- Derek and the Dominos - Layla (1971) Eric Clapton, Duane Allman
- The Beatles - Day Tripper (1965) George Harrison
- Black Sabbath - Iron Man (1971) Tony Iommi
- Cream - Sunshine of Your Love (1968) Eric Clapton
- The Beatles - I Feel Fine (1964) John Lennon
- Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode (1958) Chuck Berry
- Rolling Stones - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (1965) Keith Richards
- AC/DC - Back In Black (1980) Angus Young, Malcolm Young
- Roy Orbison - Oh, Pretty Woman (1964) Roy Oribison
- Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train (1980) Randy Rhoads
- Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970) Tony Iommi
- Rolling Stones - Jumpin' Jack Flash (1968) Keith Richards, Brian Jones
- Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama (1974) Gary Rossington, Allen Collins
- Jimi Hendrix Experience - Purple Haze (1967) Jimi Hendrix
- Metallica - Master of Puppets (1986) Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield
- Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine (1987) Slash
- Led Zeppelin - Heartbreaker (1969) Jimmy Page
- Jimi Hendrix Experience - Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (1968) Jimi Hendrix
- AC/DC - Hells Bells (1980) Angus Young, Malcolm Young
- Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water (1971) Ritchie Blackmore
- Iron Butterfly - In A Gadda Da Vida (1968) Eric Brann
- David Bowie - Rebel, Rebel (1974) David Bowie
- Metallica - Enter Sandman (1991) Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield
- Aerosmith - Walk This Way (1975) Joe Perry
- Eddie Cochran - Summertime Blues (1958) Eddie Cochran
- The Animals - House of the Rising Sun (1964) Hilton Valentine
- The Kinks - You Really Got Me (1964) Dave Davies
- ZZ Top - La Grange (1973) Billy Gibbons
- Soundgarden - Outshined (1991) Kim Thayil
- Metallica - One (1989) James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett
- Dire Straits - Money For Nothing (1984) Mark Knopfler
- Rolling Stones - Brown Sugar (1971) Keith Richards
- The Guess Who - American Woman (1970) Randy Bachman, Greg Leskiw
- Led Zeppelin - Black Dog (1971) Jimmy Page
- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - I Love Rock N Roll (1982) Ricky Byrd, Joan Jett
- Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley (1958) Bo Diddley
- The Troggs - Wild Thing (1966) Chris Britton
- Kiss - Heaven's On Fire (1985) Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley
- Tommy Tutone - 867-5309 (Jenny) (1982) Tommy Tutone
- Led Zeppelin - D'yer Mak'er (1971) Jimmy Page
- AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long (1980) Angus Young, Malcolm Young
- Kansas - Carry On Wayward Son (1976) Rich Williams
- Ozzy Osbourne - Mr. Crowley (1980) Randy Rhoads
- Pearl Jam - Alive (1991) Mike McCready
- Ratt - Round and Round (1984)
- Asia - Heat of the Moment (1982)
- Joe Walsh - Life's Been Good (1978) Joe Walsh
- Eric Clapton - Cocaine (1976) Eric Clapton
- Molly Hatchett - Flirting With Disaster (1980) Charlie Hargrett
- The Eagles - Life In The Fast Lane (1977) Don Felder, Joe Walsh
- Meat Puppets - Backwater (1994) Curt Kirkwood
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Being what some would call a youngster, I was practically weened on 80's music. It was my time, my generation. My childhood wasn't bad, but due to having divorced parents, both working all the time, and being the youngest of three, I spent a lot of time alone during the week. Music and TV was what I enjoyed the most; specifically music. I was fascinated with it and found myself straining to hear the little nuances, the things that weren't always so obvious and sometimes not really meant to be heard. I listened over and over to learn the lyrics and tried to decipher the meanings. I found many artists and many songs that fit my personality. On the same token, that music was able to alter my mood, bring me up when I needed it, and even be my companion during trying times, like the inception of my first "puppy" love and the inevitable ending. Man, I remember silently boo-hooing listening to Poison's "Every Rose Has It's Thorn". Wow, embarrassing times! My point is that the 80's gave us some of the most influential music of all times with some of the most intense lyrics... lyrics that inspire, console, comfort, entertain, mystify, hypnotize, amaze and scream joy and happiness.
When I remember those times, the first name that comes to mind is a little band from Athens, Georgia called R.E.M. Formed by Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry in 1980. Recognized as the pioneer of the "Alternative Rock" scene, they are the most successful musical act of the genre. R.E.M. is a very personal, very intense band and their powerful lyrics could be labeled as prosaic mixed with a bit of poetic tendencies at times. They could be purely inspirational, or they could be dark and mysterious. The lyrical meaning and style is different for each person, as with all music. But one thing is unanomously undeniable: their lyrics are ingenious. Though all band members contributed to the lyrics, Michael Stipe handled the majority and is one of the very best songwriters in the history of music... of all genres. He has also been stated as being inspired by one of my favorite muscians/songwriters: John Lennon.
Stipe's vocals are always perfect and his stage presence, energy and charismatic manner puts him in the company of great frontmen like Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger, Roger Daltrey and Michael Hutchence. But it's not only the lyrics that made R.E.M. a legend, it's also Peter Buck's Byrds-esque ringing guitar riffs, Mike Mills' melodic, Paul McCartney-inspired bass lines and backing vocals and Bill Berry's snapping drum lines (until his departure in 1997).
This opened the door and proved that R.E.M. was here to stay. They enjoyed several more hits, including "Can't Get There From Here" in 1986 (#5) and "Superman" in 1986 (#17). Following years of underground success, they entered the mainstream rock scene in 1987 with the hit "The One I Love" (#2). They signed with Warner Bros. Records in 1988.
In 1992 came the release of Automatic For The People, a #2 U.S. (#1 U.K.) and 4X platinum album featuring the hit singles "Drive" (#2), "Ignoreland" (#4), "Man On The Moon" (#4), "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite" (#28) and the epic "Everybody Hurts". Mostly acoustic and typified by its dark lyrics (many of which ruminate on mortality, death and those departed), Automatic for the People is generally considered to be among R.E.M.'s best albums, and one of the finest releases of the 1990s. It is the 44th greatest album of all time according to the website Acclaimedmusic.net and 4th best of the 1990s. It was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards of 1993. Bono, of U2, called it "The greatest country record never made".
"Monster" was released in 1994 and went straight to #1 and RIAA certified 4X platinum. "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" (#2), "Star 69" (#15), "Band and Blame" (#4) and "Strange Currencies" (#8) were among the most successful singles. It is their most guitar-heavy album to date, with glam/70s rock and grunge influences. It is also very multi-layered, with references to projected images, both in the media and in personal identity, particularly in terms of sexuality.
Five other albums followed: "New Adventures In Hi-Fi" in 1996 (#2 U.S./#1 U.K.), "Up" in 1998 (#3 U.S./#2 U.K.), "Reveal" in 2001 (#6 U.S./#1 U.K.), "Around The Sun" in 2004 (#13 U.S./#1 U.K.) and "Accelerate" in 2008 (#2 U.S./#1 U.K.).
Some of the most questioned lyrical content came with the release of "E-Bow The Letter" from "New Adventures In Hi-Fi". There have been many speculations on the meaning of the strange acronymical lyrics, however, few have interpreted it as intended. While we'll never know what was in Stipe's head at the time, I have come up with what I believe to be an accurate interpretation.
First, the "E-Bow" part of the name comes from an actual E-Bow; a device that generates distortion when played through a guitar. The letter part is just that: a letter. It is well-known that Mishael Stipes and River Phoenix were good friends. Michael began to notice that River's drug abuse had gotten out of hand. He tried many times to help but River refused to admit that he had a problem. Michael wrote a poetic letter for him explaining how easily you can get caught-up in the drug lifestyle when fame comes your way. There are many overt references to fairly obscure drugs; spanish fly, cherry mash, seconal, absinthe, kerosene. Tinfoil tiaras are used for taking some drugs, and when taken, he tastes the aluminium which is, as stated, analogous with fear. The song can be seen as a warning of the dangerous mix of celebrities and drugs, or anyone for that matter. The sad part is that Michael was never able to deliver the letter to River before the drugs took his life.
The Human League are currently unsigned to a record label and is run as a self-contained business with its own studio in Sheffield. Since late 1994 they have been managed by Simon Watson of Sidewinder Management.
The band continue playing live, with continuing appearances at music festivals worldwide at many of which they are among the headliners.
Although the subject of retirement is often brought up in interviews, Oakey, Sulley and Catherall have all stated that they still enjoy performing and intend to carry on for "as long as they are filling concerts and people want to see them". Sulley often jokes that she "has to carry on because she doesn’t know how to do anything else."
Oakey, Catherall, and Sulley have all stated separately that it is the intention for the band to release a tenth studio album "in the near future". However, no details or timescale have been given. On possible collaborations, Oakey stated on BBC TV News and to NME that "we have a lot of people that want to make records with us."