Wednesday, August 31, 2022

POP-A-LOOZA: THE EVERLASTING FIRST! The Fantastic Four, The Flash, Fools Face, The Four Seasons, The Four Tops, and Funnyman

Each week, the pop culture website Pop-A-Looza shares some posts from my vast 'n' captivating Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) archives. The latest shared post is another installment of The Everlasting First, with Quick Takes on my introductions to the Fantastic Four, the Flash, Fools Face, the Four Seasons, the Four Tops, and Funnyman.

It's odd how little I've written about some of these. The Four Tops will have a chapter in my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1), while a Four Seasons chapter was written but is not included in that book's current plan. On the other hand, my fond recollection of the Fools Face album Tell America prompted me to write this piece for inclusion in the 2005 book Lost In The Grooves, a book which also presented my celebration of Subterranean Jungle by the Ramones, but the editors declined my offer to write about Elevator by the Rollers (the artists formerly known as the Bay City Rollers).

Moving from music-makers to comic-book crusaders, the Fantastic Four were a (small) part of my Everlasting First memory of discovering Marvel Comics, and the only other thing I've written about the Flash is a brief bit about his role in The CW's Crisis On Infinite Earths TV event.

Ah, but then there's Funnyman. I haven't written much about the Daffy Daredevil either, but there is this:

"Funnyman was Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's attempt to create another super-sensation after their ugly, ugly split from DC Comics in the late '40s. (I was going to say "after DC unceremoniously kicked 'em both to the curb, penniless, as the company went on to make millions off their creation," but no one likes negativity). By 1976, although it would be a stretch to say that all was forgiven, DC had made some amends with Siegel and Shuster, at least enough that Jerry 'n' Joe agreed to appear as guests of honor at the Super-DC Con in New York that February. I met Siegel and Shuster at the convention, and I also picked up my copy of 1948's Funnyman # 5 in the dealers' room. Funnyman, which comes across as a superhero Danny Kaye, was not a successful title, and it's not remembered with much fondness by fandom. But liked it, and I wish I'd had the presence of mind to have Jerry and Joe autograph my copy."

I posted the public-domain Funnyman # 1 here. But Funnyman's largest role in my work was his alter ego Larry Davis' appearance in my make-believe 1958 beat musical film Jukebox Express. The fake movie's fictional players were annotated here. Jukebox Express was a joy to write, and I think it remains a fun read, imagining characters from Funnyman, That Thing You Do!, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Gilligan's Island, Happy DaysRoom Service, King Kong, Marvel's Agent Carter, The Monkees, Singin' In The Rain, I Love Lucy, My Favorite Year, Ellery Queen, The Rocketeer, and more, all working together to make a movie I would love to see (if it actually, y'know, existed). I'm insanely proud of this gathering of the talents of Ginger Grant, Leather Tuscadero, Troy Chesterfield, Sophie Lennon, and a cast of many...none of whom ever really lived. Just imagine!

And imagine that my knowledge of Funnyman, the Four Tops, the Fantastic Four, Fools Face, the Flash, and the Four Seasons hadda start somewhere. Those stories serve as the latest Boppin' Pop-A-Looza.

Jukebox Express star Leather Tuscadero and a friend in Milwaukee

If you like what you see here on Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider supporting this blog by becoming a patron on Patreonor by visiting CC's Tip Jar. Additional products and projects are listed here.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at You can read about our history here.

I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

BOPPIN's Monthly Day Off

For one sweet, fleeting moment each month, Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) takes a WAY-too-brief break from its insane vow of daily public posting, and instead preps a private post intended only for both of its paid supporters. This month's private post is a chapter from The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1), celebrating "All For Swinging You Around" by the New Pornographers.

I'd include a pitch here for you to join the select ranks of my paid subscribers, but I already know I've been unable to convince more folks to consider paying the princely sum of $2 a month to support this blog. Oh well. The private post goes out to supporters on Thursday, regular daily public posting resumes here tomorrow.

Monday, August 29, 2022

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 1144

Scheduling and logistics made it necessary to program and prerecord this week's show much earlier than usual. In fact, we did this on the same day we did last week's blowout 11th Annual Dana's Funky Soul Pit; productive day!

Because we did the show that far in advance, it didn't even occur to me that it would air on what would have been my Mom's 97th birthday. We lost Mom in December. I'd say this week's show is dedicated to Mom's memory, but really, pretty much everything I do is built upon foundations that my parents established. Even without deliberate intent or tribute, my part of each week's show occurs because Mom and Dad sparked my love of music, my interest in the arts, my appreciation of the magic that exists within us and around us.

Dates on the calendar can command our attention. We remember birthdays and anniversaries--good days--and we can also remember times of specific trauma and sorrow. The bad days. All we can hope is that the good days may ultimately have greater weight and meaning than those other days. 

For the lucky and the loved, good days can become weeks. Months. Years. Decades. Bad days will nest within all of it, serpents poised to strike at us with venomous intent. We will not survive; no one gets out of this alive. But we can have a life--maybe even a good life--for whatever time we have. Days will pass, both the good days and the bad days impartially. We will pass. 

But we were here. Someone will remember us. If we're remembered with fondness, maybe we had a pretty good life.

I remember, with more fondness and gratitude than my mere words can deliver. Thanks, Mom. This is what rock 'n' roll radio sounded like on a Sunday night in Syracuse this week.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, on the web at, and via the TuneIn Radio and Radio Garden apps as Westcott Radio.

You can read all about this show's long and weird history here: Boppin' The Whole Friggin' Planet (The History Of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO)

TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS are always welcome.

The many fine This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin' pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:

Volume 1: download
Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio:  CD or download

PS: SEND MONEY!!!! We need tech upgrades like Elvis needs boats. Spark Syracuse is supported by listeners like you. Tax-deductible donations are welcome at

You can follow Carl's daily blog Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) at

TIRnRR # 1144: 8/28/2022
TIRnRR FRESH SPINS! Tracks we think we ain't played before are listed in bold

THE RAMONES: Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? (Rhino, End Of The Century)
THE POSIES: I'm Looking Through You (MOJO, VA: Beatlemania, Vol. 1)
OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN: What Is Life (Festival, Olivia)
MICHAEL CARPENTER: That's Alright By Me (Not Lame, VA: Full Circle)
GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS: Midnight Train To Georgia (Rhino, VA: Can You Dig It?)
BELLE & SEBASTIAN: Allie (Hostess Entertainment, Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance)
ELENA ROGERS: You're Sorry (n/a, Opus One)
UTOPIA: Love In Action (Rhino, TODD RUNDGREN: The Very Best Of Todd Rundgren)
NOLAN PORTER: Work It Out In The Morning (ABC, Nolan)
KEANE: Is It Any Wonder (Interscope, Under The Iron Sea)
POP CO-OP: Extra Beat In My Heart (Kool Kat Musik, VA: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 5)
THE ROOKS: Sometimes [alternate version] (Futureman, VA: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 1)
KEN SHARP: Say Goodbye To One Of The Good Ones (n/a, I'll Remember The Laughter)
BEN FOLDS: Rockin' The Suburbs (Epic, Rockin' The Suburbs)
THE KINKS: You Still Want Me (Sanctuary, The Anthology 1964-1971)
THE CRYAN' SHAMES: If I Needed Someone (Sundazed, Sugar & Spice)
BARRY HOLDSHIP: It's Only Make Believe (Pop Garden Radio, VA: Sing Me A Song)
SAM PHILLIPS: Baby, I Can't Please You (Virgin, Martinis & Bikinis)
ROBIN LANE: Hard Life (Red On Red, Dirt Road To Heaven)
CHRIS VON SNEIDERN: Annalisa (Heyday, Sight & Sound)
CHRIS VON SNEIDERN: Goodnight Sailor (Kool Kat Music, VA: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 5)
THE ZOMBIES: She Does Everything For Me (Big Beat, Zombie Heaven)
THE WEEKLINGS: I Can See For Miles (Jem, VA: Jem Records Celebrates Pete Townshend)
ALTERED IMAGES: Pinky Blue (Cherry Red, The Epic Years)
THE LINGS: Neverending Lonely Rush M.A. (Kool Kat Musik, The Lings)
THE B-52'S: Give Me Back My Man (Rhino, Nude On The Moon)
THE ISLEY BROTHERS: Got To Have You Back (Motown, Greatest Hits And Rare Classics)
THE BEARDS: All About You (Sympathy For The Record Industry, Funtown)
MIKE BROWNING: All The Love Is Here (Kool Kat Musik, VA: Pop Aid)
THE BEVIS FROND: Everyone Rise (Fire, Little Eden)
NATALIE SWEET & BRAD MARINO: Second Time (Rum Bar/Reta, single)
BRAM TCHAIKOVSKY: Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartache (Cherry Red, Strange Men, Changed Men)
JOHNNY JOHNSON & HIS BANDWAGON: Blame It (On The Pony Express) (Kent, Breakin' Down The Walls Of Heartache)
THE CHECKERED HEARTS: They Don't Know (ChicaneryChick, Joystick)
THE MONKEES: You Just May Be The One (Rhino, Headquarters)
THE CLICK BEETLES: Modern Girl (Vandalay, Emerald Green)
THE RAMONES: I Don't Want To Grow Up (Radioactive, ¡Adios Amigos!)
THE DAMNED: Smash It Up Part 2 (Sanctuary, Smash It Up)
DEADLIGHTS: Pretend To Pretend (Kool Kat Musik, VA: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 5)
DOLPH CHANEY: My Good Twin (Big Stir, This Is Dolph Chaney)
THE JULIANNA HATFIELD 3: My Sister (Atlantic, Become What You Are)
ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS & NINA DIAZ: No Action (Universal, Spanish Model)
ANDREA GILLIS: I Don't Need You No More (Red On Red, single)
THE SAINTS: Demolition Girl (Amsterdamned, [I'm] Stranded)
CRAIG MARSHALL: Turn Around (Big Ticket, single)
CHEAP TRICK: Hello There (Epic, In Color)
BIG STAR: I'm In Love With A Girl (Ardent, # 1 Record/Radio City)
CROSSWORD SMILES: The Girl With A Penchant For Yellow (Big Stir, Pressed & Ironed)
FISCHER-Z: So Long (United Artists, single)
SUPER 8: Feel (n/a, Universal Journey)
THE ENGLISH BEAT: Best Friend (Shout Factory, Keep The Beat)]
PRINCE: I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (Warner Brothers, The Hits/The B-Sides)
ICICLE WORKS: Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream) (Beggars, The Best  Of The Icicle Works)
THE BEATLES: The Night Before (Apple, Help!)
JOY DIVISION: Love Will Tear Us Apart (Rhino, The Best Of Joy Division)
THE METERS: Hang 'Em High (Rhino, Trick Bag)

Sunday, August 28, 2022


CALL THE WORLD'S GREATEST DETECTIVE! We're launching an official investigation of all of this great new stuff that's suddenly accumulated here at TIRnRR. And by "investigation" I mean we're gonna, y'know, play all that new stuff on the radio. Duh. "New" includes THE FLASHCUBES FEATURING DAVE PATON, ELENA ROGERS, CRAIG MARSHALL, KEN SHARP, ROBIN LANE, THE LINGS, NATALIE SWEET & BRAD MARINO, ANDREA GILLIS, THE WEEKLINGS, CHRIS PRICE, SUPER 8, and CROSSWORD SMILES. HuzZAH! To help you acclimate to all this minty-fresh wonder, we'll surround the above with more from GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS, UTOPIA, BEN FOLDS, THE KINKS, SAM PHILLIPSTHE ISLEY BROTHERS, THE MONKEES, THE CLICK BEETLES, THE DAMNED, CHEAP TRICK, PRINCE, and THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO, VOLUME 5 compilation treats by CHRIS VON SNEIDERN, DEADLIGHTS, and POP CO-OP. Fancy yourself a rockin' pop shamus? Well, YOU oughtta join in our investigation. Another clue for you all appears Sunday night, 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, on the web at, and via the TuneIn Radio and Radio Garden apps as Westcott Radio

Saturday, August 27, 2022

POP-A-LOOZA: THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! Judas Priest, "Heading Out To The Highway"

Each week, the pop culture website Pop-A-Looza shares some posts from my vast 'n' captivating Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) archives. The latest shared post is another saga torn from the legend of The Greatest Record Ever Made!, turning up the volume on behalf of "Heading Out To The Highway" by Judas Priest.

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. There has been a little bit of behind-the-scenes movement in the long crawl to find a publisher for my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume1). It hasn't been a lot of movement, but it is potential forward movement. I have another book coming out first, so that's the immediate priority. When that particular accumulation o' dust settles, I hope to finally be able to turn GREM! into an actual book. 

This Judas Priest chapter will probably not be in GREM! Volume 1; I'm holding it in reserve for a hypothetical Volume 2. Although Volume 1 will include plenty of rock 'n' roll, soul, power pop, punk, R & B, and more, I'm aware that there's a shortage of hard rock and metal. There's a KISS chapter (which is at least on metal's periphery), and a chapter about Headgirl (the combined forces of Motörhead and Girlschool). I also completed chapters about hard rock and hard rock-adjacent acts Deep Purple, Blue Öyster Cult, Grand Funk, and Heart, and those all join my Judas Priest chapter (and a chapter about one of my very favorite tracks, the Kinks' "You Really Got Me") as potential building blocks for this fantasy of an eventual The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 2)

Nonetheless, I do believe The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) manages to rock just fine on its own terms. Meanwhile, a glimpse of Judas Priest's entry in a second GREM! book serves as the latest Boppin' Pop-A-Looza.

If you like what you see here on Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider supporting this blog by becoming a patron on Patreonor by visiting CC's Tip Jar. Additional products and projects are listed here.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at You can read about our history here.

I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl

Friday, August 26, 2022


This is not scheduled for inclusion in my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). Consider it a bonus track!

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Today, this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

SQUEEZE: Tempted
Written by Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford
Produced by Roger Bechirian and Elvis Cpstello
Single from the album East Side Story, A & M Records, 1981

I may as well make this confession straight up: I did not care for "Tempted" at all when I first heard it. I saw the video a couple of times on MTV, didn't even realize it was Squeeze, and dismissed it as the sort of dull and dreary wallpaper pop I associated with acts like Daryl Hall and John Oates. I did not like Daryl Hall and John Oates, and my only pleasant association with any of their music was the memory of seeing my first stripper several years before that, disrobing to the tune of "Rich Girl."

It's difficult to reconstruct my own Squeeze timeline. It's likely that "Cool For Cats" was the only Squeeze song I heard while I was still in college, and that wasn't sufficient to interest me in the group. A little bit later, I simply adored Squeeze's "Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)," and loved seeing Squeeze play that and "Annie Get Your Gun" in what was supposed to be their farewell performance on Saturday Night Live in 1982. I came to retroactively recognize the pop brilliance of Squeeze as the '80s trudged on. "Tempted" was part of that brilliance, even if I was slow to comprehend that truth. I can't explain why I was initially so dismissive of such an engaging temptation.

Singer and keyboardist Paul Carrack was only a member of Squeeze for a very brief time, replacing original member Jools Holland in 1981 and squeezing himself out in '82. He happened to be the lead singer on "Tempted," Squeeze's biggest number in the States, leading casual observers to think of Carrack's role in Squeeze as a much larger part than it really was. In reality, it's no slight to Carrack (nor to Holland, nor to any other member of that band) that Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford were and are the defining principal players in Squeeze. Whomever Glenn and Chris play with, the result is considered Squeeze by default.

In 2020, Squeeze planned to tour as an opening act for Daryl Hall and John Oates. The personal symmetry of that happenstance borders on the WTF. I did eventually develop a tolerance for Hall and Oates, but I doubt I'll ever be a fan, and the tour therefore wasn't for me (even if the quarantine scene hadn't sent 2020 itself to the cornfield instead). If it had happened, I doubt I would have gone even just to see Squeeze.

No, not even if there were strippers. But Squeeze? I admit: I was tempted. 

If you like what you see here on Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider supporting this blog by becoming a patron on Patreonor by visiting CC's Tip Jar. Additional products and projects are listed here.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at You can read about our history here.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

10 SONGS: 8/25/2022: In The SOUL PIT!

10 Songs is a weekly list of ten songs that happen to be on my mind at the moment. The lists are usually dominated by songs played on the previous Sunday night's edition of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. The idea was inspired by Don Valentine of the essential blog I Don't Hear A Single.

This week's edition of 10 Songs draws exclusively from the playlist for This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 1143: The 11th Annual DANA'S FUNKY SOUL PIT!

AL GREEN: I Want To Hold Your Hand

Yeah, we got the feelin' now! For this year's edition of the Soul Pit, Dana wanted to focus on soul and R & B covers of classics from the Beatles' songbook.  With that goal in mind, the obvious choice to open The 11th Annual Dana's Funky Soul Pit had to be the Reverend Al Green's cover of the Fab Four's breakthrough American hit  "I Want To Hold Your Hand." If the good Reverend's winning groove on this track isn't our single most-played Beatles cover over the course of TIRnRR's long and storied tenure, I can't imagine what else could possibly hold that distinction. An absolutely fabulous record. I think you understand.


Everyone who watched the Beatles documentary Get Back witnessed irrefutable evidence of Billy Preston as a de facto Fifth Beatle. Preston's entry into the disjointed, chaotic mess that had characterized the Get Back sessions up to that point brought sudden life and redemption to the project, energized the Beatles, and (if you will) took a sad song and made it better. Preston is also, I think, the only Apple Records recording artist to appear on this week's playlist.

And Preston appears twice. Preston's "Eight Days A Week" opens our second set, and his "Blackbird" follows Al Green's "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and Aretha Franklin's "Eleanor Rigby" to form the show's introductory triptych.

Paul McCartney has claimed that he wrote "Blackbird" as a song of solidarity for the civil rights movement. I'm not convinced that our Macca didn't maybe apply that motivation retroactively, but what do I know? The lyrics do fit Paul's stated intent. I confess I don't love the Beatles' version quite as much as I did when I got my first copy of the White Album in 1977. Preston's rendition still sounds fresh to my ears.


Much has been written about George Harrison's presumed frustration as a songwriter stuck in a group with a couple of other prolific songwriters. Perhaps the Quiet One had the last laugh, as "Something" and "Here Comes The Sun," his two contributions to the Beatles' final album Abbey Road, were the highlights on one of rockin' pops all-time greatest LPs. I mean, John Lennon and Paul McCartney also brought A-level material to Abbey Road, and Ringo Starr turned in "Octopus's Garden" (which maybe isn't quite A-level, but is way preferable to Paul's "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"), but George's songs steal the show.

(And how mixed must George's feelings have been when none other than Frank Sinatra performed "Something" in concert, but referred to it as his favorite Lennon-McCartney song? Ouch, Mr. Blue Eyes.)

"Something" does lend itself to interpretations across styles. I don't think a metal or punk version would work as anything beyond pointless parody, but the song fits Sinatra, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas make it sound like a natural-born Motown hit. Something in the way they move.


Much of the appeal of a show like this year's Soul Pit is the thrill of hearing familiar songs in unfamiliar and novel versions. Prior to hearing Dana's selections, I wouldn't have even imagined manic "I Put A Spell On You" auteur Screamin' Jay Hawkins attempting a Beatles cover. But he did! And it's friggin' GREAT! I don't think ol' Screamin' had any real affinity for the song, and I wouldn't be shocked to find out it wasn't his idea to record it. Nonetheless...that growl! That SCREAM! Yeah yeah YEAH!!

THE SUPREMES: A World Without Love

Never recorded by the Beatles, "A World Without Love" is a song Lennon and McCarney gave away. They just GAVE it away! And then collected royalties on Peter and Gordon's hit version. After Peter and Gordon were done with it, I guess the Supremes picked it up second-hand. One group's trash, another group's treasure. From the Supremes' British Evasion LP A Bit Of Liverpool.

EARTH, WIND & FIRE: Got To Get You Into My Life

A superb track from a shitty movie.

I'm one of the many dozens of people who saw Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in a theater at the time of its release in 1978. Ask me why, I'll say...I dunno. My tastes ran to punk, power pop, and '60s rock 'n' roll, certainly not the disco sounds of the film's stars the Bee Gees, nor really the AM/FM fare offered by its other star Peter Frampton. I was sufficiently open to Aerosmith to allow their version of "Come Together" (but agreed with a contemporary film reviewer who said a punk band like the Dead Boys would have been a more appropriate choice to play the dangerous 'n' evil rock band). Otherwise? Not even the presence of Steve Martin and Alice Cooper could redeem this cinematic disaster.

I didn't appreciate Earth, Wind and Fire's "Got To Get You Into My Life" until much, much later. At the time, I was enough of a Beatles purist to be shocked--SHOCKED!--that any act would have the gall to rearrange a Beatles song to suit their own style. Imagine!

Now? I prefer Earth, Wind and Fire's "Got To Get You Into My Life" to the Beatles' original, and I do still like the Beatles' original. The song was not my gateway into embracing EWF's music; that entry came via Brenda, a girl I met at school later that same Sgt. Pepper year of '78. 

Brenda loved Earth, Wind and Fire; over time, I gave EWF a fair listen, and eventually realized I love 'em, too. Brenda, in turn, gave the Ramones and the Kinks--and the Beatles!--a fair listen, and she became interested in them as well. New 1978 Girlfriend Brenda has been Lovely Wife Brenda since 1984. I was alone, I took a ride, I didn't know what I would find there.

Last week, Brenda and I saw Earth, Wind and Fire in concert, on a bill with Santana (another of Brenda's favorites). It was our first time seeing Santana, our second time seeing EWF. What a great, great band, both live and on record. "Got To Get You Into My Life" isn't my # 1 favorite EWF track--that would be either "Let's Groove," "Boogie Wonderland," or "September," followed by "After The Love Has Gone"--but it's one of my favorites, it's fantastic to hear in concert, and it's one of but a handful of Beatles covers I think surpasses the original. 

Thank you, Brenda, for turning me on to Earth, Wind and Fire. The music and the love continue. Got to get you into my life, into my life.

LITTLE RICHARD: Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey (Goin' Back To Birmingham)

For the final set of 2022's Soul Pit, Dana turned from soul and R & B covers of the Beatles to a few of the soul and R & B legends who inspired the young Beatles in the first place. As an unknown act playing dives (and worse), the early Beatles wanted to be a soul group. Little Richard provided one of their biggest influences, a flamboyant explosion of WOW! emanating with incendiary intent outta Macon, Georgia. 

Little Richard taught Paul McCartney how to scream. Perhaps more than any other among the many acts the Beatles wanted to copy, Little Richard gave John, Paul, and George (and, one presumes, Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best) a working model of dynamism, of rock 'n' roll assault with intent to thrill. 

The Beatles were a great cover band. A great, great cover band. Most of the covers the Beatles recorded improved on the originals. 

Not even the Beatles could improve upon Little Richard.

CHUCK BERRY: Rock And Roll Music

Just let me hear some more of that rock 'n' roll music.

If we try to assess the overall impact of individual rock 'n' roll performers, two names stand high above all others: Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. No one else comes close to the importance of Elvis and Chuck; the Beatles were immensely important, but there wouldn't have been a Beatles if both the brown-eyed handsome man and the King hadn't made rock 'n' roll rock in the first place. Rock 'n' roll predates the debuts of Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. Without Chuck and Elvis, we're not still talkin' about rock 'n' roll all these decades on.

John Lennon named Elvis as his own prime inspiration. But Chuck Berry's influence is easier to hear within the Beatles' work, not just in the Berry covers the Fabs did, but in wordplay, in groove, and in playin' guitars just like a-ringin' a bell. And in "Back In The USSR." King Elvis I made the Beatles want to become the Beatles. Chuck Berry showed 'em how it's done.

The Beatles introduced me to Chuck Berry, just like they introduced me to Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Larry Williams, and more. I didn't hear any version of "Roll Over Beethoven" until much later; The Beatles' Second Album wasn't one of the LPs I heard in my formative years, but Beatles '65 was, and its scorchin' rendition of "Rock And Roll Music" remains my # 1 Chuck Berry cover. It's the only Chuck Berry cover I prefer to the original.

THE MARVELETTES: Please Mr. Postman

The Beatles also loved the girl group sound. They covered the Shirelles, the Cookies, and the Donays, and the above-cited record The Beatles' Second Album (or With The Beatles in the UK) gave us their version of the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman." 

The Beatles own the song. Own it. But the Marvelettes did record something else that is The Greatest Record Ever Made!

ARTHUR ALEXANDER: A Shot Of Rhythm & Blues

Yep. The Beatles wanted to be a soul group. Specifically, Paul McCartney said that the Beatles wanted to be like Arthur Alexander. The late, great Arthur Alexander didn't enjoy much chart success--only 1962's "You Better Move On" breached Billboard's Top 20, and only "Anna (Go To Him)" was a real success on the soul chart (# 10, also in '62)--but he had fans. 

Fans like the Beatles. Fans like the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, and many more. Though not a musician himself, Alexander wrote a number of his songs, and he could likewise make a song written by someone else into something uniquely Arthur Alexander. He was an incredible talent, and it's unfortunate that most who do know his works know them via better-known covers by those Beatles, Stones, Dylan, and others.

But without those covers, maybe we wouldn't know Alexander at all. Alexander's versions are nearly always the superior; about the only exception I can think of is Elvis Presley's "Burning Love," which Alexander didn't write but did record first. Alexander's disciples spread his Gospel as best they could. "Anna" was the only Alexander cover the Beatles released in a finished studio recording, but "A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues" and "Soldier Of Love" were staples of their early, pre-fame live shows, and their renditions survive in tapes of BBC radio performances.

The Beatles wanted to be like Arthur Alexander. That was a pretty high goal, and it was a goal they could not achieve. But they did pretty well for themselves, didn't they? And that means we all owe Arthur Alexander a huge debt of gratitude. 

We can start to repay that by playing his records. If you don't know Arthur Alexander, man, it is waaay past time you fixed that. Get a shot of rhythm and blues, and just a little rock 'n' roll on the side. Just for good measure. It was good enough for the Beatles. 

So here's the thing that you should do...

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