Steve Miller Band – Living In The USA

One of the few Steve Miller hits that is not worn out by radio. This song was released in 1968 and charted at #92 and then charted again at #49 in 1974. It wasn’t a big hit but it did get played on FM radio. Boz Scaggs was in Miller’s band at this time and sang harmonies.

Steve Miller interview about Living in the USA

I had come out of a radical environment at the University of Wisconsin in the early ‘60s. I had been a Freedom Rider in the Civil Rights campaign and then I got involved in the Vietnam War demonstrations and debates. That was all going on, and then I ended up out in California where the psychedelic revolution was taking place. So when you combine those things, it was very powerful [creatively].

“Living in the U.S.A.” was put together with the idea of playing at the Democratic National Convention in 1968 in Chicago. That was the one where the cops beat everybody up—Mayor [Richard] Daley brought out the Chicago police. So it was a political tune. It came out, and it was kind of a hit. Then it went away, and then about five or six years later it sold 100,000 copies in a week in Philadelphia for no reason whatsoever.

 

Living In The U.S.A.

Stand back, stand back
Stand back, stand back

Stand back, stand back
Stand back, stand back

Doot do do do do doot doot
Living in the U.S.A.
Doot do do do do doot doot
Living in the U.S.A.

Where are you goin’ to
What are you gonna do
Do you think that it will be easy
Do you think that it will be pleasin’, hey

Stand back, what’d you say
Stand back, I won’t pay
Stand back, I’d rather play
Stand back

It’s my freedom
Ah, don’t worry ’bout me, babe
I got to be free, babe
Hey

Doot do do do do doot doot
Living in the U.S.A.
Doot do do do do doot doot
Living in the U.S.A.

Stand back, dietician
Stand back, television
Stand back, politician
Stand back, mortician

Oh, we got to get away
Living in the U.S.A.
Come on baby, Owwww

I see a yellow man, a brown man
A white man, a red man
Lookin’ for Uncle Sam
To give you a helpin’ hand
But everybody’s kickin’ sand
Even politicians
We’re living in a plastic land
Somebody give me a hand, yeah

Oh, we’re gonna make it, baby
Oh, we’re going to shake it, baby
Oh, don’t break it
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Come on baby, hey
Hey, hey
In the U.S.A., babe yeah

Doot do do do do doot doot
Living in the U.S.A.
Don’t worry ’bout me, babe
Doot do do do do doot doot
Living in the U.S.A.
Living in the U.S.A.
Doot do do do do doot doot
Living in the U.S.A.
I got to be free
Doot do do do do doot doot
Living in the U.S.A.
Come on try it, you can buy it, you can leave it next week, yeah
Somebody give me a cheeseburger

The Marmalade – Reflections of My Life

This song peaked at #10 in the Billboard 100 in 1970 and #3 in the UK. The Marmalade were more successful in the UK by placing 10 top 10 singles in the UK charts but only charting Reflections of My Life in the Billboard top ten. It’s a song I heard many times when I was younger but didn’t know anything about it.

From Songfacts.

This dramatic ballad from the Age of Aquarius finds the singer describing a very bleak outlook on life and the times. The song was sort of a hippie version of the blues. >>

The Marmalade were a Scottish pop group who enjoyed several hits in the UK between 1968 and 1976. Originally a band called Dean Ford & The Gaylords, they changed their name to Marmalade in 1967. They are best remembered in Britain for their cover of the Beatles song “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” which topped the UK charts around Christmas 1968. In 1969, they signed to Decca Records, and their contract gave them complete freedom to write and produce their own records. The fruits of this arrangement was the recording of this song with its distinctive backwards guitar break, which was their only American hit.

This song was written by vocalist Dean Ford and the band’s main songwriter, keyboardist Junior Campbell. Campbell went on to pen the theme from the British TV series Thomas The Tank Engine, which was narrated in its first two seasons by Ringo Starr.

Reflections of My Life

The changing of sunlight to moonlight
Reflections of my life
Oh, how they fill my eyes

The greetings of people in trouble
Reflections of my life
Oh, how they fill my eyes

Oh, my sorrows
Sad tomorrows
Take me back to my own home

Oh, my crying (Oh, my crying)
Feel I’m dying, dying
Take me back to my own home

I’m changing, arranging
I’m changing
I’m changing everything
Everything around me

The world is
A bad place
A bad place
A terrible place to live
Oh, but I don’t want to die

Oh, my sorrows
Sad tomorrows
Take me back to my own home

Oh, my crying (Oh, my crying)
Feel I’m dying, dying
Take me back to my own home

Oh, my sorrows
Sad tomorrows
Take me back to my own home

 

T Rex – 20th Century Boy

I first heard this song on a car commercial. It was nice to hear something from T. Rex other than Bang a Gong. T. Rex was never huge in America but for a few years were very popular in UK. They were one of the biggest UK Glam Rock bands.

Their popularity soared in 1971-72 and a mania that was called “T. Rexstasy”. In 1972 Ringo Starr produced and directed a concert film called Born to Boogie about T Rex. This song peaked at #3 in the UK Charts in 1973 and #11 in 1991.

The band only charted 3 songs in the Billboard 100 with one top ten hit…Bang a Gong. In the UK they scored 4 number ones and 21 top forty songs.

 

20th Century Boy

Friends say it’s fine
Friends say it’s good
Everybody says it’s just like Rock ‘n Roll
I move like a cat
Charge like a ram
Sting like a bee
Babe I wanna be your man

Well it’s plain to see you were meant for me
Yeah, I’m your boy, your 20th Century toy

Friends say it’s fine
Friends say it’s good
Everybody says it’s just like Rock ‘n Roll
Fly like a plane
Drive like a car
Hold out your hand
Babe I’m gonna be your man

And it’s plain to see you were meant for me
Yeah, I’m your toy, your 20th Century boy

20th Century toy, I wanna be your boy [4x]

Friends say it’s fine
Friends say it’s good
Everybody says it’s just like Rock ‘n Roll
Move like a cat
Charge like a ram
Sting like a bee
Babe I’m gonna be your man

And it’s plain to see
You were meant for me
Yeah I’m your toy
Your 20th Century boy

20th Century toy, I wanna be your boy [4x]

On Any Sunday

Great documentary about motorcycle racing of all kinds.

I’ve love documentaries but I wasn’t sure this one would interest me…but it did. I’m not a motorcycle guy and I only rode some when I was a teenager but this 1971 documentary kept me watching. I would recommend this to anyone young or old. The longer I watched the more I got hooked.

Steve McQueen is in this film and he helped finance it because he believed in it so much. It was made by Bruce Brown, the same filmmaker that made “Endless Summer” an excellent documentary about Surfing. Again I’m not a surfer by any means but it was also very interesting.

This film follows about every kind of motorbike competition you can think of…  it centers on off-road competition rather than road riding.

While Steve McQueen was the draw and provided a lot of the backing to the film the two main motorcyclists they follow are today leaders in their field. The two were Mert Lawwill and Malcolm Smith.

Mert was one of the early pioneers in the off-road bicycling world, having introduced the first production mountain bike. He also developed prosthetic limbs for amputees.

Malcolm owns a dealership and runs Malcolm Smith Racing, a producer of off-road rider equipment. Smith was inducted into the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1978, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1996 and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.

I gained a lot of respect for these men who gave their lives to this sport they loved. They traveled around the country with broken vehicles, raced with broken arms and backs to do something they loved without much pay.

This documentary helped change the image of motorcyclists. There was a “sequel” to this documentary called On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter in 2014.

After watching it I wanted a motorcycle really bad…but I let the thought pass by.

Queen – You’re My Best Friend

In the hands of another band, this song could have turned into a bland pop song. The harmonies and the arrangement by Queen lifted this song up. It was written by the bass player John Deacon. All members of Queen encouraged each other to write and each one of them wrote at least one hit.

The song came off the “A Night at the Opera” album. This is one the two albums that Queen named after Marx Brothers movies…the other one is “A Day at the Races.” They were watching “A Night at the Opera” movie while making the album. They became friends with Groucho Marx in the mid-seventies.

John would go on to write You’re My Best Friend, Another One Bites The Dust, and I Wanna Break Free. This song is the first song I remember hearing that introduced me to Queen. You’re My Best Friend peaked at #16 in the Billboard 100, #7 in the UK and #2 in Canada in 1976.

 

From Songfacts.

John Deacon wrote this song about his wife. He enjoyed a rather quiet home life, and particularly in the early days of the group he was very shy and quiet, unwilling to put his song suggestions forward.

This song features a Fender Rhodes electric piano, which was a popular choice at the time, with many rock songs by the likes of Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan using the instrument. John Deacon wanted to write a song incorporating the instrument, but Freddie Mercury did not want to play it. “I refused to play that damn thing,” Mercury said. “It’s tiny and horrible and I don’t like them. Why play those when you have a lovely superb piano.”

So Deacon took the Rhodes home, learned to play it, and started writing this song. This was the follow-up single to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It was also Queen’s second song (after “Bohemian Rhapsody”) to have an accompanying promo video filmed for it.

After Freddie Mercury died in 1991, Deacon became something of a recluse – he was involved in the posthumous album Made in Heaven, and on the 1997 single “No-One But You,” he retired from music and has declined to tour with the band on their subsequent tours with Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert. The band still maintains contact with him, and run decisions by him – according to Brian May, the rule is that if Deacon does not reply to an email, that’s his way of saying it has his approval.

You’re My Best Friend

Ooh you make me live
Whatever this world can give to me
It’s you you’re all I see
Ooh you make me live now honey
Ooh you make me live

Ooh you’re the best friend that I ever had
I’ve been with you such a long time
You’re my sunshine and I want you to know
That my feelings are true
I really love you
Oh you’re my best friend

Ooh you make me live

Ooh I’ve been wandering round
But I still come back to you
In rain or shine
You’ve stood by me girl
I’m happy at home
You’re my best friend

Ooh you make me live
Whenever this world is cruel to me
I got you to help me forgive
Ooh you make me live now honey
Ooh you make me live

You’re the first one
When things turn out bad
You know I’ll never be lonely
You’re my only one
And I love the things
I really love the things that you do
Ooh you’re my best friend

Ooh you make me live

I’m happy at home
You’re my best friend
Oh you’re my best friend
Ooh you make me live
You’re my best friend

The Who – Who Are You

Great song by The Who on their last album with Keith Moon. Keith was not in the best shape by this time but his drumming on this is still fantastic. The song is about real events that happened to Pete Townshend down to being passed out drunk at night and asking a policeman that knew Pete’s name, Who the F**k are you? You can still hear Daltrey sing the expletive on classic radio stations.

The song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100 and #18 in the UK in 1978.

From Songfacts.

This song is based on a day in the life of Pete Townshend. It began with a very long meeting dealing with royalties for his songs: “Eleven hours in the Tin Pan, God, there’s got to be another way.” The “Tin Pan” he is referring to is “Tin Pan Alley” which is the name given to the collection of New York City-centered music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States. After this excruciating meeting he received a large check for royalties, left and went to a bar and got completely drunk. In that bar he encountered Paul Cook and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols, who thought very highly of Pete for paving the way for Punk rock music. Townshend was conflicted because he feared The Who had sold out, and seeing The Sex Pistols, who were icons of rebellion, exasperated him even more. Pete left that bar and passed out in a random doorway in Soho (a part of New York). A policeman recognized him (“A policeman knew my name”) and being kind, woke him and and told him, “You can go sleep at home tonight (instead of a jail cell), if you can get up and walk away.” Pete’s response: “Who the f–k are you?”

According to the 1985 Pete Townshend “My Generation” radio special, the song came out different than intended when Roger Daltrey sang it. Townshend said the song became a prayer from a destitute man. The man is on the street, looking up to the sky and asking God, “Who are you?”

The cover picture on the album features the band with drummer Keith Moon sitting on a chair that has the words “Not to be taken away” on the back of it. Moon passed away weeks after the photo was taken, and this was his last album. >>

Daltrey says the F-word twice in this song: “Who the f–k are you.” It can still be heard today with the expletive in it on many Classic Rock stations. >>

This is the theme song for the CBS TV series CSI, which went on the air in 2000 (although when the huge “YEAAAHHH!!!!” is heard it’s actually from “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” also by the Who, which was is spliced in). The song is an appropriate choice, as the crime scene investigators try to determine “who” the victims are and “who” killed them. Fans of the The Who also fit the demographics of the show, which is targeted to baby boomers.

The Who and CBS have gotten along quite well, as the shows enjoyed stellar ratings and the group has profited from the use of the songs.

The documentary The Kids Are Alright shows The Who in a studio recording this song. John, Keith, and Pete do the clapping part, but John comes in early, which leads the rest of the group to laugh hysterically. John also amuses Keith by twirling his hands between claps. Pete mocks Keith fixing his hair, and at the end holds his hand out for a high five, and you can hear a smack and him screaming, “OW!”

Townshend has only vague memories of writing this song, as he composed it with a hangover. He explained: “I’d like to think that where the song came from wasn’t the feet that I was drunk when I did the demo, but the fact that I was f–king angry with [manager] Allen Klein, and that the song was an outlet for that anger.”

Roger Daltrey recalled to Uncut magazine: “We were getting incredible accolades from some of the new Punk bands. They were saying how much they loved The Who, that we were the only band they’d leave alive after they’d taken out the rest of the establishment! But I felt very threatened by the Punk thing at first. To me it was like, ‘Well, they think they’re f—ing tough, but we’re f—ing tougher.’ It unsettled me in my vocals. When I listen back to ‘Who Are You?’ I can hear that it made me incredibly aggressive. But that’s what that song was about. Being pissed and aggressive and a c—!”

Who Are You

Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?

I woke up in a Soho doorway
A policeman knew my name
He said “You can go sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away”

I staggered back to the underground
And the breeze blew back my hair
I remember throwin’ punches around
And preachin’ from my chair

Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really want to know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
‘Cause I really want to know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

I took the tube back out of town
Back to the Rollin’ Pin
I felt a little like a dying clown
With a streak of Rin Tin Tin

I stretched back and I hiccupped
And looked back on my busy day
Eleven hours in the Tin Pan
God, there’s got to be another way

Who are you?
Ooh wa ooh wa ooh wa ooh wa

Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?

Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really want to know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
‘Cause I really want to know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

I know there’s a place you walked
Where love falls from the trees
My heart is like a broken cup
I only feel right on my knees

I spit out like a sewer hole
Yet still receive your kiss
How can I measure up to anyone now
After such a love as this?

Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really want to know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
‘Cause I really want to know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

 

Thanks A Lot Mr. Kibblewhite: My Story Roger Daltrey

I just finished the audio version of this book. I’m a huge Who fan and I was looking forward to it. It was nice to hear the book narrated by Roger himself. It’s a solid book but I have only one complaint that I will get into below.

The positive about the book is you find out more about the different personalities of the Who and the reason they fought. Pete the artist, John the dark one, Keith the lunatic, and Roger blue-collar man of the band. We all knew those descriptions before but Roger tries to explain how it worked and didn’t work as a band. If you want to know The Who’s impact on rock music and culture go to Pete Townshend. If you want to get straight to the point with just the highlights…Roger is your man.

Roger is grounded, avoided most of the pitfalls in his profession,  hard-working, and loves interpreting Pete’s music to the world. He goes into how he changed his singing style with Pete’s writing. How he became Tommy and the mod in Quadrophenia. He hits the highlights of The Who and his life without the Who in the 80s and part of the 90s.

The strongest part of this book is about his childhood and his collection of relatives. Roger seems very approachable, likable, and down to earth. Roger was the one constant in the band that you didn’t have worry about his on tour activities. He does talk about the high points of the Who and his acting career.

My biggest complaint is the book is too short. You get the impression that he didn’t think that anyone would want to hear any details whatsoever.  He does give you some good stories but touches a subject and quickly leaves. It’s almost a cliff notes version as he didn’t dwell in any period long.

It is a quick and enjoyable read but leaves you wanting more.