song of the day – “Take Me With U” | PRINCE & THE REVOLUTION featuring APOLLONIA | 1985.

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On June 15, 2014, Casey Kasem, host of the longtime countdown program, AMERICAN TOP 40, passed away at the age of 82.  From my first blog post (and prolly some more inbetween then and now), I explained how, in 1979, I was a geeky, lanky and somewhat lost 12-year-old living in Central Maine, had a few friends and not a lot of interest in much of anything, but at some point early that year, I discovered AMERICAN TOP 40, and was glued 2 it every weekend.  Not only could I hear the 40 biggest songs in the country every week, but also Casey’s cool trivia and facts about the songs and the artists, a trait I treasure 2 this day.  4 me, the show was No. 1 with a bullet.  And still is (thanks 2 the re-airing of broadcasts of AT40 on iHeart Radio).american-top-40-casey-kasem

In honor of my radio hero, Casey Kasem, 4 the entire month of June, I will B highlighting a song each day (some days will have two songs!) that peaked in the Top 40 of the BILLBOARD Hot 100 (including five (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s), and with every blog post, just like on AMERICAN TOP 40, the hits will get bigger with each post.  On June 1, 2017, I featured a song that peaked at No. 40.  On June 30, I’ll feature a “song of the day” that went all the way 2 No. 1. 

As Casey used 2 say on AT40, “And on we go!”

When my radio show, STUCK IN THE 80s, had its final show on my 50th birthday – and during the Maine Blizzard Of 2017 (Hope, Shawn and I had 2 literally shut WMPG-FM down afterwards; Shawn: “We’re rockin’ so hard, the station cannot handle it anymore!”; Hope: “No one can follow U Ron!”). 

shawn, hope + me

With the 2017 Maine blizzard in the window behind us, from L to R that’s Shawn, Hope and yours truly all sporting STUCK IN THE 80s T-shirts on the final STUCK broadcast on WMPG-FM, 2.12.17.

One of the songs I chose 4 the last show was “Take Me With U” by Prince & The Revolution featuring Apollonia.  As I mentioned on the last show, and will re-mention here (if I haven’t already on the bloggy thing), it’s one of my all-time favorite Prince songs that DOESN’T get nearly enough love as it should.

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Released as the last of five singles from 1984’s PURPLE RAIN and written by Prince (of course), “Take Me With U” was a duet between Prince and Apollonia Kotero, who played Prince’s girlfriend in PURPLE RAIN.  “Take Me With U” was initially 2 have appeared on the APOLLONIA 6 album (released on October 1, 1984, and featured one song from PURPLE RAIN – “Sex Shooter,” which Apollonia 6 played in the film). 

But, with Prince being rightfully particular about his songs (4 example, all of his videos that went back up after he died have all pretty much been removed from YouTube), he pulled the song off of the APOLLONIA 6 album, and included it on PURPLE RAIN. 

prince + the revolution

All of the singles from (and of course, the entire album) PURPLE RAIN were sensational, but unlike the other singles released from the soundtrack, “Take Me With U” had this really cool vibe 2 it, featuring a drum solo and finger cymbals at the beginning and the end of the song.  This Psychedelic-y style might have actually been the precursor 2 his next album, AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY, especially on the singles “Raspberry Beret” and “Pop Life.”

“Take Me With U” was released on January 25, 1985, exactly seven months after the release of the soundtrack 2 PURPLE RAIN, and almost exactly six months after the release of the film, and it only took a couple of weeks 4 the single 2 debut on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 (at No. 61).

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Reaching the Top 40 of the Hot 100 in just its fourth chart week, “Take Me With U” became the fifth Top 40 single from PURPLE RAIN, and, at that point, Prince became just the seventh recording artist in history (if my math is correct) 2 have five or more Top 40 hits released from one album on the BILLBOARD Hot 100, following Michael Jackson’s THRILLER, Lionel Richie’s CAN’T SLOW DOWN, Billy Joel’s AN INNOCENT MAN, SPORTS by Huey Lewis & The News, Tina Turner’s PRIVATE DANCER, and the incomparable Cyndi Lauper, and her wonderful SHE’S SO UNUSUAL.  (The Cars would join that group a week later with “Why Can’t I Have You,” the excellent and highly-underrated fifth single from their fantastic 1984 album, HEARTBEAT CITY.)

“Take Me With U” spent a couple of weeks at No. 25 in late March 1985, and without much fanfare, faded out of the Hot 100 after 12 short weeks.  Over in the U.K., it was a double A-sided single with “Let’s Go Crazy,” and it reached No. 7.  I would like 2 think the folks in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland didn’t just listen 2 “Let’s Go Crazy” (as awesome as that song is), and flipped the record over and really enjoyed “Take Me With U” too.

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Everyone in The Revolution was involved with this gem, and the unity involved with this song is amazing.  And, 4 those who didn’t already own PURPLE RAIN by the end of January 1985, when “Take Me With U” was released, and were kind enough 2 buy the single anyway, and 2 those radio stations who were kind enough 2 play it, I thank U.  “Take Me With U” is that sorta-forgotten gem (though not by me) that, when U listen 2 it 4 the first time in awhile, U will remember why U loved it all those years ago, and, like me, U will love it 4evah…

“I don’t care where we go / I don’t care what we do / I don’t care pretty baby / Just take me with u…”

prince + apollonia

song of the day – “Money Changes Everything” | CYNDI LAUPER | 1985.

One of the first things I learned about WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine when I started my little 80s radio program, STUCK IN THE 80s, there in 1996 was the Begathon.  WMPG gets approximately 1/3 of its funding from the University of Southern Maine, approximately 1/3 from underwriting, and approximately 1/3 from listener donations.  A large chunk of the latter comes from the Begathon.  What started out as a 2-week pledge drive in which volunteer radio hosts would “beg” to raise money for the station is now split up into two 1-week pledge drives, one in the Spring and one in the Fall.  It’s come a long way since my first Begathon in the Fall of 1996.  My very last Begathon for WMPG will be on Sunday, 9.25.2016.

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An artist I love to play any time of the year, Cyndi Lauper, is responsible for a  song I love to play any time of the year – especially during Begathon – her 1985 hit, “Money Changes Everything” (from her amazing 1983 debut album, SHE’S SO UNUSUAL).

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1022233465“Money Changes Everything” was actually a cover of a song first recorded in 1978 by the Atlanta, GA Rock band, The Brains, written by vocalist and keyboardist Tom Gray.  Their version led them to a contract with Mercury Records, and they re-recorded “Money Changes Everything” for their 1980 self-titled debut album, produced by the legendary Steve Lillywhite, who also produced albums that year for The Psychedelic Furs (their self-titled debut) and Peter Gabriel (his third self-titled album, also known as MELT, and featuring “Games Without Frontiers” and “Biko.”

SHE’S SO UNUSUAL contained a near-even mix of originals, like “Time After Time” and “She Bop,” and cover songs, including “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” (originally by Robert Hazard), “All Through The Night” (Jules Shear), “When You Were Mine” (a fantastic cover of the Prince original), and “Money Changes Everything.”

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Released in late 1984 as the fifth single from SHE’S SO UNUSUAL, “Money Changes Everything” debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 three days before Xmas 1984, the same week Cyndi’s fourth Top 5 single from SHE’S SO UNUSUAL,  “All Through The Night” dropped out of the Top 10 (Cyndi was the first female recording artist to have four Top 5 singles from one album, and a debut album at that).

“Money Changes Everything,” which features a solo from friend and “Time After Time” co-writer, Rob Hyman of The Hooters on the Hohner Melodica (otherwise known as a “hooter”), reached the Top 40 of the Hot 100 in just four weeks, but stalled for a week at No. 27 in February 1985, and though it didn’t reach the Top 10, “Money Changes Everything” did help keep Cyndi in the Top 40 every week for 13 consecutive months, ever since “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” debuted in the Top 40 in late January 1984.

Around the globe, “Money Changes Everything” reached No. 14 in New Zealand, No. 19 in Australia and No. 40 in Canada.  It was a big hit in South America, reaching No. 3 in Colombia and No. 10 in Chile.money-live

The official video for “Money Changes Everything” (a link to the video is below) was a live performance piece, where she sported a haircut not many folks could pull off (but she did), she was getting love much love from the audience, and when she wasn’t dancing all over the stage, she was kicking and beating the shit out of this metal garbage can.  She eventually she climbed into another garbage can on the stage, and she (and the garbage can) were elevated over the audience.  When I saw Cyndi perform in Boston in May 2016 with my dear and talented friend, Hope, it was also nice to see Cyndi still showing love for the song (and the audience too), and it was the last song she performed before her first encore.

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“Money Changes Everything” is actually about money and how it interferes with personal relationships.  While that’s certainly true in real life, I’ve never looked at the song that way, especially at Begathon time.  For a small community radio station like WMPG that, for one week twice a year, asks listeners for help to keep the station running 24/7/365, money from listeners DOES change everything…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp4suZ4jNXg

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