Graduation and the Top 40: Adrian Kimberly, “Pomp and Circumstance” (1961)

(Above: The author, 31 years ago, leaving high school.) I've been to a lot of graduation ceremonies.  From eighth grade through earning my PhD last year I've had the opportunity to participate in several.  In my role as a faculty member at GVSU I'm invited to attend them every term.  I don't go every time, … Continue reading Graduation and the Top 40: Adrian Kimberly, “Pomp and Circumstance” (1961)

But if you try sometimes: The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (1968)

(Above: Alex's funeral in The Big Chill, which many people picture when they hear this song.) I was fifteen years old in 1984 when my family rented a copy of The Big Chill. We loaded it into the ginormous VCR that sat atop the television, dragged the cable for its remote to the couch, and … Continue reading But if you try sometimes: The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (1968)

Kosher for Passover: Jewish folk songs reimagined as rock and roll records

(Above: You may wish to add a few 45's to the table as well.) I grew up in a predominantly Catholic suburb of Chicago in the 1970s and 80s.  We didn't stop to ask questions about other belief systems, especially not in grade school.  The Spring Break calendar was the same every year: no classes … Continue reading Kosher for Passover: Jewish folk songs reimagined as rock and roll records

Songs you hate, then love: The Beach Boys, “Kokomo” (1988)

(Above: Which is the guiltier pleasure - the song or the movie?) If I haven't made it clear enough in earlier posts or by dropping lyrics into text sans citation, I like the Beach Boys.  A lot. That's why the revulsion I felt when I first heard "Kokomo" was so troubling.  Eventually, though, I came … Continue reading Songs you hate, then love: The Beach Boys, “Kokomo” (1988)

Exploring the pop charts: The Billboard Hot 100 (March 26, 1983)

(Above: Michael Jackson, about to debut the moonwalk on Motown 25, taped 3/25/1983.) The last week in March of 1983 I was looking forward to the end of my freshman year of high school. Baseball fans on the South Side of Chicago were looking forward to opening day, not necessarily realizing that it would become … Continue reading Exploring the pop charts: The Billboard Hot 100 (March 26, 1983)