Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Bong Hit

March 2, 1988: U2 wins the Album of the Year Grammy for The Joshua Tree, but the Grammy voters reveal that they're as starstruck in their own way as a 16-year-old girl when, after lavishing several Grammys on Paul Simon's Graceland album the year before, they can't resist giving him one more, naming the single release of the title song as Record of the Year.

March 2, 1966: Despite the fact that the Beatles have set the world on fire in the past two years, the Grammys honor Frank Sinatra with Record of the Year for "Strangers in the Night" and Album of the Year for Sinatra: A Man and His Music. John and Paul do win Song of the Year for "Michelle," though.

March 2, 1964: The furious storm of Beatlemania continues to rise, as "Twist and Shout" is released. By the end of March, the Beatles will have the top five songs on the Billboard chart; by mid-April, they will hold down 14 spots on the Hot 100.

Birthdays Today:
Jon Bon Jovi is 43. One of the most annoying rock stars of all time. Can't sing, can't write a song that's not ridden with cliches, and thinks being from New Jersey makes him some kind of working-class poet/hero. No, that's Bruce Springsteen, Jon. You're just a haircut with nothing underneath.

Eddie Money is 56. Money opened his 1986 tour in Macomb, Illinois, while I was the morning show host on the local rock station. Somewhere there's a picture of me taken before the show with two listeners who won backstage passes on my show. I never looked (or felt) cooler in all of my radio career. However, if I'd been as cool as I thought I was, this next wouldn't have happened: I sat down to interview Money after the sound check before the show and my tape recorder promptly died.

Number One Songs on This Date:
1986: "Kyrie"/Mr. Mister.
"Kyrie eleison" is Greek for "Lord have mercy," a phrase songwriter Richard Page says helps give him strength. Whatever you say, Dick. The record is one of the great fist-in-the-air hits of the 1980s, as long as you don't think too hard about it.

1981: "I Love a Rainy Night"/Eddie Rabbitt. Someday, I'm going to make a list of the Worst Number One Singles of All Time--and this will be on it, as will Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," which was Number Two at the same time (and had been Number One the preceding week). Christ, no wonder WLS went to album rock about this time.

1974: "Seasons in the Sun"/Terry Jacks. You just knew it the first time you heard it--"This record is going to be huge, and we are going to get sick of it." Yes it was and yes we did, although the song is one of the 1970s' great trash monuments. And the intro (bong-bong-bong-BONGGGGG) is still pretty compelling.

1960: "Theme from A Summer Place"/Percy Faith. The quintessential instrumental, and what people think of when they imagine muzak. Did nine weeks at Number One, however, and topped the charts on the day I was born.

1948: "I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover"/Art Mooney Orchestra. People my age know this song mostly from Bugs Bunny cartoons, although it was a substantial hit in 1927, and an even bigger one in 1948. Six different versions made the charts late in the winter of '48. Mooney's orchestra specialized in singalong records--and with so many versions of "Four-Leaf Clover" floating around, you were going to be singing it yourself, like it or not.


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