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Let’s End Small Talk


One of the things I thought we all agreed on losing post-pandemic is small talk. What an absolute waste of time, not because connecting and conversation is pointless, but because most people are bad at it. I believe the majority of people are not dull. They just end up selling themselves that way. The art of conversation is almost lost, and no no one knows how to preserve it. Thankfully I have a solution – music lyrics.

How often have you or someone you know had this conversation with you?

“How are you doing?” “Good.”

I almost fell asleep writing that. More importantly – conversation over. No one is following up on ‘good’. Neither of you has moved your story forward, and you’ve wasted five seconds. Words matter, and time adds up. Plus, aren’t we all in need of some closer connections? So how about you jump-start that shit with something by Sade.

How are you doing?

Every day is Christmas, and every night is New Year’s Eve.

Say what? What the hell are you talking about? I want to know more. That’s a great one to use if your day, week, or life is going so great and you wanna let someone know without bragging. Conversely, if your life sucks, say the same thing with a lot of sarcasm. If that other person doesn’t want to know more, save yourself and walk away. I don’t care if that’s a lifelong friend – split. They are telling you they are not interested in you anymore.

Suppose you’re in much pain but afraid of burdening a close one – time to call on the Boss.

How are you doing?

Sometimes, it feels like someone took a knife, baby, edgy and dull, and cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my skull.”

That should solicit carrying eyes or a warm hug and break the ice on talking about what’s happening. We’ve all woken up with the sheets soaking wet and a freight train running through the middle of our heads at some point.

You can also mix in different pop lyrics into discussions that are dragging on or to lighten the mood. Is a pal having marital problems? Drop a couple of Phils on ’em.

My wife and I are having a time.”

You’ll never change her, so leave her. Leave her.

But we’ve been together for a long time.

Get out quick ’cause seein’ is believin’.”

Sure, you may have broken up a relationship, but at least now there’s an easy lover back on the market.

Outside of improv impresarios, folks are rarely quick on their feet, so make sure you do some studying ahead of time. Picking some of your favorite songs helps. The familiarity will come off as natural. The more you do it, the more you can play around with word emphasis. Be as appropriate as you can. And understand the more obscure of a song you pick, the more you’ll sound like a psycho. No Dylan, either. Even Bob would walk away and shake his head.

And the next time someone gives you a mundane greeting, answer with, “I know it sounds funny, but I just can’t stand the pain.” Have some fun. It’s easy.


Where Ecstasy Lives But Sanity Dies


Ok folks, here’s part two of the Billboard Top 40 from January 5th, 1980. This was the soundtrack in my car going to or from the roller rink or the bowling alley in the Winter of 1980. As you can see, I’ve discussed most of these before, so I’ll try to add something new to the discussion if I can.

20. J.D. Souther – You’re Only Lonely

THW – J.D. always hung around the right folks but never got the proper break as a solo artist. He was in a band with Glenn Frey called Longbranch Pennywhistle before the Frey guy joined the Eagles. He hit the Top 40 in 1975 as a trio with Richie Furay & Chris Hillman. He dated Linda Rondstadt and co-wrote big hits such as Best Of My Love and New Kid In Town for the Eagles. His 1976 album, Black Rose, was terrific, but no one heard it. So in his frustration, he rewrote the Roy Orbison classic Only Lonely, and everyone ate it up. Souther felt so guilty that he sentenced himself to an entire season of acting on thirtysomething.

19. Pablo Cruise – I Want You Tonight

On the Big 80’s countdown, Alan Hunter mentions that disco and Yacht Rock were on their last breath, as evidenced by this song. Even though Disco had many more hits up its sleeve, I’ll concede that point. But Yacht Rock was just getting started. Look at the Yachtski scale for an idea of how many hits have yet to happen. We didn’t know who Christopher Cross was. Also…

18. Kenny Loggins – This Is It

PD , RAR – case in point.

17. Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover

PD – According to the purple multi-tasker, he wants to be:

  • your lover
  • your brother
  • your mother
  • your sister
  • the only one who makes you come running
  • the only one you come (sic) for

That takes a lot of talent ( and a disregard for social mores).

16. Jefferson Starship – Jane

PD – This song actually rocks. So what happened to the band in 1979? Well, Grace Slick was out, and Marty Balin split too. They brought in Mickey Thomas, and they got this Top 20 cruncher. Grace came back, and everything got softer and….slicker. So how about we give Mickey and his ‘city building’ a break?

15. Dr. Hook – Better Love Next Time

PD – Whenever someone decides to do the definitive documentary about COVID, I bet they will find out it all started with a groupie from a 1980 Dr. Hook dressing room afterparty.

14. Foreigner – Head Games

I know I’ve slammed on these guys before, but come on…head games? Are you done snickering yet? This LP also includes the track Dirty White Boy, so they knew what they were doing. They must have thought they were the wittiest guys in rock back then or were perma-drunk all the time.

I was so confused when I saw this album cover of a young girl sitting on a urinal washing a bathroom stall. [I didn’t know that toilet was called the head when I was a kid.] This tune has such a troglodytic beat that I expect Lou Gramm to come out in a loincloth holding a club when he sings this. Thankfully they took some time off and began checking into their softer side, although reticently.

13. Eagles – The Long Run

PD – The best thing the Eagles did was to call it quits after releasing the album with the same name as this single. You’d want to believe that they knew they were running on fumes as a group by 1980. But I’m sure it was more of a cocaine-fueled ego battle of who was the more giant star than anything else. Also, it was so cool for Joe Walsh to recycle his licks on this tune for his appearance on this.

12. Smokey Robinson – Cruisin’

PD – The ultimate palette cleanser.

11. Little River Band – Cool Change

PD – Time for a cool change with a ballad from this Australian group that sounds so much like 1979’s Lady that it’s neither cool nor a change. Though I wished James Cameron could have scored the Avatar: The Way of the Water scene where Lo’ak and his Tulkan friend ride through the ocean with this song.

10. Cliff Richard – We Don’t Talk Anymore

PD – Cliff was so popular in England that the Beatles once opened up for him. Yet here we were in 1980, and Cliff was scoring only second Top 10 single in the US. Even Ringo had two #1s by now.

9. Kool & the Gang – Ladies Night

PD – Separately, Eumir Deodato and this New Jersey funk outfit did not do well in the disco arena, But together they created this monster jam where a woman and her female friends could rule the clubs drinking Reunite on ice.

8. Kenny Rogers – Coward of the County

PD – This ultra-macho tough guy song is sung and arranged for the listener to assume that Tommy did the right thing, but dude, nuh-uh. You’re going to jail. Jesus, the whole song is about your Dad telling you not to repeat the same mistakes he made. And now you’re gonna be making license plates with your papa while Becky gets serially harassed by the Gatlin clan. Now everyone considers him the dumbass of the county.

7. Commodores – Still

This song is about:

  1. The regret of divorce.
  2. Lionel Richie’s love of moonshine.
  3. The Commodores’ career after Lionel leaves.
  4. A photo of an old movie star.
  5. The end of funk and the start of the hit ballad money printing machine.

6. Styx – Babe

PFK – Warm up the Fender Rhodes for a tale about a little-known 1919 bromance between Boston Red Sox right fielder Harry Hooper and the Sultan of Swat and an imagined send-off from Hooper to Ruth on the day he was traded to the Yankees. Or Dennis DeYoung wrote it about his wife. You choose.

5. Captain & Tennille – Do That To Me One More Time

PD – Rumor has it the Captain wasn’t much for sharing his love. So Toni wrote this tune as a playful jab to Daryl with a new title. Because Do That To Me At Least Once didn’t have that unique ring to it.

4. Stevie Wonder – Send One Your Love

PD , RAR – While you worked for years perfecting your demo, Stevie probably wrote this testing out a new Yamaha CP-80 electric piano in fifteen minutes.

3. Michael Jackson – Rock With You

PD – This is Michael at his smoothest, Human Nature by damned. Also, this was first offered to Karen Carpenter by writer Rod Temperton. Would have loved to hear her take a crack at this.

2. Rupert Holmes – Escape (The Pina Colada Song)

PD , PFK – The rise and fall of Infinity Records is so hard to comprehend. I wish someone would do a short doc on it. The quick summary is this: the label started in 1978 as an East-coast arm of the L.A.-based MCA records. One of their first signings was the band Hot Chocolate who nab their final Top 10 hit nearly 79 with Every 1s  A Winner. During that year, they rack up Top 40 hits by the artists Dobie Gray, New England, Spyro Gyra, and a big comeback from Orleans. Then after a low-expectation pick-up of Rupert Holmes’ new album, the first single starts going crazy. And just as this tune zips from #23 to #12, destined for #1, the label closes down and is absorbed by MCA. All artists are dropped except two: Spyro Gyra & Holmes. Why?

I’m sure there were many reasons, but the biggest one was religion. They paid Pope John Paul II (actually, the Catholic church) a boatload of money for an album of songs and speeches that peaked at #126, with nearly a million of the advanced copies sent back. Holmes would spend a total of three weeks on top getting back up there next week.

1. KC & the Sunshine Band – Please Don’t Go

PD – This recording sounds like it was made for five dollars. And yet it was another number-one tune for the group.

Well, that’s how the 80s started. Here’s how they ended. What musical would you prefer to live in?


  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • SXMFU – Sirius XM Mistake


Forever Playing to the Gallery


Happy New Year! How were you when the 80s began, and how long did it take you to shake off the 70s (or did you ever)? I was inspired by listening to the decade’s first countdown last week, enough to write up this “Inbetweener” on the Top 40 songs from January 5th, 1980. Let’s slide on down.

40. The O’Jays – Forever Mine

PD – The last Top 40 hit for the O’Jays and the final appearance in the Top 40 for Philadelphia International Records will slowly make its way up to its peak of #28.

Fun fact: Gamble & Huff wouldn’t win any Grammys for their 70s output, waiting until 1989 when Simply Red covered If You Don’t Know Me By Now. WTF?

39. Rita Coolidge – I’d Rather Leave While I’m In Love

The soft rock guide to self-sabotage was released from the Delta lady’s eleventh album, Satisfied, and co-written by the king of kicking himself when he’s down, Peter Allen. This #3 AC hit will inch up only one more notch.

38. Blackfoot – Train Train

THW – There’s something hilarious and downright frightening to that opening harmonica lick – either you’re getting ready to watch a fight between two drunk idiots, or you need to run out of the woods as fast as possible.

37. Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight 

OHW – Here’s the song credited with kicking off the hip-hop era. Its success caught everyone off-guard, and it would be another six years before a hip-hop artist would return to the Top 40. Although most people refer to this track as one that samples Chic’s Good Times, the reality is that Hank, Mike, and Master Gee are rapping over a live cover of the Nile Rodgers/Bernard Edwards classic. Also, after many decades, Grandmaster Caz received a songwriting credit as many of the rhymes were lifted from his notebook that he let the group borrow.

Fun fact: One of two songs in the countdown where the title is not mentioned in the lyrics.

36. Herb Alpert – Rotation

PD – We’re five tunes into the countdown, and we’ve heard Philly Soul, adult contemporary, Southern rock, hip-hop, and some jazz fusion. It will take record execs and music programmers a lot of concerted energy and effort to stamp out that musical diversity as the decade continues. But they’ll do it. Take a look at the first countdown in 1990.

35. Steve Forbert – Romeo’s Tune

PD, OHW – This is what you get when you have a singer-songwriter who’s influenced by Dylan but isn’t distracted by his indulgences. I heard that the club in Pulp Fiction called Jackrabbit Slim’s, where the twist competition takes place, is a nod to the album this tune comes from.

34. Eagles – Heartache Tonight 

33. Crystal Gayle – Half the Way

Loretta Lynn’s sister has her third Top 40 entry tumble down from its peak of #15 two weeks ago. It will also be a Top 10 AC & Country hit and reach #4 in South Africa – no half-stepping down there.

Fun fact: Gayle was born Brenda Webb and changed her name to Crystal after the Tennessee hamburger chain Krystal’s.

32. M – Pop Muzik

OHW – I’ve talked about how this is one of my favorite #1 songs of the 70s. In mid-December 1979, this song was in the Top 40, along with Video Killed The Radio Star by the Buggles. The future was bright, my friends.

31. Teri Desario & KC – Yes, I’m Ready

PD, OHW – In my Jeapadry daydreams, I have scenes like this:

“I’ll take one hit wonder for $2000.”

“This Miami-based singer hit #2 with a 1965 Barbara Mason cover as a duet with K.C.”

I respond,” Who is Teri Desario?” and I hear the person next to me mutter under their breath, “How the fuck did he know that?”

30. ABBA – Chiquitita

SXMFU – The Swedish quartet dips back into their Fernando well with a tune. I always thought this song was about bananas. Nina Blackwood probably had the same thought as she back-announced this as Chiquita.

29. Dionne Warwick – Deja Vu

PD, RAR – Dionne won the best R&B Female Vocal Grammy for this song. She does a terrific job on it, and it’s my favorite post-Bacharach & David tune of hers. But I wish writer Isaac Hayes had recorded it too. I would love to hear a version from him. Guess this will have to do.

28. Foghat – Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was A Fool)

PD , PDNuff said…

27. Alan Parsons Project – Damned If I Do

When Alan started his ‘project,’ did he have to make a big deal about it to everyone? I mean, did he stand up in the middle of a long Pink Floyd session at Abbey Road and tell everyone he was leaving and ask, “Who’s coming with me?” while everyone silently stared. And then the receptionist, Miss Agnes Pillsbottom, stood up and said, “I will,” finished her tea and slowly walked behind Alan as he said, “Thank you. Thank you, Agnes”, took George Martin’s goldfish and split.

26. Supertramp – Take The Long Way Home

I remember a beer commercial from the 2000s where four guys discuss their favorite albums as they play from hole to hole. Someone mentions Breakfast In America, and they all bow their head in reverence. If someone finds that ad, please post it in the comments. I will now bow my head as well.

25. Fleetwood Mac – Sara

PD – It says a lot about the talents of this band that they can tether Stevie Nicks’ ethereal ideas into the foundation of a pop song, let alone one that will reach #7. The same goes for Lindsey and Tusk.

24. Isaac Hayes – Don’t Let Go

PD – Isaac is one of two artists to have a solo hit and a co-rite on another in this week’s Top 40. The other dude is at #20.

23. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Wait For Me

PD – This sounds so much like a Todd Rundgren song that I wonder if they wrote it during the 1975 War babies sessions. Of course, it wouldn’t have fit on that album, but it sits nicely on the 1979 David Foster-produced X-Static LP.

22. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Don’t Do Me Like That

PD – SXM mentions that Tom originally wrote this for the J. Geils Band. Now that I know that, I can absolutely hear Peter Wolf singing this. In fact, Tom sounds more like the Boston rocker than his usual Dylan twang.

21. Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer – No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)

PFK – This former chart-topping duet was sung by two of the most famous women in music in 1979. Babs was amidst a four-year streak of hitting the top at least once [1977-1980]. Donna had racked up four #1s in the last twelve months with seven consecutive Top 5 smashes.

And then there’s this:

We’ll serve up the Top 20 as soon as you’re done taking out a personal ad to meet the person you’re currently sleeping next to.


  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • STA – Second Time Around
  • SXMFU – Sirius XM Mistake

My 22 Favorite Albums from ’22


Many folks put out ‘Best Of’ lists at the end of 2022. I will attempt to do the same, except to say ‘favorites of’ and with one caveat – I  may never know what my favorite album of 2022 is in my lifetime. I’ve listened to approximately 400 new albums this year, and I’m sure that only scratches the surface. But there’s only so much time in the day. The great thing is I can listen to new 2022 releases from now until my ears fall off. Maybe this list has my favorite. Maybe I won’t hear it for another five years. Maybe I won’t realize that’s my top for another ten.

Before I get too esoteric, here’s my list of 22 favorite albums from 2022, as decided by me today at the end of the year. If I like them now, there’s a good chance I’ll like them later. Unless something comes along that I like more…later.

Office Culture – Big Time Things

Todd Rundgren – Space Force

Young Gun Silver Fox – Ticket To Shangri-La

Princess Freesia – Return to Pleasure

Alex Puddu – Night People

Tears For Fears – The Tipping Point

Mamas Gun – Cure the Jones

Jack Moves – Cruiserweight

Cory Wong – Power Station

Lewis Taylor – Numb

Ali Thomson – The Last Rodeo

Phoenix – Alpha Zulu

Geyster – Radio Geyster 1980

Andy Bull – People You Love

Page 99 – For Imagination’s Sake

Howard Jones – Dialogue

Stone Foundation – Outside Looking In

Monkey House – Remember The Audio

Miles – Riding The Wave

Tahiti 80 – Here With You

Rae Morris – Rachel@Fairyland

Calling Cadence – Calling Cadence

Not to be wishy-washy, but there are many more  2022 superb albums. I just stopped at 22 to be cute, I guess. You can listen to The UnCola in January 2023 as your guide to the others.

And if I’m asked, my favorite of the year is Office Culture. It’s absolutely beautiful, deep, and hitting the right emotional spaces in my heart right now. With every listen, I’m pulled deeper into a new world.



Add Another Number To the Score


Today I opened up another stenographer book to see what I was listening to during mid-November 1988. [Apologies, this page was very faded, and I had to do some heavy color editing.] Looking at this list of songs, I can tell I was still heavily listening to new wave or what it was known as in the late 80s, Modern Rock. My favorite station WLIR went off the air in December 1987, so this was greatly influenced selection by its pale replacement, WDRE. Twenty songs here won’t make the Top 40, and ten won’t chart on the Hot 100.

George Michael & the Pet Shop Boys have two songs a piece, so I would get beat up in any bar Ricky Bobby was hanging out in. I really (still do) loved PSB. They were the best at making great club songs with catchy pop choruses. Introspective was their third album and was released in the Fall of 88, spawning my #1 hit (#18 Pop), I’m Not Scared (posting at #21), and my favorite, the disco throwback Left To My Own Devices.

I took a look at the Billboard Top 40 from the week of November 12th, 1988. Looks like we only agree on fourteen out of forty. I was surprised I had already kicked Anita Baker’s Giving You the Best That I Got off my charts after peaking at #35. That’s one I appreciate more with age. The same goes for INXS’ Never Tear Us Apart, nationally at #10 but off my pages having only reached #31. On the flip side, I have that New Edition cut in my Top 10 while it debuts on the Hot 100 at #100. And Yazz is my leaving book two weeks before it debuts at #99.

I also noticed I wrote something up at the upper right next to the date. It’s so tiny that I had to blow it up.

This must be my “bubbling under.” I loved Art Of Noise’s cover of Kiss with Tom Jones singing lead; so creative, so cheesy, and fun (nice Steely Dan sample in there too.) I don’t remember that Level 42 track and the Curiosity Killed The Cat tunes are from a one-year-old album that I was still heavily spinning. All six tracks will debut in my 50 next week.

If I had to switch out one track on my chart for a tune in the Top 40 during that week, I would’ve swapped that Rick Astley (which somehow had re-entered my pages) for Ivan Neville’s Not Just Another Girl.

One week after the chart, I would visit Asheville, NC, for the first time and spend Thanksgiving there. My life would never be the same, and I’m very thankful.

The One Good Thing I’ve Got


(my own personal Top 50, October 15th, 1990)

Here’s another personal Top 50 that I pulled out from mid-October 1990. For a comparison of what was popular nationally during the week of October 13th, 1990, you can peep here. Wow, was I heavy into current R&B back then. Considering I also loved rap, I’m surprised there aren’t more representations of that outside of LL Cool J, Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, and Candyman. I’m also trying to figure out how I knew about all these songs, especially since there were no stations in Asheville playing them. There was a great soul station in Greenville, SC, but I could only hear if I was there rather than up the mountain in Asheville. MTV still didn’t play much, and hip-hop was related to YO! MTV Raps. I assume I relied on reading Billboard and listening to Joel Denver’s Future Hits every Sunday.

I don’t see any glam metal here, and hardly any rock shows up, but I was ready to embrace grunge a year from now. The closest I got to teen pop was Mariah Carey (did I actually used to like that song?) The closest I got to any hard rock was Faith No More and Living Colour. No Nelson. No James Ingram. I fully eschewed the Righteous Brothers’ comeback. I had lots of love for Quincy Jones as I was still rocking singles from his year-old album, Back On the Block, and I even liked the new track from his Listen Up project.

And sitting at #1 was one of my favorite songs of the year – George Michael’s Freedom ’90. I kept it at #1 on my charts for six straight weeks. It had yet to be released as a single, and when it did, it would reach #8 by Christmas.

I loved Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1. On the Tuesday it came out, I bought the CD. I found an empty parking lot, parked, rolled down my windows, and reclined my driver’s seat back. I put the disc in my Sony Discman, closed my eyes, and listened to the album from start to finish while the warm September breezes blew through my Chevy Cavalier. There was another song besides Freedom ’90 that I immediately liked, and I included a new  “bubbling under” feature on the other side of the page. (Again, this was all for me and my musical fantasy world, which contained one citizen)

I added another fifteen spots and started including songs that weren’t singles but had (re)discovered and played a lot, hence the Curiosity Killed The Cat track from 1989 and the Level 42 songs from their 1981 debut. My 2022 self is cringing that I misspelled the Tevin Campbell tune. No other big surprises except for the Soup Dragons song. That meant I was slowly still getting into the acid house scene, although my musical choices only.

Also, I noticed I wrote this in pencil. I made that change pretty early on because I changed my mind often. Again, I have no idea about my criteria and never showed this to anyone, so I’m still unsure of my motivation. Maybe it was just a way to organize my musical mind on paper. I was a young boy then and still didn’t know what I wanted to be.

Trying To Bring Out the Fabulous

(Please indulge me in a non-music post today.)

I am a lifelong Mets fan (unpack that how you’d like). And I just wanted to celebrate and state how much I enjoyed watching the team this year. It was great on multiple occasions to have something to distract my ever-worrying mind. Not only were the games fun, but I also got to share them for the first time with my kids, who not only got to learn about everyone on the team but could refer to them by their nicknames. Francisco Lindor became their favorite player.

My son, Theo, played Little League baseball this Spring, coinciding with the Mets’ strong play out of the gate and a long stint in first place. After having a season when his team won the championship, Theo was selected for his first All-Star team. He & I would view games together, going over hitter stances and watching amazing defensive plays and strange mishaps. I started a family tradition called Mets Highlights, where my son, daughter, and I would watch a three-minute condensed version of the previous day’s game, fitting them in before driving off to school, camp, or whatever was scheduled. The more we did it, the more they would ask for it, always shielding their eyes from the MLB home screen so they could be surprised by the score. [I rarely showed them a loss unless it was very close or there was a fantastic play made by either team.]

Deciding this was the perfect year to go to New York, to Citi Field, and watch a live game together, I originally scheduled a trip in June and bought tickets for a Mets/ Marlins matchup. But when Theo made the All-Star team, I lamented my bad timing since he would miss all of his games. My wife & I had serious discussions about it, and money be damned, we rescheduled our flight plans, changed the trip dates, and bought new tickets, this time for the Mets/Braves showdown in early August.

My son had been to a Rockies game when he was 6, but my daughter, Lucy, had yet to attend a professional game. This would be a new experience for all of us. And none of us had ever been to Citi Field. Theo had it in his head that he would be able to meet Lindor and get his ball signed by him. I tried to research ways to possibly do that and postpone the inevitable letdown.

After being in New York for four days, I decided to spontaneously buy Theo and me two tickets to the series opener, assuming that it would be our best chance to see batting practice and maybe get a signed ball. We got to the stadium two hours early and, after arriving inside, tried to figure out a way to walk down to the field seats. Slipping past an usher heavily discussing Mets folklore, we traveled down the open corridor on the first base path where other kids were lined up. I stood in the 95-degree sun, shading my son while rivers of sweat cascaded down my body for nearly two hours. ( I don’t think I stopped actively sweating that day until about 1 AM.) When I wasn’t partaking myself, I was trying to figure out how to handle my son’s massive disappointment over his lofty expectations, which he had built up for months.

And then he walked out. There he was. Francisco Lindor. My son’s hero, stretching out his body and getting ready to play catch with Luis (Louie-Louie-loo-wee) Guillorme. Of all players who could have (or did) come out on the field – what luck. Maybe we have a shot, I told Theo. But the game starts in 15 minutes, so I didn’t see it happening. Shoot, we didn’t even have a Sharpie with us.

Then, out of the blue, he walked over to the group lined up on the opposite sides of our seats. Theo saw his opportunity and asked if he could go try to get an autograph. He had crawled over five rows of seats before I could even get a ‘be polite’ out of my mouth. Actually, I didn’t know what to say. His fearlessness and initiative were so impressive I was speechless. He disappeared into a scrum of fans, and I eagerly stared at the mass of people, waiting to rescue him or for him to reappear. It seemed like thirty minutes, but it was probably only thirty seconds before he emerged, climbing over the empty seats, clasping each back with his gloved left hand and holding his baseball high up with his right.

“I got it. I got it”, he yelled. I was in disbelief. What? “I met him. He was so nice. There was a man who helped me too. I asked him if I could borrow his pen, and he helped me meet Lindor.” Theo was out of breath, but I scooped him up and quickly moved out of the line, with the game starting in minutes and a long trek ahead to our upper deck spots. [Lindor would go on to break the Mets record for HRs and RBIs in a season by a shortstop this year.]

The Mets won that night, and as we left the park, my son got to be a part of Let’s Go Mets chants in the dark and sweaty stairwells that I remembered hearing when I was his age. They won again two days later when all four of us went, with the Mets eventually taking four of five from Atlanta. We had a memorable time, and it was indeed a special season. More importantly, I got to officially share my love of baseball with my kids, just like my dad did with me.

As much as I have relished each victory, it’s been sad to hear and read the anxious posts and angry rants by Mets ‘fans’ and pundits with each loss. I have listened to folks lionize then villainize just about every player and coach, sometimes within minutes of each other. It’s been heartbreaking to realize that many folks still have difficulty enjoying life or are afraid to give themselves permission to have fun and let go. I wish them well. There’s no glory in agony.

I am looking forward to watching the Mets in the playoffs this weekend with no expectations. Maybe even flip on some Mets highlights the following day.

And here’s a little music – one of our favorites songs this Summer:


My Own Personal Top 40


                                                My first Top 50, dated 9-22-86

After dutifully following the American Top 40 for years, I created my own “Top 40”, actually 50, current songs that were my favorites at the time. The reasons I did it are still unclear and buried deep in my mind.  Coming across these old stenographer notebooks, I perused the pages trying to figure out what compelled me,  what were the rules I held for ranking, and, holy shit, what kind of nerd I was. I did this for five-plus years every week and never shared these with anyone.

Nevertheless, I thought to post it here, and maybe by doing that, I’d learn a little about myself. I already have a lot of unanswered questions. The Mets had clinched the division by now, and I was obsessed with watching them daily as it would be my first time to see them in the playoffs. But how much more extra time did I have back then?

And why did I think Don Johnson sang my third favorite song that week? Maybe deep down, I was just a Wendy Waldman fan and didn’t realize it?

I still cringe at my #14 through #16. Was this a product of unrequited or lost love? At least I put Chaka in the Top 10 with a song that would eventually peak at #53, for what that’s worth. And I’m proud to have two B-52s songs on the chart, especially when pop radio fully gave on them.

Take a peak, have a few chuckles, and feel free to have a go at me in the comments.

The Earth Rotates To Our Dictates

We’re back with the second half review of the Billboard Top 40 from July 23rd, 1988. Were you making any memories to these tunes?

20. Billy Ocean – The Color Of Love

I have no idea what the hell Billy is talking about. But he has been married for 42 years and counting, so he must know something about love.

19. Rod Stewart – Lost In You

PD – Rod’s tune about missing his family while he’s on the road is at turns sweet and affecting. Until the last line, when he yelps, “when I come home, I’m gonna love you like fifteen men.” Not sure what he means by that, but I’ve seen films, and it gets quite messy.

18. Chicago – I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love

PD – Well, OK then.

17. The Contours – Do You Love Me

STA – The Dirty Dancing revival tour is still in full swing with the second soundtrack album release called More Dirty Dancing. It features this early Motown cut which initially hit #3 in 1962, even before the Temps and Supremes had hits. It could be jarring at times when they played this on the radio between Bon Jovi and George Michael or even the Fat Boys record. But it will still sashay up to #11.  Like Benny Mardones’ Into The Night, The Contours are a one-hit wonder with the same song twice.

16. Sade – Paradise

I used to put on Sade’s music at night, thinking it was the best time to listen to it after hours. But a sinewy groove like this works even better during a warm Summer day. It’s one of the few songs that take me right back to 1988 with my girlfriend, washing the sand off the shore and feeling fine. This was Sade’s only #1 hit on the Soul charts, and it’s at its peak here.

15. Johnny Kemp – Just Got Paid

THW – Damn, I forgot what a jam this was. This early New Jack stomper was written by Teddy Riley and Keith Sweat for Keith’s debut but was ultimately rejected. If you listen hard, you can hear the seeds of I Want Her in there. Johnny recorded a ‘scratch” vocal on a demo to they could shop it around. Instead, it became a Top 10 hit as is, going to #1 on the R&B and Dance Club charts and garnering Kemp a Grammy nomination.

14. Elton John – I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That

PD – Why does it sound like Elton had The Name Game on his mind when he came up with the chorus? You can easily substitute anna-banna-bo banna instead of the title. Try it next time.

13. Al B. Sure! – Nite And Day

PD, OHW – Al would nab a Top 10 with this track and a #1 Soul album with five R&B hits. Even though he’s a one-hit wonder, he did score one as the writer of Jodeci’s Forever My Lady in 1991.

12. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Parents Just Don’t Understand

The reason why the hip-hop community dissed the Fresh Prince wasn’t that his stuff was jokey. His storytelling was wack, and usually, it never made any sense. Case in point – what Mall was selling 70s clothes in 1988? If I could have dressed u like Greg Brady in high school, I definitely would have. Also, don’t get me started on the scenario where he stole his mom’s (cause Dad had one too?) Porsche, picks up an underage hitchhiker and takes her to McDonald’s, eventually getting physically abused for the offense by his parents.

11. Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine – 1-2-3


10. Jane Wieldlin – Rush Hour

OHW – Belinda Carlisle wasn’t the only Go-Go with a Top 10 single in 1988. Guitarist Wiedlin spun this out as the lead single from her second solo album, Fur. It’s one spot away from its peak.

9. Terence Trent D’arby – Sign Your Name

If your Sade album wasn’t setting the mood, maybe this sultry ballad would do the trick. It’s the third single from TTD’s debut and his second Top 10 single.

Also, pour a little out for D’arby, who died in 2001 (his words), and say hello to Sananda Maitreya, who turns 21 this October.

8. Pebbles – Mercedes Boy


7. Eric Carmen – Make Me Lose Control

RAR – Who had former Raspberries lead singer will have two Top 10 singles in 1988 on their bingo card? You did? Please enter and win the Megamillions; why doncha?

6. Breathe – Hands to Heaven

PD, RAR – Raise those hands up cause the devil coming for you, sinners. Oops, look like he did already.

5. Cheap Trick – The Flame

PD – I love Cheap Trick, but I pass on this one. I also don’t blame them for finding a hit song to relaunch their career, as most of their 80s singles fell short of the 40. This former #1 track will also reach the top in Australia and Canada.

4. Steve Winwood – Roll With It

PD – I love Steve Winwood, but because this exists, we didn’t need this song. Unless Boomers were looking for another slogan to sing while they slowly raped our future?

3. INXS – New Sensation

PD – Live baby live, no matter what kind of weird stuff you’re into.

2. Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me

PD, PFK – It’s a short walk from this to Man! I Feel Like A Woman.

1. Richard Marx – Hold On To The Nights

This was the fourth single from Marx’s debut and his first #1 record, jumping up from #5 last week. Richard has acquired a second career, albeit virtual, as a guy who loves to take down douchebags on social media.
  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
  • STA – Second Time Around

Waiting For Our Happily Ever After


I haven’t done one of these in a while, mainly because they end up being in-betweeners, which means that many of the songs have been listed on Top 40 posts before or after the current date. But after I heard the countdown last weekend, it brought up some fond memories during the Summer of 1988. Maybe I’ll share a few as I discuss the Top 40 during the week of July 23rd.

[Note – I have previously discussed (PD) some of these songs in posts before,  but I’ll try to add something else if I can.]

40. Corey Hart – In Your Soul

CanCon legend Corey Hart racked up nine US Top 40 hits, but he’s forever known as the Sunglasses at Night dude. That’s a shame because his later hits are worth a listen, including this wistful ditty which will top out at #38. Ruby Turner sings backing vocals, though they’re mixed too high.

39. Taylor Dayne – I’ll Always Love You

PD, PFK – This song reminds me of every Long Island wedding I attended in the late 80s and early 90s. And that’s where it should stay.

38. The Moody Blues – I Know You’re Out There Somewhere

RAR – Here’s the breezy sequel to the Moody Blues Top 10 smash of 1986, Your Wildest Dreams. It will only climb to #30 but reach the Top 10 of the AC & Mainstream Rock charts. At this point, the band was mostly Justin Hayward singing lead and keyboardist Patrick Moraz, which probably angered the rest of the band. Moraz was fired in 1991, and the Moodies spent the rest of the decade shafting him on royalties. They will never reach the Top 40 again.

37. Kylie Minogue – I Should Be So Lucky

After scoring a role on the Australian soap Neighbours, in 1986, Kylie decided to expand her career into singing. She hired the buzz-SAW machine of Stock-Aiken-Waterman, who crapped out this bland product to international success. A #1 hit in eight countries, including the UK, we stopped it dead in its tracks at #28.

Kylie’s music improved as she continued, and her 2001 Fever is considered a Euro-disco classic.

36. Huey Lewis & The News – Perfect World

PD – If there ain’t no living in a perfect world, cause there ain’t no perfect world anyway, then why should I waste my time dreaming about one? Shouldn’t I spend my time actually trying to make the world better? Asking for a friend.

35. Van Halen – When It’s Love

PD – Sammy Hagar continues to pulverize all the fun out of the band into a mystery liquor that no one gets drunk on but himself.

34. Guns N Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine

PD, PFK – Axl Rose let everyone know from day one that he was a garbage person. And now he looks like your aunt.

33. Brenda K. Starr – I Still Believe 


32. Robert Palmer – Simply Irresistible


31. Bruce Hornsby & The Range – The Valley Road

PD, RAR -The lead single from the band’s second album, Scenes From the Southside, will reach #5 and be #1 on the AC & Mainstream rock charts. Sounds like a particular age group is trying to have it both ways.

Also, I never realized this song was about a woman who got pregnant and was sent away to “take care of it.”

30. Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana

PD – That Summer, I had a girlfriend named Diana. She hated the song. I would sing it to her often. We didn’t make it past August.

29. The Jets – Make It Real

PD – I recommend watching Unsung: The Jets to folks whenever possible. It’s a tragic mess.

28. Aerosmith – Rag Doll

PFK – The third Top 40 single from Permanent Vacation will rise to #17 and only #12 on the Rock charts. Yes, Mainstream Rock radio in 1988 preferred Moody Blues & Bruce Hornsby to this. Jim Vallance and Holly Knight helped out with the lyrics.

27. Tracy Chapman – Fast Car

PD, THW – I think most people can relate to the feeling of being trapped in a life they don’t want and the rush of adrenaline and desperation when a chance to leave comes along. The sadness comes from knowing that some don’t even get that opportunity and ‘live and die this way.’

26. Whitney Houston – Love Will Save the Day

PD – Whitney came around during the time. She was saddled with sappy, overblown ballads when we all know she would have been a hell of a disco diva.

25. Poison – Nothin’ But A Good Time


24. Climie Fisher – Love Changes (Everything)

OHW – Rob Fisher netted four Top 40 hits as part of the duo Naked Eyes. He gets another as part of this twosome with Simon Climie, who wrote the #1 smash I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) last year with Dennis Morgan. This 45 is one notch away from its zenith.

23. Debbie Gibson – Foolish Beat

PD – Just because you and I like different music doesn’t mean either of us is right or wrong. That said, this song blows.

22. Fat Boys – The Twist

THW – After the Disco 3 hit the top 20 with a rap cover of Wipeout, the trio debase themselves further with this rendition of The Twist. And Chubby Checker’s back in the mix, too, for his 258th remake of the tune. Just stick to All You Can Eat.

21. George Michael – Monkey

PD – Boy, George has a lotta gall telling me to set my monkey free. George needed to set his own monkey free. Then he did set his monkey free, went outside, and lived happily ever after.

Didn’t really share a lot of memories, did I? Maybe there’s more to come when I visit the Top 20. Look for that soon.


  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
  • STA – Second Time Around