Stevie Wonder is 65

swonderPortraitSince I’ve tried to list my favorite songs by an artist on his/her 70th birthday, and Stevie Wonder’s is five years away, what to do this year?

Fortunately, I found this nifty list of songs written, co-written, by Stevie for other artists. Occasionally (Whitney, Macca, and Jermaine), Stevie also performs. These are listed, more or less up to my favorite Stevie song first recorded by another artist; Stevie did subsequently cover a couple of these. LISTEN TO ALL.

1974 Perfect Angel – Minnie Riperton (S.Wonder) Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 129: I Don’t Like Reggae

dreadlockholidayThis will surely shock some of you, but one day, I was singing a tune while sitting at the computer that just popped into my head. I couldn’t even really remember it, except for a chorus: “I don’t like reggae (oh, no), I love it (ooo yeah.)” Don’t own the recording, couldn’t even remember who performed it, and I may have misremembered the lyrics.

As it turns out, the song was called Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 128: Weird Al

weirdalThe Daughter was introduced to Weird Al Yankovic on the release of his July 2014 album, Mandatory Fun, which opened at #1 on the Billboard charts, the first comedy album since 1963 to top the charts. She went away for about a week to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in mid-August, spending time with her 13 y.o. twin cousins, and she comes home a Weird Al maven.

This is not a bad thing, mind you. I’ve been following the musician’s career for about three and a half decades, back when it was primarily him playing the accordion on songs such as My Bologna (parody of the Knack’s My Sharona) and Another One Rides the Bus (take on Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust) Continue reading

P is for People songs

peopleI had all these posts for Round 15 lined up, either odd words or 70th birthdays, except for a few. After I mucked it over a good while, I said, to no one in particular, “I’ve got nothing, people.” Then suddenly, I did. Songs starting with the word People in the title that I own.

One must start, naturally, with People by Barbra Streisand, her signature song from Funny Girl that went to #5 in 1964 on the US Billboard singles charts. “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world. Is that true? I was rather fond of the cover version by Nat King Cole) that only went to #100 that same year.

A lot of People songs are inspirational. – People Get Ready by The Impressions), featuring Curtis Mayfield, went to #14 in 1965, but was an anthem of the civil rights movement.

People Are Strange by The Doors, #12 in 1967 Continue reading

Songs on my birthday, 2004-2014

Katy Perry, Lady Gaga

Katy Perry, Lady Gaga

My friend Dan Van Riper sent me this list of all the #1 songs since August 4, 1958.

I have links only to the middle tune, the song of my birthday. You can go to the website and hear the other contenders. If I’ve heard it before, I won’t play it again. If I’ve never heard of it, I’ll play it once. But I won’t listen to the adjacent tunes. My goal: am I happy with THAT choice to celebrate my birthday? Or (as will be the case in the latter stages of the game), I have no idea?

2/21/04 Twista feat. Kanye West & Jamie Foxx – Slow Jamz
2/28/04 <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSPhCS-15eE&feature=youtu.be&quot; target=_new.Usher feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris – Yeah!
5/22/04 Usher -Burn

Slow Jamz has lyric content I hate. Didn’t know either Usher song, but wasn’t thrilled with Yeah, so I’ll pick Burn, unheard.

1/1/05 Mario – Let Me Love You
3/5/05 50 Cent feat. Olivia – Candy Shop
5/7/05 Gwen Stefani Hollaback Girl

I like the Mario song, but I really like the Stefani song. The 50 Cent song, which I didn’t know, I pretty much hate.

1/21/06 Nelly feat. Paul Wall, Ali & Gipp – Grillz
2/4/06 Beyonce feat. Slim Thug – Check On It
3/11/06 James Blunt – You’re Beautiful

Don’t know Grillz, though I probably heard it at some point. Didn’t know the Beyonce either, though it should be noted that she mentioned twerking much earlier than the general public was aware of it; it did not do much for me on first listen. Blunt, by default.

2/24/07 Nelly Furtado – Say It Right
3/3/07 Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around…Comes Around
3/10/07 Mims – This Is Why I’m Hot

That I really never heard ANY of these I must attribute to raising a toddler. Rather like the Timberlake song, now that I’ve listened to it. If there are songs you think I REALLY need to hear on this list, please let me know.

11/31/07 Alicia Keys – No One
1/5/08 Flo Rida feat. T-Pain – Low
3/15/08 Usher feat. Young Jeezy – Love In This Club

Another trio of songs I don’t know. I realize that I must be a real prude, because all these songs specifically about sex make me uncomfortable. So I’ll select Alicia Keys, unheard.

2/21/09 Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent – Crack A Bottle
2/28/09 Flo Rida – Right Round
4/11/09 Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Two Flo Rida songs in a row! I like this one a lot more than the other; it sounds familiar after I played it. Still, I’ll pick Gaga.

1/2/10 Ke$ha – TiK ToK
3/6/10 The Black Eyed Peas – Imma Be Rocking That Body
3/20/10 Taio Cruz feat. Ludacris – Break Your Heart

I like the idea of the Peas’ song more than its execution. Don’t know the Cruz song. I vaguely remember the Ke$ha song which has too much Autotune for my taste, but I’ll pick it anyway.

2/19/11 Wiz Khalifa – Black And Yellow
2/26/11 Lady Gaga – Born This Way
4/9/11 Katy Perry feat. Kanye West – E.T.

I’ve been reading this book about the Beatles, and note that they were struggling to figure out their own philosophy/theology. Gaga seems to have known right off; I pick that one. It STILL sounds like a Madonna tune, though. Don’t know the Khalifa song, and only barely remember the Perry song.

2/18/12 Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
3/3/12 Katy Perry – Part Of Me
3/17/12 Fun. feat. Janelle Monae – We Are Young

For the first time in years, I actually had heard all three songs before! I’ve always had affection for Kelly Clarkson from that first season of American Idol. The changing rhythms of the Fun. song intrigue me. I like the empowerment angle in the Perry song, so I’ll keep that.

2/2/13 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz – Thrift Shop
3/2/13 Baauer – Harlem Shake
4/20/13 Bruno Mars – When I Was Your Man

I think Thrift Shop must be a good song, because it conveys the ick factor of used merchandise. I remember when I got the video for Harlem Shuffle before it was popular, and I noted that I didn’t “get” it; it WAS a different video. That leaves the straight-ahead Bruno Mars tune that I’ll choose.

1/18/14 Pitbull feat. Ke$ha – Timber
2/8/14 Katy Perry feat. Juicy J – Dark Horse
3/29/14 Pharrell Williams – Happy

There are parts of Timber I like, mostly the sections without Pitbull. I didn’t know the Perry song, and it didn’t grab me. I read later it’s some sort of “reheated trip hop”; you know you’re getting old when the description of the music is meaningless to you.

So I’ll pick Happy. There was one of those online polls of the worst pop song, the kind of thing I usually pick the Men in My Little Girl’s Life by Mike Douglas (#6 in ’66 – sign of the devil) or We Built This City. Happy showed up several times. I think they are conflating bad songs with songs people get tired of hearing (Freebird, Stairway to Heaven, Yesterday, Piano Man); doesn’t mean the song is bad, but that it’s been heard too often.

The Compact Disc and me

One of my first CDs

While listening to the Coverville podcast about legendary music producer Phil Ramone, who died a while back – I wrote about him, briefly – host Brian Ibbott noted that Ramone produced the first album, Billy Joel’s 52nd Street, “to be commercially released on CD when it went on sale in Japan” in the fall of 1978.

This got me thinking about my love/hate relationship with compact discs. I had 1200 LPs in the early 1980s, and I was quite resistant to this new technology. The music industry was working hard to get consumers to embrace the CD. Continue reading

I am the eggman

Sometimes, librarians get distracted by non-work-related stuff.

One of our librarians wanted to help a colleague who operates a trivia night competition periodically. He was working on a variation on a question he heard in a Trivial Pursuit edition, something along the lines of “Which two 1960s classic songs, released within a year of each other, both use the phrase ‘koo kook a choo'”.

Librarian that he is, he wanted to know how to “spell” the “koo koo”. Continue reading