Sep 112020

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

Steve Miller Band's "Abracadabra"

You may know the Bay Area band Steve Miller Band for a variety of songs, from “Fly Like an Eagle” to “Take the Money and Run.” You may even call members “space cowboy” or “Maurice.” If you have dug into more trivia you may know that Paul McCartney even contributed to a song on their second album. But do you happen to have opinions about the title track from their twelfth album?

Not everyone is a big “Abracadabra” fan, but the song was a big hit for the Steve Miller Band, especially after the lull following the Book Of Dreams album (and yes, this is way past “The Joker”). When MTV was just getting started, this music video really shook things up too. Reportedly the woman featured prominently in it was the first “video vixen,” and this song was the first to use the “body pan” shot. So thanks for bringing objectification to MTV, I guess? Almost forty years later we see how others have interpreted the song.

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Jul 312019
sugar ray pina colada

Newspaper personal ads are like relics of a lost age. Long before dating apps allowed people seeking companionship to post photos of their faces and/or various body parts online, anyone looking to meet someone outside their circle had to go through the lengthy process of submitting a written personal ad. That included filling out a form with a strict character limit, sending it into the paper with a check or money order, waiting for it to be published in print and then waiting even longer for any type of response.

The whole ordeal was memorialized by singer Rupert Holmes in his 1979 hit “Escape (The Piña Colada Song).” Holmes tells the story of an otherwise bored couple who accidentally reconcile after discovering through the personals that they have a mutual affection for sweetened alcoholic beverages, damp clothing and late-night romps in the sand. I guess they did not communicate well in person. The track holds the distinction of being the last number one song of the ‘70s, reaching the top spot on December 22, 1979. The silky-smooth, blue-eyed soul grooves have helped it endure as a classic of the genre now known as Yacht Rock. Continue reading »

May 152012

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste De La Salle Eno turns 64 today. Here are some reasons we will still need him and feed him: 1) He co-founded Roxy Music and proved you could be flashier and suaver than Bryan Ferry; 2)He invented ambient music; 3) He produced the best albums by U2, Devo, and Talking Heads, not to mention his involvement with David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy; 4) His Oblique Strategies cards are to writer’s block what the Salk vaccine was to polio; 5) The noise Windows 95 makes when it opens? He wrote that; 6) He shows absolutely zero signs of stopping. Continue reading »