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Michael Bolton and Joe Moorhead go great together (at least in this post)

Yesterday at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek was tremendous. Robb joined me for a couple of hours, and I got to see two of my favorite bartenders in the world, Tina and Nikki, although I was a bit disappointed Sherman, Nikki’s husband, wasn’t there. Sherman told me before the season he was betting big on LSU to win the national championship. Unless Clemson can stop Joe Burrow, Sherman is going to rake in some big time dough the morning of January 14.

The only disappointment was a group of regulars who kept playing horriawful music. (“Horriawful” is a concoction of Shaq, who told the late, great Craig Sager his wild sport jackets were “horriawful”.)

Two of the songs were by Michael Bolton, “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “You Don’t Know What It’s Like”.

Both of those songs are blatant ripoffs, blatant ripoffs which are nowhere near as good as the originals.

“When a Man Loves a Woman” was made famous in 1966 by Percy Sledge, one of the most timeless love songs of the rock era, which dates to 1954.

“You Don’t Know What It’s Like” was a great ballad by the Bee Gees before they went disco and became the biggest recording artists of the late 1970s.

Bolton recorded two other awful ripoffs, “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” (Laura Branigan) and “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay” (Otis Redding).

One of the songs Bolton didn’t rip off, “Love is a Wonderful Thing”, makes my ears bleed. Awful.

The only Bolton songs I can tolerate are “Soul Provider” and “Time, Love and Tenderness”. That’s it.

This group also angered me by playing Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do (I Do it For You)” and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”.

Of all the Bryan Adams songs to play in a sports bar, you pick THAT one? Let’s see…”Run to You”, “This Time”, “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started”, “Summer of ’69” and “I Need Somebody” are all much better choices. And THAT isn’t even Adams’ best ballad. Give me “Heaven” any day over THAT one.

As for Whitney Houston…WOW. I never have been able to tolerate the song from the movie The Bodyguard. Never. My favorite Houston song is “How Will I Know”, and it isn’t close.

“How Will I Know” holds a special place in my heart, because some of my schoolmates from Arabi Park loved it. It played on the radio on a seventh grade field trip to the Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Misissippi, and several girls were singing along. A very fond memory.

My adversaries also played a Neil Diamond song. Good. It was “Sweet Caroline”. Bad. VERY bad.

I have blogged about this before, but I will never, EVER play “Sweet Caroline”. I’m angry the jukebox has taken Diamond’s “Desiree” off the list of his songs. I struck back at those people by queuing up “Forever In Blue Jeans” and “Cracklin’ Rosie”.

“Forever In Blue Jeans” and “Cracklin’ Rosie” are the two Diamond songs I have played the most. I played “Desiree” a lot before it was erased. “Song Sung Blue”, “Shiloh”, “Soolaimon”, “Crunchy Granola Suite” and “America” are also heard sometimes when I’m in the building. I played “Heartlight” a couple of times, but I can’t find it anymore.

It could have been much worse. It could have been Rihanna’s “Work”, which was played endlessly by numerous employees at Buffalo Wild Wings Zona Rosa for what seemed like forever, or numerous other hip-hop songs which made my ears bleed and my blood pressure rise.

I was ready to queue the 17-minute version of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Vida”, but I didn’t. Pink Floyd’s live version of “Money”, which goes 9:51, is also a choice. I’ve pissed off more than a few by playing Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good”, which lasts a little over nine minutes. That’s one of my four favorite instrumentals to play, along with Booker T. & The MGs “Green Onions”, Giorgio Moroder’s “Chase” (from Midnight Express), and Herb Alpert’s ‘Rise”.

The TouchTunes app lists my favorite plays. Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”, Wham’s “Everything She Wants” and Journey’s “Separate Ways” are the first three songs. Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” are the next two, because I always play them when I see Tori Weber Smith at B-Dubs.

Whenever you play “Everything She Wants”, make sure it is the extended version with the bridge. The version without the bridge is pedestrian at best.

Some of the others: “Spirits in the Material World” (The Police), “Allentown” (Billy Joel), “Somebody’s Baby” (Jackson Browne–thank you Jennifer Jason Leigh), “Hot in the City” and “Eyes Without a Face” (Billy Idol), “Self Control” (RIP, Laura Branigan), “Call Me Maybe” (Carly Rae Jepsen–largely played during 2013 and ’14 to placate younger guests at BWW), “Human Touch” (Rick Springfield), “Take a Chance On Me” and “Voulez-Vous” (ABBA, whose songs I have to play whenever I’m at BWW), “Big Log” and “Tall Cool One” (Robert Plant), “Over the Hills and Far Away” and “All My Love” (Led Zeppelin; the Plant and Led Zeppelin songs are because Megan, a longtime BWW Zona employee, loves them).

My dear friend Liz, whose 26th birthday is today, wanted me to play “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and Pharrell when I saw her at Buffalo Wild Wings. I obliged her most of the time, but I can’t now, since it’s been de-listed by TouchTunes.

Liz’s other favorite song is “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” by Pink Floyd, which was one I played religiously in the early 2000s at Ivar’s in Baton Rouge. That song was playing when Liz introduced herself to me. She loved the music I was playing. Another of her favorites was “Every 1’s a Winner” by Hot Chocolate. She noticed another guest was dancing to it late one Friday night. She was laughing uncontrollably when she told me.

No Debbie Gibson on the jukebox, except “Lost in Your Eyes”. Beautiful song, a fond reminder of Arabi Park, but not appropriate for a sports bar.

In case you don’t know, there is an app where you can play TouchTunes jukeboxes. It’s a heck of a lot easier–use a credit card to buy credits, and you don’t lose credits if you don’t lose them all like if you used cash.

Today I’m at Minsky’s, where there isn’t a jukebox. Not that the music is bad. Before today, I haven’t been to Minsky’s in a very long time–almost a year–and Baylie and Lindsay let me know. Larry now comes here because all Buffalo Wild Wings in Kansas and in Kansas City and St. Joseph don’t have Buzztime anymore. The BWW in the St. Louis area and Columbia do since they have a separate agreement with Buzztime.

This leaves Minsky’s near Zona Rosa, Gators VIII bar off Interstate 29 about two miles south of Barry Road, and four locations of 54th Street Bar and Grill (Liberty, Lee’s Summit, Independence and Blue Springs) as the only Buzztime locations in western Missouri. Wallaby’s in Lenexa and Johnny’s Tavern in Prairie Village have it in Kansas. Thankfully, I still have Golden Q and Old Chicago in Hays.

Mississippi State fired football coach Joe Moorhead today, four days after the Bulldogs from Starkville were embarrassed by Louisville in the Music City Bowl. There is probably a great deal of rejoicing in Starkville, Columbus, West Point and several other locales in the Magnolia State.

Moorhead was a horrible hire. He was Penn State’s offensive coordinator, where his offenses set records in State College. However, he had zero ties to the southern United States, which made the difficult task of recruiting elite players to Starkville much more difficult.

When Nick Saban was hired at LSU in December 1999, he made sure he had assistants who had ties to the south. Jimbo Fisher, who was on Terry Bowden’s staff at Auburn from 1993-98, filled that bill perfectly. Saban did the same thing when he went to Alabama, even after he won the 2003 national championship at LSU and gained more national prominence with his two seasons coaching the Dolphins.

Moorhead was too stubborn to follow Saban’s blueprint, and many Bulldog fans wanted him gone. Beating Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl after a Rebel player’s peeing dog act forced a missed extra point bought Moorhead time.

Not only was State a dud on the field under Moorhead, the Bulldogs had 10 players suspended by the NCAA for academic fraud, and a quarterback was knocked out of the Music City Bowl by getting into a fight with a teammate during practice.

MSU president Mark Keenum and athletic director John Cohen, a former baseball player and coach for the Bulldogs, came to their senses Epton. At least women’s basketball and baseball are still elite.

With Lane Kiffin in charge of the rival in Oxford, State has to get this hire right. I am certain Keenum and Cohen will be calling LSU athletic director Scott Woodward for permission to interview the Joe Brady, the 31-year old assistant who molded Joe Burrow into the 2019 Heisman Trophy recipient. Hopefully, Woodward and Ed Orgeron will tell Keenum and Cohen, “Sorry, not happening”.

If State wants an SEC assistant that badly, it ought to look east on US 82. Butch Jones, the former Tennessee coach, is not in an on-field position with Alabama. He flamed out in 2017 when the Volunteers went 0-8 in SEC games, but he was a big winner at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, and was above .500 in Knoxville.

I’m guessing Keenum and Cohen will not be placing a call to Lawrence. If they do, would Leslie Edwin Miles listen?

Peggy, I’m sorry this is so boring and long. However, I’m on one of those streams where I’m sitting around playing trivia and I just get things in my head.

Neil outshined Whitney

My most recent post discussed Neil Diamond’s unfortunate diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease, which forced him to retire from touring immediately. I mentioned several of my favorite Diamond songs; “Sweet Caroline” was not among them, although it isn’t a bad song.

On this day 27 years ago, Whitney Houston performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to Super Bowl XXV. Many have called it the “greatest” rendition of the American national anthem they have ever heard, Super Bowl or otherwise.

I don’t care for it. I believe it got all that hype because it came during American involvement in Operation Desert Storm. If it had come during a “normal” period when the United States was not at war, I don’t think it would have been hyped so much.

I saw a retweet from ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell claiming Houston’s rendition was the greatest. In past years, I might have gone off on him, but today, I just said “I completely disagree” and mentioned my favorite rendition.

.My favorite Super Bowl national anthem rendition? You guessed it. NEIL FREAKING DIAMOND! His performance came prior to Super Bowl XXI in January 1987, and fittingly, one of Diamond’s hometown teams, the New York Giants, won their first NFL championship since 1956 by defeating the Broncos 39-20. The Giants also happened to win the Super Bowl when Houston performed, beating the Bills 20-19 when Buffalo’s Scott Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal attempt wide right in the final seconds.

In case you’re curious, the other anthem performers for Giants Super Bowls: the Backstreet Boys (XXXV, lost to Ravens), Jordin Sparks (XLII, beat 18-0 Patriots) and Kelly Clarkson (XLVI, beat Patriots).

Diamond’s rendition of the anthem was, and still is, the shortest in the history of the Super Bowl: 61 seconds. For those who ridicule Diamond for rushing through the song, hogwash. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is a march, not a dirge. It should be sung and played allegro or allegretto, not andante.

Click below to witness great man with a great rendition of our national anthem:

The first Super Bowl national anthem rendition I watched was Barry Manilow prior to Super Bowl XVIII in January 1984 (Raiders 38, Redskins 9).

My top five Super Bowl national anthem renditions. I am only counting Super Bowls where I watched the national anthem live, so nothing before Super Bowl XVIII.

  1. Neil Diamond, XXI
  2. Herb Alpert, XXII (the last non-vocal rendition, and that needs to change pronto)
  3. Mariah Carey, XXXVI
  4. Renee Fleming, XLVIII
  5. Kelly Clarkson, XLVI

Honorable mention: Billy Joel (XXIII), Faith Hill (XXXIV), combined military chorale (XXXIX)

My bottom five. Same rule as above applies.

  1. Natalie Cole, XXVIII
  2. Jennifer Hudson, XLIII
  3. Alicia Keys, XLVII
  4. Kathie Lee Gifford, XXIX (Frank Gifford was slobbering over the microphone introducing Kathie Lee)
  5. Luther Vandross, XXXI

Christina Aguilera in XLV is a special case. The singing was fine, but botching the words was not.

Lady Gaga at Super Bowl 50? Meh. Nowhere near the worst, but not worthy of my top five.

From the first 17 Super Bowls, my favorite was Tommy Loy. He was a trumpeter from Dallas who performed the national anthem at Cowboys home games for over two decades, and was asked by the NFL to do so prior to Super Bowl V in January 1971. It was fantastic. That is a hard song to play by yourself with no singing. I’m sure Colts fans were saying the NFL was playing favorites, but they can’t deny Loy nailed it.

I also thought Cheryl Ladd of Charlie’s Angels was fantastic prior to Super Bowl XIV in January 1980. The South Dakota native is a very talented actress and a fine golfer, but she has taken a lot of heat, first from fans of Charlie’s Angels who hated her because she replaced Farrah Fawcett on the show, and then from progressives who don’t like that Cheryl leans right politically.

The first anthem singer was Anita Bryant at Super Bowl III. The first two Super Bowls had marching bands perform the anthem. Too bad Bryant couldn’t stick to music.

Trivia question: Who sang the national anthem prior to Super Bowl XI in January 1977 (the first one I was alive for)?

Prior to Super Bowl XXXV, Ray Charles performed “America the Beautiful” prior to “The Star-Spangled Banner”. I don’t admit to getting emotional about songs very often, but Ray’s performance was giving me goose bumps. It was that amazing.

Answer: NOBODY! That’s because “The Star-Spangled Banner” was replaced by “America the Beautiful” and sung by Vicki Carr.

Eight more days of this hype. I’ll be so glad when 5:30 pm arrives on February 4. Enough already.