Pentatonix apparently put this on a Christmas album but that is WRONG, so very wrong. This is totally not a Christmas song. But it's a great song so I am forgiving Pentatonix for that, just this once.
Pentatonix apparently put this on a Christmas album but that is WRONG, so very wrong. This is totally not a Christmas song. But it's a great song so I am forgiving Pentatonix for that, just this once.
This is Cry Cry Cry (which is apparently a folk "supergroup" consisting of Dar Williams, Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky) covering R.E.M.'s "Fall On Me":
If you like piano solos (I do) there's a very nice one at the beginning of this, but I set this where it will (hopefully) actually start where the song starts.
First, David Byrne:
Anyway, here is a really cool cover by a really great singer.
(You might end up hearing this song again tomorrow, done by another artist. I found another cover of it that I really like, and it's totally different. There's not a rule that says you have to do a different song every day, right?)
(Since I used this for my Holidailies entry for today, I will point out that you can also watch the rest of these videos without having to jump over to YouTube, if you prefer, by just going to my recent entries and scrolling down!)
If you want a preview of tomorrow, here's the spoiler:
I've got this (hopefully) set up to start when the song starts. Because this is Idol footage, there's a bunch of stuff at the beginning and then the judges at the end. I didn't even hang in there to listen to the judges here, but the part at the beginning is actually kind of interesting because this was an unrecorded song at the time - Gaga had been doing it at concerts but it hadn't been released on an album.
Day 1: Prince Does Creep
Day 2: Pearl Jam Does Petty
The first day didn't end up being Pearl-Jam-related at all, it was Prince doing "Creep" at Coachella, ten years ago. I love this song and I'd never heard this cover.
(Note: I've had some trouble with the embeds in past years and I think I'm going to just post them here daily rather than try to do several days at a time like I've done in the past. That seems easier.)
I'll talk more about my sister and her husband at some point but right now I feel like talking about the the Armadillo Bazaar. It's technically just a Christmas gift show, but being in Austin it ends up being kinda different. I had been many years ago - I think I mentioned that at some point earlier this month. (Here.) I don't have any clear memory of where it was back then, although I would have said it was somewhere downtown, on the other side of Town Lake. Now it's at Palmer, but it's possible that's where it always was and I'd just forgotten. It's been something like 35 years, after all.
Going to Austin is always a huge nostalgia-trip for me, because college, and then also because Austin is so different from anyplace else. Austin of course has grown up in the meantime and is a big city now (I started college FORTY YEARS AGO, omg, when I think Austin had around 300,000 people) but bits of the old Austin are still there and they were totally on display where we were. Palmer Center has two parts (+ possibly some more that I don't know about), and I went to concerts at both of them back in the day. There's a conventional auditorium and then there's just a big room that I think had bleachers (so sort of like a big basketball court, I guess!), and this was where bands played. It was general admission, and you could sit down on the bleachers if you wanted or you could just stand up in the middle, Which was what most everybody did. I saw R.E.M. and, god, Howard Jones and Frankie Goes To Hollywood there, and more. And that's where this Armadillo Bazaar thing is held.
My sister is back to wanting to try to be a real artist again - if you've been reading here forever you may remember that she's been through this before, and she is actually talented so I don't mean to demean her about that. She does kind of mixed media stuff which is pretty fashionable these days and I think it has possibilities, commercially speaking. So anyway, what she wanted to do was look at other people's artwork and booth setups and stuff, and boy, this was a good place to do it, because this was mostly an art show. There was other stuff but there were a LOT of artists, and it's juried so they were all good. P. is one of those people who can talk to anybody, and she did stop and talk to people in the booths from time to time, and one of the artists told her that they made $18k in eleven days at this thing last year. Which is not a huge fortune but it's nothing to sneeze at, either!
I knew the Armadillo Bazaar had music because I looked at the website, but I was imagining that it was off in a separate room and I didn't think P. would want to sit down and listen. But that turned out to be wrong. The booths are all around the edges of the big room (no bleachers in evidence) and the stage and a smallish number of seats are set up in the middle. So you can walk around and still hear the music - you can't avoid it if you wanted to, in fact. It wasn't so loud you couldn't hear so it was great, actually.
We got there, as it happened, right when the 7pm entertainer was starting, and I knew who it was going to be and the name was familiar - I think he may be one of those people who's hung around the Austin music scene off and on for years - but I don't remember having heard him before. It was Ray Wylie Hubbard, and you can hear a little snippet of his stuff in the video below. I liked him a lot. I insisted on going around to where I could actually see him, briefly. (P. said, "He looks like an old man," and well, that's true. But it just seemed weird to be there listening and never see the guy.) Anyway, it was very enjoyable. I enjoyed the music and I enjoyed looking at the artists, too.
I already posted this video for Music Advent, but here's Ray Wylie Hubbard from several years ago, on David Letterman:
(I have the wrong Christmas-lights icon for the 80s, what was fashionable then was white lights. The retro lights like my icon were totally out. Tiny white lights were the new hip thing, and no colors were allowed - which is actually kind of weird when you think about it, because so many other things in the 80s were totally colorful.)
I've only posted days 1-6 here so we're way behind. I think I'm going to just post a list with links to most of the videos, unless I decide I really have something to say about a particular song, and I'll pick one to embed at the end. But the embeds have been so wonky that embedding would require doing separate entries for everything.
Quite a few of these songs are great but others, not so much. But this was more an exercise in nostalgia than in picking the very *best* songs, for me. And while there are some songs here that were big hits, I also wanted to pick some things that everybody isn't necessarily familiar with.
Day 6, to remind you, was Talk About the Passion, R.E.M.
Day 7: Wonderland, XTC
Day 8: Modern Love, David Bowie (I saw Bowie on this tour so watching the concert video was really trippy for me.)
Day 9: Blister in the Sun, Violent Femmes
Day 10: Two Hearts Beat As One, U2
Day 11: One of Our Submarines, Thomas Dolby
Day 12: Oblivious, Aztec Camera
Day 13: A Million Miles Away, The Plimsouls
Day 14: The Metro, Berlin (man I loved this song - but I don't remember ever seeing the video)
Day 15: Cuts Like a Knife, Bryan Adams (see below)
Day 16: Save It For Later, English Beat (or just "The Beat" if you're in the UK)
Day 17: Mad World, Tears For Fears
And I went and hunted around for the old version of the Cuts Like A Knife video in particular, so that's the one I'm embedding. I mostly remembered the empty swimming pool.
To go back to the last MA post, the video that I posted on the 20th was "Black Sun" and the day before that, "Hard Sun" - there was sort of a method to my madness there, because the 21st was solstice and I wanted to go from the sun to the stars, for solstice. It just seemed appropriate.
And it also seemed appropriate that it be Bowie.
David Bowie Starman (1972) official video
Do they Know it's Christmas ~ Band Aid 1984
Bowie wasn't in it, but George Michael was, so next I went to a George Michael song. I always liked Michael and I liked Wham! back in the day but they were definitely not taken seriously, back when they were first popular. And I have to admit this was not my favorite of Michael's solo songs or of the Wham! songs, but it fit in with my connections so this is what I used. (I may do another post about him and Wham! if I get a chance.)
George Michael - Careless Whisper (Official Video)
The reason that fit into my connections was that I was thinking about Rick Astley. When I was poking around on the internet trying to work this out, I found a mention of how people think "Never Gonna Dance Again" is the name of that song, and so that made it a good lead-in. Last year when we were doing the alphabet for Music Advent, I had this idea that it would be funny to rickroll Music Advent - except of course most of Music Advent goes on on Twitter, and if you put a link to a video there it's generally going to give you a preview, so it's not really possible to do a rickroll in the old sense of the word. But anyway, I remembered that this year and so I wanted to work in this song.
Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up
I actually have two different connections for the next one. For some reason I completely didn't even think about the "Never" connection at the time. The connection I originally used was that Rick Astley and the Bunnymen are both from Merseyside, from the area around Liverpool.
NEVER STOP Echo and the Bunnymen
I got excited when I figured out that this video is apparently from the same tour (or anyway, the same year) that I saw Echo and the Bunnymen, which was in Austin in 1984. I knew the minute I saw it that it looked kind of the same - although Austin was a much smaller venue - I think it was the Opry House, which is quite small, relatively speaking - and so we didn't get all the strings and stuff. I'm not even 100% sure they did this song. (It seems like I remember being unhappy because they didn't, actually. But I'm not sure I'm remembering that correctly. That was a long, long time ago.)
Anyway, I actually used this song for Music Advent last year, and I usually try not to repeat myself (because y'know, it's not like there's a shortage of songs to use) but I made an exception for this one because it swung back around to day 1: it was on the tape that we played at our wedding reception. "Chapel of Love" was the first song on that tape and "Never Stop" was much further down the list but it was definitely there, because I insisted on it. The main criteria was that the song be a love song (about "real love" rather than just about hooking up) and we figured "this love we found should never stop" qualified. (Even further down the list we actually included Georgia Satellite's "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" - which was a new song that spring - because of its jokey take on sex before marriage. I'm not sure many people got that joke, but Rob and I thought it was really funny.)
Alison Krauss & Sting You Will Be My Ain True Love
And then Alison Krauss also worked with Robert Plant (formerly lead singer of Led Zeppelin). (I'm trying not to make assumptions that people know these names. Both The Police and Led Zeppelin go back a long way!)
Led Zeppelin - Kashmir (Live Video)
I talked in the last Music Advent installment about how I had stopped planning ahead with the videos but then I decided for the last week to go back to planning ahead again. So the next video below is where the planning started again - but I kind of screwed up getting there. I knew where I wanted to end up the weekend, which was at this Eddie Vedder song, and I had vague ideas about how to connect from "King of Pain" which is where I was at the time, and get there by Monday. I had the basic steps figured out, which was Sting > Alison Krauss > Plant/Led Zep > The Who > Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder. I came up with two connections between Led Zep and The Who - one was that Who drummer Keith Moon is said to have come up with the phrase, something to the effect of "that went over like a lead zeppelin" and the other is that there were always rumors, at least, of a feud between these two bands, enough that even I had heard about it and I didn't really follow rock music that much back in the 70s. (By which I mean I listened to it, yes, but I didn't read magazines or join fan clubs or anything like that to hook up to the gossip pipeline!) And then Pearl Jam's sound is heavily influenced by both of these bands, but I had seen quotes from Eddie Vedder where he talked specifically about Pete Townsend and The Who.
So that's my reasoning, but I screwed up the number of days somewhere in there and ended up skipping The Who and PJ and going straight to Vedder solo, just because it's another song I really like a lot.
Eddie Vedder - Hard Sun (Extended) - Into The Wild Soundtrack
(I actually wasn't aware that this was a cover, originally done by Indio.)
And then there was another song with "sun" in the title that I became aware of recently (it was released in 2015, so it's a fairly new song). That was a really really obvious connection. (In fact you'll see that just because I planned these out ahead of time doesn't mean they're particularly more inventive connections.)
Death Cab For Cutie - "Black Sun" (Official Video)
I started feeling like I'd gotten a bit off-track about Music Advent - which is to say, it's not that I was doing anything wrong, but I think it was more fun when I planned it a little more. I've kind of gotten myself into a time-crunch, though - I work in the evenings, we don't get home several days until after midnight, and while I do stay up literally until dawn a lot of the time (as in, it's often getting light outside by the time I go to sleep), I'm still dividing those night-time hours between a number of tasks. I partly stopped planning ahead on Holidailies because it saved some time, but eventually it started feeling like it was ultimately taking longer, and I was less happy with the results. But it's getting slower at work as it gets closer to the holidays, and so I sat at work with my planner calendar yesterday and started at the 25th - because I did have an idea where I wanted to end up, with Music Advent - and worked back to the date where I am now. I couldn't actually look at videos very well from there, but I think I got it figured out as far as songs and connections and it makes pretty reasonable sense. I hope it continues to.
Anyway, I'll elaborate when I get to the parts that involve that. The last song in part 3 was the Karla Bonoff song "Personally". The next connection was an easy one: I used a song that Karla had written, Wynonna Judd's "Tell Me Why":
I'm not generally a fan of mainstream country, but this is a good song, so go Karla & Wynonna.
For the next day I was looking at some of Wynonna's discography and especially some albums she had done with lots of covers on them. I found that she had done "Ain't No Sunshine" and I figured, "well a lot of people are bound to have covered that" and I listened to a couple and arrived at this one, just mostly because I really like it. It's Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Des'ree:
Some beautiful singing there.
The next few days are where the part I'd already done intersects with the newly-planned part where I was working backwards. I have some more connections to firm up over the weekend, but I think I have a basic plan for that that seems to be working for far. But that'll be in the next entry. Here, I just went with songs having a portion of their name that's similar: "Ain't No..." you could say. For the above song that's "Sunshine", for the next one it's "for the Wicked". This is a pretty well-known song so it's not the most interesting choice in the world, probably, but I like it, and it works for where I wanted to go.
Then the link with the next one is that they were both used in the soundtrack to the tv series "Lucifer" - in fact in the first two episodes. If you've watched that show, Cage the Elephant was in episode 1 and The Police are in Episode 2.
I'm happier now that I have a definite plan. But I'll tell you more about it the actual plan four days or so from now. (Or watch the #musicadvent tag and see what pops up there.)
So I ended up the last entry with Joe Jackson - late 70s but wandering into a New Wave sort of vibe. I was in college in the late 70s, and while there was nothing especially avant-garde about my tastes then, I do think this isn't the only place in my album collection where those sort of influences were creeping in. This song is also from 1979 but to be fair I don't think I knew it until later.
(The connection here is that Joe Jackson later did a song for an XTC tribute album.)
Did anybody know that the three surviving members of The Monkees released a new album this year? I have to admit that I did not. I do actually like their old stuff, though - I'm old enough to remember when their show was originally on, but I was a kid and I didn't understand what the heck was going on with it then. (I looked at it much later and thought, "It's a take-off on A Hard Days' Night" but did I know that when they were huge and I was 7? Heck no.) I learned a better appreciation for them later by watching reruns, seriously. (Nick at Night, maybe? I'm not sure.) Don't mock me, Last Train to Clarksville is a good song.
This is also a surprisingly not-bad song. It was written by Andy Partridge of XTC, which is how I got to this in the first place. I didn't try to listen to more of the album but there were some other well-known songwriters involved so there may be some more "hey, not bad!" moments in there. Also Micky Dolenz' voice sounds quite good for a 70-year-old man.
While I was looking up The Monkees, I saw something about how Don Kirshner was their producer early on - he was the one who wouldn't let them play their own instruments. If you know anything about the history there, that's a pretty well-known argument that went on. Kirshner was eventually fired so The Monkees won that one. But the main reason I know Don Kirshner's name at all was (like a lot of people Of A Certain Age, I think) from Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, which was on all through the 70s. (Also because Paul Shaffer used to mock him roundly on early SNL.) So I went looking for clips, and there are a lot of them on YouTube; they all have these same annoying white titles across them regarding the licensing. (But it could be worse, at least they let them put them up on YouTube at all, I suppose!) Anyway, I ended up with very early Jackson Browne:
This is "Looking Into You" off of his first self-titled album (the one everybody used to call "Saturate Before Using" because it says that on the cover).
I had all of Jackson Browne's early albums, back in the late 70s, and I also had and loved Karla Bonoff's albums. So, fortunately just in time to keep this from being an all-white-men entry, we have a later (80s) Bonoff song, her only big commercial hit. (She is better known as a songwriter, now, really; she wrote several of Linda Ronstadt's songs and some for Bonnie Raitt and others.)
Honestly I had forgotten that this song was hers at all. I actually meant to post a different song, but this is not a terrible song, just sort of middle-of-the-road. And Jackson Browne and Karla Bonoff were moving in the same circles at around the same time, so I imagine that you could connect them up in a number of different ways, but the way I followed was through the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Jackson Browne was a member, very early on (which I didn't know at all) and Bonoff recorded a song with them much later. (I flirted around with using a song of NGDB's and couldn't come up with anything I was too crazy about!)
So where I stopped in the entry linked above was with "Wicked Game." And it wasn't a stretch from there to think "Wicked Witch" but using Wicked the Musical seemed like an uninteresting choice, and the Wicked Witch in the old movie doesn't sing. So the other thing that occurred to me was "The Wiz" which I'm not really familiar with at all. I looked it up and the Wicked Witch there is named Evillene and she does indeed have a song - apparently only the one, near as I could figure out. I knew (or well, I was prodded by the internet to remember, anyway) that Mary J. Blige did this role in the recent "Live" TV version, but again, that seemed like an obvious/less interesting choice. I hunted around and found this rather amazing version from the old Wiz movie. This is Mabel King, who apparently also did this same role in the original Broadway production. I love that costume, for one thing - how many crowns is she wearing? about five? - but also, going from the lead-in to the number, this full-on gospel-style number is just not what I expected. It's pretty awesome, and now I may have to (finally, after all this time) go back and watch the whole movie and find out if there are more gems like this there.
As I said, I planned out the first few days and after that I realized that this is not really all that hard, coming up with connections, and I could just wing it. The next day, I started poking around in the Wikipedia article about The Wiz, and what I found that I eventually used was that Mabel King was the Wicked Witch and Lena Horne was the Good Witch. So I decided to do a Lena Horne song, and pretty much the first thing I found was "Stormy Weather" (which I think may be from a 40s movie of the same name) which seemed thematically appropriate as well. Heck, the way the wind is blowing in the background for most of that song, it looks like there's gonna be another twister any time. Also, if you're interested in such things, be sure to stick around for the ballet number (!) that follows the song.
So then, the next night, I came home and read the Wikipedia article on Lena Horne for inspiration. I found connections to both Harry Belafonte and Tony Bennett, among others I could have used, but I also found that Janet Jackson was once cast as Lena in a biopic before Nipplegate put a stop to that. And I wasn't really wanting to stay with these really old songs that badly, so I went with Janet. I picked this one, just because I like it:
And then we come to this last night. I was driving home in the car thinking about this, and I went, well, if we're avoiding the obvious, the really obvious thing here would be to jump to Michael or the Jackson Five or something like that. And from there I thought, well, how about a different Jackson? Like Joe! And then "Steppin' Out" immediately started playing in my head, but I really never liked that song that much. I did really like Joe Jackson at some point, I remembered, though, and I knew there had to be some more songs to choose from even if I couldn't remember exactly what they were, at that exact moment. And luckily I was almost home by that point and didn't forget my new inspiration before I got there. So instead of that song I don't like (which I wouldn't have used, anyway - I would have gone to Janet's Wikipedia entry for more inspiration, rather than that), we have this, which is a live version from the Jools Holland show in 2003:
(From his reaction, this must be a much more enthusiastic response of "WHERE?" than he was accustomed to - he nearly cracks up both times.)
And I have no idea what I'm doing next. you'll have to check my Tweets (or the tag) or wait another four days to find out!
That said, I'm not planning to write a whole entry about nail polish again, I'm not saying that might not happen before the end of Holidailies, if I can't think of anything else to write about, but definitely not today, anyway. Instead - as I usually have regularly for the past several years - I'm going to write about Music Advent. (Although there is a nail polish connection down here somewhere.)
I think this is the fourth year they've had Music Advent, where you pick out a music video daily from Dec.1-25. (This mostly takes place on Twitter using the hashtag #musicadvent, but has also expanded to other social media platforms to some extent, I think.) They've had other themes in other years, but this year it's modeled on something called The Chain, which is a BBC Radio thing. You just have to come up with a connection between one song and the next - any connection. I sat in the car one night on the commute home and came up with most of the ones I've used so far, but now (after the four in this entry) I'm just winging it. I figure if I get stuck I can just google the song and figure out some sort of connection to some other song - same producer, maybe, or same year - the possibilities are pretty endless.
So I started out with a connection in mind that I didn't actually use, but I figure if I get organized enough to be clever, I can work back around to it at the end and make it a circle. The one I didn't use was that this first song was on the mixtape that we used at our wedding reception. So if I end with another song from that tape, then I'll have a circle. (I don't think I remember what all the songs were on the tape, but we spent quite a lot of time on that tape and I remember quite a few of them, even after nearly 30 years.)
This song, was, in fact, the first song played at our wedding reception - "Chapel of Love" by the Dixie Cups:
Rob came up with some stuff that I wouldn't have thought of, and some of my friends from Austin helped, too. I was never a really huge fan of all the 60s girl-group stuff, so on my own I would never have thought of this song. (If you followed all my many Music Advent posts from past years, you may already know that I'm a much bigger fan of the oldies of the 80s - although we got married in 1987, so they weren't even oldies at the time - than the 60s.)
For Day 2, my connection was "from the chapel to the wedding" - which maybe wasn't the most glib phrasing I could have come up with, but anyway, it works as a connection.
This is definitely one of my 80s songs. I remember watching this one on MTV, back when MTV was relatively new and people actually sat and watched it.
So this second song was actually the first connection I thought of, because I had some Pandora 80s channel on in the car that night. It's not highly original but oh well. It's Billy Idol/American Idol. Rob and I watched American Idol for years so it was a pretty obvious one to me. And then I picked this particular song because it fit into the next connection, but I'll get to that in a minute.
Once I got to American Idol, I figured I could use anybody who was ever on Idol, really, but the most obvious people to use were Kelly and Carrie, because they were the biggest stars to come out of Idol in the US. Then once my brain got to that point, I thought, "Ooh, nail polish." Because Deborah Lippmann nail polishes all have names that are song titles, and I knew for sure that there was at least one that was a Kelly Clarkson song. I actually got on the website and made a list of songs I might want to use. The song I originally thought of which I knew was a polish was Stronger, but in fact I found at least four songs that I could have used: Miss Independent, Stronger, Before He Cheats, and Superstar. (I don't know which "Superstar" Ms Lippmann actually had in mind, but I knew that Clay Aiken sang it on Idol at some point.) I did get as far as looking for a video of Clay singing "Superstar" but I wasn't blown away by that video, so I went with Miss Independent instead. I do like the "Stronger" video but it's not my favorite of her songs. And I'm not a huge country fan (although I do like Carrie Underwood alright) so that's why I thought the older, more rock-inflected Kelly video reflected my taste the most, of those choices.
And then the other video I used the next day, which is also a Lippmann nail polish, is another 80s song, Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game":
This video feels familiar to me, but I doubt that this is the exact video MTV used back in the 80s because it's a bit risque for back then. (I mean, it's really not, because you can't actually see anything much, but just the fact that the girl in this video doesn't seem to have a top on for a good portion of the video probably was too much, in the 80s, even if it was cable.)
(and four videos is plenty for one entry so I'll continue this later)