How Good It Is

How Good It Is

Every week I choose a song from the 50s through the 80s and dive into its history, the story behind the song and other items of interest. Find more stuff at www.howgooditis.com... Show More

Episodes

May 25, 2020 20 min
So I'm sitting here in my home office-slash-podcast studio, researching and writing this week's episode, and setting up the audio clips, and my dog is sitting at my feet pretty much the entire time. And as soon as I cracked the microphone open, he decided he needed to leave the room. Did he need to go outside? No. He just wanted to be in the next room. How's that for a criticism? Ah, well. At least I have you. Right?...
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May 17, 2020 17 min
I worked about as not-very-hard on this picture as I worked very-hard on the Taylor Swift picture. Go figure. In 1964 the Shangri-Las got on a sudden hot streak with their sultry recording of "Remember (Walking in the Sand)", written by George "Shadow" Morton. Morton had bluffed his way into the Brill Building by telling Lieber and Stoller that he was a songwriter (he wasn't), and when he was asked what ...
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May 10, 2020 18 min
WHAT! you say. We've been waiting a month and he brings us a Taylor Swift song? Well...yeah. But don't click away just yet. Here's the thing: I want to expand the scope of the show a little bit, and recently I heard a rather high-level discussion of Swift's work on another podcast called Switched On Pop, which looks at songs and artists from a musical standpoint rather than a conceptual one. If you're not...
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April 5, 2020 16 min
Don't forget to leave a review on Podchaser so they'll send some money to Wheels on Meals America through the #Reviews4Good program. Or, The Episode Where I Can't Speak Welsh. There's an old Doonesbury strip (Aug 1977) where rock star Jimmy Thudpucker is sitting on Bob Dylan's porch, chatting with Dylan (who appears as a disembodied voice coming from inside the house), and they're discussing the f...
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March 30, 2020 17 min
Warren Zevon was a talented musician and songwriter who had a lot of friends in the business, but didn't have the commercial success that his contemporaries had. One day in 1975 he, along with guitarists Waddy Wachtell and LeRoy Marinell, are just goofing around with their guitars when someone asks them what they're playing. Zevon, referring back to a joke he'd recently heard, told that person that they were writing...
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March 22, 2020 21 min
Holy Moley, kids. It's another overstuffed episode of the show for you. But, I guess that's what happens when you're dealing with a song that goes clear back to 1933. "Blue Moon" was written by Rodgers and Hart, and it was going to be used in a movie, then it wasn't. Then it was going to be used in another movie, then it wasn't. Then it was again, and the publisher at MGM thought the melody would mak...
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March 15, 2020 15 min
The Go-Go's (somehow that always looks wrong) started out in the late 1970s as a punk band in Los Angeles, and they were a pretty solid presence in that city's Punk scene. But as they started to grow in prominence, they moved away from that edgy sound and into more of the pop scene. When IRS records finally signed them in 1980, they cut their first album, which included a re-recording of their first single. If you liste...
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March 8, 2020 20 min
Last week's show was short, time-wise, and I promised I'd make up for it. And make up, I did, because this is one of my longer non-interview shows, clocking in at 20:30. If you listen to this show during your morning commute, you may have to circle the block a few times before going in to work. But it's so packed with stuff that I don't think you'll mind. This week we're looking at songs that were inspir...
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March 2, 2020 10 min
First up: this should be the end of the oddball uploads. The show itself is completely migrated, and I've gotten a few personal issues out of the way, so I should be back to Sunday night releases beginning next week. Are we good now? OK. This week's show is a little bit on the short side, largely because there wasn't as much story to tell as I thought there'd be, but I'm definitely going to wind up makin...
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February 26, 2020 16 min
John Fogerty had already picked up some popularity with his band The Golliwogs, but Uncle Sam came a-calling in 1966. In order to avoid being sent to Vietnam, he instead enlisted in the Army Reserves, where he served for a while until he was discharged honorably. In the days that followed the discharge, he wrote a song that he knew immediately would be a hit on the level of the bigger songs of the Tin Pan Alley days. And, given...
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February 18, 2020 17 min
True story: I hire models from Fiverr to do these pictures. All three of them, coincidentally, are from the same (non-US) nation. I don't do that on purpose but I'm starting to think I have a "type". Thanks for your patience as the show migrates from one server to another. As I noted on the social media, I'm working hard to make it as invisible as possible if you listen via Google or Apple or Spotify, etc. A...
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Released just before Christmas 1984, this became Foreigner's one and only chart-topping hit in the winter of 1985, and it was a nail in the band's coffin.
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January 27, 2020 18 min
Bear with me this week; I'm fighting off some kind of respiratory thing and I'm sounding like Peter Brady singing "Time to Change." By the way, isn't it cool the way we get that flanging effect only when Marcia and Greg are singing solo, despite the group microphones? Why yes, I am a fussbudget. Nice to meet you. This week: it was Procul Harum's debut single, and at last count it was the...
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Roberta Flack was one of those artists that the label couldn't quite pigeonhole, which meant that they couldn't find a way to make her accessible to listeners. As a result, her first two albums got some positive press, but the sales weren't especially great. It wasn't until after her second album came out that a track on the first album caught the attention of a first-time movie director by the name of Clint Eas...
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December 30, 2019
As Nirvana picked up fans, they noticed something peculiar about them--they didn't know anything about Nirvana. So Kurt Cobain wrote a song about them.
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Phil Spector's Christmas album from 1963 had only one original composition on it, and it went pretty much ignored for over twenty years.
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December 23, 2019
Prince's first trip to the Top Ten was a slightly edited version of a live recording of the first time he and the Revolution played it for an audience.
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This week we take a look at a couple of songs that have the same title but are different, and which had different lives on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
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November 17, 2019
Madonna's sixth single and her first Number One hit was the one that established her as a genuine superstar, able to re-invent herself with each album.
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November 10, 2019
Steely Dan's fifth single, and the second from the album Aja, was not, in fact, inspired by Wake Forest's struggling football team.
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