Saturday, August 28, 2021

Strange Magic Being Erica - Vol. 1: My Best Friend's Girl

...and the cow was returned to its rightful owner.

And that's the latest from S-P-M-M news...
fast, up-to-the-minute, completely fake
and proud of it. Now stand by for

S T R A N G E   M A G I C
B E I N G   E R I C A

on the station that's #1 for music and fun - S-P-M-M!


"Never Been To Spain" - Three Dog Night
(Jan./Feb. 1972, highest chart pos.
#5 Hot 100 & Cash Box)

Kicking-off the show,
"Never Been To Spain,"
one of the many hits by
the versatile and very
soulful LA-based rock
band Three Dog Night.
The single reached the
top 5 in the early
weeks of 1972.

Hello again, everyone! I'm Erica Strange. As you might recall
from last year's preview, I'm the time traveling main
character on the Canadian television dramedy
Being Erica.

Welcome to the official debut of
Strange Magic Being Erica
exclusively here on S-P-M-M Retrosonic Radio.
I'm excited to be moonlighting as the newest
member of The Shady Bunch DJ staff.

On Strange Magic Being Erica
I'll be bringing you the greatest
soft rock, new wave and pop
love songs of the 70s and 80s.
Sometimes I'll even take you
all the way back to the 60s.
In fact that's exactly what
I'll do later in today's show.

On Being Erica I change clothes a lot,
and I'll be doing the same here on
S-P-M-M, even though I'm doing
a radio show. Go figure!

Okay, let's get back to the music and
the magic. In the summer of 1980,
Olivia Newton-John's musical
fantasy film Xanadu bombed
at the box office... but the
soundtrack album went
double platinum in the
U.S. and was a hit
all over the world.


Here now is one of the songs from Xanadu. Released as a single
just before the movie hit theaters, it shot up the chart and spent
four weeks at number one. Olivia Newton-John sings-- "Magic."

"Magic" - Olivia Newton-John
(July/Aug. 1980, highest chart pos. #1 Hot 100 & Cash Box),
from OST of the Aug. 1980 film Xanadu)

That was Olivia Newton-John with her
smash hit from the flop film Xanadu,
a picture that also featured dance star
Gene Kelly in his final movie role.


Olivia and this popular English rock band,
Electric Light Orchestra, collaborated on
the hit theme from Xanadu. The previous
year, ELO racked-up their biggest U.S.
hit with a single that peaked in the top 5
and you're listening to it now. It's called
"Don't Bring Me Down."

"Don't Bring Me Down" - Electric Light Orchestra
Aug./Sept. 1979, highest chart pos. #4 Hot 100 & Cash Box)

From the late summer of '79, a year before Xanadu, that was ELO -
Electric Light Orchestra - with their highest-charting hit in the U.S.
and second highest charting UK hit-- "Don't Bring Me Down."
By the way, the lyrics of that song are often misheard as
"Don't Bring Me Down, Bruce." ELO co-founder Jeff
Lynne insists he is actually shouting "grooss"...
a word he simply made up!

It's another Erica Strange


You got that right,
Don Pardo!

I'm double dippin' into the Electric Light Orchestra catalog
to bring you this groovy drum cover by German multi-
instrumentalist Sina Doering. Listen as Sina beats
the skins into submission on ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky!"

"Mr. Blue Sky" - ELO drum cover by Sina 
(June 2019, orig. single Aug. 1978, highest
chart pos. #27 Cash Box/#35 Hot 100)

That was The Princess of Percussion, drum sensation Sina Doering,
with a great drum cover of my second featured ELO song
"Mr. Blue Sky," a top 30 hit in the summer of 1978.


If you're just tuning in, I'm Erica Strange
and this is Strange Magic Being Erica,
and we're in the middle of a 7-in-a-row
block party on S-P-M-M. I'm your vehicle,
babe, I'll take you anywhere you wanna go.
Why don't we let The Cars take us back
to '78 with-- "My Best Friend's Girl"?

"My Best Friend's Girl" - The Cars
(Nov./Dec. 1978, highest chart pos.
#35 Hot 100/#44 Cash Box)

Getting your motor running, those were The Cars with Ric Ocasek
on lead vocals doing "My Best Friend's Girl," the second single
from the Beantown band's self-titled debut album, and a song
from the soundtrack of the 1979 coming-of-age crime movie
Over the Edge. In the U.S. "Best Friend's Girl" peaked at the
low end of the top 40, but it was a much bigger hit in the
UK where it finished in the top 3 on the chart.


Erica Strange keeping you company on
S-P-M-M. Know what, I really like these
guys - The Doobie Brothers - a group
that's been an important part of the
soundtrack of America for more
than 50 years. Formed in 1970
as a mainstream rock band
behind lead singer Tom Johnston,
the Doobies changed direction in
1975 when Johnston left and was
replaced by blue-eyed soul man
Michael McDonald. Here's the
updated sound of the McDonald
era, The Doobie Brothers with--
"It Keeps You Runnin'."

"It Keeps You Runnin'" - The Doobie Brothers
(Jan./Feb. 1977, highest chart pos. #37 Hot 100/#50 Cash Box)

From the early weeks of 1977, those were The Doobie Brothers with their
top 40 hit "It Keeps You Runnin'"... a single from their 1976 album
Takin' It to the Streets... the first to feature Michael McDonald
as lead singer. The song was used in the 1978 classic rock
movie FM and is also found in the soundtrack of the
Academy Award-winning 1994 film Forrest Gump.

Strange days have found us and, as promised, here I am all the way back in 1969
to introduce the classic folk-rock sound of Crosby, Stills & Nash - a supergroup
that put an indelible stamp on American music and culture. Also known as CSN,
the group was made up of American singer-songwriters David Crosby and
Stephen Stills plus Graham Nash from the UK. Canadian singer and
songwriter Neil Young also joined the act from time to time.  


Here's one of the group's best known compositions. Written by Stephen Stills,
the song refers to his former girlfriend, singer/songwriter Judy Collins.
Crosby, Stills & Nash sing-- "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes."

"Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" - Crosby, Stills & Nash
(Nov./Dec. 1969, highest chart pos. #15 Cash Box/#21 Hot 100)

You just heard the tight intricate
harmonies of CSN - Crosby, Stills
& Nash, one of the leading groups
of the late 1960s counterculture -
and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," a song
that made the top 20 in the U.S. and
brushed the top 10 in Canada during
the Thanksgiving and Christmas
holiday season in 1969.

Gosh, Shady just drew his finger
across his throat, the signal for me
to "cut," and that means I need to
wrap up my first official show on
S-P-M-M. Before I forget, I want
to invite you to watch my series
Being Erica, streaming on Hulu
and on Amazon Prime Video.


To play us off, here's a different version of my theme song "Strange Magic,"
this one from the 2015 animated jukebox musical fantasy movie of the
same name. Stay tuned. Coming up on the B side of news, my friend
Jerry Blavat, The Geator with the Heater, drops by to spin stacks
of wax on Geator Gold... and I'll be back soon with more great
songs from your youth on Strange Magic Being Erica. Now
watch and listen as stars Evan Rachel Wood and Alan
Cumming as characters Marianne and Bog King,
sing the title song "Strange Magic." This is
Erica Strange saying so long and take care!

"Strange Magic" - Evan Rachel Wood & Alan Cumming
(from OST of Jan. 2015 animated film Strange Magic)

Monday, August 23, 2021

Cruisin' 1961: All Aboard Woo Woo's Night Train!

 It's time once again to 
 hop into our time machine 
 and go Cruisin' through 
 top 40 radio history. 

This is the blog series
that pays tribute to
the Cruisin' albums,
those simulated radio broadcasts hosted by
some of the greatest
top 40 deejays of
the 50s and 60s.

As I have done in the past,
I will play a few songs
found on the original
Cruisin' album plus a
couple more favorites
released the same year.

To transport us back in
time, set the mood and
create a party atmosphere,
I tacked up on the wall
these nostalgic vintage
soda pop print ads.

 The year is 1961 and we're 
 heading up the road to Beantown.  

 That's where "Old Aching Adenoids" 
 Arnie "Woo Woo
 is hosting 
 The Night Train Show on 
 WMEX, Boston! 


Listen to this brief clip to familiarize yourself with Arnie's voice
and DJ style. Arnie begins speaking at the 40 sec. mark
and introduces the first record-- "Blue Moon!"

"Blue Moon" - The Marcels
(Mar./Apr. 1961, highest chart pos.
#1 Hot 100/#1 Cash Box/#1 R&B)


Del Shannon's "Runaway" was one of
the biggest hits of 1961, topping the
Billboard chart four weeks in a row.
In the late 80s, Del reworked the
lyrics and re-recorded the song for
use as the theme of the NBC TV
series Crime Story, a cop drama
from executive producer Michael
Mann, the guy who transformed
the genre with the cult phenom
Miami Vice a few years earlier.

"Runaway" - Del Shannon
(Apr./May 1961, highest chart pos. #1 Hot 100,
#1 Cash Box, /#3 R&B, re-recorded version used
as theme of TV series Crime Story, 1986-1988)


Brooklyn born singer, songwriter and
pianist Neil Sedaka made enormous
contributions to pop music, yet he is
still locked out of the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame, leading some fans to
conclude it's because Neil wrote
and recorded pop instead of
rock 'n' roll. That's crazy talk.
In the 50s and early 60s, pop
was a big part of rock 'n' roll,
especially the danceworthy
up tempo style of pop that
was Neil's specialty.

"Calendar Girl," a song written by Sedaka
along with his composing partner Howard
Greenfield, is a great example. Released in
December 1960, "Calendar Girl" climbed the
chart in the early weeks of 1961 and finished
at #4, Neil's first single to reach the top 5.

"Calendar Girl" 
(Scopitone film)
- Neil Sedaka
(Jan./Feb. 1961, highest
chart pos. #4 Hot 100,
#4 Cash Box)


Joey Dee went to school with the
classic girl group The Shirelles in
Passaic, NJ. Joey formed a band
called The Starliters which briefly
included actor Joe Pesci on guitar.
Joey Dee and The Starliters became
the house band at The Peppermint
Lounge, a club in New York City.
In late 1961 the group released a
single inspired by the trendy night-
spot and by the wildly popular
dance craze-- Peppermint Twist!"

"Peppermint Twist - Part 1"
Joey Dee And The Starliters
(Dec. 1961/Jan. '62, h.c.p.
#1 Hot 100/#2 Cash Box/#8 R&B)


You heard it last week on the sneak preview of Wordless Wendi.
In the early weeks of 1966, The Beach Boys cover of "Barbara Ann"
reached #2 on the chart, denied the top spot by two other records,
"We Can Work It Out" by The Beatles and "My Love" by Petula Clark.
 Some folks don't remember the original recording of the song by
the New York doo-wop vocal group The Regents. Arnie Ginsburg
sure does... and he played it on his volume of Cruisin'!

"Barbara-Ann" - The Regents
(June 1961, highest chart pos. #7 R&B,
#13 Hot 100/#13 Cash Box)


From 1956 until he left WMEX in 1967, Arnie Ginsburg was
the number-one disc jockey in Boston. Let's Cruise past 1961
to the following year and let Arnie introduce the last song in
 the style he used to delight listeners on his Night Train Show.

It's the Ginsburg Go on
Color Radio, and here's
the record that's perched
at the tip top of the Wimex
Tunedex - number one in
Beantown and all around.


It's the perfect dance ditty for
the summer of '62.  If you've
got the ocean, the lotion and
the notion, Little Eva's got --
"The Loco-Motion!"

"The Loco-Motion" - Little Eva (July thru Sept. 1962,
highest chart pos. 1 R&B, Hot 100 & Cash Box,
June 2021 enhancement) 

 Don't miss the next thrill packed 
 episode of Cruisin' coming soon! 


Hey, gang, this is your pal
Arnie Ginsburg of WMEX
Boston with exciting news.
Beginning next year, I'll be
bringing my Wimex-Tunedex
Night Train Show to S-P-M-M
when I join The Shady Bunch
deejay team. The "Woo Woo"
wants to see you-you in '22
right here at Shady's Place
Music & Memories!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Wordless Wendi Meets Iris West, Nomi Marks & Nia Nal


 "Barbara Ann" - The Beach Boys 
 (Jan./Feb. 1966, highest chart pos. #1 Cash Box/#2 Hot 100
 from Nov. 1965 album Beach Boys' Party!

A song from the 1965 album Beach Boys' Party!... that was "Barbara Ann"
featuring Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean on co-lead vocals along with
Brian Wilson and backed by America's Beach Boys. "Barbara-Ann"
was originally recorded in 1961 by the Bronx doo-wop group
The Regents who had a #13 charting hit with it. In early
1966 the Beach Boys cover topped the Cash Box chart
and reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. In the summer
of 1975, the Beach Boys' single made a return visit to the
chart and Bubbled Under for three weeks, finishing at #101.

Hi everyone! It's Almost Wordless Wednesday
and I'm Wordless Wendi, Wendi Falkenberry,
Eddie Cleary's perky, levelheaded girlfriend
on The Kids Are Alright, the TV sitcom set
in the year 1972. I'm here today along with
three other cool television characters with
a sneak preview of our new radio shows.
That's right, you guessed it. Beginning
next year the four of us will be joining
The Shady Bunch as DJs on S-P-M-M
Retrosonic Radio. My show will be
called Wordless Wendi because I'll
bring you more music with less talk,
the best surf-rock and sunshine pop
hits of 60s, and right now I've got
another one by The Beach Boys.


Listen to the fresh, vibrant sound on this newly enhanced remix
of their top 10 hit from the summer of '66-- "Wouldn't It Be Nice!"

 "Wouldn't It Be Nice" - The Beach Boys 
 (Aug./Sept. 1966, highest chart pos. 
 #7 Cash Box/#8 Hot 100

I'm Nomi Marks. Do not call me Michael.
I'm the San Francisco based trans woman
hacktivist and blogger from the sci-fi TV
series Sense8. You might also remember
me from Riley's Raves on the old blog
Shady Dell Music & Memories. Next
year my BFF, an exciting young woman
you'll meet in a moment, will join me
in hosting a new show on S-P-M-M
called Transitory Verve. Together
we will bring you musical diversity,
great sounds of the past and present
by recording artists all over the world.
My first play is a way cool number
by the perennially popular dance-pop
new wave Brit girl trio Bananarama.


These English sparrows made the Guinness book for having the world's
highest number of chart entries by a female group. If you wanna know
why, the proof is in the butter pie. From Disorderlies, the 1987
comedy starring The Fat Boys and Ralph Bellamy, here
are the banana girls and-- "I Heard A Rumour!"

 "I Heard A Rumour" - Bananarama 
 (Aug. to Oct. 1987, highest chart pos. #4 Hot 100 & Cash Box
 from OST of the Aug. 1987 film Disorderlies

Hi, I'm Nia Nal, code name Dreamer on the hit
TV series Supergirl. In 2018 I made history as
the first transgender superhero on television.

Latin rock 'n' roll pioneer Ritchie Valens was
only seventeen years old when he died in an
Iowa plane crash along with Buddy Holly
and The Big Bopper on February 3, 1959,
a date immortalized in the Don McLean
song "American Pie" as "The Day the
Music Died." Ritchie's adaptation of
the Mexican folk song "La Bamba"
was released as a single at the end
of 1958 and charted in the weeks
before and after his tragic death.


Sixty years later, on the other side of the world,
two young Romanians breathed new life into
the song. Here with their joyful cover of
"La Bamba" are guitarist Andrei Cerbu
and singing partner Beatrice Florea.

 "La Bamba" - Ritchie Valens cover by 
 Andrei Cerbu & Beatrice Florea, (August 2019) 

Hi, I'm Iris West, news journalist
and Barry Allen's girlfriend on the
DC Comics superhero TV series
The Flash. You might recall the
night we met when Shady Dell
Music & Memories presented
the rave party Barry's Bash
"Dance With The Flash."

My new show, which begins
next year on S-P-M-M, will be
called Flashback with Iris West.
I'll be playing hot urban soul,
R&B and dance club sounds
of the 70s, 80s and 90s.


If you follow my simulcast on YouTube, you'll be able to see the music videos
that aired on MTV and Vh1. Here's a music history mystery, a single by
O'Bryan that spent a whopping 21 weeks on the R&B chart and went
all the way to #1, but somehow missed the Hot 100. O'Bryan co-
wrote this song with Soul Train's Don Cornelius. Watch and
listen now as O'Bryan turns on your-- "Lovelite!"

 "Lovelite" - O'Bryan (May/June/July 1984, 
 highest chart pos. #1 R&B/#101 Bubbling Under

Here's another R&B chart-topper,
and this one also rode high on
the pop charts. It was recorded
in 1987 by Perri McKissack, a
singer from Oakland, California,
who, as a little girl, earned the
nickname "Pebbles" because
she reminded her family of
the cartoon character
Pebbles Flintstone.


In 1988, Pebbles hit pay dirt with her second
single, another record that logged 21 weeks
on the R&B chart-- "Girlfriend!"

 "Girlfriend" - Pebbles (Feb./Mar. Apr. 1988, 
 highest chart pos. 1 R&B/#5 Hot 100/#6 Cash Box


That wraps up our sneak preview.
We hope you enjoyed sampling the
sounds you'll be hearing on Wordless
Wendi, Transitory Verve and Flash-
back with Iris West. Now for Iris,
Nia Nal and Nomi Marks, I'm
Wendi Falkenberry. See you
next year on S-P-M-M! 

 "Wendy" - The Beach Boys 
 (Oct./Nov. 1964, highest chart pos. #44 Hot 100, 
 #57 Cash Box, from Sept. 1964 EP 4-By The Beach Boys

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Shady's Angels Sneak Preview: The Name Game -
Gary Shelton Battles Troy Shondell in a Rock 'n' Roll Singing Contest, and "This Time"... it's Personal!

Welcome to a sneak preview
of my new series

coming to Shady's Place in 2022.

Today I am staging a "battle of the bands" between old school rock 'n' roll
singers Gary Shelton and Troy Shondell. Okay, I confess. They're actually
the same guy - Gary Schelton of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, who released records
under two different names. Sadly Gary/Troy died at the start of 2016
from complications of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Let's turn back the clock
to happier days and listen
to some of his best sides.
Although Gary aka Troy is
remembered by most as
a one-hit-wonder for his
top 5 charting "This Time,"
the song I saved for last,
I'd like you to hear some
of his other recordings.
If you don't have time to
listen to all of them from
start to finish, just play a
few seconds of each to
get a feel for the singer's
dramatic, rockabilly
influenced style.

To set the mood, I brought along some of

vintage classic pinups by Gil Elvgren and other
artists that I will use throughout this series.

Without further delay, here is the sound of
Gary Shelton aka Troy Shondell!

"Don't Send Me Away" - Gary Shelton
(Oct. 1957, B side of "My Hero")

"Goodbye Little Darlin' Goodbye" - Gary Shelton
{Mar. 1959, B side of "Stop The World
(My Baby's Gone)"}

"Stop The World (My Baby's Gone)" - Gary Shelton
(Mar. 1959, uncharted)

"Honey Bee" - Gary Shelton
(Mar. 1960, uncharted)

"Kissin' At The Drive-In" - Gary Shelton And
The Tone Blenders (May 1958, uncharted)

"Gone" - Troy Shondell
 (Sept. 1962, uncharted)

"A Rose And A Baby Ruth" - Troy Shondell
(July 1967, uncharted, Apr. 1969, B side
of "Something's Wrong In Indiana")

"Island In The Sky" - Troy Shondell
(Jan. 1962, highest chart pos. #92 Hot 100,
#100 Cash Box, B side of "Tears From An Angel")

"This Time" - Troy Shondell
(Oct./Nov. 1961, highest chart pos.
#5 Cash Box/#6 Hot 100)

I hope you enjoyed the sound of this prolific,
terrific, yet underrated rock 'n' roller -

Gary Shelton aka Troy Shondell.

More vintage tunes and classic pinups
are coming your way next year
in my new series...

See you then!