Hollies – The Air That I Breathe

I was around 7 years old when this was released. I remember being in a tire swing in my Aunt’s front yard when I heard this song on a radio that was playing from a car that someone was working on. I still remember the grass and smell from the day I heard this song.

This song would be way up in my favorite songs ever. Graham Nash had left by this time and the band turned a corner when he had gone. They went from a pop sixties band to more of a rock/pop band with hits like Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, He Ain’t Heavy (He’s My Brother), and finally this song which was their last top ten hit in the US and Canada. In the UK they would have one more hit…a rerelease of He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother.

This Hollies song was released in 1974 and it made it to #6 in the US Billboard Charts and #2 in the UK. The band did not write the song. It was written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood. Hammond was the first to record this – it appeared on his 1972 album It Never Rains In Southern California. Phil Everly recorded it in 1973 on his album Star Spangled Banner.

I was seven when the song came out and it was one song I remember because of that dream-like guitar intro by the underrated lead guitar player for the Hollies…Tony Hicks.

Thom Yorke of Radiohead based the song “Creep” on this song.  After “Creep” was released, Radiohead agreed to share the songwriting royalties, so this is credited to Yorke, Hammond, and Hazlewood.

Allan Clarke lead singer of the Hollies: ‘The Air That I Breathe’, another song just like ‘He Ain’t Heavy’. A classic song and again that’s where Phil Everly came back into my life. I went to that same office where I wrote ‘Long Cool Woman’ in one day. The secretary of Ron Richards said that she’d just listened to a Phil Everly album and there was one song on it which was beautiful. She thought that I should do that song, obviously, she meant with The Hollies. I listened to it and obviously felt that I wasn’t going to be able to do it as well as Phil. So they said ‘You gotta try. Do it the way Phil would sing it’. And that’s what I did when we recorded it.’ It’s a beautiful song to sing, ‘Harmony-wise, Terry did a great job on that. To me, that’s again a classic that will go on, and on again.’

The Air That I Breathe

If I could make a wishI think I’d passCan’t think of anythin’ I needNo cigarettes, no sleep, no light, no soundNothing to eat, no books to read

Making love with youHas left me peaceful, warm, and tiredWhat more could I askThere’s nothing left to be desiredPeace came upon me and it leaves me weakSo sleep, silent angelGo to sleep

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breatheAnd to love youAll I need is the air that I breatheYes, to love youAll I need is the air that I breathe

Peace came upon meAnd it leaves me weakSo sleep, silent angelGo to sleep

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breatheAnd to love youAll I need is the air that I breatheYes, to love youAll I need is the air that I breathe

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breatheAnd to love youAll I need is the air that I breatheYes, to love youAll I need is the air that I breatheAnd to love you

Emitt Rhodes – With My Face On The Floor ….Power Pop Friday

My 22-year-old son just walked into my music room and asked me…”Dad, do you know Emitt Rhodes?” I told him I most certainly do and he found out about him through Spotify. It suggested songs compared to what he listens to and this one came up. Of course, I’m happy with his musical tastes but it did come as a surprise because Rhodes is not exactly a household name.

This is another reminder of what a different world we live in than I did growing up. I would find a band like Big Star or Them by a friend’s brother or just read about an artist in books. I would then go to a record store and would have to order an export from the UK or some other means. Now, you are one click away from finding out about bands that didn’t get recognition.

Emitt Rhodes to me sounds like a mixture between Paul McCartney and Pete Ham from Badfinger. He is not well known but he did have some very good powerpop songs and albums in his off-and-on career.

He was in a pop band called The Merry-Go-Round that was formed in Los Angeles in the mid-60s. It featured Rhodes, drummer Joel Larson, lead guitarist Gary Kato, and Bill Rinehart on bass. The band released just one album in the spring of ’67 called The Merry-Go-Round. Their song “Live” was their debut release. Rhodes disbanded The Merry-Go-Round in 1969 and began working on solo material.

In 1969 he bought all of the equipment he needed when A&M Records refused to release his recordings and built a recording studio in his parent’s garage. He recorded his first album (Emitt Rhodes) in that studio. ABC/Dunhill Records signed him and they released his album as well as the next two albums he recorded.

His first album was self-titled called Rhodes. Billboard magazine called him “one of the finest artists on the music scene today” and later called his first album one of the “best albums of the decade.” Emitt Rhodes reached #29 on the Billboard 200 Album charts. A single called “Fresh as a Daisy” peaked at #54 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After several more album releases, he became a recording engineer and record producer for Electra Records. He died in his sleep at the age of 70 in Hawthorne, California, in July 2020.

The record company really messed him up…not a shock. When his debut solo release started climbing up the charts, A&M saw an opportunity and took it. They dusted off his shelved Merry-Go-Round album, renamed it The American Dream and released it as a solo Emitt Rhodes album, pitting one solo Emitt Rhodes album against the other. Buyers were confused. This was where the first damage was done. Emitt felt that this one act of corporate greed caused irreversible damage. “It definitely hurt sales, because people went out to buy the record they heard on the radio, and they ended up buying The American Dream.”

After several more album releases, Rhodes became a recording engineer and record producer for Electra Records. He died in his sleep at the age of 70 in Hawthorne, California, in July 2020.

The Bangles recorded the Merry Go Round song “Live” for their debut album All Over the Place in 1984.

His album releases per Wiki:

The American Dream (1970) No. 194
Emitt Rhodes (1970) No. 29
Mirror (1971) No. 182
Farewell to Paradise (1973)
Rainbow Ends (2016) No. 150

With My Face On The Floor

Well, I’m down with my face on the floorYes, I got what I asked for and moreWell, the moment she stepped through that doorI was down with my face on the floor

Now I’m standing with back to the wallWaiting, praying the ceiling don’t fallWell, I once thought that I knew it allNow I’m standing with back to the wall

Well, now she’s gone awayJust took time to say: “I’ll drop you a line”Well now she’s gone awayJust took time to say: “I’ll see you some time”

Well, now she’s gone awayJust took time to say: “I’ll drop you a line”Well now she’s gone awayJust took time to say: “I’ll see you some time”

Well, I’m down with my face on the floorYes, I got what I asked for and moreWell, the moment she stepped through that doorI was down with my face on the floor

Well, the moment she stepped through that doorI was down with my face on the floor

J Geils Band – Must of Got Lost

This just may be my favorite J Geils Band song. It is probably the first song I heard by them. Their live music from this period is just off the charts. Peter Wolf is in the top tier of lead singers. I always held him in high regard…he was like a composite of the best lead singers all in one.

Must Have Got Lost was released in 1974 and it peaked at #12 on the Billboard 100 Charts and #27 in Canada in 1974. The song was on their 5th album called Nightmares…and Other Tales from the Vinyl Jungle. The album peaked at #26 on the Billboard Album Chart and #32 in Canada.

The band came out of the Boston club scene in the late sixties. I always thought they should have been bigger than they were in the 1970s. They didn’t hit their commercial peak until the early 80s with Love Stinks, Come Back, and then the hugely popular Freeze-Frame album in 1983.

While the band was experiencing the greatest commercial success of its career and preparing a follow-up to Freeze Frame…the two main songwriters Wolf and Justman were not getting along. The band refused to record material Wolf had written with other writing partners…so Wolf left in 1983.

The band wanted to go in a more pop direction while Wolf wanted to continue the blues/rock path they were going before that album. They continued without their charismatic lead singer but were not commercially successful. It would be almost impossible to replace Wolf.

“Must Have Got Lost” was never a huge hit but it was always a favorite of mine.

Peter Wolf: “I did not leave the band, but the majority of the band wanted to move in another direction. They wanted to continue in a pop-techno way, [and] it wasn’t my thing.”

Magic Dick (Richard Salwitz) Harmonica, Saxophone, and Trumpet: “This is very important to me. A lot of people, all they knew us for was ‘Freeze-Frame,’ ‘Centerfold’ and stuff like that, I don’t think they were aware of how blues and R&B; oriented the earlier stuff was. I really feel great about (the reunited band) because this is the music that inspired J. and myself when we first discovered our mutual interest in Chicago-style blues and classic jazz.

Must Have Got Lost

Never thought about tomorrow
Seemed like a long time to come
How could I be so blind, baby
Not to see you were the one

I let ya slip on from me baby
I let you walk on by,
Shoulda loved, you had told me
I refused to love, I let it die

I musta got lost, musta got lost, I musta got lost
Somewhere down the line
Musta got lost, musta got lost
Give away the days you were mine

Don’t know why I let you leave me
Honey, I don’t know
Say its hard to see lovers comin’ babe
Honey I’ve a way to see them go

Musta got lost, musta got lost, musta got lost
Somewhere down the line
Musta got lost, I got lost
Give away the days you were mine

Love can be a sweet thing
Girl I just don’t understand
Made a game outta lovin’ you
Now I hold the losin’ hand

Oh, I musta got lost, musta got lost, musta got lost
Somewhere down the line
Musta got lost, I got lost, girl
Give away the days you were mine

I just don’t understand it
I just don’t understand it
I just don’t understand it

And I musta got lost, musta got lost, musta got lost
Somewhere down the line, hey
Musta got lost, baby, I got lost girl
Give away them days you were mine

Musta got lost, I got lost, musta got lost
Somewhere down the line
Musta got lost, oh I got lost girl
Give away them days you were mine

C’mon
Oh, I got lost, babe, double-crossed
Your lovin’, give it to me all night long

I said your love got me higher,
than I ever been lifted before

I said your love has got me higher,
than I ever been lifted before

Somewhere down the line… yeah

Tonio K – Life In The Foodchain

Watching the shadows for anything moving
And hoping they don’t come around

My friend CB (Cincinnati BabyHead) introduced me to Tonio K a few weeks ago and I’ve been listening to him heavily. I liked him right away because he mixes it up in his songs. His songs all have a great groove to them…  and will roll you like wholesale carpet. What intrigued me the most though were the witty lyrics he throws out plus some out of the box arrangements…that work.

The album I listened to is called Life In The Foodchain released in 1978. Click on that link and it should take you to the complete album. There are a lot of good songs on this album. The title track alone should have made the charts.

Who is Tonio K? He was born Steve Krikorian on July 4, 1950, in California. He is a singer/songwriter, whose songs have been recorded by Charlie Sexton, Bette Midler, Peter Case, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Vanessa Williams, Bonnie Raitt, Brian McKnight, and others. His most successful song is “Love Is”… a #1 hit for Vanessa Willams with Brian McNight.

Krikorian and Alan Shapazian (rhythm guitar) formed a band called The Raik’s Progress which recorded one single for Liberty Records, released in 1967. In 1973, he appeared as a member of the former Buddy Holly backing band the Crickets on their album “Remnants”.

By 1978, Krikorian went solo, adopting the name of Tonio K, possibly a reference to the Thomas Mann novel Tonio Kröger, with Life In The Foodchain.

In 2004, he reunited with the Crickets for a track on their album, The Crickets and Their Buddies, singing lead on the Holly song, “Not Fade Away.”

The record was produced by Rob Fraboni ( who produced The Band, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker) and featured a cast that included Earl Slick, Garth Hudson, Dick Dale, and Albert Lee. What a cast that is!  It was also the first Pop/Rock record to feature the percussive sounds of an AK-47 firing live ammunition. The album garnered much critical acclaim.

The track list is

Life In The Foodchain
The Funky Western Civilization
Willie And The Pigman
Ballad Of The Night The Clocks All Quit (And The Government Failed)
American Love Affair
How Come I Can’t See You In My Mirror
Better Late Than Never
A Lover’s Plea
H-A-T-R-E-D

I picked just 3 songs below…click the link in the article to check the album out.

Tonio K: I lived at Shangri-La for much of 1978, and we recorded Life In The Food Chain there. Shangri-La is The Band’s studio out there, the studio that’s in The Last Waltz. The place, I think it was built by Kaiser Aluminum in the ’40s. Real cool California ranch style house. I think Kaiser used it to entertain corporate guests, which is to say they used it basically as a brothel. They would send guys out there and send women out there with them, way north of Malibu, at Zuma Beach.

But, anyway, Garth was my neighbor there. He and Molly, his wife, would spend a lot of nights there. They had a farm somewhere further up in Decker Canyon or somewhere. But I got to know him and he played on my first two records, Garth did. And he’s pretty trippy.

Life In The Foodchain

Well your mother was there to protect you
Your papa was there to provide
So how in the world did the excellent baby
Wind up in this hotel so broken inside
You lie on your bed in the midnight darkly
Listening to every sound
Watching the shadows for anything moving
And hoping they don’t come around

‘Cause it’s dog eat dog
And it’s cat and mouse
It’s watch your step and cross yourself
And get back in the house
And it’s do or die
It’s push and shove
Because everybody’s hungry
And there isn’t quite enough

That’s right, we’re talkin’ about the good life
In the foodchain
Love among the ruins
I guess that you’ve finally got to accept
That there’s nothing you can do about it
It’s kind of like carving the turkey
It’s kind of like mowing the lawn
Everything gets to this certain dimension
Winds up on a customer’s plate and then gone

‘Cause it’s dog eat dog
And it’s the cat and mouse
You know it’s cut the cake and grab a plate
And hope it goes around
I said it’s a do or die
It’s push and shove
It’s because everybody’s hungry
And there just isn’t quite enough

Well it’s dog eat dog
And it’s the cat and mouse
You know it’s cut the cake and grab a plate
And hope it goes around
And it’s do or die
It’s push and shove
That’s because everybody’s hungry
And there just isn’t quite enough

AC/DC – Night Prowler

This song has always reminded me of Midnight Rambler by the Stones. What caught my attention and I listened to it twice to make sure I heard it right. At the end Bon Scott says something and I could have sworn it was what Mork from Mork and Mindy used…Shazbot Nanu Nanu…and it was! Scott was a big fan of the show.

California serial killer Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker, The Valley Intruder or The Walk-In Killer)talked about how he loved the band and Highway To Hell was his favorite album. One of Ramirez’s AC/DC hats was discovered at a crime scene and put on the news as evidence. That started an uncomfortable link with the band. His killing spree started in 1984, and in 1989 Ramirez was convicted of 13 murders. Around the Los Angeles area, Ramirez would typically sneak into houses at night and rape or murder the occupants…hence the nicknames.

Of course, the band wanted nothing to do with this psychopath.  It was rumored that the song “Night Prowler” compelled him to kill. The song describes a man sneaking into a woman’s house. It started the rumors again that the band’s name stood for “Anti-Christ Devil’s Children,” but it was actually something seen on the back of a sewing machine that they thought would make an interesting name. . Years earlier The Beatles were linked to a crazy Charles Manson because of a song also.

It was one of the last songs Scott recorded with the band. It was recorded in the spring of 1979 right before the album was released. After the tour, Scott would die on February 19, 1980, of acute alcohol poisoning.

Highway To Hell peaked at #17 on the Billboard Album Charts, #40 in Canada, #46 in New Zealand, #13 in Australia, and #8 in the UK in 1979.

Angus Young has said the song has nothing to do with stalkers or evil people. The song was credited to the Young brothers and Bon Scott.

Angus Young: “The idea came from when I was young, growing up in suburban Australia; we didn’t have air conditioning, and it was very hot. So if it was a very hot night, I’d open up the window. There was an alleyway next to our house and I used to get all of these animal night visitors. Sometimes they’d jump on the window ledge or attempt to come in. I’d see their shadows on the wall. These animals were always having a party late at night. For me, they were the ‘Night Prowlers’.”

Night Prowler

Somewhere a clock strikes midnight
And there’s a full moon in the sky
You hear a dog bark in the distance
You hear someone’s baby cry
A rat runs down the alley
And a chill runs down your spine
And someone walks across your grave
And you wish the sun would shine
‘Cause no one’s gonna warn you
And no one’s gonna yell attack
And you don’t feel the steel
‘Til it’s hangin’ out your back
I’m your night prowler, asleep in the day
Night prowler, get outta my way
Yeah I’m the prowler, watch out tonight
Yes I’m the night prowler, when you turn out the light

Too scared to turn your light out
‘Cause there’s somethin’ on your mind
Was that a noise outside the window
What’s that shadow on the blind
As you lie there naked
Like a body in a tomb
Suspended animation as I slip into your room
I’m your night prowler, asleep in the day
Yeah I’m the night prowler, get outta my way
Look out for the night prowler, watch out tonight
Yes I’m the night prowler, when you turn out the light

I’m your night prowler, asleep in the day
Yes I’m the night prowler, get outta my way
Look out for the night prowler, watch out tonight
Yes I’m the night prowler, when you turn out the light
I’m your night prowler, break down your door
I’m your night prowler, crawling across your floor
I’m the night prowler, make a mess of you, yes I will
Night prowler
And I’m telling this to you
There ain’t nothing
There ain’t nothing
Nothing you can do

Shazbot
Nanu nanu

Clash – Train In Vain

I’m on a business trip this week so I won’t be responding as normal most of the time. I’m not driving so I should be able to check comments here and there on my phone. I’ll be back more regularly on Friday but will post every day till then.

This was the first song I ever knew by the Clash when I heard it on the radio in 1980. The song is credited to Mick Jones and Joe Strummer like most Clash songs. Mick Jones takes the lead vocals in this one.

They started off as a punk band but The Clash, unlike some other Punk bands, could really play and sing well…, especially Mick Jones. He is was probably the best pure musician in the band.

The song was said to come from the train rhythm in the song combined with the theme of being lost. You also hear a reference to Tammy Wynette’s 1975 hit single Stand By Your Man. Train In Vain also contains a pointed reference to his flat being burgled in early 1979 and to his feelings of depression (“I need new clothes, I need somewhere to stay”).

The original vinyl copy of London Calling “Train Is Vain” isn’t listed on the track listing on the sleeve. The story is that the song was recorded for an NME promotional flexi-disc once the London Calling sessions were done, and the flexi-disc idea then fell through, leaving the song with no home. The band hastily tacked the song onto the end of the album just before vinyl pressing, but the sleeve had already been designed and there was no time to add it to the track listing.

The only clue of its existence is in the run-out groove on Side 4, where the name is carved into the vinyl. On all subsequent releases (including the CD copy) “Train In Vain” is included on the track listing on the sleeve.

The song was released in 1979 and reached #23 on the Billboard Charts. It is listed by Rolling Stone Magazine at 298 in the top 500 songs of all time. Train in Vain was written by Mick Jones and Joe Strummer.

Train In Vain

Say you stand by your manTell me something I don’t understandYou said you love me and that’s a factAnd then you left me, said you felt trappedWell, some things you can explain awayBut my heartache’s in me ’til this day

You didn’t stand by meNo, not at allYou didn’t stand by meNo way

All the times when we were closeI’ll remember these things the mostI see all my dreams come tumbling downI can’t be happy without you aroundSo alone I keep the wolves at bayAnd there’s only one thing that I can say

You didn’t stand by meNo, not at allYou didn’t stand by meNo way

You must explain why this must beDid you lie when you spoke to me?Did you stand by me?No, not at all

Now I got a job, but it don’t payI need new clothes, I need somewhere to stayBut without all these things I can doBut without your love, I won’t make it throughBut you don’t understand my point of viewI suppose there’s nothing I can do

You didn’t stand by meNo, not at allYou didn’t stand by meNo way

You didn’t stand by meNo, not at allYou didn’t stand by meNo way

You must explain why this must beDid you lie when you spoke to me?Did you stand by me?

Did you stand by me?No, not at allDid you stand by me?No wayDid you stand by me?No, not at allDid you stand by me?No way

Lynryd Skynyrd – All I Can Do Is Write About It

When you think of Lynryd Skynyrd you don’t think of an Environmental Friendly band but Van Zant was that. They all grew up in Gainesville Florida and were around wildlife and natural tropical areas.  This song is a warning about the growth of his hometown and he was cautioning about urban and suburban areas claiming wild lands as their own.

‘Cause when I can see the concrete a slowly creepin’Lord take me and mine before that come

Van Zant saw this happening all through Dixie which include South Carolina, North Carolina,  Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

This song was on their Gimme Back My Bullets album released in 1976 after Ed King had left the band. It was the B-side to Gimme Back My Bullets.

Gimme Back My Bullets is mistaken for meaning real gun bullets but it’s not…it meant the chart positions of songs…” with a bullet.” The definition I found was “That has entered the charts in a high position, or has climbed rapidly in the charts, or is thought to have the potential for further rapid advancement.”

The song was written by Ronnie Van Zant and guitar player Allen Collins. The band was an album band that also included some hit singles and now classic radio staples such as Simple Man, Free Bird, Sweet Home Alabama, Gimme Back My Bullets, Saturday Night Special, The Ballad Of Curtis Lowe, and more.

What if the plane crash wouldn’t have happened? Bill Bentley, the author of “Smithsonian Rock and Roll: Live and Unseen,” said: “I think if Lynyrd Skynyrd had lasted, they would have become one of the foundations of American rock bands, much like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers or Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, I think Ronnie Van Zant had enough artistic strength to grow and they really would have been individuals, there wouldn’t have been another band like them.”

I’m not sure what would have happened but I don’t see them ever conforming to the trends of the day. Ronnie Van Zant in parachute pants? I just don’t see it happening. I can’t see them changing their sound like ZZ Top, Heart, and Cheap Trick. Personally, I think they would have had a huge follow-up to Street Survivors…as the 80s came they might have carried on as before like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen.

If they didn’t make it in the 80s I could see them reforming in the 90s like The Allman Brothers and others. Most people think of these guys as backwoods good old boys…which some of that is true but they varied on their writing. An environmental song and a gun control song in Saturday Night Special. No one talks about that much.

All I Can Do Is Write About It

Well this life that I live took me everywhereThere ain’t no place I ain’t never goneWell it’s kind of like the sayinThat you heard so many timesWell there just ain’t no place like home

Did you ever see a she-gator protect her youngin’Or fish in a river swimmin’ freeDid you ever see the beauty of the hills of CarolinaOr the sweetness of the grass in Tennessee

And Lord I can’t make any changesAll I can do is write ’em in a song‘Cause if I can seen the concrete a slowly creepin’Lord take me and mine before that comes

Like to see a mountain stream a flowin’Do ya like to see a youngin’ with his dogDid ya ever stop and think aboutWell the air your breathin’Well ya better listen to my song

And Lord I can’t make any changesAll I can do is write ’em in a song‘Cause when I can see the concrete a slowly creepin’Lord take me and mine before that comes

I’m not tryin’ to put down no big cityBut the things they write about us is just a boreWell you can take a boy out of ole’ Dixieland, LordBut you’ll never take ole’ Dixie from a boy

And Lord I can’t make any changesAll I can do is write ’em in a song‘Cause when I can see the concrete a slowly creepin’Lord take me and mine before that comes

If I can see the concrete a slowly creepin’Lord take me and mine before that comes

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Cry For The Bad Man

This is one of the many songs in rock and roll about a manager. It is a deep album cut that I’ve always liked. 

Cry For The Bad Man is about Alan Walden, Skynyrd’s manager before they signed with Peter Rudge. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant was very close to Walden and even served as best man at his wedding, but he was outvoted in the decision to fire him. Walden later explained that he tried to keep the band financially sound and get them to be responsible with their money, but they rejected these efforts. 

Walden was trying to get them to watch their money at a time when they just got the opening slot for The Who. Keith Moon liked the band and taught them costly habits like trashing hotel rooms and drinking the best liquor. Van Zant would later state that he regretted writing this song. Alan Walden’s brother was Phil Walden who managed The Allman Brothers. 

The song was on the 1976 album Gimme Back My Bullets. The band was short one guitar player when they made the album. Ed King had left in the middle of a tour in 1975. It’s still a good album but not as strong as the previous three. After this album, they were looking for a 3rd guitarist. Leslie West of Mountain auditioned but he wanted to change their name to Lynyrd Skynryd featuring Leslie West…Ronnie Van Zant put an end to that. 

Gimme Back My Bullets peaked at #20 on the Billboard Album Charts, #73 in Canada, and #34 in the UK. 

Their backup singer Cassie Gaines started to tell them about her brother Steve who played guitar and would be a good fit. They thought…sure Cassie I’m sure your little brother is great. She kept pestering them until they finally gave him a chance when they played in Kansas. Steve Gaines got up on stage and blew them all away. Not only was he great…he was probably better than most guitarists in big bands at the time. He changed their sound to a more blues/jazz feel along with the rock.

They would bounce back that year with Gaines and cut the live album One More From The Road which peaked at #9 in the Billboard Album Charts, #49 in Canada, and #17 in the UK in 1976. The live versions of Gimme Three Steps and Free Bird are the versions most people remember.

Cry For The Bad Man

Well he walks so tall to be so small
Never met a man who´s stranger
He lives his life for a dollar sign
And to deal with him is dangerous
He knocked me down but I´m on my feet
Now I´m so much wiser
I´d rather quit and go back home
Than to deal with the money miser
Let´s cry for this bad man
I sing a song for the bad man

Well, you treat me right baby, I´ll treat you right
That´s the way its supposed to be
I put my faith down in my friend
And he almost put an end to me
Well I work seven days a week
Eight when I am able
When you take money from me you take food from my mama´s table
Let´s cry for this bad man
I wrote a song for the bad man

Oh baby you know who you are
Let´s cry for this bad man
I wrote a song for the bad man way down in Georgia

Well, you treat me right baby, I´ll treat you right
That´s the way its supposed to be
I put my faith down in my friend
And he almost put an end to me
Well, when you take my money baby when you hurt my family
I go walkin´ through the swamps without no shoes
Step on a snake it scares you
Let´s cry for this bad man
I wrote a song for the bad man
Oh let´s cry for this bad man
I wrote a song for the bad man

Oh baby straight to you
He´s so bad, so bad

Jackson 5 – Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Merry Christmas to the entire WordPress world. This is a great community we have going on and I hope everyone has a beautiful day today.

I just heard the  Jackson 5 version again yesterday. I need to write the Bruce version up…I never have since I’ve been blogging which is dumb.

I’ve never been a huge Michael Jackson fan except with the Jackson 5. He was immensely talented and had some great-selling albums. Maybe it was just being burned out hearing him.. The Jackson 5 though I really liked and still do. I thought they had some great pop/soul/bubblegum singles in the early to mid-seventies.

This version was released in 1970 and it peaked at #46 in the Billboard 100 and came off the Jackson 5 Christmas Album album. The album peaked at #53 on the Billboard Album Charts and #45 in Canada.

According to Wiki: The album spent four weeks at the number one position on Billboard magazine’s special Christmas Albums chart that the magazine published in December 1970, making it the best-selling Christmas album of that year and also of the year 1972 in the United States.

According to a Top 30 list released by the performance rights organization ASCAP in December 2014, this is the most-performed holiday song of all time. “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” was ranked second and “White Christmas” third.

This was written in 1932 by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots. They had trouble convincing anyone to produce it because it was seen as a kids’ song, which would have been very hard to sell. The big break came when Eddie Cantor sang it on his radio show in 1934, and the song became an instant hit. Coots was a writer for Cantor’s show and pushed for the host to perform it. Cantor was going to pass on the song but was convinced by his wife, Ida, to give it a try.

One of the most successful Christmas carols of all time, this was outsold only by “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “White Christmas.”

Santa Clause Is Coming To Town

Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

He is making a list
And checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice

Santa Claus is comin’ to town, oh yeah
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake

Oh, you d better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why

Oh, Santa Claus is comin’ to town, oh yeah
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town, woo hoo

Woo hoo
Woo hoo
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

Little tin horns
And little toy drums
Rooty-toot-toot
And rump-a-tum-tums
Curly-haired dolls
That tootle and coo
Elephants, boats and kiddie cars too

Oh, Santa Claus is comin’ to town, oh yeah
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

One more time now

Santa Claus is comin’ to town, oh yeah
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmastime

I hope all of you are having a wonderful Christmas Eve. I looked back and I’ve never posted this song before. It’s never been my favorite Christmas song but it has grown on me through the years.

This song was recorded during the sessions for the McCartney II album which featured Coming Up. Paul went to his farm and laid down all the tracks himself. He was experimenting with an early synthesizer called a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, which was also used on Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes” and the Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes.”

Released as a single, it peaked at #6 in the UK, #39 in Canada, and #28 in the Billboard 100 in 1979. It took him just ten minutes to write the song.

Although the members of Wings do not feature on the song, they do appear in the song’s music video, which was filmed at the Fountain Inn in Ashurst, West Sussex. McCartney recalled to NME in 2012… “We went out to some pub somewhere, and so that was a laugh… we just run out of the pub occasionally, filmed a bit, and then went back into the pub. So that was quite a nice evening!”

Diana Ross, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, Hanson and The Monkees have all made their own versions.

The Monkees did a stripped down version of this song without the synth that is really good.

Here is the Monkees version in 2018

Wonderful Christmastime

The moon is right
The spirits up
We’re here tonight
And that’s enough
Simply having a wonderful Christmastime
Simply having a wonderful Christmastime

The party’s on
The feelin’s here
That only comes
This time of year

Simply having a wonderful Christmastime
Simply having a wonderful Christmastime

The choir of children sing their song
Ding dong, ding dong
Ding dong, ding ooo
Ooo ooo toot toot toot toot toot toot

We’re simply having a wonderful Christmastime
Simply having a wonderful Christmastime

The word is out
About the town
To lift a glass
Ah don’t look down

Simply having a wonderful Christmastime

The choir of children sing their song
They practiced all year long
Ding dong, ding dong
Ding dong, ding dong
Ding dong, ding dong, dong, dong, dong, dong

The party’s on
The spirits up
We’re here tonight
And that’s enough

Simply having a wonderful Christmastime
We’re simply having a wonderful Christmastime

The moon is right
The spirits up
We’re here tonight
Oh and that’s enough

We’re simply having a wonderful Christmastime
Simply having a wonderful Christmastime
Simply having a wonderful Christmastime

Oh oh
Christmastime

Beatles – I Me Mine

George’s contribution to Let It Be included For You Blue and today’s song I Me Mine. The song was very significant in Beatles history as you read on. It was the last song they recorded, minus John, until the 90s.

George Harrison wrote this song and sang lead. He said it is “About the ego, the eternal problem.” The version we hear on Let It Be didn’t have John Lennon who was away at the time.

In the Hindu holy book Bhagavad Gita, the following verse is found: “They are forever free who renounce all selfish desires and break away from the ego-cage of I-me-mine, to be united with the Lord. This is the supreme state; attain to this and pass from death to immortality.” 

This uses a 3/4 time signature like a waltz, rather than the standard 4/4. With a rather mournful sound, Harrison called it a “heavy waltz.” The first version The Beatles recorded ran just 1:34, and had only one chorus. The album’s producer, Phil Specter, copied and pasted parts of that recording to make the song 2:25.

The song wasn’t going to be in the film but when Allen Klein, made a deal with United Artists to release the project it was included. When Let It Be Naked came out in 2003 this was one of the few songs McCartney decided to leave as it was. I will have to say though that I do like that release that took away Spector’s production…or overproduction of some of the numbers.

When I first watched Let It Be in the 80s I remember this well because Lennon and Ono waltzed around the huge studio to this song. You always think of The Beatles ending in the sixties but on January 3, 1970, Paul, George, and Ringo got together to work on some of the songs. It would be the last time those three recorded together until the 90s with The Beatles anthology. Sixteen takes were laid down of “I Me Mine,” featuring Harrison on acoustic and lead vocal, McCartney on bass, and Starr on drums. Backing vocals, Hammond Organ and electric piano from McCartney, and a lead guitar by Harrison were added toward the end of the session.

Supposedly after the 12th take, Harrison led the group through an impromptu run-through of Buddy Holly’s 1959 hit “Peggy Sue Got Married,” which if it’s true…has not been released. This short version of I Me Mine was included in the Beatles Anthology.

Harrison’s 1980 autobiography is also titled “I Me Mine.”

George Harrison: “It was the TV, you see, that science fiction thing (referring to an episode of “Out Of The Unknown: Immortality Inc.”), but then it suddenly turned into that crap about medals and things. That’s what gave me the idea. Suddenly it was the bit where they were all coming into the ball. I think it was Austria, and they all had their medals. And there was some music that was just playing…like a 3/4 thing. Some things like that happen where you just hear something, and it registers in your head as something else. And so I just had it my head, just the waltz thing, and it was fitting…It’s like one of those things where they’re all swaying!”

*** Unfortunately, I was going to try to see that episode but The BBC in their infinite wisdom wiped this episode. No known copy is known to exist. *** When he said “it turned into that crap about medals” he was talking about a show called Europa: The Titled and the Unentitled that must have followed “Out of the Unknown.”

I Me Mine

All through’ the day
I me mine, I me mine, I me mine
All through’ the night
I me mine, I me mine, I me mine
Now they’re frightened of leaving it
Ev’ryone’s weaving it
Coming on strong all the time
All through’ the day I me mine

I-I-me-me mine, I-I-me-me mine
I-I-me-me mine, I-I-me-me mine

All I can hear
I me mine, I me mine, I me mine
Even those tears
I me mine, I me mine, I me mine
No-one’s frightened of playing it
Ev’ryone’s saying it
Flowing more freely than wine
All through’ the day I me mine

I-I-me-me mine, I-I-me-me mine
I-I-me-me mine, I-I-me-me mine

All I can hear
I me mine, I me mine, I me mine
Even those tears
I me mine, I me mine, I me mine
No-one’s frightened of playing it
Ev’ryone’s saying it
Flowing more freely than wine
All through’ your life I me mine

Big Star – Don’t Lie To Me ….Power Pop Friday

This will wrap up Power Pop Friday for this year…it will return in 2023. 

I never travel far, without a little Big Star
The Replacements

I hold Big Star’s music up along with The Who, Beatles, Stones, and Kinks…they never had the sales but they did have a giant influence. Big Star released their debut album #1 Record in August of 1972. 

Alex Chilton and Chris Bell wrote most of the songs and wanted to emulate Lennon/McCartney and they did a great job but with an obvious American slant to make it their own. After the commercial failure of this album, Chris Bell quit but the other three continued for one more album and then bass player Andy Hummel quit after the second album, and Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens recorded the third.

When their albums were finally discovered by eighties bands, they influenced many artists such as REM, The Replacements, Cars, Cheap Trick, Sloan, Matthew Sweet, KISS, Wilco, Gin Blossoms, and many more. They influenced alternative rock of the 80s and 90s and continue to this day. Billboard went as far as to say, “Every cut could be a single” on their debut album.

Big Star returned in 1993 with a new lineup when guitarist Jon Auer and bassist Ken Stringfellow joined Chilton and Stephens. Auer and Stringfellow remained members of the Posies. In 2005 the reformed band released their last album called In Space

Jody Stephens: “All of a sudden I’m playing with these guys that can write songs that are as engaging to me as the people I’d grown up listening to, so I felt incredibly lucky.” 

Here is the reformed Big Star with original members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens in 1994. Filling out the rest was two Posies members Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow. 

I did find a date that I will go to when I get a time machine..March 31, 1974. Big Star opened for Badfinger. 

Below is Big Star on that date. 

Don’t Lie To Me

Don’t lie to me
Don’t lie to me
Don’t lie to me
Don’t lie to me

I know where you been
And I know what you been doing
Don’t lie to me

Don’t push me ’round
Don’t push me ’round
Don’t push me ’round
Don’t push me ’round

I don’t like that
Now, I’m telling you
Don’t push me ’round

Don’t cross me babe
Don’t cross me babe
Don’t cross me babe
Don’t cross me babe

You said you wouldn’t
And I’m just making sure
Don’t cross me babe

Band – Christmas Must Be Tonight

Robbie Robertson’s Christmas gift to his new son Sebastian during the sessions for Northern Lights-Southern Cross album it never became a seasonal favorite but it should have been. It wasn’t released until the Islands album in 1977.

Rick Danko sings this song from a Shepherds point of view. It’s pure and down to earth like only the Band can be. No sleigh bells or other Christmas trappings…just pure music. Maybe that is the reason it never got picked up.

Robbie Robertson re-recorded this song after he left the group. And he did for the soundtrack of Bill Murray’s Scrooged. That version is very good but I still like The Bands version much more…it’s hard to beat Rick Danko.

Christmas Must Be Tonight

Come down to the manger, see the little stranger
Wrapped in swaddling clothes, the prince of peace
Wheels start turning, torches start burning
And the old wise men journey from the East

How a little baby boy bring the people so much joy
Son of a carpenter, Mary carried the light
This must be Christmas, must be tonight

A shepherd on a hillside, where over my flock I bide
Oh a cold winter night a band of angels sing
In a dream I heard a voice saying “fear not, come rejoice
It’s the end of the beginning, praise the new born king”

I saw it with my own eyes, written up in the skies
But why a simple herdsmen such as I
And then it came to pass, he was born at last
Right below the star that shines on high

Rolling Stones – Happy

I had to double-check my index to make sure I didn’t post this song before. Well no I haven’t and I can’t believe it because it’s WAY up there in the top 3 of my favorite Stones songs. My order probably goes as follows… 1. Memory Motel, 2. 100 Years Ago, and 3. Happy.

This song is on one of my favorite double albums. Since I made a short list of my top 3 favorite Stones songs…I’ll make a short one of my favorite double albums. Number 1 is also my favorite album of all time…The Beatles The White Album, 2. would be Exile On Main Street (and that is where Happy is found), and number 3 The Clash London Calling. I’m thankful none of them were trimmed down.

I love Keith Richard’s voice. I wish he would have had lead vocals on more than he did. I think Jagger is terrific and the perfect singer for them but it’s a raw quality about Keith’s voice that I like. I’ve read that he sang in the choir as a youngster until cigarettes and other substances made it a little raw. The song is great and I can’t believe that Mick didn’t fight to sing this one.

I love the studio version but I also like the 1972 tour version of this song with Mick Taylor with his fat Gibson-sounding guitar driving it also. Everyone who reads me knows I’m a huge Mick Taylor fan. It’s not that I don’t like Ronnie Wood…he fits them perfectly but his and Keith’s guitar sometimes sound too much like each other with the same tones. There was no mistaking Taylor.

A few years ago Mick Taylor joined them onstage and they had that sound again as soon as he was chugging away at the chords. I want to mention one more thing about that era. Mick Taylor contributed as I said but also Jimmy Miller their producer. He needs a hell of a lot of credit for the success they had with that 5-album stretch. Without Jimmy Miller who knows if those albums would have had the same sound. Once he left…so did that sound.

Happy was recorded at Keith’s Villa Nellcote in France when The Stones left England to avoid paying taxes. They used the basement as a recording studio but had a hard time getting everyone together at once because of the party atmosphere. The only people to play on this were Keith (guitar, bass, vocals), producer Jimmy Miller (drums), and horn player Bobby Keys (percussion). Horns were dubbed in later.

The song peaked at #22 on the Billboard 100 and #9 in Canada. The B side was a song that is just as good as this one… All Down The Line. Exile On Main Street peaked at #1 on The Billboard Album Charts, Canada, and the UK in 1972.

Keith Richards:  “That’s a strange song, because if you play it you actually become happy, even in the worst of circumstances. It has a little magical bounce about it. I wrote it one afternoon when we were cutting Exile on Main St. in France and the studio was in my basement. And Bobby Keys was with me and they got this lick going. So we went down and I recorded it with just guitar and Bobby Keys on baritone saxophone. While we were doing that, Jimmy Miller, who was our producer at the time, came in. And he was a very good drummer as well. So we said, well let’s put down a dub, we’ll just sort of sketch it out and play it later. But it’s another one of those things that ended up being on the record. It was just one of those moments that you get that are very happy. And I can play it now and it gives you a lift. I don’t know why except for maybe the word.”

Happy

Well I never kept a dollar past sunset
It always burned a hole in my pants
Never made a school mama happy
Never blew a second chance, oh no

I need a love to keep me happy
I need a love to keep me happy
Baby, baby keep me happy
Baby, baby keep me happy

Always took candy from strangers
Didn’t wanna get me no trade
Never want to be like papa
Working for the boss ev’ry night and day

I need a love to keep me happy
I need a love, baby won’t ya keep me happy
Baby, won’t ya keep me happy
Baby, please keep me

I need a love to keep me happy
I need a love to keep me happy
Baby, baby keep me happy
Baby

Never got a flash out of cocktails
When I got some flesh off the bone
Never got a lift out of Lear jets
When I can fly way back home

I need a love to keep me happy
I need a love to keep me happy
Baby, baby keep me happy
Baby, baby keep me happy
Baby

Happy, baby won’t you keep me
Happy, baby won’t you keep me
Happy, baby won’t you keep me
Happy, baby won’t you keep me
Happy, baby won’t you keep me
Happy, oh, keep on, baby, keep me
Happy, now baby won’t you squeeze me
Happy, oh, baby got to feel it
Happy, now, now, now, now, now keep me
Happy, my, my, my, keep me
Happy, keep on baby, keep me
Happy, keep on baby, got to
Happy, my, my, baby keep me happy

John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Merry Christmas everyone… another year older…and a new one just begun.  

This is my favorite Christmas song hands down. This song gets me in the Christmas mood like no other. The song is highly idealistic but that is alright. It was the early seventies and the time for idealism.

In 1969 John and Yoko had rented billboard spaces in 12 major cities around the world, for the display of black-and-white posters that declared “WAR IS OVER! If You Want It – Happy Christmas from John & Yoko”. Two years later this slogan became the basis for this song when Lennon decided to make a Christmas record with an anti-war message…plus John said he was sick of White Christmas.

War is Over - John & Yoko Billboard - Time Square - NYC 1969. | Yoko, War, John  lennon

John’s voice goes so well with this song. The song peaked at #2 in the UK charts in 1971….the song did peak at #42 in the Billboard 100 in 2019.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote this in their New York City hotel room and recorded it during the evening of October 28 and into the morning of the 29th, 1971 at the Record Plant in New York. It was released in the US for Christmas but didn’t chart. The next year, it was released in the UK, where it did much better, charting at #2. Eventually, the song became a Christmas classic in America, but it took a while.

Lennon originally wrote this as a protest song about the Vietnam War, and the idea “that we’re just as responsible as the man who pushes the button. As long as people imagine that somebody’s doing it to them and that they have no control, then they have no control.”

The children’s voices are the Harlem Community Choir, who were brought in to sing on this track. They are credited on the single along with Yoko and The Plastic Ono Band.

I think of High School when I hear this song. Our school had a Christmas poster contest and a buddy and I made a poster as a joke and wrote “So this is Christmas and what have you done another year over, and a new one just begun” and won first prize…with an assist from John.

This didn’t appear on an album until 1975, when it was included on Lennon’s Shaved Fish singles compilation. This is one of the first Lennon albums I bought.

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

(Happy Christmas Kyoko)
(Happy Christmas Julian)

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now

Happy Christmas