THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (VOLUME 1): No progress, but an update anyway!

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns.

Our favorite records don’t live in isolation. Each one has a story to tell.

Anyone who’s endured any time at all on this blog is aware of my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). Yeah, I’ve been working on this thing for years. I finished a complete draft of the book in January, and I’ve shared it with a potential publisher for review. No promise of progress there, but it does remain a work in progress.

In 2018, when I began trying to turn my GREM! concept into a book, it was intended to be my first book. Yep, after decades of freelancing for magazines, writing notes, short stories, blog posts, and stuff for other writers’ books, it was high time for a book I could call my own. GREM! can no longer be my first book, because I have a different book contracted and planned for a tentative 2022 publication. But still, I hope it will be a book.

The draft of GREM! that I shared with a publisher in early April followed my previously-posted blueprint, covering 175 songs and totaling a little under 144,000 words. Since then, I have also completed a slightly shorter alternate version, spotlighting 155 songs instead of 175, with a new word count just north of 131,000. At this moment, I prefer the shorter version. 

Unless, y’know, the publisher loves the longer version. I’m flexible. (And I have three even shorter versions prepped in case I need them. Um…that’s a secret. Shhhh. Don’t tell anybody.)

For now, here’s the proposed Table of Contents for that 155-song version. TA-DA! But before you dive in to experience its splendor, it’s worth repeating this caveat from one of the book’s introductory chapters:

“This specific disclaimer is worth highlighting in bold and all-caps: THIS IS NOT INTENDED AS AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF THE BEST RECORDS EVER MADE! Jesus, no! The chapters in this book cover a number of popular and personal favorites, but it’s nowhere near comprehensive, and it’s not meant to be. It’s a discussion and a celebration of pop’s infinite promise–nothing more, nothing less.”

Ready? Let’s GO!

FOREWORD

DISCLAIMERS AND DECLARATIONS (A User’s Guide To The Greatest Record Ever Made!)

A Fistful Of 45s

OVERTURE THE RAMONES: Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?

1. BADFINGER: Baby Blue

2. CHUCK BERRY: Promised Land

3. DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: I Only Want To Be With You

4. THE SEX PISTOLS: God Save The Queen

5. ELVIS PRESLEY: Heartbreak Hotel

6. WILLIE MAE “BIG MAMA” THORNTON: Hound Dog

7. PATTI SMITH: Gloria

8. LITTLE RICHARD: The Girl Can’t Help It

9. NEIL DIAMOND: Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show

10. CRAZY ELEPHANT: Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’ 

11. WILSON PICKETT: In The Midnight Hour
12. THE HOLLIES: I Can’t Let Go

13. MELANIE WITH THE EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS: Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)

14. SAM COOKE: Chain Gang

15. PETULA CLARK: Downtown

16. ARTHUR ALEXANDER: Soldier Of Love

17. TRANSLATOR: Everywhere That I’m Not

18. LESLEY GORE: You Don’t Own Me

19. THE SHANGRI-LAS: Leader Of The Pack
20. THE SHIRELLES: Will You Love Me Tomorrow

21. THE RAMONES: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

22. AMY RIGBY: Dancing With Joey Ramone

23. PINK FLOYD: Wish You Were Here

24. GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS: Midnight Train To Georgia

25.THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR: I Fought The Law

26. MERLE HAGGARD: Mama Tried

27. THE TEMPTATIONS: Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone

28. BUDDY HOLLY: Peggy Sue/Everyday

29. ROBERTA FLACK: Killing Me Softly With His Song

30. JOHNNY NASH: I Can See Clearly Now

31. ELTON JOHN: Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

32. RUFUS: Tell Me Something Good

33. SUZI QUATRO: I May Be Too Young

34. ALICE COOPER: School’s Out

35. THE RARE BREED/THE OHIO EXPRESS: Beg, Borrow And Steal

36. OTIS REDDING: (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay

37. ARETHA FRANKLIN: Respect

INTERLUDE A Girl Known Somewhere: The Monkees Play Their Own Instruments

38. THE MONKEES: Porpoise Song (Theme From Head)

39. PRINCE: When You Were Mine

40. THE 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS: You’re Gonna Miss Me

41. THE ROLLING STONES: Get Off Of My Cloud

42. PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS: Just Like Me

43. BOB DYLAN: Like A Rolling Stone

44. THE KINGSMEN: Louie, Louie

45. BARON DAEMON AND THE VAMPIRES: The Transylvania Twist

46. THE MARVELETTES: I’ll Keep Holding On

47. THE WHO: I Can’t Explain

48. TODD RUNDGREN: Couldn’t I Just Tell You

49. SHOES: Tomorrow Night

50. THE FLASHCUBES: No Promise

51. TELEVISION: Elevation

52. DONNA SUMMER: I Feel Love

53. SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES: The Tears Of A Clown

54. THE DIXIE CUPS: Iko Iko

55. MILLIE SMALL: My Boy Lollipop

56. THE EASYBEATS: Friday On My Mind

57. IKE AND TINA TURNER: River Deep Mountain High

58. THE RONETTES: Be My Baby

59. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Girls In Their Summer Clothes

60. KISS: Shout It Out Loud

61. THE LEFT BANKE: Walk Away, Renee

62. THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: Rock And Roll Love Letter

63. THE KNICKERBOCKERS: Lies

64. THE WONDERS: That Thing You Do!

INTERLUDE The Tottenham Sound Of…The Beatles?!

65. THE DAVE CLARK FIVE: Any Way You Want It

66. JAMES BROWN: Please, Please, Please

67. GRAND FUNK: We’re An American Band

68. THE FIRST CLASS: Beach Baby

69. THE ISLEY BROTHERS: Summer Breeze

70. THE RUBINOOS: I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

71. THE PANDORAS: It’s About Time

72. THE MUFFS: Saying Goodbye

73. BIG STAR: September Gurls

74. THE DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET: Take Five

75. THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: All For Swinging You Around

ENTR’ACTE THE BEATLES: Yesterday

76. YOKO ONO: Kiss Kiss Kiss

77. THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS: Time Has Come Today

78. MARVIN GAYE: I Heard It Through The Grapevine

79. SAMMY AMBROSE: This Diamond Ring

80. PAUL COLLINS/THE BREAKAWAYS: Walking Out On Love

81. LINDA RONSTADT: You’re No Good

82. P. P. ARNOLD: The First Cut Is The Deepest

83. THE MYNAH BIRDS: I Got You (In My Soul)

INTERLUDE The Rick James Riff (It’s Such A Freaky Scene)

84. BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY: Piece Of My Heart

85. THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES: Shake Some Action

86. THE CARPENTERS: Only Yesterday

87. MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress

88. THE 5TH DIMENSION: Medley: Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In (The Flesh Failures)

89. THE JACKSON FIVE: I’ll Be There

90. SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE: Everybody Is A Star

91. THE BANGLES: Live

92. HEADGIRL/MÖTOR HEADGIRL SCHOOL: Please Don’t Touch

93. THE FLIRTATIONS: Nothing But A Heartache

94. THE SPINNERS: I’ll Be Around

95. TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS: American Girl
96. THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY: I Woke Up In Love This Morning

97. DAVID RUFFIN: I Want You Back

98. LED ZEPPELIN: Communication Breakdown

99. FREDDIE AND THE DREAMERS: Do The Freddie

100. THE BANDWAGON: Breakin’ Down The Walls Of Heartache

101. DON HENLEY: The Boys Of Summer

102. BEN E. KING: Stand By Me

103. GENE PITNEY: Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa

104. THE SPONGETONES: (My Girl) Maryanne

105. THE TRAMMPS: Disco Inferno

106. HAROLD MELVIN AND THE BLUE NOTES: Don’t Leave Me This Way

107. GRANDMASTER AND MELLE MEL: White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)

108. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: I’ll Be Your Mirror

109. DEL SHANNON: Runaway

110. THE EVERLY BROTHERS: Gone, Gone, Gone

111. THE COCKTAIL SLIPPERS: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

112. SAM AND DAVE: Soul Man

113. T. REX: 20th Century Boy

114. HEART: Kick It Out

115. THE RUNAWAYS: Cherry Bomb

116. THE KINKS: Waterloo Sunset

117. HOLLY GOLIGHTLY: Time Will Tell

118. THE SMITHEREENS: Behind The Wall Of Sleep

119. THE COWSILLS: She Said To Me

120. ELVIS COSTELLO AND THE ATTRACTIONS: (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?

121. THE FOUR TOPS: Reach Out I’ll Be There

INTERLUDE Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll

122. THE BOB SEGER SYSTEM: 2 + 2 = ?
123. THE JIVE FIVE: What Time Is It?

124. LULU: To Sir, With Love [Museum Outings Montage]
125. FREDA PAYNE: Band Of Gold

126. THE CONTOURS: Do You Love Me

127. THE GO-GO’S: We Got The Beat

128. WHAM!: Freedom

129. THE SUPREMES: You Keep Me Hangin’ On 

130. THE BEACH BOYS: God Only Knows

131. JOAN ARMATRADING: Me Myself I

132. THE SELECTER: On My Radio

133. TRACEY ULLMAN: They Don’t Know

134. MANNIX: Highway Lines

135. THE DRIFTERS: On Broadway

136. THE FIVE STAIRSTEPS: O-o-h Child

137. SOLOMON BURKE: Everybody Needs Somebody To Love

138. THE COASTERS: Yakety Yak

139. CHEAP TRICK: Surrender

140. TEGAN AND SARA: Walking With A Ghost

141. DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars?

142. THE O’JAYS: Put Your Hands Together

143. THE GRATEFUL DEAD: Uncle John’s Band

144. RITA MORENO, GEORGE CHAKIRIS, SHARKS & GIRLS: America

145. EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS: Do Anything You Wanna Do

146. JOAN JETT: Bad Reputation

147. STEVIE WONDER: I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)

148. MARYKATE O’NEIL: I’m Ready For My Luck To Turn Around

149. EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year’s Gonna Be Our Year

150. THE JAYHAWKS: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

An Infinite Number

INTERLUDE Underrating The Beatles

ENCORE! THE BEATLES: Rain

ENCORE!! THE T-BONES: No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)

Cruisin’ Music

CODA THE RAMONES: Blitzkrieg Bop

AFTERWORD

Well, I like it! I hope someone else will like it, too. And the edit serves the bonus purpose of giving me a start on a hypothetical The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 2), while retaining the overall narrative of Volume 1.


Before I close here and get back to polishing this pipe dream, I want to repeat some basic supplemental material that’s appeared here previously:

You can see links to each of my 34 GREM! video blogs here.

You can read the book’s foreword, introduction, and first few chapters here. (These are earlier drafts, so some changes have been implemented since these were posted. Still gives you the gist of what I’m doing.)

Here are a few other sample chapters (also in earlier drafts):

BADFINGER: Baby Blue

PATTI SMITH: Gloria

GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS: Midnight Train To Georgia

JOHNNY NASH: I Can See Clearly Now

THE MONKEES: Porpoise Song (Theme From Head)

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Girls In Their Summer Clothes

MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress

DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars?

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: Uncle John’s Band

CAST OF WEST SIDE STORY: America

STEVIE WONDER: I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)

EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year’s Gonna Be Our Year

I believe very, very strongly in this book. I think a few of you just might dig it, too. The work continues. Into the infinite!

If you like what you see here on Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider supporting this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon, or 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 http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl

Categories
Boppin'

Fake THIS IS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RADIO Playlist: The Songs Of BOPPIN’ (LIKE THE HIP FOLKS DO)

I’ve written about a number of albums over the years (especially when I was freelancing for Goldmine), but I’ve always been a single-song guy. Each of the tracks in today’s fake playlist is an individual song that was the focus of a post right here at Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do). Most of them came from my Greatest Record Ever Made! series, though some were originally posted in some other series instead. The curious can follow links to read my original post about each song. Ready to bop? We’ve got some songs for you.

This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl–y’know, the real one–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 http://sparksyracuse.org/ 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 
http://sparksyracuse.org/support/

You can follow Carl’s daily blog Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do) at 
https://carlcafarelli.blogspot.com/

Fake TIRnRR Playlist: The Songs Of Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do)

THE MONKEES: I Never Thought It Peculiar

THE RAMONES: Babysitter

BADFINGER: Baby Blue

GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS: Midnight Train To Georgia

THE BARBARIANS: Take It Or Leave It

THE GO-GO’S: Surfing And Spying

WHAM!: Freedom

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: I Only Want To Be With You

WILSON PICKETT: In The Midnight Hour

NICK LOWE: So It Goes

WANDA JACKSON: Let’s Have A Party

LITTLE RICHARD: The Girl Can’t Help It

MANNIX: Highway Lines

JOHNNY NASH: I Can See Clearly Now

YOKO ONO: Kiss Kiss Kiss

ELTON JOHN: Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

HEART: Kick It Out

CHUCK BERRY: Promised Land

THE BEATLES: Tell Me Why

THE DAVE CLARK FIVE: Any Way You Want It

MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress

PATTI SMITH: Gloria

THE MONKEES: The Girl I Knew Somewhere

LOVE: 7 And 7 Is

BIG STAR: September Gurls

DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars?

THE RASPBERRIES: I Wanna Be With You

SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES: The Tears Of A Clown

CRAZY ELEPHANT: Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’

MELANIE WITH THE EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS: Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)

STEVIE WONDER: I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)

THE BUZZCOCKS: Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)

THE SEARCHERS: Hearts In Her Eyes

THE FLASHCUBES: No Promise

THE RAMONES: I Don’t Want To Grow Up

FIRST AID KIT: America

THE KINKS: Waterloo Sunset

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: Uncle John’s Band

THE SMITHEREENS: Behind The Wall Of Sleep

THE WONDERS: That Thing You Do!

THE CASTAWAYS: Liar, Liar

LESLEY GORE: You Don’t Own Me

THE MONKEES: Porpoise Song (Theme From Head)

THE WHO: I Can’t Explain

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Girls In Their Summer Clothes

GRAND FUNK: We’re An American Band

FREDDIE & THE DREAMERS: Do The Freddie

THE DRIFTERS: On Broadway

THE ROLLING STONES: Happy

THE BEATLES: Thank You, Girl

THE RARE BREED: Beg, Borrow And Steal

THE JAYHAWKS: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

THE KNICKERBOCKERS: Lies

THE LEFT BANKE: Walk Away, Renee

KISS: Shout It Out Loud

THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: Rock And Roll Love Letter

THE KINKS: You Really Got Me

EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year’s Gonna Be Our Year

Categories
Boppin'

What’s Not On Your iPod?

What’s not on your iPod?

My friend Dave Murray has posed this question a few times. It would be a good subject for a poll of music fans, a chance to explore what seemingly essential artists one would elect personally to just skip entirely. I’d think the discussion should be limited to the plausible; you wouldn’t expect a 58-year-old rockin’ pop fan like me to have much–if any–current Top 40, country, metal, or hip hop in my listening queue, so that’s not what we’re talking about. It’s also not about an iPod specifically, nor any other portable music player. It can be about the music in your head, the stuff you’d listen to when you call the shots and you make the playlist. For the sake of expedience, let’s call that your iPod.

So. What’s not on your iPod?

Dave and I have bounced the question back and forth for a good long time. For me, a lot of my expected pop bogeymen are on my iPod. I’ve got Bob Seger (I like “Get Out Of Denver,” “Heavy Music,” and “Hollywood Nights”). I’ve got The Eagles (“Take It Easy” and “Already Gone”). I’ve got Styx (I love both “Lorelei” and “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye”). I even have the hated REO Speedwagon (“Tough Guys”). I don’t have a lot of Dylan or Springsteen, but they’re there. The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd, too. Amidst my preferred mix of BeatlesKinksRamonesFlashcubesMonkeesChuck Berry, power pop, Motown, British Invasion, soul, bubblegum, surf, punk…well, it’s all part of my preferred mix, up to and including Phil OchsPercy Faith,and Grandmaster Flash. It’s all pop music, anyway.

What’s not on my iPod? Well….

As I was listening to the radio the other day, the local airwaves reminded me of a popular classic rock act whose music always prompts me to change the station, every time. And that act is Lynyrd Skynyrd.

It’s not that I hate Lynyrd Skynyrd. Lynyrd Skynyrd is in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and it’s a group that deserves to be in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I’m not hostile. I’m not exactly indifferent, but it’s music that I just don’t care to listen to. Ever. I understand its appeal. The audience for that appeal does not appeal to me.

There are, of course, many other acts whose records are likewise alien to the rich ‘n’ fertile playground of my iPod. There’s no Frank Sinatra or Stevie Ray Vaughan. There’s no Van Halen, though it’s theoretically possible I would consider adding “Dance The Night Away” or “Runnin’ With The Devil” someday. There’s for damned sure no Dave Matthews Band; that one’s probably a given. And I’d take a truncheon to the damned thing if it tried to play Kid Rock, whom I loathe. But, among worthy acts that just ain’t my cuppa, Lynyrd Skynyrd tops the list of what’s not on my iPod. Turn it up? Turn it off. Your iPod may vary. What’s not on your iPod?

TIP THE BLOGGER: CC’s Tip Jar!

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Our new compilation CD This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin’ pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins’ BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. 

Categories
Boppin'

My 1960’s

My favorite decade of music has always been the 1960s. Even as a teenager in the ’70s, soakin’ up the wonders of AM radio (from Badfinger to The Isley Brothers to Alice Cooper) and then FM (from Graham Parker to Nick Lowe to The Sex Pistols), my true allegiance remained steadfast and true: The Beatles. Nothing could ever change that.

Although I was, technically, alive for all but the first sixteen (and much of the seventeenth) days of the ’60s, a lot of my awareness and appreciation of the decade’s music came well after the fact. I’ve been examining some of these stories on this blog, recognizing the dialectic and dialogue that reaches across the eras of one’s own life. I became a fan of ’50s hits by Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly when I heard them in the early ’70s; I didn’t discover The Velvet Underground, or Love, or even Otis Redding until the ’80s.

But I do remember some stuff from the ’60s, contemporaneous to the ’60s. I remember “The Twist” by Chubby Checker–my Aunt Anna had the 45–and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by The Four Seasons, and “Save Your Heart For Me” by Gary Lewis and the Playboys. I remember my friend Willie singing Jan and Dean‘s “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” in my friend Steve’s back yard. Gene Pitney‘s legend loomed large in the Cafarelli household, with “Town Without Pity” and “Half Heaven Half Heartache” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” Lesley Gore‘s “California Nights.” Nancy Sinatra‘s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.” The Rolling Stones‘ “Get Off Of My Cloud.” Tiny Tim, too.

One presumes I must have heard The KinksJames BrownPaul Revere and the RaidersThe Righteous Brothers, and so many more, but I don’t recall any of these prior to rediscovering them in subsequent decades. I knew of Chad and Jeremy, but I don’t think I knew any of their songs at the time. There was an ad for We’re Only In It For The Money by The Mothers Of Invention in the pages of Marvel Comics, but I didn’t have the merest clue who Frank Zappa was. I saw Herman’s Hermits in an awful movie called Hold On!, and while I’m sure I knew some of the Hermits’ biggest hits, I didn’t remember any of their songs in that film prior to buying a used copy of the soundtrack LP in the late ’70s.

Here are a few others that I do remember:

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE: “Somebody To Love”
THE T-BONES: “No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)”
THE BEACH BOYS: “Surfer Girl”
THE ARCHIES: “Sugar, Sugar”
THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR: “I Fought The Law”
THE DAVE CLARK FIVE: “Bits And Pieces”
THE CASTAWAYS: “Liar, Liar”
THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS: “Monday, Monday”
THE TURTLES: “Happy Together”
THE FIVE AMERICANS: “Western Union”
THE AMERICAN BREED: “Bend Me, Shape Me”
TOMMY JAMES AND THE SHONDELLS: “Hanky Panky”
BILLY JOE ROYAL: “Down In The Boondocks”
ANDY WILLIAMS: “A Fool Never Learns”
EYDIE GORME: “Blame It On The Bossa Nova”
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: “Wishin’ And Hopin'”
TWINKLE: “Terry”
FREDDY CANNON: “Teen Queen Of The Week”
BEN COLDER: “Ring Of Smoke”
JEANNIE C. RILEY: “Harper Valley PTA”
THE SURFARIS: “Wipeout”
THE FIFTH DIMENSION: “Up, Up And Away” and “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In”

I also knew a few of The Monkees‘ records–“She,” “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow),” “Gonna Buy Me A Dog,” “I’m A Believer,” “Last Train To Clarksville”–and I certainly knew a bunch of Beatles tunes, from “All My Loving” through “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I’ll Follow The Sun.” That cumulative pop frenzy is why I still regard Beatles ’65 and Beatles VI as my all-time favorite albums. But really, all of this stuff would come to mean even more to me as I looked back upon it in later years.

Is it nostalgia that makes me prefer ’60s music to all that came afterwards? Yes, of course, but not quite in the usual sense of personal nostalgia for the cherished playthings of childhood. Although I have some contemporaneous memories of rock ‘n’ roll during The Great Society, I can’t truly associate (The Association!) all that much of the era’s music with specific warm ‘n’ fuzzies from my preteen timeline. There is, I guess, that prevailing image of Beatlemania, that lingering sense that pop music was ruled by The Beatles, and always would be; seeing A Hard Day’s Night at the drive-in when you’re four years old can have that kind of effect on your development, and then seeing The Monkees on TV can reinforce that, move it from the realm of shiny passing fancy into the bedrock foundation of faith and certainty. I may not remember all of the nuances and shades, nor even all of the broad strokes of the ’60s with the crystal clarity of a reliable eyewitness, but I was there in just enough of its giddy heyday to retain that glow of affection, and to maintain that sense of familiarity and wonder. I remember what I remember; I embrace what I later encountered as a result of those memories.

Oh, and I remember some Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. I remember this one album cover in particular….

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby!

Categories
Boppin'

THE EVERLASTING FIRST: Quick Takes For B

Continuing a look back at my first exposure to a number of rock ‘n’ roll acts and superheroes (or other denizens of print or periodical publication), some of which were passing fancies, and some of which I went on to kinda like. They say you never forget your first time; that may be true, but it’s the subsequent visits–the second time, the fourth time, the twentieth time, the hundredth time–that define our relationships with the things we cherish. Ultimately, the first meeting is less important than what comes after that. But every love story still needs to begin with that first kiss.

THE BEAU BRUMMELS

The Beau Brummels: It’s weird to realize that I don’t remember The Beau Brummels at all from the ’60s, even though my sister Denise went to see them at the State Fair on a double bill with the legendary Gene Pitney. You’d think I would at least remember their animated turn as The Beau Brummelstones on an episode of The Flintstones, but no! Instead, I heard “Laugh, Laugh” on an oldies radio show in 1976 or ’77. A rock station in Utica, WOUR-FM, had a flat-out terrific Friday night oldies show called (I think) The Time Machine, and that gave me an opportunity to deepen my affection for The Kinks and The Yardbirds, among others. I heard “Laugh, Laugh” one Friday night on WOUR, and the song has not left my All-Time Hot 100 since then.

CHUCK BERRY

I don’t know if it was WOLF-AM or WNDR-AM that started playing “Johnny B. Goode” in regular rotation in the early ’70s, right alongside your Badfinger and your Temptations. Maybe both stations did it. I didn’t know it was an old song; I just knew that I liked it a lot. Somewhere in there, I learned a lesson that’s an integral part of our format on This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio: it doesn’t matter if a song’s old, or new, or borrowed, or blue, as long as it’s a great song. And great songs should be played with other great songs, without regard for their date of origin. That’s what radio oughtta be.

THE BLACK CANARY

Though a (non-powered) super-heroine from the ’40s, DC Comics revived The Black Canary for sporadic use here and there in the ’60s, and eventually made her one of the line’s core characters. I first saw the name and image in a house ad for The Brave And The Bold # 61 (August-September 1965), which appeared in (I think) an issue of The Adventures Of Jerry Lewis. The ad promised the super-heroic team of Starman and Black Canary, which caught my interest, but the issue was long gone from the stands by the time I saw that ad in ’66. My first true Black Canary adventure came in the summer of ’68, when she appeared with her fellow members of The Justice Society of America in a two-parter running in Justice League of America # 64-65. (But my favorite Black Canary appearance came in The Brave And The Bold # 91 [August-September 1970], when she teamed with Batman and–more importantly!–had the chance to be rendered in pulchritudinous splendor by the incredible Nick Cardy!)

BLACKHAWK

Another character from the ’40s, and a character DC had purchased in the ’50s from a publisher called Quality Comics. DC kept this aviator’s title going until 1968. But I never read it; it wasn’t really a super-hero book, so I wasn’t interested. I picked up the very last issue, Blackhawk  # 243 (October-November 1968), a coverless copy I found at Van Patten’s Grocery in North Syracuse. I (much) later learned that the final two issues of Blackhawk were a back-to-basics attempt, trying to return the character to his former glory; DC’s stewardship of Blackhawk up to that time was and is widely regarded as a waste, at least until those last two issues. I discovered the real Blackhawk via Golden Age reprints in the ’70s, and my favorite run is a revival in the ’80s, written by Mark Evanier and usually drawn by Dan Spiegle; I would buy a trade collection of that run without hesitation.  Hawk-a-a-a!

BLONDIE

Reading about punk rock in Phonograph Record Magazine in 1977, I was taken by Mark Shipper‘s description of Blondie as “like Marilyn Monroe backed by The Dave Clark Five.” Okay, I’m in. I was still reluctant to buy the LP without hearing something first; when I got to college that fall, I pestered WBSU DJs in Brockport to play “X-Offender” for me, and I was hooked at first listen. Plus that Blondie girl, that Debbie HarryMan, she was cute!

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD

Someday I’m going to devote an entire Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do) to my love-hate relationship with The Brave And The Bold, a long-running DC title that went through many phases and philosophies over the course of 200 issues. It had once been a tryout showcase for proposed new comic book series; the most successful B&B tryouts were a pair of concepts called The Justice League of America and The Teen Titans. But B&B was a super-hero team-up book from # 50 through its farewell at # 200, with just one Sgt. Rock World War II tale in # 52 standing as the sole exception. From 1967 through the book’s termination in 1983, it was specifically a Batman team-up book. My first B&B was # 70 (February-March 1967), teaming Batman and Hawkman. I never learned where my copy came from; it turned up one day, alongside an issue of World’s Finest Comics and an issue of Mighty Comics, in a pile of magazines in our bathroom at home.  Did my Dad buy it for me? Did my Mom? Maybe one of my siblings? I still don’t know, but I sure loved this. I’d previously seen the alternate Earth-2 incarnation of Hawkman in the preceding summer’s Justice League-Justice Society team-up, but this issue of The Brave And The Bold was my introduction to the familiar, regularly-published “real” Earth-1 Hawkman.


TIP THE BLOGGER: CC’s Tip Jar!

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Our new compilation CD This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin’ pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins’ BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. 

Categories
Boppin'

My All-Time Top 40 Favorite Tracks

 What are my all-time Top 40 favorite tracks?

It’s a separate discussion from my usual ranting on behalf of my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). The book at least attempts a long view, albeit still a long view shaped by my own taste. The tracks listed here today are tracks I just really, really like. A lot.

The only restriction I placed on this list was a limit of just one track per artist. And I excluded the Beatles; my favorite song is pretty much everything the Beatles released from 1964 through ’66, A Hard Day’s Night through Revolver. If I tried to pick one Beatles selection, it might be the American mix of “Thank You, Girl,” or it might be “No Reply,” or “Rain,” or “The Night Before,” or…see, this is why I’m not pickin’ one. The Fab Four exist outside the parameters of this exercise.

And I’m not ranking my picks; they’re arranged alphabetically by artist. My all-time # 1 is probably Badfinger‘s “Baby Blue,” but everything’s listed here as equals.  Ladies and gentlemen…my all-time Top 40 favorite tracks.

EMERITUS STATUS: THE BEATLES: [1964-1966]

1. THE 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS: You’re Gonna Miss Me

2. THE ANIMALS: It’s My Life

3. P. P. ARNOLD: The First Cut Is The Deepest

4. BADFINGER: Baby Blue

5. THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: Rock And Roll Love Letter

6. THE BEAU BRUMMELS: Laugh Laugh

7. THE BEVIS FROND: He’d Be A Diamond

8. CHUCK BERRY: Promised Land

9. BIG STAR: September Gurls

10. THE DAVE CLARK FIVE: Any Way You Want It

11. THE COCKTAIL SLIPPERS: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

12. NEIL DIAMOND: Solitary Man

13. THE DRIFTERS: On Broadway

14. EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS: Do Anything You  Wanna Do

15. THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES: Shake Some Action

16. THE FLASHCUBES: No Promise

17. THE FOUR TOPS: It’s The Same Old Song

18. FREDDIE AND THE DREAMERS: Do The Freddie

19. THE KINKS: You Really Got Me

20. KISS: Shout It Out Loud

21. THE KNICKERBOCKERS: Lies

22. MARY LOU LORD: Aim Low

23. MANNIX: Highway Lines

24. MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress

25. EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year’s Gonna Be Our Year

26. THE MONKEES: Porpoise Song (Theme From Head)

27. THE RAMONES: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

28. THE RARE BREED: Beg, Borrow And Steal

29. SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES: The Tears Of A Clown

30. TODD RUNDGREN: Couldn’t I Just Tell You

31. DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: I Only Want To Be With You

32. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Girls In Their Summer Clothes

33. THE T-BONES: No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)

34. THE TEARJERKERS: Syracuse Summer

35. THE TOYS: May My Heart Be Cast Into Stone

36. TRANSLATOR: Everywhere That I’m Not

37. THE VOGUES: Five O’Clock World

38. THE YARDBIRDS: Heart Full Of Soul

39. THE WHO: I Can’t Explain

40. STEVIE WONDER: Uptight (Everything’s Alright)

And yeah, of course the list would look different if I did it tomorrow. Obviously.

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon, or 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 http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl

Categories
Boppin'

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (VOLUME 1)

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. I like that idea so much, I’ve been writing a book about it: The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). The long-threatened book remains a work in progress, but what the hell. Work is progressing.

My first public announcement of my plan to do this book was waaaay back in September of 2018. The GREM! concept well predates that announcement, springing from a series of blog posts that commenced in 2016 with a celebration of Badfinger‘s “Baby Blue.” The first proposed Table of Contents was posted in April of 2019, back when I was only planning for the book to discuss a mere 50 songs. 

50…?! How quaint. It’s grown a bit since then. As of the last posted update in November of 2021, the book’s Table of Contents was a collection of 165 songs. It now stands at 175–170 selections plus five bonus tracks–and that’s probably where the number will stay.

The book’s current Table of Contents appears below. But before you dive in to experience its splendor, it’s worth repeating this caveat from one of the book’s introductory chapters:

“This specific disclaimer is worth highlighting in bold and all-caps: THIS IS NOT INTENDED AS AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF THE BEST RECORDS EVER MADE! Jesus, no! The chapters in this book cover a number of popular and personal favorites, but it’s nowhere near comprehensive, and it’s not meant to be. It’s a discussion and a celebration of pop’s infinite promise–nothing more, nothing less.”

Ready? Let’s GO!

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (VOLUME 1) 

Table of Contents

FOREWORD

DISCLAIMERS AND DECLARATIONS (A User’s Guide To The Greatest Record Ever Made!)

A Fistful Of 45s

OVERTURE THE RAMONES: Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?

1. BADFINGER: Baby Blue

2. CHUCK BERRY: Promised Land

3. DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: I Only Want To Be With You

4. THE SEX PISTOLS: God Save The Queen

5. ELVIS PRESLEY: Heartbreak Hotel

6. WILLIE MAE “BIG MAMA” THORNTON: Hound Dog

7. PATTI SMITH: Gloria

8. LITTLE RICHARD: The Girl Can’t Help It

9. NEIL DIAMOND: Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show

10. CRAZY ELEPHANT: Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’ 

11. WILSON PICKETT: In The Midnight Hour

12. THE HOLLIES: I Can’t Let Go

13. MELANIE WITH THE EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS: Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)

14. THE ROMANTICS: What I Like About You

15. SAM COOKE: Chain Gang

16. PETULA CLARK: Downtown

17. ARTHUR ALEXANDER: Soldier Of Love

18. TRANSLATOR: Everywhere That I’m Not

19. LESLEY GORE: You Don’t Own Me

20. THE SHANGRI-LAS: Leader Of The Pack

21. THE SHIRELLES: Will You Love Me Tomorrow

22. THE RAMONES: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

23. AMY RIGBY: Dancing With Joey Ramone

24. PINK FLOYD: Wish You Were Here

25. GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS: Midnight Train To Georgia

26.THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR: I Fought The Law

27. MERLE HAGGARD: Mama Tried

28. THE TEMPTATIONS: Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone

29. BUDDY HOLLY: Peggy Sue/Everyday

30. ROBERTA FLACK: Killing Me Softly With His Song

31. JOHNNY NASH: I Can See Clearly Now

32. ELTON JOHN: Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

33. SUZI QUATRO: I May Be Too Young

34. ALICE COOPER: School’s Out

35. THE RARE BREED/THE OHIO EXPRESS: Beg, Borrow And Steal

36. ARTHUR CONLEY: Sweet Soul Music

37. OTIS REDDING: (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay

38. ARETHA FRANKLIN: Respect

39. THE MONKEES: The Girl I Knew Somewhere

40. THE MONKEES: Porpoise Song (Theme From Head)

41. PRINCE: When You Were Mine

42. THE 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS: You’re Gonna Miss Me

43. THE ROLLING STONES: Get Off Of My Cloud

44. PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS: Just Like Me

45. BOB DYLAN: Like A Rolling Stone

46. THE KINGSMEN: Louie, Louie

47. BARON DAEMON AND THE VAMPIRES: The Transylvania Twist

48. THE MARVELETTES: I’ll Keep Holding On

49. THE WHO: I Can’t Explain

50. TODD RUNDGREN: Couldn’t I Just Tell You

51. SHOES: Tomorrow Night

52. THE FLASHCUBES: No Promise

53. TELEVISION: Elevation

54. DONNA SUMMER: I Feel Love

55. SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES: The Tears Of A Clown

56. JUDAS PRIEST: Heading Out To The Highway

57. THE DIXIE CUPS: Iko Iko

58. THE NEW YORK DOLLS: Personality Crisis

59. MILLIE SMALL: My Boy Lollipop

60. THE EASYBEATS: Friday On My Mind

61. IKE AND TINA TURNER: River Deep Mountain High

62. THE RONETTES: Be My Baby

63. RONNIE SPECTOR AND THE E STREET BAND: Say Goodbye To Hollywood

64. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Girls In Their Summer Clothes

65. KISS: Shout It Out Loud

66. THE LEFT BANKE: Walk Away, Renee

67. THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: Rock And Roll Love Letter

68. THE KNICKERBOCKERS: Lies

69. THE WONDERS: That Thing You Do!

70. THE GO-GO’S: We Got The BeatINTERLUDE The Tottenham Sound Of…The Beatles?!

71. THE DAVE CLARK FIVE: Any Way You Want It

72. JAMES BROWN: Please, Please, Please

73. GRAND FUNK: We’re An American Band

74. THE VELVELETTES: He Was Really Sayin’ Somethin’

75. THE FIRST CLASS: Beach Baby

76. THE ISLEY BROTHERS: Summer Breeze

77. THE RUBINOOS: I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

78. THE PANDORAS: It’s About Time

79. THE MUFFS: Saying Goodbye

80. BIG STAR: September Gurls

81. PAUL COLLINS/THE BREAKAWAYS: Walking Out On Love

82. LINDA RONSTADT: You’re No Good

83. P. P. ARNOLD: The First Cut Is The Deepest

84. THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: All For Swinging You Around

85. THE DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET: Take FiveENTR’ACTE THE BEATLES: Yesterday

86. THE BEATLES: Revolution

87. YOKO ONO: Kiss Kiss Kiss

88. THE MC5: Kick Out The Jams

89. THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS: Time Has Come Today

90. MARVIN GAYE: I Heard It Through The Grapevine

91. SAMMY AMBROSE: This Diamond Ring

92. THE MYNAH BIRDS: I Got You (In My Soul)

93. RICK JAMES: Super Freak

94. BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY: Piece Of My Heart

95. THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES: Shake Some Action

96. THE DANDY WARHOLS: We Used To Be Friends

97. THE CARPENTERS: Only Yesterday

98. MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress

99. THE 5TH DIMENSION: Medley: Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In (The Flesh Failures)

100. THE JACKSON FIVE: I’ll Be There

101. SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE: Everybody Is A Star

102. LOVE: 7 And 7 Is

103. THE BANGLES: Live

104. THE SEARCHERS: Hearts In Her Eyes

105. THE FLIRTATIONS: Nothing But A Heartache

106. THE SPINNERS: I’ll Be Around

107. TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS: American Girl

108. THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY: I Woke Up In Love This Morning

109. EDDIE COCHRAN: Somethin’ Else

110. DAVID RUFFIN: I Want You Back

111. LED ZEPPELIN: Communication Breakdown

112. FREDDIE AND THE DREAMERS: Do The Freddie

113. THE BANDWAGON: Breakin’ Down The Walls Of Heartache

114. HEADGIRL/MÖTOR HEADGIRL SCHOOL: Please Don’t Touch

115. DON HENLEY: The Boys Of Summer

116. THE CLASH: Train In Vain (Stand By Me)

117. BEN E. KING: Stand By Me

118. GENE PITNEY: Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa

119. RUFUS: Tell Me Something Good  

120. THE SPONGETONES: (My Girl) Maryanne

121. THE TRAMMPS: Disco Inferno

122. HAROLD MELVIN AND THE BLUE NOTES: Don’t Leave Me This Way

123. GRANDMASTER AND MELLE MEL: White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)

124. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: I’ll Be Your Mirror

125. DEL SHANNON: Runaway

126. THE EVERLY BROTHERS: Gone, Gone, Gone

127. THE COCKTAIL SLIPPERS: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

128. SAM AND DAVE: Soul Man

129. T. REX: 20th Century Boy

130. HEART: Kick It Out

131. THE RUNAWAYS: Cherry Bomb

132. AMERICA: Sister Golden Hair

133. THE KINKS: Waterloo Sunset

134. THE KINKS: You Really Got Me

135. HOLLY GOLIGHTLY: Time Will Tell

136. THE SMITHEREENS: Behind The Wall Of Sleep

137. THE COWSILLS: She Said To Me

138. ELVIS COSTELLO AND THE ATTRACTIONS: (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?

139. THE FOUR TOPS: Reach Out I’ll Be ThereINTERLUDE Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll

140. THE BOB SEGER SYSTEM: 2 + 2 = ?

141. THE JIVE FIVE: What Time Is It?

142. LULU: To Sir, With Love [Museum Outings Montage]

143. FREDA PAYNE: Band Of Gold

144. THE CONTOURS: Do You Love Me

145. WHAM!: Freedom

146. THE COOKIES: Wounded

147. THE SUPREMES: You Keep Me Hangin’ On

 148. THE BEACH BOYS: God Only Knows

149. JOAN ARMATRADING: Me Myself I

150. THE SELECTER: On My Radio

151. TRACEY ULLMAN: They Don’t Know

152. MANNIX: Highway Lines

153. THE DRIFTERS: On Broadway

154. FIRST AID KIT: America

155. THE FIVE STAIRSTEPS: O-o-h Child

156. SOLOMON BURKE: Everybody Needs Somebody To Love

157. THE JAM: That’s Entertainment

158. THE COASTERS: Yakety Yak

159. CHEAP TRICK: Surrender

160. TEGAN AND SARA: Walking With A Ghost

161. DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars?

162. THE O’JAYS: Put Your Hands Together

163. THE GRATEFUL DEAD: Uncle John’s Band

164. RITA MORENO, GEORGE CHAKIRIS, SHARKS & GIRLS: America

165. EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS: Do Anything You Wanna Do

166. JOAN JETT: Bad Reputation

167. STEVIE WONDER: I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)

168. MARYKATE O’NEIL: I’m Ready For My Luck To Turn Around

169. EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year’s Gonna Be Our Year

170. THE JAYHAWKS: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

An Infinite Number

INTERLUDE Underrating The Beatles

ENCORE! THE BEATLES: Rain

ENCORE!! THE T-BONES: No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)

Cruisin’ Music

CODA THE RAMONES: Blitzkrieg Bop

AFTERWORD


Repeating the disclaimer
: These selections are not ranked in any way, and this is most definitely NOT intended as an inclusive list of the all-time best songs. There are an infinite number of worthy prospects; these are the one I choose to write about in The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Voume 1).

At this writing, the book is only two chapters shy of a complete first draft. The completed chapters total just under 153,000 words, though that tally may shrink once I start revising the text. It is certainly possible that I will make further changes to the Table of Contents, but this is getting closer and closer to the final line-up.

I hope to complete those two remaining chapters in short order. Then, I’ll finally get to the revision process, tightening the prose and reducing redundancies. Somewhere in there, I’ve gotta start looking for an agent.

I have a different book due out by the end of 2022, but the principal work for that one is already done. Which means it’s finally time for The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1)
Wish me luck.

TIP THE BLOGGER: CC’s Tip Jar!

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Hey! If you buy from Amazon, consider making your purchases through links at Pop-A-Looza. A portion of your purchase there will go to support Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do). Thinking Amazon? Think Pop-A-Looza.

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 http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

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

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl.

Categories
Boppin'

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HIT (B-Side Appreciation): Take It Or Leave It

By Carl Cafarelli

Before mp3, CD, and cassette singles, a hit record was always a 45. The A-Side had the hit. The B-Side? Sometimes it was a throwaway. Sometimes it was something more.

THE BARBARIANS: “Take It Or Leave It”
Laurie, 1965; A-SIDE: “Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl”

A rock ‘n’ roll paradox, impossible but true: a vulnerable swagger.

When one discusses ’60s garage or punk or vintage grungy nom du jour, one tends to focus on the surlier aspects. We don’t think of The SonicsThe Chocolate Watchband,or The 13th Floor Elevators as particularly tender souls. But there are certainly flashes and hints of a more fragile emotion within, say, “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” by The Standells, and there are garage pop masterpieces like “It’s Cold Outside” by The Choir and “I Wonder” by The Gants. None combine pride and pathos with quite the effective passion of “Take It Or Leave It” by The Barbarians.

The Barbarians were a quartet from Cape Cod: guitarists Bruce Benson and Jeff Morris, bassist Jerry Causi, and drummer Victor Moulton, aka Moulty. Moulty had lost his left hand in an accident when he was 14, and his hook-handed percussion style served to emphasize The Barbarians’ badass image. In 1964, The Barbarians played in The TAMI Show–my choice for the greatest rock ‘n’ roll concert film ever made–alongside the likes of Chuck BerryJames BrownThe Rolling StonesThe Beach BoysThe MiraclesThe SupremesMarvin GayeLesley GoreGerry & the PacemakersJan & Dean, and Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas. Within that stellar line-up, maybe the members of The Barbarians asked themselves the same rhetorical question much later asked by guitarist Lenny Haise of The Wonders in the 1996 movie That Thing You Do!How did we get here…?!

Or maybe The Barbarians didn’t ask that question. They were punks, after all. ’60s punks, sure, but punks nonetheless.

The Barbarians never had any really big hit records. Their debut single “Hey Little Bird,” which they performed on The TAMI Show, was a Stonesy slice of lasciviousness that did not dent the pop charts. Second single “Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl” was their closest brush with success at radio and retail, a triumphantly sneering little number about not being able to tell the boys from the girls:

You’re either a girl or you come from Liverpool
(Yeah, Liverpool!)
You may look like a female monkey but you swim like a stone
(Yeah, a rolling stone!)
You may be a boy, but
HEY!
You look like a girl

That was good enough for # 55 in Billboard, and it was far and away the biggest seller The Barbarians ever had. It’s rightly considered one of the defining classics of ’60s garage punk.

And I like its B-side even better.

It’s difficult to articulate the why of that. “Take It Or Leave It” (which is not the Rolling Stones tune with the same title) maybe isn’t all that distinctive as a song or as a performance. It’s a simple lament over a “Louie Louie”-inspired riff, a would-be lover’s last stand, as the singer pleads with the girl of his dreams to ditch her loser (but presumably moneyed) boyfriend and find true romantic happiness with a Barbarian instead. On “Take It Or Leave It,” the punk sheds his pride and begs:

Baby
I want you (I want you)
Whoa, baby
I need you (I need you)
I can’t stand this feeling of being alone
Got little to offer
But you got all that I own…
…Baby
I ask you (I ask you)
Baby
Is it right? (Is it right?)
To laugh with me all day
And cry with him all night?
I’m promising you
A love guaranteed true
Life
Love
Everything
Heart
Soul
Diamond ring
Whoa, take it or leave it
Take it or leave it
LISTEN TO ME!
Take it or leave it
(Take it! Take it! Take it! Take it!)
Take it or leave it

Okay, I guess he tries to grab back a bit of his pride with those last lines. But man, this guy has it bad for this chick, all but screaming in sheer desperation for the elusive validation of her love. Most of us have been there, or some approximation of there, regardless of gender. There’s that one guy or gal who means everything, but just can’t see what he or she means to you. If the situation isn’t quite universal, it’s pretty damned close.

My experience with this track was on a 45, playing loud and distorted the way a rock ‘n’ roll record oughtta. Subsequent reissues were namby-pamby by comparison, though a Barbarians CD compilation from the Sundazed label captures it pretty well. But that 45? It ached and pounded with passion unrequited. Even among the discerning few ’60s garage enthusiasts hip to The Barbarians, most would likely prefer the protopunk snarl of “Hey Little Bird” and “Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl,” with an honorable mention for “Moulty,” the drummer’s musical story of persevering through the loss of his hand, a track immortalized by its inclusion on Lenny Kaye‘s seminal ’60s garage punk compilation Nuggets. I dig all of that, too. Still, my go-to Barbarians track remains “Take It Or Leave It,” a B-side that aspires to greatness, an all-or-nothing garage ballad that takes a leap for love’s brass ring with near-suicidal determination. Life. Love. Everything. Take it or leave it.

“Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl” (D.Morris-R. Morris)
“Take It Or Leave It” (D. Morris-C. Clark)

TIP THE BLOGGER: CC’s Tip Jar!

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 
Our new compilation CD This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin’ pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins’ BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. A digital download version (minus The Smithereens’ track) is also available from Futureman Records.

JUKEBOX EXPRESS: An imaginary soundtrack for a film that never existed

Jukebox Express is an imaginary 1958 rock ‘n’ roll movie, something that exists only in my mind. I created Jukebox Express for this blog in 2018, born of a notion to concoct a jukebox flick made entirely by preexisting fictional characters. The made-up individuals who made Jukebox Express–the producer, the director, the writers, the stars, the musical acts, even the guy writing the look back at this movie that never was–are drawn from many different pop culture properties, including Gilligan’s IslandThat Thing You Do!The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselMarvel ComicsHappy DaysSingin’ In The RainRoom ServiceI Love LucyThe MonkeesBatman: The Animated SeriesMy Favorite YearEllery QueenKing CreoleAnimal HouseBack To The FutureThe Girl Can’t Help ItWKRP In CincinnatiBye Bye BirdieThe Andy Griffith ShowKing Kong, and more. You can read the Jukebox Express piece here, and see a guide to its make-believe players here.

But…man! I forgot to do a Jukebox Express album. So I’ve remedied that oversight. Here ’tis:

JUKEBOX EXPRESS Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Produced by HOWARD STARK with TONY MILLER

Howard Stark Records, 1958

SIDE ONE:

1. LEATHER TUSCADERO: Jukebox Express

2. OTIS DAY AND THE KNIGHTS: Shake And Shout

3. RICKY RICARDO: Babalu

4. KATHY SELDEN AND CHRISTINE MARLOWE: Jukebox Rumba

5. LEATHER TUSCADERO AND CONRAD BIRDIE (with BOBBY FLEET AND HIS BAND WITH A BEAT): Fever

6. DANNY FISHER: Jukebox Rock

7. LEATHER TUSCADERO: Devil Gate Drive 


SIDE TWO:

1. LEATHER TUSCADERO WITH OTIS DAY AND THE KNIGHTS: All Aboard

2. BOBBY FLEET AND HIS BAND WITH A BEAT: The Train Kept A-Rollin’

3. CONRAD BIRDIE: Honestly Sincere

4. GINGER GRANT: Someday He’ll Notice Me

5. LEATHER TUSCADERO WITH OTIS DAY AND THE KNIGHTS: You Could Be My Baby

6. LEATHER TUSCADERO AND GINGER GRANT: More Kisses For You And For Me

7. LEATHER TUSCADERO: Nothing Stops This Train

At fourteen tracks, this is probably a little bit long for a 1950s beat music soundtrack LP, but if we’re suspending disbelief anyway, I say what the hell. I still left out a couple of artists established to have appeared in this imaginary movie, specifically the Cry-Baby Combo and producer-inventor Howard Stark‘s favorites Sven Helmstrom and his Rhythm Kings. One presumes a 21st-century expanded reissue of the album would have added those as bonus tracks, along with more soundtrack delights by the movie’s star Leather Tuscadero and more hot performances by Otis Day and the Knights. Maybe something by Shy Baldwin, too.

While the album is almost entirely fabricated, three of its tracks do exist in our mundane real world. Suzi Quatro, in character as rocker Leather Tuscadero, lip-synced her own 1974 number “Devil Gate Drive” on an episode of Happy Days; that’s the sort of anachronism I’d prefer to avoid in a period-specific fancy like Jukebox Express, but it’s also established canon for the character–i.e., we’ve seen that this character sang this song at Arnold’s Drive-In in 1950s Milwaukee–so it’s fair game. Shag haircut notwithstanding. As Ricky RicardoDesi Arnaz sang “Babalu” on I Love Lucy, and Broadway cast and motion picture soundtrack albums of Bye Bye Birdie give us Conrad Birdie singing “Honestly Sincere.”
Otherwise, this soundtrack album imagines tracks that could have been made for the movie. “Fever” and “The Train Kept A-Rollin'” are covers of real-world ’50s songs, and the rest are my inventions. “All Aboard” is not the Chuck Berry song of the same name, but woulda been if ol’ Chuck had written it in ’58 rather than ’63. Ginger Grant‘s “Someday He’ll Notice Me” shows the film’s heroine Kirby Lee pining for the clueless mail lead Archibald Toby (played by Troy Chesterfield), while the Leather-Otis Day collaboration “You Could Be My Baby” and the Leather-Ginger duet “More Kisses For You And For Me” imply an interracial rendezvous and a girl-girl (or girl-boy-girl) relationship, respectively. 

Again, Jukebox Express does not exist, has never existed, and could never exist. But I wish it did. I want to see this movie. And now, I wanna hear its soundtrack.
But, in the words of Mama Mamammia (played by Sophie Lennon) and Kirby Lee: That’s rock ‘n’ roll. And that’s the end.

TIP THE BLOGGER: CC’s Tip Jar!

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Hey! If you buy from Amazon, consider making your purchases through links at Pop-A-Looza. A portion of your purchase there will go to support Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do). Thinking Amazon? Think Pop-A-Looza.

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 http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

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

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl.

Categories
Boppin'

FAKE BANDS! Professional (and also amateur) Liar Creates Rock ‘n’ Roll Groups

For someone who can’t sing, write songs, produce records, or play any instruments, I’ve created a fair number of musical acts. I’m not talking about fantasy air guitar combos–though I have a bunch of those, too–but fictional musicians I’ve used or intended to use in stuff I write. Yeah, I’m a regular Raybert (and only Monkees fans will get that reference). Here are a few of the musicmakers I’ve created: 

GUITARS VS. RAYGUNS

After decades of nonfiction freelancing, my first fiction sale was my short story “Guitars Vs. Rayguns,” purchased and published by the good folks at AHOY Comics. The story namechecks a number of real-life acts, from Chuck Berry to the Ramones, but the planet-hopping group at the center of it all is never identified. Well, folks, they call themselves Guitars Vs. Rayguns. Obviously. This was intended as a one-off story, until an AHOY fan wrote a letter to the editor wishing for more. So, I’m working on it. I’ve had no discussions with AHOY about this yet, and I may never get around to writing it. Keep watching the skies.

COPPER 

Other than (presumed) shared reference points, my character of Copper has nothing to do with this Jaime Hernandez illustration from the great Love And Rockets comics.

Copper is a 17-year-old punk bassist in the mid 1980s, and she’s the star of my most recent short story sale, “Chaos At The Copperhead Club.”  That story has been purchased but not yet published by AHOY, and is in the same shared continuity as my previous stories “The Last Ride Of The Copperhead Kid,” “The Copperhead Strikes!,” and “The Copperhead Affair.” Copper’s band is not named in the story, so let’s name ’em now: please welcome to the stage Copper and the Pit Vipers!

THE DUST BUNNYS

Fabricated power pop group the Dust Bunnys kicked bassist Jenny Woo out of the band–and through the window of a high-rise building–at the start of Eternity Man!, my proposed rock ‘n’ roll time travel superhero novel. Don’t worry! She’s one of the stars of the novel, so it’s no spoiler to say that she’s immediately saved by Eternity Man himself. I wrote the first five chapters of Eternity Man! before setting it aside. It’s not necessarily abandoned, as I often sketch out ideas, leave them alone, and then return to them weeks, months, or years later. Hell, Eternity Man!‘s fourth chapter includes my first public mention of the Copperhead Kid, long before I wrote and sold “The Last Ride Of The Copperhead Kid.” Some ideas have an expiration date; some do not.

In that first chapter of Eternity Man!, our Jenny mentions previous stints in some other fictional combos: Elegant Cream Vehiclethe Lemming PipersAttica’s Finch, and Warriors of Romance. A friend of mine came up with the name “Elegant Cream Vehicle,” and I came up with the others. 

Elegant Cream Vehicle and Daddy’s Soul Donut (a name also suggested by a friend, taken from an episode of The Simpsons) turned up (alongside Archie’s Band, who were from  Queens, not Riverdale) in this trifle. And Warriors of Romance well predate Eternity Man! What was the action-packed, pulse-pounding origin of Warriors of Romance? Face Front, True Believer:

WARRIORS OF ROMANCE

In the ’80s, when I was scrambling to try to write professionally, one of my many, many stillborn concepts was Marvel Girl, intended as a new character with a familiar name. Marvel Comics‘ original Marvel Girl had been Jean Grey, a founding member of the uncanny X-Men; Jean had been upgraded to a new identity as Phoenix, so I figured Marvel might need a new Marvel Girl to retain its trademark. Helpful? That’s me! I also tried to concoct a new Supergirl for DC Comics for the same reason. Neither notion even got as far as a draft proposal, both existing only as figures in my sketch book.

Marvel Girl would have been Debbie McCullagh, aka Debbie Mack, drummer for a struggling psychedelic group called (you guessed it) Warriors of Romance. Memory suggests I intended her to have Superman level powers, but with the powers only manifesting either as needed or sporadically (a notion possibly inspired by the Hulk or the original SHAZAM!-shouting Captain Marvel). The idea was not thought through, and was never executed. ‘Nuff said.

WILLINGTON BLUE, SKIP KELLER

Willington Blue and Skip Keller were characters in my unsold short story “Home Of The Hits” (formerly “Hitcore”). I had high hopes for this one, and I was surprised that it was rejected. The story references a previous group that included auteur Blue, and songwriter/record label contractor Keller is mentioned as having been in a boy band, but neither act is named.  

THE SHAMBLES

Yeah, I’m aware that there is a terrific real-life recording act called the Shambles, but I hope Bart Mendoza will forgive me for coming up with the same name independently in 1979. My set o’ Shambles was concocted for a lackluster entry in the journal I kept for a college class called Fantasy And Science Fiction. It was terrible. The actual Shambles are much, much better.

BEN ARNOLD AND THE TURNCOATS

Aw, this one never had any chance in hell of happening, but I wish it did. Ben Arnold and the Turncoats were the mid ’60s American rock ‘n’ roll group at the heart of The Beat And The Sting, my idea for a comic book mini-series based on the 1966 TV version of The Green Hornet. I particularly like Kato‘s line that the Turncoats’ hit “You Won’t Get Me” is derivative of the Kinks, and Britt Reid‘s preference for being more of an Al Hirt man. I posted a blurb for the idea, and the first few script pages, but it doesn’t make sense for me to continue it as fanfic. Another challenge for the Green Hornet? Sadly, not this time.

AND THE REST!

Those are the ones I’ve used in…something. There are others attached to projects too embryonic to discuss here: the Frantiksthe Ragtagsthe Limey FruitsButterscotch Peacemongersthe Terry Legendthe Broken ThingsRock Lobster, and Bright Lights. Those all require more rehearsal and woodshedding before they hit the stage. If they ever hit the stage.

And a-one, and a-two…!

TIP THE BLOGGER: CC’s Tip Jar!

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Hey! If you buy from Amazon, consider making your purchases through links at Pop-A-Looza. A portion of your purchase there will go to support Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do). Thinking Amazon? Think Pop-A-Looza.

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 http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

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

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl.