Category Archives: Music
Earlier this week, legendary singer and songwriter Neil Diamond announced he has Parkinson’s Disease, immediately retiring from touring. It’s sad he has to end touring like this, because Diamond certainly earned the right to end touring on his own terms.
I have never been to a concert, and it isn’t on my bucket list. However, if there was a list of artists I would want to go see in person, Diamond would have ranked pretty high, if not #1. Elton John is coming to Kansas City in February 2019 as part of his final tour, and I would pay to see him, as well. I would pay to see The Rolling Stones and the Eagles, and of course, The Beatles when they were together, but of course that wasn’t possible because they broke up six years before I was born.
Neil Diamond’s most famous song, according to some, is “Sweet Caroline”, which is an ode to Caroline Kennedy, the first live-born child of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Bouvier. I say first live-born, because sadly, a daughter was stillborn in 1956, one year before Caroline’s birth. After John F. Kennedy Jr was born in November 1960, shortly after his dad was elected President of the United States, another boy, Patrick, died only 48 hours after birth, a little more than three months before JFK was assassinated in Dallas.
Sweet Caroline has become an anthem for the Boston Red Sox, played during the eighth inning of every game at Fenway Park. It’s a fitting anthem, seeing the Kennedy clan is from Massachusetts–Robert F. Kennedy’s three and a half years as a U.S. Senator from New York notwithstanding–but it has been overdone. Too many teams are playing it, and I sometimes want to change the radio station when I hear it. It’s not that “Sweet Caroline” is a bad song, it’s just it’s not my favorite Neil Diamond song. Not be a long shot.
I have several Neil Diamond songs on my Apple devices, but “Sweet Caroline” is not one of them, nor will it ever be. I can be persuaded to play Neil Diamond on the jukebox, but I am not particularly keen on playing “Sweet Caroline”.
“Sweet Caroline” is part of his 12 Greatest Hits album which came out in 1974, but I have at least five songs higher on the list23.
Cracklin Rosie” is my favorite Diamond song. Went to #1 in October 1970. It is not about a woman named Rosie, but it’s about a wine. The others from that album are “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”, “Play Me”, “Song Sung Blue” and “Shiloh”.
My favorite earlier Diamond hits are “Kentucky Woman”, “Cherry, Cherry” and “I’m A Believer”. Yes, it’s the same song which shot The Monkees to fame in 1966, but I like Diamond’s version better. Of his later work, my favorites are “Desiree”, “Forever In Blue Jeans”, “America” and “Heartlight”, which gained fame for being on the soundtrack to E.T.
Parkinson’s is a cruel fate, and Diamond is one of the three most famous people it has afflicted, joining Michael J. Fox and Pope John Paul II. The only good news here is having someone notable should spur fundraising for Parkinson’s research, the way it has with Fox.
Update 1955 2018/1/26: Norton’s band is playing “Sweet Caroline” as the boys basketball team warms up before its game vs. Colby.
Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is playing at Buffalo Wild Wings over the speakers.
It is not my favorite Journey song. Far, far, far from it. In fact, I’ll list my favorite Journey songs in order:
- Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
- Only the Young
- Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’
- I’ll Be Alright Without You
- Wheel in the Sky
- Open Arms
“Don’t Stop Believing” and “Who’s Crying Now”? I’ll pass.
They can’t all be winners.
Here’s what I’ve played so far at Buffalo Wild Wings. I’ll update it periodically.
1. Sunset Grill–Don Henley (1985)
2. Major Tom–Peter Schilling (1983)
3. Night Moves–Bob Seger (1977)
4. Day Tripper–The Beatles (1965)
5. Abracadabra–Steve Miller (1982)
6. She’s a Lady–Tom Jones (1971)
7. Sultans of Swing–Dire Straits (1979)
8. You Can’t Hurry Love–Phil Collins (1982)
9. Chase–Giorgio Moroder (1978)
*–instrumental from Midnight Express
10. Billie Jean–Michael Jackson
11. Need You Tonight–INXS
(Someone named Zac put in money and played a Rihanna song for about the 10th time in the last three days. I cannot stand Rihanna. Not only do I not like her singing, she is simply stupid for allowing herself to get beaten senselessly by Chris Brown.)
12. Kyrie-Mister Mister (1985)
13. Dixieland Delight–Alabama (1983)
14. Take a Chance on Me–ABBA (1978)
15. Borderline–Madonna (1983)
16. Love Will Turn You Around–Kenny Rogers (1983)
17. Cracklin’ Rosie–Neil Diamond (1970)
18. Love is Strong–The Rolling Stones (1993)
19. More Today Than Yesterday–Spiral Staircase (1969)
20. La Bamba–Los Lobos (1987)
21. Runaround Sue–Dion (1961)
22. Mr. Blue Sky–Electric Light Orchestra (1978)
23. Caught Up In You–.38 Special (1982)
24. Lowdown–Boz Scaggs (1976)
25. Pop Muzik–M (1979)
26. Allentown–Billy Joel (1983)
27. Somebody’s Baby–Jackson Browne (1982)
*–from the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack
28. Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2–Pink Floyd (1980)
29.Green Onions–Booker T. & the MGs (1962)
30. Philadelphia Freedom–Elton John (1975)
*–the song was not about the U.S. Bicentennial. It was about the Philadelphia Freedoms of World Team Tennis, which was coached and captained by Billie Jean King.
31. You’re the One That I Want–Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta (1978)
*–from the Grease soundtrack. I played it because there was just a trivia question about it.
32. Burnin’ For You–Blue Oyster Cult (1981)
33. That Smell–Lynyrd Skynyrd (1977)
*–the album this song was part of, Street Survivors, was released two days prior to the tragic plane crash in the Mississippi forest which killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and four others.
Now I find out the jukebox is not connected to the network, meaning if I want to play music, I’ll have to get up and put the money in myself instead of just playing songs from my phone. GREAT.
Update, 2:25 p.m.–the jukebox is back online. I’m back in business.
34. Everything She Wants–WHAM! (1984)
*–I always play the long version with the added bridge. The original album cut is about 90 seconds shorter.
35. A Horse With No Name–America (1972)
*–the song was banned by WHB-AM in Kansas City, since “horse” is slang for heroin, and the WHB management felt this was a song glorifying heroin use. The heat was hot!
36. Turn Me Loose–Loverboy (1981)
(In between these songs, some nincompoop put money in the jukebox to play that stupid Rihanna song again. ENOUGH. It seems like that one song gets played multiple times in one day. I’m the only person who plays a variety.)
37. And the Beat Goes On–The Whispers (1980)
38. Spirits in the Material World–The Police (1981)
39. Is This Love?–Whitesnake (1987)
40. Heaven is a Place On Earth–Belinda Carlisle (1987)
41. Love You Inside Out–Bee Gees (1979)
*–last #1 for the Bee Gees in the US. My favorite Bee Gees song.
42. I Can’t Tell You Why–The Eagles (1980)
*–only Eagles song featuring Timothy Schmitt on lead vocals. Also my favorite Eagles song.
43. The Look–Roxette (1989)
44. Express Yourself–Madonna (1989)
*–the bad version of this song started playing. I had to play the good version.
45. What Have I Done To Deserve This–Dusty Springfield featuring Pet Shop Boys (1987)
46. Along Comes A Woman–Chicago (1985)
47. Fallin’ For You–Colbie Calliat (2009)
48. Down Under–Men at Work (1982)
49. You Belong to the City–Glenn Frey (1982)
50. Two Hearts–Phil Collins (1988)
51. Find–Jimmy Buffett (1979)
52. Gimme Some Lovin’–Spencer Davis Group (1967)
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.
Today is the Ides of March, the date on which in 44 BC Julius Caesar was stabbed by Marcus Junius Brutus and his associates in the Roman Senate.
In 1970, a rock band named The Ides of March released its one and only hit single, “Vehicle”. The song is a staple of high school and college marching bands throughout the United States. In fact, the first time I heard the song was when it was played by the Brother Martin High School band at football games in the fall of 1989. I didn’t know about its status as a hit for The Ides of March until 1991. LSU’s band has played “Vehicle” at basketball games as long as I can remember, and they would break it out at football games every now and then.
Kentucky is 34-0 heading into the NCAA men’s Division I basketball tournaement. The Wildcats defeated Arkansas 78-63 in the SEC tournament championship game in Nashville. They have already been named the number one overall seed for the NCAA tournament, and I would be beyond shocked if they don’t cut down the nets April 6 in Indianapolis. When UCLA won seven consecutive national championships from 1967 through 1973, there was no shot clock, so a team could stall as long as it crossed midcourt. Today, that’s not possible. If you’re going to milk the shot clock down to a few seconds on each possession, you had better shot somewehre north of 60 percent, and no team can do that on a night in, night out basis.
The only problem Kentucky is going to face is going to be the ridiculous media pressure from here on out. You can bet every newspaper which regularly covers college basketball will send a writer to wherever Kentucky is playing. First, the Wildcats will travel west on Interstate 64 to Louisville, where it will play the first two rounds at the KFC YUM! Center, home to the archrival Louisville Cardinals. Every fan not wearing Kentucky blue will be cheering hard against the Wildcats to blow it. Ironically, Kentucky ended Wichita State’s perfect season in the second round on its way to the national championship game, where it fell to Connecticut.
Needless to say, I’ll pick Kentucky to win any and every bracket I may fill out this tournament season.
Even with Kentucky dominating the men’s scene, it will still be far more intriguing than the women’s tournament. Does anyone give a damn outside of Connecticut, South Carolina, East Tennessee and Waco?