Replacements – Waitress In The Sky

Songs like this are what made The Replacements the Replacements.

Waitress in the Sky” was written for one of Paul Westerberg’s sisters…Julie. She was a career flight attendant. In the song, Westerberg’s character came on like every stewardess’s nightmare passenger. “I was playing the character of the creep who demands to be treated like a king. I’d heard all the stories from my sister about how [passengers] would yell at the flight attendants and how then they’d ‘accidentally’ spill something on them.”

Later on, when they signed to Warner Bros and an executive told them to make a music video. That is something that they absolutely would not do. Westerberg was willing to compromise though.

He did joke with the executive with a quote worth remembering… ‘Tell you what… if you get The Replacements on Hee-Haw then I’ll lip-synch to ‘Waitress in the Sky.’

Warner Bros were not amused. The conversation did lead to a live TV gig though.  Westerberg didn’t think Warner Brothers would be able to swing a deal for a TV spot so he agreed. He would soon regret his decision. Yes, Warner Bros got them not only a TV gig but a live one. They were then scheduled on SNL and that led to being permanently banned from the show after Westerberg uttered a naughty word on national television.

They were stuck on the 18th floor waiting all day for SNL. To soothe the band’s nerves, soundman Monty Lee Wilkes smuggled some alcohol into the studio in a little road case. As they began to dip in, the show’s host, Harry Dean Stanton, said hello. Harry ended up joining in and becoming quite intoxicated. Word began to circulate that the host was getting drunk mere hours before the live show. Panic ensued until a production assistant dragged Stanton out of the band’s dressing room.

Sufficiently lubricated, their rehearsal set went off smoothly. Bob Stinson shocked everyone by donning a striped lady’s unitard. The only hitch occurred during “Bastards of Young” — Bob was late coming in on the solo. Westerberg would make sure he didn’t miss his cue during the live broadcast. Make sure he did… he cued Bob by saying to Bob, just off mic: “Come on, f****r.”

This was a low point for SNL…Michael Lorne had just returned and the show was rumored to be canceled…so he didn’t take this well. They were permanently banned from playing there again…although Westerberg played there later during his solo career.

The song was on the Tim album released in 1985. Tim was the fourth studio album by  The Replacements. It was released in October 1985 on Sire Records (a subsidiary of Warner Brothers). It was their first major-label release.

Looking back on their career…it gets maddening. They bucked at playing nice with industry figures, purposely tanked do-or-die shows, and antagonized producers until they quit. They wanted to make it on their own terms but ended up sabotaging themselves. They could have been up there with R.E.M. but they couldn’t get out of their own way.

Julie was indeed a lifelong flight attendant…or Waitress in the sky…she retired in 2019 from Delta Airlines

Paul Westerberg's sister Julie, 'Waitress in the Sky' inspiration, retires  after four decades as flight attendant

Their performance on SNL…sorry for the quality but this is the only one the SNL police will allow.

Waitress In The Sky

She don’t wear no pants and she don’t wear no tie
Always on the ball, she’s always on strike
Struttin’ up the aisle, big deal, you get to fly
You ain’t nothin’ but a waitress in the sky
You ain’t nothin’ but a waitress in the sky
Paid my fare, don’t want to complain
You get to me, you’re always outta champagne
Treat me like a bum, don’t wear no tie
‘Cause you ain’t nothin’ but a waitress in the sky
You ain’t nothin’ but a waitress in the sky, oh hoh
And the sign says, “Thank you very much for not smoking”
My own sign says, “I’m sorry, I’m smokin'”
Don’t treat me special or don’t kiss my ass
Treat me like the way they treat ’em up in first class

Sanitation expert and a maintenance engineer
Garbage man, a janitor and you my dear
A real union flight attendant, my oh my
You ain’t nothin’ but a waitress in the sky
You ain’t nothin’ but a waitress in the sky
You ain’t nothin’ but a waitress in the sky

Oh oh, ba ba, oh oh, ba ba, oh oh, ba, ba, oh oh

Posies – Dream All Day ….Power Pop Friday

Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer started to write songs together while in High School in Bellingham, Washington in 1986. They were influenced by The Hollies, Hüsker Dü, XTC, Elvis Costello, Squeeze, and Big Star.

When they started out, a cassette of songs Stringfellow and Jon Auer traded back and forth went viral, which in the late ’80s meant copies got passed around and radio stations started playing them. The had one big problem though. They didn’t have an actual band together. Drummer Mike Musberger and bassist Rick Roberts were added as the first Posies rhythm section.

This song was on their third album released in 1993 called Frosting On The Beater. Dave Fox had replaced Rick Roberts by this time on bass. Dream All Day was released as the first single on the album.

The song peaked at #4 on the Billboard  Alternative Airplay Charts and #17 in the Billboard Mainstream Charts in 1993.

The Posies soon got signed to DGC and “Golden Blunders,” the first single from their Dear 23 debut on the label, became enough of a college radio hit that Ringo Starr recorded as part of his 1992 album Time Takes Time.

The made 8 albums altogether with the last one being in 2016.

In 1993 Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer joined Big Star’s Jody Stephens and Alex Chilton to reform Big Star. They toured and released a Big Star album in 2005 called In Space. It came to an end in 2010 with the death of Alex Chilton.

Dream All Day

I’ve got a lot of thoughts
Got a lot of plans
I lost a lot of sleep
Trying to understand

I could dream all day

In a blackened room
Staring into space
Underneath a thousand blankets
Just to find a place
Where everything is reachable
Imagining is safe
I tried to make it so
I didn’t even know

I could dream all day

I dreamt I was awake
My mouth was colored grey
As the world revolved around me
I could only say

I could dream all day

Replacements – Achin’ To Be

A wonderful song from the band’s sixth album Don’t Tell A Soul. It was the first album with new guitarist Bob “Slim” Dunlap after Bob Stinson quit. They recorded their previous album Please To Meet Me as a trio with Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, and Chris Mars.

Westerberg has claimed the song’s protagonist was a composite of several people, though one inspiration was his younger sister Mary. She was a Minneapolis budding rock radio deejay, Mary was experiencing the same uncertainties Paul had gone through prior to the Replacements. (In the video showed Mary as both Paul’s shadow and reflection.)

The sound of this album turned some of the older fans off. In order to get more radio play the record company brought in Chris Lord-Alge to mix the album. The album had a lot of those eighties effects used to enhance the music. The result was more of a polished  Replacements album.

They would release one more album after this one called All Shook Down in 1990. Chris Mars left the band in 1989 and was replaced in 1990 by Steve Foley. The band toured with Elvis Costello in 1991 and would play their farewell gig in Chicago on July 4, 1991.

In 2012 they would regroup with a different drummer and tour until 2015. They sold out some arenas that held around 14,000 people in 10 minutes in some areas. After they broke up their legend grew and they were heard more than they were when they were together originally. For my money…they were the best pure rock band in the 80s for these ears.

Achin’ To Be

Well she’s kind of like an artist
Sittin’ on the floor
Never finishes, she abandons
Never shows a soul

And she’s kind of like a movie
Everyone rushes to see
And no one understands it
Sittin’ in their seats

She opens her mouth to speak and
What comes out’s a mystery
Thought about, not understood
She’s achin’ to be

Well she dances alone in nightclubs
Every other day of the week
People look right through her
Baby doll, check your cheek

And she’s kind of like a poet
Who finds it hard to speak
Poems come so slowly
Like the colors down a sheet

She opens her mouth to speak and
What comes out’s a mystery
Thought about, not understood
She’s achin’ to be

I’ve been achin’ for a while now, friend
I’ve been achin’ hard for years

Well she’s kind of like an artist
Who uses paints no more
You never show me what you’re doing
Never show a soul

Well, I saw one of your pictures
There was nothin’ that I could see
If no one’s on your canvas
Well, I’m achin’ to be

She closes her mouth to speak and
Closes her eyes to see
Thought about an’ only loved
She’s achin’ to be
Just like me

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros – Home

I posted this song when I first started when I had only a couple of readers (Hanspostcard and Run-Sew-Read) so I thought I would give it another go. When I heard this on Lightning 100 in Nashville (an alternative station) I thought it was an old song. I liked it off the bat. Alex Ebert had left his band Ima Robot and formed this odd hippie-type band with Jade Castrinos in Los Angeles, California in 2007.

Never did I think I would like a song that started off…

Alabama, Arkansas
I do love my ma and pa
Not that way that I do love you

Holy moley, me oh my
You’re the apple of my eye
Girl, I’ve never loved one like you

But I did…and I couldn’t get enough of it. Their music has an old sound and is vibrant. I’m not comparing this in any way but it brought to mind Johnny and June Cash. Johnny and June didn’t sound like this but the type of song fits.

They were a band that had members that would come and go and were like a commune-type group. The song didn’t make it into the Billboard 100 although it was everywhere. “Home” was released in 2010 and it charted at #25 on the Billboard Alternative Songs in 2010 and #50 in the UK Charts in 2013. It did get a lot of play on commercials and  TV shows.

The interplay between Ebert and his then-girlfriend and bandmate Jade Castrinos is infectious. The song is a true story. Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos were enjoying a day through Elysian Park in Los Angeles when she lost her shoes and he carried her on his back. After that, she fell out of his 2nd story window and had to go to the hospital.

The band is named after a character from a novel Ebert was writing…Edward Sharpe is an otherworldly figure who comes to Earth to offer enlightenment to the masses but finds himself getting distracted by the beautiful women.

Unfortunately Jade is not in the band now after a falling out in 2014. Their last album PersonA was released in 2016.

Home

Alabama, Arkansas
I do love my ma and pa
Not that way that I do love you

Holy moley, me oh my
You’re the apple of my eye
Girl, I’ve never loved one like you

Man, oh man, you’re my best friend
I scream it to the nothingness
There ain’t nothing that I need

Well, hot and heavy, pumpkin pie
Chocolate candy, Jesus Christ
Ain’t nothing please me more than you

Ah, home, let me go home
Home is wherever I’m with you
Ah, home, let me go home
Home is wherever I’m with you

La, la, la, la, take me home
Mommy, I’m coming home

I’ll follow you into the park
Through the jungle, through the dark
Girl, I never loved one like you

Moats and boats and waterfalls
Alleyways and pay phone calls
I’ve been everywhere with you

That’s true, laugh until we think we’ll die
Barefoot on a summer night
Never could be sweeter than with you

And in the streets you run a-free
Like it’s only you and me
Geez, you’re something to see

Ah, home, let me go home
Home is wherever I’m with you
Ah, home, let me go home
Home is wherever I’m with you

La, la, la, la, take me home
Daddy, I’m coming home

Jade Alexander, do you remember that day you fell out of my window?
I sure do, you came jumping out after me
Well, you fell on the concrete, nearly broke your ass,
You were bleeding all over the place and I rushed you out to the hospital, you remember that?
Yes, I do, well, there’s something I never told you about that night
What didn’t you tell me?
While you were sitting in the backseat smoking a cigarette you thought was going to be your last,
I was falling deep, deeply in love with you, and I never told you until just now

Ah, home, let me go home
Home is wherever I’m with you
Ah, home, let me go home
Home is where I’m alone with you

Home, let me come home
Home is wherever I’m with you

Ah, home, yes I am home
Home is when I’m alone with you

Alabama, Arkansas
I do love my ma and pa
Moats and boats and waterfalls
Alleyways and pay phone calls

Ah, home, let me go home
Home is wherever I’m with you
Ah, home, let me go home
Home is where I’m alone with you

Replacements – I Don’t Know

Paul Westerberg once said he wanted the Replacement albums to have a timeless sound and not tied to a decade…for the most part he got his wish. I love the irrelevance of the band…how they didn’t take themselves seriously.

The Replacements were a handful to record but they made some fantastic albums…for me some of the best of the 80s. This song is as subtle as a brick through a window. It’s the band’s open letter about the state of the Replacements and the 1980’s music industry. They were releasing what are now considered classic albums but were getting nowhere. The song is credited to Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, and Chris Mars.

Do we give it up? (I don’t know)
Should we give it hell? (I don’t know)
Are you makin’ a fortune? (I don’t know)
Or don’t you wanna tell? (I don’t know)
Should we give it up? (I don’t know)
Or hang around some more? (I don’t know)
Should we buy some beer? (I don’t know)
Can I use your hairspray?

One foot in the door, the other foot in the gutter
The sweet smell that you adore, yeah I think I’d rather smother

This was off of the album Please To Meet Me  recorded in Memphis with Jim Dickinson producing. Dickinson also produced Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers album a decade before. Bob Stinson was out of the band at this time and it was recorded as a trio of Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, and Mars.

John Hampton was behind the board so Westerberg had fun with him with the line Who’s behind the board? (I don’t know) They tell me he’s a dope (I don’t know).

The lead single off of this album was The Ledge but MTV in their infinate wisdom decided not to play the song because it discussed suicide. I Don’t Know was sometimes used as the closing song on their reunion tour. I like the saxaphone and the energy of it…and it rocks.

Jim Dickinson: “Every day they were like a sine wave, they wouldn’t be drunk enough early on in the day to get anything. Then they’d be good and drunk, and it would be great. And then they’d be too drunk, and they’d get useless.”

“They couldn’t conceivably play the same song four or five times in a row, because they would get bored, so I would pick three or four songs, and we’d cut them like a set.”

I Don’t Know

Do we give it up? (I don’t know)
Should we give it hell? (I don’t know)
Are you makin’ a fortune? (I don’t know)
Or don’t you wanna tell? (I don’t know)
Should we give it up? (I don’t know)
Or hang around some more? (I don’t know)
Should we buy some beer? (I don’t know)
Can I use your hairspray?

One foot in the door, the other foot in the gutter
The sweet smell that you adore, yeah I think I’d rather smother

Should we top it off? (I don’t know)
It’s startin’ to smoke (I don’t know)
Who’s behind the board? (I don’t know)
They tell me he’s a dope (I don’t know)
What the fuck you sayin’? (I don’t know)
Our lawyer’s on the phone (I don’t know)
How much are you in for? (I don’t know)
What did we do now?

One foot in the door, the other one in the gutter
The sweet smell that they adore, I think I’d rather smother

One foot in the door, the other one in the gutter
The sweet smell that they adore, well I think I’d rather smother

(4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12)

Are you guys still around? (I don’t know)
Whatcha gonna do with your lives? (Nothin’!)

One foot in the door, the other one in the gutter
The sweet smell that you adore, hey I think I’d rather smother

One foot in this door, the other one in the gutter
The sweet smell that they adore, oh I think I’d rather smother

Velvet Underground – There She Goes Again

Being a fan of bands like this is like being in a secret club. When you do find a person who knows Big Star, The Velvet Underground, or any other band like that…you usually have found a friend.

In the 80s a buddy of mine had some Velvet Underground albums (same one with Big Star albums) and I loved what I heard. After I started to know some of their songs, I wanted to talk to other people about them…most people I talked to never knew who I was talking about. Lou Reed they knew but not this band. That is when I learned what a cult band was…after being introduced to Big Star and Velvet Underground by the same person…I’ll never be able to thank him enough.

This song was on their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico it was released in 1967. Lou Reed wrote There She Goes Again. The lyrics to this song must have sounded outrageous to the listeners in 1967. The album only charted at #129 in the Billboard 100 and that would be the best charting LP of all of their 5 original albums.

Their compilation album VU did peak at #85 in 1985.

The band got its name from the 1963 paperback book of the same title. Cover quote on the book: “Here is an incredible book. It will shock and amaze you. But as a documentary on the sexual corruption of our age, it is a must for every thinking adult.”

It came with an introduction by Louis Berg, M.D. Cover price: sixty cents. Lou Reed called it “the funniest dirty book he’d ever read.

The Velvet Underground – “Velvet Underground” by Michael Leigh / 1963 Book  The Band Took Their Name From

From Songfacts

“There She Goes Again” is the 8th track from the Velvet Underground’s debut album, reaching up the Billboard Hot 100 charts at… oh, wait, the Velvet Underground never charted. However as Velvet Underground songs go, this one is perhaps the most mainstream-sounding.

The lyrics more than make up for the ear-friendly notes, however, when you realize that this song is about a woman falling into prostitution. And in fact it does so with gritty references to being on her knees and walking the streets – maybe not so shocking today, but monocle-popping in 1967.

On December 11, 1965, the Velvets appeared at the Summit High School Auditorium for one of their first paid gigs, alongside two other bands since long forgotten. Their set began with this song, then went to “Venus In Furs,” and finished with “Heroin.” At a high school. Sterling Morrison later recounted in a 1983 interview that a “murmur of surprise” changed to “a roar of disbelief” and then to “a mighty howl of outrage and bewilderment” over the course of their three-song set.

Musically, this song does borrow from Marvin Gaye’s “Hitch Hike” – give it a listen. It’s even more obvious of an influence if you listen to the Rolling Stones cover on the Out of Our Heads album – there’s the guitar riff and the pronounced stops.

That album cover for The Velvet Underground & Nico – have you ever thought about how, if you peel off the sticker, the revealed banana is pink? Isn’t that an… interesting color choice for a… peeled banana? It’s almost like Andy Warhol was trying to convey some subtle Freudian signal to us. Pink banana.

There She Goes Again

There she goes again (There she goes again)
She’s out on the streets again (There she goes again)
She’s down on her knees, my friend (There she goes again)
But you know she’ll never ask you please again (There she goes again)

Now take a look, there’s no tears in her eyes
She won’t take it from just any guy, what can you do (There she goes again)
You see her walkin’ on down the street (There she goes again)
Look at all your friends she’s gonna meet (There she goes again)
You better hit her

There she goes again (There she goes)
She’s knocked out on her feet again (There she goes)
She’s down on her knees, my friend (There she goes)
But you know she’ll never ask you please again (There she goes)

Now take a look, there’s no tears in her eyes
Like a bird, you know she would fly, what can you do (There she goes)
You see her walkin’ on down the street (There she goes)
Look at all your friends that she’s gonna meet (There she goes)
You better hit her

Now take a look, there’s no tears in her eyes
Like a bird, you know she will fly, fly, fly away (Fly, fly, fly)
See her walking on down the street
Look at all your friends that she’s gonna meet

She’s gonna bawl and shout, she’s gonna work it
She’s gonna work it out, bye bye
Bye by by by by by bye baby
She’s all right

Replacements – Kiss Me On The Bus

This song is off of the album Tim released in 1985.  This was their first album on Sire Records with Warner Brothers. They had left the indie Twin/Tone records after the album Let It Be. Another song title that I had to listen to and I’m glad I did.

Bob Stinson’s imprint was heavy on Kiss Me on the Bus, which he turned into a showcase for his breakneck riffing. When Bob was right…he could give you the quickest most perfect riffs…but when he was off…he was off. It could be from song to song some nights.

This would be Bob’s last album with the band. He would leave a little while after this. Slim Dunlap would take his place in 1988.

Being on a big label meant they got a slot on SNL. They sounded ragged but great on the show. They played two songs… Bastards of Young and Kiss Me On The Bus. Paul Westerberg muttered the F word during Bastards of Young and Lorne Michaels berated the band before they played this song as their last song.

It would be the last time because they were barred from future SNL performances.

After their performance, they went to a party and then back to the hotel. Bob Stinson who had some emotional along with chemical problems caused a lot of damage in his room at the hotel.

Later when Michaels got the $1,100 bill for the hotel damages, he hit the roof again. He was threatening to ban not just the Replacements but any Warner Bros. act from appearing on SNL. In one night, the Replacements had managed to destroy a decade of cozy relations between the show and the label.

Paul Westerberg: “Rock-and-roll doesn’t always make for great television, but we were trying to do whatever possible to make sure that was a memorable evening.”

I could not find the SNL video, but the below clip is a European television appearance. Bob’s guitar playing is the highlight of this video.

Kiss Me On The Bus

On the bus, that’s where we’re riding
On the bus, okay, don’t say “hi” then
Your tongue, your transfer
Your hand, your answer

On the bus, everyone’s looking forward
On the bus, I am looking forward
And it really ain’t okay
I might die before Monday
They’re all watching us

Kiss me on the bus
Kiss me on the bus
Oooo, if you knew how I felt now
You wouldn’t act so adult now
Hurry hurry, here comes my stop

On the bus, watch our reflection
On the bus, I can’t stand no rejection
C’mon let’s make a scene
Oh baby don’t be so mean
They’re all watching us

Kiss me on the bus
Kiss me on the bus
Oooo, if you knew how I felt now
You wouldn’t act so adult now
Hurry hurry, here comes my stop

Oooo, if you knew how I felt now
You wouldn’t act so adult now
They’re all watching us
Kiss me on the bus
Kiss me on the bus
Kiss me on the bus
Kiss me on the bus

B-52’s – Love Shack

Love or hate this band…the one thing you have to give them is orginality. I can’t listen to them for hours but a song every now and then is great.

Kate Pierson has sai, the actual Love Shack is where she lived in the ’70s… a five-room cabin with a tin roof in Athens, Georgia. The band would sometimes work up songs there, including “Rock Lobster.” It really was set way back in the middle of a field (off of Jefferson River Road), with no plumbing or running water. The shack was later renovated, but in 2004 it burned down.

The band drew inspiration from the club in the movie The Color Purple, and also from a real club outside of Athens, Georgia, called the Hawaiian Ha-Le, where they would hang out.

The line, “The love shack is a little old place where we can get together” originally showed up just once in the song, but producer Don Was convinced the band to repeat that line and it became the hook. Kate Pierson credits Don Was with turning this song into a hit.

It was on the 1989 album Cosmic Thing. The album was a huge hit…because of this song and Roam.

The album peaked at #4 in the Billboard Album Charts, #8 in Canada, #1 in New Zealand, and #8 in the UK.

The song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #5 in Canada, #1 in New Zealand, and #2 in the UK.

This was a global hit, but not in Japan, where a band with the name of an American bomber would  not a good fit to say the least. The band was named after a hairstyle Pierson and Wilson wore, but there was no way to get that message across.

Cindy Wilson: “When you’re jamming, everybody is conjuring up their own images. Sometimes we’re all singing at the same time and later you go back and you hear what you’re doing. I personally was thinking about this bar that was out in the country [the Hawaiian Ha-Le]. It was a really cool place – a run-down love shack kind of thing, but it was a disco. It was a really interesting place.”

Love Shack

If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says
Fifteen miles to the, love shack, love shack yeah
I’m headin’ down the Atlanta highway
Lookin’ for the love getaway
Headed for the love getaway, love getaway
I got me a car, it’s as big as a whale
And we’re headin’ on down to the love shack
I got me a Chrysler, it seats about twenty
So hurry up and bring your jukebox money

The love shack is a little old place where
We can get together
Love shack baby
A love shack baby
Love shack, baby love shack
Love shack, baby love shack
Love shack, baby love shack
Love shack, baby love shack

Sign says, woo, stay away fools
‘Cause love rules at the love shack
Well it’s set way back in the middle of a field
Just a funky old shack and I gotta get back
Glitter on the mattress
Glitter on the highway
Glitter on the front porch
Glitter on the hallway

The love shack is a little old place where
We can get together
Love shack, baby
Love shack, baby
Love shack, that’s where it’s at
Love shack, that’s where it’s at

Huggin’ and a-kissin’, dancin’ and a-lovin’
Wearin’ next to nothing ’cause it’s hot as an oven
The whole shack shimmies
Yeah the whole shack shimmies
The whole shack shimmies when everybody’s movin’ around
And around and around and around
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’ baby
Folks linin’ up outside just to get down
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’ baby
Funky little shack
Funky little shack

Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale
And it’s about to set sail
I got me a car, it seats about twenty, so come on
And bring your jukebox money

The love shack is a little old place where
We can get together
Love shack baby
A love shack baby
Love shack, baby love shack
Love shack, baby love shack
Love shack, baby love shack (oh baby that’s where it’s at)
Love shack, baby love shack (baby that’s where it’s at)

Bang bang bang on the door baby!
Knock a little louder baby!
Bang bang bang on the door baby!
I can’t hear you
Bang bang bang on the door baby!
Knock a little louder sugar!
Bang bang bang on the door baby!
I can’t hear you

Bang bang bang on the door baby, knock a little louder
Bang bang on the door baby, bang bang!
On the door baby, bang bang!
On the door, bang bang!
On the door baby, bang bang!

You’re what?
Tin roof
Rusted!

Love shack, baby love shack!
Love shack, baby love shack!
Love shack, baby love shack!
Love shack, baby love shack!

REM – Everybody Hurts

When I heard this song in the 90s…I knew then it was one of those songs that would become an instant classic.

Most of this song was written by R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry. It is an anti-suicide song. Berry wanted to reach out to people who felt they had no hope. He quit the band in 1997 shortly before recording their album Up after an aneurysm. After that album, the band almost broke up, but decided to continue as a trio.

While he wrote this, he did not actually play on it. They used a Univox drum machine. R.E.M. bass player Mike Mills claims he bought Univox drum machine for $20, but it was perfect for the song’s metronome-ish feel.

It was on the album Automatic For The People, considered by some as the best album they ever released. The album peaked at #2 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in the UK, #4 in Canada, and #1 in New Zealand.

The album title was inspired by Weaver D’s soul food diner in Athens, Georgia. They had a sign that said “Delicious Fine Foods – Automatic For The People.”

The song peaked at #29 in the Billboard 100, #8 in Canada, #7 in the UK, and #12 in New Zealand in 1993.  I’m shocked now that it wasn’t in the top 10 in Billboard.

The string arrangement was done by no other than Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones.

Michael Stipe: “It saved a few. People have told me. And I love hearing that. That’s for me, that’s my Oscar, that’s my gold on a shelf right there… that something we did impacted someone’s life in such a profound way. That’s a beautiful thing.”

Mike Mills: Mike (Stipe) and I cut it live with this dumb drum machine which is just as wooden as you can get. We wanted to get this flow around that: human and non-human at the same time.”

Peter Buck: The reason the lyrics are so atypically straightforward is because it was aimed at teenagers.

From Songfacts

On many R.E.M. songs, Michael Stipe purposefully sings indecipherably. He sang very clearly on this one though, because he didn’t want his message getting lost. “I don’t remember singing it,” he noted in Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011, “but I still kind of can’t believe my voice is on this recording. It’s very pure. This song instantly belonged to everyone except us, and that honestly means the world to me.”

The Nevada legislature commended R.E.M. for “encouraging the prevention of teen suicides,” noting this song as an example (Nevada has a high rate of teen suicide).

The music video was directed by Jake Scott, son of movie director Ridley Scott, famous for movies like Blade Runner (1982) and Gladiator (2000). Filmed on Interstate 10 in San Antonio, Texas, the clip is set during a traffic jam where people’s thoughts are revealed through subtitles.

The video won four MTV Video Music Awards: Breakthrough Video, Best Direction, Best Editing and Best Cinematography. When it won for Best Direction, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, who were nominated for “Sabotage,” got to the podium before Michael Stipe. Dressed in character as his Swiss alter ego Nathanial Hornblower, he went on a rant, calling it a “farce” before being ushered off.

Disrupting an award for such a somber song is in poor taste, but it was hard to take this awards show seriously. Hosted by Roseanne Barr, it is best remembered for a cringe-worthy kiss between newlyweds Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. MTV didn’t harbor any resentment: they gave the Beastie Boys the Video Vanguard award in 1998.

This was used on an episode of The Simpsons when Marge is walking in a thunderstorm and thinks she has no friends. 

In February 2010 a charity cover was recorded by a collection of artists, Helping Haiti, to raise money for the victims of the earthquake that devastated the country. It sold over 200,000 copies in its first two days making it one of the quickest selling singles of the 21st century in the United Kingdom. Joseph Kahn directed a music video for the cover that features cameos from the performers and footage from the earthquake’s aftermath. Kahn is known for directing clips for the likes of Eminem, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift.

This topped a poll compiled by PRS For Music, which collects and pays royalties to musicians in the UK, of the songs most likely to make a grown man cry. Second in the list came Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven” followed by Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” PRS chairman Ellis Rich said: “From this chart, it is clear that a well-written tear-jerker is one that people can relate to and empathise with. It is this lyrical connection that can reach deep down emotionally and move even the strongest of men.”

In a rare authorized comedic use of this song, Mayim Bialik’s character on The Big Bang Theory plays this on the harp when she is upset over being left behind by her two girlfriends, who are shopping for bridesmaids dresses. Her “boyfriend,” played by Jim Parsons, comes by to cheer her up, resulting in an awkward cuddle scene.

Peter Buck likens the vibe of this song to Otis Redding’s “Pain in My Heart.” He wrote in the liner notes for Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011: “I’m not sure if Michael would have copped that reference, but to a lot of our fans it was a Staxxy-type thing.”

This was used in the 1992 film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, starring Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry and Rutger Hauer. Speaking of the subsequent TV series, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Peter Buck said: “I’ve never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but the idea that high school is a portal to hell seems pretty realistic to me.”

Pink and Kelly Clarkson sang this to open the 2017 American Music Awards. They were introduced by Jamie Foxx, who said the purpose was to “pay respect to all those affected by the events of the past year,” meaning the hurricanes, shootings and hate rallies that took place.

Another comedic use was on The Office in the season 2 episode “The Fire,” where Dwight retreats to his car and blasts the song after Michael takes Ryan’s side in a business discussion.

Everybody Hurts

When your day is long
And the night
The night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough
Of this life
Well hang on
Don’t let yourself go
‘Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone (hold on)
(Hold on) if you feel like letting go (hold on)
If you think you’ve had too much
Of this life
Well, hang on

‘Cause everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts
Don’t throw your hand
Oh, no
Don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone
No, no, no, you’re not alone

If you’re on your own
In this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you’ve had too much
Of this life
To hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes
So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on

Everybody hurts

You are not alone

Blasters – Dark Night

The guitar intro to this song is worth the price of admission.

Some rockabilly bands, or roots rock bands, sound like they came in on a nostalgia wave from the 1950s. There is nothing wrong with that but…not the Blasters. They sounded contemporary in the 80s even in the middle of a period where production was at its height. Their music still sounds timely now…years after it was released.

Just the intro to this song sends shiver up my spine. This song was on the Hard Line album released in 1985. This album featured Stan Lynch from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on a few tracks and Blasters fan John Mellencamp wrote and co-produced a track (Colored Lights) also.  Hard Line was the Blasters’ final studio album with their original lineup.

Dave Alvin wrote all the songs on the album except the Mellencamp song. He left the band in 1986 for a solo career. He has played in some other bands like X and with The Flesh Eaters. Now he occasionally will rejoin The Blasters on reunion tours with the original lineup.

The song has gained recognition for its appearances in several films and tv shows with its most famous being in the 1996 vampire movie From Dusk Till Dawn of which it is the main theme.

The song was also used in an episode of Miami Vice in 1985.

Dark Night

Hot air hangs like a dead man
From a white oak tree
People sitting on porches
Thinking how things used to be
Dark night
It’s a dark night
Dark night
It’s a dark night

The neighborhood was changing
Strangers moving in
A new boy fell for a local girl
When she made eyes at him

She was young and pretty
No stranger to other men
But windows were being locked at night
Old lines were drawn again

I thought these things
Didn’t matter anymore
I thought all that blood
Had been shed long ago
Dark night
It’s a dark night

He took her to the outskirts
And pledged his love to her
They thought it was their secret
But someone knew where they were

He held her so close
He asked about her dreams
When a bullet from a passing car
Made the young girl scream

I thought these things
Didn’t happen anymore
I thought all that blood
Had been shed long ago

Dark night
It’s a dark night
Dark night
It’s a dark night

Foo Fighters – Next Year

Well…it is “Next Year” today…I hope 2022 is a great year for all of us. 

You could call this a power ballad. It sounds a little like Britpop and Dave Grohl has criticized the song…no not critize…he HATES the song but it’s one of my favorites by them.

Dave Grohl: ‘Next Year’ is a piece of shit! That song is so stupid! It’s weird.”

I like weird Dave…

The song was released in December of 2000. It was on the album There Is Nothing Left to Lose. It peaked at #14 in the US Alternative Airplay Charts, #12 in Canada, and #42 in the UK in 2000-2001. 

The video is great… it remakes the Apollo 11 mission with clips around that time. It ends with the Foo Fighters in astronaut gear similiar to this Led Zeppelin photo. 

Led Zeppelin's 25 Greatest Deep Cuts : Napster

Next Year - Wikiwand

From Wiki: The opening of “Next Year” was used as the theme song for the NBC television series Ed (2000–2004). The show’s creators, Rob Burnett and Jon Beckerman (formerly of the Late Show with David Letterman) used the song despite knowledge of production company Viacom’s insistence that they own the rights to the show’s theme song. “Next Year” was thus ultimately replaced by Clem Snide’s “Moment in the Sun” during the second season. As a result of outcries from Burnett and Beckerman, however, Viacom relented and “Next Year” returned as the theme song in the third and fourth seasons.

Next Year

I’m in the sky tonight
There I can keep by your side
Watching the wide world riot
And hiding out
I’ll be coming home next year

Into the sun we climb
Climbing our wings will burn white
Everyone strapped in tight
We’ll ride it out
I’ll be coming home next year

Come on, get on, get on
Take it till life runs out
No one can find us now
Living with our heads underground

Into the night we shine
Lighting the way we glide by
Catch me if I get too high
When I come down
I’ll be coming home next year

I’m in the sky tonight
There I can keep by your side
Watching the whole world wind
Around and round
I’ll be coming home next year

Come on, get on, get on
Take it till I fall down
No one can find us now
Living with our heads underground

I’ll be coming home next year
I’ll be coming home next year
Everything’s all right up here
And if I come down
I’ll be coming home next year

Say goodbye
Say goodbye
Say goodbye
Say goodbye

I’ll be coming home next year
I’ll be coming home next year
Everything’s all right up here
And if I come down
I’ll be coming home next year
I’ll be coming home next year
I’ll be coming home next year

Webb Wilder – Meet Your New Landlord

I first heard Webb Wilder in the late eighties with songs Poolside and Human Canon Ball. He looked and sounded different right away.

Webb Wilder looks like he dropped out of a 50’s black and white detective show. By 1991 I was walking through a street fair in Nashville and there he was playing with his band. He had just released an album called Doodad that got some local and national airplay. His music is a mixture of rock/country/rockabilly/punk and anything else he can throw in…including the kitchen sink.

He has described his music as “Swampadelic”, “Service-station attendant music”, “Uneasy listening”, “Psychobilly”…they all fit.

I purchased the Doodad album and this song is what I zero’d in on. The hit off the album was Tough It out which peaked at #16 on the Mainstream Charts.  It included guest appearances by Al Kooper and Sonny Landreth.

The guitar riff is instantly catchy and the first verse was about losing your house/land in a poker game. A great story telling song.

Wilder got some MTV exposure with Human Canon Ball and a lot of local play with a song caled Poolside. He is a fantastic performer to catch live. He has been an actor, disc jokey, and a great artist…a true original.

The two videos are the same version…some were getting video not found.

Meet Your New Landlord

Neon lights don’t never dim
In the kind of bars that never close
In a back room game T. Jim yells
“Saint Gabriel, I’m gonna steal the show.”
He slapped his cards down on the table
Said, “Boys, i got me a winning hand.”
But the sight that made old T. Jim tremble
Was the king that took his land

Mister, meet your new landlord
Heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Plenty of room down on the floor

With a ticket burning in his hand
And the tip still ringing in his ear
Big Pete bet his whole life savings
As the race was drawing near

A shot was fired
The gates flew open
The years streaked right before his eyes
Too bad they were riding on a saddle
From the moment of ill advice

Mister, meet your new landlord
I heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Plenty of room down on the floor

Other names and other places
Different rules but it’s all the same
Cause if that bug ever b***s you
The scar will bear you shame
Hey listen, son, you know you’re in trouble
When you wake up one morning in a daze
And as you peer into the mirror
The face leaning over says

Mister, meet your new landlord
I heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Got plenty of room down on the floor

Mister, meet your new landlord
I heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Plenty of room down on the floor

Hey, mister, meet your new landlord
Whooo

Jam – In The City

As with the Buzzcocks…I had friends with Jam albums and that is how I found out about them.

This was their first single and introduction to the Jam and singer/guitarist and Jam songwriter Paul Weller. Weller wrote this song and borrowed the title from a Who single I’m A Boy with the B side In The City.

It was released in 1977 and peaked at #40 inn the UK Charts. This was their first Top 40 single and the beginning of their streak of 18 consecutive Top 40 singles. The single came off the album of the same name. The album peaked at #20 in 1977.

The song’s opening bassline re-appeared a few months later on the Sex Pistols’ single “Holidays in The Sun.” Weller had a fight with Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious in the Speakeasy Club over stealing the riff.

Paul Weller: “We had a different sort of birth to a lot of the bands, our contemporaries of that time. Because we’d been playing for five years – pubs and working men’s clubs and anywhere that would have us really. I’d been plating since I was 14, sort of semi-pro if you like. So I never got the thing about not turning your guitar.”

“I wrote this after I’d seen the Pistols and The Clash and I was obviously into my Who phrase. I just wanted to capture some of that excitement.” “It was a big tune for us. We’d open our set with it, we’d probably play it at the end and if we could get an encore, we’d play it again. The reaction it got from the audience, we knew it was a big tune.”

“I’m not sure about some of the lyrics in … I was 17, 18 man. But it was a good youth anthem, I thought.”

From Songfacts

While only a minor hit on the charts, this mod/punk number is well remembered for serving as England’s first introduction to singer/guitarist and Jam songwriter Paul Weller. The song’s #40 chart position when the song was first released marked the beginning of his band’s streak of 18 consecutive Top 40 singles. After their breakup in 1982, Weller would continue to notch up chart entries well into the 21st century firstly with Style Council, then under his own name.

Weller was only 18 when he penned this celebration of youth in the big city. He recalled writing this song to Q magazine April 2011: “It was the sound of young Woking, if not London, a song about trying to break out of suburbia. As far as we were concerned, the city was where it was all happening; the clubs, the gigs, the music, the music. I was probably 18, so it was a young man’s song, a suburbanite dreaming of the delights of London and the excitement of the city. It was an exciting time to be alive. London was coming out of its post-hippy days and there was a new generation taking over. The song captured that wide-eyed innocence of coming out of a very small community and entering a wider world, seeing all the bands, meeting people, going to the clubs, and the freedom that it held.”

The single has the particular distinction of reaching the UK Top 50 on four different occasions. The song originally peaked at #40, then when “Going Underground” became the group’s first #1 single three years later, Polydor decided to re-issue all nine of the group’s prior singles and “City” was the only one to make the Top 40 again, peaking at #40 for a second time. After the group’s breakup at the end of 1982, the record company re-issued every single of the band’s career in early 1983 and this time “City” peaked at #47. Finally, in May 2002, Polydor decided to commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Jam by re-releasing their debut single in its original packaging, in its original 7″ vinyl record format, and at its original price of 75 pence. The limited pressing sold out immediately, this time peaking at #36, higher than it ever did in its original release and two subsequent reissues.

In The City

In the city there’s a thousand things I want to say to you
But whenever I approach you, you make me look a fool
I want to say, I want to tell you
About the young ideas
But you turn them into fears

In the city there’s a thousand faces all shining bright
And those golden faces are under 25
They want to say, they gonna tell ya
About the young idea
You better listen now you’ve said your bit-a

And I know what you’re thinking
You still think I am crap
But you’d better listen man
Because the kids know where it’s at

In the city there’s a thousand men in uniforms
And I’ve heard they now have the right to kill a man
We want to say, we gonna tell ya
About the young idea
And if it don’t work, at least we said we’ve tried

In the city, in the city
In the city there’s a thousand things I want to say to you

REM – (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville

This is one of the first songs I remember hearing from R.E.M. A buddy of mine had the Reckoning album and wore it out. It is up in the top ten of my favorite REM songs.

This song is about Ingrid Schorr, a girl the band knew at the University of Georgia whose hometown was Rockville, Maryland. She got a lot of attention on campus as classmates lamented her departure.

Don’t Go Back To Rockville is a R.E.M. song that bass player Mike Mills wrote most of the lyrics but as always with R.E.M. credited to the entire band. Mills exaggerated in the song and he wasn’t a boyfriend to Ingrid…only good friends but he saw a good song in the story.

The orginal version of the song was really fast like a Ramones kind of punk rock song. They slowed it down to a country tinged feel as a nod to their manager Bertis Downs, who really loved the song.

This was the second single from the album Reckoning released in 1984. The song didn’t chart but the album peaked at #27 in the Billboard Album Charts, #23 in New Zealand, and #91 in the UK.

Mike Mills:  “There was a girl Ingrid Schorr. We were seeing each other and we really liked each other, but we were not boyfriend and girlfriend. She was going back to Rockville for the summer. And I thought that ‘going back to Rockville’ just screamed song, right there. As I wrote it, it turned into what if we were in love and she was leaving and never coming back. And that’s how it turned into ‘(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville.’ It just morphed as it went along.”

Mike Mills:  “I remember sitting at the kitchen table on Little Oconee Street in Athens, (Georgia),” Mills explains. “There’s a turnaround in the song that’s inspired by part of a Simon & Garfunkel song (“Mrs. Robinson”) that I heard, and I started building the song around that. Sometimes the first line is the hardest line and once I got that first line (‘Looking at your watch a third time/Waiting in the station for a bus’), the rest of it flowed naturally.”

From Songfacts

The band had already been playing this song in a much faster, punk-like style for a long time and didn’t even consider it for the Reckoning album until their legal advisor, Bertis Downs, begged them to “at least do one take of it for me … please!?!?”

Drummer Bill Berry remembers tweaking the song to mess with Downs: “To playfully suggest to him that the song wasn’t in contention, we recorded a much slower version than he was accustomed to hearing and we sprinkled it with a Nashville twang to drive the point home. It started out silly, but when Mike added piano, the tune took on new light. Thanks, Bert!” 

Don’t Go Back To Rockville

Looking at your watch a third time
Waiting in the station for the bus
Going to a place that’s far
So far away and if that’s not enough
Going where nobody says hello
They don’t talk to anybody they don’t know

You’ll wind up in some factory
That’s full time filth and nowhere left to go
Walk home to an empty house
Sit around all by yourself
I know it might sound strange but I believe
You’ll be coming back before too long

Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
And waste another year

At night I drink myself to sleep and pretend
I don’t care if you’re not here with me
‘Cause it’s so much easier to handle
All my problems if I’m too far out to sea
But something better happen soon
Or it’s gonna be too late to bring you back

Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
And waste another year

It’s not as though I really need you
If you were here I’d only bleed you
But everybody else in town only wants to bring you down and
That’s not how it ought to be
I know it might sound strange, but I believe
You’ll be coming back before too long

Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
And waste another year

Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
And waste another year

Green On Red – Death And Angels

These guys were in the Paisley Underground movement in the 1980s. They should be a classic band but they never broke through to the masses.

The Paisley Underground Scene had many different types of bands. The sound they all had was not united. Bands like Green on Red more of a country-ish/stones rock and roll,  Rain Parade more of a Beatles type, The Bangles were more of a pop/rock band. The scene had about any thing you would want except major hits…The Bangles are the ones that really broke through.

Death and Angels

In the event (In the event)
Of sudden disaster (sudden disaster)
Just look into a face (look into a face)
That matters

Death and angels (death and angels)
On the ground (on the ground)
Death and angels (death and angels)
I swear
Fly around (fly around)

(ahh ahh)
In the case of a sudden (ahh ahh)
Point of view (ahh ahh)
(ahh ahh)
Just listen to your heart (ahh ahh)
I swear
(ahh ahh)
That’s what’s true (ahh ahh)

Death and angels (ahh ahh)
On the ground (ahh ahh)
I swear
Death and angels (death and angels)
Flying (fly around)

Seems so dark and lonely
Seems …
Feels so cool
Oh no —
The lack of compassion
(in the world) in our world