The Most Awarded Songs #2

proest songs and sadness

Jackie Wilson.Higher and HigherFrom Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles book, The Most Awarded Songs #2. This covers a range of categories: ASCAP, BMI, RIAA, Rolling Stone magazine, plus Grammys and Oscars, and more.

140. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum. Of the 150 songs on this list, this is one of the very few I don’t own. Indeed, I have no Lady A, which the group has renamed itself in light of their realization that antebellum suggests slavery. A black singer of blues, soul, funk, and gospel named Anita White, who’d been using Lady A in the Seattle area for more than two decades, was less than pleased.

139. Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. I was 17, and regularly protesting the war in Vietnam when Kent State and Jackson State took place, and they were gut-wrenching, and frankly, scary events.

138. Born In The U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen. When I searched for the lyrics, Google responded to the question of whether the song was patriotic. I would posit that it most certainly is, but not in the rah-rah, unthinking sense.

137. White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick joined the group when Signe Anderson left to have a child. Grace brought White Rabbit, which she wrote, from the playlist of her previous group, the Great Society. It appears on the Airplane’s second album, and the first with Slick, Surrealistic Pillow

136. U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer. Somehow I never heard the song Super Freak until AFTER the Hammer song came out. I recall that some folks gave the artist grief as lacking street cred. He actually got permission and shared royalties with the writers of Super Freak, Alonzo Miller and its performer, Rick James

“In Birmingham, they love the governor”

135. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynard. In the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, which I highly recommend, Merry Clayton spoke of her and Clydie King, two well-known black studio singers, singing backing vocalists on the track, and her struggling with her decision to take the job. Neil Young, who is namechecked in the song, said that his song Alabama “richly deserved the shot Lynyrd Skynyrd gave me with their great record.” I still find parts of the song discomforting, and catchy as hell.

134. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher – Jackie Wilson. This song is so great in part because it features four members of the Motown Records house band The Funk Brothers, plus two of Motown’s house session singers, The Andantes. And Maurice White, later known as a singer for Earth, Wind, and Fire, played drums.

133. Walk This Way – Run-D.M.C. When I saw the video in 1986, with two members of Aerosmith present, I was thinking, “This is when hip hop has gone mainstream.” In a good way.

132. Crying – Roy Orbison. His 1961 hit was outstanding. But I have a soft spot for his 1987 duet with k.d. lang.

131.  Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton. I’m fascinated by how one can make art out of tragedy. The song, written by Clapton and Will Jennings, was about the tragic death of Clapton’s four-year-old son, Conor. The song was for a movie called Rush. It was Clapton’s biggest hit in the US. I first heard it on the MTV Unplugged series.

Formerly muddled 1972 IBM memories

my worst automobile accident

all muddled upThe found diary has somewhat clarified my previously muddled 1972 IBM memories.

One thing I know: I got arrested at IBM Poughkeepsie at an antiwar demonstration on May 10, and was found guilty on May 18.

One thing I gathered: According to the Okie, her father, who worked at IBM Kingston, was furious with me because of the arrest. He, or both of her parents, gave her some sort of ultimatum of either them or me.

Another thing I know, although I’m surprised how this played out: the Okie ended up living at my parent’s house in Johnson City starting on May 24. Eventually, she slept in my sister Leslie’s room when Leslie went to Mexico with our great aunt Charlotte and some of Charlotte’s siblings. But she must have slept on the sofa in the den, or somewhere before that.

I what?

The Okie and I were desperate to find jobs. When I failed to find anything else, I ended back at IBM Endicott. I was a good employee when I worked there in 1971. It might have been that I thought the war machinery was built in Poughkeepsie but not in Endicott, to my knowledge. But that was disingenuous thinking.

I started there again on Wednesday, June 6, from 5:12 pm until 4 a.m., sometimes longer. Initially, I was running a metal cutting machine, cutting copper for hours, and sometimes running an autoclave, none of which I recall. 

According to the diary, a guy named Rex had given me rides home a few times in ’71, and again early in ’72. Other folks (Pat, Pam) gave me rides home. While sometimes, the Okie or sister Leslie gave me a ride to work and occasionally picked me up, I also hitchhiked both ways sometimes. 

On June 20, going to work, “an older man picked me up, telling me how much he liked colored people, how he fought for colored people, how some of his best friends were… He insisted on shaking my hand and swerved off the road. When I suggested that he stay on the road, he got mad and said, ‘Well, if that’s the way you feel, get out!'” I did but fortunately got picked up by another driver, and I also hitchhiked home. 

The accident

Now, I did post here about my most serious car accident, except that I had gotten the week wrong. It was actually, on Wednesday, June 21.  Hitchhiking, “I got picked up by a guy named Charlie. I didn’t know him but he knew my father and recognized me in him. He drops me off at a corner [McKinley Avenue], and I open the door then…

“As I learned later, this woman who had some arthritic condition in her leg, and had high-risk insurance, as a result, plowed into the rear of Charlie’s car at 35 mph because her leg could not reach the brake. Charlie’s car was pushed forward into the car in front of his, but since the car in front was much heavier than Charlie’s, it threw us back. Charlie was of course in the driver’s seat, but I was halfway out of the car and was knocked unconscious.”

“The ambulance took us to Ideal Hospital, where I had X-rays taken. They also took my pulse, temperature, and blood pressure a half dozen times before midnight. They gave me a shot of insulin and sewed up my three stitches. “

My parents, sister Marcia, and the Okie came to see me. “I couldn’t sleep and my very sore shoulder made turning over very difficult.” There are more details, about being in the hospital, in the same room as Charlie, for a day and a half. For one day June 30,  I went back to work. But when the family picked me up EARLY, at 2 a.m. – my arm gave way, and I ended up doing physical therapy for six weeks.


As I wrote a decade ago: “It was wrong, FOR ME, to have worked at IBM that summer. I don’t want to say I was punished by God in the accident, but metaphysically/spiritually/whatever, it was just bad karma. And it only would get worse.”

A couple of unrelated sidebars. Sunday the 25th: “Mother awakened me from a sound dream-filled sleep after the Okie had given me a back massage. I had to conduct the morning service including prayer, which supposedly brought tears to the eyes of my mother and [my sister Leslie’s godmother] Mrs. McElroy.  [The sermon was given by Beverly Thomas of the Urban League.]  

Monday the 26th: The Okie, Leslie, and I saw A Clockwork Orange, which I liked more in the immediate aftermath than I recall it now. 

To Kill A Mockingbird new iteration

Richard Thomas

To Kill A MockingbirdMy wife, daughter, and I went to see To Kill A Mockingbird at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady, NY, on June 19. It is a new version of the play based on Harper Lee’s 1960 novel. The playwright this time is Aaron Sorkin, who I know as the writer of the movies Being The RicardosThe Trial of the Chicago Seven, Moneyball, and Charlie Wilson’s War. Also, the television shows The West Wing and, one of my favorites, Sports Night.

The show opened on Broadway on December 13, 2018, closing on January 16, 2022, after 626 performances. It starred Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch. He was replaced by Ed Harris from November 2019 to March 11, 2020, when the show was shuttered for a year and a half. Daniels reprised the role in the last quarter of 2021 and Greg Kinnear for the last two weeks of the run.

It’s interesting to see what Sorkin kept and what he changed. It’s still Alabama in the mid-1930s. A Black man named Tom Robinson (Yaegel T. Welch) is on trial for a crime against a white female, for which he was totally innocent. Naturally, he would be judged by an all-white jury.

The main characters are still the defense attorney Atticus (Richard Thomas, yes of The Waltons and the 2018 play The Humans), and his children, Jim (Justin Mark) and Scout (Melanie Moore). But it mixes up the chronology from what we know from the previous version of the play, and the 1962 movie starring Gregory Peck. The trial is introduced almost immediately, then returned to periodically.


One of the surprising elements is that, sometimes, it is very funny. This is particularly true of the dialogue between Atticus’ kids and their new friend Dill (Steven Lee Johnson). And yet the pain of the situation is not diminished.

Meanwhile, the Finch black housekeeper and surrogate mother Calpurnia (Jacquline Williams) has far more to say in this version, some funny, some pointed. While this Atticus is still quite the virtuous man in the Peck tradition, he’s not the perfect person as he is often portrayed. He is a bit naïve with his sense of fairness and doesn’t get how Tom Robinson and Calpurnia regularly have to deal with bigotry.

One bit of stunt casting was in the person of the unpleasant Mrs. Henry Dubose. She is played by Mary Badham, who was Oscar-nominated for playing Scout in the 1961 film.

The set changes, from the Finch house to the courthouse, for instance, are very efficiently designed.

I should note that my wife and daughter were somewhat distracted by the fact that the teenagers are played by actors who are clearly adults. Having watched many television shows with actors over 25 playing teens, this didn’t bother me. BTW, Melanie Moore (Scout) is 30, but IDK the age of the “boys.”

I saw several friends at the show. Moreover, others I know well had indicated that they had attended a previous performance.

The touring company started in Buffalo on March 27, 2022. It is scheduled to traverse the country until July 2, 2023, reaching at least half of the states. The show is highly recommended.

Ask Roger Anything, and he’ll probably obsess about it

Of signs and the late Jim Seals

AskYes, it’s time to Ask Roger Anything. But in fact, it’s ALWAYS Ask Roger Anything time. When people ask me something on Facebook or in the comments of the blog, and I don’t know, I will probably obsess about it as I try and find out.

For instance, on June 7, if you were to search Yahoo, the first piece one would find would be my October 2021 post Musician Jim Seals is 80 and Alive. I then had people noting that his Wikipedia page listed him as recently deceased. But I couldn’t find anything definitive, which is to say, a source I recognized. ((What IS Noise 11?) Finally, Variety indicated that he had passed away.

On June 6, when I posted about a sign near my house,  someone asked where the original item was now located. Good question. I called the state library, the city Department of General Service, and several others.

One of the things I learned as a librarian is that when you keep finding people who say, “It’s not us. It could be them, but I really don’t know”, it’s time to recalibrate.

So I wrote to an Albany list on Facebook, which generated a lot of conversation about the CONTENT of the signs but not what I was looking for. So I looked at the William G. Pomeroy site; they are the people who put up the new sign. I noted that the Grant Recipient is the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association. I contacted an officer who I knew personally. They are now on the case, and I can let it go.

Getting back to the point

Knowing that I can only do so much, I’m STILL asking you all to Ask Roger Anything. It broadens my horizons, which I like to pronounce as HOR-i-zins, for some reason. What are your deep, dark secrets that you want me to psychoanalyze? I’m just as qualified as the next random person on the Internet.

I SHALL answer your questions, usually in the thirty days. Leave your questions, suggestions, et al in the comments section of the blog. OR you can also contact me on Facebook or Twitter. On Twitter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck.

I will keep your anonymity or pseudonymity. (My spellcheck LIKES pseudonymity.) E-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to be unnamed. Otherwise, I’ll list your actual name.

From every corner of the blogosphere

MTG – this means you

Another Sunday Stealing. “Here, we will steal all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere.”

1. If you could live in a house, shaped like anything, what would it be?

I don’t know. It might be shaped like something Frank Gehry designed. On the other hand, I might get lost.

2. What do you think is in outer space?

Other civilizations. Given the sheer vastness of the universe, the idea that this little planet is the ONLY one with sentient life is rather absurd. I wonder if they’re doing any better than we are. I hope so.

3. Where is the most wonderful place you’ve ever been?

Barbados on our honeymoon. The ocean was so blue. Or maybe it’s a blowhole I saw in Baja California in the late 1980s.

4. If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?

Find proof of malfeasance by certain politicians and send the information to the proper authorities.

5. What is the worst smell in the world?

Cigarettes. I can smell them from thirty feet away.

6. If you could, what animal would you be?

A dolphin. Intelligent, yet not burdened by the human trait of overthinking.

7. What is the greatest thing ever invented?

The Internet. It’s also the worst thing.

8. What is your favorite word? Why?

Treppenwitz, because I experience it. A LOT.

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey

9. Who is someone in history that you’d like to be friends with? Why?

Frederick Douglass, because he was an interesting guy. His trip to Ireland in the 1840s, where he recognized the oppression of more people, was enlightening.

10. If your pet could talk, what would it say?

He does talk. He caterwauls, “FEED ME!”

11. Were there dinosaurs on Noah’s ark?

Sure, why not? Assuming I take the story literally. 

12. What makes you cry?

Music. It can be joyful or melancholy.

13. Have you ever played a joke on someone? What was it?

This is NOT really in my wheelhouse.

14. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?

Tell my sisters that my mom had just died.

15. What is the most important appliance in your house?

The refrigerator is where the cottage cheese, milk, apples, and mayo are.

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