Wednesday, November 30, 2011

R.I.T.: "Kiss On My List"

Today's R.I.T. is Hall and Oates' 1981 hit, "Kiss On My List," off their Voices album. The song was the third single off the album and gave them their second #1 U.S. hit (4 years after "Rich Girl.") It also went to #7 in Canada and #33 in the U.K. and New Zealand. It was one of the first hits written by Hall and Janna Allen which would include the top 10 singles "Private Eyes," "Did It In A Minute" and "Method Of Modern Love." Eddie Van Halen reportedly told Hall that he copied the synth part of the track and used it in some song called "Jump."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

R.I.T.: "Mind Of A Toy"

Today's R.I.T. (random iTunes track) is Visage's 1981 hit, "Mind Of A Toy," off their self-titled debut album. The song was the follow-up single to "Fade To Grey" and went to #13 in the U.K., #10 in Germany, #16 in Ireland and #42 in the Netherlands. The video was directed by Godley & Creme. Aside from founding members Steve Strange and Rusty Egan, Visage included members of Ultravox and Magazine. I often find myself mesmerized by their sound.

Monday, November 28, 2011

R.I.T.: "Shadows Of The Night"

Today's R.I.T. is Pat Benatar's 1982 single, "Shadows Of The Night," off of her Get Nervous album. As the first single off the album, it went to #13 in the U.S., #12 in Canada, #19 in Australia, #32 in New Zealand and #50 in the U.K. No, it didn't chart in Germany. Could be because the video never aired there due to the Allies/Nazi theme. Covers of the song have been done by Mary J. Blige and Ashley Tisdale. The album was the first to include Charlie Giordano on keyboards as Scott St. Clair Sheets had left the band after Precious Time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

R.I.T.: "Sweet Thing"

Today's R.I.T. is Keith Urban's 2008 single, "Sweet Thing," off of the album, Defying Gravity. The song went to #1 on the U.S. Country, #30 in the U.S., #45 in Canada and #96 on the Australian charts. The single became his 10th U.S. Country hit and his 19th Top 40 country single. Meanwhile, Urban has something to be thankful for during the holidays. He's currently recovering from a successful throat surgery to remove a polyp on his vocal chords.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

R.I.T.: "Your Woman"

Today's R.I.T. is the 1997 single, "Your Woman," by White Town. The one-man act formed by Jyoti Mishra released their first single in 1990. This one went to #1 in the U.K., #2 in Australia, #5 in Ireland and New Zealand, #13 in Canada and #23 in the U.S. Hardly hear it anymore but it's a fun track. In October, he released his new album, Monopole, via the Bzangy label.

Friday, November 25, 2011

R.I.T.: "Blues Before And After"

Today's R.I.T. is the Smithereen's 1990 single, "Blues Before And After," off 1989's 11 album. The song was the follow-up to "A Girl Like You" and went to #98 on the U.S. singles chart (Billboard) as well as #7 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock and #18 on the U.S. Modern Rock charts. Recently, frontman Pat DiNizio launched his new show Confessions Of A Rock Star at Las Vegas' Riviera Hotel. I'll be getting tickets soon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

R.I.T.: "One Vision"

Today's R.I.T. is the powerful 1985 Queen single "One Vision" off of their A Kind Of Magic album. As the only single released by the band that year, the song went to #61 in the U.S. and #7 in the U.K. The idea for the song was Roger Taylor's but is the first Queen song that each band member co-wrote. The track was also featured in the soundtrack for Iron Eagle. According to Taylor, the lyrics were "half nicked" of Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' speech. The odd culinary ending was the sole left-over from early stages of the track when, while eating Chinese takeout, they threw a bunch of food items into the lyrics for fun.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

R.I.T.: "Fire Woman"

Today's R.I.T. is the 1989 hit, "Fire Woman," by the Cult. The song was the first single off of the Sonic Temple album and charted on the U.K. Singles (#15), Billboard Hot 100 (#46) and U.S. Modern Rock Tracks (#2) charts. The Bob Rock-produced album would go to #10 in the U.S.

Monday, November 21, 2011

R.I.T.: "Eep Opp Ork Ah Ah (Means I Love You)"

Today's R.I.T. is the Violent Femmes cover of "Eep Opp Ork Ah Ah (Means I Love You)" which appears on the 1995 Saturday Morning Cartoons Greatest Hits compilation. The original song debuted on the 1962 episode of The Jetsons titled A Date With Jet Screamer. Sung by late actor Howard Morris (who voiced Screamer), it was written by Hoyt Curtin, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. I don't think any other band other than They Might Be Giants could have gotten away with covering this.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

R.I.T.: "History Never Repeats"

Today's R.I.T. is the Split Enz 1981 hit "History Never Repeats" off their Waiata album. The song was a top 5 hit in New Zealand and Australia and went to #63 in the U.K. The guitar part in the bridge (played by Neil Finn) was originally part of an old song, "Bergen Aan Zee," written by previous band member Phil Judd.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

R.I.T.: "Muscles"

Today's R.I.T. is Diana Ross' 1982 hit "Muscles" off her Silk Electric album. The song went to #10 in the U.S. and #15 in the U.K. Written and produced by Michael Jackson (with some backing vocals), "Muscles" earned Ross a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The song was named after Michael's pet snake.

Diana Ross - Muscles by papafonk

Friday, November 18, 2011

R.I.T.: "A Girl Called Johnny"

Today's R.I.T. is The Waterboys' 1983 classic "A Girl Called Johnny" off their eponymous debut album. I absolutely love this song which peaked at #80 on the U.K. chart that year. It's a tribute to Patti Smith. The band's rotating lineup is legendary as there have been more than 50 musicians that have been able to call themselves Waterboys. Former keyboardist Karl Wallinger would form his band World Party after his 3 year tenure.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

R.I.T.: "Cheer Down"

Today's R.I.T. is George Harrison's "Cheer Down." Released in 1989 off of the Lethal Weapon 2 soundtrack, the song went to #7 on the U.S. Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and #53 on the Canadian singles chart. The lyrics to the song were co-written with Tom Petty. The song was released later that year on his Best Of Dark Horse 1976-1989 collection. No video was released for the track but found a great live version.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

R.I.T.: "Big Ole Butt"

Today's R.I.T. is LL Cool J's "Big Ole Butt." The track was the third single off of his classic 1988 album, Walking With A Panther, going to #13 on the U.S. Rap and #57 on the U.S. R&B charts. 'Panther' became his second #1 R&B album spending 4 weeks in that position thanks to this track and the singles "Going Back to Cali," "I'm That Type of Guy," "Jingling Baby" and "One Shot at Love."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

R.I.T.: "Bad Is Bad"

Today's R.I.T. is the classic Huey Lewis And The News song "Bad Is Bad." It's intriguing that this 1983 track, off the Sports album, got a video and received a lot of airplay but was never released as a single and never charted. The Sports album already had 5 top 20 singles off of it which may have prevented an official release. Usually charts are determined as much by sales as airplay. It did appear as a B-side to "The Power Of Love" later and was added on their first 'best of' (which skipped "Jacob's Ladder") but it's amazing when what seems to be a hit really wasn't.

Monday, November 14, 2011

R.I.T.: "Someday"

Today's R.I.T. is the 1986 song "Someday" by Glass Tiger. It was the third single from their debut album, The Thin Red Line, and went to #7 in the U.S., #14 in Canada and #66 in the U.K. This song was written by vocalist Alan Frew and producer Jim Vallance (who was a longtime songwriting partner of Bryan Adams) on the first day working together -- as well as their other huge hit "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)." It says a lot about musical magic created by fresh chemistry. You also now understand how they got Adams to do backing vocals on the other song.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's a special day again.  Well, special for our family.  This weekend we took our son and nephew off to see Blue Man Group for an early celebration of David's 14th birthday.  We end the celebratory weekend with a cake and some other goodies.

It was also a moment to look at who else celebrates birthdays today.  Rather funny that he had just been reading The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in school as Robert Louis Stevenson also shares the same birth date.  Jimmy Kimmel, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Noth and former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis also share that date.  This might speak a lot for his diverse personality.  But, I am very proud of my son and know that his future will be no less brilliant.

R.I.T.: "Kennedy"

Today's R.I.T. is 1986's "Kennedy" by French post-punk act Buzz. Definitely in the dark electronic area. I was lucky enough to get to know main-man Jean-Christophe Van Thienen during and after recording an episode of the show about the group. They even sampled my voice from a bit of the show for a song demo we debuted on episode 100. Anyhow, it's amazing to see an actual video for their best known track.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

R.I.T.: "Towa no Hana (Eternal Flower)"

Today's R.I.T. is a little unusual but... heck, that's who I am. The song is "Towa no Hana (Eternal Flower)" by Yoko Ishida from the 2002 anime series Ai Yori Aoshi. See what randomness gets you? Beautiful Japanese pop song. Love the production but found myself picking up a lot of Ishida's work afterwards. She released a lot of music from 1993 until 2009.

Friday, November 11, 2011

R.I.T.: "Brothers In Blood"

Today's R.I.T. is a rather new track. Last year, Keel released their latest studio album, Streets Of Rock & Roll, and I was lucky enough to talk with frontman Ron Keel for one of the episodes of our former show. "Brothers In Blood" is a great example of the unyielding force of rock & roll. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

R.I.T.: "She's Right On Time"

Today's R.I.T. (random iTunes track) is Billy Joel's "She's Right On Time" off his 1982 album, The Nylon Curtain. Until 2007's "Christmas In Fallujah," this was the closest Joel got to releasing a Christmas song. A personal favorite, it was never released as a single yet had a video made for it... rather perplexing. It did surface later in 1984 as the B-side to "Keeping The Faith" in the Netherlands.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

R.I.T.: "I Loved 'Em Every One"

Today's R.I.T. is T.G. Sheppard's 1981 single, "I Loved 'Em Every One." The song was his biggest hit during his long-running career -- charting at #1 on the U.S. Country, #3 U.S. Adult Contemporary and went to #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 (becoming his sole Top 40 entry.) During his career he scored a series of 15 consecutive Top 10 releases, including 10 No. 1 country songs. He was also a friend of Elvis Presley who gave him his first tour bus and let him live at Graceland for awhile.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

R.I.T.: "Knee Deep"

Today's R.I.T. is the Zac Brown Band's "Knee Deep" featuring Jimmy Buffett. There is a common thread between Brown and Buffett that brings a smile to my face. Heck, I think you have to add Kenny Chesney as well as they release songs that remind us to sit back, breathe and enjoy the little moments. Buffett has been recording since 1970 and is a touring juggernaut. I enjoy all his guest appearances. If you enjoy the song, look for the episode of CMT Crossroads episode with Zac and Jimmy.

Monday, November 07, 2011

R.I.T.: "I Still Believe"

Today's R.I.T. is Tim Cappello's memorable 1987 song, "I Still Believe," from the Lost Boys soundtrack. The multi-instrumentalist worked with Billy Crystal and, for a long time, Tina Turner before recording this. His performing the song in the film and video appearances led to a stint as an actor. The song itself is a cover of The Call's "I Still Believe (Great Design)" off their 1986 album, Reconciled. Funny how this song pops up randomly after just watching Lost Boys with the family a week ago.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

R.I.T.: "Last Train To London"

Today's R.I.T. is 1979's "Last Train To London" by Electric Light Orchestra. The song was their last hit single of the 1970s -- released as a double-A side single with "Confusion" in the U.K. (#8) and Ireland (#9) and charted alone at #3 in France and #39 in the U.S. U.S. radio stations decided just to air "Confusion" first and later started adding "Last Train To London" which took its chart tenure into the new decade.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

R.I.T.: "Love To Love You Baby"

Today's R.I.T. is Donna Summer's 1975 classic "Love To Love You Baby." A world-wide smash that went to #2 in the U.S., #4 in the U.K., #2 in Canada... but only after the original 3 minute 21 second track was remixed (into the nearly 17 minute album version.) After leaving disco behind, Summer would not perform the sexually suggestive track live for 25 years. I can't help but think that this helped inspire Terri Nunn's work on Berlin's 1982 hit "Sex (I'm A...)"

Friday, November 04, 2011

R.I.T.: "When You Say Nothing At All"

Today's R.I.T. is Keith Whitley's 1988 #1 U.S country and Canadian country single, "When You Say Nothing At All." It was a shining point in his career being the second of five U.S. country #1's. Whitley, 34, a longtime alcoholic died the following year from alcohol poisoning. The song has been covered by Alison Krauss and Ronan Keating and even landed at #12 on CMT's 100 Greatest Love Songs list in 2004.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

R.I.T.: "Something's Always Wrong"

Today's R.I.T. is the 1994 single "Something's Always Wrong" by Toad The Wet Sprocket off their Dulcinea album. The song just missed becoming their fourth Top 40 hit (landing at #41) on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart but was their second biggest hit on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart at #9. Recently heard from the band and they are starting the writing process for their first new studio album since 1997's Coil.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

R.I.T.: "The Right Decision"

Today's R.I.T. is Jesus Jones' 1993 single, "The Right Decision," which was a #36 U.K. and #12 U.S. Alternative chart hit from of their often forgotten Perverse album. A new rarities compilation containing B-sides and unreleased tracks has been in the works. In fact, their official Facebook page just announced the tracklist for disc one: Band Favourites.

Journey Get It Right With Volume 2

I have to admit that I'm a completist.  I believe that a 'best of' should have the 'best' and a 'greatest hits' should contain the 'greatest.'  So I get let down often.  Bands leave out hits.  It happens.  Sometimes it's in lieu of that new single that they expect will earn its place as a hit as well.  Sometimes... well, sometimes it seems to fans that someone was drinking or didn't care.  A hit left off a retrospective album can become lost to new fans who have purchased the hits disc as their introduction to the band.  They will never know what they missed (unless they buy all the early albums like I would.)  But, I also love seeing these kind of wrongs righted and Journey has now done so.
Their original 1988 Greatest Hits collection only had 15 tracks (until the addition of "When You Love A Woman" as a 2006 bonus track.)  Great songs, all of them.  Yet the band had 25 chart hits on the Billboard Hot 100, 6 other hits on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and even a few U.S. Adult Contemporary chart hits.  Their new Greatest Hits Volume 2, released yesterday, contains 17 songs that aren't on the Volume 1 (like the Top 20 hits "Still They Ride" and "Suzanne.")
Let's break this down a bit more systematically.  The original Greatest Hits included the 1978 hit "Lights" which went to #68 and when released as a live version in 1993 went to #74 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  So, skipping bypassing two Top 20 hits made sense because "Lights" was a 'greater hit'?  It is a beautiful song and a fan favorite live but even 1983's "After The Fall" went to #23 (same position as "Send Her My Love" attained) but didn't make the 'greatest hits' list.  I can beat this dead horse a bit more but you get the point.  It's a good time to remind fans that Journey weren't just those 15 or 16 songs from Volume 1 and nudge them to go shopping.  What I could see is that maybe the songs from the first collection had a special sound to it or gelled better as a set.  I mean, how could they leave a song like this off it for any other reason.  Go get Volume 2, folks!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

R.I.T.: "Darklands"

Today's R.I.T. was the 1987 #33 U.K. / #2# Irish hit, "Darklands," by Scottish modern rock act The Jesus And Mary Chain. The song was the title track to their most successful album in the U.K. -- which went Top 5.