Category Archives: Rock

The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony (1997)

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What can you say about the The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ that has not already been said before. The song was ubiquitous in 1997/98.  Richard Ashcroft had taken Andrew Oldham Orchestra’s strings cover of The Rolling Stones ‘Last Time’ and realised its potential by writing those sublime lyrics. The bitter sweet would follow when the Stones’ former manager Allen Klein reneged on an agreement they had with Decca and demanded 100% of the song’s royalties, stripping the Verve of their undoubted achievement.

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Steely Dan – Do It Again (1972)

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Donald Fagen, Walter Becker and friends have never really rung my bell. Like a number of bands from before my time, it has been the musical references of others that have gifted some insight. ‘Peg’ had been sampled by De La Soul on 3 Feet High And Rising. More recently, ‘Kid Charlemagne’ was sampled by Kanye on Graduation. But still, their penchant for jazz rock and disdain for rock gods like Led Zeppelin were never going to endear me. But I’ll give Steely Dan this one, the intro on ‘Do It Again’ is something to behold. It featured on 1972 album Can’t Buy A Thrill. R.I.P. Walter Becker.

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Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Don’t Do Me Like That (1979)

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Tighter than a tight thing, Tom Petty sings ‘Don’t Do Me Like That’ off his 1979 album Damn The Torpedoes. R.I.P. you heartbreaker.

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The Doors – People Are Strange (1967)

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50 years ago, to the day, The Doors’ ‘People Are Strange’ hit the Billboard charts. The day before, the band had performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show, during a set they’d secured owing to the success and brilliance of ‘Light My Fire’. The track would kick off the flipside of their sophomore studio album Strange Days. Strange Days indeed. One assumes Jim was experiencing some form of drug-induced realisation or depression or both. Have a great week.

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The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again (1971)

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For me, the climactic finish to The Who’s classic album Who’s Next is all about Pete Townsend. Firstly, there’s his decision to use the synthesizer throughout, and then, his delivery of the most awesome power chords… sweeeet. Even Roger Daltrey could only scream. In 1971, these guys were on fire. Have a great weekend.

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Shack – Comedy (1999)

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Mick Head was inspired to start his own band during his formative years in Liverpool listening to the sounds of Echo & the Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes. Shack was his second group with his brother John and together they made music on the band’s third long player, HMS Fable. ‘Comedy’ is the type of carefully crafted single that Noel G would be proud of. Despite support of the critics, the band would not deliver the hit that their sparkling work warranted.

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Led Zeppelin – Kashmir (1975)

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A delayed comment, but what is there to say? Jimmy Page cited this track when asked about his view on the greatest Zeppelin riff of all. The hypnotic signature tune from their 1975 album Physical Grafitti wasn’t just about the guitar. Bonham’s titanic drums and the progressive mellotron section are unmistakably from another planet.

Have a great summer all. No doubt there will be the odd post here an there, but I am officially signing off for August. See you on the other side.

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The Kinks – Strangers (1970)

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Beloved by diehard Kinks fans, ‘Strangers’ featured on their 1970 LP Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One, but was never released as a single. The Dave Davies line “If I live too long, I’m afraid I’ll die” was inspired by his old school friend George Harris. They were going to start a band, but Harris succumbed to bad habits and eventually died of a meth overdose. “Strangers on this road we are on/we are not two we are one.”

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Beirut – Elephant Gun (2007)

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Ten years ago, Beirut were in their pomp. Originally a musical project of Santa Fe native Zach Condon, the band’s first performance was in New York in May 2006, to support the release of their debut album, Gulag Orkestar. By January 2007,  they carried their critical acclaim into the release of their first EP Lon Gisland. Its opening track ‘Elephant Gun’ again combined elements of indie rock and world music so successfully. Prodigious stuff; Condon was still only 20. Have a great week.

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Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Hey Hey, My My (Out of the Blue) (1979)

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Neil Young wrote ‘My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)’ with its rocking counterpart ‘Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)’ as bookends for his 1979 album Rust Never Sleeps. As the second part of the famous line goes: “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” Young had tapped into his encounters with Devo and an appreciation of the punk ethic to reach a new audience.

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David Bowie – Be My Wife (1977)

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As David Bowie got more experimental, his singles became less successful, but no less influential. 40 years ago (19 June 1977) this month, ‘Be My Wife’ was the 2nd and final single release from the ground-breaking album Low, the first of the so-called Berlin Trilogy. It failed to chart but was frequently played during his live sets due to his predilection for the sound. The ragtime intro still stands out.

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Paolo Nutini – Candy (2009)

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Singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini’s sophomore effort, Sunny Side Up, is a relatively easy listening affair. However, within it are some standout moments.  The single ‘Candy’ is full of the type of blue-eyed soul rock that fans of Van Morrison and John Martyn will appreciate. “I’m a heartless man at worst, babe/And a helpless one at best.”

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The Charlatans – Loving You Is Easy (2004)

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The Charlatans have been touring. ‘Loving You Is Easy’ is off their eighth album Up At The Lake. It was the band’s only album to have never received a US release. Tim Burgess gives us his soul on this piano ballad, helped by keyboard player Tony Rodgers who shares the vocals.

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Kings Of Leon – Wicker Chair (2003)

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When the Kings Of Leon debut album, Youth and Young Manhood, hit the shelves in 2003, it was a sensation with the UK music press. Their potential had been heralded earlier in the year by their first pressing, an EP entitled Holy Roller Novocaine. The record contained ‘Wicker Chair’ – a gem of track, with its simple country melody and hook. Until its close, it belies the raucous blues/punk that would take them to the top over the next 5 years.

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The Beatles – Flying (1967)

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A midweek interlude, the instrumental ‘Flying’ is one of the handful of tracks credited to all four mop tops. It first appeared on the 1967 LP Magical Mystery Tour, full of mellotron, guitar, bass, maracas, drums and tape loops. Far out.

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