Andy Cohen is the host of Watch What Happens: Live and the brainchild of The Real Housewives franchise on Bravo. He is a self-described hippie excitedly shares his how love for the Grateful Dead, as well as some of the greatest divas of all time, in his Guest DJ set. He is the author of two New York Times bestsellers and his latest book is "Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries." Hosted by Anne Litt.
1. Grateful Dead - Terrapin Station
2. B-52’s - Private Idaho
3. Diana Ross - Love Hangover
4. Madonna - Holiday
5. Aretha Franklin - All I Need to Get By
Anne: Hi, I'm Anne Litt and I'm here with Andy Cohen, the host of Watch What Happens Live and executive producer of my obsession: the Real Housewives Franchise on Bravo. He's the author of two New York Times bestsellers and his latest book is Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries. Today, he joins us to talk about music, specifically 5 songs that have inspired him over the years as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project. Welcome, Andy.
Anne: It's great to have you! What did you bring for us?
Andy: I wanted to bring songs that told the story of me, that kind of represented different parts of me. I'm kind of a hippie at heart, so let's start with Terrapin Station by The Grateful Dead.
I'm a HUGE Deadhead. I love The Grateful Dead and "Terrapin Station" is my favorite Dead song. You know, "Terrapin Station", it's a song about a journey and what I know is the song in itself is a journey -- and it's incredibly trippy.
I write in the new book about going to see the Dead's 50th anniversary concert. I went on a roadtrip from LA to San Francisco with John Mayer. There I am with John, in the audience with Trixie Garcia and Sunshine Garcia, daughters of Jerry. I was backstage with Nancy Pelosi in Mickey Hart's dressing room and if I could tell my 19-year-old-self in Alpine Valley that I would actually one day have all access and that Jerry would be lording over the concert in the form of a rainbow on the weekend that marriage equality was passed by the Supreme Court, I would be a really happy 19-year-old looking into my future because I certainly did not think that world could exist.
Anne: I love it, I love it. Well let's check out Terrapin Station by The Grateful Dead.
Song:Grateful - *Dead Terrapin Station*
Anne: Thank you for choosing Terrapin Station by The Grateful Dead. What song do you have for us next?
Andy: I hooked into the B52s when I was in 8th or 9th grade. I think that when I hooked into them, I didn't realize how gay they were.
Andy: Or that gay people kind of liked the B52s, But the B52s just part of the new wave that was happening when I was in junior high actually, in St. Louis, Missouri. And this was music that I have never heard before and it was just different and edgy and it made me feel really, really free.
This song is just like -- we're living in our own private Idaho, you know? And it's about getting out of control and dancing and to this day, they just sound great.
Anne: They really do, I think that fashion people are really into the B52s.
Andy: Yeah. Yeah, I really love them. I've seen them so many times live. I've had the great privilege -- and it's a long story -- but I was a gogo dancer at a B52s concert at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, California and it was REALLY COOL.
Song: B52s - *Private Idaho*
Anne: That was Private Idaho by the B52s, Andy Cohen is my guest DJ today at KCRW and he's chosen 5 songs all of which I'm really excited about. So which one do you speak about next?
Andy: Well, I want to talk about "Love Hangover" by Diana Ross, which I think is just about as a perfect song as there is.
Diana Ross was my first diva, she was the first woman that I clicked into at a really young age, I'm going to say I was in about 6th grade, and I started getting into the Supremes, and Diana Ross. And I think that's when my parents really should have started to be worried about how he's not like other boys, he has posters of Diana Ross on his wall, but they just really didn't get it. They didn't know what camp was at that moment. But I was like -- look at the hair! Look at the clothes!! Listen to the music!! She's fierce! She's commanding!
She was my Beyonce, really. She was Beyonce's Beyonce, by the way. I mean- there would be no Beyonce without Diana Ross. And I don't think that Diana Ross today gets the credit that she should get because the groove in "Love Hangover" -- and it's been sampled all over the place -- once the song really kicks in, just develops into this deep bed of an incredible groove and the spirit of the song is really captured in this performance and they let her go and go and go and do it.
And it's really magical, I loved disco - real disco - from that moment in 1976 and 1977 when it was really thriving and this song just is it for me. And Diana Ross is it for me too.
Anne: Okay, let's get into it, "Love Hangover" by Diana Ross.
Song: Diana Ross - *Love Hangover*
Anne: That was one of the great divas, Diana Ross, with Love Hangover here on KCRW's Guest DJ Project. What's up next for us?
Andy: Oh, I chose "Holiday" by Madonna because the song is still so good and during various eras of Madonna, she has closed her concerts with "Holiday". To see her do "Holiday" live is to see something great. The song is about freedom, it's about happiness. It's very positive and she has -- as she does with all her music -- reinvented the song over the past couple of decades and she's performed it in different ways and remixed it. And it's still as classic a pop single today.
Anne: Let's check out Madonna "Holiday."
Song: Madonna - *Holiday*
Anne: That was Madonna with "Holiday". Well, I think we should close out, we're on sort of a diva trip here and I think the diva of all divas is your last artist Aretha Franklin.
Andy: Aretha Franklin. I love her version of "All I Need to Get By". I'm a huge Motown fan and one of the things that I loved about Motown was the songs were so great in that era. And they would have The Temptations do it, then The Supremes would release it as a single, and then Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell.
Aretha released "All I Need to Get By" and her version is fantastic. Aretha can get up and just kind of poop out a song like nothing and it's just BRILLIANT, it's masterful, and Aretha is just as relevant today as she was then. I just love Aretha's voice then and now -- she is all I need to get by.
Anne: How did you or when did you find her? How old were you, where were you?
Andy: That's a good question. I really got into Motown in high school and I think Aretha kind of came along with that, I just started appreciating Eleanor Rigby and Please Mr. Postman and all those great songs of that era, I love her covers.
But I got into her, I think, in high school, I discovered the Atlantic recordings which made me really respect her in the way I do now. I found that, I think in my 20s. I just never got over it. She's an incredible musician and vocalist. She's Aretha. She's the queen of soul.
Song: Aretha Franklin - *All I Need to Get By*
Anne: That was Aretha Franklin, "All I Need To Get By."
Well, I would like to say I think you're still dancing freely, I still think you're a hippie at heart, and I am so grateful that you took time to come on the Guest DJ Project
Andy: Thank you, I love the show. Thanks for having me.