Soundtrack for the first day of school (Various)

(Above: First day of school, 1974.) Today is the first day of school for Grand Valley State University (and for many other colleges, high schools, grade schools, etc.) Many schools have started already: you've no doubt noticed your time line filling up with pictures of kids heading off for school as relieved parents plan to … Continue reading Soundtrack for the first day of school (Various)

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Summer’s almost over: The Billboard Hot 100, August 23, 1986

(Above: Madonna, from the video of the song sitting at #1.) It's just about the end of August, 1986. My friends from my high school class, in most cases, are headed off to their freshmen years of college.  I'm not going anywhere; I didn't necessarily make the best choices about college at the end of … Continue reading Summer’s almost over: The Billboard Hot 100, August 23, 1986

A celestial soundtrack: Music To Watch an Eclipse By, August 21, 2017

(No, she's not on it.) In case you have been avoiding any and all news coverage for the last week, today's the day when a good portion of the United States is plunged into darkness for reasons other than someone saying "Hold my beer while I do this a sec." For the first time since … Continue reading A celestial soundtrack: Music To Watch an Eclipse By, August 21, 2017

Like a bolt of blue: New Order, “Bizarre Love Triangle” (1987)

(Above: Sometimes the simplest cover artwork is the best.) Thirty years ago today, New Order released Substance, a double LP that's probably best known as the album that casual fans know.  New Order came to be in 1980 after Joy Division split following the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. They're best known for "Blue … Continue reading Like a bolt of blue: New Order, “Bizarre Love Triangle” (1987)

Saw the ghost of Elvis: Mark Cohn, “Walking in Memphis” (1991)

(Above: Elvis' house.) Every year a phenomenon called "Elvis Week" takes place in mid-August.  It centers on the anniversary of the date that Elvis Aaron Presley died at the too-young age of 42 in 1977. I'm always disappointed that we don't do Elvis Week in January, around the anniversary of his birth. It's the tragic … Continue reading Saw the ghost of Elvis: Mark Cohn, “Walking in Memphis” (1991)

Greatest misses: Gino Vannelli, “Wild Horses” (1987)

(Above: "Do you like my hair?") A few weeks ago I went back over the Billboard charts from the last week of July 1985.  The song "Black Cars" was on there, and I promised that if I get back on the air on campus this fall, it's probably to do an 80s show, and I'd … Continue reading Greatest misses: Gino Vannelli, “Wild Horses” (1987)

RIP Glen Campbell: “Galveston” (1969)

(Above: The picture sleeve for "Galveston" overseas) When word of Glen Campbell's Alzheimer's diagnosis was made public in 2011, I knew that this day was coming.  We've dealt with Alzheimer's and a variety of forms of dementia in my family, and there's no other way to put it: it's a long, slow goodbye.  Glen made … Continue reading RIP Glen Campbell: “Galveston” (1969)

From a land down under: New Zealand pop, 1980s-1990s

(Above: Some of the 89FM airstaff at a promotion, September, 1994. Of the three station DJs in this photo (L-R Brian Reid, Tim Homer, me), I'm the last one left, which is pretty darned sobering.) I got news Sunday of the sudden, unexpected death of Auckland, NZ radio programmer Tim Homer at the age of … Continue reading From a land down under: New Zealand pop, 1980s-1990s

A frustrated rocker: The Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, August 5, 1989

(Above: Me in my WJTW shirt in the production room of WCFL/Morris, 1990.  I do not know why I am wearing it there.) In the summer of 1989 I was just starting to get my legs under me in terms of my radio career. The station I worked for in Joliet, Illinois, WJTW, gave me … Continue reading A frustrated rocker: The Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, August 5, 1989