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Heard It On The XM

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  1. Creedence Clearwater Revisited, anyone? Genesis, reuniting without Peter Gabriel or Steve Hackett, could have made this list too.
  2. "Beck's Bolero" by the Jeff Beck group featured a famous gaffe by guest drummer Keith Moon, who can be heard screaming when he knocked over his microphone stand.
  3. Seeing that this thread has stalled out again, I will do the honors with another (Not-Quite-)Weekly One Hit Wonder. The time was December 1979. The Iranian hostage crisis had entered its second month. The long-awaited feature film adaptation of the original Star Trek TV series had just hit the silver screen. A Who concert in Cincinnati had just become a disaster scene, with eleven concertgoers trampled to death. The disco era, like the decade it dominated, was on its last legs, and the U.S. singles chart had recently been topped by two other one-hit wonders, "My Sharona" by The Knack and "Pop Muzik" by Robin Scott (better known simply as "M"). No doubt those two fine songs will eventually be covered on this thread... but the song I'm talking about wasn't quite that big a hit. Not in the States, anyway. The song, about a musician rendered obsolete in a dystopian future, did top the British chart in late October, but it wasn't until December 15 when Casey Kasem finally got to introduce the song on American Top 40... right at #40. I hope Kasem savored that experience, because the song fell off the US Top 40 straight away the following week, and the duo that recorded it would never have another major hit in either country - but the song and its performers would both find new life in the coming new decade. Of course, I could only be talking about one song, not only a one-hit wonder but likely the greatest US one-week wonder of all time: "Video Killed The Radio Star" by The Buggles Although the song only stayed for a cup of coffee on the US chart, its greatest claim to Stateside fame was still to come. On August 1, 1981, its music video famously became the birth cry of MTV, earning VKTRS its own special place in American music lore. By this time The Buggles had already embarked on a short-lived merger with the legendary prog-rock band Yes, recorded a follow-up Buggles album, and broken up after the album tanked, with one member, Geoff Downes, joining the newly formed supergroup Asia and another, Trevor Horn, electing to retire as a musician and become a full-time producer instead. Ironically, one of Horn's first albums as producer was 90125, the comeback album by the newly reformed Yes! As one-hit wonders go, VKTRS wasn't the biggest hit by any means, but it may have been the most influential. Not only did the song help set the tone for the British New Wave acts of the 1980s, but its video's newfound popularity showed that MTV could bring them an audience on this side of The Pond as well. Groups like Duran Duran and Ireland's U2 may never have broken in North America, while established groups like The Police and Genesis would have found it that much harder to build upon their modest pre-MTV North American commercial success, without The Buggles leading the way. All in all, quite an impressive American legacy for a group that barely caught a sniff of the US Top 40.
  4. Don't forget the all-time classic title: "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict" by Pink Floyd.
  5. Most obvious lyric ever: Talking Heads, "Once In A Lifetime" There is water at the bottom of the ocean Most redundant lyric ever: Eric Burdon and War, "Spill The Wine" I could feel hot flames of fire roaring at my back As opposed to what? Cold flames? Flames of something other than fire? Most waffling lyrics ever (tie): Donovan, "There Is A Mountain" First there is a mountain Then there is no mountain Then there is How can a freaking mountain just disappear, and then come back? LL Cool J, "Going Back To Cali" Going back to Cali, Cali, Cali Going back to Cali I don't think so Well, make up your d@#^ mind - are you going back to Cali, or aren't you? More dumb lyrics: Paper Lace, "The Night Chicago Died" Daddy was a cop On the east side of Chicago So he was patrolling Lake Michigan? Thin Lizzy, "Jailbreak" Tonight there's gonna be a jailbreak Somewhere in the town Somewhere in the town. Hmm... let me guess, how about... the jail? The Cyrkle, "Red Rubber Ball" The morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball OK everyone, on three... 1... 2... 3: "RED RUBBER BALLS DON'T SHINE!!!"
  6. Until about 5 years ago, I never knew "Mama" by Genesis was really about a prostitute. I'm sure I could think of dozens more if I wasn't about to turn in for the evening.
  7. "Hungry For You (j'aurais tojours faim de toi)" by The Police, from Ghost In The Machine. It is sung almost entirely in French.
  8. More dumb lyrics: Sammy Hagar, "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy" So sublime Hot, sweet cherries on the vine Cherries don't grow on vines, they grow on trees. Sammy must have skipped school on the day they taught that in his science class. He must also have missed out on the story of young George Washington chopping down the cherry tree. The Beatles, "Yellow Submarine" All our friends are all aboard Many more of them live next door How can one live next door to a submarine?
  9. "Universal Soldier" - Donovan (an early anti-Vietnam War song) "Sunday Bloody Sunday" - U2 (protesting the violence in Northern Ireland by both sides in that conflict) "I Can't Drive 55" - Sammy Hagar (no, really - Hagar meant it as a protest song against the lowering of speed limits!)
  10. Down By The Seaside When The Levee Breaks Bron-Y-Aur Stomp Your Time Is Gonna Come (gotta love the organ intro!)
  11. Not counting one-time supergroups, here are the first one-album wonders off the top of my head: The Knack - Get The Knack New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry
  12. A few months ago, XM Satellite Radio started running AT40 episodes from Casey Kasem's original run as host of the show (1970-1988). Has anyone else here been listening? What are your thoughts on the show? I used to listen pretty religiously during the mid-1980s, so I try to catch at least the airing on XM's '80s channel, either on Sunday or the Thursday night repeat. Occasionally when I'm in a particularly masochistic adventurous mood, I'll also listen to a show from the '70s, on the '70s channel (natch) Saturdays or Wednesday nights. I've also found the Web site of the company that is restoring the old AT40 shows for XM. They've even posted PDFs of the cue sheets for all the episodes they've already restored or are working on, so that listeners can follow along if they so desire. (As far as I can tell, only a tiny fraction of the episodes with cue sheets posted have actually been run yet). Even apart from the shows, this is a veritable treasure trove (albeit an incomplete one) of Billboard chart information from the 1970s and 1980s.
  13. A few more great covers: "Signs" by Tesla (originally by Five-Man Electrical Band) "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" by Warren Zevon (who was doing precisely that when he recorded his version for his last album The Wind) "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" by Creedence Clearwater Revival (all eleven minutes of it) "Every Little Thing" by Yes (originally by the Beatles; Yes's version appears on their first album) "Superstition" by Stevie Ray Vaughan (originally by Stevie Wonder) "Little Wing " by Derek and the Dominos (originally by Jimi Hendrix; Vaughan also did a pretty good version of this)
  14. "Free Fallin'" isn't even the best sing-along song on that album (Full Moon Fever). That would be "Yer So Bad".
  15. My two cents on this list: #50, Iron Butterfly: I like "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" as much as the next guy, but if you've ever been in an adventurous and/or masochistic enough mood to try listening to the five tracks on the other side of that album, you'll immediately understand why this group deserved to make the list. I found only one of them, "My Mirage" (a stereotypical psychedelic anthem) to be even marginally listenable. #43, Mike & the Mechanics: I thought their debut album was pretty good, and I didn't really mind Beggar on a Beach of Gold either. The Living Years, on the other hand, was a complete waste of time and plastic (and whatever other materials go into making cassettes and CDs). #42, Rick Wakeman: I like Yes but I've never really gotten into Wakeman's solo material. What little of it I have heard, I could take it or leave it. #37, The Doors: The only entry on this list that I completely disagreed with. Now, if we were talking about the lineup that carried on after Morrison's death, it might have been a different story... #32, The Hooters: I actually rather liked their debut album Nervous Night. I've only heard a couple of their songs after that album though, so for all I know they could have gone downhill from there. Oh, and for the record, the band had nothing to do with the restaurant chain (although both formed at about the same time). #21, The Alan Parsons Project: Like most prog-rock groups, APP was really hit-and-miss, but putting them among the 50 worst rock artists of all time is a bit of a reach. #18, Pat Boone: At least his metal covers are good for laughs. #6, Kansas: See #21, The Alan Parsons Project. #3, Michael Bolton: And to think he started out as a hard rocker! Then again, his one hard-rock hit, "Fool's Game" wasn't particularly memorable either. #2, Emerson, Lake and Palmer: See #21, The Alan Parsons Project and #6, Kansas - then multiply by a factor of at least 10. ELP's music was basically prog-rock on 'roids. Now, here are some artists and bands that should have made the list: Post-Paul Rodgers Bad Company: Could you even recognize them as the same group after Brian Howe took over as their frontman? My God, he took one of the great bands of all time and made them sound like a bunch of pipsqueak Survivor wannabes. (The band Survivor, that is, not the TV show.) The next guy, Robert Hart, wasn't much better; he sounded as though he was doing an impression of Robert Palmer doing an impression of Rodgers. James Taylor: See Dan Fogelberg (#19 on Blender's list). At least Fogelberg didn't sing through his nose. Quiet Riot: Just as Whitesnake shamelessly mimicked Led Zeppelin, so QR shamelessly mimicked Slade. You'd think they could have at least picked a more interesting group to imitate. Speaking of which... White Lion: As if Bon Jovi themselves hadn't become tiresome enough by the late 1980s, along came these Bon Jovi wannabes. Yaawwwnnnn..... Europe: From Sweden, the same country that foisted ABBA and Yngwie Malmsteen upon the music world, these pseudo-hard-rockers gave us the simpering love ballad "Carrie" and, of course, their vapid signature anthem "The Final Countdown" which is still used to torture innocent, unsuspecting fans at sporting events to this day. As the list's author said, "Beware all bands named after states or continents!"
  16. Any song that uses the word "gay" with its original meaning. One example is "The Great Pretender" by The Platters: "Oh yes, I'm the great pretender/Just laughing and gay like a clown." Nowadays if anyone tried to write a song with lyrics like that, they'd quickly be accused of stereotyping all clowns as homosexuals.
  17. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, "Her Strut" Actual lyric: "They do respect her, but they love to watch her strut" Misheard lyric: "They do respect her butt/They love to watch her strut" Iron Maiden, "Number Of The Beast" Actual lyric: "Six-six-six" Misheard lyric: "Sex! Sex! Sex!" Peter Frampton (or to be more precise, Peter Frampton's guitar and "talk box"), "Do You Feel Like We Do" Actual lyric: "I want to thank you" Misheard lyric: "I want to f**k you" Four Tops, "I Can't Help Myself" Actual lyric: "I'm weaker than a man should be" Misheard lyric: "Quicker than a magic bean" Blue Oyster Cult, "Don't Fear The Reaper" Actual lyric: "Don't fear the reaper" Misheard lyric: "Don't fear the reefer" Van Halen, "Running With The Devil" Actual lyric: "G*dd*mn it lady, you know I ain't lyin' to you" Misheard lyric: "G*dd*mn the Navy and all you lifers" M, "Pop Muzik" Actual lyric: "Pop, pop, pop music" Misheard lyric: "I'm, I'm, I'm dizzy" Helloween, "Halloween" Actual lyric: "Masquerade, masquerade" Misheard lyric: "Masturbate, masturbate"
  18. One notable subset of one-hit wonders is bands who are (intentionally or not) stylistically nearly identical to another band popular at that time, and whose one hit is sometimes misattributed to that band. I know there have a number of these "copycat" one-hit wonders throughout rock history, but only two come to mind right now: "Vehicle" by Ides of March (a Blood, Sweat & Tears copycat), and "Call To The Heart" by Giuffria (a mid-'80s Journey copycat whose lead singer even sounded remarkably like Steve Perry). Can anyone else here think of the other one-hit (or even more-than-one-hit) copycats?
  19. The worst song misuse ever may be the 1-minute spot for the TV series Lost that ran on ABC during Super Bowl XL. They used the late Robert Palmer's "Addicted To Love" (and even incorporated footage from the song's famous video) but digitally edited the chorus: "Might as well face it, you're addicted to Lost". To make matters worse, Palmer's accent makes it sound more like "you're addicted to lust". Two weeks later, I'd wager Palmer's still turning in his grave.
  20. I never thought I'd see the day when Olympic figure skaters would set their program to a Led Zeppelin song. But tonight at the 2006 Torino games, a Chinese pair used an instrumental remix of "Kashmir" for their short program. Comments?
  21. OK, here's a thread that should last awhile... Do you have any songs in mind that you think should have been covered by certain other artists? I have a few in mind, so I'll get this snowball rolling down the hill... "Fresh Air" by Quicksilver Messenger Service Should have been covered by: Santana Why: This Latin-tinged song is vaguely reminiscent of early Santana classics like "Evilways" and "No One To Depend On". "Never Been To Spain" by Three Dog Night Should have been covered by: The Black Crowes Why: The song would have been right at home on one of the Crowes' first two albums (think "She Talks To Angels" or "Thorn In My Pride"). "Solitary Man" by Neil Diamond Should have been covered by: R.E.M. Why: Speed up the tempo of Diamond's song just a touch (no pun intended) and it could have fit on any of R.E.M.'s albums from their IRS days (i.e. Murmur thru Document), or even a little later (think "Texarkana"). "Whipping Post" by the Allman Brothers Band Should have been covered by: Joe Cocker Why: I know what you're thinking... "Great, just what the world needs - yet another Joe Cocker cover song." Still, "Whipping Post" does bear a passing resemblance to some of Cocker's covers from that same era (think "The Letter" or "With A Little Help From My Friends"), the odd time signatures notwithstanding. I can almost hear Cocker singing "Good Lord, I feel like I'm dying..." "Will A Little More Love Make It Right" by Olivia Newton-John Should have been covered by: Sammy Hagar-era Van Halen Why: Hagar's VH never got around to continuing the David Lee Roth-era tradition of hard-driving but unlikely covers ("You Really Got Me", "Oh Pretty Woman"), but Newton-John's hit could have made an interesting candidate. The chorus in particular sounds almost as though it was written with Hagar, Eddie Van Halen and Michael Anthony in mind as the vocalists. "Lonesome Loser" - or actually, almost any given song by the Little River Band Should have been covered by: Wilson Phillips Why: "Release Me" (WP's big hit) vaguely reminded me of LRB, and it occurred to me that WP could probably do at least a passable remake of most of LRB's big hit songs.
  22. There are alternate mixes of two well-known songs - Eric Clapton's "After Midnight" and the Black Crowes' "Hard to Handle" that add horn sections to those songs. The "standard" mixes of those songs don't have horns, which is too bad because the horns add a whole new level of energy to these songs.
  23. Genesis is another example of a rock group reinventing itself (for better or worse) in the middle of its long career. In their early years with Peter Gabriel on lead vocals, Genesis was a progressive/English-folk rock band in roughly the same vein as Jethro Tull (and like Tull's lead singer Ian Anderson, Gabriel even played the flute). After he left in 1975 and drummer Phil Collins took over the lead vocals, Genesis began to slowly metamorphosize into what could best be described as progressive power pop - a process accelerated by the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett, and which was more or less complete by the end of that decade.
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