Song of the Week – Melody, Rolling Stones

Ignored            Obscured             Restored

In the first few years after college, my friends and I threw some epic dance parties.  We didn’t offer a lot.  There was plenty of cheap beer and wine, and some munchies.  But what we had in abundance was good vibes and great tunes!

A deep cut that was always a big hit on the dance floor was “Melody” by the Rolling Stones.

“Melody” comes from the Stones’ underrated 1976 album Black and Blue.  It is a smooth, sultry number that was credited as “inspired by Billy Preston.”  But let’s face it… we all know it was really written by Preston; but Jagger/Richards had the clout to deny publishing to “bandmates.”  (Just ask Mick Taylor!)  Further proof is the prominence of Preston’s jazzy piano playing and soulful vocal duet with Jagger.

Whenever I hear this song, I’m back on the dance floor with old friends in that magical house in Newton, MA.  Good times!

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Melody, Serge Gainsbourg

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

Serge Gainsbourg was a French Renaissance man.  He made his mark in music (singer, composer, pianist, guitarist) and film (screenwriter, director, actor) but he was also a writer, poet and artist.

In the music world, his most renowned work was the 1971 concept album, Histoire de Melody Nelson.  In seven tracks over about 28 minutes, the album tells the story of a middle-aged man that crashes his car into a 15 year old girl, Melody Nelson, on her bicycle. The accident leads to seduction and an affair.  Eventually Melody meets her demise in a plane crash.

Today’s SotW is the album’s opener, “Melody.”

This is an astounding piece of music.  It combines a rock guitar with a funky bass and an orchestral string arrangement.  Gainsbourg’s vocal is more spoken than sung, like many of Leonard Cohen’s recordings.  The track as a whole is simply mesmerizing.

The link below to a blog post by YellowOnline provides more detail about the album and handy translations of the French lyrics into English.

YellowOnline – Histoire de Melody Nelson

Histoire de Melody Nelson has influenced many other musicians, including Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Portishead and Stereolab.  Beck found inspiration from Histoire… for his own “Paper Tiger” on his breakup album, Sea ChangeHistoire… was also cited by Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys as an inspiration for their recent album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.

Enjoy… until next week.