Mar 28, 2015

Revenge Of The Secret Song: Shakyamuni Edition!

A Zen master once said to me, "Do the opposite of whatever I tell you." So I didn't.

The 1980's A-Go-Go Post With Ruth On Broadway, Demi & Rob, Plus Music From Your 80s House Party And A Mega-Banana Secret Song!

"Hold up," you're thinking as you look at the old-timey picture above, "I thought this was a 1980s-themed post. What gives?" Patience, grasshopper. See, we all know that Ruth Brown was an R&B diva who hit it big in the 40s and 50s, but did you know? She also scored big in the 80s. Yes, during your favorite tacky decade (which had the best high-tech games), Ruth was everywhere; on TV, of course, on Broadway and even in the movie "Hairspray." In her fantastic 1989 LP "Blues On Broadway," a Cheerfully Ruthie Exclusive!, she lets it rip in a series of ribald blues numbers. My favorite's "If I Can't Sell It, I'll Keep Sittin' On It," which is exactly what you think it's about (it was also a theme song, of sorts, for several of my lady neighbors in Hell's Kitchen in the early 80s) (but that's another story).

The 80s were so awesome in so any ways! We boycotted the Russian Olympics! Oh, hold on, that wasn't so great. Four-hundred people we're killed from Toxic Shock Syndrome! Oops, sorry, that was awful, too. So how's this? Cordless phones were a new thing, acting school was hot, Cookie was Alexis Carrington, people read shocking sex books, and teenagers screamed and screamed. Sure, we had an idiot as our President, but Demi Moore had real breasts. I'm serious.

Actually, pretty much everything about Demi was real in the 80s, including her body, and no, I'm not going to link to her Oui magazine photo spread, 'cause they would be tacky (of course I am), and, no, I'm not going to link to her later, "enhanced" appearance, either (how could I not?), because that would be wrong.

Now that we've discussed my lack of etiquette, it's time to celebrate Demi's 80s movie-supreme, "About Last Night," which featured both her and Rob Lowe in their prime (speaking of etiquette, here's a little equal-opportunity before and after). Remember when teen movies were rated "R?" And there were actual sex scenes? I know, right? No doubt you jammed to the movie's soundtrack. I did, too. Just look at all the primo 80s artists on the LP cover below (Sheena Easton! Jermaine Jackson!). I have to admit, though, that my favorite part of the movie was Elizabeth Perkin's spot-on portrayal of The Hateful Bitch Roommate. There wasn't a single ounce of sentiment or likability in her portrayal. And, God bless her, she hasn't stopped.

Of course, the 80s had its bummers, too, especially if you were a teenager. Below, watch this delightful (and real) home video from 1988. When the parents are away, Pretty-In-Pink-dressed 80s teens will play. House, party, ya'll! Then the parents come home. And. Ruin. Everything. Damn parents.


It's a wonder teens didn't rebel against their home towns for the right to dance 'n' stuff. Oh, wait. They did.

They sure had the moves back then. So stylin'!

You just know they practiced beforehand.

If you'd like to have your own 80s house party, you need tunes. Never fear. In this Cheerfully 80s Exclusive!, all your favorites are totally amped and bombdiggity (80s slang was the worst, wasn't it?). There's Tone-Loc's "Funky Cold Medina," Technotronic's "Pump Up The Jam," The Clash's "Rock The Casbah," plus more from David Bowie, Queen, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Erasure, Cameo, Whodini and many more.

All you have to do is spike the punch bowl with booze, whip out a bong or two and pass around your parents' quaaludes (do quaaludes even exist anymore?) (somebody's gotta have the recipe) - but remember, have a Parent Plan: a quick exit out the back porch door for your friends (have them take the punch bowl and the ashtrays), and a VHS tape of "The Shaggy D.A." to pop in the video player ('cause you're just innocently watching a movie, what's the big deal?). And for God's sake, paper cups only. Plus, once everyone's gone, don't forget to give a quick spritz of Renuzit Fresh-Cut Flowers air freshener. But above all, have fun!

When the Secret Song File thinks about the 80s, she thinks about a certain sexually-confused guy she used to date. And bananas. The guy's not confused anymore, but what about those bananas?

These bananas are special. They're from London, dont'cha know, and everyone loved them. They first hit it big in the US with a cover version of a Dutch band's original song (the title was the name of a terrestrial planet). They were so successful - a decade-long run at the top, at least - that many thought they had a hotline to heaven (*cough*). After all, who else but these bananas could keep Robert De Niro waiting (*cough*cough*)? And guess what? Just in time for this 80's-themed page, they've released a spanking-new 3-CD set with remixes of all their biggest hits. It's like the 1980s mated with the 2010s, birthed a DJ and cut an LP. If that sounds all kinds of wrong, it is, it is, it really-really is. You'll love it!

Venus, Adonis, Apollo, whatevs. We're all perfect to our moms.

If you leave a comment, be all 80s and pretend you're typing on this.

Mar 14, 2015

Anita in '75, Nancy & George Get Swingin', Plus Marlene & Burt And A Lazy Secret Song!

Feel the sizzle, yo! Anita in her dressing room. Seconds before her landmark Newport Jazz Festival performance. She hadn't yet decided on those white gloves. And she was flying on heroin. Wheeeeee! Years later, having finally kicked the habit, she wowed the jazz world with one of the most jaw-dropping comebacks they'd ever seen. It wasn't just that she survived, though that was part of it, but that she sounded better than ever.

In this fantastic set (a Go, Anita, Go! Cheerful Exclusive for you, your besties and anyone else you feel is deserving), she dives headlong into a wide range of songs from seven decades of jazz . With some, she expands their emotional content, with others, she reduces them to their barest rhythmic components, while several numbers, like "I Get A Kick Out Of You," seem the distillation of purest joy. It's a classic Anita performance and a must for Anita fans everywhere. Who says you can't kick the horse and still have fun?

Speaking of sizzle, let's consider the one and only Nancy Wilson. That smile. It's all about that smile. And the voice. Of course the voice. Did you know? They called her "Fancy Miss Nancy" back in the day because she's simply that divine.

Like many African-American songbirds, she was first noticed in her church choir. In her teen years, she appeared on Ohio's local TV show "Skyline Melodies" - and shortly after became its twice-weekly host (because of course she did). It wasn't long before New York and multiple recording contracts came calling, of course, and she went on to record in all genres, from jazz to blues to funk and everything in-between. She even had her own network TV show, "The Nancy Wilson Show" (because of course she did and who wouldn't want to watch?).

In 1962, she hooked up with jazz ace George Shearing. Classy meets classy, I'd say. This is that rare jazz pairing that gets better with each listening. There's something about Shearing's cool jazz xylophone and Nancy's icy-hot intonation that's just perfect. And, yes, this is a Fancy Nancy Cheerful Exclusive! and comes complete with bonus tracks.

Meanwhile, Marlene. Just Marlene.

Pictured above walking aimlessly in the desert for no good reason other than looking sublime, Marlene has a voice that I cannot defend on rational grounds. It's somewhere between a croak and a snarl, and yet, if ever there was a case where style wins over vocal substance, it's Marlene. She took what she had and worked it like no one's business, and just like Nancy and George, she met her match with Burt Bacharach, though for different reasons entirely. Here it's the sharp contrast between Marlene's smooth as glass, vampish delivery and the feathery good spirits of Burt's arrangements and tunes. Of course, where there's Marlene, there's drama. She was so smitten with Burt during their near decade-long professional run together that when he married Angie Dickinson, she had Dickinson voodoo dolls specially created in South Africa and stuck pins in them.

The Secret Song File was lounging around watching TV the other day and thinking about all sorts of things (shopping, poetry, murder), when she decided it was time to forgo the TV and listen to some spanking new tunes, preferably by an Aussie indie singer who enjoys sitting around (*cough*) as much as she does.

It's a lazy weekend, pedestrian, at best (*cough*cough*), which means that after listening to the CD, she'll yank out the slow cooker, toss a side of pork inside it - because who can be bothered to cook tonight? - and pet the kittykat. By the way, if you need a lesson in lazy, watch a kitty. They're experts.

Don't try anything ambitious like coloring your hair. Not today!

Loaf 'round in the comments, if you like!