August 20, 2012
This past weekend, on Aug. 18, marked the 25th anniversary of the release of pop singer/songwriter Debbie Gibson’s debut album, Out of the Blue. At that time, in 1987, I was just a wee thing at 5 years old, and wasn’t hip to the day’s pop hits. I knew children’s music such as Raffi, Tim Noah and Joe Scruggs; I knew the music that my parents listened to, like the oldies (Buddy Holly, the Beatles, Connie Francis, Gary Lewis, etc.), classical, and some adult contemporary stuff; and I knew what I heard in movies. One thing I definitely wasn’t keen to was Debbie Gibson.
But, for whatever reason, my mom bought me Debbie’s album on an audiocassette tape and that was that — I was a Debbie Gibson fan. In first grade, I had friends who fawned over Paula Abdul and New Kids on the Block. We would meet for playdates and they’d play those tapes. “Paula Adbul is my FAVORITE,” my friend Michelle would rave while we drew pictures (hers being exclusively of horses, another one of her FAVORITES) and I would shrug. “Do you wanna listen to Hangin’ Tough?” one of my besties Alison would ask while we jumped rope in her driveway. One thing all of these friends had in common was that they did not have any albums by Debbie Gibson, MY favorite.
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April 30, 2012
She gave him a voice, he gave her stories. He gave her street cred, she gave him access. She gave him sweetness, he gave her menace. It wasn’t a partnership that had any right to flourish, but disparate backgrounds made for some kind of elemental magic.
In this segment, from the 1967 TV special “Movin’ With Nancy,” how many times does Lee Hazlewood raise his fist as if to belt Nancy Sinatra for doing something as harmless and flirty as pinching his ass? Yet a sense of threat was present in almost all their duets, and in the compositions Hazlewood wrote strictly for Sinatra’s voice (“these boots are gonna walk all over you”) across their intermittent four-decade partnership. The song they’re assaying below is a Jerry Leiber relationship ballad that puts the fun in dysfunctional — dark but sweet, and fitting for the duo.
Then there was dark for darkness’ sake.
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April 5, 2012
If you weren’t lucky enough to get wind of this late ’90s radio gem, you missed out, friend! I actually had a friend named Josh who was kind of a punk. Not as much of a punk as this song describes, but it still sort of became his anthem by default. Sorta goes with the territory when you have a name like Josh.
Chopper One – A Punk Named Josh
Click the link above for a version that doesn’t zap out every “asshole.”
I suppose Chopper One can go down as one of those “one hit wonders” of that era, except I’m not even sure how much of a hit this one was. It’s kinda tough to find anything about the band online, and their album, Now Playing, appears to be out of print. Anyway, considering all those factors, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that this is definitely a song you haven’t heard in a while. I, however, played it in my car just yesterday. In case you were uncertain about how awesome my life is.