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Reunion & Notalgia – Dartmouth Class of ’88 35th (36th) Reunion Playlists

REUNION

Oxford Dictionary definition:

noun. /ˌriːˈjuːniən/ /ˌriːˈjuːniən – a social occasion or party attended by a group of people who have not seen each other for a long time

From NonProfitPRO.com

An institution’s alumni are a reflection of its past, a representation of its present and a link to its future. An alumni reunion is a memorable event where attendees can relive the past by getting nostalgic and reminiscing about the good old days with former classmates

A reunion allows conversations about life stories and choices made throughout life. 

The link with alma mater is important, from graduation to the end of life. Institutions need alumni to provide time, talent, and treasure. Schools want alumni to consider returning to their alma mater to learn more, recommend future students, give resources, employ graduates and a host of positive engagement factors. Meanwhile alumni want their alma mater to stay in touch to learn about future events, stay connected with faculty, learn about institutional progress, ensure continual communication with classmates and more. 

At a certain stage of life, it is all about having the chance to celebrate life. At my last high school reunion, I thanked my best friend for his role, so many years ago, in making my high school years extra special.     

At first you wonder who all these old people are, until you realize you are one of them.

NOSTALGIA

Cambridge Dictionary definition:

noun. /nəˈstældʒə/ , /nɑˈstældʒə – a feeling of sadness mixed with pleasure and affection when you think of happy times in the past 

Oxford Dictionary definition:

a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Bill, Jim, Kelly, and Di – Dartmouth ’88 friends for life…

Then and now – Laura, Phil, Val, and Bill, Dartmouth College football cheer pals, Memorial Field 1986 or 1987, and the Bema 2024… Nostalgia…

The memories we make in our childhood are the ones we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

The mud and dirt will wash off, but the childhood memories will last a lifetime.

In childhood, we press our noses to the pane, looking out. In childhood memories, we press our noses to the pane, looking in.

robert brault

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

Robert brault

Nostalgia: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

oxford dictionary

Perhaps no one can invoke a greater sense of nostalgia for Dartmouth than good old Daniel Webster:

It is, sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet there are those who love it.

Daniel webster

Or perhaps Eddie and the Cruisers can help reminisce:

Hey man, you got some fine college here, All the advantages, You got Ivory walls, lecture halls, full dressed balls…

Eddie

Our reunion was steeped in nostalgia. We had such a variety of structured activities to reconnect and recollect in so many ways, including hiking, biking, kayaking, meditation, yoga, a variety of talks, including from our esteemed president of the college, Sian Leah Bellock, comedian extraordinaire Rachel Dratch, Moth Talks, college updates, meeting with and hearing from faculty, including our own Tim Ambrose, service events, a memorial service, Baker Bell Tower tours, evening  ‘tails and socials, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, bands, music and dancing, including our famed silent disco. There was something for everyone. And with such a great turnout many of us were able to catch up with and just enjoy spending time in the presence of old friends, as well as making new friends.

Remember the NonProfitPRO.com description of the purpose of reunions:

The link with alma mater is important, from graduation to the end of life. Institutions need alumni to provide time, talent, and treasure. Schools want alumni to consider returning to their alma mater to learn more, recommend future students, give resources, employ graduates and a host of positive engagement factors. Meanwhile alumni want their alma mater to stay in touch to learn about future events, stay connected with faculty, learn about institutional progress, ensure continual communication with classmates and more. 

And that is exactly what we did. And did it with zeal and joy! Such an amazing, energizing, therapeutic weekend, recalling stories and memories of the past, updates of our journeys to the present, and hopes for the future, so comforting to the soul.

At Dartmouth, how lucky were we to have such a beautiful campus, great outdoors, with personal, intimate attention and inspiration from professors, in addition to the ability to develop strong bonds of friendship, with memories of events to last a lifetime. We have much to be nostalgic of and reminisce about. And a reunion is the perfect place to do so, spending time with those with whom we shared such intense relationships.

In my personal life, the warm glow of nostalgia amplifies good memories and minimizes bad ones about experiences and relationships, encouraging us to revisit and renew our ties with friends and family.

stephanie coontz

When I think back on my senior year of college, I remember not a day passing without having absolute fun with my friends, whether it was cheerleading practice or games, with road-tripping to the other Ivies; working out at the gym; sharing a meal, including wings at Hoveys, chicken sandwiches or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at Topside, frozen yogurt with mix-ins at the Hop, EBA’s chicken sandwich or all-you-can-eat pasta, C&A’s pizza, margarita night at Bentleys; playing cards on the Green or late at night in Wheeler; listening to music or late night talks and debates with friends; late-night bowling, usually when the next day there were papers due or exams to study for; rambling along frat row for Friday and Saturday parties; just daily all-around goodness and fun. Though such nostalgia fails to acknowledge the long hours of studying, time spend in classes, interpersonal drama – those things get pushed from our memory for the most part, recalling all that was pure and good and fun. And so should it be. Life is too short to dwell on the tough times, apart from learning from them, and to not recall, cherish and celebrate the good.

Music evokes many feelings, memories, nostalgia, and things connected to our past. – Olga Kurylenko.

olga kurylenko

Again, music definitely evokes feelings, memories, and notalgia, and things connected to our past – such wonderful shared music – so many songs can bring me and my friends right back to special moments in time, to other people, places, and events, sharing a park bench quietly, such feelings of nostalgia, exuding feelings of warmth, comfort, and goodness – so therapeutic. Many of us had such moments at the reunion, and left elated, recharched, energized to continue to wage the good fight, to pursue work of meaning and purpose, to make a difference, to take on the world, and to just rock on!

Old friends
Sat on their park bench like bookends…

…Can you imaging us years from today.
Sharing a park bench quietly?…

…Old friends…

simon & garfunkel

Softly now the early twilight
Thro’ the trees is stealing down,​
And the evening blush is falling
O’er the college and the town.​
Come and gather on the campus,​
Make the gray old maples ring
With the songs of Alma Mater,​
With the songs we love to sing.​

For the dear old college home, boys,​
For the happy, happy days;​
For our glorious Alma Mater,​
Shake the campus with her praise.​

Brothers; while the shadows deepen,​
While we stand here heart to heart,​
Let us promise one another
In the silence ere we part.​
We will make our lives successful,​
We will keep our hands from shame
For the sake of dear old Dartmouth,​
And the honor of her name.​

twilight song

And while the disco may have been silent, we certainly weren’t, dancing on late into the night and early morning, some of us not getting to bed until well after 3 am!

My contribution was the mellow, a.k.a. lame, 35th Reunion Dartmouth Class of 88 Chillin’ Vibe Playlist. Its intent was to offer a little more mellow fare for those who wanted to wind down and relax. Silly idea, lol! People wanted to dance and rock.

In creating my playlist, I wanted music released or hitting the charts during our college years, 1984-1988, somewhat the pulse of those 4 years. I didn’t want it to be love songs or music to put you to sleep, so there was a fine line on song selection. Many songs had great meaning during our 4 years, evoking feelings, memories, and notalgia, and things connected to <my> past, and though the song has ended, the melody lingers on:

“Under the Milky Way” – The Church – a new wave staple on cheerleading road trips along with:

“This Is The Day” – The The, and “Love My Way” – The Psychedelic Furs.

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” – Crowded House – released our senior year… and it was over…

“Purple Rain” – Prince – perhaps the biggest anthem of our college years.

“Drive” – The Cars – a song connecting me to my first love then end of high school.

“Forever Young” – Alphaville – this band and Erasure (though not on this list, give “A Little Respect,” “Chains of Love,” and “River Deep, Mountain High” a listen) were introduced to me by one of my besties, Phil.

“Red Red Wine” – UB40 – a moment in time at a Wellesley formal with my pal Clayton and cousin Jen.

“Romeo & Juliet” – Dire Straits – Leann drunkenly requesting Romiet & Julio on a cheerleading roadtrip, another LOVED staple of our travels, along with:

“Swamp” – Talking Heads – frosh year cheerleading road trips, Stop Making Sense movie on campus, such a fun song to sing along, we even had a cheerleader named Swamp…

“Darling Nikki” – Prince – invokes images of Jenna (RIP 😢) and Stephanie from my Wheeler UGA group belting out the lyrics to the song in their dorm room down the hall prior to going out to party: “I knew a girl named Nikki I guess you could say she was a sex fiend…”

“You Can Leave Your Hat On” – Joe Cocker – there is a legend about 2 guys stripping at a D Phi E formal…

And music conjures connections to movies as well:

“Take My Breath Away” – Berlin – Top Gun ring a bell?

“Crazy For You” – Madonna – Desperately Seeking Susan

“Who Wants To Live Forever” – Queen – Highlander

“We Don’t Need Another Hero” – Tina Turner – Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds – the biggest movie anthem ever – The Breakfast Club

And closing with “We Are The World,” the greatest assembly of rock and pop musicians in the history of music to record one song to save millions of lives from starvation in Africa. Be sure to watch the Netflix documentary The Greatest Night in Pop. It’s fantastic.

The silent disco was an amazing study in individual, couples, and group behavior. As I watched from the sideline making sure the music played on, I so enjoyed watching people find their song and rock on, even if different than their friends or partner’s selection. Most were rocking and bopping to the Blue or Green Playlists, where most of the action was happening. Though couples would occasionally spin off to the Red Chillin’ Vibe playlist to dance cheek to cheek to a slower song, such as “Careless Whisper,” “Bring On The Dancing Horses,” “Purple Rain,” “Drive,” or “Faithfully.” And then a few in the crowd would start a sing-along, and people would pull their headphones forward to match their color with the others in the crowd with a sea of Blue or Green singing and dancing to songs such as “Rock The Casbah,” “Livin’ On A Prayer,” “Always Something There To Remind Me,” “Modern Love,” “Karma Chameleon,” “Burning Down The House,” and “Take On Me,” among others.

Then I received requests to stray from the playlists and take requests, namely Prince’s “Kiss” and AC/DC’s “Back In Black” and other harder rock songs instead of the new wave and pop fare of the premade lists. So I ran an audible and started DJing at midnight, transforming the Red playlist to a DJ of hard rock and then dance hits, lighting the room red until 2 in the morning. It was beyond fun DJing, and watching the crowd, at times on their backs, legs in the air to the likes of “Rock Lobster” and “Shout,” and in general just grooving to and singing along with the music. What a blast – reveling in the ’80s today, our older and wiser selves still able to rock it, finding comfort and joy in the past, excitement and fun in the present, and hopes and dreams for the future. Nostalgia can truly warm the soul, lighten the spirit, and invigorate our very being.

Dartmouth, there is no music for our singing,​
No words to bear the burden of our praise,​
Yet how can we be silent and remember
The splendor and fullness of her days?​
Who can forget her soft September sunsets,​
Who can forget those hours that passed like dreams?​
The long cool shadows floating on the campus,​
The drifting beauty where the twilight streams?​


Who can forget her sharp and misty mornings,​
The clanging bells, the crunch of feet on snow,​
Her sparkling noons, the crowding into Commons,​
The long white afternoons, the twilight glow?​
See! By the light of many thousand sunsets,​
Dartmouth Undying, like a vision starts.​
Dartmouth, the gleaming, dreaming walls of Dartmouth,​
Miraculously builded in our hearts.​

dartmouth undying

So with that feeling of nostalgia permeating our being, on to some music to evoke feelings, memories, and notalgia, and things connected to our past, not to mention to enjoy, dance to, and feel good about life.

Silent Disco Red Headphones DJ Playlist:

Red Headphones DJ Playlist (midnight to 2 am)

Derek’s just killin’ it Blue and Green Headphones Playlists:

Blue Headphones Playlist
Green Headphones Playlist

35th Reunion Dartmouth Class of ’88 Chillin’ Vibe Red Headphone (beginning of night) Playlist:

Red Headphones Playlist

Derek’s Dinner Social Playlist:

And see my last blog ‘80s Flashback from June 4, 2024, with Playlists:

            I’ve Got A Rock & Roll Heart – ‘80s Rock

            Rock You Like A Hurricane – ‘80s Hard Rock

            Rock Me – ‘80s Hair Metal

            Rhythm Of The Night – ‘80s Dance

As well as my tribute blog Forever Man from July 14, 2022, in memory of a fallen college classmate, though the sentiments expressed are universal.

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, with a little nostalgia for past moments…

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

The Name Game 1 & 2 – Names in Songs

On December 8, 1980 John Lennon was shot and killed outside his and Yoko’s NYC apartment. I remember where I was when I heard the news – in my morning Geometry class, freshman year of high school. How the word spread that quickly without electronic media I’m still not certain. We were all stunned, in a state of disbelief that a Beatle was dead.

In “The Ballad Of John & Yoko” he sings the somewhat prophetic words:

Christ, you know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are goin’
They’re gonna cruify me

john lennon – the ballad of John & Yoko

The song provides the theme for this week’s blog called “The Name Game” highlighting songs featuring peoples’ names in their titles. There are so many that the lists could go on forever, but included are some of my very favorites in the first Spotify playlist, and some honorable mentions in the second, no less great, and still very worthy of a listen. The lists could go on with hundreds more, but these are songs that I enjoy and felt worth sharing.


Some songs of note:

A few of my favorite songs of all-time: Elton John’s “Levon” and “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters,” Dire Straits’ “Romeo & Juliet,” Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” and Hall & Oates’ “Sara Smile” though I much prefer the guitar work of Monte Montgomery’s version, which my uncle Joey, who played guitar in bands his whole life called one the the best guitar performance he had ever heard.

Chris Cornell’s cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” I had first heard his version on American Idol, sung by David Cook, who did it proud. I remember listening, and not quite able to place the song initially, though I was certain I knew it. Then it dawned on me – such an amazing interpretation of MJ’s hit pop song.  I couldn’t wait to give Chris’ original interpretation a listen.

Again an American Idol reference, one of my faves, Crystal Bowersox, covering Janis Joplin’s cover of “Me and Bobby McGee.”

Red Sox fans can’t pass up a rousing rendition of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” which has become a Fenway Park tradition.

Some trendy name songs over the years include Dexy’s Midnight Runners “Come On Eileen,” Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny,” Toni Basil’s “Hey Mickey.”

There are 3 versions of “Gloria” between the two playlists, because how can you decide between versions by Van Morrison and Them, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison (who’s 80th birthday is today) and the Doors??? I love ❤️ them all!

And such a classic memory of one of my favorite Police songs “Roxanne” was provided by Eddie Murphy in the 1982 movie 48 Hrs.

And who knew that one of my idols, Stevie Ray Vaughan, provided a public service announcement before his passing, after achieving sobriety, offering “It’s real necessary to make sure that the kids understand that drugs and alcohol have nothing to do with what Rock & Roll is about. It’s really the downfall of Rock & Roll. I’m trying to get that across.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkUP2gJxc50

Yet I can’t get beyond they’re cutting his song and guitar solo short, so here he is performing the song in its entirety in Daytona Beach, 1987.

And considering the death of rock idols beyond John Lennon, I remember the day I heard that Stevie Ray died in a plane crash, on my drive into medical school in the summer of 1987 (08/27/87). Tragic 😢

A few songs of note made the list without a name in their title, as the name is such a prominent part of the song, truly what many think the song is called, with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” aka “Major Tom” and The Moody Blues “Legend Of A Mind” or “Timothy Leary.” They seemed worthy additions.

Billy Joel (10), The Beatles (10), and Elton John (9) appear most frequently on the two lists, perhaps a testament more to my musical tastes than their penchant for writing songs with names in them, or more likely a mixture of both.


And for those interested in trying to apply the name game rules to any name to make it rhyme, here are the lyrics to the song.  Good luck – well beyond my brain power…

Shirley! 
Shirley, Shirley Bo-ber-ley
Bo-na-na fanna Fo-fer-ley
Fee-fi-mo-mer-ley
Shirley!

Lincoln! 
Lincoln, Lincoln, bo-bin-coln
Bo-na-na fanna, fo-fin-coln
Fee-fi-mo-min-coln
Lincoln!

Come on everybody
I say now let’s play a game
I betcha I can make a rhyme 
Out of anybody’s name
The first letter of the name
I treat it like it wasn’t there
But a “B” or an “F” 
Or an “M” will appear

And then I say “Bo” add a “B” then I say the name
Then “Bo-na-na fanna” and “fo”
And then I say the name again with an “”f” very plain
Then “fee fi” and a “mo”
And then I say the name again with an “M” this time
And there isn’t any name that I can’t rhyme

Arnold! 
Arnold, Arnold bo-bar-nold
Bo-na-na, fanna fo-far-nold
Fee-fi-m-mar-mold
Arnold!

But if the first two letters are ever the same
I drop them both, then say the name
Like Bob, Bob, drop the “B’s”, Bo-ob
Or Fred, Fred, drop the “F’s”, Fo-red
Or Mary, Mary, drop the “M’s”, Mo-ary
That’s the only rule that is contrary

Okay?
Now say Bo
Now Tony with a B
Then “Bo-na-na fanna” and “fo”
And then you say the name again with an “F” very plain
Then “fee fi” and a “mo”
And then you say the name again with an “M” this time
And there isn’t any name that I can’t rhyme

Everybody do Tony
Tony, Tony, bo-bo-ney
Bo-na-na fanna, fo-fo-ney
Fee-fi-mo-mo-ney
Tony!

Pretty good
Let’s do Billy!
Billy, Billy, bo-gil-ly
Bo-na-na fanna, fo-fil-ly
Fee-fi-mo-mil-ly
Billy!

Very good, let’s do Marsha!
Marsha, Marsha, bo-bar-sha
Bo-na-na fanna, fo-far-sha
Fee-fi-mo-ar-sha
Marsha!

A little trick with Nick!
Nick, Nick, bo-bick, 
Bo-na-na fanna fo fick
Fee-fi-mo-mick
Nick!
The name game

the name game – Shirley ellis

So without further ado the playlists:

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!

DON’T Stop The Music & DON’T Fence Me In – Don’t Songs

On November 17, 1962, 61 years ago, The Four Seasons, featuring Frankie Vallie, started a 5 week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” the group’s second No. 1 of the year. Their other No. 1 that year was “Sherry”, with “Walk Like A Man” and “Ain’t That A Shame” topping the charts the very next year. I remember Billy Joel at a concert I attended stating his confusion listening to Frankie, wondering should he “walk like a man” but “sing like a girl”? 🤣 He felt that in the 50s the media machine tightly controlled a safe, sterile pop presentation of music to youth, with the likes of The Four Seasons, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, and Annette Funicello.  But when he heard the raw sound of The Beatles in the 60’s, he knew the future of music was rock ‘n roll, and couldn’t wait to be a part of it.

The title of the Four Seasons song provides the theme of today’s playlist, songs featuring the word Don’t. The Beatles are featured 6 time on the list, most prominently with “Don’t Let Me Down” and Billy Joel with a few songs on the list, including “Don’t Ask Me Why.”

Who knew Don’t was such a pervasive word in rock and pop song titles? Such greats include Elvis, with simply “Don’t” as well as “Don’t Be Cruel,” ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down,” Tom Petty’s “Don’t Do Me Like That,” Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper,” Elton’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” Animals “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close To Me,”  Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” Beach Boys “Don’t Worry Baby,” Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me,” Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays,” Simply Red’s “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach,” Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” Tina Turner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” among so many other amazing Don’t songs.

A few songs appear on the list without Don’t in the title but with the word so prominently featured in the song I couldn’t leave them off: After the Fire’s “Der Kommissar” – “Don’t turn around, wa-uh-oh (yeah-yeah), Der Kommissar’s in town, wa-uh-oh,” and Sam Cooke’s “(What A) Wonderful World” – “don’t know much about history, don’t know much biology…”

I did include some very popular country Don’t songs, such as Kenny Chesney’s “Don’t Blink,” Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes’ “Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer,” Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” and Josh Turner’s “Why Don’t We Just Dance.” But given the length of the playlist already, I reserved many more country Don’ts to a separate playlist.

For ease of finding your favorite don’t songs the list is organized alphabetically in a few groups, best of, select country, then b-side Don’t songs.

Some great Don’t videos, giving snapshots into their era, include:

Elvis Pressley – “Don’t Be Cruel”:

Tom Petty – Don’t Come Around Here No More”:


Madonna – “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”:

The Pretenders – “Don’t Get Me Wrong”:

George Michael & Elton John – “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”:

The Police – “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”:

Michael Jackson – “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”:

Simple Minds – “Don’t You Forget About Me”:

Madonna – “Papa Don’t Preach”:

After The Fire – “Der Kommissar”:

Toby Keith – “Don’t Let The Old Man In”:

American Outlaws – “Mamma Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”:

Josh Turner – “Why Don’t We Just Dance”:

So on to the playlists. Enjoy these amazing Don’t songs, just don’t rock the jukebox…

DON’T – Rock & Pop Don’t Songs

DON’T Fence Me In – Country Don’t Songs

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!

Glory DAYS & These DAYS – “Days” Songs

On August 12, 1964 The Beatles made their Hollywood debut with the opening of their first feature film A Hard Day’s Night. Captured at the height of Beatlemania, the film opened to rave reviews and was a financial and critical success. It earned two Academy Award nominations and inspired countless films, TV shows, and eventually music videos. Two notable cameos in the movie are Patty Boyd playing a blonde schoolgirl on the train and Phil Collins playing a schoolboy watching the Beatles on TV. Patty eventually married George Harrison and subsequently having an affair with then marrying one of George’s best friends – Eric Clapton. She inspired the songs “Something,” “Layla,” and “Wonderful Tonight.” Collins of course became the drummer and eventual lead vocalist of the progressive rock band Genesis.

The song and movie provide the theme of this week’s music blog, songs featuring the word Days. Accompanying the playlist Glory DAYS is a country version These DAYS, the word Day in song is reserved for another day (no pun intended, lol 😂) and another blog.

Song greats in the list include The Beatles in the title song as well as “Eight Days A Week,” Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” Wang Chung’s “Dance Hall Days,” Chicago’s “Old Days,” the Carpenters “Rainy Days and Mondays,” The Goo Goo Doll’s “Better Days,” Lifehouse’s “Days Go By,” and Billy Joel’s “I’ve Loved These Days” along with his daughter Alexa Ray Joel’s “For All My Days” among many others.

Two songs use a little artistic license, in that they don’t contain the word Days in their title, but the word figures very prominently in the song. They are Bryan Adams “Summer of ’69” with the lyric “those were the best days of my life,” and John Lennon’s “Nobody Told Me” with the lyric “nobody told me there’d be days like these, strange days indeed.” I think they were more than worthy of inclusion.

The last 3 songs are various versions of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The first is a classic version with Frank Sinatra and the Andrews Sisters. If the second by John Denver featuring Miss Piggy and friends isn’t strange enough, be sure to give a listen to the version by Bob and Doug McKenzie of Strange Brew and the Great White North fame. definitely not your mother or grandmother’s crooner Christmas carol! 🤣

As you all know by now I tend to be quite the verbose blogger. But sometimes less is more. While it is hard to truly relate what shear fervor and Beatlemania, this video truly captures perhaps the singular most important sentinel moment in the history of rock.

So on to the playlists. First the rock and pop Days playlist:

And the country Days 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 MUSIC!

Squeeze Box – Pop & Rock Songs Featuring Accordion

June is national accordion awareness month. So before the month’s end, following my past reviews singling out instruments from harmonica, flute, base, piano, and keyboard, I thought I’d give accordion it’s due. The accordion, also called the “concertina,” is primarily used to accompany traditional polka music but has been featured in many classical and modern musical works, from jazz and zydeco to folk, gospel, blues, and even rock and pop.

The oldest name for the accordion is derived from the Greek word ‘harmonikos’, which means ‘harmonic’ or ‘musical’. The handaoline, believed to be the earliest form of the accordion, was patented by Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann in Berlin in 1822.

My older brother, being the dutiful grandson to my Polish grandmother, took accordion lessons back in the 70s, playing many a polka. He gave it up due to disinterest as he grew more interested in pop and rock music. Had he known that, as Bruce Hornsby once declared when I saw him live in the late 80’s, playing accordion was cool, he might have stuck with it!

While the playlist gets its title from the classic Who song “Squeeze Box,” a common slang term for the instrument, the song barely contains any accordion instrumentation. Listen closely from approximately 1:30 to 2:00 into the song. To the Who’s credit, their chorus with nasally toned vocals of “in and out and in and out…” sounds very much like a squeeze box. Perhaps if they made the video they had initially intended for their 1974 television special, with the members of the band surrounded by 100 topless women playing accordions, it might have had a bit more accordion accompaniment to their vocals 😭. I guess the some filled with sexual double entendres was enough, precluding the need for such visual imagery 😉.

Some top songs featuring accordion include several songs by John Mellencamp, Billy Joel, Bruce Hornsby, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Counting Crows, Jethro Tull, Mark Knopfler, Los Lobos, and the Beach Boys, as well as individual songs by artists including Bruce Springsteen, the Talking Heads, Elton John, Styx, Aerosmith, R.E.M., The Band, The The, Roger Waters, even Paul McCartney. An interesting fact given The Band and The The appear in this playlist: The The chose their name to try to come up with what they felt was a more ridiculous, less creative, less descriptive name than The Band, choosing The The 🤣.

The playlist starts with two memorable Disney movie songs featuring accordion – “Be Our Guest” from Beauty & The Beast and “Bella Note” from Lady & The Tramp.  Other standout songs include “Cherry Bomb,” “This Is The Day,” “Piano Man,” “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word,” “Road To Nowhere,” and “Kokomo” among others.

The playlist progresses to a little foray into international accordion songs of note, including Mexican, Zydeco, Russian, and then in tribute to my heritage, Italian and Polish. And what would an an accordion playlist be without the inclusion of Weird Al Yankovic. Interestingly, Frankie Yankovic, Slovenian accordion great, widely known for his hit “Beer Barrel Polka,” is not related to Weird Al, though they share a surname and common cultural heritage. His parents reportedly enrolled a young Weird Al in accordion lessons rather than guitar so there would be at least one other accordion playing Yankovic 🤪.

Like Weird Al’s songs, most of this “semi-autobiographical” movie is made up. His affair with Madonna will likely inspire his next parody of Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” 😝.

“4th of July Asbury Park” – Bruce Springsteen

“Cherry Bomb” – John Mellencamp

“This is the Day” – The The, with a song perhaps better known more recently for its feature in an M&M commercial.

“Boat on the River” – Styx, with a very young mustachio Dennis DeYoung on accordion and Tommy Shaw on mandolin.

“Fifty Dollar Love Affair” – Joe Jackson

The Downeaster Alexa – Billy Joel

When I Paint My Masterpiece – The Band

“Hopeless Wanderer” – Mumford & Sons

“Come With Me Now” – Kongos. Is it me, or does the accordion intro to this song sound very similar to the intro of Paul Simon’s “The Boy In The Bubble?”

“Mother” – Roger Waters in his recreation of the Pink Floyd classic The Wall at the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

“Another Round” – Foo Fighters, featuring a very young Dave Grohl.

“Omaha” – Counting Crows

“A Night In Summer Long Ago” – Mark Knopfler, again one of my guitar faves.

“If I Die Young” – The Band Perry

“Objection (Tango)” – Shakira

“La Luna” – Belinda Carlisle

“Anselma” – Los Lobos

“El Fronterizo” – Los Cadetes De Linares

“That’s Amore” – Dean Martin, with an iconic Italian offering.

Tarantella Napoletana, a staple at Italian weddings.

The Shmenges Brothers – John Candy and Eugene Levy. Little did people know that John Candy, beloved comedian extraordinaire, actually played the clarinet, and Gene, though most known for “American Pie” and “Schitt’s Creek,” was a very accomplished accordion player.

“Another One Rides The Bus” – Weird Al Yankovic, a legend in his own mind, though I’ve heard from several of his fans that he is quite the entertainer.

And now onto over 6 hours of glorious accordion bliss:

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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