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Popeye (not the sailor)

Posts: 155
Reply with quote  #61 
The undeniably essential Hank Williams singing about his future wife Cassie Mae.


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Posts: 1,873
Reply with quote  #62 
You’ve chosen all blockbusters, Al.  They are all quite different, though.  I transitioned from late 50’s to the early 70’s growing up.  That is the nearest and dearest of musical times to me.

My very first essential was the Everly Brothers, “All I Have to Do Is Dream”.  “It was the only single ever to be at No. 1 on all of Billboard's singles charts simultaneously, on June 2, 1958.” (Wikipedia)  I started school that September.  I think I was already smart.


Here are my votes this week:

 Gold - The Beach Boys – “Surf’s Up”.  It may not be Rock and Roll but it is one of the best songs ever.  I was happy to get to hear it last summer several times.
 Silver – Elvis Presley - “Suspicious Minds”.  “Suspicious Minds” has that great vocal sound.  Is that a Bill Porter produced echo effect? I grew to be an Elvis fan.  This song helped.
 Bronze – The Supremes – “My World Is Empty Without You”. Great song here, too.  The world was already changing, just two years after the Beatles, which were my second essential group.  
 Tin – The Rolling Stones – “Honky Tonk Women”. I recognize the greatness here, but I’m not the world’s most natural Stones fan.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.”

Larry Franz

Posts: 1,864
Reply with quote  #63 
Hank and the Everly Brothers, essential for sure.

For me, Neil Young is also essential. I liked Buffalo Springfield and knew who he was, but never became a Neil fan until that night in the early 90s when I was in the car and "Rockin' in the Free World" came on. I could do without some of his acoustic/folky stuff, and I've never been a big fan of guitar rock in general, but I never get tired of Neil playing guitar, the louder the better. I'd like to know why his guitar playing appeals to me so much. Does he play it differently than other people? At times, his voice isn't the best either, but he's written some beautiful songs that he sings wonderfully. At this point, Neil Young comes in at #2 on my list of essential artists.

First, a Neil Young song my friend Dean told me I had to hear in 1966:

Buffalo Springfield, "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing" (lead vocal Richie Furay)

From their second album: "Expecting to Fly", 1967 (starts quietly)

Neil live with Crazy Horse:

"Cortez the Killer", Weld, 1991

"Hey, Hey, My, My (Into the Black), Rust Never Sleeps, 1979

"After the Gold Rush", live

Tom Tobben

Posts: 1,148
Reply with quote  #64 

By Al's and Lee's definition:
 "For anyone to be essential for ME personally...they will have had to have made both a gigantic, significant and  meaningful contribution/positive difference to me and to my life as I've lived it. They also will have contributed in an ongoing way to, and for, the positive well-being of a significant number of others...[like millions and millions of others]"

I'd have to say only two artists have been truly essential to me over my long span of music-listening years -- 1. the Beatles (group and solo) and 2. the Beach Boys/Brian Wilson. Both groups/artists were major musical and personal influences and inspirations during my growing up years and have continued to be relevant and important to me throughout my adulthood.

Beyond them, there are a handful of other major artists whom I've deeply admired and followed closely throughout their long (or in certain cases all-too-brief) musical careers that I would also consider essential, but not at the same level as the artists above. But all of these other artists/groups influenced me in various substantive ways:

Bob Dylan
Bruce Springsteen (and sometimes w. E Street Band)
Frank Zappa (and sometimes w. the Mothers)
Neil Young (and sometimes w. Crazy Horse, Stray Gators, etc.)
Stevie Wonder
Rolling Stones
Steely Dan

There are certainly plenty more excellent artists whose music I've greatly admired and have collected, but this would be my first cut of the most impactful artists to me throughout my life.

As for my votes this week, they are based on the specific songs Al listed, and not just the artists overall:

Gold -- "Surf's Up", Beach Boys. Here's something I wrote here on the Brian Wilson website some years ago about this sublime piece of music, excerpted from a short essay that I wrote titled "Songs of Innocence and of Experience -- William Blake and Brian Wilson, and the Significance of 'Surf's Up'":

...To me, Brian's ultimate vision of the duality of innocence and experience in life is most exquisitely expressed in his and Van Dyke Parks' musical and poetic masterpiece, "Surf's Up”. In that song, we see most of the lyrics saturated with negative imagery about the difficulties of life and a deeply flawed world ("blind class aristocracy . . . the pit and the pendulum . . . columnated ruins . . . the music all is lost for now . . . the laughs come hard . . . adieu or die . . . " and finally the most telling lines "A choke of grief, hard-heartened I, beyond belief, a broken man too tough to cry.")

 After blasting us with this endless barrage of negative imagery (and the reinforcing melancholy melody and instrumentation) about the difficulties of life and the imperfections of human society, Brian finishes the song by offering us a final, compelling, and majestic vision of innocence, optimism, and spiritual rebirth that ultimately offers us hope ("Surf's up, aboard a tidal wave, come about hard and join the young and often spring you gave. I heard the word, wonderful thing, a children's song...their song is love and the children know the way".)

In the end of the song, this vision of innocence, hope, and spiritual rebirth wins out and carries the song to its majestic, uplifting climax with the resounding repeated choruses of "The child is father of the man." Borrowing this famous line from the British Romantic poet William Wordsworth  (in his well-known poem "My Heart Leaps Up"), Brian provides us his ultimate vision of innocence and hope, and that this vision can carry us through the many difficulties that the experiences of life throw our ways.

Silver -- "Honky Tonk Woman", Rolling Stones. One of their very best and most iconic songs, including some of those unforgettable Keith Richards guitar riffs. Just one of many classic Stones songs from their best years from the mid-60s through late-70s, up through 1978's Some Girls, one of my all-time favorite Stones albums.

Bronze -- "Suspicious Minds", Elvis. One of his true classics. I do have to agree with the John Lennon comment above that Elvis best work was his genre-shaping early rock and roll stuff in the mid/late 50s before he went into the army. After he came out, his management and record label tried to turn him into a pop star and movie star, which shifted him away from his early rock and roll / rockabilly / R&B roots. After the Beatles and British Invasion had landed in the US, by the mid-60s Elvis' music had become almost irrelevant. The only other period where Elvis really impressed me was around the time of his ELVIS comeback special on TV, when he had a string of excellent hits (If I Can Dream, Memories, Suspicious Minds, In the Ghetto, Don't Cry Daddy, Kentucky Rain) in a period of just over a year. After that Elvis became a Las Vegas celebrity in glittery jumpsuits and eventually a bloated parody of himself before his untimely death.

Tin -- "My World Is Empty without You", Supremes. Just one of their long string of pop hits in the 60s, before Diana's diva streak and internal personal changes led to the group's decline. For me, this song was just one of a string of catchy pop/soul hits by the Supremes, but certainly not "essential" in the way the other songs or artists above were during that era. These days, old Motown artists like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye might be considered essential, but the Supremes have fallen to being just one of many big groups/artists who were in the robust Motown stable.

Excellent battle theme and songs, Al, and a good thought-provoking week, in terms of musical groups or artists who really were influential in our lives beyond simply being good entertainers with lots of hit songs and albums.

And bonnie, I do remember well Sylvia's "Nobody". It was a Top 40 hit here for a couple months in late 1982, reaching #15 on the pop charts and #1 on the country charts. Though this was her only pop crossover hit in the US, Sylvia (from Kokomo, Indiana, near Indianapolis) had 18 top 40 country hits between 1979 and 1986, including 10 songs that made it into the top 10 on the country charts.

Over and out!

Cindy Hood

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Posts: 1,517
Reply with quote  #65 
Dang, Al!  They're all really great ones this week!  This is going to be a tough decision.

But, I'll go with this order (though it ain't easy!)

GOLD: Surf's Up  by the Beach Boys- It's kid of hard to tell Brian from Carl vocals sometimes, but this one seems like a Brian lead.  I like Carl's lead better, but hey!  It's Surf's Up.  Very unique composition and Brian's mastery at work here.

SILVER:  Honky Tonk Women by the Rolling Stones.  A classic rock and roll goodie and never gets old for me.

BRONZE:  My World Is Empty by the Supremes. This is one of my most favorite songs of theirs.  

TIN/PEWTER:  Suspicious Minds by Elvis.  It's a great song and it certainly doesn't belong in last spot, but someone out of these four gems had to go last.

My final answer.

"They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God".
Larry Franz

Posts: 1,864
Reply with quote  #66 
Speaking of Mr. Bruce Springsteen, here are three of his essential (extremely important) songs performed live.

"Thunder Road"

"The River"

"Born to Run" (a video edited quite nicely)

Verden McCutcheon

Posts: 458
Reply with quote  #67 

         Season 7 Week 28...Essential Songs Essential Artists

                 1)The Beach Boys....Its a shame this great track didn't get released in 1967 as it should have been

                 2)Elvis.........Love his singing on this legendary track

                 3)The Rolling Stones....Hard to believe I had to Paint it Bronze..Tough Week

                 4)The Supremes....Perhaps one of the finest songs ever to go tin !

                                  My Essentials are

                                  1)The Beach Boys
                                  2)The Beatles

                                  3)Pink Floyd
                                  4)The Doors

                                                  Excellent Choices Al
Darren J. Ray

Posts: 3,404
Reply with quote  #68 
Tom, I enjoyed your evaluation of 'Surf's Up'. I'll have to listen again. 

Cindy, yep, Brian. But that's obviously Carl with 'canvass the town and brush the backdrop' the first time, at 0:32-0:35. It's a composite of the 1966 and 1971 recordings, as released on The Smile Sessions, in 2011. 

Great week, Al. 

Hoping we get lots of voters in order for these songs to progress. 

Al Forsyth

Posts: 3,489
Reply with quote  #69 
Since I'm on the road this weekend I'll have to vote earlier than usual.

Gold standard to Brian and the Boys and a song of complete brilliance which was so far ahead of it's time that it can still confound.

Silver to the mighty Stones and a song that gets you right away.

I'll tie the return of Elvis and the great Holland-Dozier-Holland song.

My bummer this week was NOT to be able to put the Beatles into this as one of my essentials - and so it is.  I probably would have gone Strawberry Fields as gold. 

Thanks for going essential this week and keep it going up until the final placing - usually Monday morning here - on the road again for me. 

Some "other" versions/visions:

A diamond necklace played the pawn...
Darren J. Ray

Posts: 3,404
Reply with quote  #70 
Good votes, Al. 

I share your disappointment about 'Strawberry Fields...' and Beatles records. 

Until such a time that UMG changes its policy - or we perfect a way to share songs on the net without infringing copyright - the Battle will stay compromised. 

But it's great to see 'Suspicious Minds' entered.

Hope voters are digging the full version I put up (at post #3). 

Sure glad Mick's trousers didn't fall down. (We didn't need to be told twice, Mick.)

And you will only ever find drummers like that in Vegas! 
bonnie bella

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Posts: 2,032
Reply with quote  #71 
My votes.

GOLD - TBB.  How could it be anything else?  There should be a disclaimer on this song, something like this; "Warning - do not listen if you are feeling down and out, this song can have a strong effect".  Brian showing us his incredible capabilities, and an incredibly special song.   My essential BB's would be Don't Worry Baby, although that would only be the one at the top of my list for Brian and the boys. 

SILVER - Elvis.  Great song, great sound, incredible voice, this was a hard song to rate, having heard it well beyond the point of overkill.  Very recently there was a rather exciting Elvis sighting at Graceland.  An octogenarian Elvis was grappling with the hose lines across the front lawn, shifting topsoil in a wheelbarrow, and doing the fingers at cameras.  I thought he looked suspiciously like the gardener, but maybe my mind is not suspicious enough.  Essential Elvis?  That's Alright Mama.

BRONZE - Diana Ross and the Supremes.  Their world is empty without hair.  Who could forget Diana Ross, who still has a lot of hair and always gets frisked twice at the airport.  They sound like singing dolls, which is a good thing.  I explored these guys through a greatest hits collection a very long time ago and loved them.  Great driving music!  Essential Supremes?  Here they are, looking like dolls too in the first clip.

TIN - Stones.  Very tough to place these boys at the bottom, but I'm not a huge fan of this song.  Something about the Stones has never quite rung true for me.  Maybe too carefully orchestrated?  I remember that I was disappointed to find they included private school boys with put on accents.  Anyway, even though they are generally pretty good fun, this song is one I don't care for as much.  Essential Stones.

Essential kiwi music (for me.)  Goldenhorse.


Thanks Al, a great week!  Now, how do we get John B to host?  [smile]


Clowns divorce: custardy battle.     Simon Munnery

bonnie bella

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Posts: 2,032
Reply with quote  #72 
Al, that is a fabulous live performance from Elvis.  He looks great in his early jumpsuit era.  Makes you realize how young he was when he died, and what a total waste that was.

I've always wondered with people like Elvis, if they could go back would they choose their extreme fame and short life, or no fame and a long one.  Wonder what Elvis would have picked?

(I'm also relived Mick's trousers stayed up.)


Clowns divorce: custardy battle.     Simon Munnery


Posts: 234
Reply with quote  #73 

Gold - My World Is Empty Without You - The Supremes
Silver - Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley
Bronze - Surf’s Up - The Beach Boys
Tin - Honky Tonk Women - The Rolling Stones


Cantina Margarita

Posts: 347
Reply with quote  #74 
Hi guys,

back from Denmark. My face is filled with stubbles (becoming really grey now), and my razor's charging device doesn't seem to turn up from the luggage. My head is filled with cars, roads, northern girls, beaches, dunes, farms, youth, ageing, music business, imprisoned collabs, travel strains, and worries about The Man. I'd be glad to read something about excellent shows at best shape in the near future - it's not that I didn't like the show I've been seeing, it's just a general worry. That's why my voting will be minimalistic this week. In the short run, I'm more interested in other topics on the board.

This week is a "best of the rest" competition to me. You'll never guess what's GOLD (only kidding).

Suspicious Minds, Elvis
... a guy who, too, badly would have needed a time capsule, with a very sentimental and untypical song.

Dirty Diana + her group
... village funfairs of are always a great memory, and I've seen lots of them in my stubble-free phase

Honky Tonk Woman, Stones
... reminds me of the !!!GREEEEAAAAAT!!![rofl][crazy][cool] Wild Honey performance I had the honour to witness a few days ago, which would have advanced way higher.


paul g adsett

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Posts: 1,360
Reply with quote  #75 
not had much occasion to listen to this week's bunch,
what with minimal internet down in cornnwall and the bw brighton gig,
(but listening to peter hook and playing 'love will tear us apart'
reaching us from the festival up the road as i type).

gold: 'surf's up'
- how could most anything match up to this number
(well, i could list a few, but, thereagain, too few...)?

silver: 'suspicious minds'
- well, this one could give the gold a r n for its money.
one of the very few elvis numbers i really really like.
he's in finest form and it's a great production.
as an aside,
our musician chum kevin montgomery is son of bob,
(who amongst other things played as, buddy and bob,
and wrote with buddy holly - 'heartbeat''wishing'  'love's made a fool of you'...)
and his mum is carol, session singer who sang on this,
'in the ghetto' and other elvis songs of this period.
quite a pedigree!

bronze: 'honky tonk women' 
- loved it at the time,
though never a favourite rolling stones number.
reminds me, now, too much of tawdry parties
where someone decides to put this on to get people up'n'dancing.
i've had a note from my mum to excuse me dancing
since way before this was ever released...

'my world is empty without you'
- alas, a hollow, poor supremes track
given the wealth of most excellent numbers y'could've chosen,
whether by h-d-h or not
(though there's some worse utter d ross dross on the album this is on).
a bit of a lull between some magnificent 64 / 65 hits
and the trio of great 66 / 67 singles,
before ms ross got her name in lights
and made yet more great singles before this lineup parted ways.
don't really like the orchestra weedling away.
don't really like the too, too repetitiveness of the arrangement.
don't like the fade.
vocals? not her best.
backing vocals not prominent enough.
what do i like about it?
the rubberband bass and drum fade intro.
the way the parping brass enters (but immediately tire of it).
they've all done better.


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