Friday, January 27, 2023

10 SONGS: 1/27/2023

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 # 1165. This show is available as a podcast.


Dana and I have long been fans of Steve Stoeckel's peerless pop work with the Spongetones, and have likewise been thrilled with his subsequent accomplishments with the mighty Pop Co-Op. Now that Steve has recorded his first ever solo album The Power Of And, you can bet your pop-starved bippy our lad Steve's new record will rack up some airplay on This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio.

We opened this week's little mutant radio show with a track from The Power Of And, a proud 'n' perky bopper called "Christine." And, knowing that we were gonna circle back to the album's first single "Just One Kiss" in this week's final set, and further knowing that Steve is himself a proud 'n' perky fan of the Beatles, we felt compelled to introduce "Christine" like this:

Now tonight you' re going to twice be entertained by him; right now, and in the second half of our show. Ladies and gentlemen, STEVE STOECKEL!!

Close your eyes, Christine, and we'll kiss you. Just one kiss. Fab music is its own fab reward. The power of AND...and how!

THE YARDBIRDS: Over Under Sideways Down

As much as I loathe the idea of our playlists turning into the Obituary of the Week, we often feel a specific and emotional need to honor our pop heroes as they pass from our mortal world. The late Jeff Beck was our featured performer this week, and we're going to feature David Crosby on our next show.

Over, under, sideways, down. Yeah, that about sums it up. I fell for the Yardbirds in 1977, more than a decade after the fact. Any record you ain't heard is a new record. I remember--or at least I think I remember--owning the "Over Under Sideways Down" 45 pictured above, and I wonder if I picked it up at the flea market even before I snagged my used copy of the Yardbirds' Greatest Hits LP. Was "Over Under Sideways Down" my first Yardbirds record? I didn't think it was, but...possibly? At the time, as a teen with a finite supply of funds, I may have been a little less likely to pick up a 45 of a song I already had on an album. On the other hand, I would have been a sucker for a dynamic picture sleeve like this one. Either way: YARDBIRDS!! And the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds recordings were most definitely my favorite. 


Teen sensation Juniper is no stranger to TIRnRR playlists. Her tracks "Best Kept Secret" and  "Boys! Boys! Boys! Boys! Boys!" (both found on her eponymous debut album) scored significant burn on our show, and we're thrilled to program material from her brand-new album She Steals Candy. Juniper was fifteen when her first album was released in 2020, and She Steals Candy conveys a sense of growth and maturity without relinquishing the sass and energy of previous efforts.

She Steals Candy includes a number of covers, both obscure and less obscure. We played Juniper's take on KISS bassist Gene Simmons' Beatley pop gem "See You Tonight" last week, and this week's show brings her boppin' version of the Bangles' "James." We'll have another track from She Steals Candy next week.


Aw, I like this a lot. Panthervision is fronted by former Beyond Veronica stalwarts Bonnie Veronica and Kirk Larsen, and their debut album Now In 3-D is immediately and deliciously reminiscent of Holly and the Italians. Given the fact that the lone Holly and the Italians album The Right To Be Italian remains one of my top faves from the '80s, consider the comparison my personal seal of approval. We're gonna play this. Oh yeah, we're gonna play this. 

THE YARDBIRDS: Heart Full Of Soul

The Greatest Record Ever Made!

THE RAMONES: Chinese Rock

I heard the Ramones' version of "Chinese Rock" before I heard the Heartbreakers' definitive version ("Chinese Rocks," and I have no idea why the Ramones dropped the s from the song's title). As a Heartbreakers song, Dee Dee Ramone shared songwriting credit with that group's Johnny Thunders, Richard Hell, and Jerry Nolan. The credit for "Chinese Rock" as it appeared on the Ramones' End Of The Century album in 1980 was simply "Ramones."

Whether or not the Heartbreakers helped write the song, "Chinese Rocks" sure has Dee Dee's junk-stained mitts all over it. When I interviewed the Ramones in 1994, Johnny Ramone told me, "It was our song. Dee Dee had brought it to us at the time of probably Leave Home. At the time, we were doing '53rd & 3rd' and 'Commando.' To me, there were similarities. He had just come up with a song that was similar to the other two in some ways.

"It was also mentioning dope. And we didn't mind singing about certain drugs, but we didn't want to sing about dope...

"...The Heartbreakers then started doing it, and we realized it was a good song. I didn't like the way our version turned out. [The Heartbreakers'] version was better."

(And, although Joey Ramone rarely agreed with Johnny about much, their opinions of the Ramones' "Chinese Rock" concurred: "'Chinese Rock' didn't come out the way it should have," said Joey. "I don't think [End Of The Century producer Phil Spector] would be the right choice for a song like that. It lacked the aggression it needed.")

I did hear the Heartbreakers' "Chinese Rocks" (courtesy of their Live At Max's Kansas City album in '79) before I heard End Of The Century's "Chinese Rock." But I first heard the song live and in person, when the Ramones played with the Flashcubes at Syracuse's Uncle Sam's on July 6th, 1979. It was the second of the nine times I saw the Ramones, and the only time I heard them play a song that hadn't yet appeared on one of their own records.

(That same 1979 club show with the Ramones and the 'Cubes began with the first Central New York screening of the Ramones' movie Rock 'n' Roll High School. That, my friends, was real value for your $5 admission price. I wrote about it as part of my memorial of Joey Ramone when he died in 2001. The night at Uncle Sam's was magic, and it happened when I was in particularly urgent need of some magic. Gabba Gabba Hey.)


Hey, a Monkees track without any Monkees on it! "Sugar Man" is a backing track only, prepared in 1967 by New York City sessionmeisters with the expectation that Micky Dolenz or Davy Jones would eventually add lead vocals and then the songwriters, producers, publishers, and other folks in charge of the Monkees' music machine would have more big checks to cash. Sugar, man!

And a completed Monkees version of "Sugar Man" could have been pretty swell, like the best stuff on the Monkees' then-recent album More Of The Monkees. But "Sugar Man" came at the wrong time; by '67, the Monkees (particularly Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork) were fed up with the enforced disconnect between the group and the records that bore their name. They were a manufactured TV band, and they wanted to be a real band. More Of The Monkees was the Prefab Four's final prefabricated album; their next album, Headquarters, would be an album made by the freakin' Monkees. The sessionmeisters were talented, but their services would not be required for Headquarters.

The Monkees' never-completed track "Sugar Man" has entered into urban legend. At a 1967 meeting between (on one side) Micky, Davy, Michael, Peter, and their new producer Chip Douglas and (on the other side) golden-eared Musical Supervisor Don Kirshner and his business-first compatriots, Kirshner urged the boys to stick with the formula, greased their palms with hefty royalty payments, and presented them with this groovycool new pop ditty, which would be another surefire # 1 smash for our MonkeeMen.

The legend gets the next part wrong. Chip Douglas, Kirshner himself, and even Micky have all claimed that the proposed song was "Sugar Sugar," later to be a massive hit for Kirshner's next project the Archies. I've also been guilty of propagating that myth, though I learned better a long time ago. In 1967, songwriter Jeff Barry had not yet concocted "Sugar Sugar," a song he insisted was written specifically for the Archies, who had the hit with it in 1969. 

Was "Sugar Man" the song ol' Golden Ears tried to bestow upon his unruly Monkees at that fateful meeting? Well, it's not a big jump to confuse the titles, especially when "Sugar Sugar" became so huge and "Sugar Man" was forgotten entirely.

Either way, Michael Nesmith put his fist through a wall. Literally. Nesmith put his fist through a wall and warned one of Kirshner's crew, That could have been your face, mother...y'know. The Monkees weren't gonna do no freakin' bubblegum sugar song. Kirshner's exit was nigh. Headquarters rocked. The MonkeeMen prevailed. (For more about this exciting flashpoint in the Monkees' career, I direct you to my piece about "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," the first record to feature the Monkees themselves as their own sessionmeisters.)

It's a little weird that the recent multi-disc boxed set of Headquarters, a celebration of the precise moment when the Monkees became a bona fide recording entity in their own right, also contains so much session material that had nothing whatsoever to do with any of them. The fact that it's weird does not make it unwelcome. Sure, I prefer the (if you will) real Monkees, but I enjoy the made-for-TV test tube concoctions, too. It's all part of the Monkees story. Gimme some sugar. Sugar has its place.

THE YARDBIRDS: Train Kept A-Rollin'

After my teen acquisition of the above-mentioned Greatest Hits album, Having A Rave-Up was my second Yardbirds LP. In the late '70s or (probably) early '80s, I heard the Yardbirds steamin' rendition of "Train Kept A-Rollin'" on an oldies radio show. Prior to that, I only knew the song from the guy across the hall in my freshman dorm blasting Aerosmith's version; I wouldn't hear earlier recordings by Tiny Bradshaw or Johnny Burnette's Rock and Roll Trio until a later time. "Train Kept A-Rollin'" wasn't on my Yardbirds Greatest Hits. I think I heard the Yardbirds' "Train Kept A-Rollin'" ripoff "Stroll On" before I heard their version of the legit original (thanks to the Yardbirds' on-screen performance of "Stroll On" in the film Blow Up).

Gratuitous photo of actress Jane Birkin in Blow Up

In the early '80s, a McDonald's coworker and I somehow got into a conversation about the mid '60s British Invasion. Laurie was a bit younger than me, and had no real interest in your Kinks or your Dave Clark Five. Nonetheless, she mentioned that someone in her family had a couple of LPs from that era, one by the Animals and one by the Yardbirds. She didn't think anyone at home still wanted them, and she offered to give them to me. Within a day or two, her family's copies of Animal Tracks and Having A Rave-Up moved to their new home in my apartment.

In the early '80s, I was the first Sex Pistols fan anyone at McDonald's of Brockport had ever met. Hence my McNickname at the time: Sid

In addition to "Train Kept A-Rollin'," Having A Rave-Up also introduced me to "You're A Better Man Than I" and "Evil Hearted You," two absolutely essential Yardbirds classics I didn't know at all. That made this beat-up copy of Having A Rave-Up one of the best gifts of music I've ever received. This week, we played the Yardbirds in memory of the late, great Jeff Beck. But this spin of "Train Kept A-Rollin'" goes out with gratitude to my former McPal Laurie Heffron, wherever she is. Thanks again, Laurie.

THE YARDBIRDS: You're A Better Man Than I 

Our tribute to Jeff Beck includes tracks by the Yardbirds, Jeff Beck Group, Beck solo, and Beck billed with Rod Stewart. As the show concluded, our after-the-tag bonus selection was a Yardbirds BBC performance of "You're A Better Man Than I." This was selected deliberately for its opening, as the BBC announcer asks each Yardbird to share his New Year's resolution for 1966. Keith Relf, Chris Dreja, Paul Samwell-Smith, and Jim McCarty offer a mix of wishes both sober and whimsical, and Beck states plainly, "I shan't alter at all. My resolution is to keep on the way I am at the moment."

He did pretty well with that. Godspeed, Jeff Beck. Hi Ho Silver Lining. 


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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.

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