I almost forgot to get ready.
Stupid move. Taking stupid time.
So, I’ll give you one of the best work-related songs out there.
By one of the kings of Arena Rock.
It’s 38 years old now, and it’s still a great song that pokes fun at rock musicians in a vein similar to Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing”. Lampshading how “easy” it is to become a famous rock star. Even though it’s not as serious as Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” (which must be one of the most mis-used songs in all of history…) it’s subtler than it, because people still fail to see how the lyrics describe that while it’s easy for BTO to just do nothing all day, they had to work their asses off to get there.
Add to this that it’s a power and fun packed song, and you get an instant classic.
[expand title=”Lyrics”]You get up every morning
From your alarm clock’s warning
Take the 8:15 into the city
There’s a whistle up above
And people pushin’, people shovin’
And the girls who try to look pretty
And if your train’s on time
You can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay
If you ever get annoyed
Look at me I’m self-employed
I love to work at nothing all day
And I’ll be…
Taking care of business every day
Taking care of business every way
I’ve been taking care of business, it’s all mine
Taking care of business and working overtime
If it were easy as fishin’
You could be a musician
If you could make sounds loud or mellow
Get a second-hand guitar
Chances are you’ll go far
If you get in with the right bunch of fellows
People see you having fun
Just a-lying in the sun
Tell them that you like it this way
It’s the work that we avoid
And we’re all self-employed
We love to work at nothing all day
And we be…
[Spoken] Take good care of my business
When I’m away, every day whoo!
This might get a really, really, really long series. A really, really, really long one.
I write too fucking many tangents, don’t I? Yes. Yes I do.
This is about saxophones.
And why I miss them in contemporary music.
And one of the most epic saxophone parts in rock music must be in the track I’m about to post. If you know any other great examples… Hit me with them in the comments section!
But first, listen to the awesome song here. [It’s the video version, which is two minutes shorter, taking some breath away from this song, but still being perfectly awesome in itself!]
[expand title=”Lyrics”]Windin’ your way down on Baker Street
Light in your head and dead on your feet
Well another crazy day
You’ll drink the night away
And forget about everything
This city desert makes you feel so cold.
It’s got so many people but it’s got no soul
And it’s taking you so long
To find out you were wrong
When you thought it had everything
You used to think that it was so easy
You used to say that it was so easy
But you’re tryin’
You’re tryin’ now
Another year and then you’ll be happy
Just one more year and then you’ll be happy
But you’re cryin’
You’re cryin’ now
Way down the street there’s a lad in his place
He opens the door he’s got that look on his face
And he asks you where you’ve been
You tell him who you’ve seen
And you talk about anything
He’s got this dream about buyin’ some land
He’s gonna give up the booze and the one night stands
And then he’ll settle down there’s a quiet little town
And forget about everything
But you know he’ll always keep movin’
You know he’s never gonna stop movin
Cus he’s rollin’
He’s the rollin’ stone
And when you wake up it’s a new mornin’
The sun is shinin’ it’s a new morning
You’re goin’ home.[/expand]
This song has a particularly great origin story. Instead of re-telling it here, click on the Song’s name. It’s short enough, and it involves jamming musicians and corporate lawyers. Just got, read it. I’ll wait for you.
Told you it was funny, didn’t I?
Now to the song. It opens in a really weird way. Like the opening tune to a 70s medical drama. Looking at its date of inception, that isn’t surprising. But it then immediately transforms into those awesome, crystal-clear and entrancing saxophone tones. This sax riff is probably the most known sax riff world wide. I’m willing to bet that each and every one of you knows it, even though you’ve never heard the song in its entirety. The guitar solo later on is also a damn-near masterpiece. The way they portray it in the video is perfectly fitting for the mood of this song.
Sunglasses, laid back, utterly in-the-moment. Giving it its fullest and best. … The way you should live life, if you ask me.
The song as a whole is parts soothing and parts upbeat. In a really good mixture. It’s generally more of a summer song that way, for me, but it’s also a “nightside” song. Test it out. Get together with some friends for a party lasting into the night and put this song when you’re all relaxed and slightly quieter. Smiling into your drinks, remembering fond memories or looking back at the last, great conversation. Put this song in RIGHT THE FUCK THEN. And watch people smile some more. I guarantee those smiles with the right crowd of intimate, good friends.
I also want to take the last verse for myself and the ending of this year and the upcoming beginning of the next.
“And when you wake up it’s a new mornin’
The sun is shinin’ it’s a new morning
You’re goin’ home.”
This song’s also a small oddity. It’s not all that in-tune with the rest of the album. As such, I wouldn’t recommend the whole album to a friend. I really wouldn’t. It’s my cup of tea, but it’s… On the edge. Most of you wouldn’t like it. BUT! (And that’s a MC Frontalot kind of but!) But go to Amazon or iTunes and buy this song. You won’t be disappointed. :)
Oh, yeah. Remember that party where you should put this song on?
Follow it with this one, and just… Float away.
I also recommend good Whiskey as the drink-soundtrack to this chillness-soundtrack.
Dave Stewart & Candy Dulfer – Lily Was Here | 1989 | Smooth Jazz
And with something truly epic today. Something now 40 years old and filled with spirit and energy that is so often simply lacking or minimized in contemporary rock music to maximize profit and audience appeal.
I want to introduce those of you who don’t know it yet to “The Battle of Evermore” by Led Zeppelin, from their fourth album. The one that also featured “Stairway to Heaven”. I’m not showcasing Stairway to Heaven today because of two reasons. One: Almost everyone I know, knows this song. Two: It would take more time than I have today to put all my thoughts about it to the screen.
Led Zeppelin – The Battle of Evermore [IV] | 1971 | Rock
[expand title=”Lyrics”]Queen of Light took her bow, And then she turned to go,
The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom, And walked the night alone.
Oh, dance in the dark of night, Sing to the morning light.
The dark Lord rides in force tonight, And time will tell us all.
Oh, throw down your plow and hoe, Rest not to lock your homes.
Side by side we wait the might of the darkest of them all.
I hear the horses’ thunder down in the valley blow,
I’m waiting for the angels of Avalon, waiting for the eastern glow.
The apples of the valley hold, The seeds of happiness,
The ground is rich from tender care, Repay, do not forget, no, no.
Dance in the dark of night, sing to the morning light.
The apples turn to brown and black, The tyrant’s face is red.
Oh war is the common cry, Pick up you swords and fly.
The sky is filled with good and bad that mortals never know.
Oh, well, the night is long the beads of time pass slow,
Tired eyes on the sunrise, waiting for the eastern glow.
The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath,
The drums will shake the castle wall, the ring wraiths ride in black, Ride on.
Sing as you raise your bow, shoot straighter than before.
No comfort has the fire at night that lights the face so cold.
Oh dance in the dark of night, Sing to the morning light.
The magic runes are writ in gold to bring the balance back. Bring it back.
At last the sun is shining, The clouds of blue roll by,
With flames from the dragon of darkness, the sunlight blinds his eyes.
This song started as a jam session with a Mandolin and because Robert Plant has been reading Scottish folklore and the members all liked to let some Tolkien love flow into the song. Then they decided that it would work better as a duet and took the wonderful (and wonderfully eccentric and tragic) Sandy Denny (Ex-Fairport Convention) onto the track, and even gave her her own symbol on the album sleeve (Yes, IV was the album that started Led Zeppelin’s now trademark symbols. Read up on the history of how it was produced, it’s fairly interesting and fascinating to see that the sort of “indie music” mentality that’s coming up more and more today was inside Led Zeppelin as early as 1970/71.)
And the song just… Works.
It’s folk, and it’s rock, and it’s powerful, and it’s warm.
It starts slow and almost ponderous, picks up the pace, allows itself to rest a bit again and then rides into the finale with swords raised and voices loud. It underscores the story told with the way it is structured and the way the vocals are used. Emphasis and accentuation are put in with instruments, lyrics and strength of voice. – This seems basic, no? Sadly, not all bands really use this to full effect nowadays. (I could put in another hate-screed against autotuning in here, but… Just imagine me foaming at the mouth in anger and fury against said abuse of technology.)
So, I miss this. Not only the way that even exceptionally young musicians (Plant was 23 at the time) were able to improvise and jam and create something honestly beautiful and something that wasn’t aligned with most of their other material (Another thing I really hate: Corporate pressure to keep signed bands “on target” and not letting them develop their own voice and style fully and without hindrance). I also miss big-name rock bands going for themes of history, folklore and fantasy. This has been all but pushed away to Metal, Goth and the various X-Folk genres and sub-cultures. It would be refreshing if a modern, successful band were to record one or two songs inspired by Tolkien, Herbert or even Roddenberry or Lucas. Something that would marry a good story, a blend of emotions and a wider array of musical instruments and even styles.
And if there’s such a band out there, today, then please, by all means, point me towards them!
But first, take a few minutes of your time and listen to this gem.
And then go to iTunes or Amazon and buy this album. It’s so very much worth it. It has songs for a wide array of emotional states.