Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Breakup songs tend to be either melancholy or angry, although the women seem to sing the best angry songs (Pat Benatar built a career on them).
The titles are also links to a sound byte or two.
All By Myself-Eric Carmen
Built around a a theme from Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, this one is a “drown your sorrows in your beer while looping a rope over the rafters” classic.
Don’t do the rope thing. A beer or two is ok.
Can We Still Be Friends-Todd Rundgren
Hey Todd-isn’t it the girl who always wants to be friends?
Like all my other lists, did you think you could escape without at least one Todd number?
Don’t Think About Her When You’re Trying To Drive-Little Village
One listen, and you’ll know why this was far too dangerous to be on the driving songs list!
This was a great album that went unnoticed, with Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Nick Lowe and Jim Keltner (the four had previously recorded together on Hiatt’s “Bring The Family.”
Harden My Heart-Quarterflash
The women in 80’s rock had it all over the men when it came to breakup songs.
Pat Benatar with her famous pout ruled MTV, but this song really raised a finger to us heartless men!
Love Stinks-J. Geils Band
This may be the most empowering man breakup song ever! Sorry ladies-love really does stink!
Missing You-John Waite
I’ve always loved John Waite-he was always good for one perfect song per album. Still is, and he’s working on something new for a late fall release.
Only The Lonely-The Motels
Another great eighties melancholy song-“Take The L” from the same LP was another good one.
For this one, it’s not clear whether it is reminiscing a failed relationship or a post-breakup affair, but it’s a great song so it made the cut.
She’s Gone-Daryl Hall & John Oates
“I'm worn as her tooth brush hanging in the stand” What a great line!
A couple of Philly boyz who learnt a thing or two from Gamble & Huff.
Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad-Meat Loaf
Jim Steinman is a master at taking a cliché and building a song around it. Production by that Rundgren chap, how can you go wrong?
You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go-Bob Dylan
This whole album, as Lonesome McDogg sez, is a breakup song. This song was my pick of the litter.
These songs just weren’t pathetic enough for the list….
“Take The L”The Motels
“Hello It’s Me”-Todd Rundgren
“Just Another Fire” Heaven’s Edge
“Broke Down Piece Of Man”-Southside Johnny
“Move It Over”-George Thorogood
Saturday, June 26, 2010
When Stephen McCarthy brought up a blog hop of song lists, it was four lists at once: drinking, driving, love and breakup. One of my earliest thoughts was, aren’t drinking, love and breakup the same thing?
I kid, of course, although certainly most readers would agree that many of emotions that flow through love and breakup often end up in a romance with the bottle!
As I did with the drinking and driving lists, I will post over two days, and I will start with the love songs.
Love songs are mostly going to fall into two groups: unrequited love and idealistic love. My first thought was that unrequited love borders on breakup, but as Lonesome McDogg sez, “How can you break up if yer not together?”
This list ended up being harder than I thought, as there are a whole lot of love songs out there-it seems to be a common theme in music. Go figure.
Before I forget-it was mentioned to me that the display does not make it obvious, but if you click on the song titles, you’ll be taken to a sound clip or video of the song. This was true on the other lists as well, in case you missed that and want to go revisit those posts.
These are in alphabetical order by song title, but this one may get my vote as the most emotive song in my collection. Scrap the Rod Stewart version-Van wrote it, and when Van sings it, you believe him!
You can’t go wrong with the King!
The first album I ever purchased was “Diana Ross Presents The Jackson Five.” They were my first favorite band and they started my addiction to music. This one is from their third album, titled, oddly enough, “Third Album.”
Absent a support group, can’t the MJ estate bequeath me a small grant to subsidize all the music I’ve purchased?
This song actually captures a third kind of love, which is humanity’s love for each other. Sadly, that kind of love for fellow man (and woman) does not appear to be prevalent in the world today.
If people actually practiced the Golden Rule, the world would simply be a better place.
That Jesus chap knew what he was talking about!
While not affiliated with any organized religion that I know of, Todd’s music has always embodied a similar message, as evidenced here.
My favorite of the wave of eighties “hair band” ballads, this one coming after the wave had crested, and just before Nirvana singlehandedly changed music for the nineties.
They released an “extreme acoustic version” that is a little slower that really works better as a love song.
The clip here was all that I could find, and is a third version that has country elements and does not work so well.
When you hear the chorus, though, you’ll recognize the song. It gets played over store PA systems constantly (at least in Arizona, it does).
More Rundgren. That Todd feller sure can write a love song!
Picking a Stevie Wonder love song was tough, but this one got the nod.
For my money, it’s the best unrequited love song ever recorded!
The clip is a live version-not as good as the studio version, which appears on the “Nearly Human” album.
Another eighties ballad, this time from the Hagar-era VH.
I probably would not know of Chris Isaak if it weren’t for that video with Helena Christensen. Steamy!
There were some songs where love just wasn’t enough to make the list (in no particular order):
“I Saw The Light”-Todd Rundgren
“When I Look Into Your Eyes”-Firehouse
“I Live My Life For You”-Firehouse
"Everything I Do (I Do It For You)"-Bryan Adams
"I Will Always Love You"-Whitney Houston
"You're My Best Friend"-Queen
Monday, June 21, 2010
Movies in theaters fare a little better, but I find I forget them pretty quickly. The main challenge with age is, I simply do not have the time to watch movies multiple times any more. That makes it pretty hard for new ones to get onto the list.
As a result, my list of favorite movies looks pretty similar to what it looked like a few years when I was last invited to participate in such an endeavor. That was in the pre-blog days, so Stephen McCarthy compiled the results by hand.
So here we go!
A BRONX TALE
This excellent film opens with the sounds of romance in the Bronx (“Marie! Get in the f*&king car!”). There are a few violent scenes, but mostly the story is about a boy who is drawn to the local gangster against the wishes of his bus-driver father.
All the important life lessons are in this film: how to pick your spouse (“if she doesn’t unlock your door by the time you get around the car, dump her”), what to do when a quasi-friend stiffs you (“for twenty bucks, he’s out of your life-you got off cheap”).
The names of the mobsters are excellent. Frankie Coffee Cake (named because his face looks like a Drake’s Coffee Cake), Jo Jo The Whale (you didn’t walk with Jo Jo, you walked among him), Leo The Mush (everything he touches turns to mush).
DeNiro shines on screen and behind the camera in his directorial debut.
The original, that spawned four sequels and a television series that ran for six years. Violent, with sword fights, loud rock music from Queen, and a showdown between immortal enemies Christopher Lambert and Clancy Brown. Oh, and Sean Connery is in it as well.
I’d skip the sequels. The TV series had some good episodes, though.
Come on! I’m from Philadelphia!
It was either this make this list or have one of the movies where Todd Rundgren did the soundtrack on there. I guess I could swap this out for “Dumb And Dumber.”
Besides, it’s a great film. Stallone has spent almost thirty-five years trying to make another great one. He should have left well enough alone and quit while he was ahead.
There’s a couple of scenes in this one that I still love after thirty years.
One is when Paul Dooley and Dennis Christopher are walking through the college, and Paul Dooley is talking about how after he and his coworkers raised the buildings, they felt like they did not belong.
The other is when Paul Dooley announces that there will be another mouth to feed.
This was a low budget film that everyone should own a copy of.
HEAVEN CAN WAIT
In this one, the Rams beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl!
Sadly, they did not in 1979. This movie had to tide me over until they did win one at the dawn of the new millennium.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY
If I had to count the three films individually, they'd all have to make the list. Id select something else. Having read the trilogy umpteen times as a yewt, I find it impossible not to think of this trilogy as one piece.
I was pretty apprehensive about seeing these at first, as I carried my own films in my head from the repeated readings . Peter Jackson really did the books justice.
Even in the silly movies that preceded “The Crow,” you could see that Brandon Lee was going to be something special. His death was very tragic.
“The Crow” was a pretty good film, considering it was adapted from a comic book (in the days when that was actually unusual). It is a dark and violent tale of revenge, but it worked.
THE SEVENTH SEAL
There’s a scene in this Bergman film where Death comes for a woodsman who tries to bargain for his life.
“But my contracts?”
A classic film.
Arnold did not need to speak to be menacing in this movie.
It was unanimously panned when it was released, but when the sequel made gazillions, the reviews of this first film were mysteriously all rewritten with a bunch of stars.
When it came to 1980’s action films, Arnold surrounded himself with people who knew what they were doing and put out the best product.
Another DeNiro film makes my list, with Ed Harris and Kathy Baker. There were a plethora of Vietnam-vet films in the late seventies through the eighties. For my money, this was the best of the bunch.
My favorite scene is where DeNiro tells Kathy Baker about how he found religion.
This film did not make much of a splash, but was quite good.
James Woods in a rare role that I liked him in. Bruce Dern plays a corrupt businessman and Louis Gossett Jr. plays an aging boxer fighting for a cash prize against ten men in one day.
I dare you not to stand up and cheer at the end of this movie!
SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL
This was my favorite of the John Hughes’ wave of “wrong side of the tracks” romances, and I can’t tell you why. Certainly “The Breakfast Club” was a better film, but there was something about this one.
I think it was the father and son scene over the son withdrawing his college savings and blowing it on a pair of earrings. My father and I had a similar argument, but I blew the money on mint copies of the out-of-print Nazz lp’s and some other rare albums..
And to complete my baker’s dozen, here's film number thirteen.
This one, THE LEGEND OF 1900, was recommended to me by Stephen McCarthy.
There’s a scene where the main character participates in a piano duel. If only to watch this scene, you should rent or buy the film.
"Sin City" and "Pulp Fiction" were seriously considered. I've only seen "The A-Team" once...otherwise it might just have made the cut!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
See yesterday's post for part one-the driving songs...
Now when Stephen asked me for my drinking songs list, I had the opposite problem. Only ten songs? Shouldn’t we start with every Tom Waits and George Thororgood song?
And I also had some reservations-if I can remember the songs, was I really drinking properly?
Drinking songs can mean so many things. They can be the “mug raising and toasting” songs, or the “hard core let me sip whiskey while I ponder this latest misfortune” songs, or the “love ain’t working out and I’m sad” songs. Some of each made my list.
Once again, in alphabetical order:
American Pie-Don McLean
Comfortably Numb-Pink Floyd
Funky Ceili-Black 47
Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You-Tom Waits
I Don't Want To Go Home-Southside Johnny And The Asbury Jukes
Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced-Dropkick Murphys
One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer-George Thorogood And The Destroyers
Roadhouse Blues-The Doors
That Woman's Got Me Drinking-Shane MacGowan And The Popes
And once again, there were songs that wound up not sitting at the bar.
Too Drunk To F**k-Dead Kennedys
The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)-Tom Waits
Bad Liver And A Broken Heart-Tom Waits
Warm Beer And Cold Women-Tom Waits
I Drink Alone-George Thorogood
Rainy Day Women-Bob Dylan
Side two of Days Of Future Passed-The Moody Blues
One Friday night in 1979, my best friend JPH and I listened to that Moody Blues record (Side Two) from somewhere around 7pm until we passed out well after midnight, all the while drinking away, but each of us too lazy to change the record.
We heard "Nights In White Satin" over and over again, but I still love the record. And I still consider JPH my best friend even though we've got a country between us and now we only get drunk together every few years. Salud, JPH!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
The Weight-The Band
(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles-The Proclaimers
Roadhouse Blues-The Doors
The Boys Are Back In Town-Thin Lizzy
Summer In The City-The Lovin' Spoonful
Tomorrow, I’ll post the drinking list. I was afraid if I drink and drive at the same time, I’d get pulled over...
Sunday, June 13, 2010
The first show is scheduled for September 5 in Akron, Ohio, for the third annual Rundgren Radio birthday bash.
Kasim Sulton will once again perform a solo show the afternoon of September 5. While confirmation of a Saturday night party has not been made yet, I'm sure with a bunch of Rundgren fans selling out the hotel (again!) it won't be hard to find drinking partners!
The tour includes concerts in Muskegon, Michigan (September 8); St. Louis, Missouri (September 10); Indianapolis, Indiana (September 11); Glenside, Pennsylvania (September 14); and Morristown, New Jersey (September 15).
The band for the tour was announced last night on RundgrenRadio.com's weekly online radio talk show. The Healing and Todd live lineup will feature some of the members from Todd's former bands Utopia and The New Cars.
The all-star band lineup for the concerts includes: Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Prairie Prince, Jesse Gress, Greg Hawkes, Bobby Strickland, and a Choir Master to be named later.
Rundgren Radio also announced the addition of a July Todd Rundgren's Johnson concert: Bearsville Theatre on July 13th in Bearsville, NY near Woodstock, NY.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Christian music has not been my favorite genre. My younger sister went through a phase where she’d listen to it exclusively, and I found two problems with it:
(1) I suspected many of the bands used the “Christian” label to hide a lack of talent
(2) Often, the preaching was just too much for me
But I certainly could not argue that none of it was any good, and were it not for MaryAnne, I’d not have heard of Larry Norman, and probably would not have heard of Amy Grant until that MTV video with Peter Cetera. She’s a cutie, huh? If you call a married woman a cutie, is that a sin? In any case, both are represented on my list, as you will see.
Somehow, Christianity and Christian values have fallen out of vogue in the United States. I cancelled my HBO service after hearing Bill Maher (it was my favorite program) refer to anyone who believed in God as an idiot. In an interesting contrast, many aging rockers are releasing spiritual or even outright Christian CD’s. In a country founded on Christian values coupled with religious freedom, it’s a shame that now the people who practice those Christian values are the ones under siege.
But I digress. This is about the music!
I’m going to list the CD’s in the order of my exposure to them, which is slightly southeast of being in release date order.
Without any more pontificating, here is the list…
Slow Train Coming-Bob Dylan
Only Visiting This Planet-Larry Norman
Lead Me On-Amy Grant
In God We Trust-Stryper
Way Home-Ted Leonard
The Lou Gramm Band-The Lou Gramm Band
Salvation In Lights-Mike Farris
Now I know you’re looking for the obligatory soul-searching that goes with the selection of such a list. And far be it from me to not bare my soul to the masses!
So hold onto your wings, ‘cause here we go!
Bob Dylan-Slow Train Coming
Lou Gramm Band -Lou Gramm Band
Like any list, there are the ones that didn’t make the list. Here are some of the albums that couldn't go to communion because they had not received confession:
Against The Law-Stryper
Also considered were some newer Christian bands like Skillet and Switchfoot, but I just do not listen to them enough.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
At a minimum, we need to come up with one number. If I can have fifteen CD's, why only twelve movies? And why only eleven religious albums-that is hardly nurturing the soul! And ten songs? Why ten? For that matter, why not?
The desert island discs blog hop was such a success, there are now at least six (count 'em-six!) new lists in the works.
Join in, why don'tcha?
During the week of June 7, Tossing It Out will be sponsoring the "Heaven Eleven" list of favorite Christian/Religious albums.
The next two fall on June 15, and will feature your ten favorite drinking songs and ten favorite driving songs. If you only have one list, I'm pretty sure that's a felony in most states. Tossing It Out will have the information on this one as well, in the midst of his other lists...
Then on June 21, Alex J. Cavanaugh is sponsoring a Dirty Dozen favorite movies round up. I'm pretty sure that you can include movies that do not star Lee Marvin. Congratulations to Alex on his new book, by the way!
Finally, the last two Tossing It Out lists, your top ten love songs and top ten break-up songs (they don't write 'em like that anymore) will be hopping to a blog near you on June 28.
In the interest of full disclosure (as opposed to full exposure, which trust me, you do NOT want to see), I think the four top ten song lists were a joint Arlee Bird/Stephen McCarthy plan, with who-knows-what kind of sinister agenda in mind?
On an unrelated note, you won't want to miss my top ten list (with pictures) of things scooped out of the cat box. You'll want to follow this blog in anticipation of that one!
And don't forget, you can still order the limited edition of the new Spock's Beard cd, "X," while supplies last-this edition will not be repressed! A must have for all progressive rock fans...and an idea for another list...
How was that for a shameless plug? Hey, they're a great band and can use the support!