THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE: Somethin’ Else

This chapter from my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) previously appeared in different form as part of a longer post. This is how it will appear in the book (IF it’s included in the book’s final draft).

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

EDDIE COCHRAN: Somethin’ Else

Written by Sharon Sheeley and Bob Cochran

Produced by Eddie Cochran

Single, Liberty Records, 1959

Power pop’s point of origin remains a point of contention for many of its fans. Some insist that power pop was a reaction against prevailing musical trends in the ’70s, and therefore nothing recorded before the Beatles‘ 1970 break-up can be called power pop. I don’t agree with that at all. Power pop is a genre, a sound; claiming that sound can’t exist prior to a specific date reduces it to nostalgia, some kind of retro move, and I reject that notion. Power pop existed in the ’60s. Pete Townshend coined the phrase around 1967, and the Who‘s early records embody the power pop ideal. The KinksThe CreationThe Nazz. I think the label also applies to some of the Beatles’ singles, and I pinpoint “Please Please Me” as power pop’s Ground Zero. 

While I still don’t think that the great rockin’ pop stuff from Buddy HollyPhil Spector, or the Beach Boys quite qualifies as power pop–it all strolls amiably, but doesn’t LEAN FORWARD with the urgency I expect from power pop–it’s difficult to dismiss the power pop bona fides of Eddie Cochran. Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” is really close, its stroll balanced by legit power chords and seething teen frustration. (The Who did a fantastic cover of “Summertime Blues” on the Live At Leeds album, and Blue Cheer bludgeoned it into a distinctive proto-metal hit single, but I don’t think either of them topped our Eddie.) The party anthem “C’mon Everybody” is maybe a further half-step removed, but “Nervous Breakdown” and especially “Somethin’ Else” provide concrete evidence of pre-Beatles power pop.

Leaning forward as forward can be, “Somethin’ Else” is simultaneously earnest and horny. Written by Cochran’s girlfriend Sharon Sheeley and his brother Bob Cochran, the song combines joy and frustration seamlessly and winningly, acknowledging that it’s a bummer when you can’t afford a cool car, but concluding (as someone once wrote) that the wheels don’t really matter as long as you get the girl. She’s sure fine-lookin’, man. WOW! She’s somethin’ else! 

No less an avatar of rebellion than Sid Vicious did a surprisingly faithful cover of “Somethin’ Else,” released under the Sex Pistols‘ aegis but recorded after the group had already taken its final holiday in the sun. Sid’s version should have been awful, but it was actually pretty damned good. And it was either his version or a live performance by the Flashcubes that introduced me to the song. 

But Eddie, man. Eddie. He was somethin’ else 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 http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl

CC’s All-Time Hot 100

Egged on my pal Fritz Van Leaven, here is my latest attempt to narrow down and cobble together a list of my all-time 100 favorite tracks. 

The exercise itself reminds me once again that I have way, waaaaay more than just 100 favorite tracks. The overall list of a mere 100 could vary on any given day, and in fact it omits a few tracks that were included in an all-time Top 40 I concocted just a few months ago. Consistency is overrated, though certain core tracks will always remain in my Hot 100. 

This is NOT the same as The Greatest Record Ever Made! With that duly noted, these are a few of my favorite tracks.

CC’s ALL-TIME Hot 100

Updated 6/7/2022

ALL DAY AND ALL OF THE NIGHT The Kinks

ALL FOR SWINGING YOU AROUND The New Pornographers

ALLISON ROAD The Gin Blossoms

ANOTHER SAD AND LONELY NIGHT The Bobby Fuller Four

ANY WAY YOU WANT IT The Dave Clark Five

BABY BLUE Badfinger

BABYSITTER The Ramones

BEG, BORROW AND STEAL The Rare Breed/The Ohio Express

BITTERSWEET The Hoodoo Gurus

BLITZKRIEG BOP The Ramones

CALIFORNIA NIGHTS Lesley Gore

CARBONA NOT GLUE The Ramones

CATCH US IF YOU CAN The Dave Clark Five

COULDN’T I JUST TELL YOU Todd Rundgren

CRYIN’ SHAME The Parties

DA-A-A-ANCE The Lambrettas

DO ANYTHING YOU WANNA DO Eddie and the Hot Rods

DO THE FREDDIE Freddie and the Dreamers

THE DOOR INTO SUMMER The Monkees

EMPTY HANGERS Anny Celsi

EVERYWHERE THAT I’M NOT Translator

THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST P.P. Arnold

FIRST PLANE HOME The Flamin’ Groovies

FIVE O’CLOCK WORLD The Vogues

GIRLS IN THEIR SUMMER CLOTHES Bruce Springsteen

GLAD ALL OVER The Dave Clark Five

GOD ONLY KNOWS The Beach Boys

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN The Sex Pistols

GOING DOWN TO LIVERPOOL The Bangles

A HARD DAY’S NIGHT The Beatles

HEART FULL OF SOUL The Yardbirds

HEARTS IN HER EYES The Searchers

HELP! The Beatles

HIGHWAY LINES Mannix

HIS LAST SUMMER The Barracudas

I CAN’T EXPLAIN The Who

I CAN’T LET GO The Hollies

I DON’T WANT TO GROW UP The Ramones

I DON’T WANT TO SPOIL THE PARTY The Beatles

I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU Dusty Springfield

I TELL NO LIES The Shoutless

I’M GONNA MAKE YOU LOVE ME The Jayhawks

(I’M NOT YOUR) STEPPIN’ STONE The Monkees

IN THE CITY The Jam

IT’S COLD OUTSIDE Stiv Bators

IT’S MY LIFE The Animals

IT’S THE SAME OLD SONG The Four Tops

JOHNNY B. GOODE Chuck Berry

KICKS Paul Revere and the Raiders

KIM THE WAITRESS Material Issue

LAUGH, LAUGH The Beau Brummels

LIES The Knickerbockers

LOVE TO LOVE The Monkees

A MILLION MILES AWAY The Plimsouls

(MY GIRL) MARYANNE The Spongetones

THE NIGHT BEFORE The Beatles

NO PROMISE The Flashcubes

NO REPLY The Beatles

NOTHING REALLY MATTERS WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG Screen Test

ON BROADWAY The Drifters

PERSONALITY CRISIS The New York Dolls

PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY The Monkees

PLEASE PLEASE ME The Beatles

PORPOISE SONG (THEME FROM HEADThe Monkees

PROMISED LAND Chuck Berry

RAIN The Beatles

ROCK AND ROLL LOVE LETTER The Bay City Rollers

SAYING GOODBYE The Muffs

SEPTEMBER GURLS Big Star

SHAKE SOME ACTION The Flamin’ Groovies

SHE SAID SHE SAID The Beatles

SHEENA IS A PUNK ROCKER The Ramones

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD KISS

SOLITARY MAN Neil Diamond

SOUND OF THE RADIO Screen Test

ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE The Cocktail Slippers

SYRACUSE SUMMER The Tearjerkers

THE TEARS OF A CLOWN Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

THANK YOU, GIRL [U.S. Capitol Records mix] The Beatles

THIS DIAMOND RING Sammy Ambrose

THIS YEAR’S GONNA BE OUR YEAR Eytan Mirsky

TIME HAS COME TODAY The Chambers Brothers

TIME WILL TELL Holly Golightly

TIRED OF WAITING FOR YOU The Kinks

TO SIR, WITH LOVE [MUSEUM OUTINGS MONTAGE] Lulu

TOMORROW NIGHT Shoes

THE TRANSYLVANIA TWIST Baron Daemon and the Vampires

TWENTY FOUR HOURS FROM TULSA Gene Pitney

UNCLE JOHN’S BAND The Grateful Dead

VACATION The Go-Go’s

WALK AWAY RENEE The Left Banke

WALK, DON’T RUN The Ventures

WATERLOO SUNSET The Kinks

WE GOT THE BEAT The Go-Go’s

WHAT AM I DOING HANGIN’ ‘ROUND? The Monkees

WHAT TIME IS IT The Jive Five

(WHAT’S SO FUNNY ‘BOUT) PEACE, LOVE & UNDERSTANDING Elvis Costello and the Attractions

WOULDN’T YOU LIKE IT The Bay City Rollers

YOU REALLY GOT ME The Kinks

YOU’RE GONNA MISS ME The 13th Floor Elevators

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

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

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?

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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. 

CLOSING ARGUEMENTS: Neal Adams

It is impossible to overstate the impact of artist Neal Adams on American comic books. Whatever grand impact you want to assign to Adams, you can double that, triple it, and keep going to absurd lengths, and you still won’t be able to give Adams more credit than he deserves. 



There have been many tributes written in the wake of Adams’ passing last week at the age of 80. Writers, fans, associates, and pundits have done a wonderful job of recognizing and celebrating his legacy. There is the legacy of his artwork itself, how he revolutionized the way comic book art can be created and appreciated, and how his visual interpretation of The Batman was essential–absolutely essential–in transitioning the character’s image from camp crusader to dark knight; I mean no disrespect to the 1960s Batman TV series (which was also extremely important to me), but there is no way the public’s perception of Batman gets from Adam West to the pop culture dominance of THE Batman without Neal Adams. I recommend a visit to 13th Dimension for further reading on this subject.

Beyond the artwork, Adams was also a tireless and passionate advocate for the rights of creators. His highest-profile battle for truth, justice, and the American way was his role in publicly shaming the publishers of DC Comics into giving credit and (some) compensation to Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in the ’70s. Adams was not the only one involved in this valiant effort, but his voice was the loudest, and he helped get the job done.

That’s the larger picture of Neal Adams and his work, and I encourage you to bop around the web and read more of his story. That would give you a better understanding of just why the comics world is in mourning now.

But I just want to speak for a minute about my own relationship with this body of work. I became more conscious of Adams in the very early ’70s, when I was ten to fourteen years old. I had seen his work before; I have no recollection of where or when I first saw Adams’ dynamic comic book images, though it was probably in DC Comics house ads in the mid to late ’60s. He drew the covers for my first issues of Action Comics (# 356, cover dated November of 1967) and Adventure Comics (# 368, May 1968), and the cover of Batman # 200 (March ’68) in between those. My first Neal Adams interior work was The Spectre # 3 (February-March 1968), followed later that year by World’s Finest Comics # 175 and The Brave And The Bold # 79.

Adams had been bugging regular Batman and Detective Comics editor Julius Schwartz for a chance to draw Batman, but Schwartz was adamantly not interested. Another DC editor, Murray Boltinoff, was more open to the idea. Adams drew a couple of Batman-Superman team-ups in World’s Finest Comics, and Boltinoff assigned Adams writer Bob Haney‘s script for The Brave And The Bold # 79. This was a team-up of Batman and Deadman, a character Adams was already depicting in the pages of DC’s Strange Adventures.

Don’t worry about those two issues of World’s Finest. They’re like the forgotten singles the Kinks did before “You Really Got Me.” Neal Adams really began drawing Batman in The Brave And The Bold # 79.

This issue, this single issue, was Ground Zero for the return of The Batman, the reclaiming of the character’s long-lost pulp roots. It’s no snub to Haney to say this was entirely because of Neal Adams. Adams knew how Batman–sorry, THE Batman–should look. The dark shadows, the visual sense of noir, weren’t in the script; Adams brought all of that in himself.

As Adams continued to draw a few more issues of B&B, legend has it that Julie Schwartz saw letters from readers wondering why that Batman, the REAL Batman, was only appearing in The Brave And The Bold. Schwartz was known to be stubborn, but he was no dummy. Adams was soon drawing Batman stories for Schwartz, usually with writer Dennis O’Neil, who shared Adams’ preference for Batman as a dark knight. In these stories, the definite article in the character’s name was reclaimed after decades of disuse. We caught our first glimpse of The Batman in Adams’ Brave And Bold stories; the stories done by O’Neil and Adams (and Frank RobbinsIrv NovickDick GiordanoJim Aparo, Bob Haney, and others) made the change official. The Batman. THE Batman. 

THE BATMAN!

Within this time frame, very late ’60s into very early ’70s, Adams also did some incredible work for Marvel Comics, notably with writer Roy Thomas in the pages of X-Men and The Avengers. An artist working for Marvel and DC at the same time was a rarity, and certainly something stodgier minds (especially at DC) discouraged and often prohibited. Neal Adams did not care. He made his own rules, and modeled an approach for other creators to follow and expand. His talent was too great for any publisher to even think about blackballing him. Restrictions? Pfui. He was Neal freakin’ Adams. He didn’t draw outside the lines. He redrew the lines.

The Dennis O’Neil-Neal Adams version of The Batman debuted in Detective Comics # 395 in 1970, but I didn’t see that one until a few years later (in the hardcover collection Batman From The ’30s To The ’70s). After Adams’ Brave And Bold run, I started with “Ghost Of The Killer Skies” in Detective Comics # 404 (October 1970), Adams’ single-issue return to The Brave And Bold (with O’Neil) for # 93’s “Red Water, Crimson Death” (December 1970-January 1971), and the return of Golden Age Batman villain Two-Face in “Half An Evil” (Batman # 234, August 1971). That last one thrilled me no end. I was eleven years old. I still wasn’t following creator credits yet (other than Stan Lee and Jack Kirby). I would start to know the names of the writers and artists very soon.

And, by the summer of ’72, I knew who my favorites were. And I knew exactly who knew how to write and draw The Batman.

1972 gave us The Batman’s serialized battle with Ra’s al Ghul, an adversary created by Adams and O’Neil. At the age of twelve, I thought this was the most epic thing I had ever seen. I’m still not convinced I was wrong about that. Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams were absolute superstars to me. The following year, when they brought back The Joker and returned him to his original murderous characterization in “The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge!” in Batman # 251, I couldn’t stand the anticipation of waiting for the issue to hit the stands. I read it obsessively, over and over. It will always be among my favorite individual comic books.

“Moon Of The Wolf” in Batman # 255 (March-April 1974) was Adams’ final Batman work for DC Comics, at least until many years later. Other paths beckoned. Other writers and artists continued the work, some of them rivaling or even surpassing what O’Neil and Adams had done. But I say none of that subsequent great stuff–hell, The Batman himself!–none of it would have happened if not for Neal Adams.

I confess I had less interest in much of Adams’ later work. I did absolutely adore O’Neil and Adams’ slam-bang 1978 tabloid Superman Vs. Muhammed Ali, as well as his cover illustrations for Tarzan paperbacks, his illustrations for Harlan Ellison‘s short story “The New York Review Of Bird” (in the 1975 paperback anthology Weird Heroes, Vol. 2 ), and the sublime 1976 DC superheroes calendar, most of which was drawn by Adams. But Adams’ creator-owned material and even his decades-later return to The Batman wasn’t my cuppa. Doesn’t matter. The stuff I loved will always be the stuff I loved, the stuff I love still. I can’t exaggerate the importance of that work to me. It was everything.

1972 was when I made the connection that my favorite Batman stories were created by these guys, Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams. 1972 was also the year I started writing in…well, not in earnest, but maybe in pursuit of earnest. I was twelve. In social studies class, rather than do a boring research project about the Revolutionary War, I scripted a science-fantasy story about traveling back in time to participate in the Boston Tea Party, and corralled classmates to help me perform the piece on video tape. For English class, our study of Bram Stoker‘s Dracula prompted me to write a (terrible) Gothic horror story, performed as an audio tape. By 1973, I was submitting scripts to DC Comics. They were awful, sure, and they didn’t get me anywhere. But I’d made a decision: I was going to create. I couldn’t draw like Neal Adams, but I could write. I’m still doing that.

I met O’Neil and Adams in 1976. It was a brief can-I-have-your-autograph? encounter at the Super DC Con in New York. I felt like I’d met the Beatles.

Neal Adams was the Beatles. He was Babe RuthCharlie ChaplinOrson Welles, and whatever other reference you care to use to indicate he was the best, THE best, at what he did. Nonpareil. It is impossible to overstate the impact of artist Neal Adams on American comic books. That’s not hyperbole. That’s just the way it is. The artist. The crusader. The storyteller. A definite article carries specific meaning.

Just ask The Batman.

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

Fake THIS IS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RADIO Playlist: Songs THE FLASHCUBES Like

This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl is simply too large a concept to be neatly contained within a mere three-hour weekly time slot. Hence these occasional fake TIRnRR playlists, detailing shows we’re never really going to do…but could.

The recent release of the Flashcubes‘ 1979 live set Flashcubes On Fire, has reinforced my ongoing state of giddy Cubic buzz. So here’s a fake playlist gathering a bunch of songs the ‘Cubes covered at least once (or more), whether in live shows or in studio or demo sessions. It is not a comprehensive list, but it makes a damned compelling playlist.

You can read my liner notes for Flashcubes On Fire here, you can buy the album here, and you can link to a whole bunch of my Flashcubes writing through here. Like the Beatles before them, the Flashcubes were and remain true fans of rockin’ pop music, and that love of pop with power informed everything they did, and everything they continue to do today. 

We can expect more recordings of covers performed by the Flashcubes in the very near future; in the mean time, we open this imaginary playlist with a Flashcubes original (as heard on Flashcubes On Fire), a song celebrating the act of rock ‘n’ roll fandom, and then we dive into a selection of tunes the ‘Cubes fancied enough to perform. On stage. In the studio. In the basement with a TEAC 3340. These are some records the Flashcubes like.

I like ’em, too.

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

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Fake TIRnRR Playlist: Songs THE FLASHCUBES Like

THE FLASHCUBES: Face In The Crowd

OASIS: Rock And Roll Star

THE SUPREMES: Stop! In The Name Of Love

THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: Wouldn’t You Like It

PAUL COLLINS’ BEAT: All Over The World

TELEVISION: Elevation

THE KINKS: I Need You

THE DWIGHT TWILLEY BAND: Alone In My Room

PEZBAND: Baby It’s Cold Outside

THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES: Shake Some Action

ARTHUR ALEXANDER: Soldier Of Love

THE SEX PISTOLS: Pretty Vacant

THE RUTLES: I Must Be In Love

THE HOLLIES: Have You Ever Loved Somebody

THE OHMS: License To Kill

THE MONKEES: She

THE RASPBERRIES: I Wanna Be With You

THE dB’S: Neverland

CHRIS SPEDDING: Boogie City

BADFINGER: No Matter What

THE WHO: I Can’t Explain

THE RAMONES: I Just Want To Have Something To Do

HERMAN’S HERMITS: A Must To Avoid

BIG STAR: September Gurls

THE NEW YORK DOLLS: Personality Crisis

THE MOVE: Forever

THE YARDBIRDS: Heart Full Of Soul

EDDIE COCHRAN: Somethin’ Else

APRIL WINE: Tonight Is A Wonderful Time

THE BOB SEGER SYSTEM: Get Out Of Denver

1.4.5.: She Couldn’t Say No

SCREEN TEST: Sound Of The Radio

STEVE CARR: I Want To Touch You In The Dark

WRECKLESS ERIC: Take The Cash (K.A.S.H.)

THE SEARCHERS: Needles And Pins

LARRY WILLIAMS: Dizzy Miss Lizzy

THE BEATLES: Thank You, Girl

SHAUN CASSIDY: Hey Deanie

THE TROGGS: Wild Thing

NICK LOWE: Heart Of The City

THE BREAKAWAYS: Walking Out On Love

THE POSIES: Flavor Of The Month

SHOES: Tomorrow Night

WIZZARD: Ball Park Incident

XTC: Earn Enough For Us

THE KNICKERBOCKERS: Lies

THE JAM: In The City

THE KINGSMEN: Louie Louie

CHRIS SPEDDING: Hey Miss Betty

THE BEATLES: I’m Down

THE BEATLES: Hold Me Tight

THE RASPBERRIES: Tonight

BADFINGER: Baby Blue

THE RAMONES: I Wanna Be Sedated

THE WHO: The Kids Are Alright

THE KINKS: You Really Got Me

THE SEX PISTOLS: God Save The Queen

EDDIE & THE HOT RODS: Do Anything You Wanna Do

DICK DALE & HIS DEL-TONES: Rawhide

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.


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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'

I’m At BAT! (No Pun Intended)

Love Letters 2 Rock N Roll recently asked its Legion of Super-Stringers to write a blurb about our “up-to-bat” songs, the tracks that would play if we were professional baseball players about to enter the batter’s box. I swear the pun in my choice is unintentional.

The crowd was anxious. This wasn’t supposed to be close, wasn’t thought to be any real challenge for the hometown heroes. But that’s baseball. There’s no clock. There’s no guarantee of dominance. The team who scores the most wins. Obvious? Sure. It ain’t rocket surgery, man. It’s baseball.

So there we were: bottom of the ninth, the visitors ahead by one run, two outs, the bases loaded, the season coming down to whatever happened next. The final playoff game in a best-of-seven series. The winning team would go on. The losing team would go home. We’d been the favorites to go 4-0. It hadn’t worked out that way. Injuries. Bad luck. Baseball.

Scratchy McQuade was at bat. He’d strode to the plate as his familiar at-bat theme “I Honestly Love You” by Olivia Newton-John played for the still-puzzled fans, desperate for a hit. Maybe not an Olivia Newton-John hit, but you go into battle with the pop music you have, not the pop music you wish you had.  First pitch: swing and a miss, strike one. Second pitch: high and outside, ball one. Ball two. Ball three. Strike two. C’mon Scratchy! C’mon Olivia!

Ball four. Scratchy strolled to first, the run scored, and the game was tied. A conference at the mound, the content of which caused seasoned lip-readers to blush like schoolgirls. Play resumed. Next batter.

Me.

I was so far down the line-up that no one knew what my at-bat song would be. I’d been an occasional designated runner, but otherwise hadn’t appeared since preseason exhibitions, and I was set to be traded in the off-season. I was not a hometown hero. But there weren’t many choices left. The manager had sighed, cursed, and thumbed me to the on-deck circle. With Scratchy now at first, and the potential winning run at third, it was time.

My song played. That well-known intro. The fans buzzed. They knew the song; they all knew the song. And they started to sing along:

Batman! Batman! Batman! Batman! Batman! Batman! Batman!
I wanted the TV version, but I was okay with a snippet of the longer version from Nelson Riddle‘s TV soundtrack album. I ruled out composer Neal Hefti‘s version, The Marketts‘ hit version, covers by The WhoThe Jam, the live Kinks. I wanted old school, old chum. I wanted the original.

Excitement surged through the crowd, palpable and electric. They didn’t know me. But they knew the song. They felt the confidence of the just and true. BATMAN WOULD SAVE US!

I was hit by the first pitch. Our run scored. The season was saved! I was traded to Metropolis, but I’d had my moment. A hero? I guess not. But I’ll take it. Yes, Commissioner. Yes indeed.

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na BATMAN!

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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: Head
THE MONKEES: Instant Replay
THE MONKEES: The Monkees Present
THE MONKEES: Music Box
PHIL OCHS: Farewells & Fantasies
THE RAMONES: Weird Tales Of The Ramones
OTIS REDDING: Otis!
THE ROLLING STONES: Singles Collection The London Years
SIMON & GARFUNKEL: Old Friends
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: Nuggets II
VARIOUS: One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found
VARIOUS: Where The Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: Peel Slowly And See
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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Categories
Pop Sunday

Bart Davenport / Episodes

Bart Davenport

Episodes (Tapete)

https://bartdavenport-official.bandcamp.com/album/episodes

A noted figure on the alternative scene since the early-naughties, this Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter and guitarist is the ultimate chameleon, having indulged in an astonishing assortment of styles. He circles anywhere and everywhere from bluesy garage rock, to crooner-type ballads, to power pop, to folk rock, to Mod pop, to funk, to jazz, to bossa nova, to soft pop. 

Apart from fronting red hot bands such as The Loved Ones, The Kinetics, Honeycut and The Bedazzled, Bart has accumulated global applause for his solo efforts. Scheduled to be released March 25th, Episodes marks his sixth  album. As is the case with previous records, expect the unexpected. But no matter what genres Bart mixes and matches, catchy tunes designed of imagination, insight and even humor are a given. So true to form, Episodes promotes these virtues. 

A couple of tracks on the album are delivered in a cool and clipped brogue that sounds uncannily like Donovan. First up there’s Holograms, which coils to a  funky twang and gnawing hooks. On the other hand, Alice Arrives appropriates a moody and measured folk tone and is punctuated with sobbing string arrangements. 

Steered by crisp guitars and nifty breaks, It’s You could certainly be mistaken for a folk rock fashioned Kinks hit circa 1965, as this time around Bart mimics the nasal-pitched pipes of Ray Davies to impressionable effects. 

Set to a toe-tapping beat, All Dressed In  Rain subsequently features sweetly-seasoned melodies and a chorus of breezy harmonies. A neo-psychedelic jangle generates the icy chill of Strange Animal, and Creatures In Love bubbles and blinks with pop-rock perfection in a Monkeesesque vein. 

Although a definitive sixties influence penetrates the air, Episodes rises above the standard retro rock realm. The songs are fresh, original and kind of quirky, while Bart’s grasp of the music he mines puts forth his own ideals and intuition. Yay, a winner all the way!