Tag Archives: Van Morrison

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (7-23-20)

Inspired by the July 23 birthdays of Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore, Tony Joe White, The Penguins’ Cleveland Duncan, Manhattan Transfer’s Janis Siegel, Travis’ Fran Healy, Orleans’ John Hall, David Essex, Alison Krauss, Starpoint’s Renée Diggs, and Blue Mink’s Madeline Bell.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (7-12-20)

Inspired by the July 12 birthdays of Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, Boney M’s Liz Mitchell and Broadway composer Oscar Hammerstein II.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (6-8-20)

Inspired by Black Music Month, LGBTQ Pride Month, and the June 8 birthdays of Kanye West, Three Dog Night’s Chuck Negron, Boz Scaggs, Nancy Sinatra, Bonnie Tyler, Joan Rivers, Robert Preston, Gang of Four’s Jon King, and James Darren.

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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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Van Morrison Wasn’t Looking For A Hit

In 1967 Van Morrison hit with his first solo single, “Brown Eyed Girl.” He had hit the top 40 twice before as the lead singer of Them, first with 1965’s “Here Comes the Night,” which peaked at #24. That song’s writer/producer, Bert Berns, produced “Brown Eyed Girl,” a Morrison composition. The song hit the top ten, which didn’t make Morrison happy. “I never wanted to be commercial, and suddenly ‘Brown-Eyed Girl’ was making me even more commercial,” he complained.

The relationship deteriorated between Morrison and Berns, who besides being a songwriter and producer ran Bang Records, the record company to which Morrison was signed. Morrison’s next album would be on Warner Bros. Records.

Released in 1968, Astral Weeks produced no top ten singles. As a matter of fact, it didn’t produce any charting singles. The album failed to chart as well. Morrison was following his musical muse.

These days Astral Weeks is considered Morrison’s best work and is a rock era classic.

Today Morrison turns 70 years old. Here are twenty career highlights, including “Brown Eyed Girl” and a healthy lot of songs from Astral Weeks.


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It Really Shoulda…

Sam + Ringo
It’s that time of year when music geeks such as I think about the I.R.S. I.R.S. as in It Really Shoulda, as in it really should been a top ten hit.

Eight years ago, a colleague from my Sony Music days, Rich Appel, created the I.R.S. countdown. Music fans submitted a list of songs that didn’t make the top ten on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 but should have, in their opinion. Rich compiled the tallies to create the overall I.R.S. top 104. He’s been compiling this survey each year since.

As for why a song should have been a top ten hit, that’s left entirely up to the list-maker. On my list, I included records that are perfect or near-perfect melodically, lyrically and/or production-wise. I included songs that have withstood the test of time and are still part of the public consciousness years later. I included records that everybody thinks were top ten hits. I included tracks that would have been top ten hits except they didn’t conform to Billboard’s rules for chart placement at their time of release (e.g. they weren’t available on commercial 7-inch singles or viral video play didn’t count in metric measurements). I included singles by artists who hit the top ten with lesser songs. I focused on tracks that have pop appeal, leaving out fantastic recordings from some of my favorite acts, such as The Replacements and The Smiths – they were called “alternative” because they weren’t pop.

My list for 2015 is below, followed by a Spotify playlist of those songs. Rich asks people submitting lists to put them in order, with #1 being the record one feels should have, more than any other, been a top ten hit. Ask me to do so tomorrow and my list will likely be in a different order.

For today, here is my I.R.S. 104. After the artist name I listed how high the song charted during its initial release. If the single hit the Hot 100 at a later date, I included that information as well.

You can hear the official I.R.S. 104 tally for 2015 on Rich Appel’s radio show, That Thing, this coming weekend on RewoundRadio.com. Friday at 6PM Eastern he’ll go from #104 to around #53 and Sunday starting at 6PM Eastern he’ll pick up from where he left off and go to #1.

1. Wonderful World – Sam Cooke (#12, 1960)
2. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (#19, 1967)
3. River Deep, Mountain High – Ike and Tina Turner (#88, 1966)
4. I Only Want to Be with You – Dusty Springfield (#12, 1964)
5. Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival (#14, 1969)
6. Cupid – Sam Cooke (#17, 1961)
7. Holiday – Madonna (#16, 1984)
8. Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder (did not chart, 1977)
9. 1999 – Prince (#44, 1982; #12, 1983; #40, 1999)
10. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen (#23, 1975)
11. It Takes Two – Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston (#14, 1967)
12. Little Egypt (Ying Yang) – The Coasters (#23, 1961)
13. I Want to Take You Higher – Sly & the Family Stone (#60, 1969; #38, 1970)
14. Into the Groove – Madonna (did not chart, 1985)
15. We Will Rock You – Queen (did not chart, 1978; #52, 1992)
16. S.O.S. – Abba (#15, 1975)
17. You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King (did not chart, 1971)
18. Hold On! I’m Comin’ – Sam & Dave (#21, 1966)
19. Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding (#25, 1967)
20. The Way You Do the Things You Do – The Temptations (#11, 1964)
21. It’s a Shame – Spinners (#14, 1970)
22. It’s Gonna Work Out Fine – Ike & Tina Turner (#14, 1961)
23. Under My Thumb – the Rolling Stones (did not chart, 1966)
24. Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me) – Four Seasons (#13, 1966)
25. Me and Julio down by the School Yard – Paul Simon (#22, 1972)
26. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John & Yoko & the Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir (did not chart, 1971)
27. I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan (#21, 1978)
28. Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley (#29, 1964)
29. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid (#13, 1984)
30. Super Freak – Rick James (#16, 1981)
31. Mighty Love – Spinners (#20, 1974)
32. Stan – Eminem featuring Dido (#51, 2000)
33. So Far Away – Carole King (#14, 1971)
34. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love (did not chart, 1963)
35. Because the Night – Patti Smith Group (#13, 1978)
36. Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell (#67, 1970)
37. Candy Girl – New Edition (#46, 1983)
38. Brass in Pocket (I’m Special) – Pretenders (#14, 1980)
39. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M. (#29, 1993)
40. It Takes Two – Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock (#36, 1988)
41. Heartbreak Hotel – the Jacksons (#22, 1981)
42. Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton (#20, 1976)
43. Valerie – Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse (did not chart, 2007)
44. Rock and Roll All Nite (live) – Kiss (#12, 1976)
45. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) – Sylvester (#36, 1979)
46. L-O-V-E (Love) – Al Green (#13, 1975)
47. It’s Raining Men – the Weather Girls (#46, 1983)
48. I’m a Slave 4 U – Britney Spears (#27, 2001)
49. You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC (#35, 1980)
50. Wake Up Everybody – Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (#12, 1976)
51. Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed (#16, 1973)
52. Bring It on Home to Me – Sam Cooke (#13, 1962)
53. Pride (In the Name of Love) – U2 (#33, 1984)
54. Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – McFadden & Whitehead (#13, 1979)
55. Move Your Feet – Junior Senior (did not chart, 2003)
56. Heroes – David Bowie (did not chart, 1977)
57. Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon (#21, 1978)
58. One Way or Another – Blondie (#24, 1979)
59. You Get What You Give – New Radicals (#36, 1999)
60. Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel – Tavares (#15, 1976)
61. Ain’t Nobody – Rufus featuring Chaka Khan (#22, 1983)
62. You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon (#44, 1986, #23, 1987)
63. I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bonnie Raitt (#18, 1992)
64. Young Americans – David Bowie (#28, 1975)
65. A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke (#31, 1965)
66. Respect Yourself – the Staple Singers (#12, 1971)
67. Moondance – Van Morrison (did not chart, 1970; #92, 1977)
68. Where’s the Love – Hanson (did not chart, 1997)
69. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing – Stevie Wonder (#16, 1974)
70. I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow (#62, 1982)
71. Genius of Love – Tom Tom Club (#31, 1982)
72. Beautiful Stranger – Madonna (#19, 1999)
73. Shame, Shame, Shame – Shirley (& Company) (#12, 1975)
74. The Way I Am – Eminem (#58, 2000)
75. Jungle Love – The Time (#20, 1985)
76. Gypsy – Fleetwood Mac (#12, 1982)
77. Smile – Lily Allen (#49, 2007)
78. Tear the Roof off the Sucker (Give up the Funk) – Parliament (#15, 1976)
79. Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert (#11, 2013)
80. Solid – Ashford & Simpson (#12, 1985)
81. Rapper’s Delight – The Sugarhill Gang (#36, 1980)
82. The Cup of Life – Ricky Martin (#60, 1998; #45, 1999)
83. Me, Myself and I – De La Soul (#34, 1989)
84. Bad Luck – Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (#15, 1975)
85. Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads (did not chart, 1981)
86. Fuck You – Lily Allen (#68, 2009)
87. Such Great Heights – The Postal Service (did not chart, 2003)
88. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (movie version) – Lauryn Hill (did not chart, 1998)
89. Dedication to My Ex (Miss That) – Lloyd featuring Andre 3000 (#79, 2011)
90. Jump To It – Aretha Franklin (#24, 1982)
91. Mamma Mia – Abba (#32, 1976)
92. Space Oddity – David Bowie (did not chart, 1969; #15, 1973)
93. P Control – O{+> (Prince) (did not chart, 1995)
94. Got Your Money – Ol’ Dirty Bastard featuring Kelis (#33, 1999)
95. LDN – Lily Allen (did not chart, 2007)
96. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore – Buddy Holly (#13, 1959)
97. Does Your Mother Know – Abba (#19, 1979)
98. Up in a Puff of Smoke – Polly Brown (#16, 1975)
99. Blue Limousine – Apollonia 6 (did not chart, 1984)
100. All the Young Dudes – Mott the Hoople (#37, 1972)
101. Fight the Power – Public Enemy (did not chart, 1989)
102. Pass That Dutch – Missy Elliott (#27, 2003)
103. Stacy’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne (#21, 2003)
104. You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse (#78, 2007; #77, 2008)


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Patti Smith!

Patti Smith was born in Chicago on December 30, 1946.

She co-wrote a play called Cotton Mouth with Sam Shepard, which she performed once, in 1971.

She wrote lyrics for several Blue Öyster Cult songs. For a while she was under consideration to be the band’s lead singer.

The Patti Smith Group released their first record in 1974, a single featuring the songs “Hey Joe” and “Piss Factory.”

ALBUMS
Patti Smith has released eleven studio albums to date: Horses, Radio Ethiopia, Easter, Wave, Dream of Life, Gone Again, Peace and Noise, Gung Ho, Trampin’, Twelve and Banga.

The Patti Smith Group’s debut album, 1975’s Horses, was listed at #1 on NME’s list of “20 Near-as-Damn-It Perfect Initial Efforts.” It was #44 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time” and #49 in Out magazine’s “100 Greatest, Gayest Albums of All Time” list.

Easter also made the Out magazine list, coming in at #64.

David Keenan of the Sunday Herald placed Radio Ethiopia on his list of “The 103 Best Albums Ever, Honest .”

Rolling Stone called Gone Again one of the “Essential Recordings of the Nineties.”

FANS
Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Carcass” was inspired by Smith’s Horses.

About Horses, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe said it “tore my limbs off and put them back on in a whole different order.” In 1996 Smith contributed vocals to R.E.M.’s “E-bow the Letter.”

Patti Smith was not a member of the band The Smiths. However, the group’s Morrissey and Johnny Marr said that their song “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” is a reworking of “Kimberly” from Patti’s Horses. Morrissey later released a single with a cover of that album’s “Redondo Beach.”

Sammy Hagar covered Horses’ “Free Money” on his self-titled album.

Courtney Love said Smith’s Horses album helped inspire her to become a rock star.

U2 covered Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot” for the b-side of their “When Loves Comes to Town” single. Smith later covered U2’s “Until the End of the World” for a U2 tribute compilation.

HONORS
In 2005, Patti Smith was named a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.

She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

In 2010 she won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids, which documents her romantic relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe as the couple were struggling artists and Mapplethorpe was struggling with his homosexuality. Mapplethorpe, whose photographs of Smith covered her albums Horses, Wave and Dream of Life, died from AIDS-related illness in 1989. Smith donated the royalties for her 1996 book The Coral Sea to the Robert Mapplethorpe Laboratory for AIDS Research at Boston’s Deaconess Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

SONGS
Smith’s sole top 40 pop hit was 1978’s “Because the Night.” The song’s music and chorus were written by Bruce Springsteen. He had trouble writing verses to it as it was a love song and at that time he wasn’t writing straightforward love songs. He gave what he had done to Patti Smith, who was recording an album in the studio next to where he was recording Darkness in the Edge of Town. Her record, which reached #13, was the first hit for producer Jimmy Iovine, who later co-founded Interscope Records and Beats by Dr. Dre.

“Gloria” was written by Van Morrison for his band Them. It peaked at #93 in 1965. Smith covered the song using the title of the Catholic hymn “Gloria: in Excelsis Deo,” adding her own lyrics.

About how “People Have the Power” came to be, Patti told UK music mag NME “I was in the kitchen. My late husband was writing music, and he was a great songwriter, Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith, and we were writing some songs together. And I was peeling potatoes, and I remember I was in a bad mood because I had, you know, I was making dinner and washing the clothes and peeling potatoes. And in the middle of it, Fred came in and said, ‘Tricia, people have the power, write it.’ And I was standing there with a potato peeler thinking I’d like to have the power to make him peel these potatoes, that’s what I’d like… but I kept him. So for the next few nights, I really contemplated – because Fred was very political, and we talked about it, what we wanted to do with this line, which was Fred’s. And what we wanted to do was remind the listener of their individual power but also of the collective power of the people, how we can do anything. That’s why at the end it goes, ‘I believe everything we dream can come to pass, through our union we can turn the world around, we can turn the earth’s revolution.’ We wrote it consciously together to inspire people, to inspire people to come together.”

Smith’s “About a Boy” was written about Kurt Cobain. She told the Seattle Weekly “I was heartbroken when he committed suicide. I loved Nirvana … [My husband and I] felt so badly. We just wished that we would have known him, and been able to talk to him, and had some positive effect on him.” She covered Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on her album Twelve.

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But Then Again, No

Sometimes an awkward lyric shows up and mars an otherwise perfectly reasonable song. I don’t mean songs such as Paul McCartney’s “Spies Like Us” or Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” or Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder’s “Ebony and Ivory.” Those songs are just plain bad.

Wings’ “Live and Let Die” is one of my favorite of Sir Paul’s post-Beatles songs, but I refuse to sing along with the phrase “this ever changing world in which we live in.” Poor grammar makes me want to give in and cry.

John Mellencamp’s “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” pays tribute to many rock and soul greats of the 1960s. It’s a crackin’ little number but I always cringe when he sings “let’s don’t forget James Brown.” “Let’s not” uses just as many syllables, is grammatically-correct, and doesn’t detract from the message of not forgetting James Brown.

There are times when lyrics are bad not because of their grammar, but because they sound like place holders that remained in the song because the lyricist couldn’t come up with anything with which to replace them. Take Elton John’s classic hit “Your Song.” “If I was a sculptor, but then again, no.” Why is that in the song? You’re not a sculptor. You weren’t a sculptor. What would happen if you were a sculptor? Instead of giving the object of your affection the gift of song, would you make a bust of their face, a la Lionel Richie’s “Hello” video?

One of my favorite bad lyrics is in the Diana Ross and the Supremes hit “I’m Livin’ in Shame,” in which Diana sings “Came the telegram – Ma passed away while making homemade jam.” Telegram messages were charged by the letter, so including the details of what Ma was doing when she died is a bad choice lyrically and financially. What lyrics were discarded in favor of that? “Came the telegram – Ma passed away while carving up the ham?” “Came the telegram – Ma passed away with her finger in a dam?” “Came the telegram – Ma passed away serving in Viet Nam?” “Came the telegram – Ma passed away from an attack by a ram?” “Came the telegram – Ma passed away from choking on a yam?” That last one is good, but then again, no.

“I Started a Joke” by the Bee Gees is an okay song that would be better if Johnny Marr played guitar on it. Then it may sound like a Smiths song. Not a Smiths single. Maybe an album track. I’m not sure what the over-the-top lyrics are about. It seems Robin Gibb is not a gifted comedian and his joke made everyone cry and then he cried and everyone started laughing and then he died but kept singing this song. That’s all well and good. The line that made me include it in this blog entry is “I fell out of bed hurting my head from things that I said.” I think you hurt your head when you fell out of bed and banged said head on a jar of homemade jam.

Let’s don’t forget Robin and Maurice Gibb on their birthday.

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In Which A Group Of Multi-Millionaires Sings Of Wishing They Had A Little Money

I didn’t get the film Muriel’s Wedding. Not as in I didn’t get the Blu-Ray of this movie for Hanukkah. I don’t even own a Blu-Ray player. No, I mean I didn’t understand it. Or rather, I didn’t buy it. Muriel, the ugly duckling girl who is mocked and abused, ends up marrying a beautiful South African swimmer and then splits up with him because of some self-esteem bullshit. WHAT? For fuck’s sake, Muriel! The man has beautiful eyes, a great body and doesn’t beat you. What more could you want? If this means I’m shallow and superficial then I don’t want to be right. She says to him “I don’t love you” and he replies “I don’t love you either but I think I could like having you around.” He’s so sweet! I dream of the day someone says something so romantic to me! Someone attractive, that is. Oh, um, SPOILER ALERT. I should have said that a few sentences ago. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and plan to (which you should, just to see what Muriel walked away from) then forget what you just read.

daniel lapaineThis is what Muriel left. This. THIS! It stretches all credibility.

Muriel’s Wedding had its good points: a) David (Muriel’s husband), b) it introduced us to Toni Collette as Muriel, c) it introduced us to Rachel Griffiths, and d) along with The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, it brought ABBA back into the public consciousness.

Today Tunes du Jour celebrates the birthday of ABBA’s Benny Andersson who, along with the group’s Björn Ulvaeus, co-wrote and co-produced most of their hits.

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