Friday, January 02, 2009

Weekend Listomania (Special You Can't Get There From Here Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manual catharsis worker social secretary Fah Lo Suee and I are off to...well, I can't tell you where, exactly, but let's just say it involves a hotel suite in Beverly Hills, two leggy blondes, a dog that looks like the one in Marley and Me, and a film crew.

In any case, as a result, posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days.

But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:


Je repete -- the song has to specifically use the word "road" or "street." Similarly themed songs with the words "avenue," "boulevard," "highway," or any thoroughfare that isn't a "road" or a "street" are right fricking out.

Are we clear on that, fans of "Expressway to Your Heart"?

Okay, that said, here's my totally top of my head Top Seven.

7. The Ballad of Thunder Road -- Robert Mitchum

From the movie of the same name, and an obvious influence on some kid from Jersey. Written by Mitchum and the great Don Raye, who also wrote ---

6. Down the Road Apiece -- The Rolling Stones

Mick and the boys got it from the hit version by Amos Milburn, but I actually think this is even better -- in fact pretty much the best of all their Chuck Berry style rockers. Keith's phrasing on the solos is beyond brilliant, and Charlie swings like nobody's business.

5. Road to Nowhere -- Talking Heads

You know, I really like this song, and I think the Heads were great, but does anybody remember that point in the 80s when David Byrne was being seriously discussed as one of the most important composers of the 20th century? Man, that was irksome.

4. South Street -- The Orlons

Where all the hippies meet, of course. And where the dancing is elite.

3. Street Hassle -- Lou Reed

From Lou's comedy album of the same name.

2. Thunder Road -- Bruce Springsteen

All things considered, if I had to pick one Bruce song for the proverbial desert island, I think this is it. It's been three plus decades since the first time I heard it, and when the drums and guitars come in I still get all wobbly.

And the number one coolest song about that long lonesome highway (not using that word, of course) is obviously -- and I mean, blindingly obviously --

1. Backstreet Girl -- The Rolling Stones

Their prettiest ballad and also probably the most morally reprehensible, which is kind of the point. Featuring the great Brian Jones as the coolest French bistro accordion and recorder player of all time. Incidentally, my actual number one choice was going to be the MC5's "Shakin' Street," but I couldn't find a decent video version.

Awrighty, then -- and what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania (theme: post-John Ford westerns) is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could find your way over there to leave a comment, it would get me really in good with management. Thanks.]


Anonymous said...

Well, when in full "High Fidelity" mode (aka three beers) I ALWAYS say that "Dark End of the Street" is the Greatest Fucking Song Ever Written, so I've got to lead with that. Janes Carr ONLY. Accept no substitutes!

Also -
"Shakin' Street" - MC5
"Down on the Street" - Stooges
"Copperhead Road" - Steve Earle
"The Road Goes On Forever" - (Written by Robert Earl Keene, but I prefer Joe Ely's Version...)
"Thayer Street" - Dogmatics (forgotten Beantown homeboys.)
"Streets of Fire" - Brooce
"Backstreet Slide" - Richard & Linda Thompson
"Positively 4th Street" - Zimmy
"Country Roads (Take Me Home)" - Toots & The Maytals (yes, it is the John Denver song...)
Prolly more, but ebuff of my yappin'. - bill buckner

Anonymous said...

One More: It's a goddamned sin for me to have omitted "I'm a Road Runner" by Mr. Bo Diddley. RIP...

Anonymous said...

"Tobacco Road" - Nashville Teens
"Where The Streets Have No Name" - U2
"Dancin' in the Streets" - Martha and the Vandellas
"Street Fighting Man" - Stones
"Out On The Street" - Bruce
"52nd Street" - Billy Joel
"Dead End Street" - Kinks

steve simels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

And how could I forget this one?

"The Long and Winding Road" - Beatles

Anonymous said...

Buffalo Springfield: Hot Dusty Roads
Donald Fagan: Green Flower Street
Pretenders: Middle of the Road

Anonymous said...

The Road - The Kinks
Respectable Street - XTC (don't they realize?)
In The Street - Big Star
Love Is A Long Road - Tom Petty

Alex said...

"Roads Girdle the Globe" by XTC (just cause Mike already mentioned "Respectable Street")

"Dark End of the Street" by Don Dixon (or any other version)

"Road Runner" by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers

Dave said...

"Road Runner" by JR and the Modern Lovers

"The End Of Our Road" by Gladys Knight & the Pips

"Dead End Street" by Lou Rawls.

I actually think there are more good ones for other types of thoroughfares.

Anonymous said...

David Ackles - The Road to Cairo
Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street
S&G - The 59th Street Bridge Song
Springsteen - Out in the Street

TJWood said...

A few relatively forgotten ones:

"Street In The City"--from the old Pete Townshend/Ronnie Lane album,Rough Mix

"The Road"--Jackson Browne, from Running on Empty. A song of the same name by the Kinks has already been mentioned

"Back on The Street"--Utopia, from Oops!Wrong Planet

MBowen said...

Lindsay Buckingham - "Holiday Road" (annoyingly, this isn't available from iTunes or Amazon)

Nick Drake - "Road" (one of my favorites from Pink Moon)

Bob Dylan - "On The Road Again" (one of his funniest)

The Individuals - "Swimming In The Streets" (from this year's best reissue)

The Loud Family - "Hyde Street Virgins" (one of their poppiest numbers)

James McMurtry - "Fire Line Road" (from this year's Just Us Kids, a cheerful ditty about incest and meth abuse)

Roger Miller - "King of the Road" (this guy was one of the great songwriters)

Richard & Linda Thompson - "Streets of Paradise" (another slow-burner in the vein of "Calvary Cross")

Unknown said...

yea dogmatics!

and i'm loving those 'street hassle' strings right now...

steve simels said...

Dave said...

"The End Of Our Road" by Gladys Knight & the Pips

I'd totally forgotten that one, which may be, on balance, the single toughest record Motown ever made.


Anonymous said...

I have to second Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road." Great story, strong vocals and an arrangement that has a little drama and a little Irish built right in.

Love "Thunder Road," but I prefer the live version. Softer and slowed down, there's an eerie portent to it.

Emmylou Harris' "Lonely Street" is a great track as is her cover of Springsteen's "Racing in the Streets."

On his "Far from Enough" album, Viktor Krauss (Alison's bro) has an atmospheric track titled, "Side Street" that's just virtuoso stuff.

And, finally, (whew), I have to add The Byrds' cover of "Positively Fourth Street." That's some powerful Dylan at his meanest.

David Rasmussen said...

Backstreet Girl is a great song, exactly my pick.

"Road to Nowhere" is not a song I particularly like, though Talking Heads are probably my favorite band ever and I think of David Byrne [plus John Lennon and Ray Davies] as one of the top musician, performer, lyricist entertainers of the 20th Century. (I understand if this comment is considered irksome.)

Anonymous said...

"The End Of Our Road"

I like Marvin Gaye's cover of it a little better, Steve. Man could work a song and he wore that one out. Only time he let down was when the material was weak.

Anonymous said...

Branching out from titles to lyrics...

Won't Get Fooled Again ("We'll be fighting in the streets") - the original studio version from Who's Next is fantastic, but sometimes I prefer the acoustic version from The Secret Policeman's Ball - never released on CD to my knowledge, more's the pity. Saw Townshend perform this song live acoustic in a 500-seat venue in La Jolla in 2001; a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Dust Radio, the late and very lamented Chris Whitley, from his debut Living With The Law - "my secret Jesus and the Good Red Road".

Anonymous said...

Ah, that Bruce sure does love the blacktop ...

"Streets of Fire" and "Racing in the Streets"

And now, for something completely different!

"Sunny Goodge Street" - Donovan (although Judy Collins did the definitive version)

geor3ge said...

All this Lou Reed and no one mentions "Dirty Boulevard"?

Libby Spencer said...

Damn. I forgot to go back and hazard a second guess so I could the no prize on Wed. Anyway, most of mine have been taken. I'd agree on the first comment about the Dark End of the Street although I thought it On the Dark Side of the Street.

I think the only one I see missing here is Down on Main Street. I forget who did that.

Libby Spencer said...

Damn this game is like an earworm. I can't stop thinking about it all day. I remembered a few more that haven't been mentioned yet.

Ease on Down the Road - from the Wiz

Bleeker St - Simon and Garfunkel

Hit the Road Jack - don't recall who did that.

Roadhouse Blues - the Doors

Down the Road - Marcia Ball

Love Street - The Doors

Libby Spencer said...

Oh, and King of the Road by that goofy country singer. Was his name Roger something? It started out with the lyrics: Trailer for sale or rent, rooms to let, fifty cents.

Anonymous said...

as is her cover of Springsteen's "Racing in the Streets."

OMG - Emmylou's version of that on "Last Date" just kills me. And who plays rhythm guitar on that album? Steve's hero Barry Tashian. See how neatly is all falls together? :)
There are NO bad versions of "Racing in the Streets." Mr. Earle does it live from time to time, too..

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Watch out for those big city streets ladies and gents!

Gram Parsons – Streets of Baltimore

Kinks – And everybody said that she knew no sin and did no wrong till she walked the streets of the big black smoke

And in Bobland,

Mbowen said
Bob Dylan - "On The Road Again" (one of his funniest)
megisi said...
"Positively Fourth Street." That's some powerful Dylan at his meanest.
“Talking WWIII Blues” (one of his wisest) (I said that): I got into the driver's seat and I drove down 42nd Street. In my Cadillac.

TJWood said...

Libby Spencer:

Down on Main Street--That's probably the Bob Seger song "Main Street" you're thinking of

Hit The Road, Jack--done by Ray Charles

King of the Road--done by Roger Miller (the goofy country singer, not the Roger Miller from Mission of Burma)

Anonymous said...

"Shakedown Street" - Dead (although by then they were starting to bore me)

"Every Day is a Winding Road" - Sheryl Crow

dave™© said...

No one's mentioned "Honkin' Down the Highway" by Brian Wilson off the "Beach Boys Love You" elpee?

dave™© said...

There's also a great Tower of Power song called "Back on the Streets Again" - on "East Bay Grease"...

dave™© said...

As for the Dead, I think I'd pick "Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad" over "Shakedown Street"...

Wendy said...

As for the Dead, I think I'd pick "Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad" over "Shakedown Street"...

Good call! I forgot that one, I guess because it's always linked in my mind with "Not Fade Away" ...

Libby Spencer said...

Thanks TJ for filling in my blanks. Let me add one last song that I really like, Sycamore Street by William Topley.

Off my favorite album of his.

preznit said...

for a couple written in this century:

Steve Goldberg and the Arch Enemies- The Road

Magnetic Fields- Long Vermont Roads, When the Open Road is Closing In and When My Boy Walks Down the Street

Holiday Flyer- Clover Valley Road

Pipas- Wells Street

Myra Holder- Four Mile Road

Chris Stamey- McCauley Street

TMBG- Road Movie to Berlin

and a couple of repeats from an earlier thread in a similar vein

Heavenly- Escort Crash on Marston Street

Mitch Easter- One and a Half Way Street

steve simels said...

preznit said...
for a couple written in this century:

Thank you. Now that I don't have the Smashing Pumpkins to fall back on...

Anonymous said...

Why don't we do it in the road?

The Beatles.

Polar said...

Truckin' - Grateful Dead
Telegraph Road - Dire Straits
Farm on the Freeway - Jethro Tull

TMink said...

Wow. Lots of great tunes and comments. I think the awesome thing about David Byrne is the way he took non-romantic songwriting and made it mainstream. People like William Burroughs had done similar things with language, but the beat work, for all its influence, was not really very commercial. DAvid and the guys made that music accesible and danceable. More songs about buildings and food indeed.


Noam Sane said...

Did a vehicle come from somewhere up there?
Just to land in the Andes?
Was it round, and did it have, a motor?
Or was it something different?

Frank Zappa - Inca Roads

Anonymous said...

People like William Burroughs had done similar things with language...

Jesus, I read that as "similar things with luggage" ... time for an eye check-up