Posts Tagged ‘Rhett Akins’

A Little “Name Dropping” Just For Fun

In life, there are times when we luck out and run into a “celebrity”.  It might be on vacation, at a county or state fair, or just a random encounter.

As a television meteorologist, my job is a public and high profile position (if you’re lucky and people watch the news and your channel!).

That wasn’t the case for me in Salisbury, Maryland.  No one watched my channel and I was never recognized in public in the year-and-a-half there!  However, I was much more well-known in the Quad Cities after 11.5 years and people did recognize me in Panama City, Florida.

I don’t buy into that whole “you’re a celebrity” thing, yet my career has given me better access to some big names in the world of entertainment and politics.

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It’s also presented some not so fun moments.

In Lubbock, Texas, I was thrown against a car by an irate man and another time, I was likely urinated on in a crowd of Marilyn Manson fans after his concert while doing my live report (I felt a warm wetness on my leg while talking)!

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And, in the Youngstown, Ohio, market, I was first on the scene of a shooting inside a car outside a school and had to look at the body until police covered it.  (At that point, we didn’t know if it was a murder or suicide.)

But, back to the positives.  For today’s blog, I’m “name dropping”!  Some of these people I met through work and some through sheer luck!

I’m going to start off with the three that mean the most to me, so these are not in chronological order of when I met them.

On a cold January morning in 2016 in Davenport, Iowa, I made my way through the crowd and got to say hello to former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Hillary AP

Some people even thought this was photo-shopped and then I point out that her hand is on my shoulder! 🙂

The highlight of my move to Panama City, Florida, was meeting my childhood idol, President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

In July 2017, I got up in the middle of the night and drove almost four hours through the backwoods of Florida, Alabama and Georgia to Plains, Georgia, to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church.

Autograph Carters

After getting back home, I sent the Carters a “70th Anniversary” card with our photo.  I was totally shocked when they sent it back to me — autographed!

I’ve told this story many times, but I’ll tell it again.  As an 12-year-old in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1976, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother and pull the lever for Jimmy Carter.  I did it again in 1980!

In April 2005, I was living in Salisbury, Maryland and working for the ABC affiliate.  We also broadcast the CW network that aired the “Reba” comedy series.

Reba Anthony 2005

To kick off her tour that spring in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we took a bus with twenty viewers to see that cold, windy outdoor show.  Two of those lucky people (and me) got to go backstage and meet Reba.

She was just as you’d imagine her to be — sweet and delightful.  Here are the framed memories of that night.

Reba Art

And, in 2014, I took my first awkward selfie with Shania Twain in Las Vegas, when she walked out into the crowd!

AP Shania

As I name drop the people I’ve been fortunate to meet, I so wished that we had had smartphones earlier than we did.  I could have had photos of the others that I’ve met. 🙂

THE SOS BAND — 1984

In 1984, while a student at Murray State University in western Kentucky, I was doing the nightly weather on the campus television station and I started a music countdown show called “Music Visions”.

The first “celebrity” that I got to meet for the show and in my life was the group, The SOS Band, which was in concert at Murray State.

You might remember them from their #3 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)”.

LIONEL RICHIE — LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — DECEMBER 2017

I met Lionel before his concert and when I said “Hello” (get it?) and extended my hand, he grabs me and says, “I’m a hugger!”

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MADELEINE ALBRIGHT — First Female U. S. Secretary of State (in President Bill Clinton’s administration)

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Albright.   She was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

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I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report.

It did. But, then I flubbed an English word that followed next! 🙂

MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS —  MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY — 1983

I met Collins while she was campaigning for her successful bid to become the first (and only) female Kentucky Governor.

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LEANN RIMES — SALISBURY, MARYLAND — NOVEMBER 2005

LeAnn is so sweet and adorable!

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RANDY TRAVIS — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

This was an interesting meeting during Rhinelander’s “Hodag Music Festival” at my first real television job.

It was a little awkward because Randy was so kind and talkative and the whole time, his ex-wife/manager watched us like a hawk!

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RHETT AKINS — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Rhett and I share the same birthday, even though I’m older.  I interviewed him a school where he was reading to students.

By the way, he’s the father of current country music superstar Thomas Rhett!

Akins scored his first Top 5 hit in 1995 with “That Ain’t My Truck”!

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LEE ANN WOMACK — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

I met Lee Ann as her first two singles were moving up the country charts.  While I love her music and I saw her in concert years later opening for Reba, her demeanor was very short and curt that day.

I was hoping that she was just having a bad day.  However, throughout the years, while talking with others in the business, she must have had many bad days when it came to reporters and interviews!

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GARY ALLAN — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Not only was Gary dreamy and so kind in the interview early in the day, I saw him at his show that night.

After the show, he told me that got a laugh out of the fact that people stopped him in K-Mart before the show after seeing our interview on the news! 🙂

LONESTAR — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Luckily, I interviewed Richie McDonald and Dean Sams and I didn’t have to even see close-minded homophobe John Rich!

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BRAD PAISLEY — CANFIELD, OHIO — 2001

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

THE BAND PERRY — DAVENPORT, IOWA — AUGUST 2012

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FAITH HILL — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Anthony & Faith Hill

TIM McGRAW — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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PAM TILLIS — BETTENDORF, IOWA — NOVEMBER 2012

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PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN — CLINTON, IOWA — JUNE 2014

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

TRACY LAWRENCE — LUBBOCK, TEXAS (1997) & DAVENPORT, IOWA (2011)

I first interviewed Tracy when I was working in Lubbock, Texas.  We crossed paths again when I got to introduce him at a concert at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.

Both times, he was warm and down-to-earth!

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NEAL McCOY  — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

EMILIO — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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TY ENGLAND — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Ty England

STEPHANIE BENTLEY — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Stephanie Bentley

DAVID KERSH — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

David was such a sweet person (and no I didn’t say “Goodnight Sweetheart” to him) and was very grateful for the television exposure.

Sadly, after a string of hits from 1996-1998, he had to take time off in 1999 for vocal strain and left the music business in 2005.

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TARA DAWN HOLLAND — Miss America 1997 — LUBBOCK, TEXAS

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CAROL CHANNING — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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DEE DEE MYERS  — Bill Clinton’s press secretary in 1993 & 1994 

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C. EVERETT KOOP, Surgeon General, 1992-1999

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KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON, Republican Texas U.S. Senator & PHIL GRAMM, Republican Texas U.S. Senator

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ED RENDELL, former Pennsylvania Governor

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DENISE BROWN, sister of Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s murdered wife

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JIM TRESSEL, former Ohio State University and Youngstown State University football coach

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MOLLY SIMS — And, before any of these celebrities I’ve met through my career, I worked at a college textbook company in Murray, Kentucky, for the Sims family.  Their adolescent daughter was always around in the warehouse.

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Molly Sims would go on to become a model and staple on MTV.

WISHFUL THINKING!

Outside of music, I still want to meet Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)

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Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”)

Gillian Anderson

and Laura Linney (“Ozark” and “Tales of the City” series)!

Mary Ann

Now, there are four other singers that I’ve seen in concert a total of ten times, but I’ve never gotten to meet them.

It’ll have to be luck if I ever do!

Madonna MDNA

I’ve seen Madonna four times…

Madonna

Lady Gaga three times…

Gaga Las Vegas

Britney Spears twice…

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and Mariah Carey once!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

So, tell me who you’ve met!

Anthony

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Michael Ray Could Bring Me Back To Country Music

Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised on country music — Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton.

In the 1980s when I went away to college, it was all about pop and dance music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne), and the second “British Invasion” (Erasure, Duran Duran, Culture Club).

While I stuck with dance and pop music in the 1990s, I also started listening to Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless and they brought country music back into my life.

I’ve always been more of a fan of female singers.  However, I’ll admit that in the music video age, a good-looking singer in a cowboy hat could grab my attention long enough for me to listen to the music.

That turned me on to Clay Walker’s music.

Clay Walker

From his debut hit, “What’s It To You” in 1993 that topped the chart to his last Top 40 country hit, “Where Do I Go From You” in 2010, he’s scored 29 Top 40 hits.

Of those, 17 made the Top Ten and six topped the country charts.  As a matter of fact, five of his first six were #1 hits.

“This Woman and This Man” is still my all-time favorite Clay Walker song.

It topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.

Once country radio started cutting back on airplay for Reba, Patty, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Martina McBride, and females no longer in the younger demographics, I lost interest in the format.

In the past fifteen years, the only male country singer I became a fan of was Keith Urban.

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However, with the recent crossover of Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” and the anticipation of Reba’s concert last week in the Quad Cities, I glanced at the country chart.

I watched a few videos and I liked “Make Me Wanna” by Thomas Rhett (I actually interviewed his father, Rhett Akins, back in 1997).

MICHAEL RAY — ALBUM PICK HIT 

I also came across Michael Ray’s “Kiss You in the Morning” video.

Being honest, his striking good looks and tattoos caught my eye.  So, I took a listen and the song was upbeat and fun.  It’s also the most played country song in the U.S.

“Kiss” was a strong enough song to make me take a listen to more of his music and I ended up buying his self-titled debut album that came out last week and I’m so glad I did.

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This is definitely one of the most solid debut albums I can recall.

Michael has been working on his craft professionally since appearing on The CW’s reality series/singing competition show, “The Next:  Fame Is at Your Doorstep” in 2012.

The Florida native won that completion performing songs by Luke Bryan, Eric Church, and Jake Owen and now he’s competing against those same men for radio airplay and I know he’ll do just fine.

Now that “Kiss You in the Morning” has topped the country airplay charts, Michael already has his second single, “Real Men Love Jesus”, ready to go out to radio in mid-September.

It’s a mid-tempo song that touches on some of the core elements of country music: fishing, fast cars, football, sexy women, Mama, and Jesus.

One thing that Michael excels at is slower and mid-tempo songs.

My choice for the third single is “Run Away With You”, one of my favorite songs on the album.

Other slower choice cuts are “Everything In Between”, “Wish I Was Here”, and “Think A Little Less”.

And, when he’s ready to rock, he brings life to the party.

If I worked for his label, I’ve already got the fourth single picked out.  “Livin’ It Up” is a fun upbeat song that will be on “repeat” once you get the album.

I mentioned a third and fourth single, but I’m being modest.

This album is solid enough that it could go five or six singles deep for country radio.

If you’re a country music fan, you’re going to love this album.  If, like me, you’ve been away from the genre for some time, this is a breath of fresh air.

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“Michael Ray” is a fun album that isn’t too heavy on the current country rage, “bro-country”.

GRADE:

A

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 11, 2013

The weekend is almost here and if you consider birthdays a big deal, then this weekend is a big deal.

October 13 1965

48 birthday cakes later( symbolically), this Sunday, I’ll enter the last year of my 40s!

While we’ve been trying to eat healthy and exercise in anticipation for our European trip next Friday to celebrate Ray’s 50th birthday, I’m not counting calories this weekend.

I plan on stuffing myself with pizza (mostly dessert pizza) and boneless chicken wings at Wise Guys Pizza in Davenport, Iowa, my favorite pizza place in the Quad Cities.  And, Sunday, I think I want crab legs and fried chicken at the casino.  However, I won’t be playing slots!

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

REMEMBERING MATTHEW

Tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of the death of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, who died five days after being beaten and left for dead tied to wooden fence in Laramie, Wyoming.

Matthew Shepard

Matthew had been robbed, pistol-whipped, tied to the fence for 18 hours, and left to die in 30° Wyoming weather.

When he was found, he had fractures to the back of his head and to the front of his right ear.  Matthew had brain stem damage so severe that doctors could not operate.  He had a dozen or so cuts on his head, face, and neck.  These horrific injuries were inflicted on him because he was gay!

This week and every week, please remember Matt and every person, regardless of their sexuality, gender, race, etc., that are beaten and killed just for who they are.

“NATIONAL COMING OUT” DAY

Today is somewhat a holiday.   While the post offices and the banks won’t be closed, it’s “National Coming Out Day”.

National Coming Out Day

This is a civil awareness day observed all over the world for LGBT people.  It was first held on October 11, 1988, on the one year anniversary of  the “Second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights”, a political rally that brought an estimated 200,000 people to the nation’s capital.

Come out, come out wherever you are.  While we have a long way to go (hello Russia and Uganda), the world is a more accepting place these days!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIE OSMOND

Prior to this year, I always mentioned that I shared my birthday with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  Sadly, the “Iron Lady” passed away this past April at the age of 87.

Margaret Thatcher

Now, I’m proud to say that I share my birthday with singer and entertainer Marie Osmond.  She turns 54 this year.

While I’ve always been aware of her singing career and her musical family, I was really proud of Marie earlier this year when she was chosen as ABC World News’ “Person of the Week”.

She said about her lesbian daughter, Jessica, “I believe in her civil rights, as a mother.  I think that my daughter deserves everything that she desires in life.  She’s a good girl.  She’s a wonderful child.”

Marie & Jessica

These words are coming from an open-minded devout Mormon.  As you probably already know, that religion and its church hasn’t been a leader in diversity, understanding, and compassion toward the LGBT community.  However, they are slowly coming around.

Marie also added, “The God that I believe in is a God of love, not fear” and “I don’t think God made one color flower, I think He made many.”

Happy Birthday Marie!  I hope it’s everything you could imagine.  Thank you for loving God and your daughter.  And, thank you for your support of marriage equality.

National Television Awards - Inside Arrivals

As a singer, Marie has scored ten Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country charts with four of them reaching #1.  She’s has also had three solo Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  With her brother, Donny, she had another six hits on the Hot 100.

Her first release, “Paper Roses”, in 1973, hit #1 on the country chart and it was a crossover hit on the pop chart where it peaked at #5.

And, did you know that Marie turned down the role of Sandy in the “Grease” movie that went to Olivia Newton-John?

MORE BIRTHDAY WISHES

In addition to Marie Osmond, I also share my birthday with “Borat” actor Sasha Baron Cohen (42), David Duchovny’s character Fox Mulder (52) on “The X-Files”, and “The X-Files” creator Chris Carter (56).

Country singer Rhett Akins, who I met back in Lubbock, Texas in 1997, was also born on my birthday.  He turns 44.

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From 1994-1996, Akins scored six Top 40 hits on the country chart including the #1 song, “Don’t Get Me Started”, in 1996 and “That Ain’t My Truck” that reached #3 in 1995.

CONGRATULATIONS!

Former “Grey’s Anatomy” star T.J. Knight, now playing Mercutio in an off-Broadway production of “Romeo & Juliet”, married his longtime boyfriend, Patrick, last week “in an intimate ceremony in front of family and friends” in New York City.

T.J. Knight

Knight’s best friend and former “Grey’s” co-star Katherine Heigl flew in for the wedding.  It’s unknown if she bought a new dress for the wedding or if she wore one of her “27 Dresses” that she is well-known for. 🙂

MORE CONGRATULATIONS…

On the same day that T.J. and Patrick were getting married on the East Coast, a “Glee” start got engaged on the West Coast.

Three-time Emmy nominee Dot-Marie Jones proposed to her girlfriend of three years, Bridgett Casteen, at Gay Days Anaheim near Disneyland Resort’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

DotMarie

The 49-year-old actress who plays Coach Shannon Beiste on “Glee” says, “It’s the happiest day of my life. I never thought I’d find somebody that is so loving and kind.”

Casteen is the mother of two children from a previous marriage.

Congratulations T.J., Patrick, Dot-Marie, and Bridgett!

“I DO”

While we’re talking about marriage and engagements, last weekend I saw an incredible movie from writer and out, sexy actor David W. Ross called “I Do”.

Jack Edwards (Ross) is an English photographer that has been living in New York City since he was teenager.  His brother, Peter, and Peter’s fiancée also live there.

When Jack’s work visa is denied, the only option he feels he has to stay with his family is to enter into a “green card marriage” with his best friend, Ali, played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler of “The Sopranos”.

I Do

When the marriage is questioned in a routine investigation from Immigrations and Jack meets Mano, a Spaniard living in New York City, their friendship is tested.

The movie highlights the inequalities that binational gay couples living in the United States face that a married man and woman don’t have to deal with because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Now that the Supreme Court of the United States struck down parts of DOMA, things will get better for binational gay couples sooner rather than later.

LGBT families (supposedly) will now be treated the same under immigration law as different-sex immigrant families.

For more on Immigration Equality, check out this website:  http://immigrationequality.org/issues/couples-and-families/faqs-for-binational-couples/#sthash.rEMOy3rc.dpuf

“THE WALKING DEAD”

Sunday is not just my birthday because there’s something bigger going on.  The fourth season of one of the most incredible shows on television kicks off!

The Walking Dead Season 4

Yes, it’s “The Walking Dead”.  While ratings are at an all-time high for the apocalyptic thriller, AMC is working on a spinoff for the 2015 television season.

Robert Kirkman, the writer of “The Walking Dead” comic book and the co-creator of the television show says, “After 10 years of writing the comic book series and being so close to the debut of our fourth, and in my opinion, best season of the TV series, I couldn’t be more thrilled about getting the chance to create a new corner of ‘The Walking Dead’ universe.  The opportunity to make a show that isn’t tethered by the events of the comic book, and is truly a blank page, has set my creativity racing.”

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Here’s to more blood, gore, walkers, and biters!

PICK HIT

My pick hit today is one of my favorite songs from one of the best albums of 2013.  It’s the fourth single from “Electric” from the Pet Shop Boys.

Pet Shop Boys

Here’s what I wrote about the song when I reviewed the album back in July, ““Thursday” features English rapper Example.  This song would have the best chance of mainstream success in America because it has an updated feel of 1980s club beats, very distinguishable Pet Shop vocals and music, and a strong rap, which is pretty much a staple of many songs played on Top 40 radio these days in the U.S.”

FINISHED “GOLDEN DAYS”

Last week, I mentioned that I started reading my first book in almost five years, “Golden Days:  Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt.

Golden Days

The book was incredible.  It had me tearing up by page five before Vanderbilt shares fun stories of Amy, the golden retriever, and an exciting history of the Cape Cod area.

By the time I got to the final chapter, page 133 of the 143-page book, my heart was breaking and the tears started slowing and I knew I had to be focus since I walking on the treadmill.

Amy reminded me so much of Miss ABBA, my golden that went to “puppy heaven” almost two years ago.  I love the stories of Amy and her sticks, her tennis balls, her treats under the table and the frozen paws in the snow.

Here’s Miss ABBA from Spirit Lake, Iowa, in the summer of 2010.

ABBA Spirit Lake Summer 2010

Miss ABBA, Amy, and all goldens are the most amazing creatures God ever created!

Check this book out if you’ve ever loved a dog like it was human and not just a pet!

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Sir Cliff Richard turns 74-years-old next Monday and he’s getting ready to release his 100th album!

While he’s music royalty in his native England, he only hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 nine times.  His first hit reached #30 in 1959 and he last hit the Top 40 in 1981 peaking at #23.  Of those nine hits, three reached the Top Ten.

His biggest hit, “Devil Woman” hit #6 in 1976.

However, “We Don’t Talk Anymore”, which was released in late 1979, became his biggest selling song of all time with five million copies sold.   When the song spent two weeks at #7 in January 1980, Richard became the first artist to reach the Top 40 on the Hot 100 with songs in the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970s, and the 1980s.

From that video, you can see why this 15-year-old (back in 1980) had the biggest crush on him.  That crush only intensified when he sang a duet, “Suddenly” with Olivia Newton-John later that year!

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Happy Birthday, Cliff!

Everyone have a great weekend and make the best of it.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

Anthony