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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut album was a long time coming. The group formed in 1964 and performedunder several names before becoming Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969. Because of touring commitments, they didn’t release an album until 1973.

Among the songs on that album was “Simple Man,” which was included over the objections of the band’s producer, Al Kooper. He thought the song was weak and urged the band to drop it.

The band members disagreed. Reportedly, Ronnie Van Zandt escorted Kooper to his car and told him to stay there until the song was recorded. Kooper complied.

Simple Man

By Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1973
Written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zandt

Mama told me when I was young,
“Come sit beside me, my only son.
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this, it’ll help you, some sunny day.

“Oh, take your time. Don’t live too fast.
Troubles will come, and they will pass.
Go find a woman, and you’ll find love.
And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above.

“And be a simple kind of man.
Oh, be something you love and understand.
Baby, be a simple kind of man.
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can.

“Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold.
All that you need is in your soul.
And you can do this, oh, babe, if you try.
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied.

“And be a simple kind of man.
Oh, be something you love and understand.
Baby, be a simple kind of man.
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can.”

Oh, yes, I will.

“Oh, don’t you worry, you’ll find yourself.
Follow your heart and nothing else.
And you can do this, oh, babe, if you try.
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied.

“And be a simple kind of man.
Oh, be something you love and understand.
Baby, be a simple kind of man.
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can.

“And baby, be a simple, real simple man.
Oh, be something you love and understand.
Baby, be a simple kind of man.”

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/simple-man.mp3

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The alt-rock band Concrete Blonde released its debut album in 1986. The song “True” was included on the album twice, once with lyrics and again as an instrumental.

In 2002, after breaking up and reforming, as so many bands do, ho-hum, Concrete Blonde released “Group Therapy,” an album that includes “True, Part III.”

In 2012, the band disbanded again. Johnette Napolitano wrote in a farewell message, “Music lives on. Keep Listening. Long after we’re gone, the music will still be there.” Indeed.

As good as they were, Concrete Blonde somehow never clicked with the public and rose to the top. Such a shame.

In my subjective opinion, all three versions of “True” are well done, artistically and technically.

Which is why I present them to you herewith.

True

By Concrete Blonde, 1986
Written by Johnette Napolitano and James Mankey

When I’ve had enough,
I’ll get a pickup truck,
And I’ll drive away.
I’ll take my last ten bucks
Just as far as it will go.

Sometimes I’m easily fooled.
I take a painful step,
And I get knocked back two.
I do what I can,
And it’s all I can do.
But I’m true.

And if I had the choice,
I’d take the voice I got,
‘Cause it was hard to find.
You know I’ve come too far
To wind up right back where I started.

And they tell me who I should be.
I’ll never let those monkeys
Make a mess out of me.
I give all I am,
And it’s all I can do.
Ah, but I’m true.

One more sunset.
Lay my head down.
True.
One more sunrise.
Open my eyes up.
True.

And then they talk you up,
And then they talk you down,
And you begin to doubt.
Sometimes the reasons seem so very far away.

Ah, but I’d stop breathing today,
‘Cause if I can’t walk proud,
I’d rather walk away.
I do all I am, and it’s all I can do.
But I’m true.

I’d give all I am and give it to you.
True.
So true.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/concrete-blonde-true.mp3

The instrumental version:

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/concrete-blonde-true-instrumental.mp3

True, Part III

By Concrete Blonde, 2002
Written by Johnette Napolitano and James Mankey

And I
Will leave this life,
And I will know
I’ve done the very best I can.

And I
Will leave behind
Strain and pain
And take the blame for who I am.

And I,
I tried,
Tried to find a way
To hang it all together,
Oh, together.

And when
I leave this life,
What will you say of me,
You, who never knew my heart?

For I
Will leave behind
The sound of a woman
Who knew what was true
From the start.

And I,
I wanna slide
Out of my old hide
All clean and free and better.

Yeah, I
Wanna ride
Off into a wild new morning,
Off into forever.

Forever.

Oh, I,
I wanna ride
Off into some wild new morning,
Off into forever.

Oh, I,
I wanna slide
Out of my old hide
All clean and free and better.
Oh, forever.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/concrete-blonde-true-part-iii.mp3

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Tune o’ the Day

The expression “somewhere over the rainbow” means, in effect, you believe something better lies ahead. In 1939, that thought became a song by Judy Garland in the film “The Wizard of Oz” and thereafter gained considerable fame.

Over the years, numerous singers have released versions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” But none did it better than the late Hawaiian singer-songwriter-activist Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.

His name is pronounced “Kah-me-ka-vee-voll-olay.” In Hawaiian, it means “the fearless eye, the bold face.” Israel was known to fans by the nicknames Bruddah and Iz.

In 1988, Iz reportedly went to a studio at 3AM, where he sang and played a medley of “Rainbow” and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” recording it in one take. In 1990, the song was released on his debut album.

Iz became wildly popular, and NPR dubbed him “the voice of Hawaii.” Sadly, he died in 1997 at age 38 from respiratory failure due to the obesity that had plagued him since childhood. At his funeral, 10,000 people watched as his ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World

By Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, 1988
Written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg / Written by Bob Thiele and George Weiss

Okay, this one’s for Gabby

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh,
Ooh-ooh-ooh.
Ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh,
Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh.

Somewhere over the rainbow,
Way up high.
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Once in a lullaby.

Oh, somewhere over the rainbow,
Blue birds fly.
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Dreams really do come true, ooh-ooh,
Ooh-ooh-ooh.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star,
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where trouble melts like lemon drops,
High above the chimney tops,
That’s where you’ll find me.

Oh, somewhere over the rainbow,
Blue birds fly.
And the dream that you dare to —
Oh, why, oh, why can’t I? I? I?
I? I? I?

Well, I see trees of green, and
Red roses, too.
I’ll watch them bloom for
Me and you.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

Well, I see skies of blue,
And I see clouds of white.
And the brightness of day
Highlight the dark.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people passing by.
I see friends shaking hands,
Saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying, “I, I love you.”

I hear babies cry and I watch them grow.
They’ll learn much more
Than we’ll know.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world, world.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star,
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where trouble melts like lemon drops,
High above the chimney tops,
That’s where you’ll find me.

Oh, somewhere over the rainbow,
Way up high.
And the dream that you dare to,
Why, oh, why can’t I? I? I? I?
I? I? I?

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh,
Ooh-ooh-ooh.
Ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh,
Ooh, ah-ah, yeah, ah-ah, ah-ah, ah, ah.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/somewhere-over-the-rainbow-its-a-wonderful-world.mp3

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Tune o’ the Day

Depeche Mode is an English alt-rock/new wave/synth-pop band formed in 1980. They’ve had 54 songs on the UK singles chart and 17 top 10 albums. They’ve sold over 100 million records.

The band’s name famously comes from the former French fashion magazine Dépêche Mode.

Everything Counts” from 1983 uses a funky mixture of instruments and sounds to call out corporate greed and corruption. Or maybe it’s recording industry greed and corruption in particular.

Either way, the point is valid, and the song makes it clearly, directly, and with not a shred of subtlety. I like that.

Bonus fact: In 1983, songwriter Martin Gore established a company called Grabbing Hands Music Ltd., now based in London and still going strong.

Everything Counts

By Depeche Mode, 1983
Written by Martin Gore

The handshake seals the contract.
From the contract, there’s no turning back.
The turning point of a career in Korea,
Being insincere.
The holiday was fun-packed.
The contract, still intact.

The grabbing hands
Grab all they can,
All for themselves, after all.
The grabbing hands
Grab all they can,
All for themselves, after all.

It’s a competitive world.
Everything counts in large amounts.

The graph on the wall
Tells the story of it all.
Picture it now.
See just how the lies and deceit
Gained a little more power.

Confidence taken in
By a sun tan and a grin.

The grabbing hands
Grab all they can,
All for themselves, after all.
The grabbing hands
Grab all they can,
All for themselves, after all.

It’s a competitive world.
Everything counts in large amounts.
Everything counts in large amounts.

The grabbing hands
Grab all they can.
Everything counts in large amounts.
The grabbing hands
Grab all they can.
Everything counts in large amounts.

Everything, everything.
Everything, everything.

The grabbing hands
Grab all they can.
Everything counts in large amounts.
The grabbing hands
Grab all they can.
Everything counts in large amounts.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2021/12/everything-counts.mp3

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Tune o’ the Day

I read a sarcastic comment somewhere that David Bowie’s 1983 hit “Modern Love” probably was made up in the studio on the day he recorded it. Maybe so. The lyrics are baffling and don’t seem to go anywhere. Drugs, maybe?

On the other hand, the tune is catchy, danceable, and well-regarded. Bowie said the lively arrangement was inspired by the sound of Little Richard. It does have a sort of manic feel to it.

In 2006, the alt rock/folk/country band The Last Town Chorus slowed the tempo of “Modern Love” to a crawl and released what is, in my humble opinion, an excellent cover.

The Last Town Chorus, by the way, started out in 2001 as a duo consisting of singer Megan Hickey and a guitarist. After a year or so, Megan ditched the guitarist, and she still tours as LTC today using hired backup.

Modern Love

By The Last Town Chorus, 2006
Written by David Bowie

I catch the paperboy,
But things don’t really change.
I’m standing in the rain,
But I never wave bye-bye.
But I try. I try.

There’s no sign of life.
It’s just the power to charm.
I’m lying in the wind,
But I never wave bye-bye.
But I try. I try.

Never gonna fall for modern love.
It walks beside me.
It walks on by.
It gets me to the church on time.
Church on time.
It terrifies me.
It makes me party.
It puts my faith in God and man.
God and man.
No confession.
No religion.
It don’t believe in modern love.

It’s not really work.
It’s just the power to charm.
Still lying in the rain,
But I never wave bye-bye.
But I try. I try.

Never gonna fall for modern love.
It walks beside me.
It walks on by.
It gets me to the church on time.
Church on time.
It terrifies me.
It makes me party.
It puts my faith in God and man.
God and man.
No confession.
No religion.
It don’t believe in modern love.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2021/11/modern-love-ltc.mp3

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Tune o’ the Day

Toad the Wet Sprocket has been one of my favorite bands forever. Tucked away among the music files on my desktop is a folder entitled “Rocky’s Favorite Toad Songs” that contains 13 tunes.

Usually, I like a Toad song because of the melody. Toad lyrics tend to be forgettable, but the band has a knack for songs that are pleasing to the ear.

Lyrics-wise, the song below is an exception. It’s about a man’s horrified reaction to a gang rape. It’s chilling and awful, and Toad went out on a limb by making it. Not all of their fans approved.

But it’s memorable stuff, and certainly one of “Rocky’s Favorite Toad Songs.”

Hold Her Down

By Toad the Wet Sprocket, 1991
Written by Glen Phillips and Todd Nichols

Take her arms and hold her down
And hold her down
And hold her down
And hold her down
Until she she stops moving.

Take her arms and hold her down
And hold her down
And hold her down
And hold her down
Until she she stops kicking.

And they don’t know her,
But what the f**k.
They’ve got nothing else they can do.
And they’ve no reason,
But still they come.
And I would have a hard time facing you.
This crime — I’ve seen what a man can do.

Take her arms and hold her down
And hold her down
And hold her down
And hold her down
Until she she stops screaming.

Take her arms and hold her down
And hold her down
And hold her down
And hold her down
Until she she stops breathing

And they don’t know her,
But what the f**k.
They’ve got nothing else they can do.
And they’ve no reason,
But still they come.
And I would have a hard time facing you.
This crime — the shame of what a man can do.

I want to die
For all the hell that you’ve been through.

Take the night back.
All they’ve stolen.
All we took from you.

Take the night back.
All they’ve stolen.
All we took from you.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2021/11/hold-her-down.mp3

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Tune o’ the Day

The fictional astronaut Major Tom was introduced in 1969 in the David Bowie song “Space Oddity,” which Bowie said he wrote after watching the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” while stoned. Bowie also alluded to Major Tom in three other songs.

In 1982, German singer Peter Schilling continued Tom’s story in the song “Major Tom (Völlig Losgelöst)“. Translation: Major Tom (Coming Home). Schilling’s song, in which Major Tom decides that space is his home and breaks off contact with Ground Control, was released in English in 1983.

In 2009, the synthpop band “Shiny Toy Guns” covered the Schilling song for a TV commercial promoting the Lincoln MKZ. It turned out good enough to release as a single — and a pretty good one, at that.

Major Tom (Coming Home)

By Shiny Toy Guns, 2009
Written by Peter Schilling

Standing there alone, the ship is waiting.
All systems are go. Are you sure?
Control is not convinced,
But the computer has the evidence.
No need to abort.
The countdown starts.

Watching in a trance, the crew is certain.
Nothing left to chance. All is working.
Trying to relax up in the capsule.
“Send me up a drink,” jokes Major Tom.
The count goes on.

Four, three, two, one — Earth below us,
Drifting, falling, floating weightless,
Calling, calling home.

Second stage is cut. We’re now in orbit.
Stabilizers up, running perfect.
Starting to collect requested data.
“What will it affect, when all is done?”
Thinks Major Tom.

Back at ground control, there is a problem.
“Go to rockets full” — not responding.
“Hello Major Tom, are you receiving?
Turn the thrusters on. We’re standing by.”
There’s no reply.

Four, three, two, one — Earth below us,
Drifting, falling, floating weightless,
Calling, calling home.

Across the stratosphere, a final message:
“Give my wife my love.”
Then nothing more.

Far beneath the ship, the world is mourning.
They don’t realize that he’s alive.
No one understands, but Major Tom sees.
Now the light commands. “This is my home.

I’m coming home.”

Earth below us, drifting, falling,
Floating weightless, calling home.

Earth below us, drifting, falling,
Floating weightless, calling home.

Earth below us, drifting, falling,
Floating weightless, calling, calling home.

Home.
Home.
Home.
Home.
Home.
Home.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2021/10/major-tom.mp3

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Tune o’ the Day

You gotta love a song that includes the line, “There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.”

According to Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, he began writing this song several years earlier, when Syd Barrett was kicked out of the band for excessive drug use and mental issues. The tune finally appeared on the album “The Dark Side of the Moon.”

Waters said the famous opening line “The lunatic is on the grass” referred not to marijuana, but to ignoring signs that ask you to keep off the grass. Waters also observed that most of us are mentally unbalanced to some degree and could easily end up meeting on the “dark side of the moon.”

No wonder this tune is a favorite of psychologists and philosophers.

Bonus fact: the laughter sprinkled throughout the song came from Peter Watts, the band’s road manager, who died of a drug overdose in 1976. His daughter is actress Naomi Watts.

Brain Damage

By Pink Floyd, 1973
Written by Roger Waters

The lunatic is on the grass.
The lunatic is on the grass.
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.
Got to keep the loonies on the path.

The lunatic is in the hall.
The lunatics are in my hall.
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor,
And every day the paper boy brings more.

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon,
And if there is no room upon the hill,
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings, too,
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

The lunatic is in my head.
The lunatic is in my head.
You raise the blade. You make the change.
You re-arrange me ’til I’m sane.

You lock the door
And throw away the key.
There’s someone in my head, but it’s not me.

And if the cloudbursts thunder in your ear,
You shout, and no one seems to hear.

And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes,
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2021/08/brain-damage.mp3

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In 2000, the song “Things Have Changed” from the movie “Wonder Boys” won Bob Dylan both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for best original song. Dylan said he wrote it because he sympathized with the protagonist in the 1995 novel of the same name.

The story is a black comedy about an author and college professor (Michael Douglas) having an epic midlife crisis. His wife has left him, and his mistress is pregnant. His first novel years earlier was critically acclaimed, but the widely-anticipated second novel eludes him.

He smokes so much weed that he suffers regular blackouts. He is responsible for the death of his boss’s dog. His life is a mess and getting worse, but he soldiers on.

Dylan’s song is a succession of images about hopelessness, futility, and impending doom. It’s a great fit — even though the story somehow stumbles to a happy ending.

Things Have Changed

By Bob Dylan, 2000
Written by Bob Dylan

A worried man with a worried mind.
No one in front of me, and nothing behind.
There’s a woman on my lap, and she’s drinking champagne.
Got white skin. Got assassin’s eyes.
I’m looking up into the sapphire-tinted skies.
I’m well dressed, waiting on the last train.


Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose.
Any minute now, I’m expecting all hell to break loose.

People are crazy, and times are strange.
I’m locked in tight. I’m out of range.
I used to care, but things have changed.

This place ain’t doing me any good.
I’m in the wrong town. I should be in Hollywood.
Just for a second there, I thought I saw something move.
Gonna take dancing lessons, do the jitterbug rag.
Ain’t no shortcuts. Gonna dress in drag.
Only a fool in here would think he’s got anything to prove.


Lot of water under the bridge, lot of other stuff, too.
Don’t get up, gentlemen. I’m only passing through.

People are crazy, and times are strange.
I’m locked in tight. I’m out of range.
I used to care, but things have changed.

I’ve been walking forty miles of bad road.
If the bible is right, the world will explode.
I’ve been trying to get as far away from myself as I can.
Some things are too hot to touch.
The human mind can only stand so much.
You can’t win with a losing hand.


Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet.
Putting her in a wheelbarrow, and wheeling her down the street.

People are crazy, and times are strange.
I’m locked in tight. I’m out of range.
I used to care, but things have changed.

I hurt easily. I just don’t show it.
You can hurt someone and not even know it.
The next sixty seconds could be like an eternity.
Gonna get low down, gonna fly high.
All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.
I’m in love with a woman who don’t even appeal to me.


Mr. Jinx and Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake.
I’m not that eager to make a mistake.

People are crazy, and times are strange.
I’m locked in tight. I’m out of range.
I used to care, but things have changed.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2021/07/things-have-changed.mp3

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Tune o’ the Day

The alt-rock band 4 Non Blondes lasted five years, and their first (and only) album “Bigger, Better, Faster, More!” was on the charts for almost a year. Still, the group qualifies as a one-hit wonder because they were known almost solely for the song “What’s Up?”

In all fairness, it’s a memorable tune in which lead singer Linda Perry demands to know “what’s going on?” and calls for revolution.

FYI, the term “what’s up?” isn’t in the song, but Marvin Gaye laid claim to “What’s Going On?” in 1971, so the Blondes had to compromise.

There is some debate about what, exactly, is going on. Some say the song reflects the frustrations of a woman making her way in a man’s world. Also, the song is widely considered a “gay anthem,” inasmuch as Perry is openly lesbian, so there’s that angle. Beyond that, society has plenty more ills to scream about at the top of one’s lungs.

After the group disbanded late in 1994, Perry began a career as a songwriter and record producer that is still going strong. She has produced and written songs for Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Pink, KT Tunstall, Brandi Carlile, Celine Dion, Courtney Love, and Cheap Trick.

She has co-written songs with Adele, Pat Benetar, and Dolly Parton. Plus, she founded two record labels. Perry was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015. Quite a career.

What’s Up?

By 4 Non Blondes, 1992
Written by Linda Perry

25 years, and my life is still
Tryin’ to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination.

I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man,
For whatever that means.

And so I cry sometimes when I’m lying in bed,
Just to get it all out, what’s in my head,
And I — I am feelin’ a little peculiar.

And so I wake in the morning, and I step outside,
And I take a deep breath, and I get real high,
And I scream from the top of my lungs,
“What’s going on?”

And I say, hey, yay, yay,
Hey, yay, yay,
I said “Hey — what’s going on?”

And I say, hey, yay, yay,
Hey, yay, yay,
I said “Hey — what’s going on?”

Ooh, ooh,
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.

Ooh, ooh,
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.

And I try.
Oh, my God, do I try.
I try all the time
In this institution.

And I pray.
Oh, my God, do I pray.
I pray for things all day.
For revolution.

And so I cry sometimes when I’m lying in bed,
Just to get it all out, what’s in my head,
And I — I am feeling a little peculiar.

And so I wake in the morning and I step outside,
And I take a deep breath and I get real high,
And I scream from the top of my lungs,
“What’s going on?”

And I say, hey, yay, yay,
Hey, yay, yay,
I said “Hey — what’s going on?”

And I say, hey, yay, yay,
Hey, yay, yay,
I said “Hey — what’s going on?”

And I say, hey, yay, yay,
(Wake in the morning and step outside)
Hey, yay, yay,
(Take a deep breath, and I get real high, and I scream)
I said “Hey — what’s going on?”

And I say, hey, yay, yay,
(Wake in the morning and step outside)
Hey, yay, yay,
(Take a deep breath, and I get real high, and I scream)
I said “Hey — what’s going on?”

Ooh, ooh,
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.

25 years and my life is still
Tryin’ to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination, mmm.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/whats-up.mp3

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