The Blog of Young America

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steve coogan

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Tony Burrows: The King of 1970

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Video: Edison Lighthouse - “Love Grows” - Top of the Pops - 1970

Tony Burrows sang on a handful of familiar, early-70s bubblegum records, but don’t bother flipping through your parents’ box of 45s, because you probably won’t find his name or face on too many of the labels. Tony was the uncredited British session singer who “fronted” a handful of those one- and two-hit-wonder bands whose hooks are still taking up considerable space in your author’s unconscious. But, you sure don’t see his face popping up too often in the promotional videos and performances for the songs he helped make famous.

Love Grows” by Edison Lighthouse? That’s Tony (though lip-synched here by some other handsome fellow). “Beach Baby” by First Class? That's totally Tony (although, again, that’s not him jivin’ and a'mimin’ in the video either). “My Baby Loves Lovin’” by White Plains? Oh, you better believe that’s Tony (and nope, for the hat trick, that’s not Tony in the video either — That’s Robin Shaw, one of First Class' backup singers).

But! As for Tony’s appearing in the flesh: friends, it happened that on one weird day in 1970, Tony Burrows did something that’s still unprecedented (captured in part on the video shown above). Tony Burrows performed three times on the same episode of “Top of the Pops” — singing with three different chart-topping bands of the day. A record that remains unbroken and which, at the time, instantly made him a persona non grata to the BBC:

When Brotherhood of Man were announced, out came Tony Burrows to sing the hit song. After completion, he strolled offstage to make room for another act, White Plains — who just happened to be represented by Burrows, who once again took his place in front of the microphone. At the show’s conclusion, when the No. 1 hit was finally announced, chart-toppers Edison Lighthouse were invited up to perform — and, yes, it was Tony Burrows once more.

The show’s producers were aghast, and after wiping the egg off their faces, the reportedly unofficially banned the three-timing Burrows from ‘Top of the Pops’ out of sheer embarrassment.

A few record covers
showing Tony's
ginormous output

So, I’m just guessing somebody got sacked a couple weeks later when, again according to this awesome article, Tony snuck onto TOTP for a fourth appearance — this time to sing the paint-peelingly awful/catchy “Gimme Dat Ding” by The Pipkins.

There’s an exhaustive Tony Burrows fansite with an informative rock family tree, plus sleeve art and more information on the man’s many other appearances, including “United We Stand” by Brotherhood of Man, and — we're going deep catalog here, kids — Tony's 1967 psych-pop band The Flowerpot Men, who gave us the lovely, Brian-Wilson-escent “Let’s Go to San Francisco.”

The man got around.

And, don’t get me started on Ron Dante (wikip), who was kinda like the L.A. version of Tony Burrows.

The man who — before producing Barry Manilow and before being invited by George Plimpton to be publisher of the freaking Paris Review — was the uncredited voice of The Archies on hits like “Sugar, Sugar”.

Seriously. Don’t even get me started.

Merlin (for the vacationing Jeese)

IRON MAN

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Hello Maximum Fun Readers!...My Name is Paul and I'll be guest blogging a bit this week while Jesse is away on vacation. Hopefully my posts will keep you entertained, however I do want to give you a disclaimer, my grammar is atrocious and use of random punctuation is upsetting to many people. But now that we know that we can move on and look past it.

So lately I'm been obsessed with this Man....

His name is the Iron Sheik. His move is the Camel Clutch and he is INSANE!

Enjoy this Clip from from a Public Access Wrestling Show, it gets great a 1:15, but if you have patience watch it from the beginning, it's totally worth it.

If you wanna another dose of the Sheik enjoy his appearance on the Gay Themed Channel on Sirius

After watching these I challenge you not to talk like him for the rest of the day.

Podthoughts by Ian Brill: Radio Lab

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In our regular feature Podthoughts, freelance journalist Ian Brill helps you navigate your way through the thousands of podcasts available on the internet.

I discovered Radio Lab when Ira Glass recommended it at the end of a This American Life podcast. He was speaking to the right audience. WNYC’s Radio Lab starts with a big theme and examines it in a series of short segments. Like TAL they’re audio documentaries. The interviews aren’t soundbites. Hosts Jad Abumrad, Robert Krulwich and their producers ensure in-depth interviews with their subjects. They have to because unlike TAL Radio Lab’s segments stick much closer to their themes.

Throughout the show Abumrad and Krulwich will pop in and offer their opinions on the show’s binding idea, be it morality, mortality or the mystery of memory. They’ll often debate with each other, which is very interesting. The two have easily defined but different personalities. Kurlwich is a man of heart. Even when given the cold, hard scientific facts about memory or morality he’ll want to believe that there’s something more going on than just biological or evolutionary traits. Abumrad deals with the more logical side of things and plays a nice foil to Kurlwich.

What really impressed me about Radio Lab when I first heard it was how sound was edited. In the show “Memory and Forgetting” the hosts and the archived sounds of the interview subjects lap over each other. Sound effects dramatizing an event come in quick burst. Certain phrases and sounds are repeated at various times. This is the first time I’ve heard a radio show that matched the fast pace of television. Radio Lab makes sure to use this style deliberately and clearly. They know when to slow the show down, such as during somber and emotional moments. Listening to Radio Lab you get that immediate sense of being “there” on the field reports but you’re also pulled back by Abumrad and Kurlwich’s hosting. It’s a unique listening experience but a nice one.

Awesome movies at Archive.org

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Archive.org’s Moving Image Archive

You already know Archive.org as the home of the Wayback Machine and as a great place to find stuff like free audio by everyone from Gracie Allen to Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

I think the gem of the site for enthusiasts of pop culture awesomeness is the Moving Images section, which contains thousands of films, cartoons — you name it. Most are available for download at high resolution, so you can throw them on your iPod or burn ‘em to DVD and watch on that big-ass TV of yours.

Lately, one of my favorite areas is The Prelinger Archives, which houses some of Rick Prelinger’s astounding collection of ephemeral films — promotional videos, educational reels, and seemingly endless ads and pitches, mostly from America’s less ironic past. In the ephemeral section, you’ll find dancing ladies making an omelette, a soldier who doesn’t want to take a bath, and a paean to the patriotic power of electricity. And, oh boy: cautionary nuclear tales? Not a problem.

But, seriously, do not miss out on the really good stuff that abounds in the film and animation sections: classic cartoons from the Fleischer Brothers (Betty Boop shown above), creepy young Peter Lorre in Fritz Lang’s M, the classic Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and the amazing 1955 “Rhythm and Blues Revue” (with Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Nat Cole, Nipsey Russell, and more).

Great way to kill a Sunday afternoon.

Merlin (for the vacationing Jesse)

I'm going on vacation.

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OK, everybody. I'm off to my first real vacation since I graduated from college. I'll be gone for a week. See you a week from Monday.

Don't fret, however... there is plenty of entertainment here for you to enjoy.

First of all, you'll have a few CELEBRITY GUEST BLOGGERS to keep you entertained.

Merlin Mann is the host of The Merlin Show, as well as the creator of 43folders.com, the uber-popular personal productivity site. He's also the co-host of Mac Break Weekly and other popular podcasts.

Paul Scheer is a brilliant improviser and comic actor, best known as 1/4th of MTV's The Human Giant. He's also been seen regularly on various talking head television series.

And if he can figure out how to use Blogger (I mean this totally sincerely), Bill Hader of Saturday Night Live plans to join in the fun as well.

We've also got new episodes of Jordan, Jesse GO!, Coyle & Sharpe and TSOYA planned, so your entertainment experience should be undisturbed.

GOODBYE!

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: New Sincerity Summer

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Show: 
Bullseye

We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

This show is all about summer, and fun, and how the two really just go hand in hand. First, we adjudicate the New Sincerity Summer contest, in which listeners offer up their favorite summer activities.

Then we talk with Mike Veeck, minor league baseball empresario, son of baseball Hall of Famer Bill Veeck, and author of Fun is Good. Mike talks with us about some of the promotions he's concocted, like "Disco Demolition Night" and "Mime-O-Vision." He also tells us about his son, who he has named "Night Train." Seriously people, this man is dedicated.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Finders Keepers

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Show: 
Bullseye


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

Our guests are Davy Rothbart, editor of Found Magazine, and Lorca Shepperd, co-director of the film Other Peoples' Pictures.

Found Magazine is a collection of notes, photos, and other found items ranging from cute, to absurd, to downright bizarre. Found items, sent in in large part by readers, are published in their irregular magazine, and more frequently, on the Found website. They also have published two books.

Lorca Shepperd's documentary Other Peoples' Pictures offers a glimpse into the world of snapshot enthusiasts -- collectors of vintage amateur photography.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

Download This Week's Show
Subscribe to TSOYA Classic in iTunes
Please Donate to Support the Show

Listen to This Week's Show


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Philly Stand UP!

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Philly: it's more than just Philly Boy Roy, The Phillie Phanatic and Philadelphia Freeway. Now it's also THE SOUND OF YOUNG AMERICA ON WHYY!

TSOYA premiers TONIGHT on WHYY, and will run every Friday night at 9PM.

Come on... I know you don't have a date! Listen! Tell them you love the show!

"Coal" by Free Love Forum

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This is the best thing since WHIT Power 102 FM. Credit goes to the esteemed NYC sketch group Free Love Forum.

(via CCInsider, thanks Chris!)

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