Sunday, 2 October 2022

turn around, bright eyes (10. 188)

The first and only thus far Welsh solo act to top the singles charts in the US, Bonnie Tyler with her signature song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (previously) from her fifth studio album Faster than the Speed of Night was at Number One beginning on this day in 1983 and remains an enduring, international hit. Written and produced by Jim Steinman, originally it was to be called “Vampires in Love” building off of an abandoned effort to make a musical version of Nosferatu. The below music video was directed by Russell Mulcahy (“Turning Japanese,” “Video Killed the Radio Star,” “Hungry Like the Wolf”) and was shot at the Holloway Sanatorium, a Gothic hospital in Surrey.

Saturday, 1 October 2022

other galactic funk (10. 186)

On this day in 1977, Domenico Monardo—known professionally as Meco (see previously)—saw his the lead single from his album of space disco that included elements of the soundtrack arranged as instrumental dance music raise to the top of the US billboard charts and hold the number one place for a fortnight, the record and the single “Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band” both certified as platinum. John Williams’ originally version was in the top ten at the same concurrently but was never as popular as Meco’s—the two artist crossing again a few months later with Close Encounters of the Third Kind, with the former coming out on top.

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

don’t surround yourself with your self—move on back two squares (10. 171)

As belated blogoversary tribute to fellow internet-caretaker the Everlasting Blรถrt, we wanted to remark on one of the rotating interstitials on their page, “for the Queen to use,” that never fails to prompt us to hum the Yes song or at least the diddit, diddit, diddit, diddit, diddit, didda part. The progressive rock number that was first put out in 1971 and included on several later albums consists of two movements, “Your Move” followed by “All Good People,” played as a single seven-minute track. Utilising chess as allegory for negotiating relationship, the song also makes reference to John Lennon lyrics. Here’s to many, many more years of blogging.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

guardians of the galaxy (10. 154)

Via Neatorama contributor Miss Cellania, we are treated to newly released song of America’s newest military branch, the Space Force (previously). It’s right to lampoon the idea that a rousting, jaunty anthem engenders cohesion and raises moral and completes the ethos and thought it was an apt comment to call it a TV sitcom theme tune composed by John Philip Souza, but as someone who regularly has to hear and occasion sing-along with the “The Army Goes Rolling Along”—and rarely “Anchors Aweigh”—Valley Forge, Custer’s ranks / San Juan Hill and Patton’s Tanks… Then it’s Hi-Hi-Hey! / The Army’s on its way, I would have to concede Semper Supra (we hope they are never given the occasion to add a verse with specific battles) fits in with the rest of the branches’ anthems. What do you think?

ba-dee-ya (10. 152)

Co-written by Alta Sherral “Allee” Willis (whose credits include “Boogie Wonderland,” the Pet Shop Boys’ “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” scoring for Beverly Hills Cop and The Color Purple and the Friendstheme song) and the band’s lead vocalist Maurice White (“You Deserve the Best of My Love,” “That’s What Friends Are For”), Earth, Wind & Fire’s September was an international hit, inscribed on the US Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2018, four decades after its release. There’s no consensus regarding the significance of the date—other than it was recorded in September and the twenty-first was most resonant, and reportedly Willis didn’t care for the nonsense lyrics and down to the last minute had insisted that they were only place-holders and urged White to cut the gibberish, eventually relenting and admittedly learning a lesson about composition.

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

6x6 (10. 151)

teenage rampage: 70s sing-a-long pop was edgier than one thought   

on tyranny: twenty lesson on unfreedom and defending democracy

heptominos: geometric magic squares from Lee Sallows—see also

cross-hatched: dozens of security envelope patterns  

quiet quitting: these scenes of office drudgery are a form of protest

rainbow quest: Pete Seeger’s 1960s folk music television show

Friday, 16 September 2022

hounds of love (10. 138)

Including the lead single “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” and a comeback after her less successful previous album from three years earlier, Kate Bush’s fifth studio album was released on this day in 1985. Considered by some fans and critics to be her best work, it has been the recipient of contemporary and retrospective acclaim and a certified double-platinum record. A promotional twenty-minute-long laserdisc with four music videos, called The Hair of the Hound, was issued as well.

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

fiftyshapes ltd (10. 130)

Incorporated on this day in 1967, the Beatles’ Apple Electronics venture was headed by a television repair technician named Yannis Alexis Madras, whom had been discovered by John Lennon two years prior after seeing a selection of his Nothing Boxes (plastic housing with blinking lights) at a London Gallery. Given the moniker “Magic Alex,” he reputedly pitched a series of increasingly fantastical (but ones we’d like to see) inventions including a seventy-two track tape machine, an air-buffer to prevent car accidents, replacing Ringo’s drums with a sonic force field, a wallpaper sound-system, invisibility paint and an artificial sun—none of which unfortunately materialised. 

Later that same year, Madras tried to help broker a deal for the band to purchase a Greek island but that deal fell through as well. Though the majority of Madras’ inventions were dismissed as impossible (perhaps rather inexplicably, he was nonetheless entrusted him with the design of their new recording studio once they left Abbey Road), one of his proposals for a scrambling device that would prevent fans from recording their songs from the radio was better received. Parting ways in 1969—ostensibly jealous over the influence that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had over Lennon after they were all in India together, Madras took up a career in security and anti-terrorism, offering custom bullet-proof vehicles, bug-detectors, etc—his clients primarily exiled heads-of-state living in London, Crown Prince Juan Carlos, the Shah of Iran and fellow countryman Constantine II.

Saturday, 10 September 2022

8x8 (10. 124)

the girl from ipanema: the Yahoo! GeoCities (previously) Midi project has gathered a collection of over one-hundred and fifty thousand chiptunes, via Web Curios  

summer island: a graphic horror novella that’s a collaboration between a story authored by a human and illustrations courtesy a machine 

bill-of-sale: receipts and letterhead of the Old East End  

null island: the imaginary location at the intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (see previously) that exists by necessity  

premium vector: a selection of 90s cursor effects (trails, rainbows) that can be incorporated into one’s website—via ibฤซdem  

trichromacy: fascinating etymologies of words for colours—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

b-poty: avian photography of the year  

pattern recognition: more on mondegreens and misheard lyrics

and anytime you feel the pain, hey jude, refrain (10. 121)

Originating as a song written by Paul McCartney as a way to lift the spirits of John Lennon’s young son Julian (“Hey Jules”) when his parents were going through a divorce and a time of general turmoil for the band, the non-album single (see previously) was The Beatles’ first release on their Apple record label and quickly climbed to number one on the UK charts on this day in 1968—having just been put out two weeks prior. At just over seven minutes (with the full choruses), the group’s fiftieth top hit domestically was up until that time the longest piece to hold this distinction. Here is McCartney at 1997’s Music for Monserrat charity concert joined by Sting, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and Mark Knopfler and find the first version at the link above.

Friday, 9 September 2022

interstate love song (10. 119)

Released on this day in 1994 and topping the US charts just a week later, the Stone Temple Pilots single ranks as one of the best hard rock songs of all time. Borrowing chord-progression from the 1973 Jim Croce hit I Got a Name, the power ballad dealt with the singer and songwriter Scott Weiland (*1967 - †2015) hiding his heroine addiction and how those who cared about him would receive his cover-up: “Waiting on a Sunday afternoon for what I read between the lines—your lies—feeling like a hand in rusted chain, so do you laugh or does it cry? Reply!”

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

i can see a new horizon underneath the blazing sky (10. 114)

Hitting number one on US charts on this day in 1985 and holding that top position for two weeks, the hit by John Parr for Joel Schumacher’s film of the same name was created and edited in the space of one day. Struggling to find inspiration for the lyrics, Parr and co-writer David Foster were taken by the story of an athlete, Canadian track and field athlete Rick Hansen, and his undertaking to raise awareness for spinal cord injuries—his “Man in Motion Tour” and quickly came up with a song that squared with the movie while directly referencing Hansen. The musical ensemble includes members from the bands Mr Mister, REO Speedwagon and Toto.

Monday, 5 September 2022

7x7 (10. 110)

ch-ch-ch-chia: University of Virginia research team 3D prints living walls and roofs  

the road to rhรปn: more interactive LOTR maps to explore—see previously  

defenestration: accident-prone energy executives  

doctor doolittle: translating non-human animal vocalisations into language with artificial intelligence 

the hunt for the golden walnut brain of ronald reagan: an adventure from John Hoare (previously)—via Things Magazine  

lady woman: a sample track from Boris Midney’s reimagining of 1979 “Evita” as a disco opera 

reefer madness: researchers make an advance in the race to save Caribbean coral, whose health also affects hurricane intensity

once i ran to you (i ran) (10. 109)

Propelling to the top of the charts in part due to this memorable performance on TOTP (see previously), Soft Cell’s reworking of the Ed Cobb and the Four Preps’ Tainted Love (1964) reached number one on this day in 1981 and was ranked as best-selling single of the year in the UK—until after re-tabulating the numbers in 2021 and the title was awarded to The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me?”

Friday, 2 September 2022

7x7 (10. 106)

homesteading: a survey of the extraterrestrial real estate market 

music to moog by: a DIY Theramin from Linus ร…kesson—see previously  

enhanced pat-down: twenty years of Homeland Security and America’s penchant for security theatre  

battleship island: an exploration of the now deserted speck of land that fuelled Japan’s industrial revolution, most the most densely populated place on Earth

sampo: more on the epic MacGuffin from Finnish lore—see also  

posture pals: exercises to combat computer slouch  

extremely well-planned void: a Greek Revival property in Denton County, Texas—see previously

music—makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel (10. 105)

The artist’s eighth studio album premiering just two weeks before, the lead single and title track accelerated to the top of the charts this week in 2000 worldwide and held that position for several weeks. According to Madonna, the song was inspired by an almost spiritual in the audience she detected at a Sting concert once he started playing some of the classics from his time with The Police. Its pirated appearance on websites like Napster and KaZaa prompted legal action, eventually leading to the suppression of such sites. The music video for this second-wave disco anthem features Madonna and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen in character as Ali G.

Thursday, 1 September 2022

a second-hand emotion (10. 102)

Originally written for Cliff Richard and offered to Phyllis Hyman and Donna Summer, Tina Turner’s rendition of the song, released as the lead single on the first of May from her solo album Private Dancer, climbed to the top of the charts in America on this day in 1984, holding the number one spot for three weeks, becoming the second biggest song of the year (number one was “When Doves Cry” by Prince) and garnering three awards at the 1985 Grammies. In addition to its inclusion on the soundtrack of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, it is the namesake of Turner’s 1993 biography. Not surpassed until 1999 with Cher’s scoring a number one hit with “Believe,” Turner, then forty-four-year-old, held the record for oldest female singer to make this accomplishment on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

what can a poor boy do but sing in a rock & roll band? (10. 100)

Released on this day as a single from their Beggars Banquet album that came out in December of 1968, “Street Fighting Man” is considered The Rolling Stones most contentious and political song. Originally recorded as “Did Everyone Pay Their Dues?” with the same powerful acoustic guitar riffs and drumset set to very different lyrics, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were inspired by an anti-war rally at the US Embassy in London where twenty-five thousand had gathered and parallel events in Paris that led to the unrest of May of that summer. Its premier in America was marred by the coincidence of violence and protests during the Democratic National Convention held in Chicago, with most radio stations refusing to play the song for fear it would incite a riot.

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

sweetheart of the rodeo (10. 096)

The sixth studio album by The Byrds, released on this day in 1968, represented a significant departure from the band’s signature, psychedelic sound and featuring the additional talents Gram Parsons was not commercially well received, alienating some fans with this decidedly outlaw country bend—as well as the establishment in Nashville who felt they were being encroached upon by these subversive outsiders—but has had an oversized legacy in terms of establishing the genre and introducing it to audiences, reviving and sustaining the style at Country’s nadir for US and UK audiences. Originally conceived as an exploration, an anthology of the past century of popular American music, featuring Jazz, Gospel, Rock, Rhythm and Blues and several other genres, Parsons convinced the group to produce a strictly Country album.

Monday, 29 August 2022

8x8 (10. 095)

clippit: a biography of the MicroSoft Office virtual assistant  

banana for scale: megalophobia-inducing images to make you as a human feel small and insignificant  

scotty, bones and chekov: Tom Snyder (previously) interviews Star Trek personalities during a 1976 convention 

flagship store: fashion brand Gucci opens up in Detroit—via Nag on the Lake  

pillow-talk: the history of bundling, the sixteenth and seventeenth custom of allowing pre-martial sleeping arrangements—via Messy Nessy Chic 

sabbatical: oh no—after seventeen years Futility Closet is taking a hiatus—see also  

it’s a reference to don quixote: a selection of literary nods from They Might Be Giants—see previously  

book it: incentivising reading with pizza