Pete Townshend’s 3rd solo album was a divisive record; many critics called it pretentious, over-thought, and an “ambitious failure”.  But it contains at least two Townshend masterpieces, including “The Sea Refuses No River”, a song with deep spiritual meaning to Townshend.  This episode, we explore this eloquent, graceful classic.

“The Sea Refuses No River” (Pete Townshend) Copyright 1982 Eel Pie Publishing Limited

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Music can inspire, music can unite; it can challenge, it can enlighten, it can heal. Here on the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast, we don’t take music for granted. On this podcast, we take an in depth look at an individual song to discover what goes into making a song work. I’m your host, Brad Page, here the Pantheon Podcast Network where each episode, we explore the arrangements, the performances and the production that make a song great.

On today’s edition of the show, we’re taking a look at a song by a man who I think is one of the greatest songwriters in history. A man who is not only one of the most electric live performers you’d ever see, but a brilliant composer, writer, and a visionary, and one of my favorite guitar players, too. This is Pete Townshend with “The Sea Refuses No River”.

Pete Townshend is, of course, the primary songwriter, guitarist and sometimes vocalist for The Who, one of the greatest and most important bands of all time. But by 1982, their legendary drummer, Keith Moon, had died. The band was struggling to find a place in the post punk, new wave landscape, and Townshend was disillusioned with, well, everything. He had left his family the year before and went on a binge of drugs and alcohol. He eventually cleaned himself up and went back to his family.

While all of this was going on, he was working on his third solo album, which he named “All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes”. He would later say he should have won the “Stupid Title of the Year Award” for that one.

Considering everything that was going on in his life, it’s no wonder that the songs on this album are deeply introspective. And though they incorporate sounds and approaches that were contemporary at the time, none of the songs were recorded with rock or pop radio or MTV in mind.

When he played the finished album to his record company, they were dismayed. They didn’t hear any hits. But Townshend wasn’t writing for hits. He was pursuing the path he’d started on his last solo album, “Empty Glass”, and the previous album by The Who, “Face Dances”.

He was always literate, but these songs were the most wordy he’d ever written. It’s Townshend at his most poetic. To many fans and critics, it was a bit much. It was considered to be pretentious– like, really pretentious. And some tracks are more successful than others. But I think when these songs really work, it’s magical when the music and the lyrics gel really come together. I think these songs have real emotional impact, and on this track, a spiritual impact, too.

The album features a huge band and some great players, including Tony Butler on bass, Mark Brzezicki on drums; both of those guys played with Big Country. Simon Phillips also plays drums on this record. Honestly, I’m not sure which one of them plays drums on this track. You’ve also got Virginia Astley on keyboards, John Lewis on synthesizer, Peter Hope Evans on harmonica– he plays a big part in this song. Jody Linscott on percussion, Poli Palmer on tuned percussion. Chris Stanton plays some additional keyboards. And Pete Townshend plays all the guitars, some keyboards and the lead vocals. The brass arrangement was by Anne Odell.

The album was produced by Chris Thomas and the song was written by Pete Townshend and Alan Rogan. It’s one of the few songs I can think of where Townshend shares a writing credit.

Okay, let’s get into the song. Peter Hope Evans harmonica is the focal point, and John “Poli” Palmer, who was in the band Family, is adding some accents on something like a Glockenspiel.


There’s also a nice bass part going on underneath, played by Tony Butler from the band Big Country. Then there’s a short drum fill and we’re into the first verse.


There’s a guitar in there playing choppy staccato chords, followed by a sustaining ringing chord. That is classic Pete Townshend -style guitar playing.


The verses open on a minor chord, which gives it a darker feel. But then after a couple of lines, it shifts to a more buoyant melody.


And right before the next part of the verse, there’s some guitar feedback that fades in. Let’s listen to the rest of that verse.


The music sort of pauses for a breath there. And then we’re into the first chorus.


“The sea refuses no river”. Townshend found the quote in the Oxford Book of Proverbs. Actually, I read that Pete’s daughter found it and he really liked it and wrote the song based around it. He’s using it as a spiritual metaphor. Every river, no matter how pure and clean, or dirty and contaminated, every river ends up in the same sea. You can call it the afterlife, you could call it heaven, call it space or the universe… no matter how great or how flawed you are, we all end up in the same place. We’re all individual drops that make up that ocean. It’s a beautiful idea, and I think it’s one of Townsend’s most powerful vocals. It’s a great performance. You can really feel the passion in his voice.

The harmonica melody returns…

I like the drum part here. Let’s bring up the drums in the mix.

“The sea refuses no river, we’re polluted now but in our hearts, still clean.” As I said, this is one of Pete’s best vocal performances. He really delivers on this song. So let’s bring the vocals to the front for this chorus.


This leads us into the guitar solo section, played by Pete Townshend, over some great instrumental backing by the band.


The bass and drums are laying down a nice groove here. Let’s check that out.


That leads directly into a series of big, crashing chords. Dramatic, almost orchestral. This is the kind of big moment that Townshend and The Who did better than anyone else.


More guitar from Pete. Nice use of feedback.


Let’s hear what the bass and drums are doing under this section.


For the next verse, they reel it in dynamically. After that dramatic buildup from the solo, they get a little softer for the next few lines.


Compared to the previous sections, the instrumentation here is very sparse. Just guitar and drums, maybe some piano in the background.


Let’s hear the instrumental tracks under the vocals. With more of the band playing here, check out the way the bass and the drums are playing off of each other and how all the other instruments are layering their simple individual parts. That, when it’s all put together, provides a really lush surrounding for the vocals. This is a great arrangement.

Now let’s add the vocals back in and listen to how it all works together.


And from there we head into the last two choruses.


Pete’s vocals reach their apex here. I love the way he sings this.


You can hear Pete play some harmonics on his guitar and wiggle them a bit with his whammy bar. Then he’s going to hit a few heavy chords—Who-style– that kick off the final chorus.

There’s a nice little guitar fill there, followed immediately by a bass guitar lick. It’s just another example of the band interplay here and what great players they are.


Pete Townshend “The Sea Refuses No River”

Townshend has released a handful of solo albums; the last one was Psycho Derelict in 1993 and of course, a dozen classic albums with The Who.

Whether with The Who or solo, I think all of these albums are worth listening to. There are few, if any, artists whose work is more significant or as meaningful as Pete Townshend.

Thanks for listening to this edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. We are part of the Pantheon Podcast Network, where you’ll find a ton of other shows, all dedicated to the artists, the records and the history of the music we love.

This show will be back in about two weeks with another new episode. You can hear all of our previous shows on our website, or on your favorite source for listening to podcasts. You can keep in touch with us on Facebook, just look for the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. You can post reviews or comments on, and if you really want to support the show, tell people about it. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth.

Thanks again. And remember, as Pete Townshend says, “Whether starving or ill, or strung out on some pill, just because you own the land, there’s no unique hand that plugs the dam. The sea refuses no river.”


When it comes to boundaries, Fanny faced them all: racial, gender & sexual discrimination were all obstacles that stood in their way. Fanny may be forgotten by many today, but they were one of the most important all-female bands in rock history, paving the way for groups like The Go-Go’s, Bangles, and The Runaways. It’s time to acknowledge the groundbreaking history made by these 4 women and the great music they left behind.

“Cat Fever” (Nickey Barclay) Copyright 1971

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Welcome, my friends, to the “I’m In Love With That Song” Podcast, your conduit to the greatest songs in rock history, at least as I see it. My name is Brad Page; I’m your host here on the Pantheon Podcast Network, where each episode of the show I pick one of my favorite songs and we examine it together as we try to grasp what makes a song great.

Before the Go Go’s, before the Bangles, before The Runaways, there was Fanny, the first all female band to release an album on a major label. They were pioneers, groundbreakers and hold a special, important place in rock history. Yet 99% of people have never heard of them.

Well, on this edition of the podcast, we’re going to listen to Fanny. This is a song from their second album, “Charity Ball”, released in 1971. It’s a song called “Cat Fever”.

There were other all-female bands before Fanny: Goldie and the Gingerbreads were one; the Pleasure Seekers, which featured Susie Quattro and her sisters. But Fanny was the first to release a full album on a major label, not just singles. And I think more importantly, they were the first to present themselves as a real rock band. Not a novelty, not as sex objects, not as a gimmick–
to paraphrase Classic Rock magazine, not as jailbait fantasy– but as real musicians.

If you’d like to learn more about Fanny, there is an excellent documentary called “Fanny: Rhe Right
To Rock” that came out in 2021. It’s available on Amazon now. I really recommend it. That’s probably your best introduction to Fanny, but I’ll cover some of the basics here.

June and Jean Millington were born in the Philippines to an American father and a Filipina mother. They moved to California in 1961. June was about 13 years old then. Jean was 12.

Being biracial, they faced their share of racism and prejudice, and music became both a refuge and a path to acceptance for the two sisters. June began playing guitar and Jean picked up the bass. By the time they were 15-16, they had formed a band, the Sveltes, and started gigging regularly.

Lots of band members came and went, but one who stuck around the longest was another girl of Filipina descent, Brie Berry. Members continued to come and go, and even the Millington sisters left for a while, and the band morphed into Wild Honey, featuring Alice DeBuhr on drums. Eventually, June and Jean rejoined Wild Honey and they moved to LA to try to find a recording contract.

They were spotted one night at the Troubadour by the secretary for producer Richard Perry and he
signed them to Reprise Records.

There was one piece of the puzzle missing, though. They were looking for a keyboard player with a good voice… and they found one in Nikki Barkley. She added a harder edge to the band. In fact, even though Nikki was the piano player, her songs tended to rock the hardest. She really added a lot to the band.

They released their first album, the self titled “Fanny” album, in December 1970, produced by Richard
Perry. Here’s a song from that album. It’s called “Seven Roads”.

A year and a half later they released their second album, “Charity Ball” in July 1971, also produced by Richard Perry. This is my personal favorite Fanny album, I think it’s their strongest collection of songs with great performances from all four members. This is a track from that album, it’s called “Place In The Country”.

About six months after that, their third album came out in February 1972 called “Fanny Hill”. This one was recorded in Abbey Road Studios. Again produced by Richard Perry and engineered by the legendary Geogg Emmerich. It’s another strong album. In fact, some people say that this is their best LP. Here’s a song from “Fanny Hill” called “Borrowed Time”.

In February 1973, a year after that last album, they released album number four, “Mother’s Pride”, this time produced by Todd Rungren. Here’s one from that album– this one’s called “I’m Satisfied”.

Through all of this the band was always working hard, but in many ways treading water. They were actually a little bit more successful in the UK than the US, but they had yet to have a bona fide hit. The record company and management put pressure on them to be more glam, to sex it up– something that no one in the band was really comfortable with, especially June. And later that year, in 1973, June quit and shortly after, Alice left too. Jean and Nikki kept on going, though, and they brought in Patty Quattro on guitar, susie Quattro’s older sister, and Brie Brant, now Brie Howard after her second marriage, who had played drums for Fanny way back before their first album, rejoined the band as their drummer.

They signed a new deal with Casablanca Records and released their fifth and final album, 1974’s “Rock and Roll Survivors”. They released the song “Butterboy” as a single and it actually reached number 29 on the US charts, their biggest success so far. But by then it was too late. The band had already broken up.

There are a bunch of great Fanny songs that I could have picked for this episode, but I chose this one because I think this shows off the strengths of all four band members. So let’s go back to 1971 and their second album, “Charity Ball”. This song is called “Cat Fever”.

It was written by Nikki Barkley, produced by Richard Perry and it features Nikki Barkley on keyboards, june Millington on guitar, jean Millington on bass and Alice Debur on drums. June, Jean and Nikki would all take lead vocals depending on the song; on this track, Nikki handles the lead vocal and June and Jean sing backup.

The song begins with one of the girls, probably Nikki calling out “fever!” in the right channel and then the piano kicks things off.


Before we get into the verse, let’s break that down a little bit. Nikki Barkley’s piano part is the driving force of the song and Une & Jean play variations of that same riff on guitar and bass. June’s guitar is panned more to the left, while Nikki’s piano is weighted to the right, and Alice is just powering forward on drums.

I love Jean’s sliding bass notes and the interplay with the drums there.


That brings us into the first verse and Nikki’s lead vocal


Let’S listen to the instrumentation behind the vocal during the verse here. It’s Nikki’s piano that is really propelling the song. June is playing some simple power chords in the right channel, leaving plenty of room for the keyboards and the vocal without stepping on any of it. But she does throw in a few nice accents occasionally.


Now for the next section, the groove shifts into double time.


We’ve talked about standard or regular time versus double-time versus half-time on this podcast before, but it’s probably worth a quick explanation again. The change is most noticeable when you’re listening to the drums and it’s probably easiest to explain if we look at the drum parts.

This song has a tempo of around 140 beats per minute. That’s fairly fast, actually.

Here’s the drum beat of this song in what would consider the standard or regular time.


And here’s the part that they play at double-time.


It feels faster, but it’s not. They maintain the same tempo, 140 beats per minute, but you’re hearing the snare drum and the kick drum twice as often, so it feels faster. Double-time can give you the sense of a runaway train sometimes. It’s a great dramatic effect in a song and Fanny uses it really well here. Let’s go back and listen to the verse again for that transition between regular time and double time.


Before we move on, I want to talk about Nikki Barkley’s voice. I really like her voice. And there are certain words or phrases where she just spits them out with this mix of attitude and playfulness that I just really like. Listen in particular to the way she delivers the word “claim”:


Here comes the second verse. I think this is either Nikki and Jean singing together or Nikki doubled her vocal part. I’m not sure which, but let’s listen to this verse.


I like the lyrics there. “It isn’t whether you can play guitar, believe me– it’s whether you make the


After the riff there, June is going to take a guitar solo. I think she might be playing slide on the first couple of phrases and then she tosses in some tasty “chicken picking” licks. June was a pretty versatile guitar player.


And now Nikki’s gonna let it rip on the piano before they hit the third and final verse.


They come out of that solo section into an extended buildup. June plays a nice ascending guitar like here, building some expectation before they launch into that third verse.


Let’s go back and listen to the bass and the drums during this part of the verse because Jean and Alice are really laying down a nice groove here.


Nice little drum fill here by Alice.


And that brings us to the last lines of the last verse. “Because I believe I’m gonna fade away, they’ll be coming for me any day, there’s nothing more I can do or say.”


Nice bit of vocal harmonizing there.


Let’s play it through to the end.


They are all jamming together great here– the guitar licks, the piano part, the bass and the drums. You can tell what a great live band they were.


Fanny – “Cat Fever”

Fanny were groundbreakers and an important band, and not just because they were an “all girl” band. Jean and June Millington were Filipino women in a field severely lacking in any women of color. And both June and Alice DeBuhr were gay at a time when there were very few out musicians, and so, like many, they were kind of forced to hide who they really were.

Nothing about being in Fanny was easy. But they all survived it.

June Millington would continue to play and perform. In 1987, she founded the Institute for Musical Arts in Goshen, Massachusetts, a nonprofit teaching and performing center with a recording studio. Its mission is to support women and girls in the music business.

Alice de Burr worked behind the scenes in the marketing department for various record labels, and she was very involved in the reissues of all the Fanny albums on the Real Gone music label that came out a few years ago.

After leaving Fanny, Nikki Barclay released one solo album in 1976 and then pretty much quit the music business. I don’t know all the details, but she basically doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with Fanny, and she declined to participate in the recent reunions and in the documentary.

That documentary which I mentioned before, is called “Fanny: The Right to Rock”. They had finished recording a sort of comeback album called “Fanny Walked the Earth” and were just about to finish filming the documentary and go on tour when Jean Millington had a stroke.

Though Jean hadn’t been as active in the music business as her sister, she never stopped playing bass. But the stroke affected the right side of her body and she’s unable to use her right hand. So for now, at least, her wonderful bass playing has been silenced. But those Fanny albums are still out there, yhe documentary is out there, the music is still there to experience and celebrate.

If you want to hear more, go on YouTube right now. Go on YouTube and search for Fanny and watch two of the clips from their performances on “Beat Club”. Watch them play “Blind Alley” and their version of “Ain’t That Peculiar”. They are fantastic. Like many bands from this era, their studio albums never captured just how great they were live, and these two clips will knock you out.

Thanks for joining me on this episode, I hope you enjoyed it. There’s more coming. Another edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song: podcast will be here in about two weeks, right here on the Pantheon Podcast network, and all of our previous shows are available on our website, or in your favorite podcast app. Just search for us.

If you’d like to support the show. A, positive review is always helpful, but it’s even better if you share this show with your friends and tell people about it. You are clearly a smart discerning listener, so your recommendation carries a lot of weight. I thank you in advance.

I’ll meet you back here soon. Until then, go explore the catalog of Fanny and great songs like “Cat Fever”.

Welcome to our 2nd Sort-Of-Annual Halloween episode! This time we’re exploring the gory details of “D.O.A.” by Bloodrock, one of the most gruesome songs to ever make the charts. In predictable fashion, a song almost designed to get banned from radio & freak out your parents in the ’70’s, the song became a Top 40 hit.

“D.O.A.” (Rutledge-Hill-Grundy-Taylor-Pickens-Cobb) Copyright 1970 Ledgefield Music BMI

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I’m Brad Page and this is the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast Network.

It’s time for our special Halloween edition of the podcast where we explore the terrifying tunes, creepy compositions and sinister singles in celebration of all Hallows Eve.

This time we’re traveling back to 1971 for Bloodrock and their chilling performance of “D.O.A.”

Songs about horrible accidents and death were not unheard of on the pop charts; singles like “Leader of the Pack” and “Deadman’s Curve” date back to the early 60s and those were big hits.

But unlike those songs, there is no romanticism or sentimentality in “DOA”. Bloodrock tries to one up the gloom and horror aspects of bands like Black Sabbath with this gruesome tale of a terrible plane crash.

The band that would become Bloodrock came from Fort Worth, Texas. They performed under a few different names. They were led by Jim Rutledge, who was their drummer and their lead vocalist. In 1969, Terry Knight became their manager. Knight is mostly famous– or infamous is more like it– for managing Grand Funk Railroad. Knight was the one that changed their name to Bloodrock and signed them to Capitol Records. They released their first album, simply called “Bloodrock” in 1970.

Terry Knight convinced Jim Rutledge to quit playing drums and become their lead singer out-front. So by the time the band recorded their second album, 1970, Bloodrock was a six-piece band, including Lee Pickens and Nick Taylor, both on guitars, Stevie Hill on keyboards, Ed Grundy on bass, their new drummer,
Rick Cobb, and Jim Rutledge on Lee vocals.

The new album was called “Bloodrock 2” and “DOA” was the featured track on the album. The album version clocks in at 8 1/2 minutes; it was later edited down to 4minutes and 32 seconds, losing almost half of its original length, and issued as a single in 1971.

Though the song was banned by many radio stations, it still managed to reach #36 on the charts. All six band members share writing credit on the song, but the lyrics were inspired by a real-life experience from lead guitarist Lee Pickens. When he was about 17 years old, he actually witnessed a plane crash.
They took that and turned it into a fictional account with the song telling the story of the immediate aftermath of a plane crash. The song is sung from the first person perspective of one of the victims.

Now, I am almost always preferential to the album version of songs as those usually represent the original intent, the way the song was meant to be heard, and I usually prefer the album versions anyway. But I gotta say, at eight minutes and 30 seconds, that’s pretty excessive for this song. So on this episode, we’re just gonna go with the single version.

So here’s how that version begins with Stevie Hill’s organ part.


Sounds ominous, right? That’s because he’s playing a tritone, which for hundreds of years was called “Diabolus in Musica”– the “Devil’s Interval”.

This very distinct sound is created when you play a flatted fifth note. It doesn’t matter what key you’re in, just take the fifth note of that scale and play it flat; in other words, a half-step lower, or if you’re a guitar player, that would be one fret lower. And that note, in relationship to the root note of the scale, creates a very unsettling mood, almost disturbing… so disturbing, in fact, that for centuries the use of the flatted fifth
was frowned upon by the church.

In more enlightened times, it was used in classical music and in jazz in various ways, but it’s really earned its Devil’s Interval reputation in Heavy Metal. One of the earliest and still the best uses of the Devil’s Interval was in “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath. Check it out:


So what you have here is the root note in this case, a G, followed by an octave, another G, then a D flat, your demonic flatted fifth.


That’s so great. It’s really just two notes, but in relationship to each other, those two notes create such a feeling.


Okay, back to Blood Rock and “DOA”. Let’s hear how they’re doing it.So first, let’s focus on the bass notes. We’re in the key of C, so the first note is a C.


And that is followed by a G flat. There’s your flatted fifth. Let’s hear those two notes in sequence.


From there, it goes to a D, and then right after that, to an A flat. And that A flat in relationship to the D is, you guessed it, a flatted fifth. So in essence, we’re getting double the devil’s interval here.


Now over the top of that, he’s playing a two note pattern that, when you think about it, emulates the sound of an ambulance or police siren. Let’s hear all that together again.


Here’s the first verse.


Here’s the first verse.


The imagery doesn’t get any more pleasant from here. You have to say that one thing that bugs me is that there’s no rhyme in that verse. There’s like four verses in this song, and two of them rhyme, two of them don’t. I’m just kind of picky about that kind of thing.

Anyway, at the break there, we hear an actual siren overdubbed along with that subliminal two note organ part. Let’s pick it back up into the second verse.


Now, did you notice that transition? As we said before, the original version of this song is over eight minutes long, and they edited it way down to get it into this four and a half minute single version. And you can clearly hear and edit there right before the vocal comes in.


That’s a pretty sloppy edit. Let’s play through the second verse.


And that brings us to the chorus.


There are those police sirens again. One of the excuses that radio stations gave for banning the song was that they said drivers listening to the song in their cars could be confused or disoriented by the sirens. But that sounds pretty lame to me. I think they just didn’t like the lyrics.

Here’s the third verse.


Notice how the little hi-hat accent first appears in the left and then on the right.


Let’s bring up the vocals here.


There’s a pretty nice bass part under the chorus. Let’s bring that up a bit.


And the reappearance of those sirens usher us into the final verse. There continue to be some pretty clunky edits leading into each of these verses. On this one you can hear that the beginning of the crash symbol hit is clipped off.


So pretty effective use of the harmony vocals on the chorus. Let’s bring up the vocals one more time.


And here at the end we get some classic tape manipulation to bring it all down.


Bloodrock – “D.O.A.”

Call it shock rock, exploitation, call it cheesy, but back in the day the song was pretty extreme. I’ve read that Goldmine magazine actually called it the worst song ever to be released on vinyl. Though I don’t know if that’s actually true or not, but it was certainly controversial. But it managed to crack the Top 40 and the
“Bloodrock 2” album has sold over half a million copies.

Then, as today… controversy sells.

Thanks for joining us for this Halloween edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. I’ll be back in about two weeks with another new episode. Until then, keep in touch with us on Facebook. Leave comments or reviews on and catch up with all of our previous episodes on our website. or wherever you listen to podcasts. And do me a favor: tell a friend about our show. That is the best thing you can do to support this podcast.

We are part of the Pantheon family of podcasts, along with plenty of other great music related shows. Thanks for listening to this episode on “D.O.A” by Bloodrock.

Trick or treat…


Bettye LaVette is the epitome of perseverance. She cut her first record in 1962 at the age of 16, but it took over 40 years before she received the recognition and respect she deserved. In between, she weathered every injustice that the music business threw at her. But she never gave up, she never stopped working, she never stopped singing… in fact, she just got better. Bettye is more than just a singer; she’s an interpreter who can transform any song into something new & special. On this episode, we focus on a track from her 2007 album The Scene of the Crime, and trace the path that brought her to this album– one of my all-time favorites.

“I Still Want To Be Your Baby (Take Me As I Am)” (Eddie Hinton) Copyright Eddie Hinton Music (BMI) 


So let me ask you a question: You have your favorite songs, right? What is it about those songs that you love? What makes those songs so great? Well, these are the questions that we try to answer here on the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast.

I’m your host, Brad Page, and each episode I pick one of my favorite songs and we listen to it together trying to understand what goes into creating a great song. No musical knowledge is required here, we don’t delve into music theory or technical jargon. All you need are your ears and just a little bit of curiosity.

If I had to pick just a handful of women’s voices for my desert island collection, it would have to include Aretha Franklin, of course, Mavis Staples… and Bettye LaVette.

Many people don’t know Bettye LaVette, but she’s one of the greatest vocalists I’ve ever heard. On this episode, we’ll be listening to Bettye and a song called “I Still Want to Be Your Baby.”

The story of Bettye LaVette is a story of perseverance, of determination, and survival. Bettye LaVette was born Bettye Jo Haskins in January 1946. She grew up in Detroit, and when she was 16 years old, she recorded her first single, a song called “My Man He’s A Lovin’ Man” in 1962. It made it to the top 10 on the R&B charts.


Her next couple of singles didn’t do as well, but she made it back onto the R&B charts in 1965 with “Let Me Down Easy.”


She continued to record singles for various small labels. She recorded in Memphis with the Dixie Flyers and the Memphis Horns, and reached number 25 on the R&B charts with a song called “He Made A Woman Out of Me”, despite the fact that it was banned on some stations because it was deemed a little too sexual for some folks. I love this track, though.


They were planning a full album for Bettye, but the deal fell apart due to conflicts between the producer and the label. Bettye picked herself up and managed to sign a deal with Atlantic Records in 1972. She headed down to the Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama and finally got to record her first full album with the legendary Muscle Shoals rhythm section.

That album was going to be called “Child of the 70s.” It was mastered and prepared for release. There was even a publicity tour scheduled. But at the last minute, the album was shelved. The label called Bettye and said, “We’ve decided not to go forward with this project. Please return your plane tickets.”

You can imagine how devastating that must have been. To this day, nobody really knows why the record was shelved. But Bettye picked herself up again and went back to work.

A few more unsuccessful singles were released. In 1978, she recorded a disco single called “Doin the Best I Can,” which actually became a pretty big disco hit, but Bettye had signed away all of her rights to the song so she didn’t make a penny from it.

She wasn’t going to give up, though. She’d find a way to survive. In 1979, she joined the Broadway cast of “Bubbling Brown Sugar,” and she stayed in that production for four years. She kept recording records here and there all through the 80s and 90s, but none of them got much attention.

Then, a record collector in France had been searching for the master tapes of that 1972 album, “Child of the 70s.” In 1999, he found them. He licensed the recordings from Atlantic and released the album himself. 28 years after it was recorded, Bettye’s first album was finally released. And then people started to pay attention.

Between 2000 and 2006, the crowds grew bigger at Bettye’s shows, the records sold more copies, and the critics raved. Then, in 2007, she returned to the Muscle Shull Studio, now 35 years after her last sessions there to record her next album, and it’s a masterpiece.

Her record label reached out to Patterson Hood and asked him if he was interested in producing Bettye’s album. Patterson is a member of the Drive-by-Truckers, and he’s also the son of David Hood, the bass player from that legendary Muscle Shoals rhythm section. Patterson jumped at the chance to work with Bettye, and he set up the sessions at Muscle Shoals’ Fame Studios.

Patterson lined up a stellar group of musicians, including the rest of the Drive-by-Truckers, along with some of the original Muscle Shoals players. He even got his dad to come in and play on a few tracks.

They called the album “The Scene of the Crime”, acknowledging that she was returning to the place where her ill-fated child of the 70s album was recorded.

The album opens with this song, “I Still Want to Be Your Baby”. And right off the bat, Bettyee establishes who she is with this track. She’s tough, she is who she is, she’ll love you and stick with you through the good times in the bad– but don’t try to change her.

What makes her version all the more interesting is that this song was written by a man, from a man’s perspective. Eddie Hinton wrote this song. He was another one of the legendary players at Fame Studios; he was their go-to lead guitarist. He was also a songwriter.

Eddie Hinton died in 1995 before this album was recorded, so he wasn’t around to play on the record. Otherwise, I bet he would have been there and would have approved wholeheartedly of Bettyee’s interpretation.

The song opens with two guitars, one in the left channel playing a simple riff, the other is in the middle only playing half of the riff an octave lower.

Both guitars are slathered in reverb. This is not fancy digital studio reverb. This is the sound of a real tube-driven guitar amp with its built-in spring reverb. You can really hear that distinctive spring reverb sound on these guitars. And the guitar in the middle also has some tremolo effect on it, set at a relatively fast speed. Let’s listen.


After that four-bar intro, the rest of the band jumps in. There’s a third guitar in the mix, panned a little to the right. There are three guitar players on this album, Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and John Neff, all members of the Drive by Truckers. And I’m not sure who’s playing which parts, but just keep in mind that there are three distinct guitar parts on this song.

The rest of the band includes Shana Tucker on bass and Brad Morgan on drums, also from the Drive by Truckers. So you’ve got the whole Drive by Truckers band backing Bettye on this track. Also on keyboards is none other than Muscle Shoals legend Spooner Oldham.

Let’s pick it back up from the intro.


Bettye LaVette was 61 when she made this record. And I think she’s never sung better. This is not the voice of a young diva. This is the voice of a woman, a woman who’s lived, who’s loved, been hurt, and who’s learned.

Frankly, I wouldn’t be interested in hearing a 20-year-old singing this song. “I’ve been this way too long to change now.” That would just sound ridiculous coming out of the mouth of someone that young. Here, Bettye’s singing, it’s pitch perfect, but the ragged edges of her voice adds gravitas. It rings true. Feels real.

Whatever abilities may diminish with age, the experience that comes with growing older can more than make up for it. As great as Bettyee’s performances from the 60s and 70s were, I think she’s an even better singer now. Here’s the first verse.


The guitars are playing behind the verses actually pretty atmospheric. Let’s listen to a little bit of that.


And that takes us into the next chorus.


I love her phrasing on that last line:


Here’s the second verse, and this is where Spooner Oldham joins in on the electric piano. Listen for that.


This is the closest thing we get to a guitar solo in this song, and I like the interplay between the rhythm guitars here.


Let’s bring Bettye’s vocals up in the mix for this last verse.


That guitar refrain returns, and Bettye does some improvising.


All three guitars begin to play off and around each other:


You can really hear that tremolo on the guitar here at the end.


Bettyee LaVette – “I Still Want To Be Your Baby”

Bettyee doesn’t play an instrument, and she doesn’t write songs. Bettyee does one thing, and she does it better than almost anyone else: she interprets songs. In 2008, she appeared at the Kennedy Center Honors for The Who, and sang a version of “Love, Reign O’er Me” that brought the house down. It was a show-stopping moment.

Bettyee’s continued to make records, including “Blackbirds” in 2020, where she recorded her version of songs by the great black women artists that inspired her. And just last month, September 2023, she released her latest album, Simply Called “LaVette”, that’s a return to the rootsy, bluesy and Americana sounds of this track. It’s probably my favorite album of the year.

Bettyew is 77 years old, a living legend, and still going strong, doing some of her best work today.

Thanks for checking out this episode of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. If you’d like to know more, or share your thoughts, find us on Facebook or on Podchaser, where you can leave a review, rate us, and tell us what you think. And don’t forget to follow the show so that you never miss an episode.
We are part of the Pantheon podcast family– lots of great music-related shows to be found there, so check them out.

We’ll be back in two weeks with another new episode. Until then, go support Bettye LaVette by buying a few of her albums. You will not regret it.


Black Sabbath were at a standstill when it came time to make their 5th album. The ideas just weren’t coming to guitarist Tony Iommi, and without his massive guitar riffs… well, there just wasn’t any Black Sabbath. Weeks were wasted in the studio until he stumbled onto the riff that became “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath“, and then they were off to the races. That song became the opening cut from the album that would bear its name; and the song that would bring that album to a close is “Spiral Architect“, one of the most epic songs the band ever produced. On this episode, we explore the making of this album along with an examination of one of their most ambitious tracks, “Spiral Architect”.

“Spiral Architect” (Words & Music by Black Sabbath) Copyright 1974 Westminster Music Ltd.


Well, welcome back to the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast network. My name is Brad Page, and each episode of this show, I pick one of my favorite songs and we’ll explore it together, listening to all the elements and components that make it a great song. You don’t have to know anything about music theory or be a musician to enjoy the show– no technical stuff here. We’re just listening to the performances, arrangements and production that go into creating a great song.

On this edition of the podcast, we’re listening to the Masters of Metal, the band that created the template for literally thousands of bands that would follow; one of the most influential bands in rock history, and a song that, by any measure, is one of their creative peaks on record. We’re of course talking about Black Sabbath, and a song called “Spiral Architect”.

Guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward and singer John Michael “Ozzy” Osborne came together in Birmingham, England in 1968, first as the Polka Tulk Blues Band that also included another guitarist and a saxophone player. But they soon slimmed down to a four piece and changed their name to Earth.

But after discovering there was another band named Earth, they changed their name to Black Sabbath. As the story goes, inspired by the Boris Karloff movie of the same name, they released their first album in February 1970– on Friday the 13th. of course– though it didn’t come out in the US until June 1. It’s considered by many to be the first heavy metal album, though no one really called it that at the time. But this was something new, something different, something distinct from psychedelia or blues rock. There had been heavy bands before, but Black Sabbath were tapping into something new.


The album sold pretty well. This wasn’t the kind of band that was going to have hit singles, at least it didn’t seem like it at the time. But these were the days when albums mattered. FM radio was at its peak creatively and you weren’t dependent on three-minute pop singles. There were other ways to find your audience.

Less than a year later, they released their second album, “Paranoid”. What can you say about this album? It’s in the pantheon of classic albums. It refined and defined the sound of heavy metal. It reached number one on the UK charts and number twelve on the US charts.


They followed that with “Masters of Reality”, their third album released in July 1971. Think about that. Three albums of all new material, released within a year and a half of each other… all three of them, classic albums. Incredible. And this is not unique to Black Sabbath. This was the pace of the music industry at this time. Artists were under pressure to deliver one, two, sometimes three albums in a year. And it’s unbelievable to see how many artists delivered. They were able to produce album after album of great material in such a short amount of time.

So, of course, Black Sabbath were at it again, releasing their fourth album, “Vol. Four”, in September 1972. They had gone to Los Angeles to record this one, renting a mansion in Bel Air, where the party never stopped. In fact, it followed them right into the Record Plant recording studio. The drugs were beginning to affect the work, but they were able to pull it together for another solid album.


The exhausting cycle of record, then tour, then record, then tour some more, wore on them. And by 1973, they had to cancel a US tour for their own health and sanity. But, guitarist and de facto band leader Tony Iommi was itching to make another record.

Tony was ambitious. He was watching Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Yes, the Rolling Stones and The Who put out one monstrous album after another. And he wanted a piece of that action, too. He was concerned that Black Sabbath was stagnating and he was putting a lot of pressure on himself.

So they headed back to LA, back to the same studio and that same mansion, figuring it worked for them last time. Except this time, it didn’t.

Maybe it was the pressure, maybe it was the drugs. Maybe it was the surroundings or the distractions, probably combination of all of that. But Tony developed some kind of writer’s block. The ideas just weren’t coming. They spent days, weeks working on new material, but nothing came of it. Eventually, Tony gave up and the band returned to England with nothing to show for it.

Back in England, they set up shop in an 18th century Gothic castle that had been outfitted with a recording studio. Of course, the place was rumored to be haunted; sounds like a perfect place for Black Sabbath.

So they got back to work, but for days, it wasn’t any more productive than their sessions in LA. Until Tony came up with the riff that would become the title song of the next record, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”. That was the key that unlocked his writer’s block. And then they were back in business.

They ended up with a really strong album. The record opens with the title cut, an instant Black Sabbath classic. And the album ends with “Spiral Architect”, one of their most ambitious tracks. “Spiral Architect” is credited to all four members of the band: Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Ozzy Osborne. As usual with most Sabbath songs, Geezer wrote the lyrics.

The album was produced by Black Sabbath and engineered by Mike Butcher. The song begins with Tony Iommi’s acoustic guitar. He’s playing a series of arpeggiated patterns that use a lot of open strings on his guitar, which allows certain notes to ring out clear for long stretches.


Then the electric guitar takes over and the whole mood changes where the acoustic guitar has kind of an intimate, melancholy feel to it. The electric guitar riff sounds big and majestic. Sounds to me like there’s an electric guitar on the right and an acoustic a little lower in the mix on the left. Then when the band comes in, there’s another electric guitar added on the left. I’m not sure if the acoustic guitar is still in there or not. See what you think. Here we get a new riff. This one has almost a jazzy prog-rock element to it. I don’t know if they intended it or not, but I think that riff has a spiral feel to it. And then there’s a simple but pretty effective drum fill by Bill Ward that leads us into the first verse. Now let’s hear that all together and onwards into the first verse.


Interesting chord progression behind the verse. Probably not what most people would expect when they think of Black Sabbath. Let’s hear just the instrumental track.

And this is a great vocal from Ozzy. He’s in really good form here. One thing you will always hear on Ozzy vocals is double-tracking. From what I’ve read, he will record one line at a time, and then sing that line again, trying to match it as closely as he can. And he’ll do that, one line at a time, through the whole song. Of course, you can never do it 100% the same, but that is what makes double-tracking special, as opposed to using a short echo or chorus effect ,or digitally copying the part. Those small little differences are what can make double-tracking sound magical.


Next, we land at the first chorus. Musically, this part is great, too. There’s a string section here that really adds some drama. And I like the way Geezer Butler’s bass primarily hangs around one note while the rest of the music swirls around him. Let’s hear just the instrumental tracks first.


It leads back to the main riff at the end of the chorus there. Let’s hear it with Ozzy’s vocals added back in.

Bill Ward is augmenting his drums there with timpani, those big kettle drums that booming sound really adds to the orchestral feel. It just makes that part sound so epic. Let’s back it up a bit and listen for those timpani drums.

Let’s listen to Bill Ward’s drum fill there. And here’s the second verse.

Then comes the second chorus, and the lyrics here are a little different this time around.

You know, Black Sabbath has this reputation for being dark and foreboding, and of course they’ve earned that. But not every song is like that. This song is really life-affirming. Geezer Butler wrote these lyrics sitting on his front yard watching the sun come up… life was good, and I think that’s what this song is about. At least that’s what I take from it. In a world that can often be harsh, you got to learn to appreciate the good.

“Of all the things I value most in life,
I see my memories and feel their warmth
 and know that they are good.”

Let’s hear that full chorus.


That leads us into an extended instrumental section. But there’s no wailing guitar solo in this song. Instead, you’re taken further on this epic journey largely by the strings.

In the credits for this song, besides guitar, Tony Iommi is credited for playing bagpipes. But in his autobiography, “Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath”, he says he never actually played bagpipes on this song. He wanted to. In fact, he bought a set of bagpipes, brought them into the studio and started blowing into them, but nothing came out. He spent hours on it, and eventually decided that these bagpipes must be defective. So he sent them back to the store. They checked them out and said, “there’s nothing wrong with these”. So he took them back into the studio and attached a vacuum cleaner to them, figuring that that would blow some air into them. But the only sound he got on tape was the noise from the vacuum cleaner. After wasting a few more hours on that, he gave up. I love that story.

Instead, they just went with the strings, which were arranged by Will Malones up in the mix.

And now the final verse. The strings are especially great here, too.


Let’s hear the vocals on this final chorus.


Now this end is very intriguing. It builds to this huge climax. Then there’s the sound of an audience applauding that was overdubbed by their engineer, Mike Butcher. He probably pulled that from some sound effects library or something.

Okay, fine. I can see how that’s a nice way to end the song, and the album, with a round of applause. But then the band comes back in, mostly the bass and drums, and just kind of jams for a minute for a short fade-out. Is that anticlimactic or is that representative of the never- ending song, the continuing journey, the endless spiral? You decide.


Black Sabbath – “Spiral Architect”

The album “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” sold well. It became a fan favorite, and actually earned them some good reviews for once. More importantly, though, it’s a favorite among the band members themselves.

In his book, Tony said “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” was the pinnacle. Ozzy called it their “final album”, which of course, it wasn’t– they would make more albums after that– but what he meant was that after “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, they lost their way a bit. It was never the same. There would be good songs after that, but this was the beginning of the end.  Ozzy quit the band in 1977, but came back, and then was fired for good in 1979. Bill Ward left in 1980.

Of course, there would be reunions down the road, and pretty miraculously, all four original members are still alive today at the time of this recording. That’s saying something.

Thanks for joining me once again on the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. We’re not going anywhere– we’ll be back in about two weeks with another new episode. In the meantime, you can find all of our previous shows on our website,, or find us on your favorite podcast app.

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

If you want to support the show, the absolute best thing you can do is to tell a friend about it. Share the show with your music love and friends, because that helps to spread the word.

I can’t wait to get back here and do the next episode, so I will see you soon. Thanks for listening to this edition on “Spiral Architect” by Black Sabbath.

Queen were at the top of their game and weren’t resting on their laurels when they released “Somebody To Love” as a single in 1976.  Building on the layered vocals they pioneered on “Bohemian Rhapsody” the year before, “Somebody To Love” was inspired by Freddie’s love for Aretha Franklin.  On this episode, we examine the various elements of this outstanding track.

“Somebody To Love” (Freddie Mercury) Copyright 1976 Queen Music Ltd. Copyright Renewed All Rights Administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

If you enjoyed this episode, check out our previous show on “Keep Yourself Alive“:
Queen – “Keep Yourself Alive” – The “I’m In Love With That Song” Podcast – Music Commentary, Song Analysis & Rock History (

— Don’t forget to follow this show, so you never miss an episode!


Tie your mother down, because it’s time for another edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. I’m your host, Brad Page, and each episode here on the Pantheon Podcast Network, I pick one of my favorite songs and we dive into it together, listening to all the elements that make it a great song. Don’t worry if you’re not a musician, because we don’t get into music theory or technical jargon, but the performances, the arrangement and the production– that’s all fair game here.

This time around, we’re revisiting a legendary band that, if anything, is more popular and respected today than ever. And this song happens to be one of their biggest hits. It’s Queen, with “Somebody To Love”.

Back in episode number 63, we explored “Keep Yourself Alive”, one of Queen’s earliest songs. If you’d like to hear that show, you can find it on our website or in your podcast feed.

This time we’re visiting Queen during their middle period, when they had just become huge stars; they had released “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and of course, it just knocked everyone out. It was a huge hit and the album that preceded it, “Night at the Opera”, was a masterpiece, in my opinion, one of the greatest albums of the decade.

So you would think the band would feel themselves under tremendous pressure for the follow up, but more than anything, they felt freedom. The success of “Night at the Opera” gave them freedom, financially and creatively. So during the summer of 1976, they headed into their next album with confidence.

They had worked with producer Roy Thomas Baker on the previous couple of albums, but this time they decided to produce the album themselves with the help of sound engineer Mike Stone, who had also worked on their last few albums.

Most of the recording for the album was done at the Manor Studio, an actual manor house owned by Richard Branson, the head of Virgin Records. They wrapped up recording with some sessions at SARM East and Wessex Sound studios. And in December 1976, the album was released.

With another nod to the Marks Brothers, they named this album “A Day at the Races”. The first single from the album was “Somebody to Love”. The song was written by Freddie Mercury and totally inspired by his love for Aretha Franklin. According to guitarist Brian May, Freddie wanted to be Aretha Franklin.

This was Freddy’s version of gospel, or at least as close as an Englishman born in Zanzibar was going to get. And Freddie was really proud of this song. He even said that “Bohemian Rhapsody” was okay, a big hit, but “Somebody To Love” was a better song. The band loved it, too. Brian May remembers thinking,” this is going to be something great”.

The song features Brian May on guitar, John Deacon on bass, Roger Taylor on drums, and Freddie Mercury on piano and lead vocal. The backing vocals are all by Freddie, Brian and Roger. Nobody else, just their three voices overdubbed multiple times.

I remember as a kid, the first time I saw the video for this song, I thought, “wait a minute, there’s only four people in this band”. I figured there had to be at least a dozen people. That was the first song where I learned about overdubbing.

So let’s get into it. If you listen closely, the very first thing you hear is a piano chord, very faintly in the background. I’m going to turn that up as much as I can just so you can hear it a little clearer. I assume that chord was there just to establish the key before they start singing. The next thing we hear is the solitary falsetto voice of Fredie Mercury.


Then the sounds of Roger Taylor, Brian May and Freddie, overdubbed multiple times to create a virtual gospel choir.


There’s a brief pause, and then Freddie comes in on piano. You can hear Roger Taylor hit his hi-hat, and then the bass and drums come in together.

All right, let’s talk about the rhythm or the meter of this song.

Now, I always say that we don’t get into music theory here. We try not to get too technical. And honestly, I’m not really interested in that stuff myself. But hang in there with me here because I want to look at the time signature of this song.

Part of what makes this song great is the feel of the song. And that feel, that groove, that rhythm is all due to the time signature. So let’s talk about it.

Your typical rock or pop song. Uh, most songs really are in 4/4 time. That means four beats per measure. You count 1-2-3-4 and then you loop back around, right? Some songs are in ¾  time. That’s three beats per measure. That’s most commonly associated with waltzes. This song is in 12/8 time.

That sounds complex, but 12/8 time actually has a really natural, flowing feel to it. And the thing that’s kind of cool about it is that it’s sort of a mix or a mashup of, 4/4 and 3/4 time together. It’s kind of like you have a 3/4 feel nestled within a 4/4 rhythm.

So you can count the song out as if it was in 4/4 time, like this: 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4.

But when you go a layer deeper, you can feel the 3/4 rhythm, like this one, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3.

So, simplifying it a bit, you have four groups of three: 1-2-3, 2-2-3, 23-2-3, 4-2-3. So, you end up with this sort of swirling, spiraling feel– it works perfectly for this song.

And a little tip to store away for future reference: If you’re ever listening to a song and you can count it in both 3/4 and 4/4 time, and you’re not sure which one it really is, it just might be in 12/8 time. Now, let’s listen to this first verse:


The first line of that verse, “Each morning I get up, I die a little”, that’s pretty bleak. The lyrics to this song are a little dark. It’s not a joyful song. Let’s focus on the vocals here.


I really like the way Roger Taylor’s drums accent that part. Let’s listen to that.

There’s a little instrumental break before we get to the next verse.

I work till I ache in my bones”. I used to think he sang “Ache in my balls” there. But either way, I get the feeling.


Okay, a couple of things to note here. First, John Deacon is playing a great bass part. And Freddie’s vocals during this section– Incredible.


So great. He keeps that intensity up right into this next section.

This is the first time in the song that we hear Brian May’s guitar. Up until now, it’s just been piano, bass and drums with all the layered vocals. You don’t really realize just how stripped down the instrumentation is. Brian’s been sitting it out so far, but he starts to add some guitar tracks here. Let’s check those out.

I’m hearing three guitar parts, one on the left and one on the right. Both of those are playing pretty much the same thing. And a third guitar part right in the center.

Brian May, one of the great guitar players of all time. Both his style and his sound are immediately recognizable. That’s something that few guitarists really achieve. Some of that sound can be chalked up to his custom made “Red Special” guitar that he built himself, but it’s more than that. Any great guitarist, the sound is in the fingers, and he’d sound like Brian May regardless of what guitar or amp he was playing through. Let’s listen to this solo.


Queen was just one of those bands where every member was at the top of their game. Let’s hear the next section.


Another nice bass run from John Deacon. Let’s go back and hear that.


And let’s go back and listen to just the vocal tracks for this verse.


Of course, this is where they pause for the choral section that starts off soft, and slowly builds. Let’s play through this whole section and just listen to how the vocal layers continue to develop and change each cycle.

Roger Taylor builds up the drum part too, and hand claps are added. If you can listen on headphones here, I recommend it because you can really hear the subtle placement of different vocal layers across the stereo field that really adds depth to this section.


Freddie is just great there at the end. And just when you think the song is over, they kick right back in.


Let’s go back to the final mix, and notice how Freddie is pounding on one note on the piano here.


I love that ending. It’s like he’s drifting off to sleep, just exhausted from pouring his heart out.


“Somebody To Love” by Queen.

As far as I’m concerned, “Night at the Opera” and “Day at the Races” are two of a perfect pair. Two masterpieces. The fact that one band could create two albums like this back-to-back, only a year apart… it’s incredible, and a testament to just how great this band was. There were more great Queen albums to come, but for me, these two albums are the pinnacle.

Thanks for joining me for this edition of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. We are part of the Pantheon Network of podcasts, home to many other shows that celebrate the artists and the music that we all love.

New episodes of this show are released on the 1st and the 15th of every month. So I’ll be back soon with our next episode. Until then, you can listen to all of our previous shows on our website, You can also find this show wherever you listen to podcasts.

You can keep in touch with us on Facebook, just look for the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast and you’ll find us. If you’d like to leave a review or comments, the best place to do that is on And if you’d really like to support the show, the best thing you can do is just tell people about it. Share it with your friends.

Thanks again for listening to this episode on Queen and “Somebody To Love”.

Never heard of Starbelly? You should have. But it’s not your fault. There was a bit of a resurgence of “power pop” bands in the late-90’s/early 2000’s that generated a lot of GREAT albums, but for some inexplicable reason, not much commercial breakthrough (Fountains Of Wayne being one of the few exceptions). Starbelly’s debut album “Lemon Fresh” was simply brilliant, and it’s one of my favorite records. On this episode, we dive into “This Time“, the song that opens this album, along with a special guest to tell the story– Cliff Hillis, Starbelly guitarist & vocalist who played on this album.

“This Time” (Dennis Schocket) Copyright 1998 Eleven Twenty Ate Music/ASCAP

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

When The Shazam tumbled out of Nashville in 1994, they should’ve landed as one of the biggest rock bands in America. Instead, they merely left us with 5 fantastic albums of hard-rocking power pop that lodged them on my list of all-time favorite bands. If you’ve never heard them before, here’s your chance to discover their greatness with a song called “On The Airwaves” – certified one of the Coolest Songs In The World.

“On The Airwaves” (Hans Rotenberry) Copyright 1994, 1999, 2000 Clut Guckle Music (SESAC)

— Don’t forget to follow this show so you never miss an episode.


Welcome to the “I’m in Love With That Song” podcast, where we use the wisdom of Solomon, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus… but maybe not the speed of Mercury, to explore the magic and mysteries of music.

I’m Brad Page, your host here on the Pantheon Podcast network. Each episode, I pick a favorite song of mine and we delve into it together, discovering what makes it a great song. To date, we’ve explored well over 100 songs; this episode features a song that’s been on my to do list since day one. This is one of my favorite songs, from one of my favorite bands ever. You maybe never heard of this band before, and that’s okay, in fact, I envy you a bit because you get to discover this band for the first time. This is The Shazam with a song called “On The Airwaves”.


Shazam was founded around 1994 by Hans Rotenberry. Hans fell in love with music at an early age. His first two favorite singles were Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline” and “Love Me Do” by the Beatles– off to a pretty good start, I think.

He’d been playing in bands as a guitarist and writing songs, but he was never able to find the right singer. So, probably out of frustration more than anything else, he decided to try singing these songs himself. So he went into the studio with drummer Scott Ballew and producer Brad Jones to record some demos. It worked out well enough that they decided to make it official and put a band together. Hans and Scott recruited a 16-year-old bass player named Mick Wilson, and The Shazam played their first gig on August 11, 1994.

They built an audience the old-fashioned way, by playing shows, including the big power pop festivals. And in 1997, they released their first self-titled album. There’s not a bad song on it. Here’s a track from that record. It’s called “Oh No”.


In 1999, they released their second album, again produced by Brad Jones. It’s called “Godspeed The Shazam”. At this point, they weren’t sure if they’d ever get to make another record, so they really went for it on this album. It’s an all-out, go-for-broke effort. Another killer album. Check out this track, it’s called “Sunshine Tonight”.


Around this time, they were joined by an unofficial fourth member, Jeremy Asbrock. Jeremy had been working with them as a recording engineer and he was a friend of the band, but he was also a great guitar player and he would join them on stage to fill out their sound.

The band headed to the UK for some pretty high-profile gigs, including a BBC event at Abbey Road, and opening for Paul Weller at Earl’s Court.

The record label was looking for some new material to release, something they could get out quick, capitalize on some of the success they were having and make a few bucks to offset the cost of that UK trip. The band didn’t have anything ready, but Hans had a handful of songs that he was working on for a solo album, which they quickly turned into Shazam songs. Hans also had the idea to record a cover version of the Beatles “Revolution Number 9”, which was kind of a dare, but the record company said OK. And so the Shazam did one of the most audacious things I’ve ever heard: their take on “Revolution Number 9”.


So they took their version of “Revolution 9”, along with those repurposed solo songs and a couple of old Shazam leftovers that they re-recorded, and they put them together on a seven song EP that they called “Rev 9”, which was released in 2000.

Now, one of those leftovers was a demo from 1995 that they had never finished. They polished it off and used it as the opening track for the “Rev 9” EP. Little Steven, on his radio show “Underground Garage”, would choose this song as one of the coolest songs in the world. In fact, years later, when Little Steven would release a series of CD’s that collected all of the coolest songs in the world, for Volume One, song number one, he chose this song: “On The Airwaves”.


“On The Airwaves” was performed by Scott Ballew on drums, Mick Wilson on bass (playing an 8-string bass, actually), and Hans Rotenberry on lead vocals and guitars. He also played a Theremin and a bunch of other sound effects, as we’ll hear. The song was produced by Brad Jones.

The song begins with what I think is one of the greatest opening riffs of all time. It’s a big sounding, epic introduction that just demands attention, and that rattling tambourine is a nice addition. Let’s play through the intro. After two times around on the riff, Scott does a drum fill and Mick’s bass follows the guitar.

Then we hear the first of those sound effects at the end of that last chord. Hans is going to pluck at that single guitar string to hold the tension before letting loose with the title of the song, and they break into the main riff.


Speaker C: Essentially, that’s a 4-note part. But there’s so much going on, it sounds massive. First, let’s hear the bass guitar. Mick is playing an 8-string Hamer bass through a Big Muff fuzz pedal.

Then there’s an overdubbed guitar part in the left channel on the final mix. I believe this was played on a Hamer Standard, through either a Vox AC 30 amp or a Peavey Classic 30. There’s also a Big Muff pedal on this guitar, too. And then there’s a bunch of overdubbed instruments playing that same riff. There’s a couple of Theremins, a Mellotron on the saxophone setting, a vocoder, and a bunch of guitars run through various effects.


It makes for one glorious cacophony of sound waves blasting out in all directions.

The Shazam never made a video for the song, but if they did, Hans envisioned them in some post-apocalyptic world, driving across the wasteland, broadcasting their message to all the last surviving misfits.

Here comes the first verse. There’s a slight pause, and then Hans comes in with the vocals. Sounds like he’s doubled his vocals here. Scott is doing some great drumming all through this song. Let’s go back and listen to his drums, especially those tasty little fills.


We hear a couple of guitar parts there. There’s a rhythm guitar part. Let’s hear that. And then there’s a second guitar playing this part:


And for good measure, let’s hear what the bass is doing there. You can really hear that he’s playing an 8-string bass here. Let’s go back and hear that altogether.


Here’s the second verse, and I love this verse.

“Radio of the deevolution, what do you say?
The lunatics, the hit parade,
Don’t listen, Mayday Mayday
Talking about the only thing we know, on the airwaves .

Let’s listen to that vocal track first.


I love that. Now, underneath that, there’s still all of these crazy sound effects going on. The theremin, mellotron, radio static, manipulated tape echo… There’s even a piano part which you’ll hear towards the end. Let’s listen to all of that.


I can picture them barreling across the post-apocalyptic wasteland, broadcasting this out. Let’s go back to the final mix and hear it all together and see what you can pick out in the background now that you know it’s there.


That brings us to the bridge, which begins with a pretty heavy riff.

So let’s explore this next part. First, I just want to listen to Scott Ballew’s drums, because he’s playing great during this part. And there’s more of those radio effects going on, including some nonsense vocals, very low in the background.  Let’s hear a bit of that.


And let’s pick it up when the vocals come in.

“Late at night we’re singing tunes
from deep inside our basement rooms,
lurking on our secret frequency
and in the dark red meters glow a message to the freaks”

And now there’s a nice little piano part under that, and from there, it builds back up for the final refrain

[Music]Notice the tambourine here. There’s the sound of a classic tape echo here. Probably an Echoplex, manipulating it by hand, slowing the tape down to get that descending echo. And let’s listen to what the bass is doing here at the end. You can really hear that 8-string in full effect.


Play that back all the way through, with what I assume is a little bit of vocoder at the end.

After the “Rev 9” EP, The Shazam released another full length album called “Tomorrow The World” in 2002. That’s a great album…in fact, that may be my favorite Shazam album.

After that, Mick Wilson left the band and they recruited a new bass player, Mike Vargo, and Jeremy Asbrock finally joined the band as an official full-time member. They released one more album, “Meteor”, in 2009. That album was produced by Mack, a legendary producer who worked with Queen and ELO, just to name a few.

But unfortunately, things just came to an end, as they often do. I wish I understood why some artists catch on and others don’t. In my opinion, The Shazam were one of the best bands to come along in the last 30 years. Seriously, I would stack them up against any band that’s made a record in the last 30 years. They should have sold a million records and played stadiums, but it just didn’t happen.

The good thing, though, is that this music is still out there. You can find these CDs, you can stream all of these songs –and I want you to do it. Go find The Shazam. You will love this music, I promise.

Bassist Mick Wilson more or less retired from the music biz, though he does still play around. His replacement, Mike Vargo, is still playing and he’s actually got a pretty successful career going, including playing Paul McCartney in a McCartney tribute project.

Sadly, drummer Scott Ballew took his own life in April 2019.

I want to thank both Jeremy Asbrock and Hans Rotenberry for helping me with this episode. Hans was especially generous with his time. Jeremy has earned a great reputation as a hired gun guitarist and he’s just launched a new band called Rock City Machine Company. Check them out.

And Hans, he put out an album with Brad Jones in 2010 called “Mountain Jack”. It’s a great record.  And as we speak, he’s compiling material for a deluxe reissue of the “Godspeed The Shazam” album. And when that’s available, I’d love to have him on the show. Maybe we can do a track by track or something. That’d be fun.

Anyway, thanks to both Jeremy and Hans for sharing their stories with me, and I thank you for listening. I’ll be back in two weeks with another new episode. If you’d like to get caught up on all of our previous shows, you’ll find them all on our website,, or listen to the show on your favorite podcast app. We’re on Amazon, we’re on Apple, we’re on Google Podcast, we’re on Spotify and Pandora and iHeartRadio… you name it, we’re on there.

Remember to support the artists that you love, like I love The Shazam, by buying their music, and you can support this show by just telling people about it. Won’t cost you a thing, and it really helps spreading the word. I’ll see you soon. Thanks for listening to this episode on The Shazam and “On The Airwaves”.

Gary Moore was never a household name, but among guitar players, he was a legend.  He reinvented himself multiple times over his 40-year career: first as a hard-rocker with Thin Lizzy, then a jazzy prog-rocker with Colosseum in the 70’s; pioneering a modern heavy-metal sound in the 80’s, and playing the blues in the ‘90’s.  On this episode, we delve into a track from his 1987 Celtic-flavored hard rock album, “Wind Frontier”.

“Over The Hills and Far Away” (Gary Moore) Copyright 1986 EMI 10 Music Ltd. All rights in the US and Canada controlled and administered by EMI Virgin Songs, Inc

— This show is just one of many great Rock Podcasts on the Pantheon Podcasts network. Get ’em while they’re red hot!  And don’t forget to follow our show, so you never miss an episode!

Welcome, Citizens of the World, to the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast on the Pantheon Podcast Network.

One thing that’s shared by almost every culture, in every part of the world throughout history, is that music plays an important part in celebration, in worship, in recreation, in making even the hardest jobs more bearable. Music, it’s part of life, and if you’re from a culture that doesn’t celebrate music… well, I feel sorry for you. On this podcast, we celebrate that greatest form of music: the kind that ROCKS.

Every edition of this podcast, I pick one of my favorite songs and we explore it together on our never-ending quest to discover what goes into making a great song.

Last episode, we spent some quality time with one of my favorite bands, Thin Lizzy. One name that kept popping up on that show was Gary Moore. I wanted to spend a little bit more time with Gary Moore, one of the greatest guitarists of his generation.

He had a long and always evolving history; his career lasted over four decades, most of it underappreciated, I think. On this episode, we’re going to take a look at a song from right about in the middle of his career; this is a song called “Over The Hills and Far Away”.


A few years back, I did a show on 5 of my all-time favorite guitar solos– that was episode number 25 of this podcast, if you want to go back and check it out. One of those solos was by Gary Moore. He had all the flash and technique, but unlike many hot-shot players, especially those shredders from the 80’s, Gary had a fantastic sense of melody. He could play blindingly fast, but he could also move you emotionally with a melodic performance.

Robert William Gary Moore was born April 4th, 1952 in Belfast, Ireland. His father gave him his first guitar when he was 10 years old. Interestingly, Gary was a lefty, but he learned to play the guitar right-handed. In 1968, he joined Skid Row– no, not the metal band with Sebastian Bach; this Skid Row was a bluesy rock band from Ireland, with Phil Lynott (later of Thin Lizzy) on vocals, although Lynott left the band after recording only one single. But this is where Lynott and Moore first worked together.

A few years later, when Eric Bell left Thin Lizzy, Gary joined them, but it only lasted a few months. He did end up recording three tracks with them, though, in 1973. Gary recorded his first solo album, and he continued making solo records all through the 70s, and some of them are really good.

At the same time, he joined the prog rock group Coliseum II, and he would rejoin Thin Lizzy two more times– once as a fill-in guitarist for a tour in 1977, and then as a full-fledged member in 1979. Thin Lizzy’s “Black Rose” album is the only album of theirs where Gary plays on every track, but to many Lizzy fans, they consider that their best album. But it didn’t last long… Gary quit Thin Lizzy for the last time just a few months later.

Gary’s solo albums continued to get better. “Run for Cover”, released in 1985, is a great record– it’s probably my favorite Gary Moore album. Then in 1987, he released the album “Wild Frontier”. Phil Lynott had died the year before, and the album is dedicated to him. Maybe in tribute to Phil, maybe because Gary was just feeling connected to his Irish roots, but some of the tracks on this album have a real Celtic feel to them. It’s an interesting blend of hard rock and traditional elements.

Case in point is this song; but before we get into “Over The Hills and Far Away”, let’s talk about the lyrics.

This song tells the story of a man jailed for a crime he didn’t commit, but he can’t reveal his alibi… because on the night of the crime, he was sleeping with the wife of his best friend. Rather than reveal that secret, he keeps quiet and ends up serving a 10-year sentence for robbery. Now, this is a classic type of folktale, in fact, it’s very reminiscent, maybe even inspired by an old Lefty Frizzell song from 1959 called “Long Black Veil” that song tells a similar story of a man who’s hanged for murder because he wouldn’t admit that he was with his best friend’s wife at the time of the crime. “Long Black Veil” has been covered many times: Johnny Cash recorded it on his classic album “Live at Folsom Prison”. Here’s a bit of his version:


My favorite version of “Long Black Veil” is by The Band; it’s on their legendary album “Music From Big Pink”:


Here on “Over The Hills and Far Away”, Gary Moore puts his own spin on the story.

“Over The Hills and Far Away” was written by Gary Moore and produced by Peter Collins, who produced albums for Billy Squire, Bon Jovi, Queensryche, Alice Cooper and Rush. Gary plays all the guitars and does all the vocals. Neil Carter handles keyboards and Bob Daisley is on bass. For the drums… well, there’s actually nobody credited with playing drums on the album, and that’s because nobody did play drums on the album. All the drum sounds are programmed; it’s a drum machine. No actual recorded drums on the record at all. It’s a bit unusual for a hard rock record. There are no credits on the album for drum programming either, but it was probably done by Roland Carriage. When Gary went on tour for the album, he brought along Eric Singer on drums.

The song begins with some tribal drumming, and remember, these are all electronic drums:


You can hear some of those traditional sounds building under the vocal


Then as soon as that vocal line finishes, the song explodes with a Celtic melody.


Though there aren’t any specific instruments credited on this track, I believe there are some traditional acoustic instruments in there, along with the keyboards and the guitar. Let’s hear them all together:


And that leads us right into the second verse, where Gary’s heavy guitar chords come in:


Gary throws in a little bit of classic 80s whammy bar there. Let’s go back and pick up right before that part:


Some keyboards are added here.


So here’s the first chorus; harmony vocals are added on the first and third lines– that’s a typical technique we hear all the time– and the drums are playing an interesting pattern:


And the guitar sound has gotten really big. It’s a pretty simple part actually, the guitar is just playing one chord every two beats, but I’m guessing there are multiple guitar tracks layered on top of each other here to really thicken up the part.


I like that little bass part there.

Now, on the second verse, there’s a new keyboard part. Let’s hear that, and listen for the little guitar part that’s added on one phrase, duplicating the keyboard:


There’s some really nice guitar work under this part of the verse. I love the way it plays against the keyboard part. Notice the background vocals, too:


We’re coming to the bridge, and there’s a definite change in mood. It’s almost wistful… you can picture the prisoner looking out of his cell window, longing for freedom…


Those Celtic instruments return, and we’re about to hit a break where those instruments are right in your face in the mix. It’s really powerful.


This brings us to the guitar solo.


And here’s a classic a capella chorus; you just gotta do it on a song like this.


There’s some flanging on the percussion here.

And there’s a key change there; it jumps up a whole step from E to F sharp. Key changes are a classic way to inject some new energy into a song.


Let’s check out some of Gary’s vocals here at the end.


Gary Cuts loose on guitar a little bit more at the end here for the long fade


“Over The Hills and Far Away” – Gary Moore

After this album, he’d record one more record and then walk away from the sound of hard rock and heavy metal. He shifted to playing the blues. In fact, his first all-blues album in 1990 was the best-selling record he ever had, and with a few exceptions, he would focus on the blues for the rest of his career.

In February 2011, Gary died in his sleep from a heart attack; he was only 58. But he left behind over 20 Studio albums, plus all the work he did with other bands and artists. It’s quite the legacy.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. There’s another one coming right up! Let us know about your favorite Gary Moore and Thin Lizzy songs. Share with us on Facebook or on places like Podchaser; you can rate us, write a review, and share the show with your friends. And don’t forget to follow the show, so that you never miss an episode.

We’re part of the Pantheon Media Network of podcasts, and there’s a ton of other great shows waiting for you on Pantheon– check them out!

Always remember to support the music and the artists that you love by buying their music. And thanks for listening to this episode on Gary Moore and “Over The Hills and Far Away”.

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.