Posts Tagged ‘Top 40’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #82 – Reunion: “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” b/w “Are You Ready To Believe”– RCA PB-10056

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #82 – Reunion: “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” b/w “Are You Ready To Believe”– RCA PB-10056

Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…

“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over fourteen years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.

The challenge was to memorize every word of this aural history/laundry list of musical groups, radio DJs, songwriters and record labels circa 1974, and be able to regurgitate every nuance at will. Many of my friends were up to the challenge and managed the seemingly impossible feat with ease. As for myself, I never was too enthralled with today’s Jukebox classic “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” by Reunion, and when it hit the airwaves in 1974 I never felt the need to rise to the challenge simply because I didn’t care.

So how did this genuine novelty that climbed to the #8 slot on the singles charts in 1974 end up joining the ranks of the jukebox if it is a track I couldn’t stand the first time around? I’ll tell you in one word: “plastics…,” actually the word is “nostalgia.” As I have opined before, oftentimes the worst, most cringe-worthy pieces of trivial trash that were incessantly played on the radio go on to become the songs that make us feel warm and nostalgic for simpler times, and today’s jukebox classic certainly fits the bill for me.

The song was written by Paul DiFranco and Norman Dolph several years before it was recorded by a studio incarnation called Reunion featuring Joey Levine on lead vocals. And if that name isn’t familiar to you, you’ll know some of the bubblegum classics his lead vocals have graced including “Chewy Chewy,” and “Yummy Yummy Yummy” by Ohio Express, “Quick Joey Small” by Kasenetz and Katz and “Run Run Run” by The Third Rail. When Levine joined the Reunion fray, he also received a writing credit on the record.

After his success with Reunion, Joey Levine got into the commercial business writing such memorable jingles as “Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut” for Mounds, “Gentlemen Prefer Hanes” for Hanes underwear, “Just For The Taste Of It” for Coke, “Heartbeat Of America” for Chevy, “You Asked For It, You Got It, Toyota” for Toyota and “This Bud’s For You” for Budweiser beer.

Today’s song has been covered by Tracey Ullman on her You Broke My Heart In 17 Places album and Rudy Crenshaw for the Disney album Mickey’s Dance Party. Chicago radio fans will also remember two versions of the song that were customized for local radio, including a version for WCFL with the late legendary Chi-town disc jockey Larry Lujack and one for WLS. The WCFL version “Life Is A Rock (But CFL Rolled Me)” was the last song played on the station in 1976 before it changed formats, and the WLS version was the first song played on the station when it returned to the airwaves in June of 2008. The song was also repurposed for a McDonalds commercial campaign with a recitation of menu items taking the place of the original lyrics.

And in case you were wondering, the lyrics to today’s jukebox classic are as follows:

“B.B. Bumble and the Stingers, Mott the Hoople, Ray Charles Singers

Lonnie Mack and twangin’ Eddy, here’s my ring we’re goin’ steady

Take it easy, take me higher, liar liar, house on fire

Locomotion, Poco, Passion, Deeper Purple, Satisfaction

Baby baby gotta gotta gimme gimme gettin’ hotter

Sammy’s cookin’, Lesley Gore and Ritchie Valens, end of story

Mahavishnu, fujiyama, kama-sutra, rama-lama

Richard Perry, Spector, Barry, Archies, Righteous, Nilsson, Harry

Shimmy shimmy ko-ko bop and Fats is back and Finger Poppin’

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

FM, AM, hits are clickin’ while the clock is tock-a-tickin’

Friends and Romans, salutations, Brenda and the Tabulations

Carly Simon, I behold her, Rolling Stones and centerfoldin’

Johnny Cash and Johnny Rivers, can’t stop now, I got the shivers

Mungo Jerry, Peter Peter Paul and Paul and Mary Mary

Dr. John the nightly tripper, Doris Day and Jack the Ripper

Gotta go Sir, gotta swelter, Leon Russell, Gimme Shelter

Miracles in smokey places, slide guitars and Fender basses

Mushroom omelet, Bonnie Bramlett, Wilson Pickett, stop and kick it

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

Arthur Janov’s primal screamin’, Hawkins, Jay and

Dale and Ronnie, Kukla, Fran and Norma Okla

Denver, John and Osmond, Donny

JJ Cale and ZZ Top and LL Bean and De De Dinah

David Bowie, Steely Dan and sing me prouder, CC Rider

Edgar Winter, Joanie Sommers, Osmond Brothers, Johnny Thunders

Eric Clapton, pedal wah-wah, Stephen Foster, do-dah do-dah

Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Surfer Girl and Little Honda

Tighter, tighter, honey, honey, sugar, sugar, yummy, yummy

CBS and Warner Brothers, RCA and all the others

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

Listen–remember, they’re playing our song!

Rock it, sock it, Alan Freed me, Murray Kaufman, try to leave me

Fish, and Swim, and Boston Monkey,

Make it bad and play it funky.

(Wanna take you higher!)”

 

Several other Reunion singles were released with no chart action whatsoever, so the collective went their separate ways. They never even recorded an album. However for better or worse, the song seemingly did go on to inspire another chart-topping hit, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel.

Edited: October 25th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #93 – Jim Stafford: “Wildwood Weed” b/w “The Last Chant”– MGM M-14737

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #93 – Jim Stafford: “Wildwood Weed” b/w “The Last Chant”– MGM M-14737

Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…

Jim Stafford is an accomplished singer, songwriter, hit maker, comedian and all around good-time, good ol’ boy Branson, Missouri entertainer. He got his start playing in a high school band down in Winter Haven, Florida called The Legends that also included future country star Bobby Braddock, Kent LaVoie (who is better known as Lobo) and the late great, Gram Parsons.

However, it was his keen sense of humor that brought him to the world’s attention via songs like “My Girl Bill,” his biggest hit “Spiders And Snakes,” “I Ain’t Sharin’ Sharon,” “16 Little Red Noses And A Horse that Sweats,” “Swamp Witch” and today’s jukebox classic, “Wildwood Weed.” He also wrote songs for the soundtrack to Disney’s The Fox And The Hound and Clint Eastwood’s Any Which Way You Can (in which he also appeared).

Throughout his career he dabbled in TV, comedy and writing, including a stint on his own comedy variety show, The Jim Stafford Show that ran for six weeks during the summer of 1975. It was during the show that Stafford met Bobbie Gentry whom he later married and had a child with. (Several years later they were divorced.)

Today’s smokin’ jukebox classic was written by Don Bowman and Jim Stafford, and was released as a single from his self-titled 1974 debut album, climbing to #7 on the pop charts. The album was a huge success due to the inclusion of four top 40 singles (“Wildwood Weed,” “My Girl Bill,” “Swamp Witch” and “Spiders And Snakes”). The flip is a Stafford-penned rocker called “The Last Chant” that is the polar opposite of the A-side, completely dropping all the good ol’ boy charm in favor of a lowdown and heavy swamp rock vibe.

During the 1980s, Stafford returned to TV as a writer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Revival Show and he opened The Jim Stafford Theater in Branson, Missouri with his second wife Ann in 1990. Stafford was a big draw in Branson playing over 350 shows a year for 23 successful years until this past December when he closed the theater. Stafford, now retired, currently lives in Florida.

“Take a trip and never leave the farm…indeed!”

“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.

Edited: March 26th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #82 – Reunion: “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” b/w “Are You Ready To Believe”– RCA PB-10056

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #82 – Reunion: “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” b/w “Are You Ready To Believe”– RCA PB-10056

Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…

“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.

The challenge was to memorize every word of this aural history/laundry list of musical groups, radio DJs, songwriters and record labels circa 1974, and be able to regurgitate every nuance at will. Many of my friends were up to the challenge and managed the seemingly impossible feat with ease. As for myself, I never was too enthralled with today’s Jukebox classic “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)” by Reunion, and when it hit the airwaves in 1974 I never felt the need to rise to the challenge simply because I didn’t care.

So how did this genuine novelty that climbed to the #8 slot on the singles charts in 1974 end up joining the ranks of the jukebox if it is a track I couldn’t stand the first time around? I’ll tell you in one word: “plastics…,” actually the word is “nostalgia.” As I have opined before, oftentimes the worst, most cringe-worthy pieces of trivial trash that were incessantly played on the radio go on to become the songs that make us feel warm and nostalgic for simpler times, and today’s jukebox classic certainly fits the bill for me.

The song was written by Paul DiFranco and Norman Dolph several years before it was recorded by a studio incarnation called Reunion featuring Joey Levine on lead vocals. And if that name isn’t familiar to you, you’ll know some of the bubblegum classics his lead vocals have graced including “Chewy Chewy,” and “Yummy Yummy Yummy” by Ohio Express, “Quick Joey Small” by Kasenetz and Katz and “Run Run Run” by The Third Rail. When Levine joined the Reunion fray, he also received a writing credit on the record.

After his success with Reunion, Joey Levine got into the commercial business writing such memorable jingles as “Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut” for Mounds, “Gentlemen Prefer Hanes” for Hanes underwear, “Just For The Taste Of It” for Coke, “Heartbeat Of America” for Chevy, “You Asked For It, You Got It, Toyota” for Toyota and “This Bud’s For You” for Budweiser beer.

Today’s song has been covered by Tracey Ullman on her You Broke My Heart In 17 Places album and Rudy Crenshaw for the Disney album Mickey’s Dance Party. Chicago radio fans will also remember two versions of the song that were customized for local radio, including a version for WCFL with the late legendary Chi-town disc jockey Larry Lujack and one for WLS. The WCFL version “Life Is A Rock (But CFL Rolled Me)” was the last song played on the station in 1976 before it changed formats, and the WLS version was the first song played on the station when it returned to the airwaves in June of 2008. The song was also repurposed for a McDonalds commercial campaign with a recitation of menu items taking the place of the original lyrics.

And in case you were wondering, the lyrics to today’s jukebox classic are as follows:

“B.B. Bumble and the Stingers, Mott the Hoople, Ray Charles Singers

Lonnie Mack and twangin’ Eddy, here’s my ring we’re goin’ steady

Take it easy, take me higher, liar liar, house on fire

Locomotion, Poco, Passion, Deeper Purple, Satisfaction

Baby baby gotta gotta gimme gimme gettin’ hotter

Sammy’s cookin’, Lesley Gore and Ritchie Valens, end of story

Mahavishnu, fujiyama, kama-sutra, rama-lama

Richard Perry, Spector, Barry, Archies, Righteous, Nilsson, Harry

Shimmy shimmy ko-ko bop and Fats is back and Finger Poppin’

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

FM, AM, hits are clickin’ while the clock is tock-a-tickin’

Friends and Romans, salutations, Brenda and the Tabulations

Carly Simon, I behold her, Rolling Stones and centerfoldin’

Johnny Cash and Johnny Rivers, can’t stop now, I got the shivers

Mungo Jerry, Peter Peter Paul and Paul and Mary Mary

Dr. John the nightly tripper, Doris Day and Jack the Ripper

Gotta go Sir, gotta swelter, Leon Russell, Gimme Shelter

Miracles in smokey places, slide guitars and Fender basses

Mushroom omelet, Bonnie Bramlett, Wilson Pickett, stop and kick it

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

Arthur Janov’s primal screamin’, Hawkins, Jay and

Dale and Ronnie, Kukla, Fran and Norma Okla

Denver, John and Osmond, Donny

JJ Cale and ZZ Top and LL Bean and De De Dinah

David Bowie, Steely Dan and sing me prouder, CC Rider

Edgar Winter, Joanie Sommers, Osmond Brothers, Johnny Thunders

Eric Clapton, pedal wah-wah, Stephen Foster, do-dah do-dah

Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Surfer Girl and Little Honda

Tighter, tighter, honey, honey, sugar, sugar, yummy, yummy

CBS and Warner Brothers, RCA and all the others

 

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

 

Listen–remember, they’re playing our song!

Rock it, sock it, Alan Freed me, Murray Kaufman, try to leave me

Fish, and Swim, and Boston Monkey,

Make it bad and play it funky.

(Wanna take you higher!)”

 

Several other Reunion singles were released with no chart action whatsoever, so the collective went their separate ways. They never even recorded an album. However for better or worse, the song seemingly did go on to inspire another chart-topping hit, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel.

 

 

Edited: February 25th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 3/23/13

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Brand New Key” by Melanie

When Melanie’s released her biggest hit back in 1972, roller skating and roller rinks were all the rage in my eleven year old age group, and “Brand New Key” was speaking our language.

Having an older sister, I had been exposed to Melanie’s music since 1970 and her single with The Edwin Hawkins Singers, “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain).”  Around that time, my sister became enamored by Melanie Safka, and scrambled to not only get her latest album, Candles In the Rain, but also Born To Be, her first one.

To say that my sister was enamored by Melanie’s at times histrionic vocals and songs about peace, beautiful people and Winnie The Pooh would be an understatement, and as a result of her fascination with Melanie, I paid close attention. Anyway, it was Melanie’s covers  of James Taylor’s “Carolina In My Mind” and The Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” that ended up introducing me to the originals.

But Melanie had quite a few first-rate original songs that were favorites of mine including “What Have They Done To My Song Ma,” “The Living Bell,” “The Nickel Song” and “Beautiful People.”  More Melanie albums followed in my sister’s collection including Leftover Wine from 1970, The Good Book from 1971 and Gather Me from 1972, before she outgrew Melanie and left for college.

Melanie formed her own record label in 1972 and released this single which topped the charts and sold over three million copies. I would have to think that today’s Song Of The Day was probably the straw that broke the Melanie fan’s back and caused my sister to pretty much decide that Melanie had become yesterday’s news.

But to my age group, Melanie’s star was on the rise. Forget the apparent double entendre going on in the lyrics with locks and keys, and “going pretty far,” that was all lost on me and my cohort (I think) the first time around.

Today, this song is a guilty pleasure, but the fact that I, for one, still have this single in my jukebox, says that it is still a pleasure.

P.S. – Love this video!

Edited: March 23rd, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 6/2/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani

Shouldn’t everyone have four Harajuku Girls with them everywhere they go? I think so…and so does Gwen Stefani. After all, it was Stefani who put Harajuku fashion on the map in America anyway via her L.A.M.B. line of clothing. While not designing fashion, Stefani also has children with rock stars, launches perfume lines, records solo records and tours the world with her multi-platinum pop Ska group No Doubt. This song comes from her first solo record, “Love, Angel, Music, Baby” and was the first single to sell over a millions downloads. I’ve not much more to say about this track other than this sh*t is bananas…b-a-n-a-n-a-s…

Edited: June 2nd, 2012