Mash-up masterpieces

21 07 2013

My friend put together a pretty slick mash-up, So Whatcha Want (Beastie Boys) and Always On the Run (Lenny Kravitz.)  That got me interested — again — in mash-ups.  Here are some cool ones.  Some are almost great songs in their own right.  Some make you giggle.  But they’re all cool in their own way.

I can’t forget Dread Zeppelin.  They were probably the pioneer mash-up band

 





The messenger god

6 09 2011

The Roman god, Mercury, was believed to be the patron of travelers, merchant (god of commerce), rogues and thieves, as well as the wind deity.  He was the messenger god, moving swiftly from place to place.  To be “mercurial” is to be volatile, unstable, fickle, flighty and erratic.

Today is the 65th birthday of one of rock and roll’s most beloved performers, the former Farrokh Bulsara, who took the stage name Freddie Mercury.  He helped form the mold of the rock and roll frontman of the 70’s and 80’s, and wrote some of rock and roll’s classic hits of Queen’s era.

In thinking about his life and impact, I wondered if there was a connection between his stage name and his personality, at least as he saw it.  Maybe it was as simple as picking a cool name.  There is certainly evidence that his personal life had its fair share of volatility and instability.  To those fans that loved his music most, he was certainly a rock god.

I don’t consider myself much of a Queen fan.  I have an album or two.  I like a lot of their songs; hardly listen them, though.

But, as real guitar-driven rock and roll seems to continue its steady decline toward extinction, the appeal of bands like Queen (along with AC/DC and the mammoth Led Zeppelin) becomes more and more apparent.  If you’re a rock fan, you can’t help but notice the absence of guys like Freddie Mercury.  It’s hard to beat songs like this.

 





Best of Angus

12 11 2010

Growing up I was always an Eddie Van Halen fan, almost to the exclusion of all the other 70’s and 80’s supposed guitar gods.  I was particularly unimpressed, back in those days, with Angus Young.  I found him kind of boring.  I think I measured a guitarist by his ability to solo and I don’t think that’s ever been Angus’s strong suit.

20-something years later, though, I see his work in a different light.  Angus wrote some of the greatest rock guitar riffs ever.  They’re relatively simple in construction, but powerful.  It’s hard to match the sound he get out of his Gibson SG and whatever his rig was.

I’m not terribly familiar with AC/DC’s oldest stuff, nor do I know much about their stuff from the last 10-15 years.  But we all know their “classics.”  Here are my favorite AC/DC guitar songs

  • Hell’s Bells —  There might not be a better opening riff in rock history than in this song.  The bell is classic!
  • Back In Black — To find 10 better hard rock albums than Back in Black would be incredibly difficult, to say the least.  The title track is one of the best songs on one of the best rock albums of all time.
  • Who Made Who — Before AC/DC’s career took something of a dip, they put out this song for the soundtrack of Maximum Overdrive.  Top notch work in both the solo and the intro and outro.
  • Shoot To Thrill — Another song from Back in Black, STS is a 30 year old track that sounds maybe better now than in 1980.  It fit perfectly in the recent Iron Man 2 flick.
  • Highway to Hell — I always found it somewhat haunting that Bon Scott died within months of the song charting.  As a kid, I always shunned this song as overtly evil.  But I’d be lying to say it doesn’t rock!  HtoH features one of the best rifs ever.
  • Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap) — Simple but powerful aptly describes this tune.  DDDDC is infectious.  It’s a great song to crank and scream down the highway.