K-Tel Record Selector Commercial


…and some hilarious comments from YouTube viewers:

  • That’s great if you only have about 10 records. I hear this new invention called shelves works pretty well too…
  • I got one of these too as a gift but I hardly used it. It didn’t handle double albums well, and the slot that held each sleeve stressed the edge of the record and warped the vinyl. The records also did not rest completely upright but leaned against each other, causing further warping. The thing was a big heap ‘o fail.
  • Do you get the impression that problems were a little simpler back then?
  • Rec-ORD!
  • He lost me on “space age”.
  • That sure is a terrible collection of LPs.
  • Hahaha, I have like all of those records!
  • If you look closely, you can see the lead in the paint on the walls and the asbestos particles in the air. haha XD
  • This belongs in the hall of shame right next to the DVD REWINDER.
  • “Space-Age Design” I believe refers to the fact that it was design by NASA (obviously for the Apollo missions) to keep the astronaut’s record albums from floating all over the space capsule in zero-gravity, risking lives and damaging equipment.
  • “I sure hope I can impress Janey with my groovy HI-Fi, if i can only stop dumping my albums on the floor like a dork”
  • the ‘space age’ was in the early ’60’s. what the hell was wrong with standing your albums against a wall on the shage carpeting? I would’nt trust this idiot near a turntable.
  • This is the original “digital” selector, using any digit you care to use.

There are no less than three Tijuana Brass albums in his collection.

I’m tempted to say he’s a dork for this. But I have twelve.

Beyoncé Practices Singing Until Her Feet Bleed, Turns National Anthem Into Self-Serving Stunt

super bowlRolling Stone reports:

Beyoncé Sings National Anthem Live at Super Bowl Press Conference

‘Any questions?’ pop star says with a laugh

Beyoncé opened a Super Bowl press  conference on Thursday afternoon in New Orleans with a rousing rendition of the  national anthem – and this time it was definitely live. After a rapturous round  of applause by the media in attendance, the singer took questions about her upcoming Super Bowl gig as well as her controversial  lip-syncing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Obama’s second inauguration last week.

“I am a perfectionist. One thing about me, I practice until my feet bleed, and I did not have time to rehearse with the orchestra,” Beyoncé said. “It was a live television show and a very, very important, emotional show for me – one of  my proudest moments. Due to the weather, due to the delay, due to no proper sound check, I did not feel comfortable taking a risk. It was about my president and the inauguration, and I did not want to take away from that. I decided to go  with a pre-recorded track, which is very common in the music industry. And I am  very proud of my performance.”

Beyoncé added that  she will be “absolutely singing live” at her Super Bowl performance this coming Sunday. “I am well rehearsed. I will absolutely be singing live. This is what I was born to do.” 

It’s bad enough that our National Anthem is turned into an episode of The Voice on a regular basis–merely seen as a chance for singers to showcase their abilities of song embellishment. But here it was actually used merely to make a point–to give the media the finger in reaction to criticism the singer received for her previous lip-synched performance.

I guess the song really isn’t as sacred as I grew up believing. Because contrary to its lyrics, which suggest it’s a song about pride in the brave, indomitable American spirit, it’s usually rendered with all the faux agony and ecstasy of a breakup song or Marvin Gaye seduction anthem.

If we do need a new National Anthem, as some suggest, it’s because we need to start from scratch. We’ve added too many superfluous spangles to the current one.

Yes, I have a question, Beyoncé: What’s up with rehearsal causing bleeding feet? Does that happen when you sing with too much sole?

Songs You May Have Missed #315

rosanneRosanne Cash: “Beautiful Pain” (2003)

A typical Rosanne Cash album can be counted on to contain a mix of her insightful, personal originals and well-chosen material from other writers that sounds as though she could have written it.

“Beautiful Pain”, penned by Craig Northey and featuring backing vocals from Sheryl Crow, leads off her excellent Rules of Travel album and perfectly sets the tone for her first release in roughly seven years, which is a typically soul-baring rumination on the nature of long-term committed love.

Rosanne’s husband John Leventhal produced the album with meticulous sonic detail. Given that he’s known to be a huge Beatles fan, I can’t help wondering if that accounts for the drum sounds in the instrumental break, which seem to mimic the sound Ringo got by slackening his drum heads for a deeper “thump”.

History in the Singing: ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ & 19 Other Songs Based On Historic Events


(Reprinted from Spinner)

January 30 marks the 41st anniversary of Bloody Sunday — the infamous massacre in North Ireland at the hands of the British army that saw 14 people die and provided a rallying cry for generations of republicans.

And while you may or may not be a history buff, songs like U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” have helped history live on by commemorating events ranging from great victories to terrible tragedies. (To wit, this week also marks the anniversary of the school shooting that inspired the Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays.”)

That’s why we’ve rounded up 20 historically inspired songs. Now, even if you’re not particularly into the subject, you’ll know the meaning behind a few of Bob Dylan’s and Dr. Dre’s biggest songs.



U2 “Sunday Bloody Sunday”

Bogside Massacre, January 30, 1972
As tensions rose between the British and Irish, they boiled over on a Sunday in January, when the English opened fire on a protest march in Bogside, North Ireland. And while event specifics are still the subject of debate, U2’s feelings towards The Troubles were — and are — not.

edmund-fitzgerald-530Gordon Lightfoot “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”

The sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, November 10, 1978
Seventeen years after its launch in 1958, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald freightersank during a storm on Lake Superior, taking with it a crew of 29 — whose bodies have never been found. The event continues to draw controversy, research, and debate, and the Shipwreck Museum actually cites Gordon Lightfoot’s ballad about the vessel as a major catalyst in public interest around the ship.

los-angeles-riots-530Dr. Dre “The Day the Niggaz Took Over”

Los Angeles Riots, April 29, 1992 – May 4, 1992
The riots that stemmed from Rodney King’s severe beating at the hands of the LAPD sparked debate, discussion, and awareness throughout North America. However, for five days, Los Angeles was in chaos as rioting broke out across the city, killing 53 people and injuring another 2000. It may be currently hard to imagine, but one listen to Dr. Dre’s track off The Chronic (which was also notably on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack), and that frustration, aggression, and call for attention of ’92 is immediately felt.

hurricane-carter-530Bob Dylan “Hurricane”

The wrongful arrest/conviction of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, 1967 and 1976
Due to racial profiling and shoddy police work, boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was found wrongfully guilty (twice) of a 1966 triple homicide in a New Jersey bar. Ten years before being finally freed in 1985, Bob Dylan commemorated the event with a song, providing a perfect narrative of Rubin’s injustice at the hands of the system.

pearl-jam-800Pearl Jam “Jeremy”

Richardson High School shooting, January 8, 1991
Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder wrote “Jeremy” in response to the suicide of 15-year-old Jeremy Delle; a sophomore at Richardson High School, who sadly shot himself in front of his teacher and classmates. The situation was actually similar to that of something Vedder indirectly experienced, when a student from his middle school also brought a gun to class.

billy-joel-530Billy Joel, “We Didn’t Start the Fire”

Anything important between 1949 and 1989
Consider this track your historical cliff notes. Alluding to over 100 newspaper headlines spanning 40 years, Billy Joel covers everything from Joe McCarthy to Richard Nixon; Studebaker to television; North Korea, South Korea, and Marilyn Monroe. Ryan started the fire! Oh, wait. I guess jokes about The O.C. are history now, too.


Don McLean “American Pie”

The death of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper (February 3, 1959)
After a plane crash killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper on their way to Minnesota, Don McLean commemorated it appropriately with “American Pie” — a song that begins with that tragedy, but ends on another: the 1969 Altamont Free Concert that saw deaths at the hands of the Hell’s Angels, temporary security for the Rolling Stones. And suddenly, “for 10 years we’ve been on our own” make a lot more sense.


The Neville Brothers “Sister Rosa”

Rosa Parks’ civil protest, December 1, 1955
When Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, she was arrested and charged with violation of the then-segregation law. She became a civil rights hero, and was commemorated in a song by the Neville Brothers in 1989. (She also provided the namesake of an OutKast song that wasn’t really about her and led to a lawsuit from her legacy-focused family.)

tragically-hip-530The Tragically Hip, “Wheat Kings”

The wrongful conviction of David Milgaard, January 31, 1970
While both “38 Years Old” and “Wheat Kings” are inspired by the same event, it’s “Wheat Kings” that rings truest to the case that saw David Milgaard wrongfully accused, arrested, and convicted for the rape and murder a Saskatoon nurse. Evidently, Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie was right: no one was interested in something [David] didn’t do — until 1997, when actual killer Larry Fisher was finally arrested.

boomtown-rats-530Boomtown Rats “I Don’t Like Mondays”

Grover Cleveland Elementary school shooting, January 29, 1979
After 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer walked into a California elementary school and shot two teachers, eight students, and a police officer, her defense was simple: “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” Enter: Boomtown Rats’ Bob Geldof, who released the song nearly seven months later, and used it to address the complete senselessness of the tragedy.

cranberries-afpThe Cranberries “Zombie”

Warrington Bomb Attacks, February 26, 1993
Written in 1994 in response to the two separate bombings in Warrington, England at the hands of the IRA, the Cranberries released one of their greatest hits. A protest track renowned for its aggressive tone and stirring lyrics, the group went on to win an MTV Europe award for the song that so perfectly articulated their political frustrations.

bloc-party-530Bloc Party “Hunting for Witches”

London bombings, July 7, 2005
With innocents targeted in the same vein as the September 11 attacks, London commuters were killed in a series of bombings that targeted the city’s transit system in July, 2005. However, Bloc Party singer-songwriter Kele Okereke used “Hunting for Witches” to address the media’s ugly response to the terror attack.

jfk-530Postal Service “Sleeping In”

The assassination of JFK, November 22, 1963
You may think the emotional electro-pop of Ben Gibbard’s Postal Service is the last place to find historical references, but “Sleeping In” deals with JFK’s assassination head on by focusing on the (alleged) shooter Lee Harvey Oswald. History and break up songs — themes to look forward to on the group’s next album, perhaps?

september-11-800Bruce Springsteen “The Rising”/”My City of Ruins”

September 11, 2001
The title track of Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising (not to mention the whole album) has been critically praised for its messages of hope and of emotion in the wake of the September 11 attacks. But while the “My City of Ruins” also became a 9/11 anthem, it was actually written years earlier about the economic collapse of New Jersey’s Asbury Park.

vietnam-war-530Arlo Guthrie “Alice’s Restaurant Massacre”

The Vietnam War Draft
The 18-minute-long largely spoken-word song is inspired by Arlo Guthrie’s 1965 littering conviction which led to his rejection from the army after being drafted. As Arlo puts it, he’s not “moral enough to join the Army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein’ a litterbug.” Alice’s Restaurant Massacre” (pronounced “masa-cree”) became a beacon of ’60s counter-culture, and hailed as one of the definitive anti-war songs of the time.

budd-dwyer-530Filter, “Hey Man, Nice Shot”

The suicide of R. Budd Dwyer, January 22, 1987
After being found guilty of bribery charges, Pennsylvania state treasurer R. Budd Dwyer shot and killed himself during a press conference. Broadcast live during mid-day hours, Dwyer read a prepared statement and left notes with his staffers before turning a gun on himself and scarring witnesses indelibly. Eight years later, Filter responded with “Hey Man, Nice Shot,” a song written about and directed to Mr. Dwyer himself. (When it came out, though, many music fans mistakenly believed it to be about Kurt Cobain’s suicide.)

kiss530KISS, “Detroit Rock City”

Death of a fan, 1976
While the tragedy of a KISS fan dying in car accident en route to a KISS concert cannot be questioned, “Detroit Rock City” is a great tribute. Written by Paul Stanley and Bob Ezrin in 1976, its true meaning is often overlooked, and has since earned a place in pop culture through film titles, soundtracks, and even video games. A sad reason to be written, but what a way to live on.

cherry-poppin-daddies-530Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, “Zoot Suit Riot”

Zoot Suit Riots, 1943
WWII saw tensions both away and at home, leading to race riots in Los Angeles throughout 1943 between white American marines and sailors and Latino youths (who were identified by their “zoot suits”). As such, ironic swing revivalists Cherry Poppin’ Daddies used their ’40s vibe to pay homage to the violence — minus political or social statements, that is.


Steve Earle, “Ben McCulloch”

Confederate Benjamin McCulloch, circa 1862
Written from the point of view of a young Confederate soldier, “Ben McCulloch” calls out the infantry’s leaders, who led men into countless losing battles under the guise of “the cause.” One such man was Texan Benjamin McCulloch, who died during battle in 1862, and despite that being over 150 years ago, Steve Earle’s words still translate today.

montreal-ice-storm-530Arcade Fire “Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)”

North American ice storm, January 4 – 10, 1998
There was a lot of time to think during the North American ice storm that left Montreal without power for a week — which is how Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Regine Chassagne came to write “Neighbourhood #3,” a song based on her experiences during the disaster. With lyrics as dark as the city itself, the track helped the group win the 2006 Juno for Songwriter of the Year — though we doubt anyone would be willing to recreate the circumstances to write something similar.

Songs You May Have Missed #314

april smith

April Smith: “Can’t Say No” (2010)

To quote Amazon.com’s editorial review:

This Brooklyn singer-songwriter combines country and swing, making crackling songs that wink and smile and sway. She’s got a rich, plummy voice, and she lays it on thick over a taut guitar strum, making for music as long on charm as it is on melody”.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/02/15/songs-you-may-have-missed-15/

An Infamous Pop Music Moment: Catwoman Steals Chad & Jeremy’s Voices

Chad & Jeremy guest star on Batman (as singing duo Chad & Jeremy). Catwoman and her evil companions, on the cue “Let’s get them!”, proceed to use a ray gun to steal the singers’ voices, which Catwoman intends to put into a box and hold the British government ransom. (The government will refuse to pay. Hmm.)

Batman, superhero that he is, is nonetheless completely neutralized by a darkened room–seems among all his high-tech gadgetry he doesn’t carry a simple flashlight. But nabbing Catwoman isn’t his priority anyway, nor is returning the stolen voices. Quieting an excited group of young females is the job for this superhero.

Your Preteen Hip-Hop Fan May Be Headed for Trouble


Lil Wayne

New research from the Netherlands suggests a youngster’s music preference can predict whether he or she will be a shoplifter or vandal four years later.

(Reprinted from The Guardian)

by Tom Jacobs

Concerned that your 12-year-old is on the road to delinquency? Newly published research suggests an easy way to either assuage or confirm your fears:

Check what’s on their iPod.

“Music choice is a strong marker of later problem behavior,” a research team from Utrecht University in the Netherlands writes in the journal Pediatrics.

Specifically, the scholars report, kids “with a strong early preference for music types that have been labeled as deviant—hip-hop, heavy metal, gothic, punk, and techno/hardhouse—were more engaged in minor delinquency in late adolescence” than their Beyonce- and-Bieber-loving peers.

The study featured 149 boys and 160 girls attending urban high schools in the Netherlands. They took surveys at ages 12, 14, 15 and 16, in which they rated their appreciation of various musical genres. They also reported “how many times they had committed minor offenses, such as shoplifting, petty theft and vandalism in the previous year.”

After controlling for such factors as academic achievement, the researchers found “evidence that an early preference for different types of noisy, rebellious, non-mainstream music genres is a strong predictor of concurrent and later minor delinquency.”

Specifically, those kids who loved hip-hop, metal, gothic and/or trance music at age 12 were more likely than their peers to exhibit delinquent behavior, both at age 12 and age 16. Those who preferred rock, R&B, punk and techno at age 12 were not more likely to be delinquents at that age, but were more likely to engage in such behavior by age 16.

The researchers, led by Tom F.M. ter Bogt, caution that “public claims that engaging with ‘deviant’ media will inevitably lead to problem behavior are wildly exaggerated.” They point out that the study measures not hard-core criminality, but rather “typical adolescent norm breaking behaviors that tend to disappear in early adulthood.”

They also note that, in their study, gradually developing preferences for non-mainstream music in the years between 12 and 16 was not related to delinquency in late adolescence. Rather, the correlation was found only among kids who were already heavily into alternative music at age 12.

The researchers believe such youngsters tend to congregate with peers who have similar musical tastes, creating cliques that are cut off from mainstream influences and behavioral norms. “In peer groups characterized by their deviant music taste, norm-breaking youth may ‘infect’ their friends with their behaviors,” they speculate.

If they’re right, it isn’t the music per se that leads kids into delinquency (although anti-social lyrics could conceivably play a role). It’s more the fact that kids who gravitate to other nonconformists at a young age miss out on the benefits of being part of mainstream society—including the positive influences of popular peers.

So if your preteen is listening to Metallica, some early intervention may be in order. On the other hand, if he or she is into Mozart or Monk, fear not: Such kids may also be outside the mainstream, but this isolation does not manifest itself in a negative way.

Indeed, the researchers report, “Preferences for classical music related negatively to delinquency at age 12.”

Songs You May Have Missed #313


Weezer: “Ruling Me” (2010)


Although Weezer fans’ patience is put to the test at times by their uneven output–not to mention confounding album art (such as titling an album “Hurley” after a character from TV show Lost)–Rivers Cuomo reminds us now and then that few in the business are his equal when it comes to the kind of glorious pop rock chorus that makes you want to crank it up and put the top down. (Even if you drive a minivan and not a convertible.)

To my ears this song shares DNA with the music of power pop founding fathers the Raspberries. With no disrespect to any current platinum-selling act, the fact that there’s no place on the current pop charts for this kind of pop speaks to our general musical impoverishment.

My favorite lines:

We first met/In the lunchroom/My ocular nerve went pop! zoom!

I’ve never observed such a beautiful face

Sweet lady/Don’t play me/If I am a knob don’t fade me

You can’t win the game if you pass the Ace

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/10/04/songs-you-may-have-missed-484/

See also: Recommended Albums #81 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

Songs You May Have Missed #312


The Jayhawks: “A Break in the Clouds” (2000)

Another pretty Gary Louris tune; there are dozens of them waiting to be discovered if you like the sound of blissful, cathartic choruses and country rock harmonizing. It’s like the Eagles minus the egos.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2012/10/25/songs-you-may-have-missed-206/

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2016/05/04/songs-you-may-have-missed-588/

James Taylor’s 1970 BBC Performance

(Reprinted from Open Culture)

James Taylor Sings James Taylor, a BBC broadcast from November 1970, appears above. Though the nearly 40-minute solo performance showcases a player who has developed and mastered his distinctive musical persona, it also showcases one who has only reached a mere 22 years of age. But don’t let his aw-shucks youthfulness fool you; by this point, Taylor had already endured a lifetime’s worth of formative troubles. He’d fallen into deep depression while still in high school, spent nine months in a psychiatric hospital, taken up and quit heroin, bottomed out and spent six months in recovery, underwent vocal cord surgery, taken up methedrine, gone into methadone treatment, had an album flop, and broken his hands and feet in a motorcycle wreck. Fire and rain indeed. But he’d also found favor with the Beatles, becoming the first American signed on their Apple label and recruiting Paul McCartney and George Harrison to play on his “Carolina in My Mind.” At the end of the sixties, the world at large didn’t know the name James Taylor, but his fellow musicians knew it soon would.

“I just heard his voice and his guitar,” said McCartney, “and I thought he was great.” Earlier in 1970, many listeners surely felt the same thing after dropping the needle onto Taylor’s breakthrough second album Sweet Baby James. By the time James Taylor Sings James Taylor went to air, he’d accrued enough of an international reputation to guarantee appreciation from even non-Beatles on the other side of the pond. Knowing his audience, Taylor opens with a rendition of Lennon and McCartney’s “With a Little Help from My Friends.” The Beatles connections don’t stop there: Songfacts reports that Taylor’s “Something in the Way She Moves,” the first single from his pre-Sweet Baby James Apple debut, may have inspired George Harrison to write “Something.” What’s more, Taylor had originally titled his song “I Feel Fine,” before realizing that the Beatles had recorded a song by that name. Though more troubled times lay ahead for the humble (if already well on his way to wealth and fame) young singer-songwriter, this production captures Taylor just before superstardom kicked in.

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