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Marshall Pierce
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Kitty Dunn

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In Search of...Spock

The passing of Leonard Nimoy at the age of 83 makes me feel like I've lost a member of my extended family.

Growing up with three brothers, two older and one younger, it would have been impossible to not be over-exposed to Nimoy's Spock and the rest of the crew on the Starship Enterprise.

I didn't really watch the show in prime time, but in syndication I'm pretty sure Star Trek was on the Dunn TV a few times a week for many years in the 70s.

I remember fondly lying on the floor, next to my brother who was eating Cocoa Puffs, and watching the original Star Trek series. Some of my favorite episodes--of course Trouble With Tribbles, the one where they went to a planet inhabited by children, and the ones with Harcourt Mudd. (For some reason I think his middle name was Quentin). Spock was my favorite character. I loved the fact that he thought he was so logical and emotionless, but his human side always showed through.

And if the afternoon re-runs weren't enough, there was also a Saturday morning Star Trek cartoon, featuring the voices of the original actors! I think most of the stories were just edited down versions of the TV show.


I also remember Nimoy fondly as the host of "In Search Of.." which explored topics of paranormal nature.

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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know about George Harrison

Who else still misses George?

George Harrison was born on today's date in 1943, and was only 58 when he died in 2001. I was interviewed by Channel 3 after he died, and I said it was truly sad for me, because I grew up with the Beatles and almost felt like they were my big brothers.

Here are some things you may or may not know about the Quiet Beatle.

1. He played lead guitar on the Cheech and Chong song "Basketball Jones."

2. He visited the United States before any of the other Beatles, visiting his sister Louise in Benton, Illinois, in September of 1963. Since the Beatles weren't known in America yet, George was able to jam with local musicians, visit record stores and even camp in the Shawnee National Forest without being hassled by fans.

3. After he lost the "My Sweet Lord"/"He's So Fine" lawsuit, he refused to allow the radio to be played in his house, so he wouldn't accidentally copy any one else's music.

4. George loved gardening and planting trees. He dedicated his memoir I Me Mine to "all gardeners everywhere."

5. Since it wasn't featured in the televised ceremony, you may have missed the fact that George was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award this year, accepted on his behalf by his son Dhani. (See part of Dhani's speech here).

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Grammy flashback: most awkward moment ever?

The Grammys always have their share of awkward moments and unusual pairings. But this one from the early 1970s is so awkward, it's amazing.

It's obvious John can't really believe he's being forced to read such cheesy lines!

Watch to the end to see who accepted the award for the non-present Olivia Newton John.

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5 Great Bob Marley quotes

Bob Marley would have been 70 years old today! He was taken from us much too soon, but in his 36 years on this planet he shared with us some great music, and some great wisdom as well.

Here are five Bob Marley quotes that I think are his best.

"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."

"Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet."

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds."

"The day you stop racing, is the day you win the race."

"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice."

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Did Tom Petty Steal This Song?

There was quiote a bit of hub-bub last week after it was revealed that Sam Smith will share royalties for the song "Stay With Me" with Tom Petty, because the song sounded similar to "I Won't Back Down."

Well Mr. Petty isn't Mr. Innocent when it comes to creating songs that sound like other ones, intentional or otherwise.

In 1992, the Minneapolis-based band the Jayhawks put out a pretty great album called "Hollywood Town Hall," which included a song called "Waiting for the Sun." The next year, Tom Petty released a song called "Mary Jane's Last Dance." They sound like the EXACT SAME SONG (with different words.) I'm not alleging that Petty stole the Jayhawks song, but even if the similarities were unintentional, I think the Jayhawks ought to get some royalties. What do you think?



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Five Things You Didn't Know About Elvis

Had he lived, Elvis Presley would have turned 80 years old today.  He's a rock and roll icon, but there are some facts about him that may have slipped by you over the years.

1. When he met with members of Led Zeppelin in 1973, he traded watches with John Paul Jones. He gave Jones a $5000 gold and diamond watch. Elvis got Jones' $10 Mickey Mouse watch.

2. He was allegedly offered roles in several movies that would have beeen much different had he been picked. They included True Grit, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Grease.

3. Other than the Lifetime Achievement Award, Elvis only won two Grammies, both for gospel records.

4. This is stuff of Madison legend, but according to many witness accounts, Elvis once broke up a fight outside a Madison gas station. There is a plaque commemorating that fact inside the car dealership now located at the corner of East Washington and Stoughton Roads.

5. There has been an eternal flame burning in honor of Elvis (pictured below) in the Triple M Studio since we signed on the air in 1991.*

*unverified report
 
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The problem with holiday sweaters--and it's not that they're ugly

Holiday sweaters--oh we love to mock them!  Ugly holiday sweater parties have become so mainstream that I feel they are no longer ironic.

But that's not what I'm going to gripe about. My problem is that ugly holiday sweaters are now becoming cost-prohibitive for the late blooming hipster. Even at thrift stores, they jack up the price of USED holiday sweaters far beyond the rest of the cast-offs that they offer for sale. I was at a Goodwill where the most grotesquely adorned sweaters were selling for $29.99!

Want to shop online for a holiday sweater? There are a lot of them out there, but they'll cost you. Would you pay 80 bucks to be the tackiest reveler in the room?

Want a Green Bay Packer ugly Christmas sweater?  I found a website offering one for the $155. The Jay Cutler sweaters were less expensive, but probably the tackiest of the bunch. (Check out some of the NFL Christmas sweaters here.)

This is a call for an end to the scourge of ugly sweater racketeering!  I figure it's a case of supply and demand. Don't buy the high priced sweaters and the price will come down. (Then I can buy them up and re-sell them when they become "hip" again!)

Important clarification: The sweater vest I'm wearing in the above picture was taken before Ugly Sweater Inflation had kicked in. I got it for 5 bucks at a thrift store in Eau Claire! Sweet!
 
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Rock Hall gets it right, honors Stevie Ray Vaughan

When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its 2015 inductees this morning, I was very happy to see one of the names on the list: Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Even though the late Texas guitar slinger has been eligible to get in since 2008, this is the first year he was even nominated. I'm glad they didn't put him on the also-ran list for 2015! I'm also pleased that he's getting in with the other two-thirds of his band, Double Trouble.

According to the Rock Hall's criteria, they honor those artists who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development, and perpetuation of rock and roll. Since Stevie Ray Vaughan single-handedly re-ignited the blues, and influenced a generation of guitar players, he fits the bill perfectly.

Others making the list this time around include Green Day (getting in in their first year of eligibility), Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Bill Withers, Lou Reed (as a solo artist), the 5 Royales, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Ringo Starr is also getting a special award for musical excellence.

The induction ceremony happens in Cleveland in August.

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Kitty's Top Ten albums of 2014, Part One

What was your favorite album of 2014?  I found a lot worth listening to. Here's the first half of my Top Ten list. Part Two coming soon.

10. George Ezra: Wanted On Voyage
This 21 year old sings, writes all his own songs and plays guitar bass and keyboards. And his music is beautiful, haunting and old beyond his years.  In addition to the hit “Budapest”, I loved the haunting "Did you Hear the Rain?"  I played that track over and over and over again. His voice reminds me a little bit of Brad Roberts from Crash Test Dummies, with a whole lot more soul.

9. John Hiatt: Terms of Surrender
When did John Hiatt turn into an old blues singer?  On his 22nd album, he's slowed down the pace from his "Perfectly Good Guitar" and "Slow Turning” days. Listening to this album is like sitting on the porch with an old grandfather of the blues, strumming his guitar and complaining about life's problems. "Old People" seems like Hiatt's answer to Randy Newman's "Short People," which includes this line: "Old people are pushy, they're not mushy, Old people are pushy, 'cause life ain’t cushy." He's just about the only guy that could get away with a lyric like that.

8. The New Basement Tapes:  Lost on the River
What a lineup! Producer T-Bone Burnett got Elvis Costello, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons, and Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops together to work their magic on song Bob Dylan wrote but never finished. Nobody tries to sound like Dylan, they all put their own spin on the songs. It’s a mishmash of styles, but somehow it works.

7. Gary Clark Jr: Live
I first saw Gary Clark, Jr. at Farm Aid in Chicago in 2010, and he blew me away. At the time, the Texas guitar slinger didn’t even have a record contract. That soon changed. He was signed by Warner Bros and released the album Blak and Blu. It was quite good but didn’t capture the magic I witnessed that day when he was playing among the likes of Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. This live album does. If you love the blues and have been waiting forty years for the next Jimi Hendrix, you’ll love this album.

6. Hozier (self-titled debut)
I was transfixed by the first song we started playing, “Take Me To Church.”  I am a sucker for minor chords, and I like the imagery the song conveys, comparing a romatic relationship to going to church. Hozier is a young Irishman who is wise beyond his years, with a soulful, eerie quality to his songs. Rolling Stone gave the album 3 ½ stars, and offered this comparison:  “(he) channels Van Morrison's Celtic R&B, Southern soul and Black Keys-style garage blues.”  No wonder I liked it so much!
 
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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Birthday Boy Neil Young

Happy 69th birthday to my favorite self-proclaimed "rich hippie,"  Neil Young.  I remember when I was a kid, I hated Neil's voice. I didn't even particularly care for his songs CSNY albums, but the guy grew on me, and he's now one of my favorite artists.  One of the things I admire most about him is that he never gives a crap about what anyone else thinks, and just goes where the music tells him to go.

Sometimes that's into the ditch, in my opinion, but I still love him!

Here are 5 things you may not have known about this Canadian curmudgeon.


1. Neil is especially creative when he's not feeling well. He wrote "Cinnamon Girl," "Down by the River" and "Cowgirl in the Sand," on the same day, with a temperature of 103. (That's Fahrenheit, or for you Canadians, 39 Celsius).

2. He thought it was "pretty great" that Lynryd Skynyrd mentioned his name in the song "Sweet Home Alabama."

3.  Another member of Neil's family is very highly respected in Canada. There's a grade school named for Scott Young, who was a highly revered sports writer.

4.  He was in a band called "The Mynah Birds" with future super-freak Rick James.

5. He says he composed most of his best songs, while in bed, stoned.

(Above photo credit, Kitty Dunn @Farm Aid 2010.)


 
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In Search of...Spock
The passing of Leonard Nimoy at the age of 83 makes me feel like I've lost a member of my extended family. Growing up with three brothers, two older and one younger, it would have been impossible to not be over-exposed to Nimoy's Spock and the...
Read More
5 Things You Probably Didn't Know about George Harrison
Who else still misses George? George Harrison was born on today's date in 1943, and was only 58 when he died in 2001. I was interviewed by Channel 3 after he died, and I said it was truly sad for me, because I grew up with the Beatles and almost...
Read More
World's Worst iPod: The Sylvers "Hotline"
"Hotline, hotline, calling on the hotline for your love!" The hook is so contagious you will probably be hearing it in your head all day. Sorry about that. "Hotline" was a number 5 single for the family band the Sylvers in early 1977. (Yes, Sylver...
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World's Worst iPod: Kool & The Gang "Cherish"
There was not a lot of love today for the song "Cherish" by Kool & The Gang. It was a huge hit for the band in 1985--getting all the way up to #2 on the pop charts. This song is not to be confused with "Cherish," a song which was a big hit for the...
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Grammy flashback: most awkward moment ever?
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In Search of...Spock
The passing of Leonard Nimoy at the age of 83 makes me feel like I've lost a member of my extended family. Growing up with three brothers, two older and one younger, it would have been impossible to not be over-exposed to Nimoy's Spock and the...
Read More
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Who else still misses George? George Harrison was born on today's date in 1943, and was only 58 when he died in 2001. I was interviewed by Channel 3 after he died, and I said it was truly sad for me, because I grew up with the Beatles and almost...
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World's Worst iPod: The Sylvers "Hotline"
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World's Worst iPod: Kool & The Gang "Cherish"
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