The Thirty-Day Music Challenge: Conclusion

The final seven challenges to your humble columnist’s musical memories! Week one is here; week two is here; week three is here; and the last week’s worth is below. As always, live performances whenever I could find them because it’s video and you should get to see the musicians actually play.

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Day 24: A Song By A Band/Group You Wish Were Still Together.

Honestly? I don’t really wish this on anyone. When it’s not fun playing any longer, it’s probably time to call it quits. So let’s make a slight editorial change– I can do that, it’s my column– and call it a song by a band that’s broken up, without any pressure on them to reunite.

I say ‘no pressure,’ but it turns out there actually is a lot of that kind of pressure out there on defunct bands. Many musicians eventually succumb to it, usually for the money. I get it– everyone needs to make a living, and if musicians get to play music as their job, I can see how tempting that is to somehow keep going even though the glory days are long gone. Given my age, it shouldn’t be surprising that I found that a lot of bands I used to love have reformed with the surviving members and are doing nostalgia tours. (“Eric Burdon and the New Animals,” and so forth.) Some of these revivals last longer than the original band did. But they are NOT the originals and for the sake of my sanity I am going to try and stick with that idea.

My point is that even though there is a current version of this band planning a tour, it’s NOT this lineup, so please stifle the urge to correct me. I know, it’s hard, that kind of pedantry is practically compulsory on the internet, but humor me. This 1980s version of King Crimson, fronted by Adrian Belew, only lasted for a few years and it is probably my favorite of all the different lineups that have appeared using that name. Here they are with “Heartbeat.”

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Day 25: A Song By An Artist No Longer Living.

This is why I didn’t go with a deceased artist in the last entry, by the way, if you were wondering. We’ve lost so many great ones the last couple of years that it’s very hard to choose just one. But I went with David Bowie.

Here’s a funky number you may not know, because it was never a single or anything, but I always loved it.

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Day 26: A Song That Makes You Want To Fall In Love.

I am happily married, thanks. “Ridiculously happy and in love at our age,” is what I said to someone just a couple of days ago.

So again, a slight editorial change, to a song that reminds me of my bride. We love this record — I first played it for Julie when we were dating and she was instantly smitten with it– and some of it even got played at our wedding. This particular one is Julie’s favorite from it, I think.

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Day 27: A Song That Breaks Your Heart.

Already covered this in week one but I guess I can think of another sadness-provoking song. There’s a lot of overlap in these categories, I’ve noticed.

Since I just did one from Glen Campbell, that reminded me of what a heartbreakingly sad end it was for him, his mind and musical faculties slowly decaying from Alzheimer’s. Julie actually cried when I showed her this one; she had the same reaction as I did, mourning for what he lost in his final years.

But here he is in his prime. Damn he was good. A hugely underrated musical talent, even acknowledging all his successes. There are as lot of Campbell versions of this song on the internet but I went with this one because I liked the banter at the beginning, along with the performance.

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Day 28: A Song By An Artist With A Voice That You Love.

I talked a lot about Patti Smith last week and her voice is one of the reasons I enjoy her music so much. But I’m trying for a variety, so let’s go in a different direction. John Lee Hooker, ladies and gentlemen.

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Day 29: A Song That You Remember From Your Childhood.

My childhood was, as I have remarked elsewhere, remarkably sheltered culturally… as a result, a lot of my favorite childhood radio memories are of songs no hipster would recognize, because they come from sixties whitebread sitcoms and such.

Here is one of those. It’s a cute clip; a little bittersweet given that Tommy Boyce (striped shirt) committed suicide in 1994, and I think we all know what eventually became of Phil Spector…

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Day 30: A Song That Reminds You Of Yourself.

Another one where it is almost impossible to choose a single song. It really depends on what’s going on with me during any given day.

As it happens I have some new additions to the book catalogue the last month or so, this Sherlock (featuring Holmes versus the Riddler, sort of; more information here) and this one (in which Mycroft Holmes is kidnapped and –at his own request!– the Junk Shop’s John Trumbull is murdered.) There’s also one of mine in this collection of new adventures of one of the oddest 1930s pulp superheroes, The Moon Man.

So it might be a little self-aggrandizing but screw it, I’ll go with this one.

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And that’s my list. I hope you all enjoyed this journey down musical memory lane, whether it was mine or your own; I certainly did. As always, feel free to play along with your own picks in the comments section.

Back next week with something cool.

6 Comments

  1. Edo Bosnar

    When I was looking over the rest of the list after last week’s post, I saw that several of them were either kind of hard or puzzling. I had similar thoughts about the bands no longer together, and you expressed it more eloquently than I ever could. By the way, I like the Belew era of King Crimson, but my favorite Crimson stuff is still the prog-era albums from the ‘70s.

    A song by a band/group you wish were still together:
    I wish the original line-up of Sly and the Family Stone (which experienced several shake-ups in the early ‘70s and frayed apart by mid-decade) had stayed together longer or even weathered the years to the present, because when they were together they created such fun, cool, but also ground-breaking and socially relevant music. Here’s an example of them being awesome, in an extended performance of “Thank You” (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” on Soul Train.

    A song by an artist no longer living:
    Way too many for this category, and initially I was also going to go with something by Bowie, but, instead, here’s Stevie Ray Vaughan’s instrumental version of “Little Wing”, since it honors both the late Vaughn, and, of course, the song’s writer and original performer, Jimi Hendrix.

    A song that makes you want to fall in love:
    Yep, already ‘in love’ and can’t think of song that makes want to do so again. So, I’m going to cheat here and just say that every time I hear this song by Chicago it kind of makes me want to be in love with the whole world: “Saturday in the Park”.

    A song that breaks your heart:
    Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit” doesn’t break my heart so much as make me profoundly sad, both because of the subject of the song itself and because of Holiday’s haunting rendition.

    A song by an artist whose voice you love:
    So many artists whose voices I love. And then you have to pick a specific song. Among many others, I love Skin’s voice, and here’s one of Skunk Anansie’s songs that really highlights it pretty nicely: “You’ll Follow Me Down”.

    A song that you remember from your childhood:
    Probably one of the first songs I learned to recognize, which got a lot of radio airplay in the early ’70s:
    “Playground in My Mind” by Clint Holmes. I actually didn’t really like the song, then or now, but when I was a wee one, I think my mom and my older sister and brother thought I liked it because of that little kid on the accompanying vocals in the chorus (“My name is Michael, I’ve got a nickel…”).

    A song that reminds you of yourself:
    Nothing, really. However, I just saw this today on FB, a Postmodern Jukebox cover of “Really Don’t Care” and it’s the video that reminds me of myself, specifically the hyperactive tambourine guy dancing like a fool – basically what I would do in a similar situation, as I have no discernable musical talent of any kind.

  2. Louis Bright-Raven

    Day 24: A Song By A Band/Group You Wish Were Still Together

    “Everybody Hurts” By R.E.M.

    Day 25: A Song By An Artist No Longer Living

    “I Guess Things Happen That Way” By Johnny Cash

    Day 26: A Song That Makes You Want To Fall In Love

    Nothing comes to mind anymore.

    Day 27: A Song That Breaks Your Heart

    “Hurt” – Johnny Cash version for me, but it’s originally by Nine Inch Nails

    Day 28: A Song By An Artist With A Voice That You Love

    “My Immortal” by Evanescence (Amy Lee vocals)

    Day 29: A Song That You Remember From Your Childhood

    “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

    1. Louis Bright-Raven

      Day 30: A Song That Reminds You Of Yourself

      “Desperado” by the Eagles (I don’t mind Clint Black’s version of it, either), or “Boys of Summer” by Don Henley from 1984 or the Ataris’ cover from 2003, either version.

      Sorry, didn’t realize it’d been cut off from the previous post.

  3. John King

    Day 24: A Song By A Band/Group You Wish Were Still Together.
    lots to choose from
    maybe “Domino” by Genesis

    Day 25: A Song By An Artist No Longer Living
    again – there are many…
    “Rock’n’Roll Music” by Chuck Berry
    (People will still be singing his songs for decades to come)

    Day 26: A Song That Makes You Want To Fall In Love
    maybe “Have you ever been in love?” by Leo Sayer

    Day 27: A Song That Breaks Your Heart
    “Without you” by Badfinger
    the back story concerning this song and the battle for royalties is just too tragic…

    Day 28: A Song By An Artist With A Voice That You Love
    ..at first I thought I would go for a singer with a wonderful and distinctive voice like Colin Bluntstone..
    but then I thought to go another way..
    think of someone with a voice I love (regardless of whether the person is a singer or not)
    and then identify a song by them, and ended up with
    “Hikari to Kaze no Rondo” by Wakana Yamazaki (from the Marmalade Boy cast albums)

    Day 29: A Song That You Remember From Your Childhood
    the song I most remember from my childhood is
    “Little Arrows” by Leapy Lee
    (I liked to think it was about a mad archer…)

    Day 30: A Song That Reminds You Of Yourself.
    nothing feels quite right – the best that I can come up with is
    “Me, Myself, I” by Joan Armatrading

  4. Eric van Schaik

    Hi Greg,

    Thanks for the idea for this post.
    Nice to discover some nice stuff.
    I hope you found some new stuff too.

    Day 24: A Song By A Band/Group You Wish Were Still Together
    So many choices…
    A song from one of the first bands I listened to apart from hardrock/metal
    Siouxsie and the Banshees – Melt
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-5mVUb1gqM

    Day 25: A Song By An Artist No Longer Living.
    I choose a dead group member.
    The deceased: Piggy (Denis D’Amour).
    The band: Voivod
    The song: Astronomy domine (Pink Floyd cover)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rJhGNa2wc0

    Day 26: A Song That Makes You Want To Fall In Love.
    I have a lot on my mind right now.
    My mom is in the nursery home and I have to get rid of all the stuff and have the place clean by the end of the month.
    After that, maybe I can think about falling in love perhaps.
    So for now I’ll pass this one.

    Day 27: A Song That Breaks Your Heart.
    I go for a song that sums it up.
    For all the people that I lost, one way or another.
    Chicago – Wishing you were here
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsuv4HPGNHM

    Day 28: A Song By An Artist With A Voice That You Love.
    I know I have a different kind of music that I love.
    A hard choice again.
    Singer: Justin Sullivan
    Band: New model army
    Song: Nothing touches
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3thYtiYTHkc

    Day 29: A Song That You Remember From Your Childhood.
    As a child I was the “singer” of a playback group 😉
    One of those songs was Mud – Tiger Feet
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQfidTOTsLo

    Day 30: A Song That Reminds You Of Yourself.
    A song that’s about the situation I’m in right now, and I hope I will get some better times.
    Ane Brun – The opening

  5. Day 24: A Song By A Band/Group You Wish Were Still Together
    That band will always be the Roto Rooter Good Time Christmas Band
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R0EdV5IfH

    Day 25: A Song By An Artist No Longer Living
    “Still Crazy After All These Years” – Karen Carpenter
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npkQdLFnuXY

    Day 26: A Song That Makes You Want To Fall In Love
    Fall in love with the singer? With somebody else? A song that just makes you happy about love?
    “Orange Colored Sky” – Nat ‘King’ Cole
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad6EL-qTGl8

    Day 27: A Song That Breaks Your Heart
    Eva Cassidy’s version of “Over the Rainbow”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rd8VktT8xY

    Day 28: A Song By An Artist With A Voice That You Love
    Sara Niemietz, best known for her performances with Postmodern Jukebox.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xpJyR8p-2I

    Day 29: A Song That You Remember From Your Childhood
    “A Boy Named Sue” – Johnny Cash
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOHPuY88Ry4

    Day 30: A Song That Reminds You Of Yourself
    “I’m going to Go Back There Someday” – The Great Gonzo

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