Flashback: “Intermezzo” by Pietro Mascagni

Without looking, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve had a piece of classical music on the Flashback series.

It was announced Wednesday that Jake LaMotta, the former middleweight boxing champ, had passed away at the age of 95. His life was turned into one of the best sports movies all time for my money, Raging Bull, which premiered in 1980. It brilliantly portrayed the good and bad about prizefighting and LaMotta at the time, and how the Mafia had an influence on the fight game on the East Coast, even telling fighters to stage outcomes of their battles and take dives. No issue was taboo, and the movie didn’t pull any punches about LaMotta’s phobias and paranoia.

Rest in peace, champ. Here’s hoping you don’t go down for anyone in the hereafter as was the case in real life.

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Flashback: “Circle In The Sand” by Belinda Carlisle

This single from the former Go-Go’s singer went to #7 on the Billboard charts in 1988. It got stuck in my head thanks to our mutual friend Irma.

In the summer of 1988, I spent a week up in Charlotte, North Carolina to visit relatives. You’d hear the various radio station markets going up Interstate 4, 95, 26, 20, and then 77 up there, and I swore on the trip up an back a week later I must have heard the song about a dozen times. Didn’t get bored with it though.

Flashback: “FM (No Static At All)” by Steely Dan

I thought I’d honor the passing of Walter Becker, who co-founded the Steely Dan pop/rock/jazz group that had so many catchy songs in the 70’s and 80’s, including this particular song which peaked at #22 in 1978. It also was also the name of a movie that was a released the same year about a fictional Los Angeles rock station where the DJ’s stage a mutiny of sorts against their corporate owners, with the song prominent within the film and its soundtrack.

True story: one of my fake radio names was a play on Walter’s name: Walter Pecker. I didn’t care, I thought it was funny. Worth a listen.

Flashback: “Honky Tonk Women” by The Rolling Stones

Just got done listening to the “11/22/63” audio book. (Great job by long time actor Craig Wasson on the narration, by the way.) I’m not going to spoil the plot, but this song plays a key role in the breakup of the two main characters, Jake/George and Sadie Dunhill.

The song itself was a big hit, topping the charts for four weeks on the US Billboard charts in August of 1969. Worth a listen.

 

Flashback: “Blinded By The Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

If you looked up at the eclipse on Monday (didn’t they tell you not to do that?) and you suddenly have vision problems, this is for you.

This Bruce Springsteen cover (“The Boss” originally record the song in 1973) topped the charts in early 1977 for a week, giving the South African Mann a second number one hit, with “Doo Wah Diddy Diddy” being his first in October of 1964 without the Earth Band.

Flashback: “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glen Campbell

On Tuesday, country and pop singer Glen Campbell passed away at the age of 81. His last years as a performer were well chronicled in a documentary, where Glen was shown fighting the memory loss that came with Alzheimer's disease, the illness I know of from it claiming my maternal grandfather in 1985 and grandmother in 1994.

Glen had two songs, this and "Southern Nights" two years later, that would top both the Top 40 and country charts. He was one of scores of artists from that era that were successful in both realms, so I guess there wasn't a lot of difference between the two types of music as consumers saw it back then.

He also acted in several movies and TV shows, including appearing with John Wayne in the 1969 film True Grit where Wayne plays a marshal named Rooster Cogburn in the first of two appearances in that role, the later coming in 1975. There's that year again.

When I mentioned his passing on my Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, it was mentioned that "Rhinestone Cowboy" was the first song one of my friends had remembered. I can still see the 45 my parents copy of the song, spinning on a record player with the red Capitol record label. And as long as I can remember that, he won't be forgotten.