Monday, September 8, 2014


Yep, it’s another lyric challenge.  Do you know the name of the song and the performer who sang it simply by reading some of the lyrics?  That is the question.  Atually it’s 5 questions, so if you’re a sing-alonger (yes I know that isn’t a real word, but it is now!) with songs in your car, then this should be a breeze.  All of the questions below pertain to songs that were in the Top Ten on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart during the week of September 8th, 1984.

1.  This female singer was on the comeback trail with this song.  Some of the lyrics are: “You must understand.  That the touch of your hand.  Makes my pulse react.  That it’s only the thrill.  Of boy meeting girl.  Opposites attract.”  This song was # 1 for three weeks in September of ’84.  What’s the name of this song and which ‘private dancer’ sang it?  
2.  The lyrics for this movie theme song weren’t all that scary, except for the man who wrote and sang it.  I’ll explain all that in the answer below.  Meantime, a short snippet of the lyrics are: “If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood.  Who ya gonna call?”  OK, if you can’t figure out the song title from that, you must have been afraid for the past 30 years?  The movie starred Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis.  So who are you gonna call?  Answer please.                     
3.  A portion of the lyrics for this September 1984 Top 10 hit are:  “I’ve got this feeling.  Deep down in my soul.  That I just can’t lose.  Guess I’m on my way.  Needed a friend.  And the way I feel now, I guess.  I’ll be with you till the end.”  The performer was the  former lead singer of one of Motown’s most successful groups from the 1970’s and ‘80’s before embarking on a smash solo career.  What’s the song and who “Truly” (HINT ALERT) wrote and sang it?               

4.  This one might be a tad tougher.  The opening lyrics are: “Everytime I think of you, I always catch my breath.  And I’m still standing here, and you’re miles away.  And I’m wonderin’ why you left.  And there’s a storm that’s raging through my frozen heart tonight.”  Who’s the singer and what’s the name of this song?  You won’t have to Waite (HINT ALERT) long for the answer if you don’t know it. 
5.  A Canadian singer/songwriter from Montreal had the # 9 song the week of September 8th, 1984.  A portion of the lyrics to his song are:  “Don’t switch the blade on the guy in shades; oh no.  Don’t masquerade with the guy in shades (oh no, I can’t believe it).  You got it made with the guy in shades, oh no.”  So search your Hart (HINT ALERT) and guess the name of this singer/songwriter and his 1984 Top Ten hit.  


1.  Tina Turner had the # 1 song for the week of September 8th, 1984 with her hit “What’s Love Got To Do With It”.  It was her very first # 1 EVER.  “Proud Mary” recorded as Ike & Tina Turner was the closest she’d come before that.  That one made it to # 4 in 1971.  “What’s Love Got To Do With It” was from her 1984 ‘comeback’ album “Private Dancer”, which also produced two other hits, “Better Be Good To Me” climbed to # 5 and the title song, “Private Dancer” peaked at # 7 in March of 1985.  Tina hit the Top Ten again three more times.  “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)” went to # 2 in September of ’85; “Typical Male” also made # 2 in October of ’86.  Tina’s last Top Ten hit, “I Don’t Wanna Fight” peaked at # 9 in August 1993.                           

2.  “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. had been the # 1 song for three weeks in August of ’84, but by September 8th, it had dropped to # 4.  Ray got into a bit of trouble with that song.  It seems the producer of the film was using temporary songs while editing “Ghostbusters” (the original score hadn’t been written yet) and rather liked “I Want A New Drug” by Huey Lewis & The News.  Ray Parker Jr.’s theme song for “Ghostbusters” was a little too close to “I Want A New Drug’ for Huey Lewis, so who’d Huey call?  His lawyer, naturally!  Huey Lewis sued and won an undisclosed settlement.  Ghostbusters” was the only # 1 Ray Parker Jr. ever had, although he had hit the Top Ten singles chart four previous times. 
3.  It was Lionel Ritchie who wrote and sang 1984’s “Stuck On You” (not to be confused with the 1960 Elvis Presley # 1 hit that used the same title.  It was a totally different song).  For the week of September 8th, “Stuck On You” was at # 5, but the previous week, September 1st, it had reached its peak at # 3.  Prior to “Stuck On You”, Lionel had had four  # 1’s – “Endless Love” a duet with Diana Ross in 1981, “Truly in ’82, 1983’s “All Night Long (All Night)” and a few months before “Stuck On You”, “Hello” hit # 1.  In ’85, Lionel was once again at the top of the singles chart with “Say You, Say Me”.      
4.  “Missing You” by John Waite would go on to become a # 1 hit during the week of September 22nd, but two weeks earlier, it was still climbing at # 2.  Although Waite charted 10 singles on Billboards’ Hot 100, “Missing You” was his only # 1 and in fact, his only Top Ten hit.  Prior to his solo career, Waite had been the lead singer for The Babys and Bad English.

5.  The week of September 8th, 1984 was the final week for Cory Hart and his first Billboard charted hit, “Sunglasses At Night”, which peaked at # 7.  Although Cory charted 11 songs on Billboards’ Hot 100, only one other song, 1985’s “Never Surrender”, cracked the Top Ten, climbing to # 3 in 1985.  Earlier this year, Corey hung up his vocal chords with a final concert in his hometown of Montreal.            

Thursday, August 28, 2014


The annual Emmy Awards were televised recently.  Congrats to “Breaking Bad” for winning the ‘Drama Series’ Emmy.  “Breaking Bad” stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn won in their respective categories of ‘Actor, Drama Series’, ‘Supporting Actor, Drama Series’ and ‘Supporting Actress, Drama Series’.  Jim Parsons won ‘Actor, Comedy Series’ for a fourth time in his role as Sheldon Cooper on “Big Bang Theory”.  
The four major awards that many performers aspire to are collectively known as ETOG which stands for Emmy (television), Tony (Broadway), Oscar (film) and Grammy (music).  Very few performers win all four...many have won three.  So that’s what our quiz is about this time.  Singers, actors and songwriters who’ve won either three of four of these prestigious awards.  You just have to figure out who they are.  And the ETOG award goes to.....

1.  This songwriter has his ETOG scorecard filled.  He’s won all four major show business awards.  He tasted success initially with a Top 20 hit he wrote that Lesley “It’s My Party” Gore recorded in 1965.  He later became an in demand composer for movies (“The Sting”) and for the Broadway stage.  He’s actually won multiple Emmy and Academy Awards.  He’s closely associated with Barbra Streisand and wrote several hit songs for her.  Can you name him?
2.  This British singer/songwriter is only missing an Emmy award.  He has the other three.  His musical success started in the late 1960’s and has continued into every decade since.  He’s sold more than 250 albums worldwide and racked up ten #1 hits.  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.  He’s the ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Honky Cat’ who won’t ever go breaking your heart.  Who is he?               
3.  She started her career as a back-up singer for producer Phil Spector, then teamed up with her future husband for hit records, a successful weekly TV show and a couple of not-so-hot movies.  After they divorced, her acting career really took off, plus she had a slew of hit solo records (including four # 1’s).  She still tours, despite a ‘Farewell Tour’ several years ago.  She has three of the four ETOG awards.  Who is this one-name performer?             

4.  This songwriter has dozens of # 1 songs to his credit.  His early work includes a half dozen hits with Dionne Warwick.  Other artists who’ve had Top 10 hits with his songs include Dusty Springfield, Gene Pitney, Carpenters, B.J. Thomas, Neil Diamond, Christopher Cross, Bobby Vinton, Tom Jones, Jackie DeShannon Herb Alpert and The Shirelles.  The Beatles even recorded one of his songs on their debut album.  He branched out into film work and composing for Broadway.  He won 2 Tony Awards and a Grammy for one of those plays that he scored as well as three Academy Award, but no Emmy.  He’s made cameo appearances in all three “Austin Powers” movies.  Can you name this composer?                        
5.  This award winning composer/singer loves LA.  And well he should.  His family has been in the film composing business for generations.  In 1978, he had a hit single that caused a ‘short’ (HINT ALERT) bit of controversy.  His film scoring includes “Toy Story I, II & III”, “Ragtime”, “A Bug’s Life”, “Seabiscuit”, “Monsters Inc.” and “Monsters University” among many others.  He’s been nominated for Academy Awards twenty times and has two ‘Best Song’ Oscar statues (2002 and 2011).  He also has three Emmy’s and six Grammy’s.  So who is this guy?                                                                


1.  The late Marvin Hamlish won four Emmy awards, a Tony, three Oscars and four Grammy awards– the quadruple crown of show biz awards.  The Tony was for his score to “A Chorus Line” (for which he also won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama).  Marvin composed the scores to 40 films that included his three Oscar wins (all in 1973) for “The Way We Were” (‘Best Original Dramatic Score plus ‘Best Original Song’) and “The Sting” (‘Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation’).  He won his first Grammy Award in 1973 for ‘Album of Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special’ for “The Way We Were”.  In ’74, he won three times – ‘Best New Artist’ along with ‘Best Pop Instrumental Performance’ for “The Entertainer” from “The Sting” and ‘Song Of The Year’ for “The Way We Were”.  Marvin Hamlish passed away on August 6, 2012.  Oh yeah, that Lesley Gore hit he wrote was 1965’s “Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows”.                   

2.  Elton John has won 3 of the 4 biggest awards – an Oscar, a Tony and a six pack of Grammy Awards (plus many others).  The only one to elude him, thus far, is an Emmy.  His first # 1 hit single was 1973’s “Crocodile Rock” and his latest was “Candle In The Wind 1997”, a tribute to Princess Diana that Elton sang at her funeral in Westminster Abbey in London.  He’s charted over 80 hits on Billboards’ Hot 100 and has 5 Grammy Awards plus a 2001 Grammy Legend Award.  His ‘Best Original Song’ Oscar (1995) came courtesy of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” from the Disney motion picture, “The Lion King”, a collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice.  The Tony Award in 2000 for ‘Best Original Musical Score’, also a collaboration with Tim Rice, was for the Broadway play “Aida”.                
3.  Cher also has three out of 4 ETOG awards on her fireplace mantle (since I’ve never been to Cher’s house, I don’t actually know if she even has a fireplace, let alone a mantle).  Her only missing award is a Tony.  Of course, she already had a Sonny, but that’s a whole different story.  Her 1988 ‘Best Actress In A Leading Role’ Academy Award was for her role in “Moonstruck”.  Cher’s Emmy in 2003 was for ‘Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special’ for “Cher: The Farewell Tour”.  In 2004, Cher won a ‘Best Dance Recording’ Grammy award for the song “Believe”.  She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that she shares with former husband and singing partner Sonny Bono.  Cher’s D2K (“Dressed To Kill”) tour starts in September with her only Canadian date (so far) in Toronto on October 4th.

4.  If we celebrated Burt Bacharach for his amazing musical talents, then we’d all be humming melodies.  We can never forget the role that lyricist Hal David played in the Burt Bacharach success story.  Burt won two Academy Awards in 1969 for Hal David and his work on “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid”.  “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” won ‘Best Song’ and Burt also won for ‘Best Original Score For A Motion Picture’.  Burt’s third Oscar was in 1981 for ‘Best Song’ for “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)”.  He has eight Grammy Awards, including ‘The Trustees Award’ (with Hal David) and a ‘Lifetime Achievement’.  His two Tony awards (and one Grammy) were for a collaboration with playwright/author/screenwriter Neil Simon on the Broadway hit “Promises, Promises”.  Burt was married to actress Angie Dickinson from 1966 until 1980 then in 1982, he wed fellow songwriter Carol Bayer Sager.

5.  Randy Newman first arrived on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late 1977 with his controversial hit, “Short People”, which climbed to # 2 in ’78 and featured two of The Eagles (Glenn Frey and Timothy B. Schmit) on backing vocals.  While his chart success has been spotty, his career as a film/television composer has been spectacular.  His three Emmy Awards are for ‘Achievement In Music and Lyrics’ for the short lived series “Cop Rock” (1991), ‘Main Title Theme Music” and ‘Original Music and Lyrics’ for the long running TV series “Monk” (2004/2010).  Randy’s six Grammy Awards include ‘Best Score Soundtrack Album’ for “Toy Story 3” in 2011.  His two ‘Best Original Song’ Oscar wins are for 2002’s “If I Didn’t Have You” from “Monsters, Inc” and 2011’s “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”.  Randy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.  He has three uncles who were all successful film composers, Lionel Newman, Emil Newman and Alfred Newman.  Several of his cousins also compose music for film.    

Monday, August 18, 2014


“Glee” is probably the most successful of the current television programs where the actors sing and have hits on the charts.  Miley Cyrus, when she was in “Hannah Montana” on the Disney channel before she was naked on a wrecking ball, made the charts on a regular basis and continues too.  The Monkees did it in the mid 1960’s.  They were a combination of musicians (Mike Nesmith/Peter Tork) and singing actors (Mickey Dolenz/ Davy Jones).

In the late 1950’s and ‘60’s, it was commonplace for TV stars to also make records.  For example, Edd Byrnes appeared as Kookie on the ‘60’s TV series “77 Sunset Strip” as a hip, swingin’ parking lot attendant who was constantly combing his hair (over a decade before The Fonz).  Edd wasn’t much of a singer, but Warner Brothers Records got him to reprise his character of Kookie and teamed him with a young ingĂ©nue named Connie Stevens and in 1959, the duo took “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb” to # 4.  Shelley Fabares had her 4 charted hits, which included 1962’s “Johnny Angel”, her only # 1 while appearing as Mary Stone on “The Donna Reed Show” (1958-1966).  David Soul, aka Hutch on “Starsky & Hutch” had his only # 1 hit, “Don’t Give Up On Us” in 1977, during the height of Starsky & Hutchmania (although to be fair, Soul began his show biz career as a folk singer before becoming an actor).  In the 1980’s John Schneider was Bo Duke on “The Dukes of Hazzard” from 1979 until 1985.  While he was much more successful on the country charts, Schneider did chart four hits on Billboards’ Hot 100.  The biggest one, “It’s Now Or Never” made it to # 14 in 1981.  Of course, William Shatner aka Captain James T. Kirk on the original “Star Trek” series (1966-1969) famously recorded his own ‘unique’ version of The Beatles “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, which has to be heard to be believed.  So, our quiz this time is to see how many TV stars also had hit records during their TV stardom years.  Ready, set...go!   


1.  This former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio newsreader followed his dream to become a successful actor.  His first hit TV series in which he played the patriarch with three sons in the old west for nearly 15 years.  He later starred in movies such as “Earthquake” plus an additional TV series, where he played the commander of a band of rag-tag space nomads searching for earth, aired for one season (1978-1980).  His # 1 hit on Billboards’ Hot 100 happened in 1964, right in the heart of the British Invasion with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.  In fact, one of The Beatles’ names (nickname actually) is the same as this TV stars # 1 hit.  Who is this guy?                                
2.  He was the most successful of TV’s Sweathogs.  He played a leather jacketed ‘bad boy’ in “Grease”, a long haired killer in “Pulp Fiction” and later wore a dress in “Hairspray”.  His first hit came in 1976 at the height of his TV fame.  I’ve practically given this one away, so who is he already?              
3.  This young female actor/singer has co-starred in two TV series in the past 5 years -   “Victorious” and more recently, “Sam and Cat” for Nickelodeon.  Both series were geared to pre-teens and teens.  She has more than 17 MILLION Twitter followers and she’s scheduled to open the 2014 MTV Video awards.  She considers herself more a singer than actress.  This past weekend, three of her songs were in the iTunes Top Ten.  Her brother Frankie is currently one of the houseguests on the 16th annual reality summer series “Big Brother”.  She’s a ‘grand’ performer with a very bright future.  Who is she?                   

4.  This comedic duo co-starred in an ensemble sketch comedy program produced in Canada.  Over the course of this series, it grew from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, then when NBC picked it up in the U.S., it became 90 minutes long.  For one of the sketches, these two writer/performers played a pair of stereotypical Canadians, wearing touques, drinking beer and cooking back bacon (aka Canadian bacon).  These sketches were improvised to add a distinctive ‘Canadian flavour’ to the program.  The duo became so popular that an album was recorded, which went to # 1 in Canada and # 8 in the U.S. in 1982.  A hit single, “Take Off” came from the album and that climbed to # 16 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart (it did much better in Canada).  Do you know the names of these two ‘hosers’, eh?                    
5.  This actor/singer grew up on television basically playing himself in a TV sitcom for over a decade.  His first chart hit came in 1959 and his last in 1973.  He was one of the first music ‘teen idols’ after Elvis.  He shortened his name by one letter to change his image with a new musical style which was slightly country.  Do you know who this ‘Travelin’ Man” is?                                                      


1.  That would be Lorne Greene aka Pa Cartwright from “Bonanza” and Commander Adama in “Battlestar Galactica”.  During WWII, Lorne was a CBC radio newsreader whose nickname was ‘The Voice of Doom’.  Lorne left Canada for New York, then Los Angeles where he was eventually cast as Ben Cartwight on “Bonanza”.  That series ran from 1959 until 1973.  Lorne’s second TV series was “Griff” (he played Wade Griffin) from 1973 to 1975.  He also co-starred in “Code Red” (1981-82).  “Lorne Greene’s New Wilderness” was a long running nature series Lorne hosted that aired all over the world.  Lorne Greene died at the age of 72 on September 11, 1987.  Lorne recorded several albums, but his only # 1 single, “Ringo” hit the top of the charts for the week of December 5, 1964.           

2.  John Travolta was starring in the hit TV series “Welcome Back, Kotter” (1975-1979) when he first hit the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with “Let Her In” in ‘76.  That song made it to # 10.  Two years later, when John co-starred with Olivia Newton-John in “Grease”, the duo had a # 1 smash with “You’re The One That I Want”.  “Summer Nights”, another hit from “Grease”, climbed to # 5 the same year.  “Welcome Back, Kotter” co-star Gabe Kaplan had a very minor hit (# 91) in 1977 with the novelty record “Up Your Nose”.      
3.  Ariana Grande is the correct answer.  Arianna co-starred in the Disney Channel’s “Victorious” from 2010 to 2014, then most recently on “Sam and Cat” for the 2013-2014 season.  That series ended its run earlier this year.  Her first album, “Yours Truly” debuted at # 1 on Billboard Magazine’s album chart and the single, “The Way” was certified double platinum.  On Monday August 25th, the day after the MTV awards, Ariana’s second album, “My Everything” will be released.           
4.  Comedians Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas aka Bob and Doug McKenzie saw their debut album “Great White North” go platinum.  Their SCTV popularity also spawned a movie called “Strange Brew”.  Dave Thomas went on to star in other TV series and movies as did Rick Moranis, who’s biggest successes were “Ghostbusters 1 & 2” and “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids” series.  Moranis and Thomas most recently reprised their Bob and Doug McKenzie characters for a 2009 animated series for Global television. 

5.  TV star turned rock star Ricky Nelson first charted in 1959 with the double sided hit “A Teenager’s Romance” and “I’m Walking” while appearing as himself on his family’s hit TV series “The Adventures of Ozzie And Harriet” that aired from 1952 until 1966.  In fact Ricky (he dropped the ‘y’ a few years later to become Rick Nelson) grew up on that TV show.  In total Ricky/Rick Nelson charted over 50 songs on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart which included 18 Top Tens and two # 1’s – “Poor Little Fool” in 1958 and “Travelin’ Man” in 1961.  The flip side of “Travelin’ Man” is probably Ricky Nelson’s best known song, “Hello Mary Lou”.  As Rick Nelson, his most successful single was “Garden Party”, a # 6 hit in 1972.  Rick Nelson died in a plane crash in 1985 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years later.