Tom Cochrane – Life Is A Highway

I remembered Cochrane from Red Rider and their hit Lunatic Fringe. “Life Is a Highway” is a song by Canadian-native Tom Cochrane. It is his only US Top-40 hit, reaching #6 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in Canada in 1992. Cochrane is a celebrated artist within the Canadian music scene. His honors include seven Juno Awards, membership in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, being an Honorary Colonel in the Canadian Air Force, and having been inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame.

 

From Songfacts
Cochrane was also the frontman and chief songwriter for the group Red Rider for ten years and hit a few times with that group as well. Their best-known song in America is “Lunatic Fringe.”

This song was inspired by Cochrane’s trip to West Africa, where he was gaining exposure for the World Vision famine relief organization. He recalled to Jam! Music: “When I wrote that song after my first trip to Africa, which was just mind bending and soul-sapping, I was mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted and I really needed something to pull me out of this funk. I had this sketch that I had written and I ended up going into the studio and recorded it in an hour at seven in the morning.”

“The irony is that it was the most positive song I’d ever written, coming out of a pretty heavy experience. I needed a pep talk, and it became that for me and for millions of others.”

Cochrane devotes a great deal of his time to activism and causes, blending them together with his music, similar to artists such as Neil Young.

Since 1992, this song has had a near-continuous popularity thanks to heavy use in commercials. These include one for Cleveland, Ohio-based bank National City Corp and one for the NBC TV series VIPER. Before you say “car commercials,” that was different versions by other artists. It was most recently covered by Rascal Flatts who also got it to #7 on the Hot 100.

Rascal Flatts recorded a more kid-friendly version for the 2006 Disney movie Cars. The original version was used in the movies Cheaper by the Dozen and There Goes the Neighborhood.

Life Is A Highway

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There’s a world outside every darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where the brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won’t hesitate break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Through all these cities and all these towns
It’s in my blood and it’s all around
I love you now like I loved you then
This is the road and these are the hands
From Mozambique to those Memphis nights
The Khyber pass to Vancouver’s lights
Knock me down get back up again
You’re in my blood I’m not a lonely man

There’s no load I can’t hold
Road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Just tell ’em we’re survivors

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

There was a distance between you and I
A misunderstanding once but now
We look it in the eye

There ain’t no load I can’t hold
Road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Just tell ’em we’re survivors

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Weezer – Buddy Holly

This was released to radio on September 7, 1994, which would have been Buddy Holly’s 58th birthday.

The video for this song hooked me for not only the mention of Buddy Holly, Mary Tyler Moore but also the Happy Days set… Plus its a fun song. This song peaked at #17 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 Charts in 1995.

Spike Jonze directed the video. Vintage Happy Days footage was intercut with shots of Weezer performing on the original Arnold’s Drive-In set. Al Molinaro, who played the diner’s owner on the series, made a cameo appearance in the video. One of the most popular clips of 1995, it scored four MTV Video Music Awards, including Breakthrough Video and Best Alternative Music Video, and two Billboard Music Video Awards, among them Alternative/Modern Rock Clip of the Year.

 

From Songfacts

With the “I’m yours – you’re mine” lyrics, this song sounds like a romantic missive, but lead singer Rivers Cuomo explained that it’s largely misinterpreted: the song is about defending a platonic female friend. 

This was Weezer’s second single, following “Undone – The Sweater Song.” It got a lot of play on Top 40 radio and reached #2 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart, but in a bid to boost album sales, the song wasn’t sold as a single in America, which made it ineligible for the Hot 100 (it reached #18 on the Airplay chart).

When downloading became legal and practical, this song proved very popular, and in 2006 it became Weezer’s second Gold single (following “Beverly Hills”), thanks to downloads of over 500,000.

According to the book Rivers’ Edge: The Weezer Story, Cuomo didn’t think this song fit on the album and was tempted to leave it off. It was the album’s producer, Ric Ocasek, who convinced him to include it. Cuomo is glad they left it on, as it became one of his favorite songs to perform.

The popularity of the song skyrocketed after The Microsoft Windows 95 release included its video amongst a number of “Fun Stuff” items on the CD. Watching a music video on your computer was a pretty big deal at the time.

The early demo of this song had a slower tempo and some different lyrics. The chorus originally referenced famous dancing duo Fred & Ginger: “Oo-wee-oo you look just like Ginger Rogers, Oh, oh, I move just like Fred Astaire,” before it was changed to “Oh wee-ooh, I look just like Buddy Holly, Oh, oh, and you’re Mary Tyler Moore.” 

Actress Mary Tyler Moore became a household name just a couple years after Holly’s death when she landed a starring role on The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1961 (and later her own Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970).

This runs a very compact 2:39. 

This song was the centerpiece of a 2015 commercial for the Honda Pilot Elite minivan. In the spot, a large family sings the song while riding in the vehicle.

On their 2018 summer tour, Weezer re-created the video when they performed this song, complete with costumes and set design.

Buddy Holly

What’s with these homies dissin’ my girl?
Why do they gotta front?
What did we ever do to these guys
That made them so violent?

Woo-hoo, but you know I’m yours.
Woo-hoo, and I know you’re mine.
Woo-hoo, and that’s for all the time.

[chorus]
Woo-ee-oo, I look just like Buddy Holly.
Oh-oh, and you’re Mary Tyler Moore.
I don’t care what they say about us anyway.
I don’t care ’bout that.

Don’t you ever fear, I’m always there. I know that you need help.
Your tongue is twisted, your eyes are slit.
You need a guardian.

Woo-hoo, and you know I’m yours.
Woo-hoo, and I know you’re mine.
Woo-hoo, and that’s for all the time.

[chorus]

I don’t care ’bout that.

Bang bang knock on the door, another big bang, you’re down on the floor.
Oh no! What do we do?
Don’t look now but I lost my shoe.
I can’t run and I can’t kick.
What’s a matter babe, are you feelin’ sick?
What’s a matter, what’s a matter, what’s a matter you?
What’s a matter babe, are you feelin’ blue?
Oh-oh-oh

And that’s for all the time. (x2)

[chorus]

I don’t care ’bout that. (x3)

Wallflowers – One Headlight

The song was written by Jakob Dylan, and produced by T-Bone Burnett. It was released in November 1996 as the second single from the band’s 1996 album, Bringing Down the Horse. This one really got my attention when it came out. Well written and performed song. The Wallflowers song I heard first a few years before was Asleep At The Wheel. Off of their first album. This one got plenty of airplay.

The song is notable for being the first song to reach No. 1 on all three of Billboard‘s rock airplay charts – Alternative Songs, Mainstream Rock Songs, and Adult Alternative Songs. The song did not make the Billboard 100 though.

Really Good RS 2000 article about Jakob Dylan and the Wallflowers…by David Fricke

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/the-confessions-of-jakob-dylan-a-wallflowers-coming-out-80746/

From Songfacts

Jakob Dylan: “I tend to write with a lot of metaphors and images, so people take them literally. The song’s meaning is all in the first verse. It’s about the death of ideas. The first verse says, ‘The death of the long broken arm of human law.’ At times, it seems like there should be a code among human beings that is about respect and appreciation. I wasn’t feeling like there was much support outside the group putting together the record. In the chorus, it says, ‘C’mon try a little.’ I didn’t need everything to get through, I could still get through – meaning ‘one headlight.” >>

This song wasn’t released as a single in America, so it was not eligible for the Hot 100 (Billboard changed this rule a few years later). It did, however, make #2 on the Airplay chart.

One Headlight

So long ago, I don’t remember when
That’s when they say I lost my only friend
Well they said she died easy of a broken heart disease
As I listened through the cemetery trees

I seen the sun comin’ up at the funeral at dawn
The long broken arm of human law
Now it always seemed such a waste, she always had a pretty face
So I wondered how she hung around this place

Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
But me and Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight

She said it’s cold
It feels like Independence Day
And I can’t break away from this parade
But there’s got to be an opening
Somewhere here in front of me
Through this maze of ugliness and greed
And I seen the sun up ahead at the county line bridge
Sayin’ all there’s good and nothingness is dead
We’ll run until she’s out of breath
She ran until there’s nothin’ left
She hit the end, it’s just her window ledge

Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
But me and Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight

Well this place is old
It feels just like a beat up truck
I turn the engine, but the engine doesn’t turn
Well it smells of cheap wine, cigarettes
This place is always such a mess
Sometimes I think I’d like to watch it burn
I’m so alone and I feel just like somebody else
Man, I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same
But somewhere here in between the city walls of dyin’ dreams
I think of death, it must be killin’ me

Hey, hey hey come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
But me and Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight

Everclear – I Will Buy You A New Life

In the late-1990s I started to listen to this band. They were formed in the early 90s by lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter Art Alexakis. Art’s dad left his mom and family and they had to survive in rough neighborhoods in LA. Some of the songs he wrote like “Father of Mine” relates that.

This is a band I really liked in the 90s and early 2000s. This song has a great hook to it.

This song peaked at #3 in the US Billboard Alternative Songs Charts and #1 in the Canadian Rock/Alternative Charts in 1998.

This is a personal song written by lead singer Art Alexakis. When his daughter Anna was a baby, he and his ex-wife would go to a wealthy neighborhood in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon. They would look at the fancy houses, drive around and fantasize about living there. One day, after the success of Everclear, Art bought one of those houses and moved into the neighborhood.

Alexakis: “It wasn’t about the money, it was about a different kind of life, giving all of yourself to another person. It’s the ultimate romantic song to me.”

I Will Buy You A New Life

Here is the money that I owe you
Yes you can pay the bills
I will give you more
When I get paid again

I hate those people who love to tell you
Money is the root of all that kills
They have never been poor
They have never had the joy of a welfare christmas

I know we will never look back

You say you wake up crying
Yes and you don’t know why
You get up and you go lay down
Inside my baby’s room

Yeah, I guess I’m doing OK
I moved in with the strangest guy
Can you believe he actually thinks
That I am really alive

I will buy you a garden
Where your flowers can bloom
I will buy you a new car
Perfect shiny and new
I will buy you that big house
Way up in the west hills
I will buy you a new life
Yes I will

Yes, I know all about that other guy
The handsome man with athletic thighs
I know about all the time before
With that obsessive little rich boy

They might make you think you’re happy
Yeah maybe for a minute or two
They can’t make you laugh
No they can’t make you feel the way that I do

I will buy you a garden
Where your flowers can bloom
I will buy you a new car
Perfect shiny and new
I will buy you that big house
Way up in the west hills
I will buy you a new life
I will buy you a new life

I know we can never look back

Will you please let me stay the night
Will you please let me stay the night
No one will ever know

I will buy you a garden
Where your flowers can bloom
I will buy you a new car
Perfect shiny and new
I will buy you that big house
Way up in the west hills
I will buy you a new life

I will buy you a garden
Where your flowers can bloom
I will buy you a new car
Perfect shiny and new
I will buy you that big house
Way up in the west hills
I will buy you a new life

I will buy you a new life
I will buy you a new life

I will buy you a new life
I will buy you a new life

I will buy you a new life
I will buy you a new life

Wallflowers – Sixth Avenue Heartache

Hard to believe this song peaked at #2 in the Billboard Alternative song chart 23 years ago in 1996. At first I thought well that is cool…it’s Bob Dylan’s son Jacob but then I realized I really liked the Wallflowers…Dylan’s son or not. I always thought he did it the right way by being in a band and not coming out at first as Jacob Dylan solo artist.

I went out and bought this album Bringing Down the Horse and their debut album. Bringing down the Horse peaked at #4 in the Billboard Album chart.

Mike Campbell played slide on the album and he said: “I really like the one guitar line in there, it was very George Harrison sounding and I was really proud of it when I got the sound in the studio, so I was glad they used it. The funny thing is, later, I ran into George. He had a real whimsical, cynical kind of thing – he looked at me and goes, ‘You know, I heard that record on the radio – you’re doing me now?’ He said it with a little chuckle.”

Lead singer Jakob Dylan wrote this in 1988 when he was only 18 years old. He considers it to be his first real song. Part of the song is about some time that Jakob spent in New York City and the things he witnessed.

From Songfacts

This was the first video and single released off of Bringing Down The Horse. It was originally written for The Wallflowers first CD, but the record company wouldn’t let them include it with the album.

Mike Campbell from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played the slide guitar part. There is a connection here: Jakob’s dad, Bob Dylan, played with Tom Petty in The Traveling Wilburys. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers also toured with Dylan in 1986, and Dylan helped write “Jammin’ Me.”

Producer T-Bone Burnett is the one who wanted Campbell to play on this. Campbell didn’t have time to come to the studio, so Burnett sent him the tape, which had some open tracks along with the basic rhythm track. Mike has a studio in his house, and one afternoon when he had a few hours to spare, he plugged in his guitar, came up with a few parts, doubled a couple of things, and got a sound he liked. He sent the tape back to Burnett, and the next thing he knew, Burnett called to tell him it came out really good, and the song was on the radio with his tracks. He never even met the guys in The Wallflowers.

The video was shot in New York City by David Fincher. Predominantly a movie director, Fincher has directed films such as Seven, The Game, Fight Club, and the third installment of Alien.

Pointing out how David Fincher came to direct the video, Jakob Dylan said: “You know, I don’t exactly remember how it happened. He just got a tape before the record was out. He got a preview of the record – an advance copy. He had heard that this was going to be the new single, and he actually called us and said he was interested in doing it, if we were interested. So we thought about it and we were like, what else have you done.”

Adam Duritz of Counting Crows provided backing vocals. Duritz and Dylan became friends in the early ’90s when Duritz was working as a bartender at The Viper Room in Los Angeles.

Sixth Avenue Heartache

Sirens ring, the shots ring out
A stranger cries screams out loud
I had my world strapped against my back
I held my hands, never knew how to act

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Below me was a homeless man
Singin’ songs I knew complete
On the steps alone, his guitar in hand
It’s fifty years, stood where he stands

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Now walkin’ home on those streets
The river winds move my feet
Subway steam, like silhouettes in dreams
They stood by me, just like moonbeams

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Look out the window, down upon that street
And gone like a midnight where was that man
But I see his six strings laid against that wall
And all his things, they all look so small
I got my fingers crossed on a shooting star
Just like me just moved on

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Last Train to Memphis…book by Peter Guralnick

I’ve read numerous books about The Beatles and other rock stars but never one on Elvis. This book is detailed pretty well and you get to know Elvis, his friends, and family up until 1958 and after his mother’s death. Peter Guralnick does a very good job not dwelling too long in one place. He keeps the story moving at a good pace. Guralnick is very even-handed and does not sensationalize his life.

Peter does have a second book called “Careless Love” I will start reading soon that covers the rest of Elvis’s life when things come unraveled.

I grew up listening to Elvis. I was never a huge fan. He was a great entertainer and interrupter of other people’s songs. He helped open the door to blues. soul and rock music for the masses like The Beatles and Stones did later.

You meet some very interesting and historical characters. Sam Phillips who first signed Elvis to Sun Records, Dewey Phillips (famous Memphis DJ) who first played “It’s All Right” on the radio, Hank Snow, and many others. Elvis wasn’t an overnight sensation but his success just continued to grow until it was uncontrollable. He covers the tours and tv appearances.

I’ve never thought too much of Colonel Tom Parker and this book didn’t help. Keeping Elvis separated from anyone who could influence him and caring more about his investment than the person.

Even at this early stage, I started feeling sorry for Elvis because of the isolation of not being able to go out in public without causing a scandal or being chased. He did have some close relationships with girls that were broken up because of the situation Elvis was in.

The part that disappointed me was that Elvis seemed to neglect his band. Scotty Moore and Bill Black were put on salary and could not work for anyone else. Scotty has blamed it on some RCA execs and Parker. They were with Elvis through the lean times and Scotty even managed them at the beginning. Scotty’s guitar help develop Elvis’s sound at the beginning.

Overall Elvis comes off as a good kid who got the world thrown at him and being his age he took it rather well. He was nearly always gracious to his fans, friends, and family.

If I had to give a rating I would give it 5 stars out of 5… A great book on how he began and it did clear up some myths built around him.

Annie Lennox – Walking on Broken Glass

“Walking on Broken Glass” is a song written and performed by Scottish singer Annie Lennox, taken from her 1992 album, Diva. This song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada and #8 in the UK in 1992.

The video was directed by Sophie Muller, the music video is based in part on the 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons, and on period films dealing with the late 18th century, such as Amadeus. John Malkovich, who starred in the film.

A very well done pop song. For some reason, the song has always reminded me of something Squeeze would do.

From Songfacts

The video was based on the 1988 movie Dangerous Liaisons, with elaborate costumes inspired by film, which was set in France during the 1700s. John Malkovich, who starred in the movie, also appeared in the video, as does Hugh Laurie, who went on to star in the TV show House. With the string section and harpsichord sound, the music fit the theme.

Contrary to the lilting melody, the lyrics describe a woman who is anguished over a breakup.

The elaborate photography on the Diva album was done by Anton Corbijn, who also worked with U2 and Depeche Mode. >>

Annie Lennox recalled the song’s promo in a blog promoting her 2009 greatest hits album: “This was a wonderful video to create. There were some wonderful people involved – John Malkovich and Hugh Laurie (before he had an American accent)! That was tremendous fun. The idea of it being a period piece, like Les Liaisons Dangereux. The alternative title for ‘Broken Glass’ could easily have been ‘Hell hath no more fury than a woman scorned.’ The video is very wry and tongue-in-cheek. People can take me a little seriously sometimes, but I do actually have a rather radical sense of humor.”

The music video was helmed by prolific director Sophie Muller, a frequent collaborator of Annie Lennox who cut her teeth directing several Eurythmics clips, including “I Need A Man,” “You Have Placed A Chill In My Heart,” and “Angel.”

Walking on, walking on broken glass
Walking on, walking on broken glass

You were the sweetest thing that I ever knew
But I don’t care for sugar, honey, if I can’t have you
Since you’ve abandoned me
My whole life has crashed
Won’t you pick the pieces up
‘Cause it feels just like I’m walking on broken glass

Walking on, walking on broken glass

The sun’s still shining in big blue sky
But it don’t mean nothing to me
Oh, let the rain come down
Let the wind blow through me
I’m living in an empty room
With all the windows smashed
And I’ve got so little left to lose
That it feels just like I’m walking on broken glass

And if you’re trying to cut me down
You know that I might bleed
‘Cause if you’re trying to cut me down
I know that you’ll succeed
And if you want to hurt me
There’s nothing left to fear
‘Cause if you want to hurt me
You’re doing really well, my dear

Now everyone of us was made to suffer
Everyone of us was made to weep
We’ve been hurting one another
Now the pain has cut too deep
So take me from the wreckage
Save me from the blast
Lift me up and take me back
Don’t let me keep on walking
I can’t keep on walking, keep on walking on broken glass

Walking on, walking on broken glass
Walking on, walking on broken glass
Walking on, walking on broken glass
Walking on, walking on broken glass