Thursday, December 31, 2020

BOPPIN's Monthly Day Off: Grandmaster and Melle Mel, "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)


Once a month, Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) takes a brief pause in its sillyheaded schedule of daily public posting, and distributes a private post for just its paid subscribers. January's private post for patrons is another chapter from my book in progress The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1), this time discussing the book's only hip-hop entry: "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" by Grandmaster and Melle Mel.

And yeah, rap might seem a little bit outside my usual demographic. But in the '80s, I used to hear this song on the great New Music Radio WBNY-FM in Buffalo, programmed in alongside Echo and the Bunnymen and X, and it made perfect sense to me. Still does.

Regular daily public posting will resume tomorrow. You can become a paid supporter of this blog for as little as $2 a month: Fund me, baby!           

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

POP-A-LOOZA: THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! "This Year's Gonna Be Our Year"


Each week, the pop culture website Pop-A-Looza shares some posts from my vast 'n' captivating Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) archives. The latest shared post is another chapter from my book in progress The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1), specifically the chapter celebrating the beauty, the splendor, and the wonder of Eytan Mirsky's "This Year's Gonna Be Our Year."

After the year we've had, it's a safe bet that most of us are looking for 2021 to be our year, or at least a year that's not as miserable as 2020. "This Year's Gonna Be Our Year" is a call to arms: an expression of optimism that recognizes, sure, cynicism has a valid point, but remains determined to believe in the power of hope. It should be THE New Year's Eve anthem everywhere. Last Sunday, the magnificent pop duo The Kennedys treated fans to a stirring cover of the song in their weekly livestream. Their entire one-hour presentation is worth enjoying in full, and "This Year's Gonna Be Our Year" provides the perfect showstopper:


Eytan Mirsky's incredible song will also be the subject of this week's video rant in my Greatest Record Ever Made! series on YouTube, and that should post later today. 2020 kicked us in the teeth, and worked its way south. We're not givin' in. This year, man. This year. A simply wonderful tune called "This Year's Gonna Be Our Year" is the subject of the latest Boppin' Pop-A-Looza.

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You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Hey! If you buy from Amazon, consider making your purchases through links at Pop-A-Looza. A portion of your purchase there will go to support Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do). Thinking Amazon? Think Pop-A-Looza.


This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.


The many fine This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin' pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:


Volume 1: download

Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio:  CD or download

Carl's writin' a book! The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1)will contain 165 essays about 165 tracks, each one of 'em THE greatest record ever made. An infinite number of records can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Updated initial information can be seen here: THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (Volume 1). My weekly Greatest Record Ever Made! video rants can be seen in my GREM! YouTube playlist. And I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

10 SONGS: 12/29/2020: THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO's 10 Most-Played Tracks In 2020

10 Songs is a weekly list of ten songs that happen to be on my mind at the moment. Given my intention to usually write these on Mondays, the lists are often dominated by songs played on the previous night's edition of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. The idea was inspired by Don Valentine of the essential blog I Don't Hear A Single.

This edition of 10 Songs is devoted to TIRnRR's 10 most-played tracks in 2020, as detailed in our year-end countdown show.

1. THE MUFFS: On My Own

The Muffs' eponymous debut album was released in 1993, the year after the short-lived first Dana & Carl radio series We're Your Friends For Now completed its rapid Vini, Vidi, Vacuum into the abyss. By the time we returned on even more modest terms as Radio Peace in 1994, The Muffs' "Saying Goodbye" had already established itself as my favorite track of the '90s, and I'm pretty sure we played it on the very first Radio Peace. And I'm positive we played both "Saying Goodbye" and The Muffs' "Sad Tomorrow" on the inaugural edition of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio on December 27th, 1998. 22 years ago this week. TIRnRR has lasted a tiny bit longer than any of our previous series.

And we've played The Muffs all along the way. Before The Muffs formed, we were already fans of various incarnations of The Pandoras, and it was The Pandoras that introduced us to the talents of Kim Shattuck. Kim was an essential player during her stint as a Pandora, aiding and abetting the late, great Paula Pierce; in The Muffs, Kim Shattuck was the star.

The news of Kim's death in 2019 stunned us. This is what I wrote at the time:

Tonight we share our broken hearts.

I did not know Kim Shattuck. I've been a fan for decades, but we were, at best, casual friends on Facebook. I don't think we ever had a conversation or shared message. Yet news of her death this week at the age of 56--56!--prompted a sadness within me apart from the all-too-familiar ache of having to say goodbye to another one of our heroes.

Why? I guess because she felt to me like someone who was close to all of us, even though she wasn't really. She was an actual part of the lives of a bunch of people I do know--a friend, a loved one--and our sense of loss can't compare to what they're going through. But man, this one hurts. I didn't know her, and it hurts anyway.

You wanna see an illustration of why we love Kim Shattuck? Go to YouTube and watch the video for Derrick Anderson's "When I Was Your Man." Anderson's ably supported here by Vicki and Debbie Peterson (his bandmates in The Bangles) and our Kim. The song and video are irresistible, but Kim especially? She's a bundle of goofy, guileless energy, a nerd and a rock star at the same time, naturally, unconsciously, absolutely. She's not exactly one of us, but she understands us. I refuse to change that into the past tense, at least for tonight.

The Pandoras. The Muffs. The Beards. The Coolies. And one of the greatest screams in all of  rock 'n' roll. All heart, all fire, all go! Kim Shattuck made her indelible mark on this rockin' pop scene we so cherish. Anyone who didn't love her simply wasn't paying attention.

56 years old. Damn you, ALS. Damn you.

The Muffs' farewell album No Holiday was released shortly after Kim passed. Both Dana and I were especially struck by the track "On My Own," its inherent haunting sensation heightened in our ears by the knowledge that Kim was nearing the end of her life when she sang it. 

I can't even.

TIRnRR started playing "On My Own" upon its release in late '19. We continued to play it throughout this year, more often than we played any other song. There was never any question of what would be our # 1 most-played track for 2020. It wasn't even close. God love ya, Kim. We'll always love you, too.

2. BILL BERRY: 1-800-Colonoscopy

I saw the wonderful British pop group The Records at a club show in East Syracuse in 1979. "Starry Eyes." "Teenarama." "Hearts In Her Eyes." "Hearts Will Be Broken." SOLD! I got to meet lead singer John Wicks in 2009, when he was touring with Paul Collins. John was one of the nicest, most gracious pop stars you could imagine, and he remained friendly and good-natured in all of our subsequent communications. We were gutted when John succumbed to cancer in 2018.

Our mutual friend Richard Rossi gets the credit for connecting John (and Paul) with TIRnRR. Back in 2006, Richard secured permission for us to use "Edges Of A Dream" by John Wicks and the Records for our compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 2, and he arranged for John and Paul to visit our mutant little radio show in 2009; it was a thrill for Dana and I to meet these artists who made so much music we love, and a righteous OH YEAH! to find out they were both good guys, to boot. 

John Wicks, CC, Paul Collins, Dana Bonn at the TIRnRR studio complex in 2009. 

After John's death, Richard oversaw a unique project in tribute to his departed friend. The 2020 collection For The Record--A Tribute To John Wicks gathers various artists to perform songs that John had written but never got around to recording. It's a simply sublime set, and we recommend it in unabashedly gushing tones. We played nearly all of its tracks on TIRnRR this year.

We played Bill Berry's "1-800-Colonoscopy" the most. The song was co-written by John Wicks and Richard Rossi, and it appears on For The Record as an endlessly engaging track sung by Bill Berry and produced by Jamie Hoover of The Spongetones. In an earlier 10 Songs, I wrote: 

Awright, the category of "Best Songs With 'Colonoscopy' In The Title" may be a wee bit limited, but man, this track from the recent John Wicks tribute album For The Record just rollicks and rolls. Bill Berry's performance infuses the song with all the venom and resentment it requires, delivering a bitter and vindictive kiss-off that's simultaneously as pop and as catchy as something, I dunno, more pleasant than its titular concern....

Given the general yuchh of 2020, it's fitting that my favorite new song of the year is something called "1-800-Colonoscopy." Am I bitter? Yeah, you bet your ass.

3. MARY LOU LORD: Right On 'Till Dawn

"Right On 'Till Dawn" is a kickin' duet between Mary Lou Lord and the song's author, Nick Saloman of The Bevis Frond. It's a demo, released as one of two B-side tracks on Mary Lou's 2001 "Speeding Motorcycle" single. (The other B-side, "Driven Away," also made this year's countdown at # 27.) 

4. MARYKATE O'NEIL: I'm Ready For My Luck To Turn Around

Belief feeds hope.

That's the opening line to a chapter about Marykate O'Neil's lovely 2006 gem "I'm Ready For My Luck To Turn Around." I'm writing that chapter for my book in progress The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1), and the song's entry appears near the end of the book, nestled between Stevie Wonder's "I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)" and Eytan Mirsky's "This Year's Gonna Be Our Year." "I'm Ready For My Luck To Turn Around." That's a sentiment we can all understand, especially this year.

5. BASH AND POP: Anything Could Happen

Tommy Stinson formed Bash And Pop after his previous group The Replacements combusted into charred earth. A whompin' stompin' 22 years passed between Bash And Pop's debut album in 1993 and second album, 2017's Anything Could Happen. Man, and The Replacements always used to be so punctual.

6. JUSTINE AND THE UNCLEAN: Vengeance



Rock 'n' roll at a honky tonk kegger. I don't think I was at all familiar with the kickass charm of singer/songwriter/guitarist/suspected superhero Justine Covault prior to this year. Hey, something good about 2020! The mighty Rum Bar Records sent us new tracks from two of Justine's combos, Justine's Black Threads and Justine and the Unclean. BAM! Instant fan here. "Vengeance" is particularly irresistible, so I played it a lot. That's the giddy sense of power one enjoys if one co-hosts a radio show. 

7. THE WHO: I Can't Explain

From The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1):

When it came to crafting The Greatest Record Ever Made, The Who didn't waste any time. The lads nailed it on their debut single.

Well, "I Can't Explain" was at least technically The Who's first single. The group was billed as The High Numbers when their very first single "I'm The Face"/"Zoot Suit" was released in 1964. Either way, The High-Numbered Who got it right pretty quickly. "I Can't Explain" was released at the beginning of 1965, effectively helping to kick off pop music's best year ever...

Before The Who became iconic, rivaling Led Zeppelin as the embodiment of classic rock, they were already an odd quartet. Drummer Keith Moon was a flamboyant freakin' lunatic, a strange visitor from another planet, a Beach Boys fanatic who played faster--and louder!--than a speeding bullet. Bassist John Entwistle could have found employment as a statue, a sculpted objet d'art, his deep booms resonating from a somber figure as still as stone, except for the blinding flash of his fingers upon the fretboard of an instrument no one ever convinced him wasn't meant to play lead, not rhythm. Singer Roger Daltrey, eventually to assume the persona of a presumed Rock God parading before mere mortals, seemed initially like he'd just as soon abandon his mic stand to pick a fight with some punter mid-song, just cuz he didn't like the guy's face. And guitarist/songwriter Pete Townshend was the squarest of square pegs, a nose emerging from a face topped by straight Mod hair, propped atop a skinny form that should have been incapable of remaining upright under the weight of that head, tossing off a surly bravado to camouflage insecurity, playing power-chord noise to give sheer volume to thought and poetry, smashing things to combine chaos with ambition, combustion with creation, destruction with inspiration. Together, they formed a rhetorical question that served as its own authoritative answer. Who? The Who. The fucking Who, man....

8. THE ISLEY BROTHERS: It's Your Thing

I wrote here about my introduction to the music of The Isley Brothers. Although my nascent Isleys awareness began with "Who's That Lady (Part 1)" on the radio in '73, I don't remember precisely when I went back to discover earlier Isley Brothers hits like "This Old Heart Of Mine," "Shout," or 1969's "It's Your Thing." It took a while, and it took a while for my appreciation to grow. But it did! 

9. BIG STAR: September Gurls

I think Big Star's "September Gurls" was the first song I ever referred to as The Greatest Record Ever Made, and it is the all-time # 1 most-played track over TIRnRR's first 22 years. From its chapter in the GREM! book:

The heart is often incapable of speaking its own mind. Please forgive the mixed metaphor, because it's true: on an emotional level, the thing that is most important to us is the most difficult to articulate.  If  you were ever a teenager in love, you know this first-hand; and if, at any age, you have watched a love slip away--casually or cruelly, by accident or design, temporarily or irrevocably--then you still remember the ache of your tongue-tied efforts to somehow express the poetry inside you, to give voice to the exact words that, when spoken, will make True Love prevail against unbelievable odds.  So many words, so much to say.  And all we can do as she walks away is mumble, "I loved you, well...never mind."

With that phrase, Alex Chilton turned even our seeming helplessness into art.  A teenaged hitmaker with The Box Tops, a cult-pop legend with Big Star, and a fiercely (and frustratingly) independent solo artist, Alex Chilton was dismissive of his own legacy.  But he was a brilliant songwriter, responsible in whole or in part for a handful of what I believe to be among the most affecting, beautiful pop songs ever done.  With his Big Star partner Chris Bell, Chilton co-wrote "The Ballad Of El Goodo," the single most transcendent expression of triumphant hope that I am ever likely to hear; their song "Thirteen" found the elusive words to articulate adolescence as no other song before or since.  And Chilton's "September Gurls," perhaps the greatest record ever made, is with me every day of my life, its haunting mix of longing and possibility providing a constant reminder of the heart's struggle to speak its mind, and of the artist's ability to turn the struggle itself into unforgettable, eloquent elegance.
  

10. THE BEVIS FROND: He'd Be A Diamond

And this week's 10 Songs concludes with one more shot from that GREM! book I keep pounding:

What a truly awful feeling: that sick, twisted ache inside when we realize we've screwed things up beyond any possible hope of redemption...

And we know every last miserable bit of it is our own stupid fault.

I discovered the music of British singer, musician, and songwriter Nick Saloman (dba The Bevis Frond) through the Dana half of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. The Bevis Frond did a benefit for our overlords Syracuse Community Radio in the '90s, and the Frond's been a perennial TIRnRR pick over the two decades and change of whatever the hell it is we do. 

"He'd Be A Diamond" is the most powerful post-breakup song I know. Its heartbroken storyline is devastating, delivered casually in the third person, but no less harrowing, no less desperate, no less striking in its depiction of a faithless ex-lover who has seen the error of his ways far too late to make one damned bit of difference....


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You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Hey! If you buy from Amazon, consider making your purchases through links at Pop-A-Looza. A portion of your purchase there will go to support Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do). Thinking Amazon? Think Pop-A-Looza.


This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.


The many fine This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin' pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:


Volume 1: download

Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio:  CD or download

Carl's writin' a book! The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1)will contain 165 essays about 165 tracks, each one of 'em THE greatest record ever made. An infinite number of records can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Updated initial information can be seen here: THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (Volume 1). My weekly Greatest Record Ever Made! video rants can be seen in my GREM! YouTube playlist. And I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl.

Monday, December 28, 2020

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 1057: THE COUNTDOWN!

Ah, 2020. No one is sorry to see you go.

But for now, to hell with all of that. We've got some music, and music is usually a good idea. We end every year with a countdown show, playing back what we played a lot over the previous twelve months. The stats are kept for us by the invincible Fritz Van Leaven, and the annual countdown show is always terrific. Music. Man, how could you go wrong when you're playing music?

As always, this year's countdown ignores release-date calendars. Great records don't care what year it is. I barely care what year it is. The list of our 58 most-played tracks in 2020 includes 21 new releases (one of which is a new live version of a song from the '60s), four from 2019, two each from 2018 and 2017, eight from 2000-2016, one from the '90s, six from the '80s, five from the '70s, eight from the '60s (one of which was originally unreleased and generally unheard until the 21st century), and one hardy classic from the '50s. We repeat ourselves again and again again: Right now is always the best time ever for a music fan, because we have everything that came before and we have new fave raves to discover every day.

We have a radio show that can help you with that discovery process.

And yeah, some of our go-to song choices this year may have been an eensy bit influenced by the all-of-this of, y'know, all of this. From "The Day The World Turned Day-Glo" to "I'm Ready For My Luck To Turn Around," the plucky determination and/or willful denial of "This Will Be Our Year" and "This Year's Gonna Be Our Year" to the haunting melancholy of "Persistence Of Memory," and certainly the pissed-off snark of "1-800-Colonoscopy" (aka "The Love Theme From 2020"), our music reflects our world as we see it.

There was never any question of what our # 1 song would be. After the pop world lost the vibrant and irresistible talent of the great Kim Shattuck in 2019, the subsequent release of her group The Muffs' farewell album No Holiday came too late to impact last year's countdown. We made up for it this year. As we continue to mourn Kim, as we mourn the loss of so much in this time of pandemic and upheaval, The Muffs' "On My Own" serves as the anthem for our isolation, our disillusionment. We played it more than we played any other song in 2020.

But: we're not on our own. We're together, to the extent we can be together. We're still here, to the extent we can still be here. We go on, to the extent we can go on. If music is comfort or catharsis, we turn it up, we hold it dear, and we dance to the extent we can dance. God love ya, Kim. And we thank all of you for listening, and for enduring, to the extent you can endure. Keep the faith. Keep on keepin' on.

Every year--even 2020, its unique level of lousy notwithstanding--offers music. New music, old music, any kind music, it's all there for us to crank and wallow within. Did 2020 suck? Yes. Was there great music anyway? Yes. Of course. As my daughter said years ago: music is the heartbeat of the universe. As long as the music keeps playing, that heart keeps beating.

The beat goes on. Kick your shoes off and step on in, 2021. We're delighted to see you. This is what rock 'n' roll radio sounded like on a series of Sunday nights in Syracuse this year.

(And here's the list of our go-to artists this year: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio's Most-Played Acts In 2020. Thanks once again to Fritz Van Leaven for building our favorite show of the year. You, sir, are da man.)

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read all about this show's long and weird history here: Boppin' The Whole Friggin' Planet (The History Of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO). TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS are always welcome.

The many fine This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin' pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:

Volume 1: download
Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio:  CD or download

PS: SEND MONEY!!!! We need tech upgrades like Elvis needs boats. Spark Syracuse is supported by listeners like you. Tax-deductible donations are welcome at
http://sparksyracuse.org/support/

You can follow Carl's daily blog Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) at 
https://carlcafarelli.blogspot.com/

Hey, Carl's writin' a book! The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) will contain 165 essays about 165 songs, each one of 'em THE greatest record ever made. An infinite number of songs can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Updated initial information can be seen hereMy
 weekly video series The Greatest Record Ever Made! on YouTube has posted my rants about The Ramones' "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?," Badfinger's "Baby Blue," Baron Damon and the Vampires' "The Transylvania Twist," Chuck Berry's "Promised Land," Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want To Be With You," The Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen," Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel," and Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog," Patti Smith's "Gloria," and The Monkees' "Riu Chiu."

TIRnRR # 1057: 12/27/2020 THE COUNTDOWN!

58. DEAR STELLA: Time Machine (dearstellamusic.com, Time Zones)
57. RICH FIRESTONE: If The Sun Doesn't Shine (thememusictribute.bandcamp.com, THE TM COLLECTIVE: Green Thoughts)
56. NICK PIUNTI & THE COMPLICATED MEN: Upper Hand (Jem, Downtime)
55. THE MnMs: I'm Tired (Burger, Melts In Your Ears 1980-1981)
54. KID GULLIVER: Forget About Him (Red On Red, single)
53. LIBRARIANS WITH HICKEYS: That Time Is Now (Big Stir, Long Overdue)
52. THE JANGLE BAND: So Long (joealgeri.bandcamp.com, The Metro Hotel EP)
51. THE MIDNIGHT CALLERS: 41 Miles To Roscoe (Jem, Red Letter Glow)
50. HOLLY GOLIGHTLY: I Can't Stand It (Damaged Goods, My First Holly Golightly Album)
49. POP CO-OP: The Price Of Admission (Futureman, Factory Settings)
48. THE MUFFS: Pollyanna (Omnivore, No Holiday)
47. BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD: Sit Down I Think I Love You (Rhino, Buffalo Springfield)
46. THE BANGLES: Live (Columbia, All Over The Place)
45. X-RAY SPEX: The Day The World Turned Day-Glo (Sanctuary, Germ Free Adolescents)
44. THE BROTHERS STEVE: We Got The Hits (Big Stir, # 1)
43. ANNY CELSI: Sideways Rain (Ragazza, Kaleidoscope Heart: 12 Golden Hits)
42. THE ROLLING STONES: Get Off Of My Cloud (Abkco, December's Children (And Everybody's])
41. SQUEEZE: Annie Get Your Gun (A & M, The Squeeze Story)
40. LES HANDCLAPS: Cacti Are Delicious Fruit (Handclaps, Ouh Ouh Ah!)
39. THE NASHVILLE RAMBLERS: The Trains (Rhino, VA: Children Of Nuggets)
38. ROBERT GORDON: Someday Someway (Razor & Tie, Red Hot 1977-1981)
37. HOLLY GOLIGHTLY: Time Will Tell (Damaged Goods, Truly She Is None Other)
36. THE SOFT BOYS: I Wanna Destroy You (Matador, Underwater Moonlight)
35. P. P. ARNOLD: The First Cut Is The Deepest (Immediate, The First Cut)
34. THE SHANG HI LOS: Sway Little Player (Rum Bar, Kick It Like A Wicked Bad Habit)
33. THE CORNER LAUGHERS: The Accepted Time (Big Stir, Temescal Telegraph)
32. THE WEEKLINGS: In The Moment (Jem, 3)
31. THE GOLD NEEDLES: Billy Liar (Jem, single)
30. THE GO-GO'S: Club Zero (single)
29. THE MYNAH BIRDS: It's My Time (Ace, VA: You Heard Them Here First)
28. DR. FEELGOOD: I Don't Mind (Rhino, VA: Classic Punk)
27. MARY LOU LORD: Driven Away (Rubric, Speeding Motorcycle)
26. JOAN ARMATRADING: Me Myself I (A & M, Greatest Hits)
25. THE NERVES: Walking Out On Love (Alive, One Way Ticket)
24. HARMONIC DIRT: Maybe (harmonicdirt.com, Anthracite)
23. WHISTLESTOP ROCK: Queen Of The Drive-In (whistlestoprock1.bandcamp.com)
22. ROB MARTINEZ: All I Ever Wanted (Karma Frog, Maybe Miss America)
21. WILD KISSES: Feels So Fine (wildkisses.bandcamp.com)
20. LES HANDCLAPS: Trop Tard (Handclaps, Sessions: Brooklyn)
19. POP CO-OP: Persistence Of Memory (Futureman, Factory Settings)
18. POP CO-OP: No Man's Land (Futureman, Factory Settings)
17. SKEETER DAVIS: I Can't Stay Mad At You (Real Gone Music, VA: Honeybeat)
16. THE ZOMBIES: This Will Be Our Year (Big Beat, Odessey And Oracle)
15. DEAN LANDEW: After Work (deanlandew.bandcamp.com)
14. CHUCK BERRY: Johnny B. Goode (MCA, The Anthology)
13. EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year's Gonna Be Our Year (M-Squared, Year Of The Mouse)
12. THE ON AND ONS: 9 Days (theonandons.bandcamp.com, Menacing Smile)
11. THE MONKEES: The Door Into Summer (Rhino, The Mike & Micky Show)
10. THE BEVIS FROND: He'd Be A Diamonmd (Rubric, New River Head)
9. BIG STAR: September Gurls (Ardent, # 1 Record/Radio City)
8. THE ISLEY BROTHERS: It's Your Thing (Epic, The Essential Isley Brothers)
7. THE WHO: I Can't Explain (MCA, My Generation)
6. JUSTINE & THE UNCLEAN: Vengeance (Rum Bar, single)
5. BASH AND POP: Anything Could Happen (Fat Possum, Anything Could Happen)
4. MARYKATE O'NEIL: I'm Ready For My Luck To Turn Around (71, 1-800-Bankrupt)
3. MARY LOU LORD: Right On 'Till Dawn (Rubric, Speeding Motorcycle)
AND TIRnRR's # 1 MOST-PLAYED TRACK IN 2020:
THE MUFFS: On My Own (Omnivore, No Holiday)

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Tonight On THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO


THE COUNTDOWN!! Over the past twelve months, there were 58 tracks we played more often than any other tracks. More than a third of those tracks were new releases in 2020, while the rest have origins scattered across the decades, from the '50s through the first 19 years of this newfangled 21st century. Tonight, we count 'em all down, from a fabulous # 58 all the way to # 1. These are the hits. This is THE COUNTDOWN!! Sunday night, 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, http://sparksyracuse.org/

Saturday, December 26, 2020

THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO COUNTDOWN: Our 60 Most-Played Acts in 2020

This Sunday, December 27th, This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl will present our annual countdown show, playing back what we played a lot over the course of these past twelve months. Stats are provided for us by the mighty Fritz Van Leaven, who has been named to the Permanently Nice List by ol' Santa Claus himself. Dana and I look forward to these year-end countdowns, and we couldn't even begin to do them without Fritz.

The countdown shows are a showcase of our most-played individual tracks. Fritz also prepares stats for our most-played artists, and we occasionally include some of those artist stats in our countdown show, if there's enough time for them. Not this year! This year's countdown is a whompin' stompin' 58 tracks, which we're somehow going to program into a single three-hour radio show. Yes, it's a post-Christmas miracle. Meanwhile, we'll give the artists their due in this spot instead. Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to present:

THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO's 60 Most-Played Artists In 2020

1. The Beatles

2. Pop Co-Op
3. The Monkees
4. The Muffs
5. The Kinks
6. The Ramones
7. Chuck Berry
8. Mary Lou Lord
9. The Jam
10. Les Handclaps
11. The Who
12. Holly Golightly
13. The Bevis Frond
14. Big Star
15. Dave Edmunds
16. The Flashcubes
17. The Pretenders
18. John Lennon
19. The Isley Brothers
20. The Go-Go's
21. Irene Peña
22. Bill Berry
23. Justine and the Unclean
24. The Beach Boys
25. David Bowie
26. The Zombies
27. The Bangles
28. Bash And Pop
29. The Rolling Stones
30. The Flamin' Groovies
31. Squeeze
32. Buffalo Springfield
33. Dr. Feelgood
34. Marykate O'Neil
35. Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs
36. KISS
37. The Velvet Underground
38. Fountains of Wayne
39. Sly and the Family Stone
40. Wild Kisses
41. The Dave Clark Five
42. The Bay City Rollers
43. P. P. Arnold
44. Little Richard
45. The Mynah Birds
46. Eytan Mirsky
47. The Hollies
48. Paul McCartney
49. The Grip Weeds
50. Elvis Costello
51. George Harrison
52. Shoes
53. The Nerves
54. Dean Landew
55. The Click Beetles
56. The Gold Needles
57. The Corner Laughers
58. The Weeklings
59. Kid Gulliver
60. The On And Ons


As always, our most-played artists include the classic and the current, and the same can be said of our most-played tracks. You'll hear some of the above artists again on our countdown show tomorrow night; but nearly half of them will be replaced by other artists, performers who didn't match the overall spins accrued by these top acts, but had a song--a HIT!--that pummeled its way into the countdown nonetheless. 

We play the hits. And we're countin' down our hits this Sunday, December 27th, from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ Join us. We have some hit records we think you'll enjoy.


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This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

The many fine This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin' pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:


Volume 1: download

Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio:  CD or download

Carl's writin' a book! The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1)will contain 165 essays about 165 tracks, each one of 'em THE greatest record ever made. An infinite number of records can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Updated initial information can be seen here: THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (Volume 1). My weekly Greatest Record Ever Made! video rants can be seen in my GREM! YouTube playlist. And I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas


I wrote this at Christmas time last year. Given how 2020 has treated all of us, it bears a repeat post. Stay safe, stay healthy, and if the fates allow, stay Merry.

The holiday season can invite reminiscence, a collective conjuring of the Ghost of Christmas Past. We remember things as we think they were. We rejoice in memories of good times, wince at the lingering ache of sad times. We picture family, friends, lovers, many of them now gone from our own lives. Death. Distance. Discord. Time.

I remember being a kid in the '60s, excited to open the colorful gifts that Santa left under our Christmas tree for me to discover far too early on the morning of December 25th. Games! Toys! Captain Action! Christmas Eves with family, gathered at my Uncle Mike and Aunt Mary's house. FOOD! A 1970 road trip to see my grandparents in Missouri, delayed by car trouble that turned into a struggle half-way across Indiana. Singing carols with other kids at the Italian-American Athletic Club Christmas party. Aging (in theory) out of a personal belief in Father Christmas, and playing Santa's helper (specifically, Santa's Chief Elf Myron) in a phone call to the child of one of Dad's co-workers. 

A little kid becomes a teen, with Doc Savage paperbacks and Beatles records on Christmas morning. A college student. There is another family trip to Missouri, spent recovering from a stomach bug and missing a girl I'd met at school. The college student becomes a college graduate. And suddenly, a young adult, alone one Christmas morning with a stack of old comic books and a bottle of Jack Daniels, knowing solitude won't last, but knowing it has to be that way in the moment, knowing a loved one is dealing with something much worse. Years fly by. Jobs change, addresses change, circles of friends change. Faces that were always there aren't there anymore. We deck the halls, but feel this loss we may be able to define, but can't deny.

So we close our eyes. And we wish.

In the mind's eye, all is as it was. Everyone we ever loved remains with us. I remember the bright and the dark: coming home from an overnight Christmas Eve shift to share a bottle of champagne and a Christmas kiss with my girlfriend, whom I would marry the following year; my chicken pox Christmas, when I was 36; Christmas Eves with my wife and daughter, eating Chinese food and cruising through Lights On The Lake; doing a Christmas radio show while trying to cope with tragedy, playing Gary Frenay's "Christmas Without You" and becoming too choked up to speak, unable to continue; watching the wide eyes of my daughter as she grew up under the bright glow of the season, and delighting again this week in the sight of her and her mother lighting the Chanukah candles together; seeing fewer and fewer places and faces at family gatherings, always aware of the price that time demands of us all.

And still I believe.

I may not believe what you believe. I may not believe what you think I believe. But I believe. I believe in our promise. I believe in our capacity to grow, to be better. I believe in a magic we make together.

I wish you magic. I wish you hope. I wish you love. I wish you the merriest. Somehow. Santa will find you. Light will find you. Believe in light. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.