Rock Snub Week, Day 5: Those Crazy Spuds from Akron…Devo!

8.17 Devo Logo

It’s Friday once again, folks! End of the week, the weekend laying ahead of us with the promise of rest, relaxation and fun on the agenda for many of us. For those of you who work the weekends, I feel your pain as I used to have to work every other weekend when I was working as a medical technologist in all three hospitals in which I worked. Yet, for the retired sect, of which I belong, even though I am technically disabled as well, I have heard people describe retirement as six Saturdays and a Sunday. I am not there yet, and, in likelihood, never will, I still like to dream.

8.17 Devo - 1977 crop
Our heroes in 1977

So far this week, I have presented four very iconic artists who all share something in common: they continue to be ignored by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Since I really don’t have all that much going on in my life, and I do tire of watching microbiology videos in an effort to live vicariously through researchers throughout the world, I believe I may have stumbled upon an induction process for the RRHOF to follow in the future, I am in the process of cleaning up the idea before I present this idea sometime soon. So, for all of you Hall-philes, I really think I might have an idea that I would love to present.

8.17 Devo - SNL
Devo on Saturday Night Live in 1978

But, first thing first, let’s finish off this week of Hall Snubs. So far this week, I have presented Eurythmics, Depeche Mode, New Order and Boston as artists who all deserve Hall induction as far as I am concerned. Now, it would be much easier to make arguments on behalf of artists such as Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Paul Revere & the Raiders, King Crimson, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Gram Parsons & the Flying Burrito Brothers, Motörhead, Kraftwerk, Def Leppard, The Spinners, Duran Duran, Chic, The Chi-Lites, The Smiths and Pixies, but I wanted to put the spotlight on less obvious artists. So, let’s finish this week with the first band to appeal to nerds everywhere in the universe, everyone’s favorite spuds from Akron, Ohio, Devo!

Legend has it that Devo began as a reaction to the 1970 Kent State University student massacre during which Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four students and injured several others during a peaceful anti-Vietnam War protest. That’s when Kent State art students Mark Motherspaugh and Bob Casale developed the theory of “de-evolution,” in which man had reached its peak and was being to regress.” Combining deconstructed and disorienting pop and rock songs that had unusual synthetic instrumentation, sounds and time signatures with social commentary and satire, science fiction kitsch and deadpan surrealist humor proved in the very long run to be influential across genres. The band began to gig around Ohio and all points east, gaining a strong following which led to the band being signed to England’s Stiff Records. The final endorsement came from none other than David Bowie, as he introduced the band’s performance at CBGB during the punk rock heyday. After that, momentum carried Devo far.

8.17 Neil Young & Devo - Into the Black
Devo (with Mark Motherspaugh as Booji Boy) performing a rousing version of “Into the Black” for Young’s ill-fated movie, ‘Human Highway.’

In 1978, Devo released its immortal debut, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo, on Warner Bros. Shortly thereafter, the band’s profile increased with their famous performance on Saturday Night Live’s second episode of their highly acclaimed fourth season. After that, as the cliche goes, the rest was history. Devo’s commercial peak occurred in 1980 when both their famous single “Whip It” and album Freedom of Choice both entered their charts’ Top 20, a peak that no other single nor album ever reached.

8.17 Devo - Recently
Devo during a ‘Something for Everyone’ publicity shoot

Today, Devo remains a pop cultural icon to the children of the ’80s. Unfortunately, their use of parody and satire in a pop/rock setting went by most of the population, so, much like “Weird” Al Yankovic, Devo is treated more as a curiosity than the innovative artist the band is. Perhaps, no band did more to influence the use of synthesizers, samplers and sequencers in the music industry than Devo did before those things became commonplace.

Devo is a national treasure and deserves much more critical respect than they have received. So, that is why I have chosen to say that Devo deserves induction into the RRHOF. With that said, here’s my proof: My 25 Favorite Devo Songs. Bathe in the power of Devo!

8.17 Devo - Smart Patrol

25. “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA” (Duty Now for the Future, 1979)

24. “Monsterman” (Theme Song from the Syfy TV series Monster Man, 2012)

23. “Theme from ‘Doctor Detroit'” (Doctor Detroit OST, 1983)

22. “Here to Go” (Shout, 1984)

21. “Don’t Shoot Me (I’m a Man)” (Something for Everyone, 2009)

8.17 Devo - Penetration

20. “Penetration in the Centerfold” (B-Side of “The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprize,” 1979)

19. “Secret Agent Man” (Duty Now for the Future, 1979)

18. “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro! (Seamus Released)” (digital download, 2012). This anti-Mitt Romney song was released during the 2012 Presidential campaign. It is about the time Romney discussed a family vacation during which he put the family dog in a cage but tied it down on the car’s roof. Do you really think Devo could pass up such a story?

17. “What Do We Do” (Something for Everyone, 2009)

16. “Disco Shooter” (Total Devo, 1988)

8.17 Devo_Be_Stiff_Single

15. “Be Stiff” (single, 1977)

14. “The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprize” (Duty Now for the Future, 1979)

13. “Peek-a-Boo” (Oh No! It’s Devo, 1982)

12. “Freedom of Choice” (Freedom of Choice, 1980)

11. “Mongoloid” (Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! 1978)

8.17 DevoFlamingLips_GatesofSteelLive

10. “Gates of Steel” (Freedom of Choice, 1980)

9. “Girl U Want” (Freedom of Choice, 1980)

8. “Jerkin’ Back ‘n’ Forth” (Internationalists, 1981)

7. “Through Being Cool” (Internationalists, 1981)

6. “Beautiful World” (Internationalists, 1981)

5. “Jocko Homo” (Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! 1978)

8.17 Devo - Working in a Coalmine

4. “Working in a Coalmine” (Heavy Metal OST, 1981)

3. “Whip It” (Freedom of Choice, 1980)

2. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! 1978)

8.17 Devo - Uncontrollable Urge

1. “Uncontrollable Urge” (Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! 1978)

Go ahead and make a playlist out of this countdown. Then you will be able to hear all of their musical influences. You can hear where Nine Inch Nails, Soft Cell, Marilyn Manson, Ministry, Flaming Lips and so many other future artists got many of their ideas. Those idea lay in the visionary music of Devo! Long live Devo!

Rock Hall Snub Week, Day 4: Boston

8.16 boston-band-logo

Back in my teens, if I had a dime every time the radio stations here in Central Indiana played a song by the band Boston, I would be a very rich man today. Seriously, from the Fall of 1976 through 1981, when I graduated from high school, Boston, who had only released two albums during that time, had to be one of the most played bands on our radio stations. Nearly every song from the first two albums were stuffed onto the radio. And, the one time Boston came to Indianapolis in the Seventies for a concert, it sold out in hours, back in the day when you had to go to a ticket outlet to purchase a physical ticket. Unfortunately for me, the concert took place during one of my sports seasons so I could not go. Fortunately, I did see them play in the early 2000s, just before original lead singer Brad Delph took his own life.

You know the crazy thing about Boston? They seemed to be the first band that started the whole Album Oriented Radio thing that sucked the life out of radio in the late-Seventies. But, because they were the first, that made them the coolest. After they knocked down the walls, bands such as Journey, Styx, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon and a host of lesser talented bands followed. Even in the Eighties, we got more of the same in the form of Loverboy and Bon Jovi. And, while Journey and Bon Jovi have recently marched into the Hall, the original “faceless band” Boston has remained on the outside.

8.16 Boston-band-1976
Boston, in 1976, from the back cover of their debut album

I totally understand why critics are quick to dismiss Tom Scholz’ creation. Sure, as a fan, it is frustrating that we have to go nearly a decade before ever getting a new album by the band. As I said earlier, their eponymous debut was released in 1976, followed by their sophomore album, Don’t Look Back, in a relatively lightning speed of two years later in 1978. Then, came seven years of silence. In 1986, Third Stage was released, which happened to be both their only number one album and their last really big commercial success. Their next three albums arrived in 1994 (Walk On, #7), 2002 (Corporate America, #42) and 2013 (Life, Love & Hope, #37), along with a greatest hits package that was released in 1997. Sure, that’s a paltry catalog for a band that debuted 42 years ago. But, it is the impeccable quality of those albums that stick out to me, even though they totally missed their opportunity to have become a bigger band. Or, did it work in their favor? Since Boston has released so few albums, their debut continues to sell big, as it is the second biggest selling debut album of all-time, behind Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction.

On the singles chart, Boston has had modest success, with a number one song in 1986, “Amanda”, as well as three more top ten hits. But, it is the album cuts where Boston derives its success. Plus, lead guitarist Scholz owns patents for various electronic devices that he invented that gave his guitar its symphony-like sound that so dominated the latter-half of the Seventies and throughout the Eighties. Much like Chicago’s Terry Kath and Little Feat’s Lowell George, Scholz has always been a vastly underrated guitarist. All you have to do is to listen to the band’s debut song “More Than a Feeling” to realize that he was producing sounds light years ahead of every other guitarist in 1976. He literally made everyone else perk up and take notice, changing the sound of rock radio, for better or worse, forever.

If Boston had only stopped after the second album, maybe their reputation would not have taken such a hit over the years between albums. Or, if they had quit after the man with a once-in-a-lifetime-voice, Delph, passed away, maybe they would be held in higher regard. Fortunately, for fans like me, they continue to persevere, able to recreate the early hits with three vocalists taking the reigns from Delph. But, it was not until I saw the band live that I became a believer in Boston belonging in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

8.16 Boston-band-today
Boston today

With that said, here are my twenty favorite Boston songs that should put an end to Boston being snubbed by the Hall, and, hopefully, lead to their first nomination this fall.

8.16 Boston - Life Love & Hope

20. “Sail Away” (Life, Love & Hope, 2013)

19. “Tell Me” (Greatest Hits, 1997)

18. “Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love” (Corporate America, 2002)

17. “Can’tcha Say (You Believe in Me)” (Third Stage, 1986)

16. “If You Were in Love” (Life, Love & Hope, 2013)

8.16 Boston - I Had a Good Time

15. “I Had a Good Time” (Corporate America, 2002)

14. “I Need Your Love” (Walk On, 1994)

13. “We’re Ready” (Third Stage, 1986)

12. “Party” (Don’t Look Back, 1978)

11. “Hollyann” (Third Stage, 1986)

8.16 Boston-Feelin'_Satisfied

10. “Feelin’ Satisfied” (Don’t Look Back, 1978)

9. “Rock & Roll Band” (Boston, 1976)

8. “Amanda” (Third Stage, 1986)

7. “Piece of Mind” (Boston, 1976)

6. “A Man I’ll Never Be” (Don’t Look Back, 1978)

8.16 BostonDLBSingle

5. “Don’t Look Back” (Don’t Look Back, 1978)

4. “More Than a Feeling” (Boston, 1976)

3. “Hitch a Ride” (Boston, 1976)

2. “Smokin'” (Boston, 1976)

8.16 Boston - Long Time

1. “Foreplay/Long Time” (Boston, 1976)

Outside of the Top Ten hits, was there ever any doubt what song would be number one on my list? It shouldn’t surprise anyone. The one song I may have ranked too low was “A Man I’ll Never Be,” which is just a great ballad. And, how was that song never a Top 5 hit? Just goes to show how bad radio was in the late-Seventies when a terrific song like that one was not a hit. Well, we have had lots of revisionist history going on with music of the Seventies and Eighties, but that could be a topic for another day.

In conclusion, Hall voters, just give Boston some love. They deserve it.

Here’s Another Band for the Hall: New Order’s Top 25

8.15 New Order 1980s
New Order, rising from the ashes of Joy Division

Here’s Day Three of what may be turning into my very own “Put Them in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame” Week. Today, my band du jour rose triumphantly from the ashes of another great band, Joy Division. Joy Division, if you are not familiar with them, was a band that got its start in the aftermath of the Sex Pistols first tour of the UK. Legend has it that the members of the band formed shortly after each member had seen a concert. Nearly immediately, this band began making a noise that caught the ears of a strong audience, including the UK DJ legend John Peel, who pimped the band on his highly influential radio program. As, Joy Division’s began to release records, their stock quickly rose as audiences became enamored with their sound that was a skewed dance version of what could sound like an emotionally detached electronic-based sound with a non-traditional yet charismatic lead vocalist, Ian Curtis.

As the bad gained popularity in the UK and Europe, they felt the timing was correct for them to tour America with the hopes of breaking the largest music market in the world. Unfortunately, Curtis was a troubled young man who suffered from epilepsy, to the point where he would often have seizures during performances, allegedly set off by the lights, music and performing. Unfortunately, Curtis took his own life the night before the band was to leave for the States.

8.15 New Order live
See? New Order proving they were more than a studio band.

Couple of months later, Joy Division’s final album, Closer, and single, the immortal “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” were released to overwhelming critical praise and became the band’s biggest hits. Unfortunately, the remaining members keyboardist/guitarist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris were left without the fulfillment of their rock and roll dreams. All of this occurred in 1980. Eventually, the surviving members regrouped with keyboardist Gillian Gilbert under the name New Order, playing a combination of electronic dance music and punk rock that became highly successful and influential throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and, eventually, the United States. Remarkably, New Order’s US success was mainly in two areas: college rock radio of the Eighties and dance clubs from the get-go and continuing well into the 21st century.

Much like Depeche Mode, the band tackled the darker side of life and relationships. This lead to many of the disaffected youth who attended the hip dance clubs of the Eighties to embrace New Order. And also like Depeche Mode, their slowly built audience led the band to have sold-out tours throughout North America and Europe. And, once again, like Depeche Mode AND the Eurythmics, New Order led the synth-pop movement throughout the world while maintaining pop and rock audiences as well. And, as the years passed, New Order’s hit started to reach higher and higher positions on Billboard‘s Hot 100 Singles Chart.

8.15 New Order today
New Order today, sans Peter Hook

Today, you can hear New Order’s influence everywhere in music, from the pop music released by Miley Cyrus to the alternative electronic rock music of Chvrches to the EDM of LCD Soundsystem. Surprisingly, many artists have praised New Order’s musical vision that has continued to the present.

So, today, I give to you, and hopefully a few voters for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, my 25 Favorite New Order Songs.

8.15 New Order - Someone like You

25. “Someone like You” (Get Ready, 2001)

24. “Guilt of a Useless Emotion” (Waiting for the Siren’s Call, 2005)

23. “Everything’s Gone Green” (single, 1981)

22. “Jetstream” (Waiting for the Siren’s Call, 2005)

21. “Spooky” (Republic, 1993)

8.15 New Order - Fine Time

20. “Fine Time” (Technique, 1989)

19. “World (The Price of Love)” (Republic, 1993)

18. “Krafty” (Waiting for the Siren’s Call, 2005)

17. “Crystal” (Get Ready, 2001)

8.15 New Order - 1963

16. “1963” (single, 1987)

15. “Dreams Never End” (Movement, 1981)

14. “Love Vigilantes” (Low-Life, 1985)

13. “Touched by the Hand of God” (Salvation! OST, 1987)

12. “Sub-Culture” (Low-Life, 1985)

11. “Age of Consent” (Power, Corruption & Lies, 1983)

8.15 New Order - Confusion

10. “Confusion” (single, 1983)

9. “Ceremony” (single, 1981)

8. “Perfect Kiss” (Low-Life, 1985)

7. “Round & Round” (Technique, 1989)

6. “Blue Monday” (Power, Corruption & Lies, 1983)

8.15 New Order - Temptation

5. “Temptation” (single, 1982)

4. “Shellshock” (Pretty in Pink OST, 1986)

3. “True Faith” (Substance, 1987)

2. “Bizarre Love Triangle” (Brotherhood, 1986)

8.15 New Order - Regret

1. “Regret” (Republic, 1993)

Well, folks, there’s my 25 favorite songs by arguably the finest synth pop bands of any era, and a band that is deserving to be inducted either as themselves or with Joy Division, with whom they share so much more than just their legacy. Both bands have the same beating heart and blood cells flowing through both bodies. Much like Parliament/Funkadelic and Small Faces/Faces, maybe we ought to consider Joy Division/New Order as the next twin identity group to be inducted.

Since I am on this “Induct These Guys Now!” kick, I better find someone for the next two days from the late-Seventies and Eighties when my musical tastes were blooming.

Hey Rock Hall! Can You Hear Me? Induct Depeche Mode Now!

8.14 Depeche_Mode_(Logo)

Yes, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, synth-pop artists are important to the development of rock music from the time Can and Neu! plugged in their synthesizers, through Kraftwerk validating this whole Krautrock scene happening in Germany and into the Eighties led by the UK contingent of Depeche Mode, New Order, Eurythmics, The Human League and so many others. I mean, Wake Up Boomers! The synth was the most popular technological development, for better or worse, in the Eighties, as everyone from Prince to ZZ Top, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty to Afrika Bambaataa and The KLF, were plugging in and seeing how they could incorporate this futuristic-sounding thing into their music. The synthesizer was so prevalent during the Eighties that even Queen, who used to revel in the fact that they NEVER used synths in the Seventies, submerged themselves completely in the technology that their 1982 album, Hot Space, could never be confused for a synth-pop album. Additionally, alternative bands like R.E.M. and The Smiths made huge influential careers by NOT using the instrument. That’s how ubiquitous the synthesizer was throughout the Eighties.

8.14 Depeche Mode Live
Depeche Mode live this decade

As I mentioned, one of the best synth-pop artists who were able to transcend the genre was Depeche Mode. When the band burst on the UK scene, their original lineup included one of the most important figure in the whole genre, Vince Clarke, who was the band’s original visionary. However, Clarke left the band just as their first album was catching on with the British public behind the now-famous single “Just Can’t Get Enough.” Clarke would go on to find success first in a duo with Alison Moyet called Yaz (or Yazoo, as they were called here in the States) and then in yet another important duo that remains intact today Erasure. But, the others left behind in Depeche Mode, lead singer Dave Gahan, keyboardist Andy Fletcher and guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Martin Gore carried on until they added the classically trained keyboardist Alan Wilder. The freshly minted quartet took a little time to adopt a darker vision of their music and image, as the band followed Gahan’s mental struggles as well as the struggles of society’s other outsiders. As their music became more muscular, the band’s popularity soared to the point where they were able to sell-out the L.A.’s Rose Bowl in 1988 for a concert documented in the band’s concert film 101.

8.14 Depeche Mode Today
Depeche Mode, a trio today

Although not the cultural touchstone Depeche Mode once was within the world of alternative music as the Nineties began, they continue to record excellent albums and have hit singles in their native England as well as Europe and most of the rest of the world. On occasion, Depeche Mode will have hits on the US Alternative Rock Charts with their new music. But, the band did not become a commercial force in the United States until 1985, when a song, “People Are People,” released the previous year, finally stormed up our Hot 100, peaking in the Top 20. After that breakthrough, Depeche Mode became a familiar fixture between all the contrived pop music and hair metal of the late-Eighties, with hits such as “Strangelove,” “Never Let Me Down,” “Personal Jesus,” “Enjoy the Silence,” and “I Feel You” were commonly heard on the radio in here in the backwaters of Central Indiana.

8.14 Depeche Mode 1981
We were so young back then: the original lineup of Depeche Mode in 1981

In my continuing effort to bring to light some forgotten artists whose resumes deserve more than a cursory glance by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating and induction committees, I would like to present my 20 favorite songs by Depeche Mode. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

8.14 20.Depeche Mode - It's No Good

20. “It’s No Good” (Ultra, 1997)

19. “Only When I Lose Myself” (The Singles 86 > 98, 1998)

18. “Where’s the Revolution” (Spirit, 2017)

17. “Peace” (Sounds of the Universe, 2009)

16. “Heaven” (Delta Machine, 2013)

8.14 15.Depeche mode - Martyr

15. “Martyr” (The Best of Depeche Mode Volume 1, 2006)

14. “Shake the Disease” (The Singles 81 > 85, 1985)

13. “Master and Servant” (Some Great Reward, 1984)

12. “Route 66” (Earth Girls Are Easy OST, 1988)

11. “In Your Room” (Songs About Faith and Devotion, 1993)

10. “Walking in My Shoes” (Songs About Faith and Devotion, 1993)

8.14 10.Depeche Mode - Blasmephous Rumours

9. “Blasphemous Rumours” (Some Great Reward, 1984)

8. “Behind the Wheel” (Music for the Masses, 1987)

7. “Never Let Me Down” (Music for the Masses, 1987)

6. “Just Can’t Get Enough” (Speak & Spell, 1981)

8.14 5.Depeche Mode - Strangelove

5. “Strangelove” (Music for the Masses, 1987)

4. “Enjoy the Silence” (Violator, 1990)

3. “People Are People” (Some Great Reward, 1984)

2. “I Feel You” (Songs About Faith and Devotion, 1993)

8.14 1.Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus

1. “Personal Jesus” (Violator, 1990)

Yes, my Top 20 is fairly predictable, though I was tempted to include their surprisingly sentimental ballad “Somebody.” But, I felt that in order to give the voters in the Hall a great representation of Depeche Mode, I generally stuck with their more popular singles. C’mon voters! It’s time for the music of Gen X to be represented in the Hall more often.

20 Songs from Eurythmics: They Are Worthy of Induction into the Hall

8.13 Eurythmics 1983
Annie Lennox, left, and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics

This morning, I had NO idea what I was going to write about. After a weekend where I saw Chicago play their iconic second album in its entirety, I must admit that I was still a little hooked on the great musicianship of the members of that band. I only wished that I would have appreciated the band during their heyday, but I bought into the incorrect myth that they were strictly a ballad band. After all, they were still an underground band when they recorded that famous second album, technically known as Chicago, as they had changed their name from Chicago Transit Authority, the name of their first album. However, in the intervening years, everyone, including the band, has come to refer to the album as Chicago II. For me, when I see such a moving concert, it takes me awhile to go back to my general collection.

So, after many starts and stops, I decided today would be the day that I tackled the Eurythmics, another band that began in the underground, only to hit the big time and evolving into a hit machine. Here in the States, I feel as though Eurythmics have never been given their due as a band. Yes, they began at the same time as MTV, so they have been eternally considered a new wave/video band here, and nothing more. The only thing is if you continued to follow them during the years after the huge hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” then you have got to listen to a band that evolved into the best duo this side of Daryl Hall & John Oates. As they evolved, they relied less and less on the synthesizers that some many Americans associate with them due to that first mega-hit of their. By the time they took a nearly decade-long break through the Nineties, the world had literally forgotten the catalog, sans that one great song that I have all ready mentioned.

What I have always loved about Eurythmics is the underlying soulfulness of the band. Even during that initial burst of synthesizer-based music they created initially, singer Annie Lennox’ soulful vocals separated them from the rest of the synth-pop bands. Of those bands, often the more interesting bands juxtaposed either a soulful or operatic singer against the detached, icy feel of the synthesizer music on which they sang. Bands like Yaz (or Yazoo), Soft Cell and Erasure all fall in that category. But, what separated the Eurythmics from the other synth-poppers was musician/producer/songwriter David Stewart’s talent in all three categories, as he was able to lead the band from the icy world of electronica into a soulful STAX-era type of pop music with nods to rock and adult alternative music. It was a subtle transition, but it happened over the course of the band’s initial eight-year run from 1981’s release of their debut album In Your Garden to their final album of the Eighties, 1989’s We Two Are One, before taking their extended break that lasted until 1999, with the release of what has become their last studio album, Peace.

8.13 Eurythmics live

However, one only needs to travel back to listen to the pair’s Eighties output to understand just how important the Eurythmics are to the history and development of rock music. In the beginning they were able to demonstrate that this new synthesizer-based soul could sound human, but also evolve into a band that incorporated traditional instruments into their sound that would have been unheard of on the first two-and-a-half albums.

But, it was with 1985’s shocking Be Yourself Tonight in which I realized this band was one for the ages. It was shocking to me in that they de-emphasized those synths and became a rock band. Maybe, I should have realized what would happen if I had paid more attention with their second single from their previous album, Touch, called “Right by Your Side.” This calypso-based song actually had guitars, bass, drums and steel drums. Yet, as great as the song was to me, I felt it was just a little turn in the road and not some hint at what was to come. Because, to me, Be Yourself Tonight was the masterpiece, as it tied the band’s past and future together in a nice set of great music with a consistency that they were not able to attain afterwards. That’s not to say the rest of their catalog is crap. Far from it. I am simply stating that Be Yourself Tonight represents their largest artistic achievement to date.

So, after that introduction, may I present to you My 20 Favorite Songs by Eurythmics. Let’s get this countdown started!

20. “Was It Just Another Love Affair?” (Ultimate Collection, 2005)

8.13 Eurythmics+17+Again

19. “17 Again” (Peace, 1999)

18. “Sexcrime (1984)” (1984 (For the Love of Big Brother), 1984)

17. “The Miracle of Love” (Revenge, 1986)

16. “Thorn in My Side” (Revenge, 1986)

8.13 eurythmics-you-have-placed-a-chill-in-my-heart

15. “You Have Place a Chill in My Heart” (Savage, 1987)

14. “Don’t Ask Me Why” (We Two Are One, 1989)

13. “When Tomorrow Comes” (Revenge, 1986)

12. “It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back)” (Be Yourself Tonight, 1985)

11. “I’ve Got a Life” (Ultimate Collection, 2005)

8.13 Eurythmics - Sisters Doing It for Themselves

10. “Sisters Doin’ It for Themselves (with Aretha Franklin)” (Be Yourself Tonight, 1985)

9. “I Need a Man” (Savage, 1987)

8. “There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)” Be (Be Yourself Tonight, 1985)

7. “Missionary Man” (Revenge, 1986)

6. “Right by Your Side” (Touch, 1983)

5. “Who’s That Girl” (Touch, 1983)

8.13 Eurythmics - Love Is a Stranger

4. “Love Is a Stranger” (Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), 1983)

3. “Here Comes the Rain Again” (Touch, 1983)

2. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” (Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), 1983)

8.13 Eurythmics - Would I Lie to You

1. “Would I Lie to You?” (Be Yourself Tonight, 1985)

8.13 Euythmics today
The dynamic duo today

And, there you have it. My 20 Favorite Songs by Eurythmics, a band that SHOULD be inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, among so many others, which is a whole ‘nother blog. I hope this make you want to go back to re-evaluate this duo for your own ears. See you tomorrow!

The Last Day of Yacht Rock Week: The Top 20

8.10 Yacht Rock

Well, sports fans! We’ve made it to the end of the week! It’s Friday, which means it’s time to wrap up old Yacht Rock Week with My Top 20 Favorite Yacht Rock Songs. But, first, how about a couple of observations.

8.10 Climax Blues Band
Climax Blues Band

First, it would kind of be fun to go back to the late-Seventies as the enlightened person I currently am but at the age of a college student. Sure, I am only talking about five to ten years difference between that age group and mine. Still, I would have enjoyed seeing how different those non-Ronnie Reagan years would have been to be in college. You know, back when liberals were still held in high esteem, while the whole Milton Friedman/Reaganomics supply side theory was still a crackpot idea that earned a Nobel Prize for Economics but generally still considered a crazy idea. I sure would have loved to been around before all this each man for himself attitude permeated throughout North American culture and religion. It would have been great to have been old enough to have railed against that crap before we reaped the disaster we currently are experiencing today, nearly 40 years after the fact.

8.10 Maria Muldaur
Maria Muldaur

Additionally, most of the music seemed to be more organic than much of today’s music. Maybe that whole vibe was the difference between analog-based technology and it’s digital brethren of today. Still, as you can hear in the variety of instruments that were utilized in the songs found in my Top 20. Some instruments you can hear in those songs are xylophones, steel drums and flutes, all things that are sampled than actually played.

8.10 Gerry Rafferty
Gerry Rafferty

Yes, Ed Sheeran can record his whole album on his iPhone, but somethings still seems to be missing. Maybe, it’s humanity, and the threat of a mistake being made during a day. There might actually be something to be made about playing one’s own instrument.

8.10 Nicolette Larson
Nicolette Larson

Finally, Seventies fashion was definitely lacking. However, the upside was the number of women who did not wear a bra, all in the name of equal rights. Nowadays, there seems to be much false advertisement of good with padded “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders” that seem to be popular today. So, my sexist side sure wishes equal rights would make a big comeback soon.

Okay, enough of that junk! Let’s get this countdown done!

20. Ian Matthews – “Shake It” (1979)

8.10 19.Player - Baby Come Back

19. Player – “Baby Come Back” (1977)

18. Commodores – “Sail On” (1979)

8.10 14.Jay Ferguson - Thunder Island

17. Jay Ferguson – “Thunder Island” (1978)

16. Faith Band – “Dancing Shoes” (1978). This song is something of a standard here in Indiana, but our own Faith Band was a natural for the Yacht Rock sound. Plus, this original version was so much better than former Elton John drummer Nigel Olsen’s version.

15. Gerry Rafferty – “Baker Street” (1978)

14. Maria Muldaur – “Midnight at the Oasis” (1974)

13. Starbuck – “Moonlight Feels Right” (1975)

8.10 12.Air Supply - Making Love Out of Nothing at All

12. Air Supply – “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” (1983)

11. Nicolette Larson – “Lotta Love” (1978)

8.10 8.Benny Mardones - Into the Night

10. Benny Mardones – “Into the Night” (1980)

9. Climax Blues Band – “Couldn’t Get It Right” (1977)

8.10 8.Boz-scaggs-lowdown-cbs-2

8. Boz Scaggs – “Lowdown” (1976)

7. Dave Mason – “We Just Disagree” (1977)

6. Little River Band – “Cool Change” (1979)

5. Christopher Cross – “Sailing” (1979)

8.10 4.Toto - Africa

4. Toto – “Africa” (1983)

3. Daryl Hall & John Oates – “She’s Gone” (1973)

2. Steely Dan – “Deacon Blues” (1977)

8.10 1.todd-rundgren-can-we-still-be-friends-edit-bearsville

1. Todd Rundgren – “Can We Still Be Friends” (1978)

And, there you go all! That’s my favorite 100 Yacht Rocks Songs, at least in August 2018.  And, get ready, as we’ll back to some stronger rock music. Stay mellow this weekend.

Yacht Rock Week, Day 4: #21-40

8.9 Yacht Rock

Now, what artists are the most important to this genre? Which musicians are the backbone of Yacht Rock? Probably the artist most associated with Yacht Rock seems to be either Daryl Hall & John Oates or Steely Dan. Not that there’s anything wrong with either artist. As a matter of fact, it is well-documented my love of Hall & Oates’ music. And, I own nearly every Steely Dan album on vinyl, so they are well-represented in my collection as well. And, everyone knows that Michael McDonald has become something of a poster boy for the genre, be it solo or with either Steely Dan or the Doobie Brothers.

Still, there is one band whose greatest hits compilation needs to be in your Toyota Prius or on your boat, and that’s the Little River Band, or LRB as Will Ferrell’s character referred to them in The Other Guys. In that movie, Ferrell would pop in LRB’s Greatest Hits CD every time he and Mark Wahlberg would be involved in a car chase scene. Of course that was comedic irony. Seriously, who puts in a mellow band when you need adrenaline pumping. But, when it comes to Yacht Rock hits, these Aussies had them in spades.

8.9 Little River Band 70s
The Beatles of Yacht Rock? Little River Band, back in the late 70s

From 1977 through 1982, the second most popular band from Down Under (after AC/DC definitely; maybe third, if you count the Bee Gees, but they kept moving been Oz and the UK that they seemed to come from the world) rang up six Top 10 hits and four additional songs that peaked in our Top 20. And, although they never had a chart topper, the band does have a song that drips of Yacht Rock, and that song is “Cool Change,” which is about, of all things, boating on the ocean. So, you really cannot get any more Yacht Rock than that song.

Fortunately, Yacht Rock allows us to celebrate some other underappreciated artists, like Seals & Crofts and England Dan & John Ford Coley. These two duos share family members, as Jim Seals of Seals & Crofts is the older brother of England Dan Seals. So, does that relationship make the Seals the first family of Yacht Rock. I am not so sure, but that sounds like another blog topic.

8.10 Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman
In 1978, Glam rockers from the UK Suzi Quatro & Chris Norman came “Stumblin’ In” the US Top 20 with a Yacht Rock classic

Finally, the genre, like any other great genre is strewn with one-hit wonders from artists who made their names in other genres, like Maria Muldaur, Pointer Sisters, Bellamy Brothers, Linda Ronstadt and the Alan Parsons Project. Then there are the artists who only seem like one hit wonders who really did score multiple Top 20 hits, such as Firefall, Ambrosia, Orleans, Pablo Cruise (another perfectly named Yacht Rock band) and Dr. Hook. Finally, there are the true one hit wonders, including Benny Mardones (whose song hit the Top 40 TWICE during the Eighties!), Toby Beau, Ace, Starbuck and Walter Egan. Needless to say, Yacht Rock does have a rich, yet cheesy (pun intended) history. But, there is a certain innocence that was conveyed throughout the genre, which seemed to lack irony, parody and self-awareness that would let you into the joke if there were one. And, there does not seem to be one. And, no other genre in the intervening years has maintained any sort of this innocence. Therefore, Yacht Rock is truly a time capsule.

So, today, we break into my Top 40 Yacht Rock songs, so hold on everyone! And, do not forget to refill your margaritas. Let the countdown begin!

8.9 40.George Benson.On Broadway

40. George Benson – “On Broadway (live)” (1980)

39. John Paul Young – “Love Is the Answer” (1978). This song was written by Todd Rundgren.

38. Pablo Cruise – “Whatcha Gonna Do?” (1977)

37. Peter Frampton – “I’m in You” (1977)

8.9 36.Quarterflash - Harden My Heart

36. Quarterflash – “Harden My Heart” (1981)

35. Ambrosia – “How Much I Feel” (1980)

8.9 Walter Egan - Magnet_and_Steel

34. Walter Egan – “Magnet and Steel” (1978)

33. Genesis – “That’s All” (1983)

32. Alan Parsons Project – “Eye in the Sky” (1982)

31. King Harvest – “Dancing in the Moonlight” (1972)

30. Jackson Browne – “Doctor My Eyes” (1972)

29. Ace – “How Long” (1975)

8.10 20.Wet Willie.Street Corner Serenade

28. Wet Willie – “Street Corner Serenade” (1978)

27. Elvin Bishop – “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” (1975)

26. Suzi Quatro & Chris Norman – “Stumblin’ In” (1978)

25. Styx – “Come Sail Away” (1977)

24. Fleetwood Mac – “Dreams” (1977)

23. Elton John – “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” (1983)

22. Lionel Richie – “Stuck on You” (1983)

8.9 John Stewart - Gold

21. John Stewart – “Gold” (1979)

Well, we are FINALLY there! It’s Thirsty Thursday, and we just completed numbers 21 through 40 of our countdown. Tomorrow is Friday, the gateway to the weekend, and we will wrap up this countdown. Have fun tonight, but let’s watch out for a hangover, since we all want to be in peak condition for the first weekend of the 2018-2019 school year. Party on Garth!

Yacht Rock Week: Day 3, #41-60

8.8 Yacht Rock

“Captain Stubing! Permission to come aboard.” As I come aboard, I turn to see Isaac the Bartender, mixing drinks. “Whadda ya have?” he asks me. “A Painkiller,” I answer.

Just as he was handing me my drink, I feel a tap on my right arm. Then, a tug.

8.8 Olivia Newton John
Olivia Newton-John

Groggily, I wake up to see that I am not on The Love Boat, but in my La-Z-Boy recliner, with my wife waking me up long enough to say, “I’m going to school now. Love you!”

8.8 Linda Ronstadt

“Love you too,” I reply.

So, I have Yacht Rock on my mind. Wow, and this is only Day 3! Next, I will be dreaming about taking my non-existent yacht up and down the non-navigable Fall Creek. I guess there could be worse dreams, such as my recurring dream about a Jimmy Buffett biopic starring Matthew McConaughey. Let’s talk brass tacks here. I am NOT a Buffett fan, have only seen him once and did not care for him. So, why on earth am I having that stupid dream?

As a matter of fact, I do have one useful dream, or at least a series of scenes from an unmade movie. It’s got something to do with some guys on a high school track team. I could bore you with some of the scenes that have played out in my dreams, but you didn’t come here for that. No, you came here for the quality writing (NOT!) about rock music, specifically Day Three of the countdown of My Top 100 Yacht Rock Songs of All-Time.

Today, it’s numbers forty-one through sixty. So, buckle your seat belt and hang on tight, because the countdown begins now.

8.8 60.STB - Smoke from a Distant Fire

60. Sanford-Townsend Band – “Smoke from a Distant Fire” (1977).

59. Santana – “Winning” (1981).

58. Glenn Frey – “The One I Love” (1982)

57. Nilsson – “Everybody’s Talkin'” (1968)

56. Doobie Brothers – “Another Park, Another Saturday” (1974)

8.8 55.Dobie Gray - Drift Away

55. Dobie Gray – “Drift Away” (1973)

54. Bob Welch – “Sentimental Lady” (1977)

53. Steve Miller Band – “Fly like an Eagle” (1976)

52. Crosby, Stills & Nash – “Wasted on the Way” (1982)

51. Olivia Newton-John – “Magic” (1980)

8.8 50.Michael_McDonald_I_Keep_Forgettin'

50. Michael McDonald – “I Keep Forgettin'” (1982)

49. England Dan & John Ford Coley – “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” (1976)

48. Blues Image – “Ride Captain Ride” (1970)

47. Looking Glass – “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” (1972)

46. Bellamy Brothers – “Let Your Love Flow” (1976)

8.8 45.Still_the_One_-_Orleans

45. Orleans – “Still the One” (1976)

44. 10cc – “I’m Not in Love” (1974)

43. Steve Winwood – “While You See a Chance” (1981)

42. Linda Ronstadt – “Hurts So Bad” (1980)

8.8 41.the-babys-head-first-chrysalis-4

41. The Babys – “Everytime I Think of You” (1979)

And, now that we have tackled the first 60 songs in this list, we have my Top 40 Yacht Rock Songs of All Time left to go. And, as the Prophet Casey Kasem would say, “the numbers get smaller, but the hits get bigger.” And, that’s the format for this countdown.

So, I will be seeing you again tomorrow. Long live Yacht Rock!

Day 2 of Yacht Rock Week: #61-80

8.7 Yacht Rock

Last week was my wife’s birthday. For some reason, she loves to celebrate everyone’s birthday with something special planned for each person’s date of birthday, often making that celebration stretch out for a week or more. But, since she’s the planner in the family, I always lean on my two daughters-in-law in order to make my wife’s birthday special. Special note to all the single men and newly married men out there: you can only get away with a lame dinner one time with your wife; after that, you better pull off a good time.

Anyway, after spending the day back in her hometown so we could visit with her father who is now living in a nursing home, we decided to eat a meal at a restaurant on the lake near her hometown. And, this restaurant should be playing Yacht Rock all of the time, instead of the Fifties and Sixties pop, and not even the good stuff! You can sit on the balcony overlooking a small marina with pontoons, houseboats, speed boats and small fishing vessels available for rent. The whole scenario was screaming Yacht Rock, and simply needed to add a playlist of music to the music being played, and you would have the perfect marine area right here in Indiana.

8.7 Jimmy Buffett 1970s
Jimmy Buffett, long before he franchised ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ and became a millionaire

Today, however, is a hot, humid rainy Indiana day. Which clearly means it is not a day for floating around one’s anchor on their boat, drinking beer, eating great food, cranking music and simply enjoying your time on a boat in the middle of the lake. Believe it or not, I just described my nightmare, but it is a scenario that my wife would love.

8.7 Kenny Loggins 1970s
And the ladies swooned…Kenny Loggins in the late Seventies

So, with that visual in mind, what would the next twenty Yacht Rock songs would I have in my Top 100 list? You do know that whichever songs I have, they are classic songs of the genre. Actually, today we will see titles of songs by some mainstays of Yacht Rock. And when I mentioned these artists names, I am talking about first-ballot Yacht Rock Hall of Fame, if such a thing ever existed. Probably the man whose concerts started this whole genre as a celebration of a life spent slacking on a boat off the Key West of Florida, Jimmy Buffett and his followers, Parrotheads, unwittingly spearheaded this whole movement during the Eighties and Nineties to the present. Then, there’s the Yacht Rock impresario Kenny Loggins, also known as Mr. Eighties Movie Soundtrack Man, along with one of the more popular bands whose members were all session players in Southern US studios, collectively known as the Atlanta Rhythm Section. In other words, we are going to see songs by a few of the genre’s true pillars.

With that said, let’s get this countdown going!

8.7 Paul Davis - I Go Crazy

80. Paul Davis – “I Go Crazy” (1978)

79. Exile – “Kiss You All Over” (1978)

78. Bette Midler – “The Rose” (1980)

77. Eric Clapton – “Wonderful Tonight” (1977)

76. Andrew Gold – “Lonely Boy” (1976)

8.7 Atlanta Rhythm Section - Imaginary Lover

75. Atlanta Rhythm Section – “Imaginary Lover” (1978)

74. Robbie Dupree – “Steal Away” (1981)

73. America – “Sister Golden Hair” (1975)

72. Samantha Sang – “Emotion” (1978)

8.7 Rupert Holmes - Escape

71. Rupert Holmes – “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” (1979)

70. Lindsey Buckingham – “Trouble” (1981)

69. Doobie Brothers – “What a Fool Belives” (1978)

68. Kenny Loggins – “This Is It” (1980)

67. Jimmy Buffett – “Margaritaville” (1977)

66. Chicago – “No Tell Lover” (1978)

8.7 Gary Wright - Dream Weaver

65. Gary Wright – “Dream Weaver” (1975)

64. Eagles – “I Can’t Tell You Why” (1979)

63. Dr. Hook – “Sexy Eyes” (1979)

62. Kansas – “Dust in the Wind” (1977)

8.7 Neil Young - Comes a Time

61. Neil Young – “Comes a Time” (1978)

Well, now, that makes 40 songs down and 60 more to go. If you are not asleep now, you will be by the time we get to number one on this list. But, at least you might have a coconut buzz.































































































Welcome to Yacht Rock Week! Here’s My Top 100, #81-100

8.6 Yacht Rock

Here in the Midwest, we used to refer this early time period of August as the “Dog Days of Summer.” These days used to represent the last couple of weeks of Summer Break from the public schools. Lately, in an effort to ruin the quality of education, changes have been made by people who have no idea what happens during the day of a public school classroom teacher. These people either have a vested interest in being re-elected to their “powerful” position within the local school board, state-wide legislature or the US Congress. Nearly everyone has the experience of being a student during his or her life, but their experience within the educational system ENDS there. They have little perspective as an adult, drawing simply from their “experience” as an angry, angst-ridden teen as opposed to a pragmatic adult, which means they see teachers only working nine or ten months a year. They never come by the house to see the teacher planning for upcoming days in the classroom, writing their curriculum during the summer, grading papers at home during the Tonight Show or spending five hundred to a thousand dollars per school year just to have household chemicals to demonstrate to students that chemical reactions do take place in their lives.

So, now we are moving ever more closely to year-round school, which I was always “for.” But, the business practices being laid upon education by politicians is going to ruin education. We are totally getting away from the art of teaching, assuming that making all teachers a cookie-cutter vision of an administrator is the way to go. So, we are losing these last, hot, boring days of the old summer vacation in order to get more days in the classroom so our population will no longer be idiots. Ironically, I remember missing nearly ONE MONTH of school due to the Blizzard of ’78 WITHOUT making up a single day. And, somehow, I still earned two B.S. degrees, as well as my teacher certification in chemistry and biology. And, I know of at least four physicians, a handful of engineers and several other college degree-earning professionals that somehow overcame that deficiency in our education. The bottom line: It’s the quality of the education, not the quantity.

8.6 LRB
Little River Band

Well, during those Dog Days of August of yore, I was so glad that I lived through that musical genre once known as “Soft Rock,” now much more appropriately called “Yacht Rock.” This music, which was based on a laidback concoction of rock, R&B and country, mixed slowly and softly, which seemed to float like clouds in a sunny sky. This was music made to kick back at night to watch the stars and, if you were lucky enough, to make out with that special someone. And, yes, all the cliches are based in truth somewhere, as we did take to sipping piña coladas and daiquiris or Michelobs, all the while wearing T-shirts with tropical prints and white shorts. And, believe it or not, we had radio stations that played nothing BUT this music, be it called “Soft Rock” or “Lite Rock.”

Still, there is something almost magical about this Yacht Rock music. I am not sure what kind of memories it truly elicits, as I really never had a long-lasting girlfriend when this music was a dominant force. But, once a year, I do find myself traveling back in time as I listen to long-forgotten artists such as Paul Davis, Pablo Cruise and Little River Band. Sure, my beloved Daryl Hall & John Oates are mainstays of the genre, but they, along with the immortal Steely Dan, Eagles, Jackson Browne and Fleetwood Mac are all Yacht Rock artists whom have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Additionally, Yacht Rock’s innate “slickness” may be due to the fact that many of these songs were played by some of the best session musicians in Los Angeles, primarily the members of Toto. So, it’s no wonder this music was hugely popular, especially with adults who could no longer keep pace with pop music, as this music meshed perfected with their Valium-/Quaalude-induced lives.

8.6 Steely Dan
Steely Dan

Ironically, the artists who could stake claim to being the most popular of the genre include Hall & Oates, Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers (especially with Michael McDonald!), Little River Band and Eagles. These bands all possessed the correct ingredients of rock, R&B, Country and even some jazz. Yet, what made Yacht Rock, like most any other note-worthy rock genre, is the plethora of one-hit wonders, or those artists lucky enough to have one hit blow up in a large manner in addition to their lesser hits.

So, this week, I would like to rename the week Yacht Rock Week, even though many of my educational brethren either started school last week or are beginning this week. No matter! Yacht Rock will keep all of you on an even keel (nice pun, eh?!?!), as we go through my Top 100 Yacht Rock songs of all time. Let’s get started!

8.6 Gino Vannelli - I Just Wanna Stop

100. Gino Vannelli – “I Just Wanna Stop” (1978)

99. Redbone – “Come and Get Your Love” (1973)

98. Randy Vanwarmer – “Just When I Needed You Most” (1979)

97. Pure Prairie League – “Let Me Love You Tonight” (1980)

96. Pointer Sisters – “He’s So Shy” (1980)

95. Dolly Parton – “Here You Come Again” (1977)

94. Eddie Rabbitt – “I Love a Rainy Night” (1981)

93. Sammy Johns – “Chevy Van” (1975)

92. Toby Beau – “My Angel Baby” (1978)

91. Bonnie Tyler – “It’s a Heartache” (1978)

90. James Taylor – “Up on the Roof” (1979)

8.6 Firefall - You Are the Woman

89. Firefall – “You Are the Woman” (1976)

88. Eddie Money – “Maybe I’m a Fool” (1979)

87. Dan Fogelberg – “Longer” (1979)

86. Heart – “Dog & Butterfly” (1978)

85. Cliff Richard – “We Don’t Talk Any More” (1979)

8.6 Chuck Mangione - Feels So Good

84. Chuck Mangione – “Feels So Good” (1978)

83. Bertie Higgins – “Key Largo” (1982)

82. Eric Carmen – “All by Myself” (1975)

8.6 Seals & Crofts - Summer Breeze

81. Seals & Crofts – “Summer Breeze” (1972)

And, that wraps up the first twenty songs of this countdown. Stick with me all week to see where your favorite Yacht Rock song lands in my countdown. By the way, I did try to have only one song per artist, though I made a Doobie Brothers exception since their is the pre- and post-Michael McDonald editions of the band, so both lineups are represented. Outside of that, no one else was repeated. Enjoy the week.

Yacht Rock Drink of the Day: The Painkiller. Take 4 ounces of pineapple-orange juice, add 3 ounces of Bacardi’s Malibu Coconut Vodka, some ice, shake, then sprinkle nutmeg over the drink. Makes a tasty drink for hot days by the pool or ocean while listening to my Top 100 Yacht Rock Songs. As a sufferer of chronic pain, I am all about the drink’s name. Cheers!