About greyzoned/angelsbark

Michele Truhlik is a writer, blogger and small business entrepreneur. Previously an owner of an advertising agency and a bar, she currently has a dog-sitting business and a jewelry business and is much happier being out of the corporate world. She is also following her calling and is an Animal Chaplain/Pet Shaman and will be officially credentialed and ordained in 2015. She has been rescuing and adopting greyhounds since 1999. She has been owned by 8 greyhounds. Pictured here is #7, Picasso. You can find her blogging at angelsbark.wordpress.com.

Monday’s Music Moves Me – SONGS ABOUT CARS AND TRUCKS…and a few motorcycles too

It’s the start of a new week and that means it’s time for Monday’s Music Moves Me! This week’s theme is Songs about Cars and Trucks. I threw a bike or two in too.

There are so many songs about cars and trucks in Rock ‘n Roll. Here are just 35 of my favorites, followed by a little background on each one.

ROCK PLAYLIST

I Can’t Drive 55 by Sammy Hagar – “I Can’t Drive 55” was the lead single and first track from Sammy Hagar’s eighth studio album VOA in 1984. This was Hagar’s biggest hit as a solo artist. He joined Van Halen a year after it was released. Perpetuated by a very successful music video, it became a concert staple that continued throughout Hagar’s tours as a member of Van Halen. The song is a reference to the National Maximum Speed Law in the United States that originally set speed limits at 55 miles per hour (89 km/h).

The origin of the song, like so many, comes from actual experience: In 1994, Sammy Hagar explains: “I was in a rent-a-car that wouldn’t go much faster than 55 miles an hour. I was on my way back from Africa. I did a safari for three months throughout Africa. A really great vacation after Three Lock Box. I was traveling for 24 hours, I got to New York City, changed planes, Albany, New York. Got in a rent-a-car. Had a place in Lake Placid at the time, a little log cabin, I used to go there and write with my little boy. Aaron, at that time, went to North Country school when I was on tour. I would go there and see him. It was a really cool getaway. But it took two and a half hours to drive there from Albany. And I was driving from Albany, New York at 2:00 in the morning, burnt from all the travel. Cop stopped me for doing 62 on a four lane road when there was no one else in sight. Then the guy gave me a ticket. I was doing 62. And he said, ‘We give tickets around here for over-60.’ and I said, ‘I can’t drive 55.’ I grabbed a paper and a pen, and I swear the guy was writing the ticket and I was writing the lyrics. I got to Lake Placid, I had a guitar set-up there. And I wrote that song there on the spot. Burnt.”

Chevy Van by Sammy Johns – I LOVE this song and you rarely hear it anymore. “Chevy Van” is a 1973 song, written and sung by Sammy Johns with instrumental backing provided by Los Angeles-based session musicians from the Wrecking Crew. The song was a hit single in the United States and Canada in 1975, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and becoming a million seller. It was played primarily on AM Top 40 stations in the 1970s; later re-recordings were done in a country vein.

It details how an unnamed male driver picks up an unnamed female, who then proceeds to eventually seduce him into a one-night stand in the back of his Chevrolet Van. At the end he drops her off “in a town that was so small, you could throw a rock from end to end. A dirt road mainstreet, she walked off in bare feet”, and laments “It’s a shame I won’t be passing through again.” The song struck a chord with listeners in the sexually liberated early 1970s when Johns released it.

The song features on the soundtrack to The Van, the first movie to feature Danny DeVito.

Low Rider by War – “Low Rider” is a song written by American funk band War and producer Jerry Goldstein, which appeared on their album Why Can’t We Be Friends?, released in 1975. It reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart and peaked at number 7 on the Pop Singles chart.

According to the All Music Guide review of the song, “the lyric takes the cool image of the low rider — the Chicano culture practice of hydraulically hot-rodding classic cars — and using innuendo, extends the image to a lifestyle”. The song’s most distinguishable feature is its driving bass line, which is present for nearly all of the song. It also ends with a siren-like noise that then becomes a saxophone solo. The vocal is by the band’s brass player, Charles Miller

Drive My Car by the Beatles – “Drive My Car” is a song by the Beatles, written primarily by Paul McCartney, with lyrical contributions from John Lennon. It was first released on the British version of the band’s 1965 album Rubber Soul; it also appeared in North America on the Yesterday and Today collection. The upbeat, lighthearted “Drive My Car” was used as the opening track for both albums.

The song’s male narrator is told by a woman that she is going to be a famous movie star, and she offers him the opportunity to be her chauffeur, adding: “and maybe I’ll love you”. When he objects that his “prospects [are] good”, she retorts, “Working for peanuts is all very fine/But I can show you a better time.” When he agrees to her proposal, she admits, “I got no car and it’s breakin’ my heart/But I’ve found a driver and that’s a start.” According to McCartney, “‘Drive my car’ was an old blues euphemism for sex”. This expression was more common in the pre-automatic shift era of automobiles.

It’s pretty clear that all this driving talk is leading to sex, but there’s no proof that it isn’t just a song about a guy, a girl, and a car – making it another radio-friendly Beatles track.

The “beep beep” refrain is a take-off on The Beatles own “yeah, yeah yeah”s in “She Loves You” as well as a nod to The Playmates song “Beep Beep” (a #4 US novelty hit in 1958).

It’s hard to find actual Beatles videos on YouTube that aren’t covers pretending to be the Beatles so the song in my playlist is Paul McCartney performing the song in Quebec.

Radar Love by Golden Earring – “Radar Love” is a song by the Dutch rock band Golden Earring. The single version of “Radar Love” reached #10 on the Cash Box Top 100 and #13 in Billboard in the United States. It also hit the Top 10 in many countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Spain.

Before you could send a text message or call someone in their car, there was no way to communicate to a driver – unless you had a certain telepathic love that could convey from a distance your desire to be with that person, something you might call – Radar Love. In this song, the guy has been driving all night, but keeps pushing the pedal because he just knows that his baby wants him home.

Free Ride by Edgar Winter Group – “Free Ride” is a song written by Dan Hartman and performed by The Edgar Winter Group. The single, engineered by Jim Reeves, was a top 20 US hit in 1973, hitting number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

This song appeared in a 2015 Ford commercial for a Free Ride sales event:

Highway Star by Deep Purple – “Highway Star” is a song by the English rock band Deep Purple. It is the opening track on their 1972 album Machine Head and is the fastest song in tempo on the album. It is characterized by long, classically-inspired guitar and organ solos. Organist Jon Lord claimed that the organ and guitar solos were based on Bach-like chord sequences.

This song is about a man and his love for his high-powered car, which he says can out-race every other car. This was written by Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, and Roger Glover. It may have been inspired by Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild,” and along with “Radar Love” is one of the most famous driving songs in rock.

This song was born on a tour bus going to Portsmouth in 1971 when a reporter asked the band how they wrote songs. To demonstrate, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore grabbed an acoustic guitar and began playing a riff consisting of a single “G” repeated over and over, while vocalist Ian Gillan improvised lyrics over the top. The song was refined and was performed that same night. The song first appears on the 1972 LP Machine Head. The track remains one of the band’s staples in live concerts, and was the set opener even before it was released on any album.

Born to Be Wild by Steppenwolf – “Born to Be Wild” is a song first performed by the band Steppenwolf, written by Mars Bonfire. The song is often invoked in both popular and counter culture to denote a biker appearance or attitude. It is sometimes described as the first heavy metal song, and the second verse lyric “heavy metal thunder” marks the first use of this term in rock music (although not as a description of a musical style).

“Born to Be Wild” was used in the 1969 movie Easy Rider, a counterculture classic starring Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda as bikers who ride from Los Angeles to New Orleans. (Another Steppenwolf song, “The Pusher,” was also used in the film).

When the movie was in production, this was simply a placeholder, since Fonda wanted Crosby, Stills and Nash to do the soundtrack. It became clear that the song belonged in the movie, and it stayed. Partly because of its use in Easy Rider, this has become the song most associated with motorcycles.

Although “Born to Be Wild” is typically associated with motorcycles, the songwriter’s intent was not necessarily an anthem for the biker lifestyle but moreso about freedom, mobility and life on the open road.

It was written by Mars Bonfire, which is the stage name of Dennis Edmonton. He wasn’t a member of Steppenwolf, but his brother Jerry was the band’s drummer. (Bonfire wrote a few other songs for Steppenwolf as well, including “Ride With Me” and “Tenderness”).

Explaining how he came up with the song, Bonfire said:

“I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard one day and saw a poster in a window saying ‘Born to Ride’ with a picture of a motorcycle erupting out of the earth like a volcano with all this fire around it. Around this time I had just purchased my first car, a little secondhand Ford Falcon. So all this came together lyrically: the idea of the motorcycle coming out along with the freedom and joy I felt in having my first car and being able to drive myself around whenever I wanted. ‘Born to Be Wild’ didn’t stand out initially. Even the publishers at Leeds Music didn’t take it as the first or second song I gave them. They got it only because I signed as a staff writer. Luckily, it stood out for Steppenwolf. It’s like a fluke rather than an achievement, though.”

In an interview for CHMR FM, John Kay told Terry Parsons that when Mars Bonfire first introduced him to the song, it was intended as a folk ballad about life on the open road. Once Steppenwolf began working with the song, the tempo was increased, and an iconic rock and roll song resulted.

“Born to Be Wild” was used in a 2017 commercial for the Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster that aired during the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons. The spot, directed by The Coen Brothers, re-creates a scene from Easy Rider, but this time, Peter Fonda has given up his bike for the roadster. It’s a good spot.

Going Mobile by The Who – “Going Mobile” is a song written by Pete Townshend and originally released by The Who on their 1971 album Who’s Next. It was originally written for Townshend’s abandoned Lifehouse project, with lyrics celebrating the joy of having a mobile home and being able to travel the open road. The Who’s lead singer Roger Daltrey did not take part in the recording of the song, leaving the rest of the band to record it as a power trio; Townshend handles the lead vocals, guitars, and synthesizers, with John Entwistle on bass and Keith Moon on drums. The song has attracted mixed reviews from music critics.

“Going Mobile” is one of the lighter moments on Who’s Next. Townshend described the use of the song in the proposed project as follows: “As the story unfolded, because of the vagaries of the modern world, because of pollution being caused mainly by people’s need to travel, to be somewhere else. (People) had been told, ‘You can’t do that anymore. You have to stay where you are.’ But people have got this lust for life, and adventure, and a bit of color.” It celebrates the joys of having a mobile home and being able to travel the highways at will – Townshend himself had acquired a mobile home about a year before the song was recorded. An example of the theme is illustrated by such lyrics as:

I don’t care about pollution

I’m an air-conditioned gypsy

That’s my solution

Watch the police and the taxman miss me

I’m mobile

Pink Cadillac by Bruce Springsteen – “Pink Cadillac” is a song by Bruce Springsteen released as the non-album B-side of Dancing in the Dark in 1984. The song received moderate airplay on album-oriented rock radio, appearing on the Billboard Top Tracks chart for 14 weeks, peaking at number 27. The song was also a prominent concert number during Springsteen’s 1984-85 Born in the U.S.A. Tour. This song did not appear on any album until 1998 when it was included on Tracks, a collection of Springsteen outtakes.

Like Prince’s “Little Red Corvette”, “Pink Cadillac” follows the tradition of the Wilson Pickett R&B classic “Mustang Sally” in using automobile travel as a metaphor for sexual activity, particularly as sung by Springsteen as the lyric: “I love you for your pink Cadillac” was originally a veiled pudendal reference. Springsteen, in fact, vetoed the first attempt by a female singer to release a version of “Pink Cadillac”, that being Bette Midler in 1983. However, “Pink Cadillac” had its highest profile incarnation via an R&B interpretation by Natalie Cole, which became a top-ten single in 1988.

Fun Fact: In 2001, AOL would not let users quote this in a Springsteen discussion group because they felt the lyrics were too suggestive. One of the offending lines was “My love is bigger than a Honda, yeah it’s bigger than a Subaru.”

Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett – “Mustang Sally” is a rhythm and blues (R&B) song written and first recorded by Mack Rice in 1965. It was released on the Blue Rock label (4014) in May 1965 with “Sir Mack Rice” as the artist. It gained greater popularity when Wilson Pickett covered it the following year on a single, a version that was also released on the 1966 album, The Wicked Pickett.

According to Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Songs,

“Mustang Sally nearly ended up on the studio floor – literally. After Pickett finished his final take at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the tape suddenly flew off the reel and broke into pieces. But the session engineer, the legendary Tom Dowd, calmly cleared the room and told everyone to come back in half an hour. Dowd pieced the tape back together and saved what became one of the funkiest soul anthems of the ’60s.”

The chorus of the song includes the lyrics “ride, Sally, ride” — a phrase that became fodder for newspaper headlines in 1983, when astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. The Lou Reed song “Ride Sally Ride”, which quotes these lyrics throughout, is the first track on his 1974 album Sally Can’t Dance. The same lyric is found in “Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone in 1968 and in the children’s song “Sally the Camel.”

I’m in Love with My Car by Queen – “I’m in Love with My Car” is a song by the British rock band Queen, released on their fourth album A Night at the Opera in 1975. It is the album’s only song written entirely by drummer Roger Taylor.

The engine noises on the recording of “I’m In Love With My Car” are authentic and come from the car Roger Taylor owned at the time. He described in a 1997 interview with Pop On The Line:

“I remember my car at the time, because I think we’ve got the exhaust on the record, and that was a little Alfa Romeo. But I think it was more about people in general, for instance boy racers. In particular we had a sound guy/roadie at the time called Jonathan Harris, who was in love with his car, and that inspired that. I think he had a TR4, Triumph TR4.”

Roger Taylor loved the song, and demanded it to be the B-side to Freddie Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” single – so much so that he apparently locked himself in a cupboard until Mercury agreed. Perhaps there was a good reason Taylor really wanted it to be the “Rhapsody” B-side – the song credit went completely to him, and when the single became a huge smash hit, he received almost equal royalties as Mercury did for “Rhapsody.”

This naturally rather annoyed the rest of the band! Songwriting credits and friction over royalties are a common reason why most bands break up. For this reason, Queen later in their career decided to give a collective co-writing credit for all songs, regardless of who contributed. This meant everyone got equal royalties for any singles/hits, which meant there was less friction with members more willing to let their songs/ideas be worked on – knowing they wouldn’t lose any credit or royalty money in the process.

The song was used in a 2004 advertisement for Jaguar:

No Particular Place to Go by Chuck Berry – “No Particular Place to Go” is a song by Chuck Berry, released as a single by Chess Records in May 1964 and released on the album St. Louis to Liverpool in November 1964.

The song is comical four verse story. In the first verse the narrator is cruising in his car with his girlfriend, and they kiss. In the second they start to cuddle, and drive slow. In the third they decide to park and take a walk, but are unable to release the seat belt. In the last verse they drive home, defeated by the recalcitrant seat belt.

“No Particular Place To Go” was written at a time when Chuck Berry had literally no place to go. He was in prison. Chuck first saw the inside of a slammer back in the 1940s due to a youthful folly, but it is fair to say that since then his encounters with the law have been more low key and if anything somewhat contrived.

Although this song didn’t enrage Mrs. Whitehouse like his later, number one hit, in which he offered to show us his ding-a-ling, it is fairly laden with innuendo, although of the tragic kind, because herein, our hero is unable to unfasten his safety belt.

Hey Little Cobra by The Rip Chords – “Hey Little Cobra” is a song released in 1963 by The Rip Chords. The song was produced by Terry Melcher and Bruce Johnston, who also sang vocals.

The song spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 4, while reaching No. 5 on Canada’s CHUM Hit Parade, and No. 3 on New Zealand’s “Lever Hit Parade.”

Melcher was the son of actress Doris Day; he went on to produce albums for The Byrds and Paul Revere and The Raiders. Johnston became a member of The Beach Boys. They persuaded Columbia Records to release this as by The Rip Chords to take advantage of the act’s name recognition.

Fun, Fun, Fun by the Beach Boys – “Fun, Fun, Fun” is a song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for American rock band the Beach Boys. It was released in 1964 as a single backed with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”, both later appearing on the band’s album Shut Down Volume 2.

The classic American song about girls and cars is one of many by the Beach Boys that virtually defined the California myth. Its lyrics are about a teenage girl who tricks her father so she can go hot-rodding with his Ford Thunderbird. At the end, her father discovers her deception and takes the keys from her. The narrator then comes to the girl’s rescue with his own car and she retaliates by running off with him, who fell in love with her after watching her drive.

The Wilsons’ father Murray had very conservative values and felt this song was immoral. Murray served as their manager, and by many accounts was very controlling. He didn’t get his way on this one, and was removed as manager a few months later.

The Beach Boys were on tour in Australia and when they returned to the States, Beatlemania had come to town. This was the Beach Boys’ next hit, and while now regarded as a classic, at the time it was almost eclipsed by the Mop Tops.

Little Deuce Coupe by the Beach Boys – “Little Deuce Coupe” is a song written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian. The song first appeared as the b-side to The Beach Boys’ 1963 single “Surfer Girl”. The car referred to is the 1932 Ford Model 18. “Little Deuce Coupe” became The Beach Boys’ highest charting B-side, peaking on September 28, 1963 at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Brian Wilson commented on the song in the liner notes of the 1990 CD re-release of the original Surfer Girl album: “We loved doing ‘Little Deuce Coupe’. It was a good ‘shuffle’ rhythm, which was not like most of the rhythms of the records on the radio in those days. It had a bouncy feel to it. Like most of our records, it had a competitive lyric. This record was my favorite Beach Boys car song.” According to author Jon Stebbins in his book The Lost Beach Boy, while the group was on tour in July 1963 Mike Love hit on the idea to use short instrumental segments of the song in the Beach Boys’ live set as a way to introduce the band members to the audience, starting with Dennis Wilson on drums, then adding David Marks (and later Al Jardine) on rhythm guitar, Carl Wilson on lead guitar, and finally Brian on the bass, before launching the song from the top.

This is one of the street drag-racing tales that were popular in mid 1960s in Southern California. The lyrics make more sense if you’re into cars. The mechanical parts mentioned are all actual automotive parts or technology, including the “flat head mill” (engine) and the “lake pipes” (which are long chromed exhaust pipes that run along the rocker panel). One artistic stretch is the vision of an old Ford Model A reaching 140 mph – the shape has too much air drag to reach that speed, unless you tow it behind a DC-10 jet.

A deuce is a car produced by Ford in 1932 (the “2” in 1932 is the “deuce”). Most of them had big V8 engines and were popular for drag racing. They weren’t just coupes – they also came as roadsters and sedans. The line at the end of the song, “There’s one more thing, I got the pink slip daddy,” means that the singer won a race with his Little Deuce Coupe, earning him his opponent’s car. The “pink slip” is the vehicle’s registration, so “racing for pink slips” means the winner gets the other car.

The Silver Sapphire – Little Deuce Coupe 1932 Ford

Mercury Blues by Steve Miller Band – “Mercury Blues” is a song written by K. C. Douglas and Robert Geddins, and first recorded by Douglas in 1948. The song, originally titled “Mercury Boogie,” pays homage to the American automobile, which ended production in 2010.

The song has been covered by several others including the Steve Miller Band (1967, at The Monterey International Pop Festival, and 1976, on their album, Fly Like an Eagle).

Willie the Wimp by Stevie Ray Vaughan – Willie Morris “Flukey” Stokes (December 12, 1937 – November 19, 1986) was an American reputed mobster from Chicago, Illinois. Stokes was from the South Side and well known for his silk suits, diamond rings, and flamboyant lifestyle as a drug trafficking kingpin and pool hall owner. Stokes immortalized himself in Chicago by throwing a US$200,000 (equivalent to $445,359 in 2016) party on his 30th wedding anniversary in 1985 and for the decadent funeral he arranged for his murdered 28-year-old son, Willie “the Wimp” Stokes, Jr. in February 1984. The elder Stokes had his son buried in a Cadillac-style coffin with $100 bills stuffed between his diamond ring laden fingers. Two years later in November 1986, Flukey would also be murdered, along with his chauffeur, sitting inside a 1986 Cadillac limousine while talking on his wireless telephone. Stokes was 48 years old.

Photograph of Stokes attending his 30th wedding anniversary party from Chicago-based Jet Magazine (January 28, 1985). This image is copyrighted and owned by Jet Magazine and being used for informational purposes only.

The song:  This song has its roots in my neck of the woods: Bill Carter and Ruth Ellsworth, of Austin, Texas were reading the Austin American-Statesman one morning and they read the syndicated column about Willie the Wimp. Carter said, “I said to Ruth, ‘This isn’t a column – it’s a song’.” They drove to the studio, and Carter said that “in the two miles it took us to get there we put the column to music.” Jimmie Vaughan was at the studio, and he called his brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan, to tell him about it. Stevie liked the song, recorded it, and performed it live for his fans around the world. Much of the songs lyrics came directly out of the column including a quote from Willie the Wimp’s mother where she described her and her husband’s reason for wanting an extravagant funeral for their son. She said that her son “left like he lived – in a lively manner.” It was worked into a verse in the song that says, “In his Cadillac to heaven he was waving that banner; He left like he lived, in a lively manner.”

Bill Carter first released the song as “Willy The Wimp (And His Cadillac Coffin)” on his 1985 album, Stompin’ Grounds. Jimmie Vaughan played lead guitar on Carter’s album, and his brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan, released his version, titled: “Willie the Wimp” on his Live Alive album in July 1986. The blues-rock standard begins: “Willie the Wimp was buried today, They laid him to rest in a special way” which leads into a full description of the decadence that was Willie the Wimp’s funeral. The song mentions “the casketmobile, Willie the Wimp’s red suit, the money between his fingers, [and] the headlights” – into the catchy refrain, “Talkin’ ’bout Willie the Wimp in his Cadillac coffin.” Stevie Ray Vaughan performed the song live in concert at the Midtfyns Festival in Denmark in 1988.

Hot Rod Lincoln by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen – “Hot Rod Lincoln” is a song by American singer-songwriter Charlie Ryan, first released in 1955. It was written as an answer song to Arkie Shibley’s 1951 hit “Hot Rod Race” which describes a race in San Pedro, Los Angeles between two hot rod cars, a Ford and a Mercury, which stay neck-and-neck until both are overtaken by “a kid in a hopped-up Model A”. “Hot Rod Lincoln” is sung from the perspective of this third driver, whose own hot rod is a Ford Model A body with a Lincoln-Zephyr V12 engine, overdrive, a four-barrel carburetor, 4:11 gear ratio, and safety tubes.

The cover version, by country rock band Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen on their 1971 album Lost in the Ozone, became the most successful version of “Hot Rod Lincoln,” reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 28 Adult Contemporary, No. 7 in Canada, and was ranked No. 69 on the U.S. Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972.

This was the only hit for Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, who were a County-Rock group formed at the University of Michigan. Commander Cody is lead singer and piano player George Frayne.

Hot Rod Heart by John Fogerty – “Hot Rod Heart” is written by American singer/songwriter John Fogerty and is the second track on Blue Moon Swamp, the fifth solo studio album by Fogerty, released on May 20, 1997.

Carefree Highway by Gordon Lightfoot – “Carefree Highway” is a song written by Gordon Lightfoot and was second single release from his 1974 album, Sundown. The song peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent one week at #1 on the Easy Listening chart in October 1974.

Lightfoot got the idea for this song from a road sign he saw. The song name comes from a section of Arizona State Route 74 in north Phoenix. The Carefree Highway intersects I-17, and leads to Carefree, Arizona, a small community north of Phoenix.

Said Lightfoot,

“I thought it would make a good title for a song. I wrote it down, put it in my suitcase and it stayed there for eight months.” The song employs “Carefree Highway” as a metaphor for the state of mind where the singer seeks escape from his ruminations over a long ago failed affair with a woman named Ann. Lightfoot has stated that Ann actually was the name of a woman Lightfoot romanced when he was age 22. “It was one of those situations where you meet that one woman who knocks you out and then leaves you standing there and says she’s on her way.”

Lightfoot was asked during a Reddit AMA what he meant by the song’s second line, “I wonder how the old folks are tonight?” He replied: “Well, I always thought about my folks. They’re both gone now. But I always thought about my folks, it doesn’t matter what kind of trouble I was getting into, I always thought about my folks.”

“Carefree Highway” is one of my favorite Gordon Lightfoot songs.

Little Red Corvette by Prince – “Little Red Corvette” is a song by American musician Prince. Released as a single from the album 1999 in 1983, the song was his biggest hit at the time, and his first to reach the top 10 in the US, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It was also his first single to perform better on the pop chart than the R&B chart.

The song combines a drum machine beat and slow synth buildup for the verses and a full rock chorus. Backing vocals were done by Dez Dickerson and Lisa Coleman and the guitar solo was also played by Dickerson. In the song, Prince narrates a one-night stand with a beautiful but promiscuous woman (the “Little Red Corvette” of the title); although he enjoys the experience, he urges her to “slow down” and “find a love that’s gonna last” before she destroys herself. In addition to the title, he uses several other automobile metaphors, for example comparing their lovemaking to a ride in a limousine.

The song is about sex, but it’s just ambiguous enough not to offend most listeners. Many of Prince’s earlier songs, like “Head,” “Dirty Mind,” and “Soft and Wet,” were blatantly sexual, which scared off radio stations. The line, “She had a pocket full of horses, Trojans, some of them used,” refers to Trojan condoms. The “Jockeys” represent men who have previously slept with the girl. These were veiled sexual references that not enough people got to make the song be considered offensive.

Prince got the idea for this song when he dozed off in backup singer Lisa Coleman’s 1964 Mercury Montclair Marauder after an exhausting all-night recording session. The lyrics came to him in bits and pieces during this and other catnaps. Eventually he was able to finish it without sleeping.

“Little Red Corvette” really helped put Prince on the map. 1999 was Prince’s fifth album. He had just modest success to this point, his biggest hit being the #11 “I Wanna Be Your Lover” four years earlier. The title track was issued as the first single in September 1982, about a month before the album was released. That song reached #44 US in December, and “Little Red Corvette” was released as the second single in February 1983. The song made a slow climb up the charts, reaching #6 in May. From November 1982 to April 1983, Prince toured behind the album. As “Little Red Corvette” rode up the charts, he drew far larger crowds – the early dates proved to be some of his last theater shows, as he was a clear arena headliner by the end of the tour.

The music video was one of the first videos by a black artist to get regular airplay on MTV. Michael Jackson was the first to break the color barrier on MTV with “Billie Jean,” and “Little Red Corvette” came soon after. The band shot the clip during a tour stop in Jacksonville; the song was already a radio hit when they made it.

Following Prince’s death, the song re-charted on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at number 29. It rose to number 20 one week later. It has sold 1,080,601 digital copies in the United States.

In 2001, Chevrolet put up billboards with a picture of a red 1963 Corvette Sting Ray that said, “They don’t write songs about Volvos.” In 2003, Chevrolet used this in a commercial that aired for the first time during the Grammys. The ad showed old footage of The Beach Boys performing “My 409” followed by Don McLean singing “American Pie” (“drove my Chevy to the levee”), and then Prince performing this. The camera then goes outside the club to show Chevy’s latest model. There was also a Billboard for the Chevrolet Corvette made from this song as well. It had the lyric “Little Red Corvette, baby ur much 2 fast” and Prince’s logo over the Corvette. It was displayed behind the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2003.

Fun Fact: Stevie Nicks got the idea for “Stand Back” from this song. She heard it in her car, drove to the recording studio, and put down some tracks. “It just gave me an incredible idea, so I spent many hours that night writing a song about some kind of crazy argument, and it was to become one of the most important of my songs,” she remembered in the liner notes for Timespace. Prince came in and added the keyboard bit. As Nicks tells it, he came up with the riff as soon as he started playing it.

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Mercedes Benz by Janis Joplin – “Mercedes Benz” is an a cappella song written by singer Janis Joplin with the poets Michael McClure and Bob Neuwirth, and originally recorded by Joplin. In the song, the singer asks the Lord to prove His love for her by buying her a Mercedes-Benz, a color TV, and a “night on the town.” There is also a reference to Dialing for Dollars, a franchised format local television program, which required one to be watching the show to win when the show called your phone number, hence the singer’s need for a TV.

The song is considered to be a rejection of consumerism. It is a social commentary on how many people relate happiness and self-worth with money and material possessions. Sung acapella in a blues style, Joplin was poking fun at the mindset that luxury goods will make everything better.

This song spoke to the shift in the counterculture, as some of the impoverished musicians speaking out against the system were now very rich. As Barney Hoskyns, who wrote about Joplin and the song in his book Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock told us, “Rock was now big business, and a lot of money was flooding into the pockets of people who never expected to make it. This set up a mixture of expectation and guilt – they were acquiring a taste for the finer things but knew that a good hippie shouldn’t be materialistic. By the early ’70s it had all changed, and rock stars were the new Yuppies.”

How it came to be: It is based on a song called “C’mon, God, and Buy Me a Mercedes Benz” by the Los Angeles beat poet Michael McClure. Joplin saw McClure perform it, and on August 8, 1970 she reworked it into her own song, which she performed about an hour later.

As recounted in the Patti Smith memoir Just Kids, before her show at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, she went to a nearby bar (likely Vahsen’s, later renamed Little Dick’s) with her good friend, the songwriter Bob Neuwirth, and two more recent acquaintances, the actors Rip Torn and Geraldine Page. Joplin started reciting the line, “Oh, Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz” – the first line of McClure’s song. The four started banging beer mugs on the table to form a rhythm, and Neuwirth wrote down lyrics he and Joplin came up with on a napkin. They finished the song, and Janis performed it at the show, introducing it by saying, “I just wrote this at the bar on the corner. I’m going to do it Acapulco.” Lol. “Acapulco.”

That show was recorded and widely bootlegged, as it was her penultimate performance and the debut of “Mercedes Benz.” The song was recorded in one take on October 1, 1970. These were the last tracks Joplin ever recorded; she died three days later, on October 4. The song appeared on the album Pearl, released in 1971. Wow. Recorded just a few days before her death. How close the world came to never having that song.

By the way, Janis Joplin never got a Mercedes Benz, but she did have a 1965 Porsche that was painted to become a piece of hippie art.

Arrested for Driving While Blind by ZZ Top – “Arrested for Driving While Blind” is a song by American blues rock band ZZ Top. Written by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, it was released as the second single from their fifth studio album Tejas (1976).

The song ostensibly concerns the pleasures, and legal pitfalls, of driving under the influence, after dark, as an antidote to limited leisure opportunities. The song references a number of popular alcoholic beverage brands:

“When you’re driving down the highway at night

And you’re feelin’ that Wild Turkey’s bite

Don’t give Johnnie Walker a ride

Cause Jack Black is right by your side

You might get taken to the jailhouse and find

You’ve been arrested for driving while blind.”

Never ones to be preachy, this is ZZ Top’s version of an anti-drunk driving song. In a 1985 interview with Spin magazine, bass player Dusty Hill said:

“I was never DWI. I have been very close. I’ve had a couple of wrecks in the past. We wrote that song quite a while ago, and we caught a little flak about it. People think we’re suggesting that people should get drunk and go out and drive. That’s not it at all. Billy introduces it: ‘Don’t get arrested for driving while blind.’ We’re not saying, ‘Don’t drink.’ We’re just doing a tune. But personally, it scared the shit out of me having a wreck. I wasn’t completely whacked, but my response time wasn’t what it would be right now.”

Panama by Van Halen – “Panama” is a song from Van Halen’s album 1984. It was the third single released from that record and is one of their most recognized songs. The song was reportedly written about a car. In an interview with Howard Stern, lead singer David Lee Roth explained the meaning behind the trademark song. Although the song features some suggestive lyrics, it is about a car that Roth saw race in Las Vegas; its name was “Panama Express”, hence the title of the song. In the Stern interview, Roth did not explain why the song was about a car rather than the usual Van Halen material.

Panama was the name of Roth’s car. He had the hood and bumper mounted in his hallway, which can be seen in his video for “SHOOBop”. He has a stuffed deer’s behind crashing through the front windshield. A plaque underneath reads, “Your First deer, courtesy of PANAMA.”

During the bridge of the song where Roth says “I can barely see the road from the heat comin’ off it,” guitarist Eddie Van Halen can be heard revving his 1972 Lamborghini Miura S in the background. The car was backed up to the studio and microphones were attached to the exhaust pipe to record the sound for the song.

This was one of the last Van Halen songs recorded with David Lee Roth as lead singer. He was replaced by Sammy Hagar in 1986.

409 by the Beach Boys“409” is a song written by Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Gary Usher for the American rock and roll band the Beach Boys. The song features Love singing lead vocals. It was originally released as the B-side of the single “Surfin’ Safari” (1962). It was later released on their 1962 album, Surfin’ Safari and appeared again on their 1963 album, Little Deuce Coupe.

The song is credited for initiating the hot rod music craze of the 1960s.

This song describes the Chevrolet 409, named because of its huge 409 cubic-inch engine. Dubbed “Turbo-Fire,” production began in January 1961. The engine had a single Carter four-barrel carburetor that supplied enough fuel-air mixture to generate up to 360 horsepower. With a bit of hot-rodding, more than 400 horsepower was easily available, making the car a big hit among street racers.

This full-size family car 409 did the quarter mile in 13.58 seconds at 105.88 miles per hour. It could go from zero to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. This song describes the Bel-Air sport coupe version of the car equipped with the “4-speed, dual-quad, Positraction” equipment. It could do a 12.22-second quarter mile at 115 miles per hour. Zero to 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds flat.

My ’71 Monte Carlo wasn’t quite that fast but it did zero to 60 in about 6 seconds. I loved that car, my first, and I so miss it!

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An early Beach Boys song, Brian Wilson wrote this with his early collaborator Gary Usher. Wilson knew very little about things like surfing or cars, but Usher did, and he was able to help Wilson tap into the California culture. In 1971, Usher told Gene Sculatti:

“Dennis Wilson was the first Beach Boy to pick up on surfing. He was aware of Dick Dale, the Pendleton jackets and that whole shot. It just rubbed off. I never surfed. I was a hot rod freak. I had a 409. One day we were driving up to Los Angeles looking for a part for my car, and I said ‘Let’s write a song called ‘409’. We’ll do a thing ‘giddy up, giddy up,’ meaning horses for horsepower,’ just kidding around. We came back and put it to three simple chords in five minutes, and it developed into a million-dollar car craze.”

Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers – “Last Kiss” is a song released by Wayne Cochran in 1961 on the Gala label. It failed to do well on the charts. Cochran subsequently re-recorded his song for the King label in 1963. It was later revived by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers and was one of several teen tragedy songs of the period.

This song is about Jeanette Clark and J.L. Hancock, who were both 16 years old when their car hit a tractor-trailer on a road in rural Barnesville, Georgia. They were on a date a few days before Christmas in 1962. A local gas station attendant helping with the recovery of the bodies did not recognize his own daughter. Hancock and Clark’s friend Wayne Cooper, who was riding with them, was killed instantly. Their two other friends, Jewel Emerson and Ed Shockley, survived with serious injuries. The drummer of the songwriter Wayne Cochran had been dating Jeannette Clark’s sister at the time of the wreck.

Wayne Cochran lived on Route 1941 in Georgia, which was about 15 miles away from the crash. It was a busy road, and Cochran saw lots of accidents on it. He was working on a song based on all the crashes he saw, and was about halfway done with it when he heard about the wreck in Barnesville. There was an intense emotional response from the community after the tragedy, and Cochran used those feelings to finish the song, which he dedicated it to Jeanette Clark.

Cochran’s version was a local hit in Georgia, which prompted a Texas record company to record it with J. Frank Wilson and release it nationally. The band’s producer, Son Roush, subsequently split the group to place lead singer J. Frank Wilson with better musicians. Four months after the release of this song, the new band were touring in Ohio. At about 5:15 a.m., Roush apparently fell asleep at the wheel. The car drifted left of center and rammed head-on into a trailer truck. Roush was killed instantly. Wilson survived with a few broken ribs and a broken ankle, but went right on with the tour, taking only a week off. People still remember him coming out on the stage on crutches to sing “Last Kiss” and “Hey, Little One.” The second accident is what pushed this song to #2 on the national charts. Wilson later retired from music and went to work in a nursing home.

Look at That Cadillac by the Stray Cats – The Stray Cats were an American rockabilly band formed in 1979 by guitarist and vocalist Brian Setzer, double bassist Lee Rocker, and drummer Slim Jim Phantom in the Long Island town of Massapequa, New York. The group had numerous hit singles in the UK, Australia, Canada and the U.S. including “Stray Cat Strut”, “(She’s) Sexy + 17”, “Look at That Cadillac,” “I Won’t Stand in Your Way”, “Bring it Back Again”, and “Rock This Town.”

“Look at That Cadillac” is a single from their third album, Rant and Rave with the Stray Cats, released in 1983. It only reached #68 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Cars by Gary Numan – “Cars” is a 1979 song by British artist Gary Numan, released as a single from the album The Pleasure Principle. It reached the top of the charts in several countries, and today is considered a new wave staple. In the UK charts, it reached number 1 in 1979, and in 1980 hit number 1 in Canada two weeks running on the RPM national singles chart and rose to number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Though Numan had a string of hits in the UK, “Cars” was his only song in the US Hot 100. It debuted on the American Top 40 on 29 March 1980 and spent a total of 17 weeks there, peaking at #9.

This song is about how people use technology and material goods to isolate themselves from human contact. Numan has stated that he has Asperger syndrome, which is a mild form of autism, but until he was diagnosed, he had a lot of trouble relating to other people.

Numan told Mojo magazine March 2008 about the original inspiration for this song: “A couple of blokes started peering in the window and for whatever reason took a dislike to me, so I had to take evasive action. I swerved up the pavement, scattering pedestrians everywhere. After that, I began to see the car as the tank of modern society.”

Even though the message of this song is that cars lead to a mechanical society devoid of personal interaction, it didn’t stop automakers from using it in commercials. Both Nissan and Oldsmobile have used it in ads.

A more clever approach came from Diehard, who created a commercial where Numan played the song on 24 car horns powered by just one of their batteries. Numan has no problem with his song being used in commercials, telling us, “I’m up for that, actually. I think any use of it at all. It would be great if it happened again.”

Numan made a video for this with special effects that look ridiculous now, but were cutting edge in 1979. When MTV went on the air in 1981, it was one of about 200 videos they had, so they played it over and over. This made the song a hit in the US.

Numan explained to Rolling Stone how he came up with this song’s synthesizer hook: “I have only written two songs on bass guitar and the first one was ‘Cars.’ I had just been to London to buy a bass and when I got home the first thing I played was that intro riff. I thought, ‘Hey, that’s not bad!’ In 10 minutes, I had the whole song. The quickest one I ever wrote. And the most famous one I’d ever written. More people should learn from that.”

Drive by the Cars – “Drive” is a 1984 song by The Cars, the third single from the band’s Heartbeat City album released in March 1984 and their biggest international hit. Written by Ric Ocasek, the track was sung by bassist Benjamin Orr and produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange with the band.

Upon its release, “Drive” became The Cars’ highest charting single in the United States, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; on the Adult Contemporary chart, the song went to No. 1.

A very melancholy song by The Cars, this is written from the perspective of a guy who’s watching a woman (who he presumably used to date) “going down the tubes,” trying to get her to take a hard look at what’s going on in her life.

The video was directed by a 23-year-old Timothy Hutton, who had won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie Ordinary People. Hutton aspired to direct, so when Ric Ocasek of The Cars suggested he do it, Hutton jumped at the chance. Hutton cast the Czechoslovakian model Paulina Porizkova as the female lead in the clip. Auditioning for the role was the first time she met Ocasek, who she married in 1989.

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman – “Fast Car” is a song by American singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman. It was released in April 1988 as the lead single from her self-titled debut album. Her appearance on the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute was the catalyst for the song’s becoming a top 10 hit in the United States, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. Besides this “Fast Car” received two Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, as well as a Video Music Award nomination for Best Female Video in 1989.

Vehicle by the Ides of March – “Vehicle” is the one-hit wonder success for the Chicago-based band The Ides of March. It rose to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of May 23, 1970. It is purported to be the fastest selling single in Warner Bros. Records history.

The Ides of March formed in 1965 in Berwyn, Illinois – their name came from a line in the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar. Peterik was 14 at the time. The horn section was added in 1968. They were all teenagers when this song was released.

Written and sung by Jim Peterik, the song features a distinctive horn section riff that is still popular today. The song is often mistaken for the horn driven sound of Blood, Sweat and Tears which was popular in the same time range. Peterik wrote “Vehicle” as a joke.

“I got the idea from one of these anti-drug pamphlets they distributed in a school. It was very tongue-in-cheek.” At first, the opening line was, “I got a set of wheels pretty baby, won’t you hop inside my car?” Peterik changed it when his friend showed him a government issued anti-drug pamphlet. It explained the perils of drug use and was illustrated with a little drawing of an undesirable type cruising along the curb looking for easy targets. The caption read, “I’m the friendly stranger in the black sedan, won’t you hop inside my car?” The lyrics that followed, about the picture and candy, came from a warning his mother used to give him about walking home from school.

Peterik has also said that:

“In high school, I co-founded a band called The Ides of March. We did it because we loved music, not because we thought we’d be successful. At the time, I was madly in love with this girl named Karen. I had a souped-up 1964 Plymouth Valiant, and she was always asking for rides. I drove her to modeling school every week. I was hoping flames would ignite—but they didn’t. I came home one day, dejected, and thought: all I am is her vehicle. And I thought: Wow! Vehicle! I came up with this song, taught it to the band, and the next thing I knew, we were recording in a CBS studio. The song—called “Vehicle”—became a world-wide hit in 1970. “I’m your vehicle baby/I’ll take you anywhere you wanna go!”

Peterik had an on again off again relationship with Karen after the song came out. Eventually they married and have been together for years.

Roll on Down the Highway by Bachman Turner Overdrive – “Roll On down the Highway” is a song written by Fred Turner and Robbie Bachman, first recorded by Canadian rock group Bachman–Turner Overdrive (BTO) for their 1974 album Not Fragile. The lead vocal is provided by Turner. Turner and Randy Bachman had originally been contracted by Ford to write a song for the automotive company’s commercials, but Ford never picked up any of their compositions. Robbie Bachman later helped turn one of Fred’s ideas into a Top 20 hit. “Roll on Down the Highway” peaked at #14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 on March 1, 1975. It reached #8 on the Cash Box Top 100 singles, and #4 on the Canadian RPM chart, and gave the band their second — and final — hit in the United Kingdom, reaching #22 in the UK Singles Chart.

Fitting for a band that is partly named for a trucking magazine (Overdrive), this song is about a trucker making a haul. Written by drummer Robbie Bachman and bass player Fred Turner (who sang lead), the song tapped into the ’70s fascination with trucking culture.

Randy Bachman and Fred Turner would often give themselves assignments as motivation to write songs, often writing something in the style of a current hit. This song evolved out of something they wrote for a Ford commercial. In our interview with Randy Bachman, he explained:

“It’s like getting an assignment: write a new commercial for Ford and you’ll get paid $100,000. Well, I’d sit down and I’d write a commercial for Ford, ‘let it roll down the highway.’ Ford never picks it up and I have a song called ‘Roll On Down the Highway.'”

 Rockin’ Down the Highway by The Doobie Brothers – This song is from the second double live album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers, Rockin’ Down the Highway: The Wildlife Concert, released in 1996. The concerts were performed to benefit the Wildlife Conservation Society, hence the album’s title.

Never released as a single, this is a popular song from the second Doobie Brothers album Toulouse Street, which contained their breakout hit “Listen To The Music.” Like many of The Doobies early hits, it was written by their lead singer Tom Johnston, who told us:

“‘Rockin’ Down The Highway’ was a good times song. It’s just what it sounds like. It’s about being in a car with the top down flying down the road, which was not uncommon. I lived in San Jose, but I spent a lot of time in the Santa Cruz Mountains and driving up and down Highway 1 down by Santa Cruz. You know, we hadn’t signed with a label at that particular time, and I would imagine that the words came out of those experiences: it was footloose, fancy free, and just groovin’ up and down the coast, partying. I don’t think there was anything more in depth about it as far as the words. I don’t think there’s any major story to be told there. I mention a motorcycle in there, and it’s not a direct mention, but it kind of glances off motorcycling and riding around in cars. I was motorcycle nuts in those days, so there’s a reference to that.”

Long May You Run by Neil Young – Neil’s beloved Pontiac hearse, “Mort” (a.k.a. “Mortimer Hearseburg”), was the inspiration for this song. Neil drove “Mort” from Toronto to Los Angeles, where he met Stephen Stills and formed Buffalo Springfield.

Neil was in Canada driving to Sudbury when ‘Mort’ broke down in Blind River, June 1965. (Which is contradictory to the lyrics; “well it was back in Blind River, in 1962, when I last saw you alive”).

In 1976, Stephen Stills and Neil Young formed The Stills-Young Band and released an album called Long May You Run, which turned out to be somewhat ironic when the collaboration quickly stalled.

Stills and Young wrote separately for the album, which Stephen contributing four songs, and Young adding five, including the title track.

Stills was a longtime collaborator of Neil’s, having worked with him first in Buffalo Springfield and then in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. However, they had a falling out only nine days into the Long May You Run tour. Young decided to abandon the project, leaving Stills with a mere telegram to explain his departure. It read: “Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.” Yikes!

The last ever Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien on Friday January 22, 2010 finished in style when O’Brien’s final musical guest, Neil Young, performed this song in what appeared to be a poke at NBC. O’Brien had been asked to move his slot to 12:05 a.m., and the TV host refused to move his show to such a late hour, and instead negotiated a $45 million exit deal.

Racing in the Street by Bruce Springsteen – “Racing in the Street” is a song by Bruce Springsteen from his 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town. In the original vinyl format, it was the last song of side one of the album. The song has been called Springsteen’s best song by several commentators, including the authors of The New Rolling Stone Album Guide.

The song plays off the American love of muscle cars during the late 1960s and into the 1970s. Springsteen wrote this about a small-time drag racer who dreams of a better life somewhere else. He has said that this song commemorates the racing in the street that occurred on a little fire road outside his home base of Asbury Park, New Jersey.

The narrator has a dead end job, but his pride and joy is his ’69 Chevy that he and his partner built, and race in the northeast section of the state (exactly which state is not mentioned) to win money gambling against similar racers. It describes that very American desire of the young man to leave his town and see what is out in the big world – to avoid that soul killing life they see around them.

This is one of many early Springsteen songs featuring cars – in this case a Chevy. Some others were “Thunder Road,” “Backstreets,” and “Pink Cadillac.”

Bruce explained to Rolling Stone in 2010:

“When you pick a song title like ‘Racing In The Street,’ that’s a hard song to write. But that was sort of the local culture of Asbury in the ’70s, which was still deeply enmeshed in car culture. If you went to the Stone Pony, it was a constant circle of souped-up muscle cars on Saturday and Sunday. Once again, I sort of stood outside of it, I was hitchhiking, I didn’t have a car! But I wanted one real bad.”

 

This next song isn’t necessarily about a car but the music video prominently features a car. It’s a favorite of mine, me having that vengeful spirit and all…

 

And that leads me into the Country playlist. Most of you know me as a classic rocker and that I am for sure. But I’ve been living in Texas for well over two decades now and I’ve been initiated into the world of country music. It all started when I owned my bar. I was known to have the most kickass jukebox in town and new people used to come in all the time just because they heard about my jukebox. Naturally it was loaded with tons of classics from the 60s and 70s and we rocked every day and every night. But then some of my regular customers were bitching because I didn’t have but a few country songs on there. So to make everybody happy, I added a nice mix of country to the collections.

Couple that with the fact that I’d occasionally turn to the country station while driving around and I actually started to dig some of these artists. So I thought I’d put together a Country Playlist for this week’s theme.

I didn’t have time to go deep with song backgrounds so here’s a down and dirty country playlist all about trucks. Because we all know what you get when you play a country song backwards: you get your lover back, you get your dog back, and you get your truck back. Or so they say. So here you go:

A TRUCK-LADEN COUNTRY PLAYLIST

Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts

We Rode in Trucks by Luke Bryan

Drive (for Daddy Gene) by Alan Jackson

Hillbilly Deluxe by Brooks and Dunn

I Love My Truck by Glen Campbell

Big Ol’ Truck by Toby Keith

Rough and Ready by Trace Adkins

Mud on My Tires by Brad Paisley

Pickup Man by Joe Diffie

Take a Little Ride by Jason Aldean

Truck Yeah by Tim McGraw

Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck by Kip Moore

I Drive Your Truck by Lee Brice

Cab of My Truck by Dierks Bentley

How Country Feels by Randy Houser

Eight-Second Ride by Jake Owen

Boys ‘Round Here by Blake Shelton

That’s My Kind of Night by Luke Bryan

The Pickup Truck Song by Jerry Jeff Walker

Doin’ Things You Can’t Do in a Car by Due West

Getting Married to My Pickup Truck by Rodney Carrington

 

And I’m including this one, just because.

I Want a Cowboy by Reba McEntire

 

Hope you enjoyed my Cars and Trucks Playlists. What are your favorite songs about cars or trucks? Do you have any favorite songs about motorcycles or boats? Have any old Road Trip Mix Tapes from back in the day? If so, what’s on them?

PS: Today, October 23rd, is the anniversary of my blog going live four years ago!  Wow, has it been four years already? Crazy!

Thanks to all my blog friends for making Angels Bark a fun, rewarding and entertaining pursuit. Rock on, y’all!

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Curious as a Cathy.  Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants.

 

 

 

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Battle of the Bands RESULTS – I’m Your Captain by Grand Funk

 

 

It’s time to deliver the results from this month’s Battle of the Bands. The song was Grand Funk’s “I’m Your Captain” and the contenders were the German band Helloween vs. Portland’s Tom Forest.

I actually held out posting results for an extra day hoping that one more person would come and cast a vote because we have here a TIE. A tie that I can’t even break. My vote for Tom Forest brought the tally to a tie with six votes cast for each contender.

Birgit would’ve been the deciding vote BUT she couldn’t listen to Tom’s version as it wouldn’t play in Canada and I couldn’t find a version that would work for her there. So she wasn’t able to cast a bonafide vote in all fairness.

With that, I say Congratulations to both artists. Well played!

As always, thanks for participating in my battle. See you next month on November 15th for my next round of warring music acts.

Monday’s Music Moves Me – Artist Spotlight: FIREFALL

Firefall is a rock band that formed in Boulder, Colorado in 1974. It was founded by Rick Roberts, who had been in the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Jock Bartley, who had been Tommy Bolin’s replacement in Zephyr.

How it all began: In 1973 Rick Roberts and Jock Bartley first crossed paths when Bartley was on tour with Gram Parsons as a member of his backing band The Fallen Angels. Both The Fallen Angels and Roberts were performing in New York City at the same venue on consecutive nights. After the two were reunited back in their native Colorado, Roberts was impressed by Bartley’s guitar work and the duo soon began practicing together. Encouraged to form a band, they contacted bassist-singer Mark Andes (a former member of the bands Spirit and Jo Jo Gunne, who had temporarily retired to the mountains outside Boulder, Colorado), and Washington D.C. singer-songwriter-guitarist Larry Burnett, whom Rick had met in his travels earlier that same year, and coaxed them into joining their band, which they christened Firefall in 1974. For the drum chair the group auditioned several local musicians but eventually decided, after a phone call from him, to add Roberts’ former band mate from Flying Burrito Brothers, Michael Clarke, who was most famous for his time spent in the ’60s folk-rock band The Byrds. Clarke, who was living in Washington, having recently returned from residing in Hawaii, agreed to come aboard.

The band tightened up their act performing in clubs in Colorado for over a year, mainly in Boulder and Aspen. In early 1975 the band recorded a demo tape consisting of three songs produced by Chris Hillman. They then began taking it around to major labels, finally getting signed with Atlantic Records.

The band’s biggest hit single, “You Are the Woman”, peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard charts in 1976. Other hits included “Just Remember I Love You” (#11 in 1977), “Strange Way” (#11 in 1978), “Cinderella” (#34 in 1977), “Headed for a Fall” (#35 in 1980), and “Staying with It” (#37 in 1981) with female vocalist Lisa Nemzo.

 

FUN FACT: How the name originated: Roberts took the name from the Yosemite Firefall (1872 to 1968), a summertime tradition of dumping a cascade of flaming embers off Glacier Point in California’s Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Firefall – a long-exposure taken from the Ahwahnee Meadow

The mid-70s brought the band breakthroughs and successes. Their first album, the self-titled Firefall, was recorded in one month and released in April 1976. It went on to became Atlantic Records quickest album to reach gold status. The group’s first single, “Livin’ Ain’t Livin’,” stopped just short of the Top 40. In the following months, the band toured with artists such as Leon and Mary Russell, the Doobie Brothers, Tom Waits, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Roy Buchanan, Electric Light Orchestra and The Band and were put on the bottom of a bill that featured Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Asleep at the Wheel.

The group in 1977

The band’s next single, “You Are the Woman”, made the Top 10 and the band began touring with Fleetwood Mac, who were at the beginning of their commercial peak. Their next single, “Cinderella”, though it reached the Top 40 and was played extensively on FM radio, did not fare as well on AM radio because of its controversial lyrics which caused feminist groups to pressure the stations to avoid playing it. However, this did not have a lasting effect on the band’s sales.

Their next album, Luna Sea (pun: “lunacy”), was released in July 1977. It peaked at No. 27 on the charts and went gold less than two months after release. The single from the album, “Just Remember I Love You” hit No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It was around this period that tensions were beginning to rise within the group, stemming from non-stop touring and management problems as well as alcohol and drug abuse. In recent interviews, both Rick and Larry have indicated that the group at this time was divided between the heavy substance users (Rick, Larry and Michael Clarke) and the other three (Bartley, Andes and Muse), who were a bit more in control of themselves. At this time the group was also incredibly popular and playing to sold-out crowds with Fleetwood Mac as part of their Rumours tour. But this only delayed their disintegration for a short time.

After a series of management changes and in-fighting among the band members, a new production team (Ron and Howard Albert) was brought in and they released a third album, Elan, in October 1978. It was a massive success and became their first album to reach platinum status. The hit single “Strange Way” continued the band’s commercial hot streak.

The Decline: After two years of non-stop recording and touring, the band was burned out and their financial situation was unstable.

During a tour of Japan in August 1979, Michael Clarke, due to his excessive drinking, missed gigs or showed up in no condition to play. The band resorted to hiring a German drummer, Dan Holsten, whose playing technique was similar to Clarke’s, to sit in. Holsten, who even looked a lot like Clarke, had played in several other bands in the Colorado area and caught the eye of Jock and Larry one night at a Colorado Springs bar. He became known as a ‘reliable’ back-up drummer for tours and some studio work.

Despite this, Atlantic Records still expected a new album. The band recorded the album sporadically over a year. The Albert brothers were again brought in to produce the album. But the band once again required a second effort, which was produced by Kyle Lehning. The result, titled Undertow, was released in March 1980. This would be the last album with Firefall’s original lineup. Upon completion of the album, Clarke and Mark Andes both left the band. (Clarke later died of alcoholism at his Treasure Island home in Florida in December 1993).

Andes and Clarke were replaced by Kenny Loggins’ former rhythm section, consisting of bassist George Hawkins and drummer Tris Imboden. With the two new players, the band recorded Clouds Across the Sun, which was released in December 1980 and spawned the early 1981 hit “Staying With It”, which was done as a duet with singer Lisa Nemzo. Clouds saw Jock emerging more as a writer and singer and had the band moving towards a harder “New wave music” direction on some of the tracks.

Hawkins resigned from the group in late 1980 to join up with Mick Fleetwood’s Zoo, a side project the Fleetwood Mac drummer was recording in Africa. After Andes returned to guest for the group’s February 1981 appearance on American Bandstand, Kim Stone came in to take over bass. Everything seemed to be on track until Larry Burnett suddenly disappeared from the group, after playing a show at Miami Baseball Stadium with Heart, Blue Öyster Cult, Motörhead and Freewheel on April 19, 1981, to return to his hometown of Washington D.C. to enter a rehab (Burnett eventually kicked a serious drug habit and after working in radio in the late 80s/early 90s, began pursuing a solo career in 2004).

The group continued on to play their next show in Las Vegas without him. But after playing a concert with the band in Lahaina, Hawaii with Pure Prairie League in August of that same year, Rick Roberts announced that he also was leaving for a solo career. With the band lacking personnel and increasing in financial debt, Atlantic dropped Firefall from their roster in 1981 and released Best of Firefall at the close of that year.

A Renewal: Unhappy with the way things had turned out, Jock Bartley decided to put together a new Firefall lineup in the spring of 1982. You can read all about it on Wikipedia. Currently touring with three original members (Jock Bartley, David Muse, Mark Andes), longtime drummer Sandy Ficca and talented newcomer Gary Jones, Firefall continues to make great music for a loyal following, adding new fans at each show. You can find out more about the revival of Firefall at their site.

I am most familiar with Firefall’s early years, back in the 70s. Interestingly, in the latter years of the 80s decade I worked with one of the original members of Firefall, Larry Burnett.

Larry Burnett

Larry Burnett with WCXR (Washington, DC, late 80s/early 90s). Photo courtesy of the website of former WCXR Music Director Paul Altobell (www.paul-altobelli.com)

He was a radio personality at Washington DC’s Classic Rock station WCXR 105.9, where I was an advertising sales account executive. I worked there from 1988 through 1991. At the time, Larry was the evening on-air personality from 7pm-midnight on weekdays and he also produced and hosted a weekly specialty show called “The Blues Room” on Sunday nights.

WCXR Washington's Classic Rock Station 105.9

After his WCXR career, leaving in the early 90s, Larry continued on as a solo singer/songwriter/guitarist. I believe he now lives in Virginia but he spent some years in Colorado and he was recently inducted into the Colorado Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You can check out Larry’s music at his website.

Here is my Firefall playlist, in order of my favorite Firefall songs. The first ten are the ones that I listened to a lot back in the day. The rest of the playlist is some other Firefall songs that I’m just coming to appreciate, many of which were written by Larry Burnett (and he served as lead vocals on many of his songs too). “Strange Way” is on the playlist twice: in the beginning as my second favorite Firefall song (with high quality sound) and then at the end as the last song with a live studio video because it’s one of the only live videos with the original members — and because I get to see my old pal Larry Burnett playing (he’s the one on the right with the long hair and sunglasses).

Put your headphones on and Crank this playlist up! If you’re not already a Firefall fan before hearing this, you will be after:

 

Some tidbits on a few of my favorite Firefall songs:

Cinderella – My favorite Firefall song by Larry Burnett is “Cinderella.” He actually wrote that song when he was 16 years old! Most of what Larry wrote on the first couple of Firefall albums were written when he was between 16 and 19. Larry wrote this song about a girl who wants the fairytale ending, but when she gets pregnant, her boyfriend kicks her out to raise their son on her own.

This wasn’t, however, based on personal experience. Burnett was 16 years old when he wrote this song and says, “I certainly didn’t have a wife or a girlfriend who was pregnant [while] I was working my butt off trying to support us. None of that was going on. But it was certainly happening around me in other people’s lives.”

It took Larry about 15 minutes to write this song. He says it happened so quick he almost never saw it coming. “It was already there, and I was just sort of this vessel. And *poof* I went, whoa, that was interesting. It was a nice moment.”

Musically this song is fantastic. The beginning blows my mind. The flute and the harmonica grab me every time…then the vocals pull me in and together with the music it all blends into this really kickass song.

Strange Way – My next favorite is “Strange Way.” Firefall scored another hit, this time a downbeat one. The singer is seeing a woman who sounds as if she’s wallowing in self-pity over things that have gone wrong for her, and he’s telling her that she’s bringing him down and that he doesn’t want to deal with it anymore. This was written by Firefall singer/guitarist Rick Roberts. (He and fellow singer/guitarist Larry Burnett wrote most of Firefall‘s songs).

You Are the Woman – This was both Firefall‘s breakout hit and it’s most popular single, peaking at #9 on the US Billboard Charts. In it, a man sings that he’s found the ideal woman, and he loves her not for external qualities, but how much she loves him in return. It was written by Rick Roberts.

Jock Bartley of Firefall accounts for the popularity of “You Are the Woman”:

“Every female between the ages of 18 and 24 wanted to be the woman portrayed in the song, and that caused their boyfriends and spouses to call radio stations and subsequently flood the airwaves with dedications of the song and the sentiment. The message was simple and sincere, and the song was easy to sing. It was like our fans let us be a singing version of the Hallmark card that said what they weren’t quite sure what to express.”

Bartley, the founding member of Firefall who has remained with the group to the present (and as of 2015, Muse and founding bassist Mark Andes have rejoined), also states:

“Everybody knows ‘You Are the Woman’. It ended up kind of being a hindrance because people would only hear ‘You Are the Woman’ and would think, oh, that light Rock band from Colorado. We’re actually a pretty smokin’ Rock band that really has fun onstage and cooks and jams and plays ‘You Are the Woman’ also.”

Just Remember I Love You – In this song, the singer tries to offer encouragement to someone who sounds chronically depressed and hopeless, perhaps suicidal. People who are going through their worst times ever have been known to identify with the lyrics. This was written by Firefall singer Rick Roberts.

Sharpshootin’ at the Senator – written by Larry Burnett. “Sharpshootin’ at the Senator” is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a song about assassinating senators. Firefall founding member Larry Burnett explains:

“It’s sort of me trying to observe something I actually hadn’t ever really seen, which was the mind of a guy who would assassinate a political figure. And it’s really heavy, hard rock cool, so it’s a cool song. We used to play it in person and people would go nuts. We loved playing it. It was intense.

It’s about how a guy could become so unhappy with things. You know, people blame stuff on all kinds of other stuff, they don’t take much responsibility. And it’s convenient to blame things on the government. And their attitude is, ‘My personal problems are because Senator Somebody isn’t representing me right, so my family’s suffering.’ That’s where that came from, it was an imagination. It was imagining somebody that unhappy and willing to kill a political figure.”

Atlantic Records refused to put this song on a record, and Burnett had thought that was due to the touchy subject matter. It wasn’t until years later he discovered the real reason:

“During our recording session I had taken a trip north, visited my mom, brought some of the basic tracks along from the session to play for her and family who live around here. She heard the song, she got very worried. She didn’t say anything to me about it, but she heard the song, and she went, ‘Ooo. I don’t know about that.’ She was worried about the impact that a song like that would have on the world and on people, and then how that would reflect on me. I don’t think it was dangerous. It was powerful, but not dangerous. I could have been wrong. So here’s what my mother does: She – unbeknownst to me – writes a letter to Ahmet Ertegun, the Chairman of the Board of Atlantic Records, and he gets it. And she identifies herself, ‘I am Larry Burnett’s mother.’ It was like a 4-page letter that she went on and on and on about how he might not want this attached to him and his record company. And she made some really good points, actually. So Ahmet and the people at Atlantic are thinking that’s a pretty cool song. Bunch of guys, they don’t care. But he gets this letter from my mom, he reads it, and he decides at that moment after reading my mom’s letter to pull the song from the album. And I find this out 2 years later from our then-manager, who’s a friend of mine named Jack Boyle, and he had a copy of the letter. He says, ‘Larry, come here. Remember all that grief that Atlantic was giving us about a couple of songs? I want you to read something.’ And then I read it and I went, ‘Whoa,’ and I read the signature at the bottom, and I went, ‘Ooohh, this is my mother.’ He says, ‘Yeah, you know where I got that?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Ahmet gave that to me.’ He says, ‘This is why we didn’t put that thing on the record.’ I was really surprised to find out that suddenly it’s a bonus track on this CD.”

Even Steven – This is the final track on Firefall’s Luna Sea album. It was the first collaborative effort between Firefall founding members Larry Burnett and Rick Roberts. Collaborative songwriting does not come easily to Burnett, and he prefers to stay away from it. So he was less than thrilled when Roberts came to him one night and suggested they collaborate. He tells this story:

“For years I write my songs, and Ricky writes his songs. Then we as a band get together, we do them, and never the twain met. And then one night in Florida, Ricky says, ‘You know, we really ought to try to write something together.’ And I immediately kind of went Oh God, I knew this was coming. And the only reason the ‘Oh God’ response was there was because I know how Ricky writes songs – at the time, anyway. He gets a big bag of cocaine and gets real high, and then he gets papers and pencil and starts writing down rhyming words on the right-hand side of the page. And then tries to attach sentences to each rhyming word. And then he pushes everything around and tries to have it make sense, because, as you might imagine, it’s not going to make sense right away, considering his approach to songwriting. So anyway, he said, ‘Okay, you and I should try writing…’ boom – here’s this big bag of coke. And I’m going, No, Ricky, I don’t do this to make me perform better. I’m not that stupid. I get high, but not because it makes me better at anything. So we struggled. Boy, we wrote for a long time. And for me it was an enormous struggle. For him it was just what he does, it was no big deal. And he kind of kept the thing going. So that’s how we came up with this song, ‘Even Steven.’ And there again, even the title – the 2 words in the title – rhyme. And if you read the lyrics it’s, in my humble opinion – or not so humble, very often – it’s just a silly, dumb song. And so, when we were done with this, and we’re singing it and kind of burning it into our brains so we remember it, and I’m going, ‘This ain’t cool at all. I do not want to be associated with this song ever.’ It’s a lame, stupid song. At any rate, there it is, my name on it, it’s on the record, you know. It went nowhere, really, as a song.”

 

“You may or may not be pleased to know I haven’t done any dope, or drank in 23 years. But that’s what ‘Even Steven’ was all about. That’s what fueled it, just because Ricky felt obligated for us to collaborate.”

 

The “Steven” in this song is “nobody,” says Burnett, and he’s neither particularly proud of the way the song came about, nor the end result. “We grabbed a household phrase, ‘even Steven,’ and then we thought, Oh, Steven, we have a guy here. Let’s use ‘even Steven’ – this silly cliché – and create a character, and just keep snorting coke until we have this character.”

“It was kind of horrible,” he adds, laughing.

 

Here is the full Interview with Larry Burnett that I found online (some of which is quoted above). Interesting stuff from a guy I used to know…

Hope you all enjoyed my spotlight on Firefall. Were you familiar with the band before now? If so, what are your favorite Firefall songs?

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Curious as a Cathy.  Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants.

 

 

 

 

Battle of the Bands: I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home) by Grand Funk Railroad

I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” is a 1970 song written by American musician Mark Farner and recorded by Grand Funk Railroad as the closing track to their album Closer to Home. Ten minutes in duration, it is the band’s longest studio recording. One of the group’s best-known songs, it is composed as two distinct but closely related movements. Its title has been rendered in various ways across many different Grand Funk albums, including “I’m Your Captain”, “I’m Your Captain/Closer to Home”, “Closer to Home/I’m Your Captain”, “Closer to Home (I’m Your Captain)”, and “Closer to Home”.

The song conveys the pleas of a captain on a troubled sea voyage and facing a mutiny from his crew. Its use of an orchestra during the long repeated refrains of the closing movement served to differentiate it from much of Grand Funk’s work. Several interpretations of the song have been given; most revolve around the Vietnam War, and “I’m Your Captain” is popular among veterans of that conflict.

A truncated version of the song was a modest hit single when first released, but the track achieved greater airplay on progressive rock radio stations. Decades later, “I’m Your Captain” remains a staple of many classic rock radio stations. It is considered to be the standout track on the Closer to Home album, and considered by both Farner and others to be his best work as a songwriter. And with its melodic strengths and dramatic feel it is often considered one of the best rock songs of all time.

THEMES & INTERPRETATIONS: Over the years many interpretations have been posed by listeners of “I’m Your Captain”, including the literal one of mutiny on a voyage, but also ones involving drug addiction and ones by those who see resonance in Homer’s Odyssey and themes of returning home, such as college students returning from a long semester. Authors have seen the song as an “epic of paranoia and disease” and as a tale of a man who had lost control of his life in a fashion strong enough to invoke childhood nightmares. It has been used as the subtitle for a chapter of a novel dealing with war and addictions. Comparisons have been made to Walt Whitman’s poem “O Captain! My Captain!” in its use of the rank to mean Abraham Lincoln.

Farner himself does not explicitly state what the song is about, and indeed prefers that listeners be able to use their own imaginations when listening to songs in general. Nor did the other band members have any real idea of what Farner was getting at; Brewer has said, “I think it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people.”

But the most common interpretations and resonances of “I’m Your Captain” revolve around the Vietnam War. The VH1 program Behind the Music said the song “became a subtle anti-war anthem.” Lee Andresen, author of Battle Notes: Music of the Vietnam War, sees it as portraying President Richard Nixon as “captain” of the United States, losing popular support for continuing the war.  Fellow Flint native Michael Moore remembers hearing it on the radio the day he went to his draft board (where he would file as a conscientious objector), and hoping the I’m getting closer to my home refrains would never end, as he felt America was his home and not Vietnam.

The song also found a following among American personnel in Vietnam, in part because the band’s working-class Flint origins were similar to those of many Americans serving in the war. It resonated with them as they tried to stay alive while waiting for the time when they could get closer to home, and then when they were finally returning from the war. It remains quite popular among Vietnam veterans and Farner has played it at several veterans’ benefits. Farner visited and performed at The Wall in November 2007, on the 25th anniversary of the memorial’s dedication. He later said, “The gig was a great spiritual and emotional experience. The ‘Nam vets I had the privilege to speak to were so gracious and personal with me, as if we were relatives getting back together after a long time apart. As you could imagine, it was really hard for me to sing ‘I’m Your Captain’ because there was a softball stuck in my throat and I couldn’t swallow it!” In 2010, Farner sang the song accompanying himself on acoustic guitar at the Vietnam Veterans of America’s National Leadership Conference, where he received the organization’s President’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

This song one of my favorites of all time. Here is the Grand Funk version. However, don’t vote on this one; it’s here for your reference and enjoyment only. Be sure to put on your headphones and turn it up! Then take a listen to the two contenders below and let me know which cover version you prefer.

 

Contender #1:  HELLOWEEN – Helloween is a German power metal band founded in 1984 in Hamburg, Northern Germany. The band is a pioneering force in the power metal genre. Since its inception, Helloween has released fifteen studio albums, three live albums, three EPs, and twenty-seven singles, and has sold more than eight million records worldwide.

This cover is from their sixth studio album Master of the Rings, released in 1994:

 

Contender #2:  TOM LUM FOREST – Tom Forest, a computer programmer/software engineer living in Portland, Oregon is also a musician who has been making music since 1969 when he was a sixth-grader playing trombone in the school band. Some years later, in 1977, he bought a Pan guitar and taught himself to play. That started him on the path of a lifetime spent honing his craft, defining his style, networking with other musicians and creating music.

Regarding his music, Tom said, “I recorded my first album, “Rough but Pleasing,” in 2009. It and my second album, “Pretty as you Please,” were all covers. My third album, 2011’s “Roots of Happiness,” had a couple of originals. Subsequent albums have been mostly originals. My closest niche is probably folk-rock and/or singer-songwriter. I don’t have a band: I just hire musicians when I record an album. My leading influences are CSNY, Clapton, Santana, the Grateful Dead, Chicago, and the Allman Brothers.”

He recorded his version of “I’m Your Captain” in 2016. He arranged it as a duet with singer Sarah Billings, setting the arrangement apart from the original. As for the music, Tom said, “We lacked the strings, flute, and sea sounds of the original. But we added waves of guitars. I played the 12-string acoustic rhythm. Terry Robb is playing the six-string acoustic fills and early solo breaks. Both further set my version [apart] from the original, which has a six string acoustic rhythm and electric fills and leads. During the long instrumental break I add some 12-string leads and some more languid 6-string leads. Terry adds an acoustic slide part to the jam.”

I really like his version of the song. I’ve been listening to some of his music and it’s really quite good. You can find him here on SoundCloud or here on YouTube.

This cover of “I’m Your Captain” is from his album Pretty as You Please, released in June 2016:

 

 

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why? When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

Thanks for your participation and your votes! I’ll be back on the 26th to post the results. Until then, rock on…

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me – AUTUMN SONGS

It’s finally here, my favorite season of the year: Autumn. I am always jumping for joy when the Fall season rolls around because I know that I’ll soon be released from the torturous heat of yet another Austin summer. What I found interesting in putting this seasonal playlist together is that most of the songs about Autumn are rather melancholy and depressive even. I guess some folks mark it as the beginning of a dreary time with trees going dormant and cold weather setting in. But I love the season. I deeply miss seeing the amazing Fall colors (the leaves don’t really change down here in Texas) but still, I am beyond thrilled that cooler temperatures will be ushered in and ultimately lead to the winter months. I always find myself hoping that it will be an extremely cold winter but that never happens here in Austin. If I’m lucky, I might get a few days of Brrrr weather and maybe an opportunity to wear a jacket or a sweatshirt once or twice.

Anyway, here is my Autumn playlist. The first few songs I thought of right away when thinking about Fall but then I had to go searching for other songs to fit the theme. I am excited to have found some new-to-me songs and bands. Hope you enjoy them all. Below the playlist is a list of the songs in order and some background info on the music.

 

 

Seasons of Wither by Aerosmith – One of the first songs that came to mind and definitely a favorite of mine: “Seasons of Wither” is a power ballad by American hard rock band Aerosmith. It was written by lead singer Steven Tyler. It was released in 1974 on the band’s second album Get Your Wings.

According to Tyler, the song was inspired by the Massachusetts landscape in wintertime. He wrote this song during the Winter of 1973, inspired by the winter landscape around the house he was living in with drummer Joey Kramer in Needham, Massachusetts. Tyler explained in the Aerosmith autobiography Walk This Way: “I used to lie in my bed at dawn, listening to the wind in the bare trees, how lonely and melancholy it sounded. I was pissed off about my taxes and getting mad helps me to write, so one night I went down to the basement where we had a rug on the floor and a couple of boxes for furniture and took a few Tuinals and a few Seconals and I scooped up this guitar Joey gave me, this Dumpster guitar, and I lit some incense and wrote ‘Seasons of Wither.'”

The song’s lyrics also discuss a relationship. It is one of Tyler’s favorite Aerosmith songs. The song is highlighted by acoustic guitars, slow haunting vocals, and a strong rhythm. On the Get Your Wings album, the song starts off with a crowd of people cheering, which gradually fades to the howling wind and an acoustic guitar played by Tyler.

California Dreamin’ by the Mamas & the Papas – This is one of the first songs I think of when I think of cooler weather approaching. Even though it’s more about winter, the song reminds me of Fall up north — which often feels like winter to some.

“California Dreamin'” is a song written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips and was first recorded by Barry McGuire. However, the best known version is by The Mamas & the Papas, who sang backup on the original version and released it as a single in 1965. The song became a signpost of the California Myth and the arrival of the nascent counterculture era.

The single was not an immediate breakthrough. After gaining little attention in Los Angeles upon its release, Michelle Phillips remembers that it took a radio station in Boston to break the song nationwide. After making its chart debut in January 1966, the song peaked at number 4 in March on both the Billboard Hot 100, lasting 17 weeks, and Cashbox, lasting 20 weeks. “California Dreamin'” was the #1 single of 1966 in Billboard and tied for number 1 with “Ballad of the Green Berets” in Cashbox. “California Dreamin'” also reached #23 on the UK charts upon its original release and re-charted after its use in a Carling Black Label commercial in 1997, eventually peaking at number 9 there.

“California Dreamin’” was certified as a Gold Record (single) by the RIAA in June 1966 and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001. It is #89 in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The lyrics of the song express the narrator’s longing for the warmth of Los Angeles during a cold winter in New York City.

In a 2002 interview with NPR (National Public Radio), Michelle Phillips explained how this song came about. It was 1963, and she was newly married to John Phillips. They were living in New York City, which was having a particularly cold winter, at least by Michelle’s standards as she was from sunny California. John would walk around the apartment at night working out tunes, and one morning brought the first verse of the song to Michelle. It was a song about longing to be in another place, and it was inspired by Michelle’s homesickness.

Michelle enjoyed visiting churches, and a few days before, she and John visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which inspired the second verse (“Stopped into a church…”). John hated the verse, as he was turned off to churches by unpleasant memories of parochial school, but he couldn’t think of anything better so he left it in. So glad he did! I love that line.

This is a rare pop song that contains a flute solo. Even more surprising, it’s an alto flute, which is larger than a regular flute and plays in a lower register. A Jazz player named Bud Shank was brought to the session to play it. Doug Thompson tells this story:

Denny Doherty once told me that when they were recording that song, they wanted a solo, but didn’t want the usual guitar solo. John Phillips walked out into the hall of the Hollywood recording studio they were at and Bud Shank was in that hallway as well. John grabbed him and brought him into the studio. Shank listened to the hole he was supposed to fill and nailed it on the first take.

Harvest Moon by Neil Young – “Harvest Moon” is the title track from Canadian musician Neil Young’s twentieth studio album, released in November 1992. Many of the musicians appearing on it also appeared on his 1972 album Harvest, and it is considered by many to be the unofficial “sequel” to Harvest.

Neil Young’s credits on the song “Harvest Moon” include guitar, banjo-guitar, piano, pump organ, vibes, and of course his unmistakable vocals.

The moon is a big deal to Neil Young. It shows up in 28 of his songs, and he uses it to guide him. Industry folks know that he is more likely to take on a project if it coincides with a full moon. In a 2005 interview with Harp, he explained: “Before there was organized religion, there was the moon. The Indians knew about the moon. Pagans followed the moon. I’ve followed it for as long as I can remember, and that’s just my religion. I’m not a practicing anything, I don’t have a book that I have to read. It can be dangerous working in a full moon atmosphere, because if there are things that are going to go wrong, they can really go wrong. But that’s great, especially for rock ‘n’ roll.”

Forever Autumn by the Moody Blues – “Forever Autumn” is a song written by Jeff Wayne, Gary Osborne and Paul Vigrass. The original melody was written by Wayne in 1969 as a jingle for a Lego commercial. Vigrass and Osborne, the performers of the original jingle, added lyrics to the song and recorded it for inclusion on their 1972 album Queues. Their interpretation was also released as a single and gained moderate commercial success in Japan, selling more than 100,000 copies and becoming a top-20 hit on the country’s record chart.

The best-known version is the recording by Justin Hayward from the album Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. Wayne wanted to include a love song on the album that sounded like “Forever Autumn” and he decided that the best course of action was to simply use the original song. Wayne chose Hayward, of The Moody Blues, to sing it saying that he “wanted that voice from ‘Nights in White Satin.'” It was recorded at London’s Advision Studios in 1976. The song reached #5 on the UK Singles Chart in August 1978.

A slightly different mix (notably excluding the narration from the album) was released as a single. The latter version was included in the Moody Blues’ box set Time Traveller. Although sometimes falsely credited as being an original single by the Moody Blues itself, Hayward has performed the song live with that group.

A new version was released in late 2012, sung by Gary Barlow for the new album Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation.

Leaves That Are Green by Simon & Garfunkel – “Leaves That Are Green” is a song from Sounds of Silence, the second studio album by Simon & Garfunkel, released on January 17, 1966. A solo acoustic version of “Leaves That Are Green” (along with “I Am a Rock”, “April Come She Will”, “A Most Peculiar Man”, and “Kathy’s Song”) appeared on Paul Simon’s first solo album, The Paul Simon Songbook, released in August 1965 in London. 

Autumn Changes by Donna Summer – “Autumn Changes” was the third track from American singer-songwriter Donna Summer’s Four Seasons of Love, and like the rest of this 1976 concept album, was co-written by the lady herself with Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. Running to around 5 minutes 28 seconds, it is the second song on Side 2.

Four Seasons of Love is her fourth studio album. Released on October 11, 1976, this concept album became her third consecutive successful album to be certified gold in the US. It peaked at #29 on the Billboard 200. In addition, all the cuts on this album went to number one on the disco chart.

This was the third concept album Summer had made, though unlike the previous two which had contained one long track on side one and a small selection of slightly shorter ones on side two, Four Seasons of Love was more equally balanced. The album told the story of a love affair by relating it to the four seasons. Side One contained “Spring Affair” and “Summer Fever”, both disco tracks, and Side Two contained “Autumn Changes” (a slightly slower disco number) and “Winter Melody” (which had an even slower beat), plus a reprise of “Spring Affair”. This concept was reflected in the four photos of Summer, one for each season of the year, in a pull-out 1977 calendar included with the original LP album. The photo on the cover was, fittingly, the Summer photograph. Summer’s “first lady of love” image came across strongly on this album, though her trademark moans and groans were slightly less evident than on previous work. Pics included “Winter” in a fur with a tear on her cheek; “Spring” in a Scarlett O’Hara style hoop skirt on a swing; and “Autumn” re-enacting Marilyn Monroe’s famous scene from The Seven Year Itch with the billowing white dress over the subway grate – an allusion to her song “Love to Love You Baby”, which she has been quoted as using Monroe for inspiration on her recording of it.

September by Earth, Wind & Fire – “September” is a song by American funk band Earth, Wind & Fire, written by Maurice White, Al McKay, and Allee Willis. It was recorded during the I Am sessions and released as a single in 1978. Featured on the band’s album The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1, “September” reached #1 on the US R&B chart, number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, and #3 on the UK singles chart.

This song has a tendency to make people happy when they hear it. Allee Willis describes it as “Joyful Music.”

According to Maurice White, he got the idea for this song in an unlikely place: a hotel room in Washington DC while there was some kind of protest going on below. Said White, “There’s all these cats screaming and throwing things and going crazy and this tune just evolved.”

While there are many theories as to the “21st night of September” in the opening lyrics, the truth is they just felt right. Willis told us:

“Maurice had that very first line, and I said to him, ‘Why the 21st?’ Because I’m someone who likes to tie up all the ends very neatly, so if I’m saying the 21st, I want to know during the song what’s the significance. But he always told me there was no real significance. So whether that’s true or not I can’t say. But as far as I know, it’s just something that sang really well. And I would say the main lesson I learned from Earth, Wind & Fire, especially Maurice White, was never let a lyric get in the way of a groove. Ultimately it’s the feel that is the most important, and someone will feel what you’re saying if those words fit in there right. I do remember us experimenting with other dates, but 21st just sang phonetically fantastic.”

Although many people hear the first words in the chorus as “Party On,” it’s really “Bada-Ya.” Allee Willis explained in her Songfacts interview:

“I absolutely could not deal with lyrics that were nonsensical, or lines that weren’t complete sentences. And I’m exceedingly happy that I lost that attitude. I went, ‘You cannot leave bada-ya in the chorus, that has to mean something.’ Maurice said, ‘No, that feels great. That’s what people are going to remember. We’re leaving it.’ We did try other stuff, and it always sounded clunky – thank God.”

The Autumn Stone by Small Faces – Small Faces was an English rock band from East London. The group was founded in 1965 by members Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Jimmy Winston, although by 1966 Winston was replaced by Ian McLagan as the band’s keyboardist.

The band is remembered as one of the most acclaimed and influential mod groups of the 1960s with memorable hit songs such as “Itchycoo Park”, “Lazy Sunday”, “All or Nothing”, “Tin Soldier”, and their concept album Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake. They later evolved into one of the UK’s most successful psychedelic acts before disbanding in 1969.

After Small Faces disbanded, with Marriott leaving to form Humble Pie, the remaining three members were joined by Ronnie Wood as guitarist, and Rod Stewart as their lead vocalist, both from The Jeff Beck Group, and the new line-up was renamed Faces, except in North America, where this group’s first album (and only their first album) was credited to Small Faces. This practice has continued on all subsequent North American reissues of the album to this day. A revived version of the original Small Faces existed from 1975 to 1978.

Small Faces was one of the biggest musical influences on the Britpop movement of the 1960s. Despite the fact the band was together for just four years in their original incarnation, Small Faces’ music output from the mid to late sixties remains among the most acclaimed British mod and psychedelic music of that era. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

The song “The Autumn Stone” is the title track from The Autumn Stone, the posthumous retrospective double album released in the UK by Small Faces in 1969 on the Immediate label. The double album contains most of the Immediate and Decca (British record labels) original 7″ single releases together with live recordings from a concert at Newcastle City Hall and unreleased material from their unfinished fourth LP 1862, including “Autumn Stone”, an alternate version of “Afterglow Of Your Love”, covers of two Tim Hardin songs (“If I Were A Carpenter” and “Red Balloon”) and the instrumental “Wide Eyed Girl On The Wall”.  It was released by Andrew Loog Oldham (the record producer who set up UK’s independent record label Immediate) soon after the band announced their break up in 1969.

September in the Rain – “September in the Rain” is a popular song by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, published in 1937. The song was introduced by James Melton in the film Melody for Two. It has become a standard, having been recorded by many artists since. I’m including three versions here. The first is a nod to the first one to chart it, taking it to #1 in the US: Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians, recorded on February 2, 1937.

Another version that I thought was cool is that of the Beatles. This was part of their Decca audition. On January 1, 1962, before they reached international stardom, the Beatles auditioned for Decca Records at Decca Studios in West Hampstead, north London. In what is considered one of the biggest mistakes in music industry history, Decca rejected the band, selecting instead Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.

The third version I’m presenting is by Rod Stewart from his album Fly Me to the Moon… The Great American Songbook Volume V, which was released in October 2010, and was the fifth title in Rod Stewart’s series of covers of pop standards. The video is a gorgeous ice-skating duo performing to the song.

The September of My Years by Frank Sinatra – Frank Sinatra also did a version of “September in the Rain” but I am presenting another one of Ol’ Blue Eyes’ September songs: The September of My Years. “The September of My Years” is a song composed in 1965 by Jimmy Van Heusen, with lyrics by Sammy Cahn, and introduced by Frank Sinatra as the title track of his 1965 album of the same name. At the Grammy Awards of 1966, “The September of My Years” was nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

Autumn Almanac by The Kinks – “Autumn Almanac” is a song written by Ray Davies and recorded by the rock group The Kinks in 1967. “Autumn Almanac” has since been noted for being an “absolute classic”, “a finely observed slice of English custom,” and a “weird character study,” and praised for its “mellow, melodic sound that was to characterize the Kinks’ next [musical] phase…” Some have placed this and other Davies compositions in the pastoral-Romantic tradition of the poetry of Wordsworth, among others.

In his 1995 autobiography X-Ray and in subsequent performances of his VH1 Storytellers effort, Davies described the song as being inspired by a local hunch-backed gardener in his native Muswell Hill neighborhood of North London.

November Rain by Guns & Roses – “November Rain” is a power ballad by the American hard rock band Guns N’ Roses. Written by the band’s lead singer Axl Rose, the song was released as a single in 1992 from their third studio album, Use Your Illusion I (1991). It features a sweeping orchestral backing and is one of Guns N’ Roses’ longest songs.

“November Rain” peaked at #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it the longest song in history to enter the top ten of that chart. Since its release, the song has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.

The music video: The narrative quality of the music video accentuated the epic nature of the song. The video, directed by Andy Morahan, portrays Axl Rose marrying his then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour, intercut with a live performance in a theater. Particularly, it can be noted for its large budget (about $1 million, including Seymour’s dress) and sweeping cinematography by Mike Southon, which won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Cinematography. It is one of the most expensive music videos ever. GNR’s lead guitarist Slash is prominently featured in some of the video’s most memorable scenes, including a sequence of helicopter shots swooping around him as he plays the first guitar solo and a later scene where he plays the third solo while standing on Rose’s piano onstage. Casting coordinator Mark Roberton observed: “the camera-man had a lot of responsibility, as the crane-cam was so close to Slash, precariously standing atop a piano that was near the stage edge. One wrong twitch and the guitarist would’ve had a long drop!”

The video for “November Rain” uses the full version of the song as opposed to an abridged version. The Orpheum Theater, a theater in downtown Los Angeles, was acquired for an evening shoot that went several hours into the night, and, unlike usual common practice, they did not mime for any of the takes. Between several differing versions of “November Rain”, while the cameras on cranes that swooped close to Slash’s frets were reviewed and set up for the next shot, the band entertained the 1,500 extras, by playing more of their songs.

As stated at the end of the video, “November Rain” is based on the short story “Without You” by Del James, available in his 1995 book The Language of Fear. The story concerns a rock star grieving over the death of his on-and-off-again girlfriend, who had committed suicide (inspired by Rose’s troubled relationship with Erin Everly).

While much speculation exists about how Seymour’s character in the video died, the relationship between the video clip and James’ short story strongly suggests that she kills herself. She appears looking visibly troubled during one shot of the wedding and during the funeral sequence, a mirror is visible, covering over half her face, a technique used by funeral homes to allow victims of head trauma to have the appearance of a full face in the event of an open casket funeral.

The video remained popular throughout the rest of the decade. At the end of 1992, MTV placed “November Rain” at #1 on their top 100 videos of that year. Subsequently, it often appeared at #1 or in the top 10 of several future all-time MTV countdowns throughout the 1990s. In addition, the video was voted “Best Video Clip” in Metal Edge’s 1992 Readers’ Choice Awards. 

Autumn Leaves by Eva Cassidy – Eva Marie Cassidy (February 2, 1963 – November 2, 1996) was an American vocalist and guitarist known for her interpretations of jazz and blues. In 1992, she released her first album, The Other Side, a set of duets with go-go musician Chuck Brown, followed by the 1996 live solo album titled Live at Blues Alley. Although she had been honored by the Washington Area Music Association, she was virtually unknown outside her native Washington, DC. She died of melanoma in 1996.

In 1993, Cassidy had a malignant mole removed from her back but did not follow up with regular check-up appointments. Three years later, during a promotional event for the Live at Blues Alley album in July 1996, Cassidy noticed an ache in her hips, which she attributed to stiffness from painting murals while perched atop a stepladder. The pain persisted and X-rays revealed a fracture. Further tests found that cancer had spread to her bones, causing the fracture, as well as to her lungs. Her doctors estimated she had three to five months to live. Cassidy opted for aggressive treatment, but her health deteriorated rapidly. On September 17, at a benefit concert for her at the Bayou, she made her final public appearance, closing the set with “What a Wonderful World” in front of an audience of family, friends, and fans. Additional chemotherapy was ineffective and Cassidy died on November 2, 1996 at her family’s home in Bowie, Maryland. In accordance with her wishes, her body was cremated and the ashes were scattered on the lake shores of St. Mary’s River Watershed Park, a nature reserve near Callaway, Maryland.

Wake Me Up When September Ends – “Wake Me Up When September Ends” is a song by American rock band Green Day, released on June 13, 2005, as the fourth single from the group’s seventh studio album, American Idiot (2004). The song was written by frontman Billie Joe Armstrong regarding the death of his father.

The song became a hit single, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also a top ten single in the United Kingdom, Belgium, New Zealand, and was a number one single in the Czech Republic. In the United States, the song became symbolic after Hurricane Katrina, where it was dedicated to victims of the disaster and also regarded as a dedication to the victims of the September 11 attacks that occurred in 2001. The song became the fourth single from American Idiot to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

So Fell Autumn Rain by Lake of Tears – This is a new-to-me band and I’m thrilled that I discovered this song as both the song and the band’s sound is perfect for this Autumn theme. Lake of Tears is a Swedish heavy metal band originally formed in 1994, generally considered to play gothic metal and doom metal. However, their sound has expanded to include psychedelic rock and progressive rock elements. The band broke up in 2000 amid creative differences, but reunited in late 2003, releasing the acclaimed album Black Brick Road. They released their eighth studio album, Illwill, in April 2011. In 2014 they released their first live album, By the Black Sea.

Lake of Tears was founded in the early 1990s by Daniel Brennare, Jonas Eriksson, Mikael Larsson and Johan Oudhuis. Their first album, entitled Greater Art, was released in 1994. The album is doom metal featuring coarse, ragged vocals and crushing guitars. The band would subsequently steer away from such a directly categorized style, only revisiting it on their 2011 release Illwill.

Lake of Tears wowed critics and fans alike with their second album, Headstones, released in 1995, followed by A Crimson Cosmos in 1997. The music underwent important changes, expanding on the riff-base of doom metal to achieve a more melodic and melancholic sound. The lyrics also explored new territory, intensely mournful and psychedelic fantasy imagery enhancing the album’s heavy, autumnal soundscapes.

“So Fell Autumn Rain” is from the band’s fourth studio album Forever Autumn, released in July of 1999. It is an intensely quiet and introspective album. Keyboardist Christian Saarinen was briefly included as an official band member, adding an extra layer to the band’s sound. Fantasy imagery was rife and the album’s overall effect was sedate and sorrowful.

Give this song a listen. It’s really good! And then listen to another autumnal song, the album’s title track Forever Autumn.

Autumn Shade by The Vines – “Autumn Shade” is a track on the debut album Highly Evolved by The Vines, released in July of 2002.

The Vines is an Australian rock band formed in 1994 in Sydney. Their sound has been described as a musical hybrid of 1960s garage rock and 1990s alternative rock. The band’s current line-up consists of vocalist and guitarist Craig Nicholls, bass guitarist Tim John and drummer Lachlan West.

The Vines’ success in the Australian recording industry resulted in winning an ARIA Award in 2002, ‘Breakthrough Artist – Single’, for “Get Free” and receiving five other nominations for their debut album Highly Evolved, plus two further nominations in subsequent years. In 2003, the album went platinum in Australia, and since then the band has released four albums and a best-of compilation from their time at Capitol Records. The Vines have released six studio albums to date.

Autumn ‘68 by Pink Floyd – This song is from Pink Floyd’s The Endless River, the fifteenth and final studio album by the English rock band. It was released in November of 2014. It was the third Pink Floyd album led by guitarist and singer David Gilmour following Roger Waters’ departure in 1985 and the first following the death of keyboardist Rick Wright in 2008, who appears posthumously.

The Endless River album consists almost entirely of instrumental and ambient music based on material Pink Floyd wrote, recorded and produced with Wright during sessions for their previous album The Division Bell (1994). New material was recorded in 2013 and 2014 aboard Gilmour’s Astoria boat studio and in Medina Studios in Hove, England.

Background: After the departure of founding member Roger Waters in 1985 and his failed attempt to dissolve the band, guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour became the leader of Pink Floyd. He and drummer Nick Mason invited keyboardist Richard Wright back to the band after Waters had fired him during the recording of The Wall (1979). Under Gilmour’s leadership, Pink Floyd recorded two studio albums: A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994). The latter saw a greater participation from Wright, who shared his first writing credits on a Pink Floyd album since Wish You Were Here (1975), and recorded his first lead vocal since The Dark Side of the Moon (1973). The sessions were held in 1993 and 1994 in Britannia Row Studios in London and aboard the Astoria boat studio.

Wright died of an undisclosed form of cancer on September 15, 2008 at the age of 65. Tributes to Wright included statements from Gilmour, Mason and Waters, performances by artists such as Elton John and television and radio specials.

In 2012, Gilmour and Mason decided to revisit recordings made with Wright prior to his death in 2008 to create a new Pink Floyd album. Gilmour said: “Over the last year we’ve added new parts, re-recorded others and generally harnessed studio technology to make a 21st-century Pink Floyd album. With Rick gone, and with him the chance of ever doing it again, it feels right that these revisited and reworked tracks should be made available as part of our repertoire.”

Bassist and songwriter Roger Waters, who left Pink Floyd in 1985, was not involved in the recording. Gilmour stated that he was “pretty certain” that The Endless River would be the final Pink Floyd album. The Endless River album, according to Gilmour, is “a continuous flow of music that builds gradually over four separate pieces.” It is made up of mostly ambient and instrumental music. Gilmour told Mojo:

“Unapologetically, this is for the generation that wants to put its headphones on, lie in a beanbag, or whatever, and get off on a piece of music for an extended period of time. You could say it’s not for the iTunes, downloading-individual-tracks generation.”

Mason described the album as a tribute to Wright:

“I think this record is a good way of recognizing a lot of what he does and how his playing was at the heart of the Pink Floyd sound. Listening back to the sessions, it really brought home to me what a special player he was.”

“Autumn ’68” features a recording of Rick Wright playing the Royal Albert Hall‘s pipe organ in 1968. The track also has additional keyboards, added more recently by Damon Iddins. The video here is a wonderful tribute to Wright: it is Richard playing that mighty pipe organ at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Pretty amazing sound. Be sure to give it a watch. 

Autumn by the Edgar Winter Group – Edgar Winter is an American rock and blues musician. I didn’t realize that he and his older brother Johnny are Texas boys, both born in Beaumont. By the time Edgar Winter left his hometown in the 1960s, he was already a proficient musician. He is known for being a multi-instrumentalist — keyboardist, guitarist, saxophonist and percussionist — as well as a singer. His success peaked in the 1970s with his band, The Edgar Winter Group.

In late 1972, Winter brought together Dan Hartman, Ronnie Montrose and Chuck Ruff to form The Edgar Winter Group, who created such hits as the number one “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride” (with lead vocals by its writer Dan Hartman). These hits were on their album They Only Come Out at Night, released in November 1972. The album peaked at the number 3 position on the Billboard Hot 200 and stayed on the charts for an impressive 80 weeks. It was certified gold in April 1973 by the RIAA and double platinum in November 1986.

In addition to “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride”, the song “Autumn”, a ballad written by Dan Hartman, is also on this album. “Autumn” was a regional radio hit in New England.

Autumn in New York by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – “Autumn in New York” is a jazz standard composed by Vernon Duke in 1934 for the Broadway musical Thumbs Up! which opened on December 27, 1934, performed by J. Harold Murray. Many versions of the song have been recorded over the years by numerous musicians and singers. The only version to achieve chart success as a single in the USA was that by Frank Sinatra which reached No. 27 in 1949.

Jazz versions have been performed by Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Stan Kenton, Sarah Vaughan and Sheila Jordan. A duet of the song was also recorded by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald and is the one that I decided to showcase here.

I liked this song because, unlike so many of the others presented here that seem to have an air of melancholy and sadness, “Autumn in New York” promises hope and new love and new adventures. And that is precisely how I feel about the Autumn season: it’s tantalizing, fascinating, beautiful, cozy and homey. Who doesn’t want to feel that?!

 

Here is a picture slideshow of autumn in my hometown,

Niagara Falls & Western New York. 

Oh how I miss these breathtaking views!

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Oh, I have one more song that kinda fits this seasonal theme. It’s called:

The Boys of Fall by Kenny Chesney – “The Boys of Fall” is a song written by Casey Beathard and Dave Turnbull and recorded by American country music artist Kenny Chesney. It was released in July 2010 as the lead single from his 12th studio album Hemingway’s Whiskey.

Not only does the title reflect the Autumn season but the song is about the one thing that really excites me most at the end of August: the beginning of football season! When football season starts, I know that, finally, Fall is upon us and that cooler weather is headed our way. The beginning of football season is like that light at the end of the long, hot hot summer tunnel…

Specifically, the song talks about playing high school football. Chesney says the song “is a perfect description of how I grew up and where I grew up.”

Matt Bjorke of Roughstock gave the song a four-out-of-five stars review, saying that if the song “is an indication as to where Hemingway’s Whiskey is going,” he predicts that Chesney has a “monster of an upcoming album.”

The music video debuted on August 2, 2010 on ESPN’s SportsCenter. It features many famous football players and coaches talking about their experiences playing high school football and advice they would give to kids, as well as clips of famous players and coaches from the college and professional ranks, past and present. Directed by Shaun Silva, the video is over eight minutes in length.

Much of the video was shot in and around Celina, Texas, specifically at Celina High School’s football stadium (Celina High is one of the state’s dominant football teams, having won or co-won eight state titles). Other scenes were filmed in Naperville, Illinois, at the Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, Tennessee, Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, and at Gibbs High School in Tennessee, where Chesney played football.

I think I’ll end this post with my favorite Fall fight song:

GO BILLS!

 

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Happy Autumn Everyone!

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Curious as a Cathy.  Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants.