Monday’s Music Moves Me: Summer 2019 Playlist!

Summer playlist time again! I was initially going to use my playlist from last year, but said “nah, that’s cheatin’.” My next thought was to do the #1 hits from a random summer, such as 1974, but the more I did, the more I realized I’d already done that and you probably were sick of the songs. So I created a new playlist with summerlike songs. Some of them aren’t specifically summer songs, but they work.

  1. The Jamies, “Summertime, Summertime” Brother and sister Tom and Serena Jameson had a minor hit with this in 1958, when it reached #26. After a bunch more records that didn’t go anywhere, the re-released it in 1962, and it reached #38.
  2. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, “Summer Nights” From the 1978 movie Grease, which was based on the musical of the same name. John and Olivia, as Danny and Sandy, are talking about their summer vacations, totally unaware that they’re talking about each other.
  3. Johnny Rivers, “Summer Rain” Johnny’s tribute to the summer of 1967, also known as The Summer Of Love. I was in San Francisco that summer, but only being 11, I didn’t partake in any of the festivities, so to speak…
  4. Kool & The Gang, “Summer Madness” A great instrumental that still gets a lot of play on Smooth Jazz stations, from their 1975 album Spirit Of The Boogie.
  5. Ramsey Lewis featuring Earth Wind & Fire, “Sun Goddess” Some more Smooth Jazz from a couple of Chicago acts. Title track from Ramsey’s 1975 release.
  6. Martha & The Vandellas, “Dancing In The Street” Summer’s here and the time is right… From 1964, when it went to #2.
  7. Linda Ronstadt, “Heat Wave” This could have been a Martha & The Vandellas twofer, then I remembered that the lovely Ms. Ronstadt had done it as well. 1975 is well represented in this list: this is from her Prisoner In Disguise album from that year, and reached #5.
  8. The Motels, “Suddenly Last Summer” From Berkeley, California, these New Wavers reached #9 in 1983 with this one.
  9. The Trashmen, “Surfin’ Bird” You have to include a surf tune if you’re talking summer, and The Trashmen are considered the greatest landlocked (they’re from Minneapolis, Minnesota) surf band ever. This is a combination of two R&B hits by The Rivingtons, “Bird Is The Word” and “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow”. This went to #4 in 1963.
  10. Corey Smith, “The Baseball Song” Baseball players are sometimes referred to as “the boys of summer,” right? Corey’s from outside Athens, Georgia, which we all know by now is a sort of hotbed of musical activity. After graduating from UGA, he taught Geography, History and Guitar at North Gwinnett High School (the other side of Atlanta from me) until he decided to make music his life.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for June 24, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

The Friday 5×2: Summer Playlist, 2018 Edition

I was going to do a new summer playlist, then I went back through the playlists I already did here, here, and here, and decided “why re-invent the wheel?” So, I combined the three lists, knocked out the duplicates and a couple that weren’t totally appropriate, and added one more, to give me a 20-song list. Here it is, with little commentary.

  1. Billy Stewart, “Summertime”
  2. Gale Garnett, “We’ll Sing In The Sunshine”
  3. Chad & Jeremy, “A Summer Song”
  4. The Happenings, “See You In September”
  5. Sly & The Family Stone, “Hot Fun In The Summertime”
  6. Mungo Jerry, “In The Summertime”
  7. The Lovin’ Spoonful, “Summer In The City”
  8. Seals & Crofts, “Summer Breeze”
  9. Eddie Cochran, “Summertime Blues”
  10. Alice Cooper, “School’s Out”
  11. Bryan Adams, “Summer Of ’69”
  12. Nat King Cole, “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer”
  13. Chicago, “Saturday In The Park”
  14. The Cowsills, “Indian Lake”
  15. Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, “Palisades Park”
  16. The Beach Boys, “All Summer Long”
  17. Frank Sinatra, “The Summer Knows”
  18. Brian Hyland, “Sealed With A Kiss”
  19. Brian Hyland, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”
  20. “Moonglow,” from the 1955 movie Picnic

And that’s your Friday 5×2 (x2) for May 25, 2018. Have a good Memorial Day!

Writer’s Workshop: Things I Miss About Summer When I Was A Kid

Here are eight things I remember from my misspent youth that I miss about summer.

Being a kid. Obviously enough. I sometimes think I’m 11 with 50 years of practice.

Unstructured time. We were usually kicked out the door by 10 AM and weren’t expected home until dinnertime. God forbid we be late for dinner. We had to figure out what to do with ourselves for eight hours to give Mom, who was also on summer vacation, some time to herself.

Lake Michigan. I’m hesitant to say “the beach,” because that has its own connotations to people who didn’t grow up in Chicago. To a Chicagoan, the 50 feet of sandy area from the shore of Lake Michigan was “the beach,” and usually there was a grassy area and a playground beyond that. Both were lots of fun to hang around in. My childhood was before the current trend of “playground safety,” i.e. playground equipment that didn’t have a chance to maim or kill you. We knew better than to fall off the monkey bars, which were something I’m sure they whipped up in the Chicago Park District workshop, because there was a good chance you could knock out a few teeth on the way down if you fell. Then you’d catch hell from your mom, especially if they were permanent teeth (and God help you if you had braces…).

Playing in the alley. In our part of the world, the alley was more important than the street as far as a place to meet your friends. Our milieu was the alley between the east side of Glenwood and the west side of Wayne, and yes, it was also where the garbage trucks went through the neighborhood and where people took their dogs for relief. You haven’t played softball until you’ve said “that pile of dog shit is third base.” And yes, we had a form of softball that could be played in the alley by two kids and an army of “invisible men.” A lot of my friends could be found a block over, in the alley between the east side of Wayne and the west side of Lakewood.

Walking everywhere. Our general boundaries were Devon Avenue on the south, the lake on the east, Clark Street on the west, and Touhy Avenue on the north. Sometimes we’d push that northern border all the way to Howard Street, but not often, because we’d have to walk back. If we were adventurous, we’d walk to Broadway and go south as far as Granville. Lambert’s Bowling Lanes were on Broadway, and my brother was a classmate of Lambert’s son. Not that it bought us anything; we still had to pay. Kind of hard to do when you had no money.

The shaded outline in red was pretty much our range.

Being broke most of the time. We didn’t carry a whole lot of money, because there wasn’t that much to carry, anyway. We had to figure out ways to get money. Returning bottles for the deposit was a good way to get it. If we were lucky enough, we’d get a paper route, usually with the Lewis News Agency, working for Chuck Sucks and his wife, Mrs. H. “Sucks” wasn’t his actual last name, but we saw “Chuck Sucks” written all over the neighborhood and knew who the artist was talking about. Chuck looked like a tall Groucho Marx without the mustache or the sense of humor, had an entire wardrobe of short-sleeved white-on-white shirts (you could see his athletic-style undershirt through them; while those types of undershirts are generally referred to as “wife beaters,” I couldn’t see him beating Mrs. H, because she’d probably kill him), pegged dress pants that reached up over where his navel probably was, and pointy Oxfords, smoked horrible-smelling green cigars that he chewed the ends of, and was generally really unpleasant to deal with, whether you were an employee or a client. But he paid pretty well, you had a lot of autonomy, some of the customers tipped pretty well, and occasionally you’d score a discarded Playboy. If you weren’t so lucky, you could try hitting your folks up for it, but that usually involved doing something really unpleasant, like stripping wax off the floor. Fortunately, Grandma Holton lived on the next block, and she was usually good for a Coke, anyway. The point being, being broke had little to do with having fun back then.

Wandering in the great outdoors. I mentioned once that I had a habit of wandering off in random directions, exploring the neighborhood, alone with my thoughts, which as you can probably tell were really strange. It was even more fun if I had my bike, because I could go a whole lot further faster.

Riding my bicycle. Being on my bike was kind of like being on foot, because I was generally going to the same places anyway, but I could get there faster on wheels. Kids didn’t generally bike in the street, because that was like taking your life into your hands, but the alleys, once again, were the thoroughfares of the neighborhood for kids.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Top 5 from KHJ, June 21, 1967

I had to laugh when I saw the topic for this week’s M4:

Summer officially starts on Tuesday. Let’s play songs about summer!

See, I did this on Memorial Day, choosing five songs from a playlist I built for the Writer’s Workshop a year ago. Furthermore, last Thursday I posted the Top Ten from WCFL from this day in 1968.

So, I was stuck. And, any time I get stuck like that, I pop on over to Oldiesloon and go searching through surveys. Since nothing says summer like Southern California, I chose a survey from KHJ (930 kc) in Los Angeles, the radio home of such legendary disc jockeys as Robert W. Morgan, Charlie Tuna, and The Real Don Steele. Here’s what they were listening to on June 21, 1967…

#5: San Francisco – Scott McKenzie 1967 was a significant year for my family. My father died in January, and my mother was considering moving us to northern California. How serious she was about it, I have no idea, but we spent a week in the Bay Area with friends of hers (during which time she had at least one interview) and went into San Francisco frequently. The Summer of Love was in full swing, and the flower children were out in full force. This was an anthem to them, and to all that was peace, love, and flowers.

#4: Don’t Sleep In The Subway – Petula Clark We featured Petula during my series on The British Invasion, which was still running strong in 1967.

#3: Windy – The Association The Association were just off of their performance at the Monterey Pop Festival a few days before (if Wikipedia can be trusted), where they were the first act. They almost seemed out of place, a group of clean-cut young people who sang soft rock and folk rock, but they were a huge hit. This song made it to the top of the Hot 100 the following month.

#2: The Oogum Boogum Song – Brenton Wood I had a hard time placing this one until I heard it. Brenton had two hits in 1967, this and “Gimme Little Sign.” He’s still active on and off.

#1: Light My Fire – The Doors Their first #1 song. Hard to believe it happened this early; I placed it about a year later. This is the single version, without the long jam in the middle; they did a pretty good job of cutting it down to three minutes for Top 40 radio (the album version is here).

Hope you’ve enjoyed this look back to the Summer of Love. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for June 20, 2016.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Stacy, and Naila Moon, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


The Week That Was, Fathers’ Day (and First Day of Summer) Edition

The Week That Was

Today is

  • Fathers’ Day in most of the world this blog reaches. If you’re a father, stepfather, grandfather, uncle, legal guardian, etc., have a happy one!
  • Depending on where you live, either the shortest or longest day (“day” meaning the number of hours between sunrise and sunset) of the year. The Summer Solstice arrives at 12:38 PM EDT in the Northern Hemisphere; in the Southern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice arrives at roughly the same time. Starting today, the days start getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere until the Winter Solstice, roughly around December 21. The opposite happens in the Southern.

Anyhow, let’s look at what went on around here this past week. A lot of music…

  • You still have a chance, until about 9 tonight, to vote in my latest Battle of the Bands. The song is The Cascades’ “Rhythm of the Rain,” and the contestants are Neil Sedaka and Jason Donovan. It’s kind of a runaway, and the winner is all but decided, but still, vote and make your voice heard.
  • The Fortunes were the representatives of the British Invasion on Two for Tuesday.
  • Wednesday we talked about an interesting hobby for adults: coloring books. It started when I saw commercials for the Colorama coloring books. I thought it was unusual; coloring in coloring books is a great kids’ hobby, but I never considered that adults might enjoy it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that adults have all kinds of artistic hobbies, and coloring might be a great stress reliever. It might even be a worthwhile activity for someone going through occupational therapy. A couple of my readers said they like to color. My uncle told me about a hobby his granddaughter has, where she puts a grid over a picture and draws what’s in each square of the grid. Actually sounds like a lot of fun.
  • For the Thursday Ten, I built a playlist of ten songs about listening. Six of the songs were called “Listen,” three of them had “listen” in the title, and the last one started with the word “listen.” Mama Kat provided the prompt as part of her weekly Writer’s Workshop, though I didn’t submit it.
  • A couple of readers chose their favorite song from the Ten, and I chose Chicago’s “Listen.” It made me think about the two-record album The Chicago Transit Authority, specifically the B side of the first record. Terry Kath’s guitar (an old Gibson SG, for the record) dominates it, making it one of my favorites. Terry was Jimi Hendrix’s favorite player, and one of my guitar heroes. I featured the album side on Friday. You know, the album side is part of our musical heritage that has all but vanished, and the two-record set is another. I bought Rhino’s reissue of the first three Chicago albums, and all of the songs fit on one CD. I still think in terms of the original sets. That’s just me.
  • Finally, yesterday was Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt was “bone,” which reminded me of eighth grade and several of my friends building a chicken skeleton. I’m glad to hear that many of you liked it, because I laughed like an idiot while I was writing it.

I’m pretty well organized for the coming week. Be sure and join me this week, and tell your friends! See you soon!