Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf…Drug Reference Week

Not a big surprise here…this song is about marijuana, and makes little attempt to disguise it. The band did a lot of marijuana and many other drugs around this time.

The sound at the beginning is Tony Iommi coughing after inhaling marijuana smoke from a bong and it was looped.

They got the name from a pack of Irish Cigarettes that said “It’s the sweet leaf.” They thought that Sweet Leaf was a great description of marijuana, and the entire band wrote the song together.

The song was on Master of Reality. The album peaked at #8 in the Billboard Album Chart, #5 in the UK, and #6 in Canada.

 

From Songfacts

The guitar riff was taken from Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention’s “Hungry Freaks, Daddy.” This riff can also be heard at the end of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Give It Away” and is the basis for the song “Rhymin’ and Stealin'” by The Beastie Boys. 

A Sabbath tribute band from Denmark is named Sweet Leaf.

This has been covered by Next Step Up, Stock Mojo, Garbage, Ancient, Ugly Kid Joe, Butthole Surfers, Mogwai, Stereolab, Agent Steel, Pimpadelic, Cadaver, and Widespread Panic. 

Sweet Leaf

Alright now
Won’t you listen?

When I first met you, didn’t realize
I can’t forget you, for your surprise
You introduced me, to my mind
And left me wanting, you and your kind, oh yeah

I love you, oh you know it

My life was empty, forever on a down
Until you took me, showed me around
My life is free now, my life is clear
I love you sweet leaf, though you can’t hear, oh yeah

Come on now, try it out

Straight people don’t know, what you’re about
They put you down and shut you out
You gave to me a new belief
And soon the world will love you sweet leaf, oh yeah baby

Come on now, oh yeah
Try me out baby, alright, oh yeah
I want you part of this sweet leaf, oh yeah
Alright, yeah, yeah, yeah, oh try me out
I love you sweet leaf, oh

Fleetwood Mac – Gold Dust Woman…Drug Reference Week

Rock on gold dust woman
Take your silver spoon
Dig your grave

Stevie Nicks wrote this song and it’s on their most successful album, Rumours. The album was made in turmoil with everyone going through relationship problems and on top of that…drugs were everywhere…hey this was the mid-seventies.

Nicks has never been clear on the meaning, you can make a good case that it is about cocaine, which the band was consuming in quantity during the Rumours sessions.

This song was the B side to You Make Loving Fun in America…and Don’t Stop in the UK.

Stevie Nicks: Gold Dust Woman was a little bit about drugs ~ it was about you know keeping going. It was about cocaine. And, uh, you know after all these years since I haven’t done any cocaine since 1986 I can talk about it now you know. But it was ,ah, at that point ~ it was ~ I don’t think I had ever been so tired in my whole life as I was when we were like – doing that. You know I think it was shocking me ~ the whole rock’n’roll life ~ was really heavy and it was so much work and it was so everyday intense you know. Being in Fleetwood Mac was like being in the army. It was like you have to be there. You have to be there and you have to be there as on time as you can be there. And even if there nothing you have to do, you have to be there. So Gold Dust Woman was really my kind of symbolic look at somebody going through a bad relationship, and doing alot of drugs, and trying to just make it ~ trying to live ~ you know trying to get through it to the next thing.

Cris Morris recording assistant on the album: “Recording ‘Gold Dust Woman’ was one of the great moments because Stevie was very passionate about getting that vocal right. It seemed like it was directed straight at Lindsey and she was letting it all out. She worked right through the night on it, and finally did it after loads of takes. The wailing, the animal sounds and the breaking glass were all added later. Five or six months into it, once John had got his parts down, Lindsey spent weeks in the studio adding guitar parts, and that’s what really gave the album its texture.”

From Songfacts

In Mick Fleetwood’s book My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac, he explains that it took Nicks eight takes to get the vocal right, and they were recorded early in the morning. Fleetwood described Nicks as “hunched over in a chair, alternately choosing from her supply of tissues, a Vicks inhaler, a box of lozenges for her sore throat and a bottle of mineral water.”

Among the artists who have recorded this song: Waylon Jennings, Hole, Sheryl Crow and Sister Hazel.

Lindsay Buckingham played a dobro on this track. The dobro is an acoustic guitar with a single resonator with its concave surface uppermost. The inventor of the resonator guitar, John Dopyera, together with his brothers Rudy, Emile, Robert, and Louis, developed the dobro in 1928. They named it as a contraction of Dopyera Brothers’ coupled with the meaning of “goodness” in their native Slovak language. Gibson acquired exclusive use of the dobro trademark in 1993 and the guitar corporation currently produces several round sound hole models under the dobro name. One of these ornate guitars is featured on the cover of Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms.

For insight on Buckingham’s performance, we spoke with Jerry Douglas, an esteemed dobro player with 14 Grammy Awards to his credit. Said Douglas: “He’s an electric guitar player so I noticed that technique right away. He’s using it for more of a texture. He’s not going to be a bluegrass dobro player and he’s not trying to be. He’s a great guitar player and I think he chose to use the dobro in that situation for a texture more than for a guitar part. It went deeper than that for him. He needed to set that song apart from the rest of the songs and one of the ways to do it and one of the ways to actually get to the subject matter quicker, change it from the rest of the songs, was to use a different kind of guitar, and the dobro was perfect for that.”

 

Gold Dust Woman

Rock on gold dust woman
Take your silver spoon
Dig your grave

Heartless challenge
Pick your path and I’ll pray

Wake up in the morning
See your sunrise loves to go down
Lousy lovers pick their prey
But they never cry out loud
Cry out

Did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
And is it over now do you know how
Pick up the pieces and go home.

Rock on ancient queen
Follow those who pale
In your shadow

Rulers make bad lovers
You better put your kingdom up for sale
Up for sale

Well did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
And is it over now, do you know how
Pickup the pieces and go home.

Well did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
And now tell me
Is it over now, do you know how
Pickup the pieces and go home
Go home
Go home

Pale
Shadow
Of a woman
Black widow
Pale
Shadow
Of a dragon
Dust woman

Pale
Shadow
Of a woman
Black widow
Pale
Shadow
She’s a dragon
Gold dust woman
Woman, woman

Lynyrd Skynyrd – The Needle And The Spoon…Drug Reference Week

This song has a cool walk down intro along with some harmonics. I like the dynamics of the song when it kicks in.

This one has gotten some significant FM play in my region. It was written by Allen Collins and lead singer Ronnie Van Zant…Van Zant was warning about the dangers of hardcore drugs, which the band was just learning about.

The song was on their sophomore offering Second Helping. The album had their biggest hit, Sweet Home Alabama. They released their debut album the year before and their fan base was growing after opening up on The Who’s Quadrophenia tour. The album peaked at #12 in the Billboard Album Chart and #9 in Canada.

In the 2015 edition of Guitar World Magazine, the solo to this song was listed as the #19 best of all time.

 

The Needle and The Spoon

Thirty days, Lord, and thirty nights
I’m coming home on an airplane flight
Mama waiting at the ticket line
Tell me son, why do you stand there cryin’?

It was the needle and the spoon
And a trip to the moon
Took me away
Took me away

I’ve been feeling so sick inside
Got to get better, Lord, before I die
Some doctors couldn’t help my head, they said
You’d better quit, son, before you’re dead

Quit the needle, quit the spoon
Quit the trip to the moon
They gonna take you away
Lord, they gonna take you away

It was the needle and the spoon

I’ve seen a lot of people who thought they were cool
But then again, Lord, I’ve seen a lot of fools
I hope you people, Lord, can hear what I say
You’ll have your chance to hit it some day

Don’t mess with a needle or a spoon
Or a trip to the moon
They’ll take you away

Lord, their gonna bury you boy
Don’t mess with the needle
Now I know, I know, I know, I know, I know

Humble Pie – 30 Days In The Hole… Drug Reference Week

This week we have songs that are about drugs or reference drugs in the song. I’m starting off with 30 Days In The Hole released in 1972.

Lisa did this once a week for a while so I thought I would make a week of it.

I don’t usually do repeats of songs (except for Christmas and other Holidays) but with this one song, I will make an exception. It will mostly be a new writeup.

Humble Pie tried something different than most hard rock bands at the time. Steve Marriott combined hard rock with a gospel feel. This is one of the nastiest songs you will hear. It’s as sleazy as you can get but it rocks.

There are several drug and alcohol references in this song: “Red Lebanese” and “Black Napalese” are forms of hashish, “Chicago Green” is pot, and New Castle Brown is a kind of heroin…not to be confused with Newcastle Brown which is ale.

Written by Humble Pie lead singer Steve Marriott, this song is about getting busted for drugs and getting sent to jail. Marriott got the idea after playing a show in Kentucky, where he learned that getting caught with drugs earned you 30 days in jail. He was also thinking about a friend of the band’s who had been sent to jail for having a joint.

From Songfacts

Marriott was making the point that drugs were a part of culture (just as alcohol was a generation earlier) and there was nothing wrong with it. In many ways, the song is a call for legalization.

Marriott has said that inspiration for the title came from a Humphrey Bogart/James Cagney movie he saw on TV, where Bogart plays a prisoner who gets sent to “30 days in the hole.”

Marriott may have been referring to the 1938 movie Angels With Dirty Faces, although that line is never uttered in the film. It’s also possible that the film was Somebody Up There Likes Me, a 1956 movie where Paul Newman is threatened with the “30 days in the hole.”

This wasn’t released as a single in the group’s native England. It was only released in the US a year after the album came out, and it didn’t chart.

Dave Clempson, formerly of Colosseum, had recently joined the band as guitarist. This was one of the first Humble Pie songs he contributed to.

 

Thirty Days In The Hole

Roll my tape
Ooh, ooh, ooh

Thirty days,
Anyone doin’ that one?
I’m doin’ that one

30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole

All right all right all right all right, yeah

Chicago Green, talkin’ ’bout Black Lebanese
A dirty room and a silver coke spoon
Give me my release, come on
Black Nepalese, it’s got you weak in your knees
Sneeze some dust that you got buzzed on
You know it’s hard to believe

30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
That’s what they give you
30 days in the hole
I know

Newcastle Brown, I’m tellin’ you, it can sure smack you down
Take a greasy whore and a rollin’ dance floor
It’s got your head spinnin’ round
If you live on the road, well there’s a new highway code
You take the urban noise with some dirt with poison
It’s gonna lessen your load

30 days in the hole
That’s what they give you now
30 days in the hole
Oh, yeah
30 days in the hole
All right, all right
30 days in the hole

What you doin’ boy?
You here for 30 days
Get, get, get your long hair cut
And cut out your ways

Black Nepalese, it got you weak in your knees
Gonna sneeze some dust that you got busted on
You know it’s so hard to please
Newcastle Brown can sure smack you down
You take a greasy whore and a rollin’ dance floor
You know you’re jailhouse-bound

30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
Oh, yeah
30 days in the hole
30 days, 30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole
30 days in the hole

1970’s TV Catch Phrases

In 2018 I did a Slang from the Seventies post but on this one, I wanted to concentrate on TV Catch Phrases. It’s funny that some people would tune into shows just to hear them…waiting for JJ to say Dy-no-mite in Good Times.

Lookin’ Good! – Chico and the Man

Stifle Yourself – All In The Family

Dy-no-mite Good Times

Who Loves Ya Baby? – Kojak

Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry – The Incredible Hulk

Good night, John Boy – The Waltons

Kiss my grits! – Alice

Book ’em Danno – Hawaii Five-0

Jane, you ignorant slut – Saturday Night Live

God wll get you for that – Maude

 

 

 

 

Humble Pie – Black Coffee

Black Coffee was written by Ike and Tina Turner. It originally recorded by R&B duo Ike & Tina Turner for their 1972 album Feel Good.

The Humble Pie version was released in 1973. It was on the double album Eat It that peaked at #13 in the Billboard 100. Each side of this double album is different: Side 1 features Steve Marriott penned rock and roll; Side 2 has classic R&B covers; Side 3 is a collection of acoustic Steve Marriott songs; finally Side 4 features Humble Pie live in concert.

Steve Mariott contacted Venetta Fields and asked her to find two other women to form a trio of backup singers.  Fields chose Clydie King and Billie Barnum. The toured with Humble Pie and they were called the Blackberries.

Steve Marriott: “I just sang it ‘cos I loved the song and it was an interpretation of somebody else’s lyrics. People should have known that I’ve been into black music for years anyway.”

Black Coffee

Black coffee is my name
Black coffee is not a thing
Black coffee, freshly ground and fully packed
Hot black coffee, boys, mmm that’s where it’s at, mean it.

Way back you all know since I don’t know when
See I got hungover before I was 10
You see my skin is white but my soul is black
So hot black coffee, that’s where it’s at.

(Black coffee) That’s what I’m talkin’ about boys
(Black coffee) That’s what I mean
(Black coffee) Ooh you’ve got to feel it in your hand
(Black coffee) Hmm yeah
(Black coffee).

Well you hear that
Some black tea, well it can’t compare with me
Black tea (can’t compare with me) that’s right
Black tea, well it’s as good as, it’s as good as, it’s as good as it can be
But it’s a cup of black coffee that a working man needs to see, yeah.

In America, well it’s the land of the free
You can get what you want if you’ve got some do re me
Well travelling far and I work like a slave
Now I’m independent, and you know I get laid.
I got me a job and I build me a place
I got a spit of black coffee, oh how good it tastes
I said a dime is all it costs in the States
For a cup of black coffee, how good it tastes

(Black coffee) Alright
(Black coffee) Oh
(Black coffee) It’s what I want now, it’s what I need
(Black coffee) To suit my soul, to suit my soul now
(Black coffee) It’s what I want, it’s what I need
(Black coffee) It’s where it’s at, it’s where it’s at
(Black coffee) Oh

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eat_It_(album)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travelin’ Band

Seven thirty-seven comin’ out of the sky
Won’t you take me down to Memphis on a midnight ride
I want to move
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

This one is a rocker and doesn’t let up. It came off of perhaps their best album Cosmo’s Factory and was released as a double A-side single with Who’ll Stop The Rain on the other side.

“Travelin’ Band” is very similar in style to the music of Little Richard, which Fogerty saw as a heartfelt tribute to the singer. Specialty Records, which owned Richard’s catalog, saw things differently and sued the band, reaching a settlement to earn some royalties from the song.

After the basic track was cut, John Fogerty went back to the studio and added many of the instrumental parts, including horns and piano, which he played himself.

Travelin’ Band/Who’ll Stop The Rain peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #4 in Canada, and #8 in the UK in 1970.

From Songfacts

Written by lead singer John Fogerty, this song is all about the hectic lifestyle of Creedence Clearwater Revival and their road warrior ways. In 1969, the band toured constantly and played many of the major festivals, including Woodstock. There was a rush of excitement in going from place to place, but as their drummer Doug Clifford explained, their baggage was constantly getting lost (“baggage gone, oh well”) and they spent a lot of time waiting around in the heat during those famous festivals. The traveling got easier for the band when they got their own private plane.

The lawsuit claimed the Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly” was being copied, but Creedence bass player Stu Cook said he thought it sounded more like “Long Tall Sally.” Cook described the song as a combination of ’50s Rock classics, but not a ripoff of any one song.

 

 

Travelin’ Band

Seven thirty seven comin’ out of the sky
Won’t you take me down to Memphis on a midnight ride
I want to move
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Yeah
Well I’m flyin’ ‘cross the land tryin’ to get a hand
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

Take me to the hotel baggage gone, oh well
Come on, come on won’t you get me to my room
I want to move
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Yeah
Well I’m flyin’ ‘cross the land, tryin’ to get a hand
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

Listen to the radio talkin’ ’bout the last show
Someone got excited, had to call the state militia
Want to move
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Yeah
Well, I’m flyin’ ‘cross the land, tryin’ to get a hand
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

Here we come again on a Saturday night
With your fussin’ and your fightin’ won’t you get me to the rhyme
I want to move
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Yeah
Well, I’m flyin’ ‘cross the land, tryin’ to get a hand
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Won’t you give myself a hand?
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Well, I’m flyin’ ‘cross the land, tryin’ to get a hand
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

Charlie Daniels (1936-2020) – Uneasy Rider

I said would you believe this man has gone as far
As tearin’ Wallace stickers off the bumpers of cars
And he voted for George McGovern for president

Charlie Daniels passed away on Monday, July 6, 2020. I wrote this up the next day but forgot to post it. He was a country music legend. While I wasn’t a huge fan he was part of my childhood. He was an incredible musician…he played with Dylan, George Harrison, and many other greats… along with having a very successful career himself. The man at 83 had booked a tour this year but it was canceled of course.

Charlie had more serious hits than this… This is a novelty song and not a great representation…it’s spoken word country…but it’s one that is a little different because it captures the time.

I first heard this song in the mid-seventies. It brings back a lot of memories for me as a kid. I thought it was extremely funny although I knew nothing about McGovern, Wallace, John Birch, Tokin’ on a number, or much of anything. I did know what mag wheels and a peace sign was so that was a start. The song is about a long-haired guy that walks into a redneck bar to use a phone. He ends up playing on the conspiracy-minded rednecks there to get free…

I remember we would see hippies (or anyone) harrassed on television shows…My dad would always take their side. “Why are they bothering them…it’s just hair! (as my mom would shake her head) If I was 20 I would grow my hair out”…and he eventually did when he got old. My dad taught me a lot about equality…and to treat everyone the same…no one is better no one is worse.

This song peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100 in 1973. He would go on to have 9 songs in the Billboard 100 and two top 10 hits.

In the country charts, he would have 33 songs in the top 100 and three top ten hits.

Charlie Daniels: “I used to do a little bit of record producing. I used to produce a group called the Youngbloods that were headquartered in San Francisco. And we were doing a live album, and we did part of it at the Fillmore East and West, and we did part of what used to be called a rock festival, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was one of those big three-day affairs where everybody in the world played. And that day I think it was the Youngbloods and the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane, and I don’t know who else.

And all these people were there at the motel. And they were these long-haired hippie-type people. The movie Easy Rider had not been out very long, and here we were sitting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with all these long-haired people, and I think a lot of them had the impression that if they were to get two blocks away, that somebody was going to run out with a pair of shears and cut their hair and threaten their life. I was born in the South, and to me this attitude was just kind of funny, and that’s where the idea came from. I just took a guy and put him in a fictitious situation, and extricated him. But of course there’s no truth to it other than just being around people that kind of had a fear of redneck bars.”

Daniels says the line in the song, “I just reached out and kicked ole Green Teeth right in the knee,”  “He had tartar on his teeth, and they actually turn green if they don’t get it off. I don’t think he practiced very good dental hygiene. And that’s where that came from; he had little spots of green on his teeth.” Daniels did not, however, kick him. “Maybe I should have,” he says, “but I didn’t kick him.”

Uneasy Rider

I was takin’ a trip out to LA,
Toolin’ along in my Chevrolet
Tokin’ on a number and diggin’ on the radio

Just as I cross the Mississippi line
I heard that highway start to whine
And I knew that left rear tire was about to go

Well the spare was flat and I got uptight
‘Cause there wasn’t a fillin’ station in sight
So I just limped down the shoulder on the rim

I went as far as I could and when I stopped the car
It was right in front of this little bar
A kind of a redneck lookin’ joint called the Dew Drop Inn

Well I stuffed my hair up under my hat
And told the bartender that I had a flat
And would he be kind enough to give me change for a one

There was one thing I was sure proud to see
There wasn’t a soul in the place except for him an’ me
And he just looked disgusted an’ pointed toward the telephone

I called up the station down the road a ways
And he said he wasn’t very busy today
And he could have somebody there in just ’bout ten minutes or so

He said now you just stay right where yer at and I didn’t bother
Tellin’ the durn fool
I sure as hell didn’t have anyplace else to go

I just ordered up a beer and sat down at the bar
When some guy walked in an’ said who owns this car
With the peace sign the mag wheels and four on the floor

Well he looked at me and I damn near died
And I decided that I’d just wait outside
So I laid a dollar on the bar and headed for the door

Just when I thought I’d get outta there with my skin
These five big dudes come strollin’ in
With this one old drunk chick and some fella with green teeth

And I was almost to the door when the biggest one
Said you tip your hat to this lady son
An’ when I did all that hair fell out from underneath

Now the last thing I wanted was to get into a fight
In Jackson Mississippi on a Saturday night
‘Specially when there was three of them and only one of me

Well they all started laughin’ and I felt kinda sick
And I knew I’d better think of somethin’ pretty quick
So I just reached out an’ kicked ol’ green-teeth right in the knee

He let out a yell that’d curl your hair
But before he could move I grabbed me a chair
And said watch him folks ’cause he’s a thoroughly dangerous man

Well you may not know it but this man’s a spy
He’s an undercover agent for the FBI
And he’s been sent down here to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan

He was still bent over holdin’ on to his knee
But everyone else was lookin’ and listenin’ to me
And I laid it on thicker and heavier as I went

I said would you believe this man has gone as far
As tearin’ Wallace stickers off the bumpers of cars
And he voted for George McGovern for president

Well he’s a friend of them long-haired hippie type pinko fags
I betcha he’s even got a Commie flag
Tacked up on the wall inside of his garage

He’s a snake in the grass I tell ya guys
He may look dumb but that’s just a disguise
He’s a mastermind in the ways of espionage

They all started lookin’ real suspicious at him
And he jumped up an’ said just wait a minute Jim
You know he’s lyin’ I’ve been livin’ here all of my life

I’m a faithful follower of Brother John Birch
And I belong to the Antioch Baptist Church
And I ain’t even got a garage you can call home and ask my wife

Then he started sayin’ somethin’ ’bout the way I was dressed
But I didn’t wait around to hear the rest
I was too busy movin’ and hopin’ I didn’t run outta luck

And when I hit the ground I was makin’ tracks
And they were just takin’ my car down off the jacks
So I threw the man a twenty an’ jumped in an’ fired that mother up

Mario Andretti would of sure been proud
Of the way I was movin’ when I passed that crowd
Comin’ out the door and headin’ toward me in a trot

An’ I guess I shoulda gone ahead and run
But somehow I couldn’t resist the fun
Of chasin’ them just once around the parkin’ lot

Well they’re headin’ for their car but I hit the gas
And spun around and headed them off at the pass
Well I was slingin’ gravel and puttin’ a ton of dust in the air

Well I had them all out there steppin’ an’ a fetchin’
Like their heads were on fire and their asses was catchin’
But I figured I oughta go ahead and split before the cops got there

When I hit the road I was really wheelin’
Had gravel flyin’ and rubber squeelin’
An’ I didn’t slow down ’til I was almost to Arkansas

I think I’m gonna re-route my trip
I wonder if anybody think I’d flipped
If I went to LA via Omaha!

Linda Ronstadt – You’re No Good

Great song by the one and only Linda Ronstadt. “You’re No Good” was written by Clint Ballard, Jr., who also wrote songs for Connie Francis and The Hollies.

This song had been around for a while before Linda Ronstadt took it to the top of the chart. It was originally recorded by Dee Dee Warwick in 1963. Her version stalled at #117.

The song was on the album Heart Like A Wheel produced by Peter Asher and it peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Chart and #7 in Canada.

Heart Like a Wheel became Ronstadt’s first album to hit the top spot on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and spent four weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Country Album chart in early 1975.

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #7 in Canada, and #24 in New Zealand in 1975.

Linda Ronstadt:  “I thought the production on ‘You’re No Good’ was very good but [that] I didn’t sing it very well. As a song it was just an afterthought. It’s not the kind of song I got a lot of satisfaction out of singing.”

 

From Songfacts

One of the most blatant and memorable songs in the “no-good man” milieu,

Betty Everett had more success with her version, which went to #51 in 1964. First released on her 1963 album of the same name, Everett recorded the song at Chess Records in Chicago, with Maurice White on drums (White, who later formed Earth, Wind & Fire, was a staff drummer at Chess early in his career). Everett was a former gospel singer who, like Ronstadt, had a very powerful voice. Her next single, “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss),” became her biggest hit.

The song made one more chart appearance in 1964 when the British male band Swinging Blue Jeans switched the gender and took the song to #97 in the US and #3 in the UK, where it became the best-known rendition of the song.

A decade later, Ronstadt started performing the song and recorded it with her producer Peter Asher. Released as a single from her fifth album, the song was a huge breakthrough for Ronstadt, whose chart success to this point was sporadic (her biggest hit to then: “Long, Long Time” at #25). She became one of the biggest stars of the ’70s, known for her musical versatility and impressive vocal range. Most of her hits were cover songs, including the follow-up, “When Will I Be Loved,” originally recorded by the Everly Brothers.

This song makes it quite clear that the lowdown guy is no good, but in the second verse, Ronstadt turns it around, as she’s done some bad things herself and deserves some comeuppance:

I broke a heart that’s gentle and true
Well I broke a heart over someone like you
I’ll beg his forgiveness on bended knee
I wouldn’t blame him if he said to me
You’re no good

By the third verse, she’s back to bashing the guy:

I’m telling you now baby and I’m going my way
Forget about you baby ’cause I’m leaving to stay

Heart Like A Wheel was the first album Peter Asher produced for Ronstadt, and the results were spectacular. With his duo Peter & Gordon, Asher had a #1 hit in 1964 with “A World Without Love,” and later became head of A&R at The Beatles’ Apple Records, where he began a longstanding relationship with James Taylor.

In a Songfacts interview with Asher, he explained that getting the most out of Ronstadt meant listening to her and honoring her ideas. “I may have listened to her with a bit more attentiveness than others had in the past,” he said. “There was, particularly back in that era, an element of, ‘Don’t you worry your pretty little head about that, I know what’s best.’ Linda knew a lot and was not given credit for it.”

Van Halen recorded this for their second album. It was one of many successful cover songs by the group; Others include Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman,” The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” and Martha & the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street.” This is the only cover on the album. Between 1978-1983, Van Halen released an album a year. Since they toured constantly, including cover songs on the albums helped ease the songwriting burden.

You’re No Good

Feeling better now that we’re through
Feeling better ’cause I’m over you
I learned my lesson, it left a scar
Now I see how you really are

You’re no good
You’re no good
You’re no good
Baby you’re no good

I’m gonna say it again
You’re no good
You’re no good
You’re no good
Baby you’re no good

I broke a heart that’s gentle and true
Well I broke a heart over someone like you
I’ll beg his forgiveness on bended knee
I wouldn’t blame him if he said to me

You’re no good
You’re no good
You’re no good
Baby you’re no good

I’m gonna say it again
You’re no good
You’re no good
You’re no good
Baby you’re no good

I’m telling you now baby and I’m going my way
Forget about you baby ’cause I’m leaving to stay
You’re no good
You’re no good
You’re no good
Baby you’re no good

I’m gonna say it again
You’re no good
You’re no good
You’re no good
Baby you’re no good
Oh, oh no
You’re no good
You’re no good
You’re no good
Baby you’re no good

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_Like_a_Wheel

 

Fleetwood Mac – Jewel Eyed Judy

What a beautiful song this is and it was between the Green and the Buckingham/Nicks era. Thanks to Sharon for bringing this wonderful song up. The song was written by Danny Kirwan and was on the album Kiln House released in 1970.

18-year-old guitarist Danny Kirwan joined Fleetwood Mac in 1968 and one of the first recordings he played on was Albatross. He couldn’t take the pressure of touring and eventually fired in 1972.

The album peaked at #69 in the Billboard Album Charts, #67 in Canada, and #39 in the UK. The song didn’t chart. This is the first album after Peter Green left the band. Christine McVie contributed to the album with backup vocals, keyboards, and even cover art. After this album, she became a full member.

It doesn’t really sound like the Peter Green blues era or the later pure pop sound. It has more of a power-pop sound.

Jewel Eyed Judy

Moonshine time
Thoughts of you
Spinning round
As thoughts do
I just wondered if
Your eyes still shine
As they did
When you were mine

I can see
In a dream
Thougts so clear
And jewels that gleam
Would your eyes
Still sparkle then
If we were, once again

Jewel eyed Judy please come home
Jewel eyed Judy don’t leave me alone
Jewel eyed Judy please come home
Jewel eyed Judy don’t leave me alone

Lovely Judy
Can you see
Where it is
You’re meant to be
Where you lay
Your head tonight
May the stars
Find your light
So am I
Sitting here
Moonlight glistens
On my tears
Is this all
That we could find
Chains of memories
Left behind

Jewel eyed Judy please come home
Jewel eyed Judy don’t leave me alone
Jewel eyed Judy please come home
Jewel eyed Judy don’t leave me alone

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiln_House

 

Rolling Stones – Beast Of Burden

This one was always a favorite of mine of the Stones. Keith Richards wrote this, but a lot of the lyrics were improvised in the studio. While the band played, Jagger came in with different lines to fit the music.

This song is a good example of the Rolling Stones tapestry of guitars. Keith and Ron Wood weave their guitars in and out until the two guitars are almost indistinguishable from each other.

The song peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100 and #9 in Canada.

The song was on Some Girls released in 1978. It was perhaps their last great album although I did like Tattoo You. Some Girls peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts and #1 in Canada, and #2 in the UK.

Keith Richards: “Those who say it’s about one woman in particular, they’ve got it all wrong. We were trying to write for a slightly broader audience than just Anita Pallenberg or Marianne Faithfull. Although that’s not to say they didn’t have some influence in there somewhere. I mean, what’s close by is close by! I’ve always felt it’s one of my best soul songs. It was another strict collaboration between Mick and me. I think I had the first verse—‘I’ll never be your beast of burden’—along with the hook, and we were still working very much in our traditional way: Here’s the idea, here’s the song, now run away and fill it in! Some of the theories surrounding it are very intriguing, but they’re about as divorced from reality as can be. I find it quite amusing that there are people in the world who spend a lot of their time trying to decode something that is, at the end of the day, completely undecodable. I mean, even I’ve forgotten the code!”

From Songfacts

Sometimes misunderstood as a putdown, this is a rare Stones song that treats women as equals. Jagger sings that he “Don’t need no beast of burden.”

This isn’t about a specific woman. Most women in Stones’ songs are composites of many.

A live version from their 1981 US tour was used as the B-side of their “Going To A Go-Go” single.

A beast of burden is an animal that labors for the benefit of man, like an ox or a pack mule.

This song could be allegorical – it was written by Keith as a kind of homage to Mick for having to carry the band while Keith was strung out on heroin: “All your sickness I can suck it up, throw it all at me, I can shrug it off.” 

The Chinese ministry of culture ordered The Stones not to play this when they performed there in 2003. It was going to be the first time The Stones played in China, but they canceled because of a respiratory disease that was spreading through the country.

Whilst Richards spent much of the ’70s insulating himself with drugs, former London School of Economics student Jagger was running the band. However, by the time of Some Girls, Richards wanted to share the workload. Mojo magazine January 2012 asked Richards how much this song was about his relationship with Jagger? He replied; “Mick wrote a lot of it but I laid the general idea on him. At the time Mick was getting used to running the band. Charlie was just the drummer, I was just the other guitar player. I was trying to say, ‘OK I’m back, so let’s share a bit more of the power, share the weight, brother.”

Beast Of Burden

I’ll never be your beast of burden
My back is broad but it’s a hurting
All I want for you to make love to me
I’ll never be your beast of burden
I’ve walked for miles my feet are hurting
All I want for you to make love to me

Am I hard enough?
Am I rough enough?
Am I rich enough?
I’m not too blind to see

I’ll never be your beast of burden
So let’s go home and draw the curtains
Music on the radio
Come on baby make sweet love to me

Am I hard enough?
Am I rough enough?
Am I rich enough?
I’m not too blind to see

Oh little sister
Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty girls
Uh you’re a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty girl
Pretty, pretty, such a pretty, pretty, pretty girl
Come on baby please, please, please

I’ll tell ya
You can put me out
On the street
Put me out
With no shoes on my feet
But, put me out, put me out
Put me out of misery, yeah

All your sickness I can suck it up
Throw it all at me
I can shrug it off
There’s one thing baby
I don’t understand
You keep on telling me
I ain’t your kind of man

Ain’t I rough enough, ooh baby
Ain’t I tough enough
Ain’t I rich enough, in love enough
Ooh, ooh please

I’ll never be your beast of burden
I’ll never be your beast of burden
Never, never, never, never, never, never, never be

I’ll never be your beast of burden
I’ve walked for miles, my feet are hurting
All I want is you to make love to me
Yeah

I don’t need the beast of burden
I need no fussing
I need no nursing
Never, never, never, never, never, never, never be

Big Star – #1 Record…Desert Island Albums

This is my third round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.
2020 ALBUM DRAFT-ROUND 3 PICK 6- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- BIG STAR- #1 RECORD

“Big Star is like a letter that was mailed in 1971 but didn’t arrive until 1985.”
Musician Robyn Hitchcock 

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

“We’ve sort of flirted with greatness, but we’ve yet to make a record as good as Revolver or Highway 61 Revisited or Exile on Main Street or Big Star’s Third.”
Peter Buck

The band didn’t chart a record when they were active. I still hold their music up along with The Who, Beatles. and Kinks…they never had the sales but they did have a giant influence. They released this album as their debut in August of 1972.  I had to stop myself from writing an open love letter (I may have failed) about this band. Was it the mystique of them? Was it the coolness factor of liking a band that not many people knew? No and no. It’s about the music. Mystique and coolness wear off and all you are left with is the music…We are fortunate to have 3 albums by Big Star to enjoy.

In the early eighties, I heard stories from an older brother of a friend about Big Star out of Memphis…but their records were hard to come by.  I loved what little I heard and it got lost in the shuffle but it planted a seed for later. 

By the mid-80s I heard more of their songs. In 1986 The Bangles released “September Gurls” and I knew it sounded familiar…and the DJ said it was a Big Star song…then came the song, Alex Chilton, by The Replacements and  I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t until the early nineties, I finally had Big Star’s music along with the Raspberries and Badfinger. My power-pop fandom kicked into high gear and I have never left that genre.

Big Star was the best band never heard. Such a great band but a long frustrating story. They made three albums that were among the best of the decade that were not heard until much later. They signed with Ardent which was a subsidiary of Stax Records.

A power-pop band on the soul Stax label doesn’t sound like a good idea now and it wasn’t then. Stax was failing at that time and could not distribute the records to the stores. Kids loved the music on the radio only to go to a record store with no Big Star records. Rolling Stone gave them rave reviews…but that doesn’t help if the album is not out there to purchase. They were through by 1974 after recording their 3rd album.

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.

Listening to this album with each song you think…Oh, that could have been a single. 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.

I could have gone with ANY three of their albums. I picked this one because of Chris Bell. The songs are a bit more polished on this one than the other two but it fits the songs they present. Chris Bell added a lot to Big Star and after hearing his solo song I Am The Cosmos you see how much. Radio City, their second album, with Chilton in charge many consider their best and their third album, Third/Sister Lovers is not as commercially accessible but I still love it. All three are in Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time.

I’ll go over four songs.

The Ballad Of El Goodo  A song about Vietnam conscientious objector…but it is much more than that. It is one of the most perfect pop/rock songs recorded to my ears. This would make it in my own top 10 songs of all time. The tone of the guitars, harmonies and the perfectly constructed chorus keeps calling me back listen after listen. This is when pop music becomes more.

In The Street is a song that everyone will know. It was used as the theme of That Seventies Show. Cheap Trick covered it for the show. I was not a teenager in the early seventies but with this song, I am there front and center. Steal your car and bring it down, Pick me up, we’ll drive around, Wish we had, A joint so bad.

Thirteen is a song that Chilton finds that spot between the innocence of childhood and the first teenage year where they meet and intertwine with confusion. Won’t you tell your dad, “get off my back” Tell him what we said ’bout “Paint It Black”

When My Baby’s Beside Me has a great guitar riff to open it up. This is power pop at it’s best. A nice rocker that should have been blaring out of AM radios in the 70’s.

I’m not going over every song (but I could easily) because reading this won’t do it…you have to listen if you haven’t already. You will not regret it. Not just these songs but the complete album.

It’s a mixture of songs on the album…rockers, mid-tempo songs, and ballads. Even the weaker song called The India Song is very listenable. My favorites besides the ones I listed are  Watch the Sunrise, Don’t Lie To Me, Feel, and Give Me Another Chance.

I now have rounded out my albums on my island. The variety of The White Album, The rock of Who’s Next, and the ringing power-pop beauty of Big Star…swim or use a boat and come over to my island and we will listen…the Pina Coladas and High Tides (hey it’s an island) are flowing… let’s drink to BIG STAR.

On a side note. If you want to learn more there is a good documentary out about them called: Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.

Feel
The Ballad Of El Goodo
In The Street
Thirteen
Don’t Lie To Me
The India Song
When My Baby’s Beside Me
My Life Is Right
Give Me Another Chance
Try Again
Watch The Sunrise
ST 100/6

  • Chris Bell – guitar, vocals
  • Alex Chilton – guitar, vocals
  • Andy Hummel – bass guitar, vocals
  • Jody Stephens – drums

 

 

 

Who – Behind Blue Eyes

And if I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
And if I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

Pete Townshend originally wrote this about a character in his “Lifehouse” project, which was going to be a film similar to The Who’s Tommy and Quadrophenia. Townshend never finished “Lifehouse,” but the songs ended up on the great album Who’s Next.

Townshend was going to use this as the main song in the Lifehouse film for the villain, Jumbo.

I wrote this next part in my review of the album…Behind Blue Eyes is a song that lulls you with a beautiful melody with sparse accompaniment (probably the longest Moon ever sat on his hands while recording) and then it happens…all hell breaks loose and Roger sings…no correction…he doesn’t sing…he demands When my fist clenches, crack it open, Before I use it and lose my cool… it’s like getting hit by a bus that you didn’t see coming…and then it’s over.

The original demo version is a lot quieter and stripped-down. Townshend released this version on his 1983 album Scoop.

The song peaked at #34 in the Billboard 100 and #23 in Canada in 1971.

From Songfacts

Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey both have blue eyes, but the song is not autobiographical. Townshend has said that he wrote it to show “How lonely it is to be powerful.”

Pete Townshend has explained that he never behaved like a typical rock star when he was on tour, especially when it came to groupies, which he tried to avoid. He says it was a run-in with a groupie that was the impetus for this song. Townshend, who got married in 1968, was tempted by a groupie after The Who’s June 9, 1970 concert in Denver. He says that he went back to his room alone and wrote a prayer beginning, “If my fist clenches, crack it open…” The prayer was more or less asking for help in resisting this temptation. The other words could be describing Townshend’s self-pity and how hard it is to resist. 

Roger Daltrey did a new version of this song with the Irish group The Chieftains, which was released on the group’s 1992 album An Irish Evening. This rendition, which was recorded live at the Grand Opera House in Belfast, features traditional Irish instruments, including fiddle and bodhrán.

The lyrics are based on Townshend’s own feeling of angst – that no one knows what it’s like to be him, with high expectations and pressure to be someone he’s not. Knowing what a miserable sod he can be, he’s telling us not to let himself enjoy it because he doesn’t want to enjoy making us (the fans) happy. It’ll mean we will ask for more!

This is one of the most popular live songs from The Who, played at the majority of their concerts. Pete Townshend has said at various stages of his career that while he believes it’s a great song, he doesn’t get any satisfaction performing it, as he feels it is out of context of his Lifehouse project.

To the horror of many Who fans who turned up their noses at nu-metal, Limp Bizkit covered this song on their 2003 on their album Results May Vary, taking it to #18 UK and #71 US (the only cover version to chart). This version was used in the Halle Berry movie Gothika. Berry appeared in the video, which was directed by Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. Conveniently enough, Durst included a scene where he kisses Berry in the video.

Roger Daltrey’s dog got run over on the day he recorded his vocals for this song – it was the first dog he ever had. The Who singer recalled to AARP The Magazine that he “was desperately trying to hold it together.”

Pete’s Demo Version

Behind Blue Eyes

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

No one knows what it’s like
To be hated
To be fated
To telling only lies

But my dreams
They aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That’s never free

No one knows what it’s like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you

No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through

But my dreams
They aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That’s never free

When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool
When I smile, tell me some bad news
Before I laugh and act like a fool

And if I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
And if I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

Kinks – Sleepwalker

I have always liked the late seventies and mid-eighties Kinks. This was one of the first songs I remembered by them.

This is the title song off of the Sleepwalker album. It was released in 1977 and it marked a comeback in America for the Kinks. The last song they released to peak this high was Apeman in 1970.

Ray Davies had just moved from London to New York during this time and had trouble adapting to the 24 hours schedule of New York…and he wrote Sleepwalker about it.

The song peaked at #48 in the Billboard 100 and #54 in Canada.

 

Sleepwalker

Ev’rybody got problems, buddy. I got mine.
When midnight comes around, I start to lose my mind.
When the sun puts out the light,
I join the creatures of the night,
Oh yeah.

I’m a sleepwalker.
I’m a night stalker.
I’m a street walker.
I’m a night hawker.

Ev’rybody got secrets that they wanna hide.
When midnight comes along, I take a look inside.
Don’t go talkin’ in your sleep:
I might come in for a peep,
Oh yeah.’

I’m a sleepwalker.
I’m a night stalker.

When ev’rybody’s fast asleep, I start to creep.
Through the shadows of the moonlight, I walk my beat.
Better close your window tight:
I might come in for a bite,
Oh yeah.

When the night time comes, I start to creep.
I prowl around when you’re fast asleep.
I walk around on my tippy toes,
And I get into places that nobody knows.

I’m always around if you wanna meet.
You can find me on almost ev’ry street.
You’ll always get me on the telephone.
I’ll even come to your home if you’re ever alone.

I’m a sleepwalker.
I’m a night stalker.
I’m a street walker.
I’m a night hawker.
[Repeat]

Fleetwood Mac – Second Hand News

One of my favorites off of the band’s most successful album Rumors.

Second Hand News” was written by Fleetwood Mac frontman Lindsey Buckingham. The turmoil making this album would have made a thrilling TV movie or soap opera…take your pick.

This song was originally an acoustic demo titled “Strummer.” But when Buckingham heard the Bee Gees’ “Jive Talkin’,” he rearranged it with more audio tracks and the rhythmic effect from “playing” the faux-leather seat of a studio chair to make it evoke a slightly Celtic feel.

On recording Rumors…Stevie Nicks: “It lasted thirteen months and it took every bit of inner strength we had. It was very hard on us, like being a hostage in Iran, and to an extent, Lindsay was the Ayatollah.”

It was not released as a single but could have been…the album peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #1 in the UK, and #4 in New Zealand in 1977.

From Songfacts

 It is the first track on the Rumours album – the most successful album of Fleetwood Mac’s career with sales of over 40 million worldwide, going 19x platinum in the US and 10x platinum in the UK. The band’s original drummer Mick Fleetwood calls it the most important album they ever made.

Like many of the songs on the Rumours album, this one shows a darker side in the lyrics. It’s asking you to move on, leave the singer alone. Fleetwood Mac was experiencing the shatter of all of their emotional ties with not one, not two, but three break-ups! That was the divorce of the McVies, Buckingham and Stevie Nicks breaking up, and Fleetwood going through a divorce from his wife.

In Frank Moriarty’s book Seventies Rock: The Decade of Creative Chaos, Stevie Nicks is quoted from a Creem interview in July 1977, explaining the acrid lyrics: “We were all trying to break up and when you break up with someone you don’t want to see him. You especially don’t want to eat breakfast with him the next morning, see him all day and all night, and all day the day after…”

In Bill Martin’s Avant Rock: Experimental Music from the Beatles to Bjork, while meditating on the dichotomy between Yuppies and Yippies of the ’60s/’70s, the author states: “If I had to pick the ultimate musical document of AOR [Adult-Oriented Rock]/Yuppie rock, it would probably be the 1977 album by Fleetwood Mac, Rumours.” Well, take that!

Second Hand News

I know there’s nothing to say
Someone has taken my place
When times go bad
When times go rough
Won’t you lay me down in tall grass
And let me do my stuff

I know I got nothin’ on you
I know there’s nothing to do
When times go bad
And you can’t get enough
Won’t you lay me down in the tall grass
And let me do my stuff

One thing I think you should know
I ain’t gonna miss you when you go
Been down so long
I’ve been tossed around enough
Awh couldn’t you just
Let me go down and do my stuff

I know you’re hopin’ to find
Someone who’s gonna give you piece of mind
When times go bad
When times go rough
Won’t you lay me down in tall grass
And let me do my stuff

I’m just second hand news
I’m just second hand news yeah
I’m just second hand news
I’m just second hand news yeah
I’m just second hand news
I’m just second hand news yeah
I’m just second hand news
I’m just second hand news yeah, yeah
Yeah