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Reelin’ in the Years – 1965

English: Trade ad for 1965 Rolling Stones' Nor...

Trade ad for 1965 Rolling Stones’ North American tour – Wikipedia

It’s 1965 and I’m three years old.

The British Invasion was in full swing by ’65. The Stones hit the charts with “Satisfaction” at #3. That is a great song with insightful lyrics and an easy riff that every child guitarist, including myself, played endlessly.

“Downtown,” on the other hand, was a tune so popular that it just existed in the collective imagination. You did’t even have to hear it playing to get it. It captured, in my Toronto at least, the whole feeling of the year.

Pop music was getting a schmaltzy, sweet element. And I liked it, along with the nitty gritty stuff.

So here’s Petula Clark with “Downtown!”

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 The Rolling Stones just won their 3rd Grammy – and it was for an album that’s one of their best (businessinsider.com)

 Shaggy and Sting are releasing an album together (thefader.com)

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Reelin’ in the Years – 1964

English: The Beatles wave to fans after arrivi...

The Beatles wave to fans after arriving at Kennedy Airport – Wikipedia

So it’s time once again to pick my fav song for a particular year. This time 1964.

’64 was the year of the British Invasion. Take a look at the Billboard top 100 for that year and you’ll be amazed how many Beatles tunes fill the chart. I started to get mixed up counting at around 10 or 11. The top two songs are also Beatles songs. Simply amazing.

Oh, did I already use that word? 🙂

We all know about the Beatles, so I thought I’d skip those tunes, as fabulous as they are, and focus on another one I really like. My brother had this 45 record and I remember playing it as a young boy and being entranced by the storyline.

Basically, a guy loses his gal in a car wreck and vows to be good so he can reunite with her in heaven.

I guess that was the beginning of my turn to spirituality, but I didn’t know it then.

Enjoy the tune.

Reelin’ in ALL the Years


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Reelin’ in the Years – 1963

Continuing on with my “most representative” tune of the year since I was born, 1963 sees a change in pop music. Production is becoming a bit more complex and calculated. This #1 top single is a good example of carefully crafted production.

There are many good tunes in the top 100 for this year. It wasn’t easy settling on this one. I chose Sugar Shack not because it was #1 but because I dig its clever parsimony. We hear a lot of that today in pop music.

Reelin’ in ALL the Years


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Reelin’ in the Years – 1962

Billboard Tenth Anniversary Issue, 1904

Billboard Tenth Anniversary Issue, 1904 – Wikipedia

Okay, it’s mid-winter in Canada and, frankly, I need a little diversion that’s just sheer fun. So I thought it would be a great idea to do a “top song” for each year I’ve been alive, starting at 1962, the year I was born.

After a quick look at Billboard for 1962, I decided I’d begin with two songs instead of just one. I may do that again, I may not. But since ’62 is the year I came into this world, I think it’s okay to start with a bang!

Both of these songs are familiar to me. I had older bros and sis’s. And I can still see their 45s (those are vinyl singles, for those who don’t know) in my mind’s eye. Also, they’re just good songs that have enjoyed a lot of airtime and cover versions through the years.

So here’s my beginnings… 1962. And two songs I know and like from that year.

Stay tuned for next time… 1963!

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Now Charlie Puth Has Candles (stereogum.com)

 Lil Uzi Vert says he’s finished a new project (thefader.com)


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The late, great David Bowie’s “‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore”

Poor David Bowie. I think of him often. Anyone who rises that high and then slowly burns out – artistically, I mean – well, it must be hard. Classical composers generally get better with age. But it aint necessarily so with pop stars. I guess pop music is all wrapped up in the hopes, dreams and angst of youth. So when the star isn’t a youth any more, it gets harder and harder to connect.

Bowie’s final album had a beautiful song, “Lazarus,” which to me seemed heavily influenced by an 80s band called The Cure. Most people who remember rotary dial phones have probably heard “Lazurus.” And if they were listening to pop in the 80s, I think they’d recognize The Cure connection.

But today I want to talk about another song on the final Bowie album, “‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore.”

I don’t like this song very much. When I first saw the title I thought Bowie was just being rough and crude for the sake of it, like a relic from a different age trying to be cool. After all, today we talk about “sex-workers” and the term “whore” is totally inappropriate and probably illegal to use in public.

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

But on Googling the song I found that, as often happens, there was more to Bowie’s work that I’d realized. Turns out there is an English play from 1629 by John Ford called “‘Tis Pitty Shee’s a Whore.” No doubt this influenced Bowie and I have to apologize to his enduring spirit for having judged out of ignorance!


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The Next Day – sounds more like yesterday…

Image via Tumblr

This morning I gave David Bowie’s The Next Day another listen. It came out a couple of years ago, but I was going thru a challenging time when the cd was first released, so I thought I’d give it a shot during happier times.

Stress or no stress, my impression is about the same this time as it was the first time: Good… but not great.

Like an old NASA astronaut, Bowie is to be admired. But The Next Day, for the most part, feels really YESTERDAY. The only song I might listen to again is The Stars (Are Out Tonight), which is a nice 70s sounding tune… but not quite hit material. And the overall sound quality of the album is so ridiculously compressed. It sounds like music in a can.

When I was a kid Bowie was the cool freak. Among many associations with his music is walking down Yonge Street in the 1970s, and being fascinated by all the sex, sleaze and futurism it had to offer. Don’t get me wrong, I was just a kid. But Toronto was sleazier in the 70s. Sex workers (then called “hookers,” “prostitutes,” or worse) and strip joints were more visible than in these sanitized days. And a perceptive kid could easily pick up on it. Why else did kids like to go downtown?

Oh yes, pinball and video arcades…

But everything has changed. EDM has taken the place of what artists like Bowie used to do for me. It’s fresh. It’s new. Maybe a bit mechanical. But EDM is really exploring the fringe. New sounds are coming out. Sounds that build on the 70s greats. We wouldn’t have EDM without acts like Bowie, Yes and Genesis (Peter Gabriel version). But, for me anyhow, it’s definitely time to move on.


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Millenium Hits – 21st Century