This is the episode where I try to explain why I think Todd Rundgren’s “Cliché” is the most beautiful song ever written.  Of course it’s all subjective, but I don’t know how anyone could deny the beauty and emotional resonance of this song.  I probably can’t do it justice, but here’s my attempt anyway.

“Cliché” (Todd Rundgren) Copyright 1976 Warner Publishing Corp.

Do we expect too much from music?  A great song can do a lot, but it can’t fix everything.  This song is 2 minutes of joy… sometimes, that’s enough.

“Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” (James August Wilbur, Jonathan Patrick Wurster, Laura Jane Ballance, Ralph Lee Mccaughan) Copyright 2013 All The Songs Sound The Same Music

I will admit that I can be prone to hyperbole, but I’m convinced this is The Best Album Of The 1980’s and one of the greatest albums of all time.  It is a perfect album.  A magnificent song cycle that reveals something new each time you listen to it.  A masterwork of songwriting and production.  I could go on…

This song is a blast of pure pop; catchy, clever and concise– 3 minutes and 20 seconds of pop genius.  It will make you smile.

NOTE: During the podcast, I reference “The Fool Guitar”.  More details on that legendary instrument can be found here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fool_(guitar)

“That’s Really Super, Supergirl” (Andy Partridge) Copyright 1986 Virgin Nymph Music, Inc (BMI) – Copyright 2010 Ape House Ltd

One of the most underappreciated bands in rock.  Undaunted by the ups & downs of the fickle music business, Cheap Trick have played over 5000 shows and released 20 albums, including “Rockford” in 2006, one of their best albums ever.  I could’ve picked any song from this album– it’s that good– but I settled on “If It Takes A Lifetime”.  If you don’t have this album in your collection, don’t wait– Go get it now.

“If It Takes A Lifetime” (Robin Zander, Tom Petersson, Rick Neilsen, Bun E. Carlos & Julian Raymond) Copyright Z.P.N.&C./Sony/ATV (BMI) and Maxiva (ASCAP)

A great hard rock & power pop band that somehow fell through the cracks in the late ’70’s, Starz had all the ingredients to make it big– a band of seasoned professionals with a charismatic frontman, a big-name manager, and a record deal with Capitol Records… but while bands like Foreigner, Styx & Boston sold millions of records, Starz just couldn’t break thru to a larger audience.  Too bad, because these guys had some great rock tunes.  Here’s one of their power-pop tracks that serves as a great example of how to write a catchy, memorable song.

Special thanks to the RockNPod Expo for connecting me with the guys in the band.

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

Every artist wants to pay tribute to the people who inspired them.  No one’s ever done it better than The Replacements’ tribute to Alex Chilton.  This song has a great hook and a chorus that stays with you… It’s stayed with me so long that I named this podcast after it.  

“Alex Chilton” (Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson & Chris Mars) Copyright 1987 Done To Death Music (ASCAP), Nah Music (ASCAP) and Chris Mars Publishing Inc.

Living under The Beatles’ shadow was a blessing and a curse for Badfinger.  One of the greatest Power Pop bands of all time, they crafted a catalog of great songs that defined the genre.  “Day After Day” is one of the greatest singles of all time, featuring a beautiful melody, great performances, and a guest appearance by a Beatle.  What more could you want?  This song deserves a place in history.

“Day After Day” (Pete Ham) Copyright 1971 Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Adrian Belew is best known as a brilliant sideman & guitar foil (Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Talking Heads) and a member of King Crimson, but most people are unaware of his “band on the side”, The Bears.  The other 3 members are no slouches either– this was really a band of 4 equal members that could all write great songs.  The Bears blend Art-Rock and Power Pop in their own distinctive way.  This song features lead vocals by 3 members, and packs plenty of substance & meaning into a 4:53 pop song.  If you’re unfamiliar with The Bears, this song provides a great entry point.

“As You Are” (The Bears) Copyright 2001 Car Caught Fire Music/ASCAP

Writing a hit song about writing a hit song?  Genius!  This song has everything a great pop-rock song needs– a memorable melody, great chorus, smart lyrics and killer vocals.  This song always makes me smile.  Don’t forget to share & leave comments!

“Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” (Eric Carmen) Copyright 1974 C.A.M. USA Inc.

Utopia is back together for a reunion tour this Spring (2018), so there’s no better time to revisit one of their great songs. I think this era of Utopia pretty much invented “Progressive Pop” and this song is a great example of their songcraft and musical skills. See you on the road to Utopia! (And don’t forget to share this podcast with friends, leave comments on iTunes, etc. It really helps!) 

“The Road To Utopia” (Utopia) Copyright 1980 Fiction Music/Utopia (BMI)