Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 2007: A Look Back

Today on the blog, I continue on with my listing of the Top Ten Summer Hits from years past. I’ve already gone over both 1987 and 1997. If you missed those entries, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/07/top-ten-summer-music-hits-of-1987-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/11/top-ten-summer-music-hits-of-1997-a-look-back/

On this Throwback Thursday, we travel back a decade to 2007 to find what was burning up the charts in a summer where comedies like Knocked Up and Superbad were making us laugh, the Transformers franchise was just beginning, and Spider-Man 3 was overwhelming us with too many villains and Tobey Maguire dancing.

As I have with these posts before, I’ll rank them on my own (not exactly refined) musical scale of 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (summer fire) and let you know whether or not said song resides on my Apple Music playlist.

Let’s get to it!

10. “Make Me Better” – Fabolous feat. Ne-Yo

Brooklyn MC Fabolous starting making hits in 2001 and this Timbaland produced and string heavy track featuring Ne-Yo is one of his biggest. Timbaland always delivers good beats. It’s decent, though nothing too memorable.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

9. “Bartender” – T-Pain feat. Akon

Like many of Mr. Pain’s tracks, this is made for careless nights at the club and in that sense, it’s perfect acceptable. Like some of those nights, however, you may have forgotten it by morning.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

8. “Makes Me Wonder” by Maroon 5

The first single from Maroon 5’s long-awaited second album, this was actually their first #1 hit (a bit surprising considering the smashes from their debut release). It’s a catchy as heck pop concoction with Adam Levine’s fine vocals.

My Rating: 8 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

7. “Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston

Jamaican artist Kingston scored a huge one hit wonder here with this reggae tinged ode to a girl he loves. The lyrics are really quite disturbing if you think about them at all, but summer songs are all about enjoying them with the top down and this pretty much delivers.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

6. “The Way I Are” by Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson

Grammatical issues aside, the second single from mega-producer Timbaland’s Shock Value album is a synth heavy standout jam. My goodness – this man was on fire in the mid 2000s.

My Rating: 8 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

5. “Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” – T-Pain feat. Yung Joc

And now for the lead single from Mr. Pain’s second smash album. It’s another club anthem meant for quick consumption on a night out and it’s a notch above #9 “Bartender”.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

4. “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s

The signature tune from these Illinois rockers, this track was inescapable a decade ago. The ballad’s rating here perhaps suffers from its overexposure, but it does get in your head.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

3. “Party Like a Rockstar” by Shop Boyz

The first and only hit from these Atlanta rappers, “Rockstar” merged the sounds of hip hop and rock that first gained exposure two decades earlier with Aerosmith and Run DMC. It’s the most downloaded ringtone of 2007. It’s not “Walk This Way”, but it’s fun.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

2. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie

The fourth single off her debut album and the third #1 from it, Black Eyed Peas songstress Fergie slowed it down here with this ditty. Truthfully, it was never among my favorite tracks that were singles but maybe I just gravitated toward other hits like “London Bridge”, “Glamorous”, and “Clumsy”. Still it’s solid. By the way, if that guy Fergie is romancing in the video looks familiar – that would Milo Ventimiglia or Jack from TV’s “This Is Us”.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

1. “Umbrella” by Rihanna feat. Jay-Z

Now we’re talking! One of Rihanna’s best cuts, this was actually rejected by Britney Spears. Oops. With a fine assist from Mr. Shawn Carter (who co-wrote), “Umbrella” features a towering beat and is one of the endlessly played tracks that somehow doesn’t get old. It deserves its accolades.

My Rating: 10

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

Well, that does it folks! The last ten, twenty, and thirty years of summertime hits. Next summer – get ready for 1988, 1998, and 2008. And hitting the blog within days will be reviewing the movie summers of 1987, 1997, and 2007. Stay tuned!

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Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 1997: A Look Back

Today, we continue on with the summer songs were filling our ears two decades ago. Last week, I brought you the top 10 seasonal ditties of 1987. If you missed that post, you can find it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/07/top-ten-summer-music-hits-of-1987-a-look-back/

As I’ve done with these posts previously, I’m personally rating each of them on a scale of 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (summer fire). I’m also answering the important question as to whether each track is located in my Apple Music catalog.

Before we delve into the top 10, I must say that when I looked up Billboard’s chart I expected to see Will Smith’s “Men in Black”, the theme song to 1997’s highest grossing picture. Surprisingly, it was nowhere to be found but in case you wanted to put on your nostalgia goggles and watch the Fresh Prince groovin’ with an alien, here you are:

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the songs that were constantly playing on our radios and CD players 20 years ago:

10. “Look Into My Eyes” by Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony

While I expected Mr. Smith’s movie hit to be in this list, I had plain forgotten about Cleveland rap group Bone’s track that appeared on the Batman and Robin soundtrack. I guess the movie itself isn’t the only forgettable thing about the fourth Caped Crusader flick. While Bone has had some classics (“Tha Crossroads”, “1st of tha Month”), this isn’t one of them.

My Rating: 5 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

9. “Do You Know (What It Takes)” by Robyn

Swedish pop star Robyn scored her first of two top 10 singles stateside with this uptempo dance hit (her second was “Show Me Love”). The fact that I had to look it up to remind myself of it means it’s a bit of a throwaway, but my head was nodding along to it and it’s got a little Britney Spears vibe pre-Britney. This makes sense because it was co-produced by Max Martin, who went on to make massive hits for Britney, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and many many others.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

8. “Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy and Mase

The second single from Biggie’s Life After Death album (released just weeks after his murder), “Mo Money” is a Puff Daddy confection that samples the Diana Ross classic “I’m Coming Out”. It would have sounded perfectly at home on Puff’s hit album from that summer, but it hits a high note when Christopher Wallace’s fierce rap closes it out.

My Rating: 8 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

7. “Say You’ll Be There” by Spice Girls

For those who didn’t live through the Spice revolution, the British girl group were a massive sensation and this is on the higher end of their pop hits. They even went the movie route six months after this topped the charts with Spice World, which performed well worldwide despite mostly scathing reviews.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

6. “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind

This cut from San Francisco rockers Third Eye Blind was inescapable two decades ago. It may be a perfectly sounding pop concoction, but it’s actually about crystal meth addiction. Woo hoo! Truthfully, I found this song rather grating back then and still do. It was featured prominently in American Pie two summers later.

My Rating: 5

It Is On My Apple Music? No

5. “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison

British hip hop artist Morrison had his one hit wonder with this anthem and it’s a darn catchy one that still resonates today. It was even recently featured in a Burger King commercial!

My Rating: 9

It Is On My Apple Music?: Yes

4. “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” by Backstreet Boys

Also produced by the aforementioned Max Martin, this is Backstreet’s first chart topper in the United States. Is it their best? No, that easily belongs to “I Want It That Way”, but it’s a good pop tune.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

3. “MMMBop” by Hanson

The Oklahoma brothers had an absolute smash with the ubiquitous “MMMBop”. It received critical raves as well. I’ll fully admit this a song I would turn off today, but I liked it too back in the day.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

2. “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks

This female empowerment track by Oregon songstress Brooks was inescapable as well. It doesn’t touch top tier Alanis as far as I’m concerned, but it’s easy to belt out the chorus. It would be prominently featured three years later in the Mel Gibson rom com What Women Want.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

1. “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112

Puff Daddy’s tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. with an assist from his widow and Bad Boy label mates 112 was an absolute juggernaut that spent 11 weeks at #1. Sampling The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”, it was a powerful track coming so soon after Biggie’s demise. Truth be told, it’s also rather mawkish and doesn’t hold up nearly as well today but I sure dug it then.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

And there you have it, folks! I’ll be bringing you the 2007 list very soon…

Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 1987: A Look Back

As has become a summer tradition on this here blog, I’m taking you back 30 years, 20 years, and 10 years recounting the top 10 tracks of every season.

We begin today with 1987 before moving forward with 1997 and 2007 shortly. It’s a fascinating experience to relive the songs that were blaring (at least in this era) on our Walkmans and cassettes at this juncture.

Just as in years past, I will assign a scale of 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (seasonal classic) for each hit. I will also reveal whether or not said track is on my Apple Music.

As a side note, my series that will cover the summer movies of 1987, 1997, and 2007 will be coming your way soon as well.

Let’s get to it!

10. “Luka” by Suzanne Vega

OK, so you don’t usually pair “summer hit song” with a track about child abuse, but Vega’s largest hit of her career is a catchy little ditty. It earned a number of Grammy nominations. And just to slide a movie reference in, a deleted scene from Pulp Fiction reveals the character of Vincent Vega (John Travolta) may actually be a cousin of hers.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

9. “Heart and Soul” by T’Pau

Not T-Pain for you youngsters. No, this is T’Pau, a British pop song fronted by Carol Decker that had some hits in the late 80s. “Heart and Soul” is a perfectly reasonable track you’d belt out in the car alone.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

8. “Only In My Dreams” by Debbie Gibson

Teen Long Island pop princess Debbie Gibson (before she changed to her name to the more distinguished Deborah) had a huge hit with this ditty. It’s somewhat forgettable these days, but it’s an OK little pop confection.

My Rating: 5 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

7. “Who’s That Girl” by Madonna

And now for the real pop princess! This is the title track for Madonna’s 1987 box office dud that still managed to produce this hit. This has never been one of my favorite Madonna songs to be honest, but it’s decent.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

6. “I Want Your Sex” by George Michael

The late British pop sensation gave radio programmers heart palpitations with this first single from his heralded solo debut Faith. The track also served as the third single for the soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop II, which was the summer’s biggest hit movie. As is the case with plenty of other GM tracks, it’s terrific and so are the various remixes that followed.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? Yes

5. “La Bamba” by Los Lobos

This is, of course, the cover of the Ritchie Valens 50s smash that served as the lead single for the movie La Bamba. Truth be told, this is a track that grates on my nerves and maybe that’s due to its omnipresence three decades ago.

My Rating: 4 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music? No

4. “Shakedown” by Bob Seger

This is Detroit legend Seger’s only #1 single and it came from the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack. It was originally intended for the late Glenn Frey, who recorded “The Heat Is On” for 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop. Do I think it’s great? No, but I might not turn the dial if it comes on.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

3. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2

The second single from their beloved Joshua Tree album, this is one of Irish rock band’s signature tunes and it deserves to be.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

2. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston

Ms. Whitney’s dance inducing track here served as the first single from her second album and to this day, it will get bridal parties belting out the lyrics.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My Apple Music? Yes

1. “Alone” by Heart

Yeah, very few singers have pipes like Ann Wilson and this power ballad has tested the limits of many who attempt to keep up by themselves while sitting in traffic. Many have tried.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

And there you have it! I’ll be back soon with 1997 and 2007…

 

Prince: An Appreciation

I’m not sure I could have written this post a year ago.

It was an early Thursday afternoon on April 21st last year when I got a call from a colleague. A body had been found at Paisley Park. Those were the extent of the details known at that moment.

I remembered nearly seven years earlier that TMZ had been the first entity to report the news of Michael Jackson’s passing. They had it before CNN and the AP, etc…

My thought process immediately had me typing in that website to see what was happening. And there it was. Prince was dead.

For me, this was not your typical announcement of a celebrity’s passing. It was far more than that. To those who read this blog, you know I’m a huge movie fan, as well as a music lover. We all are in our own way (at least most of us).

As I’ve stated before on here, there are casual movie watchers and there are casual listeners of the songs playing on the radio. And good for you! I’m not wired that way. From a young age, I was transfixed by the world of film and continue to be right now.

When it comes to music, I come from a family that loves it. From hearing James Brown and Ray Charles and Chuck Berry from my dad to hearing the pop icons of the 1980s like Michael Jackson and Madonna and so many others from my older siblings, it’s always been part of my life. When the music of the early to mid 1990s was popular in my formative years, I was right there along with it. Mildly obsessive about it. The exploding genre of hip hop music at the time was a gold mine of greatness. Artists like Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg and Wu-Tang Clan and 2Pac and Biggie and Outkast. Bands like Nirvana that upset the apple cart of rock and roll. Even the 90s R&B artists like Boyz II Men and TLC and Mariah Carey were busy spinning their gems on my CDs (which at that time was best kept in a giant case you lugged around everywhere).

And then there was Prince. As much as I adored all the aforementioned artists and bands and many more that I haven’t mentioned, Prince Rogers Nelson was and is in a category by himself. This applies to the man as an artist in general and what he meant to a young kid growing up in Northwest Ohio.

On the day he died, I wrote this on Facebook:

It’s difficult to describe what it’s like when you feel a connection with an artist. My brother and sister Troy Thatcher and Dawn Hammer are responsible for allowing me as a young lad to grow up listening to Prince. I saw him in concert 14 times and it was a connection shared with my siblings and sister in law Nicole. I remember certain times according to which albums of his were out. Young years with Purple Rain, Sign O The Times and Batman. Grade school jamming to the Diamonds and Pearls and Symbol album. High school parties putting on P. Control. My high school graduation cake had a rendering of Prince on it. It is honestly a family bond that my brother and sisters and I share together. Because of him. You know how those security questions ask you favorite musician? I’ll give you one guess. His creativity and his musical talent is in a class of its own. He is the greatest live performer… Period. For those not as familiar with his music, just pay attention to what other musicians say about him today. He had given me hours and hours and hours of joy, both on stage and with earbuds in. Some of my greatest memories with people I love involve Prince. He taught me growing up that being creative and even a little strange and different from your peers is cool. I love the genius that is Prince. There’s no past tense. His legacy and his music and his influence will go on forever.
That explains it pretty well. There have been a number of days over my life dedicated to watching Prince perform live. In Columbus. In Cleveland. In Detroit. In Las Vegas. In high school, his albums The Gold Experience, Chaos and Disorder, and Emancipation were released. No matter what was happening that day, I’m confident all I could think about was getting to the music store and buying them. I remember in grade school and junior high is when Diamonds and Pearls and the Symbol album were giving us classics like “Cream”, “Gett Off”, “My Name is Prince”, “Seven”, and “Sexy MF”. To a 12 and 13 year-old, this stuff was risque, funky, and I couldn’t stop listening. Even at that age, I also knew it was genius. It was really that era that caused me to look back at his past releases, which is rightly considered the golden era of his discography. You know, stuff like Dirty Mind, 1999, Purple Rain, Parade, and Sign O The Times. It was then I realized why my brother and sister loved him so much in the 1980s.
The first time I saw him in concert was December 27, 1997. This is the setlist from the show in Auburn Hills:
Note that he did two encores and played 34 songs. I was transfixed from the moment he walked out onstage. As mentioned in my Facebook post, he was the greatest live performer to ever grace a stage.
The last time I saw him was November 10, 2006 in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel on the second night of a residency that went on for months.
Here’s that setlist:
It was a smaller venue and we were right up against the stage. During a guitar solo, I will sheepishly confess that I may have taken the opportunity to give him a friendly pat on the leg while he ripped away on the chords. There was also a moment during a guitar solo where he bent down and came face to face with my sister. I thought she was going to faint.
So… there was a family connection with Prince. With my sister and brother especially. Everyone in high school growing up knew I was rather obsessed with him as well. At the time, he was going by that unpronounceable symbol that I used to constantly doodle on my notebooks. O ( + >
And at that time especially… he was considered pretty damn weird. He was not at the peak of his record sales. That time had passed. He had confounded many fans with the name change. In some ways, I’m almost glad I wasn’t at an age during the Purple Rain era where I would have followed him religiously. To me, the era where he came most vividly into my consciousness was just as important. I was able to cherish what he’d done before and breathlessly look forward to what was next. To me, the name change wasn’t that bizarre. And years later, recognizing that he basically did it to get out of a record contract he deemed unfair adds to the cool factor of the whole thing.
So let’s go back, shall we? He was considered pretty damn weird. I know I didn’t realize it at the time, but we all feel pretty weird in our teens. And here was a guy that embraced his persona and didn’t seem to care what anyone thought of him. He was around to make amazing music and play it live better than anyone else.
Here was someone who could somehow and someway pull off wearing high heels and make every woman desire him (at 5’2″ no less!). Here was someone whose beef with his record company is that they wouldn’t let him release more music. How cool is that? Here is someone who embraced (and later rejected) the Internet as a source of releasing his material. He was way ahead of his time in that respect.
Prince is someone who could balance funk, rock and roll, ballads, R&B, and about every other genre all into one album and it was shockingly brilliant.
In junior high and high school, I didn’t fully know it. Yet he was an inspiration. He was an inspiration to be yourself. He was inspiration to embrace a weird idea that being a 16 year-old more into writing movie reviews than being into sports was actually cool. And it helped me embrace the way I was at the time and am today.
So… in case you can’t tell, I’m more than just a casual Prince fan.
On April 20, 2016 – if you’d told me I’d be visiting Paisley Park in the fall, I would have said you’re crazy. And then April 21st happened. This led to his recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota being turned into a museum. In November of last year, my sister and I found ourselves inside Prince’s inner sanctum. We saw all three of his recording studios, his two concert venues inside the facility where he would entertain, and even his Ping Pong table. Everywhere you looked there were gold and platinum albums. And the first item we saw was a miniature model of Paisley Park located in the Atrium where his ashes are contained inside a small purple box. It was emotional and it was also a joyous celebration of his existence.
Prince died too young. The circumstances of his passing are truly sad. I have found myself on several evenings since April 21st with my earbuds in reminding myself of his work. I have found myself glued to YouTube now that it’s not too difficult to find videos and concert footage. I have smiled at the realization that some of the concert footage (Detroit 2004, performance of “DMSR”) is from a show I was at.
I remember in high school, some of my friends thought it was weird that I was so into Prince… or The Artist Formerly Known as Prince at that juncture. There was some teasing here and there. I couldn’t help it. At that vulnerable teenage time, I think I even got into little arguments with them: “But he’s so great!! You don’t understand!”
The funny part is… I’ve talked to some of my peers that may have teased and joked with me back then. To a person, they pretty much now say – “Ugh, you were right!”
I don’t say that to pound my chest at all. It has nothing to do with me. As I see it, it just took some folks a little while to realize how amazing Prince is.
And we saw how much people loved him on April 21st last year. Some of the tributes were remarkable. Many of them were more poetic and musically beautiful than anything I could create.
Creativity is what fueled Prince. His creativity created a body of work that has entertained and entranced millions around the world. In my case, Prince helped teach me that being creative and a little weird sometimes in is OK. In fact, it’s more than OK. As I said a year ago, it’s cool.
And Prince was the coolest inspiration this guy could have.
Prince Rogers Nelson:
June 7, 1958-April 21, 2016

My Top Ten Prince Albums

Well this wasn’t easy! Prince had nearly 40 studio albums in a career that didn’t even span 40 years. Pretty much every release he put out has at least three (in most cases more) genuinely great tracks.

Yet for those looking for the starter kit on his cream of the crop works, here’s my personal top 10 Prince Albums of All Time:

10. Diamonds and Pearls (1991)

Key Tracks: “Diamonds and Pearls”, “Cream”, “Gett Off”, “Money Don’t Matter 2Nite”, “Strollin”

9. Lovesexy (1988)

Key Tracks: “Anna Stesia”, “Alphabet St”, “Glam Slam”, “When 2R In Love”, “I Wish U In Heaven”

8. Around the World in a Day (1985)

Key Tracks: “Raspberry Beret”, “Pop Life”, “Paisley Park”, “America”, “Condition of the Heart”, “The Ladder”

7. The Gold Experience (1995)

Key Tracks: “Dolphin”, “Gold”, “(Eye) Hate U”, “P. Control”, “Endorphinmachine”, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”

6. Dirty Mind (1980)

Key Tracks: “When You Were Mine”, “Uptown”, “Dirty Mind”, “Head”, “Partyup”, “Gotta Broken Heart Again”

5. The Symbol Album (1992)

Key Tracks: “Seven”, “My Name is Prince”, “Sexy MF”, “The Morning Papers”, “The Max”, “Damn U”, “The Continental”, “Love 2 the 9’s”

4. Parade (1986)

Key Tracks: “Kiss”, “Sometimes It Snows in April”, “Mountains”, “Anotherloverholenyohead”, “Girls and Boys”, “New Position”, “Under the Cherry Moon”

3. 1999 (1982)

Key Tracks: “1999”, “Little Red Corvette”, “Delirious”, “DMSR”, “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)”, “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”, “Free”, “Lady Cab Driver”, “International Lover”

2. Purple Rain (1984)

Key Tracks: All of them… “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Take Me With U”, “The Beautiful Ones”, “Computer Blue”, “Darling Nikki”, “When Doves Cry”, “I Would Die 4 U”, “Baby, I’m a Star”, “Purple Rain”

1. “Sign o’ The Times”

Key Tracks: “Sign o’ the Times”, “Housequake”, “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker”, “U Got the Look”, “Forever in My Life”, “Adore”, “Hot Thing”, “Strange Relationship”, “The Cross”, “If I Was Your Girlfriend”, “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”, “Starfish and Coffee”, “Slow Love”

 

Prince: Deep Cuts 2

Continuing on with a series of blog post that began yesterday as I celebrate the life and work of Prince, here are five more deeper cuts from the artist’s extensive catalog for your listening enjoyment! Oh what the heck? I threw in a bonus one…

“All My Dreams”

“Beginning Endlessly”

“Desire”

“Let’s Have a Baby”

“Purple Music”

“Ripopgodazippa”

Prince: Deep Cuts 1

For the next day 10 days, my little movie blog is going be celebrating the world of music much more than normal. In particular, a certain artist named Prince Rogers Nelson. April 21st will mark one year since his passing.

Those who know me know that Prince is my favorite musician and is so by a mile. I saw the man 14 times in concert, am very familiar with his entire discography, and look at him as an inspiration of being uniquely yourself in life.

I don’t know what all content will be generated over the next few days on the blog as I reflect on his life and work, but I began today by simply giving you five deeper Prince cuts. These are either unreleased tracks or songs from albums that didn’t receive as much attention.

Enjoy!

“In a Large Room With No Light”

“When I Lay My Hands on U”

“Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me”

“Love Sign”

“Wasted Kisses”

There will be plenty more in the coming days!

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael

On Christmas Day – the world lost another musical icon in 2016 when George Michael passed at age 53. I’ve been a huge fan of the singer for whole life and I wanted to provide my personal Top 25 list of my favorite GM tunes. The listing also includes songs from his work in Wham! prior to him going solo in 1987. I did make the choice not to include covers. However, check out his covers of Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and Queen’s “Somebody to Love” in particular.

For those not intimately familiar with this brilliant singer’s work, I urge you to explore your Apple Music or other streaming service to appreciate just how remarkable he was. And these 25 songs represent a solid start.

RIP George Michael.

25. “Monkey” from Faith (1987)

24. “Spinning the Wheel” from Older (1996)

23. “Outside” from Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael (1998)

22. “Fantasy” – B-Side Single (1990)

21. “Move On” from Older (1996)

20. “Amazing” from Patience (2004)

19. “I’m Your Man” from Music from the Edge of Heaven (1986)

18. “I Want Your Sex” from Faith (1987)

17. “Too Funky” from Red Hot + Dance Compilation (1992)

16. “A Different Corner” from Music from the Edge of Heaven (1986)

15. “The Edge of Heaven” from Music from the Edge of Heaven (1986)

14. “Hard Day” from Faith (1987)

13. “One More Try” from Faith (1987)

12. “Freedom” from Make It Big (1984)

11. “Kissing a Fool” from Faith (1987)

10. “Father Figure” from Faith (1987)

9. “Last Christmas” from Music from the Edge of Heaven (1986)

8. “Praying for Time” from Listen Without Prejudice (1990)

7. “Wake Me Up Before You Go -Go” from Make It Big (1984)

6. “Careless Whisper” from Make It Big (1984)

5. “Faith” from Faith (1987)

4. “Fastlove” from Older (1996)

3. “Cowboys and Angels” from Listen Without Prejudice (1990)

2. “Everything She Wants” from Make It Big (1984)

1. “Freedom ’90” from Listen Without Prejudice (1990)

Blond Ambition: Who Should Play Madonna?

There’s a well known thing in Hollywood referred to as The Black List, a compilation of screenplays that have yet to be produced. Executives in the film industry vote on which ones that they think are the best. Since the inception of the list in 2005, some that have made it on there eventually became awards worthy material. This includes eventual Best Picture winners Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, Argo, and Spotlight. There’s Best Picture nominees like Babel, Juno, American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, Whiplash, American Sniper and The Revenant. We have hit movies of all genres including Superbad, The Fighter, The Hangover, Arrival, and John Wick.

The 2016 Black List was released today and the pic that received the most votes caught my eye. It’s Blond Ambition, a biopic about Madonna that’s set in the 1980s as she was a struggling artist in NYC before becoming the world’s most famous Material Girl. Elyse Hollander is the screenwriter and it’s probably safe to assume this will be on the silver screen in relatively short order.

A well made Madonna biopic (paging Damien Chazelle to direct) could be quite a sight to behold. And, of course, it got me thinking. Who should play her? There’s always the option of casting an unknown. After all, taking on the role of music’s most successful female artist might work better with a performer unfamiliar to our eyes.

Yet one name in particular entered my mind when I read the news today: Chloe Grace Moretz. I think she could pull it off. Even if the film took a couple of years to get off the ground, she’s only 19 right now and would certainly fit the age appropriate timing of that are in its subject’s life. I also thought of Greta Gerwig and she could be interesting, but she’s in her early 30s and Madonna would be in her early to mid 20s here. It could still work though.

What say you? What other actresses could potentially do justice to Madge?