Thursday, 28 March 2013

We Got The Beat

The Rolling Stone Top 10 Dance Songs of All Time list should get your juices flowing and your feet bouncing.  Here’s the list:

 1. Daft Punk – One More Time
 2. New Order – Blue Monday
 3. The Beatles – Twist and Shout
 4. Justice – D.A.N.C.E.
 5. Madonna - Vogue
 6. The Isley Brothers - Shout
 7.  Michael Jackson - Thriller
 8.  Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart
 9.  Chic – Le Freak
10. Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive

Not a lot of surprises here, though I would have preferred more 60’s rock ‘n’ roll and R&B, but no matter.  We’d all be shocked if Madonna and MJ didn’t have at least one song each, right?

And good for the Isley Brothers for getting one of their songs and a cover of one of their covers on the list.  Actually, the endurance of Shout is more than curious; it wasn’t even that big a hit when it was first released.  I mean, it’s fun to dance to and DJ’s seem to love it, but …

Speaking of having the beat, spandex and mullets aside, the 80’s produced a lot of great dance numbers.  Surprised there wasn’t more New Wave and Europop on the list.  Life was good during wartime.

Monday, 25 March 2013

It Ain’t Me

Have a listen to CCR: Fortunate Son. 

Recorded, and presumably written, in 1969.  Still as true today as it was then.  Maybe even more so.

Lotsa stuff from back then didn’t age too good.  Hippy stuff.  Trippy stuff.  Peace, love and drippy stuff.

Not so this tune.  Relevant or what?  How’d ya do that, John?

Some folks are born to wave the flag,
Ooh, they're red, white and blue.
And when the band plays "Hail to the chief",
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senator's son, son.
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no,

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, don't they help themselves, oh.
But when the taxman comes to the door,
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no millionaire's son, no.
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no.

Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
And when you ask them, "How much should we give?"
Ooh, they only answer More! more! more! yoh,

It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son.
It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, one.
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no no no,
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate son, no no no,

Monday, 18 March 2013

Riffer Madness

Gibson’s Top 10 Riffs of the 80's serves as a great reminder that the 80’s weren’t as grim as all that after all.

Here’s the list:
  1.  AC/DC – Back In Black
  2.  Rolling Stones – Start Me Up
  3.  Ozzy Osborne – Crazy Train
  4.  Scorpions – Rock You Like A Hurricane
  5.  Def Leppard - Photograph
  6.  Judas Priest  - Breaking The Law
  7.  Michael Jackson – Beat It
  8.  The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go
  9.  Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child o’ Mine
10.  Rush – Limelight

But …

The preamble talks about riffs really coming into prominence in the 60’s, thanks to the likes of Dave Davies, Pete Townshend and Keith Richards.  Sure, but why is John Lennon never mentioned?  Davies and Townshend had a handful each.  Only Lennon could rival Keef in both quantity and quality.

And why is Jimmy Page not mentioned?  Hello?

Some other tunes with killer riffs I might have nominated include:

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult
Money For Nothing – Dire Straits
She’s Waiting - Clapton
Would I Lie To You? – The Eurythmics
Paper In Fire - Mellencamp
Every Breath You Take – The Police
Refugee  - Petty
Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2
Owner Of A Lonely Heart - Yes
Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top

Pretty good list, reinforcing the immortal songs are built on three chords, the truth, a backbeat, and a great riff.

Friday, 15 March 2013

It’s Cold In Oz

In the guilty pleasures department, one of my favourite bands, who just fell out of favour and dropped out of our consciousness, is Three Dog Night.

It’s curious: not one but three talented lead singers, a terrific band featuring solid keys and good guitar work.  Maybe a tad on the poppy side as compared to, say Led Zeppelin, but they had a long string of hits that you would think should hold their own against some of the over-played stuff on classic rock radio.

Maybe it’s because most of their material was written by other people?

They spread some solid joy to the world.  Too bad they still aren’t embraced by the family of man.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Are the Kids Alright?

OK, so readers’ polls can result in some weird stuff.  Take, for instance, Rolling Stone’s Best Rock Documentaries, and – as George would say – spot the loony.

  1. The Last Waltz
  2. Woodstock
  3. This Is Spinal Tap
  4.  Gimme Shelter
  5.  The Kids Are Alright
  6.  Pearl Jam 20
  7.  No Direction Home
  8.  The Beatles Anthology
  9.  Beyond the Lighted Stage
 10. It Might Get Loud

Aw, come on, people!  Spinal Tap is wonderful, but can we check the dictionary here?  It’s brilliant.  It’s an accurate reflection of the culture.  It’s funny.  And it’s fake! 

Documentary:  noun, providing a factual record or report
Mockumentary:  brings up spellcheck

Do these same people also believe Sacha Cohen is a real journalist from Kazakhstan?  Help!  I mean, a joke takes the place of Rattle and Hum or Standing in the Shadows of Motown?  Mercy!

By the way, otherwise, great list.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Tired of Waiting

Why have I taken so long to write something about The Kinks?

Maybe that’s my pattern.  I noticed them during the first British Invasion, of course.  And they seemed to hold their own during the transition from rock ‘n’ roll to psychedelic.  I remember playing Well Respected Man in my band when I was in Grade 8.

But then they got pushed aside during the second invasion, displaced by the likes of Cream, Zeppelin, Hendrix and Deep Purple.  Yes, I know Hendrix was American, but he arrived from England, didn’t he?

Like so many others, The Kinks just didn’t register on the new hard rock scale.  After Lola, they were gone and forgotten.

Ah, but they weren’t gone.  While everyone was dicking around with Prog Rock and Metal and Disco, they were out there, staying (mostly) true to their rock ‘ n’ roll roots.  And somewhere in the late-ish 70’s, when Punk had said “enough!” and radio stations began giving airtime to the likes of Steve Miller, Linda Ronstadt and Tom Petty, The Kinks resurfaced.

And, longing as I was for something less pompous and silly.  I finally, really noticed them.  A string of great albums, beginning with Misfits, helped them ride the New Wave well into the 80’s when, along with rock ‘n’ roll, they faded again.  Having finally become a fan, I hoped they might resurface one more time during the all-too-brief Garage Band thing in the early 90’s, but to no avail.  That wish turned out to be a rock & roll fantasy.

Now they’re gone, un-rescued by the local village green preservation societies.  Maybe that’s a good thing, ‘cause at least we’re being spared one more fossilized group out on tour.  I dunno.

Listen: I know I’m doing some revisionist history here, suggesting The Kinks were fabulous from start to finish.  They disappeared from most of our radars in the late 60’s and early 70’s because their dabbling in the emerging styles was unsuccessful.  But when they went back to what they did well, they gave us a big batch of terrific music.

They may have been surpassed by others in terms of both impact and longevity, but there are times when I could listen to their music all day and all of the night.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Please Release Me

Rolling Stone published a fun list for Valentine’s Day entitled 20 Love Songs We Never Want to Hear Again.  Their intro nicely sums it up:  “Steer clear of these romantic cheddar bombs, all of which give love a bad name.”

Amen to that.

Just quickly scan the list.  You are going to moan, maybe grunt, possibly hold your breath like there was a bad smell in the room.

Scan it quickly or worse things could happen.

Friday, 1 March 2013

How Many More Times

There are some strange cats at Rolling Stone Magazine.  They publish a reader’s poll ranking the Best Led Zeppelin Songs of All Time, the intro of which acknowledges that Zep fans are easily fired up, implying they are maybe even a little crazy.

So then what do they do?  They get some editor dudes together to come up with their own 40 Greatest Led Zeppelin Songs of All Time list.  Who’s crazy here?  The comments on Rolling Stone’s website prove their point.  The fans are all riled up.

Who cares if the reader’s list has only 10 songs and the editor’s list has 40?  It doesn’t matter that the editors included more songs.  It’s not relevant that there is a nice write-up on each song stating why it’s cool and explaining why it’s important.  The editor’s list is wrong.  All it takes is one song improperly ranked and you’re an idiot.  Just ask the fans who are, as predicted by the editors themselves, fired up.  Read their comments.

I mean, either list works for me.   Here they are:

            Reader’s List                                               Editor’s List
 1.        Stairway to Heaven                                     Whole Lotta Love
 2.        Kashmir                                                         Stairway to Heaven
 3.        Achilles Last Stand                                     Blackdog
 4.        Since I’ve Been Loving You                      Kashmir
 5.        When the Levee Breaks                            Ramble On
 6.        Whole Lotta Love                                        Good Times Bad Times
 7.        The Rain Song                                             Immigrant Song
 8.        Ramble On                                                   When the Levee Breaks
 9.        Ten Years Gone                                          Rock and Roll
10.      No Quarter                                                    Misty Mountain Hop

There are just so many fabulous songs, you’ll never get it right.  So why kick the hornet’s nest?

I know lists are fun because they get you thinking – and arguing – and all that, but talk about living dangerously!  These guys could get trampled under foot.