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