Song of the Day

Astrud by Basia

Barbara Stanisława Trzetrzelewska, better known as Basia, was a popular staple on pop and soft-jazz radio stations from the late 80’s through the 90’s. This tune is timeless for me; it seems just as fresh today as the first time I heard it.

It Takes Two by Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock

Only once in my life have I ever started walking out of a record store, only to start hearing a song, and turn back around and immediately by that song. It was 1988, Concord Mall, Wilmington, Delaware. There are many critics who believe this song is “the greatest hip-hop single ever cut.”

Walk Between the Raindrops by Donald Fagen

Donald Fagen was a perfectionist in Steely Dan, and he remains a perfectionist in his own solo work. This understated jazzy song is a masterpiece and never grows old for me.

Let Me Kiss You by Morrissey

Steven Patrick Morrissey is known as the main singer/songwriter with The Smiths. His self-deprecating and clever lyrics continued in his solo efforts. This song is a perfect example.

Bailando by Enrique Iglesias

This 2008 collaboration with Sean Paul, Descemer Bueno, and Gente de Zona, is a four-minute energy-filled delight.

What’s On Your Mind by Information Society

This is one of many memorable synth-pop/new-wave danceable hits from the 80’s. It was partially inspired by Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer, and includes samples of Leonard Nimoy from a Star Trek episode.

Sign Your Name by Terence Trent D’Arby

This song by Sananda Maitreya (formerly known as Terence Trent D’Arby) was a worldwide hit in 1987. It is a beautiful song and is just one of so many creative and memorable tunes by the singer-songwriter.

Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash

Ranked as #87 on Billboard’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, this unique recording by Johnny Cash combines his amazing bass-baritone voice and rockabilly/country sound with a mariachi band! What an iconic song.

Shape of My Heart by Sting

Before the world knew him as Sting, he was Gordon Sumner, a bus conductor, building laborer, tax officer, and school teacher. His magic with lyrics was apparent through his entire career in the Police, and continued in beautiful tunes like this one from his post-Police days.

Crazy by Patsy Cline

I could never grow tired of this song. Patsy Cline’s incredible vocals, the twinkling piano, and the seductive guitar accompaniment are all parts of a timeless masterpiece!

Lonely Boy by Andrew Gold

Andrew Gold wrote and produced dozens of songs for others in the 70’s, but this was his biggest solo hit; it was hugely popular worldwide.

It Don’t Come Easy by Ringo Starr

This song was written by Ringo Starr, produced by fellow Beatle, George Harrison, and released on Apple records. Years ago it was impossible to find this song on any music service, and – in desperation – I paid for an mp3 of it from a Russia-based music service; I’m sure that situation was not legit!

Love Stinks by the J. Geils Band

This was one song I loved to hear on MTV back in the early 80’s. John “J.” Geils and his band were living in obscurity until this 1980 hit, which got heavy rotation when MTV launched in the fall of 1981. If you watch the video, pay attention to the drummer’s unique sticks.

You Are My Sunshine by Ray Charles

I first heard this song in the soundtrack for the movie Unstrung Heroes. Immediately catchy and sweetly endearing, Ray Charles’ version of this song is fantastic.

Life’s Been Good by Joe Walsh

This solo song, by Walsh, who was a member of the Eagles for a chunk of his career, immediately brings me back to my teenage years. Its clever lyrics and rocking instrumentation make it a timeless gem!

I’ve Been Thinking About You by Londonbeat

I visited England in 1980, and I recall being at a tavern or a pub (at the age of 16!) and getting this really warm and magical feeling from the physical space and ambiance. I also recall enjoying a flavor of music in that place, too. When I heard the song “I’ve Been Thinking About You”, in 1990, it immediately reminded me of my visit to that pub.

Lucky by Britney Spears

When I heard Britney’s earlier songs, something struck me about the style and feel: ABBA! Jangly and boppy. Listen to the song and imagine it as something by ABBA. Britney’s early albums were crafted by Swedish record producer, Max Martin. Coincidence? I don’t think so! (Actually Martin admits that ABBA was a huge influence on his work.)

New Toy by Lene Lovich

The new-wave/post-punk song “New Toy” was one of the hits played on MTV nonstop; it was released in 1981, the year MTV started.The song was written by Thomas Dolby. He didn’t have his own hits until a year or so later.

Promises by The Cranberries

Singer/guitarist Dolores O’Riordan’s unique vocal stylings are easily recognizable. Sadly she died at 46 in an alcohol intoxication-related drowning. You may know her songs, “Zombie”, “Dreams” and “Linger”, but have you heard this song before?

How Much More by The Go-Go’s

This amazing song is by the Go-Go’s before they got big record contracts. Recorded on/by Stiff Records, “How Much More” sounds raw, intense and authentic … minus all of the fancy production work on their later re-recording of the song. A post-punk romp!

These Boots Are Made for Walkin’! by Nancy Sinatra

The video is a synthesis of 60’s miniskirts, yoga stretches, and female empowerment.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) by ABBA

What struck me about this video is that it’s not lip-synched; perhaps this the actual filming of the song’s production.

You Need to Calm Down by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is an incredibly talented singer-songwriter! The song has a jangly tune reminiscent of ABBA, with some timely and culturally poignant lyrics.

Enjoy the great video; see if you find all of the cameos!

Don’t Let Me Down (feat. Daya) by The Chainsmokers

A cool song to listen to. A lot of their music has a formulaic feel, and this song is not amazing. But I found myself laughing out loud at this video; which made me realize I don’t usually laugh at videos.

Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) by The Doors.

In the 90’s I saw a stage performance of Bertolt Brecht’s “Three-Penny Opera”. I knew the Kurt Weill song “Mack the Knife” was in that play, but I was surprised when I heard the Whisky Bar song, and wracked my brain to remember where else I had heard the lyrics and tune. One day I figured it out!
An odd song, but done in unique Doors way. Check out David Bowie’s versions, too! (And also check out Lotte Lenya!)

Bia Lulucha by Cesária Évora

Cesária Évora was called the “Barefoot Diva” because she performed without shoes.
Such a beautiful voice, great rhythm, and feeling!

Spirit In The Sky by Norman Greenbaum

As a kid, I was confused why a guy with a very Jewish-sounding name was singing about Jesus.
The truth is that Norman Joel Greenbaum was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household and attended Hebrew school. He was inspired to write a gospel song after seeing one sung on TV.
Greenbaum has been quoted as saying “I’ve gotten letters from funeral directors telling me it is their second-most-requested song to play at memorial services, next to `Danny Boy`.”

Say We’ll Meet Again by Lindsey Buckingham

Fleetwood Mac was a powerhouse of talented musicians and performers. IMHO it was Buckingham’s guitar stylings and chops that made some of their biggest hits so memorable.
I love the instrumentation in this song. The entire album “Out of the Cradle” is an incredible showcase of his guitar skills.

Will It Go Round In Circles by Billy Preston

This was born out of a joke Preston made to his songwriting partner, Bruce Fisher, about having a song but no melody and singing it to his friends.

What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye

Released 50 years ago, this song has local roots for me.
Per Wikipedia, the song’s inspiration came from Renaldo “Obie” Benson, a member of the Motown vocal group the Four Tops, after he and the group’s tour bus arrived at Berkeley on May 15, 1969. While there, Benson witnessed police brutality and violence in the city’s People’s Park during a protest held by anti-war activists in what was hailed later as “Bloody Thursday”. Upset by the situation, Benson said to author Ben Edmonds that as he saw this, he asked, “‘What is happening here?’ One question led to another. Why are they sending kids so far away from their families overseas? Why are they attacking their own children in the streets?”

Going Down to Liverpool by The Bangles

The Bangles are a super talented band with songs inspired by the British Invasion sound from bands like the Beatles, Stones, and Kinks.
The video includes Leonard Nimoy, who, I believe was a friend of Susanna Hoff’s mother.
The song (which was written by Katrina and the Waves) includes a reference to a “UB40”, which is an unemployment form in the UK. (Not a reference to a record by the band UB40, per my sources.)

Harden My Heart by Quarterflash

Rumor has it that Elton John broke with his normal tradition of not having opening bands, in order to include Quarterflash on his “Jump Up” tour in 1982 — based on the strength of this single.
This video is from early days of MTV and is just a jumble of non-sequiturial clips.

It’s Too Funky in Here by James Brown

Probably not one of his more famous songs, but it’s F-U-N-K-Y. “Give me some air!!”

In Dreams by Roy Orbison

A beautiful and timeless classic.

Stay (Wasting Time) by Dave Matthews Band

When I heard this band and this song for the first time, it didn’t sound like anything I had heard before. What a soulful and joyful masterpiece.

Zanzibar by Billy Joel

Lyrically very clever, and musically catchy. A solid performance, and an often overlooked song from his huge back catalog.

Ex’s & Oh’s by Elle King

Take a little Nancy Sinatra, a little Amy Winehouse, a little Dolly Parton, a little Elvis, a little P!nk, and some clever lyrics and rhyming patterns, and you’ve got a unique and memorable song.

I Want To Hold Your Hand by Bollywood Beatles

Bollywood meets the Beatles. Enjoy!

Holiday Inn by Elton John

The song, “Holiday Inn”, co-written with Bernie Taupin, includes a variety of guitar, mandolin, maybe banjo, strings, and of course, piano. An often overlooked hidden gem!

Swingtown by the Steve Miller Band

It brings me back to the 70’s immediately. What an iconic band!

SWLABR by Cream

Maybe not the most well-known song by Cream, but still a great showcase of Eric Clapton’s early talent. And a psychedelic tune whichever way you cut it!

Family Affair by Mary J. Blige

I’m featuring it here because I don’t have the licensing to include it on the show, but it’s such a great tune. So funky and smooth!

A Girl Like You by Edwyn Collins

Bowie? Iggy Pop? Elvis Presley? Lots of influences here; but a unique song, still.

Shut Down by the Beach Boys

A lot of their songs sound very bubble-gum, popular, 60’s-era. However, the four-part harmonies and incredible production (mostly due to Brian Wilson’s mastery) really set them apart from many ultra-popular groups of the time. (And inspired the Beatles on a lot of projects.) This performance, live, is impeccable and exemplifies their skills and discipline.

I Don’t Need No Doctor by Ray Charles

Have you heard this tune before?

Pork and Beans by Weezer

The video is great; a send-up of top Youtube memes, with the original meme subjects!

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