Monday, 30 December 2013

Just Nod If You Can Hear Me

Back on the sad songs.   Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb does a spectacularly morose job of summarizing the human condition.

When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb

Ouch!  Life is a pointless, hopeless big tease, only coming through in waves, and we can’t hear it.

Is there anyone at home?  No.  You are receding.  We are all alone.

I mean, hopefully most of us don’t feel this way too often, but we all do just a little from time to time, right?

Depressing, frightening  - and definitely sad.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Passion Plays

The Rolling Stone readers’ poll on the 10 Best Prog Rock Albums of the 70’s has it all: songs of symphonic length, self-indulgent morality plays, virtuosity, technical wizardry – and absolutely no dancing.

And yes, I had most of these albums.

Prog rock was big in 70’s; probably too big.  So it’s curious that only 5 bands scooped up all 10 spots (2 each for Rush and Genesis, with the grand prize going to Pink Floyd with 4).  Or maybe not, because the albums listed were huge.

Definitely not:  ELP, Focus and Mike Oldfield didn’t age as well.

I might have swapped out Floyd’s Animals for Jethro Tull’s A Passion Play, though.  Tull’s sense of humour with the “Story of the hare that lost his spectacles” bit was kinda funny.  And let’s face it, Animals was hard work.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Reconsider Baby

Another album missing from Gibson’s best covers album list is From the Cradle by Eric Clapton, a terrific collection of blues standards performed flawlessly – and sung passionately – by the greatest blues guitarist of all time.

No use standin’ around crying, but I’m tore down that this masterpiece was omitted.

BTW, his tribute to Robert Johnson is also amazing.  Red hot renditions of 14 of the most influential blues tunes ever written.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Shake It Up, Baby

By the way, the best cover band of all time?  The Beatles.  No, they never did an entire album because they had too much fabulous material of their own.  But those early records had a lot of great covers.  Covers that paid homage.  Covers that revealed the band’s influences.  Covers that were true to the original, but sounded brand new.

Message to Paul:  do you know what would have been a better idea for Let It Be?  Instead of a film showing The Beatles rehearsing a recording new material, you should have done a covers album.

Bet they would have had more fun.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Got It Covered

Gibson’s 10 All-Time Greatest Covers Albums makes the point that great songwriters can also do very well covering material by other artists, thank you very much.  It contains the likes of Lennon, GNR, Bowie, Def Leppard, Patti Smith and Metallica.

The article points out that sometimes these recordings are just throw-aways; contractual obligations and so on, and I can think of a few examples where you can tell either the effort wasn’t there or heart wasn’t in the job.

But the list illustrates the passion and respect the artists felt for those that had come before.  After all, you don’t write songs before you’ve learned how to play, so you start by learning someone else’s songs.  And so these albums are also insightful in terms of influence.

One I would have added, by the way, is Run Devil Run by Paul McCartney, a great covers album that rivals Lennon’s – and that’s saying something.

Friday, 13 December 2013

I’m On My Knees

I may not hold him up quite as high as I do some other blues guitar legends, but I’ll tell you this much:  Buddy Guy’s Baby Please Don’t Leave is the best blues recording so far this millennium.

It’s got a hypnotic groove, a trippy atmosphere, raw, emotional vocals, and near perfect guitar.  Buddy somehow pulls together a sound that blends the best of Hendrix, Clapton, Page and himself, and erects it on the rock of the Delta.

It’s a long, painful, wailing triumph.  Respect.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Baby Please Don’t Go

Here’s a list that reminds us there is a lot of wonderful music outside the ridiculously short playlists of commercial radio:  Gibson’s 10 Great Bands That Ended Too Soon.

Predictably (and correctly) the list includes the likes of Nirvana, The Doors and The Clash, but it also includes bands that are all but forgotten, such as Alice Cooper, New York Dolls, J. Geils and The Faces.  These bands don’t get near enough airplay.

My only complaint is: what about Cream?  Talk about a great band that didn’t last long enough!  If Clapton had died in a plane crash the night before their final U.S.  concert in 1968, we’d still be weeping.

Nice to see The Beatles on the list, though.  Even though their body of work dwarfs everyone else mentioned, nothing wrong with some self-indulgent, “ya, but they could have given us so much more” thinking.  It’s only love.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Road I’m On

Music Harmony 101:  harmonize your melody by using the chords based on the 1st, 4th and 5th notes of the scale, commonly notated using the Roman Numerals I, IV and V.  If you want a bit of spice, add the chord based on the 6th note (VI).

That’s enough for most western music: rock, pop, country, punk, hymns, national anthems, you name it.

You can just repeat a sequence endlessly, like I-VI-IV-V, as used in Stand By Me and a million other songs.

You can follow a rigid formula, like I-IV-I-V-IV-I, the 12 bar blues pattern used for a healthy majority of blues songs, also sped up with a backbeat for early rock ’n’ roll.

Or you can mix ‘em up endlessly like Jackson Browne does in Running On Empty.

The basis of the song is a jumped up groove on the church cadence (“amen”): IV-I.  Once you’ve got that approaching the hypnotic, let’s take it somewhere by adding the 6th: IV-I-VI.

Now let’s go crazy for the bridge.  VI-IV-V-I, then switched up to VI-V-IV-I. Back to VI-IV-V-I, then IV-V-I (this last sequence being something used by everyone from Bach to The Ramones).

Just four chords, mixed up and stirred around in a way that makes it both familiar and fresh at the same time.

Just what you’re hoping to find.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Giving the Finger

Now here’s a list that’s close to my heart: Gibson’s 10 All Time Great Finger Pickers.  Why?  Cause that’s mostly how I play.  I may have been weaned on rock ‘n’ roll, but my wanderings into classical and folk made me drop the pick.

Here’s the list: Merle Travis, Davy Graham, John Fahey, Martin Carthy, Jerry Reed, Reverend Gary Davis, Tommy Emmanuel, Jorma Kaukonen, Leo Kottke, Chet Atkins.

I can’t pretend to know all of these guys, but I would have added Mark Knopfler, probably the most successful finger picker in rock.  And Bruce Cockburn, for my money, one of the best acoustic guitarists of all time.  And where is Robert Johnson, the guy with titanic influence over most genres, the guy whose licks we’re still trying to figure out, the cat that made one guitar sound like three?

Anyway, hats off to the finger pickers.  They might not get as much energy into the strings as the plectrum crowd, but they can pull off some tasty licks.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Hypnotized Never Lie

Was any song ever more prescient than The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again?

The change it had to come.  We knew it all along.  But the parting on the left is now the parting on the right.

Are the morals that we worship all gone?  How long before we’ll be fighting in the street with our children at our feet?  Will our families be left even half alive?  Did the shotgun always sing the song?

Townshend always made it clear he would never be drawn into choosing sides between “us” and “them,” and, although a lot of stuff has gone down in the last forty years, he proved himself right.  History ain’t changed.

Nothing in the street looks any different to me either.

Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss.  No wonder Daltrey blew out his vocal chords with that scream.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Hoochie Coochie Man

Q: What do Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Steppenwolf, the Allman Brothers, Otis Rush, Gary Moore, Koko Taylor, Canned Heat, the Stones, Steve Miller, the Animals, Tom Petty, Sam Cooke, Little Walter, Bo Diddley, Elvis, and the Everly Brothers all have in common?

A: Willie Dixon.  They all recorded Willie Dixon songs, per Gibson’s 10 Great Willie Dixon Songs.

Oh, and Paul Butterfield, Savoy Brown, Ten Years After, Etta James, the Pointer Sisters, Jeff Beck, James Cotton, Hendrix, Megadeth and the White Stripes.

That’s quite a list.  A hall of fame, who’s-who, Desert Island, best-ever-playlist kind of list.

You can make your case for Robert Johnson, or Muddy or B.B. as the most influential blues musician of all time, but when it comes to blues songwriting, no one else comes close.  It’s Willie Dixon that make the world wanna know what this all about.

Monday, 21 October 2013


Gibson’s 10 Great Rock Instrumentals nicely illustrates at least one reason why instrumentals tend not to be as popular as songs: there are no words to sing along to, so that melody had better be extremely catchy.

Here’s the list:
Beck Bolero – Beck, Page et al
Black Mountain Side – Led Zeppelin
Jessica – Allman Brothers
Sparks – The Who
Rebel Rouser – Duanne Eddy
Frankenstein – Edgar Winter Group
Walk Don’t Run – The Ventures
Maggot Brain – Funkadelic
Mood for a Day – Steve Howe
Eruption – Van Halen

Make that two reasons:  you can’t dance to a lot of this stuff.  I mean, Mood for a Day is an impressive display of virtuosity, but does it get your toes tapping?

Maybe there are three reasons.  There’s a line somewhere that divides “appreciation” and “participation.  You listen to and appreciate a Brahms symphony or well-done bit of prog rock.  You sing along to a good folk song.  Pop/soul/rock ‘n’ roll?  You get up and dance while you’re singing.  While you might appreciate all the pieces on this list, you’re only going to participate in a couple of ‘em.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Do It When You Wanna

Go have a listen to Led Zeppelin’s For Your Life.

Feeling better?  Betcha are.

Monday, 14 October 2013

From These Failing Hands

You can’t develop a style without studying someone who came before, says Gibson’s 10 Guitar Greats and Their Influences.  Truth.

Surprising revelations, though.  OK, so Zakk Wylde digs Randy Rhoads, and Joe Bonanassa adores Paul Kossoff, and – duh – Derek Trucks was influenced by Duane Allman.  And Clapton and Beck get mentioned more than once.

But Slash was influenced by Cat Stevens and Cheap Trick?  Trucks was into Coltrane?  Townshend thinks he sounds like John Lee Hooker?  Frampton practiced Shadows tunes?  Holy b string.

What surprises me, though, is that not many of these guys seem to go back very far.  Most of the influences were immediate, the stuff heard when they were growing up.  One reference each to Scotty Moore, Chet Atkins and Jimmy Burton.  Only Hooker and Elmore James mentioned from the 50’s Blues greats.

No T-Bone Walker, no Freddie King?  no BB?  no Lightning Hopkins, Son House or Robert Johnson?  No Chuck Berry?  Are you kidding? 

Frampton mentions Django Reinhardt, but no one seems to be digging into the past to learn where their heroes learned their stuff.  That is indeed curious.  I mean, how do you study your idol and try to understand what they’re doing without studying what they were trying to understand?

It’s a short article so maybe lots got edited out.  I hope so, ‘cause it feels like we’re loosing our connections with the past, and that would not be a good thing.  Music has changed rapidly over the last half century, and most of it has been exciting and positive.  But it was also built on a solid foundation that goes back countless generations.

If we lose that the thrill will be gone.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Pretzel Logic

I have doubtless made it clear by now that I preferred Cream over Led Zeppelin, and Clapton over Page, but have I ever explained why I like Led Zeppelin I better than any Cream album?

That’s because I can’t.

Monday, 7 October 2013

You Know My Name

So I stumbled on Rolling Stone’s 13 Dumbest Names in Rock History list and figured it would be a romp.  You know, Toad the Wet Sprocket, that sort of thing.

But Dave Matthews Band?  Why pick on poor Dave?  Why not Steve Miller, Jeff Beck or Charlie Daniels?  OK, maybe it lacks originality, but it makes it clear who the leader is and all that.

But whoa!  The Beatles are on this list?  A band pun?  No deep hidden meaning?  No wisdom?  Huh?

We’re punishing The Beatles because the name lacks wisdom?  Like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple and The Cars offered new insights into life with their names?  Excuse me?

1910 Fruitgum Compamy.  Strawberry Alarm Clock.  Creedence Clearwater Revival    we have options here, people.  Viable options.

Okay, okay, so I know I’m a tad biased about all things Beatles, so I googled bad/stupid/dumb band names, and found that Rolling Stone followed this list up with a Readers’ Poll on The Dumbest Band Names of All Time, and found The Beatles there too.  The google search yielded a bunch of lists, and The Beatles was on most of them.

All I can think is that these lists were created by people under 50.   If you were there, you remember that everything The Beatles did was cool.  Everything.  We all knew the name was a little silly, but they did it, so it was cool.  Simple as that.

Look up the number.

Friday, 4 October 2013

That Was Only Yesterday

Every time I hear War Pigs on the radio, I think, why is this happening?  Is that the best they can do?

I mean, I know Paranoid had an impact when it came out, and all that, but in my corner of suburban Canada, Black Sabbath enjoyed only a minor popularity.  There were many more copies around of records by the likes of Humble Pie, Spooky Tooth, Wishbone Ash, Spirit, Rory Gallagher, Savoy Brown and Uriah Heep.

Sure, Ozzy enjoyed an elongated solo career, and that allows for some revisionism.  And, no, I’m not a Sabbath fan, but really, check out some of the aforementioned bands.  There are far too many great bands that have had their entire canons reduced to one or two songs by classic rock radio.  And these bands don’t get any airplay at all! 

It’s a dreammare, brother.  It’s a ride on a hellbound train.  Those radio cats are withholding a lot of great music, and it’s got me feelin’ bad.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

8 Miles High

Well, why not?  40 Great Stoner Albums, a list of albums Rolling Stone says are “great for blazing along, but also great when you’re not high as a giraffe.”

Item one:  I’m no stoner.  I only owned 3 of the 40 albums listed, and I only recognized 14 album titles in total.  Tons of bands/artists I had never heard of!  I kinda always thought that drug and pop culture weren’t that far apart, and that you didn’t need to partake to get it.  Maybe I’m wrong.

Item two:  item one aside, I wonder if all these records are for stoners, or if some of them are just by people who were stoned.  David Crosby’s, If I Could Only Remember My Name, for example.

Item three:  Rock & Roll is an interstellar escape pod?  Pardon?  What does that mean, exactly?  I must be straighter than I thought.

Item four:  there is no item four.  Still trying to deal with item one.  I mean, I expected to see one or two blues greats, maybe Cream, Zeppelin, Dylan, The Byrds, Neil Young, Deep Purple (Mark I), Donovan, Tull, one of the 70’s Brit prog bands, someone from California other than The Dead …  Just three albums (Axis, Dark Side and Rubber Soul).  Sheesh!

Maybe I need to take a dreadlock holiday.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Love or Confusion

The recent anniversary of the death of Jimi Hendrix got me thinking about our relationships with our cultural idols.  I mean, they might not know us (ya ya ya, especially the dead ones), but we feel we know them and emotions are involved, so it is a relationship, right?

Anyway the annual barrage of “remembering Jimi” stuff that floated across the net (you know: Jimi didn’t die, God just wanted guitar lessons) reminded me that I have a very uneasy relationship to this particular hero of mine.

Idolize him?  Sure.  But the awe is mixed with healthy doses of resentment and guilt.  Guilt because I don’t accept as an article of faith that Hendrix was the best ever guitarist.  Resentment, because I always felt he could have been if he had, had, had … well not tried harder exactly, and, well not really been more disciplined, but maybe been more judicious. 

More guilt because I understand if he’d been less of a free spirit then the brilliance would not have manifested itself.  Resentment because it wasn’t all brilliant, sometimes it was kinda sloppy.  More guilt because you’re not supposed to feel that way about cultural icons of his stature.  Mustn’t criticize.

And a little more resentment because he offed himself too soon and should have given us so much more.  And a little more guilt because that’s kinda a selfish.

But in the end, I always try to push all that bunk aside and just remember that he was someone to love.

Complex enough for a real relationship, isn’t it?

Monday, 23 September 2013

Still Crazy After All These Years

Oh.  So Rolling Stone ran a readers’ poll on the Greatest Rock & Roll Rebels, and it makes a bit more sense.

Including the intro, which says these rebels pushed boundaries and refused to conform.  That’s a little more on point.

Here’s the list: Jim Morrison, Dylan, Zack de la Rocha, Keef, Iggy Pop, Johnny Cash, Lennon, Zappa, Axl Rose, Bowie.

All in all, there’s a lot more cohesion here than in the previous list.  Interesting that Johnny Cash is the only name to appear in both versions.  And also interesting, I guess, is that I’m more qualified to be a reader than an RS editor, since my list was closer to the general public’s.  Of course, the editor guys’ job is to spark discussion and debate.  Like we’re gonna conform!

Anyway.  Play by your own rules.  That’s the message.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Rebel Rebel

So Rolling Stone compiled a list of Rock & Roll Rebels, and introduces it with a smorgasbord of context.  Rebels are: bad boys, sensitive, revolutionaries who don’t understand why things have to be the way they are. 

Not sure that gives me a clear picture of what a rock & roll rebel is, but here’s their list:
Plastic People of the Universe, Fela Kuti, Elvis Costello, MC5, Peter Tosh, Sinead O’Connor, Kurt Cobain, Victor Jara, Jerry Lee Lewis, Public Enemy, Marilyn Manson, Steve Earle, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Johnny Cash

Neither does the list.  Some of these folks aren’t really rockers, although you can’t dispute the rock and roll attitude.

But rebel against what?  The government, parents, the “establishment”, societal norms, expectations, good taste?  Rebel consistently, or once upon a time?

Depending on your definition, there are lots of other candidates: Lennon, Richards, Dylan, Alice Cooper, Bowie, Zappa, Morrison, Hendrix …

Maybe the definition doesn’t matter, ‘cause at bottom rock and roll is about rebellion, isn’t it?  As Brando would say, “what’ve you got?”

Friday, 13 September 2013

We Will Rock You

So, there are all these lists out there, but I can’t find a list of best rock anthems.  Curious or what?  Radio DJ’s, critics and the like use the term casually, but no one’s bothered to assemble a list.  Interesting.

Wikipedia says an anthem is a song of celebration, usually acting as a symbol for a distinct group of people.  With that as a reference, we could easily come up with a few rock anthems, right?

Like: Won’t Get Fooled Again, Stairway to Heaven, We Will Rock You,
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2, Born in the U.S.A., Imagine, Sunday Bloody Sunday

Or, if you soften the definition to say people easily identify with the song, you could add: Won’t Back Down, Hotel California, Smoke on the Water, Woodstock,
Bohemian Raphsody, Hey Jude, All You Need Is Love

Or maybe the song just gets your juices flowing, like: Armageddon It, Layla, Southern Man, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Solsbury Hill, Born to Be Wild, American Woman

Or    it just feels like an anthem, say: My Sweet Lord, Free Falling, Let It Be, or pretty much anything by Rush

Hmmm    that wasn’t easy.  Maybe the ‘identify’ bit makes such a list too personal; you could build your own list but couldn’t expect anyone else to agree.

Anyway, for my money, the song that should top the list is Won’t Get Fooled Again.  It kicks you in the butt, fills you with a “ya, dammit!” attitude, and entertains you with some of the most powerful rock ever recorded.  If that isn’t an anthem, I don’t know what is.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Building On Fire

What do you get when you cross Motown with James Brown with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones?  The Talking Heads.

Not sure quite how James Brown holds his own against an entire genre plus the two biggest bands of all time, but there you have it.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Play With Fire

Now here’s a difficult list to assemble: Gibson’s Keith Richards' 10 Coolest Guitar Riffs.  Difficult to narrow down to only 10, that is.

Here’s the list:
Satisfaction, Get Off My Cloud, 19th Nervous Breakdown, Mother’s Little Helper, Paint It Black, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Gimme Shelter, Honky Tonk Women, Brown Sugar, Start Me Up.

Easy, right?  Sure, but what about: Street Fighting Man, Beast of Burden, Bitch, The Last Time, even Tumbling Dice?  Keef is rivaled only by John Lennon and Jimmy Page in terms of volume, impact and unforgettability of killer riffs.  As the article points out, these riffs are now part of the culture.

You may or may not think Keith Richards is respectable, but time appears to be on his side.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

This Ain’t No Disco

Are we sure David Byrne wasn’t born in Detroit?  Just asking.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Transformer Man

Interesting list from Gibson on Shocking Detours by Major Artists.  You know, like, where did that come from?  That’s not what I expect or want to hear.  How dare he/she/they?  That kind of thing.

Here’s the list:
Neil Young – Trans
Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request
Todd Rundgren – With a Twist
Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music
David Bowie – Young Americans
Sly Tone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On
Kiss – Music from “The Elder”
Springsteen – Nebraska
Yes – 90125
Johnny Cash – American Recordings

Well, some of these records certainly did shock.  Some were dramatic departures from what you’d expect.  Maybe some were even bad ideas.

Not all of ‘em, though.  I mean, disco was in full swing and Bowie morphed from Ziggy Stardust to white R&B.  I don’t remember anyone being too surprised, especially since he did it with such credibility.

And Trans?  By 1982, could anyone seriously be shocked by anything Neil Young did?  The same could be said about Rundgren and Springsteen – or Cash for that matter.  The word fearless comes to mind, and it could be applied at any point in their careers.

As for Satanic Majesties, well, it was just a bad idea.  The Stones were obsessed with The Beatles.  Everyone was.  They did their best Pepper , and just didn’t have it in ‘em.  It’s not who they were.  Shocking?  Ya, shockingly bad.  But a departure?  Nope, we all could see it coming.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Far Out, Man

According to Wikipedia, psychedelic music covers a range of styles and genres, is inspired by psychedelic (drug) culture, and emerged in the mid-60’s among folk rock and blues rock bands.  Wikipedia also notes that these bands went to on to create prog rock, heavy metal and a bunch of other new genres.  But you knew all that.

The article mentions a bunch of bands you’d expect – The Beatles, Floyd, Hendrix, The Byrds – but no Led Zeppelin.

Ya?  So go listen to How Many More Times.  Seems to me that, exotic instrumentation excepted, this song has most of the characteristics listed: complex song structure, strange lyrics, extended solos, distorted guitar, wah wah, elaborate studio effects …  this song is a trip.

It’s always bugged me that Zeppelin was jammed into the heavy metal pigeon hole.  I get the name and their influence and all that, but they had too much depth and range.  And for my money, Zeppelin I is every bit as trippy as Pepper, Are You Experienced?, or Disraeli Gears.

Just goes to show that labels don’t mean nothin’. 

Hey!  Wait a minute!  Cream doesn’t get a mention in the article either.  Guess it needs some updating.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


The main thing that jumps out at me as I scan Gibson’s 10 Great Rock Guitar Instrumentals is that it would be hard to build on.  The list apparently features pieces known for their “pioneering impact” as opposed to virtuosity or popularity.

But, like, what else would you add?  Is there much else out there to debate?  We’ve got Beck, Page, Edgar Winter, Van Halen, Duane Eddy and The Ventures – like you’d expect.  And we have to dip into The Who’s Tommy to get to 10.

The genre has a major handicap: no lyrics.  Kinda hampers the singing along, which makes it more difficult on the memory, which reduces the odds of a tune being popular.  Not to mention the emotional impact that lyrics can add to a great song.

Make that two handicaps, the second being that instrumentals tend to be vehicles for showing off.  With all due respect to Mssrs. Beck, Satriani, Malmsteen, Johnson and McGlaughlin et al, chicks don’t dig it.  You can’t dance to this stuff.

These guys have an audience limited to mostly other guitarists, which is why the list is brought to you by Gibson as opposed to a popular culture magazine.  The guitar has dominated popular music for over half a century, but it works best in a supporting role.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

As Clear As The Sun In The Summer Sky

I know it’s been played to death, but there’s a case to be made that Boston’s More Than A Feeling might be the best rock song ever written.

OK, maybe not, but – like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony– it could be held up as the best example of the genre, worthy of study.

Screaming guitars and fancy acoustic pickin’.  Nice.  An unforgettable hook.  Lyrics that grab your emotions without actually going too deep.  Smart.  Another great hook that acts as a bridge to the chorus, showing you that this ain’t no simple 3 chord rock song.  These people were MIT students; they have depth.

So make that two unforgettable hooks.  Wait!  Make it three, since the chorus somehow manages to steal a power chord riff that’s been done to death and make it sound new.

A soulful melody.  Sweet harmonies.  Another genius bridge on the way into the solo.  Oh ya, and you can sing the solo.  You do sing the solo.  No mindless shredding here; this is music.

All of the elements are simple, but the relative complexity of the structure, and the number of elements subtly add to your enjoyment of the song.  “Like this?  Great.  Here’s a little something more.”  It’s like chocolate sauce and sprinkles on your ice cream.

Listen: I like raw three-chord rock and blues, but a lot of masterpieces have the kind of added complexity and intelligence described above.

It’s too bad the lawyers got involved so early in their career.  I always felt Boston could have given us so much more.