Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to our nation's capital. It seems the Antiques Roadshow folks will be in town, and I'm taking my dear friend Senator Larry Craig's autographed Tom of Finland posters over to be appraised. So posting by moi will necessarily be sporadic for a few days until we return.
In the meantime, here's a little brain teaser for you all:
Best Pop/Rock Band/Artist Whose Records are in a Language Not Their Own -- Usually (But Not Necessarily) English!!!
(Wow, I think that's the longest headline for one of these things yet).
Okay -- my totally top of my head Top Six.
6. ABBA [Sweden] -- Incomparable pop confections rendered with endearingly goofy accents. (My skinny tie band used to do a killer cover of their SOS -- unaccented, of course).
5. The Outsiders [Holland] -- An amazing band who by rights should be mentioned in the same breath as the Stones or Byrds. Absolutely world class stuff.
4. Los Bravos [Spain] -- Their "Black is Black" sounds just like Gene Pitney -- who knew they were Latins? (Oh wait -- according to Wiki, the lead singer was German. Weirder by the minute).
3. Laibach [Slovenia] -- Politico/conceptual weirdo provocateurs extraordinaire. Their Sympathy for the Devil album consists of seven different deeply distrubing/annoying versions of the Stones song.
2. Magma [France] -- These guys invented their own language for a series of prog-rock concept albums about outer space. Some people actually like them, I'm told, including the always perverse Johnny Rotten.
and last (and obviously) not least --
1. Shocking Blue [Holland]
I really love these guys, and not just because lead singer Mariska Veres (who died last year, alas) had the cuts-like-a-knife vocal moves of Grace Slick as well as a rather smoldering sex appeal (she was a full blooded Gypsy, actually). More important, guitarist/songwriter/producer Robbie van Leeuwen was a gifted pop craftsman with a real ear for the three minute pop single; it's no accident that World's Greatest Rock Critic Greil Marcus was an early fan, as was Kurt Cobain (Nirvana covered SB's "Love Buzz" on their very first album). If you're curious about them, there's a terrific two CD set which collects all their singles (A and B sides) and I highly recommend it.
Incidentally, just about every note they ever recorded is currently available on import CDs -- with the notable exception of their 1973 "Live in Japan" album, which I've been trying to hear now for three decades without success. If any of our Dutch readers cares to burn me a copy, I''ll be their best friend forever.
Anyway -- who's your choice?