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My Musical A-Z
All About Music
Member Name: Mauri
All About Music
Date: 06/07/04, updated on 06/07/04 (100 review reads)
Advantages: Interesting to think about, Brings back memories
Disadvantages: Hard to write, Who to leave out
This challenge was initiated by competition_man.
To participate simply think of your favourite artists / duo's / groups etc, then choose your favourite track of theirs - then tell us your choices.
~ The Rules ~
Just three simple rules to adhere to:
1) Use all the letters of the alphabet.
2) Only one choice per letter, ie. no listing close seconds.
3) Give reasons for your choices.
~ Hints ~
Using all the letters may seem an easy task , but believe me, you'll soon discover that some are considerably more difficult than others. Then of course you have the enviable task of choosing just one record .
So here are some hints to help you complete the challenge :
1) Solo artists, duo's or groups are allowed - use them wisely.
eg.: Lionel Ritchie and the Commodores could come under L, R and/or C.
2) Album tracks as well as single releases are allowed, but not whole albums.
3) Proper names and stage names can be used.
eg.: Fredrick Bulsara = Freddie Mercury
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A) Al Green- Let's Stay Together
The softest silkiest voice in soul. Let's Stay Together is one of the all time classic and exemplifies 70's soul with it's more accessible melodies and less dance based sounds which had identified earlier 60's soul especially Motown. Green incorporated his gospel upbringing into his singing style and allowed him to develop an instantly recognisable style.
B) Billy Bragg- Sexuality.
Working class hero goes pop and still manages to pack a message in this song. I've always had a soft spot for
66;illy Bragg back in my student days and I was glad he managed to develop his very distinctive style in to a more accessible product in the 90's and thus reach a whole new audience. He deserves a special place British Music.
C) The Clash- London Calling
The best punk band ever? Maybe?certainly they were the most successful and outlasted the early competition. London Calling was their biggest album and the single of the same name still sounds good today.
D) The Doors- The End.
Ok so Jim Morrison was a bit of an egotistical ass hole but he wrote some great songs and knew how to give a memorable performance on stage. This song has gone down in rock legend when it was first performed live at the LA club Whisky-A Go-Go the sexually explicit performance and lyrics got the band banned but it also made them into the biggest rock act of the late 60's. More recently Francis Ford Coppola used the track to great effect for his classic film Apocalypse Now.
E) Elvis Presley-It's All Right Mama
It was exactly 50 years ago yesterday that rock and roll was born. A 19 year old Elvis Presley after completing a fairly uninspiring audition made up of the usual puerile love ballads of the time as an afterthought launched in to an impromptu version of a blues song he'd heard?and the rest is history the audition became a huge success the record was released and Elvis's career had started. It is easy now to underestimate the importance of Elvis to all modern music. The fats that he recorded a Black Blues song and promoted it to a mainly white audience revolutionised pop music. His own distinctive performance on that record also pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable for a white clean-cut singer/musici
an to do and whether he knew it or not Elvis 'rocked' the establishment.
F) Pink Floyd-See Emily Play
In the days before Roger Waters ego's was still small enough to be contained inside a derelict Battersea Power station and had not yet swamped the creativity of the band Pink Floyd were one of the most innovative and avant-garde rock band around. Sid Barrett was still a musical genius before he fried his brains with acid and took up gardening and this song is the best example of English Psychedelic rock you'll find.
G) Genesis- The Musical Box
I had to include some Prog rock in my list. When I talk about Genesis I do mean records before 1978 and mainly before Peter Gabriel left. Yes the genre was self reverential, pompous and the music was often over complicated, but sometimes well quite often Genesis got it right and their songs could take you on a kaleidoscopic journey of strange imagery and musical composition?Wow I better lay off the drugs! The Musical box is one of their best. Being more than 20 minutes it is a mini rock opera, taking in Victoriana, Nursery Rhyme and Murder by decapitation. Well worth smoking a 'kipper' to!
H) Jimi Hendrix- Voodoo Chile-
The best rock guitarist ever indulges in some really bluesy riffs on this track, a mammoth jam with Steve Winwood on keyboards, Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out Man! Sublime.
I) Ian Dury and the Blockheads- Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.
The Godfather of punk, the 'great uncle' of punk, the grandfather of punk, whatever labels people want to attach to Ian Dury the truth is he was a great songwriter and a genuinely nice pers
on. He was affected by polio when young and had to struggle against the condition and prejudice it engenders in many people to succeed not only as a musician/composer/singer but an artist. His songs were always unusual quirky compositions, the lyrics delivered with his distinctive gruff voice that could sound aggressive and sensitive at the same time. He spent much of his life championing the side of the disabled and simply by being enthusiastic about his music, regularly jumping around and falling over on stage he showed ordinary people that you could have a disability and not be disabled by it. The Blockheads were ostensibly his backing band but they were also long time friends and exceptional musicians. A blockhead concert was an experience to savour and their musical ability and Ian skill as a songwriter was never better showcased than on Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick which also amazingly made it to number one! Sadly Ian Dury died of cancer a few years ago and is greatly missed.
J) The Jam-Down in the Tube Station at Midnight
Not the best song Paul Weller ever wrote not the best recording the Jam ever made but this song tells you all about what the band was about. They are in your face, political and very, very English. Brit Pop way before it's time.
K) The Kinks- Waterloo Sunset.
Ray Davies before Paul Weller and Damon Albarn was the quintessential exponent of English pop. All his compositions are firmly grounded in his English roots and the Kinks Sound is unique. Waterloo Sunset is just about the perfect 60's pop song.
L) Love- Alone Again Or
I've mentioned the Doors and how they took the west Coat music scene by storm in the late 60's..Well before they came along
5;rthur Lee and his band 'Love' were the talk of the town. Lee created a new sound he managed to merge vibrant rock melodies with psychedelic imagery of his lyrics and added a Latin feel in the form of Spanish guitar and Mexican horns. The album 'Forever Changes' was dubbed 'Latino Psychedelic' and became a huge hit worldwide. Alone Again Or must be one of the best ever opening songs of any album. It includes all the elements I've described above and still sounds distinctive today.
M) Bob Marley-Redemption Song
Bob Marley was a great songwriter and this is sometimes lost on people who only know him for his poppy reggae hits. He was a very political very spiritual man who felt very strongly about race issues and the advancement of black culture. Redemption song is an acoustic ballad that is a heartfelt message to all the wronged peoples of the world.
N) Nirvana- Smells Like Teen Spirit- this song defined the 90's and invented grunge rock. It also allowed young men to finally get up and slam against each other on the dance floor after all the barren years in the 80's.
O) The Only Ones- Another Girl Another Planet
Simply one of the best one off punk singles ever. With the help of their enormously talent but severely self-destructive lead singer Peter Perrett, the band imploded soon after their initial success a real pity.
P) Patti Smith-Dancing Barefoot
The High Priestess of Punk, a singer, songwriter, poet, performer. Her influence on female rock singer that followed cannot be underestimated. This is a beautiful melancholy song, with a hypnotic base line, which most people probably know from the much later U2 version.
9;f The Stone Age- The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret
This was one of my favourite singles of a few years back. QOTSA are another product of the Seattle post grunge rock scene and there is a direct link with Nirvana in that Dave Grohl ex-Nirvana drummer and Current Foo Fighters lead has collaborated with the band
R) The Stone Roses- Waterfall.
When the eponymous first Stone Roses Album came out you knew you were listening to something special. The music was a mix of 60's pshychedelia, Indie guitar, punk overtones and Byrd inspired melodies. Their sound was totally British and it gave rise to the 'Madchester' phenomenon. The album is just about perfect but for me Waterfall is the song that best expresses what the band and their music was about, poppy, druggy and deceptively threatening to
S) The Stranglers-Walk On By
The best cover version of ever done. Not only is it as great interpretation of Dionne Warwick's classic Burt Bacharach composition, but also The Stranglers managed to completely re-invent the song and their version is as far as you can get from the original. Now That's What I Call a cover version!
T) The Strokes-Someday
80's New Wave is back! But this time it was re-started by New York bands. The Strokes were the leading lights of the revival. The album 'Is This It' sounds like it could've been made in 1982. Even their image is of that time, but the strokes are more than just a retro band they have taken as a source some of the music and attitude of the time but they have also infused it with earlier influences including Lou Reed and Iggy pop.
83;omeday is the most radio Friendly hit of the album and is guaranteed to get you humming along whatever you're doing.
U) UB40-King/Food For Thought
White reggae was a mini sub-genre in the late 70's early 80's, which seemed to spawn out of the recent Ska revival. UB40 a bunch of unemployed lad from the midland decided to write some protest songs and called themselves after the dreaded UB40 form that they had to fill in to apply for unemployment benefit. These were not happy times in Britain, there were race riots in Brixton and Liverpool and the mood amongst young people was one of anger. This is the first single a double a side featuring the anti- Thatcher classic 'Food For Thought and the heartfelt and timely tribute to Martin Luther King?'King'.
V) Van Morrison-Moondance, jazz meet rock, meets folk meet the best white soul voice ever. You can't fail to hear this song and be carried along by the melody. Class act!
W) The Waterboys- Fisherman's Blues
The Waterboys were one of those 80's bands. They had an epic sound with complex instrumentation and a distinctive songwriter and front man Mike Scott. They never stood still creatively and eventually Scott rediscovered his Celtic roots and moved away from indie rock toward Irish /folk rock. The transition was not altogether successful but out of the Fisherman's blues Album came the song Fisherman's blues, which perfectly blends the traditions of Irish folk music with an up beat guitar sound of indie pop.
X) X Ray Spex-The Day The World Turned Day-Glo
Another blast of essential punk! X-ray Spex was the first punk band to make punk fun. With the
ir inimitable lead singer Poly Styrene shrieking catchy lyrics and Lara Logic on sax they were a huge hit in the late 70's. As most punk band they were of the moment and after only a few singles they expired but not before they gave the world such classic tunes as 'Germ Free Adolescence', 'Oh Bondage Up Yours', 'Identity' and their best ever 'The Day The World Turned Day-Glo'?the last I heard Poly was a Buddist!
Y) The Yardbirds- For Your Love
The Yardbirds were a major part of the 60's British blues scene. Eric Clapton had graduated from John Mayall's bluesbreakers and joined in the mid 60's. I guess his time in the Yardbirds was also a progression for him to eventually form Cream and really make a huge impact on rock music. The Yardbirds were at the pop rock end of British blues and Clapton was uncomfortable with this he left just before they had their biggest hit For Your Love, which made them into an international success. The single is obviously commercial but it still has a very bluesy feel and a sound like great jam session. Clapton wasn't missed for long as another of the great rock blues guitarist of the age Jeff Beck soon joined.
Z) Robert Zimmerman?who? I mean Bob Dylan of course one of the finest songwriters of the last 40 years. He re-invigorated folk music making it once again political and relevant to young people in the 60's but more than this he then when on single-handedly to invent a new genre of Rock, Folk Rock that exploded in the late 60's and developed and influenced many, many band like The Birds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Neil Yong and more recently bands like REM are all product of
Dylan's redefinition of traditional folk. Oh I forgot I have to pick a song too?So many to shoes from but how about 'Tangled Up In Blues' great lyrics, great music and a great rendition from the Live at Budokan concert.
That's my A-Z of music and of course I could've done many others with completely different entries.
Why don't you have a go!