For My Sunday Song #104, we are covering one of the great songs to come out of the Grunge Era, “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden. The song was all over the radio although it never broke the Top 40. It did reach #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. The song was featured on the band’s fourth album ‘Superunknown’ back in 1994.
The grunge era was permeated with depressing songs and this was no exception; however, there was something more to it. Whether it was the songwriting, the vocals, or the music itself, Soundgarden was different than the other bands. They had talent, they had musicianship and they had one of the greatest vocalist at the time with Chris Cornell. I never got into grunge, but Soundgarden was one of the very few bands I got into because of the songs.
“Black Hole Sun” was juxtaposed with the darkness of a black hole and the brightness of the sun…at least in the title. It had this really beautiful chorus, but what the song was really about I had no idea. The words didn’t really make sense (see the lyrics below); however, they sounded great together. The song is really sad and dark although at times the song doesn’t sound that way. It all just kinda worked.
Chris was asked about the song after it became a hit and he said this…( SOUNDGARDEN: PAINTING BEAUTIFUL PICTURES by Jennifer Clay)
“It’s funny because hits are usually sort of congruent, sort of an identifiable lyric idea, and that song pretty much had none. The chorus lyric is kind of beautiful and easy to remember. Other than that, I sure didn’t have an understanding of it after I wrote it. I was just sucked in by the music and I was painting a picture with the lyrics. There was no real idea to get across.”
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden”
For My Sunday Song #103, I am going with another classic rock song “Under Pressure” by Queen & David Bowie. Two of the best come together to deliver what has become one of my favorite songs. The song went to #1 in the UK and only #29 on the U.S.’s Billboard Hot 100. We Americans can be stupid sometime. It was only Queen’s 2nd #1 song in the UK, the other was “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The song appeared on their 1982 album ‘Hot Space”.
“Under Pressure” is about how life’s pressure can really take a toll on your life and how it destroys everything; however, love is the answer and can make everything so much better. I definitely got all that from the song, but it was less about the words and more about the give & take of the vocals between Freddie Mercury and David Bowie. Two of the best artist of all time duking it out vocally is one of the greatest things you can ever hear. I guess God wanted to hear this song too as now both have passed over to the other side.
The song is also famous for that simple, two note bass line by John Deacon. That “don don don dondo don” (or something like that) was immediately recognizable and played throughout. After Deacon had come up with that riff, the band went to lunch or something and completely forgot the riff. One of the band members (or maybe Bowie) helped remind him what it was. That famous bass line is not to be confused with “don don don dondo don don” the Vanilla Ice riff for “Ice, Ice Baby”…there is a difference and he will tell you…whatever.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Under Pressure” by Queen & David Bowie”
For My Sunday Song #102, we explore “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones. Probably not the best day to be visiting a song about the Devil, but then again maybe it is the best day. The song is off their 1968 album ‘Beggar’s Banquet’ and went only to #55 on the Billboard Hot 100, but that doesn’t take away from the fact it is one of my favorite Stones’ song.
The song was very controversial for the time and gave the Stones an image of being bad boys as opposed to the clean cut image of that little known band called The Beatles. The band was accused of being satan worshippers and being into the occult. The problem is that no matter if they were or were not, people don’t like something different and always tend to look for the bad and always blamed rock & roll.
The song isn’t a celebration for the Devil and the song isn’t even asking you to sympathize with him…although the Devil is asking you to do that when you read the lyrics. The song is strictly a march through time and all the evil that has occurred throughout. The person talking in the song is assumed to be the Devil as he travels through time, but is it the devil that was there or just some evil person who the devil is taking the credit?
The song was inspired by the book from Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov and his novel The Master and Margarita. The book was given to Mick Jagger by his then girlfriend Marianne Faithfull. When Mick wrote the song, it was originally written as a folk song and quite different than the final version.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones”
For My Sunday Song #101, we go back to picking some of my favorite songs and no theme behind these next 10. First up is “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who. The song is off their album ‘Who’s Next’ and was the final song on the album as well as a single which wen tall the way to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. If you aren’t familiar with it, you might know it as the song on the opening credits for the CBS show CSI: Miami.
The song was written during the ‘Lifehouse’ project the Who were working on. This was another rock opera following the success of ‘Tommy’; however, the project was later scrapped. This song was so good that they felt it would work as a standalone song on the album that became ‘Who’s Next’.
The song is about a revolution and you can see that through the lyrics. The beginning of the song is of course the beginning of the uprising of the revolution. The middle of the song has the revolution over with the new people in power and the song ends with the new people in power being just as bad as the previous people so they have to start a new revolution. It is a stark look at the reality of government. You might vote someone new into office, but they are just as bad or worse than who was previously in power. It is a constant struggle across the globe.
The song itself is absolutely amazing. It is over 8 minutes long or you can get the single edit which is shortened to a measly 3:36, but you miss the whole power behind the song. The original “full” version is a stroke of genius musically. Pete outdoes himself with both his guitar work and his work on the synthesizer which is the main focus of the song. The synthesizer is symbolic of the revolution and you can track the progression with the impact of it during the song.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who”
For My Sunday Song #100, we are ending the Power Ballad set with a true classic, Whitesnake’s “Is This Love” off the 1987 album simply known as ‘Whitesnake’ or ‘1987’. The song reached all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and helped propel Whitesnake into the stratosphere of rock stardom.
This midtempo power ballad was written by David Coverdale and the great guitarist John Sykes. They wrote it during the writing sessions for the album in one of the worst places you could possible be, the south of France (read as sarcasm). They recorded in David’s villa called Le Rayol. It must have been rough.
The song was actually going to be used for Tina Turner until Geffen heard the song and quickly put the brakes on that. Although David thinks Tina would still have been great for the song and you know I think he is right.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Is This Love” by Whitesnake”
For My Sunday Song #99, we will tackle the Def Leppard power ballad, “Love Bites”. The song is off the Diamond selling album, ‘Hysteria’ and was Def Leppard’s biggest hit, if you can believe it. It is the only Def Leppard song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Considering this was the fifth single off the album and with the success of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, I was completely surprised by that fact (PSSOM did go to #2).
The song was originally brought to the band by the legendary producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange. The song was a country song at the time and of course the band put their spin on it and turned it in to of the great rock power ballads of the time. The title for the song actually came from another song that Leppard was working on and that song later became “I Wanna Be Your Hero” which was the B-Side for “Animal” in the US.
What I like about the song is that the guy is so in love with this person that he is actually going a little nuts. Hell, just touching her drives him crazy. But he isn’t sure she feels the same way. He keeps questioning her. Maybe it is really his own insecurities that are causing him to doubt the relationship. Or maybe she doesn’t love him and he really senses something missing.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Love Bites” by Def Leppard”
For My Sunday Song #98, we take it back to the 80’s and hand it over to Scorpions with their ballad “Still Loving You” off the album ‘Love At First Sting” from 1984. With “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, I became a Scorpion fan and this song sealed the deal for life.
The song was the second single from the album and it only reached #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 which is crazy considering this song hit #1 in France. Yes, France. The Scorpions are credited with starting a baby boom in France in 1985 because of this song. I am not kidding!
The song is about a man who is in love with woman, but they fear the end of the relationship is fading and almost over. So what do they do, they try again to reignite that passion and flame and give it another shot. France is the country about love so that might be why it did so well.
At around 6:30, the song isn’t your typical power ballad..well at least in length. In style, it is exactly like every power ballad which is why it is a power ballad. The song’s slow crescendo throughout the song is it’s magic. The song keeps building and adding instruments and it gets more powerful and louder as it goes.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Still Loving You” by Scorpions”
For My Sunday Song #97, we will keep it into the more recent years of power ballads and do Velvet Revolver’s “Fall To Pieces”. The song was off the band’s debut album ‘Contraband’ and went to #1 on the Mainstream Rock Charts. It was almost a crossover hit as it did reach #67 on the Billboard Hot 100.
For those that don’t know (and shame on you), Velvet Revolver consisted of lead singer Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) and Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum (all from Guns ‘N Roses) and Dave Kushner (played with Dave Navarro). The song follows the typical power ballad formula of a slower temple with some heavier moments and all with a softer sound even though theirs was a little dirtier and grittier.
The song is based on Scott Weiland’s addiction to heroin and the impact it had on his life and his relationship with is wife. The title of the song “Fall to Pieces” was exactly how Weiland felt. Now with his passing years later, you wonder if he ever didn’t feel this way. That to me makes the song a little sadder.
The music video for the song actually mirrors the events in Scott’s life and its impact. It shows the spoils of rock & roll fame and the complete dark, scary side of fame. It is a stark, disturbing picture of what a junkie can go through.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Fall To Pieces” by Velvet Revolver”
For My Sunday Song #96, I am discussing the beautiful song by Halestorm called “Beautiful with You”. The song is off the gold selling album ‘The Strange Case of…’ which went to # 1 on the Hard Rock Charts. However, despite the album having 5 singles, this was not one. I chose this one since we are currently discussing power ballads and I thought I would bring the power ballad into the 21st Century and highlight a newer song that I felt fit the mold.
The song definitely has the power with Lzzy Hale’s vocals and it is a slower tempo and softer song you would expect with a ballad that ebbs and flows between harder and soft. The song has a great tone to it and is a very emotional song. The song is about loving your self and realizing it is okay to reach out to others for help. It doesn’t make you weak, but strong. Here is what Lzzy told journalist Valerie Bastien (from Songfacts.com) about her low self-esteem…
“Believe me, I don’t always feel like a rock star, and there are times when I look in the mirror and scream. Especially emotionally,” admitted Lzzy. “I used to hide a lot of my feelings of insecurity and powerlessness, and just wouldn’t reach out to someone because I thought it meant that I was weak if I did. I wanted people to see that it’s ok to need a shoulder sometimes, and to have those “ugly days” and to let down your guard. We’re human and we’re not perfect… don’t let those thoughts in your head rule your life and prevent you from opening yourself up.”
I really love the verse that states the following:
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Beautiful With You” by Halestorm”
For My Sunday Song #95, this power ballad comes to us from Poison. The song is “Something To Believe In” and is off their 1990 album ‘Flesh & Blood’. The song went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is great example of how moving and poignant a song can be.
The song is about two people in Bret Michael’s life. The first is his personal friend and bodyguard, James Kimo Maano or Kimo. Kimo got hooked up in the rock & roll lifestyle and with his abuse of drugs and alcohol, his life tragically ended early. When Bret found out, he was inspired to write this song as a tribute to his friend. When you watch the video of this song, you see an emotional Bret Michaels reacting to pictures that showed up on the TV of his friend. The Director of the video didn’t tell him the pictures were being used and it took Bret by surprise. It was a cruel trick, but it captured a real moment.
The other person is Bret’s cousin Bob who had been wounded in Vietnam and the song talks about his struggles mentally with what happened as well as the loss of so many of his cousin’s friends in the way. It paints a stark reality of the damage war can have on a person.
The whole song discusses reasons for Bret’s loss of faith whether it is from false prophets, the homeless, the impact of war or the loss of a close friend. The song paints such a graphic picture that you can’t help but be touched by it in some way. And depends on your mood when you listen, it could even bring a tear to your eyes.
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Something to Believe In” by Poison”