Songs You May Have Missed #612


Bee Gees: “Morning of My Life (In the Morning)” (1971)

For such an obscure song, the Bee Gees’ “Morning of My Life” has quite a long history in the Gibb family. It was first recorded by the band in 1966 during sessions for their debut Spicks and Specks album. During the period when Robin Gibb left to pursue a solo career, Barry and Maurice performed the song acoustically with their sister Lesley on a BBC-TV special. And the group recorded the song once again with Robin during the sessions for their 2 Years On reunion LP.

bee-geesWhile the song was ultimately left off that album it appeared a short time later on the soundtrack to the 1971 film Melody. It has appeared on Bee Gees compilations and box sets but never on an official Bee Gees album. Andy Gibb too recorded a version that was never released.

As a Moody Blues fan, when I first heard “Morning of My Life” I thought the similarities to the Moodies’ 1971 “Emily’s Song” were striking. Since the Bee Gees song has origins half a decade previous, if one song influenced the other it was certainly the Bee Gees tune that inspired the one by the Moody Blues, and this seems fairly likely to me.

Take note not only of the common lyrical threads but of the general similarity in feel between the song Barry Gibb seems to have aimed at a young child and the composition John Lodge of the Moody Blues wrote for his newborn daughter Emily (and which parenthetically inspired the naming of my own daughter Emily):


See also:

Songs You May Have Missed #611


Mika (featuring Ariana Grande): “Popular Song” (2015)

Cheeky British singer-songwriter Mika sells platinum elsewhere but resides in the musical margins in the U.S.

Here with the help of Ariana Grande he sings a song about fickle popularity, karma and sweet schadenfreude.

La la, la la
You were the popular one, the popular chick
It is what it is, now I’m popular-ish
Standing on the field with your pretty pompom
Now you’re working at the movie selling popular corn
I could have been a mess but I never went wrong
‘Cause I’m putting down my story in a popular song
I said I’m putting down my story in a popular song

My problem, I never was a model,
I never was a scholar,
But you were always popular,
You were singing all the songs I don’t know
Now you’re in the front row
‘Cause my song is popular

Popular, I know about popular
It’s not about who you are or your fancy car
You’re only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
And all that you have to do is be true to you
That’s all you ever need to know

So catch up ’cause you got an awful long way to go
So catch up ’cause you got an awful long way to go

Always on the lookout for someone to hate,
Picking on me like a dinner plate
You hid during classes, and in between ’em
Dunked me in the toilets, now it’s you that cleans them
You tried to make me feel bad with the things you do
It ain’t so funny when the joke’s on you
Ooh, the joke’s on you
Got everyone laughing, got everyone clapping, asking,
“How come you look so cool?”
‘Cause that’s the only thing that I’ve learned at school, boy (uh huh)
I said that that’s the only thing that I’ve learned at school

My problem, I never was a model,
I never was a scholar,
But you were always popular,
You were singing all the songs I don’t know
Now you’re in the front row
‘Cause my song is popular

Popular, I know about popular
It’s not about who you are or your fancy car
You’re only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
And all that you have to do is be true to you
That’s all you ever need to know
(that’s all you ever need to know)

So catch up ’cause you got an awful long way to go
So catch up ’cause you got an awful long way to go

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Recommended Albums #72


Oh Land: Wishbone (2013)

Danish ballet dancer-turned singer Nanna Øland Fabricius (Anglicized as Oh Land) turned in her strongest album with her third effort, 2013’s Wishbone.

A schizophrenic blend of Scandinavian electropop, this frothy funfair of a record reaches in many directions but ultimately lands squarely in smart pop territory consistently enough to make for a satisfying listen.

oh-land-2Fans of artists such as Goldfrapp and Robyn may have ears better acclimated to the chilly electronic sound collage that frames the tunes–it’s not the most organic-sounding music.

And in fact the busy, idiosyncratic electronic sound palate here has cost Wishbone more favorable reviews from some critics who seem to see it as distractive, overdone, more sheen than substance.

Yeah, I remember rock critics panning the first Boston album in similar terms. And that one found a bit of an audience if memory serves. The point being, if any artistic work delivers the hooks, well, guilty pleasures are no less pleasurable.


And there’s no denying that the dizzying lyrical spit of “Renaissance Girls” and the perfect pop/funk of “Pyromaniac” are a blast to listen to.

And for change of pace, “Love You Better” will hit you in the feels with an almost too reflective acoustic guitar ballad:

I will love you better
Better when I’m blind
I will love you better when I’m blind
‘Cause you’ll always be a beauty
Living in my mind
I will love you better when I’m blind

If radio didn’t embrace songs like these (and it didn’t) it was more a statement about the state of radio than the quality of this music.

Listen to: “Renaissance Girls”

Listen to: “Pyromaniac”

Listen to: “Love You Better”

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The mystery of the phantom Billboard hit, “Ready ‘N’ Steady,” is finally solved


(via AV Club) by Mike Vanderbilt

Everyone loves a great mystery, except for the kids who used to peek in the back of their Encyclopedia Brown books. The unsolved mystery of the 1979 Billboard single “Ready ’N’ Steady” may never have garnered the interest of a trench coat-clad Robert Stack (or whatever Nicolas Cage’s name is in those National Treasure movies). Still, its existence—or rather lack thereof—confounded record collectors for over 36 years, but today, consider that mystery solved.

In 1979, “Ready ’N’ Steady” by D.A. was No. 102 with a bullet for four weeks on the Billboard charts. However, it seemed nobody had actually heard this phantom song…

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Video of the Week: The Sweet Sounds of Mark White’s Chapman Stick

With only 10,000 Chapman Sticks worldwide, they are one of the most seldom seen and rarely heard instruments in the world.  With an elegant sound Mark White specializes in such music as Classical, Romantic, Celtic and Classic Rock.

Based out of Austin, Texas Mark White is one of the few Chapman Stick players in the world.  Mark was first introduced to the Stick at the age of 12 by his music teacher Matt Rogers.  Completely captivated by the sound, Mark eventually transitioned to the Stick full-time.  At the age of 17 he and Matt Rogers formed a Chapman Stick duo called “Heartstrings”.  Mark has been working as a full-time musician ever since.

KISS Now Sell *Official* Air Guitar Strings, Seriously


(via metal injection)

KISS are no strangers to merchandise that pushes the line of good taste, from overpriced masks to wine, to caskets and urns to disturbing looking condoms, KISS proves there is no product too crappy to have their logo on it.

But this next product is so insane, and pointless that it’s almost come back around to being sorta genius. KISS is selling air guitar strings now…

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That time when the US Delta Force blasted Van Halen, The Clash, and AC/DC’s music for three days to force Manuel Noriega out of the Vatican Embassy


(via Vintage News)

After fleeing arrest for various political crimes, former military ruler of Panama Manuel Noriega took refuge in the Apostolic Nunciature, the diplomatic quarters of the Holy See in the Vatican Embassy. The infamous dictator thought that the Embassy, along with his top advisors and political leaders of his regime, would provide him a safe haven from the US Military.

Manuel Antonio Noriega is infamous for his corrupt political agenda, drug trafficking, racketeering, and illicit weapons, and military arms trade. He also had close relations with the CIA as their informant before the US invaded Panama.

In 1989, President George H. W. Bush administered the invasion known as “Operation Just Cause” to capture Noriega and to protect the integrity of the Torrijos–Carter Treaties, resulting in total chaos and thousands of casualties.

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The Steely Dan Dictionary: Your Guide to the Lyrics of Rock’s Most Abstruse Band


Ever wondered what a bodhisattva is? Or how to gaslight somebody? Then this website is for you! You’re looking at an A-Z glossary of over 120 obscure words, people and places — all taken from the lyrics of Steely Dan songs.

The creative genii behind Steely Dan (Walter Becker and Donald Fagen) have long been fond of peppering their lyrics with arcane literary and cultural references, the meaning of which can be murky at best (given the duo’s legendary reticence). After searching in vain for an explanatory lexicon, I decided to create my own — the result being this website, which was first launched in June 2000.

Some examples from the site:

California / Tumbles into the sea / That’ll be the day I go / Back to Annandale
Song: My Old School   Album: Countdown to Ecstasy
Most notable as the location of Bard College, where Donald Fagen and Walter Becker first met while attending college there in the late 1960s

Piaster is also the name of the fractional currency used by several countries today, including Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Syria.

Jungle Jim
Crashing the backboard / He’s Jungle Jim again
Song: Glamour Profession   Album:Gaucho

Nickname of Jim Loscutoff (1930-2015), a former basketball player for the Boston Celtics.

Born in San Francisco, Jim’s NBA career lasted from 1955-1964 as a forward on the legendary Bill Russell-led Celtics team, which won 8 consecutive NBA Championships.

Jungle Jim was never a high scorer but had a reputation for scooping up any rebounds Bill Russell didn’t retrieve, hence “crashing the backboard”.

Black Cow
Drink your big black cow / And get out of here
Song: Black Cow   Album:Aja

A type of soda.

Depending on who you ask, a true black cow consists of either Coke or root beer mixed with either milk or ice cream (with optional chocolate sauce). There’s even an alcoholic version, containing Grand Marnier and cold coffee.

Doctor Wu
Are you with me Doctor Wu / Are you really just a shadow / Of the man that I once knew
Song: Doctor Wu   Album: Katy Lied

Dr. Jing Nuan Wu (1933-2002), an acupuncturist and artist formerly based in Washington D.C.

Emigrated from China to the United States at a young age and graduated from Harvard to become a Wall Street venture capitalist, finally setting up a Taoist clinic in Washington in 1973.

Apparently he helped one of the band to overcome drug addiction in the mid-70s, hence the lyrical tribute.



…and one reference that is missing from the site (via

Cobalt Cigarettes
Specific cigarette type smoked by the protagonist of the Steely Dan song “King of the World,” which is about life after a nuclear war. Loosely based on the film “Life in the Year Zero,” the song concerns a lone survivor of a nuclear holocaust spending his time driving through the ruins of his home town and searching the airwaves with his HAM radio for any signs of survivors.
The cigarettes themselves are very deadly (forms of cobalt are highly radioactive) and the smoking of them by the main character is meant as a commentary on his current state and lack of hope. Heard in the far backround of this song is Walter Becker mumbling scary little phrases such as, “I think my face is on fire.”
(Thanks Karen Gottschall and Bob Cyphers)

Was ‘Weird Al’ the Real Star all Along?


(via Washington Post) Geoff Edgers

LOS ANGELES — One day last summer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, on break from “Hamilton,” stopped by neighbor Jimmy Fallon’s house in the Hamptons. They both love music and Fallon has a listening room in the basement, so it wasn’t long before they were downstairs sharing another passion: “Weird Al” Yankovic.

“I said, ‘Do you know “Polka Party!”?’ ” Fallon says. “He’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I know it word for word.’ ”

Fallon threw Yankovic’s 1986 record on the turntable, and the Broadway phenomenon and the late-night TV star sang along to an accordion-driven medley that covers 12 songs in three minutes, from Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” to Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach.”

“Picture Jimmy Fallon and I sitting in a basement laughing our asses off singing, ‘I’m gonna keep my baby, keep my baby, keep my baby,’ ” Miranda says.

“We were crying, laughing and singing,” Fallon says.

They’re not alone…

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All My Loving


One day, a boy named Jonathan brought the Beatles’ “Blue Album” to school and changed my life

(via purple clover) by Marisa Cohen

In 1977, I had the good luck to land in Mr. Rosen’s fifth-grade class in my Long Island elementary school. Mr. Rosen, who had a beard and a funny, nasal voice, was considered one of the few “cool” teachers at our school, which was otherwise staffed by middle-age women with starched hairdos and polyester pantsuits.

By far the coolest thing that Mr. Rosen did was let us bring in record albums from home to play during independent work time. At age 10, I was still woefully in the dark about good music: I listened to the cast album of “Annie” until it broke (remember when records cracked?) and had ordered some Barry Manilow and Boston albums from the Columbia Records Club account I shared with my brother (12 albums for 1 penny!), but my taste was as yet unformed.

One day, a boy named Jonathan brought in the Beatles’ “Blue Album” and it changed my life…

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