In a perfect world, Elton John's original version of "Pinball Wizard" (from the Who's rock opera "Tommy") would start to play as this page opened up. Or maybe Fig Dish/Caviar's song "Quiet Storm King" if I was feeling like a curveball that day.
My FCP says that the one, single song to BEST represent me might be Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta".
Quickly let me try to outline this mess:
First: 20 favorite albums
Second: 20 favorite songs
Next: Apologies, also-rans, and the RUSH debate
After that: Decade tributes
A little further: "Hey!" The alternative radio station contest
A link to a rant about Jane's Addiction
And a "Dirty Dozen" link that may actually work
I gave a nice review to (2001's) "Beautiful Garbage" CD
A better review for the newest, last, whatever (2003) Everclear CD "Slow Motion Daydream"
(Fig Dish) Caviar in 2004? (3 Penny Needle) Dream Life Misery in 2004? Stay tuned...
"Bleed Like Me" Garbage, and "With Teeth" NIN in 2005...
"Over The Wire" Dream Life Misery and "Year Zero" NIN in 2007...
And finally: which of your own 50 CD's do you take with you?
Watch for the little horizontal lines; sometimes they help me.
The Overnight Guy's Top 10 albums of all time:
#1 Pink Floyd; "Dark Side of the Moon"
(wow, what a shock, huh?) The first concept album ever; the most weeks on the top 200 albums sold list ever; the first fully-commercialized drug rock album. Revolutionary and timeless, this collection is still the reference by which all other rock albums are measured.
#2 Boston 1
All of the sounds on this first Boston album already existed in (vegetarian)Tom Scholz's head--according to legend. A ruthless perfectionist, he stopped at nothing to have these sounds duplicated precisely; sometimes even duplicated precisely more than once. Tom alienated his family, his friends, his bandmates; even thumbed his nose at the record executives and their time frames--all in pursuit of his singular vision of sound for this one album. Years overdue (when finally released), this musical and financial goldmine still stands as the best example of both one man's musical quest for a singular album, and that same man's victory over the music business processs.
#3 Asia; Asia
I will not try to sound like an Asia scholar now or ever; that is TPG's duty. What I will mention about the first Asia album is this: Asia was the first true "Supergroup". And since this term is far overused, allow me to redefine it for you. In a supergroup, each and every member is not just already successful, but already famous. Asia didn't need to prove anything, or prove anything else, and they certainly didn't need money. Asia came into existence solely out of a love for the presentation of spectacular music. What could have easily become a clash of egos (common), was instead a gathering of genius (extremely rare). A careful listen to the entire first Asia album will amaze you. If I have left out anything else necessary for preliminary praise, I'm sure that narul will help me to amend this.
Okay; those are my top 3. I say that these are the 3 best, or most important, or most influential, yeah whatever; the 3 best ever. On any given day, a person might even change the order of these 3, flippity flop flop--switcharoo to you, sure, but these are still the top 3.
It is now that the list will become extremely personalized; that is, after I decide how to narrow down a list of 30 albums to numbers 4 through 10. This is not so easy, okay?
#4 Rush; "Moving Pictures"
Either you love Rush, or you hate them. As a band, they do lack a bit of overall diversity. This album shows as much range as any Rush album, if not more. From pop to story-telling; and from anthem to instrumental, this is by far my favorite Rush album.
#5 Pink Floyd; "Wish You Were Here"
Even with 18 months to do it, there was an amazing amount of pressure on Pink Floyd and Roger Waters to make this album comparable to its predecessor. (Remember, Dark Side of the Moon is merely the most commercially successful album in recorded history.) Amazingly, and I would like to stress the word; "AMAZINGLY", this Pink Floyd tribute to the founding member of their band (Syd Barrett) was perhaps a more streamlined concept album, with even better lyrics than Dark Side. I'll even go you one step further; Wish You Were Here is a better (and more artistic) album than Dark Side of the Moon; just not as commercialized, not as fast, and not as creatively engineered.
#6, #7, and #8 Led Zeppelin; 4, 2, and Physical Graffiti
Again, the order might switch on any given day. Graffiti is a double studio album--so it has twice as much. But that's not the real issue here. My generation had Led Zeppelin AND Pink Floyd, okay? We didn't have to choose between alterna-progressi-contempo-pop; we had REAL rock and roll. And because of such luck, I can have 3 Zeppelin albums in my top 10--even if I like Pink Floyd a little more. Hey; watch for both bands in my secondary list, too.
#9 Van Halen 1
The REAL Van Halen; not that Sammy didn't do an excellent job later on--but David Lee Roth was meant to sing for this band. These potheads with exceptional musical talent were definitely cresting the wave that led the 70's into the 80's. I listened as it happened.
And the winner is...
#10 The Cars
This album has 9 songs, and 6 of them are true radio hits. Your band should be so lucky. This album remained extremely popular even as the band put out more quality records.
The Overnight Guy's secondary top 10 albums of all time:
#1 Queen; The Game
Being the first on the list of a secondary top 10 is exactly where Queen seems to end up. The best thing this band ever did was to stop--so they could be missed. It is incredible how popular they are, even today. At a record store in April of the year 2000, I saw a "Queen: Greatest Hits-volume 3" 3? Did you realize that these 'queens' were frequently selling out concerts on 5 continents? And this was long before being gay was accepted or trendy. I remember clearly when "Another One Bites the Dust" was the only song that everybody on the schoolbus sang; blacks and whites; seniors and freshmen; even the bus driver. There are 5 songs on this album that you know well. Queen is probably the most famous "forgotten" band in rock and roll history.
#2 AC/DC; Back in Black
Important footnote to this album: This was (new singer) Brian Johnson's first album with the band--after Bon Scott's untimely death in 1980. Consider the pressure on this new guy. Then acknowledge that this album has sold over 16 million copies (it's in the top 10 albums sold list), and it's a true rock and roll reference. As for my personal fondness: It's funny how you remember things. I was very impressed that the 4 big songs on this album were all popular at the same time. And they stayed popular for about a year. You couldn't escape those 4 songs on the radio. Many people took guitar lessons because of this album.
#3 Lynyrd Skynyrd; Pronounced
I grew up in the south; yelling "free bird" whenever I got bored. I got bored alot. It's hard to believe that music and legend this good came from the swamps of Florida. In life, and in death, this band had (has) more than just a little magic in its favor. "J" and "D" Van Zant carry well the torch that their fallen brother "R" left behind. There's even a 2001 tour going on now.
#4 Styx; Grand Illusion
Come on, do I have to justify all of these? I don't think so.
#5 Led Zeppelin; In Through the Out Door
This was the first Zeppelin that I bought with my own money (I stole all the others from my mom, shhhh). Being that type of investment, I played it hundreds of times, and learned every breath on it. Back then, it seemed so much more radio-friendly than the other Zeppelin albums. Later in life, I learned that this album was the first one to be produced by John Paul Jones--so the album actually did sound a little different--on purpose. Oh yeah; playing "Hot Dog" on a country station promptly ended my $6 an hour "career" there. Shucks, y'all.
#6 Pink Floyd; Meddle
My dad used to play "One of these Days" pretty loudly, and it scared me. I was a kid, okay? But after I got over the initial fear, I stole the album from him and learned that it was really good--and very diverse.
#7 Deep Purple; Machine Head
Um, here's another one I stole from my mom, but I'm proud of it. Why? I snagged this baby back in 1977; I've still got it, and it still plays. Oh yeah, mom thinks she loaned it to somebody 20 years ago, and just can't remember who it was. I own the thing on cd now...I could give her the album back...but how much fun would that be?
#8 Foreigner; Double Vision
Most of the people in my age range have some distinct memories of Foreigner. I remember NOT being able to go to this concert, for example. It's okay, though. In case you haven't figured it out yet, whenever either of my parents pissed me off, I'd just go steal an album.
#9 Zebra; Zebra
Here's a curveball. It took me 18 albums to get to a damn curveball, but here it is. The first Atlantic records debut to ever outsell Led Zeppelin's debut; these 3 guys from New Orleans could rock. For better or worse, they held NOTHING back on this record. This is a classic example of a band that lacked good promotion, and they fizzled hard after their incredible debut. Such is life.
#10 Smashing Pumpkins; Siamese Dream
I'm not just looking for another curveball, and I'm not trying to be cool, either. Billy Corgan is a genius; he knows exactly how he wants things to sound (like Tom Scholz), and he is apparently very hard to work with. But this guy is focused. I was on the radio helping to break out Smashing Pumpkins with this record in 1993. 7 years later, I still can't believe how good it sounds. Pop, rock, anthems; 3 different singles (very different). Perhaps I'm trying to give more credit than is due a celebrated star, like Peter Gabriel, but this is personal. I predicted huge things for this band BECAUSE of this one album. And guess what? I was right. Thank you.
Honorable Mention: Only one? I bet you'll come up with more than one. Probably. My 6th favorite song of all time came from the 1977 Meatloaf album "Bat Out Of Hell." When compiling this list in 2001, I did not realize how much adversity was overcome by all of the people involved in the creation and promotion of this album. And I, personally, have some ideas about how to bring this music back into the spotlight again; wish me luck. Anybody got Meat's e-mail address?
Let's do something fun now:
Narul beat me to this. Try to think of your absolute favorite ten
songs of all time.
It's not easy, is it?
#1 Time-Pink Floyd
#2 Stranglehold-Ted Nugent
#3 Come Sail Away-Styx
#4 Who are you-the Who
#5 Lazy-Deep Purple
#6 Paradise by the Dashboard Light-Meatloaf
#7 Layla-Derek and the Dominoes
#8 Shooting Star-Bad Company
#9 25 or 6 to 4-Chicago
#10 Radar Love-Golden Earring
#1 Working Man-Rush
#2 Ice Cream Man-Van Halen
#3 Blinded by the Light-Manfred Mann's Earth Band (remake)
#4 Foreplay/Long Time-Boston
#5 Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding-Elton John
#6 Green Eyed Lady-Sugarloaf
#7 Frankenstein-Edgar Winter
#8 Any way you want it-Journey
#9 Fire on High-ELO
#10 Don't Fear the Reaper-Blue Oyster Cult
Bonus #1: We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions-Queen
Bonus #2: Twilight Zone-Golden Earring
Bonus #3: Pump Up the Volume-Marrs
#2 Fanfare for the Common Man-Emerson, Lake and Palmer (By all accounts, "Fanfare" must be the most popular instrumental ever. But this list isn't about the most popular thing ever; this list is MY favorites, and MY favorites are supposed to make you think of your favorites. You HAVE heard this song, but probably not on the radio. It was the theme for ABC's Wide World of Sports back in the 70's, and it has been used as an American Olympic Anthem at least twice. However, this composition was not really presented as a radio single.)
#3 Frankenstein-Edgar Winter Group (THE rock instrumental for Halloween, and this "haunting" bassline is a top 10 of all time.)
#4 One of These Days-Pink Floyd (The one garbled line in the middle "One of these days I'm going to cut you into little pieces" is a statement--NOT a lyric, so this classic pot-smoking song definitely qualifies as a great instrumental.)
#5 YYZ-Rush (This instrumental got as much radio airplay as any instrumental ever did. The collection of short solos and statements contained within this punching ballad will actually make you forget that the song has no words.)
#6 Bron-Yr-Aur--Led Zeppelin (This is the little guitar interlude in between "In the Light" and "Down by the Seaside" on side 3 of Physical Graffiti. Jimmy Page had ideas for many instrumentals that his "New Yardbirds" would play; but those plans changed slightly after experiencing the vocal talents of Robert Plant.)
More to follow...
In fact, the very term "Instrumentals" creates its own footnotes and exceptions. In this world of remakes and remixes, the time frame becomes clouded, and picking instrumentals becomes an incredibly personal and individualized effort. Wasn't there a Foreigner song, "Tramontane", that was not only great on the radio--but also the theme for the radio show "Rockline" (with Bob Coburn)? Unless you heard me on the radio, you've probably never heard the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion song "Greyhound Part 1" (1995), but you'd love it if you did. Where would you rate a Ween song, like "A Tear for Eddie" (1994) against a bluesy tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn, like Buddy Guy's "Rememberin' Stevie" (1991)? And any amount of research I might do to find some obscure (but still memorable) 70's instrumental (like Hocus Pocus-"Focus") could be in vain (if YOU'VE never heard of it). Carlos Santana belongs in this grouping at least once or twice, and Rod Stewart's "Faces" guitarist Jeff Beck (perhaps you've heard of him) created a whole album of excellent instrumentals right after Rod left the band. What about southern bands (or other regional music)? For example; the Allman Brothers Band has both "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Jessica"; are southern bands as popular in the rest of the world as they are/were in Georgia? And there's 60's bands, like the Ventures, who played only excellent instrumentals. Does the song "Tequilla" qualify as an instrumental? I have questions...
The 70's have many instrumental elements, many of which I'll never have time or space to get to. Do you remember the themes to any tv shows; like "The Rockford Files"? THAT song was all over the radio, but the theme to "Hawaii Five-O" (a better song) was not. Does "Mission Impossible" ring a bell for anybody? The Who's rock opera/movie/album "Tommy" spawned "Underture", and one or two other amazing instrumentals, rarely on the radio. In the era of disco, some band did a pop version of "A Fifth of Beethoven", and it was actually very good; where does it rank?
You will need to refer to your own memory banks to find out which kinds of instrumentals were very important to you, or at least which ones SHOULD have been important to you. In the 90's and today, many songs come with different versions; how does that affect the listings?
Okay, we're going to back away slowly from this monster that grows larger every week. Not even I could have foreseen how complex an issue "Instrumentals" is. Let's go back to the first 6 that I LISTED up there: "Oh look; he managed to sneak in some Floyd, Zeppelin and Rush; how novel." Okay, I mean the FIRST 3; Fire, Fanfare, and Frankenstein. I will stand by those 3 as the 3 "most obvious" great instrumentals ever. And who'd have thunk that all 3 would begin with the letter "F"? You have to agree; that's pretty cool, huh?
More Dribble About 80's Music
1990's: Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan has done (did) more in 7 years than anybody else in music history; and he did it in the most pathetic decade of short attention spans (yet). Kudos to the soft-spoken Chicago boy.
Regardless of your (or my) personal favorites, there is a tribute that must be addressed here. Everything in Alternative rock has some kind of roots in music from the 80's or early 90's; from roughly 3 specific albums--and one earlier band. I'll explain:
NIN "Pretty Hate Machine", Pearl Jam's "10", Nirvana's "Nevermind", and one of 3 or 4 different Cure albums ("Disintigration" would be a nice choice, hmmm) forms the outlining structure of Alternative music. I give the Cure alot of respect and credit because they were an established band--doing (alternative) music 10 years before the "Alternative" tag. In fact, the Cure may have actually invented the word, and the style "Alternative" (they did)...Here is my point: do you have a favorite alternative rock song? Probably. It may or may not be from one of the 4 bands mentioned here (mine isn't). To be fair, you should have a favorite song from "Pretty Hate Machine", a favorite from "10", a favorite from "Nevermind", and a favorite Cure song. Then, and only then, can you move into the world OF "Alternative rock"--where you may have a completely unrelated favorite song. Does that make any sense at all? Okay...
Narul already has Tool's "Sober" in his top 10 songs of all time. Static Girl has the Garbage song "Temptation Waits" (Version 2.0's first song) in her top slot . I'll hear from Dax V later ("I Would Do Anything For Love" by Meatloaf).
It's like my Filter maxi-single, with 4 different versions of "Hey Man Nice Shot". Uh-oh...Okay, now if you KNOW me, then you know what just happened. If you don't know me, then hang on, because now I have to dig out my Filter maxi-single. Shit. Did I sell my "Short Bus" CD for drinking money? That was dumb; or maybe I was really thirsty...
Continuing the Filter wet spot; when leaving work on Sunday, 6-29-03, some cool Black guy with one of those 1000 watt car stereos was cranking out "Hey Man Nice Shot" with heavy duty bass; I was impressed.
And now we're going to do another shout-out for that song (not again). There is good reason why "Hey Man Nice Shot" is my hands-down #1 Alternative song of all time. And I know that YOU have your own favorite Alternative song of all time--and yours is probably an excellent choice, too. I'm not trying to upset anybody by highly praising this CHOICE Filter tune. Here's what I'd like for you to do; go dig out your copy of "Hey Man Nice Shot", and listen to it under headphones, as loud as you can manage comfortably. If you don't own any Filter, then call an Alternative radio DJ with a clue (Good luck, and where IS Sean Dimry when you need him?) and request it. Find your headphones. You are listening to the song right now (under headphones) as PRIMARY entertainment, but I want you to consider how this song would work as BACKGROUND NOISE; at work, at the grocery, in your car, at the gym, at home while you're cleaning house, in the shower, during sex, in the morning when you're waking up--whenever music-listening is important to you--think of how well THIS song would work. Are you paying attention? Have you EVER heard anybody ask to NOT hear THAT song? Black people like it, girls like it, little kids love it, and old people don't mind it. Now I have to sell it to you; not since Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" has there been a single tune that unifies everybody like this song does. Everybody LIKES this song; everybody. Okay, I'm done.
1. Filter: "Hey Man Nice Shot"
2. Radiohead: "Creep"
3. Tool: "Sober"
4. Offspring: "Gone Away"
5. Orbit: "Bicycle Song"
Have you figured out why we went to the top 5 favorite Alternative songs of all time yet? I bet you did. It's called a CURVEBALL; right there, #5. You may remember Orbit and their song "Medicine"; it had a short run on the radio and MTV. Unless you heard me, you never heard "Bicycle Song" on the radio. (Bicycle Song is Dax V's favorite "unknown" Alternative song From my 18 boxes; an excellent choice, D, good job.) In fact, there are times when Bicycle Song is MY favorite Alternative song--like this last week of Feb. '03, where I've played it about 50 times. It's 5:33 long, WAY too long for standard commercial radio, which made it PERFECT for Overnight radio. And I've got to do some kind of spank value for you, so here it is: I will put the last minute and a half (1:30) jam of Bicycle Song up against ANY jam ending ever. Anything Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, RUSH, anybody, ever; I swear. Don't argue with me. Go buy, beg, borrow or steal a copy of Orbit's Libido Speedway and play the second song; then get back to me. Okay?
Here's the logic for co-winners: "JLH" is a pop song done by a different kind of band. Robert Smith was simply proving that he could have been doing safe, sissy shit like this all the time. "FS" (2 years later) is an alternative song with dark and scary guitar; it became well-known because the tune was treated like a radio single. "JLH" is how alternative GOES pop; "FS" is how pop WENT alternative; now you know. You're welcome.
"Fascination Street", by the way, is also the #1 'sweeping and mopping' song of all time. And, in fact, the Cure's "Pictures of You" is the #2 'sweeping and mopping' song of all time--it's a bit longer--when you need to do a really good sweep + mop job. Hmmm. In fact, we're going to have to elaborate a tad more on the Cure. Since the Cure IS the premier Alternative band of all time, we should try to pick a single Cure album for those uninitiated. It's easy. Since "Fascination Street" and "Pictures of You" are both on the same album, along with (potential #3 Grand Poobah) "Lovesong", as well as one of the greatest, darkest, deepest Alternative cuts of all time "Prayers for Rain", the first Cure album to be acquired for a collection should definitely be "Disintegration". You're welcome.
There are so many songs and bands that helped perpetuate Alternative. We can sit here and discuss the Cure for hours; I'm a huge Cure fan. If I could ask Robert Smith one question, it would be why didn't HE personally make 1987's "Just Like Heaven" the signature Alternative song? It was popular enough. Either way, I'm glad that he did not. I was lucky enough to live through the 1993-1994 battle for position between pop and Alternative. And I got into some trouble for it, too. Having seen Sponge on 120 Minutes, I played their "Plowed" song one night--even though it wasn't on the playlist. But it turns out that Sponge's "Plowed" was the last Alternative song that was played ONLY as a pop song. Later that same week Radiohead's "Creep" was the first Alternative song to make the complete radio crossover and be a hit as a pop song AND an Alternative song.
There are about 25 other Alternative songs that I sometimes get a mean craving to hear--and that means these songs are very important to me. Some of them you may know, and some are obscure. So let's list them:
(MANY songs by the band Fig Dish/Caviar) "Quiet Storm King", "Eyesore" and "Pretty Never Hurts", 3 from Crumb: "Shoegazer", "Celebrity Judges" and "Implore", 3 also from Three Penny Needle: "Crack a Smile", "David Gunn", and "Stain", Fat Boy Slim: "Praise You" and "Going Out of My Head", Matthew Sweet: "Girlfriend" and "Sick of Myself", Smashing Pumpkins: "Mayonaise" and "Eye", Jesus Jones: "Right Here Right Now" and "Zeroes and Ones", Jane Jenson: "Highway 90" and "Listen", Stabbing Westward: "Save Yourself", Moist: "Machine Punch Through", Monster Magnet: "All Friends and Kingdom Come", Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: "Greyhound Part 1", Bad Religion: "American Jesus", (on permanent loan from TPG) School of Fish: "Three Strange Days"...these are the songs I play when I go to my 'special place' and DJ for myself; from me, to me. All mine. The rest of you can kiss my ass and enjoy corporate radio. I'll be in my room; lip-synching, air-guitaring, nailing posts, and pretending like it really matters.
There is a particular, almost strategic Alternative band that is completely missing from my personal archives. If you'd like to know why, then
explains why they get no mention here.
is from here, if you are so inclined...I dare you.
Everclear's "Slow Motion Daydream"--W.C.'s Review
Caviar in 2004
3PN in 2004; I like it. (Well, not exactly.)
9-04 Update; contact clarification--it's not a step-mom, but more like a step-aunt (maybe) of lead singer/guitarist Doug Heffernan who is so nicely e-mailing me about the band. Name change; no more 3PN, okay? The band is now DREAM LIFE MISERY. Their new CD "Closest Line Theory" is available at cdbaby.com--for just $10! Go buy one already, you cheap ass. You can even listen to some of it at the website--and it sounds really damn good. Updates, and hopefully a review will follow; in a couple of weeks--when I get my CD. Stay tuned...
9-22-04 Update; got the CD, meticulously listened to it 12 times, and wrote a review:
Dream Life Misery's "Closest Line Theory"--W. C.'s Review
(2005's) Garbage "Bleed Like Me"--W. C.'s Review
NIN "With Teeth" Review (Finally)2005
Dream Life Misery's "Over The Wire"--W. C.'s Review