Ten Albums: Simon and Garfunkel, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966)

(Above: Paul Simon sports the puffy shirt years before Jerry Seinfeld.) Our series of Ten Albums continues today. #6 - Simon and Garfunkel, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966) Right around the time I turned 14 was when I made the second major raid on my parents' abandoned music collection. I've written much about taking … Continue reading Ten Albums: Simon and Garfunkel, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966)

Stuck inside of Mobil, or How I Missed Live Aid: Katrina and the Waves, “Walking on Sunshine” (1985)

(Above: Had I seen Live Aid, I would have no doubt seen this image.) I didn't watch Live Aid. Every year around this time - July 13 - someone brings up the anniversary of Live Aid, the benefit concert that took place in London and Philadelphia on that date in 1985.  It was a huge … Continue reading Stuck inside of Mobil, or How I Missed Live Aid: Katrina and the Waves, “Walking on Sunshine” (1985)

A summer vacation soundtrack: The Billboard Hot 100, June 9, 1984

(Above: The end of sophomore year. Someone please get this kid a haircut.) The first full week of June 1984 would have meant the start of summer vacation. I had just completed my sophomore year at Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park. The bulk of my daytime activity that summer involved something that … Continue reading A summer vacation soundtrack: The Billboard Hot 100, June 9, 1984

Motown 60: Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean” (1983)

(Above: I still can't quite figure it out.) "Did you see it?" Conversations on a typical Tuesday morning in high school weren't interesting: tests, girls, dirty jokes, and the like. But the morning of May 17, 1983 wasn't typical. The baseball season was just getting started, and the White Sox had gained a game on … Continue reading Motown 60: Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean” (1983)

So long, WLUP: Songs I learned from “The Loop”

Word spread rapidly this morning that Merlin Media, who had been trying to sell Chicago's WLUP, finally found a buyer: the Educational Media Foundation. EMF serves the contemporary Christian format over satellite to its affiliates.  The format, called "K-Love," has been on the air on a signal out of suburban Elgin for some time, but … Continue reading So long, WLUP: Songs I learned from “The Loop”

Rockin’ the suburbs: The Billboard Top Rock Tracks, February 12, 1983

Yesterday's post about the songs likely played at the school dances right around this time was a bit of a bummer. It's not because school dances themselves are sad - certainly not so many years later - but because the songs on the list were, frankly, a downer. They're also not the things I would … Continue reading Rockin’ the suburbs: The Billboard Top Rock Tracks, February 12, 1983

Hearts and dances: Billboard Adult Contemporary hits of February 1983-1986

(Above: A high school dance, circa 2018) The power of Twitter: I learned that my old high school, Victor J. Andrew HS, is holding a dance tonight. It's called "Just Dance." It comes at the end of Spirit Week, which had a variety of activities to bolster pride in the school. Tickets for Just Dance … Continue reading Hearts and dances: Billboard Adult Contemporary hits of February 1983-1986

Take a local joker and teach him how to act: Bruce Springsteen, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ (1973)

Forty-five years ago today - January 5, 1973 - the debut album of Bruce Springsteen was released. Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ didn't sell well, but caught the attention of critics. Creem magazine's Robert Christgau suggested that Springsteen had that same sort of "absurdist energy" that made Dylan a genius; in short, the "new Dylan" … Continue reading Take a local joker and teach him how to act: Bruce Springsteen, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ (1973)

Songs of sock hops: The Billboard Hot 100: October 6, 1984

(Above: This sort of rain calls for a forecast of drama and commitment.) Another weekend, another opportunity to catch the VJ Big 40 Countdown on Sirius XM's 80s on 8 Channel.  This weekend they chose to go back to 1984 - my junior year of high school. It would have been right around Homecoming time … Continue reading Songs of sock hops: The Billboard Hot 100: October 6, 1984

Rest in peace, Tom Petty: “Don’t Come Around Here No More” (1985)

(Above: Tom Petty from the coolest video of 1985.) This one's going to be hard to write. I have a list of them in my head: the musical obits that will be tricky ones for me, because the music that the people who will be featured in them meant so much to my formative years. … Continue reading Rest in peace, Tom Petty: “Don’t Come Around Here No More” (1985)