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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.