Tag Archives: XTC

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (5-27-20)

Inspired by the May 27 birthdays of OutKast‘s Andre 3000, TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Crowded House’s Neil Finn, Siouxsie Sioux, Spoonie Gee, Ramsey Lewis, Bruce Cockburn, Detroit Emeralds’ James Mitchell, and Vincent Price.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1eTApvWdIMRD4ScXRAUspO

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (5-18-20)

Inspired by the May 18 birthdays of Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh, Rick Wakeman, Butch Tavares, Robert Morse, Big Joe Turner, Rob Base, Ezio Pinza, George Strait, Martika, Enigma’s Michael Cretu, Albert Hammond, Perry Como, Oak Ridge Boys’ Joe Bonsall, the Rubettes’ Paul DaVinci, Jack Johnson, and Broadway composer Meredith Willson.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/372m79GWxv5auB2zvbkIKR

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (4-29-20)

Inspired by the April 29 birthdays of Willie Nelson, The Coasters/Robins’ Carl Gardner, Tommy James, Tammi Terrell, The KLF’s Bill Drummond, The Brady Bunch’s Eve Plumb, Duke Ellington, Romeo Void’s Debora Iyall, Lonnie Donegan, Rod McKuen, Otis Rush and April Stevens; and the April 28 birthdays of Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Goodie Mob’s Big Gipp, Too $hort and Blossom Dearie.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (4-15-20)

Inspired by the April 15 birthdays of The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, Dave Edmunds, Margo Price, Bessie Smith, Samantha Fox, and 4 Non-Blondes’ Linda Perry.

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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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Throwback Thursday – 1979

Blondie + Ringo
Blondie’s hit single “Heart of Glass” was written by band members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein and had the working title of “The Disco Song.” Drummer Clem Burke said his part was inspired by the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive.”

Said Harry “When we did ‘Heart of Glass’ it wasn’t too cool in our social set to play disco. But we did it because we wanted to be uncool,” with the band’s keyboardist Jimmy Destri adding “We used to do ‘Heart of Glass’ to upset people.”

The song was included on Blondie’s Parallel Lines LP “as a novelty item to put more diversity into the album,” per Stein. The novelty song became the group’s first charted single and first #1, in 1979. Its success prompted John Lennon to send Ringo Starr a postcard advising to write songs like “Heart of Glass.”

Today’s Throwback Thursday playlist spotlights twenty of the best tracks from 1979, kicking off with Blondie’s upsetting disco novelty.


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The Song Retains The Name

Winston + Bobby Brown
Today is Bobby Brown’s 46th birthday. A former member of New Edition, Brown had his first solo hit in 1988 with “Don’t Be Cruel,” which reached #8 on the Hot 100. Though it shares its title with an Elvis Presley #1 hit from 1956, Brown’s “Don’t Be Cruel” is not a remake.

That brings us to today’s playlist, which I call The Song Retains the Name. It consists of different songs with the same title. I initially planned to include twenty such songs, but more kept springing to mind. Before I knew it, I passed 100 entries. There are plenty more, so I decided to open this up to my reader(s). If you have songs that share titles you’d like to add, feel free to do so.

(NOTES: I included The Jacksons’ “This Place Hotel” because when it was released in 1980 its title was “Heartbreak Hotel.” Thought he didn’t have to, Michael Jackson, the song’s writer, later changed its name to “This Place Hotel” to avoid confusion with the Elvis Presley song “Heartbreak Hotel.” Whitney Houston didn’t feel the need to make the same Hotel accommodation.

Also, though it is listed on Spotify as “The Best of My Love,” the Eagles track does not have a “The” on the 45 or the band’s On the Border album.)

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Top 30 New Wave Songs

Winston + new wave w2
My friend and fellow improviser Josh asked me to compile a playlist consisting of my thirty favorite new wave songs. This proved challenging, for what is new wave? As a genre there is no clear definition of the term. For some it’s any musical act from England that emerged between 1977 and 1985. For some it includes any band that wasn’t punk that played at CBGBs. For some new wave was defined by the way the synths or guitars were played. For others it was a look.

I decided to not get too caught up on a precise definition; otherwise, I’d make myself crazy. For example, initially I was hesitant to include songs by Cheap Trick, Cyndi Lauper, Kid Creole and the Coconuts and even Pet Shop Boys (the latter because the song I chose was a poppy number that hit in 1988), but then I decided a case could be made for each to be considered new wave.

I limited myself to one song per artist. The limitation imposed by using Spotify to create the playlist proved to not be so bad – only one song I would put in my top thirty is not on the service, that being Yoko Ono’s “Kiss Kiss Kiss.” I see some people writing Spotify thank you notes already.

Herewith are my thirty favorite new wave songs. Did I leave out any of your all-time favorites? Tell me in the Comments.

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God Gives Andy Partridge A Hit Of XTC

In 1986 the English band XTC recorded their eighth studio album Skylarking with producer Todd Rundgren. The first single released from the album was “Grass.” The b-side of that 45 was a previously-unreleased track that was recorded for but at the request of group member Andy Partridge did not appear on the album.

Inspired by a series of books containing letters children wrote to God, Partridge, who was “wrestling with the tail end of my belief when I wrote [the song],” composed lyrics based on a child’s letter to God in which His existence is questioned. He had the nine-year-old daughter of a friend of Rundgren sing the opening verse, telling God about the people who are starving because God doesn’t give them enough food, ending with the line “I can’t believe in you.”

Partridge then takes over the lead vocals, asking Him “Did you make disease?” and “Did you make mankind after we made you?” He tells Him “don’t know if you noticed but your name is on a lot of quotes in this book / Us crazy humans wrote it; you should take a look,” and repeats the line “I can’t believe in you,” adding “I don’t believe in” and “I won’t believe in.”

Believers wouldn’t be the only ones who didn’t like the song. Partridge didn’t like it, saying “it wasn’t as caustic as I would’ve liked it to be.” He also said “It is such a big subject and I’ve been wrestling with it for years, but how can you cover it in three and half minutes?” Because he didn’t think he did the subject matter justice, Partridge, who wrote the lyrics in 1985, asked that it not be included on the Skylarking album.

Surprisingly, particularly for a b-side by a pretty much unknown group in a very religious country, “Dear God” started to get radio airplay in the US. A music video was made and Partridge agreed to let the song be added to the album.

The new version of Skylarking sold 250,000 copies in the US and “Dear God” made the top 40 of the Album Rock chart.

Winston + XTC
Andy Partridge turns 61 today. Here are ten of XTC’s finest.

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This Date In Glenn’s Ten

In 1980 an Ohio-born performer living in Australia wrote and recorded a song that went on to sell over six million copies. It went to #1 in a dozen or so countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, France, and the UK, where it reigned on top for three weeks. It has been covered dozens of times in different languages, and that’s not including the many versions of the tune that have been uploaded to YouTube.

The performer is Joe Dolce and the song is “Shaddap You Face,” which was #1 in Glenn’s Ten (the only chart that matters) on this day in 1981.

Glenn's Ten 005Thirty-three years of Glenn’s Ten lists are in these books

My point in telling you this is this – no idea is too stupid. If there is a song you wish to write, a book you wish to publish, an invention you wish to create, go for it! You could be the next Joe Dolce! And if someone tells you your idea sucks, say to them “Ah, shaddup you face.”

Today’s playlist consists of songs that were #1 in Glenn’s Ten on May 8 going back to 1981. The only one missing is 1993’s entry, “Riding on a Rocket” by Shonen Knife, as that is not available on Spotify.

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