What’s in a name? Mike Doughty, “27 Jennifers” (2008)

(Above: Map of most popular girls' names by state forty years ago.) I was having some fun on my radio show last week. (I should mention: there is now a weekly radio show.  It's called "Rock School with Len," and it airs Thursdays at 10am Eastern on WCKS Radio, the student station at Grand Valley … Continue reading What’s in a name? Mike Doughty, “27 Jennifers” (2008)

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Pop perfection: The Left Banke, “Walk Away Renee” (1966)

(Above: An Album I have yet to find, but need.) Today I debut a tag for articles that I've been kicking around for a while now - "Pop Perfection." I think of it often when I'm driving, and I hear a song, and I think "Man, that's absolutely perfect, and I don't have to think … Continue reading Pop perfection: The Left Banke, “Walk Away Renee” (1966)

Rest in peace, Don Sandburg: The Banana Splits, “Tra-La-La Song” (1969)

(Above: The original Bozo's Circus cast: Ringmaster Ned Locke, bandleader Bob Trendler, Bozo [Bob Bell], Oliver O. Oliver [Ray Rayner], Sandy [Don Sandburg].) Don Sandburg, the last surviving original cast member of the Chicago edition of Bozo's Circus, passed away over the weekend in Oregon as a result of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was … Continue reading Rest in peace, Don Sandburg: The Banana Splits, “Tra-La-La Song” (1969)

College Radio Day 2018: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “I Hate Myself For Loving You” (1988)

(Above: Joan's 1983 album, called Album, which is fantastic.) Today is the 8th annual College Radio Day. CRD started in 2011 as a way for college radio stations to get together and celebrate what they do: give artists that wouldn't otherwise get a chance some exposure, and give new air talent that wouldn't otherwise get … Continue reading College Radio Day 2018: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “I Hate Myself For Loving You” (1988)

Rest in peace, Geoff Emerick: The Beatles, “A Day In the Life” (1967)

(Above: Geoff Emerick with a well-known collaborator.) Geoff Emerick was a production genius. Anyone who spends any time in radio working as a production director has dreams of spinning the dials on a fantastic production. Emerick, who passed away yesterday at the age of 72, was at the controls for some of the most legendary … Continue reading Rest in peace, Geoff Emerick: The Beatles, “A Day In the Life” (1967)

Rest in peace, Peggy Sue Gerron: Buddy Holly & the Crickets, “Peggy Sue” (1957)

(Above: Jerry and Peggy Sue Allison) Word has come out of Lubbock, Texas by way of TV station KCBD that Peggy Sue Gerron has passed away at the age of 78. You likely don't know her, but you know the song that was written for her. Peggy Sue dated Jerry Allison in high school, and … Continue reading Rest in peace, Peggy Sue Gerron: Buddy Holly & the Crickets, “Peggy Sue” (1957)

Rest in peace, Marty Balin: Jefferson Starship, “Miracles” (1975)

(Above: Balin with the rest of the Airplane on the cover of Surrealistic Pillow.) Marty Balin, one of the founding members of the Jefferson Airplane, passed away yesterday at the age of 76. No cause of death has been given. Balin, along with Paul Kantner, Jack Casady, and - of course - Grace Slick, formed … Continue reading Rest in peace, Marty Balin: Jefferson Starship, “Miracles” (1975)

Greatest misses: Barbara Acklin, “Am I The Same Girl?” (1969)

(Above: Hidden in this album is a great song.) Sometimes, what may be the best version of a song is the one that finishes in third place. 1n 1968 session musicians at Brunswick Records went into the studio and laid down a jam. That track was released by Brunswick and first hit the Billboard Hot … Continue reading Greatest misses: Barbara Acklin, “Am I The Same Girl?” (1969)

Multiple-hit wonders: How a music network got a countdown wrong

(Above: Hits, as in "more than one.") Today is some sort of holiday called National One-Hit Wonder Day. I don't remember celebrating this as a kid, so I suspect that it came out of social media as an opportunity for people to share forgotten songs that are fun to dig out every once in a … Continue reading Multiple-hit wonders: How a music network got a countdown wrong

Songs of senior year: The Billboard Hot 100, September 21, 1985

(Above: The new sign in front of Andrew High. I never sped past this playing the "Miami Vice" theme.) September 21, 1985 is a Saturday - which is the day that all of the Billboard charts come out. It was a hectic time at the start of my senior year of high school. The night … Continue reading Songs of senior year: The Billboard Hot 100, September 21, 1985