Rhinofy-WABC Top Ten-2/24/65

1. “This Diamond Ring”
Gary Lewis & the Playboys

Cowritten by our Lefsetz favorite, Al Kooper. However, Al was horrified by this take until the royalty checks started piling in. Al saw it as a soul number. And I’m including Al’s take from his 1977 album “Act Like Nothing’s Wrong,” check it out.

But Gary Lewis’s version was different. Haunting, very sixties.

Let’s see, February 1965. We were one year into the British Invasion, long enough for the hysteria to die down and allow American acts onto the chart.

And this week I spent with my parents at the Concord, in Kiamesha Lake, New York. Sick from a rained-out Christmas in Vermont, they wanted to take no chances, the Concord had a ski area, however minimal.

It also had entertainment. That week Neil Sedaka. I was too young to know “Calendar Girl” when it was a hit, but I remember hearing Neil perform it that evening, and banging the knockers on the table instead of clapping…that’s what you did.

Who wants to buy this diamond ring
She took it off her finger now it doesn’t mean a thing

How different from today, where everybody’s a winner, not only in rap but pop. What did Pink sing…that the party could finally start because she arrived? Make me puke.

Life is full of losses. Big ones and little ones. And when you experience discomfort, you turn to the tunes.

And you saved them up for when they were necessary. I’m not sure I’d been rejected when I first heard “This Diamond Ring,” but I certainly have been since!

2. “Downtown”
Petula Clark

How did you pronounce it? “Pet” like the animal or “Petch”? I’m still not sure. But I’m absolutely positive this was a huge smash that winter. My little sister bought the single.

Although British, this was a respite from the usual male stuff. We had no idea that Petula had been at it for years, was not brand new, this was back before the internet provided all the answers.

Brings you right back. This track was made for the listener only, even if you were listening in a group.

So GO DOWNTOWN
Where all the lights are bright
DOWNTOWN
Waiting for you tonight
DOWNTOWN
You’re gonna be all right now…

3. “Eight Days A Week”
The Beatles

You know it by heart, doesn’t everybody?

Obviously not on Spotify, but just click the chip in your brain and you’ll hear it.

From my favorite Beatles album, “Beatles For Sale,” but I didn’t know that until the CDs came out in America in their proper form decades later.

The way the song comes over the hill, the way it gets louder, John Lennon’s vocal, the handclaps, the bridge…a stone cold smash. Then, now and forevermore.

4. “My Girl”
The Temptations

I was just too young.

I’d had my first girlfriend. I even looked her up online, took me years, positively horrifying, never mess with your memories.

But, I hadn’t had enough love experience to fully understand “My Girl.” Of course it’s a masterpiece, but I’ve recognized this more as the years have gone by, sometimes you hear something so many times it seems less than special, but in this case that is wrong, it doesn’t get much better than this.

5. “The Name Game”
Shirley Ellis

Okay, let’s do CHUCK!

The funny thing is this song gets little airplay, but every baby boomer can sing its complicated lyrics.

Come on…

Arnold!
Arnold, Arnold bo Barnold Bonana fanna fo Farnold
Fee fy mo Marnold, Arnold!

6. “Goldfinger”
Shirley Bassey

Remember when they flipped over the pool table and there was a model of Fort Knox?!

“Goldfinger” was the movie that ensconced James Bond in the public consciousness, it was the one with the tricked-out Aston Martin they exhibited at the New York World’s Fair.

One can argue the film’s predecessor, “From Russia With Love,” was superior, but “Goldfinger” was in your face, it had Pussy Galore, it had this track.

The girl was literally painted gold. Story was they left part of her skin unpainted, otherwise she would have died.

Nothing like the British Invasion numbers, this was still from the island nation and its bombast was foreign enough to stop us in our tracks and mesmerize us.

7. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”
The Righteous Brothers

Nearly Phil Spector’s last hurrah. A throwback to what had come before…before the Beatles, who ultimately used Spector themselves.

To say this was overplayed… It was ubiquitous, it made me yearn for more British Invasion stuff on the radio. Like “My Girl,” I’ve come to love it as time has gone by. You know what turned me? Bill Medley’s duet with Jennifer Warnes on “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” from the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack.

There used to be movies like this, that the whole nation rallied around because they captured the zeitgeist from years gone by. Stuff like “American Graffiti” and “Dirty Dancing.” It wasn’t real, but in some way it was. I refused to see “Dirty Dancing” in the theatre, but my then wife and I rented the videotape and couldn’t stop watching it for the twenty four hours until we returned it. And hearing Bill Medley’s voice connected me to this classic track from ’64 and I came to love it, just like everybody else.

8. “Stop! In The Name Of Love”
The Supremes

My favorite is “Come See About Me,” but I always loved this.

Imagine, there were two camps competing for our attention, England and Michigan. Two different sounds, that came from the same roots but were oh-so-different.

And the Wrecking Crew in L.A., creating the Brian Wilson classics.

It was a golden era.

9. “The Boy From New York City”
The Ad Libs

This is why I’m writing this list… I heard this on Sirius XM this afternoon and it made my day.

I disliked this way back when… It seemed like a cheesy throwback. But all these years later, it’s just COOL!

Do kids know this? Does Kidz Bop do a cover?

They should, it’s infectious in any incarnation.

10. “Hurt So¬† Bad”
Little Anthony and the Imperials

My favorite is “Goin’ Out Of My Head,” but this ethereal number resonates too.

A winter song, no one is this depressed, no one is this interior during the summer.

That’s one great thing about living on the east coast, the miserable weather, having you playing board games and listening to the radio and your records daydreaming…about both the pitfalls and the way life can be.

Rhinofy-WABC Top Ten-2/24/65

My Birthday

Reality or the myth, take your pick!

Greetings from my birthday, wherein I hit the trifecta, a pastrami sandwich at Langer’s, a movie (two, actually) and a hot fudge sundae. The tradition was established back in ’77, when it all came together by accident. My girlfriend introduced me to Langer’s. I introduced her to C.C. Brown’s. And we went to see “Annie Hall” on the day it opened. Pretty memorable, and I’ve been trying to touch all the bases ever since.

But not last year, last year I spent getting a root canal.

But this year?

I was worried Langer’s was going to go out of business. We went early, I had to get back to the Westside to see my shrink, and I was shocked to see ropes outside, to handle the crowd. Made me smile, as did my number #19, their legendary sandwich. That’s pastrami, Swiss cheese, cole slaw and Russian dressing piled high between two slices of warm, corn rye bread. I know, I know, sounds like too much. I used to be a purist, I used to go for only the meat and the bread and some mustard. Swiss cheese is not such a stretch, but cole slaw? That’s what puts the concoction over the top. The Russian dressing glues it all together, but it’s the cole slaw that adds zest. I recommend it.

And after my doctor’s appointment we went to the Apple Store, so I could check out the watches.

Talk about confusing.

But what’s even worse is the clerk was clueless. They didn’t know who they were dealing with. I’d done my research, I knew more than she did. And I’d like to tell you I’m down with the help, but when I schlepp all the way out there and my appointment is winding down I get frustrated, I can’t hold back my feelings.

I got a new clerk. Pete. And he made sense of it all to me.

And it’s all pretty senseless. The media focuses on functionality, but Apple is focusing on style. My instincts tell me to buy the cheapest one, knowing it will be superseded in a year, at most, but the Sport only comes with an elastomer band, and the leather one is so much more comfortable. The Milanese strap is cool. But now the price is stratospheric. So, do I buy the middle model, called the “Watch,” so I can get a good band or do I go with the Sport… I’m gonna have to do more research.

And then we drove to Beverly Hills to see “Gett,” the highest-rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes. My mother hipped me to it, she lives to go to the movies. And I’d like to recommend the flick but I cannot do so. It’s a courtroom drama that’s only in the courtroom. About a gett, which is basically a divorce for the non-Jews out there. And some amazing stuff comes out, and it’s stunning that Israelis focus on the intellectual while we Americans applaud comic books, but the truth is if it was on TV, you’d turn it off.

And then to the Landmark.

That’s right, a second movie on the same day. It’s only the second movie I’ve seen in a theatre this year, but I used to do this all the time. Three on a Saturday was not exceptional. Four was done now and again. Back when movies drove the culture and when the lights went down I was transported to a world where feelings were king and I was feeling all right.

The movie we went to see was “While We’re Young.”

I was interested because of its writer/director, Noah Baumbach. “The Squid and the Whale” was fantastic. “Greenberg” missed the mark, but I’m a believer.

And this film turned out to be everything the hype said it was not.

The hype was all about the Adams, Horovitz and Driver.

If you didn’t watch the credits, you’d have never known it was a Beastie Boy.

As for Adam Driver… He’s a star. He’s off-putting on “Girls” at first, but he’s got this weird charisma. And there’s even more of it in evidence here.

So the set-up is Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are fortysomething and childless. And they become friends with the twentysomething couple of Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. Ben and Naomi become intrigued by the carefree lifestyle of the married young ‘uns.

And that’s a theme of the picture. Aging. Done quite well. It resonated on my birthday.

But not so much as the business lesson.

Ben is a documentary filmmaker. He had some early success, but he’s been stuck on the same flick for ten years now.

Adam Driver is a wannabe.

And Naomi Watts produces the films of her father, legendary documentarian Charles Grodin. It’s creepy to see Grodin so old when he was so young and vibrant in the “Heartbreak Kid.”

But we all age. But will our dreams come true?

You remember dreams.

They used to be a house in the suburbs, two cars and three kids.

That dream is gone, even though some still believe that manual labor and service work will get you close. Good luck with that.

And then there are those of us who are searching for something more.

We’re students of the game. We read the newspapers. Even the self-help books. We think we know what’s going on.

But we don’t.

Because success has got nothing to do with the facts and everything to do with the edges.

That’s right. Are you willing to bend the truth, are you willing to lie, cheat and steal because everybody else does it and that’s what you need to do to make it?

Don’t argue with me. Your band may be incredible, but without a great manager you’ll never succeed. David Krebs made Aerosmith. Not better, but rich and famous.

Truth is for pussies. Facebook is constantly changing the rules, getting in trouble for experiments, doing things you’d never do. Kind of like the government. If you don’t think Edward Snowden is a hero, you think the government is trustworthy. And isn’t it funny that the people saying Snowden is a traitor are the same people saying there’s got to be less government? Head-spinning, I know, but so is life.

That’s what separates the winners from the losers. Those who know how to bend the rules, or employ someone who does. Those who know expedience trumps legality every day of the week. Those who know some get caught breaking the code, but few do, and usually it’s those further down the food chain who are poor and unconnected.

And Ben Stiller realizes all this.

Maybe there are exceptions, Bob Dylan said to live outside the law you’ve got to be honest. But are you really living outside the law, speaking truth to power? And never forget Dylan had Albert Grossman, and without him you’d probably have never heard of the bard from Hibbing, Minnesota.

Stiller can’t believe it when his fantasy is dashed. He’s judging himself for being too selfish, too narcissistic, and this is just what the winners want you to do, to be self-effacing about irrelevant crap while they run rampant all over you. Stiller exposes the truth, but no one cares.

And there’s more than that. The manipulations of Driver. The younger generation’s disrespect for intellectual property rights.

But what “While We’re Young” is really about is…

You’ve got to cheat to win.

There, I said it.

And if you’re arguing with me, you’re a loser.

P.S. After the flick we went to Baskin-Robbins, where the parking spaces were limited to 31 minutes, get it?

P.P.S. When I was broke in 1975, I used my birthday coupons to eat dinner at the Reno Baskin-Robbins. That’s right, my little sister sent me five bucks worth, I was in town to exchange Hart Freestyle skis.

P.P.P.S. Got back home and pulled up “Silicon Valley” on HBO. You’d think it was L.A. in the seventies. All the money and excitement. Only this time it was tech and then it was music. They still make music, but tech rules, because it impacts everybody. The show is so well done… The superfluous spending, the VC rats who glom on to the coders. It’s just like the record business, only there are a lot more zeros and it counts. Also, Mike Judge is poking fun. No one pokes fun in music anymore, they’re too busy drinking the kool-aid.

P.P.P.P.S. After turning off “Silicon Valley”, Jon Stewart was on. He was comparing the Atlanta cheating scandal to Wall Street. He played it out so well… The difference was the teachers had remorse and went to jail. The financial firms paid small fines, admitted no responsibility and one person went to jail. Proving once again, cheaters win.

P.P.P.P.P.S. You’ve got to watch this YouTube video, it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen this week (thanks Larry!) And like the greatest humor, it’s funny because of the core truth…

“Tidal – End The Suffering”

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. What you read in books and papers is the myth. Insiders don’t want you to know the truth, then you might horn in on their game. But you probably won’t, your conscience won’t allow you to. But you don’t get to complain when others win and you don’t. Never forget that.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Everything worth learning happens in life, not school. If you don’t know anybody, you’ll never make it. People don’t get MBAs for the education, but the connection. You go to the Ivys for the better class of people you get to meet. Winners don’t whine and winners have no time. Mentor, schmentor. Identify the winners and try to get closer. Abandon those without the killer instinct, who are not climbing the ladder. Time is ticking. Careers are war, but unlike in the Middle East, they’re time-stamped. Use every “friend,” take no time off unless it’s to recharge your batteries. Or be resigned to middle management.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Family trumps business. Have a couple of kids who call you “Pa” and you’ll probably be happier than the business titans. Who might have children but don’t go to the Little League games. That’s right, you cannot have it all. It’s your choice. The game of life is hard. Hopefully you’ve got someone telling you the truth. My father always did. But he was a lone wolf who believed no one in business was his friend. And he was right, they weren’t.

Hausfrau

I’m an alienated person. I feel too much and I don’t fit in.

I’m not sure when I recognized this. Probably sometime in elementary school. When I thought doing well would result in happiness, when I couldn’t handle being the most popular kid in class. And when you fall from the throne you end up in the abyss. And the funny thing about life is it’s nearly impossible to get back to where you once belonged, to recover and be who you once were, who you desire to be again.

The literature tells us otherwise. The rags to riches story has been replaced by one of failure. That’s today’s mantra, that you must fail to succeed, that your losses make you stronger. But what if you can’t recover from your losses? Or what if you lose and you never grasp the brass ring. All the stories are about the winners. And the rest of us are not losers, but somewhere in the middle, living our lives with a few laughs and unsure direction, confounded by the length of life before it gets too short.

I just finished reading “Hausfrau.” The review intrigued me. An expat wife living in Switzerland who sees a psychiatrist and keeps having affairs.

I see a psychiatrist. You’re not supposed to admit that. It means you’re crazy. Especially if you’re male. You’re supposed to buck up and solve your own problems, and certainly not announce them.

But Anna won’t tell her shrink the truth. She’s completely isolated.

Or maybe she’s not, maybe it’s just viewpoint.

That’s what I love about great art, it speaks to my alienation, it makes me feel like I belong. I can relate to the song, book or movie with no other human beings involved. Suddenly, the world make sense. I fit in. Someone else feels like I do.

Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Someone who feels what we do? Who’s been there? Who understands us?

Cheryl Strayed says we’re all outsiders. We all feel less than. But I don’t see that in popular culture, where the essence is to belong.

I was never good at belonging.

Belonging means compromise. Of not only your identity, but your values.

Want to belong as a guy?

Make fun of others. For their bodies, for their names, for their behavior.

I’m never gonna do that. I’ve been made fun of too much to behave that way. I’ve got sympathy for those who don’t fit in. But the guy with the broken glasses, the girl who’s twenty five pounds overweight with the ill-fitting clothes…is my sympathy for them justified? Do they feel persecuted or am I just reading myself into their appearance. Life is a struggle. I want to hug them, but maybe unlike me they’re fine.

Or maybe they’re not.

And life is about hoops.

But I stopped jumping through those long ago.

But once you stop jumping, you end up in a backwater from which you can never recover. There are no kids to show up when you’re aged and ill. You suddenly find yourself without enough money to retire. You look back and you see you got off track and you didn’t even realize it. Life passed you by. You’re on a spur when everybody else is coursing to the destination on the main line.

But I was never one to have a job, a home and a wife. I would say I didn’t deserve them, but I know that is untrue. Everybody deserves them, everybody is entitled to them. But I wanted to pursue that feeling I get when I bond with art.

“Hausfrau” is not a perfect book. For a minute there, I thought I was reading “Fifty Shades Of Gray.” Or a tome by a poet angry that a newbie writer could make so much dough writing a bad, smutty book.

But “Hausfrau” is not that. It’s the story of someone who jumped through the hoops and then realized they didn’t work for her, did not make her happy. She flailed, she despaired…

I’ve done that.

Ever called an old friend at four in the morning after a night of imbibing, believing they’re the only one who will understand you, make you feel all right?

I’ve done that. Don’t. It doesn’t work. It’s more about you than them, they don’t get your mood or your situation. You’re not in college anymore. And even though you and she might have shared a bed and she even thinks about you now and again she’s in bed with someone else right now.

Don’t read “Hausfrau” if you’re a guy with more answers than questions. You won’t get it.

And don’t read “Hausfrau” if you’re a woman who believes in having it all. Anna will just piss you off.

But read “Hausfrau” if you wonder if you have a best friend, if anybody really understands you.

Read “Hausfrau” if you find being alone more comfortable than attending social functions.

Read “Hausfrau” if you’ve experienced despair. If people think you have it all but you think you don’t. If you read books and watch movies and listen to music and think that the creators know your story and if you could just meet them your life would work.

That is untrue.

You’re on your own.

But the conundrum is we are all in it together.

And deep down inside we’re all a little bit alienated. We all feel inadequate. And we need someone to shine a light on this subject.

The best art does.

Jill Alexander Essbaum has here.

P.S. The book struggles with the denouement. The interweaving of the German lessons becomes tiresome. Ultimately the book is a failure. But so is life. We live, we die. And if there’s a beacon of truth we cling to it. There are beacons in “Hausfrau.”

Hausfrau: A Novel

Data Kills Tidal

“The numbers don’t lie: Jay-Z’s Tidal music service is already a spectacular flop”

Live by the data, die by the data.

In other words, Jay Z’s not so smart. He may have been able to extract cash from Samsung, but he’s living in the last decade, if not the last century.

You remember the 1990’s, don’t you? When the music business was controlled by labels and you couldn’t play without radio, money and MTV, when acts were invulnerable and there was a clear distinction between them and us.

No more.

Once again, Guy Oseary screws up. I wonder if anybody at Artist Nation has a clue. Bring back Paul McGuinness. There were never these missteps when he was involved. He knew it was about hustle more than the big idea. I say dissolve the organization and make these managers sink or float on their own, because they’ve positively lost track, if they were ever on it at all.

The days of hype are through. You can throw it against the wall, but it’s never gonna stick. It only sticks through hard work, a ground effort wherein you bond with your fans in mutual respect as opposed to bitching that you’re poor and you’re gonna save the music business when all you’re really interested in is saving yourself.

When you read the above article, you’ll learn that the Tidal app fell out of the top 700 on the download chart. If you had a number that low on SoundScan, you’d be selling enough copies of your LP to keep you in Coke. And I mean the drink, not the drug. Today opinions don’t matter, facts do. And the fact is the public is not embracing Tidal. Jay Z’s army is composed of those on stage with him, there are limits to his power, despite a fawning press eating up all his prognostications. As for the brain dead “artists” in business with him, their image has taken a hit. Whereas Marcus Mumford looks good by pooh-poohing the moribund music service:

“Mumford & Sons Diss Jay Z’s Tidal”

We’re at an inflection point. Where you have to decide if you’re a musician, or a business…man.

Turns out musicians have to love the music. Have to do it for the experience, not the cash. Because they just can’t make as much as their heroes, the corporate fat cats who rain down a couple of dollars in sponsorship money now and again. The artists’ power is in their believability, their credibility, pop may be heading for the cash register, but now is the time for real artists to grab the reins and head off into the stratosphere with their fanbase intact.

You know your fanbase… The people who go to your shows, who stream your music, who follow you online.

That’s all that matters when we discuss winners and losers, the data. Don’t complain about your Spotify payouts, trumpet how many people have actually listened to your music. Enough do and you’ll have a career. You’ll have enough dough to eat, sleep and drink. And if you’re looking for more, you’re in the wrong business. The Beatles didn’t get into it to be rich, the English musicians who created classic rock were just desirous of avoiding a life of drudgery in the factory. Stop complaining that someone stole your income and start creating. When did the United States become a nation of whiners? Bitching that someone not only moved their cheese, but stole it too. Music burgeoned when we were all in it together, an alternative to the crass corporations, the establishment, the man. Now Jay Z is the man, and that’s not very appealing to the populace.

Nor is the prospect of viewing exclusive content behind a paywall. When you’re used to seeing it for free on YouTube. You mean I pay a hundred bucks for a lousy ticket in the back and you’ve got to dun me for more? I’m struggling too!

And you’ve got to struggle to make it. You don’t get a million YouTube views overnight. You’ve got to find your groove, flesh out your act, maybe music is not your metier.

But once you’ve broken through you cannot break the bond with those who put you there. And the bond is not with the press, but the paying audience. We can see the smoke behind the mirrors, and we can see whether you’re real or not.

And Tidal is not real.

What if you gave a press conference and the press gave you a pass, doing no analysis, and the public rejected your offering?

Then you’d be living in the modern world where the media is in bed with politicians, corporations and the famous and the public is alienated.

Once upon a time, the public relied on the artists to salve their wounds, to point the way. Now they rely on each other.

That’s right, it’s more entertaining to correspond on Snapchat or Instagram than to listen to the words of blowhards. And even if we’re talking about you, you may not know we’re laughing behind your back.

No one wanted to do the hard work at Tidal, no one wanted to do the heavy lifting.

Spotify was in the States for three plus years before Taylor Swift blinked, before most people even knew what it was. But Tidal thinks it can jump-start success?

Apple’s got a head start because it’s got a platform already, that people are visiting, and it’s got everybody’s credit card number. That’s the heavy lifting.

Spotify is trying to convince people to pay for music.

What is Tidal doing? TRYING TO MAKE ITS OWNERS RICHER!

Saving the pocketbooks of the artists. Who cares about that.

Fans are already giving artists tons of money. What is up with the wealth transfer? It’s no wonder the public rejected Tidal. Just like they reject everybody who talks down to them. Can you hear me Mitt Romney, chiding the 47%?

It’s a new world baby. To last you need a foundation. And that foundation is quantifiable. Either you’re gaining streams and views and fans or you’re not. And if you’re not, it’s your fault. You don’t make mainstream music. That’s cool. BUT YOU DON’T GET TO BITCH THAT YOU CAN’T GET PAID!

And if you’re lucky enough to have made it, know that your artistic capital is not forever. You’ve got to think about your audience first. Instead of ripping people off, figure out a way to get the true fans in the good seats. A fan will pay for decades, and without fans you’re nothing.

So the curtain has been pulled back.

And what we’ve found out is the music business is populated by greedy artists and business people who care not a whit about those propping up their culture.

Yes, Guy Oseary can get Apple to push U2’s new album to everybody, but he can’t even get the band to sell out arenas:

“Can U2 Reach Me Now? Ticket Sales, Radio Airplay Down In U.S.”

And sure, not many tickets are left. But this story broke because the data’s freely available, you can search Ticketmaster and StubHub and LivingSocial. We know what’s hot.

And you know what isn’t?

TIDAL!