Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bringing out the Cow Bells for Easter! Stevie Wonder's genius "Another Star" still sends me -and reminds me of cross-country drives at night with the windows down, his music filling every inch of the car

Stevie Wonder - Another Star
"There might be another star, 
But through my eyes the light of you is all I see..."
Simply put, genius personified.

One of THE greatest songs ever for playing while driving across the U.S.A. at night on the Interstate, especially on curving roads that you maneuver like slalom runs, gliding with little effort.

And it's even better when you're by yourself at 2 a.m. and there's no side traffic and you can use your steering wheel as your synthesizer and drum.

When I close my eyes and hear this song (and this iconic album), I almost immediately see myself, circa 1979-1987 on I-24 getting close to Chattanooga, and I-75 in Georgia, north and south of Macon, circa 1979-1987, with stops at the Shoney's Big Boy for a post-midnight slice of Key Lime pie and real Cherry Coke, because another hamburger is not what the doctor ordered. Sugar rush!

This video is 100% accurate about the first two minutes depicted here! The immediate area around Monteagle, TN, whether going up or down the mountain, was always THE scariest part of the drive for me between Miami and Chicago -or Bloomington- because of all the armies of trucks that were just flying by me -doing the speed limit- and the cars driven by locals that were passing THEM!
Even while bits of wet rocks and gravel from the mountain were always just inches from the road.
Runaway truck!!!!!

That was always the case heading north towards IU in Bloomington or up to Chicago/Evanston from North Miami Beach, because it means that I still have a ridiculous amount of driving still ahead of me.

And the thing is, even though we've never met, I know that somewhere up on I-65 north of Nashville, maybe just inside of the Bluegrass State, there's at least a few sleepy truck drivers in Kentucky pulling big rigs I have to be wary of, because while they may've stopped to eat, they're still sleepy.

Because there are always sleepy truck drivers at night around there.

Guys who'll drive faster than the posted speed limit while its raining hard, and I know in advance that IF I don't keep a nice safe distance, ahead of them or behind them. their water will just pour onto my windshield like I'm drowning and make my windshield wipers useless.

Trust me, that is damn scary at night on long stretches of roads with trucks forever getting on your bumper while you're trying not to get blown off the road.

The 1980's route from my past to my then-present

To quote myself, "If only blogs and digital cameras had existed then."
I'd have hundreds and hundreds of amazing photos and shots of the passing American scene of the 1980's I knew -and lots of restaurant reviews!- and dozens of anecdotes about my friends and classmates I visited along the way who lived along the Interstate that connected my past and my then-present in America's heartland. 

Especially like my sweet and adorable friend, Beth George in Louisville, whose friendliness, smile, wit and accent never failed to amaze me, and make me thankful to have someone like her as a friend.
Yes, she wasn't an Indiana Pi Phi for nothing!

5 p.m. Postscript: YouTube Frustration.

Since I posted this earlier this morning, I realized that I'd forgotten to add something that was nagging me after I hit "Post" and went to sleep.
Maybe those of you who are my age or share my particular musical tastes and come to this blog fairly often thought the same thing I am now, since it has happened before with other videos of musical talents I greatly admire and appreciate and have chosen to post here.

Since rather out-of-the-blue I'd found myself humming and singing this great song for the past few days while stuck in traffic around the area -something that happens multiple times a day around here at this time of the year because of visitors and toursists, esp. given that there are only three main roads to navigate thru the city- I had already decided that I was going to post this version of the song on the blog today, since late Saturday night is usually the easiest time for me to write something pop culture-related, even if I don't post it for a few days.

The song, which came out as a single in the summer of 1977 when I was 16 years-old and soon to be an Junior at North Miami Beach Senior High School, and one that everyone I knew then, male or female, White or Black or Hispanic, petite gymnast or lanky soccer player loved.

And so, that being the case, that everyone actually DOES LOVE Stevie Wonder, esp. his material from that era, I assumed that it would be rather simple to find a long version of the song on YouTube with him singing it that year or within a few years, whether from a concert or TV appearance, as well as find a version there of British singer George Michael singing the song, too, since he loves it too and has sung it in the past on his concert tours, esp. in Europe.
I'd seen the videos of that before, so knew that going in.

But early this morning I discovered that despite all the tens of millions of things on YouTube, there is NOT a single video of Stevie Wonder singing the song in concert or on TV pre-1985, and NOT a single good video of George Michael singing it in concert, whether via a handheld camera or TV broadcast, where both the audio and video were very good, much less amazing.

Instead, for the latter, much to my consternation, there are a lot of bits and pieces of the song being sung in London, Manchester, Amsterdam or Antwerp where the video is very good but the audio sucks, or vice-versa.

This one from a June 2007 concert at the City of Manchester Stadium has a fan's amazing video of George Michael literally circling the crowd as it were, but the fans around him are so loud that some audio is drowned out. 
Man, this video could have been spectacular but for the other fans.

And sometimes, the rare ones that are good at both, like this one also at that week of June 2007 dates in Manchester, end after barely more than two minutes, in the middle of the song, right when ridiculously-talented George Michael is really getting into the swing of things.
Wow that is SO frustrating!

After spending a lot of time looking, for me and my ears and eyes, this video below from a George Michael fan going by the name of unotraitanti, is THE most consistent quality version on YouTube, but if you know of one that is better, both audio and video clarity, please let me know.

unotraitanti's video: George Michael - "Another Star" (cover of Stevie Wonder) LVE, Manchester, England.


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