Classic Rock And Pop Music Blog

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GO Now – “Go” Songs

On June 2, 1984, Wham! Had their first UK No.1 with “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.” George Michael received inspiration for the song from a scribbled note by his bandmate Andrew Ridgeley which read “wake me up before you you go.” Playing off the erroneous inclusion of “you” twice in the note, George included “go” twice in the lyrics. The song, a homage to the upbeat music of the 50’s and 60’s, made Wham! an overnight sensation.

George’s Go serves as springboard for today’s playlists “GO Now.” Artists often suggest where or how to go.  The Cars simply appealed “Lets Go,” Prince “Lets Go Crazy,” and the Raspberries “Lets Go All The Way.” Both the Del Vikings and Expose implored “Come Go With Me.” While The Moody Blues urged “Go Now” and Fleetwood Mac furthered “Go Your Own Way,” instead KC & The Sunshine Band begged “Please Don’t Go,” and Van Morrison in agreement pleaded “Baby Please Don’t Go.” And given I went to Rockville High School, I always laughed at the advice of REM “Don’t Go Back To Rockville” (and waste another year…) 🤣 Yet Eddie Money insisted “I Wanna Go Back.” But Chuck Berry felt he had “No Particular Place To Go” and Meat Loaf was “All Revved Up With No Place To Go,” And hearts and love often are in the crosshairs – Elton John “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” Bread with “Let Your Love Go,” The Supremes “Where Did Our Love Go,” Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On,” and Alan Jackson “I’ll Go On Loving You.”

In 1984, Purple Rain, one of the greatest musical films, with the album Prince’s first No.1 on the charts, spawning two No.1 hits “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy.” Interestingly the title track, “Purple Rain” stalled out at No.2 on the charts, kept off by none other than Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.”

What an interesting decade the 80’s was. Check out Rick Ocasek and the Cars with “Touch and Go.”

Super early REM’s their career, this relatively unplugged version of “Don’t Go Back To Rockville” is a gem. So different from their later highly polished pop work:

Early in her career, Mariah Carey with “Can’t Let Go.” Is it me, or does Mariah sound a lot like Whitney here?

And one of the most beautiful country songs ever recorded, Alan Jackson’s “I’ll Go On Loving You.”

If you’ve watched Live from Daryl’s House, give it a look. But beware, it can be a rabbit hole you don’t want to go down, as it can be a huge time suck, though so worth the time spent. Here Cee Lo Green performing the Hall & Oates classic “I Can’t Go For That”

While a mega hit for Paul Young in 1985, Daryl wrote and first recorded “Every Time You Go Away” in 1980 with his bandmate John Oates. Here he performs it live on his show:

And another flashback to the 80’s, Expose’s “Come Go With Me.” I saw them 30 years or so later at Mohegan Sun performing this along with their other hits “Point of No Return,” “Let Me Be The One,” and “Seasons Change.”

And how could I not include Whitesnake’s iconic video “Here I Go Again” with their vixen Tawny Kitaen, who also appears in their videos “Still of the Night” and “Is This Love?” as well as the movie “Bachelor Party.”

And one of the most fun feel good songs ever in a musical “We Go Together.” How young John and Olivia were!

So in terms of the playlist, in the words of *NYSNC and Bowling For Soup, “Here We GO”! – Enjoy!

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

ROLL With It – “Roll” & “Rolling” Songs

On May 21, 2011 Adele scored her first No.1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Rolling In The Deep.” Topping the charts in over 20 countries, it became the best selling digital song over by a female artist in the US. It serves as a springboard for today’s music blog, songs containing “Roll” or “Rolling” in their title. “Rock & Roll” songs are excluded, as they are addressed in a forthcoming blog. Here is the sultry songstress after her extreme makeover.

“Rolling In The Deep” – Adele (London Palladium, November 6, 2021):

The title of the blog is a nod to Steve Winwood’s 80’s great of the same name, “Roll With It”:

Interestingly, perhaps to avoid the possibility of a lawsuit, as Ed Sheeran recently battled, Winwood’s publisher eventually credited Motown songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland with co-writing the song due to its resemblance to Junior Walker’s “(I’m A) Roadrunner.” You be the judge, but I suspect you’ll agree with the similarity.

“(I’m A) Roadrunner” – Junior Walker & The Allstars

That leads me to a little aside on song similarities. There are only so many chord combinations and progressions that can create great music. I would suggest that as long as entire songs and melodies aren’t lifted, some resemblance is almost inevitable from time to time. Perhaps, when realized, artists should just give a nod to the other songwriters and be done with it. Here are the Sheeran-Gaye songs for your consideration. I didn’t even hear the similarity initially, as the melodies are entirely different, but the exact same cord progression for several the measures are hard to argue with.

Recently deceased Gordon Lightfoot noticed in 1986 the similarity in several bars of his “If You Could Read My Mind” and Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love Of All.” Listen to his lines “And you won’t read that book again because the ending’s just too hard to take” and her lines “I decided long ago to never hide in anyone’s shadow.” Since listening to these 2 songs with that knowledge, if trying to sing one of the songs I can’t keep the other from blending in. Gordon dropped a plagiarism lawsuit when realizing how much it was weighing on Whitney.

And as I have discussed in a previous blog, the bass riff from Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” is lifted from Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” a totally reimagined cover of Joan Baez’s awful original, unrecognizable as the same song (also addressed in my previous blog on covers, “Cover Me.” And while we’re on Led Zeppelin, did Robert Plant steal the opening guitar riff of “Stairway to Heaven” from Spirit’s “Taurus”?

And many songwriters do borrow, sample, and appropriate, usually giving credit to artists they have ripped off – think Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” steeling Queen’s “Under Pressure,” MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” borrowing from Rick James “Supe Freak,” or Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” and it’s “Sweet Home Alabama” guitar riff, even nod to the song in the lyrics, as well as borrowing piano licks from Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves Of London.”

And even Robert Plant himself recorded the song “Tall Cool One” that sampled guitar riffs from “Black Dog,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “The Ocean,” “Custard Pie,” and lyrics from “Black Dog.” He even enlisted his former Zep bandmate Jimmy Page to play the riffs. I guess that way he didn’t have to worry about suing himself or the band suing him 🤣. 

One interesting a-ha (not the 80’s band of the same name, though they do appear in the Stolen and Sampled Songs playlist) moment I had in college was listening to Billy Joel’s “This Night” from his Innocent Man album. When listening, the melody of the chorus kept running around in my brain, when I finally realized it was directly lifted from Ludwig von Beethoven’s Second Movement of his Pathetique Sonata. I confirmed it by pulling out and listening to my Beethoven album (yes I had Beethoven albums in college, and remember this was pre-internet search capabilities). Then I frantically pulled out the vinyl album’s liner notes, incredulous that my beloved Billy would plagiarize. But there it was in black & white, something to the effect of “All music & lyrics by Billy Joel except chorus to ‘This Night’ by L.V. Beethoven.” Good job, Billy!

And speaking of Gordon and Billy, in the wake of Gordon’s death, Billy Joel posted a tribute and offered that he wrote his songs “You’re My Home” and “She’s Always A Women” trying to emulate the sound of Gordon Lightfoot. I can’t listen to these songs any longer without hearing Gordon’s voice singing them. I wish he would have covered them during his lifetime. It would have been cool.

Here’s Billy’s playing tribute to Gordon at a recent Madison Square Garden concert with Gord’s classic “Sundown.” He modulates his voice to sound a bit like the Canadian crooner:

Continuing to go down the rabbit hole, you again be the judge, does this Barbie song sound like Pink Floyd’s “The Trial”?

Barbie as the Princess & The Pauper with “How Can I Refuse”

Now for Floyd song:

And for that matter, does “The Trial” sound like Jesus Christ Superstar’s “Pilate and Christ,” also a trial?

Here is the bonus playlist of Stolen and Sampled Songs for your listening pleasure. You be the judge of song similarities of the first portion of the playlist, the songs I have referred to listed at the very beginning, and then enjoy sampled songs as well to complete the playlist:

Now back from our trip to Wonderland to the theme of the blog – Roll songs. Here are some notable songs and videos:

“Shake, Rattle & Roll” – Bill Haley & The Comets, with such a great glimpse into the 50’s:

“Roll On” – Kid Rock, with some cool locales in the Music City, the home of Motown, his hometown Detroit:

“Like A Rolling Stone” – Bob Dylan, back in the early days, a cool trip to the 60’s:

“Cover Of The Rolling Stone” – Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, while not my favorite Dr. Hook song, it was catchy and definitely got a fair amount of airplay in the 70’s, and you gotta love the attire:

“Rolling Stone” – Lainey Wilson. I can’t believe I saw her at the Beaufort Water Fest 2 years ago as the warm up to Rodney Atkins for like $20. Talk about a steal – both in price, and her stealing the show. Now she’s one of the hottest things in country:

So while Credence Clearwater Revival originated, and Tina Turner covered admirably, if not quintessentially, John Krasinski took “Proud Mary” to a new level.  If you haven’t seen John’s performance, this is a “must watch.”

So yet another rabbit hole. For those not familiar with John’s show “Lip Synch Battle,” here is one of the most outstanding performances from the show, Joseph Gordon Levitt with Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation”:

However, nothing can top Tom Holland’s performance, channeling Gene Kelly and Rihanna with “Singin’ In The Rain/Umbrella”:

So back to the playlist. There are some great “Roll” songs. I’m reserving “Rock & Roll” for a later blog, with several playlists of its own. Enjoy the music, roll on:

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

Get LUCKY – Luck & Lucky Songs

On April 21, 1962, Elvis Presley started a 2 week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with “Good Luck Charm,” his fifth US No. 1 of the 60s, following 1960 hits “Stuck On You,” “Now Or Never,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” and “Surrender” in 1961. His 50s No. 1s included all from 1956 “Heartbreak Hotel,” “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog,” “Love Me Tender,” and in 1957 “Too Much,” “All Shook Up,” “Teddy Bear,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Don’t,” with 1958’s “Hard Headed Woman” and 1959’s “A Big Hunk O’ Love” rounding out the decade. His last but not least No. 1 was 1969’s “Suspicious Minds.”

Elvis’ song serves as the springboard for this week’s word themed playlist “Get Lucky,” songs containing the word Luck or Lucky. In addition to the Elvis No. 1 and the obvious nod to Daft Punk’s playlist title song, Lucky and Luck greats include Emerson Lake & Palmer’s “Lucky Man,” Jason Mraz and Colby Cailat’s “Lucky,” Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky,” Madonna’s “Lucky Star,” Paul McCartney’s “With A Little Luck,” Rod Stewart’s “Some Guys Have All The Luck.” My artistic license song is Dan Fogelberg’s “Hard To Say” which starts “Lucky in love, well maybe so…” – such a great entrance to a song.

Included is a thoroughly depressing song by John Lennon and Yoko Ono called “Luck Of The Irish,” tongue-in-cheek about the struggles of the Irish and Ireland. I felt it my duty to follow it with some more uplifting more traditional Irish “Luck Of The Irish” songs.  Some trivia regarding “Luck of the Irish” origins:

During the gold and silver rush years in the second half of the 19th century, the most famous and successful miners were of Irish and Irish American birth. Over time this association of the Irish with mining fortunes led to the expression ‘luck of the Irish.’ Though some suspect it was actually an act of derision suggesting luck and not hard work and prowess was instrumental to their success. However today the phrase truly captures the sense of national pride of those of Irish heritage, as demonstrated by the sea of green at every St. Patricks Day celebration.

A few fun Lucky videos include:

Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat’s “Lucky. Interesingtly, Colbie auditioned unsuccessfully twice for “American Idol.”  They even rejected her rendition of her self-penned eventual massive hit “Bubbly.” Another huge miss was AI’s passing twice on Hillary Scott, who would go on to win 5 Grammys in 2011 alone, including record of the year, with Lady A(ntebellum). I guess Simon Cowell & Co. are not aways the best judge of musical greatness.

Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” previously reviewed in my March 11, 2023 blog “All About That Bass” demonstrating “Get Lucky’s” similarity to Chic’s “Good Times”:

An oldie but goodie from the Material Girl with “Lucky Star,” off her 1983 eponymous first album. Groundbreaking at the time, changing the musical landscape. She has evolved with the times over the years, reinventing herself, but perhaps no persona better than the original:

And if featuring one of my faves Amy Grant isn’t enough, any music video that has kids eating ice cream, having fun drawing with chalk, making “snow angels” in the sand at the beach, romping around in the water, and twirling and dancing in the sand is pretty great in my book:

Now on to the playlist:

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

Flute Thing – Pop & Rock Songs Featuring Flute

Twelve years ago today, March 31, 2011, the Australian band Men At Work lost the appeal against a ruling that their now 40 year old 1983 hit song “Down Under” was plagiarized from the folk tune “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.”  More than a baseless allegation, it’s an argument that appears beyond ridiculous.  You be the judge:

Men at Work Flautist Greg Ham, depressed and dejected in the wake of such accusations, no longer laughing in the old gum tree, died soon thereafter in 2012, perhaps of a broken heart.  Their song serves as a springboard for today’s playlist “Flute Thing – Pop & Rock Songs Featuring Flute.”  Speaking of copying, the Beastie Boys “Flute Loop,” borrows the flute line from Al Kooper’s playlist title song “Flute Thing.”  I suppose they credited the sampling, making it legal and acceptable.

So songs you know and love prominently featuring the flute include Firefall’s “You Are The Woman,” The Mamas & The Papas “California Dreamin’,” Canned Heat’s “Going Up The Country,” this video a cool glimpse into the early ‘70s:

The Beatles “The Fool On The Hill” and “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” The Rolling Stones “Ruby Tuesday,” Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See,” one of the best known flute intros to a popular song:

as well as their “Heard It In A Love Song” and “Fire On The Mountain,” and several songs by Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, Genesis, and Traffic.  Flute seems to have been a popular instrument among progressive rock bands of the ‘70s.

Other bands of the ‘70s explored the flute as well, including Heart with “Dreamboat Annie,” Eric Burdon’s “Spill The Wine,” The Association’s “Along Comes Mary,” The Guess Who’s “Undun,” and Manfred Man’s “The Mighty Quinn.”  Of note, another ‘70s song, Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” also appropriately on the list, also makes the list of songs with great piano solo, saxophone solo, flute work, and bass line, appearing on my playlists highlighting songs prominently featuring each of those instruments, making it in my humble opinion one of the most musically well-rounded songs ever recorded.

A few sleeper songs include Bob Seeger’s “Jody Girl,” such a beautiful song, and Cat Stevens “Katmandu.”  And for better or for worse, who can forget Van McCoy’s “The Hustle.”  I remember that song being played as a highlight, or perhaps lowlight of our sixth grade dance. And of course there’s this, one of the most epic flute solos to start a song (click hot link below):

On to the playlist:

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

All About That Bass – Great Bass Guitar Pop & Rock Songs

Megan Trainor got it right in more ways than one with her double entendre singing the title song of my playlist “All About That Bass.”  The upright bass prominently drives the song and lyrics forward with “no treble.”

I do love this cover of the song by Postmodern Jukebox as well:

One of the most iconic bass riff in a song is Pink Floyd’s Money.  From a band whose songs are typically dominated by guitar and ethereal electronics, the song marches forward to the beat of the wandering bass.

The songs earlier on the list, similar to some wines being fruit forward, think Shiraz, Zinfandel, or Amarone, are bass forward, think Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” and “Under Pressure,” The Beatles “Come Together,” Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side,” The Temptations “My Girl,” Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” Otis Redding’s “Dock Of The Bay,” and perhaps the most bass forward song Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish.”  While I like this live video of Stevie, as it keys in on the bassist:

I also just love this video as a snapshot of R&B/Soul music in the 70s:

For many of these songs, the bass line often comes to mind before the melody or lyrics.

Some songs are more subtle and balanced, with bass being a steady driver of the song momentum, but not containing a standout bass intro or solo.  Some of my favorites include The Doors “Peace Frog,” Yes “Roundabout” – check out this concert footage, such a great bass line, and so much going on musically, with amazing electric guitar, keyboards, and vocals as well – classic prog rock at its best:

Also The Blues Brothers “Soul Man,” Dobie Gray “Drift Away,” Rush “Digital Man,” Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be,” the last a great example of the bass moving the song along, as often is the case with more bluesy songs:

Other songs have memorable solos, such as Fleetwood Mac’s solo (at 3:04).  Perhaps among the most surprising, amazing, complex bass solos is from the oft underappreciated member of one of the greatest bands of all time, Led Zeppelin.  Playing bass in the shadows of the best guitarist and drummer of his era in Jimmy Page and John Bonham, John Paul Jones filled in the gaps with solid bass, keyboard, and whatever else needed to be done to fill their sound.  But in this song, I think Page and Bonham were tripping on some new drugs, and Jones seized the opportunity to sneak in among the most amazing bass solos ever.  Check out Zep’s music bible version of the Gospel according to John 1:27, that is 1 minute and 27 seconds into the playlist song – focus on his sprinting bass work underlying Page’s guitar licks, or on this live version check it out around 2:19 in:

A song with a more subtle but beautiful, integral bass line is perhaps one of the finest, well balanced songs ever recorded, Van Morrison’s “Moondance.”  It appears on several of my playlists featuring exceptional instrumentation, including its piano, flute, saxophone, and bass work.  Just spectacular.

Paul McCartney, usually remembered primarily for his being half of one of the greatest songwriting duos of all time alongside John Lennon with the Beatles, also produced some memorable bass lines, in addition to the Beatles’ “Come Together,” Wings’ “Silly Love Songs” and one of the coolest bass intros to a song, from the movie Give My Regards To Broadstreet “No More Lonely Nights.”

The bass lines of some songs seem to lend themselves to a second life. Led Zeppelin’s bass line from the 1969 release “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” appears in Chicago’s 1970 release “25 or 6 to 4.” Vanilla Ice’s rip-off of Queen’s “Under Pressure” with “Ice Ice Baby.” And Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” reworks the bass riff for Chic’s “Good Times.”

And some bands became noted for their bassist and prominent bass presence in their music:  Geddy Lee of Rush, Chris Squire of Yes, Adam Clayton of U2, Flea (Michael Peter Balzary) of Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Sting of The Police.

The Doobie Brothers had some great bass work in their music.  Some memorable songs include “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “Long Train Runnin’,” “Minute By Minute,” and What A Fool Believes.”

Then there were some very prominent session bassists, including Chuck Rainey, who did some regular work with Steely Dan:

He also provided rhythm for the likes of Jackson Brown, Marvin Gaye, Frankie Valli, Smokey Robinson, The Young Rascals, Joe Cocker, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Minnie Riperton, Rickie Lee Jones, and Roberta Flack.  His bass contributions span from Steely Dan to Quincy Jones on the playlist.  Perhaps my favorite Chuck Rainey intro is with Rickie Lee Jones in “Woody And Dutch On The Slow Train To Peking.”  And some of my Steely Dan faves include “Hey Nineteen,” “Aja,” “Josie,” “Peg,” “Kid Charlemagne,” and “Any Major Dude”.  And who knew he provided the delicate bass to complement Joe Cocker’s tender vocals along with beautiful piano and keyboards in “You Are So Beautiful.”

And if Chuck Rainey was among the most prolific bassists, Pino Palladino was like a god walking among mere mortals.  Master of the fretless bass, he could be heard backing such an eclectic group of artists, including Paul Young, Don Henley, David Gilmour, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Melissa Etheridge, Michael McDonald, B.B. King, Tina Turner, Edie Brickell, Charlotte Church, John Mayer, The Who, Amos Lee, Adele, Nine Inch Nails, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, John Legend, Josh Groban, Ed Sheeran, and Harry Styles.

Sting also champions the fretless bass, as well as the upright bass.  Listen to the selections with The Police and solo.  One song and bass line I just love is “Shape Of My Heart.”  Check out this bass cover playing along with Sting:

Other songs and artists featuring fretless bass beyond Pino and Sting’s work include Jeff Ament’s work with Pearl Jam, many Bad Company offerings, the Rolling Stone’s “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Tumbling Dice,” Pink Floyd’s “Hey You,” Paul Simon’s “The Boy In The Bubble,” “Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” Alana Myles’ “Black Velvet,”

Hootie & The Blowfish’s “Let Her Cry,”

Blues Traveler’s “Run-Around,” Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mama I’m Coming Home,” and Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven.” 

Navigating the end of the playlist, songs from The Police collection and Sting to Eric Clapton “Tears In Heaven” feature fretless bass.  And from Paul Young up to Jaco Pastorius feature more fretless bass all from Pino Palladino.  And the last 2 selections are by Jaco, one of the most accomplished jazz bassists who I felt worth a quick listen.  However, I did not include jazz, blues, or country as a whole in the playlist, which is eternally long enough as it is at just a little over 24 hours, a full day’s worth of music.

When listening to the playlist, which obviously will need to be in sessions due to its length, try to focus more on listening to the backing bass, rather than our typical attraction to the melody or lead guitar.  It will open up new horizons in appreciating this music.  I also separated out a few bass sub-playlists, including bass heroes (such as Geddy Lee, Sting, John Paul Jones, Adam Clayton, as well as the Doobies, Steely Dan, Donald Fagan, and KC & The Sunshine Band being represented), as well as more extensive Chuck Rainey and Pino Palladino playlists for those interested.

All About That Bass:

Bass Heroes:

Chuck Rainey:

Pino Palladino:

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

It’s all about that BASS!

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