Friday, August 31, 2012

Journey, Pat Benatar, and Loverboy live: August 31, 2012

Loverboy's Mike Reno, Pat Benatar, and Journey's Arnel Pineda;
image from

Rain, rain, go away...

That would be the general proclamation at an outdoor concert. However, for my brother and I, it worked in our favor. Having grown up on a steady diet of arena rock in the 1980s, my brother and I were well acquainted with the music of Loverboy, Pat Benatar, and Journey. It seemed a more than worthwhile bill, but being cheap, we still only shelled out the minimum amount of bucks to get ourselves general admission seating.

Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, KS

Those seats proved to be as far from the stage as possible, but at least they were covered. Sure, while we watched Loverboy perform the first set, it could have been anyone on the stage and we wouldn't have known the difference, but at least we were dry.

Loverboy, image from

Loverboy's Set List

  1. Queen of the Broken Hearts
  2. Lovin' Every Minute of It
  3. The Kid Is Hot Tonite
  4. When It's Over
  5. Hot Girls in Love
  6. Turn Me Loose
  7. Working for the Weekend

Loverboy's "Turn Me Loose" live in Vancouver in 2012

Screw being dry. By the end of the Loverboy set, we'd rethought our plan. When we first arrived, we had to pick up our GA tickets and were asked if we wanted to trade them in for floor seats. We were a bit thrown by this, but ultimately opted for dry seats. After Loverboy's set, though, my brother went back to check to see if we could still get ground seats. Sure enough, we were able to trade in our dry seats for wet ones. Now we could actually see what was going on.

Pat Benatar, image from

Pat Benatar's Set List

  1. All Fired Up
  2. Invincible
  3. Promises in the Dark
  4. We Belong
  5. You Better Run
  6. Hit Me with Your Best Shot
  7. Love Is a Battlefield
  8. Heartbreaker/Ring of Fire

Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker/Ring of Fire" live in 2012

It rained all through Benatar's set. We headed for the restrooms during the break and loaded up on paper towels to dry our seats and, as best as possible, ourselves. Surely the rain would let up.

It didn't. But it didn't matter. We had good seats (well, visibility wise) and it was our first time seeing Journey in concert. Sure, it wasn't Steve Perry on vocals, but vocalist Arnel Pineda handled himself admirably.

Journey, image from

Journey's Set List

  1. Faith in the Heartland
  2. Anyway You Want It
  3. Ask the Lonely
  4. Only the Young
  5. Who's Crying Now
  6. Faithfully
  7. The Star Spangled Banner
  8. Stone in Love
  9. Lights
  10. Neal Schon solo
  11. Wheel in the Sky
  12. Escape
  13. Jonathan Cain solo
  14. Open Arms
  15. La Do Da
  16. Anytime
  17. Be Good to Yourself
  18. Don't Stop Believin'
  19. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
  20. Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'
In the end, we were wet, but happy. We'd paid for the cheap seats, but got some of the best seats in the house.

Here's Journey performing "Faithfully." The sound quality is terrible, but it is actually video from the KC show!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Generation X Wants Its MTV, But It’s a VEVO World Now

Originally published in my "Aural Fixation" column on on August 29, 2012. See original post here.

image from

Gen X’ers may still want their MTV, but the version they loved is as distant a memory as Valley Girl speak, parachute pants, and leg warmers. Wake up and smell the VEVO.
In the summer of 1981, I was psyching myself up for the treacherous journey known as high school. With my geek identity already firmly in place, my adolescence would not be marked by dances, football games, and parties. No, I was destined to wile away my teen years in my parents’ basement consumed by television, music, and crushes on unattainable celebrities.

Luckily, a source for satisfying all three of those needs entered the world that same summer. MTV, born on the 1st of August in 1981, soundtracked not just my youth, but an entire generation. Kids finally saw what some of their favorite artists looked like and were exposed to new music absent from radio playlists. The channel’s programming was dominated by three-to-four minute music promos designed to steer kids directly to the latest mall to unload their allowances at Musicland, Sam Goody, and Camelot.

Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, J.J. Jackson, and Alan Hunter served as navigators and heartthrobs, ushering in a new era where the jockeys who plugged the hits didn’t just have to sound good, but look good. They became stars as big as the musicians they touted.

Fast forward 30 years and the music video’s homeland has shifted from television to the Internet. The territory once staked by MTV has been snatched up by YouTube – with a huge caveat. Much to the dismay of record companies, the Web belongs to everyone. The dawn of the digital age put illegal downloads in the hard drives of anyone with a browser. YouTube allows any owner of a smart phone to post content which may or may not be copyrighted.

Along came VEVO to serve as the delivery system for “official” videos. To pat themselves on the back, they introduced certified awards this past summer. The awards, modeled after gold and platinum records for albums and singles, recognizes VEVO videos seen by more than 100 million pairs of eyeballs.

Being a list addict, I lapped it up. However, the average Gen X’er might be more inclined to throw up. This isn’t a list populated by early classics like Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” or Def Leppard’s “Photograph”. In today’s YouTube world, Justin Bieber’s “Baby” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” rule the roost.

Justin Bieber's "Baby", #1 on the VEVO list

In fact, as of mid-August, 79 of the 100 videos on the VEVO list are from 2009 on. Only two videos date back to the 20th century: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (1983) and Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain” (1992).

Those two videos could bookend what Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum call the “Golden Age” of MTV (1981-1992) in their book, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution (Dutton, 2011). On my Dave’s Music Database blog, I aggregated more than 50 sources into a post on the Top 100 Videos of All Time. It serves as a vivid walk down memory lane for anyone who spent the Golden Age plopped in front of the tube. More than half the videos stem from that era and a mere 13 hail from the 21st century. The newest song on the list, Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” from 2008, is ancient by VEVO standards.

Why such a drastic change? Among Marks and Tannenbaum’s rationale for capping the Golden Age at 1992 was the birth of reality programming. That year’s show The Real World signified a move away from music videos which, in the minds of Gen X’ers, destroyed MTV.

Check out the comments section on YouTube videos for MTV ads and promos of yesteryear. The scathing attacks start with the observation that the “M” used to stand for music. A mix of resentment and reminiscing follows – it reads like someone recalling good times with an ex before things went sour. A colorful array of profanities generally spices up the bitter diatribes.

It may seem unfathomable that the station once renowned for cutting edge videos like Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” and Aha’s “Take on Me” now champions reality-TV stars like Snooki and The Situation. However, here’s something my fellow 40-somethings forget: you aren’t 14, anymore.

It’s okay to fondly remember vegging out to music videos for hours at a time or hanging out at the mall and buying the latest cassettes by Journey and Styx. However, even if MTV, malls, and cassettes were still pillars of modern society, they wouldn’t be central to your life anymore. As soon as marriage, mortgages, and mini-versions of yourself (aka children) entered the picture, MTV was jettisoned. It’s hard to make a priority of seeing a Madonna world premiere video when Junior is screeching at the top of his lungs for his bottle.

You outgrew MTV’s demographic 15-20 years ago. Whereas they haven’t aged in that they maintain an ever-vigilant pursuit of the youth market. says today’s MTV is targeted toward ages 12 to 25 (“What Are the Demographics of MTV Viewers?”, 17 May 2009). When the kids started turning to other sources for music, MTV had to overhaul its programming to stay relevant and profitable. Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes is quoted in I Want My MTV as saying “at some point the ‘M’ in MTV changed from ‘Music’ to ‘Money.’” Network executives aren’t going to alienate their teen and twentysomething base just because Generation X feels nostalgic.

Once upon a time you may have huddled around the lockers in high school halls to profess Tawny Kitaen’s hotness in Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”. Today’s adolescent whips out a smart phone to show off her homemade video of her singing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” with her BFF. Meanwhile ,you now gather around the water cooler with co-workers to spout lines like, “Here we go again” when someone asks which political party you’re backing in the USA’s Presidential election.

Even if MTV had never strayed from music, Katy Perry’s “Firework” and LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” would rule the roost these days, not Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. As proclaimed in the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star”, the first video to air on MTV, “We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far / Pictures came and broke your heart.”

It’s time to let go, Generation X – and get your VEVO on.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

50 years ago: “The Loco-Motion” hit #1…for the first time

The Loco-Motion

Little Eva

Writer(s): Gerry Goffin, Carole King (see lyrics here)

First Charted: June 30, 1962

Peak: 11 US, 13 CB, 12 HR, 13 RB, 2 UK, 12 CN, 49 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 23.28 video, 70.82 streaming

The Loco-Motion

Grand Funk Railroad

First Charted: March 9, 1974

Peak: 12 US, 11 CB, 11 HR, 14 RR, 12 CN, 5 AU, 7 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 13.6 video, 17.84 streaming

The Loco-Motion

Kylie Minogue

First Charted: July 13, 1987

Peak: 3 US, 4 CB, 3 RR, 39 AC, 2 UK, 17 AU, 11 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.44 UK, 1.01 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 27.9 video, 51.17 streaming

Awards (Little Eva):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Grand Funk):

Awards (Kylie):

About the Song:

Thanks to three chart runs in three decades by three different acts, “The Loco-Motion” is one of the most successful songs in history. It was also written by one of the most successful songwriting teams in history – Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Little Eva’s 1962 version hit #1 in the U.S. and Canada, as did the 1974 version by Grand Funk Railroad. Then in 1987, Kylie Minogue released a version which hit #1 in Australia and #3 in the U.S.

Eva Boyd was a nanny for the young songwriting couple of Goffin (22) and King (19) SF-L while also working as a backup singer for Tony Orlando, Neil Sedaka, and Mel Torme. FB According to myth, King was playing music at home and Eva was dancing to it with the baby, thus giving birth to the idea for “The Loco-Motion.” WK In reality, Goffin had the idea for the song a couple of years earlier. SF-L It wasn’t until after it was a hit that Eva had to come up with dance to accompany it. WK Goffin and King wanted Dee Dee Sharp, who had a hit with “Mashed Potato Time,” to sing it, but she turned it down. WK Eva had recorded the demo and producer Don Kirshner though she sounded fine. SF-L It was the debut hit for Little Eva, who was a teenager when the song charted. She only managed three more top 40 hits on the U.S. pop charts before her career fizzled out.

Grand Funk Railroad, however, was a different story. The rock band had more than a dozen charted songs under their belt, including the #1 song “We’re an American Band.” The band’s Don Brewer came in the studio singing it one day. The band thought it would be pretty tongue-in-cheek, SF-G but were convinced by producer Todd Rundgren to record it. When it hit #1, it was only the second time two different artists had taken the same song to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. FB The other song – “Go Away Little Girl” – hit #1 for Steve Lawrence in 1962 and Donny Osmond in 1971. It was also written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

There were similarities between Eva and Kylie’s success with the song. Both were teenagers when their versions – the debut single for each of them – charted. In Kylie’s case, she was an actress on the Australian soap opera Neighbours. At a charity event, she sang an impromptu version of the song which led to a record deal to release it as a single. WK


Related Links:

First posted 12/4/2019; last updated 8/6/2023.

Friday, August 24, 2012

On This Day (1912): “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” hit #1

Ragtime Cowboy Joe

Bob Roberts

Writer(s): Grant Clarke (music), Lewis F. Muir and Maurice Abrahams (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: July 13, 1912

Peak: 16 PM, 12 GA (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.10 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This is a “ragtime classic” TY2 which was also “a popular western swing song” WK and has become a favorite of barbership quartets. TY2 The music was composed by Grant Clarke, who also wrote “Second Hand Rose.” Lewis F. Muir and Maurice Abrahams wrote the words, inspired by the latter’s nephew wearing a cowboy outfit. WK

The opening verse sets the stage with the line “out in Arizona where the bad men are” and the listener learns that Ragtime Cowboy Joy is “the roughest, toughest of these men.” TY2 The song features a loping melody to imitate the gait of a horse. TY2

The song has charted four times over the years. Bob Roberts was first with his chart-topping version in 1912. He was a baritone novelty singer who charted 22 times from 1903 to 1912. “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” was his final chart entry and only #1. The book Pop Memories says “this was the biggest final hit by any recording artist.” PM Other versions followed by Pinky Tomlin (#14 PM, 1939), Eddy Howard (#16 PM, 1947), Jo Stafford (#10 PM, 1949), PM and David Seville & the Chipmunks (#16 BB, 1959) Paul Whiteman recorded the song in 1940.

The song has also appeared in the movie musicals Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943) and Incendiary Blonde (1945). In 1978, Jimmy Stewart performed the song on the piano in a surprise cameo on the final Carol Burnett Show. WK It was also used as the theme song for Cowboy Joe’s Radio Ranch, a radio show which ran in New York City from 1976 to 1988. WK It is also the University of Wyoming’s fight song. WK


First posted 9/6/2023.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

“Call Me Maybe” spent 9th week at #1

Call Me Maybe

Carly Rae Jepsen

Writer(s): Carly Rae Jepsen/ Josh Ramsay/ Tavish Crowe (see lyrics here)

Released: September 20, 2011

First Charted: October 22, 2011

Peak: 19 US, 18 DG, 13 RR, 4 AC, 2 A40, 14 UK, 14 CN, 15 AU, 10 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 2.15 UK, 18.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1443.0 video, 1094.26 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Carly Rae Jepsen seemed like an overnight sensation when “Call Me Maybe” became what Billboard magazine called its Song of the Summer for 2012. WK However, not only that song, but her career, had roots pre-2012. Jepsen came in third in the fifth season of Canadian Idol and released her debut album, Tug of War, in 2008. SF “Call Me Maybe” emerged in September 2011 as the lead single from EP Curiosity.

Pop singers Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, who were dating at the time, heard the song on Canadian radio and tweeted about it. WK Bieber said it was “possibly the catchiest song I’ve ever heard.” SF By the time the song hit the U.S. charts on March 10, 2012, it had topped the Canadian charts. It would triumph over the U.S. pop charts on June 23, and stay there nine weeks – a record for a song by a Canadian woman. SF It went top ten in twenty-nine countries, hitting #1 in nineteen of them. WK

Jepsen originally wrote the song with Tavish Crowe as a folk tune, but producer Josh Ramsay modified it into “aun upbeat teen pop track that draws influences from dance-pop and disco.” WK The song is about a girl who hopes that she’ll get a phone call from a love-at-first-sight crush. The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica called the song “an eyelash-fluttering flirtation run hard through the Disney-pop model.” WK New York Daily News’ Jim Farber called it “one of the greatest teen pop songs ever recorded” WK and MTV’s Nicole James said it was probably the catchiest song she’d ever heard. WK

“Call Me Maybe” garnered Grammy nominations for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. MTV named it the Song of the Year for 2012 WK and it won Best Song at the 2012 Europe Music Awards. SF It won Single of the Year at the 2013 Junos. SF Village Voice ranked it #1 for the year and Billboard ranked it #2. WK This was the most-purchased song on iTunes, the most viewed clip on Vevo, and the best-selling single globally in 2012. SF


Last updated 7/22/2023.