High Five: Great Music Finds (Sept 2007)
High Five: Great Music Finds (Sept 2007)
I thought in this installment of High Five, I would offer up a tribute to my 10 +3 Desert Island discs.
For my Buggles, Yes and Asia desert island selections, there are several links between these bands and I’m curious to see if anyone knows who these groups have in common. Here’s a rare, well lip-synced performance of the song aired on MTV at midnight on August 1, 1981. All I have to say about this channel is “I want my Old MTV”.
For my ELO desert disc, enjoy this ELO Megamix featuring “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”. Oh, and I think the flashing hotdog on “Don’t Bring Me Down” belongs to “Bruuuuuuuuuuce!!!!” My friends Brent and Erik will appreciate that comment.
For my Toto desert disc tribute, I really love the strings and choir on this live performance of “Hold The Line”. Man, I’d love to hear Joseph Williams on vocals and Lukather is such an underrated guitarist. If you like early Toto, check out the old albums of Boz Skaggs (remember “Lido Shuffle”?) since Toto was his studio band.
Last but not least, the world’s finest Glam Rock band, The Sweet, on “Wig Wam Bam”. As I write this, I’m listening to this song and chuckling because this was one of the first albums I bought with my paper route money (along with Van Halen and Barry Manilow) and I can’t believe I didn’t realize what this song is about! The other funny thing I just realized is there is a lyric in this song about an Indian guy names Running Bear and about 10 years ago, I actually worked with a guy named Running Bear (really!). Oh well, as they say, just try a little wig wam bam….
Long Live 80’s
1. The Buggles: Video Killed The Radio Star
2. A-Ha: Take On Me
4. Van Halen: Jump
5. Peter Gabriel: Sledgehammer
6. Swing Out Sister: Breakout
7. Def Leppard: Photograph
8. Blondie: Heart Of Glass
9. Peter Cetera & Amy Grant: The Next Time I Fall
10. Adam Ant: Goody Two Shoes
11. Thomas Dolby: She Blinded Me With Science
12. Roxette: The Look
13. Gary Numan: Cars
14. Judas Priest: Breaking The Law
15. Human League: Don’t You Want Me?
16. Europe: The Final Countdown
I Can Hear Music, Sweet Sweet Music
There is no doubt that music is a big part of my life.
I’m one of those people that while in conversation, when a random word or phrase is spoken, my brain will access a song lyric with those exact words. Depending on the setting, I often break into song right then. If it can’t be sung out loud, it’s always sung in my head. Although it’s never been admitted, I’m sure this drives my family crazy. I like to think that it’s something that my two boys (10 and 13) will always remember about their Dad. I just hope when they tell people about it, it’s not preceded with “One thing that drove me crazy about my Dad was…..” and if it is, I hope they add “I’ll never forget that about him”.
I grew up in the 70’s so I would have to say this is my favorite decade of music. There is something amazingly wonderful about the memories of youth that make music from that time extra special.
I’m not sure when exactly my musical button was pushed, but I imagine it was sometime in ’72 or ’73 around age 8. I have to thank my oldest brother Dennis (10 years my senior) for filling the house with some amazing early 70’s music. I smile when I think about his LPs and 8-track tapes of The Carpenters, Blood Sweat & Tears, Chase and especially Chicago. In fact, if I had to choose one album that really ignited my love (obsession) for music it would be Chicago II. To this day, I know every single drum, horn, and vocal part in my head of that album. I’ll bet I’ve heard it 300 times – and it was a double album! I recently got a DVD-Audio surround sound copy of it for my car – heaven!
“Hey Mom, where’s Dad?”
“He’s out in the garage in his car again.”
My first records were the 45’s that came on the back of cereal boxes. That was some pretty cool technology for back in the 70’s! I seem to remember having a 45 of “Sugar Sugar” by The Archies, but that song came out in 1969 which means I was only 4 or 5 – perhaps it made another run in the early 70’s and made it onto the back of King Vitamin or Boo-Berry. I do remember the cereal box version of The Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You”, but the standout cereal box 45 for me was a wonderful pop masterpiece called “Heartbeat It’s A Lovebeat” by The “we are trying really hard to be the Osmonds” DeFranco Family featuring Tony DeFranco (as Donnie). I played that cardboard 45 until the hard paper grooves wore off, then talked my Mom into buying me the actual vinyl 45. I love that song to this day!
By the mid-70’s, I was old enough to have a paper route. I saved up all my paper route money to buy my first stereo from Radio Shack (my audiophile paradise in 1976). It was a Realistic Receiver/Cassette combo – a honking huge, heavy box with large dials and a built-in cassette player, 2 Radio Shack speakers, and a Technics turntable. I’m telling you, I was in 7th grade utopia with that setup. I can only imagine how many needles I went through … especially in the later 70’s playing many of my records backwards to listen for hidden Satanic messages. Unfortunately, all I ever heard, and just one time, was “Satan banana banana banana Satan” – it was pretty scary.
I remember my first record purchase. It was at Sears and I bought the following:
1. The Sweet (Featuring Blockbuster and Little Willy)
2. Van Halen – Self Titled
3. Barry Manilow – Even Now
No kidding. And I loved all three of those albums.
I still do.
Today, I have thousands of 70’s songs in my music collection and to single out favorites is difficult, but here are a few. I’ll add comments to these as I have time…
My Sharona – The Knack
It’s hard to believe that it will soon be 30 years since this song owned the #1 spot in the charts for what seemed like the entire summer of 1979. My fondest memory of My Sharona is it’s long run at #1. In Cleveland, Casey Kasem’s Top 40 Countdown radio show always started at 9am and ran until Noon on Sunday mornings. As soon as church was done on Sundays around 11:45 I would get the car keys from my Dad and run out to the car to see if My Sharona was still #1. Now that I know what My Sharona is about, how comical that I was running out of church to listen to it!
Midnight At The Oasis – Maria Muldaur
I have a very strong memory of riding in my brother’s car and hearing this song on the car radio. It was 1974 – I was 8 and my brother Dennis was 17. Green Pontiac Ventura.
Undercover Angel – Alan O’Day
Shakedown Cruise – Jay Ferguson
Lonely Boy – Andrew Gold
Daniel – Elton John
Heart of Glass – Blondie
Get Down – Gilbert O’Sullivan
Rock On – David Essex
Little Willy – The Sweet
Heartbeat It’s A Lovebeat – The Defranco Family
Nights In White Satin – The Moody Blues
I’m Not In Love – 10cc
Magic – Pilot
Shannon – Henry Gross
Frankenstein – Edgar Winter Group
Run To Me – Bee Gees
Make Me Smile – Chicago
Space Oddity – David Bowie
Help Me – Joni Mitchell
Hello It’s Me – Todd Rundgren
Top Musical Finds
I’ve been wanting to do this post for quite some time and am glad to finally get it out to my faithful readership — all 7 of you. I love each and every one of you.
It took me all of last year to rate all the songs in my music library. At the beginning of ’06 I had over 20,000 MP3 song files and after the year-long process of rating them, I was able to flush just over 5,000 of them. My current music library has just over 15,000 songs.
Over the last several years I’ve read about and listened to hundreds of new bands. I guess seeking out great new music is like an ongoing easter egg hunt for me. The good news is, if you spend enough time looking … and trudging through a lot of crap and mediocrity … there really are some amazing bands making that glorious art of noise.
Here are my top musical finds — my needles in today’s musical haystack:
Angels and Airwaves
Cosmic Rough Riders
Edwin / Edwin & The Pressure
Fountains Of Wayne
Rich Young Ruler
Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
The Soundtrack Of Our Lives
Let me know if you would like specific album recommendations on any of these bands.
Worst Album Covers Of All Time
I’ve found several lists of “Worst Album Covers” online. Here is my G-Rated list — enjoy!