Monday Melodies: Accidents Will Happen (Elvis Costello)

monday_melody

I had the good fortune of living in New York City (well, actually in Queens, NY) during the punk and new wave explosion of the late 1970s at just the right age. Until 1979 though, I was largely unaware of it, and satisfied myself with Boston, Aerosmith, and Fleetwood Mac, because in those pre-MTV days, that’s what was getting all the radio airplay (along with disco, of course).

On New Years’ Eve, 1978, I met a young man through a friend and fell head over heels in limerence with him. Never mind that he turned out to be a narcissistic jerk (they all were), for the first half of 1979 we had blast. Mark was what today you might call a hipster–he was a Jewish art student who wore skinny ties and trench coats, and he had an earring when they were still a novelty on men. He ate organic food, rode a bike everywhere, listened to obscure music and he adored punk and New Wave. He hated what I listened to and proceeded to give me a music education.

He used to take me downtown to the East Village, and it was like a carnival. Young people everywhere wearing Mohawks, black leather with safety pins, ripped T-shirts, cheap eateries on every corner, second hand record stores. And of course, a multitude of smoke-filled hole-in-the-wall music clubs, the most famous one being CBGBs.

New wave and power pop bands that would become famous during the early 1980s got their start there. Probably the most famous of all of them was a nerdy looking young Irishman named Declan McManus, more famously known as Elvis Costello.

Costello had a hiccupy, neurotic voice and a spastic dance. He wrote songs with deep, almost indecipherable lyrics and incredibly catchy music with melodies that stuck to you like caramel sticks to your teeth. You were never sure if he was sincere or sarcastic, but no matter–all his songs sounded great and you found yourself singing and bopping along.

His biggest hit was a little ditty called “Accidents Will Happen.” Although my life then was no less shitty than it ever was, I always associate this song with good times. It’s impressive for how far ahead of its time it is. It sounds more like a song that would have been popular in 1986, not 1979. I never grew tired of it, and enjoy it as much today as I did when I was 20.

Monday Melody: City of New Orleans (Arlo Guthrie)

monday_melody

Technically, it’s still Sunday, but in 3 minutes it will be Monday and according to my WordPress clock (which is 4 hours off) it’s been Monday for 3 hours and 57 minutes, so here’s the second installment in this series featuring music I like from the past.

This week’s selection is “City of New Orleans” by folk singer Arlo Guthrie.

From the Youtube entry for the video:

A hit for Guthrie on his 1972 album “Hobo’s Lullaby”, Peaking at # 18 on Billboard hot 100. The folk song was written by Steve Goodman, describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans on the Illinois Central Railroad’s City of New Orleans in bittersweet and nostalgic terms. Goodman got the idea while traveling on the Illinois Central line for a visit to his wife’s family. He performed the song for Arlo Guthrie in the Quiet Knight, a bar in Chicago, and Guthrie agreed to add it to his repertoire. The song is now more closely associated with him, although Goodman performed it until his death in 1984. The song has been recorded by numerous artists both in the US and Europe.

This folk-rock hit from the fall of 1972 has been largely forgotten, but it’s been covered by a lot of other artists over the years, because of its timeless Americana appeal.   Even in its heyday, it evoked nostalgia.  It was the kind of song your parents liked. Hell, even your grandparents could groove to it.   Even in the early 1970s, who actually rode on trains?   The rollicking chorus and old-timey Ragtime-esque piano riff evokes images of simpler, kinder times that probably never really existed but we like to think did.  It’s sincere without being smarmy.  The tempo is relaxing and rhythmic, like the long, slow train ride through the flyover states the lyrics describe.

At the end of the day, it’s just a really great song that almost makes you believe the milkman will be delivering fresh whole milk and eggs tomorrow morning, the smiling mailman will wave hello and whistle a tune, and America is still a great country.  It’s all Mister Rodgers Neighborhood and clean cotton sheets blowing in the wind out back, and even a cynic like me can get down with that.

Long-forgotten one hit wonder I just heard on the radio!

I loved this one hit wonder song when it came out in 1984 but it didn’t receive airplay much beyond its radio life, so like so many other songs that came and went over the years, providing my life’s soundtrack,  I completely forgot about it.

Just a few minutes ago, I heard it on the radio (a local indie-rock station that plays both old and new music), probably the first time in about 20 years.   It’s a song from one of the happier times in my life (which there haven’t too been many of), so it brings back pretty good memories.

I love when that happens.  I wish it would happen more often.  There’s probably so many others songs I completely forgot about, but would remember immediately if I heard them again.

No Doubt also covered this song in 2003.  Their version is just as good.   On  side note, Gwen Stefani appears to be portraying  woman with Histrionic Personality Disorder or maybe BPD.

100 years of rock in less than a minute.

100_years_rock

Something just a little bit different…

This has got to be one of the coolest animations I’ve ever seen. Every genre of rock music is included along with when it appeared.

You can click on each icon to hear a sample of the music.

I really enjoyed this and I hope you do too.

http://www.concerthotels.com/100-years-of-rock/


Click image to see the full interactive music graphic(via Concert Hotels).

Third Day: “Call My Name”

I don’t listen to CCM much, but here’s another song from that genre I really like because of the positive message and the hard driving music.

Livin’ in the ’80s: “Livin’ on a Prayer” (Bon Jovi)

I can’t believe this song is closing in on three decades now. It was released in 1986.

There’s a reason why “Livin’ On A Prayer” is remembered fondly by so many after so much time has passed.

Jon Bon Jovi is still a hottie too. Here is the proof:

jonbonjovi

I’m adding this song to the “Soundtrack of my Journey” (in the header) because, well, it just belongs there.

“Also a Fox” reviews the 12 Best Songs of 2014 on Radio Recall

On December 30, I posted my son’s review of the 12 Worst Songs of 2014 on his channel, Radio Recall. Those songs were truly awful.
Here are his 12 Best Songs of 2014. Enjoy!