They say slow dancing is a vertical expression of an horizontal intention. I guess no truer thing has been said, and two of my go-to songs (for slow dancing off course!!!) happen to be from R.E.M.
Strange Currencies, taken off the album Monster, was released in 1995. The official music video features Samantha Mathis who was River Phoenix’s girlfriend (and was present) at the time of his death in the Viper Room.
E-Bow The Letter, taken off the album New Adventures In Hi-Fi, was released 1996. The song features backing vocals by Patti Smith, the Godmother of Punk. Lead singer Michael Stipe acknowledges Patti as a great source of inspiration.
And oh! Happy birthday today to bassist Mike Mills.
For the first Monday in a while, I feel great. No hangover, and I went through a whole day at work without itching to wrap my hands around any of my Planning colleagues’ neck.
So it’s back to writing about what I love more than a whole lot of other things. Here’s two icons of the music world who are still alive and kicking, one through mostly clean living (surprisingly rock stars do that?) and one surprisingly through raising hell.
Vocalist Harry Rodger Webb, otherwise known as Cliff Richard (that’s Sir, to you) is 75 years old. After selling 250 million records and a career spanning 50 years, he’s still rocking. But he’s also still single and living a clean life hanging out between homes in Barbados and Portugal.
Guitarist Keith Richards on the other hand who survived 5 drug-related charges in the 60’s and 70’s, falling out of a coconut tree in 2006 (on his head), is now 71. And no doubt he’s still leading the rock star life, hanging out between Weston, Connecticut and a private island in Turks & Caicos.
Being about a quarter century away from reaching this age group, there’s a few things I can aspire to. From Cliff, I’ll take being single and healthy… and looking Posh. From Keith I’ll take the hard living… and an island of my own.
Last week university students across South Africa rose up in protest against a hike in fees for the 2016 academic year.
Barring the few incidents of violence and destruction of property, it was a sight to behold. Never has the government of this country been shaken as much and by mere students, unified across racial, gender, socioeconomic and political divisions.
So frightened were the ruling politicians, that they caved in last Friday and announced a zero percent increase in fees for the next year. This week however, students at some institutions were still not satisfied, and continued protesting, mostly for the complete abolition of fees for tertiary education.
If students could rattle the ANC government this much, imagine what a unified South Africa could do. I think these are troubling times for the fat-cat rulers and their cozy futures doesn’t look so bright any more. Finally the ANC’s disdain for the citizenry has reaped a whole lot of detest.
Meanwhile, one of the embarrassing ineffectual wings of the ANC (the other being the Youth League), The Women’s League has decided this week to march on the Union Buildings to protest the “denigration of the image of President Zuma by so-called artists.” In other words (so they insist) they’re marching to protect the dignity and honor of the President, all because an artist had the foresight temerity to paint a picture of His Loathsomess in an er, uncompromising but accurate position.
These women should be ashamed of themselves. Scratch that. They’re proud supporters of patriarchy after all. Seems it hasn’t occurred to them that you can’t protect the honor of a man who has none.
Oh well, back to the students.
For many people in this country who had given up hope of ever holding this government to account, our young generation have shown quite conclusively that it is possible. Thank you all for coming in from the cold.
Last week passed by as usual. The cataclysmic end of the world as predicted by the snake-oil salesmen was a no-show, as usual.
Recorded predictions for the end of the world from as far back as 66-70 CE by Simon bar Giora of the Essene Sect, to Chris McCann of the eBible Fellowship have come to nought. And it will continue to do so…
Some nitwit such as Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un contrive to start or cause a nuclear war or something equally stupid to cause monumental devastation of the earth. Still, some organisms may survive even that. Otherwise, we’re ended for a natural end probably involving the sun swallowing the earth. Don’t bet on being around to see it though.
But enough about end times. This is the only sort of end that I’m into right now – The Jim Morrison kind. Enjoy. It’s long; about as long as this list of useless predictions for the the end of the world: End Of the World Predictions.
I know some of you think cover versions of songs are a sacrilege. I don’t. I’ve admitted to liking one so much, I think it could challenge the original, namely Pink’s Bohemian Rhapsody (and some might consider me insane for thinking so).
No doubt there are bad covers, but there have been many good ones over the years. This cover of Cypress Hill’s Insane in the Membrane might not please many a purist; indeed it might please no one, but I’m just mad over it. I give you Richard Cheese:
While it was tough listing my top 10 singles, putting together the top 10 albums was less so, although still quite a challenge.
So what makes a great album? I suppose everyone has their own criteria, and a lot of those would be common for many different people. For me, the criteria is pretty simple: it would have to move me so profoundly, that I would never tire of listening to it again and again, over an extended period of time – preferably as long as I still breathe. And, although I find it appealing, album art is not a factor.
It would have been easy to just choose Compilations or Greatest Hits, or even Soundtracks, but I decided I’m having none of that. So here they are in order:
Throwing Copper – Live (1994)
Signing Off – UB40 (1980)
Under The Table And Dreaming – Dave Matthews Band (1993)
10 – Pearl Jam (1991)
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd (1975)*
Scarecrow – John Mellencamp (1985)
Third Stage – Boston (1986)
Razorblade Suitcase – Bush (1996)
Uprising – Bob Marley & The Wailers (1980)
Appetite For Destruction – Guns N’ Roses (1987)
* I was conflicted selecting this Pink Floyd album. I could just as easily replace it with The Final Cut from 1983.
And so we get to 10 albums that didn’t quite make the final cut. In no particular order:
Caught In The Act – Grand Funk Railroad (1975)
Frampton Comes Alive – Peter Frampton (1976)**
China – Vangelis (1979)
Songs For The Deaf – Queens Of The Stone Age (2002)
I can’t begin to tell you how difficult it was choosing my top ten favorite songs.
I’ve lived through nearly five decades of music and have probably listened to every genre there is. Personally I rate the music from the 60’s through to the 90’s very highly. A large part of the songs released thereafter are just mediocre pop, which I mostly shun.
There were far too many songs that I love, which didn’t make the cut. I’ll mention a few later, but here are the ten in reverse order.
Tobbacco Road – Rare Earth (1969)
Do You Feel Like We Do – Peter Frampton (1973)
Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen (1984)
Sweet Child ‘O Mine – Guns ‘N Roses (1987)
Come Out And Play – The Offspring (1994)
N.I.B. – Black Sabbath (1970)
Nothing Else Matters – Metallica (1991)
Ants Marching – Dave Matthews Band (1995)
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd (1975)
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (1975)
I agonized over the next ten, but you can’t fit twenty songs into ten places. These I list in the order of difficulty I had, to discard.
Karma Police – Radiohead (1997)
Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd (1979)
Hyperballad – Bjork (1995)
Black – Pearl Jam (1991)
Sit Down – James (1990)
My Friends – Red Hot Chilli Peppers (1970)
Imagine – John Lennon (1971)
Little Wing – Stevie Ray Vaughan (1991)
More Than A Feeling – Boston (1976)
India/Mountain Time – Joe Bonamassa (2008)
Finally, a special mention for Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien by Edith Piaf and Baby It’s You by The Shirelles which should be here as well, but… Perhaps next week I will rate my top ten albums.