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Liam

1,001 songs to listen to before you die...

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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.

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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.

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I'm a fan of the New York Dolls. I have their original 2 albums in my playlist and 2 more since their return. Not the same but still mostly enjoyable.

I'm by no means a fan of the sweet but I like that song.

 

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Love the New York Dolls, just cool rock and roll. Johnny Thunders is one of my favorite guitar players and David Johansen is probably one of my favorite frontmen. Personality Crisis isn't a surprising choice, probably the best choice.

I really like Mott the Hoople. Not at all surprised by All the Young Dudes. From what I know, Ian Anderson is still actand still puts on a great show. 

This is a very glam rock trio.

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yeah, that's a run of songs right up my street!

Crazy Horses is an absolute banger.

All The Young Dudes is something that, even knowing the most famous version was recorded by Mott The Hoople, I still 100% think of as a Bowie song. There are plenty of other versions, but it just drips early '70s Bowie. Obviously he wrote it, but I think his style permeates it even beyond that. A wonderful song, by an underrated band. 

The New York Dolls tend to get credit for what came after, rather than what they actually did at the time, and in many ways it's understandable. But Personality Crisis is a song at least as good as anything by anyone they influenced. 

Ballroom Blitz is much more on to the novelty, goofy side of British glam rock than anything we've seen before (even Slade!), but it's great fun. Love The Damned's version too.

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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.

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Jolene is the motherfucking jam. It's simple, it hits all the right beats, and goddamnit, Jolene, please don't take my man. :(

 

I really like Miley's cover of it from the Backyard Sessions.

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These are all really good. SAHB doing Next is amazing, but I’m surprised to see it here. Certainly deserves its place though.

The unruly Scottish show that inspired Ballroom Blitz took place in Kilmarnock, the same town that your very own Metalman is from.

Specoal shout out to All the Young Dudes too.

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58 minutes ago, Liam said:

If ever there felt like a @Skummy song, it is 'Next'. I might be wrong, but it has you all over it.

100%! I love Jacques Brel, love Alex Harvey, and it's a perfect combination of the two.

Scott Walker is one of my favourite artists ever, but his Brel covers tend to be over-produced and a bit too crooner-y - the increasing desperation and insanity in Harvey's voice is perfect for Brel. His version of "Delilah" is superb for similar reasons.

Another great list for me, really - Jolene is superb, and 20th Century Boy is (as I think I've mentioned before) my favourite T-Rex song.

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On 25/05/2020 at 17:54, Liam said:

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.

I adore Randy Newman.

As I recall, Randy Newman was pretty bewildered by the Family Guy parody as isn't really even a decent parody of even his later work. Sail Away is fairly representative of the best of Randy Newman as a songwriter away from his soundtrack work. It's one of more earnest songs. There's so much humor (a lot of it satirical) in his work. He always returns to topics like race, wealth inequality, politics and sometimes he just writes a song about how he likes The Electric Light Orchestra.

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4 hours ago, Skummy said:

100%! I love Jacques Brel, love Alex Harvey, and it's a perfect combination of the two.

Scott Walker is one of my favourite artists ever, but his Brel covers tend to be over-produced and a bit too crooner-y - the increasing desperation and insanity in Harvey's voice is perfect for Brel. His version of "Delilah" is superb for similar reasons.

Another great list for me, really - Jolene is superb, and 20th Century Boy is (as I think I've mentioned before) my favourite T-Rex song.

Agreed on 20th Century Boy, it's the song that got me into T. Rex. I love Bolans guitar work in this song. Very cool song, actually first heard it in Detroit Rock City (go figure that a movie about Kiss got me into them and the Ramones).

I only know a bit of Alex Harvey but like what I've heard. My dad is a fan and is where I first heard his music. Actually my dad turned me on to T. Rex, Bowie, Alex Harvey, Mott the Hoople, the Dolls, and recently Slade. Never really thought of it but he's big into that early glam sound it would seem.

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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.

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I remember being quite surprised the first time I heard that David Essex song. I'd always thought he was the kind of pop star for the teenage girls to love. Indeed, that's always the impression I got from my mum, who was into David Essex along with the likes of T. rex and David Bowie when she was a kid. But Rock On isn't what you'd expect a teen idol to be singing. It's kind of weird. I'm not sure if I like it, but it's definitely interesting.

Search and Destroy is great. Most of the songs on Raw Power aren't really good enough to overcome that album's appalling production, but Search and Destroy is such a good song that it almost makes the production work for it.

Oh the Eagles. Take It Easy is amazing (although done better by Jackson Browne), Boys of Summer by Don Henley is brilliant and Joe Walsh has had a few good songs. And their first album has some decent moments, I guess. Desperado though? Desperado is boring. I remember in my music classes at school all the boring people would play Desperado on the piano, in the same way they'd play Mad World by those two boring cunts or that Thousand Miles song. Desperado is one of those songs. It's dreck.

Edited by metalman

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Raw Power is one of the greatest albums of all-time. That's a screamer of an album, great from top to bottom. Hard to argue Search and Destroy since it's the opener and everybody's covered it. I think it's their best work, it literally is raw power. 

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Second time we see the stooges n this list, I believe? I like every album from them, even the weirdness that is... The weirdness, but Raw Power is definitely my number 1. There was no question this was going to be the song they'd pick because it was by far the most successful song in terms of sales, although it wouldn't be my personal pick. I like it but not as much as others. 

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5 hours ago, Malenko said:

Second time we see the stooges n this list, I believe? I like every album from them, even the weirdness that is... The weirdness, but Raw Power is definitely my number 1. There was no question this was going to be the song they'd pick because it was by far the most successful song in terms of sales, although it wouldn't be my personal pick. I like it but not as much as others. 

Yeah, I'd be thinking You're Pretty Face is going to hell, Raw Power, or Penetration. 

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382.      

‘Child’s Christmas in Wales’, John Cale (1973)

I really didn’t know what to expect with this, between the title and Cale’s associations with the Velvet Underground. I don’t think it was this. With a title shared with a Dylan Thomas memoir, the lyrics are tell a fairly elusive narrative with some organ giving it a touch of a Christmas feel and a slide guitar that makes it slightly more interesting than it otherwise might have been. There is nothing ostensibly bad with this, it just doesn’t really do much for me. As a singer, Cale has nothing going on personally that I find interesting.

383.      

‘Solid Air’, John Martyn (1973)

A song inspired by Nick Drake, this is drenched in a dark and melancholic mood from the opening. Martyn’s vocals are the very definition of drawling, but it is that edge and interest that I found to be lacking on the previous track. There is sparse instrumentation allowing the vocals and the lyrics, still largely understandable even with Martyn’s style, to do most of the work. The book talks about Martyn straddling folk/rock and this song does highlight that for me; the singer songwriter style playing into the folkier aspect, whilst the edgier tone more rock in nature. Perhaps it helps that I like Nick Drake, but yeah, I like this song.

384.      

‘I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe), Genesis (1973)

I have a friend who is a huge Genesis fans and swears by a lot of their work, yet I’ve only ever heard most of their chart friendly hits. Apparently this came about from some messing around during rehearsals, serving as light relief from the long, multi-part epics that they were creating. Underneath it all, alongside some of the proggier elements, is a good pop song, one that speaks more to Genesis as I know them. Electric sitar and Mellotron gives the song some of its more interesting aural elements and the whole things feels very playful throughout.

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Oh I like all of these ones. Solid Air really carries this incredible, smoky atmosphere. It's not a special song by itself, but the feel and the instrumentation are incredible.

And that's one of the few Peter Gabriel era Genesis songs where I can actually recall the tune. It's good fun.

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I prefer the title track off of Paris 1919 to "Child's Christmas in Wales," personally. John Cale's singing voice (which he didn't really use much with the Velvets) always sounds a bit like your history professor's having a go at singing, so it fits really well in a song like that.

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385.      

‘Cum On Feel The Noize’, Slade (1973)

Influenced by: Revolution • The Beatles (1968)   

Influence on: Come on Feel the Illinoise • Sufjan Stevens (2005)   

Covered by: Quiet Riot (1983) • One Way System (1983) • The Glitter Band (1996) • Oasis (1996) • Bran Van 3000 (1997)

Some more Slade for your lugholes. I think I can safely say that I prefer this to their first offering on the list of ‘Mama Weer All Crazy Now’. Maybe I do brush them off a bit too much as a novelty as this is a pretty good slice of pop rock and they did have more hits than I perhaps give them credit for. This feels very lowest common denominator, but that is the appeal – shout along and clap your hands and make a lot of noise. As I said before, I get the appeal even if it isn’t entirely for me.

386.      

‘Living for the City’, Stevie Wonder (1973)

Influenced by: Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler) • Marvin Gaye (1971)   Influence on: The Message • Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (1982)   Covered by: Ike & Tina Turner (1974) • Ray Charles (1975) • Bonnie Tyler (1978)

This project offers up some interesting songs with regards to my own personal listening, as it draws attention to songs that are not as ‘big’ in the oeuvre of some big name acts. I guess this probably is a bigger song if you were already a Wonder fan, and it does sound vaguely familiar, but this politics-driven narrative isn’t really in keeping with a lot of what Wonder is remembered for by music fans at large. At least, as far as I am aware. The music sounds a little dated – the synthesizer in particular – but the tale of a man moving to New York and facing the difficulties of life in the big city as a black man showcases Wonder’s talent for singing, production and so much more. He is someone that has come out of this project in a much more positive light for me as it has helped to spotlight how talented he was.

387.      

‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’, Ann Peebles (1973)

Soulful and somewhat timeless in sound, Peebles’ song came about in the time before a concert in which she voiced her disdain for the falling rain. The song gets in, does its job, and gets out. Blares and blasts of trumpet add a bit of noise to proceedings, but the star of the show is Peebles’ voice. I wouldn’t argue that it was amongst the greatest, but it definitely has a mellowness that works wonderfully for this song.

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I can't believe how many of these songs I don't know. I mean, I know the first two obvs but I've never heard of Ann Peebles or that song. At first listen, it's fine, it's a good song but I might need to listen to it a few more times to work out what it's doing here.

I love Cum On Feel the Noize. I'm not a huge fan of glam rock. The music that T-Rex, David Bowie, Slade and many more less notable acts were pumping out in the glam rock era was largely plodding, unimaginative and melodically and harmonically stunted. Visually colourful, musically monochrome. COFTN is one of the few songs to transcend that. It's just a lot of fun.

Living for the City is great and Innervisions is probs my favourite Stevie Wonder album. For what's worth I love those early 70s analogue synthesisers. I guess the main reason it might sound dated is because we moved onto digital synthesisers pretty quickly but there's nothing quick like a nice analogue Moog.

 

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I guess that was the one you'd have first heard in North America? It's barely known here. I just listened to remind myself of it and I don't mind it. It's similar to the original but a bit more beefed up and 80s. Maybe it verges a bit too close to hair metal but me to be entirely comfortable with it. And the drums are too loud.

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