Archive SotD – April 5-11, 2010

April 5, 2010 – “Lady” – Styx

When I got my very first personal radio – a clock radio at that – this was the song that I couldn’t wait for them to play. There are some songs that just settle down into your brain and become part of the fabric of your being.

I’m just so glad that it was this song and not “Mr. Roboto”.

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April 6, 2010 – “Head Over Heels” – The Go-Go’s

“Name’s the same” Tuesday

A couple of ‘80s tunes today. Belinda, Jane, Charlotte, Kathy and Gina had a harder edge to their guitar sound on their third album, Talk Show, which I think is their best.

I still hate the extraneous apostrophe in their name.

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April 6, 2010 – “Head Over Heels” – Tears for Fears

“Name’s the same” Tuesday

It’s Roland Orzabal (there’s a name that rolls off the tongue) and Curt Smith, the duo known as Tears for Fears. Their debut album, The Hurting, was pretty darn good, but their second – Songs from the Big Chair – went supersonic due to their exposure on MTV.

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April 7, 2010 – “Everybody Hurts” – R.E.M.

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted R.E.M., so here’s a beautiful song and video that tries to show the universality of our emotions. Everybody hurts, and everybody has the same kinds of problems, big and small.

I also think this is Michael Stipe’s finest vocal work.

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April 8, 2010 – “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration” – Righteous Brothers

Millions know Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, the Righteous Brothers, from “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”. But this song also reached #1, back in 1966.

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April 9, 2010 – “One More Bite of the Apple” – Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond got to be a joke, a Vegas lounge act masquerading as a pop star with songs such as “Heartlight” and that horrible film remake of The Jazz Singer.

But a few years ago he hooked up with producer Rick Rubin, who helmed Johnny Cash’s fabulous “American” recordings. Rubin stripped down the bombastic production, and the results were pretty good, both on 12 Songs and on the CD this song came from, 2008’s Home Before Dark.

Weird video, made up of clips from that aforementioned horrible movie and some concert footage and who knows what else.

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April 10, 2010 – “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” – Blue Oyster Cult

There are a number of things I could say right now, including the fact that I once dated a woman who was a roadie for Blue Oyster Cult. However, I’ll just say:

“MORE COWBELL!”

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April 11, 2010 – “You’re My Best Friend” – Queen

The flamboyant Freddie Mercury, along with astrophysicist Brian May, made Queen one of the top acts of the late ‘70s – early ‘80s. RIP Freddie.

Dedicated to my best friend, my wife Susan.

 

Song of the Day – “Echoes of Love” – The Doobie Brothers

During this period of the Doobie Brothers’ career, Tom Johnston was fading out and Michael McDonald was stepping to the front. But Patrick Simmons, the backbone of the group, still could write a great song. He could also sing well, without the  – shall we say – idiosyncrasies of McDonald.

Song of the Day – “New Music” Wednesday – “What Is Love?”

Duncan Sheik

Two covers in three days? Well, I’ve got my reasons.

  1. I already paid tribute to this terrific Howard Jones song when I posted the original back in October of 2009.
  2. Duncan Sheik’s new album is all covers.

Covers 80s is the name of the album, and although he doesn’t vary the sound enough to make the album consistently interesting, there are individual songs that are stand-outs.

Archive SotD – March 29-April 4, 2010

March 29, 2010 – “Shoe Box” – Barenaked Ladies

This is the first song I heard from Barenaked Ladies, those Canadian staples of acapella groups everywhere. It comes fromBorn on a Pirate Ship, which came a couple of years before they reached mega-stardom with “One Week”.

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March 30, 2010 – “Crazy” – Patsy Cline

“Name’s the same” Tuesday

It’s my mom’s 78th birthday today (Hi, Mom!) so I did my best to come up with a pair of songs that talked about mothers. It seems, however, that the artists/songwriters I enjoy the most have issues with their mothers. (Check out “Mother” by Pink Floyd, Shelby Lynne or Tori Amos.)

I therefore decided on a song with a title that does NOT reflect upon my mother, but just one that she’d like. So here’s the late Miss Patsy Cline with the Willie Nelson song, “Crazy”.

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March 30, 2010 – “Crazy” – Aerosmith

“Name’s the same” Tuesday

On the other hand, would my mom enjoy “Crazy” by Aerosmith? I wouldn’t count on it, but she’s surprised me before. But I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t care for the video. That’s Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler (Steven’s daughter) as the “crazy” young women.

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March 31, 2010 – “In the Sun” – She & Him

Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward are She & Him. Deschanel’s songs lend themselves quite well to the girl-group production. This song is from Volume Two, which was released last week.

Her voice doesn’t have a whole lot of range, but it’s fine for this kind of song. And she’s just so cute in this video!

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April 1, 2010 – “Sharkey’s Day” – Laurie Anderson

Here on April Fools’ Day, I’ve selected a number from performance artist Laurie Anderson. She’s known mostly for her piece United States, which stretched over 5 LPs and included “O Superman”. I’ve always enjoyed her experimental music and sung/spoken non-sequiturs, and I often find her quite humorous, if not laugh-out-loud funny.

This is from her 1985 follow-up to United States, Mister Heartbreak.

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April 2, 2010 – “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” – Herman’s Hermits

Is it just me, or does Peter Noone look like Opie Cunningham in this video? From 1965.

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April 3, 2010 – “Tight Rope” – Leon Russell

A twelve-year-old Jerry loved this song.

Leon Russell has played with everybody from Jerry Lee Lewis to the Rolling Stones to B.B. King to Bob Dylan to Eric Clapton. This was his first hit as a solo artist.

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April 4, 2010 – “Radio King” – Golden Smog

Golden Smog was formed by members of Soul Asylum, Wilco, the Replacements and the Jayhawks. Their lineup was fluid because those were all still working bands. They released a couple of albums of great alt-country tunes in the ‘90s.

 

Song of the Day – “Name’s the same” Tuesday – “Round and Round”

New Order

A fun dance song, and a video that cries out for HD. Welcome to Tuesday!

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David Bowie

David Bowie – garage rock? Just goes to show that he could mix styles with no problem.

This was the B-side to “Drive-In Saturday” on Aladdin Sane, and was also included in the Sound + Vision compilation.

Song of the Day – “Creep” – Edmund Welles

I think if I wagered that this was the most unusual cover you’ve ever heard, I’d win at least nine times out of ten. It’s Radiohead’s “Creep”, arranged for four bass clarinets.

It’s not for the faint-hearted.

Archive SotD – March 22-28, 2010

March 22, 2010 – “September Gurls” – Big Star

If you’ve been following my Song of the Day, you should know that my favorite genre of music is power pop. Every band in the genre, which probably properly begins with the Beatles, owes a big debt to the band Big Star. The songwriters behind most of their songs were Chris Bell and the former lead singer of the Box Tops, Alex Chilton. They had a brief life, releasing three records between 1972 and 1978, but they influenced bands from R.E.M. to the Posies.

Alex Chilton passed away last Wednesday at the age of 59. I posted the Box Tops song “Cry Like a Baby” last June 6. He will be sorely missed.

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March 23, 2010 – “Photograph” – Ringo Starr

“Name’s the same” Tuesday

For a while immediately following the breakup of the Beatles the most consistent solo act was Ringo Starr. It was kind of surprising, but he obviously had a few terrific songs in him, waiting to be released. This was my favorite.

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March 23, 2010 – “Photograph” – Gary Numan

“Name’s the same” Tuesday

Gary Numan is able to write a beautiful tune, although his robotic vocals on songs such as “Cars” and “Praying to the Aliens” undercut that beauty. Here he lets his piano do the talking on an instrumental.

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March 24, 2010 – “Born to Fly” – Sara Evans

OK, so Sara’s a country artist and this is obviously a country song – banjo, fiddle, mandolin. But how many country songs have a drum/bass intro?

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March 25, 2010 – “Human Hands” – Sondre Lerche

A jazzy little cover of an Elvis Costello song by a Norwegian from the soundtrack of the Steve Carell movie Dan in Real Life.

The original was on Costello’s 1982 classic, Imperial Bedroom.

Warning: No actual video, just the audio. So don’t think your monitor is trashed.

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March 26, 2010 – “Rock the Boat” – Hues Corporation

Many have pointed to this song as the start of disco, back in 1973. To me it’s not nearly as irritating as disco would turn out to be. I remember it being on an 8-track that was constantly played in our car.

As always with videos from the 1970s, the outfits and hairstyles are worth the price of admission.

And please, rock on with your bad self.

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March 27, 2010 – “Working Girl” – The Members

So did the men or women have worse hair in the ‘80s? This video does not answer that question – only gives ammunition to both sides.

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March 28, 2010 – “Piano Concerto No.1” – Keith Emerson

Since Emerson, Lake and Palmer were famous for their interpretations of classical works such as Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, it was only natural that Emerson would try his own hand at a “classical” form – a piano concerto.

It’s kind of jumbled, with a lot going on that doesn’t quite come together, but I still like it.