Lady in Red

I had a plan for tonight. I was going to post about how Donald Trump ordered that his daughter Ivanka be given top-secret security clearance over the warnings of national security officials, and then how both of them lied about it lied about to the press. But, then, on my way home from the grocery store this evening, something unforeseen and horrible happened. The DJ on WOMC, transitioned directly from Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven to Chris De Burgh’s Lady in Red. And now I just want to stay up all night doing research into how one goes about getting a radio station’s license revoked.

For what it’s worth. I don’t listen to the radio very often anymore. I generally listen to podcasts while in the car, alternating between shows about classic Hollywood and ones about this current political nightmare that we’re all living through. But my daughter was in the car with me, and it seemed like a good time to impress her with my complete mastery of the classic rock genre. So you can imagine how happy I was when, shortly after switching the radio on, Stairway to Heaven began, allowing me not only to showcase my legendary vocal range, but also give her a quick tutorial on to steer with one’s knees while playing air drums. [She’ll be starting drivers ed soon, so I don’t have much time left to impart my wisdom.] Then, however, it went right to Lady in Red, without even an ad break in between. And the transition was jarring… And not just because one song was great, and the other one sucked. It was jarring because it demonstrated to me that culture had turned some kind of corner, and enough time had passed that the work of Led Zeppelin and Chris De Burgh not only resided in the same bucket, but that they were pretty much interchangeable. And that’s the kind of thing that makes a person feel old… the realization that the songs I grew up with all just oldies radio filler now, the same way the songs of Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and Dinah Shore were when I was a kid.

Stairway to Heaven came out in ’77, when I was about 9 years old. I still have distinct memories from that time, of sitting in doctors’ offices and the like, listening to old Sinatra songs. And the weird things is, those songs were only about 30 years old at the time, whereas Stairway to Heaven is already well over 40 years old right now. I guess it’s because people are living longer, but it’s weird just how long certain things manage to survive… And it’s troubling, at least to me, that the target demographic radio stations are focusing on is one that wouldn’t change the station when Stairway to Heaven gave way to Lady in Red. I don’t think, as someone who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, that I’d ever see the day. And it makes me sad for the future of our species.

OK, so now go and read about Jared Kushner’s top-secret security clearance on your own, OK? I’ve got nasty letters to write.

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38 Comments

  1. Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    We can also talk about this if you want…

  2. Jcp2
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Lady in Red was a very popular wedding banquet song back in the day. It was usually played after the bride had changed out of the white wedding gown and reentered the room in a red cheongsam. Maybe you’ll hear it again in a few years.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Broadcast radio is in crisis now. Only people in their 40s and older listen to it at all, and even those audiences are switching in considerable numbers to podcasts and personal playlists. Dramatic change is coming to the industry as a result.

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I still listen to the radio, being well over 40. There is still good radio coming out of Detroit. It can still surprise. (I do however have multiple videos of my car radio set to 88.3 WCBN while amateur DJ’s play Almann Bros and other commercial classic rock staples…) Classic rock stations have a set playlist on short clip repeat that’s drivel. There are only so many times one wants to hear Stairway to heaven within a week. I felt that way in 1977 and I feel that way now. I was 12 in 1977 and that song was played at every dance towards the end and was basically an invitation for aggressive boys to grope girls and not be disrupted for 6 minutes. The nonaggressive boys played air guitar in corners of the gym. I think it’s a brilliant and really stupid song. Lady in Red is altogether stupid song. My Brother loved it and we used to give him crap about it.

    If one lifts the veil of nostalgia, it’s clear that the kids listen to better music than we did. In part, because they refuse to be directed by radio playlists.

    But can someone explain why the young think Toto’s Africa (including Ween’s almost identical cover) is a song worth listening to? Because they love it. The way millennials love Hall & Oates and Whitney Houston. I guess some cheap ironic distance makes them more palatable. I’m not sure it’s even ironic. It might be pretending to be ironic. There was so much great music in the 20th century. It’s just weird what people resurrect and attach themselves to.

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    PS– Federal Judges also dismissed Stormy Daniel’s case.
    We’ll be dealing with conservative Federal Judiciary bias for decades to come.

    That makes me feel old.

    When will the Left get smart on long term political strategy? Can’t happen too soon.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Oh it’s a Weezer cover. I always mix those bands up, not caring much for either, being an old. https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2018/05/29/615204047/cracking-open-totos-beige-classic-africa-weezer-grants-the-internet-s-wish

  7. John Brown
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    WCBN is usually great, or terrible in an avant garde or ironic way. Lady in red following Zeppelin would have made more sense on CBN. But recently the “Sports ball Nazis” have been taking over the airways way too much, but I’ll stop short of calling for armed defense against them…
    Meanwhile,
    -Manaforts sentence is a travesty.

    -Kushner owes his 666 bailout to a shady nepotistic security clearance.

    -Agent Orange watched the Stupor Bowl with Bob Kraft’s message parlor madam.

    -Omar caught hell, not Fox for the trope that Sorors funded the caravans which was the proclaimed motivation behind the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter.

  8. Jcp2
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Late 1980s and early 1990s style and music are “in” with the middle school crowd that I know. Heck, BTS and the kpop craze owes their origins to American R&B songwriters from that era currently working in Korea.

  9. Max
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry to nitpick, but Stairway came out in 1971.

  10. iRobert
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    What a surprise. Mark and Jean don’t like a romantic song.

  11. iRobert
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    From wikipedia regarding Chris de Burgh’s “Lady in Red”:

    “The song tends to divide public opinion and it was voted the tenth most annoying song of all time in a poll commissioned by Dotmusic in 2000. It was one of only two singles in the top ten which were not novelty songs.[4] It was also voted the third worst song of the 1980s by readers of Rolling Stone.[5] It was chosen as the sixth worst love song of all time by Gigwise, who said “it is destined to grate on you at weddings forever more”.[6] In a 2001 poll of more than 50,000 Channel 4 viewers and readers of The Observer, the song was voted the fourth most hated UK number-one single.[7]”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lady_in_Red_(Chris_de_Burgh_song)

    I think it’s the fact that the song has been so overplayed over the years, and that it is a pretty sappy song to start with, that renders it so annoying to so many now. Still, it’s not terrible song writing, though I’d agree the vocals would have been better sung with less whimpering effect.

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    iRobert– I like many many romantic songs. I’m stubbornly romantic actually. Woman in Red is not romantic. It accompanied a John Hughes movie, Weird Science, in which geeks boost their social status via a lab-created hot fantasy woman. A babe with a heart of gold. She’s really smart but never challenges. Like all Hughes’ movies, it was entertaining and gross re gender politics. It does not surprise me at all that such fantasy corresponds to your idea of romantic. It’s the opposite of intimacy.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Max– that makes sense. That means the 7th grade girls had to suffer through that song at school dances for at least 6 years, probably more.

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    John Brown: Some heartening progress: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/opinion/case-for-reparations.html

  15. Bob
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I absolutely refute your assertion that kids listen to better music than we did, Jean. I’m around school kids all day. I’m shocked at how completely bland and samey their tastes are. I’m not even arguing that “our music was better and everything now sucks,” even though it’s more true than it should be. The pop today is so completely formulaic. It’s designed by a market researched algorithm. Right down to the beats per second, the stylistic shift at point A and B, the janky guest hip-hop artist interlude. And they all listen to it! Almost anyway. This generation has literally everything available at a click with linked artists and suggestions, and they still can’t find cool shit. We had to work hard to find good stuff. Fanzines, scouring trade mags, word of mouth, making people tapes. Actually buying and selling stuff. It was hard work.

    And Mark. Stairway to Heaven sucks. There’s lots of great Zeppelin, but that’s a low point.

  16. iRobert
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Wrong again, Jean, as usual.

    “Lady in Red” was not in the movie Weird Science. Actress Kelly LeBrock was in both movies, “Weird Science” and “Lady in Red,” but the song was only in “Lady in Red.” Also, Chris de Burgh wrote it for his wife. Not for the movie. It’s by that very fact, romantic.

    You need to check your facts before you post, Jean. That’s an order.

  17. iRobert
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    FF, you do realize you’ve been attempting to have a serious debate for days with a person who didn’t realize the song “Lady in Red” was from the movie “Lady in Red” right?

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Oops. My memory is failing. I mixed up two Kelly LeBrock vehicles. You seem gleeful in catching my error. Good for you. It’s now the 21st century. Just FYI.

    Does it bother you that your commitment to defending white men against the incursions of social justice aligns you with the likes of FF and EOS and HW?

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I never saw Woman in Red. Sounds scintillating:

    “Storyline: Teddy is a middle-aged man who has a good wife, kids, friends and a fine job. You could say that he has everything he wants; but he doesn’t. One day he sees a gorgeous woman in a red dress, and goes crazy! He must have her…”

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Bob– My kids listen mostly to hip hop and it’s amazing. A total amalgam of sounds from the past collaged and topped off with lyrics that speak to something like real lived experience, not fantasy. It’s the new Jazz.

    I’d take Kendrick over Led Zeppelin any day of the week and twice on Fridays. Hip-Hop is a multi-faceted artistic movement (incorporating film, literature, dance, music, etc) that will someday be recognized as akin to the Harlem Renaissance, but more durable.

  21. iRobert
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Jean, your disinterest in the movie “Lady in Red” is warranted, though it’s not as terrible as the plot makes it sound. Still, I don’t recommend it.

    You can take a lot of the credit for the civility with which I treat FF, EOS and HW. I’m positive they aren’t the horrific fascist monsters you seem so certain they are. You live in Whitmore Lake for heaven’s sake, and by choice. I’m sure you know many folks with views and beliefs similar to those of FF, EOS, and HW. I am also sure you treat them more civilly.

  22. iRobert
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I did notice you corrected the title I stated incorrectly. I’m just going to be stubborn and insist the movie is “Lady in Red.” Anyway, Woman in Red is not a movie I’d recommend either.

  23. iRobert
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never seen any comments from FF, EOS or HW suggesting they oppose women gaining their rightful place in business or politics. I suppose it’s possible they just avoid expressing their views on the topic, but I suspect they are not terribly concerned when women are in positions of power or influence. Maybe their wives just have them well trained.

  24. iRobert
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I am all behind the idea of you organizing a Hip-Hop festival in Whitmore Lake, Jean. When shall we expect to see that?

  25. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    “I’d take Kendrick over Led Zeppelin any day of the week and twice on Fridays. Hip-Hop is a multi-faceted artistic movement (incorporating film, literature, dance, music, etc) that will someday be recognized as akin to the Harlem Renaissance, but more durable.”

    We agree on something Jean!

  26. Lynne
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I honestly cannot for the life of me remember Lady in Red although I suspect that if I go listen to it, my reaction will be “Oh yeah, I *do* know that song” . My failure to remember it now though means that for me, I must have neither really loved it nor really hated it.

    On that note, I have been told by some who have listened to playlists I have made that I should never ever EVER consider being a disc jockey because apparently I put songs next to each other which have no business even being on the same playlist. *shrug* I am ok with that. I know from my radio class in high school that there are many other bigger reasons I would suck in that format. HAW!

  27. Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m currently listening to a podcast series dissecting Lauren Hill’s music.

    MS1E1 – Lauryn Hill: An Education
    https://player.fm/series/dissect/ms1e1-lauryn-hill-an-education

  28. wobblie
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Went and saw Lady in Red at the drive-in (remember those) with my wife–fell asleep (already old then I quess) . I’m with Lynn in not remembering the song. MM, I knew I was old when they started playing Rock the Casbah by the Clash as back ground music at the grocery store—

  29. Posted March 8, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I assume you saw this, wobblie:

    Trump revokes Obama rule on reporting drone strike deaths
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47480207

  30. Bob
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Jean, your kids are the exception. I talk with kids about music all the time and eavesdrop. I’m really interested in it. It’s bizarre to me. It’s a great barometer for the general homogeneous nature of everything.

  31. wobblie
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    We all know how much our glorious leader (the best ever) wants the most best transparency in government.

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Bob– I don’t think they are the exception. They are listening to what their friends listen to. Maybe the kids just don’t want to talk about music with an old. They withhold a lot from us. I also don’t think most people have very adventurous taste in music until 16 or so. The 70’s was a particularly good time for pop music, rock and otherwise. We just got lucky.

  33. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/07/opinion/case-for-reparations.html

    The tide is turning…

  34. Jean Henry
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Why would I hole a hip hop festival in Whitmore Lake? Why would I hold a hip hop festival at all? Hip hop does cross over into many demographics. It’s mostly metal and ice fishing and pond hockey around here. I’m ok with that. They could use some community organizing. As a newcomer, I’m not the one to do it. I’m here to be anonymous. I enjoy the quiet. (I am advocating for a public swimming area though) I have said before in my regular life I do not talk politics. This however is a political forum. This is a place to discuss such things in some detail. I can get along with just about anyone, esp working class people because I talk to them about work. I’m curious by nature. People seem to like that. I don’t think right or left have a cultural monopoly on bias or acceptance. It’s just that the right seems more keen to institutionalize it Not something I’m likely to talk about day to day.

    I did have one fancy lady not respond to my small talk while standing in line next to one another at an estate sale. I mean she didn’t even nod. But she was carrying a $1000 purse, so I blame it on wealth not politics.

  35. Lynne
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Jean. Haw. I read that yesterday and was all shocked that David Brooks of all people would write that. I too see it as a very positive thing.

  36. John Brown
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Florida Chinese madam sells Trump access. And handjobs. I know which I’d prefer.

    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/03/a-florida-massage-parlor-owner-has-been-selling-chinese-execs-access-to-trump-at-mar-a-lago/

  37. John Brown
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    And here’s Agent Oranges private army chief Eric Prince accidentally admitting he lied to Congress. Doh. These are not the sharpest tools. What is Q saying about Prince I wonder? My Magic 8 ball says “Outlook not good”!

    https://www.google.com/amp/nymag.com/intelligencer/amp/2019/03/erik-prince-is-really-bad-at-lying.html

  38. iRobert
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I have a humiliating confession to make.

    The 1986 song titled“The Lady in Red” was not used in the 1984 movie “The Woman in Red” and there appears to be no connection between the two whatsoever.

    I’m totally and utterly humiliated. I don’t deserve to be one of the commenters on this fine blog. It’s too good for me.

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