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Quick Spins

We Grow Up

From Big Stir Records;

“Surprise Benefit Single Announcement! BIG STIR RECORDS is proud to assist THE WELL WISHERS and Jeff Shelton in offering a special benefit single benefitting Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Response Fund. “We Grow Up” is a brand new track with all proceeds going to the fund, and it’s out now at www.bigstirrecords.com/big-stir-digital-singles for $1 or any additional donated price you care to set. WELL WISHERS mastermind Shelton says of the track:

Written and recorded during the second week of California’s “Stay In Place” mandate as a response to the 2020 Coronavirus Crisis, the driving force behind “We Grow Up” was reflection, hope, family, and charity…all bolstered by a four-minute blast of uplifting power pop melodicism.

Most importantly, all proceeds from this charity single will be donated to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Response Fund. This fund focuses specifically on supporting nonprofit organizations working directly to respond to the pandemic among the most vulnerable populations in order to help build their capacity for response.
disasterphilanthropy.org/cdp-fu…/cdp-covid-19-response-fund/

Please give as much or as little as you can. Enjoy the music.
Spread the word. Help where you can.”

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Comics

Just Say Uncle

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Video of The Day

California Sun

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Video of The Day

Pop! Goes My Heart

This week, we’re paying tribute to songwriter Adam Schlesinger, who just passed away. Here at Pop-A-Looza HQ, we’ve always been partial to this track, written for the Hugh Grant film, Music & Lyrics.

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Double Take

Patric Knowles & Erol Flynn

Knowles (L) and Flynn (R)

Golden-era actor Patric Knowles had more than a passing resemblance to Warner Bros. Studio star Erol Flynn. The two were friends in real life, and made four films together; Charge Of The Light Brigade in 1936, and Robin Hood, Four’s A Crowd and The Sisters, all in 1938. 

While he was probably often thought of as Warner’s  B-movie Erol Flynn, he starred in numerous A-list movies, alongside Bette Davis, Abbott & Costello, William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Lucille Ball, to name a few. 

Knowles (L), Olivia De Havilland and Flynn (R)
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Boppin'

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE: THAT THING YOU DO!

An infinite number of songs can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Today, THIS is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

HE WONDERS: That Thing You Do!
Written by Adam Schlesinger (possibly with Mike Viola)
Produced by Adam Schlesinger and Mike Viola
From the soundtrack album That Thing You Do!, Play-Tone/Epic Records, 1996

Singer, songwriter, musician, and producer Adam Schlesinger was born on October 31st of 1967. He was too young to really remember the 1960s, on the scene too late to experience Beatlemania, the British Invasion, the debut of The Monkees, the effervescent zeitgeist of a pop music revolution that encompassed MotownThe Dave Clark FivePaul Revere and the RaidersLesley GoreThe Knickerbockers, girl groups, surf groups, and James Brown on The TAMI Show. He did not grow up watching Shindig! and Hullabaloo on TV, he would have only seen Batman and Star Trek in syndicated reruns. He wasn’t yet two years old when Neil Armstrong declared one small step for a man was one giant leap for mankind. He lived the first years of his life in the ’60s, but he could not possibly have retained any substantive memories of that defining decade.

And yet….

Somehow, Adam Schlesinger served the best pop legacies of the ’60s with greater grace and verve than anyone else you could name. He did it the only way a creative soul knows how to do it: instinctively, intuitively. Artfully. He didn’t experience the wonders of the ’60s first-hand. But when one of his projects called for it, he could conjure an effective flash of period verisimilitude untainted by mere nostalgia or bloodless hucksterism. It was just that thing he did.

All of the above kinda side-steps what most would consider Schlesinger’s greater body of work, with his groups Ivy and Fountains Of Wayne, and also the bulk of his voluminous film and television songwriting and production credits, from There’s Something About Mary through Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I can’t even apologize for my tunnel-vision in that regard. Because Schlesinger was essential to two ’60s-related gems that have meant the world to me. In 2016, he produced The Monkees’ triumphant Good Times! album, a highlight in an otherwise-miserable year. a year that robbed us of Prince and David Bowie (among others) and exchanged them all for the awful reality of a President-Elect Trump. And in 1996, he channeled everything I loved about the ’60s into a magic, frothy concoction that served as the title theme for my favorite movie, That Thing You Do!

Well I have heard your record, Guy, and I like it. I like it a lot. “That Thing You Do!” You know, it’s…snappy!
Actor Tom Hanks made his directorial debut with this light-hearted little romantic comedy about The Wonders (formerly The One-ders), an unknown Erie, PA rock ‘n’ roll group that manages to score a big hit single in 1964. These fictional one-hit Wonders are a quartet of archetypes–the talent, the fool, the smart one, and the bass player–but the film executes the difficult task of making them seem plausible, real. There’s a scene when the members of The Wonders all hear their song “That Thing You Do!” on the radio for the first time, and that scene precisely nails the giddy rush of rockin’ pop music better than any other slip of celluloid I’ve ever seen. Yeah yeah yeah, even better than the entirety of A Hard Day’s Night, which had been my all-time favorite film right up until that night at a movie theater in Cicero, NY in 1996, when my eyes and ears opened wide with glee at Hollywood’s best-ever love letter to rock ‘n’ roll music.

And none of it would have or could have worked without the perfect song.

Mike Viola & Adam Schlesinger

Adam Schlesinger provided that perfect song. Mike Viola of The Candy Butchers co-produced and sang lead; some say Viola also co-wrote the song, but declined to take a songwriting credit. The combined talents of Schlesinger and Viola crafted a stunning confection that steers clear of the quagmire of pastiche or parody, and captures the essence of fab and gear radio-ready 1964. 

Schlesinger’s legacy is greater than one perfect song he built for a movie, and more than a fantastic album he made with the surviving members of The Monkees. I’ll let my many eloquent friends in the pop music community speak on behalf of Fountains Of Wayne, of Ivy, of Tinted Windows, and I’ve already heard testimonials to Schlesinger from many who met him, many who worked with him, many who feel this sudden loss as we all hear and try to process the awful news that Schlesinger has passed from complications related to goddamned COVID-19. Adam Schlesinger was 52 years old, too young to have remembered the ’60s. Too young to be eulogized. Too young, for God’s sake. Too young. 

Our sense of loss as fans pales beside the losses of his family and friends, his children. We can only reflect upon what his music meant to us, and mourn from afar.

I mourn with something snappy, something I heard in a movie more than two decades ago, a movie which took place within a cherished era three decades before that. Adam Schlesinger couldn’t have remembered that era. But he captured it. And I’ll always remember him for that thing he did. Rest in peace, Spartacus.

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Comics

Just Say Uncle

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Uncategorized

Welcome!

Greetings to our new friends in The Netherlands and The United States! Thanks for dropping by, we hope you have fun!

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Uncategorized

Welcome!

A big welcome to our new readers in Spain, Russia, France & Sweden! We’re glad you’re here and hope we offer a diversion from the negative aspects of the world we know.

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Video of The Day

Remembering Adam Schlesinger