Tuesday, April 12, 2022

A to Z Challenge (Alexis to Alice to Astrid to Zoe) :
A Walk To Remember (Thanks to Mandy Moore!)


"(If You) Love Me Just A Little" - La La
(1986 single) 

From Queens, New York, that was singer/songwriter La Forrest 'La La' Cope
with "(If You) Love Me Just A Little," a 1986 dance single that captures
the sound of Rufus And Chaka Khan, the R&B girl group Klymaxx,
the S.O.S. Band, the Minneapolis Sound founded by Prince and
the 80s output of Janet Jackson. La La is credited with writing
the Whitney Houston hit "You Give Good Love," a song
released on Whitney's self-titled 1985 debut album. 

Hello and welcome to a sneak preview
of the A to Z Challenge, a new series
beginning next April here at Shady's
Place. In our version, A to Z stands
for Alexis to Alice To Astrid to Zoe.
We invite you to play along!

I'm Alexis Wright

...the personal assistant to leading man
Michael Holloway on the psychological
thriller Netflix television series Gypsy
that stars Naomi Watts. Joining me
in this April Challenge are three
other up-and-coming starlets
from popular TV shows. 

Rules of the A to Z Challenge:

* Taking turns, players advance through the alphabet from A to Z. 
Each player
must pick a music artist whose name begins with the corresponding letter and
play a song by that artist. No songs may be repeated in later rounds. 

* Players are awarded 10 points for naming an appropriate artist and playing a song. 
They can pick up bonus points for selecting specific types of songs, such as songs
with numbers in the title, or by picking artists with numbers in their name. There
are other ways to win extra points and they will be explained as we go along.
For example, if I had landed on the letter "L" and played that song by
"La La," I would have been awarded 10 extra points because both
parts of the artist's name begin with "L."

* When a player lands on the letter "Q," "U," "X" or "Z," she may choose 
to opt out
and play a song with a number in the title or artist's name. If she exercises that option,
she still receives her 10 point credit plus bonus points if multiple numbers are involved.

* 7 songs are played in each round of the game, meaning that three of the players will
get two song picks and two chances to score points, while the 4th contestant gets only
one song pick and one chance to score points. This, of course, is unfair, but remember
that this is only an exhibition round to demonstrate how the game is played.
More players will be joining when the game officially begins next year.

The A to Z Challenge continues now
as I introduce the next player - Alice!

Hi, I'm Alice Charles...
Payton Hobart's girlfriend on the Netflix comedy-drama series The Politician.
In this sneak preview of the A to Z, we're skipping around to various letters
of the alphabet to show you how the game is played and won. Let's say it
was my turn and I landed on the letter "R." I could score 10 points by
picking an "R" name artist, plus 10 bonus points if the song title
contains a number. Here's an example, composer, arranger and
 bandleader Nelson Riddle and his popular instrumental theme
of the early 60s adventure crime drama TV series Route 66
starring Martin Milner and George Maharis.

"Route 66 Theme" - Nelson Riddle
(June thru Aug. 1962, highest chart pos. #30 Hot 100/#40 Cash Box

You just heard a cool instrumental that
most Americans of the pre-Beatles 60s
could have identified in two seconds
flat in a game of Name That Tune -
Nelson Riddle's "Route 66 Theme,"
a top 30 hit in the summer of 1962.
By picking a song with a number
in the title by an "R" name artist,
I scored 10 + 10, a total of 20
points on that play. See?

Okay, now it's time for me to toss
to someone I know all too well,
my co-star on The Politician.
She's trouble with a capital
"T" and her name is Astrid. 

I'm Astrid Sloan
...Payton's rival on The Politician
and not exactly Alice's BFF either.
It's a small world after all...
because I also appeared
with Alexis in her TV
series Gypsy

Suppose my letter in the A to Z is
"I." I could grab 10 extra points
by choosing Janis Ian and her
mid 70s chart-topping hit
"At Seventeen." 

"At Seventeen" - Janis Ian
(Aug./Sept. 1975, highest
chart pos. #1 Cash Box,
#1 Adult Contemporary,
#3 Hot 100

You just watched folksinger and
songwriter Janis Ian perform one of
her signature songs "At Seventeen,"
 a record that topped the Cash Box
and the Adult Contemporary chart
in late summer of 1975. That's
another number song and
20 points for me! 

Now meet the fourth and final
contestant in the Shady's Place
A to Z Challenge. Her name is Zoe. 

I'm Zoe Baker
...Beth Pearson's cousin and Kevin
Pearson's girlfriend on the hit TV
drama series This Is Us. If you
think I look like Alexis Wright
from Gypsy, you aren't the
only one. I get that a lot...
and so does she.ūüėä

Another way of scoring points in
our version of A to Z is by making
Six Degrees connection. If, for
example, I landed on the letter "M,"
I could score 30 points by playing
a song by Mandy Moore, the star
of my show This Is Us. In this
scene from the 2002 coming-
of-age romantic film A Walk
to Remember, Mandy covers
"Only Hope," a song first
released in 1999 by the
rock band Switchfoot. 

"Only Hope" - Mandy Moore
(scene from Jan. 2002 film A Walk To Remember) 

That was my beautiful co-star
Mandy Moore back in 2002
performing "Only Hope" in 
her hit movie A Walk to
Remember. By playing
that song, I earned 30
points - 20 for the
double "M" in the
artist's name and
10 more for the
Six Degrees

Now back to my sista
from another mista -
Alexis - who is ready
with her second song. 

Zoe, if it were my turn to tackle
the letter "M"... I could collect
10 bonus points by choosing
Roger Miller's number song
"Engine Engine #9." 

"Engine Engine #9" 
- Roger Miller
(May/June 1965,
highest chart
pos. #7 Hot 100,
#9 Cash Box

That was King of the Road Roger Miller
performing one of his other major hits
in the country-pop category "Engine
Engine #9," a top 10 record in the
spring of 1965 and an additional
20 points in the game for me.

Now here again is Alice. 

Alexis, I'm going to play another
countrified classic, a folk song by
"F" artist Tennessee Ernie Ford.
The single hit number one on
the Country chart and crossed
over to top the pop chart from
Thanksgiving 1955 through
the first week of '56. Here
now is Tennessee Ernie
and another number
song-- "Sixteen Tons." 

"Sixteen Tons" - 
Tennessee Ernie Ford
(Nov./Dec. 1955, highest
chart pos. #1 Hot 100 &
Cash Box & Country

You just saw and heard country
& Western music star Tennessee
Ernie Ford performing "Sixteen
Tons," his monster crossover hit
single from the holiday season
of 1955. That pick for the letter
"F" earned me 20 more points
in this exhibition round. 

Now here's Astrid with her
second song and the last
play of the game.

Well "F" you, Alice! You can eat my dust,
baby... because I'm going for the glory
with my final artist and song selection.
If it were my turn to do the letter "T,"
I'd pick Tommy Tutone, the California
based power pop/new wave band, and
their 1982 top 5 hit "867-5309/Jenny."
The play is worth 90 points - 20 points
for the double "T" in the artist's name
and 70 more points for the 7 different
spoken/sung numbers in the song title! 

"867-5309/Jenny" - Tommy Tutone
(Apr/May 1982, highest chart pos.
#4 Hot 100/#5 Cash Box,
#1 Mainstream Rock)

In your face bitches...
I just hit a grand slam - a 90 point play for the win!  


  ALEXIS:  40 
     ALICE: 40 
 ASTRID: 110 
         ZOE: 20 

Checking the scoreboard at the end of this exhibition round,
we see that Astrid did indeed win by a landslide after playing
that "Holy Grail" number song by Tommy Tutone. Alexis
and Alice finished tied for second with 40 points each and
I wound up with 20 points but only had one chance to play.

That gives you an idea of how our
A to Z Challenge works.  We hope
you enjoyed the songs the players
 picked for this exhibition round.
Stay tuned. When our series
officially begins next year,
three more players will be
joining the game, the gloves
will come off for real, and
we'll all do our best to score
the most points and win.

For Astrid Sloan, Alice Charles
and my look-alike doppelganger
clone Alexis Wright, this is
Zoe Baker saying so long
and see you next April
for the Shady's Place
A to Z Challenge!


  1. Well, look at me here! I'm waiting for people to call me to get me Into the computer. I enjoyed this A to Z challenge and followed the directions, clear as mud...HAHAHA.
    The first tune is so 80s and I don't recognize it. I amnimpressed by La La's songwriting abilities.
    Love Route 66 as it's the epitome of cool.
    I have not heard that song sung by Janis Ian in years. It's quite a good song even if it is sad. I wonder which variety show she was on.
    Mandy Moore has a beautiful voice. She needs to be in an old Fashion musical, the kind you hate.:)).
    I never heard of Engine 9 but it was catchy and I enjoyed listening to it.
    Tennessee Ernie Ford had a great
    voice and love this song. He was so good as Lucy's cousin I I Love Lucy.
    Oh I remember that last song which I danced to many times. In fact, so many people started calling that number that it became newsworthy. This is also why, on tv and in the movies, they always start with 555.
    Have wonderful day, enjoy the sun. Let's hope I will be I will be
    Up and running at my office.

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      Wow, you are the Early Bird this week, dear friend! Thanks so much for coming by right away in the middle of your work day. I am very late replying to comments this morning because I awoke to NO INTERNET! It was just restored a short while ago. I am very pleased to see that you visited while I was offline.

      I'm thrilled that you enjoyed my version of the A to Z Challenge. It is merely an exhibition match to be played one week per year during April. The rules are actually pretty simple. There will be 7 celebrity players starting next year. Each one will take a turn handling a letter of the alphabet. Vol. 1 will cover the letters A thru G. Each player must name a music artist whose name begins with their assigned letter and play a song by that artist. If they can choose a song by that artist with a number in the title, they get 10 extra points. If the artist's name happens to have a number in it, that is also good for 10 bonus points. If they can make a Six Degrees connection, as Zoe did with her being on the same TV series with Mandy Moore, it is worth 10 more points.

      I'm delighted that you sampled and liked all of the tunes the gals played. Notice how the players went for bonus points by picking all those songs with numbers? That Tommy Tutone song Astrid picked is the Holy Grail of number songs because Tommy pronounces all digits (numbers) separately.

      As you see, the women picked some excellent rarities, including the narrated piece by Roger Miller, the remastered Janis Ian performance, and the brilliantly restored clip of Tennessee Ernie singing his big hit "Sixteen Tons." Yessum, I remember him as Lucy's cousin. I am also delighted that you singled out Mandy Moore who is just now wrapping up her hit TV series This Is Us. It's easy to forget that Mandy was a teen pop idol and "it girl" at the start of the 21st century.

      Thank you again for reporting for duty so early, dear friend BB. I hope your work day is going well and I look forward to connecting with you again tamale. Take care and drive safely on the way home!

  2. Astrid slammed it.
    Y isn't difficult - YYZ by Rush. Z is more challenging, but I can think of several Z bands.

    1. Hi, Alex!

      Thanks for hustling over to take second place this week, good buddy!

      That's right. Astrid went for the grand slam power play and blew the rest of the players out of the water with the "Jenny" number song. The letter "Y" will certainly be in play when my variation of the A to Z Challenge begins a year from now. There will be 7 celeb players, each one a star of a favorite TV series. Stay tuned!

      Thanks again for coming over, good buddy Alex!

  3. Tom,

    I will have to digest the rules another day as my brain can't slow down long enough to make sense of where I am in this week. However, I really did enjoy your songs featured many of them I know and haven't heard in forever but the one that really sticks out is the one by Mandy Moore which was so pretty. Have a good day and I'll be looking forward to your new series next April. :)

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      It was so nice of you to visit while I was offline, dear friend! As you know, I love to get started blogging every day at 5 am. It was alarming and aggravating to have to sit and wait nearly 7 hours for internet service to be restored. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

      The rules of my A to Z are simple, but you are not required to learn or understand them. The players will explain their reasons for picking songs and the scoring system as the game goes along.

      I am very pleased that you are the second friend to single out beautiful Mandy Moore, a teen pop singing star of the early 2000s who is still making mewsic today. Mrs. Shady and I have followed her hit TV series This Is Us from the beginning. We are now approaching the series finale.

      Yessum, these four celebrity players will be returning next April when I officially launch my A to Z exhibition series, and they will be joined by four other TV stars whose names begin with either A or Z. Stay tuned!

      Thanks again for coming over so early dear friend Cathy, and enjoy the rest of your day!

    2. Tom,

      I so do appreciate your morning visits. I totally understand your frustration when your Internet was down. It makes me wonder how we survived without it years ago. lol The answer is, we didn't know what we were missing therefore that frustration was alleviated. However, I do remember how aggravated I got when the power was knocked out for hours. These days that isn't near the problem in our area. Thank the good Lord!

      Are you considering joining the April show next year or are you just doing yours as a stand alone event? As horrible as I am doing this time, I really need to not find myself uncommitted in 2023. I need to either throw myself 110% into it or just forget it all together. As you probably can tell I'm struggling. Trying to do the challenge is one thing but life has encroached into my time making it very difficult to stay afloat. Hopefully next year, I won't make the same mistake as this and as I say commit or don't do it.

      Have a great day, my friend!

    3. Hi, Cathy!

      Yessum, it is very frustrating to be cut off from the people and things we love, especially during the busy A to Z month when it's so easy to fall behind. Thanks for understanding my plight when I awoke w/o internet service. We actually needed to buy a new modem because, apparently, a power surge destroyed the old one.

      I will tell you today, in advance, that I will be late getting to CAAC next Wednesday because I have my monthly medical procedure first thing that morning. I will remind you on Tuesday.

      No, dear friend. You and others are misunderstanding what I'm doing here. My A to Z post is a once a year event, only one single post, not 26 of them, and it will take the form of an exhibition round like you see here, with celebrity players competing against each other. My version of the A to Z series will give me an opportunity to introduce seven of my favorite female characters from TV shows I've watched. It is strictly for your amusement and entertainment. The series will also enable you to learn bunches of number songs and other kinds of songs as the game is played.

      I feel for you every year, Cathy, because I know you generate a tremendous amount of content all year round and the A to Z usually has you slammed and feeling harried. If you enjoy being that busy, then go for it. However, if participating in the A to Z causes you to neglect family and other aspects of your life, you might want to consider sitting out the Challenge to restore balance to your life. Nobody is going to think less of you, certainly not me. You have proven yourself over and over again.

      Thanks again for returning to chat, dear friend Cathy, and have a happy Thursday. I'll see you tomorrow!

    4. Tom,

      Well...I sort of thought your A to Z challenge make only be just one post but reading some of the comments I thought maybe I had misunderstood. I know you have a tight line up of content ready to publish on a dime and that you don't need to torture yourself to create 26 consecutive post next April. lol I haven't neglect the things my family need from me and because I've been busier than usual this time for DH then my blogging activity got pushed off but having committed to the challenge then it weighed on me. I'm not having a melt down. I've accepted it is what it is and am doing my best. :) I sure do appreciate your reassuring words which gives me comfort. Have a blessed and joyful Easter weekend, my friend!

    5. Thank you, Cathy!

      I wish the same for you, DH, your son, DD#1, DD#2 and LA!

      My version of the A to Z features 7 celeb players. Four of them have names that start with the letter "A" and the other three have names that start with the letter "Z." They are all female characters from TV shows that Mrs. Shady and I love to watch.

      Take care and I'll see you tomorrow at CAAC, dear friend Cathy!

  4. Wow Shady, lots of rules and things for this challenge. I'm still working on "Name that Tune" and still haven't figured it out! Ha! I do however like the songs picked and even knew a few. Janis Ian's always made me feel depressed but I do remember being 17 and looking at those blond, blue eyed, cheerleaders and thinking the way Janis was! However, us brown eyed gals have our charms too but not always at 17! Who can dispute the lovely voice of Mandy Moore and that movie that brought tears to my eyes..yes, a chick flick but still good and yes, sad. But it's a beautiful day here in Ohio..for a change and I refuse to be sad. So have a wonderful Tuesday my friend and enjoy this week before Easter. I'm sure Florida has been a crazy place these weeks of Spring break. Take care!

    1. Hi, YaYa!

      Thank you for joining the A to Z fun so early dear friend!

      As I told friend Cathy (above), it is not important for you to learn the rules of the game. I posted them as "fine print" for anyone interested enough to read them. The players will be explaining the rationale behind their moves and the scoring system as the game progresses.

      Oh, come on, YaYa! You were much prettier than those blonde cheerleaders. I've seen the pictures! :) Yessum, that Janis Ian song is a sad one, and it resonated with millions of girls and young women around the word, becoming a chart-topping crossover hit for the gifted singer/songwriter.

      I'm delighted that you are the second friend to single out Mandy Moore. I'm glad you like her singing and happy to learn that you even saw her 2002 coming-of-age romantic drama A Walk To Remember, a tear-jerker of a movie. Mrs. Shady and I have been watching Mandy's hit TV series This Is Us from the very start, and we also enjoyed watching her Walk To Remember co-star Shane West in the role of a doctor in the main cast of ER for several seasons.

      I'm happy to know that spring is setting in up there in Ohio. I'm sure my BFF Annabelle enjoys getting outside and sniffing the fresh breeze. We had a cool spell that lasted a few days, but now the heat is returning and I fear that it's here to stay. The biggest problem we had here this past week was the annual air show. It produced traffic jams and bothered us with formations of low-flying planes and fireworks explosions rattling our windows and our nerves. I'm happy it's over for another year.

      Thanks again for dropping by so early, dear friend YaYa, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  5. Lots of good music I recognize this time, Shady!

    I haven't thought of the Nelson Riddle Orchestra in years. I also remember that laid back Janis Ian song. I can't place the Roger Miller number, though I feel sure i've heard it. Classic Tennessee Ernie Ford song, too!

    Surely we all know 867-5309, but you know what? It got me to thinking about the "other" phone number song! 634-5789 (and research tells me there's yet another phone number song: 853-5937)

    1. Hi, Kelly!

      Thanks so much for checking your bookmarks and finding my new post on day one, dear friend. I'm very happy to see you!

      I'm pleased that you found a few songs that you remember this time around, and that you liked what you heard. Roger Miller's "Engine Engine #9" was a top 10 hit in the spring of 1965, and big in my neck of the woods.

      Wow, great trivia, Kelly! "634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)" was a big hit for Wilson Pickett in the spring of 1966, and thanks for reminding me of another phone number song, "853-5937," a single released at the end of 1987 by the English new wave rock band Squeeze. Their "number" made a run at the top 30 on the U.S. chart in the early months of 1988:

      We should also remember The Marvelettes' 1962 hit "Beechwood 4-5789" and "PEnnsylvania 6-5000" released in 1940 by Glenn Miller & His Orchestra. I don't want to name too many number songs, because the A to Z players will probably be playing them in this series and I don't want to steal their thunder.

      Thanks again for joining the fun and adding so much, dear friend Kelly. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  6. Hi Shady,

    What a fun post! I was going to give you some song titles, I was going to play along! Hmmm...

    I love Tommy Tutone's 8675309, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and Roger Miller. Tennessee Ernie Ford also covers a lot of military songs, that's why I'm so familiar with him; he performed a lot of Civil War songs. I also love "King of the Road" and that led me to other songs by Roger Miller.

    Ah, "A Walk To Remember." That was my cousin's favourite movie in 2003 and 2004. Every time I would babysit her, that is all we would watch. "Only Hope" brought back those memories.

    The other songs were new to me, but I enjoyed them. Like I said, dear friend, this was a fun post and I might have to play along.

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      It's great to see you, dear friend. Thanks for coming to my A to Z sneak preview!

      You certainly are welcome to play along with the A to Z contestants. It will be fun and challenging for you. As you might have noticed, there are several unique ways to score points in the game, such as getting bonus points for the double "L" in La La and double "T" in Tommy Tutone, and any time you can pick an artist or song title with a number in it, you again collect 10 extra points in the round. Next year, there will be 7 celebrity contestants and 7 songs, so there will be a level playing field. Every player will get one chance to score the most points.

      I'm pleasantly surprised that you know so many of these old school artists. Nan and your dad must have introduced them to you. My parents bought me Roger Miller's album containing "King Of The Road," and I came to know and like all of the songs on that LP. I'm jazzed that you have watched Mandy Moore's tear-jerker movie several times. You should watch her family TV series This Is Us. Her performances as the aging mother are compelling.

      Thanks again for checking out this sneak peek of my annual A to Z Challenge. Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend JM!

  7. Hi Shady,

    I think I will give it a try! Maybe in May when things slow down a little bit. April is jam-packed this year. This could be fun!

    Yes! Mom and Daniel also introduced me to a lot of music. Mom loved the 70s, and early 80s. Daniel loved the mid to late 80s and 90s. I was listening to everything as a child, which I guess explains why I listen to everything now.

    In 2006, dad took me to see Brokeback Mountain and I bought the soundtrack. Teddy Wainright did a cover of "King of the Road," which is what introduced me to the song. I wanted to hear the original, so I decided to give Roger Miller a chance. I'm glad that I did.

    I'll have to see that TV series. It's on ABC, right? I've seen previews for it, somewhere.

    Have a great day, dear friend!

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      Thanks for sharing more info about how you were exposed to an eclectic mix of artists and music at a young age and by whom. Like you, I got my ideas and inspiration from various sources. I was introduced to favorite artists via movies and TV, by songs in my parents and big brother's record collections as well as the collections of my aunt and cousins. My aunt gave me a rare Vogue Picture Record and my dad mounted it for display.

      Yessum, Mrs. Shady and I watched and enjoyed Brokeback Mountain. Mandy Moore's TV series This is Us is currently finishing its run on the NBC network.

      Thanks for coming back to follow-up, dear friend JM. Have a happy Wednesday!

    2. Hi Shady,

      Apparently growing up with people of all ages not only exposed me to different types of music, but ideas as well. I'm very grateful, just like you must be with your experiences.

      I'll have to check out This is Us. I hope that you and Mrs. Shady have a wonderful Easter.

    3. Thanks, JM. I wish the same for you, your folks and your Tommy!

    4. Thanks, Shady. Parents went to Florida for Easter since I don't really celebrate. I cooked for Passover all day today and had a Seder on Zoom earlier, the Stonewall Seder. Tommy had a great Easter too.

      Now I'm relaxing for the evening. I'm tired. But, it felt good to be busy today.

    5. Hi Jessica Marie!

      Yessum, you certainly did keep busy, dear friend. I'm happy to learn that you had a productive weekend and that Tommy had a great Easter.

      I hope you'll stop by this week and help me salute Margaret Schneider as I do every year on her birthday. Have a wonderful week, dear friend JM!

  8. I'm going to have to check out Gypsy. I haven't watched that show yet. I haven't seen any of the shows mentioned in this post actually.

    I wasn't sure I knew Sixteen Tons but as soon as it started playing I recognized that song. 867-5309 is another song that I recognized.

    Have a great week, Shady.

    1. Hi, Mary!

      I'm excited to see you, dear friend! Thanks for checking out this sneak peak of the A to Z Challenge - Shady's Place special edition!

      Yessum! Please give Gypsy a try. It's a psycho thriller - dark, dangerous and steamy - just the kind of thing I think you'll like. You know how deep Naomi Watts can go as an actress. In Gypsy, she and her co-star Sophie Cookson produce sizzling scenes reminiscent of Mulholland Dr. Its great stuff, but unfortunately the series lasted only one season, a total of ten episodes. Stevie Nicks re-recorded her Fleetwood Mac hit "Gypsy" for use as the theme song of the Netflix series.

      The Politician is a fun series that went two seasons. Veteran heavyweights Jessica Lange (see also AHS), Gwyneth Paltrow, Judith Light and Bette Midler are joined in the cast by several bright young newcomers, including Lucy Boynton who plays Astrid and is also in the cast of the Gypsy show.

      This is Us is a hit family drama on NBC that stars Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, who was wildly popular on The Young and the Restless, Sterling K. Brown from The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and Chrissy Metz from American Horror Story: Freak Show.

      Glad you remembered Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons" hit when you listened to it, and also remember Tommy T's phone number ditty.

      Thanks again for swinging by, dear friend Mary. Take good care of yourself and my buddy Falcor and I'll see you soon!

  9. Finally made it! We saw Tommy Tutone a couple of years ago and he did this hit. I have definitely put The Politician on my Netflix watch list. I enjoyed Janis Ian's rendition of this song much better here than the radio version I'm used to.

    While I am not sure I really get the rules of your game, I'm looking forward to adding another A to Z adventure next year! Thanks again for your continued support of my A to Z efforts and I'll try to be a better reciprocator (or at least a faster one) to Shady's Place!

    1. Hi, Janet!

      I'm delighted to see you, dear friend! Thanks for coming over for the sneak preview of my A to Z Challenge which will officially begin next April.

      Yessum, The Politician is a hoot, a dark comedy/satire that follows an up-and-coming star on the political scene as he learns what it takes to win elections in today's America. Big names are in the cast including Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow, Judith Light and Bette Midler. I think you'll like it.

      Yessum, young as she was at the time, Janis Ian nailed her live TV performances, captivating audiences and touching hearts all over the world with her hit song "At Seventeen."

      Don't be fooled, dear friend. My version of the A to Z is only one single post, not 26. It is simply a nod to the annual hop in which you and other friends participate, and an opportunity for me to introduce female characters I admire from my favorite TV series. It also gives you a chance to learn some music trivia and see how many songs have numbers in the title.

      No problem, Janet. You got here in plenty of time. My next post, a salute to another Shady Dell VIP, doesn't begin until next Monday, April 18. Thanks again for making time for me in the middle of your hectic week. Take good care of my buddy Benny and enjoy the rest of your Wednesday, dear friend Janet. I'll see you tomorrow at your place!

  10. Hi Shady, I'm afraid I don't know La La or her songs, but I'm old enough to remember "Route 66 Theme Song." Kookie Burns, as I recall, who had great hair. Lol. "At Seventeen" was certainly a touching and very sad song. She sang it so beautifully. I was pretty at that age, but my shyness was crippling. Dates with guys were usually a disaster for me because I could barely talk at all. I finally got married the first time to a non-stop talker. He adored me. Lol

    As others have said, Mandy Moore has a lovely voice. I've never heard her before, or seen the movie. Roger Miller was popular when I was young. One of the few country and western singers whose songs crossed over to popular music, I think. And Tennessee Ernie Ford, oh yeah, he was beloved when I was a girl and had a TV show my parents never missed. They would play his albums on the weekends. "Sixteen Tons," was a great song. Thanks for the memories!

    1. Hi, Belle!

      I'm thrilled to see you, dear friend! Thanks a lot for dropping in for a visit!

      Yessum, you're in the right age range to remember the early 60s TV adventure crime drama Route 66 starring Martin Milner. "Marty," as you recall, later starred in another hit series, Adam 12. His Route 66 co-star, George Maharis, went on to star in the dramatic series The Most Deadly Game at the start of the 70s. Yvette Mimieux, the actress who died earlier this year, was George's co-star in the latter series.

      Thanks for sharing your personal story related to "At Seventeen." I don't like to do a lot of talking, and I also favor shy, quiet women, and therefore you and I would have been a good match on a date. Many married couples I have known over the years consist of a non-stop talker and a quiet listener. When you listen, you learn, and I admire a good listener, but they are rare in my experience.

      I think you might enjoy Mandy Moore's TV series This is Us if it is available up your way. It tells a beautiful, inspiring story of a mixed race family's evolution. Mandy does an exceptional job of playing a young mother in her 20s as well as an aging grandmother in her 60s and 70s.

      Yessum, Roger Miller is one country artist who managed to score several major hits on the pop chart. Brenda Lee is another that immediately comes to mind. I watched Tennessee Ernie Ford's music variety show with my parents every week. I'm glad you remember your folks watching it.

      I'm delighted that you remembered so many of the artists and songs presented by the celebrity players in this sneak preview of my A to Z Challenge. Thanks again for joining the fun. It is always a pleasure to have you over. I hope you are well and in good spirits. Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend, dear friend Belle, and please visit again soon!

  11. I'm afraid I cheated and looked at all the videos, whether I had the letters or not. In fact, I'm not entirely sure what my letters were or how I was supposed to get them.

    Well, I knew three this time. "867-5309/Jenny." Oh, yes, early 1980s but a little before MTV. At least I wasn't yet aware of MTV when I first heard it on the radio. Played so often that for a while I had an easier time remembering that number than the one for my own home phone. I wouldn't be surprised if I put it down accidentally on a few job applications.

    Listening to Janis Ian again, I was reminded of Susan Vega. So I clicked on Vega. No real connection, I suppose, but just two female neofolk singers who know how to draw you in with a downbeat song.

    But then, how do you define a downbeat song, by the lyrics? Not if it's a song about economic exploitation and it's sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford. He looked quite happy getting another day older but deeper in debt. Other than this song, I too remember Ernie as Cousin Ernie (last name still Ford) on several episodes of I Love Lucy. Very talented guy who could both sing and do comedy.

    That's all I got.

  12. Hi, Kirk!

    Thanks for joining the fun as celebrity players from favorite TV series compete in a friendly exhibition round of the A to Z Challenge. I'm starting to feel like Orson Welles trying to explain to people that The War of the Worlds was a work of fiction, not a real thing. My A to Z is solely intended to entertain you. You may play along at home if you wish, but I'm not keeping score among friends who choose to do so. The players in this year's sneak preview deliberately jumped around the alphabet merely to show examples of how points are scored. Next year, when the series actually begins, they will start at the letter "A" and proceed through the alphabet in order. As I have told others who have commented, they and you are not expected to learn the rules and actually play the game. The rules are there for the contestants that I will introduce in the series.

    Regarding Tommy Tutone and his hit phone number song that made the Jennys of the world famous and generated countless nuisance calls to homes and businesses, the single was popular in the spring of 1982. MTV was already nearly a year old by then, having launched on August 1, 1981. Therefore it is surprising that you don't remember watching the music video on MTV at the time:

    The character "Jenny" in the vid was played by Karen Elaine Morton, centerfold of the July, 1978, issue of Playboy Magazine. Now my mind is playing a different song: "My angel is the centerfold."

    Thanks for drawing a comparison between Janis Ian and folk-rock singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega, whose biggest hit in the U.S. was "Luka" in 1987. Ironically, the California artist scored most of her charting hits in the UK and Australia, not the U.S. I remember her and the "Luka" song.

    Thanks for remembering Ernie Ford's appearances with Lucy and how good he was at doing comedy as well as song.

    Thanks again for dropping in for this sneak peek of my annual A to Z stand-alone post, in no way affiliated with the actual A to Z Challenge that's sweeping the nation. Have a safe and happy weekend, good buddy Kirk!


I wanna know
What you're thinking
There are some things you can't hide
I wanna know
What you're feeling
Tell me what's on your mind