"It's The End Of The World As We Know It" by REM
5/15/2013 6:00:00 AM
“It starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane”. Okay, so far I’m following it. When it takes me to the first of two mentions of Lenny Bruce, I’m already lost. Is there deep symbolism with each line? Was this what Michael Stipe could remember from a dream (Rapid Eye Movement)? It doesn’t matter.
When I heard the chorus, “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine” I suddenly got it. There are predictions of Rapture all the time. Whether they’re biblical or political, they’re all based on using fear to make you fall in line. The “and I feel fine” told me to relax. If a giant fireball was headed for us, we better party until the short moment when we’re suddenly space dust.
I’m still trying to figure what’s with the list of people with the initials L.B.? Perhaps it ...
"When Doves Cry" by Prince
5/1/2013 6:00:00 AM
This song has raised a few questions. Most are related and have been on the internet, well, since you could pose such profound questions online. What does it sound like when doves cry? Do doves actually cry?
I guess the sound of doves crying would sound like something emanating from Prince’s band. That is, if they indeed sob. According to a 2009 article by Leif Larsen in The Manitoban (those Canadians know their birds. See Anne Murray), “according to cursory research, very few non-mammals actually cry”. Okay ‘eh, but they do have tear ducts and can turn them on to protect their eyes, so it’s physically possible.
We all know that the whole “doves crying thing” is the result of symbolism on the part of the artist, once again known as Prince. I think that doves, the symbol of peace, would cry if their lack of conflict is disturbed. Either ...
"Cuts Like A Knife"
4/17/2013 6:00:00 AM
Bryan Adams has said in several interviews that he came up with the song, like many others: by mumbling and playing chords. When playing back his nonsensical lyrics, he heard a phrase that sliced through, “Cuts like a Knife”.
I think he should release his mumbling demos as a TV record offer.
The great thing about writing pop songs is that, when you run out of lyrics you can just throw in some “nah, nahs” and fade out. This worked for The Beatle’s “Hey Jude” as well as Journey’s “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin”’. One day I was bored and actually counted all the “nahs” in each of the songs. Unfortunately, I never wrote down the results. If you want to try, remember to use the album versions.
Of course the Canadian did well in the US because of great exposure by MTV. The video for this song was made in an ...
"I Want You To Want Me (Live)" by Cheap Trick
4/3/2013 6:08:00 AM
One day, back in ’77, George came over with a new, still cellophaned copy of “In Color” from that band featuring Rick, who I remember seeing giving guitar lesions at his parent’s 7th street music shop. They opened side one with musical greetings in “Hello There”, followed by the rockin’”Big Eyes” and the characteristic “Downed”. Then came a piano-driven mid-tempo song that was catchy, but seemed to lack energy.
“I Want You to Want Me” seemed to be supercharged in the “Budokan” version. The pounding rhythm section of Bun E. and Tom complemented the much-much-heavier-than In Color-version guitar and vocals. I’m sure the frenzied fans of Japan fueled this new energy.
While the original studio rendition failed to chart, the live version peaked at a respectable 7 in the U.S. and topped the charts in Belgium, The Netherlands, and duh... Japan! I’m pretty sure they’re truly “wanted” in that country.
"Like A Prayer" by Madonna
3/13/2013 6:13:00 AM
While we’re waiting for the smoke to rise from the Vatican with news of a new Pope, we’ll look back at a song, whose video infuriated the church and caused the cancellation of a multimillion soft drink endorsement. With all of the ruckus, “Like A Prayer” topped seventeen charts all over the world. Madonna is a master at promoting music through controversy.
Madonna turned 30 in 1989 and was going through a divorce from Sean Penn. Through her turmoil came creative energy and a plan to write lyrics with dual meanings. The mixture of religious and sexual themes added greatly to the war chest of arguments amongst critics.
The video also added a mixed-race romance and burning crosses to stoke the fires of protest. After a boycott of Pepsi and its subsidiaries from religious groups, the endorsement deal was over, but the awareness of the song now increased one hundred ...
"How Bizarre" by OMC
2/27/2013 6:01:00 AM
New Zealand’s Otara Millionaire Club was formed in 1993 by brothers Phil and Paul Fuemana. With producer Alan Jannson, the one-hit-wonder “How Bizarre” became the first New Zealand act to top the US Billboard chart.
Most of the video takes place in a red Chevy convertible, or a “Chevy ‘69”. Pauly’s driving, Phil’s in the back, and after much research and debate, the girl in the passenger seat is their sister Christine. That’s confirmed by the lyrics, “Tina says, ‘Right on’ “! The other back up singers Zina and Taisha are nowhere in sight.
After their hit and a failure to deliver another, the siblings regrouped as Fuemana and then the story gets... well, you know. In 2005, Phil died of a heart attack at age 41. Three years ago, Pauly succumbed to an inflammatory disease that’s hard to spell and pronounce. He was just a few days before turning ...
"I Love Rock 'N Roll" by Joan Jett
2/13/2013 6:30:00 AM
The Arrows were an English band and with their own TV show in the mid 70’s. They didn’t have much luck at getting their ’75 song “I Love Rock’ N Roll” played on the radio, but performing the tune on TV led to two cover versions, one went to Number One in the US.
The Runaway’s were touring Europe when guitarist Joan Jett saw the Arrows play the tune on the tube and took note. Her first crack at a cover happened in 1979 when she went to the studio with Paul Cook and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols. That version was scrapped until the ‘90s. When Joan decided to put it on tape again with her new solo band The Blackhearts in topped the Billboard charts for seven weeks.
The video was all over MTV, went we finally could get the channel in Rockford. I remember she was ...
"Cars" by Gary Numan
1/30/2013 6:00:00 AM
I first heard this song on the old album rockin’ Y-95 and it stuck out like a sore thumb. That’s because it came out of a Zeppelin song. “What the heck was that and why is it playing”? I thought. After another listen, which followed a Scorpions song I realized there was no chorus.
Although initially shocked, the song grew on me. The strange humanoid voice and heavy synth was even mesmerizing to my long haired friends wearing AC/DC t-shirts. That was surprising because there weren’t any distorted Angus-like guitars.
I not sure where I caught the video in this pre-MTV era, but I did. Gary’s Bowie-esque look and expressionless face seemed to say “I am the future”. He must have had some impact on the music world with this one-hit-you-know-what because suddenly heavy rockers like Def Leppard and Rush were adding swishy synthesizer parts to their tunes. They did ...
"Rock This Town" by The Stray Cats
1/16/2013 6:00:00 AM
Somebody once said, “Everything usually comes full circle”, or something like that. That’s especially true with music, except something is usually added to make it relevant at the moment. 25-30 years before the US release of this song Carl Perkins, Elvis, Buddy Holly and many more guys with greasy hair were cranking out music in this genre.
Rockabilly singer/guitarist Eddie Cochrane appears to be the major influence on bandleader Brian Seltzer. Check him out in this video. I could definitely hear him playing “Rock This Town”. He left the music world a lot of songs before his death in a British taxi accident at age 21. Seltzer has the same energized stage presence.
Add a stand up bass and drum kit and you had a band that stood out from the make-up wearing long hairs and the new wavers on MTV. “Rock This Town” follows the Rockabilly formula, but ...
"Some Like It Hot" by The Power Station
1/9/2013 6:00:00 AM
In 1984 Duran Duran needed a break. Singer Simon LeBon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and drummer Roger Taylor broke off and worked on their very-Duran Duran-sounding Arcadia, mostly known for “Election Day”. Andy Taylor and John Taylor wanted to ROCK! Well, to rock as much as you can, being a member of Duran Duran. The camped out at The Power Station recording studio in NYC to cut what was intended to be a album featuring rotation guest lead singers.
Then Robert Palmer showed up and somehow ended up recording vocals and even doing some co-writing for the entire project. Adopting the name of the studio for its handle, The Power Station remade and slight renamed the T-Rex classic “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”. Their big writing collaboration was “Some Like It Hot” which combined the flashiness of Duran Duran and showed us preview of what was to come in just ...