For this episode of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to talk about the song “Heroin” by the band The Velvet Underground. The song is off their 1967 debut album ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico” which I reviewed a few weeks back. The Cover version we will be bouncing up against the Original is by Billy Idol off his 1993 album ‘Cyberpunk’ which I have also reviewed on this site.
The song was written by Lou Reed and produced by Andy Warhol. That combination has to produce something interesting. And I am sure this is a shocker, but the song is about drug use. I know, I know, stunned right? According to Reed when he was working as a songwriter for a record company, the song was written when he was told to go in to a room and write some some surfing songs, well this is what came out. I think he missed the point and thankfully for us, he did. The song doesn’t condone or condemn drug use and seems to be about the effects of drug use. Whatever the meaning, the song works on so many levels.
We will go through each song and then at the end, I will tell you who I think has the better song…and it isn’t always the original which is why I like doing these posts. So sit back and enjoy.
If I thought the last album was a little daunting to review with The Beach Boys ‘Pet Sounds’, this one is just as daunting a task. This has also been called one of the greatest albums of all time and one of the most influential albums as well. Punk, grunge and numerous other genres all owe a tip of the hat to this album. With ‘Pet Sounds’, I found the album was really good, but I didn’t think it was one of the best ever although “God Only Knows” is one of the best songs. So how will this one fare? I will come out and just say it, I love this album! I mean this thing far exceeded any expectations especially since it has been labeled as art pop and experimental rock. I wasn’t sure what to expect and this wasn’t it. I have to say this thing kind of blew me away.
First up, what an awesome band. The Velvet Underground is the great Lou Reed and John Cale as well as Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker. And then you throw the German singer, Nico, in the mix and not a bad bunch of people to have sitting around playing music. And the strange part of the album is that Andy Warhol produced it. Andy does art, I didn’t realize he produced as well. The album came out on March 12, 1967 and sounds like a product of its time as you can tell it is an album of the 60’s, but there is so much more.
You, my reader, are going to pick an album for me to review each month. It is really simple…first, I will give you 5 albums to choose from and second, you will tell me which one of those you would like to see reviewed on the site. See…simple!
There are a few simple rules I have put in to place in my selections. They are…
One has to be a new release (within the last month)
One has to be one I have never heard before (new releases don’t count for this one)
One has to be from a genre I don’t normally listen to at all or very often
And the last two are choices from my collection that I haven’t reviewed before
What are the 5 albums you ask? Funny you should ask because I have those right here…
New Release – Wig Wam – ‘Never Say Die’ – Their back!!
Never Heard Before – The Velvet Underground – ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’
Not My Normal Genre – Chris Stapleton ‘ Starting Over’
From My Collection – The Rolling Stones – ‘Tattoo You’
From My Collection – ZZ Top – ‘Eliminator’
Let me know which one you would like to see and sometime in February, I will post a review of the album that gets the most votes. You have one week to decide and from there I will start listening to the album and do a review.
It is Thanksgiving 2020 and dang what a crazy year it has been. One thing I have found to give me peace and help deal with stress during this Covid impacted world is my vinyl collection. I am of course thankful for my health and my family as that is a given, but since this is a music site, I need to tie in music somehow, I am also thankful for my vinyl collection. It brings me great joy. To be able to pull out an album and play it and it might help my mood brings me great satisfaction. There are so many things I love about it.
One of the things I love about vinyl is that occasionally you find an album cover that is interactive in some way. Something about the picture can be manipulated, changed or just turned to a different angle for a dramatically different picture. This makes for the most fun and enjoyable album experience. For this version of Turntables & Vinyl, we are going to explore those I have in my collection and maybe one I want to get in the future. I will break it out in to different categories. And let’s get right in to the first category…
Some album covers have a cover that changes the look of the cover strictly from the perspective of how you are looking at it. A changing perspective is actually a good thing to have in life as well. We change our perspective on the world depending on how we look at it. Why not take that ability and turn it in to an album cover. A couple I have in my collection do just that.
Def Leppard – ‘Retro Active’: This album cover looks different depending on the position you hold it. Up close, it is a beautifully lady sitting in front of a mirror doing make-up. From far away it is a Skull. See what I mean below…Look at the picture closely on your screen and see the girl, pull the screen away from you (or sit further back) and you will see the skull.