Aaron’s Radio Show

Episode 20

My Three Songs with James Hofer

 

63 listens

Notes

Episode Notes

EPISODE TWENTY – My Three Songs with James Hofer:  Welcome, everyone, to Episode Twenty. This is the tenth in our series of episodes called My Three Songs where my guest chooses three memorable songs and we listen to the songs and talk about why they are meaningful to my guest.

Sign-Up to be a Guest on the Show!

Keep up with the show on our Facebook group, and Twitter. You can become a patron of the show on Patreon.

This episode can also be enjoyed as a podcast, which includes the entire interview, but no licensed music.
 Listen to the Podcast.

You can also find the show (as a Podcast – with no music) on these popular platforms: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Audible, and Stitcher.

A transcript of this episode is available.
 Read the Transcript

Three Songs

  1. A String of Pearls – Glenn Miller Orch. (1941)
  2. Jessica – Allman Bros. Band (1973)
  3. You Dropped a Bomb on Me – The GAP Band (1982)

Aaron’s Radio Show has been licensed by ASCAP and BMI to include songs from their repertories in performances on this website.

Never Miss a Show!

Be the first to know whenever a new episode is available.

Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California. It's Aaron's Radio Show, with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 20. Welcome to My Three Songs where I play three special songs chosen by my guest when we talk about why they chose each song. Today, my guest is another high school friend James Hofer. How are you today, James?

James Hofer:

I'm pretty good. How about yourself?

Aaron Gobler:

I'm doing well. A moment ago, you had told me that it was pretty warm where you are. You're -- are you in Philadelphia?

James Hofer:

Yeah. It's it's more humidity than heat, so.

Aaron Gobler:

I hear you that's, that's, that's one of the main reasons I moved to the west coast. It's pretty warm today here near San Francisco. But almost no humidity. So, glad about that. James, I wanted to thank you for being on the show. You know, we knew each other in high school pretty well. And I've kept up with you over Facebook over the years. And you're the fifth high school friend on the show. At what point did you decide that you want it to be on the show?

James Hofer:

Basically, I was like I was just one day I was listening to Jennifer Magee. Now, I heard David Hilgen on. And I'm like, You know what, I have three poignant songs that I really enjoy, listen to I listen to over and over again. And I'm like, maybe the other people will like it. So I figured I'd give it a try.

Aaron Gobler:

Awesome. Thank you again for, for being on the show. So before we get started, can you tell me how does music fit into your life? Like do you listen to it on a whim? Or is it a key part of your normal day? Or is it mostly in the background?

James Hofer:

It's it all depends on the situation faced, you know, sometimes I just want to listen to music. And I have a wide range of music that I listen to, as you can tell from my three songs that I pick.

Aaron Gobler:

Certainly.

James Hofer:

And it all you know, it's all if I want to cook in I'll put something on Pandora while I'm cooking or, you know when I'm riding the bus to go somewhere because I'm in the city, I'll put some Pandora on. And all that I you know, it's music can help you remember things and ease your soul from the hectic life that we lead.

Aaron Gobler:

Certainly. Do you pick a particular type or genre of music for different activities? Or is it like, you know, when you're cooking? Do you have a certain energy level per se?

James Hofer:

I mean, I'm a Big Band era fan. With like Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, you know that so I'll put on Big Band music when I'm cooking, you know, just just some ease and smoothing. And so it helps me just concentrate more when I'm cooking. I'm a big, basically late 90s to the 2010 country music fan with Toby Keith and all that. But my staple is generally classic rock.

Aaron Gobler:

And did you have a favorite radio station? In Philadelphia when? During high school?

James Hofer:

Ninety-two-five, eh, WIFI-92.

Aaron Gobler:

WIFI-92 (Laughter) Yeah, that was I listened to the WIFI-92 most of the time. I know a lot of people and through high school were listened to, you know, the more album oriented rock stations.

James Hofer:

Yeah, 'MMR and 'YSP

Aaron Gobler:

Exactly. Yeah.

James Hofer:

But WIFI-92 was awesome.

Aaron Gobler:

That's great. Yeah, that was that actually was my favorite, my favorite station. And it's interesting. The big band sound, it's interesting for people from you know, where we were born in the like the 1964, 1965 area, then that we should actually we know a lot of the the Big Band sound but it's interesting that you have an affinity for it. I do too, to a certain extent, but I'm eager to hear one of your songs is from the Glenn Miller Orchestra. So I'm eager to hear your your remarks about that once we play it. Do you find that a lot of people you know from our contemporary, also like, big band sound, do you feel like you're kind of an outlier on that?

James Hofer:

I believe I'm an outlier because my best friend now, I grew up with, every time I start playing it. He's like, "Dude, get that off!"

Aaron Gobler:

Oh, (Laughter). Okay, okay. Yeah.

James Hofer:

And, you know, and then when I play country he's like, keep that off. Up here now, it's like 97.5. I think no, no, 95.7 is like, our music that we grew up to, the 80s. Don't get me wrong I love my 80s, you know what I mean? I love the music from the 80s. But that's what he always listens to are classic rocks, so. It, you know, it's, I'm, I'm different, but I'm not. I'm just like everybody else. I just my taste are varied.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. Yeah, that's, it's an interesting thought. Because some people have very broad tastes, you know, and like you're saying a country, big band, the whole thing. And others do really have more of a narrow, a narrow range, and that you overlap a lot. We're mostly with other people. But you do have a little more on the extremes. Like, I'm not really much into country music, but I also don't listen to it or seek it out that much. And it's likely that I would find some of it really, you know, really great that I would, I would maybe get turned on to it. But I do tend to be a little more, for lack of a better word, maybe a little lazy and not explore some of the other areas that exist out there. And, and instead wait for me to hear it accidentally, and then say, Wow, I like that. James, you selected three great songs. And I'm gonna guess our listeners have heard of most of these. You chose "String of Pearls" by the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1941, "Jessica" by the Allman Brothers Band from 1973, "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" by the GAP Band from 1982. That was your third song. I'm very familiar with all three of these songs, and I'm eager for us both to listen to them together. And then interested in knowing why each of them is meaningful to you. So first, let's take a listen to "String of Pearls" by Glenn Miller.

Aaron Gobler.:

James I don't know a lot of music from the 40s. But Glenn Miller songs are the ones that most folks like us in our 50s are familiar with. Why did you choose to include this song?

James Hofer:

I love the old-school musicals like "South Pacific" ... But June Allyson ... and I watched a movie with Jimmy Stewart and I always had the biggest crush on June Allyson. And the way those two on screen were fitting with each other. He was Glenn Miller. He was like the love story those two he wrote this song for his wife. And, and it was like, and he got he was in the Air Force and he had died overseas and I don't know if they still ever found where his plane went down or something. I don't know if that's still a mystery, but I haven't fall back on it. But I first when I he wrote this song. For her. It was like, wow, the love that these two have for each other. And I'm a big June Allyson fan. I had the biggest ... her in Danny Kaye movies ... White Christmas with Bing Crosby. I just I just fell in love with her you know that mean? And then I saw her in the movie with Jimmy Stewart and every time I hear this song, I think of her in the crush I had on her. And I just I just love the horn it's there it's all it's all warns it's like even today's music like when we were going to Stray Cats remember that? They had a song and and they had they had one Yeah. And it's like I just love the horns.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, the Stray Cats really did a great job right with kind of a rockabilly. But with the the horn sections. Really deep horn section like like in the Big Band sound. I've heard I'd heard this song but I couldn't have told you what the title of it was. But I know in the mood is probably the most famous song by by Glenn Miller. But do any other of the big band songs bring back other memories to you? Or is this the one that's the most poignant?

James Hofer:

I just love the like Tommy Dorsey. I mean CBS on New Year's Eve used to have a big band for New Year's Eve. And I just love I just love that kind of music. You know, it's you know what, when we go to Well, one of my other songs, it's that no vocals it's just like listen to what each form but each guitar what each violin but whatever it is, listen to the music that that actual instrument they ...

Aaron Gobler:

Are you able to when you listen to music, whatever music it is, are you able to like isolate an instrument and kind of like, just concentrate on on that?

James Hofer:

Yeah, like, I know the difference between a trombone and a trumpet and a sax and, you know, that's, you know that and it's, you know, the trombone is awesome, but it even the sax, you know, when with old blues, Yes, sax, you know, I mean, it's just, it's just, you know, I enjoy.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, and without the lyrical part, the song really what it needs, it needs to have, it needs to engage you with in with just the music. And the second song in your list is also an instrumental, but from a much different era, "Jessica", by the Allman Brothers Band from 1973.

Aaron Gobler.:

James, this is really, really a great song and, and listen to all seven-plus minutes of it. I'm realizing it really bucked with the three-minute pop song format of its time. So this is a song you would not hear on WIFI-92. But likely on WYSP. Back when we were listening to it to their stations, and the group ... The Allman Brothers, were really such a talented band and their bluesy southern sound was was really hit across the whole country. What inspired you to add this song to your list?

James Hofer:

To me, growing up, the only kind of piano I heard was, you know, the people doing Bach, right. You know, there wasn't, you know, that kind of play of music, like it was in this song. And it was like it was it was, you know, "hey, cool, a regular piano", okay, do more things with, with a piano, they just do Bach and Beethoven and Strauss and all that. So that turned me on to it, but just sitting back and just close your eyes, and, you know, just, it's, it's just and you got all these different riffs in it. It you know, just it was cool. You know, and sometimes when you have lyrics, you concentrate more on the lyrics than the actual music. Right? Yeah, I mean, there's some great lyrics out there and want to hear them but with like Glenn Miller, and string approach, and this song is like, just sit back and just listen to each individual instrument without vocabulary. You know, hearing the vocabulary just listened back and laid back and I can listen to this song and times a day. i i love this song.

Aaron Gobler:

You know, it is it is a long song as as many as most songs go. But it is really, it's really it's kind of a tapestry. It's really very beautiful. One would think if I said "Well, I'm gonna play you a seven minute song", you think it would get kind of tiresome, but it really is wonderfully constructed and relatively simple. But when you think about the coordination of band needs to pull off, you know, long song like that so beautifully. It does, you know, it does bring me back to like some longer format songs like Grateful Dead songs, or even like Moody Blues or others that just had so many sections to them.

James Hofer:

When I first heard it, I thought it was it. I didn't know it was the Allman Brothers just because it's like, you get that vibe. You know, like, you hear in a Dead song. It's the only time you can dance with just with yourself that nobody will laugh at you. Is when you're listening to today. Yes.

Aaron Gobler:

I hear you. Yeah. Yeah.

James Hofer:

But that, you know, it's, I just really enjoy listening to that song because it just just actually calms me cools me down. Because I like to lay back listen to it, because you got different instruments doing different solos during the song, right? I like to lay back and you know, you know, some songs deserve words. It's like this song. The actual guitar the actual piano. That's the lyric. What they're, you know what I mean? You say, you know, you don't need words to go with the song.

Aaron Gobler:

So the first two songs have a quite a contrast to your last song, which has lyrics. You dropped a bomb on me by the GAP Band. So let's give that a listen.

Aaron Gobler.:

James I love this song. It's certainly the most famous song by that funk group and it continues to be played at wedding and Bar Mitzvah parties to this day. So what inspired you to include this song on your list?

James Hofer:

I actually heard it like three or four months ago. And when I was writing my songs down, this song brings you back to senior year football. When a senior football, Ronnie Kirk and I used I used to go to, when I got up ate my breakfast, I went up to his house, and we'd sit there for like an hour to just jam in the music, Moody Blues, Hall and Oates, you name it. But the last song we would play would be this song cranked up before we went to the locker room. It was you know, it's our our song to make us like "ahh!", it wasn't necessarily by the girl, it was like, we're gonna drop the bomb on the other team. You know what I mean? It just brings me back to senior year, I just played football man. That is probably the most enjoyable time I've ever had in my life was playing football for Lower Merion, my senior year. So, and I just heard it, and I'm like, and I was thinking, Okay, this song, because you saw a list of what I had. And like, that's why I put this higher up on the list because it brings me back to high school. And that's, that's why I was listening to some of the music that, you know, other people that have been on your show, and I'm like, that's song brings me back to high school. But now this song, this song, really, you know, brings me back to where when time was so simple I had to do is get up, go to school, put pads on and play football. And life has changed 30 Some, almost 40 years later.

Aaron Gobler:

And so when you you hadn't heard the song in a while and when you heard it recently, it all kind of flooded back back out in your mind?

James Hofer:

... back to high school, man. I was looking for my cleats to strap on.

Aaron Gobler:

(Laughter) So did was it a so it was a good feeling that washed over you. It kind of made you like lose like the, the space and time you're in right at that moment. And like you were suddenly back in that moment in high school.

James Hofer:

Yeah, except I'm a little bit heavier. And a little more gray, a little more grayer. But nah, it just some some of the songs that that you know, basically, to me, if you find your music before you're 25 that the music that you because some song today isn't going to affect you the way a song did two years ago. And the GAP Band just seriously brings you back towards senior year and the last song cranked up before we head into the locker room. You know, it was it was fun times. But you know ...

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. Do you have Are there any other songs that you connect with your with with the high school football ?

James Hofer:

"Maneater" by Hall & Oates. Because I was you know, it wasn't that we're you know, we're girls or anything like that it was we're going to kill the it's like other you know songs that in their titles were like just help pump you up before you go out as ... it was weird, we listened. Like I said we sit up in his house for like two hours just listen music but the last song we would play before we head to the locker room was they got banned. And like I said, I heard that a few months ago and it just I just remember playing football in high school. It was it was fun. You know? I wish we all go back senior year.

Aaron Gobler:

No, no, I hear you I hear you. So so by by playing it at the last song do you find that during then during the practice or playing the game that it was still playing in your head? Because I find that often with the last song I listened to it, you know, whatever occasion even today? It that song would be stuck on my head.

James Hofer:

Well, thank you. Yeah, because, you know, when you hear the song, it triggers a memory and a good memory for me. And yeah, and then it's like it sticks in my head for a while. That's why I said I heard it like two or three months ago, and I wrote it down. Because it's my head. Yeah, I enjoy. I enjoy all music. But you know, there's some songs that are more poignant for me what I'm doing and trying to get ahead in life and not try to screw up again, which you know, stuff happens. You know, I've I've turned a new page in my life and you know, the the old fun song for football is one of them. And then you know, like I said with "Jessica", just lay back and just calm me down. Just just enjoyed a vibe, basically. And then, you know, you know, Glenn Miller, he was in the Air Force, you know, he lost his life overseas, not in war. But he's still hero and the love story between him and his wife. And this, and he wrote two softwares. I mean, there's reasons why some songs are important to me that other people might not think are important to them, but it's everybody's own individual idea, but what makes them happy and, and how they feel about certain songs, you know, you know, I love a wide range of music, you know, a wide range. Yeah. And I mean, yeah. But, you know, there, there are a lot of songs that are out there that I, you know, I connect to with one on one, these are just songs I grew up with that have stayed with me all my life. And like I said, anytime I could put Glenn Miller on while cooking, because it's just the horn section of your cookie. You're like, you're moving around the kitchen and doing things and got the horns going. Yeah, it's like, again, yeah, just when I'm at, just want to chill out and relax. A little just go on, get me into the relaxing mood to listen to other songs. And then, like, I'd say this one brings you right back to senior year in high school, by in football. Yeah.

Aaron Gobler:

Music certainly can be a really powerful trigger. And in this case, these three songs that you chose, all bring back certain good feelings to you. I appreciate you putting this list together. It was a little bit eclectic. But I like hearing how you know the thread that runs through all three, all three of them for you. Is there anything else you'd like to share about your selections that we haven't talked about?

James Hofer:

I gave you my heart! Oh, yeah. It felt good. And it's also nice talking to you.

Aaron Gobler:

Well, I guess I do want to thank you for this walk down memory lane. And for the selections of songs. It was fun. Listen to them. And, and yeah, I had a lot of fun today.

James Hofer:

So did I, it was it was good. Like I said, yeah, good talking to you. And as you know, this is what reunions are all about. This is like a mini reunion for you. And I Yeah, as we were together for a long time at homeroom.

Aaron Gobler:

There was a lot of time spent in homeroom. Yeah. So I want to thank you again for taking the time out today. And I want to tell my listeners that if you want to be part of this show, start by going to our website Aaron's Radio dot show, and clicking on the My Three Songs button on the homepage. You can also sign up for our mailing list, so you'll know immediately when a new episode is available. Until next time, keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

Female voice:

You're listening to Aaron's Radio Show.

Share Your Thoughts on this Episode

This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.