The Glorious Corner
MADONNA’S FINALLY ENOUGH LOVE — We finally received a copy, through Rhino of Madonna’s deluxe-set Finally Enough Love-50 Number Ones. There’s no question that its a monster of a set; certainly chronicling Madonna’s out-sized career, but the set also posed a few intriguing questions.
A glorious review from Rock and Roll Globe: Has anyone been remixed more than Madonna?
Think about how many records she’s released since her first, “Everybody,” almost exactly 40 years ago (October 6, 1982, to be precise). And the fact that remixing has existed for the entirety of her career. And that she’s a dance/pop artist first and foremost, naturally prone to remixing.
There’s a few of her ballads that didn’t receive official remixes, sure – but the vast majority of her singles have. So many, in fact, that Madonna’s hit Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart 67 times, and 64 of those trips have resulted in top tens. And of those 64, an astounding 50 have topped the chart. (All three numbers are records by far, along with her 75 cumulative weeks at #1; additionally, no artist has topped any single Billboard survey as many times.)
To celebrate the occasion, and also to mark both the 40th anniversary of her first single and the 35th of her first remix album (1987’s You Can Dance), we now get the compilation Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones, featuring single-edited versions of each one of these 50 chart-toppers across three CDs. Early on, her dance hits weren’t actually remixed, but sometimes just extended – as in the case of her first #1 on the dance chart, “Holiday” and “Lucky Star” were listed jointly as “LP Cuts,” a common practice on the chart at the time. Club DJs simply played the songs straight off the album! These two songs spent 5 weeks at #1, a run matched in her catalog only by 2000’s “Music.” Oddly, only “Holiday,” but not “Lucky Star,” appears on Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones. [I include the album’s subtitle because a more compact 16-track version, just titled Finally Enough Love, was released in June.]
What also doesn’t help is the choices of whose remixes to include: both Offer Nissim and Tracy Young get three selections apiece, for example. Offer Nissim’s mixes are alright, but tend to get very samey (spoiler alert: he really likes hard drums). Similarly, Young’s work is solid, but why not mix things up and give us some different contributors? (That said, her Tracy Young Dangerous Mix of “Crave” is deliciously breezy, and features an indefatigable bassline.) Then there’s “Give Me All Your Luvin,’” which is featured in its Party Rock Remix by, I wish I was kidding, LMFAO.
(Remember them?) It’s as clunky and stupid as their own singles – and worse yet, the thrusting, kinetic Laidback Luke mix of the same track was right there waiting to be used! (Blame Madonna herself, who reportedly curated the selections here.)
To be fair, I’m picky when it comes to these things. Shep Pettibone’s fingerprints are all over the selections here, especially on the first disc (“Into the Groove,” “Like A Prayer,” “Express Yourself,” “Keep It Together,” “Vogue,” and “Fever” all appear via his remixes), and I’m not mad at all – and would frankly welcome even more from the man who I think is one of the all-time greatest to ever remix a record. His take on “Groove” (originally featured on Madonna’s epochal 1987 remix album You Can Dance) in particular is the one I consider definitive; the edit featured here doesn’t defang any of its power.
The other chief problem with this collection is the simple fact that the remixes – and dance chart #1s – have been coming fast and furious this century, and a lot of these songs just aren’t that good. Starting with 2003’s American Life, I’ll argue that Madonna’s only made one good-to-great album in the past two decades (2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor), and the last 12 remixes featured here are of songs originally on Hard Candy, MDNA, Rebel Heart, and Madame X – a stretch of work that I don’t think anyone would call her strongest. Conversely, however, even if you take her classic 80’s work out of the equation, there’s a lot of killers here.
Madonna’s 90’s-into-00’s can stand up against almost any pop artist’s catalog: from “Vogue,” of course, through “Erotica” (featured in Masters at Work’s legitimately sexy Underground Club Mix), to “Secret” and “Bedtime Story” (both remixed by Junior Vasquez), onto the classic Ray of Light singles, Music’s “What It Feels Like for a Girl” (presented here in its breathtaking Above & Beyond Club Radio Edit), culminating with the Dance Floor classics, remixed by the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Stuart Price, and Axwell. I mean, whew.
To be honest, I prefer the original mix or release of each and every one of these songs. One of my favorites, “Into The Groove” from 1985’s Desperately Seeking Susan on this set, was a totally different mix than the one I first heard and feel in love with.
The other thing I noticed as I carefully made my way through the tracks is that those early records of hers …as good as they were at the time, don’t seem to hold up. I was there at The Funhouse; 12 West; Danceteria and Paradise Garage and her records were legend at the time … it’s just all these years later, so much has changed.
It’s an enormous set and breathtaking undertaking; but well worth it. As I said when her tour was announced, only visual and videos from those early days were referenced and even this 3-CD set features an early Madonna-photo. She was iconic back then … and, we’ll see if she still is.
THE BELZ RANG SILENT — Richard Belzer passed this past weekend. I first saw him at Rick Newman’s legendary club Catch A Rising Star on First Avenue eons ago. He was simply hilarious, Snarky for sure, but funny. He appeared onSaturday Night Live; The Groove Tube and always left an indelible impression.
Always outfitted in black, TV discovered him when he launched the character of John Munch in Barry Levinson and Tom Fonatna’s cannily brilliant Homicide; Live On The Street. It was just a sensational show and really stood among the past great cop shows like Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. A crossover with Dick Wolff’s Law & Order, with Jerry Orbach, was just stellar. Orbach’s character dated Munch’ ex-wife and the hi jinks ensued. Together theysolved the crime, but there was an underlying dynamic that was just brilliant between the two.
Wolff in fact has said that the union was so good, he immediately wanted to introduce the character into one of his “newer”: shows Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Per the Hollywood Reporter: Munch made his first appearance in 1993 on the first episode of Homicide and his last in 2016 on Law & Order: SVU. In between those two NBC dramas, Belzer played the detective on eight other series, and his hold on the character lasted longer than James Arness’ on Gunsmoke and Kelsey Grammer’s on Cheers and Frasier. Certainly one of the most memorable cops in TV history, Munch — based on a real-life Baltimore detective — was a highly intelligent, doggedly diligent investigator who believed in conspiracy theories, distrusted the system and pursued justice through a jaded eye. He’d often resort to dry, acerbic wisecracks to make his point: “I’m a homicide detective. The only time I wonder why is when they tell me the truth,” went a typical Munch retort.
In a 2016 interview for the website The Interviews: An Oral History of Television, Homicide executive producer Barry Levinson recalled listening to Belzer on The Howard Stern Show and liking him for Munch. “We were looking at some other actors, and when I heard him, I said, ‘Why don’t we find out about Richard Belzer?”
Levinson said. “I like the rhythm of the way he talks. And that’s how that happened.”The pencil-thin Belzer portrayed Munch on all seven seasons of the NBC series. When it ended in 1999, the actor wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to the role. He had appeared as Munch on NBC’s Law & Order three times from 1996-99 and thought he might be a good fit on that show. “When Homicide was canceled, I was in France with my wife and she said, ‘Let’s open a bottle of champagne and toast: You did this character for seven years,’” Belzer recounted in the 2009 book Law & Irder: Special Victims Unit Unofficial Companion. “And then I remembered that Benjamin Bratt was leaving L&O, and so I called my manager and said, ‘Call Dick Wolff — maybe Munch can become [Det. Lennie] Briscoe’s partner’ —- because we had teamed for the crossover. So he called and Dick said, ‘What a great idea, but I’ve already cast Jesse Martin to be the new guy [opposite Jerry Orbach].’”
Wolf, however, was in the process of developing a Law & Order spinoff to focus on the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit, the division that investigates sexually based crimes. He wanted Munch for that. When Law & Order: SVU debuted in September 1999, Munch had relocated from Baltimore to New York to join forces with Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). Capt. Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) was brought over from Law & Order to head the squad. Munch’s sardonic demeanor turned out to be perfect for the grim tone of the series, and Belzer stayed 14 seasons. The character announced his retirement from the NYPD in 2014, but Munch returned a couple years later for the 17th-season episode “Fashionable Crimes.”
I’d often bump into Belzer at The Friars club in NY with Orbach back in the day. He was a real NY-guy. Huge, huge loss.
SHORT TAKES — This whole brouhaha over the re-writing of some of Ronald Dahl’s books (Matilda; James and the Giant Peach; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) is, in my opinion, just absurd. Let me explain it best this way: I am not a fan of the director’s cut or a song being remixed to death. For me, I want to hear a piece of art (movie, TV show, record) exactly the same way I first heard it the first time and the way it was when the artist created it and released it. One of my favorite movies is Blade Runner: I think I understood it the first time I saw it, but I sure loved everything about it. Then came the director’s cut; then came the version without the narration. Neither was better than the original version. I recall trying a bit too hard trying to figure out what the difference was and losing track of the story. And, I feel exactly the same way about this Ronald Dahl-situation. It’s blatant censorship. Art is a very personal choice and what you get out of it is also very personal. Sad for sure … Sighting: PR-pasha David Salidor and staff at Dimmer Summer on Smith Street in Brooklyn Heights …
Micky Dolenz, in NYC next week for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday the 27th, also will be on NY: Live Wednesday interviewed by the terrific Sara Gore.
Saw one of oddest movies I’ve ever seen this past weekend, The Outfit, with Mark Rylance and Zoey Deutsch. Eerily creepy, it seemed like a David Mamet-play at times. Rylance is just stunning as a tailor? Maybe, maybe not. I’d definitely recommend it … Lenny’s, the Brooklyn-pizza shop where John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, gets his pizza in the opening moments of the 1977 film, closed this weekend after 70 years. Talk about staying power. I wonder if club promoter turned manager turned politician Vito Bruno still owns the original dance floor from the movie?
And, from Yellowstone’s Wes Bentley: ‘If you think this has a happy ending, you’re not paying attention.’” Ominous, right?
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Jason Elzy; Plastic EP; Jeff Smith; Andrew Saffir; Paul Yasso; Mary Q.; Marion Perkins; Angela Tarantino; Nancy Andrews; Bruce Grakal; Vinny Napolitano; Keren Red; Andrew Saffir; Guy Pearce; Robert Funaro; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Jeff Smith; and CHIP!
TODD’S AWATS — (from World Cafe) Fifty years ago, Todd Rundgren released his album A Wizard, a True Star, and it sounded like nothing else. World Cafe correspondent John Morrison says Rundgren was pushing boundaries, both in the technical creation of the music but also on a higher level. “Really, the entire approach to sound in this record is exploration of the mind, the spirit, the nature of sound itself,” Morrison says. “Like, the whole album is a trip.” In this session, Morrison takes us on a journey through Rundgren’s A Wizard, a True Star, exploring what the album meant when it came out and how its influence continues to reverberate.
Currently he’s touring with Daryl Hall and there’s a bunch of sessions with Hall that are on Daryl’s House. The way their two voices blend is simply amazing. One of my all-time favorite albums is War Babies, from Hall & Oates in 1974. Just amazing songs and the production, courtesy of Todd, is equally compelling. Stunning!
SHORT TAKES — Joe Pantoliano (Joey Pants) is essaying Morris Levy in the forthcoming play Rock & Roll Man about Alan Freed. Freed is played by Constantine Maroulis. Also coming is the movie Spinning Gold; the story of record exec-Neil Bogart. Both should be something to see … Am reading and reading nothing but rave reviews of Sunday’s Succession on HBO; the first of ten episodes which will wrap up the story. In all the reviews, the writing emerges the star. Jesse Armstrong, a genius for sure. Can’t wait. Check out Roger Friedman’s take from his Showbiz 411: https://www.showbiz411.com/2023/03/22/succession-returns-for-finale-season-sit-down-have-a-drink-or-two-its-intense-as-ever … 79 year old Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer: “Don Simpson (Bruckheimer’s late-producing partner) used to say we’re in the transportation business: we transport you from one place to another” …
Terrific Accused episode this week, starring Jason Ritter in Jack’s Story. Jason, John Ritter’s son was just excellent; the show was just renewed by Fox … Steve Miller, out on the road, has some interesting openers for his upcoming tour: Dave Mason and Joe Bonamassa. Mason’s book (Only You Know and I Know) is out in May … Dennis Scott hosted a special invitation-only Happy Birthday, Mister Rogers event in Nashville for media, TV, radio and music industry professionals, with support from ASCAP, this past Monday.
The event featured special musical performances given by country singer-songwriter Teea Goans, singer-songwriter & guitar virtuoso Parker Hastings, who put a Chet Atkins-like spin on the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood theme song “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” and studio vocalist Gary Janney. Here’s the cake prepared for the event … Happy Bday William Shatner ; Chaka Khan; Reese Witherspoon; and Anthony Pomes!
WOODSTOCK COVER STARS — (Via Best Classic Bands) — Bobbi Ercoline’s name may not be familiar to most, but millions own her photograph: Bobbi, whose last name at the time was Kelly, and her then-boyfriend, Nick Ercoline, were huddled together under a quilt at the 1969 Woodstock festival when photographer Burk Uzzle snapped their picture. The couple, both then 20, were unaware that their photo had even been taken until several months later, when the three-LP Woodstock soundtrack album was released. They were among friends when they first realized the couple on the album cover was them.
“We were passing the jacket around when someone pointed out the staff with the orange and yellow butterfly,” Nick told AARP in 2019 for the organization’s magazine. “That belonged to Herbie, a guy from Huntington Beach, Calif. He was lost and having a bad trip, and we hooked arms with him until he was clear-headed. Then we saw the blanket. Oh my lord, that’s us!”
Bobbi and Nick only lasted one night at Woodstock, and never even got near the stage. They had given it their all trying to get to the festival, ditching their car when traffic became snarled and walking the final two miles. They spent most of their single day there on the hillside where the famous photo was taken.
Two years later, in 1971, they married. They remained together until Bobbi Ercoline’s death Saturday (March 18, 2023).
Nick posted the news on Facebook: “It’s with beyond great sadness that I tell my FB family and friends, that after 54 years of life together, of the death of my beautiful wife, Bobbi, last night surrounded by her family. She lived her life well, and left this world in a much better place. If you knew her, you loved her. She lived by her saying, ‘Be kind.’ As a School Nurse she always championed the kids … ALWAYS! As a person, she always gave. ‘How much do you really need if you have all you need or want?’ So she gave and gave and gave. She didn’t deserve this past year’s nightmare, but she isn’t suffering from the physical pain anymore and that brings some comfort to us.”
We’ve spoken much over the years about how that Woodstock event was so cataclysmic – culturally; musically; and certainly philosophically. Elliot Tiber wrote beautifully about it in his first book Taking Woodstock – a classic if you’ve never read it.
They tried to re-create it in 1994 and though it was good, it just didn’t have that magical flavor of the first one. I wasn’t at either, but as you can imagine, music from that 1969 concert still lives passionately today. I was, however, at Live Aid and that was my Woodstock for sure.
Not to get too poetic, but I came across a great quote yesterday: It’s worth being older now, to have been young then.
SHORT TAKES — Derek & The Dominoes Bobby Whitlock on Jim Gordon: “Carl Radle and Jim Gordon … Didn’t get any better than that. The only other alternative [for Derek and the Dominoes] was Jim Keltner. And that’s who should have been the guy and who was supposed to be the guy. But it didn’t turn out that way. He was busy. The rhythm section of Carl and Jim propelled the songs we put together. Jim Gordon is the most musical drummer I ever heard. All of the drums were in tune. literally tuned to a key on the piano. Big kit. But Jim had this wonderful ability to interpret the nuances you could feel but not hear. Carl was solid as a rock. A downbeat player and right on it. So, we have Carl who is solid and down and Jim who is up and on it. So, it was perpetual motion” …
Do you remember “Vehicle” by The Idea of March back in 1970? It became the fastest-selling single in Warner Brothers history. A little-known fact is that 14 seconds of the completed master of “Vehicle” was accidentally erased in the recording studio, (primarily the guitar solo), and the missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take. The song reached #2 in Billboard, and #1 in Cashbox. The album “Vehicle” reached #55 nationally … Dolly Parton sings with Elton John on “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” on her forthcoming rock ‘n roll album. I bet it’ll sound great, but how many covers of that song has there been? Maybe they should have picked a John/Taupin deep-cut like “Come Down In Time” or “Amoreena.” Just saying … Does the phrase DLYZECOMKIN mean anything to you?
Believe it or not, in one of those crazy-jumble games online, the phrase translates into Micky Dolenz. Crazy, right? See for yourself: https://invasion24.com/2023/03/19/daily-jumble-puzzle-answers-march-19-2023/
… Speaking of Dolenz, he departs Thursday on a Flower Power Cruise; then starts his Headquarters-tour on April 1 in Orlando …
Charles F. Rosenay does the Zach Martin Big Fat American Podcast next week, for his new release, The Book of Top 10 Beatles Lists (KIWI Publishing) … HAPPY BDAY Gia Ramsey!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Carol Geiser; Bob Meyerowitz; eYada; Andy Rosen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Paul Haig; Terry Jastrow; Anthony Pomes; Mark Bego; Charles F. Rosenay; Bill Graham; Kip Cohen; Heather Moore; Charley Crespo; [Robert Miller; John Luongo; LIME; Carl Strube; Jen Ramos; and CHIP!
Carmine Appice and David Salidor
SIXX APPICE –— (Via Ultimate Clsssic Rock) Nikki Sixx spoke out against Carmine Appice’s claim that guitarist Mick Mars had been in dispute with his bandmates in the run-up to his retirement from Motley Crue. Mars’ departure was announced on the completion of their 2022 Stadium Tour, with John 5 named as his replacement soon afterwards. The official reason given was that Mars’ longterm illness had finally caught up with him – but in a recent interview, former Ozzy Osbourne and Vanilla Fudge drummer Appice suggested otherwise.
“[Mars] told me, ‘When I was on the Stadium Tour, I was not happy,’” Appice told Ultimate Guitar. “Basically, everything was on tape; it was all planned out and ultimately a lot of crap. … The truth is that everything has been weird for a while with Motley Crue… Mick told me that people that came to see it could tell that it was all pre-recorded and that everything was on tape.”
Appice added that Mars “would travel alone on a bus while the other guys flew everywhere,” and continued: “He said, ‘Man, these guys are pissing their money away, flying to every gig.’ They were all busy still trying to be rock stars, and Mick just wanted to play the music. … [T]here were a lot of disagreements. I think he was just done.” When Mars was told about Crue’s World Tour with Def Leppard, Appice claimed, the guitarist told his colleagues: “You can do it. I’m not going out with you for this.”
Earlier this week Sixx appeared to refer indirectly to Appice’s comments, tweeting: “Love how people talk FOR us without talking TO us. This is why the media has lost credibility. Obviously by printing BS they make money off of advertising and we’re not into that clickbait game. When the truth comes out it will be FROM us.”
But he was more direct during a Twitter Q&A session last night. “A washed up drummer trying to speak for us? And bottom feeder media running with it to make money off of lies? Welcome to the sad new world of LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME,” the bassist wrote.
He more or less repeated the same answer when asked: “Is what Carmine Appice said true?” Sixx replied: “A washed up drummer speaking for our band without any of the facts is as ridiculous as bottom feeder media running with stories without fact checking. When you hear the truth it will be from us.” He later commented: “It’s a funny money game.”
Crue will continue on the road through much of the year. Asked if 5’s status in the group was secure, Sixx stated: “Of course. He’s our guitar player. We have big plans.
Seems like there’s really a rumble in the metal-jungle. First off, I love these names … but, the name ‘Carmine Appice’ actually sounds pretty normal.
The metal world is a rough one for sure with fanzines named Blabbermouth; Louder Sound; Metal Edge; Metal Anarchy; Chaoszine; and Metal Injection. Remember, look before you leap!
SHORT TAKES — Growing up, every Sunday night was family-dinner night at the steak-eatery The Longhorn in Rockville Center, Long Island. Sure it was a long-time ago, but the memory survives (as does the memory of our favorite waiter Tomas). Did you know that Micky Dolenz’s father George, owner and operated a restaurant in the heart of the Sunset Strip called The Marquis? The always regal-Alison Martino did a terrific piece on it, check it out here: https://martinostimemachine.blogspot.com/2022/02/the-marquis-restaurant-once-located-on.html?m=1&mibextid=uc01c0&fbclid=IwAR3wCiU_sgRmpjqWGpda_mEHthrj7OS1UfLOVkvYdbfVP_d5Iz0fO-KZbUw
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