Obscur-Eighties, Vol 2: Forgotten 80s Songs I’ve Heard at Stop and Shop
Jul17

Obscur-Eighties, Vol 2: Forgotten 80s Songs I’ve Heard at Stop and Shop

I don’t know what programming mastermind arranges the playlist, but the Stop and Shop near my house plays the most fascinating tunes as part of its in-store music. Everything from forgotten gems, to minor songs by major artists, to songs that are instantly recognizable even though you have no idea why, to songs you haven’t heard for twenty-five years and likely won’t be hearing again anytime soon Obscur-Eighties, Vol 2: Forgotten 80s...

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The Joshua Tree: 30 Years Later
Mar28

The Joshua Tree: 30 Years Later

I’ve been teaching the Glass Castle for years (phenomenal book, by the way), and every time I get to the Joshua tree part, I naturally think about The Joshua Tree, the game-changing U2 album that celebrated its 30th anniversary in March 2017. But only recently– as in right now, as I type this– have I realized how the Joshua tree from Glass Castle mirrors The Joshua Tree, the U2 album. In her memoir The Glass Castle, author...

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First Concert Reflections: Bon Jovi 1986
Feb06

First Concert Reflections: Bon Jovi 1986

As I write this, I am looking at an orange, tattered, thirty-year-old slip of paper: the ticket stub to my first concert. First Concert Reflections: Bon Jovi 1986   The barely legible words on the ticket tell the tale. The date: December 27, 1986. The place: The Centrum in Worcester, MA. The price: $12.50. (No kidding!!) And the act? Bon Jovi!   I became a Bon Jovi fan by osmosis. In 1986, I was driven to school by my friend...

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‘Tis the Season to Be Jovi: The Bon Jovi Christmas Experience
Dec20

‘Tis the Season to Be Jovi: The Bon Jovi Christmas Experience

Thirty years ago, in 1986, Bon Jovi officially made the jump to hyperspace with its album Slippery When Wet. The thing is, though, Slippery When Wet wasn’t Bon Jovi’s first album; it was its third. The band’s self-titled first album was released two years earlier, in January 1984. And even THAT album wasn’t the first professional recording for lead singer Jon Bon Jovi.  That distinction belongs to the song “R2D2, We Wish You a Merry...

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8 Lessons Howard Jones’ ‘No One is to Blame’ Teaches about the Writing Process
Nov21

8 Lessons Howard Jones’ ‘No One is to Blame’ Teaches about the Writing Process

Turns out, Howard Jones was wrong:  there is someone to blame, and his name is Billy Ocean. At the very least, we can sort of blame Billy Ocean for the fact that Howard Jones never had a number one hit: “No One is to Blame,” Howard’s highest charting hit in the U.S., peaked at #4 during the week of July 5, 1986– the same week that Billy’s “There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)” reigned at #1. (For the record: that week, Simply...

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