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Author Frank Mastropolo

Whether you watch an actual TV or subscribe to one or more streaming platforms, the concept of “television commercials” remains a huge part of consuming entertainment — and more than a few classic songs have turned up in them in recent years …  “A lot of weird ads. Sally Struthers with that little kid: ‘Just 55 cents, the price of a cup of coffee, feeds this kid and his family for a week.’ Yeah, where is that? ‘Cause I wanna move there.” – Robert Schimmel “Magic” by Pilot (Ozempic) Scottish band Pilot reached No. 5 in 1975 with “Magic,” written…

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“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.” — George Carlin “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney Paul McCartney played every instrument on 1979’s “Wonderful Christmastime” including the synthesizer that created all of its echoey chord progressions. It was McCartney’s first solo effort after Wings’ final LP, 1979’s Back to the Egg. The band took part in the song’s video and performed it during Wings’ UK tour in late 1979. “The line between what Paul was doing solo and the band was not hard and fast,” recalled guitarist Laurence Juber in Medium.…

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This month, enjoy a curated list of some of the most noteworthy “telephone songs” ever recorded — that is, songs all about the phone and our communal relationship with it! “A telephone survey says that 51 percent of college students drink until they pass out at least once a month. The other 49 percent didn’t answer the phone.” – Craig Kilborn “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone One-hit wonders Tommy Tutone scored a No. 4 hit in 1982 with “867-5309/Jenny,” a song that prompted thousands of crank calls to folks unlucky enough to have that number. The tune was written by Alex…

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This latest Top 11 takes a look at some of the best songs recorded by rock and rock/pop duos over the years.  “Tis the only comfort of the miserable to have partners in their woes.” – Miguel de Cervantes “One Toke Over the Line” by Brewer & Shipley During the Nixon administration, Vice President Spiro Agnew called Brewer & Shipley’s “One Toke Over the Line” “blatant drug-culture propaganda” when it was released. He was probably right, but the controversy helped the tune reach the Top 10 in 1971. In 2012 Michael Brewer told Rock Cellar how he came to write “One…

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Below, enjoy a selection of some of the most notable songs about music ever recorded — though there are countless more out there, of course! “I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means ‘put down.'” – Bob Newhart “Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney and Wings The title song of Paul McCartney and Wings’ 1973 album, “Band on the Run” became a No. 1 hit in 1974. The song has three distinct musical styles and has become one of Wings’ signature tunes. McCartney…

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This month’s Top 11 is a list of some of the most noteworthy songs recorded by bands or artists with animal names.  “Animals may be our friends, but they won’t pick you up at the airport.” – Bobcat Goldthwait “Small Town” by John Cougar Mellencamp When John Mellencamp had a Top 10 hit in 1985 with “Small Town,” he was known as John Cougar Mellencamp. It was an improvement; Tony DeFries of MainMan Management gave the singer-songwriter the stage name Johnny Cougar early in Mellencamp’s career. “That was put on me by some manager,” Mellencamp told American Songwriter “I went…

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“My wife met me at the door the other night in a sexy negligee. Unfortunately, she was just coming home.” – Rodney Dangerfield “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins Following his departure from Genesis, Phil Collins released his first solo album, Face Value, in 1981. Its single was “In the Air Tonight,” which became a Top 20 hit. “This song has become a stone around my neck, though I do love it,” Collins told Rolling Stone.  “I wrote it after my wife left me. Genesis had done a tour that was far too long. She said to me, ‘We…

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“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” – George Burns “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 tune “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was the first a cappella song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. McFerrin first spotted the simple philosophy on a poster of Indian guru Meher Baba. “I would do it in clubs, it wasn’t finished, I didn’t have all the lyrics and stuff figured out but I would just sing the refrain and just improvise, playing with it a little bit,” McFerrin told Vancouver’s CityNews 1130.…

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“That rockabilly sound wasn’t as simple as I thought it was.” –Carl Perkins “Train Kept A-Rollin'” by Johnny Burnette, the Yardbirds and Jeff Beck and Steven Tyler “Train Kept A-Rollin'” was first released in 1951 as a jump blues composition by Tiny Bradshaw. The Johnny Burnette Trio made it a rockabilly hit in 1956. The tune featured one of the earliest examples of a distorted guitar solo. Guitarist Paul Burlison said he discovered the effect when a tube was dislodged after dropping his amplifier. The Yardbirds, with lead guitarist Jeff Beck, recorded their version in 1965. After Jimmy Page joined…

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“If I wasn’t Bob Dylan, I’d probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself.” — Bob Dylan “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” by the Wonder Who? Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” was written for girlfriend Suze Rotolo, who had left him to take an extended trip to Italy. The song was released on 1963’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, which shows the singer and Rotolo on the album cover. In 1965, the Four Seasons found themselves with “Let’s Hang On” high on the charts with “Working My Way Back to You” scheduled for release.…

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