No Hava Nagila. This is an amazing list with lots of Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Lou Reed, but lots of oddball stuff too. And every one of them with a story.
Yes, it’s an internet thing. The prompt goes like this, and is irresistible: List 10 albums that made a lasting impression on you as a TEENAGER, but only one per band/artist. Don’t take too long and don’t think too long.
I turned mine in last week, before I knew it was a thing. I made two mistakes in my first pass, listed two elpees that hit when I was 12, though I suppose maybe I wouldn’t have gotten into them until the next year. Hard to know.
List 10 albums that made a lasting impression on you as a TEENAGER, but only one per band/artist. Don’t take too long and don’t think too long.
1. Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen – Lost in the Ozone
2. Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
3. Allman Brothers – Live at Fillmore East
4. The Who – Who’s Next
5. Stevie Wonder – Innervisions
6. Johnny Winter – Johnny Winter
7. New York Dolls – New York Dolls
8. Jethro Tull – Benefit
9. Paul Kantner – Blows Against the Empire
10. Kool and the Gang – Wild and Peaceful
Originally had Cream’s Disraeli Gears and Blood Sweat and Tear’s Child is the Father to the Man, but they were released before I was a teen. As I type this I realize that Blind Faith should be on, but I don’t know what to bump. I’ve written about all of these here before, except Benefit. And I’ve seen all these bands live, too, which may explain some of the attachment, except Jethro Tull. I once saw Commander Cody open for Jefferson Starship in Santa Monica. Weird show.
One odd thing to note is that I’m older than most everyone who made lists I’ve read. I turned 20 before punk broke or new wave hit. Feel free to add your list in the comments. In the meantime.
My partner Diane, of all people, turned me onto an aspect of our Spotify subscription that is dynamite.
Based upon the listeners likes, the system picks out other like artists the brainchild of the system thinks will fall in line with said taste. I know all the music streams, like Slacker and Pandora, have variations of this, but what Spotify does is simply assemble a weekly list of 30 songs that might pique the listener.
If is funny that Diane found this, since she was skeptical about Spotify, and has very specific musical taste, which means she likes what she likes and there is no explaining it or rationale and that means she likes “I Want to be a Millionaire,” “Thrift Shop,” “Purple Rain,” and “It’s a Long Way to the Top (if You Wanna Rock’n’Roll).” So, don’t ask me to try to connect the dots.
Diane found Weekly Playlist while looking for one to stream while she was at the gym, and said it was really fun. so I plugged in three weeks ago and it knocked me out.
As in I am not sure how they profile us, but they got me nailed based upon my favorite artists listed of The Kinks, Richard Thompson, Mick Ronson, The Who, Yo La Tengo, Bill Frisell, Joe Jackson, Pink Floyd, and Wilco.
So, here is the list of 30 songs for this week (Spotify seems to change the list every Monday) I streamed on my way to and from the links the past couple of days, some of which I know and love, others which are new and I dig, all of which are great.
- The Ballad of El Goodo-Big Star
- Cocaine-Jackson Browne
- When the Circus Comes-Los Lobos
- LA Freeway-Guy Clark
- Heroes and Villains-Brian Wilson
- The Sky Children-Kaleidoscope (whom I saw open for Buffalo Springfield in 1968)
- Things-Paul Westerberg
- Lover of the Bayou-Mudcrutch (Tom Petty’s first band)
- Season of the Witch-Al Kooper
- Dominance and Submission-Blue Oyster Cult
- Girls Talk-Dave Edmunds
- Heaps of Sheeps-Robert Wyatt (which I did not know, really liked, and posted below)
- Space Cowboy-Steve Miller (and a coincidence Gene linked to it a few days back)
- Showdown at Big Sky-Robbie Robertson (from a killer album)
- Nothing but the Wheel-Peter Wolf
- Funky But Chic-David Johanson
- Next-The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
- Go Down Gamblin’-Blood, Sweat, and Tears
- Voodoo Chile-Jimi Hendrix
- I Ain’t Superstitious-Jeff Beck
- Dirty Water-The Standells
- I Fought the Law-Bobby Fuller Four
- Black Cat Moan-Beck, Boggart, Appice
- Turn it On-The Flaming Lips
- Big Sky Country-Chris Whitley
- Hush-Deep Purple
- Sweet Dreams-Roy Buchanan
- East-West-Paul Butterfield Blues Band
- Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel-Townes Van Zandt
Perfect, huh? All over the map, and totally satisfying. And, give Heaps of Sheeps a listen!
Sometimes things happen that make you want to lay down and listen to sad music. I have a few playlists for such occasions. I thought I’d share a few of my most comforting sad time songs.
Dear Prudence – The Beatles
Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones
Heart Cooks Brain – Modest Mouse
Once I Was – Tim Buckley
Pink Moon – Nick Drake
Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale
Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel
Asleep – The Smiths
Unlike Pianow, I will not tip my hand by sharing my super-secret point allocation.
1. Hey Jude: Hypnotic, sweeping, majestic. So disciplined in its sonic momentum. And lyrically a tonic for a very turbulent time, evoking a shared spirituality that transcends labels and even religion itself.
2. I Am the Walrus: Only the Beatles could perform this song. Lennon’s lyrics are not merely trippy but completely unsettling. And it’s always on the verge of being torn apart by its ambition, yet somehow triumphs.
3. Here, There and Everywhere: The perfect song. A strong case can be made for it being No. 1 but unlike the top two it’s so modest in its performance, not letting anything get in the way of the pure poetry of McCartney’s finest lyric.
4. A Day in the Life: Hypnotic, sweeping, majestic. So disciplined in its sonic momentum. And lyrically a tonic for a very turbulent time, evoking a shared spirituality that transcends labels and even religion itself.
5. Here Comes the Sun: It’s perhaps ironic that Harrison, who spent so much songwriting energy on overt religiousity, would convey happiness and hope through such a simple metaphor with its spot-on musical accompaniment. Ringo somehow keeps seven-and-1/2 time.
6: Strawberry Fields: Lennon one-upped McCartney in their nostalgic odes to Liverpool by cleverly not talking about a place really at all, but rather a state of mind. The song sounds like it’s coming from inside your head.
7. For No One: McCartney really owns Revolver, quite a feat given how amazing Lennon’s songs are, too. Far more musically ambitious than Here, There and Everywhere. Delicate and poignant but also so self-possessed. And ultimately that’s what really gets you, its resignation.
8. Dear Prudence: Lennon is rarely so charming. The song also has one of the most thrilling finishing kicks in rock history, due mostly to McCartney’s incredible drumming filling in for the AWOL Ringo, whose misfortune is being a musical genius in a band with three bigger geniuses.
9. Happiness is a Warm Gun: One of rock’s great singers really belts it out without the voice alterations he often insisted upon. Both McCartney and Harrison have said this is their favorite song on The White Album. Seeming to thread together different songs, perhaps it planted the seed in McCartney for the Abbey Road medley.
10. Long, Long, Long: Ringo again is the hero and I love the mix with its almost whispering lyrics. The music is so good that it’s immediately clear you should be straining to listen. This is the moment, for me, when George’s became far more than some third wheel.
I found this much easier than the Beatles list. Not that it was easy though. Rather than link all the songs via YouTube, let’s try a Spotify playlist.
1. Gimme Shelter: What is that opening guitar? A riff? A lead? Whatever it is, it’s unforgettable. Everything comes together almost magically; the backup singer woken up from sleep with no notice and too hoarse to sing somehow leads to rock’s greatest mistake.
2. Moonlight Mile: Jagger steps out of character and the result is a warm intimacy that feels perfect whether he’s coming down from a cocaine high or a long, cold and lonely night on the road.
3. Tumbling Dice: Odd that something so laid back and groovy could be the product of 150 takes. The way Richards and Mick Taylor play off each other just slays me. There’s a fever in the funk house, alright.
4. Sway: Like “Moonlight Mile,” rumored to be actually a Jagger-Taylor composition. Taylor’s guitars shine regardless. Has anyone ever played better than on Taylor’s solo outro? Doubtful. That’s the sex, but the intro riff is what first seduces.
5. Miss You: Maybe the most bad-ass thing the Stones ever did was record a “disco” song when their fans were busy rioting over its sudden prominence. Of course, Miss You isn’t a disco song at all, whatever that even is. But it’s damn fine on the dance floor.
6. No Expectations: Much of Beggar’s Banquet seems posey to me: satanic (Sympathy for the Devil), salacious (Stray Cat Blues), revolutionary (Street Fighting Man), Dylanesque (Jigsaw Puzzle), blue collar (Salt of the Earth). But this seems very real and a fitting, beautiful swang song for Brian Jones.
7. Under My Thumb: Sounds as cool as the narrarator suggests he is as the winner of this sexual power struggle, a hallmark of all post-adolescent relationships. Accusations of misogyny are just lazy. The marimba riff works. And Marc Bolan made a career out of mimicing Jagger’s use of his breath as an instrument.
8. Memory Motel: One of the few (only?) songs where Jagger and Richards alternate lead vocals. Love the piano and the sha-la-las. I like the songs where Jagger as principle lyricist seems like an actual person.
9. Let It Bleed: For all its tongue-in-cheek perversion, it’s really a song about needing someone and being willing and even eager to reciprocate in kind. In other words, nice. They backed into it.
10. Ventilator Blues: You feel like you’re doing something wrong when you listen to this song. It’s one of their nastier riffs, fittingly: Your woman’s cussing/you can hear her scream/You feel like murder/in the first degree….
Just in case you skipped the intro, you can listen to this album, of sorts, right here via Spotify.
A wife decides for some reason (I haven’t gotten to the beginning yet to learn why) to listen to all the albums in her record fan husband’s record collection and “review” them in a Tumblr called My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection. Her style is kind of cute, kind of cloying, sometimes funny, like the picture here. I don’t have an opinion yet.
She’s just started reviewing the Bs, and that led to a review of the B52’s eponymous debut elpee. She’d never heard Dance This Mess Around and is suitably impressed.
Her husband sometimes makes comments. He’s clearly a cool guy who seems unphased by explaining why he has free jazz in his record collection. He also recommended this cover of Rock Lobster by deadhorse, which was never released on vinyl so it’s okay to listen on YouTube:
A while back, when I wrote about Garland Jeffreys and his great song, Wild in the Streets, I made mention of Jeffreys’ other killer song from his Ghost Writer album (look below to see which one).
Well, that got me to thinking about the best songs written about the movies–note, not from–so I started a list. I have to think there are more, but, well, everything has to start somewhere.
By the way, tunes like Billy Joel’s (ugh) We Didn’t Start the Fire, or The New Radicals You Get What You Give don’t count. They just name people in a sort of rhyme, dropping names left and right. None has anything to do with loving film.
My Baby Loves the Western Movies (The Olympics): Released in 1958, kind of a gimmick song as were several of the tunes by the Olympics, but, hey, funky gun shot sounds, and pretty good doo wop. I confess: I bought the 45 (record, not gun).
Candle in the Wind (Elton John): Actually about Marilyn Monroe, unlike the title track which has Wizard of Oz allusions, but is not really about the movies at all. And, ok, I will take a sentimentality hit for picking an Elton song, although Rocket Man, Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, and Burn Down the Mission are great tunes. Candle is really a pretty sweet homage.
Celluloid Heroes (The Kinks): Maybe the most sentimental pop song about film, but no one delivers such sweetness like Ray Davies. Period. I just love this song. I saw the band tour behind this album at Winterland (with Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks opening) and they were just stupendous. It is my fave on this list.
35 MM Dreams (Garland Jeffreys): The song that started this mess, and like Celluloid Heroes, just a great song. Sweet, sentimental, but never tawdry, like the Kinks tune.
James Dean (Eagles): This song rocks, whether you like the Eagles or not. I view the Eagles kind of like Elton John: no question talented, and some of their songs I like, but, well, we all have our lines. James Dean is a solid song, though I still think Dean remains a vastly overrated actor, having played basically the same character in the three films in which he starred. Had he lived, well, I doubt he would have remained iconic.
The Ballad of Dwight Fry (Alice Cooper): From Love it to Death, this is about a guy who goes mad watching late night movies. Dwight Fry is the character actor who plays the attorney bringing documents to the Count (Bella Lugosi) early in the film, and then becomes the vampire’s gofer. Fry is the guy walking around saying “yes master” and “we can eat spiders, and big juicy flies.” Got to love it to death, no?
The Magnificent 7 (The Clash): I would be ostracized if I missed this one, right? And, well, it is tough to not like anything the Clash did anyway.
I somewhat facetiously said elsewhere that Kanye West is to the recent years in music as the Beatles were to the 60s. That my friends elsewhere hadn’t heard West’s music, at least not knowingly, demonstrates the fallacy. This modern world is more segmented than the more expansive world of the Beatles. But that’s okay. The following is a very quick pass at 11 songs that make a nice demo of Kanye’s talents, plus two bonus tracks, avoiding as much as possible his self-centered petulance (which is a part of his thing, too).
We Don’t Care, The College Dropout: I heard this, the sour distortion, the thumping bass, and wildly ironic rapping, and my eyes opened wide.
Spaceship, The College Dropout: Work, resentment, anger, ambition, wrapped up in a universal metaphor and slow oozing soul setting.
Jesus Walks, The College Dropout: This was the third single from his first album (the first two singles were Through the Wire and Slow Jamz). It is huge, giant, plaintive, beseeching.
Golddigger, Late Registration: The giant hit has a massive beat and a relentless Ray Charles hook (sung by Jamie Foxx). Continue reading