The Greatest Mystery of My Life–Solved!

I have just recently solved probably the greatest mystery of my life and since this is my life, it was of course a ridiculous one.

How did I get Styx Extended Versions Live on my iTunes?

Here’s the thing, I like music. When I say I like music, I mean I like all kinds and as such I have a sizeable, bizarre collection of it. And since I had internet access during the Napster/Limewire/Kazaa days, I have a lot of songs that I randomly acquired (and not all of them labeled correctly). These were also the days of ripping/burning CDs. I have a ton of music that I not only ripped from CDs I own, but also CDs burned for me by my friends (those were the days). I also have songs randomly acquired from my friends posting the tunes on LiveJournal.

What I’m saying is that even though I have a whole lot of music, I know where most of it has come from.

And I’ve managed to keep most of it through the years despite numerous hard drive failures and computer crashes. I have literally transferred songs from my dying desktops to USBs to new laptops. I will go above and beyond to keep my music. I don’t trust iTunes to save it for me.

Prior to my trip to Seattle back in 2017, I decided to make a massive playlist for the trip. That way I could load that one playlist and my pacifier shows onto my iPod (yes, I’m old and still don’t put music or media on my phone) and be set for the 4+ hour flight from O’Hare to the Seattle and back. My flight anxiety stems from being locked in a metal tube with too many other humans rather than any fear that the plane might crash. If I plug myself in to my music or my shows and try not to think about peeing in the tiny bathroom, I can manage. At the time, those 4+ hour legs were the longest flights I’d ever taken and I was understandably concerned. I wanted to be prepared.

So, I created the Why Not? playlist. It’s just the broadest sampling of my weirdo collection of music. I’ve got everything from 1920s swing jazz to 50s country to 60s pop to 70s Southern rock to 80s synth to 90s alt to 00’s hard rock to 10s dance and everything in between. It’s a good time.

However, when I first put this playlist together, going through my catalogue of songs, I ran into something I couldn’t explain.

Styx Extended Versions Live.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t mad about it. I like Styx. I just could not for the life of me remember how I ended up with it in my collection. I know I didn’t buy it because for all my love of music, my CD collection is rather paltry compared to other folks my age (or at least what their collections might have looked like during the heyday since I can’t say that anyone my age still has their CDs) and even though I like Styx, I couldn’t see myself spending money on one of their CDs. And I was pretty sure nobody gave me the CD because I know I didn’t have it in my pitiful collection and no one I was running with at the time would have gifted it to me.

I was sure I didn’t download it off of iTunes because again, not the thing I would have spent money on and I almost never download complete albums anyway.

So, that left my Dad’s CD collection, which is surprisingly bigger than mine. Probably because his car actually had a CD player and I don’t think a single car I’ve owned ever did. I ripped a big chunk of his collection (mostly his country and Southern rock stuff), but for the life of me I could not remember him ever listening to Styx, let alone owning one of their CDs. There was also the matter of not finding a Styx CD in his collection in his Jeep which is where all of his CDs live.

For years, I had no idea where the hell this Styx album came from or how I came to possess it in my digital music collection.

And then recently, I had to go look for my CDs. Yes. I still have them.

My Dad had cleaned out the pie safe where they’d been kept and ended up putting them down in the basement with a bunch of other unused items. As I was rooting through the box he’d stored them in, I came across Styx.

I don’t know why it’s not with the rest of my dad’s CDs (my guess is that it’s related to an ex-ladyfriend because I highly doubt it was one of the CDs my grandpa had, which are also down there) and I don’t remember ripping it, but I suppose I must have. After all, I do have the whole album and no other explanation about how I acquired it.

So, I’ll go with this logical conclusion.

Mystery solved.

It’s a Version of Cover Love

Music noteA couple of weeks ago I was in the mood for some new music. Specifically, I wanted to get some more songs by Bobby Troup, Julie London, and The Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra. In looking through the songs, I noticed something. Bobby Troup and Julie London both did versions of “Midnight Sun” and Julie London and The Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra both did versions of “When Your Lover Has Gone”.

And I said to myself, “I MUST OWN THESE SONGS!”

Fast forward to a few days ago. In my Internet perusing I found that Johnny Crawford had recently done different versions of a few songs he’d first done as a teenager.

Once again I said to myself, “I MUST OWN THESE SONGS!”

See, I have this thing about covers and different versions of songs. I think I mentioned it before in another post in which I listed my favorite covers. But I didn’t go into depth about it.

I am compelled to own several different versions of the same song.

I don’t know what it is, but it is a need that I cannot deny. I suppose it’s a fascination with how different singers/bands interpret songs or how the original artist re-imagines a song that their known for. Or maybe it’s fueled by an envy because as much as I love music, I don’t have the ability to make it or even remake it.

Whatever the reason, it’s because of this compulsion that I own:

-Paul Anka doing “Wonderwall” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

-A choir performing “I Touch Myself”

-So many versions of “I’m a Believer”

-And “Hit Me, Baby, One More Time”

-A slow version of “Word Up”

-A fast version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

-A bluegrass version of “Superfreak”

And so many more!

I’ve even got a few albums of nothing but covers (Indie Pop Plays the Monkees and Micky Dolenz’s Remember are two of my favorites).

It’s an addiction and I should be ashamed of myself.

But I’m not.

Mystery Solved! “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”


Meatloaf’s rock opera “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” is a great song, one that got a lot of airplay when I was younger. And the one thing that people always brought up (aside from the epic rock opera-ness of the song and the Beauty and the Beast theme of the video) and still bring up to this day is that Meatloaf never said what he wouldn’t do for love.

Except he did.

This is something that has bugged me since this song has come out because even as a kid I knew exactly what he wouldn’t do. If you’re not familiar with the song or you need to refresh your memory, check it out. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Did you hear it? It’s right there, plain as day.


Listen closer.

When the pretty lady is singing and flying around on the couch, she sings, “Sooner or later you’ll be screwing around”.

And Meatloaf replies…

“But, I won’t do that.”


Mystery solved!

You’re welcome.

When I Put My iPod on Shuffle

English: An 2G Shuffle iPod

I came across a Twitter hashtag that had people name the first 30 songs that came up on their shuffle. That’s a little timeline clogging for me, but I still liked the idea of it and decided to put it on the blog instead.

Okay, maybe this post belongs in Friday Funtimes, but I happen to think that the kind of music a person listens to reveals a little something about themselves. For example, it says a lot about someone who loudly proclaims that any one genre of music sucks. A whole lot.

So what do my 30 songs tell you about me (aside from the fact that my taste in music is questionable because that’s already been established)? Also marvel at the sense of humor my iPod has. I’m telling you. This thing is sentient.

1. “Let Him Fly” -The Dixie Chicks

2. “Your Mama Don’t Dance” -Poison

3. “Laugh Kills Lonesome” -Michael Nesmith

4. “Hold On/Luka” -The Dan Band

5. “Can You Dig It?” (Peter Version) -The Monkees

6. “I Hate Everything About You” -Ugly Kid Joe

7. “Magic Man” -Heart

8. “Sound of the Underground” -Girls Aloud

9. “A Girl’s Gotta Do” -Mindy McCready

10. “Groovy Kind of Love” -Phil Collins

11. “What’s My Name Again?” -Blink-182

12. “I Hate Myself For Loving You” -Joan Jett

13. “Mo Run Gael, Dileas” -The Rankin Family

14. “Bad Medicine” -Bon Jovi

15. “Penny Music” -The Monkees

16. “Bang Bang” -Nancy Sinatra

17. “The Light of a Fading Star” -Flogging Molly

18. “For Pete’s Sake” -The Monkees

19. “Abba Medley: Mama Mia/Fernando/Waterloo” -The Dan Band

20. “Mother, Mother” -Tracy Bonham

21. “Highway to Hell” -AC/DC

22. “Girl, Girls, Girls” -Liz Phair

23. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” -Michael Jackson

24. “I’ve Just Seen a Face” -The Beatles

25. “Why Haven’t I Heard From You?” -Reba

26. “She’s Always a Woman” -Billy Joel

27. “Carmina Burana” -O Fortuna

28. “Only God Knows Why” -Kid Rock

29. “Get Up” -Dropkick Murphys

30. “Check Yes or No” -George Strait

A few notes on this list.

-This list does not accurately reflect my love of covers, mash-ups, and 80’s pop.

-If you knew Gaelic, you’d understand why putting “Mo Run Gael, Dileas” in between “Bad Medicine” and “I Hate Myself For Loving You” is either baffling or brilliant.

-Sticking AC/DC between Tracy Bonham and Liz Phair is pretty funny.

-Considering I own every album The Monkees released and then some, I’m shocked that only 3 songs made the list.

-Ditto only one Michael Nesmith song making the list, not because I own all of his albums, but because of the four I do own, shuffle loves them.

-“Carmina Burana” in between two ballads will drop your transmission. Talk about shifting gears too fast.

-None of my R&B, hip hop, rap, jazz, blues, bluegrass, or classical made the list.

Name That Tune

Fast musical notes on a music sheet

The other day my niece, the middle one, asked me what my all-time favorite song was. Without hesitation I answered.

“Sunny Girlfriend by The Monkees.”

“I don’t know that one,” she said. “What’s your second all-time favorite song?”

“As We Go Along by The Monkees.”

Frustrated, she sighed loudly as nine year olds in that house are prone to do and said, “What’s your all-time favorite song that’s NOT by The Monkees?”

Now, had she not put that stipulation on it, I was readily prepared to answer “You Told Me”, but with that stipulation, I had to think.

And I found myself stumped. Put on the spot like that I couldn’t think of one song that I could call my favorite that wasn’t by The Monkees.

The question has since haunted me.

I love music. I’m not one of those snobby, educated music lovers. I just like music, period. If I like the tune, put it in my ears and I’ll groove. I like all kinds of stuff. Country, rock, hip hop, rap, pop, whatever. Name a genre and I can probably think of a song in it that I like. There are very few artists that I can honestly say I don’t like. Most of the time it’s just because they haven’t put out a song yet that I like. I even like a Nickelback song. I’m still waiting on Justin Beiber to do something I want to hear, though.

The point is that a music lover such as myself, with such non-discriminating tastes, whose iPod plays 80’s synth then Southern rock then big band then gangsta rap then disco should be able to think of a favorite song that’s NOT The Monkees.

I couldn’t do it and I still can’t. Not really.

The closest I could come to answering the question was hours later when “Car Wash” by Rose Royce came on the radio. That’s a song that I will drop everything to groove to. It makes me want to put on booty shorts and roller skates. I love that song.

But, though I love it, I couldn’t think of it when I needed it. So it can’t very well be my favorite non-Monkees song, now could it?

I don’t think I have one. I think my moods dictate my preferences too much. The Monkees are my all-time favorite band so that music isn’t as affected by my whims. Everything else, though, is up for grabs.

And you know what? I kind of prefer it that way.

If the middle niece asks again, that’s what I’ll tell her.

I bet she sighs.

Music: Micky Dolenz’s ‘Remember’

In case you missed it, I am a big fan of the Monkees. I’m also a big fan of the Monkees as solo acts.

Micky Dolenz recently released a solo album of covers called Remember. All of the songs on the album have a personal meaning to him and he did all of the vocals on all of the tracks (one of which features something like 40 different vocal tracks!). After hearing the samples on iTunes and a free preview of “Randy Scouse Git” in its entirety, I knew I was going to have to own this album.

First of all, the cover of “Randy Scouse Git” really sold me. It’s completely different from the original, but just as amazing. The sample of “Sometime in the Morning” (a favorite Monkees song) gave me chills. “I’m a Believer” as a country song intrigued me. These factors pretty much sealed the deal for me.

Not to mention my absolute love of covers.

Now, I’m no music critic; I just know what I like. And I really, really like this album. I listened to it five times in a row after first downloading it. There’s not a song on it I don’t like. The surprise standouts for me are “Sugar, Sugar”, “Do Not Ask for Love”, and “Good Morning, Good Morning”. I figured I’d like them, but I was caught off guard as to HOW MUCH I like them. Micky’s “Sugar, Sugar” might be better than the original if only for the ending.

It’s a fun album. I’ve always felt Micky has been very creative musically and this album reflects that. It also shows that his voice is just as good now as it was when he was in his twenties. The man can still sing. (Seriously, “Do Not Ask for Love” is just his vocals and it is unbelievable.)

If you want a break from the current radio pop airplay, this is what you should be listening to. It’s fun, classy, and genuine.

The Music In My Head

An orange note music.

It’s not secret that I love music. I listen to it a lot. I use it as a buffer between me and the outside world, usually when I’m writing. I listen to it when I make dinner and when I go out with my cats, showing no shame as I sing (and sometimes dance) along with my iPod. I’ve gotten into the habit of watching music videos on YouTube before I go to sleep at night.

So it should be no surprise that I get songs stuck in my head on a regular basis.

Most of the time it makes perfect sense. For example, I’ve been on an Ok Go kick lately, so it’s no surprise that their songs are playing on a kind of loop in my head, though it’s fun to go to sleep with “End Love” playing in my brain and wake up with “A Million Ways” there instead.

Even though I love their music (obviously, or I wouldn’t be listening to so much of it), sometimes having one song stuck in my brain gets tedious. I love “Needing/Getting”, but it turns into an itch that can’t be satisfied when it’s playing on loop in my brain for six days.

That’s the thing with my brain. It’s got a mean streak.

I find most of Lady Gaga’s music, particularly from her first album, to be pretty good. However, I don’t like to listen to most of her songs because they’re earworms. They get into my brain and proceed to melt important neurons and synapses. Now, if my brain can take a song that I like and wash, rinse, repeat it for six days, imagine how tiring it is to have every song I listen to clashing against “Bad Romance” for a week and a half. Yeah, that really happened.

And do you think my brain spares me from songs I don’t like? No, don’t be silly. It’s unfortunate, but not unheard of for “We Found Love” by Rhianna or “Moves Like Jagger” to randomly pop in my head off and on for two weeks like some kind of cruel torture technique (for the record, I don’t think these songs are bad as I’m not qualified to make such judgments; I just don’t care for them).

I try to influence the songs that get stuck in the crevices of my mind, but sometimes they come to me randomly. I’ve had songs that I haven’t heard in literally years just appear in my mind. Of course, when that happens, I’m compelled to seek them out to listen to them in their entirety. “Weapon of Choice”, which I posted last Friday, is a good example of that. That just happened. I was having a bad day and suddenly, Fatboy Slim was there. Who knew?

My brain did, that’s who. Sometimes, it comes through with an appropriate musical reaction.

But usually I’m singing snippets of songs for days on end.

And that’s okay, too.

Monkees Music

The Best of The Monkees

In the weeks since Davy Jones passed away I’ve been listening to my Monkees albums and reading articles about him. What struck me was the music was typically discussed more than the show. Not to downplay the show at all (it did when an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series and truly is pretty outstanding), but considering how critically derided the band was for being created and not playing the instruments on their first two albums that’s quite an accomplishment.

In listening to the albums I have from start to finish several times, I realized just how much good music The Monkees made, a credit not only to the studio musicians and songwriters they worked with, but also to The Monkees themselves. Remember, after the second album, they took over creative control of their music.

I’m also reminded how much of their music ISN’T played today. My local oldies station did a Monkees music weekend in honor of Davy Jones and they played so many songs that never get airtime. Good songs. It occurred to me that when people think of The Monkees, they think of “Last Train to Clarksville”, “Daydream Believer”, and “I’m a Believer” first. Then maybe they remember “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone”, “Mary, Mary”, and “Valleri”. Maybe.

Not wanting to let good music go to waste, here are the songs (a few from each album) that I don’t think you should miss:

From The Monkees: “This Just Doesn’t Seem to Be My Day”, “Take a Giant Step”, “Papa Gene’s Blues”

From More of The Monkees: “Auntie Grizelda”, “Look Out” (Here Comes Tomorrow)”, “Sometime In the Morning”

From Headquarters: “You Told Me”, “Sunny Girlfriend”, “Randy Scouse Git”

From Pieces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Jones LTD: “Daily Nightly”, “Love Is Only Sleeping”, “Star Collector”

From The Birds, The Bees, and The Monkees: “Auntie’s Municipal Court”, “PO Box 9847”, “Tapioca Tundra”

From Head Soundtrack: “Circle Sky”, “Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again”, “As We Go Along”

From Instant Replay: “Teardrop City”, “Someday Man”, “I Won’t Be the Same Without Her”

From The Monkees Present: “Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye”, “French Song”, “Listen to the Band”

From Changes: “Oh My My”, “Ticket on a Ferry Ride”, “99 Pounds”

From Pool It: “Heart and Soul”, “She’s Movin’ in with Rico”, “Gettin’ In”

From Justus: “You and I”, “I Believe You”, “Unlucky Stars”

Bonus Tracks: The Rhino re-issue CDs feature some really good bonus tracks. Two of my favorites are the live version of “Circle Sky” on Head and an alternate take (with different lyrics) of “Mommy and Daddy” on The Monkees Present.

My further unsolicited advice: All of their albums deserve a listen (including Live ’67, which has my favorite version of “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” ever, and Then and Now…Best of the Monkees, which features three new tracks, “That Was Then, This Is Now”, “Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere”, and “Kicks”), but if you’re looking to start somewhere other than the beginning, start with Headquarters and then listen to Pieces, Aquarius,… as those two, I think, are two of their best.

You won’t regret it.

Music: Sunny Girlfriend by The Monkees

I am a huge fan of The Monkees, show and music. It’s been announced that three of the four (as usual) will be going out on tour once again for the 45th anniversary.

To celebrate, how about a song that isn’t “Last Train to Clarksville”, “I’m a Believer”, “Daydream Believer”, or “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (not that they aren’t great; just looking for something a little less played).