Continuing in the spirit of yesterday’s MPC, here’s Rick James as you’ve never heard him before.
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Imagine, if you will, the Hokies entering Lane Stadium to the accompaniment of this version of “Enter Sandman”.
I like The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony” on its merits…
… but it’s the backstory that really makes the song.
I went and saw The Zombies Saturday night at Variety Playhouse. The group, both in its current configuration and also in the one that brings together the four surviving members of the original group, are touring in support of the fiftieth anniversary of the recording of their second album, Odessey and Oracle.
That album is one of the more ill-fated stories of pop music. (Wikipedia has the back story here, if you’re interested.) Aside from the “group makes great record, then promptly disbands” part of it, the album itself is a minor miracle, given keyboardist and musical leader Rod Argent’s tendency towards stylistic self-indulgence (something that was on display in a rather up-and-down first set Saturday) combined with the surprising decision to let the group produce the album itself.
Happily, though, the final product was a taut effort, with not a single wasted note on twelve songs clocking in at a tick over thirty-five minutes. (If you’ve got the time and like late sixties British pop, give it a listen.) The band performs the album live virtually note for note, which made for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Anyway, the album may be obscure, but it was the source of the group’s monster hit, “Time of the Season”, which was recorded in 1967, released as a single six months later and became a chart success in 1969. It sounded as great the other night as it did the first time I heard it on the radio.
UPDATE: Talk about your small world.
(Sixty one years ago today), Elvis Presley appeared on ABC-TV’s ‘The Milton Berle Show’ live from the flight deck of the USS Hancock in San Diego, California. He performed ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ ‘Shake Rattle And Roll’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes.’ It was estimated that one out of every four Americans saw the show.
This is… inspired.
In April 2016, an all-star band featuring R.E.M.‘s Mike Mills, Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone, and many more gathered onstage at Glendale, California’s Alex Theatre to perform Big Star‘s classic Third/Sister Lovers in its entirety.
A live album and concert film from that performance will be released April 21st as Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live … and More. Ahead of the concert film’s premiere at the SXSW Film Festival on March 16th, Rolling Stone presents the supergroup’s take on Big Star’s #1 Record classic “In the Street.”
A labor of love, and it shows.
By the way, Third/Sister Lovers is one of the strangest great albums I’ve ever listened to. Alex Chilton had written a bunch of incredible songs, which he then proceeded to deconstruct out of some weird sense of disgust with the music industry and Big Star’s fate (not that it wasn’t understandable). It literally got to the point where he was told by the producer to shut the record down after he pulled a drunk off the street to help record a song.
That notwithstanding, Third/Sister Lovers is also one of the most compelling albums I’ve ever listened to. The paranoia and love wound together and expressed in “Nightime” give me chills every time I hear the song.
Yeah, I’ll have to see the movie.