Google+ Followers

Friday, November 23, 2012

THERE IS AN ENDLESS LIST OF "ONE HIT WONDERS".


If you like music of any kind and have Cox cable, you need to sign up for the “Music Choice” channels.  There are 37 of them and they cover every genre you can think of whether it be reggae, solid gold hits, country, swing, hard rock, or anything else you prefer.

Lately, I have been listening to the solid gold stuff because I enjoy many of what we used to call in the days of the hit parade, “one hit wonders.”  That was a competitive time in the music business.  From the mid 50s on there were so many great songs that I figured the artists doing them would launch successful careers.  Alas, with the competition and the quality of stuff recorded, most of those tunes and the artists were one and done after their first and only success.

For example, In 1969 Norman Greenbaum had a gigantic hit with “Spirit in the Sky.”  It reached #3 on Billboard and stayed in the top 100 for 15 weeks.  Since its debut I have heard it as background in some commercials and in a couple films.  It was one of those songs that we used to say “Turn the volume up all the way and break off the knob.”

In spite of its popularity, I have never heard anything else noteworthy from Greenbaum.

Billy Ray Cyrus. "Achy Breaky Heart"
was huge for him in 1992
 If you like country, how about Billy Ray Cyrus and his one and only hit from 1992, “Achy Breaky Heart.”

I was doing DJ gigs at that time and because of the “Achy Breaky” dance craze and the catchy tune, it was my most requested song. (Click the link above)  Cyrus was a good looking guy and it was a decent recording.  It made it to #4 on Billboard and hung around for about five months.

That was pretty much it for Billy Ray who went on to some minor acting gigs.  His daughter Miley gained some teen fame when she was playing “Hannah Montana” on Disney.

In August of 1967, Bobbie Gentry had a huge hit with “Ode to Billie Joe”.  It held number one on Billboard for four weeks and stayed in the top 100 for 12 weeks.

She sang about Billie Joe and his jumping off the Tallahatchie bridge.  That plus a mourning tune as background kept that song alive for a while.

Bobbie was from Mississippi and had a couple minor hits with Glen Campbell later but “Ode to Billie Joe” was about it for her.  Today, she is 68 and probably still in Mississippi but she once knew fame.

Those are just three examples of one hit wonders but there are many more like Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley PTA”, Carl Douglas and “Kung Fu Fighting”, Devo with “Whip It”, and the great dance song “Macarena” by Los Del Rio.  The Macarena fell into the same hole as the Limbo, the Twist, and the Electric Slide.  Popular dance songs always have a limited life.

With YouTube, all these songs can be heard anytime you wish and they get thousands of hits from fans.  In fact, I think I’ll open a Stella Artois and check out Mungo Jerry with “In the Summertime”, a huge hit from July, 1970.  Then, there is Wild Cherry with “Play that Funky Music”, a number one biggie from 1976.

One hit wonders are great to remember and the list of them is endless.  Happy listening!

Friday, November 16, 2012

"YA GOTTA DO WHAT YA GOTTA DO!"


I keep hearing about how there are no jobs to be had because of the bad economy.  I’m not so sure there are NO JOBS to be had but here are plenty of jobs that people don’t want to take either because of their pride or that the job doesn’t pay enough.

I look at it from the point of view that if my family is starving I will do just about anything to make a buck.  When I hear someone say “I can’t do such lowly work because I have a college degree” I just laugh.  My wife Barb has a god line for those people:  “Ya gotta do what ya gotta do!”

When I graduated from college in 1969, I was concerned about making the most money I could.  I had been married for two years and the economy was decent so I didn’t care about the prestige of the position; I wanted the dough.  That’s how I got into the grocery business as a salesman.  I always had a gift of gab and going to school and being in the military gave me the nerve to ask for orders from sometimes grumpy buyers.

When I hear about the number of food stamp recipients going from 32 million to 46 million during Obama’s first four years, I shake my head in disgust that so many people who could probably have been doing SOMETHING productive have decided to jump on the government teat instead of doing something beneath what they consider their dignity.   Or, they could be just plain lazy!

It seems un-American to be that way.  But, is this the America many of us grew up in?  Absolutely not!  Many of us remember when a person in need was embarrassed to take any kind of welfare and if they did it was some place like a church.  Now, the government welfare lines proudly extend around the block.

Even as kids, my friends and I in Ohio always seemed to find some way to make our own money.  I had a job in the 4th grade that paid me $1 to go around the neighborhood and put advertising circulars on porches (remember porches?) for a record store.

Later, at 16 I had a job in a neighborhood deli making deliveries, putting away returnable bottles (remember returnable bottles?) and clerking.  In the Air Force I had a job doing janitorial work for a few hours in the evening.  In the summer of 1957 I had a full time delivery job at 16 and on holidays delivered flowers for a local florist.  During two summers of college I worked on home construction for 60 hours a week.  Did I mention caddying at the Cincinnati Country Club where I would carry two golf bags for 36 holes and $20?  That was decent money in 1958.

Carrying doubles for 36 holes will keep you in shape
Okay, enough about my exploits in the teenage working world.  But, those jobs did teach me the value of a dollar and prepared me for a full time career in sales after college.  With what I see today, I wonder if a lot of applicants are prepared for success and a career.

I guess a lot of it has to do with initiative.  Welfare is so common today; it is an easy crutch for many.  A person can go that route if they wish but I believe in Barb’s assessment:  “Ya gotta do what ya gotta do!”


Thursday, November 08, 2012

LOOKING BACK AT THE SCOTTSDALE OF DECEMBER, 2005


I'm taking a week off and re-printing a blog I wrote on December 14, 2005.  Those of you familiar with Scottsdale will surely remember the speed cameras on the 101, the Westworld tents with the American flags that were so controversial, and Scottsdale's flirting with light rail. That stuff is history now but was news in 2005.  

I have lived in Scottsdale since 1987 and I have never regretted the decision to leave the icy winter climes of Kansas City and Cincinnati for this oasis in the desert. It's not that those are bad places. I grew up in Cincy and lived in Kansas City for many years after being stationed there in the Air Force so I had to leave many good friends behind but I felt the time had come to make my move.

Sunset in Scottsdale 
I think it started when I was a kid in Cincinnati and would watch the football games from the west coast on television and see everybody in the stands in their bright colored clothes, laughing and having fun in the sunshine. As I watched the games it would be dark in Ohio, usually with icy rain beating against the windows, and the prospect of another thirty days without sunshine. Unlike the typical conservative Cincinnatian who would never leave their home town, all I could think about was the day I could live out west and fulfill my lifetime dream: to wear shorts and see lawn sprinklers operating on New Year's Day.

In December of 1979, I decided to run in the Fiesta Bowl Marathon in Scottsdale. A friend of mine who had run many marathons with me and I decided to drive from Kansas City to do the race. Well, that was that as I was hooked on the area as soon as I saw the flowers blooming in December. Eight long years later in 1987 I made the move and am glad I did.

As great as modern Scottsdale is, there are still some things that people here worry about which cause me to roll my eyes and shake my head: (1) Concerns about the speed cameras on the 101 freeway, (2) the "dreaded American flag" of Westworld's tent, and (3) light rail.

Why would anyone complain about speed cameras being anywhere? The speed limit is posted and that is the maximum you drive, period! If you do complain you are obviously in favor of breaking the speed limit and simply do not want to get caught. Isn't 75 MPH enough? I can't believe you are in that much of a hurry.

The Westworld American flag tent.  I loved it; a lot of 
spoiled people didn't
I don't want to hear this silliness about speed traps, big brother, and a loss of rights either. Ask the families of the people whose loved ones have been killed on that road about rights. Besides, Scottsdale has their ubiquitous little radar vans on the streets every day to catch speeders, I don't hear complaints about them. Admit it, you just want to fly down that freeway.

I like the Westworld flag. Note to complainers: You probably got on the bandwagon after the gulf war and 9-11 adorning your cars with flag stickers and banners. At that time you didn't seem to worry about the aesthetics of patriotism.

Of course, those flags are gone now as that is yesterday's news. Well, in case you haven't noticed, we are still involved in war and the protection of our country from people who would like to kill you and your family. I suggest you put those flags back on your cars and salute the Westworld tent every time you have the pleasure of seeing it. Don't tell me that it is unsightly and destroys the looks of your neighborhood. It is your country's flag plus it is not even close to you; it is surrounded by Westworld's barns, fairgrounds, ugly three story apartments, an ice rink, and an office park.

Scottsdale made the right decision by not approving
light rail
Light rail is nothing but a modern streetcar. Phoenix used to have those but disbanded them about 50 years ago for gasoline buses. They do need some type of public transportation and if they want to waste their money on light rail that's up to them.

As far as Scottsdale, I'm proud of the city council for shelving the idea of light rail. Of course, the idealists disagree. They think that the citizens of Scottsdale will actually ride light rail. Yeah, just like they ride the buses in Scottsdale: one at a time and that's the driver by himself. Do they really think that people who live in Troon or Desert Highlands are going to inconvenience themselves to save a couple bucks on gas and help the environment? The people who believe that are sadly lacking in knowledge of human nature.

Remember, this is the place where people sit parked in their idling $50,000, 8 miles to the gallon air conditioned SUV's, burning $3 per gallon gas and talking on their cell phones. They are not going to ride a streetcar and at a $54 million installation cost per mile plus subsidies this would be a folly of utmost proportions.


Yes, Scottsdale is wonderful but some of us are spoiled with our great lifestyle. Maybe we need to stop a moment and smell our Starbuck's coffee.