS, and New York is expecting INXS of ten inches of snow over the next twenty-four or so hours.

If you’re in New York, or elsewhere on the east coast where blizzards are expected, stay inside and dance. If you’re on the west coast, where dead birds mysteriously show up on your balcony beneath one of the two lounge chairs you bought at Ikea ten years ago, stay inside and dance. Everyone else should stay inside and dance. Here is your Michael Hutchence-inspired Friday dance playlist.

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Ringo + Lizards

It’s Black Friday And I Need To Dance!

What do people want more than anything else? Love, perhaps. When songwriter/Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. asked “What do people want most?,” his writing partner Janie Bradford answered “Money. That’s what I want.”

A song was born, a classic that became the first hit for Gordy’s Motown Records, with singer Barrett Strong taking “Money (That’s What I Want)” to #23 in 1960.

Ringo + Lizards
Twenty years after Strong hit with it, UK band The Flying Lizards took a cover of “Money” to #50 on the US pop chart. Their version also made the dance chart. It kicks off Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party.

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

“Turn on my VCR, same one I’ve had for years”

I still have my beta player. It’s not a Betamax, which is a Sony brand, but rather a Sanyo. I haven’t used it since I moved to LA in 2003, because it isn’t working. I don’t want to get rid of it, though, as I have a lot of great stuff on beta tapes. Stuff that is irreplaceable.

beta tapesThere are plenty more where these came from!

Some of the recordings I have on beta tapes can be found on YouTube – The Making of “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” for example. Others, such as Purple Rain and The Flamingo Kid, are available on a host of formats that have hit the market since beta. I’m sure I could find Madonna’s pre-fame feature A Certain Sacrifice on-line if I bothered to look for it.

I used to always keep a recordable beta tape in the machine. You never know if while channel surfing you’ll come across Chaka Khan being interviewed on a Spanish talk show on UHF. (UHF pre-dates cable TV. It pre-dates beta tapes. Look it up.) I have several dozen tapes filled with television performances from artists I was obsessed with during my beta machine’s lifetime. Not that it’s dead. I refuse to believe it is. Perhaps I’m still in the denial stage of Dr. Kübler-Ross seven stages of grieving, but I believe the beta machine can easily be fixed. It probably needs a new band. Getting the machine fixed is on my To Do list. I can’t wait to dig in to those old tapes. I look forward to watching the one I labelled “Highlights from The Late Show With Joan Rivers.” It contains her interview with the late great disco queen Sylvester in which he accidentally outed his boyfriend. It also contains several appearances by The Bangles, as I was obsessed with both the Bangles and Joan Rivers. Sometimes I miss the 80s, but then I remember Duran Duran.

Might any of my LA readers be able to recommend a beta machine repair person?

The lyric that opens this post is from The Police’s song “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around.” I have some of the band’s TV appearances on those beta tapes.

Today is the 64th birthday of that band’s usual lead singer, Sting. Our weekly dance party kicks off with the song with the longest title of any in the trio’s recorded repertoire.

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It’s Richard Butler’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

About the Psychedelic Furs song “Love My Way,” Richard Butler, the band’s lead singer, said “It’s basically addressed to people who are fucked up about their sexuality, and says ‘Don’t worry about it.’ It was originally written for gay people.”

I could be upset that he says I’m fucked up about my sexuality, but I choose to focus on the positive. He wrote a song about me. Thanks, Richard, and happy birthday!

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour, so let’s get this party started!

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Brandeis ID

It’s Friday And I Need To Dance! – College Reunion Edition

Brandeis ID
On the Facebook page for my thirty-year college reunion, which is coming up this June, someone brought up the music that reminds them of our college days. Many posts followed, naming songs that remind us of shared experiences at Brandeis University in the first half of the 1980s.

That post inspired today’s playlist. Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour, and today I present 50 songs we danced to in the Usdan Ballroom at Brandeis University between the fall of 1981 and the spring of 1985. It was a great time for popular music. These songs have stood the test of time.

Have a great weekend!

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