I listened to a greatest hits compilation of Tommy James and the Shondells this week. I really forgot how many outstanding hits this band produced in the late 1960s, including five in the top ten: “I Think We’re Alone Now“, “Mirage“, “Mony Mony“, “Sweet Cherry Wine“, and “Crystal Blue Persuasion.” Enjoy this song, this band and your whole day fi you can.
I am a Taylor Swift fan. The 24-year-old recording artist and actress is a terrific entertainer. I dismissed her early work because I have a prejudice against young, beautiful people — especially women. They wouldn’t want anything to do with me, so I won’t want anything to do with them. But I saw Swift on “The Late Show with David Letterman” while she was promoting the album “Red” and she won me over. She is upbeat, likable and has a fun, forceful onstage presence. Her new single, “Shake It Off,” is accompanied by a terrific video. She responds to her critics, but goes through a series of graceless dance moves to comedically embrace her imperfections. The song is really good pop music. I enjoyed it. I hope you do, too.
David Letterman downplays his contribution to late night television. He was not as cool as Johnny Carson, people say. And that’s probably true. Still, Dave, now in his final year, remains funny and relevant. He speaks from the heart with a decency that is all too absent in these times. Here is his kind tribute to his longtime friend Robin Williams.
When I was a boy, I wanted to be a radio disc jockey. I wanted to do comedy on the radio and play rock and roll. I was influenced by local personalities such as Dic Youngs, Larry Morgan and Lou Sipolt. But what I really had in mind was the wild riffing done by Robin Williams in the 1987 film “Good Morning, Vietnam.” I had a cassette tape of the soundtrack and repeatedly listened to his comedy bits, hoping to copy his style and wit. I was never fast enough or funny enough or quick enough. But even today, 27 years later, I still listen to Williams’ bits and laugh. He’s gone now, but his gifts keep on giving.
My friend Memphis Paul, co-founder of this blog, is not a big music fan. But once and a while, he catches me on my heels with a reference to a song I’ve never heard. In a chat last week, he quoted from “Baby Driver” by Simon and Garfunkel off their 1970 classic album “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I tend to listen to Simon and Garfunkel through compilations and, as such, I had never heard this song before. It’s a little rebellious, a little sexy and maybe a touch obvious in mixing metaphors of racing and sex. But I enjoyed it, as I usually do with classic Simon and Garfunkel. I hope you enjoy it, too.