song of the day – “All Around The World” | LISA STANSFIELD | 1989 / 1990.

lovesongIn mid-October 1989, Pop music in America didn’t know which direction it was going in.  Take the Top 10 of the BILLBOARD Hot 100 chart for October 14, 1989 for example.  You had 80s Pop mainstays Janet Jackson and Madonna leading the pack (“Miss You Much” and “Cherish,” respectively), the future great Grammy taker-awayers, Milli Vanilli (“Girl I’m Gonna Miss You”), a rare big American hit for The Cure (“Love Song”), the last big hit for the Rolling Stones (“Mixed Emotions”), Tears For Fears channeling The Beatles (“Sowing The Seeds Of Love”), rapper Young M.C. with the first (and last) big hit of his own (“Bust A Move”), Hollywood, CA Glam Metal band Warrant (“Heaven”), another big Pop hit for Sweden’s Roxette (“Listen To Your Heart”) and the first Pop single for R&B singer, songwriter and future mega-producer, Babyface (“It’s No Crime”).

Meanwhile, over in the U.K., Disco, which saw its peak ten years earlier, was mounting a sort of comeback.  Sure, there were Disco influences in the 80s – you heard it in the music of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Irene Cara, Queen and Pet Shop Boys, to name a few (Pet Shop Boys even named several of their early remixes as the “Disco Mix”).

it's a sin disco

In September 1989, Italian Eurohouse band Black Box started a six-week run at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart with “Ride On Time,” and ended up being the biggest U.K. single of 1989.  Black Box would go on to have big global hits in the early 90s, scoring a couple of Top 10 hits in the U.S. with “Everybody Everybody” and “Strike It Up.”

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During the last week of Black Box’s reign on the U.K. singles chart, Manchester, England native Lisa Stansfield released – that same week in mid-October 1989 mentioned at the beginning of the blog post – the second single from her then-forthcoming album, AFFECTION – “All Around The World.”

Lisa Stansfield had tried out a solo career back in the early 80s, and released a number of singles, including a 1983 song called “Listen To Your Heart” (no relation to the Roxette song from 1989). 

listen to your heart

After a brief first try at a solo career, Lisa joined the short-lived trio, Blue Zone, which was a combination of Pop, Dance and Blue-Eyed Soul.  Their only album, 1988’s BIG THING, well, wasn’t.  It did, however, give Blue Zone (known as Blue Zone UK in the U.S.) one hit on the BILLBOARD Hot 100, with the song “Jackie,” featured in the 1987 film, SUMMER SCHOOL, starring Mark Harmon and Kirstie Alley.  “Jackie” reached No. 54 on the Hot 100.

jackie

It was not until Lisa’s first collaboration with producer and remixer Coldcut in the Spring of 1989 that gave her a big U.K. hit.  The song was “People Hold On,” from Coldcut’s debut album, WHAT’S THAT NOISE?.  Lisa sang and co-wrote the song, and it reached No. 11 on the U.K. singles chart and No. 6 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart.  It also had Top 40 success in some countries around the globe.

people hold on

After “People Hold On” was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, Arista Records signed Lisa on as a solo artist.  Her first successful solo single, “This Is The Right Time,” was released in late July 1989 (it was released as her third single in the U.S. a year later).

“This Is The Right Time” (produced by Coldcut) was a success, reaching No. 13 on the U.K. singles chart, and would go on to fare well in Austria, Canada, Germany, the BILLBOARD Hot 100 (where it reached No. 21), and the BILLBOARD Dance chart, where it spent a week on top in mid-October 1990.

A month before the mid-November 1989 release of Lisa’s debut solo album, AFFECTION, her second U.K. solo single was released – “All Around The World.”  And this one WOULD take her all around the world. 

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Almost immediately, critics and music fans were hooked.  ROLLING STONE critic Amy Linden gave the AFFECTION album four out of five stars, saying “the way her voice slinks around the line ‘so-oo sad’ in ‘All Around The World’ show[s] that this is someone who knows her roots even if they aren’t really hers.”

The sound of “All Around The World” was inspired by the late, great R&B legend, Barry White (who would sing, with Lisa, on a version of the song in 1992), and it paid off.  Ten years after the peak of Disco, Lisa Stansfield brought the genre back for four-and-a-half minutes and then some all around the world.

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The single “All Around The World” was a massive hit nearly everywhere it landed.  It spent two weeks at No. 1 in the U.K. in November 1989, and from there, it reached No. 1 in Austria (six weeks), Belgium, Canada (five weeks), Holland (four weeks), Norway, Spain, and two weeks at No. 1 on both of BILLBOARD’s R&B and Dance charts, where it finished 1990 at Nos. 6 and 3, respectively, for the year.

Over here in the U.S., “All Around The World” was released in mid-January 1990, three months after its U.K. release, and the news of its success, well, all around the world was good news to American radio stations and record stores.  “All Around The World” debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 just a couple of weeks later, in early February 1990. 

A couple of months later, it had reached No. 3, and certainly had the momentum to reach No. 1, but it got stuck in a few tight chart weeks, and it stayed at No. 3 for three weeks.  The competition for No. 1 was so tight, in fact, in those three weeks, there were three different No. 1 songs, the last of which was “Nothing Compares 2 U,” the Prince-composed gem of a cover by Sinéad O’Connor. 

all around the world

As it turns out, “All Around The World” really did have the momentum of being a No. 1 song here in America.  When BILLBOARD tallied up the top Hot 100 songs of 1990, “All Around The World” beat out the first two songs that did go to No. 1 (and prevented Lisa from going to there), not to mention it beat out several other No. 1 songs that year too.

Though some would prolly classify it more as an R&B or Dance song than a Disco song, I think “All Around The World” had a real big hand in reinvigorating the Disco genre for awhile in the early 1990s, or at least inspiring other artists and / or songs to include that “Disco” influence. 

One of THE BEST songs to dance to evah, Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is In The Heart” (released during the Summer of 1990), would certainly fit into that category.  Maybe even U2’s “Lemon” (1993), the Pet Shop Boys remix of Blur’s “Girls & Boys” (1994) and the brilliant “Justified & Ancient” by The KLF and Tammy Wynette (1991) would fit into that category as well.

deee-lite

In 1991, Lisa Stansfield was nominated for two Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, losing out to Mariah Carey in both categories.  For the British equivalent of the Grammy Awards, the BRIT Awards, Lisa won Best British Newcomer in 1990 and Best British Female in 1991.

After “All Around The World” (and not counting her vocal contribution to 1989’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas II”), Lisa Stansfield would go on to have 13 more Top 40 U.K. hits, six of those which reached the Top 10.  And she did okay over here in the U.S. for awhile.  Most recently, she released her seventh solo studio album, appropriately titled, SEVEN, in early 2014.  It was her highest-charting U.K. album in 17 years.  That same year, she also released her fourth compilation, and her second and third remix albums back-to-back.

Between 1999 and 2013, Lisa Stansfield appeared in five films, and in 1998, she married her second husband – her longtime friend, engineer, mixer, co-writer and co-producer, Ian Devaney.  They were married in a small ceremony in New York City.

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Hard to imagine at one time I didn’t even like Lisa Stansfield or “All Around The World.”  It took me about five years, around my second year living in Portland, but I finally saw and heard what folks were raving about back in 1990.  And, once I learned this song was actually a U.K. hit in 1989, you can bet I played this song often on my little 80s radio show, STUCK IN THE 80s.  And, why wouldn’t I? 

Sure, somewhere in there, “All Around The World” is a melancholy song with some hope (“I can’t find my baby / I don’t know when, I don’t know why / Why he’s gone away / And I don’t know where he can be, my baby / But I’m gonna find him…”).  And it did what it set out to do – go all around the world, but also, it helped incorporate and reintroduce a genre that had pretty much been declared dead a decade before, and at a time where Grunge was about to take off, that’s a pretty impressive feat and then some for a song that almost sounds like it could have come out of 1977…

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

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xmas song of the day – “Fairytale Of New York” | THE POGUES featuring KIRSTY MacCOLL | 1987.

Happy Holidays!  Since it’s the first year of my blog, and since it’s the last year for my Annual Holiday Show on my little 20-year-old 80s radio program, STUCK IN THE 80s (on WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine), I wanted to present to you THE 31 DAYS OF 80s XMAS SONGS, or, 31 of my favorite 80s holiday musical treats.

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Well, it’s officially a holiday weekend – both Xmas Eve and the start of Hanukkah fall on the same day this year, and that means only a couple more blog posts after this one highlighting some truly great 80s holiday gems.  For Day 29 of THE 31 DAYS OF 80s XMAS SONGS is a wonderful holiday treasure that has prolly grown on me more than any other since its release – “Fairytale Of New York” by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl.

Released in late November 1987, a couple of months in advance of The Pogues’ amazing third album, IF I SHOULD FALL FROM GRACE WITH GOD, “Fairytale Of New York” was the result of the brilliant pairing of The Pogues and the late, great Kirsty MacColl (the originator of the Tracey Ullman hit, “They Don’t Know,” and who died of a tragic boating accident in 2000).

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In 2012, music journalist Dorian Lynsky of the British national daily newspaper, THE GUARDIAN, wrote a piece celebrating the 25th anniversary of “Fairytale Of New York,” where he states that the song is “not about snow or sleigh rides or mistletoe or miracles, but lost youth and ruined dreams; a song in which Christmas is much the problem as it is the solution.”

“Fairytale Of New York” is not only a personal and STUCK IN THE 80s favorite, but it remains as one of the most revered Xmas songs ever, and some even contend that it’s THE greatest Xmas song ever. 

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The original 1987 cover art for “Fairytale Of New York.”

The video for “Fairytale Of New York” was indeed filmed in New York around the time of the single’s release, during an extremely cold Thanksgiving week in 1987.  Actor Matt Dillon, who plays a police officer in the video, was apparently a huge fan of The Pogues. 

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From the “Fairytale Of New York” video…

Super-producer Steve Lillywhite (famous for producing acts like U2, Big Country, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads and many more) was brought in to produce IF I SHOULD FALL FROM GRACE WITH GOD, and it paid off.  It was the band’s biggest-selling album ever, and for five weeks over the 1987 / 1988 holiday season, “Fairytale Of New York” was the No. 1 song in Ireland. 

All of these years later, it’s hard to believe Kirsty MacColl wasn’t even originally considered to sing the female lead.  Former Pogues bassist Cait O’Riordan left the band in 1986, the same year she married Elvis Costello (together until 2002).  So, that left a big gaping hole in the duet for this future holiday gem.  The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde was considered, as was Suzi Quatro, but when Steve Lillywhite brought in his wife, Kirsty MacColl (who, in 1984 / 1985 reached the Top 10 of the U.K. singles chart with her cover of Billy Bragg’s “A New England”), everything fell into place.

Over in The Pogues and Kirsty’s U.K. homeland, they were hoping “Fairytale Of New York” would capture the coveted “Christmas No. 1” that year, but the song was held from the No. 1 spot by the Pet Shop Boys’ “Always On My Mind” and peaked at No. 2.  It ended up being ranked No. 48 for all of 1987, which is not bad considering the song had only been out for a month…

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Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan in a promotional shot for “Fairytale Of New York.”

After charting in the U.K. and Ireland in 1991, “Fairytale Of New York” has reappeared on the singles charts in both countries every year since 2005, and since 2007, has also made frequent appearances on the singles charts in New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. 

The legacy of the song has extended well beyond that of singles charts around the globe.  Another popular U.K. publication, THE TELEGRAPH, revealed in 2014 that “Fairytale Of New York” was the most-played Xmas song of the 21st Century in the United Kingdom.  And, with all of its reissues over the past 29 years, “Fairytale Of New York” has now accumulated (as of the official U.K. Top 75 singles chart dated December 29, 2016) a whopping 77 weeks, good enough for the seventh most-charted song of all time.

Since the 1987 original, “Fairytale Of New York” has been covered by the likes of Sinéad O’Connor, Nina Hagen and Coldplay, but for me (and many others across the planet, I’m sure), there’ll never be another version like the one I fell in love with all those years ago, and that I love and then some even more with each passing year…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9jbdgZidu8

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song of the day – “People Are People” | DEPECHE MODE | 1985.

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Today (9.11.2016) marks the 15th anniversary of the horrific terror attacks against the United States.  I wasn’t even there (I was living in Portland, Maine on 9.11.2001), and still, I’ll never get those images out of my head, especially when the North Tower of the World Trade Center fell straight down to the ground one hour and 42 minutes after being hit by American Airlines Flight 11, a flight out of Boston, leaving a gaping hole in the New York skyline, and changing thousands upon thousands of lives forever…

My heart broke when I found out that Mohamed Atta, the head highjacker of Flight 11, spent his last night on Earth in South Portland, and flew out of the Portland International Jetport to Boston on 9.11.01.  My heart also broke when I learned that David Angell and his wife, Lynn, were on that flight. 

David Angell was a writer and producer for my favorite TV show, CHEERS.  He was also a co-creator and executive producer for the CHEERS spinoff, FRASIER. The first two shows of FRASIER that year were dedicated to them.  David was the only person I “knew” who died as a result of the terror attacks on New York, and when my dear friend Shawn took me to the incredibly moving 9/11 memorial in 2013, I was able to find his and Lynn’s names.

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From the 9/11 memorial, 10.4.2013. (Photo by Ron Raymond, Jr.)

Today, I write this from Seawall (part of Acadia National Park here in Maine), the most peaceful place on the planet for me.  The only sounds to be heard are passersby and the sea.  And, apart from hurricanes or bad storms, time has no meaning here.  Seawall looks the same as it did 40 years ago.  Still, I’m reminded of 9.11.01 today, as many of us are, and I’m also reminded of some songs that will forever have an association for me of that day, even though have nothing to do with 9.11 itself.cyndi-lauper-shine

Those songs include Cyndi Lauper’s 2002 song, “Water’s Edge” (from her SHINE EP) (“Oh, I wish you could wrap yourself around me / I am gripped by a loneliness…”; “I went to the water’s edge and saw my life eclipse / I went to the water’s edge and then felt myself slip / I dreamed that I was floating, just coast until I grew fins / I want to catch this tide back home and feel you again…”).

Sinéad O’Connor’s haunting 1991 cover of Elton John’s “Sacrifice” (from the TWO ROOMS tribute album) is another song that had no connection to 9.11 and yet will always remind me of that day.  Her version of the song was played on STUCK IN THE 80s on the Sunday following 9.11.01.  Although the song is actually about a breakup of a marriage, whenever I hear her stirring version, I can’t help but still get goose bumps. 

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Sinead O’Connor, from the “Sacrifice” video.

 

Another song played on that 9.11 tribute show (and the tribute show for the 1999 school shootings at Columbine, as well as 2011’s COLD WAR CLASSICS show) was the song that introduced me (and many others in America) to Depeche Mode – “People Are People” (whose video even features military footage from The Cold War).people-are-people-lp

“People Are People” was originally released on a 1984 North American compilation of the same name to help generate interest for new fans of the band who somehow (like yours truly) missed out on the band’s first three albums.  “People Are People” was to be released as part of Depeche Mode’s fourth studio album, SOME GREAT REWARD, later that year, but Sire Records wanted to get a jump start on promoting the song – and the band – to commercial and college radio.

Released in March 1984, “People Are People” was a big hit in the band’s U.K. homeland, reaching No. 4.  It also reached the Top 10 in other parts of the world, including Austria, Belgium, Holland, Ireland, Norway, Poland and Switzerland, and spent three weeks at No. 1 in Germany (where it was used as the theme song for the West Germany TV coverage of the 1984 Olympics). 

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The song attracted an audience on Modern Rock stations and college radio stations here in the U.S., but it took awhile for “People Are People” to gain momentum on commercial radio.  Eventually, though, it did.  The song finally made its debut on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in late May 1985, and reached the Top 40 about a month later.  It would spend two weeks at No. 13 in August 1985 and also reached the Top 15 in Canada.

Written by Depeche Mode’s principal songwriter, Martin L. Gore, he admits “People Are People” is one of his least favorite DM songs, despite its success, and the song hasn’t been performed live since 1988.  It’s been said Martin prefers to have subtle metaphors that allow people to find their own meanings in the songs he writes, and he feels that “People Are People” doesn’t fit that description.

Well, I know at least for me, the song carries a lot of weight.  Sure, it’s the song that introduced me to Depeche Mode, so it’s special in that regard, but the reason it has appeared in all of these tribute shows (including the one for 9.11.01) is because of its plea for peace, love and understanding between nations and races and then some…

“People are people so why should it be / You and I should get along so awfully… / So we’re different colours / And we’re different creeds / And different people have different needs / It’s obvious you hate me / Though I’ve done nothing wrong / I never even met you / So what could I have done / I can’t understand / What makes a man / Hate another man / Help me understand…”

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The South Pool of the 9/11 Memorial, New York City, 10.4.2013.  I’ve never seen colors like that before (generated by water, anyway) before or since… (Photo taken by Ron Raymond, Jr.)

Overall, I’d like to think things have changed for the better since 9.11.01, yet there’s still lots more work to be done.  But, as I look out at the peaceful sea on this late summer afternoon, on this day of remembrance, an old favorite adage comes to mind – “Why can’t we all just get along?!”  Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello asked that question nearly 40 years ago with “(What’s So Funny) ‘Bout Peace, Love And Understanding?” and Depeche Mode asked that question more than 30 years ago with “People Are People.”  It’s my hope that maybe one day those questions will be answered, and then I won’t need anyone to help me understand.  That continues to be my hope…

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The waves crashing against the natural seawall, at Seawall (part of Acadia National Park, Maine), 9.11.2016. (Photo by Ron Raymond, Jr.)

Sending my continued thoughts and prayers and peace and love for everyone affected by the 9.11.2001 terrorist attacks against the United States…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzGnX-MbYE4

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(real) one-hit wonder of the week – “Ship Of Fools (Save Me From Tomorrow)” | WORLD PARTY | 1987.

Between late 1979 and the end of 1989, there were nearly 500 (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s that reached the BILLBOARD Hot 100 just one time, a list that includes Soft Cell, Gary Numan, Timbuk 3, The Church, Bronski Beat, Nik Kershaw, The Buggles, The Waitresses, Ultravox and two different bands named The Silencers.  Once a week, I’ll highlight a (real) one-hit wonder for you.

Welsh musician / songwriter / producer Karl Wallinger always had an interest in music, listening to artists like The Beatles, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and the L.A. Rock band Love (The Damned did a brilliant cover of Love’s “Alone Again Or” in 1987).

After a brief stint in the late 70s with a band called Pax (featuring two future members of The Alarm), Karl eventually became the musical director for (London’s) West End (theatre) production of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, then he was in a funk band called “The Out” (which I honestly can’t picture), and after (which I can totally see), a stint with The Waterboys starting in 1984.album-this-is-the-sea

Karl Wallinger stayed with The Waterboys for two albums, A PAGAN PLACE and THIS IS THE SEA, providing support on piano, organ, percussion and backing vocals.  THIS IS THE SEA was certified Silver in the United Kingdom, and generated what would become (in a 1991 reissue) their biggest U.K. hit, “The Whole Of The Moon,” which reached No. 3 on the U.K. Singles chart.

After THIS IS THE SEA, Karl left The Waterboys to form his own band, World Party, of which he is the sole member.  World Party’s debut album, PRIVATE REVOLUTION, featured several session musicians and an Irish newcomer, Sinéad O’Connor, who provided backing vocals on the album’s title track and one other song, “Hawaiian Island World.”  Another song from PRIVATE REVOLUTION, “World Party,” would make an appearance in a version by The Waterboys on their next album, the brilliant 1988 release, FISHERMAN’S BLUES.

private revolution

Also from PRIVATE REVOLUTION came a surprise hit called “Ship Of Fools (Save Me From Tomorrow).”  It was the album’s first single, which eventually found its way to American shores and made its debut on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 at No. 96 on Valentine’s Day 1987. 

The climb for “Ship Of Fools” on the Hot 100 was slow at first, but picked up, and in early April 1987, it debuted in the Top 40.  By the end of April, it spent a week at its peak position of No. 27, and would go on to spend 15 total weeks on the Hot 100. 

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Though Karl’s band namesake is still going strong today, this would be the only time World Party would grace the Hot 100.  “Ship Of Fools” would also find its way to No. 5 on BILLBOARD’s Mainstream Rock chart, No. 4 in Australia and No. 42 on the U.K. Singles chart.

After PRIVATE REVOLUTION, Karl and World Party continued to record, including 1990’s acclaimed GOODBYE JUMBO album (featuring “Put The Message In The Box” and “Way Down Now,” the latter of which spent five weeks at No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Modern Rock chart in June / July 1990), 1993’s BANG!, 1997’s EGYPTOLOGY (which included the wonderful and award-winning “She’s The One,” featured in the 1997 film, THE MATCHMAKER, starring Janeane Garofalo and Denis Leary), and 2000’s DUMBING UP. 

You might also remember one of World Party’s songs, “When You Come Back To Me” (inspired by David Bowie’s 1975 hit, “Young Americans”), which was featured in the 1993 film, REALITY BITES (Karl scored the film as well). arkeology

Karl sadly suffered a brain aneurysm in February 2001 that left him unable to speak, but after five years of rehabilitation, he returned and played his first show in a decade at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.  He got his catalog back from EMI and re-released his albums.  In 2012, World Party released ARKEOLOGY, a massive five-CD, 70-song collection of new material, live songs and covers.  It was, like all of World Party’s other work, well-received.

Though World Party was never really an international success, it didn’t seem to bother Karl Wallinger.  After the aneurysm, he once described his “renewed talent” as “overcompensating, so it’s either the best I’ve ever played or I’ll completely balls it up.” 

I admit here that, in 1987, World Party and “Ship Of Fools” didn’t really do anything for me at the time.  But, since then, and to borrow from the song itself, I’m so very glad I finally set “sail to the place on the map, from which no one has ever returned…”      

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_BoAXopS54

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song of the day – “The Feeling Begins” (from THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST) | PETER GABRIEL | 1989.

Peter Gabriel is famous for taking his time in releasing studio albums – six years between SO and 1992’s US, 10 years between US and 2002’s UP, and eight years between UP and 2010’s covers concept album, SCRATCH MY BACK.  But every one of these albums was more than worth the wait, all exceptional in their own way.

a conspiracy of hopeBut, just because there was a gap between these albums doesn’t mean Peter Gabriel wasn’t busy.  For example, inbetween SO and US, Peter started his long association with Amnesty International and participated in all 28 of Amnesty’s Human Rights Concerts (a series of concerts that ran between 1986 and 1998), and of which also included the likes of U2, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, The Hooters, Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman and  Sinéad O’Connor.  Peter would perform at six Amnesty concert events in 1986 and another 20 in 1988, as well as the Secret Policeman’s Ball benefit shows.

In addition to his work with Amnesty International, Peter Gabriel did actually release a brilliant film score between SO and US, for the 1988 Martin Scorsese film, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST…but unlike most film soundtrack or scores, he didn’t release it right away.the last temptation of christ

Of the delay in releasing the film score, Peter Gabriel said, “After we finished mixing the film, there were some unfinished ideas that needed developing, and I took some extra time to complete this record.  There are several places the were not able to be included and I felt the record should be able to stand as a separate body of work.  I chose the working title for the film – PASSION.”

On this album, you’ll find music represented from many parts of the world, and musicians to match, hailing from the likes of Turkey, India (L. Shankar, Manny Elias), Egypt (Hossam Ramzy), Morocco, Senegal (Youssou N’Dour, Baaba Maal), Pakistan (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) and many more.  Several of these artists would appear on Peter Gabriel’s next album, 1992’s US, and later on their own compilation released by Peter’s label, Real World Records, the 1993 companion album, PLUS FROM US.

PASSION (Music From THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST) was released as a 2-album set (and on one CD and cassette) on June 5, 1989, nearly 10 months after the release of the film itself.  PASSION was well-received everywhere, being certified Gold here in the U.S., as well as receiving a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score – Motion Picture and winning a Grammy Award in 1990 for Best New Age Album, Peter’s first Grammy Award.  It has been long-regarded as a landmark album for the popularity of the World music genre.

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I have long-regarded this album as one of the most moving and beautiful bodies of music I have ever heard, and my passion for PASSION will stay with me forever.  If you are moved by today’s “song of the day,” “The Feeling Begins” (which is the album opener for PASSION) as much as I was the first time I heard it, I encourage you to continue that feeling and listen to the entire album. The PASSION will stay with you too…

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

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nothing compares 2 U.

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Niagara Falls lit up in purple, in honor of Prince…

It’s been 5 hours and 6 whole days… since I heard the news that shocked and saddened the entire planet – Prince was gone.

I was at work in Central Maine on the afternoon of Thursday, April 21, 2016, and a couple of hours away from heading 2 the Portland, Maine area 2 see Colin Hay perform.  A co-worker walked over 2 my cubie and said, “Prince died.”  I said, “That’s not funny.”  He wasn’t kidding.  And, a minute later, I confirmed it on the Interweb.  I felt bad 4 not believing him, but then again, I’m still in a bit of denial about the whole thing, even though I know he’s really gone.

After the New Year, I had reset my 5th Generation iPod (the last one with the wheel), and since then, I had only put a handful of Prince songs back on there, and that’s all I had with me the day he died. 

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Colin Hay, live at the Westbrook (Maine) Performing Arts Center, 4.21.2016.

That afternoon, on my hour-plus drive 2 see Colin Hay at the Westbrook (Maine) Performing Arts Center just outside of Portland, I was going up and down the radio dial 2 see if any radio stations were playing Prince.  I heard “Raspberry Beret” twice, “When Doves Cry” a few times, and “Let’s Go Crazy” too.  The afternoon DJ at the “younger” station of the 2 Classic Rock stations in Portland talked about how the Portland NBC station had been there 2 talk about Prince, but did he play a Prince song after that?  No!  He went into a Boston song.  Really?  They try coming across as hip when they’re anything but…  Effing commercial radio.  As 4 the “older” of the 2 Classic Rock stations in Portland – I didn’t hear any Prince at all. 

eiffel tower

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, lit up for Prince, 4.21.2016.

I even scanned the AM band 4 a bit, and came across this AM talk station (not sure where it’s out of), but they were talking about Prince, and how he wasn’t Little Richard or this person or that person.  C’mon!  You can’t compare Prince 2 anybody, especially on the day he died.  Show some respect already!  Nothing compares 2 Prince.  Yet one more reason I don’t listen 2 talk radio.  Effing blowhards.  Did Prince have the most No. 1 songs or the most singles ever?  No.  What he did have was a sensational gift 4 music, and he shared that music, and is prolly the only one who could have gotten away with writing about love, sex and God – all in the same song.  And there were many of those songs…

Colin Hay put on another amazing show hour after learning Prince died, and even did a little bit of “Little Red Corvette” for Prince, and for those in attendance.  He said it was a “weird day,” and it was, and it still is, but seeing Colin perform that night helped get me through the day…

princePrince’s first album, FOR YOU, was released in April 1978, but I didn’t learn about Prince until the next year, the year I started getting into music – 1979 (my first blog post is about that very subject).  From his self-titled second album, “I Wanna Be Your Lover” debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 the week of Thanksgiving 1979. 

I know I’ve said this before, but one of the things I loved most about listening 2 Casey Kasem and AMERICAN TOP 40 was the music trivia.  I’ve even incorporated it into my STUCK IN THE 80s radio shows on WMPG-FM and WMPG.org.  One of the first things I learned about “I Wanna Be Your Lover” is that Prince was just 21 when he released that song, and did everything on that song (and the PRINCE album too) – everything was written, arranged, composed, produced and performed by Prince.  I didn’t know of anyone else who did that.  And he was just 21 and recorded the album in 2 weeks!  Damn.

Well, it impressed me enough 2 buy the single (and later, the album too), and “I Wanna Be Your Lover” stopped at a respectable No. 11 for 2 weeks in January / February 1980 (and spent 2 weeks at No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s R&B chart).

cyndi when u were mine japanSince I was listening 2 (mostly) Top 40 radio in the early 80s, Prince’s next 2 albums, DIRTY MIND and CONTROVERSY, weren’t even on my radar until several years later.  In fact, it was Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 album, SHE’S SO UNUSUAL, that introduced me 2 Prince’s song, “When You Were Mine” (originally from his 1980 album, DIRTY MIND).  I would see Cyndi perform that song as part of the 30th Anniversary tour for SHE’S SO UNUSUAL back in October 2013.  It was a dream come true.  I am seeing Cyndi perform songs from her first Country album, DETOUR, in May 2016.  I am hoping she’ll play “When You Were Mine” in honor of Prince.

1999 albumPrince’s music returned 2 my life with the 1982 album, 1999.  The video 4 the first single, “Little Red Corvette,” was a groundbreaking video, as it was one of the first videos on MTV 2 feature an black recording artist (along with Michael Jackson).  I have 2 confess, when “Little Red Corvette” was climbing the charts (to a No. 6 peak on the Hot 100, his first Top 10 hit), I was not a big fan of the song.  It was okay, but I wasn’t digging it as much as I would later in life.  But I did buy the 2-album set (I think it was the first 2-album, non-hits collection set I ever knew about, and thought it was cool that someone was releasing a double album just 4 the sake of releasing a double album). 

chevy prince tribute

A very classy tribute from Chevrolet in honor of Prince, quoting a line from “Little Red Corvette…”

The single 4 the Cold War Classic “1999” might have been the reason I purchased  1999 the album.  Loved loved loved that song.  Took me years 2 learn what it was really about; not the kind of party song I took it for in my youth.  “1999” was actually the leadoff single 4 the album, but it stopped at No. 44 on the Hot 100 for a quick couple of weeks at the end of 1982.

1999 singleWith “Little Red Corvette” still in the Top 10 in early June 1983, “1999” re-entered the Hot 100 at No. 70, and 2 weeks later, quickly landed in the Top 40.  “1999” was on its way 2 the Top 10, when it got held up at No. 12 for 2 weeks in late July 1983.  But that’s not the end of the story for “1999.”

In late 1998, just before the year the song is named for, “1999” was re-issued a third time, and it even landed at No. 40 on the Hot 100 for one week.  I was in Washington, D.C. 4 New Year’s 1999, and it was amazing 2 hear that the song and the album, 1999, were all sold out everywhere. 

For New Year’s Eve, I was at a big venue 4 a big D.C. New Year’s party, and when they played “1999” as the song turned into the actual year, I admit I was caught up in it.  It’s funny, though, because “1999” the song is not about 1999 at all.  It’s about the Cold War (very much happening in 1982), and was about Prince expressing himself and his fears of of nuclear war.  So, “1999” the song was actually about 1999 turning into the year 2000, and 2 enjoy it, because by 2000, we most likely wouldn’t be around (“Party over, oops, out of time…”).

delirious1999’s third (proper) single was the short but fun “Delirious,” which spent a month at No. 8 in October / November 1983.  1999 was the album that made Prince a star.  But it was his next album that would turn him into a superstar…

1984’s PURPLE RAIN was a massive album, not just 4 that year, but 4 any year.  PURPLE RAIN gave Prince the biggest album of the year (No. 1 for 24 weeks; no other recording artist has matched that feat until Adele’s 21 album did this decade).  The album generated 5 Top 40 hits, including 4 Top 10 hits, and two of those were No. 1 songs, “Let’s Go Crazy” (2 weeks, September / October 1984) and the biggest single of the year (“When Doves Cry,” 5 weeks, July / August 1984). 

purple rain

PURPLE RAIN also garnered Prince 2 Grammy Awards and gave him the last-ever Academy Award handed out 4 Best Song Score.  PURPLE RAIN has gone on 2 become not only one of THE biggest soundtracks ever recorded, but one of THE biggest albums of all-time, selling over 13 million copies in the U.S. alone.  On a ROLLING STONE magazine list of the Top 25 Greatest Soundtracks of All Time, PURPLE RAIN was ranked at No. 2, behind The Beatles’ “Help.” 

purple rain poster

Upon hearing the news of Prince’s passing on Thursday, 4.21.2016, I don’t know why, but I had this sudden urge 2 hear “The Beautiful Ones,” the third of 9 songs on the album.  2 be honest, it was one of the songs I tended 2 skip over back in 1984, but today, I love it’s soulfulness, it’s beauty, and it’s love for, well, love.  I was good 2 play it on the show again 4 the first time since my 25th Anniversary Tribute show to PURPLE RAIN back in 2009.

There was no question in anyone’s mind that Prince loved making music.  Save for 1983 (unless U count the 2 albums for 1999) and 1993, Prince released an album every year between his 1978 debut through his last album 4 Warner Bros., CHAOS AND DISORDER, in 1996. 

around the world full LP cover

The full album cover for 1985’s AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY.

I loved the hits from 1985’s AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY (“Raspberry Beret,” No. 2; “Pop Life,” No. 7), and even once played the full 22-minute remix of “America” (which just missed the Top 40, No. 46) on an Independence Day show on STUCK IN THE 80s.prince parade

Like AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY, I enjoyed his hits from PARADE (songs from UNDER THE CHERRY MOON), notably his No. 1 song, “Kiss” (2 weeks at No. 1, April 1986) and the underrated follow-up single, “Mountains” (No. 23), which many folks have forgotten about I’m sure, but not me.  It was nice 2 actually get a request 4 this on my first of 2 Prince tributes this past Sunday night (4.24.2016).

As much as I adore PURPLE RAIN, it was Prince’s 1987 album, SIGN “O” THE TIMES, though, that ended up being my favorite Prince album of all-time.  SIGN “O” THE TIMES was another double album, which I again thought was pretty cool, and it a lot more depth and encompassed many genres – like Funk, Soul, Pop, Rock – than any other album I had ever heard from him. 

sign o the times

The cover art for Prince’s SIGN “O” THE TIMES…

The title track from SIGN “O” THE TIMES was the album’s first single, and right away, Prince was in groundbreaking mode again.  Infused in this classy Funk Pop song were lyrics about serious life issues concerning gang violence, drug abuse, the Challenger disaster, nuclear war and as much as he could include in 5 minutes.sign o the times single

Prince was not a fan of President Ronald Reagan, and was mentioned in Prince’s Cold War Classic “Ronnie, Talk To Russia” (from CONTROVERSY), and though Reagan knew about AIDS as early as the first year of his Presidency (1981), he was reluctant 2 talk about it for years.  “Sign ‘O’ The Times” was one of the first songs ever 2 mention AIDS, I think, in part, because Reagan wouldn’t.  “Sign ‘O’ The Times” was the first of 3 Top 10 hits from the album 4 Prince, and reached No. 3 in April 1987. 

if i was your girlfriendThe second single released from SIGN “O” THE TIMES was an interesting but bold choice, “If I Was Your Girlfriend.”  The song is told in a male perspective 2 a woman, or, would his girlfriend open up 2 him more if he was a female friend rather than her boyfriend.  TROUSER PRESS magazine said the song was one of the highlights on SIGN “O” THE TIMES, stating that the song “redefines a relationship in a surprisingly mature way.”  Though the song was a Top 20 U.K. hit, it was a little too intimate 4 U.S. radio, and it stopped at No. 67 (Keep in mind this was the same year that some U.S. radio stations wouldn’t even air the word “Sex” in George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex,” if they even aired the song at all.).

u got the look“U Got The Look” was the album’s third single, and with the help of Sheena Easton, it became the biggest single from the album, reaching No. 2 in October 1987.  The fourth and final single released from SIGN “O” THE TIMES was “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man,” which hit No. 10 in February 1988.  80s Alt-Rockers Flesh For Lulu and Sigue Sigue Sputnik have covered the song, as well as other bands like The Goo Goo Dolls and My Morning Jacket.  The song’s B-side, “Hot Thing,” wasn’t marketed as its own single, but got enough airplay 2 reach the Hot 100 on its own, peaking at No. 63.

I think all of SIGN “O” THE TIMES is brilliant, but some other songs from the album that stand out 4 me are the lovely “Starfish And Coffee,” the funky “Housequake” (“Shut up already! Damn.”), the epic 9-minute jam, “It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night,” and, the stirring, guitar-driven “The Cross,” which I think would have been an excellent choice 4 a single, but that’s me.lovesexy

Though I really didn’t get into Prince’s 1988 album, LOVESEXY, I did (and still do) enjoy “Alphabet St.” (No. 8) and “When 2 R In Love,” a ballad that was originally on 1987’s THE BLACK ALBUM, which was pulled so that the more radio-friendly LOVESEXY could be released instead (THE BLACK ALBUM remained a bootleg 4 many years, before finally getting a proper release in 1994; my favorite track on THE BLACK ALBUM, “Bob George,” prolly has more “motherfuckers” in it than the first DIE HARD movie).

batman

Fast forward to 1989.  BATMAN was the biggest film of the year.  In fact, at the time, its $251 million dollar gross 4 the movie starring Jack Nicholson as the Joker and Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader (still my favorite Batman)  made it the fifth-biggest film of all-time, behind JAWS, RETURN OF THE JEDI, STAR WARS and E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (nearly 30 years later, it’s ranked at No. 95 for all-time).  Prince had something 2 do with that success, as he was rightfully chosen 2 do the soundtrack. batdance

First single “Batdance” quickly became Prince’s fourth No. 1 song (August 1989), and the soundtrack spent 6 weeks at No. 1 on the BILLBOARD album chart.  Other Top 40 singles from the soundtrack included “Partyman” (No. 18) and another collaboration with Sheena Easton, the ballad “The Arms Of Orion” (No. 36).  Another single, “Scandalous!” was a Top 5 hit on the BILLBOARD R&B chart.  At a time where many cars came with cassette players in them, I played the hell out of the cassette version of this album.  One of my all-time favorite Prince albums, even if most people don’t even remember “Batdance.”

With the advent of the 1990s, I started 2 lose touch with Prince’s music, though it wasn’t all lost – I loved 2 songs from 1990’s PURPLE RAIN sequel, GRAFFITI BRIDGE: “Thieves In The Temple” (No. 6), and, a song he wrote, produced and sang backup vocals on for 13-year-old newcomer Tevin Campbell, “Round And Round” (No. 12). diamonds and pearls

I also loved the Top 40 singles from 1991’s DIAMONDS AND PEARLS album: “Gett Off” (No. 21), “Cream” (No. 1, 2 weeks, November 1991), the gorgeous “Diamonds And Pearls” (featuring Rosie Gaines; No. 3, February 1992), and the severely underrated “Money Don’t Matter 2 Night” (No. 23). 

1992’s LOVE SYMBOL ALBUM would be the last studio album 4 Prince released on Warner Bros. 2 go Platinum.  It gave us the gems “Sexy MF” (No. 66), “My Name Is Prince” (No. 36), “The Morning Papers” (No. 44), and, “7,” whose peak position gave chart nerds like me something 2 get extra nerdy about – it peaked at No. 7 in February 1993.love symbol album

After the LOVE SYMBOL ALBUM, much of my interest in the rest of Prince’s 90s work and beyond, much like that of the wonderful David Bowie, had waned.  I did, however, enjoy some of Prince’s later work, starting with “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” (3 weeks at No. 3, April / May 1994; to date his last Top 10 U.S. hit). 

I also enjoyed his cover of The Stylistics’ No. 3 1972 hit, “Betcha By Golly Wow!” (from his first album after leaving Warner Bros., a 1996 3-CD set appropriately titled EMANCIPATION).  Apparently, Prince had always wanted 2 do a cover of this song, but Warner Bros. never allowed him 2 do it.  Once he was out of his Warner Bros. contract, it gave him the freedom 2 not just do that cover song on EMANCIPATION, but covers of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make U Love Me,” “The Delfonics’ “La, La, La Means I Love You” and Joan Osborne’s 1995 hit, “One Of Us” (written by The Hooters’ Eric Bazilian). emancipation

In 1999, Warner Bros. released THE VAULT: OLD FRIENDS FOR SALE, an album submitted by Prince three years earlier, with songs recorded between 1985 and 1994.  It was the last album of his Warner Bros. contract, and it appears that they wanted 2 get a jump on Prince’s actual new album that year, RAVE UN2 THE JOY FANTASTIC, with a fantastic cover of Sheryl Crow’s “Every Day Is A Winding Road.”  The strategy of Warner Bros. did not work.  RAVE not only charted higher (No. 18 vs. No. 85 for VAULT), but it was certified Gold.

musicologyIn January 2001, I became the Music Director 4 WMPG, originally a volunteer position that turned into a University of Southern Maine job 3 1/2 years later.  It was the best job I ever had, something that was truly tailored 4 me.  In that time, at least 3 of his albums that decade were released to college radio – 2004’s MUSICOLOGY, his first double-platinum album since 1991’s DIAMONDS AND PEARLS.  A great deal of the success of this album came with Prince’s brilliant idea 2 include a copy of the album with tickets 2 his concerts, a feature that has become more commonplace today with many artists (my tickets 2 Duran Duran included copies of the new album). 

3121The 2006 album 3121 brought Prince back 2 the top of the BILLBOARD Album chart, and included the funky “Black Sweat” and beautiful “Te Amo Corazón,” a No. 7 hit in Italy.  His 2007 album, PLANET EARTH featured my favorite on the album, “Guitar,” which was a favorite in Japan as well, reaching the Top 10 there.  After PLANET EARTH, Prince left my music radar again until last year’s brilliant and poignant protest song “Baltimore.”

“Baltimore” was initially a digital-only single eventually released on Prince’s HITnRUN PHASE TWO album earlier this year, and was in response 2 the fatal police shooting of Freddie Gray in Baltimore in April 2015.  Six Baltimore police officers were charged in the death of Freddie Gray.  I think “Baltimore” is one of THE best songs Prince ever did.  He even did a Rally 4 Peace concert in Baltimore on Mother’s Day 2015.  I hope those who didn’t know the song “Baltimore” existed while Prince was still alive will discover it now.

baltimore

The poster 4 Prince’s Baltimore Concert / Rally, Mother’s Day, 2015.

One of the things I loved about Prince was that he fought hard 2 put out the music he wanted 2 put out, even if it always didn’t work out with his record label.  Prince was unwavered as he was at the top of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC)’s 1985 list of the “Filthy Fifteen,” a list of songs (mostly Pop and Metal songs) the group, co-founded by Tipper Gore, found “objectionable.” parental advisory

This is the group that gave us those “parental advisory” stickers on CDs and albums that everyone loves so much, and is pretty much irrelevant today.  I’m sure such a group couldn’t keep up with all the “filthy” lyrics in today’s music.  Prince’s “Darling Nikki” and “Sugar Walls,” the song he wrote 4 birthday girl Sheena Easton under pseudonym “Alexander Nevermind”) topped the list.  (4 some reason, Tipper Gore must have skipped over his song, “Erotic City.”  Or maybe, she really liked it and that’s why it wasn’t on the list.)  Madonna’s “Dress You Up” and Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop” were on the list as well.

a love bizarrePrince was so incredibly talented, a truly gifted musician, singer, songwriter and actor who never forgot where he came from.  He was also very generous.  He contributed countless dollars 2 charities in the Minneapolis, MN area (where he lived his entire life), he gave parties at his Paisley Park estate (on the conditions of no smoking, no drinking and no swearing), and he wrote many songs that ended up being hits 4 other recording artists, like “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinéad O’Connor, “The Glamorous Life” and “A Love Bizarre” 4 Sheila E., “Jungle Love” by The Time, “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan (originally from his self-titled second album), the aforementioned “Sugar Walls” by Sheena Easton, and “Manic Monday” by The Bangles (under the pseudonym “Christopher”), which was ranked at No. 2 behind his own “Kiss” at No. 1 in 1986. 

AON tom jones kissSpeaking of “Kiss,” two great cover versions of that song were released – in 1986 by U.K. Alt-Rock band Age Of Chance, and the only American Top 40 hit 4 The Art Of Noise out of London featuring the pride of Wales, Tom Jones.  It spent 2 weeks at No. 31 on the Hot 100 in January 1989, reached No. 1 in New Zealand and Spain, and the Top 10 in 8 countries, including the U.K.

It’s funny – I’d like 2 think I know a lot about 80s music, but it’s kinda cool 2 learn something new, even after more than 25 years since the end of the decade.  After Prince died, all of these stories surfaced throughout the Internet about him, including lists of the songs he wrote that were hits for other artists.  One of these songs was the Top 5 1983 Stevie Nicks hit, “Stand Back.”  Stevie Nicks wrote the song, but according a ROLLING STONE piece, she says the song “belongs to Prince.”

stand backIt was the day of her wedding, and on the way to her honeymoon, she heard “Little Red Corvette” for the first time.  Humming along 2 Prince’s song, Stevie Nicks wrote all of “Stand Back” that day.  The day she was 2 record “Stand Back,” Stevie Nicks called Prince 2 tell him the story of how the song came about.  Less than a half hour later, Prince showed up at her studio, and “walked over to the synthesizers that were set up, was absolutely brilliant for about 25 minutes and then left.  He spoiled me for every band I’ve ever had because nobody can exactly recreate – not even with two piano players – what Prince did all by his little self.”

One of the many things I admired about Prince is that he did extended remixes of his B-sides, like “Erotic City” (the B-side of “Let’s Go Crazy”) and “La, La, La, He, He, Hee” (the B-side of “Sign ‘O’ The Times”).  I can’t think of anyone else who did that!

erotic city

prince gold purple rain award4 a short time in late 2005 and early 2006, I owned a copy of an authentic Recording Association Industry Association of America (RIAA) Gold record 4 PURPLE RAIN.  I had just quit a longtime job in Portland, cashed out my 401K (which I don’t recommend) at the end of the year (which I especially don’t recommend), and it was an impulse purchase while i was inbetween jobs.  But, when I couldn’t find another job right away, I  needed the money, and basically got my money back.  I don’t even have a picture of it, though the small picture included here is what it would have looked like.  Now some people online are selling their gold records similar 2 this 4 thousands of dollars.  Greedy bastards.

4 U prince tributes 2016

I’m doing 2 tribute shows 2 Prince (called 4 U).  The first tribute show aired this past Sunday (4.24.2016) and it was weird, mainly in the sense that I was constantly getting choked up and jamming 2 the music at the same time.  Never had a feeling like that before, not even with David Bowie.  But, the show was well-received, a lot of people tuned in and contributed.  Some folks commented on how I played songs they hadn’t heard of before (prolly like “Baltimore” and “4 The Tears In Your Eyes,” a song that originally appeared on the WE ARE THE WORLD album in 1985).  There was even a Prince song I had forgotten about that was requested by a listener – “Good Love,” from the 1988 soundtrack 2 the Michael J. Fox film, BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY.

empire state

The Empire State Building lit up in Purple for Prince…

This week, the outpouring 4 Prince’s music has been phenomenal.  With just a half-day of tracking 4 the charts, Prince is now at No. 1 with the 2001 compilation, THE VERY BEST OF PRINCE, and No. 2 with PURPLE RAIN. 

And, six of his Top 40 gems are back on the Hot 100, led by “Purple Rain” at No. 17.  With just that half a day of tracking, I’m betting he’ll have an even bigger week next week.  I always thought that Prince’s signature song, “Purple Rain,” should have reigned at No. 1 in late 1984, but was denied the top spot by Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.”  Wouldn’t it be something if “Purple Rain” could be his last No. 1 song?  At the very least, it was the No. 1-selling song of last week, which is pretty impressive 4 a 1984 song in a 21st-century digital world…

On the day Prince died, my dear and über-talented friend, Hope, put out a short but fitting post on her amazing blog, HEXBREAKER (hexbreaker9.wordpress.com), which included a cool quote from Eric Clapton I never knew existed until her post: When asked what it feels like to be the best guitarist alive, Eric Clapton said, “I don’t know. Ask Prince.”

purple rain single

A future No. 1 song in America, more than 30 years after its release?  Would be nice to have Prince’s signature song reach the top of the BILLBOARD Hot 100…

My goal was 2 have this blog post out over the past weekend.  When I started on Sunday, 4.24.2016, it had only been 0 hours and 3 days since Prince had passed away.  But, as it turned out, I had a lot 2 say; I couldn’t stop writing.  4 those folks who have been kind enough 2 read through 4,000+ words of my love 4 Prince, I thank U.  I’ll be back 2 regular posts soon, but I wanted 2 get this one 2 U first, and remember Prince in the best way I know how. 

We’ve lost a lot of heavy hitters in the music world this year.  I had just gotten my David Bowie tattoo 8 days before Prince’s passing.  While I won’t get be getting a tattoo of Prince, or a “Little Red Corvette” anytime soon (budget won’t allow it), I’m betting my next car’s color will be purple.  Perhaps I’ll name her Nikki too.  Maybe Prince would have like that. 

R.I.P. Prince and thank U, 4 your music, your generosity, your energy, and 4 standing up 4 what U believed in.  I believe at some point it’s going 2 finally hit me hard that U R gone, and when that happens, I’ll cry, I’ll say a couple prayers, and I’ll thank U again, 4 being a part of my life 4 all these years.  Peace and love 2 U, wherever you are. 

P.S: Chevy was right – “Baby that was much too fast…”

Prince UK 2011

song of the day – “It’s My Life” | TALK TALK | 1984.

On this date (3.24) in 1984, London New Wave band Talk Talk debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 with their second American hit (1982’s “Talk Talk” reached No. 75), and one of my all-time favorite songs, “It’s My Life.”  It’s the title track of the band’s second album.

talk talk it's my life

“It’s My Life” was their fifth chart single in their U.K. homeland, but stopped at No. 46.  Here in the U.S., it fared better, spending 2 weeks at No. 31 in May 1984 and a week at No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart.  Sadly, it was the only time they reached the Top 40 (in 4 tries) here in America.  Around the globe, “It’s My Life” was a No. 7 hit in Italy, and reached the Top 40 in at least 5 other countries.

It took six years, a second re-release of the single and a greatest hits collection (NATURAL HISTORY: THE VERY BEST OF TALK TALK) for “It’s My Life” to become their biggest U.K. hit, reaching No. 13 there.

no doubt it's my lifeNearly 20 years after the 1984 release of “It’s My Life,” Gwen Stefani and No Doubt’s updated and faithful cover of “It’s My Life” (also supported by a greatest hits collection) fared even better than the Talk Talk original.  Co-produced with Nellee Hooper, who has worked with the likes of Sinéad O’Connor, Soul II Soul, Björk, Massive Attack, Madonna and U2, the No Doubt cover of “It’s My Life” found new life and then some, and it was a Top 10 hit in at least 11 countries worldwide, including No. 1 in Poland and a No. 10 peak on the Hot 100 in January / February 2004.  It was even nominated for a Grammy Award.

I know my singles chart nerdiness has been a bit more prominent in today’s post.  It’s partly because I AM a singles chart nerd and I love finding out what a song did on the Hot 100 and other charts worldwide, and it’s partly because I’m really tired.  Many people have their own take on the meaning of this song, but as for my take, I think, simply, it’s a statement of reclaiming your life and calling people out who challenge that…

“It’s my life / Don’t you forget…” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ixRWvrkUHo

talk talk