Segarini: 2013 – What the Fuck Was That?

The Bobcast Bob May 6th 2013 CroppedAll years are either good, with some bad shit in them, or bad, with some good shit in them. Depending on what floats your boat or tips your cow, years are different for everyone. It’s all in your perspective.

For example. When JFK was gunned down in Dallas (by somewhere between 1 and 17 angry malcontents depending on your current favourite conspiracy theory), not everyone lost their shit. There were actually people out there who said, “Damn!, About time!”, to anyone who could hear them over the NASCAR finals or the hubbub at abortion clinics and civil rights donnybrooks.

Let’s face it, in a world where gossips and hypocrites can turn an uncomfortable, slovenly, sadly out of his element mayor into a worldwide celebrity, and said  gossip and celebrities are regarded as news, and phones are smarter than the people who stare at them 24/7, we should no longer be surprised by anything.

Stupid Kids 2While poor people spend what little they have on Lottery tickets, and rich people get richer on the backs of an ever-dimmer populace while children (under 40) who are barely able to spell, construct a sentence or point out Idaho on a map, dictate fashion, music, pop culture in general, and continue to elevate mediocrity to levels of success once reserved for brilliance, innovation and original thinking. The vast majority of the public have the attention span of a goldfish and the acumen and taste of a day old MacDonald’s cheeseburger.. This insanely addlebrained yet accepted state of affairs is made possible by slightly older and elderly enablers who can finance, own, and manipulate that which will return a profit, feed the public’s insatiable desire to remain youthful and ‘with-it’, and create disposable celebrities and products that are easily replaced. Like the movie Rollerball, the game is rigged so that it eliminates those who could become iconic. The Game Changers, the Innovators, the Originals, are becoming rarer and rarer in the public eye. They exist just under the radar for the most part and the mass media has no place for them. This current state of retardation, seemingly escalating every generation, seems to be instilled in us starting just days after we leave the comfort and solitude of the womb and get yanked, (screaming, I might add), into an overly bright and noisy environment not of our making. After being passed from doctor to mother to father to relatives to whoever else is around to enjoy our arrival, you would think people would give us some space and let us slowly adjust to this terrifying, confusing, pOP lYRICSand intimidating change in our lives, but that is not the case. Instead, we are inundated with a constant stream of visitors, who babble at us, squeeze us, fondle us, and, worst of all, stick their faces in ours or dangle keys an inch away from our unfocused eyes and jangle them to get our attention. Bright. Shiny. Objects. Loud. Repetitious. Noise.

And so it begins….

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2013 MUSIC

accordian-bobbyI love music. I have devoted the vast majority of my life to it. Accordion from 5 to 12, the guitar from 12 on, until 3 collapsed discs in my neck made it impossible to play any longer, on stage from the age of 2, tap dancing at county fairs and civic functions, accordion recitals, singing in talent contests, and then in bands from the time I was 16.  Playing and recording in bands was my main source of income until I cut back in the early 80s and focused on radio and television and voice over work I still play on occasion, and actually formed a new band in the late ‘90s, recorded again, and I continue to perform occasionally to this day.  I won’t say music is my life, but it IS a major part of it…always has been…always will be.

…which is why what passes for music these days in the opinion of the public and most of the record industry makes me want to shove sharpened pencils in my ears or start shaking people by their shoulders and scream “Wake Up!” at them at the top of my lungs.!!!

Wait…

That sounds kind of harsh.

Let me see if I can say what I am trying to say without resorting to personal opinion, anger, or frustration.

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Let’s use the facts to make my point. Here’s 1963s Number ones as reported by Billboard Magazine using that era’s multiple sources to determine the biggest records.

Billboard Magazine’s Number 1 Singles for 1963

billboard 63 2The Tornadoes – Telstar

Steve Lawrence – Go Away Little Girl

The Rooftop Singers – Walk Right In

Paul and Paula – Hey Paula

The Four Seasons – Walk Like a Man

Ruby and the Romantics – Our Day Will Come

The Chiffons – He’s So Fine

Little Peggy March – I Will Follow Him

Jimmy Soul – If You Want to be Happy

Leslie Gore – It’s My Party

Kyu Sakamoto – Sukiyaki

The Essex – Easier Said Than Done

Jan and Dean – Surf City

billboard 63 3The Tymes – So Much in Love

Little Stevie Wonder – Fingertips Part 2

The Angels – My Boyfriend’s Back

Bobby Vinton – Blue Velvet

Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs – Sugar Shack

Nino Tempo and April Stevens – Deep Purple

Dale and Grace – Leaving It All Up to You

The Singing Nun – Dominique

Notice anything unusual about these 21 records that all hit number 1 in 1963? Take your time…I’m going to make a sandwich.

You can make one too….

tuna salad sandwich1 can Dolphin free tuna

Real Mayonnaise

Red onion, diced

Crisp dill pickle, diced

Celery, diced

Chopped Iceberg lettuce

Mix tuna, mayo, onions, celery, and pickles until well blended.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread further mayonnaise on two slices of FRESH white bread

Spread the tuna salad mixture generously on one slice of bread.

Top with the chopped Iceberg lettuce

Cover with the remaining slice of bread and cut diagonally

Serve with the beverage of your choice (Ice cold A&W Root Beer goes really well with it)

Eat

10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…

Okay. Did you figure it out?

No?

Well, here it is….

SPOILERS

None of these records are anything at all like any of the others. Not only that, there are several genres co-mingling in the Number One slot

The 21 number 1 records of the year were recorded by….

Billboard 63 1Three female solo artists

Two female vocal groups

Six male solo artists

Two male vocal groups

Three co-ed vocal groups

Four duos

One Instrumental group

…and one of the records was in Japanese.

All of these records broke because of radio, live performances, and record company promotion men.

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Now then, here’s 2013s Number ones as reported by the same Magazine using today’s multiple sources to determine the biggest records.

Billboard Magazine’s Number 1 Singles for 2013

bruno billboardBruno Mars – Locked Out of Heaven

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz – Thrift Shop

Baauer – Harlem Shake

Bruno Mars – When I Was Your Man

Pink ft. Nate Ruess – Just Give Me a Reason

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton

Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines

Katy Perry – Roar

Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball

Lorde – Royals

Eminem ft. Rihanna – The Monster

I’m going to let Wikipedia break this chart down for you….

“Throughout 2013, eight acts achieved their first US number-one single, either as a lead artist or a featured guest: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Wanz, Baauer, Nate Ruess, Ray Dalton, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus and Lorde. Five collaboration singles topped the chart. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ debut single “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz became the best-performing single of 2013, peaking atop the chart for six weeks, also topping the Billboard Year-End Hot 100. The duo’s second hit “Can’t Hold Us” also reached the chart’s top spot, making the duo the first act to score number-one singles on the Hot 100 with their first two charting songs since Lady Gaga with her hits “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” in 2009. Baauer scored his first number-one hit with “Harlem Shake” Originally, it was released commercially in June 2012, yet it did not sell significantly until February due to viral videos on YouTube and later created a meme with the same name.”

Okay.

What are the biggest differences in these two charts that are exactly 50 years apart?

Even though there are MORE records being released than was even possible in 1963, there were far fewer records that made it to number one, less than half the amount.

songwriters campThe majority of songs on this list were written by multiple writers.

Some of the releases had multiple producers.

Many of the songs were not successful until a video was created for YouTube, a visual medium.

Back in the day (Until around 1995) you had an artist, a writer or two, and a producer. Your chances to hit number one were as good as anyone else’s, and radio played more records from more genres, basing their programming on gut instinct, audience reaction, and the public’s interest in the artist and/or the song.

The times, they has a’ changed….

Once again, don’t take my word for the following information…take Wikipedia’s.

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bruno marsBruno Mars“Locked Out of Heaven” is a song by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars from his second studio album, Unorthodox Jukebox (2012). It was released as the lead single from the album on October 1, 2012. The song was written by Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine, and produced by Mark Ronson, Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie and The Smeezingtons. “Locked Out of Heaven” is a new wave, funk and reggae rock song about the rapturous feelings brought about by a relationship infused with positive emotion as well as good sex. Several music critics noted that the song is influenced by a number of bands, with The Police being most cited. Mars admitted that he was influenced by the band to write the song.

I don’t know how many Smeezingtons there are, but even if there is only 2 of them, FIVE producers?

…and according to this, the genre is new wave, funk and reggae rock. Well I never!

I like Bruno Mars a lot. He is the real deal and his band is smokin’ hot live. As far as I’m concerned, he and his music were the highlight of 2013s mainstream/radio driven offerings.

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Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz – Thrift Shop

macklemore and lewisHold on to your hats…this is an Indie record owned by the artist on his own label with okay distribution, and managed to outsell everything else out there last year. Not only that, but they wrote it, and one of them, Ryan Lewis, produced it. That’s it. There is still hope for all of us. However, this is the genre: Alternative hip hop, hipster hop, comedy hip hop. Really?  Jeebus….

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baauerBaauerHarlem Shake is a song recorded by American DJ and producer Baauer. It was released as his debut single on May 22, 2012, by Mad Decent imprint label Jeffree’s. The up tempo song incorporates a mechanical bassline, Dutch house synth riffs, a dance music drop, and samples of growling-lion sounds. It also samples Plastic Little’s 2001 song “Miller Time”, specifically the vocal “then do the Harlem shake”, which is an allusion to dance of the same name. Baauer added a variety of peculiar sounds to the song so that it would stand out.

This record didn’t pop until YouTube made it a viral happy thing. Poor Baauer, he didn’t bother to get permission for the samples that make up the whole record, and the money sits and waits while they negotiate the payout to the people who created all the elements. I wonder what the lion will settle for. How embarrassing. Genre? Mechanical bass, bass, trap. I am as confused as you are.

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Oh look, It’s our boy Bruno again….

SmeezingtonsBruno MarsWhen I Was Your Man is a song by American singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, from his second studio album, Unorthodox Jukebox (2012). The song was written by Mars, Philip Lawrence, Moe Faisal, Ari Levine and Andrew Wyatt, while production was handled by The Smeezingtons. It was released as the third promotional single taken from the album and as the second official single. The song is part of the soundtrack of the Brazilian soap opera Amor à Vida.

Not bad, only five writers, and however many of the Smeezingtons there are, muffin basketproducing. Genre? Soul Pop.

Nice tune, but I hope he sent Elton John a card and a muffin basket.

I’m not going to keep you in suspense any longer. Here’s the lowdown on The Smeezingtons.

The Smeezingtons are a songwriting and record producing team, consisting of Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, and Ari Levine. Their production and writing services have been increasingly in demand since 2009.

The Smeezingtons broke into the American recording industry in 2010, crafting major hits for a diverse roster of talent, with the release of the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single, “Nothin’ On You”, produced and co-written by the team and performed by rapper B.o.B and singer Bruno Mars. They also produced and co-wrote with singer Cee-Lo Green his worldwide hit single “Fuck You”,

Here’s the reason Elton deserves a basket of muffins.

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Pink and RuessPink ft. Nate RuessJust Give Me a Reason is a song written and recorded by American recording artist and songwriter Pink featuring fun.’s lead singer Nate Ruess. The song was chosen as the third single from Pink’s sixth studio album, The Truth About Love (2012).”Just Give Me a Reason” is a pop ballad written by both artists and produced by Jeff Bhasker. It starts off with a simple melody played on the piano, as Pink starts to sing the first verse and chorus, the latter of which introduces drum machines and bass. The second verse is then sung by Ruess, and the rest of the song is sung as a duet. The song ends with a piano solo, similar to the intro. It has a duration of four minutes and two seconds. Prior to its release, the song charted in many regions due to strong digital sales, which was the reason for its release. The song is about the desire to hold on to a relationship even when it appears to be breaking down

Well, I’m impressed. The artists wrote the song, they had one producer, and I like the guy from “fun”, a band that causes me to smile when I hear them…I guess they really ARE “fun”. And get this…the Genre…is Pop. Now if Pink would only dress like someone who doesn’t have a date with a stripper pole after her shows….

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Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. Ray DaltonCan’t Hold Us

The second number one for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in 2013, featuring a singer from Seattle whose previous attempts at recording failed to chart at all. Same writers/producer as Thrift Shop. Genre? Alternative Hip Hop R&B. Okay….

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robin thickeRobin ThickeBlurred Lines is a song recorded by American recording artist Robin Thicke for his 2013 album of the same name. The song features guest vocals from American rapper T.I. and American singer and producer Pharrell Williams; all three share writing credits on the song, while production was done by Pharrell. The song was released as the lead single from the album on March 26, 2013 through Star Trak Recordings, a sub-label of Interscope.

…aaaand, the story behind this one kind of sticks in my craw.

Robin Thicke: “Pharrell and I were in the studio and I was like, ‘Damn, we should make something like that [“Got to Give It Up”], something with that groove.’ Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about half an hour and recorded it. He and I would go back and forth where I’d sing a line and he’d be like, ‘Hey, hey, hey!’ We started acting like we were two old men on a porch hollering at girls like, ‘Hey, where you going, girl? Come over here!”

The song was written and recorded in an hour. How did they break it?

Thicke and manager Jordan Feldstein decided the song would not have much impact through radio and would need an innovative approach to become a hit Feldstein told HitQuarters: “We had an artist that had never had a hit on radio. It was a non-traditional song; it didn’t sound like a Timberland or Benny Blanco record. So we had to approach the market in an interesting way.” Feldstein came up with the idea of creating a video designed to go viral and brought in experienced music video director Diane Martel to shoot it. Its controversial nature was designed to attract attention with Feldstein saying: “I knew it would get it banned quickly … Getting something banned actually helps you

Designed to go viral and get banned. Should we feel like chumps? Genre? R&B Disco!

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Katy perryKaty PerryRoar is a song by American recording artist Katy Perry for her fourth studio album, Prism (2013). It was serviced to radio stations as the lead single from the record on August 10, 2013; it was digitally released on August 12, 2013. The song was written and produced by Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Cirkut, with additional songwriting provided by Perry and Bonnie McKee. The lyrics address standing up for oneself and self-empowerment.

Here we go again. 5 writers and 3 producers. I like Ms. Perry, she’s cute, puts on an energetic, fun live show, and has perky breasts. I thought her and Russell Brand were a fine celebrity couple, and you could look at her and listen to Brande, and it was a good combination. I was actually upset when they split up. Genre” It is ridiculously labeled as “Power Pop”, obviously, the pigeon-holer for this track must have been distracted or has never heard a Nick Lowe, Blue Ash, Big Star, Records, or any other power pop record. Ever. This makes me suspicious of all the OTHER genre designations on this list…especially considering there are not too many differences in the sound or ‘beat’ of the majority of them. I may have to listen to this track again to see if I can spot at least one jangly guitar.

Regardless, you can’t argue with almost 324,000,000 hits on the Tube of You…if they’re real and weren’t bought by the label.

Nope…not one jangly guitar.

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MileyMiley CyrusWrecking Ball is a song performed by American recording artist Miley Cyrus for her fourth studio album Bangerz (2013). It was released on August 25, 2013, by RCA Records as the second single from the record. It was written by MoZella, Stephan Moccio, Sacha Skarbek, Lukasz Gottwald, and Henry Russell Walter. It was produced by Dr. Luke and Circuit. “Wrecking Ball” is a synthpop song which lyrically discusses the deterioration of a relationship.

Let’s Twerk again, like we did last summer. Let’s Twerk again, like we did last year. Genre? SynthPop. We have Michael Jackson to thank for the current meaning of Pop.

We have The Pet Shop Boys to thank for Synth.

Thank you, Michael.

Thank you, Pet Shop Boys

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LordeLordeRoyals is a song recorded by New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde for her extended play debut, The Love Club EP (released on 22 November 2012, two weeks after Lorde’s sixteenth birthday) and re-included on her September 2013 debut studio album, Pure Heroine. Following The Love Club’s March 2013 debut retail release and the album’s release, “Royals” was released again as a single on 20 October 2013, spearheading the promotion of both EP and album. The song had been drafted by Lorde in a half-hour and then refined with co-writer/composer Joel Little, the single’s producer. According to the pair this – minimal and art pop single – is a “response to everything that’s on pop radio” with lyrics that revolve around aspirationalism, counterpointing pop artists’ luxurious lifestyles.

Well, they are refreshingly honest about why this song exists. It feeds to the social media love affair with empowerment, feel-good meme-speak, and ethical condemnation of artifice and wealth-driven consumerism and gluttonous lifestyles. It will be interesting to see how grounded this adorable 16 year old remains with multiple millions at her disposal over the next 12 months or so. Will she maintain her high ideals, or strand a monkey in Germany? Oh…and this is Minimal art-pop. Yep…Minimal Art-Pop.

By the way, Lorde’s real name is Ella Yelich O’Connor.

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E and REminem ft. RihannaThe Monster is a song by American hip hop recording artist Eminem, featuring guest vocals from Barbadian singer Rihanna, taken from Eminem’s eighth studio album The Marshall Mathers LP 2. The song was written by Marshall Mathers,  Bryan Fryzel,  Aaron Kleinstub,  M. Athanasiou,  Robyn Fenty ,  Jon Bellion, and Bebe Rexha, with production handled by Frequency and  Aalias. “The Monster” marks the fourth collaboration between Eminem and Rihanna, following “Love the Way You Lie” and its sequel (2010), and “Numb” (2012). “The Monster” was released on October 29, 2013, as the fourth single from the album. The song’s lyrics present Rihanna coming to grips with her inner demons, while Eminem ponders the negative effects of his fame.

7 writers and 2 producers. Cool. They did really good with the genre though…just one and one I recognize; Hip Hop.

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Before we move on, here’s a link I posted on my Facebook timeline earlier this week. Click on it below to see what it normally costs to make a recording that has a chance at radio these days. You will be astonished.

How Much?

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To wrap up this long winded first part of my look back at 2013, here are some of the artists and songs that entertained me in 2013. Not all of them are FROM 2013, but then, your favourites from this past year probably aren’t either.

In no particular order….

Bob’s 2013 Music of Choice.

Rival SonsLive, they are undeniable. A true rock band who manage to combine melody, lyrics, musicianship, and energy into an experience long missing for fans f rock and roll. The recordings are just as impressive, and the songs have legs…you don’t  tire of listening to them.

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Xprime – The first full album drops in February. It will make lovers of great songs and harmony rejoice. The modernization of the great beat groups of the ‘60s, they do for musical vocal groups what Rival Sons are doing for hard rock.

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Jordan John – Over in the R&B/Soul corner,  a man who could very well bring class and depth back to a genre that has suffered somewhat since the loss of Marvin Gaye. Jordan and his trio bring tears to my eyes. Seriously. There is a joy here that just completely makes me feel like there is hope for everyone and everything. Joy. That’s what this is. Joy.

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Samantha Martin – Quit her job to hit the road, so if you see she is playing anywhere near you, go and get swept away. There may be a little Janis in her, but there is a whole lot of Samantha Martin, as soulful a singer of roots music as I have ever heard. Do. Not. Miss. Just waiting for her to record and spread the word.

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Dirty Loops – After amusing me and blowing my mind with covers of everyone from Bieber, Adele, and Rihanna and Britney Spears, these Finnish musicians are recording their first CD of original material. Call it Jazz Fusion Pop or whatever you want, these guys are a game changer for the artists who own radio right now. Fingers crossed that they raise the radio bar in 2014. Here’s their latest.

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Tom Wilson/Blackie and the Rodeo Kings/Lee Harvey Osmond/Harlan PepperTom Wilson is a one man dynasty. His musical projects are all a study in honest, artifice-free story-telling and emotional gravitas, and his music carries with it a foundation that harkens back to roots music from a century ago, through the acid laced ‘60s and the roots/country songs he writes with an observant eye and a quick wit. His son’s band, Harlan Pepper, channel The Band as young seasoned players and self-written songs that have meaning for their generation and the musical depth of what has gone before. See them all.

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One Direction – Laugh all you want, these kids are the real deal. Like 98 Degrees before them they may be a “Boy Band” but they sing like the greats and don’t dance around like a bunch of dancers who lip sync their records (you know who you are). Their songs are a notch above what I am used to hearing in the top ten, and the vibe here is one of an honest commitment to their music and a career. Hope I’m right about them. All I know, is their songs are full of melody and harmony, and the lyrics are straight forward and often refreshing. If they played their own instruments on stage, they would be as good as Xprime. I love the lyrics to this tune.

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Courage My Love – I am constantly in awe of not only the group, but their team of dedicated people who have all managed to do the right thing at every turn. Fine music, writing skills that improve every single time they put pen to paper, and a total commitment to their music and their fans. The energy they use onstage every night could light a town the size of Toronto. Rock on, Mercedes, rock on, Phoenix.

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There are more of course, like Stacey Kaniuk and BlackDog Ballroom, but I am waiting for new records frm both of them. Fact of the matter is, there is so much great music being made right now, it is a shame that radio has such limited playlists and narrow genre choices. Spin the dial, there ARE stations who are starting to dig deeper, look farther, and take chances…and the Internet is a HUGE repository of music left unheard, waiting to be found and embraced.

The music was healthier in 2013 than most believe, and it gets healthier every day. Find what you want, search for it online, on the radio, and in the clubs.

There is life after Kanye….

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My wrap up of 2013 continues on Friday, when we look at Movies, Television, and Pop Culture in general. All new columns from the DBAWIS Cast and Crew begins NOW.

Segarini’s regular column appears here every Friday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS_ButtonBob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, osts The Bobcast every Monday night at Cherry Cola’s, and continues to write music, make music, and record.

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3 Responses to “Segarini: 2013 – What the Fuck Was That?”

  1. I thought Elton John was a basket of muffins..

  2. G’day Bob and all. Just letting you know that your blog gets a tribute in my blog at
    http://tinyurl.com/nulkrlu/
    and thanks and regards and respects for the help …

  3. […] And the Grammys – in their constant sad attempt to pretend to be ahead of the curve – know this. I expect in 2014 that the charts will be pounded with comeback albums by the very people that the charts, and Grammy Awards, were originally created for. It’s the only solution to getting passed the brick wall that has become the modern Borg Pop Collective. Don’t believe me? Read Segarini’s latest blog comparing music charts that are 50 years apart. It’s not just us old geezers complaining about today’s music. The current crop of crap is so much crappier than the old crap that came out in 1963. https://bobsegarini.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/segarini-2013-what-the-fuck-was-that/ […]

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