Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Thirteen 66: TV Guide Covers Feat. Recording Artists

After some time away from Thursday Thirteen, I'm rejoining the fold. For my return, I thought I would do a sequel to the one on TV Guide Covers that I did last year. Below in chronological order are 13 TV Guide covers featuring popular recording artists throughout the years.

1. Elvis Presley- Sept 8, 1956

2. Ricky Nelson- Dec 28, 1957

3. The Monkees- Jan 28, 1967

4. Johnny Cash- Aug 30, 1969

5. David Cassidy- July 15, 1972

6. Sonny & Cher- July 14, 1973

7. Bob Dylan- Sept 11, 1976

8. Madonna- Aug 10, 1985

9. Whitney Houston- Feb 26, 1994

10. The Beatles- Nov 18, 1995

11. Brandy- July 18, 1998

12. Michael Jackson- Nov 10, 2001

13. Reba McEntire (as Lucy Ricardo)- Oct 9, 2005

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Academy Awards Highlights

The 2009 Academy Awards telecast was one of the best in years. After last year's show (the lowest rated ever), the Academy announced that they would keep the names of the presenters secret in order to boost interest. I was skeptical about this change, but it worked surprisingly well. I especially liked how they had 5 previous winners each in the 4 acting categories serve as presenters for the respective category in which they had won. I hope that they continue this practice for future Academy Awards telecasts.

Even though there was little suspense regarding who would win the various awards (it was basically a Slumdog sweep), the ceremony was still entertaining. Here are some of my favorite moments:

*Host Hugh Jackman's opening number. Although I knew the dude was talented (I caught a performance of his on the Tony Awards a few years ago), I never really gave him much thought. Props to him and to Anne Hathaway (who knew she could sing?)

*Dustin Lance Black's heartfelt acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay for the film Milk.

* Presenter Ben Stiller's parody of Joaquin Phoenix' recent interview with David Letterman. Co-presenter Natalie Portman held her own with Stiller comedically, saying that he looked like he worked at a Hasidic meth lab.

*The speeches of Heath Ledger's family (his parents and sister) as they accepted his Best Supporting Actor statuette on his behalf. Doing what they did couldn't have been easy.

*Danny Boyle's "Tigger" impersonation as he accepted his Best Director Oscar.

*Jerry Lewis humble acceptance of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award

* Sean Penn's acceptance speech for Best Actor. He was surprisingly humorous as he thanked the members of the Academy (aka the commie, homo-loving sons of guns) who voted for him. Sean also took the moment to get political in his references to President Barack Obama and the passing of Proposition 8.

What were some of your favorite or least favorite moments of the Oscar telecast?

Below is the opening number from the telecast featuring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway:

Final Results of the Recent Oscar Poll

Coming as no surprise, Slumdog Millionaire easily received the most votes in the recent poll asking you which Best Picture Academy Award nominee you thought would win. The poll results reflected the actual awards as Slumdog walked away with the top prize (not to mention several others).

Here are the final results:

Slumdog Millionaire- 67%
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button- 16%
Frost/Nixon- 7%
Milk- 5%
The Reader- 1%

Below is the trailer to Slumdog Millionaire:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Retro Mix Playlist For 2/20/09

7 pm hour

Hey Nineteen- Steely Dan
Tramp- Salt & Pepa
Hip Hop Hooray- Naughy By Nature
I Don't Love You Anymore- Teddy Pendergrass
American Girl- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Hold It Now, Hit It- The Beastie Boys
Kiss the Rain- Billie Myers

Now & Then segment's feat. artist: Tom Jones
I'm Alive (from his 2008 CD 24 Hours)
She's A Lady (1971)

Golden Years- David Bowie
Heartache All Over the World- Elton John
Virtual Insanity- Jamiroquai
Stir It Up- Patti Labelle
You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)- Sylvester

8 pm hour

My Sharona- The Knack
Walking Down Your Street- The Bangles
Knockin' Boots- Candyman
Happy- Brick
I Don't Like Mondays- The Boomtown Rats
Rain King- Counting Crows
Toy Soldiers- Martika

On the Flip Side segment:
Kid Dynamo- The Buggles (flip side to Video Killed the Radio Star)

White Wedding- Billy Idol
I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)- Gary Glitter
Funkdafied- Da Brat
Alligator Woman- Cameo
Christine Sixteen- Kiss
Come On Eileen- Dexy's Midnight Runners
Yankee Rose- David Lee Roth

One of the challenges about doing radio is dealing with unexpected curves that are thrown at you. Minutes before going on the air last Friday, the host of the show that precedes mine informed me that the computer wasn't working. Because I play a wide variety of music from the 70s, 80s and 90s, I rely heavily on the use of sweepers (pre-recorded station IDs on the computer) to bridge the gap between songs that wouldn't mesh because their styles are so different. Instead of doing what I might have done in the past (letting a situation that was out of my control get the best of me), I decided to have some fun and use this as an opportunity to go "on the fly". Since I didn't have the sweepers at my disposal, I had to do shorter sets and talk more than normal.

Not having a computer also meant that I had no idea what the temperature was at any given moment. When I read the weather forecast, instead of closing it by giving the current temp, I went into George Carlin mode and said that it's dark right now. I got a laugh out of it and I hope the listeners did too.

Despite the computer snafu, the show turned out fairly well. Thanks also to some loyal listeners who called in with requests that helped me fill in some holes (because I wasn't particularly motivated a couple of hours before going on the air, I only prepped about 3/4 of my show's playlist).

The Retro Mix Video of the Week: Heartache All Over the World by Elton John

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mount Rushmore: Stand Up Comics

ESPN is currently running a feature that allows fans to pick the Mount Rushmore of sports figures for their respective states. Knowing a good idea when I see it, I figured I'd steal adapt this and put a pop culture spin on it for a series of posts.

For the kick-off post of this series, I'm selecting the Mount Rushmore of stand-up comedy. IMO, this funny foursome was/is the best at taking the stage with the purpose of making us laugh.

Richard Pryor- When it comes to turning personal pain (heart attacks, drug abuse, battles with his father, etc.) into humor, no one can touch Pryor.

George Carlin- Whether he was ranting about government waste, the hypocrisy of religion or the decline of common sense among the human race, George had the ability to not only make you laugh, but think as well.

Lenny Bruce- With the skill of a jazz musician, Lenny riffed on taboo topics at a time when mother-in-law jokes were the norm for most stand-up comics.

Chris Rock- The best social commentator working in stand-up today, what makes Rock's takes on topics such as interracial relationships and sports so funny is that what he says is true.

Who would make your "Mount Rushmore of stand-up comedy"? Feel free to not only list your four picks, but the reasons why you chose them.

Old School Friday: The Jackson Family

Just like the New Edition one from the OSF two weeks ago, this week's Jackson family theme has a bunch of possibilities.

For clip #1, I selected a "should have been a bigger hit" by The Jacksons, 1981's Can You Feel It. If you want to skip past the conceptual B.S. of the video and get to the song, start the clip at the 50 second mark.

The 2nd performance is by brother Jermaine, getting some help from a couple of members of Devo on Let Me Tickle Your Fancy. Although I thought Devo singing backup on this hit was an odd combination when it came out in 1982, it works!

The final clip features sister Janet showing off her hard rock side on her 1990 single Black Cat.

You can watch all three performances in the You Tube player below:

This meme was developed by Marvalus View and Ms. Grapevine. The rules are simple:

1. Anyone can participate; any music genre
2. Old School is defined as music created before 1999
3. No offensive words allowed, please use edited radio version
4. Post a video of your favorite Old School song to take us back down memory lane
5. Add your name to the meme list so that others can check you out
6. Have fun & don't forget to leave comments for other participants

If you want to join in on the fun, click here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday Tunes: Week 69

Tuesday Tunes: Week 69
One question this week:

Tell us your biggest musical regret.

I regret that I didn't take the opportunity to meet Motown star Martha Reeves a few years ago. She came to do an on-air interview at the AM station where I worked. I knew about the Sunday afternoon interview a day in advance and considered going. However, once Sunday came around, the 40 minute drive to the station wasn't all that appealing. Plus, a less than flattering anecdote that I read about Ms. Reeves in a Motown-related book made me reluctant as well. Suffice it to say, my co-worker informed me later that Ms. Reeves displayed no diva-like behavior when she came to the station.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Retro Mix Playlist For 2/13/09

7 pm hour

Peace of Mind- Boston
The Gigolo- O'Bryan
Situation- Yaz
Twisted- Keith Sweat
Night Fever- The Bee Gees
And Love Goes On- Earth, Wind and Fire
The Happiest Days of Our Lives/Another Brick In the Wall, Part II- Pink Floyd

The Guilty Pleasure of the Week:
Mandy- Barry Manilow

Take It On the Run- REO Speedwagon
Stranded- Heart
Regulate- Warren G & Nate Dogg
Gangsters of the Groove- Heatwave
Europa and the Pirate Twins- Thomas Dolby

8 pm hour

Emotions- Mariah Carey
Romancing the Stone- Eddy Grant
Time (Clock of the Heart)- Culture Club
Mighty Love- The Spinners
All Star- Smash Mouth
Head Over Heels- The Go-Gos
Whirly Girl- Oxo
Kung Fu Fighting- Carl Douglas

Double Retro segment's feat. artist: Linda Ronstadt
Diffrent Drum- The Stone Poneys feat. Linda Ronstadt (1967)
Tumbling Dice (1977)

Battleship Chains- The Georgia Satellites
Jealous Again- The Black Crowes
Bust A Move- Young M.C.
Hat 2 Da Back- TLC
Breaking the Law- Judas Priest

If you have any memories about songs on this week's playlist, feel free to share them in the comments section.

The Retro Mix Video of the Week: Romancing the Stone by Eddy Grant

Friday, February 13, 2009

Top 5 On Friday: Week 210

Top 5 songs that horrify you! (And tell us why)
Interpret as you see fit

1. They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa! by Napoleon XIV- I still get freaked out by the sparse instrumentation and increasingly manic vocals on this 1966 hit (yes, it peaked at # 3 nationally). Thankfully, someone posted this song on You Tube so that those unfamiliar can listen below.

2. Revolution No. 9 by The Beatles- In my opinion, the worst track to ever appear on a Beatles album.

3. Tutti Frutti by Pat Boone- If you want to hear a ballad in the vein of Love Letters In the Sand or April Love, Pat's your man. However, he has no business going anywhere near a rock and roll classic such as this. What makes the crime even more heinous is that Pat's version (#12) bested Little Richard's original (#17) on the Billboard charts.

4. The discofied version of There's No Business Like Show Business by Ethel Merman (or practically any track off of Merman's 1979 disco album)- R&B and rock stars jumping on the bandwagon was one thing, but when Broadway met Studio 54 you knew the disco train had completely gone off the tracks. Even as a kid when I saw Ethel perform on Dance Fever, I knew something was wrong about the whole thing. Still, The Ethel Merman Disco Album is the audio equivalent of a bad car accident. No matter how horrible it is, it's next to impossible not to listen for a bit.

5. The Loco-Motion by Grand Funk- After hearing this travesty, one can imagine songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King yelling "Look what those sons of bitches did to our song ma!"

If you'd like to take part by posting your Top 5 "You" songs on your blog, visit Music Memoirs and leave your link in the comments sections so that others can visit you. If you aren't a blogger but would still like to participate, feel free to leave your top 5 in the comments section of this post.

They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa! by Napoleon XIV:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Farewell To A Couple of One Life To Live Stars

Clint Ritchie

Phil Carey

When checking my site stats late last night, I found an abnormal amount of hits were related to OLTL character Asa Buchanan. After doing a Google search, what I was afraid of turned out to be true: Phil Carey (the actor who played Asa from 1979-2007) had died on February 6th at the age of 83 after a bout with lung cancer. Although Carey had a long and successful acting career dating back to the early 50s, it is the role of the much married patriarch of the Buchanan family for which he is perhaps best known. A bigger than life cowboy millionaire who never saw a bush that was worth beating around... Asa spoke his mind no matter what, providing some of OLTL's funniest and most memorable moments. Although he could be an ornery S.O.B., you always knew that Asa loved his family. If you were fool enough to mess with a Buchanan, Asa would make you sorrier than Brenda Lee! Along with loving his family, he also loved the ladies... walking down the aisle 14 times with 10 different women (don't ask)!

While reading one of the stories on Carey, I learned that Clint Ritchie (who played Asa's oldest son Clint Buchanan for over 20 years starting in 1979) died at the age of 70 on January 31st from complications following surgery to implant a pacemaker. As another of my favorite characters on OLTL, Clint could be the tough Texan as well as the tenderhearted husband and father. One of Clint's best scenes was in the 1980s when he broke down in tears because he felt he had lost his wife Viki for good (as a victim of multiple personalities, one of her alters "Niki Smith" had taken over with no sign of letting Viki reemerge). I was one of the many fans who was upset when they broke up longtime couple Clint and Viki and paired her up with Sloan Carpenter in the early 90s. Ritchie left the OLTL on a regular basis in late 1998, but did return periodically in 1999, 2003, and 2004.

Below are a couple of montage tributes to both Phil Carey and Clint Ritchie.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Music Memoirs: Disney Music

Tuesday Tunes: Week 68

What is your favorite song from a Disney Movie?
When You Wish Upon A Star from Pinocchio

Do you like any of the current crop of Disney pop stars?
Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers. I also like Alyson Stoner's version of King Harvest's hit Dancing In the Moonlight.

Old school Disney music or new and why? New because I've always been a fan of catchy, danceable pop tunes.

Here is Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Cliff Edwards) singing "When You Wish Upon A Star" from Pinocchio

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Retro Mix Playlist For 2/6/09

7 pm hour

Semi-Charmed Life- Third Eye Blind
Everybody Dance- Chic
Rock With You- Michael Jackson
Domino Dancing- Pet Shop Boys
Come On Eileen- Save Ferris
Rag Doll- Aerosmith
Fox On the Run- Sweet

Common Thread segment: Bob Marley's 64th birthday anniversary
One Love/People Get Ready
Three Little Birds
Could You Be Loved

99 Red Balloons- Nena
Two Princes- Spin Doctors
They Want Money- Kool Moe Dee

8 pm hour

Cold As Ice- Foreigner
Too Hot To Trot- The Commodores
Push It- Salt and Pepa
Star- Erasure
Under the Bridge- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Outstanding- The Gap Band
Dancing Queen- ABBA
Vienna Calling- Falco

Now & Then segment's feat. artist: Scott Weiland
Blind Confusion (from his 2008 solo CD Happy In Galoshes)
Interstate Love Song- Stone Temple Pilots (1994)

Glamour Boys- Living Colour
Hot Stuff- Donna Summer
Strip- Adam Ant
Even Flow- Pearl Jam

The Retro Mix Video of the Week: Come On Eileen by Save Ferris

Multi-Platinum Teen Pop Star Did What?!

The photo above of teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus (3rd from left) recently emerged showing her and some of her pals posing with an Asian friend and pulling their eyes sideways. In response to the photo, the OCA (Organization of Chinese Americans) issued the following statement on February 2nd:

The photograph of Miley Cyrus and other individuals slanting their eyes currently circulating the Internet is offensive to the Asian Pacific American community and sets a terrible example for her many young fans. This image falls within a long and unfortunate history of people mocking and denigrating individuals of Asian descent.

"Not only has Miley Cyrus and the other individuals in the photograph encouraged and legitimized the taunting and mocking of people of Asian descent, she has also insulted her many Asian Pacific American fans," said George Wu, executive director of OCA. "The inclusion of an Asian Pacific American individual in the photo does not make it acceptable."

"OCA hopes that Miley Cyrus will apologize to her fans and the APA community for this lapse in judgment and takes the opportunity to better understand why the gesture is offensive."

OCA is a national organization dedicated to advancing the social, political and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States.

Miley responded with the following on her official fansite:

"Ive also been told there are some people upset about some pictures taken of me with friends making goofy faces! Well, Im sorry if those people looked at those pics and took them wrong and out of context!

In NO way was I making fun of any ethnicity! I was simply making a goofy face. When did that become newsworthy? It seems someone is trying to make something out of nothing to me. If that would of been anyone else, it would of been overlooked! I definitely feel like the press is trying to make me out as the new 'BAD GIRL'!"

I feel like now that Britney is back on top of her game again, they need someone to pick on! Lucky me! haha Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know what is on my heart. You guys know me and have been by my side every step of the way!

You guys know my heart and know the most important things to me are my friends, family, fans, and GOD! In NO WAY do I want to disappoint any of you! But, when I have made mistakes in the past, I feel like Ive owned up to them and apologized.

Anyway, I really wish everyone would stop focusing on my personal life and get back to focusing on what I love! Music and Acting! Hopefully, I will be touring again this fall! Yayy! =] It will be a nice change to be back out on the road again!

xoxo Blessings.. Miley =)"

The intentions of Miley and her friends may not have been racist, but I can understand why some would be offended by the photo. Although it's not as bad as Mickey Rooney's stereotyped portrayal of "Mr. Yunioshi" in the 1961 film Breakfast At Tiffany's, I think that Miley and her friends made a bad move by posing that way in the photo.

Miley didn't really help her case with the above "apology". She basically tried to blame the media for covering this story. I don't feel that members of the media should go digging through a celeb's trash or follow their every move, but being famous does mean that your missteps will be publicized for all the world to see.

Miley's slant eyed pose wasn't the worst thing she could have done so I'm not calling for The Disney Channel to yank Hannah Montana off the air or that the public boycotts her CDs. As those who read this blog know, I watch Hannah Montana on a regular basis and will continue to do so. Miley's slant eyed pose may have been nothing more than a 16 yr old kid making a "goofy face". However, if Miley and her other friends who pulled their eyes sideways don't feel they did anything wrong, they should at least acknowledge that their actions could be deemed offensive.

Old School Fridays: Songs By New Edition or New Edition Members

For this week's selections, I decided to go with two songs that sometimes get forgotten when it comes to tunes by New Edition as a group or as solo acts. The first is 1985's My Secret (Didja Gitit Yet?). I can't remember if I caught this song first from seeing the video on BET or if it was from the local R&B station in Flint. Anyway, it's perhaps my favorite NE tune. Along with Magic Johnson, Pat Riley, and other members of the Lakers and the Portland Trailbazers, the video to My Secret (Didja Gitit Yet?) features actress Tyra Ferrell (she's the lady in the orange sweater dancing with others from the neighborhood). You may remember her from her roles in Boyz In the Hood (the mother of Doughboy and Ricky) and White Men Can't Jump (she played the wife of Wesley Snipes).

Selection #2 is the 2nd single (Stone Cold Gentleman) from Ralph Tresvant's 1990 self-title debut album. Playing a private detective in the video, Ralph gets some help from his NE brother Bobby Brown (who co-stars as his partner in the detective biz).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Music Died 50 Years Ago Today

Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of rock and roll's earliest tragedies. On February 3rd 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson (a.k.a. "The Big Bopper") all perished when their chartered plane crashed in a cornfield just outside Clear Lake, IA. It's only natural to ask "what might have been?" had the plane crash never occurred. This is esp. true of Holly, who was on his way to becoming a studio whiz at the time of his death.

One thing is certain... the deaths of Holly, Valens, and Richardson led to the creation of one of pop music's most enduring singles, American Pie by Don McLean. In the past, I have been quite vocal in my distaste for this song. However, I am getting to the point where I can tolerate at least some of it (sorry, but I don't ever see myself listening willingly to all 8 minutes and 33 seconds of it).

Although none of them made it to the age of 30, the music of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper will live on forever.

The player below includes a clip each of Buddy, Ritchie and The Big Bopper (performing Peggy Sue, Ooh My Head, and Chantilly Lace, respectively).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Sunday Summary

Although it seemed to me that there was less buzz than normal leading up to the big game, Super Bowl XLIII turned out to be one of the best in the championship game's history. The team I was pulling for took home the Lombardi Trophy, so it's all good. Since you don't come here to get in-depth sports analysis, I will leave it to ESPN and their ilk to break the game down.

Luckily the game itself was a winner because most of the commercials weren't worthy of airing during the single biggest event in American sports. Here are some of the ones that stood out, for better or worse:

* I thought the Audi spot featuring action film star Jason Statham traveling through the decades was pretty cool.

* I got a laugh from the Bud Light commercial where the employee gets thrown out of a window for jokingly suggesting that they cut costs by not ordering the potent potable for every meeting.

* e Trade- I was immediately turned off during last year's Super Bowl as soon as the talking baby spit up food at the end of the spot. It's pretty much been all downhill since then. Whenever those commercials come on, I can't get to the remote fast enough. That rugrat needs to go away... NOW!!

* Maybe it's because I'm a fan of Hulu and Alec Baldwin, but I really enjoyed the commercial he did for the web streaming service.

As for the halftime show starring Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, it ranks right up there with Prince's performance from 2007. If people say that the Boss and his gang surpassed His Royal Badness, they won't get an argument from me. Even though I have never seen a Springsteen concert in person, I've seen enough footage to know that he's a master at putting on a live show. I loved the way he talked to the millions of viewers telling us to step away from the guacamole dip and to put down the chicken fingers down for the next 12 minutes. Those who listened to him were smart because Bruce and company were solid throughout. Some might say that the "referee" coming onstage to throw a flag near the end of the performance was corny theatrics, but I thought it was good old fashioned show biz.

What are your thoughts on the Super Bowl commercials and Bruce's halftime performance?

Final Results of the Super Bowl Halftime Show Poll

Chalking up exactly half of the votes, Prince was chosen as the artist who gave the best halftime performance during The Super Bowl. Given that many of our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, the fact that we still talk about Prince's 2007 halftime performance is saying a lot.

On the opposite end, MJ didn't receive a single vote. Maybe because it was awhile ago (1993) people didn't remember it much.

Here are the final results:

Prince- 50%
Janet Jackson & Justin Timberlake- 16%
Paul McCartney- 13%
The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and U2- 10%
Michael Jackson- 0%

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any suitable footage of Prince's performance.
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