Posts Tagged ‘classic rock


stoner music: the classic rock all-time greats

I don’t smoke up anymore, but I remember many a night spent staring into space with “The Tomita Planets” playing in the background. I’d say some of the factors to be be considered when determining if a song is stoner music are track length (longer is better), obscurity/depth of lyrics and whether the music has an ethereal quality to it (or a repetitive riff in there somewhere). Here’s a list of what I wuold say are the top 5 stoner classic rock songs. Or at least the top 5 I can think of at the moment (Videos for 2 through 5 after the jump).

5. Traffic: Dear Mr. Fantasy

4. America: Horse With No Name

3. The Grateful Dead: Wharf Rat

2. Traffic: Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys

1. The Doors: The End

Continue reading ‘stoner music: the classic rock all-time greats’


Even More Cowbell!

This isn’t really about the cowbell, this is really another installment of “dumb shit record companies do”. In the early 60’s, there was a folk band comprised of a group of brothers. By brothers, I mean siblings. Coincidentally, they were black, so I guess you could go either way on that, you racist. Anyway, they started out as a folk group. Pretty natural, considering they grew up singing in a Baptist church. In the mid 60’s, they shifted to doing electric music like many other folk performers were, dabbling in both R&B and Psychedelia. They got offers to sign with numerous record companies, but accepted an offer from Columbia. In 1966, they wrote a really cool song and wanted to record it. Columbia president Clive Davis refused, saying they didn’t record that kind of music but offered to find a white group to record it for them. Apparently, execs thought they were being “uppity” after hearing the song, as it’s an actual intelligent commentary on the state of things at that point in history. They recorded it anyway, but Columbia still refused to release it. For 2 years, they played it at their live shows and it became the centerpiece of their reportoire. Finally, in 1968 they scored a minor hit and Columbia gave them the green light to re-record the cool song. The single peaked at #11 on Billboard;s pop list, the album at #4. It’s been used extensively in soundtracks for both film and television. The group was The Chambers Brothers and the song is “Time Has Come Today”. I highly recommend picking up the 11:06 album track, but here’s an extremely abbreviated version of it from the Ed Sullivan Show.

And a bonus! An awesome 1983 cover by The Ramones:


Classic Rock Defined

I write about this stuff every week so I might as well lay out something about what I consider it to be. I think it really goes on a song-by-song basis; artists like Neil Young have certainly done songs which are now classified as classic rock, but don’t stay within that genre. I think it’s limited to a certain time period, too. It starts in the mid to late 60’s and ends whenever the Tom Petty album with the track “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” dropped. A prominent guitar solo MUST be part of it. If the song is about missing a lover, or a lover leaving you or otherwise doing you wrong, then all the better. If I had to think of a band which fit this bill, I’d go with Badfinger. Judging from the videos, I guess I should add polyester to the criteria, too.


Clapton, O My Clapton

Let me start off by saying this: don’t get me wrong, I like the guy. But Eric Clapton is living proof that you don’t have to be that creative to make it as a musician. “I Shot the Sheriff”? Written by Bob Marley. “Cocaine” and “After Midnight”? Both written by J.J. Cale. “Crossroads Blues”? Written by Robert Johnson (and the devil). Eric Clapton is what happens when you mix a talented musician with an extraordinarily talented thief. Granted, in any field where creativity is involved, you learn one thing: it’s all been done before. But COME ON, Eric! Even when he did an original song like “Tears in Heaven”, he copied the unplugged style pioneered by Southern Culture On the Skids and mimicked Mark Knopfler’s fingerstyle play (everytime I see Knopfler and Clapton playing together in a youtube clip, I want to scream, “Don’t play with that guy, Knopf, he’s only there to cop your style!”). Even the drugs he was into weren’t anything new; Miles Davis had been all over the heroin long before Clapton came along.

Even with all that, Clapton was the player that brought the lead guitar player to an elevated status. “Clapton is God” was showing up on the London subway walls even before Hendrix made his mark. While players like SRV, Mark Knopfler and Hendrix may have been more original in style and innovative in technique, Clapton helped get them there. Plus, if you watch the video, you’ll see he was a snappy dresser back in the day.

January 2019
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