Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday, August 16th: The Cancer Soundtrack - a no Bette Midler zone

As you know, I love music - all of it. I've been thinking about my Cancer Soundtrack for a while, reviewing my own tunes, the CD's many of you have made for me, and other tunage on the radio. While this isn't an exclusive list, it's a good sampling of the journey thus far - I hope to compile a "Part Deux" once I finish kicking the big Purple Pansy *ss of Lymphoma - but you'll just have to wait a couple of months for that one...

"Start the Commotion" by Wiseguys. What better way to kick Cancer's ass than to bring it to the game? I used to listen to this on solo bike rides on the Little Miami Trail in Cincy - cranking away miles by the dozen.

"Funky Cold Medina" by Tone Loc. Yeah, I'm whiter than Casper the friendly ghost(especially now) but I went to High School in the late '80's - therefore it's my right to appreciate the pure awesomeness of Tone. Oh yeah, Craig Clark and I broadcast this over the stadium loudspeaker during a track meet at one point and got in trouble. Remember, the Reagan years were all about purity and innocence (ha ha).

"Clocks" by Coldplay. Yeah, I'm whiter than Casper the friendly ghost, but I love the song - gotta go with the gut! Gotta have one top 40ish adult contemporary on here, eh?

"Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copeland. It's the one classical music song that every one likes - so kick *ass, so inspirational, quintessentially American. It was originally commissioned for the Cincinnati Symphony during WWII to give us all a kick start against the bastard fascists and Nazis. It inpires the humanity of normal folks like me - the common ones.

"I'm Alright" by Kenny Loggins. Not only does the song pick you up, but the images of Bill Murray slurring and the dancing Gopher from Caddyshack can put a smile on your face regardless of how bad your day is - if it made me smile when I was looking at a diagnosis of Cancer, it can make you smile too.

Any song by Mahalia Jackson, period. This woman was the 'high priestess' of gospel music long before Arethra or any of the others. You should really listen to her songs - talk about struggle, pain, and triumph. Considered by many as the most ground breaking, influential, and talented African-American singer of the 20th Century, but she never made much money in the era of Jim Crowe. Too damn bad - pull some songs of hers off of itunes - she is inspirational.

"Pretty Amazing Grace" by Neil Diamond. This gem off of the old man's most recent album is classic - I accidentally discovered the tune, and it was a good pick me up when I was in the 'darkest' times of this cancer journey -the weeks of unsurety between Vail and Boston when I was being poked, prodded, and tested all over the halls of the Massachusetts General complex. It could be a love song, a spiritual hymn - it's up to you.
"One Tree Hill" by U2. Any cancer soundtrack has to have something from Joshua Tree on it, don't you agree? Hey you kids under 30 -you BETTER have Joshua Tree in your Ipod, or ELSE. Seriously, it's an absolute travesty of musicology to not have the best U2 album at your fingertips, and this is my personal favorite on the LP.

"Ohio" by Over the Rhine. This is a beautiful haunting melody about the Buckeye State by the home grown duet of Over the Rhine. While I no longer live within the borders of the Motherland, I'll always be a son of the Land of the Beautiful River in my heart....

Remake of "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Presidents of the United States. This one comes courtesy of DJ Josh Vogel and his Tiger Team 2:2008 "Pass Less, Rush More" Soundtrack. I don't own the POTUS album, but the TT2 albums from our annual boys' trips are precious - especially this one from 2008 in the Black Hills of South Dakota & Wyoming w/mustaches and RV travel.

"Mud Football" by Jack Johnson. Another classic DJ Vogel TT2 soundtrack (2003 "Hit the Mitt" version from Michigan)- an inspiration for the days when I'm off crutches, riding my bike again, and hanging out with friends and family for a nice backyard BBQ.

"Light & Day/Reach for the Sun" by the Polyphonic Spree. The energy of these doo-gooder hippies is awesome, and I have listened to this one over and over while watching those big bags of IV drugs drip into my system. Look at these guys - how can that energy not help pump up your system to kick this Cancer's ass? This picture says a thousand words. Go get the song - you won't regret it, I promise.

Carpe Diem.


  1. Great list ... Ya gotta have a Steve Milloy composition ... "Keep On Keeping On" from the Don Dixon celebration concert at HPCUMC ... solos by Steve Dauterman and Alan Bates; if you could SEE the bass player, you'd know one more reason I enjoy this :) ... gotta love the entire bluegrass band (the percussionist plays his brushes on a cardboard box!):
    (I hope this link works ... copy/paste didn't)

  2. I've been soaking up the late eighties revivalists lately, such as The Helio Sequence (Keep Your Eyes Ahead), Editors (An End Has a Start), Thieves Like Us (Your Heart Feels) - - if you ever have wondered what would happen if the Art of Noise played with Dixies Midnight Runners, check out "So Insane" by Discovery - - or the weird / wonderful Brian Wilson meets Kraftwerk of Animal Collective (My Girls has happy, cute lyrics, the rest is an acquired taste...) -

    but really - you were right on with Joshua Tree - one of the best albums ever and a total must have. I think I have at least two or three cassettes and CD's of it...I still love the simple trick in the video for I Still Haven't Found... of doing black and white / letter box first - and then pow - full screen and color! And Where the Streets Have No Name....Rolling Stone recently pointed out that the Edge carries that song for nearly two minutes before the vocals start....who else does that (except maybe Death Cab for Cutie?)....

    Anyway - i have been meaning for a long time to write - and i could not resist commenting on music! Hope all is well!! SKI