Monday, April 25, 1994

Blur released Parklife: April 25, 1994

Originally posted April 25, 2012.

In the summer after Parklife was released, Britpop reached a feverish peak with the Blur vs. Oasis battle. The only the thing the bands truly shared, “apart from their public loathing of each other, was their preoccupation with the sixties, with the former attempting to re-write the entire Beatles back catalogue while Blur revived the archetypical English whimsy and art school artifice of The Kinks.” PR

However, “Blur’s admiration of The Kinks isn’t as blatant as their rivals’ fixation for The Fab Four.” PR While previous album “Modern Life Is Rubbish established Blur as the heir to the archly British pop of the Kinks, the Small Faces, and the Jam” AMG, Parklife “revealed the depth of that transformation” AMG by serving up “more eccentricity and more focused evocations of everyday life than Oasis’s work.” TB “The ghost of Ray Davies can be heard on the character sketch Tracy Jacks and there are echoes of the similarly styled Small Faces in the title track,” PR a “mod anthem” AMG in which Phil Daniels, the star of Quadrophenia, “lends his broadest ‘sarf London’ accent.” PR


However, the band doesn’t just utilize “Ray Davies’ seriocomic social commentary” AMG; “Parklife runs through the entire history of post-British Invasion Britpop in the course of 16 songs, touching on psychedelia, synth pop, disco, punk, and music hall along the way.” AMG “From the fairground-style dembellishments and novelty instrumentation to the flirtations with punk and psych-pop, Parklife constantly surprises with its diversity of material and infectious good humour.” PR “Damon Albarn even manages a fair stab at Syd Barrett on Far Out.” PR

Indeed, Albarn “intended these songs to form a sketch of British life in the mid-‘90s, and it’s startling how close he came to his goal; not only did the bouncy, disco-fied Girls & Boys and singalong chant Parklife become anthems in the U.K., but they inaugurated a new era of Britpop and lad culture, where British youth celebrated their country and traditions.” AMG However, it was still “a thoroughly modern record in that it bends genres and is self-referential.” AMG “And, by tying the past and the present together, Blur articulated the mid-‘90s zeitgeist and produced an epoch-defining record.” AMG

Girls and Boys


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50 years ago: Woody Guthrie recorded “This Land Is Your Land”

This Land Is Your Land

Woody Guthrie

Writer(s): Woody Guthrie (see lyrics here)

Recorded: April 25, 1944

First Charted: --

Peak: 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 15.89 video, 13.45 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Guthrie’s song is “one of the most stirring testaments to the American spirit ever put to music” SS and might have been the national anthem if he was alive during the foundation of the United States. TM His song isn’t just “a pleasant ode to the beauties of the countryside” SS but a conviction that America belongs to the people, not just “the politicans, or the corporate executives, or the priviledged class.” SS

Guthrie was born in Oklahoma in 1912. During the 1930s, he witnessed firsthand the effects of the Depression and the dust storms which ravaged the Great Plains. This impacted his songwriting and earned him a reputation as a spokesman for the disenfranchised. When he went to California in 1937, he forged a reputation for songs with biting social commentary in his radio broadcasts. In 1940, he went to New York to record a series of “Dust Bowl Ballads” for Victor.

Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” in 1940 as “an alternative American anthem” TC in response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” He was annoyed by the song’s suggestion that all that happened to the country – including poverty and injustice – was somehow blessed by a divine being. SS He set the lyrics to “When the World’s on Fire,” a traditional melody used by the Carter Family in 1930. That song, in turn, had been based on the 1928 hymn “Rock of Ages” as recorded by Blind Willie Davis. SS Guthrie’s song was built on “just three simple chords and a childlike lyrical quality.” TM

In 1944, Guthrie recorded more than 170 songs for Asch Records, a small independent label in New York City. Among the songs was a slightly reworked “This Land Is Your Land,” but it didn’t see release until 1951. SS By then, the song became “a leftist national anthem, sung at rallies, political events, and in schools.” NPR The song was made familiar to most Americans by the Weavers. PM It has now become “a triumphant anthem for the march of Anglo-American progress and the doctrine of Manifest Destiny.” TC


  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Woody Guthrie
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 492.
  • NPR National Public Radio (1999). “The Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Pages 62-3.
  • TM Time magazine (10/24/2011). “All Time 100 Songs
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 189.

First posted 4/25/2014; last updated 8/16/2022.

Saturday, April 23, 1994

Soundgarden “Black Hole Sun” charted

Black Hole Sun


Writer(s): Chris Cornell (see lyrics here)

Released: May 4, 1994

First Charted: April 23, 1994

Peak: 24a US, 25 CB, 16 GR, 13 RR, 17 AR, 2 MR, 12 UK, 5 CN, 6 AU, 5 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 250.0 video, 514.57 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Soundgarden formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984. The rock band became a cornerstone of the grunge movement in the early 1990s. Their first album, 1988’s Ultramega OK, failed to chart. However, Louder Than Love reached #108 in 1989 and Badmotorfinger got to #39 in 1991 and went double platinum. They exploded with their fourth album, 1994’s Superunknown. The album reached #1 and went six-times platinum.

Five songs from the album reached the top 20 on Billboard’s album rock chart. The highest was third single, “Black Hole Sun,” which got to #1. Billboard named the song #1 of the year for their modern rock tracks chart, even though it only peaked at #2. The song also went to #1 in Iceland and reached the top 10 in Australia, Canada, France, and Ireland. WK It won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. VH1 ranked it one of the 100 greatest hard rock songs.

The band’s lead singer, Chris Cornell, wrote the song while driving home to Seattle. He misunderstood a TV news anchor, thinking he heard “black hole sun.” He thought it would make an amazing song title and liked the juxtaposition of a black hole, “a void, a giant circle of nothing, and then you have the sun, the giver of all life.” SF He said, “It all came together, pretty much the whole arrangement…I spent a lot of time spinning those melodies in my head so I wouldn’t forget them. I got home and whistled it into a Dictaphone.” WK

Cornell said the lyrics were “a stream of consciousness based on the feeling I got from the chorus and title.” WK He also said “lyrically it’s probably the closest to me just playing with words for words’ sake…I have no idea how you’d begin to take that one literally…I was just sucked in by the music and I was painting a picture with the lyrics. There was no real idea to get across.” WK


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First posted 10/2/2022; last updated 2/3/2023.

Saturday, April 16, 1994

Fish released Suits



Released: April 16, 1994

Peak: -- US, 18 UK

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: neo-progressive rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Mr. 1470 (Dick, Paterson, Boult) [6:04]
  2. Lady Let It Lie (Dick, Paton, Cassidy) [6:53] (4/5/94, 46 UK)
  3. Emperor’s Song (Dick, Cassidy, Boult) [6:18]
  4. Fortunes of War (Dick, Cassidy, Boult) [7:50] (9/19/94, 67 UK)
  5. Somebody Special (Dick, Boult, Paton) [5:22]
  6. No Dummy (Dick, Cassidy, Boult) [6:16]
  7. Pipeline (Dick, Paton, Boult) [6:43]
  8. Jumpsuit City (Dick, Cassidy, Boult) [6:49]
  9. Bandwagon (Dick, Paton, Boult, Paterson, Wilkinson) [5:07]
  10. Raw Meat (Dick, Paterson) [7:17]

The Players:

  • Derek W. Dick, aka “Fish” (vocals)
  • Robin Boult, Frank Usher (guitar)
  • Foster Paterson (keyboards, backing vocals)
  • David Paton (bass, backing vocals)
  • James Cassidy (keyboards)
  • Kevin Wilkinson (percussion, drums)
  • Marc Duff (flute, human whistle)
  • Charlie McKerron (fiddle)
  • David Murray (bagpipes)
  • Fraser Spiers (harmonica)
  • Lorna Bannon (backing vocals)


2.910 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

After being dropped by Polydor, Suits was “the first album to be released on Fish’s new own label, the Dick Bros Record Company.” WK The name emerged “during a spiritual session with the guy who had come in to examine the 'possessed studio equipment' and which was named after the garage which had been run by his father and grandfather.” ES

“The album continues the cooperation with produced James Cassidy who had already produced [previous album] Songs from the Mirror. Cassidy also contributed keyboards recordings and co-wrote five out of ten songs on the original version of this album. Together with keyboardist Foster Paterson, who had been part of the tour line-up since 1992 and co-wrote three tracks, Cassidy takes the role previously held by Mickey Simmonds. Further songwriting credits go to guitarist Robin Boult and bassist David Paton. The album took Fish the longest time yet to make, several songs on it had already premiered live in summer of 1992.” WK By at least one reviewer’s account, “the album contains some splendid tracks but judging from their earlier live versions they could have been much better.” ES

“Despite the lack of major label support, it went to no. 18 on the UK Album Charts, doing better than both the 1991 album Internal Exile (#21) and Songs from the Mirror, which didn’t chart. However, this would turn out to be Fish’s last UK top 40 album (as of February 2008).” WK

Mr. 1470 is a rock track with a ‘groove’ as Fish would say. It’s rock music but it’s got a certain ‘danceability’ to it. Fish had been wanting to try this direction for a while and Suits is probably an album on which it became very obvious.” ES

Lady Let It Lie is a beautiful semi-ballad which was also released on single. It’s a fantastic track with wonderful lyrics. One of the highlights of the album.” ES

Emperor’s Song is an example of a song that reviewer Ed Sander says was stronger in its initial live carnation. “This version is more like its shy twin brother. Still a nice track though. They should have made this one a single; it's very radio-friendly.” ES

The “lyrics and basic melody of Fortunes of WarES make for “a good track,” ES but “the laid-back and jazzy arrangements did not do the emotional load of the subject justice.” ES

Somebody Special is “one of those tracks you quite like but drags on too much to be really enjoyable. The re-recorded version for the Yin/Yang albums was better in my opinion.” ES

No Dummy is a track which…is more like B-side material. It’s got a silly text, a very un-Fish melody,” ES a “definite groove and lots of keyboard samples as well as slightly annoying backing vocals.” ES

Pipeline is another great tune of which the early live versions had much more power. It’s still one of the best tracks on the album though.” ES

Jumpsuit City is a another ‘groovy’ tune with great lyrics about hookers of the Reeperbahn in Hamburg.” ES However, while the “poppy arrangements” might make for “a very happy and positive song,” ES one would “hardly call the song essential in your Fish collection.” ES

Raw Meat is a beautiful emotional ballad about the ‘hard life on the road.’ Although there are some great live versions, this one is very charming as well. Another highlight.” ES

“The CD features two bonus tracks which appeared on the ‘Lady Let It Lie’ CD singles. The first one is the amazing Black Canal which can best be described as Fish doing his own ‘Somewhere Down the Crazy River.’ And a very smelly river it is.” ES

“The other one is another track which goes back a couple of years; Out of My Life. Whereas the Outpatient album featured the acoustic version this one is the studio version with lots of weird percussion and folky instruments.” ES

“ The booklet of the remastered version contains new pictures, all lyrics (including those of the bonus tracks) and extensive liner notes about the origins of the album and the various tracks. The logo which has been designed for the Yin & Yang compilation albums is used several times.” ES

“Most of the material on Suits is quite good and tracks like ‘Mr. 1470,’ ‘Lady Let It Lie,’ ‘Pipeline’ and ‘Raw Meat’ certainly deserve the title of ‘Fish classic’. It’s just that it could have been even better with different arrangements and production.” ES

Notes: “Black Canal” and “Out of My Life,” originally B-sides of “Lady Let It Lie,” were added to the 1998 reissue.

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Last updated 6/13/2021.

Tuesday, April 5, 1994

Kurt Cobain commited suicide: April 5, 1994

Originally posted April 5, 2012.

image courtest of

On August 8, 1994, an electrician found Kurt Cobain’s body at his home in a room above the garage. He was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A gun and suicide note were nearby. The coroner determined the 27-year-old rock singer/songwriter had died on April 5.

Nirvana, the band Cobain fronted, attained global fame in 1991-92 with Nevermind, a #1 album which achieved sales of 10 million in the U.S. and more than 20 million worldwide. It ranks in the top 10 albums of all time. That album’s lead single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, is also considered a landmark in music history, ranking in the top ten of the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999.

The huge success of that album and song put Nirvana at the forefront of the grunge movement. Considered the most vital music genre to come about in years, Cobain was heralded as its John Lennon – the voice of a generation of dissatisfied teens and young adults in their twenties.

Cobain was tortured by a chronic stomach ailment, heroin abuse, depression. In death, he became – some say intentionally – a member of “the 27 club,” a group of musicians including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and later Amy Winehouse, who all died at age 27. Quoting from a Neil Young song in his suicide note, he said it was “better to burn out than to fade away” (read note here), an indication of his desire to go out on top.

CNN’s repot on Cobain’s death

NBC’s report on Cobain’s death


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