Posts Tagged ‘Donna Summer’

My Life: The First 35 Years

While it’s not a milestone birthday, like my first, another one is approaching.

My life’s longevity has surpassed both of my parents (my mother died at 47 and my father at 55) and I’m grateful for that.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that as we get older, we pontificate about life more.

We think about the past — good and bad — and wonder what the future holds. And, Good Lord, with 2020 and Covid-19, I hope it’s an improvement!

With that in mind, I started thinking about the events and the songs that have influenced me most in life.

So, today, I’m sharing the 13 most memorable events of my first 35 years (1964-1999). Why 13? It’s my favorite number and I was born on the 13th!

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#13 KENT STATE MASSACRE (MAY 4, 1970)

While I was only five years old when this happened and I didn’t understand the Vietnam War or the protests, I vividly remember the news that evening and this iconic photograph.

As you may recall, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students killing four and wounding nine others.

On the 30th anniversary of the deadly shootings, I covered the story for a television station in Mansfield, Ohio.

#12 MADONNA MARRYING SEAN PENN (AUGUST 1985)

It’s no secret that I love Madonna. I’ve seen her in concert four times and I remember buying her first album at Terrapin Station in Murray, Kentucky, in 1983, before she was a household name.

But, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I shed tears the day she married Sean Penn in 1985!

Not because I was happy. I just knew it wouldn’t last and it was my “Madonna”! 🙂

#11 JEFFREY DAHMER & MY MILWAUKEE SUMMER (1990)

Back in 1990, I moved from Kentucky to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While I was only there for the summer into the early fall, I enjoyed my job as a bartender at “Partners”, one of the oldest LGBTQ bars in the city.

OMG, I was so young — in stone-washed jeans and a New Kids on the Block t-shirt! 🙂

On a slow Sunday night, a couple came in and ordered drinks.  Jerry was a good-looking man and his lady friend, who was older than him, was D’nell. 

While Jerry flirted with me, it was my bond with D’nell that would stand the test of time. She became my “Mom” and I called her that until her death in early 2009.

One night I went out drinking with my friends and co-workers in the seedier part of the gay district at C’est La Vie and Club 219.

Needless to say, I had way too much to drink and the scary alley, while unsavory, was a great place to puke before we moved on elsewhere!!!

I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but when serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested, I got chills. Club 219 was one of his favorite haunts and he picked up many of his victims there!

I used to keep journals and my night at Club 219 coincided with the stalking and murdering timeline. He very well could have been lurking in the corner that night I was totally wasted!

#10 VANESSA WILLIAMS TURNING OVER HER MISS AMERICA CROWN (JULY 1984)

It was a beautiful night in 1983 when Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.

It was a very sad day in the summer of 1984, when the 21-year-old turned over her crown after artistic (and unauthorized) nude pictures surfaced in Penthouse. (Even as a gay boy, I bought the magazine to see what the fuss was all about!)

Another admission: I was saddened and cried watching this press conference! I was hoping that she’d fight to keep her crown and tell the Miss America pageant to “f*ck off”, but that didn’t happen!

But, Vanessa has gone on to a very successful singing and acting career with numerous Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations!

As a bonus, my favorite Vanessa Williams song!

Here’s my blog from earlier in 2020 dedicated just to Vanessa! (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/03/18/vanessa-williams-still-reigns/

Along with the events that impacted my first 35 years, I’m sharing my 35 favorites songs from those 35 years!*

Casey Kasem is my inspiration. I still recall all the weekends I spent listening to Casey count down the 40 biggest songs in America!

As I compiled my comprehensive list, it started out with 236 of my favorites!!!

As a teenager, I remember telling my grandmother Helen that a certain song was my “favorite” and she replied, “they’re all your favorites”!

But, when I was a youngster, there could only be one winner!

So here goes… enjoy the countdown and the videos!

#35 “GLORIA” (LAURA BRANIGAN) (1982)

#34 “SUGAR SUGAR” (THE ARCHIES) (1969)

#33 “LIZZIE AND THE RAINMAN” (TANYA TUCKER) (1975)

#32 “YOU ARE” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1983)

#31 “NEVER SURRENDER” (COREY HART) (1985)

MORE EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#9 “JOHN WAYNE GACY’S CHICAGO MURDER SPREE (1970s)

Just before Christmas 1978, John Wayne Gacy was arrested in Des Plaines, Illinois (near Chicago), for the murder of 15-year-old Robert Piest.

During his confession, police would learn there were many other bodies.

Gacy is known to have killed, at least 33 young men and boys. Of those, 26 were buried in the crawl space of his home!

When the news of this serial killer broke, I was a 14-year-old gay boy living in western Kentucky, just six hours away.

This had a very chilling effect on me since I was the same age as some of his victims. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that people could kill others just for the thrill of it!

#8 KAREN CARPENTER’S DEATH (1983)

Karen and Richard Carpenter were on “top of the world” in the 1970s topping the chart with their amazing melodies and her incredible voice.

After years of battling anorexia nervosa, the music world was shocked on February 4, 1983, when Karen died of a heart attack. The years of starvation had destroyed her body.

Karen’s battle with an eating disorder brought that subject to the forefront for America. I know the awareness has saved many lives.

#7 AIDS EPIDEMIC (FROM THE SUMMER OF 1981 TO NOW)

For almost 30 years from the 1980s through the early-2010s, I strongly despised, even hated, President Ronald Reagan.

In the summer of 1981, a new “gay cancer” (it would be called AIDS later) was attacking and quickly killing homosexuals in alarming numbers.

However, President Reagan didn’t mention the deadly disease publicly until a press conference in 1985. And, it’d be six years into the AIDS pandemic (1987) before he gave his first speech on AIDS — after more than 20,000 Americans had already died!

What a terrifying time for a 16-year-old boy that wasn’t even sexually active yet.

Four decades later, by the grace of God, I’m still HIV-negative, but I have friends that are positive and I’ve know people that have died of AIDS.

Thankfully, we now have drugs, when taken properly, make it impossible to spread the virus!

National Institute of Health: “U=U means that people living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load—the amount of HIV in the blood—by taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others.”

#6 “HALLOWEEN IN HOUSTON” & ELECTING BILL & HILLARY CLINTON (1992)

My first time on a plane was in October 1992 when I flew to Houston to celebrate Halloween with my friends Steve and Dennis.

There were so many amazing costumes in the big city including 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot!!!

That pretty much summarizes the PG version of our nights on Montrose in the gay district.

There are many more scandalous pictures of that trip elsewhere in my blog’s history, including ones of yours truly!

Remember I was in my carefree 20s and it was before Facebook!!! 🙂

Clearly, there was boob admiration going on here between the two of us — he won!

Since my outfit was rather risque, I didn’t drink much that night and maybe that was a good thing! 🙂

However, after an intoxicating Sunday night with vodka cranberries, we flew back to Kentucky Monday and on Tuesday, I cast my first vote for the Clintons, which sent them to the White House for what would turn out to be eight years! 🙂

Now, back to the countdown!

#30 “MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#29 “SOS” (ABBA) (1975)

#28 “DREAMS” (GABRIELLE) (1993)

#27 “YOU MAKE MY DREAMS” (DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES) (1981)

#26 “SO EMOTIONAL” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

#25 “TARZAN BOY” (BALTIMORA) (1985)

#24 “EMOTIONS” (MARIAH CAREY) (1991)

#23 “BORDERLINE” (MADONNA) (1984)

#22 “ONLY IN MY DREAMS” (DEBBIE GIBSON) (1987)

#21 “I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (WHO LOVES ME)” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#5 THE DEATH OF MY FIRST IDOL — MY GRANDFATHER (1978)

My first two idols in life were my my mother, Dessie, and my grandfather, John Henry Peoples.

Sadly, my life with my grandfather was cut short since I had just become a teenager when he died in early 1978.

I’ll never forget his last Christmas as he was dying from colon cancer, it was remarkable how he stayed in good spirits.

I’ll always cherish the weekends we spent together at Kentucky Lake camping out and fishing.  Also, all of the memories of just piddling around in the back yard and in his work garage remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me suck the suds off his beer cans when he’d open them. 

Maybe it’s because of the suds that I’ve now moved on to bubbly champagne as an adult (along with vodka and wine)!

When I finally get to heaven, I can’t wait to say “thank you” and let him know how much I idolized him.  I know, as a kid, I never told him.

There was also talk that I was almost named after my father.  I’m grateful that I wasn’t.  However, it would have been an honor to have been a “John Henry” Junior!

#4 JIMMY CARTER BECOMING PRESIDENT (1976)

In November 1976, as a 12-year-old boy in Kentucky, I cast my first presidential vote for the Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter, and four years later, at 16, I voted for him again. 

So, you might be thinking, that’s impossible.  Many things go on in Kentucky that aren’t talked about in other states, but kids still can’t vote. 

Well, since my Grandmother Helen was not very literate, I accompanied her into the voting booth and I got to vote for the candidates of my choice.  Even then, I knew what I was doing.  🙂

Now, you might be thinking, why Carter?  Maybe it was because he was a Southerner and he talked like me!  I’m kidding.  I just liked him.

At age 12, I didn’t know anything about “gay rights”, but then again, there was no such thing as “rights” for those kind of people in the mid-1970s!

While Carter was a deeply committed Christian that taught Sunday school and prayed several times a day, he was the first president to address gay rights and his administration was the first to meet with gay rights activists.  He was opposed to the Briggs Initiative in California that would have banned gays from teaching in public schools.

In the summer of 2017, while living in Panama City, Florida, I drove through the darkness of night and across the backwoods of the Southeast to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church in Plains, Georgia, and I got to meet my idols, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter!

#3 MY DECADE LONG STRUGGLE WITH BULIMIA (1986-1995)

Over the years, I’ve written many times about eating disorders from Karen Carpenter’s anorexia nervosa to my own battle with bulimia.

Just know that eating disorders affect men and women, girls and boys, the young and the elderly!

I wrote, “In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat… I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.”

Another time I shared, “… I fight the food demon of overeating every day.  A few pounds to the average person is a huge burden, a catalyst for insecurity, and a path for destruction to a food addict.”

While I was a practicing bulimic for nine years from 1986-1995, I got my act together for more than two decades.

Beyond the scope of this blog, I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times and then I just get up and start over again!

Like other addictions, it’s a daily struggle and not something that’ll just go away.

Let the countdown roll on….

#20 “AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT” (JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP) (1981)

#19 “DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” (DONNA SUMMER) (1979)

#18 “ON MY OWN” (PATTI LaBELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD) (1986)

“ON MY OWN” (REBA McENTIRE, MARTINA McBRIDE, TRISHA YEARWOOD, & LINDA DAVIS) (1995)

#17 “NO FRILLS LOVE” (JENNIFER HOLLIDAY) (1985)

#16 “I AM WOMAN” (HELEN REDDY) (1972)

#15 “TWO OF HEARTS” (STACEY Q) (1986)

#14 “FASCINATED” (COMPANY B) (1987)

#13 “I LOVE MY RADIO” (TAFFY) (1986)

#12 “TOP OF THE WORLD” (THE CARPENTERS) (1973)

#11 “MISSING YOU” (JOHN WAITE) (1984)

“TAINTED LOVE” (SOFT CELL) (1982)

“WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF” (JERMAINE STEWART) (1986)

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE” (REBA McENTIRE) (1987)

“OH L’AMOUR” (ERASURE) (1986)

“DON’T YOU WANT ME” (THE HUMAN LEAGUE) (1981)

“HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.” (JEANNIE C. RILEY) (1968)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MARIAH CAREY) (1994 ORIGINAL)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MAKE MY WISH COME TRUE EDITION) (MARIAH CAREY) (2019)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#2 MOVING TO CHICAGO (1994) & KICKING OFF MY TV CAREER (1996)

In November 1993, my grandmother Helen (the last of my living parents and grandparents) died.

I was still in my hometown helping to take care of her and since Tammy was young and had her own family, I had no reason to stay in Kentucky any longer.

I often wondered “Is There Life Out There?” (the title of a huge Reba McEntire song in 1992), and I struggled through the 1993 holidays and the early winter months of 1994.

In the spring of 1994, my friend Steve shared with me the PBS series, “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities” and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) became my inspiration to make a change in my life!

Over Memorial Day 1994, Steve, Dennis, and I went to Chicago to party for the weekend and we had a blast.

At Gentry’s on Rush, the owner started sending over free cocktails and the boys (and the music) were so hot!

It was there that I fell in love with “Dreams” by Gabrielle (back at #28) and Sarah Brightman’s “Once in a Lifetime” from the “Dive” album!

It was also that weekend that I decided I was moving to Chicago!

Six weeks later, over the Fourth of July weekend, I moved to the big city and it was the best decision I ever made!

It was an interesting two years — bartending in a country gay bar, meeting a psycho on my 30th birthday that ended up trying to kill me several times, and then meeting someone that would become my longest relationship (9 years).

It was also during my first residency in Chicago that my television news career took off in the spring of 1996. My first network-affiliated television weather job was in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, that summer. And, from there, jobs in Texas, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, and Minnesota followed!

#1 MY MOTHER’S DEATH (NOVEMBER 7, 1990)

My beautiful, wonderful mother, Dessie, died of a heart attack on the morning of November 7, 1990.

While I’ve lived more than half of my lifetime without her, I’m grateful for the 26 years we had together.

She was there to see me make my theatrical stage debut in “The Curious Savage” and saw me present weather at Murray State University’s television station that was only broadcast on cable systems in two cities.

My mother was there in the spring of 1989 when I became the first college graduate in our family.

One of the funniest stories I have of my mother happened in the spring of 1990. I took her to Sunday brunch at 101st Airborne in Nashville, Tennessee.  

She didn’t drink, but her champagne glass was empty every time the server came by and mine was always full since I kept switching glasses with her. I’m sure the waitress thought Dessie was such a lush and I was so innocent allowing my mother to drink so freely while I just sipped my champagne! 🙂

There have been so many times over the past 30 years that I’ve wanted to grab the phone to share something with her and then realize that I couldn’t do it!

As I reflect back on my life with my mother, I was so fortunate to be loved. She wasn’t just my mother — she was my biggest supporter, she was my rock, and she was my friend!

When I think of all of the things I wrote about today and not having a chance to talk to her about them, I can still smile and feel warm inside.

I know that my mother is with me — in my heart and in my memories!

P.S. The #38 song at the bottom of the blog was played at my mother’s funeral!

To quote Casey again, back to the countdown because “we don’t stop until we get to the top!”

“XANADU” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

“IMAGINE” (JOHN LENNON) (1971)

“LET IT BE” (THE BEATLES) (1970)

Casey, take us home, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!”

I appreciate you taking time to check out my fun little walk down memory lane.

Anthony

*Okay, since I ❤️❤️❤️ LISTS & COUNTDOWNS, I’m really sharing my 101 favorites!

Why 101? There were “101 Dalmatians”! 🙂

#101 “SO MANY MEN, SO LITTLE TIME” (MIQUEL BROWN) (1983)

#100 “LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER” (THE CAPTAIN & TENNILLE) (1975)

#99 “DREAM WEAVER” (GARY WRIGHT) (1975)

#98 “KISS AN ANGEL GOOD MORNIN'” (CHARLEY PRIDE) (1971)

#97 “OBJECT OF MY DESIRE” (STARPOINT) (1985)

#96 “EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE” (THE POLICE) (1983)

#95 “ANOTHER SAD LOVE SONG” (TONI BRAXTON) (1993)

#94 “I’LL TUMBLE 4 YA” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#93 “CHAINS” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1989)

#92 “FAITH” (GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#91 “HIGHER LOVE” (STEVE WINWOOD & CHAKA KHAN) (1986)

#90 “CAN’T FIGHT FATE” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#89 “SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#88 “EDGE OF SEVENTEEN” (STEVIE NICKS) (1982)

#87SAY YOU, SAY ME” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1985)

#86 “IT MATTERS TO ME” (FAITH HILL) (1995)

#85 “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HURT ME?” (CULTURE CLUB) (1982)

#84 “I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)” (ARETHA FRANKLIN & GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#83 “JESSIE’S GIRL” (RICK SPRINGFIELD) (1981)

#82 “EXCEPT FOR MONDAY” (LORRIE MORGAN) (1991)

#81 “LOUISIANA WOMAN, MISSISSIPPI MAN” (CONWAY TWITTY & LORETTA LYNN) (1973)

#80 “I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS) (1982)

“I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2002)

#79 “HEAVEN’S JUST A SIN AWAY” (THE KENDALLS) (1977)

#78 “OPEN YOUR HEART” (MADONNA) (1986)

#77 “WITH EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#76 “TAKE ME AS I AM” (FAITH HILL) (1994)

#75 “1999” (PRINCE) (1982)

#74 “MAMMA MIA” (ABBA) (1975)

#73 “I CAN DREAM ABOUT YOU” (DAN HARTMAN) (1984)

#72 “EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)” (ELTON JOHN) (1982)

#71 “ONLY IN MY MIND” (REBA McENTIRE) (1985)

#70 “NO MORE WORDS” (BERLIN) (1984)

#69 “WEST END GIRLS” (THE PET SHOP BOYS) (1984)

#68 “MAGIC” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

#67 “I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#66 “I RAN (SO FAR AWAY) (A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS) (1982)

#65 “TRUE” (SPANDAU BALLET) (1983)

#64 “IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?” (DURAN DURAN) (1983)

#63 “DREAMLOVER” (MARIAH CAREY) (1993)

#62 “THIS WOMAN AND THIS MAN” (CLAY WALKER) (1995)

#61 “COLD HEARTED” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#60 “COME GO WITH ME” (EXPOSE) (1987)

#59 “IT’S NOT RIGHT BUT IT’S OKAY” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1999)

#58 “YOU GOT IT (THE RIGHT STUFF) (NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK) (1988)

#57 “FLASHDANCE (WHAT A FEELING)” (IRENE CARA) (1983)

#56 “FRIENDS & LOVERS” (GLORIA LORING & CARL ANDERSON) (1986)

#55 “SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT” (COREY HART) (1984)

#54 “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY” (JANET JACKSON) (1986)

#53 “LOOKING FOR A NEW LOVE” (JODY WATLEY) (1987)

#52 “DANCING ON THE CEILING” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1986)

#51 “LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY” (DENIECE WILLIAMS) (1984)

#50 “IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1974)

#49 “MAKING LOVE OUT OF NOTHING AT ALL” (AIR SUPPLY) (1983)

#48 “(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#47 “LET ME BE THERE” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1973)

#46 “HOW WILL I KNOW” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1985)

#45 “WHAT MADE YOU SAY THAT” (SHANIA TWAIN) (1993)

#44 “KARMA CHAMELEON” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#43 “BLAME IT ON YOUR HEART” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1993)

#42 “TOO SHY” (KAJAGOOGOO) (1983)

#41 “BELIEVE” (CHER) (1998)

#40 “THE REFLEX” (DURAN DURAN) (1984)

#39 “FOREVER YOUR GIRL” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#38 “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS” (BETTE MIDLER) (1989)

#37 “I’LL BE YOUR SHELTER” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1990)

#36 “KIDS IN AMERICA” (KIM WILDE) (1981)

Random Thoughts — April 26, 2019

My sister, Tammy, and her boyfriend visited me last week in Duluth, so I didn’t share any random thoughts.

While she was here, we ate some great food and actually won some money at the casino — finally!

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

STILL SHAKING MY HEAD!

So, former Vice President Joe Biden announced he’s running for president in 2020.  Of course, 45 fires off a tweet.

Capture.JPG

Two things quickly come to mind!

It’s so encouraging when “that man” vows the race will be “nasty”. (Note, that’s sarcasm!)

It’s even more bizarre when 45 talks about himself the same way his detractors speak of him, “you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas”.    For once, I agree with Trump on something!

And, really, attacking Biden’s intelligence, “long in doubt”.   That’s the pot calling the kettle black!

A similar scenario:  it’s usually the most disgusting guys that are always thinking that gay guys are cruising them or hitting on them!

Bitch Please.gif

“WRITE IT WHEN I’M GONE”

While it may be common, this is the first time I’ve come across this premise for a biography!

President Gerald Ford talked with print journalist Thomas M. DeFrank, the author of “Write It When I’m Gone”, for almost three decades.  The only thing is that nothing they talked about could be published until after Ford’s death.

write-it-when-im-gone.jpg

What an insightful read!  I’m glad that even after their harsh 1976 election campaign, Ford and my idol, President Jimmy Carter became friends and Carter even spoke at Ford’s January 2007 funeral.

Even though I was on Team Carter in 1976, I’m sure that I would have liked Ford in person!  He seemed down to earth, dearly loved his wife, Betty, and had two golden retrievers, Liberty and her pup, Misty.

LibertyandPuppiesGeraldFord

Here’s what Ford said about gay couples in the years after his short stint as president in the mid-1970s, “I think they ought to be treated equally. Period!” and gays joining and being welcomed by the Republican Party, “I have always believed in an inclusive policy, in welcoming gays and others into the party. I think the party has to have an umbrella philosophy if it expects to win elections.”

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth”, her first country album in four years, debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart.

That’s a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me a little for deviating from Reba’s new album!

Reba Truth

This is Reba’s divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but gives us hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.  She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on “Stronger Than The Truth” with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

“Freedom”, the first official single that radio ignored, is a great song, too.

GRADE:  B+

REBA’s SINGING TO ME

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.

And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, from this album it’s not an optimistic song.  It’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

In a future blog I’m working on, I’ll go more in depth on this subject!  🙂

MADONNA’S RETURN TO MUSIC

Madonna is back with a new song, Medellín”, which features Colombian hottie Maluma.  Her album, “Madame X” arrives June 14th.

Madonna Madame X.jpg

The video debuted earlier this week on a format that Madonna knows all too well, MTV!

Madonna’s last album was 2015’s “Rebel Heart”.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

The fifth season of this great CBS drama just wrapped with a huge announcement!

madam_secretary.jpg

Now it’s up to CBS to renew the show for a sixth season to see how it all plays out.

“VEEP”

The seventh and final season of “Veep”, the Emmy-winning HBO comedy, is airing now.

veep season 7.jpg

I just got caught up on the first six seasons and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is amazing!

The series is so funny and so filthy.  If you want political correctness, you won’t find it here! 🙂

Warning: graphic! 🙂

tumblr_nyepet6Gmk1rstnf0o2_250 VEEP.gif

In addition to the star being outrageously funny, I absolutely love Sam Richardson as Richard and Tony Hale’s Gary is hilarious!  Poor Gary!

HAPPY 40TH “BAD GIRLS”

This week back in 1979, Donna Summer released her seventh studio album, “Bad Girls”.

Donna-Summer Bad Girls

The double album sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone and spent six weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart.

The “Bad Girls” album would produce four hits in the U.S. with two of them reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 — “Hot Stuff” for three weeks and the title track for five weeks.

“Dim All The Lights” made it to #2.

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Giorgio Moroder & The ’70s Magic – It’s Deja Vu!

The hottest music stars today are mostly in their teens, 20s, and 30s.  You can’t turn on the radio without hearing Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, Nicki Minaj, Nick Jonas, Jason Derulo, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Sam Smith, Zedd, and Luke Bryan.

But, none of them can hold a candle to one of the hardest working international musicians that just turned 75-years-old this spring.  (Okay, maybe 88-year-old Tony Bennett, who topped the charts last fall with his duet album with Lady Gaga.)

I’m talking about legendary music producer Giorgio Moroder, who just released “Deja Vu”, his first album in almost 30 years.

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

And, this new album isn’t just any album – it’s a masterpiece!

So far this year, Madonna released the incredible “Rebel Heart”, Reba returned with the amazing “Love Somebody”, and I fallen in love with Clean Bandit’s “New Eyes” and Walk The Moon’s “Talking Is Hard”, which has reached galactic heights.

Madonna Rebel HeartReba Love SomebodyClean_Bandit_New_Eyes talkingIsHardBgImage

However, with six months to go, “Deja Vu” may end up being my favorite album of 2015.  It’s that mesmerizing!

Moroder lined up pop music icons Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue, current pop stars Sia and Charlie XCX, and dance club chart toppers Foxes, Matthew Koma, and Kelis, and highlights the beautiful voices of Mikky Ekko and Marlene.

Giorgio Moroder DJ

For those that were not around 40 years ago when disco was ready to take over the world, here’s a quick introduction to the Italian producer who made the world fall in love with summer – Donna Summer.

He wrote and produced the 1975 classic “Love To Love You Baby” and was asked to make an extended remix for the dance clubs, one of the first songs to be released in that form.

It went on to become a number one club hit for Summer in early 1976 and was one of the most talked about and controversial songs because it featured more than 20 moans of ecstasy from Summer.

“Love To Love You Baby” was also named as one of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Donna Summer Girogio Moroder

Moroder produced many other Donna Summer smashes including “Bad Girls”, “Hot Stuff”, “Last Dance”, and “Dim All The Lights”.

And, the four-time Grammy Award winner and three-time Oscar winner didn’t just work with Summer.

He’s also produced chart-toppers, classics, and award winners for Irene Cara (“Flashdance…What A Feeling”), Berlin (“Take My Breath Away” from “Top Gun”), Blondie (“Call Me” from “American Gigolo”), as well as songs for David Bowie, Janet Jackson, Pat Benatar, Bonnie Tyler, Freddie Mercury, and many more.

That’s the legend.

Now, let’s talk about the man, who decided after working with Daft Punk on the 2014 Grammy winning “Album of the Year”, that was ready to record new music with a fresh arsenal of current talent.

The first release from “Deja Vu”, “Right Here, Right Now”, featured international superstar Kylie Minogue.  The song topped the Billboard Dance charts earlier this year.

The follow-up single is the title track with pop superstar Sia, who has dominated radio with “Chandelier”, “Titanium”, and “Wild Ones” and has written songs for Britney, Kylie, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, and many more.

I honestly couldn’t find a song on the album that is not pure pop heaven, but I can’t post all twelve songs here.  (Well, I guess I could!)

Some of you may remember Suzanne Vega as a one-hit wonder with 1987’s Top Five hit, “Luka”.  But, it’s the follow-up that never charted in the U.S., “Tom’s Diner”, that with Britney Spears’ sweet vocals and Moroder’s magic fingers and genius mind could become the most unlikely dance smash this year.

Britney’s “Tom’s Dinner” is the floor filler that the radio version of “Pretty Girls” (with Iggy Azalea) strives to be.

English singer Charli XCX, who has topped the charts here in the U.S. with “Boom Clap”, “Fancy” (with Iggy Azalea, again), and “I Love It” (with Icona Pop) in the past three years, sparkles on her hi-energy collaboration with Moroder, fusing disco with rap.

And, you can find samples of awesome contributions from Kelis, Foxes, and Marlene in the mega-mix from Moroder at the bottom of my blog.

And, Moroder doesn’t just make the music of his female partners sizzle.  He saves plenty of his musical wizardry for Mikky Ekko (“Don’t Let Go”) and Matthew Koma (“Tempted”).

Koma is working on his debut album and has already topped the Billboard Dance charts twice with dance wunderkid producer Zedd on “Spectrum” in 2012 and “Find You” from the “Divergent” soundtrack.

If you’d heard of Ekko, it was likely on Rihanna’s 2013 chart-topper, “Stay”.

Even when Moroder works without vocalists, the instrumentals “74 is the New 24”, “La Disco”, and “4 U with Love” are dazzling perfection.  If you close your eyes, you’d be transported to a disco in the late-1970s or a modern-day EDM festival or Las Vegas nightclub with lasers and pyrotechnics blowing your mind!

If I haven’t been convincing about how spectacular this album is (or you have no pulse or two left feet), here is a fun remix that Moroder put together to highlight “Deja Vu” before its worldwide release.

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

“Deja Vu” gets a rare perfect score of A+ from me!

Anthony

When The Hell Did I Get So Old?

Age is just a number!

I tell myself that all the time because I feel great and I think I look decent for 5o!  I see other people younger than me and they look years beyond their age.

However, with Ray out-of-town for a conference, I turned the radio on shortly after midnight (Mix 96 in the Quad Cities) as I was getting ready for work yesterday morning and Whitney Houston was belting out “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”.

whitney

I didn’t think of her death, her drug abuse, her marriage to Bobby Brown, or that Lifetime movie.  All I thought about was how happy that song and much of her music made me feel.

But, it really got me to thinking about my 22-year-old self back in Kentucky getting ready to go out for a night of clubbing at the gay bar in Paducah and playing that song when I was spinning records.  Yes, records!

I thought of how young I was then and how much life I’ve lived since 1987.  And, then I thought, “When the hell did I get so old?”

Yes, that sounds contradictory because one moment I’m talking about looking and feeling great and the next I’m talking about how I got to be so old.

I love to travel.  Just last year alone, I was fortunate enough to go to Las Vegas, Ottawa (Ontario, Canada), Paris (France), Tel Aviv (Israel), and New York City for New Year’s Eve and that holiday weekend.

Ray Anthony Old Jaffa

I saw the glitz and glamour, historic buildings, the Eiffel Tower, the Mediterranean Sea, Old Jaffa, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Rockefeller Center in all of its Christmas glory, and much more that those cities offered.

I saw Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in Las Vegas and a show at the Moulin Rouge in Paris and I turned fifty during the performance.  I saw Michael C. Hall as Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway and the incredible Renee Fleming in my first operetta, “The Merry Widow”, at the Metropolitan Opera.

However, one thing that I never saw in any of those worldly cities was the inside of a nightclub.

As a youngster, in my 20s, I loved going out and partying with my friends back home, taking short road trips to Louisville (Kentucky) and Nashville (Tennessee) and much longer road trips to Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and Chicago (Illinois).  I loved making new friends, cruising hot guys, and hanging out with drag queens.

Anthony2

Even in my 30s, I had a blast in the nightclubs during the four years that I lived in Chicago.

Fast forward to 2015 — I’m older now and I’m married to a wonderful man and we have a teenage daughter.

I love sitting at home and veggie out on the couch watching movies and our favorite television shows.  I love working in the yard and the garden and floating in the pool on summer nights and weekends.

Pool

But, I still love throbbing and pulsating club music.  I still love Madonna and Britney Spears.

Whitney may no longer be with us in life, but she lives on and she still inspires.

On my next trip to a metropolitan city, I’m going out, I’m going to dance and have a good time.

But, I won’t slam shots and cocktails because it takes longer to recover than it did twenty years ago.  I’ll refuse cocaine standing at a urinal in a bar, just as I did on my first visit to Las Vegas in 1993.

Age is just a number and just another candle on the cake of life.

Rainbow Cake

And, to prove that, how many of you remember Giorgio Moroder?

The 74-year-old Italian musician released his first record 50 years ago!  He gained international fame by making disco king in American by producing many of Donna Summer’s 1970s club and radio classics.

This spring he’s releasing his new album, “74 is the New 24”, with guest appearances by Britney Spears, Sia, Charlie XCX, and Kylie Minogue, who’s featured on the album’s first single, “Right Here, Right Now”.

Giorgio says, “Dance music doesn’t care where you live.  It doesn’t care who your friends are. It doesn’t care how much money you make. It doesn’t care if your 74 or if you are 24 because… 74 is the new 24!”

Amen, Giorgio!  So, dim all the lights, turn on the strobes and the fog machines.

I’m ready to dance with somebody who loves me or someone who just wants to share the dance floor with me.

Anthony

P.S.

I’m not stuck in the past with my love of Madonna and the sounds of the 1980s.  I love new dance artists like Kiesza and Clean Bandit.  If you’re not familiar with them, check these out!

The Soundtrack Of My Life – 50 Years of Music

I like most genres of music, but I pass over hardcore rap and heavy metal.

In Kentucky, in the 1970s, I grew up on country music.  In the 1980s, British new wave, dance music, and Madonna became my music of choice.

In the 1990s, I found country music again when I moved to Chicago.  (Thanks, Charlie’s).

After much thought and deliberation, I put together a list of my favorite songs of all time — the soundtrack of my life.

These may not be the best songs ever, but they are the ones that will make me stop what I’m doing and listen when they come on.

HONORABLE MENTION (#22)

 “SO MANY MEN, SO LITTLE TIME” — MIQUEL BROWN

HONORABLE MENTION (#21)

 “LOUISIANA WOMAN, MISSISSIPPI MAN” — CONWAY TWITTY & LORETTA LYNN

20

“DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” — DONNA SUMMER

 

19

“NO FRILLS LOVE” — JENNIFER HOLLIDAY

18

“ON MY OWN” — PATTI LABELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD

#17

“I LOVE MY RADIO” — TAFFY

16

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE”  — REBA

15

“DELTA DAWN”  — HELEN REDDY

 

#14 Movie

“AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT” — JOHN COUGAR

13

“TWO OF HEARTS” — STACEY Q

12

“MISSING YOU” — JOHN WAITE

11

“BORDERLINE” — MADONNA

10

“FASCINATED” — COMPANY B

#9

“HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.” — JEANNIE C. RILEY

8

“WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF” — JERMAINE STEWART

#7 CD

“TAINTED LOVE” — SOFT CELL

6

“DON’T YOU WANT ME” — THE HUMAN LEAGUE

#5 MOVIE

“OH L’AMOUR” — ERASURE

4

“XANADU” — OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

3

GREATEST HITS MEDLEY — THE CARPENTERS

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

“IMAGINE” —  JOHN LENNON

1

THE BEATLES — “LET IT BE”

So, there you have it.

Let me know what you think and what your favorite song is.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 29, 2014

Happy Friday and surprise as I’ve put together some random thoughts to kick off the weekend!  I hope it’s a good one.

BIRTHDAY TRIP IS STILL ON

My 50th birthday vacation and celebration is now just six weeks away and it’s still on.

In case you didn’t read my blog from last Friday, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has us, at least, reconsidering that leg of the trip.

Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea

Here’s that blog that talks about both continents that we plan on visiting.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/50th-birthday-plans-revealed/

THE LATE GREAT, GRACEFUL ARTHUR ASHE

Since I’ve been walking on the treadmill so much this year to prepare me for my fall trips, I’ve read many books.

I just finished “Days of Grace” by tennis great Arthur Ashe, who won three Grand Slam tournaments:  the U.S. Open in 1968, the Australian Open in 1970, and Wimbledon in 1975 against Jimmy Connors.

Arthur Ashe - Days of Grace

In this book, Ashe not only talked about his tennis achievements and disappointments, but also about growing up in a very segregated Richmond, Virginia, in the 1950s.

Even as he became a tennis professional playing in tournaments around the world, Ashe still faced obstacles.  If not facing blatant racism, there were those including his friend, fellow tennis legend Billie Jean King, that expected him to react differently to certain situations and she teased him.

She once said, “I’m blacker than Arthur“.  Ashe responded to that in the book with “I suppose she meant that I was not impulsive or explosive enough.  Maybe I should have called her a name, or slapped her around a little, and thus demonstrated my ‘blackness.’  Unfortunately, I don’t call people names, and I have never slapped anybody in my life.  Besides, she might slap me back.”

In the book that was co-written by Arnold Rampersad, Ashe talked at length about the heart attack in July 1979 and the quadruple bypass five months later that ended his tennis playing career.  Another heart surgery in 1983 to correct the first bypass would change his life forever.

Ashe needed a blood transfusion after that surgery that infected him with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.  However, it wasn’t until he had paralysis in his hand in late 1988 that doctors discovered that not only had he been infected with HIV, but that he had developed AIDS.

HIV AIDS

He talked a lot in the book about the the moral and religious aspects of sexuality.

“I want them to be familiar with the teachings of the Bible and with other religious doctrines.  Because of AIDS, however, I am equally committed to the policy of giving condoms, as well as the bare, unvarnished factors about sex and AIDS, to students.  I want adolescents caught up for the first time in the sizzling heat of sex to know scientifically about the penis, the vagina, and the rectum; about blood, sperm, and mucous membranes; about pregnancy, viruses, and the fatality of HIV.  In the midst of an epidemic that will only grow worse, I have no time for evasions and euphemisms or other timidly genteel deceptions in teaching young people who are either sexually active or on the brink of becoming so.”

Ashe died on February 6, 1993, at the age of 49, just a week after he finished writing his part of “Days of Grace”.

THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY

I’ve only been to the movies twice this year.

Back in January, I saw “August: Osage County” and I loved it.  Since then, there have been a couple of movies that grabbed my attention (“Godzilla” is one of them), but it didn’t make me go.

Once I saw the trailer to “The  Hundred-Foot Journey”, I knew I would be there on opening day.  If you love food porn, this is the movie for you.

Oscar winner Helen Mirren stars as Madam Mallory, the owner of a Michelin-star restaurant in the South of France.  Her life is turned upside down when an Indian family moves in across the street from her and opens a restaurant serving authentic Indian food.

Madam Mallory does whatever she can to make sure the new venture fails.  Even so, she’s captivated by the charm and the cooking expertise of young Hassan, played by the charismatic and beautiful Manish Dayal.

You figure out early on how the movie will play out, but it’s still a great journey.

The movie, brought to us by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, has grossed $33.7 million.

GRADE:  A-

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAY!

Ray turned 49 again (51 in reality) this week.

Ray BD

He chose Mexican for his birthday dinner at Los Agaves, a newer restaurant, on Avenue of the Cities in Moline.

While the food and the service were less than stellar compared to the chain’s other restaurant on John Deere Road, he enjoyed it.

Here’s to 50 more birthdays Ray!

DIVERGENT

After seeing the first two “The Hunger Games” movies, I’m no longer interested in seeing the final two movies in the franchise.  The reason, “Divergent”!

This futuristic dystopian science fiction film takes place in Chicago where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues:  Abnegation the selfless, Amity the peaceful, Candor the honest, Dauntless the brave, and Erudite the intelligent.

Each person takes a serum-based aptitude test to best place them into one of the factions.  Those that exhibit several factions are called “divergent” and are seen as a threat to social order.

Shailene Woodley plays Beatrice, a young woman who chooses Dauntless, much to the chagrin of her parents (played by Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn), even though she’s really “divergent”.

She is trained by the very sexy, smoldering, and tattooed Four, played by Theo James.

She must keep the fact that she’s “divergent” from the icy Jeanine, the leader of Erudite, played with perfection by Oscar-winner Kate Winslet.

The movie made $275 million dollars in theaters and the sequel “Insurgent” arrives in March 2015.  That will be followed by two more sequels in 2016 and 2017.

AMY GRANT REMIXED!

Amy Grant is sitting at #4 on the Billboard Dance chart this week with a song she first charted back in 1991.

Since her first Christian hit in 1977, Amy Grant has hit the top of that chart 16 times and she’s also crossed over to the pop chart.

Amy has a total of ten Top 40 hits of the Billboard Hot 100, including five from her 1991 album, “Heart in Motion”, that sold more than five million copies in the U.S.

Of those pop hits, two have topped the Hot 100, “The Next Time I Fall”, a duet with Peter Cetera in 1986, and a solo hit, “Baby Baby”, for two weeks in the spring of 1991.

Amy Grant

Her new album is called “In Motion: The Remixes” and it features remixes of some of her biggest hits by some of today’s hottest DJs, including Chris Cox, Tony Moran, Moto Blanco, Ralph Rosario, and Hex Hector.

“Baby Baby”, remixed by Dave Aude, moves up to #4 on the Billboard Dance chart.

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

This week marks the tenth anniversary of Laura Branigan’s death.

Laura Branigan was from New York and in the early-1970s, she was in a band called Meadow, but they never charted.

As a solo artist, Laura’s first four releases didn’t make an impact at radio or on the charts.  The biggest of those, “All Night With Me”, which was the first release from her debut album, “Branigan”, peaked at #69 in 1982.

However, everything changed with the second single from that album!

Laura-Branigan-Gloria

Not only did “Gloria” reach #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it earned Laura a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female”.  However, she lost to Melissa Manchester’s “You Should Hear How She Talks About You.”

The follow-up album, “Branigan 2″, came out in the spring of 1983.  The first single, “Solitaire” hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it was followed by “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” (#12).

In the spring of 1984, Laura released her third album and the title track, “Self Control”, is still my favorite Laura Branigan song to this date.  It made it all the way up to #4.

In 1995, Laura released the last music video of her career for the album, “The Best of Branigan”.  It was for the remake of the Donna Summer classic, “Dim All The Lights”, in which she was partying it up with a group of drag queens. It reached #36 on the Billboard Dance chart.

She withdrew from the music business in 1994 to care for her husband, Larry, who had colon cancer.  He would succumb to the disease in the summer of 1996.

Eight years later, Laura died in her sleep on August 26, 2004, of an undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm and her ashes were scattered over Long Island Sound.

Laura, your music will always live on!

A PEPPY ANSWER TO SEXISM IN COUNTRY MUSIC

To the good ol’ boys in country music, move over for the Texas and Oklahoma duo of Maddie & Tae.

They’re currently at #17 on  the Billboard Country chart with their first hit single, “Girl In A Country Song”.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts and have a fantastic weekend!

Anthony