The Blerd Radio Podcast
Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 8)

Ladies and gentlemen-the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast is back! Join me and Thomas Inskeep as we discuss all the songs that hit #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart in the 1980s; 5 at a time. Well...make that 6 at a time.

In our last episode, we closed out 1981 with Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Let’s Groove” (before taking a break to talk about some of the #2 hits of 1980 and 1981). Episode 8 brings forth a new year, and new songs. However, one of those songs is patently awful, and would’ve ended the episode if we kept our 5 songs at a time theme. So, Thomas proposed that we add an extra jam to the show, and I happily complied.

Before I forget, and so you're caught up: make sure you've listened to the previous episodes in this series: Episode 1 | Episode 2  | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5
Episode 6 | Episode 7

Here are the six songs we discuss in this episode:

“Turn Your Love Around” by George Benson

“I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” by Daryl Hall & John Oates

“Call Me” by Skyy

“That Girl” by Stevie Wonder

“If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another” by Richard “Dimples” Fields

“It’s Gonna Take A Miracle” by Deniece Williams

Drilling down a bit, here are some of the sub-topics we talk about during the show.
-“Turn Your Love Around” being the epitome of “Yacht Soul”, boasting instrumental backing from most of Toto, as well as co-write from the future main vocalist of Chicago.
-The unlikely origin of this George Benson hit. (hint: it involves a toilet)
-Airplay: the stunning collaboration of David Foster and Jay Graydon.
-The time Thomas met Daryl Hall, and a recommendation of Hall’s 1993 solo album Soul Alone (AKA Daryl goes kinda new jack)
-Whatever happened to the “telephone break” in R&B records?
-The two awesome songs that got stuck at #2 during “That Girl”’s 9-week reign.
-Did Stevie’s Original Musicquarium show up in stores as a way to allay Stevie’s financial troubles?
-”Ebony & Ivory”
-How Boardwalk Records president Neil Bogart died in the midst of his label’s first #1 record’s run.
-Why songs that call out ugly women named Sadie who might be having Richard “Dimples” Fields’ baby suck.
-Deniece Williams’ stellar episode of TVOne’s UnSung
-Niecy’s classics “Silly” and “Free”-both of which are better than either of her ‘80s chart toppers.
-Sha la la la!

-Of course, we should also give props to our opening and closing songs-Shalamar’s “A Night To Remember” and Junior’s “Mama Used To Say”-songs that didn’t hit the top of the charts, but are definitely near the top of our hearts.

Enjoy!

Direct download: JCC7.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 7)

...and now, for something a little different.

Thomas Inskeep and I have spent the last six Jheri Curl Chronicles episodes discussing the #1 R&B songs of the 1980s in chronological order. Episode 6 closed out 1981 with an Earth, Wind & Fire-sized bang.

Before we get into 1982, however, Thomas and I wanted to take an episode to chat about the runners-up, the songs that didn't quite lift into the top spot. So, we devoted an episode-this episode specifically-to all of the #2 R&B songs of 1980 and 1981. We don't discuss them in order, and some songs get a passing mention while others get discussed more in depth. This podcast has a bit more of a loosey-goosey feel than our regular episodes, and we hope you enjoy it just as much as you have the others.

Before I forget, and so you're caught up: make sure you've listened to the previous episodes in this series: Episode 1 | Episode 2  | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5
Episode 6.

And now, here are some show notes for you:

-First song up is "Funkytown" by Lipps, Inc. Believe it or not, this was the first big hit record by a Minneapolis musician in the 1980s. And, yes: Lipps, Inc's Cynthia Johnson does have a Prince connection. We also dredge up memories of this awful cover, which hit the pop top 10 barely 7 years after the original.

 

 

 

-Leon Haywood figures twice in this episode; as the performer of "Don't Push It, Don't Force It" and as the writer of Carl Carlton's monster smash "She's A Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked)". You can say Mr. Haywood, who was just one of 2016's many musical departures (so far), had a way with song titles.

-How did the guys that made "Bohemian Rhapsody" score a #2 hit on the soul charts? Well, take a lot of Chic, a suggestion from Michael Jackson, and voila. History made. Did you know that Wyclef Jean remade "Another One Bites The Dust" with a little help from a future BET VJ?

-Speaking of MJ, he and his brothers had a pair of #2s during this period, including the immortal "Heartbreak/This Place Hotel". Despite not having a #1 from either of their most highly regarded albums (Destiny and Triumph), The Jacksons more than made up for it by virtue of near-constant play on dance floors. This trend continues today.

-Teddy P. is in the house! He scored a #1 towards the end of the decade, but "Love T.K.O." was arguably his most smokin' 80s jam. It was so good even Bette Midler couldn't ruin it. We also talk about T.P.'s chemistry with frequent duet partner Stephanie Mills, and the convoluted family tree of the Cooke/Womacks, two of whom wrote "Love T.K.O."

-Teenager Stacy Lattisaw found love on a two-way street, and found her biggest hit of the decade in the Moments' catalog.

We'll be back to our "regularly scheduled program" in the next episode, but we certainly hope you enjoyed this little diversion through some songs that were almost as big (and in some cases, more fondly remembered) than the tracks we normally cover.

 

 

 

Direct download: JCC_Number_2s.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 6)

 

Ladies and gentlemen out there in podcast land, Thomas Inskeep and I would like to welcome you to the SIXTH episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast. Yes, folks, we’re taking you down memory lane for a discussion about songs that hit #1 on Billboard Magazine’s Hot R&B Singles chart in the ’80s.

If you’ve missed an installment, never fear. You can find them by clicking on the link for each respective episode.

We're up to Episode 6! This installment finishes out the year 1981 with a bang, as we go through the final five chart toppers of the year.

Episode 1 | Episode 2  | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5

The songs featured in this episode are:

"When She Was My Girl" by The Four Tops

"Never Too Much" by Luther!

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Pt. 1" by Roger

"Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It)" by Kool and the Gang

"Let's Groove" by Earth, Wind & Fire

And here are some show notes/secondary topics brought up as these songs are discussed.

-The Four Tops' brief resurgence on disco label Casablanca Records, which was on its last legs at the time.

-"When She Was My Girl"'s resemblance to this hit by The O'Jays, and this novelty smash by Joe Tex.

-The insane amounts of love we have for Mr. Vandross and his sterling career, although we argue that he never topped "Never Too Much", his debut solo single.

-The lengthy history of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", which hit #1 R&B for the third time thanks to Roger's rendition.

-Thomas's somewhat inexplicable and intense dislike of Creedence Clearwater Revival (they also covered "Grapevine") and the somewhat dubious chart record they hold.

-The era of sampling and how it kept Zapp's legacy alive, even though they were pretty much a one-trick pony.

-Robert Palmer's slick cover of "Take My Heart", which you'll hear a snatch of at the conclusion of this episode (our opening song is Teena Marie's 1981 jam "I Need Your Lovin'."

-We compare and contrast the legacies of Kool & The Gang and Earth, Wind & Fire while giving props to the recently departed Maurice White.

-Why waste an opportunity to talk about "Easy Lover"?

-EW&F's solid string of early '80s singles, including "Wanna Be With You" and the immortal "Fall In Love With Me".

There are a variety of ways you can enjoy this podcast. You can listen in the player below, download the mp3 file directly to your computer or device, stream the show on Liberated Syndication, or you can subscribe to the Blerd Radio family of podcasts on ye olde iTunes. Enjoy!

Direct download: JCC601.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

The Blerd Radio Podcast 2016 | Episode 8:

Here's something a bit new and different...we're adding a wrinkle to the O.G. Blerd Radio podcast. The team (including me (Big Money), Dr. Z, Michael Parr, The Packet Man, and announcing the return of Mike Duquette) have decided to devote certain episodes to specific albums. So as not to confuse you, the listener, even further, we've decided to not re-name the series (because there are enough offshoots of Blerd Radio as is). That said, the first album we've decided to spotlight is De La Soul's 1989 debut, 3 Feet High And Rising. This podcast features Big Money, Dr. Z and Michael Parr

3 Feet was wildly successful, especially by 1989 hip-hop standards. It topped Billboard's Black Albums chart, the single "Me, Myself & I" became only the second rap song to top the Black Singles chart, and the album was eventually certified Platinum. It topped critics lists internationally, placing at #1 on the esteemed Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll. It ushered in a new, creative way to approach sampling, backing away from the prototypical funk and disco loops (with a big exception for the Funkadelic-sampling "Me, Myself & I") and utilizing Steely Dan, The Turtles and French instructional records. De La had their own language-a few steps removed from hip-hop's hard, "street" aesthetic. The influence of 3 Feet can be found in not only the music made by the rest of the "Native Tongues" posse (which, in addition to De La, consisted of A Tribe Called Quest, The Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Black Sheep, Chi-Ali, and more), but also in more recent music by Chance The Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Kanye West and others.

3 Feet High & Rising : incredibly musical, ground-breaking, and influential. So influential, in fact, that it cast a shadow De La Soul has been running from for a quarter century-plus. This is despite the fact that Pos, Dave and Maseo have put together one of the most consistent catalogs in hip-hop history. We discuss all this and more in the podcast. 

Direct download: 3_Feet.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:56am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 5)

Ladies and gentlemen out there in podcast land, Thomas Inskeep and I would like to welcome you to the FIFTH episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast. Yes, folks, we're taking you down memory lane for a discussion about songs that hit #1 on Billboard Magazine's Hot R&B Singles chart in the '80s.

If you've missed an installment, never fear. You can find them by clicking on the link for each respective episode.

Episode 1 | Episode 2  | Episode 3 | Episode 4

In this episode, we're firmly planted in the year 1981. The five smashes we discuss during this episode are:

Chaka Khan's "What Cha Gonna Do For Me"

Rick James' "Give It To Me Baby"

Frankie Smith's "Double Dutch Bus"

Evelyn "Champagne" King's "I'm In Love"

Diana Ross & Lionel Richie's "Endless Love"

And here are some show notes/secondary topics brought up as these songs are discussed.

-The origins of "What Cha Gonna Do For Me", which was written by Hamish Stuart (of the Average White Band) and California singer-songwriter Ned Doheny, whose name we have lots of trouble pronouncing. Thankfully, the Chaka video above demonstrates how to pronounce "Doheny" properly.

-This Chaka soundalike single by Tata Vega, also written by Ned Doheny.

-Chaka's longtime producer, the esteemed and continental Arif Mardin.

-"Give It To Me Baby"'s kinship with the title track to the biggest selling album in history.

-Rick's excellent (and scandalous) autobiography, co-written with the amazing David Ritz.

-Was "Double Dutch Bus" an early example of a "viral" hit like "Watch Me Whip" and "Teach Me How To Dougie"? Also, why did Raven Symone cover it?

-Kashif and Morrie Brown's assistance with Evelyn King's transformation from teenage disco queen to mature artist, and "I'm in Love"'s status as one of the first all-synthesized songs to top the R&B charts.

-Our girl Janet knew what time it was when she sampled "I'm In Love" back in 2004.

-Diana's parting gift to Motown with "Endless Love", which she recorded and released on her longtime label, even though she'd just signed with another record company.

-Did you know that the movie Endless Love marked the movie debut of Tom Cruise?

-...and of course, we bring up Luther and Mariah's karaoke cover.

Direct download: JCC5.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles (Episode 4)

Good day, lovely folks. Welcome to the fourth episode of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast, a show in which me and my compatriot Thomas Inskeep discuss every song to hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart during the 1980s. When we last left off, we were just getting started with 1981. If you haven't yet caught up, check out the first three episodes of the series.

Episode 1 | Episode 2  | Episode 3

The five tracks featured in this episode are...

"Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)" by The Gap Band

"Don't Stop The Music" by Yarbrough & Peoples

"Being With You" by Smokey Robinson

"Sukiyaki" by A Taste Of Honey

"A Woman Needs Love" by Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio

And here are some show notes/secondary topics brought up as these songs are discussed.

-The Gap Band's Charlie Wilson is easily one of the most influential and imitated singers in R&B music history.

-"Burn Rubber" was one of the biggest hits from The Gap Band's decade-long run as R&B chart kings. They were one of the most successful acts of the era, and one of the acts with the least crossover success.

-Yarbrough & Peoples' astounding level of "meh"-ness.

-The "warm bath" theme returns with Smokey's yacht rock (yacht soul?) classic.

-The conversation switches to Smokey's incredible duet with Rick James, "Ebony Eyes", which didn't hit the Top 10. Then we revisit Rick & Teena Marie's legendary "Fire & Desire", a song which didn't even receive a single release.

-The "Ebony Eyes" video, which we surmise had the second-largest cocaine budget of any video during the '80s.

-Did A Taste of Honey deserve the 1979 Best New Artist Grammy?

-Ray Parker Jr.'s past as a virtuoso funk guitarist, then move away from Raydio, his move away from R&B, and his classics "The Other Woman", "You Can't Change That", and "I Still Can't Get Over Loving You".

Enjoy the show!

 

Direct download: Jcc4.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:51am EDT

Blerd Radio 2016 | Episode 7

The Blerd Radio Time Machine gets fired up again! Big Money (me), Michael Parr and Dr. Z all hop in and travel back twenty (gulp) years to land in 1996 for the latest podcast!

1996 was a pretty big year in pop culture--it was an election year, and a watershed year for music (particularly for new artists). Here are just a few of the topics discussed during the show.

-The bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta

-The 1996 presidential election: Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole, and the Whitewater scandal.

-Cloning takes its first step forward, courtesy of Dolly The Ewe.

-Radio deregulation, which led to every single terrestrial station you listen to being owned by either Clear Channel or the IHeartRadio family.

-The "East Coast/West Coast" hip-hop rivalry, and the death of Tupac Shakur on September 13th.

-An eventful 1996 for The Artist Then Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince: the icon severs ties with Warner Brothers, releases the 3-CD set Emancipation, gets married, and suffers a family tragedy.

-KISS reunites and slaps the makeup back on! Their first public appearance is opposite the aforementioned Mr. Shakur on the Grammy Awards.

-Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day" becomes the longest-running #1 single of all time.

-The Fugees break through, becoming the world's #1 cover band.

-Everyone does the God damn Macarena.

-Alternative rock is huge, and the term is vast enough to include Oasis and Metallica. During this conversation, I plug Steven Hyden's new book Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me.

-Underappreciated music of 1996: De La Soul's Stakes Is High, Chuck D.'s The Autobiography Of Mistachuck, The Heads' No Talking, Just Head and Kool Keith's Dr. Octagonecologist. Also, you should watch this video.

-The glorious one-hit wonderdom of "Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand" by Primitive Radio Gods.

-New artists of 1996: a list that includes Busta Rhymes, Lil Kim, Fiona Apple, No Doubt and more...with special focus on Jay-Z and Sublime's enduring self-titled album.

-Big-name flops of 1996, and the cultural re-examination of Weezer's Pinkerton; in addition to our own re-examinations of Pearl Jam's No Code and George Michael's Older.

-TV & movies of 1996: The debuts of TVLand and MTV2, as well as Robin Williams' stellar year.

-How a movie about natural disasters spawned the angriest Van Hagar song ever.

-Finally, as it should be, a few words about anal leakage.

Make sure to subscribe to Blerd Radio on iTunes, and/or you can listen to the podcast in the handy-dandy box below. Alternatively, you can stream us on Liberated Syndication, or you can just download the show directly to your computer. Enjoy!

Direct download: 1996.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:58am EDT

Blerd Radio 2016 | Episode 6

Our listeners have spoken, and we’re listening! Here’s the chart for the next “Son of Chart Attack!”

"Chart Attack" is a recurring Blerd Radio feature in which myself (Big Money), Dr. Z and Michael Parr discuss a particular Billboard chart from yesteryear.

In this episode, we travel back exactly a quarter century to chat about the top 10 songs on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart dated June 8th, 1991.

10. "Now is Tomorrow" by Definition of Sound

09. "Mea Culpa, Part II" by Enigma

08. "People Are Still Having Sex" by LaTour

07. "Mama Said Knock You Out" by LL Cool J

06. "Spillin' the Beans" by Jellybean

05. "Fascinating Rhythm" by Bass-O-Matic

04. "Where the Streets Have No Name" by Pet Shop Boys

03. "Tonite" by Those Guys

02. "Good Beat" by Deee-Lite

01. "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" by Crystal Waters

I won't go into too much detail about the songs in the show notes, but needless to say, there's a very deep dive into some of these artists and songs, while we're also relatively shocked in regards to the bland anonymity of other songs on the list.

I will say that some of the sub-topics we touch on include the Martha Wash substitution pattern that riddled dance music for about two years, LL Cool J's legendary MTV Unplugged performance, the AIDS crisis that inspired the #8 song on the list, dance music's social consciousness, the bizarre appeal of Gregorian chant music, and the remarkable consistency of The Pet Shop Boys.

Enjoy the show!

Direct download: Son_Of_Chart_Attack_3.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles Podcast (Episode 3)

Happy Day! The third episode of the award-winning (not really) Jheri Curl Chronicles is live for your listening pleasure! If you haven't yet, make sure you check out episodes 1 and 2.

For those unaware, the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast features me and Thomas Inskeep talking about every song to hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart during the 1980s.

In this installment, we leave 1980 and jump into 1981 with these five tracks.

"Give Me The Night" by George Benson

"Funkin' For Jamaica (N.Y.)" by Tom Browne

"Master Blaster (Jammin')" by Stevie Wonder

"Celebration" by Kool & The Gang

"Fantastic Voyage" by Lakeside

And here are some show notes/secondary topics brought up as these songs are discussed.

-The brilliance of Quincy Jones as a producer. Along with his right-hand man, songwriter Rod Temperton, Q owned the early '80s and we make the case for him as the greatest producer of all time.

-Patti Austin's sumptuous background vocals on "Give Me The Night", her surprising lack of a #1 R&B single, and the glory that is her 1981 jam "Do You Love Me".

-Which "Love Ballad" came first, George Benson's? Or L.T.D.'s?

-The mixture of jazz and R&B that gave way to the smooth jazz movement of the late '80s and early '90s, and the stellar list of players that appeared on "Funkin' For Jamaica".

-Tom Browne's bass-playing cohort Bernard Wright, who made at least one unassailable '80s jam.

-Why Hotter Than July might be the most underrated of Stevie Wonder's albums.

-The Kool & The Gang conundrum: were they better as a funk band or a pop band?

-Kool & Co.'s divorce-themed epic "Jones vs. Jones".

-We shout out radio legend Sean Ross as well as reissue giants BBR, who have kept many of the titles we discuss on this podcast in print (further shouts out to Funkytown Grooves and Legacy Recordings).

-What the hell was in the water in Ohio? The unassuming midwestern state is responsible for Lakeside, but also The Ohio Players (natch), Slave, Zapp, and a plethora of influential funk bands.

-Yes, Lakeside-we're holding you responsible for Coolio's career.

 

Direct download: JCC_3.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 7:54am EDT

Blerd Radio Presents: The Jheri Curl Chronicles Podcast (Ep. 2)

Yep, you read it right. Episode 2 of the Jheri Curl Chronicles podcast is up for your listening pleasure! In case you missed it, you can check out Episode 1 here.

In this series, me and Thomas Inskeep talk about every song to hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles (later named Hot Black Singles) chart in the 1980s. We're going five at a time, and we've got a nice meaty section of 1980 to tackle in this episode.

The 5 songs we discuss this time around are:

"Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time For Love)" by The Isley Brothers

"Let's Get Serious" by Jermaine Jackson

"Take Your Time (Do It Right)" by The S.O.S. Band

"One In A Million You" by Larry Graham

"Upside Down" by Diana Ross

More specifically, we talk about:

-How The Isleys' Go All The Way album (which featured "Don't Say Goodnight") was originally supposed to be the first Isley-Jasper-Isley album, and which steamy bedroom classic from 1979 inspired the Isleys as they wrote "Goodnight".

-Stevie Wonder's influence on "Let's Get Serious", and the trajectory of Jermaine's career through the mid '80s, which included Devo, Iman, and an assist from his little brother.

-The absolute jammin'-ness of The S.O.S. Band's Jam & Lewis-produced output. We scratch our heads in collective wonderment at the fact that masterpieces like "Just Be Good To Me" and "The Finest" stopped (just) short of pole position. We also wax rhapsodic over "Tell Me If You Still Care", which has gone on to a long life courtesy of artists like Mariah Carey and Monica.

-One of us finds Sly & The Family Stone (the band that spawned Larry Graham) overrated. One of us (actually, both of us) also think that Larry Graham ruined Prince.

-Did you know that Diana's "Upside Down" was (allegedly) originally written for Aretha Franklin? Have you read Nile Rodgers' excellent book? We also give a shout out to Diana's camp-tastic video clips for "Muscles" and "Swept Away".

Oh, also we should give props to our intro and outro songs for this episode: Patrice Rushen's "Haven't You Heard" and Chaka Khan's "Papillon (Hot Butterfly)", two classics from 1980 that didn't make it to the top of the charts, but are always at the top of our hearts.

Direct download: JCC2.mp3
Category:Entertainment -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

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