Sunday, September 30, 2012

Porgy and Bess debuts: September 30, 1935

George Gershwin saw a reading of the DuBose Heyward novel Porgy in 1926 and a stage adaption the following year. Other commitments delayed his vision of the story as an opera, but he finally tackled it, with his brother Ira contributing lyrics, in February 1934. AC The story deals “with African American life in the fictitious Catfish Row (based on the real-life Cabbage Row) in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s.” WK The opera tells the story of a crippled black man named Porgy who lives in the slums and tries rescuing Bess from a pimp and drug dealer.

“After a furiously paced apprenticeship mastering Broadway song-and-dance musical comedy formulas, from the mid-‘20s on…Gershwin, working closely with his lyricist brother, Ira, composed to books which allowed greater scope for music.” AC “The opera is admired for George Gershwin’s innovative synthesis of European orchestral techniques with American jazz and folk music idioms.” WK

Porgy and Bess was given a “Boston tryout on September 30, 1935, [at which it] garnered enthusiastic notices and a 15-minute ovation, but also frightened its producers by playing over three hours.” AC Gerswhin’s edited version opened on October 10 at New York’s Alvin Theatre. AC It “featured an entire cast of classically trained African-American singers – a daring and visionary artistic choice at the time.” WK “Gershwin considered it his finest work, but it was not widely accepted in the United States as a legitimate opera until 1976 when the Houston Grand Opera production of his complete score…established it as an artistic triumph. The work is now considered part of the standard operatic repertoire and is regularly performed internationally. Despite this success, the opera has been controversial; some, from the outset, have considered it racist.” WK

Porgy and Bess saw multiple stage revivals, including ones in 1942, 1952, 1976, 1983, and 2006. A cast album featuring original performers didn’t occur until 1940. Porgy and Bess also took on a life beyond stage production. Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald recorded an album of its songs in 1957; Miles Davis recorded his take on it in 1958. Others who recorded it included Pearl Bailey, Harry Belafonte, Diahann Carroll, Ray Charles & Cleo Laine, Sammy Davis Jr. and Carmen McRae, and Percy Faith. A soundtrack of the movie version of Porgy and Bess appeared in 1959.” WK

Summertime (Billie Holiday)


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Saturday, September 29, 2012

The American Quartet’s “Over There” charts: September 29, 1917

George M. Cohan’s “biggest song not written for Broadway” RCG became World War I’s most famous song. JA He penned the patriotic number after reading in the newspaper that the United States had declared war on Germany. He expanded the opening phrase of “Johnny Get Your Gun”, a popular song from 1886, into “a lyric that is both a call to arms and a vow not to come home till ‘it’s over, over there’.” RCG

Cohan himself introduced the song at Ft. Myers to an audience of soldiers, but it had little impact. However, the response was “overwhelming” when Charles King sang it at the New York City’s Hippodrome Theatre for a Red Cross Benefit. RCG

Nora Bayes’ “Over There”

For the official recording of the song, Cohan specifically requested Nora Bayes. NRR She was a popular vaudeville and Broadway star and former member of the Ziegfeld Follies. NRR She introduced it at a Red Cross war-bond rally, JA added it to her vaudeville act, and then recorded it. It sold over a million copies RCG and hit #1.

She wasn’t the first to chart with the song, however. In fact, the American Quartet and the Peerless Quartet took it to #1 before she did. The American Quartet’s version was the biggest hit of 1917. WHC The following year, Enrico Caruso also recorded a chart-topping version PM giving “Over There” and “Peg O’ My Heart” the distinction of being the only two songs in history to top the charts four times. Billy Murray and Prince’s Orchestra also recorded top 10 versions of the song.

American Quartet’s “Over There”

Awards for American Quartet’s version:

Awards for Nora Bayes’ version:

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Counterbalance – Top 100 Albums

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Counterbalance” is a weekly column featured at Writers Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger debate the merits of the top albums of all time. I think they offer the most entertaining and insightful critiques I’ve seen. They work from the rankings at The first post was on September 9, 2010. Number 100 was posted on September 28, 2012. Here are the top 100 with links to the “Counterbalance” postings:

1 The Beach Boys…Pet Sounds (1966)
2 The Beatles…Revolver (1966)
3 Nirvana…Nevermind (1991)
4 The Velvet Underground & Nico…The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
5 The Beatles…Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
6 Marvin Gaye…What’s Going On (1971)
7 Bob Dylan…Blonde on Blonde (1966)
8 The Rolling Stones…Exile on Main St. (1972)
9 The Clash…London Calling (1979)
10 Sex Pistols…Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)

11 Bob Dylan…Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
12 The Jimi Hendrix Experience…Are You Experienced? (1967)
13 Radiohead…OK Computer (1997)
14 The Beatles…The Beatles (“White Album”) (1968)
15 Van Morrison…Astral Weeks (1968)
16 David Bowie…The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
17 Public Enemy…It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
18 Bruce Springsteen…Born to Run (1975)
19 Patti Smith…Horses (1975)
20 The Beatles…Abbey Road (1969)

21 Pink Floyd…The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
22 The Jimi Hendrix Experience…Electric Ladyland (1968)
23 Bob Dylan…Blood on the Tracks (1975)
24 The Doors…The Doors (1967)
25 Television…Marquee Moon (1977)
26 Prince…Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987)
27 Michael Jackson…Thriller (1982)
28 The Smiths…The Queen Is Dead (1986)
29 The Beatles…Rubber Soul (1965)
30 The Rolling Stones…Beggars Banquet (1968)

31 Led Zeppelin…Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
32 Massive Attack…Blue Lines (1991)
33 The Who…Who’s Next (1971)
34 Arcade Fire…Funeral (2004)
35 Talking Heads…Remain in Light (1980)
36 The Rolling Stones…Let It Bleed (1969)
37 Ramones…Ramones (1976)
38 U2…The Joshua Tree (1987)
39 Miles Davis…Kind of Blue (1959)
40 James Brown…Live at the Apollo (1963)

41 Joy Division…Closer (1980)
42 Stevie Wonder…Innervisions (1973)
43 The Rolling Stones…Sticky Fingers (1971)
44 Neil Young…After the Gold Rush (1970)
45 The Strokes…Is This It (2001)
46 Stevie Wonder…Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
47 The Band…The Band (1969)
48 Joni Mitchell…Blue (1971)
49 Love…Forever Changes (1967)
50 Prince and The Revolution…Purple Rain (1984)

Counterbalance: Year One

51 Sly and the Family Stone…There’s a Riot Goin’ On (1971)
52 Radiohead…Kid A (2000)
53 R.E.M. …Automatic for the People (1992)
54 Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band…Trout Mask Replica (1969)
55 The Stone Roses…The Stone Roses (1989)
56 The Clash…The Clash (1977)
57 Beck…Odelay (1996)
58 Fleetwood Mac…Rumours (1977)
59 Pixies…Doolittle (1989)
60 Guns N’ Roses…Appetite for Destruction (1987)

61 Otis Redding…Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965)
62 David Bowie…Hunky Dory (1971)
63 Led Zeppelin…Led Zeppelin II (1969)
64 Joy Division…Unknown Pleasures (1979)
65 R.E.M. …Murmur (1983)
66 Carole King…Tapestry (1971)
67 John Coltrane…A Love Supreme (1965)
68 John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band…John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)
69 Jeff Buckley…Grace (1994)
70 Portishead…Dummy (1994)

71 Wilco…Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
72 Sonic Youth…Daydream Nation (1988)
73 Bob Dylan…Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
74 My Bloody Valentine…Loveless (1991)
75 Derek and The Dominos…Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
76 Paul Simon…Graceland (1986)
77 De La Soul…3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
78 Lou Reed…Transformer (1972)
79 Elvis Costello…This Year’s Model (1978)
80 The Band…Music from Big Pink (1968)

81 Aretha Franklin…I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)
82 U2…Achtung Baby (1991)
83 The Stooges…Fun House (1970)
84 The Jesus and Mary Chain…Psychocandy (1985)
85 Primal Scream…Screamadelica (1991)
86 Radiohead…The Bends (1995)
87 Oasis… (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995)
88 Miles Davis…Bitches Brew (1970)
89 David Bowie…Low (1977)
90 Iggy and The Stooges…Raw Power (1973)

91 DJ Shadow…Endtroducing… (1996)
92 Kraftwerk…Trans-Europa Express (1977)
93 John Lennon…Imagine (1971)
94 Van Morrison…Moondance (1970)
95 AC/DC…Back in Black (1980)
96 Pixies…Surfer Rosa (1988)
97 Neil Young…Harvest (1972)
98 Led Zeppelin…Physical Graffiti (1975)
99 Pink Floyd…The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
100 Tom Waits…Swordfishtrombones (1983)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Top 100 Songs According to Hit Records 1954-1982

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There’s a new book out from Record Research, the company Joel Whitburn founded which packages books based on the chart data of Billboard magazine. The twist this time, however, is that this book tracks the charts from Music Vendor and Record World from October 4, 1954 to April 10, 1982. It is, as Whitburn says in the introduction, his “first research work that is entirely outside the covers of Billboard magazine.” While the charts are vastly similar, there are some differences which would be of interest to chart aficionados. Here’s the list of the top 100 songs according to the book (pages 403-4).

The Top 100 Songs According to Hit Records 1954-1982
  1. Debby Boone…You Light Up My Life (1977)
  2. Olivia Newton-John, Olivia...Physical (1981)
  3. Lionel Richie & Diana Ross...Endless Love (1981)
  4. The Beatles...I Want to Hold Your Hand (1963)
  5. Perez “Prez” Prado...Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White (1955)
  6. Elvis Presley...Don’t Be Cruel (1956)
  7. Andy Gibb...Shadow Dancing (1978)
  8. Gogi Grant...The Wayward Wind (1956)
  9. Bee Gees...Night Fever (1977)
  10. Chic...Le Freak (1978)

  11. Guy Mitchell...Singing the Blues (1956)
  12. Tennessee Ernie Ford...Sixteen Tons (1955)
  13. Elvis Presley...Heartbreak Hotel (1956)
  14. Pat Boone...Love Letters in the Sand (1957)
  15. Mitch Miller...The Yellow Rose of Texas (1955)
  16. Sonny James...Young Love (1956)
  17. Queen...Another One Bites the Dust (1980)
  18. Bee Gees...Stayin’ Alive (1977)
  19. Fontane Sisters...Hearts of Stone (1954)
  20. Blondie...Call Me (1980)

  21. Johnny Horton...The Battle of New Orleans (1959)
  22. Bobby Darin...Mack the Knife (1959)
  23. Tommy Edwards...It’s All in the Game (1951/1958)
  24. Domenico Modugno...Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blue) (1958)
  25. Elvis Presley...All Shook Up (1957)
  26. Jimmy Dean...Big Bad John (1961)
  27. Rod Stewart...Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) (1976)
  28. Danny & The Juniors...At the Hop (1957)
  29. The Four Seasons...Big Girls Don’t Cry (1962)
  30. Lawrence Welk...Calcutta (1960)

  31. Andy Gibb...I Just Want to Be Your Everything (1977)
  32. Kim Carnes...Bette Davis Eyes (1981)
  33. Pink Floyd...Another Brick in the Wall Part II (1979)
  34. Donna Summer...Hot Stuff (1979)
  35. Kenny Rogers...Lady (1980)
  36. J. Geils Band...Centerfold (1981)
  37. Dolly Parton...Nine (9) to 5 (1980)
  38. Commodores...Three Times a Lady (1978)
  39. The McGuire Sisters...Sincerely (1954)
  40. Elton John & Kiki Dee...Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (1976)

  41. John Lennon...Just Like Starting Over (1980)
  42. Dean Martin...Memories Are Made of This (1955)
  43. Percy Faith...Theme from “A Summer Place” (1960)
  44. The Monkees...I’m a Believer (1966)
  45. Rod Stewart...Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? (1978)
  46. The Knack...My Sharona (1979)
  47. Bobby Vinton...Roses Are Red My Love (1962)
  48. Don McLean...American Pie (1971)
  49. Ray Charles...I Can’t Stop Loving You (1962)
  50. Three Dog Night...Joy to the World (1971)

  51. Robert John...Sad Eyes (1979)
  52. The Browns...The Three Bells (1959)
  53. Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs...Sugar Shack (1963)
  54. Roberta Flack...The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (1972)
  55. The Four Seasons...Sherry (1962)
  56. The Everly Brothers...Wake Up Little Susie (1957)
  57. The Drifters...Save the Last Dance for Me (1960)
  58. Gene Chandler...Duke of Earl (1962)
  59. Bobby Goldsboro...Honey (1968)
  60. Paul McCartney & Wings...My Love (1973)

  61. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts...I Love Rock and Roll (1981)
  62. Johnnie Ray...Just Walkin’ in the Rain (1956)
  63. Alan O’Day...Undercover Angel (1977)
  64. Perez “Prez” Prado...Patricia (1958)
  65. Lipps Inc....Funky Town (1980)
  66. Bill Haley & the Comets...We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock (1954)
  67. Les Baxter...The Poor People of Paris (1956)
  68. Donna Summer...Bad Girls (1979)
  69. The Platters...Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (1958)
  70. Nick Gilder...Hot Child in the City (1978)

  71. Mary MacGregor...Torn Between Two Lovers (1976)
  72. Paul McCartney & Wings...Silly Love Songs (1976)
  73. Billy Joel...It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me (1980)
  74. Peaches & Herb...Reunited (1979)
  75. The Beatles...Hey Jude (1968)
  76. Sam Cooke...You Send Me (1957)
  77. Rupert Holmes...Escape (The Pina Coloda Song) (1979)
  78. Elvis Presley...Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear (1957)
  79. Bobby Lewis...Tossin’ and Turnin’ (1961)
  80. Ricky Nelson...Travelin’ Man (1961)

  81. The Everly Brothers...All I Have to Do Is Dream (1958)
  82. Frankie Avalon...Venus (1959)
  83. Tony Orlando & Dawn...Knock Three Times (1970)
  84. Connie Francis...My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own (1960)
  85. The Highwaymen...Michael (1961)
  86. The Box Tops...The Letter (1967)
  87. Gilbert O’Sullivan...Alone Again Naturally (1972)
  88. The Singing Nun...Dominique (1963)
  89. Elvis Presley...Are You Lonesome Tonight? (1960)
  90. The Champs...Tequila (1958)

  91. The Everly Brothers...Cathy’s Clown (1960)
  92. Bobbie Gentry...Ode to Billie Joe (1967)
  93. Del Shannon...Runaway (1961)
  94. The Supremes...Baby Love (1964)
  95. The Tokens...The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh) (1961)
  96. The Dixie Cups...Chapel of Love (1964)
  97. Mary Hopkin...Those Were the Days (1968)
  98. The Fifth Dimension...Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (1969)
  99. Paul & Paula...Hey Paula (1962)
  100. Sonny & Cher...I Got You Babe (1965)

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Band released their self-titled sophomore album: September 22, 1969

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Release date: 22 September 1969
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Across the Great Divide / Rag Mama Rag (2/14/70, #57 US, #16 UK) / The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down / When You Awake / Up on Cripple Creek (11/1/69, #25 US) / Whispering Pines / Jemima Surrender / Rockin’ Chair / Look Out Cleveland / Jawbone / The Unfaithful Servant / King Harvest Has Surely Come

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 9 US, 25 UK


Review: One of the most celebrated Americana albums in history was recorded by a band who was 4/5 Canadian. TL As The Hawks, they supported Bob Dylan on tour during his infamous switch to electric. They also recorded with Dylan, resulting in a bootleg series known as The Basement Tapes which eventually saw official release in the mid-1970s. In 1968, The Band released its first album, Music from Big Pink. It was a “ramshackle musical blend and songs of rural tragedy” AMG which “defined the back-porch rootsiness that remains a central inspiration for the ‘alternative country’ movement.” TL In fact, at the time of the album’s release, Time magazine declared The Band “the new sound of country rock.” RV

That second outing “was a more deliberate and even more accomplished effort” AMG featuring “even better songwriting and ensemble playing.” NRR Part of this was attributed to The Band’s laid-back style of “passing their instruments around like it was a hootenanny.” TL “The arrangements were simultaneously loose and assured, giving the songs a timeless appeal.” AMG The performances are marked by Levon “Helm’s (and occasionally [Richard] Manuel’s) propulsive drumming to [Robbie] Robertson’s distinctive guitar fills and the endlessly inventive keyboard textures of Garth Hudson,” AMG who “manipulates his Lowrey organ in ways that continue to boggle the ear.” RV It was “all topped by the rough, expressive singing of Manuel, Helm, and Rick Danko that mixed leads with harmonies.” AMG

In regards to the songwriting, The Band benefited from Robertson taking the reins as writer or co-writer on all 12 songs. AMG He proved to be a “superb storyteller.” RV Though Canadian, he “tackled the astonishing scope of this American life” TL with lyrics painting “portraits of 19th century rural life (especially Southern life, as references to Tennessee and Virginia made clear), its sometimes less savory aspects treated with warmth and humor.” AMG He keyed in on “a series of American archetypes from the union worker in King Harvest Has Surely Come and the retired sailor in Rockin' Chair to, most famously, the Confederate Civil War observer Virgil Cane in The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” AMG

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

The Band’s Americana sound was crafted by a mix of “rock ‘n’ roll with country, bluegrass, rhythm-and-blues, and even gospel.” NRR By creating a sound which was “deliberately against the grain,” NRR The Band offered “an image of America largely absent in the popular music of its time.” NRR

“The album effectively mixed the kind of mournful songs that had dominated Music from Big PinkAMG with “the achingly wistful Whispering PinesTL and When You Awake with “rollicking uptempo numbers” AMG like “the joyful hoedown Rag Mama RagTL “and Up on Cripple Creek.” AMG

Up on Cripple Creek

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Consequence of Sound - The Top 100 Songs Ever

image from Consequence of Sound

Consequence of Sound has released its list of the top 100 songs of all time. As is nearly always the case for these lists, the term “all time” (or in this case, “ever”) is completely inappropriate. Since Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” (1958) is the oldest song on this list, one can only assume that the staff at Consequence of Sound have been misinformed that music wasn’t invented until the 1950s. Either that, or we are supposed to believe that a song like Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” which has never shown up on any of the other hundreds of lists I’ve collected, is far superior than anything in the history of recorded music prior to 1958.

One could also rant at the complete neglect of certain genres. This list is more diverse than some, actually includes R&B, rap, rock, pop, punk, and more within one list. However, there are still some genres, such as country, folk, jazz, gospel, reggae, and other world music which are represented with a token song or completely overlooked.

I could also rant about some of the musical giants glaringly absent from this list (Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra) and specific songs. Consider this – only one song is featured on the CoS list which is also in the top ten of the Dave’s Music Database book of The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era (see the list here). The latter is determined by aggregating hundreds of best-of lists. So here’s just 9 songs whose incredible pedigrees have been ignored by CoS: The Beatles’ Hey Jude”, The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” John Lennon’s “Imagine,” The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

In what is also a frequent annoyance with online best-of lists, it takes scrolling through many a page to take in the entire list. While there are nice pieces about the songs, it would still be nice to give readers easy access to the entire list at once and then let them link to songs.

In any event, Dave's Music Database presents the list here, warts and all. Here’s where you can see the original posts: (100-51) and (50-1).

The Top 100 Ever, According to Consequence of Sound
  1. The Beach Boys...God Only Knows (1966)
  2. Talking Heads...Once in a Lifetime (1981)
  3. Bob Dylan...Like a Rolling Stone (1965)
  4. Michael Jackson...Man in the Mirror (1987)
  5. The Beatles...A Day in the Life (1967)
  6. Velvet Underground...Sister Ray (1968)
  7. The Rolling Stones...Sympathy for the Devil (1968)
  8. Aretha Franklin...Respect (1967)
  9. The Notorious B.I.G....Juicy (1994)
  10. Radiohead...Idioteque (2000)

  11. Nirvana...Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)
  12. Marvin Gaye...What’s Going On (1971)
  13. Led Zeppelin...Dazed and Confused (1968)
  14. The Knife...Heartbeats (2002)
  15. The Jackson 5...I Want You Back (1969)
  16. Bruce Springsteen...Jungleland (1975)
  17. Otis Redding...Try a Little Tenderness * (1966)
  18. Bob Dylan...Shelter from the Storm (1975)
  19. Prince...When Doves Cry (1984)
  20. Kate Bush...Running Up That Hill (1985)

  21. Public Enemy...Fight the Power (1989)
  22. Pulp...Common People (1995)
  23. The Beatles...Tomorrow Never Knows (1966)
  24. The Rolling Stones...Gimme Shelter (1969)
  25. John Coltrane...Acknowledgement (A Love Supreme, Part 1) (1965)
  26. Beastie Boys...Shadrach (1989)
  27. The Who...My Generation (1965)
  28. Neutral Milk Hotel...In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)
  29. Joy Division...Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)
  30. The Jimi Hendrix Experience...All Along the Watchtower (1968)

  31. Smith, Patti...Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger (1978)
  32. Black Sabbath...War Pigs (1970)
  33. Neil Young...Hey Hey My My (Into the Black) (1979)
  34. Daft Punk...One More Time (2000)
  35. The Ronettes...Be My Baby (1963)
  36. The Replacements...I Will Dare (1984)
  37. Sam Cooke... A Change Is Gonna Come (1965)
  38. Talking Heads...This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody) (1983)
  39. The Stooges...Search and Destroy (1973)
  40. Al Green...Let’s Stay Together (1971)

  41. Michael Jackson...Billie Jean (1982)
  42. The Clash...London Calling (1979)
  43. David Bowie...Space Oddity (1969)
  44. LCD Soundsystem...All My Friends (2007)
  45. N.W.A....Fuck tha Police (1989)
  46. Madonna...Like a Virgin (1984)
  47. The Beach Boys...Good Vibrations (1966)
  48. Can...Halleluwah (1971)
  49. Metallica...One (1988)
  50. Pavement...Summer Babe (Winter Version) (1992)

  51. The Who...Baba O’Riley (1971)
  52. Jay-Z...Ninety-Nine (99) Problems (2004)
  53. Arcade Fire...Wake Up (2004)
  54. Pink Floyd...Comfortably Numb (1979)
  55. Bob Dylan...The Times They Are A-Changin’ (1964)
  56. Stevie Wonder...Superstition (1972)
  57. Thin Lizzy...The Boys Are Back in Town (1976)
  58. Black Flag...Rise Above (1981)
  59. Television...Marquee Moon (1977)
  60. Nick Drake...Pink Moon (1972)

  61. The White Stripes...Seven Nation Army (2003)
  62. Johnny Cash...Hurt * (2003)
  63. U2...Where the Streets Have No Name (1987)
  64. OutKast...B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad) (2000)
  65. Velvet Underground...I’m Waiting for the Man (1965)
  66. Portishead...Roads (1994)
  67. Chuck Berry...Johnny B. Goode (1958)
  68. Leonard Cohen...Suzanne (1967)
  69. The Cure...Just Like Heaven (1987)
  70. Ben E. King...Stand by Me (1961)

  71. Björk...Army of Me (1995)
  72. James Brown...I Got You (I Feel Good) (1965)
  73. Ramones...Blitzkrieg Bop (1976)
  74. The Smiths...The Boy with the Thorn in His Side (1985)
  75. Blondie...Heart of Glass (1978)
  76. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott...Get UR Freak On (2001)
  77. Sly & The Family Stone ...Hot Fun in the Summertime (1969)
  78. Run-D.M.C....Rock Box (1984)
  79. Fleetwood Mac…The Chain (1977)
  80. Yo La Tengo...Autumn Sweater (1997)

  81. Wu Tang Clan ...Protect Ya Neck (1993)
  82. Depeche Mode...Enjoy the Silence (1990)
  83. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five...The Message (1982)
  84. Sufjan Stevens...John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (2005)
  85. My Bloody Valentine...Only Shallow (1991)
  86. The Band...The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down (1969)
  87. PJ Harvey...Down by the Water (1995)
  88. The Buzzcocks...Ever Fallen in Love (1978)
  89. Kanye West...Jesus Walks (2004)
  90. The Pixies...Hey (1989)

  91. Funkadelic...One Nation Under a Groove (Part 1) (1978)
  92. Aphex Twin...Windowlicker (1999)
  93. Devo...Uncontrollable Urge (1978)
  94. Underworld...Born Slippy (1995)
  95. Sleater-Kinney...Dig Me Out (1997)
  96. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds...From Her to Eternity (1984)
  97. A Tribe Called Quest...Scenario (1992)
  98. Kraftwerk...Autobahn (1974)
  99. Sonic Youth...Teenage Riot (1988)
  100. Phil Collins...In the Air Tonight (1981)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Jimi Hendrix released Electric Ladyland: September 16, 1968

image from

Release date: 16 September 1968
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) …And the Gods Made Love / Have You Ever Been to Electric Ladyland / Crosstown Traffic (7/68, #52 US, #37 UK) / Voodoo Chile / Little Miss Strange / Long Hot Summer Night / Come On, Pt. 1 / Gypsy Eyes (10/30/68, #35 UK) / Burning of the Midnight Lamp (8/30/67, #18 UK) / Rainy Day, Dream Away / 1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be) / Moon, Turn the Tides…Gently, Gently Away / Still Raining, Still Dreaming / House Burning Down / All Along the Watchtower (7/68, #20 US, #5 UK) / Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (11/7/70, #1 UK)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world

Peak: 12 US, 6 UK


Review: This is “Hendrix’s original musical vision at its absolute apex,” AMG “his ultimate statement for many.” AMG It has been called his “best work” NO and “the best double album ever released.” NO His “third and final album with the original Experience found him taking his funk and psychedelic sounds to the absolute limit.” AMG It features “inspired jamming throughout, and aural landscapes that seemingly come from another world” NO – “a magical place where guitars cry and mysticism reigns supreme.” RV

“To create this psychedelic landmark…Hendrix camped out at New York’s Record Plant for months, filtering the blues through effects-drenched arrangements and turning studio science into science fiction.” BL “What Hendrix sonically achieved on this record expanded the concept of what could be gotten out of a modern recording studio in much the same manner as Phil Spector had done a decade before with his Wall of Sound.” AMG “Kudos to engineer Eddie Kramer…for taking Hendrix’s visions of a soundscape behind his music and giving it all context, experimenting with odd mic techniques, echo, backward tape, flanging, and chorusing, all new techniques at the time, at least the way they’re used here.” AMG It is “

All Along the Watchtower

“His most recognizable work is his cover of Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower, a song so indicative of the Hendrix sound, most people don’t realize it’s a cover.” RV Other highlights include “Crosstown Traffic, Burning of the Midnight Lamp, [and] the spacy 1983...(A Merman I Should Turn to Be).” AMG

Burning of the Midnight Lamp

The songs making up the third side of the album are musically and sonically outstanding. Still Raining, Still Dreaming picks up where Rainy Day, Dream Away left off. ‘Rainy Day’ gets things warmed up, and then ‘Still Raining’ comes along and just blows you away.” NO

“Yet nothing compares to” RV Voodoo Child (Slight Return), “a landmark in Hendrix’s playing.” AMG It is “an eight-minute jam that pays tribute to jazz legends Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. Steve Winwood’s manic keyboard playing and Mitch Mitchell’s whirlwind drumming help push Hendrix’s scalding guitar work. It’s nothing short of an awe-inspiring performance from rock’s greatest guitarist.” RV

Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Top 50 Pink Floyd Songs

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September 15 marks two significant events in the Pink Floyd saga. In 1975, they released the widely acclaimed Wish You Were Here. In 2008, the band’s keyboardist, Richard Wright, died. He was 63 years old. Also, Roger Waters celebrated his birthday earlier this month. He was born 9/6/1943.

This all makes for the right time to post a best-of-Pink-Floyd song list. As always, DMDB lists are based on song’s sales, airplay, awards, and placements on multiple best-of lists. 21 lists specific to Pink Floyd songs were also factored in, as were appearances on seven Pink Floyd compilations and live albums. Note: this list was originally posted as a note on the DMDB Facebook page on September 7, 2011. Note: This page was updated on October 20, 2011 after Paste magazine put out its list of the best Pink Floyd songs.

1. Another Brick in the Wall, Part II (1979)
2. Comfortably Numb (1979)
3. Wish You Were Here (1975)
4. Money (1973)
5. Time (1973)
6. Shine on You Crazy Diamond (1975)
7. Brain Damage/Eclipse (1973)
8. Us and Them (1973)
9. Hey You (1979)
10. See Emily Play (1967)

11. Have a Cigar (1975)
12. Learning to Fly (1987)
13. Run Like Hell (1979)
14. Mother (1979)
15. Echoes (1971)
16. High Hopes (1994)
17. Astronomy Domine (1967)
18. Speak to Me/Breathe (1973)
19. Dogs (1977)
20. Arnold Layne (1967)

21. One of These Days (1971)
22. Young Lust (1979)
23. Welcome to the Machine (1975)
24. Sheep (1977)
25. On the Turning Away (1987)
26. Interstellar Overdrive (1967)
27. Goodbye Blue Sky (1979)
28. Atom Heart Mother (1970)
29. Fearless (1971)
30. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (1968)

31. When the Tigers Broke Free (1982)
32. The Great Gig in the Sky (1973)
33. Keep Talking (1994)
34. Sorrow (1987)
35. Careful with That Axe, Eugene (1968)
36. The Happiest Days of Our Lives (1979)
37. Bike (1967)
38. Pigs (Three Different Ones)
39. Jugband Blues (1968)
40. Coming Back to Life (1994)

41. Empty Spaces (1979)
42. One Slip (1987)
43. Fat Old Sun (1970)
44. The Nile Song (1969)
45. Julia Dream (1968)
46. Not Now John (1983)
47. The Fletcher Memorial Home (1983)
48. What Do You Want from Me? (1994)
49. Take It Back (1994)
50. Pigs on the Wing (1977)


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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Monkees debuts on TV: September 12, 1966

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Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter ran ads on September 8, 1965, seeking musicians to act in a new television show. WK The Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night was the obvious inspiration for the wacky comedy about “four insane boys” WK seeking to become rock stars. That movie, by the way, ranks #1 on the Dave’s Music Database list of the top 50 music movie of all time.

From the 400 who showed up to audition, fourteen were brought back for screen tests. Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork were cast as the funny one, the serious one, the naïve one, and the cute one respectively. These types were designed to line-up with the respective personalities of the Beatles’ John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney.

Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, the pair of filmmakers who conceived the series, turned to avant garde film techniques including improvisation and breaking the fourth wall to give their show its loose feel. Each episode also included a musical vignette which could now be seen as predecessors to the modern music video.

The show lasted 58 episodes; the last one aired March 25, 1968. It won the Emmy in 1967 for Outstanding Comedy Series. During the show’s run, the Monkees also landed three songs atop the Billboard Hot 100 (“Last Train to Clarksville”, “I’m a Believer”, and “Daydream Believer”). They continued as a working group beyond the television series, but only managed a handful of top-40-charting songs.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Will Bob Dylan’s Tempest join his other 13 albums in the top 1000 of all time?

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Bob Dylan has 13 albums in the DMDB’s list of the top 1000 of all time. Four of them are in the top 100. In many cases, even the most successful artists’ works come in the early part of their careers. That would seem to be the case with Dylan – 8 of his top 1000 albums were recorded in the 1960s. The next decade saw only two albums join that list.

However, Dylan had an unusual career revival more than 35 years after his first album. In 1997, Time Out of Mind joined the ranks of Dylan’s albums rated in the top 1000 of all time – and won the Grammy for Album of the Year. His next two albums, 2001’s Love and Theft and 2006’s Modern Times, have also secured spots in the top 1000 list.

Now 71 years old, Dylan releases Tempest, his 35th studio album in fifty years. Will it join the ranks of his other classic works? The Telegraph’s Neil McCormick called it “among his best ever” WK while Rolling Stone’s Mika Gilmore went so far as to suggest it might be the greatest album of Dylan’s career. PM Will Hermes, also from Rolling Stone, gave the album 5 out of 5 stars. WK American Songwriter’s Jim Beviglia’s called it “the kind of meaty offering that [Dylan’s] most ardent fans desire most.” WK

The New York Times says that “like Mr. Dylan’s other 21st-century albums, Tempest feels live and rootsy, vamping along in the zone where blues, country, and folk intersect.” NY Paste called it “one of the most cohesive, musically and lyrically intense records he’s put together in years.” PM In his Los Angeles Times review, Randall Roberts wrote, “Few American writers, save Mark Twain, have spoken so eloquently and consistently at such a stead, honest clip.” LA

Duquesne Whistle

Only time will tell if Tempest achieves the same classic status as the baker’s dozen of Dylan albums which rank in the top 1000 of all time. It looks to be off to a good start, though.

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