Tag Archives: Wham!

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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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 75: LGBTQ Music From 1982 To 1983

The British invasion of the early 80s continues! Welcome Boy George! Welcome George Michael! Welcome Morrissey (I’m claiming him as one of us; I don’t care what he has to say about it)!

This playlist consists of twenty songs, some performed by artists who fall somewhere under the LGBTQ umbrella, others with queer lyrical content. Some of the acts are American.


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It’s Curt Smith’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Tears for Fears, the duo consisting of Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith, released their debut album, The Hurting, in 1983. In their native England the album spawned three top five singles, “Mad World,” “Change” and “Pale Shelter.” In the US, their most successful single, “Change,” peaked at #73 on the Billboard Hot 100.

When it came time to do their second album, they wanted to break the US market. Needing one more song to round out the record, the duo’s producer, Chris Hughes, suggested Orzabel flesh out a song sketch he brought into the studio. Orzabel did so, and while he didn’t think much of the finished piece, Smith and Hughes thought this is the song that would change their fortunes stateside.

This song, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” was the first single released in the US from Songs from the Big Chair. It went to #1. The song that was the album’s first single in much of the world, “Shout,” was the second US single from the album, and the duo’s second #1.

Ringo + T4F
Today, Curt Smith of Tears for Fears turns 55 years old. Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party kicks off with a song on which Smith sings lead, Tears for Fears’ #1 breakthrough hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”


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Throwback Thursday – The Hits of 1984

Madonna debuted “Like a Virgin” with a performance on the MTV Video Music Awards in September 1984, weeks before the record was released. Watching her on television rolling around the floor in a wedding dress with a Boy Toy belt buckle, the song’s writers, Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, thought “We’re doomed now. This is an embarrassment. This is never going to succeed.”

“Like a Virgin” spent six weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, her first single to top that chart.

Kelly and Steinberg didn’t meet Madonna until around five years later. At a party they saw her, and asked Steve Bray, who wrote Madonna’s hit “Into the Groove,” to introduce them.

Bray did so. “Madonna, I want you to meet Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. They wrote ‘Like a Virgin.’”

Steinberg said “Oh Madonna, I’ve wanted to meet you for so long.”

Madonna replied “Well, now you did,” and walked away.

“Like a Virgin” kicks off this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist, spotlighting the hits of 1984.


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 23: Covers

This week’s installment of A Hint of Mint consists of cover songs. It’s likely you are familiar with most or all of the songs on this week’s playlist, but I’m guessing you are not familiar with the versions presented here. Drawn primarily from soundtracks, compilations and CD singles, here are twenty remakes of popular tunes, performed by members of the LGBTQQISA populations. Included are Tegan & Sara covering Bruce Springsteen, Antony & the Johnsons covering Beyoncé, and Pansy Division covering Johnny Cash and June Carter.

Happy Sunday!


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

While performing stand-up comedy in the late 1990s/early 2000s I appeared in several contests. More often than not I scored very well. In a contest at the club StandUp NY to find New York’s funniest gay man, I came in second. First place went to Seth Rudetsky. Around that same time both of us were entrants in another stand-up contest. Again, I came in second to Seth’s first.

Our acts were similar. Both of us were (are) thin New York gay Jews who mocked silly pop song lyrics in our sets. Seth talked about Sheena Easton’s “Morning Train” while I discussed Air Supply’s “All Out of Love.” I don’t begrudge him his first place winnings – he was great.

Seth went on to write for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, which garnered him several Emmy nominations. He has written for the Grammy Awards and the Tony Awards. He hosts a radio show on SiriusXM about Broadway musicals.

This past Tuesday my friend Scott and I attended Seth’s one-person show at Largo. His opening act was Judd Apatow. In the audience were Barbra Streisand, Sean Hayes, and the guy who played Valerie Cherish’s PR person on The Comeback. Also in the audience was me, the runner-up. Was I jealous? Was I bitter? You bet I was!

On the positive tip, I was inspired as well. It was a very fun show and gave me some ideas as to how to structure the one-person show I’ve been saying I will write for the past fourteen years. Destiny is calling me – open up my eager eyes, ‘cause I’m Mr. Brightside.

Our weekly dance party kicks off with The Killers.


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Who was the first woman to be on ten #1 singles in the UK? Was it Madonna? No. Was it Dusty Springfield? No. Was it Paris Hilton? Fuck no.

The first woman to have ten #1 singles in the UK was Geri Halliwell. The Artist Formerly Known As Ginger Spice first hit #1 in 1996 with “Wannabe,” which she performed as part of her fellow proponents of Girl Power, the Spice Girls. The quintet was the first act in the UK to see their first six singles go to #1, which is why they are better than The Beatles. After “Wannabe,” they topped the UK singles chart with “Say You’ll Be There,” “2 Become 1,” the double-sided hits “Mama” and “Who Do You Think You Are,” “Spice up Your Life,” “Too Much” and “Viva Forever.” 1998 single “Stop” er, stopped at #2. Halliwell left the group in 1998. The then quartet said goodbye to Ginger with “Goodbye,” another #1 single, and the double-sided hits “Holler” and “Let Love Lead the Way,” their final #1 single to date, in 2000.

While the quartet continued to make hits, Halliwell wasn’t just sitting around in her Union Jack leotard. Her debut solo single, “Look at Me,” peaked at #2, but then came four consecutive chart-toppers: “Mi Chico Latino,” “Lift Me Up,” “Bag It Up,” and a cover of “It’s Raining Men.” Hallelujah! She is the only act in the UK to have had at least four #1s as part of a group and as a solo artist.

Some additional trivia:
– Madonna’s tenth UK #1 single,”Music,” peaked a few months after Halliwell’s tenth UK #1 single, which was #1 on this day in 2000.
– Dusty Springfield had twenty-five top 40 hits on the UK singles chart. Only one, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” went all the way to the top.
– Paris Hilton has topped the UK singles chart zero times thus far.
– The Spice Girls have their moments, but they are not better than The Beatles. C’mon!
– In the US, Halliwell has had ten fewer #1s than she had in the UK. We kick off our weekly dance party with her only US #1, Spice Girls’ “Wannabe.”

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Make The Yuletide Gay

Today is December 24. It’s the date when people around the world celebrate Ricky Martin’s birthday. What’s the first thing you think of when someone says Ricky Martin? Gay? I thought so. Hold that thought.

Christmas Eve is tonight. Many people around the world celebrate that as well, possibly almost as many people as the number that celebrate Ricky Martin’s birthday. He’s turning 43, by the way.

Anyhoosle, I decided to combine the two celebrations. Tunes du Jour hereby presents the gayest Christmas playlist ever. Fifty songs that will bring you cheer and fabulousity and get you arrested if you listen to them in Russia.

Have a festive day!

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It’s Sheila E’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Prince wrote the song “The Glamorous Life” for the Apollonia 6 album. According to Apollonia, he wrote the song about her. Per Nilsen, who has written a couple of book about Prince, quotes Apollonia as saying “He used to make all these stupid jokes, ‘You’re the kind of chick who would wear a mink coat in the summertime.’ To this day I don’t have my own mink coat!”

Prince ended up giving the song to Sheila E. for her debut solo album. Prior to meeting Prince Sheila worked with Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Billy Cobham, Jeffrey Osborne, Con Funk Shun, and her dad, Pete Escovedo.

In 1984 “The Glamorous Life” hit #7 on the pop chart, #9 on the r&b chart, and #1 on the dance chart.

Ringo + Sheila E
Today Sheila E. turns 57 years old. We kick off our weekly dance party with her first hit single.

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It’s Olivia Newton-John’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

I celebrated my thirteenth birthday in 1976. I was your typical heterosexual teenager. My bedroom was plastered with posters of the girls I loved. Diana Ross, Bette Midler, Joan Collins, Joan Rivers, Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer. Miss Piggy. Girls, girls, girls!

Ringo + Livvy 2014-09-25 19.24I’m not going to mention that I still have the 27 O N-J posters that adorned my childhood bedroom walls. That may sound weird.

Olivia was my favorite. I had a major crush on her. I was in her fan club. I even invited her to my bar mitzvah. On her invitation I wrote “They named a country after you called Bolivia. The ‘b’ is for beautiful.”

She didn’t come.

yearbooks 2014-09-25 11.19My friends in elementary and high school were very encouraging regarding my relationship with Livvy.

In 1984, Olivia married Matt Lattanzi, a muscular dance eleven years younger than she. They met on the set of the 1980 smash film Xanadu. By chance at the newsstand I noticed that Matt was mentioned in Playgirl, a women’s magazine. It was in an article about up-and-coming actors. There was a photo of him leaning against a wall in jeans, no shirt. Nice-looking guy. Good for you, Olivia! Good for you! Out of my devotion to my favorite female singer, I bought a copy of this issue. Sure, as I had the magazine, I browsed though it a handful of times. There were some interesting articles that gave me insight into how females think. Also, I thought the guys were nice-looking, objectively speaking. I can see why girls would like the magazine.

Matt Lattanzi001It could have been me!

In 2008 Olivia performed at West Hollywood Gay Pride. I watched her along with a few hundred other guys who I’m sure also learned a lot browsing Playgirl.

Olivia 106I found many of the guys watching Livvy at Gay Pride nice-looking, objectively speaking.

Today is Olivia’s 66th birthday. We kick off this week’s dance playlist with her smash “Physical.” The song’s video featured Olivia surrounded by a bunch of men who turn out to be gay. Can you imagine?

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