Musical memories, part I
Not much to report from the last Monday of July. Good. It beats the alternative to where I was last Monday, when I really angered a couple of my Twitter followers by sending them delusional direct messages. Both of them jumped me pretty good for it, and I deserved it. Thankfully, Crista came to the rescue the next day, and although at first I didn’t pull out of it, it finally got me turned around.
It looks like I’ll be making a trip to Kansas City Wednesday, my first since the traumatic incident in the wee hours of July 18. My closest friend at Buffalo Wild Wings is working her last day before she moves with her boyfriend to Colorado. I figured I owed it to her to be there, because she has been a very good friend to me.
Right now, I’m feeling pretty good about this. The bartender whom I melted down over the last time I was there is not scheduled to work. It’s all my fault what happened and how I smothered her; however, I still feel the wounds are too raw, too fresh to be opened right now. I really want to apologize to her, and Iwant to make things right, but this is not the time.
Besides, I do not want to get into the wrong frame of mind for my dear friend. That would not be fair to me, to her, or to anyone else.
Even if I go, I cannot stay overnight. I have to be in Hays at 9 a.m. Thursday for another session with Crista. We have sessions four of the next five Thursdays, with the only open date next week (August 6). This means I don’t have to invest too much time if I don’t want to, because I have a built-in legitimate excuse to leave. I don’t like 500-mile round trips in the same day, but this time, it’s one of those circumstances. I’m not going to be ready to leave tomorrow and stay overnight.
My San Diego guardian angel and her husband are huge into music. I promised I would list some of my favorite artists and songs when I got the chance, and I figured this was as good a time as any.
I am a big fan of Sir Elton John. I’m not getting into the flamboyant costumes he wore in his early days, or his choice of lifestyle, but the man was born to sing and play the piano. And he has one hell of a lyricist, Bernie Taupin, who has penned so many smash hits I’ve lost count.
My father had the original vinyl double LP of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, the smash issue of 1973 which included the title track, “Daniel”, “Bennie and the Jets”, “Candle in the Wind”, and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”. Great songs all, but none rank up there as my favorites by Mr. Reginald Dwight.
My #1 Elton song is the 1980 ballad “Little Jeannie” from the album 21 at 33. It is a beautiful song with a sensational saxophone solo following the second verse. I find the song to be very soothing and very relaxing when I need a calm moment .I remember it well, since I heard it on the way from Bunkie to Cottonport as I drove from Bill and Yvette Franques’ wedding to their reception in November 1999.
It was not written by Taupin, but rather by Gary Osborne and Elton. The song went to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s often lost in some of other smash hits earlier and later in John’s career, but I love it nonetheless.
Two more Elton songs I really enjoy from the 1980s were “I”m Still Standing” from Too Low for Zero (1983) and “Who Wears These Shoes” from Breaking Hearts (1984). The first Elton song I remember listening to on the radio when it was released was “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That” from Reg Strikes Back. That song came out at the end of my sixth grade year in mid-1988, a blissful time because I got to know some of my favorite people at Arabi Park Middle.
From the earlier days, I like “Crocodile Rock”, “Philadelphia Freedom” (which is about Billie Jean King and the Philadelphia Freedoms of World Team Tennis, not the American Bicentennial) and “Island Girl”.
Of the three main versions of “Candle in the Wind”, my favorite is the live version done in December 1986 while on tour in Sydney.
I’m going to surprise a lot of Americans with my next revelation, but I really, really enjoy two songs by an artist who is revered in the United Kingdom but had precious little success in the United States, Sir Cliff Richard.
If “We Don’t Talk Anymore”, Cliff’s multi-platinum hit of 1979, is playing, I’m turning up the volume. The opening keyboard riff gets me hooked, and the lyrics are catchy and easy to follow. I also am a big fan of “Devil Woman” from 1976, which came out a few months before I was born.
Yes, I have a lot of disco on my iPod. Lots of disco.
A disco song was #1 on the day I was born (October 13, 1976), Some will say it was “A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy. I say it was “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees.
Here’s why I go with Dees’ novelty tune.
The Billboard charts are dated to be released for a particular Saturday. However, the data collection for the chart ends nine days prior to the dating of the chart. While Murphy’s instrumental was atop the charts for October 9, 1976, the Saturday before my birth, Dees’ tune had moved into the top spot when collection for the October 16, 1976 chart ceased October 7.
Figures that I would be born between two of the strangest songs to ever occupy the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Thank God I was born October 13, 1976. Had I been born October 13, 1972, I would have had to claim Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-A-Ling” as the #1 song on my date of birth. YIKES. If I hear “My-Ding-A-Ling”, I immediately turn the dial, hopefully in time to save my ears. “Disco Duck” was strange, but I’ll listen to that any day over Chuck Berry’s song about male genitalia.
As the late great Casey Kasem said, on with the survey.
No disco collection is complete without some Bee Gees, of course, with “Tragedy”, “More Than a Woman”, “Stayin Alive”, and my favorite disco song, “Love You Inside Out”, the #1 hit of 1979 which also was the last chart topper for the trio. I also have three hits from Andy Gibb, younger brother of Barry, Maurice and Robin, with my favorite being “An Everlasting Love”. Also have “Shadow Dancing” and “I Just Want To Be Your Everything”.
One song not credited to the Bee Gees or Andy Gibb, but one with a definite Gibb influence, is Samantha Sang’s “Emotion”. Lovely. Another song which puts my mind at ease. I wish it were longer, but it is so beautiful.
Donna Summer, the queen of disco, has a few spaces on my iPod. Favorite is “Heaven Knows”, although second on the list is a curveball, her last big hit, 1989’s “This Time I Know It’s For Real”. “Hot Stuff” and “On the Radio” are great.
If you’ve noticed a trend, a lot of my favorite songs appear to be from one year–1979.
I was a little under 27 months old when the year began, but for some reason, I’ve discovered so, so many great songs from the year which gave us Three Mile Island, Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson for the NCAA basketball championship, Hurricane Frederic, the Iran Hostage Crisis, and the debut of Knots Landing.
“We Don’t Talk Anymore”, “Love You Inside Out”, “Tragedy”, “Heaven Knows” and “Hot Stuff” were all 1979. Some more I love from ’79 include “BIg Shot” by Billy Joel; “The Logical Song” by Supertramp; “Sail Away” by The Oak Ridge Boys; “Fins” by Jimmy Buffett; “Heartache Tonight” by the Eagles; “Rise”, the instrumental by trumpeter Herb Alpert which gained popularity when it was used in a scene on the ABC soap opera General Hospital involving Luke and Laura; “Come to Me” by France Joli, a 16-year old sensation from Montreal; “What a Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers; “Shine a Light” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” by Electric Light Orchestra; “Good Times” by Chic; “Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now” by McFadden and Whitehead; “We Are Family” and “He’s the Greatest Dancer” by Sister Sledge; “Reunited” by Peaches and Herb; “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, and the number one song of the year, “My Sharona” by The Knack.
I could fill my iPod for four hours with 1979 songs. I figure this is a good place to cut it off for now. Boy my word count is getting up there.