High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Post-Millennial Movers and Shakers: Girls Who Put the Fizz in Pop Rock!



Not all of the great music

was made in the 20th century.

This series proves it.

Welcome to part 11 of my salute to female
poppers, pop rockers and pop rappers -
the established hit makers of today
and the stars of tomorrow - young
women with millions of fans and
YouTube followers. These multi-
talented artists sing, write their
own songs, make videos and
films, host tutorial vlogs and
tour the U.S. and the world.
They richly deserve all the
recognition they are getting.



You first met this group in May in
part 2 of this series, Float Upstream.
They're The Pride of Poughkeepsie (NY) -
the pop rock band Against The Current -
featuring their exciting lead singer
Chrissy Costanza.

Chrissy has a lot going for her. When she's
not singing with ATC and collaborating with
other artists on recordings and videos, she
runs her popular YouTube channel and vlog
dispensing advice as a beauty guru.

Now please listen to Against The Current
performing "Talk," a song partly written
by Chrissy, from ATC's 2015 EP Gravity,
and see if you agree that Chrissy is
poised, polished and professional
as they come.

"Talk" - Against The Current
(from 2015 EP Gravity)

ZEDD ft.


I introduced Selena Gomez back in August
in Modern Material Girls. As you might recall,
Selena starred with James Franco in the movie
Spring Breakers (2012), filmed in and around
St. Petersburg, Florida, the area Shady has
called home for more than 32 years.

Another wildly popular Generaton Y
"it girl" Selena is firing on all cylinders -
a singer, actress and style icon. In the
spring of 2015, Selena was featured
vocalist on "I Want You To Know,"
a hit single by Zedd, a Grammy
Award winning Russian-German
producer of electro house music.

In the video we get a chance to tag along
and rub elbows with the beautiful people
as Selena hits the club. (I convinced the
burly bouncer at the front door to let
me in by insisting "I'm with her.")

 "I Want You To Know" 
 Zedd feat. Selena Gomez 
 (Mar./Apr. 2015, highest chart pos. 
 #17 Hot 100/#1 US Hot Dance/Electronic 
 from May 2015 Zedd album True Colors) 



The next four songs and videos flash us
boomers back to the 60s, 70s and 80s.

First, let's welcome for the second time
English child singing star Connie Talbot.
Connie, who turned 16 a week ago, sings
with maturity as she covers the 1964
Lesley Gore hit "You Don't Own Me,"
successfully covered in 2015 by the
Australian recording artist Grace.

"You Don't Own Me"
(Grace cover, originally by Lesley Gore)
Connie Talbot (December 2015)




Let's move the boomer timeline forward to
early 1970 as we meet Vazquez Sounds,
a trio of talented siblings from Mexicali,
Baja California, Mexico - Abe, Gustavo
and Angela "Angie" Vázquez.

Lead singer Angie was only 10 when she
and her brothers exploded on YouTube.
Since then Vazquez Sounds has released
two albums and at least 14 singles, most of
them in English and a few in Spanish. On
their 2012 debut album, Vazquez Sounds
performed a cover of "I Want You Back,"
the first chart topping hit for Motown's
sibling act, the Jackson Five. Listen as
11 year old Angie conjures up the
King of Pop, Michael Jackson,
in this live performance!

"I Want You Back" (Jackson Five cover) 
Vazquez Sounds (from July 2012
album Vazquez Sounds)

(The exciting live video I want to
show you was removed from YouTube.
Please be patient and view it here.)



Now the time machine transports us ahead
a few years to the late 70s when roller
skate dates were all the rage.

Megan Nicole, the pop prodigy from the
Houston area, is back to entertain us with
another great songvid. In Float Upstream
Megan portrayed a hot blooded actress in
the fictional Spanish telenovela Fiebre -
translation: ("Fever").

Today Megan stars in a Disco 70s inspired
vignette that recalls the 1979 Linda Blair movie
musical Roller Boogie. The intro seems to be
a mash-up of disco hits, "Doctor's Orders"
by Carol Douglas and "He's the Greatest
Dancer" by Sister Sledge. The song
Megan sings, "Silver Medal," has a
melody and arrangement that remind
me of Michael Jackson's late 1979 -
early 1980 single "Rock With You,"
one of the last hits of the disco era.

"Silver Medal" - Megan Nicole
(2015 single)



I introduced the British girl group and
X Factor champs Little Mix at Halloween

The young women of Little Mix weren't even
born in 1986 when "Word Up!" was a top 10
hit single for the R&B and funk group Cameo.
In March 2014 Little Mix covered the song
for Sport Relief, a charity fund raiser
to help the poor. Word up...
Little Mix gets down!

"Word Up! - Cameo cover by Little Mix
(March 2014, highest chart pos.
#6 UK/#8 Scotland)

I hope you enjoyed volume 11 featuring more of
the up-and-coming pop and rock princesses who
became social media sensations on YouTube.
With their talent and poise these young
women could be the Mariah Careys,
Katy Perrys and Taylor Swifts of
the music industry by the time
we reach the Roaring Twenties
of the 21st century. Hard to
believe it's coming soon!

The Part 12 conclusion of this
year long series is coming up at
Christmas so please stick around.

Have a Shady day!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Winning Hand: Three Pairs!

Welcome to Winning Hand:

Three Pairs!

It's the series formerly known as Version Sacrifice,
which before that was called Battle of the Banned,
which before that was called Battle of the Bands.
Confused? Why another name change, Shady?
Plain and simple, I changed the format
because I no longer feel like
hosting band battles.

In Winning Hand: Three Pairs! I'll present
three pairs of recorded songs, three originals
and three covers. Naturally I am curious to
learn which versions you like, but I am not
asking you to vote and there will be no
follow-up post to announce a winner.

I might be a wild card and

a joker, but I'm no poker.

Therefore, without further delay,
I will introduce the queens
of song in today's post.

Remember, ladies and gentlemen...

This is only an exhibition...
This is not a competition...
Please... no wagering.


Image courtesy of

Teenage UK singer and songwriter Val McKenna
had bleached blonde hair and often wore sunnies
(probably even at night). I think of her as Britain's
answer to Mickey Lee Lane. Near the end of 1965
Val released a killer cover of Ike and Tina Turner's
R&B barn burner "I Can't Believe What You Say."

 "I Can't Believe What You Say" 
 Val McKenna (October 1965) 


The incendiary husband and wife team of
Ike and Tina Turner released their original
version of "I Can't Believe What You Say
(For Seeing What You Do)" a year earlier.

 "I Can't Believe What You Say 
 (For Seeing What You Do)" 
 Ike and Tina Turner (Sept. 1964, 
 highest chart position #95) 


Liverpool thrush Beryl Marsden possessed
powerful pipes and a passion for singing
American soul songs. Near the end of
1965 Beryl released a single with a
cover of soul man Stevie Wonder's
"Music Talk" on the A side.

The fab flip, "Break-A-Way," is a song
originally released as an obscure B side by
American R&B singer Irma Thomas. Neither
side of the record won Beryl the recognition
she deserved, but her energetic version
of "Break-A-Way" went on to become
a fan favorite of the Brit girl genre.

 "Break-A-Way" - Beryl Marsden 
 (Dec. 1965, B side of "Music Talk") 


Louisiana born Irma Thomas earned the
nickname The Soul Queen of New Orleans.

In the spring of 1964 Irma's original rendition
of "Break-A-Way" came and went almost
unnoticed as the B side of a minor hit
"Wish Someone Would Care."

 "Break-A-Way" - Irma Thomas 
 (April 1964, B side of 
 "Wish Someone Would Care") 


Mary Wells was the first singer to give
Motown Records a top 40 hit. It happened
in 1961 when Mary's  "I Don't Want To
Take a Chance" reached #33
on the pop chart.

Many artists in the UK and other parts
of Europe covered Mary Wells, among them
Louise Cordet, an English singer who also
performed in French. In 1964 Louise waxed
an uptempo version of the Mary Wells hit
"Two Lovers" and it was released on the
B side of "Don't Make Me Over," a
cover of a Dionne Warwick hit.

 "Two Lovers" - Louise Cordet 
 (April 1964, B side of 
 "Don't Make Me Over") 


Now let's listen to the Mary Wells
original recording of "Two Lovers."

Released in December of 1962, Mary's single
was a top 10 hit on the pop chart and topped
the R&B chart in the early weeks of 1963.

 "Two Lovers" - Mary Wells 
 (Jan./Feb. 1963, highest chart pos. 
 #7 Hot 100/#1 R&B

I think these queens of song are aces!

Do you agree? As always I am interested
in knowing which ones you like, but please
 remember that voting is strictly prohibited
and violators will be prosecuted to the
fullest extent of the law. :)

Have a Shady day!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Charli's Angels!

Welcome to part 10 of my 12-part series

covering the rising female stars of

pop, pop rock and pop rap.



Charli XCX (Charlotte Emma Aitchison) is
a perfect little angel as you will soon see.
The English singer/songwriter began her
career performing in London warehouse
rave clubs. Charli XCX first gained fame
as the featured vocalist on two worldwide
hit singles. "Fancy" by Australian rapper
Iggy Azalea and "I Love It" by Icona Pop,
a female electro-pop duo from Sweden.

"I Love It," a song included on Icona Pop's
first two albums, topped the US Dance chart.
It was used in the soundtrack of the racing
video game Need for Speed: Most Wanted
and on various TV shows, movie trailers
and commercials. I love it! Do you?

"I Love It' - Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX
(May/June 2012, h.c.p. #7 Hot 100,
#1 US Hot Dance-Electronic.
#1 in UK and in Scotland,
from Nov. 2012 album Icona Pop
& Sept. '13 album This is...Icona Pop)



At the end of 2014 Charli XCX released
her second studio album Sucker. It landed
in the Billboard top 30 and was ranked
6th best album of 2015 by Rolling Stone.

In 2015, Charli XCX cracked the UK top 10
and topped the Israeli chart with an alternate
version of "Doing It," a song from Sucker,
featuring the vocals of Yugoslavia born,
London bred singer and actress Rita Ora.
The video was inspired by the movies
 Thelma & Louise and Natural Born
Killers and by the iconic Barbie Doll.

"Doing It" - Charli XCX ft. Rita Ora
(Feb./Mar. 2015, highest chart pos.
#8 UK/#7 Scotland/#1 Israel,
from Dec. 2014 album Sucker)


"Break the Rules," the second single from
the Charli XCX album Sucker, was used in
the trailer for the 2015 movie Goosebumps
and ranked #5 on Cosmo's list of best
songs of 2014. You gotta love Charli
and her gal pals in this video as they
chant "I don't wanna go to school...
... I just wanna break the rules."
Not since Cyndi Lauper's
"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"
have girls just wanna'd to
have this much fun!

"Break the Rules" - Charli XCX
(Aug./Sept. 2014, h.c.p. #27
US Mainstream Top 40,
#6 Austria/#4 Germany,
from Dec. 2014 album Sucker)


Here's another song by Icona Pop
taken from their album This Is...
Seems like these sassy Swedish
synth-poppers are "On a Roll."

"On a Roll" - Icona Pop
(from Sept. 2013 album
This Is... Icona Pop



Now meet another of Charli's angels,
Australian rapper, songwriter and model
Iggy Azalea. At age 16, Iggy (Amethyst
Amelia Kelly) relocated to the states and,
in the years that followed, established
herself as a hip hop artist, releasing
an album, three EPs, two mixtapes
and 13 singles. Iggy's 2014 album,
The New Classic became a world-
wide hit and spawned the chart-
topping single "Fancy" which
features vocals by Charli XCX.

"Fancy" - Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX
(Feb/Mar. 2014, highest chart pos.
#1 Hot 100/#1 Australian Urban
#1 New Zealand/#1 Canada


British singer (and shrinking violet) Rita Ora
returns now to cap off the post with "I Will
Never Let You Down," a single that made 
its debut at #1 on the UK chart and topped
the U.S. dance chart. A remix of the song
appeared on the Pepsi visual album Pepsi
Beats of the Beautiful Game released in
advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup,
the world championship of men's
national association football teams.
In the vid, Rita is flanked by twin
sisters Polly and Sophie Duniam,
who gained fame on the BBC
TV series Home Farm Twins.

"I Will Never Let You Down"
(R3hab Remix) - Rita Ora
(Mar. 2014, highest chart pos.
#1 UK, #1 U.S. Dance Club
#1 Scotland)

I hope you enjoyed the shooting stars
of pop in part 10. I'll be hip-hopping
along to part 11 soon, so stay tuned.

Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Eleven's a Perfect 10 - Stranger Things Have Happened But Don't Know When!


Thirty-three years ago...

NOVEMBER 6, 1983,

in the town of Hawkins, Indiana,

12-year-old Will Byers

mysteriously vanished.


were about to happen!

Meet the main characters in this drama
and listen to the songs that formed the
soundtrack of their lives as these
fantastic events unfolded.

I'm Joyce Byers, Will's frantic mother
on Stranger Things, the smash hit
sci-fi/horror series on Netflix.

I've tried everything I can think of to
find Will. I even resorted to chanting
"Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice."

Where there's a Will... there's a way.
This I swear to you. Whoever or whatever
took my son is axing for trouble. Chief
Hopper and I have buried the hatchet
and together we're gonna bury it
in that monster's skull!

"Undercover of the Night"
The Rolling Stones

(Nov. & Dec. 1983, highest chart pos.
#9 Hot 100,#11 UK,#5 Belgium,
#4 Netherlands)

I'm Chief Jim Hopper of the
Hawkins Police Department.

Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.
Then comes Miller time. That's right, folks.
I drink a lot, smoke a lot and sleep with
every woman in town. Yep... I'm your
typical 80s hero... uniquely qualified to
battle a creature from a parallel universe.

"Union of the Snake"
Duran Duran

(Nov. & Dec. 1983, highest chart pos.
#1 Cash Box/#3 Hot 100/#3 UK  )


I'm Mike Wheeler, one of Will's friends.

I have a secret friend hidden in my house -
a girl named Eleven - "El" for short. She's
gonna help us find Will. El's kinda quiet
and all she ever eats are Eggos, lots of 'em.
 Her head is shaved and she doesn't really
look like a girl. Even so, I kinda like her,
but not in that mushy, gushy, gooey way.

"One Thing Leads
To Another"
The Fixx

(Oct. & Nov. 1983, highest chart
pos. #4 Hot 100/#1 Canada)

I'm Nancy Wheeler, Mike's older sister
and Steve Harrington's girlfriend.

Although I'm dating Steve, who's in with
the "in" crowd, I am strangely attracted
to Jonathan, a quiet outsider.

I'm a good girl but, when the chips are down,
I'm badass as they come. Now grab the bear trap.
It's open season on monsters from other dimensions.

"Running With the Night"
Lionel Richie

(Dec. 1983 to Feb. 1984,
 highest chart pos. #7 Hot 100,
#1 Canada Adult Contemporary)


I'm Jonathan Byers, Joyce's son
and Will's older brother.

I have a crush on Nancy Wheeler, but her heart
belongs to Mr. Popularity, Steve Harrington.
I don't know what she sees in him, but I wish
she was seein' me. I just heard a song on
the radio and it reminded me of Nancy.

"Uptown Girl" 
Billy Joel

(Oct. to Dec. 1983, highest chart pos.
#3 Hot 100/#1 UK, Scotland, Ireland)

I'm Steve Harrington, big man on campus
and Nancy Wheeler's boyfriend.

Nancy is out of my league and I know it.
She's a good girl, too good for a spoiled,
Shallow Hal like me, but I'll do whatever
it takes to keep her with me and away
from that weirdo Byers dude. I just
need to work on my rap a little.

"Tell Her About It"
Billy Joel

(Sept. to Nov. 1983, highest chart pos.
#1 Hot 100/#1 Adult Contemporary)

Oh my god oh my god
oh my god oh my god!

I'm Dustin Henderson, another of Will's
friends. El has awesome superpowers
and, on top of that, she's crazy. If you
make her mad she can squeeze your
bladder with her mind, make you
pee your pants and send you
home crying to mommy.

"Ain't Nobody"
Rufus and Chaka Khan

(Nov. & Dec. 1983, highest chart pos.
#11 U.S. Hot Dance/Electronic Songs,
#2 UK, #1 in 8 other countries)

I'm Lucas, a third friend of Will's.

Mike and Dustin say Eleven's our friend,
but I think she's the enemy. I don't trust
her any farther than I could throw her
uphill against a 50 mph wind, which
is exactly how far she threw me
the other day using her mind!


(Nov. 1983 to Jan. '84, highest chart pos.
#1 U.S. Dance Club, #2 UK/ Ireland,
live appearance on Solid Gold)

My name is Eleven, the friend that Mike,
Dustin and Lucas have been telling you about.

I'm the monster that ate Mike's heart and
the breakout star of Stranger Things.
This is my sad face (above).

This is my happy face.

This is my superpower death stare.
As you can see, I have single-handedly
elevated wooden acting to an art form.
Friends don't lie. I don't smile.

"The Safety Dance" 
Men Without Hats

(Aug.- Nov. 1983, highest chart pos.
#1 Cash Box/#3 Hot 100

Eleven back with you again.

I'm all smiles now because I sense
that you enjoyed the show.





Wednesday, November 9, 2016

She's a Proverbs 31 Woman...

NOTE: This post was written one week before the
U.S. presidential election. Regardless of the
outcome, the message remains the same.
 I simply filled in the name of the
 winner before publishing.

She is a woman worth more than rubies

She stretches her hands to the needy

She is not afraid of the storm

She opens her mouth with wisdom

Strength and dignity are her clothing

And kindness is on her tongue

She does not eat the bread of idleness

She smiles at the future

Her children rise up and call her blessed

October 2016: Margaret Schneider, age 104,
"The Oldest Living Dell Rat," proudly cast
her vote in the U.S. presidential election.

God bless you, Margaret...

My inspiration for this post came from
the version of this bible verse song,
"Proverbs 31 Woman," recorded by
soul/disco-turned-gospel singer
Candi Staton for her 2002
album of the same name.

The long, tough, grueling presidential race
is now concluded and a winner has been
chosen by a vote of the people in our
democracy. To the patriotic citizens
of this country who wholeheartedly
believed that the candidate they
supported was better equipped
for the office but were out-
numbered and outvoted,
I offer another timely
message song from
Candi's album...
"Hallelujah Anyway."

"Hallelujah Anyway" (Larse Vocal)
Candi Staton (2012 single from
2002 album Proverbs 31 Woman)

As we begin a new chapter in American history
let us pray for peace and unity across this
great land of ours and around the world.

“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the
ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”
– Ronald Reagan

“I want a kinder, and gentler nation.”
– George H.W. Bush

“And I hope to stand for a new harmony,
a greater tolerance. We've come far, but
I think we need a new harmony among
the races in our country. And we're on a
journey into a new century, and we've
got to leave that tired old baggage of
bigotry behind.” – George H.W. Bush

“This is America: the Knights of Columbus,
the Grange, Hadassah, the Disabled American
Veterans, the Order of Ahepa, the Business
and Professional Women of America,
the union hall, the Bible study group,
LULAC, "Holy Name"—a brilliant
diversity spread like stars, like a
thousand points of light in a
broad and peaceful sky.”
– George H.W. Bush

“Our most basic common link is
that we all inhabit this planet.
We all breathe the same air.
We all cherish our children's
future. And we are all mortal.”
– John F. Kennedy

"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance,
the delusion that we have some privileged
position in the Universe, are challenged by
this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely
speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.
In our obscurity, in all this vastness,
there is no hint that help will come from
elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far
to harbor life. There is nowhere else,
at least in the near future, to which
our species could migrate. Visit, yes.
Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for
the moment, the Earth is where
we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling
and character-building experience. There is
perhaps no better demonstration of the folly
of human conceits than this distant image
of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our
responsibility to deal more kindly with one
another, and to preserve and cherish the
pale blue dot, the only home we've ever
known. For small creatures such as we
the vastness is bearable only through
love.” ― Dr. Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot:
A Vision of the Human Future in Space

I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Sagan.
From this moment on, let us not think of
our country or our world as "us vs. them."
Let us be mindful that it is us and us alone.

"Love is the answer..."
- John Lennon

Congratulations to president-elect

Donald Trump

and everyone who supported him.

God bless America!