What’s Not On Your iPod?

What’s not on your iPod?

My friend Dave Murray has posed this question a few times. It would be a good subject for a poll of music fans, a chance to explore what seemingly essential artists one would elect personally to just skip entirely. I’d think the discussion should be limited to the plausible; you wouldn’t expect a 58-year-old rockin’ pop fan like me to have much–if any–current Top 40, country, metal, or hip hop in my listening queue, so that’s not what we’re talking about. It’s also not about an iPod specifically, nor any other portable music player. It can be about the music in your head, the stuff you’d listen to when you call the shots and you make the playlist. For the sake of expedience, let’s call that your iPod.

So. What’s not on your iPod?

Dave and I have bounced the question back and forth for a good long time. For me, a lot of my expected pop bogeymen are on my iPod. I’ve got Bob Seger (I like “Get Out Of Denver,” “Heavy Music,” and “Hollywood Nights”). I’ve got The Eagles (“Take It Easy” and “Already Gone”). I’ve got Styx (I love both “Lorelei” and “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye”). I even have the hated REO Speedwagon (“Tough Guys”). I don’t have a lot of Dylan or Springsteen, but they’re there. The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd, too. Amidst my preferred mix of BeatlesKinksRamonesFlashcubesMonkeesChuck Berry, power pop, Motown, British Invasion, soul, bubblegum, surf, punk…well, it’s all part of my preferred mix, up to and including Phil OchsPercy Faith,and Grandmaster Flash. It’s all pop music, anyway.

What’s not on my iPod? Well….

As I was listening to the radio the other day, the local airwaves reminded me of a popular classic rock act whose music always prompts me to change the station, every time. And that act is Lynyrd Skynyrd.

It’s not that I hate Lynyrd Skynyrd. Lynyrd Skynyrd is in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and it’s a group that deserves to be in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I’m not hostile. I’m not exactly indifferent, but it’s music that I just don’t care to listen to. Ever. I understand its appeal. The audience for that appeal does not appeal to me.

There are, of course, many other acts whose records are likewise alien to the rich ‘n’ fertile playground of my iPod. There’s no Frank Sinatra or Stevie Ray Vaughan. There’s no Van Halen, though it’s theoretically possible I would consider adding “Dance The Night Away” or “Runnin’ With The Devil” someday. There’s for damned sure no Dave Matthews Band; that one’s probably a given. And I’d take a truncheon to the damned thing if it tried to play Kid Rock, whom I loathe. But, among worthy acts that just ain’t my cuppa, Lynyrd Skynyrd tops the list of what’s not on my iPod. Turn it up? Turn it off. Your iPod may vary. What’s not on your iPod?

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Pop-A-Looza TV

Nancy Sinatra / These Boots Are Made For Walkin’

Nancy Sinatra appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1966, to promote her Reprise Records’ single, These Boots Are Made For Walkin’. From the Lp, Boots, it would become her signature song.

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE: Walk Like A Man

This was prepared as a chapter for my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1), but is not in that book’s current blueprint. That could change, but for now, here ’tis.

THE FOUR SEASONS: Walk Like A Man

Written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

Produced by Bob Crewe

Single, Vee-Jay Records, 1963

I’m just old enough to remember hearing the Four Seasons on pre-Beatles radio in the early ’60s. That high voice of Frankie Valli calling dogs to dinner on “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” was distinctive, but I never had much interest in the group. In my senior year of college, one of my suitemates was a Four Seasons fan, and he couldn’t understand why I thought they were so uncool.


But that’s what I thought. Clunky. Uncool. In later years, I developed an awareness of the sheer craft of those records, but at the time of my late ’70s immersion in the righteously rockin’ noise of punk, new wave, power pop, and rock ‘n’ roll, when my heightened affection for the ’60s meant an adoration of British Invasion, garage, and the Monkees, the Four Seasons simply were not part of my preferred soundscape. They were, to me, too obviously old school, more Frank Sinatra than Rolling Stones. I didn’t hate them. 

But I didn’t like them, either.

You wanna hear a weird turning point? There was this 1993 movie called Heart And Souls, an inconsequential trifle starring Robert Downey Jr.Charles GrodinAlfre Woodard, and a cast of dozens. I barely remember seeing the movie, but I remember its use of the Four Seasons’ “Walk Like A Man,” and I remember digging the song for the first time…ever? Could be. I can’t explain what or why, but I’ve been into the song since that evening at the cinema.

I’m probably not ever going to be the world’s biggest Four Seasons fan. I don’t care about cool or uncool–I dig what I dig–but I also can’t pretend that I like something more than I do. And I have no affinity whatsoever for Valli and/or the Seasons’ work in the ’70s and beyond; I’d be perfectly okay with never hearing “Who Loves You,” “Swearin’ To God,” “My Eyes Adored You,” “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night),” or “Grease” again. 

But.

I can appreciate some of the ’60s stuff now. “Workin’ My Way Back To You.” “Let’s Hang On!” “Big Man In Town.” “Rag Doll.” A relative obscurity called “Let’s Ride Again.” Valli’s original version of “Silence Is Golden,” though I do still prefer the Tremeloes‘ hit cover. These are terrific records, a statement of the obvious that I would not have conceded when I was in my teens or twenties. “Walk Like A Man” is freakin’ superb. Hell, I might even consider seeing Jersey Boys. No rush. We’re walkin’ here.

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This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

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Categories
Pop-A-Looza TV

Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra / White Christmas

Categories
Birthdays

Frank Sinatra

Born on this day in 1915, in Hoboken, New Jersey, singer and actor Frank Sinatra. Sinatra had hit records for decades, and won an Oscar for his part in From Here To Eternity.

Categories
Pop-A-Looza TV

Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra / White Christmas

Categories
Birthdays

Tommy Dorsey

Born on this day in 1905, in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, musician and band leader, Tommy Dorsey. Dorsey’s orchestra worked with Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, Dick Haymes, and many others.

Categories
Birthdays

Gloria DeHaven

Born on this day in 1953, in Los Angeles, California, actress Gloria DeHaven. DeHaven appeared with Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times (1936), with Frank Sinatra in Step Lively (1944), and opposite Myrna Loy and William Powell in The Thin Man Goes Home (1944).

Categories
Birthdays

Nancy Sinatra

Born on this day in 1940, in Jersey City, New Jersey, Nancy Sinatra. Her hit records include her signature hit, “These Boots Were Made For Walkin’“,”You Only Live Twice” and “Somethin’ Stupid,” a duet with her father, Frank Sinatra. She also starred in films opposite Elvis Presley and Peter Fonda.

Categories
Birthdays

Dean Martin

Born on this day in 1917, in Steubenville, Ohio, Dean Martin. Martin was a revered all-around entertainer, conquering stage, screen, television and music. Known as a member of The Rat Pack, Martin had two successful TV series, The Dean Martin Show and Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. He also starred alongside buddies Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. in the memorable Ocean’s 11. His hit songs include “That’s Amore” and “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.”