Posts tagged ‘rock’

Twisted Sister – I Wanna Rock [1984]

Best tribute to the legend of a song is when it is spoofed by Weird Al Yankovic or redone by Sponge Bob Squarepants!

The Sweet – Unsung Heroes of Glam Rock

In 1975 I was hanging out with my friend Doug at his house, talking about cars and listening to records.  He pulled out a new disc from the band Sweet, best known at the time for the songs Ballroom Blitz and Fox On The Run.  The album was Desolation Boulevard, and it bowled me over.

The heavy guitar work, unstoppable percussion, whiplash guitar licks, and high vocal harmonies were like nothing I had ever heard before.  From a young age I was immersed in rock; by nine I was listening to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, BTO, and Grand Funk.  Sweet was different.  For them, rock sensibility was laid over pop lyrics, cocksure demeanor, and unbelievable precision.

Ten years later I found a copy of Desolation Boulevard at a used record store, and I have it to this day.

Sweet - Desolation Boulevard

While overshadowed by other Glam Rockers like Ziggy Stardust, Gary Glitter, and even KISS, they cut a place for themselves into the annals of 70s rock by creating skate rink-worthy hits and using their equipment to the ends of their abilities.  As it was with many bands of the time, Sweet disintegrated, reformed, exploded, reunited, and began touring again over the next 30+ years. Mick Tucker died in 2002 of Lukemia, and one original member – Andy Scott – continues to perform Sweet songs.


All About Sweet – at Metal Music Archives

About Glam Rock – On Wikipedia

Reviving the Mississippi Queen

From a vastly underrated band, this song has the ability to define an era.

Not many songs are given that right, but the chosen few that stick in our heads from days past are quick to remind us of lives lived, events attended, and friends well known. Mississippi Queen by Mountain is one of those songs. The blues influence, gritty guitars, signature cowbell, and howling/growling vocals from Leslie West tell us how the counter-culture world sounded 40 years ago.

Released in 1970, Mississippi Queen appeared as part of the soundtrack for the movie Vanishing Point in 1971. It is said to have influenced the sound of heavy rock for the next four decades.  Since 1970 it has remained a steady part of the Classic Rock radio format, covered by scores of rock bands, and even been rerecorded by Ozzy Osbourne .  Mississippi Queen – in all its screaming fuzzy goodness – manages to sound good to metal heads like me even today, a feat not possible with some of the pop sounds of that era.  To understand its impact, the best way is to hear it.

This video blends  with movie footage from the time.

But also in a well-deserved homage – not only to the song but also to its genre – The Regular Show on Cartoon Network used Mississippi Queen this year in an episode, singlehandedly reviving interest in the song once again.  Even my sons – 10 and 6 – like the song now!  Three of the characters were challenged at a party to drink a huge concoction of hot sauce and leftovers.  The result of their challenge is really best when viewed:

Being paid tribute in an irreverent cartoon is probably one of the best awards the song could ever get.


Buy song on Amazon

Elton John’s Honky Chateau on Cassette Tape – 1972

There isn’t anything cheaper at Goodwill than a cassette tape.

Elton John - ##### Chateau on Cassette Tape

As a man who lived through the Seventies and Eighties, it’s hard to accept that cassettes are a dying technology. But it is what it is; people clear out their music from the past, and the tapes either get trashed or donated. At Goodwill, to get a portable copy of a classic album I grew up wearing out on vinyl was a whopping ten cents. Yep…a Dime. And this copy – if not from 1972 – is pretty close to it; the cassette is heavy by comparison to all the mix tapes I made in the Eighties. The rainbow label jumps out as to say, “I’m full of freedom baby!”

It doesn’t play all that hot; I’m not surprised, given that it’s older than most of my coworkers. But nevertheless it’s a nice trip down memory lane to hear such songs as the title track or Rocket Man. But my favorite track from the album was neither of those. I much prefer “Suzie (Dramas)” over anything else on that album.  It’s got a funky groove and the classic hard-charging piano that Elton was known for back in the day.

Despite the degraded sound, ten cents never sounded so good!

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