Tag Archives: Iggy Pop

1001 Songs – 1977: Part Three

List Item:  Listen to the 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die

Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees

This is it, the last batch of songs from 1977 and we’re beginning with one of the biggest songs from one of the biggest cinema soundtracks ever. A song that has been used to teach CPR techniques thanks to it’s BPM and how ingrained in the pop culture it is.

In many ways, it’s a very deceptive song as nearly everything about it is meant to make you smile, want to dance and generally have a good time. However, within those falsetto voices are lyrics about surviving on the streets of New York City. It makes it a perfect match for the film Saturday Night Fever because that deals with a similar subject of duality.

I know that, from their previous song on the list, that disco was not what the Bee Gees set out to do – but they do it so well.

Wonderous Stories – Yes

This feels about as close as you can get to something resembling pop whilst remaining a prog rock out. It’s a ballad about a lovely day in Montreux, Switzerland and it’s just a very beautiful track. Also, for a prog rock song, it’s actually very simple. Sure there’s a lot going on with the electric sounds and the two types of guitar, but everything flows well together.

Apparently the band don’t like this song as it is too accessible. Makes sense, as I quite liked it.

Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac

Classic! Rumours is one of the best albums ever produced and it’s hard to deny that this is a major highlight. The fact that Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life album gets two songs on this list and Rumours gets one is a choice. Would have been great to have had ‘The Chain’ on here for being a very different kind of song – but this list has bigger issues than that.

On an album of break-up songs, ‘Go Your Own Way’ is the song that works the best as that feeling of ‘just get out of my life’. Buckingham’s raw vocals and the fact that so much needed to be over-dubbed as they just weren’t recording together. It’s such a great song of catharsis and I’m going to listen to it again before moving on.

“Heroes” – David Bowie

Another iconic song here. Of course, me being me, I know this most from being in Moulin Rouge‘s ‘Elephant Love Medley’ as the section just before the big climax. It’s one of those songs that I know from so many different places like ‘Regular Show’, ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and a huge number of adverts that I am not sure how many times I’ve actually heard the whole song.

I love the story behind the recording of this album where they rigged three microphones at increasingly further distances away and, as the song progressed, the switched on microphone would move further from Bowie – which explains the increased intensity as the song goes on. It’s not my favourite Bowie, but definitely one I can admire.

Exodus – Bob Marley & The Wailers

Right, so this is the title song from the final Bob Marley album on my albums list. I know, from podcasts that I listen to, that so many musical artists that I love really have been inspired by his music. I just. I just can’t.

The first minute or two of the song was good, I can appreciate a good protest song or a song about politics – but there’s no moving from the first two minutes. It just felt cut and pasted enough times to fill eight minutes. At least with ‘I Feel Love’ there was variation to keep it going. I guess I should just rip off the plaster and cover this album…

River Song – Dennis Wilson

Why has the life of Dennis Wilson not been made into a miniseries. A man who was part of one of the biggest acts of the 1960s, was involved with Charles Manson, had troubles with drugs and then a tragic death at a young age.

What ‘River Song’ shows is that, whilst Brian Wilson was incredibly important to the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson had some great talent too. This is a beautiful song about someone seeking a simpler life. Knowing about some of his history, it’s sad he never found it.

Whole Lotta Rosie – AC/DC

Firstly, it’s glad to see that we are about to reach a far harder section of the list as a lot of these songs in today’s post have been on the quieter side. Also, how great is it to have a hard rock song that celebrates a plus-sized woman for being an excellent lover. It’s a song that is weirdly body positive… which isn’t something I was expecting when I saw the title.

Black Generation – Richard Hell & The Voidoids

Punk isn’t dead yet (then again, why would it be, this list isn’t in completely alphabetical order) so it’s nice to have it as the genre for one of the year’s final songs. In the end, like it or loathe it, the journey to punk has been a large part of the last 10-12 posts in the songs list. Now it’s time to see where that journey is heading now.

For a punk song it’s melodic (think more Clash or Ramones) and was a song that helped influence ‘Pretty Vacant’ by the Sex Pistols. It’s just one of those weird quirks of release schedules that ‘Blank Generation’ and it’s album were released after the Sex Pistols exploded.

Bat Out of Hell – Meat Loaf

Man this song is so over the top, but that really is the charm of it. It reminds me of an overblown version of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’, but with more drama and less heart. Then there are elements that feel drawn from ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

I have a feeling that this song is on the list because it’s the title track of the classic slow burn album that has become iconic. They really should have put on ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light’ as that does everything ‘Bat Out of Hell’ does and a whole lot better.

Lust for Life – Iggy Pop

Okay, fine, I get how the Lust for Life album can end up with two tracks on the list. That drumbeat is just so iconic. It’s weird when you’ve heard an element of a song in so many places and then, for the first time, actually hear it in context.

I’m really not sure how this can fit on the same album as ‘The Passenger’, but one day I’m sure I’ll find out. In the end though, I’m not so keen on the rest of the song outside of the drumbeat – but it does makes for a cool way to end the year.

Progress: 474/1021

1001 Songs – 1977: Part Two

List Item:  Listen to the 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die

Black Betty – Ram Jam

Okay, I started listening to a later remix of this before the beat was a bit too modern and dancey for a blues rock song from 1977. Then when I found the correct version… it still felt incredibly modern and one of those songs that really was crying out for a dance remix.

‘Black Betty’ is this brilliant mixture of boogie-woogie and hard rock that is a cover of an old African-American work song. Needless to say, that due to the origins and content of the song (and that this band were white) this song managed to conjure up a bit of controversy at the time. It’s still a great execution, even if the content is a bit wanting.

Born for a Purpose – Dr. Alimantado & The Rebels

The further we get into reggae’s evolution, the more it is progressing into something that I am no longer dreading. The production is cleaner, which means that the lyrics are taking centre stage. There is also a whole lot more variation in the song, which is really necessary when you are making something nearly 6 minutes long.

It’s just a pity that these developments never became universal within reggae, but horses for courses I suppose.

Zombie – Fela Kuti & Africa 70

Time for the list to make a rare veering off of Western music and highlight a genre that I have yet to hear before: Afrobeat.

This is a word I’ve heard a number of times to generically refer to music from Africa, but I’m not surprised that such a cool name has also been applied to a genre; in this instance a genre fusing West African musical styles with jazz and funk from America.

At twelve and a half minutes long, and lyrics only starting just before the halfway mark, it’s definitely hard to ignore the jazz influence. Like Fela Kuti himself, ‘Zombie’ is a very political song aimed at the military in his native Nigeria for following orders without thoughts.

Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush

Time for debut song of one of my favourite artists of all time. The first time where a woman got to number one in the UK charts with a song she wrote herself. And she was 18. And she was raised in a neighbouring major town.

I’m biased because I love Kate Bush, but ‘Wuthering Heights’ is one of those watershed moments in music. This song is 458th in this list and there hasn’t been much like this before.

It’s the birth of art pop and a host of other genres It’s the song that influenced a huge section of female singers afterwards. And she was 18 with massive acclaim still to come in her life.

Not bad for a song written from the perspective of a ghost in Emily Brontë’s classic gothic novel (specifically from the BBC adaptation… not the book) because Kate Bush just happened to like the idea.

Uptown Top Ranking – Althea & Donna

I believe that this is the first reggae song I have heard on this list with female vocals. That alone makes this a really interesting entry. Then you figure in that it was the first song by a female duo to top the UK starts and it was all down to radio DJ John Peel playing it by accident… welll it just makes for a really interesting story.

The song itself is more of a step back to earlier reggae, especially when compared to ‘Born For A Purpose’ in terms of the repetition and the overall style. However it still has the progression because of the cleaner production. Not entirely sure how this became a hit, but it’s great to finally hear some female reggae artists.

I Feel Love – Donna Summer 

Third female vocalist in a row, that must be some sort of record for this list so far. Like ‘Wuthering Heights’ earlier, ‘I Feel Love’ is another of those landmark records. Not only is this the moment where disco went electronic and started to bleed into other neighbouring genres and inspire new ones, this was the moment that electronic music gained sung lyrics and a kick drum.

Giorgio Morordor’s production is sublime as he takes you on this hypnotic journey. Together with Donna Summer’s breathy and other-worldly vocals, ‘I Feel Love’ is one of those songs that can still make you take time and zone out completely. It was an instant classic in a year of genre-defining moments that still has plenty of songs to go.

Peg – Steely Dan

Time for something a bit more conventional as we get to ‘Peg’ by Steely Dan (a song I first heard as a cover by Nerina Pallot). After some pretty major songs, it’s actually quite nice to have this as a mental break after so many heavy hitters.

This isn’t a revolutionary song, but it’s a nice song that helps exemplify the jazz-infused soft rock genre. It’s a nice signpost of the other types of rock that were out there at the time. Nice to hear the softer side sometimes.

Marquee Moon – Television

Well, I did say at the beginning of the month that I would be hearing ‘Marquee Moon’ again. Thanks to my initial listen to the album, I now associate this album (and song) with the ill-informed act of putting up a flatpack bookshelf in 33 degree heat.

Listening to this in a historical context as a song, rather than in the running order of the album, really does change how I perceive this song. In the album, ‘Marquee Moon’ is this epic moment, but on it’s own it overstays its welcome as a nearly 11-minute song.

It is worth repeating though that ‘Marquee Moon’ and its album really were what punk had to morph into after the initial explosion went alight like touch-paper. This post-punk genre persisted much longer than punk every could have, and I am thankful for that.

Like a Hurricane – Neil Young

It’s probably because it’s been a long time since I last did a Neil Young album for the blog (which it definitely is and I still have his 1975 album Tonight’s The Night to listen to), but I have never heard him embracing his electric side.

I know that this is one of Neil Young’s big songs and that it is a classic within the genre, but surrounded by the other songs of the year I just don’t see it doing anything particularly big or new. It’s a song that overstays it’s welcome, unlike the longer ‘Zombie’, and… yea it just left me really cold.

The Passenger – Iggy Pop

What a great song to finsh the post on. Such a change from his earlier 1977 song ‘Dum Dum Boys‘ where he was casting off the identity of the past as part of his solo debut album.

‘The Passenger’ comes from Iggy Pop’s second album of 1977 (because why not release your first two solo albums in the same year) and is far less experimental and more focused on bringing an older rock and roll style and applying some more punk musical elements to it.

Like most people my age, I know ‘The Passenger’ from a car commercial and it’s one of those songs that has managed to make me smile whenever I hear it being played. After his previous song from 1977 it’s great to hear Iggy Pop back in his element and with a lot more confidence.

Progress: 464/1021

1001 Songs – 1977: Part One

List Item:  Listen to the 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die

God Save the Queen – Sex Pistols

This will be the batch of songs where we say goodbye to the Sex Pistols. They must be one of a select group of artists who not only have two songs listed from the same year, but also the same album. There’s no denying the level of influence that they had.

So, why this song. Well, it’s iconic for being a song that the UK music industry conspired against to prevent it from getting to number one in the singles charts. It’s really pathetic when you look back on it, especially as ‘God Save The Queen’ would now be considered pop-punk. It’s probably my favourite Sex Pistols song, but I’m not sure if that says a lot.

Trans-Europe Express – Kraftwerk

Where in the English-speaking world we were getting angry at the establishment, in Germany they were inventing a whole new genre of music. We had hints of electronic music being born from the ambient Neu! song from 1975, but here we are with something actual.

I originally listened to the album of the same name a few years ago and I have only appreciated them more and more since then. Songs like ‘Trans-Europe Express’ influenced so much of the music I love that I can only be thankful for it. It’s very simple, but it makes a statement of a new dawn breaking in music.

Sweet Gene Vincent – Ian Dury

Well, isn’t this a really strange song. There’s elements of old 1950s rock and roll here, there’s the scowl of proto-punk, then there’s some balladeering in the beginning and a strong cockney accent that comes out during the chant.

It’s a cool tribute to a rockabilly singer Gene Vincent, whereby Ian Dury mashes up his own style with that of the man he is honouring. Like a lot of interesting music, this caught be completely off-guard and is unlike any genre fusion I’ve heard before.

By This River – Brian Eno

Thanks to the ‘U Talkin U2 To Me’ podcast, I can never think of Brian Eno without Scott Aukerman referring to him as old sourpuss. Not exactly the name that comes to mind when listening to this gorgeous piece of ambient music.

This is another song where we are beginning to see the rise of the synthesizer and this explosion of different sounds to be found in music. ‘By This River’ is gentle and an interesting sign of the influence that Eno is going to have in the future as a producer.

Dum Dum Boys – Iggy Pop

I’ve heard a lot of Iggy Pop as part of the albums list, but that’s back when he was with The Stooges. In 1977, he released his first solo album and ‘Dum Dum Boys’ takes up about 20% of the run time.

This song, like the rest of the album, shows the beginnings of a new sub-genre that lasts to this day: post-punk. ‘Dum Dum Boys’ takes a lot of the punk instrumentation and slows it down to give this weighed down lament to the other members of The Stooges who have come and gone in the past.

It’s like a very rock and roll baptism where, through this song, Iggy Pop casts off his former life and starts on his next chapter… with help from David Bowie.

Com’e profondo il mare – Lucio Dalla

I, uh, don’t really know what to say about this song. I’ve read translations of the lyrics and get how this is a song about the poor situation that many Italians found themselves in during the 1970s (although, I’m not sure how much has really changed since). I’ve read about his life and his successes as a song-writer, but I’m still left with not much to say.

The song has a simple backing, where Dalla tries to fit as many lyrics as he can into each bar before slowing down for the titular repeated refrain. It’s okay as a song, but that’s about it. Not entirely sure what else there is…

Ghost Rider – Suicide

You really cannot look up this band without Google making sure you’re okay and not about to do something irreversible. I just want to tell Google that I’m fine and I just want to listen to this punk-style song about the Marvel comic book character of the same name.

I had the same issues when I listened to the album 18 months ago and still I find the music of Suicide to be such a cool synth-driven style of punk. ‘Ghost Rider’ is just this brilliant little nugget of music that makes you want to repeat it once it is over.

Orgasm Addict – Buzzcocks

After a beautiful piece of synth-punk it is back to the world of punk rock… and the results are making me cringe (not as much as the final song in this line-up makes me cringe, but I’ll be getting there soon enough).

It wouldn’t be as cringe if the moaning songs were taken out… and then I could say that I like it. Again, this just shows how much pop music has hardened as this feels like something we would now term as pop-punk.

Holidays in the Sun – Sex Pistols

‘Holidays in the Sun’ is a such a weird ode to a trip that the band made to West Berlin. It’s a good song, but why is this on the list?

By this point we’ve now heard the Sex Pistols deliver three very similar songs on this list and those placements come at the expense of other genres that aren’t represented. Then again, that’s probably because they’re the iconic Sex Pistols.

Peaches – The Stranglers

I hate this song so much. It makes me cringe so much that I find it so hard to be objective about it. How the hell is this the same band that will give us ‘Golden Brown’ in 1981.

Right, why is this song interesting? Well, it’s another entry that shows how adaptable punk music is and was already proving to be back in 1977. This time it’s a punk-reggae mix with a prominent dirty baseline and a chorus that I hate. Objectively, I get why this is on there, but personally I’d be glad to never hear this song again.

Progress: 454/1021