Today is this blog’s 14th birthday. In keeping with annual custom, here’s a rundown of some favorite posts that have appeared here since last July 11. You can find the rundowns for other years by clicking here, or visit “jb’s Greatest Hits” at the top of the blog anytime.
—The Sirius/XM Yacht Rock channel periodically cycles between the regular S/XM service and streaming only (it’s on the service again for the summer), but people are apparently finding it wherever it is. A post I wrote about it last July often gets as many hits in an average week as the new posts I write, which is both flattering and moderately depressing in similar amounts.
—I seem to have written more tribute posts in the last year than I did the year before, a year in which it seemed like death claimed a new victim in the music world nearly every week. I wrote about Glen Campbell, Fats Domino, Tom Petty, David Cassidy, Mel Tillis, Vic Damone, and Walter Becker.
—Following Becker’s death, I ranked my favorite Steely Dan songs and their albums. I also ranked the songs on famous albums by Elton John, the Cars, and the Rolling Stones, which you can find by visiting the archives of The Re-Listening Project.
—We learned about the history behind several songs celebrating their 50th anniversaries: “Ode to Billie Joe,” Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey,” “Snoopy’s Christmas,” and Henson Cargill’s country-to-pop crossover “Skip a Rope.” A Vietnam-era record not celebrating a round-number anniversary got the same treatment.
—There was, as usual, some stuff about radio at this blog this year: about how the way one station chose to promote itself had an unintended effect; about how to prepare for a radio show and how to keep ads voiced by clients from sounding as crappy as they often do; about the granddaddy of all holiday radio shows; and about one of the greatest of all radio DJs at work on a random day in 1971.
—We watched some TV, including the unlikely Starland Vocal Band Show from 1977 and a radio sitcom that predated WKRP in Cincinnati by a decade. We watched some Elvis movies. We read some books, including one about the impact of drugs on the Beatles and another about the secret history of 1968. We listened to American Top 40 after having a few beers. We traveled a bit, to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Bob Dylan’s childhood home.
—One morning last summer, I went for a walk around my own childhood home—the Wisconsin farm I grew up on. Forty years ago this summer, it was nearly time to leave that home, as I graduated from high school. (All these years later, there are certain memories from that time I’d rather not relive.) I remembered another summer when I was a lot younger, and the way it came echoing back to me years later. And I wrote about the things we don’t know.
In this post, I have yet again badly misused and/or overused the editorial “we,” which is also in keeping with annual custom.
After a ridiculous number of years doing business at this stand (and at my other stand, One Day in Your Life), I remain grateful for your eyeballs. And more than just eyeballs—I have been gifted out of the blue with some wonderful stuff as a result of the relationships that this blog has fostered. As great as the stuff is, however, it’s the relationships that are the best thing about this blog. My thanks to all.