Friday, April 30, 2010

Joan Baez - Diamonds & Rust

Diamonds & Rust is a 1975 album by Joan Baez. Baez is often regarded as an interpreter of other people's work, and on this album she covered songs by Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, The Allman Brothers, and Jackson Browne. But Diamonds & Rust also contained a number of her own compositions, including the acclaimed title track, a haunting song rumored to be written about Bob Dylan.

The song was later covered by Judas Priest and it remained a staple of Judas Priest live concert performances. In recent years, Priest have been performing a mostly-acoustic version of the song that is more similar to the original than the heavy metal version on their recorded albums.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Aerosmith - Dream On

"Dream On" is the first single by Aerosmith from their 1973 debut album, Aerosmith. Written by lead singer Steven Tyler, this blues-influenced power ballad became their first major hit.

Eminem used this as the basis for his 2002 song "Sing For The Moment." Tyler's vocals were sampled and Aerosmith guitarist Perry played guitar on Eminem's track.

Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laugh, sing for the tears
Sing with me, if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away, yeah

Dream On Dream On Dream On
Dream until the dream come true

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun

"Black Hole Sun" is a song by the American rock band Soundgarden. Written by frontman Chris Cornell, "Black Hole Sun" was released in 1994 as the third single from the band's fourth studio album, Superunknown (1994). It is arguably the band's most recognizable and most popular song.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mountain - Mississippi Queen

"Mississippi Queen" is a song originally performed by the American rock band Mountain. It was written by Leslie West (who supplies lead vocals and guitar) and drummer Corky Laing. Originally appearing on their 1970 album Climbing!, it has remained Mountain's most popular song. It begins with the banging of Laing's cowbell and West's easily recognizable guitar riffs.

Being put together by David Rea and Corky Laing, the lyrics were inspired by an incident that happened to Laing while playing at a club in Nantucket. An unnamed friend's girlfriend was there, visiting from Mississippi. She happened to be wearing a see-through dress that evening. Quite suddenly, the power on the entire island went out, and in a drug-induced moment of creativity, Laing began belting out the words.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bob Marley and The Wailers - Redemption Song

The song is considered Marley's seminal work, with lyrics derived from a speech given by the Pan-Africanist orator Marcus Garvey in 1937:

We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind ...

Unlike most of Bob Marley's tracks, it is strictly a solo acoustic recording, consisting of Marley singing and playing an acoustic guitar, without accompaniment. In subsequent live performances, however, a full band is used.

At the time he wrote the song, circa 1979, Bob Marley had been diagnosed with the cancer that later was to take his life. According to Rita Marley, "he was already secretly in a lot of pain and dealt with his own mortality, a feature that is clearly apparent in the album, particularly in this song".

"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery," because "None but ourselves can free our minds"...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pet Shop Boys - Go West

"Go West" is a song by the Village People, released in 1979. However, it was not as popular as the group's other contemporary singles as "Y.M.C.A" and "In the Navy". The song eventually found greater success when it was covered in 1993 by the duo Pet Shop Boys. This is the version below.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cat Stevens - Hard Headed Woman

From 1970, on the Tea for the Tillerman album, his most successful album that includes Wild World, Father And Son and Where Do The Children Play, Ladies and Gentlemen, the one and only Cat Stevens, "Hard Headed Woman".

Friday, April 23, 2010

Johnny Cash - A Boy Named Sue

The song tells the preposterous, yet moving, tale of a young man's quest for revenge on an absent father, whose only contribution to his entire life was naming him Sue, commonly a feminine name, which regularly resulted in the young man suffering from ridicule and bullying.

Sue would later find his father and confront him, resulting in a vicious brawl. After the two have beaten each other almost senseless, Sue's father admits that the name was given to him as an act of love: because he knew he would not be there for his son, Sue's father gave him that name to make sure that he grew up strong. Learning this, Sue forgives his father and they have an emotional reconciliation.

With his lesson learned, Sue closes the song with an announcement: "And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him . . . Bill or George, any damn thing but Sue! I still hate that name!"

The song is mostly recitation rather than conventional singing, an early form of rap.

Years later, songwriter Silverstein wrote a follow-up named "The Father of a Boy Named Sue" in which he tells the old man's point of view of the story.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Queen - Killer Queen

Brian May in Q magazine March 2008: "This is a perfect pop record and one of Freddie's greatest songs. It's beautifully constructed and it's also got one of the solos I'm most proud of."

In the New Musical Express November 2, 1974, the song's writer Freddie Mercury elucidates on this song: "It's about a high class call girl. I'm trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That's what the song is about, though I'd prefer people to put their interpretation upon it - to read into it what they like."

The Marie Antoinette quote has gone down in History as justification for the French Revolution. It demonstrates how out of touch with the common folk the ruling class had become. According to legend, when informed that there was no bread for the people to eat, she replied, oblivious, "then let them eat cake!" It is said, that enraged by this incredibly ignorant response, the people revolted. In the song, it is used to demonstrate at what level this high priced prostitute sells her wares.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird

This song began as a ballad without the guitar solos at the end, and Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded it that way for the first time in 1972. Guitarist Allen Collins had been working on the song on and off for the previous 2 years. At the time of recording, the song was only 7 1/2 minutes long, but throughout the next year, Collins continued to refine the song until it was recorded for the final cut of Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd in 1973.

Those were the times when rock singer were working for years for a great song!

Skynyrd has played this only as an instrumental since the 1977 plane crash that killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. His brother, Johnny, took his place. For a while, he wouldn't sing it - the band played it as an instrumental and the crowd would sing the words.

Another great version of the song was recorded at the BBC Sessions in 1975.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Who - Baba O'Riley

"Baba O'Riley" is a song by the English rock band The Who, written by vocalist/guitarist/pianist Pete Townshend. The other band's vocalist, Roger Daltrey sings most of the song, with Pete Townshend singing the middle eight: "Don't cry/don't raise your eye/it's only teenage wasteland". The title of the song is derived from this combination of the song's philosophical and musical influences: Meher Baba (an Indian mystic and spiritual master) and Terry Riley (American composer).

The violin solo in the coda of the song is based on Indian classical music as homage to Meher Baba, who inspired this song.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Uriah Heep - Lady In Black

"Lady in Black" is a song by the 1970s rock band Uriah Heep. It is the fourth track of their 1971 album Salisbury. It is widely considered an evergreen.

The song is credited to Ken Hensley. It tells the story of a man wandering through war-torn darkness and encountering a goddess-like entity who consoles him. It is often praised, by fans and critics alike, as Hensley's most poetic work to date.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Phoenix - Culegătorul de melci

"Omul 36/80" (The man 36/80) is a rock opera written by Phoenix in the fall-winter of 1968. The meaning of the title is: "36 hours from a man's life in 80 minutes of music".

The main song of the album, Culegătorul de melci had a video made by the Romanian Television in 1969 (first music video for Phoenix and, arguably, Romania).

The opera was never officially released in its initial state. It is recorded on magnetic tapes, in a private collection, and, possibly, in the archives of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rush - 2112

In the year 2062, a galaxy-wide war results in the union of all planets under the rule of the Red Star of the Solar Federation. The world is controlled by the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx, who determine all reading matter, songs, pictures... everything connected with life during the year 2112 ("The Temples of Syrinx").

In the midst of this assembly line living, a man discovers what was once known years before as a guitar ("Discovery"). The man begins to pluck the strings and turn the knobs, discovering that he can make his own music - a music very different from that of the Temples. He rushes to tell the priests of his discovery ("Presentation"), but to the man's dismay, the priests destroy the instrument, saying it doesn't fit the plan of the Solar Federation.

The man returns to the cave in which he found the guitar and, during a dream, is led by an oracle to a "strange and wond'rous land" ("Oracle: The Dream") where the 'Elder Race', who "left our planets long ago", has been forced to make their home after being defeated by the priests. He "Sees the work of gifted hands". The protagonist notes that the Elder Race is still waiting to return, and take power over the Priests again. Upon awakening, he can not believe it was a dream—the perceived beauty was so real to him.

He remains in the cave for several days, becoming more and more depressed with each passing hour ("Soliloquy"). The man decides he can not go on as part of the Federation and takes his life to move on to a better one. As he dies, another planetary battle begins ("Grand Finale") resulting in the (perhaps deliberately) ambiguous ending "Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control." (This spoken section was created by vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson reportedly "messing around with a tape recorder".)

I. Overture (0:00-4:33)
II. The Temples of Syrinx (4:33-6:45)
III. Discovery (6:45-10:14)
IV. Presentation (10:14-13:56)
V. Oracle: The Dream (13:56-15:56)
VI. Soliloquy (15:56-18:17)
VII. Grand Finale (18:17-20:31)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

"Seven Nation Army" is the first track on the album Elephant by American alternative rock band The White Stripes. It was released as a single in 2003 and reached #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks for three weeks and won 2004's Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.

The song is known for its underlying riff, which plays throughout most of the song. Although it sounds like a bass guitar (an instrument the group had famously never previously used), the sound is actually created by running Jack White's semi-acoustic guitar (a 1950s style Kay Hollowbody) through a Digitech Whammy pedal set down an octave.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meat Loaf - Paradise By The Dashboard Light

An epic song from Meat Loaf's 1977 Bat Out Of Hell album. One of the best rock and roll duets ever!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pulp - Disco 2000

As in other Pulp songs, this song is based on true events. The song tells the story of a narrator falling for a childhood friend called Deborah, who is more popular than he is and wondering what it would be like to meet again when they are older. Cocker said "the only bit that isn't true is the woodchip wallpaper."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Accept - Princess Of The Dawn

The ending track of the 1982 "Restless & Wild" album, Princess Of The Dawn is a terrific way to end the album, and only Accept could have turned six minutes of monotonous riffing into a masterpiece.

Guitarist Wolf Hoffmann achieved the haunting mandolin-like effect by recording the guitar at half-speed, then having it played back at normal speed. He describes the sudden ending as "an idea that didn't work so well." (for those who might think the recording is not complete)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Celelalte Cuvinte - Iarba prin par

The original song, from 1984, the band's first hit. This is the original version as recorded on the "Formatii Rock 8" collection. The song was re-recorded in 2004 and added as a bonus track on the NOS album, with a heavier metal feel.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

James Last - This Is My Song

Although many consider this to be a song written by James Last, this is in fact a cover after another song, written by Charlie Chaplin and performed by Petula Clark.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb

One of the best quitar solos ever!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lilly Allen - Fuck You

The song originally appeared on Allen's Myspace page in 2008 under the title "Guess Who Batman". Despite its titular reference to the caped crusader, according to NME and Rolling Stone magazines the song is an anti-George W. Bush protest, while another source, the Urban Review, states that it was originally inspired by the right-wing British National Party, adding Allen now "feels the track is relevant everywhere now so has removed a particular target." So, a dedication for all dirty politicians out there :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Omega - Gyöngyhajú lány

Omega is one of the most successful Hungarian rock bands. Formed in Budapest in 1969, its current lineup has remained the same in the last 30 years.

Their 1969 song "Gyöngyhajú lány" became an international hit, and was later covered by Scorpions on a 1995 live release, with new lyrics and the title "White Dove" (the Hungarian title officially was translated as "Pearls In Her Hair").

This is the original version of the song, from 1969.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cinderella - Dead Man's Road

Whoa, watch out boy
Don't go messin' with your life 'cause it ain't no toy
Lord help ya to carry life's load
Don't you let it pass you by down on Dead Man's Road

Monday, April 5, 2010

Regina - Bistra Voda

"Bistra voda" (Clear water) was the Bosnian and Herzegovinian entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, held in Moscow, Russia and was performed by Bosnian rock band Regina.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song

"Immigrant Song" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was released as a single from their third album, Led Zeppelin III, in 1970. The song is famous for its distinctive, wailing cry from vocalist Robert Plant at the beginning of the song. More about it on Wikipedia.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Kevin Welch - Something About You

From 1992, brought in Europe by the Tuborg commercials.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Helloween - Future World

"Future World" is a song by the German Heavy metal band Helloween taken from the album Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1. It is performed frequently by Helloween and Gamma Ray at their concerts, and is usually used for crowd participation, usually with the crowd singing the first verse, sometimes after the singer shouts the first phrase. Also there is a certain "game", that when the band jams, the singer signals the crowd to shout: "We all live in future world" a few times near the end of the song.

Now, the live version of the song.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Iron Maiden - Afraid to Shoot Strangers

More than one of their best songs, this is a political track based on war and how governments and generals are using soldiers as pawns when they don't really want to kill anyone. Written around the time of the first Gulf War, it has been announced live by Bruce Dickinson on more than one occasion, once at Live at Donnington Monsters of Rock.