Well! My recent post on My All-Time Top 300 Songs has already become one of this blog's all-time most-viewed pages, and I'm eager to pander. So, here are some YouTube videos for just a few of my many Fave Raves.
I'm not sure which version of this song I heard first--this original version by The Dave Rave Conspiracy, or a cover by Shane Faubert. But a terrific song either way. Look for my pal (and occasional co-writer) Gary Pig Gold playing guitar here.
This remains one of my all-time favorite breakup songs (or post-breakup songs, really). A few years ago on This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, I did a whole show as a three-hour song thread detailing the story of a girl and a boy--how they meet, fall in love, blow up, break up, and ultimately reunite. I may share the text of that in a near-future blog post. But this Hoodoo Gurus classic was represented, and that's for damned sure.
TRA-LA-LAAAAAA! TRA-LA-LA-LAAAAAA! TRA-LA-LAAAAAA! TRA-LA-LA-LAAAAAA!
What a great, great track. Written by Little Steven hisself, and later covered by the fictional Twylight Zones in the film Not Fade Away, this definitive version by Norway's Phenomenal Pop Combo Cocktail Slippers is a shiny and lethal burning ember, glowing with equal parts girl-group heartbreak, femme fatale bravado, earnest yearning, and grim willingness to fight before flight. Cocktail Slippers have recorded so many absolutely killer tracks; and I always get stuck on just playing this one, over and over and over.
One of my two favorite tracks by The Catholic Girls (along with "Someone New"), this song first appeared on the group's 2006 album Meet The Catholic Girls, and was also included on This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 3 in 2013.
It's an ongoing joke on our show that The Kinks are This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio's House Band, because it's very, very rare for us to do one of our weekly shows without playing The Kinks at least once. Why? Because they're The Kinks. And God Save The Kinks. Don't even try to argue with a Shindig! Pick Hit.
After I graduated from the State University College at Brockport, NY in 1980, I decided to stay in that little college town while my girlfriend completed her studies. We got an apartment together, and tried to figure out this whole growin' up adulting thing. I did not seem to have any immediate natural aptitude for it, but we got by somehow. Mostly with beer. And my main place to buy beer was a little grocery store called Muesey's, just across the canal from our apartment; chatting regularly with the guy workin' the counter at Muesey's while we satisfied our jones for Goebel Beer, he spoke about his love of contemporary ska music, and that led me to get hooked on the music of The Selecter. This song goes great with beer!
The first song I ever heard by The Jam was incongruously atypical: listening to the college radio station one afternoon in the fall of 1977, I heard The Jam's version of "The Batman Theme." It was a productive afternoon of radio listening, actually: it was also the first time I heard The Flamin' Groovies (their cover of The Beatles' "Misery"), and the first time I made conscious note of a couple of oldies, "Five O'Clock World" by The Vogues and "Lies" by The Knickerbockers. The Jam would soon become one of my favorite acts; I bought import singles, I bought the LPs, and by the early '80s The Jam were basically tied with The Ramones for the coveted title of Carl's Fave Group. The Jam's debut single, a punk-spawned power pop explosion called "In The City," will never leave my Hot 100.
"Johnny B. Goode" got a lot of AM radio airplay in Syracuse in the early '70s; I don't if I realized it was an oldie from the '50s, or if I thought it was a contemporary hit, but I do know that I didn't care one way or another--it rocked, and that was all I needed! My Chuck Berry interest increased in the early '80s, with the purchase of a Chuck Berry best-of LP and a fresh obsession with "Sweet Little Sixteen." But, decades later, "Promised Land" has become my go-to Chuck Berry track.
I have this vague memory of seeing The Isley Brothers perform their transcendent cover of "Summer Breeze" on one of the late-night rock 'n' roll TV shows in the mid-'70s. I liked it, but didn't really become a fan until Dana started playing it on This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio. I have since made up for lost time.
With many of these songs, I can't remember or explain where and when my obsession began. I have no idea how I got hooked on Phil Ochs' "I Ain't Marching Anymore," but the obsession has been prevailing and pervasive for a good long time now. (I do still intend to find a way to use my Phil Ochs joke someday: that this song was originally written as a first-person tribute to actor Orson Welles' efforts to move on with his career after the War Of The Worlds debacle, and was to be called "I Ain't Martian Anymore." Context. The joke just needs better context.)
Silly, silly fun! Pop music with no greater purpose than to make me wanna break stuff with manic glee. A noble purpose, indeed!
You have no idea how goddamned galling it is for me, as a Mary Lou Lord fan, to say anything positive about Courtney Love. This is certainly a forbidden love for me, but I can't help it--Hole's Celebrity Skin album is a magnificent pop record, and I'll never grow weary of listening to this magic, magic track (which I first heard in the Drew Barrymore film Never Been Kissed).
Another This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio favorite that captured my attention. I've been known to put this on repeat-play for an entire twenty-minute commute.
I bought the 45 of "Do Anything You Wanna Do" by Eddie and the Hot Rods during my freshman year in college, Spring '78. But I'd first heard the song as covered in live sets by Syracuse's own power pop powerhouse, The Flashcubes. I often proclaimed that Hot Rods single as The Greatest Record Ever Made--because, as we know, an infinite number of records can be THE Greatest Record Ever Made, as long as they take turns--but it was permanently knocked down by The Flashcubes' own eventual studio cover, which appeared on the 'Cubes' 2003 album Brilliant. Can an absolute be qualified? Can the best-ever become...um, bestest? Guess so. At one of The Flashcubes' appearances at International Pop Overthrow, the group closed their incendiary live set with a roof-killing rendition of "Do Anything You Wanna Do." Audience thus slayed, IPO maestro David Bash bounded to the mic and uttered a phrase rarely heard at IPO: "Wanna here them do one more song?" And one guy in the audience immediately answered, "I want to hear them do that song again!" And I think I'd like to play it again. Care to join me?