Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series “Spooktober Edition,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore tunes from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!
Spellbound (by the Devil)
Leave it to the Norwegian black metal musicians to churn up some diabolical devil chants.
Enthrone Darkness Triumphant is the third studio album by Norwegian symphonic black metal band Dimmu Borgir, released on 30 May 1997 through Nuclear Blast. It was the band’s first release through Nuclear Blast. This is the last release to feature keyboardist Stian Aarstad and the first with bassist Nagash.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”
On this date in history, 8/19/2021, Hall & Oates brought their arsenal of hits to an enthusiastic crowd at Deer Creek (Ruoff Music Center) in Noblesville, IN. I just looked up their tour itinerary and discovered that the show my girlfriend and I attended was just the seventh of their current run after the extended COVID-19 shutdown of live entertainment. This, and the basic reality that these guys are in their mid-seventies now, sort of guaranteed that we didn’t get Hall & Oates at the height of their powers. Honestly, that didn’t matter that much, anyway. For one, Hall & Oates have a great band backing them, and most of that band have been in place for a long stretch of road. Second, and perhaps most importantly, the hits I alluded to in the opening sentence are an absolutely stellar collection of pop gold, all sautéed in that delicious Philly Soul that these guys have perfected in their 50 + years career. They hit the stage with Maneater, and followed with Out Of Touch, Method Of Modern Love, Say It Isn’t So, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling (possibly my favorite of the whole show!), She’s Gone, a long soulfully sweet Sara Smile, and wrapping up with I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do). But wait! There’s more! Hall & Oates returned for a four song encore consisting of Rich Girl, Kiss On My List, Private Eyes, and You Make My Dreams. Darryl Hall has lost some of his range, but he is still a formidable vocalist and he found alternative ways to bypass some of the high notes of days gone by. The band seemed a trifle off kilter and rusty at times, but they got the job done, and the healthy sized crowd lapped it up like candy; dancing and singing along to nearly every syllable. It is a palpable feeling that music fans are starving for the live experience, and Hall & Oates were triumphant in emotional content even if their show wasn’t full strength. English pop rock veterans Squeeze played an enjoyable warm up set that was suitably complimentary to the headliners stylistically, and they were rightfully well received. I have to thank my girlfriend for coaxing me out of my comfort zone. I’m certain I wouldn’t have been in attendance without her, and I found myself semi-amazed at just how many great songs Hall & Oates have amassed in their time together. I walked in with an open mind, but I walked out a fan! Live music sure makes life more interesting.
Written By Braddon S. Williams AKA “The Concert Critic”
Live music has been on my mind quite a lot during this time of quarantine and social distancing, sparking much nostalgia about shows I have attended thus far in my lifetime, along with speculation (and dread) over how concerts will proceed moving forward. Personally, I don’t have a clue what is in store, or even when we will all be able to gather in large groups to experience some live shows again. This break in the action has definitely been fostering a ton of creativity among musicians in many genres, and I am eager to see how many amazing songs and albums await us in the aftermath of this pandemic.
Social media has been full of inspired collaborations and live performances, and it has certainly been entertaining, but let’s face it…nothing beats the thrill of actually being at a show. The exchange of energy between the artists and the audience is simply something that must be experienced in person.
Having begun my love affair with live music in 1976, I readily admit I am hopelessly addicted to the thrill of seeing and hearing the music delivered at maximum impact. My father drove me (along with a couple of my friends) to Market Square Arena (RIP MSA!) in 1976 to see Kiss, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, and Artful Dodger (all for the price of $6.50!). Needless to say, the torch had been lit, and from that moment forward I have continually been looking forward to the next time. All the while, I have been compiling this staggering list of incredible experiences at shows. No matter if the venue is a tiny indoor hole in the wall or an enormous outdoor state of the art facility, the recipe remains largely the same; I am with people I love, surrounded by people just like us, people who love the music, bands, energy, and sheer spectacle of the scene. We meet new friends and share stories about past shows and generally learn that our tribe is pretty damn spectacular for the most part. For that relatively brief time we are together, we all escape all the negativity, stress, and anxiety of our “normal” lives. For that time, if we are lucky, we experience a bit of bliss.
In the 44 years I have been attending concerts, I have been fortunate to see many iconic performers and performances, and have crossed a huge chunk of bands and artists from my personal bucket list. Of course, I have also seen people that have passed away since I saw them, making the experiences even more precious. Among my treasured memories are The Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, Ramones, Iggy Pop, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, The Who, ZZ Top, Rush, Kiss, Queen, Steely Dan, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters, Ted Nugent, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Fleetwood Mac, Jeff Beck, Yes, Foghat, Heart, Cheap Trick, Max Webster, The Doobie Brothers, Aerosmith, Supertramp, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Santana, Foo Fighters, Johnny Winter, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers, The Black Crowes, Oasis, Weezer, Ween, The Flaming Lips, The Raconteurs, Patti Smith, Bob Mould, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Paul Rodgers, Joe Cocker, Peter Frampton, John Fogerty, Cher (yeah, I said Cher!) and the list goes on and on. My list would not be close to complete without my beloved Metal and other varieties of Hard rocking bands: Slayer, Black Sabbath, Opeth, PanterA, Ministry, Rammstein, Jinjer, Baroness, Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie (and White Zombie), Nine Inch Nails, Behemoth, King Diamond, Testament, Anthrax, Megadeth, Mastodon, Strapping Young Lad, The Devin Townsend Project, Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Nile, Tool, Meshuggah, Avatar, Motörhead, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Deep Purple, UFO, AC/DC (with Bon Scott and Brian Johnson, too!), Blue Öyster Cult, Whitechapel, Slipknot, Korn, Machine Head, Black Label Society, Down, Hatebreed, Red Fang, Primus, DevilDriver, Clutch, Melvins, Weedeater, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Lamb Of God, Gojira, Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Deftones, Mr. Bungle, Queens Of The Stone Age, Mudvayne, Steel Panther, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, Guns ‘N Roses, Whitesnake, Tesla, Dokken, L.A. Guns, Great White, Ratt, Poison, Saigon Kick, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine, Fishbone, Monster Magnet, Corrosion Of Conformity, Type O Negative, GWAR, Nashville Pussy, System Of A Down, Static-X, Otep, Jane’s Addiction, L7, Butcher Babies, Walls Of Jericho, Suicide Silence, Unearth, Chimaira, Children Of Bodom, Thy Art Is Murder, Death Angel, Slaughter To Prevail, Masked Intruder, Pennywise, and John 5 And The Creatures. As I typed that crazy list of bands, I realized there were at least as many that I left out. They can’t all be winners, after all. What is really important (at least to me) is the simple fact that when I am at a show, I am in my element…my true happy place. I miss live music. I miss everything about the ritual of going to shows, and I’m quite sure I’m not alone in feeling this way. I hope this finds you all safe and healthy. I look forward to resuming our passion for shows, for music, for Life!
Braddon S. Williams is a music journalist, musician and avid concert goer somewhere in the US.
Written By Braddon S. Williams AKA “The Concert Critic”
On this date in history, 2/25/2020, I got to see my favorite band in the world deliver a monumental performance at Old National Centre’s Egyptian Room.
The band I’m talking about is Opeth, from Stockholm, Sweden…and they brought another excellent Swedish band along to open the show, Graveyard.
I have been lamenting the state of how too much of modern rock and metal is all starting to sound the same in the way it is produced. Graveyard was such a pleasant surprise by virtue of the fact that they sounded like they just teleported in from 1973. They had this bluesy, analog vibe that was equal parts vintage Sabbath and Zeppelin, but still sounded fresh and original. I thoroughly enjoyed their overall tone and plan to check out some of their studio work.
This was my third time seeing Opeth, and they continue to raise the bar in every possible way; sound, lights, the hilarious between songs banter (a long discussion about the Bloodbath song, Eaten, was spontaneous and lots of fun), and of course the masterful songs.
Touring in support of their latest masterpiece, In Cauda Venenum (Latin translation: Venom In The Tail), Opeth’s music is a breathtaking blend of styles generally labeled either progressive metal or progressive rock. Whatever direction the music takes, it is all played with utter precision and passion.
Each member of the band contributes so much to the overall sound. Martin “Axe” Axenrot supplies the complex drumming that drives the machine, Martin Mendez brings the melodic and powerful bass that holds everything together, Joakim Svalberg plays a wide variety of keyboards that bring in tons of ambience and emotional impact, and also contributes strong backing vocals. Frederik Akesson provides lethal lead guitar work and did much more singing at this show than I have heard him do before (and he has a great voice). Opeth’s leader and chief songwriter, Mikael Akerfeldt, completes the other half of the lead guitar tag team and serves as the amazing lead vocalist…serving up equal amounts of lush clean tones and brutal death metal growls, often in the same song.
Because of their lengthy compositions, the actual song count was relatively short, but 3 songs from In Cauda Venenum made it into the show, and all were magnificent, holding their own with such Opeth favorites as Moon Above, Sun Below, The Leper Affinity, and The Lotus Eater. An incredible encore of Sorceress and the perfection of the final song, Deliverance, put Opeth’s stage time at just over 2 hours.
I have to give a shout out to the audience, too. Everyone was quite vocal during Mikael’s speeches throughout the set, providing a lot of laughter and general happiness, which is always a great addition to a show. The overall atmosphere was pretty euphoric.
This band’s fans are passionate beyond any doubt. Opeth continues to fearlessly explore new territories and make music in their own image. It’s been over a week since the show, and I remain massively inspired!
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”
On this date in history, 2/11/2020, I started my year of concerts with an inspiring club show by Machine Head.
The Vogue in Broad Ripple, Indianapolis was the intimate venue for a rampaging 3 hour performance by the venerable metal band led by Robert Flynn.
Machine Head were in town in celebration of the 25th anniversary of their debut album, Burn My Eyes, which they played in its entirety during the second half of their marathon display of metal superiority. For me, personally, it was a revelation to see this band get such a great opportunity to stretch their musical muscles. I had previously seen Machine Head 3 times, but always as part of a festival setting, with constricted time limits. I was beyond impressed at the endurance of Rob Flynn’s vocal chords. The man has a superhuman set of pipes, and definitely wasn’t holding back at any point in the show.
During the first set, Flynn led the reconstituted lineup (last year, longtime lead guitarist Phil Demmel and drummer Dave McClain left the band) featuring Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka, drummer Matt Alston, and bassist/vocalist Jared MacEachern through a strong list of fan favorites that covered a wide range of material from various phases of the band’s career.
Kieltyka, a veteran of bands such as Decapitated, Lux Occulta, and Vader, was particularly impressive, playing a mixture of lead styles with ferocity, complexity, and soaring tone that cut through the mix to perfection.
Robert Flynn has grown into a pretty fierce lead guitarist, also, and he went toe to toe with his new partner in several thrilling displays of pyrotechnic guitar battles.
Flynn is a master at getting the audience involved in the action, and he had the small but vocal crowd singing along at every chance, and incited boisterous circle pits throughout the evening.
Some of the highlights from the first set included the massive opener, Imperium, savage versions of Take My Scars, Beautiful Mourning, Locust, I Am Hell (Sonata in C#), Aesthetics Of Hate, Ten Ton Hammer, and Halo. My personal favorite was Darkness Within, where Flynn strummed chords and delivered a 7 minute speech that began on a lighthearted note and gradually became a passionate description of the power that music has to lift us out of depression, eventually beginning the song on solo acoustic guitar and then building into a colossal crescendo of power from the full band, ending with the entire audience vocalizing the melody of the song under Flynn’s direction…a totally breathtaking experience.
After Halo closed the first act on an amazing high note of musical bliss, Flynn brought out original Machine Head members Logan Mader (lead guitar), and Chris Kontos (drums), to pulverize the faithful with a blistering gallop through Burn My Eyes.
Kicking off with the massive tour-de-force Davidian, through other ragers like Old, A Thousand Lies, None But My Own, Blood For Blood, and I’m Your God Now, Machine Head consistently played as if they were headlining a stadium gig instead of a less than capacity club. Before the crushing finale of Block, Flynn and the boys treated us to a medley of Metallica, White Zombie, and Slayer classics that comprised Welcome Home (Sanitarium), One, Seek and Destroy, Thunder Kiss ’65, South Of Heaven, and Raining Blood, that was pure magic!
At the end of the show, Machine Head brought out bags full of guitar picks commemorating the event, and made sure that most of the crowd got at least one. In truth, we got much more than that. We got an evening with a band that proved their love of music beyond all doubt, and delivered a performance of phenomenal power.
“Candy apples and razor blades, little dead are soon in graves / I remember Halloween / This day anything goes, burning bodies hanging from poles / I remember Halloween!”
Thus cried Glenn Danzig in the classic Misfits song named for today’s hellacious, hallowed holiday, recasting Halloween as a day of purest evil instead of the plastic-pumpkin candy-grab it really is. The song itself is a gory little gem — a great song from a collection of accidentally brilliant songs — but it’s not good enough to make this list. Fuck it — Halloween is here! What better way to celebrate than a collection of the absolute best graveyard classics from the masters of unintentional comedy and gore-spattered punk ‘n’ roll? You know the Misfits, and you love the Misfits because they’re the fucking Misfits. You can’t hate them without hating fun itself.
For the uninitiated (for shame!), the Misfits crawled out of New Jersey way back in 1977 with a new take on punk rock: They took boring, comparatively straitlaced New York punk for a hell-ride, fashioning themselves after undead greasers with corpsepaint and trademark devilocks. The songs were sped-up ’50s rock played terribly with an evil-Elvis impersonation on top that almost masked the genius of the vocal hooks Danzig was able to pull from god knows where. For a band that could barely play their instruments, these guys could crank out the hits like no other. Lyrics fell between horror-fueled fantasies of violence and nonsensically sexualized celebrity obsessions, but they came off like alternate-dimension radio classics — Danzig’s croon easily sold lines about killing babies, inseminating little girls, and being, uh, 138.
Sadly, the Misfits came to an unfortunate end in 1983, due to the usual shitty reasons that cause young punk bands to break up. Glenn Danzig immediately moved on to heavier, less-punk sounds with his next band, Samhain, which would eventually morph into Danzig (the band). The remaining members, led by bassist Jerry Only, eventually (and unfortunately) won the rights to use the Misfits name and hired one Michale Graves to replace their irreplaceable singer. Several tours happened, countless T-shirts were sold, and a few terrible records were released before Graves split to leave the frustratingly persistent Jerry Only to front the band. No late-period Misfits will appear in this list, rest assured.
Which leads me to the task at hand: I will do the impossible here by attempting to select a measly 10 Misfits tracks to help us celebrate this most haunted holiday and most excellent band. One production note: The Misfits’ catalog gets messy as all hell — songs were re-released and re-recorded, repurposed from live recordings, and sometimes unceremoniously overdubbed by an angry Danzig (see: all of Legacy Of Brutality) — so we’re not including original release dates this time around. Suffice to say, all these songs (and many more great ones!) can be found in varying shapes on The Misfits (also called “Collection I”), Collection II, Walk Among Us, Static Age, and Legacy Of Brutality, as well as the four-disc box set that collects all relevant Misfits goodness from the Danzig era. With a catalog full of classics, it’s inevitable many favorites will be overlooked. Trust me, I love them all — I just love these more. Feel free to unleash the hounds in the comments section and tell me exactly why “Rat Fink” should be on here.
10. “Mommy Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight?”
For all the talk of hooks and ’50s crooning, the Misfits also made for a hell of a hardcore band. They’d dive deeper into hardcore with the Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood album, but they’d never outdo the filth and fury of “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?” Released smack dab in the middle of studio album Walk Among Us, “Mommy” is a live track that kicks ass by simply kicking ass. Your typical deranged Danzig rant leads into one of the best Misfits moments ever when the song lurches to a sudden stop. Everything hangs for a second before Danzig screams the title — “Mommy? Can I go out and … kill tonight?” — and we bash our way through the song in double-time. For a song about a bullied kid murdering the world, they nail the tone. As a teenager, this was the soundtrack for head-banging and trashing my room.
9. “Horror Business”
The Misfits’ third single, released in 1978, “Horror Business” is a perfect case of the absurd legends that arise from vague, violent lyrics. With lines like “You don’t go in the bathroom with me” and “I’m warning you, I’ll put a knife right in you”, folks have long theorized it was about Sid and Nancy (she was stabbed to death in a bathroom, quite possibly by Sid), or that it’s a warning to gay fans not to follow Glenn into the shitter. In reality, it’s a clear reference to the movie Psycho, with the line “Psycho ’78” meant to transpose the timeframe of the original story to the year they recorded the song. As we all know, Norman Bates, the titular pyscho, stabbed Janet Leigh in the bathroom in Hitchcock’s classic. Misfits lyrics are rarely deep, just awesome. Also of historical note: the “Horror Business” single marked the first appearance of the impossibly cool Misfits mascot, the Crimson Ghost.
8. “Astro Zombies”
One of Danzig’s best tricks is his ability to sing a line about the extinction of the human race like he’s belting it out to his girlfriend, Betty Sue, as she drives off into the distance, leaving sad Glenn to weep mascara into his devilock. He imbues so much charisma and heart into every single line, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s singing about something real — and that’s what makes it so magical. All that feeling paired with this melody, and you’ve got a classic Misfits banger fit for the end of the world.
“Like a dry desert soaking up rain, soaking up sun.” It sounds like a nice enough line out of context. In this case, Danzig is singing about Jackie O licking up … semen. Barf as you see fit. “Bullet” retells the story of the assassination of JFK by fixating on nauseating details: the president’s bullet-ridden body in the street, his shattered head hitting concrete, and most curiously, the mental state of his wife. After shouting about JFK for half the song, Danzig shifts gears and suddenly belts “You gotta suck, suck, Jackie suck.” The rest of the song becomes a singular, morbid vision of Jackie O masturbating the dead president for his vital fluids with which to (presumably) sustain her gold-digging lifestyle. Naturally.
6. “Hybrid Moments”
“If you’re gonna scream, scream with me / moments like this never last.” That’s the opening line to “Hybrid Moments,” a song about creatures raping faces and crying girls and other nonsense, but Danzig might as well be singing about the song itself. Misfits songs are short — painfully short. Brief little bursts of gore and joy that rock so hard you bang your fist and scream along straight through till the end, which usually hits after 90 seconds of ecstatic bliss. “Hybrid Moments” roars in like a banshee and tears out of there before you know what hit you — it’s a roller coaster of melody that stops short and leaves you hanging, hungry for more.
5. “Where Eagles Dare”
How can a perfect song be such a lyrical mess? Only Danzig knows. With a rumbling bass from hell holding down the bottom, we get batshit lines like, “An omelet of disease awaits your noontime meal / her mouth of germicide seducing all your glands” before the chorus drops the classic hook: “I ain’t no goddamn son of a bitch!” Reading through the theories at songmeanings.net reveals that (A) this has nothing to do with the classic World War II movie of the same name and (B) most folks think it’s a song about prostitutes. In which case “an omelet of disease” is suddenly twice as gross. But there’s no question the song is gold, to the point where the phrase “goddamn son of a bitch” has become indelibly linked with the band. When metal/hardcore/whatever band Trap Them snuck the line into a song last year, there was no question from whence it came.
4. “London Dungeon”
For a band mostly known for whoa-oh vocals and huge choruses, it’s refreshing to hear a song with such a delicious riff. The band as a whole finally deliver at the same level as Danzig, which is a rare occurrence in the Misfits canon. The stuttering snare, the ominous bass, and that infectious, near-metal, goth-baiting guitar — every piece setting the stage for the perfect chorus. Despite their origins and the roughshod execution of most of the songs, the Misfits were capable of serious songcraft, as proven here. For once the song’s lyrics are no mystery: Upon visiting the UK for an ill-fated tour with the Damned, Danzig and then-guitarist Bobby Steele attempted to do battle with skinheads and wound up in jail for a few nights. Danzig, sassy bitch that he is, turned a feather-ruffling experience into one of the best punk songs ever written.
Ask me my favorite Misfits song, go ahead. It’s “Skulls”! It’s hard to quantify exactly how and why “Skulls” rips so fucking hard, but I suppose we’d better try. The song itself is simple four-chord punk, nothing fancy. Lyrics? Practically retarded. But when the chorus hits, all I want are skulls. It’s all in the delivery: When Danzig sings that he wants your skull, it’s like he’s never wanted anything so badly. Yet there’s something tugging at the back of his heart, something in the way he holds back during the verse: He almost feels bad about it. Not so bad as to NOT sever your head and mount your skull on the wall, leaving your body to seep out its precious blood like devil’s rain (his words), but still: Danzig feels some modicum of sorrow for his insatiable need. It’s essentially a wistful, yearning love song for your severed head. Complex shit. This is my favorite Misfits tune without question, though it’s hard to call it their “best” when the next two are pretty much untouchable ….
2. “Last Caress”
It’s the big one — the one everyone knows. The one with the nastiest lyrics ever set to an anthem meant for fist-pumping sing-alongs. Metallica covered it and made it legitimately famous without even touching on the quality of the original. AFI covered it and we’re better off forgetting they tried. By this point, “Last Caress” is practically played out, but the song still stands as one of the best the Misfits would ever produce. Heck, it’s one of the best songs ever produced by the punk genre. “Sweet lovely death, I’m waiting for your breath ….” Danzig’s final, “One … last … caress!” is as timeless and classic as anything to come out of the ’50s, just as melodic, and a million times deadlier. Which is why it’s almost the best thing they’d ever do
1. “Die, Die My Darling”
This — the sixth and final Misfits single ever released before the painful-to-watch, even-worse-to-hear Michale Graves/Jerry Only period — is about as good as it gets. The band had broken up by the time it came out in 1984, though “Die, Die My Darling” was actually recorded in 1981 for the Walk Among Ussessions, and — somehow, amazingly — left off that album. By Misfits standards, the 3:11 running time is an eternity — but that’s part of the magic. Never once does the energy flag. The stomp that launches the song out the gate carries through the entire running time, building up to stomp even harder before crumbling to chaos at the end. An insistent single-note guitar lead ratchets the tension as high as it can go while Danzig howls his way through a song about killing his unnamed darling. It’s single-minded and nasty, pissed as fuck and perfect. “I’ll be seeing you in hell.” Released when it was, it’s easy to picture Danzig aiming the sentiment at his former bandmates, or even the band itself. Then again, Misfits lyrics are rarely deep. Either way, it was the perfect sendoff for one of the best punk bands of all time.
Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Valentines Day” Edition where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Happy ❤️Valentines Day ❤️From Vinyl Lair
10 Romantic Rock, Blues & Metal Love Songs
1. Peter Frampton, Im In You, Album:Im In You 1977
I’m in You” was written by Peter Frampton after returning to New York City from touring to record his live album Frampton Comes Alive! in 1976. The song is about Frampton being recently separated from his first wife, the model Mary Lovett.
Despite what one might at first think from the title, Frampton meant being “in” somebody in the spiritual sense. Sort of like the “I am he as you are he as you are me…” part from “I Am The Walrus.”
2. Pig Destroyer, The Girl in The Slayer Jacket. Album: Phantom Limb 2007
We know what you’re thinking: “Is Pig Destroyer really appropriate for Valentine’s Day?” This track recounts the “Girl in the Slayer Jacket” giving someone their first kiss in seventh grade, but after the opening lines, it all goes south, describing the girl’s eventual suicide and how Slayer nearly took the blame. But it was a beautiful relationship… while it lasted.
“Her parents / Tried to sue Slayer / They blamed her boyfriend and PCP / But the truth is her eyes / Had been dead since she was five / She just hadn’t disposed of her body“
3. The Beatles, Something. Album: Abbey Road 1969.
This seemed to be inspired by Harrison’s wife, Pattie, but he claimed he did not have anyone in mind when he wrote it. George was really into his studies of Krishna Consciousness when he wrote the song, and its original intent was as a devotion to Lord Krishna. In fact, the lyric was “something in the way HE moves,” but George ended up changing it because he didn’t want to be perceived as a “poof.”
Pattie did inspire “Layla” when Eric Clapton realized he loved her a few years later. She and Clapton were married from 1979-1988 (he also wrote “Wonderful Tonight” for her).
In her 2007 book Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me, Pattie Boyd wrote: “George wrote a song called ‘Something.’ He told me in a matter-of-fact way that he had written it for me. I thought it was beautiful and it turned out to be the most successful song he ever wrote, with more than 150 cover versions. George’s favorite version was the one by James Brown. Mine was the one by George Harrison, which he played to me in our kitchen. But, in fact, by then our relationship was in trouble. Since a trip to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in India in 1968, George had become obsessive about meditation. He was also sometimes withdrawn and depressed.”
4. Etta James,At Last. Album: At Last! 1960.
The songwriting team of Mack Gordon and Harry Warren wrote this in 1941 for the film musical Sun Valley Serenade. The following year it was rearranged and re-recorded and used in the film Orchestra Wives. It was performed in both movies by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra with vocals by Ray Eberle, and the song became a major big band hit in October 1942. Gordon and Warren composed other hits together, including “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Serenade in Blue,” “You’ll Never Know,” and “There Will Never Be Another You.” Many of their songs were for musical motion pictures, including at least one written for Shirley Temple. Before teaming up, they were successful composers on their own and wrote numerous other songs with other partners. Gordon wrote the lyrics and Warren wrote the music.
Etta James recorded this in 1961 shortly after signing with Chess records. Leonard Chess thought James was a classy ballad singer and saw pop crossover potential in her; it was his decision to back her with violin orchestrations for the song. Her version went to #2 on the R&B chart.
With lyrics about finding that one true love and a classical feel, this is a very popular wedding song.
5. Pantera, This Love. Album: Vulgar Display Of Power 1992.
This moody rocker seems to explore the turbulent dynamics of love, with the singer making a painful detachment from the relationship for his own good. The inspiration was far more primitive, however: It is a message to what lead singer Phil Anselmo calls “clingy women.”
“I was young, and thought, ‘Let’s not make more of this relationship than need be,'” Anselmo said in an interview.
6. Journey, Faithfully. Album: Frontiers 1983.
Journey keyboard player Jonathan Cain wrote this song about the challenges of being a married man on the road in a rock band:
Always another show Wondering where I am Lost without you
At the time, he was married to his first wife, Tané, a singer who had a #37 hit in 1982 called “Holdin’ On,” which Jonathan co-wrote and produced. He and Tané divorced a few years later, despite him pledging in this song to be “forever yours… faithfully.”
In an interview Jonathan Cain said, “God gave me that song,” as he wrote it so quickly. “I started it on the bus heading to Saratoga Springs,” he said. “I woke up the next day with a napkin on the side of my nightstand and I looked at the lyrics, ‘Highway run into the midnight sun.’ Then I got this supernatural download: This is the rest of the song.
I wrote rest of it down, almost frantically. I’d never had a song come to me so quickly that it was anointed, supernatural. Literally, in 30 minutes I had written that song. I had the napkin in my pocket and I put it on the piano. I had a big grand piano there by the orchestra. I played through it and I thought, ‘Man, this is good.’
The Lord gave me permission to finish it. Normally I would go to Steve Perry or somebody and say, ‘Help me finish this song.’ No. God gave me the mind to finish it, and the rest is history. That would be a love song to God, absolutely.”
7. Prince And The Revolution, Purple Rain.
The album was actually the soundtrack to the first movie Prince made. He went on to make three more: Under The Cherry Moon, Sign O’ The Times, and Graffiti Bridge. Purple Rain won Prince an Oscar for Best Original Song Score (not to be confused with the Best Original Score category, won that year by A Passage to India).
The song “Purple Rain” was the centerpiece of the film and a key plot point. In the movie, the female members in Prince’s band, Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, write a song that Prince ignores, prompting a tirade from Wendy (“Every time we give you a song you say you’re going to use it but you never do. You’re being paranoid as usual…”). At the end of the film, Prince’s crew is in a heated rivalry with another band (The Time), who do a blistering set that Prince must follow. When Prince takes the stage, he introduces “Purple Rain” as being written by Wendy and Lisa, then tears down the house with it.
Wendy and Lisa were real members of Prince’s band until 1987 when they left to record as a duo. This song, however, was composed solely by Prince. It’s a love song, with Prince singing about his devotion to a girl, but it also serves as a catharsis, releasing the pent-up frustrations that had been building throughout the movie. The “Purple Rain” is a place to be free.
8. The Pretenders, I’ll Stand By You. Album: Last Of The Independents 1994.
Chrissie Hynde wrote this with Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, who have written many hit songs, including “True Colors,” “Eternal Flame” and “Like A Virgin.” Steinberg told us how they met:
“Tom and I never had a publisher, we both published ourselves. Jason Dauman was somebody who, for a commission, was willing to provide some of the service that a publisher would. He once said to me, ‘Who would you like to collaborate with?’ and it was sort of an annoyance to me. I didn’t take him all that seriously, but almost facetiously I said, ‘Prince, Bruce Springsteen and Chrissie Hynde.’
I said those names because they were three of my favorite songwriters and he sort of took it seriously. He went off and I just thought, ‘Well I got rid of him, didn’t I.’ Then a little while later he called me up and he said, ‘Chrissie Hynde wants to write with you and Tom,’ and I thought, ‘Right.’ So anyway, I get a phone call and this woman said, ‘Billy, this is Chrissie Hynde,’ and I thought somebody was playing with me or something. I couldn’t imagine it, but then in a minute it was quite clear that Chrissie was on the other end of the telephone.
Chrissie is a very complicated person, a very no-nonsense person especially when she doesn’t know you. She was a little intimidating on the phone. The butterflies in my stomach were fluttering so much I could barely speak because I love The Pretenders. She said she’d like to get together and write some songs with Tom and me, and I went, ‘Woo Hoo!’ She came to Los Angeles and she was so determined. She said, ‘I want to write a hit.’ Over a period of about two weeks Tom and I wrote a handful of songs with her. The first one we wrote together was called ‘Love Colors Everything.’ Then we wrote ‘Night In My Veins’ which was also a hit single, and we wrote ‘977,’ ‘Hollywood Perfume’ and ‘I’ll Stand By You.'”
9. Deftones, Change (In The House Of Flies) Album: White Pony 2000.
There aren’t too many songs that send chills through your body, but “Change” by the Deftones is hauntingly atmospheric and breathtaking and gets you there. Though it’s a little darker than some of the ballads on this list, but it’s a song you need to listen to when you’re vulnerable and intimate with your partner.
10. Elton John, Your Song. Album: Elton John 1970.
This was one of the first songs John wrote with Bernie Taupin. They met after a record company gave John some of Taupin’s lyrics to work with. Eventually, they both moved into John’s parents’ house, where they started working together.
The song was written in 1967, when Bernie Taupin was 17 (“hence the extraordinarily virginal sentiments,” he has said). Elton has said that this song is not about anyone in particular, so Taupin has refused to reveal the identity of the person – if such person exists – who inspired this song. He explained in a 1989 interview with Music Connection: “It’s like the perennial ballad ‘Your Song,’ which has got to be one of the most naïve and childish lyrics in the entire repertoire of music, but I think the reason it still stands up is because it was real at the time. That was exactly what I was feeling. I was 17 years old and it was coming from someone whose outlook on love or experience with love was totally new and naïve.
Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incense And Peppermints
Strawberry Alarm Clock is a psychedelic rock band formed in 1967 with origins in Glendale, California, a city near Los Angeles. They are best known for their 1967 hit single “Incense and Peppermints”. Strawberry Alarm Clock, who have been also categorized as acid rock, psychedelic pop,and sunshine pop, charted five songs, including two Top 40 hits.
Current members: Gene Gunnels – drums, percussion, vocals
Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Babe Rainbow – The Babe Rainbow 2017
After releasing a flurry of colorful summer-of-love reminiscent music videos to accompany their EP and handful of psychedelic and ear-candied singles, the Byron Bay natives holed up at Flightless Records with King Gizzard’s own Stu Mackenzie to record their debut album.
With Mackenzie producing the album, the result was a project with a much wider spectrum of instrumentation, more varied song styles and structures, deeper experimentation, and a rawer sound that was slightly more akin to a King Gizzard record.