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The Ultimate Hit Collection Spotify Playlists

Because I can’t get enough of Spotify playlists or of gathering things into lists, I have undertaken what I think you’ll agree is a great public service that combines those two loves. I am in the process of creating playlists — which I’ve helpfully dubbed “Ultimate Hit Collection” — that gather together every song to chart in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 U.S. singles chart.

These aren’t your typical hits playlists, in that I’m not curating but collecting. That means if a song ever got into the top 10 and it’s on Spotify, it goes into the playlist. So you get to hear some all-time classics and some head-scratching dross.

Thus far I’ve completed my playlists for the 1980s, am almost halfway through the ’70s, and have just started the ’60s. I may one day get to the 1990s but that won’t be anytime soon. So think of this as the greatest oldies radio station in the world, if you will.

One thing I should state clearly is that if an original song isn’t available on Spotify, it’s not in the playlist. This means songs for artists that aren’t on Spotify at all, like George Harrison, the Beatles, and Bob Seger aren’t in here. Likewise, I have tried my best to exclude re-recordings of songs (this happens a lot with older songs especially). I think I have a good ear for that sort of thing, but if I missed any please let me know.

I’ll update this post as new playlists come online, but here are the links as of now.

The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations1960s

Love Will Keep Us Together1970s

Billie Jean1980s


Pennant Fever

Pennant Fever #5: California Golden Seals

Here’s a gem from the NHL of the 1970s. It’s an undated pennant for the California Golden Seals. The franchise began play in 1961 as the WHL’s San Francisco Seals, changed to the California Seals in 1966, and became the Oakland Seals when they became an NHL expansion franchise in 1967.

The team was purchased by Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finley in 1970. Finley promptly changed the team’s colors to the same green and gold as the A’s, and also changed the name to California Golden Seals.

California Golden Seals NHL pennant

Another element you can see on the pennant is the artistic player rendering. That is actually based off a real player, in this case Carol Vadnais, who was the team’s captain until he was traded in February 1972.

The Seals and their neat pennants disappeared in 1976, when the franchise relocated to Cleveland to play two ill-fated seasons as the Barons.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of my Pennant Fever entries.

Let’s Watch Cracker Baseball on TV

I’m sure the context for this ad from the May 4-10 edition of TV Guide’s Atlanta edition makes this seem perfectly reasonable. But because I can’t resist a good sight gag, let’s just enjoy this ad for WWLA’s Cracker baseball broadcasts as is.

WWLA Cracker Baseball Ad, 1957

OK, in the spirit of fairness I will mention that Crackers was the name of Atlanta’s minor league baseball team, and they were part of the rather successful Southern Association. The league disbanded in 1961, which left Atlanta without a baseball team until the Braves moved from Milwaukee in 1966.

As for WLWA-TV (now WXIA) having a sports broadcaster named Bob Boring, I’m not gonna kill that joke with facts.

Pennant Fever

Pennant Fever #4: 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Champions

Here’s a great World Series pennant from the days of the Brooklyn Dodgers. It celebrates Brooklyn’s win in the 1952 World Series and lists a number of the players and the classic “The Bums” mascot.

Click for a larger version.

1952 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Champions pennant

There’s only one problem, though — the Dodgers didn’t win the ’52 Series. They actually lost in seven games to the New York Yankees, so someone jumped the gun on this pennant a little bit.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of my Pennant Fever entries.

UNC Men’s Basketball 1972-73: “How You Doin’?”

I don’t handle college basketball ephemera on the Press Room (yet), but I couldn’t not share this anyway. It’s the media guide for the North Carolina Tar Heels’ 1972-73 men’s basketball season, and it is quite fetching for a few reasons.

media guide for the North Carolina Tar Heels' 1972-73 men's basketball season

Here we see a quite fetching UNC co-ed being eyed, sort of creepily I might add, by a trio of UNC players including George Karl on the right. And hoo-boy are those some great pants he’s wearing.

But it’s not his legs we’re interested in, right? Ah, college life.

As it turns out, putting pretty college women on the front of media guides and programs was not an uncommon practice, and I’m not even including cheerleaders in that category. But that’s another topic for another post…

Cherry Poppin' Daddies

In Concert: Cherry Poppin’ Daddies at Sellersville Theater, 1/9/15

Like most Cherry Poppin’ Daddies fans outside the Pacific Northwest region, I first heard the band when their Zoot Suit Riot compilation CD rode the wave of the late ’90s swing revival to immense popularity. And if I’m being perfectly honest, I sort of lost tracks of the group a few after when it was clear they weren’t about to be constrained by the retro-swing sound that so many new fans expected from them.

Cherry Poppin' Daddies - White Teeth, Black ThoughtsBut with the release of 2013’s Black Teeth, White Thoughts, the Daddies’ first all-swing record since Zoot Suit Riot, I was firmly back in the camp of Daddies fans again. Maybe that makes me a fairweather fan, but I just know what I like to hear.

All this is to say that when the Daddies brought their tour to my area for one of the relatively few times in recent years, and announced that they were going to be doing a show very much in the mold of Jazz Age Cotton Club music, I had to go. So on a frigid night I made my way to the quaint but lovely Sellersville Theater in Pennsylvania to see Steve Perry and company bring the swing.

And let me tell you, the Daddies did not disappoint. The band delivered a highly fun and energetic performance — Perry especially worked his ass off the entire time — as well as a fantastic mix of original songs and timeless American classics. And yes, they absolutely played “Zoot Suit Riot” and it absolutely killed.

Normally I would have been writing down the set list, but to be honest I was just having so much fun, as was most of the decidedly older-skewing crowd, that it never even occurred to me. I can tell you that the band delivered smoking renditions of many songs found on the Zoot Suit Riot CD, including “When I Change Your Mind,” Brown Derby Jump,” “No Mercy for Swine,” and my all-time favorite from the Daddies, “The Ding-Dong Daddy of the D-Car Line.”

And then there were a host of expertly delivered selections from the Great American Songbook such as “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” 42nd Street,” and a beautiful take on Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.” Also played were some rambunctiously bawdy tunes outside the Songbook like Wynonie Harris’s “Bloodshot Eyes” and Louis Jordan’s “Doug the Jitterbug.”

I should note that one of the best aspects of the show was watching all the people dancing just in front of the stage. It took me back to a time when a show like this would’ve been performed in a theater with no seats at all, and even I would be up and swinging.

If you have the chance to see the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies live, find an excuse to do it. And if you can’t do that, pick up one of their last few CDs. Then you’ll know the answer to the question posed by the Ray Davies and the Kinks 50 years ago, “where have all the good times gone?” The answer is that they’re still here if you know where to look.

Star Trek Original Series Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Dig These Great Star Trek Original Series Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Science fiction props, artifacts, and ephemera are very easy to find on auction sites although they can often be expensive to obtain. And one of the great sources of cool stuff is Star Trek. So today I have a set of behind-the-scenes photographs taken on the set of Star Trek in 1966.

Most of these pictures feature Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, although we also get appearances from Capt. Kirk and Mr. Sulu. Based on some of the props seen in these shots, I’m guessing at least some of them were taken during the filming of “The Galileo Seven,” which aired in January 1967.  Look for the pictures of Spock with the giant spear and Yeoman Mears (Phyllis Douglas) fending off one of the ape-like creatures of Taurus II.

Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) on the set of Star Trek: The Original Series

Is that Romulan Ale?

Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) on the set of Star Trek: The Original Series

Checkmate, captain.

Yeoman Mears (Phyllis Douglas) on the set of Star Trek: The Original Series

You lucky ape.

Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) on the set of Star Trek: The Original Series

Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) on the set of Star Trek: The Original Series

Emerging from the Galileo shuttlecraft.

Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) on the set of Star Trek: The Original Series

I wonder if he knows “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.”

Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) on the set of Star Trek: The Original Series

Vulcan lute solo!

Mr. Sulu (George Takei) on the set of Star Trek: The Original Series

Oh my, nice plant Sulu!