On this episode, we revisit the great ’70’s hard rock/power pop album Attention Shoppers! by Starz. “X-Ray Spex” is a blast of punky pop with some interesting use of studio effects. Turn it up!

“X-Ray Spex” (Peter Sweval, Joe X. Dube, Michael Lee Smith, Brendan Harkin & Richie Ranno) Copyright 1978 Starzongo Music, Inc/Rock Steady Music, Inc/ASCAP

It Came From Boston: 5 experienced musicians come together to make something new: keyboard whiz Greg Hawkes; the bassist with the killer voice, Benjamin Orr; drummer David Robinson from the legendary Modern Lovers; one of the tastiest guitarists in the business, Elliot Easton; and singer/songwiriter/guitarist & mastermind Ric Ocasek. Merging classic guitar rock with the burgeoning synth-pop sounds to bring New Wave to the masses, The Cars defined that sound for the late-70’s/Early ’80’s. It all started on local Boston radio with this song. 

“Just What I Needed” (Ric Ocasek) Copyright 1978 Lido Music, Inc.

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.

Stevie Wonder was on an unrivaled creative streak starting in 1972, releasing 5 brilliant albums in a row, culminating with Songs In The Key Of Life in 1976. That album spawned 2 hit singles, including “I Wish”, the subject of this episode.  A masterpiece blending funk with pop sensibilities, it’s a celebration of youthful innocence and simpler times.  How does this song make *you* feel?  Let me know on Facebook, write a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to this show.  And share it with your friends!

“I Wish” (Stevie Wonder) Copyright 1976 Jobette Music Co. Inc, and Black Bull Music c/o EMI April Music Inc.

50 years ago today — July 16, 1969 — Apollo 11 was launched and human beings first stepped on the moon.  Let’s celebrate that occasion with the most famous song about space travel: David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, a song that exploits our fear and wonder of the final frontier. 

In lesser hands, this track could’ve been nothing more than a goofy, one-joke song for the Dr. Demento crowd, but the clever songwriting, brilliant production and a vocal performance that captures Bowie’s innate other-worldly, alienated style makes this track so much more than a novelty song.

“Space Oddity” (David Bowie) Copyright 1969 Onward Music Limited

Among the many high points in David Bowie’s catalog, “Station To Station” stands as one of his most epic compositions.  Written when Bowie’s life was at its most fractured point– having split with his longtime manager, suffering from cocaine psychosis and obsessed with the occult, “Station To Station” transcends the insanity to become one of his most monumental works.

This episode, we’re taking a deep dive into the live version of “Station To Station” from the 1978 Isolar II Tour, as captured on the Stage live album featuring brilliant guitar work from Adrian Belew.

David Bowie, circa 1976, drawing the Tree Of Life, a mystical
diagram referred to in “Station To Station”

Aqualung was the album that made Jethro Tull famous, and features 3 songs that became classic hits.  But the song at the heart of the album is “My God”, Ian Anderson’s very personal statement on religious institutions.  It’s the most instrumentally adventurous track on the album and features great guitar by Martin Barre and a flute workout from Anderson.

“My God” (Ian Anderson) Copyright 1971 Chrysalis Music, Ltd.

Another overlooked song in the McCartney catalog, “Little Lamb Dragonfly” is an emotional piece, composed of 3 sections in different keys that effortlessly moves between each segment.  A wistful, haunting song about loss and the struggle to accept it.  How does this song affect you?  Let me know– write a review, post on Facebook, and share this episode with your friends.

“Little Lamb Dragonfly” (Paul & Linda McCartney) Copyright 1973 Administered by MPL Communications Limited

On this episode, we revisit the Destroyer album and take a look at the song “King Of The Night Time World” to see how it evolved from an obscure track by a short-lived LA band into a teenage anthem by larger-than-life rock legends.  We’ll listen to both versions and hear what changed & what remained.  Come live your secret dream!

“King Of The Nighttime World” (Kim Fowley/Mark Anthony/Paul Stanley/Bob Ezrin) Copyright 1976 Cafe Americana, Inc/Kiss Songs, Inc (ASCAP)/Bad Boy Music/Eighth Power Music/All By Myself Publishing Co Ltd. (BMI)

Why this song?  Simple: because Thin Lizzy was as good as a 4-piece rock band could be and this song has everything you want in a rockin’ song– a killer guitar riff, a singable chorus, a great hook for the lyrics, and a perfect performance.  Written by Bob Seger, Thin Lizzy took it to another level and added some of their special sauce to make this song their own.  I truly love this song!  Let me know your thoughts — write a review, leave a comment, share with your friends.

“Rosalie” (Bob Seger) Copyright 1972 Gear Publishing Co.