- I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org). As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia! Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton. I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times. I also wrote the liner notes for the three THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me? My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored. Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.
Monday, January 2, 2017
THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO # 854: THE COUNTDOWN!
It was not a very good year.
But, in spite of the passings of so many of our cherished artists and performers, and in spite of the seemingly relentless barrage of bad news that assailed us all year long, those of us who survived 2016...well, we're still here. Beyond the headlines, many have suffered loss--personal, immediate--the sort of loss that would be devastating in any year. When a year fights us, we fight back. We're still fighting whatever good fight we can manage. We still have each other, the ones who are left. We still dance, and love, and joke, and cry, and console, and live, and we still try to do better, to be better.
And we still listen to our music. The songs don't solve our problems, the melodies won't wash away our sorrows, the records we play can't quite make the pain go away. But the music remains part of us, in the good times and in the difficult times, offering us as much comfort as it can, providing whatever inspiration we're willing to accept, and giving us an essential soundtrack for the open question of What now? Time is the enemy. Time is always the enemy. For each of us, when our own calendar flips to its final page, time will win the battle; but we aim to at least make sure that time knows it was in one hell of a tussle.
The deaths of David Bowie, Prince, and so many others certainly had an effect on This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio's playlists in 2016, as we addressed our own ever-present mortality and played our tunes a little bit louder. The toughest blow for our local music community in Syracuse was the death of Norm Mattice, former lead singer of Dress Code, 1.4.5., and The Richards, who died homeless and alone, his body discovered in Onondaga Lake Park in April. Seeking catharsis in our sorrow and rage, we played 1.4.5.'s "Your Own World" more often than we played any other track in 2016. We mourned. We fought on.
Even in the midst of a year most of us are eager to forget, there was some good in 2016. The Monkees, long one of our all-time favorite groups, observed the 50th anniversary of Monkeeshines with the release of a wonderful new album, Good Times! With no less than five songs from Good Times! among our 44 most-played tracks this year (plus a sixth, classic Monkees tune also charting on our year-end countdown, and many more Monkees tracks bubbling just under our Top 44), The Monkees were far and away our most frequently-played artist this year. 2016 was clearly The Year Of The Monkees. It's nice to have something good to say about 2016.
This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio always ends each year with a countdown show, playing back what we played a lot over the preceding twelve months. Thanks, as always, to the mighty Fritz Van Leaven for keeping track of whatever the hell it is we're doing, and thank you for listening to our efforts to drive away darkness with song. 2017 is not likely to be any easier. But we've got some records to play, and the will to fight back. Fall in, soldier; our beleaguered legion marches on. This is what rock 'n' roll radio sounded like on Sunday nights in Syracuse this year.
Oh, and 2016? Please do let the door hit you on your way out.
This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl streams live on Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern at www.westcottradio.org
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TIRnRR # 854: THE COUNTDOWN! 1/1/17
CONVOCATION: 2015's # 1 Track (And A Wish For 2017):
EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year's Gonna Be Our Year (M-Squared, Year Of The Mouse)
TIRnRR's 13 Most Frequently-Played Artists In 2016:
# 12 [tie]:
1.4.5.: Do We Still Do It (Beautiful Sounds, Rhythm n' Booze)
THE GO-GO'S: Our Lips Are Sealed (IRS, Beauty And The Beat)
# 10 [tie]
THE BEACH BOYS: Good Vibrations (Capitol, Good Vibrations)
PRINCE: When You Were Mine (Warner Brothers, The Hits/The B-Sides)
THE FLASHCUBES: It's You Tonight (Northside, Bright Lights)
THE RAMONES: Blitzkrieg Bop (Rhino, Ramones)
THE ROLLING STONES: Get Off Of My Cloud (Abkco, Forty Licks)
BIG STAR: Back Of A Car (Ardent, # 1 Record/Radio City)
THE BANGLES: Hero Takes A Fall (Columbia, All Over The Place)
THE KINKS: You Really Got Me (Essential, Kinks)
DAVID BOWIE: "Heroes" [single version] (Columbia, Nothing Has Changed)
THE BEATLES: Nowhere Man (Capitol, single)
THE MONKEES: Pleasant Valley Sunday (Rhino, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.)
TIRnRR's Top 44 Most-Played Tracks In 2016:
# 25 [tie]:
THE ONLY ONES: Another Girl, Another Planet (Sony, Another Girl, Another Planet)
JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS: You've Come A Long Way Baby [single version] (Rhino Handmade, Stop, Look And Listen!)
NICK LOWE: Cruel To Be Kind (Yep Roc, Quiet Please...)
RAY PAUL: Pretty Flamingo (Permanent Press, Whimsicality)
THE MONKEES: Me & Magdalena (Rhino, Good Times!)
THE BEE GEES: Spicks And Specks (Festival, Brilliant From Birth)
LULU: To Sir, With Love [museum outings montage] (Retroactive, VA: To Sir, With Love OST)
THE LA'S: There She Goes (Rhino, VA: Children Of Nuggets)
DAVID BOWIE: Rebel Rebel (Virgin, Best Of Bowie)
LYRES: Help You Ann (Matador, On Fyre)
THE MONKEES: I'm A Believer (Rhino, More Of The Monkees)
COCKTAIL SLIPPERS: St. Valentine's Day Massacre (Wicked Cool, Saint Valentine's Day Massacre)
SCREEN TEST: Not Today (unreleased)
HOLLY GOLIGHTLY: Time Will Tell (Damaged Goods, Truly She Is None Other)
THE BEACH BOYS: God Only Knows (Capitol, Pet Sounds)
DAVID BOWIE: Queen Bitch (Virgin, Bowie At The Beeb)
RAY PAUL: I Love It (But You Don't Believe It) (Permanent Press, Whimsicality)
ONE LIKE SON: Punk Rock Prom Queen (Body Thief, New American Gothic)
THE SEX PISTOLS: God Save The Queen (Virgin, Kiss This)
KISS: Shout It Out Loud (Mercury, Destroyer)
# 11 [tie]:
TERRY DRAPER: Younger Girl, Flower Girl (TerryTunes, Searching)
THE MONKEES: You Bring The Summer (Rhino, Good Times!)
THE FLASHCUBES: Do Anything You Wanna Do (Northside, Brilliant)
THE MUFFS: Rock And Roll Girl (Sympathy For The Record Industry, Hamburger)
CHEAP TRICK: Surrender (Epic, Heaven Tonight)
EYTAN MIRSKY: Funny Money (M-Squared, Funny Money)
THE ANIMALS: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (Abkco, Retrospective)
MANNIX: Highway Lines (Kool Kat Musik, VA: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 3)
DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars? (Virgin, Best Of Bowie)
SCREEN TEST: Sound Of The Radio (JAM, VA: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 2)
THE FORTY NINETEENS: Disguise (Rock Ranch, Rebooted)
THE WONDERS: That Thing You Do! (Play-Tone, VA: That Thing You Do! OST)
THE BANGLES: The Real World (Omnivore, Ladies And Gentlemen...The Bangles!)
THE BEATLES: Rain (Apple, Past Masters)
# 5 [tie]:
THE KINKS: Better Things (Velvel, Give The People What They Want)
THE MONKEES: Me & Magdalena [Version 2] (Rhino, Good Times! [digital version])
THE MONKEES: She Makes Me Laugh (Rhino, Good Times!)
THE 101ERS: Keys To Your Heart (Chiswick, VA: The Chiswick Story)
PRINCE: When Doves Cry (Warner Brothers, The Hits/The B-Sides)
SUGAR: If I Can't Change Your Mind (Rykodisc, Copper Blue)
PRINCE: I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (Warner Brothers, The Hits/The B-Sides)
THE MONKEES: Birth Of An Accidental Hipster (Rhino, Good Times!)
BIG STAR: September Gurls (Big Beat, VA: Thank You, Friends)
1.4.5.: Your Own World (Beautiful Sounds, Rhythm n' Booze)
GUY LOMBARDO & HIS ROYAL CANADIANS: Auld Lang Syne (Universal, Auld Lang Syne)