I Miss Soul Train

From the time I was a kid, I remember watching Saturday morning cartoons, all the while anticipating the treat which would come after cartoons were over. The Soul Train theme song would play, and I would settle in for an hour of some of the best music around. I continued this pattern through my early 20’s, and would plan my Saturday around Soul Train, carving out time to watch like the faithful fan I always was. At the 45 minute mark, the Soul Train dance line would form, and I would be glued to the television set, watching all the moves, and looking at all the cool outfits. The Dance Line began as a couples line, then by the 1980’s, it morphed into singlets and the occasional group of dancers moving across the dance floor:

The first Soul Train episode aired on October 2, 1971, and the show ran through March of 2006. That’s 35 years and 1,117 soul, dance, R and B, and funk-filled episodes. Thanks to creator and host Don Cornelius, Soul Train brought black culture into America’s homes, broke down barriers, and wowed people like me. Don Cornelius would close out every episode with a sweeping thrown kiss and a wish to the viewers for “love, peace, and SOUUUUUUUULLLL”, a uniting and loving gesture which became a signature for the show.

For those of you who loved Soul Train as much as I did, you’ll get kick out of the following video, in which former Soul Train dancers share their experiences of being on the show:

Here are two video compilations, one which features the top ten female Soul Train dancers, and the other which showcases the top ten male Soul Train dancers:

There’s Still Musical Talent Out There…GREAT Love Song

Don’t go thinking that I am a sappy, hopeless romantic, but I do appreciate a well-written, soulful love song. Amy Wadge and Ed Sheeran penned one of the loveliest songs of all time, and in the new millenium to boot. I’m sharing the official video for the song, as well as the lyrics. Though I find some of the dance moves a bit overtly sexual and somewhat inappropriate for the lyrics which expound a pure love, I also regard the video as pretty romantic since it is filmed in a ballroom reminiscent of the one featured in “Beauty and the Beast”, which remains one of my favorite all-time films.

Ed Sheeran “Thinking Out Loud”

When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?
And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re seventy
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at twenty three
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me – I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am
So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are
When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way (mmm)
I know you will still love me the same
‘Cause honey your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen
And, baby, your smile’s forever in my mind and memory
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
Well, I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand
That, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
Thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are (oh ohh)
La la la la la la la la loud
So, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Oh, darling, place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are
Oh, baby, we found love right where we are
And we found love right where we are


Quit Taking My Musical Icons

Michael Jackson’s death in June of 2009 was so shocking and painful for me that I still feel profound sadness over his passing. I grew up listening to his music, so his voice and artistic vision helped to define my entire life from childhood. David Bowie had a similar impact on my growing years, and I was so passionately moved by his musical genius that he remained a favorite artist from the time I was very little through today. Though Bowie was ill from cancer, his death was shocking as well, and my heart has been heavy from it.

When I heard that Prince was dealing with poor health, I began to worry. Surely this 57 year old multitalented musical god wasn’t near death’s door? Alarm bells went off in my head when I heard about the emergency plane landing on April 15th. Then on the morning of Thursday, April 21st, I flipped to Sirius XM’s Z100NY and thought it was very odd that a Prince song from 1984, “When Doves Cry”, was playing, since the station runs current hits. I pulled into a gas station and turned off the ignition to pump my gas. When I started up the car, “Purple Rain” was playing on Z100NY. I groaned and thought, “Oh no…”, grabbed my phone and looked up Prince. Sure enough, news of his death had hit the world.


It’s been seventeen days since Prince’s death, and I still feel like I was punched in the solar plexus. I have been listening to The Groove to soak up Prince’s music, and my iPod runs Prince tunes while I am training at the gym. Admittedly, though, I already had a collection of Prince songs loaded onto my iPod for many years, so jamming to something like “Sexy M.F.” was a regular occurrence. There is no doubt that I am one of the many millions of Prince fans who are in mourning, who appreciate the enormous talent this man had. Prince was daring, controversial, brilliant, innovative, original, and charismatic, and had a profound influence on my teen years and early adulthood.

R.I.P. Prince.

Music Performance and Cognitive Function


Please check out my original post at:


By: Dr. Stacey Naito – Physician and IFBB Pro

Play For Your Brain

Not all of us are able to play musical instruments well, but the challenge of learning to play one can be a fun hobby. Recent research suggests that people who play a musical instrument regularly, even if they aren’t musically gifted per se, are reinforcing their brain’s function at the same time.

Musical training is thought to increase neural connections in the brain which are associated with decision making, complex memory, and creativity. Musical education can even boost cognitive function in people who have suffered from strokes, and equip the brain to adapt by using intact brain regions.

Musical Brains

Numerous studies have proven that the brains of musicians differ functionally and structurally from the brains of non-musicians. Skilled musicians are like athletes, because they need to coordinate multiple senses, and focus on complex elements like melody and tempo, while performing a piece.

There is also research which suggests that the areas used in musical performance are closely linked with other important cognitive functions. One study by Schaug discovered that musical disorders such as tone deafness affect about 4 to 10 percent of the population, which is the same percentage range seen with disabilities such as dyslexia and dyscalculia (math difficulties).

Another study, performed by Wang, examined the brains of 48 young adults who had studied music for at least one year between the ages of 3 and 15. The subjects who had begun musical training before the age of 7 had greater development in the areas of the brain associated with language and executive function.

The Submarines Biography Is So Interesting!

I enjoy the musical arrangements and vocals which characterize songs by indie pop group The Submarines, but I had no idea how interesting their biography was!

The Submarines consist of John Dragonetti (aka Jack Drag) and Blake Hazard, who met in Boston and began to collaborate musically and romantically. Dragonetti produced Hazard’s debut solo album, Little Airplane, in 2002, from which point they began playing and performing with each other’s bands. Shortly thereafter, the couple moved west to Los Angeles, but their relationship ended in late 2004. The breakup turned out to be magical for their respective songwriting, however, and since Hazard was still recording at Dragonetti’s studio, the two began sharing the songs they had written about their breakup. This collaboration also rekindled their romance and the two got back together, recorded the breakup songs, and ultimately married. Their 2006 album Declare a New State! was mastered by a friend as a wedding present. As a reflection of better times, their 2008 release Honeysuckle Weeks featured much happier songs.

My All-Time Favorite Musical Artists

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about all of my favorite musical artists throughout my life, so I thought it would be fun to compile a list of them here. I figured the best way to do it would be to group them by the decade in which I was first influenced by them. In an effort to keep the list from being exhaustive, I have decided to omit bands which I might have liked in the past but cannot listen to now. What I ended up with was a list of my all-time favorite bands and artists who have stood the test of time and held my interest.

Rolling Stones
Rolling Stones
Stevie Wonder
Jackson 5
Aretha Franklin

Elton John
David Bowie
Led Zeppelin
Earth, Wind & Fire

the Doors
Jimi Hendrix
Pink Floyd
The Doors
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Michael Jackson

Janet Jackson
Lenny Kravitz
Rage Against The Machine
Nine Inch Nails

white stripes
White Stripes
Kings of Leon

Royal Blood
Nothing But Thieves

Oh To Feel Music Again…


I am completely sick of pop and Top 40 music and have been for a very long time. Most of it is filled with vacuous lyrics and modulated voices, and the only visceral response which it triggers in me is disgust. The worst offenders for me in recent years have been Katy Perry and Meghan Trainor, but I am also underwhelmed by the fact that every song by The Weeknd sounds exactly the same, and that other artists are starting to bore me to tears.

Even some alternative bands have been on my banned list, such as Walk The Moon and Florence + The Machine. I swear, if I hear “Shut Up + Dance” by Walk the Moon ONE more time, I will rip out my eyebrow hairs one by one! I also do not see what the fuss is about Florence + The Machine, because that excessive female vibrato and operatic quality in Florence Welch’s voice absolutely grates on my nerves. The only song I like from this band is “Heavy In Your Arms” because it is dark, and Florence keeps her ridiculous vibrato under control:

However, because I have been diving deep in the musical waters of alternative music lately, I have been pleasantly surprised by the incredible talent which lives there, and I have been finding some amazing songs and unbelievably talented artists. Alternative music has always been a favorite genre, and it has always appealed to my quasi-goth, vampire loving self. If music is dark, murky, disturbed, and off the beaten path, I am far more likely to enjoy it (however, I love R&B, blues, and Motown as well). There are old school alternative bands I will always adore, including Radiohead, NIN, and Rage Against The Machine, but there have been some new additions to my iPod lately. I have been eating up music by Satin Jackets, Phantogram, Wolf Alice, Muse, AWOLNATION, Coleman Hell, Royal Blood, Dorothy, BØRNS, and I could definitely go on.

I kept hearing “Trip Switch” by Nothing But Thieves over the last few months and was intrigued by the fact that the more I listened to that song, the more I wanted to hear it. Usually I get tired of hearing a song all the time, but this one grew on me and tugged at my spirit until I broke down and investigated the other songs by this band. When I did, I was completely blown away, and can honestly say that I absolutely love every single song by this massively talented band. I feel like I want to crawl inside every song and live there, that’s how powerful their music is.

In case you want to explore music by Nothing But Thieves, you can check out their official website here:


Nothing But Thieves is one of the best bands to come on the scene this decade, and I am convinced that they will be HUGE. May their talent and their energy take them to the very top, because that is where they belong.