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.
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.
If you don’t love Waylon Jennings, well, that is your choice, but, man oh man, are you missing out on some great music.
The world is a very serious and sad place. They’re rioting in Ferguson, Mo., near my former home of St. Louis. Robin Williams killed himself. The economy is feeble. The middle class is an endangered species. Sometimes a man just needs to take his mind off of it with something completely silly. “Walk the Dinosaur,” the 1988 hit by the band Was (Not Was) is just the kind of silly we need right now. Enjoy.
I don’t remember when I first heard “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King, but it was instantly one of those songs I loved. It felt comforting and at the same time wistful. The lyrics suggest a lonely man reaching out to the world for love. Apparently the song is based on a Bible verse and the spiritual “Lord Stand by Me.” I’ve never been one for church, but they sure do make some beautiful music. Enjoy this song, and take the moment to stand by someone today.
I am a big fan of Steve Miller Band. I listened to their records a lot when I was a boy. Among the first CDs I bought was two collections of the band’s greatest hits. I still keep the music on my mobile phone and in my car. It’s always a band I enjoy. “Fly Like An Eagle” was a big hit for the band in 1977, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. I’m focused on the refrain: “Time keeps on slippin’ into the future.” Boy, that’s the truth. I moved last week. The end always seemed like it was just a few more steps away, but it was always much longer than I thought it would be. Losing time never sounded more appealing than in this song. Enjoy.
The move has gotten the better of me. I blew off Morning Mixtape on Sunday. I didn’t post Saucy Sunday photos. My back hurts. My legs are sore. And still all my stuff isn’t put away. Sigh. It made me think of this terrific Warren Zevon song. Enjoy this song, but maybe don’t play it at work.
I’ve always thought Death Cab for Cutie was a silly name for a band. I know what a cab is. I have a notion as to what a “cutie” is. But what is a Death Cab? Is this some kind of David Carradine thing, like “Death Race 2000?” The name of the band has a convoluted origin. A band named Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, I swear I’m not making that up, had a song called “Death Cab for Cutie.” That song was taken from a fake pulp crime magazine by a professor studying mass media and the working class in the 1950s. It’s a little bit too much for me, but you know what? “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” is a pretty good song. Enjoy.
Today’s Morning Mixtape is dedicated to all the friends who helped me move. Their companionship kept me from giving in to a sense of being overwhelmed. Their skills and ingenuity helped build and organize the new domicile. And, of course, their sweat and strength helped with the actual packing and moving. I am humbled to know and call friend so many decent, smart, funny, hard-working and loyal people. It is in fact true that, like Ringo Starr sang in the Beatles‘ hit I get by “With A Little Help From My Friends.” Enjoy.
I’m sticking with the Beatles this week, a band that often makes me feel better even in the most difficult circumstances. I heard this classic, “Getting Better,” from the 1967 classic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band,” on KMFG this afternoon. I thought the metaphor was sound, particularly the lyric: “You’ve got to admit things are getting better, getting better all the time. It can’t get much worse.” Enjoy.
When a person moves their home, whether it’s 1,000 miles or 150 yards, most of the time they need help. I’ve been lucky enough to get assistance from some truly great people who I am lucky enough to call friends. For them, I dedicate this classic Beatles track, properly titled “Help!,” from 1965. Enjoy this song.