Rest in peace, Mark Hollis: Talk Talk, “Life Is What You Make It” (1986)

Word circulated today that Mark Hollis, the leader of UK group Talk Talk, passed away at the age of 64. The band hit the music scene in 1981 but first saw chart success the following year with their eponymous first release. "Talk Talk" failed to chart in the US the first time around, but a … Continue reading Rest in peace, Mark Hollis: Talk Talk, “Life Is What You Make It” (1986)

Rest in peace, James Ingram: “Just Once” (1981)

Word circulated this afternoon that Grammy-award winning singer James Ingram passed away today at the age of 66. In total Ingram put 21 records on the Billboard R&B chart and crossed over to the Pop chart 11 times. All but three of those songs made the Top 40, and two of them - "Baby Come … Continue reading Rest in peace, James Ingram: “Just Once” (1981)

1984 turns 35: Van Halen, “Jump” (1984)

(Above: An album cover that doesn't need explanation.) For the past few days on Facebook, many have taken the "How has aging treated you?" challenge. The premise, basically, is that you post your first profile picture, and then your current, and see how time has treated you. In most cases, the span is about ten … Continue reading 1984 turns 35: Van Halen, “Jump” (1984)

School’s out for winter: The Billboard Hot 100 for December 15, 1984 (and what we probably listened to instead)

(Above: I was clearly enjoying my junior year of high school and in no hurry to go on break.) Friday, December 14, 1984 was the last day of school before the Christmas break began. If I remember correctly, we got out early from school that day, and a bunch of us went to Dave-we-called-Fritz's house, … Continue reading School’s out for winter: The Billboard Hot 100 for December 15, 1984 (and what we probably listened to instead)

Snow’s coming: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, “Stranded” (1980)

(Above: Mayday, this is Echo Hotel.) The first winter storm warning of the season is upon us for 2018. Unfortunately, it's hitting a good portion of the plains and upper Midwest on the busiest travel day of the year: the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Each year more travelers fly on this day more than other, and … Continue reading Snow’s coming: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, “Stranded” (1980)

Plenty of variety: The Billboard Hot 100 chart, November 15, 1980

(Above: Kenny Rogers, somewhere between psychedelia and chicken.) By the middle of November I was entrenched in my new school. My parents decided to move to Orland Park near the end of my sixth grade year; in fact, I commuted to Helen Keller School for the last three months of the term that spring. I … Continue reading Plenty of variety: The Billboard Hot 100 chart, November 15, 1980

Video killed the radio star: “Network Video Hour,” Lewis University Television Network, November 6, 1988

(Above: I may have a similar shirt, but that hair ain't comin' back.) In the two years I spent as an undergrad at Lewis University from 1987-1989 before setting out on my own to try and start a radio career, I probably spent more time in the radio station than anywhere else, including classrooms. One … Continue reading Video killed the radio star: “Network Video Hour,” Lewis University Television Network, November 6, 1988

College Radio Day 2018: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “I Hate Myself For Loving You” (1988)

(Above: Joan's 1983 album, called Album, which is fantastic.) Today is the 8th annual College Radio Day. CRD started in 2011 as a way for college radio stations to get together and celebrate what they do: give artists that wouldn't otherwise get a chance some exposure, and give new air talent that wouldn't otherwise get … Continue reading College Radio Day 2018: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “I Hate Myself For Loving You” (1988)

Multiple-hit wonders: How a music network got a countdown wrong

(Above: Hits, as in "more than one.") Today is some sort of holiday called National One-Hit Wonder Day. I don't remember celebrating this as a kid, so I suspect that it came out of social media as an opportunity for people to share forgotten songs that are fun to dig out every once in a … Continue reading Multiple-hit wonders: How a music network got a countdown wrong

Songs of senior year: The Billboard Hot 100, September 21, 1985

(Above: The new sign in front of Andrew High. I never sped past this playing the "Miami Vice" theme.) September 21, 1985 is a Saturday - which is the day that all of the Billboard charts come out. It was a hectic time at the start of my senior year of high school. The night … Continue reading Songs of senior year: The Billboard Hot 100, September 21, 1985