I Was A Teenage Werewolf: The Best of The Cramps

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The Cramps were a wonderfully wild ‘n’ wacky punk alternative psychobilly rock ‘n’ roll band. The group was first formed by lead singer Lux Interior and guitarist Poison Ivy Rorschach in 1976 in New York City (Interior and Ivy initially crossed paths in Sacramento, California in 1972). Another original band member was guitarist Bryan Gregory who ended up stealing the band’s equipment to supply his drug habit.

The Cramps recorded their debut EP, Gravest Hits, in 1979, followed it up with the timeless Alex Chilton-produced debut album Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980), and continued touring and recording, albeit with a revolving-door lineup, until 2004. Notable past-members include Kid Congo Powers, and the narcotic genius of late great drummer Nick Knox.

The Cramps are distinguished by their deliciously campy ‘n’ crazy sensibility, wholehearted passion for both old-fashioned straight ‘n’ simple retro 50s rock music, and entertainingly trashy B-grade horror movies, and an appropriately raw ‘n’ bluesy full-throttle raucous, rollicking sound. They were notorious for their flamboyant, fetishistic live shows, and once infamously played a show for patients at Napa State Mental Hospital in Sacramento. Their albums usually consisted of insanely inspired covers of obscure songs and delightfully deranged original compositions.

The Cramps disbanded in 2009 and this February marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of this rare icon and badass front man, Lux Interior.

Here at Pierce’s Press we’re celebrating all things The Cramps and have created a collection of outstanding tracks for those of you yet to sample the delights of this wonderfully irreverent band. Aloha From Hell!

The Cramps – I Was A Teenage Werewolf mp3

  1. I Was A Teenage Werewolf – Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980)
  2. Shortnin’ Bread – Stay Sick (1990)
  3. A New Kind of Kick – Off the Bone (1983)
  4. Strychnine – Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980)
  5. Garbageman – Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980)
  6. Miniskirt Blues – Look Mom No Head! (1991)
  7. Goo Goo Muck – Psychedelic Jungle (1981)
  8. How Far Can Too Far Go – A Date With Elvis (1986)
  9. Good Taste – Off the Bone (1983)
  10. Bikini Girls With Machine Guns – Stay Sick (1990)
  11. Fissure of Rolando – Fiends of Dope Island (2002)
  12. Can Your Pussy Do the Dog – A Date With Elvis (1986)
  13. Tear it Up – Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980)
  14. The Creature From the Black Leather Lagoon – Stay Sick (1990)
  15. The Crusher – Psychedelic Jungle (1981)
  16. Saddle Up a Buzz Buzz – Stay Sick (1990)
  17. What’s Inside a Girl – A Date With Elvis (1986)
  18. Trapped Love – Flamejob (1994)
  19. Sunglasses After Dark – Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980)
  20. Domino – Gravest Hits (1979)
  21. It Thing Hard-On – Big Beat From Badsville (1997)
  22. The Mad Daddy – Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980)
  23. Muleskinner Blues – Stay Sick (1990)

 

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Iggy Pop – Top 50 Songs

Iggy

“I’ll tell you about punk rock: punk rock is a word used by dilettantes and, uh… and, uh… heartless manipulators, about music… that takes up the energies, and the bodies, and the hearts and the souls and the time and the minds, of young men, who give what they have to it, and give everything they have to it. And it’s a… it’s a term that’s based on contempt; it’s a term that’s based on fashion, style, elitism, Satanism, and, everything that’s rotten about rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t know Johnny Rotten.. but I’m sure, I’m sure he puts as much blood and sweat into what he does as Sigmund Freud did. You see, what, what sounds to you like a big load of trashy old noise… is in fact… the brilliant music of a genius… myself. And that music is so powerful, that it’s quite beyond my control. And, ah… when I’m in the grips of it, I don’t feel pleasure and I don’t feel pain, either physically or emotionally. Do you understand what I’m talking about? Have you ever, have you ever felt like that? When you just, when you just, you couldn’t feel anything, and you didn’t want to either. You know, like that? Do you understand what I’m saying, sir?”.

Iggy Pop 1977

Here at Pierce’s Press we are counting down the Top 50 Iggy Pop songs, solo and with the legendary Stooges. Strap in for a trip through self-destructive tendencies of this vital artist of titanic proportions, and some of the best music of all time stripped down to its animal essence. Unrivaled apocalyptic garage meltdowns, ripping and re-wrapping raw rock ‘n roll violence, immediate and dripping with aggression and deadly efficiency – I bring you the iconic Iggy Pop.

50. Angel

I always like to think this one is dedicated to Bowie: “Still when I was crying, you were on my side…except for you, I doubt that I’d be here.” Co-written by guitarist and ex-Stooge Scott Thurston, this slow-tempoed deep cut from Iggy’s first solo album without Bowie, the undervalued tour de force New Values (1979), surprisingly incorporates horns and female vocalists with lovely results.

49. Mass Production

The dystopian nightmare of Mass Production was one of the more experimental tracks from the session collaborations with Bowie, a major departure and a new beginning for both artists. Iggy came from the smokestacks and factories of Detroit and this colossal closer from the masterful The Idiot (1977), touches on themes of death and dehumanisation as tape loops grind harshly.

48. Wild America

The first and relatively successful single from strong solo album American Caesar (1993) this full bodied rocker with its scything, repetitive guitar line, was cut fast and loose in a New Orleans studio. It describes a night out Iggy-style: “Now I’m in a black car with my Mexicana / She’s got methedrine but I want marijuana.”

47. Funtime

Based on the pair’s partying experiences in Berlin, this track off the creepy, necrophiliac The Idiot, is written in the first person plural, with Bowie’s backing vocal attacks confrontationally high in the mix. It has a deadpan and almost threatening delivery that juxtaposes the cheerful and reckless attitude in the lyrics, making it even more sinister and disturbing. The mechanical production and brutal singing represent repeatedly going through the motions when the fun is all but over.

46. Paraguay

Iggy is in no mood for pleasantries here on this wonderful Post Pop Depression (2016) closer. The sentiment is Iggy effectively resigning from life, packing his suitcase and retiring to South America to see out the rest of his days away from general modern day asshole-ary. The song ends with a vitriolic, spoken-word, expletive-laden rant from Iggy that has to be heard to be believed. The fact that the record ends with this song, where he’s going out to the jungle like Colonel Kurtz, seems very fitting.

45. I Need Somebody

The broken-glass blues riff with a steady backbeat punctuated by the ferocious assertiveness of the lyric guarantees this Raw Power (1973) track inclusion on this list. It’s a violent take on love, life and death, and like the vital album its taken from, holds up very well.

44. Tell Me a Story

Mid-tempo opener off marvellous James Williamson-produced New Values album, Tell Me a Story is a hyper-catchy, jangling guitar-driven Stones-ey affair with clever lyrics and confident and controlled singing from our hero.

43. Play It Safe

This weird track from 1980’s Soldier was recorded in Wales and features Bowie and Simple Minds on backing vocals and has a funny story associated with the recording process that’s worth a read. Soldier turned out to be an uneven recording with tensions in the studio reaching breaking point; legend has it initial producer James Williamson drank vodka heavily and brandished a gun in the studio, then clashed badly with slated co-producer Bowie, while Iggy disliked guitarist Steve New (Rich Kids) so much that he omitted many of his guitar parts from the final product. Williamson reflected on the experience in 2015: “Bowie showing up was just the last of many frustrations with being there. In hindsight, I should have never taken that job. It was recorded in a studio I didn’t want to be in, with music that was half-baked and with musicians I didn’t respect. It was my own damned fault it didn’t work out.”

42. Some Weird Sin

With its locomotive percussion from drummer Hunt Sales and dueling guitars of Ricky Gardiner and Carlos Alomar, Some Weird Sin appears midway through side one of Lust for Life (1977), and proved that whatever rocking tendencies Iggy may have shed since the Stooges, were alive and well.

41. Johanna

Tied to a more R&B-raunchy trajectory than The Stooges’ garage-punk meltdown – in partnership with latter-day Stooges guitarist James Williamson – Kill City (1977) stands alone in his formidable canon.  This track smeared by John Harden’s bleating sax, is a Stooges off-cut and strong riff-heavy rocker.

40. Fall in Love With Me

The album-closing extended jam on Lust For Life sees the band swapping instruments. Guitarist Ricky Gardiner played drums, Hunt Sales changed from drums to his brother’s bass, and Tony Sales picked up the guitar. Carlos Alomar plays lead guitar and Bowie is on the organ’s descending riff. Iggy does what Iggy does best: improvises poetry at the mic.

39. No Sense of Crime

Another track hard to overlook off the phenomenal Kill City. This stunning, bruised ballad beats the Stones at their own dissolute game with Iggy in desperate but powerful voice. The arrangement, which include piano and saxophone, simultaneously recalls the Stones’ Exile and prefigures Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers.

38. Dirt

So harsh yet so awesome. The Stooges firing on all cylinders here on this masterful seven-minute dirge off the unstoppable Fun House (1970). Hints at things to come on Raw Power. So much uncertainty, passion, and tension in this song. Iggy addresses his vulnerability but there’s something strong that keeps him burning through despite feeling his dark undercurrent.

37. Bang Bang

One of the few great tracks off 1981’s patchy Party album, Iggy’s third and final album for Arista Records, this song was handed over to producer Tommy Boyce (who’d worked with the Monkees) to mix, in the hopes that it would chart (a decent #35 in the US). Its surging strings, throbbing bass line, booming drums, reverb-drenched vocals and punchy garage-rock organ line (plus a couple of crazy Chuck Berry-esque guitar solos) all blend together perfectly, making it one of Iggy’s most brilliant songs.

36. Lucky Monkeys

The dramatic Lucky Monkeys is a track lifted from the album (Kill City) Iggy made with guitar genius and ex-Stooge James Williamson in the mid-70s and eventually released on Bomp Records in 1977. Iggy was living in a psychiatric hospital, trying to get clean, and left on weekends to record the vocals for what were, at the time, demo tapes. With its Stonesy riffs and distinct vocals, the essential Kill City remains one of the most underrated albums of all time.

35. L.A Blues

The freaked out babble-jazz of the Fun House closer that is L.A. Blues is a demented, jagged instrumental horrorshow, making no pretense of song structure, Iggy’s guttural howl lands somewhere between James Brown and Jim Morrison. Accompanying this is saxophonist Steve Mackay spewing free jazz abstractions, L.A. Blues is the definitive freak-out track of its era.

34. Cry for Love

A successful single with an increasing focus on melody lifted off the mainstream Blah Blah Blah (1986) album.  Steve Jones co-wrote this solid number released in the mid-80s, hence it’s slathered in synths and big drums more programmed than not. The lyrics had opened up a new vulnerability in Iggy’s writing on this minor hit.

33. Cold Metal

Iggy’s trashy hard rock years, this opening track is the best song on cod-metal plodder Instinct (1988), featuring Steve Jones on guitar and the unlikely production partnership with Bill Laswell, who has worked with everyone from the PiL to Herbie Hancock to Mick Jagger and the Ramones. Not sure it completely works album-wise, as it’s all glossy, primitive riffs, thudding drums and Iggy’s less-than inspired delivery; this is a good track though. and the video is regularly hilarious.

32. Platonic

A very odd beat-poet number off the extremely odd, droning, Afro-style and lyrically free-associative album Zombie Birdhouse (1983). Produced by Chris Stein (Blondie), many tracks on this album find Iggy’s vocals frequently going totally out of tune. This track is no exception. A more disciplined performance, or Stein insisting on a cleaner take when his hero’s vocals were wandering off-pitch, would have made Platonic a much better record; although there is a great track in there somewhere.

31. Dum Dum Boys

A tribute to/elegy for the Stooges that begins with the poignant spoken rundown of what happened to them: “What happened to Zeke [Zettner, bassist]? He’s dead on a jones, man. How about Dave [Alexander, bassist]? OD’d on alcohol. Oh, what’s Rock [Scott “Rock Action” Asheton, drummer] doing? He’s living with his mother. What about James [Williamson, guitar]? He’s goin’ straight.” The song itself (track one side two of The Idiot) is a slow grind, with session guitarist Phil Palmer’s work a major highlight. It’s also sad, with Iggy confessing that without the Stooges he “can’t seem to speak the language”,  and ending with the devastating “Where are you now, I need your noise.”

30. Success

This goofy singalong which closes side one of Lust for Life finds Iggy and band singing, “I’m gonna do the twist / I’m gonna hop like a frog / I’m gonna go out in the street and do whatever I want / Oh shit.” It’s a big, stomping slab of hand-clapping, shout-along rock ‘n’ roll, and somewhat ironic considering Iggy’s disastrous (at least commercially) next few years.

29. Five Foot One

New Values is a great album that belongs up there with Lust For Life and The Idiot as Iggy’s career peaks. After closing out his RCA contract with the shambling live album TV Eye Live (1978), Iggy moved to Arista, where he put out three strong studio records, beginning with New Values – one of the best records of his career. Former Stooge James Williamson, who’d stuck around post-Raw Power to record the 1975 demos later released as Kill City, came back as both guitarist and producer.

28. I’m Bored

Coming awfully close to being the perfect rock song, I’m Bored blasts through your brain like diamond bullets of punk-pop genius, yet another highlight on New Values. The blistering guitar work here is courtesy of superb session musician Scott Thurston, who was a member of Iggy and The Stooges in 1973/4. The footage of Iggy on Countdown in 1979 in interview and performance is nothing short of essential viewing.

27. Ordinary Bummer

The best track on Zombie Birdhouse is a tender ballad with some very pretty piano and a space-dub bass line; Rob Duprey’s guitar sears the air in the background. While no classic, this interesting album marked the end of an intriguing and experimental if erratic period in Iggy’s career.

26. Isolation

With Bowie’s help, Iggy resuscitated his career with the commercial Blah Blah Blah, Pop’s first record with A&M. It also helped that it contained some superb songwriting and arrangements, none more so than this lovely sax-driven, melodically sturdy and romantically vulnerable number.

25. Knocking ‘Em Down (In the City)

A keeper from Soldier, this mini-classic is a snarky, proto-Jane’s Addiction-style cracker, in garage-pop territory. Iggy’s in great voice here and provides a rabidly intense performance.

24. China Girl

Iggy’s China Girl was originally a mid-album track off The Idiot. Co-written with Bowie, the song was inspired by Pop’s infatuation with Kuelan Nguyen, a beautiful Vietnamese woman. The singer warns that he will destroy her culture by imparting Western values of materialism and superficial beauty. There’s an element of danger on the original version that is lacking in Bowie’s thoroughly enjoyable Let’s Dance (1983) mega-hit.

23. Shades

This is a simple song about Iggy appreciatively receiving a pair of sunglasses from his girlfriend, off Blah Blah Blah, an album overdue for reassessment and celebration. The 80’s new wave influence is dominant here and Iggy takes the route of synthesisers and electronic drums to great effect.

22. Don’t Look Down

“The riff to ‘Don’t Look Down’ was written in my apartment one rather sad rainy day in my little duplex apartment in Hollywood. It almost came to me as a whole – including verses, choruses, and everything. I wasn’t playing in the band or anything at that time, so it just laid dormant for a couple of years until Iggy asked me to produce his album, which would become New Values. During the pre-production, I showed him that song, and he immediately wrote the lyrics. I always loved the way it turned out.” – James Williamson 

21. I Wanna Be Your Dog

This track, off debut album The Stooges (1969) produced by John Cale, operates in a throbbing, psychedelic-yet-bummed out mode. Iggy’s vocals are a near monotone, until he starts screaming at the climactic moments. One of the great perverse love songs of all time heading straight into the darkest corners of sexual obsession.

20. New Values

The title track off Iggy’s 1979 ‘new wave’ album. Co-writer Scott Thurston establishes a driving circular groove and some blistering punkish guitar solos. The lyrics are sharp and funny too, Iggy says he’s “healthy as a horse/ but everything is spinnin’.”

19. 1969

This song kicks things off on The Stooges self-titled debut album and pairs a tribal beat with a primitive classic Stooges riff. Producer John Cale plants Ron Asheton’s guitar in the far left and right corners of the mix, with Iggy and Dave Alexander’s bass and Scott Asheton’s drums hovering in the middle. This makes it easy to hear just how important their interplay was, and how thick a groove they could set up.

18. Kill City

Kill City is an edgy and erratic blur of driving James Williamson riffage in the style of The Stooges, with Pop grumbling about surviving in the city, “until you wind up in some bathroom overdosed and on your knees.” Record companies passed on the album demos, at least until 1977, when Iggy stock was on the rise again thanks to The Idiot and Lust for Life, and Bomp! Records gave Williamson funds to complete and release the album.

17. Tonight

An optimistic and beautiful love ballad from Lust for Life, something of a psychological rebirth for the man. Co-written and backing vocals by Bowie, Iggy famously paid tribute to his friend at Carnegie Hall’s Tibet House Benefit in 2016 saying: “It’s a wonderful, elegant song with a deceptively simple lyric, and I think it’s the right lyric for right now and for tonight.”

16. TV Eye

The Stooges’ TV Eye recorded live, off Fun House, opens with a full-throated, blood-curdling scream of “Loooord!!” and blazes from first power chord over a relentless see-sawing bass line, to the final drum blast, via Iggy’s otherworldly howls, and a quick reprise of its lethal riff that’s both darkly psychedelic and brilliantly no-nonsense.

15. The Passenger

The guitar riff to this Lust for Life classic (and B-side to single Success) was written by the marvelous Scottish guitarist Ricky Gardiner (Low, Lust for Life) and is now an immediately recognisable rock staple. Says Ricky: “When I was invited to join David and Iggy in Berlin, I did not realise that they needed material, so I was unprepared when they asked me if I had anything.” Gardiner played them his chord sequence on an unplugged Stratocaster. Iggy abandons the raunchiness and bravado of The Stooges and concentrates on the romantic side of the lyrics, inspired, by a Jim Morrison poem.

14. 1970

The first song on side two of Fun House was originally called ‘I Feel Alright’ and is another wall-melting behemoth. Steve Mackay’s inflammatory saxophone makes its first appearance here and is the album’s secret weapon. He starts out in gutsy R&B mode, honking and howling, but by the time the song ends, he’s screeching and squealing like Eric Dolphy, ripping it up free jazz style as the band crashes and burns like a forest fire behind him.

13. Penetration

Making few qualms about its double entendre of a title, this side one closer has a vicious James Williamson riff while Rock Action’s close-miked drums, all tracked into a flat and oppressively subterranean thud, leaving three quarters of the mix to spotlight one of Iggy’s many shining moments as a vocalist. A backwards guitar solo erupts and cuts through the murk. The Stooges truly locked into the groove, so Iggy is free to yelp, howl suck in the air. The track soon chugs off at its measured paces into a twinkling twilight.

12. Loose

Unhinged is too weak a word for the wildest moments of Fun House. One of these moments is the mighty Loose. Muddily-mixed this is the ultimate garage rock song. You can almost smell the abandon as Pop yells “I’ll stick it deep inside…’cos I’m loose!” And he declares: “I took a record of pretty music and I’m putting it to you straight from hell.” Iggy’s vocal performance is as chaotic and disturbing as the album’s artwork – he grunts, yelps and screams like a man’s nightmarish descent into the fires of hell.

11. I Got a Right

Initially released as a single in 1977, this fiercely berserk 45 was recorded in London in the early summer of 1972 prior to Raw Power, the same sessions that yielded the terrific Tight Pants, Gimme Some Skin and Sick Of You. The lineup here is James Williamson on guitar, Ron Asheton on bass and Scott Asheton on drums. I Got A Right had been in The Stooges’ live set since 1971, and is nothing short of a pile-driving monster that has to be heard to be believed.

10. Lust for Life

The immortal classic. A massive drumbeat and layers of piano and guitar, all hammering out that simple Morse Code-like riff underneath Iggy’s wild braggadocio: “I’m worth a million in prizes.” The unlikely idea for Lust For Life came when Bowie attempted to imitate the Armed Forces Network call signal with his ukulele: “It was one of the few things that was in English on the telly in Berlin”, said Bowie, “and it had this great pulsating riff at the beginning of the news.” The insistent beat was fleshed out in the studio and reinforced by drummer Hunt Sales and his brother Tony on bass.

9. Fun House

Saxophonist Mackay and guitarist Ron Asheton are the dueling lead voices on the colossal title track, cranking up the mayhem over Dave Anderson’s throbbing bass and drummer Scott Asheton’s primal beat. Iggy is literally reduced to commanding them to “Lemme in!”, and as Fun House progresses, it seems to become increasingly deranged, descending into an avant-jazz freakout inspired by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf. The rhythmic jam is vehement and primal, drawing out the deepest, most barbaric of rock and roll songs, making for something, uncategorisable, transcending the simple mold of rock, jazz or even punk.

8. Nightclubbing

Minimalist, electronic and experimental, this Kraftwerk-inspired track on The Idiot throbs with icy detachment and the sleazy ambience of an underground Bergmannkiez club. With a persistent disco thud slowed down to create the kind of disorientating effect one might experience while heavily sedated, Iggy recalled: “We recorded the song with a lousy drum machine, Bowie kept saying, ‘But we gotta call back the drummer, you’re not gonna have that freaky sound on the tape!’ And I replied, ‘Hey, no way, it kicks ass, it’s better than a drummer.’”

7. No Fun

From the skipping, stumbling attack of the drums bolstered by finger-snaps and hand-claps, to the guitar riff’s growling rasp and Iggy’s Jagger-esque sneer, this fine track lifted off their debut album finds the Stooges’ effortlessly nailing the pop song, a white blues worthy of Eddie Cochran. A needling Ron Asheton guitar solo is introduced at 2:49 and pleasingly sticks around until the fadeout.

6. Sister Midnight

The Idiot album opens with Sister Midnight, which was the only largely-complete song coming into the sessions. It has a funky Carlos Alomar guitar lick, accompanied by Bowie’s rhythm section: George Murray and Dennis Davis on bass and drums respectively. Sister Midnight represents a clear thematic introduction for an album that draws a relationship between thrill-seeking and bitter regret. Interestingly an early version of the track was played during The Thin White Duke’s 1976 ‘White Light’ tour, and to bookend the Berlin period Bowie also reworked it as Red Money, the final track on Lodger (1979). Both sound surprisingly conventional when compared to this version. The 1977 Dinah Shore performance and interview is a must-watch.

5. Gimme Danger

With James Williamson’s snaky acoustic guitar figures and minor key dramatics, Iggy and the Stooges employ a groove that had been driving rock for the last half-decade, only with a truck load more menace and foreboding. Vile ramblings delivered by a narcotic-addled junky, Pop delivers the sickeningly defeatist line, ‘There’s nothing in my dreams, just some ugly memories, kiss me like the ocean breeze.’ Gimme Danger is a pivotal track off Raw Power – the most important punk record ever.

4. Search and Destroy

Raw Power is fast, noisy, dangerous and hugely influential. The production is a bleeding, staticky mess, with guitars jumping in and out of the mix almost at random. Once you get past some of the production values there is a wealth of pure rock energy just waiting to lay waste to your ears. A good example is this impressively filthy lead-off track which thrashes with such abandon that, in the course of three-and-a-half volcanic minutes, Iggy and the Stooges brutalise you into a sense of maddened fury with their unadulterated aggression, riffing in a way that neither Zeppelin nor the Stones were capable of.

3. Down on the Street

The animalistic oomphs and grunts of Iggy’s performance, and the unrelenting impact of the moment this Fun House opener crashes in with such power, the immediacy the Stooges exudes is unrivalled. This sinister hard hitter presents no message of peace and love. Instead the lyrics focus on the subhuman lust of a man haunting the streets, lost in his own depraved desire and violent passion. Add to that mix a barrage of swampy, guttural guitars, and the song takes on a frightening tone.

2. Raw Power

Coming galloping out of the speakers is the the testosterone fuelled posturing of Raw Power’s libidinous and totemic title track – an unforgettable primal classic. A blend of Iggy’s inspired cajolings and James Williamson’s precise spiky guitars, this is rightly regarded as one of the seminal tracks off the most ferocious, uncompromising, crude, sleazy, nihilistic rock albums of all time. As timeless as the Mick Rock cover, Raw Power remains a rock landmark.

1. Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell

“A pretty face and a dirty look / Knew right away that I’d have to get my hooks in you.”  A seethingly bilious classic, this track more than lives up to its title. The centrepiece of Raw Power, the crazed electricity of Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell is an amphetamine steamroller, levelling everything in its path. Originally entitled ‘Hard to Beat’, visceral energy oozes from every note. Aside from the cataclysmic musical impact of listening to this song, one of the best things about it is how it’s a convergence of several musical signposts: there’s twisted good-time 50’s rock n’ roll in in the tempo; vague 60’s cultural references without the flower-power gobbledygook; definitive 70’s hard rock in the lead guitar solos; commanding Punk rock in the rhythm guitar, and on top of all that Iggy’s uncaged-animal vocal style. Unbeatable.

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John Lennon – Imagine Demos (1971)

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John Lennon – Imagine Demos (1971) mp3

For a deeper dive into the making of 1971’s Imagine, the new Imagine – The Ultimate Collection release offers a whole CD dedicated to demos which add a whole new perspective on this classic album. You’ll hear interesting original demo of “Imagine,”  guitar boogie workouts of “How Do You Sleep?,” and various takes of “Its So Hard,” and “How?”  There is a wonderful stripped down Piano-Drums-Bass version of “Jealous Guy” and John’s guitar/vocal take of “Oh My Love” is moving.  You also get outtakes such as John’s charming early version of “Oh Yoko!” recorded in the Bahamas in 1969. Today is a good day to enjoy the wondrous things here, and a good day to enjoy some John.

  1. Imagine (Take 1)
  2. Crippled Inside (Take 3)
  3. Crippled Inside (Take 6 / Alternate Guitar Solo)
  4. Jealous Guy (Take 9)
  5. It’s So Hard (Take 6)
  6. I Don’t Wanna Be a Solder Mama I Don’t Wanna Die (Take 11)
  7. Gimme Some Truth (Take 4)
  8. Oh My Love (Take 6)
  9. How Do You Sleep (Take 1 and 2)
  10. How? (Take 31)
  11. Oh Yoko (Bahamas 1969)
  12. Power to the People (Take 7)
  13. God Save Us (Demo)
  14. Do the Oz (Take 3)
  15. Happy Xmas (War is Over) (Alternate Mix)
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Todd – Live in Australia: October 2018

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I saw Todd Rundgren play at the hipsterfied The Curtin – part of his glorious ToddARoo Australian tour on 2018. Much could be made of me being asleep at the wheel regarding ticket purchase but fair to say I got into the gig and saw one of the more blistering rock sets in recent memory. I even got to shake Todd’s hand.

The band consisted of Davey Lane who I know of as a member of You Am I but can now say he is one of my favourite people in the world, not only due to his exemplary performance as band leader and guitarist, but for having a badass top ten albums of all time (Comets on Fire? now you’re talking). Tim Rogers was at the bar looking sullen, he’s a rock great in his own right. I left him alone. With Davey in charge, Todd’s band was great. His wife was there and also there on backup vocals and keys. Michelle even sang lead on one track.

But the mainman, the reason a parade of freaks and geeks turned out to see the rock legend on a sleepy Tuesday October night in Melbourne, hit from stage right with Wizard opener International Feel, blasted his way through a parade of classics (Real Man, I Saw the Light, Bleeding for Godd’s sake) occasionally playing face melting solos on a lime green telecaster, then getting Davey to tune it. His now baritone vocal hitting all the right notes like a true vet. When he sang Blow Me during a tune up the mostly male leaning crowd’s stifled chuckles perhaps not going down terribly well with the ladies in this day and age, but spare me the PC encounter, and please not here. He didn’t care.

Deep tracks off underrated albums Healing (Compassion), Tortured Artist Effect (Drive) and Faithful (Love of the Common Man) sat alongside all timers from his much heralded 70s masterpieces (Something/Anything’s The Night Carousel Burnt Down was particularly good and a shock) – they all razed the roof. After the marvellous Long Flowing Robe off 1971’s Ballad (you know what I think of that album) Todd said, “That’s the earliest song I’ll play tonight.” I must correct the great man there, as he proceeded to dish out Nazz classic Open My Eyes, a ridiculously good track from 1968.

After Couldn’t I Just Tell You, where he out-glams everyone especially the likes of Kiss, Todd’s encore was a snapshot treasure trove of the man’s genius (Sons of 1984, Hello It’s Me, Lucky Guy). As the final song played out (the showstopping A Dream Goes On Forever) Todd stepped down from the stage and proceeded to make his way through the crowd towards the back of the small room heading to a curtained off backstage area. I was standing middle three-quarters back and saw him coming. The crowd parted like the Red Sea at an opportune time, that’s when I made my move. The gigantic rock star hulked towards me.

I re-positioned myself, flattened a few punters, saw him coming. Todd welcomed my double handshake, then a kindly grab on his shoulder, all the while politely and enthusiastically beaming at him. He smiled and beamed back at me. “You’re the best” I think I said in his general direction. My hands hung on for far too long. He didn’t mind. 

I stuck with him ’till backstage, saw him take his seat with a sighing “is that all there is” expression. I well and truly stepped away leaving the man, alone.

He may or may not have proceeded to submit my details to the obsessed fan register following this disturbing stalker-esque encounter but yes, he is a great rock legend, that is common knowledge. After a horror few years there’s not many still around of this calibre, but Todd is way up there, and I have the proof.

Enjoy these snaps of the Sydney (23rd), Melbourne (30th) and Adelaide (31st) shows, care of myself (Melb), downer (Adelaide) and the Sydney gig was owned my great friend Liam.

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Scott Walker – Always Coming Back to You

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In the late 1970’s, Scott reinvented his career from the crooning 60s pop star to something much more interesting; a revered avant-garde music luminary shaping the romantic myth of his genius. The story of Walker’s career is a strange and unique one. He grew up in Ohio but spent most of his life in England. He was a pin-up boy, famous by his early 20s and old news by 30. Between 1967 and 1969 he released four orchestral solo pop albums (Scott through Scott 4), then a comeback with his original outfit The Walker Brothers in the 70s.

The opening four original tracks here, his first compositions in eight years, are lifted from the final Walker Brothers album Nite Flights (1978). Perfect angular art-rock with abstract lyrics, they were the only songs he wrote for the album. He was clearly moving an a different direction. There are distinct elements of Kraftwerk, Bowie, Eno and Fripp; Walker’s amazing new work couldn’t have been further from the countrified pop the reformed Brothers were offering.

After that release, Walker exiled his past lives and drifted further into seclusion, releasing one solo album in the 1980’s – the experimental Climate of Hunter (1984) – represented here on tracks 5-8. An unexpected second act followed with the devastating Tilt (1995); surreal and paranoid on tracks 9 and 10. Sample the exquisite imagery of the unsettling The Drift (2006) on tracks 11 and 12. This is textural and abstract music but it’s what pure art is; inspiring and profound, from a singular craftsman ahead of his time.

Scott Walker – Always Coming Back to You mp3

  1. Shutout
  2. Fat Mama Kick
  3. Nite Flights
  4. The Electrician
  5. Rawhide
  6. Dealer
  7. Track Three
  8. Sleepwalker’s Woman
  9. Tilt
  10. Farmer in the City (Remembering Pasolini)
  11. Cossacks Are
  12. A Lover Loves

 

 

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Lou Reed – Top 50 Solo Songs

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Lou Reed’s influence as a solo artist and leader of the now canonised Velvet Underground touched countless rock fans and artists alike (as Brian Eno once said, “The Velvet Underground didn’t sell many records, but everyone who bought one went out and started a band”), and his prolific and eclectic solo career yielded some of the most seminal releases in rock.

Back in the early ’70s, when he left the VU for a solo career, nobody was sure how long he would even last. He poured all his energies into rock and roll, concocting a literary street styles that was distinctly his own, contemporary and ultimately timeless. His solo career turned out to be enormously varied and wildly erratic (to put it mildly), from glam rock meets music hall to electronic noise and free-form heavy metal, he divided critics but declared himself unmoved.

An artist’s artist, Reed’s lasting influence is vast: punk, new wave, college rock, alternative music and indie rock is undisputed, and the musician indirectly influenced, imitated and idolised by entire generations of musicians, remains deeply respected in the world of rock music.

There are some excellent tracks throughout Reed’s thorny solo career that deserve reassessment and revisiting, even some that have been woefully overlooked or simply given a bad rap by critics in the 70s, 80s and beyond. Enjoy this trip through the Top 50 Lou Reed solo songs. We’ve compiled his best solo recorded tracks during his RCA, Arista and Sire years, beginning with his self-titled post-Velvet’s album in 1972. A perfect opportunity to get re-acquainted with this late great legend’s work.

Lou Reed – Top 50 Solo Songs Part 1 mp3

Lou Reed – Top 50 Solo Songs Part 2 mp3

50. Average Guy

I am just your average guy tryin’ to do what’s right“. Perky track lifted off career highlight comeback album The Blue Mask (1982). A now sober Lou denies his ego in his buzzy vocal style of the time. “My temperature is 98.2“.

49. No Money Down

Bubblegum electro-rock, one of the many programmed drum tracks off Mistrial (1986). Its catchy and its works. In the 80s video, a twisted animatronic Lou rips synthetic flesh from his face with disturbing/hilarious results.

48. Families

Over an insistent horn-driven line this personal account of Lou’s family members and the breakdown of their relationship is both poignant and heartfelt. The penultimate track off 1979’s druggy The Bells, an album heavily represented here.

47. Leave Me Alone

A messy, semi-live track buried on side two of the live and studio album Street Hassle (1978). Leave Me Alone is dirty and nasty. Its slowed down to a bassy murk, added driving sax squalls and Lou’s demented vocal, its a colossal number, similar to but better than muscular non-album track ‘Nowhere At All’.

46. Dime Store Mystery

Closing piece on career best album New York (1989). A dedication to the recently passed Any Warhol, including Jesus on the cross imagery. Rob Wasserman’s bowing bass and Reed and Mike Rathke sending guitar chords heavenwards. Dime Store Mystery also features Mo Tucker guesting on percussion. Suddenly the Velvets sound is among us.

45. The Bells

Tracks like the harrowing finale of The Bells is where Lou Reed with his evocative and poetic lyrics had, according to Lester Bangs “become a great writer in a literary sense.” Musically its a sludgy beast, the low-in-the-mix vocal, and trumpet player Don Cherry adds his free-jazz genius to this disturbing and cinematic nine-minute monster.

44. Rooftop Garden

Lifted off 1983’s second tier Legendary Hearts album that certainly has its charms, particularly this bouncy and lovely understated album-closing ballad of blissful domesticity.

43. Dirt

Another sludge-fest perfectly suited to the unrelenting lyrical content of Street Hassle, this vengeful put-down could be directed towards a rival or someone who did Lou wrong, although more than likely to be to towards himself after his perceived commercial sellout of 1974’s Rock and Roll Animal and Sally Can’t Dance. Reed mocks his foe with menacing, slowly rendered quotes from “that song by a dude named Bobby Fuller. It went like this: I fought the law and the law won.

42. Kill Your Sons

Speaking of Sally Can’t Dance, this is the first of two tracks off that turkey. This semi-autobiographical song would sound better live with the Quine/Saunders band of the early 80s. Here it still packs a punch, painfully revisiting his disturbing childhood undergoing electroshock therapy.

41. Women 

Another Blue Mask triumph; Lou declares his love of all things womanly over a lilting Saunders/Quine groove. It includes all the good things about a Lou Reed song: it’s direct (“I love women, I think they’re great”), personal (“I used to look at women in the magazines I know that it was sexist, but I was in my teens”), humorous (“Can’t keep my hands off women and I won’t till I die”) and disturbing (“I feel like buying flowers and hiring a celestial choir of castratis to serenade my love”).

40. Stupid Man

Opening with a jazzy piano couplet, Lou chimes in like he’s singing a different song the band are playing. It all pulls together quite nicely becoming quite a moving dedication to a daughter from his self-exiled stupid father “living all alone by the still water“.

39. Shooting Star

Signature late-70s double tracked quavering vibrato vocal from Lou, this Street Hassle semi-live and glorious dark whirlpool cacophony of discordant guitars and bleating sax is another put-down to some unfortunate soul who got on Lou’s wrong side.

38. How Do You Think it Feels

The crowning jewel off Lou’s mega-depressing concept album Berlin (1973). This track encompasses the entire album in miniature: desperate, dark, powerful, building to a huge brass section crescendo. The lyrics about the doomed drug addicted lovers of Berlin, Caroline and Jim, are some of Lou’s best: “How do you think it feels when you’ve been up for five days, hunting around always, ’cause you’re afraid of sleeping“. The centerpiece of an album that makes Mein Kampf look like Bridget Jones Diary.

37. Sick of You

Late album track off New York, Lou cheerfully takes a massive dig at just about everyone in a machine-gun barrage of cracking one liners. “They ordained the Trumps, and then he got the mumps, and died being treated at Mt. Sinai“. Lou’s wit is as sharp and compelling as ever on this essential listen.

36. Magician 

Beautiful and moving ballad off Magic and Loss (1992). Lou’s intimate performance is nothing short of exquisite; essentially his guitar, a lovely little solo, and Rob Wasserman’s Clevinger electric standup bass accompanies dark ruminations of loss and death. A far cry from the industrialized aggression and abrasiveness of many tracks on this list.

35. Beginning of a Great Adventure

This is fun jazzy number, two guitars and bass, from New York. He ponders what it might like to bring a child into the world: “It might be good to have a kid that I could kick around, create in my own image like a God.” Namechecks his wife Sylvia and even himself, “Take it Lou.” Again, as effortlessly smart and lyrically brilliant as anything he has recorded.

34. Gimme Some Good Times

The opening song off Street Hassle. Twisted, druggy and completely awesome. In a weird, mocking take on Sweet Jane, Gimme Some Good Times opens with a drugged out fanboy (which could be himself) hassling Lou on the street: “Hey, if it ain’t the rock and roll animal himself…fuckin’ faggot junkie.” Once he gets going Lou sounds like an irate robot, his lead vocal strangely multi-tracked. He says he wants some good times but he sounds like he doesn’t care either way: “Don’t you know things always look ugly, to me they always look the same.”

33. Nobody But You

Lou teamed up with original Velvet Underground bass/viola player John Cale in 1990 for the superb Songs for Drella. One hell of a stirring tribute to their friend and mentor; the recently deceased Andy Warhol. The single from the album, Nobody But You features two guitar tracks, a bass track and Cale’s experimental spirit by way of subtle heavenly keyboard chords underneath. The lyrics are Andy talking in first person about being shot. Deathly humorous.

32. Kicks 

Speed-inflected chiller from Coney Island Baby (1976) plays out like a scary conversation with that guy with the alien stare at a party. Sounds as close as you get to Lou on a speed trip. He assesses his vices and ends up with murder as the ultimate high. Underneath the din of an aural party and cutting guitars, an increasingly demented Reed, with creeping momentum, lays down the challenge to live vicariously through his seedy explorations.

31. Real Good Time Together

A metallic redux of the old Velvet Underground song “We’re Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together” is a manic take, as the song undergoes an abstraction before your very ears: Na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na, na-na. Patti Smith used to open her set with this. A scary thrusting statement of intent from Lou’s 70s classic Street Hassle.

30. Temporary Thing

Hey now bitch, you better pack your bags get outta here quick.” Lou at his nastiest on this album closer from the largely awful Rock and Roll Heart (1976), his first album for Arista. Clive Davis had high hopes for Lou, unfortunately it never happened. The album bombed. This track is strong though, Lou adds some bad language and the kind of venom only a junkie can provide, and a nice malevolent groove. You can hear early echos of some of his best work here.

29. NY Stars

The white hot guitar lick is a winner, and Lou’s suitably deadpan vocal slurs through some of his most miserably downbeat lyrics and inventively cool phrasings, with audibly drugged out and heavily-delayed Lou. A track taken from the Sally Can’t Dance (1974) album where Lou mostly dialed it in. No exception here but it works well.

28. Waves of Fear

A cathartic track from one of his masterpieces, The Blue Mask, Waves of Fear documents the psychosis of Lou’s drug paranoia in visceral terms. A harrowing listen, he screams the at-times absurd and terrifying obsessions, finishing with a perfectly manic solo by Robert Quine.

27. New Sensations

From one extreme to the other. A big come down on the relaxed and free-spirited New Sensations, the title track to his creatively successfully album of the same name released in 1984. Lou has finally gone straight, thank God. His drug-induced paranoia has been replaced by earthly pleasures such as riding his motorbike in the country, stopping at a roadside diner for a burger and a coke. Life affirming stuff and a cool groove is the winner here. Superb fretless work by Fernando Saunders with Lou now on all guitars.

26. Andy’s Chest 

Instead of a dentured ocelot on a leash…” Something of a frivolous and surreal ditty found within the phony glamour of Transformer (1972). Originally recorded in 1969 by the Velvet Underground, the title literally refers to the scar on Andy’s chest following the shooting, but could also mean another kind of chest, a treasure trove of sorts, of weird Factory characters.

25. Pow Wow

Another understated and lovely track off the self-produced Legendary Hearts. Despite Quine being buried in the mix on this album, Pow Wow, with its tuneful flourishes and naked production, is a true hidden gem in a vast catalog.

24. Crazy Feeling

Lou assembled a stellar cast of backing musicians for Coney Island Baby and this glistening opening track is full of hooks and well represents the shiny commercialised sound of that album. Bob Kulick excels on slide guitar, this song is about the flash of recognition that links one late-night cruiser to another.

23. Wait 

What initially sounds like cheap irony, Wait’s twisted 50s doo-wop (a style Reed loved) and shabby live/studio production is a beautiful if harrowing listen – the perfect closer for Street Hassle.

22. I Love You

Acoustic and folksy for Lou, he really sings on this, and is in great voice too. I Love You is taken off his eponymous self-titled debut album from 1972. A gorgeously melodic number and very sweet lyrically, until the line: “At least for now, I love you.” Showed up on Walk On the Wild Side: The Best of Lou Reed (1977), his first greatest hits compilation.

21. All Through the Night

This track, recorded over a late-night cacophony, finds Lou holding court at the bar. There’s clinking glasses and laughter. Marty Fogal’s insistent soprano sax line accompanies Reed’s litany about dark nights of the soul and loneliness. A peak on the shattered masterpiece that is The Bells.

20. What’s Good?

A driving meat and potatoes rocker from Magic and Loss with a hook and a hall of fame guitar tone. Reed presents surrealist juxtapositions: “Life’s like bacon and ice-cream“, “space without room” and “a mayonnaise soda“, he concludes what is actually good: “Life’s good, but not fair at all.”

19. Charlie’s Girl 

The lighthearted swing and delightful 70s cowbell of Coney Island Baby’s Charlie’s Girl misrepresents the spiky lyrical content about being sold out by a narc on New Years Eve.

18. Wild Child

Blatant Dylanisms abound (“So we both shared a piece of sweet cheese”) on this highlight rocker from Lou Reed. The scuzzed-out guitar riff, busy drums, prominent bass line and outro guitar solo work well, while Lorraine, the “Wild Child” here, is a glamorous lowlife, she lives out on the street and nobody can get to her. Bowie replicates this on Aladdin Sane with his assorted freaks on Watch That Man.

17. Vicious 

The proto-punk swagger of Vicious’ lyric is based on an Andy Warhol suggestion (“You hit me a flower“), and establishes the campy-bitch persona of Lou’s glitter-rock phase. The lyrical put-downs are enhanced by Mick Ronson’s slashing guitar on this Transformer’s opening track.

16. Heavenly Arms 

Essentially a reworking of Satellite of Love, the rapture of the unrestrained Heavenly Arms is the perfect finale to The Blue Mask. The simplicity of this unabashed love song is where its power lies. Reed’s marriage and his new life are absolutely central to the career reinvention around this time and this unabashed and celebratory love song to his then wife Sylvia finds Quine and Reed playing off each other in superb fashion. Fernando Saunders closes things beautifully with a truly sweet doo-wop vocal coda.

15. Good Evening Mr. Waldheim 

A driving rocker off New York, one of his finest solo albums. Lou directly addresses some anti-semitic, self-righteous assholes of the 80s and doesn’t miss; for example Kurt Waldheim, an Austrian politician and Secretary General of the UN who covered up his involvement in the Nazi party, and Jesse Jackson, a black civil rights leader who said a few off-colour things about Jews, such as referring to New York as “Hymietown”.

14. Outside 

Lou’s mid-80s stab at top 40 MTV consumption wasn’t all bad. Like the majority of Mistrial, Outside has a crafty circular hook and a bright uncluttered arrangement. Thoroughly enjoyable, it’s one of his most underrated tracks.

13. Turn Out the Light

A secret charmer from Legendary Hearts. Forget I’m Waiting for the Man, this is Lou’s signature sound and its on full display here on the chugging Turn Out the Light.  A terrific version of this track appears on An Evening With Lou Reed at New York’s The Bottom Line. Essential viewing.

12. Warrior King 

A gruff hard rocker from a heartfelt album (Magic and Loss) of introspection. This one finds Lou, Chuck Berry-style, rocking with a hint of art-rock textures. His sardonic humour to express his neck-bulging anger and grief is intact: “It wouldn’t cross my mind to your break neck or rip out your vicious tongue. It wouldn’t cross my mind to snap your leg like a twig or squash you like some slug.

11. A Gift

Is he being sarcastic or ironic? Is he talking about himself or is he in character of someone he met in the underbelly of New York in the mid-70s? The sighing A Gift, is a throwaway delight from Coney Island Baby and finds Lou poking fun at his street hustler image, and like much of that album, examining his formative years growing up in New York, invoking Coney Island as a metaphor for bygone American dreams.

10. Think it Over

The only song here off Growing Up in Public (1980). This absolute gem is a moving love song to his wife-to-be Sylvia. He ruminates on asking her to marry him while she sleeps. His descriptions of her beautiful face and hair, he wants to rush, she wonders if he knows what he’s getting himself into. She tells him to cool it down and think it over. The instrumentation is exquisite and vocal performance is subtle and restrained, unlike much that album. A treasure.

9. Romeo Had Juliette

Perfect opener off New York. Romeo Had Juliette spotlights the guitar interplay between Reed and Mike Rathke – unparalleled in his career. It heralded a new phase of Reed’s career, that of an accomplished lyricist, guitarist and songwriter. There’s detailed packed into every single line. This track imagines a pair of lovers trying to make it in a city that is completely falling apart. Its also Lou’s love letter to the dirty, wrecked, beautiful town he adores.

8. Perfect Day

An intimate epic from Transformer, co-produced by Bowie and Ronson. Reed once called it “A lovely song. A description of a very straightforward affair.”  There’s the park, the movies, the zoo: this is urban realism, a normal date on the weekend. But there’s something disturbing about Perfect Day. From the conversational verses to the gigantic chorus, the slow, stately feel accompanies a feeling of tragic foreboding: “I thought I was someone else, someone good.” A beautiful ballad, its the album’s most arresting song.

7. My House 

My house is very beautiful at night.” The smoldering My House has evocations of Reed’s present-day serenity colliding with the intimate otherworldiness of the guitars. It can be attributed to Reed and Quine and the astonishing empathy of Fernando Saunders’ fretless bass, calling upon the spirit of late poet Delmore Schwartz to bless the domestic calm of Lou and Sylvia’s NY house. Perfect opener for the magnificence of The Blue Mask.

6. Dirty Blvd.

Lou describes New York’s poverty directly through the eyes of down-and-out character Pedro. This track and the accompanying album (New York) put Lou Reed back on the rock landscape map. Stripped down to two guitars, bass and drums, the sparseness works. There’s no overdubs, no effects, so Reed’s powerful words sparkle. Dirty Blvd also benefits from backing vocals at the close of the song, courtesy of Dion Dimucci, one of Lou’s childhood idols.

5. Satellite of Love

Satellite of Love finds Lou Reed at his most tuneful and accessible. Recorded at Trident Studios in London in 1972, from his most universally loved solo album Transformer, although only achieving minor chart success as a single. Mick Ronson lends his hand with the gorgeous piano, and big-Reed-fan David Bowie provides backing vocals to the swooping choruses. Reed would write later of DB: “He has a melodic sense that’s just well above anyone else in rock & roll. Most people could not sing some of his melodies. He can really go for a high note. Take ‘Satellite of Love,’ on my Transformer album. There’s a part at the very end where his voice goes all the way up. It’s fabulous.

4. I Wanna Boogie With You

The Bells was recorded in West Germany in 1979 and the standout track conveying an urgent intensity that borders on naked agony is the droning jaw dropper I Want to Boogie With You. Its also funky as hell. The lasting appeal is the powerful economy of its arrangement. There are disco and doo-wop flavours at work here, and it’s undoubtedly one of Reed’s most underrated offerings.

3. Coney Island Baby

A rare example of Reed expressing emotional vulnerability, Coney Island Baby’s devastating title track sets a moral battle between the druggy, debauched character Reed had become and the youthful idealist he once was. This magnum opus starts with the lines: “You know, man, when I was a young man in high school you believe it or not, that I wanted to play football for the coach. All those older guys, they said he was mean and cruel but you know, I wanted to play football for the coach.” In those few lines, Reed captures the very essence of American childhood. Gradually unveiling its humanity and beauty, and poignancy, it’s not that everyone wants to play football; it’s that everyone wants to belong. And the way he sings, “The glory of love might see you through” may be the most generous and compassionate gesture of his entire career, especially when he ends the song in dedication to his transsexual lover and old Brooklyn public school class; “I’d like to send this one out to Lou and Rachel, to all the kids at P.S. 192. Man, I swear I’d give the whole thing up for you.” Masterful.

2. Street Hassle

The quintessential New York street track; this 11-minute, three-part narrative tour de force oozes personal and very disturbing portraits of the city’s darkened alleys. It opens with a repetitive cello motif picked up by the guitar and continued on electric bass until the phrase becomes a near-hypnotic rhythmic spell. Reed turns graffiti into poetry, tying in themes of loneliness, sexual anguish and death, including erotic images, cynicism and strangely moving lyrical passages (plus a Bruce Springsteen cameo) until the final catharsis.  The title track off his best ever solo album is also the greatest love song in his entire catalog.

1. Walk On the Wild Side

Transformer’s opus of cross-dressing creatures of the night, oral sex, open homosexuality and drug use, and Lou delivers the subjects’ proclivities in his matter-of-fact monotone on this rock classic. It famously slipped past the censors and became a surprise hit in 1972. He refers to speed and valium, drug references that also flew under the censors radar. Reed’s effortless neon-drenched goodbye to his association with Andy Warhol and his factory acolytes, features session pro Herbie Flowers on sliding bass, jazz musician Ronnie Ross on the baritone sax coda, string arrangements by rock-god Mick Ronson, David Bowie on acoustic guitar, and the coloured-girls are the backing singers Thunderthighs. A timeless classic that sounds as fresh today as when it was released.

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Bowie

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Zeroes – David Bowie

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Tonight the Zeroes are singing for you

Parlophone Records are proud to announce David Bowie Loving The Alien (1983 – 1988), the fourth in a series of box sets spanning his career from 1969. A particularly favourable period for myself, among the content is a reworked version of his underrated 1987 magnificent octopus Never Let Me Down.

Listen to the reworked version of Zeroes here.

The rather extraordinary “Zeroes, 2018” will also be released as a limited edition 7″ picture disc single on September 7. Loving the Alien is due out October 21. It includes the previously unreleased live album Serious Moonlight, plus Re:Call 4, a compilation of outtakes, rarities, B-sides, demos, and songs from the soundtracks for Labyrinth, Absolute Beginners, and When the Wind Blows. Yay!

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Unchained – The Best of Van Halen (1978 – 1984)

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Van Halen – Unchained: The Best 1978-1984 mp3 

This compilation spans the DLR era from 1978 to 1984 of these legendary Los Angeles rockers. It wasn’t all ridiculous outfits, silly videos and personal conflicts which would lead to David Lee Roth’s eventual departure from the band at their commercial peak in 1984. At one time these guys could really rock as displayed with this selection from their first six albums, showcasing the balance of Roth’s bravado and Eddie Van Halen’s musical invention, evident here in the group’s 17 best original tracks. Strap yourself in for some straight-up, good time rock and roll.

Van Halen (1978), Van Halen II (1979), Women and Children First (1980),

Fair Warning (1981), Diver Down (1982)

and 1984 (1984).Photo of VAN HALEN and Eddie VAN HALEN and Alex VAN HALEN and Michael ANTHONY and David LEE ROTH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Unchained – Fair Warning 
  2. Panama – 1984
  3. Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love – Van Halen
  4. Eruption – Van Halen
  5. Little Guitars – Diver Down
  6. Jump – 1984
  7. Secrets – Diver Down
  8. Romeo Delight – Women and Children First
  9. I’ll Wait – 1984
  10. Mean Street – Fair Warning
  11. Hot for Teacher – 1984
  12. Dance the Night Away – Van Halen II
  13. Jamie’s Cryin’ – Van Halen
  14. Runnin’ With the Devil – Van Halen
  15. Drop Dead Legs – 1984
  16. And the Cradle Will Rock… – Women and Children First
  17. D.O.A – Van Halen II

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