Raised on the Radio

Because growing up on 70s television didn't kill me. It just made me who I am today.

Beleza Tropical David Byrne


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If You Haven’t Heard it, May I Suggest Beleza Tropical

In the early 1990s, I was not listening to a lot of mainstream music. I had become closely acquainted with world music and bands off the beaten path. Bands and artists like: They Might Be Giants, Poi Dog Pondering and Adrian Belew.

Beleza Tropical David ByrneAn album I became enthralled with in 1990 has stood the test of time and is now on my Top Ten Albums of All Time list: Beleza Tropical.

Beliza Tropical is a compilation of Brazilian music produced by David Byrne, of Talking Heads, for the edification of the general American music listening public.

David Byrne knew something that a lot of jazz lovers knew, and that was – the music of Brazil is like no other and must be shared with the world.

This album never made main stream. But it made it into my CD player, and rekindled something I thought was lost and forgotten. It had been so many years since my father had played his reel to reel loaded with amazing bossa nova and samba. After he died, it was almost forgotten. Almost. All I had to do was hear the opening notes of Ponta de Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma) – by Jorge Ben and it was like a laser beam opened a part of my brain that had been closed for 10 years. The sun was shining on my face; I had come home.

I don’t want to overload your brain by presenting you with every song. Here are some of my favorites:

Sonho Meu by Gal Costa and Maria Bethania – If you are only going to listen to one. Listen to this one.

Andar Com Fe’ By Gilberto Gil – This man is a genius.  If you don’t know him, or you do and you like him, go here and see this.

Queixa by Caetano Veloso

Caramba!… Galileu da Galileia by Jorge Ben

Thanks to Brazil Classics vol. 1: Beleza Tropical, my thirst for Brazilian music became unquenchable. More Bossa Nova and Samba comprise the songs in my music collection than any other genre.  At any given time you might walk into my house/office/car and hear the Brazilian Music Pandora station playing or my latest mix of the same on my iPod. Listening to that album back in 1990 completely changed the way I looked at music. I had always been a fan of the “musician” but it opened me up to so many more genres and truly helped develop my appreciation for true musicians dedicated to their instrument and their craft.

Sadly Brazil Classics 1: Beleza Tropical – Various Artists is out of print as a CD, you can get the import for 25 buckos, or you can click thru that link and get to iTunes to download it.

Brazil Classics 1: Beleza Tropical

Brazil Classics 1: Beleza Tropical – Various Artists


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Thanks Dad, For Raising Me on The Radio

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The site happens to have an apt title that resonates with me,because I was almost literally raised on the radio by parents who were, and still are, drawn to the music of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. The literal edge of being raised on the radio stems from the fact that Dad, Tony, is a lead guitarist in several bands and jams professionally at musical events and functions. I suppose piano lessons, including those in jazz and pop, also allow me to call myself a “radio baby.”

Being raised by a musician was quite akin to a ride on Disneyworld’s Space Mountain. I never quite knew what thrills or spills to expect.  I never knew where dad’s next gig would take us to or who we would end up meeting. It is the same today. One can describe being raised by him in any number of ways, but one thing it was certainly not-ordinary. Being his daughter meant encounters with a few of Singapore’s radio and musical personalities.

“Raised on the radio”, as far as I am concerned, equates with a little pressure. Dad used to, and always sets, high standards. It can be a challenge living up to his expectations, especially of musicianship. With that pressure came the opportunity to learn, grow and embrace the new, certainly different types of music.

Many thanks to Dad for raising me on the radio. I have put together a Raised By Dad’s Radio Mixtape of songs I was raised with! I hope you’ll enjoy this selection!

The Way You Look Tonight

Originally performed by the Fred Astaire cum Ginger Rogers pair and featured in the song Swing Time, The Way You Look Tonight won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936. Written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, it has become a standard for swing.

The song certainly emotes, and has unsurprisingly spawned cover versions by Bing Crosby and the latest by Michael Buble. Let’s go a little retro and view the original, shall we?

Going Out of My Head/Cant Take My Eyes Off You

This hit medley for the Lettermen in 1968 showcases the soothing vocals of these fine singers with a little pomp.

With 16 Top Ten Singles including a number 1 on the Billboard Charts, the close-harmony group has scored 5 grammy nominations and 11 gold records. Eclectic harmonies ensure that their tunes cannot be done without.

Dindi

If one has discounted the medicinal of jazz, surely he has to listen to this. Written by Antonio Carlos Jobim for the Brazilian singer Sylvia Telles, nicknamed Dindi, who unfortunately met with a fatal motor accident in 1966.

Soothing and haunting, this is a good number to prompt a little romance or simply lull the senses into soothing sleep. I include a cover version of the song by none other than our favorite swing singer, Ol’ Blue Eyes.

Girl from Ipanema

Again by the musically illustrious Antonio Carlos Jobim, the sexy bossa nova charm of this piece makes it a to-die-for draw. The Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius De Morales give the song a mysterious, sensual edge that has not been lost till this day.

The version performed by Astrud Gilberto became a US hit in 1964, peaking at number 5 on the hot 100 and was at number one for two weeks on the Easy Listening chart.

I seem to have a little affinity with Frank, so include a version sung by him.

Just the way you are

When I interviewed my father viz his favorite song choices, I almost did a war whoop when he picked one of my eternal favorites, Just the Way You Are. What draws me to this Billy Joel number is its meaningful lyrics that stress unconditional acceptance in relationships with others.

From his 1977 album, The Stranger, the song was Joel’s first US Top 10, reaching number three on Billboard. It made a positive change for Joel’s career, giving it the long-lasting success that it has had.

Many thanks to dad for suggesting 5 great songs and to my friends at Raised on the Radio for allowing me to make a guest contribution this week! Do enjoy this playlist!

About the Author:

Michelle Liew is a literature cum ardent pet lover who simply loves music! Fiction and poetry make her tick! Read her wonderful blog Getting Literal