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Date: October 10, 2020
Host: Gregory James
Feature: Rolling Stone Magazine’s Rating of Albums and Songs
Arlene Smith (Chantels) 79 years old
Steve Miller 77 years old
Buckwheat Stevenson (b. 1949 d. 1988)
Millie Small (b. 1946 d. 5/5/2020)
Eddie Van Halen died on October 6, 2020 at the age of 65.
Johnny Nash died on October 6, 2020 at the age of 80.
John Cougar Mellencamp 69 years old
Jackson Browne 72 years old
John Lennon (b. 1940 d. 1980)
John Entwistle (b. 1944 d. 2002)
David Lee Roth 65 years old
* songs with * were requests
* all chart information comes from the Billboard Top 100 (for chart dates before/during July 1958) or Billboard Hot 100 (for chart dates during/after Aug 1958) unless otherwise noted
* a glossary of terms is below the playlist
OPENING THEME: Good Old Rock ‘n’ Roll
Cat Mother & the All-Night Newsboys (1969, #29, produced by Jimi Hendrix)
Somebody to Love Jefferson Airplane 1967 RS # 279 Song
Written by Darby Slick, Grace Slick’s brother in law (seen pictured below with their band "The Great Society") about his reaction to being left by his girlfriend.
Shout Isley Brothers 1959 RS #119 Song
The second part of the song, which included friends of the Isleys to create the sound of a party, was the B-side to the Part I A-side.
Paul Simon and his then wife Peggy Harper were at a party and a guest called Paul “Al” and Peggy “Betty.”
Be My Baby Ronettes 1963 RS #22 Song
The castanets are played, as far as I can determine, by either Hal Blaine or Frank Capp.
That’ll Be the Day Buddy Holly 1957 RS# 39 Song
The title of the song was inspired by a line spoken by John Wayne in the 1956 film “The Searchers.”
Once in a Lifetime Talking Heads 1980 Remain in Light RS #39 Album
The melody was developed by the Talking Heads playing extended Afrobeat jams. David Byrne developed the lyrics as if he were giving a sermon about how attachment to materialism sneaks up on you.
*So You Are a Star Hudson Brothers 1974 H100 Peak #21
For Brooktondale Peggy and the Honey Hive Crew from Scotty. Advance request via firstname.lastname@example.org
Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones 1969 RS #38 Song
Let It Bleed RS #41 Album
After a call from Jack Nitzsche, a pregnant Merry Clayton came into the studio and recorded her vocal lines in the middle of the night.
Bo Diddley Bo Diddley 1955 RS # 62 Song
The song was the first rock and roll recording to use the African patted juba beat which, in the U.S., became known as the Bo Diddley beat.
I Feel the Earth Move Carole King 1971 Tapestry RS #25 Album
Although there is nice guitar work by Danny Kortchmar on the recording, producer Lou Adler made sure to highlight King’s piano in the final mix.
In My Life Beatles 1965 RS #23 Song Rubber Soul RS #35 Album
John Lennon called this song his first autobiographical composition. It is hypothesized that the lyric, “Some are dead and some are living” refers to himself and to original Beatle bassist Stu Sutcliffe.
Go Your Own Way Fleetwood Mac 1977 RS #120 Song
Rumors #8 RS Album
Lindsay Buckingham’s song about breaking up with Stevie Nicks features a guitar solo compiled from six different lead guitar takes.
Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35 Bob Dylan 1966 Blonde on Blonde
RS #38 Album
Producer Bob Johnston came up with the idea of making the track sound like a Salvation Army band. To add to that effect, several of the musicians traded instruments with each other.
He’s a Rebel Crystals 1962 RS #267 Song
The song, written by Gene Pitney, was actually recorded by The Blossoms with Darlene Love on lead vocal and credited to The Crystals.
Maybe Chantels 1958 RS #199 Song
Lead singer Arlene Smith trained in classical voice and performed at Carnegie Hall when she was 12. She wrote music and lyrics for the Chantels, but was not always credited. This song was famously covered by Janis Joplin.
Going to the Country Steve Miller 1970
A bit of psychedelic country that peaked on the H100 at #69.
My Maria B. W. Stevenson 1973 H100 peak #9
Stevenson was known as Buckwheat to his friends in the Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff.
Sweet William Millie Small 1964 H100 peak #40
Small was born in Jamaica and was the Caribbean’s first international recording star.
I Need a Lover John Mellencamp 1979 H100 peak #28
Mellencamp has had 22 top 40 hits and he is a founding member of Farm Aid. He was never fond of the stage name Cougar that was given to him by label management.
Rock Me on the Water Jackson Browne 1972 H100 peak #48
Browne wrote: “I staked a lot on that song, because it [combined] social awareness and … the inner search for spiritual meaning." You heard the single 45 RPM version that has more vocal harmonies, more guitar and more percussion than the album version.
Stand by Me John Lennon 1975 H100 peak #20
This single was Lennon’s final hit before his five-year retreat from the music industry to raise his son Sean (who shares his birthday).
The Real Me The Who 1974 H100 peak #92
According to a 1996 interview, John Entwistle said the bass part was recorded on the first take. Entwistle claimed he was "joking around" when he played the part, but the band loved it and they used it in the final version.
Runnin’ with the Devil Van Halen 1978 #84 RRHOF
In the same week that David Lee Roth celebrated his 65th birthday, Eddie Van Halen died at the age of 65. R.I.P. Eddie.
I Believe in Music Mac Davis 1970 H100 peak #117
On September 29, 2020 Mac Davis died at the age of 78. He was born in Lubbock, TX and he was buried in Lubbock in his favorite blue jeans. He was a singer, an actor and he wrote songs for Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra, B. J. Thomas, Bobby Goldsboro, O.C. Smith and Kenny Rogers.
Hold Me Tight Johnny Nash 1968 H100 Peak #5
Johnny Nash died on October 6, 2020 at the age of 80. Nash, from Houston, went to Jamaica to hear first hand the music emerging there. He recorded his iconic song “I Can See Clearly Now,” inspired by the Jamaican music that he introduced to a broader audience. It was Nash who signed Bob Marley to his first record deal and taught him how to use a microphone for recording.
Johnny B. Goode Chuck Berry 1958 RS #7 Song
The last name of the song’s hero may have come from Berry’s birthplace: 2520 Goode Avenue in St. Louis.
In the Still of the Night Five Satins 1956 RS #90 Song
The song was recorded in the basement of a New Haven Catholic school. It is one of the best-known doo-wop songs, in part because the phrase “doo wop” is actually used in the lyrics.
Suffragette City David Bowie 1972 Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
Bowie incorporated several musical influences, including the piano style of Little Richard, and the refrain “Hey Man” from the Velvet Underground.
Foxy Lady Jimi Hendrix 1967 RS#153 Song
Are You Experienced RS #30 Album
There have been a couple of contenders speculated for the foxy lady: Heather Taylor and Faye Pridgon.
Long Tall Sally Little Richard 1957 RS #55 Song
Lee Allen played the tenor sax solo. The tempo was deliberately fast to prevent copycat versions of the song.
Hound Dog Elvis Presley 1956 RS #19 Song
The basic rhythm to Presley’s version of this Leiber and Stoller song was a three beat Afro-Latin pattern known as the Habanera. Presley and his band saw Freddie Bell and the Bellboys perform the song in Las Vegas and decided to make their own version. On the recording, Gordon Stoker, who usually sang first tenor for the Jordanaires, needed to fill in on piano. As he could not both play and sing, the back up vocals were, by his own account, “the worst…we ever got on any record.”
River Deep Mountain High Tina Turner 1966 RS #33 Song
Twenty one session musicians played on this track, including Leon Russell and Glen Campbell.
A Day in the Life Beatles 1967 RS #28 Song
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (RS #24 Album)
The 40 second fade out was created by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Mal Evans all slamming out an E-major chord simultaneously on three pianos. The recording level was boosted as the chord faded out, which is why studio noises (a squeaking chair, papers rustling) can be heard.
Respect Aretha Franklin 1967 RS #5 Song
I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You RS #13 Album
Ever wonder how the expression “Sock it to me” came into general usage? Aretha's version of the Otis Redding song and Mitch Ryder's "Devil with the Blue Dress" (written by Mickey Stevenson and Shorty Long).
He’s Misstra Know-It-All Stevie Wonder 1973 InnerVisions RS #34 Album
This 1973 song, seemingly written about then-President Richard Nixon, has lost none of its political punch today.
All I Have to Do is Dream Everly Brothers 1958 RS #142 Song
This track was recorded live in two takes.
All I Want Joni Mitchell 1971 Blue RS #3 Album
Mitchell’s LP Blue is the highest entry by a woman on the RS Greatest Album list. Check out this 1970 video where she previews "All I Want" while she was still working on it. Notice how different the lyrics are from those on Blue.
God Only Knows Beach Boys 1966 RS #25 Song Pet Sounds RS #2 album
Two of the percussive effects are sleigh bells by Hal Blaine and two plastic orange juice bottles struck against each other by Jim Gordon. Alan Robinson plays the iconic French horn part. If you want to take a deep dive into the recording process of this song, watch the video.
Dance to the Music Sly and the Family Stone 1968 RS #225 Song
This track was an early influence on psychedelic soul and funk music.
Nowhere to Run Martha and the Vandellas 1965 RS #367 Song
In 1962 Martha Reeves replaced Gloria Williams as lead singer of the Vandellas. They shot this promotional film on a moving Mustang assembly line in Detroit.
London Calling The Clash 1979 RS #15 Song
London Calling RS #16 Album
The song makes reference to the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the possibility of the River Thames flooding central London, and the use of truncheons by the Metropolitan Police. The fadeout is Morse Code for S.O.S.
Eleanor Rigby Beatles 1966 RS #138 Song Revolver RS #11 Album
The double string quartet was arranged by George Martin. George Harrison contributed “Ah look at all the lonely people,” and Ringo Starr added “writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear.”
Like a Rolling Stone Bob Dylan 1965 RS #1 Song
Highway 61 Revisited RS #18 Album
Al Kooper, who was just starting out as a session player, improvised the organ riff. Paul Griffin played piano, and Bobby Gregg played the opening snare drum shot heard around the world.
What’s Going On Marvin Gaye 1971 RS #4 Song
What’s Going On RS #1 Album
This was the first album to credit Gaye as producer and to give explicit credit to Motown session players The Funk Brothers, who can be heard speaking under the song’s introduction. This was the track that bassist James Jamerson played while lying on the floor. Background vocals were by the Andantes and three members of the Detroit Lions football team, among others. Eli Fontaine played an alto sax riff as a goof, but Marvin Gaye liked it so much he made it the opening of the song. If you want to see James Jamerson and Eddie Bongo Brown in action, watch the video.
CLOSING THEME: Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny (1959, #1 for two weeks)
Glossary of Terms:
RS500 = Rolling Stone Magazine’s ranked list of the top 500 singles and albums of all-time
dnc = did not chart
nr = not released as a single at the time
AC = Billboard’s chart for “Adult Contemporary” records
BB = Billboard Magazine, which publishes the Hot 100 chart (previously known as the Top 100), along with several other charts
H100 = Hot 100 Chart
Bubbling Under = songs that were ranked but fell below the top 100
C&W = Billboard’s chart for “Country & Western” records
R&B = Billboard’s chart for “Rhythm & Blues” records
RRHOF = Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Host October 17, 2020: Jan Hunsinger with a spotlight on Double Plays: The Same Charting Song by Two Different Artists.
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