Tag Archives: Kenny Rogers

Dates and Jams

3 Sep

My friend over at Serendipity created a great post, and I, like any good blogger, am going to copy it. She found a site called Birthday Jams that will tell you what was at the top of the charts on the day that you were born.

On my day of birth, The Supremes had “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” hanging out in the Number One spot. However, it gets better. In the United Kingdom, Hugo Montenegro and His Orchestra hit big with the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I knew I liked that movie for some reason.

As I fiddled with the site, I started to wonder about what people were jamming to when big events happened. For example, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon on July 20, 1969. Do you know what song was tops in the land on that day? “In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans

On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon became the first president to resign from office. As he flew off in his helicopter, somebody was listening to “Feel Like Makin’ Love” by Roberta Flack. Nixon also posed in one of the greatest photographs of all time with Elvis Presley.Elvis Nixon

A few years later, the nation was saddened by the death of Elvis, who had a ton of Number One hits. On August 16, 1977, the day he passed away, “Best of My Love” by The Emotions was playing on radios everywhere.

Elvis’ career began when he walked into Sun Studios. He struggled for a while but finally got into a groove on July 5, 1954 when he recorded “That’s All Right.” The nation did not know what was about to hit them. All they knew was that Kitty Kallen had a huge hit with “Little Things Mean a Lot.”

Obviously, December 7, 1941 is a huge date in American history. The Japanese attacked the island of Oahu and our base at Pearl Harbor. The nation was about to enter a war that had been raging for a couple of years. It was also the day that people were listening to “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller.

On December 15, 1944, Miller’s plane disappeared somewhere over the English Channel. On that day, Ella Fitzgerald and the Ink Spots hit with “I’m Making Believe.”

On September 10 1993, a television show debuted that asked us to believe. As The X-Files started its rise to popularity, “Dreamlover” by Mariah Carey hit the peak of the charts.

Of course, that was a few years after Larry Hagman first dreamed of Jeannie. That show went on the air on September 18, 1965, which was the same time that The Beatles did not need any “Help!”

Of course, The Beatles would break up and go on to solo careers. Tragically, John Lennon’s life was cut short on December 8, 1980. On that day, “Lady” by Kenny Rogers was sitting at Number One.

Rogers used his popularity to transition into movies. None of them were very good, but Six Pack was one of the worst. It hit the screens on July 16, 1982. Listening to “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League had to be better than watching that film.

I reckon this exercise needs to eventually come to an end, and that will happen with one more date.

I am not going to release the date of my wife’s birth, but that event turned out to be important in my life. In other words, it needs to be recognized. One way to do that is to tell you that Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie” was the big hit of the day. By the way, her name is not Rosie.

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My iPod Has Issues – Western Writer’s Block

9 Jul

There is a post that needs to be written, but I cannot wrap my mind around the thing. It is on an interesting topic that is right in my wheelhouse. Except, I cannot get it started. The right words will not come to me.

Anyway, I have promised myself that I will not write a post of substance until this one is done. That is why I am writing a post of no substance. Hopefully, putting words on the screen will unblock my mind and get this thing rolling.

Cranking up the iPod might help. This list has a theme that is close to the topic in my mind. You never know. The music might jar something loose.Gunsmoke

“My Rifle, My Pony and Me” by Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson

“El Paso” by Marty Robbins

“Jesse James” by Jim Greer and the Mac-O-Chee Valley Singers

“The Way That You Wander” by John Rubenstein and Tim McIntire

“Slow Movin’ Outlaws” by Waylon Jennings

“Ballad Of Davy Crockett” by Fess Parker

“Arriving In Deadwood” by Michael Brook

“Song Of The Wagonmaster” by Sons of the Pioneers

“El Dorado” by George Alexander and the Mellomen

“Silverado” by The Marshall Tucker Band

“Great White Buffalo” by Ted Nugent

“Kaw-Liga” by Hank Williams

“Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor

“Desperado” by The Eagles

“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

“Don’t Take Your Guns To Town” by Johnny Cash

“A Man With True Grit” by Glen Campbell

“Old Turkey Buzzard” by Jose Feliciano

“The Legend Of Judge Roy Bean” by Nevada Slim

“Amarillo By Morning” by George Strait

The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1985

7 Apr

Wow, I cannot believe that 1985 was thirty years ago. I started the year as a sophomore and ended the year as an upperclassman. For a high school kid, that makes all the difference in the world. I could not play an instrument, but I could play the radio.1985

The year began with Madonna continuing her “Like a Virgin” dominance of the charts. In fact, the entire month of January belonged to her.

In February, her song was replaced by “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner. It was one of my favorites and was a big deal for a kid who really wondered what love was all about.

It was soon replaced with “Careless Whisper” by Wham! featuring George Michael. This should have been a clear signal to the other guy. George was about to be the star of the duo. I guess that is why I call him the other guy.

REO Speedwagon was up next with “Can’t Fight This Feeling”. Honestly, I never understood the fascination with this band or this song.

“One More Night” started a big year for Phil Collins. This would be the first of three Number One songs for the singer/drummer. Or, is it drummer/singer?

Phil Collins was good, but he could not hold off a bunch of stars raising money for Africa. “We Are the World” was a song, an event and a pretty good video. It was performed by USA for Africa, a group of singers who were not all from the USA. Ever wonder who took part in this project? Wonder no more. The group was made up of (in alphabetical order):

Dan Aykroyd, Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, Kim Carnes, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Sheila E., Bob Geldof, Hall and Oates, James Ingram, Jackie Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson, Al Jarreau, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis and the News, Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, Jeffrey Osborne, Steve Perry, The Pointer Sisters, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder

It stayed on top for four weeks before Madonna struck back with “Crazy for You”.

She stayed in that spot for a week and was knocked out by a song that played over the end credits of a movie. The Breakfast Club struck a chord with high school kids, and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds was the song that made this chord stick.

Wham! returned with “Everything She Wants” and made sure “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” would have to be remembered because, after one week, it was a thing of the past.

Then, one of my favorite 1980s groups hit the Number One spot. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears was, in my opinion, the best song of the year.

Unfortunately, it was soon replaced by the overrated Bryan Adams with “Heaven”.

“Sussudio” by Phil Collins made sure that Bryan Adams went away. Although, I still have not figured out who or what Sussudio is supposed to be.

James Bond could save the world, but he could also put a theme song at the top of the carts. “A View to a Kill” by Duran Duran held the Number One spot for two weeks. They did it despite being connected to Roger Moore, one of my least favorite 007s.

Paul Young and “Everytime You Go Away” accomplished what no villain could. He defeated James Bond. However, he did not hold on for long.

Tears for Fears returned with “Shout”, which was not as good as their previous hit. I have no idea how it stayed at the top longer than the other one.

I admit that the 1980s were cheesy. That cheesiness was defined by Huey Lewis and the News, a group that hit Number One with “The Power of Love”.

Unfortunately for Huey, the Brat Pack would not be denied. They drove Simple Minds to the top. Now, they did the same thing for John Parr. “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” was the theme song for the movie with the same name.

The fire was doused by one of the greatest videos of the 1980s. “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits provided a regular person’s view of music superstardom. The video was early computerization at its best. The song was Number One for three weeks and was followed by a string of one-week wonders.

“Oh Sheila” by Ready for the World started the trend. That was followed by “Take On Me” by a-ha, a song that was driven by its awesome video.

Whitney Houston had a Number One song with “Saving All My Love for You” and was followed by Stevie Wonder with “Part-Time Lover”. It looks as if those songs have two different philosophies.

Another theme song reached the peak of the charts. “Miami Vice Theme” by Jan Hammer was an instrumental that took the country by storm. Of course, Miami Vice also took the country by storm and influenced 1980s lifestyle and fashion. This is where I should admit that I have never seen an episode of Miami Vice. I may be a product of the 1980s, but I still have television taste. Give me The Equalizer and The A-Team anytime.

Jefferson Airplane? Jefferson Starship? Starship? They need to make up their minds. Anyway, Starship had a hit called “We Built This City”.

The year could not end without another Phil Collins hit. However, “Separate Lives” was a duet with Marilyn Martin.

Another typical 1980s group replaced the work of Phil and Marilyn. “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister held the top position for two weeks. However, the year ended with the return of Lionel Richie and “Say You, Say Me”.

Did you have any favorites that did not reach Number One? Let me know.

 

 

 

 

The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1983

5 Apr

When we get into the car, my stepdaughter hooks her iPod up to the system, and the sounds of the 2010s come blasting through the speakers. She sings and can tell us anything we want to know about the people who are singing. Without her, my pop culture knowledge would be zero.

Some of the music is good, and some of it is less desirable. However, it is always fun to see how much enjoyment she gets out of it.

The other day, we were riding and jamming when I started thinking about the effect of music on our formative years. These are the songs we grow up with, and they stick with us throughout our lives. I came to age in the 1980s and, like others my age, feel a connection to the music of that time. I am not saying it was the best of all time, but it belongs to us.

The songs of the 1980s are the soundtrack of our youth just as the songs of the 2010s are the soundtrack of my stepdaughter’s youth. Because of that, each generation holds its music in a little higher esteem than everyone else does.

With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to look back at my high school years and see what was at the top of the charts. I entered high school in 1983, and that will be our starting point. I will also use the Billboard Top 100. Obviously, there are other charts for other genres, but we do not want to go down a rabbit hole and never get out.1983

“Maneater” by Hall and Oates held the spot for the first two weeks of the year. These days, John Oates does a lot of work in Nashville.

The next three weeks were dominated by “Down Under” by Men at Work. This is one of my favorite songs from that year.

For one week, Toto’s “Africa” hit the top spot. It is interesting that two songs about other parts of the world made their way to the top of the American charts. It is also interesting that Men at Work returned to the top place after this one week.

Patti Austin and James Ingram hit it big with “Baby, Come to Me”, but were soon overwhelmed by a 1980s superstar.

In March, “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson became the Number One song and stayed there for seven weeks.

Here is a good trivia question. Who knocked “Billie Jean” out of the top spot? It was Dexys Midnight Runners with “Come On Eileen”. However, their success was short-lived.

After one week, Michael Jackson came back by putting “Beat It” in the top spot. It would stay there for three weeks.

The next week, “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie made its way to Number One, but it did not hold on for long.

Irene Cara’s “Flashdance…What a Feeling” was a hit on the radio and on the big screen. For six weeks, guys listened to this song and pictured a dancer pouring water on herself.

A song about stalking was next on the list. “Every Breath You Take” by The Police is a good song, but it gets weird as you listen closer to the lyrics. Actually, it was the biggest hit of 1983 and stayed Number One for eight weeks.

Eurythmics rode “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” up the charts. In my mind, this is also one of the best songs of the year.

Then, we have “Maniac” by Michael Sembello. This is the second song from the Flashdance soundtrack to make it to the top of the charts.

Billy Joel was on top with “Tell Her About It” for one week and was overtaken by “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. This is also one of my favorites and held its position for four weeks.

The country went the Pop Country route with “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. They are both in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

They were at the top for two weeks before Lionel Richie came through with “All Night Long (All Night)” in November. He stayed there for four weeks.

The year ended with a four-week stay at the top by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. “Say Say Say” was a duet that proves McCartney is not new to collaboration. His recent work with Kanye West and Rihanna is just the most recent example.

That is it for 1983. In the next post, we will look at 1984 and find out which of these performers kept their momentum into the next year.

Obviously, these are not the only songs of the year. What were some of your favorites?

 

 

 

My iPod Has Issues – But It Does Not Have Writer’s Block

22 Nov

This writer’s block cloud is still hanging around. There are some ideas floating around my mind, but I cannot get them organized to the point of putting them on the screen. On top of that, I do not have the urge to reach the depths that they require. Hopefully, they will work themselves out in short order.Block

Part of me is concerned that this blogging thing has run its course. It has been going on for several years, and it could be time to put this toy away. Perhaps, I just need a break. I have seen a bunch of bloggers come and go, and I have promised myself that I will not be one of those. I think there are still some stories that need to be told. They just need to make themselves known.

With nothing else ready to write, I am going to an old standard and am going to see what my iPod is doing tonight. Certainly, it is something interesting.

“Long Hard Times to Come” by Gangstagrass

“You’re Losing Me” by Zucchero

“Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead

“Love Serenade, Parts 1 and 2” by Barry White

“Hotel California” by The Eagles

“Never Can Say Goodbye” by Isaac Hayes

“Caroline No” by The Beach Boys

“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

“Chill in the Air” by Amos Lee

“And It Stoned Me” by Van Morrison

“The Last Pale Light in the West” by Ben Nichols

“Ming’s Theme” by Queen

“Clubbed to Death” by Rob Dougan

“Easy” by The Commodores

“I Am…I Said” by Neil Diamond

“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” by Glen Campbell

“Land of Confusion” by Genesis

“Somewhere Down the Crazy River” by Robbie Robertson

“This Train” by Sister Rosetta Tharpe

“Compared to What” by Les McCann and Eddie Harris

May the block be unbroken.

My iPod Has Issues – Or Maybe Not

8 Oct

This History of American Music course that I am teaching has me digging deeper into my iPod than I ever have. I knew there was a bunch of stuff in there. Heck, I downloaded it all. However, I did not realize that depths of its knowledge. When I want to play a sample for the class, I find it on my iPod. It makes me realize that the iPod does not have any issues at all. It is simply steeped in music history.iPod

In honor of this newfound respect for the iPod, I have decided to explore its inner workings and see what is there. Besides, I cannot think of anything else to write about.

“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition

“Night Train” by Alvino Rey

“Wild World” by Cat Stevens

“America” by Neil Diamond

“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

“Luck Be a Lady” by Michael Civisca

“You Really Got Me” by The Kinks

“John Barleycorn” by Traffic

“Changes” by David Bowie

“When I Can Afford to Lose” by Will Hoge

“Save the Last Dance for Me” by The Drifters

“Sweet Tennessee” by Judah and the Lion

“The Road to Hell” by Chris Rea

“High Fever Blues” by Bukka White

“Don’t Cry” by Guns N’ Roses

“My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison

“All the Young Dudes” by Mott the Hoople

“Elevation” by Television

“Still” by The Commodores

“Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp

Yeah, maybe my iPod is not as crazy as everyone thinks.

 

Finding Bobby Doyle

25 Aug

A few years ago, I saw a documentary about Hugh Hefner and was stunned by a man singing the best rendition of “Blowin’ in the Wind” that I have ever heard. Immediately, I went searching for that song to download on my iPod. I could not find the song, but, more strikingly, I could not find anything about the man, Bobby Doyle.

This sent me on an Internet search to find all I could about him. I wrote about it in a post called “Searching for Bobby Doyle” and hoped that some day his music would become available. Apparently, I was not the only one because comments began to appear from people who were also searching for him. They had also seen the documentary and were trying to find out about the man with the haunting voice.

It was good to know that other people were interested in Bobby’s music, but I was stunned when an old friend and band mate of his left a comment. Through emails, he has told me about Bobby and his life singing in the bars of Austin, Texas. He has told me stories about the struggles of being a musician who was good enough to make it big but never got that big chance. Through his emails, I have learned more about Bobby than I could ever imagine. I have learned a lot, but there is one thing that I know for sure. I wish I could have sat in an Austin bar and listened to Bobby perform. If I was lucky, then he would come over after his set and tell stories about his life and times.

Through Bobby’s friend, I found out that a writer was doing a story on Bobby. When the story was published, the writer sent a link to me, and it is exactly what I was looking for from the beginning. It is a great story that chronicles to life of a man who I wish I could have met. I urge you to read it.

Bobby’s friend also told me about something that was happening close to my home. The Country Music Hall of Fame inducted Kenny Rogers in its latest class and planned an exhibit in his honor. I knew from my early research that Kenny Rogers got his start in the Bobby Doyle Three. Apparently, his time with the trio would be part of the exhibit.

This morning, my wife and I had brunch in Nashville and went to the exhibit. As soon as we entered the room, there was a wall dedicated to the Bobby Doyle Three.image

As I read the information and looked at the pictures, a knot formed in my throat. It may sound strange, but I was getting emotional. A man who played in bars throughout Austin and never made it big was being introduced to people at the Country Music Hall of Fame.image-6

As we went through the rest of the exhibit, I kept looking to see if people were reading about Bobby. They were doing more than that. They were checking out his pictures and his album covers.image-4 Hopefully, some of them will walk out and look for his music.

Unfortunately, Bobby’s music remains a rare find. A couple of songs are on iTunes, but most of it cannot be easily found. Today, I am more convinced than ever that his music needs to be out there for people to hear. If nothing else, then his version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” should be available. I promise that it is the best rendition that you will ever hear.

As we walked out of the exhibit, I glanced one more time at Bobby’s wall and thought, “Bobby, you finally made it.” I wish I had known him. I wish that I had heard him live. I wish he was still here to know that people are finding him.