It’s one-hit wonder Wednesday. Please don’t run so far away.

seagulls“And I ran…I ran so far away.” Bet you’re singing it already, aren’t you? This track was a runaway hit in the summer of 1982, buoyed by an incredibly cheesy music video. These guys are still around, but really, does anyone care? Like so many one hit wonders that came before them, A Flock of Seagulls never again enjoyed chart success like they did with “I Ran”. I even saw these guys live as the opening act for Squeeze that summer at some theatre in Montreal whose name escapes me. But like they say, fame is temporary, bad hair in a music video is forever.


What’s my one-hit-wonder for this Wednesday? Here you go. #whatareyoulisteningto

ACEIt’s no secret that music can be a great memory trigger. Hearing the first few notes of a song can instantly transport you back to a certain place and time, be it good or (hopefully not) bad.

One of my favourite OHW’s dates back to around 1974. I can remember hearing this song on the radio and for some reason being instantly drawn to it. To this day whenever I hear it, I’m instantly transported to the days of my dad’s 1973 Ford Gran Torino station wagon (sort of looked like this except it was lime green with dark green vinyl interior) and watching the Montreal Expos play at Jarry Park.

Lead vocalist Paul Carrack went on to future success as a solo artist, and as a member of Roxy Music, Squeeze (that’s him singing lead on their biggest hit, Tempted) and Mike + The Mechanics.

“Hello Cleveland!”

Concert%20CrowdAs much as I enjoy listening to, discussing and sharing music, I’ve always felt that there’s nothing like seeing your favourite artist in concert for the first, second or in the case of Bruce Springsteen, the 10th time. There’s the thrill when you first find out your fave is coming to town, the anticipation of waiting for the tickets to go on sale, and then… the utter disappointment when you get screwed by Ticketmaster when the website says ‘sold out’ at 10:01. But, if you are fortunate enough to score those prime seats, the memories of a great (or bad) show stick with you forever.

Geek that I am, I’ve kept (almost) all of my ticket stubs, going back to 1977. I thought I’d use this blog as a good opportunity to share some of those concert memories with you, and I’d like to hear about yours. I won’t necessarily focus on the best shows I’ve seen; in fact the bad ones are sometimes more fun to write about.

So while the collection of stubs goes back to ’77, the first concert I ever went to was actually in the summer of 1976. My uncle took my older brothers and me to see Joe Cocker. (Ironically, I saw Joe Cocker again in the ‘90’s and I don’t have the stub for that one either.) I remember that I only knew one song, “You Are So Beautiful”, which was a hit single at the time.  Otherwise, I was pretty bored but I would chalk that up to age. I’m sure my uncle and my brothers (who were 17 and 19 at the time) enjoyed it. I would compare it to me dragging one of my kids today to see someone like John Hiatt. I would love it. My kids? Not so much. However, once Joe Cocker released his “Greatest Hits” album the following year I became a big fan of his, and still am today. Guess I matured.

Last week Joe turned 65 and he will be touring throughout the summer. Below is a live clip from 2002 filmed at the Queen’s Jubilee Concert. Check out the backing band, which includes Brian May from Queen on guitar and Phil Collins on drums.

Next time I’ll talk about the concert associated with the oldest ticket stub in my collection. The date was July 12, 1977. The band? I’ll give you a hint: They may be from New York, but they’re partial to Detroit…Rock City.

“The Shuffle Report”

Here just for fun are the last 10 songs I’ve listened to in shuffle mode on my iPod at the time I wrote today’s post (no editing):

1. Spanish Dancer–Steve Winwood (Arc of A Diver)*

2. Walk Like A Man (You Can Call Me Your Man)–Grand Funk Railroad (Grand Funk Hits)

3. Satisfy My Soul–Bob Marley (Legend)**

4. Burning Down The House–Talking Heads (Stop Making Sense–Live)

5. Celebration Day–Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin III)

6. You’re So Fine–Little Walter (His Best)

7. Every Night and Every Day–Cheap Trick (Rockford)

8. You Got Another Thing Comin’–Judas Priest (The Essential Judas Priest)

9. Freedom For The Stallion–Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint (The River In Reverse)

10. Goodbye Girl–Squeeze (Singles, 45’s and Under)

* One of my favourite album covers of all-time. Great artwork.

**The first compact disc I ever purchased, back in 1988.

My Favourite Dance: The iPod Shuffle

Not to sound like a commercial, but our house has always been an Apple house. We’ve gone through several Mac computers, and several iPods. But a couple of years ago, when my wife asked me if I was interested in owning an iPod, I said no. I figured the only way I’d be happy with one was if I could get one with a large enough capacity to hold most if not all of my favourite tunes, and at the time I just didn’t feel like spending the money. I was content to listen to my cd’s (the old fashioned way: one at a time) on the home stereo, the car stereo, my trusty cd Walkman or on the boombox on my desk at work.

Then she surprised me. She bought me a 30gb model for my birthday. Depending on song length, that model can hold up to 7500 songs. I’m not quite there, but not far off. I don’t use it to watch movies as I find it drains the battery quickly and the peaks and valleys of the audio can make it tough to watch on a noisy subway.

Fast forward to today–I never leave home without it. I bought this inexpensive wireless adapter to listen to it in the car and while not perfect, it works way better then some of the more expensive models I bought (and returned) at the Apple store. I also have a great set of speakers that I use at the office.

So do I still listen to my music one album at a time? Hardly ever. I love doin’ the Ipod Shuffle. It’s like Radio Free Dave, all Dave, all the time. My own personal radio station. I love the surprise element. I never know what song is going to come next. Sometimes the mixes are great, sometimes they can be a little jarring. But that’s the fun. As an example, here’s a list of the last 20 songs that I listened to in shuffle mode:
1. Pump It Up–Elvis Costello
2. What Love Can Do–Bruce Springsteen
3. Revolution Rock–The Clash
4. Suffragette City–David Bowie
5. It’s For You–Pat Metheny Group
6. Fantasy–Earth, Wind and Fire
7. Fly Away–Lenny Kravitz
8. I Can See For Miles–The Who
9. Breathe On Me–Ronnie Wood
10. Life On Mars–David Bowie
11. This Time Baby’s Gone For Good–Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes
12. Weather Channel–Sheryl Crow
13. Mystery Kids–Garland Jeffreys
14. The Wrong Thing To Do–Mudcrutch
15. Hey Julie–Fountains of Wayne
16. Darlington County–Bruce Springsteen
17. A Higher Place–Tom Petty
18. Don’t Count Me Out–Charlie
19. Another Nail In My Heart–Squeeze
20. Downstream–Supertramp

Do you own an iPod or similar portable music player? Do you always have it with you? Do you do the Shuffle?