Tag Archives: Tom Petty

The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

Today is the day after Thanksgiving here in the United States of America. You’re officially allowed to start listening to holiday music now. To get you started, I compiled a playlist of what I consider to be 100 of the best Christmas songs. Okay, 98 songs, a stand-up routine and a skit. It’s a mix of standards, versions of standards with which you may not be familiar, and obscure but delightful tunes.

Enjoy!

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Throwback Thursday – 1991

“It was a 5-minute song with no chorus and a mandolin as the lead instrument. So for us to hold that as the bar we have to jump over every time we write a song would be ridiculous.”

In the summer of 1990, R.E.M. demoed a song in the studio with the working title of “Sugar Cane.” The band’s guitarist, Peter Buck, had recently purchased a mandolin and while learning how to play it, came up with the song’s main riff and chorus.

Lyrics about obsession and unrequited love were added, including an expression from the southern part of the United States that means “being at the end of one’s rope.” That expression became the song’s new title. The band’s singer, Michael Stipe, recorded his vocals in one take.

Though in the liner notes the R.E.M.’s career retrospective, Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011, Stipe wrote “I don’t think any of us had any idea it would ever be … anything,” the group wanted it to be the first single released from their album Out of Time. Their record label, Warner Bros., didn’t think that was a good idea, as it was, in the words of one of the company’s executives, an “unconventional track.” After much discussion, Warner relented.

That record, with the title “Losing My Religion,” went to #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and became a smash worldwide. The album from which it was taken, Out of Time, sold over 18 million copies, far more than any of their previous releases.

Out of Time won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album and was nominated for Album of the Year. “Losing My Religion” won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Short Form Music Video and was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, which it lost to “Unforgettable,” which was written in 1951.

When asked at the time if he was worried that the song’s success might alienate older fans, Peter Buck told Rolling Stone, “The people that changed their minds because of ‘Losing My Religion’ can just kiss my ass.”

“Losing My Religion” made Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s, Blender’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born, and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. On their annual music critics poll, the Village Voice had “Losing My Religion” as the #2 single of 1991, just behind Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

For this Throwback Thursday, Tunes du Jour presents twenty of the best tracks from 1991. (I didn’t include “Smells Like Teen Spirit” because I base this not on year of release, but on the year a song peaked in popularity. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hit the top ten on the Hot 100 in 1992.)


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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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Throwback Thursday – The Hits of 1995

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist spotlights the hits of 1995, starting with TLC’s “Waterfalls,” a song that features backing vocals by Cee Lo Green.


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My Birthday Advice: Don’t!

doggies + Elvis
Today is my birthday. Over my 25+ years on earth, I’ve learned many life lessons. Most of them came from songs. My birthday gift to you is a playlist of 100 songs offering advice as to what not to do.


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Throwback Thursday – 1981

me before promThe blogger in 1981, before heading to the senior prom

For this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist, we revisit 1981. The 1981 Grammy Award for Album of the Year went to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy. The Best New Artist was Shena Easton. Record of the Year and Song of the Year went to “Bette Davis Eyes,” performed by Kim Carnes. Both Carnes and Easton were nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, along with Olivia Newton-John for “Physical” and Juice Newton for “Angel of the Morning,” but those ladies lost to Lena Horne for “WTF?”. Rick Springfield won Best Rock Performance, Male (naturally) for “Jessie’s Girl.” “Just the Two of Us,” the Grover Washington, Jr./Bill Withers hit, took home the trophy for Best Rhythm & Blues Song.

Here are some of 1981’s biggest hits:

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Grammy Nominees Were Announced And I Need To Dance!

This year’s Grammy nominations were announced this morning. Here they are:

Record of the Year
Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX – “Fancy”
Sia – “Chandelier”
Sam Smith – “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)”
Taylor Swift – “Shake It Off”
Meghan Trainor – “All About That Bass”

Song of the Year
Same as Record of the Year, except instead of “Fancy” you’ve got Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”

Album of the Year
They plan on announcing the nominees in this category tonight during the A Very Grammy Christmas television special. Ariana Grande, Maroon 5 and Album of the Year nominations? Cancel your Friday night plans!

Best New Artist
Bastille
Iggy Azalea
Haim
Sam Smith
Some lady I’ve never heard of

Best Pop Vocal Album
Coldplay – Zzzzz
Miley Cyrus – Zzzzz
Ariana Grande – Zzzzz
Katy Perry – Zzzzz
Ed Sheeran – Zzzzz
Sam Smith – Zzzzz

Best Rock Album
Beck – Morning Phase
Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye
U2 – Are You Fucking Kidding Me?!?!

Best Urban Contemporary Album
Jhené Aiko – How Do You Pronounce That?
Beyoncé – I’m Now The Most Nominated Woman In Grammy History, So Bow Down Bitches
Chris Brown – Undeserved
Mali Music – Who?
Pharrell Williams – Gurl!

Best Country Album
Miranda Lambert – Platinum
+ four others

Best Spoken Word Album (a/k/a Best Audiobook)
Forget the titles; look at this list of nominated performers – James Franco, John Waters, Joan Rivers, Gloria Gaynor, Elizabeth Warren and Jimmy Carter! They better present this one on the telecast! Gurl!

Best Rock Song
Paramore – “Ain’t It Fun”
Beck – “Blue Moon”
The Black Keys – “Jack White Better Not Be Nominated”
Ryan Adams – “Gimme Something Good”
Jack White – “The Black Keys Better Not Be Nominated”

Best R&B Song
Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z – “Drunk In Love”
Usher – “I’m Going to Lose to Beyoncé”
Chris Brown featuring Usher and Rick Ross – “I Don’t Deserve a Nomination and I’m Going to Lose to Beyoncé”
Luke James featuring Rick Ross – “You Never Heard of Me and I’m Going to Lose to Beyoncé”
Jhené Aiko – “Though I Also Have an Accent over the Second E in My First Name I’m Going to Lose to Beyoncé”

Best Country Song
Miranda Lambert – “Automatic”
+ four others

Best Dance Recording
Seriously, there is a category for the best audiobook. The Grammy Awards’ tag-line is “Music’s Biggest Night.” Unless Elizabeth Warren sang her memoirs this category should not exist.

This post doesn’t cover all nominations. In total, the Grammy Awards have nominees in 12,623 categories, three of which are presented on the air. Tune in sometime in January or February to see who wins as well as a rare live television appearance from the reclusive Taylor Swift!

As for now, it’s Friday, which is dance day on Tunes du Jour. As tomorrow is Ira Gershwin’s 118th birthday, we’ll kick off this week’s dance party with Donna Summer, who by now may have dined with the famed lyricist.

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It’s Tom Petty’s Birthday

Winston + Tom Petty
I recall reading an item about Tom Petty back in the early eighties that has stuck with me all these years. He and his wife were at a Florida park to have a picnic. They saw a gay group in the park. The group was being harassed by anti-gay folks. Tom Petty and his wife joined the gay picnic to show their solidarity.

I’ve spent the last hour scouring the internet for the details of this story, but I’ve had no luck. I’m confident my memory is correct of this having happened.

A couple of weeks ago I saw the movie Pride. Based on true events, the movie tells the story of a small group of gay rights activists who in England in 1984 raised money to help striking working-class miners. For a while many of the miners didn’t want to take “gay” money, just as many gay people didn’t want to donate to the miners’ cause, feeling their charity money should go to gay causes such as fighting AIDS and discriminatory laws.

I’m not going to get preachy and explain the lessons to be learned from these stories. Go see Pride. It’s a very good movie. And listen to Tom Petty, who turns 64 today.

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In Which I Try To Look Like Stevie Nicks

Back in the good old days, Rhino Entertainment celebrated Halloween by ending the work day at 3 o’clock, at which time we would go to a karaoke bar for costume and singing contests. I aced both the year I went as Britney Spears. I think the snake I pulled out during “I’m a Slave 4 U” clinched it for me.

I reused the wig I bought for my Britney costume the following Halloween when I dressed up as Stevie Nicks. I found an inexpensive black lace skirt at the thrift shop near my home. I wore a large measuring spoon around my neck and applied some lipstick and called it a costume.

Not being a professional crossdresser (these were my only two times in drag; I can’t explain the other photos of my doing karaoke with wigs on), I paid no attention to things like makeup. I didn’t look in the mirror until hours after I got dressed. It was disappointing to see I looked nothing like Stevie Nicks. Nobody could figure out who I was supposed to be or if in fact I was in costume until we got to the karaoke portion of our day, when I killed “Gypsy” and “Stand Back.”

Nancy is upset because she looks like Stevie Nicks…

StevieI’m upset because I don’t.

Today the inspiring Stevie Nicks turns 66. Here is some of her best.

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Your 420 Playlist

doggies + Peter Tosh

I don’t smoke the marijuana; I get high on music.

Here is your 420 soundtrack – twenty hits:

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