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Showing posts from August, 2008

185. The Beatles: Past Masters Volume Two (1988)

And now we conclude (for real) our journey through the catalog of a little-known '60s band I've recently discovered. I didn't lie. Abbey Road was the last Beatles album to be recorded and Let It Be was the last album they released. Like its predecessor, Past Masters Volume One , this is a mop-up compilation, capturing the non-album singles the band released during their brief time together. Volume Two covers the years 1965 to 1970. Once again, as I write about the songs, I'll pair them up the way they were released as singles. First up is a double A-side (which basically means the band couldn't decide which song was better), Day Tripper and We Can Work It Out . These two songs were released simultaneously with the Rubber Soul album. In doing a brief bit of research I was stunned to find out that these songs were basically "forced." The label requested a single independent of the album, and thus Lennon and McCartney had to come up with some songs on de

13 Tributes to Musicians by Musicians

Nothing brings out the best in a songwriter like eulogizing one of their fellows. Here are 13 tributes to musicians by musicians. 1. Don McLean - American Pie (found on American Pie , 1971)  Though it expands to provide a brief history of rock 'n' roll, at its heart "American Pie" is a tribute to Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. McLean makes it personal, recalling his own reaction to the plane crash that killed the three stars: "But February made me shiver / With every paper I'd deliver / Bad news on the doorstep / I couldn't take one more step."   2. Righteous Brothers - " Rock & Roll Heaven"  (found on Give It To The People , 1974 and Reunion , 1990)   Kind of a cheesy song talking about how heaven's "got a hell of a band." But, it's also the most direct and all-encompassing tribute on the list. Bonus points for incorporating lyrics and song titles from the musicians. PLUS,

184. The Doors: Other Voices (1971)

I recently wrote about The Attractions making a record without Elvis Costello. That was weird, wasn't it? Well, get this: The Doors made two albums without Jim Morrison following his death in 1971! Maybe that isn't terribly surprising if you've followed the band at all. Of all the acclaimed groups to come out of the '60s, no other has been less willing to leave its legacy alone. There was 1978's An American Prayer , wherein Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and John Densmore added instrumental backing to recordings of Morrison reading his poetry. In 2002 Krieger and Manzarek joined with Ian Astbury as The Doors of the 21st Century. Now, they're known as Riders on the Storm, with former Fuel singer Brett Scallions on vocals. If this seems like flogging a dead lead singer, well, it kind of is. Consider that Morrison died in July of 1971, and that this album came out in October of the same year. Maybe the band didn't know what else to do with itself. Perhaps with

183. The Beatles: Let It Be (1970)

So I bet you're saying, "Wait, didn't you just tell us that Abbey Road was The Beatles final album? What gives? Is this one of those cobbled together posthumous releases?" Here's what happened. The Beatles convened in early '69 to create a back-to-basics album, just the four of them together in a room full of instruments with the tape running. Unfortunately, the band were lacking in songs and patience with one another. The project and tapes were set aside. They later recorded Abbey Road and called it a career. What to do with the Let It Be tapes were the source of some acrimony among the band (who at this point would likely have acrimony about where to eat dinner), but ultimately they ended up in the hands of Phil Spector. Yes, I-allegedly-shot-an-actress-in-my-mansion Phil Spector. Did anyone else know he had anything to do with music? I didn't either! Anyway, he was charged with making an album out of the material. The liner notes indicate that t