Saturday, October 29, 2011

More schlocky #1 hits!

After the overwhelming(?) response 2 last nite's post on schlocky #1 hits from the Golden Age of Classic Rock, I thot I'd post some more Mbarrassing #1's from 1977 & later, just 4 the sake of completeness -- & including a few earlier 1's I overlooked somehow.
B4 I do that, however, a couple attempts at clarity:
* What I call "schlock" is different from what I usually call "Great Trash." "Wild Thing" is Great Trash. "Sugar, Sugar" is Great Trash. "Louie Louie" is ... well, it's 1 of a kind. Like that. "The Night Chicago Died" is just junk.
* I think my buddy Crabby may have a point about the "memorability factor" of old junk such as I've bn listing here. Back in the day, even the worst piece of hackwork -- "One Bad Apple," say, or "Knock Three Times" -- had a nagging chorus or some other hook that would weld the song in2 yer brain, especially if you didn't want it in there. That's why they were big hits. That's why some of us can still recite the lyrics 2 them without the help of cue cards -- even 40 years later. But that doesn't make them GOOD. Just better than today's average hackwork.
See how many of the following members of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Shame (all former #1 hits according 2 BILLBOARD magazine) you remember....

Sammy Davis Jr. -- The Candy Man (thanx a lot 4 reminding me of this, Crabby!)
Michael Jackson -- Ben.
John Denver -- Annie's Song.
B.J. Thomas -- Hey Won't You Play Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.
Barry Manilow -- I Write the Songs.
Carl Douglas -- Kung-Fu Fighting.

Maybe 1977 was the real Bottom Year 4 schlock. Check these winners out:
Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. -- You Don't Have to be a Star to be in My Show.
Barbra Streisand -- Evergreen (Love Theme from A STAR IS BORN).
Abba -- Dancing Queen.
Eagles -- New Kid in Town.
Hall & Oates -- Rich Girl.
Glen Campbell -- Southern Nights.
Leo Sayer -- You Make Me Feel Like Dancin', When I Need You.
Fleetwood Mac -- Dreams.
Bill Conti -- Gonna Fly Now (Theme from ROCKY).
Alan O'Day -- Undercover Angel.
Shaun Cassidy -- Da Doo Ron Ron.
Barry Manilow -- Looks Like We Made It.
ANYTHING by Andy Gibb. (He had 3 #1's -- "Shadow Dancing" topped the charts 4 7 weeks.)
Debbie Boone -- You Light Up My Life (10 weeks at #1!).
Bee Gees -- How Deep is Your Love?

Hold yer stomach, there's more:
Paul McCartney & Wings -- With a Little Luck, Coming Up.
Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams -- Too Much Too Little Too Late.
A Taste of Honey -- Boogie Ooogie Oogie.
Anne Murray -- You Needed Me.
Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand -- You Don't Bring Me Flowers.
Rod Stewart -- Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?
Doobie Brothers -- What a Fool Believes.
Peaches & Herb -- Reunited.
Herb Alpert -- Rise.
M -- Pop Muzik.
Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer -- No More Tears (Enough is Enough).
Rupert Holmes -- Escape (The Pina Colada Song).
Captain & Tennille -- Do That To Me One More Time.
Lipps Inc. -- Funkytown.
Barbra Streisand -- Woman in Love.
Kenny Rogers -- Lady.
Dolly Parton -- 9 to 5.
Eddie Rabbitt -- I Love a Rainy Night.
Kim Carnes -- Bette Davis Eyes (9 weeks at #1!).
Diana Ross & Lionel Richie -- Endless Love (9 weeks at #1!).
Olivia Newton-John -- Physical (10 weeks at #1!).
Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder -- Ebony and Ivory.
Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton -- Islands in the Stream.
Whitney Houston -- Saving All My Love for You.
...That takes us thru Fall 1985. By the way, Whitney's wretched version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" topped the charts 4 14 weeks in late 1992. 1 of the worst vocal performances ever, used 2 clear birds off runways at busy airports....

...What a rockin list, huh? Some real headbangers there, am I right? Jeez the late '70s & early '80s were flat & boring musically, at least in terms of what the majority of folks were buying....
So again, don't let the Classic Rock fanatics convince you that things were somehow better musically back in the '60s & '70s. They were DIFFERENT, but maybe not that much better. There was still a ton of garbage around, & a lot of it was REALLY popular, as shown by the last 2 lists.
...& when "we" had the discretionary-spending muscle, when we voted with our wallets 2 choose who the big music stars would be ... we messed up big-time. We got a few right -- Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, Bruce, Hendrix, U2, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, etc.
But tho great songs come & go, schlock goes on FOREVER. How recently has your local Classic Rock/Oldies station played "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia"? Or "Billy Don't Be a Hero"? Or "The Night Chicago Died"? I hear them at least 1nce a week.... & then I change the station....
That ain't what I call rock&roll....

Friday, October 28, 2011

The end of "real" rock and roll?

OK, a coupla things: 1st off, Seano over at CIRCLE OF FITS ( recently posted something he picked-up from Buzzfeed called "12 Disappointing Facts About Rock and Roll" -- basically a list pointing out that new, young pop stars like Katy Perry & Ke$ha & the Black-Eyed Peas (or older middle-of-the-road stars you never cared about like Celine Dion & Barbra Streisand) have been more successful & sold more albums than the Beatles, Hendrix, Nirvana, Springsteen, Queen, Michael Jackson, etc. (I don't 4 a minute believe that the cast of GLEE has charted more songs than the Beatles, but....)
The drift of all this seemed to be that maybe good 'ol' rock&roll as we know it has reached its sell-by date -- 2 B replaced by ... whatever The Kids R listening 2 these days.
Of course, The Kids R gonna have Their Own Music, just like you & I did. Just because my kids sang along with "Behind Blue Eyes" doesn't mean your kids R going 2.
1 commenter hit it on the head 4 me. He said older generations always hate the younger generation's music. & he's right. You didn't let your parents pass Final Judgement on YOUR music, did you...? Of course not.
...& then 2nite I saw my buddy Crabby's list of summa his favorite "Pop Fluff" from his teen years (which you can read at -- & hoo boy, there's some great stuff from the early '70s listed there. & there's also some Real Crap I STILL won't listen 2.
So: If you think there's Nothing New & Good on the radio anymore (like I do sometimes), & all The Kids listen 2 is garbage, then maybe you're ready 4 the idea that Classic Rock is Over With. That maybe all those sales records held by the Beatles & Michael Jackson deserve 2 B toppled.
Maybe. Records exist to be broken. It's a bigger consumer market now, & it's EZer now 2 "sell" a tune thru downloading & etc.
But the undercurrent of summa this bugs me. The assumption is that Back In The Day (meaning the '60s & '70s), only Good Stuff got played on the radio, & only musical artists with creativity & vision & soul were rewarded.
Like hell. There was a LOT of crap that sold massively back then. Maybe my fellow Classic Rock Brothers & Sisters will try 2 convince you otherwise, but lotsa good stuff back then went unheralded, while lotsa pure hackwork went straight 2 #1.
I'd like 2 say quality work always lasts. I do believe that. But....
The mass of consumers -- who may not B rabid music fans, just want something good 2 listen-2 in the car -- always buy schlock & always will.
4 proof, I call upon Joel Whitburn & BILLBOARD's TOP POP SINGLES 1955-2002. This invaluable book is not only great 4 tracking down Great Lost Singles, it also has easily-accessed lists of #1 hits, year by year.
Let's take a look back at some of the timeless classic songs "my" generation -- the generation that now listens 2 Classic Rock & thinks most new music is trash -- helped push 2 #1 in the US.
Starting with Beatlemania & the "British Invasion," back in 1964, some of these forgotten #1 classics include:

Dean Martin -- Everybody Loves Somebody.
Lorne Green -- Ringo.
Bobby Vinton -- Mr. Lonely.
Freddie & the Dreamers -- I'm Telling You Now.
SSgt. Barry Sadler -- Ballad of the Green Berets.
Frank Sinatra -- Strangers in the Night.
New Vaudeville Band -- Winchester Cathedral.
Frank & Nancy Sinatra -- Something Stupid.
Bobbie Gentry -- Ode to Billy Joe.
Herb Alpert -- This Guy's in Love With You.
Bobby Goldsboro -- Honey.
Jeannie C. Riley -- Harper Valley PTA.
Henry Mancini -- Love Theme from ROMEO AND JULIET.
Ray Stevens -- Everything is Beautiful.
Carpenters -- Close to You, Top of the World, Please Mr. Postman.
Partridge Family -- I Think I Love You.
Tony Orlando & Dawn -- Knock Three Times, Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree.
Osmonds -- One Bad Apple.
James Taylor -- You've Got a Friend.
Donny Osmond -- Go Away Little Girl.
Melanie -- Brand New Key.
Mac Davis -- Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me.
Chuck Berry -- My Ding-a-Ling. (Yes, he deserved a #1, but this?!)
Helen Reddy -- I Am Woman, Delta Dawn.
Vicki Lawrence -- The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.
Paul McCartney & Wings -- My Love, Silly Love Songs.
Charlie Rich -- The Most Beautiful Girl.

...The peak year 4 Total Schlock was 1974. Take a look at THESE classics:
Barbra Streisand -- The Way We Were.
John Denver -- Sunshine on My Shoulders.
Blue Swede -- Hooked on a Feeling. ("Ooga-chakka, ooga, ooga, ooga-chakka, ooga, ooga....")
Elton John -- Bennie and the Jets.
Grand Funk -- The Loco-Motion. (Heard Little Eva's version lately?)
Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods -- Billy Don't be a Hero.
Paper Lace -- The Night Chicago Died.
Paul Anka -- You're Having My Baby.
Olivia Newton-John -- I Honestly Love You.
Dionne Warwick & the Spinners -- Then Came You.
Helen Reddy -- Angie Baby.

Take a deep breath. There's more:
Neil Sedaka -- Laughter in the Rain.
Frankie Valli -- My Eyes Adored You.
Elton John -- Philadelphia Freedom.
Freddy Fender -- Before the Next Teardrop Falls.
Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds -- Fallin' in Love.
John Denver -- I'm Sorry.
Silver Convention -- Fly Robin Fly.
Staples Singers -- Let's Do it Again.
Starland Vocal Band -- Afternoon Delight.
Elton John & Kiki Dee -- Don't Go Breakin' My Heart.
Walter Murphy & the Big Apple Band -- A Fifth of Beethoven.
Rod Stewart -- Tonight's the Night.
Mary MacGregor -- Torn Between Two Lovers.
David Soul -- Don't Give Up on Us.

...That takes us thru early 1977, about the time Fleetwood Mac's RUMOURS was released, & I'm sure there R LOTS more Mbarrassing Xamples I could add, but this is probly enuf.
...Now some of those R OK songs ... I guess. I even bought a couple of them. (I plead peer pressure!) But they ain't Xactly rock&roll, R they?
Want some more disgusting facts from the days of good 'ol' rock&roll?:
Helen Reddy had 3 #1 hits, & 7 Top 10 singles.
John Travolta had 1 #1 single, 3 Top 10 hits, & 6 Top 40 hits.
The Carpenters -- who I didn't think were COMPLETELY terrible -- had 20 top 40 hits & 3 #1's.
Tom Jones had 19 Top 40 hits, 5 in the Top 10. A couple of 'em were pretty cool. But most....
Engelbert Humperdinck -- who's name I NEVER thot I would mention here -- had 9 Top 40 hits, 2 in the Top 10 -- in 1967 & '76. Rock & roll?
Barbra Streisand has had 21 Top 40 hits, & 5 #1's.
Olivia Newton-John had 28 Top 40 hits, & 5 #1's.
Moving 2 something a little newer:
Whitney Houston had 11 #1 hits up to late 2002.
Mariah Carey had 15 #1's thru the end of 2002 -- & can you NAME any of them other than "I'll Be There"?

...This list of forgotten classics isn't Xactly a triumph 4 good 'ol' Classic Rock. But I think it all depends on when you started listening & what you were listening TO. Some old-time fans could say "real" rock&roll was dead by 1958, or 1960. Or 1967. Certainly by 1975. Or '77.
Whenever the cutoff date is 4 you, I don't think Paul McCartney is 2 worried about some1 selling more songs than the Beatles. I also don't think Elvis & Michael Jackson R 2 concerned, wherever they R....
Today's no-talent flash-in-the-pan will be forgotten in 2 years. Keep playin' the Good Stuff, & let the rest go. You can bet that fans of Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong & Benny Goodman did the same thing in their time....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The CD Player takes over!

Thank God! Now maybe we'll at least get some decent sounds going in here....

Ronettes -- Be My Baby, Baby I Love You, I Wonder, Walking in the Rain, I Can Hear Music, You Came You Saw You Conquered.
Crystals -- Uptown, There's No Other Like My Baby.
Righteous Brothers -- You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling.
Ike and Tina Turner -- River Deep Mountain High.
Turtles -- Sound Asleep, Grim Reaper of Love, Chevrolet Camaro Commercial.
Brenda and the Tabulations -- One Girl Too Late.
Nigel Olsson -- Only One Woman.
Gong -- Oily Way.
It Bites -- The Old Man and the Angel.

Lenny Kaye's excellent liner notes to BE MY BABY: THE VERY BEST OF THE RONETTES start out: "This is the sound of yearning." Damn straight it is. Between the Ronettes and their producer Phil Spector, they create a vision of love so pure, so perfect, so wonderous, so overwhelming it's almost angelic, heavenly.
TAD's always been a sucker for "Girl Groups," but BE MY BABY is stunning. The clarity of these recently remastered CD's (The Ronettes' and Spector's BEST OF) really brings out Hal Blaine's powerhouse drumming, the glockenspiels and chimes and Spector's ever-present castanets. And those huge backup choirs. But for maybe the first time ever, everything's crystal-clear and ... separate. You can actually HEAR the individual parts. Did you know there was a harpsichord buried under the Cast Of Thousands in the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling"? Neither did we.
"Be My Baby"'s a timeless classic of course, but why wasn't "Baby I Love You" a bigger hit? And "I Wonder" is really marvelous, breathtaking -- and it wasn't a hit either, and oldies radio never plays it. "Walking in the Rain" is also charming and has that usual big Spector production.
The only disappointment we heard on Tuesday was "I Can Hear Music," which, because it wasn't produced by Spector, doesn't have the usual overwhelming production. It was produced by Jeff Barry, and sounds sorta like a warmup for Barry's later "Sugar Sugar." There's actually TOO MUCH room for Ronnie Spector's vocals here -- something we never would've thought possible before. Because she doesn't sound like she's drowning, there's no drama. The production's a little thin, not claustrophobic enough. And the Tijuana Brass horn fanfares don't help, either. No surprise this peaked at #100 on the BILLBOARD singles chart. The Beach Boys' version is WAY better.
"You Came, You Saw, You Conquered" is more like it, with Phil back in the producer's chair and those huge swelling choruses.
The Crystals' "Uptown" is also pretty charming. Spector's first single on his own Philles label, "There's No Other" is also very nice but too short. Easy to see that the Beach Boys were paying homage to this in their later version on BEACH BOYS PARTY!
"Lovin' Feeling" came on before TAD had a chance to shut it off. All he could do was laugh and surrender to the inevitable. It's a timeless classic, of course, and it still packs a huge punch. And in that pause for breath near the end, you can hear lotsa backing instruments you couldn't hear before, plus Hal Blaine knocking around on water jugs and whatever else they had in the studio. And the finish is HUGE -- and clearer than ever.
Speaking of huge -- "River Deep, Mountain High" hits harder than ever now, and it no longer seems like Tina's screeching to be heard through the Wall Of Sound. A criminally overlooked classic. All of these are from WALL OF SOUND: THE VERY BEST OF PHIL SPECTOR 1961-1966.
"Sound Asleep" is still hilariously trippy and should've been a way-bigger hit -- and how about the quacking-duck chorus it goes out on? "Grim Reaper of Love" is still grim and driving and should've been a way-bigger hit; and the Chevy Camaro Commercial is the funniest car comedy since Jan and Dean. All from SAVE THE TURTLES!: GREATEST HITS. Only two complaints: There's 20 songs included on the CD -- why aren't the gorgeous "Lady-O" and the cheery "We'll Meet Again" on here?!
"One Girl Too Late" was co-written and co-produced by Van McCoy (who did "The Hustle"), and is light and pleasant early-'70s girl-group stuff, not unlike a less-glitzy Diana Ross and the Supremes. Probably not the Lost Classic Of The Ages that TAD had hoped for, but nice.
"Only One Woman" was written by the Bee Gees, and you can hear their influence in the way it's arranged. Very pleasant and uplifting forgotten single from Elton John's drummer -- sounded exactly the way TAD remembered from the one time he heard it in a noisy pizza joint in Boise, Idaho, in early 1975. Definitely a lost classic.
I still completely refused to play Gong's "Oily Way" and clogged up repeatedly about 10 seconds into It Bites' "The Old Man and the Angel." TAD doesn't need to disappear back to his progressive-rock period -- we've just recently brought him to the point where he can almost hear CURRENT stuff. Nostalgia, fine. Prog, no.
After that I just got confused and wouldn't play ANYTHING. And I'm not even going to TALK about the few times I tried to take off one of his fingers by slamming the CD drawer shut before he was ready for it....
But TAD still got a couple hours of music out of me. Not sure what more he expected ... ed ... ed ... ed ... ddd ...

...& that's clearly enuf of THAT. I'm back in charge now, with both of my hands firmly on the controls here at the Back-Up Plan, & don't let NEbody or NE THING make you think I'm NOT.
HAVE actually bn listening 2 some fairly new stuff recently -- and the place I'm hearing the best new music is on LITTLE STEVEN'S UNDERGROUND GARAGE, a syndicated retro rock&roll radio show that runs from 10 pm 2 midnight every Sun nite, where I'm at. I've Bcome addicted 2 the show since July.
Recent great music Little Steven's played includes Butch Walker and the Black Widows' powerful & poignant "Day Drunk," a follow-up to their recent "Summer of '89," with some absolutely great choruses -- great playing and marvelous group vocals by this bunch; Tom Morello's driving "Black Sparticus Heart Attack Machine"; Sir Reg's hilarious Irish-punk "Bollocksology"; J.P. Soars' silly blues "Doggin'"; Spanking Charlene's "Canarsie" (great guitars & driving choruses); and of course the Launderettes' "Red River." But I wish Steven would get back to Spanking Charlene's hilarious "Dismissed with a Kiss"....
Some great OLDER stuff Steven's played lately would include the Supremes' "Doctor Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine" (the SILLIEST thing I EVAH hoid!), the Hollies' "Look Through Any Window," & the Ronettes' "I Wonder"....
Not everything Steven plays is great, but a lot of it's at least intresting, & I almost always LEARN something from his shows. There was even a show a coupla weeks back that was suprisingly flat, not sure what went wrong there, 2 much stuff I already knew, or just the wrong music 4 me. But usually it's a really superb 2 hrs, & it is by far the best thing on the radio around here....

Have bn slowly making my way thru Chuck Eddy's ROCK AND ROLL ALWAYS FORGETS (a sorta best-of collection, 2011) & a re-read of his earlier STAIRWAY TO HELL: THE 500 BEST HEAVY METAL ALBUMS IN THE UNIVERSE (updated version, 1998). And I realize now that I made some errors while briefly mentioning these 2 books a month or so back. I'll try 2 correct those in a real review of both coming up soon.
The thing about STAIRWAY that suprised me most on re-reading is how much of the music mentioned in it I've heard & Njoyed -- & I'm not much of a metal fan. But then, Eddy's definition of "metal" is pretty wide-open. This book is a lotta fun, & tho Eddy's high-speed style might Xhaust you, there R lotsa laffs & I'm learning a lot....

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just a few more things....

Still finding neat info in Joel Whitburn & BILLBOARD's TOP POP SINGLES 1955-2002, tho I think it & I R both about Xhausted, so this'll likely B the last list of Great Lost Singles chart info....

* Tracy Chapman's "Talkin' Bout a Revolution" peaked at #75 in Fall 1988.
* Mac Davis's "It's Hard to be Humble," #43, Spring '80.
* The Wackers' "I Hardly Know Her Name" failed to reach BILLBOARD's "Hot 100."
* Love: "My Little Red Book," #52, Spring '66.
* Manfred Mann: "My Little Red Book" "bubbled under" at #124 in '65.
* Pratt and McClain's "When My Ship Comes In" failed 2 reach the Hot 100, early '74.
* Monaco: "What Do You Want from Me?," #61 on the Airplay chart, Summer '97.
* Bette Midler: "You're Moving Out Today," #42, Spring '77.
* Creedence Clearwater Revival: "I Put a Spell On You," #58, Winter '68; "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" (edited), #43, Winter '76.
* Marshall Crenshaw's "Whenever You Are On My Mind" failed to reach the Hot 100, Summer '82.
* Buddy Miles: "Them Changes," #62, Summer '71.
* John Miles: "Highfly," #68, Spring '76.
* Mrs. Miller: "Downtown," #82, Spring '66. (A funny tone-deaf cover of Petula Clark's big hit....)
* Steve Miller: "Living in the USA," #94, Winter '68/#49, Spring '74.
* Frank Mills: "Love Me Love Me Love," #46, Winter '72. (Kinda creepy....)
* Beatles: "I'm Down," #101, Summer '65. (Hilarious B-side of "Help!")
* Monkees: "Porpoise Song," #62, Fall '68; "Listen to the Band," #63, Summer '69; "Goin' Down," #104, Winter '67; "As We Go Along," #106, Fall '68.
* Moody Blues: "Ride My See-Saw," #61, Fall '68; "Never Comes the Day," #91, Summer '69; "Blue World," #62, Winter '83.
* Motels: "Take the 'L'," #52, Fall '82.
* Records: "Starry Eyes," #56, Fall '79. "Teenarama" failed 2 reach the Hot 100 -- not really a suprise....
* Mouth & MacNeal: "Hey You Love," #87, Fall '72.
* Graham Nash & David Crosby: "Southbound Train," #99, Summer '72.
* Van Morrison: "Wavelength," #42, Fall '78; "Moondance," #92, Fall '77.
* National Lampoon: "Deteriorata," #91, Fall '72.
* New England: "Hello Hello Hello," #69, Fall '79.
* Randy Newman: "It's Money That Matters," #60, Winter '88; "I Love L.A." failed 2 reach the Hot 100.
* Nilsson: "Remember (Christmas)," #53, Winter '72.
* Nirvana: "All Apologies," #45 on Airplay chart, Winter '94; "You Know You're Right," #45, Fall 2002.
* O'Jays: "992 Arguments," #57, Winter '72.
* Alan Parsons Project: "Days are Numbers (The Traveler)," #71, Spring '85; "You Don't Believe," #54, Winter '83; "Psychobabble," #57, Winter '82; "The Raven," #80, Fall '76.
* Pretenders: "Stop Your Sobbing," #65, Summer '80.
* Prince: "Anotherloverholeinyohead," #63, Summer '86.
* Donald Fagen: "New Frontier," #70, Winter '83.
* Jose Feliciano: "Feliz Navidad," recorded 1970, #70 on Airplay chart, Winter '98.
* 13th Floor Elevators: "You're Gonna Miss Me," #55, Summer '66.
* Austin Roberts: "How Can I Tell You?," failed 2 reach the Hot 100, Spring '73.
* The Who: "The Kids Are Alright," #106, Summer '66.

Friday, October 21, 2011

One-Day Music Fest!

OK, here goes: In the middle of a coupla long weeks at work. Got 1 day off 4 my "weekend," so when I woke up early Tues & the sun was out & I felt almost human, I decided 2 Seriously Music-Out like I haven't done in MONTHS.
Just 1 minor little problem: My 6-year-old $100 CD-player/turntable/receiver/cassette-player/coffee-maker/rocket-launcher/inflatable-date had ideas of its own. The turntable didn't always turn, the CD player didn't always play, eventually resulting in a complete breakdown & cessation of all musical proceedings.
Nevertheless, I got about 45 songs played over a period of 6+ hrs, & covered a pretty wide variety of stuff -- old faves, brand-new stuff, weird crap, etc.
It is also time 4 me 2 begin SERIOUSLY looking 4 a new, cheap music-generation device. So feel free 2 click on that DONATE button you'll find off 2 the right 2 help keep those of us here at the Back-Up Plan up 2 R necks in .... Whatta ya mean? I FORGOT 2 set-up the friggin DONATE button? Well, DAMN.
Whatthehell, here's the playlist:

Raiders -- Do Unto Others, Country Wine, Song Seller.
Lighthouse -- Pretty Lady, Sunny Days, One Fine Morning.
Left Banke -- Desiree, She May Call You Up Tonight.
5th Dimension -- Carpet Man.
Indigo Girls -- Closer to Fine.
Launderettes -- Red River.
Kracker -- Because of You (The Sun Don't Set).
Captain & Tennille -- Ladybug.
Chris Hodge -- We're On Our Way.
Brewer & Shipley -- Witchi-Tai-To.
Casey Kelly -- Poor Boy.
Doobie Bros. -- Neal's Fandango.
Sheryl Crow -- Every Day is a Winding Road.
Pam Tillis -- Homeward Looking Angel, When You Walk in the Room, Melancholy Child.
Church -- Reptile.
Fleetwood Mac -- Murrow Turning Over in His Grave, Say You Will.
Vertical Horizon -- Everything You Want.
Keane -- Somewhere Only We Know, This is the Last Time, Bend and Break, Your Eyes Open.
Coheed and Cambria -- The Road and the Damned, Feathers.
Sarah McLachlan -- Stupid.
Jordin Sparks -- Worth the Wait.
Jade Warrior -- A Winter's Tale.
Fleet Foxes -- Blue Ridge Mountains.
Van Morrison -- Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile), Into the Mystic.
Love -- Alone Again Or, Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale, You Set the Scene, Your Mind and We Belong Together.
Wackers -- I Hardly Know Her Name.
Nektar -- Cast Your Fate, King of Twilight, Oop's (Unidentified Flying Abstract), Fidgety Queen.
Happy the Man -- On Time as a Helix of Precious Laughs.
Brian Wilson -- On a Holiday, In Blue Hawaii.
Gong -- Oily Way.
Wigwam -- Prophet/Marvelry Skimmer.

NOTES: "Do Unto Others" (Fall 1967) is sorta "Louie Louie" meets "Wild Thing," with lyrics that seemta support urban rioting. Hypnotic & a little disturbing. Also 2 short. "Country Wine" still sounds as bright & optimistic as it did back in '72. Jimmy Webb's "Song Seller" is a little 2 clever, but gets help from Mark Lindsay's usual over-the-top vocal. All from THE ESSENTIAL.
I 1nce called the lyrics 2 Lighthouse's "Pretty Lady" "smarmy." Now 4 some reason they sound lonely, modest, heartfelt. Hmmm. Great choruses, 2. "Sunny Days" is a hippy anthem from '72, & the long version of "One Fine Morning" adds NOTHING 2 the brilliant single edit. All from THE BEST OF.
"Desiree" is cluttered but gorgeous, shoulda sold millions in '67. "She May Call You Up Tonight" is just plain gorgeous & shoulda bn a single. Both from ALL THE SMASH HITS.
I'm a sucker 4 the 5th Dimension's unison vocals. "Carpet Man" just soars. May sound kinda cheesy now, but shoulda sold millions in '68. From the 5th/Jimmy Webb/Bones Howe concept album THE MAGIC GARDEN.
"Closer to Fine" is a little over-serious, a little 2 solemn, but I love the Girls' vocal blend.
I regret 2 report that "Red River" sounds better coming outta the radio during LITTLE STEVEN'S UNDERGROUND GARAGE than it does coming outta my stereo -- which I blame on my stereo's tinny speakers. Great song anyway, & the 1st 45-rpm single I've bot in YEARS.
Kracker's album LA FAMILIA arrived a few days back in a cover meant 2 resemble a cigar box. Turns out they were on ABC/Dunhill. & holy crap, their album was produced by Stones & Traffic producer Jimmy Miller! "Because of You" sounds diffrent than I remember -- faster, & not as much bass (which I blame on my stereo), but otherwise it sounds right. Just might take some getting used 2, like....
"We're On Our Way," another old favorite, which I still can't believe sounds so much like a T. Rex track. Far as I know, Hodge never did an album....
"Ladybug" is by far the best thing The Captain & Tennille ever did -- so joyous & uplifting it feels like the sun coming out after weeks of rain & cold. From COME IN FROM THE RAIN.
"Witchi-Tai-To" is a lost '60s classic, 7 minutes of chanting & strumming & vocal interplay, hypnotic, marvelous, joyous. From WEEDS.
"Poor Boy" is a poppy 1-shot from an Elektra Records folky, pure 1972.
"Neal's Fandango" otta B 8 minutes long. The Doobies rush it -- what's the hurry? Pat Simmons hasta scramble 2 get all the words in, & there was plenty of room 4 flashy guitar heroics -- which they decided not 2 do. Why not? A lost '70s classic from STAMPEDE.
"Winding Road" is the best thing Sheryl Crow ever did. I find mosta her stuff amazingly ... average.
"Homeward Looking Angel" is a gorgeous, mournful country lullabye with amazing guitar work from Larry Byrom & Paul Worley. Jackie De Shannon's "When You Walk in the Room" is an almost perfect lovesong & shoulda bn a huge hit. "Melancholy Child" is driving yet mournful. Mary-Chapin Carpenter wishes she hadda band as good as Pam Tillis's. From HOMEWARD LOOKING ANGEL, SWEETHEART'S DANCE & PUT YOURSELF IN MY PLACE.
"Reptile" is sorta David Bowie-meets-Lou Reed. The Church shoulda bn more popular, but they were also kinda inconsistent. From STARFISH & UNDER THE MILKY WAY/THE BEST OF.
"Murrow" is the best NOISE Fleetwood Mac's made in a LONG time. & I'm a sucker 4 "Say You Will," especially the choruses & the ending.
Like the tenseness & submerged-threat feeling of "Everything You Want."
Haven't heard much from Keane lately. Wish they were still that cute little pop band with the breathy vocals & the pounding piano. "Somewhere" was the hit, "Last Time"'s nearly as great, "Bend and Break" is their turn-it-up masterpiece, & "Eyes Open" is smooth.... All from HOPES AND FEARS.
"The Road and the Damned" is sorta Ozzy-meets-Rush, but with a gorgeous, haunting guitar theme. & it's short. "Feathers" has everything you'd ever want from a great heavy-pop single Xcept 4 a good ending. Worth it just 4 the great catchy choruses....
"Stupid"'s still the best thing McLachlan's done.
"Worth the Wait" is a bonus track on Sparks's 1st album. Compared 2 summa her louder productions it's hushed & intimate, simple & brilliant.
"A Winter's Tale" is a pastoral from the guys who invented New Age way back in 1972 -- nice LOUD guitar at the end. From LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM.
"Blue Ridge Mountains" is my fave track off Fleet Foxes' 1st album. If I play the disc from the start I get sucked in2 the whole thing....
"Jackie" & "Mystic" R probly known 2 every1 now, still 2 of my all-time faves from Van. From STILL ON TOP/THE GREATEST HITS.
"Alone Again Or" is a kind of loneliness tango with some gorgeous sections & very '67 vocals, really beautiful; "People Would Be the Times" is a portrait of the scene Love leader Arthur Lee useta hang-out in, very clever; "You Set the Scene" is a gorgeous, stirring psychedelic suite; "Your Mind" is a twisted, Hendrix-like piece that goes off in 3 diffrent directions B4 settling in2 some heavy guitar at the end. All from THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION.
"Hardly Know Her Name" shoulda bn a hit -- pure rush, great group vocals, punchy guitars, & all over with in 1:58. From HOT WACKS.
"Cast Your Fate" is worth investigating; "King of Twilight" is killer, 1 of Nektar's great heavy moments & later covered by Iron Maiden; "Oops" is a kinda formless jam with some good guitar from Roye Albrighton; & "Fidgety Queen" is a lost classic with great choruses & more brilliant Albrighton guitar. All from THE DREAM NEBULA/BEST OF.
"Time" is merely gorgeous. Happy were really on2 something special -- as gorgeous as Genesis or Yes at their best.
"Holiday" & "Hawaii" R my fave trax from Brian's reconstruction of SMILE.
Gong's "Oily Way" started out with some rather-nice-as-usual flute from Didier Mahlerbe, but just as Daevid Allen began 2 sing "Down the oily way you go....," my CD player suddenly rejected the disc & WOULD NOT PLAY IT ANY FURTHER, despite multiple repeated attempts.
This sounds like a critique, 2 me. Maybe I'll let the CD player post some reviews in the future. It's gonna need SOMETHING 2 do, Bcos it ain't gonna B HERE much longer.
"Prophet/Marvelry Skimmer" is a long, flat, kinda dull guitar&keyboard meditation from the early phase of Wigwam's career. It has none of the rumbling, relentless menace of their later classic "Bless Your Lucky Stars."

...& that's where I gave up. More coming soon, assuming the CD player & turntable keep cooperating & that nothing else goes wrong. The cassette-player that was part of the package stopped working almost immediately after I bought it. & Ghod knows with MY luck, something else will probly ... grgsk ... shprttt ... grong ... ning .... brsp.....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Al Kooper sets the record straight

Now THIS is hilarious.
4 at least the 1st 1/2, Al Kooper's BACKSTAGE PASSES AND BACKSTABBING BASTARDS (2008) is the funniest rockstar autobiography I've ever read. The big laffs drop off later on as Kooper's life gets more serious, but the 1st 1/2 of the book is a non-stop scream.
Kooper is 1 of the all-time greatest behind-the-scenes guys in rock&roll. Just a few bits from his resume: Played organ on Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone." Produced the 1st 3 Lynyrd Skynyrd albums. Formed Blood, Sweat and Tears (& was later forced out of what was supposed to be His Band). Played French horn & organ on the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Produced the 1st Tubes album. Wrote "This Diamond Ring." Was a member of The Blues Project. Then there were his various Adventures & Super Sessions with Stephen Stills & Mike Bloomfield, etc....
You get 2 read about all this & a lot more Bsides in BP&BB -- there's stuff Kooper's done that he never even MENTIONS. He's been a busy guy since the early '60s. & he's still workin'....
You follow Kooper as he starts out as a songwriter trying 2 get something going in New York's Brill Building neighborhood. (He goes 2 great lengths 2 Xplain how the "Brill Building Sound" is a misnomer, that the Bldg. had already peaked in the '40s & '50s, & that the songwriters who came out of that area in the early '60s were in the neighborhood but not actually IN THAT BUILDING -- 1 of his goals in writing this book was 2 set the record straight about things he witnessed.)
You'll watch as Gary Lewis and the Playboys take Kooper's "This Diamond Ring" & turn it in2 what Kooper calls "a turkey milkshake" (he didn't like their version). You'll laugh as Kooper & friends watch the national charts & see "Diamond Ring" go right 2 #1 -- & all Kooper can do is laff in disbelief....
You'll B shocked as Kooper is edged out of his own band (BS&T) in an ugly power struggle that leaves grudges that last 4 YEARS....
You'll laff as Kooper gently nudges his way in2 a Bob Dylan session & ends up contributing a classic organ part on "Like a Rolling Stone" -- on an instrument Kooper barely knows how 2 play.... Then Koop finds himself in demand as a session player 4 acts who wanna get "that Dylan sound."
You'll B there in the studio as Kooper produces the 1st 3 Skynyrd albums -- & then MCA Records stonewalls Kooper 4 his producers' royalties 4 almost a year....
You'll meet a notorious music-biz mgr who collects Kooper's royalties 4 YEARS & then hasta B pursued in court....
You'll B there as Kooper plays organ on the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" & offers 2 overdub horns on the song -- & a year later gets a tape from Mick with a note that sez "Add whatever horns you want...." & Koop then blows his lungs out trying 2 get that introductory French-horn part down perfect....
& more, & more. You'll see Kooper on stage with Dylan; meeting artist Norman Rockwell 2 pose 4 a classic album cover with guitarist Mike Bloomfield; you'll see Bloomfield back out of stage appearances with Kooper MULTIPLE TIMES 4 no clear reason....; & in the midst of all this Kooper occasionally puts 2gether a few solo albums....
Things get pretty serious in places: Koop has an addiction 2 painkillers which he beats; later on he loses most of his eyesight but carries on songwriting & recording; eventually he starts getting recognized 4 all his behind-the-scenes work. As the book's cover sez, these really R the "Memoirs of a Rock 'N' Roll Survivor."
But the book gets a little long -- over 300 pgs. In the last 1/2 the laffs drop way off as Koop battles his vision problems & a brain tumor(!), along with some of the other Fun Parts of growing older. By the end he comes across as just a talented-but-modest down-to-earth guy who's no longer trying to make a joke of everything.
An earlier version of this book came out in the late '70s & was edited by Ben Edmonds. It's probly a non-stop scream. 4 this version, I'm tempted 2 say we coulda used less about Kooper's love life & health problems, his multiple marriages & his partying -- but there is A LOT about the '60s & '70s music-biz here that's worth checking out. & most of it's pretty freakin' funny.
There's also a pretty amazing 9-pg "selected" discography at the end that recounts mosta what Kooper's bn doing musically 4 the past 50 years. You might B suprised by summa the music he's been in on....

COMING NEXT: One-Day Music Fest!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A month in the life....

Glam fan? Well.... The dressing-up & makeup & high-heeled shoes never did much 4 me, but: Bowie, Roxy, Mott, T. Rex? Yeah, there's some good stuff there....
Ian Hunter's DIARY OF A ROCK 'N' ROLL STAR (1974) follows his band Mott the Hoople thru a 5-week tour of the US in the Winter of '72, just after "All the Young Dudes" barely grazes the Top 40.
Tho accepted as a "classic rock" oldie now, "All the Young Dudes" (which Bowie wrote & produced 4 Mott) wasn't that big a hit at the time -- I didn't hear it 'til YEARS later. Now it sounds Just Like 1972.
Luckily, SOMEbody out there heard it, Mott decided 2 stay 2gether (they'd bn considering breaking up B4 Bowie urged them 2 hang in), & as a result of making the charts they play some pretty big cities during this tour -- NYC, LA, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland, Memphis, etc.
Which doesn't necessarily mean they have a Good Time. Tho the concerts go down well -- there's scarcely a bad show in the entire tour -- the weather is mostly awful, they constantly have planes delayed or lose members of the band & crew in transit.
& the picture of America in the early '70s isn't 2 flattering. Lots of people stare at Mott's long hair (in '72? Well, probly....). They seem 2 visit lotsa towns where it looks like the bombs have already dropped -- especially parts of St. Louis, but also Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland....
& tho it's a FAST read, less than 160 pgs, overall the book's kinda ... drab. Hunter's diary could B the day-2-day musings of any businessman stuck on a long, gray, grimy road trip far from home. A pretty clear, detailed recounting of what tedious drudgery touring can B.
The only diffrence is they usually fly 1st-class. & yer avg businessman probly wouldn't spend so much spare time in pawnshops hunting 4 cheap guitars.
There is a little bit of drinking that goes on, but not 2 much partying & suprisingly little womanizing -- every1's basically 2 tired. There is a little bit of self-medicating -- mostly downers 2 help the band sleep after a gig -- & also 2 help calm guitarist Mick Ralphs, who CAN'T STAND 2 fly. & he gets 2 live thru some fairly horrifying plane flights....
The descriptions of concerts R fairly brief -- Xcept 4 the couple of bad 1s the band survives, & a couple of really great 1's that Hunter is suprised by. Mosta the really dodgy concert situations the band ends up backing out of.
& there's more: Hanging out with Bowie & his entourage; looning around LA with Keith Moon -- including a late-nite visit 2 Frank Zappa's house; encoring with Joe Walsh; actually getting a few steps in2 Elvis's home, Graceland, late at nite; brief scenes with Mick Fleetwood & others.
There's actually VERY little about songwriting, which is suprising since Hunter wrote mosta Mott's stuff. There's some discussion of it in the context of the recording process -- about how Hunter tended 2 introduce new stuff at soundchecks & then would start pushing if he thot something was really good. But this is only discussed as part of the recording process -- in which Hunter sez he's happy if only 1/2 of what he intended comes across in the finished recording.
At the end of the book, on his way back 2 London, Hunter mentions that he needs 2 get some new songs 2gether -- these become the album MOTT, which reflects summa the Xperiences of this American tour, & 1/2 of which turns out pretty great ("Honaloochie Boogie," "All the Way from Memphis," "Violence," "Ballad of Mott," "I Wish I Was Your Mother"). But Mick Ralphs would leave the band after that album 2 form Bad Company, & Mott would begin a slow slide down in2 legend.
But as Hunter notes in the book, by the time he starts keeping this diary the band had already bn on the road since 1969....
They shoulda had more success. At least 2 trax on MOTT coulda bn hits. But as Hunter sez in the book, maybe they just didn't have the killer instinct & the drive that Bowie had. Tho there R occasional grumbles & complaints & everybody's dead-tired by the end of the book, the band comes across as just yer avg buncha guys stuck 2gether on a long bizness trip. ...Who just occasionally happen 2 take the stage & wow a coupla 1,000 screaming fans.
Worth tracking down if you're 1 of those fans....

Coming Soon: Al Kooper's BACKSTAGE PASSES AND BACKSTABBING BASTARDS.... Should B lots of good musical history in there....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One last bash....

OK, here's 1 last pile of intresting chart info, great forgotten singles & other cool stuff from Joel Whitburn & BILLBOARD's TOP POP SINGLES 1955-2002, after which we will B moving on 2 something new....

* Cheech & Chong's "Santa Claus and His Old Lady" peaked at #3 on the Christmas chart, Dec. 1971.
* Roy Orbison's "Ooby Dooby" peaked at #59, Summer 1956.
* Neil Young: "Rust Never Sleeps (Hey Hey My My/Into the Black)," #79, Fall '79; "Cinnamon Girl," #55, Summer '70.
* Jeff Lynne: "Lift Me Up" & "Every Little Thing" both failed to reach BILLBOARD's Hot 100 Singles chart, 1990.
* Beach Boys: "409," #76, Fall '62; "Add Some Music to Your Day," #64, Spring '70; "Long Promised Road," #89, Fall '71; "California Saga," #84, Summer '73.
* Sevral classic Beach Boys songs were released as the B-sides of singles: "She Knows Me Too Well" reached #101 as the B-side of "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)." The gorgeous "Kiss Me Baby" was the B-side to "Help Me, Rhonda." "Let Him Run Wild" was the B-side to "California Girls." Their great remake of Phil Spector & The Ronettes' "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" was the B-side to "The Little Girl I Once Knew." "Girl Don't Tell Me" was the B-side to "Barbara Ann." "Here Today" was the B-side to "Darlin'." "Please Let Me Wonder" hit #52 as the B-side to "Do You Wanna Dance?"....
* Bare Naked Ladies: "Brian Wilson," #68, Winter '97.
* Abba: "Money Money Money," #56, Winter '77; "Voulez-Vous," #80, Fall '79; "Super Trouper," #45, Spring '81; "On and On and On," #90, Summer '81.
* AC/DC: "Highway to Hell," #47, Fall '79.
* Joe Cocker: "With a Little Help From My Friends," #68, Winter '68.
* Floyd Cramer's classic piano instrumental "Sweetie Baby" was the B-side to his 1960 #2 hit "Last Date"....
* Beatles: "I Should Have Known Better," #53, Summer '64; "If I Fell," #53, Summer '64; "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You," #95, Summer '64; "I Am the Walrus," #56, Winter '67.
* Big Country: "Fields of Fire," #52, Spring '84.
* Meredith Brooks: "What Would Happen?," #46, Spring '98.
* Jackson Browne: "Rock Me on the Water," #48, Summer '72; "The Pretender," #58, Summer '77.
* The Captain and Tennille: "Come in From the Rain," #61, Summer '77; "Lady Bug," the most amazing thing they ever did, failed to reach the Hot 100.
* Deep Purple: "Woman from Tokyo," #60, Fall '73; "Highway Star" failed to reach the Hot 100.
* Fleetwood Mac: "Fireflies," #60, Spring '81; "Sisters of the Moon," #86, Summer '80; "The Farmer's Daughter" failed to reach the Hot 100.
* Def Leppard: "Bringin' on the Heartbreak," #61, Summer '84.
* Carpenters: "Bless the Beasts and Children," #67, Winter '71.
* Mary-Chapin Carpenter, "Shut Up and Kiss Me," #90, Fall '94.
* Wynonna Judd: "Tell Me Why," #77, Summer '93; "No One Else On Earth," #83, Fall '92.
* Neil Diamond: "Solitary Man," #55, Summer '66; "Brooklyn Roads," #58, Summer '68; "Done Too Soon," #65, Summer '71.
* Dire Straits: "Lady Writer," #45, Summer '79; "Skateaway," #58, Winter '80; "Solid Rock," #56 on the Rock Tracks chart, Winter '80; "Industrial Disease," #75, Winter '83; "Romeo and Juliet" failed to reach the Hot 100....
* Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show: "Life Ain't Easy" b/w "The Wonderful Soup Stone," #68, Fall '73.
* Doobie Brothers: "Eyes of Silver," #52, Summer '74; "I Cheat the Hangman," #60, Winter '75.
* Doors: "Roadhouse Blues," #50, Spring '70.
* ELO: "Roll Over Beethoven," #42, Spring '73; "Showdown," #53, Winter '73/#59, Summer '76; "It's Over," #75, Fall '78;
* ELP: "Lucky Man," #48, Spring '71; "Nutrocker," #70, Spring '72.
* Greg Lake: "I Believe in Father Christmas," #95, Winter '75; "C'est La Vie," #91, Fall '77.
* Led Zep: "Rock and Roll," #47, Spring '72.
* Rod Stewart: "Twisting the Night Away," #59, Summer '73; "Oh! No, Not My Baby," #59, Fall '73.
* Roxy Music: "More Than This," #102, 1983.
* Travis Tritt: "T-R-O-U-B-L-E," #72, Summer '93.
* Joe Walsh: "Meadows," #89, Spring '74.
* Tammy Wynette: "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," #63, Summer '68; "Singing My Song," #75, Spring '69; "My Elusive Dreams" (with David Houston), #89, Summer '67.
* Dwight Yoakam: "Ain't That Lonely Yet," #58, Summer '93 -- b/w "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere," #2 on the Country & Western chart, Summer '93; "Fast as You," #70, Winter '93.
* Frank Zappa: "Dancin' Fool," #45, Spring '79.
* Zebra: "Who's Behind the Door?" #61, Summer '83.
* Saga: "The Flyer," #79, Winter '83; "Wind Him Up," #64, Spring '83.
* Sad Cafe: "Run Home Girl," #71, Winter '79.
* Guess Who: "Follow Your Daughter Home," #61, Spring '73.
* Arlo Guthrie: "Coming into Los Angeles," B-side to "Alice's Restaurant," Winter '69.
* Hagood Hardy: "The Homecoming," #41, Winter '75.
* Sophie B. Hawkins: "Right Beside You," #56, Fall '94.
* Outfield: "Everytime You Cry," #66, Fall '86.
* INXS: "Bitter Tears," #46, Spring '91; "Don't Change," #80, Summer '83; "This Time," #81, Winter '85.
* Roger Hodgson: "Had a Dream (Sleeping With the Enemy)," #48, Fall '84.
* Scandal: "Goodbye to You," #65, Winter '82; "Love's Got a Line on You," #59, Spring '83.
* Toad the Wet Sprocket: "Come Down," #51 on Album Tracks chart, Summer '97.
* Dave Edmunds: "Information" failed to reach the Hot 100, Summer '83.
* The Graces: "Lay Down Your Arms," #56, Summer '89.
* Glass Moon: "On a Carousel," #50, Spring '82.
* Sky: "Toccata," #83, Winter '81.
* Cheap Trick: "Surrender," #62, Summer '78.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What I'm on about....

Good Lord, where did you all go? Readership is WAY DOWN here at the Back-Up Plan, as of the past week or so. Did you all get swept away by the torrential downpours that have hit Western Washington over the past couple nites? Did you all get turned-off by those 100+ "classic rock" songs that I was hatin' on a coupla posts ago? Maybe you're tired of or just not that intrested in those Great Lost Singles I've been posting stats about 4 the past week?
Oh, wait: Maybe you all have Real Lives 2 tend 2? Maybe that's it....

As 4 the Great Lost Singles -- well, I wouldn't have posted those chart numbers if I didn't think the songs themselves were worth tracking down. At least SOME of them are. A few I just tossed in 4 the silliness of it. But it's not like I spent a whole lotta time Dscribing 2 many of them 4 you, so you may not know Xactly what you'd B getting in2, or what all I was on about.
Thing is, I've written about quite a few of those Great Lost Singles B4, even tho it may have bn a year or more back. I just figure if you've bn reading here 4 awhile you know what my obsessions R -- or you can use those post-label-tags over at the right 2 track down more.
& I do hate 2 repeat myself most of the time. But if you wanna know what I'm on about, here's a few Xamples:
* Kracker: "Because of You (The Sun Don't Set)," Winter 1973. Played 1/2adozen times on Seattle's KJR-AM, this rocker has a driving lead guitar, great group vocals, a catchy repeating keyboard riff, & a closing circular vocal chorus that descends in2 anarchy & the return of that driving gtr. This single never made BILLBOARD's Hot 100, & tho Kracker apparently cut 1 album 4 Rolling Stones Records in '73, the resta their career has bn a mystery. After lotsa looking, I now have a copy of their album with the single on the way 2 me, & we'll C if it passes the Great Lost Singles' Acid Test: Does the song sound as good in Reality as it did in my Memory?
* Billy Lee Riley: "I've Got a Thing About You, Baby," #93, early Winter 1972. A classic rocker from the '50s, 1nce signed 2 the legendary Sun label, Riley was previously knocked for sounding "too Black for Whites, and too White for Blacks." Whatever that means. This single, released on CBS's Entrance label, sounds like your nice rockabilly next-door neighbor sits down on your front porch & picks out a friendly little tune about The Love Of His Life on his acoustic guitar, smiling all the way thru. It's got a lotta soul & a nice little bounce, tho it mighta bn a little simple 4 '72....
* Brenda and the Tabulations: "One Girl Too Late." Classic "Girl Group"-style pop, could just as easily have bn recorded in 1965 as the early '70s. My memory sez I 1st heard this in Spring '72 -- on-line searches indicate it was released on Epic in Spring '73. Can still quote a verse or 2 & the chorus & would love 2 hear it again -- but I'm not quite ready 2 spend $30 on a 45-rpm single, no matter how rare it is....
* Junior Walker and the All-Stars: "Take Me Girl, I'm Ready." #51, Summer '71. Junior Walker played that squealing sax solo on Foreigner's "Urgent," the only part of that song worth hearing. Junior & the All-Stars also hadda string of mostly-instrumental hits on Motown's subsidiary Soul label; the biggest was "Shotgun," which hit #4 in 1965. This is 1 of the few on which Junior sings -- & it's classic up-tempo early-'70s R&B with killer singalong choruses. I don't remember any sax playing in it, but my memory could B failing me here -- haven't heard this since '71....
* Johnathan King: "A Tall Order for a Short Guy," Summer '72. King discovered Genesis & 10 c.c., was a columnist 4 British pop weeklies, recorded silly pop songs under a number of noms-du-disc, & even had a flower-power hit of his own with "Everyone's Gone to the Moon," #17, Fall '65. This song is more of a joke: A short guy talks about how his Intended is gonna B a big challenge 2 get close 2. Hilarious, silly lyrics, very upbeat, spectacularly innocent, & you can tell King is smiling & laffing all thru it. Again, probly a little 2 squeaky-clean 4 the sophisticated early '70s. Charming, tho....
* Tim Moore: "Second Avenue," #58, Fall '74. Very nice poetic broken-hearted lovesong, Art Garfunkel had a bigger hit with it later. I liked the singing & production, which still sounds better in my memory than it does in Reality. I found a copy of this a few years back & it was pleasant enuf, but not as melodramatic as I'd remembered, & it failed the Acid Test.
* Andy Pratt: "Pistol Packin' Melody," Fall '74. Can't find this 1, it's like it never Xisted. Pratt was a Piano Man (like a minor-league Elton John or Billy Joel) & most critics hated him, but this catchy, repetitive number with the great singalong choruses got a lotta airplay on Boise, Idaho's KFXD-AM in the Fall of '74. The lyrics R about how hard it is 2 write a catchy, memorable, unforgettable song -- Pratt did it, & it sank without a trace.
* The Road Home: "Keep it in the Family," Summer '71. I think they were on ABC/Dunhill. Great group vocals, & lyrics about love & family ties. I can still recite most of it, but the single never broke thru & there was never a follow-up.
* Heaven Bound: "Five Hundred Miles," #79, Winter '71. Gorgeous female group vocals on an old folk standard, produced (I think) by Wes Farrell, who hadda thing about group-vocal blends. Played 1/2adozen times on Tacoma, Wash.'s old KTAC-AM B4 it disappeared. Far as I know, there was never an album 2 follow it.

...These R just a few Xamples. My point is: If you can track it down, this stuff could Change Your Life. It certainly left its mark on me....

PS: The Launderettes' "Red River" -- which I've mentioned briefly here B4 -- is the 1st 45-rpm single I've bought in YEARS. It sounds great, tho mayB a little 2 retro 4 most current radio play. & I love the choruses. The group vocals are GREAT.
So, see there, I really DO buy stuff that's current. Even tho it sounds like it coulda come outta the '60s or '70s....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mostly oddities and leftovers....

Thanx 4 putting-up with my ranting in the last post. Fri nite's music-during-work was WAY better. At 1 point, I had Five Man Electrical Band's "Signs" cranked-up LOUD & during an instrumental break I put-on my DJ voice & "announced" 2 1 of R nighttime Regulars:
"Takin' you back to the summer of 1971...."
& he nailed me with:
"I don't think you ever LEFT the summer of '71!"
So there you go. That'll probly B written on my tombstone....

...I think I've gotten about all the new & worthwhile info I can get outta Joel Whitburn & BILLBOARD's TOP POP SINGLES bible -- which means there'll probly B a couple more lists of trivia here & that'll B about it. 4 me, the book is well worth the $$$. I've learned a lot. There R still a few Great Lost Singles out there I can't track down, but Joel's helped me quite a bit with that, or at least confirmed 4 me that they actually Xist.
Here's another batch of I-thot-intresting chart info:

The Beatles' "There's a Place" peaked at #74 in Spring 1964. "All My Loving" peaked at #45 in Spring '64.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Blue Collar" peaked at #68, Winter '73.
Albert Hammond: "Names, Tags, Numbers and Labels" failed 2 reach the Hot 100, Spring '74.
Junior Walker and the All-Stars: "Take Me Girl, I'm Ready," #50, Summer '71. (Great early-'70s R&B....)
The Who: "Love, Reign O'er Me," #76, Winter '73; "The Real Me," #92, Spring '74; "Long Live Rock," #54, Summer '79; "Eminence Front," #68, Winter '82.
Tim Moore: "Charmer," #91, Spring '75.
Rod Stewart: "Handbags and Gladrags," #42, Spring '72.
Blue Mink: "By the Devil I Was Tempted," failed 2 reach the Hot 100, Spring '73.
Boomtown Rats: "I Don't Like Mondays," #73, Spring '80.
David Bowie: "Changes," #66, Summer '72/#41, Winter '74. "TVC 15," #64, Summer '76. "Suffragette City" was released only as the B-side to "Starman," #65, Summer '72. (What were they THINKING?)
John Denver: "I'd Rather Be a Cowboy," #62, Summer '73; "Farewell Andromeda (Welcome to My Morning)," #89, Fall '73.
Cars: "It's All I Can Do," #41, Fall '79; "Since You're Gone," #41, Spring '82.
Al Stewart: "On the Border," #42, Spring '77.
Tower of Power: "Down to the Nightclub," #66, Fall '72.
Detroit Emeralds: "Feel the Need in Me," #110, Winter '72; #90, Summer '77. (Xcellent early-'70s soul....)
Ventures: "The 2,000-Pound Bee," #91, Winter '62.
Tracey Ullman: "Break-A-Way," #70, Summer '84. (Xcellent fake-"Girl-Group" pop....)
Ashton, Gardner & Dyke: "Resurrection Shuffle," #40, Summer '71.
Tom Jones: "Resurrection Shuffle," #38, Summer '71.
Bob Dylan: "On a Night Like This," #44, Spring '74.
The Band: "The Weight," #63, Fall '68.
Evie Sands: "You Brought the Woman Out of Me," #50, Spring '75.
Smokie: "If You Think You Know How to Love Me," #96, Summer '75.
Jefferson Airplane: "Crown of Creation," #64, Winter '68. "Volunteers," #65, Winter '69.
Tears for Fears: "Change," #73, Summer '83.
Kenny Loggins: "Conviction of the Heart," #65, Fall '91.
Firefall: "Livin' Ain't Livin'," #42, Summer '76.
Joan Armatrading: "Drop the Pilot," #78, Summer '83 (her only Hot 100 entry....)
Bananarama: "Robert DeNiro's Waiting," #95, Summer '84.
Black Sabbath: "Paranoid," #61, Winter '70; "Iron Man," #52, Spring '72.
Deodato: "Rhapsody in Blue," #41, Fall '73.
Manfred Mann's Earth Band: "You Angel You," #58, Summer '79. (Their version of Bruce Springsteen's "For You" failed 2 reach the Hot 100....)
Pete Townshend: "A Little is Enough" (edited), #72, Fall '80; "Rough Boys," #89, Winter '80.
U2: "I Will Follow" (live), #81, Winter '84; "New Year's Day," #53, Spring '83.
Spirit: "1984," #69, Spring '70; "Animal Zoo," #97, Fall '70; "Mr. Skin," #92, Fall '73.
Jimmy Barnes: "Working Class Man" (from the movie GUNG HO), #74, Spring '86.
Police: "Secret Journey," #46, Spring '82.
Wendy and Lisa: "The Closing of the Year (Main Theme from TOYS)," #53 on the Airplay chart, Winter '92. (Gorgeous choral vocals....)
Banana Splits: "The Tra La La Song," #96 (charted for 1 week), Winter '69.
Donna Summer: "State of Independence," #41, Fall '82.
Nik Kershaw: "Wouldn't it be Good?," #46, Spring '84.
Mary-Chapin Carpenter: "Passionate Kisses," #57, Spring '93.
Wall of Voodoo: "Mexican Radio," #58, Spring '83.
Indigo Girls: "Closer to Fine," #52, Summer '89.
Bare Naked Ladies: "It's All Been Done," #44, Winter '98.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Playlist from Hell!

I'll get back 2 Joel Whitburn's TOP POP SINGLES shortly -- I'm still making lists. But 1st....
Weds nite at work was THE WORST music nite of ALL TIME. From 7 pm onward, the 1/2-dozen local FM stations I bounce around Btween played Xactly 2 songs that could B called unXpected or suprising -- The Beatles' "Hey Bulldog," & Booker T & the MG's "Time is Tight," which I hadn't heard 4 quite awhile.
Along the way there were a couple things worth turning it up 4 -- Chicago's "Feeling Stronger Every Day" & Badfinger's "Day After Day." But the rest was absolute MUSH. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing suprising.
How can people B happy with this? How many times can you hear "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" B4 yer brain turns 2 Swiss cheese -- like mine already has?!
FINALLY, at 10:15 pm some smart DJ at KZOK put on Elton John's "Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding," & I finally felt like mayB I might wake up. They followed it with the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life" & Chicago's "Questions 67 & 68," then CSNY's "Woodstock" -- which another station played within 30 seconds after the 1st 1 finished! I swear they all listen 2 each other & copy each other's playlists -- even the station that claims it "plays what we want" (JACK-FM).
Which got me thinking. 2nite was slightly better, but not much. I think we otta call a moratorium or a boycott on all overplayed rock&roll "classics" -- songs that we KNOW have passed their sell-by date. There R SO MANY of them. 4 most of those that follow in the list below, hearing them is an immediate tune-out 4 me, & I'm sure 4 1,000's of others.
That doesn't mean I hate these songs -- I still like some of them, the 1's where the passion & intensity still come thru ("Layla," "Stairway to Heaven"'s last 1/2, "More Than a Feeling," "Crazy on You," etc....). But 4 so many of them, their time is over. It's just the same old rut.
Here's the best list of overplayed-to-death's I could come up with off the toppa my head. How many of these have you heard more than 1nce a day recently? I've heard MORE THAN 1/2 OF THEM in the past 2 nites. Usually just B4 changing 2 another station.
In the intrests of fairness & as a special torture for neophytes, none of the artists behind these "spoiled classics" will B named. You already know who they are anyway. Let the bad times roll....

(starting with the stuff I don't quite want 2 let go of yet....)
More Than a Feeling
Crazy on You
Stairway to Heaven
Go Your Own Way

Sweet Home Alabama
Smoke on the Water
Slow Ride
Don't Go Breakin' My Heart
Philadelphia Freedom
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me
Bennie and the Jets
Crocodile Rock
Honky Cat
Hey Jude
Let it Be
Lady Madonna
Get Back
Who Are You?
Won't Get Fooled Again
Squeeze Box
Whole Lotta Love
D'yer Mak'er
All My Love
White Room
Sunshine of Your Love
Here Comes the Sun
My Sweet Lord
I Shot the Sheriff
You've Got a Friend
Don't Stop
The Long Run
Heartache Tonight
Life in the Fast Lane
One of These Nights
Hotel California
Best of My Love
New Kid in Town
In the Air Tonight
Bohemian Rhapsody
Don't Stand So Close to Me
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Wrapped Around Your Finger
Every Breath You Take
Tonight's the Night (NOT Neil Young....)
You're in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)
Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?
Don't Look Back
Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'
Who's Crying Now?
Open Arms
Lucky Star
Into the Groove
Magic Man
Dust in the Wind
Rock and Roll Music (as sung by a world-famous California quintet that has another song elsewhere in this list....)
Jack and Diane
Hurts So Good
The Best of Times
What I Like About You
Talking in Your Sleep
Cold as Ice
Feels Like the First Time
Hot Blooded
Dirty White Boy
Lyin' Eyes
Beast of Burden
Miss You
Brown Sugar
Money for Nothing
So Far Away (NOT Carole King)
Just You and Me
Free Fallin'
Start Me Up
Brown Eyed Girl
Band on the Run
Silly Love Songs
My Love
Let 'Em In
Evil Woman (a British band with lotsa hits in the '70s)
Come and Get It
Lay Lady Lay
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Fame (no, not Irene Cara....)
Young Americans
Golden Years
Let's Dance

My Ghod, that's 90+ songs I'd B pretty happy 2 never hear again. Shoulda gone 4 100.
...OK, so what did I forget? No, wait, don't remind me....

PS -- 8 Oct 2011, 1:36 am, B4 looking at Comments:
I forgot....
All Right Now
Another One Bites the Dust
...& probly a lot more....

9 Oct 11, 1:21 am --
Jet Airliner
Fly Like an Eagle
Rock 'N' Me
My Life
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
Just the Way You Are
Rich Girl
Come Sail Away
Hold Me....

13 Oct 11, 12:42 pm:
What a Fool Believes
Low Rider
(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher (hint: she useta B married 2 Kris Kristofferson....)
Take the Money and Run....

14 Oct 11, 1:26 am:
Money (from 1 of the most popular albums ever....)
Baby Hold On
Two Tickets to Paradise
In the Summertime (one-hit wonders....)
Smooth Operator....

15 Oct 11, 1:23 am:
Night Moves
Against the Wind
Still the Same
Live and Let Die
Down Under
One Way or Another
Born to Be Wild
Magic Carpet Ride
Shake it Up....
-- This is getting 2 B kinda fun. I wonder how many overplayed "spoiled classics" I can come up with...?

16 Oct 11, 1:55 am --
All I Wanna Do
If it Makes You Happy
A Change Would Do You Good....

18 Oct 11, 1:43 am --
Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
Escape (The Pina Colada Song)
Can't Get Enough....

20 Oct 11, 3:15 pm --
White Wedding
Rebel Yell
Leather and Lace
The Logical Song
Take the Long Way Home....

21 Oct 11, 1:37 am --
Sister Christian
Minute by Minute
Sex and Candy
Bette Davis Eyes
Feel Like Makin' Love
Monday Monday
Ode to Billy Joe
The Gambler (this is NOT rock&roll, but it does get played too much....)
Take it to the Limit
Saturday in the Park....

24 Oct 11, 1:46 am --
Like a Virgin
Black Velvet
You're So Vain
Take it on the Run
New Year's Day
Sunday Bloody Sunday
(these last 2 have bn getting played A LOT lately....)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More not-quite-so-lost singles

Still mining info outta Joel Whitburn's & BILLBOARD's TOP POP SINGLES 1955-2002 -- worth it if you're a chart fiend like me or just wonder what happened 2 some of those songs you heard on the radio back when you were 12 years old & haven't heard since....
Also intresting how many rock songs we've come 2 accept as "classics" that didn't really do that great sales-wise, officially. We all know they're classics, so that's what they became. I guess. 2 bad it doesn't work that way 4 all Good Stuff....
Anyway, here's another list, with some pretty-well-known stuff included, along with summa my Olde Faves & the usual oddities...

Freda Payne: "You Brought the Joy," #52, Fall 1971.
Peter, Paul & Mary: "A'Soalin'," #15 on the Christmas chart, Dec '63; "Settle Down," #56, Winter '63.
Plimsouls: "A Million Miles Away," #82, Summer '83; #11 on the Album Rock chart, Summer '82.
Poppy Family: "Where Evil Grows," #45, Summer '71.
Edgar Winter's White Trash: "Keep Playing That Rock 'N' Roll," #70, Winter '71.
Billy Preston: "That's the Way God Planned It," #65, Summer '72; #62, Summer '69.
Queen: "It's Late," #74, Summer '78; "Need Your Loving Tonight," #44, Winter '80; "The Show Must Go On," #40 on the Rock Tracks chart, Spring '92.
Pink Floyd: "Run Like Hell," #53, Summer '80; an edited version of "Comfortably Numb" failed to reach the Hot 100.
Ramones: "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," #81, Summer '77; "Rockaway Beach," #66, Winter '77; "Do You Wanna Dance?," #86, Spring '78.
Leon Redbone: "Seduced," #72, Spring '81.
Helen Reddy: "Crazy Love," #51, Summer '71.
Miss Abrams & the Strawberry Point School Third Grade Class: "Mill Valley," #90, Summer '70.
America: "Muskrat Love," #67, Summer '73 (The Captain & Tennille's inferior version made #4 in Fall '76); "Only in Your Heart," #62, Spring '73; "Woman Tonight," #44, Winter '75.
Buffalo Springfield: "Bluebird" b/w "Mr. Soul," #58, Summer '67; "Rock and Roll Woman," #44, Fall '67; "Expecting to Fly," #98, Winter '68; "On the Way Home," #82, Fall '68. "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing" failed to make the Hot 100, possibly because the lyric included the word "damn" (!).
Bulldog: "No," #44, Fall '72.
Kate Bush: "The Man With the Child in His Eyes," #85, Spring '79.
Byrds: "5D (Fifth Dimension)," #44, Summer '66; "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better," #103, Summer '65; "Ballad of Easy Rider," #97, Winter '70. "Chestnut Mare" failed to make the Hot 100.
Cream: "I Feel Free," #116, 1967; "Badge," #60, Spring '69.
Adam Ant: "Desperate But Not Serious," #66, Spring '83.
Billy Squier: "My Kinda Lover," #45, Winter '81.
Rush: "Closer to the Heart," #76, Winter '77.
James Gang: "Walk Away," #51, Summer '71.
Elton John: "Tiny Dancer," #41, Spring '72.
Journey: "Wheel in the Sky," #57, Spring '78; "Anytime," #83, Summer '78; "Lights," #68, Summer '78; "Just the Same Way," #58, Spring '79.
Kinks: "Victoria," #62, Winter '70; "Dead-End Street," #73, Winter '67.
REO Speedwagon: "Roll With the Changes," #58, Summer '78; "Time for Me to Fly," #56, Summer '78.
Triumph: "Magic Power," #51, Fall '81.
Bob Seger: "Rock and Roll Never Forgets," #41, Summer '77; "Katmandu," #43, Summer '75.
Rolling Stones: "Street Fighting Man," #48, Fall '68; "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (edited), #42, Spring '73.
Linda Ronstadt: "Someone to Lay Down Beside Me," #42, Winter '76.
Grateful Dead: "Uncle John's Band," #69, Summer '70.
Flying Lizards: "Money (That's What I Want)," #50, Winter '79.
Bob Dylan: "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat," #81, Summer '67. (& of course we know Dylan's brilliant "One of Us Must Know," also from BLONDE ON BLONDE, failed to make any known chart, one of the great injustices of the mid-'60s....)
Eric Clapton: "Let it Rain," #48, Fall '72; "Bell Bottom Blues," #91, Spring '71/#78, Spring '73; "Another Ticket," #78, Summer '81. "Let it Grow" failed to make the Hot 100 despite lots of airplay as the follow-up to "I Shot the Sheriff"....

...That's all 4 2nite. More of this likely coming soon....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Found: More Great Lost Singles

Joel Whitburn & BILLBOARD's TOP POP SINGLES 1955-2002 -- which I reviewed here a few days back -- is a treasure trove of proof that I didn't hallucinate 1/2 of what I heard on the radio 40 years ago while I was busy growing up. It just SEEMS that way sometimes.
As I look thru this huge book, songs I haven't thot about 4 YEARS just suddenly jump out at me -- like Simon Stokes' trippy "Captain Howdy," which I added 2 the end of that last list of overlooked greats this book has helped me rediscover. I hadn't heard THAT song in 37 years, & yet there it was suddenly staring me in the face. I can still sing the choruses 4 you, if you like....
Mainly what I like about this book is that it reaffirms 4 me that at least some of the off-the-wall songs I remember from my youth were getting played on the radio in OTHER parts of the country, 2. Maybe not for LONG, but some1 other than me heard them.
Now all we gotta do is figure out why the Great Listening Public didn't appropriately reward these musical geniuses....
Here's another list of off-the-wall stuff I've mined from Whitburn's work. I'll add merely that a lotta these would B worth yer trouble 2 track down....

Genesis: "You Own Special Way," #62, Spring 1977; "You Might Recall," Rock Tracks #40, Summer '82.
Lindsey Buckingham: "Holiday Road," #82, Summer '83.
Jethro Tull: "The Whistler," #59, Spring '77.
Kansas: "Reason to Be," #52, Fall '79.
Fleetwood Mac: "Oh Well (Part 1)," #55, Fall '70.
Allman Brothers Band: "Jessica," #65, Winter '74.
Aerosmith: "Dream On," #59, Fall '73.
Move: "Do Ya?," #93, Fall '72.
Eagles: "Outlaw Man," #59, Fall '73; "James Dean," #77, Fall '74.
Doobie Brothers: "Nobody," #58, Winter '74.
John Fogerty: "Almost Saturday Night," #78, Winter '75.
Four Preps: "The Big Draft (Military Medley)," #61, Spring '62.
Four Tops: "Simple Game," #90, Spring '72.
King Crimson: "In the Court of the Crimson King (Part 1)," #80, Winter '70.
Norman Greenbaum: "California Earthquake," #93, Summer '71.
Roxy Music: "Dance Away," #44, Spring '79; "Over You," #80, Fall '80.
Dave Edmunds: "Girls Talk," #65, Fall '79.
Tim Moore: "Second Avenue," #58, Fall '74.
Van Morrison: "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)," #61, Fall '72.
Bill Withers: "Grandma's Hands," #42, Fall '71.
Raiders: "Powder Blue Mercedes Queen," #54, Summer '72.
Danyel Gerard: "Butterfly," #78, Summer '72.
Turtles: "Grim Reaper of Love," #81, Summer '66; "Sound Asleep," #57, Spring '68; "Lady-O," #78, Winter '69.
Lindisfarne: "Lady Eleanor," #82, Fall '72.
Shoes: "Too Late," #75, Winter '79.
Slade: "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," #76, Winter '72.
Patti Smith Group: "Frederick," #90, Summer '79.
Boz Scaggs: "Dinah Flo," #86, Fall '72.
Joni Mitchell: "Raised on Robbery," #65, Winter '73.
Records: "Starry Eyes," #56, Fall '79.
Sweet: "Co-Co," #99, Fall '71.
Tarney/Spencer Band: "No Time to Lose," #84, Spring '79; #74, Fall '81.
Ray Stevens: "Bridget the Midget," #50, Winter '70.
Sugar Bears: "You Are the One," #57, Spring '72.
Michael Bolton (!): "Fools Game," #82, Spring '83. (It's actually good....)
Nigel Olsson: "Only One Woman," #91, Spring '75.
Royal Guardsmen: "Snoopy's Christmas," #1 on the Christmas chart, Dec '67.
Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids: "Dancin' on a Saturday Night," #93, Summer '74.
NRBQ: "Get That Gasoline Blues," #70, Spring '74. (Still timely ... & hilarious!)
Steve Winwood: "Still in the Game," #47, Summer '82; "Valerie," #70, Winter '82.
Hues Corporation: "Freedom for the Stallion," #63, Summer '73.
Robert John: "Lonely Eyes," #41, Winter '79.
Casey Kelly: "Poor Boy," #52, Fall '72.
It's a Beautiful Day: "White Bird," #118, 1969.
Gordon Lightfoot: "Summer Side of Life," #98, Fall '71; "Beautiful," #58, Spring '72.
Vicki Lawrence: "He Did With Me," #75, Summer '73. (Her underplayed follow-up 2 the hideous "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," which seemingly will NEVER die....)
John Lennon: "Happy Xmas (War is Over)," #3 on the Christmas chart, Dec '71.

Not reaching the Hot 100 or "bubbling under" the top 100 singles were: Fleetwood Mac's "The Green Manalishi," "Hypnotized," "Why?" & "Dissatisfied;" Kiki Dee's "Amoureuse;" Gordon Lightfoot's "Don Quixote;" Guess Who's "Road Food;" Loggins & Messina's "Angry Eyes" (the best thing they ever did, used as the B-side 2 a coupla minor L&M hits)....

...There will likely B at least 1 more of these lists coming.... In the meantime, go track some of these songs down. They're good 4 what ails ya. Some of them are, at least....

....& I'd love 2 hear from anyone who remembers any of these songs, or any of the other off-the-wall songs or acts I sometimes write about. It's been awhile since anyone Out There has commented, & I could use the feedback.
I know you're reading a lot here, you folks from Thailand & Russia & England & Germany & Denmark & Canada & Colombia. & who's that person from Ireland who's been reading so much stuff? You guys can come out of the woodwork at any time. I don't bite ... too much ....

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Last Exit

It's April 1979 & I'm sitting in a cold & drafty coffeehouse called The Last Exit in Seattle's University District, not far from the University of Washington's huge red-cobblestoned courtyard.
It's cold, rainy & foggy outside, & drafty inside, where moisture is condensing on the inside of the windows, barely reflected in the pale interior light. I realize I haven't been this cold & wet in a LONG time.
I'm no dummy -- I know it rains a lot in Washington, I went 2 junior-highschool here, & I remembered the way the rain usedta POUR down 4 DAYS. But that was when I was younger & that stuff didn't bother me -- sometimes I'd even go out & wander around in it....
The espresso I'm trying 2 force down is pretty bitter 2 -- not at all what I expected. How can I drink coffee with NO SUGAR?
Up at the front of the room, some Bob Dylan wanna-be is singing as he strums his guitar. I'm not a big Dylan fan but somehow I know that Bob is Safe.
I'm in Seattle with my highschool sweetheart Allison, 2 visit our old college friend Melissa, who has an apartment within walking distance of the UW. Somehow, Al & I have survived me driving a huge old (mid-'60s) boat-sized Chevy stationwagon 600+ miles from Boise, Idaho all across Oregon & then north 2 Seattle. Amazingly, the car didn't break down. & Al & I R still talking 2 each other. In fact, we're closer than we've been in 2 years.
The only mistake we made was relying on the radio 2 help fight the boredom. The Chevy didn't have a tape-player. There Rn't 2 many radio stations in the wilds of Eastern Oregon. & when we came up over a hill just east of Baker, suddenly the radio Al had been trying 2 coax 2 life erupted in what sounded like The Voice Of Ghod: "AND NOW THE ADVENTURES OF GOD'S OWN AGRICULTURALIST, GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER...." Somehow we survived that 2....
Melissa's apt is a tiny dorm-style room -- she spends mosta her time at her boyfriend Jim's apt, which is on the 14th floor of a building that towers over the U District. Turns out Jim's a pretty big progressive-rock fan. As we talk, he pulls out old albums by The Nice (ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS, THE THOUGHTS OF EMERLIST DAVJACK, WINTER TO SPRING, THE IMMEDIATE STORY), Manfred Mann's Earth Band (MESSIN', GET YOUR ROCKS OFF, SOLAR FIRE, THE GOOD EARTH, NIGHTINGALES AND BOMBERS), & Roxy Music (COUNTRY LIFE, STRANDED). Some of this he even puts on the stereo, & it sounds pretty good. Most of it I'll never hear again....
His musical intrests go with mine, & we get along OK. After all, I'm the guy who stuffed 30+ albums in2 a box & packed them in the car cos I didn't think I could get thru a week without them. I packed music B4 I packed CLOTHES. I don't think I played more than a couple albums during the entire week we were in Seattle. But somehow I couldn't have managed without Camel's BREATHLESS & Providence's EVER SENSE THE DAWN & Gryphon's RED QUEEN TO GRYPHON THREE & Caravan's FOR GIRLS WHO GROW PLUMP IN THE NIGHT.
Turns out the U District is a good neighborhood 4 prog fans -- there's 1/2adozen used record stores in 1 block along University Blvd. -- I walk in2 the 1st 1 & I feel like I've Come Home: There's a huge cut-out stand-up of Soft Machine from their 1st album along the top of 1 record cabinet. There's stuff hanging from the ceiling & weird album covers all around. I think I'm already pretty well-informed musically, & I've got NO IDEA what mosta this stuff is....
1 shop is looking 4 help, so I apply. It's a million-2-1 shot that I'll actually get the job & B able 2 stay in Seattle, but I love the atmosphere of the U District -- not just the used record stores, but the used bookstores & 1 great little cozy Chinese restaurant -- SO MUCH more Xciting & intresting than Boise, where I've lived most of my life up 2 this point....
The record store gives me a Rock trivia test over the phone -- I botch about 1/2 of it. I don't get the job. But tho I'm bummed, at least I've got all this great atmosphere 2 drink up.... I never do get thru that bitter espresso, tho.
Al loves the atmosphere 2, & vows 2 come back -- & she does, less than a year later. I'm supposed 2 follow her there, but instead I get hired by my favorite record store in Boise, & decide 2 stay. The record store job lasts 3 years & 4 awhile I have a place of my own (low-rent as it was). But eventually the job ends badly & I end up unemployed 4 a year & finally join the Air Force.
It takes me 16 years 2 get back 2 Washington & I never go back 2 The Last Exit -- but I know the U District is still there, & I'm told there R still tons of used book & record stores 2 wander thru. I've got 2 get back over there someday....

Sunday, October 2, 2011

TAD's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

There's been a few comments on the blogs the past few days about the latest batch of nominees 4 the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame -- whether some of the nominated artists were successful enuf or influential enuf 2 B included, who's bn overlooked, who should B added immediately, etc.
All of these comments R informative & make good points -- Seano's views at "Circle of Fits" ( R especially direct & funny. He gets INTO it. & I agree with a lot of what he sez.
But I still think the whole idea of a Rock&Roll Hall of Fame is ... pretty silly. It's not like a Football HOF or a Baseball HOF where you've at least got career statistics 2 fall back on when making selections or rooting 4 yer favorites. With the R&R HOF there's always gonna B disagreements about who was or wasn't successful enuf or influential enuf 2 honor. There R still plenty of disagreements about who or what is or isn't rock&roll.
Besides, you can't quantify art like you can sports. Might as well have a Writer's Hall of Fame or a Painter's Hall of Fame. It's silly. Sure, Shakespeare & Dickens & Tolstoy & Twain get in2 the Writer's HOF -- but what about Mickey Spillane? Robert Heinlein? Isaac Asimov? & who's 2 say they shouldn't B there 2?
Would some1 tell Beethoven he couldn't qualify 4 the Classical HOF Bcos he only wrote 4 "#1" symphonies? Would some1 tell Andy Warhol he can't get in2 the Artist's HOF cos re-painting a Campbell's soup can "ain't art"?
Who sez?
Bsides, popular music is all about what a song, album, band, musician or singer means TO YOU -- the impact they made on your life. We're all gonna have diffrent opinions about something so personal.
Better 2 build your own Hall of Fame on your blog or in your head -- that's where the biggest impact is made NEway. Better 2 make sure some of this stuff is still talked about, rather than enshrined in some building in ... Cleveland?

As 4 me, if I had my own Rock&Roll Hall of Fame that I could build in the back yard -- & my backyard is pretty small, so there isn't gonna B much room -- what follows is a list of who I'd enshrine there, broken-down by previous intense listening-periods in my life.
(This list was made in spare moments during the worst nite at work I've had in months, so I may have 4gotten some folks. I reserve the right 2 add or delete names from this list 4 NE reason. Onward.)

EARLY LISTENING SECTION (starting at age 11):
Partridge Family
Three Dog Night
Beach Boys
Moody Blues
Rare Earth
Jackson Five
Tommy James & the Shondells
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Neil Diamond (thru about 1974....)
Thom Bell (producer/songwriter for the previous 2)
Simon & Garfunkel
Sly and the Family Stone
Mamas & the Papas
Lovin Spoonful
Doobie Bros. (thru 1976)
Cat Stevens
Elton John
Paul McCartney/Wings

Jethro Tull
Gryphon (unique & forgotten....)
Providence (1 great album....)
Genesis (1976-1982)
King Crimson
Happy the Man
Buffalo Springfield
Todd Rundgren (as performer, songwriter, producer, bandleader)
Al Stewart
Gentle Giant

Fairport Convention
Nick Drake (A friggin genius....)
Monkees (They still hold up....)
Fleetwood Mac
Kate Bush (3 great albums, & adventurous stuff after....)
Dire Straits (2 great albums, not including BROTHERS IN ARMS)
Pete Townshend solo
Dan Fogelberg
Pat Metheny (Jazz, not rock? Oh well....)

Led Zeppelin
Pink Floyd
Dylan (lotsa great songs -- & he's FUNNY!)
Def Leppard (great vocals!)
BOC (maybe....)
Rush (I prefer the stuff from PERMANENT WAVES on....)
Phil Spector (all his early-'60s stuff)
Stevie Wonder
Smokey Robinson (with The Miracles & as songwriter)
Marvin Gaye

Bare Naked Ladies
Nirvana (still not sure....)

Keith Moon
Bill Bruford
Neil Peart
Keith Emerson
Rick Wakeman
Dave Sinclair (Caravan)
Bob Fripp

...I'm sure I've forgotten some. Best I can do off the toppa my head.
You might've noticed there R few '50s & early '60s rockers listed above: Elvis, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, etc., have never done all that much 4 me, tho I know none of the resta this stuff would Xist without them.
Also few mid-'60s rockers -- I admire Jefferson Airplane, Hendrix, Doors, etc., but I don't love them. MayB I just haven't heard enuf.
Would love 2 hear yer own list of R&RHOF nominees. & of course outraged comments can also B made below....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Joel Whitburn answers MOST of my questions....

After that attack of chartmania I had a month ago, I took the plunge & grabbed a cheap copy of Joel Whitburn & BILLBOARD's TOP POP SINGLES 1955-2002 -- mostly cos I wanted 2 track down more info on songs I heard while I was growing up & haven't heard since. I wanted 2 know if I hallucinated them, or if they really did briefly Xsist.
Whitburn & his team of record researchers answered most of the questions my 13-year-old self had, tho there R still a few mysteries I'll probly never know the answer 2.... I already knew Whitburn & his folks were reliable with their chart data -- an old marked-up copy of their mid-'80s TOP 40 HITS book is propping up this laptop right now.
As 4 TOP POP SINGLES -- well, it's massive. 1,000 pgs. It weighs 3 pounds. It hurts 2 hold up. But there's a lotta good stuff in it if you're an old charts/nostalgia fiend like me.
I was mainly intrested in stuff that DIDN'T make the Top 40 -- some of those old shoulda-been-hits that I wrote-up as "Great Lost Singles" awhile back. & I found most of them. But not all. & I've found lots more intresting stuff in the few days I've had 2 look over this massive book that I could easily get lost in 4 weeks.
Here's a few dozen Xamples -- I can vouch 4 the fact that most of the list below is Worth Tracking Down. Some of them I even did my part 4 the economy by BUYING back in the day....

* The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Some Of Shelley's Blues" peaked at #64 in Fall 1971. Their great stomping version of Kenny Loggins's "House at Pooh Corner" reached #53 in Spring '71.
* Billy Lee Riley's "I Got a Thing About You Baby" peaked at #93 in Winter '72.
* 10 c.c.'s "Rubber Bullets" hit #73 in Fall '73.
* The Hollies' "Magic Woman Touch," #60, Spring '73; "Sandy (4th of July, Asbury Park)," #85, Spring '75.
* Billy Joel's "Travelin' Prayer," #77,  Fall '74.
* Paul Revere & the Raiders' "Do Unto Others" "bubbled under" at #102 in Winter of '67; "Song Seller," #96, Fall '72; "Country Wine," #51, Winter '72.
* El Chicano's "Brown-Eyed Girl," #45, Summer '72.
* Chris Hodge's "We're On Our Way," #44, Summer '72.
* John Kongos's "He's Gonna Step On You Again," #70, Summer '71.
* Steely Dan's "My Old School," #63, Winter '73; "Pretzel Logic," #57, Fall '74.
* Manfred Mann's Earth Band: "Living Without You," #69, Spring '72.
* Todd Rundgren: "Couldn't I Just Tell You?" #93, Summer '72; "Real Man," #83, Spring '75; "A Dream Goes On Forever," #69, Spring '74; Rundgren & Utopia's "The Very Last Time," #76, Summer '80.
* Carolyne Mas: "Stillsane," #71, Fall '79. Her equally great "Sadie Says" didn't make the Hot 100.
* The Left Banke: "Desiree," #98, Fall '67.
* Ike & Tina Turner: "River Deep, Mountain High," #88, Summer '66.
* Lighthouse: "Pretty Lady," #53, Winter '73.
* Kinks: "Apeman," #45, Winter '71.
* Nazareth's hilarious "Holiday," #87, Spring '80.
* Zep's "Over the Hills and Far Away," #51, Summer '73.
* Albert Hammond's "Free Electric Band," #48, Spring '73.
* Spirit's "Nature's Way," #111, Fall '73.
* Love's "Alone Again Or," #99, Fall '70.
* The Headboys' "The Shape of Things to Come," #67, Winter '79.
* Uriah Heep's "Stealin'," #91, Fall '73.
* Raspberries' "Tonight," #69, Fall '73. "Ecstacy" didn't make the Top 100.
* Sutherland Brothers & Quiver's "You Got Me Anyway," #48, Fall '73; "Arms of Mary," #81, Spring '76.
* The Rip Chords' great acapella "Here I Stand," #51, Spring '63; "Gone," #88, Summer '63.
* Heaven Bound's gorgeous "Five Hundred Miles," #79, Winter '71.
* Gladstone's "A Piece of Paper," #45, Summer '72.
* Cozy Powell's "Dance With the Devil," #49, Spring '74.
* Modern English's "I Melt With You," #78, Spring '83.
* Giorgio Moroder's cute & catchy "Son of My Father," #46, Spring '72.
* The Pop Tops' "Mammy Blue," #57, Fall '71.
* Los Bravos' "Bring a Little Lovin'," #51, Summer '68.
* Simon Stokes: "Captain Howdy," #90, Summer '74.

* Not reaching the Hot 100 & not mentioned as "bubbling under" are: Johnathan King's "A Tall Order for a Short Guy;" 10 c.c.'s "Wall Street Shuffle;" Poco's "Here We Go Again" & "A Good Feeling to Know;" Andy Pratt's "Pistol Packin' Melody;" Kracker's "Because of You (The Sun Don't Set);" ELP's "Still ... You Turn Me On;" Stories' "Love is in Motion;" Nicolette Larson's "Radioland;" Rickie Lee Jones' "We Belong Together;" Rare Bird's "Birdman, Part 2;" The Road Home's "Keep it in the Family;" Austin Roberts' "One Word;" Mal's singalong "Mighty Mighty and Roly Poly;" Matthew Fisher's "Interlude;" The Wackers' "I Hardly Know Her Name;" Brenda & the Tabulations' "One Girl Too Late"....

...I could go on. Actually, I did, but this list is 2 long already & I'm probly 4getting a few dozen things. A couple Xtra items:
* Nektar's "Astral Man" actually reached #91 on BILLBOARD's Hot 100 Singles chart in Summer '75. I woulda chose "Fidgety Queen" as a single myself, but still....
*...& just 2 show how outta touch I am: Mariah Carey has more than 15 #1 hits ... & I can recognize Xactly 1 of them: "I'll Be There" -- mainly Bcos it sounds almost Xactly like the Jackson 5's original.... The rest of her career is a mystery 2 me....

...Now then. About most of the above list: Look at all that musical genius that went unrewarded. What were people THINKING...?