The Only Christmas Songs That Matter.. To Me

Posted by Simple Dude | Posted in Holidays, Music | Posted on 24-12-2012

I am a music savant.  Not in terms of playing or singing – I’d have better luck carrying a pickup truck then carrying a tune.  But I’m good at recognizing who sings a song, especially from the 1960′s to 1990′s.  In a few notes I can usually tell you who sang it, the year it came out, the album it’s from and some stupid useless fact about the band.

It’s both a gift and a curse… I used to get texts from friends all the time asking who sang some random song they heard somewhere.  Thankfully that has slowed down.  Now I just get texts from friends too stupid to download the Shazaam app.

I got one of those texts yesterday from a friend wanting to know about a Christmas song, which made me think about all my holiday favorites.  I like old classics, but for some reason my favorites are less traditional.  Although each of these still get a stocking-load of radio airplay this time of year so if you like Christmas music at all you’ll know these.

Here are my top five favorites… even though I’m already sick of this music!

5. Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas

It’s a group of mostly British singers who were among the most popular performers in the world when it came out in 1984.  The lyrics of this song are good, though not great.  But what matters about this song is the message, which is still important today.

 

4. Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song

This is the only “classic” song on this list because I couldn’t bring myself to leave it off.  There are lots of versions of The Christmas Song, but it’s perfect for Nat’s voice.  You know… he was too good of a singer to deserve being named after a tiny annoying bug.

 

3. The Eagles – Please Come Home For Christmas

I love The Eagles.  They are one of my favorite bands of all time and they do a great version of this old Bluesy Christmas tune.  It’s one of the few holiday songs I can listen to any time of year without getting all pissy.

 

2. Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

There are not many singers out there cooler than The Boss and his take on this classic is a perfect example of that.  The fact that it’s live is what does it… I love how Bruce  starts laughing while “Santa” is doing his Ho Ho Ho thing.  Side note, Santa sure loves his Ho’s doesn’t he?

 

1. John Lennon – Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

Few songs can bring tears to my eyes, but this one can.  Despite living through some turbulent times, John Lennon still saw beauty in the world and always had optimism for peace and love.  He made the world a better place.  As simple as it is, this song makes me want to believe that peace is possible, and maybe… just maybe… war will truly be over in 2013.

Honorable mentions that just missed the cut… Elvis – Blue Christmas, Bruce Springsteen – Merry Christmas Baby, Brenda Lee – Jingle Bell Rock and Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmastime.  What did I miss?

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

P.S.  and go check out my new humor book.  You knew that was coming right?

Live For Today?

Posted by Simple Dude | Posted in Music, TV | Posted on 06-11-2012

Have you ever wished you lived in a different era?  Or grew up in a different time?  Let me explain.  At work some of the people on my staff are in their early to mid 20′s.  One of them is really into rock music from the 80′s.  I’ve supported these strange tastes by loading up some good music on his iPod, stuff beyond the typical poppy 80′s crap you still hear on the radio.

I mentioned this before, but I basically grew up in the 80′s.  I turned 18 in 1990 so my high school years were spent during the height of the hair band craze.  Sadly, I was totally into that craze.

The equation for me was simple… chicks dug bands like Bon Jovi, Poison and Motley Crue.  I dug chicks.  So I grew my hair long and wore my jeans with holes in them.  Bingo!  Chicks dug me.  At least the wild ones, which was ok by me.

This young guy I work with has asked me about those days and though it makes me feel like someone’s grandpa, I have indulged him with stories.  Maybe he’s misguided… but I think he wishes he was around to experience those days himself.

I can relate.  For me it’s the 70′s.  I was born in the 70′s but frankly don’t remember them very well.  Still I love the music, the cars, the movies and even most of the TV shows from that time.  The fashions?  Meh… not so much.

For example…  music:

Rockers had their fill with Led Zepplin, Aerosmith, Styx, Boston, Cheap Trick.  On the lighter side The Eagles or James Taylor.  On the funky side Stevie Wonder or Earth Wind & Fire.

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page doing their thing.

Movies:

Jaws, Halloween, Star Wars, The Godfather, Rocky, Blazing Saddles, Alien and Airplane.

“Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”

TV:

MASH, All In The Family, The Jeffersons, Sandford and Son, Taxi, Chips, Different Strokes, The Muppet Show and the birth of Saturday Night Live.

Waldorf and Statler were comic genius.

Beyond the entertainment of those days, people just lived more laid back lives.  Sometimes the technology of today is overwhelming and I long for a time when we were not always connected.  Whether it’s email, cell phones or social media we are always reachable… all the time.  Don’t you ever just want to unplug and tell the world “LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!” ???

Now all that being said… I do believe that right now is the BEST time to be alive.  If for no other reason than because The Simple Dude did not exist in 1977. Well, I guess technically he did… but he was only 5 years old and much less of a smart ass than he is in 2012.

SD

P.S.  Be sure you VOTE today!

 

Rock Of Ages? Or Crock Of Crap?

Posted by Simple Dude | Posted in Music | Posted on 29-05-2012

Back in the mid to late 1980′s I was an impressionable teenager.  What does this mean?

It means I’m old.

But it also means I came of age during the height of the “hair band” era.  And yes, I was a willing participant.  In high school I bought the CD’s (and tapes before that), went to a ton of concerts and even had long hair.  Even before high school I knew I liked rock music – bands like Led Zepplin, Van Halen and Rush were early favorites of mine.

And then came Def Leppard.  And Bon Jovi.  And Poison.  At first those bands didn’t do it for me but I quickly discovered something very important….  chicks dug them.  And I dug chicks.  That was good enough for me!  It didn’t hurt that the girls who liked the rock bands seemed to be the hottest girls.  Hey, I was a teenage boy, what do you expect?

This is Poison, circa 1987 or so. Seriously, chicks were into this!

Soon I was buying music from those types of bands and going to see them in concert.  After awhile, the music grew on me.  There is nothing ground breaking about any of it and the bands weren’t out to change the world, but it was a fun time – it’s too bad I can’t post any of my teenage long hair photos without ruining my anonymity!  Though people that know me now probably wouldn’t recognize that version of me anyway.

As someone who lived through this time I’m completely uninterested in that new Tom Cruise movie Rock of Ages.  I know it’s based on the Broadway musical and I was completely uninterested in that too.  They both look awful.

In many ways those bands were tongue in cheek and truly should not be taken seriously.  Poking fun at those bands and that music makes sense…  I get that.  But if you’re going to make a movie highlighting that time and music why not make a GOOD one??  Instead of some crappy hair sprayed Glee wannabe piece of crap… which is exactly what Rock of Ages looks like.

The movie Rock Star with Mark Wallberg was good, as was Wedding Singer.  But beyond that there isn’t much showcasing the 80′s that’s worth watching.  Some may say that era of clothes, hair and music sucked anyway so why bother.  Sure, but I’ll argue the 90′s was even worse.

Someone needs to make a movie showcasing the 80′s the way Dazed And Confused highlighted the 70′s.  That movie was amazing.

That’s all I got.  Maybe one of you will go see Rock of Ages when it comes out and tell me I’m wrong.  But I doubt it.

Oh… and for those old enough to remember these, all of the following were big favorites of mine:

Motley Crue, Ratt, Tesla, Kix, Britny Fox, The Cult, Cinderella, Warrant, Skid Row, Dokken, Great White, LA Guns, Guns & Roses, Whitesnake and many more.

Am I alone in admitting this?

SD

Rock Me… Tonight?

Posted by Simple Dude | Posted in Music | Posted on 20-01-2012

Do you ever start a blog post with nothing to write about?  Just open the page and start typing with hopes at some point, somehow you’ll discover a topic worth writing about?  Yep, that’s me right now.

I could write about what I have been up to lately, but i’ve been so busy with work that there hasn’t been time for much else.  The most interesting thing I’ve done lately is buy new shoes.  Thrilling huh?

I could write about a funny story from my past… I do have lots of those stories, having shared a number of them here.  But I haven’t been in a real “looking back” kind of mood lately.  Maybe I’m getting old.

None of those things really interest me right now.  But I do have an idea, one I’ve considered for awhile…  posting really bad music videos – particularly the ones made for good songs.  You’ve seen videos like these – usually from the 80′s.  Songs that are not terrible and sometimes even decent.  But the videos made for them are absolute horse shit.  Embarrassing for the artists at best, painful for us to watch at their worst.

Since there are an enormous amount of bad music videos, there may be more of these to come.  For now… “enjoy” Billy Squier’s Rock Me Tonite.


This could be among the worst music videos of all time in any era.  I think I read somewhere how embarrassed Billy is about this – God knows I sure would be.

Which do you think is worse… the drawstring white cotton pants or the Pat Benatar wanna-be torn sleeveless shirt?  It’s funny how he tears the shirt off (at the 1:31 mark) then immediately puts on a different, only slightly less ugly shirt.

Yes, that’s his spelling for “tonight”, not mine.  And how about his exaggerated finger snapping and bizarre crawling around on the floor thing.  This video has it all!  He seems a bit effeminate here, but he is a straight guy, loving the ladies.  Or at least he claims to be.

To be honest, the song is sort of a guilty pleasure for me – I’ve always liked it.  Try watching with your eyes closed…

I’ll wait…

….  It’s better that way isn’t it?

ALSO…  remember the Pineville Heist $100 giveaway?  It’s been extended through February 1st.  And if you haven’t yet, there is still time to enter the drawing!  It’s easy!

Lee Chambers just launched THE PINEVILLE HEIST eBook on www.smashwords.com and he’s offering the book for free till February 1st. FREE!  Just use the promo code ND92Q in the checkout to download it FREE.

Then cruise on over to THE PINEVILLE HEIST Facebook page and post that you picked up the e-book courtesy of The Simple Dude and you’ll be in the running!  That’s a $50 Amazon gift card AND a $50 VISA gift card.  Think of all the crap you could buy!!!

SD