My Halloween Spook-tacular 200

10.31 halloween

Happy Halloween 2017! Like I said yesterday, I loved Halloween growing up, peaking during my college years. During those years, my costumes were as follows: Freshman year, something inappropriate; my sophomore year, Billy Idol; my junior year, Boy George; and my senior year, Elton John. So, three of those four years, I did the rock-inspired costume. Now, my boys did some movie-inspired costumes, though I think #1 went as Bono of U2 one year.

10.31 wayne_coyne of flaming lips
Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips

Today, there are many pop/rap/rock artists who seem to be developing big images, that are perfect for Halloween. Artists from the past are always great ideas, like KISS, Alice Cooper, Madonna, Michael Jackson, The Go-Go’s, The B-52’s, Duran Duran, David Bowie and Hall & Oates have been seen at Halloween parties. Of course, current artists such as Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, Snoop Dogg, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Muse, Kanye West and Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips are currently popular on Halloween websites.

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Lady Gaga for Halloween?

Now, every Halloween party or trick-or-treat destination needs a great soundtrack. Over the years, I have discovered three great compilations. If you need New Wave music at your Haunted House, then you might want to search for the Rhino compilation Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Halloween. This album is full of great songs, like the Ramones’ “Pet Sematary” and the Misfits’ “Halloween”. For fans of Little Steven’s Underground radio show, you can trust the show’s own compilation Halloween a Go-Go. Artists such as Bruce Springsteen (“Restless Nights”) and the Electric Prunes, with their garage classic “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night”, can be found on this disc. Finally, I like Rob Zombie’s Halloween Hootenanny compilation, that includes many psycho-rockabilly Halloween-inspired songs that will put the fun into your Halloween playlist.

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The King of Halloween Alice Cooper with his nurse

Me? I love to make my own playlist. As usual, my playlist is large, yet I prefer to think of it more of a pool of two hundred songs from which, when played on shuffle, you get an array of Halloween classics, like “Thriller” and “Monster Mash”, interspersed with newer, soon-to-be classics as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Head Will Roll” and “Monster” by Kanye West. And, of course, I love to hit spots all places in between, before and after my examples. I sure hope you can discover your own playlist within these suggestions.

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10.31 halloween hootenanny

So, here are my Top 200 Songs for Halloween, in alphabetical order of artist. Enjoy this treat! And, PLEASE, make your suggestions of songs that I should add to my list, since I am always searching for new titles.

  1. A Flock of Seagulls – “Nightmares” (1986)
  2. AC/DC – “Highway to Hell” (1979)
  3. AC/DC – “Night Prowler” (1979)
  4. Alan Vega – “The Werewolf” (1996)
  5. Alice Cooper – “Clones (We’re All)” (1980)
  6. Alice Cooper – “Dead Babies” (1971)
  7. Alice Cooper – “Feed My Frankenstein” (1991)
  8. Alice Cooper – “I Love the Dead” (1973)
  9. Alice Cooper – “Sick Things” (1973)
  10. Alice Cooper – “The Black Widow” (1975)
  11. Alice Cooper – “Welcome to My Nightmare” (1975)
  12. Amazing Royal Crowns – “Little Demon” (1998)
  13. Atlanta Rhythm Section – “Spooky” (1979)
  14. Bauhaus – “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (1982)
  15. Beyoncé – “Haunted” (2013)
  16. Black Joe Lewis – “Shadow People”
  17. Black Sabbath – “Black Sabbath” (1970)
  18. Black Sabbath – “Children of the Grave” (1971)
  19. Black Sabbath – “Kill in the Spirit World” (1989)
  20. Bloodrock – “D.O.A.” (1970)
  21. Blue Öyster Cult – “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” (1976)
  22. Bow Wow Wow – “I Want Candy” (1982)
  23. Bruce Springsteen – “A Night with the Jersey Devil” (2010)
  24. Bruce Springsteen – “Restless Nights” (1998)
  25. Cage the Elephant – “Black Widow” (2013)
  26. Carl Perkins – “Put Your Cat Clothes On” (1986)
  27. Cerrone – “Supernature” (1978)
  28. Charlie Daniels Band – “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (1979)
  29. Cheap Trick – “Dream Police” (1979)
  30. Cliff Richard – “Devil Woman” (1976)
  31. Count Five – “Psychotic Reaction” (1966)
  32. Counting Crows – “Scarecrow” (2014)
  33. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Bad Moon Rising” (1969)
  34. Dave Edmunds – “The Creature from The Black Lagoon” (1981)
  35. David Bowie – “Cat People” (1983)
  36. David Bowie – “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” (1980)
  37. David Seville – “Witch Doctor” (1958)
  38. Davie Allan – “Extrasensory Perception” (1998)
  39. Dead Kennedys – “Halloween” (1982)
  40. Deadbolt – “Psychic Voodoo Doll” (1998)
  41. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – “A Nightmare on My Street” (1988)
  42. Donovan – “Season of the Witch” (1966)
  43. Eagles – “Witchy Woman” (1972)
  44. Eagles of Death Metal – “Chase the Devil” (2006)
  45. Echo & the Bunnymen – “People Are Strange” (1983)
  46. Echo & the Bunnymen – “The Killing Moon” (1984)
  47. Edgar Winter Group – “Frankenstein” (1973)
  48. Electric Light Orchestra – “Evil Woman” (1976)
  49. Electric Light Orchestra – “Strange Magic” (1975)
  50. Evanescence – “Bring Me to Life” (2003)
  51. Everclear – “Halloween Americana” (2000)
  52. Faithless – “Insomnia” (1995)
  53. Fancey – “Witch Attack” (2017)
  54. Fancey – “Witches Night” (2007)
  55. Franz Ferdinand – “Evil Eye” (2013)
  56. Frenchy – “Ribcage Mambo” (1998)
  57. Gorillaz – “Dracula” (2001)
  58. Grimes feat. Majical Cloudz – “Nightmusic” (2012)
  59. Halsey – “Ghost” (2015)
  60. Halsey – “Haunting” (2015)
  61. Heart – “Magic Man” (1976)
  62. Howlin’ Wolf – “Howlin’ for My Baby” (1962)
  63. Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora – “Black Widow” (2014)
  64. Imagine Dragons – “Demons” (2012)
  65. Interpol – “Evil” (2004)
  66. INXS – “Devil Inside” (1987)
  67. Iron Maiden – “Fear of the Dark” (1992)
  68. Iron Maiden – “Killers” (1981)
  69. Iron Maiden – “Prowler” (1980)
  70. Janet Jackson – “Black Cat” (1989)
  71. Japan – “Ghosts” (1981)
  72. Japanoids – “Evil’s Sway” (2012)
  73. Jarvis Humby – “Man with the X-Ray Eyes (Silver Surfer)” (2004)
  74. Jimi Hendrix – “Voodoo Chile” (1968)
  75. John Carpenter – “Halloween Theme” (1978)
  76. John Fogerty – “Eye of the Zombie” (1994)
  77. John Zacherle – “Dinner with Drac, Pt. 1” (1958)
  78. John Zacherle – “Halloween Hootenanny” (1998)
  79. John Zacherle – “Happy Halloween” (1962)
  80. John Zacherle/Southern Culture on the Skids – “Sinister Purpose” (1998)
  81. Joy Division – “Dead Souls” (1979)
  82. Justin Timberlake – “True Blood”
  83. Kanye West feat, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver – “Monster” (2010)
  84. Katy Perry – “Ghost” (2013)
  85. King Harvest – “Dancing in the Moonlight” (1973)
  86. KISS – “Creatures of the Night” (1982)
  87. KISS – “God of Thunder” (1976)
  88. KISS – “Killer”
  89. Lady Gaga – “Monster” (2008)
  90. Los Straightjackets – “The Munsters Theme” (1998)
  91. Lou Reed – “Halloween Parade” (1989)
  92. Marilyn Manson – “Tainted Love” (2003)
  93. Marilyn Manson – “The Beautiful People” (1994)
  94. Marilyn Manson – “This Is Halloween” (2003)
  95. Marvin Gaye – “Witchcraft” (1961)
  96. Meat Loaf – “Bat Out of Hell” (1977)
  97. Metallica – “Enter Sandman” (1991)
  98. Michael Jackson – “Is It Scary” (1997)
  99. Michael Jackson – “Thriller” (1982)
  100. Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson – “Scream” (1995)
  101. Mike Oldfield – “Tubular Bells” (1973)
  102. Ministry – “Every Day Is Halloween” (1984)
  103. Minus 5 – “Lies of the Living Dead” (2000)
  104. Misfits – “Die Master Die” (1998)
  105. Misfits – “Ghouls Night Out” (1986)
  106. Misfits – “Halloween” (1981)
  107. Misfits – “Night of the Living Dead” (1982)
  108. Misfits – “Skulls” (1982)
  109. Misfits – “Vampira” (1982)
  110. Mudhoney – “Halloween” (1988)
  111. My Morning Jacket – “Evil Urges” (2008)
  112. New York Dolls – “Frankenstein” (1973)
  113. No Doubt – “Spiderwebs” (1996)
  114. Oingo Boingo – “Dead Man’s Party” (1985)
  115. Olivia Newton-John – “Magic” (1980)
  116. Outkast feat. Kelis – “Dracula’s Wedding” (2003)
  117. Ozzy Osbourne – “Bark at the Moon” (1984)
  118. Ozzy Osbourne – “Mr. Crowley” (1980)
  119. Pendulum – “Tarantula” (2005)
  120. Peter Gabriel – “Intruder” (1980)
  121. Peter Tosh – “Vampire” (1987)
  122. Prince – “Dance with Devil” (1989)
  123. Radiohead – “Burn the Witch” (2016)
  124. Ramones – “Pet Sematary” (1989)
  125. Ray Parker Jr. – “Ghostbusters” (1984)
  126. Redd Kross – “Dracula’s Daughter” (2012)
  127. Reverend Horton Heat – “The Halloween Dance” (1998)
  128. Rhianna – “Disturbia” (2007)
  129. Rhianna – “Haunted” (2007)
  130. Rob Zombie – “Dragula” (1998)
  131. Rob Zombie/The Ghastly Ones – “Halloween (She Gets So Mean)” (1998)
  132. Rockets from the Crypt – “I Drink Blood” (1998)
  133. Rockwell – “Somebody’s Watching Me” (1984)
  134. Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast – “Time Warp” (1975)
  135. Roky Erickson & the Aliens – “Creature with the Atom Brain” (1980)
  136. Roky Erickson & the Aliens – “I Walked with a Zombie” (1981)
  137. Run-DMC – “Ghostbusters” (1989)
  138. Ryan Adams – “Halloween” (2004)
  139. Ryan Adams – “Haunted House” (2017)
  140. Santana – “Black Magic Woman” (1970)
  141. Santana – “Evil Ways” (1970)
  142. Satan’s Pilgrims – “Gravewalk” (1998)
  143. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – “I Put a Spell on You” (1955)
  144. Shakira – “She Wolf” (2009)
  145. Siouxsie & the Banshees – “Halloween” (1981)
  146. Sky Ferreira – “Ghost” (2014)
  147. Slayer – “Raining Blood” (1986)
  148. Sonic Youth – “Halloween” (1985)
  149. Southern Culture on the Skids – “Werewolf” (1998)
  150. Vincent – “Psychopath” (2014)
  151. Stevie Wonder – “Superstition” (1972)
  152. Suicide – “Ghost Rider” (1977)
  153. Sweatmaster – “I Am a Demon and I Love Rock ‘N Roll” (2002)
  154. Swingin’ Neckbreakers – “No Costume, No Candy” (1998)
  155. Talking Heads – “Psycho Killer” (1977)
  156. Tegan & Sara – “Walking with a Ghost” (2004)
  157. The Alan Parsons Project – “The Raven” (1976)
  158. The B-52’s – “Devil in My Car” (1980)
  159. The Black Keys – “Howlin’ for You” (2010)
  160. The Blow Pops – “Halloween” (1994)
  161. The Bombras – “A Fistful of Terror” (1998)
  162. The Born Losers – “Werewolves on Wheels” (1998)
  163. The Budos Band – “Black Venom” (2010)
  164. The Chesterfield Kings – “Running Through My Nightmares” (1980)
  165. The Citizens of Halloween Town – “This Is Halloween” (1993)
  166. The Cramps – “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” (1980)
  167. The Cramps – “Zombie Dance” (1980)
  168. The Cranberries – “Zombie” (1994)
  169. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – “Fire” (1968)
  170. The Dead Elvi – “The Creature Stole My Surfboard” (1998)
  171. The Dream Syndicate – “Halloween” (1989)
  172. The Electric Prunes – “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night” (1967)
  173. The Fuzztones – “I’m The Wolfman” (1992)
  174. The Ghastly Ones – “Banshee Beach” (1998)
  175. The Jacksons – “Torture” (1984)
  176. The Jam – “Ghosts” (1982)
  177. The Legendary Invisible Men – “Spooks Night Out” (1998)
  178. The Moontrekkers – “Night of the Vampire” (1961)
  179. The Move – “Night of Fear” (1968)
  180. The Outlaws – “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” (1981)
  181. The Police – “Every Breath You Take” (1983)
  182. The Police – “Spirits in the Material World” (1981)
  183. The Prodigy – “Firestarter” (1997)
  184. The Prodigy – “Omen” (2009)
  185. The Psychedelic Furs – “The Ghost in You” (1984)
  186. The Rolling Stones – “Sympathy for the Devil” (1968)
  187. The Sonics – “The Witch” (1965)
  188. The Stems – “She’s a Monster” (1987)
  189. The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face” (2015)
  190. The Who – “Boris the Spider” (1966)
  191. Tripping Daisy – “Creature” (1996)
  192. Van Halen – “Running with the Devil” (1978)
  193. Van Morrison – “Moondance” (1970)
  194. Warren Zevon – “Werewolves of London” (1978)
  195. White Zombie – “I, Zombie” (1995)
  196. White Zombie – “I’m Your Boogie Man” (1998)
  197. Whodini – “The Freaks Come Out at Night” (1984)
  198. Wolfmother – “Witchcraft” (2005)
  199. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll” (2009)
  200. Zumpano – “Evil Black Magic” (1994)

I hope everyone has a Spook-tacular Halloween today. And, if you are not into Halloween, just have a great day! Also, if you have songs that should be in my playlist, please add your suggestions in the comment section below.

One more thing. I plan to take the rest of the week off, so I don’t get burned out doing this blog. And, remember to keep on rockin’ in the free world!

We’ve Got the Funk: 25 Songs from George Clinton’s Empire

10.30 george clinton & parliament funkadelic logo

It’s the Halloween season again, and I am always think back to the days that my mom would take it upon herself to project on me what “I wanted” to dress up like each year. Then, she would spend weeks perfecting my costume so she could enter me into our small town’s costume competition. And, when I would win, she would always bask in the glow that I could give two cents about. This went on until I wanted to dress like Gene Simmons, so it came to an end. What I never told her is that I secretly want to dress like Parliament/Funkadelic bass player Bootsy Collins, which would have been her greatest challenge to change this whiter-than-white boy into funk’s greatest personality. Oh, well, we will never know what might have been.

10.30 Parliament-Funkadelic

Of the many groups with crazy wardrobes, no one could hold a candle to George Clinton’s empire of musical geniuses under their various band names of Parliament, Funkadelic, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, Parlet, The Brides of Funkenstein, Fred Wesley & the Horny Horns, Zapp, and so many other variants that I do not have the time to list all of them. And, I am not counting all of the solo albums released by the band members like Eddie Hazel and Bernie Worrell. Prince once had aspired to such an empire, but he soon learned that he was too much of a control freak that he could not maintain all of the pokers that George Clinton once had in the figurative fire back in the mid-Seventies.

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Now, back in the early Seventies, Clinton’s band name of The Parliaments was under contract with a company that was holding onto the band’s name. So, Clinton started Funkadelic more as a rock/funk band along the lines of Sly & the Family Stone and Jimi Hendrix. When he finally got his original group name back, he dropped “The” and the “s”, used the same players along with a horn section, much like Earth, Wind & Fire, and created Parliament as a party funk band. And, the two bands recorded in this manner throughout much of the Seventies, until the disco days of the late Seventies, when the two bands’ sounds were so intertwined that no one could tell the difference. But, no one really cared because they were creating the greatest funk music ever. So great, in fact, that hip hop hits have gone to the P-Funk well so often that it’s almost cliched now.

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It’s Bootsy, baby!

If you go to Wikipedia to see the bands’ roster, you will see a list of over one hundred musicians and vocalists who have recorded and/or toured with Clinton under his two major bands’ banners. In fact, when Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, somewhere around twenty people were inducted, with many of these talented people being listed as multi-instrumentalists. The only musician that Clinton somewhat compares to is Frank Zappa, and that’s mainly due to the fact that these two visionaries completely followed their own muses and blazed new musical paths that today’s musicians get lost on while attempting to follow. Neither man simply followed a formula for songwriting. Instead, they blew up the form completely and started over. Zappa was more of an orchestral man, while Clinton was funk all the way.

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Guitar hero Eddie Hazel

By the Eighties, we were getting some distilled funk sounds of Clinton’s bands in the sounds of the Ohio Players, LTD, Brothers Johnson, Gap Band and Ready for the World, but none had cornered the market on the musical visionaries that Clinton was able to employ. At one time Clinton had one of the 100 greatest guitarists in Eddie Hazel, bassists in Bootsy Collins and keyboard wizards in Bernie Worrell. Several of Clinton’s funkateers where in so much demand that many of them can be heard playing on albums by such diverse artists like Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club and Deee-Lite.

10.30 george clinton arriving in concert in mothership

When you watch videos of these bands on YouTube, it appears to be mass chaos. And, it somewhat is. But, when you listen to the studio versions, you begin to understand that each instrument, each innovative sound those instruments are making, each vocal hiccup is placed exactly where it should be to make the overall sound greater than its parts. Then, you go back to re-watch those same videos, and you understand it.

Also, Clinton allowed each member to develop their own unique visual look that would extend their personality to the live stage. That’s why Bootsy had the Starchild look or guitar and musical bandleader Gary Shider took on the Diaperman persona. Each of Clinton’s players had their own looks to go with their personalities and talents. And, it could seem like the nightmare of a person with ADHD, but the whole thing worked within and without the haze of pot hanging over the stage and the mind-altering enhancements of LSD and God-know-what-else. These people could play. They could entertain. And, their fans had fun. And, most importantly, the funk lived!

So, in honor of the costumes I never wore, I give you My 25 Favorite Songs by Artists in the George Clinton Empire.

25. “A Blow for You, a Toot for Me” – Fred Wesley & the Horny Horns (A Blow for Me, a Toot for Me, 1977).

24. “Pumpin’ It Up” – The P-Funk All-Stars (Urban Dancefloor Guerillas, 1983)

23. “Cosmic Slop” – Funkadelic (Cosmic Slop, 1973)

22. “Man’s Best Friend/Loopzilla” – George Clinton (Computer Games, 1982)

21. “Disco to Go” – The Brides of Funkenstein (Funk or Walk, 1978)

20. “(I Wanna) Testify” – The Parliaments (single, 1967)

19. “Red Hot Mama” – Funkadelic (Standing on the Verge of Getting It On, 1974)

18. “The Pinocchio Theory” – Bootsy’s Rubber Band (Ahh…The Name Is Bootsy, Baby, 1976)

17. “Bop Gun” – Parliament (Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome, 1977)

16. “Ride On” – Parliament (Chocolate City, 1975)

15. “Do Fries Go with That Shape” – George Clinton (R&B Skeletons in the Closet, 1986)

14. “Chocolate City” – Parliament (Chocolate City, 1975)

13. “Undisco Kidd” – Funkadelic (Tales of Kidd Funkadelic, 1976)

12. “Up for the Down Stroke” – Parliament (Up for the Down Stroke, 1974)

11. “Standing on the Verge of Getting It On” (Standing on the Verge of Getting It On, 1974)

10. “Who Says a Funk Band Can’t Play Rock” – Funkadelic (One Nation Under a Groove, 1978)

9. “Aqua Boogie” – Parliament (Motor Booty Affair, 1978)

8. “(Not Just) Knee Deep” – Funkadelic (Uncle Jam Wants You, 1979)

7. “More Bounce to the Ounce” – Zapp (Zapp, 1980)

6. “Maggot Brain” – Funkadelic (Maggot Brain, 1971)


5. “Bootzilla” – Bootsy’s Rubber Band (Bootsy? Player of the Year, 1978)

4. “Atomic Dog” – George Clinton (Computer Games, 1982)

10.30 mothership connection

3. “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)” – Parliament (Mothership Connection, 1975)

10.30 funkadelic - one nation under a groove

2. “One Nation Under a Groove” – Funkadelic (One Nation Under a Groove, 1978)

1. “Flash Light” – Parliament (Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome, 1977)

That’s my tribute to the musical genius of George Clinton. Enjoy!

The World Has Turned and Left Me Here: My 25 Favorite Weezer Songs

10.27 weezer

Last Friday was a HUGE day for new album releases. Today, not so much. Except, Weezer is releasing their eleventh album today, and the title of the new album is NOT Weezer. No, there appears to be a budding pattern, if you really do not count Death to False Metal as an official studio album. If you remember, the band may title release self-titled albums, but the band’s fans refer to those albums by the background color. The first album is called “The Blue Album”, their third album is “The Green Album”, “The Red Album” is their sixth album, and their tenth album is known as “The White Album”. If the pattern holds, their next self-titled album will album number 15. Between the first two eponymous albums was one regularly titled album. Then, there were two albums released before the next Weezer album. Finally, the band released three albums before “The White Album” was released last year. All of this means, they should be releasing four albums before their next Weezer album.

10. 27 Weezer_-_Blue_Album10.27 Weezer_-_Green_Album

10.27 weezer - red album10.27 Weezer's_White_Album,2016

When Weezer burst on the scene in the fall of 1994, I was in my first year of teaching after working eight years as a medical technologist. At that time, Weezer’s “Undone (The Sweater Song)” was becoming huge with my first group of high school kids. That album was everywhere in that small school where I taught. I would hear both boys and girls singing that song. I remember telling the students after I listened to “The Blue Album” for the first time that Weezer was the Cheap Trick of their generation. And, you know what, I think I cut to the essence of Weezer with that comparison. Much like Cheap Trick, Weezer has been beloved for much of their earlier albums, and then written off as has-beens for the middle portion of their career. Much like Cheap Trick, Weezer has one song that sticks out in the hearts of their fans, “Buddy Holly”. And, much like Cheap Trick, the band’s biggest hit, “Beverly Hills”, is ridiculed by the fan base. And, the next comparison comes whenever either band releases a great album, then the fans are certain that this album will return the band to their glory days. Additionally, both Weezer and Cheap Trick have the ability to write power pop songs yet have the ability to transcend the genre to become major influences on a multitude of artists in their wake. While Cheap Trick can have direct lines drawn from them to both hair metal bands of the Eighties and alternative bands of the Nineties, Weezer has influenced the emo, pop punk, indie rock and pop and garage rock scenes here in the 21st century.

And, much like Cheap Trick, Weezer will eventually get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Still, the reason I love Weezer is NOT because I believe they resemble my beloved Cheap Trick, but because they play the type of rock music that I love. They are not afraid to push the boundaries of a pop song within the context of their rock vision. Both bands are not afraid to “fail” commercially while subtly pushing the boundaries of the chosen niche. Unfortunately, neither band gets their due for this. Both are ridiculed for not remaining conservative and rehashing the hits. Sure, Weezer could have rewritten “Buddy Holly” a million times over, much like Cheap Trick could have rewritten “I Want You to Want Me”, but where’s the creativity in that? So, both bands continue to follow their muse, create new music and tour.

Osheaga Music And Arts Festival 2015

Now, Weezer is lead by former wunderkind Rivers Cuomo, who after the release of the band’s second album, the rough, chaotic masterpiece of Pinkerton, put his band on the back burner and went to college, earning a degree from Harvard. He did so due the critical maligning of Pinkerton at the time. So, the break took the pressure off of him, allowing him to re-energize not as the voice of a generation, but as a musician.

10.27 weezer obama parody

Weezer has take power pop and melded it with the whole grunge sound, all the while taking the trouble to occasionally top off his songs with the latest production techniques in an effort to push his basic love of the music of The Cars, Cheap Trick and Pixies into new territories. As I write this entry, I have not heard the new album, though I expect it to arrive here any minute now. I have heard that Rivers has been experimenting with samples and tape loops, which ought to be an interesting exercise in pissing off his fans once again. Oh well, that’s what gets me excited about every new Weezer album, much like my other favorite artists: Prince, Pearl Jam, Talking Heads, George Clinton, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, The Band, and all the rest that I continue to enjoy listening to.

10.27 Weezer-pacific-daydream-album

So, in honor of Weezer’s new album, Pacific Daydream, may I present to you My 25 Favorite Weezer Songs. Enjoy the ride!

25. “Happy Hour” (Pacific Daydream, 2017)

24. “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)” (Weezer, 2008)

23. “We Are All on Drugs” (Make Believe, 2005)

22. “Dope Nose” (Maladroit, 2002) 2016aydream, 2017)

20. “Back to the Shack” (Everything Will Be Alright in the End, 2015)

19. “Don’t Let Go” (Weezer, 2001)

18. “Beverly Hills” (Make Believe, 2005)

17. “Mexican Fender” (Pacific Daydream, 2017)

16. “California Kids” (Weezer, 2016)

15. “Photograph” (Weezer, 2001)

14. “Say It Ain’t So” (Weezer, 1994)

13. “The Good Life” (Pinkerton, 1996)

12. “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) Want You To” (Raditude, 2009)

11. “Do You Wanna Get High?” (Weezer, 2016)

10. “Thank God for Girls” (Weezer, 2016)

9. “Tired of Sex” (Pinkerton, 1996)

8. “Hash Pipe” (Weezer, 2001)

7. “Pork and Beans” (Weezer, 2008)

6. “Island in the Sun” (Weezer, 2001)

5. “Undone (The Sweater Song)” (Weezer, 1994)

4. “My Name Is Jonas” (Weezer, 1994)

3. “Keep Fishin'” (Maladroit, 2002)

2. “El Sorcho” (Pinkerton, 1996)

1. “Buddy Holly” (Weezer, 1994)

Was there ever any doubt about what song would be #1? Not with me, since I NEVER get tired of “Buddy Holly”! Call me a “popster”, I don’t care! As a matter of fact, I where that label with pride! So, that’s my life according to Weezer.

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I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Just Who Is This Band? I Have 25 Songs from These Guys, Whomever They Are

Do you recognize the band in the picture below?

10.26 Supertramp

In 1977, I fell in love with a song that I would only occasionally hear on the radio. This song had a Beatlesque appeal to it, with a 12-string acoustic guitar being the lead instrument, and I always seem to be falling for the sound of a 12-string guitar. Anyway, this song not only paid homage to the Beatles, but it also had a art rock sound to it, not unlike a band that I was just discovering at the time, the Electric Light Orchestra. The difference was the singer, whose unique, high-pitched voice was unparalleled on the radio at the time. The song was the brilliant “Give a Little Bit” by the band Supertramp. Little did I know that over the next five years, I would become a huge fan of this band.

So, I bought the band’s 1977 album Even in the Quietest Moments. That album was played, but overall, it was an uneven album. Then, in 1979, everything changed, when Supertramp released their masterpiece, the sublime Breakfast in America. It seemed as though that album found its way into many of my friend’s collections. That album happened to be a favorite of the infamous Chemistry II back row, a collection of brilliant non-conformists, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in medicine, engineering and other sciences, which was not bad for a formerly rural high school. Now, this group loved to discuss music, and we loved Supertramp. For whatever reason, that album, along with its live follow-up Paris, became serious discussion topics for us as we moved into Physics. Who knows why it appealed to us? Was it “The Logical Song”? Was it the intelligent playing coupled with the intelligent lyrics? Was it the Beatlesque sound that seemed to be a theme of much of my generation’s music? Who knows?

10.26 Supertramp_-_Breakfast_in_America10.26 Supertramp_-_Even_in_the_Quietest_Moments

Therefore, in honor of my back row brethren, Mark Kline, Brad Eschleman, Jon Harvey and Monica Hammond, here is My 25 Favorite Songs by Supertramp. Let’s start the countdown, where the numbers get smaller, and the hits get bigger.

25. “Fool’s Overture” (Even in the Quietest Moments, 1977)

24. “Even in the Quietest Moments” (Even in the Quietest Moments, 1977)

23. “Lady” (Crisis? What Crisis?, 1975)

22. “Downstream” (Even in the Quietest Moments, 1977)

21. “Cannonball” (Brother Where You Bound, 1985)

20. “Crime of the Century” (Crime of the Century, 1974)

19. “Just Another Nervous Wreck” (Breakfast in America, 1979)

18. “Gone Hollywood” (Breakfast in America, 1979)

17. “Oh! Darling” (Breakfast in America, 1979)

16. “Free as a Bird” (Free as a Bird, 1987)

15. “From Now On” (Even in the Quietest Moments, 1977)

14. “Rudy” (Crime of the Century, 1974)

13. “Goodbye Stranger” (Breakfast in America, 1979)

12. “Ain’t Nobody but Me” (Crisis? What Crisis?, 1975)

11. “Lord Is It Mine” (Breakfast in America, 1979)

10. “Hide in Your Shell” (Crime of the Century, 1974)

9. “School” (Crime of the Century, 1974)

8. “Bloody Well Right” (Crime of the Century, 1974)

7. “Breakfast in America” (Breakfast in America, 1979)

6. “My Kind of Lady” (…Famous Last Words, 1982)

5. “Dreamer” (Crime of the Century, 1974)

4. “It’s Raining Again” (…Famous Last Words, 1982)

3. “Give a Little Bit” (Even in the Quietest Moments, 1977)

2. “The Logical Song” (Breakfast in America, 1979)

1. “Take the Long Way Home” (Breakfast in America, 1979)

That singer with the unique, high-pitched voice, Roger Hodgson, left the band after their 1982 album, …Famous Last Words, leaving the band with only one singer/songwriter in Rick Davies, who is a very good songwriter in his own right. But, when half of the band’s magic is removed, the band in turn fell on hard times as Supertramp lost its counterpoint voice. The band took a break at the end of the Eighties, but recently has gotten back together, still without Hodgson, would declined the invitation to rejoin his bandmates. Both songwriters have unique voices that honestly become irritating over the course of a whole album. The original magic of Supertramp’s great albums lied in the alternating of songs written and sung by both men.

10.26 Supertramp_-_Crime_of_the_Century10.26 Supertramp_-_Famous_Last_Words

Now, is Supertramp’s career Hall of Fame worthy? I am on the fence with that. Although I love the band, I am not sure of their long-term impact on the music world. I would love to see them nominated just to find out if they would get in, but, to me, there are several more worthy artists awaiting induction that Supertramp will get lost in the shuffle. But, the band will always have a fan here in Middle America. Let’s raise a glass in honor of Supertramp!

Calling All KISS Army Members! Here’s 25 from ‘The Hottest Band in the Land’

10.25 all time KISS band members

As I am beginning to write this post, my phone just blew up with word of the passing of rock and roll great Fats Domino. I believe this man was one of the original group of rockers inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He is most famous for his rendition of “Blueberry Hill”, but it was his New Orleans-style of piano playing that made the lasting impression. Just ask RRHOFamer and one of my personal favorites Randy Newman, who was greatly influenced by the man. RIP Fats!

10.25 KISS vintage concert

Today, I was planning to tackle a blast from my past, a band with whom I spent my middle school years of 1975 through 1977 totally obsessed. You know them as “You wanted the best and you got it! The hottest band in the land…KISS!” That’s right, I am venturing back to the days during which I was a member of the KISS Army and everything! Like most of us who came of age in the Seventies, I had a KISS poster in my room, right between my posters of Farah Fawcett and Cheryl Tiegs. I really did have all the required suburban pop culture references in my room in those days. I cranked the old Sears stereo that had an 8-track tape player, cassette player/recorder AND radio built into one box, which made me think I was cool. No, it was not the Hi-Fi system I desired, but the volume would annoy my younger brother, so mission accomplished!

10.25 KISS poster
I used to have this poster on my bedroom wall, along with Farah Fawcett and Cheryl Tiegs.

Anyway, I had all the required KISS merchandise: T-shirt, belt buckle, jumbo poster, comic books, albums, etc. That is, until I heard punk. Then, I went through the whole KISS-backlash thing. Now, I like KISS and respect their place in rock history. By going back to the make-up, KISS could potentially live forever, with new members adorning the classic make-up in order to tour and keep the whole empire alive and well beyond the lives of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, and even to a minor role Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. They hold a unique position in rock as being the one group that could actually outlive its members without ever relying on tribute bands keeping their sound alive. And, that is the inherent brilliance of the band.

10.25 Kiss-Comic-Marvel
I wish I still had this!

KISS has been wonderful throughout most of their career at writing great, concise rock songs that appealed to people across the board. They continue to be revered by metalheads, hard rock lovers (both male and female), hair metal bands and even the grunge artists of the Nineties. When the main songwriters, Stanley and Simmons, remain focused, they can write some rock anthems that will get played on Top 40 radio stations which is unheard of by most hard rock artists. And, if it wasn’t for KISS, the whole hair metal thing of the Eighties would have never happened, for better or worse.

10.25 KISS funko pop rocks
These guys used to be in my mother’s doll collection. Now, they are part of the decor in my music room.

So, today, I want to take a look at My 25 Favorite KISS Songs. Let’s get started.

25. “Rock Bottom” (Alive!, 1975)

24. “Hotter Than Hell” (Hotter Than Hell, 1974)

23. “Plaster Caster” (Love Gun, 1977)

22. “Hard Luck Woman” (Rock and Roll Over, 1976)

21. “C’mon, and Love Me” (Dressed to Kill, 1975)

20. “Cold Gin” (KISS, 1974)

19. “Tears Are Falling” (Asylum, 1985)

18. “Let’s Put the X in Sex” (Smashes, Thrashes & Hits, 1988)

17. “God Gave Rock & Roll to You” (Revenge, 1992)

16. “Hell or Hallelujah” (Monster, 2012)

10.25 KISS in concert

15. “Say Yeah” (Sonic Boom, 2009)

14. “Beth” (Destroyer, 1976)

13.  “Christine Sixteen” (Love Gun, 1977)

12. “Let Me Go Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Hotter Than Hell, 1974)

11. “Black Diamond” (KISS, 1974)

10. “Strutter” (Alive!, 1975)

9. “God of Thunder” (Destroyer, 1976)

8. “Calling Dr. Love” (Rock and Roll Over, 1976)

7. “Lick It Up” (Lick It Up, 1983)

6. “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” (Dynasty, 1979)

5. “New York Groove” (KISS: Ace Frehley, 1978)

4. “Love Gun” (Love Gun, 1977)

3. “Detroit Rock City” (Destroyer, 1976)

2. “Shout It Out Loud” (Destroyer, 1976)

1. “Rock and Roll All Nite” (Alive!, 1975)

10.25 KISS band

This list was one of the easier ones to make. Maybe, it has to due to the fact that KISS has been on my turntable, or in my CD player, for over 43 years. No, I do not listen to them as obsessively as I did during my middle school years. Yet, playing them on my high pain days, along with Metallica and Black Sabbath, actually helps me counteract those days. There’s nothing like adrenaline to psychologically fight the pain. Then again, that’s what my pain pump is for.


The Modfather, Part 2: Ranking All 35 of Paul Weller’s Albums

10.24 paul weller live

Yesterday, I presented my Top 25 Favorite Songs in the Paul Weller cannon. In retrospect, I probably should have gone all the way and gave him a more appropriate Top 50, but what am I going to do? Probably wait six months to a year or so before revisiting the man and his work.

Yet, today, I still find that I am not done with Paul Weller. Yes, he has garnered all kinds of hit songs over in his native United Kingdom, while here in the States, he has only experienced a small handful of minor hits. And, that is a crime! How is it that such important British artists as Weller, The Smiths, Slade, Status Quo and Stone Roses have had huge careers in their native Great Britain, yet failed to make a significant dent on the charts here in the States? And, these are not the only musicians to fall through the cracks over the years, but they represent some of the more significant UK artists in this situation.

Over the years, I have felt my tastes in music were more akin with the tastes of my English brethren than like my fellow Americans. Plus, I would have better healthcare for much less money if I were living in the United Kingdom. But, I am not, so I will make due by listening to my Paul Weller albums and CDs.

Today, I am going to rank all 35 albums in Paul Weller’s catalog, which includes those he made with The Jam and The Style Council. I have left out all greatest hits packages as well as all box sets. So, that leaves me 35 studio and live albums to rank. So, kick back and enjoy the ride. Let’s find out which albums tend to be on my turntable, in my CD player or playing on my iPod or computer.

So, let’s get this thing started! Start the countdown, for crying out loud!

35. Modernism: A New Decade (2001) – The Style Council. This album was recorded in 1990 and was considered to be so bad that the record company kept it on the shelf for a decade. Once it was released, everyone realized that the company was right.

34. The Cost of Loving (1987) – The Style Council. I was so worried that Weller was losing his songwriting mojo on the last three Style Council albums. Little did I realize that he simply needed to fly out on his own.

33. Confessions of a Pop Group (1988) – The Style Council. See my previous comments.

32. This Is the Modern World (1977) – The Jam. The Jam’s first LP was so good, that their record company thought it would be a great idea to quickly release a follow-up. Lesson learned? Weller needs time to write great songs, not just good ones.

31. Days of Speed (2001) – Paul Weller. While Weller’s solo career has been vastly more rich than at any other point in his career, there is still an occasional clunker like this one.

30. Live Wood (1994) – Paul Weller.

29. Home & Abroad – Live! (1986) – The Style Council.

28. Here’s Some That Got Away – The Style Council. This album is loaded with brilliant B-sides and other unreleased gems that could have been used to greater effect on some his weaker Style Council albums.

27. Dig the New Breed (1982) – The Jam.

26. Extras: A Collection of Rarities (1992) – The Jam. Read #25 and applied text to The Jam.

25. The Style Council in Concert (1998) – The Style Council. I know how good Paul Weller can be in concert. But, his live albums never do him justice.

24. Catch-Flame! Live at the Alexandra Palace (2006) – Paul Weller.

23. The Jam at the BBC (2005) – The Jam. Here in the States, we do not have anything that resembles what the BBC does in England. But, when artists’ performances on the BBC are released, Americans can finally hear what they have been missing and the British take for granted.

22. Live Jam (1993). Finally, the record company discovered the tapes of a live Jam show and released it for all of us to enjoy!

21. As Is Now (2005) – Paul Weller. Yet, another great set of songs by Mr. Weller.

20. Studio 150 (2004) – Paul Weller. This was Weller’s first official covers album. It contains his fantastic version of Sister Sledge’s ballad “Thinking of You”, which was written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards.

19. Paul Weller – Paul Weller (1992). This is Weller’s solo debut, which shows his full range of influences from the R&B/Soul sounds of Motown, Philadelphia soul and Stax, the sounds of his beloved band Traffic and the same lyrical fury that made his work with his previous two bands so vital.

18. Heliocentric (2000) – Paul Weller. From this point onward, I will be splitting hairs to separate my love of the rest of his albums. It will be difficult to comment on all of them.

17. In the City (1977) – The Jam. This is The Jam’s debut album, and it was the world’s introduction to the songwriting of Paul Weller. Put this one up next to the debuts of The Clash, Sex Pistols and The Damned as the Mount Rushmore of British Punk Debut Albums.

16. Heavy Soul (1997) – Paul Weller. The R&B is turned up and the rock is turned down just to prove that Mr. Weller is in tune with real American music.

15. Wild Wood (1993) – Paul Weller. Most artists would die for a great album like this. But, when taken in the context of his career, unfortunately this album gets ranked low.

14. Introducing the Style Council – The Style Council (1983). I LOVE this EP! Once again, in the context of his whole career, this one ranks lower than it would most other artists’ catalogs.

13. Stanley Road (1995) – Paul Weller. This album picks up where Wild Wood left off.

12. The Gift (1982) – The Jam. This was the swansong of The Jam as a band. But, I love it since you can hear the budding songwriting of Weller that led to the formation of The Style Council. The R&B is turned up, and the punk is toned down.

11. Sonik Kicks (2012) – Paul Weller. The weakest album of the 2010s, but that’s not a bad thing either.

10. Saturns Pattern (2015). Weller is on such a creative roll right now that I am thoroughly enjoying every album he releases right now.

9. Sound Affects (1980) – The Jam. I cannot begin to tell you how good this album is. Once you get to #29 on this list, I am splitting hairs in an attempt to rank Weller’s albums.

8. Our Favourite Shop (1985) – The Style Council. Here in the States, this album had different versions of songs, was sequenced in a different order and was called Internationalists.

10.24 Illumination

7. Illumination (2002) – Paul Weller. I keep saying it, but it’s true: If this album were in anyone else’s catalog, it would be my #1 pick.

10.24 22 Dreams

6. 22 Dreams (2008) – Paul Weller. This is Weller’s first, and only, double album in his career, and this thing is a tour de force of an album. This is the sound of a solo Weller truly finding his voice as a songwriter and adult rocker.

10.24 Wake Up the Nation

5. Wake Up the Nation (2010) – Paul Weller. I know Weller intended this album for his British crowd, but Americans should listen to it today for the album lyrically talks about the state of our nation today in this age of Trump.

10.24 Setting Sons

4. Setting Sons (1979). This is the sound of Weller coming of an age as an artist.

10.24 Cafe Bleu

3. Café Bleu (1984) – The Style Council. This is the British version of this album. Personally, if I had ranked the American version of this album, entitled My Ever Changing Moods, I would have ranked it MUCH higher. But, since the record company is ignoring this band’s American versions of their albums, I will rank the English version. And, the English version does NOT have the better versions of the individual songs.

10.24 All Mod Cons

2. All Mod Cons (1978). All Mod Cons stands as Weller’s first classic album.

10.24 A Kind Revolution

1. A Kind Revolution (2017). Weller has finally outshone all of his previous work with his most recent release!

10.24 paul weller in concert

I finally have ranked one of my favorite artists of all-time! And, boy was I surprised by how things turned out. Weller is truly turning out some his finest music to this very day. I hope that this post will inspire you to check out his music, because if you do not know him you will enjoy him! Peace!

Here’s 25 Songs by The Modfather, Paul Weller

10.23 paul weller today
Paul Weller today

What a weekend! It was Homecoming Weekend up at the alma mater. I didn’t go due to my pain issues, but the Cardinals got completely thumped 58 to 9, so I was glad that I was not there. It’s been a long season for Ball State. Hopefully, basketball will go better. The highlight was meeting up with several of my Beta Sigma Psi fraternity brothers, many of whom I haven’t seen in over thirty years. It was fantastic to have to opportunity to catch up with them. None of my brothers were surprised to hear that I was writing a music blog today, since I had to give an album review each month at our house meetings. Plus, while in college, my album collection was somewhere between 150 and 200. When the guys heard that, one of the brothers offered to purchase my 200th album. During the Spring of 1984, I reached that threshold, and Scott Brown purchased Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps for me as my 200th album in my collection. It was so fun to remember those care-free days: the theme parties, competing in Bike-A-Thon, our version of IU’s Little 500, the Air Jam competitions, the 4th of July 1982 party that devolved into a bottle rocket fight in the House, you know, the usual shenanigans of young men in their late-teens and early-twenties. The best information that I heard was that some of the guys still have my party mixtapes I made for them on their birthdays. Sounds like they were gifts that kept on giving!

10.23 style council
The Style Council

All of that nostalgia got me thinking back to those days of my junior year at Ball State, back when I was still preparing to go to Medical School, only to stop the proceedings, and alter my degree plans in order to become a medical technologist with a microbiology degree and a chemistry minor. During that crazy year of 1983-1984, I got to the Paul Weller party late. The Jam had announced that they were breaking up at the end of 1982. So, I purchased my first album by The Jam called Snap!, a double album full of their hits and B-sides. I love that album to this day. But, all that album did was make me want to follow the career of a man who would never reach star status here in the States, although he is held in high regard in his native Great Britain.

10.23 The Jam
The Jam, with Paul Weller in the center

When I heard that Weller had started in a new band called The Style Council, I finally purchased their 1983 debut EP called Introducing the Style Council AND 1984’s My Ever Changing Moods, known as Café Bleu across the “pond”. I loved those albums so much that the covers show the wear. Plus, those albums were what hooked my wife on The Style Council, thus allowing me to slowly expose her to The Jam as well. As the Eighties continued, The Style Council was one of the few artists I followed. But, as the Eighties wore on, The Style Council ran out of juice. Finally, in the early Nineties, Paul Weller, the leader of both The Jam and The Style Council struck out on his own for a solo career. And, that career has been musically satisfying as I could listen to an artist who was initially influenced by all my favorite artists such as early Who, The Kinks and Motown music, first used those influences to channel his anger through The Jam’s take on punk through a mod’s eye. Then, as he matured as a person, his music became so sophisticated that he needed to stretch beyond The Jam’s power trio to create a sophisticated version of Europop with The Style Council. And, then as the creative force began to wane within the confines of The Style Council, it was time for Mr. Weller to go solo in order to fully realize his vision of the very same influences within a maturing adult rocker. And, thus, his solo career continues to see and hear Weller battle his ideals within the context of what the public wants.

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10.23 style-council logo

10.23 the jam logo

Personally, I wish more Americans were familiar with his great music. The Jam’s punk rock transcended the usual punk rhetoric of the UK’s punk bands by integrating the Sixties mod sound up to his late album, A Kind Revolution, where you can hear him taking those very same influences into his sixth decade of life. Few rock artists can honestly say they are as vital today as they were in their late-teens. And, unfortunately, his music has fallen on mainly deaf ears here. So, if you are interested in hearing the man, you should begin with his solo great hits packages, Modern Classics and More Modern Classics. Then, grab The Jam’s Young Ideals and The Style Council’s Singular Adventures of the Style Council to gain the full picture of his career. Or, you could drop $50 or so for his career-spanning four-CD box set entitled Hit Parade for an overview that goes up to 2007, thus missing the past decade of what I consider to be his strongest work to date.

10.23 paul weller modern classics10.23 paul weller more modern classics

Today, Weller is known as the Modfather in his native Great Britain, for his musical take on the R&B-influenced music of the early Who and Small Faces during the punk era and beyond. His bands’ and solo influence can be felt throughout the whole indie rock scene of the Eighties popularized by such artists as The Smiths and the Housemartins AND the Britpop movement of the Nineties of which Oasis, Blur, Pulp The Verve, Elastica, The La’s and so many others were part of. Now, you can hear his musical influence on a whole new generation of British indie artists, most of whom are more familiar with his solo career. Unfortunately, his true contributions to rock music have gone unnoticed by the voters for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Ideally, one day he will get in either with The Jam, or at least as a solo artist. Preferably, I would love to see him inducted as both a member of The Jam, since their success and influence are undeniable. I used to hear remnants of their sound in the early days of Green Day’s music. And, his solo career continues to be so vital and influential that it may take decades for us to fully realize just how big his shadow truly has been. As far as The Style Council is concerned, I do not see them as worthy of induction, but they do play an important role in the musical development of Weller that can be celebrated with his induction as a solo artist.

10.23 The_Singular_Adventures_of_The_Style_Council10.23 Snap!_(The_Jam_album)

As you know, I am a fan of Motown, Philly soul and Stax R&B, in addition to the punk energy, sophisticated pop and flat-out rock all of which are rolled up in the musical career of Paul Weller. And, then you throw in his thoughtful and thought-provoking lyrics which espouse many politics which are also foreign to Americans. To me, Paul Weller has been one of the greatest rock artists of any era. So, today, I would like to honor him with a Top 25 of my favorite songs of his, through all three incarnations he has taken: The Jam, The Style Council and solo Paul Weller. So, now, on with the countdown!

25. “In the City” – The Jam (1977)

24. “She Moves with the Fayre” – Paul Weller (2017)

23. “The Eton Rifles” – The Jam (1979)

22. “Start!” – The Jam (1980)

21. “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight” – The Jam (1978)

20. “That Dangerous Age” – Paul Weller (2012)

19. “Peacock Suit” – Paul Weller (1997)

18. “How She Threw It All Away” – The Style Council (1988)

17. “A Solid Bond in Your Heart” – The Style Council (1983)

16. “That’s Entertainment” – The Jam (1980)

15. “Absolute Beginnings” – The Jam (1981)

14. “Headstart for Happiness” – The Style Council (1983)

13. “Shout to the Top” – The Style Council (1986)

12. “All I Wanna Do (Is Be with You)” – Paul Weller (2008)

11. “The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow)” – The Jam (1982)

10. “Walls Come Tumblin’ Down” – The Style Council (1986)

9. “Long Hot Summer” – The Style Council (1983)

8. “Beat Surrender” – The Jam (1982)

7. “You Do Something to Me” – Paul Weller (1995)

6. “Wake Up the Nation” – Paul Weller (2010)

5. “Town Called Malice” – The Jam (1982)

4. “Sweet Pea, My Sweet Pea” – Paul Weller (2000)

3. “You’re the Best Thing” – The Style Council (1984)

2. “Going Underground” – The Jam (1980)

1. “My Ever Changing Moods” – The Style Council (1984)

That’s it! My 25 Favorite Songs by Paul Weller. I hope you will check him out if you are not familiar with his music. I confident you will like him! By the way, I could have done a Top 50 songs, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you.

So, until tomorrow, keep on rockin’ in the free world!

Just How Much Music Can I Squeeze Out of This? Here’s 25 by Squeeze

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Squeeze, the current line-up

One of my favorite New Wave bands from the Eighties quietly released a new album recently without me knowing about it. The band is Squeeze, and their new album is called The Knowledge. Two years ago, the band, who had regrouped seven years earlier for tours, finally released an album entitled Cradle to the Grave. And, that album was brilliant. It had been well over 30 years since I had so thoroughly enjoyed a Squeeze album. Well, folks, like many of our rock heroes, Squeeze is in the midst of a career renaissance because this new album is fantastic.

All of this got me waxing nostalgic. Let’s hop in our Wayback Machine set to Labor Day weekend 1981, my first weekend at Ball State University. After moving into the dorm on that Sunday, my mom, brother, uncle and aunt all left me to get acquainted with my new life. After hooking up my stereo, a group of guys, most of whom would become long time friends, stopped by my room to invite me to go with them to get something to eat. We walked down to the Village, where we went to a pizza place, after which we all headed to Stonehenge Records, the local independent record store. While in the store, I noticed they had the latest Squeeze album, East Side Story. I remember reading a glowing review of the album in Rolling Stone, so I bought the album. And, I loved that album, listening to it often during my freshman year. I loved the band’s lyrical word play that I likened to Elvis Costello. Now, Rolling Stone was burdening the band’s songwriting duo, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, with the “new” Lennon and McCartney moniker, which was totally unfair. To me, they were a pure pop Elvis Costello, but that may have been due to the fact that Elvis produced many of the songs on the album.

10.20 Squeeze - East_side_story_album

Anyway, I became hooked on Squeeze. I bought their second album Argybargy and loved it just as much as East Side Story. Then, in the Summer of 1982, the band released Sweets from a Stranger, which was not as strong as the previous two albums, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Around Christmas that same year, Squeeze released a brilliant greatest hits package entitled Singles 45’s and Under. The album contained all of their British singles on one album. That album was played constantly. Unfortunately, the band ran out of creative fuel on the next couple of albums, and I lost interest. That is, until that 2015 album was released. Now, I have my old Squeeze music back. And, like I said earlier, their brand new album is equally up to the task of maintaining the band’s original reputation as a thinking man’s pop band.

10.20 Squeeze-The-Knowledge-1504213819

So, in celebration of the release of the band’s latest album, The Knowledge, I will send you into the weekend with My 25 Favorite Songs by Squeeze. Let’s begin the begin!

25. “Slightly Drunk” (Cool for Cats, 1979)

24. “Love Circles” (Frank, 1989)

23. “Separate Beds” (Argybargy, 1980)

22. “Sunday Street” (Play, 1991)

21. “If It’s Love” (Frank, 1989)

20. “Slap and Tickle” (Cool for Cats, 1979)

19. “Hits of the Year” (Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti, 1985)

18. “Another Nail in My Heart” (Argybargy, 1980)

17. “In Quintessence” (East Side Story, 1981)

16. “His House Her Home” (Sweets from a Stranger, 1982)

15. “853-5937” (Babylon and On, 1987)

14. “Take Me I’m Yours” (Squeeze, 1978)

13. “Patchouli” (The Knowledge, 2017)

12. “Happy Days” (Cradle to the Grave, 2015)

10.20 Squeeze - Cool for cats

11. “Cool for Cats” (Cool for Cats, 1979)

10. “Loving You Tonight” (Some Fantastic Place, 1993)

9. “Annie Get Your Gun” (Singles 45’s and Under, 1982)

8. “Labelled with Love” (East Side Story, 1981)

7. “Goodbye Girl” (Cool for Cats, 1979)

6. “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)” (Argybargy, 1980)

5. “Cradle to the Grave” (Cradle to the Grave, 2015)

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4. “The Up Junction” (Cool for Cats, 1979)

3. “Black Coffee in Bed” (Sweets from a Stranger, 1982)

2. “Hourglass” (Babylon and On, 1987)

1. “Tempted” (East Side Story, 1981)

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Squeeze, the original line-up

Really? Was there any doubt about the Top 3? I mean, those three got the most radio airplay at the time of their releases. I hope you listen to them via your favorite method. Me? I prefer vinyl, though CDs and mp3s are convenient and easy to use, as is streaming. I just prefer my music on my system using the warmest sounding medium, which is, to me, vinyl. Long live vinyl! And, of course, long live rock!

Have a great weekend! And, as the prophet Casey Kasem used to say, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Peace!

Hot Funk, Cool Punk, Old Junk, It’s Still Billy Joel to Me – 40 Big Ones

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On February 18, 1978, Billy Joel skipped his high school graduating class’s ten-year reunion in order to play a gig, an important gig. That night, Billy Joel became the Billy Joel that we all know and love to this day. For on that night, Billy Joel was booked to perform as the musical guest on a cutting-edge TV show in its third and most watched season. The show was Saturday Night Live, and the host was the former cast member to transcend the show and became a Hollywood star, Chevy Chase. Since the night marked Chase’s return to the show, the viewers were tuning into this episode like few before it. The anticipation was high for the guest host alone. But, Billy Joel came on the show and just nailed his two songs, “Just the Way You Are” and “Only the Good Die Young”. And, so strong was the performance that Joel’s then-current album became the first album to receive what is now known as “The SNL Bump”. Joel’s album, which had be on a slow sinking down the charts, picked up huge sales in the weeks following, causing The Stranger to take off again. And, the result was the album produced two more hit singles, and Billy Joel’s career was jump-started by that one performance. That performance showed the entertainment industry just how powerful the SNL brand had become, and Joel opened the door for more name artists to accept invitations to perform on the variety show.

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Billy Joel on Saturday Night Live on February 18, 1978

Today, Billy Joel is revered in the United States as musical icon and is often referred to as America’s Elton John, which is unfair to both artists. But, I do understand the comparison. Both play the piano, though they attack the instrument from two different directions. Where Sir Elton attacks his piano like a campy Little Richard, Joel uses a stately Ray Charles grace channeled through a Broadway-influenced anthems, that their sounds are unique to each artist. And, where Elton can seem larger than life, Billy Joel comes off as an approachable everyman. And, neither of these images help to decipher either man. Let’s just simply agree that both are two of the greatest performers of our lifetimes.

Now, when MTV took over the world, one would have thought that Elton would have made the better video star of the two, mainly due to his flamboyance. Unfortunately for Elton, his alcohol problems were sapping his super powers, so Elton instead floundered during the Eighties. That is until he met fellow-Hoosier Ryan White, who was in the news at the time for everyone’s stupid reactions to people with AIDS. After befriending Ryan, Elton cleaned up.

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Here’s an overlooked romantic song

On the other hand, Billy Joel was creating exciting videos that sold his seemingly non-threatening onscreen personality. Watching him awkwardly hitting on his future wife Christie Brinkley (who should have been swimming or running, not choreographed dancing) in his video for “Uptown Girl”. And, you could tell from how Joel’s voice popped out from your stereo that he was tough, relentless. He sang like the boxer that he had trained to become back in his teens.

As of this writing, I have yet to see Billy Joel in concert. He has long been on my Bucket List, but only if I can find some reasonably priced tickets. Otherwise, I play crowd noise on one stereo and Billy on mine. That’ll make seem like I was there! Or not!

Instead, may I present to you, my loyal reader(s), My 40 Favorite Billy Joel Songs. “Let’s rock ‘n’ roll!”

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This album was Joel’s first big seller
  1. “The Stranger” (The Stranger, 1977)
  2. “Sometimes a Fantasy” (Glass Houses, 1980)
  3. “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” (Glass Houses, 1980)
  4. “Leave a Tender Moment Alone” (An Innocent Man, 1983)
  5. “Only the Good Die Young” (The Stranger, 1977)
  6. “Piano Man” (Piano Man, 1973)
  7. “You May Be Right” (Glass Houses, 1980)
  8. “New York State of Mind” (Turnstiles, 1976)
  9. “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” (The Stranger, 1977)
  10. “Tell Her About It” (An Innocent Man, 1983)
  11. “A Matter of Trust” (The Bridge, 1986)
  12. “I Go to Extremes” (Storm Front, 1989)
  13. “Just the Way You Are” (The Stranger, 1977)
  14. “Captain Jack” (Songs in the Attic, 1981)
  15. “She’s Always a Woman to Me” (The Stranger, 1977)
  16. “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” (The Stranger, 1977)
  17. “My Life” (52nd Street, 1978)
  18. “Uptown Girl” (An Innocent Man, 1983)
  19. “She’s Got a Way” (Songs in the Attic, 1981)
  20. “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” (Songs in the Attic, 1981)
  21. “The River of Dreams” (River of Dreams, 1993)
  22. “Pressure” (The Nylon Curtain, 1982)
  23. “Goodnight Saigon” (The Nylon Curtain, 1982)
  24. “Allentown” (The Nylon Curtain, 1982)
  25. “Big Shot” (52nd Street, 1978)
  26. “We Didn’t Start the Fire” (Storm Front, 1989)
  27. “Modern Woman” (The Bridge, 1986)
  28. “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” (Songs in the Attic, 1981)
  29. “Vienna” (The Stranger, 1977)
  30. “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” (Piano Man, 1973)
  31. “Don’t Ask Me Why” (Glass Houses, 1980)
  32. “An Innocent Man” (An Innocent Man, 1983)
  33. “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” (Greatest Hits, Volumes 1 and 2 (1973-1985), 1985)
  34. “Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)” (River of Dreams, 1993)
  35. “Honesty” (52nd Street, 1978)
  36. “Keeping the Faith” (An Innocent Man, 1983)
  37. “The Longest Time” (An Innocent Man, 1983)
  38. “And So It Goes” (Storm Front, 1989)
  39. “The Entertainer” (Streetlife Serenade, 1974)
  40. “Summer, Highland Falls” (Turnstiles, 1976)


I know! My list is top-loaded with the hits. But, come on! His hits were hits for a reason: those songs were able to touch many people somewhere in their soul. Of course, that’s what separates the musical immortals from the one-hit-wonders. And, when you have created such a deep library of music that is terribly difficult to narrow your list to 40 songs, then you know the man has a magical touch. And, most of the songs on my list are from his best years of 1977 through 1993.

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Raise a glass to Mr. Joel!

In the Midnight Hour, We All Cried More, More, More! My 20 Favorite Billy Idol Songs

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This week is Homecoming Week at my alma mater, Ball State University. And, as I perused the list of activities for the week, I noticed the number of traditions that were still in their infancy while I was at Ball State still being carried on to this very week. They have all the usual Homecoming stuff, such a parade during the morning of the game (one activity I never saw while a college student), evening entertainment that appeals more to the older alumni (Wait! Am I the old one now?), Homecoming court balloting, etc. A couple of events that started a couple of years before my matriculation.

The first event was The Bed Race, where four to six teammates push a bed with one of the final teammate on the bed navigating the pushers as they drag race another team. The winner moves on the to the next round until one team is left as the Homecoming Bed Race Champs. The best part of the race is to see the crazy outfits each team adorn. The event that seemed to capture our imaginations as students was the “Air Jam”, where groups “perform” a song of their choice. I have witnessed a couple young ladies do an outstanding version of a Blues Brothers song, or the time the campus male pin-up brought to life “Strip” by Adam Ant. But, the best Air Jam performance I had Ever seen was a group of guys from a dorm who transformed into Prince proteges, The Time, while performing “The Walk”.

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In college, my friends would probably tell you that I was a HUGE Billy Idol fan. And they were correct to a certain extent. Often, I was told that I looked like a cross between Billy Idol, Sting and Tom Petty. I never knew how to take that, but okay. Anyway, I did like Billy Idol quite a bit, though not on the same level as Prince, Cheap Trick, Petty, Springsteen, R.E.M. and the rest. But, he still played a brief role in my music collection. As a matter of fact, my wife and I saw him at the old tennis complex in Indianapolis 33 years ago. Wow! That was a long time ago!

And, yes, I too performed at Air Jam. My sophomore year, a group of us did “Don’t Fight It” by Kenny Loggins and Steve Perry. My junior year, we did Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself”. And, my senior year, we tried to do Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”. So, yes, I have made a public fool of myself before. But, in honor of this being homecoming week at Ball State, I thought I would give you My 20 Favorite Billy Idol Songs.

20. “Shock the System” (1993)

19. “Blue Highway” (1983)

18. “Kiss Me Deadly” (1978) – As recorded by Billy Idol’s original band, Generation X, and NOT Lita Ford’s big hit in the 1980s.

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17. “Your Generation” (1978) – Yet another Generation X song.

16. “Come On, Come On” (1982).

15. “The Untouchables” (1981).

14.  “Don’t Need a Gun” (1986)

13. “Sweet Sixteen” (1986)

12. “Catch My Fall” (1983)

11. “L.A. Woman” (1990)

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10. “Ready Steady Go”  (1978) – Generation X

9. “Cradle of Love” (1990)

8. “Mony Mony (live)” (1987). This was always a show stopper in Idol’s live setlist.

7. “Hot in the City” (1982). Billy Idol is the closest he will ever be to a pop singer, except on his Christmas album a decade or so ago.

6. “To Be a Lover” (1986). How about a little psychobilly from Billy? It’s almost what you have here, a mix of rockabilly and metal

5. “White Wedding” (1982). One of the original videos in heavy rotation on a fledgling channel.

4. “Eyes Without a Face” (1983). Billy Idol’s huge make out record!

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3. “Flesh for Fantasy” (1983). This song is a great resource for a metal/pop/funk/punk fusion of sounds.

2. “Rebel Yell” (1983). Although it did not climb high into the Top 40, “Rebel Yell” announced Billy Idol’s arrival as a major rock star.

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1. “Dancing with Myself” (1982) – I prefer Billy Idol’s version to Generation X’s original, though I am not sure that I could honestly tell the difference between the two. Oh well, I know what I like, and I like Billy Idol!

That’s a wrap on Billy Idol songs. If you have any artists to suggest, leave their names in the comment section. Peace out!