June 10, 2018
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I have no idea what the first album was that I ever bought. But chances are it was one of the following:
- Boston’s first album, of More Than A Feeling, Peace of Mind, and Long Time fame. Released in 1976, when I was eleven.
- Queen’s Night at the Opera, of Bohemian Rhapsody fame. Released in 1975, when I was ten.
- Queen’s News of the World, of We Will Rock You and We are the Champions fame. Released in 1977, the day after I turned thirteen.
- The Eagles’ Hotel California, of title track, Life in the Fast Lane, and New Kid in Town fame. Released in 1977, when I was twelve.
I’m pretty certain it wasn’t #2 — I can’t see my mom letting me spend my money on a rock album when I was ten. But maybe a couple of years later? Maybe. Because by then, my brother who was five years older had his walls plastered with KISS posters and listened to Black Sabbath and who knows what else at full volume. And my sister was into Three Dog Night. And it was time for me to join the fray. Why fight it?
What those first albums taught me was there was so much more than what the radio stations played. That what you really heard on the radio, more or less, were songs that fit a particular formula. What you heard on albums though was what the musicians and singers and songwriters really wanted to be.
From The Prophet’s Song on A Night at the Opera through All Dead, All Dead on News of the World through … well, I can’t really give you an example from that first Boston album. Boston was what you got on the radio and what you got on the album. Perfectly engineered, guitar driven rock that never, ever strayed from its sound.
Hotel California was a bevy of these kind of songs. There were the three hits. Hotel California is an ageless wonder, the kind of song that cements its creators as legends. New Kid in Town and Life in the Fast Lane — both of which were just kind of meh to me.
But when I got the album home and tore off the plastic, slid the album out, put it on my old record player, and got through the three hits, I really learned the mystery and the magic of an album. Wasted Time and a reprise of the song that led off the second side – basically an orchestral version of the song. And then Pretty Maids All in a Row and a final song. A song that showed that what we hear on the radio is a fragment of what these performers can do. A song that was beautiful and sad and deep and inspirational and told a story was nothing like what you heard on the radio. I’ve been dipping back into this song a lot lately. There is just so much here.
January 24, 2018
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If you had told me 10, 20, or 30 years ago that I would see this guy in concert, I would have laughed at you. If you had told me that I would end up seeing him three times in five years, I would have guffawed you into oblivion. So, yeah, he puts on a good show. There is something about him that is true Americana in so many ways. He is entertaining, ironic, sarcastic, funny, and endearing all at the same time. He has become one of my favorites. And in a little over a week I’m going to see him for the third time in five years.
July 10, 2017
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I’ve posted a lot of Songs For the Day around here over the five years I’ve been hanging out on this blog. But today, as the title suggests, it’s time for something a little different. As I drove home from work today, I went through the pre-programmed stations. I have satellite radio and a car that lets me program either 25 or 30 stations. So, there’s a lot of them.
When I got to the station that features 80s music, I heard a song that prompted this idea. I’ll get to that song in a minute.
What are the criteria for this contest? I think they are the following:
- The song had to be popular in its time.
- The song had to be wrong then.
- And still wrong now.
So, here’s my nominee. This song was released in January 1985. Both the song and the record it was on went to #1 on the U.S. Billboard charts. I hated it then. I still hate it now. It has absolutely no redeeming quality or value to it.
What song is your nominee?