A Halloween thrill costumed in a different genre… but first, a word from our sponsors about all your favorite Halloween songs by tonight’s featured artist –
“Thriller” 1930s jazz style –
It’s well into the month and I haven’t Rocktobered once. Things have been hectic here at the station…. nothing really wrong, just very busy. However, in the spirit of lateness, here is some late night music –
And now a word from our sponsors and totally random celebrities, including two notorious for keeping late nights –
And now an obscure import to comply with the 4 A.M. public affairs broadcasting regulations –
This concludes tonight’s Rocktobering. Late Night Sky Radio, signing off –
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.
Back around 1984, I used to watch a lot of MTV (which likely explains a lot about me). I also watched other music programs like Night Tracks, Friday Night Videos, and Night Flight. So I was often viewing strange music videos at 2 in the morning or later (Night Flight was especially damaging… they would show experimental movie shorts and bizarre comedy skits and who knows what other surreal stuff. It’s also where I first saw “Bambi vs. Godzilla.” I loved Night Flight!).
One such bizarreness was Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit!” –
Imagine being 14 years old in the 80s, when MTV and all this stuff was still kind of new, and seeing that at 4 in the morning.
The song was awesome, though – Herbie totally nailed the vibe of the time with the record scratching and synth sound. So awesome that he was nominated for a Grammy award, where he performed “Rockit!” live. I believe I saw it when it originally aired. Pay attention to this one –
Didn’t see that coming.
Also, watch after the song to see Michael McDonald announce the nominations for Best R&B Performance and see who Herbie was up against. Nice remix of the winning song (Spoiler: it wasn’t Michael Jackson) at the end.
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.
Time to put the needle on the record. No sucker Djs, just two turntables and a microphone on the avenue by Radio City with a transistor.
Wdydfae commented on the last post about his memories of radio –
My inchoate fragments of radio memories don’t coalesce into a particular story. Radio wasn’t a big part of my childhood, as far as I can remember, unless I was riding in someone’s car and it happened to be playing.
…Then it moves into adulthood, and radio was in another country and language. Basically, lousy radio selection–just not a radio culture. Then I realized the radio riches I had left behind, with at least a channel for just about any genre you could want. So, belatedly I appreciated that the radio world of the States is vibrant–lot of stuff out there, and a whole way of talking, presenting yourself, presenting sound, pacing things.
Read the full comment here.
Kicking off with Steely Dan’s classic”FM” in spectacular style…. From the YouTube channel of the Empire State Building, followed by a big block of tunes to crank up to 11 –
“On October 29, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the installation of a Master FM Antenna on the top of the Empire State Building, the global landmark synchronized its world-famous tower lights to Steely Dan’s 1978 smash ‘FM (No Static At All).'”
Bonus points if you saw a young Geordi La Forge or maybe Tom & Jerry in there.
Hope you enjoyed the music.
An independent station,
With jazz and conversation…
– Donald Fagen, The Nightfly
Music for your late night from the radio booth.
“The Nightfly” by Donald Fagen was far from the first (or the last) song about radio and disc jockeys, but more than any other song it captured the feel of being a late night DJ spinning jazzy tunes while waiting for callers to ring in with political commentary and crackpot theories, right down to the coffee-and-cigarette fueled solitude and even the advertising jingles.
But as noted above, Fagen was far from the only one to reminisce nostalgic (or not to nostalgic) about such things….
What do you remember about radio when growing up? Discovering new bands and taping favorites with a cheap Maxell or TDK tape? Hearing talk radio and all the politics conspiracy theories? Just listening to a baseball game while grilling out? Leave a comment and tell your story.
Extra sugar, extra salt, extra oil and MSG with a few bad words if you’re delicate like that.
Shut up and eat!
Sixteen years ago, one day*
I was walking down the street
I was looking for music
You know what I mean?
And I picked up this CD
I kinda want to know her more
Are you made or broken by the birthday cake?
2 for 1, but 3 For 2!
She talks like American, she walks like Egyptian
*Ok, it might have been 15 years ago. Somewhere around there I picked up Viva! La Woman at a used CD place.
By request, here’s some Liphlich for Wdydfae, whose site you really should check out. I have no idea what the hell the deal is with this band, they’re almost like a collision of Glam Rock and Lounge Style with some Scandinavian metal thrown in over a disco beat. Or something.
Skam Life –
Move every Zig for Great Nonsense –
Whatever happened to that Manic Pixie that you used to know?
Some live Liphlich, not the greatest video quality but good enough –
Thanks to Wdydfae for making this an easy one.