iTunes Top 200: #1

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we wrap things up with the two songs that are tied for the top spot, each with 224 plays since my stats began in late 2007.  While on their face, the two songs have nothing in common, they have been linked together on the south side of Chicago for many years.

#1: Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers – Let’s Go-Go-Go White Sox
iTunes stats: 224 plays, most recently on 9/29/2019
Previous ranking: #1

On June 18, 2005, the White Sox were hosting the Dodgers in inter-league play, the first time the two teams had faced each other in Chicago since the 1959 World Series.  The Saturday night tilt celebrated the occasion, with the Go-Go White Sox celebrated prior to the game and both teams wearing 1959 throwbacks.  During the game, the stadium crew dusted off a fight song that hadn’t been heard in nearly 50 years, creating a video montage with the words as part of the night’s festivities.  Down 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th, the White Sox rallied for 4 runs, capped off by A.J. Pierzynski’s two run shot to end the game, and a new tradition at US Cellular Field was born.

The song was written by former White Sox minor leaguer Al Trace and his friend Walter “Li’l Wally” Jagiello during the 1959 season as the White Sox battled for their first pennant since throwing the World Series in 1919.  They brought the song to Tom Fouts, leader of Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers, a popular local band best known for performing on WLS Prairie Farmer Radio and writing and performing advertising jingles.  The song and the team were both a success, as the White Sox did indeed win the pennant, but lost the World Series to the Dodgers in 6 games.

Following that June night, the song became a rallying point for the remainder of the 2005 season.  It received national exposure, as Fox included clips of it in their coverage of the team’s trek through the post-season.  WGN utilized it during their coverage of the World Series victory parade, over clips of highlights of both the 1959 and 2005 teams.  While not as ubiquitous today, the song does still show up on occasion at the ballpark, when the White Sox go on a big rally.

I managed to download an MP3 of the tune at some point, and it has had a place on every White Sox victory playlist I’ve created ever since.  A distinction it shares with our next entry.

#1: AC/DC – Thunderstruck
iTunes stats: 224 plays, most recently on 10/25/2019
Previous ranking: #3

The 12th studio album from AC/DC, The Razor’s Edge, was released in September of 1990, with Thunderstruck released as the first single.  It peaked at #5 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

The White Sox started taking the field to the song during the 2004 season, and it has been used off and on ever since.  Because of that, it has held a place on every version of my victory playlist since.

FOX Upfronts

For the third straight year, FOX has delivered a fall schedule that will leave them off of my television screen, with not a single show that interests me.  With a number of shows either pushed to midseason or still waiting to see what how the future unfolds post-pandemic, FOX is moving forward with two new, already in-the-can series and two shows from lesser-seen services.

Monday has one of each of the new types of shows, with John Slattery’s new drama neXt following L.A.’s Finest, which originally premiered on Spectrum Originals last spring and stars Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union.  Tuesday follows the same script, with Cosmos: Possible Worlds, snatched up from Nat Geo, kicking off the night and Filthy Rich, a soap starring Kim Cattrall, closing it.  Ratings star The Masked Singer holds down its Wednesday slot, followed by MasterChef Junior.

Thursdays get turned over to the NFL, assuming the season starts on time, while Fridays belongs to WWE’s Friday Night SmackDown, which resumed taping last month (thanks, Florida).  Sunday’s animated block returns untouched.

At midseason, Fox will bring back 9-1-1 for its fourth season and spinoff 9-1-1: Lone Star for season two, along with new installments of Duncanville and Hell’s Kitchen.  New shows debuting later this year include the Mayim Bialik comedy Call Me Kat, and the animated The Great North and Housebroken.  Scripted shows still waiting on a decision include Last Man Standing, Prodigal Son, The Resident, and Outmatched.

iTunes Top 200: #51 – 60

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we wrap up the first three quarters of the chart,  with the 9 songs with 39 and 40 plays, according to my iTunes stats dating back to late 2007.

#60: The Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I’ve Got A Theory/Bunnies/If We’re Together
iTunes stats: 38 plays, most recently on 11/9/2019
Previous ranking: #35

A small slip in the rankings for this entry from Once More With Feeling, where we learn the truth behind the evil that is bunnies.

#56: Toad The Wet Sprocket – Walk On The Ocean
iTunes stats: 39 plays, most recently on 11/27/2019
Previous ranking: #65

The second hit from Toad the Wet Sprocket, which also appeared on Volume 8 of my mix tapes.

#56: Cheap Trick – That ’70s Song
iTunes stats: 39 plays, most recently on 7/28/2019
Previous ranking: #96

A strong rise in the rankings for the theme song from the FOX comedy about young Eric Foreman and his group of friends in 1970s Wisconsin.

#56: Black Eyed Peas – Let’s Get It Started 
iTunes stats: 39 plays, most recently on 12/11/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

An impressive debut for the 2005 Grammy Award winner for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

#56: AC/DC – Back In Black
iTunes stats: 39 plays, most recently on 9/29/2019
Previous ranking: #96

A big jump for this tribute to former lead singer Bon Scott, who had died during the songwriting for the album.

#51: 10,000 Maniacs – These Are Days
Continue reading →

iTunes Top 200: #125

itunes_image4 years ago, we last counted down the Top 200 songs in my iTunes library. Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at my most listened to songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2020.

Today, we continue on with the next group of songs tied for 125th place with 32 listens since my iTunes stats began in late 2007.

#125: Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl
iTunes stats: 32 plays, most recently on 9/30/2019
Previous ranking: #167

The track peaked at number two on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 and appeared on Volume 14 of my mix tapes.

#125: Tommy James & The Shondells – Crimson and Clover
iTunes stats: 32 plays, most recently on 11/5/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

An impressive debut for the song that hit #1 on the charts in February 1969.

#125: Andrew Gold – Final Frontier (TV Theme)
iTunes stats: 32 plays, most recently on 6/26/2019
Previous ranking: #96

The theme song from Mad About You, the mid-90s NBC hit about the Buchman clan that recently returned for a new run on some streaming platform nobody has ever heard of.

#125: Saved By The Bell Theme
iTunes stats: 32 plays, most recently on 4/4/2019
Previous ranking: #56

A big drop for the theme song from NBC’s Saturday morning staple.

#125: Snoop Dogg – Who Am I (What’s My Name)?
iTunes stats: 32 plays, most recently on 9/13/2019
Previous ranking: Unranked

An impressive debut for the solo debut from Snoop, the 62nd biggest single of 1994 and member of Volume 11 of my mix tapes.

#125: Motley Crue – Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Continue reading →

Changes Are A’comin’

Yesterday, MLB announced a slew of rule changes to be implemented for the upcoming 2019 season and the 2020 season.  For 2019, the changes include shortening the breaks between innings, reducing mound visits, modifying the trade deadline, and updates around the All Star Game.  2020 changes include changes to the active roster, the minimum number of batters a pitcher must face, and increasing the time pitchers must spend either on the injured list or in the minor leagues when optioned.

The breaks between innings will be reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 for local games, and from 2:25 to 2:00 for national games.  This should remove between one and a half minutes to 7 and a half minutes of dead time from every game, shortening game times across the league.  Of course, the fine print says that these changes are “subject to discussions with broadcast partners”, which means, nationally, FOX, ESPN, and TBS need to be aligned with losing over 7 minutes of their commercial inventory.  Which, frankly, seems unlikely.

The number of mound visits is being reduced from 6, which was first introduced last season, to 5.  Since the limit of 6 affected exactly zero teams in 2018, this doesn’t seem to be much of a change and shouldn’t have much, if any, impact.

The trade deadline is staying put on July 31st, but trade waivers, the archaic system by which trades enacted after the trade deadline, will be eliminated.  Players may continue to be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31st, but players may not be traded after that date.  This means buyers and sellers will need to make a final call on their season a month earlier than they do now.  There is also some thought that this will help with the service time manipulation of young phenoms, as injured and ineffective players will no longer be able to be replaced from the outside over the final two months of the season.

Voting for the All Star Game is being changed, with fan voting conducted in two rounds.  Each team will nominate one player per position (three outfielders), who will be voted on by fans during the first, “Primary Round”.  In late June or early July, the top three vote-getters at each position during the Primary Round will be voted on by fans to determine the All Star Game starters, in what is currently being called “Election Day”.  Final details on the new fan voting format will be announced sometime in April.  Bonus payments will be given to the top three vote-getters at each position per league during the Primary Round (top six for outfielders).  Additionally, the prize money awarded to players on the winning All Star team will be increased.  None of this really should have any effect on the game itself, unless the new bonuses and increased prize money is substantial enough to make the players take winning the exhibition more seriously.

The big change is that, in the case of extra innings at the All Star Game, both teams will start the 10th inning, and each subsequent inning, with a runner on second base, with re-entry substitutions allowed for the runners.  This follows changes made in hockey and college football, where, when a game “ends” in a tie, you change the rules of the game to determine a winner.  I’m not a fan of this type of change, as it fundamentally changes how the game is played.  If it stays in the realm of exhibition games, where the goal is more to finish the game without anyone getting hurt, I can live with that.  I would hate to ever see this implemented during regular season, or post-season, play.

The final change for 2019 is an increase in prize money for the Home Run Derby, up to $2.5 million with the winner receiving $1 million.  Maybe this reduces the number of players turning down the derby?  As someone who doesn’t care about the derby, this does nothing to move my needle.

The changes due to take effect for the 2020 season include the following: Continue reading →

Another Mix Tape Monday – Volume 7

20 years ago, during my sophomore year of high school, I put together the first of what would become a nearly 20 volume collection of mix tapes, containing my favorite songs that I had gathered either from the radio, a cassette tape, or (eventually) CD.  We last looked back at all 20 volumes three years ago to see which of my “favorite” songs still resonated in today’s digital world.  Today, we revisit those mix tapes and see how, or if, things have changed in the past 3 years.

Volume 7 covers the fall of 1992 and the end of the first semester of my freshman year of college.  We are treated to the last gasps of hair metal and pop, with a little dance, alternative and hip-hop thrown in for good measure.

Side A

Guns N’ Roses – November Rain

The longest song ever to crack to top 10 on the Billboard charts, peaking at #3, the opus, which checks in at 3 seconds shy of 9 minutes, picked up 7 new plays in the last 3 years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
3 plays 5 plays 12 plays, most recently on 11/14/2018 

Def Leppard – Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad

The 86th biggest hit of 1992 picked up a mere 2 listens since 2015 and only 4 since 2012.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
4 plays 6 plays 8 plays, most recently on 12/5/2018 

Toad The Wet Sprocket – All I Want

Topping out at #15 on the Billboard charts, the first hit from Toad the Wet Sprocket only picked up 4 new listens over the past 3 years.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
10 plays 17 plays 21 plays, most recently on 12/9/2018 

Tesla – Signs

The live track, which I once owned on CD before trading it in for LL Cool J’s Mama Said Knock You Out, gained a mere 4 new listens, with the last one coming only 2 weeks after I bought the band’s namesake car.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
4 plays 5 plays 9 plays, most recently on 7/13/2017 

Soup Dragons – Divine Thing

The alternative dance single that became a moderate hit in the US gained 9 additional listens.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
9 plays 14 plays 20 plays, most recently on 9/23/2018

Ugly Kid Joe – Neighbor

Ugly Kid Joe, who debuted much too late for their 80s hairband style, saw a five-fold increase in the amount of plays this first single from their first full length album.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
1 plays 2 plays 10 plays, most recently on 11/12/2018 

The Heights – How Do You Talk To An Angel

The theme song from the short-lived FOX show The Heights, nominated for the 1993 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music and Lyrics Emmy, picked up 6 new plays.

iTunes Stats
2012 2015 2019
4 plays 8 plays 14 plays, most recently on 7/14/2018 

Side B

Continue reading →

FOX Upfronts

For the second straight year, FOX has shifted their game plan, abandoning their single camera comedies and, instead, moving closer ideologically with its sister news network.  The end result is a fall schedule with only one show that interests me, and even that 9 unwatched episodes from this season still sitting on my DVR.

Monday has two returning shows, The Resident and 9-1-1, which didn’t pull me in last year.  The Gifted, based on Marvel’s X-Men characters, moves to Tuesdays, followed by a revamped Lethal Weapon.  Wednesday’s lineup remains consistent, with Empire followed by Star.

Thursdays get turned over to the NFL, as the much-reviled game moves over from CBS.  Friday has the revival of Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing and The Cool Kids, about a group of friends in a retirement community, followed by Hell’s Kitchen.  Sunday’s animated block remains mostly the same, with a new comedy, REL, closing off the night.

The second season of The Orville will return to Thursday after the NFL season.  Gotham will also appear at some point for its final season.  Also on tap for mid-season are The Passage, a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Mark-Paul Gosselar, Proven Innocent, a legal drama from Danny Strong, and the return of Cosmos.

Gone and mostly forgotten are Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which was saved by NBC), The ExorcistGhostedKicking & ScreamingThe Last Man On EarthLA To VegasLuciferThe MickNew Girl, Superhuman, Wayward Pines, and The X-Files.