For this month’s version of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to cover one of the greatest songs of all time, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. No, I’m not being bold in saying that as the song has actually been voted as #2 on the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list and is in the Grammy Hall of Fame. The Cover we are going to look at is not the Britney Spears cover because, well, we have taste. That was harsh, it is really because there is no way it would have a chance to win. The cover we will actually discuss is the one by Devo from 1978 which I probably knew first thanks to MTV.
The song was written by the legendary duo of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It is said that Keith wrote the music in his sleep and they have a tape that proves it. You get two minutes of guitar and 40 minutes of him snoring…pretty awesome. Jagger wrote the lyrics sitting poolside down in Clearwater, Florida. The song was extremely controversial for its day because the song spoke out against commercialism as well as rather sexually suggestive. In fact, in the UK, the song was only played on Pirate Radio due to that controversy. Eventually it made it to #1 in the UK and in the US (where it was less controversial.
For My Sunday Song #223, we are discussing another Queen classic, “Radio Ga Ga” off their 1984 album ‘The Works’. The song was a worldwide hit and reached #16 on the US Billboard Top 40 and #2 in their home country of the UK. It was actually so popular that singer Lady Gaga actually took her name from the song…true story. She was is a massive fan of Queen and loved the song.
The song was written by Roger Taylor and he thought it would work great on his solo. The band heard and thought this could be a hit and suddenly it became a Queen song. Roger’s inspiration came from his son and hearing him say “Radio Ca Ca”. He took that and turned it in to a commentary on how TV and Music Videos were changing the way we listened to music and the radio. Radio was becoming less important, but he wanted to wax poetic about its greatness. The song actually makes reference to a couple of major radio events such as Winston Churchill’s “This is their finest hour” speech to the House of Commons in 1940 and to Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds” in 1938.
Musically this song was a pure synth song . Roger wrote it on a Roland Jupiter-8 synthesizer and a drum machine. The song was recorded using a Roland VP330+ vocoder synthesizer and John Deacon wrote the bass line on a Roland Jupiter-8. When you hear it, it is basically nothing but synths. Fred Mandel, a Canadian musician, was brought in to program the synths for the right sounds. Freddie took the lyrics and massaged them a little and then sang it so beautifully and effortlessly as only Freddie can do. The song is so 80’s in the sound, but still holds up today. It is a little anthemic especially with the hand claps sounds added. It is a favorite song when played live and they still play it live even today with Adam Lambert. I am usually not a huge fan of synthesizer music, however, this song is a major exception to that rule. Queen has a way to make you listen to the whole song and not focus on one part.
Another week of a ton of new releases as everyone tries to get their albums out in time for the Christmas rush. And there are quite a few that interest me and one that interests a ton of my fellow blogging friends which is why it is #1 on the list. For those of us in the U.S., this coming week is Thanksgiving and with a year like we’ve had, we do have a lot to be thankful for and now more than ever we should make sure we let everyone know how special they are in our life and what they mean to us. But before we do that, why don’t you check out the releases this week and let me know which ones you want to hear or what I may have missed as everyone needs to know. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend! Oh yeah, my choices are in Blue!!
Iron Maiden – Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast: Live in Mexico City – (Sanctuary Records): I am not a huge Iron Maiden fan, but that doesn’t stop me from listing this as the #1 release of the week. My first thought is that this is yet another live album as Maiden has millions of them it seems. But a friend told me that this one is cool as the track list is so different the last album and there are songs they haven’t done in awhile. I would agree that would make this one worth getting. What are those songs? I don’t remember, but if you are real fan, you will know when you see the track listing. I hope you all enjoy. And yes, I will give it a spin.
The Wild Feathers – Medium Rarities – (The Wild Feathers): This is my top choice. An album of rare tracks from The Wild Feathers and since I have everything they have done and for the fact that I love rare tracks, demos any thing new by a band, this has been ordered and on its way. Oh yeah, and it will be signed by the band!!! Cool stuff. And if you want to know, they are a little country, a little folk, a little southern rock and a whole lot of awesome.
The first concert video Kiss had ever released was ‘Animalize Live Uncensored’ and I had this on VHS and I remember it vividly although I did watch it again to make sure I didn’t miss anything. It came out on April 19, 1985 and I was so excited when this came out mainly because I saw this tour. My second Kiss show ever and now I was getting a video from that tour, how cool was that. Here is my ticket stub and you can view the Animalize Tour Book which I bought at the show by clicking the link.
The stage was a simple set up in Kiss terms. A couple ramps on each side of the drum set with an elevated platform behind them. The stage floor was covered in the same animal print as the Animalize album cover…makes sense. The show had a varied setlist with some old and some new. They kick off and end with some classic Kiss songs, but everything else in the middle was all 80’s from ‘Creatures of the Night’ (4 songs) to ‘Lick It Up’ (3 Songs) to ‘Animalize’ (3 Songs). For me, this is where I wanted them to spend their time as I was discovering Kiss on my own with these albums so I wanted these songs and I got my money worth with it.
The video opens with Kiss rising from the stage and then they explode in to “Detroit Rock City” and they are in Detroit! The song is so sped up and Eric’s drums are so heavy. I don’t think I’ve seen it played this fast before. After the song, Paul goes in to his his “Cold Gin” spill and they blast in to “Cold Gin” with Bruce Kulick laying down that nasty riff. Bruce was a full time member of the band at this point (which they announced before this very show) since Mark St. John was let go around the beginning of the tour due to his health issues. The show was also a radio broadcast and being filmed for an MTV concert (and this video).
If you read this blog regularly, you would notice that I started collecting Kiss Tour Books and this is a very recent thing. As a result, I have suddenly had numerous Tour Books fall in to my lap almost literally. First were a couple of Bon Jovi Tour Books and now I stumbled across not 1, not 2, not even 3, but 4 Rush Tour Books. It is like the Tour Book Gods are speaking to me. I grabbed all 4 as the prices were really great and made it worth owning. This here is the first of the 4 Rush Tour Book posts that coming. The place I found these was Hardy Boy Records in Mint Hill, NC. I always seem to find some cool stuff from him as I have found numerous Kiss Bootlegs at his shop. His shop is quickly becoming my favorite place to go.
We’ve already covered the tour programs for ‘Power Windows’ and now ‘Roll the Bones’. This time we are going through the tour book for the Counterparts Tour which ran from January to May of 1994 and covered only 55 dates all across the U.S. And although a short tour, the setlist was pretty impressive…
“Dreamline” “The Spirit of Radio” “The Analog Kid” “Cold Fire” “Time Stand Still” “Nobody’s Hero” “Roll the Bones” “Animate” “Stick It Out” “Double Agent” “Limelight” “Bravado” (added 4/20/94) “Mystic Rhythms” “Closer to the Heart” “Show Don’t Tell” “Leave That Thing Alone!” “The Rhythm Method” “The Trees” “Xanadu” (abbreviated) “Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres” (Prelude) “Tom Sawyer” “Force Ten” “YYZ” “Cygnus X-1 Book I: The Voyage” (teaser)
No, you are not reading things wrong. This is part of the Kiss Review Series. You may ask yourself why because Wendy O. Williams was a part of the Plasmatics, she wasn’t in Kiss? How can this possibly be a part of this series? There are so many reasons why and I will go on record and say that this might be the best Kiss album that is not a Kiss album. WTF??? Am I smoking some weed, have I been drinking? The answer to both of this is None of your business. I guess I need to explain myself a little.
This is part of the Kiss series because nearly every member of Kiss at the time was on this album, most songs were written by members of Kiss and Gene Simmons was the producer of this album. Basically, it is a Kiss album. The bass player on this album was named Reginald Van Helsing who was actually Gene. And a funny point about the bass playing…Gene played Bass on more of these songs than he has on any Kiss album around this time period. What other Kiss members were on this album? Here is the list…
When I heard Queen + Adam Lambert were releasing alive album, I was quite excited. I had seen them live together and thought it was a wonderful show. They were here in Charlotte back on August 23, 2019 and you can read about it HERE. Sadly, this show wasn’t part of this release. But there were many others as the band chose from over 200 shows to come up with the 22 song set. The release came in both the CD and a Blu-Ray with the actual clips from the shows they used including the Fire Fight Australia appearance where they performed the full Queen set from 1985’s Live Aid and yes, that included the famous “Ay-Oh” actually done by Freddie.
The CD is missing two tracks that you only get on the Blu-Ray and those are the “Drum Battle” and the Brian May Guitar Solo / “Last Horizon”. The “Drum Battle” was really awesome because Roger was dueling with his son, Rufus Tiger Taylor. And Tiger is a pretty great drummer in his own right. What a proud moment that must be for Roger. The Brian May guitar solo was similar to what I saw at my show, but the difference was instead of riding an asteroid into the rafters, Brian was being lifted in the palm of the hand of the robot from ‘News of the World’.
For My Sunday Song #222, we are focusing on the song “Tenement Funster” off the Queen 1974 album, ‘Sheer Heart Attacks’. The song was written by Roger Taylor and sung by Roger Taylor. It was not a single and was actually part of a 3 song medley on the album with “Flick of the Wrist” and “Lily of the Valley”. Since the songs are only tied together somewhat musically, they are all 3 different songs lyrically and don’t really go together in any kind of story. For that reason, I want to focus only on the first track, “Tenement Funster”. What a song name. I love saying it…”Tenement Funster”, “Tenement Funster”, “Tenement Funster”…you try it now…see lots of fun and hard to say it 3 times fast.
As I said, the song was written by Roger and seems to be about youth and rebellion which is a typical rock & roll theme. Lyrically, it seems a little out there as I know idea what is so special about his “new purple shoes”, but his “rock-and-roll 45s, been enraging the folks on the lower floor” makes total sense as I can imagine if I was living in an apartment complex my music would enrage many a neighbors. I am still not sure what a “Tenement Funster” is except maybe it is as simple as a guy who lives in a tenement (apartment) and loves to have fun and not worry about what everyone else thinks. Good enough for me.
Musically, it is a solid rock track and Roger sounds really great on it. There are elements of the Beatles and yet there is still the Brian May guitar sound, the theatrical feel to it and the Queen backing vocals and if you listen close someone goes really, really high singing “Young and we’re crazy”, it is actually quite funny. You have John Deacon doing the bass and opening the track on the acoustic guitar while Brian still handles the lead. Freddie Mercury doesn’t do any vocals, but he does contribute on the piano. Roger’s drumming is great and it is an all around fantastic Roger sung song and one of my favorites of his.
There is only one album this week that even matters. I am not sure why I have the rest on the list. This album is something the world needs in what has been such a crappy year. And we will get to the one in a minute. There are a bunch of other releases this week as the last few weeks have seen an abundance as well so the trend continues. My choice is highlighted in Blue. Let me know what you want to hear and what I may have missed. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend. Let’s get to the one that matters!!!
ALBUM OF THE WEEK!!!!
AC/DC – Power Up – (Columbia Records Group): YES!! AC/DC IS BACK!!! The first single, “Shot in the Dark”, is what we needed and is typical AC/DC. And typical AC/DC is what we need right now. I have the Light Box Special Edition CD on order and it should be here shortly. I can’t wait to plug it in and light up the room and I can’t wait to play the CD cranked up to 11 on the Stereo. I don’t think anything else needs to be said!! Get It and Crank It NOW!!!
And here a few I might listen to when I have time…
Chris Stapleton – Starting Over – (Mercury Nashville)
With the success of ‘Lick It Up’, Kiss was back on top…well as close to on top as they were going to get for awhile. They were somewhat relevant again, but things weren’t easy. Vinnie Vincent was officially out of the band by around April 1984 and they needed a guitarist quick as it was time to record a new album. They settled on a guitarists by the name of Mark St. John. He was a proper shredder which was typical of the time thanks in large part to the late, great Eddie Van Halen. Now fully staffed again, they went in to the studio in May and worked through July on the album.
I said “they”, but that was a loose term. This project was really more Paul’s than Gene’s. Gene was out doing movies, trying to produce new rock bands and pretty much anything else that wasn’t Kiss. Paul Stanley ran the shop and actually ended up producing the album. Gene Simmons showed up on occasion to give us a handful of a mediocre songs. But he didn’t play on all the songs.