Tag Archives: Boston; Fenway Park; Boston Red Sox; Neil Diamond; Sweet Caroline

A former K-Mart employee saved every last bit of music crap the store played from 1989-1999

Whenever vintage shopping-mall music is vomited onto the web, I’m drawn to it like half-off Christmas supplies in April.

Someone who’s either malicious or crazy — I can’t tell which — has digitized his collection of K-Mart music tapes and uploaded online for anyone brave enough to listen. Muzak, easy listening and in-store product ads that ran end to end were put on cassette and then eventually thrown out, but this guy saved them. Thank god, because where would we be without a constant reminder that “Major Dad” used to be on CBS on Sunday nights?

It does bring me back to the late ’80s — when you found that argyle sweater and slacks you required for the first day of school. As soon as you shut the door to the plastic prison known as the dressing room, the Muzak was finally muffled, so you could more easily ponder how you could slowly kill yourself.

I’ve chosen “K-Mart 1989” for my listening pleasure/torture.

I have some questions.

Are Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Johnny Mathis, et al, going to sue for their staticky likeness being plopped on the internet?

The Mad Men-era announcer guy who gladly interrupts between every song — is he dead now? It’s a valid question.

Related question: If he’s not dead, can we search him out and berate him for implying that only Martha Stewart knows how to bake? (I don’t know how to bake but that’s beside the point.)

When K-Mart employees were told to throw out these tapes to make room for hot new music, how did the employee restrain him or herself from smashing the cassette with his price gun?

This guy — named Tape-A-Thon — worked at the retail giant from 1989-1999, so until you or I walk in his loafers, we’ll never be able to taste the mind-numbing horror that he endured over a decade.

We salute you. Also, I kind of want a Presto FryDaddy now.

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Filed under '80s, cassettes, Instrumental, Muzak, Retro, Tapes, Vaporwave

Neil Diamond, Red Sox give sweet relief


UPDATE: Here’s a link to another quick story about Diamond at Fenway: He called the Red Sox one hour before the game and asked if he could sing for them. That is incredible.



Saturday’s Red Sox game against the Royals proved to be a very special one.

The game was played at a new time, rescheduled after the horror of the night before. All day Friday, the entire city, including Watertown, Cambridge and surrounding communities, was on lockdown as authorities searched for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday. The city was a ghost town as police, FBI, and various law-enforcement agencies scoured the area.

Three people died in the blast, and an officer was killed Thursday night, allegedly by one of the bombing suspects. Dozens more were severely injured Monday. More than 170 were hurt in the dual explosions near the finish line. The suspect was finally taken into custody late Friday night.

There were a lot of flags in the crowd at Fenway Park Saturday; a lot of signs showing fans’ and Boston’s resilience in the face of disaster. ‘Star Spangled Banner’ and ‘God Bless America,’ were proudly proclaimed.

The Boston Police Commissioner, Gov. Duval Patrick and officers showed up on the field earlier in the game as a way for the Red Sox to honor them.

The city needed some closure after Friday’s harrowing events.

Enter Neil Diamond.

I’m a Massachusetts native, but first knew about the “Sweet Caroline” phenomenon as a student at UMass Amherst. There was a bar I frequented where every night at 10 they would play the soft-rocker. It was always one giant singalong by drunk college students. Neil Diamond was your feel-good friend.

So it goes at Fenway.

The Diamond hit has been played there since at least 1997, usually in the middle of the eighth inning. There’s always a pause to let the crowd sing ‘bum bum bum,’ — it’s a perfect rallying cry.

I was not expecting to see Neil Diamond at the game; not sure who in the crowd knew he was coming. He allegedly came unannounced, and asked to sing the song. It was pretty clear he made a special trip to Fenway, and Red Sox Nation was happy to welcome him.

The veteran singer and songwriter strode onto the field, donning his Sox hat and flashing a peace sign. There was no question as to what song he was going to sing. Excitement was mounting.

It was completely off sync– you hear one line, then you hear it again. Hey, why not;  double your fun. But it didn’t matter; everyone appeared to be singing along. You could feel the energy; see everyone singing and pumping their fists.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Sox’ Daniel Nava rocks a three-run homer to put the Sox on top. The announcer says ‘Boston, this one’s for you,’ as Nava points to sky and rounds the bases. A Royals’ single home run soon after brings them almost eye to eye with the Sox, but the Boston boys prevail.

So will Boston.


Here’s a story from the LA Times about how ‘Sweet Caroline’ has been played at a lot of sporting events, including at Yankee Stadium, in solidarity with Boston.


Here’s the MLB story: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130420&content_id=45313172&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

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