Happy Friday! I hope you had a great week and that you’re looking forward to the weekend. Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts this week.
SUMMER STARTS SATURDAY MORNING
Today is the last day of spring! Summer officially begins at 5:51 a.m. CDT Saturday. If this means relaxing in the backyard swimming pool and anticipating my two fall trips (those details coming at a later date), I’m all for it.
Every summer, we plant a small garden of mostly tomatoes. First, it was for Miss ABBA, who loved them. Now we do it in her memory.
This year, I actually started most of the tomato plants inside when snow was still on the ground! Most of our tomatoes are “ice white cherry” from seeds I bought on ebay. We also have a common red ones and peppers in many varieties.
I’m looking forward to making homemade salsa in my new Hamilton Beach Food Processor that Santa brought me. I wish that I lived in California, or some avocado-producing state, to make fresh guacamole from hand-picked avocados, too.
R.I.P CASEY KASEM
Last Sunday, on Father’s Day, radio legend Casey Kasem passed away at the age of 82.
People around the world grew up listening to that distinctive and distinguished voice count down the 40 biggest songs across the U.S. on “American Top 40″.
The show debuted over Independence Day weekend in 1970 and Casey’s last countdown during his first run was on August 6, 1988. (He would return to “American Top 40″ from 1998-2003.)
When the show started, it was broadcast on seven stations. At its peak, it was broadcast on more than a thousand stations in the U.S. and in 50 countries around the world.
For those listening to that first show in 1970, Casey opened with “Here we go with the Top 40 hits of the nation this week on “American Top 40″, the best-selling and most-played songs from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. This is Casey Kasem in Hollywood, and in the next three hours, we’ll count down the 40 most popular hits in the United States this week, hot off the record charts of “Billboard” magazine…”
Sadly, he gained media attention recently in a very nasty, public dispute between his children and his second wife of almost 34 years, Jean, as he battled Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Here is a blog that I wrote two years ago about how much I loved listening to Casey and how a long distance dedication could go terribly wrong!
“Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”
POOR STATE OF POP RADIO
Since we’re talking radio, I have to say that I’m not a fan of Clear Channel Communications’ promotional synergy of pushing a new song by playing it at the top of every hour for a certain period of time.
While that helped Madonna secure her record-extending 38th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2012 with “Give Me All Your Luvin”, along with Britney Spears debuting at #12 last year with “Work Bitch”, and Michael Jackson earning another Top Ten hit this year with “Love Never Felt So Good”, it also dooms the songs.
It’s debatable whether those three songs are worthy of hitting the top of the chart, but constant initial airplay pushes those song to a high debut and then they usually drop off quickly the next week and rarely rebound to a higher chart position on the airplay chart.
Why can’t it be like it used to be when Casey Kasem counted down the hottest songs in the land. When you heard them, you knew you’d hear them during the week on your local radio station because back then a song had to build airplay week to week!
KUDOS TO RICKY MARTIN
To protest Morocco’s antigay laws, Ricky Martin changed the pronoun in his ballad, “She’s All I Ever Had” to “he” while performing at the 13th Mawazine World Rhythms Festival in Rabat, Morocco.
He sang, “It’s the way he makes me feel / It’s the only thing that’s real / It’s the way he understands / He’s my lover, he’s my friend / When I look into his eyes it’s the way I feel inside / Like the man I want to be / He’s all I ever need.”
Homosexuality is still a crime there and just last month, six Moroccan men were convicted and each face up to three years in prison.
This is the original that reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999.
And, if you’re a Ricky Martin fan, his autobiography, “Me”, is amazing.
Here’s the blog that I wrote about it if you want to know more about it or Ricky.
WAS ANTHONY PERKINS “PSYCHO”?
I just finished reading “Split Image” by Charles Winecoff about the life and death of movie and stage legend Anthony Perkins, who died of AIDS in 1992. The book was published four years after the “Psycho” star’s death.
As I was reading the very lengthy book (480 pages), I was so ready for it to end.
I never met Tony Perkins, so I don’t know if he was a shy, introverted, strange man or not. However, I can’t believe that Winecoff spent so much time and effort interviewing people and pulling quotes from Perkins and many of his fellow actors to piece together such an unhappy, unflattering book.
It was as if Winecoff disliked Perkins so much that he took joy in making him look as bad as possible after the actor’s death.
I love reading biographies or books about real events. But, it was hard for me to read about Perkins’ life from someone who didn’t interview the star for the book.
The book did not change how I feel about Perkins since I was named after him, after all! I still think the lanky, 6’2″ actor was gorgeous in the 1950s and 1960s! See for yourself.
The song featured in that video was “How About You” from Perkins’ 1957 album, “Tony Perkins”. He reached #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957 with “Moon-Light Swim”.
Beyond his career defining role as serial killer Norman Bates in 1960′s “Psycho” and its three sequels, Perkins was nominated for an Oscar in 1957 and he won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award in 1961.
I’m glad that Winecoff used this quote from Anthony Perkins as he lay dying that he dictated to his sons:
“There are many who believe this disease is God’s vengeance, but I believe it was sent to teach people how to love and understand and have compassion for each other. I have learned more about love, selflessness, and human understanding from the people I have met in this great adventure in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cutthroat, competitive world in which I spent my life.”
AN EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT FOR MYSELF
While I have an amazing celebratory trip coming up in October to usher in my 50th birthday (details are coming soon), I bought myself concert tickets to see my favorite band of all time for the first time.
The band is Erasure and here’s one of their biggest hits in the United States from 1988.
If you’re not all that familiar with the band and would like a crash course in who they are and learn more about me and my younger days, check out the blog I wrote about them.
“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”
Tonight, we’re off to Clinton, Iowa, just outside the Quad Cities, to see the “Grits and Glamour Tour” with Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis.
Since she scored her first country hit in 1988 with “Trainwreck of Emotion”, which reached #20, Lorrie Morgan has amassed 25 hits on the Billboard country charts.
Of those, 14 reached the Top Ten, and three topped the charts: “Five Minutes” (1990), “What Part of No” (1993), and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” (1995).
“Watch Me” reached #2 on the Billboard Country charts in 1992.
“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”
Throughout the 1990s, Pam Tillis scored 22 Top 40 hits on the country chart. Of that great accomplishment, 13 of those songs made the Top Ten and 10 of them making it all the way into the Top 5. (She also had a Top 30 hit with Dolly Parton, “Romeo”).
Her only #1, “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)” topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.
One of my favorite Pam Tillis songs is “Spilled Perfume”, from the “Sweetheart’s Dance” album. It hit #5 on the Billboard Country chart in 1994.
HAPPY PRIDE WEEKEND, CHICAGO PEEPS
It’s pride weekend in Chicago and I want to wish all of my friends there a safe and fun weekend!
It’s been a few years, 2010, I think, since I last celebrate Pride in the big city. So, friends, have a drink or a shot for me!
I want to close out my blog with three “Pride-worthy” videos to kick off the weekend.
The first is a song that I saw performed on television in April 1993 for the “March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation” while I was living in small town Kentucky.
Seeing Rozalla sing “Everybody’s Free” while hundreds of thousands of people just like me making themselves visible was such an incredible feeling. Unfortunately, I can’t find a video from the 1993 “March”, but the song’s message is still the same from the music video.
The second is by the late Sylvester, a legend in the LGBT community.
In 1978, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” was #1 Billboard Dance hit and a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
And, the last video is one of the sexiest and most life-affirming, “be proud” messages I’ve seen in a video by a straight, but not narrow friend of the LGBT community, Kylie Minogue.
I guess the Kylie video is powerful. I had a high school classmate delete me on Facebook when I posted the video a couple of years ago. He said it was part of the moral decay in this country!
My friends, whatever your persuasion, I hope you have a fantastic first weekend of summer. Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.