For My Sunday Song #129, we are tackling the Jeff Beck classic, “Beck’s Bolero”. The song was recorded back in 1966 and released by Beck in 1967. This was the first release after Beck left the Yardbirds in hopes of quieting everyone that were upset about him leaving the band. The song would wind up on his 1968 debut album ‘Truth’.
Now, before we get in to the song, I think we need to discuss the musicians that were on this track. The songwriter is said to be a guitarist by the name of Jimmy Page with contributions to it by Beck himself. The line-up was Jeff Beck (of course), Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, John Paul Jones and Nicky Hopkins. Damn!! That is a line-up. It was later confirmed that was the early incarnations of a little band you might have heard of called Led Zeppelin!! Pretty dang cool.
Okay, back to the song…the song is inspired in part by Ravel’s “Bolero” obviously. The song is made up of three parts. The first is Page giving us that Bolero sound and then Beck bringing in the melody and almost spiritual, spacey sound going. Part two kicks in with a scream and Keith Moon beating the crap out of the drums. The tempo picks up with some distorted guitar sounds and the song rocks out with some slamming keyboard as well. And part three brings us back to the earthy sounds of the beginning with some added fills and more melody. It is a sensational journey.
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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.
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