Thin Lizzy is known for their hard rockin’ songs and their trailblazing twin guitar sound, but vocalist/bassist/songwriter Phil Lynott had an ear for melody, a way with words, and could write a damn fine pop song when he wanted.  “Dancing In The Moonlight” has everything you want in a great Thin Lizzy song: fantastic guitar playing, wonderful lyrics, and Lynott’s one-of-a-kind voice—he could sound tough as nails, but sensitive & vulnerable, too.  Let’s give this one a spin.

“Dancing In The Moonlight” (Philip Parris Lynott) Copyright 1977 Pippin-The-Friendly-Ranger Music Co Ltd. All rights Controlled and Administered by Universal – Polygram International Publishing, Inc.

— This show is one of many great music-related podcasts on the Pantheon network. You should check them out! And remember to follow this show, so you never miss an episode.

Welcome, all you erstwhile geologists and petrologists, this is the show dedicated to the study of a different kind of rock– the Rock that also Rolls.

This is the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast, and I’m your host, Brad Page. Thanks for joining us on the Pantheon Podcast Network for another edition of the show where we do some intensive listening to a favorite song to see what it takes to make a song great.

This episode, we’re revisiting one of my favorite bands from the 1970’s, Thin Lizzy and a fantastic, fun song called “Dancing In The Moonlight”.


There have been quite a few successful bands to come out of Ireland, but with the exception of US, Thin Lizzy may be the biggest band with the longest lasting impact. The fact that they were a hard rock and band led by a black man, born from a single white mother in a very Catholic country, makes their success even less likely.

In the wake of World War II, Philomena Lynott left Dublin Ireland to find work in Birmingham England. She was still a teenager when she met Cecil Paris from British Guiana. They weren’t together long– just long enough for her to get pregnant. She gave birth to her son. Philip Paris Lynott, on August 20, 1949. When he was four years old, he was sent back to Dublin to live with his grandparents while his mom stayed in England to work. Phil was a teenager when he met a fellow student, a drummer named Brian Downey. The two of them played in bands together and separately, eventually connecting with a guitar player named Eric Bell, and the first version of Thin Lizzy was born in December 1969. The band as a three-piece released three albums, and other than some success with the single “Whiskey In The Jar”, none of the records really sold that well. It was a tough time, and eventually Eric Bell quit the band.

After a few trial runs with other guitarists filling in, including fellow Irishman Gary Moore, the band eventually settled on a four-piece lineup with two lead guitarists. Essentially, they reinvented the whole band. The new lineup included a Scottish teenager named Brian Robertson, and a transplanted Californian named Scott Gorham. And they became a twin guitar powerhouse, both with different but very complementary styles. And their fiery melodic solos and harmony guitar parts would become, along with Phil Lynott’s vocals, the trademark sound of Thin Lizzy.

A couple of albums followed, and though they didn’t stir up much attention, they steadily got better. As the band jelled and the songwriting improved, by the time they released “Jailbreak” in 1976, the band was firing on all cylinders and reached their biggest success yet. That album includes a handful of classic tracks, including the song Thin Lizzy’s best known for– “The Boys Are Back in Town”.


But there was trouble brewing.. more drinking, more drugs, and heroin entered the picture. On the eve of a US tour, Phil Lynott was hospitalized with hepatitis, the result of sharing a needle, and the tour had to be canceled. When Lynott was healthy enough, they recorded their next album, called “Johnny The Fox”, and the band lined up another U.S tour. But the self-inflicted damage continued– this time, it was Brian Robertson’s turn to do something stupid. He got involved in a bar fight and ended up on the wrong end of a broken bottle. The jagged glass caused serious lacerations to his hand, and Robertson ended up with nerve and artery damage. The tour had to be canceled again– the second time in two years.

Lynott was angry. He and Robertson always got on each other’s nerves anyway, so Lynott fired Robertson. The band did end up doing a short US tour, opening for Queen, with a temporary guitarist– a familiar name, Gary Moore, filling in. Then the band went back into the studio, this time as a three-piece with all the guitar parts left to Scott Gorham.

Gorham, however, intentionally left some guitar parts unrecorded, so that when Robertson’s hand healed enough for him to play, Gorham convinced Lyontt to bring Roberson back. Lynott agreed, but under one condition: that Robertson would not be a full-time member of the band; instead, he would be a hired gun. And so the album was completed.

Called “Bad Reputation”, the album’s a bit of an odd duck; Robertson is credited on the album, but his picture is not on the cover. However, on the back of the album, there’s a picture of the band with Robertson. Musically, the album is all over the place… it includes some of their heaviest tunes and most complex arrangements, but it also has some of their best softer numbers, and some really catchy tunes. Despite the awkward way that the album came together– or maybe because of it– this is probably my favorite Thin Lizzy studio album.

“Dancing In The Moonlight” is the first song on side two of the original vinyl album. It was written by Phil Lynott; he came up with a bass riff and showed it to Scott Gorham and drummer Brian Downey, and they worked up the arrangement together. The track, and the whole album, was produced by Tony Visconti, who produced a bunch of legendary albums by David Bowie and T-Rex, to name a few. The song begins with Phil Lynott’s bass guitar right up front:


The bass has a phasing effect on it, which gives it that swirling sound. It’s not often that you hear any effects on the bass, particularly a phaser, so that makes this unique. Phil is also playing the bass with a pick, and you can hear the sound of each pluck on this part.

Drummer Brian Downey is playing a nice loose swinging beat and they’ve also overdubbed some snapping fingers, just to add to that swingin’ feel.

Let’s listen to it from the beginning again:


There’s a nice little break here before the verse:


It’s played on a snare drum, the bass, and there’s a guitar chucking away with probably a wah-wah pedal on it. Let’s hear how that leads into the first verse:


Scott Gorham plays all of the guitar parts on this track. He’s laid down a couple of guitar tracks here in stereo, a really tasteful part that leaves room for the bass and the vocals to shine through.


Let’s talk about the lyrics for a minute.

Phil Lynott was as much of a writer or a poet as he was a hard rocker. He wasn’t above writing a typical rock song, but many of his lyrics are a notch or two above other bands. Here, he’s writing in the character of a teenager; those awkward experiences of teenage romance, and that overwhelming feeling of young love.

Look at the picture that he’s painted here; he meets a girl and they go to the dance, they start dating, he takes her to the movies and tries to look cool, but he’s still a clumsy teenager… that line about getting chocolate stains on his pants, it’s so specific– it’s maybe even a little weird at first– but it is such an image of teenage dorkiness, you can totally picture that kid. I love this whole verse.


Here is the chorus, and there’s a new instrument added– a saxophone. Guest-starring on this track is John Helliwell, from the band Supertramp, who adds a great sax part to this song. It really contributes to the jazzy feel of the track.


Here comes the second verse, and if you listen closely, you can hear Phil take a deep breath in, before launching into the vocal.


Now here’s the bridge section. Our teenage protagonist stayed out too late, he missed the last bus, so he’s stuck walking all the way back home.


Our boy knows he’s in trouble when he gets home, so he’s kind of dreading it. And you can feel that in the music– let’s focus on that saxophone part:


Listen to the little drum part that Brian Downey plays on the snare rim


I love that transition. You can feel the kid shedding his mopiness, saying “the hell with it, it was worth it” and the whole song bursts back with a joyous guitar solo.


That is Scott Gorham on lead guitar, and in my opinion, it’s maybe his finest moment on record. I think it’s one of the greatest guitar solos, period. Gorham played it on a Gibson Les Paul; it was either a Les Paul Deluxe or a Les Paul Standard. He initially played a Deluxe, but switched to a Standard around 1978, so I think this was when he was still playing the old Les Paul Deluxe. But this solo is just brilliant. It flows from one part to the next, it builds, and like all my favorite guitar solos, it’s highly melodic, not just a bunch of licks. It’s perfect.


Phil starts to cut loose a little bit on the bass here


“Dancing In The Moonlight” by Thin Lizzy.

Following the release of the “Bad Reputation” album, the band would hit the road again with Brian Robertson and release a live album called “Live And Dangerous”, which is one of the best live records you’re ever gonna hear.

That would be it for Brian Robertson, though. He left the band for good. His replacement was– you guessed it– Gary Moore. Gary would join the band full-time and contribute significantly to the next album, but then Gary would be gone, too. The band would release a few more albums which are pretty good… I like them, but they don’t capture the full magic of when Brian Robertson or Gary Moore were in the band.

Thin Lizzy called it quits in 1983, and in 1986, Phil Lynott died at the age of 36 from multiple organ failure, as a result of years of drug and alcohol abuse. I remember the day that he died; Gary Moore had released an album a few months before, and Phil sang a couple of tracks on it. That album was on steady rotation on my turntable. I was hoping for so much more from Gary and Phil, but it was not to be. Shame, but we will be talking about Gary Moore on this show very soon…

Thanks for listening and for being part of the show. We’ll be back in two weeks with another new episode. Until then, stop by and visit us on Facebook or on Podchaser, where you can leave a review, a comment, or some feedback. And of course, if you enjoy the podcast, follow the show so that you never miss an episode.

We are proud to be part of the Pantheon Podcast Network, where you’ll find a ton of excellent music podcasts; no matter what kind of music you’re into, you’re guaranteed to find a show on Pantheon that you’ll love.

Now find a date and put on a movie– watch out for those chocolate stains, though– and go “Dancing In The Moonlight” with Thin Lizzy.


If you’re looking for a prime example of a hard-working, dues-paying, doggedly dedicated rock band, you won’t find better one than Nazareth. Launching in 1968 and continuing through today, Nazareth rode the wave of success up and down over 50 years, peaking with their classic album Hair Of The Dog in 1975. The last time they hit the charts was with the song “Holiday” in 1980. On this episode, we tap into this classic track. And, with the help of author Robert Lawson, we take a quick tour of the history of Nazareth.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of any of Robert’s books, you’ll find them here:

Nazareth – “Holiday” (McCafferty, Cleminson, Charlton, Agnew, Sweet) Copyright 1980 Nazsongs Ltd


Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present the latest edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. This is the Pantheon Podcast Network, and I’m your host, Brad Page. This is the show where I pick one of my favorite songs and we explore it together to get a better understanding of what makes it a great song.

Now, before we get into this episode, I want to make note of one thing. The first episode of this show aired back in April 2018. Well, here we are in April 2023. So that makes this the fifth anniversary of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. So I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you to all of you listening. Some of you have been here since the very beginning. Some of you are new listeners, but you all make this show possible. And we couldn’t have gotten this far without you. So thanks for being a part of the show.

On this episode, we’re visiting with a band that made their mark in the helped define the sound of hard rock, and they continued to produce solid records well into the 2000s. This is Nazareth with a song called “Holiday”.

Now, usually at this point in the show, I give you a short history of the band and work our way up to the song. But author and friend of the show, Robert Lawson, has written a number of books, including “Razama-Snaz! the Listener’s Guide to Nazareth”. So I thought rather than give you the information secondhand, I’d invite Robert onto the show so you can hear it from the expert. So let’s bring Robert into the conversation.

BRAD: So, Robert Lawson, thanks for joining me here on the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast to talk a little bit about Nazareth. You’re the guy that wrote the book– you’re the expert. So, tell us a little bit about the history of the band, how Nazareth came to be in the first place.

ROBERT: Well, you’ve got the original four guys from Dunfermline, Scotland, which is a small city in Scotland. And, they’re like a 70’s phenomena, really. So, the first album came out in ‘71 and maybe took them an album or two to get their sound together. By the mid 70’s, they’re just huge. I think it was in ‘77 or ‘78, they did a coast-to-coast Canadian headlining arena tour, which is a big deal back then. So they’re right on that level of Aerosmith and a lot of those kind of arena bands, right? And those are still great, great albums that when people talk about Nazareth, they tend to go back to records like “Hair of the Dog” and “Expect No Mercy”. Those are the classics. But really, during the 70’s, they were really on top of the game. You’ve got, like, five, six, maybe seven albums in a row that are all great, all really strong. I’m in Canada, where they were really big up here– so much so, there’s people up here who think Nazareth were Canadian. And some of those albums were recorded in Canada, so they were a big part of a lot of our lifestyles and lot of radio play in Canada in the ‘70’s.

BRAD: You think that’s maybe the Scottish connection?

ROBERT: That’s part of it for sure. There’s definitely a lot of Scottish history in Canada, a lot of Scottish people live here. I have a Scottish background.  But part of it also is, and I don’t think I got to touch on this in the book actually, but there’s something up here called CanCon. And what that means, for anyone who doesn’t know, is there’s a percentage of Canadian content that must be played on the radio. So, of course that doesn’t mean we don’t play music from the UK and the States and everywhere else, but there’s a certain percentage that has to be Canadian. And that can just be written by Canadian, produced by Canadian. The band doesn’t necessarily have to be Canadian. It could be recorded in Canada. There’s like four different aspects and I think you have to tick off two of them to be considered “Canadian content”. So, Nazareth covered the Joni Mitchell song “This Flight Tonight”, and that was considered Canadian content in a way. So a lot of radio stations would play it, not only because it’s a great song, but it would check off the box for Canadian content for them.


ROBERT: They recorded bunch of albums up here and they were just touring here a lot. So Canada really took to them. The guys seemed to really like Canada, they still tour here a lot, . the current lineup.  Canada just always kind of had a relationship with Nazareth and that’s probably how I got into them as a kid in the 70’s.

BRAD: So let’s talk a bit about the 4 guys individually that made up the original lineup of Nazareth.  All from relatively the same area of Scotland, right? In fact, didn’t a couple of them grow up together?

ROBERT: The original four are all from Dunfermline, yes.

BRAD: And so, let’s talk a little bit about the guys. You have, of course, Dan McCafferty on lead vocals– I think one of the most distinctive vocalists in rock history, right?

ROBERT: Absolutely.

BRAD: He kind of was doing Brian Johnson before there was Brian Johnson, if you ask me.

ROBERT: Yeah, absolutely. I used to say for years, when I was younger, that if you listen to, like  “Hair of the Dog”, that that actually sounds like Brian Johnson, way before Brian Johnson was known internationally, for sure.

BRAD: So then you have Manny Charlton on guitar…

ROBERT: I think one of the great underrated guitar players, frankly.

BRAD: Yeah.

BRAD: from that era.

ROBERT: His stuff’s really neat, because when you really start digging into the albums, and really listening, a lot of the songs are a lot more complex from a guitar standpoint than I kind of thought of when I was younger, because he’ll have a couple of rhythm guitars, electric rhythm guitars; he’ll be playing a lead; then he might have a couple of acoustics in the background. And on some of them, he even adds, like, mandolin, and the mandolin and the lead guitar are playing in sync. It’s really just a lot more interesting than I thought. When you’re a kid, you just go “Loud guitars, yeah!”

BRAD: Right.

ROBERT: And then you realize, wow, Manny’s doing like five or six different things on different stringed instruments on some of these songs. It’s great stuff.

BRAD: Yeah. And then the rhythm section.

ROBERT: Pete Agnew on bass, and he does a lot of the backing and harmony vocals, including on the song that we’re going to talk about. So he’s a real big part. And he’s the one,  him and Dan, who met when they were, like, five years old in kindergarten or something like that. They go way, way back.

BRAD: Right.

ROBERT: And then, of course, Darryl Sweet on drums.

BRAD: So tell me if I’m incorrect here, but I believe they formed, or at least the first early versions of the lineup, came together in around 1961 as The Shadettes.

ROBERT: Shadettes, that’s right, yeah. I don’t think all four were in The Shadettes, but, yeah, that sort of evolves into Nazareth by the mid to late 60’s.

BRAD: Manny joins later, I think, in the late 60s, and they kind of cut their teeth doing cover songs, which many bands do. But their ability to take a cover song and make it their own is pretty unique and is a big part of their catalog.


BRAD: They landed on the name “Nazareth” from the classic song by The Band. “The Weight”, right?

ROBERT: That’s.– I’ll be a little controversial here: That’s the story that has always been told for years and years. And when I was researching my book, I found another story that was a lot darker, behind how they got that name. And I posted it on Facebook, just saying, “Hey, has anyone ever heard this?” And a whole bunch of people jumped on me saying, “What are you talking about?” and “It’s from The Band” and “Robbie Robertson wrote the song”, and all this, they always say that it’s that story.  Well, you know, if you do a lot of music research, you know that just because a band always says a story, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true, it just means they might come to believe it.

BRAD: Right; you tell the story enough times and it becomes the truth.

ROBERT: Yeah. So, for all intents and purposes, yes… The name came from the song by The Band.


BRAD: And their first album, self-titled album, comes out in ‘71.

ROBERT: That’s right.

BRAD: And that record, that was kind of different from what we think of when we think of Nazareth today. I mean, the sound of that record is a little bit different, isn’t it?

ROBERT: Yeah. They’re still kind of finding their way, which for a lot of bands that’s not that uncommon these days, I guess.  For a long time now, you have to have three hits immediately or else you lose your record deal. Back then, bands were signed to development deals where you could actually put out a few singles, and even a couple of albums, while you’re still figuring out who you are. And Nazareth are definitely an example of that. The first album, it’s got some heavy parts, but there’s a little bit of some acoustic stuff and they’re kind of all over the place a bit.

BRAD: Roy Thomas Baker worked on that first record, right?


BRAD: That must be fairly early in his career. He went on to be a legendary producer. I think he was an engineer or something on that record.

ROBERT: Yeah, that’s right.

BRAD: And then they put out a second record called “Exercises” in ‘72 and then “Razamanaz” in ‘73. And that’s kind of the first record that sounds like the Nazareth we all came to know and love.

ROBERT: Yeah, absolutely. And I like those first two records a lot, but some fans think that the career really takes off with “Razamanaz” in ‘73.

BRAD: Yeah, I love that. I love that record.

ROBERT: Oh, sure.

BRAD: And that’s followed up by a couple more records: “Loud and Proud” in ‘73, “Rampant” in ‘74 and then the big one, “Hair of the Dog”, their 6th album, in 1975. And that’s the one that really breaks them worldwide.


ROBERT: Yeah, so this is the first one that Manny Charlton produces after, Roger Glover from Deep Purple had done the last few records. And you’re right, ‘75’s “Hair of the Dog”, they really knock it out of the park. Not that the records before that weren’t great– they are, I’m pretty partial to “Loud and Proud” and “Rampant”, but “Hair of the Dog” definitely kicks it up to another level.

BRAD: Yeah, it’s the one that seemed to just catch public attention. That’s followed in ‘76 by “Close Enough for Rock and Roll” and then “Playing The Game”, ‘76, “Expect No Mercy” in ’77…One of the great album covers of all time, I think, right?

ROBERT: Yeah. That’s a ‘70’s album cover right there, right?

BRAD: Yeah. That’s the side of a van.

ROBERT: I was just going to say that, Brad. I think there was a van that had that on it, driving around when I was like ten or eleven years old or something.


BRAD: And then, in ‘79, they release a record called “No Mean City”. And that’s kind of a, I don’t know, a shift? But it’s a change in the band, right. Because they have a new member who joins.  That’s their 10th album, and they bring in another second guitarist. Let’s talk about that character.

ROBERT: Right. And “character” is right. So they get Zal Clemenson, who, for people who maybe aren’t familiar, he was a guitar player in a really great Scottish band called the Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Real unique group of characters. And Zal, in that band, he was known for performing in complete white makeup and he had these bright green and yellow shiny outfits and platform heels, and he was kind of like an offshoot Kiss guy. But instead of all black and silver, it would be green, and real visual character.

So he dropped all that stuff when he joined Nazareth. But a great, great player. And I think that the addition of Zal to Nazareth is just really important. And I always talk about the fact that there’s some live stuff, which is actually the “Malice” tour, so maybe we should get to that… But if you ever hear any of the live stuff when Zal was in the band, it’s absolute killer. Manny welcomed having a second guitarist; there’s no competition between them at all. Manny, since he’s songwriting and he’s concentrating on producing, he, wanted a little help with the guitar playing, which is very generous. And Zal gets to play a lot. I like the “No Mean City” album a lot. I think it’s a little darker. I mean, the song “May The Sunshine” is one of the ones I was kind of referring to before, that it’s got this mandolin part that’s just really bright, and it’s just a great record.


ROBERT: A very kind of iconic album cover with a character that they still use on their merch to this day.

BRAD: And what do you think it was specifically that Zal brought to the band? Besides just being a great player? I mean, do you think there’s a certain element or two that he brought?

ROBERT: I think it was just kind of like a shot in the arm that they needed. Like you said, they had done ten albums or something with a lot of touring as well. When you look at these records, it’s like they’re putting out a record every single year from ‘71 to ‘77 and touring a lot in between. Like I said, they were doing arena tours in Canada. I know they played Cobo Hall, I believe, in ‘78. They were opening a lot of shows with Deep Purple, so a lot of touring, a lot of recording. Then you get TV appearances and radio shows and all kinds of stuff. So I think they just kind of needed a bit of an extra hand. And Zal is someone who was sort of in their orbit already, because there was a Dan McCafferty solo album that Manny produced and Zal plays on that. Sensational Alex Harvey band and Nazareth also shared managers, so they knew of Zal. And because I think Zal is kind of such a zany character, probably just fun to have a fun guy like that in the band, and give them a shot in the arm with his extra energy. Because he is a guy who would run around on stage a lot. He plays really fast, he doesn’t play the same thing twice a lot. So he’s kind of unpredictable. He’s a bit of an unpredictable character like that. I think it was probably just a mix of fun and the extra energy that Zal would bring from being such a character.

BRAD: Yeah. So “No Mean City”, the first record with Zal, comes out in ‘79 and then that’s followed by an album called “Malice in Wonderland” in 1980. And the song we’re going to delve into on the show today is from that album.  That’s their 11th album. It’s pretty amazing when you think about eleven albums, and they would go on to cut a lot more after that. But they were like veterans at this point. I mean, eleven albums, that’s a whole catalog right there.

ROBERT: That’s right. And even when the first album came out in ‘71, they weren’t teenagers either. Some of the guys were already married with kids and stuff. So yeah, at this point they’re real veterans of the business, and life on the road, and life in recording studios and all that kind of stuff. They’re well-seasoned at this point.

BRAD: And the “Malice” album is interesting on a number of fronts.  And I think the impression, I guess, is it’s somewhat controversial among fans, but it’s the first album that’s produced by a real outsider, an American, somebody that fans of the show will know– Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, from Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, actually produced this record.  And it was not recorded in either Canada or Scotland, right?

ROBERT: Compass Point Studios in Barbados. So that’s where everyone goes, you got the beach right outside the studio.

BRAD: You’ve got a very different environment, and you’ve got a very different producer. And I think fan reaction is fairly mixed to this record, right?

ROBERT: Yeah. And I think that’s justified because Skunk Baxter, for all of his credits in the past, he does kind of tame the sound. Manny had done five albums, and those albums, like I said, are like the Roger Glover produced albums. The Manny Charlton produced albums are all great. They’re all a lot of fun, great songs, great production, great vocals, guitar, everything. And then Baxter comes in and he kind of mellows them out a bit. And I kind of consider it the band’s first misstep. Not that it’s a mistake, but I would have liked to have seen Manny Charlton produce this album or even maybe bring Roger Glover back, because I think having a guy as exciting as Zal Clementson on board, and then you kind of neuter him, is counterproductive.

BRAD: It’s definitely a different sound than any ofthe records before. In fact, I think it’s the biggest shift in sound since maybe the first two albums.

ROBERT: Yes, absolutely.

BRAD: But it does contain one, I think, all-time classic Nazareth song, the song “Holiday”, which opens the record. And that’s the one we’re going to dive into today. So, before I get into the track, Robert, tell me your thoughts about the song.

ROBERT: Oh, I love it. It’s probably one of the ones that I really caught onto when I was really young. It’s very, catchy, very upbeat for a band that was doing heavy stuff like “Expect No Mercy” and “Hair the Dog”. It’s kind of poppy, melody wise, anyway. And then you’ve got this great lyric, and Dan’s vocals are terrific, although it’s almost redundant to say that because he’s known as being such a great vocalist. But there’s a line that kind of gets repeated a couple of times, and I’m sure you’re going to talk about this, where at the end of a couple of the choruses he says, “Mama, mama, please, no more husbands”. And I think the second or the third time he says it, he really digs in with a growl and says, “I don’t know who my daddy is”. And that line kills me to this day. It’s such a good line. And the way he delivers it is great.

BRAD: Absolutely. So, let’s get into the track. “Holiday” opens the “Malice in Wonderland” album– Side One, Track One.  It was performed by Dan McCafferty on lead vocal, Manny Charlton and Zal Clementson on guitars, Pete Agnew on bass and backing vocals, and Daryl Sweet on drums. And as we mentioned before, it was produced by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. All five band members share writing credit on this song; McCafferty, Clementson, Charlton, Agnew and Sweet.

The song begins with a classic bluesy guitar boogie riff. There’s also an organ in the background, I’m guessing that was played by Skunk Baxter. When the band comes in, they add some vintage Chuck Berry style guitar licks.


BRAD: This is a fairly restrained vocal from McCafferty. He’s not belting it out or doing a lot of emoting yet.


BRAD: Nice work on the backing vocals here. Let’s listen to that.


BRAD: That brings us into the chorus, which has a completely different feel than the verses. And this is where the lyrics get really interesting, too. I’ve always pictured this song as being about a spoiled rich kid drinking and partying with his friends. But he’s got some real issues, especially with his mother, as we’ll hear in the choruses. “Mama, mama, please, no more jaguars, I don’t want to be a pop star” …sounds like she’s trying to buy his love, or maybe just keep him out of her way by buying him fancy cars. Let’s hear the first chorus.


BRAD: That may be my favorite line in the song: “Mama, mama, please no more facelifts, I just don’t know which one you is.”


BRAD: Then this chorus ends with “Mama, please no more husbands”. And then it goes right into the next verse.


BRAD: “Wasting my time, hiding out in my rented dream”. Let’s hear more of the vocals on this verse.


BRAD: Darryl Sweet plays a nice tom-tom driven beat during this part, so let’s listen to a little of that. There’s also a nice little lyric here. “Ask the chauffeur who he knows; numbers, he’s got lots of those”. I especially like that pause that McCafferty puts in there.


BRAD: There’s some nice guitar work behind the vocals there. I like to think of these kinds of parts as guitar orchestration. It’s the kind of things that you could do with strings or horns, but doing them with electric guitars instead. So let’s listen to that.


BRAD: There are multiple layered guitar parts during the chorus spread across the stereo field. Let’s hear some of the chorus without the vocals.


BRAD: Also a nice little drum fill that takes us out of that chorus.


BRAD: That takes us into a tasty little guitar solo by Zal Clemenson.


BRAD: “Holiday” by Nazareth. Let’s bring Robert Lawson back in to wrap things up for this episode.

So after the release of Malice in Wonderland again in 1980 and this incredible track, where does Nazareth kind of go from there, Robert?

ROBERT: Well, they did tour the album and there’s a great live recording from the Hammersmith on the “Malice” tour that I always have to give a shout out to. You can listen to the whole thing on YouTube. Some of the tracks were used as B-sides and it’s a great, great live album. I always wish that they would have released it as an official live album, because you really hear the Manny Charlton/Zal Clementson guitar work. It’s a great, great live recording.

But, after that, Zal, leaves the band, so that kind of hurts them in some ways. There’s a couple of lineup changes, they put out a couple of more albums. There’s a live album called “Snaz”, mostly recorded in Vancouver, Canada, which is a really great live album. When I was growing up, it was right up there with Cheap Trick’s “Budokan” and Kiss “Alive” and all the rest of them. Then they put out a few more albums. I think Manny produces a few more, but as you get into the ‘80’s, like a lot of hard rock bands, they have a little bit of a hard time figuring out how they fit in the hair metal and the glam kind of rock scene. And at that point, they just kind of become a club band, and that’s where they’ve been ever since. They’ve still put out some great records. There’s a bunch of later-era albums, when Dan was still in the group, that I think are really strong, but nobody heard them outside of the hardcore fans and that’s really a shame, because they are good albums and they didn’t get as much airplay. And ever since, they either became kind of an opening band for other groups or, like I say, playing much smaller venues.

BRAD: And we’ve lost most of the original members at this point.


BRAD: Darryl Sweet, the drummer, was he the first to pass away?

ROBERT: Yes, that’s right.

BRAD: And then, really fairly close together, we lost both, Dan McCafferty and Manny Charlton, within the last year or so.

ROBERT: Yeah, I think both actually in 2022. Manny was like maybe in the spring or earlier in the year, and that was pretty sudden. We weren’t really expecting that. Dan had not been in the greatest health for a few years, which is what prompted him to leave the band.

BRAD: Right.

ROBERT: He just couldn’t tour anymore. He couldn’t really perform more than a couple of songs at a time. So he had to step… you know, he was still out there, and even put out a solo album, but his condition eventually got worse. So his passing wasn’t as shocking, but still pretty sad. I mean, I spent some time with Dan in Dunfermline, Scotland, and just a really great guy and I really enjoyed talking with him about his career and about the book and about everything. So, losing him was pretty painful for me.

BRAD: Yeah… Pete Agnew, the bass player, he’s still alive and kicking and still working today, I think, right?

ROBERT: Yeah. He’s the main guy in Nazareth now. The guitarists that they have and the drummer have both been there for like over 25 or 30 years. So they’re not really the new guys anymore.

BRAD: Right!

ROBERT: And they have Carl Sentance on vocals, who has sung with Don Airey a lot, and he sang with Geezer Butler, and he’s been around. He’s kind of a road dog. He knows what touring is all about, and they’ve done two albums with him now. And they’re not bad albums by any means, but it’s hard not to miss Dan.

BRAD: Sure.

ROBERT: Dan and Pete still lived in Dunfermline their whole lives; Pete still lives there. So even though he’s gone from having gold and platinum albums and touring all over the world, he still lives in the same small city. I think it’s a population of like 60,000 people or something.

And Dan, up until his passing recently, also still lived in Dunfermline. So I think that kept him pretty grounded.

BRAD: Yeah. Well, Robert, thanks for coming on and talking about Nazareth. The name of your book is Razama-Snaz.

ROBERT: That’s right.

BRAD: It is kind of an album-by-album history of the entire career of Nazareth. If you’re a fan or if you just kind of want to explore Nazareth, It’s a great place to begin.

Robert’s also the author of “Still Competition”, which is kind of the same album-by-album look at the legendary Cheap Trick, another band that’s a big favorite here on the podcast. So both of those I recommend. What are you working on next, Robert? What’s coming out?

ROBERT: Well, my third book that came out, I guess a year and a half ago, is about a Canadian group called The Guess Who. And that’s “Wheatfield Empire”. The Guess Who were like Canada’s Beatles up here. Huge group for us. And I’ve been working now for about two years on a book about one of my heroes, Little Steven Van Zandt.

BRAD: Nice.

ROBERT: So he’s got solo stuff, and then of course, you got Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band stuff, and you got Sopranos stuff, and he’s got a radio show, so he’s kind of all over the place. So that’s what I’ve been working on during kind of pandemic and lockdowns and stuff like that. So, I keep plugging away at that, and letting people know about the previous books.

BRAD: Great, well, looking forward to that and thanks again for coming on and talking about Nazareth and this great track. Thanks, Robert.

ROBERT: Anytime, Brad, thank you.

BRAD: And thanks for joining Robert and I for this episode. If you’re interested in Robert’s books on Cheap Trick, the Guess Who or Nazareth, you can find them at the FriesenPress website, that’s And then search for Robert Lawson, and you’ll find those books. I really do recommend them.

I will be back in two weeks with another new episode. Until then, you can get caught up on all of our previous episodes on our website, You can also find us on all of the podcast apps and services– Amazon, Google, Apple, Spotify, iHeartRadio… This podcast is available on all of them.

On behalf of the Pantheon Network, I thank you again for being here for the past five years of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast and I hope you stick around for more.  If you’d like the show to keep going, the best thing you can do is to tell people about the show and share it with your friends.

Thanks for the last five years, and thanks for listening to this episode on “Holiday” by Nazareth.

We celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest live albums of all time, Deep Purple’s Made In Japan. This is a truly live album– no doctored-up, overdubbed fixes here, just a killer band at the top of their game, tearing through a live set with little thought to the recording process. They thought this album would only be released to a limited audience in Japan… turned out to be a huge hit and the ultimate Deep Purple album. This episode, we explore the power of Deep Purple in all their glory with the definitive version of “Highway Star”.

“Highway Star” (Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, Paice) Copyright 1972 HEC Music, EMI Music Publishing

If you enjoyed this episode, check out these 2 other episodes featuring Deep Purple:

And remember to follow this show, so you never miss an episode.


Hey, it’s Brad Page, back once again with another edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast network. Each episode of this show, I pick one of my favorite songs and we dive into it together, looking for all of those magical moments that make it a great song.

You probably all know by now that Deep Purple is one of my favorite bands. Today we’re talking about the album that made me a Deep Purple fan. In April 1973– 50 years ago this month– Deep Purple released their “Made in Japan” live album, and it became a true classic. So let’s celebrate the 50th anniversary of this great record with a look at one of the standout tracks on the album: “Highway Star”.

We’ve talked about Deep Purple on this show a few times before, and we’ll talk about them again, I’m sure. So I’m not going to go into deep detail on their whole history right here, but here’s a quick overview, just to catch us up to where this album entered the picture in the Deep Purple universe:

Deep Purple was founded around 1968, with the core members being Richie Blackmore on guitar, John Lord on organ and Ian Pace on drums. After recording their first three albums, they fired their original singer and bass player and brought in two new members: In Gillan on vocals and Roger Glover on bass. This became known as the “Mark II” lineup of the band.

 By 1972, this Mark II lineup had recorded four albums together, including the “Machine Head” album. That’s their record that includes “Smoke on the Water”, as well as the original version of “Highway Star”.

“Machine Head” came out in March 1972, and the band hit the road to promote it. And by August of ‘72, they headed to Japan to play three shows.

Now, in my opinion, at this point, 1972, Deep Purple were one of the greatest live bands in history. The band was simply on fire, and they were unbeatable on stage. They had retooled their live set to feature more songs from that recently released “Machine Head” album, which were all songs that just came to life when performed live.

The Warner Brothers office in Japan decided that they wanted to record those three Japanese concerts for a live album that would only be released in Japan. The band kind of reluctantly agreed, but they insisted that their favorite recording engineer and producer, Martin Birch, would come to Japan with them to handle the recording.

The band performed the three shows, and though they knew the gigs were being recorded, they didn’t really think much about it. They were just concentrating on putting on a few really good shows for their Japanese fans. Honestly, they didn’t consider the album to be that important either. They figured it was only going to be released in Japan and not that many people would end up hearing it. In fact, most of the band didn’t even show up to hear the final mix.

But somebody at Warner Bros. must have been smart enough to know what they had, because they ended up releasing the album in the U. K. as well, in December of 1972… and it was a hit. So a few months later, “Made in Japan” was released in the US in April 1973. It reached number six on the Billboard chart, and to this day, it’s almost universally considered one of the greatest live albums of all time. Unlike a lot of live albums, there are no overdubs and no fixes done to this record. It is a true live album, representing the band exactly as they were on stage.

Of the three shows that were recorded, most of the album was taken from the August 16 show in Osaka, Japan. “Highway Star” is one of the tracks taken from that show.

“Highway Star” was the song that they chose to open the show, and it’s the first song on the album. It features Ian Pace on drums, Roger Glover on bass, John Lord on keyboards, Richie Blackmore on guitar, and Ian Gillan on vocals. All five band members share writing credit on the song.

The track begins with the band pretty casually taking the stage and getting their instruments warmed up. John Lord leads us into the song with the organ. Ian Pace begins a build up on his snare drum; Ian Gillan introduces the song. Roger Glover is in on bass, and Richie Blackmore’s guitar is revving the engine. This song is about to take off.


Ian Gillan was never happy with his vocals on this album. Apparently, he was just getting over a bout with Bronchitis and he just wasn’t satisfied with his performance. But I always thought he sounds amazing on this album. Let’s see if we can bring up the vocal tracks a little bit in the mix and listen.


I’ve always loved the interplay between Ritchie’s guitar and John Lord’s keyboards. The way they create this massive sound that’s just greater than the sum of their parts. Let’s hear their parts here. Simple but effective. Richie’s guitar is panned to the left, john is on the right.


Love Richie’s guitar at the end there, he’s just wrenching the whammy bar on his Fender Stratocaster.


Let’s bring up the vocals again.


That is a vintage Ian Gillen vocal right there. And there’s a great drum fill by Ian Pace that leads us out of that chorus.

And that leads us into an organ solo by the great John Lord. There’s a fantastic little instrumental riff here that leads us into the next verse.


And let’s focus a little bit on what the bass and the drums are doing.


Now it’s time for Richie Blackmore’s guitar solo. And remember, this is recorded live; there’s no overdubs, no punch ins, no fixes. Not every note here is perfect. If you want to hear perfection, go listen to the studio version of this song, which is iconic. But here, you get a performance that is a go-for-broke, knock the audience right out of their seat performance. Richie is on fire here.


Once again, Richie is just yanking the hell out of his Annie bar.


Here’s the last verse.


Listen to Richie, his guitar on the left, and to Roger Glover’s bass, too.

Deep Purple – “Highway Star” from “Made In Japan”, released in the US. 50 years ago this month.

I think for every music fan, there are specific albums you remember hearing for the first time, like watershed moments. This was the album that showed me the power of a live performance, how intense music can be when performed by five musicians at the top of their game.

John Lord passed away in July 2012. One of the most important keyboard players in the history of rock and pop music. I don’t think he often gets the credit that he’s due.

Richie Blackmore, one of the most important guitar players of all time, pretty much walked away from rock and roll around 1997 and formed Blackmore’s Night with vocalist Candace Knight, playing sort of a contemporary version of medieval in Renaissance music.

But Ian Gillan, Ian Pace and Roger Glover still play in a version of Deep Purple today.

Thanks for joining me for this tribute to one of my all-time favorite albums. If you enjoyed this show, there’s plenty more like it. You can find all of our previous shows on our website,, or just search for the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on Amazon, Google, Apple Podcasts. Spotify… anywhere that you can find podcasts.

This show is part of the Pantheon Network of podcasts, home to many other great music related shows, so be sure to check them out.

If you’d like to comment or leave a review of this show, Podchaser is the best place to do it.  And of course, you can keep in touch with us on our Facebook page. If you’d like to support the show, the best way to do it is to just tell people about it and share it with your friends.

I’ll be back in about two weeks with another new episode. Until then, go get a copy of “Made in Japan” and crank up “Highway Star” by Deep Purple.

Back on Episode 25, we listened to 5 of my favorite guitar solos; here on Episode 125, we revisit that idea and listen to some more great guitar moments. As before, I’m not saying these are the greatest solos of all time– a great solo doesn’t have to be flashy or technically brilliant, but it does have to be memorable, it has to fit the song, and it should take the song to another level. So, let’s hear 5 more favorite guitar solos.


Welcome back, my friends, to the extended solo that never ends. This is Brad Page, host of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast, coming direct to your eardrums via the Pantheon Podcast network.

Way back in episode number 25 of this show, I took a break from the usual format to play five of my favorite guitar solos. Well, here we are at episode number 125. So I thought, 100 shows later, let’s revisit that topic and feature five more guitar solos.

Johnny Winter came out of Beaumont, Texas, made his first recording at age 15, and in 1968 signed a deal with Columbia Records for an advance of $600,000– at the time, the largest advance in history. He released some very successful records, but unfortunately, he became addicted to heroin, which derailed his career for a while. He sought treatment and eventually cleaned himself up, though, personally, I don’t think he ever fully recovered. But he released a comeback album in 1973 called “Still Alive And Well”. And that is my favorite Johnny Winter album. That album opens with his version of “Rock Me Baby”, a B.B. King song we discussed a while back on our B.B. King episode. Here, Johnny revs it up, tearing through every lick in his library and then some. It’s a tour de force moment. All the evidence you need to prove that Johnny was one of the greatest blues rock guitarists in history. Johnny’s throwing lick after lick at you through the whole song. I could just play the whole song for you, but here’s just a short excerpt.


Ronnie Montrose started his career in San Francisco at the end of the 60’s. By the early 70’s, he was doing session work and playing on records by Van Morrison. In 1972, Ronnie joined the Edgar Winter Group– Johnny Winter’s brother– and played on Edgar’s biggest hits, “Free Ride” and “Frankenstein”, which we featured on this show before. In 1973, Ronnie formed his own band, simply called Montrose, which launched the career of Sammy Hagar. In 1978, Ronnie released his first solo album, an all-instrumental album called “Open Fire”, which was produced by Edgar Winter.

Now, I could find plenty of examples throughout his career where Ronnie just tears it up with a flashy guitar solo. But one of my favorite Ronnie Montrose performances is his killer version of the old Gene Pitney song “Town Without Pity”. Ronnie doesn’t do any real shredding on this track, it’s just a fantastic showcase for his impeccable phrasing, his incredible guitar tone, and his tastiest playing. He doesn’t stray far from the original melody of the song– he doesn’t have to. He still makes it his own.


The Cars basically invented the sound of American New Wave at the end of the 1970s, and we took a deep dive into one of their best tracks, “Just What I Needed”, b ack in episode 43.  Their guitarist, Elliot Easton, could basically play anything, from rockabilly to Beatlesque pop, from punk to funk. Elliot’s got to be one of the most versatile players out there.

For example, in 1985, they released a single called “Tonight She Comes” that shows Elliot Easton could shred as well as any hair metal band guitarist. Check this out.


But that’s not actually the solo that I wanted to feature. I wanted to go all the way back to their first album, to play a solo that combines rockabilly licks with power pop sensibilities in a new wave setting. I’m talking about his solo in “My Best Friend’s Girl”.


Hard to believe that’s the same guy who played that solo and “Tonight She Comes” that we heard a minute ago. Let’s listen to just the guitar track.


By the time the Eagles made their “Hotel California” album, they had two amazing guitar players in the band– Don Felder and Joe Walsh. Everybody knows the part on “Hotel California” where Don and Joe trade off licks, one of the greatest guitar duels on record.

But one of my favorite guitar moments from the Eagles wasn’t played by Don Felder or Joe Walsh. It was played by Glenn Fry on the song “Try And Love Again”. You can say what you want about Glenn Fry or the Eagles, but this solo is, I think, a melodic masterpiece.


Thin Lizzy has been featured on this show a few times. That’s no surprise– I’m a big Thin Lizzy fan. The band had a number of brilliant guitarists come through their ranks, so there’s plenty of guitar highlights in their catalog. But this one, this one’s tough to beat.

When Thin Lizzy first recorded “Still In Love With You” in April 1974, Gary Moore was the guitar player in the band, though that was really only a temporary thing. Only a couple of songs were recorded with Gary during this period, but this song ended up on their album “Nightlife”, and it became a fan favorite– so much so that it became a feature of their live shows.

After Gary left, the band reinvented itself with a twin guitar lineup, and this song became a showcase for both guitarists, Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson. But, push comes to shove, it’s Brian’s solo right in the middle of the song that’s my favorite part of the song. Seriously, this one should give you goosebumps. Here’s Brian Robertson from Thin Lizzy on “Stilj In Love With You”:


You can hear the crowd cheering that solo. When it’s over, they know they just witnessed something special.

Well, I’ll admit that I am biased, but I believe that next to the human voice, the electric guitar is the most expressive instrument on planet Earth– nothing can evoke joy or sadness, anger or passion the way a well-played electric guitar can. And you don’t have to be a virtuoso. If a player can just tap into that connection, they can produce something on the guitar that’ll really move you.

Thanks for listening to this edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. If you’d like to leave feedback or a review of the show, is the best place to do it.

You can keep up to date with the show on our Facebook page, and you can find all of our previous episodes on our website, Or just search for us on Google Podcasts, Amazon, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and pretty much anywhere podcasts can be found.

And if you like the show, tell some people about it. Share it with your friends. That helps the show to grow.

We are part of the Pantheon Network of podcasts, where you can find a plethora of music related shows, so give some of those shows a shot.

New episodes of this show are released on the 1st and the 15th of every month, so I’ll see you back here in about two weeks. Until then, plug in your axe and crank up your amp.

When Christine McVie passed away on Nov. 30, 2022, the tributes poured in from around the world.  Deservedly so.  We pay our respects to the legendary Christine Perfect the way we do best– by taking an in-depth look at one of her biggest hits from the classic “Rumours” album, along with an overview of Fleetwood Mac’s tortured history.

Also in this episode, I recommend the “Fakewood Mac” episode of the Rock And/Or Roll Podcast— my favorite podcast.  I highly recommend you check out this episode:

“You Make Loving Fun” (Christine McVie)  Copyright 1976 Fleetwood Mac Music, USA – BMG Music Publishing Limited

— Remember to follow this show, so you never miss an episode.


Welcome to the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. I’m Brad Page, your host here on the Pantheon Network, where each episode, I pick one of my favorite songs and we listen to it together, listening for all the little moments, those special touches that make it a great song. No musical skill or knowledge is required. All you need is a love of music and you’ll fit right in here.

At the time of this recording, it’s been a little over a month since the passing of Christine McVie from Fleetwood Mac. There have been plenty of tributes to Christine; she deserves every one of them. And we’re going to pay tribute in the way that we do best– by doing some serious listening to one of her classic songs. This is “You Make Loving Fun” by Fleetwood Mac.


The history of Fleetwood Mac is about as convoluted as a band history can get, and we don’t have time to go over every detail, but the history is important. So, some kind of overview is warranted, centering around Christine.

So, let’s start in 1968, where one of the hot new guitarists on the scene, Peter Green, left John Myall’s Bluesbreakers and started a new band, eventually taking the Bluesbreakers drummer and bass player, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie with him. He named this new band Fleetwood Mac, after the drummer and bassist, and soon they were joined by a second guitarist, Jeremy Spencer. Together, they recorded some of the seminal works of the British blues bands.


In 1968, they recorded their second album called “Mr. Wonderful”. There were a few guest musicians on this album, including a young keyboard player named Christine Perfect.


Christine Perfect was born in Birmingham, England in 1943. Her father, Cyril Perfect, was a violinist in the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Her mother, Beatrice, was a psychic. Christine started making music young, playing along to Everly Brothers records. And after graduating from art college, she joined the band Chicken Shack. Chicken Shack was signed to the same record label as Fleetwood Mac, Blue Horizon. Christine recorded two albums with Chicken Shack, and they had one hit in the UK with “I’d Rather Go Blind” featuring Christine on lead vocal.


Christine left Chicken Shack in 1969 and released her first solo album in 1970. Here’s a track from the Christine Perfect album.


Christine and Fleetwood Mac’s bass player John McVie had been seeing each other, and by this time, had gotten married. They spent the first year or so of their marriage away from each other, as each of them were on the road with different bands.

Back in the Fleetwood Mac camp, a third guitar player had joined Fleetwood Mac. His name was Danny Kirwan. The interplay between Kirwan and Peter Green was really something special, but it didn’t last. By 1970, Peter Green had left Fleetwood Mac; mental illness had taken its toll, and Peter Green would never really recover.

If you’d like to learn more about Peter Green and explore this era of Fleetwood Mac further, go back and listen to episode 67 of this podcast, where we dig into the legendary track “The Green Manalishi”.

So, Peter Green had left and Fleetwood Mac was without their star player, but Mick Fleetwood held the band together. They retreated to Southern England and recorded their fourth album, “Kiln House”. Christine once again made a guest appearance on this album, though she’s uncredited. She even drew the cover art for this album. But after the release of the album, she officially joined Fleetwood Mac as a full time member. Here’s a song from “Kiln House”, It’s a Danny Kirwan song called “Station Man”, with Christine on electric piano.


The chaos continued, though, when Jeremy Spencer quit the band. He left and joined a religious cult and never came back. Once again, the band was forced to reinvent itself.

They recruited a new guitarist-vocalist-songwriter named Bob Welsh. They recorded and released their next album, “Future Games”, in 1971. “Future Games” was the first album to feature both Bob Welch and Christine as a full-time credited band member. Christine wrote two of the songs on “Future Games”. Here’s one of them, this one’s called “Morning Rain”.


“Bare Trees” was released in 1972. This one featured the song “Sentimental Lady”, which Bob Welch would later rerecord and release as a solo hit. It also includes the song “Spare Me a Little of Your Love”, which features a great vocal by Christine.


Things still wouldn’t settle down for Fleetwood Mac. Christine and John McVie’s marriage was on the rocks, and now Danny Kirwan was showing signs of self-destructive behavior. One night, Kirwan refused to go on stage and instead heckled the band from the audience. Mick Fleetwood had no choice but to fire him. Another key member of the band gone.

Kirwan would spend the remainder of his life wrestling with addiction, homelessness, and mental illness.

Two new members were brought into the band: vocalist Dave Walker from Savoy Brown, and guitarist Bob Weston. This lineup released the album “Penguin” in 1973. But this lineup didn’t last long, either. Dave Walker was out after only one album. Here’s one of Christine’s songs from the “Penguin” album. This one’s called “Remember Me”.


Now back down to a five piece, they released their next album, “Mystery To Me”, in October 1973. This album includes the song “Hypnotized”.


Things seem to be going OK for the band when they set out on a US. tour, but when Mick Fleetwood found out that Bob Weston was having an affair with his wife, Mick had enough. He fired Bob Weston, and told the rest of the band he needed to take a break and just couldn’t finish the tour. And thus began one of the most bizarre events in rock history.

While the band was on a break and scattered around the world, Fleetwood Mac’s manager put together his own version of the band– with no actual Fleetwood Mac members, just a bunch of nobodies, and sent them out on the road as Fleetwood Mac. It’s really a story you’ve got to hear. My podcasting friend Brian Cramp did an excellent episode on his podcast about this whole fiasco. You should really listen to that show; it’s episode number 308 of the “Rock And/Or Roll” podcast. That episode’s called “Fakewood Mac”. Check it out. I’ll put a link in the show notes.

So, by the beginning of 1974, things were as bad as they would ever get for Fleetwood Mac. Their record company was about to give up on them, they were being sued by their manager, and that whole “Fakewood Mac” tour just ruined their reputation. The band relocated to Los Angeles and went back into the studio as a four piece. Bob Welsh, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. And they recorded the album “Heroes Are Hard To Find”, their 9th album, released in September 1974. Christine wrote four songs on “Heroes Are Hard To Find”, including the title cut and this one, called “Prove Your Love”.


By the end of 1974, Bob Welsh had left the band. Fleetwood Mac had lost five guitar players and one singer in the last four years.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were kicking around Los Angeles after leaving the San Francisco band Fritz and embarking on a career as a duo. They were working with producer Keith Olsen at Sound City Studio in Van Nuys. Olsen got them a record deal and they released their first album, “Buckingham Nicks”, in 1974. But the album received little promotion. It didn’t sell, and Buckingham Nicks were unceremoniously dropped by their record label.

Mick Fleetwood was still keeping Fleetwood Mac alive and was looking for a studio to start their next record. A friend suggested Sound City, so Mick went to check it out. He met with Keith Olson at the studio, and Keith, as an example of the studio’s capabilities, he played the Buckingham Nicks album for Fleetwood. And Mick Fleetwood was impressed with what he heard.

Eventually, Buckingham and Nicks were asked to join Fleetwood Mac, and after some soul searching, they decided to give it a shot. And that is the short story of how the version of Fleetwood Mac we all know and love got together. The longer story– and there is a longer story– well, that you can read all about that yourself.

So, in January 1975, the new lineup of Fleetwood Mac went into Sound City studios to record their first album together, which they simply named “Fleetwood Mac”. It took a while, but the album eventually made it to number one by September 1976, after 58 weeks of climbing the charts.


You would think that things ought to be great for the band, but things were rough on a personal level. John and Christine had already split up; Lindsay and Stevie were calling it quits, and Mick was getting a divorce. By the time they headed back into the studio to make their next record, it was an emotional minefield. And all of that turmoil is famously reflected in the songs.

The album that would become “Rumours” took over six months to complete. It was recorded at a number of studios, including the Sausalito Record Plant, Wally Heider in LA, and Sound City in Van Nuys; the album was mixed at Sound City and at the LA Record Plant.

Much has been said about Lindsay Buckingham’s obsessions with getting everything perfect, but Christine McVie was just as dedicated. Recording engineer Chris Morris said Christine spent every minute of every day there, she was one of the hardest working women he’d ever worked with.

“Rumours” is chock-full of great songs and big hits. We’re going to take a deep dive into “You Make Loving Fun”. It’s easy to think of this song as a slight pop song, compared to some of the more adventurous tracks on the album, like “The Chain” or “Gold Dust Woman”. But “You Make Loving Fun” is an extremely well-crafted song. 3 minutes and 34 seconds of crafty songwriting, tight performances and recording perfection.

It was written by Christine McVie, produced by the band, along with Ken Caillat and Richard Dashutt, and with Lindsay Buckingham contributing a lot to the arrangement. So, let’s get into it.

Mick Fleetwood counts the song in with three hits on his hi-hat and then a drum hit on the four, and we’re off.

Christine McVie is playing two keyboard parts here. There’s a Fender Rhodes electric piano, it’s panned a little bit to the right, and a Honer clavinet, more or less in the middle. This clavinet is probably the most prominent element of the song. It’s what gives the song its groove. And that clavinet is fed through a wah-wah pedal, which was actually manipulated by Mick Fleetwood. He was laying on the floor, rocking it back and forth while Christine played the part. Listen to the way she weaves those two keyboard parts together.


You can also hear some simple percussion parts there that are a little less obvious in the final mix. Let’s pick it back up at the top.

Lindsay Buckingham is playing some short little guitar licks that he’s going to continue to throw in throughout the song. There’s also another guitar part deeper in the mix. We’ll listen to that a little later. Let’s move on to the first verse.


Fleetwood Mac fans know the story behind this song: Christine and John’s marriage was over. John had his girlfriends, and Christine was going out with Curry Grant– who just happened to be the band’s lighting director– and she wrote this song for him. Think about the emotions swirling around Christine and John and Curry while this song was being recorded. And that’s just one of the complex relationships around this band. This whole album is infused with that. Let’s listen to Christine’s vocal track.


I’ve always liked this part right here. I mentioned Lindsay Buckingham’s other guitar part earlier. Here’s a little bit of what he’s doing in the background. It’s very simple, but it has to be because the keyboard parts are so full. There’s no room for a busy guitar part. The song just doesn’t need it. And part of Lindsay’s genius, like all great guitar players, is to know what to play and what not to play. And even when not to play at all. You barely notice this part is even there but it’s all part of the big picture.

So let’s listen to this verse again, this time without the vocal so we can hear just the instrumental track.

That brings us to the bridge, which I think is pretty magical. The verses have kind of a funky feel to them, especially with that clavinet. But the bridge drops in with this really dreamy feel, like a headrush. It’s that “head in the clouds” blissful feeling, which is a great match for the lyrics.


Those layered backing vocals really make that dreamy feel. Let’s listen to the vocal tracks.


Mick Fleetwood is playing kind of an interesting pattern on his tom drums here. Again, it’s another simple part, but it’s where he places the fills. That’s not exactly where I would expect them.


And that leads us into a guitar solo by Lindsay Buckingham. Just one verse, one bridge and then a solo. There’s no second verse or chorus here. Just right into the solo. Not a typical arrangement, but this is a great guitar solo. Sounds like he’s doubled the guitar parts and panned one to each side. There’s some echo on the parts as well.


The end of the solo takes us back to the bridge. Now notice that we’re what, halfway through the song, and we still haven’t heard the chorus yet.


Now, we’ve already taken a look at the vocal parts and the drum track during the bridge. So this time, let’s hear Lindsay’s guitar parts. I really love what he’s doing here. See how he changes up the part for the second half of the bridge:


One more thing that I want to listen to before we move on is John McVie’s bass part on the bridge. McVie is not a flashy or busy player. He’s just a rock solid in the groove player. But I like this part.


For this last verse, let’s listen to how the bass and the drums are locked in together for a simple, driving rhythm that almost has a disco feel to it. This was 1977 after all.


Lindsay plays some tasty little guitar parts during this verse. Let’s go back and just hear his guitar there. It’s after this last verse that we finally get to the chorus. The chorus doesn’t appear until the very end of the song. It’s very unusual for a pop song.

The chorus starts on the same chord as the bridge, but simplifies it, cycling through a simple I-V-IV chord progression. Those are chord changes you’ve heard in a million songs. But it’s what Fleetwood Mac adds to it, and layers on top, that makes this special.


Let’s listen to Lindsay’s guitar again, because what he’s playing here is more like guitar orchestration rather than soloing.


Now let’s go back and hear how that fits in with all the other parts in the final mix.


Let’s check out those great layered vocal parts here, too.


Let’s check out those last few guitar licks Lindsay gets in at the end.


We’ll go back and wrap it up with that final fade out.


“You Make Loving Fun” by Fleetwood Mac.

Christine McVie didn’t have the immediate eye-catching and marketable image the way that Stevie Nicks did. And she wasn’t perceived as the genius, a Brian Wilso- like visionary, as Lindsay Buckingham was. I think she was often overshadowed in the press, by the fans, and on stage by the other two. And her role in the band wasn’t always an easy one.

But she was an essential songwriter in the band. She wrote some of their biggest hits. “Don’t Stop”, “Songbird”, “Over My Head”, “Say You Love Me”, “Think About Me”, “Hold Me”. She wrote those songs. She was a critical part of the Fleetwood Mac magic. And as far as I’m concerned, the band was never as good when she wasn’t in it.

A lot of musicians have been lost over the last few years. One of the things I try to do on this show is to remind people of who they were, and just do my small part to keep their memory alive. Losing Christine was a big loss, but one thing I think we can all safely say is that Fleetwood Mac is in no danger of being forgotten anytime soon. Right now, they’re still hugely popular and they’ve been rediscovered by a whole new audience. That’s a testament to the lasting beauty and power of their music. And Christine is a big, big part of that. This songbird is gone, but the music lives on.

I used a number of resources to put this episode together. I wanted to mention a couple of them. The “Rumours” episode of the “Classic Albums” TV show, which is absolutely worth watching; and the book “Never Break the Chain” by Kath Carroll, which is a good history of Fleetwood Mac in general. And it really goes deep on the making of both the “Fleetwood Mac” and the “Rumours” albums. I really recommend both the show and that book. Check them out.

Thanks for listening to this edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. New episodes are released on the 1st and the 15th of every month, so we’ll be back soon with another new show. Until then, you can catch up on all of our previous shows on our website, You can also hear us on virtually every podcast service: Google, Apple, Amazon, Stitcher, Spotify you name it, we’re there.

You can post reviews or comments on Facebook or on Podchaser or wherever you listen to the show. And if you’d like to support the show, the best thing you can do is to tell a friend about it, because word of mouth is the most valuable thing for any podcast.

On behalf of everyone here on the Pantheon Podcast Network, I thank you for taking the time to listen to this episode on Fleetwood Mac and “You Make Loving Fun”.

Let’s kick off our first episode of 2023 with a look back 50 years to 1973. I’m joined on this episode by Andrew Grant Jackson, author of 1973: Rock At The Crossroads for a discussion of the music and history of the year that was 1973.

Andrew Grant Jackson is the author of 1973: Rock at the Crossroads, 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music, Still the Greatest: The Essential Songs of the Beatles’ Solo Careers, Where’s Ringo? and Where’s Elvis? He’s written for Rolling Stone, Slate, Yahoo!, PopMatters, and Please Kill Me. He directed and co-wrote the feature film The Discontents starring Perry King and Amy Madigan. He lives in Los Angeles.

Jackson’s websites:

— This show is part of the Pantheon podcast network — THE place for music junkies, geeks, nerds, diehards and fans!


Hello, everybody. This is the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. I’m your host, Brad Page, and welcome to our first show of 2023. I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a look back 50 years ago, to the year 1973, and see what was happening in music, and in the broader American cultural landscape, 50 years ago.

Some of you may remember a while back, I did an episode on the year 1965. That show was inspired by a book written by Andrew Grant Jackson on 1965. Well, Andrew also wrote a book about 1973. It’s called “1973 – Rock At The Crossroads”. And so I thought, if I’m going to do a show about 1973, I should invite Andrew to join me. So here’s my conversation with Andrew about the music that made history 50 years ago – in 1973.

BRAD: Andrew Grant Jackson. welcome to the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. Thanks so much for coming on the show to talk about 1973. We’re heading into 2023, so it’s a perfect time to look back 50 years ago. You literally wrote the book on 1973. It’s called “1973 – Rock At The Crossroads”. So I couldn’t have anyone better on the show, I think, to talk about 50 years ago, this year. So, let’s get right into it first. Why do you think 1973 was such a crucial year in rock history?

ANDREW: I like to think of it as the year that rock peaked and then began to die, but then was reborn, because on the one hand, it was the last blockbuster year where all these 60’s giants released classics at the same time. And then you had these veterans, who had been kind of toiling on the outskirts for a decade, who suddenly shot to the front. And then you had this amazing crop of these new superstars who released their debut album at the same time.

It was the year that radio programmers figured out how to synthesize AM Top 40 with FM progressive rock. And they created “album-oriented rock”. And then it began this period where, even though there’s obviously so much great classic rock, it started pushing anybody out who wasn’t arena rock or yacht rock or disco for a time. And so the seeds were planted there for stagnation. But then underneath the radar, there were all these new movements that started to percolate that would eventually rise up and rejuvenate popular music. So, it was just a chaotic, fascinating year on so many fronts to take a look at.

BRAD: Yeah. So let’s start talking about some of these records that came out in 1973.

ANDREW: We had the former Beatles, “Band On The Run” came out. And the Stones, they did “Goats Head Soup”, which at the time was dismissed as the beginning of their decline from like the peak, but I think it’s a very unique album in their canon, and I think it’s still a great album.

BRAD: Yeah, “Goats Head Soup” is one of my favorite Stones records. I think that’s a great record and a really underappreciated album.


ANDREW: And Dylan, he did “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” that year. And Zeppelin did “Houses of the Holy”, The Who did “Quadrophenia”, Marvin Gaye “Let’s Get It On”, Stevie Wonder “Innervisions”. James Brown had a bunch of great stuff. Even Elvis, you know, he had his peak in terms of audience with the “Aloha from Hawaii” special. So, yeah, all those guys were still cranking on all cylinders there.

BRAD: The who released “Quadrophenia”, as you mentioned. Pete Townsend has, I think, more than once said that in his opinion, “Quadrophenia”, is the last great who album. I love a lot of the stuff that came after that, but I think it’s their peak record in many ways.


Speaker E: Yeah, he was like looking back at ten years earlier, like the mod thing. It was like there was a lot of nostalgia going on that year, like “Happy Days” and “American Graffiti” and everything. And he was looking back at their early days, and definitely their last ambitious concept album after that, right?

BRAD: Yeah, “Quadrophenia” was their last real concept piece after that. You have “Who By Numbers” and “Who Are You”, “Face Dances”, “It’s Hard”, but none of those, they’re not a concept or a story or a rock opera or anything like that. But yeah, “Quadrophenia”, I mean, that alone makes 1973 worthwhile.

But yeah, on the soul and R&B front, you’ve got Marvin Gaye; Stevie Wonder is in his imperial period here, where he just can do no wrong, he’s putting out classic album after classic album and this is right in the midst of that.


BRAD: What did James Brown put out in 1973?

ANDREW: Yeah, James Brown had a really interesting year, because he got a lot of blowback because he had supported Nixon, the year before in the elections

BRAD: Right.

ANDREW: Because, you know, you always wanted to get closer to power that could make legislative change. But also he had all these radio stations and tax issues going on, so, who knows, maybe that was his prime motivation, hoping to get some help with some of his issues, but for a while, people were protesting against him. But he had a lot of great stuff, like, he was doing all these soundtracks like “Black Caesar” and “Slaughter’s Big Ripoff”, “The Payback”, he did that one that year.


BRASD: And then we had some other artists that really hit their peak at this time, probably nobody bigger than Pink Floyd with “Dark Side of the Moon”. I mean, is there any more classic album than “Dark Side of the Moon”?  That came out in ’73.

ANDREW: Yeah. And then it was on the charts for I forget, like 500 weeks or something like that.


ANDREW: You know, a lot of people thought especially, “Brain Damage”, on that song, he was writing about Sid Barrett, their former member who became an acid casualty. But I guess he was actually– Roger Waters– was writing about himself; he had some moments himself where he thought he had some flashes of mental illness,. and it kind of freaked him out. That’s probably, if you had to pick, of the albums, I guess that would probably be the one that everybody would pick.

BRAD: It’s certainly the one that’s had the most long-term impact.

ANDREW: Right.

BRAD: And then Elton John is kind of in his imperial phase, too.


BRAD: He puts out “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” in 1973.


ANDREW: That year, that was when Reggae really started being embraced by the English guys. And a lot of people, like the Stones and Cat Stevens, went down to Jamaica to record and Elton John tried it, but they recorded maybe the first take or the roots of “Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting”, but they were so freaked out, like, the recording studio was kind of guarded with guns and barbed wire and it had been pretty brutal. Unfortunately, the women who were in the Stones camp had been assaulted, sexually assaulted there. So, Elton John was kind of like, tried at Jamaica, but then he left and they went back to their favorite place in France.


BRAD: You mentioned reggae. This is the year of Bob Marley and the Wailers too, right?

ANDREW: Yeah, he had, two great albums that year, “Catch A Fire” and “Burning”. And “Burning” had “I Shot the Sheriff” and “Get Up, Stand Up” on it.


ANDREW: It’s so interesting, this is just one thing I love about ‘73 was, in that year, he played a bunch of shows at Max’s Kansas City, which the hippest of the hip clubs & bars in New York.

BRAD: Right.

ANDREW: And he was like opening for Springsteen, or then Springsteen would open for him, and then Billy Joel was like opening for Waylon Jennings, you know, just so bizarre how all these titans who seem so distinct to us now, they were just overlapping with each other, coming up back then.

BRAD: Yeah, well, talking about Springsteen and Billy Joel, they’re just a few of the artists that put out their first records in 1973. So, let’s kind of take a look at that list: Springsteen releases “Greetings From Asbury Park”.

ANDREW: And then later the same year, he comes out with “The Wild, The Innocent & The East Street Shuffle”. He was really cooking, too.

BRAD: And this is not unique to 1973, but it’s an amazing thing that, throughout the 60’s and the 70’s, the rate at which artists were churning out records– 2 a year is not unusual, it’s the norm. Name almost any band in throughout the 60’s and 70’s and they’ve come out with at least two records a year. And a lot of these records have gone on to be classics, and just amazes me that anyone’s lucky to have one classic record in their catalog, you know– and these bands are doing, they’re coming out with two records a year of brilliance. It’s just amazing to me. And on top of that, they’re touring, so it’s not like they have a lot of luxury and time to make these records. But somehow, they’re able to just produce, year after year, great records, multiple records per year. It just amazes me. And now, artists go three, four years between records.


BRAD: Queen released their first album in 1973.


ANDREW: Aerosmith and the New York Dolls and Lynyrd Skynyrd. You know, those were, along with Springsteen and Billy Joel, there’s like six of the biggest debuts in one year.

BRAD: Yeah, I mean, you have a record like the first New York Dolls album, which didn’t really sell that much, but incredibly influential record.


BRAD: Like you said, Lynyrd Skynyrd puts out their first album. So, it’s really kind of the start of southern rock in a lot of ways.

ANDREW: Yeah, the Marshall Tucker Band came out that year and then, ZZ Top, with “LaGrange” came out, and the Alman Brothers had “Rambling Man” that year, too.

BRAD: Yeah. So it was definitely a high point for the Southern Rock sound. You’ve also got some, I think, overlooked records, like, well, I mentioned the New York Dolls record, it’s commercially overlooked. But Lou Reed released “Berlin”, which is my favorite Lou Reed record… I think, was not a successful record at the time, but in retrospect, I think it’s…

ANDREW: Yeah, it’s funny with that album, because it has this reputation as being the most depressing album of all time, because he had broken up with his wife,


ANDREW: But that year he had had probably his commercial peak, because Bowie produced his previous album, “Transformer”, which had “Walk On the Wild Side”, which that tune got pretty high up on the charts.

BRAD: In ‘73, talking about Bowie, Bowie had quite a year. He released “Aladdin Sane”.


ANDREW: After he released “Ziggy Stardust’ the previous year, then they toured the US, where, it was funny, they didn’t really make a big splash, except they started really coming through, and Glam was strangely big in Rust Belt towns like Detroit and Cleveland. So on “Aladdin Sane” he has “Panic In Detroit”, it’s a great tune, which was inspired by a lot of the stories you heard from like the MC5 and the Stooges.


ANDREW: In the UK, it was like it was Bowie-mania then, but he, at the peak of it, after his run of shows in July, he announced that the Spiders From Mars were breaking up. But they did one last covers album. He did another, like you’re talking about, artists do like two albums a year; he did “Pinups”, which was like a collection of his favorite cover songs and stuff.


BRAD: 1973 was a big year for women in rock– and I’m talking about rock, not pop. Fanny was a rock band, a full-on great rock and roll band that just never got their due.


BRAD: Susie Quattro was making records, Linda Ronstadt was breaking through. So you had some pretty significant female artists working in 1973 and releasing important records then as well.

ANDREW: And in one of my favorite albums of that year, Joni Mitchell recorded “Court And Spark” all through ’73, but it didn’t come out until January 1, ‘74. But it was like an amazing year for just women’s rights; you had Roe versus Wade then…

BRAD: Interesting, here we are, 50 years later, and that’s never been as hot a topic since then as it is today.


BRAD: You had bands like Grand Funk Railroad, which are kind of a, I don’t know, that wouldn’t say they’re forgotten, but they released “We’re an American Band”, which was their biggest record. They were a huge band in the early ‘70’s.

ANDREW: Which Rundgren, Todd Rundgren produced that one, right?

BRAD: Yeah, that’s another record that Todd worked on.

ANDREW: They were kind of the band, like, that Detroit had all these guys like the MC5 that were just a little too raw and punk or protopunk. But they were the ones that kind of, I mean, they were legitimate, they were real just guys from Flint, Michigan. They weren’t phony or whatever, but they just, for some reason, were a little less edgy and were able to play Shea Stadium, you know?

BRAD: Right. They were selling Beatles level tickets. They were huge. People forget how big Grand Funk Railroad was at the time.


BRAD: Let’s talk a little bit about the change in radio, which you mentioned up top. But that really is an important aspect of what was going on in the 70’s and really changed the whole business, the way music was marketed and everything becomes much more siloed by the end of the decade.

ANDREW: Yeah, at the time there was AM Top 40, which was actually very eclectic. They would play everybody from Beatles to Motown to like, Frank Sinatra and “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around The Old Oak Tree”, and then you had progressive FM where the DJs would play these 20-minute tracks, whatever they want. But a lot of the songs that seemed too long to be singles started compelling people to buy albums, like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. And these people started thinking about, well why don’t we combine playing the long, hard rock stuff that’s popular, but with formatted things where we tell the DJ what to play, and so… because there was a guy named Ron Jacobs, who was like a program director in, I think, Southern California, who they started sending people to supermarkets to do this demographic research on what albums did these young white kids want to hear? Because the advertisers wanted the young white kids, because, I guess, they blew the most money, whatever, right?

So, they really started trying to format everything to match that demographic. And there was a guy named Mike Harrison who started writing this column called “Album Oriented Rock” and this radio and records trade magazine. And so it really started coalescing into these tight playlists that the disc jockeys were told what to do, instead of having freedom to do whatever. But that format was very profitable and it kind of took off. But what was interesting was, like in 73, they had 27 number one hits on Billboard, and ten of them were by black artists. But by the end of the decade, the first years of the 80’s, they’d only had, like, two by black artists or three. Like, one year was just Lionel Richie and “Ebony and Ivory”. So, anybody who didn’t fit those demographics that the advertisers wanted to sell to the young white kids just kind of got closed out by the end of the decade.

BRAD: Yeah, that just got less and less and less as time went on, and things became way more formatted and segregated and you just didn’t mix. And so the Motown stuff just didn’t get played next to the rock acts anymore, which I think ultimately was just detrimental to the music in general.

ANDREW: Yeah, one thing that really started picking up steam in ‘73 was disco.

BRAD: Right.

ANDREW: But in Manhattan, a lot of the clubs that would become the famous discos opened, and then, a lot of the singles that would become huge the following year, like “The Sound of Philadelphia” and “Rock the Boat” and “Rock Your Baby” and “Love’s Theme”, those all were released this year. For a while, disco was very much from the street and just responding to what the people loved in the clubs, and where all the races were mixing, and sexualities and all that. But then when it became huge, then that got like formatted by the end of the decade, ‘till they killed it, just they rode it to the ground.


BRAD: At the same time as you have disco making its first big moves, you also have the early seeds of punk. We already talked about New York Dolls, but a lot of that started around the same time, too, the first seeds of what would become punk. And you talk about that in the book.

ANDREW: Yeah, there are a lot of interesting things with punk, but just the New York Dolls aspect of it; the thing I love is that, in New York at that time, you had to play covers, you had to be a cover band, or else there was only a couple of places to play, like Max’s Kansas City, and then CBGB’s opened up at the end of ‘73, and there was this place in Queens called Coventry, which what I just love is that the New York Dolls were playing there, and the guys watching them were the guys from The Ramones and the guys from Kiss.

BRAD: Right.

ANDREW: So it was interesting, the two kind of paths that the New York Dolls kind of birthed.  You know, what was interesting about punk, too, that I love: punk and heavy metal, Like those concepts that, now that we look at music through were both really kind of pounded home through these rock journalists. Because journalists like Dave Marsh and Lester Bangs had been talking about punk in reference to these guys from the 60’s like The Seeds that maybe had one classic garage-band hit and then kind of never really broke through. And then Lenny Kaye, who became Patty Smith’s guitarist, was commissioned by Electra Records to do a compilation of all those kind of classic songs.

BRAD: Yeah, the “Nuggets” compilation album, which we’ve actually featured on this show recently. One of my favorite records. But I love that early protopunk garage rock psychedelic stuff. It’s great.

ANDREW: Yeah, it’s really interesting that Lester Banks in particular was really using the term punk, all the time. He had so many citations of that word in, like, ‘72, ‘73, ‘74. And then with heavy metal, there was a journalist called Mike Saunders who kind of seemed like he was noticing that Lester Bangs was really pounding this term punk into everybody’s head, and so he started pounding this term heavy metal, which William Burroughs used it in one of his books, and then it was “Born To Be Wild”, the song by Steppenwolf. But he just started referring to Sabbath and Zeppelin and everybody as heavy metal. So, it’s kind of like these journalists, it’s interesting seeing them form that year, because they would include bands that you wouldn’t think of any of those genres when they were using them, those days. But gradually those concepts started taking hold.

BRAD: Yeah. When these guys first talk about it, it’s fairly loose– you could describe Black Sabbath and Grand Funk Railroad as heavy metal.

ANDREW: Right.

Speaker D: But of course, then that gets sort of corporatized, and then gets sliced even further to the point where you’ve got “death metal” and “black metal” and “hair metal”, and we slice the pie thinner and thinner, which is a pet peeve of mine; I hate it when we do that because I think it’s limiting.

ANDREW: Yeah, it’s weird because, on the one hand, when you’re a kid in the record store, some of those labels are helpfu,l because you go to the heavy metal section or the punk section. And then when you tune into radio stations, just a heavy metal radio station or whatever, but it just calcifies, I guess, and, like you say, starts segregating and getting too dogmatic or something.

BRAD: Right, right. Some of the other cultural things or things going on in the culture outside of the music, but, of course, affecting the music: You’ve got the end of the Vietnam War.

ANDREW: Yeah, Vietnam ended. The last Vietnam soldier came home, or left Vietnam, on March 29. And there’s that famous picture of, uh, the “burst of joy” photo of that lieutenant coming home and his little kids are running toward him on the runway. And, it’s funny, there were a lot of, kind of deep cuts going on that were still referencing Vietnam, like “Search and Destroy” on the Stooges album.


ANDREW: New York Dolls had the song “Vietnamese Baby” and Funkadelic had this tune “March to the Witch’s Castle” about soldiers coming home and becoming junkies.


ANDREW: “Back to the world”, Curtis Mayfield had it. So there was a lot of reflection of Vietnam going on in the culture. And then before Nixon could really benefit from that, I guess, Watergate really took off.

BRAD: Yeah, yeah, I mean, that’s another big political event. I’m not aware of that many songs about Watergate, but I think it just sort of put the exclamation point at the end of a lot of people’s feelings about politics and the government and whatnot.

ANDREW: It’s funny, too, that year, speaking of having hearings and all that stuff, tying it in today with the hearings about January 6 and Trump and all that; that year was like a formative year for Trump, because the Department of Justice brought a suit against him and his father, Fred Trump, because they were one of the biggest developers and landlords in New York, and they were not letting African Americans be in their apartments. And so the Department of Justice brought this huge suit against them, which landed on the front page of The New York Times and was kind of like a bellwether case. And Donald Trump actually went out and he found Roy Cohn, who was McCarthy’s right hand man. Cohn gave him a lot of his techniques that Trump would perfect, like never admit anything, just double down. If someone attacks you, attack them back. And they never admitted to the racism or discrimination, but they eventually settled, but they never admitted to it or whatever.

BRAD: The gay liberation movement kind of starts around this time, too.

ANDREW: Well, you had both the political events and then you had the musical events that kind of encouraged people fighting for gay rights. But that year, in December, the American Psychiatric Association finally voted to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which today that sounds absurd. And then Lance Loud was kind of the first out for personality on the, it was like the first reality show, right?

BRAD: The Loud family. I forget the name of the show.

ANDREW: The American family.

BRAD: That’s right. American family.

ANDREW: And Rocky Horror started performing in London that year. So it was definitely a great year for all those elements. And then Glam Rock in general was peaking with, we had Sweet with “Ballroom Blitz”. And T-Rex was really, he had “20th Century Boy” going. And Roxy Music. That was a big year for Roxy Music, because Eno left the band that year.


BRAD: An interesting thing that was going on in the wider political or economic conditions that directly affected the music business was the oil crisis. Because, of course, it takes oil to make plastics to press records, and that had a big impact.

ANDREW: Yeah, the vinyl shortage really, I think, kicked off in ‘74 because OPEC happened. I mean, oil embargo happened in ’73, but really took hold. And I guess the albums became a lot thinner and breakable more and they uh, put the industry into a recession at 74.

Speaker D: I remember specifically, I think it was RCA Records, but I remember there was one of the record labels that came up with a new name for their records, like “Flexi Something”, and you’d take the records out of the sleeve and they would practically flop over, they were so thin, and they were so prone to getting warped, to becoming warped, because they were pressing them as thin as they could possibly press them to save money. But it produced a lot of pretty poor records.

ANDREW: And the other big influence with the oil crisis was it kind of sparked the moment that incoming inequality started to expand again. Because since World War II, middle class workers and the corporate managers and CEOs, their incomes were coming closer together. I think they called it the “great compression”. And middle-class workers had this kind of stunning rise in their standard of living. But then ‘73 was the year that, when you compare average hourly earnings, when you factor in inflation, it peaked that year and it started going down. And so that was really a pivotal year where, for middle class people; we kind of started going backwards a little bit.

And there was another movement we didn’t really touch on too much yet, but Country really had a lot of interesting effects, in kind of these three movements, where you had like the “outlaw country” movement. Then you had “country rock” and then you had “southern rock”. I guess we touched on them a little bit.

BRAD: Well, yeah, we didn’t really talk about Country, but kind of the center of Country music was always held pretty tight in Nashville, but this is where you start to see what they call the “Bakersville Sound”, coming out of California, and Southern Rock, Country Rock. But yeah, talk a little bit about some of that.

ANDREW: Well, it’s interesting. I don’t know how much Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, who were like the main “outlaw country” guys, Kris Kristofferson. But Kristofferson was kind of in his own world, where he was partly influenced by Dylan and he was working in Nashville and Country, but he kind of went to his own rules and had a lot of rock influence. And Willie Nelson and Waylon liked that; they really started putting up a fight to do things their way, and just have their touring bands play on their actual albums, and then produce it how they wanted and write what they wanted. And they really finally broke through and took control, and they started releasing the outlaw country classic albums.


ANDREW: And Country rock, you’re talking about the western Bakersfield the thing, you had the folk music guys in LA, who were very influenced by the Bakersfield sound’ and so you had like the Eagles and it was funny– they too, had their own struggles, because Glen Frey and Don Henley, they started writing stuff that was mellow, like “Tequila Sunrise” and “Desperado” that year. But Glenn Frey had come from Detroit, where he had been sort of in Bob Seeger’s scene, and he wanted to bring more of his rock stuff to it. But, ironically, their producer, Glyn Johns, produced them and he, of course, was like the rock producer extraordinaire of like, The Who and Zeppelin and the Beatles. But he told them, “you guys can’t rock– trust me, I’ve been with Zeppelin and The Who. You guys can’t rock.” And he was trying to keep them in that mellow zone. So they finally broke with him. And even Linda Rodstadt, she was very close with the Eagles, and she, actually Neil Young brought her on tour with him to open for him. And it was kind of a baptism of fire for her, because all these kind of rock guys would throw stuff at her, but she just had to yell back at them. And she wanted to be a bit more rocky, too, but they kept trying to pigeonhole her. It’s always these label people, who are very concerned with pigeonholing people into the demographic they think can sell, and so they get uptight about them trying to go outside their lines and stuff.

BRAD: There was also the continued rise of the singer-songwriter movement. Acts coming out of Laurel Canyon and whatnot, right?

ANDREW: And kind of centered down the road from Laurel Canyon on Santa Monica Boulevard at the Troubadour Club, there were so many people working there that year that were great. You had Tom Waits, who kind of positioned himself as like the anti- smooth, slick, country rock troubadour person. And Billy Joel. I don’t know if it was his debut album, but the “Piano Man” album, it was about his whole trek, because he used to be in a two-man band with another guy, but then he fell in love with the guy’s wife, and then she went with Billy and became his wife for most of the 70’s. He did this album, “Piano Man”, which was almost, I wouldn’t call it a concept album, but has so many great forgotten Billy Joel songs. And it’s about his trip across the west to Los Angeles, where then he was playing the Troubadour and then the Piano Bar there. And Jim Croce was one of my favorites, he had, I think, two albums that year, and “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” was like the second-biggest hit of the year. And then he had, of course, the plane crash on September 20.

Bob Seeger, he did all these great albums that didn’t ever really break through until he had “Night Moves” a couple of years later.


ANDREW: You know, Zeppelin just had a big year with “Houses of the Holy”. It didn’t have the monumental anthem like “Stairway to Heaven” on it, you know, sometimes people don’t put it up there with Zeppelin’s greatest stuff.

BRAD: No, but it’s got “The Rain Song”, which is an amazing piece of music; it’s got “No Quarter”, which is one of their best songs; “Song Remains The Same”, which is a Zeppelin classic… I mean, it’s a weird sounding record, the production on that has always seemed weird to me, but yeah, it’s a stone cold classic. No doubt.


ANDREW: The other great thing that was amazing– this is another thing where you can argue that it was ‘73, but Neil Young recorded “Tonight’s The Night”, even though it wasn’t released for a couple of years later. And that was pretty much done live in the studio, super raw. That’s considered one of his best albums.

BRAD: Yeah. And it is raw, both recording wise and just emotionally. It’s very raw.

ANDREW: Yeah. Two of his, I think, like a band member from Crazy Horse and a Roadie had both OD’d.

BRAD: Yeah, right. Both victims of drug addiction and overdose. Yeah, recorded in ’73, didn’t come out ‘till ‘74. But I’ll allow it.


BRAD: We talked about the beginnings of disco, the beginnings of punk; another thing that was gestating at this time was the earliest sounds of hip-hop.

ANDREW: Right, yeah. There was a guy in the Bronx, this DJ Cool Herc, he made his debut in August as a DJ at a party that was in the rec room of the apartment he lived at in the Bronx, on Sedwick Avenue. His family was from Jamaica. And in Jamaica, they had this tradition where the DJs would get these big trucks and these big sound systems, and they would blast the music out, like thousands of people would pay to come listen to the DJs play, and they would start doing their own “toasting”, they called it, on top of them, where they would do their little raps over the instrumental versions. And so, all that was kind of in the back of DJ Cool Herc’s mind. And they started his first show at his sister’s plate, or at his sister’s party in the apartment. But then, I think it was the following year, that he started doing block parties where they would plug in stuff into the lamp posts in the parks, and they would start playing and they would start using a lot of the instrumental disco tracks and the funk tracks that were big in this year. And they would focus in on the beats. And eventually, that was the genre that would take over from Rock as the best-selling genre. I mean, it’s still strong in the indie level, but on a cultural mega level, it’s definitely receded.

BRAD: For better or worse, Rock does not have the stature, I guess, or the commercial appeal that it did back when we were youngsters. But if I was to put the best spin on it, I would say that’s really where Rock is best– when it’s got some rebellion to it, when it’s on the outside looking in, rather than being the “in thing”, at least for the integrity of the music, for whatever that’s worth. But no, you don’t get hit rock records today. The day of rock topping the charts is over, but I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing for the music.

Speaker E: I did a book on the year 1965…

Speaker D: I read that book and that inspired me to do an episode of my show on 1965. So that, and your book was a source material for that. So, of course, when came time to do 1973, you were the go-to guy. Um, that book is great.

ANDREW: Thank you. And then my publishers actually came to me with the idea for ‘73. And when I looked at ‘73, I was kind of stunned with just the quality of so much music. Just like how it explodes out in every direction. It’s just a very amorphous year, but I think that’s what makes it fascinating because it’s almost hard to wrap your brain around that year. It’s just such a crazy year.

BRAD: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, any year that brought you “Dark Side of the Moon”, “Houses of the Holy”, “Quadrophenia”, “Let’s Get It On”, “Band on the Run”; that saw the first elements of punk and disco and hip-hop and reggae… It’s absolutely a significant year for rock, and more than just rock.

ANDREW: And you even have techno, like, Kraftwork was this year– they ditched the live drums and they just started focusing on drum machines. Yeah, that’s even starting up this year.

BRAD: Yeah. Incredible.

ANDREW: Crazy.

BRAD: Yeah. Well, Andrew Grant Jackson, thank you so much for coming on the show. I love the “1965” book, I love “1973 – Rock at the Crossroads”. I highly recommend both of those books to anyone listening to the show. Check them out, they’re fascinating reads. And I thank you for coming on the show and doing this with me. Thank you so much, Andrew.

ANDREW: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

BRAD: Thanks a lot.

And thank you for listening to my conversation with Andrew Grant Jackson. And there’s even more music from 1973 that we didn’t touch on. If you’d like to dig deeper into 1973, a great place to start is Andrew’s Facebook page for the book. It’s at There’s even a link there to a playlist of songs from 1973 that you can listen to. And of course, there’s the book itself, which I highly recommend. It’s called “1973 – Rock at the crossroads”. And Andrew is also the author of the fantastic book on 1965, that book is called “1965 – The Most Revolutionary Year In Music”, as well as a few other books. I’ll put some links in the show notes for all of his books.

I will be back in about two weeks with another new episode. You can catch up on all of our previous shows on our website, Please leave a review or send us feedback.

And if you’d like to support the show, the best thing you can do is to tell a friend about us because your personal recommendations are worth more than any advertising.

I’ll meet you back here next time on the “I’m in Love With That Song” podcast.

At the time they released their 2nd album in 1978, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were a struggling band hoping to break through. They had plenty to prove, and there was still a punky edge to their sound– clearly evident on the first single from the album, “I Need To Know”. At a tight two-minute-and-twenty-six-seconds, there’s no fat on this track– just a great song, a taste of the brilliant music to come.

“I Need To Know” (Tom Petty) Copyright 1977 Almo Music Corp (ASCAP)

 —  And don’t forget to follow our show, so you never miss an episode!


This is the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast, and I’m your host, Brad Page. Each episode here on the Pantheon Podcast Network, we take a song and explore it together, listening to all the elements, the arrangements, the performance and the production that makes it a great song. Musical experience or knowledge is not necessary here, we don’t get into things like music theory. We’re just going to put our ears to work and see or hear what we discover.

All the way back in episode number two of this show, our second episode ever, we listened to Tom Petty and a song from his third album called “Even the Losers”, one of my all-time favorite songs. It’s been over a hundred episodes since then, so I think it’s time we revisit Tom Petty. On this edition of the podcast, we’re taking a deep dive into a song from his second album. This is a song called “I Need To Know”.


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers worked their way up through the ranks, starting out in Gainesville, FL, eventually landing in Los Angeles with a record deal with Shelter Records. They released their first album in November 1976, and though the album featured the single “Breakdown”, which would become one of Petty’s most iconic songs, at that time, neither the single or the album got much attention at all. Here in 1976, this was a band still struggling to make it, even though they had a record out.

However, things were looking a little brighter over in the UK. They were getting some airplay there, and so the band headed to England for a tour as the opening act for Nils Lofgren. They appeared on Top of the Pops and the old Grey Whistle Test TV shows. Not bad for their first time out. But when they got back to America, they were still nobodies here.

ABC Records, which distributed Shelter, had pretty much given up on the album in the States. It had been out for eight months and it didn’t seem like it was going anywhere. They only sold 12,000 copies. But one of ABC’s promotion guys, a guy by the name of John Scott, heard the record and liked it, and figured he could do something with it. He had no budget and not much support from the label, but he believed in this record, in this band and he worked his ass off.

Slowly but surely, “Breakdown” was added to radio playlists across the country.  A year and a half after it was first released– a lifetime ago in the pop music world—“Breakdown” hit the top 40.


Then, the band were thinking about their next album. There’s a cliché, that also happens to be true: that an artist has their whole life to write their first album, and then six months to come up with their second.

Many bands burn through all their best material on their first album, then are immediately thrown out on the road to tour to promote that album, and then sent back into the studio to record their second album.

Not much time to write a bunch of good songs for that record, but for the Heartbreakers, luckily, magically, the songs for the second album came together pretty fast. There were a couple of tunes the band had found time to develop while they were on the road. “I Need To Know” was one of them.

“I Need To Know” was written by Tom Petty. It was released as the first single from the second album, called “You’re Gonna Get It”. The album was produced by Denny Cordell, Noah Shark and Tom Petty, and features Tom Petty on guitar and lead vocals, Stan Lynch on drums, Ron Blair on bass, Benmont Tench on keyboards, and Mike Campbell on lead guitar.

The song begins powerfully with all the instruments coming in at once. There are two guitar parts, I assume one’s played by Tom Petty and one by Mike Campbell. One is panned left, the other panned right.

That is just a great rock and roll guitar tone. Love it. The piano played by Benmont Tench is more or less panned straight up the middle. It’s lower in the mix, but he’s really rocking out here on this intro.

If you’re more familiar with Petty’s later material and that sort of sardonic, laid-back vocal style of his, it’s easy to forget just how in-your-face and punky his vocals used to be. Let’s listen to those vocals.

You can hear there’s some echo on his vocal there. One of my favorite elements of the arrangement of the song is next on the chorus, where the backing vocals repeat the title. After he sings the line, they are reinforcing his feelings and backing him up. It adds to the intensity of the song, increasing that sense of anxiety.

Let’s hear the chorus with the whole band.

Here’s the second verse, and let’s listen into the bass and drums this time around.

There’s a great scream coming up here that leads into the guitar solo. Let’s hear that scream.

And here’s the guitar solo by Mike Campbell. Let’s go back to the chorus one more time, with just the vocals and the keyboards. Because Benmont Tench is playing a really great part. Along with the piano, he’s also overdubbed an organ.

Now also if you listen closely to the last chorus, you can hear they’ve overdubbed a guitar playing these spiky little guitar stabs. They’re very low in the mix at first.

Those guitar stabs are a little more prominent this time.

“I Need To Know” by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

“You’re Gonna Get It’, the second album from The Heartbreakers is kind of an overlooked album, coming after their debut album, which also had one of their biggest hits, “Breakdown”, and right before the “Damn The Torpedoes” album, arguably their masterpiece. It’s easy for this record to kind of get lost, but I think it’s a great album.

And we may never have gotten this record, or the great music that followed, if it weren’t for the behind-the-scenes people like John Scott, that promotions guy, who wouldn’t give up on this little rock and roll band.

Nobody makes it on their own. Every artist has people out of the limelight that put their heart and soul into supporting that artist. So, here’s a toast to people like John Scott, the people that no one ever hears about, but without them, we wouldn’t have gotten many of the great songs that we love. And of course, let’s pay tribute to Tom Petty himself, who died too early in 2017. He left behind a legacy of great songs, but I know he still had a lot more great music left in him. It was a huge loss.

Well, thanks as always, for being a part of this edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. Share with us some of your favorite Tom Petty songs or memories. Post them on our Facebook page, or on Podchaser, or wherever it is that you listen to the show.

You can find our previous show on Tom Petty, along with a hundred other episodes on our website,, as well as on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google, Amazon– anywhere you can find podcasts, you’ll find our show.  And don’t forget to follow the show so that you never miss any of our new episodes.

We are but one of many shows in the Pantheon family of podcasts, where you’ll find a wide range of podcasts on musi,c from Bob Dylan to hip hop to heavy metal.

Thanks for listening to this show on Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers “I Need To Know”

It’s time for another episode in our “Albums That Made Us” series: this time, I’m joined by Craig Smith from the Pods & Sods Network to discuss a much-maligned album that happens to hold a special place in his heart– the soundtrack to the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” movie. This was how Craig discovered The Beatles. We also discuss “Wings Over America“, which was my entry point into Beatles fandom.

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

Norman Whitfield turned The Temptations from a typical Motown vocal group into Psychedelic Soul pioneers. Their collaboration reached its zenith with “Papa Was A Rolling Stone“, a dark, atmospheric, orchestral showcase for both the Temptations and Whitfield’s genius. This would be the last #1 hit for The Temptations, and they would stop working with Norman Whitfield soon after. But they left behind this monumental masterpiece.

“Papa Was A Rolling Stone” (Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong) Copyright 1972 Stone Diamond Music Corp.

If you enjoyed this episode, here’s a previous episode that featured another classic Temptations song:

— And remember to follow this show, so you never miss an episode.


You have managed to find your way to the “I’m In Love With That Song Podcast, one of the many shows on the Pantheon Podcast Network dedicated to bringing you the best music-related podcasts. I’m your host Brad Page, and each episode of this show, I pick one of my favorite songs and we attempt to discover what makes it a great song. Musical knowledge or experience is not a prerequisite here, we don’t get technical. This show is for anybody who loves music.

On this edition, we’re taking a look at one of the most epic songs to ever hit Number One, and probably the most unconventional track that Motown ever released. This is the Temptations with “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”.

Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield were one of Motown’s most successful songwriting teams. Whitfield was also their most adventurous producer. He was the man credited with creating the sound of “psychedelic soul”. Whitfield and Strong wrote “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” sometime in 1971. Whitfield had composed the music and recorded a basic track, and gave the tape to Strong with the suggestion that he come up with some lyrics that were fun. But as Strong listened to the tape over and over, he heard it differently. In particular, he thought that the bass part sounded like someone struggling to make sense out of confusion. He started to think about kids he knew who had been abandoned by their fathers. When they asked their mother what happened to their dad, what would they say? So Strong ran with that idea, finished up the lyrics and presented them to Whitfield, who liked them.

So they completed the song and then set about recording it with a band called The Undisputed Truth. It was this version that was released as a single in early 1972.


That’s actually a pretty cool production, but it wasn’t a hit. Whitfield still believed in the song though, and he convinced Barry Gordy to let him have another crack at it. So Whitfield completely reworked the song and went back into the studio with Motown’s legendary Funk brothers and rerecorded it. They turned it into an epic twelve-minute instrumental, a track full of atmosphere. Whitfield brought in Paul Riser to arrange the strings. Riser thought the track was full of mystery and suspense, and he treated his arrangement like he was scoring a movie. The soundtrack to “Shaft” had come out a year before, and Reiser was definitely inspired by that.

Now here’s where the Temptations come in. By 1971, The Temptations had gone through some major changes. Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks had left, leaving Otis Williams, Dennis Edwards and Melvin Franklin to carry on with two new members, Richard Street and Damon Harris.

The Temptations had had quite a few hits with Norman Whitfield producing, including two number ones. One of them, “I Can’t Get Next To You”, we covered here back in episode number 45.

But the Temptations were growing tired of Whitfield’s experimentations, which made the guys feel more like bit-players on their own records. They wanted to return to the romantic numbers like “My Girl” that they used to do. So, when Whitfield brought them into the studio and played them the twelve-minute track to “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”, they said, “No way, we are not doing that”. They argued for about 20 minutes when the group’s leader, Otis Williams, finally said, “Okay, we’ll give it a try”.

So let’s get into the track. Now, usually my preference is to go with the album version rather than the single, but this time we’re going to go with the single. The album version, at twelve minutes long, is a bit much for this podcast, and considering that the single itself is seven minutes, that gives us plenty to work with.

Here’s how the track begins. Just bass and hi-hat. Let’s hear just the bass, because that’s really the heart of the song.

The next thing you hear are the strings arranged by Paul Reiser. They add some real drama to the song. You can hear how Reiser was orchestrating this like a soundtrack to a movie, rather than just a pop song.

Here come the guitars, played by Paul Warren and Wah-Wah Watson. The two guitar parts play off each other and all the other instruments throughout the whole song. They’re always doing something interesting.

Added here, a trumpet played by Maurice Davis. Davis had already finished recording his part and was on his way out when Norman Whitfield called him back into the studio. He wanted to try recording it with a heavy echo on it. So, Davis re-recorded his whole part using the echo, which adds another layer of spookiness to the song.

Hand claps on the off beats. Notice how the hand claps stop there? The wah-wah guitar flutters and then the harp comes back in. All these parts flowing in and out. The wah-wah guitar drops out, the strings build and then drop out, too.

We are 1 minute and 55 seconds into the song, and here is where the vocals finally come in. On the album version, it’s almost four minutes before the vocals come in. You can see why The Temptations felt like they were being sidelined, but that intro really sets a mood, doesn’t it?

We’ll take a look at the vocals in a minute, but first, let’s just listen to what those guitars are doing in the background.

The Motown guitar players were usually relegated to just playing rhythm, but here they get to stretch out a bit.

Now the vocals. The first voice we hear is Dennis Edwards. Edwards and Whitfield clashed from the start about this song. Edwards kept trying to put more into his vocal performance, but Whitfield kept telling him to hold back, to tone it down. Edwards did not like to be restrained, but Whitfield wanted it dialed way down. That was making Edwards pretty mad. But Whitfield got the take he wanted.

Edwards was also upset because he was taking the lyrics a little personally. This verse about the 3rd of September being the day that Daddy died hit a little close to home. Now, the legend has it that Edward’s own father died on September 3, but that’s not actually true. His dad died on October 3. Still, it was close enough for Edwards to be concerned about it. And Whitfield had to convince him that it wasn’t personal. Barrett Strong had only written the lyrics that way because he liked the way it sounded–the date was purely a coincidence.

Let’s hear more of the guitars behind this verse.

Here come those hand claps again.

Maurice Davis’s trumpet, saturated with echo, appears again. The strings are going to take over for a few measures. Let’s hear what they’re doing. Reiser used nine violins, four violas, three cellos, and that harp for the string section.

In classic Temptations fashion, the lead vocals are shared by different singers. This works particularly well on this song, because it sounds like multiple children telling their stories. It’s not just the story of one boy, it’s the voices of all those kids who were let down by their fathers.

This next verse features Richard Street, who replaced Paul Williams in 1971, as well as Melvin Franklin, whose deep bass voice was the foundation for so many great Temptations songs.

I love that part.

Let’s zero in on Richard street’s vocals.

Wah-wah Watson is getting in some licks behind this verse. Let’s hear some of that.

And here’s the second chorus.

I like that guitar lick there. The final verse features Damon Harris, who replaced Eddie Kendricks when he quit in ‘71. Harris was the youngest member of the band, and while Kendrick’s falsetto was one of the Temptation’s trademarks, Damon sounds great here.

Damon gets the last word.

Let’s listen a little more to that backing track.

“Papa Was a Rolling Stone”. During their career, The Temptations had four number one hits on the top 100: “My Girl”, “I Can’t Get Next To You”, “Just My Imagination” and “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”. Three of those four were written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, and produced by Whitfield.

That was a magic combination, but it didn’t last. Within a few years, Whitfield and The Temptations would stop working together, and Whitfield would leave Motown. “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” would be the last number one hit for The Temptations, but it was their crowning achievement.

Thanks for listening to this edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. New episodes are released on the 1st and the 15th of every month, so we’ll be back soon with another show. You can find all of our previous shows on our website,, as well as on Spotify, Apple, Podcasts, Google, Amazon, wherever you can find podcasts. And if you’re looking for more music podcasts, check out the other great shows on the Pantheon Network.

Drop us a line on Facebook, Podchaser, or send email to

Don’t forget to support the artists you love by buying their music. And thanks for joining me for this episode on “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” by The Temptations.

Yes were at their peak when they released their Close To The Edge album in 1972. This episode, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of what many consider to be the greatest Progressive Rock album of all time with a deep dive into the song “Siberian Khatru”.

“Siberian Khatru” (Jon Anderson; Themes by Jon Anderson/Steve Howe/Rick Wakeman) Copyright 1972 Topographic Music Ltd

And if you enjoyed this episode, check out our previous episode on Yes:


You your passage on the river of time has brought you here to the next edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast, one of the many stops along the Pantheon Podcast Network. My name is Brad Page, the host of the show, where we take a song and poke it and probe it together, in the hope that we get a better understanding of what makes a great song.

Now, if you go all the way back to the very beginning of this podcast, even before our first episode, in the introduction to the show, I laid out a few parameters. One of which was that I wasn’t going to cover much progressive rock, because the complexity and length of the songs were just outside the scope of this show. I didn’t want to be doing an hour and a half long marathon episodes, but I am going to make an exception this time… because this is a special occasion.

In September 1972, 50 years ago this month, yes released “Close To The Edge”, a  monumental album in the history of progressive rock, and considered by many to be Yes’s greatest achievement. You could make an argument that “Close To The Edge” is the defining album of the Prog Rock era. So, in tribute to this milestone, put on your lab coats and those safety goggles, because on this episode, we’re going to delve into one of the three masterworks from this album. This is Yes, with “Siberian Khatru”.


More band members have come and gone than I can keep track of, so we’re not going into an extensive band history here, but this is the brief backstory that gets us to this album. Yes formed in 1968 with John Anderson on vocals, Chris Squire on bass, Bill Bruford on drums, Tony Kaye on keyboards, and Peter Banks on guitar. This original lineup released two albums, neither album having much impact on the charts.

The first big change happened in 1970, when Peter Banks left the band and was replaced by Steve Howe. Howe was a stellar guitarist, really versatile, and he brought a whole new dimension to the Yes sound. Howe had been paying his dues in and around London, and he was a member of the band Tomorrow, which released one of the seminal psychedelic tracks, a song called “My White Bicycle”, in 1967. Someday we’re going to talk about that song on this show.

This new lineup of Yes released “The Yes Album” in 1971. And this is where the band really found its footing and started sounding like the Yes that we know today.


But there were more changes to come. Tony Kaye preferred to play piano & organ, but the band was eager to explore synthesizers and the Mellotron. So Kaye was out, and Rick Wakeman was in. Wakeman had made a name for himself playing keyboards with The Straubs, and he was doing a lot of session work, too. He played the piano on “Morning Has Broken” by Kat Stevens and “Get It On” by T Rex; he played the Mellotron on David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”.  And that brilliant piano part on Bowie’s “Life on Mars”– That’s Rick Wakeman, too.

So it’s worth noting that at this point, Yes featured some of the most gifted musicians in the business. Steve Howe was quickly establishing himself as a guitarist to be reckoned with; Chris Squire was inspiring bass players around the world with his style and his sound; Bill Brewford was becoming a legend among drummers, and Rick Wakeman is one of the greatest keyboard players in rock history. And they were about to prove all of this on their next album.


The album called “Fragile” was released in November 1971, and it was their breakthrough album. “Roundabout” and “Long Distance Runaround” would become hit singles and drive sales of this album, reaching number four on the Billboard album chart. It was also the first of many albums to feature Roger Dean’s iconic artwork.

So, what do you do to top an album like “Fragile”? You make “Close To The Edge”.


By all accounts, making the “Close To The Edge” album was a difficult, painful process. Yes had developed an approach where they would work out songs, one small section at a time, and then record just that section. They would record these short bits one at a time and then edit them together. It was only after the recording and editing were finished that the band would go back and actually learn the complete song. So, we gotta stop and acknowledge producer Eddie Offord. Eddie was really like the 6th member of the band. He would produce over a half dozen of Yes’ albums. He also produced records for Emerson, Lake and Palmer too. He was behind the glass for some of Prog Rock’s most essential albums, and he certainly earned his pay on this record.

“Siberian Khatru”. Is it KAT-ru or Kat-TRUE? I’ve heard it pronounced both ways. At any rate, this song is credited to John Anderson, with themes by Anderson, Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman.

The song kicks off with a guitar riff by Steve Howe. That’s a perfect example of how he could blend rock, country and jazz all into his own signature style.


There are multiple riffs and sections to this song. I’m going to refer to that one as the “country-fried” riff. That only lasts for about 10 seconds. And then we get to the main riff.


This section is divided into three measures of four beats, and one measure of three beats. It’s a little easier to follow or count if you just listen to the acoustic guitar track.


Let’s listen to this section again.


Steve Howe is going to re-enter with a new guitar riff. This is really his main riff for the song.


And here comes the riff for the verse.


I love this part! The guitar and the organ are doubling each other on the riff.


And Chris Squire is playing a really driving bass part.


And Bill Bruford is just laying down a great groove on the drums.


I just love the way it all comes together.


Here’s where Jon Anderson’s vocals come in for the first verse:


Anderson is overdubbed harmonizing with himself, as well as some backing vocals from Chris Squire and Steve Howe. Here’s Anderson’s part:


All right, let’s talk about these lyrics. I think John Anderson is a great singer, he has such a pure voice. But as a lyricist, he’s not really my cup of tea. I like to be told a story. I like to hear the singer pour their heart out or make a statement. In general, I’m not a big fan of very abstract lyrics. And John Anderson’s lyrics can range from vague to downright impenetrable. Anderson himself has said that this song is, “just a lot of interesting words”. And he said before that he likes the sounds of words as much as their meaning. He also said that this song is about Siberia being so far away, such a remote place, and yet the people that live there still have the same experiences, they have the same wants and needs that we do. There is a bond that we all share, even in the most isolated places. So, it’s impressionistic, it’s open to interpretation, I get it. It’s just not my preference.

The lyrics don’t make any sense when you just read them on paper. But they do sound beautiful when John Anderson sings them with that voice.


Here’s what I think of as the chorus.


Okay, let’s take a closer look here, because there’s some great stuff going on. First, here’s what the guitar is doing.


I love that. Now, here’s what the bass is doing


And of course, the drums:


There aren’t really any keyboard parts here, so let’s listen to the guitar, bass and drums together, without the vocals.


And you can hear that there’s an acoustic guitar that comes in at the end there. Now let’s hear just the vocals.


Now let’s hear all of that together again.


Once you add the vocals, the whole feel of that section changes, right? Now, the next section features sort of a vocal round that happens, almost a chant. This idea will return later in the song.


The main guitar riff returns and listen to what the bass is doing underneath it.


Back to the verse. Let’s hear that bass lick again.


Back to the verse


And let’s hear a little bit more of that bass, the way it walks down the scale there.


And this time around, let’s bring up the vocals.


Let’s have a closer listen to what we were hearing there. This song is just throwing something new at you around every corner. First, let’s go back and listen to some of those guitar licks.


Then there’s the vocal break. And that leads us into the next section, which features Steve Howe on an electric sitar. This isn’t an actual sitar, it’s a standard guitar that’s fitted with extra resonant strings and a special bridge to emulate that sitar sound. Let’s just hear that part.


Let’s hear this section altogether:


So far, Rick Wakeman has been laying low on the keyboards for a while, but now he gets to step forward on the harpsichord.


Let’s hear just that harpsichord.


And here’s what the bass and drums are doing to complement that.


Let’s put that all back together the way we found it, and see how it sounds.


And that transitions immediately into a new section featuring Steve Howe on steel guitar.


Between the crying sound of the Steel Guitar and that deep echo, it really gives this part a ghostly air. Underneath that haunting sound, the bass and the drums are playing a pretty heavy part and totally locked in with each other. Let’s listen to that.


Man, Bill Bruford and Chris Squire, just two masters of their instruments. Okay, once again, let’s put it all back together and hear this as one piece.


And now Steve Howe is just going to let it rip with a good old fashioned guitar solo.


And here’s what the bass, drums and keyboards are doing behind that:


All right, let’s hear it all together.


And then there’s a variation on the “country-fried” riff from the beginning.


OK, Chris Squire is doing something interesting on bass here, he’s playing harmonics. Let’s listen to that.


Here’s Rick Wakeman on the Mellotron


…And back to the verse riff:


Let’s listen again to how tightly locked in the guitars and keyboards are on that riff.


Here, the chant we heard earlier returns, but this time it continues to escalate, becoming more intense, building for almost a minute and a half.


The Mellotron adds to the drama.


Bruford’s giving his snare drum a workout.


The main guitar riff returns, this time doubled with a swirling effect on it in stereo. Legend had it that this sound was achieved by swinging a microphone around in a circle. But producer Eddie Offord said that they might have swung a microphone around at some point, but not for this track. The effect here was created using some pitch-shifting and an auto panning device.


Now, as the song reaches its climax, we get to probably the most intense part of the song, as the main riff swirls underneath, the drums and the vocals come at you in sharp, staccato stabs


That sounds almost random, but obviously not, as the voices and the drums are all perfectly in sync.


OK, so we know the Yes methodology was to record a section at a time and edit them together. That transition there is the first time in this whole song that I can hear what sounds like an edit. The rest of the song flows pretty seamlessly, but that does feel like an edit point to me.


Still, over the course of a nine-minute composition with God knows how many edits, pretty remarkable that only one stands out. Let’s pick it up from that point.


Let’s hear more of Chris Squire’s bass.


Wakeman is playing a couple of synthesizer parts in the background. Here’s one of them.


And on top of all that, Steve Howe is playing a very jazz influenced solo. Check out Bruford’s drum fill there.


“Siberian Khatru” by Yes.

Though their “Fragile” album would eventually sell more copies, “Close To The Edge” would be Yes’s highest charting album. Can you imagine there was a time when music this complex and adventurous could reach the top five?  “Close to the Edge” has sold over a million copies.

Drummer Bill Bruford found the whole experience recording this album excruciatingly painful, and quit the band before the record was even released.  Rick Wakeman would last one more album and then he left, too. Yes became a revolving door of members, coming and going. I can count at least 15 people who were in the band at some point, and I know that’s not a complete list. Chris Squire was the only person who was in every version of Yes and played on every album from the beginning, right up until his death in 2015. One of the greatest bass players in rock history.

Thankfully, at the time of this recording, the other players on this album, Steve Howe, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman and John Anderson. are still with us today. And producer Eddie offered he’s still alive and kicking, too.

Well, this has been the most challenging episode I’ve ever put together, and one of the longest, too. So, thanks for sticking with me. If you’re a Yes fan, I hope I did it justice. And if you’re not really a fan of Yes or Prague Rock in general, I hope this episode gave you some appreciation for the creativity, the vision and the amazing musicianship that goes into making a song like this.

Thank you for listening to this edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. New episodes are coming at you on the 1st and the 15th of every month, so I’ll be back soon with another show. You can find all of our previous shows on our website, as well as on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, Amazon, wherever you can find podcasts, you’ll find us.

And if you’re looking for more music podcasts, be sure to check out the other great shows on the Pantheon Podcast Network.

Drop us a line on Facebook, Podchaser, or send an email to And don’t forget to support the artists you love by buying their music.

Thanks again for joining me for this episode on “Siberian Khatru” by Yes.