Based upon an earlier piece, this was prepared for inclusion in my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1), but is not part of that book’s current blueprint.

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!

THE NEW YORK DOLLS: “Personality Crisis”

Written by David Johansen and Johnny Thunders

Produced by Todd Rundgren

Single from the album New York Dolls, Mercury Records, 1973
Blame the New York Dolls for KISS. Blame the New York Dolls for the Ramonesthe Sex Pistols, and all of ’70s punk and whatever it lead to. I guess we should blame the Dolls for ’80s hair metal, and probably for Guns N’ Roses, too. The New York Dolls bear at least a share of the responsibility for all of that.

God bless ’em. Maybe not for the hair metal, nor really for Guns N’ Roses, and one’s mileage may vary in the subject of KISS. But the Ramones? Pistols? Punk itself? Oh yeah. God bless the New York Dolls.

I was in middle school and high school when the Dolls existed in the early to mid ’70s, and they completely escaped my notice. I doubt they ever got any AM radio spins in Syracuse. I’ve read that the group played at The Lost Horizon sometime during this span, so maybe there was a local FM station playing with Dolls, but if so, I missed it. I never even heard of the New York Dolls; I didn’t hear ’em on the radio, didn’t see ’em on TV when they appeared on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, didn’t read ’em about in the few rock mags I perused prior to their combustion and implosion in 1975. All of that would come later for me.

The first time I remember seeing the name “New York Dolls” was in the tabloid pages of Phonograph Record Magazine in 1977. No. Even as I type that, a sudden memory warns me away. The Dolls were referenced (in derogatory terms) in a rock history book that I read some time before that; the book’s snooty British writers dissed the Dolls in no uncertain terms, with no less an authority than Mick Jagger hisself stating that the New York Dolls were like Stones contemporaries the Pretty Things, only prettier. I’m grateful to that largely-forgotten book for stoking my nascent interest in the Kinks, but still resentful with how casually its myopic pundits slagged the Dolls and the Monkees.

The take on the Dolls in Phonograph Record Magazine wasn’t necessarily positive either; a report on the New York scene mentioned Big Apple advocates and scenesters who “still think they were right about the New York Dolls.” “Right?” Wait. What..?! But there was also an underlying sense that at least some of PRM‘s scribes had some affection for these gaudy, glittery enigmas. 

Meanwhile, back in the suburbs, I wondered: who the heck were these New York Dolls?

I was the last of my siblings still living at home. For Christmas of ’77, it was decided that my parents and I would travel to see each of the robins who’d already left the nest. That meant visits to Albany, Nashville, and Cleveland. In Nashville, a stop at a J.C. Penney store revealed an LP cutout bin that included the New York Dolls’ eponymous 1973 debut.

It seems unlikely that I’d never seen a Dolls album before. Surely there’d been one in the racks at Gerber Music or Camelot or Cleveland’s Record Revolution during the many, many times I’d rummaged through, seeking sounds. But if so, I’d never payed it any mind. The New York Dolls weren’t on my radar until punk put them on my radar. I stared at the record in Nashville. Something like three bucks, maybe three-fifty, maybe. I turned it over and back over, examining the graphics of this strange group in their makeup and mascara, uncertain….

And I put the record back on the shelf. On to Cleveland!

It didn’t take long for me to regret that choice. I’m not sure why I hesitated, nor why I opted out. I guess, after all I’d read, I was still unsure if I’d care for the Dolls. In that moment, I was unwilling to take the chance, even at a discount. But yeah, regret came soon thereafter. I still hadn’t heard the New York Dolls, and I’d just blown my chance to hear ’em at a lower price.

Meanwhile, the Dolls’ mystique grew in my mind. Now, I read about them in Rock Scene, I learned a greater appreciation of their influence on the punk rock I loved, and I cringed the next time I saw a Dolls album available for sale: a 2-LP import set, priced outta reach like a 2-LP import set should be. Oh, the humanity…!

In January of 1978, I saw the Flashcubes for the first time. I saw the ‘Cubes as many times as I could, whenever I was back home during school breaks. The Flashcubes had great original songs, great energy, and great taste in covers. Via the Flashcubes, I heard my first New York Dolls song: “Personality Crisis.”

I recognized the title from Rock Scene. Awrighty. The Flashcubes proved to me that “Personality Crisis” was magnificent, and I further kicked myself for my folly in Nashville.

It would still be almost another year yet before I’d finally hear the Dolls themselves, courtesy of a compilation album that included “Personality Crisis” and “Who Are The Mystery Girls” by the mother-lovin’ New York Dolls. 

In July of ’79, the Flashcubes opened for former Dolls frontman David Johansen at The Slide-Inn in Syracuse. I’d heard a bit of Johansen’s eponymous solo album, and was blown away by his live set. Before that show, I’d tried to describe the New York Dolls to a friend who hadn’t heard them, and I settled on saying the Dolls were a cross between KISS and the Sex Pistols. Inaccurate, I guess, but best I could do at the time. Johansen included a trio of Dolls favorites in his setlist: “Babylon,” “Personality Crisis,” and Bo Diddley‘s “Pills.” And we saw that it was good.

“Personality Crisis” remains the New York Dolls’ signature tune. It’s trashy and messy, a puff of smeared mascara and loud guitars, a six-string catfight on high heels and just plain high, Eddie Cochran with lipstick, the British Invasion in fishnets, the Pretty Things, only prettier. Jerry Nolan pounds, Killer Kane plonks, Sylvain Sylvain plugs in and plays, while David Johansen preens and pouts, a prima ballerina on a spring afternoon. And guitarist Johnny Thunders? God knows where his head was or what it was doing–one suspects he may not have known where his head was or what it was doing–but the result is riveting, out-of-body, a noise that couldn’t possibly have been made anywhere amidst the green or gravel of this lonely planet, boy. It’s almost a parody of the strut of ’70s rock, but it’s either too self-aware to be accidental or too oblivious to be premeditated. In truth, it is both. Lookin’ fine on television! A personality crisis indeed.

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 You can read about our history here.

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl


This previously appeared as an entry in my 10 Songs series, and was briefly scheduled to become a part of my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). It is not included in that book’s current plan.

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!

JUDAS PRIEST: Heading Out To The Highway

Written by Rob Halford, K. K. Downing, and Glenn Tipton

Produced by Tom Allom

Single from the album Point Of Entry, Columbia Records, 1981I’m not really a metal guy. But there have been a few fist-shakin’, head-bangin’ truncheonfests that I have found to be agreeably bludgeoning, albeit all of them on the pop side. I love Twisted Sister‘s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” without any hint of guilt or apology. I enjoy some Def Leppard, a little bit of Black Sabbath, and–maybe stretching the parameters–some Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, plus the light hair-metal of “We Stand Alone” by Killer Dwarfs. And Motörhead. And KISS! I mean, if you wanna count KISS as metal, I guess.

And Judas Priest?

There was something about the Priest that made me unable to take them seriously…which would be okay if they didn’t seem so hell-bent-for-leather intent on being taken seriously. I very much liked the first Judas Priest track I ever heard, which was their gloriously unsubtle take on the Joan Baez folk chestnut “Diamonds And Rust.” After that, though, I thought “Breaking The Law” was tiresome, and its video really made Judas Priest look dumb beyond redemption. CREEM magazine started to make fun of them, and I went right along with that spirit of derision and dismissal.

But…”Heading Out To The Highway.” GodDAMN I loved that from its first bombastic chug and squeal, and in the present day it still inspires turn-it-UP volume and a defiantly paradoxical mix of sneering and grinning when it plays in my car. 

Especially if I happen to be heading out to the highway. LOUDER! LOUDER!!! 

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 You can read about our history here.

VIRTUAL TICKET STUB GALLERY Snapshots: Opening Acts, Part 1

Virtual Ticket Sub Gallery is my ongoing series of concert memories, detailing my recollections of specific rock ‘n’ roll shows I’ve seen, and all of my attendant memories of the artists, their careers, my (presumably) relevant circumstances, and what it all meant to me.

Today’s post is a sidebar to Virtual Ticket Stub Gallery, briefly discussing a few of the opening acts I saw at these shows. Some of them have already been covered in previous posts, some will still be covered in future posts, and some I may never really see a reason to mention further. I wasn’t usually at the venue to see them, after all. But sometimes their presence enhanced the evening.

I’ll return to this subject of opening acts in future post. This will not be a comprehensive list of opening acts I’ve seen…!


My first concert was KISS with Uriah Heep at the Onondaga County War Memorial on December 16th, 1976. My friend Dave Murray (author of House Training Your VCR) was also there, but it was a big crowd, so we didn’t actually meet for another twenty-four years. (We met the week Stevie Ray Vaughn died in a plane crash; the first thing he ever said to me was, “Man, shame about Stevie Ray Vaughn,” prompting me to reply, “That’s what he gets for booking a flight on La Bamba Airlines.”) Dave recalls Uriah Heep’s 1976 opening set as interminable. It’s not like he was much of a KISS fan to begin with, so he wasn’t chompin’ at the bit waitin’ for these British bludgeonmeisters to get off stage awready and make room for the main attraction; he just thought they were boring. He was probably right, but I felt compelled to air-bludgeon along with them. They were technically my first live rock band experience, unless you count the teen band that played “House Of The Rising Sun” at a middle school assembly when I was 12. But, um…when does KISS start?


Pfui. The Winters Brothers Band opened for the equally pfui-worthy Charlie Daniels Band on October 1st, 1977 at Brockport my freshman year in college. Matters weren’t helped by my initial (mistaken) belief that these Winters brothers would be Johnny Winters and Edgar Winters rather than a Southern rock combo, but that was nobody’s fault but mine. I think I won a ticket from campus radio station WBSU, so at least this didn’t cost me anything more than the wasted time I will never recover. I’m sure both bands were fine for those who like this stuff, but I’ve developed such an antipathy for Southern rock that the pfuis fly freely. I confess that I was a big fan of Charlie Daniels’ “Uneasy Rider” as a thirteen-year-old in ’73, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still trying to figure a way to expunge this show from my Virtual Ticket Stub Gallery permanent record.


I felt like the only one in Brockport who hated Charlie Daniels. By contrast, I also felt like the only one in Brockport who liked Willie Alexander & the Boom Boom Band when they opened for Elvis Costello & the Attractions in the Student Union ballroom in February of 1978. Even my companions hated Alexander, dismissing him as a bad copy of Lou Reed. Me? I was just grateful to hear live music that wasn’t Charlie freakin’ Daniels. And I adored the Boom Boom Band’s heavy (but cool!) cover of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.”


One of my all-time favorite groups, but you knew that already. They shouldn’t be here, but I sure did see them put on some terrific opening sets for a lot of other acts. I had already seen the ‘Cubes a couple of times before they opened for The Ramones and The Runaways during Easter break in ’78, but that show remains a vibrant, indelible memory. I saw The Flashcubes open for The Joe Jackson  BandThe FastArtful Dodger, and David Johansen, as well as for The Ramones again, and each time was magic.


British band Charlie opened for The Kinks at Syracuse’s Landmark Theater in May of 1978, and that show should be the subject of a full-length Virtual Ticket Stub Gallery someday. My friend Tom Bushnell liked Charlie, but I was, at best, indifferent to them. This was years before I met my future This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio co-host Dana Bonn, but he was there, and he later quoted something he’d read about Charlie, something to the effect that they couldn’t decide whether they wanted to be Yes or if they wanted to be Cheap Trick. I only remember two of Charlie’s songs. “Watchin’ TV” was a rather pedestrian put-down of American television, almost a more self-satisfied, smirking (and certainly much smoother) cousin of The Clash‘s “I’m So Bored With The USA.” But “She Loves To Be In Love” was a pretty pop tune indeed, and it’s on my iPod, so I must be okay with it. We’ll revisit the subject of The Kinks and Charlie in a future blog post.


I was furious when guitarist Paul Armstrong was dismissed from The Flashcubes in 1979. I stopped going to ‘Cubes shows, and transferred my allegiance to Paul’s new group The Most, which was fronted by his diminutive girlfriend Dian Zain. I loved The Most in all their varying incarnations, each mixing pop and punk and straight-up rock ‘n’ roll; they were kinda like Debbie Harry playing with both The Heartbreakers and the Heartbreakers, as in both Johnny Thunders and Tom Petty. Amends were made eventually, and my devotion to The Flashcubes was restored, but The Most remain an underrated, underappreciated act in the history of Syracuse music. The Most’s live debut was an opening slot for The Records at Stage East in East Syracuse in late summer ’79, and of course I was there.


The Necessaries were a bar band that snagged a gig opening for The Pretenders‘ first US tour in 1980, and I caught the Syracuse show at Uncle Sam’s on Erie Boulevard.  The Necessaries included Ernie Brooks (formerly of The Modern Lovers), but my interest was sparked by the guy who’d recently joined them on guitar: Chris Spedding! I knew Spedding by reputation and second-hand song exposure only; I’d read about his “Pogo Dancing” single with The Vibrators while perusing my cherished tabloid issues of Phonograph Record Magazine back in high school, and both The Flashcubes and The Most had included Spedding covers in some of their live sets. I think I knew that he’d worked with The Sex Pistols, and I may have heard the story of him turning down an opportunity to join The Rolling Stones. I did not know The Wombles. But I was disappointed that The Necessaries didn’t include any of Spedding’s material in their live set. After The Necessaries had finished, but before Chrissie Hynde took the stage to prove just how great her Pretenders were, I spotted Spedding having a drink alone at a table; discarding my usual shyness, I went over to chat with him briefly. I complimented the band’s performance–they had been good, after all–but asked him if they ever did any of his stuff, like “Motorbikin'” or “Boogie City.” “No,” he replied politely, “this band is The Necessaries,” and he stated there was no reason for them to ever do any of his solo material; he was just the guitarist. A missed opportunity, I say, but Spedding was charming and modest. He autographed a flyer for The Dead Ducks (the closest thing I could find for him to sign), and I thanked him. Still wished I coulda heard him do “Boogie City” though.

That’s enough for today. We’ll return eventually, with tales of opening sets by The ReplacementsSheila EExileWang ChungMary Lou Lord, and “Weird” Al Yankovic. Please take your seats. And let’s hear it for our opening acts.

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.

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!


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


75. THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: All For Swinging You Around


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


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)


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



93. THE FLIRTATIONS: Nothing But A Heartache

94. THE SPINNERS: I’ll Be Around

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

97. DAVID RUFFIN: I Want You Back

98. LED ZEPPELIN: Communication Breakdown


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


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


132. THE SELECTER: On My Radio

133. TRACEY ULLMAN: They Don’t Know

134. MANNIX: Highway Lines

135. THE DRIFTERS: On Broadway


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


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

Cruisin’ Music

CODA THE RAMONES: Blitzkrieg Bop


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):



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


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 You can read about our history here.

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl


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 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

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

THE MONKEES: I Never Thought It Peculiar

THE RAMONES: Babysitter


GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS: Midnight Train To Georgia


THE GO-GO’S: Surfing And Spying

WHAM!: Freedom


WILSON PICKETT: In The Midnight Hour


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



MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress


THE MONKEES: The Girl I Knew Somewhere

LOVE: 7 And 7 Is

BIG STAR: September Gurls

DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars?



CRAZY ELEPHANT: Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’


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 RAMONES: I Don’t Want To Grow Up


THE KINKS: Waterloo Sunset

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: Uncle John’s Band

THE SMITHEREENS: Behind The Wall Of Sleep

THE WONDERS: That Thing You Do!


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




THE BEATLES: Thank You, Girl

THE RARE BREED: Beg, Borrow And Steal

THE JAYHAWKS: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me


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

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE: Rockaway Beach (On The Beach)

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

This entry originally appeared as part of a larger post, and is not currently intended for my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1).


Written by Ramones and General Johnson

Produced by Ben Wolff and Andy Dean

Single, Forward Records, 1994

I first heard about this beach-music team-up of Joey Ramone and former Chairmen of the Board singer General Johnson when Joey Ramone called to tell me about in 1994. Yes, I am cooler than you are. (I should probably let that illusion stand in place, but Joey’s call to me was just a follow-up to a Goldmine interview we’d done within the previous week, as he wanted to make sure I was aware of a number of projects he was doing outside the Ramones‘ aegis. He never called again. My claim to being cooler than you are is, y’know, suspect at best.)

But: back to the record! It’s an ongoing testimony to the greatness of Ramones songs that they can thrive in different interpretations. The Swedish girl-pop group Shebang did a girl-pop bubblegum version of “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker.” Ronnie Spector covered “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” and “She Talks To Rainbows.” KISS did “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” with more kitchen-sink Phil Spector than the Spector-produced original. The Nutley Brass and the Ramonetures did entire albums of Ramones covers, in the respective styles of elevator music and surf instrumentals. It all worked. These Blitzkrieg bops remain more versatile and universal than anyone realized at the time.

Remaking the power-pop bubblepunk of “Rockaway Beach” as a soulful slow-groove Carolina beach shag would seem a preposterous notion…until you hear it. Whoa! Grab a blanket, grab your honey, and snuggle by the fire as the sun descends. It’s not hard, not far to reach. Hitch a ride, baby.

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 You can read about our history here.

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl

Pop In A Box

My collection of CD boxed sets is fairly modest, I think. Given my level of pop obsession, and fact that I co-host a weekly radio show (and used to regularly write reviews for publication), you might think I’ve amassed a wall or two (or at least a few shelves’ worth) of compact disc sets housed in pretty, pretty boxes. But no; I own a relative handful, and that supply generally satisfies my boxed set needs.

Looking back, I don’t recall owning vinyl boxed sets; The Motown Story is the only one I remember, and I got rid of that one because its spoken narration ran into and spoiled the intros of many tracks. I think my first CD boxed set was a collection of The Rolling Stones‘ ’60s singles. purchased shortly before my first Stones concert in 1989. The Monkees‘ Listen To The Band was the first boxed set I ever received as a promo when I was freelancing for Goldmine (a gig which also brought me The Clash‘s box Clash On Broadway and the first two Nuggets boxes). 

Bo Diddley‘s The Chess BoxThe Velvet Underground‘s Peel Slowly And See, and the Stax and Motown boxes were all record club purchases, and the Otis Redding set was a Christmas gift from lovely wife Brenda. (Earth, Wind & Fire‘s The Eternal Dance was in turn a Christmas gift I gave to her, but I listen to it, too.)

It’s funny how a simple matter of packaging decides what’s included or excluded from this list. Because they’re housed in jewel cases rather than some kind of box, essential pop resources like Prince‘s three-disc The Hits/The B-Sides, The Monkees’ three-disc Headquarters Sessions, and The Hollies‘ six-disc Clarke, Hicks & Nash Years aren’t considered boxed sets, but the two-disc Bo Diddley is most certainly a box. It even has “box” in its title.

These are the boxed sets I currently own. You’ll note the absence of the above-mentioned Listen To The Band Monkees box, which I sold to a co-worker when I picked up the newer Music Box Monkees collection. 

THE BEACH BOYS: Good Vibrations: Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys
THE BEACH BOYS: The Pet Sounds Sessions
THE BEATLES: The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1
THE BEATLES: The Capitol Albums, Vol. 2
BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD: Buffalo Springfield
THE CLASH: Clash On Broadway
BO DIDDLEY: The Chess Box
EARTH, WIND & FIRE: The Eternal Dance
THE JAM: Direction Reaction Creation
THE KINKS: The Anthology 1964-1971
KISS: Box Set
LED ZEPPELIN: Led Zeppelin
THE MONKEES: The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees
THE MONKEES: Instant Replay
THE MONKEES: The Monkees Present
PHIL OCHS: Farewells & Fantasies
THE RAMONES: Weird Tales Of The Ramones
THE ROLLING STONES: Singles Collection The London Years
VARIOUS: The Beach Music Anthology [incomplete]
VARIOUS: Children Of Nuggets
VARIOUS: The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968
VARIOUS: Hitsville U.S.A.–The Motown Singles Collection 1959-1971
VARIOUS: Nuggets
VARIOUS: One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found
VARIOUS: Where The Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968
THE ZOMBIES: Zombie Heaven

Some of these get taken off the shelf with some frequency, particularly the Nuggets, girl group, Beatles, and Motown boxes. The Led Zeppelin box is rarely touched, but I’m glad to have it. The Zombies box is still listed here, but I actually haven’t been able to find it in months; if it doesn’t turn up soon, I’m gonna have to replace it. I missed out on Rhino Handmade‘s boxes of the first two Monkees albums; even as an obsessive fan, I couldn’t justify the cost of those, not when I already had two-disc editions that satisfied my needs.

I think The Kinks’ box is the most recent addition. I don’t buy boxed sets all that often, so my collection of them remains modest. 

Loud, but modest.


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The Split Squad / Another Cinderella

The Split Squad

Another Cinderella

A bona fide supergroup, The Split Squad stars the indelible talents of Keith Streng (The Fleshtones), Eddie Munoz (The Plimsouls), Clem Burke (Blondie, The Romantics, The Empty Hearts), Michael Giblin (Cherry Twister) and Josh Kantor (The Boston Red Sox). After several years of taking a sabbatical from the studio, the band has returned with fire in their bellies and ants in their pants. The Split Squad are so smoking hot to begin with, but on their new – and second album – Another Cinderella – they sound meaner and keener than ever. 

The engine revs up with Hey DJ, which represents all the tasty traits we love about heritage power pop. Acrobatic and explosive instrumentation, radiant vocals and a punchy swing seal the song. In fact, Another Cinderella is chock-full of such power popping dazzlers. Relentlessly gripping, Trying To Get Back To My Baby races to a sweeping cadence and gleaming melodies, where the title track of the album bristles and bobs with muscle and might, topped by charmingly girly harmonies. And then there’s Sinking Ship, which is anything but, as electrifying guitars, vigorous drumming and seizing hooks snap the high-energy tune firmly into place. A power ballad rather than power pop, As Bright As You Are beams with divine piano work, liquid clear vocals and exquisite string arrangements. 

Ripping a page in the book from both The Beatles and The Who, the stunning Taxicab wheels in as a trippy slice of pop art innovation, and Palpitation Blues is a down and dirty blues number, chugging with gruff vocals, groaning rhythms and hard-hitting harmonica trills rooted along the lines of Beggar’s Banquet-era Rolling Stones. Comparisons to KISS are sure to be drawn on Showstopper, a loud and lively arena-ready rocker formed of clanging chords and a shouting chorus. The grand finale is a reprise of Hey DJ,  that adopts a danceable Motown-styled soul pop stance with brass orchestration added to the setting. 

By combining experience with enthusiasm, The Split Squad conceived the perfect classic pop rock platter. Jammed tight with killer chops, catchy vocals galore and on target timing, Another Cinderella captures the band at the height of their prowess. Here’s to a standing ovation!  

Revealing My Age (One Concert Ticket Stub At A Time)

One of the many datamining exercises on Facebook poses the challenge of dating yourself without naming a year, but just by naming a (presumably old) performer you saw in concert. Now, this sort of datamining won’t work on me anyway. When one of my security questions asks me to name my first concert, I routinely answer [name redacted], a teen girl who threw herself against teen me because my Jerry Lewis impression apparently made me irresistible. 

For dramatic purposes, the role of [name redacted] is played by Stella Stevens

(Those circumstances worked exactly once.)

Where was I? Oh right, old concerts. It seems to me the question’s premise is inherently flawed. I’m in my 60s, and I saw my first concerts when I was a teenager. My Me Decade-era shows include then-contemporary acts the Ramones and the RunawaysElvis Costello and the AttractionsKISS and Uriah Heepthe Charlie Daniels Band999the RecordsJoe JacksonDavid JohansenArtful Dodgerthe Flashcubesthe Fastthe Battered Wives, and classic (but still current) stars the Kinks and Bob Dylan

Of these, only the Runaways tie me specifically to the ’70s, as all of the others remained active into the Reagan Administration and beyond. 

I also saw Herman’s Hermits at a bar in 1978, minus Herm himself Peter Noone, but still the Hermits (and a mighty fine show). I saw the Animals, with all five original members, in the early ’80s. I saw the Everly BrothersBo DiddleyGene PitneyRay Charlesthe Searchers, and more on the oldies circuit in the ’80s and ’90s. I had missed opportunities to see James BrownDizzy GillespieDel Shannon, and Rick Nelson. Listing any of those acts in response to our original question might suggest I was attending rock ‘n’ roll shows in the ’60s, when I was a mere lad and a beardless youth. Fakeout!

On this blog, my Virtual Ticket Stub Gallery includes a 1976 Beatles concert, but that’s not technically, y’know, real. I have seen A Beatle, attended a press conference for another Beatle, and I also saw the Pete Best Band, but no, unlike my friend Pete Kennedy and my brother-in-law Tony Dees, no actual Fab Four on my concert resumé. Though I guess I could make the claim anyway. I’ve seen all four Monkees, too, but in increments of three Monkees at a time.

So the premise is indeed fatally flawed. My daughter saw Cheap Trick. And she was not around in the ’70s or ’80s. I’d remember if she were. Mommy’s all right, Daddy’s all right, we just seem a litle weird. And old. But still rockin’ and rollin’.


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Talk Talk: My Brief Career As A Freelance Interviewer

My thoughts drifted back recently to the worst interview I ever did. I’m not talking about job interviews–I’ve had several less-than-stellar results there–but interviews I conducted for my freelance writing work. The car-wreck status of this particular interview was entirely my fault, and the interviewee bore zero percent responsibility for the ways in which the discussion went south. Frankly, I just wasn’t prepared; it was supposed to be color commentary for something I was writing, it was a subject with which I had some familiarity, so I figured we’d wing it, just chat off the cuff. Big mistake. Without background information, without the wealth of reference material I usually gathered at my fingertips to scan during interviews, without any prepared potential questions to ask, the conversation floundered and failed. It was not my finest hour. My interviewee was game and accommodating, but I’m sure after our fruitless session concluded, an under-the-breath muttering of Well, this Carl guy’s an idiot would not have been inappropriate. A simple and stupid miscalculation on my part, but it still bugs me, decades later, even though I’m the only one who remembers it.

Because I was usually better than that. A lot better than that. I won’t say I was ever a terrific interviewer, but I was more than adequate, and occasionally pretty good at it. More than one interview subject–both Joan Jett and Ben Vaughn spring to mind–complimented my preparedness, and most seemed pleased with the experience and the result. 

Most of my interviews were conducted on behalf of Goldmine, though I did a few for The Syracuse New Times and one each for DISCoveries and Yeah Yeah Yeah. I can’t remember the identity of my first interview subjects; might have been Tom Prendergast and Glenn Morrow of Bar/None Records, which I profiled for a Goldmine record label spotlight in the early ’90s. Although I began freelancing for Goldmine in 1986, and began writing GM feature articles in ’87 (commencing with a retrospective of The Bay City Rollers), my features were research pieces, compiled from previously-published resources and tied together with my attempts at overview and analysis. This was also true of my subsequent features on KISSThe MonkeesThe Ugly DucklingsToni BasilBarry Mann, and–Lord help me–Stars On 45, though I recall interviewing a KISS fan or two to gather background info. I interviewed Cyril Jordan in 1992 for a long history of The Flamin’ Groovies, and he was probably my first musician interview.

So I did a few more: Joan Jett, Ben Vaughn, The RamonesRon DanteJoey LevineGreg KihnGary Frenay and Paul Armstrong of The Flashcubes (for The Syracuse New Times, for whom I also interviewed a few other local musicians, some local radio movers und shakers, even some preschool educators for an ultimately unfinished report on alternative education), Lou Whitney of The SkeletonsMark LindsayLenny KayeDick DoddBarry Tashian, bubblegum producers Kasenetz and KatzRay Paul, bubblegum expert/aficionado Bill Pitzonka, writer Mark EvanierGreg Spencer of Blue Wave Records, and possibly some others I don’t recall in the moment. 

But I grew tired of doing phone interviews; transcribing such things is thankless drudgery, so I decided to discontinue doing them. Most of the interviews for my history of power pop were conducted via email (although those actually predate my Nuggets and bubblegum telephone interviews). Even if I were to ever take on another freelance assignment, I’m unlikely to do any further telephone interviews. It’s just not worth it to me.

Dana and I have done a few interviews on This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, though technical complications at our nearly-Flintstones-level studio basically preclude the viability of phone interviews. Such kerfrazzles swallowed our attempted on-air interview with The Charms‘ lead singer Ellie Vee, who gamely soldiered on through a chat where listeners could hear me but couldn’t pick up anything she said (forcing me to repeat all of her responses for the audience: Ellie says she’s happy to be here on TIRnRR!). It was not a situation designed to inspire confidence in performer or audience.

I really wasn’t a bad interviewer. Other than that one jarring incident of trying to tackle an interview without sufficient prep, I’ve been able to come up with the questions the interview required. In-person interviews are a true rarity, but I’ve done all right when guests have appeared in-studio on TIRnRR. But that one bad interview? It was decades ago, yet I know it’s always going to bother me. I try to hold myself to at least a tiny bit higher standard than that one.


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 FlashcubesChris 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.