Bob Geldof and the Telex Machine
Published by Toronto Mike on March 16, 2014 @ 13:37 in Music
I've been listening to Scot Turner's Spirit of Radio Sunday on 102.1 the Edge and it's great. Earlier today, they played I Don't Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats, a song that references a telex machine.
If you're my age or younger, you've likely never seen a telex machine. A telex machine is a printer that receives and prints text messages in the pre-fax era. In January of 1979, Bob Geldof read a telex report at Georgia State University's campus radio station, WRAS, on the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children in a school playground at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California. Her reason for killing two adults and injuring eight children and one police officer? She didn't like Mondays.
The story struck such a chord with Bob Geldof that he wrote I Don't Like Mondays and included this lyric that ensures every generation will ask the question "what's a telex machine?"
The Telex machine is kept so clean
And it types to a waiting world
Of Sheriff, Alias and Frozen Ghost
Published by Toronto Mike on March 5, 2014 @ 10:17 in Music
Remember Sheriff? They were a Canadian rock band that scored a big US hit with When I'm With You years after they disbanded. Sheriff was vocalist Freddy Curci, guitarist Steve DeMarchi, keyboardist Arnold Lanni, bassist Wolf Hassel and drummer Rob Elliott.
Sheriff - When I'm With You
When Sheriff broke up, Freddy Curci and Steve DeMarchi started a new band called Alias. Alias had a massive hit with More Than Words Can Say.
Alias - More Than Words Can Say
Arnold Lanni and Wolf Hassel, meanwhile, formed Frozen Ghost and had Cancon hits with Should I See and Pauper in Paradise.
Frozen Ghost - Should I See
The Power of Song
Published by Toronto Mike on December 10, 2013 @ 20:43 in Music
I caught an interesting discussion on CBC Radio this morning about the power of music as therapy. Music can be used to soothe and revitalize those suffering from dementia, for example.
A popular example of this can be seen in this clip of Henry that made the rounds a few years ago.
The music therapist said they were experiencing the most success with the music one enjoyed most as a young person in their late teens. For me, that would be the very early 90s. In the very early 90s, my go-to musical acts were:
- Pearl Jam
- Public Enemy
- The Tragically Hip
- Beastie Boys
Even today I feel a sense of revitalization when I hear a tune I was cranking on my Walkman back in '92. Start a cut from Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet and I'll finish it for you. Play me the opening chords from Pearl Jam's Porch and I become Eddie Vedder.
It's the power of song. There's nothing like it.
Christmas Songs I Enjoy
Published by Toronto Mike on December 1, 2013 @ 11:14 in Lists, Music
It's December, and that means you'll likely need to assemble a Christmas party playlist for a holiday party or two.
A great deal of Christmas music is awful, but there are a few dozen or so I can stomach. Here are my personal favourite Christmas songs if you need a little help building your playlist. To make things extra fun, I'm going to mark my top 7 by making them bold.
- Christmas Don't Be Late - Alvin and the Chipmunks
- Christmas Must Be Tonight - The Band
- Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
- Green Christmas - Barenaked Ladies
- White Christmas - Bing Crosby
- Mary Had A Baby - Bruce Cockburn
- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Bruce Springsteen
- Merry Christmas Baby - Chuck Berry
- Joy To The World - Clem Snide
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Coldplay
- First Noel - Crash Test Dummies
- Little Drummer Boy - David Bowie and Bing Crosby
- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Dean Martin
- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Death Cab For Cutie
- Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
- I Believe in Father Christmas - Greg Lake
- Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto - James Brown
- Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John & Yoko And Plastic Ono Band And The Harlem Community Choir
- Honky The Christmas Goose - Johnny Bower
- I Wish It Was Christmas Today - Julian Casablancas
- Father Christmas - The Kinks
- Christmas Night in Harlem - Louis Armstrong & His All Stars
- Carol Of The Bells - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole
- Merry Christmas, Baby - Otis Redding
- Let Me Sleep - Pearl Jam
- Fairytale of New York - The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
- 2000 Miles - The Pretenders
- Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) - The Ramones
- The Christmas Song - The Raveonettes
- Baby, It's Cold Outside - Ray Charles
- Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC
- Song For A Winter's Night - Sarah McLachlan
- What Christmas Means To Me - Stevie Wonder
- You're A Mean One, Mr Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft
- O Holy Night - Tipitina's Foundation
- Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis - Tom Waits
- Baby Please Come Home - U2
- Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental) - Vince Guaraldi Trio
- Greensleeves - Vince Guaraldi Trio
- Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
- Welcome Christmas - The Who's of Whoville
If you're interested in hearing about the worst Christmas song ever, there's more on that here.
Bob Dylan's Interactive Video for Like a Rolling Stone
Published by Toronto Mike on November 19, 2013 @ 18:57 in Music
Use the up and down arrows on your keyboard to change channels.
Happy 70th, Joni
Published by Toronto Mike on November 7, 2013 @ 09:56 in Music
Joni Mitchell is my all-time favourite Canadian female singer. When I meticulously assembled a list of the 100 best Canadian songs of all-time back in 2007, she appeared on the list four times. Today, she celebrates her 70th birthday.
Happy 70th birthday, Joni!
What Have They Done To My Song Ma
Published by Toronto Mike on September 23, 2013 @ 11:05 in Music
When listing "rain" songs on Saturday, I included a gem by Melanie. "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" is a great tune, but it's not my favourite Melanie tune. I'm partial to "Brand New Key".
You don't hear much about Melanie these days, likely because she seemed to withdraw from public life in the early 70s, but she had a string of fun hits including "What Have They Done To My Song Ma".
Here's "What Have They Done To My Song Ma" for the unfamiliar:
In a great example of irony, my first exposure to this tune was when it was used in a Quaker Oats Oatmeal Raisin Crisp ad in the early 80s. I remember this ad well, because I thought the song was catchy. I had no idea who Melanie was or that it wasn't an original tune.
So Melanie wrote a song called "What Have They Done To My Song Ma" and without her consent (because she didn't own the rights) had her song purchased and used by Quaker Oats to promote cereal.
Self-fulfilling prophecy indeed!
25 Stellar Rain Songs for a Rainy Saturday in Toronto
Published by Toronto Mike on September 21, 2013 @ 11:44 in Lists, Music
It's been raining cats and dogs all morning in Toronto and it doesn't look like it's going to let up for hours yet. That was the perfect excuse for me to assemble a brilliant 25 song "rain" playlist. Every song had to have "rain" in the title.
I didn't include songs with "rainy" or "raincoat" or "raindrops", just "rain. If I'm missing a "Rain" song you think just has to be there, let me know in the comments.
- Only Happy When it Rains - Garbage
- Purple Rain - Prince
- Have You Ever Seen the Rain? - Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Rain-O - Chilliwack
- Who'll Stop the Rain? - Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Red Rain - Peter Gabriel
- Rain - The Cult
- Rain Street - The Pogues
- The Naked Rain - The Waltons
- November Rain - Guns N' Roses
- Why Does it Always Rain On Me? - Travis
- No Rain - Blind Melon
- I Wish It Would Rain Down - Phil Collins
- Sad Sad Rain - Platinum Blonde
- Set Fire to the Rain - Adele
- Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics
- Fire and Rain - James Taylor
- Rain When I Die - Alice in Chains
- Rain - The Beatles
- Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) - Melanie
- Make it Rain - The KLF
- Come Rain or Come Shine - Frank Sinatra
- Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain - Willie Nelson
- Early Morning Rain - Gordon Lightfoot
- Rusted From the Rain - Billy Talent
Selena Gomez at the ACC: Michelle's First Concert
Published by Toronto Mike on August 25, 2013 @ 10:38 in Fatherhood, Music
Last night, I took my daughter to her first concert. We saw Selena Gomez at the Air Canada Centre.
It was a beautiful Saturday in Toronto, so we went to Buskerfest on Yonge first before grabbing dinner and heading to the show for the opening act.
The first performer was Christina Grimmie. She played for about 30-minute and was pretty good. It turns out I just enjoy live music, whether I'm a fan of the artist or not. I was sincerely digging it, especially the title track of her new album, "With Love", which you can hear here.
Then, the young female screaming began. Emblem3 hit the stage and it sounded like the Beatles had landed at JFK. A sign of the times, Christine Grimmie was discovered on YouTube and Emblem3 were discovered on The X Factor. The 20,000 girls in the crowd really, really, really like Emblem3 and weren't afraid to show it.
Then, right on schedule, it was time for Selena Gomez to play for her adoring faithful. She's not my cup of tea, but I got right into it. When in Rome...
Michelle had a blast, standing proud and belting out every song with Selena. Highlights included "Who Says", "Love You Like a Love Song" and her encore crowd favourite, "Come & Get It".
It was amazing fun and I'm so glad I got to be Michelle's date for her very first concert.