Black Lives Matter. The fact that it needs to be said shows how very far we still have to go as a country. We hear you and we are with you.
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For today’s Friday MP3 Shuffle, instead of celebrating a person’s birth, we celebrate the birth of a band and one of the pivotal events in modern music history. On May 29, 1977, in support of The Buzzcocks, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Ian Curtis and Tony Tabac stepped on stage at the Electric Circus in Manchester under the name Warsaw. The band’s one performance got enough attention from the local press to set magical things in motion; The band would soon replace Tabac with Stephen Morris on drums, change their name to Joy Division, and go on to make music that continues to influence genres from Industrial to Dance to Shoegaze. It’s not often that a band gets to be at the forefront of a new music movement, tragically lose a member, then go on to be at the forefront of another music movement, but that’s exactly what Joy Division/New Order did when they helped put Post-Punk and Alternative Pop on the map. In this writer’s opinion, this day should be a world holiday, one celebrated by 24 hours of dancing with romantic-tragic vigor while drinking red wine and looking at modern video art.
Let us mark the occasion by taking your MP3 Player, pressing the “shuffle” button, and sharing the first 10 songs your hear:
OK, so, this might not land as well with readers who were already adults in the mid- 1990s, or for anyone that was 14 or under during 9/11. But let me just fill you in:
The Adventures of Pete and Pete was a quirky, cool, live-action series on Nickelodeon that ran from 1993 to 1996. It was about two brothers, both named Pete, and their meditative observations about childhood in a small Midwestern postmodern America. While it had incredibly nuanced writing and bright, beautiful colors, most of what we talk about when we talk about Pete and Pete, is the music (compositions by Polaris and Stephin Merritt) and the obscure celebrity cameos, which rivaled Portlandia's use of them today.
This week's Top Five merges both of those. While its non-musical cameos could be a whole other list unto itself (Steve Buscemi?? Patti Hearst???), today we bring you: The Top Five Musical Cameos From The Adventures of Pete and Pete:
"In Spain it's called Dia infermo, in Hungary beteg nap. Around here... It's just known as... 'the sick day.'" Wherein little Pete plays hookie from school and learns a few memorable lessons about the world, his community, and himself as well. Like Bart Simpson before him, Little Pete is a bit of a hellion. As his principal, it is LL Cool J's job to announce, in a secret coded language to the other teachers that Pete is out, and they all rejoice.
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Today we say Happy Birthday to Johnny Gill, one of the biggest names in '90s-'00s RnB both as a solo artist and member of the group New Edition. While he wasn’t an original member, Gill was the key to the band accomplishing something other groups rarely achieve: a successful second act. Having fired lead singer Bobby Brown for reasons known to anyone who was watching “Inside Edition” or reality TV in the 2000s, the remaining New Edition members decided they needed to recruit someone of comparable skill and charisma up front. With Gill (the only member of the group not from Boston) on lead vocals, they transitioned from a fresh-faced bubble-gum boy band to legit RnB stars, developing a more mature sound and releasing their biggest-selling albums Heart Break and Home Again. Despite splitting up from time to time to pursue solo careers and the consummate New Jack Swing experience that was Bell Biv DeVoe, all six current and former members have remained in each other’s orbit and continue to tour together.
Wish Johnny Gill a Happy Birthday and play the MP3 shuffle by taking your MP3 player, pressing the "shuffle" button, and sharing the first 10 songs you hear: