Monday, March 31, 2008

Song 214 (Bryan Adams--"Run To You")

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/56/Bryan_Adams_-_Reckless.jpg

There's a personal category that I have of music I listen to that this song belongs to. This is one of those songs that I really love the music and arrangements, but the subject matter and lyrics are a bit wanting in my opinion; it is still an excellent song.
The best part of this song for me is the bass line and the lead guitar. The bass line is the main hook to the song and is quite fun to play. While I do not completely like the subject matter of the song, Bryan Adams’ vocal performance is excellent in this song.

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

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Song 213 (Johnny Rivers--"Summer Rain")



Tonight while driving home this song came on my iPod; I thought that it would be an excellent choice. I came to like this song a long time ago, but had not heard it for a while.
This is one of those songs that will it will get stuck in your head very easily. One day I was practicing on my bass and started to play the song and it immediately came back. It is an excellent offering by a legendary artist; excellent lyrics and arrangements. The song has every part that is needed and if you added anything or took anything away it would destroy it.

Here is a recording on YouTube.
Here is a classic live performance on YouTube.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Song 212 (Badfinger--"Day After Day")



While running some errands today I was forced to listen to the radio because I did not have my iPod with me to use in the car’s stereo. Anyway, this song came on while heading to the store and when I was on my way back it came on another radio station on the same stretch of road; I took it as a sign that it was to be picked.
Ever since I first heard it on my dad’s 45 single, this song has always been a favorite of mine. This was one of Badfinger's bigger hits and had George Harrison of the Beatles playing in places on it. I have always love the vocal harmonies, but the best part for me is the transitions and the chorus. They were a very good band and it’s too bad that members killed themselves; they had a great deal more potential.

Here is a recording on YouTube.

Here is a television performance on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Song 211 (Queensrÿche--"Anybody Listening?")



I noted today that I had not chosen any music from Queensrÿche as of yet, so I decided that it would be remedied. I was a late adopter to the music format of Compact Discs and their album Empire was one of my first purchases on that format. I have always thought that this song was excellently placed on the album because the nature of the song makes it very much an excellent closing song. It really shows off what Queensrÿche is all about: excellent musicianship and technical ability. As with most of the songs on this album, this song has a very big sound to it; very much early ’90s Prog-Metal.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Song 210 (The Platters--"Twilight Time")



The other day I was watching one of my favorite X-Files episodes: "Kill Switch." This episode had a distinction from other episodes in that it was co-written by science fiction authors: Tom Maddox and William Gibson, (one of my favorite authors). Anyway, in the plot the creator of an artificial intelligence that has gone out of control is trying to shut it down. The "Kill Switch" is on a CD-ROM that is hidden in the song "Twilight Time" by the Platters; after that I knew I had to pick the song soon... and I did.
I have always loved this track, the vocal work and arrangements in this romantic ballad are excellent. I probably would have picked this song eventually anyway even if it did not have the connection.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is a television performance of the song on YouTube.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Song 208-9 (Pink Floyd--"Brain Damage/Eclipse")

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I felt like some Pink Floyd today, this is one of my favourites songs from the band, so I thought that it was a good choice. Probably my favorite aspect of these two tracks are the lyrics and how well they meld with the music. I absolutely love the way they transition from the verses to the chorus and between the two songs as well.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Song 207 (The Spencer Davis Group--"Give Me Some Lovin’")

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Last night my wife and I were watching the movie "Flight of the Phoenix" and this song was prominently featured. I really like it and did not have another one in mind, so I decided to make it my pick. This is another song where Steve Winwood really shines on the Hammond organ; it is the featured instrument of the song. The bass line is also very integral to the song gives it a danceable factor.

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

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Song 206 (Heart--"Dreamboat Annie")

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This song was going through my head last night and continued into today, so I took as a sign to pick it. It is a rather nice mellow tune with excellent vocals and very deep lyrical content. A very nice addition to my blog coming off of the Easter Holiday weekend.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.
Here is a recording of the reprise on YouTube.
Here is a classic live performance on YouTube.
Here is a more recent live performance on YouTube.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Song 205 (Johann Sebastian Bach--"BWV 645-Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme")



Happy Easter everyone!
Today I played a rendition of this song on my bass at church along with a rendition of Amazing Grace ala Jaco Pastorius and Victor Wooten. Funny enough when my brother-in-law and sister brought my practice amp in so I could have some amplification an elder in the church told me on no uncertain terms: "If that thing gets too loud I am leaving!" I respect the guy, but I was playing to my Saviour today, not him. I think the 15 inch speaker scared him; (maybe next time I will bring my Ampeg stack and scare the crap out of him ;P.) I then went over to the church piano and hit a loud "C" chord and matched my amp to the volume; he did not leave at least and everyone else enjoyed it a lot and I had a good time playing it.

Anyway, this is one of J.S. Bach’s best choral compositions that is just amazing, I really love how the melody is played higher and the lead is played lower in this one. Another interesting piece of trivia is that Procol Harum "borrowed" some of the music from this piece and J.S. Bach’s composition "Air, BWV 1068" for the organ music on Whiter Shade Of Pale, this is an excellent song for today that was begging to be chosen.

Here is a performance of the piece by T. Koopman on the pipe organ on YouTube.
There are quite a few more fantastic examples available on YouTube as well.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Song 204 (Weather Report--"A Remark You Made")



I wanted to pick a Fusion-Jazz tune from Weather Report today, and I thought that this would be an excellent choice. I just love Joe Zawinul’s beautiful keyboard work on this song. This song features mostly Wayne Shorter’s saxophone and Jaco Pastorius’ bass as the lead instruments and they both show off their virtuosity in this one. This is a nice calm tune for a busy day.

Here is a recording on YouTube.
Here is an excellent live performance from '78 on YouTube.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Song 203 (Nightwish--"Bye Bye Beautiful")

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5e/Dark_Passion_Play.jpg

This is a band that my wife has been into for some time now that she ended up getting me into as well. The band, Nightwish is a band from Finland that would be best described as "Symphonic Metal" or "Operatic Metal." To me their sound is a mix between Savatage, Evanescence, and perhaps a touch of Rammstein. Every member of the band is quite accomplished as musicians and performers. This song is off of their newest album: "A Dark Passion Play;" it was written about their old lead singer who left under strained circumstances.

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

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Song 202 (The Who--"My Generation")



This is one of those songs that has appeared on a lot of top 100, 50, 20, etc... lists over the years and is considered to be one of the more influential songs recorded in the last 50 years and has been often covered by many bands. It is definitely an attitude song with a rebellious nature. This was one of the first big hits for The Who and one of the first Rock songs that featured a bass solo.

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Song 201 (The Carter Family--"Wildwood Flower")

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This song was originally written in 1860 by Joseph Webster and Maud Irving, however the Carter Family version of the song is really what made the song famous. This type of music has always had a special place with me because my grandfather played this music a lot when I was young; there are a lot of good memories tied to it. The best part of this song, as with any Carter Family tune, are the vocal harmonies and Ma’ Maybelle’s guitar work; she was an incredible guitarist. What is odd about her playing is that she strums the high strings and plays the melody on the lower strings, which makes her sound quite distinctive.

Here is a recording on the song on YouTube.
Here is a performance from The Grand Ole Opry on YouTube.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Song 200 (Creedence Clearwater Revival--"Have You Ever Seen The Rain?")



I was thinking about this song this morning and it kind of fit my mood, so I decided to pick it. This song has always seemed to me to be about excepting your current circumstances good or bad. Oddly enough, I actually heard the Bonnie Tyler’s cover of the song, which can be found here on YouTube, before I heard the CCR original; it was weird when I heard the original because it dragged a bit by comparison. However, I like both versions, but I like the CCR version more.

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

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Song 199 (Thin Lizzy--"Whiskey in the Jar")



Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! I needed to pick a song to fit today, so I came up with this one; this song was Thin Lizzy's first big hit single. The song itself is a traditional Irish folk song from either the 1600’s or 1700’s about a man who is a bandit and robs a corrupt English military leader and is deceived by his lover. It has been covered by many other artists, however the Thin Lizzy version is the one I like the most.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here they are from Top of the Pops '73 on YouTube.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Song 198 (Tom Petty--"Free Fallin'")

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/4d/Tom_Petty_Full_Moon_Fever.jpg

After watching a Tom Petty concert last night, this song came to mind and I thought that I would pick it. The song was co-written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne of The Electric Light Orchestra fame. I can remember when this song first came out on the radio and it took a bit to grow on me; I now like it mostly because of the memories attached to it.

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

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Song 197 (Bread--"Mother Freedom")



For the most part Bread is known for their softer ballads like their hits: "If," and "Make It with You," however this song is a lot heavier. Mother Freedom is a rock anthem of sorts, it has a sound somewhat similar to a lot of the American metal groups of the time; a real nice song to finish off a Saturday.

Here is a video with the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance of the song by James Griffin on YouTube.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Song 196 (Joni Mitchell--"Coyote")

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9e/Hejira_cover.jpg

Yesterday was one of those days that I was operating on four hours of sleep and having to work on a term paper. Finally as was able to relax this song kept running through my head, so I took it as a sign that it was in need of being picked.
This is my favourite song off of the Hejira album, which in my opinion is one of the best of her albums musically. In this whole album she surrounded herself with a great cast of musicians who helped make this album a great one. This song compares a coyote’s predatory behaviour with the behaviour of a man in the song who pursues her. Really this song has no weak spots in my opinion at all, it is a truly great song.

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

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Song 195 (Lou Reed--"Walk on the Wild Side")

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I have been picking too many happy songs lately, so I needed to pick something different. When I was listening to this song yesterday I though that it would be a good pick. Lou Reed is another very influential singer/musician/songwriter that usually does not receive a lot of credit that he deserves.
Probably what I like the most about this song is the arrangements, I especially like the twin bass lines going on, one on an acoustic string bass and the other on an electric bass guitar; the saxophone is quite nice as well. The subject matter is a bit extreme but still good, singing about thinks like drug abuse and alternative lifestyles has always been Lou Reed’s moniker. Though a turn-off to many, I do not believe that the subject matter is that much of a detractor to the song in my opinion because he does not gratuitously flaunt it.
What is amazing is that I have shown this song to many people who have heard it before but not listened closely to the lyrics, they are usually shocked by the lyrics when they are pay attention to them. Oddly enough, after 35+ years since the recording it is now being censored more than ever, the second verse sometimes is completely omitted on the radio.

Here is the uncensored studio version on YouTube.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Song 194 (The Moody Blues--"Your Wildest Dreams")



There are times when songs get emotionally fused with events that are good or bad or people that like it or dislike it that either destroys or enhances the song; for me this is one of those songs. This song actually got the bad side of it and I judiciously avoided this song for a long time. However, after a while I found that not only with this song, but others as well, I was giving the event or person too much power over what I liked or disliked.
Anyway, this is one of those 80’s Moody Blues songs that is more electronic sounding and has more keyboards in it than their older material.

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

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Song 193 ("The Polyphonic Spree--It's The Sun")



The Polyphonic Spree is one of the oddest and most interesting group of musicians that I have seen/heard. What is odd about them is that they play happy pop music, however are still quite artistic in their delivery and arrangements. This song kind of epitomizes their style of music, it is very much inspired by the Beatles and ELO. The Flute and Theremin really round out the song especially in the second part.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Song 192 (Meg Rock--"Clover")



Last night my wife and I were watching an animé we rented called Solty Rei, this is the opening song. The vocals in this song is incredible, I love the way that she goes effortlessly climbs and drops back down with her vocals in a pentatonic in the chorus. The music in the song is excellent as well, I love the dynamics that they use during the transitions.

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

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Song 191 (Rush--"Limelight")




I was listening to this song the other day and thought that it would be a good pick. The song itself is about everyone who aspires to be famous and what one has to do to survive fame. This could be anything from putting on a mask of sorts to hide what you really think when admirers come to you or putting distance between yourself from them. Almost every aspect of this song is excellent, I especially like the transitions between the signature changes.

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

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Song 190 (Bon Jovi--"Always")



Today is my wife's birthday and I decided to pick her favourite song on her special day. This was one of unreleased songs that appeared on the Crossroads album, it is a romantic ballad that I grew to like after many times of listening to it. This is one of those situations that the song became entwined with my wife in my mind, so I came to like it.

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

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Song 189 (Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin--"Polovtsian Dances")

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/Borodin.jpg

Today I am finishing my workweek of "The Five" with a piece from Alexander Borodin. Probably his music is my second favorite of "The Mighty Handful" behind Mussorgsky. This is a piece of music is from his opera "Prince Igor," I really love the artfulness and the passion behind this piece of music.

Here is part one on YouTube.
Here is part two on YouTube.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Song 188 (César Antonovich Cui--"Orientale")



Continuing my themed workweek of "The Five" I decided to choose the one member that I know the least about: Cesar Cui. He seemed to be more of a down-to-earth member of the five; not as radical. This could be because his father was a member of Napoleon's army that stayed in Russia and his mother was Lithuanian. Another part of his career was that he was a prolific music critic as well.

Here is a recording of the piece played by Toscha Seidel on YouTube.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Song 187 (Modest Petrovitch Mussorgsky-"Night on Bald Mountain")



Continuing my workweek of "The Five" I decided on choosing my favourite of the "Mighty Handful:" Modest Mussorgsky. He was the extremest of the group with his Russian nationalism in his music. When I first heard his music my first impression was that it is insanity put to music, plus the popular portrait of him seemed to re-affirm this. All of his music has a lot of passion to it and is quite powerful. One of the aspects of his career that was interesting, but not unexpected, is that most of his contemporaries reviled him as a composer. His career also paralleled a lot of modern day musicians in that he was a substance abuser in the extreme and died young. However, this was normal in the day to protest by having an extreme lifestyle.
This song, "Night on Bald Mountain" is probably his most famous piece of music today and was used in the Disney film Fantasia in the scene with the demon and skeletal warriors.

Here is an orchestral performance of the song on YouTube.
Here is Disney's Fantasia version on YouTube.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Song 186 (Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov-Flight of the Bumblebee")



Continuing my work week of picking a song from each of "The Five," or "The Mighty Handful," I am picking one from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
This is a piece that has been heard by almost everyone alive unless he/she was living under a proverbial boulder. This piece of music has been covered by many artists in all genres of music and has been used a lot in popular culture.

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

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Song 185 (Mily Balakirev--"Islamey: an Oriental Fantasy")

I decided to pick a piece from each member of "The Five" or "The Mighty Handful" to make a working week theme. Most people have probably heard the music of these Russian composers' from the Romance period but do not know the composers. While their music is not extremely popular today, they had an incredible impact on future music. Mostly what they are known for is their Russian nationalism in their music. Most music from this time was very western influenced, however they focused on music and themes from their own country like Russian folk music and Cossack music. It is quite interesting that many of the stories of these five great composers actually parallels what most rock groups have to deal with: censorship, substance abuse, and early death to name a few.



For the first day I decided to look no further than their leader: Mily Balakirev. This is a virtuoso piece of piano music, which is one of Mily Balakirev's most famous pieces.

Here is a live recording performed by Emil Gilels on YouTube.
There are many more videos with this piece available on YouTube as well.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Song 184 (Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)--"Eurology")



To those who do not know, I've picked songs from all of the Jethro Tull eras from beginning to end on Sundays; for me this is the current (13th) era. All of the other previous eras can be found in this blog on songs: 100, 107, 114, 121, 128, 135, 142, 149, 156, 163, 170, and 177. In the last 13 Sundays I have covered 13 distinct eras over 40 years. I did this because I really like the band and how their music changes drastically through these eras and at some points doesn't even sound like the same band. This is apparent if you listen to one era and then listen to something from two or more eras away it sounds very different; also this year is the 40th anniversary of the band and was another reason that I did this as well. It will be weird next Sunday to not pick a 'Tull Song.

This current era of 'Tull for me goes from '03 to present. The albums that they released during this period was the Jethro Tull Christmas album and Ian Anderson's Rupi's dance, which I believe is his best solo album. Other than those there were some other albums that had previously-released material in acoustic form and live albums as well as some DVDs. I chose one off of the solo album because the season is wrong to pick a Christmas song and I really like the Rupi's dance album. On the Christmas album they mostly did traditional songs with a jazz, classical, or rock feel as well as some of their previously released songs that were re-done; overall it is a good seasonal album. Rupi's Dance has more of a classic 'Tull sound reminiscent of the late 70's eras mixed with the late 90's era, and is a real treat. The best song on this album in my opinion are: "Calliandra's Shade," "Rupi's Dance," "A Raft of Penguins," "Eurology," "Old Black Cat," and "Griminelli's Lament." Because of Ian's solo band, "Rubbing Elbows," a lot of different Non-'Tull musicians participated in and influenced this era. However, the ones that were official band member changes were: David Goodier has recently replaced Jonathan Noyce on bass, and Jon O'Hara replaced Andy Giddings on keyboards; both from Ian's "Rubbing Elbows" band. David Pegg came back on two tracks on the Christmas album as well.

What is neat about this song is the odd measures; an alternating 7/8 and 9/8 beat. At this point Ian and Jethro Tull have been going about it so long that they make very complicated music sound easy. The musicianship and arrangements in this song are just incredible.

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

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Song 183 (Aerosmith--"Janie’s Got A Gun")

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/20/Aerosmith_Pump.jpg

While on the road today this song came on my playlist and I realized that I had not picked an Aerosmith song yet; I thought that this one would be a good pick. What I find interesting about Aerosmith is that they haven't really changed their sound much over the years.
I remember clearly when this song came out and I really liked it ever since I first heard it; I like most aspects of it, especially Steve Tyler's vocals.

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

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