Weather You Like It Or Not

You might want to pack a light jacket for this post…

Turn around.  Every now and then we like to play a song for you that is almost as rare to experience these days as a solar eclipse.  Yep, it’s the big day you’ve been waiting your whole life for…. Monday!  That means it’s time to dig into the deep, dark umbra of celestial obscured muzak we like to call the Dusty Vinyl Archive!  DJ Scratchy’s traded in her shades for a flimsy pair of reconditioned eclipse glasses that accentuate her club attire, while the Sponkies are desperately trying to figure out how to make that stupid pinhole device work properly.  Please do not directly listen to this week’s earworm without proper ear protection…

Once upon a time, the AM radio landscape of popular music was littered with a wide range of hit songs that contained as many spoken words as a Marcel Marceau act.  As recently as the mid 80’s, a good, catchy instrumental could still find itself a spot on the Billboard pop charts and into the hearts and brains of music loving Americans.  We didn’t need Edgar Winter to describe Frankenstein to us, Harold Faltermeyer (thankfully) didn’t have to include Eddie Murphy’s annoying laugh to tell the story of Axel Foley, and no words were ever necessary to know just how good Chuck Mangione felt…

I don’t think anybody has ever felt as good as Chuck did when he posed for this album cover.

Of course in a world where we expect our radio icons to actually sing, most instrumentals don’t get to go to Billboard Heaven…. instead they generally get sentenced to Elevator Muzak Hell.  Especially if the words “mellow,” “easy listening,” or….. heaven forbid, “smooth jazz” could be used to describe them.  One of the more popular parking places for the endless parade of modified lounge music that got recorded by artists too serious to ever be rock stars was in the unnoticeable world of background music.  For some token royalties, these thankless, wordless tunes could get some exposure in locally produced commercials, segues into and out of commercial breaks, and as a way to keep you from completely falling asleep back in the exciting days of text TV!

Kenny G will help distract you from the fact that somebody is trying to sell a glorified tornado magnet for $72,000.

Maybe American cable TV’s most famous outlet for ambient earworms was The Weather Channel’s local forecasts.  Lighting up many an insomniac’s living room six times an hour with its white text on a blue background, the local forecast is one of the few institutions of early CATV that is still around 35 years later, and still pumping out background tunes that’ll even stump Shazam.  One of my absolute favorites from back in the day is this 1984 track from Jeff Lorber simply titled “Rock II.”  I’m pretty sure there was never a “Rock I,” but with how good this peppy piece of perky 80’s ear candy is, no prequel is needed…

No, it was never a hit…. or even released as a single.  Maybe you’ve heard it before and didn’t know what it was… or perhaps it’s just as Greek to you as the unreleased, unrecorded, and unwritten “Rock III.”  Just chalk this one up as the rare musical curiosity I feature here from time to time that I’d like to think sure coulda been a hit if it were given a chance.  And if you’re curious why I chose the hopelessly obscure “Rock II,” of all songs, to feature on what almost feels like an impromptu national holiday here in the States… well, it’s because had I not found this video on YouTube a couple years ago, I’d have never discovered the name or artist of this piece of TWC’s audio history.  And here’s the most famous still from that particular Local Forecast from May 30, 1984…

Don’t look Ethel!!! But it was too late, she done burned her eyes out…

I’ll be back next Monday with more songs from the dark side of the moon…

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About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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26 Responses to Weather You Like It Or Not

  1. I sadly can not see the video it shows me russian letters ;o) I remember faltermeyers chart hit… I oftern wish some things of the 80’s back… but not this one… and maybe not the diy-perms what made millions of girls to poodles :o)

  2. I could swear this was background music in a movie of some sort…..it’s familiar but not because I remember it from the radio, etc………just familiar. Perky eclipse music though.

    Pam

    • It quite possibly was…. a lot of these obscure instrumentals end up in the background of just about everything! I hope your clouds are going away… I’ve apparently pleased some squirrel god that has mostly cleared the sky for me this morning!

  3. Piano keys may be black and white but they sound like a million colors in your mind where Jeff Lorber is concerned. That peppy Weather Channel music makes me want to find my umbrella…though there’s no need for one this week. Happy Monday. 🎹

  4. Merbear74 says:

    For some reason, it reminds me of “Whip It” from Devo…

  5. Piglove says:

    Snorts my evil friend. I have cookies hidden in my room. I’m not looking out of my window during the “totality” of the zombie apocalypse. If you need me, call me on the piggy phone. XOXO – Bacon

  6. I am deeply saddened that you did not find a single ECLIPSE song to celebrate the day to come. I think we must be eclipsing right about now, but frankly, it just looks a little bit cloudy, like usual. We are not in “the zone.” The dogs are sound asleep and no one is outside in special sun-viewing glasses. Oh well. Not going to be one of the top moments of my latter years.

    • If you can make it around another 7 years, I think the 2024 eclipse comes a bit closer to you… I know it goes through western New York. The clouds conveniently rolled in right as the eclipse was getting good, but I managed to use them to my advantage. Photo spread to come on Wednesday!

  7. ody N biskit….good thing we due knot betz coz we wooda sweared… mor sew N we all reddy due ….. dad was gonna play total eclipse oh de heart ~~

  8. Never heard of that one. Sounds like something my hubby would like.

    Here’s an article I saw – https://amp.theguardian.com/music/2017/aug/20/solar-eclipse-america-songs-bonnie-tyler. I’ve only heard of 1 and 3 on that list.

    • #2 was popular (Though probably not a hit) in the 90’s. #4 is what I based the title of my Sunday post on, as is where Pink Floyd sings about seeing you on the dark side of the moon (Most people probably assume Dark Side of the Moon is the title of that song).

      I’m just as clueless as you on the rest of them, though. LEN’s “Steal My Sunshine” seems like it should have been a natural pick, and it just occurred to me yesterday how fitting Duran Duran’s “New Moon on Monday” is for today’s eclipse! Cat Steven’s “Moon Shadow” and The Police’s “Invisible Sun” would be better than any of those obscure songs on the list…

  9. Trisha says:

    I like instrumental music. It’s the only kind I can play while I’m trying to do anything other than drive. I would probably stay in restaurants and stores longer if they played music like this! My choices at home tend to more relaxing than peppy though. I listen to a Native American flute album called Gratitude almost every morning. If iTunes has a Weirdest Customers Ever list, I’m probably on it!

    • Hmmmmm… maybe I’ll have to see if there’s any Native American flute music in the Dusty Vinyl Arch…….. oh wait, Scratchy says there isn’t! I did pick up a couple lesser known hard rockin’ songs for my list at the casino tonight…

  10. Ladybuggz says:

    I was out snapping photo’s before my coffee this morn (yes I looked at the eclipse! with my neighbors welding mask) but that was yesterday! I took a couple photo’s just for you….Went to pee the dog and heard a racket, seen a bushy tail in the tree across the street, grabbed my camera and shuffled over. It was a rare sighting as they aren’t from around here, the elusive Black Squirrel tree’d by an elusive black cat (the one that was once hanging off the outside of my living room window drooling over my Budgie Lucy) So I scared him away and the squirrel freaked and climbed higher….https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/21034503_10213955193177668_2093656007737027354_n.jpg?oh=53e06593c21c6e4f025b4066da34a246&oe=5A36CF90
    If you can’t open it let me know and I’ll do a post over it! 🙂

  11. Ladybuggz says:

    People have said they are bad squirrels and they should be killed, then someone said ” Black Squirrels Matter” ! LOL…

  12. draliman says:

    This one must be really obscure – not only does the video not work in the UK, but Alexa can’t find it either 😦

    • Yes! I have stumped the all knowing, all powerful Alexa!

      The link in the last paragraph (Which I think shouldn’t be subjected to draconian copyrights) will give you the first minute and a half of the song (which is also the best part, IMO). Maybe Alexa can learn something….

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