Saturday, July 15, 2017

Remote Control...

Last night, I had a sudden flashback to a funny game show that used to air on MTV.  The late Ken Ober hosted with help from comedian Colin Quinn.  I didn't watch Remote Control religiously, but every once in awhile, I'd catch it.  It ran from 1987-1990.

Here's a full episode from 1989.

I remember this show was based on the premise that Ken Ober always wanted to be a game show host.  He made up his mother's basement and contestants would sit in La-Z-Boy recliners, strapped in with seatbelts.  When one would get eliminated, they'd be thrown off the set in their chairs, which was why the seatbelts were handy.  They were asked trivia questions about pop culture, music, and TV shows.  Since I love that shit, I was pretty good at the game myself.  Alas, I was a bit young to try to get on the show.

After the first round, there was a snack break.  But given that this was a wacky show, the snacks were delivered in rather unconventional ways.  Like, for instance, contestants would put bowls on their heads to catch whatever snacks that dropped over them.  Or they'd get it delivered in some other weird way.  

There was a lightning round, then came the final round for the player with the most points.  I want to say the contestants were on Craftmatic adjustable beds for that.

Craftmatic adjustable beds were always a commercial mainstay on independent TV stations in the 80s.

Here's an ad for a Craftmatic bed from the 80s.

As the show got more popular, comedians started making appearances.  Denis Leary and Adam Sandler were both on Remote Control as guest stars.

Unfortunately, Ken Ober died suddenly in 2009.  He was only 52 years old at the time.  Apparently, he'd had flu symptoms prior to his death.  I'm still not sure exactly why he passed away.  I see that he died three days before my dearly departed Flea did in 2009.

I'm surprised Remote Control only lasted five seasons over three years.  It was a funny show.  But it probably wouldn't work today because the stuff that made it funny in the late 80s is now terribly passé.  Once again, I'm glad I grew up when I did.  That was a fun era.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bourgeois Tagg...

Here's another blast from the past.  This one is from 1988 and I had totally forgotten about it until I saw it on Facebook's "On This Day" feature.  I was 16 in 1988 and now I'm 45.  This song has held up pretty well after so many years.  I think it's still good 29 years later.

Good stuff.

This song has a great melody and surprisingly thoughtful lyrics.  Brent Bourgeois formed the band Bourgeois Tagg with Larry Tagg, a former songwriter turned high school English and drama teacher.  Brent Bourgeois later became a contemporary Christian singer and, according to Wikipedia, now teachers pop songwriting at University of the Pacific.  He's also a music composer for Facebook.

Another song by this band...

This is another one of their hits, but I don't recognize it.

This one features Larry Tagg singing lead.

The only song I remember is "I Don't Mind At All", which doesn't sound nearly as dated as these other songs do.  It looks like these guys enjoyed careers in songwriting, though, even if they weren't exactly household names in their heyday.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


This morning, while reading an article on Cracked, I was reminded of Rockwell.  If you were around in the 1980s, you might remember him.  He is famous for his songs about personal problems...  specifically, being paranoid that someone is watching him and getting obscene phone calls.

"Somebody's Watching Me"... listen closely and you'll hear Michael Jackson singing the chorus.

Rockwell's real name is Kennedy William Gordy.  He is the son of Motown's Berry Gordy and Margaret Norton.  Michael's brother, Jermaine, was married to Hazel Gordy, Berry Gordy's daughter and Rockwell's half sister.  Jermaine also sings on "Somebody's Watching Me".  Apparently, the Jacksons were childhood chums of Gordy's.  

Kennedy Gordy, aka Rockwell, is also the half brother to Diana Ross's daughter, Rhonda Ross Kendrick-- her biological father is Berry Gordy, although Diana was married to her ex husband, Robert Ellis Silberstein at the time of her birth.  

"Obscene Phone Caller"... it's basically a continuation of "Somebody's Watching Me"...

I can kind of see why Rockwell never really went much further with his recording career.  

This song vaguely recalls "Maniac" by Michael Sembello.  It sounds like something Jermaine Jackson would sing.

This is a new one to me.  I guess his personal problems continued beyond the phone and being watched...  This time, it's a woman, though.

I guess when Rockwell ran out of stalkers, he ran out of music career.  What a pity.  I must admit his songs crack me up.  I know he didn't want to be accused of nepotism, but I think had it not been for Michael's help, his first single never would have gone anywhere.  

Well, I guess I have devoted enough time to Rockwell on this holiday.  Time to crack open a beer.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A little Dutch porn...

Okay, not really.  But I have to admit that I was a bit taken aback when I saw this video by the 70s era Dutch pop group, Luv.

At first, it looked like these women were not wearing anything under their skimpy tops.

Upon closer examination, I see they're wearing nude body suits.  Listening to them, I hear them totally channeling ABBA, which was also big during that time period.

I tried another video, again with them looking all sexified...  And then I was suddenly reminded of a song I haven't heard in years!

Yes, I remember this was a hit.  No, I hadn't thought of it in years!

I had to share this with a few friends and my friend Joann found another video of Luv singing "You're the Greatest Lover".  

This band seems to be a mix of ABBA and Silver Convention, which was a girl group from Germany that was popular at about the same time.

It's funny, because when I was a kid in the 80s, I used to think girl bands were rare.  Now I know they weren't, but it does seem like a lot of them consisted of sexy women singing and dancing to vapid music.  This kind of stuff doesn't have a lot of staying power, even if it can be faddish or fun...  especially when the women get older and less fetching.

I can see why this was popular in Europe, though.  The music is festive and catchy and the girls are pretty.

The 70s was chock full of chicks like this, doing their thing...  I kind of miss it.  I guess it takes talent and beauty to pull off this particular act, but really, it's just entertaining for a different reason... perhaps because they seem to shock the audiences!

Friday, June 2, 2017

I just made a very sad discovery...

For months, maybe even years, I've been playing this woman named Anna C. on SongPop.  She had an attractive profile picture that she never changed and was supposedly from New York City.  When she first started playing me, she was not a particularly good player.  It was easy to beat her.  Then she got a lot better, even to the point of scoring impossibly high by picking the right songs almost instantly.

I also noticed that Anna never seemed to make any progress toward mastering a certain playlist.  I wondered how it was that she could play certain playlists over and over again and never make progress toward completing them.

Yesterday, I got a random challenge by some person in another country.  I usually get irritated by these requests because a lot of the time, the person's music tastes are not compatible with mine.  I end up having to guess on playlists from Brazil or horrible techno rap or something.  So I went looking to see if I could find a way to stop the random challenge requests.  I was unsuccessful in my search, but then I found a discussion going on about SongPop's computer generated "bots" that trick players into thinking they are real people.

When it comes to SongPop, a little goes a long way.  I like playing a couple of games a day, but I don't like it when someone constantly wants to play.  Besides that, I think it's creepy that there are random bots out there trying to start games with people.  Why not let me know you're a bot before we spend months or years challenging each other?  I guess if that were possible, Anna would be a human and not a bot, right?

I probably should have realized she was a bot when I saw that she had so many games going.  I have enough on my hands with less than ten games.  Some people have over 100 games at a time.  Who's got the time or the patience for that?

Ah yes... the things I do to keep from going crazy from boredom.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

How's The World Treating You...

Here's a new duet I did with my friend, George, who lives in Scotland and sings, plays guitar, and piano.  I think it turned out very well!

The pictures are from my backyard...

What a joy it is to be able to sing this song with a guy who can sing on key and harmonize!  I hope we can collaborate more.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spyro Gyra...

I am one of those people who gets music stuck on the brain for literally years and years.  It will haunt me until I figure out what the title of the piece is, who performed it, what year it came out, and any other trivia I can dig up.

For years...  seriously YEARS!  I have had this piece stuck on the brain.  The late 70s and early 80s were a time when you could hear almost anything on top 40 radio.  You could hear an Eagles song next to a song by Earth, Wind & Fire.  You could hear Led Zeppelin next to Chuck Mangione.  It was CRAZY.  That was also a time when jazz artists were playing instrumentals a lot.  In those days, we heard "Rise" by Herb Alpert or "Feels So Good" by Chuck Mangione.  They were kind of the two top acts...

For so many years, I thought this instrumental was done by either Herb or Chuck.  I was WRONG.

"Morning Dance"... 

For years, I've had this stuck in my head.  I haven't heard it before today in probably thirty years.  I wouldn't have heard it today had I not been messing around on YouTube.  Another piece by Spyro Gyra was playing and it sounded similar.  So I went Googling, found a greatest hits album, and sure enough FINALLY satisfied that itch.  I downloaded the album, too.  Another musical earworm mystery solved.

Here's another ringing endorsement for record companies not being so shitty about music on YouTube.  I would not have bought the album had I not identified the piece on YouTube.  That's something to think about, don't you agree?

One more musical mystery is finally solved!  How exciting!