Wednesday, May 20, 2009

WTIT Top 10 Love Sones

Today we return with a very popular feature of the WTIT Blog. We simply call it A DJ's Take. Not only have you requested its return on a regular basis, but also we receive more traffic from "new readers" for this feature than all others combined. Today we return with a Top 10 list. Now this is very subjective, but let's qualify it by saying it is our list of the Top 10 Love Songs of the Boomer generation. This way your kids don't start trashing us because of a current hit that isn't on our iPod. And my dad Bierne won't complain What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong is on it either. Fair enough? It better be. Also, for those who know us, we did not even consider a Beatles' song. (If the Top 10 were all Beatles, you'd say WTF?) So here they are an imperfect list from the perfect Tape Radio station, WTIT! Song titles are in bold.

10. My Cherie Amore In French the words mean “My Little Dear” but was originally titled Oh My Marcia. Henry Cosby and Sylvia Moy co-wrote the song with Stevie. Marcia was a woman that fascinated Stevie in school. However, it was Moy who talked him into the more generic title.

9. Be My Baby The song was written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. It was a hit for the Ronettes which featured Phil Spector’s wife Ronnie. It was one of Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 songs of all time, in fact it made the top 25. It was with this song that Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” became widely known. Brian Wilson once said it was his favorite song of all time.

8. Love Me Tender The music for the song came from a civil war ballad titled Aura Lee and was in public domain by the 1950’s. The words were written by Ken Darby but were credited to his wife and Elvis for some legal issue. Elvis performed it on Ed Sullivan before it’s release which led to over a million pre-orders for the single. So, by the time it was released it was a gold record already.

7. Your Song When I was in college my roommate woke me at 8 AM on a Saturday to tell me the next “superstar” was at our college radio station and I should come meet him. I asked “What’s his name?” My roommate said “Elton John”. I replied, “Wake me again when he’s famous” and I went back to sleep. My bad. The song was suppose to be the b side of Take Me to the Pilot, but American DJs liked the b side more, and the rest is history.

6. Just The Way You Are The song is from Billy Joel’s album from 1977 The Stranger. It was written about his first wife. After they divorced Joel would change the lyrics at times to reflect his changed feelings while performing live. He never really liked the song, even in the beginning. So he decided to leave it off the album. Phobe Snow and Linda Ronstadt were recording in the same studio and urged him to reconsider.

5. She This song was written by Charles Aznavour and Hebert Kretzmer. Charles had the first success with his song which reached number one in England. It never took off in the rest of Europe or the U.S. When the film Notting Hill was produced the orignal version was going to be used, but the director didn’t quite like it. Elvis Costello was brought in to do a cover version for the 1999 film and that’s our choice and how we know the song.

4. Three Times a Lady The song was written and sung by Lionel Richie while with the Commodores. It was their first number one hit and was on the album Natural High in 1978. It was Motown Records only top 10 song that year. The reference, by the way to “Three Times a Lady” was because Richie’s girlfriend was a very large woman.

3. Colour My World The song was written by Chicago’s trumpet player Jimmy Pankow and song by Chicago’s original lead singer Terry Kath. Kath died from a self inflicted gunshot wound in 1978. It is still not know if this was an accident or a suicide. Chicago stopped playing the song for quite a few years after that tragedy.

2. Ain’t No Sunshine Bill Withers wrote the song while he still worked in a factory that made toilet seats. It became his breakout hit in 1971. The part of the song where repeats “I know” about a hundred times was so he could write additional lyrics. But since he still had his day job, when the record company wanted him not to put his new lyrics in he agreed.

1. Unchained Melody The song was written by lyricist Hy Zaret (who passed away last year at 99!) and composer Alex North for a 1955 film named Unchained. It was a hit by two people that year, Al Hibber with a vocal version and Les Baxter with an instrument. It was covered by folks like Leena Horn and Elvis. However, we will always love the Phil Spector produced Righteous Brothers’ version recorded ten years late in 1965. And of course, it was a hit again some twenty-five years after that with its inclusion in the film Ghost.

The WTIT Blog will return next time
with maybe that party story.
We are waiting for the pictures.
Perhaps we will receive them.
Perhaps not.
We hope that you have enough time in
your day to be with us next time.
But of course we will understand
if you choose not to return.
We will be ready, either way.
Same time. Same blog.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't Think Twice It's All Right

The WTIT Blog’s feature A DJ’s Take has been one of our most popular features. Today we begin a new version that we have titled 5 Random Songs. When writing this, we will simply be picking out five songs (at random...) that we have grown to love over the years. We hope to share with you some of the background of the songs and of course why this music is important to us. On the day when this feature is published, the WTIT Playlist will play just those five songs. So, if you would like to listen to the songs as you learn about why we chose them, crank up the volume.

Dirty Water by the Standells. This song was a huge hit in 1966. It has a line in it about “frustrated women have to be in be twelve o’clock” and the title of the song is about the Charles River in Boston. I graduated from Emerson College, which is in Back Bay in Boston. At the time the college bordered the Charles River. We had heard an Emerson student had written this song, easy to believe because at the time at Emerson women did indeed have to deal with a twelve o’clock curfew. Whether they were frustrated or not, is anybody's guess. By my sophomore year those curfews for women where removed.

Ed Cobbs actually wrote the song. He wrote quite a few hits including Tainted Love most recently covered by Soft Cell. His biggest accomplishment was as a member of Motown’s legendary Four Tops. The Standells really were a one hit wonder. They got the band's name, Standells, from the experience standing around at record companies that an unsigned band would have to do. All the band cared about was trying to get a recording contract. The song, Dirty Water, was considered risqué and banned in some states in the bible belt. The whole controversy, plus the fact the Standells never really liked the song led to the group’s quick demise.

Do You Believe in Love by Huey Lewis and the News. Our friend Diesel at Mattress Police has made a big push to get Huey Lewis played on classic rock stations. Because of this, it has got us thinking about this great band. So today we selected the band’s first big hit as one of our five songs. Their self-titled first album did not sell well. John “Mutt” Lange wrote the song Do You Believe in Love. He produced Clover, which was the band Huey Lewis and fellow News band mate and keyboard player Sean Hooper were in before becoming Huey Lewis and the News. Since The News’ first album sank like a fucking rock, their record company strongly urged that this song be included on their second LP. And since they were being threatened to be dropped by the label, naturally the song was included and became the bands' first huge hit.

Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right by Peter, Paul and Mary. Bob Dylan wrote the tune and does a great version in his own right. Probably a hundred people, including a bluesy version by Eric Clapton, have covered it. Our favorite was the P,P & M version. It is interesting that Dylan stole some of the lyrics from an Eric Clapton song Who’s Gonna Buy You Ribbons When I’m Gone. The other interesting fact is that in most versions of the song the band or artist including (Peter, Paul and Mary) slightly changed the lyrics.

The trio also covered other Dylan songs including a huge hit they had with Blowing in the Wind. When my daughter Heather was in high school I was over at her mother’s house and played her a cassette of the song because I thought she’d like it. The next time I came over to pick her up, she had already memorized the lyrics and taught herself the song on her guitar. Heather's music and acting talent is truly amazing. Her 84 year-old grandmother (my mom) still talks about Heather as though if she hopped on a bus to Hollywood, she'd be an instant star. (Although, then again, I would not be surprised...)

You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King. Carole wrote the song for the album Tapestry, which is one of the best selling albums of all time. While James Taylor sang harmonies on the original version with Carole, James recorded his own version in 1971 with Carole singing harmonies. For James Taylor it was a monster hit. But Carole had success herself winning a Grammy for You’ve Got a Friend for Song of the Year in 1971. We love both versions of the song, but give the nod to Carole, since she wrote it. There is a live concert that Ms. King recorded for an album where as she starts to play the song James Taylor walks out on stage. She simply say, "Surprise" and they did a fantastic version of it together alternating lead vocals. Every time it comes up on my iPod I crank it.

House of the Rising Sun by The Animals. No one really knows who wrote this song. Its origins are from the 18th century. The first recording of the song was by Tom Ashley and Gwen Foster in 1933. Woody Guthrie also recorded it in the 1940’s and Bob Dylan did a cover in 1962. The Animals were on tour with Chuck Berry and had heard a singer named Johnny Handle do the song in a club in Newcastle, where the band started. Even though Dylan recorded the song first, his version is often mistakenly called an Animals’ cover. However, when Dylan first heard Eric Burdon’s vocals he is said to have “jumped out of his chair” because he liked it so much.

That will do it for the Hump Day version on the WTIT Blog. No "Animals" were actually hurt in the production of this post. At least, none that have written and complained to us. Meanwhile, we will return with something either extremely funny, or just another crappy post. Either way, it could be a "MUST-SEE" post. Although, have you ever seen a MUST-SEE post? Oh, yes I have as well, when reviewing for The Rising Blogger.
But here on WTIT: The Blog?
Join us next time.
Same time. Same blog.

Friday, March 20, 2009

WTIT Top 10 Love Songs

Today the WTIT Tape Radio Blog brings you our feature A DJ’s Take and another one of our "Best of" lists. We haven't received enough complaints yet to shut this feature down. Give us time! Please feel free to “take this feature" and do it as a meme to present your opinions. Today, we will share with you our picks for the Top 10 Peace Songs of the rock era. We will give you the artist and song.

10. Peace Will Come – Melanie. We were a big fan of hers for a short time. She’s still around and performing. I stumbled into her website for something or other I was writing.

9. Peace Train – Cat Stevens. It is hard to believe how good he was and how long he had been gone until this year's album release.

8. Blowing in the Wind – Bob Dylan. An all time classic. The song has been covered by some 375 artists. Probably the most noteworthy was the Stevie Wonder version.

7. I Ain’t Marching Anymore – Phil Ochs. A tragic music figure who never achieved much fame outside of the “folk” crowd wrote a masterpiece here.

6. I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixing-to-Die-Rag - Country Joe MacDonald. The big sing-along from the Woodstock album. Remember the “fish” cheer?

5. War – Edwin Starr. Actually recorded first by the Temptations. Motown did not want it released as a single so the Temps producer Norm Whitfield (and co-author of the song) produced it with Starr.

4. Universal Soldier – Donovan. Buffy St, Marie wrote "Universal Soldier" in the basement of The Purple Onion coffee house in Toronto in the early sixties. It's about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all. Donovan had a hit with it in 1965.

3. With God on Their Side – Bob Dylan. This is a history lesson disguised as a song.

2. Give Peace a Chance – John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band. The title gave a generation their peace slogan. Recorded in John & Yoko’s hotel room during their infamous “Bed-In” for peace.

1. Imagine – John Lennon. It is the best song about peace. It’s not even close. It is so naïve yet so powerfully hopeful. God, I still miss him.

That's it for The WTIT Tape Radio Blog
for a Thursday.
We will be back with our
Dating Profiles tomorrow.
Be there or be square.
Same time. Same blog.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

WTIT Top 15 Female Rockers

Today the WTIT Tape Radio Blog we present, formally, our first feature of A DJ’s Take. Today, we will share with you our picks for the Top 15 Female Rock Vocalists of the rock era. Check out our other Top Artist & Songs features in our sidebar. We will give you the artist and out favorite song of theirs. Let’s cue up the first A DJ's Take!

15. CARLY SIMON. In the 70’s she was as good as there was. The mystery about who she was singing about in “You’re So Vain” still creates conversation. She auctions the answer (on the condition of the secret staying, well secret) and raised a lot of money for charity with that bit. Before, during and after her marriage to James Taylor, she wrote and performed a lot of rock classics. Who could forget “The Wives Are in Connecticut”? Okay then, who can remember it?

Our favorite: “You’re So Vain”. (Sorry, it’s still a great song). And Warren Beattie is the our best guess to the question.

14. MAMA CASS ELLIOTT. Another great voice silenced too young. Cass both with The Mamas and the Papas and solo, could belt out a tune. A sad life, being in love with Denny, only to have Michelle leave John (The late John Phillips, The Mamas and Papas' leader.) and go to Denny. As good a song writer John Phillips was, without Cass there would have been no band.

Our Favorite: The first. “California Dreaming”.

13. CHER. She’s been of favorite of ours since “I Got You Babe”. As an actress she was brilliant in “Moonstruck” and “The Mask”. Her work with ex-husband, the late Sonny Bono, was classic. Her hit in the 90’s “Believe” is one of the most popular dance songs of all time. Cher is unique. And that’s why we love her.

Our Favorite: “Walking in Memphis”.

12. CAROLE KING. Just the hits she wrote with her ex-husband in the early sixties showed how amazingly talented Carole is. When she released “Tapestry” WTIT was still counting down the Top 100 albums on a Tape Radio Show. (We did it yearly from 1967 to 1974. Then we stopped. In 1989, we counted down the top 100 songs of the decade and did it once again in 1999. I’m already looking forward to the 2009 version.) She was number one that year and still in the Top 100 a year later.

Our Favorite: “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”.

11. SARAH MCLACHLIN. Sarah has a beautiful quality to her vocals. While cut from the same cloth as a lot of 90’s singers (see: Alanis.) she is very distinctive because of the depth of her vocals and her range. She was the first artist I saw on “Launch” which is a rock video site from I believe Yahoo. Just she and her piano. It was magic.

Our Favorite: “Adia”.
10. JEWEL. She was another 90’s artist that came out while we were still in alternative rock radio. She would appear anywhere to open for any decent rock act. We were suppose to meet one night, but something came up (with me) and it didn’t happen. What the fuck was I thinking? She is just a terrific writer and singer.

Our favorite: “You Were Meant for Me”.

9. GRACIE SLICK was as good a rock singer as there ever was. Her work with Jefferson Airplane is amazing. It was just unfortunately that she stayed with the various incarnations of Jefferson Starship after they became Starship and became totally irrelevant. Give me “Somebody to Love” not “We Built This City”. We saw an interview with her recently and boy did she not age well. She looked 95. I thinking…drugs…maybe?

Our Favorite: “White Rabbit”.

8. SHERYL CROW. She was fun right from the start from that first hit, “All I Wanna Do” when she met a guy named “Bud” at a bar. She is such a force. The album “C’mon C’mon” was on our Top 50 of all time. She will be around a LONG time. She should be number one, really. If it weren’t for the others, we mean.

Our Favorite: “Strong Enough”.

7. STEVIE NICKS. When WTIT was offered $$$$ to write comedy for the American Comedy Network (we passed on the offer BTW) they played us a parody of Stevie called the “What the Hell is She Saying” album. It’s true her lyrics are cryptic and she at times IS tough to understand. But we could listen to her music whether in Buckingham/Nicks, Fleetwood Mac or solo for days.

Our Favorite: “Edge of Seventeen”.
6. ALANIS MORRISETTE. She truly changed the sound of a female rocker in the 90’s. Even to this day whether it’s Pink or Natalie Merchant, the style was originally Alanis. We were working at an alternative rock station when she came along. She wrote great lyrics and what an edge! To have a HUGE hit that the censors edited twice is something. Every guy wanted to take her to a movie, that is for sure.

Our Favorite: “You Ought to Know”

5. LINDA RONSTADT. Linda can sing anything. She might have the best pure voice on our list. She was just as talent on her collaboration with Nelson Riddle and the standards as she was belting out rock ‘n roll. She did put on the pounds over the years, didn’t she?

Our Favorite: “When We I Be Loved” The Everly Brother’s cover.

4. MELISSA ETHERIDGE. Yes she is. That great a rock vocalist, that is. When she burst on in the late 80’s/early 90’s you only had to hear her once to know she’d be around for a while. There is only one thing we never understood. Who would want David Crosby to father their baby and why?

Our Favorite: “I’m the Only One”

3. PAT BENATAR. This woman can sing. We cannot think of a more powerful rock vocalists in her heyday, the 1980’s. The ONLY problem we ever had were sometimes with her song’s lyrics. Most were written by men (read: boyfriends in the band) and often didn’t ring true. Example: What guy could ever use “Sex as a Weapon”? We are good, but not that good.

Our Favorite: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”.

2. JANIS JOPLIN. Janis Joplin was The Queen of Rock, the same way Aretha is The Queen of Soul. Her tortured life made her the ultimate blues singer. And as far as belting out a rock song goes nobody has ever done it better. As good, but never better. She made her start with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Her laugh was infectious. It was such a waste that she spun out of control and died so young.
Our Favorite: "Down on Me" studio version.
1. BONNIE RAITT. This was an easy choice for me. While I would agree that Janis was the Queen of Rock, I can’t ignore Bonnie’s longevity and incredible range of styles both vocally and musically. Besides, she is the only lady on this list that once kissed Bud Weiser. I did promise not to kiss and tell, but shit, that was a LONG time ago. Many think Bonnie started in the late eighties because that is when she becaume a superstar. She started record in 1972 and I own every one of her albums.

Our favorite: "I Can't Make You Love Me."

That's it for a Thursday
at the WTIT Tape Radio Studio.
We hope you liked this feature,
if you do let us know.
Perhaps we will do it again.
Join us tomorrow for
Dating Profiles on The WTIT Tape Radio Blog.
Same time. Same blog.