It was 40 years ago today…

Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was released 40 years ago today. I was a DJ at a small radio station in a small town in southeast Georgia. When the record came in, I listened to it. Queen wasn’t new. They had been around a few years, and had played some of their stuff. But, when I listened to Bohemian Rhapsody I thought “What the heck?…” Or something along that line. But, it wasn’t my call about adding it to the rotation. When it started making its way up the national charts, it was added to our rotation.

The general reaction was “What the heck?…” Or something along that line. Still, it kinda grew on everyone. After all, this was the mid 1970s.

If you like the song, you’ll like this old video, because it’s a funny tribute. If you hate the song, you’ll like this video, because, well… muppets.

[The YouTube]

Okay, if you’d rather watch the original version, click here.

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It’s only Rock N Roll…

20131223-080358.jpgWhile traveling this weekend, I was flipping around the radio, and ran across SiriusXM 26, which is normally classic rock from the ’60s and ’70s, but was dedicated to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame this weekend.

I had heard there was question in some minds about a few of this year’s inductees, but I didn’t bother with it. Seriously, what does it matter?

Until I was alone in a car for over five hours listening to some radio station telling me why these people deserved to be in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Now, it is my mission in life to see that place razed, paved over, and an Indian casino put up in its place.

I do not claim to be an expert in rock music. Yes, I was a radio DJ in the 1970s, but that speaks more about my age than anything else. And it’s that age thing that sorta matters. I was around then. I’m not being told what music was like and what the world was like. I was there.

When you look at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame bio of Cat Stevens, it speaks of his bravery in converting to Islam. So, I guess they’ll be inducting Muhammed Ali soon? Born as Steven Demetre Georgiou, Cat Stevens did have some hits in the ’70s, but I wouldn’t call “Oh, Very Young,” “Morning Has Broken,” or “Peace Train” rock anthems. Hippie music, sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s rock n roll.

And, sure, it wasn’t a popular thing for a Roman Catholic-raised child of a Greek Orthodox and a Baptist (or anyone, for that matter) to convert to Islam around the time the Ayatollah Khomeini was putting together his return to Iran, Cat Stevens did that, taking the name Yusef Islam (which translates to Joe Moslem). But what’s that got to do with the music? It didn’t suddenly make “Moon Shadow” a rock song.

And Peter Gabriel? Seriously? Even the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame had a harder time coming up with a bio for him. So, they talked about other stuff:

The epic song “Biko” directly inspired the Artists Against Apartheid movement as he spearheaded the Amnesty International A Conspiracy Of Hope and Human Rights Now tours.

See. They shoulda just chucked Nelson Mandela in a hole in the ground and spent the entire ceremony playing Peter Gabriel songs.

Now, I will grant that his music is more rock that Joe Moslem’s, but putting him in the Hall of Fame? That’s like putting Mario Mendoza in baseball’s Hall of Fame. The real one, not the one in Mexico.

And, speaking of Mexico, it seems that her album of Mexican music was enough to grant Linda Ronstadt admission to the Hall of Fame.

I remember playing a lot of her hit singles in the 1970s. That list includes…
“You’re No Good”
“When Will I Be Loved”
“Heat Wave”
“The Tracks of My Tears”
“That’ll Be the Day”
“It’s So Easy”
“Poor Poor Pitiful Me”
“Tumblin’ Dice”
“Back in the U.S.A.”
“Ooh Baby Baby”
“Just One Look”

All cover versions of songs made famous by others. Which means that the band playing down at the Holiday Inn has a chance for induction next year.

I think I’ve calmed down now. I’ll worry about more important things now.

Until I get back in the car to head home, and turn on the radio. Then I’ll be ticked off again.

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Mood music

Columbus radio makes me sad and angry. Columbus, Georgia, in case you didn’t know.

Let me explain. The “radio makes me angry” not the “Georgia” part.

I used to work in radio, back in high school and for a little bit afterwards. I know that it’s possible to play one song at a time, and not have two overlapping so you can’t hear either.

I know it’s possible to have one commercial playing at a time, not have two or three playing at the same time.

I also know it’s possible to have up-to-date commercials playing, not some Halloween Sale at the furniture store running the week after Thanksgiving.

Columbus radio stations, many of them anyway, don’t seem to understand that. The typical listener, I suppose, it just confuses. Me, it pisses off. Because I know what’s happening: there’s an idiot getting paid money (not good money, but money, anyway) to not do his job right. A job that I could do well (the production board, not the announcing part, though I did both at the same time) when I was in high school.

Maybe I’m odd that way. But, think about it. If you were witnessing someone do something you know how to do, and they always screwed it up, wouldn’t you want to say something? Or walk away shaking your head? Or take a stick and … well, you understand, right?

That kind of stuff makes me just shake my head. But, I get over it easy enough. It’s called XM Radio. When I find a local station that is playing good music (doesn’t happen often, but it does happen), I’ll listen. But, when they start screwing up (which does happen often) I switch over to XM. They don’t screw up. At least, not that I’ve noticed.

The music isn’t always what I want to hear. Some of the music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s really sucked. But, with the number of stations they have, I can usually find something I can listen to. Heck, if Classic Vinyl or Classic Rewind are playing crappy stuff, I’ll even drop down to the 40s on 4, or Symphony Hall, or something. The point is, when the local radio stations get me in a bad mood because of their incompetence, I can find something on XM. Happens a lot. I can find music to get me out of a bad mood.

Works for lots of people. That’s why they play Christmas music on the radio starting in August. Seems like that’s when they start it.

XM does the same thing. The playing Christmas music early part. I discovered that a couple of weeks ago when I picked Wife up from work. You see, I normally listen to 60s or 70s music. But, when I picked her up, I switched the radio to XM 23 / Love.

You guys know why. Mood music. You don’t have to play mood music for a guy. Heck, listening to music doesn’t get guys in the mood. Just the fact we have dangly parts is all it takes to get guys in the mood. And music won’t get guys out of the mood. The only sounds that might get a guy out of the mood might be a baby crying. Maybe. Other than that, most guys are ready to go at the drop of a hat. Or at the drop of a skirt.

Women, though, are different characters. That’s why XM Radio (and Sirius, on channel 3) has that Love Songs channel. There are some guys helping out in programming, and they understand.

Anyway, I put the radio on Love Songs just as Wife got into the car. Mood music. And, it worked. Seems that, until the end of the year, instead of Love Songs, that channel is now Contemporary Holiday Favorites. Christmas-like music featuring John Mayer, Colbie Caillat, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, and other people I’ve never heard of. In fact, I though Josh Groban coached the Raiders at one time. Or was it Tampa Bay?

Anyway, as mood music, it worked. Only, instead of us running home and getting busy, we went to Walmart. And Kmart. And Sears. All on the same night.

And, other stores on nights since then.

Yep, that mood music really works.

Maybe we need some mood music for other things, too.

If we could find out what radio Obama listens to, maybe we could get them to play songs to make him, I don’t know, actually be an American president. Like “God Bless the USA.” Then again, I’m not sure Obama believes in either of those.

I wonder what Obama listens to. What kind of radio programs gets him in the mood to do the things he does. Does SiriusXM have an Incompetent Channel? If so, they need to change it. And fast.

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Smooth Criminal

His Royal Weirdness, Michael Jackson, is touring again.

My reaction to the news was, of course, whoop-de-frikkin-do.

It’s not often that Michael Jackson makes the news anymore. Unless, of course, he’s paying off some kid’s family so they don’t talk about the buggering.

Used to not be that way, though. Michael Jackson used to be news.

He’d sell out concerts, sell millions of albums, perform or do backing vocals on a third of every record played on the radio, have major movie producers doing his videos …

That was a while back.

Then I got to thinking. When did it all come crashing down for Michael Jackson?

As I recall, it was in the early 1990s.

When he was young, he was a popular Black singer. And rich. He was even able to out-bid Paul McCartney for the Beatles music catalog.

Around the early 1990s, though, things went wrong. First, he seems to have turned White. And was accused of child molestation. And got hooked on drugs (mostly painkillers). And lost most of his money.

Since then, he’s been almost pitiful.

But something was nagging at me.

Then it hit me.

There’s a parallel with Barack Obama. Follow me on this.

Obama was raised by his White mother (his Kenyan father having left) until he was 10, then by his White grandparents until he graduated high school.

He went to Harvard, graduated, then moved to Chicago in the early 1990s. That’s when he became Black.

Around the time Michael Jackson turned White, Barack Obama turned Black.

It seems the world only has room for one Black superstar at a time. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying.

Will Jacko’s tour succeed? Probably not. Unless Obama turns White again.

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