Fortunately, I don’t feel like I’m dying!
PATRICK SWAYZE, 1952-2009
While waiting at the checkstand at the grocery store last night, I found myself glaring at a sleazy tabloid rag that read ‘Patrick Swayze goes home to die’ and thought to myself, “Well, he must be doing better if that’s the lie they’re publishing.” Guess the sleazoids finally got one right, after all. While I wouldn’t quite rank Swayze up there with screen legends like Tom Hanks or Clint Eastwood, he definitely had his moments—good actor, decent personality, and was willing to take risks, like playing a drag queen in To Wong Foo…. Dare I say it? THAT took some balls! Dirty Dancing was his pinnacle of success, of course, or maybe it was Ghost, although I have to admit I’ve never watched that one all the way through. Swayze was much older than I realized, too—he was already 35 when he did Dirty Dancing (playing a guy in his mid-‘20s), and up until he got sick recently, he looked at lot closer to my age (45) than 57. Strange irony, too, that in a guest appearance on "M*A*S*H" in the early ‘80s, Swayze played a soldier who was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. Done way too soon.
SPEAKING OF PEOPLE WHO DIED (DIED)…
Psuedo-Punk singer Jim Carroll, who wrote and sang the infamous “People Who Died” in 1980 qualified for his own song over the weekend. I seem to remember that song got a lot of airplay on the old KY-102 here in K.C. right up until John Lennon was killed, then suddenly it wasn’t quite so funny anymore—not that it ever really was all that funny, anyway. Later, Jim…
THE FAB 25(S)
While we’re still on this Beatles kick and since I ranked their LPs last week, it seems only fitting to rank their Top 25 songs. Only thing is, since their musical style changed so radically over the eight years or so they were active, I find it kinda weird comparing “I Am The Walrus” and “She Loves You”, so I prefer to do two sets of rankings, one for the early straight-ahead Rock ‘N’ Roll period (aka Beatlemania) and their later more experimental studio years. And it's no indictment on certain songs if they didn't make my lists (like "Twist And Shout", "Ticket To Ride", "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" or "While My Guitar Gently Weeps")—it just means there's so many more songs that I like even better. So without further ado, I give you my favorite Beatle tunes:
The Mop-Top Years
1) I Feel Fine
2) I Saw Her Standing There
3) She Loves You
5) Paperback Writer
6) Eight Days A Week
7) Can’t Buy Me Love
8) Please Please Me
9) You Can’t Do That
10) A Hard Day’s Night
11) Day Tripper
12) She’s A Woman
13) Rock And Roll Music
14) I Want To Hold Your Hand
15) (tie) Kansas City/Long Tall Sally
17) Tell Me Why
18) Roll Over Beethoven
19) If I Fell
20) The Night Before
21) I Should Have Known Better
23) It Won't Be Long
24) All My Loving
25) This Boy
The Moustache Years
1) Magical Mystery Tour
2) Hey Jude
3) A Day In The Life
4) Helter Skelter
5) If I Needed Someone
6) Get Back (Let It Be album version)
7) Back In The U.S.S.R.
8) I Am The Walrus
9) Lovely Rita
10) Dr. Robert
11) Sgt. Pepper/With A Little Help From My Friends
13) Lady Madonna
14) Abbey Road segue ("Because" through "The End")
15) Revolution (single version)
16) All You Need Is Love
17) Tomorrow Never Knows
18) Hello Goodbye
20) She Said She Said
22) Here Comes The Sun
23) The Ballad Of John & Yoko
24) Nowhere Man
25) Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
And while I’m at it…
The Bottom 10
1) Long Long Long
2) Wild Honey Pie
3) Good Morning, Good Morning
4) Savoy Truffle
6) Maggie Mae
7) Revolution 9
8) Love You To
9) Within You, Without You
10) Why Don't We Do It In The Road?
And I must make a revision on my Beatles album list—I now place Abbey Road at #1 and Revolver at #2. I’d forgotten that Revolver got points off for George Harrison’s sitar song, “For You To”. Sorry, kids, but sitars grate on me the same way accordions and bagpipes grate on other listeners. However, Revolver still ranks #1 one for best Beatles album cover, followed by Abbey Road, With The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper and Rubber Soul, in that order. Honorable mention goes to the 1976 Rock ‘N’ Roll Music compilation album as well.
THIS COULD BE HEAVEN OR THIS COULD BE HELL
I just finished reading the autobiography of former Eagles guitarist Don Felder, Heaven And Hell, and found it most enlightening. Beforehand, I knew very little about the early days of the band—in particular original guitarist/banjo player Bernie Leadon and bassist Randy Meisner—let alone Felder himself, whom his friend Leadon recruited into the band during the On The Border sessions in 1974. Now that I know more about the role he played in the band, it’s apparent that Don Felder is a much better guitarist than I ever gave him credit for being. He’s the one who masterminded the Eagles’ most famous song, “Hotel California”, and is more prominent on most of their big hits from 1976 onward than I realized—I always assumed the ever-enigmatic Joe Walsh was their main man on guitar during that time.
The Eagles started off as an equal partnership, but as time wore on, money, fame and drugs (not necessarily in that order) corrupted co-founders Glenn Frey and Don Henley, and they essentially lorded over the band—they were “The Gods” as Felder often refers to them in the book. One-by-one, DH and GF basically kicked Leadon, Meisner and Felder to the curb over the years when those three ceased kissing their butts. While I respect Mr. Henley as a songwriter and absolutely love some of his stuff (“Dirty Laundry”, “Get Over It”, “Man With A Mission”, “The Heart Of The Matter”, “New York Minute”, et al), I’ve long suspected he was an arrogant dick, which Felder confirms in his book. However, I was mildly surprised to learn that Mr. Frey is an even bigger douche than Henley, based on Felder’s words. By most outward appearances, Frey always seemed like an alright guy to me, but then again, I never followed the Eagles all that closely back in the day. Hell, Frey and Henley can barely stand each other, which goes a long way in explaining why the only thing that seems to motivate them to tour or make a new record these days is a huge payday. It’s amazing such a dysfunctional band could put out any music at all, much less such top-shelf stuff like the Eagles did in the ‘70s. They definitely did not take their own advice and “Take It Easy”.
IF YOU LIKE IT, THEN YOU BETTER PUT A SOCK IN IT
What a classy act that Kanye West is, huh? Okay, I don’t even know who this Taylor Swift is, nor did I see what took place at the MTV Video Music Awards the other night, but I already know enough about this clown to know it’s been blatantly obvious for years now this race-baiter needs to be taken out and spanked repeatedly. And good moogily-woogily, President Obama (accurately) called Kanye a “jackass” today off-the-record, and quickly felt the need to apologize for his remark. Why?!? Just another example of the Continuing Pussification of America—you can’t even call out a jackass anymore when they deserve it in our Politically Correct society.
By the way, since when did eMpTV start caring about videos again, anyway? What kills me about this whole dust-up is the video West so fervently campaigned for, Beyonce’s “Singles Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” is gawdawful. Beyonce is a good-looking woman, no question, but the way she and her posse of hoochie-mama pals shimmy and shake throughout the video makes them look like a bunch of skanks. There’s a big difference between classy-sexy and slutty-sexy. Shania Twain is classy-sexy in her videos, and apart from the regrettable “Love Is A Battlefield”, Pat Benatar was classy-sexy in hers too. For the most part, Pink and Britney Spears are slutty-sexy, as are Beyonce and her friends, big-time, in “Put A Ring On It”. Stupid song, too—“if you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it”?!? How ‘bout I test-drive it, first, mmm-kay?
SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN SOMETHING TO ME…
What’s the deal with the dates on magazines? Yesterday (September 14), I was leafing through the September 14, 2009 issue of Newsweek, which hit newsstands and mailboxes on like September 8th. Why doesn’t the issue date ever match the date the thing actually comes out? I never have understood that…
I’m off to fast starts both in my weekly pigskin prognostications (I went 14-2 in Week One of the NFL) and with my fantasy team, the Sweet Bippies, who trounced my worthy opponent by almost 80 points, thanks to the efforts of the Saints’ Drew Brees (6 friggin’ TD passes!), Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and Thomas Jones of the Jets. Feels good to have football season in full swing again, both the colleges and the pros. Naturally, I was quite pleased to see Notre Dame lose to Michigan, and that the Chefs actually showed up in Baltimore on Sunday (and even led the game at one point in the second half), but a bit concerned that Missouri had to come from behind to beat Bowling Green on Saturday. I was also tickled to watch Jay Cutler lay an egg for the Bears on Sunday night, after all the hype in Chicago about him this off-season. Be careful what you wish for, Bears fans—I thought he was overrated at Denver, and you guys may be in for a big letdown this season.
Oh, one more thing, youse “Maize and Blue” Michigan people—why can’t you just admit that your team wears YELLOW and blue?
BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY—I’VE SEEN THEM ALL
I guess I now qualify as an official Trekkie, having made it through each and every episode of the original “Star Trek” TV series on DVD as of last weekend. In the process, I noticed a goof. In the film Star Trek II-The Wrath of Khan when good ol’ Khan encounters Chekov, he calls him by name—and it sounds like he says, “Jackoff”! Just one problem, Mr. Chekov didn’t appear in the original Khan episode, “Space Seed”, so how could our man Mr. Roarke have known who he was?
CLASSIC MISHEARD LYRIC #120
“You Got Me Floatin’”—Jimi Hendrix Experience (1968) “Your daddy’s cool, and your mama’s no fool…” The first few times I heard this one, I thought Jimi thought mama was “no good”. One of the more underrated Hendrix tunes, all the same…
DON’T BOTHER ROCKIN’…PLEASE!
Another arcane phrase that needs to be banished from our culture is this “Rockin’ the-this” and “Rockin’ the-that” stuff that refers to wearing, using or enjoying something, as in “He’s Rockin’ the shades” or “She’s Rockin’ the Birkenstocks” (ewww), “He’s Rockin’ the lawn mower”, or “She’s Rockin’ the latte”, etc. Nothing wrong with “Rockin’ the house”, “Rockin’ the boat” or even “Rockin the Paradise”, but this shit makes Theo Huxtable’s “Jammin' on the one” actually sound cool by comparison.