The Songs of the Fleetwood Mac Family Live On

8.29 fleetwood-mac

Easter 1977 was the first Easter during which my mom and dad were divorced. Ironically enough, Mom gave me Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album, an album that detailed the collapse of three couples’ demise. But, the album was so very popular at the time, that even parents from that pre-Boomer generation, the Silent Generation, liked the music on that album enough to approve of it coming into their homes. Sometimes, I really do not think Mom was that attuned to the lyrics, but the Mac’s were so wide open that she had to be relating to them on some level. Lord knows that my fourteen-year-old self was conscious of what was happening around me and how Mac’s lyrics seemed so real. As a child of divorce, Rumours has always been a difficult listen for me. Yet, as I got older, it became something of a sign of survival.

Now, the eclectic side of me always felt a kinship with Tusk, since Rumours was just too raw for me when I was younger. But, now, I understand that the latter album is a show of strength by all members of the band rather than an airing of dirty laundry. If you listen to the emotional center of that album, “The Chain,” you realize the band members understand that they must push aside all the hurt and darkness within themselves to the sake of the greater good of the band, a band they all realized was much bigger than any member was at the time.

8.29 FM today

Of course, my boys loved to needle me about my love of Fleetwood Mac and their solo careers. But, they make fun of everything I do and like. It’s their job, and I’m fine with it. But, I am determined to make sure they end up with enough Fleetwood Mac music after my passing in order to make them realize just what I was talking about. Additionally, my teenage self with in love with Stevie Nicks (along with Linda Ronstadt), but they will never understand that. And, now, it sounds a little creepy to admit it.

Whenever I hear a Fleetwood Mac song, it takes me back to a very troubled time in my life as my family crumbled around me. But, it also gives me strength to know how far the band and I have come in the subsequent decades. So, today, I want to present my Top 50 Favorite Songs from the Fleetwood Mac family, both group and solo efforts.

8.29 50.Talk_To_Me_(Stevie_Nicks_song)

50. “Talk to Me” – Stevie Nicks (1985)

49. “If Anyone Falls” – Stevie Nicks (1983)

48. “Love Will Show Us How” – Christine McVie (1984)

47. “Love Is Dangerous” – Fleetwood Mac (1990)

46. “Love in Store” – Fleetwood Mac (1982)

45. “Say You Will” – Fleetwood Mac (2003)

44. “Everywhere” – Fleetwood Mac (1987)

43. “Think About Me” – Fleetwood Mac (1979)

42. “Ebony Eyes” – Bob Welch (1977)

41. “Sometimes It’s a Bitch” – Stevie Nicks (1991)

8.29 40.i will run to you

40. “I Will Run to You” – Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1983)

39. “I Can’t Wait” – Stevie Nicks (1985)

38. “Bwana” – Lindsey Buckingham (1981)

37. “Seven Wonders” – Fleetwood Mac (1987)

36. “Big Love” – Fleetwood Mac (1987)

35. “Say You Love Me” – Fleetwood Mac (1975)

34. “Sisters of the Moon” – Fleetwood Mac (1979)

33. “In My World” – Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie (2017)

32. “Holiday Road” – Lindsey Buckingham (1983)

31. “Stand Back” – Stevie Nicks (1983)

8.29 30.monday morning

30. “Monday Morning” – Fleetwood Mac (1975)

29. “Gypsy” – Fleetwood Mac (1982)

28. “Little Lies” – Fleetwood Mac (1987)

27. “Hold Me” – Fleetwood Mac (1982)

26. “Nightbird” – Stevie Nicks with Sally Stewart (1983)

25. “Got a Hold on Me” – Christine McVie (1984)

24. “After the Glitter Fades” – Stevie Nicks (1981)

23. “Black Magic Woman” – Fleetwood Mac (1968)

22. “Sara” – Fleetwood Mac (1979)

21. “Albatross” – Fleetwood Mac (1968)

8.29 20.Sentimental_Lady

20. “Sentimental Lady” – Bob Welch (1977)

19. “Go Insane” – Lindsey Buckingham (1984)

18. “Edge of Seventeen” – Stevie Nicks (1981)

17. “Oh Well” – Fleetwood Mac (1969)

16. “Over My Head” – Fleetwood Mac (1975)

8.29 15.Silver springs

15. “Silver Springs (live)” – Fleetwood Mac (1997)

14. “Second Hand News” – Fleetwood Mac (1977)

13. “Leather and Lace” – Stevie Nicks (1981)

12. “Trouble” – Lindsey Buckingham (1981)

11. “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” – Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1981)

8.29 10.Fleetwood_Mac_Don't_Stop

10. “Don’t Stop” – Fleetwood Mac (1977)

9. “Gold Dust Woman” – Fleetwood Mac (1977)

8. “You Make Loving Fun” – Fleetwood Mac (1977)

7. “Tusk” – Fleetwood Mac (1979)

6. “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac (1975)

8.29 5.go your own way

5. “Go Your Own Way” – Fleetwood Mac (1977)

4. “Rhiannon” – Fleetwood Mac (1975)

3. “Songbird” – Fleetwood Mac (1977)

2. “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac (1977)

8.29 1.the chain

1. “The Chain” – Fleetwood Mac (1977)

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Andrew Luck and My Journey

Today, I am not going to talk about music. Instead, I am going to put myself out there a little bit. As I have stated many times, I live in Central Indiana, which often has been viewed as being full of a bunch of hicks. Sure, we talk slow, have a definite twang and I tend to play that side up in an effort to be underestimated. But, I am not a stereotypical Hoosier and am pretty proud of it. But, I do love the Hoosier lifestyle. Second, I do suffer from chronic pain. You know that since I bitch about it on occasion. And, last, you all have heard me talk about my love of sports, as a decent athlete and coach. But something transpired this weekend that has me reeling a bit. The quarterback of my Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck, abruptly retired at the age of 29.

Now, I loved Peyton Manning but there was something about Andrew Luck that endeared me to him. Was it his intelligence, his huge vocabulary, his interests outside of sports or his freakish athleticism? Honestly, it was all of those things. Additionally, he is around my younger son’s age. And, much like my younger son and me, Luck’s body has been through hell. The man has had at least one concussion, a lacerated kidney, torn cartilage between his ribs, major shoulder surgery and now this ankle thing. Every time you get injured, you have to go through rehab and you never ever come back 100% from it. Surgeries even take more out of you. No matter how much money you make, it could never make you mentally able to come back.

Personally, I admire Luck for stepping away. I wish I would have listened to my body in the same manner. Back in high school, I was a pretty good distance runner and an average basketball player. But, in my mind, my best attribute was my ability to deal with pain. That’s a distance runner’s mentality, with much stupidity thrown in the mix. In basketball, I’d sprain an ankle, tell the trainer to tape it up and go play the rest of the game because if I left the game, I am easily replaceable. Finally, during one game, I was on a one-on-two fast break. That’s right! I was taking on two defenders, not smart. I split them, went up for the layup then got creamed by both defenders. When we all came down, I stepped on one guy’s chest, rolling my ankle. As I continued to watch my layup roll in for a basket, I crashed over the other guy and went back first into the second row of bleachers. Pain radiated up and down my body so I sat in the bleachers trying to suppress the pain in my back and ankle. Slowly, I arose, limped to the foul line since I was fouled and drained the foul shot. But, something was wrong.

The next night, I sat out the game since my ankle was about three times bigger than it should be. But, like the idiot I was (and am), I said nothing about my back. Later the following summer, I just finished my daily run when a bunch of little kids begged me to play baseball with them. So, I joined in, when during another moment of stupidity, I decided to show off a bit by doing a handspring over a kid to score a run. Unfortunately, my plant was directly on the plastic home plate, so I slipped and wrapped myself back first around a small tree base. That one was the killer, because after it happened, I last the top gear in my kick and the ability to grab the rim. And, now the damage was done, and I ignored it.

Now, since 2002, I have been through four back surgeries. First was a discectomy, then a posterior fusion. Unfortunately, that fusion did not take. And, whenever I told doctors that my back felt unstable, they told me I was in chronic pain. For four years, that instability I was complaining about went undiagnosed. Finally, I had a CT-Scan, and a new doctor finally said, “You know what, your fusion did not take. Your back is unstable.” My reply? “No shit!” Finally, I have my third surgery to stabilize my back with an anterior fusion. But, the damage was done.

Since that summer of 2009, I have had my hardware removed, a Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted and revised several times and a pain pump implanted and revised once. I have nerve damage pain done both legs and constant back/hip/leg spasms. This life sucks, and I would NEVER wish it upon anyone. I never proved anything to anyone except how stupid I was. So, I applaud any athlete who is willing to walk away with his or her health intact. So, all of you naysayers out there, such as Doug Gottlieb and Dan Dakich and anyone else questioning Luck’s manhood right now, just shut up! Having a life is so much more important than a stupid game. And, I love sports and coaching! Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20.

What’s for Dinner, Jim Steinman? Perhaps a Healthy Serving of Meat Loaf? It’s Time For Steinman’s Top 25 Songs

8.23 jim steinman

The other day I had the electronic files on my computer on shuffle through the old stereo (I was being very lazy while NOT listening to vinyl that day), when serendipity struck as I got three songs in a row that had been written by the great Jim Steinman. Many of my followers are asking, “Keller, who the hell is Jim Steinman?” Well, this man has written, as well as produced, many songs that have been part of the soundtrack of Gen X lives. Let me throw out some names of artists whose hit songs and albums Steinman has played a major creative role: Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Air Supply, Bonnie Tyler and, perhaps most famously, a little singer named Meat Loaf.

From 1977, upon the release of Meat Loaf’s classic Bat Out of Hell through Celine Dion’s classic song from 1999 “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” Steinman’s bombastic, Phil Spector influenced “throw everything in the mix” production, Wagnerian operatic themes, thinly veiled teenage angst lyrics and heavy metal-cum-Broadway musical sound has become a staple on radio of seemingly every format. Additionally, Steinman is renown for his absurdly long song titles. Yet, through it all, there is just a sprinkling of truth and heart at the base of his music, and that’s what has always attracted his music to the public. And as verbose his lyrics can get, there is a touching beauty within them, as if he had been a direct offspring of the romanticism of Jane Austen and the verbiage of John Steinbeck.

8.23 meat loaf & steinman
Misters Loaf and Steinman when it all began

And while he is not a household name, many of those same households own several of the records with which he has been involved. In 1983 through 1985, he wrote and/or produced at least five Top 40 hits by the likes of Bonnie Tyler, Barry Manilow, Air Supply, Billy Squier and Fire Inc. And most puzzling is the huge popularity of his music in the UK and Europe, where so many more songs have become standards. And to top all of this off, Steinman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012, a well-deserved honor for the Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer.

So, today, in honor of a man whose music proved to be the muse for so many terrific vocalists from my era of music, may I present my Top 25 favorite Jim Steinman songs and the artist who recorded them, with one song actually repeated by two different artists which is not unusual for Steinman to attempt.

8.23 25.ROCK_AND_ROLL_DREAMS_COME_THROUGH_-_Jim_Steinman

25. “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” – Jim Steinman (1981)

24. “A Kiss Is a Terrible Thing to Waste” – Meat Loaf (2003)

23. “No Matter What” – Boyzone (1998)

22. “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through” – Meat Loaf (1993)

21. “Nowhere Fast” – Fire Inc. (1984)

8.23 20.Meat_Loaf_-_OITRVMMACTTA

20. “Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are” – Meat Loaf (1993). A very underrated Meat Loaf epic.

19. “Read ‘Em and Weep” – Barry Manilow (1983). Even Manilow sounds great doing a Steinman song.

18. “Left in the Dark” – Barbra Streisand (1984). Barbra is “butta” for Steinman songs.

17. “Holding Out for a Hero” – Bonnie Tyler (1984). This is a great cut from the Footloose soundtrack that was stuffed with great tracks.

16. “Dead Ringer for Love” – Meat Loaf feat. Cher (1981). No, this is NOT a Springsteen concert closer, but it does sound like a Springsteen on Broadway type of song. This is a vocals-in-Heaven type of duet. What is wrong with me? This song should be higher on this list!

8.23 15.Loving_you's_is_a_dirty_job

15. “Loving You’s a Dirty Job (But Somebody’s Gotta Do It)” – Bonnie Tyler & Todd Rundgren (1985). Of course, Tyler sings the hell out of the song, but she sings the hell out of EVERY song. And, Todd’s great as well. There’s just a chemistry issue between them. Maybe, if Heart’s Ann Wilson and Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander had recorded this song instead of that God awful “Almost Paradise” then this would have become the HUGE hit its screaming to become.

14. “Heaven Can Wait” – Meat Loaf (1977). The emotional centerpiece of the Bat Out of Hell LP.

13. “Rock Me Tonight” – Billy Squier (1984). Steinman produced this song without his usual bombast. And, hey, it wasn’t Steinman’s fault Squier did such a horrible video for this song that is blamed for ruining Squier’s career. Everyone was dancing in their videos back then. It’s just that Squier should not have been!

12. “Bat Out of Hell” – Meat Loaf (1977). Perhaps, THE Steinman epic.

11. “Original Sin (The Natives Are Restless)” – Pandora’s Box (1989). This song screams for a true Goth band to cover. Eighties dance diva with a HUGE voice Taylor Dayne did a respectable cover of this song.

8.23 10.The_Sisters_of_Mercy_-_More_cover

10. “More” – The Sisters of Mercy (1985). If Meat Loaf was Steinman’s arena rock muse and Bonnie Tyler was his pop muse, then The Sisters of Mercy were his Goth rock muse. This song was their first collaboration that would only solidify on the band’s next album. Steinman is truly perfect for Goth music. Too bad Siouxsie & the Banshees never hooked up with him. And, I would be very interested in a Nick Cave/Jim Steinman collaboration. Just a couple of thoughts…

9. “This Corrosion” – The Sisters of Mercy (1987). If anyone was made to write and produce a song for this theatrical post-punk Gothic synth band, it was Jim Steinman. And, he proved it TWICE! This is one of the best songs on the band’s best album.

8. “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” – Celine Dion (1996). Okay, I am not a big fan of Celine, but I do acknowledge that she has a great voice. I just prefer several other divas who seem to have more soul and are not as “Wonder Bread” vocally. But, she was made for Steinman’s songs, as she made this throw-away from an earlier Steinman project a huge international hit.

7. “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) – Meat Loaf (1977). For the longest time, this song would have occupied the top spot in this countdown. But, I have come to recognize the value of so many other songs. Still, it rocks! And, who doesn’t just love the spoken word introduction?!

6. “Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young” – Fire Inc. (1984). This little known track from the Streets of Fire soundtrack (Anyone else love Dan Hartman’s “I Can Dream About You”? It was on this soundtrack album.) is a hit looking for a place to happen. Honestly, the song has the UK written all over it, but nay. Still, it’s terrific and deserves its high ranking.

8.23 5.total eclipse of the heart

5. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler (1983). What’s not to love about this single? It was one of the songs of the Summer and Fall of 1983. Personally, I knew right away that this was a Steinman song when I heard it.

8.23 4.two out of three

4. “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” – Meat Loaf (1977). The song that started the whole Meat Loaf phenomenon. But, little did we all know that the true talent was the man behind the curtain, Jim Steinman, who was learning the ropes from Todd Rundgren’s impeccable production.

8.23 3.i'd do anything for love

3. “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” – Meat Loaf (1993). THE Meat Loaf/Steinman comeback, this song brought Meat his first number one hit. And, it had EVERYTHING I loved about the original album in one epic song.

8.23 2.Making_Love_Out_of_Nothing_at_All

2. “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” – Air Supply (1983). Air Supply?!?! Really Keller?!?! Yep! I will defend the epic nature of this song with anyone! Steinman made the minstrels of wimpy music into arena rockers right before our eyes. It’s truly a match made in heaven to finally pull the drama out of this Australian duo with some of the finest lyrics Steinman has ever put to paper. I often wonder how Meat or Bonnie would have done with this song. But, I wouldn’t change a thing!

8.23 1.paradise by the dash board light

1. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” – Meat Loaf (1977). This epic is a longing look back to one’s lost youth, combining the darkness of an unwanted pregnancy with the humor of “praying for the end of time so I can end this time with you” is just hilarious. Then, throw in the Phil Rizzuto-voiced baseball play-by-play with all the teenage sexual innuendo just takes this song to a whole other level. It’s Springsteen-ish in its scope, both lyrically and musically, yet it’s also so bombastic in its sound that it borders on the ridiculous only to be saved by the brilliant vocal interplay of Meat Loaf and the great Ellen Foley (who would become famous for her stint on the TV show Night Court). The big controversy happened when the video was released with Karla DeVito acting as Foley’s vocals were playing. DeVito toured in the place of Foley who was recording her brilliant debut album. So, that’s all out of whack. However, my wife and I used to entertain our friends with a killer lip-sync version of this song since the lyrics hit just a little too close to home for us. In conclusion, this song is just way too much fun!

Day 2 of My 50 Favorite Harder-to-Find Prince Tracks

Prince, 1992

I believe the greatest part of being a semi-obsessed Prince fan is the wealth of material that is currently available and how much of it is so vital and life-affirming. When I got my first “real” job, you know, the one in which you actually used your college degree, I decided I would attempt to collect Prince music. Now, am I completist? I do not think so, but I am fairly close. First of all, I will die a pretty contented man even if I do not obtain all of his domestically released 7-inch and 12-inch singles in addition to all of his vinyl albums and CDs. That’s not my purpose in life. I’ve learned what happens when you place running, sports and winning above all other things now that my body has been permanently broken. So, these worldly crowns are no longer the purpose. The purpose is now more of finding my voice in this new paradigm.

What Prince’s music does for me is that it releases me from my body to an ethereal plane where for a couple of minutes my body can release its pain and just be. His music, in my mind, was all about inclusion, regardless of race, creed, orientation, or whatever label being thrust upon you. It’s also about the release of those shackles and the ecstasy of the freedom from those social bonds. And, probably most importantly, his music always takes me back to a time in my life that was just pretty awesome in the relative lack of responsibility I had. In a nutshell, its a combination of freedom, possibility, perspective and longing.

8.19 Prince & Lovesexy Band

So, why do I find these harder-to-find tracks recorded by Prince so compelling when I only have lukewarm reactions to Tom Petty’s, Cheap Trick’s or R.E.M.’s? That’s simple! The quality of much of Prince’s unreleased tracks, B-sides and soundtrack/tribute album contributions is nearly as high as the material he released on his 30-something albums. When you hear a song like “Shockadelica” (even if he nicked the title from former Time guitarist Jesse Johnson’s 1987 album title) or “Erotic City” (the brilliant B-side to “Let’s Go Crazy”), you wonder just why those songs, or many of the others on this list, were ever left off an album. But, then again, Prince had discovered a brilliant way to market his singles during the vinyl era of the Eighties to maximize sales, thus making an individual artistic statement upon every single release that only added to his mystique.

Then, in the Nineties, when he was waging an artistic freedom war with his record label, Warner Bros, and changed his name to that damned unpronounceable symbol, his began to slowly release some tunes from the famous Vault. That’s when his true genesis began to truly glow, even though much of the public had walked away from him. The stuff he included in those two odds-and-sods collections of 1998 and 1999, Crystal Ball/The Truth and  The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale respectively, were delightful teases giving us insights into his musical brilliance. Additionally, that war he waged for his artistic freedom only anticipated the collapse of the music industry and its future reliance on the internet for music distribution. 25 years later, we are all just now catching up to his vision. Who knows what other innovations he had up his sleeves? Then again, since most are still attempting to catch up to him, maybe that’s why his life was cut short.

8.19 Prince & ThirdEyeGirl

Yes, the internet has been a veritable Wild, Wild West with its plethora of material available, including bootleg versions, many of which just sound God-awful, of songs from The Vault. Still, I long to hear those shelved albums, like his new wave band The Rebels, which included guitarist Dez Dickerson or the trio of albums (Camille, Dream Factory and Crystal Ball) that were distilled into his brilliant double album from 1987 Sign “O” the Times. There could be some absolutely killer deluxe releases of his classic albums that run throughout the Eighties, especially 1999, Around the World in a Day and Parade.

But, until all of that happens, here’s my Top 20 of those harder-to-find Prince tracks that I just love.

8.19 20.dance-electric

20. “The Dance Electric” (Purple Rain outtake, 1984). This can be found on Disc 2 of the Purple Rain deluxe release from a couple of years ago. This song shows just how adept Prince was at funk.

19. “Power Fantastic” (The Hits/The B-Sides, 1993). Recorded during the big purple burst of creativity in the mid-Eighties, this song could have been the emotional centerpiece of any Prince album.

18. “Irresistible Bitch” (B-side “Let’s Pretend We’re Married,” 1983). This song was tailored made for the dance floor in the early-Eighties. And, believe me, this song was used to great effect between tracks by Vanity 6 and The Time, only to end with “D.M.S.R.” and “Let’s Pretend We’re Married.” This song single-handedly began my Prince B-Side obsession.

17. “Hello” (B-Side “Pop Life,” 1985). This was Prince’s most Beatlesque song done in his funky way, which made it the perfect partner of “Pop Life.”

16. “Crystal Ball” (Crystal Ball, 1998). This eight-plus minute epic was meant to be the penultimate song for his unreleased triple-album album of the same name. Once again, the song represents another “What if…?” moment.

8.19 15.4 the tears in your eyes

15. “4 the Tears in Your Eyes” (We Are the World Album, 1985). Yes, Prince screwed up by not participating in “We Are the World” song recording. And, then, just when he and the Revolution were at their creative peak, he keeps them from performing at Live Aid. Instead, he submits this terrific track for the album and its accompanying video for Live Aid. Dang it Prince! Just steal the show from everyone at JFK Stadium! But backing away was maybe the plan all along.

14. “Dance with the Devil” (Batman outtake, 1989). This one can be difficult to find but is worth the effort. This is the song The Joker should have been dancing/defacing the art gallery to instead of “Partyman.” It’s darker and funkier, as if it truly were meant for The Black Album.

13. “F.U.N.K.” (Non-album single, 2007). You had to be quick to download this one because it was released right before Prince released Planet Earth. You know what? This song would have made Planet Earth a much stronger album if it had been included.

12. “FALLINLOVE2NITE (feat. Zooey Deschanel)” (Non-album single, 2014). This is NOT the version released on Prince’s HITnRUN Phase 1 album. Instead, it was used on that New Girl TV show on FOX when Prince was a special guest. Deschanel, who has a terrific singing voice, sang this song with Prince after playing ping-pong with him. Also, the episode contains THE greatest reaction of a character to a special guest of all-time when Deschanel’s character’s boyfriend, Nick, just faints when he meets Prince. That would have been totally my reaction. Anyway, this version just seems tailor-made for the radio and makes the album version just pale in comparison.

11. “A Case of You” (A Tribute to Joni Mitchell, 2007). Prince was a huge Joni Mitchell fan, but I always wondered if he could really pull off such an iconic singer like her. Remember, his covers of hits by Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow were decent at best. But, the stark production of this acoustic-based song is absolutely stunning. It actually makes me wish Prince had jumped on the unplugged bandwagon in the Nineties.

8.19 10.p control

10. “P. Control” (Crystal Ball, 1998). This song has popped up everywhere in the Prince catalog, but, still, I feel like not enough people have heard it. This song is everything that The Black Album was supposed to be: funky, dark and dirty. And, this was one of the Prince songs actually played at my younger son’s wedding!

9. “I Love U in Me” (B-Side “The Arms of Orion,” 1989). This Kim Basinger collaboration is one of Prince’s most risque songs, ever! And, this is the man who recorded “Head,” “Sister” and “Jack U Off!”

8. “(Love) or (Money)” (B-Side “Kiss,” 1986). How did this song not make the cut for Parade? And, why was it left off The B-Sides, Crystal Ball AND The Vault? This is another example of the B-Side making an excellent one-two punch with the A-Side.

7. “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore” (B-Side “1999”). Sure, many of you think this is an Alicia Keyes song, but sorry! My man just kills on this piano-based ballad. I understand why it didn’t fit on 1999, but its gospel feel might have worked nicely on Purple Rain. Then again, what the hell do I know? Keyes has based her whole career on this song, and that’s a smart move.

6. “Good Love” (Bright Lights, Big City OST, 1988). How did this movie soundtrack end up with this brilliant power poppish slice of purple dance/pop? I still scratch my head thinking how good this would have been if Prince could have just found a place for it on Lovesexy.

8.19 5.Holly Rock

5. “Holly Rock” (Originals, 2019; originally recorded by Sheila E. in 1984). This is easily the best song on this new compilation, and I actually prefer it to Sheila’s version. Can you imagine this was shelved for 35 years? It just is so mind-blowing.

4. “17 Days” (B-Side “When Doves Cry,” 1984). When people were comparing Prince to Hendrix and Sly Stone, you have to look no further than this song to find it. The song begins with a Hendrixian guitar and slides into a funky Stone groove that was totally a Prince-thing. Yet, another example of two songs on a single that compliment each other so very well.

3. “She’s Always in My Hair” (B-Side “Raspberry Beret,” 1985). This is such a badass funky rock song that leaves me scratching my head as to why it was never released on one of his albums, especially Around the World in a Day. Seriously, it was a huge mistake to leave this song off that album. This is a true Prince rocker that should be heard by EVERYONE!

2. “Shockadelica” (B-Side “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” 1987). I feel like a broken record! This is one of Prince’s greatest songs ever! And it’s a B-Side! WTF!!! I think it was meant for the Camille album which would have included all those songs on Sign “O” the Times which had Prince’s vocals electronically altered. Thank God he did that BEFORE autotuning became all the rage in the 21st century.

8.19 1.Erotic City

1. “Erotic City (feat. Sheila E.)” (B-Side “Let’s Go Crazy,” 1984). Was there any doubt? This song should have been a hit in its own right as much radio play it received during the Summer of 1984. As a matter of fact, this kicked off a great summer of terrific B-Sides by Bruce Springsteen (“Pink Cadillac”) and so many others. Throw in Marshall Crenshaw’s “My Favorite Waste of Time” and John Mellencamp’s “On Broadway” B-Sides, and you have four of the all-time great B-Sides in rock history. On the other hand Sheila E. claims she and Prince are singing “funk.” Anyone care to argue? Ah, who cares? It’s got a good beat, and it’s easy to dance to!

My 50 Favorite Harder-to-Find Prince Tracks, Day 1

8.19 Prince Lovesexy Tour 1988

It’s been almost two-and-a-half years since Prince left us. From December 2015 through December 2017, we lost a ton of rockers, such as George Michael, Lemmy of Motorhead, Glenn Frey and Tom Petty among so many others. There for a while it almost seemed like we were losing one major rock star a month during that time. It was awful, especially for me with George, Tom and Prince.

8.19 Prince & the Revolution

Since Prince’s passing, we have seen much action from his estate. Especially enticing to those of us obsessed with his music is the rumored shelved songs and albums in what is known as The Vault. Thus far, we have been treated with one stunning live album, Piano and a Microphone, a set recorded in 1983 and released last year, in addition to the just-released album of tracks made popular by other artists called Originals. Both are terrific albums, but I am still awaiting either deluxe versions of his classic albums 1999, Around the World in a Day, Parade, Sign “O” the Times, The Black Album and Lovesexy. Not only those, but I am interested in actually getting my hands on the shelved albums like Camille, Dream Factory and his triple oeuvre Crystal Ball, not to be confused with the 1998 triple CD set of outtakes sold by mail order. And, then there’s the cornucopia of material recorded during the Nineties and Aughts. I understand that this takes time, but I am just too excited to hear this music engineered to perfect.

8.19 Prince & ThirdEyeGirl

In the meantime, I have assembled a list of my 50 favorite B-sides, one-off singles, unreleased tracks, songs from soundtracks and tribute albums and other tracks that I have uncovered during my personal 40-year journey with Prince’s music. Today, I will give you 21 through 50. Let’s rock this thing!

8.19 50.Purple Medley

50. “Purple Medley” (single, 1999)

49. “Dear Michelangelo” (Originals, 2019; originally released by The Family)

48. “Jungle Love” (Originals, 2019; originally released by The Time)

47. “Sex Shooter” (Originals, 2019; originally released by Apollonia 6)

46. “When the Lights Go Down” (The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale, 1999)

45. “Cloreen Baconskin” (Crystal Ball, 1998)

44. “Girl” (B-side “America,” 1985)

43. “200 Balloons” (B-side “Batdance,” 1989)

42. “God” (B-side “Purple Rain,” 1984)

41. “Movie Star” (Crystal Ball, 1998)

8.19 40.Old Friends 4 Sale

40. “Old Friends 4 Sale” (The Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale, 1999)

39. “Teacher Teacher” (Sign “O” the Times outtake, 1987)

38. “Sexual Suicide” (Crystal Ball, 1998)

37. “Mutiny” (Purple Rain outtake, 1984)

36. “Extralovable” (Non-album single, 2011)

35. “If Eye Could Get Ur Attention” (Non-album single, 2015)

34. “La, La, La, He, He, Hee” (B-side “Sign “O” the Times, 1987)

33. “U Make My Sun Shine (feat. Angie Stone)” (Non-album single, 2011)

32. “Alexa de Paris” (B-side “Mountains,” 1986)

31. “Horny Toad” (B-side “Delirious,” 1983)

8.19 30.Free Urself

30. “FREE URSELF” (Non-album single, 2015)

29. “Black M.F. in the House” (New Power Generation – Goldnigga, 1993)

28. “Scarlett Pussy” (B-side “I Wish U Heaven,” 1988)

27. “Can I Play With U (with Miles Davis)” (Parade outtake, 1986)

26. “Gotta Stop (Messin’ About)” (B-side “Let’s Work,” 1981)

25. “Ripopgodazippa” (Crystal Ball, 1998)

24. “Manic Monday” (Originals, 2019; originally released by The Bangles)

23. “The Glamorous Life” (Originals, 2019; originally released by Sheila E.)

22. “Dionne” (The Truth, 1998)

8.19 21.Another Lonely Christmas

21. “Another Lonely Christmas” (B-side “I Would Die 4 U,” 1984)

Bee Gees Rule! Here’s My Top 25

8.15 bee-gees 90s

About a month ago the 40th anniversary of one of the darkest days in rock history occurred in Chicago between games of a doubleheader at the Chicago White Sox’ home baseball stadium Comiskey Park. Back in 1979, punk was giving way to the more commercially palatable new wave, but here in the States, disco was still ruling the Billboard charts. By this time, there was truly over-saturation of the great genre on radio, with many album-oriented rock stations switching over to a disco format. In Chicago, one DJ, Steve Dahl, had just been fired from his station when it had adopted a disco format.

Instead of looking inward, Dahl took it upon himself to blame disco music as an attack on his manhood. Since disco had begun in the underground gay and black dance clubs, one could not really overlook the inherent racism in Dahl’s Disco Destroyer movement. So, somehow in retrospect, Dahl was able to convince the ownership of the White Sox to hold a Disco Demolition Night during which attendees would get in free if they brought their disco records to the games in order for Dahl to blow them up. Unfortunately, many people were bringing in old soul, R&B and funk records to be destroyed as opposed to true disco records, leading many ushers to believe this was a racist affair more than an anti-disco demonstration. Of course, after Dahl blew up the records in centerfield, a riot ensued. The whole incident was a black-eye event on the rock community.

8.15 Bee Gees 60s

Personally, I was tiring of the whole disco and soft rock domination on the radio, so I actually bought a “Disco Destroyer” T-shirt sponsored by the local Indianapolis radio station Q-95. Personally, I still loved disco, I just was ready for new wave to get airplay instead of just seeing these fresh new artists on American Bandstand. Anyway, new wave was just a marriage of disco and punk under a pop banner. I was ready for a new music era, not really understanding how the whole anti-disco movement was steeped in bigotry. And, for that, I apologize.

Yet, one band that unfortunately got dumped on in the whole ordeal was the great Bee Gees. You see, the Brits-cum-Aussies-cum-Brits again-cum-Americans were much more than the genre. They were NOT Mickey Mouse or Ethel Merman trying to make themselves hip by tying into a generational milestone. No, these guys were growing as musicians, songwriters and producers by changing their late-Sixties/early-Seventies Beatlesque ballad sound into something more influenced by the clubs in and around Miami. But, they unfortunately became the face of disco for their participation in one of pop culture’s great movements surrounding the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever and its legendary soundtrack, to which the Bee Gees only contributed four of their own songs and had written two more recorded by other artists. But, since the movie was about disco, the Bee Gees, and by extension their younger brother Andy Gibb, became the faces of the genre when they had very little to do with it.

8.15 bee-gees 80s

Let me say it here and now: the Bee Gees are fantastic. I would encourage you to go back and listen to their impeccably produced albums. And, there was a reason that diverse artists such as Barbra Streisand and Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton were having hits with their songs; these songs were modern-sounding, danceable yet very pop and cleanly produced. The Bee Gees were much more than disco. Their well-written music may have contained dance rhythms yet they were pure pop songs.

So, today, I am taking back the Bee Gees from those who assume that the boys from down under were disco and relabeling their music just as terrific timeless pop music. Let’s look at their WHOLE career as I list my favorite 25 songs by the Bee Gees. One day, I should include their solo efforts AND Andy’s music in a whole Brothers Gibb countdown, but let’s start with the original trio’s music.

8.15 25.World

25. “World” (Horizontal, 1967)

24. “Words” (Best of Bee Gees, 1968)

23. “Alone” (Still Waters, 1997)

22. “Run to Me” (To Whom It May Concern, 1972)

21. “One” (One, 1989)

8.15 20.Toomuchheaven

20. “Too Much Heaven” (Spirits Having Flown, 1978)

19. “Massachusetts” (Horizontal, 1967)

18. “Love So Right” (Children of the World, 1976)

17. “More Than a Woman” (Saturday Night Fever OST, 1977)

16. “Fanny (Be Tender with My Love)” (Main Course, 1975)

8.15 15.New_York_Mining_Disaster_1941

15. “New York Mining Disaster 1941” (Bee Gees 1st, 1967)

14. “You Win Again” (E.S.P., 1987)

13. “Love You Inside Out” (Spirits Having Flown, 1978)

12. “How Deep Is Your Love” (Saturday Night Fever OST, 1977)

11. “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” (Idea, 1968)

8.15 10.Stayin_Alive

10. “Stayin’ Alive” (Saturday Night Fever OST, 1977)

9. “Lonely Days” (2 Years On, 1970)

8. “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” (Trafalgar, 1971)

7. “To Love Somebody” (Bee Gees 1st, 1967)

6. “Tragedy” (Spirits Having Flown, 1978)

8.15 5.Jive_Talkin

5. “Jive Talkin'” (Main Course, 1975)

4. “You Should Be Dancing” (Children of the World, 1976)

3. “I Started a Joke” (Idea, 1968)

2. “Night Fever” (Saturday Night Fever OST, 1977)

8.15 1.Nights_ON_Broadway

1. “Nights on Broadway” (Main Course, 1975)

Day 2 of My Top 50 Pop-Punk Songs

7.31 weezer
Weezer

My older son has a dry, acerbic sense of humor, probably developed from his early exposure to Monty Python. The other day, I texted him about any input on this two-day blog entry I was doing on the music of his youth. Before giving me a detailed assessment of the values of two songs by Sum 41, along with his words of wisdom covering artists such as Andrew WK, Panic! At the Disco and Jimmy Eat World, he simply replied with a use of a term from Lester Bangs’ character in the terrific film Almost Famous. He simply said, “Sounds like a real think piece.” I have been literally been laughing my butt off for two days. He has always had the ability to cut through my pretensions, from turning coaching awards into the butts of jokes or the loud sound of my voice at inappropriate times [I literally have the ability to be heard from one end of a track to the other, against the wind, without any doubt of my instructions to an athlete. That has been a source of jokes from my boys forever. And, it IS funny!].

7.31 fountains_of_wayne
Fountains of Wayne

So, today, I will be presenting my Top 20 portion of this countdown. No, it’s not a think piece at all. It is the usual ramblings of an over-the-hill man still trying to hang on to a portion of his youth, though, I will be using some insights from Graham just to spice some things up a bit. Let’s get going!

7.31 20.celebrity skin

20. “Celebrity Skin” – Hole. I am going against Graham on so many levels with this one, but I do enjoy Hole’s albums from the Nineties. Personally, I never really considered the band to be grunge, I think those two albums in the post-Cobain marriage of Courtney Love may have benefited from Kurt’s pop sensibilities. And, this is the best example of Hole’s work.

19. “Fell in Love with a Girl” – The White Stripes. The White Stripes were so much more than a pop-punk band. Arguably, they might have been the last true rock stars. But, this song, which broke the band commercially, is a terrific pop-punk song.

18. “Hate to Say I Told You So” – The Hives. Maybe, in hindsight, The Hives were more neo-new wave, but that’s splitting hairs. This song was a breath of fresh air at the time.

17. “Mr. Brightside” – The Killers. Once again, probably more new wave than punk, yet The Killers were the new millennium’s Cars. And as Graham once said, “Dad just loves the Eighties sound of The Killers.”

16. “Ocean Avenue” – Yellowcard. What a great, aggressive song. But, like Matt Damon on SNL, I prefer Weezer.

7.31 10.last nite

15. “Last Nite” – The Strokes. When The Strokes burst on the scene, they were heralded as the newest great hopes for rock music. Well, that never materialized. But, they did leave us with this song and their fantastic debut album.

14. “Flagpole Sitta” – Harvey Danger. I feel like this is really a guilty pleasure of mine, but I don’t care! It’s just about perfect.

13. “The Boys of Summer” – The Ataris. These guys are from just up the road from my hometown, so it was pretty cool that they had a hit song. But, what those guys did with an aging hippy song from the Eighties is nothing short of outstanding!

12. “1985” – Bowling for Soup. These Gen X-ers touched upon the zeitgeist of a now-aging group of people who grew up with MTV. What a great song!

11. “Buddy Holly” – Weezer. Along with Green Day, Weezer unwittingly kicked off this whole genre with this big MTV hit.

7.31 the girl got hot

10. “The Girl Got Hot” – Weezer. This gem is found on the universally panned Raditude album. The album is horrible, but for some reason, I just love this slice of pop-punk, regardless of whether Rivers was pandering or not.

9. “In Too Deep” – Sum 41. Graham wanted me to pick “Fat Lip” mainly because he felt “Fat Lip” was made for teens to headbang to and had the innovative use of rap in the song. So, of course, I chose the poppier song, which he predicted. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

8. “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” – Panic! At the Disco. From my point of view, this was an innovative pop-punk take on Queen’s musical vision. Graham just calls it one of the last great pop-punk songs.

7. “All the Small Things” – blink-182. Like I said, blink deserves a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for their true artistic vision starting this whole genre. And, I still love this song, no matter how annoying my younger son tried to be with his devotion to blink-182 while in fifth and sixth grade.

6. “Last Resort” – Papa Roach. As Graham said, this song holds up surprisingly well. Plus, it walks that fine line between pop-punk and nu metal in a brilliant way. Plus, that guitar riff is just so tasty.

7.31 basket case

5. “Basket Case” – Green Day. “Do you have the time to listen to me whine?” One of the greatest opening lines! Just fantastic!

4. “Stacy’s Mom” – Fountains of Wayne. The greatest MILF song in the history of rock and roll. Plain and simple.

7.31 5.Partyhard

3. “Party Hard” – Andrew WK. I remember Graham bringing this CD home and just laughing about the album’s title, I Get Wet. The song is just perfect for teenagers. Graham simply stated that Andrew WK is a national treasure. How can you argue with that? Also, he wants to get Andrew WK to speak to his daughter’s graduating class. This time, I think him might be serious. HAHAHA!!!

2. “Flavor of the Weak” – American Hi-Fi. I loved this song way more than either of my boys did, but do I care? Hell no! I know a great song when I hear it. Plus, the chorus is just hilariously killer! “He’s too stoned/Nintendo.” Just brilliant!

7.31 1.the middle

1. “The Middle” – Jimmy Eat World. I don’t know how many times that opening guitar riff of this song has come on the radio or stereo and someone says, “I just love that song.” No kidding! This song is awesome! And that opening riff just might be pop-punk’s “Sweet Child O’ Mine” riff, it’s that good. This song should be put in a time capsule for future generations to learn about this genre.