Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Song 61 ( Jethro Tull - Witches Promise )



Happy Halloween all! I decided to pick a song today that fit the occasion, so I chose Witches Promise by Jethro Tull.
It is a really interesting love song of sorts that has to do with the Celtic style witch instead of the Hollywood style. What is odd about this song is that it was done around 1970, this is the time that Tull was doing more blues and straight up rock rather than the progressive stuff, (like this song); it would have been right at home on their stuff from 75 to 79. This song was a hit single for them in Europe and was later re-released on the Living in the Past album.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is their "Top of the Pops" performance on YouTube. Both Clive Bunker and Martin Barre look rather bored in this video.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Song 60 ( Johann Sebastian Bach - BWV 565 Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor )



This is one of my all time favourite pieces of music and simply put is amazing. Almost everyone has heard it; even if they do not know it, especially around this time of year.
BWV 565 is thought to have been composed around the year 1705, which is right in the center of the Baroque period of music. J.S. Bach is the most recognizable of the 70, or there about other Bachs that are published composers; a very prolific musical family. Funnily enough during his life he did not get the appreciation he deserved; it wasn't until the Romance Period when the composer Felix Mendelssohn found his work and gave J.S. Bach the recognition he deserved that he became famous.
The musical form this uses is first: the Toccata, which is basically a piece of music written for the keyboard which is written to showcase the ability of musician playing; Bach was considered to be one of the best keyboardists of his time. Think of this as a flashy guitar solo at the beginning of a song. The fugue, on the other hand is just as difficult if not more difficult. In this part there are four independent "voices" going on at once, in some fugues it can be five. The piece introduces and reintroduces the theme in many different way, henceforth "fugue." I cannot even count the amount of times I have heard this song playing in background of horror flick, video games, and/or haunted houses on Halloween, which is one of the reasons I picked it today so close to Halloween.

Here is an amazing performance of the piece by Karl Richter on YouTube.
Here is a performance by Kurt Ison on the Sydney Town Hall Pipe Organ on YouTube. I love the sound of that low D.

There are a plethora of other excellent live performances available on YouTube.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Song 59 ( Faith No More - From Out Of Nowhere )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/ef/The_Real_Thing_vinyl_cover.jpg

I found this song a while ago and immediately fell in love with it; I usually turn it up every time it comes up on my iPod's playlist. Before I found this song I never really was a Faith No More fan, however I still appreciated their music, now I have come to like a lot of their stuff because of it.

Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Song 58 ( Billy Thorpe - Children of the Sun )

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A bunch of songs today were wanting to get picked, however this one won out. This one is very weird and almost everyone that I know hates this song, but I love it. It is another song with a story behind it, this one is about Earth's first contact; the aliens here are called The Children of the Sun. It is very Sci-Fi sounding and a bit repetitive, which probably puts most people off. I heard that Billy Thorpe died earlier this year as well of a heart attack, so this is a good pick for yet another reason.

Here is the extended studio version on YouTube.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Song 57 ( Yes - Roundabout )



This is a really neat song; it is one that goes into the background very easily if you want to use it as "wallpaper" music or you can listen to it and hear all of the excellent musicianship. There are a lot of layers to this track, which makes the song very fun to listen to. However the overall length of the song probably is not every person's cup of tea. Every musician really does his part to make it an incredible one. I really like the dynamics they use in the song especially the interludes and pick-ups; Progressive Rock at its best!

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a classic live performance on YouTube.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Song 56 ( Apocalyptica Feat. Nina Hagen - Seemann )



I have been picking some covers lately, and here is another one. This song was originally written and recorded by Rammstein off of the Herzeleid album. I like both versions, however I like the original Rammstein version, (which can be found here on YouTube), more.
I am picking this version because I loved what Apocalyptica did with the song and I absolutely love Nina Hagen's vocals on this one. Her lower-register vocals are just amazing, she has vocals in this one similar to a Disney movie villainess and almost appears witch-like in the video. A pretty good treat for near Halloween.

Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a television performance on YouTube.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Song 55 ( Blackmore’s Night - Rainbow Blues )



I found this song a couple of months ago, it is cover of Jethro Tull song which went unreleased until put as a bonus track on the M.U.--Best of Tull album.
For those unaware, Blackmore's Night is a Renaissance-style band with metal influences. The band is primarily Ritchie Blackmore, (from Deep Purple and Rainbow), and his wife on vocals.
I really like what they did with this 'Tull song and how they made it their own. The song itself is really good but did not make it on to any of their albums for a variety of reasons; mostly because it doesn't fit musically on the album which it was written for. The song seems to use symbolic representation to describe what Ian Anderson goes through before and after a show; maybe one show in particular. Anyway, I really like this cover, especially the vocals and guitar.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Song 54 ( Kyu Sakamoto - Sukiyaki or Ue o Muite Aruko )

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There were about six songs vying for today's choosing and this one won out over the other five. The song is the best known song sung in Japanese internationally and hit number one on the American charts in '63. In Japan, the song is known as Ue o Muite Aruko (I Look Up When I Walk); here in the U.S. it is known as Sukiyaki, which is actually the name of a cheap Japanese noodle dish. From what I understand, the name change occurred because the record company thought that Ue o Muite Aruko or "I Look Up When I Walk" was too hard for DJs to remember. The lyrics were written by Rokusuke Ei about a lost love of his. Sadly, Kyu Sakamoto died in an airplane crash in 1985. I heard a "cover" of this song a while ago, which is good in its own right, however they used the tune but completely re-wrote the lyrics of the song in English; probably because the rhyming scheme would not fit. Granted they did sing it in English, which is a change in itself, however the original lyrics translated into English are much different:

"I look up when I walk
So the tears won't fall
Remembering those happy spring days
But tonight I'm all alone
I look up when I walk
Counting the stars with tearful eyes
Remembering those happy summer days
But tonight I'm all alone
Happiness lies beyond the clouds
Happiness lies above the sky
I look up when I walk
So the tears won't fall
Though my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I'm all alone
(whistling)
Remembering those happy autumn days
But tonight I'm all alone
Sadness hides in the shadow of the stars
Sadness lurks in the shadow of the moon
I look up when I walk
So the tears won't fall
Though my heart is filled with sorrow
For tonight I'm all alone
(whistling)"

A very beautiful song.

Here is a music video with the song on YouTube.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Song 53 ( Blue Öyster Cult - Harvest Moon )



I have always liked songs that tell a story within them; this is one of them. The story in this song is about a village or town that is cursed. It retells the history of people disappearing from the town and how the bodies are always discovered after the winter thaw.
While it's kind of disturbing, it's actually quite good and interesting with the way the lyrics are arranged with the music. The music is very brooding and a bit ominous, but overall mellow with some metal influence in the guitar solo. The musicianship is top notch and paired with the excellent storyline and the lyrics makes this an awesome song. I can still remember when this song first came out on the radio and it immediately caught my attention, and still does, every time it is played.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Song 52 ( Ian Anderson - Calliandra Shade (The Cappuccino Song) )

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This song is a treat to the ears, basically a Jazz/Rock song with a bit of a Latin feel. While the song is complex, it doesn't lose anything to the common listener because of that complexity.
One of my favourite parts of this song is James Duncan's drumming; I love the use of the toms in this one. Another aspect of this song that I like is Ian's use of the bamboo flute; Ian plays all of the instruments on this song except the drums on the studio version.
I was exceedingly happy when I first bought this album and popped it in the player I immediately heard the Tull sound that has been missing for the last 10 to 15 years.
This song is about life in and around a European coffee house and the strange things one would experience there.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance YouTube.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Song 51 ( Slade - Cum On Feel The Noize )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/91/Slade_-_Cum.jpg

While Slade is a bit glam they still rock pretty good and this is a good song to play when you want to just rock out. Most people from the younger crowd would probably remember this song as being played by Quiet Riot, however I still like Slade's original version a bit more.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is the Top of the Pops performance on YouTube.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Song 50 ( Pink Floyd - Welcome to the Machine )



I thought that this would be good choice for today; it is very weird, but in a good way. The song explores the idea of the establishment, government, and society are one big machine. I really like almost every aspect of this track, but especially the use of synth, it really rounds out the song quite well.

Here is the music video on YouTube.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Song 49 ( John Denver - Looking for Space )



Today I decided on this one: John Denver's Looking For Space. This song would have to be one of my top 20 songs of all time, just an amazing song with incredible lyrics; it has a lot of special meanings for me.
I grew up surrounded by his music around and it really grew on me over the years. When I heard about his death in a plane crash back in '97 I was devastated. I believe that he was and is one of the more underrated musicians and songwriters in modern music and we suffered a great loss musically when he died.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Song 48 ( Devo - Some Things Never Change )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9b/Totaldevo.jpg

I am picking this song today for a special reason, I will discuss further down. Devo is a bit hard to get into for some because their music is so odd and sometimes doesn't really fit with what is considered a genre. Like most Devo songs, this song sounds almost like it was released two years from now. They pay tribute to the Beatles' A Day In the Life with the line "I saw the news today o boy, a thousand stories that we've seen before." The song is about imbalances of power and those who are in power.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is the midi SID music from the Commodore version of the game on YouTube.

Now for the reason that I picked it: Yesterday I found out that William Gibson's Cyberpunk book Neuromancer is being made into a movie; another one of his stories that did make it to film is Johnny Mnemonic.
I remember a long time ago playing the video game adaptation of the book on my Commodore 64. What was awesome about this game was that it actually had digitized music playing in the intro. This might seem normal today, but back then this 20 second clip of garbled sounding music was unheard of and mindblowing. Never before had I ever heard an actual song coming out of my computer; not the normal midi sounding tunes that I was used to. The song was Some Thing Never Change by Devo; now there is the connection!
This story, Neuromancer, is part of the Sprawl Trilogy and is basically the inspiration of recent Sci-Fi. This book was published in '84 and most of the computer lingo we use today concerning the internet also came from this book, the word Cyberspace was first coined in this book as well as referring to a virtual reality if someone jumped into the net as a Matrix; many other terms have come from this series books as well. I really cannot wait to see this film.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Song 47 ( Styx - Lady )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/12/Styx_-_Styx_II.jpg

I have always really liked this song, this has to be one of the most powerful love songs in existence. It seems to have everything an excellent rock song needs: the light airy ballad at the beginning, a nice back beat, driving bass line, excellent lyrics and vocals, and a wicked lead and rhythm guitars.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is the re-recorded version on YouTube.
Here is an excellent live performance on YouTube.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Song 46 ( Eric Clapton - Layla )



Today is different for me, I had another song ready to pick, then I heard this one on the radio this morning. This song was originally released as "Derek and the Dominoes," however like most I remember it always as an Eric Clapton song. An incredible song by an incredible artist, and of course it doesn't hurt that Duane Allman plays the lead guitar on the original studio version.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is an "unplugged" live version on YouTube.
As expected, there are a multitude of live performances on YouTube as well.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Song 45 ( Procol Harem - Conquistador )



I heard this track today on the radio and figured I should choose it; it is quite complex in arrangements and has kind of a brooding feel to it. I like how they use strings in the beginning then builds and builds until the song climaxes at the chorus and then begins to build again with the next verse. There is a lot going on in parts of this song, however nothing is lost in the mix and it makes a single great sound.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from Sight & Sound on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from 2001 on YouTube.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Song 44 ( Savatage - The Wake Of Magellan )

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Today I chose the title track off of Savatage's The Wake of Magellan album. This is another "Prog-Metal" or "Opera-Metal," very much like their Dead Winter Dead album. Mostly this album was inspired by an event called Maersk Dubai incident, in which three stowaways were thrown overboard in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and a fourth was kept safe by a member of the crew. The crewman who risked his life to protected the stowaway was treated as a criminal. The captain and those who were involved in the killing of the first three were all but set free. The song itself is again very similar to the music released on the Dead Winter Dead: very operatic metal. The lyrics, like most other Savatage songs, are quite deep and complex.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is live performance on YouTube.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Song 43 ( Jethro Tull - Steel Monkey )


For song 43 of my list I am choosing Jethro Tull's Steel Monkey off of the 1987 album Crest of a Knave; I have loved this song ever since I saw Jethro Tull play it live a few years ago. For those who do not know, a "Steel Monkey" is a slang term for a high-rise construction worker.
My wife bought the Crest of a Knave album for my birthday yesterday; I had it on vinyl before but it was missing some songs. This song is very high energy and strangely danceable for a Tull tune, although the canned drums are a bit of a detractor. Martin Barre's blazing guitar is just awesome and is my favorite aspect here.
At this point in Tull there were actually only three official members: Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, and David Pegg, the others were session members, one of which is Doane Perry, who would become their permanent drummer.













This is the infamous album in which Jethro Tull won the Grammy Award. Interestingly enough from what I understand Ian does not even have it any more, in an interview a few years ago that I heard on the radio Ian said that he did not really care about the awards and that if he did it would seem to him that he was too much into his public image. At last I heard his son is using the award as a pencil holder.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Song 42 ( Electric Light Orchestra - Prologue / Twilight )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/67/ELO_Time_expanded_album_cover.jpg

For song 42 I decided to pick Prologue and Twilight by ELO from the Time Album. This is an incredible masterpiece off one of the best albums that ELO has ever made. The musicianship and arrangements are mind blowing, however what probably puts most people off is the lyrics. This is a concept album or rock opera of sorts about a man who is from 1981, (the year of the album's release), who gets abducted by people from the future who take him to the year 2095. This album is more progressive than their other material and is usually shunned by some of their hardcore fans. I find this album to be more of a "musician's" album, i.e. the casual listener might have a lot of trouble hearing the complex arrangements and nuances that make this such a great song and album; I would, however recommend this song for anyone to hear at least once. Twilight is actually the second most popular song on this album: Hold on Tight to Your Dreams is actually the the main "hit" on this album, which most have heard. It is very similar to it, however Twilight has more energy and feels "bigger" than Hold on Tight to Your Dreams.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Song 41 ( Eisbrecher - Ohne Dich )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/54/Antikoerper_album_cover.jpg

The first thing that hit me about this song when I first heard it is the smoothness and harmonies compared with their other songs by them that I have heard before. The musicianship might seem odd to someone who is not familiar with European music; especially using keyboard with heavy music, which can be a taboo here in America. I really like the arrangements a lot and the overall feeling of the song. The song is a love song with very deep lyrics.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Song 40 ( Ella Fitzgerald - Blue Skies )

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Today, I decided to pick Ella Fitzgerald's cover of the Irving Berlin song Blue Skies. When I first heard this song what stood out was the excellent scatting that she does as well as her amazing vocals; an excellent version of much covered piece of music.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Song 39 ( Megadeth - Psychotron )



For number 39 of my list I decided on Megadeth's Psychotron of of their Countdown To Extinction album. It is another great song off of this incredible album that was begging to be picked; a wonderful Metal masterpiece.

Hear Psychotron on YouTube.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Song 38 ( The Who - Pinball Wizard )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/19/Tommyalbumcover.jpg

I did not really have a song in mind today, so I "spun" the playlist and this one came up. This one of off the album Tommy, which is a 24 song double LP rock-opera written about a fictitious child who could not hear, see, or speak named Tommy; as with most of the album was written by Pete Townshend.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is the song from the film featuring Elton John on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from Isle of Wight on YouTube.
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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Song 37 ( Jethro Tull - Part of the Machine )



Jethro Tull are one of my favorite bands of all time. They will probably be featured a lot on my list, mostly because they make up a sizable percentage of my library. The first few times I heard this song I didn't like it at all, but over time I finally listened to the lyrics and music and came to like it. The song was recorded in '88; it is somewhat cynical about democracy and the "free" governments and puts the whole feeling how these "free" governments have become reminiscent of a large machine. I love the single's cover art using the Prussian Eagle although the song is about America, another country that uses the eagle as a symbol. A very good song worth a listen if you get the chance, however, Ian Anderson kept the circulation of the 20 Years of Tull Boxed Set very low, which makes it quite difficult to find. However, Part of the Machine was recently added to their re-mastered Crest of a Knave album as a bonus track.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance of the song on YouTube.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Song 36 ( Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO) - Sledgehammer )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/ed/Bachman-Turner_Overdrive_-_Not_Fragile.jpg

This track is a different one in that the dynamics are different from most normal BTO songs. What is really neat is how the verses are a smooth and calm blues with Randy Bachman singing, but when the chorus kicks in it goes into a hard rock sound with C.F. Turner singing. An excellent song for head banging and/or just kicking back and having a good time.

Hear Sledgehammer in a fan video on YouTube.
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Friday, October 05, 2007

Song 35 ( Neil Young - After The Gold Rush )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2d/After_the_Gold_Rush.jpg

For number 35, I am choosing "After The Gold Rush" by Neil Young off of the 1970 release of the same name. This is a very melancholy, introspective track with very complex lyrics; it really fit my mood today. His musicianship on this song is incredible as well as his vocals; although some do not like his voice. From all I can understand, this song is about the environment and the impact man has had on in. An excellent piece of music from a legend.

Hear After the Gold Rush on YouTube.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Song 34 ( The Guess Who - No Sugar Tonight - New Mother Nature )


Today I am choosing No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature by The Guess Who. This is a very fun medley of songs; while they are in fact two songs, they are always played as one. The first part, No Sugar Tonight, is a bluesy song with a driving bass line, the second one, New Mother Nature, is similar to the first one but with more keyboard. One of best parts about this arrangement is Burton Cummings' vocals, especially in the second part. He rapid-fires a lot of the lyrics but still is able to put a lot of feeling into it.

Here is the record version on YouTube.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Song 33 ( Rush - YYZ )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/4a/Moving_Pictures.jpg

Today I decided to choose YYZ by Rush off of their Moving Pictures album; this is one of their more interesting songs that they have ever put out. "YYZ" is the IATA code for Toronto Pearson International Airport, (Their Home Airport). In the beginning of the song the band starts out playing the Morse Code for YYZ, which would be - . - - , - . - - , - - . . on their instruments alternating between C and F-sharp for the dashes and dots. The song then breaks into main piece, which is mind-blowingly [is that even a word?] excellent and complex; this song appears to be rather experimental compared to a lot of their other work of this time.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is the studio version in a CGI fan video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Song 32 ( Joni Mitchell - Amelia )

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For song 32, I decided to go with Amelia by Joni Mitchell off of her 1976 Hejira album. This album is considered to be part of her Jazz period. The album contains many great musicians including Jaco Pastorious on bass. Most of the writing on this album was done while she was alone on the road, every song kind of reflects this; this one I think reflects the loneliness the most.
This is a very powerful and very beautifully done, Joni Mitchell's vocals and guitar work really stand out on this one. I would recommend her Hejira album to anyone who likes deep and moving music.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from the Shadows and Light Tour on YouTube.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Song 31 ( April Wine - Roller )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9f/First_Glance_%28April_Wine_album_cover%29.png
Okay, for number 31, today I am choosing "Roller" by April Wine. This is off of their "First Glance" album; the album cover shown above is different from the one that I own. I believe that I have the American release, however I like this cover better. Anyway, this is another great late 70's rock anthem.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

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