Category Archives: Rock

Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed (1970)

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An oldie but a goldie… ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ by Paul McCartney. McCartney recorded his eponymous album during a period of depression following John Lennon’s announcement in 1969 that he was leaving the Beatles. This song is dedicated the song to his wife Linda, who had helped him get through those dark days that led to the break-up.

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Graham Nash – Better Days (1971)

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Well I’ve started the year with some golden oldies and there’s no need to stop quite yet. Also released in 1971, this most personal song features on Songs for Beginners, Graham Nash’s debut solo album. The singer-songwriter was mulling over ‘Better Days’ he’d had in the past and better ones he expected of the future. With its double-tracked vocals, this transcending message was poignant in the aftermath of Nash’s break-up with Joni Mitchell. Neil Young plays piano on the track, performing under the name of Joe Yankee. Have a great weekend.

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The Who – Behind Blue Eyes (1971)

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From one pair of blue eyes to another. Pete Townshend wrote ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ in 1971 to help explain how lonely it can be in the limelight. The song is Roger Daltrey’s favourite track by the band; and in a large part, I think that’s because he does such a good job on lead vocals, perfectly complementing the acoustic guitar. Like their other tracks I’ve posted on this blog, this song also featured on The Who‘s 1971 classic album Who’s Next.

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The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil (1968)

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Happy New Year listeners! It’s been 50 years since The Rolling Stones released Beggars Banquet. I was reminded last night what a sensational album it is. Not only does the album feature the brilliant ‘No Expectations’, ‘Jigsaw Puzzle‘ (which is one of my Desert Island Discs), ‘Street Fighting Man’ and ‘Stray Cat Blues’, but it also opens with the balls-to-the-wall classic ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ and its “ooh ooh” chorus. That chorus features Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, Nicky Hopkins, Marianne Faithfull, Jimmy Miller and Anita Pallenberg. That is what I call a party.

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Warren Zevon – Werewolves Of London (1978)

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Time for a classic. ‘Werewolves of London’ was composed and released by singer-songwriter Warren Zevon in 1978. The song was included on his third album Excitable Boy and featured Mick Fleetwood and John McVie on drums and bass respectively. The theme and title were inspired by the 1935 Stanley Bergerman film “Werewolf of London” and seemingly the music was inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd. While it’s a common enough progression, featuring such a similar riff only five years after ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ was brave. Luckily, the likes of Zevon, Fleetwood and McVie could carry it off.

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The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Bellbottoms (1994)

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In 1994, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion were the artistic zeitgeist of blues-laden rock’n’roll. So while the likes of the Beastie Boys and Beck were hanging out at their concerts, others incl. UNKLE, Wu-Tang Clan and Moby, were lining up to remix their latest album Orange. The long player opens with the insane ‘Bellbottoms’.

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Mainland (2017)

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Good morning peeps. An easy selection this morning… I am seeing Rolling Blackouts C. F. and I present you you one of my favourite tracks off their recent debut album Hope Downs. Understandably, the band released in advance last year. Here’s to a great night and a great week.

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Tom Waits – Hold On (1999)

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Good morning folks. Last week, I was delving into Americana and it’s left a good taste. In 1999, The Black Rider released his masterpiece Mule Variations after a six year hiatus. It was worth the wait for another voyage of broken-down ballads. The song ‘Hold On’ is a fine example of what the Waits world had been waiting for.

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The Band – The Weight (1968)

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The hugely influential ‘The Weight’ was written by Robbie Robertson. The Band released the song as a single and on their 1968 album Music From Big Pink. Rock music would never be quite the same again. Have a great weekend.

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Townes Van Zandt – Dollar Bill Blues (1978)

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For me, country music recordings should come with warning labels. I often find it trite and dewy-eyed. Not so for much of the output of Townes Van Zandt. ‘Dollar Bill Blues’ featured on his 1978 collection Flyin’ Shoes. I like nostalgia and the storytelling as much as the next man…  gambling, booze, self-destruction and late-night love.

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Van Morrison – Almost Independence Day (1972)

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Van Morrison’s majestic album Saint Dominic’s Preview, closes with ‘Almost Independence Day’. With its echoes of his work on Astral Weeks, I was always going to like this song. I was not alone; David Gilmour and Roger Waters were evidently listening and wishing they were here.

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The Beach Boys – Little Bird (1968)

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The ballad harmonies are there for sure, the chamber strings… tick, but what makes this track that stands out from The Beach Boys’ previous work is its spiritual funk. It also said to the creative genius Brian Wilson that his brother Dennis could create a pearl too.

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Jeff Buckley – Lover, You Should Have Come Over (1994)

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An extra track for this first week back from the summer hiatus. Jeff Buckley tended to be silent about the subject matter of his songs, but it’s believed that he wrote this one about the breakup with singer Rebecca Moore. They dated for a while before Buckley released his debut album Grace, which features this song. On 28 May 1997, the day before Buckley died, he called Rebecca Moore and left a message on her answering machine.”Think of me and smile. I’m gonna work my ass off, baby. I’ll see you on the other side.”

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The Black Crowes – Remedy (1992)

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The Black Crowes released their sophomore album The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion in 1992. One of its finest moments is the riff-laden rocker ‘Remedy’.  Borrowing a hook from Parliament’s ‘Night Of The Thumpasorus People’, the band reveal their ability to take a classic sound and make it their own. They would revisit this trick on their cover of ‘Hard To Handle’. Have a great weekend.

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The Kinks – Monica (1968)

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The song ‘Monica’ appeared on The Kinks’ 1968 album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. It was written and sung by Ray Davies, who suggestively admits more than affection for Monica, the village prostitute – and all to an apt calypso-style arrangement.

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