Retrospace Mix Tape #17: Circles

Crazy Circles by Bad Company (1979)

I have a dream that one day all the citizens of earth will have their mobile devices filled to the brim with a generous helping of Retrospace music.  Then, and only then, can we achieve world peace.

I give to you not only a mighty playlist of bitchin' grooves, but also some homespun album artwork courtesy Retrospace.  This time 'round we've got a bunch of songs with one thing in common: all have the word "circle" in the title.  Have no fear, Elton John's "Circle of Life" is nowhere to be found on this mix tape.  Not only would that be an unforgivable affront to good taste, but I would also expect Disney lawyers to Kaiser Sosa my ass within five minutes of this posting.

Anyway, on with the mix tape. We'll spotlight a handful of songs, and the mix tape in its entirety is at the end of the post.

Walking in Different Circles - Ronnie Dio & the Prophets (1967)

Yes, it's that Ronnie Dio - future Sabbath frontman, and future Unholy Lord of 80s Devil Music.... here sounding a lot like Petula Clarke.

Width of a Circle by David Bowie (1970)

I like this Bowie phase the best.  Before 1970, he sounded too much like a milquetoast folk singer, and after this album he got too glam for my tastes (and a tad self absorbed in his Germany phase).  But in '70, he's got just the right amount of Lennon and Lou Reedishness (that's a word - look it up) to make me happy.

In Circles by Benjamin Orr (1986)

Eighties synthesizer music always sounds overly dated to me... to the point where I often can't even listen to it.  However, Mr. Orr was a man of talent.  It takes a lot for me to get past the Casio, but Benny manages to pull me in.

Circle Round the Sun by B.J. Thomas (1970)

This is a fucking brilliant masterpiece.  I could listen to this in a continuous play for the rest of my life and still feel unsatisfied.  A lot of people get turned off by the heavy use of strings and overblown orchestral accompaniment; however, I'm a sucker every time.  George Martin had me at Strawberry Fields and still hasn't let go.  Bring on the bassoons!

 Circle Sky by The Monkees (1968)

It's been said here a lot, but I don't think it can be said enough that The Monkees are the most underrated band of all time.  Unfortunately, the tug o'war between pop stardom and counterculture cred was a losing battle from day one.  

Like a lot of Nesmith compositions, it sounds like it wants to be on Sweethearts of the Rodeo.  That being said, it's got that magical Monkee pixie dust that transforms a self-important Laurel Canyon yarn into pop music gold.

I'll also mention that this is from the infamous Jack Nicholson-Monkees film Head.  It's about the only movie I can think of that requires 150 micrograms of lysergic acid for it to make any sense whatsoever.

Circle of Steel by Gordon Lightfoot (1974)

... And speaking of underrated and underappreciated, what better example than Gordon Lightfoot?  For some reason, Gordon never got the hippie cred that similar unshaven troubadours like James Taylor and  Kris Kristofferson received.  He wasn't panned like the Monkees, but announcing your allegiance to Lightfoot at the schoolyard was likely to result in some form of Atomic Wedgie.

Lightfoot was drunken minstrel of incredible talent.  Unlike Fogelberg and MaClean, he wasn't there to serenade you with elaborate prose. Lightfoot kicked ass... acoustically.  You might say he was the Chuck Norris of folk music - prone to using expletives (see Seven Island Suite) and straight up murdering your ass (see Sundown).

This particular song is definitely on the lighter side. But don't let it fool you. He's talking about welfare babies, slums, alcoholism, prison, and, much deeper than that, Fortune's Wheel.  This is what you call a roundhouse kick to your inner humanity.  Chuck Norris would be proud.

Atlantic Starr - Circles
Bad Company - Crazy Circles
Belinda Carlisle - Circle In The Sand
Billy Preston - Will It Go Round In Circles
Captain Beyond - Everything's A Circle
Melanie - Center Of The Circle
Three Dog Night - Circle for a Landing
B.J. Thomas - Circle 'round The Sun
The Monkees - Circle Sky
The Friends Of Distinction - Going In Circles
Front 242 - Circling Overland
George Harrison - Circles
Gordon Lightfoot - Circle Of Steel
Highlight - Round In Circles
Benjamin Orr - In Circles
Iron Butterfly - Searchin' Circles
Joan Baez - Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Joni Mitchell - Circle Game
Judas Priest - Turning Circles
Louise Cordet - L'amour Tourne En Rond (Love Turns In A Circle)
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Earth The Circle
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Circles
Max Frost & The Troopers - Sittin' In Circles
Michael Brown - Circles
Ranking Devon - Pass The Chalice In A Circle
Praire Madness - Circles In The Sand
Ronnie Dio And The Prophets - Walking In Different Circles
Ten Years After - Circles
The New Seekers - Circles
Peppermint Rainbow - Walking In Different Circles
Small Faces - Green Circles (Italian version)
David Bowie - Width Of A Circle
Jimmy Swaggart - Will The Circle Be Unbroken



  1. Footnote: Gordon Lightfoot is Canadian and so am I. When I was a kid, I went to Hockey camp (where else do you expect Canadian kids to go?). One of the hockey camps I went to was a day camp and everyday we'd get picked up on a bus and driven to the arena. Well, my bus just happened to pick up Gordon Lightfoot's son. For some reason the bus/van we were in had those hooks along the side and who do you think got strung up there by his Y-fronts? Your post was the first time I'd seen anyone else mention Gordon Lightfoot and Wedgie in the same sentence.

  2. I see you've started using the Yahoo player. (It seems I recommended it based on another blog's use of it) How's that working? Seems to work great from here.

  3. I hate to say it for fear of jinxing it, but it seems to be working like a champ. Finally. It's literally been years of fiddling with stuff - very, very frustrating.

    And yes, your recommendation was a game changer. I checked out Rising Storm as you suggested.

    Thanks a million. Go back and look at all my music posts and see the neverending cycle of fail and frustration to get an idea of how appreciative I am.

    Still too early to get my hopes up. But, could I have actually found a easy reliable way to play music on a blog? You wouldn't think it'd be so damn hard. Thanks again for the suggestion.

  4. Great mixtape! I actually played a few of the tracks and my younger brother heard it and said the Atlantic Starr song was pretty good :P

  5. soo cute :)!

    Could you girls possibly help me out and fill in this quick questionnaire about what magazines you like to read for my uni project? xx

    please click the link below: it will only take you a couple of minutes - pinky promise <3