Maryanne's Jukebox

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Archive for the tag “retro”

O Holy Night

Oh Holy Night

I remember the first time I heard O Holy Night as a little girl, on the Sonny & Cher Christmas special and it became one of my favorite Christmas songs. (And there are oh so many!)

I always love the dramatic “FALL ON YOUR KNEES” climax — I get such chills and tears fall from my eyes; a feeling shared with millions, I’m sure.

Here is Cher’s version:

CHER

And here are some other amazing versions of the song:

Lou Christie

Transiberian Orchestra

Mahalia Jackson

Johnny Mathis

Brian Setzer Orchestra

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Christmas Wrapping

Christmas wrapping

Another one of my FAVORITE Christmas songs is Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses.

I remember the first time I heard it was in a nightclub called Aldo’s in New Jersey. It was the last song played and then the lights went on. Everyone was in a festive mood and some of us were still singing, “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas” long after the lights went on and the music (and drinks) stopped.

Hooray for the Waitresses for creating some stellar Christmas magic for us new wave fans on the onset of rap music in 1981, hence the clever name “Christmas Wrapping” (rapping).

ENJOY!

Christmas Wrapping

The WaitressesThe Waitresses

Happy Birthday Razzle (RIP)

RazzleRazzle

Had he lived it would be another birthday for Razzle, drummer of another one of my favorite bands, Hanoi Rocks.

Razzle was killed Dec. 9, 1984 in a car accident. (Motley Crue front man Vince Neal was the driver and is on the record for being very torn for the manslaughter and has said he wished it was him instead).

I had the opportunity to see Hanoi Rocks perform at the Ritz in NYC before we lost Razzle. It was an amazing show and dirt cheap (under $10).

When Razzle died soon afterwards, my heart dropped. A very sad day in music history.

Here is a Razzle tribute from a fan on You Tube: MILLON MILES AWAY

Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime

‘Ol Dino!

Growing up, Dean Martin was a hit in our house.

My beloved grandmother adored ‘ol Dino. We loved watching his show together.

So, in honor of Grandparents Day, I want to dedicate my favorite Dean Martin song, “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime” to my late Grandmother!

It’s not only a beautiful song, but a FUN song!

Check it out, Love Italian Style!:

Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime

Happy Birthday Freddie Mercury!

Freddie lives on!

Too many favorite Queen songs to choose from to celebrate Freddie’s birthday. But I always loved the official Killer Queen video because that’s the era of my favorite Freddie, long hair, pre-mustache and 1970s garb.

Check it out:

Killer Queen

Peter Lemongello – Love ’76

PETER LEMONGELLO.

I vaguely remember him and the 1976 commercial that took this former cabaret singer to new heights in his career. The kitschy commercial helped him become the first person to sell over a million records via television marketing.

Peter Lemongello went on to perform at Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden.

I found his website: http://www.plemongello.com/ and see that time was very good to this man, he looks great! He is still performing in Florida, where he resides.

I also found his Twitter account, but see that he hasn’t updated since 2009. Shame I didn’t realize he performed at Trumpets, in Montclair, New Jersey in 2009. I would have went. As a reporter I covered quite a few acts that performed at Trumpets.

According to Wikipedia, what Lemongello accomplished is still being studied at college marketing courses and in advertising agencies.

Genius!

1976: Got My KISS Record Out!

The Album That Changed My Life — for about a few hours

Kiss was very significant in my life.

They were the first “cool” band I listened to. Destroyer was my first “real” album. Before that it was Sonny & Cher, Bay City Rollers, AM Gold hits on the radio and my mom and uncle’s Elvis, Tom Jones and Johnny Cash records. Mind you, all this stuff is considered cool today, but it wasn’t back in 1976, age 12.

Around this time, I beat up the school bully.

My grandmother always taught me, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose a fight, just get one good punch in, show them you’re not scared.

So, here I was 12-years-old, and the school hero for beating up a bully. All of a sudden I was mad popular, after being the shy skinny pimple kid with glasses that no one would talk to because they gave up on me because I was too shy to talk to them. Fair is fair and it never bothered me much that I didn’t have friends. I was a loner.

But now that I had friends, I decided to throw a party in my grandmother’s basement and invite all my new friends.

I was suddenly too cool for my own classmates – the 7th graders. Instead, I invited all the 8th graders.

But the 7th graders were begging me to invite them too, so I invited the ones who begged the hardest.

That night, the kids all started pouring in. Twelve- and 13-year-olds brought beer and other alcoholic beverages.

A lot of the boys were still short and it was hilarious seeing mismatched short, skinny boys with girls who were overdeveloped for their age.

I only had my one Kiss album, “Destroyer,” and that’s all we listened to all night, over and over.

Pre-teen and teen-aged kids got drunk, cried and made out like crazy.

I only had a few sips of beer … to fit in. (I didn’t get drunk. I didn’t cry. Nor did I “make out like crazy.”)

Nobody fought or wrecked anything. I considered the party a success.

When “Beth” played, the cutest boy in the school sang to me, replacing my name, “Maryanne” every time Peter Criss sang, “Beth.”

“Maryanne, what can I do?”

It was the first time a boy ever sang to me. But when it came time to kiss him, I was afraid. So I lost out.

Monday morning all the kids said to me, “Great party!”

Sadly, my mother found out about the beer. I got in trouble, and felt resentful of my new friends.

I started drifting away from them and slumped back into my loner stage.

But I continued to buy Kiss records. And also moved on to Queen and Aerosmith.

1998 Radio City Music Hall: Pretenders and B52s Double Bill

Photo by James Yeramian, found on Flickr

Late June, 1998, I had the pleasure to see a double bill with The Pretenders and B52s at Radio City Music Hall, NYC.

I was a fan of both bands and saw them both much earlier (on separate occasions) at the Capital Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey — all the back in 1980.

With an 18 year time difference between the times I saw both acts, I can’t honestly say which shows were better because both of these bands were always a class act.

Aside from all the great songs, dancing, people not being in their seats during almost the entire show, high energy, etc., there were three outstanding moments from this particular gig.

1. Shaking hands with Gene Simmons. The B52s were up first. Now, from day one, whenever I went to a concert my eyes are always pretty much glued to the stage. But when my friend Janet pointed out that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were sitting right behind us, so I had to look.

She was right. It was Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley at a B52s/Pretenders concert! How surreal.

I said hello to Gene Simmons and he shook my hand. He seemed very nice. Paul was sitting a bit further down, so I didn’t get to meet him that night, although I met him over 10 years earlier at a club in Brooklyn called L’Amour’s.

It was so surreal seeing two members of KISS with their girlfriends. (I’m not sure if it was Shannon who was with Gene, as this concert was way before the “KISS Family Jewels” show was on the air, so I didn’t really know who Shannon Tweed was). Both women were blonde and beautiful.

And it just goes to show that musicians love all kinds of music — not just the kind of music they perform. This is why music fans should stop referring to anything they think is “uncool” as a “guilty pleasure” because it’s all cool!

Gene and Paul left in the middle of the B52s set. I guess too many fans were staring at them.

2. Chrissie Hynde acknowledging the death of Wendy O. Williams. Two months prior to this show, Wendy O. Williams of The Plasmatics killed herself. This was a shocker to me. I heard the news via email from an editor I worked with briefly. The news broke my heart. I was a huge Plasmatics fan and saw their show pretty close to 10 times. I met Wendy once and she was nice to me. I always admired her strength and viewed her as a woman way ahead of her time. I took her death very hard.

I don’t know if Chrissie Hynde and Wendy O. Williams knew each other personally, but I do know they had a major common ground as they were both vegetarians. Wendy O. Williams was even on the cover of Vegetarian Times.

It was very sweet of Chrissie to acknowledge Wendy. That was so nice and unexpected. Kudos to Chrissie for doing that.

3. Chrissie Hynde dedicating “I’ll Stand By You” to “the animals.” Being an animal lover myself, this was a very poignant moment for me. I love that Chrissie Hynde does so much for the animals. Whenever that song comes on the radio, I remember this concert that I went to so very long ago and ever since hearing Chrissie’s dedication, I love that song even more.

“He’s Good Bad, But He Ain’t Evil”

THE SHANGRI-LAS

One of my favorite outdoor summer concerts was seeing the Shangri-Las at City Hall in NYC, June, 19, 2004.

There was only one remaining member, Mary Weiss, and her daughter and it was still a dynamic show.

Even though the Shangri-Las were before my time, I was no stranger to their music because every band I loved covered their hits. Aerosmith recorded “(Remember) Walking in the Sand” for their “Night in the Ruts” album; I had a bootleg Blondie album of them doing “Out in the Streets”; and Johnny Thunders not only performed their hit “Great Big Kiss” every time I saw him live, he sometimes wore a Shangri-Las t-shirt. “Great Big Kiss” is featured on Thunders’s best solo album, “So Alone” and the lyrics are slightly changed to suit his bad boy image, as opposed to the Shangri-Las bad girl image.

Johnny Thunders also covered their hit “He Cried” w/Patti Palladin.

But I think the Shangri-Las are most known for their hit, “Leader of the Pack.”

The girls formed their group while still in high school in the 1960s.

On that hot summer day when I saw them at City Hall, they did all their hits, plus some Ronettes songs, “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Be My Baby.” They also did “Locomotion” and other oldies.

The short set was only 40 minutes, but then they went over to J&R Music to sign autographs. The line was pretty short, so I bought a CD and met Mary Weiss and the other ladies for the fun of it.

Shangri-La member Mary Ann Ganser died on March 14, 1970. Reports of cause of death varied: encephalitis, a seizure disorder or barbituartes.

Shangri-La member Marge Ganser died of breast cancer July 28, 1996.

Many artists continue to pay tribute to the Shangri-Las covering their songs.

Long Live the Shangri-Las!

Let’s Dance — At Aldo’s Hideaway, 1983

David Bowie, circa 1980

Aldo’s Hideaway was a cutting edge dance club in New Jersey.

The first time I went there, I was barely 17 and a friend took me there to see The Stranglers. It was my first experience with breaking a curfew, as bands didn’t go on until 2 a.m. back in those days (which was great for older “kids” who went to college or worked because you could put in a full day, shower, eat and nap before a night on the town, which usually began no earlier than 11 p.m.)

I was hooked on this dance club. First of all because back then there weren’t “all ages” shows like they have today, so there weren’t places for a teenager to go. But for some reason the bouncers/door people were very easy going in regard to not checking IDs.

Second, because they played great music. All the popular new wave songs from the 1980s.

In spite of my grandmother’s warnings that the club could get shut down if our ages were ever found out, my younger sister and I went to Aldo’s on a regular basis.

There are so many stories to tell about this place, but one of the nights that I had the most fun was June 17, 1983, the day my sister turned 17. (I was 19 and the drinking age was 19 at that time, so I was finally there legally, but she wasn’t).

A DJ named Brian always played cool new wave music on Saturday nights. Brian was super skinny, had a bat tattoo on his upper arm and dressed like David Bowie did during his 1980s phase. Many Aldo’s patrons thought Brian was the coolest. But considering our very young age, my sister and I thought he looked like a younger version of our grandfather (even though Brian was probably only in his 20s, but mind you that is SO OLD to someone who is just a teenager!)  We even secretly nicknamed Brian, “Poppy” after our grandfather.

But Brian was very nice to us. As all the staff at Aldo’s was. I think they knew we were underage but they looked after us.

When I mentioned it was my sister’s birthday to Brian that night, he played David Bowie for her because that was her favorite at the time. Brian then came out from his DJ booth and on to the dance floor to wish my sister a Happy Birthday.

Then he played two Japan songs, back to back, for me!

When the clock struck midnight, and it was officially my sister’s birthday, he played another David Bowie song.

This was a very special night, and a very positive story about a young person (DJ Brian) looking out for even younger people.

Even though teens and 20s are a huge age difference, that’s just how it was in the 1980s. Music brought like-minded people together. And it felt so good not to be thought of as “just a kid” and that someone cool paid attention to us youngsters!

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