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)

Hitting the big time: The Isley Brothers, “Shout (Parts 1 and 2)” (1959)

(Above: Rock, brother.) "Dude - you made it!" The first phone call I got on my first shift at WJMK in Chicago - 21 years ago today - was shortly after the start of the first song that I played on the station. It was from my friend Dave. Dave had been there since the … Continue reading Hitting the big time: The Isley Brothers, “Shout (Parts 1 and 2)” (1959)

Rest in peace, Chuck Barris – songwriter: Freddy Cannon, “Palisades Park” (1962)

(Above: A dangerous mind, indeed.) At some point today you saw the news that television producer and reluctant game show host Chuck Barris passed away at the age of 87.  Most of the accolades and memories center around one of Barris' most famous creations: either "The Gong Show," which I loved, or "The Dating Game," … Continue reading Rest in peace, Chuck Barris – songwriter: Freddy Cannon, “Palisades Park” (1962)

RIP Chuck Berry: “Come On” (1961)

(Above: The 45 copy of Chuck Berry's "Come On," which is missing from my collection.) Within the last six months I wrote about Chuck Berry turning 90 and about Leonard Chess turning 100 (were he still with us). Both of those posts come together today in this obit. Chuck Berry died today at his home … Continue reading RIP Chuck Berry: “Come On” (1961)

Erin go bragh-less: Irish bands on the charts and “The Unicorn” (1968)

(Above: The Clancy Brothers, replete with pipes and sweaters.) Ah, Oldies radio.  We like to observe the same conventions each year when it comes to things like holidays and commemorations. I will bet you everything in my wallet (a low risk on a Friday, least of all on St. Patrick's Day) that your friendly neighborhood … Continue reading Erin go bragh-less: Irish bands on the charts and “The Unicorn” (1968)

Rest in peace, Joey Alves: Y&T, “Summertime Girls” (1985)

(Above: Y&T from the "Summertime Girls" video. Nice shorts.) Got word this evening that Joey Alves, the guitarist for the band Y&T, passed away after a battle with ulcerative colitis.  He was 63. It's the second death for the band in the last six months following the passing of drummer Leonard Haze last fall at … Continue reading Rest in peace, Joey Alves: Y&T, “Summertime Girls” (1985)

Leonard Chess at 100: Jackie Brentston and his Delta Cats, “Rocket 88” (1951)

(Above: Leonard Chess, who I don't think looks like Adrien Brody.) One hundred years ago today - March 12, 1917 - Lejnor Czyz was born in Motal, which was in Poland then but is in Belarus today. I'm sure that no one in the village had any idea that he'd go on to become a … Continue reading Leonard Chess at 100: Jackie Brentston and his Delta Cats, “Rocket 88” (1951)

One morning in college radio: WIUS-FM, March 6, 1990

(Above: The square in downtown Macomb.  I vaguely remember a restaurant there called "Eat," which I am sure is long gone by now.) March 6, 1990 was a Tuesday.  In Macomb, Illinois, students at Western Illinois University were preparing for their much-needed spring break.  Among them, though, was an interloper: a college-aged radio veteran posing … Continue reading One morning in college radio: WIUS-FM, March 6, 1990

A Friday night watching MTV Classic’s “I Want My ’80s”

It's a cold Friday night in Michigan. Spring break at GVSU has technically started, but we're too exhausted to do anything more than plop down on an overstuffed couch and relax.  There's nothing on television worth a darn (we had Will and Grace on WeTV, but that ended in favor of Marriage Bootcamp and promos … Continue reading A Friday night watching MTV Classic’s “I Want My ’80s”