Monday, December 31, 2007

Song 122 (Manfred Mann--"The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)")

Well, today I decided to pick this rather fun song from Manfred Mann. It is a cover of the Bob Dylan song that was written in reference to Anthony Quinn's role in the movie The Savage Innocence; it has also been covered by numerous others. I really like Manfred Mann's version of the song a lot and thought that this light-hearted song would be excellent for today.

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


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Song 121 (Jethro Tull--"Cold Wind To Valhalla")

It is another Sunday in my Jethro Tull eras from beginning to end and it took me a bit to decide which song from the 4th era of Tull I should pick. I really did not want to pick something off of the A Passion Play album because it would be a bit too abstract for today; maybe I will pick one in the future. The Warchild album has a few on it that would be good, but I finally decided on Cold Wind To Valhalla off of the Minstrel in the Gallery album. These three albums make up what is for me the 4th era of Tull (from 1973-75), it is considered their big leap into Folk/Progressive Rock or Elizabethian Folk/Rock.

My previous picks from the first three eras can be found at: Songs 100, 107, and 114 in my blog.

A Passion Play is probably one of my top three Tull albums of all time. It is a Rock/Opera concept album that deals with a concepts concerning life after death that is very abstract; it was recorded in just 17 days. The music and Ian's lyrics are extremely complex and are metaphorically and sometimes almost impossible to comprehend even after ten or more times of play. Because of this and the subject matter this album was hit hard by critics and caused the band to stop touring for a short while and a self-imposed cut off from the press, which caused the band's popularity to ebb. However, it did reach #1 on the charts. This is an excellent album and I would highly recommend it to anyone with an open mind or someone wanting something different and new.
Warchild is very similar to A Passion Play subject matter wise, however, it has distinguishable individual songs and is a little more lighthearted at times. I highly recommend this album as well.
Minstrel In The Gallery is a different, darker album, on side one there the songs have nothing really to do with each other. On side two, however, there is a concept piece of music called Baker Street Muse.

This song, Cold Wind To Valhalla is very complex and interesting, it contains one of the more complex and intricate acoustic guitar lines. Many 'Tull fans have actually requested it to be added to their live playlist for many years. In an interview that I heard, Ian said that the song required radical tuning to the guitar and would have to be completely relearned because of its complexity. This song has it all from Jethro Tull: it starts out acoustically and goes heavy and everything in between. In this time period it is my opinion that Ian's lyrical ability was at one of his peaks; it shows in this song.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

Here is an excellent "how to play the song" video on YouTube.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Song 120 ( Big Country - In A Big Country )

After some of my more recent depressing picks I thought that I should pick something more upbeat. I like this song mostly because of the different riffs played by the guitar, it is somewhat similar to Scottish Folk; I also really like the overall upbeat lyrics and feel. This might have been their only hit here in the U.S. however, they have had more success abroad.
Oddly enough, the band has recently reunited for a 25th anniversary tour even though the lead vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Stuart Adamson died.

Hear In a Big Country on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Song 119 ( Megadeth - Architecture Of Aggression )

After hearing about the assassination of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto yesterday immediately Megadeth's music came to mind. A lot of their music has to do with politics and major stories of interest and two songs in particular came to mind: 'Peace Sells...' was one that I thought of at first, but 'Architecture Of Aggression' seemed a better fit for today.
This is probably one of my absolute favourites from Megadeth, it's weird that stuff that they wrote 15 to 20 years ago is very relevant today. There is nothing that this song is missing and if anything was added it would hurt the song.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Song 118 ( Bon Jovi - You Give Love A Bad Name )

I came to like this song when I used to play it in a band named Odyssey, which was mostly a cover band.
For me early on Bon Jovi was always a bit too popular for my tastes and I thought that they were just a band with overblown popularity that would disappear like the rest of their counterparts, however they still to this day sell out 80,000 seat venues. Their music, however is actually quite good if one really listens past the first layer. Probably the two best parts of this song is the guitar and the drums and the vocals are good as well.

Watch the music video on YouTube.
Watch a live performance on YouTube.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Song 117 ( Gilbert O'Sullivan - 'Alone Again (Naturally) )

A few days ago I was looking up an Animé called Maison Ikkoku and was looking at the theme songs for it to see what act made the music for it; for one episode (24) there were two Gilbert O'Sullivan songs on it: Alone Again and Get Down; as the opening and end.
From what I understand the company used the songs without consent and that is why they are only seen on the one episode and in the American release the songs are completely omitted; they put the previously used song in its place. Immediately when I saw the title of this song and it popped into my head and has not fully gone away. I am hoping that picking it would perhaps help in its departure.
This number one hit song is another 70's singer/songwriter classic, however, it is very depressing. It is about a man being stood up at the altar and contemplating suicide, and later in the song it talks about the man's parents dying; I have heard that the song is not autobiographical concerning Gilbert O'Sullivan. I do not know if it is the genius of Mr. O'Sullivan or the poppiness of the song, but it does get stuck horribly in your mind; I had not heard the song in a few years and just seeing the title made it stick. Anyway, it is an okay song that I think was forcing being picked today.

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


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Song 115 ( Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The Ghosts of Christmas Eve )

I was unsure about picking a seasonal song today, however there are a few seasonal songs that I like and if I don't choose them around the appropriate time then they might not get picked at all. I like this one mostly because of the softer vocals and the lyrics; a real nice treat for this time of year.

Here are the lyrics:

In this room where shadows live
And ghosts that failed learn time forgives
Welcome, friends, please stay awhile
Our story starts with one small child Who spends this night in attics dark
Where dreams are stored like sleeping hearts
And so it's here that they must wait
Till someone wishes them awake For somewhere on this night of nights
She's looking to believe
Here among the ghosts on Christmas Eve And there near an old looking glass
There was a trunk from Christmas past
That she had somehow missed before
But now decides she will explore 'Twas filled with toys and one old wreath
And several letters underneath
So as the evening hours leave
The child sat down and started to read For somewhere on this night of nights
She's looking to believe
Here among the ghosts on Christmas Eve On Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Song 114 ( Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick )

For my third Sunday of 'Tull eras I am choosing Thick As A Brick.
In my opinion the third era consists of their 4th through their 7th albums. Some Tull fans would include albums 7 through 9 as well, but I find these albums to be different artistically and lyrically as well as in feeling.
During to this era Glenn Cornick left for personal reasons and Ian's friend Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond replaced him on bass starting on the Aqualung album. Clive Bunker also left the band after the Aqualung album because he did not like the touring lifestyle and he had to get married. He was replaced by arguably their best drummer to date: Barriemore Barlow.
Aqualung, on side one is more of a normal album with most songs that have little to do with each other. Side two is mostly is an attack on organized religions' and how they mistreat God. Thick As A Brick was written because critics referred to Aqualung as a concept album, which it was not. He decided to release 'the mother of all concept albums' and make a 45 minute rock opera.
Funny enough, Ian made up a story about a child prodigy named Gerald 'Little Milton' Bostock co-writing the album with him, which a lot of people thought it was true; even to this day he gives credit to Gerald Bostock to continue the joke. Also another piece to note is that the newspaper that was the album's cover took more time to make than writing and recording the music. Also from an interview that I heard with Ian Anderson he told the story behind the album and also thought that it would be fun making a newspaper as an album cover. He also said that the same year John Lennon made the album Sometime in New York City with a newspaper as the cover art, but it came out slightly after Thick As A Brick. When John Lennon found out about Thick As A Brick he wanted to change his album cover, but I guess it was too late in the process.
The album Living In The Past is an anomaly in this era, it consists of previously unreleased material, live material, and some new material; the new material was also released as an EP as well. However, the new material is very similar to this era, so I add it as part of it.

The radio edit of this song is probably one of their most famous, the whole album is very good as well. All of the musicians are incredible on this album, which makes it quite a treat to listen to.

Someone actually posted the entire song/album.
Here is the first section of the piece on YouTube.
Here is the second section of the piece on YouTube.
Here is the third section of the piece on YouTube.
Here is the fourth section of the piece on YouTube.
Here is the final section of the piece on YouTube.
Here is their live performance of the song from Madison Square Garden '78.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Song 113 ( Supertramp - The Logical Song )

I have really no special reasoning for picking this one other than I really like it. I think that everyone at one time or another has heard it somewhere; it's quite popular. However, a lot of people do not know the title of the song.
It is one of those songs that will stick in your head if you even think of it slightly. The whole band is quite excellent, the electric piano really stands out for me and I like the vocals as well. The lyrical content is quite nice as well, it basically describes the process of learning what others want you to be taught and how they think you should be.

Here is a fan video with the studio version on YouTube.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Song 112 ( Jethro Tull - Ring Out Solstice Bells )

Happy Solstice everyone! Even though I am currently picking 'Tull era songs on Sundays, I could not let this day go without picking this song. The song is about the ancient celebration of the longest night of the year (Solstice), and to herald in longer days and Spring. This is when the Earth's axis is tilted at its maximum from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere.
This song was released on both a single and on the Songs From The Wood album; in '04 they also re-recorded it for their Christmas Album. I really like almost every aspect of this song and is a very nice Seasonal tune.

Hear the original recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is a promotional music video on YouTube.
Hear the 2004 "Christmas Album" version on YouTube.
Here is their Top of the Pops performance on YouTube.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Song 111 ( Paul McCartney - Little Willow )

Today, I was searching for a song to pick and this one came to mind. This is a nice quiet song off of the Flaming Pie album; it is an acoustic track and is a bit emotional due to the lyrical content. I really liked this album when it first came out about ten years ago; I think that he outdone himself on this one.
On this album, Steve Miller was a guest-musician and that really was what got me into Paul McCartney's music when I heard he was on this on it; I don't believe that Steve Miller plays on this song in particular. I know that Paul McCartney appeared on some Steve Miller albums as well under the pseudonym 'Paul Ramon,' so they have quite a history.

Here is a music video on YouTube.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Song 110 ( John Fogerty - Almost Saturday Night )

Today I decided to pick something by John Fogerty, so I chose this one off of his first solo album.
I remember first hearing the Dave Edmunds cover of this song when I was young and I really liked it; I later found out that John Fogerty had written it. I actually saw him play the song for the first time in a concert on PBS quite a while ago. What's best about this song is its simplicity, and of course John Fogerty's vocals are awesome as always.

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


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Song 109 ( Band of Horses - The Funeral )

Ever since I first heard this song I've loved it. A couple of days ago whilst watching football a commercial came on and when I heard the music it caught my attention and I got the 'I know this song' feeling immediately. It is nice to see this band actually getting noticed even if they sold out to do it; I guess that is what you have to do today. I really like Ben Bridwell's on this one as well; he has a very haunting voice; the musicianship is excellent as well, especially the guitar. Another good song that is number 109.

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


Monday, December 17, 2007

Song 108 ( Dan Fogelberg - Leader of the Band )

Last night I heard that Dan Fogelberg had lost his battle with prostate cancer, so I decided to choose one of his songs today. This song is one of his better ones and has special meaning for me as well; it was played at my Grandfather's funeral by my sister and brother-in-law.
Anyway, this song is quite emotional even without that fact and from all I understand he wrote it for his father who taught him. An incredible song by an incredible singer/songwriter, may he rest in peace.

Hear Leader of the Band on YouTube.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Song 107 ( Jethro Tull - We Used To Know )

On my second Sunday of Jethro Tull eras, I am choosing this one. We Used To Know is from their second album and in my mind their second era, which in my opinion is comprised of the albums Stand Up and Benefit. With the departure of Mick Abrahams (Guitar) and the addition of Martin Barre (Guitar) on this album and later John Evans (Keyboard) on the third album the band began a Progressive feel to their music further away from Blues. The song itself is actually an autobiography of the early days of the band. It was about Ian Anderson and Glenn Cornick living day to day as struggling professional musicians and not even knowing if they would make it. I think that most people who have played in bands have experienced quite a bit of what is mentioned in the lyrics.
An interesting side note about this song is that the chord progression and a few other aspects of the song were borrowed by Don Henley of the Eagles and used on the song Hotel California. From what I understand Don Henley was in a band opening for Tull and liked the song a lot.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from '70; the song starts at about the 3:00 mark on YouTube.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Song 106 ( Pet Shop Boys - So Hard )

This song was running through my head today, so I decided to pick it. It is very much an '80s Synthpop keyboard song; the vocal harmonies are really what sells the song for me. Probably my favorite aspect of the song is the really fun lyrics, I especially like the part: 'I've given up smoking 'cus it's fatal, so who's matches are those.'

Hear So Hard on YouTube.
Watch an extended music video on YouTube.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Song 105 ( Savatage - Gutter Ballet )

This song is a good ending to this interesting week, to say the least, that started last Friday for us, so I decided to choose it. The song itself is excellent, this was the first album of Savatage's voyage into Symphonic/Progressive Metal music. I really like the way the entire band does this song, however, Chris Oliva's guitar really shines in this one as well as Jon's vocals.

Watch the music video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from '94 on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from Monsters of Rock '98 on YouTube.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Song 104 ( Fontella Bass - Rescue Me )

For today I chose this wonderful R&B song by Fontella Bass. With the sound of this song you could swear that it was a product of the Motown Records' hit machine, however, it was not. She was with Chess Records and from what I understand the sound of the song was influenced by producer/singer/songwriter Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire fame. While her popularity declined she actually has been busy in the recording industry all along. What I find nice about this song besides her powerful vocals is the rhythm section, the horns are quite nice as well.

Here is the original studio version on YouTube.
Hear a different studio version of Rescue Me on YouTube.
Here is a performance of the song on YouTube.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Song 103 ( Lobo - Gypsy And The Midnight Ghost )

For today I decided to pick a song by yet another singer/songwriter from the 60/70s. I cannot remember when I first heard this song, but I have always loved it. I remember almost wearing out my Dad's 'Of a Simple Man' 8-track when I was younger; this song was somewhere in the middle. On most 8-tracks the listener would usually have a 'path' of through the four stereo tracks that consisted of the most loved songs. However, with this album I usually would just start it and listen to it all the way through. Later, I bought it on record and now I have it on my iPod.
Lobo and all of the musicians around him are incredible; this one has a very nice rhythm and bass line, which gives the feeling of the train moving. Where the real hook of the song is when it shifts from the verse and launches into the chorus and the back. Most of Lobo's music is in a story telling format and his lyrics are quite descriptive of what is in the story.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Song 102 ( Fleetwood Mac - Dreams )

I decided on picking this song for a variety of reasons today, mostly because it is a very calming and reassuring song. This song has very few weak points if any at all, the vocals are excellent as well as the musicianship; it has just what it needs to be the great track it is.

Hear Dreams on YouTube.
Here is an excellent live performance.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Song 101 ( Gerry Rafferty - Right Down The Line )

This is a song that I used to like a lot then came to dislike for a variety of reasons. However, now I am starting to like it again and it always remained on my playlist; I would usually just skip over it when it came on.
Anyway, it is a really good song and I thought that it needed to be picked today. I love how the organ holds the song down in the background, plus the bass and drums are excellent as well.

Hear Right Down the Line on YouTube.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Song 100 ( Jethro Tull - My Sunday Feeling )

Number 100! I have decided on a theme of sorts now that I reached the 100 mark. On Sundays I will pick a song from each of Jethro Tull's "Eras" from beginning to end; Jethro Tull is my all time favorite band I thought that it would be fun to do being it's their 40th year and all. If you listen to them from each one of these different eras, it sounds almost like another band at times depending on the era. This should last about 12 Sundays because, for me, there are about 12 distinct Tull eras.

This song is off of their first album from '68, This Was, which was their "blues band" era. Ian intentionally chose the album's title because this was how they sounded and he had plans of changing the sound. This is the only studio album with Mick Abrahams on guitar; shortly afterward Tony Iommi (of Black Sabbath Fame) joined the band for a short while and later Martin Barre joined as their permanent guitarist. The song's musicianship is quite good, especially Glenn Cornick's bass playing.

Hear My Sunday Feeling on YouTube.
Here is a video with the '70 Isle of Wight performance on YouTube.
Watch a live performance circa '93 on YouTube. The song starts at about the 1:15 mark.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Song 99 ( Donovan - Sunshine Superman )

Wow! 99 songs in. Well, today I decided on picking Sunshine Superman by Donovan. This is one of those songs that always gets me into a good mood when I listen to it. What I like about this song is the overall feel of it, plus the vocals/lyrics are awesome as well.

Hear Sunshine Superman on YouTube.
Here is a live acoustic performance on YouTube.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Song 98 ( The Zombies - She’s Not There )

For today I decided on choosing She's Not There by The Zombies; I have always loved this song a lot and thought that it was time to pick it. I really like Rob Argent's keyboard work in this one and the bass line is excellent as well. I also like the smoothness of the song and how it carries effortlessly from one part to another.

Here is a video with the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a television performance on YouTube.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Song 97 ( Rush - Time Stand Still )

This is one of my favourite Rush songs and I thought that it was a good pick for today especially since it was running through my mind. This is from their '87 Hold Your Fire album; it came out toward the end of Rush's real mainstream success in the 80s. They still made plenty of hits after this, however nothing like they did before.
There is a lot that I like about this song especially how everything fits perfectly together; if they added or took away anything it would ruin it. I really like how Aimee Mann's and Geddy Lee's vocals mix in this one; again as with most Rush songs the musicianship is beyond incredible. I really like the message of the song about living in the moment and taking it all in.

Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from '94 Counterparts Tour on YouTube.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Song 96 ( Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble - Pride and Joy )

This song was running through my mind this morning, so I have decided to pick it. It's an excellent blues with incredible musicianship from everyone involved. I have always liked Double Trouble and have seen them play with a lot of other artists as well. The late-great Stevie Ray Vaughn shows just how much of a talent he was; it was a shame that talent was lost when he passed away.

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


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Song 95 ( Ozzy Osbourne - Shot In The Dark )

It's time for some Ozzy. This song has a unique sound when compared to his other work; it was done between the Randy Rhodes and Zakk Wylde eras of guitarists in '86. From what I understand there is some controversy as to who actually wrote this song, depending on who is asked it's either Ozzy himself, his bassist Phil Soussan, or FM's guitarist and vocalist Steve Overland. Still, the song is incredible and definitely worth more than just a listen.

Here is a live performance circa '89 on YouTube.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Song 94 ( Band Of Horses - Wicked Gil )

The first time that I heard this song I immediately fell in love with it; it was just amazing. Band of Horses is an Indie Rock band originally from Seattle and have had some success; most of what I have heard from them I like. What I really found most appealing about this song was the vocals by Ben Bridwell, which are very "haunting." This song is very bluesy, but has an odd quality about it as well.

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


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Song 93 ( The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night )

While driving home last night in almost whiteout conditions this song came on my iPod's playlist and thought that it would be a good choice for today.
While I really do not care for "pop" that much as a rule, this track is one of my exceptions.
One of the reasons why I like this song in particular is because I used to work the graveyard shift at a grocery store for over a year and I relate to the topic matter. I also remember it being played a while ago in an old arcade game called High School Graffiti, this song played in the background in midi form.

Watch a music video with the studio version on YouTube.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Song 92 ( King Harvest - Dancing In The Moonlight )

Today I decided to pick one of those songs that was supposed to be picked on previous days, but I picked another instead for various reasons. This is one of my favorites and could be described as a "feel good" song. Probably my favorite aspect of the song is the bass line, it is very fun to play as well as listen to; every other aspect of the song is excellent, especially the lyrics and vocals.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.