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Liam

1,001 songs to listen to before you die...

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Posted (edited)

289.      

‘Whole Lotta Love’, Led Zeppelin (1969)

Influenced by: You Need Love • Muddy Waters (1962)   

Influence on: Whole Lotta Rosie • AC/DC(1977)   

Covered by: CCS (1970) • King Curtis (1971) • Tina Turner (1975) • Coalesce (1999) • Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals (2001) • Prince (2003) • The Dynamics (2007) • Mary J. Blige (2010)

This is another song where my first exposure to it somewhat coloured my impression of it. The use of a remix (IIRC) of it for the opening to Top of the Pops meant I ‘knew’ it before I really had ever heard it properly. This – whilst still having some poncing about that I don’t like: a technical term, poncing – is one of the better songs by Led Zeppelin in my opinion mostly because of the power of the guitar work. Plant still has his moments to wail, there is still a fair bit of widdling, but the crunch of the guitar is golden.

290.      

‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, The Stooges (1969)

I’ve not really listened to much of Iggy Pop outside of ‘Lust for Life’; I’m pretty sure I’ve never listened to anything by the Stooges. Dirgy in all the right ways, the pummelling guitar/piano work rarely varies, if at all, creating a nihilistic soundscape for which Iggy Stooge (at the time) to explore ideas around adolescent sex. It was dubbed as ‘boring’ by some in the music media at the time, but it stands out as an interesting next step from blues to rock and roll and into what the Stooges were now offering.

291.      

‘Kick Out The Jams’, MC5 (1969)

It is great that the first release of this song was a live version as it helps to fully encapsulate the raw aggression and power that the song still has. Eventually becoming something of an anti-establishment/counter-culture anthem even without lyrics that were particularly political, the song earned that position due to the various political leanings of the band, as well as their manager who was a founder of the White Panther movement. A precursor to punkier things to come, as well as a nod towards garage rock – a great song to just blast out loud.

 

Edited by Liam

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Posted (edited)

1969

The 60s are over with 700 songs to go. Feels like we could have stuck around for longer. 

Still, the only omission that surprised me from this year was Bowie, and I figure he'll feature a few times before it's all said and done.

My Way is a great song, no amount of funerals and karaoke nights can tarnish that. It's not surprising that Sinatra hated it, though. I like the original French song, too. Did you know the singer died in the shower trying to fix a light bulb? 

That Robert Flack song is beautiful. Another song I included on the soundtrack for my wedding reception. I was happy to see them include Candi Staton and Jimmy Cliff, too. I wasn't expecting those picks. 

The Fairport Convention song was a bit too ethereal for my liking. 

I can't take In the Ghetto seriously. Not after South Park. Anyway, if you want to hear a better song about the ghetto from '69 listen to Donny Hathaway's The Ghetto or Marlena Shaw's epic Woman of the Ghetto.

There's some stuff I could give or take -- like early Fleetwood Mac, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Who, and Led Zeppelin -- but I'm sure others feel that way about my soul picks. That Russell Morris song was interesting. I'm pretty sure I've heard the chorus before. It felt quite experimental. 

Is it just me or was Marianne Faithful trying to sound like Mick Jaggar at this time? 

I love Merle Haggard, but even if the lyrics to Okie from Muskogee were meant to be humourous, I'm not sure I like the chord that it struck. Especially in the present climate.

Peggy Lee's song felt like a relic. It was okay but spoken word has always bothered me unless it's the blues or Southern soul. 

Sweetness is a nice mellow tune. Suspicious Minds is a great karaoke track. I'm sure there are people who prefer Elvis' early stuff but I like Elvis tunes like The Wonder of You and Always on my Mind. The fake fade on Suspicious Minds is awesome.

Je t'aime… moi non plus reminds me of that Marvin Gaye song where he says, " Tu etais incroyable. Oh, that's French, baby. Means you were incredible."

Man, I forgot how bluesy that Syl Johnson song is. That's a great song. Nice to see them pick a Sly and the Family Stone tune too. That was some funky shit. I Want You Back is one of the most uplifting break up songs ever. It makes me chuckle to think it's sung by a 6th grader. 

I did a deep dive of prog once. King Crimson were just getting started here. The Stooges and MC5 kick ass. 

BUT, the best song of the lot -- The Thrill Is Gone. Jesus, what a tune. I can hear what they mean about the strings. Normally, I hate it when they use strings, but nothing can stop this song. I swear BB King revitalized the blues with this gem and paved the way for 70s soul and r'n'b. Did I mention how much I like this song??

Other stuff:

Perhaps even more influential than The Thrill is Gone:

Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time):

The Isley Brothers sure liked the phrase "sock it to":

James Carr covers the Bee Gees. Unbelievable tune. Those horns!

David Ruffin split from the Temptations and delivered this monster solo track:

Fuzz soul? Bob Dylan was a fan of this song:

How high can this man's voice go? Nice slice of country soul:

Trust me, your good thing is about to end:

Marsha Hunt covers Dr. John and crushes it:

If you need a drink:

A cover of an early Parliament song. I cannot stop moving to this:

Sonic Youth fans will recognize this one:

Weird enough for ya?

One for Marvel fans:

One more for comic book fans:

 

Edited by ohtani's jacket
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Posted (edited)

292.      

‘I Want You Back’, Jackson 5 (1969)

Sometimes the book that I’m reading to accompany this points out things that are very much hiding in plain sight for me. This is the case with ‘I Want You Back’. The happiness of the instrumentation pretty much made me forget that this is a song about a broken heart. It is easy to say with the benefit of hindsight, but Michael Jackson at the age of 11 stands a fair bit beyond all of his siblings. He has that touch of stardust – already - that was cultivated to create one of the greatest careers in music history.

293.      

‘The Thrill is Gone’, B. B. King (1969)

A cover of a song that King had enjoyed playing as a DJ almost two decades previous to this, he set out to make the song somewhat moodier and more sophisticated. Restrained guitar and organ were accompanied by a twelve piece string section that were added late on to the proceedings. The book suggested that this brought strings – for better and worse – into mainstream radio just in time for the 70s, which I can neither confirm nor deny. However, this is a cool song that utilises its overall feelings of restraint effectively.

294.      

‘Up Around the Bend’, Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970)

Influenced by: I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail • Buck Owens (1964)  

Influence on: Out in the Street • Bruce Springsteen (1980)   

Covered by: Hanoi Rocks (1984) • Elton John (1994) • The Bates (2000)

Rocking into the 70s with a great opening tune. I’ll unashamedly admit that my enjoyment comes solely from time spent on Guitar Hero/Rock Band (delete as applicable) and playing along on the guitar and singing along. At a time – as we’ve seen – where there is a lot of messing around, wah-wah’ing and concept albums that explore the outer reaches of the mind, ‘Up Around the Bend’ is great because it just offers some great Southern-style rock that starts, rocks, and goes within three minutes. Tightly focused, catchy as all hell, there is no messing around with this tune.

Edited by Liam
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Alright, if the wankers didn't put it in there, I'll do it. 

What do you think about this one, Liam? It's a far sight greater than "Court of the Crimson King", that's for sure, and points far more directly to what they would continue to sound like.

It is also incredible.

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Posted (edited)

They didn't include any instrumentals on the list. 

EDIT: I suppose 21st Century Schizoid Man isn't technically an instrumental but it's pretty borderline by this list's standards. 

Edited by ohtani's jacket

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295.      

‘Layla’, Derek and the Dominoes (1970)

Influenced by: As the Years Go Passing By • Albert King (1967)   

Influence on: Motherless Children • Eric Clapton (1974)   

Covered by: Herbie Mann (1974) • John Fahey (1984) • Henri Salvador (1994) • Bobby Broom (2001)

I don’t really know too much about Eric Clapton himself, but Derek and the Dominoes was apparently a move to remove his name from prominence in order to take some of the pressure he had felt in other ‘supergroups’ off. Written for Pattie Boyd, George Harrison’s wife at the time, it was a song of unrequited love based off of a 12th Century Persian poem – yep, there is a lot going on here. The wail of the guitar is instantly recognisable and lodges itself into your head, as does the wailing vocals of a man who can’t have the woman he wants and is torn apart by it. Boyd did end up with Clapton, though their marriage, likes her to Harrison, ended in divorce. The four minute piano ending was added afterwards, which is pretty much why it does feel like a different song: because it was, though the guitar alongside does tie it in nicely and builds to a satisfactory conclusion.

296.      

‘War Pigs’, Black Sabbath (1970)

Perhaps I should be more ashamed of this – I really don’t know – but I knew this song firstly from the Faith No More cover, which isn’t horrific, but is nowhere near as good as the original. With toned down lyrics to try and avoid more links to demon worship, the song more fit an anti-Vietnam tone (though it was designed to just be anti-war in general). The air sirens set the tone for this, and the album as a whole, and it is the lurching nature of this that I love, as well as the groovy guitar bursts supporting Osbourne’s distinctive vocals. Room is left for some awesome soloing by Tony Iommi and every second of the seven minutes feels used to its fullest, especially the epic sounding closing couple of minutes.

297.      

‘When The Revolution Comes’, The Last Poets (1970)

This sounds powerful even four decades down the line. Three urban poets with links to the Blank Panther movement took aim at black people who were too apathetic to stand up and rail against the behaviour of those in power. The aggression that comes from just three voices and insistent percussion is impressive. This is an interesting take on ‘political’ music as it chooses to take a pop at those who aren’t willing to get involved. If you can excuse me putting on my English teacher’s hat, there is an element of Blake’s ‘London’, where the poet talks about the ‘mind-forg’d manacles’ that stopped people breaking out against the corruptness of the government. The Last Poets seem to feel similarly, perhaps realising that even if they can’t do much against those in power, they can at least mobilise more people in their daily fight.

Edited by Liam

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Posted (edited)

"Black Night" not being on In Rock is criminal. 

Also, that cover of "War" by DOA is hilarious -- and the Laibach one is completely insane. 

As usual, they play "smartest kid in the room" and pull a philosophical argument out of the song. 

EDIT: AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...

Jack Owen, who played guitar on this (formerly of Cannibal Corpse) actually wrote about it in the Youtube comments. 

"I forgot that we kept the whammy bar police sirens I did at the end. That was a scratch one take joke, but we never changed it! Haha! We did a version at the normal tempo, but we never used it. Maybe it will see the light of day...someday. Killer Santolla leads on both versions we did. He was at the top of his game on these sessions. I mean listen to "The Lord's Sedition". Holy shit!"

Edited by Curt McGirt

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Posted (edited)

Moved everything up to make it in order - I know that throws some of the replies out, so sorry about that.

298.      

‘Band of Gold’, Freda Payne (1970)

Freda Payne had limited success with some jazz records in the 60s, but her turn to pop in the 70s brought her her biggest hits. An odd song lyrically as a married couple split on their honeymoon for no defined reason, yet Payne makes it sound very much like someone had done her wrong. The strings do a beautiful job of accompanying her voice, moving in harmony with it in a way that the relationship being sung about clearly didn’t. I can imagine that when this song was written, the team behind it felt they had a surefire hit if they picked the right person, and Payne makes it work.

299.      

‘Love The One You’re With’, Stephen Stills (1970)

There is something almost 80s/90s about this song – I dunno, something Mike and The Mechanics/late Billy Joel about it. Perhaps that is doing this cut from Stephen Stills a disservice, but it just has the vibe for me personally. This also makes good use of the wall of sound stylings, incorporating harmonising vocals in an effective fashion as the song builds towards the tail end, whilst the organ does most of the work throughout. It is a decent song, if one that doesn’t excite me the way some do on the list.

300.      

‘Fire and Rain’, James Taylor

Based on Taylor’s real life struggles with heroin and the suicide of a friend of his, Taylor’s song reached No.3 in the Billboard charts. In terms of my own critique, nothing works better than this quote from the book itself: “‘Fire and Rain’ is undoubtedly a great song,” mused the record’s producer, Peter Asher, twenty-eight years later, “but I’d be hard pressed to say what about it is unusual or which bit of the song is exceptional. The whole thing is.” It just is a really good song, without anything east to pinpoint. Perhaps it’s the simplicity of the instrumentation, Taylor’s clarity in his vocal delivery, or his open lyrics. Whatever it is, it worked.

Edited by Liam

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301.      

‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, Diana Ross

Having been primed for stardom over the course of her tenure in the Supremes, this was Diana Ross’ second attempt to break out as a solo artist after her first single crashed and burned somewhat. Originally a song by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terell which had been a more straightforward take, the version with Ross at the helm added an introductory mix of harmony and instrumentation that meant the song came in at longer than six minutes. I can only assume there was a single version that trimmed off some of the flabbier bits though the build to the chorus is particularly effective. Ross’ voice is without reproach really and you can see why she was singled out for solo stardom, even this early in her career. It is all about the last minute and a half though, if I’m being completely honest.

302.      

‘Black Night’, Deep Purple (1970)

Influenced by: On the Road Again • Canned Heat (1968)

Influence on: Woman • Wolfmother (2005)   

Covered by: Bad Manners (1997) • Deicide (2006) • Pat Travers (2006) • Twilight Guardians (2007)   

Other key track: Smoke on the Water (1972)

I’m assuming the use of ‘Other Key Track’ in the book tells us that ‘Smoke on the Water’ may not even make the list, which is interesting. A song released as a single to promote an album that the song wasn’t even on makes this an interesting selection, as does the use of the organ in a manner that added a weightiness that the book claims was another stepping stone pushing heavy rock towards further…well, heaviness. The central guitar work by Ritchie Blackmore is the star of what is otherwise a pretty perfunctory song, driving everything along with gusto and swagger.

303.      

‘War’, Edwin Starr (1970)

Influenced by: Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today) • The Temptations (1970)   

Influence on: What’s Going On • Marvin Gaye (1971)   

Covered by: D.O.A. (1982) • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (1986) • Laibach (1994) • Joan Osborne (2002) • Gilbert Montagné (2006)

A song that pretty much everyone knows, yet also one that I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever heard the whole way through. Given to Starr when it was decided that it might hurt the career of the Temptations, who it was originally written for. Anti-war sentiment was understandably prevalent and Starr did his best James Brown impersonation over a catchy tune that provided a chantable chorus that made it timeless in its message. There are better songs on this list, but there are few that will be as well known, even if just for the main lyric.

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304.      

‘(To Be) Young, Gifted and Black’, Bob and Marcia (1970)

Written and recorded by Nina Simone but apparently then covered by a range of different artists within the following months, it reached the UK Top Five when recorded by Bob and Marcia. Andy Bob and Marcia Griffiths were occasional partners, yet this was the first time that they had sung with each other according to the book. The lyrics do what they say on the tin – a celebration of being young, gifted and black – and it is the melodious combination of the two vocalists that adds that extra little sparkle of joyousness. When put against some of the more cynical (perhaps rightfully so) takes on oppression of black minorities in society, the celebratory mood is even more stark.

305.      

‘Balls of Confusion’, The Temptations (1970)

This song confused me as I thought for a fair while that I had never heard it before, yet when the titular lyric hit, it did ring a bell. Perhaps on a soundtrack? Who knows? What I do know is that this is a great song that was also very political for a group that I’d never really been aware of being overly involved in that style of music. The bass and the beat drive everything forward, building the tension all the way up to the ‘chorus’, whilst the brass and screechy harmonica add further layers to the tune. Politically engaging and booty shaking all at once.

306.      

Avec le temps’, Léo Ferré (1970)

The first French song for a while, ‘Avec le temps’ muses on the faces we forget as we grow old, a heart that stops beating and the rays of death on a Saturday night. All very melodramatic, but somewhat acceptable when sung in French. Ferré was 54, considered somewhat of a cultural outsider, yet chose to eschew singing in English so was celebrated by left-leaning intellectuals, or so the book says. Whatever is the case, it’s a mournful song that seems written to accompany the sight of rain running down a window on a dark and stormy night…or something. It is decent enough.

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Posted (edited)

307.      

‘The Man Who Sold the World’, David Bowie (1970)

I’m sure I won’t be the only person who is reading this that heard the song first when sung by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s unplugged set. I’m sure that makes me someone who is somewhat blaspheming when I say I prefer the cover to the original, though I do enjoy the spacy nature of Bowie’s delivery, helped by moments of double tracking, and the instrumentals that accompany it , driven by an insistent and catchy guitar. It is a really interesting song lyrically as well. The two are just very different beasts, both enjoyable in their own way.

308.      

‘Awaiting On You All’, George Harrison (1970)

I might be wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard any solo George Harrison until this lively slice of pop. One of the more interesting stories is that this came on a triple album, allowing Harrison to finally show off his writing chops after playing third fiddle to Lennon and McCartney for so long. With Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and Phil Collins involved, alongside Phil Spector on production, it is a really good pop song. There is a lot going on – apparently something Harrison wasn’t sure about Spector’s production – but it creates what feels like something truly joyous, from the vocals to the melody. A real eye opener for me.

309.      

‘Northern Sky’, Nick Drake (1970)

My first engagement, perhaps like a few, with Nick Drake came off the back of Jeff Buckley and Elliott Smith. I felt like Drake had a resurgence as people sought more singer songwriters who died tragically young, turning to Drake’s music from the seventies. Whilst I often thing of his work as quite simplistic, often just letting his vocals do the work, this was a collaboration with John Cale which saw bell chimes, a piano and organ used to create a song that felt more uplifting than most of Drake’s catalogue. I like Drake’s voice, though I can imagine people’s mileage may vary, and the song is a beautiful evocation of love. Wonderful stuff.          

Edited by Liam

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Posted (edited)

310.      

‘Maybe I’m Amazed’, Paul McCartney (1970

Paul McCartney may be a really good singer/songwriter, but I’ve always felt like he comes across as a bit of a knobhead. Also also, I don’t like his solo work really…except probably this very song. With lyrics that seemed to explore ideas around both his new wife and the implosion of the Beatles, McCartney knows how to do one thing really well, and that is to craft a catchy pop song. I like the dynamic shifts between the calm exploration of his situation and the more fractious vocal delivery that perhaps sought to be more reflective of his mental state. Oh and ‘Live and Let Die’ is pretty good as well, if we’re thinking of non-Beatles McCartney songs I like. Might as well chuck that out there.

311.      

‘Into The Mystic’, Van Morrison (1970)

A more sedate and standard song by Mr. Van Morrison here, one that I feel speaks more to the style that those who only know a bit about his music, i.e. me, remember him for doing. Lyrically, the song isn’t quite what it seems with Van Morrison himself unsure of some of the homophonic words that he had written and what he actually meant. What this creates is a song that is more about a tone, emotion or feeling, and there is a lushness that builds to the vocal release that occurs with about a minute to go. A better song than his first on the list? Probably.

312.      

‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine’,  James Brown (1970)

The story behind this song saw Brown lose the majority of his backing band, meaning he had to turn to some fresher, younger faces who weren’t going to challenge him over pay or anything else that might strain a working relationship. This led to a change in sound, in particular the horns being tucked away and the bass doing a lot of work in creating the sexy groove. Up there with Brown’s most popular songs, it doesn’t really go anywhere but it doesn’t really have to. It offers up a song to get down to and does that with aplomb.

Edited by Liam

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Posted (edited)

313.      

‘Ohio’, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1970)

What has been interesting in this project so far for me has been a new understanding of some of the events that have moved people so much as to commit their thoughts to song. Written by Young, ‘Ohio’ was a protest song written after four Kent State University students were shot dead by the National Guard at a protest. Recorded in one take to capture the real anger, the lyrics are really powerful as Young spoke about ‘soldiers cutting us down’. These songs are hard to judge as they often end up on here as much for their social importance at the time. However, this still feels very powerful to me even five decades removed.

314.      

‘The Only Living Boy in New York’, Simon and Garfunkel (1970)

According to the book, Art Garfunkel’s decision to go Mexico to act in ‘Catch 22’ for five months not only was the beginning of the end for the duo, but led to this song, penned by Paul Simon. It could be seen as a dig at his partner, yet he claimed that it was always a song written out of affection than anything. This isn’t as good personally as the S&G songs that I like, but kudos has to be given for the lushness of the melody and the novel decision to create a chorus out of Simon and Garfunkel’s double up vocals.

315.      

‘In a Broken Dream’, Python Lee Jackson (1970)

Some more Australian representation as Python Lee wasn’t a man, but a group who moved to London to seek their fame and fortune. Written by the lead singer, David Bentley, he realised that his vocals weren’t going to do this world weary tale of a broken heart justice (apparently after hearing ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ by Joe Cocker). John Peel suggested that Rod Stewart could fill the gap and that leads us to this. What makes this stand out for me is how different it feels to what Stewart became famous for. His sandpaper vocals do indeed work, and it is great fun to see them sitting on a bed of screeching guitar work at points in the song. A definite curio.

Edited by Liam

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ohtani's jacket said:

Uh oh, 307-309 slipped through the cracks. 

I'm not sure how I keep doing that. The posting here for some reason is more difficult than where I post them originally, so I think I might have just run into some issue when posting.

 

316.      

‘Oh Lonesome Me’, Neil Young (1970)

It speaks to my proclivity for buying albums that I rarely listened to when I was younger that I may, or may not, have the album this song comes from in a box in my attic, yet I’m pretty certain I don’t remember this song. I mean, if I didn’t own the album, then that makes a lot more sense. Still, this was a cover of a song written by Don Gibson, which apparently was a more ‘to hell with it’ take on a song about being lonely. Young took a more literal tack with it, slowing things down and really selling the lyric. The spare backing from the band Crazy Horse supports Young’s mournful tones in a song that is really good…whether I should have heard it before or not.

317.      

’56-64 Was My Number’, Toots and the Maytals (1970)

This is the second song that saw Toots and his Maytals make this list, and as first one came off the back of an eighteen month jail sentence, it is perhaps fitting that the second song was all about his time in prison and his innocence. Popular in Jamaica and overseas, it was both a protest and a prison song, a song that had Toots claiming he was only sent down for trying to protect a friend. The ska/reggae songs are ones I find hard to talk about, as it just isn’t really part of my cultural capital and I find myself just defaulting to words like ‘groovy’ and ‘catchy’. That is exactly what this song is, but perhaps undersells it.

318.      

‘Working Class Hero’, John Lennon (1970)

The third solo Beatles song to make the list, this feels like the one that moves furthest from what the Fab Four were doing. Not that it is Lennon going off and doing Icelandic throat chanting or anything, but the singing and guitar work is very reminiscent of Bob Dylan. According to the book, Lennon had undergone therapy before recording the album, yet what he represented and what he wanted to be clashed, an idea explored on this song. It also involves some casual use of the word ‘fucking’, another move that felt like a deliberate move away from his style when writing alongside Paul McCartney. The relative simplicity of this helps to make it feel timeless – this doesn’t feel five decades old.

Edited by Liam

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319.      

‘Box of Rain’, The Grateful Dead (1970)

Written and sung by Phil Lesh – the vocals being a rarity according to the book – this was a song that was a tribute to Lesh’s father. I was about to start this by saying that I’d never really listened to any Grateful Dead and was interested in hearing what they offered, but this is apparently a departure from the style of music they were famous for. I appreciate the sentiment with which it was written and it is by no means a bad song, yet it did very little for me. I mainly come away from the listen knowing that the writer of this section thought that Lesh wasn’t a very good singer – I’ll leave that up for debate.

320.      

‘Life on Mars?’, David Bowie (1971)

Influenced by: My Death • Scott Walker (1967)   

Influence on: Boy • Ian Hunter (1975)

Covered by: Barbra Streisand (1974) • The Flaming Lips (1996) • Geoff Keezer (2000) • Seu Jorge (2004) • Tony Christie (2006) • The Dresden Dolls (2006) • The Thing (2008) • Enrico Ruggeri (2009)

What surprised me about this song was the story behind it – a swipe at Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ as Bowie had also written a song that used the music of the French song it was based on, ‘Comme d’habitude’, but it went unreleased. It naturally isn’t as straightforward as that, but it definitely makes an intriguing narrative. The song is a great slice of what Bowie was all about at this time – visually arresting in the music video; catchy as anything in the studio. Is this my favourite Bowie song? Quite probably. Something about it just works for me and nothing surpasses it of the songs that I’ve heard.

321.      

‘Bang a Gong (Get It On)’, T-Rex (1971)

Influenced by: Little Queenie • Chuck Berry (1959)   Influence on: Cigarettes and Alcohol • Oasis

Covered by: Power Station (1985) • Blondie (1993) • The Glitter Band (1996) • Boy George & Edwyn Collins (1996) • Neanderthal Spongecake (2002) • Ministry (2008)

Very much the definition of a song that I have been aware of for years, but couldn’t necessarily have told you that it was by T-Rex. One of the only hits for the band in the United States, it was a tribute to ‘Little Queenie’ by Chuck Berry. The most interesting thing here was the potential for excess that the song afforded the band – Bolan apparently bragged about the ability for them to go for twenty minutes by just throwing more and more solos at the song when it was played live. It is a good song, if one that I care less about in the pantheon of rock and roll tunes that I like.

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I write these a day in advance more often than not, yet forgot to save yesterday's listening/writing. Therefore, I've tried to recreate them roughly.

322.      

‘Blackwater Side’, Anne Briggs (1971)

When someone is described as being ‘punk’ when it comes to folk music, you do begin to wonder what you might hear. To be fair, this seems to be more a point about her lifestyle as she busked her way around, enjoying a drink or two and disappeared as soon as she arrived, almost. This song was taught to Bert Jansch who has already been on the list and repurposed by Led Zeppelin before Briggs even committed it to record. She has a beautifully haunting voice that is allowed to shine against her simple guitar instrumentation. Shame there isn’t more of her work out there.

323.      

‘I Don’t Want to Talk About It’, Crazy Horse (1971)

Written by Danny Whitten, this was one of five songs he wrote for the band before his heroin addiction led to him being kicked out of the band. It was also his heroin addiction that led the band to be kicked off of the ‘After The Gold Rush’ recordings with Neil Young, so it was nothing if not destructive – Whitten died in 1972. This is a mournful song that may be about his willingness, or lack thereof, to face his own addiction. The real highlights are Whitten’s weary voice and the melancholy tinge furthered by the slide guitar. I’ve heard covers of this, but nothing beats the original.

324.      

‘A Case of You’, Joni Mitchell (1971)

Mitchell is another artist that I feel I must have heard some work from just by merely existing, but have never sought out her work. This may have been written about James Taylor, whom Mitchell was having an affair with, though she had also been romantically involved with Crosby, Stills and Nash so her entanglements were slightly more complex. Whilst this is not my sort of music, it isn’t hard to see why people like Mitchell – her shifts in pitch and tone showcase a very capable voice.

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325.      

‘Crayon Angels’, Judee Sill (1971)

Reform school, drugs, prostitution and jail are all things you’d be surprised to link with Judee Sill if you just heard her voice alone. A singer and songwriter who died tragically young (35), Sill never really was able to make a breakthrough after becoming the first release on David Geffen’s new label, Asylum Records. Her voice is very melodious and belies what sounds like a very rough life all round. Eye opening if not earth shattering.

326.      

‘Famous Blue Raincost’, Leonard Cohen (1971)

With some of these names, it does interest me as to how many songs might end up on the list. Cohen is famous, yet I wouldn’t be expecting Beatles or Elvis numbers from him. However, this is his second song of a storied career. With a narrative that sees a letter to a male acquaintance exploring a love triangle, Cohen’s talky-style of singing works very effectively with the minimalist strings in accompaniment. Apparently, he spent years perfecting this song as he knew when it was released, it would be a popular addition to his catalogue. Whether that is right, I don’t know, but I enjoy the feeling of contemplation that the whole song creates.

327.      

‘Chalte Chalte’, Lata Mangeshkar (1971)

Once in the Guinness Book of Records as the most recorded song in history, this version is from the 1971 film Pakeezah. Lip-synched by the director’s wife in the movie, it is Mangeshkar who provided the actual voice. There is an element of Indian music that I always enjoy – the rhythm, the instrumentation, the liveliness of a lot of it – but I generally can always give or take it over time. This is here because it is clearly very historic and Mangeshkar has a pleasant singing voice, but that is about all I can offer.

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1970

I wasn't enamoured with the stuff they chose from 1970.

1970 was a weird, sort of transitional year, and I'm not saying they didn't dig in the crates a bit. I just don't like many of the songs they chose.

In some cases, I think they got the song wrong. There are cases where the more obvious pick would have been better -- Paranoid over War Pigs, for example -- and other cases where the B side was better, eg. Speed King is a better Deep Purple song than Black Night. 

I didn't realize that Layla had that piano part at the end. I wonder if that was chopped for radio. I also didn't know that Gil Scott-Heron's The Revolution Will Not Be Televised was a response to that Last Poets song. 

The best song they chose was Band of Gold. I dismissed it at first, but it ended up becoming an ear worm. Really catchy stuff. Interesting that she's singing about not being able to consummate a marriage on the wedding night.  I've been listening to a lot the past week or so. 

For some reason, I dislike James Taylor. Stephen Sills is kind of middle of the road too. I like the chorus of that song, though.

I kind of liked the full length Ain't No Mountain High Enough. At least it wasn't boring. War is played out. One of the strange things about the list is the way they date the songs. Tears of a Clown was listed as being from 1967 because of the album it was on, but it wasn't released as a single until 1970. To me, that makes it a 1970 song but whatever.

If you want to hear Young, Gifted and Black done properly, you need to listen to Nina Simone's version. There's been too much Nina Simone on the list, but that Bob and Marcia version didn't do the song justice,

There are songs I'd put above Ball of Confusion. The French song sounded depressing. I'm pretty sure they chose that Bowie song because of the Nirvana cover. It's a better song that a lot of the other picks from 1970, though.

Maybe I'm being a dick, but I didn't like how they included three songs from the Beatles post-breakup. I thought Lennon's song was the most interesting. Harrison's My Sweet Lord would have been the best if they'd picked it. 

I like Van Morrison but that song didn't do much for me. I've never really gotten into Nick Drake but that was a pretty song. I flat out don't understand why they went with the Simon and Garfunkel pick that they chose. I can kind of give and take the Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Grateful Dead too. Neil Young is one of my all-time favourite artists but apparently they did him dirty on this list. 

"That sounds like Rod Stewart, oh it is Rod Stewart" was about my only reaction to the Python Lee Jackson song. The Mytals song wasn't as good as Pressure Drop (another song with an unclear release date). Sex Machine, if nothing else, is a gateway into the harder funk James Brown was producing at the time.

Songs I like from 1970:

Pretty much says it all:

The best rock band in 1970, IMO:

I know I said there was too much Kinks, but how can you overlook this one?

No Exuma?

I got really into Jorge Ben when we did the best of the 70s album list on DVDVR:

Groovy:

Not a bad early Alice Cooper song:

Eric Burdon and War:

If you want to go singer-songwriter, this one does it for me:

Brings a tear to the eye:

Preach it, Johnny:

Double up on it!

I really like Little Richard's comeback album from this year:

Pretty derivative, but I love this song:

 

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I think they went with the first recording of that known version of the song, from my understanding. Does make some of the dates a little odd.

328.      

‘Maggie May’, Rod Stewart (1971)

Influenced by: Maggie May • Traditional English folk song (c.1800)   

Influence on: Painkiller • Turin Brakes (2003)   

Covered by: The Pogues (1989) • Blur (1992) • Mathilde Santing (2008) • Massacre (2008) • Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs (2009)

This is another one of those songs that I feel like I’ve heard the chorus of a million times, but never sat down and listened to the whole song in one go. A narrative about a young boy that finds himself in the clutches of an older woman, the song feels lively in a manner that is almost at odds with the limited amount of instruments creating the sound. I agree with the book when it states that there is a timeless feel to the song – it surprised me how ‘current’ it sounded when it kicked into gear. Underneath the rock and roll element, there is just a really well-crafted pop song.

329.      

‘Imagine’, John Lennon (1971)

Influenced by: Let It Be • The Beatles (1970)   

Influence on: Don’t Look Back in Anger • Oasis (1995)

Covered by: Andy Williams (1972) • Diana Ross (1973) • Susan Cadogan (1975) • Elton John (1980) • Gerry & The Pacemakers (1981) • Liza Minnelli (1992) • David Bowie (1997) • Ray Charles (2001)

I fucking hate this song.

330.      

‘Laughing’, David Crosby (1971)

Pushed back to 1971 following the success of Crosby, Stills and Nash, this was an all-star group accompanying Crosby’s solo effort. Joni Mitchell, members of the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane were involved in some capacity in bringing the song to record. I’d enjoyed when Simon and Garfunkel had their vocals tracked many times over for one of their songs and a similar thing happens here as Crosby’s voice is multi-layered in places. Alongside the rippling and metallic sound of the percussion, there is a hippy serenity and spirituality to the song that was really fun.

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3 hours ago, ohtani's jacket said:

I didn't realize that Layla had that piano part at the end. I wonder if that was chopped for radio. I also didn't know that Gil Scott-Heron's The Revolution Will Not Be Televised was a response to that Last Poets song. 

It's funny, but that's literally the only thing I can remember about the song.  Blame Goodfellas, where I've seen that one scene a bunch of times, even if I'm not sure I've ever seen the whole movie.

 

1 hour ago, Liam said:

    

‘Imagine’, John Lennon (1971)

Influenced by: Let It Be • The Beatles (1970)   

Influence on: Don’t Look Back in Anger • Oasis (1995)

Covered by: Andy Williams (1972) • Diana Ross (1973) • Susan Cadogan (1975) • Elton John (1980) • Gerry & The Pacemakers (1981) • Liza Minnelli (1992) • David Bowie (1997) • Ray Charles (2001)

I fucking hate this song.

 

Amen to that.  Glad I'm not the only one.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Liam said:

I fucking hate this song.

THANK YOU.

I'll say they did Neil dirty if the Crazy Horse material to come doesn't make the list. We're not even to Harvest yet honestly. 

EDIT: You know what? I have no clue how they could put "Imagine" on a list of Songs You Have To Hear Before You Die, because if you haven't already heard that song so many times you want to die then you probably aren't alive, and most everyone who lived after it came out and are dead had heard it that many times too.

Edited by Curt McGirt

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Posted (edited)

In what is my all time favourite thread on this forum, that Imagine entry is my favourite so far. I've laughed ever since. TREMENDOUS.

And I like Lennon as much as the next guy but Imagine? Nah, fuck that noise. 

I have to say though, I dig the absolute fuck out of Into The Mystic, it's legit one of my all time favourite songs.

Edited by Fuzzy Dunlop
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