Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy 50 Kate!

Happy birthday to Kate Bush, 50 today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

30 Years Ago Today ...

Prince has his first chart appearance, with the single "Soft and Wet". Even his recent attempts to replace Lars Ullrich as the definitive example of how NOT to treat fans don't dent my enthusiasm for some of his work. Notice I said FANS. Not thinking of folks looking to rip the guy off. Problem is, Prince (and Lars, etc) does not differentiate between the two. But oh well, the 4-album stretch from Dirty Mind to Purple Rain still stands as an incredible achievement.

In other chart news, the Grease soundtrack hit #1 this day in 1978. This was the first LP I ever purchased ...

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Beatles' Influence on Medical Technology

The Wikipedia entry for Madonna includes a section labeled 'Madonna's Influence On Taxonomy'. Although I would hardly call it 'influence', Madonna is one of the music personalitys to have their name immortalized in the scientific literature by makingup part of a species latin designation. A more legitimate 'influence' in a surprising technological area is seen in the effect the Beatles had on medical technology. Well, EMI's windfall from signing the Beatles anyway ...

See for details.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Hard & Heavy" - no, not really

I have kind of a love/hate relationship with those multi-disc sets Time-Life sells on TV. I actually enjoy the infomercials. Fun seeing some of the live footage, even if it is just in snippets. And anything that keeps the music in memory is a good thing - unfortunately much of the collection is generally made up of available, well known material. Probably a good fit with their customer base. Those of us interested in a bit more depth probably aren't buying our music from TV infomercials any way.

So when I came upon an infomercial for a set I had never before seen I settled down for some (slight) entertainment. The 11 CD + 2 DVD set was called Hard & Heavy. Somebody someplace should be embarrassed. Much of the collection is neither hard nor heavy.

Each CD seems to have 1 to 3 or so songs that can be legitamately called heavy. For example, Megadeth is included with a track and Dio (who is the absolute KING of pseudomystical gobbledygook, and a favorite) is represented twice. Most of the rest is a mixture of questionable 80's hair 'metal' (Poison, Ratt, and so on), good groups who fail the 'heavy' test spectacularly (Scandal? The Tubes?), and groups that are best forgotten altogether (White Lion, Nelson ...).

I try to stay positive around here. For the most part I'd rather talk about the things I have or want than ramble on about things that are best kept far away from me. Time-Life's Hard & Heavy collection is painful enough to inspire me to make an exception.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Starpulse's top 10 songs sung by eomen has posted a list of the top 10 songs sung by women in the rock era. My list would be almost completely different. That doesn't prevent me from commenting on their list.

10 - Sinead O'Conner - "Nothing Compares to You" [sic]

Solid choice. O'Conner has an incredible voice. I prefer "Mandinka", but this song will be familiar to more casual listeners. This is a problem throughout the list - popular, well known choices are given more attention than arguably better or more important songs.

9 - Sheryl Crow - "Strong Enough"

I can't really comment. Not familiar with this one.

8 - Janis Joplin - "Bobby McGee" [sic]

"Me and Bobby McGee" is a fine song. Very nice. But "Piece of my Heart" pretty much defines a particular vocal style. I would have given that song the nod.

7 - Mazzy Starr - "Fade Into You"

Again, not one I know. Mazzy Starr is on my "listen to some time" list, but I haven't tried them out yet.

6 - Blondie - "Heart of Glass"

This is a difficult one. "Call Me" is more favored, but "Heart of Glass" probably more important. "Rapture" gets the nod for historical import.

5 - Heart - "Crazy on You"

Hello, "Barracuda"? At least they didn't pick "What About Love".

4 - Hole - "Doll Parts"

Full disclosure: I really dislike this song. Why not something by Babes in Toyland? Sleater-Kinney? Heavens to Betsy? Anything but "Doll Parts" ...

3 - Tracy Chapman - "Fast Car"

Nice song. One of the best, I'm not so sure, but nice nevertheless.

2 - Fleetwood Mac - "Gold Dust Woman"

Bucks the trend. This time *I* pick the more well known song - "Rhiannon".

1 - Carole King - "Feel Like a Natural Woman"

If I was making a list of top female songwriters of the rock era, King wins first place. Heck, she could make a solid claim at #1 songwriter of either gender. But the actual recording? Well, King is a better writer than vocalist. She's not a bad vocalist, but #1?

I've tried to stick to comments about the list as it appeared. But no Ronnie Spector? The barbarians.