I have wondered for a couple years if someone would ask about Mindy McCready and her story. This week, Jennifer did, and yes she has a sad and tragic story. In my 42 years of country radio, this is one of the toughest ones for many reasons.
Her First Single - Much Loved By Fans
MM was from Ft. Myers, Florida and moved to Nashville at 18 with a dynamic almost angelic voice many thought, a contemporary look with a huge smile, and a sassy attitude that was right on time for early to mid 90's country. She had grown up singing in church and graduated high school early at 16 and was on her way. In just three years she signed a record deal and had her debut album on the charts in 1996, Ten Thousand Angels. Keep in mind this was way before the real internet and YouTube and all that. I was doing the morning show at WPCV in Lakeland, Florida at the time, and there was a tremendous phone buzz about her debut song, the title song of the album, long before we were playing it. Fans had known of her and were excited about hearing her music on the radio. She was a hero to them at just 21 years old.
Her Only Number One - A Smash!
She rallied a very young fan base and there was a big demand to hear her debut song. Sure we played it as did everyone else, and it was big for her going to number 6 on the charts. But there was something there. Something magnetic that was drawing. She was right on time debuting in 1996 in country and seemed to initially fit right in. Women in the 1990's in country had a GREAT run. Shania, Terri Clark, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, JoDee Messina, Suzy Bogguss, Lee Ann Womack, Martina McBride , Holly Dunn and others. And MM seemed to be the next in a line of wildly popular women with great music, popularity, image and attitude. She was award nominated in 1997, but lost to Deana Carter at the ACM's, who had nothing short of an incedible year.
With Richie McDonald Of Lonestar
Her second song, Guys Do It All The Time was a smash number one with a driving beat, fantastic guitar riff, and a slick video. Then two more singles came from the first album that sold over 2 million, and we had a new star. Her second album in 1997 was a success selling close to a million copies. In 1999 she released a third album that was no success at all, dropped from her record label and then making two more albums later with virtually no commerical success, it was now the 2000's. What had sadly happened, MM was now becoming more famous for things far outside of any kind of music.
Big Favorite As Well
For a number of years, MM found herself in many very tough legal and personal crisis situations. Substance abuse was at the forefront. She appeared on numerous reality TV shows were she discussed her struggle with drugs of many kinds. She was engaged to actor Dean Cain but that ended. There were numerous other romantic relationships as well including an NHL player, various actors and others. Her life had become a series of sad errors with substance abuse, and domestic abuse as the ongoing problems. The list of troubles is very long and went on for very long.
Great Song - Underrated
You can Google the exact details of many of these really terrible situations, they are no secret. But the truth is, all of this along with a career that faded all too quickly lead to the worst of ends, with Mindy McCready taking her own life in 2013. She was only 37 years old. It was a very sad day for us all. Even tough it had been quite a while since any real success for her, we were all pulling for her, as we were all watching her struggles in the news and on TV.
Mindy McCready for me, is one of the real tragic stories of my long career. Fans liked her, young listeners really liked her, she was going to the top, and somehow it all just went wrong. Hers is a very tough story to tell, as there is no shortage of sad. Read the comments on the videos here. She was very influential to many new listeners who were in their teens when she hit the charts.
I was initially like a lot of people feeling like she was on her way to join the others and maybe surpass many of them in the 1990's as a very successful artist singing songs that we would all play for a long time. I was very impressed with the entirety of that first album especially, as it had all the earmarks as a first class project introducing an incredible new artist.
It's very sad for many involved, and for many loyal fans. But for a moment that was far too short and fleeting Malinda Gayle McCready - was on top.
I am not a gigantic fish eater, but somehow I do like salmon. I like it smoked, and other ways when it's cooked creatively. Salmon can be fishy, but this sounds REALLY good!
Let's give this a go!
You may be like me, disappointed on the Browns season start. Playing 4 pretty mediocre teams and going 2-2 is not where they thought they'd be right now. I wrote a lot in the preseason that this team had a ton of question marks and I was mocked at times by fans saying that we were going 13-4 and the like. They won't - and they still have questions.
I don't think they are underachieving. I think this is who they are. They have a few remarkable players on this roster who perform as touted. But many thought to be remarkable are not. Just because the names are familiar from college or a cast off from other teams doesn't mean they are great. It means they are known. This team has invested a ton of money on players that other teams would not. And to me, that is very telling, as pretty much every other team has won more games than us since 1999. Maybe some of these guys just aren't that great.
The head coach is a major problem. I think he's a creative offensive coordinator, sometimes too creative. But he is not a motivator of men, he is too laid back and does not seem in charge. This team plays with no heart or emotion, and that is a death sentence for an NFL team. It's easy to blame the defensive coordinator for the ridiculous 4th quarter issues. Too easy. Players make or don't make plays. Maybe they just aren't as good as fans think. Firing him makes people feel better, but you still have the same players, in the same uniforms.
The leaders are not leading as usual. Continued embarrassing off field problems are turning into on field problems. Character matters, and some players that are committed to winning is the issue. I wish some were as committed to winning as they are to the lifestyle and possible awards that youth and big money bring. I also feel the owner is probably involved in the wrong things with the team and absent in areas that are more in his wheelhouse. But knowing that history, I'm not sure at all what that is. A questionable past can do that.
Many point to when the new QB enters the scene, things will be better, and that is possibly true. More than likely more of a factor next season after missing almost two years. Again, with embarrassing off field problems this owner and coaching staff decided to invest a quarter of a BILLION dollars in. I am not down on the Browns, I'm a fan too that just looks at them honestly. Pretending there are not large problems top to bottom is simply not being honest.
Can they fix all this? Sure, but there will have to be major changes in thinking and general good football sense. This absolute nonsense of letting computer analytics decide in game decisions that matter is silly. It's not only costing the Browns games, but other teams too. How about using them as a valuable tool to prepare you during the week and make good football decisions on Sunday from your own brain.
Any kind of win against the Chargers at home this week would be welcome and could turn some fortunes as they are a tough opponent. But we better cover people as they can score points by the truckload and have a great QB. Sunday the Browns were beaten by a QB that has been a bust in the NFL and completed ONLY 7 passes against us all afternoon. Simply embarrassing in today's NFL. Then they simply out-manned us and ran it down our throat in humiliating fashion. Their coach figured out at halftime, that his own mediocre QB was not the answer on that day, and challenged the Browns manhood to stop the run. They could not, and looked weak and over matched.
All these "easy fixes" are turning out not to be so easy. It's time to stop the fans and local media Browns fanny smooching and realize that we are who we are right now. And right now, today, this week - this 2-2 team, who is a miracle field goal away from being 1-3, just isn't as good as many think.
Time to face the facts.
Aaron Judge of the Yankees is having a great season, no doubt. The national media is all goo-goo eyed over his home runs and that's to be expected. He's in New York, a Yankee and a nice guy. This would be far more ho-hum if this was in Kansas City, or St. Louis, just ask Albert Pujols, who, oh my the way, just hit number 702 with the Cardinals! (Only 12 behind Babe Ruth). Judge only has to hit bout 500 more to get there. Sorry about the reality here. To me, right now, the possible triple crown is a more amazing feat for Judge that is brutally hard to do. But homers are sexy.
But the homers will come into play in the months ahead. Judge is going to end up with about the sixth best home run season ever. He will not hold the record, by a mile. That's fact again. I know the media would leave you to believe differently, but that's the truth. He will set an American League mark, and that's great. But Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa all will have marks far beyond Judges, all in the National League. And that's where it gets very interesting.
Aaron Judge was about six when those guys and tons of other hitters and pitchers were more than likely loaded up with steroids and breaking decades old records on the regular. So far, MLB has not put these guys in the Hall Of Fame, but they do recognize the numbers as of today as records, both hitting and pitching. When Judge hits 62 that may all change. MLB would love to recognize a legit home run record that eclipsed Roger Maris' 61 in 1961. It would end years of asterisks and "what if's." They would also love a Yankee to again be the record holder.
Judge's feat may start a movement to erase all of those "records" for anyone who did, or was thought to be on roids in that era, and that for baseball purists may be very welcome. They may find some new formula that would adjust the numbers to reflect a new numbers "reality." If so, it would give Aaron Judge the single season mark and also restore Hank Aaron to the All-time home run mark of 755.
It will be interesting to watch if this begins to happen.
Box Office Results - Don't Worry Darling (20 Million)
New This Week - Smile / Hocus Pocus 2 (Disney Plus)
New NEXT Week - Amsterdam / Lyle, Lyle Crocodile
Reminder - October 14 — Halloween Ends with Jamie Lee Curtis
Dahmer - Ten parter on Netflix, big numbers this week
Many Families - Of victims unhappy with the Dahmer series
Tenet - (2020) has been named the most confusing movie of the 21st century so far
Movies Ahead of Christmas - This year Great American Family will have 17 originals, UPtv 17, Hallmark 40, and Lifetime 26 (Story)
Hallmark - Rolls out thier new Christmas movies October 21
James Earl Jones - Signs off on voicing Darth Vader – They can use old recordings though
This Weekend – Check out my Country Music Memory Lane (link) Montgomery Gentry
I've added a lot of new articles in the Country Music Memory Lane Series with the Mega Star Series in the limelight the last few weeks. In case you missed them, here they are. I like to make them easy to find in case you missed them the first time around.
These are the most recent, so grab a coffee, a comfy chair and some ear buds and get ready for some great country!
Over the weekend, The Beautiful Windy made some kind Pumpkin, dessert thing deal in a pan that was incredible. So, now I'm all on board with fall desserts and the like.
Then I saw this, and maybe I'll get lucky and she will make these!!
I always thought that if you don't have a can opener, you were out of luck. Turns out, I was totally wrong.
Check this out! Ways to open cans that work!
Box Office Results - The Woman King - (19 Million)
New This Week - Avatar - (Back in theaters) - Don't Worry Darling
New NEXT Week - Smile / Bros / Hocus Pocus 2 (Disney Plus)
Reminder - October 14 — Halloween Ends with Jamie Lee Curtis
This Weekend – Check out my Country Music Memory Lane (link) Dwight Yoakam
Last week I featured Randy Travis and how his impact was immense on the future of Country Music in 1986, essentially saving the genre. Dwight Yoakam was right there with him. And from my seat when these two showed up, everything changed for country. Dwight Yoakam had a bevy of really great songs, but who he was, was just as important. Dwight Yoakam was good for us in so many ways, the music was just one of them.
His Break Through Song!
As Urban Cowboy was running out of gas, we were at a pivotal point in our genre. Do we continue to record, release, market, and play the same stuff that was stagnant, vanilla and not really loved by fans, or do we go in a very different direction? Travis' Storms of Life album shifted the direction of the format for years to come, as did Yoakam's Guitars And Cadillacs. Musically the two were entirely different, and in style and image as well. But the one thing they totally had in common was they were new, young, and here to make an incredible difference. They arrived at about the same time, the right time, they just took very different paths.
This Was A Very Popular Song!
Yoakam for the most part grew up in Columbus, Ohio where he went to school and eventually enrolled in Ohio State, but that didn't last long. He was heavily influenced by the music he grew up listening to on Columbus country radio, and what he saw on TV. Elvis, and others to be exact. He moved to Nashville in the early 80's and was told he was too honky-tonk, too bluegrass, too rockabilly, in short, he was just too much - period. You see, country was very safe in those days. My first number of years in country radio there were safe pop sounding songs from mostly established older artists and no one new was finding us, listening to us, and most of all enjoying us. We were officially "non-fun" and "non risk taking" overall and we all were concerned. We were treading water.
A Former Elvis Hit One Of His Heroes - Big For DW
Yoakam moved to California where he embraced the Bakersfield sound, and eventually found the ear of Reprise Records and recorded an "EP" at that time with some songs Yoakam had written and a couple of covers. It would become the iconic, Guitars and Cadillacs, and it was a huge success. I emceed a live show with Yoakam right at his beginning, as Honky Tonk Man was just finding its way to the charts. It was at some big club in Columbus, and I was doing mornings at WRMZ FM-100 Country there, we were the sister station to WMNI, the station Yoakam had grown up with as a kid. We had done shows there a few times with a local legendary group called, McGuffey Lane, all great guys. (They were sort of the Michael Stanley of Columbus, in how much they were loved) The place was mobbed, I mean jammed, with people seemingly hanging from the rafters to see Yoakam play. He was different, and you could feel and see it.
With One Of His Idols - Legendary Buck Owens #1 (This Song Was A Big Moment In His Run)
Yoakam was this new avant garde hybrid with his look and way. He was a new deal with a low riding hat, tighter than tight jeans that had holes in them, pointed boots, un-tucked shirt, jean waist jacket with some kind of rhinestones, and other stones lining the seams of his clothes with leather straps hanging off his sleeves, and some strange handmade belt worn low. All of that unheard of at the time, common place later. He had some Elvis type moves, a rockabilly singing delivery, and was just - cool. That's the best way I can describe it. The music was a bit loud, with a band that looked nothing like any country backup band I had ever seen. The music was also respectful of his heroes well before him, and we knew that was his passion, and loved him for it. We believed him, and that's a BIG DEAL for any country singer. He was on to something, it was new and really fun. It was a new day.
Huge Hit - Grammy Award Winner
Gone were the freshly pressed leisure suits of the day with badly died hair, capped teeth, long necklaces with wide open collars, and boots with no hat or anything else that was up to date. And also gone were the perceived "fake cowboys" of country where the big belt buckle and occasional hat wasn't fooling anyone anymore. This was a new kind of country star. And to me, along with the incredible music, that is the real gift Yoakam brought us.
A Real Yoakam Favorite
As where musically Randy Travis was politely asking Urban Cowboy to kindly step aside so others could play too, Yoakam seemed to give them the old heave-ho by the seat of their polyester pants, and Jordache jeans. Yoakam's music in many ways was a throwback to an era gone by, but it had a thump, it was traditional, loud, brash and more in your face, all being delivered by a guy in a very cool and new kind of get up and approach. He really helped begin the change of the stage show for country, another great gift. We were not just standing at the mic anymore.
Great Song - Cool Video
DW would enjoy a number of years of really good success in country. There are those who had more number one songs, and so on, but he was loved. His music was as distinct as he was. You knew it was him on the radio and I always feel that is the mark of a really great artist, the one that can cut through. His look which was - and is - distinctly his. It directly led to others in the years straight ahead to be more as daring, different and new. Yoakam made us far more adventurous. And at the beginning, we could have played him and Travis about 10 times an hour and no one would have minded.
Big Concert Song For Him
Yoakam opened up the minds of those reluctant to do so, while easing the minds of those longing for a new traditional country sound, and he brought us new listeners who decided to give us a try after seeing and hearing him. He was right there with Randy Travis closing out the Urban Cowboy pop country era for the newer traditionalists that were on the way. He is a Grammy winner, a CMA and ACM winner going on to sell close to 30 million albums which was unheard of then. He also was the very first country artist to EVER to have videos played on MTV. He was that cool and different. Acting was ahead as you know and he became re-famous in Hollywood doing great work there.
Later Yoakam - Different But Still Really Cool -
Dwight Yoakam to me is a very important player in the evolution of a far more modern country music landscape. He broke down a bunch of barriers and was daring enough musically and style wise to help change the direction of country music and its future entertainers. In the last few decades, he is one of the most respected artists we have had. He was accepted by artists from many genres as a real innovative artist. In a different way, he was as pivotal as Travis - and for us he was right on time.
Dwight Yoakam - A true trailblazer.