Song of the Day – “Rocky Mountain Suite (Cold Nights In Canada)” – John Denver

Although many people liked to hate on John Denver (and there are some songs of his that are too simplistic and treacly for me), it’s obvious that his love for the land of North America was deep and sincere.

Exhibit A: his other song about the Rocky Mountains and cold nights in Canada.

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Archive SotD – July 19-25, 2010

July 19, 2010 – “Morning Train” – Sheena Easton

Is there such a thing as a twelve-step program to recover from bad taste? Then I might need to enroll now.

We’ll wrap up these “guilty pleasures” (did I hear a sigh of relief?) by proving that producing cheesy, fun songs is not strictly a male thing. Scotland’s Sheena Easton started her career with the tremendously cute image you see here before tarting it up a bit with “Strut”, “Sugar Walls” and guesting on Prince’s “U Got the Look”.

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July 20, 2010 – “Thirteen” – Big Star

“Name’s the same” Tuesday

I had some other songs picked out for today, but then I found out that Andy Hummel, bassist for the awesome band Big Star, passed away yesterday at the age of 59.

Lead singer Alex Chilton died just four months ago, and I posted “September Gurls”. Now I have the honor to present the beautiful “Thirteen”.

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July 20, 2010 – “Thirteen” – Johnny Cash

“Name’s the same” Tuesday

Johnny’s voice, by the time he did his “American Recordings” late in his life, was worn out. So it became the perfect instrument for the type of song like this one, penned by Glenn Danzig. While I’m not a fan of Danzig the band, this song of a man born down on his luck really gets to me.

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July 21, 2010 – “Please Baby Please” – Devo

“New Music” Wednesday

Those spudsters from Akron are back! Their devolution continues on their new CD, Something for Everybody. Crank it up!

Walk like a perp and be my perpetrator

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July 22, 2010 – “Wolves, Lower” – R.E.M.

Do you remember EPs? LP means Long Play, and EP is Extended Play – longer than a single, but not quite an LP. They were normally promotional items to tout a new band or toss a few songs to the public before the LP came out.

I’ve decided to break with tradition here and feature all the songs from the most remarkable EP ever, R.E.M.’s Chronic Town. Released in 1982, the year before Murmur, it immediately makes it evident that they were not some copycat band.

I’ll be using the order of songs from the CD Dead Letter Office since there seems to be some argument as to which side was the “A” side. That means “Wolves, Lower”, represented by the “original” video. It’s definitely from their early years, but I’m not sure it was actually made before Murmur came out.

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July 23, 2010 – “Gardening at Night” – R.E.M.

The second song from Chronic Town is “Gardening at Night”. Michael Stipe obviously liked this song well enough to sing it at their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. It’s great to see Bill Berry at the drums after his forced retirement, even if the tempo is a little slower than the original.

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July 24, 2010 – “Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)” – R.E.M.

OMG! It’s Fred Newman, the face of Nickleodeon when the cable channel first appeared. He hosted a Bandstand clone called Livewire in 1983, and R.E.M. closed the show with this song from Chronic Town. Mike Mills’ bass is particularly prominent, and well worth listening to.

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July 25, 2010 – “1,000,000” – R.E.M.

I wasn’t really happy with the sound on any of the live versions of this song, so sit back (!) and enjoy Peter Buck’s guitar work from Chronic Town as he alternates between thrash and gentle finger picking on “1000000”

 

Song of the Day – “Aqualung” – Jethro Tull

It’s about time for a little more Tull. So here’s a little ditty about a shabby man who’s “spitting out pieces of his broken luck”.

Song of the Day – “Don’t Marry Her” – The Beautiful South

Acidic lyrics paired with pretty melodies is the stock-in-trade of The Beautiful South. As a matter of fact, the original version of this song from 1996’s Blue Is the Colour used another word rather than “have” in the phrase “Don’t marry her, have me”. Unlike some of the commenters on the video, I prefer the uncensored version with its “earthier” lyrics.

This particular song is sung by the lovely Jacqueline Abbott.

Archive SotD – July 12-18, 2010

July 12, 2010 – “White Wedding” – Billy Idol

Considering how ubiquitous the video for this song was in 1982, it’s surprising to find out that the song barely made the Top 40, topping out at #36.

William Broad went solo as Billy Idol after the breakup of his group Generation X in 1981. He’s survived a motorcycle accident and an overdose, but his career didn’t seem to survive his singing of the theme song to The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.

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July 13, 2010 – “It’s Over” – Boz Scaggs

“Name’s the same” Tuesday

When Boz Scaggs released his Silk Degrees album, he became the coolest man alive. But for some reason, this song was released as the first single, not the superior “Lowdown”. “It’s Over” hit #38 on the charts; “Lowdown”, #2.

And isn’t MusicMike one smooth muther- Shut your mouth! I’m just talking about MusicMike!

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July 13, 2010 – “It’s Over” – ELO

“Name’s the same” Tuesday

This song by ELO was not a hit. Another song from 1977’s Out of the Blue would qualify for this past week’s theme. “Mr. Blue Sky”, which has become the commercial go-to choice of music in the last few years, only managed to crawl into the #35 spot 33 years ago. Just goes to show you how the most popular music is not necessarily the music that stands the test of time.

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July 14, 2010 – “Waiting for This” – Hanson

“New Music Wednesday”

So it’s come to this. I am posting a Hanson song. In my defense, I will say that they actually are decent musicians, and that there is a reason riffs are referred to as “infectious”.

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July 15, 2010 – “When October Goes” – Barry Manilow

OK, as long as I’m at it – I’m going to post a few songs from artists that are considered jokes by a large part of the populace.

Believe me, I’m with the large numbers of you who hate songs like “Copacabana” (oops, hope I didn’t start any earworms – “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl” – damn!). But he still can write some beautiful tunes. Like this one with lyrics by Johnny Mercer from 2:00 AM Paradise Café.

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July 16, 2010 – “Mambo No. 5” – Lou Bega

My “guilty pleasures” comprise artists like Hanson and Manilow who would make some say “Wait, what’s wrong with them?” Few, if any, would jump to say the same about today’s artist.

One-hit wonder Lou Bega was born in Germany to a Sicilian mother and a Ugandan father. Makes sense that he would have a #3 hit in 1999 with a mambo tune.

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July 17, 2010 – “Longfellow Serenade” – Neil Diamond

Today marks 18 months of “Song of the Day”. This is song #574. If you listened to all the songs back-to-back, it would take you close to 37 hours.

And here I am presenting some “guilty pleasures” – songs or artists that I enjoy even though I recognize them (or some of their work) as dreck.

I couldn’t wait for this song to come on the radio. What was I thinking?

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July 18, 2010 – “The Night Chicago Died” – Paper Lace

I know, I know – it’s just not getting any better is it?

Paper Lace was a British band from Nottingham, singing about living on the “east side of Chicago” (Lake Michigan, I guess).

I love the way the lead singer growls “and he kissed my mama’s face”. Pure cheese.

 

 

Song of the Day – “#9 Dream” – John Lennon

I don’t know what John is trying to say here. Did he, or was it the stream-of-consciousness of a dream?

Meaningful or not, it’s a beautiful song that made it to #9 on the Billboard charts back in 1975.

Song of the Day – “New Music” Wednesday – “Sea Salt”

John Vanderslice

Here’s an interesting track from John Vanderslice, who has experimented with all kinds of music over the last 15 years. This is from this year’s collaboration with the Majik*Majik Orchestra, White Wilderness.