Friday, October 31, 2008

Song 429 ( Rush - Witch Hunt )

Halloween kind of snuck up on me this year, so I figured that I needed a good song with Halloweenish theme; this one fits today somewhat. This one is Part III of Neil Peart's Fear Series: The Witch Hunt. This deals mostly with the mob mentality of how irrational fear fostered by the leaders of the mob can drive them to almost any end; i.e. a witch hunt.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from the Grace Under Pressure Tour on YouTube.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Song 428 ( Jackson Browne - Doctor My Eyes )

This is another song that I am adding because it was brought to my attention while on the road; I seem to choose a lot of songs in this manner. I love the way that he blends the solid, upbeat sound with the melancholy lyrics. The keyboard work is really what gives the song its hooks as well as the way it slams into the chorus.

Hear Doctor My Eyes on YouTube.
Here is a live performance of the song on YouTube.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Song 427 ( Electric Light Orchestra - Here is the News )

It hit me today that I had not chosen this song yet and the melody has been running through my mind for quite some time now. The sound of the song is a bit dated because it is mostly keyboard driven with the early 80's synth.
For the most part, the entire Time album is a musician's album.
The song is about a post-modern newscast from the year 2095; the year in which the protagonist of the story is. The concept album: Time is written about a man from 1981 who gets abducted by people from the future and is forced to live in the year 2095. This track, which is later in the album, kind of gives the feel of daily life for the main character who is watching current (future) events on the news and feeling more out of place; at the end of the song he laments again that he wants to go back to his own time.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Song 426 ( J. S. Bach - BWV 659 - Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland )

I needed to listen to some of Bach's Organworks this morning and after hearing this one I decided to choose it for my list. This is one of his Choral Preludes from his work at Leipzig, I believe. It is not nearly as raucous as his fugues on the organ as this piece was music written for a church service. Even though it is a lot softer there is a lot of beautiful chord shadings plus the layers of line and counter-line are exquisite and a joy to listen to. What I find very interesting is that this piece of Baroque period music, especially from J. S. Bach can fade into the background if you are not paying attention to it; most normally Baroque Period music is demanding of the listener's attention and does not usually become "musical wallpaper."

Here is a performance by Ton Koopman on the Silbermann Pipe Organ at St. Mary Cathedral on YouTube.
Here is another performance on the Silbermann Pipe Organ by organist John Scott Whiteley on YouTube.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Song 425 ( Bon Jovi - These Days )

This song fits my mood this morning and after considering it for a bit I decided on picking it. This was the first album after the firing of bassist Alec John Such and features Hugh MacDonald on bass. The album has a darker feel than its counterparts, which gives it a distinct, fresh feel.

Here is the music video on YouTube.
Here is an acoustic version of the song on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Song 424 ( Van Halen - Summer Nights )

After hearing the song today whilst on the road I knew that I had my choice for today. Every time I hear the opening riff of this song it immediately takes me back to simpler times of youth when I first heard it.
While I am not the biggest Van Halen aficionado, this is one among many songs that I love from their catalogue. What really is there to say about this great song other than the obvious? It is a superb song from Van Halen at their best.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Song 423 ( Jackyl - The Lumberjack )

Sometimes you just have to bow to the absurd. I had not heard this song in a while until yesterday when it came on the radio and brought it back to my attention. While the overall gimmickry and cheesiness are a major detractor, it is still quite a fun to listen when you are in a mood; it is always good for a laugh. The song itself reminds me a bit of Elvis Presley's Steamroller Blues, which can be found here on YouTube. Quite a fun song to brighten up this day.

Here is the music video on YouTube.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Song 422 ( John Denver - Season Suite - Fall )

This morning I woke up to the first heavy frost covering everything and I knew that the warm days are a thing of the past and winter is knocking at the door. This piece of music came to my mind while I was thinking about preparing for the changes in the weather.
This is one of the pieces from a suite of music that he used the seasons as the subject matter: 1. Summer, 2. Fall, 3. Winter, 4. Late Winter/Early Spring, and 5. Spring. There are a lot of memories for me connected to this suite of music. In this song he shows off his singer/songwriter talents in spades, the vocals and musical arrangements are incredible, as always.

Here is most of the Season Suite on YouTube, the Fall section begins at the 2:50 mark.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Song 421 ( Robert Mitchum - Ballad of Thunder Road )

This is the theme song to the 1958 movie Thunder Road, which is about moonshine running in the Southern United States in the 40s and 50s. The singer and co-writer of this song is the prolific Hollywood actor Robert Mitchum, who had the starring role in the film. Besides acting in the film he was also one of the writers as well as the producer among other duties. The track is similar to Johnny Cash's style of talk singing music except with a bit of a pop twinge; in the song he tells the story about the mountain boy being a daredevil runner that pushes his luck too many times and pays the ultimate price.

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


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Song 420 (Jethro Tull - A Small Cigar)

This song was running through my mind yesterday and I decided that it would make an excellent pick. From what I understand, the song is autobiographical concerning Ian Anderson's feeling of disconnect with his generation especially at parties and events.
It was recorded during the Too Old To Rock and Roll, Too Young To Die! sessions, but was not released on the album. However, it was later released on the Nightcap album with other unreleased material. I believe that it was because the song shares some musical themes with other songs on the album; mostly the refrain section in Quizz Kid, which can be heard here on YouTube. This track mostly features Ian Anderson playing the acoustic guitar while singing, only toward the end David (Dee) Palmer comes in on the piano.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Song 419 (Deep Purple - Knocking at Your Back Door)

Last night this nice Deep Purple track was running through my mind and I figured I should add it to my list. My favourite part of this song is that you get classic pioneering heavy metal sound of Deep Purple with a bit of an '80s twinge to keep it fresh. Ritchie Blackmoor's guitar is incredible as always in this one as well John Lord's excellent keyboards.

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


Monday, October 20, 2008

Song 418 (Victor Wooten--Me and My Bass Guitar)

I have been meaning to choose this song for a while now and this morning I was thinking of it again, so I am picking it.
This track showcases Victor's bass playing alone with vocals, at least on the studio version. The song would probably be lost to anyone who either was not a bass player (or at least a musician) or does not like music that lays outside the mainstream.

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


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Song 417 ( John Lennon (The Plastic Ono Band) - Hold On )

A few weeks ago this song, as well as others from this album, were all over the place. Later, I found out that it was because of John Lennon's birthday that these songs had so much play.
This album in my opinion is fantastic; it often gets unfairly maligned because it was one of the first offerings from John Lennon after the break-up of the Beatles. Plus Yoko Ono, who bore much of the brunt of the break-up from fans, was involved with this project as well.
I love the dynamic that Klaus Voorman's bass playing brings to this song, as well as the rest on the album; he blends quite well into the group. I love the way the chords that he plays on the bass fit so well.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Song 416 ( The Four Tops - Bernadette )

Yesterday I learned on the news that The Four Tops' lead singer, Levi Stubbs died of lung cancer at the age of 72.
For me, one of the main aspects that set The Four Tops apart from a lot the vocal acts to front the Funk Brothers on the Motown label was the amazing power and emotion behind Levi Stubbs' vocals. This song in my opinion was one of the best to showcase his talents. And of course the music is incredible as well; I just love James Jamerson's bass line in this one.

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


Friday, October 17, 2008

Song 415 ( Sniff’n The Tears - Driver’s Seat )

I heard this song the other day and it brought back some memories. I know of a lot of people do not like this song very much, but as I said, it brings back memories and I like song as well. Besides that even it is a nice mellow grooving song, and is nice for a day like today.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Song 414 ( Diesel - Sausalito Summernight )

I heard this song quite a bit whilst growing up; it was a fairly large hit and had quite a bit of radio play. I think that most people can relate to the subject matter of this song: for some reason taking a broken-down car on a trip that really cannot make it. The thumping beat and the bass line in this song make it quite danceable; the guitar work is excellent as well.

Here is a video with the song on YouTube.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Song 413 ( A-ha - The Living Daylights )

After a very busy, crazy day and being distracted by playing Worms 3D, I almost did not pick today. Max recently did a James Bond movie theme week and that inspired me to choose this one from one of my favourite Bond flicks. While not everybody's cup o' tea, I like it a lot. I have always liked the two James Bond movies that feature Timothy Dalton; he is in my opinion the most underrated Bond.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a music video with the song on YouTube.
Here is a live performance on YouTube. There are a few more on YouTube as well.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Song 412 ( Jim Croce - Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy) )

This song just popped into my head this morning and I knew I had to pick it. Jim Croce is one of the best character lyricists ever; a lot of his work chronicle incidents or snippets of the lives of these characters, i.e. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, You Don't Mess Around With Jim, Roller Derby Queen, and such. This one is about a daredevil early NASCAR dirt track racer who, like most early racers learned to drive by running moonshine. This song is very deceptive musically, it seems at first to be quite a simple song, but if you listen closely there is a lot chord changes and little runs that make it quite interesting.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Song 411 (Billy Squier - In The Dark )

I have in the mood to listen to some Billy Squier this morning and this track fit my mood quite well. This solid, straight-up 80s arena rock sounding hit has a bit of everything in it for most listeners.

Here is the music video on YouTube.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Song 410 ( Slade - Mama Weer All Crazee Now )

It has been a very busy Sunday and this song was one that came on my list today. This was the first song that I had ever heard by Slade that introduced me to their sound. This party anthem of sorts is quite rollicking, straight-forward rock.

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


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Song 409 ( Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes )

This song was written by David Bowie and made famous by the Glam/Prog-Rock band Mott The Hoople as their most famous hit. To me the lyrics have always been about disenfranchised young people busting out and spreading their wings. The music is still my favorite aspect of this song; very progressive, but in the right proportions.

Here is a recording of the song on YouTube.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Song 408 ( Bad Company - Shooting Star )

This morning I realized that I have not chosen a Bad Company song yet, so I figured that I would pick one of my favourites. I love the snapshots that the song shows in the rise and eventual death of the fictitious musician "Johnny," who dies at the top of his stardom. You could apply this song to many real artists in all genres who have passed on from substance abuse and related deaths, (there are far too many to count). Anyway, this is an incredible song in so many aspects that was in need of being chosen.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Song 407 ( The Charlie Daniels Band - Uneasy Rider )

Yesterday I was thinking of this song and I knew that I had to pick it. This is the song about hippie breaking down and having to go into a redneck bar to get help, and of course hell breaks loose.
There was another version of this song that he released in 1988 that has the same general story, but the roles are different. That being two rednecks accidentally go into a gay bar and end up causing trouble.
I believe that the subject matter of this song/story most can identify with; that of being put in a strange place that you really do not fit in and feeling like you are being watched and sized up by everyone. Of course most know better than cause the trouble in these situations, or at least we should.

Here is a recording of the original on YouTube.
Here is a recording of Uneasy Rider '88 on YouTube.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Song 406 ( The Amboy Dukes - Journey to the Center of the Mind )

I was thinking about this song yesterday and figured that I should add it to the list. When I first heard this song a long time ago I thought that it was The Moody Blues that did it; it sounded a lot like their earlier material. However, I discovered that it was Ted Nugent's band The Amboy Dukes that did this mind-expanding-drug-innuendo-laced song. The bass line is excellent in this one as well as Ted's guitar work.

Hear Journey to the Center of the Mind on YouTube.
Here is a television performance on YouTube.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Song 405 ( The Who - Behind Blue Eyes )

I needed some Who today and this one fit my mood quite well. This was one of the songs written by Pete Townshend that was supposed to be part of the Lifehouse project. I really think that this is one of his best written, both lyrically and musically; it is just pure genius. Easily my favorite part is after the kick-in, the fun lyrics in this section are some of my favorite. One of my absolute favorite lines of all time is in this song: "...and If I swallow anything evil/put your finger down my throat."

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Song 404 ( Savatage - Follow Me )

This song just popped into my head this morning and I immediately knew that it was time to pick it. This is one of their more dynamic and full sounding songs, and as always, the technical ability that Savatage is noted for is as present as ever.
This song was on the first album where Zachary Stevens took over on vocals after Jon Oliva left the band for a short time. Even though Jon Oliva came back he stayed on and shared the job of lead singer for a few albums, but was still the primary lead singer. Zachary Stevens really shows off his excellent, powerful vocals talent in this one; I especially love how he sings the refrain section of the song. Criss Oliva's guitar work is excellent as well; this was the last album that he appeared before the tragic accident.

Hear Follow Me on YouTube.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Song 403 ( Styx - The Grand Illusion )

This is another song that I heard yesterday while I was on the road, I have decided on choose it as well. I could not believe that I had not chosen this track yet being as it is one of my favourite songs by Styx. I love the message in this song about the false illusions that the entertainment industry feed us every day. Of course the wall of full and intricate sound that Styx is noted for is the main draw of this song for me.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.
Here is a live performance from the early 80s on YouTube.


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Song 402 ( David Bowie - Space Oddity )

I heard this song on the way home tonight and figured that I should pick it; I have no reason other than that and I have always liked this song quite a bit. A nice spacey tune to end a Saturday.

Here is the music video on YouTube.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Song 401 ( Rush - Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres )

Since I posted part one yesterday I figured that it would make sense to pick part II today.

Warning! More Science Fiction Content Ahead!

This part of the story is a bit more out there and surreal, so many people would be lost if it was not for the excellent music along with it. Anyone who is into opera would probably be at home listening to this one.
The story continues with the man who flew into the black hole being taken through in spirit to the other side, which is Olympus from Greek Mythos. There he finds two factions of people who are at odds: logical thinkers (Apollo) and those who are emotional thinkers (Dionysus). This is the dubious pop psychology concept, as the album cover depicts, the left and right hemispheres of the brain being in conflict. Anyway, to sum up the story a war erupts between them and the protagonist is able to end the conflict and bring balance, he is then made into a "god;" Cygnus: the god of balance.
Musically, this piece continues with a similar feel to the first story except this one is a bit more technical in places and is a more dynamic in my opinion.

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


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Song 400 ( Rush - Cygnus X-1 )

Made it to number 400! I decided to choose this mini rock-opera of sorts to celebrate my milestone. This piece of music is definitely not for the casual listener and is another Progressive Rock song that is the bane of musical critics; as with most Rush from this time period, the music is quite excellent. The story behind the song is that a man is traveling to a black hole to study it. Cygnus X-1 is a real astronomical body and is the most studied black hole in the sky; in fact this one brought most of the theories concerning black holes into existence, anyway, I digress. The traveler enters the black hole and is torn apart, but wakes up in another world and the story is continued on the next, "Hemispheres" album. Most of this song is instrumental, the lyrical content is less prominent here.

Here is the studio version on YouTube.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Song 399 ( The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary )

I have been deluged by this song from what seems like all directions for the last little bit, so I figured that I should add it to my list. I love Ian Astbury's vocals, he put a lot into it in this song. The abundant amount of hooks and the overall smoothness of the song makes it quite nice for common listener as well as most musicians.

Here is the studio version in a fan video on YouTube.
Here is the music video on YouTube.