RIP Matt “Guitar” Murphy: Chuck Berry, “Bye Bye Johnny” (1960)

(Above: His guitar playing was much better than his cooking.) Word circulated this weekend that Matt "Guitar" Murphy passed away at the age of 88. My first exposure to Murphy's work, like many people, was through his role as a part of the Blues Brothers band in the film of the same name. I don't … Continue reading RIP Matt “Guitar” Murphy: Chuck Berry, “Bye Bye Johnny” (1960)

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Rest in peace, D.J. Fontana: Elvis Presley, “My Baby Left Me” (1956)

(Above: D.J. Fontana and the singer that he's best associated with.) Word spread this morning that Dominic Joseph Fontana passed away peacefully last night at the age of 87.  There is no question that you have heard him play the drums. D. J. Fontana was recruited to accompany Elvis Presley along with Scotty Moore and … Continue reading Rest in peace, D.J. Fontana: Elvis Presley, “My Baby Left Me” (1956)

A summer vacation soundtrack: The Billboard Hot 100, June 9, 1984

(Above: The end of sophomore year. Someone please get this kid a haircut.) The first full week of June 1984 would have meant the start of summer vacation. I had just completed my sophomore year at Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park. The bulk of my daytime activity that summer involved something that … Continue reading A summer vacation soundtrack: The Billboard Hot 100, June 9, 1984

An appreciation of Dick Biondi: “The Pizza Song”

(Above: "The Pizza Song" had a picture sleeve, which my copy is missing.) I never imagined radio without Dick Biondi on it somewhere. Don't get me wrong: I'm nothing if not something of a realist.  No one lives forever, nor works forever, nor should they.  And, hell - years ago I didn't imagine a world … Continue reading An appreciation of Dick Biondi: “The Pizza Song”

Going to the jack-o-lantern: Lyrics misheard by children, young and old

(Above: The lack of a pumpkin on the sleeve should have been my first clue.) I've always been one to judge a song by its lyrics. I should clarify that: if the song has lyrics, I want them to be great. (I'm a sucker for a terrific instrumental, but even then I probably start making … Continue reading Going to the jack-o-lantern: Lyrics misheard by children, young and old

Motown 60: Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean” (1983)

(Above: I still can't quite figure it out.) "Did you see it?" Conversations on a typical Tuesday morning in high school weren't interesting: tests, girls, dirty jokes, and the like. But the morning of May 17, 1983 wasn't typical. The baseball season was just getting started, and the White Sox had gained a game on … Continue reading Motown 60: Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean” (1983)

A notable exception: The Doobie Brothers, “Another Park Another Sunday” (1974)

(Above: Even the album title is decent.) I suppose now is as good a time as any for a confession. There are some groups that, try as I have, I just can't get into. Groups that, as a fan of music from a particular period, I am suppose to embrace. We all have a few … Continue reading A notable exception: The Doobie Brothers, “Another Park Another Sunday” (1974)

So you wanna be a rock and roll star: Dora Hall, “Did He Call Today, Mama” (1965)

(Above: Gift with purchase.) A few years ago music fans were subjected to Rebecca Black's "Friday," a song that, while not fantastic, also wasn't as purely terrible as people claimed that it was.  (I mean, the poor girl got threats over it.  What's wrong with people?) What we learned from the process of "Friday" becoming … Continue reading So you wanna be a rock and roll star: Dora Hall, “Did He Call Today, Mama” (1965)

One night in college radio, End of Semester Edition: WLRA-FM, May 3, 1988

(Above: They should have let the kid walk.) There was a commercial for Pillsbury Cookies in the 80s that my wife and I quote often.  You may remember it (if not, allow me to remind you). There was a kid threatening to run away from home, and Mom gets him to stay by making cookies … Continue reading One night in college radio, End of Semester Edition: WLRA-FM, May 3, 1988

Rest in peace, Bob Dorough: Schoolhouse Rock, “Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here.”

Bob Dorough passed away on April 23, 2018 at the age of 94.  That's not a name most people recognize, but if you are an American between, say, 30 and 50, you are intimately familiar with his work and may not even realize it. In fact, you may owe him a debt of gratitude. Dorough … Continue reading Rest in peace, Bob Dorough: Schoolhouse Rock, “Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here.”