Meme of Solace

I’m sure the title refers to a James Bond film; I’m swiping this from SamauraiFrog.

List 10 musical artists (or bands) you like, in no specific order (do this before reading the questions below). Really, don’t read the questions below until you pick your ten artists!!!

There is something to be said for following the instructions in this case.

1. The Beatles
2. The Beach Boys
3. David Bowie
4. The Rascals
5. The Rolling Stones
6. Linda Ronstadt
7. The Supremes
8. The Temptations
9. Talking Heads
10. The Police

What was the first song you ever heard by 6?

Something early, probably “Different Drum”.

What is your favorite song of 8?

“I Can’t Get Next To You”. From the rowdy opening to the Sly Stone-inspired shared vocals.

What kind of impact has 1 left on your life?

Massive. I have a ton of their albums, both as a group and as solo artists. I know arcane things about their album releases. People say to me, “What album is X song on?” and far more often than not, I’ll say “American or British album?” And then peg both of them. There’s a picture of Lennon in my office and a photo of the Imagine imagine from NYC in my house.

What is your favorite lyric of 5?

Probably the chorus of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. “But if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need.” From Let It Bleed, probably my favorite Stones album. The organ noodling of this song during the early funeral sequence of The Big Chill cracked me up, while others in the audience wondered why.

How many times have you seen 4 live?

Never, though I’ve seen them live on TV once or twice.

What is your favorite song by 7?

“Love Is Like An Itchin’ In My Heart”. What an insistent bass line. there’s a version that’s about 30 seconds longer than the single I particularly enjoy.

Is there any song by 3 that makes you sad?

Ashes to Ashes
Time and again I tell myself
I’ll stay clean tonight
But the little green wheels are following me
Oh no, not again

What is your favorite song by 9?

“Making Flippy Floppy”, probably because I saw the Talking Heads during the Speaking in Tongues tour in 1983 or 1984 at SPAC in Saratoga.

When did you first get into 2?

It’s really odd, actually. I had a compilation album with I Get Around and Don’t Worry Baby in 1965, and the Pet Sounds album in 1966, both of which I liked. But I never considered myself a real Beach Boys fan until I got Surf’s Up, which was a mainstay of my freshman year in college, 1971-72. THEN I went back and got into the earlier music, and bought the retrospective albums that came out in the mid-1970s.

How did you get into 3?

I was in my dorm room in my freshman year and somehow won Hunky Dory from my college radio station, WNPC on a radio call-in contest. I liked almost all of it; my roommate Ron only liked Changes.

What is your favorite song by 4?

“It’s Love”, the last song on the Groovin’ album, featuring flute by Hubert Laws, plus a great bass line. When I got a new turntable in 1987, the track ran so close to the label that the album would reject before the song would end; drove me nuts. Actually bought the CD five years ago largely for this one song.

How many times have you seen 9 live?

Once, but it was one of the two greatest shows of my life, along with the Temptations in 1980 or 1981.

What is a good memory concerning 2?

A mixed memory actually. I had this friend named Donna George, and I bought her the Beach Boys box set. Before she died of brain cancer a few years ago, she assigned another friend of hers and me to divvy up her music. I took the Beach Boys box, and I always remember her when I play it.

Is there a song by 8 that makes you sad?

The Temptations with a Lot o’ Soul is full of melancholy songs, but I’ll pick No More Water in the Well.

What is your favorite song of 1?

A truly impossible question. Seriously. It’s dependent on mood, what I’ve listened to recently. I’ll say Got to Get You Into My Life, but reserve the right to change that.

How did you become a fan of 10?

Almost certainly listening to WQBK-FM, Q-104 in Albany, NY, a truly great station that also turned me onto the Talking Heads, the Clash and a lot of other music of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
ROG

Songs That Move Me, 30-21

30. Sixty Years On- Elton John
Just great use of strings. Too bad Elton’s vocal’s mixed too low, but the instrumentation is a fair representation of the recording.
Feeling: old.

29. The Mercy Seat- Johnny Cash
This is a nice little Nick Cave song about an upcoming execution of the protagonist, for a crime he did not commit (maybe). It is the Benmont Tench keyboards on this song, like his keyboards on Johnny’s version of Hurt, that really stand out for me. I particularly appreciates how it builds sonically. From the third American Recordings CD.
Feeling: a-feared.

28. How Cruel – Joan Armatrading.
“I heard somebody say once I was way too black
And someone answers she’s not black enough for me”
Just for that couplet there. And the piano.
Feeling: a tad ticked off.

27. A Salty Dog – Procol Harum
The sound effects, the building of the sound.
Feeling: adrift.

26. Tempted-Squeeze
Near-perfect pop song, with great background singing and that classic Paul Carrack groan.
Feeling: inappropriate.
HERE.

25. I Saw Her Again- Mamas and the Papas
This is enhanced by an accident of technology. On a greatest hits LP I had growing up, the lead vocal all but drops out, revealing the intricacy of the harmonies.
Feeling: inappropriate.

24. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – Carole King
It’s the Mitchell-Taylor Boy and Girl Chorus that really makes this. This arrangement practically begs for a cappella singing. From Tapestry, which I played so much, I wore out the LP.

23. Rain – the Beatles.
Not sure i really liked this song on first listen. It was, “What the heck is THAT?” But later, the tape loops and steady beat won me over.
Feeling: wet.

22. Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter
Not only great guitar playing, but the Merry Clayton vocal really shreds it.
Feeling: alone.

21. Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) – Melanie
I had a friend inn the music business mock me when a mutual acquaintance, a radio DJ, let her know I had requested a Melanie song from him. I protested, “But it’s Lay Down!” the clash between her sometimes homely voice and the Edwin Hawkins Singers creates such wonderful music tension.
Feeling: too tired to sleep.
or HERE.
ROG

Songs That Move Me, 50-41

50. Indiscipline – King Crimson.
“I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat myself when under stress…” Tom, my boss at FantaCo, described this song as his description of the store. Last song on the first side of the Discipline LP.
Feeling: feeling: feeling: feeling:

49. Would I Lie To You – Eurythmics.
There’s the insistent beat, the horns, the vocals, the guitar line, specially on the bridge.
Feeling: truthful.
It’s HERE.

48. High School- MC5.
A decade before the Ramones, the MC5 from Detroit, a three-chord band. This live version doesn’t exude the sheer raw energy of the original.
Feeling: you better get out of the way.

47. Tell Me Something Good – Rufus.
Chaka Khan! Has that wonderful descending chromatic scale. Stevie Wonder-penned funk. Love the Bob Hope intro.
Feeling: good.

46. Logical Song – Supertramp.
I love the way the sound gets fuller on the verse before the break, the doubling of the vocal on “a vegetable” and the sax solo.
Feeling: paranoid.

A better video but lesser sound here.

45. Uptight – Stevie Wonder.
My first all-time favorite Motown song. First that bass line with drums, then the horns. I’m also fond of the background vocals, and that machine gun-like drunm fills. So good that Bill Cosby, long before Weird Al, copped it for “Little Old Man”.
Feeling- joy.

44. Tomorrow Never Knows – the Beatles.
Insistent bottom, weird tape loop sounds, odd vocal, strange bridge. Oh, I love it.
Feeling: floating.
It’s here.

43. Our Prayer – Beach Boys.
About 68 seconds of stunning vocalese.
Feeling: reflective.
A snippet here.

42. Satisfaction – Rolling Stones.
Anthemic, copped by lots of other bands.
Feeling: as though I tried and I tried.

41. (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding?-Elvis Costello.
I STILL hear this both as the driving anthem it is and as an a cappella doowop. From a greatest hits CD.
Feeling: like begging for peace.

ROG

The Rules: Part 3 (of 37): Playing Music

As you may know if you know me, or if you’re a regular reader of this blog, I am a compulsive about some things such as filing my recorded music. I’ve likely mentioned that I’m also obsessive about playing music I own. I figure that if I own it, I should play it. If I don’t play it, I should probably get rid of it.

To that end, I play music on a musician’s or classical composer’s birthday week. This week, in honor of their birthdays today, it’s Frank Sinatra and Dionne Warwick. This birthday thing also applies to compilers of compilations, so the guy with the Omnibus coming out is heard in January, while the Eddie-torial pledge dude gets played in November.

There used to be a time when I’d play a given artist two or three times during the course of a year, but with an increasing number of recordings, I’ve had to figure out how to parse some groups.

Simon & Garfunkel I play in November, Art’s birthday; I also play my one Garfunkel album. Simon solo I play in October.
I have so many Rolling Stones albums that I play the store-bought ones in July, Mick Jagger’s birthday, and the ones I’ve burned in December, Keith Richards’ birthday.
Led Zeppelin gets played in January, Jimmy Page’s birthday; solo Robert Plant in August.
I play Crosby and CPR in August, Stills in January and Young in November. CSN(&Y) I play in February, Nash’s birthday, since I have no Nash on CD.
The Police get played in July, Stuart Copeland’s birthday, while Sting gets played in October. (Why not Andy Sumner as the Police trigger? Because his birthday came later in the year, in December.)
Don Henley in July; the Eagles in November, Glenn Frey’s birthday.
With so many Beach Boys albums, most of them I play in June, Brian Wilson’s birthday, along with solo Brian Douglas Wilson. However, the box set and the greatest hits I play in December, the birthdays of Dennis Carl Wilson and Carl Dean Wilson. (I didn’t know until yesterday that Dennis’ middle name was Carl; how odd.)
The Beatles are the most convoluted. Solo artists in their respective months, of course. In October, for John, I play the canon, the British albums as they were originally produced, since he was the leader of the group; also the Past Masters, which represent, mostly, the singles. February I play the American albums, since George was the first Beatle to come to the U.S., visiting his sister Louise. June, Paul’s month, gets the other items: the Anthologies, the BBC, the remixes of Yellow Sub and Let It Be, and LOVE. As for July, Ringo gets all the many Beatle cover albums.

Speaking of which, I’m in the midst of moving my tribute albums from their own section to the end of the run of the given artist; there are now so many that I forget.

As for the rest of my music: February gets compilation love albums, compilation soul albums (except Motown, played in November for Berry Gordy’s birthday) and, if the Oscars are in February, soundtracks, which usually takes a couple months in any case. As for the rest of the albums, other compilations, artists with birthdays I don’t know, I play whenever I want. Well, except the Chieftains and Clannad, which I listen to in March, and Christmas albums, which I play between December 1 and Epiphany. Oh, and Halloween albums for guess when?

The requirement to play, say John Lennon in October, doesn’t preclude me from playing it again in March just because I feel like it.
ROG

What’s in a (Band) Name?

I went to see the Funk Brothers and the Family Stone Experience in Washington Park back on May 14. It was great, but it got me to thinking: When personnel changes in a rock group, can it still be considered that group? There were, last I knew, TWO splinter groups from Sly and the Family Stone, both with original members. Since NEITHER includes Sly, there’s no issue of being the real thing. But there have been other bands during the years that have had more complicated issues.

The Beatles: When the Beatles broke up in 1970, it was considered “Paul’s fault” in some circles. After all, he had the audacity to put out his first solo album at about the same time as Let It Be. (Even though the others had all released solo discs earlier.) And he had different management (the Eastmans, Linda’s kin) than the others (Allen Klein). There was a widespread rumor at the time that the Beatles would re-form with Lennon, Harrison, Starr, Billy Preston (keyboardist on Get Back) and Klaus Voorman (designer of the Revolver album cover) on bass. Would they have been accepted as “The Beatles”? I seriously doubt it. They could survive the switch from Pete Best to Ringo Starr on the cusp of their stardom, but as the icons they became, there could be no substitutes.

The Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman was the line-up, with Ian Stewart as session and tour keyboardist. In June of 1969, guitarist Jones quit the group, quickly replaced by Mick Taylor. (Jones died a month later.) Taylor left in December of 1974; Ronnie Wood played (on loan from the Faces) on the 1975 tour, and the following year is installed as a permanent member. Bassist Wyman calls it quits in 1994. It seems that the Rolling Stones will survive as long as the Glimmer Twins (Jagger, Richards) continue to perform. With a new album and tour in 2005, it is still very much an active band.

The Beach Boys: Brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine (replaced briefly in 1962 and 1963 by David Marks) were the band. Brian quit touring in 1966, replaced briefly by Glen Campbell, and more permanently by Bruce Johnston. Dennis drowned in 1983. When Carl Wilson, Alan Jardine, Mike Love, and Bruce Johnston toured as the Beach Boys through 1997, there was a real legitimacy. But Carl died in 1998. [I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shortly after Carl’s death, where they had a nice tribute piece to him and to another Carl who had died recently, Carl Perkins.] Mike Love and Bruce Johnston regained the legal right to use the Beach Boys name and have been touring as “The Beach Boys” ever since. Even with short-timer David Marks, it’s hard for me to accept this band as the Beach Boys. Maybe if Mike & Bruce kissed and made up with Brian & Al (who was a respondent in a lawsuit for using the Beach Boys’ name in his “Al Jardine’s Family & Friends Beach Band”, featuring Al’s sons, Brian’s daughters, and several former Beach Boys’ backing musicians), then THAT would be the Beach Boys.

Herman’s Hermits: There’s the group headed by Barry Whitwam; it also featured Derek Leckenby before he died in 1994. Then there’s Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, which at least has the original Herman. The two groups create an unfortunate dilution of legitimacy.

Bob Dylan: No, wait, he’s solo artist. He’s just had so many phases in his career. He is 64 today – happy birthday to the “unwilling counterculture icon.”

I liked what Cream did. They break up, the name’s done, even though 2/3s of them (Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker) end up in Blind Faith. And when there’s a Cream reunion this year (with Jack Bruce), there’s no question of their legitimacy.

Say, this is FUN! Think I’ll do it again with some more groups some other time.