Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special Your Favorite Band/Artist/Song Sucks! Edition

[I first ran this one back in 2009, but after I posted the Ohio Express version of Graham Gouldman's "Sausalito" on Tuesday, it occurred to me that it was newly relevant and might be worthy of revival. As is my wont, I've done some rewriting here and there and added an entry. Just so you don't think I'm a complete slacker asshole. -- S.S.]

Post-Elvis Performer or Performers or Song You've Taken the Most Snark For Liking From Folks Over the Years!!!

Self-explanatory, obviously, and no arbitrary rules whatsoever, you're welcome very much. Basically, if anybody's ever looked at you with an alarmed raised eyebrow when you noted that, oh, the Swans' Filth was the record you'd most like to have played at a memorial service, then this category is for you.

And my totally top of my head Top Four is:

4. The Beach Boys

Not so much these days, of course, given that it's now generally conceded by all who walk upright that Brian Wilson is a genius, the Gershwin of his generation, but the Beach Boys have gone in and out of fashion so many times over the last 50 years that it's hard to keep track. Back in the hippie days, however -- particularly after the whole debacle of Smile -- the attitude in the counter-culture was that you had to be a hopelessly bourgeois square to take them seriously (in this country, at least; the Brits knew better). In any case, at that point being a Beach Boys fan was essentially the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name, and I don't mean Mike.

3. The Guess Who

Seriously, back in the 70s, I can't tell you how often I would mention my fondness for these guys, only to notice that the people I was talking to were moving away, ever so slowly but firmly, from where I sat.

The clip above -- a medley called "Hi, Rockers!" -- is my favorite of several true gems from the band's masterpiece album. The transition from the hilarious beer-soaked barroom meeting of the minds that opens it into the seraphically lovely clavinet-driven "Heaven Only Moved Once" and finally the witty mutant rockabilly revenge number "Don't You Want Me" -- complete with faux Jordanaires harmony vocals -- is, frankly, a marvel to behold, and from where I sit one of the very greatest moments in 70s rock. I'm not kidding about this!!!

2. Procol Harum

These guys, although there's still a perception out there that they were one-hit wonders (hah!), actually get a fair amount of respect -- it's amazing how often I run into people who turn out to be closet fans. So I'm mostly including them here because the luminous NYMary, annotating a piece I'd written about the band in the early 70s for reprint in these precincts, couldn't resist taking a shot at "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (bless her heart). I think the phrase she used was "Dodgiest lyrics ever..."

Naturally enough, then, the clip above is "Repent Walpurgis," an instrumental that remains one of my all-time fave Procol numbers. It's a live version, featuring the classic five piece original lineup with Robin Trower and Matthew Fischer (the latter four decades away from settling his authorship suit over AWSOP) at the Fillmore West on April 11, 1969.

And the numero uno band or song for whom my enthusiasm has gotten me shunned from time to time is obviously --

1. The Four Seasons -- Marlena

The Four Seasons, despite (or perhaps because of) their recent metamorphosis into the inspiration for a world-wide hit musical, remain somewhat less than hep in certain rock critic circles. I, of course, have said on numerous occasions (including here, if memory serves) that their great run of hits -- spanning the period between "Sherry" in 1962 through, say, "I've Got You Under My Skin" five years later -- comprise the purest pop confections in the history of the genre (the grittier class conscious romanticism of "Dawn" and "Rag Doll," and those songs' influence on Bruce Springsteen, is, of course, a subject for another day).

In any case, my advocacy of "Marlena" (which I think is their most profoundly silly accomplishment, and that's meant as a compliment) has gotten me into trouble on a couple of occasions, most notably sometime in the late 70s, when I -- along with twenty or thirty other folks, mostly writers and musicians -- was asked to make a list of our Five All-Time Favorite Songs by New York City rock colossus WNEW-FM (the station then played everybody's lists over the course of an entire day). I don't remember all five songs I picked -- one was The Who's "Glow Girl" -- but I did nominate "Marlena," and I recall that after the deejay ID'd it as one of my choices, I got at least three frantic phone calls from erstwhile friends questioning my sanity. Okay, I exaggerate just a tad, but you get the idea.

In any case, I think history has vindicated my assessment.

Incidentally, the audio clip of "Marlena" above is the original mono single mix, which I was able to find only after great personal effort and considerable financial expense. This is important because most currently available Four Seasons comps have the song in stereo, and as Pete Townshend famously said about The Who's "I Can See For Miles," the mono mix of "Marlena" makes the stereo sound like The Carpenters.

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?


Anonymous said...

it's interesting how perceptions change over time. when AC/DC arrived in the US, they were derided as repetitive and unimaginative. barely a bar band. otoh, there was a time when every issue High Fidelity or Stereo had to have some reference to Trout Mask Replica or We're Only in It for the Money as cultural touchstones. Now that's limited to the Beefheart/Zappa fanboys.

Sal Nunziato said...

The Pet Shop Boys/Dusty Springfield hit "What Have I Done To Deserve This" is what creating a pop single is all about. Massive arrangement, a melody to die for and enough hooks to snag a flounder. Yet, if I have mentioned this tune to 100 people I respect, I've gotten 100 hairy eyeballs, most coming with nary a listen.

And these same people will get on my case because I think "Call me Maybe" is utter crap.

steve simels said...

I quite loathe the PSBs as a rule, but yes--the collaboration with Dusty was great.

Brooklyn Girl, sort of said...

Love the Beach Boys, love the Four Seasons. Always have.

Hall & Oates don't get the respect they deserve, imho. And I know you personally will raise at least one eyebrow, but I have a soft spot for certain songs by the Eagles …. okay, I'll leave now.

Feral said...

As a former horn player I've had a fondness for bands with a brass section and still enjoy Chicago, though I pretty much lost interest in them after V. Still dig some of the riffs that BS&T put out despite some opinions.

And may I take this opportunity to thank you once again for hooking me up in '09 with the download of Rockin'. I've enjoyed it repeatedly since.

Shriner said...

I've taken shit over the years for my love of KISS from friends, former band mates, the general public -- especially in the post-makeup early 80's -- but that's about it.

In high school, I was dumped on by one guy for wearing a Knack T-Shirt, but that was a one-off (though, now that I think about it, "power pop" was an anomaly among my high-school crowd who were into Boston/Zeppelin/The Who/Yes, etc... Classic rock before it was "CLASSIC ROCK"...

And nobody -- beyond my kids -- gets my love of novelty records as a genre, either...

Shriner said...

Oh, and "West End Girls"? STONE COLD CLASSIC.

The rest of the PSB catalog? Couldn't tell you a thing about it...

Shriner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sal Nunziato said...

@Shriner-- I could give you a dozen plus brilliant PSB tunes, but this--

"I quite loathe the PSBs as a rule"

--scared me away.


The Kenosha Kid said...

The Floor Models

Shriner said...

@Sal -- I tried the PSB "Complete Singles Collection" when it came out (1991?). Didn't work for me.

West End Girls, though, is brilliant. Struck a right chord at the right time...

steve simels said...

Incidentally, the Pet Shop Boys are doing an opera -- seriously -- about Alan Turing.

Makes a certain amount of sense, actually. Turing was a genuinely persecuted gay genius, whereas Neil Tennant just thinks he's one too.

Sal Nunziato said...

So actual live examples of the post subject today. Very cool.

Brooklyn Girl, sort of said...

Oh, I assume you don't mean this Beach Boys clip:

Honestly, the thigh-slapping gets me every time. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

At the risk of seeming like I'm engaging in "me, too-ism", I've always loved the Four Seasons. Loved em. Even when I was wearing very funny looking clothes in the 1970's and listening to Keith Jarret's Koln Concert over and over...put on "Walk Like A Man" and I'd become a very happy hippy. Well...a post-hippy. You get the idea.


Anonymous said...

It's never occurred to me in my entire life that "Marlena" was anything but a brilliant song.

Voxtron said...

Queen of Hearts - Juice Newton

Yesterdays Heroes - Bay City

Just When I Needed You Most-Randy Wanwarmer

Stay Awhile-The Bells

steve simels said...

I prefer the John Paul Young version of Yesterday's Hero, but the Rollers version is pretty good....

pete said...

I've only recently discovered early Chicago, which I dismissed out of hand for most of my listening life. Quite a good band in the early going.

But my #1 guilty pleasure has to be Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," with not one but two genius guitar solos from Ed King.

Alzo said...

As a member of the glam and punk rock crowd from way back, I nevertheless have a fondness for 'Jive Talkin' and 'Get Down Tonight.' People who groove to 'Golden Years' have been taken aback by my endorsement of 'You Sexy Thing.' I'm also unapologetic about my love of Buddah bubblegum.

Dave said...

"Love Me for a Reason" The Osmonds. They probably produced the best harmonies of any of the boy bands, but were usually sunk by their material and production. They could have been right at home with Thom Bell and Gamble/Huff. Love this video:

Have to admit I'm not familiar with the Osmonds catalog other than the hit singles, but I'd be shocked if there weren't a few other gems. This was a hit for the contemporary boy band, "Boyzone," but the cover version pales.

Dave F.

Anonymous said...

Steve: regarding your choices:

Where I come from the Beach Boys never really fell completely out of grace. But, I have to admit that when I bought the "Friends" album, Sandy scolded me, rolled her eyes and said they were "over." I think it's a damn fine record even if it's only a meager 25 minutes long. The title track should have been a much bigger hit than it was.

The Guess Who were never sneered at in these parts. I always thought they were a great singles band. And so did everyone else I knew. They were also mucho rockin’ in concert. I was in a lot of people's cars during their heyday and there was scarcely a one which didn't have The Best of The Guess Who 8-Track in the tape box. You must have hung out with some major snobs.

I disagree on Rockin' being their best. I'd give the nod to American Woman or Canned Wheat. The live album's great too.

Odd, isn't it, that even though Rockin' was their most recent album, the band did not perform a single song from it on the Live at the Paramount album. And the re-issue is the complete show. Nada.

You’d think they'd be plugging it. They didn't even play the singles! What rebel punks!:-) I remember seeing them with John Kay in Anaheim that spring and they did do Heartbroken Bopper. But that was the only track I ever heard them do from that record. And I saw the Guess Who about ten times between 1969 [when they opened for Creedence at the Forum] and 1974.

That is, until I saw them at the Greek Theater on a reunion tour with Bachman a month after 911. They did the other single from “Rockin’”, “Guns, Guns, Guns.” They sounded fantastic that night even though they mixed three BTO songs into the set. One of which I was kinda surprised about, “Lookin’ Our For #1.” A minor hit of theirs that I always dug for Randy’s underrated and tasty guitar work.

I thought the security was gonna be ridiculous for that show due to the recent terrorist attack. And it pretty much was. Frisking and wands and the like. But I still smuggled my D-7 and mics in no problem.

The head of security there also did other venues in Los Angeles. He knew me because I went to so many concerts. He also liked the way I looked and dressed. He said so, anyway. The guy smiled and just waved me through. I have a great story about this guy but it will have to wait. If it ever surfaces again.

Also, anyone who pooh-pooh's Procol Harum knows little about intelligent, yet visceral, brilliance in music. See you outside the gates of Cerdes. I’m gonna drop that seventh veil and demand your sweet head.

With regards to the Four Seasons, Marleena was better than the A-Side. But I never was gaga over these guys. I considered them as a throwback to the doo wop era. They produced some great records, nevertheless. Obviously more beloved on the East Coast.

I'll never forget how Frankie Valli boasted about his dick to the nurses when getting prepped for an angioplasty. He was on the other side of the curtain from the party I was with. This was at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. He kept sayin' "That's a beauty, ain't it girls?" I never checked to verify if he was telling a fish story or not. Believe me, I've seen some guys proud over nothing and others bashful over the Cock of the Walk.

Guess I'll get to the ones I've taken shit for over the years tomorrow. Just got in a bit ago from an IPO concert and a couple of parties, followed by steak and scampi on the cheap at Norm's. There's just one more thing I have to do before nodding out.

Vickie Rock - pleasant dreams

John Fowler said...

Given the way that mainstream 80's music is considered, I think that Cyndi Lauper has not gotten the recognition she deserves. I love She's So Unusual even more now than I did at the time. It's true that the final couple of songs on that album fall of in quality, but the rest of it is great. Plus, there's "True Colors" off the followup...

cthulhu said...

Admitting to liking ZZ Top gets me funny looks sometimes until I mention that it's mostly "Tres Hombres" that I listen to. I'm glad that they hit it big in the '80s after paying their dues for many years, but I'll stick with "La Grange" and "Jesus Just Left Chicago" with pride.

But ELO is the band I've gotten the most shit for over the years. Yeah, there are some clunkers in their early and late stuff, but the four-album arc that consists of "Eldorado", "Face the Music", "A New World Record", and "Out of the Blue" is as good as pop gets, especially for the '70s. And they kicked serious ass live! (Bev Bevan is a drummer for the ages...)

Hannes A. Jónsson said...

Heat of the Moment - Asia

Sister Christian - Night Ranger

Crazy Horses - Osmonds

Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield

I Think I Love You - The Partridge Family


Although I gotta admit I've never felt anything even resembling a shame for liking these songs 'cause they're all pretty great. But I have noticed other folks looking funny at me during some shameless moments of air drumming on my behalf.
Also proudly like lots of KISS, Rollers, Sweet, Pat Benatar, etc. etc.

steve simels said...

Hannes --

I've gotten shit for "Jessie's Girl" too.

A song a wiser person than me once described as "OTHELLO with guitars."

John Fowler said...

In general, mainstream 80's is a problem musically. However, there are quite a few one-hit-wonder type songs that were big hits on the radio that I find that I still really like after all these years. Some of this is nostalgia, no doubt, high school-college when I had the most time to invest into music. But I think some of the following are truly great tunes -
first, I'll second 'West End Girls' by the PSBs (although like Shriner, nothing else by them strikes a chord); and 'Jessie's Girl' goes to 11 whenever it shows up on my radio.
She Blinded Me with Science - Thomas Dolby
Perfect Way - Scritti Politti
Dancing With Myself - Billy Idol
Down Under - Men at Work
Wishing - Flock of Seagulls
and even
Mickey - Toni Basil
Pop Muzik - M

some snark is probably deserved, but sorting that out is up to the commenters...

Anonymous said...

RE: the WNEW-FM list.
I remember that STEREO REVIEW did a little column
on it and your participation in it, and you are correct: the WHO's "Glow Girl" was one of your choices. I believe it actually a Top Six rather than a Top Five, and three of the other songs you chose were the CHIFFONS' "One Fine Day", the BEACH BOYS' (there they are again) "Dance, Dance, Dance" and the Pretenders' "Cuban Slide". It's been over 30 years but I'm annoyed with myself that I can't (curses!) remember the other one.

J. Lag

Anonymous said...

The 5th Dimension - Magic Garden LP

Cilla Black - Step Inside Love - which I adore

The Carpenters - Goodbye To Love

Merle Haggard - my dad, whose tastes ran far and wide, gets credit for the exposure. When I was young I was buying Merle's latest 45's along with the Beatles.

Again from my dad's collection I loved Nancy Wilson's "The Nearness of You," and "The Masquerade Is Over."

Blood, Sweat & Tears - "Go Down Gamblin'"

Liking the Hollies got me into trouble with a lot of people as well. They were considered by them as too teeny bopper-bubblegum. "Carrie Anne" comes to mind.

Johnny Rivers

I also got a lot of shit for Loving It to Death. But I really did. Alice Cooper was a great band. And they never forgot the fun.

When I was a senior in the spring of 1973, I got kicked out high school for doing a very "interpretive" dance to "Raped and Freezin'." I did it on top of a work bench in the Wood Shop. A friend convinced me to provide entertainment for the teacher's birthday party. The guys were so responsive that I may have taken it a bit too far during that number.

I took major shit for digging Jessica Harper's "Old Souls" from the Phantom of the Paradise.

The Pussycats also got me in deep with friends. And Abba of course.

I got heat for liking Bowie through Aladdin. And I got it again later when I raved about Station to Station being a great comeback LP.

Roxy Music, especially in the beginning, when they were best.

The Rattles - The Witch

Silver Apples - I only knew three people who would even listen to that.

In the mid-Seventies Sandy and I used to listen to a lot of weird soundtrack stuff, take all kinds of drugs and dabble in things that shouldn't be uttered. Our house was a little too weird for the average Mr. Jones. Can, who I adored at the time, and other Krautrock figured in this phase. I still love that shit, but I think you kinda needed to be there.

Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, Run To Me, Lonely Days

Hawkwind - debut LP. I still play it every Halloween when the kids come a knocking. Between the music, the creepy realistic decorations, the fog machines and the disorienting strobe lights our place scares the shit out of the kiddies. Which they like. Plus we are extremely generous with the candy. You're only young forever, right?

Loggins and Messina got me into trouble with lots of people. I thought they were amazing in craft, no-frills production and live performance. And snooty hopelessly hetero guys, know this: all the really high quality and talented tush was at Beach Boys, Eagles, Three Dog Night, Loggins & Messina, Jackson Browne or Pablo Cruise concerts.

RE: Pete's comments about Skynyrd:

Never be ashamed of liking one of the tightest bands ever. You're right, Ed King is a mother. That solo on Workin' for MCA after the keyboard break is also killer. Did you know that that "genius" Al Kooper wanted to wipe Ed's solos on Sweet Home and re-cut them?? Fuckin' Yankee slicker!

No one should be ashamed of early ZZ Top either. When I was 16 and lied about my age, I used to dance at a club called the Wildcat out in Pomona. One of the girls there was from Texas and had worked at the Chicken Ranch when she was going to school out there. She was a gorgeous blonde and was attending Cal Poly Pomona as a civil engineering major!

She still was working there when ZZ Top came out with the tribute to La Grange on the Tres Hombres album. A hoot. That brothel was already shut down when the song was released.

Vickie Rock - veil for veil

Shelby Lynne tonight. Hope she's good, because when she is she's grrrreat. I once saw her bust an acoustic guitar over one of her band members' head and fire him right on stage. It was an intimate show.

steve simels said...

That sounds right to me, and I'm amazed that you can remember any of the others at all.

Kudos, my friend.

Hannes A. Jónsson said...

Oh, it's a Top SIX then? So lemme add "The Rain, The Park & Other Things" by The Cowsills. A gorgeous piece of something or the other for sure...

Anonymous said...

Grand Funk Railroad - I loved the simple honest blues of "Time Machine," and their version of "Inside Looking Out" was deliciously raw. I loved Schacher's thick fuzzy bass. I liked a few of the songs on "Closer to Home" too, not including "I'm Your Captain," which I always hated. Also, "Bad Time" was a great single. I liked "Responsibilty" too, even if it was a bit cute. And their cover of "Some Kind of Wonderful."

Could never bring myself to buy that album though. The cover was so atrocious. I wouldn't want to be caught dead buying it. Eventually I had my mom buy it for $1.88 when we were shopping at Record Surplus in West L.A. in the late 1980’s. I wanted it for a mix tape. People knew me there. I figured I’d let her buy the he-men along with her stuff.

I also liked early Black Sabbath. I didn’t care what anyone thought.

I had a platonic guy friend who was a snobby college DJ during that time. For 25 years he scolded me viciously for even remotely liking "awful" bands like Grand Funk and Black Sabbath.

Then one day I invited him to lunch at this Italian place with me, Lonesome Dave and Rod Price. I played a homemade compilation tape in the car on the way there. It just so happened that GFR’s "Time Machine" was one of the songs on it. When the song finished playing he turned to me with excitement and said, "Who was that? That's a fuckin' great song!"

I broke the news to him gently but with great glee. His face turned extremely red. I loved it. Rrrreally loved it.

Around a year later, the same guy was with me at Abbey Road, a music distributor in Santa Ana. Both of us had wholesale licenses and were picking our own orders off of the shelves. The staff always had a stereo blaring in the warehouse. On that particular day they were playing the first Sabbath album.

The sequence we heard was the Wizard>Behind the Wall of Sleep>Bassically>N.I.B. It sounded great in that building. Halfway through the last number, my friend walked from one end of the warehouse to the other just to ask me if I knew who that great band was. He liked it so much he wanted buy their album. I told him to sit down and take a deep breath. It was Black Fucking Sabbath. He was mortified and shook his head in disbelief. Twenty-five years of preaching against them and he obviously didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about. It was a sweet moment.

Patti Smith – some people just did not understand. I used this to my advantage. When I had unwanted or uninvited guests and I wanted to get rid of them, Patti was the trick. I’d just cue up “Babelogue / Rock and Roll Nigger” at full volume. By the time Patti had pissed and spewed her seed all over the P.A. they’d get really restless. They’d usually be out the door soon after the first “Baby, baby, baby was a rock and roll nigger.” It was always great when Jehovah’s Witnesses came a-callin’.

Suzi Quatro - 48 Crash - Guys that couldn't keep it up hated it.

A lot of my friends thought King Crimson got too weird. I didn't. Best band ever till Belew joined.

Vickie Rock - Stumblin' In

Rick Derringer and Suzi Quatro should have made babies.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone not like "Jessie's Girl"? It's a great song, period.

Anonymous said...

Ever notice how "Jessie's Girl" bears some small resemblance melodically to aspects of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", which was released about a half a year before?

Neil Giraldo played on both tracks too.

the point is probably moot - Vickie Rock soaring on the 25th floor getting ready to tuck my baby in

side3 said...

Frequent lurker but had to jump in on this one. Here are some of the groups I like that I always feel like I need to explain myself on:

The (Bay City) Rollers

I love the Les McKeown-era singles, but in particular I love the Duncan Faure-era. I think this track is pop goodness (the pictures rarely show the correct lineup) would have made a great mid-70's Hollies track:

Bee Gees

I became musically aware in the late 1970's and hated 'disco'. I dismissed the Bee Gees for 25 years until I really latched on the the pre-1975 stuff (sure I'd heard the singles...but the other stuff is amazing). I learned they'd basically retained the original pop/baroque/lush pop sound through 1973. Much great music to be had. This track was an unreleased track that was on a bonus disc in the box set of the first three international Bee Gees albums:

The worst part of the Bee Gees disco era is that Robin and Maurice were marginalized.

Lastly, Rod Stewart, really I still dont like Rod much past "You Wear It Well"...but The Faces were incredible, especially live.

There are others, but those three jumped out first.

Mark said...

Love Led Zep, but never got Heart.

No great loss, I figure.


Anonymous said...

And then there’s Joey Heatherton. She was what Sandy wanted to be when she grew up. She idolized her. Actually we both did. The bitch had it all. Her sex appeal obliterated gender and orientation.

For us it was the likes of Joey Heatherton, Ann-Margaret, Kam Nelson, Pamela Tiffin, Mimsy Farmer, Jocelyn Lane, Tisha Sterling, Lada Edmund, Jr., and Mary Hughes that we strove to be. Maybe our priorities were fucked up, but we could give a crap about Betty Friedan, Golda Meir, Rachel Carson, Sylvia Plath, Indira Gandhi? Come on! No fuckin’ way! Girls just wanna have fun!

Anyway, the Heatherton album has its moments. She has a unique voice which I dig. Everybody knows the reputable job she did with “Gone.” It’s too bad she never got to do another record. No one seemed to get what Sandy and I heard in this one, and, quite frankly, some of it sucks.

I would have loved to see her work with Chips Moman or Rick Hall. Perhaps they could get her to really open her throat. … That didn’t come out right, did it:-)

You can check out the ups and downs and mostly mediocre here:

And then there’s this

Vickie Rock - enojoy your sundae however you top it

Anonymous said...

Part of the reason I remember most of the songs on your list was that it was one occasion where something that a reviewer liked definitely inspired me to investigate a song. A couple of months later I made a trek to an oldies store in my area to find a copy of "Marlena" on 45, and actually found one. It's still in my collection, a Canadian original on a green REO label (REO had a deal for the VEE-JAY stuff in Canada in the early 60s), with "Candy Girl", which was actually the bigger hit, on the flip side. I still love "Marlena", especially the too-cool "Flirtin' with the guys on the corner" part of the song.

J. Lag

steve simels said...

J. Lag--

Words fail me.

Shriner said...

OK, Steve -- you get mad props for recognizing the awesomeness (and probable rarity at the time) of "Cuban Slide". That and "Porcelain" are two of my favorite Pretenders songs...

Nigel Tufnel said...

I also liked some Grand Funk Railroad, even though they're seen as an overblown arena rock dinosaur now--"We're An American Band" is a great three minute pop tune, but stuff like "Closer to Home" (which my friends back in the day thought was the best evah) gets old after the first minute and then goes on another nine and a half.

Speaking of great three-minute pop tunes, I get grief for liking Rush (and admittedly, a lot of their stuff eludes me), but "Fly By Night" is a well constructed tune with an actual hook and a great middle eight.

Mark said...

I've been thinking about the coverage that Weird Al Yankovic's been receiving of late, and what amazes me most about Al and his new album, MANDATORY FUN (and its associated videos) is how Al is now treated with a kind of critical respect (or acceptance, and regardless of whether you and I like him) that he never achieved before, and he's been around for a long time.

I can't think of another artist of any kind, let alone a parodist like Al, who for many years was instantly dismissable, and at best thought to be a guilty pleasure, who suddenly became ... for lack of a better term ... respectable.

Can you?

Anonymous said...

Squatney Boy:

I agree with you 100 per cent on GFR's "I'm Your Captain." It's even worse in concert. Then you have to listen to thousands of drunken off-key dunderheads join in singing "I'm getting closer to my home," repeatedly for nine minutes as if it was the Apostle's Creed.

Disagree with you on "We're An American Band." I never got off on it. Too much of a teeny bopper anthem. Plus it name checks one of the grodiest groupies of all time.

Didn't these rock bands know there were plenty of fine looking women out there who had the same skill?

They said "Come on dudes, let's get it on."
And we proceeded to tear that hotel down.

Wow! How bitchen! GFR rocks!

As for Rush, I could never get passed that ugly lesbian who played the bass. Her vocals sucked!

Vickie Rock - How do you eat your OREO's?

swboy said...

Well... I admit to liking China Grove by the Doobie Brothers. In spite of silly lyrics, the annoying Patrick Simmons, getting booked too often on Midnight Special, etc. this song rocked. A guilty pleasure for sure.

Remonster said...

OK Boys & Girls here it goes:

Shannon ~ Henry Gross

The Outfield ~ My Paradise

Starz ~ Cherry Baby

The Kings ~ This Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide

Four Winners and not a dud in the bunch! Do I win a date with Vickie Rock?

Voxtron said...

Remonster: Great songs, but I find it hard to believe you would get much ridicule for liking them. Most who would ridicule would have no idea who those songs are by, so how could they have an opinion on the artists?

ESciGuy said...


I'm pretty sure you also had the Stones "Soul Survivor" in your top five (six) -- I definitely remember that "Cuban Slide" and "Glow Girl" were part of the list.

Can you believe we remember tidbits like this from your columns in TMFKASR? I miss it so.


Remonster said...

Hi Voxtron, there is a very logical and rational reason I picked the songs I did. And that reason? I should READ the ENTIRE POST before posting. Furthermore, posting late at night under the influence of say...lets say the full moon, yea, the full moon is the reason I strayed from the format. And too, I was dreaming of what I would do when I got ahold of Vickie Rock! Yea, that's it!

Anonymous said...

Lynn Anderson - Rose Garden - I love this song! - I even went to a November 1972 Nixon Rally at Ontario Airport in California to hear her do it live. She was Tricky Dicky's warm-up act. I was high as a kite on some opiated Thai Stick and had just gobbled up some 4-way Windowpane.

Red Skelton ogled me and my girlfriend Jackie [not Jackie Blue, Jackie Cruise] from his car on the way in. He had his chauffeur stop on the runway so that he could shake our hands and get a better look at us. He asked for our names and phone numbers which I found quite fucking hilarious. Jesus Christ, he musta been sixty and we were seventeen. I told him to go fuck his granddaughter. He called me a little cunt. Flattery got him nowhere. He sped off. Clem Kadiddlehopper was definitely not a notch I wanted to carve into the old bedpost.

Bread - I've Been Too Long On the Road - so finely crafted - great for super artful homecoming blowjobs - I was first chair flute, you know, with perfect pitch - I can hum you a Middle C on request

Spiral Starecase - More Today Than Yesterday - very tasty - check out Vinny Parello's bass drum throughout - bad ass, if indeed, it is him on this track

Stoneground - Total Destruction To Your Mind (Swamp Dogg cover) - from my dancing days at the Wildcat - mid-section drum solo for lots of hip rolling and belly dancing - mostly did this solo, but sometimes with another girl [my blonde friend from the Chicken Ranch]. On top of all the bennies we were popping, we used to each take a hit of orange barrel about an hour before showtime and get lost in our tunes. This one would make us glisten. A real crowd pleaser even though no one knew the tune. Visualize.

Redbone - Come and Get Your Love - another one I danced and vamped to albeit less frenetically - gotta love Lolly's electric sitar and Pat's bass.

Sanford-Townsend Band - Smoke From a Distant Fire - heard it on the radio the other day - forgot about it - pretty good

Van Halen - never cared much for the band but I love the background vocals a lot.

Vickie Rock - one woman train tearin' up the track

Anonymous said...

Van Halen - Why Can't This Be Love

This sounds very cheesy and right out of a rock video but it really happened and may have contributed to me actually liking a VH song.

I had taken the chubby nephew, who no one wanted, to the beach in Malibu. I nicknamed him Donnie Douchebag because it suited him perfectly. He was thirteen and still afraid of the dark. When he rode in my car, he would flap his arm out the window like it was a wing and make accompanying weird noises for the entire trip. Obviously he was a hairless half-inch.

I was trying to teach this pussy to body surf but, not surprisingly, he didn't take to the water very well. At one point he ate it pretty bad and I guess the force of the wave gave him an enema, or something. He ran out of the water with the Hershey Squirts. Every step he took, more shit projected out of his ass and out his trunks. It was soooo Donnie Douchebag!

He even got shit on the beach blanket and ice chest of the people next to us. How does an apology solve that problem? We needed to get the hell out of there and it couldn't be soon enough.

We jetted down the 10 Freeway on the way home. The radio was on and played the new Van Halen single "Why Can't This Be Love?" from their forthcoming album.

As the song began I looked in the lane next to me. There was an auburn haired girl who looked to be about fourteen in the back seat of grandma and grandpa's car. I couldn't believe it, but the sweet young thing was giving me the eye. She was downright nasty.

I gave as good as I got. It sounds totally stupid, but it was pretty thrilling. I actually lowered my top to give her a better view.

When she started licking the peace sign it completely blew me away. Gramps and grandma were oblivious to it all, but they had one naughty granddaughter. I was having a hard time keeping the car in my lane. That little bitch was turning me on.

"Why Can't This Be Love" blasting from the stereo enhanced it all. It was about three minutes of fun and fantasy before we took our exit.

When we pulled onto the off ramp, Donnie Douchebag asked me if I saw that girl checking him out. I couldn't help but laugh at the utter absurdity of that statement.

Vickie Rock - slipping through your fingers

Anonymous said...

I have always loved the first Jo Jo Gunne LP. I took a lot of shit from Spirit purists because of this, but they were idiots. This group never set out to be anything but a rock and roll party band. With the first album they succeeded big time. Not so much afterwards.

I threw a huge party at my dad and mom’s place in March of 1972. My parents have always been the best. When I told them of my intentions, they understood it wouldn’t be cool if they were around. They checked into a hotel in Laguna Beach for a 48 hour flesh session.

I was a junior in high school. Our 18 acre spread in the country was perfect for makin’ a joyful noise without buggin’ the neighbors. This was the second in a long series of parties I threw at this and other locations.

It was never intended to be intimate. I threw parties on a grand scale. They were for the community at large. It involved a lot of planning and promoting. The flyers not only advertized the bands, but dancing by “naked farm girls” and “X-Rated hay rides.” This would insure that I made a few bucks for my efforts, … always nice.

I bought an initial 10 kegs of beer to get things started. I filled a five gallon water cooler with three parts Bacardi and two parts coke for the more sophisticated partiers. I strategically placed upside down peanut butter lids filled with bennies at key locations. I used up a couple jars of whites doing this.

I also lined up three live bands. To finance the bands and booze there was a three dollar cover for guys. Girls were free. By the time this party was over, we had gone through 34 kegs. We depleted the supply within a 30 mile radius.

The Blisters, a high school cover band from Ontario opened and played gratis. Orange County’s, Emperor, was second bill and played for three hundred bucks. They were a popular house band at a venue in Santa Ana called The Clubhouse. Local Berdoo faves, the Justice Brothers, headlined. They featured the guitarist from the Light, Bob Anglin, and Sammy Hagar on lead vox and rhythm guitar.

Sandy and I were both sleeping with the bass player … individually and collectively. He was truly adorable and irresistible. We opened him up to a lot of things that he’d never dreamed. That was the reason the Justice Brothers waived their usual fee for my party.

We played album sides and custom reel-to-reel tapes between sets and band changeovers. My uncle helped me put together a system for the event. It was powered by his McIntosh MC2300 amp [with McIntosh C28 preamp] through my Voice of the Theater A-7’s. Jo Jo Gunne’s self-titled debut Side One got a lot of plays that night and it received a hell of a response for an album that had just recently been released. Deservedly so. It was the perfect music for the occasion. Fun, carefree and unpretentious.

Thousands showed up for these things. All the action was outdoors. Unless you were on my elite list. Then you could enjoy the absolute debauchery which occurred in the house. County Sheriffs usually showed up around 1:30AM with riot gear and bullhorns wanting to talk to the person who lived there.

I was always friendly and wore something low cut when I spoke with them. The main guy would smile in amazement as he counted the number of empty kegs which were stacked like a pyramid of cannonballs on our large front porch.

They’d wait till 2:00AM and disperse the party. Usually there was no trouble. It was a different time. The risk managers hadn’t taken over yet.

The decadence inside the house continued. With daylight we saw the horrible mess we needed to clean up. A sobering reality.

To this day I run into people I don’t know from Adam in the supermarket. They only remember me as the one who was involved with those hundreds of parties at various Southern California locations between 1971 to 1982. They always have an ear to ear smile and memories of minds blown and virginity lost. Most agree that you’d never get away with that kinda shit now.

Vickie Rock – hostess with the moistest

P.S. Wow! Saw “Some Girls” a burlesque tribute to the Stones Saturday night. Hot Stuff.

Anonymous said...

Thunder Island - Part 1

The "Thunder Island" single was another Jay Ferguson pop-rock effort I took heat for liking. To me it’s as wonderful and welcome as an embracing westerly breeze coming in off the Pacific Ocean. It’s a joyous confection which I never mind hearing or playing. I can feel and smell those waves break and crash with each measure. It’s a well crafted three minute single with superb backing vocals. Joe Walsh’s instantly recognizable slide guitar gives it balls of the most savory flavor.

As far as I know, "Thunder Island" is a fictional place used as a universal locale for a good old Tarzan and Jane fling. Naturally, it is fondly remembered by its singer who pines for the return of that ideal scenario. “Sha la la la la la my lady. In the sun with your dress undone…”

Setting and sex have always been important to me. This was especially true in my younger years. I wanted to make every liaison a new and wonderful adventure. I wanted to live out any particular fantasy that struck my lustful fancy. Being an outdoorsy type, I loved doing it in nature. It was so much more animal and romantic. While certainly not explicit, “Thunder Island” struck that chord in me.

In August of 1977, when out on the town with Sandy and another girl named Jackie Cruze [aka Jackie Cruise], we happened upon a bar housed in a building made from stones. This was somewhere between Claremont and Montclair out on Route 66. It had an odd assortment of clientele. A mixture of Vagos MC members, professors, artistic types and underage students. And they had a damn good jukebox.

The three of us walked into the bar specifically looking for action. Damn if we didn’t instantly lay our eyes on three strapping guys sitting at a table with a pitcher of beer. It was perfect. Going into this place on a lark must have been predestined.

I winked at Sandy as we pulled up chairs with these guys. They looked like they needed something better to do. I was already scoping them out closely to see which one I preferred. So were the other girls.

I whispered in Sandy’s ear that I was gonna take the one with light brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes. The other two girls took a bathroom break and settled over the others. We didn’t waste much time. I took my guy home in my convertible. Sandy and Jackie took off with the other two.

Unexpectedly, I ended up having a fling with this guy. He turned out to be pretty interesting and intelligent with a twisted sense of humor. He was still a student at Chico State, one of the biggest party schools in California, and would be heading back after Labor Day. Purrfect! By the time I got sick of him, he’d be leaving. We had a couple of fabulous weeks together.

We had great chemistry in and out of the sack. I gave that fucker some serious schooling during our time together. He didn’t mind me being the one in charge and quickly learned to enjoy my artistry with the whip. What better way to teach the Golden Rule.

The guy Sandy went home with was a cement truck driver with a Bachelors degree in Computer Science. He was engaged to be married in the next couple of months. Even so, he spent the following week reaching sexual nirvana at her place. He told his fiancé that he was backpacking in the Sequoias with the guy who was with me. Oh what a tangled web!

Jackie didn’t fare so well. The Toyota mechanic she was with took her out to Puddingstone Lake. They spread a blanket on the grass next to the water. The guy couldn’t perform. Whiskey dick, or something. He tried to be considerate but his cunnilingus skills were very poor. Imagine having a girl looking at her watch and asking you to take her home when you’re clumsily going down on her.

Jackie was the undisputed Queen. She did not suffer inept lovers. There were no second chances.

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Thunder Island - Part 2

Sandy and I had planned a trip to Catalina Island as a romantic getaway for the two of us. After meeting these guys, we decided to include them in our plans. As it turned out, Sandy and I hardly saw each other on that trip. We both paired off with our guys and fucked all over the island.

As I said, I love doing the deed in a natural setting. I love to bone outside during a hot summer rain. On the west coast we get this August monsoon condition. When those clouds open up, I wanna be under them. I wanna feel that heavenly life force pour all over my naked flesh while I’m inundated with my lover’s cock. It’s one of my faves and I seldom let an August rain go to waste. Catalina Island was no exception.

During the time I was with my Chico State fling, we went to one of those big stadium concerts. It was at the Big A and Lynyrd Skynyrd was the headliner. This was not long before the plane crash. Sandy and Jackie went as a couple and joined us on the field.

The guy Sandy had her fling with took his fiancé to the gig. When his fiance recognized my boyfriend, they came and sat by us. It was kind of funny and awkward. The guy Sandy had been boning was super paranoid that he would be exposed.

Fuck that. His betrothed had a voice ten times more annoying than Fran Drescher. She was one of those people who were totally into botany. She was actually showing us pictures of different species of yucca like we gave a fuckin’ shit. And pictures of cupcakes she had recently made! Noooooo! I wanted to strangle her. And she didn’t get high.

She was punishment enough for her unfaithful fiance. A total prude. You should have seen the way she reacted when Sandy and Jackie started making out in the grass. Granted, this was 1977 and public displays of same sex affection were not that common, especially in Orange County. Nevertheless, Sandy and Jackie made a gorgeous pair. Oh well, at least it made the boring bitch leave our area.

By the time the show was over, my guy and me had peaked and come down from mushrooms. As we were gathering up our blankets and such, Sandy and Jackie offered us some of their King Tut blotter acid. We accepted. I put it inside the cellophane of my cigarette pack for later use.

When we got to the ‘66 Skylark convertible in the stadium parking lot, we placed our blankets in the trunk where we had some beer on ice. We each grabbed a pair of Michelob bottles from the chest. They’d been in there so long the labels were falling off. They were frosty and just what the doctor ordered after a long afternoon in the blazing sun. We each guzzled a beer while we took the top down on the car. I can honestly say that it was one of the best beers I’ve ever had in my life. It really quenched our Mojave’s.

That Skylark was one of my dad’s cars. Almost all of his cars got custom pearl black paint jobs. This one, however, was navy blue and had a 401 in it. I think it’s the only convertible he ever had as a project.

The traffic going out of the stadium was a nightmare. We elected to sit in the car a while and enjoy the setting sun, some music, Thai stick smeared with honey oil, and ourselves. Chico State turned the radio on to KMET and Styx’s “Grand Illusion” came blaring out. The last thing we wanted to hear was that “Broadway masquerading as rock ‘n’ roll” B.S. I told him to reach for one of my custom homemade cassettes. The lead off Mink DeVille tracks met both of our approvals.

He did the Cadillac Walk and the Spanish Stroll with the Venus of Avenue D, as we smoked a terrific jay and chased it with icy Michelob and lusty French kisses. Chico State was the Nazz. What little I knew about him was all superb. If seven was heaven then he was great. We had to continue this perfect day, indefinitely.

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Thunder Island - Part 3

I suggested we go to Hollywood since I was familiar with the nightlife and loved it there. I told him we could go to the Rainbow and grab dinner and then maybe go see another rock show. Perhaps a movie.

In those days I never planned anything when going to Hollywood. Hollywood was the plan! I’d just go and something would be happening somewhere. I’d play it by ear.

Chico State was elatedly up for it. We exchanged some more gems of kisses. Attending the concert had been the longest span of time that we had gone without sex since meeting each other. We were both hungry for a little.

Before leaving the Big A, I placed the four hits of the acid on my tongue. I French kissed him and sensually slipped two of them into his mouth. The marvelous opening guitar riff from the title track of Jay Ferguson’s latest LP joyously unlocked our love.

The way I figured, we’d be starting to come on to the buzz around the time we arrived in Hollywood. It would be absolutely perfect! Sunset Boulevard was meant to be experienced through enlivened eyes and minds. I couldn’t wait to bathe in the multi-sensual experience brought on by the stuff of the Eleusinian Mysteries. A poolside room at the Sunset Plaza Hotel awaited our telepathic sex and ecstatic revelry.

But we had a little leeway. I tied back my long brown hair and freed my tempting tits. I leaned in and kissed him tenderly as I unzipped and unleashed his marvelous manbone. Jay Ferguson’s “Thunder Island” was still ringing from the speakers: “Sha la la la la la my lady – In the sun with your dress undone.” I remembered our lusty Catalina trip and felt my juices begin to flow. I whispered in his ear asking him if he was ready for his oral exam.

Vickie Rock

P.S. When we went to Hollywood, we ended up seeing the Runaways and the Weirdos at the Whisky. It was the first time I had seen the band without Cherie or Jackie Fucks.

Anonymous said...

Mine was in college in the late 70s I was into Jose Feliciano especially his Alive Alive o! album. My favorite was "La Entrada de Bibao" still love the version. Would ge wierd looks if I mentioed it or tried to play it for someone. Just not what cool people who hated disco were into at the time.