Produced by Mike Chapman

You may not know the name Mike Chapman. Then again, maybe you do. Chances are I don’t know you, so I have no idea what familiarity you may have with the name Mike Chapman. Even if I do know you, I don’t know everything that you know. I mean, I don’t know how much familiarity you have on certain subjects. Of course, you know things I don’t. Where am I going with this? I forgot. I’ll start over.

Mike Chapman. Even if you don’t recognize the name, chances are you recognize his hit songs. He produced Blondie’s Parallel Lines album. He produced Get the Knack. He produced lots more, some of his earlier efforts with his former business partner Nicky Chinn. The Chapman-Chinn team is also credited with writing many hit songs, as is Chapman without Chinn. Have you ever heard Toni Basil’s “Mickey?” Of course you have. It was written by Chapman and Chinn. Do you know Tina Turner’s “Better Be Good to Me?” That was written by Chapman and Chinn with Holly Knight.

Today’s playlist consists of nineteen songs on which Mike Chapman has a production credit, with Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” as a bonus track. Chapman didn’t produce that, though he and Chinn wrote it, as they did Sweet’s hit “Little Willy.” I love both of those records! Chapman and Chinn also wrote but didn’t produce the Huey Lewis and the News hit “Heart and Soul.” It’s no “Ballroom Blitz.” If you want to listen to it, you’re on your own.

Today may be Mike Chapman’s birthday. Then again, maybe it isn’t. It depends on what website you look to to get your information. Either way, the man is responsible for so many great hits, and that’s reason enough to post a playlist of some of his finest work (plus Rod Stewart’s “Love Touch,” which Rod agrees isn’t his finest, but whatevs). Included are the original versions (produced by Chapman) of the previously-mentioned hits for Toni Basil and Tina Turner.

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Winston + Soft Cell

Throwback Thursday – 1982

As a songwriter, Gloria Jones charted with Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “If I Were Your Woman,” the Four Tops’ “Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life),” and Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross’ “My Mistake (Was to Love You).” As a producer, Gloria Jones hit the top ten on the disco chart with Gonzalez’s “Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet.” But as a lead singer, Jones failed to make the pop, r&b or dance charts.

In 1973, while on a trip to the United States, British DJ Richard Searling purchased a copy of a Gloria Jones single from 1965. The A-side was a song called “My Bad Boy’s Comin’ Home,” but it was the B-side that really got Searling’s attention.

Northern soul music (uptempo American soul music in a sixties Motown vein yet without commercial success) had a large cult following in the northern England at that time, and Searling played the Gloria Jones b-side during his sets.

Northern soul fan David Ball loved the song. When he and his musical partner, Mark Almond, who together comprised the duo Soft Cell, were looking for a song to cover, they went with the Jones song, thinking it would be interesting for a synth band to cover a soul tune. Their record label asked them to add guitar, bass and drums to the track, but the duo refused. Despite this, the label put out the singer. Almond told Rolling Stone magazine “We thought if we were really lucky, we’d scrape into the top 75 in Britain. We didn’t think anything would happen over here [in the US].”

Soft Cell’s recording of “Tainted Love” became a smash worldwide. In the US, it spent 43 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100, a record at that time. Said Gloria Jones of the Soft Cell recording “Their version was far better than mine.”

Winston + Soft Cell
This week, Tunes du Jour celebrates Throwback Thursday with twenty great tunes from 1982, kicking off with Soft Cell’s version of “Tainted Love,” but first, check out Gloria Jones’ original:

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Ringo + Umberto

It’s Umberto Tozzi’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Who is Umberto Tozzi? Is that what you just asked?

Born in Italy in 1952, Umberto Tozzi is a singer-songwriter who has sold over 70 million records throughout the world. In 1979 he released a single of his composition “Gloria,” which became a big hit in his home country, remaining in the top ten for 16 weeks, six of those at #2. The song also went top ten in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, South Africa and Spain.

Ringo + Umberto
In 1982, singer Laura Branigan collaborated with Trevor Veitch on English-language lyrics set to the original’s melody. Her recording of “Gloria,” co-produced by Greg Mathieson, arranger and keyboardist on the Tozzi version, reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Our weekly party kicks off with the track for which Umberto Tozzi is best-known in the United States.

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Glenn’s Ten (11-18-14)

Greetings, readers! Today we check in with Glenn’s Ten, the list of my ten favorite current songs at this moment.

There are no changes in my top three. For the third week in a row, Tove Lo is at #1 with “Habits,” Banks is at #2 with “Beggin for Thread,” and George Ezra is #3 with “Budapest.” Entering this week’s top ten is Father John Misty’s “Bored in the USA” at #4, Les Sins’ “Bother” at #5, and Belle & Sebastian’s “The Party Line” at #8. This is the first time in Glenn’s Ten for Misty and Les Sins (who also records under the name Toro y Moi). I haven’t published Glenn’s Ten in the blog for a few weeks, so there are a few other songs that will appear to be new entries to those of you keeping score at home.

Here is Glenn’s Ten for this week:
1 – “Habits (Stay High)” – Tove Lo
2 – “Beggin for Thread” – Banks
3 – “Budapest” – George Ezra
4 – “Bored in the U.S.A.” – Father John Misty
5 – “Bother” – Les Sins
6 – “Inside Out” – Spoon
7 – “Let Me Down Easy” – Paolo Nutini
8 – “The Party Line” – Belle & Sebastian
9 – “Cedar Lane” – First Aid Kit
10 – “Low Key” – Tweedy

Today’s playlist are the above ten tracks followed by ten songs that were #1 on this date in Glenn’s Ten history.

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Winston + Weird Al

Weird Al!

Winston + Weird Al
“He always stressed when I was a kid that I should do whatever made me happy, because that’s the key to success, doing for a living whatever makes you happy.” – Alfred Matthew Yankovic, speaking about his father

At age 19, Yankovic, accompanying himself on his accordion, recorded a parody of The Knack’s “My Sharona” in a bathroom at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where he was studying architecture. He sent a cassette of “My Bologna” to Dr. Demento, who played it on his syndicated radio show. When The Knack came to perform at his school, he played it for them. Lead singer Doug Feiger liked the track and suggested to an executive at the band’s label, Capitol Records, that they release it. They did so, as a one-off.

Yankovic’s next single, a parody of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” entitled “Another One Rides the Bus,” was released on TK Records, who went bankrupt a couple of weeks after the release. He then signed with Rock ‘n Roll Records and hit the Hot 100 for the first time with his parody of Toni Basil’s “Mickey,” which he called “Ricky,” about Ricky Ricardo.

Since then “Weird Al” Yankovic has stayed in the public eye. In 2014 he notched his first #1 album, Mandatory Fun.

Today “Weird Al” turns 55 years old. Here are twenty of my favorite of his tracks.

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Ringo + Toni 002

Feliz Cinco De Mayo!

Ringo + Toni 002
Hoy es Cinco de Mayo, y yo was thinking about Spanish-language songs that crossed over onto the US pop charts. That got me thinking about hit songs that were re-recorded in Spanish by their original hitmakers in an attempt to cross over the other direction. It’s a savvy business move, no? Why limit your audience, especially once the music business became more global?

Here is your Cinco de Mayo playlist: