Friday, May 26, 2017

Song #29: "Turn To You"--The Go-Go's (1984)

Our fifth and final song from The Go-Go's is the third to come from their final studio album of their original run, "Talk Show".

It sold well thanks to the chart success of opening radio single, "Head Over Heels", which we just featured four days ago. The next release, today's tune, for me was just a little bit better. Though it didn't chart as well as "HOH", "Turn To You" had, for me, the grooviest beat of any Go-Go's song (and that is hard to determine), and, most importantly, one of the best riff moments in pop music history.

Go to 2:27 in the video below, and listen for about seven seconds. Nothing fancy, nothing hard. But coming out of the cold break, that particular part of the song just sealed it for me. I could listen (and I have) to that portion alone on a loop, over, and over again.

That's the cherry on top for this one, which has sing-along value at a "10", and is easy to dance to. Not that I dance in 2017. I did in 1984, however.

I'm SO glad I got to see The Go-Go's live eleven years ago with Rachel at Innsbrook After Hours, even if I didn't have a voice that night and couldn't sing along or scream in delight.  :)

"There are no explanations for why I feel the way I do....
The world makes its rotations, but I just want to turn to you...."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Song #30: "Words"--Missing Persons (1982)

The first time our ears were tickled by the unique sounds of Missing Persons was when today's song first hit radio in the classic summer of 1982. The summer, now almost 35 years ago, brought us:

Eye Of The Tiger--Survivor
Abracadabra--Steve Miller Band
Jack and Diane--John Cougar
Ebony & Irony--Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder
Hard To Say I'm Sorry--Chicago

However, none of these songs that neared, or topped, the charts appear in this journey. Dale Bozzio and company do, three times, all in the Top 100. It's a shame we didn't get more from this group, as their subsequent album in 1984 was deemed too experimental and radio barely touched it. By 1986, the band, and Dale's marriage to fellow band member, Terry, were falling apart.

Just a passing thought. What was musical variety 35 years ago? The same week "Words" peaked at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100, also on the chart was Kenny Rogers, Melissa Manchester, The Alan Parsons Project, Gary U.S. Bonds, Kim Wilde, Billy Idol, Frank Zappa (who was instrumental in Missing Persons' career), The Clash, and Barry Manilow, all in the Top 50 the week of August 28, 1982, my first week as a student at Patrick Henry High School.

Back to our story.....we have the classic "Spring Session M" from 1982, an album titled that way because it is an anagram of their name, and from it, three fantastic songs, my favorite of which is below.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Song #31: "Nights In White Satin"--The Moody Blues (1967)

As I mentioned not too long ago with "Tuesday Afternoon", it's the 50th anniversary of The Moody Blues' iconic breakthrough album, "Days of Future Passed". And perhaps no song in the deep and mighty catalog of my favorite band is more known, and more connected to them, than today's song.

This summer, the second half of their concert will be playing the album in its entirety. In a normal show, "Nights In White Satin" is part of an absolutely heartstopping final four songs that all Moody fans know is coming, but every time they play through that part of the set, it seems as fresh, as real, as emotional as the first time you hear it.

For me, it's almost impossible to hear this song live and not, at the least, tear up. Justin Hayward's vocals continue to nail the heartfelt emotions of the piece, especially the very simple yet powerful chorus that repeats just "I love you".

And Norda Mullen's work on the flute over the past decade plus has been nothing short of phenomenal.

So now, the 18th of 20 songs in our journey from the incomparable Moody Blues. Happy 50, Nights In White Satin. I'm honored to share 1967 with you.  :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Song #32: "Journey Of The Sorcerer"--Eagles (1975)

We come today to my favorite song by the super group of the 1970's, the Eagles, and I'm not so sure anyone, including my brother, would have guessed this correctly.

It comes from their huge 1975 release, "One Of These Nights", which produced mega-hits with the title track and the great "Take It To The Limit", solidifying their position as one of the most popular bands in the world. Also from the album, "Lyin' Eyes" remains, to this day, a fixture on classic rock radio (it is one of the few Eagles songs that I actually cannot stand....)

But closing out side one of the album is a nearly seven-minute classic of an instrumental, which feels like an actual journey. And, in addition, when I hear or even think of this song, I go to one distinct moment.

It's four years after its release, 1979, and my Dad, Stepmom and I embark on, for me, a landmark trip, by car, from Beaverdam, Virginia to Overland Park, Kansas to visit, for me, new relatives. I celebrated my 12th birthday there, went to my first Major League Baseball game there (the Royals hosted the A's), and, unfortunately, my Dad had to fly home in the middle of the vacation due to a death in our church family.

So, the two of us remaining took some extra time going home, and, by the time we got into the heart of West Virginia, I remember playing this song on a cassette tape I made on the portable cassette player I had along for the trip while winding through the mountains, on Route 60 no less, because Interstate 64 through West Virginia was not completed in 1979.

The song absolutely fit the location, the scenery, everything. It was eerie and glorious all at the same time.

Now, 38 summers later, I'm proud to say that, of all the great songs this group produced, if given the choice to listen to one, I'd press play below.  :)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Song #33: "Sole Survivor"--Asia (1982)

I had clearly no idea, when I first heard the news that several successful members of several bands were coming together to form what was then called a "supergroup" called "Asia", how much influence they would have over me musically when they dropped (as we say today) their debut album.

Self-titled, and released in Spring, 1982, "Asia" became of those five must-have albums, for me, of the 1980's. Which ones were they? In no particular order:

Long Distance Voyager--Moody Blues
No Jacket Required--Phil Collins
Synchronicity--The Police

By the way, what's your five?

Today's song, my favorite from Asia, builds on other songs from the album, leaving the ashes strewn during "Time Again", healing the fresh heart wound in "Here Comes The Feeling".

This song leaves all that behind and creates a new person really to challenge the future, refusing to be shackled by the past, even if everyone else chooses to do so.

I'm so glad "Asia" was a thing. They left behind one of the seminal albums of the decade.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Song #34: "Getting Closer"--Paul McCartney and Wings (1979)

Once again, we find another great song from the unforgettable musical year of 1979, and this song greeted us now rising seventh graders as we finished the sixth grade at Beaverdam Elementary School, and became, for me, an important part of the soundtrack to that iconic summer.

I took my longest road trip ever, to visit "new" family, my stepmom's gang, out in Kansas City, celebrated my 12th birthday there, went to summer camp for the first time, not by choice, and spent a homesick week there, then jammed to tunes at home the rest of the summer before getting ready for my final year at good ol' BES.

You have to remember the way schools were split up then. I had been at Beaverdam since first grade (they didn't open kindergarten there until I was in second grade), and seventh grade had been the holy grail for years. To actually BE in seventh grade soon was a remarkable achievement, especially when your world essentially revolves around the happenings in a hamlet such as Beaverdam.

So, I guess you could say in a sense I was Getting Closer.  :)

Seriously, this song jams, and, to me, is some of Wings' best work. So simple yet so ridiculously good, especially when they break out into a sweet jam to close things out.

Paul and Wings return once more before we are through, and, spoiler alert, it could be when we are just about through......

The version below also includes the intro "song" to it on "Back To The Egg", called "Reception".


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Song #35: "Watching The Clothes"--The Pretenders (1984)

Today, my all-time favorite song from The Pretenders, a hidden gem on their fantastic "Learning To Crawl" release about one of mankind's favorite endeavors.

Spending one's Saturday night at the laundromat.

On an album filled with great songs, this one, which never got airplay on the radio, leaps out at you. A sudden start, and, without warning, you're immediately transported to the rinse cycle down the street, lamenting about the fact that you seem to be going nowhere currently in life as you, well, think the following....

"There goes another Saturday night....I go without a fight.....watching the clothes go round....."

Add to it a simple yet frenetic jam and a perfect ending, and it's Pretenders perfection.