Sunday, May 15, 2011
It appears that my previous two test blogs both turned out ok...so...i'm gonna do an actual post. It's been a little while since my last posting for just a couple of reasons. 1. I'd been so frustrated with the presentation of the last two posts (I suspect blogger was having technical difficulties) that I wasn't motivated to come back and try again. But, i'm an optimist at heart so here we are. 2. Reason number the second, is because today's blog consists of twenty of my favorite songs from the 1960. And folks, that takes a lot of thinking about.
There are only two really obvious (ok, maybe three) picks on this list--but the rest come largely from tunes that are reminiscient of my childhood in Germany. My mom and Dad had a healthy sized collection of mixed tapes consisting larely of songs from the 1950s and 60s that they had recorded off the radio from the old nationally syndicated program, "Solid Gold Saturday Night."
I clearly recall rolling down the Autobahn on many a'weekend traversing between our little American community (Plittersdorf) and various destinations including airforce bases (where we bought most of our groceries) to a myriad of European travel spots such as Eurodisney, Amsterdam, and even Hitler's house (no, really); just to name a few. And always, along these drives that were illustrated by beautiful European countrysides fresh with lush vineyards and old Roman ruins, it could always be counted upon that our little mini-van (dubbed "lil red" by my dad) would be blasting all the best in American Oldies.
Sometimes we would rock the Weird Al Yankovic, but most of the time it was Oldies. And, that's how I grew up. Listening to...how does Bob Seger put? OLD TIME ROCK AND ROLL...amid a backdrop of European magnificence. In my mind's eye, it was perfect. And I don't care to remember it any other way. So, without further rambling...I present for your reading and listening pleasure, my top twenty picks of the 1960s.
1. Homeward Bound--by Simon and Garfunkel
One of the heavier songs on this list, not only does it take me back to Europe, but it also will always remind me of my dad. Because everytime this song would come on (and still, even today, when we listen to it) dad will always begin to reminiss about his time in the army in Korea in 1969. For a soldier along way from home, far from his family and his girl--this is an awfully poignant track. It might be about touring with your band, initially...but songs can mean different things for different people. And dad, whenever he hears this song, just can't help but say, "Yeah David...that's my song." I could do an entire blog (and probably more) about all the stories my dad has told me over the years about this time in his life...but that's a tale for another day.
2. Make your own kind of music--by Mama Cass
Admittedly, this isn't one of the songs I really remember from our road trips in Europe. I've always liked the Mamas and the Papas...but it wasn't until season two of LOST, where this song is featured in the first episode when it began heavy rotation in the playlist that is my life. For the past 5 years it has been one of my favorites...period. And, I presume it shall remain that way until I depart this world. You left us too soon Ms. Cass. And in the words of Bob Dylan, "Mama, you been on my mind."
3. Summer Song--by Chad and Jeremy
Few songs put me in a state of wistful longing like this charming little tribute Summer's final days.
4. Another You--by The Seekers
I think I've said this before in a previous blog, but it bears repeating. This song could EASILY have featured somewhere on the LOST soundtrack; but it never did. Thats ok though, cause if I ever write a sweet novel and it gets turned into a film I will demand that it be placed somewhere within the run-time. It's simply too beautiful to sit dusty on musical history's enormous shelf to not be shared with the world.
5. Groovin, on a Sunday afternoon--by The Rascals
I'm a big fan of laid back, romantic ballads. Can you tell? ;) And incidentally, "groovin on a sunday afternoon" is LITERALLy what i'm doing at this precise moment.
6. Hey Jude--by The Beatles
Oh come on, you KNEW they were going to be on this list SOME WHERE. And what better song to post than one of the happiest songs ever? You can't be in a bad mood, listen to this gem, and at least feel a LITTLE better. :)
7. Never my love--by The Association
Yes. You've seen this song on my blog before. I won't make any apologies for that.
8. White Shade of Pale--by Procol Harum
Another choice, not necessarily stemming from my childhood in Germany, this one comes more from my time as a teenager growing up in Northern Virginia. A strange, lovely little tune. It will always have a soft spot in my heart as one of the songs that helped get me through my "awkward tweenage years." (p.s. would that I had the proper facial hair, I would SO grow a mustache like this guy)
9. Runaway--by Del Shannon
Because you can't mess with Del Shannon
10. Hang on Sloopy--by The McCoys
SLOOPY HANG ON!
11. Just Like a Woman--by Bob Dylan
12. Pleasant Valley Sunday--by The Monkees
The exact perfect song for today.
13. Fall to Pieces--by Patsy Cline
Because what would a good blog be without a little country? And Ms. Cline, she was the queen of it all. When am I gonna get my Patsy Cline biopic? Zoey Deschanel...i'm looking in your direction.
14. The Pied Piper--by Crispian St. Peters
I've been carrying a torch for this song for probably longer than I can remember. Lord only knows why. I still geek out to it when I think no one is looking. In fact, my parents still have an old audio-tape recording of me at 3 years old singing this quirky little gem. They love to play it whenever I bring friends home to visit...
15. Raindrops keep falling on my head--by B.J. Thomas
The break-down is my favorite part. :)
16. Unchain my heart--by Ray Charles
In the words of Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, "WE'RE NOT WORTHY! WE'RE NOT WORTHY!" Ray Charles is one of the coolest, most talented blokes to ever grace our world. And I am honored to have experienced his music. Sure, he had his problems...but then don't we all? Thank God we always have the music to fall back on and catch us.
17. I've been loving you too long--by Otis Redding
I love a song where you can hear every ounce of emotion pouring out from the singer's mouth into his or her work. Every bit of happiness and heartbreak. Every painful memory, every joyous love affair. Every glorious, obscene feeling that illustrates their love and their passion. And I don't think i've heard a song by Otis Redding yet, that doesn't strike each of these emotions squarely on the noggin. The Lord took this man too soon; but his music has been allowed to remain a positive force for all of us to bask in, and to learn from.
18. Good Lovin--by The Young Rascals
Cause even a blind man knows when the sun is shinin!
19. So happy together--by The Turtles
The mega feel good uber bombastic super love song that is the story of my life. And...yes...also the anthem for Golden Grahams cereal.
20. Light my Fire--by The Doors
Yeah, yeah yeah...I know. Cliche right? Overplayed right? Obviously. But that doesn't mean it's a bad song. There is a reason songs are overplayed. It's because when they first came out they crushed all the competition and in so doin made ever lasting icons of themselves to be cherished and listened to over and over and over again. And you know what? I'm ok with that. My cd/tape/record collection rests some where between one to two thousand albums of all different walks of musical styles. Because variety is the spice of life's great taco (what?). But I will always come back to my base. Sure, songs like "light my fire" might get old. But all you have to do is take a break from them, and when you revisit them, they embrace you like old friends. And anyway, damn...you GOTTA love that organ solo ;)
So in conclusion, I think it only fair to say that I owe Ma and Pa Banker a great deal. But one of the things I owe them specifically, is that at a very young age--they set the stage for my lifelong love of all walks of music with their rambling mix tapes of Oldies nostalgia. And to that, I say many, MANY thanks.
Stay tuned for next time, when we review my favorite sounds of the 70's.
Long days and pleasant nights my friends. And watch out for John Stamos.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
BUT ANYWAY! Today's blog features some of the more provacative picks from my music library. A list of twenty songs for the perfect make-out mix!
1. Bonita Applebaum, by A Tribe Called Quest
Let's start things out with a super sexy hip hop classic shall we? Oh my, yes.
2. Stranglehold, by Ted Nugent
Dirty, hot, strange and sassy. Say what you want about The Nuge. He may be a whackadoo conservative bow-hunting mad man. But wang-dang that long-haired hillbilly sure can write a hot damn tune.
3. Dazed n Confused, by Led Zeppelin
Black lights. Incense. A shot of bourbon. And a filthy, sexy Led Zeppelin record. Do you need anything else? NO. I didn't think so.
4. The Whipping Post, by The Allman Brothers
The Whipping Post has virtually the same effect as Dazed n Confused. The difference though is that there are varying versions of this song. If your lucky you can find some live versions that go on for more than twenty minutes. And hey, let's be honest. The longer the song the better on a make-out mix right? Yes. I thought so too. The version i've posted here features guest guitarist zakk wylde (yay!) and goes for nearly 15 minutes. :D
5. Young Lust, by Pink Floyd
::::shrugs shoulders and smiles sheepishly:::::
6. Happiness is a warm gun, by The Beatles
Is there a naughtier song by The Beatles than this one? Well, there is always the blatant "Why don't we do it in the road" but that one relies more heavily on the quirk factor, whereas Happiness is just straight up gritty and sensual but in a classy/bluesy sort of way. Nobody does it quite like The Beatles. ...no pun intended.
7. Purple Stain, by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
But then again what's wrong with a little quirk in your make out mix anyway? Such a compilation wouldn't be complete without a funky rendezvous from a track from the "By The Way" album by these delightful young men.
8. Heard it Through the grape vine, by Creedence Clearwater Revival
One word: SINister
9. Give in to me, by Michael Jackson
God he was good. This is a really under-rated song too. It's not as recognized as your "Beat it's" and "Man in the Mirror's" or your "Billie Jeans." The man had more problems than the universe could hold--but, Lord could he write a tune. Tsk.
10. Bang Bang, by Nancy Sinatra
My baby shot me down....A sexy tune doesn't always have to rock. It can be slow, and haunting, and dangerous.
11. Criminal, by Fiona Apple
I've been a bad, bad squirrel...
12. Honey Bee, by Tom Petty
This is quite possibly the most provocative song Tom Petty has ever written. Buzz awhile ;)
13. Cut Like a Buffalo, by The Dead Weather
I think this the most recent song on this list. The Dead Weather is of course one of Jack White's many musical projects. They formed in 2009 and have already released two studio albums. It's bluesy, like the White Stripes, but where the Stripes had more of a humorous edge, The Dead Weather is absolutely musical sex. The energy is so raw, and the tension is so tight you could bounce a silver dollar on it. "Cut like a buffalo" is from their first album, "Horehound."
14. Crazy, by Aerosmith
I guess....well....cause some guilty pleasures will never, ever, expire :)
COME HERE BABY! ::::ENTER GLORIOUS DRUM FILL::::
15. Got you where I want you, by The Flys
did'ja know that I can dance? Could we talk for a while?
16. Swallowed, by Bush
Does this one take you back? It takes me back...
17. Fishin in the Dark, by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Don't judge me. I want to live this song.
18. I Alone, by Live
Surreal. And oh so true.
19. Red House, by Jimi Hendrix
in the words of Jimi Hendrix, "AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YEAH BABY." Need we say more? The song speaks for itself.
20. Say Goodbye, by Dave Matthews Band featuring John Popper of Blues Traveler
I don't know many songs that are simultaneously sweet, sad, strong yet delicate, sensual and evocative of a light summer evening. But this one has it all. "Say Goodbye" is a sexy, heart-breaking tune; and I can think of none better to round out a list of songs to put on a make-out mix.
Honorable Mentions: pretty much anything by She & Him
And now, ladies and gentleman, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, lovers and cousins (what?) i'm going to go home, and watch Macgyver
Next Week's blog: Songs that completely transform your mood
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
In other news, I literally overheard a teenager just now say, "I need something hard........to write on."
In further news, I require a butterscotch dinosaur. What?
LET THE CURTAIN RISE!
1. Crazy Love--by Van Morrison
The only song that could be a better opener to a list like this would be "I want you" by Bob Dylan; but i've used that one already in a different list. That song, and this one--I consider to possibly be the two greatest love songs ever written.
2. Wet Sand--by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
No, seriously. Listen to it and tell me i'm wrong.
3. Beautiful--by The Smashing Pumpkins
Dear Billy Corgan, write more songs like this.
4. These Arms of Mine--by Otis Redding
I've been carrying this song around with me for a long, long time. Since, well...ever since "Dirty Dancing" came out in 1987 when I was six years old. I loved all the songs from that movie, but "These Arms of Mine" struck a chord with me more than anything else on that sound track. You can hear the sincerity in Otis's voice. It is love, and passion, and tenderness personified through song.
5. Never My Love--by The Association
A couple weeks ago, I featured a cover of this song--done by Adam Green. Here is the original.
6. She Loves You--by The Beatles
Cause we want to dance, and they can't all be slow dances. :)
7. Dance, Dance, Dance--by Steve Miller Band
I repeat, "Cause we want to dance, and they can't all be slow dances." :)
8. So Happy Together--by The Turtles
I don't care if it's cliched. I love the crap out of this song. I also love turtles. I mean...The Turtles were a cool band......but....I also just really like turtles. Additionally, I can't see me lovin nobody but you. True statement.
9. Salley Garden--an instrumental, traditional Irish tune
As far as background music pre-ceremony is concerned, this just off the top of my head would definitely have to be considered. This is another song that has been with me a long time. I first heard it on a collection of old Irish Ballads that I bought from Cracker Barrell when I was 15 or 16. Really. It's a lovely tune. I listen to this whenever i'm tweaking out due to stress, and it helps immensley.
10. All of My Love--by Led Zeppelin
Interestingly, this could potentially be another pre-ceremony tune...provided we weren't blaring it, of course :)
or how about this orchestral version?
11. I will Always Love You--By Dolly Parton
Because she's the best. In truth, this song is actually a little bit sad......but it's also just so damn pretty; and honest. And that's what it's all about. Open, brutal, honesty; and love. Honestly.
12. Moonlight Serenade--by Glen Miller Orchestra
The last of my pre-ceremony picks.
13. Oh How Happy--by The Jackson 5
I had to fit little mikey and company on this list somewhere. And this is just a terrific, delightful, sweet song. Sometimes I want to climb to the top of the highest hill and proclaim the chorus of this song for all the world to hear; in my honest, off key voice.
14. Wouldn't it be nice--by The Beach Boys
No words are necessary here--just click the link and drown in Brian's ethereal vocals. Mega-happy pop classics are what's up.
15. I want to grow old with you--by Adam Sandler
Dear Adam Sandler, please go back to making decent movies with real heart, and genuine hilarity. We miss them. Much obliged.
16. Passionate Kisses--by Lucinda Williams
I mean, cause...really...who DOESN'T want passionate kisses at their wedding? Just sayin...
17. The Love Song From Disney's Robin Hood
I know what i'm talking about. Trust me.
18. Here Comes my Girl--by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Cause you know when i've got that little girl stand right by my side I can tell the whole wide world to SHOVE IT!" Yeah...amen to THAT.
19. Another You--by The Seekers.
I feel like this song should have been featured somewhere on the six season run of "LOST." But, since it wasn't, it will just have to feature here instead. :)
20. Pure Imagination--from the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, sung by Gene Wilder
This is the first dance. That is all.
and on those sweet notes, I bid you a good evening. If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it...
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
1. Each Coming Night--by Iron and Wine
I can think of nothing better to start with, than this flawless, peaceful, sad, gem of a song.
2. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness--by The Smashing Pumpkins
3. You Can Call me Al--by Paul Simon
Cause they can't all be sad songs. I expect people to dance at my funeral. I expect leaping, and dancing in praise of beauty, and happiness, and deep friendship. And if they don't i'll haunt their asses ;)
4. Solsbury Hill--by Peter Gabriel
Pack your things, i've come to take you home. That about sums it up, doesn't it?
5. All Dead, All Dead--by Queen
Sure, it sounds like a morbid emo song; but it certainly is graceful. Queen shall bring a touch of class to my death.
6. The World Exploded into Love--by Bob Schneider
If you don't listen to any of the other songs i've posted...listen to this one. It sort of sums up my life, and all my philosophies.
7. Follow You, Follow Me--by The Red House Painters
Gorgeous. A sad love song fit for Angels of the highest order.
8. Fake Plastic Trees--by Amanda Palmer and her Ukelele
Just when you think one of your favorite songs can't get any better, some one proves you wrong by giving it the vocals of a haunting rock queen and applies a ukelele.
9. One more Cup of Coffee--by The White Stripes
I just realized the past three songs were covers....huh. And who says it can't be just a little sinister?
10. Wilderflowers--by Tom Petty
This song is, as so far as I can tell, about traveling away to a peaceful place of harmony and color. I can't live without it, and I wouldn't be able to pass on without it either.
11. When the Deal Goes Down--by Bob Dylan
It's almost like a lullabye you could die to...
12. Melissa--by The Allman Brothers
I has meh reasons
13. When I Grow Up--by The Beach Boys
Because some songs are painfully poignant
---The next four songs are all fairly traditional...but...with a bit of a contemporary twist...you knew these were coming right?---
14. When the Saints go Marching in--performed by Dr. John
How bloody awesome is THIS?
15. Angel Band--performed by Ralph Stanley
16. When the Roll is Called up Yonder--performed by the Chuck Wagon Gang
This was one of my grand dad's favorites; and my own dad used to play it on his guitar. It has passed down three generations of Banker Boys to nestle within me as one of my favorites too. Must be something special 'bout this one. :)
17. Amazing Grace--performed by Ray Charles
18. Three Little Birds--by Bob Marley
Because even when we're gone, every little thing is gonna be alright.
19. I'll Follow the Sun--by The Beatles
If I die, and I meet John Lennon and George Harrison in the afterlife; how would I look if they asked me what songs were played at my send off and one of theirs wasn't on the list? I'd feel like a right tool I would. And anyway, this one is perfectly splendid. "One day, you'll look to see i've gone." It couldn't be much more straightforward or elegant could it?
20. Dare to be Stupid--by Weird Al Yankovic
Why? Because life is beautiful and we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously. That's why.
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.
next week's blog: 20 songs to play at my wedding
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
In conjecture with the title of today's blog I'd like to point out that narrowing down a mere twenty favorite cover songs is almost impossible, but i've done my best. To help, I went through all the music on my lap top and made a playlist of every (well...most. I didn't include the crappy ones) cover in my music library. See below.
1. "When the Ship comes in." By Bob Dylan--covered by Robbie O'Connell
2. "Midnight Train to Georgia," by Gladys Knight and the Pips--covered by The Indigo Girls
3. "I've just seen a face", by The Beatles--covered by Jim Sturgess
4. "What's going on" by Marvin Gaye--covered by A Perfect Circle
5. "Sunday Morning comin' down" by Kris Kristofferson--made famous by Johnny Cash--covered by Shawn Mullins
6. "Sanitarium" by Metallica--covered by Apocolyptica
7. "Good Lovin" by The Rascals--covered by The Grateful Dead
8. "Leavin on a Jetplane" by John Denver--covered by Peter, Paul & Mary
9. "Day Tripper" by The Beatles--covered by Jimi Hendrix
10. "Bennie and the Jets" by Elton John--covered by The Beastie Boys
11. "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers--covered by U2
12. "Minnie the Moocher" by Cab Calloway--covered by Big Bad Voodoo Daddies
13. "Garden Party" by Rick Nelson--covered by John Fogerty
14. "Lay Lady Lay" by Bob Dylan--covered by The Byrds
15. "Love minus zero/no limit" by Bob Dylan--covered by Joan Baez
16. "Follow you, follow me" by Genesis--covered by Red House Painters
17. "Sweet Jane" by Velvet Underground--covered by Cowboy Junkies
18. "Chelsea Hotel #2" by Leonard Cohen--covered by Rufus Wainwright
19. "Creep" by Radiohead--covered by Damien Rice
20. "Boyz in the hood" by Eazy E--covered by Dynamite Hack
21. "Gin and Juice" by Snoop Dogg--covered by The Gourds
22. "Take on Me" by Aha--covered by Reel Big Fish
23. "Build me up Buttercup" by The Foundations--covered by Save Ferris
24. "Come Sail Away" by Styx--covered by Eric Cartman
25. "The Boys are Back in Town" by Thin Lizzy--covered by Everclear
26. "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent--covered by Pantera
27. "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC--covered by Marilyn Manson
28. "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan--covered by Jimi Hendrix
29. "Across the Universe" by The Beatles--covered by Fiona Apple
30. "Angel From Montgomery" by John Prine--covered by Dave Matthews
31. "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners--covered by Save Ferris
32. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" by The Beatles--covered by Jimi Hendrix
33. "Imagine," by John Lennon--covered by A Perfect Circle
34. "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell--covered by Marilyn Manson
35. "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry--covered by Jimi Hendrix
36. "Sliver" by Nirvana--covered by The Assylum Street Spankers
37. "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode--covered by Johnny Cash
38. "Fields of Gold" by Sting--covered by Eva Cassidy
39. "The Man in the Long Black Coat" by Bob Dylan--covered by Joan Osborne
40. "Hey Jude" by The Beatles--covered by The Flys
41. "The Star Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key--covered by James Marshal Hendrix
42. "Goin to Aculpoco" by Bob Dylan--covered by Jim James and Calexico
43. "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones--covered by Guns n Roses
44. "All along the watchtower" by Bob Dylan--covered by Eddie Vedder
45. "Heigh Ho" from Disney's SNOW WHITE--covered by Tom Waits
46. "Layla" by Derek and the Dominoes--covered by The Allman Brothers
47. "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones--covered by Bjork & P.J. Harvey
48. "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John--covered by Ben Folds
49. "Gimme some Truth" by John Lennon--covered by Dhani Harrison & Jakob Dylan
50. "Redemption song" by Bob Marley--covered by Ziggy Marley
51. "Hotel California" by The Eagles--covered by The Gypsy Kings
52. "Message in a Bottle" by The Police--covered by Matisyahu
53. "Real Love" by John Lennon--covered by Regina Spektor
54. "Row Row your boat" traditional children's song--covered by Dr. John
55. "Scarlet Begonias" by The Grateful Dead--covered by Jimmy Buffett
56. "Jolene" by Dolly Parton--covered by The White Stripes
57. "Fiddle and the Drum" by Joni Mitchell--covered by A Perfect Circle
58. "Soul Man" by Sam & Dave--covered by The Blues Brothers
59. "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney--covered by Guns n Roses
60. "What is Life" by George Harrison--covered by Shawn Mullins
61. "Changes" by David Bowie--covered by Shawn Mullins
62. "Uncle John's Band" by The Grateful Dead--covered by Jimmy Buffett
63. "Mama Kin" by Aerosmith--covered by Guns n Roses
64. "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen--covered by Willie Nelson
65. "Me and Bobby McGee" by Kris Kristofferson, made famous by Janis Joplin--covered by The Grateful Dead
66. "Johnny B. Good" by Chuck Berry--covered by The Grateful Dead
67. "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond--covered by Jimmy Buffett
68. "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills, & Nash--covered by Jimmy Buffett
69. "In my Room" by the Beach Boys--covered by Jimmy Buffett
70. "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie--covered by Bruce Springsteen
71. "No Woman No Cry" by Bob Marley--covered by Jimmy Buffett
72. "Scary Boat Ride from Willy Wonka" done originally by Gene Wilder--covered by Marilyn Manson
73. "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode--covered by Marilyn Manson
74. "Wonderwall" by Oasis--covered by Ryan Adams
75. "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison--covered by Jimmy Buffett
76. "Everybody's Talkin at Me" by Harry Nilson--covered by Jimmy Buffett
77. "Under Pressure" by Queen & David Bowie--covered by My Chemical Romance
78. "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson--covered by Alien Ant Farm
79. "I drove all night" by Roy Orbison--covered by Cyndi Lauper
80. "Blame it on the Rain" by Milli Vanilli (sort of)--covered by Sam Moore
81. "We Shall be Free" by Garth Brooks--covered by Sam Moore
82. "Bleeker Street" by Simon and Garfunkel--covered by Jonatha Brooke
83. "No Woman No Cry" by Bob Marley--covered by Blues Traveler
84. "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osborne--covered by Yonder Mountain String Band
85. "Jersey Girl" by Bruce Springsteen--covered by Tom Waits
86. "Just Like a Woman" by Bob Dylan--covered by Jeff Buckley
87. "Ballad of a thin man" by Bob Dylan--covered by The Grateful Dead
88. "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan--covered by Rod Stewart
89. "Subterranean homesick blues" by Bob Dylan--covered by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
90. "La Isla Bonita" by Madonna--covered by The Gypsy Kings
91. "Bring the Pain" by Method Man--covered by Mindless Self Indulgence
92. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Prince, made famous by Sinead O'Connor--covered by some Hawaiian dude
93. "Scarlet Begonias" by The Grateful Dead--covered by Sublime
94. "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley--covered by Matisyahu
95. "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straights--covered by The Killers
96. "Stand by Your Man" by Tammy Wynette--covered by The Blues Brothers
97. "Hey Bulldog" by The Beatles--covered by Dave Matthews
98. "Broken Arrow" by Rod Stewart--covered by The Grateful Dead
99. "Downtown Train" by Tom Waits--covered by Rod Stewart
100. "The Van Lear Rose" by Loretta Lynn--covered by Jack White
101. "Knockin on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan--covered by Guns n Roses
102. "Bitches Ain't Shit" by Dr. Dre--covered by Ben Folds
103. "I wanna be like you" from Disney's JUNGLE BOOK--covered by Big Bad Voodoo Daddies
104. "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and the Shondells--covered by Dolly Parton
105. "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen--covered by Robert Plant
106. "Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan--covered by William Shatner
107. "Never My Love" by The Associaton--covered by Adam Green
108. "One more cup of coffee" by Bob Dylan--covered by The White Stripes
109. "Time" by Tom Waits--covered by Tori Amos
110. "Chimes of Freedom" by Bob Dylan--covered by Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, and Youssou N'Do
And so, how can I pick just twenty of these one hundred and ten miraculous songs to share in tonight's blog?
Well, in my opinion; a good cover should do one, or both, of two things. 1. It should completely revamp the song in question--taking it through a grand metamorphosis and sculpting it into something new and exciting. 2. It should totally, completely, absolutely, monumentally, fundamentally, unequivically, and genuinely wollop your heart and blow your mind. So, in light of those two factors, I shall now pick my top twenty. :)
1. Midnight Train to Georgia--by Gladys Knight and the Pips--covered by The Indigo Girls
It is a soulful, lovely song no matter who does. The only band that could mess this up is probably Puddle of Mud. I stumbled across this cover somewhere in college and it has been living with me ever since.
2. Bennie and the Jets--by Elton John--covered by The Beastie Boys
A totally bizarre and quirky cover. The boys sound like their drunk or something. I give it seven thumbs up!
3. Chelsea Hotel #2--by Leonard Cohen--covered by Rufus Wainwright
Dare I say I like this cover more than Cohen's original? Yes...slander me if you wish...but I do dare! ..................lol.........."do-dare." This is an example of a good cover thoroughly wolloping me to pieces. Also I love the way Rufus will randomly gesture and sway towards the audience in this video. :)
4. Come Sail Away--by Styx--covered by Eric Cartman via Trey Parker
I really want to hang out with Trey Parker one time.
5. Heigh Ho--from Disney's SNOW WHITE--covered by Tom Waits
This is an example of a song being completely reborn. A little backstory here: This song was part of a collection that was realease (I think) in the 1980's called "Stay Awake." It featured other classic Disney songs covered by well known artists including Los Lobos, Michael Stipe, Natalie Merchant, Bonnie Rait, Ringo Starr, Sinead O'Connor, The Replacements and James Taylor. This is pretty difficult to find these days, but if you can locate a copy--more power to you.
6. Under Pressure--by Queen & David Bowie--covered by My Chemical Romance & The Used.
I know what you're thinking. "My Chemical Romance? Really?" Well, YES....REALLY. I was dubious too, I assure you--when my good friend Bear said, "Dude...you gotta listen to this." In fact, i'm pretty sure my exact words were, "My Chemical Romance? Really?" But to my delight and surprise this turned out to be a really well done, enthusiatic, and honorable cover. And for the record, My Chemical Romance also does a pretty unique cover of "Desolation Row." Check it out.
7. Crazy Train--by Ozzy Osborne--covered by Yonder Mountain String Band
Ozzy done bluegrass style. YES. I was fortunate enough to be at this particular show. Its a crazy cover.
8. Bring the Pain--by Method Man--covered by Mindless Self Indulgence
BAT. SHIT. CRAZY. That is all
9. Scarlet Begonias--by The Grateful Dead--covered by Sublime
I love this song, with all my heart. No matter WHO is singing it. When Jerry sings it I feel like I should be sitting on a dock at sunset in summertime, barefoot with a bamboo fishing pole and my girl. When Jimmy Buffet sings it, I feel like I should be in a seaful of geeky hippies at a festivul--cause that is in fact where I was when I saw him perform this song. And when Bradley Knowles of Sublime sings it, I feel like I should be with my best friends out underneath the start on a warm July evening, just shooting the shit and enjoying each other's company. This song is about love. No matter which way you slice it--no matter who sings it.
10. Romeo and Juliet--by Dire Straights--covered by The Killers
I didn't discover this one until just recently. The cover, that is...not the original. I was sitting around at work one morning before we opened listening to Dire Straights songs on Youtube when I stumbled across this one, and i've been listening to it now three or four times a week ever since.
11. Bitches Ain't Shit--by Dr. Dre--covered by Ben Folds
When a nerdy white guy who specializes in piano successfully covers a Dr. Dre song; I feel like we as a people have come a long way. It's a really cool cover as it is; but this particular performance is even cooler. Enjoy :)
12. Never My Love--by The Association--covered by Adam Green
Both versions are beautiful. But the cover holds a special place in my heart. It's...one of those songs ;). Also, this song is featured on the soundtrack for the movie "Whip It." Excellent film. Excellent sound track.
13. Time--by Tom Waits--covered by Tori Amos
This is a special song. Whether it is sung by Tom Waits, in his gruff, heart-broke, burlesque voice--or in Tori's ethereal, fluid, provacative voice--it is a perfect song. PERFECT.
14. No Woman No Cry--by Bob Marley--covered by Blues Traveler and Ziggy Marley
Another of my favorite songs. The original I mean. I found this cover much the same way I found the Romeo and Juliet cover...simply by stumbling across it one day. It's hard to make this song much more kick ass than it already is--but epic harmonica solos and Bob Marley's own son do just that.
15. Johnny B. Goode--by Chuck Berry--covered by Jimi Hendrix
I can still remember the first time I ever heard this. I had just gotten the Jimi Hendrix box set and was riding around in my truck listening to it, when this track came on. And my jaw fell to the floor. I like this cover better than the original. Most covers...I like on the same level as originals...but I think this one is better. Jimi just RIPS it up.
16. Hurt--by Nine Inch Nails--covered by Johnny Cash
I don't think I need to explain myself here.
17. Stand by Your Man--by Tammy Wynette--covered by The Blues Brothers
18. In My Room--by The Beach Boys--covered by Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy is known for his outstanding covers; "Uncle John's Band," "Everybody's Talking at me," "Brown Eyed Girl," "Souther Cross," "Scarlet Begonias," "Mexico" etc. etc. So I basically just picked on at random--because they are all just really really really good. And this one is a good make out song ;)
19. Bad Romance--by Lady Gaga--covered by Lissie
Lissie, a scruffy young new comer to the singer-songwriter scene takes Lady Gaga's pop masterpiece and makes it GRUNGE. Sexy grunge. This is the coolest thing i've seen or heard in yeeeeeears.
20. Chimes of Freedom--by Bob Dylan--covered by Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, and Youssou N'Dour
Some things need no explanation. This is one of them. I almost cry everytime I listen to this.
Honorable Mention: Whip My Hair--by Willow Smith--covered by Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young, and 1977 era Bruce Springsteen
Woof....ok. It's been a day. Gonna go home now, eat a sammich, and watch South Park. Cheers :)
Next week's blog: A list of songs to play at my funeral. EEP!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The goal of this evening's blogpost is not to crucify the afforementioned hip-hop star simply for the sake of randomly bashing him. That's too simple. I like to think that I wouldn't call shenanigans on some one unless I felt as though i'd been personally wronged by the alleged villain. Also, it's popular to hate on Kanye West. In addition to the Taylor Swift debacle it is widely known/reported that West is erm...something of a diva. It's difficult, but i'm trying to be diplomatic here. You've no idea how tempted I am to start slinging insults and cutdowns (E.G. Kanye likes to smell his own farts) but that won't get us anywhere. That...is childish. But, I think most would agree with my use of the diva illustration. And who are we kidding? That's a turn off. It' NOT enough of a turn off though, to make me boycott an artist's music and hop on the hate bandwagon. If that were the case I would have to throw out half of my record collection. It's safe to say though, I think, that these are the prime reasons why many people are turned off by Kanye West. But like I said before; this blog will not seek to randomly crap on the man just cause everybody else is. In truth, I really hate when people do that. For example, it's also populr to hate Kings of Leon, U2, and Dave Matthew Band--just to name a few. I have my reasons for calling out Mr. West; they are GOOD reasons, I promise, and they were born before the time of general Kanye hate. I shall present them thusly.
I didn't always harbor strong ill-will towards Kanye. In fact. I used to really, REALLY like him. I recall a friend named Nick Jones introducing me to the song "Jesus Walks," back in the summer of 2005. At least...I think it was the summer of 2005--may have been 2006. My memories are plagued with cobwebs. The point though, was that I thought the song was fantastic. I loved its flow, I loved its lyrics, and I loved the music video that accompanied it. Over the the proceeding months I downloaded more of his music and not only dug what I was hearing, but thoroughly respected it as well. "Here is a guy," I thought to myself, "who really knows how to put beats and lyrics together."
This brings us to the year 2008, and the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. I could do a separate blog just on Bonnaroo--how it has effected my life--the amazing things i've seen there--and the unfortunate downward spiral it took last year--but I won't go into all that. Another time, perhaps. All you really need to know is that I had been twice previously, in 2004 and 2006--and it is one of the greatest places on earth. The festival occurs every June in Manchester, Tn. over a period of four days. The initial line up for the festival always drops sometime in the middle of february (yes that means the lineup for 2011 will be announced any day now). But it is 2008 we are concerned with, and when I woke up one morning in February of that year and checked www.bonnaroo.com to see if they lineup had been announced yet, I was met with this:
Pearl Jam, Metallica, Jack Johnson, Widespread Panic, Kanye West, Christ Rock, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss, Phil Lesh & Friends, My Morning Jacket, The Raconteurs, Willie Nelson, Death Cab For Cutie, Tiesto, B.B. King, Les Claypool, Sigur Ros, Levon Helm, Ben Folds, O.A.R, Cat Power, M.I.A, Umphrey's Mcgee, Iron & Wine, Stephen Marley, Yonder Mtn. String Band, The Swell Season, Talib Kweli, Derek Trucks, Gogol Bordello, Broken Social Scene, Robert Randolph, Rilo Kiley, The Disco Biscuits, Mastadon, Lupe Fiasco, and Solomon Burke; plus many, many, many more.
Yeah. I geeked out.
As stoked as I was about finally getting to see Pearl Jam, Metallica, and Robert Plant; I was just as interested in seeing what a Kanye West performance would be like. Can you blame me? His tunes were brilliant and exciting. It only made sense that his live show would be just as magical.
I bought my ticket. Winter turned to spring. Spring turned to summer. I packed my bags. I pointed the steely grey nose of my pick up truck south and without further hesitation cracked the gas pedal so that life might breath into my vehicle thus transporting me from Radford "I hate my life" Virginia to Manchester, Tn. for my third tour of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. A place, truly, like no other.
Musicians at Bonnaroo are divided up between five venues. Three tents labled "This tent, "That tent" and "The other Tent." And two stages, a smaller stage called, "Which stage," and the main stage, called "What stage." Kanye was initially scheduled to play on Which Stage at 6:00 p.m. on satuday of the festival. At the last minute (and when I say "the last minute" I mean, that saturday) Kanye's timeslot was switched from 6:00 p.m. on Which Stage, to 2:45 A.M. on "What Stage." There is much speculation about this change. SuperFly Productions and AC Entertaiment (the wizards behind Bonnaroo's curtain) claimed that it was A. to give the audience a better feel for Kanye's glow in the dark themed show, and B. to start a new tradition of having a late night performance on the main stage (intestingly enough this tradition HAS continued, with the likes of Phish in 2009, and Jay-Z in 2010). These are very valid reasons. There is also a school of thought, though, that suggests Kanye threw a fit and declared that either he play on the big kids' stage, or he didn't play at all. I don't know if this hypothesis has ever been proven as fact--but it wouldn't surprise me. My initial reaction though was, "huh...that's cool."
Over the course of this saturday, I saw: Gogol Bordello, Ben Folds, Levon Helm, Jack Johnson, Pearl Jam (the saturday night headliner, and holy crap, was Pearl Jam AWESOME), and Lupe Fiasco.
Lupe Fiasco was my first real experience with a live hip-hop performance. And he was OUTSTANDING. Lupe came on at approximately 1:30 a.m. in "This Tent," and played for about 45 minutes. Never, had I been to a show like that. The energy thundering from the stage was raw, and provocative. Everyone in the audience was jumping and wailing and making love to the music. The musicians on the stage played their instruments like silk lightning while Lupe rapped over their rhythms with poise and wild cat grace.
"My God," I thought to myself. "I've never seen or heard or experienced ANYTHING like this. And in just a few minutes i'm going to go see Kanye West perform. THIS CAN ONLY GET BETTER."
Ah. How wrong I was.
I got back to "What Stage" at 2:30. 2:45 came, and went. A message appeared on the Jumbo-Screen declaring that Kanye would now be performing at 3:15. This news was met with the first round of many "boos" from the audience. But, still pumped from the Lupe Fiasco show, I figured, "Well, this isn't that uncommon, i'm sure he'll be out shortly enough." 3:15 rolled around, and the Jumbo-Screen now informed us that Kanye would now be performing at 3:30. The audience was baffled, and pissed off. I admit, my initial agitations began here. Kanye's ridiculously elaborate stage set up was constructed and good to go. What was he waiting for? The crowd meanwhile, was growing more and more restless. Cries of "KANYE SUCKS!" and "FUCK YOU KANYE!!" could be heard clearly from all around. While I was beginning to share those sentiments, I felt no need to shout them. Random slander never helps an already tense situation. At 4:30 in the morning, nearly two hours after his readjusted time-slot, Kanye FINALLY took the stage.
He didn't say hello. He didn't say anything about Bonnaroo, no "Thanks for having me." He didn't apologize for coming on late, or give any sort of explanation. He did not, in fact, say ANYTHING--but went immediately into his set--which--lasted only an hour. After his last song he exited the stage without saying even, "Thank you good night," and he did not come back on for an encoure. Those, my friends, are the highly offensive actions of an egotistical pratt--who is clearly only interested in obtaining his paycheck--and has no desire to connect with his fans. That, is a direct slap in the face of the collective audience. Never in my life, before or since, have I seen so many pissed off hippie-kids.
I should note, that there were several other late night performers that evening. Phil Lesh, Talib Kweli, Chali 2Na from Jurassic 5, and Sigur Ros (all of whom I could've checked out had I not been packed tightly into the the Kanye West crowd like a large corpse in a small coffin. I should also note, that again, while it has not been proven as fact, there is LARGE speculation that Kanye would not come on stage, until those other performers, were finished performing. And, again, I wouldn't be surprised.
Being treated as such, by an artist whom you admire, and whose work you very much enjoy listening to is bad enough; and reason enough to stay mad at said artist until the four horsemen of the apocolypse come crashing down from the sky and the Good Dude from the heavens up above pulls the whistle on life all over the planet. But here is something worse:
I have grown to detest Kanye West so much, because of this one event, that I refuse to listen to any of his new music. And that's really unfortunate (as the title of this blog suggests) because i'm certain its friggin genius. From what i've been told, "808's and Heartbreak" is truly a masterpiece. But I will never voluntarily listen to it. It's stubbon, absolutely. I don't take a lot of things seriously, and it's very rare that I hold a grudge like this. But where music is concerned, I am VERY serious; and I have no time, patience, or interest in an artist who takes his audience for granted.
Jesus walks with you, Kanye West. But I don't.
Thank you, and Good Night.
Next week's blog: my twenty favorite all time covers
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
In truth, I came up with this list mostly off the top of my head so I'm quite certain that there were some I didn't think of. But everything on here is definitely a personal favorite. :)
1. Movie: The Devil's Rejects
Song: "Midnight Rider" by The Allman Brothers
This is the opening musical number to a grotesque, gritty, quirky film that has an outstanding soundtrack. "The Devil's Rejects" is certainly not for everyone; but if you are a fan of the classic horror genre then I definitely recommend it. Rob Zombie knows what he's doing. "Midnight Rider" sets the tone for this contemporary southern gothic that is a sweaty, tense, thrill ride which takes the viewer along to visit sadistic hostage situations, brothels, mad men, and interestingly enough--deep friendships. The film culminates in an epic shoot out; but not before we see a scene in which the bad guys share a moment to eat ice cream cones and raz each other like childhood pals. It can be a helluva thing...friendship. Check it out.
2. Movie: Wayne's World
Song: "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
Wayne's World hit theatres in (if i'm remembering correctly) the fall of 1992--when I was in fifth grade. I obviously didn't get all the jokes; but I certainly felt a connection with Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar. It was the same sort of connection I felt with Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted "Theodore" Logan. But Wayne and Garth were cooler. They didn't play just air guitars, they played for real guitars. They had this weird little cable access show that was funnier than Ross Perot. And they (somehow) knew how to talk to girls. But most importantly; they were complete music geeks. Like me. And this fact is made evident at the beginning of the movie with the infamous "Bohemian Rhapsody" scene. If i'm in the car, and "Bohemian Rhapsody" comes on I still rock out at the part that...well...rocks out. There are two movies I could credit with introducing me to Queen that both came out around the same time. This one, and "The Mighty Ducks." I feel it's in better taste though, to credit this one ;)
3. Movie: Forrest Gump
Song: The whole damn sound track
This is one of those rare occurences where the soundtrack is practically flawless. The only song I don't care for is "It keeps you running" by the Doobie Brothers. It sounds too much like an attempt at the Super Mario Bro's theme gone wrong. Doobies aside however; the Forrest Fump soundtrack is a much treasured piece of my cd collection. It expresses and illustrates a time in our nation's history that we are still trying to figure out. Pop music is often a reflection of the times--and this collection of songs mirrors the turbulence, beauty, and eloquence of the 50's, 60's, and 70's with magnanimous grace. It gets under your skin and makes you say, "I want to know more." The link below is from the scene where Forrest first enters Vietnam. I don't know if this is true or not, but I heard that Tom Hanks suggested they add this song by CCR to the soundtrack
4. Movie: The Big Lebowski
Song: "Just dropped in" by Kenny Rogers
The Big Lebowski = the greatest thing to happen to America since democracy. It was a tough call to choose between this song, "The Man in Me" by Bob Dylan, and "Hotel California" by The Gypsy Kings...but this one ultimately won out. It's a fantastic sequence...and it really ties the film together.
5. Movie: Beavis and Butthead do America
Song: Love Rollercoaster by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
I have to watch this movie at least five times a year. It's a favorite from my adolesence, and was another step on the road for the Chili Peppers to become one of my most cherished bands. Beavis & Butthead and the Chili Peppers make a good team. They ought to collaborate more often.
6. Movie: PeeWee's Big Adventure
Song: Tequilla, by The Champs
CLASSIC. CLASSIC. CLASSIC. CLASSIC. CLASSIC. CLASSIC. CLASSIC. "SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! I'M TRYYYYYYYING TO USE THE PHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!!!!!!!"
PeeWee Herman trapped in a den of hardcore bikers. What could be better? It should be noted that good use of this song is also made in the movie, "The Sandlot." But this is the best.
7. Movie: Back to the Future
Song: Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, performed by Marty McFly
You can't mess with Michael J. Fox. You JUST...CAN'T. One of my favorite memories from college was a day spent with my room mates in which we consecutively watched all three "Back to the Future" films. This needs to be done again.
8. Movie: Shrek
Song: Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, performed by Rufus Wainwright
Rarely has a "children's" movie produced such an outstanding soundtrack. I was initially torn between choosing this song, "My beloved moster" by the eels, and Jason Wade's cover of "You belong to me." Both of which also have very sweet, sincere, sequences. But it's "Hallelujah" that wins in terms of animating genuine heartbreak. The songs were one of the biggest draws for me, in the first two Shrek movies (along with really great, sharp writing and a tremendous cast). The second Shrek film featured songs by David Bowie and Tom Waits, among others. It's unfortunate that they didn't stop while they were ahead though. "Shrek the Third" was disappointing; and I have yet to see the fourth installment. Don't really want to. But I still remember when the original Shrek was released in theatres. I saw it four times. And, use of Leonard Cohen's classic tune, is one of the main reasons why.
9. Movie: The Labyrinth
Song: As the World falls down, by David Bowie
Quite possibly in my top ten all time favorite movies. I've never sat down and really thought about what those films might be...but i'd wager this would be on that list. When people think of "The Labyrinth," in terms of the music I mean, I believe they most usually think of "Magic Dance" or "Underground." Both of course are wonderful songs, also penned and performed by Bowie. But it's the movie's ballad, "As the World Falls Down" that i've always loved the most. When I listen to that song, (and I can listen to it anytime, anywhere) it makes me feel, comfortable--like i'm at home. It's a gorgeous, sad, love song; and the scene it envelopes is a haunting, mysterious, enchanted mix of fairytale lust.
10. Movie: The Muppet Movie
Song: Rainbow Connection, performed by Kermit the Frog
Don't it just make you smile? :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSFLZ-MzIhM (just kermit)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn49H3O0Jvk (finale, with all muppets)
11. Movie: Star Wars; Episode 4: A New Hope
Song: Theme from the opening sequence
Can you still recall the first time you saw this? Does it still give you chills?
12. Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Song: Pure Imagination, performed by Gene Wilder
If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Want to change the world? There's nothing to it...
Willy Wonka said it best, "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams."
13. Movie: The Spy Who Love Me
Song: Nobody does it better, by Carly Simon
One of my favorite Bond movies, and one of my favorite Bond songs. The old school Bond films were so wonderfully cheesy; and their opening songs were beautifully epic. Especially this one. Carly Simon has a voice of silk that you just sort of want to slip in to. For the record, Radiohead does an AMAZING cover of this song. look it up!
14. Movie: Garden State
Song: The only living boy in New York, by Simon and Garfunkel
A splendid example of using song to illustrate freedom and newfound romance in contemporary film. And it's hard to watch this sequence with out leaping out of my seat and rocketing my fist towards the sky all the while bellowing out "YES! YES GOD DAMN IT YES!!!" But doggone...don't you feel sorry and awkward for the third wheel in this scene? I always do. Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where. Ain't that the truth?
15. Movie: Sound of Music
Song: Edelweiss, performed by Herr Von Trap A.K.A Christopher "international bad ass" Plummer A.K.A. Dr. Parnassus.
I'm learning to play this one on my guitar :)
16. Movie: Beetlejuice
Song: The Banana Boat Song (Day-O), by Harry Belafonte
At the age of seven, this scene was the silliest, funniest thing i'd ever seen to date. Everyday I say a silent thank you to my parents, who allowed me to watch movies like this at a young age. I think I turned out ok. ;)
P.S. remember when Tim Burton's films kicked ass? :::::SIGH:::::
17. Movie: The Lion King
Song: The Circle of Life
I still vividly remember, it was the summer of 1994 and I was 12 years old. My mom took me, and my cousin Josh to see "The Lion King" at the theatre one afternoon when we were visiting my grandparents in North Carolina. I saw "Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Aladdin" in the theatre as well; and the music in those films was, I have to say pretty incredible. But the songs featured in "The Lion King" were other-worldly. They were bombastic, symphonic, extraordinarily delightful, regal, dark, treacherous, sassy, and quite lovely. "Circle of Life," being the opening song, and the opening sequence of the films, sets the tone marvelously for what the viewer is about to encounter. "The Lion King" is essentially Hamlet with lions--which is pretty great in and of itself--but it also boasts of love and loss, death and rebirth. And when you're an impressionable 12 yr old sitting in a dark theatre listening to these songs bombarding your ears via gigantic spekers, and watching these very adult themes unfold on a giant screen, you are instantly transported to some other realm. It's hard to explain...but when you exit the theatre, and walk back into sunlight, just for a little while you see things differently. Maybe i'm a dork-biscuit, but "Circle of Life" is one of the greatest songs ever to grace a disney film. Don't believe me? Click the link...and look; haaaaarder.
18. Movie: Disney's Robin Hood
Song: Not in Nottingham, by Roger Miller
Another classic Disney film. In a story where most of the songs (oo-de-lally, prince john the phony king of england, etc.) are silly and happy go lucky, "not in nottingham" exudes a seriousness that balances this classic animated feature just right without being overly preachy, but adds an element of very austere humanity. I've said it before, and i'll say it again...when i grow up, I want to be Roger Miller.
19. Movie: Footloose
Song: "I need a hero" by Bonnie Tyler
I watched Footloose just this morning! This is perhaps the greatest scene in the film. It's when Kevin Bacon's character has to take part in a game of chicken with tractors with Chuck "every douche bag you've ever met" Cranston. It's basically the good guy vs. the bad guy. And of course the good guy, Kevin Bacon wins. ...and then he went and made "Tremors." WHAT?! :)
20. Movie: Dirty Dancing
Song: Cry to me, by Solomon Burke
In a movie so chock full of brilliant songs it's hard to pick just one. Much like "Forrest Gump" this is another film whose sound track does an A+ job of getting across the theme of the movie through song. Rebellion, prejudice, coming of age, forbidden romance. I love the shit out of this movie, and i don't care who knows it. Easily one of the best films to come out of the 1980s. Solomon Burke passed away last year, and it was a sad day. But he will always be remembered through his music, and also the through the extreme realness that Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze (may he also rest in peace) perform for us in this scene. They make it seem so real that you literally experience the nerves, and the ache, and the passion, and the exquisite pain they are acting out while dancing to this song. That's how you make a movie.
So come on...and cry to me.
Next week's blog: Interlude number one; an unfortunate evening with Kanye West