All posts tagged: David Foster

Player1970s

The Popdose Interview: Peter Beckett of Player

Remember the band Player? Sure you do…and even if you think you don’t, it’ll only take three words to remind you who they are: “Baby Come Back.” That’s not by any means to suggest that there’s no more to the band than their biggest hit, mind you: they released four albums during their original run during the late ’70s and early ’80s, and despite regular claims to the contrary by the misinformed, they actually had two – count ’em – TWO top-10 hits (the other being “This Time I’m In It For Love”), and although the band’s line-up has fluctuated over the years, Player continues to reform on occasion for live dates and, believe it or not, even has a new album: Too Many Reasons, released on Frontiers Records. Popdose was fortunate enough to chat with frontman Peter Beckett about the band’s reemergence, along with a deep discussion of his past musical endeavors, including stories about opening for Jimi Hendrix and The Who, co-writing an Olivia Newton-John classic, and more. Popdose: You and Ronn Moss …

We aren't all that crazy about the logo design on the album cover, either.

World’s Worst Songs: “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago

Wait, what? Chicago’s third single, “25 or 6 to 4,” was released in the summer of 1970, and it is flat awesome. It proves just how hard a horn band can rock, and it makes supposed bad-asses like Van Halen sound like pussies. Sixteen years later, under the influence of heaven knows what, the band and producer David Foster decided to update “25 or 6 to 4” for a new generation on the album Chicago 18, but the result was one of the World’s Worst Songs. The reason couldn’t be simpler: the new “25 or 6 to 4” has absolutely none of what made the original so great. New lead singer Jason Scheff is not particularly offensive on it, but he’s neither Terry Kath nor Peter Cetera, either. Foster chose to bury the iconic horn section in an ocean of drum machines and other then-cutting-edge electronics. If you’ve ever hammered the gas pedal in an underpowered car and been frustrated when the thing refuses to speed up, you’ll understand what it’s like to listen to …

Wandering the Aisles: Neil Diamond Turns on His Heartlight

Yesterday, Neil Diamond was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011. It was the ultimate recognition for the iconic singer-songwriter, responsible for some of the brightest folk-pop moments of the ‘60s and ‘70s – not to mention the most mind-blowing soundtrack to my town’s annual Labor Day fireworks display. While the man may be ironically appreciated for his bombastic vocal delivery or David Wild-approved Jewishness, Diamond is clearly more than that, as good pop geeks should know. Come on, the guy wrote two of the best pop singles of the ‘60s in “I’m a Believer” and “Cherry Cherry”! However, none of Diamond’s musical brilliance can explain or justify why the only of his albums I own is 1982’s Heartlight. And it’s not just an album taking up space on my shelf; it’s an album taking up three spaces on my shelf, as an LP, a cassette and – thanks to the good people of my local Super A&P Food Market – a moderately-priced CD. Even as a man who frequently …

Soundtrack Saturday: “Two of a Kind”

A couple months ago I was browsing around the vinyl section at my local Half-Price Books when I came across a near-mint copy of the soundtrack to Two of a Kind (1983), the film that reteamed John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John after Grease, the highest-grossing movie of 1978. Now, I know that when I wrote about Staying Alive (1983) last fall I was giving myself some shit for writing about a Travolta movie, and I promised myself it would be the only Travolta movie I’d write about. But when I found this soundtrack, I knew I’d have to break that promise. I mean, a movie like Two of a Kind is made for this column, don’t you think? And yes, I know it’s been brought up on Popdose before, along with its soundtrack, but it hasn’t been covered yet by me! As with many of my favorite bad movies from the ’80s, Two of a Kind is one of those films I used to watch on cable all the time as a kid. I imagine …

Unsolicited Career Advice for … D’Angelo

Many thanks to Reader Jeff (an old pal from my Rutgers days) for reminding me about the time Uncle Donnie was invited up on stage at a D’Angelo show to play tambourine. Well, he wasn’t really invited; he just kinda wandered up there. But according to Jeff, Donnie had some mad percussion skills, so much so that D’Angelo didn’t notice him until the encore. Jeff also mentioned the air in the arena was thick with the scent of the stuff we used to smell coming out of “Boner” Bonaski’s room on the weekends. Anyway, Uncle Donnie recently had some words for D’Angelo, and I faithfully reprint them here. – RS TO: D’Angelo FROM: Don Skwatzenschitz RE: Career advice Nine years? Could it really be nine years since you dropped Voodoo on us, made everyone who heard you a fan, wowed everyone who saw you live with one of the great soul tours of the last two or three decades, excited all the women who thought they were seeing you naked in that video (including Mitzi, …

Basement Songs: Josh Groban, “You Raise Me Up”

I’d like to pay tribute to my mother-in-law, Judie, a woman whose perseverance has set an example not only for all of her kids, but for all of us to follow. In the summer of ’92, before I began dating Julie, I knew her mother as a customer at the Bin, the natural foods store where I worked. Back then she was just Mrs. Flynn, and once a week she stopped in to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, bringing a ray of positive energy into the store. I first took notice of her kindness when my dad went in for open heart surgery. Judie expressed great empathy, even though she hardly knew me. Her kind words and prayers gave me some peace of mind during a turbulent time. In August of that year, Julie and I began dating. The day after our very first date, the two of us were hanging out in the Flynn kitchen, holding hands at the table. Mrs. Flynn came in, beaming at the sight of the two of us. It …

Death by Power Ballad: Elefante, “Young and Innocent”

Before there was an Arnel Pineda (Steve Perry soundalike, currently fronting Journey), or a Benoit David (Jon Anderson soundalike, currently fronting Yes), or even a Chris Chan (Barry Manilow impersonator, currently playing casinos and corporate gigs), there was John Elefante, whose uncanny vocal resemblance to Steve Walsh landed him the lead singer gig in Kansas after Walsh flew the coop for a “solo career” (like when McLean Stevenson left M*A*S*H for “other roles”). Elefante’s run with the group was modest enough—one mediocre album each in ’82 and ’83—but yielded two awesome singles in “Play the Game Tonight” and “Fight Fire with Fire,” both of which remain in Kansas’ setlist to this day. Somewhere between leaving Kansas in ’84 and beginning an extensive producing and performing career as a Contemporary Christian artist, John and his brother Dino contributed a track, “Young and Innocent,” to the David Foster-helmed soundtrack of the Brat Pack movie St. Elmo’s Fire. It’s a shame, really, that a song that so majestically exemplifies the best of the power ballad arts was wasted …

Lost in the ’80s: The Tubes and Olivia Newton-John (?!)

All right, let me stop all you young ‘uns right there — 1980’s Xanadu is not a great movie, a lost treasure, or an overlooked masterpiece of fun. It’s a dreadful film, downright boring in parts, somewhat laughable in others, but not quite laughable enough to deserve the “campy cult classic” tag it’s earned through the years. But the soundtrack — well, it was stellar enough to keep the brand alive for nearly 30 years and even give the film new life as an intentionally campy Broadway musical in 2007. We all know the Olivia Newton-John hits and ELO classics from the album, but one number is my favorite, and it’s my pick for quite possibly the first mash-up ever. “Dancin’” (download) was the unlikely fusion of Newton-John doing her best multitracked Andrew Sisters imitation and a newly new-wave Tubes, ditching their arena art-rock pretensions for a stab at stadium-pop glory. Starting off as a big-band swing number, “Dancin’” segues into a borderline date-rape ode to having “it all my way,” with a kick-ass vocal …

CHART ATTACK!: 3/27/76

Happy Friday, everybody, and welcome back to another edition of CHART ATTACK! This week’s Top 10 is relatively diverse, with a bunch of artists who stand absolutely no chance of getting anywhere on the charts ever again. There are a few genuinely great songs on this chart, a few I think I’m supposed to hate but don’t, and a few that are seriously terrible. They’re all a part of March 21, 1976! 10.  Money Honey — Bay City Rollers Amazon iTunes 9. Right Back Where We Started From — Maxine Nightingale Amazon iTunes 8. Let Your Love Flow — Bellamy Brothers Amazon iTunes 7. Dream On — Aerosmith Amazon iTunes 6. Sweet Thing — Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan Amazon iTunes 5. Disco Lady — Johnnie Taylor Amazon iTunes 4. All By Myself — Eric Carmen Amazon iTunes 3. Lonely Night (Angel Face) — Captain & Tennille Amazon iTunes 2. Dream Weaver — Gary Wright Amazon iTunes 1. December 1963 (Oh, What a Night) — The Four Seasons Amazon iTunes 10. Money Honey — Bay City …

Into the Ear of Madness, Week 35 — I Love “Stealing Home”

Over the next year Terje Fjelde has agreed to listen to nothing but David Foster on his iPod. He’s loaded the thing with over 1,200 songs produced, arranged, composed, and/or played by David Foster. A deal with the devil? He keeps wondering. Hey, I’m back! Sort of. Just to set things straight: Gimmicky posts about insanity and snark aside, I really have been quite exhausted over the past few months, and for the last two weeks I have been unable to come up with the weekly 500 words about Mr. Foster that you’ve grown accustomed to. You see, on top of everything else, I’m experiencing a writer’s block. I’ve never encountered anything like it in my entire life, and it’s frustrating beyond belief. I literally have to fight for every single word, no matter how trivial it may seem. My words have dried out, my Twitter account is a desert and I can’t even come up with anything sensible for my Facebook status line anymore. Thank God I’m doing this stuff pro bono. Ah well, …

Into the Ear of Madness, Week 33 — Procrastinating

Over the next year Terje Fjelde has agreed to listen to nothing but David Foster on his iPod. He’s loaded the thing with over 1,200 songs produced, arranged, composed, and/or played by David Foster. A deal with the devil? He keeps wondering. Have I used that header before? I probably have. Well, it’s true. Before we delve into the specifics of the three songs I lined out in my entry two weeks ago (heh…), I’m presenting my Quite Comprehensive Guide of David Foster Productions, previously published, but never actually read by anyone, on my very own website a couple of years ago. It’s too bad to let all this work go to waste, so, my dear hordes, here it is in all its glory. Enjoy it if you can: David Foster has been my musical hero for 25 years. It’s been a turbulent relationship, I’ll admit that much, but in one way or another he’s always been an important influence on my musical taste and on my own development as a musician. I’m self-taught on …

Into the Ear of Madness, Week 42 (oops, 32) — Feel the Neil

Over the next year Terje Fjelde has agreed to listen to nothing but David Foster on his iPod. He’s loaded the thing with over 1,200 songs produced, arranged, composed, and/or played by David Foster. A deal with the devil? He keeps wondering. I’m sorry, but my mind is a total blank this week, and I don’t know what else to do than to continue the bashing from last time. Please forgive me, I’m no doubt a talentless and bitter dick for wasting my time writing crap about this guy, this genius, who has so much more talent in his left thumb than I have in my entire body that he’s laughing himself all the way to the bank on a yellow-brick road covered by red carpets (red-brick road?), champagne and cheap blondes while I’m sitting here in my ramshackled camp trailer on the edge of the world, watching Swedish Dansband on television to try to laugh off the pain and drinking methanol to stay warm. Did I mention that Foster was in an artistic and …

Into the Ear of Madness: Week 31 — Foster Freeze

Over the next year Terje Fjelde has agreed to listen to nothing but David Foster on his iPod. He’s loaded the thing with over 1,200 songs produced, arranged, composed, and/or played by David Foster. A deal with the devil? He keeps wondering. I’ve been on a break for a couple of weeks, but you probably haven’t noticed — David Foster is everywhere these days. In a sense, I feel I’ve reached the point where I can say: Good job, Terje. Mission Accomplished and all that. Jason and Jeff couldn’t keep their big, fat hands off him during their grim ride throughout the frothbolous wonders of Mellowmas, could they? They even managed to insult me and my rare, exotic name. Fuckers. I have to say, guys, you really outdid yourselves during Mellowmas this year. I have blocked my RSS reader from displaying any content with the word “mellowmas” in it, and I will never, ever listen to a Christmas song again, at least as long as I’m legally competent and the undisputed master of my faculties. …

The Sixteenth Day of Mellowmas: Into the Ear of Mellowmas Madness

Jason: So today’s track is from a David Foster Christmas album. Jeff: Isn’t that perfect? Jason: Anybody want to take a guess who suggested it? Jeff: Ken! Ken Shane! Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! No, you fucknut! Terje! Terje Fjelde! The man behind Into the Ear of Madness, the weekly Foster-obessive series on Popdose! Jeff: Oh riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight! That dude! Jason: I have no idea what to do with the “j’ in his last name, do you? Jeff: You mean how to pronounce it? Jason: I guess it’s a “y” sound? Jeff: When I say it out loud, I pronounce it “Curtis Armstrong.” Jason: Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Okay, so Terje sends us an e-mail, and he says: “It’s an All-Star rendition of ‘White Christmas’ from David Foster’s 1993 Christmas album, with what no doubt is the most soulful delivery of the line ‘sleighbells in the snow’ in the history of recorded music. “With: Natalie Cole, Roberta Flack, Peabo Bryson, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Celine Dion (in French), Tom …

Into the Ear of Madness: Week 24 — Surrender

Over the next year Terje Fjelde has agreed to listen to nothing but David Foster on his iPod. He’s loaded the thing with over 1,200 songs produced, arranged, composed, and/or played by David Foster. A deal with the devil? He keeps wondering. I received the new David Foster CD/DVD in the mail yesterday along with his autobiography, Hitman! Forty Years of Making Music, Topping Charts & Winning Grammys. I wasn’t ecstatic in any way – I jumped up and down a couple of times and did a pirouette in front of my bewildered wife – nothing major. The CD concept was a bit of a disappointment — no studio recordings, merely a selection of audio files from the PBS Special Tribute Concert featured on the DVD. I didn’t expect this Vegas extravaganza to affect me in any way, and a small part of me didn’t even want to see it. After all, what could Eric Benet, Michael Johns, or Katharine McPhee bring to the table? Sure, I used to adore David Foster, but I’m not …