Showing posts with label prince. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prince. Show all posts

Friday, November 10, 2023

80's Radio


I certainly wasn't a kid in the eighties, but radio made me feel like one. I'd left country at the right time and discovered rock at the exact right time. My kids were still pre-teens, meaning they'd still agree to go places with me ~ drives to the mall, maybe a jaunt to pick up a pizza. And all the while our companion was rock radio. I foisted my musical tastes on them, swirling up the radio volume anytime a song I really liked kicked off. When "We Are The World" became a big radio hit, I patiently explained to them which singer was singing which part. My oldest really glommed onto Corey Hart's "Sunglasses At Night", a song I hated ("so I I can..."), but I can never hear that song today without being reminded of that seven-year-old kid. On one of our yearly sojourns to South Dakota's Black Hills, Van Halen's "Jump" was the hot hit of the day. That organ-sounding guitar solo blasted out of the car radio's speakers approximately every seven minutes, to the point where I wasn't sure if I was experiencing car sickness or David Lee Roth-sickness. But my kids liked the song.

The eighties were the era of one-hit-band wonders, mostly British it seemed, but those tracks remain some of my favorite eighties songs to this day. The Dream Academy with "Life In A Northern Town", The Fine Young Cannibals' "She Drives Me Crazy". And who could forget (or ever would be allowed to forget) Rick Astley?


Music snobs tend to denigrate eighties music, but I bet if they got a gander at my Spotify playlist they'd soon be dancing around their living rooms, or if they were male, at least tapping their foot. One thing about eighties music, it was joyous, not morose ~ not navel-contemplation. All that introspection is overrated. I like songs like this:


Yes, I am country at heart, but I wouldn't give up my eighties rock for the world. It speaks to me in ways that little other does.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Telework - Week 7 - Forever?

Today is the first day of May. 2020, in case you forgot what year we're in. It seems like forever that I've been working from home, and it feels like a day. I don't know what happened to April, other than that I've gained more weight than I care to acknowledge. Let's call April the "forgotten month". 

I do know that I've had more meetings while at home than I ever had in the office -- and I hate meetings. Just when I'm getting into a work groove, I need to stop for a meeting. Meetings are a means of tricking the initiator into feeling a sense of accomplishment, but they are in actuality useless. I have to admit, I do like the personal connection, albeit via video chat. Left to my own devices, I would become a ragged hermit.

Speaking of meetings, today was our quarterly all-staff meeting, held via Microsoft Teams. Naturally, we employees had tons of questions, so this was one all-staff I was actually interested in attending. I learned that our return-to-office date is "sometime after Memorial Day". Keep movin' it boys, and I will never actually return. I've begun making a list of personal items I will need to retrieve, which will occur on a Saturday, to avoid human contact. My retirement date is tentatively June 12, so I'm thinkin' I'll never actually go back. It's okay. Not really, but I try to accept the things I cannot change.

I have a month and a half to finish out my work life. This is not how I imagined it. 

How did my week go otherwise? I, for whatever reason, am not sleeping. I've dealt with the problem, intermittently, my whole life, so I don't obsess over it, although it is annoying. On the plus side, I don't interact much with people, so it doesn't matter. I was a bit testy during another endless meeting, but that was due more to "what the hell?" than to my physical exhaustion. A funny thing happens when one is nearing the end of their career -- they realize how much useless crap they are subjected to and rebel against it.

I briefly connected with my boss via phone this afternoon, and she asked me if I had plans for the weekend. I said, "Every day is the same". It's not that I'm a gadfly, but knowing that I can't go anywhere scrapes against my nerves.I would kill to simply browse the aisles at Target.

Things I've done this week:

  • Laid awake and asked God to please let me fall asleep
  • Half-listened to talk radio.
  • Rearranged my chair configuration fifty-three times
  • Watched cable news and furiously stitched my current cross-stitch project
  • Ordered a face mask from Etsy.

Things I've learned this week:

  • SiriusXM has some new limited-time stations: George Strait, The Eagles, and Prince among them; although the Prince channel seems to only play "Manic Monday" by The Bangles. George, however, has enough hits to fill a full week without any repeats.
  • I miss my personal computer. I miss my bookmarks and I miss my in-progress novel. I'm sick of jerry-rigging this office computer to access my usual sites.

Week 8 is going to be awesome (yea). 

Stay tune. I know I will.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Delight Of A Fluffy Pop Song

Pure pop music is as old as music itself. When I was a kid, what I called rock music wasn't truly rock. It was pop. But I didn't know better. KRAD was our local station and it called itself "rock 'n roll", even though it played everything -- everything -- from Dean Martin to Bobbie Gentry to the Beach Boys to Roger Miller, to every possible incarnation in between. If I heard a song by a new group like the Supremes, I thought, hmm, that's different. I inherently knew that someone like Roy Orbison was rock (at least some of his songs), but I wasn't quite sure why. My brother bought me an album by the Yardbirds and I hated it. That was rock. I considered the Beatles, who magically appeared on the earth in 1964 to be a rock group, but in actuality and hindsight, they really were pop; just a bit more amped-up pop. Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, who were a tiny bit before my time, were more rock than the Beatles.

Pop isn't easy to define, but like obscenity (I guess), you know it when you hear it. A pure pop song should be bouncy. A repeating refrain is a plus. Even if the lyrics are sad, the music should be uplifting. Often it means nothing (which is how I generally prefer my songs, to be frank). Most lyrics that try to be deep are instead insipid. "Deep" songwriters miss the joy of music. I like my music fun; not studious, and especially not angry.

The first pop song I fell in love with, when I was eight years old, was "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore. I was in fact obsessed with it. I used to stand atop our picnic table in the backyard and frug and sing this song a cappella.

By the time I reached the mature age of ten, I liked this:

Time moved on (okay, by one year) and by then music had changed. Now it was visual as well as aural.  Granted, the guys were cute, but leave it to Neil Diamond to write an almost perfect pop song:

It was hard to find a good pop song in the seventies. It was hard to find anything good in the seventies. The seventies was a dreary decade. But every era has at least one thing to offer, and as for pop music, the nineteen seventies offered ABBA.

Conversely, the nineteen eighties were rife with pop. I could get into a whole sociological explanation of why people felt better in the eighties and more open to happiness, but it's really quite evident.

This song is glorious in its pop-ness.  

It's almost as if Lesley Gore had been reincarnated, but more blissful.

Sheena wasn't the only one.

Come on, admit it. You liked this song. You really, really boogied on down to this song. Rick Astley was an eighties god:

If you want to just feel good (and who doesn't?), peruse the nineteen eighties pop catalog. I could include another twenty tracks here, but I won't. Springsteen might bemoan how awful President Reagan was; yet he still recorded "Glory Days", so there you go. Sometimes as hard as one tries to be miserable, circumstances budge their way in.

Even as I began listening to country music again in the nineties, I was drawn (albeit reluctantly) to poppish confections. Hate it if you want, but just try not to dance to it:

I submit that pop music is the salve of mankind. 

It's time someone gave pop music its due.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


I don't think we recognize the happy times while we're living them; or perhaps we think we'll always feel this way, and therefore, this feeling is normal. We don't even recognize the emotion as happiness. Maybe it's the absence of worry, jitteryness; an embrace of the big blue sky.

I've pinpointed 1985 as my "happy time".  I was thirty, which is actually the perfect age, all things considered. My boys were at the fun age; the world opening up to them and me along for the ride. My job was perfect for my lifestyle. I worked second shift at a job I really liked -- interesting, yet only occasionally stressful. My mornings were my own. I even enjoyed setting up the ironing board in the living room, flipping my TV dial to MTV and pressing my hospital uniform, while this flashed on my screen in the background:

Even the music was optimistic in '85, and why not? We had a president who made us feel like everything was going to be okay. Our country was safe, tucked in. President Reagan had everything under control. And everyone felt it. 

I drove to the local mall with my youngest son, and as I slid into the parking slot, this song came on the radio. Matt knew a few of the artists, but I pointed out some he didn't know; some he needed to know. We made a game of picking out the voices. 

I had a savings account at the hospital credit union, and dutifully deposited twenty-five dollars out of each paycheck -- our vacation booty. Come July, I'd descend the steps to the hospital basement and acquire reams of traveler's checks and sign each one in the presence of the teller. Then, mid-month, we'd pack up our travel trailer with coolers full of New Coke, bologna, and Hostess treats and steer down Highway 83 toward Belle Fouche and ultimately, Rapid City and the exhale of the Rafter J Bar Ranch nestled within the tall pines. 

The campground had an outdoor pool and my boys made a beeline for it before we'd even pounded the camper stakes into the ground. In the setting sun, an Oglala brave would dance in full Lakota regalia as we tourists sat, cross-legged, in the tall prairie grass. At sunrise the next morning, we'd wind along the curvy two-lane logging road on our twelve-mile trip to the tourist town of Keystone so I could buy a Black Hills gold ring and my kids could ride the helicopter for a close-up view of Mount Rushmore.

1985 was the year of bands that have never been heard from since, but their hits are so iconic, it doesn't matter.

And a few who've stood the test of time:

Television was what it always was. Shows were "good" because we had nothing to compare them to. I watched Kate and Allie and Newhart and Family Ties. There was, however, one program that offered a glimpse of how good TV could be. It was on NBC on Wednesday nights, and since I worked second shift, I had to utilize my trusty VCR, because I was not about to miss it. Maybe working in a hospital made the show more special to me, but in reality, it was just a damn good show:

"Okay, smart guy, who's the president in 1985?"

"Ronald Reagan? Is Jerry Lewis Vice President?"

The eighties were the most fun period for movies. This classic was released -- guess when? 1985.

The country was optimistic; I was optimistic. 

I was happy.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Runnin' Down A Dream

I'm not a classic rock fan. I don't even know what the term, "classic rock" is supposed to mean. To me, classic rock is not the type of music they play on classic rock stations. Our local classic rock station has a playlist that consists of approximately nine songs. From what I can tell, classic rock consists of Aerosmith, ZZ Topp, The Who, and Tom Petty.

I am, however, a Tom Petty fan.

I honestly missed the Tom Petty era. The seventies were a lost decade of music for me. If it wasn't for my little sister, I wouldn't have any acquaintance with Tom at all. My sister turned me on to the album, "Full Moon Fever" in 1989. So I was only approximately ten years behind the times, in Tom Petty World.

What I knew about Tom Petty I could count on the fingers of one hand:  Full Moon Fever, his hat, The Traveling Wilburys. 

Lately I've been watching a Netflix documentary about Tom. I like him. He was a likeable guy. I was going along, liking him, and then he talked a bit about his childhood. And then I really liked him. I don't know why, but I'm continually surprised to learn that other people had crappy childhoods. I thought it was just me. I seriously did think that. Everybody I knew growing up seemed to live such serene lives. "Serene" is not a word I've used to describe myself -- ever. It makes me feel better to learn that somebody like Tom, who later touched the sky, started out as a messed-up kid. 

Musically, Tom will always be this to me:

Tom said, about this song, that each of the members of the group threw out lines, and they kept the best ones. I can pick out Dylan's words. Dylan's words, in general, are sublime. I would love to know which other words belonged to whom. 

George is gone, Roy (my heart) is long gone.

Now Tom is gone. It doesn't seem right somehow. It's too soon. I barely got to know him.

I'm ending this post this way, with joy. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Maybe it's a facet of getting older. I'm generally a pretty even-keel person, or maybe I'm just in denial. I do know that I now get too upset by workplace irritations and I'm not necessarily handling them well. You know, the usual -- people who ignore emails, someone taking over a room I've had reserved for two weeks and expecting me to find other accommodations. People declining to shoulder their share of the burden and being pissy in their refusal.

No wonder I don't sleep.

I read:  Sustained or chronic stress, in particular, leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, the "stress hormone," and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression. (link) I didn't think I was depressed, but maybe I am. Even if I am, what am I supposed to do with that? I have to continue to "deal", because that's how life goes.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be selfish, to not be beholden to anyone. I think it would be heaven for a while. I would settle for just a tiny bit of fun. To be honest, I think I've forgotten what fun is. I asked myself, what would I do that would be fun? The first thing that popped into my mind Dance like an idiot. Wave my arms in the air and swivel my hips like a bad Elvis impersonator and clap my hands over my head. Stomp my feet to the beat. Get those pheromones whizzing.

Music rarely fails to lighten my mood. Tonight it kind of failed me. The first song I heard that even registered was this one (thank you, Brian Wilson):

If I was alone on a dance floor and nobody was watching, I wonder what I would dance to....

Okay, I feel better now.


Friday, July 8, 2016

More 1984!

I'm old enough to remember a time when we just listened to music. That method had its downside, though. For several years I thought the best Beatles songs were sung by Paul McCartney, because he was the cute Beatle. I was woefully wrong.

Thus, when MTV came along in the eighties, it was manna from heaven. Who needed a radio? And we actually knew what the guys and girls singing the songs looked like! This was a concept, like personal computers, that we didn't even know we needed -- until we discovered we did. Maybe I like eighties music so much because of MTV or maybe the music was just that good. I'm going with "that good".

There are one-hit wonders whose song we like; there are fads that now seem cheesy and what-the-hell-was-I-thinking; and then there is Hall and Oates:

Before the nineteen eighties, Tina Turner, to me, was Ike and Tina Turner -- you know, "rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river" and a gaggle of gals in sequined, tasseled dresses doing the frug...or some other sixties dance.

Surprisingly, Tina popped up again just when MTV came along. "What's Love Got To Do With It" put Tina back in the spotlight. Luckily. Because I heard her follow-up single on the radio a few days ago, and damn! It's bad! Here's how it goes (in its entirety):

I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money
I'll do what you want me to do
I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money
And any old music will do

And that's it! As a songwriter, I think that's cheating. You can't just repeat the same four lines over and over!  Yet it worked for Tina, so there's that.

That doesn't take away from her seminal hit. Let's listen (and watch):

I like this one better. I think it must be from a movie, and I'm going to Google that and find out right now. In the meantime, watch John Waite:

Well, according to my research, the song was featured in the movie "Selena" and also in Miami Vice, which I never watched, so I guess I only imagined that it was included in a John Hughes flick. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it should have been.

Whatever happened to Deniece Williams? She had a hit single from one of those movies I never actually saw, Footloose. Which doesn't explain why I know the song so well, except for endless plays on MTV. I saw the non-existent fore-mentioned John Hughes movie featuring John Waite's song more times than I saw Footloose. That doesn't take away from the giddy poppishness that was "Let's Hear It For The Boy":

You know you remember this next track. You probably didn't get it -- it is in German (?) after all -- but that didn't stop you and everyone else from turning it into a hit. Number twenty-eight of the year is the incomprehensible hit by Nena -- I don't know whether that's the girl's name of the name of the band, but what does it matter, really?

Apparently in the eighties there was this band called "Journey" (which is a really cheesy name, when you think about it).  I'm guessing they hit it big right before MTV came into existence, because I had absolutely no knowledge of them. Of course I know about Journey now. But I'm not (too) ashamed to admit that I had no clue who they were in 1984. All I knew was there was this great track by a guy named Steve Perry. I figured he was just a single act; a one-hit wonder. Hell of a singer, though. If someone handed me a list of pop songs and said, pick the best ones, I would pick this. I love this song:

Contrary to what Jack Black's character utters in High Fidelity, this is not the worst song ever recorded. Let's cut Stevie some slack, okay? I like it. I'll admit, though, that line in the movie made me feel supremely uncool. However, I'm okay with uncool. Uncool is the new cool. Number twenty-five!

Remember that list of pop songs someone gave me? Well, here's another one I'd pluck from it. My oldies station cued up this song as I was pulling into the Target parking lot, and I refused to kill the motor until I sat and listened to it all the way through. Elton John is a treasure and this song proves why:

Okay, I know I never saw the movie, Streets of Fire. I had to Google it to even know what it was. Nope, never ever saw it. Rick Moranis? Seriously? He was great on SCTV, and I loved him in Parenthood, clue. Nevertheless, I know this song, which again proves the power of music videos. This is Dan Hartman...who resides somewhere near Deniece Williams, I'm guessing; and they're both living off the royalties of their singular hit songs. I still like this one, though:

Confession:  For years I hated, detested! Billy Joel. I think it was subliminal. I remember as a pre-teen listening to a radio show on KFYR on Sunday nights called Padre's Platters. It was hosted by a real-life priest. Seriously. Well, Padre (I don't remember his actual name) went on a tear one night about how sacrilegious Billy Joel's song, Only The Good Die Young, was. I guess because it blasphemed Catholic girls.  Good Catholic girl that I was, in my subconscious I determined that listening to Billy Joel was akin to committing a mortal sin. That, plus I never liked how he yelled so much in his songs. I've come around a bit since then. I actually like some of Billy's tracks now and I'm ready to confess that I do. This one I really liked, mostly because I really liked the Four Seasons and this is a tribute to them:

Purists will say that Chicago ceased being Chicago when Peter Cetera joined the group. Poppists will say, there was a Chicago before Peter Cetera joined the group? Sorry, but hop off that high horse, guys. There wouldn't even be a nineteen eighties movie industry if it wasn't for Peter Cetera. Peter Cetera will easily duel with Kenny Loggins for the most tracks featured in hit eighties movies. Maybe he's an acquired taste -- I never had that problem. I always liked Peter's voice. Trust me, if it was just Saturday In The Park, I never would have purchased the "Best of Chicago". What screams the eighties more than Peter Cetera and Chicago? I bet the other Chicago guys, much as they disdain Peter, are living pretty high off their royalties.

This might be a good spot to bid adieu to 1984.

All in all, it was an excellent year for music.

I truly miss good years in music.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Ahhh, 1984

The eighties. Some people love 'em, some hate 'em. I loved them. In music, that is. And life in general was pretty good. We had a good president, a more or less unified country. People were essentially happy.

There are times in music that reflect people's state of consciousness. The late sixties were angry, raucous; and thus was the music. The seventies lulled everyone into a quiet catatonia, which gave rise to artists like John Denver and the Carpenters. Times were bad. People had to wait in line to fill their cars with gas. While Jimmy Carter quietly read his Bible in the White House, everyday folk were clawing to put food on the table for their kids and bemoaning that the world was going to hell. The soft strums of Denver's twelve-string helped to quell the bitter bile that rose in people's throats.

The nineties were a blur. No one stood for anything. The nineties were a static line. Not bad; not necessarily good. They just existed.

I am a firm believer that the mood of the populace at any given time can be gleaned from its music. We are reflections of the life we live.

I hadn't yet turned thirty by 1984, so life was alive with possibilities and new wonders. I had two boys who were turning out quite nicely; I never had much money -- I had a little credit union account at the hospital where I worked, in which I would deposit a little money from each paycheck to save for our summer vacation, which invariably took place in the Black Hills of South Dakota -- camping in a pop-up trailer. Camping beneath the tall pines. Granted, I've always been a creature of habit, but if you find a place you love, why only visit it once? The blacktop on the way there was hot and dusty, our car had air conditioning that worked "sometimes" -- at least until it froze up and then we'd roll down the windows and let the hot breath of July whisk the sweat from our sunburned faces. We played Mad Libs, the boys tried their best to annoy one another; we joked and bantered.

And we had the music.

I expected this song to be the number one hit of 1984, as much as we heard it. I mean, as much as we heard it. Over and over and over again. But surprisingly, it was only number six. I eventually formed a raw hate for the song, but that happens anytime one is forced to listen to something ad nauseum. We didn't have choices; no iPods and certainly no cell phones. What? A phone one can take with you? When our camper blew a tire along Highway 83, we couldn't punch up a highway helper. Instead we limped along to the first town on the map; thumped rubber for eighteen miles 'til we got to a truck stop that, mercifully, had a tire in stock that fit. If Van Halen was playing on the radio somewhere along that eighteen-mile chug, I'm sure I punched a tiny fist-sized dent in the car speaker.

I loved Huey Lewis & The News. Huey always seemed to me like the accountant who got pulled onto the stage on karaoke night and was mortified, but decided to just go with it. And he knocked everybody out and found himself the talk of the office come Monday morning. "Who knew?" Good old Hugh from down the hall. The guy with the pocket protector!"

I don't get it, but this song was only number forty-four:

When I first saw this next video, I thought, "what a quirky girl!". Cyndi Lauper was definitely different. She wasn't Madonna (that's a good thing). She was her own self, and nobody was complaining (#15 on the year). Totally the vibe of the eighties:

Culture Club was certainly different, but that was a-okay. Boy George was a pretty girl; soft, feminine. It didn't even cross my mind to make any judgments. I liked their music. This song was number ten for the year:

Confession:  I never saw this movie. I may have seen a part of this movie, but never the whole thing. And that's just not like me. I'm all about guys dancing -- from Saturday Night Fever to Dirty Dancing to Grease. Men won't understand this, but women love to see a guy dancing. It's sexy, maybe because it's so rare. It takes an elegant confidence for a man to get out there and do it. John Travolta did it (twice), Patrick Swayze did it with awesomeness. And Kenny Loggins also did it (in the guise of Kevin Bacon):

And then there is this:

An aside -- practically every movie soundtrack from the eighties featured Kenny Loggins. It was decreed.

Ghostbusters:  Had to buy the t-shirts; my kids demanded them. The red circle crossing out the ghost in the middle. Ghostbusters was a touchstone of the eighties. I didn't get it then; later I watched the movie and still didn't get it. I love Bill Murray, but this movie is essentially lame. It has...count 'em...two laughs in its entirety. It was an eighties thing, which requires no explanation. It just was:

There are two artists who essentially dominated the eighties. Like 'em or loathe them; it's how it was. There are tons of hits from 1984 and I'm just scratching the surface, but let's give credit where it's due. And it's due here:

Courtney Cox was just some girl in a music video who was pulled onstage by Bruce Springsteen. Who knew she would later become mega-rich and would live on in reruns forever. Nevertheless, this video is about Bruce, not Courtney. And Bruce was, only after Lionel (sorry) almost the biggest name of the eighties:

Yep, somebody's sorely missing. Trouble is, he was pathologically private about sharing his music online. Sad for many reasons, but primarily because he had the biggest hit of 1984. I'll try next time around to find something of his to post. Or, failing that, maybe I'll just post his picture.

Nineteen eighty-four:  happiness.

It's gonna be a hard year to beat.

Saturday, April 30, 2016


If you haven't seen this video, you really should. I've watched it a few times, and I keep wanting to play it again.

This performance is from George Harrison's 2004 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and features Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, Dhani Harrison, and a special guitar soloist at the end. Be sure to stick around 'til the end! You won't be sorry.

I wonder if that guitar ever came down.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Gut Punched

I was driving home from doing some errands last Saturday and "Delirious" came on the oldies station. I cranked it up. As the song played, I thought how happy Prince's music made me feel. "Delirious" has a lot going on in it. It's definitely rock and funk, but there's also some scatting and maybe a bit of jazz. I also get a kick out of how Prince pronounces "deliri-OHS". Then my mind clicked on Michael Jackson and how both he and Prince reached the peak of their fame around the same time. I thought it was rather unfair how Jackson was labeled a genius, yet Prince never was. I thought, well, Michael Jackson died young because his life was so messed up, so there was something to say for being "normal", because Prince was still alive and still creating.

I don't believe in prescience. I wasn't thinking about Merle Haggard right before he died. I chalk the whole episode in the car up to a weird coincidence. Yesterday I was half-listening to a news channel through my ear buds as I worked, and the host announced that there was a report of a death at Paisley Park. My stomach dropped.

I am not a Minnesotan -- I live in Minnesota, but I'm not from here, The people I work with are Minnesotans, and wow, the grief. Everyone in my office had to get up out of their chairs and go find someone, someone to help them sort out the news. My cubicle neighbor's sister went to high school with Prince. Minneapolis is a big, yet small town. Minnesotans claimed Prince, sheltered him. They were proud of the fact that the local boy who hit it big didn't take leave for LA or some other bigshot city. Prince stayed, he went to local clubs, he sometimes gave impromptu performances at those clubs and sometimes he just sat in the audience and enjoyed the show -- you know, like a real person would. Last night there was a street party in front of First Avenue, the club where Prince got his start. Thousands spilled into the street and danced and sang Prince songs. They had a good time -- just like Prince always urged people to do, through his music. He had to be a joyous man -- just listen to his songs. He wasn't filled with angst. Besides, angst is over-rated. Life should be joyous. It usually isn't, but maybe that's where Prince came in. He brought us something we were sorely missing.

This is my first post in which I can't share video of the artist. Oh, there are a few performance videos out there, those with fellow musicians, but Prince was very firm that he would control his music, and so YouTube doesn't have any of the real stuff. I think I even complained about that once in a post, that he shouldn't be so stingy -- he should share his creations with us. I'm okay with his decision now. Yes, I'd love to watch some of his work, but I can still listen.

Somebody tweeted something about how people shouldn't always try to relate an artist who's passed away with themselves. Well, why wouldn't we? Isn't that what music does? Plays the soundtrack of our lives? So, I am going to relate Prince's music to my life. I'm obviously not in the target demographic for his music. I wasn't a teenager in the eighties, but I did have teenagers, and thus MTV was a big presence in our home. You know how much I love eighties rock. Prince was a huge part of that. I bought the Purple Rain album (yes, album) and "When Doves Cry" has always touched me. I, even at my advanced age, thought Prince was cool. And who wouldn't? He was cool. He was unique. When one of his music videos came on the tube, one couldn't take their eyes off the screen. I also appreciated that he didn't seem like a jerk -- like he was condescending to perform for us little people. No, he just loved what he was doing and he wanted us all to join him.

I love the following Prince tracks:

  • When Doves Cry
  • Purple Rain
  • Raspberry Beret
  • 1999
  • Let's Go Crazy
  • Delirious
  • and others I can't think of at the moment
I also really like this particular song that he wrote:

And, of course, this video played nonstop on MTV:


So, I guess I got to include a couple of music videos after all.

My home is a scant seventeen miles from Paisley Park. Thousands of people tonight are there paying tribute. I would never go. I don't want more sadness; I'm already feeling that enough. I would have gone to the street party, though, if I wasn't embarrassingly old.

But here are a few pictures of how my new hometown paid tribute to their hometown boy:

Shoot, we're going to miss you, Prince. Too, too soon.

Too soon.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Still Want My MTV

Yep, we've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately.  If you read my previous post, you were no doubt transported back in time, to those bygone days, when times were so much more innocent.

Sort of like this:

I'm just kidding, of course.

There were a lot of music videos that particularly struck my fancy (or at least my funny bone) way back in the 1980's.  Here are a few:

I heard this next song one day on my car radio, and it struck me:  this could be a country song  (seriously)!  Of course, that would just ruin it, but I'm just saying, this song is structured like a country song:

I must include two by Springsteen, because both of these videos are nostalgic for me, and one of them features Courteney Cox (because I love trivia):

And this next one just makes me feel good:

In my book, I noted that we choose to remember the '80's as the time of Springsteen and Michael Jackson; when in actuality, they were the time of Genesis and Lionel Richie.  Every time I flipped my TV on, there was Lionel.  Like this:

So, I just wanted to set the record straight on that.

Moving on, however; I don't care who says Huey Lewis and the News are kitschy.  Not to me!  I love them!

And this one was "fun":

Both the hair and the music are excellent on this one; although the split screen tends to make my head throb:

I don't even know how I forgot about this, but in addition to Genesis and Lionel Richie, the 1980's were SO all about Whitney:

BLOGGER'S NOTE:  While I love, love Prince, I definitely do NOT love his stingy ways.  Prince (a Minnesotan, alas, like me) chooses to not make his videos available to anyone.  I do not know why, but I've been down this road before, and I've yet to find an official Prince video online.  And I'm not about to risk a computer virus trying to find a bootleg copy.

Speaking of Genesis (not to change the subject), an unusual phenomenon occurred in the '80's:  Phil Collins discovered (much to his surprise!) that he was suddenly a sex symbol.  And thus, he left his bandmates (and his drum kit) behind, and stepped into the spotlight as a solo artist:

Of course, I didn't forget Michael Jackson!  I succinctly remember all the pre-video hype about Thriller; how MTV got us all worked up with regular news flashes and every-five-minute promos.  I'm not going to post all 13 or so minutes of Thriller, though.  Feel free to search it out on YouTube.  I do like this one a bunch, however (and believe it or not, it's more memorable to me than Thriller ~ maybe it was the moon walk):

I'm realizing that this post is becoming a tome, so I need to stop; although the more I think about MTV videos, the more I say, hey!  That one!  What about that one!  That one was great!

So, I will end by posting a couple that are either fun or just plain cool.  You be the judge:

And my favorite....Yea, Shania did a takeoff of this video, which was actually cool, even if derivative.  But nothing beats the original:

Bottom line, for me, is; I do love the eighties and my MTV.   My music tastes are perhaps odd.  My times were the sixties; the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Motown; the eighties (and my MTV!), and strangely, eighties country (Dwight, George, Nitty Gritty, Rodney, et al).  I know those don't seem to go together, but I just like what I like. 

And I like reliving good times.  Those three categories reflect "good times" for me.  Maybe it was me; maybe it was the music.  Maybe it was just both.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Songwriters are a delirious lot.

(By the way, thanks, John Candy, for the photo. I miss John Candy).

Why are songwriters delirious? Well, don't you have to be, to be a songwriter?

What prompted this post was me again, reading those songwriting forums (I'm a reader and a non-contributor).

On one of the boards, there's a whole big discussion about "expensive demos"; the pros and cons ("cons" being a good descriptive word).

Apparently, one has to pay upwards of $1000.00 to get a "good" demo. The "non-good" demos can be had for a bit less.

Do Regular Joes really do this? I'm not talking about the successful Nashville songwriters, like the old standbys that are always mentioned: Jeffrey Steele, Craig Wiseman, etc. (like I'm supposed to know and/or care who they are). They can obviously afford to get those "good" demos done, because they're writing hit songs; you know, the ones that you'd hear on the radio, if the thought of turning on the radio didn't make you nauseous.

No, I'm talking about the everyday garden-variety songwriters, who spend so much time on songwriting boards that one wonders when they have the time to actually write a song.

Most of the songs I've taken the time to listen to, on these boards, are so-so at best (as would mine be, if I chose to share them, which I don't).

Who's got that kind of money to spend to get one of the "good", or even "non-good" demos made? I think they all must be wealthy retirees, since they're hanging around songwriting forums about 18 hours a day. So, maybe they do have the money.

I just think it's such a pipe dream.

First of all, the established songwriters have the "in" with the producers or artists or whoever the heck it is that makes decisions.

Why in the world would they even listen to Mr. Wealthy Retiree's song?

A related point: Those internet sites that are advertising "Looking for songs for Kenny Chesney" (or whomever)...what?? I think it's just a scheme. Why does Kenny Chesney's producer or record label (or whoever makes those decisions) need to troll the internet for songs? They've got people breaking down their door to hand them songs.

Awhile back, I forked over $14.00 for a chance to submit a song to "_______, successful female country artist", (and $14.00 really is my top offer, which is why I will never have a good or non-good demo made).

You know, it's the excitement of reading the opportunity, and thinking, "Hey, wouldn't it be great if I could get my song recorded by Successful Female Country Artist?"

It was only later, when I got my detailed critique, which stated, in its entirety, "not quite what we're looking for", that the realization hit me: Are you an idiot?? Successful Female Country Artist doesn't need my songs.

Well, a day late and $14.00 short; that's me.

On the plus side, I didn't spend the money to get a good demo made of the song, or else it would have cost me $1014.00, rather than $14.00.

To be cynically honest, any piece of junk can be made to sound good, if one is willing to spend the money. Just listen to the radio, for pete's sake!

I'm just not into that game. Maybe if I was 20 (or 30) years younger. Maybe then I'd have the drive to write a song just like the ones that are played on the radio; just for that shot of possibly making some dough, and losing my self-respect (oops, did I say that?)

By the by, the consensus on that songwriting board is that, yes, you do need to spend the money. I'll have to check back to see if anyone bothers to mention that you're throwing your money away by doing so.

P.S. If anybody knows of a good songwriting forum, give me a holler. There are two that I view on a semi-regular basis, but they've both got their issues. One is a pat-on-the-back coffee klatch for any number of horrible to semi-horrible songs. The other is some kind of all-men's club, that features all manner of discussions regarding pretty much anything other than music. So, what I'm looking for is a board that is non-juvenile, and interesting.

P.P.S. Why is it that women so rarely become involved in discussions of the music industry, or basically of music in general, on these boards? Their contributions seem to consist of posting up their latest lyrics, and....I guess that's it. Am I the only female who's actually interested in the music biz? I can't believe that's the case. If it is, man, I'm sorely disappointed in my gender. Maybe they're all just too busy going shopping or something.

I leave you with the theme song of this post. As you may know, Prince is notoriously shy about sharing his videos, so here is a fan-generated one. (I like this song!)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rock & Roll - The Eighties - Part 1

As we've learned from previous posts, the '70's weren't a great decade for music. Oh sure, there were some good songs here and there (as I noted), but overall, the '70's kind of sucked, music-wise.

Plus, I'll admit, in the '80's, MTV was actually showing music videos (a weird concept, I admit). And music videos were new then. So, there was some creativity going on. Believe it or not. I enjoyed MTV back then. But, it all came down to the music. And I liked a lot of the music of the '80's. We can quibble, if you like. But you won't change my mind.

Music does go through cycles. The '60's were inventive; the '80's were re-inventive. The '70's were kind of sluggish. I don't know why. Maybe it was because of Jimmy Carter (ha!) I think maybe the artists of the '70's were like, "Damn! I missed out on all the good years of music! I can't top that! So, maybe I'll just tie a yellow ribbon 'round that old oak tree. Everybody's so sick and tired of Jimmy Carter, they'll buy anything that makes them feel good." Just a theory.

So, herewith, some songs from the '80's:


Here's the CEO of Acme Products, Incorporated, conducting his semi-annual all-staff meeting. All decked out in his dress shirt and tie. "Well, we had a pretty good quarter, sales are up. I know these meetings can get a little dull, and if we didn't give you free donuts, most of you probably wouldn't even be here. Right, Big Larry? But, today, in lieu of the handouts I've prepared, I thought I'd sing you the third-quarter financial report. So, if the HR staff would join me up here. HIT IT, GIRLS!"


Anyone who knows me, knows that Billy Joel is not one of my favorite artists. However, this is one of the few Billy Joel songs that I actually like.

That said, remind me to never go to this garage to get my car serviced! While they're busy wiping down the headlights and acting like they're in the touring company of "Grease", my lug nuts are falling off, and I'm driving off on bare rims. Oh, and that'll be $199.95. Gee, thanks for the headlight cleaning, guys.


By means of clarification, "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry" are unavailable on YouTube. I think Prince had them removed. Cuz they were there before. That's okay, though. He's kind of protective of his privacy and what-not. This video will probably be gone before long, too, so I'll just be blogging about a video that's not even there. Thanks for making me look like a fool, Prince.

Anyway, Prince is from Minneapolis. He's the second most famous artist to hail from Minnesota. And deservedly so. I am a big fan of Prince and I'm glad that I could at least post one video from him (at least for the time being). If one looks back on the '80's (fondly, of course), and they try to decide who was the most influential artist of that decade, in hindsight, it wasn't Michael Jackson. Sorry. It was Prince.

This video was shot in Minneapolis. Yes, just another typical day in the neighborhood.


Isn't this just the cheesiest video ever? The first time I saw this video, I wondered if it was some kind of youth worship know, with the "Choose Life" tee shirts and all.

And it seems like kind of a lopsided partnership. Andrew: "Hey! You get all the screen time!" George (hip-thrusting Andrew off the stage): "That's because I have the BLINDINGLY white teeth and the impossibly short shorts!"

And weird that both George Michael and the back-up girls had the exact same hair style. Easy day for the hairdresser, I guess.


Filmed in the 1930's, one doesn't realize that Steve Winwood is actually over 100 years old! Here he was, in his prime, and he even goes back further, back to the 1890's, when he was with the Spencer Davis Group! He's held up well!

This is one of my favorite songs from the era (you know, from the dust bowl days). Nevertheless, in all seriousness, it is one of my favorite songs. I 'm a big Steve Winwood fan.

Let's talk now about two of the most enduring acts from the '80's.

The first:


Here's our San Francisco stockbroker, taking a rare break from his stockbroking duties to visit a nightclub (for the first time).

What's this he sees up on the stage? His alter ego, in a sleeveless white tee shirt, acting all cool and carrying around that microphone. So emboldened, our shy stockbroker decides to choose the frizzy-haired blonde girl in the frilly plus-size tunic to be his dance partner. As he tries to leave the nightclub with his new "girlfriend", he finds that behind every door he opens is a member of the "News" (and behind one door, a steam locomotive!) Eeek! Finally! They find a door that leads to the alley! Whew! That was very spine-tingling! And so he takes Frizzy back to his office to show her his "ticker-tapes". The end.


The Moonlighting Mafioso Band appears here, led by Daryl Hall, wearing his green huge shoulder-padded sports coat. And who knew that the mafia had such rhythm? Those hand-claps seem just like gunshots! So, in essence, rock band/mafia family ~ apparently pretty much the same, in Daryl Hall's world.


The first thing that strikes me about this video is - hey! Look at that hair! I guess that's where Pantene made its fortune. All that conditioner that the boys in the Jovi band were buying. Cuz believe me, when you get those curly perms, you need a LOT of conditioner. I remember that from the eighties.

This video is from back before Jon Bon Jovi decided he was a country artist - ha!

I always liked this one, with Jon attached to the harness, so he could fly out above the audience. They did things BIG in the eighties.


This is no doubt the most inventive video of the eighties. Seeing this kind of makes me wonder if Peter was living in "crazy world" when he filmed this. Cuz, man! This is disorienting! Still good, though!


Maybe it's just me, but I think these guys are hilarious. They were so stupid, and yet, so smart-alecky. What more could you ask for? That's me in a nutshell.....stupid, yet smart-alecky. I guess that's why Beavis is my hero.


This is the video that sealed The Police's fame. Black and white. Sting and his upright bass. Sting the Stalker. I mean, really, if you think about this song, it's really creepy. I need to go peer out my window, to make sure no one is out there on the street.......with an upright bass.


One should never forget how HUGE Michael Jackson was in the eighties. This is from Motown's 30th Anniversary Special. You know, the moonwalk, the single white glove, all that stuff. If only Michael could have maintained that semblance of normalcy. But it was not to be. And now we look at Michael as basically a pervert. And a weirdo. And insane.

But back in the eighties, the only thing we wondered about Michael was why he kept insisting that the CHAIR was not his son.


Here is a young Bruce Springsteen, wearing his bowling shirt. Dancing awkwardly. Basically doing the one-armed dance. Alas, Bruce can no longer do the "one-armed dance", because Bruce is old now.

But this video features the E Street Band, including a weirdly androgynous Clarence Clemens and also that guy from Late Night With Conan O'Brien. I would know his name, except I am unable to stay up that late.

This video is notable for the appearance of Courtney Cox, who later, of course, went on to star in "Friends", and is now WAY richer than Bruce himself. Funny how things work out.

Naive as I was, I actually thought, at the time, that this was a real audience member, plucked out of the crowd to dance (awkwardly) with Bruce. Ah, the media. It manipulates people. I'm WAY smarter than that now. In hindsight.


I just realized that I could have skipped all the other videos and just included this one, since what better representation of the eighties could there be? Look at these guys! Stevie Wonder, Huey Lewis, Cindi Lauper, Springsteen, Bob Dylan (and it was sort of lame that Quincy Jones told him to sing it in more of a "Dylan" style), Joe Perry, Kenny Loggins, Tina Turner, Lionel Ritchie. Michael, off by himself, singing, so no one could touch him. Odd that they included Willie, since I don't know exactly where he fit in the pantheon of eighties rock. Ray Charles - yay! I'm not exactly sure why Dan Ackroyd was there, but, okay! A bunch of Jacksons. Diana Ross. Well, I can't remember them all. But suffice it to say, this is the eighties in a nutshell.

Part two will be forthcoming. As I thought about this topic, I realized that I have only scratched the surface of music videos from the eighties. And watching VH1's program, "Top Videos Of The Eighties" today only made me feel more insecure in my choices.

So, if the seventies rate a two-parter, surely the eighties demand the same courtesy.

But this is a good primer, don't you think?