All Night Long We Would Sing That Stupid Song

2425. Spaniels: Goodnite, It's Time to Go 2426. Spaniels: Great Googley Moo! 2427. Spaniels/Robert and Johnny: La grande storia del ROCK 2428. Spanky & Our Gang: Like to Get to Know You 2429. Sparks: Kimono My House 2430. Sparks: Whomp That Sucker 2431. The Specials 2432. Skip Spence: Oar 2433. The Best of the Spinners 2434. Spinners 2435. Spinners: Pick of the Litter 2436. Happiness Is Being With the Spinners 2437. Detroit Spinners: Smash Hits 2438. Spinners: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow 2439. Spinners/8 2440. Spiral Starecase: More Today Than Yesterday 2441. Spirit: Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus 2442. Spooky Tooth: The Last Puff Mixworthy: "Bounce" and "You Gave Me Peace of Mind," #2425; "We Belong Together" (Robert & Johnny), #2427; "Like to Get to Know You," #2428; "All Come to Meet Her," #2432; "It's a Shame," #2433; "I'll Be Around" and "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," #2434; "They Just Can't Stop It the (Games People Play)," #2435; "Then Came You," #2437; "More Today Than Yesterday," #2440; "Prelude-Nothin' to Hide," #2441. The Spirit pick is mostly a nostalgic nod to one of my two favourite high-school al- bums (the other whichever Neil Young LP I most liked at the moment--it alternated between Tonight's the Night, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush, and Zuma). I must have listened to Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, oh, two or three hundred times in grades 10 through 12--between Spirit and Neil, I think I single-hand- edly logged 31% of all human hours spent listening to David Briggs productions in 1977. My friend Steve and I followed the lead of the senior basketball team--good guys Mike Stankovic and Paul Nichols, plus Doug Lamb, who, uh, wasn't such a good guy--for some of the albums that dominated my life during that time, and they tended to be linked by their pot-related utilitarianism. Listening to Sardonicus today, something I made a point of doing in its entirety, was odd. I could have done a lot worse--it's about as song-driven as high-concept psychedelic art-rock ever got; just about every melody came back to me instantaneously--but I'm positive I would have had more fun had Cypress Hill been here to share the experience. And please don't ask me to explain the concept. Something to do with Dr. Sardonicus--it all made a kind of intuitive sense 28 years ago...The Spinners are my favourite of the neoclassical soul groups; a little deeper in great songs than the Stylistics, well ahead of the Chi- Lites. I'm not sure why they put the word "the" outside the parentheses on "They Just Can't Stop It the (Games People Play)" (or why it's "it" rather than "them"), but within the annals of workaday meditations, it's even better than the middle sec- tion from "A Day in the Life"...My copy of Oar is an Edsel reissue, although I once paid seven or eight dollars for a worn original that I ended up returning. I half- wish I'd kept it for the cover, which would look great up on my living room wall right now. ________________________________________________________________________________ 2443. Dusty Springfield's Golden Hits 2444. Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis 2445. Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run 2446. Bruce Springsteen: Darkness on the Edge of Town 2447. Bruce Springsteen: The River 2448. Bruce Springsteen: Nebraska 2449. Bruce Springsteen: Born in the U.S.A. 2450. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: Live/1975-85 2451. Bruce Springsteen: Tunnel of Love 2452. Squirrel Bait 2453. Squirrel Bait: Skag Heaven 2454. Stairsteps 2455. Joe Stampley: Soul Song 2456. Joe Stampley: The ABC Collection 2457. Standells: Dirty Water 2458. Staple Singers: Bealtitude: Respect Yourself 2459. Starpoint: Restless Mixworthy: "Wishin' and Hopin'," #2443; "I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore," #2444; "Tunnel of Love," #2451; "Hammering So Hard" and "Sun God," #2452; "Kid Dynamite," #2453; "O-o-h Child," #2454; "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White," #2457; "I'll Take You There," #2458. I bought Born to Run close enough to its original release--within two or three years; before Darkness on the Edge of Town came out, I think, though I'm not 100% sure--and was young enough at the time that I can see where I might have gone on to be a life- long fan, still faithfully buying each new album the day of release, still looking back at Born to Run as the kind of watershed high-school event that was fundamental in shaping a part of myself that I still recognize today. You know--something like Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. I never came anywhere close to that, though, the unbroken 14-year span of LPs notwithstanding. (And here, for the second time in this inventory, I feel the need to explain why I have something, in this case Live/1975- 85, without which the span would only stretch across 10 years. I got it for nothing when my friend Dave was about to junk the only 30 or 40 albums he owned. Having Live/ 1975-85 in your collection suggests a certain level of devotion to the whole Bruce Springsteen package circa Born in the U.S.A.--I was working at a downtown record store when Live came out and remember the attendent hysteria fairly well--and, sorry if this sounds snobbish, and sorry if you own the album yourself, but I don't want to be mistaken for someone who fits that profile.) There are two or three other songs I count as borderline mixworthy, but "Tunnel of Love" is the only one I love unreserv- edly, the only one I can detach from whatever it is that makes me feel the need to explain why I own Live/1975-85. How's that for circuitous logic?...With the Standells and the Staple Singers, I like their second-most-famous songs much, much more than "Dirty Water" or "Respect Yourself." I'm not sure if my copy of Dirty Water is a boot- leg or not. I used to assume that it was, primarily because it's in perfect shape and I got it for under $10, but now I'm not so sure. Were bootleggers so versed in reverse-psychology that they figured fake Canadian copies (mine carries the old Sparton label) were inherently less suspicious than their American equivalents?... I have my two favourite Dusty Springfield songs on CD ("Some of Your Lovin'") and 45 ("Nothing Has Been Proved") only. Getting Dusty in Memphis was a big deal when I found it on the wall at Vortex for $10 sometime during the mid-80s. I like it fine, though less than people who've written rapturously about it. Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman have quite likely claimed "Son of a Preacher Man" forever. ________________________________________________________________________________ 2460. Stark Raving: Sniveling and Whining 2461. Edwin Starr & Blinky: Just We Two 2462. Edwin Starr: War & Peace 2463. Ringo Starr: Ringo 2464. Ringo Starr: Ringo's Rotogravure 2465. Dakota Staton: Ms. Soul 2466. Golden Hour of Status Quo 2467. Steeleye Span: Hark! The Village Wait 2468. Steely Dan: Can't Buy a Thrill 2469. Steely Dan: Countdown to Ecstasy 2470. Steely Dan: Pretzel Logic 2471. Steely Dan: Katy Lied 2472. Steely Dan: The Royal Scam 2473. Steely Dan: Aja 2474. Cat Stevens: Matthew & Son•New Masters 2475. Cat Stevens: Very Young and Early Songs 2476. Cat Stevens: Teaser and the Firecat Mixworthy: "Photograph," #2463; "Reelin' in the Years," #2468; "King of the World," #2469; "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Pretzel Logic," #2470; "Doctor Wu," #2471; "Sign in Stranger," #2472; "Here Comes My Baby," #2474; "Moonshadow," #2476. By all logic, I should feel the same kind of antipathy towards Steely Dan that I do for the Gang of Four, Todd Haynes and Todd Solondz, Antonioni, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and lots of other music and films where I always get the impression that not only am I supposed to be thinking instead of feeling--ideally, I like art that inspires me to do both--but that feeling would be bad form. (Obviously, my own perspective on the aforementioned--I realize that anyone who loves L'Avventura gets lots of feeling out of it.) Not that Steely Dan were necessarily arty through the '70s, but they did, willfully or otherwise, radiate aloofness, austerity, and a brooding kind of mind- over-heart severity--one of the first things that comes to mind when I think about them are those withering images of Donald Fagen on the covers of Katy Lied, Pretzel Logic, and Can't Buy a Thrill, where he seems to be looking right through you and saying, "You might like this, but it won't be easy and it won't be fun." That's all background scenery, though--in actual fact, there's this weird kind of joy that fairly leaps out of songs like "Pretzel Logic" and "Reelin' in the Years," and, just as I wrote about Led Zeppelin earlier, I can't think of any other music that's com- parable. Trying to assign special calendar significance to certain events ("The '60s ended with Altamont") is a corny thing to do, so naturally I do it whenever I think I've hit upon something. Two theories in that direction: the '60s began--or least what we think of as "the '60s" were anticipated by--the close-up of Janet Leigh's eye in Psycho (I've seen that one floated elsewhere, too), and the '70s didn't real- ly leave the '60s behind musically until the opening 30 seconds of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number." I know I'm talking about a song that came out in 1974, and that Led Zeppelin and Bowie and lots else that was definitively '70s preceded "Rikki," but there's something absolutely jarring and sui generis about that opening, while the rest of the song is built upon cryptic fragments and strange time-shifts that have no business working so brilliantly in a singalong pop hit that made it to #4 on Billboard. I recently made a three-CD '70s compilation for a departing custodian at my school, with some Nixon excerpts mixed in throughout. "Rikki" entered the Top 100 on 5/11/74, three months before Nixon's resignation. I had everything ar- ranged more or less chronologically on the CD, so punctuated by a clip from Nixon's resignation address, I heard "Rikki" in a way I never had before (at the risk of obviousness, Rikki = Richard): We heard you're leavin', that's OK I thought our little wild time had just begun I guess you kind of scared yourself, you turn and run But if you have a change of heart... Yeah, I know, it's really all about a guy named Ricky and his stash, but the juxta- position was striking ("Knockin' on Heaven's Door" from the same compilation was similarly transformed, even if it appeared a year earlier: "Ma, take this badge off of me/I can't use it anymore..."). Anyway, Pretzel Logic was another one of my most played albums in high school--one where I can really hear the evidence today, with pops and crackles all over the place--and after barely thinking about Steely Dan at all through the '80s, the past few years my favourite songs of theirs have rejoined music by Neil Young, Todd Rundgren, Rod Stewart, Cheap Trick, and, yes, David Bowie at the top of my '70s list. Those days are gone forever, over a long time ago. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) ________________________________________________________________________________ 2477. B.W. Stevenson: My Maria 2478. Amii Stewart: Knock on Wood 2479. Jermaine Stewart: Say It Again 2480. John Stewart: California Bloodlines 2481. The Rod Stewart Album 2482. Rod Stewart: Gasoline Alley 2483. Rod Stewart: Every Picture Tells a Story 2484. Rod Stewart: Never a Dull Moment 2485. The Best of Rod Stewart 2486. Rod Stewart: Foot Loose & Fancy Free 2487. Rod Stewart: Out of Order 2488. Stiff Little Fingers: The Peel Sessions 2489. Stephen Stills 2490. Stills-Young Band: Long May You Run 2491. Stills-Young Band: For What It's Worth - Summer '76 Tour 2492. Rob Stoner: Patriotic Duty Mixworthy: "Handbags & Gladrags," #2481; "Gasoline Alley," #2482; "Every Picture Tells a Story" and "Mandolin Wind," #2483; "You Wear It Well," #2484; "Ocean Girl," #2490. Spent: "Maggie May," #2483. Only five Rod Stewart picks, but it's no exaggeration to say that collectively they might not just be my favourite music ever made, but also my favourite art of any kind. The only real regret I've ever had about the '70s book I wrote with Scott Woods is that it was so singleminded in its pursuit of jokes, I sometimes feel like it was a bad-faith betrayal of a lot of music that carried me through school, helped shape who I am, and still means a great deal to me today. Not to be melodramatic--the feel- ing only applies to some of what we covered in there, and I don't carry around a lot of guilt over our refusal to thoughtfully engage the collected works of Gentle Giant and Paper Lace. But with Neil Young, with Al Green, with the first four Rod Stewart LPs, I can see where someone could come away from the book wondering if we even like this music at all, a trade-off we boxed ourselves into when we decided from the out- set that we'd try for a funny book through and through, and that we'd leave the other book the decade deserved to someone else. I'm not totally sure why those early Rod Stewart songs effect me today to the degree that they do--again, as with Steely Dan, there were many years in there where I never gave them a moment's thought, and at the time, when "Maggie May" and "You Wear It Well" were on the radio, I liked them a lot, but there was other music I gravitated more towards. Today, when I often wonder why I don't show the requisite emotion when it comes to real-life events--those that fill the news, and those that are closer to my own life--I can think of at least three occasions when an unexpected Rod Stewart song off the radio had me kind of welling up. (The punchline is that one of them was that most sensitive of all '70s love-lyrics, the Faces' "Stay With Me.") "You Wear It Well" especially gets to me; if Every Pic- ture Tells a Story is Stewart's highwater mark during that run, the album where it all comes together and everything seems effortlessly within his grasp, then "You Wear It Well" is the warm afterglow of someone taking a moment to luxuriate in his mastery before it slips away. Lyrically, it's word-perfect, with the extraordinary lines about Madame Onassis and feeling like a millionaire even more evocative now because they were sung at a time when Stewart's still dreaming about that world and not yet part of it. (There are also lines that mention Minnesota and the homesick blues--not sure who he had in the back of his mind there.) I honestly believe it's superior to "Maggie May," which, I should add, I regret relegating to spent--of all the songs I've put in there, it's the greatest...If Long May You Run is remembered at all, it's only for the bland title song. Too bad--"Ocean Girl," which could have fit comfort- ably onto Zuma, is one of Neil's best.

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