A palindromic date after a week of palindromic dates, and still a couple days to go. Next year it will happen for ten days in August.
‘Tis a fine blue sky on a Monday here. Which is a hopeless segue into the song “Blue Monday” by New Order. If you don’t know the song (and unless you’re under the age of 20, how couldn’t you? Did your parents hate good music?), give it a listen.
It was redone a few years later, sounding a bit different and released at “Blue Monday 88” (another palindromic number, if only just barely),* which also garnered much airplay.
Taking it to an ultra-blue level, Orkestra Obsolete has covered the song in retro style using only 1930s instruments.
Jazzy, in an art-deco-on-acid kind of way.
- 1988, or “88,” is an unusual number, given that 1+9+8+8=26 and 2+6=8. And the 8s are sideways Infinity symbols. No, there’s no point to this information.
80s City Pop for long hot days on the beach, skating down the boulevard under a blue sky, and driving into the sunset on an infinite highway…
City Pop Summer Edition just dropped. It is most excellent.
Playlist posted by Van Paugam. He’s done a number of other City Pop collections, give them a listen.
♪ Track List (with associated anime clips):
♪OFF SHORE – 角松敏生Toshiki Kadomatsu (0:00) Waves gif from Neon Genesis Evangelion followed by Maron from Dragon Ball Z”
♪土曜の夜はパラダイス – エポEPO (5:11) “?”
♪RIDE ON TIME – 山下達郎Tatsuro Yamashita (9:18) “City Hunter”
♪HIGHWAY OF THE SUN – パイパーPiper (14:46) “Creamy Mami”
♪Dancing Tonight – 国分友里恵Yurie Kokubo (19:06) “Akira”
♪Streets Are Hot – 藤原美穂Miho Fujiwara (22:04) “Megazone 23”
♪Paradise Island – 中原めいこMeiko Nakahara (25:50) “Bubblegum Crisis”
♪Sky High – 松原正樹Masaki Matsubara (30:37) “Dragon Ball Z”
♪TRANSIT IN SUMMER – 杉山清貴&オメガトライブKiyotaka Sugiyama & Omega Tribe (34:10) “?”
♪そよ風のエアメール – 石川秀美Hidemi Ishikawa (38:26)
♪DEAR BREEZE – 杉山清貴&オメガトライブKiyotaka Sugiyama & Omega Tribe (42:42) “?”
♪Summer Connection – 大貫妙子Taeko Onuki (46:35) “Cowboy Bebop”
♪あこがれのSundown – 桑名晴子Haruko Kuwana (51:00) “Sailor Moon”
So I saw a headline that said Joe Jackson is recovering from a car accident. Turns out it’s not the Joe Jackson I was thinking of, but rather, Michael Jackson’s dad.
Well, glad he’s ok and all that, but who cares? Of much greater interest is the pianist Joe Jackson.
He released his first single in 1978, titled “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” I’m sure every guy has been able to relate to that at least once in his life.
A fun live version from 1980 can be heard here.
When asked about the origins of the song, Jackson stated –
Now, that is just one of those songs that started with the title. I heard that phrase somewhere and I thought that could be a kind of funny song about gorgeous girls going out with monsters. It just started from there. It was just a funny song, or supposed to be funny. It was a great surprise to me when some people interpreted it as being angry.
The full interview is worth reading, and can be found here, which ranges from his tribute album to Duke Ellington to the pointlessness of restricting 16 oz. sodas.
Another well known Jackson song is “You Can’t Get What You Want (Til You Know What You Want) –
Rumor has it that he recorded the song because record contracts at the time stipulated every artist must record at lease one song with Rock Parentheses in the title.
Jackson was touring as recently as last year. This isn’t the best sound quality, but it’s still pretty good.
The first song of his I ever recall hearing back in the early 80s – and one of the earliest music videos I ever saw – was “Steppin’ Out,” which is undisputably a timeless classic. It was on the radio constantly back then. You can’t listen to this song and not want to go out for a night on the town in style. The video is absolutely pitch perfect, allowing anyone to see their story reflected in it.
In this age of sampled, looped, AutoTuned empty beats, not only doesn’t anyone make music like that anymore, I’m not sure anyone even tries.
Have some music to rock out the old year and ring in the new!
See you in 2017!
I just read over at Vox Popoli that George Michael of Wham! died today, Christmas Day.
I liked some of their music back in the 80s, and this has been a perennial radio staple this time of year ever since it was released –
It’s that time of year again…. load up your machine guns and storm the stores for those Black Friday sales!
Stores should be required to play nothing but Steely Dan songs today. Maybe it would chill some of the more… frenetic… shoppers out. Well, at least until they got to “Don’t Take Me Alive!
Some Steely Dan for your shopper-survivalist weekend –
This one’s heavy on video, yo. But it’s smooth.
In 1978, the Doobie Brothers released their album Minute By Minute, containing the song “What A Fool Believes”….
…and, of course, it became a hit. So smooth.
Comare and contrast with Robbie Dupree’s 1980 single titled “Steal Away”…
…which seems to be exactly what happened here. Very suspiciously similar.
According to this site, Dupree’s song also was, uh, inspired by Eddie Money’s 1977 song “Baby Hold On.” I can kind of hear it.
Doobie Bro Michael McDonald had this happen with another song, 1982’s “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)” –
The song was sampled in 1994 by Warren G and Nate Dogg in “Regulate” [mildly NSFW]-
A completely and totally 100% absolutely true and smooth account of how this came about was related on the internet series Yacht Rock [also a bit NSFW]. And “Hollywood Steve,” the host of the show, is a real life music critic.
However, “I Keep Forgettin'” itself is heavily inspired by Chuck Jackson’s 1963 song titled, amazingly, “I Keep Forgettin'” –
McDonald’s version is sometimes listed as a cover of Jackson’s song, but there are differences. Although sharing credit with the writers of Jackson’s song, McDonald does get a songwriting credit on his version.
Michael’s old friends in Steely Dan had their own run-in with this sort of thing. From 1977, their song “Black Cow” –
…which got sampled in 1997 by Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz for their single “Uptown Baby” [you know it’s NSFW]-
The opening of the song features another sample, Amores Como El Nuestro by Jerry Rivera.
Turns out The Dan weren’t happy with Tariq and Gunz sampling the song and causing Walter and Donald some difficulties. Peter Gunz discusses it here (a little NSFW language in there).
Not long after that, Tatyana Ali released her 1998 single “Daydreamin'” (lots of apostrophes in music, apparently), where Tariq and Gunz sampled themselves sampling “Black Cow” in some kind of recursive loop and rapped on it –
“I heard Steely Dan “Black Cow” and went wild!”
Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen completes and reverses the Mobius Circuit by sampling “Uptown Baby” over “Black Cow” –
Some truly monster-ous mashups for your Halloween.
One of the first mashups to go big was Steely Dan’s “Do It Again” crossed with Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” circa 1983 –
By the 90s, mashups were becoming quite the thing, and during the 2000s (especially with everyone having a computer and YouTube coming online), mashups exploded. Most are crap, but some are really good, such as this Daft Punk/Adele mix –
DJs and home remixers began digging up old classics to mix with more modern songs –
A Korn song was massively improved by combining it with a Cure song –
There was a real video for that song, but it’s gone now. Had a neat Escher ending, not to mention Robert Smith getting slowly eaten by the Spider Man (no, not that Spider-Man).
Disco is a prime fountain of pure unrefined mashup material. Especially when mixed with the most incongruous types of music –
Speaking of incongruities, this takes the cake right out of the rain –
It works so well!
Dance music goes well with more classically-influenced works –
Who knew Enya could spit rhymes like that?
If you feel like your childhood has been violated, your teen years touched inappropriately, your college years…. well, something involving microaggressions and a rape hoax, I’m sure… then this song is dedicated to you.
Everyone knows Thomas Dolby’s classic song, “She Blinded Me With Science!” But he’s had quite a career since that song. A couple of his songs appeared in last weekend’s “No Static At All” post, “Radio Silence” and a live version of “Commercial Breakup.” Go give them a listen.
Before releasing his first album, The Golden Age Of Wireless, Dolby did synthesizer arrangements on Foreigner’s songs”Waiting for a Girl Like You” and “Urgent,” the latter also featuring saxophone by Junior Walker. Walker later recorded his own (Dolby-less)version of the song with his All-Stars, which can be heard here.
Kicking off this Studio proper is a 1983 “Live Wireless” concert in its entirety –
In 1985, he appeared onstage at the Grammy Awards with Units 1,2, and 4 in a synthesizer showdown –
“…the big surprise was I didn’t expect Thomas Dolby to come out in that amazing wig and tuxedo — which is so him, you know, and brilliant. And that tiny little keyboard!” – Howard Jones, who also explains why some of the performance was prerecorded.
A lot of it was prerecorded stuff that we’d already done in the studio because of the ambition of it, because it was using that amount of technology. I don’t think anybody would have been brave enough to play everything live! So we played some things over the top of it, and then the rest of it was pre-done in studio. I think that’s the only way to have achieved it for the Grammys. I think it would have been very risky otherwise!
Dig those keytars!
More recently, Dolby was involved with “The Toadlickers,” combining techno, bluegrass, and parkour –
He also worked on an online multiplayer game which coincided with his album of the same name, Map Of The Floating City, set in an alternate history. As he described it, “The Floating City is set against a dystopian vision of the 1940s that might have existed had WWII turned out a lot differently.”
Map of the Floating City playlist –
Finally, we finish with Dolby performing his signature song “She Blinded Me With Science!” at Moogfest in 2012, with some commentary about Magnus Pyke and the San Francisco Giants –
I first heard of Dead Or Alive around 1984, when the video for “I’d Do Anything” was in brief rotation on MTV. I had become somewhat accustomed to New Wave and other alternative music thanks to MTV, and even the radio was playing some oddball stuff here and there. But it was still a bit different and catchy in its own way., and never really caught fire.
The singer, whose name I didn’t know then, seemed to be really good, but he struck me as pretty damned weird.
Around spring or summer of 1985, the song “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) hit the airwaves and just exploded. It was in constant rotation on radio and MTV for a good while.
It kind of dropped off after a few months, but was usually featured in any kind of 80s-themed event. Eventually it started getting airplay again, and I still sometimes hear it on the radio even now.