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1979 The Next 100 Songs #1. The Wait - The Pretenders (1 Viewer)

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
Jackson: "That is just one of those songs that started with the title. I heard that phrase somewhere and I thought that could be a kind of funny song about gorgeous girls going out with monsters. It just started from there. It was just a funny song, or supposed to be funny. It was a great surprise to me when some people interpreted it as being angry."

When Joe formed his band this was one of the first they did and the rest of his band really liked it and wanted it on the album but Joe liked all of his songs and had no idea which would turn into hits.  "Everyone liked it. It was catchy, they said, and had the makings of a hit. I wouldn't know a hit, I protested, from a hole in my head. I liked all my songs, and if I'd written a hit it was by accident. But I appreciated the enthusiasm, and something else, too: a growing feeling that I was up to something".

I remember when this came out.  It was different and stood out.  It is considered one of the breakout songs the new wave genre.  The debut single off his debut album.

Released October 1978

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
I had a room mate who hated EWF and he would rant and rave but then say, "Oh but I like that 'Baah Deee Oooh' song of theirs."  Lol, 'never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.'  The 'happiest sounding song in the world', September by Earth Wind and Fire. 

Released November 18, 1978

NPR did an entire article about the sustainability of this song.  It has a great back story to how it was composed, a dream-like story.

The Song That Never Ends: Why Earth, Wind & Fire's 'September' Sustains

If you've ever been to a wedding reception in the U.S., you know there's one question that can get a whole family on the dance floor: "Do you remember the 21st night of September?"

...The story of the song begins in 1978. Allee Willis was a struggling songwriter in LA — until the night she got a call from Maurice White, the leader of Earth, Wind & Fire. White offered her the chance of a lifetime: to co-write the band's next album. Willis arrived at the studio the next day hoping it wasn't some kind of cosmic joke.

"As I open the door, they had just written the intro to 'September.' And I just thought, 'Dear God, let this be what they want me to write!' Cause it was obviously the happiest-sounding song in the world," Willis says.

Using a progression composed by Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist Al McKay, White and Willis wrote the song over the course of a month, conjuring images of clear skies and dancing under the stars. Willis says she likes songs that tell stories, and that at a certain point, she feared the lyrics to "September" were starting to sound simplistic. One nonsense phrase bugged her in particular.

"The, kind of, go-to phrase that Maurice used in every song he wrote was 'ba-dee-ya,' " she says. "So right from the beginning he was singing, 'Ba-dee-ya, say, do you remember / Ba-dee-ya, dancing in September.' And I said, 'We are going to change 'ba-dee-ya' to real words, right?' "

Wrong. Willis says that at the final vocal session she got desperate and begged White to rewrite the part.

"And finally, when it was so obvious that he was not going to do it, I just said, 'What the f*** does 'ba-dee-ya' mean?' And he essentially said, 'Who the f*** cares?'" she says. "I learned my greatest lesson ever in songwriting from him, which was never let the lyric get in the way of the groove."

I asked Jeffrey Peretz, a professor of music theory at New York University's Clive Davis Institute, what makes that groove so powerful. He says a lot of it has to do with how the music unfolds. The song's very structure is an endless cycle that keeps us dancing and wanting more.

"There's four chords in the chorus that just keep moving forward and never seem to land anywhere — much like the four seasons," he says. "It's the end of summer, it's the beginning of fall, it's that Indian summertime, it's the transition from warm to cool."...
Very cool I'd say. 

Go to the link for the rest of the read.

 

Uruk-Hai

Footballguy
I had a room mate who hated EWF and he would rant and rave but then say, "Oh but I like that 'Baah Deee Oooh' song of theirs."  Lol, 'never let the lyric get in the way of the groove.'  The 'happiest sounding song in the world', September by Earth Wind and Fire. 

  •  
WTF?

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
Jackson: "That is just one of those songs that started with the title. I heard that phrase somewhere and I thought that could be a kind of funny song about gorgeous girls going out with monsters. It just started from there. It was just a funny song, or supposed to be funny. It was a great surprise to me when some people interpreted it as being angry."

When Joe formed his band this was one of the first they did and the rest of his band really liked it and wanted it on the album but Joe liked all of his songs and had no idea which would turn into hits.  "Everyone liked it. It was catchy, they said, and had the makings of a hit. I wouldn't know a hit, I protested, from a hole in my head. I liked all my songs, and if I'd written a hit it was by accident. But I appreciated the enthusiasm, and something else, too: a growing feeling that I was up to something".

I remember when this came out.  It was different and stood out.  It is considered one of the breakout songs the new wave genre.  The debut single off his debut album.

Released October 1978
If I’ve learned one thing from this thread, it’s that you like Joe Jackson a lot more than Tim does.

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
If I’ve learned one thing from this thread, it’s that you like Joe Jackson a lot more than Tim does.
'Is She Really Going Out With Him' was on the Album 'Look Sharp' which came out in January of 79 but the single came out in October of 78 prior to the album being released so I don't think Tim had that one available on his list. 

The others I had weren't hits/deeper tracks and yeah I'm into Joe Jackson.  Found him very unique and since I was a DJ a long time ago I liked to find deeper tracks but knowing that I would say that anyone in this forum is well-versed in good music.

 
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DocHolliday

Footballguy
Jackson: "That is just one of those songs that started with the title. I heard that phrase somewhere and I thought that could be a kind of funny song about gorgeous girls going out with monsters. It just started from there. It was just a funny song, or supposed to be funny. It was a great surprise to me when some people interpreted it as being angry."

When Joe formed his band this was one of the first they did and the rest of his band really liked it and wanted it on the album but Joe liked all of his songs and had no idea which would turn into hits.  "Everyone liked it. It was catchy, they said, and had the makings of a hit. I wouldn't know a hit, I protested, from a hole in my head. I liked all my songs, and if I'd written a hit it was by accident. But I appreciated the enthusiasm, and something else, too: a growing feeling that I was up to something".

I remember when this came out.  It was different and stood out.  It is considered one of the breakout songs the new wave genre.  The debut single off his debut album.

Released October 1978
Still like this song.  

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
I originally didn't include this one for a couple of reasons, I like it so much due to the mentioning of the 'Cleveland Heat' and Euclid Avenue since I live in the 'general' area so it has more of a personal meaning to me which I honestly feel would be lost on the majority and didn't want to prejudice my list and the fact it has NSFW lyrics and because I have so many songs from the album pushed it un-fairly off the list.  

This tune is, raw, gritty, tough, and more than worthy.  

Released 27 December 1979

...  Better write-up coming...

 
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Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
The song is a mid-tempo rock number which incorporates a funky, almost dance-oriented bass line. Ann Wilson has called the song Heart's first "dance song", which is likely indicative of its recording and release happening during the disco era of the late 70s.  "Straight On" is an unusual song for being mostly composed of chorus and instrumentals.  It's a basic love song that mixes in gambling metaphors like "deal me in."

Released September 1978

Smathers side story.  While working at a pizza joint in the mid-80s we had an Aussie with curly-flowing blonde hair and an ever-tan who made all sorts of wild claims and one day a Heart song came on the jukebox and he goes on about how he was a friend of Ann Wilson so I immediately state BS.  

He casually said he had her number in his wallet so I say 'OK wise guy, call her'.

He says 'OK' pulls out the number and dials and then hands me the phone.

It was Ann Wilson and she was PISSED. :angry:

I was like, 'Ah um, is this Ann?  And she just ripped into me and started screaming asking for the Aussie guy (I forget his name).  He was like well these people didn't believe, and all we could hear was Ann F'ng screaming at that guy.  LOL

One guess what I think of every time I hear a Heart song.  Lol.

 

northern exposure

Footballguy
The song is a mid-tempo rock number which incorporates a funky, almost dance-oriented bass line. Ann Wilson has called the song Heart's first "dance song", which is likely indicative of its recording and release happening during the disco era of the late 70s.  "Straight On" is an unusual song for being mostly composed of chorus and instrumentals.  It's a basic love song that mixes in gambling metaphors like "deal me in."

Released September 1978

Smathers side story.  While working at a pizza joint in the mid-80s we had an Aussie with curly-flowing blonde hair and an ever-tan who made all sorts of wild claims and one day a Heart song came on the jukebox and he goes on about how he was a friend of Ann Wilson so I immediately state BS.  

He casually said he had her number in his wallet so I say 'OK wise guy, call her'.

He says 'OK' pulls out the number and dials and then hands me the phone.

It was Ann Wilson and she was PISSED. :angry:

I was like, 'Ah um, is this Ann?  And she just ripped into me and started screaming asking for the Aussie guy (I forget his name).  He was like well these people didn't believe, and all we could hear was Ann F'ng screaming at that guy.  LOL

One guess what I think of every time I hear a Heart song.  Lol.
It would be a better story if the Aussie knew Nancy Wilson 😍

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
...  Better write-up coming...
Farndon met Hynde in the spring of 1978 at a bar in London’s Portobello Road. It was not a cordial encounter.

“I walked into the pub and there was this American with a big mouth across the other side of the bar,” he recalls. “She said hi, and turned around and ignored me for about an hour. I thought, ‘Am I gonna be in a band with this ####?'”

By summer the summer Farndon rang up Honeyman-Scott to ask if he’d like to join a group with this terrific American girl he’d been working with the past four months.  

They had to pay me in money and drugs to come down and work with ’em.” Initially, he recalls, the band was “too bloody loud. But as soon as I cranked some powders up me nose I became interested, of course.”

With an Irishman named Jerry Mcleduff on drums, Honeyman-Scott, Farndon and Hynde did some quick rehearsing and then went to a small demo studio to cut a tape that included Hynde’s “Precious”

It took one day to cut the demo. The Pretenders traveled to Paris to play a six-night stand at a club called Gibus — their very first gigs. ‘I am the loudmouthed American’, says Hynde. ‘No one can be meaner than I am. But I don’t want to be. It’s a front, you know, to get what I have to.’  

Intelligent, pugnacious and utterly fearless “#### with me at your peril” persona.  Utterly precious.

Pity that you bruised my hip
'Cause I'm precious
You shouldn't let your manners slip
You're too precious


 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
An Ocasek tune that he sings lead vocals where he was intending to be sarcastic about the good times in rock music when it wasn't all good times.

Ocasek:  "That was my song about what the good times in rock 'n' roll really mean, instead of what they're supposed to be. It was kind of a parody of good times, really. It was kinda like not about good times at all."

Rick wasn't thrilled with the production at first.  "I just remember when we did 'Good Times Roll' in the studio in England on the first record, and we heard back the vocals. I told Roy (producer Roy Thomas) that I thought it was way, way too much. ... But you know, it grew on me later and it sounded so smooth. It was a nice process to do it because Roy, you know, was fortunate enough to have a 40-track machine ... so he could do layering of vocals a lot."

One of the few times I really like the electric drum sound with a great guitar riff opening.

Released February 20, 1979

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
Blondie had an old boyfriend stalker who was the subject of two of her biggest hits, 'One Way Or Another' and 'Heart Of Glass'.  Debbie Harry and Chris Stein (who were a couple) wrote the first version of this song in early 1974, shortly after they first met. They didn't have a proper title for the song, and would refer to it as "The Disco Song." Harry explained "Lyrically, it was about a stalker who was pursuing me, and Chris saved me from him."

It wasn't until they recorded this song in 1978 that Stein came up with the title "Heart Of Glass." He didn't know that it was also the title of a 1976 German movie directed by Werner Herzog.  

Harry and Stein wrote the song in their dingy New York apartment and keyboardist Jimmy Destri provided the synthesizer hook. The result brought punk and disco together on the dance floor. Said Destri, "Chris always wanted to do disco. We used to do 'Heart Of Glass' to upset peopleWhen we did Heart Of Glass it wasn't too cool in our social set to play disco. But we did it because we wanted to be uncool. It was based around a Roland Rhythm Machine and the backing took over 10 hours to get down."

Chris Stein added, "We didn't expect the original to be that big. We only did it as a novelty item to put more diversity into the album."

Their intentions backfired as it pleased a lot of people and its a cool song.

Released January 1979

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
Just saw this...

'Heart Of Glass' gets a Beatle seal of approval.

John Lennon once wrote Ringo Starr a postcard advising him to write more songs like "Heart of Glass." Debbie Harry told The Guardian: "It was totally wonderful knowing that."

 

rockaction

Footballguy
Joe Jackson is the cat's meow, Ann Wilson deserved every crush had on her in the seventies (Dreamboat Annie, I'll say), and everyone wishes they could have written Heart Of Glass. It's somehow timeless yet disco. 

 

Ghost Rider

Footballguy
Heart of Glass is such a great song.  I sing along to the scatting of the main melody in the middle of the song every time this comes on in the car.  And I love the ride-out for the last minute of the song (that is omited from the single edit).

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
Joe Jackson is the cat's meow, Ann Wilson deserved every crush had on her in the seventies (Dreamboat Annie, I'll say), and everyone wishes they could have written Heart Of Glass. It's somehow timeless yet disco. 
  • In addition to everything he's done Joe did a jazz/jive album Jumpin' Jive that pushes him over the top of most of his peers.  
  • Ann was a hottie but during the mid 80s she had packed on a few lbs and I can attest she did NOT like being disturbed.    :unsure:   ... :hot:
  • 'Heart Of Glass' was almost a reggae tune.  Blondie re-recorded this in 1978 in a reggae style, but their producer Mike Chapman suggested reggae didn't sell in America. As Harry and Stein had a fascination with the disco sound that was then sweeping the country, so they adopted a sound that was an amalgamation of their New Wave background and Eurodisco.
 
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Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
From the home office, the TOP TEN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KSKkmypTZM

 This version, Jefferson Starship, after Airplane but before Starship was with Mickey Thomas on lead vocals after the departure of Marty Balin and with Grace Slick taking time off, she would return in February 1981.

I knew a girl blonde from California named Jane...  Won't be sharing any of those stories but yeah, like this tune.

Released October 1979

 

Gr00vus

Footballguy
From the home office, the TOP TEN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KSKkmypTZM

 This version, Jefferson Starship, after Airplane but before Starship was with Mickey Thomas on lead vocals after the departure of Marty Balin and with Grace Slick taking time off, she would return in February 1981.

I knew a girl blonde from California named Jane...  Won't be sharing any of those stories but yeah, like this tune.

Released October 1979
A welcome surprise to see this one go so high. Probably wouldn't be in my top 10, but it's a good tune.

 

FairWarning

Footballguy
From the home office, the TOP TEN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KSKkmypTZM

 This version, Jefferson Starship, after Airplane but before Starship was with Mickey Thomas on lead vocals after the departure of Marty Balin and with Grace Slick taking time off, she would return in February 1981.

I knew a girl blonde from California named Jane...  Won't be sharing any of those stories but yeah, like this tune.

Released October 1979
Absolutely love this song, was hoping it would get some recognition.  

 

Gr00vus

Footballguy
Got Joe Jackson, got Roxy Music (I like Angel Eyes better than Dance Away, but I'll take it), there's one more artist I was thinking would get in the mix that hasn't shown up yet. I'm getting nervous.

 
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northern exposure

Footballguy
From the home office, the TOP TEN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KSKkmypTZM

 This version, Jefferson Starship, after Airplane but before Starship was with Mickey Thomas on lead vocals after the departure of Marty Balin and with Grace Slick taking time off, she would return in February 1981.

I knew a girl blonde from California named Jane...  Won't be sharing any of those stories but yeah, like this tune.

Released October 1979
Always liked Mickey Thomas' vocals. I didn't know he sang lead on Elvin Bishop's "Fooled Around And Fell In Love".

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
Their first successful record.  It began in January 1978, with a new guitarist, Andy Summers after Henry Padovani quit the band. They recorded "Roxanne". Sting liked the song but didn't think it would be a hit, as it was far more brooding than their other material. Miles Copeland (Stewart Copeland's brother and band manager) thought differently - he was far more impressed with "Roxanne" than with anything else they recorded at those sessions, and insisted it be the single. 
Ross-Caaaan

The song was released in the UK on April 7, 1978, but was also largely ignored.  The Police toured America when a disc jockey in Austin stared playing the song, it got a great response and other radio stations added it to their playlists.

Trivia tidbit:  The intro to the song contains one of the great happy accidents in rock history. There was an upright piano in the studio, which Sting sat on thinking the lid was closed. Tape was rolling for his vocal, so the sound of his butt hitting the piano and his subsequent laughter were recorded. These sounds were mixed into the intro, providing a unique texture.

Released 2 November 1978

Smathers side story ~ you knew their would have to be one.

High school, random, out-of-the-blue my buddies excitedly call and say 'We're all going skiing.'  Skiing?  Not only had I never been skiing but those outcasts had never seen a ski.  Have no idea how they got so excited but it seemed like destiny so we all went.

On the way Roxanne was blaring on the radio, it was the first time we had ever heard it and we liked it but weren't familiar.

The ski trip was the-bomb.  We had no idea how to ski but had such a blast.  On the trip home we were soaked after taking so many tumbles into the snow, tired/exhausted and buzzing from the trip when ROXANNE comes on the radio.

We knew the lyrics by that time and all of us were warbling enthusiastically a horrible rendition.

Seems that trip was destiny as I moved to Colorado to work at a ski resort a few months later.  I think my buddies all knew on some level and it was their way of giving me an excellent send-off.  I'll always remember this tune and that ski trip.

 
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Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
This song sounds like an Elvis tune for a reason, Freddie Mercury can barely play 4 cords on a guitar.

Like Archimedes eureka moment, Fred was taking a soak in the tub when inspiration hit him as he leapt out grabbing a towel and his guitar he put down the licks in a few moments.  Freddie:  "'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' took me five or ten minutes. I did that on the guitar, which I can't play for nuts, and in one way it was quite a good thing because I was restricted, knowing only a few chords. It's a good discipline because I simply had to write within a small framework. I couldn't work through too many chords and because of that restriction I wrote a good song, I think."

He 'rushed' to the studio before Brian (May - lead guitarist) could get there.  May added the solo on the Telecaster with Freddie playing rhythm guitar.   

Trivia tidbit, Beatle related:  There's an unconfirmed legend (commented on by Roger Taylor on the radio show In The Studio, and by Brian May on his website) that declares John Lennon was inspired by this song to go back to the music business. Whether it's true or false is still unknown, but it is a fact that Lennon listened to Queen and he did try new influences on his Double Fantasy album. 

Released 5 October 1979

Are you ready?

Ready Freddie

 

Gr00vus

Footballguy
Their first successful record.  It began in January 1978, with a new guitarist, Andy Summers after Henry Padovani quit the band. They recorded "Roxanne". Sting liked the song but didn't think it would be a hit, as it was far more brooding than their other material. Miles Copeland (Stewart Copeland's brother and band manager) thought differently - he was far more impressed with "Roxanne" than with anything else they recorded at those sessions, and insisted it be the single. 
Ross-Caaaan

The song was released in the UK on April 7, 1978, but was also largely ignored.  The Police toured America when a disc jockey in Austin stared playing the song, it got a great response and other radio stations added it to their playlists.

Trivia tidbit:  The intro to the song contains one of the great happy accidents in rock history. There was an upright piano in the studio, which Sting sat on thinking the lid was closed. Tape was rolling for his vocal, so the sound of his butt hitting the piano and his subsequent laughter were recorded. These sounds were mixed into the intro, providing a unique texture.

Released 2 November 1978

Smathers side story ~ you knew their would have to be one.

High school, random, out-of-the-blue my buddies excitedly call and say 'We're all going skiing.'  Skiing?  Not only had I never been skiing but those outcasts had never seen a ski.  Have no idea how they got so excited but it seemed like destiny so we all went.

On the way Roxanne was blaring on the radio, it was the first time we had ever heard it and we liked it but weren't familiar.

The ski trip was the-bomb.  We had no idea how to ski but had such a blast.  On the trip home we were soaked after taking so many tumbles into the snow, tired/exhausted and buzzing from the trip when ROXANNE comes on the radio.

We knew the lyrics by that time and all of us were warbling enthusiastically a horrible rendition.

Seems that trip was destiny as I moved to Colorado to work at a ski resort a few months later.  I think my buddies all knew on some level and it was their way of giving me an excellent send-off.  I'll always remember this tune and that ski trip.
I'm o.k. with this making the top 10. ;)

This one always goes down great live. I wish they'd remaster the audio (and eliminate the extraneous goofy overlaid pranks, commentary, and stuff) from the clips they used for The Police Around the World video, some great performances in there. Warning some NSFW shots of the crowd in that clip.

 
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Just Win Baby

Footballguy
This song sounds like an Elvis tune for a reason, Freddie Mercury can barely play 4 cords on a guitar.

Like Archimedes eureka moment, Fred was taking a soak in the tub when inspiration hit him as he leapt out grabbing a towel and his guitar he put down the licks in a few moments.  Freddie:  "'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' took me five or ten minutes. I did that on the guitar, which I can't play for nuts, and in one way it was quite a good thing because I was restricted, knowing only a few chords. It's a good discipline because I simply had to write within a small framework. I couldn't work through too many chords and because of that restriction I wrote a good song, I think."

He 'rushed' to the studio before Brian (May - lead guitarist) could get there.  May added the solo on the Telecaster with Freddie playing rhythm guitar.   

Trivia tidbit, Beatle related:  There's an unconfirmed legend (commented on by Roger Taylor on the radio show In The Studio, and by Brian May on his website) that declares John Lennon was inspired by this song to go back to the music business. Whether it's true or false is still unknown, but it is a fact that Lennon listened to Queen and he did try new influences on his Double Fantasy album. 

Released 5 October 1979

Are you ready?

Ready Freddie
This was an egregious omission from the top 100.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
The Lennon anecdote makes sense. Crazy Little Thing is based on the kinds of songs that inspired John to become a musician in the first place.

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
This was an egregious omission from the top 100.
The single was released 5 October 1979 but the studio album that the single originated from was released 30 June 1980 so it wasn't available for Tim's list.

Thomas is one of rock music's all-time great vocalists IMHO. Didn't usually have great material, but he has some nice showcases in (Jefferson) Starship's catalog:

Find Your Way Back
Set the Night to Music
Thomas vocals are really something else and I like Marty Balin.

I saw a karaoke version and I thought, hmmn not terrible but when you hear THIS then compare it to Thomas' version it gives you a greater appreciation.

For the Cars, IMHO Orr laps Ocasek in terms of vocals.  When I was younger I could not tell the difference but now its night and day Orr over Ocasek.

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
How did they come up with this tune?

Joey used to put on a steam kettle and inhale it before concerts to help clear his nasal passages.  One night he burned himself and found himself in the ER where he came up with the title.  The chorus "Nothing to do" and "Nowhere to go," was from a London tour around Christmas when the city was basically shut down so Joey and Dee Dee stayed in their hotel and watched movies. 

Pure punk guitar work on Johnny Ramone's guitar solo where he plays the same note 65 times in a row. 

Marky Ramone's take on this tune:  "We always loved the '60s groups: The Kinks, The Who, The Beatles, The Stones, Dave Clark Five, etcetera. And we loved what was done by The Searchers, a band from the '60s from part of that British Invasion. So we attempted to do our way of doing it, our style, which came out great."

A young Courtney Love is one of the characters in the linked video.

Released September 21, 1978

Miss heard lyric confession.  When I was younger I could never tell what the main lyric was, I thought they were saying  'I wanna be SO HIP', lol.

 
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Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
Sprechgesang (German: expressionist vocal techniques between singing and speaking.

When Jagger sings, "Shmatta, shmatta, shmatta, I can't give it away on 7th Avenue, this town's been wearing tatters," he's making reference to the fashion district of New York City, which is on 7th Avenue. The word "Shmatta" is slang for old, worn clothing. 

Jagger wrote it in the back of a cab, Keith kicked in the guitar work and the line "Sha-doobie."  

Released 29 November 1978

When the album came out the Stones performed live on SNL  It wasn't a great performance and the boys had been drinking backstage.  By the time they got on stage, well...  Mick was all over the place and had an unscripted surprise LIVE TV moment for Ronnie Wood - see the look of 'shock' once Wood realizes what has happened.  

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
The lyrics for the chorus were an afterthought:  "At some point, I realized my lyrics didn't include the words 'My Best Friend's Girl.' So I pulled out the lyrics someone had typed up and added a chorus in the margin in pen: 'She's my best friend's girl/She's my best friend's girl/But she used to be mine.' ...Nothing in that song happened to me personally. I just figured having a girlfriend stolen was probably something that happened to a lot of people." -- Ocasek

The Cars in the late 70 were thee group on the crest of New Wave combining pop-art sophistication with a post-punk delivery.  

The guitar work here is sublime.  Ric Ocasek found a distinctive guitar style on this song that would help define The Cars sound. Their keyboard player, Greg Hawkes, defined it as "clicky eighth notes."

Beatle tidbit:  Cars guitarist Elliot Easton realized he had subconsciously borrowed the riff from the Beatles song "I Will."

This song is so-slick so a tip of the hat has to go to producer Roy Thomas Baker who produced a lot Queen's biggest hits.

Released October 10, 1978

Here she comes. 

What is she wearing?

"nuclear boots" and "drip-dry glove" 

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
“I have my mental breakdowns..." -- Chrissie Hynde on her first US tour

Mystery achievement
Where’s my sandy beach? 
I had my dreams like everybody else
But they’re out of reach


After seven years of banging her head against music industry indifference. Chrissie Hynde found her sandy beach in the form of the Pretenders.

Farndon's driving bass opens as Chrissie moans the melody to an apotheosis crescendo.  

I switched back-and-forth from number-one to four with this song as it contended for the top song.  Magnificent.

Released 27 December 1979 

Your demands are unending
I got no tears on my ice cream, but you know me
I love pretending


 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
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 “And Harry doesn’t mind, if he doesn’t, make the scene. He’s got a daytime job, he’s doing alright, he can play the honky-tonk like anything. Savin’ it up, for Friday night, with the Sultans, we are the Sultans of Swing…”

“Guitar George” and “Harry” are George Young and Harry Vanda, who were guitarists in the band The Easybeats. George Young is Angus Young’s older brother, and Harry and George helped get AC/DC recorded.

How'd Mark get the idea for the song?  Bad bar band braggadocio.  Knopfler was in Ipswich where he saw a mediocre band closing with a sparse uninterested audience when the lead singer for no apparent reason said, "Goodnight and thank you. We are the sultans of swing." Said Knopfler: "When the guys said 'Thank you very much, We are the Sultans of Swing,' there was something really funny about it to me because Sultans, they absolutely weren't. You know they were rather tired little blokes in pullovers."

Famous radio jock Alan Freed played trombone in his band named Sultans of Swing. He is credited with coining the term "Rock and Roll" on his radio show in Cleveland in the early '50s. It is ironic that the lyrics, "They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band, it ain't what they call rock and roll" references the type of band Alan Freed led.

Released 7 October 1978

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
Ron Wood: "That's another one that just came very naturally in the studio. And I slipped into my part and Keith had his going. It may have appeared as though it was planned. We can pick it up today and it will just naturally slip into the groove again with the guitars weaving in a special way. It's quite amazing really. Ever since Keith and I first started to trade licks, it was a very natural thing that, for some unknown reason, if he's playing up high, I'm down low and the other way around. We cross over very naturally. We call it an ancient form of weaving-- which we still are impressed by it to this day. Unexplainable, wonderful things happen with the guitar weaving. There's no plan."

Foreshadowing?  The Chinese ministry of culture ordered The Stones not to play this when they performed there in 2003. It was going to be the first time The Stones played in China, but they canceled because of a respiratory disease that was spreading through the country.

Released September 1978

Esquire did a small article on the meaning of the song where Keith said all interpretations have been wrong because their wasn't any code to break on the songs meaning.

Keith Richards Reveals the Real Meaning Behind "Beast of Burden" That Everyone Got Wrong

“Those who say it’s about one woman in particular, they’ve got it all wrong. We were trying to write for a slightly broader audience than just Anita Pallenberg or Marianne Faithfull. Although that’s not to say they didn’t have some influence in there somewhere. I mean, what’s close by is close by! I’ve always felt it’s one of my best soul songs. It was another strict collaboration between Mick and me. I think I had the first verse—‘I’ll never be your beast of burden’—along with the hook, and we were still working very much in our traditional way: Here’s the idea, here’s the song, now run away and fill it in! Some of the theories surrounding it are very intriguing, but they’re about as divorced from reality as can be. I find it quite amusing that there are people in the world who spend a lot of their time trying to decode something that is, at the end of the day, completely undecodable. I mean, even I’ve forgotten the code!”

 

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