K-Chuck Radio: Music for a Great American Eclipse

So the big day is tomorrow … tomorrow afternoon, to be precise.

And as I drive towards the line of totality, I think to myself about what kind of a soundtrack I could craft in terms of music for an eclipse.  Especially one as special as this one.

So crank up the speakers, here’s a K-Chuck Radio featuring songs about sunshine, moonlight, and eclipses.  And let’s start with the obvious track…

BONNIE TYLER
Total Eclipse of the Heart

Here it is, in its nearly seven minute glory.  Gotta give Jim Steinman credit, he can craft AOR rock ballad masterpieces with the best of them.

MADNESS
The Sun and the Rain

Here’s what I want.  Lots of sunshine and no rain.  No rain at all.

BLIND MELON
No Rain

Yeah.  Like I said, no rain.  No rain at all.

DRAGON
Sunshine

Yes, I need a sunshine-like track from my favorite Kiwi / Oz Rock band.  You know I do.

ERIC CARMEN
Sunrise

Somewhere inbetween his Rachmaninoff riffs and his sweeping ballads, Eric Carman sounds awesome when he channels his original power-pop Raspberries heritage.  Like this track, for instance.

LEN
Steal My Sunshine

Look, if I can get a chance to channel the 1970’s Andrea True Connection riff, I’ll do it.  Even for a one-hit wonder like Len.

JOHN DENVER
Sunshine On My Shoulders

There was once a time when John Denver’s music was so square, it could be divided by four.  Thankfully, today John Denver’s tracks – including this one – have a new appreciation.  Which is always a wonderful thing.

THE SUNRAYS
I Live for the Sun

Think about this.  This was the band Brian Wilson’s father Murry managed when the Beach Boys fired him as THEIR manager.  One hit that barely sounds like a Beach Boys out-take.

SMASH MOUTH
Walking on the Sun

Yes, I put Smash Mouth on this playlist.  Keep things going, and I’ll add some Nickelback.  Don’t call my bluff.

SOUNDGARDEN
Black Hole Sun

I mean, technically, doesn’t an eclipse create a black hole in the sun?  You’re still missed, Chris Cornell.  Any world where Chris Cornell and Kurt Cobain isn’t alive – and Courtney Love is – is a miserable world.

THE GRATEFUL DEAD
Dark Star (Beautiful Jam)

And let’s end our playlist with this totally amazing 21-minute sonic jam by the legends themselves. No more words.

Enjoy the eclipse on Monday, with a soundtrack brought to you by sunbeams at K-Chuck Radio.

K-Chuck Radio: You really needed to edit THAT song??

There was once a time – around the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s – when popular songs were shaved down to a paltry three minutes or less … in order to get more tunes crammed into Top 40 radio.  Although like “Hey Jude” and “American Pie” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” buck the trend of the quaint, tight 3-minute pop song, there are other examples of tracks where the studio engineer needed to slice a lyric here, trim a drumbeat there … essentially creating a Reader’s Digest version of the pop songs we all know and love.  Today, while the full-length versions of those hits are all over oldies radio … here are some examples – many of which only exist on 45 RPM pressings – of songs that were sliced and trimmed and chopped and butchered.  Including …

BOSTON
More Than A Feeling

In order to shave an entire minute off this record, some studio engineer simply removed the song’s second lyric (“So many people // have come and gone…”).  What’s left on this 45?  Lyric, refrain, straight into instrumental bridge.

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K-Chuck Radio: Awesome and rare 70’s dance classics

On this edition of K-Chuck Radio, I’m going to dive into the wild and wonderful world of dance music from the 1970’s.  Back when discos stopped calling themselves discotheques.

These tracks were monster hits in the clubs and discos, but sadly they’ve drifted off to rarities status.  Except for here, where I dust them off and give them another spin.

And let’s start our tour of the dance floor with …

KC and the SUNSHINE BAND
Queen of Clubs

What, you thought this group was only capable of disco tracks?  Let me share with you one of K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s earliest hits, this funky hard-rocking dance track that could have knocked any rock song off the radio in nothing flat.

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K-Chuck Radio: Rock Hits in Early Stereo

The early years of rock and roll music were full of monaural output.  Most kids had monaural single-speaker phonographs, so there wasn’t much of a need to produce a stereophonic version of a Top 40 hit.  Heck, even producer Phil Spector completely eschewed stereo output, believing that his records sounded much better in mono.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean that record companies DIDN’T produce stereo versions of their big 1950’s and 1960’s hits … and when they did create stereo pressings of their big hits, the stereo versions were a simplified stereo – usually artist is centered in the two speakers, while percussion is shoved into one channel and other instruments reside in the remaining channel.  It’s not true binaural stereophonic wonder … but it is a wonder in and of itself.

And on today’s K-Chuck Radio, I want to share some early examples of rare stereo versions of those classic oldies.  Put on those headphones and let’s enjoy music designed for both ears.  And let’s start with …

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K-Chuck Radio: Making it on Promo CD’s

Long before the days when one could purchase songs through iTunes or add them to a Spotify playlist, one had to find purchaseable tracks through the pages of music collector magazines like Goldmine or Discoveries.  Those mags would be packed with advertisers offering rare records AND promo-only CD’s of current popular tracks.

And during the 1990’s, when I couldn’t get a popular song from the record store without purchasing the whole LP, or getting stuck with the song on a poorly-copied cassette single, I had to buy the songs on those promotional CD’s.  It’s how I made it through the 1990’s in music.

So on today’s K-Chuck Radio, I thought I’d share some of those 1990’s tracks with you.  Some you might remember, others I’m not so sure.  But I hope you enjoy all of them.  And let’s start with

PEACH UNION
On My Own

This one-hit wonder actually got played on Top 40 radio stations, and it was a very catchy track.  I don’t know much about Peach Union, other than they were only called “Peach Union” in America (“Peach” everywhere else).

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K-Chuck Radio: Father’s Day Funk

On today’s edition of K-Chuck Radio, I’m going to provide you with a soundtrack of the nastiest, grittiest, funk tracks ever.  This is some rare funky stuff, the kind of tracks that cost lots of money on the vintage 45 RPM market.  But they’re worth every funky penny.  And if you have a special paternal member who deserves something more than a tie and a T-shirt and barbecue grill apron, two of three which would read “World’s Greatest Dad,” play him this soundtrack of funky music.  Heck, some of these sounds are so funky, he might call your mom into the bedroom and … well, nine months later, you could have a little brother or sister to help you plan future Father’s Day events.

Let’s start off with…

LARRY ELLIS AND THE BLACK HAMMER
Funky Thing (Pts. 1 and 2)

If you’ve ever heard Jay-Z’s song “Success,” that track features samples from this nasty groove.  Oh, and just a side note – this track was pressed on Al King Records, a subsidiary of Playboy Enterprises.  Yes, THAT Playboy.  So somewhere there’s a 70’s porn film with this being played during one of the “scenes,” I bet cha.

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K-Chuck Radio: The Mystery of Blueberry Hill

You’ve heard this song thousands of times, it’s a classic on oldies radio.  Heck, if you’ve watched Happy Days more than once, you’ve heard Richie Cunningham croon the opening stanza as a reference to him possibly getting lucky with a girl.

Yep, it’s the Fats Domino classic “Blueberry Hill.”  The minute you saw my blog headline, you already had that strolling piano riff in your head, didn’t you?  Admit it.  You did.  It’s okay, there’s no shame in that.

But what if I told you that the version of “Blueberry Hill” that you know and love … wasn’t the original recording?  And that if you THINK you’ve gotten the original recording … you may be fooled there as well?

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