Posted in 1970s, 1976, Reverb

Episode 6: This Song by George Harrison

This is the original sleeve that the record came in. I still have mine, though not quite in this condition.

In the mid 1970s, George Harrison was having a rough time of it. He was still embroiled in the lawsuit over “My Sweet Lord”, he was tangled up in other legal issues caused by his breakup with his business manager, his album Extra Texture had taken a beating by the critics, and to top it all off, while recording Thirty Three and 1/3 he was struck with hepatitis and couldn’t work for most of the summer of 1976.

A still from the promotional film (they weren’t calling them “videos” yet) for This Song, from near the end. If you look closely you can see that George’s playing hand is cuffed to the cop, played by Harry Nilsson.

But he managed to turn it around with the release of this, the first single off the album. It didn’t exactly tear up the charts (it peaked at #25 on the Hot 100), but it did remind us all that George was still around and could still bring it when he wanted to.

This episode was inspired by a suggestion by a friend of mine, who originally asked me to write about a different song that appears on the same album. It turns out that the story behind that song is quite short, not long enough for a full podcast, so I’m saving it for a post you’ll see in a couple of days.

As usual, if you haven’t subscribed via iTunes or your favorite podcast catcher, you can download it or you can listen right here:

And of course, if you’re so inclined, please leave a review on your favorite podcast software. Thanks so much for your support!

As promised, here’s the video. So tell me: who can you identify? And is that vampiric-looking prosecutor really Michael Richards?

And just for the giggles, here’s Billy Preston’s version, which was recorded first. You can still hear the “He’s So Fine” echoes in it, but I think that, compared to Harrison, Preston might have gotten away with it:

 

 

Posted in 1970s, 1975, Reverb

Update to Episode 1

Hey, gang!

It’s been great to get the positive feedback and such from you folks in the few short weeks since How Good It Is first launched. I made those first few before the official launch date, so I was working in a bit of a vacuum. And when it comes to stuff like this, I’m my own harshest critic. Back in my Radio Days I was known for doing dozens of takes before finally going back and deciding that Take 17 was “eh, good enough”.

One of my brothers has been listening regularly and is probably my second-toughest critic. But he invariably raises good points so I can’t fault him for it. He told me that he’s actively looking for a song (by a specific artist) for me to do a show about. My other brother, I don’t know if he’s been listening, but that’s OK. I’m pretty sure my wife doesn’t listen, either. Or my father, or my sisters, or my daughters, or…you get the picture.

Anyway, this post is actually in response to some feedback I’d received.

During Episode 1 I noted that the song “I’m Not In Love” by 10cc peaked at Number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and that in each of the three weeks it spent in that position, there was a different #1 song. Someone in the Land of Social Media asked me, “So what are those three songs?” You took the time to listen, so I took the time to look it up.

Image result for van mccoy the hustleWhen it first reached #2 the week of July 26, 1975, the #1 song was “The Hustle” by Van McCoy.

 

Image result for eagles one of these nights

For the week of August 2, 1975, The Eagles’ “One of These Nights” was at #1.

 

Image result for jive talkinFinally, on my oldest daughter’s (negative seventeenth) birthday, it was “Jive Talkin'” by the Bee Gees.

 

As a 12-year-old, I was pretty immersed in pop music and I’d look at the Top 20 chart that was published in Long Island’s Newsday every week. I kind of remember that summer being one in which the charts churned a lot of change from week to week. So remaining in one position, even if it was #2, for several weeks, was still a bit of an event.

Next week we dive into a solo single by one of the Beatles.

Posted in 1980s, 1981

Episode 5: In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins

Wait, Phil Collins did what?

He drowned a guy? Uh…no.

He humiliated a coward? No.

He shamed someone from his childhood? Also, no.

Many stories swirl around the meaning of Phil Collins’ breakout hit from 1981, and so many of them aren’t true. Collins was in a world of hurt following the breakup of his first marriage, and he channeled a lot of that energy into writing the Face Value album. This week I go into that a little bit (but only a little bit; it gets kind of tawdry), plus I talk about the sound that makes him instantly recognizable on so many records in the 1980s. And it’s a sound that’s making its way back into popular music these days.

Phil Collins during his appearance at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia during Live Aid. This particular still is from his performance of “Against All Odds”.

With all the changes in the weather we’ve been having, it’s been playing havoc with my voice. So if I don’t sound quite right, there’s a reason for it. Here’s hoping I sound a little better next week.

Also: for those of you not in the know, that weird squeaky noise you hear during the Peter Gabriel clip isn’t evidence that I use a cheap office chair, although it’s true, I do. That sound is part of the Gabriel song.

As usual, if you haven’t subscribed via iTunes or your favorite podcast catcher, you can download the file or listen right here:

Image result for angel gets his wingsAnd of course, I wouldn’t be especially upset if you went to iTunes and gave me a positive review. Even if that’s not your podcast catcher, every time someone says something nice about me in iTunes, an angel gets his wings. Right, Clarence?


Links Department:

This is a great video from Vox.com that explains the concept of gated reverb in greater detail.

In the podcast, I mention my suspicion that gated reverb is making a comeback. Also from the Vox article is this Spotify playlist which confirms my theory. (I do hope I linked that correctly; if not then go to the Vox link and listen from there.)

Article from the Miami Herald from last year about Phil Collins finally opening up to the story behind the song.

But naturally, his ex is going to speak her piece. See? Tawdry.

I wasn’t kidding about Ozzy Osbourne.

Posted in 1960s, 1969

Episode 4: Get Together

One of several labels used for the 45 of this song. I think this was the retail version of the original release, based on what the promo label looks like.

Chester (“Chet”) Powers was a musician who was well-known in the café scenes on both coasts, and certainly had his influence on other musicians. He’s also known for being a member of the band Quicksilver Messenger Service. But for all that, he only wrote one song that was any kind of a commercial success, and that was after a virtual parade of artists had already recorded it.

This episode also features a 2-1/2 minute clip from a show called “The Life and Times of Dan Ingram”, a special program that runs for about six hours (no kidding) about one of the greatest disc jockeys of the Rock and Roll Era. It originally aired on RewoundRadio.com a little over a year ago. Thanks so much to Allan Sniffen, the heart of that website and the guy who knows pretty much everything there is to know about WABC-AM’s Musicradio days. And if you go over there, you’ll immediately recognize that this show’s title is absolutely an homage. (No, I didn’t tell Allan that until after he’d agreed to provide me with the clip. Heh.)

Coincidentally (because I’m terrible at planning ahead), I’m typing this post on Thursday evening, September 7. Today happens to be Dan Ingram’s 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday, Big Dan!

Dan Ingram at WCBS-FM.

I got to meet him back in the summer of 1984 when he was doing the Top 40 Satellite Survey for CBS Radio, and he couldn’t have been a nicer, more giving fellow, especially considering the way my 21-year-old self was sputtering my way through the interview. He had a fabulous way of putting me at my ease. Unfortunately, I no longer have the tape of that interview. (Divorce can be a suck-fest, kids.)

Here’s a link to one of Allan’s other labors of love:

Musicradio77.com is a collection of stories, photos, airchecks and other goodies for anyone who was a fan of WABC in its Musicradio heyday. Click on the music note at left to visit that site.

As usual, if you haven’t subscribed via iTunes or your favorite podcast catcher, you can download the file  or just listen right here:

And of course, I wouldn’t complain too loudly if you went to iTunes and gave me a positive review. Even if that’s not your podcast catcher, every little bit helps.

 

Posted in 1960s, 1967

Episode 3: The Buckinghams’ Greatest Hits

Click here for a transcript of this week’s show. 

This week, we’re taking a look at the Buckinghams, a Chicago-based group which had five big hits, all of which charted in a single year, after which they practically disappeared off the charts.

For thirty years I harbored a suspicion that most of their hits were all about the same person, so I did a little research to find out what the story was. And, of course, the answer practically dropped into my lap.

As usual, if you haven’t subscribed via iTunes or your favorite podcast catcher, you can download the file, or  listen from right here:

That said, I wouldn’t complain too loudly if you went to iTunes and gave me a positive review. Even if that’s not your podcast catcher, every little bit helps.


Some links related to today’s show…

Rock ‘n’ Roll Stories: James Holvay (KLCS-TV interview) https://vimeo.com/88115020, retrieved 8/6/17. This is a great interview piece.

All Time Hits, WGN 1965, Several concatenated clips of the Buckinghams singing Beatles hits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RId6u8fNsng posted by Dennis Miccolis and retrieved 8/6/17

All Time Hits, WGN 1965, “Unchained Melody” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I90MXbMA-Xs  posted by Museum of Broadcast Communications, Chicago and retrieved 8/6/17.

“Dennis Tufano Talks About and Sings ‘Susan’”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6TaZdGFudQ posted by Dennis Tufano Fans, retrieved 8/6/17

Buckinghams’ official website: www.thebuckinghams.com

http://www.rebeatmag.com/dennis-tufano-the-buckinghams-and-rocks-greatest-disappearing-act-part-1/ and  http://www.rebeatmag.com/dennis-tufano-the-buckinghams-and-rocks-greatest-disappearing-act-part-2/, retrieved 8/6/17. The pieces don’t appear to link to one another, so you’ll probably have to come back here to get the other half.

McLane & Wong Entertainment Law, “The Buckinghams” (1996) http://www.benmclane.com/bucking.htm , retrieved 8/6/17

Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict; Hey Baby, They’re Playing Our Song: A Conversation with Carl Giammarese (2010?)
http://popcultureaddict.com/interviews/buckinghams-htm-2/ , retrieved 8/6/17

 

Posted in 1960s, 1963

Episode 2: Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto

Sukiyaki sleeve
This is the sleeve for the Danish release of the record.

Click here for a transcript of this episode. 

 

For Episode 2, we take a journey to Japan and look into an international hit from a day when I was about four months old. I’ll tell you about:

  • What ALL the lyrics to the song mean
  • The political turmoil that led to a song about lost love
  • Whatever happened to Kyu Sakamoto, anyway?
  • Why I need to apologize to my wife

Your favorite podcatcher should have this song by now, but just in case, you can listen to, or download it, right here:

Incidentally, I recorded this show about two weeks ago, and I made a brief mention of the song “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. At that time it was pretty much the Song of the Summer, but according to Billboard Magazine, it’s reaching a new streaming record and about to tie with Mariah Carey & Boys II Men’s “One Sweet Day” for the Most Weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 (that’d be 15 weeks at Number One). If it remains #1 for another two weeks, it’ll be the sole record-holder. Get that story here. 


Some of the sources for today’s show:

The article from the Washington Post that I cited appears here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/06/02/americas-number-one-song-isnt-in-english-that-doesnt-happen-often/?utm_term=.18bbe4fba452   retrieved 7/24/17

Most of the song’s background came from this article:
https://formeinfullbloom.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/a-brief-history-of-i-look-up-as-i-walk-in-anime/  retrieved 7/25/17

Most of the translation I got from this YouTube video. Some of it came from Songfacts.com, but this one seemed a little more reliable.

 

Posted in 1970s, 1975

Episode 1: I’m Not In Love by 10cc

Click here for a transcript of this episode.

In our premiere episode, we take a look at 10cc’s biggest hit, “I’m Not In Love”. We’ll talk about:

  • What does that title mean, anyway?
  • Where did that ethereal sound come from?
  • What’s the story behind the band’s name?

Your RSS feed should have the post by now, but you can always listen to it right here:

Or, if you prefer to download and/or listen on-site, feel free to click this link.

I think we can all tell that it’s been several years since I’ve been behind a microphone. It gets better, I swear.


Some of the sources behind this week’s show:

An interview with Graham Gouldman, songwriter and 10cc band member.

George Tremlett (1976). The 10cc Story. Futura. ISBN 978-0-86007-378-9.

Band name origin:

Snopes.com, “10cc””. Snopes.com. Retrieved 10 August 2010.

“Interview with Kevin Godley, Rock N Roll Universe online interview, April 2007”. Rocknrolluniverse.com. Retrieved 10 August 2010.

“Godley & Creme interviewed in Pulse magazine, April 1988”. Minestrone.org. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2010.

Bossa Nova version, Kathy Redfern’s contribution:

Buskin, Richard (June 2005). “Classic Tracks: 10cc – ‘I’m Not in Love'”. Sound on Sound. Cambridge, England: SOS Publications: 62–69. Retrieved 21 September 2015.

Chromatic Scale recordings:

Presenters: Richard Allinson and Steve Levine (9 May 2009). “The Record Producers – 10cc”. The Record Producers. Season 3. Episode 4. BBC. BBC Radio 2.

Jump to Mercury Records:
“I Write The Songs”. The10ccfanclub.com. Retrieved 27 March 2014.

Posted in House Keeping

Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!

Welcome to the web home of How Good It Is!

How Good It Is is a podcast that takes a close look at songs, mostly from the 1950s through the 1980s, and dives into the stories behind them. We’ll look into rumors, figure out some puzzles, discover hidden meanings, and a few other odds and ends.

How Good It Is will release on a weekly basis, with some breaks every now and again so I can recharge the batteries and collect new (old) material.   The shows I have already recorded are running about 10-15 minutes in length, which is about all anyone’s attention span can handle when it comes to listening to me.

Assuming all goes well, I expect the first show to release on August 18.

Do you have questions or suggestions? You can email me at HowGoodPodcast@gmail.com, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, @HowGoodItIsPod.

Talk to you soon!