30 March 2020

30 March 2020 - Boston - More Than a Feeling

We all wish we had Brad Delp's voice here.

I do, anyway.

He didn't write the song, though.  Tom Scholz - the true brains behind Boston who went so far as to invent equipment to create their unique sound without synthesizers - wrote it - about the feelings an old song can bring back.  It is no coincidence that the guitar riff at the chorus is oddly reminiscent of "Louie, Louie". 

You never heard that before, but you do now, don't you?

It isn't the old song referenced, though.  That would be "Walk Away Renee" by the Left Banke, a song that lyrically inspired this one.

The song itself is very complex and took Scholz several years to complete.  It features a dramatic key change between verse (D Major) and chorus (G Major), with a significant falsetto - which brings us back to Brad Delp's vocal range, which was incredible....



....and a power he still had almost thirty years later.  I marvel to this day at the emotion he brought to his performance.  Sadly, Delp died of an apparent suicide in 2007.  Here's one of the last performances I could find of him performing the song that made him a legend.

 

29 March 2020

29 March 2019 - Kansas - Hold On

I rarely post on a Sunday, but this song seemed appropriate. 

Kansas was already a pretty popular band when they released Audio-Visons in 1980. This song, the first single from that album, was a top 40 hit, is my favorite Kansas song, and it is a beautiful song with a beautiful story. 

Kerry Livgren - the violinist and one of the leaders of this band - discovered Christianity in the late 1970's. He wrote this song to try to convince his wife to also convert to Christianity. It was successful, by the way - she did convert and they are still together.

Example: in the third verse, you will hear the line "Outside your door, He is waiting, waiting for you.". Note the capitalized "He" - the song is about putting faith in God. 

However, this caused some discord in the band - that led to lead vocalist Steve Walsh leaving the band (he would return in 1985 after Livgren left). So, a new vocalist was found - John Elefante. Those familiar with Christian rock know that he had a pretty successful solo career post-Kansas. Livgren didn't know of Elefante's Christianity when the hiring occurred - but that drove the direction of the next several Kansas albums. 

This version I post is of Elefante-era Kansas.  It seemed appropriate. 

07 February 2020

7 February 2020 - Pylon - Crazy

Pylon were an influential band in the Athens, GA scene in the 1980s.   You've probably never heard of them.  That doesn't matter.  What matters is that they were cool and influential.  Their lo-fi punky sound did greatly guide the direction of the entire scene.

This song, remarkably simple and famously and faithfully covered by R.E.M., is probably their best known, and the one everyone wants to hear when they reunite, as they did for this show in 2008.  It sounds as good as it did in 1982.

04 February 2020

4 February 2020 - Duran Duran - A View To A Kill

From the 14th James Bond film, 1985's A View To A Kill, this is, in my opinion, the greatest Bond theme ever.  It's exciting - lots of keyboard riffs to punctuate the excitement.  It's time-period appropriate - Duran Duran were at the height of their fame in 1985.  Even the video plays out like a spy caper, with scenes from the movie. 

It also remains the only Bond theme to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.... and Duran Duran's last #1 (although far from their last hit). 

03 February 2020

3 Febuary 2020 - Berlin - No More Words

One of the first songs I remember hearing and liking was this one.   It was never their best known, and I certainly did not understand its deep meaning when it was released - but I sure do now, and I appreciate it more now than I did then.   Enjoy!

01 February 2020

1 February 2020 - BLACKPINK - Kill This Love

Welcome to 2020.  Korean girl groups are starting to own the music industry.  And their English is getting better. Enjoy!