Hard to believe now, but Motown resisted releasing this song as a single. Marvin’s version sat on a shelf for months before being relegated to an album track– until some DJ’s discovered it, and the rest is history. It became Motown’s biggest selling hit at that time. And it’s a true classic. In this episode, we’ll look at how the track was put together and marvel at Marvin’s performance. One of the greats.

“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong) Copyright 1966 Jobette Music Co, Inc., BMI

— This show is one of the many great podcasts on the Pantheon Podcasts network. Check ’em all out!

Emitt Rhodes had an extraordinary gift as a songwriter, a fantastic voice and was a remarkable musician– he was one of the first artists to record by himself, playing every instrument on his albums. He passed away in July 2020, leaving behind a small but significant collection of albums. In tribute to this under-appreciated talent, I’ve selected a song from his most successful band, The Merry-Go-Round, a song that itself is a celebration of great music & great bands. Psychedelic ’60’s pop never got better than this.

“Listen Listen!” (Emitt Rhodes) Copyright 1968 Thirty Four Music/La Brea Music Inc (ASCAP)

— This show is one of many great podcasts on the Pantheon Podcasts network. Collect ’em all!

The best British band from the ’60’s that never hit the bigtime in America– Small Faces. Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenny Jones and Ian McLagan would become rock legends due to their future projects (Humble Pie, The Who, The Faces, etc) , but it all started for them here. Small Faces recorded a number of psychedelic pop gems, but “Tin Soldier” may be the pinnacle. Shall we have a listen?

Small Faces – “Tin Soldier” (Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane) Copyright 1967 EMI United Partnership Limited

For the 50th episode of the podcast, we’re mixing it up a bit. I just finished reading a fascinating book by Andrew Grant Jackson where he lays out his opinion that 1965 was “The Most Revolutionary Year In Music”. Let’s have a listen to some of the sounds from ’65 and see if we agree. The Beatles, the Stones, the Byrds, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Motown… it’s all here in 1965.

You can find a copy of his book here:
(and no, I don’t get any $$ for recommending it– I just like the book!)

— This show is just one of many great music-related podcasts on the Pantheon network. Check them all out!

There’s no shortage of great songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, but “Gimme Shelter” may be the song that tops them all. Dark and foreboding as only the Stones can do, this track has all the hallmarks of the Rolling Stones at their best: iconic guitar riffs by Keef, Jagger at the top of his game, and the Watts/Wyman rhythm section doing what they do best (plus Nicky Hopkins on piano).  But what pushes this one from merely brilliant into sublime is the vocal performance by Merry Clayton– for my money, one of the greatest moments on record. All together, this one belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Rock. 

“Gimme Shelter” (Mick Jagger & Keith Richards) Copyright 1969 ABKCO Music Inc.

“Rain” was the first glimpse of The Beatles exploration of psychedelia. Perhaps more than any other Beatles track, this song highlights the rhythm section with brilliant performances by Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. Add Lennon’s lyrics and great vocals, and you’ve got one of the best songs to come out of the trippy, mind-expanding ’60’s. On this episode, we take a closer look at the individual performances and studio trickery– backwards, forwards, sped up & slowed down– that went into this classic track. 

“Rain” (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) Copyright 1966 Northern Songs

The Kinks earned their place in Rock History on the basis of “You Really Got Me”, “All Day & All Of The Night”, and “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” alone.  But it didn’t take long for Ray Davies to stretch out beyond riff-driven, teenage anthems to write songs that could only have come from his imagination.  “Autumn Almanac” is one of the first Kinks songs to show Davies reaching for a whole new level of songwriting–  both musically and his interest in writing about characters, which would become the focus of his songwriting over the ensuing years.

“Autumn Almanac” (Ray Davies) Copyright 1967 Davray Music Ltd. Carlin Music Corp.

When Brian Wilson heard The Beatles Rubber Soul album, it inspired and challenged him to create an album of his own that would stand as an equal.  And he pulled it off.  Universally considered one of the greatest albums of all time, Pet Sounds is a testament to Brian’s genius as a songwriter, arranger & producer.  

The album includes some all-time classics like “God Only Knows” and “Wouldn’t it Be Nice”, but on this episode, I’d like to focus on one of my favorites on the record– “You Still Believe in Me”.  

Like most of the songs on Pet Sounds, this is a very personal song, a confession of a young man who knows he’s failing as a husband, but can’t help himself.  Brian’s vocal is pure, honest, and perfect.  And when those harmonies come in… I melt.  Let’s listen together.

“You Still Believe In Me” (Brian Wilson & Tony Asher) Copyright 1966 Sea Of Tunes Publishing Company/Irving Music Incorporates, USA, Rondor Music International