Category Archives: Song of the Day

Song of the Day: “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett

Bad_reputation_-_joan_jett,_1981In honor of Joan Jett’s birthday today, the song of the day is “Bad Reputation”. Joan Jett wrote this song with Kenny Laguna, who produced the album and helped her establish a solo career after her group, The Runaways, broke up. In a Songfacts interview with Laguna, he said: “It’s about Joan having been kind of a wild woman in The Runaways, and us trying to make a record deal, going around having people say, ‘No, she’s too crazy, like the punks and nazis.’ Joan had this bad reputation, no label would sign her – that’s why we own the records. It was so frustrating, we thought we should write a song about it. One day Joan said something and I said, ‘You shouldn’t do this.’ I was trying to give her the advice of an old man, but she was a teenager at the time, and she says, ‘Look, I don’t care about my bad reputation.’ I said, ‘Whoa, there’s the song.'”

Speaking with Rolling Stone in 2022, Jett talked about her bad reputation. “I always wore it as a badge of honor,” she said. “Because what people were saying to me was I had a bad reputation because I played an electric guitar and I had black hair and a leather jacket, and maybe I swore… So I turned around the meaning of it, and I’m proud of my bad reputation.”

This song made a very bold statement, establishing Jett as an independent-minded rocker with no concern for traditional gender roles in rock. Her co-writer Kenny Laguna told us: “‘I don’t give a damn about my reputation, it’s a new generation,’ that was the whole thing, a girl could do what she wants to do. When she was singing those lyrics, it was radical because there were no girls doing anything other than what they were supposed to do, they were all supposed to be like the girl groups. They were supposed to be dainty, wear dresses. They weren’t supposed to play instruments. The song was definitely autobiographical.”

This anthem for any punk, freak, or misfit, only charted moderately upon release (however, it peaked at number eight on the Billboard Japan Hot 100). This is unsurprising as Joan Jett was ahead if her time. However, this is one of Jett’s signature songs, and had a bit of a resurgence as it was the theme song of the incredible television show Freaks and Geeks, which ran for only one season, from 1999-2000.

Joan Jett is a pioneer and icon who is still rocking today!

Song of the Day: “Young Love” by Janet Jackson

Janet_Jackson_Young_Love40 years ago, on this day, September 21, 1982, Janet Jackson released her self-titled debut album. “Young Love” was the debut single released off of that album. The song was released on July 7, 1982, prior to the album’s release. In addition to being a member of the legendary Jackson family, Janet had previously been known for playing Penny on the television show, Good Times and as Charlene Duprey, Willis’ girlfriend on Diff’rent Strokes.

When Janet was sixteen, her father and manager Joseph Jackson arranged a contract for her with A&M Records. Her debut album, Janet Jackson, was released in 1982. It was produced by Angela Winbush, René Moore, Bobby Watson of Rufus and Leon Sylvers III, and overseen by her father Joseph. It peaked at No. 63 on the Billboard 200, and No. 6 on the publication’s R&B albums chart, receiving little promotion. The album appeared on the Billboard Top Black Albums of 1983, while Jackson herself was the highest-ranking female vocalist on the Billboard Year-End Black Album Artists.

“Young Love” received generally positive reviews from music critics, who highlighted it as a standout song from the album and praised its catchiness. It peaked at number 64 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was a success on the R&B chart, additionally peaking at number 16 in New Zealand. In order to promote her album, she performed the song on Soul Train and American Bandstand. In recent years, she has included the song on her 2008 Rock Witchu Tour and her performance at the 2010 Essence Music Festival.

Song of the Day: “Feel It Again” by Honeymoon Suite

ab67616d0000b2739844f406c67b245265ae982b“Feel It Again” is somehow the only Top 40 hit in the U.S. from this very underrated Canadian band. This was released off of their second album, The Big Prize. It was the band’s first top 20 hit in Canada, reaching #16, and it landed at #34 in the U.S.

The entire album, The Big Prize, is fantastic. And their follow-up album, Racing After Midnight, is very strong as well.

“Feel It Again” is a strong representation of the band. So, if you enjoy this song, I highly recommend checking out more of their music.
One other thing of note is that The Big Prize album was produced by Bob Rock. Jon Bon Jovi took notice, and brought him on to be the sound mixer for a little album called, Slippery When Wet.

Song of the Day: “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” by Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett

downloadOn this day (September 19) in 1987, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You by Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett Became the #1 Song in America. This was the first single released from Michael’s seventh album, Bad. This song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, R&B Singles and Adult Contemporary charts, making it the first in a string of 5 number-one singles from Bad. It was Jackson’s second number-one song on the Adult Contemporary chart after “The Girl Is Mine” with Paul McCartney.
Whitney Houston and Barbra Streisand were asked to sing this with Jackson, but they refused. So Siedah Garrett, who also co-wrote “Man In The Mirror,” another track from Bad, was asked to sing on this track.

Garrett recalled in an interview with SongTalk magazine in the late 1980s how she came to duet with Jackson on this song. “It came as a total surprise. Quincy called me after I had worked with him doing the background vocals for ‘Man In The Mirror’ to come back to the studio to do more work, but when I got there, I was surprised to discover that there was nobody else in the studio but Quincy, Michael and me. And the song they were working on wasn’t ‘Man In The Mirror.’ It was a song that Quincy had given me a tape to learn. But I had no idea – I do lots of vocals on demos for Quincy, so this was nothing unusual.

So Quincy said, ‘You got the tape, right? Did you learn the song?’ I said, ‘Sure, I know the song.’ He said, ‘Well, go in there and sing it.’
I go into the booth: there’s two music stands. Michael Jackson is standing at one of them in front of a microphone and there’s another microphone for me. This is the first time I realized what was happening. On the sheet music it said, ‘Michael, Siedah, Michael, Siedah, etc.’ I said, ‘Wow! I get it.'”
Jackson and Garrett didn’t take the recording entirely seriously. Siedah recalled to SongTalk magazine: “Michael is funny. He has a real keen sense of humor. Which surprised me, because you hear all these stories about how strange he is. I guess he felt relaxed with me because I wasn’t in awe of him when we met. I was kind of, ‘Yo, Michael, what’s up?’ I think he found that refreshing.”

She added: “If I was talking to Quincy and we were serious for some reason, Michael would toss cashews and peanuts at us. I would be talking to Quincy and these peanuts would fly by. [Laughs]

You know, the duet is a very serious love song. And when I was doing my verse, Michael was making these faces at me so that I would mess up. Quincy would say, ‘Siedah – come on! You’re holding up the whole album!’ And I would get in trouble!”

Despite the success, the duet had a relatively short chart run and fell out of the top 40 just five weeks after topping the chart, spending a total of 11 weeks in the top 40, out of a total of 14 weeks on the Hot 100. This was largely due to the quick release of the album title track as the second single (it debuted on the Hot 100 at #40 in the same week that “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” hit number one).

Although Michael Jackson was the king of music videos, there was no music video released for this song. So, it is amazing that it still hit #1.

Here is a short clip of the recording of the song:

Song of the Day: “Hold On to the Nights” by Richard Marx

downloadIn honor of his birthday today, the Song of the Day is “Hold On to the Nights” by Richard Marx. This song was the fourth and final single released from his self-titled debut album, and his first to reach number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. His next two singles, “Satisfied” and “Right Here Waiting,” also made the top spot. When it hit the number 1 spot on July 23, 1988, it prevented Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” from reaching the top spot that same week.

According to Songfacts, when you meet the love of your life, but you are both already with someone else, you have a big decision to make and maybe a script for a romantic comedy. You might have to live with just the memories of your time together, holding on to the nights you’ve spent with each other.

Richard Marx tells us that this wasn’t something that happened to him, but it did happen to someone he knew. Said Marx: “A friend of mine went through exactly that. There were parts of it that I could really relate to, but this guy just thought that he was in the right situation, but he met somebody else, and he was, ‘Ohhh…’ and the girl was involved with somebody already at the time, and they just never got together. They never made a go of it. I’ve lost touch with this guy over the years, but I remember him thinking, what if I had missed the right one. And all he had left was a brief time where they were hovering around each other and then they both ended up going back to who they were with. I don’t know if they ultimately stayed together. Maybe they even got together years later. I don’t know, because I lost touch with him. But that came through that, came through this guy that I knew and was going through exactly that.”

Here is the full interview.

Richard Marx is still recording new music. He just released a new rockin’ single called “Shame On You“.

Song of the Day: “You Are” by Lionel Richie

downloadThere is no particular reason why today’s Song of the Day is “You Are” by Lionel Richie other than the fact that I love it, it’s in my head, and it is a feel-good song. This song was written by Richie and his then-wife, Brenda Harvey Richie. It appears on his self-titled debut solo album, which came out in 1982. “You Are” was the follow-up single to his number-one hit song “Truly“.

“You Are” reached the top five on three major Billboard music charts. On the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, the song spent two weeks at number four in early 1983. It peaked at number two on the R&B chart (behind “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson), and spent six weeks at number one on the adult contemporary chart.

Richard Marx sang backup on this track. His first job in music was singing on the Lionel Richie album, and he proved himself on this track, which required some deft background vocals. In a Songfacts interview with Marx, he talked about working with Richie: ” Every session I ever did with Lionel, or for him, was a very fun atmosphere. I’ve been on so many sessions where it’s a downer, and you just try to get through it and nobody is having fun. Lionel is always having fun – no matter what.”

Richie made a video for this song, but MTV ignored it. The network didn’t give black artists significant airtime until Michael Jackson broke through in 1983. Later that year, Richie was welcomed on MTV with his video for “All Night Long (All Night).”

Song of the Day: “Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera

glory of loveIn honor of Peter Cetera’s birthday today, the Song of the Day is his smash hit, “Glory of Love”. Cetera didn’t miss a beat after leaving the legendary band, Chicago.

This song was written by Peter Cetera, his wife (at the time) Diane Nini, and David Foster, who produced Chicago’s highly successful albums Chicago 16 (1982) and Chicago 17 (1984) when Cetera was with the group. Cetera was asked by a friend to write the love song for the Karate Kid: Part II film, and was shown part of the movie. He has claimed that the song was destined to be a hit whether it was used for the film or not.

The song was released on June 4, 1986 and hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks beginning August 2, and spent five weeks atop the US adult contemporary chart.

In addition to Karate Kid: Part II, it was featured on Cetera’s Solitude/Solitaire album.

The song earned nominations for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and a Golden Globe in the category of Best Original Song. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 1987 for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Male Artist, and went on to win an ASCAP Award for Most Performed Songs from a Motion Picture and a BMI Film & TV Award for Most Performed Song from a Film.

Song of the Day: “Pump Up the Volume” by M|A|R|R|S

download“Pump Up the Volume” is the only single by British recording act M|A|R|R|S. Recorded and released in 1987, it was a number-one hit in many countries and is regarded as a significant milestone in the development of British acid house music and music sampling. It is made up of about 250 samples. The line, “Pump Up The Volume” came from “I Know You Got Soul” by Eric B. & Rakim, which was released earlier in 1987. Other samples include Coldcut’s 1987 song “Say, Kids What Time Is This” and James Brown’s “Funky Drummer.” It also contains three seconds of Stock Aitken & Waterman’s song “Roadblock,” but the group didn’t get official clearance and Peter Waterman placed an injunction for five days while the copyright issues were worked out.
This was the first ever #1 UK hit on an independent record label: 4AD. It also reached #1 in Holland and New Zealand.

M|A|R|R|S was a one-off collaboration between members of A.R. Kane (Alex and Rudi Kane) and Colourbox (Martin and Steve Young), both veteran 4AD artists. They took their name from the four collaborator’s initials plus that of label boss Ivo Watts-Russell, who suggested they get together. Those four are the credited songwriters on the track.

In 1988, this song was featured in the films My Stepmother Is An Alien and Bright Lights, Big City (The GenX Book Club’s debut selection coming this October).

Song of the Day: “Hangin’ Tough” by New Kids on the Block

New_Kids_on_the_Block-Hangin'_Tough_(album_cover)On this day (September 9) in 1989, New Kids on the Block hit #1 in the U.S. It would also go on to be a #1 hit in the U.K., and Ireland. It is their only No. 1 single in Ireland and reached the top 10 in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. This was the fourth single released off of their Hangin’ Tough album.
There are conflicting reports of how the song came about.

The New Kid’s producer and writer Maurice Starr wrote this song with the tough time the boy band had getting things off the ground in mind. He recalled in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh: “We needed a song that symbolized what we had been through, so I came up with this title, Hangin Tough.”

However, Donnie Wahlberg, who sings lead on the track, says this was written with the Boston Celtics in mind. “We literally set out to do a song that could be a theme song for the Celtics. That was the idea: blatantly trying to sound like Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You.'”

They both sound legit, so who knows (and I’m glad that Donnie said they were “trying” to sound like ‘We Will Rock You) ? Either way, I am not exactly a boy-band fan. But, I have to admit this is a fun song.

Song of the Day: “Voices Carry” by ‘Til Tuesday

91l9jdeLHtL._SL1500_In honor of Aimee Mann’s birthday today, the song of the day is “Voices Carry” by ‘Til Tuesday. This is the title-track of ‘Til Tuesday’s debut album. The single was released on March 28, 1985. It was the band’s highest-charting single and their only top ten hit in the U.S., peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. Internationally it reached the top twenty in Canada and Australia.

Speaking on the podcast Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend, Mann explained what inspired the lyric: “I wrote it about a friend of mine – a male friend – who was talking about a relationship where the girl didn’t want to be affectionate with him in public, like, ‘Keep your voice down, don’t tell people we’re going out.’ The reason I related to that story was because of my history.”

The music video earned ‘Til Tuesday an MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist. The part where Mann causes a scene in the theater (the interior shots were filmed at the Strand Theater in Dorchester, Massachusetts) is iconic of the early MTV era. Mann later dipped a toe into acting. Look closely in the scene in The Big Lebowski where the nihilists are ordering pancakes and the gal on the end has a foot cast as the camera pans down – yep, that’s Aimee Mann!