The Stones should have re-recorded Heart of Stone when they were making Voodoo Lounge. I mean, they were always good, but their musicianship and production was just so much better later on.
In the run up to Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday, there have been dozens of articles offering praise, trivia and insights. As a fan, of course I read them.
One of the more interesting tidbits I picked up was the notion that Dylan’s songs are paintings. You don’t have to understand them. You don’t even have to like them. You only have to know whether they speak to you.
Speaking for myself, they do. Yeah, they do.
I have a playlist called Rock and Roll Heaven (it’s short; about a hundred songs). The other night when I was listening to it, the first three songs that played were:
Aside from reminding me that the 70’s wasn’t all disco and prog wankarama, what do they have in common? Well, if you made a Venn diagram of the three artists, you’d find humour in the centre.
Sure, John gives one of his overpowering performances where you believe Every. Single. Word.
But John was the funniest guy in a very funny band called The Beatles who were constantly amused that we all took them so seriously. Alice Cooper could never be accused of taking himself seriously. Ditto Ray Davies.
Yes, a lot of us are still hopeful that music can change the world, but it’s a healthy reminder that, although it might not be a joke, Rock and Roll really is just a bit of fun.
Mark Knopfler is an incredible storyteller and gifted poet with a bagful of masterpieces, but his absolute best song is Skateaway.
If Bruce Springsteen had done this song it would have been a number one hit and would have entered the ranks of timeless, beloved anthems. Because it tells you about how the best songs merge with your life – just like The Boss’s most memorable songs do.
The music makes you want to be the story, and the story is whatever is the song.
Okay, you can justifiably say that Please Mr. Postman is just a formulaic, lame pop song. But listen to John Lennon’s vocal on the Beatles version and tell me it’s not heart-grippingly soulful.