Episodes
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
Disco was on its way out, to be replaced by Hip-Hop or New Wave, depending on the clubs you frequented. Blondie's last major hit in the US was a track that departed from their previous style and broke a few barriers along the way.
Published 08/04/18
After a mishap during a Frank Zappa concert destroyed the space that Deep Purple was going to use for a recording space, the band had to scramble to find a new space. Once they'd found it, they wrote a song outlining the story of the accidental arson and the search for a new location. While they didn't have big hopes for the song, it became their first, and biggest, hit.
Published 07/28/18
The Supremes were doing so poorly on the charts that people around Motown were calling them the "No-Hit Supremes". Then along came a song that nobody at the label wanted to record, and the Supremes, backed into a corner, recorded what turned out to be their first Number One hit.
Published 07/21/18
In 1978, Gerry Rafferty was finally untangled from the legal squabbles created by the multiple breakups of Stealers Wheel. He took the experience and turned it into a monster hit, but there are a couple of intriguing controversies surrounding the song.
Published 07/07/18
The song that cemented Eddie Cochran's place in the Rock and Roll firmament was written in about an hour by a 19 year old Cochran and his manager.
Published 06/30/18
Murray Head is another one of those famous guys whose name is known to few. He had two hit singles in the US, 15 years apart and very different in style, tone and content, but which have something very peculiar in common.
Published 06/23/18
One of The Drifters' bigger hits might have been a sequel to one of their earlier songs, but it was definitely a prequel to one of their later songs.
Published 06/16/18
It's 1971 and Don McLean hadn't yet hit it big with "American Pie," so he was touring around and caught the attention of a singer-songwriter named Lori Lieberman, who was so touched by his performance that she wrote a poem which ultimately became a hit in multiple genres.
Published 06/09/18