How’d they get away with this one?

31 07 2009

Since they broke big in 1994, Oasis has never been able to escape a rap that they, truth be told, played to the hilt: stealing from the Beatles.  I’ve got all of Oasis’ stuff, save a few of the b-sides and remixes from the Dig Out Your Soul, and I tend to think the Beatles-Oasis thing is way overstated and isn’t very accurate.

A rap that I think the Gallagher brothers deserve, but haven’t really gotten in the music press, is that they’ve pinched a fair amount of material from the Rolling Stones.  One huge is example is “Whatever,” a song that’s a blatant rip-off of the Rolling Stones’ “I’m Free.”  You might remember that “I’m Free,” a Stones b-side, was a huge hit for the Soup Dragons back in the early 90’s.

Here are the songs.  Compare them yourselves.

Sure, Noel took the tune in a slightly different direction, but unabashedly stole the lyrics if not the spirit of the song.  The tune’s similar enough to catch the influence.

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“All Summer Long” the anthem for the State of Michigan?

31 07 2009

Has Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” yet been named the official song for the State of Michigan? It’s only a matter of time.

Kid Rock is, no doubt, the highest profile Michigander in the entertainment world today.  Sure, Madonna’s a bigger star, but she doesn’t readily admit to being from our great state.  To hear her talk, you’d think she was born and raised near London, England.  Kid’s different.  He promotes Detroit and the State of Michigan whenever her gets a chance.  He’s proud of where he comes from, too.

The song’s also about a summer spent in “northern Michigan.”  I hear told that in bars in that part of the state, everyone yells “It was summertime in northern Michigan” when that part of the song plays on the jukebox.

It’s not exactly my favorite song.  But it’s still very popular around these parts.  I can almost invision some cornball politician bringing a bill before the state legislature to recognize the song.  Politicians these days like to pretend that they are hip and cool and that they dig rock n’ roll.

Whatever the case may be, I do appreciate Kid’s love for his hometown and his home state.  Cheers to you, Bobby.





15 Songs

27 07 2009

There’s a fun little game going around on Facebook called “15 Songs.”  At least among my friends there it starting to make the rounds.  It’s very simple.  You just set your MP3 player to shuffle and see which songs take the first 15 slots of your playlist.  Here’s what my work PC came up with this morning.

1. Frosty the Snowman — Beach Boys. Oh Lord. How did that get on here?

2. Jeremiah Surrender — The Black Crowes. This one must be a b-side or demo.

3. The Song Remains the Same — Led Zeppelin

4. I’m Waiting For the Day — Brian Wilson, from Pet Sounds Live

5. Moonshine — Dennis Wilson, from Pacific Ocean Blue

6. I Can’t Get Next to You — Mongo Santamaria, from the What It Is funk/groove collection

7. I’m So Tired — Beatles studio rehearsal bit sung by Paul McCartney, not John Lennon. Rare bootleg.

8. Imagine — John Lennon

9. Video — Ben Folds Five

10. You Could Have it So Much Better — Franz Ferdinand, from Franz Ferdinand

11. Soul Stew — Moby Grape, from Moby Grape ’69

12. I Paid My Money — Fear of Pop (Ben Folds’ late 90’s solo side project)

13. Spanish Castle Magic — Jimi Hendrix, from Axis Bold as Love

14. Mull of Kintyre — Paul McCartney

15. Secret Friend — Paul McCartney, from McCartney II





Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon dead at age 64

20 07 2009

Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon, the British Invasion duo that had a handful of hits with Lennon-McCartney songs in the mid-60s, died last Friday in Connecticut, apparently of heart failure.

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Michael Jackson’s infamous Pepsi commercial accident video made public

16 07 2009

Most of you Gen X-ers will remember that in 1984, while shooting a Pepsi commercial, Michael Jackon’s hair caught on fire.  It was big news at the time; obviously unfortunate and scary for Mr. Jackson.

Take 6 of the shoot, in which MJ’s hair caught fire, has surfaced and can be seen here.





Rock and Roll Hall of Sham

15 07 2009

I’m not one to begrudge another’s success or acclaim.  I think people need to be recognized for the things they do, big and small, that enrich the lives other others.

Yet, I don’t understand how some artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were inducted.  Perhaps it seems harsh to question it, but I think that honor should be extended only to the “best of the best,” if you will.  There are artists in the Hall of Fame who, to me, are real headscratchers.  “How in the hell did he get in?” I’ve found myself asking on a number of occasions.

First, and very generally, I’ve never cared for the induction of R &B and hip hop artists in the hall because, to me, those styles aren’t strictly “rock and roll.”  I get that rock and roll’s roots are in the blues (as well as country and gospel, both white and black), so I can understand how BB King and Muddy Waters were inducted.  I’m just not sure that later acts like the O’Jays, that were strictly R&B or even disco, should be in the hall.  I understand that the R&R Hall of Fame committee members have a broader definition of “rock and roll” than me, but I take issue with that.

Second, I’ve noticed that some marginally successful artists have been inducted.  Take Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, for instance.  I have been unable to find any evidence that the Teenagers ever scored anything higher in than a #6 hit on the Billboard charts.   After that, they only had a handful of top 100 songs.  Apparently, Frankie and the Teenagers were inducted because their sound influenced Berry Gordy and Motown.  Fine, so the Teenagers should have gone into the hall as “early influences,” not as “performers.”  Chubby Checker “inspired” a bunch of people to dance and helped introduce the word “twist” into the title of dozens of pop songs in the 1950s and 1960s.  Surely, therefore, he must be bound for the hall.

While dullards like The Righteous Brothers and rappers like Grand Master Flash clog up space in the hall, Marc Bolan and T. Rex are on the outside looking in (figuratively, of course.)  Marc doesn’t even seem to be able to benefit from having passed on at an early age.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a pretty cool place and a fascinating institution.  I just wish it would make up it mind what it wants to be and whether sustained excellence is a criteria for induction.  Enough with the one hit wonders and jazz artists.  Please.





Cocktails in the blue, red and grey

12 07 2009

I just watched a gorgeous sunset over West Bay in Traverse City, Michigan.  The wat is a shimmering blue-gold-orange-white.  The waves lapping the sandy beach bring the kind of peace that’s hard to experience in the grind of daily life.

I don’t think a song has ever captured better what I’m looking at right now than “Blue, Red & Grey,” from the Who By Numbers.