October 1969: The Beatles’ Abbey Road Hits #1 on the UK Chart

41 Years ago this week, Abbey Road hit number 1 on the UK charts, and although released prior to the Let it Be album, it would be, technically, the Beatles last studio recordings released.  What is really amazing about the album is that, though the band wasn’t really functioning as a band at that point, they put many of their differences behind them, and in a number of ways, used to the album to make light of those differences. 

The album cover itself fueled speculation that there was truth to the “Paul is dead” rumor that gained some traction around the time the album was released.  Perhaps this is a topic for another post, but briefly, John Lennon’s white suit was said to symbolize a clergyman; Ringo Starr’s black suit, an undertaker; George Harrison’s blue jeans and denim shirt, a grave-digger; and the fact that Paul McCartney is walking out of step with the band and has no shoes all ‘proved’ the rumor to be true.  However you take the album cover, it is an iconic image in the world of pop and rock music.

In the UK, the album debuted at number 1 and spent 11 consecutive weeks there, and then was bumped for 1 week by The Rolling Stones’ Let it Bleed album before returning to number 1 for 6 more weeks.  In all it spent nearly 2 years in the UK top 75 and then reached number 30 when the album was released on CD in 1987.

The album is essentially divided into 2 sections–side A being a selection of singles, and side B being comprised of shorter incomplete compositions woven together into a longer musical suite.  Although most of the album was recorded in only about a month’s worth of time, it remains timeless in its appeal.

Various publications throughout the years have placed it on their ‘top’ lists in various slots, it is generally viewed as one of the top 20 albums of all time (I would put it in the top 10).  Like many albums or concerts I’ve recomended to folks over the years, this is one of those pieces of music that deserves your time, and deserves to be listened to in one sitting.  If you don’t own the album, get it–it’s one of those albums that is extremely approachable for those of you who might be less familiar with The Beatles–it is most definitely an album you’ll cherish.

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St. Patrick’s Day Special – Top 10 Irish Rock Bands/Artists

leprachaun

You would think a country with so much political strife and centuries of suppression would have more angry artists wanting to express their displeasure with the life they were handed.  But much to my chagrin this was a somewhat difficult list to compile.  I really had to stretch the definition of “Irish Rock” here.  Not all of the artists on the list are from Ireland.  As far as I know though, all of them are of Irish heritage.  As is the author of this post (Murphy, whooda thunk it eh?)

Anyway, let’s begin the countdown:

1. U2 – Come on. If you didn’t see this one coming from a mile away well, either you were hit over the head with a shillelagh or you’ve been in a salmonella induced haze from a bad batch of haggis.  Who else was going to top the list?

2. Van Morrison – Van the Man.  Although his best work is decades behind him Van has left an indelible impression upon the rock/pop scene.  From his days with Them (yes, that’s right Van was in a band at one time) to present day, the reclusive Morrison has stretched the boundaries of pop sensibilities.  Click here for a sampling of Van’s days with Them.

3. Thin Lizzy – One of the top American rockin’ bands of the 70’s.  Only thing is, they was Irish!  Fancy that Mr. Leprachaun. Phil Lynott fronted the boys from Dublin on bass and lead vocals.  Which was somewhat unusual for the time. Lynott being black AND Irish.  Nonetheless, their music can still be heard all over AOR radio stations and movie scores to this day. “Jailbreak” is my favorite.  Don’t be sittin’ ah too close to the speakers tho ah fer snakes becomin’ outchyer ears.

4. Boomtown Rats – Most famous for their lead singer, Bob Geldof, and his work with Band Aid/Live Aid and starring role in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”.  However, in their short lived career the Rats put out some terrific music, most famously “I don’t like Mondays”.  Shave your eyebrows, feed the world and give a listen to one my favorite Boomtown Rats songs, “Up all night”.

5. Sinead O’Connor – Gained infamy on Saturday Night Live by tearing up a photo of the Pope.  But Sinead had some talent to go along with all of that pent up feminine rage.  Even before she recorded Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2U” Sinead wrote and performed some pretty rocking tunes, namely “Mandinka“.  Shave your head and give a listen.  (We Irish like to shave things.  Maybe it’s from all the sheep shearing we’ve done in our past lives.)

6. The Pogues – A true Irish band in every sense of the word.  Right down to the drunken lead singer.  The Pogues enjoyed some moderate success in the 90’s but alas their careers were cut short by the aforementioned love of the spirits by their lead singer, Shane McGowan.  Good times, good times.

7.  The Waterboys – A little known act from the 80’s.   Maybe more famous for the late 80’s spinoff band World Party.  One of my favorite songs from the 80’s was “Church not made with hands” by the Waterboys.  Give a listen and let me know if it boils your potatos too.

8. The Undertones – Again, another Irish band that had a more famous offshoot band (or two), Feargul Sharkey and That Petrol Motion.  Okay, maybe these two acts weren’t that famous to you, but I remember them both well.  And I’m the one writing the damn post, so go chop some cabbage.

9. The Dropkick Murphys – On the list mainly due to their name (notice the similarity to the author’s?).  Not truly an Irish band the Dropkicks are a bunch of guys from Boston who got together to meld their love of rock, punk, and Irish folk music into one heaping, steaming, corned beef laden musical kaleidescope.  You’ll probably recognize this song, “I’m Shipping up to Boston” from the movie “The Departed”.

10. House of Pain – I told you I had to stretttttcccccchhhhhh the definition of “Irish Rock Band” to compile the list.  The three leaf clover of talent know as House of Pain is most famous for their classic hip hop tune “Jump Around“.  Lead singer Everlast went on to have a quite a successful solo career as well after suffering a major heart attack at the ripe old age of 26.  Probably caused by too much Irish stew (mmmm, bacon and cabbage, who says we Irish can’t cook.)

So that’s it. Go pound a few pitchers of green beer, watch the Celts, and get in a barroom brawl with your best friend.  An authentic Irish St. Patty’s Day if I ever knew one.

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Camaro Rock!

camaro-rock

We all know ’em. Some of us still love ’em.   Camaro rock songs.  That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout (kind of confusing there with side by side apostrophes).  Wait, why I am using apostrophes? Or even using the WORD apostrophe? Camarorockers don’t care about no freakin’ apostrophes.  They just care about rockin’ man!  That, and gettin’ F’ed up on a Friday, Saturday, or any night for that matter.   Whether you be hangin’ out with your friends at the drive-in or doin’ a little pre-game (Camaro code for “party”) warm up in the parking lot at 7-11 these songs are sure to shake the primer/bondo off that front quarter panel and get tires screeching out of every high school parking lot in the land.  So here goes it. Our top 10 Camaro Rock songs. (You can click on the links if you want to hear the songs. Just in case hearing them a million times in your lifetime is not enough).

1. “I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar.  THE anthem for Camaro rockers.  The Red Rocker encapsulated all the pent up rage, misplaced rebellion, and sophomoric high school mentality in one, well, not so cleverly, written song.  Still man, it rocks. Even though the speed limit has been raised since it’s release.

2. “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner.  Camaros ooze sexuality.  And no other song captures the essence of that sexuality like this one.  Great to make out to in the back seat or to have blaring out your windows while crusin’ on a hot summer’s night in Hooterville. Check it and see.

3. “Shakin'” by Eddie Money. This one was suggested by Ben. Good choice my man (that’s Camaro speak for “my friend”).  I think most Eddie Money songs would qualify here.  But “Shakin” grasps the Camaro mentality by the cajones and shakes it all over.  Right down to stealin’ daddy’s car.

4. “Jailbreak” by Thin Lizzy. Those turkeys at the Quik Stop will never know what hit ’em when you pull up with this rocker flyin’ (we don’t use the letter “G” when ridin’ in the Camaro queermo ((sorry that’s the Camaro speaking, not me)) out the speakers.  Probably the only Camaro rock song ever sung by an Irish dude.  Sorry Bono, even though you once had a mullet, your music doesn’t qualify.

5. “More Than A Feeling” by Boston. For the sensitive Camarorocker.  Best played after Camaro rocker tried to take an extra base in the backseat to the chagrine (for the intelligent Camarorockers) of his lovely, purile Camaress.  Sadly sung as he’s sees his Marianne walking away.

6. “And The Cradle Will Rock” by Van Halen. “Have you seen Junior’s grades?”  Just about sums up every Camarorocker’s parent’s lament as he squeals out of the driveway on a Friday night. They say it’s kinda frightening how this younger generation swings. F yeah!

7. “Cat Scratch Fever” by Ted Nugent. The Motorcity Hit Man never had any problems gettin’ tail and neither does the Camarorocker.  Although the quality of tail in question may not be of the level of the ‘Nuge”.  But it’s tail man! And that’s all that counts.  A Monday morning trip to the doctor for some Penicillin is usually the prescription for Cat Scratch Fever.  Or whatever other STD Camarorocker caught Saturday night.

8. “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin.  The glue sniffing (spent all his money on bondo, primer and new headers, no cash for real drugs) Camarorocker’s biographic anthem.  Not coherent enough to truly grasp the artistic qualities of the song, Camarorocker just likes it ‘cuz he can repeat the title over and over to his friends when describing his wastitude and still get a laugh.

9. “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Even the old lady (more Camarospeak. translation: girlfriend, wife, chick he’s doin’ it with) likes this one.  Camarorocker likes to sing this to his missus in a drunken stupor of pseudo romance just before they get in their weekly fight over why he still ‘aint got no job.

10. “Barracuda” by Heart.  What! A chick song! Yeah, but deep down Camarorockers like this song.  It’s basically a Led Zeppelin song sung by a chick.  So it’s allright.  Plus it’s about his other favorite car. Right? Yeah, whatever Camarodude.

There are countless others no doubt.  Feel free to write in with yours.