I used to be on the Nominating Committee of the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame. I stopped going when one of the top guys there kept telling me Patti Smith isn't rock'n'roll and shouldn't get in. After a couple years of me not showing up to the meetings they kicked me off. Ironically, the same year they kicked me off, Patti was voted in! I still vote after the nominations are put in by the committee and a couple days ago my ballot arrived in the mail. Voters are asked to pick 5-- in order of preference; it's a weighted ballot.
Let's do a LNMC version tonight. I'll tabulate the ballots and randomly pick one voter to get an Impeach Cheney cap. Send your ballots to email@example.com. The nominees for the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame-- the one Patti was supposedly not rock'n'roll enough for-- are:
Afrika Bambaataa, Beastie Boys, Chic, Leonard Cohen, Dave Clark Five, Madonna, John Mellencamp, Donna Summer, and The Ventures.
Send 5 picks in order of preference. Your first pick gets five points and your last gets one point. Although I was incredibly nonplussed by this year's crop, this is the band that got my #1 vote, although I had a harder time deciding if I should pick Walk Don't Run or this song as tonight's LNMC track:
(Nicole:) One of the best responses we've ever had for our LNMC was one that our very own NonnyMouse suggested. It's been a while since she's contributed anything, so I asked her if she'd like to do another one. Here it is:
I still have records. (For those of you who are too young to remember Viet Nam, never mind Watergate, records are those big, black Frisbee-like things in flimsy cardboard album covers.) At only 150 albums or so, I wouldn't actually call it a ‘collection'; it's just a motley hodgepodge of what I bought the last time I was a student in college. Thirty years ago. They all got put into storage in the States when I moved to Europe. More than twenty years ago. I shipped them over about five years ago. None of them have been played in a quarter of a century. But now... I have a record player. So I'm going through them all, deciding on which I treasure enough to ship once more.
I bought William Ackerman's ‘It Takes A Year' brand-new in 1977. Thirty years later, I carefully extracted the record, holding it by the edges (never touch the grooves with your bare fingers!) and laid it carefully onto the turntable, made sure there was no lint or dust on the vinyl, positioned the tone arm exactly right before lowering the brand-new stylus ever so gently onto the lead-in edge and listened to music I last heard before Britney Spears was even a zygote. Maybe it was because memories are so powerful, the music you hear in your 20's does something to your heart - I don't know. What I do know is I stood in front of an old record player, listening to the hauntingly beautiful ‘The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit', crackles and hiss and all, and wept.
The closest I can give you to the real thing is this YouTube clip of a cover done by Adam Werner and Michael Manring.
William Ackerman founded Windham Hill Records, now sadly defunct, won some Grammies, gave up the craziness of the music business and moved away from California to the Vermont countryside where he does a few concerts, plays anywhere, even private living rooms, and is still quietly recording some of the best acoustical music known to the human soul. His newest CD, ‘Returning', features ‘Virgin Spirit', both because Ackerman wanted to refine the emotional connection of the work, and because in the past 30 years technology has vastly improved sound quality. Yet while the sound may be richer, the nuances more distinct, the music more matured, there will still be - at least for me - something very moving and unique about that older version, made long ago when we were both young and rough around the edges, that defined my life then, and still defines it now.Tonight's LNMC challenge is to share something powerful enough, without lyrics, to have moved you to tears.
The B-52's are often thought of as "the other" great alternative band from Athens, Georgia. Like R.E.M. they have a pretty hot new album (Funplex) out (which we debuted here at the LNMC in early February). They've been around since the mid-70s and I got inspired to make a little clip for "Private Idaho" (from their second album, Wild Planet) when I was researching a story about a lunatic fringe candidate from Idaho who is running for office because another candidate had his elk herd shot. The powerful Gus Van Sant movie, My Own Private Idaho was made 10 years after the B-52's released their song and Van Sant says he was basically remaking Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 with an influence of John Rechy's City of Night but Van Sant says he took the title from the B-52's song, which he first heard while visiting the state around the time they put it out.
There were over 200 submissions in our frisson contest the other day. The Byrds set goes to Jill G in Florida for her incredible essay about "Luka" by Suzanne Vega. Ten honorable mentions for exceptional paragraphs-- each of which could easily have won-- by Ivan (Brel's "Le Port d'Amsterdam"), Jeff B ("All Along the Watchtowner" by Hendrix), eel ("How Soon Is Now" by The Smiths), Shawn T ("It's All Over Now Baby Blue" by Them), Michael D (Bob Marley's "Redemption Song"), David C ("How Soon Is Now?" by The Smiths), Damien G (Smiths' "How Soon Is Now" again), Bob W ("East/West" by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band), Tom ( Radiohead's "Paranoid Android") and Steve W who went with a live Dylan version of "Like A Rolling Stone" from a 1966 concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Thanks everybody who spent the time and effort on those amazing entries. I loved reading them!
When I was in high school the beatnik age was ending and the hippie age was beginning and there was a short time when the music reflected the transition. The Fugs and Pearls Before Swine were kind of folk and kind of rock and not many people knew what to make of either. Many decades before I came to run Reprise Records, the company signed-- and dropped-- Pearls Before Swine, a band I used to smoke out to once I got to college. The band's pre-Reprise album, One Nation Underground was their masterpiece. I have a suspicion there aren't many LNMC denizens who have heard them, so I asked my pal Lucas to make a YouTube-- he had never heard them either-- and here it is: "Another Time," the first song on the first side of the first album. Think of it as history:
I mentioned before that I spent some time in 1977 touring England with the Clash and that that was how I became a Specials fan. Well, the Clash also introduced me to Generation X, Billy Idol's old band. The guitar player, Tony James, was Mick Jones' best friend and he used to come around a lot. It was obvious Billy wanted to break free of the confines of the tiny punk scene, where people didn't quite take him seriously anyway, and become a pop star, which sort of happened later. But Tony and the guys made him sing some pretty cool songs while he was still in Gen X.
Years later, a friend and I turned Sammy Hagar on to Patti Smith and he covered "Free Money." This was post-Montrose and pre-Van Halen and Sammy was happy for the attention he got from Patti fans all over the world. He asked me for another suggestion and I sent him a tape of "Wild Youth" by Gen X. He called me up a few days later and said he couldn't do it because it sounded too anti-Semitic. Isn't it cool for someone from Fontana to be so... sensitive?
No prize tonight but I do have a question. What do you like better-- the Gen X song or the Patti song (at the link)? Or something by Sammy?
And congrats go to C&Ler Jackie for winning the George Jones CD set. Thanks for being part of our LNMC community.
Kurt is an LNMC contest winner from Vancouver (WA) who just turned me on to a great new band from the U.K., The Brakes. And although they caused some stir with a song bashing a discredited American political figure and for their anti-war "Porcupine or Pineapple," it's really their music that is making them the hottest commodity in the U.K. music scene.
Here's the Rough Trade video for the U.K. hit "All Night Disco Party."
CONTEST: This isn't the first time Rough Trade has found an underground band and helped make them international stars. Send us a list of your 3 favorite Rough Trade-released hit songs (by 3 different artists). The coolest list gets its creator a cool Sire Records box set (3 CDs plus a DVD), JUST SAY SIRE: THE SIRE RECORDS STORY. Send your list to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's Valentine's Day, that ultimate in created holidays. While I'm not a big fan of fake holidays as a rule, I want to break that tonight to dedicate tonight's LNMC to my husband, who has been extraordinarily supportive and patient with all my added hours helping my friend, John Amato here that could have gone to spending time with him.
So for my best friend, my sweetheart, the love of my life, here are the Beatles: In My Life, which was the song we selected to play at our wedding.
So tonight's challenge shouldn't be too much of a challenge. Set aside the cynicism, the bitterness, the frustration of six years of the Bush administration and simply dedicate a song to the person you love.
I'm headed to Kenya tomorrow to climb Kilimanjaro and will be out of internet range for a couple of weeks. My friends will be holding it down for me here at the LNMC. I figured I would leave y'all with one that has been blowing my mind lately. Here's the isolated vocal track from 'Gimme Shelter', featuring Merry Clayton on vocals. Every time I listen to it I get shivers down my spine. See y'all in a few...