Tue, 19 July 2016
...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.
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.
Wed, 13 July 2016
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.
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.
-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"?
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!
Wed, 6 July 2016
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.