John Lennon released “Imagine” 48 Years Ago Today – Here are cover versions by Neil Young, David Bowie, Elton John and more


Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today (ah ah ah)

Imagine” (released October 11, 1971) is a song co-written and performed by English musician John Lennon. The best-selling single of his solo career, its lyrics encourage the listener to imagine a world at peace without the barriers of borders or the divisions of religion and nationality and to consider the possibility that the whole of humanity would live unattached to material possessions. Shortly before his death, Lennon said that much of the song’s “lyric and content” came from his wife Yoko Ono, and in 2017, she received a co-writing credit.

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The Best Songs: 1952 Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson

A simple boy meets girl story, somewhat complicated by the presence of a motorcycle
– Richard Thompson

1952 Vincent Black Lightning is a song by guitarist Richard Thompson from his 1991 album Rumor and Sigh. It tells the story of a thief named James and the girl Red Molly whom he charms with a ride on his 1952 Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle. Despite not being issued as a single, became a fan favourite and is one of Thompson’s most highly acclaimed solo compositions.

Some months ago me and some friends had a “music night”. Music Nights are gatherings where we pick a theme and each of us bring a playlist with 5 songs (and a few back up choices), we play our songs in turn, say why we picked the song and what it means to us. I’ve discovered many great songs and artists on these nights. This particular night the theme was “Story Songs” and one of my songs was 1952 Vincent Black Lightning by the great Richard Thompson. This made me listen, and “go into” the song even harder than I’d done before. What a great story song it is, a masterpiece.

“’Vincent’ started with the frustration of coming from Britain and wanting to reflect British culture. It’s hard to find mythological elements from my lifetime to build a song around, because American culture has been so dominant. The mythical places are Laramie and Cheyenne. ‘Going Back to Lancaster’ doesn’t have the same ring to it. It’s important to make music that incorporates elements from where you come from, so you’re contributing something of yourself into the music. If you’re from England and you’re writing about the Mississippi Delta, there’s something missing. You can be a good imitator, but what are you bringing to the process?”
– Richard Thompson, 2001

“When I was a kid, that was always the exotic bike, that was always the one, the one that you went ‘ooh, wow’. I’d always been looking for English ideas that didn’t sound corny, that had some romance to them, and around which you could pin a song. And this song started with a motorcycle, it started with the Vincent. It was a good lodestone around which the song could revolve”
– Richard Thompson to BBC radio

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September 20: Everyday/Peggy Sue the single was released by Buddy Holly in 1957

peggy_sue_nor_va_jak_1957

Peggy Sue” is a rock and roll song written by Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, and Norman Petty, recorded  early July of 1957. The Crickets are not mentioned on label of the single (Coral 9-61885), but band members Joe B. Mauldin (string bass) and Jerry Allison (drums) played on the recording. This recording was also released on Holly’s eponymous 1958 album.

The song went to number 3 on the Billboard Top 100 chart in 1957.

In 1999, National Public Radio (NPR) included “Peggy Sue” on the NPR 100, a list of the “100 most important American musical works of the 20th century”. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Acclaimed Music ranked it as the 106th greatest song of all time and the third best song of 1957. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 197 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 2010.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum placed the song on its list of the “Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”.

Peggy Sue (tv performance from Dec. 1957):

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July 11: David Bowie released Space Oddity (single) in 1969 – 50 years ago today

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom (ten, nine, eight, seven, six)
Commencing countdown, engines on (five, four, three)
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (two, one, liftoff)

…Finally, he teamed up with Elton John producer Gus Dudgeon to create “Space Oddity,” a song he’d been fiddling with all year. The folk ballad about astronaut Major Tom getting stranded in space was rushed out by his label to coincide with the launch of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and the BBC played the song during the coverage of the event. “In England, it was always presumed that it was written about the space landing, because it kind of came to prominence around the same time. But it actually wasn’t,” he told Performing Songwriter. “It was written because of going to see the film 2001, which I found amazing.
rollingstone.com

Single by David Bowie
from the album David Bowie
B-side “Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud”
Released 11 July 1969
Format 7-inch single
Recorded
Genre
  • Psychedelic
  • folk rock
Length 5:15 (album version)
4:33 (UK single edit)
3:26 (U.S. single edit)
Label Philips
Songwriter(s) David Bowie
Producer(s) Gus Dudgeon

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Great performance: Rolling Stones – Little Red Rooster, Knebworth 1976 (video)

The Stones were back on stage for what was their biggest show in the UK since the Hyde Park concert of 1969 in August 1976, and it was in front of their biggest paying crowd ever…somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 people.

One of the highlights for me was the performance of Willie Dixon’s Little Red Rooster, Rolling Stones does a version that is very close to Howling Wolf’s interpretation of the song. Slow and heavy Chicago blues with a fantastic groove.

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1970: 20 Songs Released in 1970 You Must Hear

My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

A lot of GREAT music was released in 1970, here are my 20 chosen songs.

  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison

    “Into the Mystic” is one of Morrison’s warmest ballads, an Otis Redding-style reverie with acoustic guitar and horns. The lyrics are truly mysterious: “People say, ‘What does this mean?’ ” said Morrison. “A lot of times I have no idea what I mean. That’s what I like about rock & roll — the concept. Like Little Richard — what does he mean? You can’t take him apart; that’s rock & roll to me.”
    rollingstone.com

    Written by Van Morrison and featured on his 1970 album Moondance. It was also included on Morrison’s 1974 live album, It’s Too Late To Stop Now. It was recorded during the Moondance sessions at A&R Recording Studios in New York City in September to November 1969. Elliott Scheiner was the engineer.

    We were born before the wind
    Also younger than the sun
    Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
    Hark, now hear the sailors cry
    Smell the sea and feel the sky
    Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic




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