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Come DANCING – Dancing Songs

Two weeks ago my music blog featured songs with the word Dance in the title, with David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” as its inspiration.  Today’s blog will somewhat expand on the theme with Dancing Songs.  After releasing my Dance blog, I received several suggestions of Dancing songs to add to the playlist, though I deferred adding, as the songs were already part of this planned playlist of Dancing songs.  So for those who suggested those Dancing songs, here they are.

In addition to the title song by the Kinks, some favorites include Van Halen’s or Martha & The Vandellas “Dancing In The Streets,” Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark,” King Harvest’s “Dancing In The Moonlight.”  Then there’s a little disco flurry with Leo Sayer’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” which I thought for the longest time was sung by the Bee Gees.  There are some great compilation videos on YouTube.  This first one with old school dance scenes featuring the likes of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Shirley Temple:

And another featuring more recent famous movie and TV show scenes, created as a class project:

The Bee Gees are included with “You Should Be Dancing” made famous by John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever”:

With younger brother Andy’s “Shadow Dancing”:

And Abba’s “Dancing Queen” getting a whole Greek village dancing in “Mamma Mia”:

Then there’s Pet Shop Boys’ “Domino Dancing” that I first heard in Macy’s cool teen floor in NYC in the 80’s.  Filmed in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the video is hot in more ways than one:

And before his tenure as American Idol judge, Lionel Richie was “Dancing On The Ceiling”:

Which reminds me of the old Fred Astaire dance scene from “Royal Wedding”, some 35 years before Lionel, in 1951:

I love that the YouTube poster clarifies “Of course Fred Astaire doesn’t really dance on the walls and ceiling.  The entire set rotated as Fred danced…”

Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Bring On The Dancing Horses” was made famous in John Hughes’ third Molly Ringwald feature “Pretty In Pink,” following “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club.”  Other great songs appearing on that soundtrack, which I still own in vinyl, include The Psychedelic Furs title song, as well as Suzanne Vega’s “Left Of Center,” Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark (OMD)’s “If You Leave” Danny Hutton, of Three Dog Night Fame, with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” and The Smiths “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want,” among others, mostly songs of teen angst.  Also in the movie is one of my favorite musical scenes, one which turned me on to Otis Redding – who can forget Duckie dancing for all he’s worth to Otis’ “Try A Little Tenderness” – so great:

And while having no songs on the playlist, it’s hard to think about Dancing songs without images of several scenes from “Dirty Dancing” coming to mind,:

“Hey Baby” with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray dancing on a log:

“Wipeout” with iconic scene with Jennifer Gray dancing on the bridge:

“Love Is Strange” lip synching to Mickey & Sylvia:

And of course, the finale scene “(I Had) The Time Of My Life”:

Interestingly, I stumbled upon their screen test for the movie, which is equally beautiful:

In a similar vein, “Footloose” conjures up some great dancing memories as well, with teens bringing dancing to their conservative town:

Going a little further back, who can forget Jennifer Beals (actually Irene Cara) in “Flashdance” thrilling her audience with her steal the show dancing scene with “Maniac”:

Then her final dance scene, with “What A Feeling”:

And scenes from the movie, definitely worth a watch for some early 80’s schmaltz:

And while featured in my Dance song blog “DANCE With Me,” this video compilation of famous movie dance scenes is too good to leave off:

So on to the playlist.  I think you’ll enjoy it.  Lots of great Dancing songs to tap your feet to:

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen (Dancing) to the MUSIC!

Play Something SWEET – Sweet Songs

On April 17, 1971 all 4 Beatles had solo singles in the UK charts with “Power To The People” by John, “Another Day” by Paul, “My Sweet Lord” by George, and “It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo.  It seems appropriate with Easter falling on April 17th this year to feature a playlist containing the song “My Sweet Lord” with Lord connecting with the religious aspect of the holiday, and Sweet to the secular celebration with the Easter Bunny and candy.  The theme of the playlist is songs containing the word “Sweet” in their title.

Harrison’s song was the first solo No.1 by a former Beatle.  He originally gave the song to Billy Preston to record.  This video version with Preston singing vocals features Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame), Dhani Harrison (George’s son) on guitars, with Paul McCartney on piano and Ringo Starr on drums.

Harrison’s song however does not reference the Judeo-Christian God Yaweh, but instead is in celebration of the Hindu god Krishna.  Featured on Harrison’s studio version are Preston, Ringo, Clapton, and Badfinger.  The song was one of Harrison and Preston’s favorites.

“My Sweet Lord” became the target of a copyright infringement lawsuit due to similarities to the 1963 Chiffons hit “He’s So Fine”. Harrison denied intentionally plagiarizing, though admitted to subconsciously lifting some of the melody was possible.  He admitted to borrowing some melodic lines from the out-of-copyright Christian hymn “Oh Happy Day.”  You be the judge:

“My Sweet Lord” superimposed with “He’s So Fine”:

“My Sweet Lord” and “Oh Happy Day” mashup:

While a few songs on the playlist don’t include the word “Sweet” in their title or lyrics, they seemed appropriate to include, for as a child, to me they were the epitome of sweets and treats.  I looked forward to watching “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” every year when it came on TV, back in the day before streaming, Blu-ray, DVD, and even VCR tapes.  I actually played Charlie in our 5th grade class production of “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory” (the original title of Ronald Dahl’s book, with Willy Wonka becoming the marketable feature of the movie thus the name change), perhaps because I was the smallest kid in my class!

The best candy store we had ever seen as kids, featured in “Candy Man”:

And Gene Wilder frolicking around the most heavenly candy room imaginable in “Pure Imagination.”  What we would have given to have our own golden ticket and entry to the candy room of every kid’s dreams:

And every year we couldn’t wait to see “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”:

But as they say, the reason for the season, in the Christian faith, best summarized in this video version of “New Again”:

On a different note, with a heavy heart I feel compelled pay tribute to my faithful pup who finally lost her valiant battle with heart disease this weekend.  She was a companion at my side for 10 years, often with her head on my lap while I had to use my laptop “side-saddle” to free up my lap for her.  And she slept on my pillow above my head at night, or in the crook of my arm, or with her head on my shoulder.  She was my little little girl.  I will miss her.

If you haven’t read “The Art Of Racing In The Rain” you should.  It’s very worth a read.  I haven’t watched the movie yet, but intend to.  The end scene I found on YouTube brings some comfort to a grieving heart:

Back to the playlist.  One song to highlight is “Sweet Caroline.”  During the 1997 game at Fenway, Amy Tobey, one of the employees in charge of music at the ballpark, played “Sweet Caroline” because a friend of hers had recently given birth to a baby named Caroline.  She became superstitious about its use over the next several years, only playing the song between the seventh and ninth innings when the Red Sox were in the lead.

That all changed in 2002 when the new Executive VP of Public Affairs Dr. Charles Steinberg set sight on making the song an integral part of the Fenway experience.  He requested the song be played at every game prior to the Red Sox batting in the 8th inning feeling the song had transformative powers to lift the spirits of the crowd and cheer on the team. 

“Sweet Caroline” figuring prominently in Fever Pitch

Neil Diamond further cemented the tie of the song to the Sox and Boston itself, revealing in 2007 that the song was about New England’s own Carline Kennedy.  He claimed he was inspired by a photograph he saw in a magazine of the 9 year-old Kennedy next to her pony impeccably dressed in her riding gear.  He has since recanted the story, stating the song was written about his wife, changing her name as the song musically called for a 3-syllables.  Whatever the inspiration, it has become an indelible part of the Boston experience:

And now for the playlist:

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the SWEET MUSIC!

DANCE To The Music – Dance Songs

On April 9th 1983, David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” hit No1 on the UK singles chart, his 4th of 5 UK No.1 hits (along with “Space Oddity” (1975), “Ashes to Ashes” (1980), “Under Pressure” with Queen (1981), and subsequently “Dancing in the Street” with Mick Jagger (1985).  Unbeknownst to me, the song featured blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.  In re-listening to the song, I can hear his licks, though I feel Bowie severely underused his talent.

Bowie’s song lends the theme of today’s playlist, songs featuring the word “Dance” in their title, with a few “Danced” songs thrown in for good measure.  Though “Dancing” songs are not included, as they will be the topic of another playlist.

Along with Bowie’s classic, some other greats include the likes of “Do You Wanna Dance,” “Dance The Night Away,” “Dance To The Music,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “Last Dance,” “Dance With Me,” “Don’t Forget to Dance,” “Safety Dance,” and “Dance Hall Days.”

The lead song “Shut Up And Dance” is so much fun, and while the original video is great:

the movie compilation version is just amazing and a trip down movie memory lane:

While not on the playlist, I couldn’t help but include this video version of “Uptown Funk” in the blog post, as its such a great compilation of dance scenes from old Hollywood classics:

And Josh Turner’s “Why Don’t We Just Dance” has a similar “through the years” feel to it:

Then stepping back to 1987, for some classic Whitney with “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”:

A bit earlier in the 80s, 1983 to be exact, were the Kinks advising “Don’t Forget to Dance”:

Wang Chung provides more 80s fare with “Dance Hall Days.” Though who knew they had so many video versions. Two from the 80s, with this:

And this:

And then a modern update video that’s kinda fun:

With a more recent performance with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, and though much older, still able to Wang Chung tonight…

And if the 80s couldn’t get any zanier, Men Without Hats steps in the ring with their shenanigans in “Safety Dance”:

And Van Halen’s hard rock of 1979 with “Dance The Night Away”:

How about a little disco from Donna Summer with “Last Dance” in 1978:

Sly and the Family Stone’s performance of “Dance To The Music,” Soul Train gives insight to the late 60s to early 70s

There are some hidden gem romantic songs among the list, including Five For Fighting’s “This Dance,” Brad Paisley’s “We Danced,” and Steven Curtis Chapman’s “We Will Dance.”

And we will dance
When the sun is shining
In the pouring rain
We’ll spin and we’ll sway
And we will dance
When the gentle breeze
Becomes a hurricane
The music will play
And I’ll take your hand
And hold you close to me
And we will dance

Steven Curtis chapman “we will dance”

And while not including “Dance” in the title, this song just exudes dance from every note.  I just saw Steven Curtis Chapman live.  He was outstanding, and played this song in remembrance of his 5 year old daughter who died tragically.  This song has been the father-daughter dance song at many a wedding. 

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
‘Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella
I don’t wanna miss even one song
‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she’ll be gone

steven curtis chapman “Cinderella”

Since Garth Brooks still isn’t available on Spotify, I thought I’d include a video of “The Dance” from GMA.  I danced to this song with my mom at my wedding as a tribute to my dad who had passed away several years prior:

And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance

garth Brooks “the dance”

If you haven’t had a chance to watch Garth’s two-part special on Netfilx “The Road I’m On,” do so.  It’s so good, definitely worth a watch.  He’s quite a performer and person.

And to close out the blog post, this song, “Dance With My Father” seems appropriate, though I just discovered this version while researching videos.  I’m not sure how I never heard Celine’s version.  While it’s hard to imagine anyone being able to equal the vocal prowess of Luther Vandross on such a song, Celine is just the singer to be able to do so. And while sad, this song, along with Garth’s “The Dance” is a plea to not take moments with those we love for granted, and to cherish such memories that keep our loved once close after they pass:

If I could get another chance
Another walk, another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
How I’d love, love, love to dance with my father again

Luther vandross “dance with my father”

Though these two songs are a bit sad, overall the playlist is fun and upbeat, with lots of classic “Dance” songs.  Enjoy dancing to the music!

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen (and Dance) to the MUSIC!

Poor Little FOOL – Fool Songs in Celebration of April Fools Day

April 1st continues to be a day of jokes and pranks.  As a kid we looked forward to finding fun ways to prank friends and family without getting into too much trouble.  April Fool’s Day serves as the theme for this week’s music blog and playlist, songs with the word “Fool” or it’s derivatives.

Speculation suggests an association between April 1st and foolishness in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392). In the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale,” a vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox on ‘since March began thirty days and two,’ or 32 days since March began, which is April 1st.  However, there is some uncertainty of this reference as the text also states the story takes place on the day when the sun is ‘in the sign of Tuarus had y-rune Twenty degrees and on,’ which would not be April 1st.  Modern scholars believe there is a copying error in the manuscrips and that Chaucer actually wrote ‘syn March was gon,’ or 32 days after March, which is May 2nd, also the anniverstary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia in 1381.  Reference is made to April Fools’ Day in a 1561 poem by Flemish poet Eduard de Dene of a nobleman who sends his servants on foolish errands on 1 April.  For centuries countries have carried on a tradition of practical jokes and hoaxes on this day.

While widely celebrated worldwide, the day is a national holiday in only Cyprus and the Ukraine.  In Odessa, Ukraine, the day’s festivities include a large parade in the city center, free concerts, street performers and fairs.  Festival participants dress in costume and walk around the city fooling around and pranking passersby.  It’s difficult to imagine that happened today in the Ukraine.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Songs include some great foolishness, with the likes of Supertramp’s “Fool’s Overture,” Cinderella’s “Nobody’s Fool,” Led Zeppelin’s “Fool In The Rain,” The Doobie Brothers’ “What A Fool Believes,” Steely Dan’s “Only A Fool Would Say That,” The Beatles “The Fool On The Hill,” The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and “Def Leppard’s “Foolin’,” among others.

Kicking off the playlist, Supertramp’s Fool’s Overture is an epic orchestral arrangement with iconic 70s vocals by Roger Hodgson, not to mention a classic album cover:

Continuing on in the 70s with some Doobies, with “What A Fool Believes”:

Still in the 70s musically, but with movie dance scenes through the years, this video of “Only A Fool Would Say That,” while not concert footage of Steely Dan, is still so much fun:

Venturing further back to the 60s, 1967 to be exact, where Paul McCartney was in France filming “The Fool On The Hill” sequence to be used in the Beatles film “Magical Mystery Tour.”

And back to the 70s, the energy of the Who in this video of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is remarkable:

And continuing on into the 80s with amazing energy by a band is Def Leppard with “Foolin’”:

And Tommy Shaw carrying 70s rock into the 21st century, updating Styx’ “Fooling Yourself” with a live orchestra.

And Slash slaying it with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators just this year:

And for foolish ballads, it doesn’t get much better than Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb with “What Kind Of Fool”:

Except perhaps for Aaron Neville, where “Everybody Plays The Fool”:

And Daryl Hall, so stuck in the 80s, can’t give up his “Foolish Pride”:

Daryl has parlayed his musical talent and into an amazing showcase of classic rock legends and future superstars with “Live from Daryl’s House.”  From his website:

Daryl Hall started Live From Daryl’s House, the free monthly web show in late 2007, after having the idea of “playing with my friends and putting it up on the Internet,” and the show has since garnered acclaim from Rolling Stone, SPIN, Daily Variety, CNN, BBC, Yahoo! Music and influential blogger Bob Lefsetz, who have cited Live From Daryl’s House as a perfect example of a veteran artist reinventing himself in the digital age by collaborating with both established colleagues and newer performers.

If you haven’t watched any of his performances, with the likes of Billy Gibbons, Cee Lo Green, Cheap Trick, Darius Rucker, Daughtry, Joe Walsh, Rob Thomas, Sammy Hagar, Jason Mraz, Smokey Robinson, Neon Trees, Gavin Degraw, Tommy Shaw, Train, Wyclef Jean, you have to check it out:

So now on to the playlist.  There are some great fool song I think you’ll enjoy.  Happy April Fools Day.

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

Big Bad BILL Is Sweet WILLIM Now – Birth-Day Celebration

In honor of my very own birthday, I thought I’d share a playlist of songs featuring my name.  How much more vain can I get (see Carly Simon reference below, lol!)?  I was named after my Great Uncle Bill, who was a marine infantry veteran of WWII, stationed in the Pacific.  I love that I am his namesake, as he was a wonderful, caring, loving presence in my life.

Born March 30th, National Doctor’s Day, I suppose I was destined to be a doctor.  The first Doctor’s Day observance was March 28, 1933 in Georgia.  It was decreed a national day by George Bush in 1990.  March 30th was chosen to commemorate the first use of general anesthesia in surgery in 1842 in Jefferson, GA.

I was also destined to be a lover of music, with several great musicians born the same day as me:

1913 – Frankie Laine
1942 – Graeme Edge, The Moody Blues drummer
1945 – Eric Clapton, solo as well as with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers,
Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominoes
1962 – MC Hammer
1964 – Tracy Chapman
1968 – Celine Dion
1979 – Norah Jones, daughter of Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar
1984 – Justin Moore
1990 – Thomas Rhett

Also a few prominent artists were born on this day:

1746 – Francisco de Goya

1853 – Vincent Van Gogh

Not to mention some prominent actors:

1930 – Jon Astin , Gomez Addams in the Addams Family

1937 – Warren Beatty, actor in “Bugsy,” “Dick Tracy,” and “Reds,” a legend in his own mind, prompting Carly Simon to pen the song “You’re So Vain” about him

1950 – Robbie Coltrane, Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies

1957 – Paul Reiser, of “Mad About You” fame

1964 – Ian Zeiring, of “Beverly Hills 90210” fame

1971 – Marc Consuelos, husband to Kelly Ripa, both former costars on “All My Children”

Also on this day:

“Jeopardy!” premiered in 1964

“Romancing the Stone” was released in 1984

“Beetlejuice” was released in 1988

“Spy Kids” was released in 2001

The playlist includes songs featuring Bill, Billy, William, and Willie in their title.  Some prominent songs when I was growing up included Bo Donaldson’s “Billy Don’t Be A Hero,” Billy Joel’s “Ballad Of Billy The Kid,” Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Willie The Wimp,” Sweet’s “Little Willie,” Van Halen’s “Big Bad Bill Is Sweet William Now,” and though not in the title of The 5th Dimension’s “Wedding Bell Blues” it certainly figures in the refrain “’till you marry me Bill.”

There are 4 versions of the song “Willie and Laura Mae Jones.” I first heard this song as the Persuasion’s version when visiting a girlfriend at the time in Tacoma, WA. I was amazed at the vocal performance that seemed to come from the basement. This acapella style singing group with some other great songs on the album Chirpin’, including “Papa Oom Mow Mow,” “Moonlight And Music,” “Sixty Minute Man,” “Win Your Love For Me,” and “To Be Loved.” Check them out. The other versions were included as they were excellent and very different sounding interpretations of this song, originally performed by Tony Joe White.

I also included a song from each of the artists born on my birthday.  Additionally, a pediatric colleague of mine with whom I worked 20 or so years ago was also born on the 30th. I couldn’t find any songs with “Hector” in the title but did find an artist named Hector with 45+ million listens to some of his songs, so I included one here. Happy Birthday Hector (and me)! Definitely a playlist with some obscure songs, though the first and last handful of songs on the list are pretty great.

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

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