Saturday, July 6, 2024


10 Songs is a weekly list of ten songs that happen to be on my mind at the moment. The lists are usually dominated by songs played on the previous Sunday 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 week's edition of 10 Songs will really be 40 Songs, presented in four parts. The selections draw from the playlist for This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 1240, presenting a few of the tracks featured in my new book THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (VOLUME 1).

We played 48 tracks on this week's show; for ten of those, I read on-air excerpts from the book's chapter about that track. This four-part collection of 10 Songs columns will offer snippets on behalf of the other 38 tracks, with two bonus tracks at the end.

You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. And now...the thrilling conclusion!

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: Uncle John's Band

It’s the same story the crow told me, it’s the only one he knows

We try to hold on. We try to cling to things we cherish. We can't hold on. We shouldn't. We can't.

When I was a teenage college student Blitzkrieg Boppin’  my way through the late seventies, I actively loathed the Grateful Dead. To this power-poppin' punk rocker, the Dead's music, image, and interminably jamming vibe were, frankly, a bucket of yuck. Gimme the Ramones. Gimme the Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks, the Flashcubes. Gimme British Invasion. Gimme the Monkees. Gimme something snappy, short 'n' sharp, fast 'n' catchy, and play it loud. Gimme some truth. The Grateful Dead? No. Thanks anyway, but no.

But, somewhere in this time frame, I heard the Grateful Dead's "Uncle John's Band." Maybe not for the first time--it was, after all, released way back in 1970, the lead-off track on the Workingman's Dead album, and some radio station somewhere must have played it within my sovereign air space--but maybe for the first time that mattered. I still found time to hate the Grateful Dead. I made an exception for "Uncle John's Band."

Why? There was something...inviting about the track. Something comforting, something pretty, something intrinsically appealing on a deeper level. By the early eighties, I quipped that "Uncle John's Band" was a great track, and that I just wished it was by the Hollies instead of the Dead. I think I said the same thing about Van Halen's "Dance the Night Away" and "Lorelei" by Styx, in each case ripping off something I'd once read in Phonograph Record Magazine about "Cherry Baby" by Starz. Once again: Even an act you despise might be capable of putting out one track you adore....


There can be a great temptation to think of our own stories as tragedies. It would certainly be easy to do so. Thank God we have music to help us navigate that notion.

I grew up in a home filled with music. My parents loved music, my sister and brothers loved music, and I saw no reason to rebel against that. Of course I love music; how could I not?

My siblings provided a portal to some of the then-contemporary sounds of the 1960s, from Gene Pitney and Ricky Nelson to the Beach Boys and the Dave Clark Five, and more. Dad favored what he called pre-Pearl Harbor music. Mom loved Dixieland, swing, Frank Sinatra, and Antonio Carlos Jobim, among many others. And, of course, Mom loved Broadway....

EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS: Do Anything You Wanna Do

...Seventies punk grew in part out of a repudiation of the hippie ethos, yet the two opposing notions shared more than either faction would have admitted. The punks cried "Anarchy!," the hippies insisted "Make love, not war," but each professed to reject the rules of societal conformity. Perhaps they created their own conformities along the way. The hippies said, "If it feels good, do it." The punks prized the practice of DIY. And in 1977, a British group swept up in (at least) punk's periphery crafted a rallying cry: Do Anything You Wanna Do.

The origin and roots of Eddie and the Hot Rods slightly predate our notion of British punk, but they were a part of that scene initially. Eddie and the Hot Rods thrived in the melting point where pub rock became punk, and whatever they lacked in spit and venom could be shrugged aside in an imperious flurry of sweat and volume, as the dancers do what the dancers do. 

As the dancers do anything they wanna do....


I've had a complicated relationship with social interaction. Just a few years ago, I told a friend that I tend to feel out of place no matter where I am or what I'm doing. I'm a square peg, and I'm shy. I conceal it pretty well--anyone who has heard me bellowing on the radio will attest to that--and sometimes I can continue playing the role of bon vivant for short spells in real life. It's not really me, but it's the me I think I want to be. I think. I guess. Who knows?....

STEVIE WONDER: I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)

...I believe when we fall in love it can last forever.

If we believe in a love at first sight—and, as we’ve noted before, I'm certain that it happens all the time--we must also believe in a love that builds itself over time. And while I admit this transition's a stretch, it is absolutely true: Before I came to love the music of Stevie Wonder, I was resolutely indifferent to it.

Believe me....

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

Belief feeds hope.

Marykate O'Neil is a singer-songwriter, originally from Massachusetts, relocated to New York City. She released four albums--Marykate O'Neil, 1-800-Bankrupt, mkULTRA, and Underground--in a period from 2002 to 2009. My first exposure to her music was her able cover of the Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday" in 2000 (from a various-artists Monkees tribute album called Through The Looking Glass: Indie Pop Plays The Monkees). 2006's "I'm Ready For My Luck To Turn Around" was my go-to. It became even more of a go-to in 2020....

THE JAYHAWKS: I'm Gonna Make You Love Me

....That's it. Sometimes it's just as simple as that.


I grew up in a time when TV theme songs routinely entered the public consciousness. The catchy ditties that opened shows like Gilligan's Island, F Troop, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Patty Duke Show, and Car 54, Where Are You? weren't hit records in the usual sense, but within our shared pop culture they were as big as any 45 spinning on any radio. 

Many theme songs were sufficiently hook-laden to prompt release as a single, sometimes by the original artist and sometimes in cover versions, and sometimes to chart success. The Ventures, Perry Como, Henry Mancini, and Johnny Rivers all made the Top 40 with their respective renditions of themes from Hawaii Five-0, Here Come the Brides, Peter Gunn, and Secret Agent Man, and the Cowsills should have hit big with their sublime cover of the theme from Love American Style. Television tunes continued to maintain a radio presence throughout the seventies and eighties. In June of 1995, the Rembrandts' "I'll Be There For You," the theme from the NBC sitcom Friends, was the # 1 song on radio the week my daughter was born. 

The campy 1966 Batman TV series had a seismic effect on me when I was six. No other television program could ever equal Batman's lasting impact on impressionable li'l me, creating a life-long interest in comic books and superheroes in general, and in the Caped Crusader specifically. I didn't understand that the show poked fun at the character, because actor Adam West played the title role straight, and to perfection. As West said decades later in a guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory: "I never had to say 'I'M BATMAN!' When I showed up, people knew who the hell I was...."


DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars?

...I didn't see it coming.

David Bowie's death on January 10th of 2016 had way more impact on me than I would have ever thought likely. There were external factors in play; my daughter had just begun a semester in London, and it would be, by far, the longest time I would ever go without seeing her. I felt fragile, mortal. I felt sad, my pride in her accomplishments and delight in her opportunities not quite sufficient to ease the ache inside. Bowie died. I wasn't even all that much of a fan. Yet his passing hit me harder than any celebrity death since losing Joey Ramone on Easter Sunday in 2001.

I needed to release the feeling. Somehow. I wrote this open letter to David Bowie, intending to use it as commentary for the posted playlist of our This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio tribute to Bowie, which played on January 17th of '16. My 56th birthday. Look at that caveman go.

It wasn't enough. I couldn't email the playlist out and just let it go. I needed more. I started my blog on January 18th, with this letter to Bowie as my inaugural post. It had been ten years since I gave up freelancing; it hadn't been fun anymore. I promised myself I would post something, however slight, every single day. Every. Goddamned. Day. No excuses. I had largely stopped writing. I needed to get back to writing. Immediately....

THE T-BONES; No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)

...Almost six decades later, the music means as much to me now as it meant when I was five, and as when I was three, when I was twelve, eighteen, twenty-four, thirty-six, forty, fifty, and on down the dark and twisting path ahead of me.

It's best played loud. 

No matter what shape.

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (VOLUME 1) publishes on Wednesday, July 10th. You can read details about the book here. The physical paperback is available to bookstores via Ingram--if you have an indie bookseller near you, KEEP BOOKSTORES ALIVE!--and the paperbacks and ebooks are available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The mighty Kool Kat Musik will be selling autographed copies of the paperback. Autographed copies can also be purchased from me for $34 (including shipping within the continental US) via PayPal to

If you like what you see here on Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider a visit to CC's Tip Jar

My new book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) is now available for order; you can see details here. My 2023 book Gabba Gabba Hey! A Conversation With The Ramones is also still available, courtesy of the good folks at Rare Bird Books

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, streaming at SPARK stream and on the Radio Garden app as WESTCOTT RADIO. Recent shows are archived at Westcott Radio. You can read about our history here.

I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl

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