Tag Archives: Tom Jones

A Hint Of Mint – Volume 51: So Sexy It Hurts

Forgotten uptempo songs primarily from the eighties and nineties to play at your next party provided you don’t invite you-know-who, ’cause she has the personality of a wet mop and takes life way too seriously. Does she enjoy the B-52’s? No! Can she get into Tom Jones covering Talking Heads? Absolutely not! And if she heard the vulgarities on that Sinéad O’Connor record she’d turn red and run out of the room crying. Bye, Felicia!


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All You Need Is Mike Love

Mike Love is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and activist who in 1965 founded the group Love with his sisters, Courtney, Darlene and Monie. He was nicknamed the “Yoko Ono of the Beach Boys,” not because he is a Japanese woman, but because in 1969 he married the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, who he met during a performance art piece entitled “Nail MC Hammer,” and in doing so, influenced the band’s musical direction away from songs about surfing, girls, cars, surfing girls, girls’ cars, and surfing cars, and toward more lyrically deep and musically complicated pieces, like “Kokomo.” Tom Jones paid tribute to Mike Love’s importance to the Beach Boys with the song “Without Love (There Is Nothing),” a top 5 hit in 1970. Jones was not the only musician to admire Love. Mike Love is considered a genius by all musicians named Mike Love.

In 1976, Love got his M.D. in Transcendental Medication. The band Kiss paid tribute to his achievement with their hit “Calling Dr. Love.” Other songs honoring the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer include “Love Can Make You Happy,” “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing” and “Love is All We Need.” Steven Tyler of Aerosmith bumped into Mike on an escalator at the Beverly Center, and wrote “Love in an Elevator” about the experience, changing the means of conveyance because “escalators ain’t musical, you know?”. In 1979, the r&b band Rose Royce (“Car Wash”) moved into the house that Mike Love moved out of a few years earlier. Annoyed by his deranged fans, who camped out on the front lawn 24-7, the band’s Gwen Dickey yelled out the window “Love don’t live here anymore!,” and a soul classic was born.

These days Love is a recluse, staying inside one of his homes in between concert dates, of which he does 729 each year. He only grants interviews to those who ask. I didn’t ask.

UPDATE: I just received an email from the “LAW OFFICES OF MIKE LOVE’S LAWYERS.” Per his attorneys, there are some factual inaccuracies in what I’ve written above. They write that while Mike Love will take credit for starting the band Love, the following things are not true:

Mike Love did not marry Brian Wilson. Wilson is Love’s cousin, and they are not from the South.
Mike Love is a founding member of the Beach Boys.
Mike Love does not have an M.D. Well, he has an M.D., but he himself is not an M.D. Kiss wrote that song for him because they feel he should have received an honorary doctorate.
Rose Royce never lived in any of Love’s homes, and the song “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” was not written about Mike Love, though the other songs you referenced were.
Mike Love’s attorneys did not send Tunes du Jour an email.
Mike Love is a Japanese woman.

Coincidentally, they tell me that today is Mike Love’s 75th birthday. Tunes du Jour sends Love love. Here are twenty of his most loverly:


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Jimmy Page: Pre-Zeppelin

(I meant to post this yesterday, but I entered the wrong date on the schedule. Oopsie!)

Before founding Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page, who turns 72 years old today, was an in-demand musician. Here are twenty pre-Zeppelin tracks on which he played:


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Throwback Thursday – 1965

me - 1966001The blogger in 1965

For this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist, Tunes du Jour revisits the year 1965.


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I Say A Little Prayer On Burt Bacharach’s Birthday

Songwriters/Producers Burt Bacharach and Hal David had a string of hits with Dionne Warwick in the 1960s. They usually got the master they wanted after just one take; however, on “I Say a Little Prayer,” they did ten takes with Warwick, not liking any of the end results. They felt the tempo was too rushed. They gave up on the recording and into the vault it went, until October 1967, when the head of Warwick’s record label slated it to be the b-side of the new single “(Theme from) Valley of the Dolls.” While “Dolls” eventually became a hit, it was “I Say a Little Prayer” that raced up the chart first, becoming Warwick’s first gold record.

Against the advice of Jerry Wexler, the head of her record label, Aretha Franklin recorded a cover of “I Say a Little Prayer” just weeks after Warwick’s record peaked. Wexler thought it was too soon to remake the song, not to mention that he felt the song was far better suited to Warwick’s voice. Franklin came up with a new arrangement for the tune and used the same backup singers that sang on Warwick’s version. Though he loved what she did with the song, Wexler still didn’t think it was a hit, and scheduled it as the b-side to Aretha’s July 1968 single “The House That Jack Built.” As with Dionne’s record, both sides of Aretha’s single hit the top ten and the record went gold.

Though he didn’t produce Franklin’s recording, Bacharach has called it “the definitive version.”

Today Burt Bacharach turns 87 years old. Here are twenty classic songs from his songwriting catalogue.


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Who Is Barry Mann?

Ringo + Righteous
During yesterday’s Grammy Awards, the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil received the Trustees Award, whatever that is. The honor was introduced by Tom Jones and Jessie J, who performed the most godawful rendition of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” that has ever been foisted upon an unsuspecting world. Lost that loving feeling? More like lost their hearing, based on the way Jones and J yelled and screamed at each other. Do they not understand the concept of microphones? No need to shout, people.

To unwrong this heinous assault on the ears of the show’s viewers, Tunes du Jour presents to you a collection of twenty tunes co-written by Mann, most with his wife of 54 years, Weil. Along with the husband-wife songwriting team of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil helped shape the sound of American pop music beginning in the early 1960s. Coincidentally, both Mann and King celebrate their birthdays today. For more on King, click here.

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Let’s Sing About Sex

Today is the 57th birthday of English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg. My favorite song of his is “Sexuality,” a #2 US Modern Rock hit from 1991. Co-written with The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, “Sexuality” is, as described by Wayne Studer in his book Rock on the Wild Side, “a bouncy, ringing celebration of healthy, open-minded live-and-let-live attitudes about the human body and human relationships.” Singing “your laws do not apply to me” and “I demand equality,” this is a protest song that remains relevant 20+ years later.

In celebration of “Sexuality,” today’s playlist consists of twenty songs with the word sex or some variant thereof in the title. Get down!

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It’s My Birthday And I Need To Dance!

doggies + New Edition
Every April, to coincide with Tax Day, my former Sony colleague Rich Appel creates the IRS countdown. In this case, IRS stands for It Really Shoulda, as in It Really Shoulda been a top ten hit. People vote for songs that they feel should have but didn’t make the top ten of Billboard’s Hot 100. Rich collates all of the entries and comes out with the Top 100 IRS songs.

Today is my birthday. Usually on birthdays, Tunes du Jour creates a playlist around the music of the birthday boy or girl. As Friday is dance day in these parts, I decided I would take inspiration from Rich’s IRS countdown and present to you a playlist of songs that I love to dance to that didn’t crack the pop top ten. Here are fifty such IRS tracks. (Actually, fifty-one, not because that’s how old I am but because the Diana Ross entry is two songs.) It’s my birthday and I need to dance!

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It’s Freddie Mercury’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

The band Queen released their eighth studio album, The Game, in 1980. The album’s first single, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” released eight months prior to the LP, went to #1 on the US pop charts. “Play the Game,” released as a single just a month before the album dropped, failed to make the US top 40.

Backstage after a Queen concert in Los Angeles, a fan of the group, Michael Jackson, suggested to Freddie Mercury that “Another One Bites the Dust” should be the next single. The band were initially reluctant to do so, but the track was getting airplay on black radio stations and demand was increasing, so their label, Elektra, put it out.

Inspired by the bass line of Chic’s “Good Times,” “Another One Bites the Dust” went to #1 on the US pop charts. It also hit #2 on the Soul chart and on the Dance chart, the group’s highest-placing songs on those formats.

A few years later Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson recorded a few tracks together, including one written by Jackson and Randy Hansen entitled “State of Shock.” The pair never completed the track; explanations given or conjectured being they both got too busy with other commitments and couldn’t find time to reunite, Jackson objected to Mercury’s cocaine use, Mercury objected to Jackson bringing a llama into the recording studio, Queen’s record label fearing Mercury associating with Jackson would lead consumers to think he was gay (ahem). Whatever the reason, “State of Shock” was eventually released with Mick Jagger trading vocals with Jackson. It hit #3 in 1984.

Winston + Queen 2014-09-05 11.07
Today is Freddie Mercury’s birthday, so we’ll kick off our weekly dance party with “Another One Bites the Dust.”

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Last week I regaled an audience with the story of the time I accidentally hired a prostitute to show me around Prague. These things happen. To me, anyway.

Half-glass-full guy that I am, once I realized what I did, I looked at the positive – I hired a prostitute to show me around Prague! Complications arose when the police got involved and I had to explain to my bank why they needed to credit that charge.

Though I ended up sightseeing that spectacular city on my own, I got a great story out of the trip. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, but you make the best of the situation and try to turn it into a positive.

me July 25 2014 at IMSomeday I’ll talk about the time I boarded a bus in Mexico to go on what I thought was a nature trip to the hot springs. Let’s just say I don’t think the springs got any hotter than they did that night.

In 1987, two bands, both interested in making a dance record, got together in the studio at the suggestion of the head of their record label, 4AD. Colourbox and A R Kane didn’t hit it off, so each worked on their own track, which they then turned over to the other group to embellish.

Colourbox came up with “Pump up the Volume,” its title line sampled from Eric B & Rakim’s “I Know You Got Soul.” A R Kane added some guitar to the track, and DJs CJ Macintosh and Dave Dorrell added a bunch of samples.

The record was released under the name M|A|R|R|S. “Pump up the Volume” became a worldwide smash and was groundbreaking in its use of samples on a British house track.

Though the idea of a true collaboration between the two bands didn’t come to fruition, and the acts didn’t get along and never worked together again, they did produce a dance classic. “Pump up the Volume” kicks off today’s dance playlist. Have a great weekend and before you buy anything, make sure you know exactly what it is you are paying for.

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