Welcome to the “I’m In Love With That Song” Podcast. Each episode, we’ll take one of my favorite songs and dive deep into it, listening to all the nuances that make it a great song. You may be unfamiliar with some of these songs, while others you’ve probably heard a hundred times, but I bet if we listen closely, we can discover something new. Of course, there’s no definitive answer to what makes a great song—beauty is in the ear of the beholder—these are just my personal favorites, but I hope you love these songs, too.
It Came From Boston (Vol. 2): Local boy from Wellesley MA pays his dues in & around Boston and New York; eventually becomes a solo artist and strikes gold on his 2nd solo album, Don't Say No. "Lonely Is The Night" was the 2nd single and my favorite track from the album, so let's have a listen to this classic track from the early '80's.
Was 1965 the Most Revolutionary Year in Music?
For the 50th episode of the podcast, we're mixing it up a bit. I just finished reading a fascinating book my Andrew Grant Jackson where he lays out his belief that 1965 was "The Most Revolutionary Year In Music". Let's have a listen to some of the sounds of '65 and see if we agree. The Beatles, the Stones, the Byrds, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Motown... it's all there.
Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians - "Airscape"
A Robyn Hitchcock song is so unique, it could only come from the mind of Robyn Hitchcock. From his first recordings with The Soft Boys in the '70's through to his solo work today, Robyn is a singular artist with a vision all his own. This is a track from my favorite Hitchcock album, Element Of Light.
Roxy Music - "In Every Dream Home A Heartache"
Wealth and excess go together; emptiness and detachment are right around the corner. This song delves into all of that, along with a particular obsession. What do you do when money no longer buys you a thrill? Bryan Ferry has some thoughts...idea...
Rush - "Subdivisions"
To say Rush has a devoted fan base would be an understatement. I know, because I was a card-carrying member of the "Rush Backstage Fan Club" back in the '80's. Perhaps no Rush song connected so directly with their fans as "Subdivisions". On this episode, we celebrate Neil Peart with a deeper look at this fan favorite.
Starz - "X-Ray Spex"
On this episode, we revisit the great '70's hard rock/power pop album Attention Shoppers! by Starz. "X-Ray Spex" is a blast of punky pop with some interesting use of studio effects. Turn it up!
BONUS XMAS 2019 EPISODE: Favorite Christmas Songs
On this special Bonus podcast, it's time for another holiday pick. Here's an ol' Christmas classic with a power pop twist: "We Three Kings" by Odds. Happy Holidays, everyone! "Kings Of Orient (We Three Kings)" (Traditional) Odds, 1991
Michael Carpenter - "Kailee Anne"
Michael Carpenter is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer & engineer from Australia who, in a better world, would be a lot more famous. A master of hooks & harmony, he's one of the best modern power pop artists out there. Here's a track that's a personal favorite of mine. Check it out & then go buy some of his music.
The Cars - "Just What I Needed"
It Came From Boston: 5 experienced musicians come together to make something new: keyboard whiz Greg Hawkes; the bassist with the killer voice, Benjamin Orr; drummer David Robinson from the legendary Modern Lovers; one of the tastiest guitarists in the business, Elliot Easton; and singer/songwiriter/guitarist & mastermind Ric Ocasek. Merging classic guitar rock with the burgeoning synth-pop sounds to bring New Wave to the masses, The Cars defined that sound for the late-70's/Early '80's. It all started on local Boston radio with this song.
The Rolling Stones - "Gimme Shelter"
There's no shortage of great songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, but "Gimme Shelter" may be the song that tops them all. Dark and foreboding as only the Stones can do, this track has all the hallmarks of the Rolling Stones at their best: iconic guitar riffs by Keef, Jagger at the top of his game, and the Watts/Wyman rhythm section doing what they do best (plus Nicky Hopkins on piano). But what pushes this one from merely brilliant into sublime is the vocal performance by Merry Clayton-- for my money, one of the greatest moments on record.
The Beatles - "Rain"
"Rain" was the first glimpse of The Beatles exploration of psychedelia. Perhaps more than any other Beatles track, this song highlights the rhythm section with brilliant performances by Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. Add Lennon's lyrics and great vocals, and you've got one of the best songs to come out of the trippy, mind-expanding '60's. On this episode, we take a closer look at the individual performances and studio trickery-- backwards, forwards, sped up & slowed down-- that went into this classic track.
The Temptations - "I Can't Get Next To You"
The Temptations' first #1 Hit on the Billboard "Hot 100" chart was "My Girl" in 1965. 4 years later, they had their 2nd #1 with "I Can't Get Next To You", and the difference between these 2 songs tells you a lot about the 1960's. "I Can't Get Next To You" features a different lead vocalist, a more aggressive, funky beat and a trippy vibe courtesy of producer & songwriter Norman Whitfield. The early Temptations songs are great, but for my money, they were never better than when they teamed up with Whitfield and created "psychedelic soul".
Richard Lloyd - "Backtrack"
If you know Richard Lloyd at all, it's either as a member of Television (the first band to play CBGB's) or as the guitarist on many of Matthew Sweet's best tracks. But Richard released some great solo work in between those gigs, including an album called Field Of Fire. Overlooked & forgotten, this is one of the best records of the 1980's (in my opinion, of course). The title song features some of his best ever guitar work. On this episode, we're listening to a great rockin' track called "Backtrack" that's as close to "classic rock" as Richard Lloyd will ever get-- and I mean that in the best possible way. Keith Richards would be proud of this guitar riff.
The Kinks - "Autumn Almanac"
The Kinks earned their place in Rock History on the basis of "You Really Got Me", "All Day & All Of The Night", and "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" alone. But it didn't take long for Ray Davies to stretch out beyond riff-driven, teenage anthems to write songs that could only have come from his imagination. "Autumn Almanac" is one of the first Kinks songs to show Davies reaching for a whole new level of songwriting-- both musically and his interest in writing about characters, which would become the focus of his songwriting over the ensuing years.
Stevie Wonder - "I Wish"
Stevie Wonder was on an unrivaled creative streak starting in 1972, releasing 5 brilliant albums in a row, culminating with Songs In The Key Of Life in 1976. That album spawned 2 hit singles, including "I Wish", the subject of this episode. A masterpiece blending funk with pop sensibilities, it's a celebration of youthful innocence and simpler times.
Graham Day - "Glad I'm Not Young"
After a few longer-than-usual episodes, I thought it was time for a quick take on a straight-forward rocker with a premise not often heard in rock, pop, metal or rap -- Graham Day & The Gaolers (pronounced "Jailers") with "Glad I'm Not Young".
Yes - "Owner Of A Lonely Heart"
Few bands have changed their sound as drastically as Yes did on their 90125 album, a radical departure from their previous progressive rock style. But it ended up giving them their one & only #1 hit, "Owner Of A Lonely Heart". In this episode, we follow the song's evolution from Trevor Rabin's solo demo to the final production, including its innovative production techniques (such as being one of the first rock songs to use samples).
David Bowie - "Space Oddity"
50 years ago today -- July 16, 1969 -- Apollo 11 was launched and human beings first stepped on the moon. Let's celebrate that occasion with the most famous song about space travel: David Bowie's "Space Oddity", a song that exploits our fear and wonder of the final frontier. In lesser hands, this track could've been nothing more than a goofy, one-joke song for the Dr. Demento crowd, but the clever songwriting, brilliant production and a vocal performance that captures Bowie's innate other-worldly, alienated style makes this track so much more than a novelty song.
David Bowie - "Station To Station"
Among the many high points in David Bowie's catalog, "Station To Station" stands as one of his most epic compositions. Written when Bowie's life was at its most fractured point-- having split with his longtime manager, suffering from cocaine psychosis and obsessed with the occult, "Station To Station" transcends the insanity to become one of his most monumental works. This episode, we're taking a deep dive into the live version of "Station To Station" from the 1978 Isolar II Tour, as captured on the Stage live album featuring brilliant guitar work from Adrian Belew.
Jethro Tull - "My God"
Aqualung was the album that made Jethro Tull famous, and features 3 songs that became classic hits. But the song at the heart of the album is "My God", Ian Anderson's very personal statement on religious institutions. It's the most instrumentally adventurous track on the album and features great guitar by Martin Barre and a flute workout from Anderson.
Utopia - "Winston Smith Takes It On The Jaw"
70 years ago this month, George Orwell's "1984" was first published. So let's give George an ol' Rock & Roll salute by looking at one of the many songs inspired by his book. Sure, I could've done David Bowie's "1984", but that would be too easy. I'm a big Utopia fan, so this is a good excuse to take a look at another one of their tracks. It's Utopia in dystopia!
The Beach Boys - "You Still Believe In Me"
When Brian Wilson heard The Beatles Rubber Soul album, it inspired and challenged him to create an album of his own that would stand as an equal. And he pulled it off. Universally considered one of the greatest albums of all time, Pet Sounds is a testament to Brian's genius as a songwriter, arranger & producer. Here's one of my favorites on the record-- "You Still Believe in Me".
Paul McCartney & Wings - "Little Lamb Dragonfly"
Another overlooked song in the McCartney catalog, "Little Lamb Dragonfly" is an emotional piece, composed of 3 sections in different keys that effortlessly moves between each segment. A wistful, haunting song about loss and the struggle to accept it. How does this song affect you?
Kiss - "King Of The Night Time World"
On this episode, we revisit the Destroyer album and take a look at the song "King Of The Night Time World" to see how it evolved from an obscure track by a short-lived LA band into a teenage anthem by larger-than-life rock legends. We'll listen to both versions and hear what changed & what remained. Come live your secret dream!
The Zombies - "Care Of Cell 44"
The Zombies only released 2 albums during their prime, so how did they get into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame? Because one of those albums is a bona fide classic: Odessey and Oracle is widely considered to be one of the greatest albums of the '60's, holding its own against classics by The Beatles, the Stones, Velvet Underground, The Who... by virtually any measure, it's an iconic album. And it was a complete flop when it was first released, along with its first single, "Care Of Cell 44". But over time, it's been recognized as a true masterpiece.
5 Favorite Guitar Solos
Welcome to the 25th episode of the "I'm In Love With That Song" Podcast! I thought we'd do something a little different for this episode: I've picked a handful of my favorite guitar solos and we'll take a listen to what I think makes a solo great. In my book, it doesn't have to be flashy or technically brilliant, but it does have to be memorable, it has to fit the song, and it should take the song to another level. I'm not saying these are the greatest solos of all time, they're just a few that I think are pretty special.
Thin Lizzy - "Rosalie"
Why this song? Simple: because Thin Lizzy was as good as a 4-piece rock band could be and this song has everything you want in a rockin' song-- a killer guitar riff, a singable chorus, a great hook for the lyrics, and a perfect performance. Written by Bob Seger, Thin Lizzy took it to another level and added some of their special sauce to make this song their own. I truly love this song!
Todd Rundgren - "Cliche"
This is the episode where I try to explain why I think Todd Rundgren's "Cliché" is the most beautiful song ever written. Of course it's all subjective, but I don't know how anyone could deny the beauty and emotional resonance of this song. I probably can't do it justice, but here's my attempt anyway. .
Aerosmith - "Seasons Of Wither"
By the time Aerosmith recorded their 2nd album, they had refined their sound, improved their songwriting chops, and Steven Tyler had found his authentic voice. "Seasons Of Wither" is one of the moodiest tracks Aerosmith ever committed to vinyl. Still sounds every bit as great today.
Superchunk - "Me & You & Jackie Mittoo"
Do we expect too much from music? A great song can do a lot, but it can't fix everything. This song is 2 minutes of joy... sometimes, that's enough.
The Who - "The Naked Eye"
Let's start the year off with one of the Greatest Rock Bands Of All Time. There is simply no other band like The Who. Genius and violence, vulnerability and madness... all words that can be used in equal measure to describe The Who. Four larger-than-life characters that created a dozen indelible classic albums; a band that recorded so much great music that a song like this was tossed aside, eventually released on a ramshackle album of leftovers & outtakes. Most bands would give an arm & a leg for a song this good.
BONUS XMAS 2018 EPISODE: Favorite Christmas Songs
On this special Bonus podcast, I thought I'd put together a short little episode and play a favorite holiday song. It'll be a new "I'm In Love With That Song Podcast" tradition! So let's start with a great track from The Kinks. Happy Holidays, everyone!
B.B. King - "There Must Be A Better World Somew...
See "Description" for details. His career spanned over 60 years; he toured around the world (playing 200 shows a year, well into his 70's), and released more than 50 albums. But B.B. King will be remembered primarily as one of the most influential guitarists in history. His impact is so embedded in the DNA of the guitar that no player is untouched by his influence. This is one of many great songs in his vast catalog; a great example of his powerful voice, his ability to embody a song, and his mastery as a guitar soloist.
Graham Parker & The Rumour - "Stupefaction"
Graham Parker arose from the UK Pub Rock scene, a back-to-basics sound that was a precursor to Punk. Along with his band, The Rumour (which included guitarist Brinsley Schwarz, a legend in his own right), he recorded a handful of essential albums in the '70's and has released a string of great records throughout his long career. A notable songwriter with a distinct edge and a wonderfully biting voice, he's influenced many artists that followed. Here's one song that represents everything I love about Graham Parker.
The Band - "Whispering Pines"
When the band released their first 2 albums in 1968 & 1969, they set off a musical revolution; the psychedelic sounds of the '60's were out and a return to the roots was back in style. "Whispering Pines" is their most haunting, beautiful ballad, with a lead vocal from Richard Manuel that's so vulnerable it makes you ache to hear it. The Band were at their peak during this time, with every member writing & performing at their best.
XTC - "That's Really Super, Supergirl"
I will admit that I can be prone to hyperbole, but I'm convinced this is The Best Album Of The 1980's and one of the greatest albums of all time. It is a perfect album. A magnificent song cycle that reveals something new each time you listen to it. A masterwork of songwriting and production. I could go on... This song is a blast of pure pop; catchy, clever and concise-- 3 minutes and 20 seconds of pop genius.
Sass Jordan - "Head"
Forget talking about "women who rock", Sass Jordan is one of the best rock vocalists out there, male OR female. This Canadian singer & songwriter is not well known in the USA, which is a shame because she's got a voice that's unique, powerful and compelling. This song is from her 1994 album, "Rats", which is her hardest-rocking album (and, in my opinion, her best). Check out this song, then go find more music by Sass Jordan.
Cheap Trick - "If It Takes A Lifetime"
One of the most underappreciated bands in rock. Undaunted by the ups & downs of the fickle music business, Cheap Trick have played over 5000 shows and released 20 albums, including "Rockford" in 2006, one of their best albums ever. I could've picked any song from this album-- it's that good-- but I settled on "If It Takes A Lifetime". If you don't have this album in your collection, don't wait-- Go get it now.
Starz - "She"
A great hard rock & power pop band that somehow fell through the cracks in the late '70's, Starz had all the ingredients to make it big-- a band of seasoned professionals with a charismatic frontman, a big-name manager, and a record deal with Capitol Records... but while bands like Foreigner, Styx & Boston sold millions of records, Starz just couldn't break thru to a larger audience. Too bad, because these guys had some great rock tunes. Here's one of their power-pop tracks that serves as a great example of how to write a catchy, memorable song.
Aretha Franklin - "A Change Is Gonna Come"
Aretha Franklin recorded over 40 albums during her career; this episode, we revisit a song from her breakthrough album, "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You" from 1967. This was actually her 11th album (!), but it was the first one recorded for Atlantic Records and it's the one that made her a legend. Aretha Franklin was probably the single most influential singer of our time-- just listen to any episode of American Idol for proof. Aretha was not only a great vocalist, she was one of the greatest interpreters of songs in history. She didn't just cover a song, she made it her own. "A Change Is Gonna Come" was Sam Cooke's finest moment, but Aretha strips it down to its purest form and imbues it with pain, world-weariness, and hope - one of the greatest emotionally cathartic moments on record.
Glenn Hughes - "Crave"
Who's the greatest singer in rock history? You could make an argument that it's Glenn Hughes. He's played & recorded with Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Gary Moore, KLF... and released a collection of great solo albums. He's an amazing hard rock vocalist & bass player, but my favorite stuff is when he's getting funky-- real funky. This track combines the funk with the hard rock - the best combo since Reese's put peanut butter in their chocolate. Crank It Up!
The Replacements - "Alex Chilton"
Every artist wants to pay tribute to the people who inspired them. No one's ever done it better than The Replacements' tribute to Alex Chilton. This song has a great hook and a chorus that stays with you... It's stayed with me so long that I named this podcast after it.
Badfinger - "Day After Day"
Living under The Beatles' shadow was a blessing and a curse for Badfinger. One of the greatest Power Pop bands of all time, they crafted a catalog of great songs that defined the genre. "Day After Day" is one of the greatest singles of all time, featuring a beautiful melody, great performances, and a guest appearance by a Beatle. What more could you want? This song deserves a place in history.
The Bears - "As You Are"
Adrian Belew is best known as a brilliant sideman & guitar foil (Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Talking Heads) and a member of King Crimson, but most people are unaware of his "band on the side", The Bears. The other 3 members are no slouches either-- this was really a band of 4 equal members that could all write great songs. The Bears blend Art-Rock and Power Pop in their own distinctive way. This song features lead vocals by 3 members, and packs plenty of substance & meaning into a 4:53 pop song. If you're unfamiliar with The Bears, this song provides a great entry point.
Al Green - "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart"
When a great soul singer meets a song by one of the great pop songwriting teams, magic ensues. Al Green takes a song by the Bee Gees and turns it into one of the classic singles of all time. Let's nurse our broken hearts together as we dig into this amazing song.
The Raspberries - "Overnight Sensation"
Writing a hit song about writing a hit song? Genius! This song has everything a great pop-rock song needs-- a memorable melody, great chorus, smart lyrics and killer vocals. This song always makes me smile.
Kiss - "Flaming Youth"
Kiss was the band that turned a generation of kids -- including me -- into rock & roll obsessives. Love 'em or hate 'em, Kiss became huge stars after the release of the "Destroyer" album in 1976. This is one of my favorite songs on the album, and features some off-the-wall moments like circus instruments, odd time signatures and a mysterious guitar solo.
Utopia - "The Road To Utopia"
Utopia is back together for a reunion tour this Spring (2018), so there's no better time to revisit one of their great songs. I think this era of Utopia pretty much invented "Progressive Pop" and this song is a great example of their songcraft and musical skills. See you on the road to Utopia!
David Bowie - "Time"
With this song, David Bowie practically invents the Goth-Punk-Cabaret genre. It's an epic song with brilliant piano by Mike Garson. Let's explore the track and see what makes this masterpiece tick.
Tom Petty - "Even The Losers"
Tom Petty always knew how to write an anthem, and this is one of his best. A rallying cry for anyone who's been rejected or on the losing side of love.
Paul McCartney & Wings - "Daytime Nighttime Suf...
Let's start things off with one of my favorite McCartney songs - a tune most people haven't heard but should've been a big hit. This song has everything I love about McCartney-- a terrific lead vocal, great bass part, an arrangement that keeps evolving and cool production. Enjoy!
Introduction to the "I'm In Love With That Song...