Friday, May 28, 2010

Mel Brooks

This talented comedian, writer, performer, Broadway producer, and all-around funnyman has made many movies in his career, but his recording output is very limited. That's why this single is one of the prize pieces of my collection.

It was put out to push an LP of his best soundtrack music that was released, and it contains performances of two of the best Brooks' movie songs: "High Anxiety" and "Springtime For Hitler" from "The Producers."

Mel Brooks - High Anxiety.mp3
Mel Brooks - Springtime For Hitler.mp3

Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart

Along with being top-notch musicians, songwriters and producers, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were recording artists in their own right. Although best known as the duo behind many of the Monkees hits, including "Valleri" and "Last Train to Clarksville," the duo had a pretty successful recording career in the mid 1960s which coincided with their work on the Pre-Fab Four project.

They charted a number of singles, including "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite," which reached No. 8 in the winter of 1967. Their sound fit into the bubblegum mode, and their give and take vocals were a hallmark of their sound.

Sorry about the cut corner on the "Alice Long" single, but that is how I bought it. Cut corners were used to signify that a store had too many of a particular record on hand, and these were generally sold at a cut rate, which is probably how I got this. You normally would not have found this on singles, but I guess this one was overstocked.

Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart - Alice Long (You're Still My Favorite Girlfriend).mp3
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart - P.O. Box 9847.mp3

Bow Wow Wow

Bow Wow Wow were all the rage in Europe in the early 1980s. They certainly had the look, orchestrated by Malcolm McLaren, with teen sex kitten Anabella Lwin leading the group.Their sound was spare but forceful, propelled by Lwin's vocals.

They never really made it in the U.S., but they did chart a few singles.

Bow Wow Wow - Chihuahua.mp3
Bow Wow Wow - Golly Golly Go Buddy.mp3

Saturday, May 22, 2010

David Bowie/David Bowie With the Pat Metheny Group/David Bowie and Mick Jagger/David Bowie and Bing Crosby

David Bowie has proven to be, over the last 40 years, one of the true innovators in pop music. Way before Madonna adapted her look to her music (or vice versa), Bowie--born David Jones but electing to change his name so that he was not confused with Davy Jones of the Monkees--morphed into different characters to take him, physically, where his music was taking him.

Bowie even did this in the 1980s, when he was at his commercial peak. Turning off many of his long-time fans, Bowie opted for the pop music direction, and he had numerous radio-ready hits in the 1980s as he became welcomed into the mainstream with his neat, suited, tailored look.

These singles reflect the best of that period, including his No. 1 hit, "Let's Dance." I kind of like his sequel to "Space Oddity," "Ashes to Ashes" myself, although it only bubbled under the Hot 100.

And who could forget David Bowie dueting with Bing Crosby with the "Little Drummer Boy"? This has become a holiday staple, even though it never charted in America.

Some of Bowie's American picture sleeves are quite innovative, offering posters and gatefold covers.

David Bowie - Ashes To Ashes.mp3
David Bowie - It's No Game (Part 1).mp3

Boomtown Rats

One of the early Irish punk bands, the Bob Geldof-led group were superstars in Europe, but barely known in the U.S.

The had many hits in Europe, but only one here--this one, about a high school students who shot two fellow students to death. When asked why, she replied, "I don't like Mondays."

This is the British picture sleeve. The song was a Top 10 hit overseas but only reached #73 in the U.S.

And, of course, Geldof went on to organize "Live Aid," making more of a legacy with that event than anything else he has done.

Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays.mp3
Boomtown Rats - It's All the Rage.mp3

Gary "U.S." Bonds

Rock and roll pioneer Gary "U.S." Bonds, who had numerous hits in the early 1960s inlcluding "Quarter To Three" and "New Orleans," had a career renaissance in the early 1980s.

Fueled by working with Bruce Springsteen, Bonds returned to the charts with these two singles. Although the return was a brief one, he has had an incredibly successful career mixing his earlier hits with his later ones.

Gary U.S. Bonds - Out of Work.mp3
Gary U.S. Bonds - Bring Her Back.mp3

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Blondie/Giorgio Moroder

Blondie was the top American punk/new wave band of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Led by singer Debbie Harry and her partner, guitarist Chris Stein, the New York-based group mixed a number of genres--including pop, rock, bubblegum, surf, and disco--into a powerful chart mix.

The group had four #1 records during their brief chart lifespan, and this was one of them, the title song to the movie "American Gigolo." The second side is credited to writer/producer Giorgio Moroder, although Blondie can be heard on this song, which is mainly an instrumental.

Although I really like Blondie, I remember opting to buy their albums rather than their singles, because I liked just about every track on their first few LPs.

I bought this particular single because I noticed the two different sleeves. By the way, the one with Richard Gere came first.

Blondie - Call Me.mp3
Giorgio Moroder - Call Me.mp3


The Blasters was a neo-rockabilly band from the early 1980s that was led by the Alvin brothers.

Their music was akin to the Stray Cats, but was more authentic, and thus did not attain much commercial success.

Blasters - I'm Shakin'.mp3
Blasters - No Other Girl.mp3

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar was an MTV darling through the 1980s. This Lindenhurst, Long Island, New York native carved out a sexy yet streetwise niche for herself that made her one of the most successful female vocalists of the era.

Along with her husband and bandmate Neil Geraldo, she was a fixture on the music video channel during that period.

Although in retrospect she had less than 10 top 10 hits in America, and never reached #1 on the singles chart, her videos were among MTV's all-time most popular. Based on that fact, she and Madonna were probably the top female acts of the MTV era.

As far as her picture sleeves, the photography used was pretty striking, but the B sides of the sleeves generally were advertisements for her albums, especially on her early singles.

But this beautiful, talented woman stood out on the sleeves. You just had to look at them and listen to the music inside.

Pat Benatar - Looking For a Stranger.mp3
Pat Benatar - I'll Do It.mp3


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