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Liam

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Liam last won the day on January 29

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About Liam

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  1. 379. ‘Rock On’, David Essex (1973) Apparently, this song – written by Essex – was played to Jeff Wayne by tapping it out on a wastepaper basket. With that sound in mind, he produced a tune that relied on percussive slapping and notes rather than chords. It makes for a very interesting song that sounds very unlike what has been on the list around here. Throwing in some almost atonal guitar alongside Essex’s every so slightly whiny vocals and this is aurally intriguing. It wasn’t used for its initial purpose, a theme tune to the film ‘That’ll Be The Day’, but it took risks perhaps beyond that which you might expect of a film soundtrack song. 380. ‘Search and Destroy’, Iggy & The Stooges (1973) Another step along the path to the punk movement, this was Iggy and the Stooges at a point where they’d largely been given up on by record labels. Columbia, who released the ‘Raw Power’ album that this song was cut from weren’t a big fan of the record as a whole, but it was probably more influential than it was designed to sell units. Driven forward by the rhythm section and accompanied by riffs that sound almost metallic in nature, Pop completed his vocals in one take. There is something unhinged about the delivery, playing well into the anger and frustration that he was liable to be feeling having been almost passed by. A powerful opening tune. 381. ‘Desperado’, Eagles (1973) I’ll be honest with you – I’ve never wanted to listen to Eagles. There was an ‘American-ness’ about them that just didn’t interest me and I don’t think they were as successful over here (obviously, I could be entirely wrong here). A narrative about an outlaw trying to find his place in society plays into everything that I just didn’t really care for. It is perfectly fine as a song, yet it leaves me still with no desire to delve any further into their back catalogue. A big old meh from me.
  2. 376. ‘Jolene’, Dolly Parton (1973) A very simple song that tells a very simple narrative, based around a real life run in with a woman who was given Dolly’s husband the eye. I’ve used the term twice already, but it is hard to avoid talking about the relative simplicity of the song. The guitars and rising chords of the chorus don’t do anything particularly impressive, yet they create an eminently catchy tune. This, in my experience, tends to be a song much more liked by women than men, perhaps finding more to empathise with in the narrator’s attempts to stop Jolene. 377. ‘Next’, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (1973) Influenced by: (Whiskey Bar) Alabama Song • The Doors (1967) Influence on: Burst • Magazine (1978) Covered by: Marc Almond (1989) • Gavin Friday & The Man Seezer (1989) Other key track: Delilah (1975) It is hard not to talk about this song with saying how very Scottish it is (well, at least the vocalists delivery is). This was originally a Jacques Brel song, which Harvey took to even weirder extremes. This is very much music as performance art it feels with Harvey’s Northern talk/sing getting increasingly fractious and erratic in places. Apparently, these were an interesting band to see live – not necessarily good, or bad, but you definitely left with an opinion. I personally love the drama of the mask-wearing violinists, both in terms of the sharp notes they add and the air of the eerie in the video. 378. ‘20th Century Boy’, T-Rex (1973) Influenced by: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction • The Rolling Stones (1965) Influence on: Teenage Kicks • The Undertones (1978) Covered by: Siouxsie & The Banshees (1979) • The Replacements (1984) • The Big Six (1998) • Placebo (1998) • Naked Raygun (2001) Whenever I read about T-Rex, there seems to be a suggestion that after bursting onto the music scene, Marc Bolan became somewhat of a parody of a rock star. I can’t attest to that, but this song is heralded as somewhere of a re-emergence in the book, a chance for Bolan to show that he was still capable of fronting a band that could still churn out a good tune or two. Of the T-Rex songs on the list so far, this is my preferred tune with its crunch and swagger throughout. There feels like more of an urgency here that I can get behind and enjoy that just doesn’t come from ‘Bang a Gong’. If ever there felt like a @Skummy song, it is 'Next'. I might be wrong, but it has you all over it.
  3. 373. ‘All The Young Dudes’, Mott the Hoople (1972) Written and produced by David Bowie after the band had originally passed upon ‘Suffragette City’, this was a song that I had no idea I’d heard before, yet the chorus immediately reminded me of the song. Outside of the church organ work, it is the organ that for me is the most standout part of the song. It just has a way of wheedling into your head, probably helped by the clapping that isn’t too prominent, but just adds another layer of catchiness for the listener. 374. ‘Personality Crisis’, New York Dolls (1973) Influenced by: Brown Sugar • The Rolling Stones (1971) Influence on: Blitzkrieg Bop • Ramones (1976) Covered by: Sonic Youth (1993) • Teenage Fanclub (1998) Other key track: Looking for a Kiss (1973) I actually saw these live at Reading Festival the year that Morissey headlined one of the nights. I’ll be honest, I can’t actually remember a thing about their set, but it wasn’t so bad that it stuck in my head, so that is something. This feels ahead of its time, with the book suggesting that different elements of what the Dolls did earned the Ramones, KISS and The Sex Pistols fame in the years to come. I really enjoy it – there’s a swagger writ large amongst the noise and it doesn’t forget that music largely needs to be memorable and catchy. Nothing technically impressive, yet music doesn’t have to be that way. 375. ‘Ballroom Blitz’, The Sweet (1973) Like many people of my age, I’m going to assume that many had their first introduction to this song during Wayne’s World. Apparently the lyrics are based on a genuine incident where a hostile crowd kicked off at them and began lobbing bottles – Scotland will Scotland. This has a lot going for it, from the catchiness of the chorus to the power chords and the campness of the bridge vocals, but I must say that I prefer watching Tia Carrere performing it. Can’t help that.
  4. 370. ‘Il mio canto librero’, Lucio Battisti (1972) My (and your) mileage might vary on some of the non-English language songs, often because they just come from a different contextual place in terms of their musical mores. I was initially feeling a little bit dubious about ‘Il mio canto librero’, but as the instrumental began to swell, I began to see what might appear to someone, especially if they knew what the lyrics meant. A love story that talks about coming out of an acrimonious situation and meeting someone new, it touched a nerve in 1972 that saw it translated into many different languages along the way. There have been better ‘foreign’ songs on the list, but this has its moments. 371. ‘Superfly’, Curtis Mayfield (1972) I can only imagine that I’ve heard a song that sampled the introduction as this immediately sounds familiar, though it definitely a song I’ve never heard before. Super Fly was a Blaxploitation film that had the soundtrack written and performed by Mayfield, who used his lyrics to explore the story of a drug dealer trying to get out of the business – apparently the lyrics being less ambiguous than the movie in its condemnation of drugs. An early example of a soul ‘concept album’ with this as what I assume was the main song, this is funky with some effective use of percussion and brass to support Mayfield’s high vocal stylings. Just a good song that fit perfectly for a film exploring black issues of the time period. 372. ‘Crazy Horses’, The Osmonds (1972) This was a wild release from the otherwise pretty strait-laced Osmonds. Funky and rocking from the opening notes, this was apparently a song that aimed to raise some awareness of being eco-conscious, the lyrics providing something of an anti-pollution message. The crunchy guitars and squealing Buchla synth don’t hide the fact that this is at heart a very competent piece of pop music. I imagine it must have opened some eyes and raised some eyebrows upon its release, but fair play to a band whose lead singer claimed Led Zeppelin as his biggest influence.
  5. 367. ‘Virginia Plain’, Roxy Music (1972) Influenced by: I’m Waiting for the Man • The Velvet Underground (1967) Influence on: A Glass of Champagne • Sailor (1975) Covered by: Spizzenergi (1979) • Slamm (1993) • Griff Steel (2007) Other key track: Do the Strand (1973) Yadda yadda yadda band I know that I’ve not heard a lot of yadda yadda yadda – sorry, feel like I say that a lot at points. What does surprise me is that I assumed Roxy Music were more of a late 70s/80s acts, so to have them pop up in 1972 is interesting. Admittedly, this is only their first single and what a weird and wonderful single it is. The keyboard, saxophone parping and sci-fi sounds all add together to create a song that feels incredibly strange, yet also ahead of its time. There is a lot going on, that’s for sure. 368. ‘You’re So Vain’, Carly Simon (1972) Another song that fits into the ‘universal’ category for me; I can’t imagine many people don’t know this, even if they don’t know who did it or anything outside of the chorus. It is an unarguably catchy song, though the question as to who warranted such a song to be written about them may explain its longevity. Between the autobiographical lyrics and a vocal delivery that mixes almost ‘talk singing’ with moments of melody, Simon had a nailed on hit here; it went to number 1 for a few weeks at the start of 1973. Would it have such a following if it wasn’t for the mystery behind it? Quite possibly – it is a really good song. 369. ‘Today I Started Loving You Again’, Bettye Swann (1972) The gestation of this song is as much of interest as the song itself. A country standard given a soul makeover by Swann, a duet version with Buck Owens had remained unreleased as it was still considered too controversial to mix white country and black soul in such a fashion. It also was one of the last songs by Swann before she quit the business to focus on her faith. It is short and sweet, with Swann’s vocals doing a wonderful job over the woodwind and strings that form a beautifully simplistic melody.
  6. 364. ‘Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy)’, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs (1972) A big song in Australia it would seem, this apparently was the signature song of Billy Thorpe and his Aztecs as they began to move away from a more poppy sound to a rockier take, both aurally and aesthetically. The simplicity of the guitar and the narrative are things that I like; it was introduced at a festival in 1972 and I can imagine this going down well with many thousands of pissed up music fans. They even throw in a brief guitar solo to enjoy. Really fun if nothing out of the ordinary. 365. ‘Taj Mahal’, Jorge Ben (1972) Mixing samba with rock and funk, Jorge Ben attempted to tell the story about the love of Mughal Prince Shah Jahan for Princess Mumtaz Mahal, though the bulk of the vocal work seems to be noise rather than lyrics. The whole thing is very catchy to give it credit, something Rod Stewart noted when he borrowed from the song for ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’. Jorge Ben either sued or was going to, though the resolution saw Stewart donate the royalties to UNICEF. The chorus is very, very catchy. 366. ‘Walk On The Wild Side’, Lou Reed (1972) Influenced by: Sweet Talkin’ Guy • The Chiffons (1966) Influence on: Animal Nitrate • Suede (1993) Covered by: Vanessa Paradis (1990) • The Skids (1991) • Company B (1996) • Texas Lightning (2005) • Paul Young (2006) • Editors (2007) • Jesse Malin (2008) Other key track: Perfect Day (1972) This is another song that I can file under the ‘know of it, but never heard it fully’ category. The chorus and Reed’s ‘do do do’-ing afterwards is firmly imprinted on my mind, yet I don’t remember ever hearing it from open to close. Referencing oral sex, transvestites and drugs in his telling of the live of some real Manhattan hustlers who Andy Warhol knew, the song at once feels both seedy and affectionate. Of the little bit of Reed I’ve heard, either as solo or Velvet Underground, he doesn’t have the voice you might expect when you see pictures of him. There is a clarity and melody I always like, when you expect a certain level of gruffness.
  7. 361. ‘The Night’, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (1972) With all of the components that could provide uplifting and joyful songs about love, it is quite interesting to hear a Valli and the Four Seasons song that tackles a break up instead. As well as being lyrically interesting, the harmonising actually adds a slightly haunting tone to the overall package as it makes everything seem that touch more dramatic. I don’t have much more to say – it is a well put together song that makes the most of its component parts. 362. ‘Reelin’ In The Years’, Steely Dan (1972) I’m sure I’ve heard some Steely Dan in my years, yet not something I can pick out of a lineup. The introduction and the tone of the song clash somewhat for me, as the initial guitar sets you up for a rock and roll song, yet they provide a pop song with guitars. That’s not a knock on them at all, but it is just not quite what you might be expecting. The solo in the middle is the main nod – outside of the introduction – to this being a born and bred rock song, and it does the job. The chorus is an ear worm, though it just doesn’t really do much for me in the grand scheme of things. Perfectly decent; no more, no less. 363. ‘Always On My Mind’, Elvis Presley (1972) I believe my first introduction to this song was the Pet Shop Boys cover that I personally always enjoyed. This feels placed on the list primarily for its significance as the curtain began to come down on Presley’s rebirth in the public conscious. I mean, it is a fine song, but to me it isn’t anything overly special just because Elvis is singing it. The orchestration and vocal delivery are both good, I’ll give it that much.
  8. @ScotKen what else are you working on if you don't mind me asking?
  9. 358. ‘Rocket Man’, Elton John (1972) Influenced by: Rocket Man • Pearls Before Swine (1970) Influence on: 1st Man in Space • All Seeing I (1999) Covered by: Kate Bush (1991) • Hank Marvin (1993) • The Nixons (1998) • Angie Aparo (2002) • Carl Dixon (2003) I unashamedly love Elton John’s singles. The mixture of his melodies and Bernie Taupin’s lyrics are just golden for me and ‘Rocket Man’ is up there amongst his best I feel. At a time when people were excited by the idea of space travel, this very mundane existence that is painted by John is definitely an interesting take. Inspired by a Ray Bradbury short story, it grounds things in the everyday in a way which juxtaposes effectively with the narrative. The harmonising, the twangy guitars and John’s vocals create a great slice of pop music that still sounds good to this day. 359. ‘Mama Weer All Crazy Now’, Slade (1972) Influenced by: L-O-N-D-O-N • Lord Sutch & Heavy Friends (1970) Influence on: Rock and Roll All Nite • Kiss (1975) Covered by: James Last (1973) • The Runaways (1978) • Mama’s Boys (1984) • Quiet Riot (1984) • The Oppressed (2001) • Reel Big Fish (2009) As someone who only know Slade as a novelty Christmas act, this is at least a chance to hear what they were capable of when we were outside of the month of December. It is probable that I’d already heard it, but it didn’t really stick with me that time if I had. This is a driving, lively rock song and Slade were apparently an amazing live act, something that I can entirely imagine. However, when you think about what came – looking at the influence on list brings up Kiss – it just feels a little bit small time to me in a way that perhaps it shouldn’t, but it just does. Worth noting that Youtube auto-played ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’ next, so maybe I know a bit more Slade than I realised. I’m not particularly fussed by that song either. I get their appeal, just not for me. 360. ‘Rocky Mountain High’, John Denver (1972) Ah, my childhood. My Mum, not a noted music fan at all, was really into John Denver and this is up there with my favourite tracks by him. The book calls him one of the ‘blandest’ of the male 70s superstars and it is hard to argue against that. Between the lyrical content and the simple folksy country backing, it doesn’t do anything that excites – but it just sticks with me in a way that other songs just haven’t. This ode to the Colorado and the beauty of nature invites a singalong; sometimes songs don’t have to be earthshattering to be enjoyed.
  10. 355. ‘Tumbling Dice’, The Rolling Stones (1972) Influenced by: Alimony • Ry Cooder (1970) Influence on: Bad Obsession • Guns N’ Roses (1991) Covered by: Owen Gray (1973) • Linda Ronstadt (1977) • Pussy Galore (1986) • Bon Jovi (1995) • Johnny Copeland (1997) • Molly Hatchet (2000) • Barry Goldberg (2002) • Jill Johnson with Kim Carnes (2007) A reworked version of ‘Good Time Woman’, this is a song that seemingly benefitted from different lyrics, a faster tempo and a shifting around of personnel. Keith Richards took over guitar from Mick Taylor and the pieces fell into place. The lyrics aren’t exactly the easiest to comprehend – Jagger claims they are about gambling; other things differently – but the main thing that the song has going for it is the overall groove of the guitar. I’m not overly fussed by the song as a whole, but the melody sure is catchy. 356. ‘Thirteen’, Big Star (1972) The product of Alex Chilton’s brief involvement with Big Star – most of these words meaning very little to me – this is a really good slice of whimsical pop that doesn’t overstay its welcome. The clarity of the guitar and the cleanness of the vocals set the scene for a song that explores ideas around relationships at junior high level. The harmonising vocals in the background help to give this song a bit more heft in places and what could have been an otherwise wanky nostalgia trip is anything but. 357. ‘Big Eyed Beans from Venus’, Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band (1972) I wasn’t sure as to whether any more Captain Beefheart might make its way onto the list, so here we are. As a Clutch fan, there is a very Clutch-esque feeling to the delivery, though replacing the crunch with a pulsing tone that feels much more of its time. Underneath the swirling, changing music is a really hook-laden song that manages to be both weird and memorable (in a good way). It once again sees a range of different, disparate ideas thrown together to make a song, though perhaps a little bit on the tamer side than his previous effort.
  11. 352. ‘It’s A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl’, Faust (1972) The first ‘krautrock’ band to find its way onto the list and it is seven minutes of a song that is at least interesting if nothing else. Behind all of the noise that comes with the instrumental work, there is a definite catchiness to the song. It doesn’t vary significantly from what it sets out to do from the opening notes, though it is arguably the clash between the whimsy of the lyrics and the somewhat monotonous melody (with occasional flourishes) that makes it…work? The best bit is probably the end saxophone that pretty much comes out of nowhere. It definitely isn’t in keeping with anything really up until now, so it has that going for it. 353. Sail Away’, Randy Newman (1972) I struggle a little to take Randy Newman seriously after he was joked about on Family Guy many, many years ago. It is probably a little bit harsh, especially as Family Guy isn’t particularly funny. What that looked to knock was Newman’s style mainly as he got older, whilst it undermined work such as this. What seems a very positive song if you don’t pay too much attention to the lyrics turns out to be a song about slavery. The clash of tone versus lyrical content is really effective, even utilising a racial slur to drive home the real message. A thought provoking song, that’s for sure. 354. ‘Silver Machine’, Hawkwind (1972) Influenced by: Astronomy Domine • Pink Floyd (1967) Influence on: Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space • Spiritualized (1997) Covered by: James Last (1973) • Doctor & The Medics (1985) • Thin White Rope (1993) • The Church (1999) • Sex Pistols (2002) Hawkwind were a band that I always saw the CDs of in HMV and never did get up the interest to buy them. However, I immediately recognised the song as it began and the clean vocals of Lemmy, distinctive even if somewhat away from what he’d utilise when fronting Motorhead. Musically simple, it hits all of the notes you’d want from a good rock song, with some added spacier elements that places us right in the 70s. Though it is dated in some ways, hooks don’t age the clean vocal chorus from Lemmy is golden.
  12. 349. ‘Elected’, Alice Cooper (1972) Outside of the classic Cooper tracks, I’ve not really heard too much of what he has had to offer throughout the years. I do think I know this in a passing fashion though, or at least a song or two that have ripped it off. Good timing – this was around the time of Watergate – probably helped this song to reach more prominence than it otherwise might have. It is decent enough rock (they actually liken it to the Who, which wouldn’t be the first band I think about when I think of Cooper), though I think it gets a bump for when it was released as much as being worthy to end up on a list such as this. 350. ‘Sam Stone’, John Prine (1972) If Bob Dylan shows up to your live show and starts playing the harmonica, that’s a pretty sizeable stamp of approval. A song about the long term effects of going to war is an interesting spin on what we’ve seen with regards to war-based songs so far – it feels like it is the first which tries to cover something akin to PTSD. The vocals are very drawly which isn’t to everyone’s taste, but the power of the narrative that is being sung is hard to argue. The relative jauntiness of the delivery makes it all the more effective; this was the norm, rather than a shock. 351. ‘Willin’’, Little Feat (1972) Kicked from Frank Zappa’s band in order to form a group primarily to record this song – or so the story goes – Lowell George is the main thrust behind Little Feat, called because he had…little feet. This is a song that is very American, but in a very good way as it is a great tune about the life of a road weary trucker and the things that get him through the day. A slightly beefier arrangement that wasn’t around for the demo does give a bit more heft to the pre-chorus and the song is all the better for it. Some cool slide guitar as well, something which I’ve grown to appreciate more as this project has gone on.
  13. 346. ‘I’ll Take You There’, The Staple Singers (1972) This feels very familiar, which might be due to the general music being taken from another song, ‘The Liquidator’, but I don’t know that one either… Still, this is a pleasant enough song that threatens to feel a little too lightweight to be on that list at times. However, the more gospel call and response moments add a bit more weight to the song, as do the repeated refrains from the chorus as the song moves towards its conclusion. This isn’t going to stop traffic but it is a pleasant diversion. 347. ‘Soul Makossa’, Manu Dibango (1972) A hugely influential song, both on disco and broader music in terms of it being covered/sampled by many artists, this was one of Africa’s first global hits. It is an interesting slice of music as it clearly adds the lyrics and percussive elements of more tribal music, yet adds funkier tones to create a really lively mishmash. It does feel like the closest we’ve got yet to a ‘disco’ song (unless I’m forgetting something), perhaps setting the table for what was to come. Apparently there were 9 covers of the song in the charts at once, which in itself is mindblowing. 348. ‘Superstition’, Stevie Wonder (1972) There are few songs with a more distinctive opening than ‘Superstition’ by Stevie Wonder. Coming at a time when he had just negotiated full music rights for his songs from Motown – a huge deal for the time – this was also a time when Wonder was pretty much a one man band. A lot of the instrumental work is done by Wonder, which just goes to show what a talented man he is. It was the Hohner clavinet that gives the song its distinct sound, which helps make it a song that lives long in the memory.
  14. 343. ‘A Nickel and a Nail’, O.V. Wright (1971) Coming from a gospel background, O.V. Wright turned to a more bluesy style as his career grew – singing songs brought for cheap by his label boss. What makes this all the more interesting is that he maintains elements of that gospel style, almost like a preacher addressing a congregation, though the achingly raw vocals feel much more bluesy in their delivery. There is a slight roughness that I appreciated when you compare this to some of the other blues/funk music that has made the list so far. It is also worth noting the instrumentation as it sounds simple, yet adds a nice element of funk to an otherwise pretty melancholy story. 344. ‘Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) (1971) I run the risk – just like the last song – of throwing out words like ‘groove’ and ‘funk’ like a white man who really doesn’t know what he is talking about. However, the restrained brass and percussion give this a groove that hits from the opening beat that allows Gaye to explore ideas about society’s woes. Sometimes it is about the lyrics or the other accoutrements that see a song make the list – we know Gaye can sing, of that there is no doubt. This socially conscious lyric challenges the government’s misguided policies that rarely look to support those who are down and out and need it. Rarely has politics sounded so cool, though the poignancy of the piano-only section before the end brings things back down to the seriousness of the message. 345. ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’, The Temptations (1972) According to the book, the Temptations were at breaking point when this was recorded, leading to firing their producer, Norman Whitfield, shortly after. What perhaps made this more interesting is that Whitfield won two Grammys for the song; The Temptations only one. Now, I don’t really know how the Grammys work, so maybe that isn’t that much of a big deal…le shrug. What blows my mind a bit with this song is that it goes four minutes before a vocal of any sort. My limited knowledge of the Temptations never incorporated any understanding of them putting out songs that ran almost twelve minutes. It is dubbed ‘psychedelic soul’ and the layers of instrumentation do build up in an effective manner, creating almost a dreamlike feeling before each of the vocalists questions what type of person their father was. Does it need to go this long? Possibly not, but it is engaging for almost all of it.
  15. I also think the Bergkamp goal was a fluke. I'm also the guy who thinks Ryan Giggs' run from the halfway line goal (FA Cup though, iirc) was more about shit Arsenal defending than any real skill, so I might not be the best judge. Sammy James is the guy from Fulhamish and the ones he chooses are very good. Kasami's comes first, unsurprisingly for a Fulham fan, but it is very much a goal that would have been lauded for years if it was scored by a more fancied player. That was on his weaker foot as well. Ridic.
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