Episodes
I was a fan of the HBO series "Treme", and the frequent use of the phrase "Jockamo Fee Na Nay" in many songs had me wondering whether it actually meant anything. Turns out, it does, sort of.
Published 03/18/19
Zager and Evans provided the soundtrack to one of the most eventful summers of the 1960s, and then they vanished, a true One Hit Wonder. What made this song catch the public's imagination?
Published 03/11/19
The Stone Poneys' only hit was pretty much the nail in the coffin for that band; Capitol Records took every step they could to cut them out of the loop and take on Linda Ronstadt as a solo artist.
Published 03/03/19
The story behind Tears For Fears' US debut single.
Published 02/17/19
The "big hit" from David Bowie's Berlin period wasn't much of a hit until later on, and there was more than one story connected to its origin.
Published 02/10/19
Kansas was hard-pressed to come up with a follow-up hit to "Carry On Wayward Son". Kerry Livgren reluctantly played this song for the band, and they liked it much more than he thought they would.
Published 02/03/19
"One Bad Apple" was the Osmonds' first hit, and their first Number One, and it turns out there may have been a McSecret behind the record's success.
Published 01/27/19
This week we return to take another look at a performer who had a bigger influence on the music of the 1960s and 70s than most people suspect.
Published 01/19/19
There are a bunch of songs in the canon of Christmas songs, whose lyrics don't stand up to close examination. This week we look at several "Christmas" songs that don't really appear to be about Christmas.
Published 12/23/18
John D Loudermilk wrote a song that's nearly devoid of actual facts. When it became a hit, a couple of interviews he did about that song turned out also to be mostly devoid of facts.
Published 12/16/18
Neil Sedaka spent a bunch of time in the Top Ten, but this was his first trip to the Number One slot. And he took the song to the Top Ten again several years later with a vastly different arrangement.
Published 12/09/18
Pink Floyd wasn't a band keen on releasing singles, since they viewed their albums as fully realized creations that needed to be taken as a whole. But a couple of tweaks to a song by an uncredited collaborator almost certainly was the impetus for turning it into a Number One hit worldwide.
Published 11/25/18
No, that's not a typo; "massacree" is a real word, and it's part of the Arlo Guthrie song that has become a Thanksgiving tradition at radio stations nationwide.
Published 11/18/18
Shel Silverstein was a poet, a cartoonist, a humorist and a songwriter who wrote more hits than most people would suspect.
Published 11/10/18
The Isley Brothers' first charting hit from 1959 got its start not as a song, but as a bit they'd do to extend another song they were already singing in concert.
Published 11/03/18
Ray Parker Jr wasn't the first person approached to come up with a pop song to support this film, but he was the last, and the best.
Published 10/28/18
Lou Reed's signature song (he once joked that he knew his obituary would start with "doot, di-doot, di-doot...") has its origins in people he knew and worked with at Andy Warhol's studio, The Factory.
Published 10/20/18
One fine evening in 1967, Judy Collins gets a call from Al Kooper and Joni Mitchell, and it turns into her first Top 40 hit.
Published 10/13/18
Benny Mardones may be the only person to be a one-hit wonder twice, charting two times with the same version of the same song.
Published 09/23/18
This hit from early 1966 isn't quite the spontaneous fun party it sounds like.
Published 09/15/18
This week we take a look at a bunch of artists who made it into the higher tiers of the Hot 100 with songs that weren't recorded in English.
Published 09/08/18
Alice Cooper's biggest hit was inspired by two things: Old movies and the last three minutes of the school day.
Published 09/01/18
It's been a while since we took a look at a bunch of songs that you may not realize are covers of other artists' work.
Published 08/27/18
Aretha Franklin died on August 16, 2018. This week's show takes a look back at the life and music career of the Queen of Soul.
Published 08/18/18
Donovan struck lucky a couple of times with this song: first, it was the beginning of people looking into the deeper meaning behind absolutely every lyric. Second, the song got a weird boost from a practical joke being played by an underground newspaper out of Berkeley.
Published 08/11/18