Saturday, January 14, 2023

5 ABOVE: Songs Stuck In My Head

5 Above picks five great songs within a specific category. Look out below--these are five that rise above.

With apologies to power pop pundit Aaron Kupferberg (from whose fab book Songs Stuck In My Head I swiped the title for this edition of 5 Above), here are five tracks that seem to pop into my noggin with some frequency. I don't even know if it's an AM frequency or an FM frequency; the songs are just there, unbidden, not prompted by recently hearing the song or seeing the title. 

Although I do indeed love each of these little ditties, none of them is among my all-time Hot 100; that would miss the point of this exercise. They're just great songs that somehow got stuck in my head, with some permanence, but for no apparent reason. 

THE ADDRISI BROTHERS: We've Got To Get It On Again

Hey, an AM radio booty call! Or maybe the spiritual predecessor of Amy Rigby's "Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again?" I don't think the earnest horniness of its subject matter has anything to do with the track's omnipresence within my cranium; the song is there because of its hooks, its easygoing '70s Top 40 country-pop sway. 

And, the above-referenced plea for passion notwithstanding, it's worth noting that the song is most emphatically not about a one-night stand, nor a brief affair of any kind. Its pursuit of rekindled fire is on behalf of a monogamous long-term love, a commitment to staying together and staying frisky. Again. And again. And again. 


I believe I first heard the Royal Court of China's relatively obscure '80s alt-pop gem "It's All Changed" on MTV. I don't remember the video at all, but I sure do remember the song. I bought the album, and I oughtta go back and listen to that again, just to see if anything else can match the winding catchiness of this one track. In the mean time: this one track. Its hold on me hasn't changed at all.

SPANDAU BALLET: To Cut A Long Story Short

This is the all-time # 1 among random songs stuck in my head. The insistent riff of Spandau Ballet's "To Cut A Long Story Short" is always with me, for no reason I can discern. To cut a long story short, it's on mind.

THE SYLVERS: Boogie Fever

BOOGIE FEVER! This is such a flat-out fantastic disco number. While my 1970s teen self's head would combust if it knew 21st century middle-aged me would ever use the phrase "flat-out fantastic disco number," let's face it, I'm just plain smarter now. "Boogie Fever" is electric and infectious, and though I've never considered giving it a turn as The Greatest Record Ever Made!, maybe it's time I did. My teen self will get over it. 

THE WHO: The Punk Meets The Godfather

My introduction to the Who's "The Punk Meets The Godfather" came via a really cool late '70s Syracuse group called the Dead Ducks. Dead Ducks guitarist Danny Bonn has a cousin named Dana Bonn, who co-hosts the noted little mutant radio show This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. The Who were a huge, huge influence on Danny, and that effect was evident in everything the Dead Ducks did.

I'm mostly into early Who, pre-Tommy, "I Can't Explain" through "Magic Bus." I do like Tommy, and I like Who's Next and Quadrophenia, with significantly diminishing returns beyond that point. Outside of maybe "Won't Get Fooled Again" from Who's Next, the Quadrophenia track "The Punk Meets The Godfather" is the only post-Tommy Who number that really moves my needle into deep red. The way the guitar and bass parts face off as the song starts--ladies and gentlemen, place your bets on TOWNSHEND VERSUS ENTWHISTLE!!--is what embeds the song in my brain.

A song stuck in my head. I'm happy to have it there. 

HEY! Since I stole Aaron's title for today's post, it's only fair that I remind you to purchase your own copy of Songs Stuck In My Head, available as a physical copy or as an ebook. Here's the rave review I scrawled on its behalf:

There is no substitute for passion. Aaron Kupferberg combines his enthusiasm for rockin' pop music with knowledge of the music's history and circumstances to craft an engaging guide to power pop. The result is as catchy and engaging as the songs that get stuck in our heads, providing background and context for the soundtrack of the hearts we wear so proudly on our sleeves. The book is a useful introduction for beginners, but also a welcome celebration for anyone already immersed in the delight of power pop and its infectious periphery.

Go! BUY! And tell 'em CC sent you.

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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 You can read about our history here.

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