I don’t know what the weather’s like in “your neck of the woods,” but here in Central Indiana, we have gone from 88ºF last week to a low last night of 28ºF. That’s nearly a 60º turn around in less than a week. No wonder there’s crazy new viruses popping up all the time. Back in April, one day our temperature was winter-like and seemingly and abruptly, we were experiencing summer-like temperatures. It seems to me that the temperature transition seasons of Spring and Fall are going by the wayside. I am a huge believer in climate change, but I tend to look at from a chemist’s point of view, that may be due to the fact that I taught chemistry during most of my teaching career.
You see, there’s an underlying concept in chemistry known as Le Châtelier’s Principle, which essentially states that all chemicals within a system are staying in an equilibrium, in essence so the system allows for life on Earth, until there is a stress that acts upon the system. There are so many of these little chemical reactions going on within an ecosystem that it would require a major stress to cause a shift within this equilibrium. But, since the discovery of massive amounts of energy stored in fossil fuels, humans have been burning these energy source with much gusto. The more we burn, the more carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere. The atmosphere was designed to work efficiently with the carbon dioxide produced by living things. Then, all of a sudden, humans began burning fossil fuels with much gusto in order to heat and cool their homes, to individually drive their cars, among MANY other activities. Now, all of this extra carbon dioxide has to go somewhere. So, it goes into the atmosphere. In response, the natural carbon dioxide scrubbers cannot keep up with the demand, especially as we deforest the planet whose trees act as the atmosphere’s CO2 scrubbers, so the CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere, driving up the temperature. Small temperature increases begin to affect other equilibria, such as the water cycle, where ice begins to melt, putting a stress on that cycle and causing an increase in the amount of water vapor in the air and fresh water in the oceans. The excess water now screws with our weather and, ultimately, our climate, leaving the human vulnerable, and finally screwed. Thus, simply put, we, human beings, are playing a major role in climate change. So, Mr. President, in addition to your minions of naysayers, just a small understanding of eighth grade physical science will tell you that climate change is a man-made phenomenon and will not change back.
Alright! Alright! Alright! I will quit proselytizing. Let’s get on with some rock talk! How about doing Day 3 of your Top 100 Artists of All Time Keller! Uh, yeah, sure. OK! So, let the countdown begin!
80. Joe Jackson – I am NOT talking about the famous Jackson family patriarch. I am talking about the great singer/songwriter from the UK, the very one who, along with Elvis Costello and Graham Parker, formed what critics referred to as the Angry Young Men songwriters. All three burst onto the scene with major attitudes toward the status quo and were ready to upset the apple cart. Of course, all three mellowed and made compelling music as maturing men. Jackson moved in a more jazz- and Latin-influenced musical direction from his power pop/punk beginning. Favorite Album: Night and Day. Favorite Song: “Is She Really Going Out with Him?”
79. Whitney Houston – When Whitney Houston burst on the scene in late-1984, the music world was totally enraptured with her voice and looks. Now, she was a DIVA! Little did we know of her depression, possible suppression of her natural sexuality and how she used to self-medicate to keep her personal pain more manageable. Behind that beautiful and infectious smile was an underlying, constant pain that could no longer be held at bay by the end of her life. But, if you ever need to her Miss Houston at her best, just pop her debut on your turntable and drop the needle. Then, just kick back and take it all in. Favorite Album: Whitney Houston. Favorite Song: “How Will I Know”.
78. Eurythmics – This is yet another band that I feel have never been given their due. They were so much more than their pop image and hits. Eurythmics had a soulfulness and sophistication that other synth poppers lacked. Maybe, that was due to Annie Lennox’ vocals. I feel like it was Dave Stewart’s songwriting. They just may have been music truly first synth ROCK band, even while playing up their Motown side, not unlike what the Rolling Stones did during their whole career. Favorite Album: Be Yourself Tonight. Favorite Song: “Love Is a Stranger”.
77. Lady Gaga – That’s right! Your eyes are NOT deceiving you. I think that Gaga is the most talented rocker going right now. I especially feel justified after seeing her brilliant performance in the new version of A Star Is Born. The woman is fearless. Wouldn’t be cool if she did an album of blues covers? Her star is only going shine brighter. Kids, she is your David Bowie. Favorite Album: Born This Way. Favorite Song: “The Edge of Glory”.
76. Janet Jackson – She had me at, “My name ain’t Baby, it’s Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.” Let’s be totally honest: who else thinks her Rhythm Nation 1814 is a better album than Michael’s Bad? Truth be told, I preferred her music to Michael’s AFTER Thriller. And, it wasn’t just producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis who made her. They simply brought everything out of her. Favorite Album: Rhythm Nation 1814. Favorite Song: “Miss You Much”.
75. Dire Straits – Back in 1978, when I first discovered the magical sound of Dire Straits, everything on the radio was AOR bands, sappy pop music and over-saturation of disco, so their Bob Dylan-like sound was a relief to my inexperienced ears. They continued to be panoramic in the scope of their sound, at least until 1985’s Brothers in Arms. That’s when they blew up to momentarily become the biggest band on this planet. Favorite Album: Love over Gold. Favorite Song: “Industrial Disease”.
74. Squeeze – Back in 1981, critics were overreaching with praise for Squeeze’s songwriting tandem of Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook as the band released their brilliant third album. They really were not the second coming of Lennon & McCartney. Actually, they were had much more in line with The Kinks’ Ray Davies with Squeeze’s duo, as they were writing songs about British life. Still, without that “next-Beatles” albatross around the band’s collective neck, Squeeze has continued to release brilliant album, including last year’s excellent The Knowledge. Favorite Album : East Side Story. Favorite Song: “Tempted”.
73. The Pretenders – Lead singer/songwriter Chrissie Hynde left her native Akron, Ohio, to make it big in England. And, big, she and her band, The Pretenders, were. Their music, a canny mix of The Kinks and punk energy, propelled them all the way to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Favorite Album: Learning to Crawl. Favorite Song: “Tattooed Love Boys”.
72. Hüsker Dü – In the Eighties, Hüsker Dü was arguably the fourth biggest rock export from the great state of Minnesota, behind Prince, Dylan and The Replacements. Hüsker Dü was known for the blazing speed at which they played their songs, yet those very same song possessed a Beatlesque quality in their melodies. Their music laid the groundwork on which Pixies, in addition to the whole Grunge scene that was percolating up in Seattle. Favorite Album: New Day Rising. Favorite Song: “Makes No Sense at All”.
71. Alice Cooper – My original favorite artist. Who knew that his original band only had two great albums in them, and that Alice, as a solo artist, would only have two-and-a-half good albums in him. Though, Alice had the uncanny ability to stage a little comeback every five to ten years with a Top 10 song. Still, the man is an undeniable icon, and one of rock’s original shock rockers. Favorite Album: Alice Cooper Goes to Hell. Favorite Song: “School’s Out”.
And, that’s a wrap on Day Three of this 10-part series of My Top 100 Artists, brought to you by Social Security. When your actually disabled and feel pain 24/7, turn to Social Security, and they will eventually approve you. Just remember that it is a two-to-three-year process. Hope you can survive until those payments kick in. I HAVE to get a NEW sponsor. Then again, any sponsor would be welcomed here.
Peace to all of you!