Archive for April, 2021

Any Major Top 75 Acts (1-17)

April 29th, 2021 3 comments


We’re hitting the top in Any Major Dude’s Top 75 acts, a list compiled with my assistance at Rolling Stone magazine. The previous three volumes covered positions 18-34 and 35-56 and 56-75. The system was explained in the first instalment of this 4-part series.

Much as the final Top 75 rankings differed from the Rolling Stone list of Top 100 acts, the Top 3 is non-negotiable, though I think my order of those three makes better sense than that arrived at by my assistants.

Several acts that failed to make the Rolling Stone list made it onto my list. The highest-placed entries of those 19 acts are ABBA and Steely Dan, coming in at 11 and 15 respectively. One may explain the absence of ABBA in the Rolling Stone list by the Swedes’ relative lack of success in the US; a European list of any merit, however, would not exclude them. Steely Dan’s presence in my Top 20… well, look at the name of this blog!

A combination of the way in which the assistants overrated U2 and the circumstance that I have several of their albums (for which points were allocated) kept Bono and pals in the Top 20, a place ahead of Michael Jackson. That guy was hurt by being undervalued by RS — #35, Rolling Stone? Really? — and the fact that I own only three MJ solo albums. But that’s the way these lists work: they are by definition subjective. Though, as mentioned, the Top 3 are pretty much science and gospel.

I’ve also explained the method of song-selection on the playlists before — basically a favourite act per act. The Top two get two tracks here, one from those acts’ early and late periods. Number 3’s later period track didn’t fit on the CD-R length mix, so I’m including it as a bonus track. The chosen tracks are supposed to be my favourites of these acts, but for most, how can there be one, or two, or even five? So for #6, I chose the song that first turned me on to him four decades ago. The early period tracks for #1 and #2 have been my nominal favourites of theirs since I was 12.

The comments on the previous three parts don’t suggest that this was the most beloved series on Any Major Dude yet. I’m hoping that everybody waited for the final part to tell me how much they agree or disagree…

As I said, the mix is time to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-hyped covers, and the above text and full Top 75 in an illustrated PDF booklet. And I include an updated back cover for the last mix (the blue cover), which had the incorrect title on the spine. PW in comments.

Here is the countdown from #17 to the first place, with RS rankings in brackets. Featured songs in parenthesis (on the playlist they follow a more logical sequence)

17 (22)  U2 (Bad, 1984)
16 (18)  Marvin Gaye (What’s Going On, 1971)
15 (—)  Steely Dan (Any Major Dude Will Tell You, 1974)
14 (12)  The Beach Boys (Wouldn’t It Be Nice, 1966)
13 (11)   Bob Marley (Trenchtown Rock [live], 1975)
12 (7)    James Brown (Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine, 1970)
11 (—)  ABBA (The Name Of The Game, 1977)
10 (31)  Johnny Cash (Hurt, 2002)
9 (27)    Prince (Baby I’m A Star, 1984)
8 (4)     The Rolling Stones (Wild Horses, 1971)
7 (9)     Aretha Franklin (Rock Steady, 1972)
6 (23)   Bruce Springsteen (The Ties That Bind, 1980)
5 (40)   Simon & Garfunkel (America, 1968)
4 (15)    Stevie Wonder (As, 1976)
3 (2)     Bob Dylan (Positively 4th Street, 1965)
2 (3)     Elvis Presley (I Want To Be Free, 1957 / In The Ghetto, 1969)
1 (1)     The Beatles (You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away / Strawberry Fields Forever, 1967)


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Any Major Shakespeare

April 22nd, 2021 3 comments



No, please don’t run away — this will be fun! As Stephano said to Caliban in The Tempest: “We’ll not run!” What we have here is a mix of songs that include phrases introduced to the English language by William Shakespeare, the Leonard Cohen of his day.

Shakespeare, whose anniversary of birth and death we officially mark on April 23, coined dozens of phrases and words (or, at least, was the first to use them in surviving writings). As a coiner of popular phrases, Shakespeare is second only to the Bible. So it is to be expected that common phrases find their way into the lyrics of pop songs.

This mix concerns itself with phrases — “Heart of gold”, “Break the ice”, “The wheel is come full circle”, “Give the devil his due”, “In a pickle”, et cetera — rather than with single words. And there’s enough for another mix.

Single words alone would yield a never-ending number of compilations. One site counted 422 words, many of which we still use today; others count as many as 1,700. Such words include: accommodation, amazement, auspicious, baseless, castigate, countless, courtship, critical, dishearten, dwindle, eventful, exposure, generous, gloomy, gnarled, hurry, impartial, laughable, lonely, majestic, misplaced, monumental, obscene, premeditated, radiance, sanctimonious, submerge, suspicious…

This mix works well as just an eclectic sequence of songs, finding themselves bundled together by the random circumstance of linguistics and literature, but it’s very enjoyable nonetheless. And I imagine that English teachers might get a spark of an idea from this mix, getting their pupils to spot the Shakespeare in pop. I counsel caution with the Billy Holiday track, an old blues number from the 1920s which has lyrics one would not sing today…

To quote Caliban in The Tempest: “Wilt thou be pleased to hearken once againe to the mixt’re of CD-R lengthe, with home-rhymeth cov’rages, I made to thee?” Passworde be founde in ye comments.


1. The Beach Boys – Fun, Fun, Fun (1964 – “Wild-goose chase” from Romeo and Juliet)

2. Moby Grape – Come In The Morning (1968 – “Come what may” from Macbeth)

3. Colin Blunstone – Lovelight (1980 – “This denoted a foregone conclusion” from Othello)

4. Little River Band – Full Circle (1981 – “The wheel is come full circle” from King Lear)

5. Gallagher And Lyle – Heart On My Sleeve (1976 – “Wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve” from Othello)

6. Neil Young – Heart Of Gold (1972 – “A heart of gold” from Henry V)

7. The Waterboys – Love And Death (1993 – “With bated breath” from The Merchant of Venice)

8. INXS – Disappear (1990 – “All our yesterdays” from Macbeth)

9. The Darkness – Love Is Only A Feeling (2003 – “The be-all and the end-all” from Macbeth)

10. James Dean Bradfield – Still A Long Way To Go (2006 – “Cold comfort” from King John)

11. David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes (1980 – “Break the ice” from The Taming of the Shrew)

12. Spandau Ballet – Gold (1983 – “My salad days” from Antony and Cleopatra)

13. Rod Stewart – Ain’t Love A Bitch (1978 – “I’ll not budge an inch, boy” from The Taming of the Shrew)

14. Charlie Daniels Band – The Devil Went Down To Georgia (1979 – “Give the devil his due” from 1 Henry IV)

15. John Prine – Please Don’t Bury Me (1973 – “In maiden meditation, fancy-free” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

16. Tift Merritt – Hopes Too High (2008 – “In my mind’s eye” from Hamlet)

17. Kim Richey – Cowards In A Brave New World (2002 – “O, brave new world” from The Tempest)

18. Carly Simon – The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of (1987 – “Such stuff as dreams are made on” from The Tempest)

19. Mary Hopkin – Those Were The Days (1968 – “Farewell for ever and a day” from The Taming of the Shrew)

20. Lou Christie – All That Glitters Isn’t Gold (1963 – “All that glitters isn’t gold” from The Merchant of Venice)

21. Billie Holiday – Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do (1949 – “In a pickle” from The Tempest)

22. Chan Romero – Hippy Hippy Shake (1959 – “For goodness sake, consider what you do” from Henry VIII)

23. Kitty Wells – Kill Him With Kindness (1965 – “This is a way to kill a wife with kindness” from The Taming of the Shrew)

24. Glen Campbell – Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) (2008 – “A good riddance” from Troilus and Cressida)


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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 11

April 13th, 2021 6 comments


In the latest installment of the Not Feeling Guilty series, we are looking at singers whose names sound like those of school teachers; that is, artists who went by their given names, regardless of how ordinary and un-rock & roll they were (the gallery below, which is intended to inject a little gentle humour into the proceedings, might bear out my point. A bigger version of the collage is included in the package). You weren’t going to become a big star with the name Ruhnke (though LaBounty is a pretty cool name).

Many of these singers also looked like they might have been your teacher. And that is not a slur on teachers nor the artists. These singers were recording artists, not creations of image. Their names, bad beards and bald heads assured us that they were here to create music, for the sake of music. Their craft was honest. And, as this mix shows, there was plenty talent behind the ordinary names. If their music’s point is to make you feel good, these people have probably succeeded.

Only few of the acts here struck it really big, though one is married to a man who is one of the godfathers of this genre. Amy Holland married Michael McDonald, who produced and played keyboards on the featured song, the title track of the album which won her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1981. Holland and McDonald have been married since 1983.

The biggest hit here is Alan O’Day’s Undercover Angel, which was a US #1 and a global hit. It wasn’t his first chart-topper: three years earlier his composition Angie Baby was a #1 hit for Helen Reddy. He also co-wrote the The Righteous Brothers’ 1974 hit Rock And Roll Heaven (originally by a group called Climax). Later O’Day won an Emmy for his music on the Muppets Babies show. O’Day, whose hairline moved forward as he got older, died at 72 in 2013.

US-born and Australia-raised Steve Kipner had some success as a young man in Australia, sang backing vocals on a number of the Bee Gees’ early recordings (which were produced by his father), and had a couple of hits as part of the band Tin Tin. He released only one solo album, in 1979. But his greater success came as the co-writer of a string of hit records spanning four decades. These include Olivia Newton-John’s Physical, Chicago’s Hard Habit To Break, Christina Aguilera’s Genie In A Bottle, Natasha Bedingfield’s These Words, The Hardest Thing by 98 Degrees, He Loves U Not by Dream, Kelly Rowland’s Stole, The Script’s Breakeven and The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, Cheryl Cole’s Fight for This Love, Camilla Cabello’s Crying In The Club, James Arthur’s Say You Won’t Let Go…

Another prolific songwriter was Bruce Roberts, whose co-writing credits includes the Donna Summer & Barbra Streisand disco classic No More Tears. He also co-wrote Streisand’s The Main Event, Bette Midler’s You’re Moving Out Today, Starmaker for Paul Anka/Judy Collins/The Kids from ‘Fame’, Rita Coolidge’s Fool That I Am, Laura Branigan’s The Lucky One, Dolly Parton’s You’re The Only One, Jeffrey Osborne’s You Should Be Mine (featured on Any Major Soul 1986/87), and more. He also co-wrote Lani Hall’s Where’s Your Angel?, which featured on Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 10.


If AOR singers were teachers…


Yet another singer here with an impressive record of writing hits for others is Randy Goodrum, to whom we owe, as writer or co-writer, the Ann Murray hit You Needed Me, Kenny Rogers & Dottie West’s What Are We Doin’ In Love, Steve Perry’s Oh Sherrie, DeBarge’s Who’s Holding Donna Now, Toto’s I’ll Be Over You, and George Benson’s 20/20, among others. Goodrum also wrote songs for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns.

Goodrum also wrote two other (colour-coordinated) songs here. Pop-gospel-country singer Micki Fuhrman recorded Goodrum’s Blue River Of Tears in 1979; it was a single release only, and made no impact, which is a pity. Fuhrman released three albums and a bunch of singles until 1983.

Goodrum’s Bluer Than Blue was a hit in 1978 for Michael Johnson, an musical all-rounder. As a youth, he studied classical guitar in Barcelona; in the 1960s he was a member alongside John Denver in the folk outfit Chad Mitchell Trio. In the late 1970s he ventured into AOR, and in the 1980s became a country musician. One of Johnson’s hits was This Night Won’t Last Forever, a US #19 in 1979, which features here in Bill LaBounty’s 1978 original version. Johnson died in 2017 at 72.

In the 1960s, the British musician Graham Dee — the only artist in this lot operating with a stagename; his real name is Davidson — worked with future Led Zep members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, filled in for Syd Barrett in Pink Floyd and in Them, and played for Elkie Brooks, The Walker Brothers and Carl Perkins.

Near-namesake Larry Lee must not be confused with the guitarist of the same name who played with Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. This Larry Lee was a founder member of the Ozark Mountains Daredevils. As the band’s drummer, Lee wrote and took lead vocals the band’s best-known song Judy Blue, which like the Warnes song mentioned above featured on Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 10. Later he joined The Vinyl Kings, with Not Feeling Guilty alumnus Jim Photoglo (introduced on Vol. 7).

Terence Boylan had cool classmates, who helped him record his debut album in 1969: Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, yet to become Steely Dan. Boylan released three LPs between 1969 and 1980, and that was it for his recording career. Happily, Boylan had science to fall back on. He is now director of a foundation he founded to facilitate research and international scientist exchange fellowships.

The best teachers’ name here must be Dick St Nicklaus. I couldn’t find much about him, except that he once worked with Lamont & Dozier, released two albums which were huge hits in Japan, and wrote a number of sings which were recorded by the likes of Laura Branigan, Peter Allen, Vanilla Fudge and Bill Medley.

Craig Ruhnke was introduced in Vol. 9, Peter McCann in Vol. 10. Oh, and I think I’ll opt for religious instruction classes.

As ever, this mix is timed to fit on as standard CD-R and includes home-cruised covers, the whole caboodle above in PDF format, and the yearbook gallery above in larger format. PW in comments.

1. Roby Duke – Seasons Of Change (1982)
2. Alan O’Day – Undercover Angel (1977)
3. Randy Goodrum – Fool’s Paradise (1982)
4. Amy Holland – How Do I Survive (1980)
5. Graham Dee – Too Good To Last (1977)
6. Jim Schmidt – Love Has Taken It All Away (1983)
7. Bill Champlin – Tonight Tonight (1981)
8. Bill LaBounty – This Night Won’t Last Forever (1978)
9. Craig Ruhnke – It’s Been Such A Long Time (1983)
10. Terence Boylan – Tell Me (1980)
11. Larry Lee – Number One Girl (1982)
12. John Valenti – Did She Mention Me (1980)
13. Teri De Sario – The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of (1978)
14. Dwayne Ford – Lovin’ And Losin’ You (1981)
15. Richard Torrance – Anything’s Possible (1978)
16. Dick St. Nicklaus – Can’t Give Up (1979)
17. Michael Johnson – Bluer Than Blue (1978)
18. Micki Fuhrman – Blue River Of Tears (1979)
19. Peter McCann – Do You Wanna Make Love (1977)
20. Bruce Roberts – Cool Fool (1980)
21. Steve Kipner – The Ending (1979)


Not Feeling Guilty Mix 1
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 2
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 3
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 4
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 5
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 6
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 7
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 8
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 9
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 10
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 11
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 12
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 13


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In Memoriam – March 2021

April 6th, 2021 8 comments

In March the Reaper took it easier than he had in previous months, but he did claim a number of behind-the-scenes pioneers: the inventor of cassette tapes, an inventor of a synthesizer, a woman who broke a glass ceiling in the music industry…

The Wailer
For more than 30 years, Bunny Wailer (born Neville O’Riley Livingston) was the last man standing of the group whose stage name gave the legendary reggae group its name, with Bob Marley checking out in 1981 and Peter Tosh six years later. The Wailers were something of a family affair: Bunny’s father and Marley’s mother became a couple, having a daughter together; and Tosh had a son (reggae singer Andrew Tosh) with Bunny’s sister.

I needn’t discuss the musical impact of The Wailers or of Bunny Wailer; the obituaries have done so to better effect than I could. But I’ll say this: Marley and Tosh were the more celebrated singers, but I think that the percussionist Bunny was also a great vocalist, in the tradition of his hero Curtis Mayfield.

The Influencer
English jazz trombonist Chris Barber changed the trajectory of pop music profoundly. First he did so by pioneering the skiffle craze in Britain through his recording of Rock Island Line which, once credited to vocalist Lonnie Donegan, became a big hit in 1954. The skiffle craze inspired many British youths to form bands; among them a young Liverpudlian named John Lennon…

Barber made his name as a traditional jazz musician, scoring a big transatlantic hit with the instrumental Petite Fleur in 1959. But in the late 1950s/early 1960s he also brought US blues musicians such as Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, and Muddy Waters to Britain, thereby helping to introduce many young musicians to that genre. These included The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Yardbirds, and across the Irish Sea, Rory Gallagher. The latter would join up with Barber; the guitar that opens the featured track is his. Later he also collaborated with Dr John, creating a mardi gras anthem that represented New Orleans on my long musical journey through the USA (on Any Major American Road Trip Vol. 2).

Stop. Eject.
On my 10th birthday I received my first cassette recorder, a basic thing whose smell I vividly remember. That birthday present kicked off a relationship that would last for exactly a quarter of a century, when I bought a car with a CD player and I had no more use for my old tapes. But it is thanks to cassettes — the hobby of making mix-tapes — that we have this little corner of playlist-dabbling. Without tapes, you’d not be reading these words today!

As we know, home-taping killed music, and the man responsible has now died at 94. Lou Ottens developed the cassette tape with his team for the Dutch company Royal Philips, introducing the first sample of this new technology in 1963. Tapes were still catching on in 1972 when Ottens became instrumental (if you pardon the unintentional pun) in the development of compact discs. Ottens would regard the CD as his greater accomplishment.

Ottens began his career of invention as a teenager when he put together a device to block the radio jammers of the Nazi forces that were occupying the Netherlands in World War 2, enabling his family to receive banned radio broadcasts.

The Trailblazer
In 1959, the RCA Camden label was about to fold — and who better a fall-guy than a woman trying to make her way in a man’s game. But Ethel Gabriel, a woman in her late 30s who had worked her way up from doing dogs-body’s work in the 1940s to become a successful record producer (the first woman on a major US label), was no fall gal. She issued a series of easy listening albums, which culminated in a Grammy win in 1967. These were especially the Living Strings/Brass/Marimba/Voices/Jazz etc LPs. As an A&R executive, she was responsible for putting out records by acts like Perry Como, Cleo Laine, Roger Whittaker, Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, Henry Mancini, Harry Belafonte, Perez Prado, Neil Sedaka and many others. In 1982, Gabriel was appointed vice-president of RCA’s Pop Contemporary A&R division, becoming the first woman at RCA Records to become a vice-president.

The Synth Pioneer
Having started his musical career as a jazz musician in bands led by the likes of Ronnie Scott, Dick Morrissey and Chris Barber, London-born Malcolm Cecil went to live in New York where he invented the world’s largest synthesizer, the Original New Timbral Orchestra (TONTO), which was widely used in the famous Record Plant studios. You can hear him play the synth on Little Feat’s Dixie Chicken, and he assisted acts such as the Doobie Brothers (the synth on Long Train Running and China Grove were programmed by Cecil), Isley Brothers, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Joan Baez and Gil-Scott-Heron in their use of his synth.

With his regular musical partner Robert Margouleff, Cecil co-produced Stevie Wonder’s albums Music Of My Mind, Talking Book (including Superstition and You Are The Sunshine Of My Life), Innervision (on which he played bass on Visions) and Fulfillingness First Finale. He also produced or co-produced acts like Syreeta, Mandrill, Billy Preston, and Gil Scott-Heron.

The Rockabilly King
The first tribute record to be released after the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper was co-written and released by rockabilly singer and double-bassist Ray Campi, who has died at 86. It was titled Ballad Of Donna And Peggy Sue, namechecking titular names from hits by Valens and Holly — and Campi recorded it with The Big Bopper’s backing band. Campi, the supposed “The King of Rockabilly” who would use his white double-bass as a prop in his wild stage shows, did music only as a sideline while working as a teacher. It was only when he was rediscovered in the 1970s, when the rock & roll revival hit, that he began to record again and tour full-time.

As always, this post is reproduced in PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

Ralph Peterson Jr., 58, jazz drummer, on March 1
Ralph Peterson Quintet – Soweto 6 (1988)

Mark Goffeney, 51, guitarist, body discovered on March 2

Bunny Wailer, 73, Jamaican reggae pioneer, on March 2
The Wailers – Sunday Morning (1966, on lead vocals)
The Wailers – Pass It On (1973, on lead vocals)
Bunny Wailer – Dreamland (1976)
Bunny Wailer – Riding (1979)

Àlex Casademunt, 39, Spanish pop singer and TV presenter, on March 2

Chris Barber, 90, English jazz trombonist and bandleader, on March 2
Lonnie Donegan’s Skiffle Group – Rock Island Line (1954, as leader & on bass)
Chris Barber’s Band – Catcall (1967, written by Paul McCartney)
Chris Barber – Drat That Fratle Rat (1972)

Radim Pařízek, 67, drummer of Czech rock band Citron, on March 2

Duffy Jackson, 67, jazz drummer, on March 3
George Benson & Count Basie Orchestra – Without A Song (1990, on drums)

Dagoberto Planos Despaigne, 64, singer and songwriter with Cuban band Los Karachi, on March 3
Los Karachi – Pero Qué Le Sucede a Mi Negra (1988, also as writer)

Maria José Valério, 87, Portuguese singer, on March 3

Alan Cartwright, 75, bassist of Procol Harum (1972-75), on March 4
Procol Harum – Nothing But The Truth (1974)

Bhaskar Menon, 86, Indian-born label executive (Capitol, EMI), on March 4

Michael Stanley, 72, rock guitarist, singer and songwriter, on March 5
Michael Stanley Band – He Can’t Love You (1980)

Lou Ottens, 94, inventor of the cassette tape, co-developer of CDs, on March 6
Tift Merritt – Mixtape (2010)

Lars Göran Petrov, 49, singer of Swedish death metal band Entombed, on March 7

Sanja Ilić, 69, composer and keyboardist of Serbian bands San, Balkanika, on March 7
Grupa San – Anabela (1974)

Sasa Klaas, 27, Botswanan hip hop/R&B singer-songwriter, helicopter crash on March 6

Josky Kiambukuta, 72, singer with Congolese rumba collective TPOK Jazz, on March 7
Orchestre T. P. OK-Jazz – Kebana (1973, on lead vocals and as writer)

Julien-François Zbinden, 103, Swiss jazz pianist and composer, on March 8

James MacGaw, guitarist of French prog-rock group Magma (1998-2017), on March 8
Magma – Emëhntëhtt-Ré IV (2009)

Adrian Bărar, 61, guitarist and composer with Romanian rock band Cargo, on March 9

Mark Whitecage, 83, jazz reedist, announced on March 9
Adam Lane, Lou Grassi & Mark Whitecage – Five O’Clock Follies (1998)

Len Skeat, 84, English jazz double-bassist, on March 9

Shuichi Murakami, 70, Japanese jazz drummer, on March 9
Ryuichi Sakamoto – I’ll Be There (1983, on drums)

Freddy Birset, 73, Belgian singer and musician, on March 9

Randy Myers, 73, songwriter, on March 10
Jackie DeShannon – Put A Little Love In Your Heart (1969, as co-writer)

Roger Trigaux, 69, founder of Belgian avant-garde groups Univers Zero, Present, on March 10

Lily de Vos, 96, Dutch singer, announced on March 11

Jewlia Eisenberg, singer of avant-rock band Charming Hostess, on March 11
Charming Hostess – Laws of Physics (1999)

Ray Campi, 86, rockabilly singer and double bassist, on March 11
Ray Campi – Caterpillar (1956)
Ray Campi – Ballad Of Donna And Peggy Sue (1959)

Maximiliano Djerfy, 46, guitarist of Argentine rock band Callejeros, on March 12

Raoul Casadei, 83, Italian singer and composer, on March 13

Reggie Warren, 52, singer with soul group Troop, on March 14
Troop – Mamacita (1989)

Thione Seck, 66, Senegalese singer and musician, on March 14
Orchestra Baobab – Mouhamadou Bamba (1981, as member)

Eulalio ‘Sax’ Cervantes, 52, saxophonist of Mexican rock band Maldita Vecindad, on March 14
Maldita Vecindad – Kumbala (1991)

Doug Parkinson, 74, Australian rock singer, on March 15
Doug Parkinson In Focus – Dear Prudence (1969)

Matt Miller, 34, ex-keyboardist of indie group Titus Andronicus, on March 17

Corey Steger, 42, guitarist of metal band Underoath, car crash on March 17

Freddie Redd, 92, jazz pianist and composer, on March 17
Howard McGhee – O.D. (Overdose) (1960, as composer)

Mayada Basilis, 54, Syrian singer, on March 17
Mayada Basilis – Kezbak ‘Helou (2007)

Paul Jackson, 73, rock and jazz bassist, on March 18
Santana – Give Me Love (1977, on bass)

Gary Leib, 65, musician with band Rubber Rodeo, cartoonist (Idiotland), on March 19
Rubber Rodeo – Anywhere With You (1984)

Cristián Cuturrufo, 48, Chilean jazz trumpeter, on March 19

Dan Sartain, 39, rock musician, on March 20
Dan Sartain – Walk Among The Cobras (Pt. I) (2005)

Constance Demby, 81, ambient music composer, on March 20

Buddy Deppenschmidt, 85, jazz drummer, on March 20
Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd – Desafinado (1962, on drums)

Hana Hegerová, 89, Slovak singer and actress, on March 23

George Segal, 87, actor and occasional musician, on March 23
George Segal & The Imperial Jazz Band – What You Goin’ To Do When The Rent Comes ‘Round (1974)

Ethel Gabriel, 99, producer and label executive, on March 23
Perez Prado – Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White (1955, as producer)
Caterina Valente – The Party’s Over (1961, as producer)
Living Marimbas – Mission Impossible Theme (1968, as producer)

Peter Viskinde, 67, guitarist of Danish rock bands Malurt, Big Fat Snake, on March 23
Malurt – Superlove (1981)

Don Heffington, 70, drummer, percussionist and songwriter, on March 23
Emmylou Harris – Drivin’ Wheel (1983, on drums)
Lone Justice – Ways To Be Wicked (1985, as member)
Dave Alvin – Rio Grande (2004, on drums)

Noel Bridgeman, 74, Irish drummer (Skid Row, Mary Black), on March 23
Skid Row – New Faces Old Places (1969, as member)
The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues (1988, on drums)

Tavish Maloney, guitarist with rock band Oso Oso, on March 25

Brett Bradshaw, drummer with rock band Faster Pussycat (1991-93), on March 26
Faster Pussycat – Nonstop To Nowhere (1992)

Malcolm Cecil, 84, British musician and producer, on March 28
Dick Morrissey Quartet – St. Thomas (1961, on double bass)
Stevie Wonder – Visions (1973, on bass and as co-producer)
The Isley Brothers – Footsteps In The Dark (1977, as co-producer)
Gil Scott-Heron – Angel Dust (1978, as co-producer)

Hans Kinds, 74, guitarist of Dutch blues band Cuby & the Blizzards, on March 29
Cuby + Blizzards – L.S.D. (Got A Million Dollars) (1966)

Claire dela Fuente, 62, Filipino singer, on March 30
Claire Dela Fuente – Something In Your Eyes (2008)


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Any Major ABC: 1990s

April 1st, 2021 3 comments

In every decade there seems to be a cultural revival of eras that are 15-30 years in the past. I suppose these revivals are the natural consequence of people who grew up 15-30 years ago becoming the cultural decision-makers of the day, resuscitating their happy days of growing up, of being teenagers, of being consumers of music, movies and TV. And if those days weren’t always happy, these people always had music, TV and film to comfort them. So the culture of past generations is revived by middle-age decision-makers and consumed by both their peers and by young people, together and apart.

That generational nostalgia cycle really took hold in the 1970s, when the 1950s revival started with movies like American Graffiti and The Last Picture Show, and bands like Sha Na Na, and then TV shows like Happy Days (a title that signposts that nostalgia I mentioned above) and revival groups like Showaddywaddy in the UK. The death of Elvis gave it further momentum, and it culminated with the musical and movie Grease. Even in the mid-1980s the ’50s revival still had currency, with the Back To The Future film presenting a particular version of 1955.

By then, the 1960s revival was in full swing. In Britain, Mods were already in a Battle of Revivals with Teddy Boys in the late 1970s. Then the murder of John Lennon in 1980 drove ’60s nostalgia into overdrive, bringing us Dirty Dancing and, in the UK, Levi jeans commercials soundtracked by soul hits of that era. And in the 1990s and 2000s, nostalgia for the 1970s even brought bell bottoms back into fashion, their death certificates from the ’80s having been declared briefly invalid.

Now we are in the midst of a 1990s revival, which is unnerving for those of us who are still coming to terms with the advent of the third millennium AD. But suddenly 1990s sitcoms have become all the rage, and the Spice Girls have been artistically rehabilitated by many! Has Garth Brooks started touring again, flying above the cheering crowds?

The 15-30 year revival cycle suggests that the nostalgia for the 2000s should be in full swing now, which means baggy T-shirts must be in soon (or they already are; what would I know?). But the 2000s never really went away, and that is probably the key to nostalgia and the revivals it generates: the eras must have died before they can be revived.

The 1990s is in the grey area of nostalgism: some of it never went away, and yet some of it seems like a different country now.

This mix of music — one act representing each letter of the alphabet — will, I hope, make the 1990s present as an interesting decade. It’s a decade that had its own culture — grunge or Brit pop, for example — but also served as a bridge between a segmented past and the blur of slowly shifting culture in an age when the spirit of the past couple of decades is ever-present, through the Internet and Netflix.

Politically, it was the last summer of relative peace, before 9/11 and the devastation of personal rights that followed that event. It was still a decade of hope, with the fall of the Eastern Bloc, Germany reuniting, South Africa’s peaceful transition from apartheid, the appearance of economic stability (the price for which we paid after 2008, with the lie of austerity), and the optimism that the new-fangled World Wide Web would be a force only for good.

The writing was already on the wall, of course. In the US, there was rise of Republican obstructionism and ultra-partisanship in the 1994 midterms — which came to full bloom in the Tea Party and the social dystopia of Trumpism. The Columbine massacre in 1999 proved to be not an aberration but the starting salvo for a culture of mass shootings so frequent that they have lost the power to truly shock. And in South Africa, the liberators turned out to be just as corrupt as their racist predecessors. But it is not an act of nostalgia to observe the 1990s were better than the two awful decades that followed them.

But back to the music… These ABC mixes are a bit like nostalgia radio stations, though here the playlist compiler has better taste than many of those who decide which old song should play twice a day on the radio. Your kids (or gandchildren) might be pleased to hear something from the 1990s that’s not Bryan Adams, Whitney Houston or “What if God was one of us”.

The mix couldn’t be timed to fit on a CD-R, but I made home-shellsuited covers anyway, in case these come in handy. The text above is included as an illustrated PDF booklet.

1. Arrested Development – People Everyday (1992)
2. Barenaked Ladies – Brian Wilson (live) (1996)
3. Crowded House – Distant Sun (1993)
4. Duran Duran – Ordinary World (1993)
5. En Vogue – My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It) (1992)
6. Fastball – Out Of My Head (1998)
7. George Michael – Spinning The Wheel (1996)
8. Harvey Danger – Flagpole Sitta (1997)
9. Indigo Girls – Galileo (1992)
10. James – Laid (1993)
11. Khadja Nin – Wale Watu (1996)
12. Lemonheads – It’s A Shame About Ray (1992)
13. Mango Groove – Hometalk (1990)
14. Nick Heyward – The Man You Used To Be (1998)
15. Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger (1995)
16. Primal Scream – Rocks (1994)
17. Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y. (1993)
18. R.E.M. – Man On The Moon (1992)
19. Shawn Mullins – Lullaby (1998)
20. Tasmin Archer – Sleeping Satellite (1992)
21. US3 – Cantaloop (1992)
22. Verve – Lucky Man (1997)
23. Weezer – Falling For You (1996)
24. Xzibit – Paparazzi (1996)
25. Youssou N’Dour feat. Neneh Cherry – 7 Seconds (1994)
26. Zhané – Groove Thang (1994)



Any Major ABC of the 1950s
Any Major ABC of the 1960s
Any Major ABC of the 1970s
Any Major ABC of the 2000s
Any Major ABC of Soul
Any Major ABC of Canada
Any Major ABC of South Africa
Any Major ABC of Country
Any Major ABC of Christmas

Categories: ABC in Decades, Mix CD-Rs Tags: